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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Former catcher, longtime coach Mike Ryan dies at 78

Mike Ryan, the backup catcher on the Boston Red Sox’s 1967 “Impossible Dream” team during a 35-year career in professional baseball, has died. He was 78.

The Red Sox said Ryan died in his sleep on Tuesday in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

A native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Ryan appeared in 636 games with the Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1964 to 1974. He was Boston’s backup catcher for the American League championship team in 1967, going hitless in his only two World Series at-bats when the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:26 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mike ryan, obituatries, red sox

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:41 PM (#5962506)
RIP to the Ryan family.

his late 1960s to early 1970s Topps cards intrigued me.

his AVG in 100+ PA appearances, 1965-72: .159, .214, .199, .179, .204, .179, .164, .179

incredibly, traded before 1968 season for Dick Ellsworth, who went 16-7 for the Sawx that year. Ryan hit .179 three times for the Phillies.

after 1973, he was swapped for an equally-toasted Jackie Hernandez of the Pirates in a deal that was useless for both teams.

I feel as if this card best depicted him:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1968-Topps-Baseball-Card-306-Mike-Ryan-Philadelphia-Phillies-VG-EX-No-Creases-/382905501571
   2. Jay Z Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:57 PM (#5962507)
I feel as if this card best depicted him:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1968-Topps-Baseball-Card-306-Mike-Ryan-Philadelphia-Phillies-VG-EX-No-Creases-/382905501571


I read that there was a deal where the players would not let Topps take pictures of them for a couple of years. So you got all of this hatless crap and old pictures. 68-69 were some butt ugly cards, glad I wasn't a kid then.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2020 at 12:33 AM (#5962511)
a lot of the, I think 1968 and 1969 cards, were the exact same photo - some sort of a labor dispute.

for some reason I remember this John Tsitouris card from 1968.

the guy had pitched 9 bad MLB IP in the previous two years, and I'm wondering how the hell he got a card.

he actually managed 13 more bad IP for the Reds at 1968 in age 32, and that was it

to be fair, stranger things did happen in 1968 than this
   4. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 13, 2020 at 05:53 AM (#5962525)
I had posted this in the July 10 dugout:

Mike Ryan “highlights”:
Per Wikipedia, in 636 MLB games played, he collected 370 hits in 1,920 at bats for a .193 batting average. Of all non-pitchers since 1930 with at least 1,000 at-bats, only one, Ray Oyler (.175 BA), has a lower average.
In the same game for the Phillies in 1970, both Tim McCarver and Ryan broke their hands.
   5. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2020 at 06:13 AM (#5962526)
#4 I remember that the Phillies had to activate one of their coaches after both McCarver and Ryan went down.

Checking, I see it was Doc Edwards. He was terrible. As you might expect of a guy who hadn't played for years and whose career had ended because he couldn't hit and was nothing special with the glove.
   6. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 13, 2020 at 08:16 AM (#5962535)
#5, yeah Edwards was terrible. Larry Cox was their most ready minor leaguer at 22 but he hadn’t hit higher than .229 in any level. 22 yo Bob Boone was in AA but he hadn’t caught an inning yet. They converted him to C in 1971.
   7. Eric L Posted: July 13, 2020 at 03:35 PM (#5962690)
I actually got to see Doc Edwards play during that comeback. What an honor.
   8. Rally Posted: July 13, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5962694)
That kind of batting line makes me think he was the Jeff Mathis of his day. Mathis is not in his list of top comps, but that's just a PT thing since Ryan retired at 32 and Mathis at 36 is still going. Jeff was his top comp at ages 31 and 32. Both have good defensive stats.

I've always assumed Mathis will have a long career after his playing days are done. Catchers turn into managers more often than any other position does, at least that's my impression.
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2020 at 03:59 PM (#5962699)
Edwards actually .269 in 1970 in 86 PA at age 33, after his last previous MLB game had been in 1965.

the issue was that all 21 of his hits were singles and he only drew 4 BB (with a decent 10 K - seems like a real slap hitter for a 6-2, 215-lb guy who probably didn't get skinnier in his 30s).

still, a 60 OPS+ is not shocking for a C.

Mike Compton, at age 25 in his only MLB season, had a 23 OPS+ in 121 PA for that team.

Del Bates, at age 30 in his only MLB season, had an 18 OPS+ in 70 PA for that team.

not only was Doc the pick of the litter of the three replacements, he outhit Ryan, too (49 OPS+ in 152 PA).

McCarver could hit, of course (112 OPS+ in 180 PA).

the following year, McCarver and Ryan resumed their roles.

fun fact: obscure 1969 Miracle Mets 3B Bobby Pfeil's only other MLB career action was a 1971 cup of coffee with the Phillies in which he started 2 games at catcher.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: July 13, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5962700)
Checking, I see it was Doc Edwards. He was terrible. As you might expect of a guy who hadn't played for years and whose career had ended because he couldn't hit and was nothing special with the glove.
Hey, be fair! His 60 OPS+ in 1970 was better than either of his two most recent seasons ('64-'65). He aged like a fine box of wine.

EDIT: Dammit. Box of wine goes to Howie.
   11. Ron J Posted: July 13, 2020 at 04:30 PM (#5962717)
#7 Closest I came was hearing the segment on the weekly highlight package about Edwards being called out of retirement. No idea why it's stuck in my memory all of this time.
   12. Brian White Posted: July 13, 2020 at 08:19 PM (#5962757)
for some reason I remember this John Tsitouris card from 1968.


This guy looks like he's twelve.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: July 13, 2020 at 08:26 PM (#5962758)
Dammit. Box of wine goes to Howie.

one of the unlikeliest "beat yas!" of all time lol

yes on Tsitouris, though he likely was 30 or so at the time

he does not look 4 in his 1960 card, though
   14. AndrewJ Posted: July 14, 2020 at 07:46 AM (#5962781)
In the same game for the Phillies in 1970, both Tim McCarver and Ryan broke their hands.

Actually, it was in the same inning...
   15. Ron J Posted: July 14, 2020 at 08:20 AM (#5962783)
#14 I wonder whether it's possible to find old TWIB. All these years later and I still kind of remember the segment on this.
   16. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: July 14, 2020 at 05:34 PM (#5962873)
1969 Topps Johnny Bench looks like a batboy helping out in the bullpen. He was only 21 at the time.

Gaylord Perry looks awful.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2020 at 06:08 PM (#5962882)
the 1969 Aurelio Rodriguez card WAS a batboy

that's teenager Leonard Garcia instead of Rodriguez

it wasn't a prank - Garcia went on a key September 1967 road trip with the team, and a photog was there taking photos of all the players he could. on that trip, Garcia was given a uniform with a number. Garcia said later that he asked for both their names and he could see the photog had mixed them up. he told the photog, who drew arrows figuring he'd remember.

well, a few months later there was a dispute between Topps and the players' union, and no new photos were taken in 1968. this accounts for countless repeats of photos in the 1968 and 1969 series.

Rodriguez, only a year older than the batboy, had been a Sept. 1967 callup and became card-worthy for the 1969 series. Topps scrambled to get photos where they could and.... the rest is history.

   18. Howie Menckel Posted: July 14, 2020 at 06:18 PM (#5962884)
the rest of the story

Bizarre Tangent Sentence Award nominee:

"In a strange coincidence, there have been three Aurelios to play in the big leagues (Rodriguez, Lopez and Monteagudo), and all three have been killed in car accidents between the ages of 44 and 53."

(if Criminal Minds was still on the air, this would be a possible twisted serial killer angle)
   19. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 14, 2020 at 06:31 PM (#5962892)
#14, thanks, I didn’t remember that it was the same inning. On further research, they got taken out by the best; Willie Mays’ foul tip got McCarver and Willie McCovery got Ryan while trying to score. To Ryan’s credit, he got the out.

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