Curt Blefary

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Curtis Le Roy Blefary

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Biographical Information[edit]

"Blefary was giving me the business tonight. The first time he played in the big leagues he hit against me. It was after my arm trouble had started, and I must say I wasn't throwing very well. Anyway, it was great for Blefary. 'Bulldog,' he said, 'you made my big league debut a success. There I was in Yankee Stadium, on national television, with all my friends and relatives looking on, and I hit that blooper pitch of yours into the upper deck with two dudes on base. Thank you, Bulldog." - Jim Bouton, Ball Four

Curt Blefary, the 1965 American League Rookie of the Year, burst onto the scene with several strong seasons but could not keep it up and finished with eight years in the majors. He showed some power and an ability to draw walks, a valuable commodity during the hit-scarce second dead-ball era.

Curt's rookie season saw him set statistical bests in almost every major hitting category (over a full season). In 144 games, he batted .260/.381/.470, all tops, drawing 88 walks and scoring 72 runs while swatting 22 home runs. The world championship 1966 season saw him slip ever so slightly to .255/.371/.468 with 23 bombs before a still solid .242/.337/.413 line with a career high 81 RBI in 1967. The bottom fell out in 1968, when he batted .200/.301/.322 in 137 games (including 40 at catcher, which saw him catching Tom Phoebus' no-hitter), and he was dealt to the Houston Astros in the offseason in a deal that netted the O's future 20 game winner Mike Cuellar.

On May 4, 1969, playing first base for the 'stros, Curt participated in 7 double plays in a 9-inning game, the all-time major league record for a nine-inning game by a first baseman. The visiting San Francisco Giants grounded into double plays to end the 1st, 3rd, 7th and 9th innings. There were also ground ball double plays in the 4th, 5th and 8th. Dooley Womack was on the mound for the first four double plays; Fred Gladding was pitching for the last three. Astros second baseman Joe Morgan and shortstop Denis Menke each participated in five. This is also the 9-inning game record for most double plays at those positions, and the Astros won the game, 3-1. 1969 was Curt's last full-time season in the bigs, playing 155 games and batting .253/.347/.393 with 12 home runs. He was dealt to the New York Yankees for Joe Pepitone in the offseason and played part-time in his final three seasons spent with three teams.

Blefary died in January 2001 at 57. He had suffered from chronic pancreatitis, among other ailments.

Notable Achievements[edit]

AL Rookie of the Year
1964 1965 1966
Tony Oliva Curt Blefary Tommie Agee

Further Reading[edit]

  • John Henshell: "Curt Blefary", in Chip Greene, ed.: Mustaches and Mayhem, Charlie O's Three-Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics 1972-74, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 133-139. ISBN 978-1-943816-07-1

Related Sites[edit]