Saturday, January 16, 2010

#133 -- Joe Keough

Joe Keough

I'm blessed with a last name that's easy enough to pronounce. I can't take any credit for that. We don't get to pick our last names, at least until we get old enough to go down to the courthouse and file for a legal name change or, if you're a woman, old enough to get married. Even then, I think most women pick a husband and get stuck with a name, rather than go out and marry someone to get his last name (except for the gold-diggers who like the last name "Trump", et. al.)

Joe Keough didn't get blessed with a name easy to pronounce. I remember when I was a kid being stumped on this one. KE-og didn't sound quite right. If I looked at it today, it might be pronounced the same as "cough." But, for those of you that don't know, it's pronounced KEY-oh.

Joe was a really talented guy who was drafted in the 2nd round (21st overall selection) out of high school by the old Kansas City A's in 1965. That was the year the draft was begun, so Rick Monday was the A's first draft choice. In the same round, 15 picks later, Johnny Bench went to the Reds.

Joe rose through the A's system fairly quickly. It wasn't difficult then because, although there were guys like Campaneris, Bando, Jackson, Hunter and Fingers coming along, there wasn't much at the major league level blocking him. It wasn't like he was a first baseman in the Cardinal organization. Joe made it up in 1968 after Charlie Finley moved the team to Oakland. He gets to debut as a pinch-hitter in the 2nd game of a double-header in Yankee Stadium leading off the bottom of the 8th with the A's trailing 3-2. This is a pivotal early August game, with the A's holding a 2 1/2 game lead over the Yankees for 5th place. Lindy McDaniel, a pretty good reliever is pitching, but Joe takes him deep to tie the game. At this point, Joe is on pace to break all records with a career OPS of 5.000. (For those that care, the A's went on to win the game on a 10th inning RBI single by Reginald Martinez Jackson.)

Joe only hit .214 that year, but I suppose it was impressive enough to be the #4 selection by the Royals in the expansion draft. Joe spent most of his time with the Royals as a 4th outfielder/pinch-hitter. He hit .322 in 183 at bats in 1970, but quickly tailed off in 1971 and 1972. His playing time tailed off as well. He was traded to the White Sox for Jim Lytle. He played in 5 games, batting once, grounding into a double play.

Joe is probably more famous now for being the brother of Marty Keough and uncle of Matt Keough. Matt followed Uncle Joe into the A's organization and had a few good years as a starting pitcher whose arm Billy Martin could blow out. He then married a 1980 centerfold model (no, it's not a centerfold's safe to click the link) and moved to a ritzy neighborhood near Irvine and had a short and unceremonious tenure on the Real Housewives of Orange County.

Looking in the background behind Joe and over his left shoulder is a guy wearing what looks like an Oriole hat. Is Dave McNally spying on the Royals?


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. MMayes. . . . Hmmm. Were you part of the Class of '89 at Duke Law School?

    Ron Kozar