I know nobody was really a fan of these old San Diego uniforms but they sure do stand out against some beautiful outfield grass like what is behind Pat Corrales in this photo. That lawn is nearly perfect in what I’m pretty sure is Wrigley (those row houses behind right field look about right). This was it for Pat as he’d never get another MLB at bat after 1973. It was his second season doing his back-up thing for the Padres after he’d done it a bunch elsewhere in the NL. I like this card but it pales next to his one from ’73, an action shot in which he appears to have been just bowled over by Fergie Jenkins but still has the ball in his hand (Jenkins was out). There’s a good chance this shot is taken from that same day.
Pat Corrales went to Fresno High School in California where he played baseball with future MLB guys Dick Selma and Jim Maloney (Tom Seaver would be another big league alumni a few years later). He was signed by the Phillies after his senior season of ’59 and put in some time in D ball around his military work. In ’60 he showed good power with 60 RBI’s and also led his league in putouts at the same level. In ’61 he continued his ascent by hitting .309 in B ball and was making a name for himself with excellent defensive work. In ’62 he hit only .206 in a year split between A and Triple A but his average was higher at the upper level. He had a much better ’63 in Double A with a .260 and then had one of his best years in ’64 with a .304 and .367 OBA in Triple A, the year he made his debut in Philadelphia. He had a slow start in ’65 but was called up anyway after starter Clay Dalrymple was hurt and back-up Gus Triandos was aging too fast. Pat had what would be his busiest season and was named to the Topps Rookie team as he took over the starting catcher role for a bunch of games and did some solid defensive work. After the season he was involved in a big trade that sent him, Alex Johnson, and Art Mahaffrey to the Cards for Dick Groat, Bill White, and Bob Uecker.
With St. Louis Corrales didn’t get too much work behind Tim McCarver and he spent most of the season on the bench. In ’67 he spent it all back in Triple A where he had his best offensive year hitting .274 with ten homers and 54 RBI’s. He then got traded to the Reds just prior to ’68 spring training with Jimmy Williams for fellow catcher Johnny Edwards. That trade cleared the way for hot rookie Johnny Bench and so Pat’s near-term career path was pretty much set as Johnny’s back-up. Around his ’68 numbers he hit .273 in a half-season of Triple A. The next few seasons he got props for being considered the best back-up catcher in MLB which is sort of a mixed blessing I guess. In ’72 the Reds got a younger version of him in Bill Plummer and Pat spent most of the first half of the season back in Triple A where he hit .316 in 98 at bats. That June he went to San Diego for fellow catcher Bob Barton where he finished the year splitting time with Fred Kendall. In ’74 it was back to Triple A where he hit .249 before being released. Along with his stats from the card he hit .266 in the minors and went 0 for 1 in his only post-season appearance.
Corrales moved into coaching right away and in ’75 went 58-72 in the Padres chain before joining the Rangers late that year as a coach. He kept that role until the last game of the ’78 season when he was named manager, which he did through the ’80 season when he was replaced. He then returned to Philly as a coach in ’81 until he again assumed the manager role the next year. In ’83 he had the Phillies in first but GM Paul Owens was unhappy with the team being only a game over .500 so he replaced Pat with himself (he did that a few times) and took them to the Series. Pat almost immediately hooked up with Cleveland and by the end of the year was managing the team, sort of famously going from a first place team to a last place one in the same season. He took the Tribe through a very improved ’86 where he went from over 100 losses to 84 wins. That set the old SI jinx in motion when the magazine picked them to win the division in ’87 but being the Indians they finished dead last with over 100 losses again. That finished Pat there and in ’88 he managed in the Detroit chain, going 58-84, his final gig as a manager. He then coached for the Yankees (‘89) and the Braves (’90-2006) before hooking up with the Nationals where he coached (’07-’08, ’09, and ’11) and did admin work in between. In 2012 he was a special advisor to the team and in 2013 he’ll do the same role for the Dodgers.
Topps gets an A-plus for its prescient cartoon. Pat went 572-634 in his MLB managing career, which is pretty good when you consider the teams he managed. Another good star bullet is his record of reaching base three straight times on errors in one game.
San Diego’s contribution to the big centennial 1976 baseball bash was Nate Colbert’s huge double-header in ’72 in which he had five homers and 13 RBI’s in Atlanta. I covered that one on Nate’s post. He hit two out in the first game with five RBI’s, and three in the second one – one a grand slam – with eight ribbies. His five homers in a day tied a Stan Musial mark from a bunch of years back. Colbert, who grew up outside St. Louis, was at that game.
Let’s try one of my boys for this one:
1. Corrales and Tony Taylor ’64 to ’65 Phillies;
2. Taylor and Don Money ’68 to ’71 Phillies;
3. Money and Bobby Mitchell ’73 to ’75 Brewers.