Saturday, September 26, 2015

Sal Bando (#120)

Sal Bando is often obscured by Reggie Jackson’s shadow when we remember the A’s teams of this era. This is Bando’s first card appearing as an Oakland A. He was on an Athletics Rookie Stars card in 1967, followed by 2 capless photos in ’68 and ’69 as the Athletics relocated to Oakland.

Bando was drafted in the 6th round by the Athletics in 1965 (5 rounds after selecting his college teammate Rick Monday) and played 3 seasons in the minors. He also appeared briefly for Kansas City in September 1966 and in 1967 from mid-May to mid-June, and again in September.

When veteran Ed Charles was traded to the Mets in May 1967, Bando got his first shot at the 3rd base job. A month later he returned to the minors while the A’s filled in with Danny Cater and Dick Green, but Sal returned in September and locked down the 3rd base job starting on September 8th.

Bando was a fixture at the hot corner for the next 9 seasons, starting 159, 162, 150, 153, 151, 159, 141, 160, and 155 games there over the next 9 seasons. During that time he was the team’s captain, a 4-time all-star, and finished 2nd in the AL MVP voting in 1971. The Athletics appeared in the post-season every year from 1971 to 1975, winning 3 World Series titles. In 39 post-season games with the A’s, Bando hit 5 homers and collected 12 RBI.

Granted free agency after the 1976 season, Bando signed with the Brewers and played 5 additional seasons there – the first 3 as their regular 3rd baseman.

Bando retired after the Brewers lost the ALDS playoffs to the Yankees in 1981. Playing in 2,019 games over 16 years, he finished with 242 home runs and 1,039 RBI. Sal was the Brewers’ GM from 1991-99.

His brother Chris was a catcher for the Indians in the 1980s.