Thursday, August 8, 2013

#573 - Mike Adams

With this card we get the third of the set so far of the only card issued by Topps of a player in this set. And like Don Newhauser, a previous member of this small club, there is a serious dearth of information out there on this post’s subject. Mike Adams appears to be in spring training with an out-of-focus catcher behind him. He had a pretty good spring and made the roster out of camp. Until then primarily a second baseman, Mike did some outfield reserve and DH work as he spent the whole season with Minnesota but didn’t see too much action. It would, however, be Mike’s busiest MLB season as he was never really able to bring his minor league hitting success up top. His highlight of the year was probably the home run he hit in Arlington that nearly wrecked phenom David Clyde’s big debut. From one rookie to another that probably felt pretty good.

Mike Adams was born in Cincinnati where his dad, Bobby, was in the midst of his run as a second baseman for the Reds. After Bobby’s playing career ended in the late Fifties he became a Cubs coach and at some point relocated to Anaheim, where Mike went to Loara High School. Like his dad, Mike was a second baseman and both his junior and senior year was his team’s mvp. He was plucked by the White Sox as a tenth round pick that second year of ’66 but instead opted for Fullerton College, a nearby two-year school. The following January he was selected by Detroit in the first round – I guess he had a big fall season – and that time he signed. He had a mixed first year in A ball while playing second: a little light on power and average, but with 13 stolen bases. He also put up big walk and strikeout totals, which would be representative of his career. The former led to big OBA totals and that year his was .381. In ’68 he continued his middle infield work at the same level while his power improved, his average fell,, and he missed the second half of the season to his military commitment. He would then miss all of the ’69 regular season to the military as well before returning in time to some late autumn Instructional ball where he put up a wildly diverse set of stats, hitting .098 with an OBA of .435. He then put up a solid season in A ball in ’70, posting 23 stolen bases and a .414 OBA in addition to his card stats. After the season he was traded to Minnesota for promising pitcher Bill Zepp.

The Twins made two moves with Adams: they sent him to Triple A; and they moved him to the outfield. Both moves worked pretty well as Mike raised his average and OBA (to .424) while missing some time to injury. '72 worked out better as he added a bunch of games at third to his resume and his big stats included 95 runs scored, eleven swipes, and a .419 OBA. He made his debut for the Twins that September and did pretty well in his limited time. In ’74 it was back to Triple A most of the season where he put up .307/12/32 numbers in his 283 at bats with 64 runs scored and a .449 OBA. But he saw zero action while up top and after the season he was traded to the Cubs for catcher Tom Lundstedt. Mike spent all of ’75 in Triple A for Chicago, getting starts at second, third, and the outfield, while having a big year offensively: .308/13/77 with 104 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, and a .423 OBA. His time there contracted a bunch in ’76, though he hit .304 with a .448 OBA in his less than 100 at bats. He spent most of the season on the Chicago roster but didn’t fare nearly as well as he got only limited work and only hit .138. In ’77 it was another nice year in Triple A, producing  a .321/23/91 season with 24 stolen bases and a .438 OBA. Prior to the ’78 season he was sold to Oakland where Mike did his usual Triple A magic with a .293/5/26 set in about a third of a season with 14 stolen bases and a .454 OBA before hitting .200 in Oakland as a seldom-used DH. That was his final season and he finished with a .195 MLB average, though with a .375 OBA and in the minors was a .290 hitter with a .420 OBA and 121 stolen bases against only 21 times caught.

I have absolutely zero idea what became of Mr. Adams after baseball. His dad passed away in ’97 back home in Washington and there is some indication that around then Mike was residing there as well. I guess he just gets to be one of the mystery guys in the set.

Mike favors his given name in his signature and gets some pretty good star bullets. That ’71 IL season seems to have gone much better than his ’69 one did. His dad hit .269 as an infielder with the Reds, White Sox, Orioles, and Cubs once his career got started after getting delayed by WW II. His uncle was a cup of coffee guy, hitting .202 for the Philadelphia A’s in ’47, his only season.

This guy played so rarely that I am going to relax my standards and do the hook-up through Chicago:

1. Adams and Jerry Morales ’76 Cubs;
2. Morales and Enzo Hernandez ’71 to ’73 Padres.

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