Sunday, July 21, 2019

The 1967 Athletics

Last week on my 1969 blog I reviewed the first Royals team to play in Kansas City. Today on this blog I am reviewing the last Athletics team to play in Kansas City.

I started collecting baseball cards in May 1967. Before that time, I has NO IDEA who any of the players were, except for four: Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, who were pop culture figures in the early-1960s so I must have heard of them on the TV; the Phillies' Johnny Callison, because I remembered some kids referring to him in elementary school recess (“I wanna be Johnny Callison!”); and Harmon Killebrew, because my elderly neighbors' grandchildren would come visit them from Minnesota every summer, and they would go on about Killebrew and the Twins.

My knowledge of the team names probably came from my brother and me having those child’s baseball jackets, with all the team logos on them. When I started collecting cards in May 1967, I can remember the first Athletics card I got was Phil Roof. I had never heard of the Athletics, probably because they were not on that jacket I had a few years earlier. I remember saying to my brother “Who are the Athletics? Are they a minor-league team? Do they make minor-league cards too?” (That is how naïve I was at the time.) Thinking back now, I probably never heard of the Astros or Angels either, but I don’t remember questioning them.

In their final season in Kansas City, a few good things were happening. They were building a foundation of good, young starting pitchers (Jim Hunter, Jim Nash, Johnny Odom, Chuck Dobson, and Lew Krausse), it was Rick Monday’s rookie season, and Reggie Jackson made his major-league debut in June. Otherwise they were a bad team, finishing in last (10th) place with a 62-99 record.

Here are the pitchers, in order of innings pitched:

Jim Hunter (13-17), Jim Nash (12-17), and Chuck Dobson (10-10) were the top three starters. Lew Krausse (7-17) (hey, what’s with this "losing 17 games" trend?) and John Odom (3-8) each started about half their games. All five were between the age of 21 and 24 and surprisingly, all were righthanders. In fact, the only lefties on the staff were Paul Lindblad and Tony Pierce.

Paul Lindblad was primarily a reliever but also made 10 starts. Rookie Tony Pierce appeared in 49 games (43 in relief). Jack Aker pitched in 57 games (all in relief) and led the staff with 12 saves. Diego Segui was the 9th and last member of the "core 9" pitchers (all the remaining hurlers pitched in less than 16 games), working 70 innings in 36 games. Segui was the "old man" of that group at age 29.

Roberto Rodriguez (see rookie stars card below) appeared in 15 games, mostly in August and September. These next three were veterans at the end of their careers: Jack Sanford was acquired from the Angels in mid-June for Roger Repoz, and wrapped up his 12-year career with 10 games for the A’s. Bill Stafford spent most of the season in triple-A, but pitched his final 14 major-league games in August and September.  Bob Duliba finished up with 7 games in April and early-May. George Lauzerique and Bill Edgerton also pitched for the Athletics in 1967.

The starting eight:

Phil Roof had started 119 of the final 128 games in 1966, but got more of a break in 1967, starting 107 games. Rookie Ramon Webster started 78 games, splitting the job with Ken Harrelson and Danny Cater. Rookie John Donaldson was called up in early June and started all but 10 games the rest of the season. Bert Campaneris led the team with 145 starts.

Danny Cater was all over the place, starting 51 games at 3rd base, 54 in left field, and 33 at 1st base. Jim Gosger was actually the 3rd outfielder but he split his time at all 3 positions (LF/34 starts, CF/27, RF/29). Although his 841 outfield innings were double that of 4th outfielder Cater, he played less in left field than Cater.

Rookie Rick Monday took over the center field job in game #10 and never looked back. He was named to the Topps All-Rookie team, but Topps forgot to put the trophy on his 1968 card. Mike Hershberger was the Athletics’ starting right fielder from 1965-67. In 1968 Reggie Jackson came along, and that was it for Mike's playing time.

Here are the subs, in order of at-bats:

Dick Green was the starting 2nd baseman until Donaldson arrived in early-June. He made 48 starts at 2B and another 47 starts at 3B. Ken Harrelson was the team's regular 1st baseman in 1966, but began the '67 season with the Senators. He returned in early-June and started most games at 1B in July and August, until he was released in late-August following Al Dark's firing.

Although Joe Nossek played in the same number of games (87) that he did in when he was the primary center fielder in 1966, with Monday onboard Joe was the 5th outfielder in ’67. Sal Bando started 38 games at 3rd base in mid-May and September, but spent the rest of the season in triple-A.

Reggie Jackson had 2 stints with Kansas City in 1967, starting 18 games in left field in June, and 13 games in right field in September. Ted Kubiak played in 53 games as a rookie, mostly as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement, although he started 14 games at shortstop.

Dave Duncan was the Athletics' backup catcher in June and September, appearing in 34 games. Roger Repoz started 6 of the first 9 games in center field, then Rick Monday took over. Roger found a seat on the bench until his mid-June trade to the Angels for Jack Sanford.

Ken Suarez started 22 games as Phil Roof’s backup, although he had no playing time during Duncan’s June stint with the team. Ed Charles began the season as the starting 3rd baseman, but was traded to the Mets in early-May when Bando was called up. Ossie Chavarria played 38 games as a backup infielder, also starting 10 games at 2nd base. Joe Rudi played 19 games in April and September, but spent most of the season in the minors. Allen Lewis played in 34 games, mostly as a pinch-runner.


Al Dark was the manager for 1966 and most of 1967, but was fired in late-August. He returned to manage the A’s in ’74 and ’75, and with better players finished in first both years, winning the World Series in 1974. Wes Stock retired before the season and became the pitching coach.  He was activated for 1 game (May 7th). Gil Blanco and Rene Lachemann were in the minors for all of 1967.

Rookie Stars cards:

Randy Schwartz had cups of coffee in September ‘65 and ’66, but didn’t play for the Athletics again. Tim Talton played 46 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter.  He was with the team for the entire season, but did not play from mid-May to mid-July. George Lauzerique played 3 games in September.

The back of the 1968 team card:

Transactions from the end of the 1966 season to the end of 1967: 
10/14/66 - Larry Stahl selected by the Mets off waivers.

11/28/66 - Bill Landis drafted by the Red Sox in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/66 - Tommie Reynolds drafted by the Mets in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/66 - Drafted Dave Roberts from the Pirates in the rule 5 draft.

11/29/66 - Manny Jimenez selected by the Pirates in the minor league draft.
11/29/66 - Rick Joseph selected by the Phillies in the minor league draft.

04/07/67 - Returned Dave Roberts to the Pirates.

04/11/67 - Released Wes Stock.

05/02/67 - Signed Wes Stock as a free agent.

05/10/67 - Traded Ed Charles to the Mets for Larry Elliot.

05/16/67 - Released Wes Stock.

06/09/67 - Purchased Ken Harrelson from the Senators.

06/15/67 - Traded Roger Repoz to the Angels for Jack Sanford and Jackie Warner.

08/14/67 - Sold Joe Grzenda to the Mets.

08/15/67 - Released Jack Sanford.

08/20/67 - Fired manager Al Dark. Named coach Luke Appling as interim manager.

08/25/67 - Released Ken Harrelson.

10/15/67 - General Manager Eddie Lopat resigned.

10/19/67 – Purchased Andy Kosco from the Twins.

11/21/67 - Traded Ron Tompkins to the Reds for Floyd Robinson and Darrell Osteen.

11/28/67 - Drafted Ed Sprague from the Cardinals in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Jim Holt drafted by the Twins in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Andy Kosco drafted by the Yankees in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Skip Lockwood drafted by the Astros in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Ken Suarez drafted by the Indians in the rule 5 draft.
11/28/67 - Bill Edgerton selected by the Angels in the minor league draft.

12/03/67 - Purchased Jim Pagliaroni from the Pirates.

Team reviews remaining: Mets, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Padres.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Wade Blasingame (#119)

Wade Blasingame pitched for 10 seasons from 1963-72. The first half of his career was with the Braves, and the last half with the Astros. (He also pitched 12 games for the Yankees in his final season.)

He was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1961, and made his major-league debut in September 1963.

Blasingame was a member of the Braves' starting rotation from 1964 until June 1966, when he moved to the bullpen. His best season was 1965, when he tallied 16 wins and 117 strikeouts. (He never again reached 10 wins or 100 strikeouts.)

In June 1967 he was traded to the Astros for pitcher Claude Raymond, and resumed regular starting duty with Houston. Blasingame was a reliever for the 1968 and 1969 seasons before returning to the starting rotation for '70 and '71.

1972 was his final season, and not a very good one at that.  After only pitching 8 innings over 10 games, the Astros traded him to the Yankees in early June. He did no better in the Bronx, only pitching 17 innings over 12 games.

Blasingame was traded to the Cardinals during spring training in 1973, but never played for them. He pitched for AAA teams in the Cardinals', Cubs', and Padres' organizations from 1973-74 before retiring.

Apparently, he became a lawyer after his playing career!