Sunday, June 16, 2013

Curt Blefary (#460)

Curt Blefary was one of the three outfielders on the Topps 1965 All-Rookie team.

He made more starts (131) in the O's outfield than any other player, as he split his time between left and right. Curt also hit 22 home runs, and was named AL Rookie of the Year in 1965.

The following season the Orioles acquired Frank Robinson to play right field, and Boog Powell became the regular first baseman, so Blefary moved to left field full-time. (He also started 11 games at 1st base.)

Blefary was signed by the Yankees prior to the 1962 season. In late April 1963 he was drafted by the Orioles, and spent 2 seasons in their farm system. His 31 homers in 1964 earned him a spot with the Orioles in 1965.

Curt spent 4 seasons in Baltimore, hitting 22, 23, 22, and 15 homers per season. He was the O's regular left fielder in the 1966 World Series, although he only got 1 hit in 15 at-bats.

In 1967, Blefary split his playing time between left field (84 starts) and 1st base (48 starts), as the Orioles tried several ways to keep his bat in the lineup, despite his defensive shortcomings. (Frank Robinson dubbed him "Clank".)

During Curt's last season in Baltimore, he started 38 games behind the plate and 40 in right field during the first half of the season. He returned to left field for the 2nd half of the season.

After the '68 season, Blefary was traded to the Astros for pitcher Mike Cuellar and shortstop Enzo Hernandez. Exactly one year later, he went to the Yankees for Joe Pepitone.

Curt split 1971 between the Yankees and Athletics, and 1972 between Oakland and San Diego. After his release by the Padres, he was signed by the Braves in 1973, but played for their triple-A team before retiring.

Blefary passed away in 2001 at age 57, with his ashes scattered over the Memorial Stadium demolition site in Baltimore.

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