Comments on: Card of the Week: 1973 Topps #593 Jack McKeon MGR This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Neil L. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 03:45:26 +0000 @8 @24
Andy, if George Brett was Charlie Lau's star pupil, then the answer to my question must be the mid seventies.

But did the pupil make the teacher or the other way around?

By: Neil L. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 03:40:22 +0000 @20
Double, what? Charlie Lau not a hitting coach? 🙂

When did he become a hitting guru?

By: Johnny Twisto Thu, 23 Jun 2011 03:03:55 +0000 And I think usually one of the base coaches will also be an infield coach. (Is there an outfield coach? I don't recall hearing of that, but I guess it would make sense.)

By: Johnny Twisto Thu, 23 Jun 2011 03:02:57 +0000 I have no idea how the pension credit works, but there is currently a limit on uniformed coaches (six? 1st, 3rd, pitching, batting, bench, bullpen).

By: DoubleDiamond Thu, 23 Jun 2011 03:02:37 +0000 1973 was also the year in which the elder Ken Griffey debuted in the major leagues. He's another one who has a now-retired son who had a fairly lengthy major league career.

The most interesting new manager of 1973 was also born in 1930 (but is now 81 because his birthday is earlier in the year) and was also in that year's American League West configuration - Bobby Winkles of the team then known as the California Angels. Instead of coming up through professional ball as a minor league manager, he came from the collegiate coaching ranks. Until I looked him up a few minutes ago, I thought he had never even played minor league baseball, but it turns out that he did.

Winkles only last through one season and part of the next with the Angels. Later he took over the Oakland A's during the 1977 season and lasted through part of the following year. Since he departed with a .615 winning percentage after only 39 games (24-15), I'm guessing that he and Charlie O. Finley had some disagreements that led to his departure. And guess who both preceded and followed Winkles in Oakland? That's right - Jack McKeon!

If Winkles had been a rousing success, we probably would have seen more college coaches moving into the major league managerial ranks. But since he wasn't, this trend did not happen. I can't think of any other major league managers who first made their mark as a college coach.

By: DoubleDiamond Thu, 23 Jun 2011 02:47:56 +0000 @17, @18 - In the 1970s, major league teams generally just had four coaches - pitching, bullpen, 1st base, and 3rd base. If they had more, they could only claim four (other than the manager) for baseball pension purposes. With a lot of the coaches never having made the majors at all, the pension credit was no doubt important to them. And in those days, in order to be pension eligible, a guy had to have four or five years worth of major league service. So getting that credit as a coach was important even to those who had a very brief time as a major league player.

Thus, I think that the coaches shown with McKeon on this card probably served in the following positions:

Cisco - Most likely pitching coach, but possibly bullpen coach.

Dunlop - Probably 1st base or bullpen coach.

Lau - Probably 3rd base, possibly 1st base, probably not bullpen coach.

I don't know why this card only shows three coaches other than the manager. Maybe the bullpen coach was not considered important enough to be on the card, or maybe the Royals had not firmed up their coaching staff as of the time that the card was printed.

By the 1990s, I think, teams had added a hitting coach and a bench coach. I don't know if they are still limited to four coaches for pension credit. For a while in the 1990s and the first decade of the 2000s, the Phillies would cycle some of their career minor league coaches through the 1st base coaching slot in Philadelphia. One beneficiary of this move was Mel Roberts, who played high school ball at Abington, a suburb of Philadelphia. He never played in the majors, but he was their 1st base coach in 1993, the year that the Phillies made it to the World Series somewhat unexpectedly. Roberts was inducted into the Abington High School Hall of Fame but had to miss the ceremony because he was too busy watching Joe Carter homer off Mitch Williams from the visitors' dugout at Sky Dome.

The 3rd base coach used to be considered to be 2nd in line behind the manager, but now that honor goes to the bench coach.

By: Neil L. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 01:40:33 +0000 Andy, it's interesting how the card front features the "bench" coaches as little "thumbnails", to get you turn it over.

By: Andy Thu, 23 Jun 2011 01:09:22 +0000 There must have been a first and third base coach in addition to the guys on the card. My impression has always been that these base coaches got a lot less attention before the 1990s and that it used to be considered a job that a monkey could do. That's probably why they weren't mentioned on these old cards.

By: Neil L. Thu, 23 Jun 2011 00:54:52 +0000 Does the back of the card list ALL of the KC coaches that year or are these just the non-base coaches? If so, how did teams ever get by with so few?

By: Rich Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:38:02 +0000 How about this one: just one full season earlier, on Sept 30, 1971, Ducky Schofield played in his final game. His grandson Jayson Werth has been in MLB for 8 years.