Monday, October 14, 2013

Bob Allison (#345)

Yes I know, back-to-back Twins, but the Twins are woefully under-represented here (2 posts). At first, I was going to post the Team Card (since they are the defending 1965 AL Champions), but I soon realized that was one of the 79 cards in the set that I don’t have. 

Next for consideration was Harmon Killebrew, but I decided to post his 1970 card instead, for reasons that will soon be apparent. That led me to Killer’s partner in batting mayhem: Bob Allison. 

Bob Allison had a 13-year major-league career, all with the Twins (and their predecessor, the old Washington Senators) from 1958 to 1970. His peak years were from 1959 (when he won the AL Rookie of the Year award) to 1968.

Allison was signed by the Senators in 1955, and played 4 seasons in the minors. After crashing 28 homers in double-A in 1958, he was called up in September (having never played at the AAA level). He started 10 of the final 11 games in center field in place of Albie Pearson, who would win the Rookie of the Year award that season.

Bob began the 1959 season in right field, but after 6 games was moved to left field. Five games later, he moved to center field and never looked back. He started 132 games in center field, made the all-star team, led the AL with 9 triples, and bashed 30 homers on his way to a Rookie of the Year season. Quite a start to his career!

1960 was an off-year for Allison (15 homers), but after the team moved to Minnesota, he rebounded with 29 homers and over 100 RBI in both the ’61 and ’62 seasons. Bob was the team’s everyday right fielder from 1960 through the 1963 season, and with Killebrew in left field during ’62 and ’63, that was a power-hitting outfield.

In 1964, it was Allison (not Killebrew, surprisingly) that moved in to first base to make room for rookie Tony Oliva in right field. Bob started 90 games at 1st base, while Don Mincher started 65 times. Allison also started 27 games in center and 13 times in right field.

Allison and Killebrew switched positions in 1965, with Bob getting 117 starts in left field, while rookie Sandy Valdespino started 38 games. Meanwhile, Killebrew split his time between 1st base and 3rd base (where he hadn’t played since 1961). Allison had another down year at the plate in 1965. After hitting 35 and 32 homers the previous 2 seasons (with 2 all-star appearances), he only managed 23 home runs (along with a .233 batting average). His production continued to fade in 1966, as he only played in 70 games that season.

He regained his starting job in 1967, hitting 24 homers while starting 136 games in left field. Bob began losing playing time in 1968, making only 110 starts in left field and 17 at first base.

Allison was a part-time player in 1969 and 1970, sharing left field with Jim Nettles and Charlie Manuel in 1969, and mostly pinch-hitting in 1970. He retired after the 1970 season.

In 1987, Allison began experiencing difficulty with his coordination. After a few years, he was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease, and eventually lost the ability to walk and talk. He passed away from the disease in 1995 at age 60.


Jeff said...

The Senators had no AAA affiliate from 1957-1959, so Chattanooga was the top of the farm system.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Good find, Jeff!

I clicked over to your blog, and found all my blogs on your sidebar.

I have added yours to all my baseball blog sidebars.

Thanks for reading!