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second basemen

In the year 2000, the Veteran’s Committee elected slick-fielding Bid McPhee, who played during the late 1800s, into the Hall of Fame.  McPhee’s election to the Hall of Fame marked the first time a player from the 1800s was elected into the Hall of Fame during the 2000s.  Deacon White, in like fashion, was inducted into Cooperstown, as voters have finally decided to cast another analytical look at players of the game’s early years.  Another player worthy of a glance is former Cleveland Spiders second baseman Cupid Childs.

Childs, a stocky middle infielder, came about his nickname due to his cherubic appearance.  He may have looked like the Valentine’s Day mascot, but Cupid Childs was a remarkable ballplayer.  A solid if not sound defender, Childs was one of the premier middle infielders during the high-powered 1890s.  Modern day general managers, who obsess over on-base percentage, would go gaga for Cupid, whose keen batting eye made him a difficult out.  A perfect table-setter, Childs’ career on-base percentage is well over the .400 mark, which allowed for many runs scored.

With a career slash line of .306 BA/.416 OBP/.389 SA, Cupid’s value was slapping out base hits and drawing a large amount of walks.  Childs has a few Hall of Fame peers, such as the aforementioned McPhee, George Davis and player/manager Hughie Jennings.  Of these four ballplayers, Childs was handily the best on-base machine.  Cupid’s career mark of .416 was separated nicely from Jennings (.391), Davis (.362) and McPhee’s (.355) averages.  The Cleveland second baseman posted six seasons with an OBP of .400 or higher (nine consecutive years with an OBP of .390 or higher) while Jennings had six consecutive years of an OBP of .390 or higher.  George Davis, who enjoyed four .400 OBP+ seasons, and Bid McPhee, who only had three such campaigns, weren’t on-base nearly as much as Cupid.

With a hawk’s eye, Childs was an expert batsman who never seemed to giveaway at-bats.  It wasn’t an unusual feat for Cupid to walk 100 times in a season—well before the modern day 162 game schedule.  Unlike modern day drawers-of-walks, Cupid rarely struck out.  In four different seasons, Childs drew 100 walks yet failed to register over twenty whiffs.  None of Cupid’s peers ever had a 100-walk season: Jennings never drew more than 80 in a single season and Davis never reached 70 bases on balls.  In eleven straight seasons, Cupid finished in the league’s Top Ten in walks drawn, which enabled him to enjoy five Top Five finishes in on-base percentage.  George Davis never had a Top Five finish in on-base percentage, while McPhee never even saw his name reach a Top Ten list in that important category.  Hughie Jennings was the closest to Childs in on-base percentage, and he, too, failed to mirror Cupid’s excellence in that department.  Hughie had three Top Five finishes in on-base percentage and just one Top Ten finish in walks drawn.

Drawing walks was hardly the extent of Cupid’s game.  A well-rounded ballplayer, Childs also led the league, back when there was just one Major League in existence, in doubles and runs scored.  George Davis, who was championed for Hall of Fame enshrinement several years ago by historians, never led his league in an extra base hit department, nor did he ever pace his circuit in runs scored.  Hughie Jennings, as well, never saw his name atop a leader board in either runs scored or an extra base hit department.

Ask anyone who knows the basics of baseball, and they will tell you that the most important aspect of the game is the scoring of runs.  By scoring more runs than your opponent, your team is victorious.  Profound logic, huh?  When it came to scoring runs, Childs was head and shoulders above his Hall of Fame peers.  In two separate seasons, Cupid averaged over one run scored per game—McPhee and Davis accomplished this feat in one lone season.  The feet of Mr. Childs trampled home plate at a greater clip than the fellows enshrined.  For his career, Cupid averaged 0.833 runs scored per game; far superior to Hall of Fame peers McPhee (0.788), Jennings (0.773) and Davis (0.651).

As a star of a now defunct team, the Cleveland Spiders, Cupid Childs’ memory is lost but to the few historians that embrace disbanded franchises.  The left-handed hitting second baseman enjoyed a solid career, yet given that his team is one no longer in existence, his name has gone unrecognized.  Not regarded in a club’s Hall of Fame, Cupid Childs has only the Veteran’s Committee to offer him the immortality that comes with enshrinement.

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Fans of sports teams have been known to gripe about ill representation, whether it be at an All-Star Game or some other function, but Washington Senators fans have a legitimate gripe when it comes to their lack of representation at  basbeball’s Hall of Fame.  A number of great Senators haven’t received much support by voters, even with such quality candidates like Mickey Vernon, Cecil Travis, Eddie Yost, Frank Howard and the former star second baseman Buddy Myer.  When a player plays the bulk of his career with that capitalized “W” on his cap, he fails to get the exposure a player of the same caliber acquires when he sports pinstripes or plays in a larger venue.  Many baseball fans have complained, justifiably so, of the Hall of Fame’s New York bias, pointing to players with lesser stats on better teams having been inducted over superior players on lesser teams.  But the Hall of Fame isn’t perfect, far from it, and when one understands the location of the museum, it shouldn’t take the application of too much reason to understand the NY bias.

Buddy Myer, had there been no Charlie Gehringer, would be considered the best second baseman of his era.  He had other peers that were quality players, two, Billy Herman and Tony Lazzeri, have been inducted to the Hall of Fame, but the portside-swinging second baseman stacks up awfully well to those two gents.  Gehringer, The Mechanical Man, was clearly the cream of the 1930s 2B crop, but his runner-up might be left out of the Hall of Fame.  Myer was a gifted, all-round performer who had terrific offensive value and possessed a glove superior to both Herman and Lazzeri.  Buddy’s career fielding percentage at second base was an impressive .974 (five points above league average at the position) while Herman and Lazzeri fielded at an identical .967 clip. 

Myer had a substantial edge in career fielding percentage over both Herman and Lazzeri.  The Washington second baseman led the AL twice in fielding percentage while the slugging New York Yankee, Tony Lazzeri, never paced the junior circuit in fielding.  The Washington man accumulated more career putouts at second base than Laz, but Tony hit with authority while Buddy, whose homefield was the cavernous Griffith Stadium, hit more to contact.  The two men were terrific second basemen but newspaper writers of the time knew Lazzeri was inferior to Buddy at playing the position.  An article written during the prime of their careers compared Myer more favorably to Charlie Gehringer, regarded by all analysts as the best 2B of their time, than Tony Lazzeri.

Offensively, Buddy Myer left little to be desired.  The Senators weren’t known for their slugging, due in most part to their massive home stadium, but blasting the sphere, regardless his homefield, was never Buddy’s offensive game.  The best contact hitter among second basemen of his day–not named Gehringer, of course–Myer owned an enviable batting eye.  The Senators second basemen played ten years in which he had twice as many walks as strikeouts.  Charlie Gehringer is the only second basemen who played in roughly the same era to top Myer’s mark with twelve seasons–nobody else even comes close.  Billy Herman had five years in which he walked twice as much as he fanned while Red Schoendienst had five as well.  Yankee Hall of Famers Joe Gordon and Tony Lazzeri had one such year combined between the two, with Gordon achieving the feat.

One of the most interesting facts on Buddy Myer is that he is the only American League infielder of the prewar years to win a batting title and not be named to the Hall of Fame.  Buddy employed his remarkable batting eye to advantage, which enabled him to be a threat for a batting title year after year.  What his sharp eye also did was enable him to post some impressive on-base percentages.  Buddy’s career OBP of .389 exceeds all of his aforementioned Hall of Fame peers, with the typical exception of Gehringer.  Lazzeri’s career on-base percentage was nine points below Myer at .380, followed by Herman’s .367, Gordon’s ,357 and Red Schoendienst’s rather poor .337 career on-base percentage.  His on-base skills allowed him to be rack up more career stolen bases with 157 than Lazzeri (148), Gordon (89), Schoendienst (89) and Herman (67).

Although he wasn’t a slugger in the Lazzeri mold, Myer was a terrific run producer–better than Billy Herman.  The mite second basemen posted a 100 RBI/100 run scored season during his career, a feat never achieved by Herman or Red Schoendienst.  When looking at their runs manufactured average, the combination of runs scored with runs driven in, Myer has an edge on the Hall of Famers as well.  Myer average 1.053 runs manufactured per game during his career, which is an average that eclipses Herman’s 1.042 and blows Schoendienst’s meager 0.901 average out of the water. 

When an analyst wants to make a case for a player’s Hall of Fame induction, the best way is by comparing his stats to players already enshrined.  Myer’s career stats are pretty fair indeed, with many exceeding the standards of the gents already enshrined.  Billy Herman was widely regarded as the top second baseman of the National League during the pre-war years they played in, and Myer has many similarities to Herman in the most common of stats.  Buddy Myer scored 1,174 runs to Herman’s 1,163.  Myer drove in 850 runs compared to Herman’s 839.  Herman’s batting average was a point higher at .304 to Myer’s .303, as was Herman’s .407 slugging average–Myer had a career .406 SA.  But in the third slash line category, which makes Myer’s slash line far superior to Herman’s, is the 22 point separation Buddy has in on-base percentage: .389 to Herman’s .367.  When compared to his Hall of Fame peers, Buddy Myer looks to be a very strong candidate for enshrinement.

This post profiles the careers of some Negro League second basemen who have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame.

An anomaly in the Negro Leagues, Newt Allen spent most of his career with one team: the Kansas City Monarchs.  A gifted table-setter for the Monarchs, Allen possessed well above average  speed and used this to his benefit in a number of ways.  Quick afield, Newt was an expert on the double-play pivot and offensively he used his wheels to take extra bases when others couldn’t.  He played just over twenty years in the Negro Leagues, almost exclusively with the Monarchs.  A number of sources list Newt as a switch-hitter but he is remembered to have batted just from the right-hand side.  Given his swift style of play and expert bat handling skills–Allen excelled at the hit-and-run–as well as his underrated status, Allen is quite comparable to former Washington Senators great Buddy Myer, who should be in the Hall of Fame.

Built along the lines of Rabbit Maranville, Bunny Downs had modest tools who hustled his way through a solid career in black baseball.  Downs was only a serviceable hitter whose chief asset was his glove.  He and Dick Lundy were widely regarded as one of the top double-play duos in the Negro Leagues.  But Bunny had a troubled life off the field and once killed a woman, which he claimed was self defense.  He had a long life in baseball and worked in the Indianapolis Clowns’ front office when they signed a young Hank Aaron. 

An early star of the Negro Leagues, Bill Monroe was one of black baseball’s first stars.  Monroe could easily slide into the “hotdog” category of ballplayers given his penchant for pleasing fans with behind-the-back catches and circus plays.  Despite his excessive showmanship, Bill was a superior defender at both second and third base and gained the attention of the legendary Rube Foster who bought him for his American Giants club.  He batted in the heart-of-the-order of Foster’s dynasty and was considered the backbone of a team that also boasted Hall of Famer Pop Lloyd.

A longtime second baseman for the Lincoln Giants, George Scales was a solid second baseman who could fill in anywhere on the diamond.  Scales got his start at the close of the Deadball Era and proved to be a solid line-drive hitter.  Defensively he wasn’t of the same ilk as Newt Allen, but the chunky Scales was serviceable and made up for his inferior range with a quick and accurate arm.  An All-Star, Scales managed in both the Negro Leagues and in Latin America after his playing days.

Bingo DeMoss is widely regarded as the top second baseman of early black baseball.  A star for Rube Foster’s American Giants, Bingo was a gifted defender who made plays with ease at second base.  DeMoss was the captain of the American Giants in the years directly after WWI as he did all the things necessary for a team leader.  He was a clever batsmen who was a natural opposite field hitter and quite gifted at the hit-and-run.  Bingo was a natural leader who led by example and made for an obvious choice as a skipper after his playing days.  A perfect player for the strategy-minded Deadball Era, Bingo did all the little things right.

Dick Seay was hands down the best defensive second baseman in black baseball during the 1930s.  In an era when players typically hit .300 with their eyes closed, Seay struggled to hit above .200.  He was an all-field-no-hit second baseman who made up for his offensive deficiencies by playing a flawless defense.  Dick was the forerunner for such splendid glove men like Mark Belanger in the Major Leagues. 

A star player for the Hilldale Club of the 1920s, Frank Warfield was a fiery ballplayer regarded as an outstanding fielder and solid batter.  Although not a hitter for power, Warfield was a solid number two hitter that excelled at sacrifice bunting and legging out infield hits.  As a player/manager, Frank guided Hilldale to pennants in the mid 1920s.  He stayed well passed his usefulness as a player while engaged as a player/manager late in the 1920s, but he was a respected field general despite his quick temper.  Warfield plays a prominent role in one of Negro League’s most bizarre cases when he and star third baseman Oliver Marcelle were engaged in a dice game.  Marcelle didn’t have enough money to pay-up after the game so like Shylock in the Merchant of Venice, Warfield took his pound of flesh by biting off the tip of Marcelle’s nose.

Charlie Grant was one of black baseball’s first great stars and given his light-complexion, attracted attention from the Major Leagues.  John McGraw, legendary skipper of the New York Giants, signed Grant and changed his name to “Chief Tokahoma” in order to pass him off as an Indian.  The plan worked until some of Grant’s friends came out to the Polo Grounds to watch Charlie practice.  When people began to wonder why black folks took such a keen interest in Grant, it was found out that he was black and not Native American, and McGraw’s attempt to play a black man in the Majors failed.

Unusually tall for a second baseman, Sammy T. Hughes was nevertheless a solid defender who had well above average range given his stature.  Hughes was a star second baseman for the Elite Giants just before WWII.  A solid doubles hitter, Sammy was elected to numerous All-Star Games but the war ended his career prematurely.  A fixture in the All-Star Games, Hughes spent time in New Guinea during the war and after his layoff he wasn’t quite the same player.

This is a list of HOF eligible second basemen that I haven’t profiled with a biography on this blog.  They are listed in order of batting average–highest to lowest

Gene Demontreville (.308), Bip Roberts (.294), Odell Hale (.289), Jim Delahanty (.283), Damaso Garcia (.283), Frank LaPorte (.281), Jimmy Brown (.279), Marty Barrett (.278), Joey Cora (.277), Gil McDougald (.276), Randy Velarde (.276), Jerry Remy (.275), Wally Backman (.275), Rennie Stennett (.274), Don Kolloway (.271), Duane Kuiper (.271), Jerry Browne (.271), Jody Reed (.270), Alan Bannister (.270)

Hughie Critz (.268), Delino DeShields (.268), Tito Fuentes (.268), Jerry Lumpe (.268), Mickey Morandini (.268), Eddie Stanky (.268), Snuffy Stirnweiss (.268), Aaron Ward (.268), Mariano Duncan (.267), Bill Doran (.266), Burgess Whitehead (.266), Carlos Garcia (.265), Jerry Priddy (.265), Frankie Gustine (.265), Ron Oester (.265), Jackie Hayes (.265), Ted Sizemore (.262), Cass Michaels (.262), Tony Bernazard (.262), Feliz Mantilla (.261), Luis Sojo (.261). Keith Lockhart (.261), Craig Grebeck (.261), Rex Hudler (.261), Danny O’Connell (.260), Luis Alicea (.260)

Buck Herzog (.259), Bill Wambsganss (.259), Randy Ready (.259), Don Blasingame (.258), Harold Reynolds (.258), Chick Fewster (.258), Julian Javier (.257), Robby Thompson (.257), Rich Dauer (.257), Germany Schafer (.257), Horace Clarke (.256), Don Gutteridge (.256), Jose Oquendo (.256), Tim Flannery (.255), Frank Bolling (.254), Jerry Adair (.254), John Hummel (.254), Tim Teufel (.254), Larry Milbourne (.254)

Pete Suder (.249), Derrel Thomas (.249), Johnny Rawlings (.249), John Berardino (.249), Wid Conroy (.248), Connie Ryan (.248), Jimmy Bloodworth (.248), Rob Wilfong (.248), Ken Boswell (.248), Otto Knabe (.247), Billy Ripken (.247), Mark Lemke (.246), Sandy Alomar Sr. (.245), Glenn Hubbard (.244), Sibby Sisti (.244), Dave Nelson (.244), Gary Sutherland (.243), Mike Tyson (.241), Don Heffner (.241), Dick Green (.240), Jeff Reboulet (.240), Bernie Allen (.239), Mike Gallego (.239), Doug Flynn (.238), Julio Cruz (.237), Billy Gardner (.237), Eddie Miksis (.236), Paul Popovich (.233), Ted Kubiak (.231) and Al Weis (.219)

Two-time All-Star Jorge Orta was one of the better hitting second basemen of the 1970s.  Kind of a poor man’s Rod Carew, Orta could hit .300, steal some bases but wasn’t quite the adept defender at his position.  It didn’t take too long before Jorge was playing in the outfield and in his latter seasons with the Kansas City Royals he was used exclusively as a designated hitter.  But Orta was a fine man to have in the batter’s box.  A line drive hitter with solid power and an above average batting eye, Orta exceeded 1,600 base hits during his career.

Born in Mazatlan, Mexico, Orta made his Major League debut with the White Sox in 1972.  Chuck Tanner’s ChiSox finished in second place as he employed walk-drawing machine Mike Andrews at second base.  Given that Orta barely hit above .200 as a rookie, it seemed unlikely that he would supplant Andrews in 1973 but that’s precisely what happened.  Jorge finished third in the American League with ten triples.  He enjoyed a breakout year in 1974 when he finished the season as the AL’s runner-up for the batting title with a .316 mark.  He posted his first double-digit homerun season, swatted 31 doubles and banged out 166 hits.

Despite his breakout year of ’74, Jorge didn’t make the All-Star Team.  He was selected for the honor in 1975 when he again eclipsed the .300 plateau.  He was one of the few players in baseball to post double-digit totals in every extra base hit department.  He also stole 16 bases and drove in 83 runs.  The following year he had his best speed/power combo season when he hit 14 dingers and stole 24 bases.  But by ’76 the Sox had grown tired of his suspect defense at second base and used him in left field and at third. 

Orta set his personal single season high in RBI with 84 in 1977.  Chicago used him exclusively at second base but his fielding percentage was well below league average.  He clubbed 13 homeruns in 1978 but when his batting average fell to an all-time low of .262 the White Sox sent Orta packing.  Jorge signed as a free agent with the Indians and had a comeback year.  Named to his second All-Star squad, Orta possessed one of the best batting eye’s in the Majors that year when he drew 71 walks and only whiffed 44 times.  Employed as a right fielder by Cleveland, Jorge set a personal single season high with a .379 on-base percentage. 

After the strike shortened ’81 season the Indians dealt him and catcher Jack Fimple to the Dodgers for pitcher Rick Sutcliffe and speedy second baseman Jack Perconte.  1982 was the only year he spent in the National League and it was clearly the worst season of his career.  He returned to the American League in ’83 and had his last double-digit homerun season with the Blue Jays.  The Kansas City Royals, having grown tired of their cocaine addicted roster, shipped Willie Aikens to Toronto for Orta and Jorge finally saw postseason action with the Royals.  A valuable man for the Royals, Orta platooned with Hal McRae at DH and stepped in at the outfield corners when needed.  He hit .298 in 1984 but his bat was silent in an ALCS loss the Tigers.  The Royals were World Champs in 1985 and Orta’s hustle in the famous Game Six was instrumental in Kansas City capturing the title.  As a pinch hitter, he “beat out” and infield single which set the stage for a Royals comeback.  Orta ended his career two years later.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,755/R 733/H 1,619/2B 267/3B 63/HR 130/RBI 745/SB 79/BB 500/SO 715/BA .278/OBP .334/SA .414

Although Billy Goodman never hit for much power, he was one of the best batsmen of his generation.  Billy was a regular in a few seasons in which he didn’t hit a single homerun, but that didn’t worry Goody, because he was a noted slap-hitter who was a threat to hit .300 every season.  He was only able to win one batting title over the course of his career but had five Top Ten finishes in batting average.  His title came in 1950 when he was essentially a man without a position.  That year he settled in left field after Ted Williams broke his wing in the All-Star Game.

Billy was an instant sensation in the minors with the Atlanta Crackers but put his baseball career on hold in 1945 when he was summoned for the war effort.  Goodman came of age for military service at the end of the war and thus missed just one full season to the military.  After his discharge he picked up where he left off and impressed the Red Sox who bought his contract.  He joined Boston for a twelve-game trial in 1947 before getting regular duty in ’48.  Goodman never was a stellar defender and spent most of his career playing where ever needed.  Boston needed a first baseman in 1948 and Billy filled in there.  As a freshman, Billy hit .310 and finished fourth in Rookie of the Year voting. 

Still employed as a first baseman in 1949, Billy made his first All-Star Team.  However, first base was seen as a power position even then and Billy, in two Major League seasons, had hit just one homerun.  The Red Sox wanted more power from the position so they called up slugger Walt Dropo and made Billy a Jack-of-all-Trades.  He flourished in the role, capturing the American League batting crown with a lusty .354 batting average.  Billy, who must have been born a proficient hitter, posted an amazing .427 on-base percentage that year and fanned just 25 times.  Over the course of his career, Goodman owned terrific plate discipline–he walked twice as much as he struck out.

When Ted Williams was injured in the All-Star Game, Goodman took over in left field but when The Splendid Splinter was healthy in 1951, Billy returned to his nomadic ways.  He played in 62 games at first (Dropo had a huge drop-off from his monster rookie season), 44 at second and 36 in the pasture.  When the great Bobby Doerr was forced to hang up his spikes after a back injury, Billy settled in at second base.  In 1952, Goodman was the Red Sox regular second baseman and he hit .306 with a .380 on-base percentage.  Named to another All-Star Team in 1953, Goodman hit .313 (3rd in the AL) and tallied 33 doubles. 

Billy posted his third straight .300 season in 1954 before enjoying one of his best seasons in 1955.  That year he scored 100 runs (6th in the AL) and set his career high in base hits. His batting average fell to .293 in 1956 and his walks drawn total went from 99 in 1955 to just 40 in ’56.  After a slow start in 1957 Boston dealt their little slap-hitter to the Orioles for fireman Mike Fornieles.  He became a third baseman at the end of his career as the White Sox picked him up after the ’57 season and used him at the hot corner in 1958 (his last good season–he hit .299) and 1959.  By the 1960s Billy was used as a bat-off-the-bench for the Pale Hose.  He spent his last year with the expansion Houston Colt 45s.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,623/R 807/H 1,691/2B 299/3B 44/HR 19/RBI 591/SB 37/BB 669/SO 329/BA .300/OBP .376/SA .378

Richardson played up the middle for the New York Yankees in the days of Mantle and Maris.  A reliable defender, Bobby won five Gold Glove Awards despite never finishing in the Top Three in fielding percentage among his position peers.  He twice led second basemen in putouts and posted six consecutive seasons of turning over 100 double plays.  A table-setter offensively for the Yankees, Bobby was a difficult strikeout victim, adept at the sacrifice and once tallied 200 base hits in a single season.

Signed by the Yankees out of a Sumter, South Carolina high school in 1953, New York called up Bobby in ’55 for a brief trial.  The second baseman received another brief look in ’56 before garnering more playing time in 1957.  He made the first of seven All-Star appearances that season despite the fact that he shared second base with Jerry Coleman.  In that season’s World Series, manager Stengel only used Bobby in two games and not as a starter–he didn’t have a postseason at-bat.  But the Yankees were a dynasty at this time and Richardson would get plenty more opportunities in Fall Classics.

After a down year in 1958 in which the Yankees captured the World Series title, Bobby finally became an everyday player in 1959.  He responded with his first .300 season and was the third most difficult man to strikeout with an average of one whiff every 23.5 at-bats.  The Yankees failed to win the AL flag but when they brought in Roger Maris from Kansas City they won five straight pennants.  Bobby had a down year with the bat in 1960 but nevertheless kicked off his string of six straight seasons with 100 or more twin-killings turned.  Although his bat was MIA during the regular season he had an amazing World Series, driving in a dozen runs against the winning Pittsburgh Pirates.

Richardson won his first Gold Glove in 1961 the year Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single season homerun record.    He hit .391 in a World Series victory over the Reds and banged out 173 hits during the regular season.  But his best year was right around the corner.  In 1962 Bobby led the league with 209 base hits and 20 sacrifices.  He topped .300 for the second time in his career and set personal highs in runs scored (99), doubles (38), homeruns, RBI, slugging average and total bases.  An All-Star and Gold Glove winner, Bobby was the American League runner-up in MVP voting.  Richardson ended the season with a World Series victory over the Giants.

Bobby finished seventh in the league in stolen bases during the 1963 season and made another All-Star team and won yet another Gold Glove.  From 1962 to 1965, Bobby would both make the All-Star team and be awarded the Gold Glove for his position.  In 1964 he had his second 90 runs scored season and paced the league in sacrifices again, but the Yankees, despite Bobby hitting .406, lost their second straight World Series.  No one knew it at the time but New York was about to enter its darkest days.  They fell to sixth place under skipper Johnny Keane in 1965 as Rich remained the everyday second baseman and turned 121 double plays.  But the South Carolinian would end his career on a sour note, as the Yankees, who had been contenders throughout his tour with them, fell to tenth place in 1966–Richardson’s final season.

THE NUMBERS

G 1,412/R 643/H 1,432/2B 196/3B 37/HR 34/RBI 390/SB 73/BB 262/SO 243/BA .266/OBP .299/SA .335