Felix “The Cat” Millan was a three-time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove winner, but it was his expert bat handling that he is best remembered for. Felix wasn’t the swing-from-the-heels masher that most players are today, but the choke-up slap hitter who was always good for contact. Felix led the league a number of times in fewest strikeouts per plate appearance.
Millan joined the Braves in 1966 and played behind Woody Woodward and Frank Bolling his first year in the Majors. Stuck behind Woodward again in 1967, Felix finally cracked the everyday lineup in 1968 when new skipper Lum Harris handed him the second base assignment. Felix hit a nifty .289, replacing the weak-hit-strong-fielding Woodward in the lineup. The league took notice of The Cat in 1969 when he was named to his first All-Star team, won his first Gold Glove and led NL second basemen in hits and RBI. The Braves were beat in the NLCS by the Mets but Felix hit .333 during the contest.
At the top of his game in 1970, Millan led National League second basemen in batting average (.310) and hits (174). He and Hall of Famer Joe Morgan were the only two second basemen to score 100 runs that season. An easy pick for the All-Star team that year, The Cat made the Midsummer Classic three years in a row when he was also named to the 1971 squad.
Felix won his second Gold Glove in 1972 but it was his last season with the Braves. He was traded to the Mets for one of their 1969 Postseason heroes, Gary Gentry. His first year in New York was a fruitful one. Millan led National League second basemen with 185 hits while guiding the Mets to the postseason. In an NLCS victory over the Reds, Felix hit .316 and averaged a run scored per game, but the magic was lost in the World Series as New York lost the duel to the Oakland A’s.
After a down year in 1974, Felix bounced back in ’75. Playing in all 162 games, Millan racked up 191 base hits and 37 doubles (both career highs) while hitting at a .283 clip. His batting average fell one little point in 1976 as Felix showed off his bat handling skills by striking out just 19 times in 587 plate appearances. A broken collarbone in 1977 ended his days in the Major Leagues. After his stint with the Mets was over, Felix went overseas and played a few season in Japan.
G 1,480/R 699/H 1,617/2B 229/3B 38/HR 22/RBI 403/SB 67/BB 318/SO 242/BA .279/SA .343/OBP .322