Hank Aguirre

Henry John Aguirre (January 31, 1931 – September 5, 1994), commonly known as Hank Aguirre, was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher who played with the Cleveland Indians (1955–57), Detroit Tigers (1958–67), Los Angeles Dodgers (1968), and Chicago Cubs (1969–70). He went on to become a successful businessman in Detroit, Michigan. His last name was typically pronounced "ah-GEAR-ee."

Hank Aguirre
Hank Aguirre 1969
Aguirre in 1969
Pitcher
Born: January 31, 1931
Azusa, California
Died: September 5, 1994 (aged 63)
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Left
MLB debut
September 10, 1955, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
June 24, 1970, for the Chicago Cubs
MLB statistics
Win–loss record75–72
Earned run average3.25
Strikeouts856
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Youth in California

Nicknamed "Mex" because he was of Mexican descent, Aguirre was born on January 31, 1931, in Azusa, California, to Jenny Alvarez, a Mexican immigrant and Jose Aguirre. Jose was born in Jalisco, Mexico in 1902 and emigrated with his family during the time of the Mexican Revolution. Jose and Jenny had seven children.

In his youth, Hank Aguirre worked for his father's business, the Aguirre Tortillas Factory in San Gabriel. He made, packaged and delivered tortillas. At 4 a.m., the young Aguirre would make deliveries — mostly running — before school. He graduated from Mark Keppel High School in Alhambra, California, in 1949, but his "goofy feet" (his words) prevented him from being selected to be part of the baseball team. Hank graduated from East Los Angeles College in 1951.

Pitching career

As a rookie for the Cleveland Indians in 1956, Aguirre struck out Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams the first time he faced him. After the game, Aguirre asked Williams to autograph the ball. Reluctantly, Williams complied. A couple of weeks later Aguirre faced Williams again. This time the "Splendid Splinter" smashed Aguirre's first offering for a home run. While circling the bases, Williams yelled to Aguirre, "Get that ball, and I'll sign it, too."

Hank Aguirre 1966
Aguirre, circa 1966

He pitched in the big leagues for 16 years for four different teams. Before the 1958 season began, Aguirre was traded to the Detroit Tigers, where he remained for 10 years from 1958 to 1967. Aguirre was principally a relief pitcher until 1962. During a 1962 game at Yankee Stadium, Tigers manager Bob Scheffing used him as a starter when Don Mossi had arm trouble. Scheffing wanted a left-hander to pitch against the Yankees, and he chose Aguirre. Aguirre joined the Tigers starting rotation and finished the 1962 season with a 2.21 earned run average (ERA) in 42 games (22 as a starter), the best in Detroit since Hal Newhouser in 1946. Having pitched over 100 innings (216 in total) for the first time in his career, Aguirre led the Major Leagues in ERA (0.33 points lower than Sandy Koufax who was second best), won 16 games, and was selected to the American League All-Star team. He also led the American League in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) with a 1.051 average. Aguirre also finished 17th in the 1962 American League Most Valuable Player voting.

Aguirre lost his spot in the Tigers starting rotation in 1966, and returned to the bullpen. Before the start of the 1968 season, Aguirre was traded by the Tigers to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later. In one season with the Dodgers, Aguirre allowed only three runs in 39​13 innings for a 0.69 ERA. Despite the good season, Aguirre was released by the Dodgers and spent the final two seasons of his big league career pitching for Leo Durocher's Chicago Cubs, where he was a combined 4–0 in 1969 and 1970.

In 16 MLB seasons, Aguirre finished with a record of 75–72 in 1,375​23 innings pitched, with 856 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.24.

Aguirre spent three years (1972–74) as a coach for the Cubs. He was initially hired as the team's bench coach, tasked with serving as an intermediary between irascible manager Leo Durocher, his players and the Chicago media. The post was created in the aftermath of a player revolt against Durocher in 1971.[1] After Durocher's firing in July 1972, Aguirre continued on the Cubs' staff as bullpen coach (1973) and pitching coach (1974).[2] He managed in the Oakland Athletics' organization in 1975–1976.

Batting

Aguirre had a reputation as one of baseball's worst-hitting pitchers. He had an .085 lifetime average, going 33-for-388 at the plate, with no home runs, striking out 236 times while drawing 14 walks.

Post-baseball career

In 1979, with the encouragement and support of Jack Masterson, an executive with Volkswagen of America, and attorney John Noonan, Aguirre founded Mexican Industries, Inc. The company, based in Detroit, operated as a labor-intensive, minority-oriented enterprise that supplied specialized parts to American automobile manufacturers. After a difficult start, Mexican Industries thrived during the 1980s, becoming a multimillion-dollar business and creating hundreds of jobs (primarily for the Hispanics of southwestern Detroit's "Mexicantown"). In 1987 Aguirre was named "Businessman of the Year" by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.[3]

Hank Aguirre died on September 5, 1994, following a two-year battle with prostate cancer. He is buried in San Gabriel in the churchyard of the (Roman Catholic) Mission San Gabriel Arcángel, "where he worshiped as a boy."[4] Upon his death, control of the privately owned company Aguirre had founded passed to his adult children. In 1999, Mexican Industries, Inc., was unionized (following several unsuccessful attempts over the previous two decades) by the United Auto Workers labor union under Bob King. In 2001, the firm filed for bankruptcy, laid off its workers, and subsequently closed its doors. According to union activists, "Workers blame[d] the owners, not only for hostility toward their union but for mismanaging the company."[5]

See also

References

  1. ^ Neyer, Rob (April 16, 2013), "Baseball's First Information Services Coach." SBNation
  2. ^ "Hank Aguirre". www.retrosheet.org.
  3. ^ Copley, Robert E. The Tall Mexican: The Life of Hank Aguirre — All-Star Pitcher, Businessman, Humanitarian. Houston: Piñata Books/Arte Público Press. pp. 107–108.
  4. ^ "OBITUARIES — Hank Aguirre: An Even Bigger Hero Off the Diamond". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. September 26, 1994. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  5. ^ "Mexican Industries Closes Detroit Plants, Making Good on 1999 Threat". Labor Education and Research Project: Labor Notes. Retrieved December 21, 2012.

Further reading

Copley, Robert E. The Tall Mexican: The Life of Hank Aguirre — All-Star Pitcher, Businessman, Humanitarian. Houston: Piñata Books/Arte Público Press (1998).

External links

Preceded by
Larry Jansen
Chicago Cubs pitching coach
1974
Succeeded by
Marv Grissom
1957 Cleveland Indians season

The 1957 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the American League with a record of 76–77, 21½ games behind the New York Yankees

1958 Detroit Tigers season

The 1958 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fifth in the American League with a record of 77–77, 15 games behind the New York Yankees.

1959 Detroit Tigers season

The 1959 Detroit Tigers season was the 59th season for the American League franchise in Detroit. Although the Tigers lost 15 of their first 17 games in 1959—resulting in the May 2 firing of manager Bill Norman—they recovered under his successor, Jimmy Dykes, to finish in fourth place with a record of 76–78, eighteen games behind the AL Champion Chicago White Sox.

1960 Detroit Tigers season

The 1960 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Tigers' sixth-place finish in the American League with a 71–83 record, 26 games behind the AL Champion New York Yankees.

1962 Detroit Tigers season

The 1962 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished tied for third place in the American League with a record of 85–76, 10½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1962 Major League Baseball season

The 1962 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 9 to October 16, 1962. The National League played a 162-game schedule for the first time, having added the Houston Colt .45s and the New York Mets as expansion teams. The American League had played its first 162-game schedule a year earlier.

The NL returned to New York City after a four-year absence, though the Mets would finish in last place.

The National League went to a tie-breaker series to decide the Pennant winner won by the San Francisco Giants over the Los Angeles Dodgers 2 games to 1.

In the World Series the New York Yankees defeated the San Francisco Giants 4 games to 3.

1963 Detroit Tigers season

The 1963 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished tied for fifth place in the American League with a record of 79–83, 25½ games behind the New York Yankees.

1964 Detroit Tigers season

The 1964 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 85–77, 14 games behind the New York Yankees.

1965 Detroit Tigers season

The 1965 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished fourth in the American League with a record of 89–73, 13 games behind the Minnesota Twins.

1966 Detroit Tigers season

The 1966 Detroit Tigers season was the 66th consecutive season for the Detroit franchise in the American League. The Tigers, who had finished fourth in the ten-team AL in 1965 with an 89–73 record, won one fewer game in 1966, going 88–74, but moved up to third in the league, ten full games behind the eventual world champion Baltimore Orioles. The team attracted just over 1.124 million fans to Tiger Stadium, fifth in the ten-team circuit.

1967 Detroit Tigers season

The 1967 Detroit Tigers season was a season in American baseball. The team finished tied for second in the American League with the Minnesota Twins with 91 wins and 71 losses, one game behind the AL pennant-winning Boston Red Sox.

The season is notable as during the middle of the 1967 season, a number of home games were cancelled due to the 1967 Detroit riots; this would be the last time a game would be cancelled due to rioting, until the 1992 LA Dodgers had their games cancelled due to the 1992 riots.

1968 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers had a 76–86 record and finished in seventh place in the National League standings, 21 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals. After the season, the Dodgers underwent some changes among the team management when long time general manager Buzzie Bavasi resigned to take over the expansion San Diego Padres. He was replaced by team vice-president Fresco Thompson. However, Thompson was diagnosed with cancer weeks after taking the job and died in November. Al Campanis became the new general manager for the following season.

1968 Philadelphia Phillies season

The 1968 Philadelphia Phillies season was a season in Major League Baseball. The Phillies finished eighth in the National League with a record of 76 wins and 86 losses, 21 games behind the NL pennant-winning Cardinals.

1970 Chicago Cubs season

The 1970 Chicago Cubs season was the 99th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 95th in the National League and the 55th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished second in the National League East with a record of 84–78.

Eddie Stumpf

Edward Stumpf (May 15, 1894 – October 16, 1978) was an American player, manager and executive in Minor league baseball.Stumpf began his professional baseball career as a catcher in the American Association, playing from 1916 through 1919 for the Milwaukee Brewers and Columbus Senators. After that he coached and scouted for the Brewers for several years, before becoming a manager in 1939 with the Tarboro Serpents in the Class-D Coastal Plain League. From 1941 to 1942, Stumpf managed and eventually caught for the Janesville Cubs of the Wisconsin State League, until he heard about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, an innovative circuit conceived by Philip K. Wrigley, a chewing-gum magnate who had inherited the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball franchise from his father. Stumpf took the opportunity to get news at first hand, because Wrigley was his employer at the time.The All-American Girls Professional Baseball League play officially began on May 30, 1943 with four teams, the Kenosha Comets, Racine Belles, Rockford Peaches and South Bend Blue Sox. Stumpf became one of the first four managers hired by Wrigley, being assigned to the Rockford club. The other managers selected were Johnny Gottselig (Racine), an experimented ice hockey left winger who played 17 seasons for the Chicago Black Hawks (NHL), and former big leaguers Josh Billings (Kenosha) and Bert Niehoff (South Bend).Stumpf appeared in the league's first All-Star Game during the 1943 midseason, which was played under temporary lights at Wrigley Field, between two teams composed of Blue Sox and Peaches players versus Comets and Belles players. It was also the first night game ever played in the historic ballpark (July 1, 1943).After that, Stumpf was an active scout for the league during the rest of the decade and served a second stint as manager in 1945 (Kenosha). He also has been credited for switching Dorothy Kamenshek from outfield to first base after just 12 games for the Peaches. A perennial All-Star and two-time champion bat, Kamenshek was considered by former New York Yankees first baseman Wally Pipp, as the fanciest-fielding first sacker he had ever seen among men or women.Stumpf later moved into the front offices. He joined the Cleveland Indians organization in 1950, first as business director of Cleveland minor league system and later was promoted as general manager for Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in 1953. While working for the Indians, he provided assistance in the development and monitoring of future big leaguers as Hank Aguirre, Joe Altobelli, Rocky Colavito and Al Smith, among others.Stumpf was a long resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he died at the age of 84. He is part of the AAGPBL permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum at Cooperstown, New York opened in 1988, which is dedicated to the entire league rather than any individual player.

Jay Porter

J. W. "Jay" Porter (born January 17, 1933, in Shawnee, Oklahoma) is a former Major League Baseball player who appeared with the St. Louis Browns (1952), Detroit Tigers (1955–1957), Cleveland Indians (1958), Washington Senators (1959), and St. Louis Cardinals (1959).

Porter played in 229 major league games, 91 as a catcher, 62 as an outfielder, 16 as a first baseman, 3 at third base and was a career .228 hitter who had his best season in 1957 when he hit .250 in 58 games while with the Detroit Tigers.

Porter was signed as an 18-year-old "bonus baby" in 1951. Bobby Mattick was scouting Porter, when he noticed another prospect, Frank Robinson. Mattick wound up signing both Porter and Robinson, "with Porter signing for a much higher bonus." (John Eisenberg, "From 33rd Street to Camden Yards" (McGraw-Hill 2001), p. 161.)

Despite showing the early promise Porter played in only 33 games for the St. Louis Browns in 1952.

On December 4, 1952, Porter was traded by the Browns with Owen Friend and Bob Nieman to the Tigers for Virgil Trucks (who threw two no-hitters in 1952), Hal White, and Johnny Groth. Porter did not make it to the Tigers' big league team until 1955 and played only 92 games for the Tigers from 1955–1957.

Though he never became a starter in Detroit, he was selected by Sports Illustrated in October 2006 as one of the "10 Greatest Characters in Detroit Tigers History", along with Mark Fidrych, Norm Cash, Boots Poffenberger, and Herbie Redmond.

[1]

Porter's favorite meal was "two dozen (eggs) over light", which he would eat all at once. This became a "favorite meal" when his teammates encouraged him to compete against the world champion for eating the most eggs in one sitting and Porter began his "training." A date was set for the contest; however, the current world champion failed to arrive.

On February 18, 1958, the Tigers traded Porter to the Cleveland Indians with Hal Woodeshick for Jim Hegan and Hank Aguirre. Porter learned of the trade while driving to Spring Training in Florida, driving from his home in Oregon, down the West Coast, stopping in Tucson, Arizona to visit friends in the Indians training camp. Later on, when he was an hour outside Lakeland, Porter heard on the car radio that he had been traded to the Indians, made a U-turn and headed right back to Arizona. (Van Dusen, Ewald & Hawkins, "The Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia (Sports Publishing 2003), p. 94).

While playing for Cleveland, Porter had the task of catching Baseball Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm at which he was, reportedly, so baffled by Wilhelm's knuckleball he used a first baseman's glove. [2]

After his playing career ended, he served as a minor league manager in the Montreal Expos organization, including a stint with the West Palm Beach Expos in 1970 and also managed the Expos entry in the 1969 Florida Instructional League.

Porter is the youngest living former member of the remaining 10 St. Louis Browns.

His initials of J.W. do not represent any actual given names and he is referred to by all as either JW or Jay.

Tommie Reynolds

Tommie D. Reynolds (born August 15, 1941) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder. He was signed by the Kansas City Athletics as an amateur free agent in 1963, and played for them from 1963 to 1965. He also played for the New York Mets (1967), Oakland Athletics (1969), California Angels (1970–1971), and Milwaukee Brewers (1972).

An average defensive outfielder, Reynolds started in almost half of his team's games in both 1965 and 1969, usually in left field. He was also used quite often as a pinch hitter throughout his career. His busiest and best season was 1969, when he played in 107 games and made 363 plate appearances for Oakland. He batted .257 with 2 home runs, 20 RBI, and 51 runs scored.

Career highlights include:

a pair of 4-hit games...three singles and a double vs. the Cleveland Indians (September 2, 1965), and three singles and a double vs. the Detroit Tigers (August 26, 1969)

eight 3-hit games, with four of them coming in 1970

one 4-RBI game, including a three-run homer against All-Star Mickey Lolich of the Detroit Tigers (April 30, 1964)

a pinch hit home run against All-Star Luis Tiant of the Cleveland Indians (May 30, 1969)

hit a combined .424 (36-for-85) against All-Stars Hank Aguirre, Mickey Lolich, Sam McDowell, and Juan PizarroHis career totals include 513 games played, 265 hits, 12 home runs, 87 RBI, 141 runs scored, and a lifetime batting average of .226.

After his playing career was over, Reynolds served as a coach for the Oakland Athletics (1989–1995) and the St. Louis Cardinals (1996).

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