Friday, March 1, 2013

#507 - Larry Stahl

In contrast to the past few posts’ this one is going to be a quick one. Larry Stahl gets a posed shot at Candlestick for his final card. Larry had been purchased by Cincinnati after the end of the ’72 season for some outfield reserve and pinch-hitting work and though his K total got a little toppy in ’73 he performed both roles pretty well, especially in the playoffs when he hit .500 against the Mets. By the time this card came out Larry would be on the move. Released by the Reds late in spring training, he hooked up with the Giants and spent the season as a reserve guy on their Triple A team. It was his last season so the card is an appropriate monument to his career.

Larry Stahl grew up in Belleville, Illinois where he presumably played ball in school but there is no information out there in that regard. He was signed by the A’s in 1960 when he was 19. A contact-hitting outfielder with very good defensive skills, he hit .258 that summer in D ball. He then spent the next two summers in C ball where he hit .273 and in ’62 tried his hand at pitching, going 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA in six games. He showed a little power and better speed those two years and in ’63 moved up to A ball for a couple teams, hitting .292 at one of them. In ’64 he moved to Double A where he hit .286 with a .373 OBA and 47 RBI’s in just over half a season. He made his debut for KC that September, hitting pretty well down the stretch. In ’65 it was back to Triple A where he hit .280 with eleven triples before another call-up. While his average wasn’t nearly as good this time, his power was much better with four homers in his 81 at bats. In ’66 it was all KC as he split time in left with Jim Gosger, which was odd since they were both left handers. After the season, with a bunch of younger outfielders coming up, Larry was placed on waivers by the A’s and selected by the Mets.

With New York, Stahl was back and forth between the minors, hitting about .233 in a couple seasons of primarily center field work up top and doing much better at the lower level. In ’67 he hit .288 and in ’68 he sort of exploded with a .366 average, a .425 OBA, and twelve steals in 224 at bats. After that season he was selected by San Diego in the expansion draft. With the Padres Larry worked primarily out of left field, mostly as a reserve. In ’70 he spent time in Triple A again, this time hitting .336 with ten steals in 140 at bats. In ’71 he got his most work in a season split between both corners and had his best offensive numbers. He continued in that role in ’72 and though his stats came down he had a high-profile moment when in a game against the Cubs he was the final batter in what had until him been a perfect game by Milt Pappas. Pappas had two strikes on Larry when the umpire called two close pitches balls and he walked to first. Pappas got the next guy for a no-hitter but it was a pretty controversial game. After the season Larry was sold and he finished things up in ’74 with all the stats on the card back. He had that .500 average in his four games of post-season work also.

It appears that after playing Stahl returned to his home base in Belleville where at some point he got into the bar business, opening Centerfield Tavern, which is again apparently still running.

I think Larry’s cartoon is based pretty strictly on the playoff appearances. That homer in the second star bullet went over 500 feet. It looks like he never got too far from Illinois.

I think the Philly connection works best for this hook-up:

1. Stahl and Ollie Brown ’69 to ’72 Padres;
2. Brown and Mike Schmidt ’74 to ’77 Phillies;
3. Schmidt and Ed Farmer ’74 and ’82 to ’83 Phillies.

No comments:

Post a Comment