Wednesday, August 17, 2011

#228 - Ted Kubiak

Yet another mustached Athletic is Ted Kubiak, shown here looking a little pissed at home. That might be because in '73 Ted got to be part of a grand experiment at second. Charley Finley in away games would insist on the second baseman batting at the top of the order but have a pinch-hitter hit in that spot. Starter Dick Green would then come in to play the field and in a subsequent at bat another pinch hitter would be used. It used up all the team's pinch hitters in the early innings and not so surprisingly was a bust. Playing for Charley O must have been a blast. But Ted got some extra at bats out of it, so for him the whole thing should have been about a push.Ted was a pretty lucky guy, returning to the Bay area just in time to be a part of three Series winners, so I think he should have been a little more welcoming. Maybe he's just practicing his game face.

Kubiak was raised in Jersey and was signed by the KC A's in '61. He kicked things off that year in D ball, moving gradually up the ladder and posting his best all-around season in Double A in '65 where he hit .281 with an OBA of .384. Back then Ted was viewed as a generally superior shortstop to the other young guy in the system, Bert Campaneris, and after a '66 at Triple A he came up in '67 to challenge for the job.

While Kubiak was still being seasoned in the minors, Campaneris worked hard on his D so that by the time Ted got up top, Bet wasn't going to be moved. Ted settled in a utility role, putting in more time at second and third than he did at shortstop. He was a decent contact hitter for that type of player, only striking out every ten at bats. After a couple seasons of sparse use - partly because of time off for military duty - in '69 Campy missed some time on the DL and James Donaldson had gone to the Pilots in the expansion draft so Ted got more at bats than the two prior seasons combined. He then went to the Pilots/Brewers with George Lazerique for Ray Oyler and Diego Segui. In 1970 in Milwaukee Ted saw starting time at both second and shortstop playing by far the most of any season in his career. He did OK offensively, posting a .340 OBA, and helped solidify the middle infield, at least for a season. In '71 Ted continued his double duty thing, losing some time at second to Ron Theobold, and then in late July went to the Cards for Jose Cardenal, Bob Reynolds, and Dick Schofield. But those last two months he only got into about half the games as a reserve and over the winter he was sent to Washington/Texas - Ted seemed to favor going to teams in flux - for Joe Grzenda. After a middling start in '72 for the Rangers, Ted returned to Oakland with Don Mincher for Vic Harris, Marty Martinez, and Steve Lawson. The return would turn out nicely for Ted.

In '72 incumbent second baseman Dick Green had been injured, missing almost the entire season. Ted was one of four guys - Tim Cullen, Larry Brown, and Dal Maxvill were the others - employed to fill the gap. Ted didn't hit terribly well during the season, but he did in the post-season, batting .429 as a late-inning replacement in eight games. After his fun '73 in '74 Ted got more plate time as Green was re-injured and sort of re-retired. But that year Ted got hurt as well before the playoffs and got zero post-season time. Early in the '75 season he was traded to the Padres for Sonny Siebert. He put in two years in San Diego playing mostly in a reserve role at third base. '76 was his last season and he finished with a .231 average in the regular season and .250 in 15 post-season games.

After playing Kubiak moved through a couple businesses before settling into real estate in San Jose in the mid-'80s. By '89 he was back in baseball, managing the Modesto team in the Oakland system. He then moved to the Cleveland organization where he managed various franchises from '94 to 2003. He then became the minor league defensive coordinator for the team from '04 to '08 before moving back to managing. He won a title last year with the Lake County Captains.

Ted gets props for both parts of his game in the star bullets. He also had a game in '70 in which he had seven RBIs. He managed for a while in the NY-Penn league. That's a good place to be for someone who wants to hunt down antiques.

Another crossover guy helps with the connection:

1. Kubiak and Frank Tepedino '71 Brewers;
2. Tepedino and Mike Lum '73 to '74 Braves.

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