Monday, September 5, 2011

#241 - Glenn Beckert

This is one of two cards like it in the set. It pictures a player on a non-Traded traded card still in the uniform of his former team. The other player pictured this way was the other side of this trade and will be coming up shortly. This post also starts a run of a bunch of double card posts in the next ten or so. I always thought this card was pretty cool. Certainly the un-retouched uniform looks better than all the air-brushed ones. And the blue works pretty well on the Brown and gold Padres colors. It's also an excellent action shot as Mr. Beckert here looks like he was almost running before he even hit the ball at Wrigley. There is a fan behind him who looks like he's decked out in a full complement of Oakland colors. Boy is that guy in the wrong place.

Glenn Beckert grew up in Pittsburgh and then attended Allegheny College in PA where he played hoops and baseball. His sophomore season he set a scoring record in basketball and he was all-conference his three years there at shortstop. Signed by the Red Sox in '62 he exited before his senior year - though he did eventually get a dgree in political science - he kicked things off that year in D ball hitting .280 with an excellent OBA. He was selected after the season in the first year draft by the Cubs and put in a year of A ball good enough to get him to Triple A in '64. Groomed to be the double-play partner of '62 ROY winner Ken Hubbs, Glenn instead came up in '65 to take his place a year after Hubbs died in a plane crash. Beckert pretty much didn't skip a beat, settling in to become a superior defender and in a season, a roughly .290 hitter who was awfully tough to fan. In '68 Glenn led the league in runs, the first guy to do so with under 100 since the dead-ball era. He also had only 20 strikeouts in 685 plate appearances and won a Gold Glove. The following season he was named to the first of four successive All-Star teams. In '71 his average popped to .342 and he came in 11th in MVP voting. But then Glenn aged pretty quickly and by '73 he was pretty much splitting time at second with Paul Popovich. After the season he was traded to the Padres with Bob Fenwick for Jerry Morales. Hence this card.

For the Padres Beckert and another old hand, Horace Clarke, backed up Derrell Thomas at second base. In '75, although he was hitting .375 in a few early season at bats, Glenn was released by San Diego and then retired. He finished with a .283 average and only 243 strikeouts for his career, or less than one every 20 at bats. In the off-season Glenn had been a partner of Ron Santo in life insurance and real estate businesses which he continued for a couple years following his retirement. He then became a commodities broker in Chicago which he did for a bunch of years. Given what happened in those markets around then, it is quite possible he is very comfortable financially.

Glenn seems to have always been outstanding defensively. Regarding the cartoon, he had a five-year run when he had the lowest strikeout ratio in the NL. He also put together two hitting streaks of over 20 games in his career.

This should work as an all-Cubs hookup:

1. Beckert and Rick - or Ricky - Reuschel '72 to '73 Cubs;
2. Reuschel and Joe Coleman '76 Cubs.

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