Dick Billings

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Dick Billings
Catcher/Leftfielder
Born: (1942-12-04) December 4, 1942 (age 72)
Detroit, Michigan
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 11, 1968 for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
June 27, 1975 for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average .227
Home runs 16
Runs batted in 142
Hits 280
Runs 101
Teams

Richard Arlin Billings (born December 4, 1942 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American former professional baseball player.[1] He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher, outfielder and third baseman for the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers (1968–74) and St. Louis Cardinals (1974–75).[1]

Baseball career[edit]

Billings was drafted out of Michigan State University by the Washington Senators in the 25th round of the 1965 Major League Baseball Draft.[2] He played as an outfielder and occasional third baseman in the Senators' minor league system for four years before making his major league debut as a pinch hitter on September 11, 1968.[1][3] Billings had his first appearance as a starting player on September 20, 1968 when he appeared as a left fielder in a game against the Detroit Tigers.[4]

Billings began the 1969 season with the Senators but, in June he returned to the minor leagues and was converted into a catcher.[5] In 1970, he posted a .305 batting average with 15 home runs and 67 runs batted in while playing for the Denver Bears.[3] His performance earned him a late-season return to the major leagues in September 1970, where he served as a backup catcher behind Paul Casanova.[1]

Billings won the starting catcher's job in July 1971 when Senators manager Ted Williams benched Casanova for weak hitting.[6] Although he led American League catchers with 16 passed balls, he ended the season with a career-high .992 fielding percentage in 116 games.[7] In 1972 the Senators relocated to the Dallas-Fort Worth area and were renamed the Texas Rangers. Billings started the season in a platoon role alongside left-hand hitting catcher Hal King.[8] King was sent to the minor leagues in July and, Billings eventually played in a career-high 133 games.[1][9] He also posted career-highs with a .254 batting average, 15 doubles, 5 home runs, and 68 runs batted in.[1] On August 13, 1972, Billings produced 5 runs batted in on 4 hits in a 13 to 4 victory over the Kansas City Royals.[10][11]

Williams resigned as the Rangers' manager and was replaced by Whitey Herzog, who installed Billings into a platoon role alongside catcher Ken Suarez for the 1973 season.[12] In May, he went on the 15-day disabled list.[13] Billings was the Rangers catcher on July 30, 1973 when Jim Bibby pitched a no-hitter against the defending world champion Oakland Athletics.[14][15] Batting as the Rangers' cleanup hitter, his average dropped to .179 with 3 home runs and 32 runs batted in.[1][16]

With the arrival of new manager Billy Martin in 1974, Billings found himself in a backup role behind defensive standout Jim Sundberg. In August 1974 he was purchased by the St. Louis Cardinals and, was sent to the minor leagues to play for the Tulsa Oilers.[3][17] He was called back up to the major leagues late in the season where he appeared in only one game on September 11.[18] Billings began the 1975 season with the Tulsa Oilers before being brought up to the Cardinals in June.[3][19] After only 3 games with the Cardinals, he was sent back to Tulsa in order to make room on the roster for outfielder Buddy Bradford.[20] Billings retired at the end of the season at the age of 32.[1]

Career statistics[edit]

In an 8-year major league career, Billings played in 400 games, accumulating 280 hits in 1,231 at bats for a .227 career batting average along with 16 home runs, 142 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .281.[1] He had a .984 career fielding percentage in 248 games as a catcher, a .966 fielding percentage in 92 games as an outfielder and, a .906 fielding percentage in 14 games as a third baseman.

Billings was also a player-manager for the Águilas del Zulia in the Venezuelan Winter League during the 1971–1972 and 1972–1973 seasons.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Dick Billings statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  2. ^ "1965 Major League Baseball Draft- 25th Round". thebaseballcube.com. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Dick Billings minor league statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "September 20, 1968 Tigers-Senators box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "1969 Dick Billings batting log". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  6. ^ "Senators topple Indians, 7 to 3". Star-News. United Press International. 7 August 1971. p. 17. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  7. ^ "1971 American League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  8. ^ "King Trying To Shake Tag He Can't Catch". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. 27 March 1972. p. 17. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Simmons Finally Signs Pact; Noonan, Clancy In Hospital". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Herald-Tribune Wire Services. 25 July 1972. p. 2. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Billings Ignites Texas Rout Of KC". The Morning Record. Associated Press. 14 August 1972. p. 21. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  11. ^ "August 13, 1972 Royals-Rangers box score". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  12. ^ "Relaxed Stanhouse Stops Yanks". The Day. Associated Press. 7 June 1973. p. 17. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  13. ^ "Rangers Gets Siebert For $$ And A Player". Lakeland Ledger. Associated Press. 5 May 1973. p. 2. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  14. ^ "NL Castoff No-Hits World Champions". Beaver County Times. United Press International. 31 July 1973. p. 10. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  15. ^ "July 30, 1973 Rangers-Athletics box score". retrosheet.org. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "The Shockwave Rolls On". The Free Lance-Star. 2 April 1974. p. 6. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  17. ^ "Padres Not Interested In Roy Campanella". The News and Courier. 13 August 1974. p. 4. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  18. ^ "1974 Dick Billings batting log". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 2 February 2011. 
  19. ^ "Billings promoted". The Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. 17 June 1975. p. 6. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Cards' Pitcher an Eye Opener". The Milwaukee Journal. Press Dispatches. 1 July 1975. p. 10. Retrieved 6 February 2011. 
  21. ^ "Aguilas del Zulia". purapelota.com. Retrieved 17 November 2013. 

External links[edit]