Sunday, September 2, 2012

1977 Topps Baseball #299 - Otto Velez

  • Otto Velez signed with the New York Yankees in 1969. Velez made his way through the Yankees system and was considered to be one of their best prospects, but he wasn't able to break into the starting lineup. His nickname was "Otto the Swatto."
  • In the minors one of Otto's strengths was getting on base. He walked 130 times for AAA Syracuse in 1973 and had a lifetime .451 on base percentage in five AAA seasons.
  • Velez was first called up in September 1973. He played right field for the Yankees and batted .195 with 2 HR and 7 RBI in 23 games.
  • In 1974 Velez batted .209 in 27 games and in 1975 he batted .250 in six games. In both seasons Otto was in AAA most of the time.
  • Velez stayed with the Yankees for the entire 1976 season. He played in 49 games and batted .266 with 2 HR and 10 RBI. Otto was 0 for 1 in the AL Championship Series. Velez made three pinch hitting appearances in the World Series and struck out all three times.
  • After the 1976 season Velez was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft.
  • Otto was given a chance to play with the Blue Jays. He split his time between right field and designated hitter and batted .256 with 16 HR and 62 RBI in 120 games.
  • Velez was a part time player in 1978 and 1979. Otto appeared in 91 games and batted .266 with 9 HR and 38 RBI in 1978. In 1979 Velez batted .288 with 15 HR and 48 RBI in 99 games.
  • In 1980 Velez was used mostly as a DH. He played in 104 games and batted .269 with a career-high 20 HR and 62 RBI. On May 4 Otto hit four home runs in a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians. He hit for the "cycle" in those two games -- A solo shot, a 2-run homer, and a grand slam in game 1 and a 3-run homer in game 2
  • Otto got the bulk of the playing time at DH in 1981 but he tailed off badly. Velez batted .213 with 11 HR and 28 RBI in 80 games.
  • Velez struggled in 1982. He had limited playing time and batted .192 in 28 games. Otto was the last of the players from the original 1977 team. Velez was designated for assignment on August 5 and was sent to AAA Syracuse on August 9. The Blue Jays released Velez on September 7.
  • In 1983 Otto signed a minor league deal with the Cleveland Indians. He played for AAA Charleston until being called up on July 14. Velez played in 10 games for the Indians in 1983 but batted only .080 in 25 at bats. Otto was designated for assignment on August 8.
  • 1977 Stats: .256, 16 HR, 62 RBI in 120 games
  • 1977 Highlights:
  • Other card blogs: 1974, 1979, 1980, Cardboard Gods

1 comment:

  1. The first Blue Jays card I ever saw. We actively hoped that the Yankees made a huge mistake in allowing him to be drafted.