Saturday, May 6, 2017

#346 Joe Pittman San Diego Padres

This is Joe Pittman's second and last Topps card.  The green border usually clashes on the Padres cards but it works here as goes nicely with the green grass.  The inset pic look like it was taken right before or after the main photo.  Like a lot of cards from this set, I think this in Candlestick Park.
I always thought Pittman looked like a little guy on this card but he is listed at 6'1".
Player: In 1975 Joe Pittman was a 5th round pick of the Houston Astros and as a 22 year old coming out of college, he was given an aggressive assignment to AA Columbus to start his pro career. Despite his advanced placement, Pittman didn't reach the majors until six years later when he was promoted in April of 1981.
Pittman had an excellent season at AAA Tucson in 1980 but was blocked by future Hall of Famer Joe Morgan at second base.  With Morgan gone in '81, the Astros had a revolving door at second and employed Pittman, Rafael Landestoy, Dickie Thon, and late year acqusition Phil Garner.  Pittman batted .281 with a .333 on base percentage and was a plus on defense as well.  Although he only played 35 played games in the field he was fourth in the NL in Total Zone Runs at 2B.  Pittman made the postseason roster but was relegated to a bench role and went 0-2 in the NLDS loss to the Dodgers.

Pittman spent most of the early part of the 1982 season back in the minors before a June trade sent him to the Padres.  In San Diego Pittman was used at both second and shortstop as well as a pinch hitter.  Pittman never really adjusted to a role as a reserve batting .185 off the bench compared to .267 as a starter.

With the exception of 17 games with the Giants in '84 Pittman spent the next three years at the AAA level before leaving pro ball.

Flipside:  The Houston native had to be thrilled to be drafted by the Astros.  It seems that teams used to draft more hometown guys than they do now.

Oddball: Pittman was one of the leading batters in the 1990 Senior Professional Baseball Association when he posted a .337 batting average.

History:  Pittman was a speedy infielder who didn't get on base enough or hit for enough pop to reach the big leagues at a young age.  Once he got there he struggled to keep his head above water. After his playing career he coached in the Astros system for a while.  Later employed in construction, Pittman passed away in 2014 when he collapsed on the jobsite in 2014.

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