Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Phillies Missing Links of the 1980s - #9 Mike LaValliere

#10
Michael Eugene LaValliere
Catcher

By the time Mike LaValliere was Major League ready for the Phillies, Ozzie Virgil had inserted himself as the team's everyday catcher with John Russell and Darren Daulton waiting in the wings. LaValliere was a September call-up in 1984, appearing in six games and starting only two.

"Spanky" found much more success with the Pirates, winning a Gold Glove in 1987 and helping them win the N.L. East pennant in 1990, 1991 and 1992.  He would later speak of his desire to exact revenge against his first team for letting him go following the 1984 season.  During his years with the Cardinals and Pirates, LaValliere hit .303 (70 for 231) with four home runs against the Phillies including a blast against Kevin Gross on June 19, 1986 in his first meeting against his original team.

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'10"  Weight:  180
Born:  August 18, 1960, Charlotte, NC
Signed:  Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent, July 12, 1981
Major League Teams:  Phillies 1984, St. Louis Cardinals 1985-1986, Pittsburgh Pirates 1987-1993, Chicago White Sox 1993-1995
Professional Affiliations:  Phillies 1981-1984, St. Louis Cardinals 1985-1986, Pittsburgh Pirates 1987-1993, Chicago White Sox 1993-1995

Phillies Career
6 games, 0 for 7
Acquired:  Via free agency
Debut:  September 9, 1984 - Entered in the bottom of the 10th inning as the Phillies catcher, replacing Virgil who had been pinch-run for in the top of the inning.
Final Game:  September 30, 1984
Departed:  Signed as a free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals, January 23, 1985

1983 TCMA Reading Phillies #12
1986 Donruss Rookies #35
1987 Topps #162
1995 Flair #26
1 LaValliere Baseball Card in My Collection
First Card:  1983 TCMA Reading Phillies #12

Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1986 Donruss Rookies #35
First Topps Base Card:  1987 Topps #162
Last Mainstream Card as Player:  1995 Flair #26
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2006 Fleer Greats of the Game Nickname Greats #NG-ML
Other Notable Cards:  1983 TCMA Reading Phillies #12, 1987 Topps Traded #61T, 1992 Topps #312, 1993 Upper Deck #120, 1994 Topps #147

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  I will make my way through the decade of the 1980s first and then work my way forward.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.

1 comment:

Steve F. said...

Spanky was a popular Reading Phillie, and I remember being disappointed he was traded. But Ozzie Virgil had a solid 1984 and was about to become an All-Star in 1985 (as it turned out), so it was going to be hard for him to crack the line-up.

Weird goings on that winter for Lavalliere, which I didn't remember, per BB Ref:

December 3, 1984: Sent to the St. Louis Cardinals by the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a conditional deal.
December 13, 1984: Returned by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Philadelphia Phillies as part of a conditional deal.
December 23, 1984: Granted Free Agency.
January 23, 1985: Signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Cardinals.