September 1, 1939 |
Consuelo, San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
|September 15, 1963, for the Milwaukee Braves|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 23, 1979, for the Toronto Blue Jays|
|Runs batted in||890|
|Career highlights and awards|
Ricardo Adolfo Jacobo Carty (born September 1, 1939) is a Dominican former professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as an outfielder in a career that spanned from 1963 to 1979. Nicknamed "Beeg Boy", he was the 1970 National League (NL) batting champion with a .366 average and made his only All-Star appearance that season.
Carty was one of the earliest Dominicans to play in MLB. However, his career was marked by battles with injuries, illnesses (tuberculosis) and with teammates. In his 15 seasons, he played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs of the NL, and the Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Toronto Blue Jays and Texas Rangers of the American League. He represented the Dominican Republic at the 1959 Pan American Games.
Major League career
Carty signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves as a free agent in 1959. While he was an excellent hitter, he had poor defensive skills. Originally a catcher, Carty was converted into an outfielder in order to lessen his defensive liabilities and to get his bat into the everyday lineup. After four years in the minor leagues, Carty made an impressive major league debut in 1964, finishing second to Roberto Clemente in the National League Batting Championship with a .330 batting average and, finishing the season as runner-up to Dick Allen in the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award ballot.
He continued to hit over .300 for the next three seasons but, then faltered in 1967, slumping to a .255 batting average in part due to a separated shoulder. Carty then missed the entire 1968 season while battling with tuberculosis. He recovered in 1969 with a .342 batting average, helping the Braves win the National League Western Division title, the franchise's first post-season berth since the 1958 World Series, and finishing 13th in the National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. The Braves would eventually lose to the "Miracle" Mets in the 1969 National League Championship Series.
Carty had his best season in 1970 when he hit 25 home runs with 101 runs batted in and, won the National League Batting Championship with a .366 batting average, the highest average in the major leagues since Ted Williams recorded a .388 batting average in 1957. Despite not appearing on the All-Star ballot, he was voted to be a starting outfielder for the National League as a write-in candidate in the 1970 All-Star Game, playing alongside Hank Aaron and Willie Mays in the outfield. It would be the only All-Star appearance of his career. Carty also compiled a 31-game hitting streak in 1970 (the longest by a Brave in the franchise's Atlanta history until Dan Uggla surpassed it with a 33-game streak in 2011). He was named NL Player of the Month in May with a .448 batting average, 7 home runs, and 22 RBI, and finished 10th in the 1970 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting.
A crushed knee injury suffered during the Dominican Winter Baseball season meant that Carty would miss another entire season in 1971. He returned in 1972, but only managed a .277 batting average. By then, Carty had worn out his welcome with the Braves management as well as his teammates, having been involved in fights with Hank Aaron and Ron Reed. In October 1972, he was traded to the Texas Rangers to fill the role of the newly adopted designated hitter. Carty had difficulty adjusting to the hitting-only position, hitting for only a .232 average before being traded in mid-season to the Chicago Cubs. While with the Cubs, he had a personality clash with their star third baseman, Ron Santo, forcing the team to trade Carty to the Oakland Athletics one month later. With a combined .229 batting average for the three teams, Carty was released by the Athletics in December 1973 and, it seemed as if his career might be over.
In 1974 he signed to play with the Cafeteros de Córdoba in the Mexican Baseball League. In August 1974, the Cleveland Indians signed him to be their designated hitter. Carty's career was rejuvenated with Cleveland, posting a .308 batting average with 64 runs batted in during the 1975 season and, improving to a .310 batting average with 83 runs batted in for the 1976 season. In 1977, his batting average dropped to .280 however, he still produced 80 runs batted in.
In March 1978 the Indians traded Carty to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Blue Jays then traded him to the Oakland Athletics in August of that year. At the age of 38, he hit for a combined .282 batting average with 31 home runs and 99 runs batted in. After being granted free agency in November 1978, he signed a contract to play for the Blue Jays before retiring at the end of 1979 at the age of 39.
In a fifteen-year major league career, Carty played in 1,651 games, accumulating 1,677 hits in 5,606 at bats for a .299 career batting average along with 204 home runs, 890 runs batted in and a .369 on-base percentage. He ended his career with a .974 fielding percentage. During his career, he played as a catcher, first baseman, third baseman, outfielder and designated hitter.
One of the early major leaguers out of the baseball-rich Dominican Republic, Carty was committed to helping the developing nation. In the 1964–65 off-season, as the country reeled between rapid governmental transitions and militarism, he undertook a trip with Catholic Relief Services to his home country, on a mission to deliver clothing and supplies.
- Rico Carty at Baseball Reference
- Rico Carty: He's No Longer The 'Beeg Boy, by Ron Hudspeth, Baseball Digest, February 1973, Vol. 32, No. 2, ISSN 0005-609X
- "1959 Pan American Games (Rosters)". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
- Rico Carty Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
- Rico Carty - The Beeg Boy Finally Makes it Big, by Priit Vesilind, Baseball Digest, August 1970, Vol. 29, No. 8, ISSN 0005-609X
- 1964 National League Batting Leaders at Baseball Reference
- 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award ballot results at Baseball Reference
- 1969 National League Team Statistics and Standings at Baseball Reference
- 1969 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
- 1969 NLCS at Baseball Reference
- 1970 National League Batting Leaders at Baseball Reference
- Baseball Digest, July 1986, Vol. 45, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X
- 1970 All-Star Game at Baseball Reference
- 1970 National League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
- Designated Hitter Born 25 Years Ago, by Bruce Markusen, Baseball Digest, July 1998, Vol. 57, No. 7, ISSN 0005-609X
- Schneider, Russell (2004). The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia. Sports Publishing. ISBN 9781582618401. Retrieved 15 August 2010.
- "The Chronicler". Catholic Relief Services. 1965.
- Baseball Hall of Fame eball Reference Bullpen – Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Retrosheet
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