Saturday, April 29, 2006

Von Joshua

If it weren’t for bad luck, Von Everett Joshua wouldn’t have had any luck at all. Or, so it seemed for the sweet swining outfielder in the spring of 1973.

The 24-year old Joshua, a two-time minor league batting champion, was hitting a cool .333 as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting left fielder when he suffered a broken right wrist two weeks into the young season.

The injury sidelined Joshua for over a month.

By the time he was healthy again, his opportunity to play every day in Los Angeles had vanished.

As in years past, he was back sitting on the Dodger bench, soaking up the southern California sun.

When Dodger manager Walt Alston did call his name, it was usually to go and pinch-hit against a right-handeder. A left-handed hitter, Joshua seldom saw action against southpaws.

Frustrated, Joshua asked to be traded.

"It's just that I feel at an age when I should be playing regularly," Joshua explained at the time. "I'm not old, but I'm concerned that I might look up some day and find the opportunity to really make it in this game has passed me by."

Joshua finally got his wish when he was sold to the San Francisco Giants for the waiver price of $20,000 on January 29, 1975.

A northern California native, Joshua played like a man with something to prove during his first season in San Francisco, batting .318 while stealing 20 bases. And he hit righties and lefties equally well.

But, by the following season, Joshua had worn out his welcome and was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Joshua didn't last long in Milwaukee either and was waived out of the league prior to the start of 1978 campaign.

After a season of playing baseball in the Mexican League, Joshua rejoined the Dodgers in 1979.

Humbled by the ups and downs of his career, Joshua appeared content with his role as a part-time player. It seemed as though he had finally realized how truly lucky he was to have played the game he loved so much.

Joshua wrapped up his big league career the following season as a bench player for the San Diego Padres.



[1] Newhan, Ross. "Joshua Blasts Way to Starting Job." The Sporting News, April 20, 1974, 22.
[2] Newhan, Ross. "Maury Declined: F. Robby a Man of His Word." The Sporting News, March 1, 1975, 32.
[3] Newhan, Ross. "Pitcher May Be Test Case." Los Angeles Times, April 2, 1974, B5.


Post a Comment

<< Home