Thursday, December 24, 2020
Born on the Same Day - 9/23/1942
Saturday, October 17, 2020
Pedro Borbon (#358)
Pedro Borbon was a mainstay in the Big Red Machine’s bullpen from 1972-77, and led the team in saves in ’73, ’74, and ’77. Borbon pitched in 593 games in his 12-year career, starting only 4 games. He pitched in more games from 1970-78 than any other NL pitcher. This is his rookie card.
Pedro was signed by the Cardinals in late 1964, but did not start playing until 1966. After 3 seasons with 3 different class-A teams, he was selected by the Angels in the Rule 5 draft in December 1968.
Borbon played one full season (1969) with the Angels, pitching 41 innings over 22 games, then was traded to the Reds in the off-season (with pitcher Jim McGlothlin) for outfielder Alex Johnson and infielder Chico Ruiz.
He played most of 1970 and 1971 in the minors, only pitching 12 times for the Reds in the first half of 1970, and 3 games in September 1971.
Pedro made the Reds on a full-time basis in 1972, and was 2nd to Clay Carroll in games and saves. In 1973 he posted a career-high 11 wins, while leading the staff in games and tied with Carroll with 14 saves. In 1974 he led the bullpen in games and innings pitched, and again collected 14 saves.
For the next 2 seasons, Borbon maintained his high games and innings workload, although newcomers Rawly Eastwick and Will McEnaney picked up most of the saves.
With McEnaney traded before the season, and Eastwick traded in mid-season, Pedro was the team’s top reliever in 1977.
In 1978 he had a reduced role in the bullpen, although he posted an 8-2 record. In 1979 it was Borbon’s turn to go – traded to the Giants in June for outfielder Hector Cruz.
He played for the Giants for the rest of that season, then was released just before the start of the 1980 season. Pedro hooked on with the Cardinals at the end of Aptil, but after 10 appearances he was released at the end of May.
Borbon appeared in 20 post-season games for the Reds from 1972-76, picking up 3 saves.
Pedro was inducted into the Reds’ Hall of Fame in 2010. He passed away in 2012 at age 65.
His son Pedro Jr. pitched for the Braves, Blue Jays, and others from 1992-2003.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
NL PItching Leaders (#67, #69, #71)
It's surprising to see Gibby not in the lead in any category, but he missed the strikeout crown by only 4 K's. (Bill Singer was in 3rd place, 22 strikeouts behind Gibson.)
At the end of the ERA list is a section for relievers (pitching at least 75 innings). Tug McGraw led that bunch.
In the middle card, 5 other guys were tied with 20 wins, rounding out the nine pitchers with 20 or more.
Cardinals - 3
Cubs - 2
Giants - 2
Mets - 1
Braves - 1
Dodgers - 1
Friday, July 3, 2020
NL Batting Leaders (#61, #63, #65)
I was surprised to see Lee May among the home run leaders. He finished ahead of Ron Santo and Jimmy Wynn, who are usually among the leaders (along with automatics McCovey and Hank Aaron). May's 38 were one less than his career-high in 1971. He's also 5th in RBI with a career-high 110.
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Born on the Same Day - 9/21/1942
This is post #27 in the series: Sam McDowell and Billy Wilson - both born on 9/21/1942.
Wow, has there ever been 2 players in this "Born on the Same Day" series with such different careers?
Sam McDowell was the AL strikeout king from 1965-1970. He pitched 425 games (winning 141) over 15 years, and was a 5-time All-Star.
Billy Wilson was just another Phillies' pitcher not named Steve Carlton back in the early 1970s. He pitched 83 games (all in relief) between 1969 and 1973, posting a career record on 9-15.
Saturday, April 11, 2020
Dick Drago (#37)
I was also reviewing what I had left to post, and found about 50 for my 1969 blog, 30 for 1970, only 12 for 1968, and only 12 combined for my 1967 (wow, I was caught napping there!), 1966, and 1965 blogs.
So as I rotate through these blogs, the 1969 blog will take a double shift, while the 1965-68 blogs will alternate in each lap. (Those last 4 blogs have all the remaining planned posts listed in the "Final Countdown" sidebars.) Who knows, when I get to the end I may just free-lance as the spirit moves me.
This is Dick Drago's first solo card. (He appeared on a Royals Rookies car in 1969.)
Drago was signed by the Tigers in September 1964. He got into a few games that year in the Florida Instructional League, then pitched the next 4 seasons in the Tigers' farm system.
Unlike many of the youngsters on the 4 expansion teams in 1969, Drago did not get a look-see by his former team in September 1968 before being exposed to the expansion draft.
He was selected by the Royals in the draft and made his major-league debut on April 11, 1969. Drago played the next 13 seasons for various American League teams: 5 with the Royals, 2 with the Red Sox, 1 ½ with the Angels, a half-season with the Orioles, and back to Boston for 3 more years before finishing up with the Mariners in 1981.
As a rookie in 1969, Dick was the Royals' #2 starter behind the veteran Wally Bunker (actually they were both 24 years old). He started 26 games along with 15 relief appearances.
In 1970 he was the staff ace, pitching 240 innings (26 more than the next guy) although slumping to a 9-15 record. Drago rebounded in 1971 to win 17 games, and maintained his spot atop the rotation through the 1972 season.
With the arrival of Paul Splittorff in '72 and Steve Busby the following year, by 1973 Drago slipped to #3 in the rotation. After the season he was traded to Boston for pitcher Marty Pattin.
His role changed in Boston. A swingman in 1974, he converted to full-time bullpen duty in 1975 (and for the rest of his career), collecting 15 saves in 72 innings over 40 games. He also appeared in 2 ALCS games and 2 World Series games.
Drago was traded to the Angels before the 1976 season and to the Orioles in mid-1977. While with the Angels, in July 1976 he gave up Hank Aaron's 755th and final home run.
After being granted free agency in October 1977, he re-signed with the Red Sox. (Boston also signed Drago's former Royals teammate Tom Burgmeier in that off-season.)
Dick led the staff in saves in 1979, and was a setup man for Bob Stanley ('78) and Burgmeier ('80) in the other years.
Drago was traded to the Mariners the day before the 1981 season for pitcher Manny Sarmiento. After one season there he was released the following April.
Friday, March 27, 2020
50 Years Ago - 1970 Opening Day Lineups (AL)
Ed Herrman and Duane Josephson split the catching. 1st and 2nd base were manned by Gail Hopkins and Bobby Knoop respectively, while Ken Berry was the center fielder. Bill Melton actually played more games at 3B and also in RF that any other player.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
50 Years Ago - 1970 Opening Day Lineups (NL)
April 6, 1970 featured the traditional opening games in Cincinnati and Washington. All other teams began the following day. (Cincinnati always hosted the NL's first game, because it is the oldest NL team. Washington hosted the AL's first game so that the president could throw out the first pitch.)
Here are the National League opening day lineups from half a century ago. Teams are shown in order of their 1970 finish.
Tomorrow: The AL starters
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Angel Bravo (#283)
He had a very brief major-league career with the White Sox (1969), Reds (1970-71), and Padres (1971).
He was signed by the White Sox in 1963, and played in the minors every season from 1963 to 1972, except for the 1970 season. He also played in the Mexican League from 1973-76, and the Inter-American League in 1979.
After 3 seasons in class-A ball, he advanced to AA in 1966. He played at the AA and AAA levels in '67 and '68. In 1969 he led the Pacific Coast League with a .342 batting average.
Angel made his major-league debut with the White Sox in June 1969, and started 2 dozen games in center field, mostly in late-June and mid-September. After the season he was traded to the Reds for pitcher Gerry Arrigo.
Bravo spent the entire 1970 season on the Reds' roster (his only season not in the minors). The Reds lineup being what it was, Bravo rarely got any playing time, starting only 6 games in center field (to Bobby Tolan's 146 starts), and was the team's 8th outfielder (behind even Johnny Bench and Jimmy Stewart). Although only playing parts of 22 games in the field, he did get into 43 other games as a pinch-hitter.
In mid-May 1971 he was traded to the Padres for OF Al Ferrara. Once again he was mostly a pinch-hitter, since the Padres had Cito Gaston and Ollie Brown as everyday outfielders, along with Larry Stahl, Leron Lee, and Ivan Murrell all sharing left field. Bravo’s last major-league games came in September 1971.
He played all of 1972 for San Diego's AAA team in Hawaii, then played in Mexico for 4 seasons. In 1979 he played 15 games in the ill-fated Inter-American League before it folded.
The Inter-American League lasted only 3 months in 1979. It planned to play 130 games, but 2 teams (Panama and Puerto Rico) dropped out in mid-June. Two weeks later the league folded.
The standings at that time were:
1. Miami (72 games played)
2. Caracas (64)
3. Santo Domingo (67)
4. Maricaibo (67)
5. Panama (51)
6. Puerto Rico (55)
Monday, March 16, 2020
Dan McGinn (#364)
McGinn was selected by the Expos with the 27th pick in the October 1968 expansion draft. He appeared in 74 games as a rookie in 1969 (30 more than the next guy) and led the Expos with 6 saves. He also hit the first home run in Expos’ history.
In 1970 he pitched in 52 games, but unlike the previous year he spent some time in the rotation, making 19 starts (compared to 1 in 1969). He ended up with the same 7-10 record as in 1969, and with similar innings pitched (130 vs. 132). On the down side, his ERA ballooned from 3.94 in ‘69 to 5.44 in ’70.
The wheels began to fall off in 1971, as McGinn began the season in AAA, rejoining the Expos in mid-May to pitch in 28 games (posting a 1-4 record).
A week before the start of the 1972 season he was traded to the Cubs for 1B Hal Breeden and SS Hector Torres. (P Bill Kelso was later sent to the Cubs as part of the deal.) Dan pitched 42 games for the Cubs in 1972, but that would be his last season in the majors.
He spent the 1973 season with the Cubs’ and Cardinals’ AAA teams before retiring.