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Jose Pagan – 1973 Topps #659

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ImageJosé Antonio Pagán Rodríguez (May 5, 1935 – June 7, 2011) was a Puerto Rican Major League Baseball player. Pagán made his major league debut with the San Francisco Giants on August 8, 1959. He played for the Giants until 1965, then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 1973 he played his final career games with the Philadelphia Phillies. Pagán played for a total of 15 years before retiring. His best full season statistically came with the Giants in 1962, when he hit .259 and drove in a career high 57 runs. He had 73 runs scored that year, which also was a career high, while collecting 150 hits for the only time in his career. Despite playing part-time for the Pirates from 1966–1970, Pagán batted in the .260s twice and the .280s twice out of those five years, only hitting under .264 in 1968 when he only had 163 at bats. During that time instead of playing short-stop, he played mostly third base and left field, but also was used as a key “spare part” for the team, playing games at every position in the infield, even one at catcher in 1967 for one inning.
Pagán appeared in two World Series in his career; first at the age of 27 with the Giants, when he was on the losing side of the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees. Despite the loss, he hit .368 with a home run in the seven-game series. With the Pirates in 1971, after losing the NLCS in 1970, he won his only world series and became a hero of the deciding game. In game seven of the 1971 World Series between the Pirates and the Baltimore Orioles,Image in the top of the 8th inning, Pagán hit a double which scored Willie Stargell. This proved to be the game’s winning run. After his playing career ended, Pagán was a Pittsburgh Pirates coach from 1974 to 1978. He also managed teams in the Puerto Rican Winter League for several seasons, and lived in Puerto Rico before moving his family to Florida in 1999. Pagán died June 7, 2011, at his home in Sebring, Florida, a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 76, and was survived by his wife and two sons. He was held in such esteem by the Pittsburgh organization that a moment of silence was observed before the Pirates game with the Arizona Diamondbacks at PNC Park that night.

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