Friday, December 30, 2011

'Round, 'Round, Get-Around, I Get Around

Five players saw action with three teams during the 1967 season. For some, it would be the final season of their careers. For others, the moves culminated in a trip to the World Series.

Ken Harrelson began the year with the Washington Senators, but in June was sold to the Kansas City Athletics (where he also played from 1963 to early 1966). In mid-August, the Athletics' owner Charlie Finley fired manager Alvin Dark, and a week later, Harrelson was out the door also.

Three days later, the Red Sox signed Ken to replace Tony Conigliaro (who had been beaned 10 days earlier) in right field. After toiling in Washington and Kansas City (2 perennial cellar-dwellers), Harrelson helped the Red Sox get to the World Series.

Jack Lamabe started the season in the White Sox' bullpen. After only 3 appearances, he was dealt to the lowly Mets on April 26th. Jack's career would take an unexpected upturn, as the Cardinals acquired him on July 16th. (Bob Gibson suffered a broken leg which would sideline him for a month. Reliever Nelson Briles joined the starting rotation, and Lamabe slid into a relief role in St. Louis.) Jack appeared in 3 games against the Red Sox in the World Series, but would move on to the Cubs the following April.

Another White Sox player hits the road. John Buzhardt was the team's opening day starter, but soon fell out of the rotation. By late August he was sold to the Orioles, where he pitched in 11 innings over 7 games. In the season's final week, he was sold to the Astros, where he pitched 2/3 of an inning. John finished his career in 1968 with the Astros.

Jim King began the 1967 season as the Senators' regular right fielder, but soon lost out to the newly-acquired Cap Peterson. On June 15th he was traded to the White Sox for outfielder Ed Stroud. (Wow, the White Sox sure made a lot of trades that year!) Six weeks later he was traded to the Indians for outfielder Rocky Colavito. The White Sox and Indians used him mainly for pinch-hitting duties. Jim was released by the Indians after the season, ending his 11-year career.

Long-time White Sox' center fielder Jim Landis was traded to the Astros in January 1967 (with catcher Doc Edwards) for outfielder Lee Maye. His time in Houston was short, as he was traded to the Tigers in June for pitcher Larry Sherry.

In mid-August he was released, and signed by the Boston Red Sox on August 22nd, just after they lost Tony Conigliaro for the season. After 1 start, they must have decided that Landis was not the answer. He was released 6 days after arriving in Boston, and the Sox brought in Ken Harrelson as their right-fielder. 1967 was the end of Jim's 11-year career.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Final Card: Ray Barker

This is the last of four cards for Ray Barker (#583). Ray's first card appeared in 1961, a solo card with a yellow "rookie" star, as was the custom that year. He also appeared on a 4-man Indians Rookies card in 1965, and his own Yankees card in 1966.

Barker was signed by the Orioles in 1955, and spent ten seasons in the Orioles' and Indians' minor-league organizations. After finally making the Indians at the start of 1965, he was traded to the Yankees in mid-May for 2nd baseman Pedro Gonzalez. Ray was productive in his rookie year, starting 43 games at 1st base (behind Joe Pepitone's 113 starts) and hitting 7 homers.

His stats dipped in 1966, as he made only 82 plate appearances and 14 starts at first base. Rookie 1st baseman Mike Hegan came up in September and started most games at 1B for the last 2 weeks of the season, essentially ending Barker's Yankee career.

With Mickey Mantle moving in to 1st base for the 1967 season, and Hegan getting more playing time, Barker was done in New York, playing his last big-league game on May 21st. He spent most of 1967 in the minors with Syracuse and, after a July 4th trade for Orioles' pitcher Steve Barber, Rochester.