Monday, April 14, 2014

Ted Sizemore (#174)

Next up for the Topps 1969 All-Rookie team is 2nd baseman Ted Sizemore, who was also the 1969 NL Rookie of the Year.

Sizemore was signed by the Dodgers out of the U. of Michigan in 1966. He played 3 seasons in the minors, beginning as a catcher in '66, then split his time between catcher and outfield in ’67 and ’68.

Ted made the Dodgers on opening day 1969, and was installed as the team’s regular shortstop. When Maury Wills was re-acquired from the Expos in mid-June, Sizemore moved over to 2nd base for the remainder of the season.

Sizemore appeared on a Dodgers Rookie Stars in the 1969 Topps set, with his position noted as 2B-C. Although a catcher in the minors, he didn’t see any action behind the plate until 1976, when he caught 11 innings that season.

Sizemore received 14 of the 24 first-place ROY votes, far outpacing Al Oliver and Coco Laboy, who had 3 votes each.

In 1970, Ted shared 2nd base with Jim Lefebvre, who won the 1965 Rookie of the Year award as the Dodgers’ 2nd baseman. Lefebvre had missed a good chunk of April and July in 1969.

Caught in an infield logjam, Sizemore was traded to the Cardinals after the season for 1B/3B Dick Allen. Sizemore played for the Cardinals for the next 5 seasons. Early in 1971, he was the 2B-SS swingman, filling in for incumbents Julian Javier and Dal Maxvil, but by late June he had replaced Javier as the everyday 2nd baseman. For the rest of his time with the Cardinals, he was strictly a 2nd baseman, starting 100 to 130 games per season.

In spring training 1976 he was traded back to the Dodgers for outfielder Willie Crawford. This was a 1-year stint, where he started about 1/3 of the games at 2nd base, behind Davey Lopes.

Ted moved on the the Phillies after the season, in exchange for catcher Johnny Oates. Sizemore replaced Dave Cash as the Phillies’ regular 2nd baseman, and was there as the Phillies made the playoffs in 2 consecutive seasons, their first post-season action since 1950.

Before the 1979 season it was on to the Cubs, where Ted started 95 of the first 101 games at 2nd base before his August trade to the Red Sox for 4th-string catcher Mike O’Berry. (How does a starting 2nd baseman only fetch a backup catcher in return?)

The Sox already had Jerry Remy and Jack Brohamer sharing 2nd base, but Ted managed to start 23 of the final 41 games. 1980 was Sizemore’s final season, He only played 9 games (the last one on 5/27) before the Sox released him 3 days later, ending his 12-year career.