You Can’t Go Winning in a Baseball Pool

a real baseball pool

 

Baseball Pool. – C&W singer and song composer Roger Miller made the phrase famous when he once upon a time (when we were young) sang to all of us young pups of the early 1960s to remember that “you can’t go swimming in a baseball pool.” After the National League player draft of 1961, we fans of the new Colt .45s and Mets got to find out in 1962 – also – that “you can’t go winning in a baseball pool” either. Makes you wonder how we might have matched up against a team of roller-skating buffaloes had they been on the schedule back in 1962?

News received yesterday of short term original baseball pool draftee Dick Gernert’s recent death stirred questions in my own mind overnight about the survivorship of all the Houston Colt .45s who were picked up from the October 10, 1961 baseball pool of talent made available to the two newbie clubs by the eight established NL teams.

Here’s the research result in tabular form, based upon what could be gleamed from Wikipedia and Baseball Reference.com in quick time:

The Houston Colt .45 Selections in the October 10, 1961 NL Baseball Pool

PICK # PLAYERS/BY VALUE POS. FROM HOU TIME DEAD/ALIVE
$75,000 EACH BELOW
1 EDDIE BRESSOUD IF SFG 0 (FN1) AGE 85
3 BOB ASPROMONTE IF LAD 1962-68 AGE 79
5 BOB LILLIS IF SLC 1962-67 AGE 87
7 DICK DROTT P CC 1962-63 DIED: 08/16/85
9 AL HEIST OF CC 1962 DIED: 10/02/06
11 ROMAN MEJIAS OF PGH 1962 AGE 87
13 GEORGE WILLIAMS IF PHI 1962 DIED: 05/14/09
15 JESSE HICKMAN P PHI 0 (FN 2) AGE 78
17 MERRITT RANEW C MIL 1962 DIED: 10/18/11
19 DON TAUSSIG OF SLC 1962 AGE 85
21 BOBBY SHANTZ P PGH 1962 AGE 92
23 NORM LARKER 1B LAD 1962 DIED: 03/12/07
25 SAM JONES P SFG 0 (FN 3) DIED: 11/05/71
27 PAUL ROOF P MIL 0 Age 75
29 KEN JOHNSON P CIN 1962-65 DIED: 11/21/15
31 DICK GERNERT 1B CIN 1962 DIED: 11/30/17
$50,000 EACH BELOW
33 ED OLIVARES IF SLC 0 AGE 79
35 JIM UMBRICHT P PGH 1962-63 DIED: 04/08/64
37 JIM GOLDEN P LAD 1962-63 AGE 81
$125,000 EACH BELOW
38 JOE AMALFITANO IF SFG 1962 AGE 83
40 TURK FARRELL P LAD 1962-67 DIED: 06/10/77
42 HAL SMITH C PGH 1962-63 AGE 87
44 AL SPANGLER OF MIL 1962-64 AGE 84

FN1: 11/26/1961. Eddie Bressoud traded to Red Sox for SS Don Buddin.

FN2: 06/04/65. Never played for Houston, but the club controlled his contract until he was traded to Kansas City with a “player to be named later” on this much later date for Jim Gentile.

FN3: 12/01/61. Traded to Detroit for Bob Bruce and Manny Montejo

General Findings:

1) Of the 23 players selected by Houston, 14 are still living and 9 are dead.

2) 18 of the draftees actually played some time for Houston; 5 did not.

3) Bob Aspromonte’s 7 Houston seasons (1962-68) is the longest tenure period for all baseball pool roster players.

Note: No attempt was made here to track the record or survivorship of players acquired in subsequent trades for any of the draftees.

********************

The Darrell Pittman Contribution Here. It’s happened again. Working on his own, friend and colleague Darrell Pittman was also moved by the death of Dick Gernert to come up with a quick count tally on how many former Houston Colt .45s/Astros players were lost to death in 2017. Thanks for the timely contribution to a subject that’s always with us, Darrell. Your own chart will stand here as our sign out salute to the big scoreboard that never takes a break:

Houston MLB Franchise Deaths for 2017

“It’s been a rough year, and it’s not over.” – Darrell Pittman

Name Birth Death Seasons Played for Houston Player page
Bob Bruce 5/16/1933 3/15/2017 1962-66 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Bruce_Bob.html
Bob Cerv 5/5/1925 4/6/2017 1962 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Cerv_Bob.html
Anthony Young 1/19/1966 6/27/2017 1996 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Young_Anthony.html
Lee May 3/24/1943 7/29/2017 1972-74 http://astrosdaily.com/players/May_Lee.html
Danny Walton 7/14/1947 8/9/2017 1977 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Walton_Danny.html
Jim Landis 3/9/1934 10/7/2017 1967 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Landis_Jim.html
Ross Powell 1/24/1968 10/25/2017 1994-95 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Powell_Ross.html
Dick Gernert 9/28/1928 11/30/2017 1962 http://astrosdaily.com/players/Gernert_Dick.html

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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