Saturday, March 28, 2020

Chico Salmon (#594)

Something I don’t often do is post images of cards that I don’t have. In the roughly 1200 cards I have posted across my baseball blogs, maybe 5 to 8 were cards I don’t have. (The 1965 cards of Jerry Fosnow and Dan Pleis come to mind. I posted internet images of them to complete my series of 1965 final cards.) 

This 1966 Chico Salmon card is another. I have Salmon's 1967-1970 cards, but in 1969 he is capless, and in 1970 he is shown as an Oriole, while I consider him mostly as an Indian. I also have many ’67 and ’68 cards remaining to post, but not so many '66 cards, so Chico has been assigned to the 1966 queue. (Besides, I noticed tonight that I also have Chico Ruiz and Chico Cardenas on this blog, so Salmon completes the trifecta.) 

Chico Salmon played every position but pitcher and catcher, although he didn’t play shortstop until 1966, with the Indians. He was signed by the (old) Washington Senators in 1959, and bounced around in the minors for several years - to the Giants in 1960, the Tigers in 1961, and the Braves in 1963.

After the 1963 season, the Braves traded him to the Indians for a player to be named later (Mike de la Hoz). Chico made his major-league debut with the Indians in June 1964. He started 39 games in right field over the 2nd half of the season, sharing the job with Tito Francona. He also started 2 dozen games at 2nd base.

In 1965 he played in 79 games but spent most of the season on the bench, only starting 16 games at 1st base and a handful elsewhere.

Things improved for him in 1966. He played all over the infield, mostly at shortstop where he started 57 games, including every game from 5/22 to 7/5. He also started another 47 games at 1B/2B/3B. The Tribe decided to use Larry Brown at shortstop for most of the 2nd half (and in subsequent seasons), so Chico returned to the bench for the remainder of his Indians' career, except for April/May 1968 when he was the starting 2nd baseman.

Salmon was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the expansion draft, but traded to the Orioles just before the start of the 1969 season for Gene Brabender. What luck for him! He moved from the Indians (a perennial 2nd-division team) to the Pilots (yecch), to the Orioles (the AL kings for much of 1966-1971).

For the next 3 seasons Chico was the O’s top utility infielder, and played in the '69 and '70 post-season.

In 1972 rookie Bobby Grich took over the backup infield assignments, relegating Salmon to only 17 games, mostly pinch-hitting appearances. He was released in mid-August.

Salmon passed away in 2000 at age 59.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Final Card: Bob Sadowski

This is Bob Sadowski’s final card (#523).  In March 2018 I posted his 1965 card on my ’65 blog, but that was before I had this card. (I generally limit my 1965 blog to players’ final cards.)

Sadowski was signed by the Cardinals in 1958, and played in their farm systems for 5 1/2 seasons until his trade to the Braves in mid-June 1963 (Sadowski and Gene Oliver for Lou Burdette).

Bob was immediately brought up to the Braves and pitched 19 games over the second half, including 18 starts and 5 complete games. He posted a 5-7 record and 2.62 ERA in 116 innings pitched.

(That same yellow dome is seen on Tony Conigliaro's 1967 card.)

In 1964 he started 18 games again (along with 33 relief appearances), but his ERA soared to 4.59.

He started the final home opener for the Milwaukee Braves in April 1965. He posted a similar ERA (4.54) as the previous year, but in only 34 games.

In December 1965 Bob was traded to the Red Sox (with pitcher Dan Osinski) for pitchers Jay Ritchie and Arnold Earley, and outfielder Lee Thomas.

Sadowski was used very little by the Red Sox because of arm injuries, only appearing in 11 games (33 innings) by mid-season, his final major-league game coming on July 4th. With an ERA of 7.02 he was sent to the minors, where his troubles continued - pitching only 5 innings in the 2nd half.

He played the 1967 season for the Braves’ double-A team before retiring.

His brother Ed was a catcher for the Red Sox and Angels from 1960-63, and for the Braves in 1966. His brother Ted (Ed and Ted?) pitched for the Senators/Twins from 1960-62.

Another Bob Sadowski played for the Phillies, White Sox, and Angels from 1961-63.

Sadowski passed away in 2018 at age 80.