Monday, May 28, 2012

Bob Veale (#87)

Today's card features Bob Veale, a starting pitcher for the Pirates during the 1960s, until finishing his career as a reliever with the Red Sox. Here we see him in his trademark glasses, about to enter his first full season in the majors.

Although Bob was overshadowed in a league with Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Don Drysdale, and Ferguson Jenkins, he was the ace of the Pirates' staff from 1964 through 1970, and was among the league leaders in strikeouts in the mid-1960s. shows that Veale's minor-league stats also include 1958 (missing from the card). 

Veale was signed by the Pirates in 1958 and pitched 4 seasons in the minors before making his big-league debut in April 1962. He pitched in 11 games for the Pirates that season, while spending some time at triple-A Columbus.

His first full season with the Pirates was 1963, and by the next season, he had taken over the top spot in a rotation that also included veterans Vern Law and Bob Friend. Veale led the NL with 250 strikeouts in 1964, and in '65 struck out a career-high 276 batters. Unfortunately, that was only good enough for 2nd place behind Koufax' 382 strikeouts. His 18 wins in '64 were the most in his career, although he won in double figures every season from 1964 to 1970. Bob was also 3rd among NL pitchers in strikeouts during the '65 and '66 seasons.

By the time the Pirates made it to the World Series in 1971, Bob had moved to the bullpen. He made 37 relief appearances in his last full season with the Pirates, including 2/3 of an inning in the World Series against the Orioles.

After spending much of 1972 in triple-A, in September Veale was acquired by the Red Sox, and spent 2-plus seasons in their bullpen. He was released after a minor-league-filled 1974 season.


Douglas said...

good catch on the 1958 stats. Veale played for both San Jose Pirates/ Las Vegas Wranglers. Internet research shows that it was midseason move (never very successful)taking place May 26.

Back then Las Vegas was still a very small town with a few resort casinos. But it was probably very interesting. There is no information on what stadium they played in.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Veale's teammates back in that first season included future Dodgers'/Angels' pitcher Bob Lee, future Astros' catcher Ron Brand, and the lesser-known Pirates' pitcher Tom Butters.