Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Final Card - Frank Lary

For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to post a card for the oldest living players from the 1965–1970 time period who I have not blogged about yet.

I thought I had topped out with those at ages 77 or 78, but recently I found that several with final cards in the 1965 set (Wally Moon, Frank Lary, Bill Virdon, Frank Bolling) are in their mid-80s. So here we go… 

Frank Lary (#127) was signed by the Tigers in 1950, after playing for the University of Alabama for 2 seasons and pitching in the College World Series. He played in the minors in 1950, then missed the next 2 seasons while in military service. He returned in 1953 for 2 seasons in triple-A (winning 17 and 15 games), and made his debut with Detroit in September 1954.

Frank was a fixture in the Tigers’ starting rotation from 1955 to 1962. In 1955, Lary (age 25) and Billy Hoeft (age 23) were the Tigers’ top 2 starting pitchers.

In 1956 Frank led the AL with 21 wins, and also starts (38) and innings (294). He led the AL in complete games in ’58, ’60, and ’61.

Jim Bunning joined the rotation in 1957, and with Bunning as the ace, Lary, Hoeft, and Paul Foytack formed the rotation’s backbone for several seasons (with Bunning and Lary all the way to 1963).

Frank was selected for the All-Star team in ’60 and ’61, and also won a Gold Glove award in 1961. The same year, he won 23 games and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting.

After 7 seasons as a workhorse, Lary missed some time in '62 and '63. Shoulder problems caused him to spend 2 months on the DL in 1962, and he was rehabbing in the minors for May and June 1963. He rejoined the team in July, but compiled a 4-9 record in only 16 games.

Lary’s final 2 seasons (1964-65) were spent bouncing from the Tigers to the Mets, Braves, Mets again, and White Sox. His combined record for those 2 seasons was 5-8 in 46 games (28 in relief).

He was released by the White Sox after the 1965 season, ending his 12-year career. He later coached and scouted for several teams.

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