Tony González (baseball)
August 28, 1936 |
Central Cunagua, Cuba
|April 12, 1960, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 4, 1971, for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||615|
Andrés Antonio "Tony" González (born August 28, 1936 in Central Cunagua, Cuba) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder, who played with the Cincinnati Reds (1960), Philadelphia Phillies (1960–68), San Diego Padres (1969), Atlanta Braves (1969–70) and California Angels (1970–71).
A fine center fielder, González spent his best years with the Phillies. He had an average, though accurate, arm with excellent range. As a hitter, he batted for average with occasional power, drew a significant number of walks, was a good bunter, and had enough power to collect an above-average of doubles and triples. He hit a career-high 20 home runs in 1962, and in 1963 he had career-highs in doubles (36) and triples (12), for third and second in the league, respectively. In 1967, his career-high .339 average was second to Roberto Clemente .357 for the NL batting crown, and also was second in the majors.
In his twelve-season career, González hit .286 (1485-for-5195) with 103 home runs, 615 RBI, 690 runs, 238 doubles, 57 triples, and 79 stolen bases in 1559 games. In the 1969 National League Championship Series against the Mets, he hit .357 with two RBI, one double, four runs, and one homer (off Tom Seaver). Following his major league career, he played part of one season in Japan in 1972 for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
In total, Gonzalez made about 5,800 trips to the plate over his career (about 80% of them against right-handed pitchers (4,600) and the other 20% against lefties (1,200)) -- so for his 12-season career, he averaged about 400 plate appearances per year against righties and 100 plate appearances against lefties. In total, Gonzalez hit .286, with a .350 on-base percentage, and a .413 slugging percentage. But what is striking about Tony is that he exhibited a rather extreme platoon split during his career—that is, being a left-handed batter, he hit right-handed pitchers much better than he hit left-handed ones. For his career against righties, Gonzalez hit .303, with a .366 on-base percentage, and a .442 slugging percentage. Against lefties, these numbers were only .219, .288, and .299!! Given that the 1960s were a time of reduced offensive output --- due in part to a larger strike zone and 4-man (rather than 5-man) rotations --- Gonzalez performance against righties was exceptional, and if he'd had a right-handed hitting platoon-mate that could have covered his 100 or so plate appearances against lefties each year, then he'd be considered one of the best hitters of the decade.
During the 1964 season, González was the first major league baseball player to wear a batting helmet with a pre-molded ear-flap. González was in the league top-ten in hit by pitches and the special helmet was constructed for his use.
- Paul Lukas (2010-02-02). "There's No Service Like Wire Service, Vol. 3". Uni Watch Blog. Retrieved 2010-02-02.