Friday, April 15, 2011
#139 - Aurelio Monteagudo
Although the information available on Aurelio is sparse, it seems like he had a pretty dramatic life. His dad, Rene, was a major leaguer from Cuba who went 3-7 in three seasons between 1938 and '45 for the Senators and Phillies. A good hitter, by the early '40s he had moved to the outfield also and in '45 hit over .300 for the Phillies. He had a long minor league career, batting over .300 lifetime and his first two years winning a total of 37 games in Single A ball. Aurelio was born in Cuba in '43 and the Monteagudo family was still living there when Castro took over and they fled to Venezuela. I guess Rene wasn't one of Fidel's favorite ball players.
In '61 Aurelio was signed by the A's and that year went 11-4 in D ball. In '62 he pitched well in B ball but not so great at a couple higher levels. But after a good camp in '63 he moved up to Triple A where his numbers were good enough to get a late call-up and throw a few respectable relief innings in Kansas City. In '64 and '65 he would move back and forth between Triple A and KC, '64 being his major league high in innings when he did spot work, but not too successfully as he posted that fat ERA. While he was a starter in the minors he would do much better as a reliever up top. Those two years he won a total of 21 at the lower level with an ERA of 3.01. He began '66 with KC and was doing pretty well when he was sold to Houston where he again did the back and forth, also again posting fine Triple A numbers. The next three years he moved to the Reds, the White Sox, back to the Reds, and to the Cards, all primarily in Double and Triple A where by now he was relieving as well. While his ERA would move up a bit in '67 - as it did again in '69 - he would generally post good numbers, peaking in '68 when he was a combined 11-7 with a 2.88 ERA.Unfortunately during that span his MLB numbers weren't so great. In the winter of '69/'70 he was drafted from the Cards chain in the minor league draft by the Royals.
In 1970 Monteagudo would follow some more good Triple A work with his best season in the majors that year, finally winning his first game. In '71 he went 12-4 with a 2.60 ERA for the Royals Triple A club, but instead of earning a promotion, he hit the road again, this time via the Rule 5 draft to Milwaukee. He was released by the Brewers during '72 spring training, signed with the Padres, and put in another year-plus of good Triple A work, posting a 2.37 ERA. Then, in '74, despite the Traded card, Aurelio played not at all for Philadelphia nor any of its teams, but instead moved down to Mexico, where he played the next few years. His final work in The States was a brief Triple A trial for California in '83. He finished with a 3-7 record - just like his dad - with a 5.05 ERA and four saves. In the minors he went 102-73 with an ERA in the mid-3.00s. He wasn't a bad hitter and in the minors he posted an average above .200.
As indicated above, Monteagudo pitched in Mexico for eight seasons. There he went 106-85 with a 2.93 ERA and earlier this year had his number retired by one club, Monclova. He also played a bunch of winter ball in Venezuela during his career. His dad died during the '73 season at only 57. Aurelio managed for a season in the Angels system in '82 and then in Mexico in the late Eighties. His record was 185-257 and he was still managing for Saltillo when he passed away in a car crash in 1990. He was 46.
The Traded card looks like it's from an earlier season. I've seen what looks like a giant termite mound behind Aurelio before. It's definitely Arizona and I think it is taken at Sun City - later Diablo Stadium - the Brewers' spring training field in the early '70s.
Aurelio's two good Triple A seasons get star bullet print. It's pretty surprising those numbers didn't get him back to the majors, especially in '72 since the Padres were ALWAYS hurting back then for good pitching. I have done some digging on his Topps history. Aurelio had seven Topps cards, eight including this Traded one. That works out to two-plus cards per win and one per every nine games which has to be some sort of a record.
This was an interesting trade. Monty - that was his nickname - was sort of delayed compensation in a deal that essentially swapped Denny Doyle for Billy Grabarkewitz. In fact, Billy was the only player who actually moved during the '73 season. That last line in the write-up just wasn't to be.
In another bit of tragic trivia, three men named Aurelio have played in the majors. All three of them died in car crashes.
Let's get a Hall of Famer into this exercise:
1. Monteagudo and Nolan Ryan '73 Angels;
2. Ryan and Ken McMullen '72 Angels;
3. McMullen and Ed Brinkman '65 to '70 Senators.