Gary Geiger

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Gary Geiger
Outfielder
Born: (1937-04-04)April 4, 1937
Sand Ridge Township, Illinois
Died: April 24, 1996(1996-04-24) (aged 59)
Murphysboro, Illinois
Batted: LeftThrew: Right 
MLB debut
April 15, 1958 for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
July 10, 1970 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average    .246
Home runs    77
Runs batted in    283
Teams
 
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Gary Geiger
Outfielder
Born: (1937-04-04)April 4, 1937
Sand Ridge Township, Illinois
Died: April 24, 1996(1996-04-24) (aged 59)
Murphysboro, Illinois
Batted: LeftThrew: Right 
MLB debut
April 15, 1958 for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
July 10, 1970 for the Houston Astros
Career statistics
Batting average    .246
Home runs    77
Runs batted in    283
Teams

Gary Merle Geiger (April 4, 1937 – April 24, 1996) was a major league outfielder for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Houston Astros from (1958 - 1970). He was born in Sand Ridge, Illinois.[1] His offseason home while a major leaguer was Murphysboro, Illinois.[2] His wife Lyn's parents were St. Louis, Missouri residents.[3]

Contents

Career statistics

His career batting average was .246, with 77 home runs and 283 runs batted in.[1] He was a weak hitter when facing left-handed pitching.[4] His fielding percentage is .985, having committed 24 errors overall. He was a fast runner, being timed at 3.5 seconds from home plate to first on a bunt.[5] Geiger ranked 8th in stolen bases in 1959 and 1961 - 1962. His total steals were 9, 16, and 18, in those years. He placed 2nd in 1962, having been caught stealing 11 times. Geiger is one of three Boston players to hit an inside-the-park grand slam home run at Fenway Park. His came in 1961. The others to accomplish the feat are Don Lenhardt (1952) and Mike Greenwell (September 1, 1990).[6]

Geiger was signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954.[1] Cleveland chose him as a pitcher from the Rochester Red Wings on December 2, 1957.[7] He was 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) with a playing weight of 168 pounds. He liked to maintain a weight of between 171 and 175 pounds, but was often unable to maintain this ideal. He dropped below 135 pounds following an ulcer operation.[2] Geiger was a left-handed batter who threw with his right hand.[1] In July 1958 Geiger was beaned accidentally by Camilo Pascual of the Washington Senators.[8]

Boston Red Sox (1959 - 1965)

On December 2, 1958 the Indians received Jimmy Piersall from the Red Sox for Geiger and Vic Wertz. No money was involved. Geiger batted .231 as a Cleveland rookie in 1958.[9] He was 21 and played 91 games his first year.[10]

In March 1959 Geiger had a collision with teammate Don Buddin while chasing a foul ball in left field, in Scottsdale, Arizona. Geiger was knocked unconscious and was bruised severely.[11] He played left field in 1959.[12]

On July 29, 1960 he was operated on for a collapsed lung at Santa Maria Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[13] He was advised to rest fully afterwards.[14] Doctors said Geiger would miss the remainder of the season.[15]

Geiger made a game-saving catch in a Palm Springs, California exhibition game the Red Sox won from the Los Angeles Angels, in March 1961. He gloved a Julio Bécquer drive in deep right center field to rob the batter of a sure double in an 8–7 Boston win. Earlier in the game Geiger collected three hits and scored three runs.[16]

On April 17, 1961 Geiger homered into the Fenway Park right field bullpen in the 7th inning of a Boston 3–2 win over the Angels. The blow by the center fielder, who batted 2nd, proved to be the winning margin.[17]

Geiger dropped a fly ball with two outs in the 9th inning of a 5–4 Red Sox loss to the Baltimore Orioles, on May 27. Brooks Robinson hit a ball which should have been an easy catch. Geiger bobbled it when he and two other Red Sox players tried to glove it. The error was the first by Boston in ten games. Geiger accounted for a Red Sox run in the 5th by doubling and coming to the plate on a single by Wertz.[18]

Geiger broke up what might have been a 2nd consecutive shutout by 18-year-old, $125,000 bonus pitcher, Lew Krausse, Jr., on June 23. He hit a three-run home run in the 7th inning after a walk to Pete Runnels and an error of a sacrifice bunt by Chuck Schilling. Krausse had pitched the Kansas City Athletics to a 4–0 victory over the Angels in his major league debut, the previous week.[19]

Geiger and Jackie Jensen launched home runs in the late innings of a 9–4 Red Sox win over the Washington Senators, on August 23.[20] In the second game of a doubleheader, Geiger pinch hit for Carroll Hardy, connecting for a triple off Cal McLish. He scored Pumpsie Green to earn Boston a split with the Chicago White Sox.[21]

In November 1961 it was reported that Geiger, Schilling, and pitcher Bill Monbouquette were likely to be lost to Boston to serve in the military.[22] Geiger's 18 home runs led the Red Sox team in 1961. Jim Pagliaroni was 2nd with 16.[23]

Geiger crashed directly into the center field wall at Fenway Park attempting to catch a Tito Francona drive. The Indians triumphed in 13 innings on June 9, 1962. He ventured back on the dirt track and looked like he was going to pull the ball down. Suddenly he made a leap for it and impacted against the barrier. He missed the ball which caromed back onto the field. Geiger's feet hit the ground and he clapped his arm to his head. Then he sank slowly to his knees and lay flat on the ground. He was removed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital.[24]

Geiger and Eddie Bressoud hit 8th inning home runs against the Detroit Tigers in a 6–5 Boston win at Tiger Stadium on May 27, 1963.[25]

Geiger underwent surgery for a bleeding ulcer at St. Luke's Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, on February 24, 1964. He was stricken en route to training camp.[3] Doctors advised him to remain in the hospital for 7–10 days before continuing spring training in Arizona.[26] He was placed on the voluntary retired list at his own request on May 13, 1964. He was expected to be sidelined for at least 40 days.[27] He ended up taking the rest of 1964 off because of general fatigue, a lack of stamina, and an underweight and weakened constitution.[2]

Geiger sustained a triple fracture of his left hand while diving for a Tom McCraw double in the 8th inning of a June 8, 1965 game won by the White Sox, 7–3. He raced in from deep center field and dove for the shallow fly ball.[2] He was sold by Boston in October 1965, along with seven other players, to the Toronto Maple Leafs International League team, a Red Sox affiliate.[28]

Atlanta Braves (1966 - 1967), Houston Astros (1969 - 1970)

In May 1966 it was reported that the Braves were desperate for pitchers. Geiger, Rico Carty, and Gene Oliver were players mentioned as possibly being offered by the club to other teams.[29] The Braves moved into 3rd place in the National League standings on July 28, 1967. Filling in for an injured Mack Jones, he was a whiz in center field. He made a fine catch in the 6th inning to help the Braves out of a bases loaded jam. In the 7th inning Geiger caught a fly while backed up to the fence.[30]

Geiger batted 8th for the Houston Astros in 1969. He played left field[31] and right field.[32] As a pinch hitter he drove in three runs to help the Astros to a 7th consecutive win on June 23.[33]

On June 26, 1970 Geiger was purchased by the Astros from the Oklahoma City 89ers (Oklahoma Redhawks) of the American Association (20th Century).[34]

Manager

The Cardinals named Geiger to manage the Cedar Rapids Cardinals of the Midwest League on December 7, 1971.[35]

Personal life

Geiger wore false teeth his own were too soft to take fillings. By the age of 22 he had had them all pulled and a new set put in.[36]

Geiger had a pronounced fear of flying. He made every trip taken by the teams he played with, but with reluctance.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Gary Geiger, http://www.baseball-reference.com/g/geigega01.shtml, Page 1.
  2. ^ a b c d e Hard-Luck Gary Geiger Sidelined, Washington Post, Times Herald, June 9, 1965, Page D2.
  3. ^ a b Ulcer Operation Will Sideline Geiger 10 Days, The Washington Post, Times Herald, February 25, 1964, Page D2.
  4. ^ Shortage Of Bat Power Hurts Flag Hopes Of Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Daily World, April 3, 1962, Page 2.
  5. ^ Bob Addie's Column, Washington Post and Times Herald, May 28, 1958, Page D2.
  6. ^ Red Sox, Burks Stay Hot; Rangers Top A's, September 2, 1990, Page C4.
  7. ^ Orioles Draft Hamric; Churn Chosen By Red Sox, Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1957, Page C2.
  8. ^ Bob Addie's Column, Washington Post and Times Herald, July 26, 1958, Page A14.
  9. ^ Indians Obtain Piersall From Red Sox and Send Avila to Orioles in Trades., New York Times, December 3, 1958, Page 48.
  10. ^ Piersall Goes to Indians in Wertz Trade, Los Angeles Times, December 3, 1958, Page C1.
  11. ^ Gary Geiger Injured As Bosox Beat Tribe, Washington Post and Times Herald, March 31, 1959, Page A21.
  12. ^ This Morning...With Shirley Povich, Washington Post and Times Herald, August 24, 1959, Page C3.
  13. ^ Geiger Improved, Los Angeles Times, July 31, 1960, Page G3.
  14. ^ Sports Datelines, Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1960, Page C2.
  15. ^ Gary Geiger Undergoes Lung Surgery, Atlanta Daily World, July 29, 1960, Page 7.
  16. ^ Angels Lose To Red Sox in Ninth, 8-7, Los Angeles Times, March 21, 1961, Page C1.
  17. ^ Red Sox Triumph Over Angels, 3-2, New York Times, April 18, 1961, Page 46.
  18. ^ Geiger's Error Costly, New York Times, May 28, 1961, Page S2.
  19. ^ Red Sox Set Back Athletics, 5-4, New York Times, June 24, 1961, Page 13.
  20. ^ Red Sox Rout Senators, New York Times, August 24, 1961, Page 33.
  21. ^ White Sox Split at Boston, New York Times, September 27, 1961, Page 46.
  22. ^ Chief Yankee Foes Lose Top Talent, Los Angeles Times, November 2, 1961, Page C3.
  23. ^ The Bull Pen, Los Angeles Times, February 14, 1962, Page B3.
  24. ^ Geiger Hits Wall, Taken To Hospital, Washington Post, Times Herald, June 10, 1962, Page C2.
  25. ^ Clutch Homers Salvage Split For Red Sox, Los Angeles Times, May 27, 1963, Page C4.
  26. ^ Geiger Operated On for Bleeding Ulcer, February 25, 1964, Page B5.
  27. ^ Reds Purchase Reliever Duren From Phillies, Los Angeles Times, May 14, 1964, Los Angeles Times, Page B7.
  28. ^ Red Sox Sell Gary Geiger, Washington Post, Times Herald, October 22, 1965, Page D1.
  29. ^ Let It Be War, Los Angeles Times, May 22, 1966, Page G3.
  30. ^ It Only Hurts Atlanta's Aaron When He Doesn't Hit Solidly, Washington Post, Times Herald, July 29, 1967, Page E1.
  31. ^ Astros 7-Run Inning Wrecks Dodgers, 7-5, Washington Post, Times Herald, April 15, 1969, Page C2.
  32. ^ Wilson Leads Astros Past Padres, 4-2, Washington Post, Times Herald, June 29, 1969, Page C2.
  33. ^ Astros Continue Streak, Knock Off Giants, 9-3, June 24, 1969, Page D2.
  34. ^ Astros Purchase Geiger, Washington Post, Times Herald, June 27, 1970, Page E2.
  35. ^ Cards Name Former Players, Washington Post, Times Herald, December 8, 1971, Page D3.
  36. ^ Bob Addie's Column, Washington Post, September 2, 1959, Page C3.

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