Richard Louis Sharon
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- High School Sequoia High School (Redwood City)
- Debut May 13, 1973
- Final Game September 28, 1975
- Born April 15, 1950 in San Mateo, CA USA
Dick Sharon spent nine years in professional baseball, including three years in the major leagues. Noted primarily for his defense and some power, Sharon did not hit above .270 at any stop in his pro career.
The first pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1968 amateur draft, Dick was the 9th overall selection. He had been an All-League star in baseball, basketball and football in high school. He began his career with the GCL Pirates, hitting just .111/~.253/.136 with 29 strikeouts in 81 at-bats. One imagines that the only thing keeping his baseball career alive at that point was the fact that he had been a #1 pick and the club needed to save face. In 1969, Sharon was with the Gastonia Pirates and improved marginally, producing at a .216/~.296/.300 clip. On the positive side, he led Western Carolinas League outfielders in putouts, with 226 to his credit.
Sharon moved to the Salem Pirates in 1970 and tied for third in the Carolina League with 22 home runs. He batted .254/~.380/.457, drove in 71 (third in the loop) and scored 78, second to Ed Powell. He stole 14 in 19 tries and led the league with 268 putouts in the outfield. In 1971, he hit .255/~.344/.354 for the Waterbury Pirates and swiped 26 bases in 32 tries. He tied for third in the Eastern League with 13 outfield assists and was third among regular outfielders with a .983 fielding percentage.
Dick made it to AAA with the 1972 Charleston Charlies and batted .268/~.327/.452 to set a career high in batting average. He stole 15 bases in 20 tries and hit 14 homers and seven triples. That winter, Pittsburgh traded him to the Detroit Tigers for Jim Foor and Norm McRae.
Sharon started 1973 with the Toledo Mud Hens and despite poor production (.208/~.309/.333), he got called up to the Tigers after 16 games in Toledo. He made his debut as a defensive sub on May 13th and doubled in a run against Mike Kekich of the New York Yankees in his first at-bat a day later. He hit .242/.280/.410 with Detroit, showing good power (above league-average slugging), starting some times in right field and coming in other games as a defensive replacement. He was used primarily in a platoon role, which made sense as he hit .272/.300/.500 against left-handers and just .188/.246/.250 against righties. He was named the Tiger Rookie of the Year.
In 1974, Sharon's production fell drastically, ending with a .217/.292/.295 line at the plate. Surprisingly, he did better against righties (.242/.342/.364), though he continued to play primarily against left-handers (.208/.274/.271) and as a defensive replacement.
After the 1974 season, Dick was part of a huge three-way trade that landed him on the San Diego Padres roster. He hit .194/.306/.312 for the Padres in 1975 to conclude his big-league career with a .218/.293/.345 line at the plate. He had hit 13 HR in 467 AB in the majors. He hit .235/.309/.381 against southpaws in '75 but just .188/.261/.275 against right-handers.
That October, he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals for faded star Willie Davis. Then he was flipped over to the California Angels two months later for Bill Rothan. And two months after that, he got traded with John Balaz and Dave Machemer to the Boston Red Sox for Dick Drago, but he never played in the majors for any of these teams.
Sharon hit .232/~.310/.358 for the Rhode Island Red Sox in 1976 to finish his career.