Saturday, August 6, 2016

Aurelio Rodriguez (#653)

Here is the rookie card for Angels’ 3rd baseman Aurelio Rodriguez. More accurately, it is the rookie card for Angels’ batboy Leonard Garcia, as Topps committed their biggest blunder since featuring Ken Hubbs (the Cubs’ former 2nd baseman who had been deceased for 2 years) on Dick Ellsworth’s 1966 card.

Blogger/custom-card-maker John from the "Cards That Never Were" blog has done what Topps failed to correct, with not only a card picturing the original A-Rod, but also the same card below with the batboy’s name.

This Angels’ post is going to break up the string of Pirates cards on my sidebar which I recently noticed, and which was entirely coincidental. (I thought about making a Pirates post to my 1970 blog before this new 1969 post, but then it wouldn’t have been all coincidental.)

Rodriguez began his professional career in the Mexican League in 1965, and was purchased by the Angels in 1966. He made his major-league debut at age 19 with the Angels in September 1967.

In 1968, incumbent 3rd baseman Paul Schaal started 56 of the first 58 games at 3rd (1 start by Rodriguez), but was beaned on June 13th and missed the rest of the season. Aurelio started 61 of the final 104 games at the hot corner, himself missing the entire month of August.

Schaal was lost to the Royals in the expansion draft, so Rodriguez became the team’s full-time 3rd baseman until late April 1970, when he and outfielder Rick Reichart were traded to the Senators for 3rd baseman Ken McMullen.

After the 1970 season, he was flipped to the Tigers in an 8-player trade, with shortstop Ed Brinkman and pitchers Joe Coleman and Jim Hannan accompanying him to Detroit in exchange for pitchers Denny McLain and Norm McRae, 3rd baseman Don Wert, and outfielder Elliot Maddox. A-Rod was the Tigers’ regular 3rd-sacker for the next 9 seasons, winning his only Gold Glove in 1976. (Hmm… I’m somewhat surprised to learn today that he was never on an All-Star team.)

He spent the last 4 seasons of his career (1980-83) bouncing around to the Padres, Yankees, Blue Jays (never playing for Toronto), White Sox, Orioles, and back to the White Sox. He was primarily a bench player in those years, with his only significant playing time coming with the White Sox in 1982.

Rodriguez was granted free agency after the 1983 season, but there were no takers. He returned to the Mexican Leagues as a player from 1984-85, and as a manager from 1985-99.

Like the only other two major league players named Aurelio, Rodriguez was killed in a car accident. He was struck by a car while walking the streets of Detroit in 2000, at age 52.

1 comment:

Cards That Never Were said...

Jim, thanks for the link. If you don't mind, I included another link that might be of intersest to your followers. It's to a Keith Olbermann post about how Topps got the photo in the first place.