Sunday, February 11, 2018

Final Card - Bill Pleis

This is the final card for Bill Pleis (#122), at age 80 the oldest living player from the 1965-70 period that I have not yet featured on any of my blogs. Because this is his last card, and I didn’t collect cards prior to 1966 until recently, I didn’t know anything about him.

Pleis had a 6-year career (1961-66), all with the Twins. He was primarily a reliever, only making 10 starts among his 190 games.

Bill began his pro career in 1956, pitching for the unaffiliated Orlando Seratomas in the class-D Florida State League. By mid-August, he was acquired by the Washington Senators, and spent the next 4 seasons working his way up the ladder in their organization.

Although he never played for the Senators, following the team’s move to Minnesota prior to the 1961 season he made the team out of spring training. Pleis pitched most of ’61 and half of ’62 with the Twins, and was the team’s top lefthander in the bullpen as a rookie. In 1961 he won the first Twins’ home game in their new location.

Bill played fulltime with the Twins from 1963 to 1965, and led the team in games pitched (47) in 1964.

By 1966, his time with the Twins was winding down. He had been edged out of a job by newcomers Dave Boswell, Jim Merritt, and Pete Cimino, all at least 5 years younger than Pleis. Bill spent most of the season with triple-A Denver, and only pitched 8 games for the Twins in his last major-league season, all during the second half.

Pleis pitched 44 games for the Senators’ AAA team in 1967 and 23 games for the Red Sox’ AAA team in 1968 before retiring.

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