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Tag:Hal McRae
Posted on: June 20, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: June 20, 2011 2:21 pm
 

Looking back at McKeon's first managerial job

Jack McKeon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

With Jack McKeon returning to manage the Marlins, plenty of people are trying to put the age of the 80-year-old McKeon in its proper perspective.

Here's my attempt, looking back at the first team McKeon managed, the 1973 Kansas City Royals. That was the first year of what was then called Royals Stadium and is now called Kauffman Stadium. The structure is the sixth-oldest stadium still in use as home to a Major League team (and third-oldest outside the state of California).

On May 29, McKeon managed against Baltimore's Earl Weaver for the first time in his big-league career. Weaver was in his sixth season with the Orioles and already had a World Series title and three pennants. Weaver, who has been retired for 25 years, is just three months older than McKeon.

Baseball's other managers in 1973 were Ralph Houk, Eddie Kasko, Billy Martin, Del Crandall, Ken Aspromonte, Dick Williams, Frank Quilici, Bobby Winkles, Chuck Tanner, Whitey Herzog, Yogi Berra, Red Schoendienst, Bill Virdon, Gene Mauch, Whitey Lockman, Danny Ozark, Sparky Anderson, Walter Alston, Charlie Fox, Eddie Matthews, Don Zimmer and Leo Durocher. Yes, Walter Alston, Ralph Houk and Leo Durocher. Keep in mind, McKeon was 42 then, young to be sure, but still three years older than Anderson and a year older than Herzog.

McKeon's first game as a big-league manager came on April 6, 1973 -- that same day Tony La Russa played in his final big-league game. La Russa has now managed 5,008 games, the second-most in history.

The '73 Royals had 24-year-old John Mayberry playing first, leading the team with 26 home runs (tied with Amos Otis) and 100 RBI. As the Marlins manager, he may face John Mayberry Jr., a 27-year-old currently on the Phillies' Triple-A team who has played in 45 games with the big league team this year.

Hal McRae was in his first year with the Royals and would go on to be one of the team's iconic players. His son, Brian, wrapped up a 10-year big league career 12 years ago.

Paul Splittorff was 26 and won 20 games for McKeon in 1973. Last month Splittorff, who played 15 seasons in the big leagues and had a long career as an announcer, passed away at the age of 64.

Lou Piniella hit .250 with nine homers as the Royals' everyday left fielder in his last season in Kansas City and would go on to play 11 more years with the Yankees. After that, Piniella would manage 23 more years before retiring last season.

Gene Garber, who went on to pitch until he was 40, was just 25 years old and entered the 1973 season without a victory or a save, finishing his first season under McKeon 9-9 with 11 saves with a 4.24 ERA. He finished his career with 218 saves (seventh-most when he retired), appearing in 931 games. His 931 appearances were fifth-most in baseball history when he retired.

A 24-year-old Buck Martinez played 14 games for the Royals in 1973 and would play 13 more seasons. He also went on to manage, but hasn't done that for nine years, and is serving now as the Blue Jays' TV color man.

And then there's two rookies who debuted for the Royals in 1973 -- George Brett and Frank White. Those two now have statues at Kauffman Stadium and are the only Royals players to have their numbers retired. Brett was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.

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Posted on: June 16, 2011 11:24 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2011 4:55 pm
 

Plenty of 'respectful' sons dot MLB history



By C. Trent Rosecrans

In honor of Father's Day (make sure you have bought at least a card by now), earlier today Matt Snyder looked at 10 "disrespectful" sons of big leaguers, sons who had better careers than their fathers. Well, there are as many, or more, who couldn't quite live up to their fathers' legacy -- or "respecting" their father's legacy by refusing to overshadow dear ol' dad.

I've got to give it up to perhaps the greatest team ever, the Big Red Machine teams of the '70s, not only did the Reds dominate on the field, they produced several big leaguers -- and respectful ones at that. The other list had Ken Griffey Jr., but this list has four sons of Reds from the 1970s that were unable to make anyone forget about their more famous fathers.

Pete Rose Jr. Father: Pete. This one is pretty easy. "Charlie Hustle" had 4,254 more hits than his son. But you've got to give the younger Rose credit for not giving up, making his father proud. Little Pete battled in the minors for more than eight years before playing 11 games for the Reds in 1997. He played affiliated baseball until 2001 and independent baseball until 2009, hanging up his cleats at 39. He played in a total of 1,918 games below the big-league level, accumulating 1,877 hits.

Eduardo Perez. Father: Tony. Both now work for the Marlins, Tony in the front office and Eduardo as the team's hitting coach. But that's about the only similarity between the two careers. Tony Perez is in the Hall of Fame and made seven All-Star teams to go along with his two World Series titles. Eduardo Perez played in parts of 13 seasons with six teams, including his father's Reds. He finished with 445 hits -- just 2,287 fewer than his father.

Pedro Borbon Jr. Father: Pedro. Pedro Borbon was one of the unsung heroes of the Big Red Machine, appearing in 362 games from 1973-77, pitching 633 innings for Sparky Anderson in that period. He went 44-23 with a 2.99 ERA. He finished his career with 69 victories and 80 saves. His son has a World Series ring of his own, earning it in 1995 with the Braves. The younger Borbon was excellent in 1995 and 1996, putting together a 2.91 ERA in 84 games combined between those two seasons. He played in nine seasons, going 16-16 with a 4.68 ERA.

Brian McRae. Father: Hal. Before going to Kansas City to join another young team on the rise, Hal McRae started his career in Cincinnati as an outfielder. But he found fame in Kansas City where he was traded after the 1972 season. McRae was one of the best of the first generation of designated hitters, moving to the position full-time by 1976. A four-time All-Star, he finished fourth in MVP voting in both 1976 and 1982. In 1976 he led the American League in on-base percentage and OPS but lost the batting title on the last day of the season to teammate George Brett. Brian McRae also played with Brett. He had a nice career, accumulating 1,336 hits over parts of 10 seasons but was never the force his father was.

Dale Berra. Father: Yogi. Dale Berra played in an era where not much offense was expected of middle infielders, and he complied, putting up an OPS of .638 in parts of 11 seasons. He did finish with 49 home runs in his career; his father hit 309 more. The elder Berra was a three-time MVP and Hall of Famer.

Tony Gwynn Jr. Father: Tony. The younger Gwynn is just 28, but with 249 hits so far in his career, there's no way he's catching dad. Tony Gwynn had five 200-hit seasons and eight batting titles. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Lance Niekro. Father: Joe. Lance Niekro was not only a respectful son, but he also honored his uncle, Hall-of-Famer Phil Niekro. Lance played in 195 games over four seasons, the bulk of them coming in 2005. Unlike his famous father and uncle, the younger Niekro was a position player, hitting 12 home runs in 2005 for the Giants. In 2009, Niekro tried a comeback as a knuckleballer, pitching one season in the minors before retiring. Joe Niekro was often overshadowed by his brother, but he was no slouch, either. In 1979, he was an All-Star and finished as the runner-up in Cy Young voting and sixth in MVP voting, going 21-11 with five shutouts. He was fourth in Cy Young voting in 1980 when he won 20 games.

Gary Matthews Jr. Father: Gary. The younger Matthews made a lot more money -- and I mean a lot -- but his dad was a better player. The elder Matthews, nicknamed "Sarge," won Rookie of the Year in 1973 with the Giants and finished fifth in MVP voting for the 1984 Cubs when he led the majors with a .410 on-base percentage.  He finished with 2,011 hits and a .281/.364/.439 slash line to go along with 234 career homers. The younger Matthews made one of the game's best catches and turned his one All-Star season into a five-year, $50 million deal with the Angels that pays him $12.4 million this season, even though he's no longer playing. In parts of 12 seasons, the younger Matthews hit .257/.332/.405 with 1,056 hits and 108 home runs.

Brian Bannister. Father: Floyd. The younger Bannister announced that he'd no longer play baseball after leaving the Yomiuri Giants following the tsunami in Japan this March. Brian Bannister pitched in parts of five seasons with the Mets and Royals, making 114 starts, going 37-50 with a 5.08 ERA. He won 12 games in 2007 along with a 3.87 ERA, but it would prove to be his best season. His father pitched for six different teams across parts of 15 seasons, winning at least 12 games five times and finishing his career 134-143 with a 4.06 ERA. He also made the 1982 All-Star team.

Josh Barfield. Father: Jesse. Jesse Barfield was one of the great sluggers of the 1980s and owner of one of the best outfield arms in baseball history. He hit 40 home runs in 1986, also winning a Gold Glove that season. His son, Josh, hit 16 home runs over parts of four seasons, his last coming in 2009. He's currently playing for the Phillies' Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley, Pa.

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