Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#441 - Tom Ragland

This is Tom Ragland’s only solo card. That means it is his last card – in ’72 he had a shared rookie card. Here he poses at Yankee Stadium during what was by far his most-used season in MLB. Going to Cleveland in a winter deal for pitcher Vince Colbert, Tom put in a decent amount of time at second, pretty much splitting the position with Jack Brohamer and John Lowenstein. He even got fielding props from Gaylord Perry which did not happen very often. But Tom was gone from Cleveland pretty much as quickly as he arrived. In fact this card has his whole MLB history on it as he never played another game up top. This will be a mighty short post.

Tom Ragland was born and grew up in Alabama and the one decent source I found about him claims that he graduated Carver High in Gadsden, Alabama, in 1965. But baseball-reference has him coming out of Northern High School in Detroit that same year so I guess they had as tough a time researching this guy as I did. Either way he was a 15th-rounder for Washington in that year’s draft and that season generated some pretty good numbers as a Rookie League shortstop. They weren’t nearly as good in A ball the next couple seasons when he also played some second base but in ’68 he showed enough at that level to get promoted the next year to Triple A where he resided a significant part of the next four years. In ’69 it was all second base in Buffalo where he began to develop pretty good OBA numbers, averaging about .355 the next four years. Then in ’70 he moved to Denver where he had similar numbers. In ’71 he made the opening day DC roster and debuted early that April at second before finishing out the year in Denver. In ’72 he reversed that, starting off in Triple A and moving up top later in the season. Then in ’73 came the trade and it was all Cleveland. He was released after the season and managed to hook back up with the Bears in ’74 which by then had become a Houston franchise. For them he hit .249 as the regular guy at second and then he was done. Along with his published stats he hit .251 in the minors with a .350 OBA.

And that’s it. The only bit I have found on this guy since his career ended is one of those “Where Are They Now” type articles written on the 25th anniversary of the Senators’ final game in DC that came out in ’96 (Ragland played second in that game). But I would have to buy that article and my curiosity isn’t that intense. Plus it’s already 16 years old so it’s not exactly current. So Tom goes down as one of the most mysterious guys in the whole set.

Tom also got hit ten times in ’70 and eleven times in ’72. Not exactly Ron Hunt numbers but I guess he crowded the plate. Up top he only got hit twice.

Let’s use a guy with no neck to hook up a guy with no information:

1. Ragland and Walt “No Neck” Williams ’73 Indians;
2. Williams and Bill Melton ’68 to ’72 White Sox;
3. Melton and Jim Kaat ’73 to ’75 White Sox.

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