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Category Archives: Catcher

Ed Kirkpatrick – 1973 Topps #233

EdKirkpatrick_73topps#233_a Edgar Leon Kirkpatrick (October 8, 1944 – November 15, 2010), nicknamed “Spanky”, was a baseball utility player for the Los Angeles/California Angels, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, Texas Rangers, and Milwaukee Brewers. He helped the Pirates win the National League Eastern Division in 1974 and 1975. In 16 seasons, he played in 1,311 games and had 3,467 at-bats, 411 runs, 824 hits, 143 doubles, 18 triples, 85 home runs, 424 RBI, 34 stolen bases, 456 walks, .238 batting average, .327 on-base percentage, EdKirkpatrick_73topps#233_b.363 slugging percentage, 1,258 total bases, 25 sacrifice hits, 39 sacrifice flies and 70 intentional walks. He was involved in an automobile accident in 1981 that left him in a coma for 5½ months and permanently paralyzed. He died at the age of 66 in Anaheim, California.

Former Angels outfielder Ed Kirkpatrick, who played parts of 16 major league seasons with five clubs from 1962-77, died Monday after a long struggle with throat cancer. He was 66.


Ray Fosse – 1973 Topps #226


Raymond Earl Fosse (born April 4, 1947 in Marion, Illinois) a former professional baseball player who was a catcher in the Major Leagues. He was drafted in the first round of the 1965 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. Fosse also holds the distinction of being the Indians’ first ever draft pick. 1965 was the first year of the Major League Baseball Draft. He batted and threw right-handed. Ray Fosse is most famous for being bowled over by the Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose at home plate in the last play of the 1970 All-Star Game. Rose scored the winning run, while the collision separated Fosse’s right shoulder. The injury is what caused the downfall of Fosse’s career. In reality, Fosse played 42 games in the second half of 1970, hitting .297 and winning the American League Gold Glove Award. Rose asserted he was simply trying to win the game.
Fosse’s career was one marked by numerous injuries. In 1971, Fosse suffered more injuries, getting kicked in his right hand during a brawl against the Detroit Tigers on June 20, causing a gash that required five stitches and sidelined him for more than a week. Fosse tore a ligament in his left hand during an at bat against Denny McLain, forcing him to miss the 1971 All-Star Game. He did manage to win his second consecutive Gold Glove Award in 1971. When Cleveland pitcher Gaylord Perry won the American League Cy Young Award in 1972, he gave Fosse credit for his success saying,”I’ve got to split it up and give part, a big part to Ray Fosse. He kept pushing me in games when I didn’t have good stuff. He’d come out and show me that big fist of his when I wasn’t bearing down the way he thought I should.”
In a 12 year career, Fosse played in 924 games, accumulating 758 hits in 2957 at bats for a .256 career batting average along with 61 home runs and 324 runs batted in. He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage. Fosse led American League catchers in 1970 with 854 putouts, 48 base runners caught stealing and in range factor (7.81). In 1971 he led the league with 73 assists, and in 1973, he led American League catchers in baserunners caught stealing and in caught stealing percentage. Fosse was a member of two World Series Champion clubs. The 1973 and 1974 A’s, and also a member of the Seattle Mariners team that began playing in 1977. He won Gold Glove Awards in 1970 and 1971. Fosse was named to the 100 Greatest Cleveland Indians in 2001.

Milt May – 1973 Topps #529


ImageMilton Scott May (born August 1, 1950 in Gary, Indiana) professional baseball player and coach who played from 1970 to 1984. May was a catcher who hit for a fairly high batting average during the era in which he played. May drove in the one-millionth run in Major League Baseball history on May 4, 1975, with three-run home run. He was reputedly the slowest runner in the majors for much of his career. May was a member of the Pirates team that won the 1971 World Series. In the seventh inning of Game Four of that series, his pinch-hit single drove in Bob Robertson with the winning run in a 4-3 Pirate victory. Tragedy struck the Pirates in late 1972, when outfielder Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash. May was slated to replace Clemente in the Pirates’ lineup in 1973, with catcher Manny Sanguillén moving to right field. ImageHowever the experiment ended by July when it was determined that Sanguillen could not adjust to playing in the outfield and May was back on the Pirates’ bench. In a 15 year career, May played in 1192 games, accumulating 971 hits in 3693 at bats for a .263 career batting average along with 77 home runs and 443 runs batted in. He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage. May became a coach for the Pirates in 1987, serving under manager Jim Leyland. He was major-league hitting coach for ten seasons in Pittsburgh and two with the Florida Marlins. He spend the first half of the 1999 season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was later named a pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies. May was a scout for the Rockies in 2000, then spent the 2001 season as a Pirates minor-league hitting coordinator.

Ted Simmons – 1973 Topps #85

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TImageed Lyle Simmons (born August 9, 1949 in Highland Park, Michigan) is an American former professional baseball player and coach. Simmons was a catcher for most of his Major League Baseball career with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves. He was often overshadowed by Johnny Bench, Simmons is considered one of the best hitting catchers in Major League baseball history. He didn’t possess Bench’s power hitting ability,  but he hit for a higher batting average. ImageSimmons was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals as their first round pick in the 1967 Major League Baseball Draft. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals, appearing in two games during the 1968 pennant-winning season. Simmons spent another year in Triple-A baseball before returning to the major leagues in 1970. He finished 16th in balloting for the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player Award as the Cardinals finished in second place behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Eastern Division. An eight-time All-Star, he batted above .300 seven times, reached 20 home runs six times, and eight times exceeded 90 runs batted in. He switch-hit home runs in a game three times and established a since-broken National League career record for home runs by a switch-hitter (182).

Duke Sims – 1973 Topps #304

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ImageDuane B. (Duke) Sims (born June 5, 1941 in Salt Lake City, Utah) was a Major League Baseball catcher who played from 1964 to 1974 with the Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. Billy Martin took him to the Detroit Tigers in August 1972. His first game as Tiger resulted in a 3 for 5 day with game tying double and game winning off Gaylord Perry, Cy Young winner that year. Subsequently hit .316, 10 game winning or tying hits while catching for Tigers in the Eastern Division Championship season. ImagePlayed in all 5 games in the championship series both in left field and catching. Was the catcher in game 2 when Bert Campneris threw the bat at Lerrin LaGrow after being hit on the ankle. Duke left the Tigers in September 1973 and caught the final game in Yankee Stadium before it was remodeled and started the season with the Yankees in 1974 at Shea Stadium before being traded to the Texas Rangers for a player to be name later. Sims is also credited as the last person to hit a home run in the “old” Yankee Stadium. He did it as a member of the Yankees in a 8–5 loss to the Detroit Tigers on September 30, 1973.

Bill Sudakis – 1973 Topps #586

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ImageWilliam Paul Sudakis (born March 27, 1946 in Joliet, Illinois) was a power-hitting third baseman whom the Dodgers tried at catcher in 1970-1971. Dogged by bad knees, he was finally waived by the Dodgers during Spring Training of 1972. He was selected off waivers by the New York Mets but appeared in only 18 games for the Mets. With the introduction of the designated hitter in the American League in 1973, the Texas Rangers coveted Sudakis as their DH and acquired him from the Mets. ImageHe responded with his best season at .255 and 15 HRs in only 82 games. Sudakis’ aching knees kept him off the field and held his numbers down. Partly because of his versatility (he could play first or third base and catcher and was also a switch hitter), he was given shots by the New York Yankees, California Angels, and Cleveland Indians. In 1976, he played for the Omaha Royals of the American Association in the Kansas City Royals system but could not make it back to the major leagues.

Pat Corrales – 1973 Topps #542

Patrick Corrales(born March 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California), is a former catcher and manager in Major League Baseball who played from 1964–1973, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds, but also for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. Corrales spent nine years as a major league manager and finished with an overall record of 572-634 with the Texas Rangers, Phillies and Cleveland Indians. Corrales managed in both the National League and American League, and became only the fourth manager to manage in both leagues in the same season. He is the only manager ever to be fired while in first place; the Philadelphia Phillies fired him in 1983, and he was replaced by Paul Owens. Corrales is also the first major league manager of Mexican American descent. Since he retired from managing he has had a long career as a bench coach. He acted in that role for nine years with the Atlanta Braves, and was with Washington Nationals for the 2007 and 2008 seasons before being fired at the end of 2008 along with the majority of the Nationals’ coaching staff. Shortly after being fired, he accepted a job as a special consultant to the Nationals. He resumed as bench coach in July 2009 after Jim Riggleman was appointed acting manager after Manny Acta was fired. Corrales was once again appointed Nationals bench coach in June, 2011 by new Manager Davey Johnson. Corrales replaced John McLaren who had been reassigned to scouting duty.

Bill Freehan – 1973 Topps #460

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William Ashley Freehan(born November 29, 1941 in Detroit) is a former professional baseball player. He played his entire Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the Detroit Tigers. An eleven-time All-Star, and winner of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards, he was regarded as the premier catcher in the American League for several years. Freehan attended the University of Michigan, where he set an all-time Big Ten Conference batting mark of .585 in 1961 and also played football. He signed with his hometown Tigers in 1961 for a $100,000 bonus, which his father withheld until he graduated in 1966, and broke in briefly with 4 games at the end of the season before returning to the minors in 1962. In 1963 he arrived in the majors to stay, working with former catcher Rick Ferrell on his defense and splitting catching duties with Gus Triandos, who was traded following the season. The 1964 campaign gave indications of what was to come; he batted .300 to finish sixth in the American League, along with 18 home runs and 80 runs batted in. He also earned the first of ten consecutive All-Star selections, and placed seventh in the Most Valuable Player Award balloting. In 1965 he led the American League in putouts for the first of six times, and received his first of his five consecutive Gold Gloves. In 1966 he again led the league in putouts, and also led in fielding percentage for the first of four times.

Manny Sanguillen – 1973 Topps #250

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   Manuel De Jesus Sanguillen (born March 21, 1944 in Colón, Panama), is a former catcher in the Major Leagues. He was named to the All-Star team three times, in 1971, 1972, and 1975. He played primarily for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but also for the Oakland Athletics in 1977. Sanguillen’s lifetime batting average of .296 is the fourth highest by a catcher since World War II, and tenth highest for catchers in Major League Baseball history. Although he was often overshadowed by his contemporary, Johnny Bench, Sanguillén was considered one of the best catchers in Major League baseball in the early 1970s. While he didn’t possess Bench’s power hitting ability, Sanguillen hit for a higher batting average. He was an integral member of the Pirates teams that won three consecutive National League Eastern Division pennants between 1970 and 1972, and a World Series victory in 1971. Sanguillen was also a fast baserunner for a catcher and was a good defensive player with a strong throwing arm.
Manuel De Jesus Sanguillen Magan In a 13 year career, Sanguillen played in 1448 games, accumulating 1500 hits in 5062 at bats for a .296 career batting average along with 65 home runs and 585 runs batted in.[1] He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage. Sanguillen was the Pirates’ catcher on September 20, 1969 when Bob Moose pitched a no-hitter. Along with his three All-Star Game appearances, he was a member of two world championship winning teams in 1971 and 1979, and finished in eighth place in the 1971 Most Valuable Player Award balloting results. Sanguillen edged out Johnny Bench on The Sporting News National League All-Star Team in 1971, the only time between 1967 and 1975 that Bench was not selected. He was also a close friend of the late Roberto Clemente. Sanguillen was the only member of the Pirates not to attend Clemente’s funeral, choosing instead to dive the waters where Clemente’s plane had crashed in a futile effort to find his friend. Sanguillen currently operates “Manny’s BBQ”, a barbecue-style concession stand at the Pirates’ current home, PNC Park. He sits in a chair greeting fans in line to buy food, signing autographs and posing for photos.

Joe Ferguson – 1973 Topps #621

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Joseph Vance Ferguson(born September 19, 1946 in San Francisco, California) is a former catcher/right fielder in Major League Baseball who played for four different teams from 1970 through 1983. Listed at 6′ 2″, 200 lbs., he batted and threw right-handed. A strong-armed catcher, Ferguson reached the majors in 1970 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing for them six and a half years before joining the St. Louis Cardinals (1976), Houston Astros (1977–78), again Los Angeles (1978–81), and finished his career with the California Angels (1981–83). He became the Dodgers everyday catcher in 1973 and set a major league record for catchers by committing only three errors, leading the National League catchers in fielding percentage (.996) and double plays (17), while hitting .263 with a .369 on-base percentage. He also reached career-highs in games played (136), home runs (25), RBI (88), runs (84), doubles (26) and walks (87). In a 14-season career, Ferguson was a .240 hitter with 122 home runs and 445 RBI in 1013 games. In 13 postseason games, he hit .200 (7-for-35) with one home run and four RBI. The strong-armed Ferguson may be best known for his role in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1974 World Series. After reaching third on third baseman Ron Cey’s throwing error, Sal Bando tagged up on a Reggie Jackson fly ball to center field, as Jimmy Wynn camped under it. Sprinting from his position in right field, Ferguson cut in front of Wynn to catch the ball and heave it to the plate, where Steve Yeager made the tag as the throw just beat Bando.

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