Monday, September 30, 2013
no. 218 - tony cloninger
Who is the man: Tony Cloninger was entering his second-to-last major league season in 1971, trying to hang on as a regular member of the Reds' starting rotation.
Can ya dig it: This is the last time that Cloninger appears in a non-airbrushed baseball uniform. He is a high-number card in the 1972 set, wearing an airbrushed Cardinals cap.
Right on: Nobody has come out to see Cloninger pretend to throw.
You see this cat Cloninger is a bad mother: Cloninger is most often cited for his bat. In a 1966 game no one will forget, Cloninger hit two grand slams and drove in nine runs against the Giants. That wasn't a once-in-a-lifetime offensive performance. Cloninger could hit. He once pitched a one-hitter and hit a home run against the Mets.
Shut your mouth: Cloninger won 24 games for the Braves in 1965. It's got to be one of the quietest 24-win seasons in the last 50 years. No one talks about it.
No one understand him but his woman: Cloninger had one of the best fastballs of the 1960s. But in a decade that featured Koufax, Gibson, Marichal, Drysdale, Sam McDowell and Jim Maloney, his name doesn't come up much.
(A word about the back): Thank you for mentioning the 24 wins, bio writer. Cloninger was bothered by wildness periodically and led the league in walks and wild pitches that 1965 season, too.