Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#26 -- Andy Etchebarren

Andy Etchebarren

Andy had the bushiest eyebrows in the league. Leonid Brezhnev and a Jonas Brother (OK, I'm not hip enough to know which one) say he should wax those things. I’d always known him as a backup for the Orioles and was astonished to see he made 2 All-star teams and even garnered MVP votes in 1966, when he hit an astonishing .221 with 11 homers. Kevin must have been in charge of the MVP voting (don’t know how you can do that pre-natal….good job, Kevin!) because Frank Robinson was the unanimous MVP, Brooks Robinson was second followed by Boog Powell; Luis Aparicio was 9th, Stu Miller 11th, and Andy finished 17th. I don't have any problem with the Robinsons and John Wesley Powell, but I probably wouldn’t have voted Etchebarren as even the 17th most valuable Oriole.

He may not have been a relief pitcher, but Andy posted the most important save of 1966 for the Orioles. At a private party on August 22, 1966, Frank Robinson was struggling underwater until Andy dove in and saved him. Can’t you see Andy as a guest celebrity lifeguard on Baywatch, running through the sand with the other lifeguards, bushy eyebrows flapping in the breeze along with Pam Anderson’s…..wait, this is a baseball site. Maybe he got those MVP votes for making sure Frank Robby was around for a full season.

Andy was also the last man to bat against Sandy Koufax. If I were him, I'd be saying that facing me convinced Sandy to take early retirement. The truth, however, was that Andy hit into a double play in the 6th inning of Game 2 of the 1966 Series. After his playing career, Andy coached in the minors for a long time (dismissed by the Ripkens from managing Aberdeen at the end of 2007) and spent 2008 coaching in the independent Atlantic League.

1 comment:

  1. Andy owned a liquor store in Hacienda Heights, CA where I would regularly buy my cards from the '72 Topps set for a dime per pack. Of all the times I was in that place, I only saw him there once, and was too shy to approach the big man with the bushy eyebrows and pock marked face.

    In '71 or '72 he brought 4 teammates from the Orioles there for an autograph signing event when the O's were in town to play the Angels. Brooks, Jim Palmer, Dave Johnson, Dave McNally and Andy showed up. I had a Little League game that Saturday morning and I arrived at the tail end of the event. Had Dave Johnson sign my mitt.