Saturday, September 27, 2014

LONG TIME NO SEE: 1970 SKIP LOCKWOOD (#499)

Sorry for the late post! Had to trek out to upstate NY for the newest member of the family, a beautiful Australian Cattle dog/Collie mix pup, no name as of yet! A nice pal for our Anatolian Shepherd, "Bossy".
Anyway, onto today's topic...
When I recently designed my "Super Veterans" card for Jim "Catfish" Hunter, I took a closer look at his 1965 rookie card and realized that Skip Lockwood, who I grew up knowing as a pitcher for the N.Y. Mets, actually came up as an infielder with the Kansas City A's.
Take a look:


On top of that, after his initial 1965 rookie card appearance, the next time he was on a baseball card was in the 1970 Topps set (#499), now as a pitcher for the Seattle Pilots: a five year gap.
Take a look at his follow-up card from the 1970 set:


I never realized Lockwood's road to the big league mound, and that he was first a shortstop for the A's in 1965, without much success in 42 games: four hits (all singles) in 33 at-bats, a .121 batting average.
Stranger still, aside for those 42 games with the parent club, Lockwood didn't play any Minor League ball that year (?). Weird.
Over the next three years, he was mired in the Minors, now converted to a pitcher, and eventually found himself as a member of the new Seattle Pilots come 1969. Getting into six games, good for 23 innings of work and a 0-1 record.
(It also raises the obvious question as to why Topps gave him a card in the 1970 set with such scant playing time!)
In 1970, Lockwood would become a full-time Major League pitcher, and go on to have 11 decent years pitching for the Brewers, Angels, Mets and Red Sox.
He'd really find his niche as a reliever for the New York Mets between 1975 and 1979, having his best year in 1976, going 10-7 with 19 saves and a nifty 2.67 earned run average over 56 games and 94.1 innings.
The following year he posted a career high 20 saves for the Mets, with a 7-13 record and 3.57 E.R.A., in 57 games and 104 innings.
After a year pitching for Boston in 1980, Lockwood's big league days were over, retiring with a 57-97 career record, with a 3.55 E.R.A., five shutouts, 68 saves and 829 K's in 420 games.
Not bad for a guy who came up as a weak-hitting midfielder.

2 comments:

  1. Yea, he was a significant Met during the late 70's (a tough stretch for Mets fans). I never knew he started out as an infielder. Great info, thanks!

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  2. Lockwood had to spend 1965 on the A's big league roster because of the bonus rules of the day. His signing bonus was $135,000 which would have made him subject to the 1st year draft if he wasn't placed on the ML roster for a year.

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