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Author Topic: Eddie Kasko  (Read 3397 times)
bklynmike101
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« on: June 25, 2020, 11:45:03 AM »

Eddie Kasko, a bespectacled SS with the Reds/Cards and later with the Astros/Red Sox, also a former manager and baseball "lifer", has passed at the age of 88. One of my cardboard heros, I can still see his image on the 1960 Topps card as I was learning who's who and what's what in baseball.

Extra innings beginning with a runner on 2nd base? Deplorable!
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JoeC
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 12:20:28 PM »

How many glasses-wearing players from the early days (for us) were there beside Kasko.

I'm thinking:

Clint Courtney
Dom DiMaggio
Bill Virdon
Earl Torgeson

Roy McMillan (not sure of Roy)
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Robb_K
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« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2020, 01:26:40 PM »

I never saw him play, but I'd bet with a nickname of "Specs", that Specs Toporcer wore glasses.  I remember that The Cards' great hitter, Chick Hafey had to wear glasses.  I've seen film of him. Didn't Ryne Duren wear glasses?  He was so wild I'd have been afraid to bat against him.  He looked like he couldn't see. 
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JoeC
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« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 01:53:42 PM »

Yeah, Duren surely did wear glasses. Thick ones, if I recall.

And, he made me think of Jim Konstanty. Did he wear them? I think so.

Frank Howard wore specs too.

Also, from a later era, Reggie Jackson. 
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 09:45:18 PM »

Howard wore glasses much later. Not with LA
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2020, 09:45:53 PM »

George Crowe.
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Doowopjoe3
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« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2020, 11:41:42 AM »

Ryne Duren used to intimidate batters by staring in with those thick glasses and having some of his warm-up pitches completely miss the catcher,
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JoeC
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« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2020, 01:36:47 PM »

Joe, I remember that. His "wildness" was also likely aided by a bad hangover from the night before. Not to make light of it but ... Ryne had a SERIOUS alcoholism problem. Amazing he pitched as long, or as well, as he did.

Doc, Frank definitely wore specs with the Senators. He hit 123 HR with LA, then 239 with Washington. Including, I think, 8 over 8 consecutive games in 1968!

Howard's first major league HR was in 1958, off Robin Roberts at Connie Mack Stadium. Frank was (is?) a great guy. Know you've met him too!
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2020, 02:37:41 PM »

Joe  rite. I didn't recall Wash  at all.  He was a very nice guy.  One year  at Dodger camp  Frank  & Yeager were my coaches.   In one inning my team had  3  60-70  yr old  outfielders.[Not me]   Hondo  yelled to Yeager that" our outfield has  200 yrs of experience." 

For yrs he was the the  only player   to  hit into  the 2nd  deck of Dodger  stadium--rite next to Dodger bullpen.Then came steroids  &  McGwire  and Tatis & maybe others did it.
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JoeC
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« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2020, 05:52:50 PM »

Doc, big December 1964 trade:

P Phil Ortega, 1B Dick Nen, P Pete Richert, 3B Ken McMullen, and LF Frank Howard to the Senators for IF John Kennedy and P Claude Osteen + $100K

Basically, Howard and McMullen for Osteen. Howard had the 239 HRs for Washington and Kenny McMullen was a better than average 3B (averaged 18 HR a year for 5 years); Frank's best year was 1970 when he hit .283 with 44 HR and 126 RBI. LA tradedFrank because, despite his prodigious power, his defense had relegated him to being a fourth OF.   

Osteen went 147-126 for LA. First 5 yrs in LA he was a .500 pitcher; then, to his credit, he picked it up! Went 50-33 over his last three yrs with the Dodgers in the early 70s.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 05:55:01 PM by JoeC » Logged
bklynmike101
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« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2020, 12:38:25 AM »

Duren's act was just that, at least partially. He had some terrific seasons in his early years with the Yankees. And managed to hang around for a long time despite his alcohol issues. He threw good and hard for his time. 
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2020, 01:59:09 AM »

Joe--I think  Osteen  was instrumental  in  65 & 66  Dodger  teams.  From 67-72  LA  pretty   bad.

I batted against  Osteen  --BP--&  I  barely hit a couple fouls. He had a very natural  sinker  that  moved away from righties.  For some reason-probably just  practice-- I always could hit righties better than lefties.

BTW Joe--an interesting   research  project.   Name a few players--mostly right handed, who hit better or as good   against  righties. Mays & Aaron  come to mind  possibly. Lefties--think probably none.
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JoeC
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« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2020, 07:38:17 AM »

Doc, Osteen was 15-15 in '65 and 17-14 in '66. But, you are right in that he had GREAT ERAs both years.
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JoeC
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2020, 07:11:00 AM »

Back to Eddie Kasko. As a Cincinnati Red, he was voted into the 1961 NL All-Star lineup as the starting SS. Two questions:

1. Was that the year the Reds' fans stuffed the ballot boxes and got their entire lineup (or close to it) in as All Stars?

2. That was a two AS Game season. I'm assuming there was there only one fan vote. Did that mean the starters were the same (except for the Pitcher) in both games, or could the manager change the lineup in the second All Star game?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 12:34:28 PM by JoeC » Logged
bklynmike101
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2020, 10:58:01 AM »

1. No. The mailbox stuffing incident was a few years earlier - circa '57 or something like that.
2. That's a really interesting question. I've no idea. My guess, though, is that other than injury, the starters were supposed to be the same in both games. At one point, I think it was required that starters play at least the first 3 innings.
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Robb_K
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« Reply #15 on: August 03, 2020, 12:30:41 PM »

1. No. The mailbox stuffing incident was a few years earlier - circa '57 or something like that.
2. That's a really interesting question. I've no idea. My guess, though, is that other than injury, the starters were supposed to be the same in both games. At one point, I think it was required that starters play at least the first 3 innings.

Yes, the ballot stuffing was 1957. 
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JoeC
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« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2020, 12:43:53 PM »

Thanks Mike & Robb. Makes me feel better for Eddie!

Interesting that the fans voted him as the starter. Throughout his long career he was usually playing 2B or 3B; or, even more likely, serving as a team's Utility Infielder. He was NOT an outstanding defensive SS (especially in comparison to his predecessor, Roy McMillan). He hit only .271 for the Reds in '61. Maybe he had a bad second half of the season at the plate which dragged his average down. His All Star selection to me was/is a bit of a head scratcher.

Eddie's best season was the year before (1960) where he hit .292 with 6 HR and 51 RBI. Lifetime .264 hitter.

 
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Robb_K
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« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2020, 08:05:49 PM »

Thanks Mike & Robb. Makes me feel better for Eddie!

Interesting that the fans voted him as the starter. Throughout his long career he was usually playing 2B or 3B; or, even more likely, serving as a team's Utility Infielder. He was NOT an outstanding defensive SS (especially in comparison to his predecessor, Roy McMillan). He hit only .271 for the Reds in '61. Maybe he had a bad second half of the season at the plate which dragged his average down. His All Star selection to me was/is a bit of a head scratcher.

Eddie's best season was the year before (1960) where he hit .292 with 6 HR and 51 RBI. Lifetime .264 hitter.

If I remember correctly, Ernie Banks shifted from shortstop to the outfield and 1st base (about 2/3 at SS) that season, so as the automatic pick of superstar, Banks, was no longer automatic, because he was technically no longer a full-time shortstop, that situation allowed an opening for players who produced less offensively.  The mild-mannered, super friendly, Ernie Banks, and the word "offensive", don't seem to go together.  But, he did play 100 games at the position, so I definitely would have picked Banks, anyway.  Both Banks' and Dick Groat's defensive skills (range) at shortstop were eroding.  Alex Grammas had a poor season for The Cards.  Maury Wills had a good season (also probably a better choice than Kasko.  The Giants' Jose Pagan wasn't all star worthy, neither were the Phillies' Ruben Amaro. or ancient Roy McMillan, who hit only a feeble .220 for The Braves, with diminishing defensive skills.  So, there wasn't a plethora of great candidates.  Still, I'd have picked Banks first, and Wills second.
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JoeC
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« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2020, 09:09:52 PM »

My bad. I read about Kasko starting at SS for the NL in 1961 in an obituary in a Boston newspaper (he was a former Red Sox manager). Wiki corrected this error, just mentioning he was a member of the NL AS team. Maury Wills was the starter at SS.

Interestingly, in the two 1961 AS games, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Stan Musial were OF reserves (Cepeda, Clemente and Mays were the NL OF starters). Were there ever six better OFs on an AS team? I doubt it.

For the AL, I was surprised John Romano and Johnny Temple of Cleveland were the respective starting C and 2B. Elston Howard finished 2nd in the C vote, and Nellie Fox was beaten out by Temple (I know Nellie was aging but so was Temple)??
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2020, 09:13:15 PM »

Banks in outfield?  No memory of that.  Maybe an inning or 2 in  a Tuesday  day game at  Wrigley.

Other opinions?
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JoeC
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« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2020, 07:43:10 AM »

Banks in outfield?  No memory of that.  Maybe an inning or 2 in  a Tuesday  day game at  Wrigley.

Other opinions?
I did not recall Ernie ever playing the OF either but ... from his Hall of Fame writeup:

"On May 23, 1961, Banks appeared in left field for the first time in his career in a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Phillies at Wrigley Field. He would appear in left field in 23 games in 1961, with 104 more at shortstop and seven at first base."

In 1962 he moved permanently to 1B. Cubs moved him off SS because, at 30, he'd lost a step defensively and, more importantly, they wanted to prolong his career.
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Robb_K
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« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2020, 01:27:37 PM »

Banks in outfield?  No memory of that.  Maybe an inning or 2 in  a Tuesday  day game at  Wrigley.

Other opinions?

I remember it well.  From the start of that season, it was clear that Ernie had lost a step.   He was just not able to be where he should as quickly.  So too many grounders went through that shouldn't have.  The Cubs tried him in the outfield first, but later decided first base would be better.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2020, 08:33:12 PM »

Thanx Joe.  BTW,  Pete Richert was from western Nassau  county-- some town like New Hyde Park, Floral Park etc.
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bklynmike101
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« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2020, 12:53:40 PM »

Per Wiki Richert hailed from Floral Park. As I remember it, not the finest part of the island, practically in Queens. And not the finest part of Queens either.
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doctordoowop
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« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2020, 09:54:55 PM »

Correct--near  Elmont  in Queens. A bit raggedy.
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