Sunday, June 9, 2013

64/13 Counterparts: #152 LeMaster and Huddy

"He was never a flaky left-hander, he was very normal, very together. Denny should have been right-handed."~ former teammate Bob Ueker.

1964 Topps #152 Denny Lemaster
As a youngster, Denny Lemaster would walk over a mile a day to the bus stop, throwing rocks at fence posts along the way. But fence posts weren't the only thing he used for target practice. Birds in trees were fair game, as well- and the future big league pitcher could knock them out of their perch seemingly at will.

So it's no surprise then, that the left handed Lemaster later became a hot commodity as a pitcher for Oxford High (Ca). Denny possessed a repertoire that included a tailing fastball and a very good curve that would drop off the table; but it was his great control and the ability to mix his pitches up that really sold Braves scouts on him- and led them to signing Lemaster to a $90,000 signing bonus in 1958.

The 1964 season would be Lemaster's third in the majors. And while he led the majors with a career high 20 wild pitches that season, he also won a career high 17 games.

Best Game 1964:  September 11th
 Lemaster threw a complete game shutout while allowing only one hit against the Reds. The hit, a lead off single by Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas, came in the top of the sixth- and was the first hit of the game. Reds' starter Jim Maloney had matched Denny's great game with a no-hitter of his own at that point, as well.

In his retirement years, Lemaster began carving custom duck decoys, which he entered into international competitions- twice taking second place and a third place in 1992. He has also sold some for upwards of $1500 each.

2013 Topps Heritage #152 Tim Hudson
Whether or not Huddy has any hobbies that could earn him money in his retirement years (like he will need it), I don't know; he is known, however, to be a joker.

Like that time he scared coach Eddie Perez on video. Or when he recently stuck a remote control in Mike Minor's face along with all the other devices during a post-game interview. During a spring training game this year, the Braves veteran threw a knuckleball to good friend and former teammate Adam LaRoche, who got a good laugh out of it. That wasn't the first joke he's pulled on LaRoche, either. He reportedly once filled Adam's glove with, um- dung. As an avid outdoorsman, I'm sure LaRoche would have preferred one of LeMaster's decoys.

2013 Season:
Tim may not be the Braves' best pitcher this season, but so far he has been their best hitting pitcher. He leads the staff in hits (6), RBI (3), Walks (2), Average (.250), OBP (.308), and SLG (.417).

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