Monday, April 18, 2011

#99 Ted Kazanski

Here is Ted Kazanski. This is the last card I needed to finish this set and it was generously provided to me by fellow Oriole fan and collector Ed Schott. Thanks again, Ed.

Kazanski was a Phils signee in 1951 and received a reported $100,000 bonus. He made his way to the majors in 1953 and made a splash in his debut becoming the first shortstop since 1920 (when RBIs became an official stat) to drive in four runs in his first game.

He spent six years with the Phils frequently traveling between AAA and the big club. He had a career .217 batting average. In March of '59 he was dealt to the Braves but never again played in the majors. After bouncing between six clubs' organizations he retired in 1964.

Kazanski's career highlight came on September 25, 1955, the final game of that season. That day in the Polo Grounds against the Giants he performed an extremely rare feat. Kazanski hit an inside-the-park homer and started a triple play to finish off a 3-2 Phillies win! How rare is that combo of unusual baseball plays? It wasn't until last season, 55 years after Kazanski's moment in the sun, that it was duplicated. The Mets' Angel Pagan pulled it off on May 19 against the Nationals.

Kazanski talked about his accomplishment in the wake of Pagan's big day. You can read a couple of accounts of it all here and especially here . Really good stuff with some interesting side plots including a Phils narcoleptic reliever sleeping through it all in the bullpen.

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