Thursday, October 29, 2009

#12 Jerry Casale

1961 Topps

Jerry Joseph Casale
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" , Weight: 200 lb.
Born: September 27, 1933 in Brooklyn, NY

Drafted 2nd by the Los Angeles Angels from the Boston Red Sox in the 1960 expansion draft.

Starting Pitcher at Boston April 15, 1961. Gave up a lead-off double to Schilling. Gave up 3 runs on 8 hits with 8K in 5.2 innings in a 3-0 loss.
Later traded by the Los Angeles Angels to the Detroit Tigers for Jim Donohue on June 7, 1961.

Appeared in 13 games (7 starts) going 1 and 5 with 1 save and a 6.54 ERA.

Jerry answered a question about his fondest memories.

Right-hand pitcher Jerry Casale was signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent before the 1952 season.
After working his way up the Red Sox system Casale was looking forward to the 1956 season when Uncle Sam threw him a curve with his draft notice. The Red Sox, however applied for a deferment. Jerry had a great spring training and received the news that his deferment was accepted. Jerry was walking on water ready to come north when manager Pinky Higgins called him into his office and gave him the news they were sending him back to the minors with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League. Casale went to San Francisco, won 19 games and lost only 11 for the 6th place Seals.
Casale would spend most of the next two seasons (1957-58) in the United States Military Services returning in time to finally make his debut in the major leagues. He appeared in two games in '58, pitching three innings with no decisions. Jerry proved his case at point, coming back to the majors in 1959, where he went 13-8 for the Red Sox that included three shutouts and three home runs. His four-baggers came against Bob Turley, Russ Kemmerer and Early Wynn. The one against Kemmerer has survived in Red Sox lore. Casale quotes, "I believe I hit the longest home run ever by a Boston player. I hit it over the center field wall over the screen, under the flag. The ball left the park. It was a three-run homer and it happened in my first big league start."
Jerry developed arm problems in 1960, went 2-9 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels from the Red Sox in the 1960 expansion daft. The Angels then traded Casale to the Detroit Tigers for Jim Donohue. Jerry would finish up his five year major league career with the Tigers in 1962 with a career mark of 17-24 and a 4.66 ERA. Casale would then drop into the minors in 1963 where he would finish out his eight year minor league run with the Buffalo Bisons with a career 81-55 mark with a 4.38 ERA.

Custom Signature card

Monday, October 26, 2009

#11 Lou Johnson

Signed index card

Louis Brown Johnson (Sweet Lou and Slick)
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 5' 11" , Weight: 175 lb.
Born: September 22, 1934 in Lexington, KY

Traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Angels for Jim McAnany on April 1, 1961

Entered game as a defensive replacement for Bob Cerv in left field, at Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Traded two days later by the Los Angeles Angels to Toronto (International) for Leon Wagner on April 13, 1961.
Reaquired through trade by the Cleveland Indians to the California Angels for Chuck Hinton April 4 1969.

1961, 1969
In 1 game in 1961 had 1 putout in left field, never batted.
In 1969 batted .203 with 5 stolen bases in 67 games.

Johnson was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1953. After kicking around in the minor leagues for a decade, Johnson finally made it into the major leagues for good in 1965 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, after a broken ankle in early May sidelined regular left fielder Tommy Davis for the remainder of the season. In that season he scored the only run in Sandy Koufax's perfect game when he walked, went to second base on a sacrifice bunt, stole third and scored on a throwing error by Chicago Cubs catcher Chris Krug. In the 1965 World Series, Johnson hit two home runs, including the game winner in the clinching Game Seven. In an eight-season career, Johnson posted a .258 average with 48 home runs and 232 RBI in 677 games.

Friday, October 23, 2009

#10 Julio Becquer

1961 Topps
Julio (Villegas) Becquer
Bats: Left , Throws: Left
Weight: 178 lb.
Born: December 20, 1931 in Havana, Cuba

Drafted 25th by the Los Angeles Angels from the Minnesota Twins in the 1960 expansion draft.

Defensive replacement at first base for Ted Kluszewski at Baltimore April 11, 1961. Recorded 2 put-outs at first base.
Later purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Los Angeles Angels on May 10, 1961.

Batted .111 with 1 walk in 8 at bats.

Julio answered a question about his fondest memories.

Before the 1952 season Julio Becquer was signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent. He began his professional career with the class C Provincial League Drummondville Cubs, playing in 125 games and hitting at a .292 pace.
For most of his career Becquer was to be a part time first baseman for the Senators, one of a host of Cuban black players recruited by Senators scout Joe Cambria. The oldest of eight children, Julio played baseball in his spare time while attending the University of Havana and working as a bookkeeper.
Julio got to go home to Havana for the 1953 season and he hit .296 with 11 triples. In 1954 the Senators invited seven black Cubans, Becquer among them, to the team's minor league spring training facility in Winter Garden, FL. Carlos Paula became the first to break the color line with the Senators that year, but Becquer continued to hit near .300 in the minors and earned his first taste of the major league life at the end of the 1955 season.
Julio spent the 1956 season with the AAA American Association Louisville Colonels and was back with the Washington Senators for the 1957 year. He had 18 pinch hits this season, the eighth highest total ever and had 23 more over the next two seasons on his way to a career total 63 pinch hits. Becquer led the American League in this category in 1957 and 1959. But it was on July 4, 1961 that Julio got the ultimate pinch hit, a grand slam.
Julio, a left-handed pull hitter with a fine glove and a .993 lifetime fielding percentage, believed he could have been a much better hitter had he played reguarly, but he was just happy to play, and in a 1958 interview he offered thoughts that are almost inconceivable today: "Money is secondary with me," he said. "I love the game and I believe this is true of most major league players. In fact, many would play for nothing because they love the game so much."

Probably the worst cut I've ever done!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

#9 Del Rice

1953 Topps Archives

Delbert Rice
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" , Weight: 190 lb.
Born: October 27, 1922 in Portsmouth, OH

Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Angels December 29, 1960.

As starting catcher, received the first pitch from Eli Grba at Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later released by the Los Angeles Angels on October 19, 1961. At the age of 47 appearred in 3 games for the Angels minor league team in El Paso.

In 44 games hit .241 with 4 HR and 11 RBI.
Angels Manager in 1972.

Rice played in the major leagues for 17 years (1945-61), appearing in 1,309 games. The right-handed hitter played the bulk of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals (1945-55; 1960), where he was a regular or semi-regular from 1947-52. He finished his career as a reserve catcher for the Milwaukee Braves (1955-59), Chicago Cubs (1960), Baltimore Orioles (1960), and Los Angeles Angels (1961), hitting .237 with 79 home runs. Rice also had a brief career in the National Basketball League, playing 11 games for the Rochester Royals during the 1945-1946 season.
One of the 18 games Rice caught as a Cub was Don Cardwell's no-hitter (May 15, 1960).
Rice was a longtime member of the Angels' organization. As a veteran free agent, Rice was the first player ever to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. After he played in their maiden '61 campaign, he was the first-base coach for the club (1962-66). He spent the 1967 season as a coach for the Cleveland Indians, but then returned to the Angels as a minor league manager and had success at the AAA level. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year for 1971 by The Sporting News after leading the Salt Lake City Bees to a divisional title in the Pacific Coast League.
He was rewarded with a promotion to skipper of the 1972 Angels, but after one season and a 75-80 (.484) fifth-place finish, he was replaced by Bobby Winkles. He remained with the club, however, as a scout.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

#8 Eli Grba

1961 Topps

Eli Grba
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2" , Weight: 207 lb.
Born: August 9, 1934 in Chicago, IL

Drafted 1st overall by the Los Angeles Angels from the New York Yankees in the 1960 expansion draft.

Opening Day starting pitcher at Baltimore April 11, 1961. Went on to get a complete game victory 7-2.
Later played in the minors.

20-24 with a 4.40 ERA. He threw 9 complete games and had 200K in 405.1 innings.
1st pitcher, 1st win in Angels history.

After appearing in the 1960 World Series with the New York Yankees after going 6-4 in the regular season, Grba was the first pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 expansion draft and threw the first pitch in franchise history. He spent his last two seasons in the majors with the Angels.
He was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher, with a lifetime batting average of .219. In 160 career at-bats in the majors, he had 5 doubles and 4 home runs.
On Opening Day, 1961, the bespectacled Grba defeated Baltimore in the first game ever played by the expansion Angels.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

#7 Fritz Brickell

1961 Topps

Fritz Darrell Brickell
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Weight: 157 lb.
Born: March 19, 1935 in Wichita, KS

Traded by the New York Yankees to the Los Angeles Angels for Duke Maas on April 4, 1961.

Popped up to shortstop at Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later purchased by the Washington Senators from the Los Angeles Angels on September 12, 1963.

In 21 games he batted .122 and committed 7 errors in the field.
Committed 1st putout, and error in Angels history.

Brickell stayed in the Yankees organization until April 4,
1961 when they traded him to the Los Angeles Angels for Duke Maas. Fritz became the first starting shortstop for the expansion Angels but was waylaid by injuries, appearing in only 21 games. He was dispatched to the Toronto Maple Leafs, where after he healed a bit, had probably his best season yet, hitting .307 in 108 games and fielding .985, while holding down the second base position.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

#6 Ken Hunt

1961 Topps

Kenneth Lawrence Hunt
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 6' 1" , Weight: 205 lb.
Born: July 13, 1934 in Grand Forks, ND

Drafted 19th by the Los Angeles Angels from the New York Yankees in the 1960 expansion draft.

1962 Post

Base on balls at Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later purchased by the Washington Senators from the Los Angeles Angels on September 12, 1963.

Batted .237 with 31 HR and 101 RBI in 221 games.
1st double, hit batter, and stolen base in Angels history.

Hunt came up as a slick fielder, but was unable to crack the powerful Yankee lineup. His only year as a regular came with the 1961 expansion Angels. [In 1961] he hit .255 with 25 HR and 84 RBI, but struck out 120 times in 479 at-bats and led AL outfielders in errors. He played only 13 games in 1962 due to an arm injury and military service; from then on he never reached .200.

1962 Topps

Thursday, October 8, 2009

#5 Bob Cerv

2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classic Scripts Certified

Robert Henry Cerv
1st Base/Outfield
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height 6'0", Weight 210 lbs
Born: May 5, 1926 in Lincoln, NE

Drafted 18th by the Los Angeles Angels from the New York Yankees in the 1960 expansion draft.

Solo home run at Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later traded by the Los Angeles Angels with Tex Clevenger to the New York Yankees for Ryne Duren, Johnny James and Lee Thomas on May 8, 1961.

Hit .158 with 2 home runs in 18 games.

Bob Cerv spent most of his 12-year career with the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Athletics.
Born in Nebraska, he played college ball at the University of Nebraska. Signed in 1950, he was playing major league ball the next year at age 25. It was also Mickey Mantle's rookie year with the Yankees. Cerv was up with the Yankees each year from 1951 to 1956, but never appeared in more than 56 games. He hit .341 in 1955 and .304 in 1956.
He pinch-hit a home run in the 5th game of the 1955 World Series. In the 1956 Series, which the Yankees won, he went 1 for 1.
Purchased by Kansas City, he was to have his best season in 1958, when he hit .305 with 38 home runs and 104 RBI. He was named to the All-Star team and was 4th in the MVP voting.
He was traded back to the Yankees in May of 1960, and hit .357 in the World Series for them against Pittsburgh. He batted lead-off or third in the lineup.
He was briefly an original Los Angeles Angel in 1961, before being traded yet again to the Yankees, in a trade involving Ryne Duren. The Yanks became World Series champs, but Cerv did not appear in post-season play. In 1962, his last season, he played briefly for the Yankees and for Houston in the Colt .45s' first season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

#4 Ted Kluszewski

1961 Topps

Theodore Bernard Kluszewski (Big Klu)
Bats: Left , Throws: Left
Height: 6' 2" , Weight: 225 lb.
Born: September 10, 1924 in Argo, IL

Drafted 23rd by the Los Angeles Angels from the Chicago White Sox in the 1960 expansion draft.

ANGELS DEBUT: 2-run Home Run scoring Albie Pearson vs. Baltimore April 11, 1961. Hit a second home run later in the game.
Later released by the Angels on October 19, 1961, then retired.

Hit 15 HR and 31 RBI with a .243 batting average in 107 games.
1st hit, Home Run, and RBI in Angels history.

Ted Kluszewski was a top star in the 1950s in the National League, much in the same way that Rocky Colavito was a big star in the American League. Big Klu had plenty of power -- he is perhaps best remembered for his massive arms, forgoing a T-shirt beneath the sleeveless uniforms that Cincinnati wore in those days. However, he also posted high batting averages and had excellent bat control. Johnny Mize is the only man ever to have 50 homers in a season while striking out fewer than 50 times, but Klu came closest since. That was in his most successful year, 1954, when he was second in the MVP voting behind Willie Mays after leading the league in home runs (49) and RBI (141). He struck out just 35 times. The next season, 1955, he had 47 homers against 40 strikeouts, while also leading the league in intentional walks.
When Frank Robinson came up in 1956 to set the then-record of 38 homers for a rookie, Klu hit 35 and Wally Post added 36 for the Reds.
Traded to the Chicago White Sox in August of 1959, he slugged .826 for them in the 1959 World Series.

1953 Topps Archives

Sunday, October 4, 2009

#3 Albie Pearson

1961 Topps
Albert Gregory Pearson
Bats: Left , Throws: Left
Height: 5' 5" , Weight: 141 lb.
Born: September 12, 1934 in Alhambra, CA

Drafted 30th by the Los Angeles Angels from a special minor league pool from the Baltimore Orioles Rochester affiliate in the 1960 expansion draft.

1964 Topps Giants
ANGELS DEBUT: Base on balls vs. Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later released by the Angels on July 25, 1966, then retired.
Batted .275 with 618 hits, 274 runs and 61 SB. Scored 100 runs in 1962.
1st baserunner to cross the plate in Angels history.
AL Runs Scored Leader (1962)
AL Singles Leader (1963)
AL All-Star (1963)

Diminutive outfielder Albie Pearson was American League Rookie of the Year with the Washington Senators in 1958 despite being one of the shortest men in baseball. Chronic back problems, which eventually shortened his career, quickly put him back in the minors and enabled the Los Angeles Angels to choose him as one of their expansion draft picks. Pearson was a fixture in center field for several seasons. His best year was 1963 when he batted .304 and made the All-Star team. His back problems resurfaced in 1964, however, and two years later he was out of baseball at age 31.

1963 Topps

Friday, October 2, 2009

#2 Ken Aspromonte

1961 Topps

Kenneth Joseph Aspromonte
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 6' 0" , Weight: 180 lb.
Born: September 22, 1931 in Brooklyn, NY

Drafted 14th by the Los Angeles Angels from the Cleveland Indians in the 1960 expansion draft.

ANGELS DEBUT: Called out on strikes vs. Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Later selected off waivers by the Cleveland Indians from the Los Angeles Angels July 3, 1961.

In 66 games batted .223 with 10 doubles and 14 RBI.

Began working his way through the Boston Red Sox farm system in 1950. After two years in the military, he returned to baseball. He was the Pacific Coast League batting champion in 1957 with a .334 average in helping the San Francisco Seals to the pennant in their last year before the New York Giants came to the west coast.
Ken had a trial with the Red Sox late that season, but was traded to the Washington Senators the following year. He had his best season with a .288 average for the 1960 Cleveland Indians. Primarily a second baseman, Ken was also with the Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Braves, and Chicago Cubs, leaving the majors in 1963 with a lifetime .249 mark.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

#1 Eddie Yost

Edward Frederick Joseph Yost (The Walking Man)
Bats: Right , Throws: Right
Height: 5' 10" , Weight: 170 lb.
Born: October 13, 1926 in Brooklyn, NY

Drafted 13th by the Los Angeles Angels from the Detroit Tigers in the 1960 expansion draft.

ANGELS DEBUT: Popped out to shortstop vs. Baltimore April 11, 1961.
Ended his career with the Angels on July 28, 1962.

Batted .215 in 317 at bats with 80 walks.
1st batter in Angels history.

A much underrated ballplayer throughout his career who drew 100 or more walks in a season eight times, Eddie Yost has the most bases on balls of any eligible player not in the Hall of Fame. Although his career batting average was only .254, his uncanny ability to draw walks coined his nickname - enabling "The Walking Man" to have a lifetime on-base average of .394, comparable to Hall of Famers Rod Carew (.393) and Tony Gwynn (.388).

Changes already?

OK, so I've made my first post and already I have decided to go a little bit different direction. After reading HalosHeaven documentation on the order of appearances for the Angels, I decided to deviate from listing the draft players first, and stick closely to the order that he has them listed, per MLB records. I'll fill in the draftees and other members such as managers and coaches as we go along.

So, with that, Eli Grba is NOT the first to appear in a Major League game as an Angel. That honor goes to Eddie Yost, since the Halos were visitors in their very first game.

The Expansion Draft

I suppose the best place to start would be with those players selected in the expansion draft, though not all of them went on to play on the big team.

From Wikipedia:
The 1960 MLB Expansion Draft was held by Major League Baseball on December 14, 1960 to fill the rosters of the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators. The Angels and the Senators (who later became the Texas Rangers) were the new franchises which would enter the league in the 1961 season.
Each existing American League club had to make available for the draft seven players on their active roster on August 31, 1960, and eight others from their forty-man roster. The expansion clubs paid $75,000 for each of 28 players they drafted with a maximum of seven players drafted from each existing club, not including minor league selections. They were required to take at least ten pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, and four outfielders. The clubs also had the option of drafting one non-roster player for $25,000 from each established franchise.

So with that, lets dig in and start with the Angels #1 pick in that draft, Eli Grba.