This right hander followed his older brother Harry out of the Pennsylvania coal mines to become a big league pitcher. Harry was a three-time twenty-game-winner for the Tigers. Stan would reach that magic number four times in a row with the Indians between 1918 and 1921 and then once again as a Senator, in 1925.
He was one of the best spitball pitchers in the history of the game and his greatest moment came during the 1920 World Series when he pitched and won three complete games, giving up just two earned runs and leading the Indians to their first ever championship. The Senators released him in June of the 1927 season. Coveleski sat out the rest of that season and thought about retiring but he couldn’t resist an offer to pitch for Miller Huggin’s World Champion Murderer’s Row team the following year. He won five of his six decisions as a Yankee but his ERA was almost six. New York released him in August of 1928. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, by the Veteran’s Committee along with his former Yankee pitching mate, Waite Hoyt. He passed away in 1984 at the age of 94.
|CLE (9 yrs)||172||123||.583||2.80||360||305||47||194||31||20||2502.1||2450||972||779||53||616||856||1.225|
|WSH (3 yrs)||36||17||.679||2.98||73||70||1||26||6||1||500.2||515||205||166||8||162||111||1.352|
|PHA (1 yr)||2||1||.667||3.43||5||2||2||2||1||0||21.0||18||9||8||0||4||9||1.048|
|NYY (1 yr)||5||1||.833||5.74||12||8||2||2||0||0||58.0||72||41||37||5||20||5||1.586|
So who is Ken Hunt? A lot of the readers of this blog are old enough and good enough baseball fans to remember Ron Hunt, the former big league second baseman who was the real first “star” of the Mets. Ron Hunt would have won the 1963 NL Rookie of the Year Award if it weren’t for the fact that Pete Rose was also in his rookie season that same year. But I don’t think too many of you remember Ken Hunt. I do because of two reasons. I was a baseball card collector and a die-hard Yankee fan.
Ken Hunt had been signed by the Yankees way back in 1952 when he was just 17 years old. He had just graduated from high school in Grand Forks, ND and the Yankees assigned him to their lowest level (D) farm team. He climbed the first three letters of the minor league alphabet pretty quickly, but once he got to the multiple A level, his ascent sort of stalled because the next rung of his career ladder was the New York Yankee outfield, which was at the time pretty loaded with high performing veterans.
Despite that crowded situation, Hunt was given his first call-up to the Bronx in September of 1959 and then actually made New York’s big league roster with a good 1960 spring training performance. He hit .294 as a utility outfielder on that 1960 Yankee team through the first two months of the season before he was sent back down to Richmond. He also developed a lasting friendship with another Yankee who made his home in North Dakota, a guy named Roger Maris.
I remember pretty clearly reading the list of players in the New York Daily News who had been selected by the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators during the 1960 AL Expansion Draft. They included Yankee pitchers Eli Grba, Bobby Shantz and Duke Maas along with two Yankee first basemen, Dale Long and Bud Zipfel. The list also included Ken Hunt who was the 40th selection in that draft. His new team was the Angels.
During the Angels’ first season, the team played its home games in cozy little minor league ballpark named, coincidentally, Wrigley Field. Since it was located near Hollywood, the Stadium became a popular place to film movies that involved baseball games and also served as the host of television’s popular “Home Run Derby” show, which use to air in the 1950s. Due to the fact that the park’s power alleys were just 345 feet in both right center and left center, home runs were plentiful during the Angels 1961 inaugural season helping Ken Hunt end his first full year in the big leagues with 25 of them and also lead the team with 84 RBIs.
Unfortunately for Hunt, he suffered an aneurism near his throwing shoulder the following season and was limited to just twelve games of action. While recovering from the surgery, however, he met and married a single Mom who’s son was Butch Patrick, the child actor who played Eddie Munster in the popular TV series, The Munsters. Eventually, Ken was cast as a baseball player in an episode of his step son’s series and got his Screen Actors Guild card. He would go on to play an extra in other Hollywood films.
Hunt needed a second career because his repaired shoulder continued to bother him. Though he did manage to hit 16 home runs in just 66 games of action for the Angels in 1963, his average fell into the .180’s and he was sold to the Senators in September of that same season.
He ended up divorcing Patrick’s Mom a few years later and starting a new career in the aerospace industry. It was there that he met and married his new wife and they opened a bar together near the aerospace plant where they both worked. He continued his close friendship with Roger Maris until Maris passed away from cancer. Hunt continued to return to North Dakota every year to play in the Memorial Golf Tournament. In fact, on the evening before he was supposed to leave for North Dakota to play in the 1997 event, he died of a heart attack while watching his former team, the Angels play on television.
|LAA (3 yrs)||221||711||632||91||150||35||4||31||101||9||65||174||.237||.310||.453||.762|
|WSA (2 yrs)||58||135||116||10||17||4||0||2||8||0||16||41||.147||.248||.233||.481|
|NYY (2 yrs)||31||42||34||6||10||3||0||0||2||0||4||7||.294||.375||.382||.757|
After the Boston Red Sox failed to make the postseason in 2006, they went out and spent $107 million to secure the services of Japan’s best pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka. Having been out-bid in the “Dice-K” sweepstakes, the Yankees attempted to counter their Eastern Division arch-rival’s coup by spending a total of $46 million to acquire and sign the guy they considered to be the second best pitcher in Japan, Kei Igawa. In 2007, Dice K won 15 regular-season games for Boston and two more in the postseason, to help the Red Sox win their second World Championship of the 21st century. That same season, Igawa got a total of fourteen starts for New York. After his first six, he had a 7.63 ERA and was demoted to Tampa. He returned to the Bronx in late June for seven more starts and finished his first season in pinstripes with a disappointing 2-3 record and a 6.25 ERA.
I watched Igawa pitch several times that year and it was pretty clear that his control was shaky and when he did get his fastball over the plate, opponents tended to hit it a long way. If he really had been the second best pitcher in Japan behind Dice-K, that country has a real shortage of good pitchers.
Igawa started the 2008 season in Scranton/Wilkes Barre and then got called up in May and lost his only start. After one more appearance out of the bullpen the following month, he has spent the balance of his five year Yankee contract in the team’s farm system. It sort of boggles my mind that the Yankees spent a total of $80 million on Igawa and Carl Pavano and got a total of ten wins from the two of them during their nine cumulative seasons in pinstripes. Talk about bad general management decisions, huh?
|162 Game Avg.||5||9||.333||6.66||38||30||2||0||0||0||168||209||127||124||35||87||124||1.758|
Jack Aker was traded to New York from Seattle early in the 1969 regular season for fellow-reliever, Freddie Talbot. Yankee manager, Ralph Houk used his new right-hander as the team’s closer the last four months of that season and Aker responded well to that role by winning eight of twelve decisions and earning 11 saves. He then followed that performance up with his best season as a Yankee in 1970, when he recorded 16 saves, won 4 of 6 decisions and posted a sterling 2.06 ERA. He was 16-10 during his three plus seasons in pinstripes with a total of 31 saves. He became expendable in 1972, after Sparky Lyle joined the team and when New York acquired Johnny Callison from the Cubs for a player to be named later in January of 1972, Aker became that player to be named later. His 32 saves for the lowly Athletics in 1966 led the American League. When he retired after the 1974 season, he had 123 lifetime saves.
|OAK (5 yrs)||19||20||.487||3.54||220||0||142||0||0||58||343.1||302||146||135||30||121||210||1.232|
|NYY (4 yrs)||16||10||.615||2.23||124||0||75||0||0||31||197.1||161||58||49||10||71||101||1.176|
|CHC (2 yrs)||10||11||.476||3.51||95||0||71||0||0||29||130.2||141||64||51||12||46||61||1.431|
|NYM (1 yr)||2||1||.667||3.48||24||0||16||0||0||2||41.1||33||18||16||4||14||18||1.137|
|ATL (1 yr)||0||1||.000||3.78||17||0||8||0||0||0||16.2||17||11||7||3||9||7||1.560|
|SEP (1 yr)||0||2||.000||7.56||15||0||9||0||0||3||16.2||25||15||14||4||13||7||2.280|