Thursday, August 22, 2013

#583 - Marty Pattin




In another sort-of nod to Ralph Houk we get the second of two recent air-brushed cards in this photo of Marty Pattin, which I am guessing is of him in a Boston uniform sometime in the spring. Marty had come off a pretty wild ’72 season which ended in a way that should have portended a big year in ’73 but it didn’t start off that way as he went 1-6 with a horrible ERA coming out of the gate, sort of similar to the prior year. Marty specialized in streaks his couple years with the Sox and while his finish to ’73 wasn’t as big as the prior year, he did do a good job in evening out his record in what would be his last season as a solid rotation guy. Marty was a righty with a big overhand fastball and curve as well as a slider he picked up while in Milwaukee and when he got to KC following the trade indicated with the airbrush his assortment of pitches was used in an assortment of roles. That looks like a Boston guy behind him but there’s no way I can tell who it might be.
 
Marty Pattin grew up in Carleston, Illinois, a college town. After a high school career in which he threw three no-hitters he went to Eastern Illinois University in his hometown where he put up some nice numbers on the mound. After going 10-1 with a 1.99 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 86 innings his junior year he was off to a 4-0 start his senior year when a collision with a teammate dislocated his shoulder and ended his collegiate career. He still placed both years on the Little All-American team (Eastern Illinois was an NAIA school) and was drafted and signed by the Angels following the latter season of ’65. His shoulder got better in time for him to throw some Double A games that summer but that didn’t go too well as Marty went 0-6 with a 4.70 ERA in his ten starts. So he began the following year in A ball but dazzled people enough – 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA and 52 K’s in 43 innings – that he got shipped to Triple A Seattle where he would reside for awhile. That year he won his first six starts on his way to a 9-2 record. In ’67 he went 12-11 with a 2.69 ERA and in ’68 he began the season 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA in his first four starts when he got a call-up that May which would put him in the majors for good.

Pattin’s first bit of work in California was quite good as he took on a role of a spot and middle relief guy, recording a nice ERA and adding three saves. The new Seattle Pilots, seeing those stats and remembering his popularity while in Triple A there, took Marty as an expansion draft choice. Between too many homers and the normal expansion early-years performance it wasn’t a great sophomore campaign for Marty but with the team’s move to Milwaukee things improved substantially for him. Not right away though. The ’70 season was looking like an instant replay when he went 0-3 to start the year, he got moved to the pen, and his ERA tried to break 6.00. But by mid-June he was back in the rotation and from July on he went 10-5 with a 2.61 ERA. That roughly coincided with the time he mastered the slider taught to him by pitching coach Wes Stock. That was followed by a ’71 in which there were few hills and valleys, just good consistent pitching the whole season. It was Marty’s All-Star year and could have been a lot bigger than it was as the Brewers averaged less than three runs in his losses. By then Marty was a hotly sought commodity and so when the big trade went up just after the season ended with the Red Sox, he was involved. Marty, Tommy Harper, and Lew Krausse went east for George Scott, Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, and Don Pavletich.

That big trade did not go Boston’s way initially, certainly not by Pattin’s stats. In shades of his ’70 season Marty went 3-8 with a fat ERA to open the season. But then a 5-0 run in July kicked off a 15-4 second half that included a 2.34 ERA and 11 complete games. After the discounted follow-up year he went to the Royals for pitcher Dick Drago. Marty's first year in his new home went not too dissimilar to his first one in his former one, with one big exception: he didn’t have a regular spot in the rotation in which to remedy a bad beginning. Instead Marty lost mound time and went 3-7 with a 3.99 ERA in only 25 games. But things improved after that. In ’75 he began the season in the pen with his normally early high ERA. But he won his first couple decisions anyway and after a couple successful long relief stints in May got into the rotation after Nelson Briles got hurt. Marty had a pretty good run until Briles returned and then finished the season back in the pen, mostly as a long guy. He finished 10-10 with a 3.25 ERA and five saves. ’76 started again in the pen but this time it was a reverse of ’75: a good ERA but a poor record. So when that year Steve Busby went down Marty rejoined the rotation coming in with a 1-7 record and five saves with a 3.30 ERA. He would go 7-7 the rest of the way in that role with an excellent 2.24 ERA and then get his first playoff work. In ’77 he went 10-3 as a spot guy and then the next three years his innings fell as the Royals staff stayed relatively healthy. But Marty pitched well during the time he was used, going a combined 12-5 with eleven saves and a 3.88 ERA. He returned to playoff ball two of those three seasons and had a short highlight that last year when in his one inning of Series work he struck out Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski. After the ’80 season he became a free agent but when interest was limited he decided to retire finishing with a 114-109 record with a 3.62 ERA, 64 complete games, 14 shutouts, and 25 saves. In the post-season he put up a 4.50 ERA in his five games.

After Pattin wasn’t signed in the ’81 free agent market he took a year off and then became the head coach at the University of Kansas from ’82 to ’87. He then returned to pro ball for Toronto where for two years he was a roving pitching coach and then an organizational pitching instructor from mid-’89 to ’93 part of the time during which his son Jon was in the team’s system. For a short time in the early Nineties he coached a minor league team in South Korea. He relocated to Lawrence, Kansas – home of the university – in the mid-Nineties where he has been doing fantasy camps since.


No little print on the card back memorializing the trade though Dick Drago, the other side of the trade, has it on his. Topps was getting lazy at this point in the set. Marty’s win record was broken in ’73 by Jim Colborn’s 20. That big strikeout game appeared on most of his early cards. Like Bucky Dent Marty had an interesting personal life, initially outlined in “Ball Four.” He was given to his grandparents to raise shortly after he was born when his parents divorced. From a young age he was doing early morning chores like picking up kerosene for the family stove and delivering newspapers to make household ends meet. He taught himself to pitch by throwing apples and later emulated a baseball-playing cousin who was a local star and passed away in a car accident in his teens by adopting his cousin’s Donald Duck voice (it can be heard on YouTube). When his grandfather died in his early teens Marty was placed in a sort of institutional rooming house where he may or may not have remained through high school. His high school baseball coach sort of took him under his wing and introduced Marty to a local businessman, Walt Warmouth, who gave Marty work and then financed his college career. Marty ended up getting a bachelors in PE from the school and then a Masters in Industrial Arts, both of which he had by his Pilots days.

Marty and Bucky faced each other plenty. Let’s use Lou even though Marty missed him by a year:

1. Pattin and Cookie Rojas ’74 to ’77 Royals;
2. Rojas and Lou Piniella ’70 to ’73 Royals;
3. Piniella and Bucky Dent ’77 to ’82 Yankees.

Speaking of Buck Dent, I messed up his hook-up on the former post. Here is his real one to Fred Norman:

1. Dent and Don Gullett ’77 to ’78 Yankees;
2. Gullett and Fred Norman ’73 to ’76 Reds.

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