Walt Bond

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1967 Topps #224 Walt Bond

Walter Franklin Bond

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Biographical Information[edit]

Walt Bond, who died young, had one of the all-time best cups of coffee when he slugged .800 in 50 at-bats for the Cleveland Indians in 1962. His performance was particularly noteworthy since the team as a whole slugged .388.

Bond, who was huge for the time - 6' 7" - was signed by the Indians in 1957, and had 131 at-bats with them in 1960 at age 22. It was a tough time to try to break into the outfield, as the Indians had Harvey Kuenn at age 29, Jim Piersall at age 30, and Tito Francona at age 26. He had another 52 at-bats in 1961 with the Indians before the terrific cup of coffee in 1962.

He played with Salt Lake City Bees for most of 1962 and for the Jacksonville Suns in 1963. He was not in the majors that season, but the Houston Colt .45s bought him after the season and made him a regular in the outfield and at first base in 1964. He responded by hitting .254 with 20 home runs. His 20 home runs were by far the highest on the team (the next best was 12 and after that 8), and his 85 RBI led the team as well. His 7 triples tied for the team lead. His .254 batting average was much higher than the .229 team average. At age 26, he was six years older than youngsters Joe Morgan and Rusty Staub, who were struggling to find places on a team that had oldsters such as Nellie Fox at age 36.

In 1965, his batting average went up to .263, twenty-six points higher than the team average. His power dropped after the team moved to the spacious Astrodome, although his .366 slugging percentage was also twenty-six points higher than the team slugging percentage.

He did not play in the majors in 1966 (he played with the Denver Bears), but finished up with another great cup of coffee with the Minnesota Twins in 1967 when he slugged .562 in 16 at-bats. His leukemia, which recurred early in the 1967 season, cut his season short and also his life. Harmon Killebrew slugged .558 that year for the Twins, and it was also the Rookie of the Year season for Rod Carew.

He was the tallest man to play centerfield in major league history until joined by Aaron Judge, also 6' 7", in 2018.

He died of leukemia at age 29.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1964)

Related Sites[edit]

  • [1] Article on Walt Bond in The Hardball Times.