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John Lowenstein

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John Lee Lowenstein

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[edit] Biographical Information

John Lowenstein was an outfielder/utility man 21 years (1966-1986), three in college (1966-1968); four in the minors (1968-1971); and 16 in the Majors (1970-1985); losing most of one year (1969) to the Military. He was born on Monday, January 27, 1947, in Wolf Point, MT. He graduated from High School, where he starred in baseball, in 1965 at age 18. He then attended the University of California, Riverside (1966-1968), where he starred in baseball and earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropolgy.

Scouted by Bob Nieman of the Cleveland Indians, he was drafted as an amateur free agent in the 18th round of the 1968 amateur draft by the Indians on June 7, 1968 and he broke into Organized Baseball at age 21 with Waterbury in the Eastern League. He played for Waterbury (1968) and Reno in the California League (1968) when he was activated from the California Marine Corps Gold Reserves during the Vietnam War on January 31, 1968 and released from active duty on August 2. He played for Reno the rest of the year and moved up to Wichita in the American Association.

At 23 years of age, he was called up by the Indians and broke into the big leagues on September 2, 1970. Returning to Wichita following Spring Training in 1971, he was again called up by the Indians and played with the Indians (1971-1977). On May 17, 1971 Washington Senators Tommy McCraw "slugged" a 140-foot home run against the Indians when shortstop Jack Heidemann, center fielder Vada Pinson and left fielder Lowenstein collided on his short pop fly to left center, and McCraw circled the bases before the ball is retrieved.

On July 29, 1972, Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles hit a two-out home run in the 11th inning to give Baltimore a 4–3 win over the Indians. Frank Duffy hit his first MLB home run for the Tribe and Lowenstein hit a home run in the ninth to briefly give the Indians the lead. On December 6, 1976, he was traded by Cleveland with Rick Cerone to the Toronto Blue Jays for Rico Carty. On March 29, 1977, he was traded by Toronto back to Cleveland for Hector Torres. On February 28, 1978 he was traded by the Indians with Tom Buskey to the Texas Rangers for Willie Horton and David Clyde. He played with little fanfare for the Rangers in 1978 and was selected off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the Rangers on November 27, 1978.

Although he was now 31 and "past his prime", he then had his best years with Baltimore (1979-1985). In 1979 he was on the supplemental disabled list, August 9 to August 24, with a badly sprained ankle. The Orioles defeated the California Angels in the 1979 ALCS, winning the first game on Lowenstein's tenth inning walkoff pinch hit opposite field home run with the score tied 3-3 and two out and two on off the Angels' John Montague. Lowenstein followed this in the World Series on October 13 with a pinch hit two-run double in the eighth inning of Game Four as the Orioles rallied for six runs after being down 6-3.

In 1980 he was once again on the disabled list, May 19 to June 11 with a badly sprained ankle. On May 25, 1982, Jim Palmer won his 250th career game for Baltimore, 10–3 over the Rangers, with help from Lowenstein's home run. Lowenstein was granted Free Agency on February 24, 1983 only to be re-signed by the Orioles. In 1983 he hit a World Series homer in Game Two to tie the game in an eventual 4-1 victory as Baltimore won the first of four straight to become World Champions.

He played his final MLB game on May 4, 1985 at age 38, retiring from the game, ending his playing career. On May 21, 1985 he was released by the Orioles to make it official.

He is the most prominent position player to come out of UC Riverside. Top pitchers from UC Riverside include Troy Percival and Eric Show.

[edit] In Summary

After spending eight of his first nine MLB seasons as a weak-hitting utility man with the Indians and the Rangers, and appearing to be on his way out, Lowenstein was picked up as filler by Baltimore and was used by Earl Weaver most successfully as a platoon player in the outfield. There he blossomed, helping them win a couple of World Series and then faded into retirement. He was a free-spirited outfielder who could not touch left-handed pitching. He could annihilate righties, though, and in 1982, playing only against right-handed pitchers, his .602 slugging average and 7.5 HR percentage would have led the majors if he had had enough at-bats to qualify. And he led all outfielders in fielding, going the entire season (111 games) without an error.

Even when not posting such spectacular numbers, Lowenstein was consistently valuable for the Orioles. (WOR) In 1991, in his second year of eligibility, he received one vote to the Hall of Fame.

In 1982, his best year in MLB, he had 103 Hits, 69 Runs, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 24 Home Runs, 66 RBI and 7 Stolen Bases at (.320/.415/.602) in 122 Games. In 1970, his best year in the minors, he had 109 Hits, 68 Runs, 15 Doubles, 6 Triples, 18 Home Runs, and 52 RBI at (.295/X/~+43) in 108 Games.

Overall in MLB, he had 881 Hits, 510 Runs, 137 Doubles, 18 Triples, 116 Home Runs, 441 RBI and 128 Stolen Bases at (.253/.337/.403) in 1,368 Games.Overall in the minors, he had 221 Hits, 125 Runs, 35 Doubles, 10 Triples, 34 Home Runs and 131 RBI. Including 1983, he played in 17 postseason Games with 10 Hits, 6 Runs, 3 Doubles, 2 Homeruns and 9 RBI at (.263/.333/.500).

Lowenstein was a color commentator for Baltimore Orioles television broadcasts for a decade (1986-1995). His principal hobbies were golf, traveling and hunting. He celebrated his 59th birthday in 2006 at his current residence in Las Vegas NV

[edit] Records Held

  • Most Postions Homering (9) (including DH/PH) (tied with Rex Hudler)

[edit] Other Highlights

  • Had 1.000 Fielding Average in the outfield, 1970-1972 (78 Games), 1972 (58 games) , 1977 (39 games) and 1982(111 games)
  • Led American League Outfielders in Fielding Average (1.000) in 1982

[edit] Quotes

  • "He murders fastballs from the middle of the plate on in, but can slow up his stride enough to time a curve and line it to right-center… is rated an excellent clutch hitter… seems to enjoy contact with fences, and like Lou Piniella, he does not look pretty chasing fly balls." — from the 1984 Scouting Report
  • "The man's (Earl Weaver) a genius at finding situations where an average player - like me - can look like a star because of subtle factors working in your favor. He has a passion for finding the perfect player for the perfect spot."
  • "I flush the john between innings to keep my wrists strong (fitness tip for designated hitters)."
  • "Sure, I screwed up that sacrifice bunt. But look at it this way: I'm a better bunter than a billion Chinese. Those suckers can't bunt at all."
  • "The secret to keeping winning streaks going is to maximize the victories while at the same time minimizing the defeats*
  • "If you act like you know what you're doing, you can do anything you want - except neurosurgery."
  • "Nuclear war would render all baseball statistics meaningless"
  • "Baseball is reality at its harshest... You have to introduce a fictional world to survive."

[edit] Notable Achievements

[edit] Sources

Principal sources for John Lowenstein include newspaper obituaries (OB), government Veteran records (VA,CM,CW), Stars & Stripes (S&S), Sporting Life (SL), The Sporting News (TSN), The Sports Encyclopedia:Baseball 2006 by David Neft & Richard Cohen (N&C), old Who's Who in Baseballs (1971-1986) (WW), old Baseball Registers (1971-1986) (BR) , old Daguerreotypes by TSN (none) (DAG), Stars&Stripes (S&S), The Baseball Necrology by Bill Lee (BN), Pat Doyle's Professional Ballplayer DataBase (PD), The Baseball Library (BL), Baseball in World War II Europe by Gary Bedingfield (GB) and The Biographical Encyclopedia: Baseball by the Editors of Total Baseball and independent research by Walter Kephart (WK) and Frank Russo (FR) and others.

[edit] Further Readiing

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