Monday, January 25, 2010

Final Card: Albie Pearson

Albie Pearson (#83) was signed by the Red Sox in 1953, and spent 5 seasons with their minor-league teams, the last 2 with their Pacific Coast League affiliate in San Francisco. The small (5'5", 140 lbs) outfielder was traded to the (old) Washington Senators for 1B-2B Pete Runnels in January 1958.

As a 23-year-old rookie, Pearson his major-league debut in April 1958, and was the Senators starting center fielder that year, playing in 146 games and winning the Rookie of the Year award.

In 1959 Pearson was the starting center fielder for the first 11 games, then missed the next 16 games. During this time, Bob Allison became the starting center fielder, and would hold that job for the remainder of the season. Pearson returned to the starting lineup (in right field) for 10 games in mid-May, but was soon traded to the Orioles for outfielder Lenny Green. Pearson would struggle for playing time in Baltimore. He made only 23 starts for the rest of the season, and rarely started more than 2 consecutive games.

1960 was even worse for Pearson. The Orioles had Gene Woodling in left, and Jackie Brandt in center. Even with a revolving door in right field, Pearson only managed to start 17 games with the Orioles, and in fact, played 53 games in triple-A. Quite a freefall since being a fulltime center fielder in his rookie season!

Pearson's career took a tun for the better in 1961. The Angels drafted him from the Orioles, and he became an outfield fixture for the Angels for several years. In 1961 he started over 100 games between center field and right field. In 1962 and 1963, he was the Angels' regular center fielder, playing over 130 games in each season. He also made the all-star team in 1963.

What happened after that? In 1964, he split the centerfield starting job with Bob Perry, whose major-league career consisted of 2 part-time seasons ('63-'64) with the Angels. In 1965, Pearson lost the starting center field job for good when the Angels acquired rookie Jose Cardenal from the Giants.

The 1966 season is a mystery. He played a grand total of 1 game in 1966, and it was on July 16th. He had no minor-league activity in 1966, so he was either injured, or was doing some serious bench-riding.

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