Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Phillies Rookies: Larry Hisle / Barry Lersch

Here (#206) is one of three Phillies Rookies cards (1 of 3 1/3, if you count the NL Rookies card featuring Terry Harmon) in the 1969 set.

This is the "Barry Lersch" entry in my cross-blog series of Phillies players from 1966-69. (I was going to post his 1970 card on that blog, but I just realized that he doesn't HAVE a 1970 card.)

Larry Hisle appeared on an NL Rookies card in the '68 set, so this is not his rookie card. Hisle was handed the center field job in spring training 1968, but flopped before mid-April. He returned to the minors for the oft-described "seasoning", then had a great rookie season in 1969. He was the team's regular center fielder and a Topps all-rookie choice. More on Hisle here.

Barry Lersch was signed by the Phillies in 1964, and was a starting pitcher in their farm system from 1965-1968. He began the 1969 season with the Phillies, but after 10 relief appearances, he was sent down at the end of May.

Barry returned to the Phils in 1970, and worked out of the bullpen for 31 games, until he joined the starting rotation in early August. He made 11 starts for the remainder of the season, finishing with a 6-3 record with a 3.26 ERA.

Although he was the team's #2 starter in 1971, he compiled a 5-14 record, which was typical for all Phillies' pitchers not named Rick Wise. After 2 more seasons with the Phillies (including a demotion to the bullpen), Lersch was traded to the Braves in December 1973 along with shortstop Craig Robinson for pitcher Ron Schueler (advantage: Phillies).

After spending most of the '74 season pitching for the Braves' AAA team, he was sold to the Cardinals in mid-September. There, he pitched his last major-league game, a 1-inning stint with a 40.50 ERA. Lersch pitched for Cleveland's AAA team in 1975 before retiring.

Barry passed away on 10/4/2009 at age 65. His body was donated to medical science.

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