Freddie Patek

Freddie Joseph Patek (/ˈpɑːtɛk/; born October 9, 1944), nicknamed The Flea or The Cricket, is an American former professional baseball shortstop who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and California Angels. At 5 feet 5 inches (165 cm) tall, he was the shortest MLB player of his time.

Freddie Patek
George Brett Freddie Patek and Gerald Ford (cropped)
George Brett, Patek, Amos Otis and Gerald Ford (left to right) in 1976
Shortstop
Born: October 9, 1944 (age 74)
Seguin, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 3, 1968, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1981, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average.242
Hits1,340
Runs batted in490
Stolen bases385
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Career

Pittsburgh Pirates

Patek was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 22nd round of the 1965 Major League Baseball draft out of Seguin High School in Seguin, Texas. He made his major league debut on June 3, 1968 against the Los Angeles Dodgers at short,[1] and played all but six of his 292 games with the Pirates at short. However, with All-Star Gene Alley firmly entrenched at shortstop there was a desire on the part of management to convert him into a utility player.[2]

Kansas City Royals

Following the 1970 season, the Pirates dealt Patek, Bruce Dal Canton and Jerry May to the Kansas City Royals for Jim Campanis, Jackie Hernandez and Bob Johnson. In his first season the Royals, Patek hit for the cycle on July 9, 1971, and led the American League with eleven triples to finish sixth in A.L. M.V.P. balloting. He earned his first of three All-Star selections the following season,[3] and was a staple of the Royals line-up that won the American League West from 1976 through 1978. He led the American League with 53 stolen bases in 1977. For 8 consecutive years, Patek posted 30 or more stolen bases and he led the American league in double plays turned 4 straight years. A memorable image was captured by NBC television of Patek sitting painfully alone in the Royals' empty dugout[4] while the New York Yankees celebrated on-field their come-from-behind victory to win the last game of the 1977 American League Championship Series, played in Kansas City on Patek's 33rd birthday. The game and series ended when Patek grounded into a double play.[5]

A durable player at shortstop, he ranks among the Royals all-time leaders in hits (1,076), walks (413), runs scored (571), stolen bases (336), and games played (1,245).

California Angels

Following the 1979 season, Patek signed as a free agent with the California Angels. He became the second shortstop, after Ernie Banks, to hit three home runs in a single game on June 20, 1980 against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.[6] In 1981, Patek was relegated to a utility role, actually seeing more playing time backing up Bobby Grich at second base than he did at short.

Patek retired after the 1981 season with a career batting average of .242 with 41 home runs and 490 RBIs.

Patek was better known for his speed and his defensive abilities; former manager Whitey Herzog called Patek the best artificial turf shortstop he ever managed, ranking him even higher than Ozzie Smith. When asked by a reporter what it felt like to be the smallest player in the major leagues, Patek replied, "I'd rather be the smallest player in the majors than the tallest player in the minors."[7] Although Patek played in four American League Championship Series, his teams never reached the World Series. The Pirates won the World Series the season after Patek left the Pirates (1971), and the Royals lost the World Series the season after Patek left the Royals (1980). Baseball analyst Bill James has ranked Patek, a member of the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame, the 14th best player in Royals' history.

Personal life

Patek briefly served as a part-time baseball analyst for NBC after his retirement.

On July 21, 1992, Patek's daughter Kimberlie was paralyzed from the neck down in a car accident.[8] Community fund raisers and charity events, and a donation from the Baseball Assistance Team, helped the family defray significant medical expenses.[9][10] Kimberlie died on June 14, 1995.[8][10]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 2, Pittsburgh Pirates 0". Baseball-Reference.com. 1968-06-03.
  2. ^ "Catching up with Freddy Patek, Diminutive shortstop was large part of Royals' success". MLB.com. 2005-07-25.
  3. ^ "Freddie Patek, Champion of the Little Guy". Herald-Journal. 1978-07-07.
  4. ^ "Kansas City Royals Freddie Patek, 1977 AL Championship Series". October 9, 1977 – via Getty Images.
  5. ^ "New York Yankees 5, Kansas City Royals 3". Retrosheet. October 9, 1977.
  6. ^ "California Angels 20, Boston Red Sox 2". Baseball-Reference.com. 1980-06-20.
  7. ^ Lincicome, Bernie (May 8, 1980). "Half the game's 90 percent mental". Fort Lauderdale News. Retrieved November 23, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  8. ^ a b McQuade, Drew (June 15, 1995). "Dingers & Zingers". philly.com. Archived from the original on December 21, 2015 – via Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Berkow, Ira (March 14, 1993). "For Pateks, the Safety Net Fails". The New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Kimberlie Patek, 23, ballplayer's daughter". Asbury Park Press. Asbury Park, New Jersey. AP. June 15, 1995. Retrieved November 23, 2017 – via newspapers.com.

Further reading

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Jim Ray Hart
Hitting for the cycle
July 9, 1971
Succeeded by
Dave Kingman
Preceded by
César Tovar
American League Triples Leader
1971
Succeeded by
Carlton Fisk & Joe Rudi
1968 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1968 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 87th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 82nd in the National League. The Pirates finished sixth in the league standings with a record of 80–82.

1969 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1969 Pittsburgh Pirates season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Pirates finishing in third place in the newly established National League East, twelve games behind the eventual World Series champion New York Mets. The Pirates were managed by Larry Shepard, and played their home games at Forbes Field, which was in its final full season of operation, before moving into their new facility in the middle of the following season.

1972 Kansas City Royals season

The 1972 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing fourth in the American League West with a record of 76 wins and 78 losses.

1973 Kansas City Royals season

The 1973 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing second in the American League West with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses.

1974 Kansas City Royals season

The 1974 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing fifth in the American League West with a record of 77 wins and 85 losses.

1975 Kansas City Royals season

The 1975 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. In the Royals' seventh season, they finished second in the American League West with a record of 91 wins and 71 losses. Manager Jack McKeon was fired on July 24, replaced by Whitey Herzog.

1976 Kansas City Royals season

The 1976 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing first in the American League West with a record of 90 wins and 72 losses. They lost in the 1976 American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees, three games to two.

1977 American League Championship Series

The 1977 American League Championship Series was a five-game series played between October 5 and 9, 1977, at Yankee Stadium (Games 1–2), and Royals Stadium (3–5). The Yankees took the series 3–2, and would later go on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series to take the title. Kansas City was given home-field advantage as it rotated back to the West Division; the Royals held a 102–60 record to the Yankees' 100–62 record.

1977 Kansas City Royals season

The 1977 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing first in the American League West with a record of 102 wins and 60 losses. They went on to lose the 1977 American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees, 3 games to 2.

1978 Kansas City Royals season

The 1978 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing first in the American League West with a record of 92 wins and 70 losses. The team went on to lose in the 1978 American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees, 3 games to 1.

1978 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1978 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 49th midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 11, 1978, at San Diego Stadium in San Diego, home of the San Diego Padres of the National League. The game resulted in a 7-3 victory for the NL.

This was the first All-Star Game to be played in San Diego. It would return in 1992 to be played in the same stadium, though it was renamed Jack Murphy Stadium by that time.

The honorary captains were Brooks Robinson (for the AL) and Eddie Mathews (for the NL).

1979 Kansas City Royals season

The 1979 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing second in the American League West with a record of 85 wins and 77 losses.

1980 California Angels season

The 1980 California Angels season involved the Angels finishing 6th in the American League West with a record of 65 wins and 95 losses.

1987 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum for 1987 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected two, Catfish Hunter and Billy Williams.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It selected Ray Dandridge from the Negro Leagues.

Columbus Jets

The Columbus Jets were a Minor League baseball team that played in Columbus, Ohio, from 1955 to 1970. The team moved from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada where they were known as the Ottawa Athletics. The Jets were a member of the Triple-A International League.

They were the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics (1955–56) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1957–70). The Jets played their home games at Jets Stadium.

In 1971 the franchise moved to Charleston, West Virginia, and became the Charleston Charlies, leaving Columbus without organized baseball for the first time since 1894. In 1977 the Columbus Clippers returned baseball to Ohio's capital.

Harry Chappas

Harry Perry Chappas (born October 26, 1957 in Mount Rainier, Maryland) was a shortstop with the Chicago White Sox from 1978 until 1980. Though he appeared in only 72 career games, he became a cult hero on the South Side due primarily to his stature. Chappas was measured by Harry Caray and publicly declared to be 5 ft 3 in (1.60 m), an inch or two shorter than established star Freddie Patek. He was one of the shortest players in Major League history, although Chappas stated in an interview in Sports Illustrated that he was closer to 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m), and implied that team owner Bill Veeck exaggerated his short stature for publicity reasons.Chappas signed with the White Sox in 1976 as a 6th round draft pick. He impressed Veeck with good performances for the Appleton Foxes in 1978. This earned him a September callup, where he hit an effective .267 in 20 games.

Primarily due to his height, he gained more and more national interest, highlighted by an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated during spring training in 1979. In spring training that year, he unseated veteran Don Kessinger and became the opening day shortstop. He lost his job after 2 weeks after missing a sign as a baserunner, only returning in September. He made the opening day roster the following year as well, but only as a reserve player, and he was subsequently sent to the minors after hitting .160 in 50 at bats.

Overall, Chappas hit .245 in the majors and hit a single home run, off the Brewers' Bill Travers, in 1979.

List of Texas Rangers broadcasters

Texas Rangers games currently air on regional television network Fox Sports Southwest and on radio stations KRLD 105.3 FM and KRLD 1080 AM.

Games are aired in Spanish television station Canal de Teja. Games have aired on Spanish radio station KESS from 1991 to 2010, KZMP from 2011 to 2016, and KFLC since 2017.

Patek

Patek may refer to:

Adolf Patek (1900–?), footballer

Antoni Patek (1811–1877), watchmaker

Freddie Patek. (born 1944), baseballer

Stanisław Patek (1866–1944), diplomat

Umar Patek (born 1970), terrorist

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