Thursday, November 22, 2007

1963 Rookie Stars

November 22 always reminds me of 1963. If you don't know why, please google the date. I can wait. There, you know. Let's move on, shall we? When I'm reminded of 1963 in regards to baseball, I think of this card to the left. It is one of the most coveted cards in the 1963 Topps set. It is worth $1,000. I will probably never own it, unless it is gifted to me. I wouldn't want to own it for the player on the bottom left. Not that I have anything against the hit king, Pete Rose. I don't. I'm crazy enough to want to own it for the player on the bottom right, Al Weis.

Al took over in a platoon role at second base when Nellie Fox was traded in 1964. That year the Sox came in second, one game behind the Yankees. This was a time before divisions, so it was literally all or nothing. He was nothing more than a utility infielder, but they sometimes play the most important roles on a team.

During the middle of the 1967 season, Al broke his leg in a nasty collision with Frank Robinson at second base. An injured utility player during the sixties was something that usually spelled trade or release. Al got traded, along with Tommie Agee (the 1966 AL Rookie of the Year), to the Mets after the 1967 season.

Fate stepped in for Al Weis in New York. He was part of the 1969 Miracle Mets who won the World Series that year. He was instrumental in both of Jerry Koosman's (a future Sox pitcher) wins in game 2 and game 5. In game 2, he singled to score the winning run off of Dave McNally. In game 5, he homered (off of McNally) in the seventh to tie the game. Al's place in history was cemented.

Fame is fleeting though and Al was released by the Mets on July 1, 1971. He batted an abysmal .218 for his career with 7 home runs. It is said that Al remembers each one. As well he should, it's 7 more than I've ever hit in a major league game.

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