Friday, January 16, 2009

#2 -- Ray Culp

Ray Culp

Ray pitched in the Sox rotation the first half of 1972, but wasn’t consistent. His last start (and game) of the year was on July 13 when he was lit up by the Twins. Ray had arm troubles over his career, so I’m going to suspect he was hurting. After all, the cool cartoon question on the card back says he led the Sox in innings pitched in 1971 and he looks monkey-armed and exhausted. He was released at the end of the year and re-signed in 1973, only to prove he was out of gas. In his career he was a 2-time All-Star, pitching 2 scoreless innings and striking out Tony Perez and Randy Hundley. He finished a distant 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting behind Pete Rose and Ron Hunt.

1972 Feature

Baseball went to Spring Training in 1972 under a cloud. Marvin Miller and the Players' Association were talking about a strike. The owners didn't really think it would happen, but when April 1 hit, so did the first major league baseball strike. The players ended up getting $500,000 for the pension fund and a concession for arbitration, but nothing for free agency.

As 1972 started, Curt Flood's career was over, Andy Messersmith was coming off a 20-win season for the Angels and Dave McNally had four straight 20-win seasons under his belt. Every major leaguer who doesn't have to get an offseason job to make ends meet should look those guys' names up, read about them and send them and their family (Flood and McNally have passed away) a thank-you card every year.

The strike ended on April 13. Games started back up. However, the owners refused to pay the players for the 7-9 games they refused to play. The games were never replayed. That wreaks havoc on my 1972 Strat-O-Matic game because the players ended up with fewer innings and at bats, so they start running out of gas quicker. That wasn't all the havoc caused by the unplayed games, as we'll see later on.


  1. Funny, I was just reading your new blog while you were commenting on my recent 72 Topps entry!

    I am really looking forward to what you have planned for your blog.

    - Kris

  2. Ray Culp served up the first grand slam I ever witnessed in person at a Major League game, to the Royals' Paul Schaal over the left-centerfield wall at old Municipal Stadium. It was either June of '71 or '72, and if you hit a home run at ol' Municipal, you earned it!

  3. Everyone who is now happy that formerly major league cities like Cincinatti, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Milwaukee are now farm clubs for New York should also send those guys a thank you card every year.

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