Saturday, March 26, 2011

#391 Milt Pappas

Milt Pappas appears to not have a care in the world as he poses for the Topps photographer in Yankee Stadium. Little did he know the twists and turns that his career and life would take.

If your name was Miltiades Stergios Papastergios you'd be better off being called Milt Pappas as well. And you'd be one of the more interesting guys to appear on a '59 Topps card. I'm not sure where to start with this guy. I recall him vividly from his days as an Oriole but he's best known (at least to Oriole fans) as the key bait in the trade that brought Frank Robinson from the Reds in December of 1965.

Stuff you might not know about Milt Pappas...........

  • Beginning in 1958 Pappas had a long consistent career, totaling 209 wins, the same as Hall of Famer Don Dysdale.
  • He had a reputation as a hypochondriac which estranged him from some teammates, especially on the Reds.
  • Pappas had a string of 11 consecutive double digit seasons.
  • He gave up Roger Maris 59th homer in 1961, tipping Maris that he'd offer up nothing but fastballs. Pappas was upset with the belief that an asterisk would be placed on Maris' record if he broke Babe Ruth's record in more than 154 games.
  • He lost a perfect game bid in 1972 as a Chicago Cub on the 27th batter by walking the Padres' Larry Stahl after getting two strikes. Pappas still believes umpire Bruce Froehming deliberately squeezed the strike zone.
  • Pappas' first wife died in a tragic car accident when she ran off the road near her home into a pond. For years, until her car and body were discovered, it was believed she had been abducted.
  • Pappas discusses all this in his autobiography "Out At Home." I have it on my shelves but have never gotten around to reading it.
  • And finally Milt's son Steve Pappas has an interesting website chronicling his father's career and his own baseball computer replay game hobby. And by interesting I mean well, fun in a weird way.
 See, I told you Milt Pappas was interesting.

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