Rudi Redux

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(December 1, 1965) After losing the outfielder on waivers, the Kansas City Athletics today recovered outfield prospect Joe Rudi from the Cleveland Indians.

As a left fielder for the A’s, Rudi would win three Gold Gloves and play a key role for the world championship teams during the early 70’s in Oakland. Continue reading

Go Get ‘Em.

 

The Glove Club: Jim Landis

During his 11-year major league career, Jim Landis was an outstanding center fielder who could also hit (enough) for average and occasional power.

Jim Landis collected five consecutive Gold Gloves from 1960-1964. His .993 fielding percentage in 1963 topped all American League outfielders.

Jim Landis collected five consecutive Gold Gloves from 1960-1964. His .993 fielding percentage in 1963 topped all American League outfielders.

He was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1952 and spent the next five years working his way through the White Sox farm system (after two years of military service). He debuted with the White Sox in 1957 at the age of 23, batting .212 in 96 games.

He became the White Sox regular center fielder in 1958, batting .277 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs. From 1958 through 1963, Landis batted a combined .258 while averaging 13 home runs and 61 RBIs per season. His most productive season offensively came in 1961, when he batted .283 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs. He also won his second of five consecutive Gold Gloves that season.

After eight seasons in Chicago, Landis was sent to the Kansas City Athletics (with Mike Hershberger and Fred Talbot) in a three-team deal that brought Tommie Agee, Tommy John and John Romano to the White Sox and sent Rocky Colavito to the Cleveland Indians. He hit .239 for the A’s in 1965, and then was traded to the Indians for Phil Roof and Joe Rudi.

Jim Landis’ most productive season offensively came in 1961, when he batted .283 with 22 home runs and 85 RBIs.

Landis batted .222 for Cleveland in 1966, and spent 1967 playing for three teams. He was traded by the Indians with Doc Edwards and Jim Weaver to the Houston Astros for Lee Maye and Ken Retzer. Then in June he was traded by the Astros to the Detroit Tigers for Larry Sherry. The Tigers released Landis in August and he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. He spent a week in Boston, and then was released. He hit a combined .237 for the 1967 season.

Landis retired after 11 major league seasons with a career batting average of .247. He was a member of the American League All-Star team in 1962.

Owning Right Field

 

The Glove Club: Al Kaline

It seemed as though Al Kaline was born to play right field. He played it with a consistent excellence that was not matched by anyone else in the American League during the 1960s.

Al Kaline won 10 Gold Gloves for his play in right field.

Al Kaline won 10 Gold Gloves for his play in right field.

Fifteen times an American League All-Star, Kaline won 10 Gold Gloves for his play in right field. Seven of those Gold Gloves were earned in the 1960s, when Kaline dominated that award by winning it from 1961 through 1967. Between 1957 and 1967, the only season when Kaline didn’t win a Gold Glove was 1960, when he spent most of the season as the Detroit Tigers’ center fielder. (During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Gold Glove for center field belonged to Jim Landis of the Chicago White Sox.)

When the Tigers acquired Bill Bruton in 1961, Kaline returned to his natural position in right field and resumed his standing as the league’s best.

Kaline was not blessed with blazing speed or a gun-like arm. But he was baseball smart and made the most of his considerable athletic abilities (just as he did in the batter’s box). He was graceful in every aspect of his game. His throwing accuracy was deadly to careless base runners.

Kaline spent all of his 22 major league seasons with the Tigers. In addition to his defensive accomplishments, Kaline had a career batting average of .297, winning the American League batting title by hitting .340 in 1955. At age 20, he remains the youngest batting champion in major league history.

Kaline retired with 3,007 hits. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980.

 

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Berry Dependable Fielder

 

The Glove Club: Ken Berry

During the 1960s, the Chicago White Sox seemed to have a knack for collecting outstanding outfielders with good arms, great range and limited offensive skills. Ken Berry was one of them.

Ken Berry was a pitcher’s friend patrolling center field, and built his career on collecting outs that others couldn’t reach.

Ken Berry was a pitcher’s friend patrolling center field, and built his career on collecting outs that others couldn’t reach.

An excellent center fielder for his entire 14-season major league career, Berry retired with a lifetime batting average of .255 and only once drove in as many as 50 runs in a season. But he was a pitcher’s friend patrolling center field, and built his career on collecting outs that others couldn’t reach.

Berry was signed by the White Sox in 1961 and made brief appearances with the team over the next three seasons. He became the team’s everyday center fielder in 1965, batting .218 with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs. Over the next four seasons, he would hit for a combined .256. He had a 20-game hitting streak in 1967, when he batted .241 with 41 runs batted in.

Berry provided outstanding defense for the White Sox. When he became the White Sox starting center fielder in 1965, he replaced Jim Landis, who had won 5 consecutive Gold Gloves at that position. There was no fall off in defense with Berry. He led all American League outfielders in putouts in 1965.

In 1970 he was traded to the California Angels, batting .269 over the next three seasons. His fielding, if anything, improved with age. He led the league in fielding percentage in 1970, 1972 and 1973. He led in assists and double plays in 1972, when he won his second Gold Glove. His first Gold Glove came in 1970.

Berry also played for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cleveland Indians before retiring after the 1975 season. He was named to the American League All-Star team in 1967.