MAY:THE BASEBALL GURU ARTICLE FROM
A ONE YEAR PILOT & HIS CREW
JOE SCHULTZ, THE
A LOOK AT THE FRANCHISE, THE PLAYERS & MANAGEMENT, SOME MOMENTS (MOSTLY BAD), & SOME GOOD ONES
How would you have liked to have been the only manager a ML team ever had? Well for the one year that the Seattle Pilots were in existence Joe Schultz had that distinction.
His career in baseball spanned being a catcher, coach, and of course the manager of the Pilots in 1969. We also should include his replacing Billy Martin as the interim manager of the Tigers in 1973 when Martin was fired.
His father was Germany Schultz, who had a decent career with several
teams in the National League. Schultz followed in his fathers footsteps.
After playing for a number of clubs, he ended his career with a lifetime
batting average of .259. This apparently was enough to qualify him as a coach
with the Browns, Cards,
The fates were against him. The Pilots entered the American League with a mediocre Stadium, ownership that had very little money to spend on the team and had to settle for players who were near the end of the road, and youngsters who werent very good.
It also didnt help that some of the players second guessed his decisions as a manger. Jim Bouton in his book, BALL FOUR has a very unflattering description of him and some people felt that hurt him in terms of getting another management position later on.
The man who always wanted to be a manger got his wish with
AH HOW SWEET IT WAS ..AT LEAST IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning it was sweetness and light Joe Schultz was given the key to the city, and everyone was thrilled that Seattle was playing with the big boys now, and holy moly the first game was just a day away. That day and that euphoria may have been the highlight of the season!
There were so many problems with the franchise that its unbelievable
that they even came into existence. The owner Dewey Soriano knew nothing
about baseball and was short on funds. The teams total payroll was
by far the lowest in both leagues. They were in a small city with almost
no media coverage. The Stadium (rightly called Sick Stadium) was at best
a Minor League park and not a very good one at that. The facilities were
poor, seating in certain areas made it difficult to see what was happening
on the field, the bathroom amenities were hazardous and very little was spent
to upgrade things. The team had no stars to draw crowds, and there was
competition from first year
No one came to the games and no wonder. The team was dismal. Diego Segui was by far their best pitcher with a so so record of 12-12. Gene Brabender (remember him) was second best with13-14 and John ODonoghue was decent with 6-2.
The hitting didnt. Tommy Harper, bad knees and all, managed a ..311 BA with just 9 homers. Tommy Davis, bad knees and all, got to .271. Of all the other regulars no one reached higher than .245. Wayne Comer got to that point with 15 homeruns but just 54 RBIs. Attendence reflected the team, it was awful.
During spring training rumors were all over and
It was short, certainly not sweet, and we cant call them one tear wonders. They were Pilots & their navigation though the Major Leagues proved to be perilous!