Wednesday, February 4, 2009

#22 -- Rob Gardner

Rob Gardner

New York must love Rob. He played for the Mets and the Yankees on several occasions. However the only thing New York must love more than Rob Gardner is an Alou brother. On two occasions, Rob was traded by the Yankees to the A’s for an Alou (Felipe in 1971 and Matty in 1972). I guess by the time the A’s acquired Jesus, the Yankees didn’t have Rob to trade for him.

That transaction line is funny. In April 1971 the Yankees send Rob and pitcher Ron Klimkowski to the A's for Felipe Alou. At the end of May, the A's send Rob back to the Yankees for Curt Blefary. Rob's a Yankee then for all of 1972, but after the season, the Yanks send him and Rich McKinney to the A's for Matty Alou. 1973 wasn't any less weird for Rob. In May the Brewers purchase his contract for the A's. Six weeks later the sale was "voided" and the player returned to the A's. He didn't pitch again in the big leagues. It's almost like the Brewers called up and said, "Look, we've got our receipt. Rob pitched 12 2/3 innings for us, but he walked 13 and gave up 17 hits, for an ERA of 9.95. (Somehow, he got a win and a save with those stats....) We'd rather send Kevin Kobel out there than Rob. We want our money back." In terms of the law, a contract that is voided is as if it never existed.

1972 was by far Rob's best year. He went 8-5 for the Yankees with a 3.06 ERA. Looking at the volume of stats on the back, it appears he was one of those AAAA pitchers....too good for AAA, but not for the majors. If he pitched now with 30 teams instead of 24, he'd have a long, Ron Villone-esque career as a lefty specialist. But whenever I think of him, I always think there's got to be an Alou around somewhere.

(Postscript: This card looks suspiciously close to a Night Card. However, I think it would have to be classified as a Dusk Card.)


  1. Yeah, that looks like dusk. Either that or they got up awfully early in the morning.

    Gardner is a Binghamton boy! (That's the town I grew up in). He was before my time, so I wasn't even aware that he was from my town until I picked up a '73 card of him.

  2. I now have a better feel for Binghamton. Before today, when I thought of Binghamton, all I could think of was sucky UNC point guard King Rice.