Friday, December 22, 2006
Birthdays, Yesterday And Today
Buddy Carlyle LAN b. 1977, played 2005. After his unsuccessful stint with the Dodgers, he was DFA'd; the Marlins claimed him, and most recently, the Braves gave him a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Dave Kingman CAL b. 1948, played 1977, All-Star: 1976, 1979-1980. A tremendous, powerful man at 6'6", USC manager Rod Dedeaux converted him from pitching to the outfield, where he became a prodigious home run hitter — hitting 442, more than any other player not in the Hall of Fame — but did little else, striking out a lot and failing to hit for average most years. He disdained reporters, once sending a female journalist a rat, and his antics got him traded frequently. His ten games in an Angels uniform in the 1977 season marked one of four he would wear that year, tying a modern record.
It is simply not possible to mention Dave Kingman without mentioning Tommy Lasorda's four-lettered tirade against him following a June 4, 1976 drubbing by the Mets, 11-0, that featured three homers by Kingman.
Roger McDowell LAN b. 1960, played 1991-1994. Unloaded by the Phillies at almost exactly the right moment, the notorious prankster became the Dodgers' closer during their horrible 1992 season, leading the league in relief losses. He lost the closer's job in 1993 despite pitching much better, but his 1994 was another year of ineffectiveness, and the Dodgers let him walk. He spent two more years in the majors with Texas and Baltimore before retiring. Most recently, he was the Dodgers' pitching coach at AAA Las Vegas in 2005 before being tapped as the Braves' major league pitching coach.
Howie Reed LAN,CAL b. 1936, played 1964-1966, d. 1984-12-07
Paul Swingle CAL b. 1966, played 1993
Andy Allanson CAL b. 1961, played 1995
Buster Burrell BRO b. 1866, played 1895-1897, d. 1962-05-08
Tex Erwin BRO b. 1885, played 1910-1914, d. 1953-04-05
Al Ferrara LAN b. 1939, played 1963, 1965-1968
Steve Garvey LAN b. 1948, played 1969-1982, All-Star: 1974-1981, 1984-1985. The matinee idol of my youth and at the time my favorite player, though I admit to liking Joe Ferguson and Steve Yeager, too. Steady, durable, and powerful, the converted third baseman was an eight-time All-Star at first base (including his 1974 season in which he won as a write-in candidate), but his game in fact had significant holes overlooked at the time: he never had a high OBP (his highest, .351, he only attained twice), his SLG was never especially impressive, and he would never field a ball that someone else could get to.
Immensely popular in Los Angeles, he had a junior high school named after him, but a tell-all book by ex-wife Cyndy uncovering serial infidelities brought to an end any speculation of a political career. More recently, the Times discovered him piling up and evading debts in an April, 2006 story. This year is his last in the BBWAA Hall of Fame balloting ($$); if he doesn't get in this time, it's up to the Veteran's Committee.
Jack Jenkins LAN b. 1942, played 1969, d. 2002-06-18
Ken Landreaux LAN,CAL b. 1954, played 1977-1978, 1981-1987, All-Star: 1980. Named TSN Minor League Player of the year after he hit .359 with AAA Salt Lake, he threw out three players from center in his September 11, 1977 debut game (the Angels lost anyway thanks to a terrible outing by Paul Hartzell). In February 1993, the Angels sent him (and others) to Minnesota for Hall of Famer Rod Carew; in March, 1981, the Twins traded him to the Dodgers for Mickey Hatcher. He spent much of the remainder of the 80's as the Dodgers' starting centerfielder before retiring after 1987.