Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jim Wynn (#60)

Jim Wynn played outfield for 15 seasons from 1963 to 1977. His first 11 seasons were with the Astros, then he moved around to 4 other teams in his final 4 seasons.

"The Toy Cannon" was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1962 (I did not know that), and after his first season was selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1st-year draft. Wynn played in the minors for all of 1962, and parts of ’63 and ’64. He was mostly an infielder in the minors, playing 3B-OF in 1962, SS-3B in 1963, and OF-3B in 1964.

Wynn made his major-league debut with the Colt .45s in mid-July 1963. He started 13 consecutive games at shortstop, then moved out to center field for 9 games, before settling in as the regular left fielder for the final 2 months of the season, replacing Al Spangler.

Jim began the 1964 season as the team’s starting center fielder, but after starting 34 of the first 36 games, he was benched in mid-May, only to be sent down to the minors 3 weeks later, returning in September.

Wynn became a regular outfielder for the Astros from 1965 to 1973, mostly in center field, although he played in left field for parts of ’68 and ’70, then moved to right field permanently midway through the 1971 season, to make room for Cesar Cedeno in center field.

For a small guy, Jim was a power hitter (hence his nickname) and collected 291 career home runs, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize he played most of his career in the huge Astrodome.

After the 1973 season, he was traded to the Dodgers for pitcher Claude Osteen. In his 2 seasons with LA, Wynn regained a starting center field job, and made the All-Star team both years. He also played in his only post-season in 1974.

In November 1975, Wynn was part of a 6-player trade with the Braves that sent outfielder Dusty Baker to the Dodgers. Jim played one season with Atlanta (playing left and center fields), but when the Braves signed Gary Mathews as a free agent in November 1976, they sold Wynn to the Yankees 2 weeks later.

Unfortunately for Wynn, the Yankees also acquired Reggie Jackson and Paul Blair in the same off-season, and with Roy White, Mickey Rivers, Lou Piniella, and Carlos May already on the roster, there was no room for the Wynn. After playing in only 30 games, he was released in mid-July 1977, and picked up by the Brewers 2 weeks later.

Wynn DH-ed in 15 games and made 17 starts in center field for the Brewers, then was released after the season, ending his 15-year career.

The Astros retired Wynn’s #24 in 2005. He also worked as a post-game analyst for the Astros.

Monday, July 14, 2014

All-Star Cards

Here are the All-Star cards, those players selected as All-Stars in 1969 by The Sporting News. As with the 1968 and 1969 all-star cards, the players on the cards were not necessarily the starters in the game.

In the actual game, the NL had Steve Carlton and Cleon Jones starting at P and LF respectively. The AL lineup included Mel Stotlemyre, Sal Bando, and Frank Howard starting at P, 3B, and LF. Otherwise, the starters were those you see in the 2 large blocks of cards below. Reggie Jackson started out of position in center field.

The Sporting News selected a lefty and a righty in each league. Here are the lefthanders:

I thought it was odd that the AL roster only included 7 pitchers: Mel Stottlemyre, Denny McLain, Mickey Lolich, Sam McDowell, Dave McNally, John Odom, and Darold Knowles.

The NL brought 9 pitchers: Steve Carlton, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Phil Niekro, Bill Singer, Larry Dierker, and Grant Jackson (the Phillies' lone representative).

3 Orioles
2 Giants, Reds, Braves, Cubs, Tigers, Red Sox
1 Pirates, Mets, Twins, Athletics, Indians
0 Phillies, Cardinals, Astros, Dodgers, Yankees, Senators, White Sox, Angels


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Joe Torre (#190)

I posted Joe Torre's 1966 card previously, but a baseball lifer like Torre deserves better than the capless, lavender dreck that was the 1966 Braves (and Angels) cards. Here, Joe has a new team AND a new position.

Like his brother before him, Joe began his career with the Milwaukee Braves. Joe was the team's regular catcher for most of his time with the Braves, and was a 5-time all-star.

After the 1968 season, he was traded to the Cardinals for Orlando Cepeda. Torre played mostly 1st and 3rd base for St. Louis, as they had Tim McCarver (and later Ted Simmons) behind the plate. In 1971, Joe led the NL in hits (230), RBI (137), and batting average (.363) and won the MVP award. He also made another 4 all-star teams while with the Cards.

After the 1974 season he was trade to the Mets for pitchers Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore. Joe played for the Mets for 2 1/2 seasons, then took over as the team's manager in June 1977.

Joe managed the Mets through the 1981 season, then managed his other 2 former teams (Braves from 1982 to 1984, Cardinals from 1990 to 1995).

His greatest success as a manager was with the Yankees. He managed there for 12 years (1996 to 2007), never finishing lower than 2nd place. During his tenure, the Yankees won the division 10 times, the AL pennant 6 times, and the World Series 3 times.

Torre managed the Dodgers from 2008 to 2010, and now works in the league office. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame (as a manager) in 2014.