Sock for the Sox

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Lou Clinton

Outfielder Lou Clinton was an important bat in the Boston Red Sox lineup in the early 1960s. He was signed by the Red Sox in 1955 and made his major league debut in 1960, batting .228 as a rookie. He spent most of the 1961 season with Seattle in the Pacific Coast league, hitting .295 with 21 home runs and 102 RBIs. Continue reading

Theft Control

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Joe Azcue

In a major league career that spanned the 1960s, Joe Azcue was known as a dependable catcher with a strong, accurate throwing arm. He led American League catchers in fielding percentage in 1967 and 1968. Over his 11-year career, he threw out more than 45 percent of base runners attempting to steal, and in 1966 he threw out 62 percent.

And, on occasion, he could hit.

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Base runners, beware! Over his career, Joe Azcue threw out 45 percent of runners trying to steal off him. In 1966, he threw out 62 percent of base runners attempting to steal.

A Cuban native, Azcue was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and appeared in 14 games with the Reds at the end of the 1960 season, hitting .097. He was purchased by the Milwaukee Braves and returned to the minors for the 1961 season, and in December of 1961 was traded with Ed Charles and Manny Jimenez to the Kansas City Athletics for Lou Klimchock and Bob Shaw. He hit .229 as the Athletics’ backup catcher, and at the beginning of the 1963 season was traded with shortstop Dick Howser to the Cleveland Indians for catcher Doc Edwards.

Azcue had his best seasons, as a hitter and defensively, with the Indians. He hit .284 with the Tribe in 1963 with career highs in home runs (14) and RBIs (46). He hit .273 in 1964 and .230 in 1965, and then bounced back to hit .275 in 1966 and .280 in 1968.

In April of 1969, Azcue was part of a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox. Cleveland sent Azcue, Vicente Romo and Sonny Siebert to Boston for Ken Harrelson, Dick Ellsworth and Juan Pizarro. Azcue appeared in only 19 games for the Red Sox, hitting .216, before being traded to the California Angels for Tom Satriano. He finished the 1969 season with a combined .223 batting average, and then hit .242 for California in 1970, his last full season in the majors. Azcue sat out the 1971 season, and then played a total of 14 games for the Angels and the Milwaukee Brewers in 1972 before retiring.

In 11 big league seasons, Azcue collected 712 hits for a .252 career batting average.

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He Knew How to Make Hits

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Lee Maye

Lee Maye had more natural talent than he could fully realize – on the baseball diamond and in the recording studio. He was a talented ballplayer whose career was derailed more than once by injury. And as a doo-wop vocalist in the 1950s, his success as a singer was necessarily limited by the demands of his baseball career, playing for five different major league teams.

Lee Maye led the major leagues with 44 doubles in 1964. He batted ,304 for the Milwaukee Braves that season.

Lee Maye led the major leagues with 44 doubles in 1964. He batted ,304 for the Milwaukee Braves that season.

Maye was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1954 and made his major league debut with the Braves in July of 1959, getting two hits in five at-bats against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 51 games that season, Maye hit .300 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. His 1960 season followed the same pattern – starting the year in the minors, and closing out the season by playing in 41 games for the Braves, hitting .301 as a part-time performer.

Maye made the Braves’ roster for keeps in 1961, hitting .271 again as a part-time outfielder and pinch hitter, with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs. He hit .244 in 1962 and then bounced back in 1963 by hitting .271 with 22 doubles, 11 home runs, 34 RBIs and a career-high 14 stolen bases. He had his best season in 1964, the year he also had the most at-bats of any season in his major league career. Maye hit .304 with 10 home runs and 74 RBIs. He also led the major leagues with 44 doubles.

An important part of Maye’s game was his speed on the base paths and in the outfield, and a serious ankle injury in 1965 limited his abilities that season and, in fact, for the rest of his career. Maye was hitting .302 for the Braves when he was traded to the Houston Astros for Jim Beauchamp and pitcher Ken Johnson. He hit .251 for Houston in 1965 and batted .288 for the Astros in 1966. Following the 1966 season, he was traded with Ken Retzer to the Cleveland Indians for Doc Edwards, Jim Landis and Jim Weaver. His best season in Cleveland was 1968, when he hit .281.

In June 1969, Maye was dealt to the Washington Senators and hit .290 over the rest of that season. He split the 1970 season between the Senators and the Chicago White Sox, hitting a combined .261 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs. He hit .205 in 32 games for the White Sox in 1971 before retiring.

Maye played in the major leagues for 13 seasons and had a career batting average of .274. He collected 1,109 hits including 190 doubles and 94 home runs. He also had more than one hit in the recording industry, serving as the lead singer for “Arthur Lee Maye and the Crowns” prior to his career in baseball.

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