Former Major Leaguer Don Mincher passed away today at the age of 73 after battling a long illness. He belted an even 200 homers in the course of his big league career over 13 seasons, mostly with the Twins.
As I get set to go to bed, I feel sadness at the news that the first baseman is gone. I never met Mincher. Don't recall seeing him play. But I do remember reading about him in "Ball Four" the controversial book written by Jim Bouton.
Mincher was on the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their one season there before moving to Milwaukee and becoming the Brewers. Bouton's book is probably the best baseball book ever written and, while many people in the book didn't like it, it immortalized them.
Personally, I thought the book was more about people with baseball as the backdrop. It wasn't nearly as salacious as people made it out to be. No one can deny that it was incredibly funny and did take fans where they couldn't go, like the clubhouse, the dugout, the bullpen and so forth. If you haven't read "Ball Four" you need to do it.
Mincher and Mike Hegan were the only Pilots selected for the All Star game in 1969 at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. Hegan didn't play in the game but Mincher did. He pinch hit for Denny McLain in the bottom of the 4th inning and struck out against Bob Gibson. Join the club on that one. So Don Mincher is the only Seattle Pilot to ever play in the All Star Game. And because of "Ball Four" I am sad that one more Seattle Pilot is gone.