Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #218 - John Wathan

  • John Wathan was the Kansas City Royals' first round pick (4th overall) in the 1971 draft. He performed well in the minor leagues, but injuries to his wrist and shoulder slowed his progress in the Royals' system.
  • The Royals finally brought Wathan up to the majors in May 1976. John was the third catcher and didn't get a whole lot of playing time. Wathan batted .286 (12 for 42) in 27 games during the regular season. John got into one game in the 1976 AL Championship Series but he didn't come to the plate.
  • The 1977 season was Wathan's first full season. He batted .328 in 55 games during the regular season and was 0 for 6 with three strikeouts in the 1977 ALCS
  • Wathan split time between first base and catcher in 1978. He played in 67 games and batted .300 with 2 HR and 28 RBI. John went 0 for 3 in the only game (game 4) he played in the 1978 ALCS.
  • John had a rough time in 1979. Not only did his team not play well, but his mother was murdered by  his stepbrother on June 10. Wathen ended up batting .206 in 90 games.
  • In 1980 John split time with Darrell Porter behind the plate and also played in the outfield and at first base. Wathan had a nice bounceback year, batting .305 with 6 HR and 58 RBI. John also stole 17 bases, the first of four straight years of double figures in that category. During the ALCS Wathan was 0 for 6 in three games and in the World Series he batted .286 (2 for 7).
  • Porter was traded after the 1980 season and Wathan became the starting catcher. John batted .252 with 1 HR and 19 RBI in 89 games in 1981. He batted .300 (3 for 10) in three games in the AL Divisional Series.
  • In 1982 Wathan broke a record set by Ray Schalk in 1916 for stolen bases by a catcher by stealing 36 bases. He batted .270 in 121 games.
  • John's last season as a full-time player was in 1983. Wathan batted .245 in 128 games.
  • Wathan became a backup in 1984 and batted .181 in 171 at bats. He was 0 for 1 in the 1984 ALCS.
  • John got a ring in his last season. Wathan batted .234 in 60 games during the 1985 season. John wasn't used in the ALCS and he was 0 for 1 in two games in the 1985 World Series.
  • Wathan retired during spring training in 1986 and was hired as an assistant coach by the Royals. He was in that position in 1986 and in 1987. John was hired as the Royals' manager on August 28, 1987. Wathan managed the club to two second place finished in the AL West (1988 and 1989). He continued to manage the Royals until May 22,1991 when he was fired after the club started 15-22.
  • Wathan was hired by the California Angels as the third base coach in 1992. When manager Buck Rogers was seriously injured in a team bus crash on May 21, John managed the team on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. The club had a 39-50 record  under Wathan.
  • John worked in various coaching and announcing jobs from 1994-2006. He was named as a special assistant by the Royals in 2008.
  • John's SABR biography
  • 1977 Stats
    • Regular season: .328, 2 HR, 21 RBI in 55 games
    • AL Championship Series: .000 (0 for 6) in four games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988

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