Friday, January 1, 2010

Final Card: Charley Lau

Charley Lau (#329) began his career in the Tigers' farm system in 1952. He missed the 1953 and 1954 seasons due to military service, but mostly toiled in the minor leagues for the remainder of the 1950s. (He had brief appearances with the Tigers in '56, '58, and '59.)

After the 1959 season, he was traded to the Milwaukee Braves, and was the Braves' #2 catcher for 2 seasons. In mid-August 1961, Lau was sold to Baltimore, where he started 13 of the final 33 games for the Orioles.

[Lau's name is spelled differently on the front and back of the card. His signature is of no help, since he signed "Charles Lau". Baseball Reference and Wikipedia both list him as "Charley Lau".]

From 1962 to 1965, Lau was used primarily as a pinch-hitter and backup catcher for the Orioles and Athletics. (He spent the 2nd half of 1963, and the 1st half of 1964 with the Athletics, before returning to the Orioles.) Because both teams carried 3 catchers, the backups were used frequently as pinch-hitters.

1965 was the last time Lau played defense. In his final 2 seasons he was strictly a pinch-hitter, making only 18 appearances in 1966, and 63 appearances in 1967. Most of his 1967 action came after being sold to the Braves on May 31st.

Charley was released after the 1967 season, and went on to a 2nd career has a hitting coach for five major league teams.

More on Charley Lau


Anonymous said...

Is that a block letter Oriole jersey? That looks weird to me. When did they do that? I've seen their uni's in the '69 & '70 World Series and I don't remember any block lettering like that. It also seems to lack some orange coloring. Maybe I'm just lookin' at my set too long LOL

Jim from Downingtown said...

No, this was a pre-1967 uniform. (It went along with the full-bodied bird on the cap.)

Maybe Kevin from the "Orioles Card O' the Day" blog has some more specifics.

Jim from Downingtown said...

All things come to those who wait