Saturday, May 3, 2014

Lou Piniella (#321)

I’ve posted the Topps All-Rookie shortstop and 3rd baseman earlier, so let’s skip ahead to the left fielder, Lou Piniella.

Piniella was signed by the Indians in 1962, and played in the minors for 6 seasons (1962-68). After one season in the Indians’ chain, he was drafted by the Senators and spent all of ’63 and part of ’64 with them until he was traded to the Orioles for pitcher Buster Narum. Prior to the 1966 season, the O’s traded him back to the Tribe for catcher Cam Carreon. Lou appeared in a few games for the Orioles in ’64 and the Indians in ’68.

In October 1968 the Seattle Pilots selected him from Cleveland in the expansion draft. This is Piniella’s first solo card. He previously appeared on Rookie Stars cards in 1964 (Senators), 1968 (Indians), and 1969 (Pilots).


Piniella showed up at the Pilots spring training camp in 1969, but (according to Jim Bouton in “Ball Four”) he had a chip on his shoulder, and instead of keeping his yap shut like most rookies, he let it be known that if he was sent down to the minors he wouldn’t report, so the Pilots may as well just trade him.

Pilots’ management decided they didn’t need this young hothead telling them what to do, so on April 1st they traded him to the other AL expansion team, the Kansas City Royals, for pitcher John Gelnar and outfielder Steve Whitaker.

All Piniella did that season was win the AL Rookie-of-the-Year award! He started 122 games in left field, and hit .282 with 68 RBI and 11 homers.

Lou was the Royals’ regular left fielder through the end of the 1973 season. In 1972 he led the AL with 33 doubles, and made his only all-star appearance. After the ’73 season, he and pitcher Ken Wright were traded to the Yankees for veteran reliever Lindy McDaniel.

Piniella spent the remainder of his career (1974-84) with the Yankees. He was the regular left fielder in 1974, but lost that job to veteran Yankee Roy White for the next 3 seasons.

Lou reclaimed the left field job from 1978-80, then finished out his career as a role player (although he frequently DH-ed in 1982). His final game was on June 16th, 1984.

Piniella played in the post-season for the Yankees in '76, '77, '78, '80, and '81.

After his playing career, Lou managed the Yankees (1986-88), Reds (1990-92), Mariners (1993-2002), Devil Rays (2003-05), and Cubs (2007-10). His 1990 Reds won the World Series, while the Mariners won their division 3 times, and the Cubs twice under his watch.

Former Mets’ 1st baseman Dave Magadan is Lou’s cousin.

No comments: