Shoulda Been a Hero

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Hal Smith

When Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski blasted the first walk-off home run in World Series history in 1960, his lead-off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth was possible because of what happened in the eighth inning … thanks to a reserve catcher named Hal Smith. Continue reading

A Winning Groove

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Jerry Grote

In the prime of his 16-season big league career, Jerry Grote was recognized as one of the best defensive catchers in the National League. He was also a winner, a heady player who knew how to get the best out of his pitchers. Plus he had the leadership qualities to help inspire those playing behind his pitchers. Continue reading

Taking the Bate

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering John Bateman

Something about John Bateman inspired no-hit performances from his pitchers. He caught two no-hitters during his 10-season major league career … and both were firsts for the franchise. He caught his first no-hitter in 1963, as right-hander Don Nottebart hurled the first no-hitter in the history of the Houston Colt .45s. He caught his second no-hitter six years later, the first thrown by Bill Stoneman and the first in the history of the Montreal Expos. Continue reading

Baseball’s Best One-Day Career

 

This Week in 1960s Baseball

(September 29, 1963) On the final game of the regular season, Houston outfielder John Paciorek had an outstanding major league debut as the Colt .45’s defeated the New York Mets 13-4 at Colts Stadium in Houston.

John Paciorel went three for three with three RBIs in his only major league appearance ... a 1.000 career batting average.

John Paciorek went three for three with three RBIs in his only major league appearance … a 1.000 career batting average.

Paciorek went three for three and walked twice. He scored four runs and drove in three runs. Houston catcher John Bateman also drove in three runs.

With the bases loaded in the fourth inning and Houston trailing 4-2, Paciorek got his first major league hit by singling off Mets starter Larry Bearnarth, driving in Rusty Staub and Bob Aspromonte to tie the score. He singled off Ed Bauta in the fifth inning for his third RBI of the game.

The winning pitcher for Houston was Jim Umbricht (4-3).

John Paciorek is the brother of major leaguers Jim Paciorek and Tom Paciorek. His career was limited to that single game. He remained in organized baseball through 1969, playing in both the Houston and Cleveland minor league systems. But he never made it back to the big leagues, and never had the chance to improve his career numbers beyond that single game (including his 1.000 career batting average).

Walk to Match the Talk

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Tim McCarver

A generation of baseball fans familiar with Tim McCarver as a veteran baseball broadcaster might be surprised to learn how good he really was as a catcher for more than two decades.

In 1967, Tim McCarver batted .295 with 14 home runs and 69 runs batted in.

In 1967, Tim McCarver batted .295 with 14 home runs and 69 runs batted in.

McCarver was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals out of high school in 1959 and spent the next four seasons shuttling between St. Louis and various stops throughout the Cardinals’ farm system. In 1963, his first full season with the Cardinals, McCarver hit .289 and established himself as the preferred catcher for Bob Gibson.

He remained the Cardinals’ starting catcher through 1969. He led the National League in triples with 13 in 1966, the first catcher ever to do so. His most productive year as a hitter was 1967, when he hit .295 with 26 doubles, 14 home runs and 69 RBIs. He was an All-Star (for the second time) that season, and finished second in the Most Valuable Player balloting to teammate Orlando Cepeda.

McCarver started the 1970s with a new team, having been traded with Byron Browne, Curt Flood and Joe Hoerner to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas. (Flood refused to report to his new team. St. Louis later sent Willie Montanez and Jim Browning to the Phillies to complete the trade.) McCarver played for two years in Philadelphia, and then was traded to the Montreal Expos for John Bateman.

His 13 triples in 1966 made Tim McCarver the only catcher ever to lead the league in triples.

His 13 triples in 1966 made Tim McCarver the only catcher ever to lead the league in triples.

Over the next two seasons, McCarver became the game’s vagabond catcher, playing for Montreal, St. Louis again, and the Boston Red Sox before being re-acquired by the Phillies in 1975. For the next four seasons, he served primarily as the personal catcher for Steve Carlton. He was released by the Phillies after the 1979 season, but was re-signed and appeared in six games during the 1980 season, making McCarver the twenty-ninth player in major league history to appear in four different decades.

In 21 major league seasons, McCarver had 1,501 hits and a .271 career batting average.

 

top_ten_cardinals_cover

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download