Thursday, March 24, 2011

#121 - Larry Lintz

This is the first rookie card in a long while and its subject really looks the part. Larry Lintz would have been about 23 when this photo was taken but he looks about 15. He was a little guy, playing at under 150 pounds, and a speedster. Larry was a true rookie in '73, coming up mid-season after starting the year in Triple A where in only 76 games he put up 57 walks and stole 48 bases.While exclusively a shortstop prior to his call-up, Larry would spend most of his field time spelling Ron Hunt at second, and in addition to his publish stats he stole twelve bases in the 40 games he actually saw some plate time. And he started strong too, still posting an above .300 average at the end of August. But September was a bit unkind and unfortunately for Larry he was of a career September guy than an August one. Here he looks like he's doing one of those "kid in a candy store" looks of wonderment at Candlestick.

Larry Lintz was drafted by the Expos out of San Jose State University in '71. He grew up in Oakland and initially went to nearby Laney College, a two-year school. At San Jose State he was a shortsop and his senior year was all-conference while stealing 34 bases. He also ran track in college. He came east to A-level Watertown his first year and hit pretty well. In '72 he moved up to Double A and didn't hit terribly well but stole a bunch of bases and walked enough to have an OBA over .380. In '73 he was brought up to Montreal to add some speed to the lineup.

In '74 Lintz had his biggest season, splitting time at second with Ron Hunt and Jim Cox and stealing 50 bases in a little over 100 games. That was an Expos record until Ron LeFlore came along (he is getting a bit of print in these posts). Gene Mauch, Larry's manager, said he was the best player he ever saw once he was on first base. The trouble was getting him there and Larry's defense, although better than his hitting, was not good enough to warrant him playing full time. In '75 he got into about half the games through July, but his average and stolen base totals declined and he was traded to the Cards for Jim Dwyer. He played very rarely for St. Louis and after the season went to Oakland for a guy named Charlie Chant who had one "t" too many to be a private detective. In Oakland Larry succeeded Herb Washington and Lightning Hopkins as the team's principal designated runner. In the next two years he got only 44 plate appearances but scored 32 runs and stole 44 bases. In '76 his 31 steals contributed to a record AL 341 team stolen bases. He was cut after the '77 season and signed as a free agent with Cleveland. For the Indians he played second and third in Triple A (he also put in a bunch of time for the A's in '78 at that level). But those two positions were a dead end since the Tribe had Duane Kuiper and Buddy Bell and then Toby Harrah there and early in '80 Larry was released. His major league career, which added up to about one whole season was memorialized by a .227 average, 137 runs, and 128 stolen bases. In the minors he hit only ten point higher, but had a .404 OBA.

I cannot find a bit of info on Larry since he finished playing. Sort of like he just ran off to nowhere. There is, however, a Larry Lintz listed as residing in some of the same areas this guy did in California who is also listed a s former mail carrier so perhaps Larry did some work for the post office after baseball.

Despite the steadily declining average, Larry was getting recognition his first couple years. That's a pretty sick stolen base total in '72. Pretty prosaic cartoon but it beats the next one.

This is another all-AL hookup:

1. Lintz and Rich McKinney - remember that guy? - '77 As;
2. McKinney and Wilbur Wood '69 to '71 White Sox.

Rich McKinney was a middle infielder for the Sox who went to the Yankees in '72 to be their third baseman. When that didn't work the Yanks got their new guy who stuck around a long time.

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