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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Sudakis
1971 Ticketron Bill Sudakis.jpg
Third baseman
Born: (1946-03-27) March 27, 1946 (age 74)
Joliet, Illinois
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1968, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
August 7, 1975, for the Cleveland Indians
MLB statistics
Batting average.234
Home runs59
Runs batted in214
Teams

William Paul Sudakis (born March 27, 1946) is an American former Major League Baseball infielder. Primarily a third baseman, the Los Angeles Dodgers experimented with Sudakis at catcher in 1970–71.

Early years

During his senior year at Joliet Township High School in 1964, Sudakis signed with the Dodgers. He fared poorly in his first professional season with the Pioneer League's Pocatello Chiefs, batting just .214 with one home run and twelve runs batted in with a .843 fielding percentage at third. The Dodgers experimented with Sudakis all over the infield over his next three seasons in the minors. The power hitting switch hitter clubbed 23 home runs for the Santa Barbara Dodgers in 1966, and in 1968, he batted .294 with sixteen home runs and 75 RBIs for the Albuquerque Dodgers to earn Texas League co-MVP honors with Jim Spencer of the El Paso Sun Kings.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Later that year, he made his major league debut as a September call up, and immediately took over the starting third base job over incumbent Bob Bailey. He hit a home run in his first game, a come from behind victory over the Philadelphia Phillies,[1] and led the Dodgers to a 3–0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals with his first-inning two-run home run on September 21.[2]

In his rookie season of 1969, Sudakis clubbed fourteen home runs (second on the team to right fielder Andy Kosco), four of which came in consecutive games from August 15 through 19. He was the last Dodgers rookie to hit home runs in four consecutive games until Joc Pederson did so in 2015, and he was the youngest Dodgers rookie ever to do so until Pederson succeeded him.[3][4]

With rookie prospects Steve Garvey and Billy Grabarkewitz joining a crowded Dodgers infield in 1970, Manager Walter Alston experimented with Sudakis at catcher.[5] The idea was seemingly abandoned in mid May, until the second game of an August 15 doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs.[6] For the season, Sudakis appeared in 38 games behind the plate, and threw out just 6% of potential base stealers (2 of 32). He had one of his better seasons with the bat, matching his previous season's home run total in nearly 200 fewer plate appearances. His .264 batting average was also a career high.

Dogged by bad knees, Sudakis was limited to just 41 games and a .193 average in 1971. He was placed on waivers during Spring Training of 1972, and was selected by the New York Mets on his 26th birthday. His knees kept him off the field until July 11,[7] and prompted the Mets to use him mostly at first base. He appeared in only 18 games for the Mets, and batted just .143 with one home run.[8]

Texas Rangers

During Spring training 1973, the Texas Rangers acquired Sudakis from the Mets for minor league journeyman Bill McNulty. Though he appeared in just 82 games for the Rangers (mostly at first and third), he hit a career-high fifteen home runs. The designated hitter was introduced in the American League in 1973,[9] a position Sudakis seemed ideally suited for. However, he made nine appearances at DH, and batted just .111 with two RBIs. Following the season, his contract was purchased by the New York Yankees.

New York Yankees

The Yankees platooned Sudakis at DH with left handed hitter Ron Blomberg, and used him as Chris Chambliss' back up at first base, however, he also appeared at third, and made one appearance behind the plate.[10] Following a 10–0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on September 29,[11] the Yankees' flight to Milwaukee for a two-game set against the Brewers to end the season was delayed three hours. Upon arrival at the Pfister Towers Hotel in Milwaukee, Sudakis and back up catcher Rick Dempsey got into a fight in the hotel lobby.[12] The fight was broken up by fellow catcher Thurman Munson, among others. Dave Pagan, Walt Williams and All-Star Bobby Murcer were all injured in the altercation,[13] and Sudakis did not appear in either of the final two games of the season. He was dealt from the Yankees to the California Angels for Skip Lockwood at the Winter Meetings on December 3, 1974.[14]

1975 season

Sudakis appeared in thirty games for the Angels, and batted just .121 with one home run before he was released in late June. He immediately signed with the Indians,[15] but fared only slightly better (.196 avg.). In 1976, he played for the Omaha Royals of the American Association in the Kansas City Royals system but could not make it back to the major leagues.

Career statistics

Games PA AB Runs Hits 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO HBP Avg. Slg. Fld% CS%
530 1751 1548 177 362 56 7 59 214 9 172 313 7 .234 .393 .970 18%

He was part of a core of young Dodgers prospects that became known as "The Mod Squad" after the popular TV series of the same name, and appeared on the cover of the May 19, 1969 edition of Sports Illustrated, along with his fellow Mod Squad members.[16] From 1971 on, Sudakis caught 32% of potential base stealers (9 of 28) over the remainder of his career.

Personal life

Sudakis is of Lithuanian descent.[17] On September 27, 1985, Sudakis and Theodore Earl Turina were arrested on cocaine possession charges by undercover narcotics officers. $200,000 worth of cocaine was recovered at their Huntington Beach residence. Orange County Sheriff's Lieutenant Tom Conner said that Sudakis was armed with a handgun at the time of the arrest and that a second weapon was also seized. Conner said authorities plan to pursue charges for possession of handguns.[18]

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 10, Philadelphia Phillies 9". Baseball-Reference.com. Connie Mack Stadium. September 3, 1968.
  2. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers 3, St. Louis Cardinals 0". Baseball-Reference.com. Dodger Stadium. September 21, 1968.
  3. ^ "Joc Pederson homers in fourth straight game as Dodgers beat Arizona, 6–4". Los Angeles Times. latimes.com. May 2, 2015.
  4. ^ "As Pederson delivers again, Dodger bullpen on 19-inning scoreless streak". Dodger Insider.
  5. ^ "Doing the Houston Pennant Bounce". Sports illustrated. April 13, 1970.
  6. ^ "Chicago Cubs 13, Los Angeles Dodgers 2". Baseball-Reference.com. Wrigley Field. August 15, 1970.
  7. ^ "San Francisco Giants 6, New York Mets 1". Baseball-Reference.com. Shea Stadium. July 11, 1972.
  8. ^ "Early Seventies Mets Reserve Catcher: Bill Sudakis (1972)". CenterfieldMaz. March 23, 2016.
  9. ^ "Designated Hitter Rule". MLB.com.
  10. ^ "Boston Red Sox 14, New York Yankees 6". Baseball-Reference.com. Fenway Park. May 21, 1974.
  11. ^ "New York Yankees 10, Cleveland Indians 0". Baseball-Reference.com. Cleveland Stadium. September 29, 1974.
  12. ^ "2 Yankees In Fight in Milwaukee". The New York Times. September 30, 1974. p. 46.
  13. ^ Boswell, Thomas (August 2, 1983). "Dempsey: Orioles Catcher in the Wry". The Washington Post.
  14. ^ Durso, Joseph. "Big Deals: McGraw to Phils, Allen to Braves, Lee May to Orioles," The New York Times, Wednesday, December 4, 1974. Retrieved October 31, 2020
  15. ^ "People in Sports". The New York Times. July 1, 1975. p. 22.
  16. ^ Leggett, William (May 19, 1969). "Some Kids Make a Sad Man Happy". Sports Illustrated.
  17. ^ Karnila, Vin. "Lithuanian sportsmen in the US". VilNews.com. Retrieved September 29, 2016.
  18. ^ Dodson, Marcida (September 29, 1985). "Ex-Dodger, Businessman Arrested on Cocaine Charges". Los Angeles Times.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 February 2021, at 21:58
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