Saturday, January 18, 2014

Senators Saturday - Ken Retzer, 1964.

Take a look at card 277 of the 1964 Topps set. What about that catching stance Ken Retzer's displaying? Two handed catching with no hinges in the mitt. The baseball world is still waiting on Johnny Bench to popularize the hinged mitt and one handed catching.

I haven't posted any cards of Ken Retzer but he had been in the Senators catching mix for several years. In 1962 and 1963 he had even been about as close to the starting job as any backstop in those early years. Things had changed by 1964 and Retzer was locked in a dog fight with Don Leppert and Mike Brumley for the starting catcher's job.

Ken not only lost his starting gig, he came in third in the contest. That meant most of the season spent at Triple A with the Toronto Maple Leaves. He did get 17 appearances with Washington and made 38 trips to the plate. His .094 batting average and .237 on-base percentage tell the story of how well he was able to take advantage of the opportunity. His fielding percentage falling 19 points below the league average pretty much sealed the deal.

With Brumley grabbing the starting job and Leppert holding down the backup spot, Ken Retzer was the odd man out. His average and on-base percentage had declined in 1963 and he appeared to hit the bottom in 1964. The Senators responded to the situation by trading Retzer on October 15, 1964. The Twins sent Joe McCabe to Washington in a straight up trade. Retzer spent the next three years trying without success to make it back to the Majors. He hung up the spikes after the 1967 season.

1 comment:

Hackenbush said...

I'll add this. It's about the year before this card. Retzer caught the first pitch of the 1963 season thrown out by President Kennedy.