Sunday, July 21, 2019

Born on the Same Day - 4/18/1942

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #25 in the series: Steve Blass and Chuck Taylor - both born on 4/18/1942.

Steve Blass played for the Pirates from 1964 to 1974, and was their ace from 1968 to 1972. In 1972 he won 19 games and finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting.

The following season he mysteriously lost his ability to control the ball, and his strikeout/walk ratio plummeted. It became known as "Steve Blass disease".

Chuck Taylor was a reliever for the Cardinals and Expos from 1969 to 1976.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Dave Campbell (#639)

About 5 years ago (wow, has it been that long?) a blog reader sent me four cards from my 1970 want list in exchange for a handful of 1968 Topps playing cards. Those cards were Dave Leonhard, Dalton Jones, Bob Allison, and Dave Campbell (all high numbers). 

Dave Campbell (whose nickname is "Soup") was a utility infielder who played for the Tigers and Padres, but he did have 2 seasons (1970-71) as a regular for the Padres.

Campbell was signed by the Tigers in 1964, and played in their farm system for several years, initially as a first baseman until switching to 2nd base in 1966. He made his major-league debut with 2 games in September 1967.

Campbell returned to the minors the following season, except for a 9-game stint with Detroit in June.

In 1969 he played 32 games for the Tigers, spread across the entire season, although it appears he was back in the minors for much of mid-May to mid-July.

In December 1969 Dave was traded to the Padres (with pitcher Pat Dobson) for pitcher Joe Niekro. This was Campbell’s big break, as he was San Diego’s regular 2nd baseman in 1970, replacing 1969’s trio of Jose Arcia, John Sipin, and Roberto Pena. Dave reached career-highs in games (154), at-bats (581), runs (71), hits (127), doubles (28), homers (12), and RBI (40). The only blemish was his paltry .219 batting average.

In 1971 the Padres acquired 2nd baseman Don Mason from the Giants, so Campbell alternated between 2B (with Mason) and 3B (with Ed Spiezio). In late-May Gary Jestadt was acquired from the Cubs, and joined the 2B/3B mix. Campbell started 68 games at 2B and 31 at 3B. By late-August, the team had settled on Mason at 2B and Jestadt at 3B, so Campbell rarely played after that.

Dave started 30 of the first 35 games at 3rd base in 1972, but then Jestadt reclaimed the job, and Campbell was shipped off to the Cardinals. He played sparingly for St. Louis, and in August was traded to the Astros for outfielder Tommie Agee.

He played 9 games for Houston in 1973, and 35 games in 1974. In his final season he was used mostly as a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

In the late-1970s he started doing play-by-play for the Padres. This led to a 20-year career at ESPN (1990-2010).