Glancing Back, and Remembering Jose Tartabull
Jose Tartabull’s stock in trade was speed, on the base paths and in the outfield. He made runs happen with his feet.
Tartabull was signed by the San Francisco Giants in 1958, and spent four seasons in the Giants’ farm system until his trade to the Kansas City Athletics in 1961 for catcher Joe Pignatano. He hit .277 as a rookie in 1962, stealing 19 bases, fifth best in the American League.
From 1963 through 1965, Tartabull shuttled between Kansas City and the Athletics’ AAA affiliates in the Pacific Coast League. He hit .273 in 93 games with Vancouver in 1965 before being called back to Kansas City, where he batted .312 in 68 games for the A’s with 11 doubles and 11 stolen bases.
In June of 1966, Tartabull was traded by the A’s with Rollie Sheldon and John Wyatt to the Boston Red Sox for Jim Gosger, Guido Grilli and Ken Sanders. He took over center field, hitting .277 for the Red Sox, and followed up in Boston’s pennant-winning season of 1967 by batting .223. He hit .281 as a part-time outfielder for Boston in 1968, and then was sold back to the Athletics.
Tartabull hit .290 for the A’s in 1969, and retired after 24 games during the 1970 season. In nine big league seasons, Tartabull posted a career batting average of .261.