TRIVIA WINNER: Congrats to Tim Fealy of Punta Gorda, FL who correctly stated the first team Harry "the Hat" Walker managed was the St. Louis Cardinals when he was a player manager for the 1955. He got his first full time managerial job with Pittsburgh in 1965. The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.
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NEW TRIVIA QUESTION: Six of the Top 10 batters who drew the MOST Bases on Balls in the 1969 season were AL players. Name the League Leaders in Walks drawn for each league in 1969.
ANSWER to the Trivia question in the previous column: Harry Walker first managed in the big leagues in 1955 as a player-manager with the Cardinals.
They were called the "free swingers" back in the day. Two phrases by the way which are so cliche' today. One certainly has a different meaning and the other is referenced often by a younger group which never experienced "back in the day." And in today's terminology I'll put a big "LOL" after the last line. While this column is about the free swingers of 1969, it should be noted that two of the six players highlighted below were on the field for another record breaking night. See the video below.
The top two players in this category were Manny Sanguillen of the Pirates and Tommy Helms of the Reds. Both players failed to reach 20 walks in the 1969 season. Sanguillen came to the plate 481 times and walked only 12. He was known as a guy who could hit a ball that was a foot off the plate into the corner for a triple.
Helms, the Reds second sacker, strode to the plate 509 times and drew only 18 walks. Neither player by the way struck out very much either. The rest of the players in the group all drew walks in the low 20's. The only AL player on the list (others such as Rich Reese were close) is the Royals Jerry Adair with 20 Walks in 461 PA.
Andy Kosco of the Dodgers was known as a hitter with power, which would lead pitchers to work around him. Not so. Kosco only walked 21 times in 453 Plate Appearances. Al Oliver of Pittsburgh also drew 21 walks in 502 PA. Roberto Pena of the newly branded San Diego Padres was on par with Oliver. He drew 21 Walks in 501 PA.
The Braves Felipe Alou may have had the most power and been the most complete hitter of the bunch and he only drew 23 BB's in 509 PA. Alou, who belted 31 homers just three seasons prior, only smacked 5 in 1969 while batting .282. He only struck out 23 times as well. Over a career, you would probably liken Alou to Oliver as the complete hitters they were. Oliver played 18 seasons batting .303 with 219 HR and 535 BB, while Alou played 17 seasons BA .286, 206 HR and 423 BB.
It is an interesting breakdown when you consider there was some power and very few strikeouts to go along with those even fewer Walks. Sanguillen by the way only drew 223 BB in 13 seasons averaging only 17 Walks per year.
PLAYER PA BB K HR BA
Sanguillen 481 12 48 5 .303
Helms 509 18 33 1 .269
Adair 461 20 36 5 .250
Al Oliver 502 21 38 17 .285
Roberto Pena 501 21 63 4 .250
Kosco 453 21 66 19 .248
F. Alou 509 23 23 5 .282TRIVIA 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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