Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wayne Comer (#323)

Here is the only card of Wayne Comer pictured in a Seattle Pilots uniform. I read Jim Bouton’s book “Ball Four” during the summer of 1971, and I recall that Comer was one of the players Bouton definitely did not get along with. Wayne’s rookie card is a capless job in the 1969 set.

Comer was signed by the Senators in 1962 (I learned something new today, previously thinking he started with the Tigers). After 1 season in the minors he was traded to the Tigers for 1st baseman Bobo Osborne.

Wayne played in the Tigers’ farm system from 1963-68, also playing 4 games with Detroit in September 1967 and 48 games in 1968 after his late-May recall. In 1968 he was used as a pinch-hitter and left field backup, only making 4 starts that season. (Let’s face it, when your team has Al Kaline, Willie Horton, Jim Northrup, and Mickey Stanley ahead of you in the outfield, you are not going to play much.) Wayne did get 1 at-bat in the 1968 World Series.

Comer was selected by the expansion Seattle Pilots after the 1968 season, and was their #1 outfielder in 1969, playing in 139 games including 85 starts in center field and 40 starts in right field. His 15 home runs were 2nd on the team behind Don Mincher’s 25 dingers.

Wayne lost a starting outfield spot to the newly-acquired Russ Snyder at the start of the 1970 season, and after only playing 13 games (2 starts) he was traded to the Senators in mid-May for outfielder Hank Allen and 2nd baseman Ron Theobald. He played in 77 games for the Sens that season, as a pinch-hitter and 6th outfielder.

After the 1970 season the Tigers purchased his contract, but Comer played all of ’71, most of ’72, and all of ‘73 with Detroit’s AAA team in Toledo. He also played 27 games in the middle of the 1972 season, mostly as a pinch-runner and pinch-hitter (no starts).

Comer’s career ended after the 1974 season, where he played for the Phillies’ double-A team in Reading, PA. Looking back, Wayne’s best season was 1969 with the Pilots.