Saturday, July 22, 2017

Dennis Higgins (#52)

Here is the first solo card for reliever Dennis Higgins. Currently, Higgins is the oldest living player from the 1966-70 period that I have not yet blogged about.

When I mentally run through the players in the 1967 Topps set (yes, I’m enough of a card geek that I do that occasionally), Higgins is invariably one of the players that I forget about (along with Sandy Alomar, Bob Priddy, Willie Smith, and surprisingly, Mike Cuellar).

Dennis was a relief pitcher from 1966-72 for the White Sox, Senators, Indians, and Cardinals.

Higgins began his career with a 6-year stint in the White Sox’ farm system (1958-65), then debuted with the ChiSox in April 1966, appearing in 42 games that season (all but 1 in relief). He picked up 5 saves over 93 innings, and sported a 2.52 ERA.

He missed part of the 1967 season, only pitching 9 games for Chicago and 6 games in triple-A.

In Spring Training 1968 he was traded to the Senators with shortstop Ron Hansen and pitcher Steve Jones for pitchers Bob Priddy and Buster Narum and shortstop Tim Cullen. Higgins pitched over 50 games in each of his 2 seasons with the Nats, and won a career-high 10 games in 1969.

Before the 1970 season, he and pitcher Barry Moore were traded to the Indians for 2nd baseman Dave Nelson and pitcher Horacio Pina. (In 1970, 5th-place Cleveland was a slight upgrade from 6th-place Washington.)

Higgins only spent one season with the Tribe, but led the team with 11 saves in 58 games as their closer.

He was in the minors for almost all of 1971, during which he transferred to the Athletics’ and then the Cardinals’ organizations. He pitched in 3 games for the Cardinals that year.

Dennis split his final season (1972) between triple-A and the Cardinals, pitching only 15 games for the Cards. In the season’s final month he was sold to the Padres, but never played a game with them.

Higgins is a cousin of White Sox’ 2002-2008 3rd baseman Joe Crede.

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