Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dick Tracewski (#488)

Over the next few posts, I am going to be completing my series on players who retired in the late 1960s (specifically, those players who retired in 1968 or 1969, or whose last card was in 1968).

This post was going to be about 8-year veteran Dick Radatz (who retired in 1969). When I went to my 1968 binder (which is arranged by teams) to retrieve his card, I couldn't find it. Indians? No. Red Sox? No. What the? After consulting my Book of All Topps Knowledge I learned that the veteran Radatz did not have a card in 1968. He was released by the Cubs during spring training in 1968, and spent the entire season with the Tigers' triple-A team, before returning to the majors for one more season in 1969.

I will have to update my list of players without a 1968 card. Meanwhile, on to fellow 8-year-veteran-retiring-in-1969 Dick Tracewski.

Tracewski was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1953. After 5 seasons in the minors, Dick spent 1958 and 1959 in military service. He returned to another 3 seasons in the minors, and made the Dodgers at the start of the 1963 season.

Tracewski had significant playing time during his first 2 seasons with the Dodgers, backing up Maury Wills at SS in 1963, and sharing 2B with Nate Oliver in 1964. In 1965 he received less playing time than before, primarily as Junior Gilliam's backup at 3rd base. Dick saw action in the 1963 and 1965 World Series with the Dodgers.

After the 1965 season, Dick was traded to the Tigers for relief pitcher Phil Regan. With the Tigers, Tracewski was relegated to 3rd-string middle infielder, especially after the arrival of rookie Tom Matchick in 1968. Still, Tracewski played briefly in his 3rd World Series in 1968. He retired after the 1969 season.

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