Saturday, March 2, 2019

Final Card - Jay Ritchie

This is Jay Ritchie’s first and last baseball card (#494). Topps cut him loose after 1965, even though he played in 44 games in ’65, 22 games in ’66, 52 (yes, FIFTY-TWO!) games in ’67, and 28 games in ’68. He was with his team at the end of each of those seasons, so should have had a card in ’66, ’67, and ’68.

Ritchie was signed by the Red Sox way back in 1955, and toiled in the minors for 9 years (1956-64) before making his major-league debut in August 1964. In the minors he was mostly a reliever, except for in 1957 and 1962.

Jay appeared in 21 games over the final 2 months in 1964. The following season, he pitched in 44 games, 3rd most among the team’s relief pitchers. 1965 was the only season he managed to stay out of the minor leagues.

After the season he was traded to the Braves with pitcher Arnold Earley and 1B-OF Lee Thomas for pitchers Dan Osinski and Bob Sadowski. Ritchie played 2 years with the Braves (unbeknownst to Topps, apparently).

He was in the minors for the first half of 1966 (should not have affected his Topps status, because their card set was determined by 2 things: 1. Was he on a team’s roster in the off-season, and 2. Did he have significant major-league playing time in the previous season), but pitched 22 games in the second half.

 In ’67 he appeared in 52 games, tops among the entire staff. He also posted a 3.17 ERA, lowest among the relievers. What did he get as a reward for his stats? Two weeks after the season he was shipped off to the Reds with Mack Jones and Jim Beauchamp in exchange for 1st baseman Deron Johnson.

Like in 1966, Jay spent the first half of 1968 in the minors, but pitched 28 games in the 2nd half – the #11 man on a 10-man pitching staff. His final appearance came on September 4th.

Ritchie played in the minors in 1969 and 1970. He retraced his career steps by returning to the Braves organization in July 1969 and the Red Sox in May 1970.

He passed away in 2016 at age 79.

1 comment:

  1. The inconsistencies of 60's card production really stand out in retrospect. Really like the 65 cards with the pennant and team name so prominent.