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  1. Thanks for the trip down memory lane; Cookie was one of my favorite early Royals.  It’s interesting to note that the transition from Rojas to White in Kansas City was a lot less smooth than you indicate.  Despite being a native Kansas Citian, White did not find the path to the hearts of the locals easy because Cookie was so popular.  Fans took many years to warm up to White before he could become the beloved KC icon he is today.

    (As for Mike Aviles, his “trouble staying healthy” is limited to having Tommy John surgery; it’s not like he’s injury-prone.)

  2. “Just as the Cardinals had done nearly a decade earlier, the Royals made themselves a terrific deal”
    presumably that should be “Phillies had done..”

    I was almost expecting a card from childhood, but the pic was unfamiliar.  We must have had a 69 or 70 Rojas.

  3. Speaking of Ron Woods, do you remember the time he caught a ball at the wall (which in old Yankee Stadium was only about 4 feet high) and fell backwards over the wall onto an usher who had raced over to retrieve what he thought would be a home run ball? I’ve always wondered if the ball actually stayed in his glove, since he was out of sight for several seconds.

  4. Clete, yes I do remember Woods making that catch! As I recall, he did that several times at the old Yankee Stadium. He would fall into the stands, and usually come up with the ball, though I sometimes wonder if a fan actually caught the ball and then handed it to Woods to create the appearance of a catch. Good memories.

  5. I loved Cookie, always a favorite with those, as you so perfectly put it, “horrible” horned-rimmed glasses.  He was a good ballplayer for a very long time.

  6. I remember Cookie Rojas from when he was with the Phillies and they played the Giants.

    With the advent of advanced defensive metrics, I wonder if players like Cookie will be seen as more valuable again?

  7. Wait! Fangraphs has him as a negative fielder but there’s no UZR to go by.  How do we measure that?

  8. “I remember Cookie Rojas from when he was with the Phillies”

    the Days of Wine and Rojas

  9. Nice piece on one of my favorite players from the mid-60s Phillies team it was my sad fate to love.  Cookie was a consistent, smart player, who played the game the right way, as the Phils’ current skipper would say…he was a dandy ballplayer, as my dad would have said.

  10. Cookie & Freddie Patek used to have a play worked out that when the ball was going up the middle of the diamond , Cookie would grab the ball & flip to Patek , who would throw to first..this would be in a non double play situation..was fun to watch..

  11. Bruce, I remember Cookie as well. Your analysis of his play and of course the era he played in was right on the mark. (I also like that 1971 Topps set).

    In doing some research on the Willie Randolph trade, I came across an interesting article from the Lawrence Journal-World (Dec 11, 1975).

    Apparently the Pirates and Royals were on the verge of completing this deal on December 10, 1975.

    to Kansas City: Al Oliver
    to Pittsburgh: Amos Otis and Cookie Rojas

    Rojas, as a 10-5 man, nixed the deal.

    Royals manager White Herzog quickly tried to smooth over any hurt feelings.

    ‘‘I think Amos Otis and Cookie Rojas will do a hell of a job if they are with us,’’ he said, adding that if he had his way Otis would never have been traded by the Mets when Herzog was director of player personnel there.

    (The Royals were also in discussion with the Dodgers: Otis and shortstop Freddie Patek to Los Angeles for Bill Buckner and Bill Russell; the Dodgers were apparently concerned with Buckner and Russell’s ability to come back after injuries in a 1975 season that saw them finish 20 games behind Cincinnati.)

    The next day (12/11/75), the Yankees sent Doc Medich to the Pirates in exchange for three straight pennants.

    OK, the Angels and Indians share some of the blame too.

    But the Medich for Doc Ellis, Ken Brett and Willie Randolph trade was one of the most lopsided of the seventies. (New York would then later parlay Brett and Rich Coggins for Carlos May in a trade with the White Sox).

    The trade did nothing to help Pittsburgh keep their division crown and it solved the Yankees second base problem, with manager Billy Martin essentially turning the job over to Randolph before a spring training pitch was thrown.

    The Yankees solved their other problems with gracious help from other A.L. clubs as well during the winter meetings. The same day as the Randolph trade, the Angels shipped them solid right handed hurler Ed Figueroa and their speedy center field Mickey Rivers in exchange for an ailing Bobby Bonds. Rivers would displace injured center fielder Elliott Maddox, with the Yankees shipping Pat Dobson to Cleveland for Oscar Gamble (on 11/22/75). In less than a month, the Yankees went from a weak third place finisher to a runaway pennant winner.

    Unable to secure a solid center fielder in Otis, the Pirates soon faded. Their loss was Philadelphia’s gain, who won back-to-back division crowns in 1976-77, while the Pirates struggled to solve their center field problem.

  12. Philip, never knew about the proposed trade of Otis and Rojas for Al Oliver. Interesting stuff.

    The Royals had Willie Wilson coming up to take over CF, with Oliver in left and Cowens in right. And yes, the Pirates did need help in CF, so Otis would have been a good fit.