Bailey in 1956.
April 15, 1931|
Strawberry Plains, Tennessee
|Died: March 23, 2007
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|September 26, 1953 for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 26, 1966 for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||540|
|Career highlights and awards|
Lonas Edgar Bailey, Jr. (April 15, 1931 – March 23, 2007) was an American professional baseball player. He played as a catcher in Major League Baseball from 1953 through 1966. A five-time All-Star, Bailey was one of the top catchers in the National League in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Major League career
Born in Strawberry Plains, Tennessee, Bailey was contracted by the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1950 as an amateur free agent. He reached the Majors in 1953 and in 1955 he was given a chance as the Reds' starting catcher, replacing Andy Seminick. When his offensive production floundered, the Reds traded Seminick for catcher Smoky Burgess and Bailey was sent down to the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. With the help of some batting advice from Reds manager and former catcher Birdie Tebbetts, his hitting improved in the minor leagues and continued to improve in the Venezuelan Winter League.
Bailey began the 1956 season as the backup catcher to Burgess, but when the team faltered early in the season, Tebbetts decided to shake things up and named Bailey as the Reds' starting catcher. By mid-season, he was the leading hitter in the National League with a .335 batting average, helping to spur the Reds into first place. His hitting performance earned him a place as the starting catcher for the National League in the 1956 All-Star Game. The Reds stayed in the pennant race until the last day of the season, ending up with a 91–63 record, two games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bailey ended the 1956 season with career-highs in batting average (.300), home runs (28), runs batted in (75), and led the league in baserunners caught stealing (23).
In 1957, the Reds were once again in first place at mid-season, but faltered to finish the season in fourth place. Bailey earned his second consecutive start for the National League All-Star Team, led National League catchers with a 46.2 Caught Stealing percentage and finished second to Roy Campanella with a .992 fielding percentage. He remained as the Reds' starting catcher for the rest of the 1950s up until twelve games into the 1961 season, when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants for catcher Bob Schmidt.
In 1962, Bailey platooned with catcher Tom Haller, as the two players combined to give the Giants 35 home runs and 100 runs batted in from the catcher's position. In June of that year, Bailey had a streak of 3 clutch home runs in four games that propelled the Giants into first place. The Giants battled the Los Angeles Dodgers in a tight pennant race as the two teams ended the season tied for first place and met in the 1962 National League tie-breaker series. The Giants won the three-game series to clinch the National League championship. Bailey appeared in six games of the 1962 World Series, hitting a home run in Game 3 as the Giants lost to the New York Yankees in seven games. He had another strong year in 1963, hitting 21 home runs with 68 runs batted in, earning his fifth and final All-Star berth.
In December 1963, Bailey was traded along with Felipe Alou and Billy Hoeft to the Milwaukee Braves for Del Crandall, Bob Hendley and Bob Shaw. He served as Joe Torre's back up for two seasons with the Braves before being traded back to the Giants in February 1965. After just fourteen games of the 1965 season, he was traded again, this time to the Chicago Cubs, where he served as a backup catcher to Vic Roznovsky. On July 22, 1965, Bailey hit a grand slam home run, a three-run home run and a run-scoring single to drive home eight runs during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies. After the 1965 season, he was traded to the California Angels and was released after appearing in only five games of the 1966 season.
In a fourteen-season major league career, Bailey played in 1,212 games with 915 hits in 3,581 at bats for a .256 batting average along with 155 home runs and 540 runs batted in, including 423 runs, a .355 on base percentage and a .986 fielding percentage. He was a five-time All-Star and led National League catchers in baserunners caught stealing and caught stealing percentage once each. At the time of his retirement, he ranked 11th overall for career home runs by a catcher. His younger brother, pitcher Jim Bailey, also played in the Major Leagues. When his brother joined the Reds in 1959, the Bailey brothers became one of the few brother-batteries in Major League history.
1957 All-Star Game ballot stuffing controversy
In 1957, Bailey and six of his Redleg teammates—Roy McMillan, Johnny Temple, Don Hoak, Gus Bell, Wally Post and Frank Robinson—were voted into the National League All-Star starting lineup, the result of a ballot stuffing campaign by Redlegs fans. Major League Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick intervened, removing Bell and Post from the starting line up and replacing them with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. Frick allowed Bell to remain on the team as a reserve while Post was removed from the team altogether. The Commissioner also transferred the responsibility for All-Star voting to the players, managers and coaches the following year.
- In 1956 appeared as a Mystery Guest in a What's My Line? episode, along with Cincinnati teammates Gus Bell, Smoky Burgess, Ray Jablonski, Johnny Klippstein, Ted Kluszewski, Roy McMillan, Joe Nuxhall, Wally Post, Frank Robinson, and Johnny Temple.
- Made the National League All-Star team in 1956–57, 1960–61, and 1963.
- Hit double figures in home runs in eight of his 14 ML seasons.
- Hit three home runs in one 1956 game.
- Had eight pinch-hit homers, including two grand slams.
- Hit a two-run homer in Game 3 of the 1962 World Series.
- Collected eight RBI in a 1965 game.
- Made two unassisted double plays in 1963 and 1965.
- Caught Juan Marichal's no-hitter on June 15, 1963.
- "Ed Bailey at Baseball Reference". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- Pile, Bob (August 1956). "Bailey- Next Catching Great?". Baseball Digest. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Mid-Season Finds Ed Bailey and Mantle Leading Hitters". The News and Courier. Associated Press. 10 July 1956. p. 2. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- "1956 Cincinnati Redlegs Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
- "1956 All-Star Game". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "1957 Cincinnati Redlegs Schedule, Box Scores and Splits". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
- "1957 All-Star Game". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "1957 National League Fielding Leaders". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Ed Bailey Trades and Transactions". Baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "1962 San Francisco Giants". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Ed Bailey Puts Giants Back On Top". The Miami News. Associated Press. 29 June 1962. p. 2. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- "1962 National League standings and statistics". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Tiebreaker Playoff Results". ESPN.com. September 30, 2008. Retrieved 15 October 2011.
- "Ed Bailey post-season batting statistics". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "1962 World Series". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "1963 All-Star Game". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 30 October 2011.
- "Bailey Batting Downs Phillies". The Bend Bulletin. United Press International. 23 July 1965. p. 8. Retrieved 24 November 2010.
- Career Home Runs by Catchers at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
- Jim Bailey at Baseball Reference
- Brother Batteries at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
- 1957 All-Star Game at Baseball Almanac
- Rocking The Vote, By John Donovan at sportsillustrated.cnn.com July 6, 1999
- What's My Line, Episode dated 24 June 1956 at Imbd.com
- Ed Bailey Obituary at The New York Times
- June 24, 1956 Reds-Dodgers box score at Baseball Reference
- July 22, 1965 Phillies-Cubs box score at Baseball Reference
- Unassisted Double Play Catchers at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
- June 15, 1963 Colts-Giants box score at Baseball Reference