The vintage baby pictures quiz (Volume 3)

It’s been a while since our last look at the old photo album.

A reminder of what we’re up to here: When presented with a snapshot of a familiar adult from when he or she was in diapers, sometimes we can clearly see the resemblance, and sometimes we can’t. The same is true of prominent major league players, when viewing only their minor league statistics.

Presented below are the minor league stats of some big leaguers. Some achieved great stardom; others’ eventual success was more modest. Your challenge is to guess who each player is.

The answers are at the bottom of the article. And peeking is against the rules!

Questions

These two prospects were the same age, and in the same organization, and were teammates right up the ladder. Obviously, great things became expected of both, and both did indeed emerge as significant big league stars.

Who do you think they are?

Player No. 1

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1967  18  Appal. Rookie   OF      67  246   50   85   10    8    8   47   35   52   26 .346 .435 .549  .983
1968  19  Calif.    A     OF      68  244   52   90    6    3    7   40   35   65   14 .369 .463 .504  .967
1968  19   East.   AA     OF       6   24    4    8    1    1    1    3    3    4    1 .333 .444 .583 1.028
1968  19   I.L.    AAA    OF      15   46    4   10    2    0    0    4    3   17    1 .217 .300 .261  .561
1969  20  Fla. St   A     OF      17   56   13   21    5    4    3   24    7    8    3 .375 .455 .768 1.222
1969  20   Texas   AA     OF     109  406   71  122   17   10   11   57   48   77   19 .300 .399 .473  .872
1970  21   I.L.    AAA    OF     140  508  127  166   34   15   22  107   76   99   26 .327 .441 .583 1.024
1971  22   I.L.    AAA    OF     136  492  104  154   31   10   20   95   79   73   25 .313 .433 .539  .972

Player No. 2

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1967  18  Appal. Rookie   SS      58  213   43   54   10    4    3   26   38   36    8 .254 .364 .380  .744
1968  19  Calif.    A     SS     113  426   63   97   18    2    8   44   61  126    2 .228 .323 .336  .659
1969  20   Texas   AA     SS     121  413   60  128   16    8    2   50   51   79    2 .310 .382 .402  .784
1970  21   I.L.    AAA   2B-SS    63  235   67   90   11    3    9   42   57   42   10 .383 .503 .570 1.074
1971  22   I.L.    AAA    SS     130  473  124  159   26    9   32   83   81   98    5 .336 .442 .632 1.074

Here are two more youngsters from a single organization. The second power-hitting first baseman was a year behind the first on the organizational depth chart, though, having been a college player, the second was a few years older.

Player No. 3

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1978  18   Pion. Rookie  1B-OF    65  256   48   83   15    2   12   70   32   62    2 .324 .396 .539  .935
1979  19  Calif.    A     1B     137  525  101  186   37    3   24  116   71   86   22 .354 .433 .573 1.006
1980  20   Texas   AA     1B     134  470   95  151   21    6   16   82   86   97    6 .321 .423 .494  .917
1981  21  P.C.L.   AAA    1B     128  467  114  174   25    7   34  137   57   80   21 .370 .451 .675 1.126
1982  22  P.C.L.   AAA    1B      66  255   74   99   20    1   14   58   46   58   11 .388 .498 .639 1.138

Player No. 4

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1979  22   Pion. Rookie   1B      66  247   61   88   18    2   16   77   54   26    7 .356 .466 .640 1.105
1980  23  Calif.    A     1B     121  418   72  125   19    3   29   95   62   50    3 .299 .387 .567  .954
1981  24   Texas   AA     1B     128  499   86  147   25    3   32  106   46   67    3 .295 .352 .549  .901
1982  25  P.C.L.   AAA   1B-OF   135  480  118  149   20    8   44  138  105   81    4 .310 .433 .660 1.093

Next let’s reach back to the 1940s, for two southpaws who weren’t the least bit shy about racking up the walks, or the strikeouts. Who are these wild ones?

Pitcher No. 1

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1940  20   I.L.    AA      16   69    2    5   69    ?   39   35 4.70 1.57
1941  21   I.L.    AA      26  129   10    7  127    ?   68   75 3.98 1.51
1942  22   I.L.    AA      28  209   17    4  160    ?  145  147 3.10 1.46
1943-46                   (In Military Service)
1947  27   A.A.    AAA     19  149   12    6  109    ?  106  138 3.26 1.44

Pitcher No. 2

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1945  16   East.    A      13   69    2    5   71    ?   31   42 3.39 1.48
1946  17   East.    A      30  175   16    6  136    ?  105  144 3.20 1.38
1947  18   A.A.    AAA      5   27    1    0   17    ?   32   25 5.33 1.81
1947  18   East.    A      18  132   12    4  102    ?   71  136 2.86 1.31
1948  19   East.    A      11   87    3    6   56    ?   43  115 2.07 1.14
1949  20   A.A.    AAA     11   77    6    4   53    ?   54  116 3.27 1.39

Here are three robust-hitting infielders of exactly the same age. One became a Hall of Famer, one became an MVP, and one was never a regular after his age-26 season. Recognize them?

Player No. 5

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1960  18   Mdw.     D     3B      30  109   15   29    5    0    2   11    8   18    2 .266 .316 .367  .683
1960  18  Appal.    D    2B-OF    34  139   42   56   11    2   11   28   15   37    1 .403 .468 .748 1.216
1961  19  Calif.    C    SS-OF   138  507  100  180   24   14   22  123   56   77   15 .355 .423 .588 1.011
1962  20   East.    A     3B     140  540   97  182   30    9   18  107   60   74    5 .337 .401 .526  .927
1963  21  P.C.L.   AAA    3B      83  317   53   99    8    7   11   56   29   35    6 .312 .372 .486  .858

Player No. 6

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1960  18   NY-P     D    2-O-3   104  384   82  107   21    4    6   43   45   68   11 .279 .352 .401  .753
1961  19   NY-P     D     3B     121  460  110  160   32    7   27  132   61   86   17 .348 .435 .624 1.059
1962  20  Carol.    B     3B     100  384   72  112   20    8   18   74   68   61    8 .292 .400 .526  .926
1963  21   Sally   AA     3B      69  256   44   79   19    3   11   48   24   52    8 .309 .376 .535  .911
1963  21  P.C.L.   AAA    3B       8   29    4   11    3    1    1    5    2    8    1 .379 .419 .655 1.075
1964  22  P.C.L.   AAA   1-3-O   124  479   96  148   20    8   34  107   45  102    4 .309 .379 .597  .976

Player No. 7

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1960  18   NY-P     D     SS      88  320   56   90   19   10    8   42   57   75    6 .281 .386 .478  .865
1961  19   Pion.    C     2B     117  460  101  146   17    8   21   94   63  131   10 .317 .403 .526  .929
1962  20   East.    A    OF-2B   132  511   97  168   32   10   20  109   69  106   11 .329 .411 .548  .959
1963  21   I.L.    AAA    OF     145  544   93  157   19   12   33   97   42  110    3 .289 .341 .550  .890

Back to pitchers: How about we stick with the theme of extremely hard throwers displaying a few issues with control. No. 5 is a left hander, and the other three are all righties. Two of these four would eventually make it as big stars, but the other two would encounter some struggles.

Pitcher No. 3

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1950  24   East.    A      30  219   17    8  164    ?  127  169 2.71 1.33
1951  25  P.C.L.   AAA     40  267   16   13  179    ?  175  246 2.76 1.33
1952  26   A.A.    AAA      5   35    4    0   28    ?   18   24 3.09 1.31
1953  27   A.A.    AAA     31  187   10   12  160   19  115  118 3.32 1.47
1954  28   A.A.    AAA     35  199   15    8  155   18  129  178 3.75 1.43

Pitcher No. 4

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1948  17  Ill. St   D      16   97    9    3   99    ?   71   53 4.45 1.75
1949  18  North.    C      33  230   23    5  175    ?  131  205 2.31 1.33
1950  19   Texas   AA       4   14    0    2   15    ?   19   10 9.00 2.43
1950  19   West.    A      40  208   11   14  213    ?  118  153 4.28 1.59
1951  20   Texas   AA      34  268   20    8  236    ?  142  200 2.95 1.41

Pitcher No. 5

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1951  20   Pony     D      27  170   10   12  128    ?  163  200 4.19 1.71
1952  21  Fla. In   B       2    7    0    2    7    ?    8    6 6.43 2.14
1952  21   Pied.    B      17   62    1    6   66    ?   64   46 6.82 2.10
1952  21  Ct. St.   C       9   51    3    4   38    ?   49   70 3.55 1.71
1953  22   East.    A       8   50    1    6   29    2   49   35 3.42 1.56
1953  22   West.    A      21  153   11    6   97    7  115  198 2.53 1.39
1954  23   Texas   AA      42  238   21    9  176   15  162  262 3.14 1.42

Pitcher No. 6

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1951  17   Pony     D      23  108    6    3   99    ?   93   87 4.33 1.78
1952  18   K-O-M    D      35  245   22    7  137    ?  170  300 1.76 1.25
1953  19  Three-I   B      42  244   22    8  167    9  139  197 2.51 1.25
1954  20   I.L.    AAA     36  223   17    9  183    4  127  150 2.87 1.39
1955  21   I.L.    AAA     31  211   15   11  171   10  124  161 3.11 1.40
1956  22   I.L.    AAA     15  104    5    7   94    4   57   62 2.86 1.45

On the basis of these glittering stats, huge stardom was widely expected of both of these two. It never materialized for either. Who are they?

Player No. 8

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1944  22  Appal.    D     OF      72  267   76   98   16    4   13   64   30   27   17 .367 .460 .603 1.063
1944  22   S.A.    A-1    OF      48  194   47   65    5    8    0   15   10   31    9 .335 .380 .443  .823
1945  23   S.A.    AA     OF     140  540  126  201   40   28   16  117   69   62   37 .372 .457 .639 1.096
1947  25   S.A.    AA     OF     151  585  126  199   34   17   22   92   56   74   42 .340 .411 .569  .980

Player No. 9

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1947  20   East.    A     OF     121  426   88  136   26   14   10   78   58   35    9 .319 .399 .516  .916
1948  21   I.L.    AAA    OF     150  586  124  199   37   16   30   97   54   75    7 .340 .395 .611 1.006

Would you believe that both of these prospects became Cy Young Award winners?

Pitcher No. 7

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1979  20   Mdw.     A      15   43    4    0   33    2   17   33 2.09 1.16
1980  21   Texas   AA      49  109    5    9  120    7   59   75 3.55 1.64
1981  22   Texas   AA      42  102    7    6   94   12   50   95 4.68 1.41
1982  23  P.C.L.   AAA     47  124    9    6  121   10   63   93 3.71 1.48
1983  24  P.C.L.   AAA     49  134   10    8  132   16   58   95 4.09 1.42

Pitcher No. 8

Year  Age League  Class     G   IP    W    L    H   HR   BB   SO  ERA WHIP
1981  18  G.C.L. Rookie    14   67    6    4   52    0   33   45 2.55 1.27
1982  19  Sally     A      16  105    9    2   84    4   47   87 2.06 1.25
1982  19  Fla. St   A      10   72    7    1   56    1   25   57 2.12 1.13
1983  20                (On disabled list)
1984  21  South.   AA      29  179    8   12  162    9  114  110 4.28 1.54
1985  22   A.A.    AAA     28  159    9   15  157   13   93  115 4.65 1.57
1986  23   A.A.    AAA     39   71    8    4   60    3   25   63 2.79 1.20
1987  24   I.L.    AAA      3   11    0    1   10    1    6    7 5.73 1.45

A left-handed-hitting catcher with some pop in his bat is rare and precious. Yet these three came along at the same time, and moreover, all within the same organization. Only one would make it as a big league star. Who are they?

Player No. 10

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1944  18  Appal.    D      C      55  182   26   48    4    4    1   28    8   26    1 .264 .311 .346  .657
1945  19   S.A.    A-1     C      20   51    3   11    1    2    0    6    2    2    0 .216 .245 .314  .559
1945  19   Pied.    B      C      71  225   31   58   14    1    7   27   24   22    1 .258 .341 .422  .764
1946  20  Three-I   B      C      96  356   53  126   18    6   13   85   34   25    2 .354 .412 .548  .960
1947  21   S.A.    AA      C     128  435   67  144   20    1   22  105   26   45    0 .331 .369 .533  .902

Player No. 11

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1944  17   Pony     D    C-OF     54  203   31   66    6    3    2   32    9    9   10 .325 .352 .414  .766
1945  18   Pied.    B    C-OF     12   45    3   18    2    4    0    3    3    2    1 .400 .429 .622 1.051
1945-46                       (In Military Service)
1946  19  P.C.L.   AAA     C       1    2    0    1    0    0    0    0    ?    ?    0 .500   ?  .500    ?
1947  20  Sally     A      C      16   38    3   11    3    2    0    7    2    3    0 .289 .325 .474  .799
1947  20  Tri.-St   B    OF-C     99  388   79  150   28    2   11   76   43   23    8 .387 .459 .554 1.014
1948  21   S.A.    AA    C-OF    116  433   93  167   38    6   22  102   32   22    2 .386 .428 .654 1.082
1949  22  P.C.L.   AAA    OF      19   43    5   12    1    0    2   12    2    4    1 .278 .311 .442  .753
1950  23   I.L.    AAA     C      88  315   55  103   15   10    8   52   29   23    4 .327 .382 .514  .896

Player No. 12

Year  Age League  Class   Pos      G   AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR  RBI   BB   SO   SB   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS
1945  17   Pony     D     OF     124  461   88  136   27   10   13  111   78   89    5 .295 .392 .482  .874
1946  18  Can.-Am   C     OF      40  136   17   32    8    0    1   18   26   28    4 .235 .364 .316  .680
1946  18  No. Atl   D    C-OF     48  154   26   43    8    1    7   35   31   35    0 .279 .422 .481  .902
1947  19  No. Atl   D   C-OF-P   127  457  105  161   31    6   34  139   82   47    4 .352 .456 .670 1.125
1948  20   West.    A    C-OF    109  338   67   94   10    5   29  111   73   45    0 .278 .420 .595 1.015
1949  21   S.A.    AA      C     128  431   86  155   33    1   45  153   85   73    3 .360 .473 .754 1.227
1950  22   S.A.    AA      C      80  273   54   84   10    2   24   73   64   55    2 .308 .445 .623 1.068

Answers

Player No. 1: Don Baylor

Player No. 2: Bobby Grich

Yes, these two were a pretty special couple of young players. Baylor was Minor League Player of the Year in 1970, and Grich took the honor in 1971. The only reason both repeated Triple-A in ’71 was that the Orioles were just obscenely overloaded with talent.

Player No. 3: Mike Marshall

Player No. 4: Greg Brock

Remember this pair? They were going to be superstars, weren’t they? It didn’t happen; both turned out to be pretty good, but nothing special.

With Brock, it seems pretty clear what was going on: He was a couple of years overaged for each level in the minors, as the Dodgers brought him along a lot more slowly through their system than they needed to. Thus the gaudy stats were something of an illusion, further amplified by the fact that just about all the Dodger farm clubs played in great hitting environments.

But Marshall was four years younger than Brock, and as such his stats were genuinely stunning. When someone that age is utterly dismantling the minors, it’s something that shines through the heaviest-grade park-and-league-filter. This kid was huge and strong, with long arms and long legs, and he seemed bound to hit roughly 900 homers.

But Marshall never really got it going in the majors. Mostly it was because he just kept getting hurt, but even before he started to fall apart physically, in his first few years in the big leagues there was a nagging sense that Marshall was spinning his wheels.

Pitcher No. 1: Tommy Byrne

Pitcher No. 2: Mickey McDermott

Yep, these two were really, really wild. Byrne would turn out the be the wildest pitcher in history to sustain a significant career, and McDermott wasn’t far behind.

But interestingly, Byrne’s minor league stats weren’t all that outrageous. Looking at his major league numbers, one would expect his minor league career to have been more Dalkowskiesque than it was.

And the thing that stands out about McDermott’s minor league numbers (well, along with how incredibly young he was) are those strikeout rates. Bear in mind that batters tended to be a whole lot more strikeout-averse in those days than they’ve since become; just about everybody in that era truly did choke up and “protect the plate” with two strikes. Despite that, McDermott was blowing away 12.6 hitters per nine innings in 1948-49.

McDermott would become notorious as a party boy, and that no doubt had something to do with the disappointing arc his major league career would take. But these minor league stats make it clear just why the Red Sox were so excited about McDermott. He was an exceptional young talent.

Player No. 5: Jim Ray Hart

Player No. 6: Tony Perez

Player No. 7: Dick Allen

Did these boys put a hurtin’ on the minor league pitchers, or what?

While clearly it would be Allen who would make the quickest and biggest splash in the majors, as minor leaguers it was hard to see a whole lot of difference among these three. In their first several years in the big leagues, Hart would be distinctly better than Perez—yet among the trio it would be Perez achieving by far the greatest longevity and consistency.

Pitcher No. 3: Sam Jones

Pitcher No. 4: Bob Turley

Pitcher No. 5: Karl Spooner

Pitcher No. 6: Jim Owens

Toothpick Sam, recruited from the Negro Leagues, was pointlessly warehoused in Triple-A by the Indians, and it may well be the case that mounting frustration on Jones’ part, as he wasted year after year with nothing left to prove in the minors, resulted in deteriorating performance. Once he finally got a serious chance in the major leagues, within a couple of years Jones improved his control and emerged as an elite ace.

Turley, an extremely similar talent, never really sharpened his control very much, but his stuff was just so overpowering that in between bouts with arm trouble he was a terrific star, copping a major league-wide Cy Young Award in 1958.

Spooner dazzled the baseball world with his debut major league performance as a September call-up in 1954: two starts, two complete-game shutouts, allowing a total of just seven hits while striking out 27. But the next year serious arm problems began to develop, and his career would reach a sudden and frustrating end.

Owens as well seemed poised for big league stardom. Following this remarkable minor league apprenticeship, he spent a couple of years in military service, but in 1959, in his first full season in the majors, Owens was among the league’s better starters. Then things went haywire, and the only effective pitching Owens would ever again produce would be a couple of decent years out of the Houston bullpen in 1964-65.

He then became the Astros’ pitching coach. Jim Bouton encountered Owens there in 1969, and would have appreciative things to say about him in Ball Four. While Owens’ hugely disappointing big league career bears all the earmarks of a sore arm, his own explanation for it is more mechanical than medical:

“You just can’t tell some guy he has to throw a slider,” Owens says. “That’s what they did to me. I had a helluva overhand curve when I first came up and they told me I had to throw a slider. So I worked on the slider until I lost my overhand curve. That taught me never to take a young pitcher and force him to come up with a new pitch.”

Player No. 8: Gil Coan

Player No. 9: Johnny Groth

Groth would get off to a terrific start in the majors before becoming a rather prominent disappointment.

But Coan, despite that spectacular minor league performance, never really got it going in the big leagues (well, other than a pretty cool job in his late-season call-up in 1947: 21-for-42, a nice round .500 average). Coan was an extraordinarily inconsistent hitter in the majors, and in particular he didn’t show a hint of the power he’d demonstrated in the minors.

We now know that Coan was two years older than he presented himself when he was playing, so part of the issue is that, like Greg Brock above, Coan was older than most of his minor league competitors. But perhaps also part of Coan’s problem was that he was never able to progress through a full minor league development ladder, because the Senators’ organization in that period, operating on a shoestring, didn’t have a Triple-A affiliate.

Despite his blazing speed, Coan was almost never deployed in center field in the majors, and was instead nearly exclusively a left fielder, the telltale sign of a weak arm. As a left fielder, it would be critical for Coan to hit well to succeed in the majors, and perhaps that put an extra measure of stress upon him.

Pitcher No. 7: Orel Hershiser

Pitcher No. 8: David Cone

Well, pitching performance is of course the least predictable outcome this side of a roulette wheel. But even acknowledging that, these two were exceptional long-shot payoffs.

With Cone, at least, one could see the latent outstanding talent in his superb teenaged low-minors performances. But then he’d gotten seriously hurt, and his post-injury stats were completely pedestrian. His rate stats got a boost with the demotion to the bullpen in 1986, but a 23-year-old putting up nice-but-unspectacular numbers as a Triple-A long reliever isn’t exactly cause for excitement. The truth is that nobody saw Cone’s subsequent tremendous blossoming coming, least of all the Royals, who blithely packed him off in a swap of seeming nobodies at the end of spring training in 1987.

And with Hershiser there wasn’t even the glint of what-might-be. Not only was he a year or two older than most of his competition at each rung of the ladder, he put up nothing more than blandly so-so numbers across four full seasons. A guy being deployed as a long reliever/spot starter in that circumstance, and putting up those kind of forgettable results, is obviously and properly slotted as roster filler by his organization. His major league upside is back-of-the-bullpen marginal. Hershiser’s sudden development into a brilliant pitcher at the major league level was an astonishing turn of events.

Player No. 10: Rube Walker

Player No. 11: Smoky Burgess

Player No. 12: Carl Sawatski

It was the Cubs’ organization that simultaneously produced this trio of lefty-swinging backstops. The team appeared confused by the bounty, and couldn’t quite figure out what to do with any of them.

Walker, by far the most defensively adept among the trio, was allowed to bypass Triple-A and brought straight to the majors at the age of 22. He put together a good rookie season with the bat in a limited opportunity. But the Cubs never gave Walker a chance as a first-stringer, instead quickly pigeon-holing him as a backup, a role he would fulfill in the majors for a decade.

Burgess so impressed the Cubs with his bat that they leapfrogged him as well to the majors at 22, and deployed him as a pinch-hitting specialist—a most unusual use of a player so young and inexperienced. Then it was back to the minors, apparently to focus on developing his defensive skill as a catcher.

While Burgess would never be anyone’s idea of a good defensive receiver, he would become adequate, certainly so given the sort of remarkable hitter he would turn out to be. But he wouldn’t be doing it for the Cubs, because they would dump Burgess in a pointless giveaway trade before his 25th birthday.

Sawatski, too, was a catcher of questionable defensive acumen, but few backstops in minor league history have put up quite such arresting numbers with the bat. What did the Cubs do but rush him, too, to the majors as a 22-year-old, without the benefit of an inning at Triple-A, over the second half of 1950. What this accomplished was to have the struggling rookie Sawatski take big league playing time away from Walker, who was still just 24 himself.

Sawatski would then be drafted into the military for two years. Upon his return, the Cubs—despite the fact that both Walker and Burgess had been traded away—would bury Sawatski as a sparsely used third-stringer behind established mediocrities. At last, having done everything within his power to drain Sawatski of value, Cubs’ GM Wid Matthews delivered the coup de grace by letting the still-only-26-year-old catcher go for the waiver price in November of 1953.

Sawatski would bounce around and wind up back in the minors for a couple of years. Eventually he’d re-emerge with the Braves in 1957. There, he’d finally establish himself as a useful big league power-hitting backup/platoon catcher, a status he’d maintain through the age of 35.

Following his playing career Sawatski would become a minor league executive, including a 15-year tenure as president of the Southern League.

References & Resources
Jim Bouton, edited by Leonard Shecter, Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues, New York: World, 1970, p. 341.

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