Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Choked Up

The title for this entry refers to the way Dick McAuliffe is holding the bat in this picture:

Card #349 -- Dick McAuliffe, Detroit Tigers

That's an interesting action shot. A close-up that excises the pitcher, catcher and umpire. Considering the number of photos used in the 1973 Topps set that include half a team in them (and are sometimes horizontally oriented), it's odd that the company cropped this photo in such a manner.

At the time, Dick McAuliffe had been with the Tigers since 1960. He was the starting shortstop until 1966 and moved over to second in '67. He was a key player for the Tigers in their Championship season in '68, going the full season without hitting into a double play. 1973 would be his final year in Detroit, though, and he was traded to the Red Sox after the season.

Winding down his career in 1974, he began the '75 season managing one of the Red Sox' minor league clubs but would be called up late in the season to help the team's push toward the postseason. He didn't make the postseason roster that year and retired.


  1. McAuliffe had a very unusual batting stance. In addition to choking up, he also turned his whole body so that he was almost fully facing the pitcher.

    McAuliffe was actually one of the best leadoff men in the game in the 1960s. From 1964 to 1969 - the heart of the most offensively suppressed era of the game - Dick maintained an OBP of .353 and an OPS+ of 125.

  2. I faintly remember that batting stance/action; I'd love to see film of it. I think the closest person to the stance was that of the Japanese player, Sadaharo Oh.