Friday, February 1, 2013

#494 - Ed Goodson

The return of the action shot brings us Ed Goodson in his pre-perm days in an at bat at Candlestick. I imagine that could be one of a few guys catching – Johnny Bench, Bob Boone, or Ted Simmons all would have had on red helmets back then – and Boone feels like the safest bet since there are other action shots at Candlestick of Phillies and the hair appears a bit short to belong to Simmons. Regardless of who’s behind the plate a shot of Ed hitting is appropriate since ’73 was his biggest season with the wood up top. After season-ending knee surgery in ’72 Ed returned to pretty much win the starting third base gig from Al Gallagher and Dave Kingman. And while the knee injury and some fierce Candlestick winds contributed to Kingman-like numbers defensively for Ed – his 23 errors were second in the NL – his work at the plate was the best of any Giants third sacker since James Ray Hart was healthy. But Ed wouldn’t get through ’73 unscathed as a broken finger kept him out of action the final month. It would also lead to his exit from baseball down the road.

Ed Goodson moved around a couple times in Virginia before settling in Fries, where he was a star shortstop and may or may not have played hoops. He was drafted by Houston following his senior year in ’66 but instead opted to go to East Tennessee State, where he was All-America his sophomore year. That performance helped him get a $50,000 bonus when he was selected that summer by San Francisco in the secondary draft and he finished out the year with some pretty good numbers in Rookie ball. He split ’69 between a few games at that level and A ball and around his military time spent most of the year at first base. In ’70 he put up some nice numbers in A ball while playing first exclusively and made his debut in San Francisco late that year. In ’71 it was up top and Triple A and at the lower level he began putting in serious time at third base while continuing to hit well. Then in ’72 he banged the ball at a hot clip and was leading the PCL in hitting when he was called to San Francisco for good in May. By then he’d moved back to first and he had a nice rookie year before he went down in August with his knee injury.

Goodson returned again from injury in ’74 and again returned to first base as he hit .272 with 48 RBI’s in 298 at bats while splitting time at the corner with Kingman. But he also got hurt, this time in his hamstring, which contributed to another year of abbreviated numbers. In ’75 he was splitting time pretty evenly between first and third – both in reserve – and only hitting .207 when in June he was shipped to Atlanta for Craig Robinson. For the Braves he played first and pinch hit but the average only moved up to .211 on limited work. After the season he was part of a big trade that saw him and Dusty Baker go to LA for Jimmy Wynn, Tom Paciorek, and Jerry Royster. Ed was never going to play regularly at the corners with iron men Steve Garvey and Ron Cey there but he managed to get enough starts at third and pinch hitting work to get over 100 at bats and hit .229 with 17 RBI’s. He tied the club record that year with 15 pinch hits. In ’77 he mangled up his finger again and he only got token work in the field and at bat. He was released during spring training in ’78 and signed with Cleveland for whom he again played the corners in Triple A. Despite hitting .327 at that level for Portland, his season ended with another injury when he was beaned and suffered a skull fracture, ending his time in pro ball. Ed finished with a .260 average, 30 homers, and 170 RBI’s. He went hitless in a couple post-season pinch hit appearances but hit .309 in the minors.

After playing Goodson worked his way back to Virginia where he began teaching and coaching high school ball in ’82. He won 170 games in his 12 years as a coach and his son was a Cubs draft choice in ’91. He was still working as a teacher in 2011. He also has run a baseball hitting school.

Ed signs his given name of James. The first star bullet is a bit odd because the Dodgers ended up winning that game in the next inning on a Bill Russell hit 12-11 in ’72. On his ’73 card he listed his first hit as his biggest thrill. Ed was the first guy to ever pinch hit for Willie Mays. He did it in ’71 but he struck out. Ed suffered a major injury nearly every season up top. He and Joe Hoerner could have had some fun conversations.

Speaking of Hoerner, it’s time to hook them up:

1. Goodson and Garry Maddox ’72 to ’75 Giants;
2. Maddox and Larry Bowa ’75 to ’81 Phillies;
3. Bowa and Joe Hoerner ’70 to ’72 Phillies.

Maddox also played with Hoerner in ’75 but I thought that would be a bit cheap since Joe only pitched about 20 innings that year.

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