Sunday, June 9, 2019

Final Card: Larry Shepard

This is the 2nd and final card for Pirates' manager Larry Shepard.

Shepard only had a 2-year managing career, from 1968-69 with Pittsburgh. The Bucs finished in sixth place in 1968, and third (of 6) in 1969. He was let go with 5 games remaining in the 1969 season.

I first became aware of Shepard in 1967, the year I started following major-league baseball. He was the Phillies' pitching coach for that one season. (I wonder if he had any input into the trade that sent Jim Bunning to the Pirates in the 67/68 off-season?)

Larry never played major-league ball, but he pitched in the minors in 1941 and from 1946-58. He started out with the unaffiliated class-C Three Rivers (Quebec) Renards, then after missing 4 seasons during World War II, he hooked on with the Brooklyn Dodgers and pitched in their farm system from 1946-51. He was also the team's manager from 1948-51.

He moved on to the Pirates' organization, pitching for their various class-A teams from 1952-56, while also serving as manager from 1953-56.

He was out of baseball in 1957, but returned as the Pirates' triple-A manager from 1958-66, with his team finishing in first place 3 times. Shepard never played above class-A until pitchng in 18 games in 1958, his last as a player.

After a season as the Phillies' pitching coach, he returned to the Pirates for 2 seasons as the big club’s manager.

Shepard was also Sparky Anderson's pitching coach for the Big Red Machine from 1970-78, and for the Giants in 1979.

He passed away in 2011 at age 92.