‘Frisco’s Solid at Third

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jim Davenport

Jim Davenport spent his entire 13-season major league career with a single team: the San Francisco Giants. He played every position except the battery at the major league level, though he played roughly 90 percent of his more than 1400 games at third base, where his dependable play and timely hitting made him a Candlestick Park fixture during the 1960s. Continue reading

Mathews Reaches 500

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(July 14, 1967) At Candlestick Park, batting against San Francisco Giants ace Juan Marichal, Eddie Mathews hit home run number 500 as the Houston Astros beat the Giants 8-6.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

After hitting 493 career home runs with the Braves, Eddie Mathews launched number 500 in 1967 with the Houston Astros.

Prior to the 1967 season, Mathews had been traded by the Atlanta Braves with a player to be named later and Arnold Umbach to the Houston Astros for Bob Bruce and Dave Nicholson. A nine-time All-Star in 15 seasons with the Braves, Mathews had hit 493 homers playing for the franchise in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. His seventh round-tripper of the 1967 season made him the seventh major leaguer to reach the 500 home run plateau.

Mathews’ home run came in the sixth inning with two runners aboard. It was not Marichal’s best day. The Giants went into the sixth inning leading 4-3, but the first two Astros batters, Jim Wynn and Rusty Staub, opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Mathews came up and homered to put the Astros on top 6-4.

Marichal then walked Norm Miller (who had hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning) and gave up a single to Bob Aspromonte before being relieved by left-hander Joe Gibbon. Marichal left the game after allowing seven earned runs in five innings. The loss brought his season record to 12-8.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

As a member of the Braves, Eddie Mathews hit home runs in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta over a 17-year career. He led the National League in home runs twice: in 1953 and 1959.

The winning pitcher was Dave Giusti (6-8), who allowed nine hits and five earned runs in seven innings, including a two-run homer by Giants third baseman Jim Davenport. The Giants also got a solo home run from Jim Ray Hart in the eighth inning. That home run came off Larry Sherry, who picked up his second save of the season.

Mathews would end the 1967 season with the Detroit Tigers. On the season, he would hit 16 home runs with 57 runs batted in. He would retire after the 1968 season with 512 career home runs, and he would be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.

Want Power? You Gotta Have Hart.

 

Homer Happy: Jim Ray Hart

Jim Ray Hart came up as one of the most promising prospects in the San Francisco Giants’ organization – which is saying a lot for an organization that produced Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Felipe Alou, Matty Alou … all on the Giants’ roster when Jim Ray Hart arrived.

From 1965-1967, Jim Ray Hart batted a combined .291 and averaged 28 home runs and 96 RBIs per season.

From 1965-1967, Jim Ray Hart batted a combined .291 and averaged 28 home runs and 96 RBIs per season.

And while he never quite lived up to the legendary standards of his Hall of Fame teammates, Hart did provide offensive firepower to an already potent lineup, and became a favorite among Bay-area fans.

Hart was signed by the Giants in 1960 and made his first appearance at Candlestick Park in 1963. In 1964 he was awarded the starting job at third base, replacing Jim Davenport, and proceeded to tear up National League pitching by hitting .286 with 31 home runs and 81 RBIs. He finished tied for second in the Rookie of the Year vote with Rico Carty as Dick Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies claimed that season’s top rookie prize.

Hart continued his slugging ways for the Giants over the next three seasons. In 1965 he hit .299 with 23 home runs and 96 RBIs. He hit .285 in 1966 with 33 home runs and 93 RBIs. In 1967 Hart batted .289 with 29 home runs and 99 RBIs.

Then injuries started eating away at Hart’s productivity at the plate. He hit only 23 home runs with 78 RBIs in 1968, but he would never approach those power totals again. Though he would play four more years, Hart’s best season over the rest of his career would come in 1973 with the New York Yankees, when he would hit .254 with 13 home runs and 54 RBIs. He retired 10 games into the 1974 season.

Hart finished his 12-year career with a .278 batting average and 170 home runs. He ranks thirty-eighth among home run hitters during the 1960s.

Hart was a member of the 1966 National League All-Star team.

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