Monday, August 22, 2016
The Seattle Pilots: Where Are They Now?
Before the Mariners, there was the Seattle Pilots, an expansion team from 1969. They failed on the field, finishing 67-95, 6th and last place in the newly-formed American League Western Division. No surprise there, as a 1st-year expansion team.
But they also failed financially, as owners Max and Dewey Soriano didn't have the cash necessary to keep them going. On April 1, 1970, just before the start of a new season, Bud Selig bought them, and moved them to his hometown, where they became the Milwaukee Brewers.
Today, the Pilots are best known for being the team that pitcher Jim Bouton -- who won 39 games in 1963 and '64 for the Yankees, plus 2 more in the '64 World Series -- was on in 1969, thanks to his book Ball Four, a diary of that season.
In late August, he was traded to the Houston Astros, and was amazed at how much more the Astros had their act in gear than did the Pilots. Because of how badly the Pilot organization was run, how silly the players acted, and the fact that the team not only no longer exists in that form but stopped doing so after just 1 season, Ball Four seems more like a novel than a true story.
What happened to the 1969 Seattle Pilots?
Jim Bouton, a.k.a. Bulldog, a.k.a. Super Knuck, a.k.a. Ass Eyes, (and, many years later, a.k.a. Gyro Gearloose), pitcher. He still says his falling apart with the Houston Astros in 1970 had to do with injuries, not with the stress over the reaction to the book.
Became a sportscaster, then made a comeback that culminated in reaching the majors again, with the 1978 Atlanta Braves. Played a killer in a film adaptation of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, and created and starred in the ill-fated 1976 CBS sitcom version of Ball Four. Wrote more books, and has promoted "vintage baseball," played by old-time rules. Born March 8, 1939, now 77 years old.
Marvin Milkes, general manager. He had previously worked in the organizations of the St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. As assistant general manager of the California Angels, he was entrusted with running its Triple-A franchise, the Seattle Angels, whom the Pilots replaced. Since he was already there, the Pilots asked him to be their 1st GM.
But he was cheap, and that hurt the Pilots as much as anything else. He wasn't cheap because the Soriano brothers didn't have the money (although they didn't). He was cheap because he was of the old school of GM thought: Have money and have players, but do not let them mix.
Selig permitted Milkes to stay on in 1970, the 1st year in Milwaukee, at the end of which he tendered his resignation. He went into other sports, as the 1st GM of the World Hockey Association's New York Raiders, who had to move after just 1 season. He became the GM of the North American Soccer League's Los Angeles Aztecs in 1981, but they folded at the end of the season.
Shortly thereafter, on January 31, 1982, Milkes died of a heart attack. He was 58 years old, and would, almost certainly, have been forgotten if not for Ball Four. It's ironic: To Milkes, Bouton was a tool to make money, and it failed; to Bouton, Milkes became a way to make money after leaving the Pilots, and it worked.
Joe Schultz, manager. The son of 1910s and '20s outfielder Joe Schultz, was a catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Browns from 1939 to 1948. Had been a coach on the St. Louis Cardinals' Pennant-winners of 1964, '67 and '68, and a "good company man" for Cards owner and Anheuser-Busch baron Gussie Busch. Hence his frequent pushing of Gussie's product by exhorting his players to "Zitz 'em, and then go pound that ol' Budweiser" -- even though he no longer worked for Gussie.
Fired after that 1969 season, coached with the Kansas City Royals in 1970, and for the Detroit Tigers from 1971 to 1976, serving as interim manager in 1973 after Billy Martin was fired. Returned to St. Louis, where he no doubt pounded some more Bud. Died on January 10, 1996, at the age of 77.
Sal Maglie, a.k.a. Sal the Barber, a.k.a. the Screaming Skull, pitching coach. The legendary specialist in curveballs and brushbacks for the 1951 and '54 Pennant-winning New York Giants was never involved in baseball again after being fired from the Pilots. Died on December 28, 1992, at 75. The minor-league ballpark in his hometown of Niagara Falls, New York was named Sal Maglie Stadium.
Frank Crosetti, a.k.a. the Crow, 1st base coach. An All-Star shortstop for the Yankees in the 1930s and early '40s, was their 3rd base coach from 1947 to 1968. This made him the winner of more World Series rings in a major league uniform than anyone, ever: 17. But was not popular among the Pilots.
Coached with the Minnesota Twins in 1970 and '71, then returned to Stockton, California, and was never involved in baseball again. Always refused invitations to come to major league games, including old-timers' ceremonies. Died on February 11, 2002, at 91.
Sebastian "Sibby" Sisti, coach. An infielder for the Braves in Boston and Milwaukee, from 1939 to 1954, and later a coach and a manager in their minor-league system. His year with the Pilots was his only one after retiring as a player.
His only active involvement with baseball after the Pilots was to serve as a consultant on the movie version of The Natural, which was filmed in his hometown of Buffalo in 1983. He was hired because they needed someone who knew what it was like to play Major League Baseball during the 1930s, and he was there. He played the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the climactic playoff game. Died on April 24, 2006, at 85.
Ron Plaza, coach. The native of Clifton, New Jersey had a good bat that got him as high as Triple-A, but a bad glove kept him out of the majors. After leaving the Pilots, he was hired by the Cincinnati Reds organization -- ironic, since the manager they'd just fired, Dave Bristol, was hired to replace Schultz as manager of the Pilots/Brewers. Became their 3rd base coach in 1978, being moved to 1st base coach in 1979, holding the post until 1983. His last baseball job was as a coach with the 1986 Oakland Athletics. Died on April 15, 2012, at 77.
Eddie O'Brien, coach. The native of South Amboy, New Jersey, along with his twin brother Johnny, starred in baseball, football and basketball for that city's St. Mary's, later Cardinal McCarrick, High School, which closed in 2015.
"The O'Brien Twins" went to Seattle University on basketball scholarships, and became nationally famous. On January 21, 1952, this small Catholic school stunned hoops observers by beating the Harlem Globetrotters. They were both drafted by the Milwaukee Hawks (the team now in Atlanta) in 1953, but, at the time, the NBA was not taken seriously, and they played baseball instead.
They were a double play combination: Eddie was a shortstop, Johnny a 2nd baseman. They both also pitched in the major leagues. Both mostly played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1953 to 1959. They are the only twins to play for the same MLB team in the same game, and 1 of only 4 brotherly double-play combinations, along with Wes and Granny Hamner of the '45 Phils, Frank and Milt Bolling of the '58 Tigers, and Cal and Billy Ripken of the '80s Orioles.
And being released by the Milwaukee Braves in 1959, Johnny, who is still alive, was never involved with baseball again. Eddie stayed in the game, and was on the Pilots' coaching staff, probably to trade on his local stardom as a basketball star. Fired along with the rest of them before the move to Milwaukee, he stayed in Seattle, and was never involved in professional baseball again. Died on February 21, 2014, at 83.
Miguel Fuentes, pitcher. Appeared in 8 major league games, all with the Pilots, between September 1 and October 2, 1969 -- including throwing the last pitch for the team in the last game the Pilots ever played. It was also the last major league game he ever played, as he was the 1st Pilot to die: While playing in winter ball in his native Puerto Rico, he was shot outside a bar on January 29, 1970. He was only 23.
Ray Oyler, a.k.a. Oil Can, shortstop. Served in the U.S. Marine Corps before he debuted with the Detroit Tigers in 1965. Nearly helped them win the American League Pennant in Detroit's riot year of 1967. In 1968, he helped the Tigers win the World Series. Actually, "helped" may be too strong a word: A good fielder but a notoriously bad hitter, he literally went 0-for-August, leading manager Mayo Smith to move Mickey Stanley from right field to shortstop when regular right fielder Al Kaline returned from injury.
Left off the protected list in the expansion draft, became the Pilots' shortstop, but his hitting never got better. He played the 1970 season with the A's and Angels, and that was it. Yet he stayed in Seattle, managing a bowling alley, before his heavy drinking gave him a fatal heart attack. Died January 26, 1981, at 42.
George Brunet, a.k.a. Lefty, a.k.a. Red (he may have been a political liberal, like Bouton), pitcher. Debuted with the Kansas City Athletics in 1956, and was an original Houston Astro (Colt .45) in 1962. Traded in mid-1969 from the California Angels to the Pilots, prompting Bouton to write, "He'll fit right in on this ballclub. He's crazy." Ended his major league career with the 1971 St. Louis Cardinals.
Played for 9 different franchises -- 6 of whom are no longer using the names they were using when he was with them: The Kansas City Athletics, the Milwaukee Braves, the Houston Colt .45's, the Los Angeles Angels (who aren't the California Angels anymore, either), the Seattle Pilots and the Washington Senators.
But he was far from done: He pitched in the Mexican League from 1972 to 1989, at age 54 (they nicknamed him El Viejo, "the Old One"), giving him a record 36 seasons in organized baseball. He pitched a no-hitter in 1978, and set the Mexican League record for career shutouts with 55. Died October 25, 1991, at 56. Unknown if he was buried with undershorts on.
Gene Brabender, a.k.a. Bender, a.k.a. Lurch, pitcher. With a name like "Bra-bender," there had to be considerable discussion of the perception of his private life. A rookie with the 1966 World Champion Baltimore Orioles, he led the '69 Pilots with 13 wins. But the 1st season in Milwaukee would be the last season of his major league career. Died on December 27, 1996, at 55.
Steve Barber, pitcher. A 2-time All-Star who also helped the Orioles win the 1966 World Series, he hurt his arm, spent the 1967 and '68 seasons with the Yankees, and then, with the '69 Pilots, complained that, "My arm isn't sore, it's just a little stiff." He stayed in the majors through 1974, but was never again the pitcher he was in '66. He moved to Las Vegas and became a school bus driver. Died on February 4, 2007, at 68.
Jim Pagliaroni, a.k.a. Pag, catcher. Aside from Ball Four, is best known as the on-deck hitter who shook Ted Williams' hand as the Splendid Splinter came home after hitting a home run in his last at-bat for the 1960 Boston Red Sox. Also the Sox catcher who called the fastball for Tracy Stallard that Roger Maris hit for his record-breaking home run a year later.
Never played in the majors again after the '69 Pilots. Later worked for a food distribution company, and raised money for research into ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Died on April 3, 2010, at 72.
Jerry Stephenson, pitcher. The son of 1940s catcher Joe Stephenson, was a top prospect in the Boston Red Sox organization, until hurting his elbow in 1964, while pitching for the Pilots' Triple-A predecessors, the Seattle Rainiers. A member of the 1967 "Impossible Dream" Pennant-winning Boston Red Sox, he was left unprotected in the expansion draft.
Was traded to the Dodgers in 1970, ending his career with them, but scouted for them from 1974 to 1994, and for the Red Sox from 1995 to 2009, before being stricken with the cancer that would claim his life on June 6, 2010, at 66. His son Brian Stephenson pitched in the minors, and now works in the Dodger organization.
José Vidal, a.k.a. Papito, outfield. The Dominican played for the Cleveland Indians in 1966, '67 and '68, and the Pilots in '69, a total of 88 major league games. Died on January 11, 2011, at 70.
Greg Goossen, a.k.a. Goose, catcher. A baseball, football and basketball star in high school outside Los Angeles, he signed with his hometown Dodgers, but before he could reach the majors, he was waived, and the Mets claimed him. Manager Casey Stengel said, "I got a kid, Greg Goossen, he's 19 years old, and in 10 years, he's got a chance to be 29."
Talk about bad luck: He could have been a September callup with the Dodgers, 1965 World Champions. Instead, he went to the Mets, and was left unprotected in the 1968-69 expansion draft, and missed out on their "Miracle." Instead, he got stuck with the Pilots, moved with them to Milwaukee, was traded to the Washington Senators in 1970, and that was it. In 1975, when he was 29, he was 5 years past his last big-league game.
He became a boxing trainer with his brothers, and helped make Michael Nunn the Middleweight Champion of the World. In 1988, Gene Hackman made the boxing film Split Decisions, and hired Goossen as his stand-in for all his films thereafter. Died on February 26, 2011, at 65, so he had no chance to be 66.
Merritt Ranew, catcher. Like Brunet, was an original Houston Astro (Colt .45) in 1962. Like Pagliaroni, he never played in the majors again after the '69 Pilots. Died on August 18, 2011, at 73.
Don Mincher, a.k.a. Minch, 1st base. Made 2 moves in his career, but Seattle to Milwaukee was not one of them. The Washington Senators were both. Debuted with the old Senators in 1960, moved with them to become the Minnesota Twins in 1961, and was a member of their 1965 Pennant winners. Traded to the California Angels in 1967, and was an All-Star that year. Left unprotected in the expansion draft, the Pilots took him, and he was an All-Star again, and was the only Pilot to play in the All-Star Game.
Traded to the Oakland Athletics before the 1970 season, was traded to the new Senators in 1971, and made the move with them to become the Texas Rangers the next year. Traded back to the A's, won the World Series with them in 1972, and retired with an even 200 home runs.
Returned to his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, and served as general manager of the Class AA Huntsville Stars from 1985 to 2001, and was a part-owner from 1994 until his death on March 4, 2012, at 73.
Fred Talbot, a.k.a. Perch, pitcher. Pitched for the Athletics in both Kansas City and Oakland, but was not with them at the time of the move. Was a Yankee teammate of Bouton's in 1966 and '67. Died on January 11, 2013, at 71.
Billy Williams, right field. Not to be confused with the Chicago Cubs Hall-of-Famer of the same name, racism may have prevented him from getting his big chance until he was 37. Even then, he appeared in just 4 major league games, all for the Pilots in August 1969. Later owned a clothing store in Oakland, and coached for the Cleveland Indians and the minor-league Sioux Falls Canaries. Died on June 11, 2013, at 80.
Mike Hegan, 1st base. The son of Jim Hegan, an All-Star catcher with the Cleveland Indians, he debuted with the Yankees in 1964, and appeared in 3 games of that year's World Series. Like Bouton, was curtailed by injuries and traded by the Yankees and ended up with the Pilots. Unlike Bouton, was an All-Star in 1969 -- due to his fielding, as he once held the AL record for most consecutive errorless games by a 1st baseman, 187, and not for his hitting -- but was injured and unable to play in the All-Star Game.
Made the move to Milwaukee in 1970. Traded to Oakland in 1971, won a World Series ring with the A's in 1972, along with Mincher, He was traded back to the Yankees in 1973, and back to the Brewers in 1974, staying with them until 1977, making him the last Pilot to be on the Brewers (although not the last to be so continuously).
Broadcast for the Brewers from 1978 to 1988, and then for the Indians until 2011. Heart trouble forced him to retire, and he died while on vacation at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina on Christmas Day, December 25, 2013, at 71.
Tomás Gustavo Gil Guillén, a.k.a. Gus Gil, 2nd base. Debuted with the Cleveland Indians in 1967, and played with the Pilots/Brewers from 1969 to 1971. A fine fielder but a poor hitter, he later played and managed in Venezuela, and is a member of that country's Baseball Hall of Fame. Died on December 8, 2015, at 76.
Jerry McNertney, a.k.a. McNert, catcher. Moved with the Pilots to Milwaukee, closed his career with the 1973 Pittsburgh Pirates, and became a coach in the Yankees' and Boston Red Sox' organizations in the 1980s. Born August 7, 1936, now 80 years old, making him the oldest surviving Seattle Pilot.
Gary Bell, a.k.a. Ding-Dong Bell, pitcher. Bouton's roommate in early 1969, he'd been a 3-time All-Star, and was part of the Boston Red Sox' 1967 "Impossible Dream" Pennant. But he was also part of some not-so-good teams, including the early 1960s Cleveland Indians and the Pilots. Responsible for the advice, "Smoke 'em inside."
Traded to the Chicago White Sox for Bob Locker in mid-season, and his career ended with them at the end of the season. Returned to his native San Antonio. Born November 17, 1936, now 79 years old.
Diego Seguí, pitcher. A Cuban with a forkball, debuted with the Kansas City Athletics in 1962, was sent to the Washington Senators in 1966, was returned to the A's in 1967, and made the move to Oakland with them. Drafted by the Pilots in 1969, and was one of the few bright lights for the team.
Traded back to the A's, in 1970 he led the AL in ERA. Pitched for them in the 1971 ALCS, but was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals before he could be a part of the Oakland dynasty. Pitched for the Pennant-winning Boston Red Sox of 1975. Closed his career with another expansion team, the Seattle Mariners, in 1977 -- making him the only player to play for both of Seattle's MLB teams. Naturally, he was nicknamed the Ancient Mariner. (He turned 40 that season.) Was 92-111 for his career.
Pitched in Mexico in 1978 (no word on whether he pitched against George Brunet and his lack of underwear), and in Venezuela until 1983. Born August 17, 1937, just turned 79 years old. His son, David Seguí, was a 1st baseman who spent 15 seasons in the major leagues.
Freddie Velázquez, a.k.a. Poor Devil, catcher. A 31-year-old rookie in 1969, he had spent 11 years in the minors before the Ball Four season. Only played in 1 other big-league season, with the Atlanta Braves in 1973. Born December 6, 1937, now 78 years old.
Bob Locker, pitcher. Played both baseball and basketball at Iowa State University, and got a geology degree there. A member of the Chicago White Sox team that came within a game and a half of the Pennant in 1967, was traded to the Pilots in mid-1969 for Bouton's roommate, Gary Bell. Despite this, he and Bouton seemed to get along well.
A sinkerballer who pitched entirely in relief in his career, made the move to Milwaukee, then the Brewers traded him in mid-1970 to the Oakland Athletics, and was a member of their 1972 World Champions. They then traded him to the Chicago Cubs, with whom he wrapped things up in 1975. Now runs ThanksMarvin.com, a tribute website for the late players' union leader Marvin Miller. Born March 15, 1938, now 78 years old.
Rich Rollins, 3rd base. Debuted in 1961, making him an original Minnesota Twin. Was an All-Star in 1962, and a Pennant winner in 1965 along with Mincher, but also made the last out in the 1967 season finale that gave the Boston Red Sox the Pennant.
Left unprotected in the expansion draft, played in Seattle in 1969 and Milwaukee and Cleveland in 1970, but his hitting fizzled, and he retired. Stayed in the Cleveland area, and lives in Akron. Born April 16, 1938, now 78 years old.
Hilario "Sandy" Valdespino, left field. A rookie with the Pennant-winning 1965 Minnesota Twins, the Cuban was only briefly a teammate of Bouton's -- on the Astros, as he and Danny Walton were traded to the Pilots for Tommy Davis. Ended his major league career with the 1971 Kansas City Royals, but played several more years in Mexico and Venezuela. Born January 14, 1939, now 77 years old.
Tommy Davis, left field. A Brooklyn native, was signed by the Dodgers but didn't reach them until after they moved to Los Angeles. Won the National League batting title in 1962 and '63, but broke his ankle in a 1965 game and was never the same. Won World Series rings with the Dodgers in 1959, '63 and '65 and another Pennant in '66.
But became famous for frequently getting traded, including from Seattle to Houston later in '69, rejoining Bouton. Also reached the postseason with the 1971 A's, the '73 and '74 Orioles and the '76 Kansas City Royals. Born March 21, 1939, now 77 years old.
Bob Meyer, pitcher. Reached the majors in 1964, but before the year was out, he'd played for 3 different teams: The Yankees, the Los Angeles Angels and the Kansas City Athletics. Did not return to the majors until 1969, and washed out with the Brewers in 1970. Born August 4, 1939, now 77 years old.
Horace Guy Womack, a.k.a. Dooley Womack, a.k.a. THE Dooley Womack, pitcher. Bouton's comments about him sounded pretty rough, but Womack was never a very good pitcher: By his own admission, "I won't overpower anybody." May have been better as a hitter: While his major league record was 19-18 with a 2.95 ERA, he had a .267 lifetime batting average. And, of course, while he was Bouton's teammate on the Yankees in 1966 and '67, in '69 he was traded for Bouton, so they weren't teammates on the Pilots or the Astros.
Pitched 1 more season, with the Oakland Athletics, and then went into various businesses, lasting longest in commercial flooring. Has built a long career as a coach in American Legion baseball. Born August 25, 1939, about to turn 77 years old.
John O'Donoghue, pitcher. An All-Star in 1965, because every team needed at least 1 and he was the best there was on the Kansas City Athletics that year. That was the highlight of his career. Managed to save 6 games for the Pilots, made the move to Milwaukee, and finished up with the 1971 Montreal Expos. Born October 7, 1939, now 76 years old. His son, also John O'Donoghue, pitched 11 games in the majors, all for the 1993 Baltimore Orioles.
Garry Roggenburk, a.k.a. Rogg, pitcher. He and Hegan were teammates at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Also a basketball player, winning the 1962 NIT with the University of Dayton, and was drafted by the San Francisco Warriors (as the Golden State franchise was then known). Debuted with the Minnesota Twins in 1963, and was a teammate of Mincher on the '65 Pennant winners. Traded to the Boston Red Sox in 1967, and was a teammate of Bell on the '67 Pennant winners. Traded to the Pilots in 1969, but that was it for his career.
Later served as a coach and a general manager in the Red Sox' minor-league system, and then went into real estate. Born April 16, 1940, now 76 years old.
Darrell Brandon, a.k.a. Bucky, pitcher. Like Bell, a member of the iconic '67 Red Sox. Went from the outhouse to nearly the penthouse in '69, as he was traded from the last-place Pilots to the eventual AL West winners, the Minnesota Twins. Later played for the Philadelphia Phillies, finishing in 1973. Born July 8, 1940, now 76 years old.
Jack Aker, pitcher: Traded to the Yankees, pitched for them until 1972. Career ended with the Mets (literally, not just figuratively) in 1974. Won a Pennant as a minor-league manager and became the Cleveland Indians' pitching coach. Since 1988, has run a baseball academy in Arizona, specializing in teaching Native American children. Born July 13, 1940, now 76 years old.
Tommy Harper, left field, although he played every position or the Pilots except pitcher, catcher and 1st base. Nearly won a Pennant with the Cincinnati Reds in 1964, and led the AL in stolen bases with the Pilots in 1969 and the Boston Red Sox, who picked him up from the Brewers, in 1973. Was usually the Pilots' leadoff hitter, and when they played their 1st game, against the California Angels in Seattle on April 7, 1969, he became the 1st-ever Pilots batter in a regular season game. Was given a Tommy Harper Day by the Pilots, and this was his acceptance speech, in full: "'Preciate it. Thanks."
Reached his only postseason with the 1975 Oakland Athletics, and closed his career with the 1976 Baltimore Orioles. Coached for the Red Sox from 1980 until being fired in spring training in 1985, and sued them for firing him due to complaining about a racist issue. He won, and later coached for the Montreal Expos, including in their spectacular but cut-short 1994 season, and was brought back to the Red Sox as coach from 2000 to 2002. The Sox made further amends by electing him to their team Hall of Fame. His acceptance speech on that occasion, if any, is unrecorded. Born October 14, 1940, now 75 years old.
John Kennedy, 3rd base. Like the President of the same name, was born on a May 29 (in his case, in 1941), and lived in Washington, D.C. in 1962 and '63 (also playing for the Senators in '64). Hit a home run in his 1st major league at-bat. Played with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1965, and received a World Series ring. Played with the Yankees in '67, moved with the Pilots to Milwaukee in '70, traded to Boston that year, and remained with the Red Sox until 1974. Still involved in baseball as a scout. Now 75 years old.
Gordon Lund, infielder. Played 3 games with the 1967 Cleveland Indians and 20 with the Pilots. That was it as a major leaguer. Later managed in the Chicago White Sox system, winning a Midwest League Pennant with the 1978 Appleton Foxes. Born February 23, 1941, now 75 years old.
Bill Edgerton, pitcher. Didn't quite move with the Athletics (appeared for them in Kansas City in 1966 and '67, but not in Oakland in '68) or the Brewers/Pilots (appeared for them in Seattle in '69, but not in Milwaukee in '70). The Pilots were his last big-league team. Born August 16, 1941, now 75 years old.
John Morris, pitcher. Had cups of coffee with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1966 and the Baltimore Orioles in '68, came up with the Pilots/Brewers in '69, stayed with them until '71, signed on with the San Francisco Giants, and remained with them through '74. Born August 23, 1941, will turn 75 tomorrow.
Jim Gosger, a.k.a Goz, outfielder. Debuted with the Boston Red Sox in 1963. Moved with the A's from Kansas City to Oakland in 1967-68. Taken by the Pilots in the expansion draft. Bouton made him famous forever by including the story of him sitting in the hotel room closet, spying on his roommate in bed with "local talent," who says, "Oh, baby, I've never done it that way before." Goz opened the closet door and said, "Yeah, surrre!" (That's how Bouton wrote it: 3 R's: "Surrre!") From that point on, it became a catchphrase among the Pilots: "I only had 3 beers last night." "Yeah, surrre!")
Traded to the Mets in midseason, so, unlike Goossen, he was a part of the 1969 Miracle. Traded to the Montreal Expos, but traded back to the Mets in 1973, and was a part of that Pennant, too, although he wasn't on the postseason roster either time. Last played in 1974, for the Mets. Born November 6, 1942, now 73 years old.
Larry Haney, catcher. A teammate of Brabender's and Barber's on the '66 World Champions, hit a home run in his 1st major league game -- off a future Pilot teammate, John O'Donoghue. Was traded in mid-'69 to Oakland. Was not on their World Series roster in 1972 or '73, but was in '74 and won a ring. Returned to the Pilots/Brewers franchise, and closed his career with them in 1978. Stayed in their organization as a coach through 1991, then in other capacities until retiring in 2006. Born November 19, 1942, now 73 years old.
Ron Clark, infielder. Went from the penthouse to the outhouse that season: From the Twins to the Pilots. He was traded to Oakland after the season, and was with the A's when they won the AL West in 1971... and then in 1972, before they could win the Pennant and the World Series, they traded him back to the Pilots/Brewers! He last appeared in the majors with the 1975 Philadelphia Phillies. Born January 14, 1943, now 73 years old.
Mike Marshall, pitcher. Debuted with the Detroit Tigers in 1967, nearly winning the Pennant, but was in the minors in their World Championship season of 1968. Left unprotected in the expansion draft, he was a teammate of Bouton with the Pilots for most of 1969, and with the Astros in early 1970. Traded to the Montreal Expos, led the National League in saves in 1973.
Earned a degree in kinesiology from Michigan State University, and believed that pitchers should pitch more, not less. In 1974, traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, he set a major league record that still stands with 106 pitching appearances. He led the NL in saves again, and became the 1st reliever in either League to win the Cy Young Award. Knew Dr. Frank Jobe and his tecniques, and recommended to his injured teammate Tommy John that he get the career-saving surgery that now bears John's name. Was an All-Star that year and the next.
His iconoclasm finally ticked off the conservative Dodgers to the point where they traded him to the Atlanta Braves in 1976. In 1979, with the Minnesota Twins, he led the AL in saves, and pitched in 90 games, so he holds the record for most games pitched in a season in each League. (Joe Girardi must hate his guts.) Closed his career with the Mets in 1981. His career record is an unflattering 97-112, but he had 188 saves at a time when that was a big number. Born January 15, 1943, now 73 years old.
Marty Pattin, a.k.a. Donald Duck, pitcher. Moved to Milwaukee with the team, and was an All-Star with the 1971 Brewers. Traded to Boston in 1972, when he took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Oakland Athletics, but, with 1 out, Reggie Jackson singled off him. Reached the postseason with the Kansas City Royals in 1976, '77, '78 and '80, including the 1980 World Series. He then retired, making him the last active former Seattle Pilot.
Became the pitching coach at the nearby University of Kansas. A bar called Marty's operates near the campus of his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University, although he has nothing to do with it beyond the name. Born April 6, 1943, now 73 years old.
John Donaldson, 2nd base. Moved with the A's in 1967-68, but not with the Pilots/Brewers in 1969-70, as the Pilots were the last team to play him in the majors. Born May 5, 1943, now 73 years old.
Steve Whitaker, right field. Debuted with the Yankees in the dark year of 1966, and briefly became a rookie sensation before petering out -- perhaps the original Kevin Maas or Shane Spencer. Taken by the Kansas City Royals in the 1969 expansion draft, but was traded along with Lou Piniella to the Pilots at the end of spring training. The Tacoma native was the only Seattle-area product to play for the Pilots. Traded to the San Francisco Giants before the 1970 season, and last played in the majors in May of that year. Born May 7, 1943, now 73 years old.
John Gelnar, pitcher. Had a couple of cups of coffee with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being taken by the Pilots in the expansion draft. Stayed with the Pilots/Brewers through 1971, and that was it for him. Born June 25, 1943, now 73 years old.
Dick Simpson, right field. Looked like he had a chance at AL Rookie of the Year with the 1964 Los Angeles Angels, but never looked so good again. Was traded to the defending World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in 1968, but was traded to the Astros before he could win another Pennant. Was traded to the Yankees for the Dooley Womack, then to the Pilots on May 19 for José Vidal. On June 9, he hit a leadoff home run off Mickey Lolich of the Detroit Tigers, but Lolich not only allowed no more runs, but struck out 16 Pilots. Was traded after the season to the San Francisco Giants, didn't make the team in 1970, and his major league career was over. Born July 28, 1943, now 73 years old.
Wayne Comer, outfield. Like Oyler, was a good-field-no-hit member of the Detroit team that nearly won the 1967 Pennant and went all the way in 1968, before being lost to Seattle in the expansion draft. In 1969, he led the AL in double plays participated in by an outfielder, and was 2nd in outfielders' assists.
Returned to the Tigers in 1972, and helped them win the AL East. Became the longtime baseball coach at a high school in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia. Born February 3, 1944, now 72 years old.
Mike Ferraro, 3rd base. The former Yankee remained in the Brewers' system, and returned to the majors briefly in 1972. Managed in the Yankees' minor-league system, then was a coach at the major league level from 1979 to 1982, infamously waving home Willie Randolph during the 1980 ALCS when it would have been better to hold him up.
Managed the Indians in 1983 and the Royals in 1986, succeeding Dick Howser, under whom he had coached in both New York and Kansas City. Returned as a Yankee coach, and was the last man to wear Number 44 before it was retired for Reggie Jackson. His most recent job in baseball has been as 3rd base coach for the Baltimore Orioles in 1993. Born August 18, 1944, now 71 years old.
Steve Hovley, right field. Called up in June, and called "Old Tennis Ball Head" because of his long hair, and "Orbie," short for "Orbit," because he seemed spacey to most players. Hit well, and the comments about his hair stopped. Roomed with Bouton, and got on famously with him, for nearly 2 months, until Bouton's trade.
In the Brewers' 1st game in Milwaukee, got 3 of their 4 hits in a 12-0 loss to the California Angels. Was soon traded to the Oakland Athletics, did not appear in the 1971 American League Championship Series, and was traded to the Kansas City Royals, where he played until 1973. Became a plumber, and claims to have not really understood why Ball Four had, or should have, made him famous. Born December 18, 1944, now 71 years old.
Dick Bates, pitcher. Made his only big-league appearance with the Pilots on April 27, 1969, pitching an inning and 2/3rds and allowing 5 runs. Now runs a country club in the Phoenix area. Born October 7, 1945, now 70 years old.
Charles Edward Lockwood Jr., a.k.a. Skip Lockwood, pitcher. Attended Boston's Catholic Memorial High School, starring in baseball and track, and still holds the school record for the 100-meter dash that he set in 1964. Came up for a cup of coffee as a 3rd baseman with the Kansas City Athletics in 1965, but couldn't hit major league pitching. Converted to a pitcher, didn't appear in the majors again until the 1969 Pilots. The last continuously remaining Pilot with the Brewers, traded to the California Angels just before Opening Day in 1974.
Became a decent reliever, and one of the few bright spots for the "Grant's Tomb" Mets of the late 1970s, closing his career in 1980 with his hometown Boston Red Sox. Afterward, went to MIT and got an engineering degree. Also accomplished at that classic New England sport, candlepin bowling. Born August 17, 1946, now 70 years old.
Dick Baney, pitcher. Spent the 1970 through '73 seasons in the minor leagues before returning for a cup of coffee with the Reds in 1974. Worked for his father's contracting business, then went into real estate. Born November 1, 1946, now 69 years old.
Danny Walton, left field. Debuted with the Houston Astros in 1968, then got stuck in the minors until being sent to the Pilots as part of the Tommy Davis trade. Spent 1969, '70 and '71 with the Pilots/Brewers, before finishing the '71 season with the Yankees. Bounced around until 1980, and was never more than a journeyman. Born July 14, 1947, now 69 years old.
Fred Stanley, a.k.a. Chicken, shortstop. A September callup for the Pilots, made the move to Milwaukee, and bounced around before coming to the Yankees in 1973. A reserve shortstop on their 1976 Pennant winners and 1977 and 1978 World Champions, he finished the Bucky Dent Game at 2nd base. A decent fielder, but had a career batting average of .216. (Did Oyler teach him how to play shortstop and how to hit?)
Closed his career with the Oakland Athletics in 1982, making him the last active former Seattle Pilot. Worked many years in the San Francisco Giants' minor-league system, winning a Class A Northwest League Pennant with the 2001 Salem-Keizer Volcanoes. Is now the Giants' Director of Player Development, meaning he's won more World Series rings with the Giants (3) than he did with the Yankees (2). Born August 13, 1947, now 69 years old.
Gary Timberlake, pitcher. A member of the Yankees' minor-league system before being taken in the 1968 expansion draft, his entire major league career consisted of 2 appearances for the Pilots in June 1969. Born August 9, 1948, now 68 years old, the youngest Seattle Pilot.
So that's 53 players, 38 of whom are still alive, 47 years after the one and only season. And 15 who have since died, along with GM Marvin Milkes, manager Joe Schultz, and all his coaches. As Joe himself would say, "Ah, shitfuck."
Bouton began the book by saying, "I'm 30 years old, and I have these dreams." He ended with some very poignant words: "You spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and, in the end, it turns out, it was the other way around all the time." Baseball grips you.
Sounds like one of Yakov Smirnoff's Russian jokes. But Bouton was right.