Monday, December 21, 2009

Final Card: Bob Skinner

This is the final player card for Bob Skinner (#471). Bob began his career in the Pirates' system in 1951. After 2 years in the military, Skinner made his major-league debut in April 1954. As a rookie, he was the Pirates' regular first baseman, starting 116 games there.

The following season, he was back in the minor leagues. I wonder if this was injury/rehab related, because he only played 98 games, it was in double-A, and the next season (1956) he was back in Pittsburgh.

In 1956, Bob was used primarily as a pinch-hitter, but also saw some action at first base and corner outfield. The following season, he became the Pirates' primary left fielder, starting about half the games, with Frank Thomas and several others getting the remaining starts.

Bob took over as the everyday left fielder in 1958, starting 141 games there, while making only 3 pinch-hitting appearances. Coincidently, he also started 141 games in 1959, while starting 140 in 1960. With the exception of one game at first base in 1959, after 1957 he played exclusively in left field for the Pirates.

In 1961, Bob's playing time dropped off, as he only started 96 games, while making about 20 pinch-hitting appearances. He came back in 1962 to play almost 140 games in left, which by now was a standard season for him.

In May 1963, Skinner was traded to the Reds for outfielder Jerry Lynch, a former Pirate. A year later, he moved on to the Cardinals, where he played until being released after the 1966 season.

Bob went on to manage the Phillies' triple-A team in San Diego during the 1967 and 1968 seasons. This put him in position to assume the Phillies' managerial job for the last 100 games in 1968, following Gene Mauch's firing. He also managed them for the first 100 games in 1969, before he was also fired. Here is his 1969 card:

I found this on Skinner's Wikipedia page, regarding who was to blame for the Phillies' poor showing in 1969:

"Nonetheless, Skinner's personal responsibility for the Phillies' pathetic performance is much in doubt, as the alleged baseball club sank to even greater depths under Myatt, Frank Lucchesi, Paul Owens and Danny Ozark in the 4 years after his departure, with rosters made up of also-rans whose only competition was between indifference of attitude and inability to hit at even AA levels of proficiency."

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