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Category Archives: Second Base

Felix Millan – 1973 Topps #407

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ImageFélix Bernardo Millán Martínez (born August 21, 1943) is a former second baseman in Major League Baseball. Born in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, Felix made his major league debut on June 2, 1966 with the Atlanta Braves, and played for Atlanta until 1973. Millan was primarily a second baseman. He played in two All-Star Games, the first in 1969 and the second in 1971; in 1970 he was named an All-Star, but was unable to participate due to injuries. In 1973, he was traded to the New York Mets, which he played until 1977. He played for a total of 12 years. His first game was June 2, 1966 for the Atlanta Braves and his final game was August 12, 1977 for the New York Mets. He was forced to retire after sustaining a shoulder injury during an on-field brawl in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Ed Ott slid hard into Millán trying to break up a double play, Millán shouted at Ott and hit him with a baseball in his hand,Image and Ott answered by slamming him hard to the turf at Three Rivers Stadium, severely injuring his shoulder. Millán also played for three seasons in the Japanese Central League after leaving the majors. He joined the Taiyo Whales in 1978, after the Whales bought his contract from the Mets, and played alongside Skip James. He won the batting title in his second year in Japan (1979) with a .346 batting average, and was given the Best Nine Award. He won the title with only 126 hits, barely having enough at-bats to qualify for the title. He did not play well the next year, and was released by the Whales after the 1980 season. In his three years in Japan, he had only 52 strikeouts in 1139 at-bats.

Dave Johnson – 1973 Topps #550


David Allen “Davey” Johnson(born January 30, 1943 in Orlando, Florida) is an American Major League Baseball player and current manager of the Washington Nationals. He was the starting second baseman for the Baltimore Orioles when they won four American League pennants and two World Series championships between 1965 and 1972. He made four All-Star Game appearances and received the Rawlings Gold Glove Award three times. He also played for the Atlanta Braves (1973–1975), Yomiuri Giants (1975–1976), Philadelphia Phillies (1977–1978) and Chicago Cubs (1978). His biggest success as a manager was when he led the New York Mets to the 1986 World Series title. The ball club captured the National League East under his watch in 1988. The teams he piloted in the three years from 1995 to 1997 all made it to their respective League Championship Series – the Cincinnati Reds in 1995 and the Orioles in both 1996 and 1997. Johnson won the American League’s Manager of the Year Award in 1997 when he led the Baltimore Orioles wire-to-wire to the American League East Division Championship. He would later manage the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 25, 2011, he replaced Jim Riggleman as manager of the Washington Nationals, after Riggleman unexpectedly resigned two days before.

Ted Kubiak – 1973 Topps #652

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   Theodore Rodger Kubiak (born May 12, 1942 in New Brunswick, New Jersey) is a former switch-hitting infielder for  the Oakland Athletics, the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Texas Rangers, and the San Diego Padres. He was a member of the Oakland Athletics teams that won three World Series in a row (1972–74). Kubiak still holds the Brewers’ record for most RBI in a single game, seven (later equalled by Jose Hernandez and Richie Sexson), which he set at Boston on July 18, 1970, the team’s first year in Milwaukee. The record is all the more remarkable given that Kubiak was not known for his batting.
Kubiak reentered baseball as a manager and took over as skipper of the Modesto A’s in mid-1989 from Lenn Sakata. He remained in Modesto for four more years before joining the Cleveland Indians organization in 1994. Kubiak managed the Canton-Akron Indians in 1994 and 1995, then moved down to the New York-Penn League for five years. He was with the Watertown Indians from 1996 to 1998, and the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in 1999 and 2000. He moved up to the Columbus RedStixx in 2001, the Kinston Indians in 2002, then returned to Mahoning Valley in 2003. From 2004 to 2008 he was the minor league defensive coordinator for the Cleveland Indians. In 2009 he returned to managing with the Arizona Extended League Indians, and in 2010 managed the Lake County Captains to the Midwest League Championship. Kubiak is a graduate of Highland Park, New Jersey High School, class of 1960.

Derrel Thomas – 1973 Topps #57

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Derrel Osborn Thomas (born January 14, 1951) a former professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball primarily as a second baseman, center fielder, and shortstop from 1971-85. He held the distinction of being one of a few players to have played every position (except pitcher) at least once in his career. Following his playing career, Thomas was the first manager of the Boise Hawks in 1987, then an independent team in the Class A Short Season Northwest League. As of 2009, he is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legend Bureau. Thomas is currently the head baseball coach at Adrenaline Athletic Training in Riverside, CA.

Tito Fuentes – 1973 Topps #236


Rigoberto “Tito” Fuentes Peat(born January 4, 1944 in Havana, Cuba) is a retired second baseman who played for 13 seasons in the Major Leagues between 1965 and 1978. Fuentes played for most of his career with the San Francisco Giants where he still remains a fan favorite. The Giants initially signed Fuentes as an 18-year-old amateur before the start of the 1962 season. He was one of the last baseball players signed directly out of Cuba before the United States embargo. Originally debuting in the majors 1965 as a late-season call-up, Fuentes split time between second base and shortstop as a rookie in 1966. He batted .261 in his maiden year while playing solid defense at both positions. He slumped to batting .209 the following year, and subsequently, he spent all of 1968 in the minor leagues. Fuentes returned to the Giants in 1969 and spent the next two seasons as a “utility infielder” before re-gaining his starting spot at second base in 1971. He appeared in the postseason during the 1971 season as his Giants won the NL West title; his two-run home run in Game 1 of the 1971 NLCS helped San Francisco take an early series lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that would turn out to be the Giants’ only win of the best-of-five series. In 1977, Fuentes played with the Detroit Tigers and had a career-best .309 batting average. Despite having his best season, he was not brought back in 1978. The Montreal Expos then purchased his contract. Before the start of the season, however, Fuentes was released. During the year, he signed with the Oakland Athletics, but he was released again after batting just .140 in only 13 games. He retired shortly afterward.

Gary Sutherland – 1973 Topps #572


Gary Lynn Sutherland(born September 27, 1944 in Glendale, California) was a Major League Second Baseman and Shortstop for 13 seasons from 1966-1978. After attending the University of Southern California, where he played under legendary coach Rod Dedeaux, Sutherland played for the Philadelphia Phillies (1966–68), Montreal Expos (1969–71), Houston Astros (1972–73), Detroit Tigers (1974–76), Milwaukee Brewers (1976), San Diego Padres (1977) and St. Louis Cardinals (1978). He recently served as special assistant to the general manager with the Los Angeles Angels. Sutherland had a career high 26 doubles with the Expos in 1969. His best season all-around season was 1974 in Detroit, when he was third in the American League with 619 at bats. His 157 hits in 1974 was also the team-high for the Detroit Tigers that year. Unfortunately, 1974 also saw Sutherland’s most dubious accomplishment in leading the American League in Outs with 489. Sutherland has two places in Montreal Expo history. He scored the first run in franchise history, on a Bob Bailey double in the first inning of the Expos’ inaugural game, an 11-10 victory over the New York Mets at Shea Stadium on April 8, 1969. He also recorded the first putout in a Major League regular season game in Canada on April 14 of that same year, that of Lou Brock’s line drive in the Expos’ inaugural home game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Jarry Park.

Cookie Rojas – 1973 Topps #188

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Octavio Victor Rojas Rivas(born March 6, 1939 in Havana, Cuba), better known as Cookie Rojas, is a former Major League Baseball second baseman and outfielder who played for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals, and Kansas City Royals. After retiring as a player he went on to both coach and manage in the Major Leagues. He is currently the Miami Marlins Spanish language TV color commentator. After the 1962 season, Rojas was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for relief pitcher Jim Owens. Although the Phillies already had an All-Star second baseman in fellow-Cuban Tony Taylor, Rojas had seen the last of the minor leagues and would man second in 27 games in 1963. Although he became the regular Phillies second baseman in 1965, Rojas would go on to play at every fielding position, including catcher and pitcher, but would see the bulk of his playing time in the outfield and shortstop in addition to second base. Getting more playing time helped improve his batting as Rojas hit .291 in 1964 and a career-high .303 in 1965 when he was named to his first All-Star team. Currently, Cookie Rojas serves as the Marlins’ Spanish television announcer. Rojas also serves as a member of the board of the Baseball Assistance Team, an organization dedicated to helping former Major League, Minor League, and Negro League players through financial and medical hardships.

Dalton Jones – 1973 Topps #512


James Dalton Jones(born December 10, 1943) is a former Major League Baseball player who played nine seasons in the big leagues for the Boston Red Sox (1964–1969), Detroit Tigers (1970–1972), and Texas Rangers (1972). Jones was principally a utility infielder and pinch-hitter. He played 262 games at second base, 186 at third base, 158 at 1st base, 18 in the outfield, and 1 at shortstop. In 907 Major League games, he compiled a .235 batting average with 548 hits, 268 runs scored, 237 RBIs, 91 doubles, 19 triples, 41 home runs, and 20 stolen bases. In 1973, Jones played with the Peninsula Whips, the Triple-A team in the Montreal Expos organization. After that effort, Jones realized he wouldn’t be making a comeback and retired from baseball. After his playing career ended, Jones worked for a time at a bank and spent five years working for Exxon.

Rich Morales – 1974 Topps #387

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Richard Angelo Morales (Born September 20, 1943 San Francisco, California) was an infielder who played from 1967-1974. He played for the Chicago White Sox until early in the 1973 season; most of ’73 and all of 1974 were spent with the San Diego Padres. Morales played 480 games, starting 294. Of all non-pitchers since 1930 with 1000+ at-bats, Morales had a better batting average (.195) than only two, Ray Oyler and Mike Ryan, and a slugging average (.242) better than only Luis Gómez. After his playing career, Morales was a minor league manager for eight seasons, from 1979 until 1982 and from 1988 until 1991. He managed in the farm systems of the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, and Seattle Mariners.

Rod Carew – 1974 Topps #50


Rodney Cline “Rod” Carew (born October 1, 1945) is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, second baseman and coach. He played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels and was elected to the All-Star game every season except his last. In 1991, Carew was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. While Carew was never a home run threat (hitting fewer than 100 career home runs), he made a career out of being a consistent contact hitter. He threw right-handed and batted left-handed. Carew is a Zonian and was born to a Panamanian mother on a train in the town of Gatún, which, at that time, was in the Panama Canal Zone. The train was racially segregated; white passengers were given the better forward cars, while non-whites, like Carew’s mother, were forced to ride in the rearward cars. When she went into labor, a physician traveling on the train, Dr. Rodney Cline, delivered the baby, who was named Rodney Cline Carew in appreciation. When Carew was age 14, he and his family emigrated to the United States. He lived in the Washington Heights section of the borough of Manhattan, New York City. Although Carew attended George Washington High School, which former MLB star Manny Ramirez also attended, he never played baseball for the high school team. Instead, Carew played semi-pro baseball for the Bronx Cavaliers, which is where he was discovered by Minnesota Twins’ scout, Monroe Katz (whose son, Steve, played with Carew on the Cavaliers). Katz then recommended Carew to another Twins’ scout, Herb Stein, who signed Carew to an amateur free agent contract (at the Stella D’Oro Restaurant in the Bronx) on June 24, 1964.

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