Friday, October 30, 2015

no. 468 - frank fernandez

Who is the man: After a few years as a backup with the Yankees, Frank Fernandez played his first season with Oakland in 1970. He hit just .214 in 252 at-bats, but he hit 15 home runs.

Can ya dig it: I remember seeing this card when I was first getting acquainted with 1971s as a youngster. I was fascinated with how colorful it was. And then I wondered how a player I had never heard of had received such a wonderful card.

Right on: This is the final card of his career.

You see that cat Fernandez is a bad mother: Fernandez is fascinating to stat heads. He produced a freakish career in which he accumulated both more walks and strikeouts than hits. His on-base percentages were astronomical when compared with his batting averages and he's known as the greatest baseball player to hit below .200 for his career.

Shut your mouth: Fernandez is remembered for an incident against the Orioles in 1970 in which he hit a liner so forcefully that it hit third baseman Brooks Robinson in the shin and ricocheted into the hands of shortstop Mark Belanger, who threw wide to first for an error. What had been a hit when it left Fernandez's bat became an error and Fernandez, who didn't get many hits, seethed at second base. When he scored later on a hit by Bert Campaneris, he flung his helmet into the air toward the press box and was promptly ejected. Broadcaster Harry Caray observed, "All Fernandez is making all the fuss about is whether he hits .200 or .198 this season."

The story gets more interesting when Fernandez comes across the official scorekeeper a week later while both are watching boxer George Foreman work out.

No one understands him but his woman: Fernandez played for three different MLB teams in 1971 and for the A's twice. Oakland traded him to the Senators in May, then purchased him from the Senators in June, then traded him to the Cubs in August.

(A word about the back): Fernandez's HR on Opening Day 1968 came against the Angels' George Brunet in the second inning. Brunet allowed just three hits in seven innings but took the loss.


  1. Fernandez was a part of one of the deals I covered on the Unknown Transactions blog:

  2. Fun fact: If that "reached on error" had been scored a hit, Fernandez's career BA would have gone from.199 to .201.