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.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Mel Nelson (#367)

With this card, all 20 teams are now represented on all 3 of my baseball card blogs. This would be Nelson's last card until 1969.

Mel Nelson was signed by the Cardinals in 1954, and except for a 2-game stint with the Cardinals in September 1960, he spent the next 9 seasons in the minors. Originally an outfielder, he didn't begin pitching until 1956.

After the 1962 season, he was purchased by the Los Angeles Angels. In 1963 he made 36 appearances for the Angels (mostly in relief) along with 12 games in triple-A (mostly as a starter). He spent all of 1964 in the minors, first with the Angels' AAA team in Hawaii, then after his May 25th purchase by the Twins, with their AAA team in Atlanta.

After spending all of 1965 in the Twins' bullpen, and all of 1966 back in the minors, he would bounce up and down for the next 3 seasons. After the 1967 season, the Twins sold him to the Cardinals. Nelson made one appearance in the 1968 World Series for the Cardinals, mopping up the 9th inning of game 6 (a 13-1 blowout by the Tigers).

His last major-league game was on June 2, 1969. Mel wrapped up his career in 1970 with the Braves' triple-A team in Richmond, VA.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Giants' DP Combo (Dick Schofield/Hal Lanier)

Here's one of the "group" cards that Topps issued for most of the teams in 1966 and 1967. In 1965, these two were the Giants' starting Keystone Combo for 81 games. In 1966, they only hooked up 4 times before Schofield was sold to the Yankees in mid-May.

Dick Schofield had a 19-year career (1953-71) as a shortstop with 7 teams, mostly the Cardinals (1953-58) and the Pirates (1958-65). His only extended time as an everyday player was during the '63, '64, and '65 seasons.

His son Dick was the Angels' shortstop during the 1980s and early 1990s, and his grandson is Phillies' right fielder Jayson Werth.

Hal Lanier also comes from a baseball family. His father Max pitched for the Cardinals during the 1940s. Hal played shortstop and 2nd base for the Giants from 1964 to 1971, before winding up his career with the Yankees in 1972 and 1973. He later managed the Astros from 1986-88.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Final Card: Ernie Broglio

Here is the final card for Ernie Broglio (#423). Broglio began his minor-league career in 1953 with the independent Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. During the 1954 season, he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds organization.

In 1955, Ernie was sent back to play for independent teams in California (Stockton, Oakland), until he was acquired by the Giants prior to the 1956 season. After the 1958 season, the Giants traded him to the Cardinals, where he made his big-league debut in April 1959.

From 1959 to 1963, Broglio was a regular in the Cardinals rotation, along with Curt Simmons, Larry Jackson, Ray Sadecki, and later, Bob Gibson. Ernie led the NL with 21 wins in 1960.

Broglio's last start for the Cardinals was on June 12, 1964, against Sandy Koufax. Ernie took the loss, making his record 3-5. Three days later, he was traded to the Cubs. In deference to Cubs' fans everywhere, I'll dispense with the remaining details (you can read the back of the card).

His final major-league game was on July 2, 1966. He spent the remainder of 1966 with the Cubs' triple-A team in Tacoma, and all of 1967 with the Reds' triple-A team in Buffalo.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Final Card: Camilo Carreon

41 posts since I started this 1966 blog on 10/16/2009, but none for any Orioles, Giants, or Twins. Let's fix that:

Camilo Carreon (#513) was a promising young catcher with the White Sox until injuries derailed his career. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1956, and played 5 seasons (1956-60) in their farm system, although appearing in a few games for the Sox in '59 and '60.

In 1961, the 23-year-old rookie started 63 games behind the plate, giving the veteran Sherm Lollar (93 starts) a break. The following year Carreon took over as the #1 catcher, making 85 starts to Lollar's 59. Chicago carried a 3rd-string catcher (Bob Roselli) all season, who caught most of the the remaining games.

In 1963, Carreon split the catching duties with J.C. Martin. Martin had been the White Sox' backup first baseman in 1961, and spent almost all of 1962 in the minors.

Carreon would probably like to forget his 1964 season. Early on, he had lost the starting job to rookie Jerry McNertney, and had made only 14 starts through the end of June. In early July, he was put on the disabled list, and didn't return until mid-August. He played sparingly on his return, but started 13 of the last 20 games. (Maybe the Sox were showcasing him?)

In January 1965, Carreon was was part of a 3-team, 8-player trade with the Athletics and Indians:

Rocky Colavito - Athletics to Indians
Cam Carreon - White Sox to Indians

Tommie Agee - Indians to White Sox
Tommy John - Indians to White Sox
Johnny Romano - Indians to White Sox

Mike Hershberger - White Sox to Athletics
Jim Landis - White Sox to Athletics
Fred Talbot - White Sox to Athletics

Carreon only appeared in 19 games for the Indians in 1965, but appeared in 45 games for their triple-A Portland team. On March 10, 1966, he was traded to the Orioles for minor-league outfielder Lou Pinella.

Carreon's career was essentially over, as he only played in 4 games for the Orioles, the last on June 8th. He spent most of the 1966 season, and all of 1967 in triple-A. After being out of baseball in 1968, he played the 1969 season for the White Sox' triple-A team in Tucson.

Camilo's son Mark was an outfielder in the 1980s and 1990s, primarily for the Mets and Giants.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Final Card: Don Landrum

Don Landrum (#43) was signed by the Phillies, and spent 7 seasons with their minor-league teams, with a 2-game cup of coffee in Philadelphia beginning on September 28, 1957.

Two weeks before the end of the 1960 season, he was traded to the Cardinals for third baseman Bob Sadowski, and finished the season in St. Louis. In 1961 he played 28 games with the Cardinals, and 86 games in triple-A.

Don spent the entire 1962 and 1963 seasons in the majors, first with the Cardinals, then with the Cubs, following his June 1962 trade. Don was the Cubs' 4th outfielder in 1962, but in 1963 he shared the starting centerfield job with Ellis Burton.

In 1964, Landrum was back in the minors for most of the season, but the next year he was the Cubs #1 centerfielder, starting 104 games.

After the 1965 season, Landrum and pitcher Lindy McDaniel were traded to the Giants for pitcher Bill Hands and catcher Randy Hundley. Don was seldom used by the Giants in 1966. Although he played in 72 games, he made only 14 starts in the outfield, along with another 40 late-inning defensive appearances. Willie Mays, Ollie Brown, Jesus Alou, and even Len Gabrielson and Cap Peterson all got the outfield assignments before him. Don also spent part of 1966 with the Giants' triple-A team.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Final Card: Ken Hamlin

This is the final card for Ken Hamlin (#69). It's also his first card since 1962. Hamlin was a shortstop until 1965, when he switched to second base for his final 2 seasons.

Ken was signed by the Pirates in 1957, and played in their farm system from 1957 to 1959. He had a 2-game cup of coffee with the Pirates in 1957. He also played in the Mexican league for part of 1958.

After the 1959 season, the Pirates traded Hamlin and pitcher Dick Hall to the Athletics for catcher Hal Smith. After only 5 major-league games in the 3 previous years, Hamlin became the Athletics' regular shortstop in 1960, starting 127 of his 139 games there. Oddly enough, after this Cinderella story, Hamlin was left exposed to the expansion draft, and was selected by the Angels.

After sharing the starting shortstop assignments with the likes of Fritz Brickell and Rocky Bridges, Hamlin was traded to the independent Toronto Maple Leafs for second baseman Billy Moran in late June. This was 2 days after the Angels purchased shortstop Joe Koppe from the Cardinals for $1000. (Koppe would start almost all the remaining games at shortstop.)

After the season, Ken was claimed by the Washington Senators in the rule 5 draft, and he was back in the majors in 1962. He shared the shortstop job with journeyman Bob Johnson and rookie Ed Brinkman.

The next 2 seasons were spent in triple-A (presumably on loan, because Rochester was the Orioles' affiliate, and Toronto was the Senators' and Braves' affiliate).

Ken made it back to the majors in 1965, now as a second baseman. He started 63 games at 2nd and 31 games at SS, but was the backup at each position (to Don Blasingame and Ed Brinkman).

His playing time decreased in his final season (1966), as he started only 40 games at second base. By this time, he was the 3rd-stringer behind Bob Saverine and Don Blasingame.

He retired after the 1966 season at age 31.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Final Card: Joe Christopher

Joe Christopher (#343) was signed by the Pirates in 1955, and played in the minors from 1955 to 1959. During part of 1957, he also played in the Mexican League.

Joe made his major-league debut in late May 1959, and played 15 games for the Pirates, mostly as a pinch-hitter.

In 1960 he was used mainly as a pinch-hitter, but also as a 5th outfielder. The Pirates' starting outfield was Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon, and Roberto Clemente. Whatever playing time was leftover was usually scooped up by 4th outfielder Gino Cimoli.

In 1961 Joe saw more action, starting about 25% of the games in left field, as Bob Skinner's playing time was reduced. After the season Christopher was drafted by the Mets in the expansion draft.

In 1962, Joe, Richie Ashburn, and Jim Hickman were the primary starters in center and right field. Ashburn had seen enough losing, and retired after the season. However, in 1963 Duke Snider, Jim Piersall, and rookie Ed Kranepool would join the team and clutter the outfield picture, taking playing time away from Christopher.

Things would be different after that, as Joe's ship finally came in. In 1964 he was the #1 right fielder, starting 127 games there. The following season he started 110 games in the outfield, although his starts were split between left and right.

After the 1965 season he was traded to the Red Sox for shortstop Ed Bressoud. He didn't stay in Boston long. His last major-league game was on June 9th 1966. A week later he was traded (along with pitcher Earl Wilson) to Detroit for outfielder Don Demeter and pitcher Julio Navarro. Joe finished the season in the minor leagues.

He would play 2 more seasons in the minors before retiring after the 1968 season.