Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Group of 79 project - Don Demeter
I have to admit, my baseball knowledge is shaky in some places. If I had to rank my knowledge of 20th century baseball by decade, it would go:
I was born in the 1970's and grew up watching, reading, learning, working in/around/about/(preposition of choice) baseball. The Deadball Era is my favorite era in the history of the game. So the top four make a lot of sense. the rest, not so much. I dislike the 1930's as much as I have disliked the game of the 21st century. Too much offense, not enough pitching, slugfests. Yuck.
Which makes my lack of knowledge of the 1960's all the more baffling. Not an offensive era, one of the greatest pitching parks ever in the Astrodome, it is the decade right before I was born so there were players who played in the 1960's who I watched. Doesn't make a lot of sense but my choices in life often don't make sense.
My ignorance of the era means that I was largely unaware of Don Demeter and his accomplishments. As I was researching him, I discovered an interesting thing about him. He is the only player in history to have received MVP votes while playing 80 or more games at third base one season (1962) and then received MVP votes the following season while playing 80 or games in centerfield (and only seven players have played 80+ games at 3B one year and then 80+ in center the following). That's quite a move along the defensive spectrum.
Also interestingly, those two seasons were the only two where Demeter was an everyday player.
I'm not going to reinvent the wheel on this one. The tastefully named Jonathan Arnold did a nice biography of Demeter for the book The 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox: Pandemonium On The Field and you can read that bio here.