Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Final Card: Al Luplow

The career of Al Luplow (#433) is on its last legs here in 1967. Al was signed by the Indians in 1959, and spent one season in class-D ball, breezed through A and AA ball in 1960, and played most of 1961 in triple-A before making his major-league debut with the Indians in September 1961.

In his first full season (1962) he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter, but played some games in right field. In 1963 he was first among Indians' right fielders in games played, narrowly ahead of Willie Kirkland. The following season he only played 19 games for the Indians, while spending a good portion of the season with their triple-A Portland (Oregon) club. Luplow was back with the Indians in 1965, but was mostly used as a pinch-hitter, playing only 6 games in the outfield.

After the 1965 season, Al was sold to the Mets. This immediately increased his playing time, as he became the team's primary right fielder. (Ron Swoboda played left field prior to 1967, with Cleon Jones in center.)

In 1967 the Mets acquired Tommy Davis, who put a lock on left field. This left Jones and Swoboda to play in center and right, with Luplow and rookie Don Bosch scrambling for playing time. Al managed to start a few games in right field (and later, center field) before he was sold to the Pirates on June 21st.

Luplow finished his career with the Pirates in 1967, as a pinch-hitter and 5th outfielder behind regulars Willie Stargell, Matty Alou and Roberto Clemente, and also Manny Mota.

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