Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tom Kelley (#214)

Tom Kelley was a somewhat obscure pitcher for the Indians (mid-1960s) and Braves (early 1970s). One of the errors in the 1967 set is that on earlier versions of the 3rd series checklist, his card is listed as "Dick Kelley" (a Braves' pitcher also in the 1967 set).

Kelley was signed by the Indians in 1963, and was a starting pitcher in their minor-league system for 3 seasons, while also playing a few games with the Indians in '64 and '65. Tom was with Cleveland for the entire 1966 season, appearing in 31 games (7 as a starter). That was good enough to score a card in the '67 set:

Kelley was back in the minors for all but 1 game in 1967. In fact, he spent the rest of the decade with the Indians' double-A and single-A teams. (He must have had an injury. Does anybody get busted all the way down to single-A on merit?) In any case, Topps dropped him after 1967, and I thought I saw the last of him, until he resurfaced in the 1972 set.

The Indians released him after the 1969 season, and he was signed by the Braves in May 1970. After another season in the minors. Kelley was in the Atlanta's starting rotation for the 1971 and 1972 seasons. A 5-7 record in 1972 sent him back to the minors the following season. He pitched for the Braves' AAA club for 3 seasons, and wrapped up his career in 1976 playing for the Mets' AAA Tidewater team.