Thursday, December 15, 2016

Don Wert (#511)

Here is Tigers’ 3rd baseman Don Wert. The back of the card tells us that Don was voted “Tiger of the Year” in 1965. Hmm… this, on a team that included Al Kaline, Norm Cash, Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, and Bill Freehan. Looks like he's practicing on the Detroit School District's baseball field (or maybe it's at Spring Training in Lakeland, FL).

The Tigers signed Wert in 1958, and he played in their farm system for 5+ seasons. He was called up to the Tigers in mid-May 1963 and soon started 20 consecutive games, replacing incumbent Bubba Phillips (maybe Phillips was injured?) After May, Wert settled into the backup 3rd baseman role (behind Phillips), only starting 25 more games there over the rest of the season.

From 1964 to 1970, Wert was the Tigers’ regular 3rd baseman. In 1968 he made his lone All-Star team, surprising because that season he only batted .200 – the lowest of his 8 years with Detroit. He also only hit .118 in the ’68 World Series.

After the 1970 season, Don was traded to the Senators along with pitcher Denny McLain and outfielder Elliot Maddox in exchange for shortstop Ed Brinkman, 3rd baseman Aurelio Rodriguez, and pitchers Joe Coleman and Jim Hannan.

Unfortunately for Wert, the Nats already had Dave Nelson er, Dave Nelson at their hot corner, with Joe Foy and Bernie Allen in reserve. Don made only 7 starts (2 at 3B, 5 at SS) then was given his walking papers in late-June, having only played 20 games thus far.

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