Monday, July 31, 2023

You Don't Mess with Andy M.


TRIVIA WINNER: The winner of this week's trivia contest is Jake Kribel of Amity, PA who knew that Willie Mays homered in the same inning ofthe Marichal-Roseboro debacle.  The Prize: Starbucks Gift Card.

TRIVIA CONTEST:  By answering the TRIVIA QUESTION CORRECTLY you are automatically entered into a weekly drawing for a Starbucks Gift Card.  YOU MUST ENTER VIA THE EMAIL AT THE END OF THIS COLUMN. Please put your mailing address in with the answer so if you win we can send you the gift card in the mail.

NEW TRIVIA QUESTION: Three players on the 1969 Angels had sons who also played in the big leagues. Who were the ball playing dads?

 The number 16 was a big factor for the 1969 California Angels. Two out of three times that number was on the losing side of the mark, but for one player it was the beginning of a solid career and a major milestone for baseball. 

While Andy Messersmith came to the big leagues as a 22-year old rookie in 1968, 1969 was his break out year with the Angels. The fire-balling right-hander with electric stuff would make his mark, winning 16 and losing 11 in 250 innings. The Angels would only win 71 games that season and still finished 3rd in the AL West. Starting at Game 40 Lefty Phillips took over for the aging Bill Rigney and finished just under .500 the rest of the way. 

For Messersmith it was a strange stat line as he pitched in 40 games, started 33, finished 5 and tossed two shutouts but managed two Saves as well. Over 250 innings he registered a 2.52 ERA while striking out 211, walking 100 and giving up just 169 hits. His 17 home runs was low for the time period.

Andy didn't get much support. Jay Johnstone led the team in hitting by a long shot at .270 and no one hit more homers than Rick Reichardt's 13. Hoyt Wilhelm and Ken Tatum led the bullpen but what Messersmith accomplished that season was pretty much all on him. 

He would later be the key player in the case which ended baseball's Reserve Clause and opened the door to Free Agency as we know it today. Before then, despite a failed attempt by Curt Flood, every player was tied to the team that signed him and only that team.

Oh, by the way, the other two 16's for the Halo's in 1969? Both Tom Murphy (10-16) and Jim McGlothlin (8-16) owned the other no. 16's on the club's statistical roster that year. Another number was prominent in Messersmith's career; 20, which he won in two different seasons and had 19 wins in another.

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.
I've written more than a dozen books including at least two sports books. You can find these at my Amazon page or at my own website Please take a look at the sports books, the western novel series or the "Tattoo Murder," which is a crime book set in Ventura, CA.

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