Monday, March 28, 2011

#124 - Bob Coluccio

After a pretty long drought, we have the second rookie card in the past four cards. Bob Coluccio is happily anticipating his major league career while taking a swing in spring training. It must have been nice for a Washington kid to play baseball in a land of palm trees. He picked a good year to be a rookie as '73 would be the best one to date in the young Seattle/Milwaukee franchise. Out of spring training Bob assumed starting right field duties after Ollie Brown and Joe Lahoud were moved primarily to DH. Despite that designation on Bob's card he only put in a couple games at that position in '73. It would be his best season in the majors and the Brewers organist would raise his profile by playing the theme to The Godfather whenever Bobby came to the plate.

Bob Coluccio was drafted by the Pilots out of nearby Centralia High School in '69. A middling hitter and pretty good fielder, he would split time between the infield and outfield the next four seasons in the minors. He started drawing notice as a potential major leaguer in early '72 when his light hitting but good second base work had him projected as as utility infielder. That year he bumped his average 80 points as he moved to the Triple A outfield where his review was upgraded to "good prospect who needs polish in the outfield."  The next year he made the cut.

In '74 Coluccio moved to center but his power numbers got sliced roughly in half which he claimed was due to some bad advice from Harvey Kuenn, the Milwaukee hitting coach, who wanted Bob to be more of a classic leadoff guy. Then after a few games in '75 in which he couldn't crack .200 he was sent to the White Sox for Bill Sharp. There he moved back to right field but his numbers really didn't recover at all. In '76 and '77 he would play pretty much exclusively at Triple A Iowa, where he put up so-so numbers. He was released at the beginning of the '78 season, signed with Houston, and after a few games with their Triple A club, went to the Cards for whom he finished up the season in the minors as well. Despite an overall year of batting over .300 he was traded after that season to the Mets, for whom he never played. For his career, Bobby hit .220 with 114 RBIs in 370 games. In the minors he hit .262.

According to his home web page - linked to here - Coluccio has been in real estate ever since he finished playing ball where he has apparently done well. He looks almost exactly the same as on his card photo despite one obvious difference.

Bob's other stats from '72 include 19 doubles and a .377 OBA. That Evansville team had a pretty good share of '73 Brewers on it - Pedro Garcia, Jim Slaton, Jerry Bell, and Darrell Porter, among others - and went 83-57. In off-seasons Bob drove a beer truck for one of owner Bud Selig's Schlitz dealerships. That's some name - I get "The Godfather" reference. His nickname while playing was a derivative of Joe Pepitone's Italian Stallion - The Macaroni Pony.

I've used this guy before:

1. Coluccio and Dave May '73 to '74 Brewers;
2. May and Nelson Briles '77 Rangers.

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