Sunday, March 25, 2007

RIP Ed Bailey

The catcher was 75. He made 5 All-Star teams and was a big part of the pennant winning 1962 Giants, splitting time with Tom Haller. He was the catcher in the final game of that year, when the Dodgers choked away the pennant. Bailey hit a 2-run HR in a 3-2 loss in Game 3 of the '62 Series in his only hit in 14 ABs.

He hit a lot of homers at a time when catchers outside of Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella didn't make much of an offensive contribution.

One of the All-Star appearances was in 1957 as a Red, when seven of the eight starters voted on by the fans were from the Reds. Bailey had hit 28 HRs and had 75 RBIs in 1956 so he really was the best hitting catcher in the league at that point. Here's Wikipedia's recap --

In 1957, fans of the Cincinnati Reds stuffed the ballot box and elected 7 Reds players to start in the All-Star Game. They were:
Johnny Temple, 2B
Roy McMillan, SS
Don Hoak, 3B
Ed Bailey, C
Frank Robinson, LF
Gus Bell, CF
Wally Post, RF
The only non-Red elected to start for the National League was St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Stan Musial. While the Reds were known to be a great offensive team with many outstanding position players, most baseball observers agreed that they did not deserve seven starters in the All-Star Game. An investigation showed that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Enquirer had printed up pre-marked ballots and distributed them with the Sunday newspaper to make it easy to vote early and often. There were even stories of bars in Cincinnati not serving alcohol to customers until they filled out a ballot.
Commissioner Ford Frick decided to appoint Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Reds players Gus Bell and Wally Post. In addition, Frick decided to strip the fans of their voting rights. Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team until 1969, when the vote again returned to the fans.


Anonymous Dan said...

Was Karl Rove around in 1957? That would explain the cheating.

Major League teams start playing a week from tonight.

The Dodgers begin in Milwaukee.

10:31 AM  

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