Cuban Clout

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Roman Mejias

A native of Cuba, outfielder Roman Mejias was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1953. He hit over .300 in his first two seasons in the Pirates’ farm system, and made his debut in Pittsburgh in 1955, batting .216 in 71 games with three home runs and 21 RBIs.

Roman Mejias showed flashes of power in the minor leagues (21 home runs in AAA in 1961), but couldn’t win a spot in the Pittsburgh Pirates lineup.

Mejias spent the next six seasons up and down from Pittsburgh to the minors, batting a combined .253 and showing flashes of power, especially during his minor league tours at Columbus in the International League.

But there was no place for Mejias in the Pirates outfield of the early 1960s. In October of 1961, he became the eleventh pick of the Houston Colt .45s in the 1961 expansion draft.

In Houston, Mejias (now age 31) finally had the opportunity to show what kind of full-time player he could be at the major league level. In 1962, he batted .286 with 24 home runs and 76 RBIs, leading the team in all three hitting categories.

His career in Houston (and as an everyday player) was short-lived. In November of 1962, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for first baseman and reigning American League batting champion Pete Runnels. In Boston, Mejias was relegated to a back-up role in the outfield, playing behind Gary Geiger and Lou Clinton (as well as future Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski).

In his nine-year career, Roman Mejias was an everyday player only in 1962, batting .286, hitting 24 home runs, and driving in 76 runs for the Houston Colt .45s.

He batted .227 for the Red Sox as a part-timer in 1963, with only 11 home runs and 39 RBIs. In 1964 he appeared in only 62 games for the Red Sox, batting .238 with two home runs and four RBIs. It was his last season in the major leagues (though he did spend one year playing in Japan).

In nine major league seasons, Mejias batted .254 for his career with 54 home runs and 202 RBIs.

 

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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.