Thursday, May 26, 2016

Crash.

Well, I made it through my sister's wedding but my computer did not. Apparently the hard drive died and took a lot of my data with it. Needless to say, I am pretty frustrated right now. I am using a borrowed computer and will be trying to get things rolling again as soon as possible. Thanks for your continued patience.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Senators Saturday - Jim King, 1966.

Got a wedding to attend today so your going to get a pre-scheduled Senators Saturday post featuring Jim King on card 369 of the 1966 Topps set.

1966 was King's sixth season with the Senators. Jim needed a better season than he got in 1965 to hold on to his position as the club's starting right fielder.

While still technically the starting right fielder for Washington, King was being challenged for playing time. He played in just 85 games in the field in 1966, all in right field. Over the course of the 670.2 innings he played on defense, Jim committed just two errors. That gave him a .987 fielding percentage, significantly higher than the league average .979. True to form, King's range was higher than average as well.

Jim made 350 trips to the plate over 117 games. He put up a .248 batting average and a .330 on-base percentage. The average was a nice increase over the previous season but the on-base percentage fell seven points. King scored 41 runs and accounted for 30 RBI. He walked 38 times and struck out 41 times. While he did suffer a power decline, there was still some pop in Jim's bat. He knocked 14 doubles, two triples and ten home runs over the course of the season.

1966 had been a mixed bag for Jim King. He maintained his great defense and gained some back with his bat. Of course, he also lost some power on the offensive side of the game and that was troubling. There were still challengers knocking at the right field door and it was looking like Jim's remaining time in Washington might be limited.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wallach comeback.

A while back I sent out several Tim Wallach cards to Stack22, the owner and writer of the Tim Wallach blog. In case you are unfamiliar with this blog, it is the chronicling of Stack's attempt to collect every Tim Wallach card. Not one of each, every one ever printed. All of them. The man is crazy but he's my kind of crazy. In an effort to help out, I sent him the few Wallach cards I had sitting around.

Much to my surprise, an envelope arrived in my mail box on May 7th from Stack22. Inside was an assortment of Rangers inserts, including this 2015 Topps Archetypes card of Nolan Ryan. All told there were six cards in the envelope, only one of which I already had.

I don't remember how many Tim Wallach cards I sent Stack22 but it wasn't enough to justify the return he sent my way. Many thanks for the generous return Stack, I'll keep any eye out for any additional Wallach cards and send them your way. As for the rest of you, if you haven't gotten your Tim Wallach cards sent out to Stack then check out his blog and get those cards in the mail.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Rougie Rumbles.

Well, Spiff Jr and Grandpa made it out to Saturday's game. They watched Bobby Wilson hit his second grand slam of the season, Shawn Tolleson blow the save, and Drew Stubbs hit a walk-off homer to end the game with a Rangers victory over the Blue Jays. Oh, and they also picked up the Rougned Odor giveaway bobbleheads. Not a bad night at the ballpark.

Yesterday Odor, shown here on card 213 of the 2014 Topps Chrome set, was again a featured name. This time it wasn't due to a stadium giveaway. The Rangers jumped ahead of the Jays for the final time in the game as Texas scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to set the score at 7-6. That's what it would be at the end of the game.

In the top of the eighth Jose "Bat Flippin" Bautista came up to bat for the final time against the Rangers during the regular season. To that point there had been no retaliation against Bautista for his theatrics during the playoffs last year. This time Matt Bush hit him.

Little aside here. I don't agree with the man-child Bryce Harper that baseball is old and boring without displays like he enjoys putting on. I also hold no hard feelings against a player who can beat the Rangers, just because they win. What sticks in my craw about Jose Bautista is the little act he put on during the playoffs. The bat flip and stare down were over the top and unnecessary. If, after his MLB service time, he didn't know that he needs to learn. That brings up a second point: if you're going to show people up, don't cry when they settle your hash. Harper routinely whines about retaliation and Bautista did so after the game last night, calling the Rangers cowardly for waiting until his last at bat. Really? The games (except one) between the teams have been close. This game was as well but this was the last chance to send a well-deserved message to Jose. He would have been well-advised to receive the message and move on.

Of course, Bautista is of the breed of prima-donnas who don't receive messages and move on. When Justin Smoak hit into a double play Jose performed a now illegal takeout slide on Rougned Odor. Baurista, being the entitled entity that he is, came up and barked at Odor. Roughie shoved Jose and then punched him right in the face. If you haven't seen it, it is probably the most solid punch I have ever seen a player land on the diamond. Buatista's helmet and sunglasses went flying and he went down before being grabbed by Adrian Beltre. The benches cleared and Odor gave some of the same treatment to Josh Donaldson when he tried to get involved.

I'm sure there's some fines and maybe other punishments coming. The immediate result though was an automatic double-play and the ejections of Odor, Bautista, Donaldson, and Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele. Prince Fielder led off the bottom of the eight and was hit by a pitch from Jesse Chavez. That resulted in Chavez and the Jays bench coach being tossed from the game. Their manager was gone before the Bautista/Odor dust-up. After that things settled down for the remainder of the game.

In a way I enjoy on-field brawls as much as the next guy. In another way I hate to see them. I think they detract from the game, just like bat flipping and show-boating do. However, a team has to stand up for itself or things will just get worse. Bautista needed a lesson and hopefully he got one. He strikes me as a slow learner though and I wouldn't be surprised to see another team follow Rougie's example and let him know he's out of line at some point.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Senators Saturday - Dave Stenhouse, 1965.

By the time Dave Stenhouse appeared on card 304 of the 1965 Topps set, his Major League career was over. After injuries derailed his 1963 season, his 1964 campaign was not the bounce-back season it needed to be. The front office was not impressed.

The Senators sent Stenhouse to the minors to begin 1965. He spent the season bouncing between the double A York White Roses and the triple A Hawaii Islanders. Dave actually had a decent season with York and turned in a 1.50 ERA in two starts with Hawaii. That didn't earn him a return to the Bigs but did ensure he would start the 1966 season at triple A.

Stenhouse appeared in 36 games for the Islanders in 1966, only seven were starts. Apparently the Senators thought they needed some relief help and decided to try Dave in a reliever role. The role didn't seem to matter as Stenhouse struggled to a 5.28 ERA and 1.635 WHIP over 104 innings pitched. As you might suspect, he did not get the call back to Washington.

1967 was another season in Hawaii for Dave, but he would only appear in eight games for the Islanders. All of Stenhouse's appearances were in relief and he tossed just 16 innings. He ended the season with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.312 WHIP.

I don't know if the Senators released Dave Stenhouse early in the 1967 season, if he decided it was time to go, or if he suffered another injury. Whatever the reason, his abbreviated 1967 season marked the end of Dave Stenhouse's pro career.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ugh!

Well, the computer problems have never been fully resolved and any scanning I can do is hit or miss. It's looking like late this month before I can get the problems fully fixed. I will try to scan and post as I can but, as I said, It's problematic at this point. Thanks for your understanding.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Senators Saturday - Ron Kline, 1965.

Well, Spiff Jr's Little League season winds on today. Since I have work and a ballgame to attend to, you'll have to settle for a pre-scheduled Senators Saturday.

Today Washington reliever Ron Kline appears on card 56 of the 1965 Topps set. 1965 was Kline's third season with the Senators and he had won himself a spot in the bullpen with his consistent performance in 1964.

Ron appeared in a team-leading 74 games for the Senators in 1965 and pitched a total of 99.1 innings. He struck out 52 opposing batters while walking 32. His ERA and WHIP edged up from the previous season to 2.63 and 1.289 respectively. While those numbers were slightly higher than in 1964, Kline still led the bullpen in ERA. Solidifying his role as the Washington closer and go-to guy, Ron notched a league-leading 29 saves and ended the year with a 7-6 record.

While Ron Kline's numbers slipped a little in 1965, the year was a success overall. Kline was the ace of the Senators bullpen and was good enough to received attention from outside the city. He was even given a few MVP votes. Clearly Ron had a spot in the pen for the foreseeable future, as long as he could continue to come in and shut down the opposing batters.