Sunday, February 9, 2014

#18 Joe Lis/ Kevin Pasley, 1st Base/ Catcher

What do you do when you are consummate AAAA player? You the guy that's too good for AAA, but can't cut it as a major leaguer. That would be the ultimate description for a guy like Joe Lis. After bouncing up and down with the Philadelphia Phillies for a few seasons, Joe was able to try his hand with the Minnesota Twins. He was not able to find consistent time with the Twins due to an influx of better players, so Joe took his game to the Cleveland Indians. Sadly, Joe found it hard to translate his AAA ability to the big leagues. The break that Joe was probably hoping for came when the Seattle Mariners used their 23rd pick in the expansion draft to bring Joe to Seattle.  It didn't really come to be for Joe in Seattle as he only played in nine games in the first month, but did make his first attempt as a catcher on April 13th. Joe would last see the big leagues on May 8th and would play in Iowa and Toledo the rest of the 1977 season. Joe would take his talents to the Kintetsu Buffaloes in Japan for 1978, only to come back to the AAA Evansville Triplets for one last go. Joe would go on to coach the American Legion team from Evansville and would be followed by his son Joe Jr, who went from making it to AAA to coaching. Joe would also start the Joe Lis Baseball School in Indiana. Sadly, an original Mariner would sail his final voyage when at the age of 64, Joe succumbed to prostate cancer in 2010.


Since Joe didn't get but nine games as a Mariner with the #18 uniform, you would think that if you were Kevin Pasley  you might not want the number next. Kevin was a catcher whose career path had kind of similarly mirrored Joe's. Kevin was a decent player in the minor leaguers coming up through the Dodgers organization out of high school in the Bronx. Kevin was given spot chances to shine in the end of a couple of seasons, but having star players in front of you at the position doesn't help your cause. After being named one of the "Dodgers players to watch" in 1977 by Baseball Digest, Kevin spent most of that season back with the AAA Albuquerque Dukes for the team. Finally on September 8th, the Mariners would purchase Kevin's contract form Los Angeles. Kevin would only see four games for the M's in '77, but would find his way into 25 games behind the plate for the M's in the 1978 season. For his coup de grace, Kevin would homer for last MLB hit on October 1, 1978 off the Texas Rangers' Fergie Jenkins. That is of little consequence except that only two players have homered in their last hit and had their number retired. Those two would be Ted Williams, and Kevin Pasley. Of course the only reason Kevin's # was retired was because somehow he wore #4 for the Dodgers but it was retired for Duke Snider who was with the team in Brooklyn and Los Angeles from 1947 through the 1962 season. Kevin would bounce around through many AA and AAA teams for seasons from 1979 through 1982 before finally hanging up the spikes.

Three of the four guys on this card would all see time in Seattle, with only Don Werner being the only one that didn't wear a Mariner uniform. How is that for prophecy on Topps' part??

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