Thursday, June 14, 2012
Triandos' successful one-night stand
Uncommon commons. Based on contemporary accounts from The Sporting News; tidbits that as a collector of baseball and football cards I found interesting because they help bring to life the faces on the cards I collected. I figure that if I found these items of interest, so would other vintage card collectors.
Gus Triandos was signed by the New York Yankees as a 17-year-old catcher in 1948. However, with Yogi Berra blocking his way to the majors, Triandos spent six years knocking around Yankees farm clubs, even though he generally hit 10-25 home runs a season and batted an average .325.
During the Korean War, Uncle Sam called and after a couple of games with Kansas City in 1951, Triandos headed off to the Army.
On his way to induction, however, the Yankees prospect stopped off in Beaumont, Tex., on April 30. Beaumont was a Class AA Yankees minor league team in the Texas League, a team that Triandos had managed to miss on his way up and down the farm system ladder.
At Beaumont, Roughnecks manager Harry Craft "certified" Triandos (whatever that meant) and made him eligible for that night's game.
In his only game ever in the Texas League, Triandos batted 1.000 with a pair of singles and a three-run home run to beat Oklahoma City 3-1.
Sporting News writer John Cronley commented, "The one-day 'season' must have been a record for the shortest--and most successful--fling in the Texas League.
Triandos spent the rest of 1951 and all of the 1952 season in the military. He returned to Yankees minor league service in 1953-54, getting into a total of 20 games with the big club.
After the 1954 season, Triandos became part of what was then the largest-ever major league trade. In a 17-player swap that took some two weeks to finalize, Triandos was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he became an All-Star catcher. He played in the major leagues through 1965.