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´╗┐Jim Northrup baseball Northrup was a good outfielder who played significant percentages of his time in all three outfield positions. Northrup's versatility allowed then manager Mayo Smith to make him the Tigers' center fielder in the 1968 World Series, as Smith famously moved regular center fielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop to replace the weak hitting Ray Oyler.An excellent streak hitter and catalyst for Detroit during the 1960s, Northrup was a power hitter who had goodgood cheap Clippers wholesale jerseys strike zone judgment and a short, quick stroke. In the field, he had a decent arm, a quick release and good accuracy.Northrup is best remembered for his contributions to the 1968 Detroit Tigers World Series Championship team. Northrup led the 1968 Tigers in hits and RBIs, hit five grand slams, broke up three no hitters, and had the game winning triple off Bob Gibson in Game 7 of the 1968 World Series.In his 12 year major league career Northrup batted .267, with 153 home runs, 610 RBIs, 603 runs, 218 doubles, 42 triples, and 39 stolen bases in 1392 games.[2]Northrup was born in Breckenridge, Michigan, a small farm town 25 miles west of Saginaw. Northrup grew up on his grandfather's farm. Even after the family moved six miles away to St. Louis, Northrup spent his summers and weekends during the winter at his grandparents' farm.[3]Once a year, Northrup and his father would make a seven hour drive (before the expressways) to Detroit when the Boston Red Sox came to town. Ted Williams was Northrup's idol, the "only idol I've ever had."[4] Northrup, however, never saw a complete game as a boy. Rather than pay full price, his father would "wait until the sixth or seventh inning, because then you could give the guy outside a buck or two and you could go out there and watch Ted play."[4]After graduating from the St. Louis High School, Northrup stayed close to home for college, attending Alma College, five miles from St. Louis. At Alma College, Northrup was a five sport star. He was quarterback of the football team, and was named a small college All American. He was a forward on the basketball team, ran track, and golfed, but Northrup's great love was baseball. "I was born to play baseball," said Northrup.Northrup reportedly turned down offers from the Chicago Bears and the New York Titans and signed with the Tigers in 1961. Northrup spent four years in the minor leagues (1961 1964), playing for the Duluth Superior Dukes, Decatur Commodores, Tennessee Smokies, and Syracuse Chiefs. In 1965, Northrup had a .205 batting average as he appeared in 54 games in the Detroit outfield,[2] competing for playing time with Al Kaline, Don Demeter, Gates Brown, and fellow rookie Willie Horton. In 1966, Northrup won a spot as the Tigers starting right fielder, as Kaline moved to center field. Northrup finally showed his abilities as a batter, as he hit 24 doubles, 16 home runs, and ended the season with a .465 slugging percentage.[2] In 1967, competition for a spot in the Detroit outfield intensified as Mickey Stanley proved to be an exceptional defensive player. Northrup played 151 games at all three spots in the Detroit outfield in 1968, including 103 games in right field, many in place of the injured Al Kaline. Northrup had a range factor of 2.17 well above the league average of 1.80.But Northrup's principal value was as a batter. In a year marked by dominant pitching throughout the league, Northrup hit 21 home runs and led the 1968 Tigers in hits (153) and RBIs (90). He was among the American League leaders with 90 RBIs (3rd in the AL), 57 extra base hits (4th in the AL), 259 total bases (5th in the AL), and 29 doubles (5th in the AL).[5]Northrup played in a rotation of four players at the three outfield positions, with Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, and Al Kaline being the others. However, for the World Series, Detroit manager Mayo Smith decided to bring Stanley in from the outfield to play shortstop, giving the Tigers a firm outfield of Horton (left field), Northrup (center field), and Kaline (right field) in all seven of the games.Northrup also hit five grand slams during the 1968 season, four in the regular season. The first came in May. Then, on June 24, 1968, Northrup hit grand slams in consecutive at bats in the 5th and 6th innings. This made him one of only 13 players (through July 28, 2009) to have hit 2 grand slams in one game, and the second to do so in consecutive at bats (the first was Jim Gentile in 1961). Five days later, Northrup hit another grand slam, becoming the first major league player to hit three grand slams in a single week. (Larry ParrishParrish cheap Clippers jerseys from china later accomplished the featfeat jerseys Clippers in 1982.) Northrup's fifth grand slam came in Game 6 of the 1968 World Series, fueling a 13 1 blowout win for Detroit.[6]In addition to his grand slam in Game 6, Northrup had the key hit in Game 7 off St. Louis Cardinals ace Bob Gibson. After striking out 17 batters in Game 1, and pitching a complete game victory in Game 4, Gibson held the TigersTigers cheap Clippers jerseys china free shipping scoreless through the first six innings of Game 7. Northrup, who had a solo home run against Gibson in Game 4 to account for the Tigers only run off the ace thus far in the Series, came to bat with two men on and two outs in the 7th inning. Northrup hit a triple over center fielder Curt Flood's head, as Norm Cash and Willie Horton both scored.[7] Bill Freehan followed with a double to score Northrup, and the Tigers won Game 7 and were World Series Champions.Curt Flood, normally a superb defensive outfielder, was tagged a "goat" for having misplayed Northrup's Game 7 triple. But Northrup defended Flood: "He slipped a little, but it still went 40 feet over his head. . . . The Tigers were an aging squad when Billy Martin took over, and Martin sought to light a fire under them. Though Martin turned the Tigers back into contenders in 1971 and 1972, Northrup chafed at Martin's tactics. Northrup noted: "We got sick and tired of reading Martin say in the papers, 'I manage good, and they play bad.' 'I'd like to bunt, but my players can't do it.' . . . It was all, 'I, I, I,' and 'Me, me, me.' I did not respect him in any way . . ."[3]In the decisive 5th game of the 1972 American League Championship Series, the mutual dislike between Martin and Northrup may have affected Martin's judgment. In the 9th inning, the Tigers were trailing 2 1, and Norm Cash was on base. Northrup had one hit already off Vida Blue, but Martin used Mickey Stanley to pinch hit for Northrup. Stanley hit into a fielder's choice, and the Tigers lost the ALCS. Northrup remained bitter about Martin's decision: "Who knows why Martin did what he did? I will say this: Billy Martin put most of us in a frame of mind where he took the fun out of the game."[3]In 1973, a 33 year old Northrup hit .307 the highest batting average of his career.[2] Despite his solid hitting, Martin kept Northup on the bench for part of the year. Northrup had played in at least 130 games for the Tigers for 7 straight years, but in 1973 he played in only 119 games. Northrup played in only 21 games for the Expos before being traded to the Baltimore Orioles in September. Northrup finished his career in 1975 hitting .274 in 84 games for the Orioles. Northrup retired after the 1975 season. He later noted: "I'd had enough. I'd been away from home too much, and I wasn't with my kids enough. So that was the end of it."[3]Northrup earned $76,000 a year with the Tigers in 1973. Northrup calculated that he earnedearned youth Clippers jersey $418,000 in his 12 year career in the major leagues.
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