Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tony Perez (#476)

Here is Reds' RBI machine Tony Perez. By the time this card was issued in mid-summer, Perez had already moved over to 3rd base.

I just recently posted his 1966 card on another blog, so I won't repeat myself here. What I wanted to do was show the unusual Cincinnati Reds' uniform from that time period.

Besides the "vest look" (which was also used by the Indians, Athletics, and Pirates), look at his name. Unlike a "normal" uni, the player's name is UNDER the number. I wonder if any other team used this same layout?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

American League Pitching Leaders (#233,235,237)

Here are the 1967 cards showing the previous season's American League pitching leaders in ERA, victories, and strikeouts.

Jim Kaat and Earl Wilson each nabbed 2 of the 9 spots, with 5 other players appearing once. In contrast, the AL Batting Leaders had 3 players manning 7 of the 9 spots. Oddly enough, Earl Wilson was traded from Boston to Detroit DURING the 1966 season. Sporting a 5-5 record at the time of the trade, he went 13-5 with the Tigers, vaulting into the leader board.

Last year, the AL ERA leaders included 2 Indians and a White Sox. Now, it's 2 White Sox and 1 Indian (with 6 different pitchers!)  If I recall correctly, Gary Peters and Joel Horlen also appear on the following season's ERA leaders card. Steve Hargan continues the tradition set last year by teammates Sam McDowell and Sonny Siebert.

Jim Kaat won 25 games in 1966, and scored himself a "floating head" on one of the 1967 checklist cards, (ostensibly the 7 top players in baseball). Denny McLain won 20 games, which was just a tune-up for his 31-win season in 1968. Wilson won 18, then added a league-leading 22 wins in 1967.

Sam McDowell takes his customary spot atop the AL strikeout leaders, with Kaat and Wilson rounding out the 200+ strikeout club.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jim Davenport (#441)

The Giants are bringing up the rear on this blog, with only 5 posts to date, so...

Jim Davenport had a 13-year career as an infielder, all with the Giants (1958-70). He was a regular or semi-regular in all but his last season.

Davenport was signed by the New York Giants in 1955, and played 3rd base in the minors for 3 seasons, finally making the Giants in April 1958.

Jim was the first regular 3rd baseman in SAN FRANCISCO Giants history, starting 104 games there as a rookie. Davenport displaced 1957's mix of Ray Jablonski and Ozzie Virgil Sr (although Jablonski started all the games on Davenport's off-days).

In 1959, Jim was the starting 3rd-sacker 112 times, missing 26 straight games beginning in mid-August (injuries? National Guard?). The next season, he shared the job 60/40 with rookie Joey Amalfitano.

In 1961, Davenport lost the starting job to veteran Harvey Kuenn, but regained it by the first of May. 1962 was just the opposite: all Jimmy all the time, until Kuenn split the starts over the last 6 weeks of the season. The Giants won the pennant in '62, and Jim also had a good season: a career-high 14 home runs, his only all-star appearance, and his only gold glove.

Davenport started to get some time at 2nd base in 1963, starting 20 games there, while still serving as the primary 3rd baseman.

With rookie slugger Jim Ray Hart arriving in 1964, Davenport slipped into a utility role, while adding shortstop to his resume. Jimmy D started 38 games at short, 22 at 2nd, and only 16 games at his old stomping grounds. 1965 was more of the same, except that by late May, he was caddying for the newly-acquired Dick Schofield at shortstop, instead of Jose Pagan.

Schofield and Pagan moved to other teams in 1966, and Jim shared the shortstop job with rookie Tito Fuentes. Davenport's fortunes improved beginning in 1967. With Hart shuttling between 3rd base and left field during the '67 and '68 seasons, Davenport played more 3rd base than anytime since 1963.

1969 was his last full season, and he started more games at 3rd base than any teammate, with only youngsters Tito Fuentes and Bobby Etheridge to contend with.

In Jim's final season (1970), he only played 22 games (6 starts), with the last coming on June 23rd. He was released 3 weeks later.

After his playing career, he became a Giants' coach, and managed the team for most of 1985. He also coached for the Phillies in the late 1980s.