Life on the California-D.C. Shuttle

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Ken McMullen

Ken McMullen played 16 seasons in the major leagues. The firLos Angeles Dodgersst 14 of those seasons were spent in either California or Washington D.C., where he performed consistently as a solid third baseman with the kind of power that made him a dangerous contributor in the middle of the batting order.

Ken McMullen started his major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1964, he was traded with Frank Howard (and four other players in the blockbuster deal that brought Claude Osteen to L.A.

McMullen was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1960 and made his debut with the team in 1962 at age 20. He came out of spring training in 1963 as the Dodgers’ starting third baseman, but problems both at the plate and in the field got him optioned back to Triple-A Spokane until mid-summer.

His first major league home run came on the Fourth of July, a grand slam off the St. Louis CardinalsErnie Broglio. McMullen finished his rookie season hitting .236 with five home runs and 28 RBIs.

McMullen spent most of the 1964 season in the minors, and then was traded with a player to be named later (Dick Nen), Frank Howard, Phil Ortega and Pete Richert to the Washington Senators for John Kennedy, Claude Osteen and $100,000. McMullen became the Senators regular third baseman, hitting .263 with 18 home runs and 54 RBIs in 1965.

He developed into a solid third baseman while he was in Washington, and his power numbers gradually improved during his 6 seasons in D.C. He hit 20 home runs for the Senators in 1968, and had his best all-around season in 1969, batting .272 with 25 doubles, 19 home runs and 87 runs batted in.

McMullen’s best season with the Senators came in 1969, when he batted .272 with 19 home runs and 87 RBIs.

A month into the 1970 season, McMullen was traded to the California Angels for Rick Reichardt and Aurelio Rodriguez. He hit a combined .229 with 14 homers and 64 RBIs in 1970, and then rebounded in 1971 to hit .250 with 21 home runs and 68 RBIs. His power output slipped to nine home runs and 34 RBIs in 1972, and he was traded across town with Andy Messersmith for Billy Grabarkewitz, Frank Robinson, Bill Singer, Mike Strahler and Bobby Valentine.

McMullen’s second tour with the Dodgers lasted two seasons. He was used primarily as a back-up third baseman and pinch hitter, batting a combined .246 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. He played one season each with the Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers in part-time roles, and retired after the 1977 season.

McMullen batted .248 for his career with 156 home runs and 606 RBI s. In 1965, he set an American League single-game record by starting four double plays against the Baltimore Orioles.

On September 26, 1966, McMullen set another record with 11 assists from third base. He led the American League third basemen in total chances over three seasons from 1967 to 1969, and led AL third basemen in double plays in 1967 and putouts in 1969.

 

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