Richard John McAuliffe(born November 29, 1939) is a former American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a shortstop and second baseman for the Detroit Tigers from 1960 to 1973 and for the Boston Red Sox from 1974 to 1975. He was a part of the Tigers’ 1968 World Series championship, and was known for his unusual batting stance. A left-handed hitter, he held his hands very high with a stance that faced the pitcher. As the pitcher delivered to home plate, McAuliffe moved his forward (right) foot to a more conventional position for his swing. In the Tigers’ 1968 World Championship season, McAuliffe played a key role. He had a .344 on base percentage, led the American League with 95 runs scored, and showed power with 50 extra base hits. He also tied a major league record by going the entire 1968 season without grounding into a double play. McAuliffe also improved defensively in 1968, reducing his error total from 28 in 1967 to nine in 1968 and, finished second among American League second basemen in fielding percentage. He finished seventh in the 1968 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, behind teammates Denny McLain, Bill Freehan, and Willie Horton. On August 22, 1968, McAuliffe was involved in a brawl with White Sox pitcher Tommy John. After one pitch barely missed McAuliffe’s head, and another was thrown behind him, McAuliffe charged the mound, drove his knee into John’s shoulder and separated it. John was out for the season, and McAuliffe was suspended for five games. Interviewed 30 years later, McAuliffe was still convinced John was throwing at his head: “The first pitch at me was right at my head, and I mean right at my head. The catcher never laid any leather on it, and it hit the backstop. The next pitch, he spun me down, threw it behind me. In the 1968 World Series, McAuliffe played all seven games at second base, scored 5 runs, and had 6 hits, 4 walks, 3 RBIs, and a home run. His steadying influence in the middle infield helped make it possible for manager Mayo Smith to take the radical step of playing center fielder Mickey Stanley at shortstop in the World Series in order to get a better bat in the lineup against the St. Louis Cardinals, led by Bob Gibson.
Dick McAuliffe – 1973 Topps #349