Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bobby Darwin

After years of struggling as a pitcher and with his baseball career on the verge of extinction, the player evolves into an outfielder and finally becomes a success.

It's Darwinism at its best.

And, appropriately enough, it describes the baseball career of Arthur Bobby Lee Darwin.

A Southern California native, Darwin made his major league debut with the expansion Los Angeles Angels in the final game of the 1962 season. Only 19-years old, Darwin pitched poorly, yielding eight hits and four walks in three-and-one-third innings and was charged with the loss.

Clearly overmatched by big league hitters, he was sent back to the minor leagues for more seasoning.

In the ensuing years, Darwin pitched for Honolulu, Stockton, Elmira, and Spokane, before finally making it back to the big leagues in 1969 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, once again, he failed to impress as a pitcher, registering a 9.00 earned run average in three major league games with the Dodgers.

Shortly thereafter, Darwin decided to end his career on the pitching mound and begin his career at the plate. Instead of trying to challenge hitters, he was going to challenge pitchers.

It didn't take long for Darwin to make the adjustment. He was back in the big leagues with Los Angeles during the middle of the 1971 season. In 11 games, he collected five hits in 20 at bats, including his first major league home run, a pinch-hit three-run blast off Chicago Cubs' left-hander Juan Pizarro.

On October 22, 1971, the Dodgers traded Darwin to the Minnesota Twins for outfielder-catcher Paul Ray Powell.

His career blossomed in Minnesota as a left-handed hitting outfielder. During a three-year strech from 1972 to 1974, he belted 22, 18 and 25 homers, while knocking in 80, 90 and 94 runs.

Darwin went on to play for the Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox before finishing up his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1977.

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1 Comments:

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember him as a muscular guy who hit some tremendous tape-measure shots. I believe he was the first to hit a ball in the upper deck in Oakland, and the only other person besides Harmon Killebrew to hit one into the upper deck at Metropolitan Stadium. He had a unique stance, and was a "wrist-hitter" much like Aaron and Banks. Swung the bat like it was light as a toothpick.

 

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