Monday, November 28, 2016
no. 601 - ken tatum
Who is the man: Ken Tatum spent his sophomore season with the Angels in 1970, but was dealt to the Red Sox in October in the deal that sent Tony Conigliaro to Anaheim.
Can ya dig it: This card looks in much better condition than it is. There are two significant creases, one to the right of Tatum's right ear and another along his very long neck.
Right on: It still mystifies me that Topps blacked out caps during this period. How could they possibly think that this was a realistic depiction of a major league player? This ain't the Cleveland Browns, there are no logo-less caps in MLB!
You see that cat Tatum is a bad mother: Tatum aced his rookie test, saving 22 games in 45 appearances with a 1.36 ERA to finish fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1969.
Shut your mouth: Tatum very nearly ended Orioles center fielder Paul Blair's career when he struck him in the head with a pitch during the 1970 season. Blair's nose and cheekbone were broken and he missed three weeks. But his vision was never altered.
No one understands him but his women: In 1995, the L.A. Times wrote a story about the history of the Angels' trials with relief pitchers. It mentioned Ken Tatum as the Angels' all-time leader for fewest hits and runs allowed in a season (at least 40 appearances). Tatum allowed just 51 and 13 in 1969. Tatum's hit record fell shortly after the article, as the Angels enjoyed a series of standout closers in Lee Smith, Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez. Percival broke the runs record in 2002 by allowing just 12. Granted, Tatum was pitching more innings per appearance than Smith, Percival and K-Rod.
(A word about the back): Topps keeps you in suspense about the major off-season trade by not mentioning any names. It was Ken Tatum, Jarvis Tatum and Doug Griffin to the Red Sox for Tony Conigliaro, Ray Jarvis and Jerry Moses.