Giant Behind the Plate

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ed Bailey

Ed Bailey was a solid defensive catcher who was also dangerous with a bat in his hands. He lasted 14 years in the major leagues, playing for five different teams.

Ed Bailey had his best season with the Giants in 1963, batting .263 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs.

Bailey was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1950. After two years in the minors plus two years of military service, he made his debut with the Reds at the end of the 1953 season and earned a place on the team’s roster for 1954, batting .197 with nine home runs and 20 RBIs in his rookie season. He spent part of 1955 back in the minors, working on his hitting, and came back in 1956 to hit .300 with 28 home runs and 75 RBIs.

From 1956 through 1960, as the Reds’ everyday catcher, Bailey hit a combined .267 while averaging 17 home runs and 58 runs batted in per season. He was a member of the National League All-Star team in 1956, 1957 and 1960.

In 1961 Bailey was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Don Blasingame and Bob Schmidt. He batted .245 in 1961 and then, in 1962, he batted .232 with 17 home runs and 45 RBIs while splitting the Giants’ catching duties with Tom Haller. In 1963, Bailey had his best season with the Giants, batting .263 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs.

After the 1963 season, he was traded with Felipe Alou and Billy Hoeft to the Milwaukee Braves for Del Crandall, Bob Hendley and Bob Shaw. In Milwaukee, Bailey spent the 1964 season as a backup to Joe Torre, batting .262 with five home runs and 34 RBIs. Then he was traded back to the Giants for Billy O’Dell. Two months into the 1965 season, he was traded again, this time with Hendley and Harvey Kuenn to the Chicago Cubs for Dick Bertell and Len Gabrielson.

Bailey hit .253 for the Cubs in 1965. He signed with the California Angels in 1966, but played only five games before retiring.

In 14 major league seasons, Bailey posted a career batting average of .256 with 915 hits and 155 home runs. He was an All-Star five times altogether, being named to the team twice as a member of the Giants as well as his three earlier appearances with the Reds.

 

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