Wednesday, September 25, 2013

#597 - '74 Rookie Shortstops



The second rookie batch is designated as a group of shortstops but Manny Trillo almost never played that position up top. But that’s just nit-picking.

Dave Chalk came out of Texas and stayed there in college for the University of Texas where he was a three-time All-American with a .368 career average. A first-round pick out of school by the Angels, he hit .253 that summer of '72 in Double A and moved up the ladder fast. After hitting .293 at that level in the first couple months of ’73 he moved to Triple A where he hit .236 while putting in his first significant time at shortstop. He then made his debut with the Angels in September, hitting .232 the rest of the way in his new position. He stayed in Anaheim thereafter and besides being a very good fielder and moderately productive batter, he was quite diverse. In ’74 he was an All-Star at shortstop while also playing third. In ’75 he was again an All-Star, this time at third base, which he played exclusively as the Angels tried a bunch of rookies at his old position. That was his best offensive year as he put up a .273/3/56 season with a .353 OBA. By ’76 it was apparent that the prior year’s shortstop experiment was pretty much a wash – though the main guy, Mike Miley, showed flashes of brilliance only to die in a car crash – and Dave returned to that position. In ’77 Bobby Grich came along as a free agent and Dave moved back to third where he posted his best average of .277. In ’78 new kid Carney Lansford moved him back to short where a pretty good year – and career – got wrecked by a late-September knee injury. He was still in recovery mode in May of ’79 when he was traded back home to Texas for Bert Campaneris. He only got into a couple games for the Rangers when at the June deadline he and Mike Heath went to Oakland for pitcher John Henry Johnson. But Dave’s mobility was severely limited that year and his average shrank 30 points. He then signed with Kansas City as a free agent and for the next two years did utility work, tasting post-season action in ’80 when in his tone appearance he walked, stole second, and scored. For his career Dave hit .252 with nearly 300 runs batted in and scored. After playing he was a scout, primarily for Seattle, and also returned to the Longhorns, where he did some coaching work. His daughter later played softball for Texas where Dave continues to reside.

John Gamble grew up in Nevada so it is hard to imagine a more appropriate surname. His parents were both educators – his dad was a dead ringer – and by high school John was a good enough shortstop to be taken by the Dodgers in the second round of the ’66 draft. He finished that summer in Rookie ball, hitting .225. He remained at that level in ’67, upping his average to .298 and then in ’68 hit .254 in A ball, all while playing shortstop. In ’69 he made some noise in A ball by hitting .297 and stealing 33 bases for a couple teams and then in ’70 at that level stole 60 bases and scored 99 runs while hitting .254, mostly as a third baseman. Following that season he was taken by Detroit in the Rule 5 draft and in ’72 he was moved up to Double A where he hit .252 with 38 stolen bases. He made his Detroit debut that September as a pinch hitter and played a game at shortstop later that month. In ’73 all his appearances up top were as a pinch runner before he was returned to Triple A for the balance of the season where he hit .291 in his dual role. In ’74 he hit .240 in a season split between two Triple A teams but only stole ten bases which may indicate an injury around this point. He rebounded to hit .288 at that level in ’75 and finished his career with a .210 season at that level in ’76. John went 0 for 3 with a run scored for Detroit and hit .264 with over 200 stolen bases in the minors. He’d obtained a degree from the University of Nevada during the early Seventies and there are some indications that he followed his parents into education but I have been unable to confirm anything since his playing days.

Pete Mackanin hails from Chicago from where he was drafted by the Senators in ’69 upon completing Brother Rice High School on the south side. He hit .231 with decent power that summer in Rookie ball while playing third base. Like Dave Chalk he would move around the infield a bit during his career and in A ball in ’70 he also played shortstop as his average slipped to .202. He bounced offensively at that level in ’71, hitting .259 with seven triples in a season in which most of his time was spent at second. The next year he played all three positions while at Double A and a bit at Triple A where his offense again got whacked pretty hard. He revived big at the higher level in ’73, hitting .302 as he played strictly shortstop, a position he continued when he made his debut for Texas late that summer. But after hitting .100 in his 90 at bats with 26 K’s, he returned in ’74 to Triple A where he had a lights-out year, hitting .291 with 28 homers and 103 RBI’s. After the season he and reliever Don Stanhouse were sent to Montreal for outfielder Willie Davis. With the Expos Pete became the regular second baseman the next two years. He had some moments, like hitting 12 homers while stealing eleven bases in ’75, but overall he hit .224, struck out a bit much, and had a few too many errors. In ’77 Montreal signed Dave Cash and Pete spent the season as a reserve guy, getting minimal plate time. He then spent ’78 back in Triple A where he had another bang-up power year while playing third and shortstop, with a .276/17/112 season before he was placed on waivers that September. Philadelphia grabbed him and he spent the balance of that year and all the next on the Phillies roster, although he almost never appeared. After the ’79 season he was traded to Minnesota for pitcher Paul Thormodsgard and for the next two years he saw a lot more action while moving between second and shortstop. In ’80 he had his best MLB season, hitting .266 with 35 RBI’s in 319 at bats and in ’81 his average dipped to .231 in his final year up top. He signed with the White Sox as a free agent, was released during spring training of ’82, and then returned to Texas where for the next two years he picked up where he left off, as a Triple A, mostly corner infield power guy. In ’82 he hit .268 with 16 homers and 73 RBI’s in 377 at bats and in ’83 he had a .269/11/91 year. In ’84 he played third base for the Cubs Triple A franchise, slowing down a bit with a .248/8/44 season in his last year. Pete hit .226 with 30 homers and 27 stolen bases in the majors and .263 with 103 homers and 624 RBI’s in the minors. He immediately moved into managing after that in the minors for the Cubs (’85-’89); Cincinnati (’90-’92); Baltimore (’93-’94); Montreal (’95-’96); and Pittsburgh (2001-’02 and ’06). In between he was an MLB coach with Montreal (’97-2000) and Pittsburgh (2003-’05). He was appointed manager mid-season twice up top: for the Pirates in ’05 and for Cincinnati – for whom he’d been scouting – in ’07. He went a combined 53-53 in those roles, and those were not great teams. In 2008 he was a scout for the Yankees before returning to coaching as the bench guy for the Phillies from 2009 trough 2012. During that time he was on the short list as manager for a few spots, including Chicago and Boston. For 2013 he has been a Yankees scout. His minor league record is 985-944 with a few championships and a TSN Minor League Manager of the Year award.

When Manny Trillo was signed by the Phillies in ’68 he had been a catcher on his high school team in Venezuela. But the team liked his arm too much and turned him into a left side infielder. He hit .261 in a short summer season that year in A ball and then .280 at the same level in ’69 before going to Oakland in the Rule 5 draft. He duplicated those numbers the next two seasons in Double A for the A’s while continuing to concentrate on the left side. In ’72 he moved to Triple A where he hit .301 while playing a considerable amount of games at second for the first time. The next year it was all second base as he was being groomed to take over from Dick Green. He hit .312 that year while knocking in 78 runs around his Oakland debut in June where he hit .250 while doing late-inning work. He stayed up top to open the ’74 seasons and got some starts at second but after not hitting too well returned to Triple A where his average slid to .253 before he returned to Oakland in September to finish the season. After it he went to the Cubs with Bob Locker and Darold Knowles for Billy Williams. Once in Chicago Manny’s MLB career took off in earnest as he was named the team’s starter at second, hit .261, and fielded well enough to come in third place in ROY voting. He remained with the Cubbies through ’78, rarely missing a game and providing pretty good offensive punch while excelling defensively. In ’77 he made his first All-Star team. After the ’78 season he returned to the Phillies in a big trade and for whom he again took over as the regular guy. His average would pop a few points as he would have an award-filled run during his four seasons there: three Gold Gloves, two more All-Star games, and two Silver Slugger awards as the NL’s best offensive second baseman. He also won a Series in ’80 after being named mvp of the NL Championship Series after hitting .381. In ’83 he went to Cleveland as part of the group that broght Von Hayes to Philly. He was an All-Star again before going to Montreal to finish the season. He then moved to San Francisco as the regular guy for ’84 and ’85 before returning to Chicago where he spent the next three years doing mostly infield reserve work. He ended his playing career after an ’89 season with Cincinnati with a .263 average, 61 homers, and 571 RBI’s. He hit .267 in 17 post-season games, winning two rings. Defensively he led NL second basemen in putouts twice, assists four straight years, and double plays and fielding percentage once each. Lifetime he is in the top 100 in that last stat and in the top 50 on the other ones. After playing Manny was for a few years a coach in Venezuela before rturing to The States in that capacity in ’96 with the Cubs, beginning a long career. He coached in the Chicago system (’96-’98); was director of minor league development for the Phillies (’99), coached in the Yankees system (2000); coached in the Milwaukee system (2001-’03); and coached and managed in the White Sox system (’04-present). For the past few years he has also assumed admin roles for the Sox.


Gamble is the oldest guy here and Mackanin the youngest. I bet this card does pretty well in terms of MLB service also. Between these four there were 25 MLB seasons, six All-Star selections, two Gold Gloves, and two Silver Sluggers.

Now first we move between two young AL guys:

1. Dave Chalk and Leroy Stanton ’73 to ’76 Angels;
2. Stanton and Dick Pole ’77 to ’78 Mariners.

And then around the card:

1. Dave Chalk and Denny Doyle ’74 Angels;
2. Doyle and Tony Taylor ’70 to ’71 Phillies;
3. Taylor and John Gamble ’72 to ’73 Tigers;
4. Gamble and Woodie Fryman ’72 to ’73 Tigers;
5. Fryman and Pete Mackanin ’75 to ’76 Expos;
6. Mackanin and Andre Thornton ’76 Expos;
7. Thornton and Manny Trillo ’75 to ’76 Cubs.

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