May 16 – Happy Birthday Dave Philley

philleyDave Philley ended his 18-year big-league career as a pinch-hitting specialist with the 1962 Red Sox ball club. He did not do very well. He was just just 4-28 that season for Boston in that role but he had a pretty good excuse. This switch-hitting native of Paris, Texas turned 42 years-old that year and everything about his game was slowing down.

Twenty one years had passed since he made his big league debut as a White Sox outfielder in 1941. He would spend three years serving in the military during WWII before he’d get another big league at bat. When he returned, he evolved into one of the game’s better defensive outfielders, known for a very strong throwing arm. He was a starter in the White Sox outfield for five straight seasons and then with the Phillies for three more. As he aged, he did less starting and more pinch-hitting. He still holds the big league record for most consecutive pinch hits with nine and his 24 pinch hits as an Oriole in 1961 is still the American League single-season record in that category. When he retired, he had an overall lifetime batting average of .270 and a career pinch-hitting average of .299. He died in 2012, at the age of 91.

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