Saturday, November 5, 2016

Final Card - Joey Amalfitano

Here is the final card for Cubs’ infielder Joey Amalfitano (#402), even though he played in 1966 and very briefly in 1967. Others have made custom cards for those years, which I’ve included at the end of this post.

Amalfitano was signed by the New York Giants in 1954 as a bonus baby. As such, he was required to be carried on the major-league roster for 2 seasons. He played 9 games in 1954 and 36 games in 1955, and was used almost exclusively as a pinch-runner.

After the 1955 season, he went to the minors for the inevitable “seasoning”.

After 3 years on the farm, the Giants released him in December 1958. He was picked up by the unaffiliated Toronto Maple Leafs, a triple-A International League team. He played all of 1959 with Toronto, then was reacquired by the Giants in the Rule 5 draft. Joey collected 328 at-bats in 1960 as the team’s backup 2nd and 3rd baseman.

In 1961, he was the Giant’s primary 2nd baseman, sharing the job with Chuck Hiller. Most of Joey’s starts came in the 2nd half of the season.

The expansion Houston Colt .45s selected him in the draft following the 1961 season, and was the regular 2nd baseman in their inaugural season. After just 1 season in Houston, Amalfitano was traded back to the Giants for outfielder Manny Mota, and spent the 1963 season backing up Hiller at 2nd base.

With the sudden death of 2nd baseman Ken Hubbs in February 1964, the Cubs scrambled for a replacement, and acquired Joey in late-March. He was the primary 2nd baseman in ’64, with utility infielder Jimmy Stewart playing almost as many games there. It was purely a stopgap move, as Glenn Beckert would take over in 1965 and beyond.

Amalfitano settled into a utility role for the remainder of his career with the Cubs, playing only 67 and 41 games (12 and 8 starts) in ’65 and ’66. He was released by the Cubs after the 1966 season, then re-signed in late-May 1967, where he appeared in 4 games over the next month, finishing his career the same way it started – as a pinch-runner.

Released again on July 6th, he immediately joined the Cubs coaching staff, and coached with the Cubs, Padres, Giants, and Cubs again through the late 1970s. Joey managed the Cubs from 1979-81, and was the Dodgers’ 3rd base coach from 1983-98. Since then he has worked in the Giants’ minor-league operations.

A true baseball lifer!

Custom Cards:

By John @ Cards That Never Were:

By Steve @ White Sox Cards:

I don't remember where I found this one:

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