Introducing… Roy McMillan

Although the Bonham Blanket never set the world afire with his batting, he covered more ground than most shortstops of his day.  McMillan still rests in the Top 20 among shortstops for all-time career putouts and assists.  A three-time Gold Glove winner and two-time All-Star, Roy spelled doom for any ground ball hit in his vicinity.  McMillan topped shortstops in fielding percentage in five separate seasons, assists in four campaigns and putouts three times.  Offensively, he knew his limitations and once led the league in sacrifices.

Roy spent the 1950s patrolling shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds.  The Texan was called up by the Reds in 1951 and played a sharp shortstop.  Despite his meager .211 batting average as a rookie, Cincinnati saw enough talent in Roy to make him their everyday shortstop in ’52.  In his first full year in the Majors, he led the league in games played and turned in the excess of 100 double plays.  From 1952 to ’56, McMillan turned over 100 twin-killings each season for a five-year string.  The most Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith was able to string together were two such campaigns.

Roy led shortstops in assists in 1953 and putouts in ’54.  In the ’53 campaign, he posted a .972 fielding percentage which was a whopping fifteen points above league average.  McMillan led the National League with 31 sacrifices in ’54, moving runners over so big guns Kluszewski, Greengrass, Bell and Post could drive them in.  The following year Roy hit a career high .268 and turned 111 double plays.  Then, from 1956 to 1958, he led National League shortstops in fielding percentage each season.  His top fielding percentage over the course of his career was the terrific .980 he posted in 1958.

McMillan made his two All-Star appearances in 1956 and ’57 before missing action in 1959.  Back to everyday duty in 1960, Roy showcased newfound power when he reached double-digits in homeruns for the first time.  But his batting average fell off to .236, and the Reds, in dire need of pitching, sent Roy to the Braves for Joey Jay and Juan Pizzaro.  In his first year with the Braves, Roy was in a league all to his own defensively.  He led National League shortstops in assists, putouts and fielding percentage, which helped to offset his meager .220 batting average.  He enjoyed one of his better years offensively in 1962 when he hit a career high twelve dingers for the Braves in 1962.

McMillan appeared in just 100 games in 1963 and early during the ’64 season he was swapped to the lowly New York Mets for Jay Hook and Adrian Garrett.  His offensive numbers were dismal his first year in New York but he rebounded with a decent ’65 season.  That ’65 season was Roy’s last as an everyday player.  He finished second among shortstops in assists and third in putouts at his advanced age.  He played one final year with the Mets in 1966 before calling it a career.

THE NUMBERS

G 2,093/R 739/H 1,639/2B 253/3B 35/HR 68/RBI 594/SB 41/BB 665/SO 711/BA .243/OBP .314/SA .321

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