Looking back at the 1973 season again. Today we have Joe Lovitto on card number 276 in the 1973 Topps set. The cartoon on the back informs us that Joe's first hit as a pro was a home run. In spite of Joe's position being listed as an outfielder the back of the card also states that he had the "natural ability to play almost any position..."
Joe split the 1973 season between the Rangers and Triple A. He played in 74 games for Spokane and 26 for the Rangers. While he played in the outfield for Texas he primarily split the backup third baseman duties with Bill Madlock.
In 112 innings in the field Joe committed five errors in route to posting a .898 fielding percentage. That dismal number was 55 points below the league average. That was probably part of the reason that Lovitto spent part of the year at Triple A.
The other part of the reason for the Triple A sojourn is likely related to Joe's .136 batting average. In 49 trips to the plate he managed just a .224 on base percentage. That coupled with his 7 strikeouts and only one extra base hit would make it hard to secure a spot on any MLB roster.
1973 was probably a season that Joe Lovitto wanted to forget. He needed some drastic improvement in the field and at the plate if he wanted to stick with the Rangers in 1974.
***Reminder to sign up for the Strat-O-Matic contest. You can still be competitive if you get in now. Last week saw a newcomer overtake Night Owl in the points race.***