TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Sammy Otis, of New York, who correctly answered the trivia question about the "other" strikeout king in the top five in 1963. It was indeed Jim Maloney. This week a new Trivia Contest. The Prize this week again is a Starbucks Gift Card.
NEW TRIVIA CONTEST: IF YOU ANSWER THE TRIVIA QUESTION CORRECTLY YOU WILL BE ENTERED INTO A WEEKLY DRAWING FOR A Starbucks Gift Card. YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN.
TRIVIA QUESTION: In 1968 who managed the St. Louis Cardinals?
ANSWER TO TRIVIA QUESTION IN THE PREVIOUS COLUMN: Jim Maloney was a strikeout pitcher in 1963 who may have been overshadowed by the other big name pitchers; Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal. Maloney of the Reds had 265 and was second to Koufax with 306.
When it came to "All Field and No Hit" in the 1960s a number of players stand out, but the shortstops of the era who we'll focus on were among the worst of the worst when it came to hitting.
The ultimate on the list has to be Ray Oyler. The Tiger shortstop had a career batting average of .175 over six seasons and only once rose to the Mendoza Line. In 1967 he batted .207 with a homer and 29 RBI. It was his most productive season in many ways since he played in 148 games for Detroit and batted over 400 times. Both career highs.
Number two on the list has to be Dal Maxvill. Maxvill was a wizard with the glove and played on some pretty good hitting teams, so to say he was pretty much the fifth card in a poker hand which held Four Aces, was pretty accurate. In 1965 and 1969 he had his worst seasons. He batted .135 and .175 with St. Louis.
Third on the list is Bobby Wine. The 1962 season, his first real season in the Bigs, Wine had his best year at the plate. His .244 average would never come close to being achieved again. With a lifetime .215 BA, he hit below the .200 mark twice and on two other occasions batted at .200. His lifetime 30 homers, mostly with the Phillies, showed he did have some pop but on defense, like those above, he really did shine.
Fourth on the list is Ed Brinkman, who until Ted Williams took over as his manager in Washington, was right in with the other three. His lifetime average of .225 belies his early seasons before Williams when he failed to hit .200 or better in five different seasons. Three times he batted in the .180's. After Williams he twice hit .260 or better and some thought Williams should have gotten Manager of the Year just for improving Brinkman.
Not to be outdone, the strangest case of a shortstop came with Zoilo Versalles. In 1965 he had his MVP Season, leading the Twins to the World Series. He led or tied for the AL lead in several categories including hitting 45 doubles, 12 triples and scoring 126 runs, while driving out 19 homers. He batted .273. The following season he fell of drastically to .249, followed by .200 and after getting traded to the Dodgers couldn't get off the snide hitting a lowly .196. He never recovered and was out of baseball a couple seasons later at age 31.
TRIVIA CONTEST; After reading this column you can enter the weekly trivia contest for a chance to win a Starbucks Gift Card. Enter via the following email. Send 1) your answer to the trivia question at the top of the column, 2) your name, address and email so where we know where to send the card if you win 3) any comment you have on the column. One winner will be selected at random each week based on correct answers with the odds being based on the number of correct entries. Please cut and paste or enter the following email into your email system.
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