Here is the final card for outfielder Jose Tartabull (#481). Jose is back on the team he began his career with, after 3 seasons with the Red Sox.
Tartabull was signed by Giants in 1958. After 4 seasons in the low minors, he was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in December 1961 and was immediately promoted to the big leagues at the start of 1962. (I’m guessing the 1962 Athletics were a much worse team than the 1962 NL Champion Giants, so opportunities abounded for a prospect!)
In 1962 and 1963 Tartabull shared the center field job evenly with aging veteran Bobby Del Greco.
Del Greco moved on after 1963, so you would think Tartabull would be upgraded to full-time center fielder. Wrong! Ex-Cubs backup Nelson Matthews was acquired in the off-season and started 150 games in the center garden, relegating Jose to just 9 starts in 1964 (none after 7/31). He spent most of the season as a pinch-hitter and defensive replacement in left or center.
1965 was more of the same, except that this time it was long-time White Sox’ outfielder Jim Landis imported to man center field. Tartabull started 51 games that year, but also played in triple-A for almost 100 games.
From 1963 to 1966, the Athletics employed a revolving door in the outfield, with 11 different players getting the most innings at the 3 outfield slots. Only Mike Hershberger held a position more than 1 season (RF: '65-'66).
It seemed like Tartabull found a home in 1966, starting every game in through May 20th. Not so fast – after a few weeks on the bench he was traded to the Red Sox (with pitcher John Wyatt) for pitcher Ken Sanders and outfielder Jim Gosger.
Jose’s time in Boston was highlighted by a throw that gunned down a runner at home plate in a late August 1967 game, preserving a Red Sox win. (The Sox won the AL pennant by one game that year.)
After 2 ½ seasons as the Sox’ 4th outfielder, he was traded back to the Athletics in May 1969. Jose played parts of ’69 and ’70 and all of ’71 in the minors, then retired after playing in Mexico during 1971.
Tartabull’s son Danny played for various teams for 13 seasons beginning in 1984 (14 seasons, if you count the 3 games for the Phillies at the start of the 1997 season, before he milked a season-long stay on the disabled list with a stubbed toe!)
Here's something currently on Danny Tartabull's Wikipedia page (apparently his gold-bricking was not limited to 1997!):
"Tartabull is currently a fugitive from justice. A warrant was issued for his arrest on May 12, 2012 after he failed to appear for a 180-day jail sentence, and is on the Most Wanted List for Los Angeles County Child Services Department. He has been named the top deadbeat dad in Los Angeles after allegedly failing to pay more than $275,000 in child support for his two sons."
RIP - Joe Pepitone
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