Light Hitting Infielder Mick Kelleher
When the Cardinals took INF Mick Kelleher in the 3rd round of the 1969 draft out of Puget Sound (a school that was known more for the social atmosphere than its academics in the 60’s) He showed them right off the bat why he was destined for the light hitting infielder hall of fame. He hit .212 in 274 at bats for Modesto in the Cal league. In 1970 he played for Cedar Rapids in the midwest league and tried his best to become something he wasn’t when he hit .266 in 188 at bats. The Cardinals got very worried he would not turn out to be a LHINF so they promoted him to Arkansas where he made them feel better when he hit .217 in 83 at bats.
In 1971 he went back to Modesto and hit .254 in 429 at bats. In 1972 he started off playing AAA ball at Tulsa and slugged 0 home runs in 375 at bats before the Cardinals thought they could not live without him and call him to the big club. He hit .159 in 63 at bats. He made a return to Tulsa in 1973 (.225 in 89 at bats) and got another look at the big league club (.184 in 38 ab’s)
1974 was a new year with a new team for Kelleher as the Astros purchased him for a run at the title. He spent most the season at Denver hitting .236 in 347 ab’s. He played for the big club and got into 19 games batting .158.
In 1975 the Cardinals knew that they made a huge mistake letting him go so the y re-acquired him and stashed him away at Tulsa as a valuable luxury item in case they needed a infielder with the big league club. He hit .238 in 337 at bats but the Cardinals did find the time to give him 4 at bats in the majors. He went 0-4
* Mick hit 3 home runs in 2447 minor league at bats and 0 HR in 1081 big league at bats
1976 was a big year for Mick as he was traded to the Cubs and he became their regular SS. He also would not see the minor leagues again for 7 years. The Cubs loved light hitting infielders and it is a big reason they have not won the series in 200 years. Mick hit .228 in 337 at bats with a .264 OBP.
1978 he returned to the Cubs and .253 in 95 at bats but had a career high .304 OBP.
1980 was easily my favorite Kelleher season as the Cubs put him into 105 games and gave him just 96 at bats. He rewarded his fan base with a .146 .avg
In 1982 he went 0-1 with Detroit before the Angels picked him up and he played in 34 games batting .163.
Amazingly he went back to the minors in 1983 and played for the Padres AAA team and had his best year ever batting .331 with a HR in 242 at bats. I believe after this season he would be the only player tested for steroids before the 21st century and even though the results were never known Kelleher never played in another professional game “I’m just saying”
from Wikipedia: Kelleher has consistently worked in major league baseball since retiring as a player. He has been a minor league coach and a scout. He also served as a first base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986 and for the Detroit Tigers from 2003 to 2005.Â Prior to being named first base coach for the Yankees, he was a defensive coordinator for the Yankeesâ€™ minor league system. His main assignment with the Yankees will be to monitor the development of Robinson Cano, who he coached in the minor leagues (from me: I love that major league teams love the value of a LHINF as they often become coaches or managers after they have left it all on the field)
Things only Mick’s great Grandma Minnie would love:
1st game: 9.1.72 starts at SS versus Dodgers in St. Louis and goes 0-1 with a walk and 3 putouts with 5 assists before being PH for by Jerry McNertney
1st hit: 9.4.72 single to LF off of Montreal P Ernie McAnally
Loved to face: Vida Blue 4-8, Bob Forsch 7-17
Hated to Face: John Candelaria 1-16
Best game: 6.14.79 at San Francisco starting at 3B going 3-5 with 3 rbi
Last hit: 9.7.82 vs White Sox in California a single off of Britt Burns
Last game: 10.3.82 vs Texas going 0-3 with a K
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