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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Ted Bowsfield LAA b. 1935, played 1961-1962. An original Angel drafted off the Indians, he was the number three man in the rotation that first year and the only Angel starter with a winning record. Shipped to the Royals in November, 1962, he spent two more years in the majors before hanging up his cleats.

Chuck Dobson CAL b. 1944, played 1974-1975. It's trite to express just how bad the early 70's Angels were; the '74 squad on which Dobson appeared was fairly typical. No reliever who had pitched more than 20 innings had an ERA that was even league average; most of them, save for the lightly-used Luis Quintana, a farm product, were castoffs picked up in junk exchanges with other bad teams. Dobson had worked his way down to the Mexican Leagues, and was purchased there by the Angels on June 29, 1974.

Everything about the Angels that year was chaotic: the team had three managers, including the inexperienced Bobby Winkles, who eventually got fired because of his inability to handle Frank Robinson, who was admittedly a disruptive influence in the dugout; Robinson often tried to manage the team himself, and as a distinguished veteran, carried a lot of influence with the other players. Whitey Herzog came and went; the Angels replaced him after four games with Dick Williams, a disciplinarian who nonetheless got on Robinson's good side right away by naming him captain. It didn't matter, as the team continued its losing ways; the Angels wouldn't field a winner until 1978.

Vern Geishert CAL b. 1946, played 1969

Marty Herrmann BRO b. 1893, played 1918, d. 1956-09-11

Pat Keedy CAL b. 1958, played 1985

Adam Kennedy ANA,LAA b. 1976, played 2000-2005. Most famous for the three crucial home runs he hit in 2002 ALCS Game 5, an effort that won him an ALCS MVP honor, the Top 100 Angel is a free agent this year, losing his job to the cheaper — and we hope, more talented — Howie Kendrick. As the return on the trade that unloaded Jim Edmonds, that's not bad at all, not bad at all.

Ed McGamwell BRO b. 1879, played 1905, d. 1924-05-26

Johnny Peacock BRO b. 1910, played 1945, d. 1981-10-17

Gary Rath LAN b. 1973, played 1998

Ervin Santana LAA b. 1983, played 2005. Inconsistent, injury-plagued in his short career, yet at times brilliant, he was the hero of the 2005 ALDS Game 5 when he replaced Bartolo Colon in the second inning, holding the Yanks' fearsome lineup to only two runs. If there is one player I do not want to see the Angels trade, it's this guy. (Of course, Jered Weaver's also on that list.)

Javy Lopez A Rocky

38-year-old catcher (try not to laugh) Javy Lopez has signed with the Colorado Rockies on a one-year, $850,000 deal. It's hard to imagine he'll see playing time ahead of Yorvit Torrealba.

A Thorn Plucked

The Nationals have severed all ties with Frank Robinson. Good.

Dick Williams was the Angels' choice all along to be their manager in 1974, but were prevented from signing him until mid-season. As a result of the "Mike Andrews Incident" in the 1973 World Series, Williams resigned as A's manager rather than work for Charlie Finley one more day. Finley, true to form, refused to release Williams from the reserve clause until mid-season, when the Halos were buried so far in the cellar as to make Williams' job meaningless.

The first time the Angels played the Athletics after Williams' hiring was June 24 in Oakland. I was one of about 5,000 to show up for the game. True to form---again---after the A's beat the Halos quite handily, Finley instructed the scoreboard operator to flash "GOODNIGHT DICK" in huge letters on the message board, clearly visible from the visitors' dugout.

Also, it was Williams in 1974, as I recall, who coined the term "Arson Squad" as the moniker for the Angel bullpen.
nice history lesson on 1974. i didn't know most of that, except we were bad.

Bobby Winkles was inexperienced in MLB but had a great run at ASU (Jackson, Monday, Bando) and 3 CWS Titles in Tempe.

In 1973 with Winkles as Halo manager, the team was 79-83. Robinson was there all year too.
I seem to recall Ervin Santana pitching for the Angels during the 2006 season. Adam Kennedy might have been on that team, too.
Since the birthday series is based on the Lahman database, it's only as current as that allows me to be. By definition, it's always a year behind, at least.

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