Sunday, February 28, 2010

Final Card: Joe Gaines

Joe Gaines (#122) was a journeyman outfielder for 3 teams in the early-to-mid 1960s. He was signed by the Reds in 1956, and spent 6 seasons with their minor-league teams (although making a few major-league appearances in 1960 and 1961).

In 1962, Joe made the big leagues to stay. Joe had to be content with a pinch-hitting role, because the Reds had Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, and Wally Post starting, along with Jerry Lynch and Marty Keough as the 4th and 5th outfielders.

After the 1962 season, Joe was traded to the Orioles, where he received a little more playing time in 1963 than the previous season, primarily spelling Boog Powell in left field. After infrequent use in early 1964, Gaines was traded to the Colt .45s on June 15th for outfielder Johnny Weekly.

Gaines hit the jackpot in Houston, as he was the starting right fielder for 81 of the 85 games from June 19th to September 15th. During most of this streak (July 4 to September 15) Rusty Staub was absent from the starting lineup, and was playing in triple-A (rehab assignment?). Once Staub returned to Houston, it was to right field (and for several seasons), spelling the end of Joe Gaines' gravy train.

In 1965, Gaines was the team's 4th outfielder, logging most of his playing time as a backup to Lee Maye in left and Rusty Staub in right. In Joe's final season (1966) his playing time decreased significantly, as he spent a good portion of the season (139 games) with the Astros' triple-A team in Oklahoma City. His final major-league game was on October 2, 1966.

He spent the 1967 season with the Athletics' triple-A team in Vancouver, and 1968 with the triple-A teams of the Twins and White Sox.

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