Sunday, September 17, 2023

The Hawk Versus Charlie O.


TRIVIA WINNER: The winner of this week's trivia contest is Glen Schubert of Bradenton, FL,     who correctly answered the question correctly that Gary Kolb pinch ran and then played defense taking over for Stan Musial after his last major league hit. 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: In 1969 what two pitchers led the Oakland A's in wins?

The year 1967 was one of the strangest a ballplayer ever had. It gave him an out, an in, and a new lease of life and all because he opened his mouth. The player was Ken "the Hawk" Harrelson.  The Kansas City A's of the 1960s were ruled by a man baseball loved to hate; Charlie O. Finley. 

Whether it was wanting to deploy orange baseballs and other gimmicks or trying to sell his three best players for millions of dollars in a salary dump (which was voided by commissioner Bowie Kuhn), Charlie O. was pretty much a side show. He was the sideshow Harrelson could not abide. The day after Finley fired manager Alvin Dark with the team record at 52-69, Harrelson was quoted in a Washington newspaper calling Finley "a menace to baseball." He later said he never used the word "menace." Finley released Harrelson who was hitting .305 with six homers in 61 games.

 That action took place August 25. Three days later Harrelson signed a lucrative deal with the World Series bound Red Sox. The Sox were in need of a power hitting outfielder since Tony Conigliaro was beaned and out for the season. While he only hit .200 for Boston, he did drive in 14 runs, smack 3 homers and get 16 hits in 23 games. 

In the Series, which the Red Sox lost, Harrelson could only manage a lone single off Cardinal pitching. It wasn't a great performance but he made up for it the following season by leading the AL in RBI with 109 and belting 35 home runs while batting .275 in his finest season.  He was still cranking homers in 1969, but the Sox wanted more and sent him in a deal on April 19, 1969. He was traded by the Boston Red Sox with Dick Ellsworth and Juan Pizarro to the Cleveland Indians for Joe Azcue, Vicente Romo and Sonny Siebert. But, he refused because of his business interests in Boston. Moving out of Massachusetts to Cleveland was going to cost him a bundle. He decided to retire.

After a meeting with the commissioner and a reworking of his contract, the deal went through and Harrelson ended up with 30 homers and 92 RBI despite a .221 BA. After the 1969 season he would play only 69 more big league games before calling it quits. In the midst of all that he broke his leg while sliding in spring training, opening the door to be replaced by Chris Chambliss. 

He tried professional golf for a while before coming back to baseball as a successful play-by-play announcer. He also had a brief stint as a team executive with the White Sox and was known for making several mistakes. One of them was trading Bobby Bonilla to the Pirates for Jose DeLeon while also firing Tony La Russa as field manager. 

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.

Use PayPal to or contact us at the same email for other payment. 

Thank you to those of you who purchased my books after reading this column.

Just a note to add; If you look at the top right hand corner of the side bar you will see a link to daily sports scores. We made an agreement with Baseball 24 in a mutual sharing situation. Hope its helpful to fans of several sports.


No comments:

Post a Comment