Armour: Where have you gone, Rance Mulliniks?

From SABR member Mark Armour at The Hardball Times on July 10, 2018:

This piece is based on original research that was presented last month at the Society for American Baseball Research’s 48th annual national convention.

Last winter I wrote an article on Matty Alou and Manny Mota, focusing on the three years (1966-1968) during which they formed a center field platoon for the Pittsburgh Pirates. You can read the story here, but the short version is that they were good friends (growing up some 10 miles from each other in the Dominican), who were born in 1937, signed with the Giants in 1957, were natural center fielders blocked by the best center fielder who ever lived, and eventually found themselves together again with the Pirates in 1966.

They were also remarkably similar players – free swingers with very little power, who, in the offense-starved 1960s, could be valuable if they could hit .300. In 1966, they did just that – Alou hit .342, and won the National League batting title, while Mota hit .332 and would have finished second had he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Please forgive the use of old-school statistics here, but their batting averages are what made this a big story in 1966, the focus of national newspaper and magazine stories.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: July 12, 2018. Last Updated: July 12, 2018.