Thursday, August 23, 2012
no. 85 - billy grabarkewitz
Who is the man: The Dodgers thought he was their new third baseman after the season he had in 1970. Billy Grabarkewitz played in 156 games in his first full season in the majors, made the All-Star Game, and led the team in home runs with 17.
Can ya dig it: A terrific spring training scene in the background. Of the two Dodgers on the left, the guy wearing No. 45 is pitcher Jerry Stephenson. The seated player could be a number of people.
Right on: Grabarkewitz signed his full last name! Legibly! RIGHT ON!
You see this cat Grabarkewitz is a bad mother: Grabarkewitz played a part in the famous extra-inning rally that gave the National League the victory in the 1970 All-Star Game. He delivered the second of three singles for the N.L. in the 12th inning. The third single, by the Cubs' Jim Hickman, sent home Pete Rose, who bowled over catcher Ray Fosse to give the N.L. the victory.
Shut your mouth: People write plenty about Grabarkewitz, as he's one of the great one-year wonders in baseball history. But I have never heard anyone talk about Grabarkewitz in all my years of following baseball. To this day I am not entirely positive how his last name is pronounced.
No one understands him but his woman: Grabarkewitz received a major push from the Dodgers as a write-in candidate for the 1970 All-Star Game. Grabarkewitz didn't think it would work. "They don't even know how to pronounce my name," he said. "How could they spell it?"
They didn't spell it. Most people wrote in "Billy G." He didn't get enough votes to get in, but N.L. manager Gil Hodges made him a reserve anyway.
(A word about the back): Grabarkewitz hit 17 home runs for the Dodgers in 1970. He'd finish his seven-year major league career with 28.