Gus Triandos

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Gus Triandos
Catcher
Born: (1930-07-30)July 30, 1930
San Francisco, California
Died: March 28, 2013(2013-03-28) (aged 82)
San Jose, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 3, 1953 for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
August 15, 1965 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average .244
Home runs 167
Runs batted in 608
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Gus Triandos (July 30, 1930 – March 28, 2013) was a Greek American former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball mostly as a catcher but also played as a first baseman for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers of the American League and the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros of the National League.[1] He batted and threw right-handed.

Playing career[edit]

Born in San Francisco, California, Triandos was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent in 1948.[2] He joined the Yankees' major league roster briefly in 1953, but was sent back to the minor leagues in 1954. Triandos was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1955 where he played mostly as a first baseman for his first two years with the team, before becoming the Orioles' regular catcher in 1957. As the Orioles' catcher, he used an outsized catcher's mitt designed by manager Paul Richards to handle the unpredictable knuckleball of Hoyt Wilhelm.[3] Triandos was behind the plate when Wilhelm threw a no hitter against the New York Yankees on September 20, 1958, and also scored the only run of the game when he hit a home run in the eighth inning.[4] Triandos said catching for Wilhelm was incredibly taxing, telling a reporter, "Wilhelm nearly ruined me."

Although perhaps the slowest runner in the league, Triandos once hit an inside-the-park home run.[5] As of 2007, he also holds the record for the most consecutive games without being caught stealing, 1,206. That accounts for his entire career, in which he had exactly one stolen base.[6] That stolen base came on September 28, 1958, the last game of the season, at Yankee Stadium, off rookie pitcher Zach Monroe and third-string catcher Darrell Johnson; the Yankees were saving their regular batteries for the upcoming 1958 World Series.[7]

Triandos had his best year in 1958, when he hit 16 home runs by mid-season to earn the starting catcher's role for the American League in the 1958 All-Star Game, breaking Yogi Berra's eight-year stranglehold on the position.[8][9] He ended the season leading all American League catchers in putouts with 698, and tied Berra's American League record of 30 home runs by a catcher.[3][10] In 1959, he hit 20 home runs by mid-season and was again selected to be the starting catcher for the American League in the 1959 All-Star Game, However, a hand injury meant that he only had 25 home runs for the entire season.[3][11]

In 1962, he hit .169 in 63 games and was traded to the Detroit Tigers at the end of the year.[2] With the Tigers in 1963, he shared catching duties with Bill Freehan and led American League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage.[3][12] The following winter, he was traded along with Jim Bunning to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he again shared catching duties, this time with Clay Dalrymple. As the Phillies' catcher, Triandos caught Bunning's perfect game against the New York Mets on June 21, 1964, thus becoming the first catcher in Major League history to catch no hitters in both the American and National Leagues.[3]

Career statistics[edit]

In a thirteen-year major league career, Triandos played in 1,206 games, accumulating 954 hits in 3,907 at bats for a .244 career batting average along with 167 home runs, 608 runs batted in and a .322 on-base percentage.[1] He ended his career with a .987 fielding percentage in 992 games as a catcher and, a .988 fielding percentage in 168 games as a first baseman.[1] Triandos led American League catchers twice in assists and in baserunners caught stealing.[1] In 1957, he threw out 66.7% of the base runners trying to steal a base, the third highest single-season ratio in Major League history.[13] Over his career, Triandos threw out 46.62% of the base runners who tried to steal a base on him, ranking him 6th on the all-time list.[14]

Triandos was elected to the American League All-Star team for three consecutive years, in 1957, 1958 and 1959.[1] His 142 home runs hit as an Oriole player ranks him 13th highest in the team's history.[15] In 1961, the reigning American League stolen base champion, Luis Aparicio, rated Triandos just below Earl Battey as the toughest catcher on which to attempt a stolen base.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Triandos's family origins are from Koroni, Messenia, Greece.[17] He was one of four children of Peter Triandos and Helen Mourgos, Greek immigrants to the U.S. He and wife Evelyn had three children, son Gary Triandos and daughters Lori Luna and Tracey Hook.

Triandos served as a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1973 to 1975. In later years, he lived in San Jose, California. Triandos Drive in Timonium, Maryland is named in honor of the popular catcher.[18]

Popular Culture[edit]

Triandos was referenced in the second episode of the third season of the HBO original series, The Wire.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Gus Triandos at Baseball-Reference
  2. ^ a b Gus Triandos Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
  3. ^ a b c d e "Gus Triandos Looks Back on his Catching Career", Baseball Digest, June 1997, Vol. 56, No. 6, ISSN 0005-609X
  4. ^ September 20, 1958 Yankees-Orioles box score at Baseball-Reference
  5. ^ Inside the Park: Home Runs by Catchers at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
  6. ^ Sporting News Baseball Record Book, 2007, p.52.
  7. ^ Baseball Almanac
  8. ^ "1958 Gus Triandos Batting Log". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  9. ^ "1958 All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  10. ^ 1958 American League Fielding Leaders at Baseball-Reference
  11. ^ "1959 All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  12. ^ Baseball Digest, July 2001, p.86, Vol. 60, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X
  13. ^ CS% Seasons at The Encyclopedia of Baseball Catchers
  14. ^ 100 Best Caught Stealing Totals at The Encyclopedia of Catchers
  15. ^ "Baltimore Orioles All-Time Hitting Leaders". baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved November 16, 2011. 
  16. ^ "Luis Aparicio Shoots For Seventh Straight Base-Stealing Honors". Times Daily. Associated Press. March 6, 1962. p. 8. Retrieved January 4, 2011. 
  17. ^ Baseball Acropolis
  18. ^ "Catching Up With Gus Triandos", The Toy Department (The Baltimore Sun sports blog), Tuesday, May 5, 2009

External links[edit]