16 November 2012

the travels of bob miller (the right-handed one)

the other day i documented the many stops in tommy davis's career through the use of his baseball cards.  night owl suggested a similar post for former dodger pitcher bob miller.  i shall comply, even though i don't own many of his non-dodger cards.  

like davis, who played for 10 different franchises between 1959 and 1976, miller pitched for 10 different teams between 1957 and 1974.  his run included two stops in san diego, and two in new york with the mets.  he was 18 when he broke in with his hometown cardinals in 1957, and he stayed with them through 1961.  miller received his first topps card in 1960
he was used by the cardinals (that's one uniform worn, by the way) as both a starter and a reliever, and had a 9-9 record with 3 saves for them in his tenure in saint louis.  following the 1961 season, miller was picked by the mets in the premium portion of the 1962 expansion draft, and so got the hatless treatment on his 1962 topps card.
he was actually one of two bob miller's to pitch for the mets in 1962, and they apparently roomed together on the road (the other one was a lefty).  with the lowly expansion mets (that's two uniforms), this bob miller was 1-12 with a save in 33 games, 21 of which were starts.  he was 0-12 until his final start of the season, which came in game 160, as he threw a complete game in the mets' 2-1 victory over the cubs.  miller's fortune was about to change, however, as he was traded to the dodgers about two months later. 

even though he did not pitch in the world series in 1963, miller went from the worst team in the major leagues to the world champions.  not a bad move.  he stayed with the dodgers (that's three uniforms) through the 1967 season (here's his 1966 topps card)
and did get to pitch in both the 1965 and 1966 world series.  his dodger career began with him as a starter, but he eventually found his way to the bullpen, and in 1966 he was used only as a reliever.  in 1964, he led the league with 74 appearances, and only two of those were as a starter.  overall, miller was 29-33 with the dodgers, with 24 saves in 275 appearances.

after the 1967 season in which he started four of the 52 games in which he pitched, miller was traded to the twins in the john roseboro deal.  he and his windswept hair appeared on topps cards in 1968 and 1969 as a twin (topps used the same photo, just cropped differently)
with the twins (that's four uniforms), miller was used exclusively out of the bullpen in 1968, but he returned to making spot starts in 1969.  he even started the first home playoff game in twins history - game 3 of the 1969 alcs against the orioles.  he lasted just 1.2 innings and gave up 3 runs (1 earned) as the twins were swept by the o's.  that turned out to be miller's final appearance as a twin (he was 5-8 with 5 saves while wearing their uniform), as he was traded to the indians in december of 1969.  he remained a twin in topps' 1970 set, however.
that's too bad, because the indians (that's five unis) traded miller to the white sox (that's six) in june of 1970, so there wasn't going to be a card of him in tribe gear in 1971. as it turned out, there wasn't going to be a card of him in chisox colors, either, because his contract was purchased by the cubs (that's seven uniforms worn) on september 1st and topps was somehow motivated to get a photo of him as a cub, just as they had done with another late season cubbie pickup, tommy davis.
overall in 1970, miller was 6-8 with 3 saves.  he was 2-2 with a save in 15 games (2 starts) with the indians, 4-6 in 15 games (12 starts) with the white sox, and had no record but 2 saves in 7 games as a cub, one of which was miller's final career start.

miller pitched in two more games for the cubs (with no decisions) before he was released by the team in may of 1971. he was immediately picked up by the padres (that's eight uniforms) and he pitched well for them.  he was 7-3 in 38 games with 7 saves and an era of 1.41.  the padres weren't going anywhere, so they flipped miller to the pirates three months after signing him.  miller continued pitching well for pittsburgh (that's nine different unis) down the stretch, going 1-2 with 3 saves and a 1.29 era, and helped pittsburgh win the 1971 world series.  here's miller as a pirate in the 1972 topps set
miller appeared in 3 games during the 1971 series, and took the loss in game 6 when he allowed frank robinson to score on brooks robinson's 10th inning sacrifice fly.  overall, miller compiled a 6-4 record with 6 saves and a tidy 2.19 era for the bucs over his tenure in pittsburgh which came to an end when they released him in march of 1973.  once again, the padres swooped in and signed him almost immediately after his release. things didn't go as well for miller the second time around in san diego, however (he had a 4.11 era with no decisions or saves in 18 appearances), and they put him on waivers in june.

miller was quickly claimed by the tigers, thus assuring that we would once again be denied a card of miller in those crazy yellow padre uniforms.  miller was 4-2 with a save in 22 games for detroit (that's ten uniforms!), but there is no card for miller as a tiger, either, because he had his contract purchased by the mets in september of 1973.  he pitched one inning in one game (he didn't figure in the decision) for the mets that year, but that was enough for topps to conjure up this classicly airbrushed card in 1974
miller stuck with the mets for just about the entire 1974 campaign (he was 2-2 with 2 saves in 58 games), but topps failed to include him in their 1975 set because he was released on the next to last day of the season. so, no card of miller in an actual mets uniform, and no final tribute either.  i should note that he returned to the padres organization in 1975, but did not advance above aaa.

a couple of years later, miller showed up 'wearing' an 11th franchise's duds, however, as he was featured in the 1977 topps set as the first ever pitching coach for the toronto blue jays. 
miller later wore san francisco giant threads as a coach in the mid-1980's, and was still working for them as a scout when he died in a car crash in 1993.

so, that's how bob miller rolled.  i guess mike morgan is next.

1 comment:

night owl said...

Not as much airbrushing as I thought there'd be.