Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Reynolds .846 streak locked in bonus

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

In these days of free agency and option years, the term "salary drive" developed to describe a player's performance as he attempts to showcase his talents in hopes of positively influencing his next contract.

In 1963, something of that sort occurred when first-year pro Tommie Reynolds went on a tear to earn a $2,500 bonus the K.C. Athletics had promised him if he remained on the roster at Class A Burlington of the Midwest League on July 15. The 21-year-old third baseman had signed as a free agent with the A's out of San Diego City College.

The Bees played a series against Dubuque, July 10-12. Retired on his first at-bat, Reynolds then ran up a streak of seven singles, a triple and two home runs before being stopped. Then he singled again to bring his series performance to 11-for-13, an .846 average. Along the way he added two walks and drove in nine runs.

On July 13, at Quad Cities, Reynolds was 3-for-5 including a homer. He was hitless on the 14th. So, yes, Tommie Reynolds was still on the Burlington team on July 15 and earned his $2,500 bonus. His single that night deprived Quad Cities' lefty Ken Turner of a no-hitter.

Reynolds went on to hit .332 for the season, with 27 home runs; both were tops on the team; his 27th homer breaking a team record that stood for 50 years. His 88 RBI's tied him for the league lead. To protect Reynolds from the Rule 5 minor league draft, he got a September call-up, but  hit only .053 in eight games with Kansas City.

Tommie Reynolds went on to an eight-year career in the major leagues, hitting .226 for the A's, Mets, Angels and Brewers through 1972. He then spent six more seasons with Milwaukee's Triple-A farms, and did some minor league managing for Oakland in the late 1980s.

Reynolds made his baseball-card debut on a 1964 Topps Rookie Stars card. He had his own card for 1965. He did not appear on a Topps card in 1966, was shown with the Mets in 1967 and absent again in 1968.

He's shown with Oakland in 1969-70 and the Angels in 1971. There are no cards of Reynolds as a Brewer in 1972, but he appears in a number of minor league team sets in the Seventies, and as a manager in the mid-1980s.

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