Tuesday, April 20, 2010
#23 - Jimmie Hall
Next up in our look at #23 is Jimmie Hall. He is one Cubs player that I have absolutely no recollection of. But there is probably a good reason for it. He joined the team on September 11, 1969. But by then my seven year old heart had already been crushed. The Cubs were in second place and I was back in school, a third grader trying to forget the season.
When I put my first Cubs team sets together in the late '70's, I was shocked by this card. I had no idea who Jimmie Hall was or that he played with the '69 Cubs. I remembered every other player with a Cubs card from the '70 set, but not this guy.
The Cubs were Hall's third team of the 1969 season, having also spent time with the Angels and the Yankees. It would be safe to say that your career is on it's last legs when you play for three teams in one season.
Hall came to the majors with the Twins in 1963 and hit 33 home runs, yet finished third in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting, behind Gary Peters and Pete Ward of the White Sox. He was an All Star the next two seasons, but his home run numbers were dropping. After his average dipped to only .239 in 1966, the Twins traded him to the Angels. His first season with California was his last as an everyday player. After that he was a pinch hitter and reserve outfielder.
Though he played in only 11 games for the 1969 Cubs, Hall got a card in Topp's 1970 set. He returned to the team in 1970, but played in only 28 games and hit .094. In late June the Cubs sold him to the Braves, where he played in another 39 games. The Braves released him after the season and he never played major league ball again.
Hall was the second player to wear #23 in 1969. Earlier in the season, Manny Jimenez wore it. His stay with the team was barely a month long and Topps didn't make a card for him. He made only six pinch hit appearances and was held hitless.
Both Hall and Jimenez give you an idea of just how bad the players in #23 were. I put all of the players who wore the number in the '70's and '80's (except Ryne Sandberg) into a spreadsheet to total up their stats.
Here's what they look like:
Batting Average... .222
Those are some really horrible stats. We'll see if the guys from the '50's and '60's did any better.