Saturday, August 27, 2011
Debut #103 Merritt Ranew
Merritt Thomas Ranew
Positions: Catcher and Pinch Hitter
Bats: Left, Throws: Right
Height: 5' 11", Weight: 170 lb.
Born: May 10, 1938 in Albany, GA
Debut: April 13, 1962 Houston Colt 45's
Final Game: September 30, 1969 Seattle Pilots
Years with the Angels: 1965
May 13, 1965: Purchased by the California Angels from the San Francisco Giants.
Before 1968 Season: Sent from the California Angels to the New York Yankees in an unknown transaction.
Entered the game in the top of the 8th as pinch hitter for catcher Tom Egan, and with a runner on first, struck out against Hank Aguirre (who went on to pitch a complete game shutout) then stayed in the game and caught the ninth of a 2-0 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday, June 23, 1965 (N) at Tiger Stadium.
In 91AB over 41 games he hit .209 and drove in 10. Started 19 and finished 15 games behind the plate, making 78 putouts and committing only 1 error.
Best Angels Performance:
Went 3 for 4 and scored 2 runs in a 5-2 win against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, August 14, 1965 (D) at Tiger Stadium.
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS:
- Originally signed by the Milwaukee Braves as an amateur free agent in 1957.
- Original member of the 1962 Houston Colt 45's and the 1969 Seattle Pilots.
- Severely injured in 1966 when he was hit in the head by a bat during a brawl in Vancouver, B.C. during a Pacific Coast League game.
From a 1966 Sports Illustrated:
Seattle Pitcher Jim Coates threw one high and tight and struck Ricardo Joseph of Vancouver on the shoulder. Joseph charged the mound, but before he could get to Coates, he was tackled from behind and had his chin bloodied by Seattle Catcher Merritt Ranew. The ensuing free-for-all finally subsided, but then Vancouver’s Tommy Reynolds bunted up the first base line, forcing Coates to field the ball and tried to run the pitcher down. Again Ranew raced to the aid of Coates. Vancouver’s Santiago Rosario dashed from the on-deck circle and hit Ranew over the head with his bat, opening up a deep three-inch gash. There is internal bleeding in the brain, and the left side of Ranew’s face is paralyzed.
This was the third attack with a bat that professional baseball has produced in nine months. For hitting Los Angeles’ John Roseboro over the head last August, San Francisco’s Juan Marichal received a nine-day suspension and a $1,750 fine. The comparative mildness of the punishment was condoned because 1) Marichal’s team was deeply involved in the pennant race and 2) it was the first such incident in major league baseball, and there was no precedent for punitive action. But a warning should have come immediately from the Commissioner that future attacks would bring drastic punishment. None was sounded. Two weeks later Cleveland’s Pedro Gonzales swung his bat at Detroit’s Larry Sherry; Gonzales was fined $500 and suspended for 13 days.
In the Vancouver case Pacific Coast League President Dewey Soriano acted with commendable vigor and proper severity. He fined the lesser culprits in the incident, fined Rosario, too, and then suspended him for the remainder of the season.
Ranew was apparently not far from dying in the hours after Rosario’s attack.
He got back to playing in the minors after the incident and finally made it back to the
majors again in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots, then ended his career in 1971 with the Hawaii Islanders.