Monday, January 30, 2012

#322 - Ernie McAnally

Ernie McAnally is the latest of a few players in this set that did the position player to pitcher shift after his career started. Ernie was a third baseman/outfielder and sometimes pitcher growing up in Texas and switched gears while in the minors. Although in '73 he improved his record markedly it was not his finest season and Ernie wouldn't stick around in the majors too much longer. Here he appears to be about to orate - he was a big Christian athlete - at Shea.

Ernie McAnally grew up in Mount Pleasant, Texas, where he played hoops and baseball in high school. After graduating in '64 he went to Paris Junior College where in '65 he continued playing third base and in '66 made the All-Junior College Tournament team as a catcher after helping Paris reach fifth place in the nationals. That summer he was drafted by the Mets and went to Rookie ball where he hit .265 as an outfielder. In '67 he missed some time to kick off his military hitch and then hit .246 in A ball. In neither season did he display much power and in '68 he moved to the mound in A ball, going 9-7 with a high ERA but also a strikeout an inning. Ernie had a killer fastball and he would pretty much maintain the strikeout pace in the minors after being drafted by the Expos organization following the '68 season. '69 was spent in A ball where he only got eleven starts but improved his ERA considerably. In '70 he began adding a curve to his repertory while going 12-13 in Triple A. The next spring he made the Expos roster.

In '71 McAnally went 11-12 his rookie year while leading the NL with 18 wild pitches. It would be his best season as he continued to post relatively high ERA's and didn't exactly exhibit tight control. His control improved a bit in '72 but his record sure didn't. But '73 started realtively well for him as despite a couple missed starts and lots of no-decisions he was 5-1 with a 2.96 ERA by mid-June. But then things got a little sloppy as he missed a couple more starts, his ERA got fat, and he spent about a month out of the rotation. In '74 his record fell to 6-13 and after the season he was sold to Cleveland. For the Indians Ernie pitched one start at Triple A in '75 and was then released. He went 30-49 for his career with a 4.03 ERA, 21 complete games, and six shutouts.

After playing McAnally returned to his hometown where he got into banking. For a bunch of years he has been a senior vice-president of American National Bank there. I have enclosed a recent photo of him at an awards ceremony here.

That first star bullet is pretty impressive given it was achieved during his third season as a pitcher. The second star bullet represents a career high for Ernie which was written about in a nice article a few years ago by a journalist who had met Ernie through a family friend when she was a kid. I have linked to that article here.

Let's get to some music stuff here. In '73 January 27th saw two new number ones on both sides of the pond. In the States Stevie Wonder's great song "Superstition" hit the top. In honor of this subject's post it is appropriate to mention that one of the guys who covered this song to acclaim was fellow Texan Stevie Ray Vaughan. In the UK that group Slade scored another top song. "Blockbuster!" would stay in that spot over there for five weeks. These guys were pretty huge. I frankly didn't remember them until resarching music back then for this site. Lastly on this date in '73 a group formerly known as Wicked Lester performed its first show in a club in Queens NY under its new name: Kiss.

So Ernie takes a sort of meandering route back to Steve Braun:

1. McAnally and Mike Marshall '71 to '73 Expos;
2. Marshall and Rod Carew '78 Twins;
3. Carew and Steve Braun '71 to '76 Twins.

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