Thursday, November 24, 2016

Don Pavletich (#196)

Don Pavletich was the #2 man in the Reds’ 3-man catching corps in the 3 seasons prior to the arrival of Johnny Bench in 1968.

Pavletich was signed by the Reds as a bonus baby in late 1956. The bonus rules dictated that he remain on the big-league 25-man roster for 2 seasons. It appears the Reds got around this the same way Jim Pagliaroni’s team did – farm him out to the military for those 2 years. After appearing in only 1 game for the Reds in April 1957, Don spent the rest of that year and all of 1958 in military service.

He returned to baseball in 1959 and spent the next 3 seasons in the minors, save for 1 game with the Reds in April 1959.

Don played for the Reds from the start of the 1962 season through the end of the 1968 season. In ’62 and ’63 he was primarily used as the backup 1st baseman.

He was back in the minors for the first half of 1964 (possibly to work on his catching skills, because after his return he was used almost exclusively as a catcher by the Reds).

Pavletich started about 40 games per season from 1965-67 as Johnny Edwards' backup (with Jimmie Coker starting a dozen or so as the 3rd catcher).

On August 28th, 1967 Johnny Bench made his major-league debut, starting 26 of the final 32 games behind the plate. That was the end of the line for the Reds’ other 3 catchers. Edwards was traded in the off-season, Coker retired, and although Pavletich was the starting catcher for the first 5 games of 1968, those were his last starts as a Reds’ catcher. He played a bit at first base that year, but was traded to the White Sox after the ’68 season for pitcher Jack Fisher.

Don was a backup catcher for the White Sox for 1 year and the Red Sox for 2 years. After the 1971 season he was one of 6 players (with George Scott, Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe LaHoud) sent to the Brewers in return for Tommy Harper, Lew Krausse, and Marty Pattin. (Seems like a lopsided trade!) 

Although Don has a card in the 1972 set featuring him as a Brewer, he never played for them, with his last game coming on 9/1/1971.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Born on the Same Day - 1/9/1936

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #7 in the series: Julio Navarro and Ralph Terry - both born on 1/9/1936.

Navarro pitched for the Angels from 1962 to 1964, and for the Tigers in '64 and '65. He also appeared in 1 game for the Tigers in 1966, and thanks to his 3 earned runs allowed in zero innings, he had an ERA of "Infinity", something I've never seen on someone's record! After 3 seasons in the minors, he resurfaced with the Braves in 1970.

Ralph Terry pitched for the Athletics and Yankees from 1956 to 1964. (Some would say that was the same organization!) Terry's best season was 1962, when he led the AL with 23 wins and 298 innings pitched. He was named the World Series MVP that season, fashioning a 2-1 record and a 1.80 ERA.

He played for the Indians in 1965 before winding up his career with the Mets from 1966-67.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Born on the Same Day - 12/13/1935

Another installment in my "Born on the Same Day" series, featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #6 in the series: Joe Christopher and Lindy McDaniel - both born on 12/13/1935.

Christopher played for the Pirates from 1959-61, the Mets from 1962-65, and 12 games for the Red Sox in early 1966. He was the Mets' regular right fielder in 1964, and also saw a lot of playing time in '62 and '65.

McDaniel was the classic veteran reliever (like Hoyt Wilhelm and Stu Miller). He played in 987 games over 21 seasons (1955-75), and although primarily a starter in '57 and '58, he only started 15 games after 1959.

Lindy played 8 years with the Cardinals, 3 with the Cubs, 2 1/2 with the Giants, 5 1/2 with the Yankees, and finished up with 2 seasons with the Royals. All those years with St. Louis and New York, and I remember him primarily as a Giant (my first card for him).

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Born on the Same Day - 5/13/1934

Another installment in a new series called "Born on the Same Day", featuring players who were born on the same day (!) and year. 

This is post #5 in the series: Don LeJohn and Leon Wagner - both born on 5/13/1934.

LeJohn played in the Dodgers' farm system for 15 seasons (1954-68). His MLB time amounted to 34 games for LA during the 2nd half of 1965.

"Daddy Wags" was much more successful, playing 12 seasons from 1958-1969 (mostly for the Angels and Indians). He was an All-Star in '62 and '63, and although hitting more than 20 homers every season from 1961 to 1966 (including 37 in '62 and 31 in '64), his numbers plummeted after '66. He was a non-factor in his final 2 seasons.

This is the first player duo in this series where their birth dates on the card backs are both correct.