Saturday, March 8, 2014

Julian Javier (#436)

When my brother and I started collecting cards in May 1967, Julian Javier was one of the few names we got wrong. As it turns out, he didn’t use the English pronunciation for his first name, nor did he pronounce his last name JAY-vee-er.

The others we missed on were Al Ka-LINE, Hank A-gwire (Aguirre), and Pete SIM-in-o. Also, until I got Tony Cloninger’s baseball card late in 1967, I thought he and Tony Conigliaro were the same person. (Until last year, I also thought Orioles’/Senators’ pitcher Frank Bertaina’s last name was Bertainia.)

Julian Javier was the 2nd baseman for the Cardinals throughout the 1960s, including the ’64, ’67, and ’68 World Series.

Javier was signed by the Pirates in 1956, and played in the minors until his May 28, 1960 trade to the Cardinals for pitcher Vinegar Bend Mizell. He was thrust into the starting lineup that day, and started the remaining 119 games at 2nd base in his rookie season.

Except for missing 65 consecutive games from mid-June to late-August in 1965, Javier had a hammerlock on the Cardinals’ 2nd base job from May 1960 until mid-June 1971, when Ted Sizemore took over the position. He never won any gold gloves, but he was an all-star in 1963 and 1968, and hit a career-high 14 homers in 1967.

After the 1971 season, Julian was traded to the Reds for pitcher Tony Cloninger. He started 17 games that season as the Reds’ backup 3rd baseman (behind Denis Menke), and had several dozen pinch-hit appearances.

Javier was released after the season, ending his 13-year career.

His son Stan (named for teammate Stan Musial) was an outfielder for 8 teams from 1984-2001, most notably with the Athletics and Giants.

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