Friday, February 1, 2013

#196 Bill Fahey - Detroit Tigers

This is Bill Fahey's 11th and final Topps card.  It sure is a bright picture.  The sun's reflection is even glaring off his helmet in the inset.

Player:  Bill Fahey was a light hitting back up who played 11 seasons in the majors.  A left-handed hitting catcher, he was drafted by the Senators as the first overall pick in the January secondary draft.  He was in the big leagues the next season but was hitless in eight at bats.

As the Senators moved west and became the Texas Rangers in '72, Fahey rode the pine and batted just .168 in 119 at bats.  He spent the entire '73 season in the minors with Spokane.  Fahey traveled back and forth between Texas and AAA the next four years, never amassing more than 80 at bats with the Rangers.  He hit between .221 and .290 in his limited time from '74-'77.  The Rangers kept him at AAA in '78 and traded him following the season to the Padres in a five-player deal. 

With his relocation to Southern California, Fahey finally got a chance to play in 1979.  Starting behind the plate when starting catcher Gene Tenace played first base, Fahey had a career year.  In 236 plate appearances he posted a stat line of .287/.348/.378 with a 105 OPS+.  He was regarded as a solid defender and which is supported by his 0.8 dWAR. 

Fahey played in a career high 93 games in '80 but his offensive numbers slipped to .257/.314/.286.  The following spring the Padres sold Fahey to the Tigers.  In Detroit he was a third catcher behind Lance Parrish and the versatile Johnny Wockenfuss.  In his three years with the Tigers he had just 156 at bats.  His playing career ended in '83 and his career stats show he played only 383 games played in 11 years. 

Flipside:  You don't see too many players coming from Detroit anymore.  The suburbs sure, plenty.  But Detroit itself, nope.

Oddball:  Fahey grew up a Tigers fan and when they won the World Series in '68 he and a friend went to the airport to greet them.  The large gathering was disruptive and mass of people knocked down a fence.  The fire department had to turn a fire hose on the crowd to keep them back.   

History:  Fahey retired with a .241/.296/.296 stat line.  As his career was winding down the Tigers saw that he had potential as a manager and wanted to keep him in the organization. The transition took place when he took over the reigns of the Lakeland Tigers for the '84 season. Unfortunately the Tigers minor leaguers were more like suspects than prospects and Fahey suffered a 46-98 record. 
He resurfaced on the Giants coaching staff when former Tiger pitching coach Roger Craig took over in San Francisco.  Fahey was on the Giants staff from '86 to '91.   

1 comment:

  1. I am thinking Fahey would be an excellent candidate for my Backup Catcher Hall of Fame.