Here is the requisite checklist card. Two features of these names bear notice. One is the amount of “o”’s ending the given names: Bernardo, Rico, Orlando, and Rogelio (the best I think). Two is there are some awfully long surnames on this team: Yastrzemski; Petrocelli; Aparicio. Topps had to minimize the signatures to make them all fit. It is a normally representative group with just two guys who didn’t play on the ’73 team – Carbo and Rick Wise, who came over in separate trades from St. Louis. I like Petrocelli’s signature the best though Cepeda’s deserves mention since I am pretty sure he invented a couple letters in his. On with the bios.
Dick Radatz grew up in the suburbs of Detroit where he was a big deal in his high school’s big three sports, including posting a 0.18 ERA his senior year that would have got him signed by Baltimore if the money was right. Instead he went to Michigan State on a hoops/baseball scholarship, concentrating on the second sport his last three years. While there he went a combined 17-4 and his senior year won ten games with a 1.12 ERA. He received a degree in education and signed with Boston upon graduating in ’59. Dick was a big guy who threw heat from anywhere between a three-quarter and sidearm motion and his first summer went 4-6 with a 3.04 ERA and about a strikeout an inning in B ball. In ’60 he went 9-4 at that level with 133 K’s in 107 innings to get promoted to Triple A where he went 3-0 in his eight starts. He remained in Triple A in ’61 where, after hurting his arm he was asked by his manager – Johnny Pesky – to be a reliever. Initially Dick balked but he did a great job, going 5-6 with a 2.28 ERA and over a K an inning. In ’62 he went to Boston where he had an excellent rookie year, going 9-6 with a 2.28 ERA while leading the AL with 62 games and 24 saves to win Fireman of the Year. He bettered that mark in ’63 with a 15-6/1.97/25 year that got him an All-Star nod in which he struck out five straight NL stars. In ’64 Dick went 16-9/2.29/29, leading both leagues in saves, and setting a record with his 79 games. Those first three seasons he put up a total of 487 K’s in only 414 innings and in ’64 set another record by striking out 181 guys in relief. Through that time Dick was still throwing almost exclusively his big fastball that clocked around 95 MPH. Prior to the ’65 season Ted Williams suggested Dick learn an off speed pitch and his attempts at mastering the pitch pretty much coincided with a quick spiral down. He had a 9-11/3.91/22 season in ’65 and after starting the ’66 season going 0-2 with four saves and a 4.74 ERA his first 16 games he was sent to Cleveland for Don McMahon and Lee Stange, two other pitchers. Things didn’t get much better with the Tribe – 0-3 with a 4.61 ERA and ten saves in 39 games and shortly into the ’67 season he was traded to the Cubs. In Chicago the unraveling continued as he went 1-0 with a 6.56 ERA and only five saves up top and did even worse in the minors. He was picked up by Detroit after being put on waivers to start the ’68 season and did OK, going 6-7 with a 2.78 ERA with 13 starts among his 24 games in Triple A. When he was pulled back up in ’69 he did not do too badly with a 2-2 record and 3.38 ERA his first eleven games but he got sent to Montreal anyway where for a team with porous defense he went 0-4 with a 5.71 ERA and three saves in his last season. Dick finished with a record of 52-43 with 122 saves in his 381 games and 745 K’s in 694 innings. While playing he was a high school PE teacher in off-seasons and after doing that a little bit full time after his playing career ended, he worked as a marketing rep for some chemical companies around Detroit. In ’85 he relocated to the Boston area where for years he had a regular talk radio gig on WEEI and founded a company called National Pastime Legends which represented former professional athletes on the talking circuit. In 2003 he returned to baseball as pitching coach for the independent North Shore Spirit. He was set to return to that role when in March 2005 he fell down some concrete steps in his home and passed away after hitting his head. He was 67.
Cy Young grew up on a farm in rural Ohio and by the time he was 17 he was out of school and playing local ball. In 1890 when he was 23 he signed with the local Canton team, which was roughly an A level team, and went 15-15 before being sold late in the season to the Cleveland Spiders. He went 9-7 the rest of the way and then a combined 233-128 the next eight seasons which included three in which he won at least 30 games. His best year during that run was 1892, during which he went 36-12 with a 1.93 ERA in the last year of the 55-foot distance between the mound and home plate. In ’99 he moved to the St. Louis Perfectos – both teams were owned by the same group – and won 26 games his first year before fading to 19-19 the second. The next year the AL was founded and the new Boston club went after Cy hard, even though many thought he was washed up at 33. They got him and it turned out to be a good play because Cy won the AL Triple Crown that year, going 33-10 with a 1.62 ERA and 158 strikeouts. Cy had been putting on weight by then and his fastball had lost a bunch of its speed so he became a control artist and would post some sick walk totals, including giving up only 37 in his 371 innings in ’01. He led the AL in wins each of the next two seasons, went 2-1 in the ’03 Series, and then won 26 in ’04. In ’05 he went 18-19 for his first losing record ever, despite putting up a 1.82 ERA. After going 13-21 the next year he was thought through at age 39. But he rallied to win 21 each of the next two seasons in Boston and then won 21 after a trade in ’09 to the Indians. In both ’10 and ’11, his final season, he slowed down considerably, going a combined 14-19 for Cleveland and the Boston Rustlers. He claimed it was more because of his weight than his arm and that hitters just bunted him to death. But he was done with that amazing 511-316 record with a 2.62 ERA and a record 815 games started, 749 complete games, and 7,356 innings. He also had 76 shutouts, 17 saves, 2,803 strikeouts, and just 1,217 walks. Including a series in ’92 he went 2-3 with a 2.36 ERA in seven post-season games. He’d managed the Sox to open the ’07 season after Chick Stahl killed himself and went 3-3. He pitched and coached a bit for a B team in Canton in ’12 and then managed the Cleveland entry in the Federal League in ’13. Thereafter he moved back to his farm in Ohio full-time, being a gentleman farmer until ’34 when his wife passed away. He was very grief-stricken since she was his only family – a daughter had passed away as an infant in ’07 – and then settled in with a couple that managed a grocery store where Cy also worked as a cleark. He was still living with them in ’37, when he was admitted to the Hall, and in ’55 when he passed away from heart disease at 88.
Smokey Joe Wood had an itinerant youth, his dad being a restless soul who graduated from Penn. At one point Joe went out west from Kansas in a covered wagon. He eventually finished school in Colorado and then played some local ball in Kansas before signing with Cedar Rapids of the Three I League in ’07. He was then traded to Hutchinson, a C team, and went 18-11 with lots of K’s. In ’08 he was sold to Kansas City, a Double A team, and only went 7-12, but with a 2.28 ERA and less than a base runner an inning. He was sold late in the season to Boston, going 1-1 with a shutout in his two starts. In ’09 he broke his foot, missing two months and in ’10 his ankle, missing a month, but around the injuries he pitched well, going a combined 23-20 with a 1.91 ERA. He got healthy in ’11 and had a big season, going 23-17 with a 2.02 ERA and five shutouts. He topped that big in ’12 when he went 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA, 35 complete games, 258 K’s, and ten shutouts. In the Series that year he went 3-1 with a fat 4.50 ERA and 21 strikeouts in his 22 innings to win a ring. But the injuries returned: in ’13 he missed over half the season with a broken hand and in ’14 more than two months with appendicitis. He still threw well, going a combined 21-8 with a 2.43 ERA. In ’15 he experienced his first serious bout of arm touble but held it together to go 15-5 with an AL-leading 1.49 ERA. In ’16 the Sox got wary of Joe’s arm and tried to cut his salary. Joe held out for the whole year, teaching PE in PA. Prior to the ’17 season he was sold to Cleveland but his arm was a mess and he threw only 15 innings that year while he underwent rehab and worked on his hitting. The plan was to come back as an outfielder which he did the following year, hitting .296 with 66 RBI’s. He settled in as the Tribe’s fourth outfielder the next few seasons, peaking with a .366 average with 60 RBI’s on only 194 at bats in ’21. The prior year he won another ring, hitting .200 in his four games. In ’22 he returned to a starting job and had a .297/8/92 season and then retired at 32. Joe finished with a record of 117-57 with a 2.03 ERA, 121 complete games, 28 shutouts, and ten saves. He hit .283 with 23 homers and 325 RBI’s, doing significantly better after he stopped pitching. In ’23 he became freshman baseball coach at Yale and the next year moved to varsity, which he coached through ’42, going 283-228-1. In ’43 he went out to California where he ran a golf range with his brother for at least seven years. He returned to CT where he worked a bit before retiring and where he passed away in ’85 at 95.
Red Ruffing grew up in Illinois where his dad was a – guess what – miner as was Red by the time he was 15. His dad had broken his back in the mines and moved to the admin side; a cousin got killed in the mines; and Red himself lost four toes from his left foot in a mining accident. Fun work. That foot injury propelled Red to concentrate on pitching after being a pitcher/outfielder for local community and company teams. In ’23 when he was 18 he signed with the Danville Three I team and went 12-16 with a 3.95 ERA for what was roughly a B level league. In ’24 he got sold to Boston and he moved back and forth between the Sox and its D team with a pretty spotty record at both levels. But in ’25 he was put in the rotation for good and began his long career up top. That career was sort of bi-polar and the Sox got the bad end. Over the ensuing five-plus seasons Red went a combined 39-96 with a 4.61 ERA for an admittedly bad team though he didn’t help things too much. Those 25 losses led MLB in ’28 – as did his 25 complete games – and he followed that up with a 29-loss season in ’29. His ERA was a tad off from league average. After beginning the ’30 season 0-3 he got sent to the Yankees for Cedric Durst and $50,000 and immediately turned his career around, going 15-5 the rest of the season with a better than league average ERA. He remained in the NY rotation through ’42 and during that time had only one losing record. He went 18-7 in ’32, his first Series year. In ’34 he was an All-Star for the first time, going 19-11. In ’36 he had the first of four successive 20-win seasons. In ’43 he left for the service which he did stateside due to his foot and he returned mid-season to go 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA. In ’46 he did spot work and was 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA when his knee got shattered on a comebacker and he missed the rest of the season. He was released after posting a 231-124 record for the Yankees with a 3.47 ERA, significantly better than his peers. He signed with the White Sox for ’47, didn’t do so well at 42, and retired. He finished with a 273-225 record, 3.80 ERA, 335 complete games, 45 shutouts, and 16 saves. In the post-season he was 7-2 with a 2.63 ERA in ten games, eight of them complete ones, and won six rings. He made six All-Star teams and could always hit, posting a career .269 average with 36 homers and 273 RBI’s. He remained in the Chicago system after he retired, initially as a scout and then minor league manager, posting a near-.600 percentage in ’49 and ’50. That second year he had moved to the Cleveland system. He coached up top in ‘51and then worked as a scout and admin guy through ’61 before becoming the Mets first pitching coach in ’62. That experience got him to retire for a few years before returning in ’69 as a pitching coach in the Minnesota system. He then retired again and a few years later had a stroke that made him wheelchair-bound the rest of his life. He’d been inducted to the Hall in ’67 and pretty much the rest of his life after the stroke would build his year around attending its induction ceremony each year. He passed away in ’86 when he was 81.
Mel Parnell was born in Louisiana where his dad was a conductor on the railroad run to Chicago and Mel was a first baseman in high school. He would throw batting practice to his team before any game in which they would face a lefty and get an occasional start. On one of those he threw a shutout with 17 K’s in a game that happened to be attended by a Boston scout. Signed after his senior year of ’41 he threw a bit that summer in D ball. He moved up to C ball in ’42 and went 16-9 with a 1.59 ERA before missing the next three seasons to WW II. He pitched a season in A ball upon returning in ’46 and went 13-4 with a 1.30 ERA. In ’47 he was pulled up to Boston where he had a tough rookie year but he then refined his slider to be one of the most effective lefthanders ever at Fenway. In ’48 he went 15-8 and then had his best season in ’49 when he went 25-7 with a 2.77 ERA and 27 complete games. His win, ERA, and complete game numbers led the AL. He won 18 each of the next two seasons and had a .500 season in ’52 as the Sox’ fortunes ebbed, mostly because of aging and Ted Williams serving time in Korea. In ’53 Mel went 21-8 with a 3.06 ERA in his last good season. He hurt his arm in ’54 and over the next three seasons went a combined 12-16 though he did throw a no-hitter against Chicago in ’56, his final year. He finished with a 123-75 record, with 113 complete games, 20 shutouts, ten saves, and a 3.50 ERA. Not a bad hitter, he hit .198 with 50 RBI’s during his career, which happened to coincide with a period of Yankees dominance so he was shut out of any post-season action. He coached a bit in the Boston system before managing Tulane’s baseball team in ’57-’58 and then back in the minors in ’59 and from ’61 to ’63, compiling a 268-304 record. He then did some broadcasting for Boston (’64-’68) and the White Sox (’69). He appears to have then returned to New Orleans where he was involved in several businesses. He had a stroke in ’84 and then had a tumor removed from his heart in ’99 after which he retired. He was then stricken with lymphoma but rallied until he passed away from pneumonia in 2012 when he was 89.
Hubert “Dutch” Leonard was another future Sox born in Ohio, but he relocated to California as a kid so his dad could get work as a carpenter. He pitched in high school in Fresno and then went to nearby St. Mary’s College which was a bit of a baseball factory back then and would also produce future teammates Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis. He was signed after his freshman year of 1911 by the Athletics for whom he never pitched and then was sold to Boston prior to the ’12 season. Optioned to A ball that spring, he went 22-9 with a 2.50 ERA and in ’13 moved up to Boston. He would be an often-used swing guy the next few seasons and his rookie year went 14-17 with a 2.39 ERA. In ’14 he broke his wrist in early September but before that went 19-5 with a record ERA of 0.96. The next two seasons he put up ERA’s of 2.36 while helping to take Boston to the Series, going 15-7 and 18-12 and winning a game in the post-season each year. That first year he was suspended for two months after he accused the Sox owner of mistreating players and in ’16 he threw a no-hitter. In ’17 his record fell to 16-17 but so did his ERA, to 2.17. In ’18 he started the season 8-6 with a 2.72 ERA before he left for WW I, during which he played ball for a war-supply company team. Following the season he went to the Yankees in a big trade but, as he did in Boston, he held out for a higher salary and NY didn’t back down. The following May, still unsigned, he was sold to Detroit for $10,000. He did pretty well once he started pitching in June, going 14-13 with a 2.77 ERA before hurting his arm the next year and going a combined 21-30 the next two seasons with an inflated 4.00 ERA. After again holding out prior to the ’22 season he returned to Fresno where he played in a local independent league, going 23-11 in two seasons. He’d been suspended from MLB for jumping to that league and it wasn’t until late in ’24 that he was allowed back. He went 3-2 with a 4.56 ERA the rest of the way while pitching for new manager Ty Cobb, who wasn’t a big fan of Dutch’s. In ’25 he hurt his arm early in the season but Cobb insisted he pitch anyway and though he went 11-4, his ERA remained high. That experience pretty much killed his arm and after he was traded to the PCL the following winter he retired. Dutch finished with a record of 139-113 with a 2.76 ERA, 152 complete games, 33 shutouts, and 13 saves. In his two Series wins he went 2-0 in two complete games with a 1.00 ERA. He was a smart business guy and while playing invested in land near Fresno that he turned into a grape ranch. That ranch made him quite rich and he stayed away from baseball after his retirement except for one incident. It was he who in ’26 accused Tris Speaker, Joe Wood, and Ty Cobb of fixing a game in 1919 on which the three bet. He’d presented some evidence but never backed it up and while both Speaker and Cobb had to resign from their teams they were quickly reinstated with new clubs and the charges were dismissed. Dutch had a heart attack in ’42 and passed away ten years later at age 60, leaving millions to his heirs.
Just about all the guys on both the Sox posts have SABR bios.
Just about all the guys on both the Sox posts have SABR bios.
Let’s see how Topps does representation-wise for the ’73 team. Center fielder Reggie Smith has a card with his new team, St. Louis. That leaves John Kennedy, the back-up infielder, as the only guy missing with more than 100 at bats. John was in his final season in ’73 and had also played for the Yankees and the Pilots/Brewers. He hit .181 with 16 RBI’s in his 155 at bats in ’73 and may be the third guy from the right in the back row of the team card. Topps doesn’t do as well with the pitchers. Marty Pattin has a card with the Brewers and Sonny Siebert with the Cardinals but there are a few other guys with decisions who are missing. Bob Veale went 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA and eleven saves in his penultimate season. Bob had one of the most amazing records I can think of in ’71 when he went 6-0 despite having an ERA of 6.99 (he was a much better pitcher than that ERA during his career). Craig Skok, who would pitch a bunch more for Atlanta at the end of the decade, was 0-1 with a save and a 6.28 ERA his rookie year. Ray Culp was in the final year of his flame out after being a cog in the Sox staff a bunch of years and went 2-6 with a 4.47 ERA. And Lynn McGlothen went 1-2 with an 8.22 ERA in his sophomore season. I am almost positive that Veale is the guy in the back row with the red windbreaker and McGlothen is down right next to Reggie Smith. Culp and Skok, who knows? So the Sox miss Kennedy’s at bats and a combined record of 5-12 and 12 saves from the mound. Middle of the pack would be my guess.
The ’73 Sox, as mentioned, pretty much stayed put so that may elongate this exercise. But we do have Mr. Veale:
1. Bob Veale on the ’73 Red Sox;
2. Veale and Jackie Hernandez ’71 to ’72 Pirates.