Sunday, June 30, 2013

The 1967 Pirates

Here are the 1967 Pirates. In 1966, the team finished in 3rd place with a 92-70 record. In 1967 they dropped to 81-81.

Manager Harry Walker was replaced in mid-season by Danny Murtaugh (in his 2nd of 4 stints as the Pirates' manager). At least the Bucs were consistently a .500 team. Walker's record was 42-42, while Murtaugh's was 39-39.

Here are the starting pitchers, in order of games started. Bob Veale led the team with a 16-8 record in 31 starts (203 innings). Tommie Sisk also started 31 games (207 innings) and compiled a 13-13 record. After that, the rotation was a mixed bag of guys who started and relieved. Dennis Ribant was 9-8 in 22 starts, while Woody Fryman slumped to 3-8 after a fine rookie season, and was traded to Philadelphia after the season for Jim Bunning.

Steve Blass started half of his 32 games, with a 6-8 record. Veteran Billy O'Dell was 5-6 in 11 starts in his 13th and final season. Vern Law was also in his last (17th) season, fashioning a 2-6 record in 10 starts. Al McBean was primarily a reliever, but made 8 starts along with his 43 relief appearances.

Veteran Elroy Face (a Pirate since 1953) was the short man in the bullpen, pitching 74 innings over 61 games, while saving 17. Juan Pizarro made 9 starts and 41 relief appearances, contributing 8 wins. Pete Mikkelsen pitched in 32 games (all in relief) before shipping out to the Cubs in early August. [My first '67 Mikkelsen card had a printing error, with each color printed slightly out of alignment. I'll have to see if I still have it.] Rookie John Gelnar joined the team after Mikkelsen's departure, and pitched in 10 games with an 8.05 ERA.

Other pitchers were Bruce Dal Canton (8 games in a September call-up), Jim Shellenback (3 games in April, 3 in September), Bob Moose (getting his feet wet in late September, prior to his key rotation role from 1968-73), and journeyman Bill Short (6 games in April-May).

Except for catcher Jerry May (at age 23 in his 1st season as a regular), the starting 8 were a veteran group. Donn Clendenon had a career year in 1966 then settled back to his usual output in 1967. Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley were a fine defensive keystone combo.

Former Dodgers' shortstop Maury Wills came over in the off-season, and spent 2 years as the Pirates' 3rd baseman. Like Clendenon, left fielder Willie Stargell also slumped in '67, dropping from 33 to 20 home runs. Willie also started 33 games at 1st base, mostly during Clendenon's mid-June trip to the DL. Center fielder Matty Alou led the NL in batting in '66 with a .342 average, and hit .338 in 1967. "Bob" Clemente led the team with 23 homers, and led the NL with a .357 batting average.

Here are the subs, in order of playing time. Manny Mota had 378 plate appearances as a pinch-hitter and 4th outfielder. He made 3 dozen starts each in left and center. Jose Pagan was the primary infield sub, playing 2nd, short, and third, as well as left field. Veteran Jim Pagliaroni was the team's regular catcher for 4 seasons, but only played in 44 games this year. Most of his starts came during Jerry May's 4-week absence in mid-season. Al Luplow was acquired from the Mets in late June, and was used as a pinch-hitter and corner outfield reserve.

Rookie Manny Sanguillen was called up in late July when May was injured, and started 23 games behind the plate. He was back in the minors for all of 1968 before returning in 1969. Andre Rodgers, Manny Jimenez, and Jesse Gonder all played bit parts in 1967, with Gonder's MLB career ending in June.

Bob Robertson had a 9-game cup of coffee in September. His big seasons with the Pirates were 1970-73. Stargell and Clendenon were INDEED Pitt Power in 1966, but both saw their numbers dip in '67. This was Harry Walker's 3rd and last season with the Pirates. Danny Murtaugh (who preceded Walker) replaced him after 84 games, and would finish out the season before re-retiring. He came back twice in the 1970s.

Jim Price was sold to the Tigers 4 days before the season opener. Luke Walker did not play for the Pirates in 1967. George Spriggs played 38 games (mostly as a pinch-hitter) in the first 10 weeks of the season, before being sent back to the minors.

Transactions from the end of the 1966 season to the end of 1967:

10/12/66 - Traded pitcher Wilbur Wood to the White Sox for Juan Pizarro.

10/14/66 - Released outfielder Jerry Lynch.

10/17/66 - Purchased Bill Short from the Red Sox.

11/28/66 - Lost outfielder Dave Roberts to the Athletics (rule 5 draft).

11/29/66 - Drafted Manny Jimenez from the Athletics (minor league draft).

12/01/66 - Traded 3B Bob Bailey and SS Gene Michael to the Dodgers for Maury Wills.

12/06/66 - Traded outfielder Don Bosch and pitcher Don Cardwell to the Mets for catcher Gary Kolb and Dennis Ribant.

04/07/67 - Sold Jim Price to the Tigers.

06/21/67 - Purchased Al Luplow from the Mets.

08/04/67 - Pete Mikkelsen selected by the Cubs off waivers.

10/03/67 - Released Billy O'Dell.

11/28/67 - Drafted 2B Chuck Hiller from the Phillies (rule 5 draft).
                  Lost George Spriggs to the Red Sox (rule 5 draft).
                 Traded Dennis Ribant to the Tigers for Dave Wickersham.

11/29/67 - Sold Bill Short to the Mets.

12/02/67 - Traded 1B Bob Oliver to the Minnesota Twins for pitcher Ron Kline.

12/03/67 - Sold Jim Pagliaroni to the Athletics.

12/15/67 - Traded pitchers Woodie Fryman, Bill Laxton, Hal Clem, and SS Don Money to the Phillies for pitcher Jim Bunning.