Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Meet The Brewers #17: Marty Pattin

I'll be the first to admit that, when I decided to start introducing Brewers players in the order that they debuted, I did not think it would take me over four months to finish with the players from Opening Day 1970!  But, finally, I get to move on to game two.

Marty Pattin started the second game of the season for the Brewers. He went seven innings, allowing seven hits, two earned runs, and a walk and notching just one strikeout but still was hung with the loss in a game the Brewers lost 6-1 thanks to relievers John O'Donoghue and Bob Locker allowing 4 runs.  Pattin pitched in front of 7,575 fans who took advantage of the beautiful spring weather (high of 69 degrees) to watch a game.

1970 McDonald's Milwaukee Brewers
I can say without reservation that Marty Pattin was the best pitcher on the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970, and he was the second-best starter in 1971.  He was an All-Star for the 1971 Milwaukee team -- yes, that is like being the tallest midget -- but he did not appear in the game in which only Vida Blue, Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, and Mickey Lolich appeared for the AL All-Stars on the mound against Dock Ellis, Juan Marichal, Fergie Jenkins, and Don Wilson for the NL.  

Pattin was truly a rags-to-riches story.  Well, rather, he overcame a ton of adversity in his life to get where he did.  As Jim Bouton wrote about Pattin in Ball Four (and quoted here):
I had a long talk with Marty Pattin on the bus. He's had a tough, interesting life. He's from Charleston, Illinois, and his mother and father were separated when he was a baby and he was shipped off to live with his mother's folks. He was still a junior in high school when his grandfather died, so he moved into a rooming house and tried to work his way through the rest of high school. It was there that he met a man named Walt Warmouth who helped him get through school -- not only high school but college. Warmouth owned a restaurant, and Marty worked there and got his meals there, and every once in a while he'd get a call from the clothing store in town and be told he could pick up a suit and a bunch of other stuff and it was all paid for. They never would tell him who had paid, but Marty knew anyway.  "The guy was like a father to me," Marty said. "And not only to me. He must have sent dozens of kids through school just the way he did me." Marty has a degree in industrial arts, and when he can he likes to help kids. That's why he signed up for the clinic.
What a terribly lonely life Marty must have had. Hell, it was a traumatic experience for me just going away to college and living in a dorm with a bunch of other kids. And here's Marty, still in high school, living in a rooming house. Not only that, but he goes on to become an All-American boy, complete with all the good conventional values. Like he was telling the kids at the clinic that sure it was difficult to throw a ball well or be a good basketball player. It was difficult to do a lot of things, but that they were all capable of doing a lot of difficult things if they were willing to work hard and practice. I guess he ought to know. 
Normally, I wouldn't quote such a long passage, but man -- that just sums up Pattin's childhood well.  

1971 Topps
Pattin earned his college degrees -- undergrad and master's -- both from his hometown school of Eastern Illinois University.  The Angels drafted him in the seventh round of the 1965 Draft. The team assigned him to El Paso, and after his drive there with his wife, he was upset. As he said in 1971, "[m]y wife and I pulled a trailer all the way from Charleston, Ill., to Texas, and by the time I got there, I was more than a little upset. I thought seriously about quitting the whole thing. Luckily, Rollie Hemond, then the Angels' farm director, talked me out of it."

He made the majors at the age of 25 in 1968 and pitched mainly in relief over 52 games that year, but he walked 4.0 per 9 innings. Perhaps because of his wildness, the Angels left him available in the expansion draft and the Pilots scooped him up.  

He repeated his wildness in 1969 but then suddenly in 1970, the light went on. Or, perhaps, he stopped trying to strike everyone out. Or, more to the point, he made a change in his delivery. Again, from the 1971 newspaper article, "I'd been fighting myself all of my career, and I kicked over more than my share of water buckets. But I finally controlled [my] emotions and turned myself around by shucking my no-windup delivery for a regular windup. I was able to drive at the hitters more, my slider came around -- and most important, I gained confidence."

In any case, his strikeouts per nine went down by 1, but he walked 1.3 fewer batter per nine innings as well, leading to a 14-12 record with a 3.39 ERA over 233-1/3 innings with 161 strikeouts. In 1971, he did similarly well -- 14-14, 3.13 ERA over 264-2/3 innings with 169 strikeouts.  

Those two years made Pattin a man in demand. The Brewers took the opportunity to flip Pattin in the blockbuster trade in which Tommy Harper and Lew Krausse (Brewers 3 and 1, respectively) were sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Ken Brett, Billy Conigliaro, Joe Lahoud, Jim Lonborg, Don Pavletich, and George Scott.  

After just two years and a 32-28 record (3.73 ERA, 3.60 FIP), the Red Sox decided to trade him. The Sox were trying to get Marichal or Gaylord Perry, but settled instead for Dick Drago and traded Pattin to the team he is probably best remembered for today -- Kansas City Royals. He became entrenched in Kansas -- probably because it isn't that much different from his Illinois upbringing.

1994 Miller Brewing Milwaukee Brewers
Pattin's post-career life has been filled with baseball as well. He called it quits after the 1980 season because no one was offering him a major league contract. But then, the next August, the University of Kansas came calling and named him the head baseball coach for the Jayhawks. He left KU after the 1987 season and became a pitching instructor in the Blue Jays system. Then, in 1991, he spent ten months coaching pitchers in Korea.  

He came back to Lawrence, Kansas, after that stint, where he still resided as of 2011.

You can see the three Pattin cards with the Brewers that I have above.  I'm missing the Mike Andersen Postcard from 1970, the Dell Today's Team Stamp from 1971, the 1971 Milwaukee Brewers Picture Pack, and the 1971 O-Pee-Chee.


  1. Marty Pattin kind of looks like Matt Williams.

  2. I've always liked Marty. I remember him well from his few years with the Bosox. I have a small PC of Pattin. He hung on for a decent career