Saturday, May 30, 2015

White Sox Bonus Baby, Jim Derrington

Recently, I've been looking at some of my cards from the Topps 1958 set. I came across this card for White Sox hurler, Jim Derrington.  I had never heard of him and noted that his birthday was on November 29, 1939, which would have made him an eighteen year-old during the 1958 season.  The card showed that Derrington had appeared in 21 games.

Topps 1958 Jim Derrington Card #129
I did research on Derrington and found that on September 12, 1956 he was signed as a 16 year-old bonus baby from South Gate, California.  His contract with the White Sox included a bonus of $65,000 (a contract today that would be worth over $550,000). 
The Bonus Baby
The term “bonus baby” was used to describe a player who received a large signing bonus upon signing a professional baseball contract. They were called “babies” because of their youth, as many were signed as teenagers, directly out of high school or early college.
The bonus baby era began in 1947, and ended in 1965. The bonus rule was conceived in reaction to bidding wars between major league teams over highly touted young prospects in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Prior to the adaption of the rule, the competition for top amateur talent created large signing bonus. The rule forestalled the ability for teams, primarily the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cardinals, to sign the best young talent and keep it in their farm systems.
At the time that the White Sox signed Derrington, the rule stipulated that when a Major league team signed a player to a contract in excess of $4,000, that team was required to keep the player on their 25-man Major league roster for two full seasons. If the team failed to comply with this rule they could lose that player's rights as the player was then to be exposed to the waiver wire.
Bonus babies were signed as a result of their potential, and many of these players did not succeed.   However, four of the 1947–1965 bonus babies had Hall of Fame careers.  Al Kaline, signed with the Tigers in 1953, Harmon Killebrew signed with the Senators in 1954, Sandy Koufax was a Dodger signee in 1954, and Jim "Catfish" Hunter signed with the A's in 1964.  In June of 1965, the amateur free agent draft was introduced, which limited drafted prospects to negotiate with a single team.  The purpose of the draft was to reduce signing bonus amounts, and the bonus rule was eliminated.
Jim Derrington
When Jim Derrington signed in September 1956, he was immediately added to the White Sox roster.  The 6' 3" left hander pitched in one game that season, against the A's.  He was the starting pitcher in the White Sox's final game of the year.  The 16 year-old took the loss in the A's 7 - 6 victory.  He pitched six innings, giving up nine hits and six runs, five which were earned, while issuing six walks, with a balk, and striking out three.  Derrington still holds the record as the youngest pitcher to start a Major league game.  In addition, he singled in the fourth inning, making him the youngest player in American League history to get a base hit.  
The following season, Derrington appeared in 20 games, with five starts and 15 relief appearances.  He pitched 37 innings, with no wins and one defeat and a 4.86 earned run average. Derrington struck out 14 batters and walked 29.  On August 10 of that year, Derrington was the starting pitcher against the Tigers. For seven innings, the Tigers were shutout and they didn't get a base hit until Bill Tuttle's one-out sixth inning double.  In the eighth inning, Reno Bertoia, another bonus baby, hit a two-run homer off Derrington.  After that home run, the White Sox summoned Billy Pierce from the bullpen. Pierce yielded four runs to the Tigers, and the White Sox lost 6-4. That was as close as Derrington ever got to winning a Major league game.  He made his final his big league appearance on September 29 against the Indians, at age 17 and 10 months.
Following spring training in 1958, Derrington was sent to the White Sox's triple-A team, the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association.  After pitching a couple of seasons in minors and as spring training of 1960 was ending, Derrington was scheduled to make the White Sox's Major league roster.  In an exhibition against the Pacific Coast League's Sacramento Solons, he threw a couple of fastballs that bounced off the plate. The next morning, he was unable to straighten his left arm. So as spring training ended, instead of going to Chicago, Derrington was sent to San Diego to see the team doctor, who gave him two cortisone injections in his left elbow.
Derrington was told that he had ripped all the ligaments and tendons in his left elbow, and that he would never be able to throw again like he did.  So he opened the 1960 season with the Pacific Coast League San Diego Padres, as their starting right fielder.  At the conclusion of the following season, after he had spent four years in the minors, Derrington's playing career ended.  He was only 22.
Upon his retirement, Derrington returned to southern California, and his hometown of South Gate, and went to work in his father's TV and appliance store.  In 1968, he took over the business and later expanded it to five stores.  Derrington sold the business in 1979, and then a friend got him a job managing a produce company in Anaheim, where he worked until 1989.

At that time, Derrington wanted to get back into baseball, as a coach.  Beginning in 1991, he spent his free time working as an unpaid assistant coach at Fullerton High School.  Then from 1995 through 1998, he coached and managed an independent league team, the Mission Viejo Vigilantes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Kodak 2000 Alex Rodriguez Players Collection Motion Card

Recently my son-in-law gave me a Kodak 2000 Alex Rodriguez Players Collection Motion Card.

I've never seen this card (if you want to call it a card) before, as it show a young A-Rod, in motion, while with the Mariners.  It is little quirky, but it's now in my collection.
Last Thursday, Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays, to move into fourth place on baseball's all-time home run list. Rodriguez hit career homer No. 661 at Yankee Stadium in the Yankees 4 to 3 victory over the Orioles.  Batting in the third inning, A-Rod homered off Orioles' starting pitcher, Chris Tillman. 
The home run seemed to not be that big of deal.  There were some articles about Rodriguez' pursuit of Mays prior to the historic homer, and he received a curtain call from Yankee fans after the home run, and ESPN made it their Top Play of the Day.
Now the story most written about is that the Yankees are not going to pay Rodriguez a $6 million bonus for passing Mays. The bonus was included in Rodriguez' contract with the thinking that the Yankees could make millions of dollars for the accomplishment.  The team has seemed to ignored the whole thing other than a reminder on the scoreboard.  I didn't think you will find any Rodriguez 661 home run t-shirts.
At this time, the Yankees are in first place in the American League Eastern Division. Rodriguez has been their regular designated hitter, while spending time playing third and first base.  He is currently batting .247 (24 hits in 97 at bats) with 7 home runs and 19 RBI.  He is second on the team in home runs and RBI to Mark Teixeira.
Rodriguez needs 53 homers to catch Yankee All-Time great Babe Ruth.   After Ruth, Rodriguez still needs to pass Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762) to become the all-time home run leader.  A-Rod will be 40 in July, and needs more than 100 home runs to move beyond Bonds.  If he wants to pass Bonds, at a minimum, he will probably need to play another three seasons.  If he does get to 763 home runs, his legacy will likely be similar to how Bonds is currently received by a majority in the baseball community.  However, with the passing of Mays, and with his 661 home runs, Rodriguez moves into some very rarefied air.   
Thank you for reading my blog.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Baseball Fathers and Sons: Seattle Pilots

The Seattle Pilots were an American League Expansion team in 1969.  They played only one season in Seattle and moved to Milwaukee prior to the beginning of the 1970 season.  The Pilots finished with a record of 64 - 98 and in sixth place in the Western Division.  The Pilots had three players who are fathers of major leaguers, one player whose father played in the major leagues, and their manager was a son of a major leaguer.

Topps 1970 Seattle Pilots Team Card #713 
The Seattle Pilots started their season on April 8, 1969 at Anaheim Stadium against the Angels.  In the top of the first inning, facing Angels' opening day starter, Jim McGlothlin, Tommy Harper lead off the game with a double.  Mike Hegan, son of Jim Hegan, followed with a homer to give the Pilots a 2 - 0 lead.  Later in the inning, Pilots catcher Jerry McNertney's single plated Tommy Davis and Don Mincher.  The Pilots lineup batted around that inning as Tommy Harper's ground out ended the inning and the Pilots lead 4 - 0. 
In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Angels had closed the score to 4 - 2, when the Pilots relieved starting pitcher Marty Pattin, with Diego Segui, father of David Segui.  Diego Segui ended up piching into the 9th inning.  His totals for the game were three inning pitched, giving up two hits and one earned run.   The Pilots won the game 4 - 3, and opened their only season with a victory.
After a second game loss to the Angels, the Pilots won their home opener against the White Sox and then won the second game of that series to improve their record to 3 wins and 1 loss.  This was the only time during the season that the Pilots' record stood two games over .500.
The Skipper
1983 Galasso 1969 Pilots Joe Schultz  #2
Joe Schultz was the manager of the 1969 Seattle Pilots.  Schultz's only other managerial experience was serving as interim manager for the 1973 Tigers, when he replaced Billy Martin on August 31, and he finished the year managing 28 games, winning 14 and losing 14.  He was a Cardinal coach beginning in 1963 through 1968 and worked with three National League pennant winners (1964, 1967 and 1968), and two world championship clubs (1964, 1967).  The success of the Cardinals led to Schultz's 1969 opportunity with the Pilots.  

1968 Topps 1967 World Series The Cardinals Celebrate with Tim McCarver, Orlando Cepeda, and Joe Schultz #158
Schultz and Pilots' general manager Marvin Milkes thought the Pilots could finish third in the newly formed American League Western Division.   However, the Pilots had many off-the-field problems. They played in a minor league park, Sick's Stadium, that was inadequate even as a temporary facility and the season was plagued by unstable ownership as they were nearly broke by the end of the season.  Schultz had kept the team within striking distance of .500 for most of the early part of the season. However, after a 9–20 July, any chance for a respectful finish ended.
Schultz was the son of a major league outfielder.  His father, Joe (Germany) Schultz, played in the National League between 1912–1916 and  1919–25.  Schultz Sr. later became a minor league manager for the Cardinals.  In 1932,  the elder Schultz managed the Houston Buffaloes as Joe Jr. was the team's batboy.  That season, at age 13, Joe Jr. appeared in his first professional game, as a pinch hitter for the Buffaloes. 
Then in 1936, Joe Jr. signed his first professional contract with the Cardinals.  In 1939, he was drafted by the Pirates, where his father now worked as minor league director. After appearing in 22 games for Pittsburgh between 1939–41, Schultz returned to St. Louis.  This time, he played with the American League Browns, where he spent six seasons (1943–48) as a backup catcher. In 328 major-league at bats, during his  nine major league seasons, Schultz batted .259 with one home run.

1993 Conlon Collection Joe Schultz #790

Joe Schultz Sr. was an outfielder who played for seven National League team.  Schultz played 11 seasons including six years with the Cardinals.  The only National League team he didn't played for was the New York Giants as the National League had only eight teams from 1900 through 1962.  For his career, Schultz batted .285 (558 hits in 1959 at bats) with 15 home runs and 248 RBI in 1,959 games. In his finest season, with the 1922 Cardinals, he appeared in 112 games, batted .314 (108 hits in 344 at bats) with two home runs and 64 RBI. 
Starting Right Fielder
Mike Hegan was the starting right fielder in the Pilots first game.  For the season, Hegan played in 95 games, with 78 hits in 267 at bats and hitting 8 home runs with 37 RBI.  His .292 batting average was a team high.   He was the son of longtime major league catcher, Jim Hegan.
Topps 1969 Mike Hegan #577
Mike Hegan began his major league career breaking in as a 21 year-old with the Yankees in 1964.  He also played for the Pilots, Brewers (two different times) and A's, mainly as a first baseman and outfielder.  He returned to play again with the Yankees during parts of the 1973 and 1974 seasons.  While playing with the A's, he was a member of their 1972 World Championship team, serving as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement at first base.  During his career, Hegan set an American League record for most consecutive error-less games as a first baseman (178).
1973 Topps 1972 World Series Game No. 2 A's Make it Two Straight #204
Here is a card from the Topps 1973 set for the 1972 World Series, showing Hegan at first base, in the bottom of the 6th inning, receiving a throw from A's second baseman, Dick Green, after Johnny Bench was retired with Tony Perez safe at first base.
Hegan played in 965 games during his 12 major league seasons.  His career batting average was .242 (504 hits in 2,080 at bats) with 53 home runs in 229 RBI.  His best season was in 1970 while with the Brewers, he played in 148 games, batting .244 (116 hits in 476 at bats) with 11 home runs in 52 RBI.  Hegan was named to the 1969 All-Star, although he didn't play in the game.
In addition to playing with the A's in the 1972 World Series, Hegan appeared in the 1964 World Series with the Yankees.  He had one World Series hit (for the A's) in six at bats.  He scored a run in Game One of the 1964 Series as a pinch runner when he crossed home plate on a Bobby Richardson single.  His run made the score Cardinals 6, Yankees 5, in a game that the Cardinals ended up winning 9 - 5.  Hegan also appeared in the 1971 and 1972 American League Championship series with the A's.
Topps 1957 Jim Hegan #136
Jim Hegan played 17 seasons in the major leagues, including 14 seasons with the Indians.  He was named to five American All-Star teams, and played in the 1950 and 1951 All-Star games.  He spent  the last three years of his career (1958 - 1960) with the Tigers, Phillies, Giants, and Cubs.  He played in the 1948 and 1954 World Series for the Indians, and was a World Champion when the Indians defeated the Boston Braves in the 1948 World Series, 4 games to 2.  Hegan hit a three run home run during the 1948 series in the Indians Game Five 11 - 5 victory.  For his career, Hegan played in 1,666 games, batting .228 (1,087 hits in 4,772 at bats) with 92 home runs and 525 RBI.
Bullpen Stalwarts  
Diego Sequi and John O'Donoghue were the righty - lefty combination for the Pilots bullpen.  Sequi, the righty, lead the team in appearances (66 games) and saves (12) and he also started eight times, completing, two games and finished the season with 12 wins and 6 losses.  His 12 wins was the second highest victory total for the Pilots, to Gene Brabender's 13 wins.  O'Donoghue was the team's top lefty fireman as he appeared in 55 games with six saves and his 2.96 ERA was the club's second best, trailing only Bob Locker's 2.18.  O'Donoghue season record was two wins and two losses while pitching 70 innings with 48 strikeouts.  Note:  Jim Bouton, who wrote the book Ball Four about his 1969 season with the Pilots and Astros, finish second in appearances for the Pilots, pitching in 57 games for Seattle.  
1970 Topps Diego Sequi #2
Diego Segui was born in Holguin, Cuba on August 17, 1937.  His son, David Segui, a first basemen and outfielder, played 15 seasons in the major leagues.  Diego Segui pitched for the Kansas City A's (two different times), Senators, Oakland A's (two different times), Pilots, Cardinals, Red Sox, and Mariners in parts of 15 seasons between 1962–1977. 
Diego Segui was the 14th selection of the 1968 American League Expansion Draft, picked from the A's roster.  His 12 victories during the 1969 season were his career high.  In 1970, with the A's, when he won 10 games, Segui lead the American League with a 2.56 ERA.  For his career, Segui appeared in 639 games, winning 92 and losing 111 with 1298 strikeouts. 
His last season in the major leagues was in 1977, when he returned to Seattle, during the inaugural season of the Mariners.  He started the Mariners' first game on April 6.   He failed to get a win during the season and finished the season with a 0–7 record and a 5.69 ERA.  Segui was released at the end of the season.  He holds the distinction of having pitched for both of Seattle's major league baseball teams, and in the first game ever played by each franchise.
After completing his major league career, Segui continued pitching for another 10 years in the Mexican League, where he had a pitching record of 96–61 with a 2.91 ERA and 1,025 strikeouts in 193 appearances.
Segui's lone World Series appearance was pitching in the 8th inning of Game Five of the 1975 World Series for the Red Sox.  The Red Sox loss the game to the Reds 6 to 2, as the Reds won the World Series 4 games to 3.
1993 Leaf David Segui #262
David Segui played with the Orioles, Mets, Expos, Mariners, Blue Jays, Rangers, and Indians during his 15 major league seasons.  He made his debut on May 8, 1990, at age 23, with the Orioles and he played his final game, also with the Orioles, on September 8, 2004.  For his career, Segui batted .291 (1,412 hits in 4,847 at bats) with 139 home runs and 684 RBI in 1,456 major league games.
Topps 1970 John O'Donoghue #441
John O'Donoghue pitched for the Kansas City A's (1963–1965), Indians (1966–1967), Orioles (1968), Pilots (1969), Brewers (1970), and Expos (1970–1971). During a 9-year baseball career, O'Donoghue appeared in 257 games with 39 wins and 55 losses, with 377 strikeouts, and a 4.07 ERA.   His son, John O'Donoghue, pitched for the Orioles in 1993.
John O'Donoghue, the father, was primarily a starting pitcher during the first half of his major league career, and used as a reliever during the second half of his career. From 1963-1967, while pitching for the A's and Indians, O'Donoghue started in 93 of his 139 games, with 13 complete games and four shutouts.  From 1968-1971, he relieved in 115 of his 118 games with ten saves.
On April 30, 1969, O'Donoghue was traded to the Pilots from the Orioles.  At the time, he was pitching with the Rochester Red Wings of the Intentional League, the Orioles AAA affiliate, who were managed by Cal Ripken, Sr.
O'Donoghue first win with the Pilots come on June 8 in Baltimore. He entered the game with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning and he retired all 13 batters he faced in the Pilots 7 - 5 victory.
In 1965, O'Donoghue was selected to the American League All-Star team, although he did not appear in the game.  During that season, while pitching with the A's, he appeared in 34 games, starting 30 of those games.  His record was nine wins and eighteen losses with a 3.95 ERA.  His loss total tied for a league high with Red Sox hurler Dave Morehead and Tigers ace Bill Monbouquette. 
1993 Bowman John O'Donoghue #197
John O'Donoghue, the son, made his major league debut on June 27, 1993 as the Orioles starting pitcher against the Yankees.  He gave up 6 earned run in 6.2 innings, and was the losing pitcher, as Baltimore lost 9-5. His next 10 appearances were in relief, where he gave up 4 earned runs in 13 innings.
In the 1994 season, O'Donoghue pitched for the Rochester Red Wings.  He was traded to the Dodgers in December 1994 and never again pitched in the major leagues.  O'Donoghue's 1993 season and career totals were 11 games pitched, with a 0-1 record, with 16 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched, and an ERA of 4.58. 

Catcher, Larry Haney
Larry Haney was the 32nd selection of the 1968 American League Expansion Draft, plucked from the Orioles roster.  Larry Haney's Topps 1969 card was a uncorrected error reverse negative of the same photo that Topps used for his 1968 card.   On the 1969 card, he appears to be a left-handed throwing catcher.
Topps 1969 Larry Haney #209
Topps 1968 Larry Haney #42
Larry Haney played catcher for 12 seasons in the major leagues, from 1966 to 1978 with the Orioles, Pilots, A's (three different times), Cardinals, and Brewers.  During his career, he batted .215 (198 hits in 919 at bats), with 12 home runs and 73 RBI.  His son, Chris Haney, pitched in the major leagues for 11 seasons. 
On July 27, 1966, against the Indians, Larry Haney hit a home run in his first major league game (in his second at bat), off his future Pilot teammate, John O'Donoghue.  Haney begun the 1969 season with the Pilots and spent two months with the team.  During his stay with the Pilots, he played in 22 games, batting .254 (15 hits in 59 at bats) with two home runs and 7 RBI. 
On April 29, the Angels and Pilots played in Seattle, in a rematch of opening day opponents.  The game feature opening day starting pitchers, the Pilots Marty Pattin, and Jim McGlothlin for the Angels.  With 1,954 in attendance, Haney's solo home run, leading off the bottom of the 8th inning, was the only run of the game in the Pilots 1 - 0 victory.  On June 14, Haney was traded to the A's for second baseman, John Donaldson.
Haney's best season was with the 1967 Orioles when he played in 58 games, batting .268 (44 hits in 164 at bats) with 3 home runs and 20 RBI.  He was on the 1974 World Champion A's, when he played in 76 games, batting .165 (20 hits in 121 at bats) with 2 home runs and 3 RBI.  During the 1974 World Series, he appeared as a catcher in two games against the Dodgers, a Series the A's won 4 games to 1, giving them their three consecutive World Championship.
1992 Fleer Chris Haney #483
Chris Haney pitched in the Major Leagues from 1991–2000 and in 2002 for the Expos, Royals, Cubs, Indians, and Red Sox.   In 2001, he played in Japan for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks.  Haney appeared in 196 Major League games and finished with a record of 38 wins and 52 losses and a 5.07 ERA.  He started 125 games, and with eight complete games and two shutouts and one career save.  His most successful seasons were when he pitched for the Royals from 1992 through 1998.   His best season was in 1996, when he served as a full-time starter, with 35 starts, and finished the year with a 10-14 record and a 4.70 ERA.  During the season, he pitched 228 innings with 115 strikeouts and gave up a league high 267 base hits. 
The 1970 Milwaukee Brewers
1971 Topps Milwaukee Brewers Team Card #698
After the 1969 season ended, some members of the Pilots' ownership group made contact with car salesman and former Milwaukee Braves minority owner Bud Selig, who was leading the effort to bring major league baseball back to Milwaukee. After the end of the season, they met in secret and then during the World Series, it was agreed that Selig would purchase the Pilots for $10.8 million and move the team to Milwaukee.

However, some members of the Pilots' ownership group turned down the sale to Selig.  In the face of political pressure from Washington State senators, Warren Magnuson and Henry "Scoop" Jackson, two other offers were made to keep the Pilots in Seattle.  However one effort was unable to secure the necessary financing and a second effort was rejected by Major League team owners.
After a winter and spring of court actions, the Pilots reported for spring training with a new manager, Dave Bristol, and were unsure of where they might play. The team owners had received tentative approval of the sale to the Milwaukee group, but the state of Washington got an injunction on March 16 to stop the deal.  The Pilots then filed for bankruptcy in a move intended to delay the state's legal action.   Later in March, at a bankruptcy hearing, Pilots' General Manager Milkes testified there was not enough money to pay coaches, players, and office staff.  If payment to the players would have been more than 10 days late, they would have become free agents and left Seattle without a team.  On April 1, the Pilots were declared bankrupt and six days before Opening Day, they moved to Milwaukee.