Saturday, June 26, 2010

Final Card: Chuck Schilling

Chuck Schilling (#6) had a short career with the Red Sox in the early 1960s.

Chuck was signed by the Red Sox in 1958, and made his major-league debut in April 1961. His career started off well, as he was Boston's starting 2nd baseman for 157 games, and finished 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting. He also led the American League with 738 plate appearances.

Schilling was the regular 2nd baseman (133 starts) in 1962, but missed over 40 games due to a wrist injury that would hamper him for the rest of his career. He bounced back in 1963 (137 starts at 2nd base) but then started a downward slide.

In 1964, Schilling dropped to #3 in the pecking order at 2nd base, behind rookie infielder Dalton Jones, and journeyman Felix Mantilla. In 1965, Mantilla took over almost completely, making 120 starts at 2nd base to Schilling's 35 starts.

This was the end of the line for Chuck. In April 1966, he was traded to the Twins, but his 1966 season went like this (from Wikipedia):

Coming out of spring training, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins with catcher Russ Nixon for left-handed pitcher Dick Stigman. Schilling began the season on the Twins' 28-man roster, but he never appeared in any games and retired before the rosters were cut to 25 men on May 15.

After baseball, Schilling became a high school math teacher, and also played competitive softball until the age of 69.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Final Card: Merritt Ranew

Merritt Ranew (#62) first came to my attention as one of the characters in Jim Bouton's book Ball Four. A backup catcher, Ranew began and ended his short career with expansion teams (Houston Colt .45s, Seattle Pilots).

Merritt was signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1957. He played 5 seasons in the Braves' farm system, finally reaching triple-A in 1961. After the 1961 season, he was drafted by the expansion Houston Colt .45s as their 17th pick. The #2 catcher behind ex-Pirate Hal Smith, Merritt started 51 games in his rookie season.

Before the 1963 season, he was traded to the Cubs. Although he was the Cubs 3rd-string catcher, this was the only season where he managed to stay out of the minor leagues.

The next few seasons were spent hopping from one team to another, while playing mostly in the minor leagues: to the Braves in June 1964; to the Giants prior to the 1965 season; sold to the Angels in May 1965; sent to the Yankees prior to 1968; sent to the Pilots prior to 1969. He did not play in the major leagues from 1966 to 1968.

Ranew's final major-league season was in 1969, with the expansion Seattle Pilots. He appeared in 54 games, mostly as a pinch-hitter.

After the 1969 season, he was traded to the Senators for infielder Frank Coggins. Ranew continued in the minors for 2 more seasons before retiring.