Sunday, April 3, 2011

#424 Ken Aspromonte

I like the blurb on the back of Ken Aspromonte's card: "After playing 6 games with the Red Sox last year, Ken shifted to the Senators for 92 games." Wow. Thats fairly compelling info, yes?

He's a Brooklyn boy (so am I) who is the older brother of Bob Aspromonte who I'm more familiar with from his days as an Astro and his later career as a beer distributing company executive in the area. The cartoon mentions that three Aspromontes are 'in baseball'. I assume the third is Charles "Sonny" Aspromonte who had a couple of years as a minor leaguer and gets a mention is Jane Leavy's great bio of another Brooklyn native, Sandy Koufax, A Lefty's Legacy.

Ken bounced around for seven seasons, playing for six clubs with only one season as an everyday player. He hit .290 with 10 homers for the Indians in 1960. But the most interesting aspect of his career is his circuitous route through the American League. Here is the trail, as charted by Baseball reference:
  • Before 1950 Season: Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent.
  • May 1, 1958: Traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Washington Senators for Lou Berberet.
  • May 15, 1960: Traded by the Washington Senators to the Cleveland Indians for Pete Whisenant.
  • December 14, 1960: Drafted by the Washington Senators from the Cleveland Indians as the 26th pick in the 1960 expansion draft.
  • December 14, 1960: Traded by the Washington Senators to the Los Angeles Angels for Coot Veal.
  • July 3, 1961: Selected off waivers by the Cleveland Indians from the Los Angeles Angels.
  • June 24, 1962: Traded by the Cleveland Indians with cash to the Milwaukee Braves for Bob Hartman.
  • December 3, 1962: Traded by the Milwaukee Braves to the Chicago Cubs for Jim McKnight.
  • April 3, 1964: Released by the Chicago Cubs.
So lets see...signed by Red Sox and waits seven years to debut in 1957. Traded from Sox to Nats in early 1958. Traded by Nats to Indians early in 1960. Drafted back by the Nats in the expansion draft late in December 1960. Traded that very day to the Angels. Waived by the Angels the following year and signed by the Indians. A year later traded to the Braves and traded that December to the Cubs who cut him around Opening Day of 1964.

But Ken Aspromonte, player for hire, wasn't done. He went to Japan and played three seasons with two teams over there and returned to the Indians (for a third time) as their manager in 1972. He compiled a 220-260 record, never finishing higher than fourth.

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