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.

Lou Clinton’s breakout season came in 1962, his first full season with the Boston Red Sox. Clinton batted .294 with 18 home runs and 75 RBIs.

That performance earned Clinton a full-time shot with the 1962 Red Sox, and he delivered. Clinton batted .294 in 1962 with 18 home runs and 75 RBIs. His 10 triples were second-highest in the American League. (Gino Cimoli led the league with 15 triples.)

In 1963, Clinton’s 22 home runs and 77 runs batted in were second highest on the team (to Dick Stuart in both categories). His batting average, however, slipped to .232. Clinton batted .251 in 1964 (with 12 home runs and 44 RBIs), and during that season was traded to the Los Angeles Angels for first baseman Lee Thomas.

Clinton batted .243 for the Angels in 1965, and also played with the Kansas City A’s and Cleveland Indians that season. Prior to the 1966 season, he was traded to the New York Yankees for catcher Doc Edwards. He hit .220 for the Yankees in 1966, and retired in 1967 at age 29.

Clinton played for five different teams in his seven-year major league career. He finished with 532 hits and a .247 career batting average.

Short Among the Braves

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Johnny Logan

For a decade, Johnny Logan provided All-Star caliber shortstop play for the Milwaukee Braves. He teamed with another infield All-Star, second baseman Red Schoendienst, at the end of the 1950s, when the Braves took back-to-back National League pennants.

Johnny Logan was the Braves’ shortstop for a decade starting in 1952. A three-time All-Star, Logan was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1961.

Logan was signed by the Boston Braves in 1947. He made his debut in Boston in 1951, batting .219 in 62 games.

By 1952, Logan was the Braves’ starting shortstop, batting .283. In 10 seasons with the Braves (both the Boston and Milwaukee versions), Logan hit a combined .270. His best season offensively came in 1955, when he batted .297 with 13 home runs and 83 RBIs. He also led the National League with 37 doubles in 1955.

Logan was chosen for the National League All-Star team in 1955. He made the NL All-Star team each season from 1957 through 1959.

After a decade-long tour with the Braves, Logan was traded in 1961 to the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielder Gino Cimoli. In Pittsburgh, Logan was relegated to a backup role, first behind Dick Groat and then Dick Schofield. In three seasons with the Pirates, Logan batted a combined .249. He retired after the 1963 season.

Logan had a career batting average of .268 over 13 major league seasons.

 

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Talent in Reserve

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Gino Cimoli

Gino Cimoli was a much-traveled and much-valued outfielder who played from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. He played for seven different major league clubs in a 10-year career, the valuable reserve who could play any of the outfield positions and cause problems for opposing pitchers when he came to bat.

As a rookie with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1957, Gino Cimoli batted .293 and was a member of the National League All-Star team.

Cimoli was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949 and made his major league debut in 1956. In 1957 he hit .293 for the Dodgers with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs. He was a member of the National League All-Star team that season.

Cimoli’s first “move” as a major leaguer was with the Dodgers, going with the team to Los Angeles for the 1958 season and being the first major league player to bat on the West Coast when he led off on Opening Day in San Francisco. Cimoli hit .246 for the Dodgers in 1958, and was traded after the season to the St. Louis Cardinals for Wally Moon and Phil Paine.

Cimoli hit .275 for the Cardinals in 1959, with eight home runs and 72 RBIs. Following that season, he was traded with Tom Cheney to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Ron Kline.

In Pittsburgh, Cimoli was used primarily as the team’s fourth outfielder, hitting .267 with 14 doubles and 28 RBIs in 1960. He batted .250 in the 1960 World Series. During the 1961 season, the Pirates sent Cimoli to the Milwaukee Braves for Johnny Logan, and he finished the 1961 season with the Braves … only to be selected by the Kansas City Athletics in the 1961 Rule 5 Draft.

Gino Cimoli batted .275 for the Kansas City Athletics in 1962, leading the major leagues with 15 triples.

Gino Cimoli batted .275 for the Kansas City Athletics in 1962, leading the major leagues with 15 triples.

Cimoli hit .275 for the A’s in 1962, his best all-around season in the major leagues. He hit 20 doubles and 10 home runs, with 71 RBIs. His 15 triples were the most in the majors that season. He followed with another solid year in 1963, batting .263 with 19 doubles, 11 triples and 48 RBIs.

Cimoli was released by Kansas City in May of 1964 after appearing in only four games with the A’s, and signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles, batting .138 in only 38 games. He was released by Baltimore after the 1964 season and signed with the California Angels, but played in only four games with the Angels in 1965 before retiring.

Cimoli finished his major league career with 808 hits and a .265 batting average.

 

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300 and Counting

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(August 11, 1961) The Milwaukee Braves today defeated the 2-1 behind the six-hit pitching of Warren Spahn.

Warren Spahn's 12th victory of the 1961 season was also his 12th complete game ... and the 300th win of his career.

Warren Spahn’s 12th victory of the 1961 season was also his 12th complete game … and the 300th win of his career.

For Spahn (12-12), it marked the 300th victory of his career, and made Spahn the thirteenth pitcher in major league history to reach the 300-victory plateau. He was also the first 300-game winner in two decades, following Lefty Grove in 1941.

Spahn drove in the game’s first run in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly that brought home catcher Joe Torre. The Cubs tied the game at 1-1 in the sixth inning. Ron Santo scored on an Andre Rodgers RBI single.

Braves center fielder Gino Cimoli hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning off Cubs starter Jack Curtis (7-7). Curtis and Spahn each allowed just six hits.

For Spahn, the victory marked his twelfth complete game of the season … and Spahn would lead the National League in complete games in 1961 for the fifth consecutive season. He would also lead the league in ERA (3.02) and victories at 21-13.

And he still had 63 victories left in his 40-year-old arm.

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Relief Everywhere

 

Oh, What a Relief: Ron Kline

Ron Kline’s career as a major league pitcher spanned 17 seasons and nine teams. He started his career as a starting pitcher, with mixed results, and experienced his best seasons after the age of 30, when he emerged as one of the American League’s most effective and durable relievers … yet is hardly counted today among the premier relievers of the 1960s despite putting up numbers that say he deserves that kind of accolade.

During the first decade of Ron Kline’s pitching career, he was 68-107 with a 4.14 ERA as a starter and reliever. He moved to the bullpen exclusively with the Washington Senators in 1962, and over the next six seasons he was 45-31 with a 2.52 ERA.

During the first decade of Ron Kline’s pitching career, he was 68-107 with a 4.14 ERA as a starter and reliever. He moved to the bullpen exclusively with the Washington Senators in 1962, and over the next six seasons he was 45-31 with a 2.52 ERA.

Kline was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1950 and made his major league debut in 1952, going 0-7 out of the Pirates’ bullpen that year. He spent the next two years in military service, and returned to the Pirates in 1955, going 6-13 as a starter and reliever. In 1956 he worked out of the Pirates’ starting rotation, making 39 starts and pitching 264 innings on his way to a 14-18 record and a 3.38 ERA. He won nine and 13 games in each of the next two seasons respectively, while losing 16 decisions both years. After an 11-13 season with Pittsburgh in 1959, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tom Cheney and Gino Cimoli.

Kline was 4-9 in 1960, his only season with the Cardinals. He was purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1961, and was 8-9 that year, which he finished with the Detroit Tigers. After a 3-6 season with the Tigers in 1962, he was purchased by the Washington Senators.

It would be a career-lifting move for the 31-year-old right-hander, who had been 68-107 to this point as a starter and reliever. For the Senators, he would move to the bullpen and never move out. His numbers as a relief specialist revealed why.

For the Senators in 1963, Kline was 3-8 with a 2.79 ERA. He finished 46 of his 62 appearances and saved 17 games for a team that won only 56 on the season. He followed up in 1964 with a 10-7 season and a 2.32 ERA, appearing in 61 games and finishing 52 of them, with 14 saves.

Ron Kline led the American League with 29 saves in 1965.

Ron Kline led the American League with 29 saves in 1965.

In 1965, Kline led the American League with 29 saves, going 7-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 1966, he tallied 23 saves with a record of 6-4 and a 2.39 earned run average. In the off-season, Kline was traded by the Senators to the Minnesota Twins for Bernie Allen and Camilo Pascual. He was 7-1 for the Twins in 1967 with a 3.77 ERA, and was traded only one season later to the Pirates for catcher Bob Oliver. Kline was 12-5 for the Pirates in 1968 with a 1.68 ERA.

He spent the 1969 season with three teams: the Pirates, the San Francisco Giants (traded for Joe Gibbon) and the Boston Red Sox. For the season, he was a combined 1-5 in 43 relief appearances. He signed with Atlanta for the 1970 season, but retired after only five appearances with the Braves.

In his prime, from 1963 through 1968, Kline appeared in 370 games (an average of 62 per season) with 45 victories, 95 saves and a combined ERA of 2.52. Kline finished with a career record of 114-144 and a 3.75 ERA.

 

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