Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Rookie turned his debut game around

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.

Today, let’s look at a rookie’s debut day that started off badly but turned around.

On July 11, 1962, the last-place Washington Senators traded Dale Long to the Yankees for outfielder Don Lock, then on the roster of Richmond in the International League. Lock had spent four and a half seasons in the Yankees' organization without ever making it to the big club.

He made his major league debut in the first game of a July 17 twi-night double-header against the White Sox in Chicago.

Through the first six innings, Lock’s debut was highly forgettable. He struck out in his first  two at-bats against Juan Pizarro in the second and fourth innings.

In the bottom of the sixth he called for a pop fly to short left field but the ball dropped in front of him for a fluke double by Joe Cunningham.

Lock then redeemed himself in the top of the seventh inning when his first hit in the major leagues was a home run that gave the Senators and Dave Stenhouse a 1-0 victory over Pizarro and the White Sox.

Lock went on to an eight-year major league career with the Senators (1962-66), Phillies (1967-69) and Red Sox (1969). He appeared in Topps baseball card issues every year from 1963 through 1969.

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