Friday, November 20, 2009

Final Card: Billy O'Dell

One side-benefit of scanning all these cards is that, after all these years, I'm finding out which cards could use an upgrade. This is probably the most beat-up of my 1967 cards.

Billy O'Dell (#162) was winding down his career in 1967. He started pitching in 1954 with the Baltimore Orioles (their first year after moving from St. Louis). Although the card back says 'Major & Minor League Pitching Record', Billy never played in the minor leagues.

[Since blogging here, I've learned that:
1) Billy O'Dell, Dick Groat, and Sandy Koufax never played in the minors. (I already knew about Al Kaline.)
2) Some players (like Harmon Killebrew) played in the majors before playing in the minors. After seeing several of these players, I noticed that they were also all "bonus babies", so I assume the requirement was that they spend X amount of time on the major-league roster after signing a contract.]

After returning from the service, Billy joined the team full-time in 1957, appearing in 35 games (15 starts) and pitched 140 innings, 5th-most on the team. 1958 was more of the same, as he started 25 of the 41 games he pitched.

After one more season with the Orioles, he was traded to the Giants, where he pitched for 5 seasons, including the Giants' 1962 pennant-winning season. That season, O'Dell led the rotation (which included Jack Sanford, Juan Marichal, and Billy Pierce) in games, starts, innings pitched, and complete games, and was second in wins to Sanford's 24.

After the 1965 season, Billy was traded to the Milwaukee Braves for catcher Ed Bailey. After a year and a half with the Braves (mostly as a reliever), he was traded to the Pirates in mid-1966, and retired following the 1967 season.

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