Oct 15, 2012

Brief Mid Sixties Met: Lou Klimchock (1966)

Louis Stephen Klimchock was born on October 15, 1939 in Hostettler, Pennsylvania. The left hand hitting infielder would get signed out of high school as an amatuer free agent in 1957 by the Kansas City A’s.

At eighteen he made his debut playing in two games as the youngest player in the league. He spent four seasons in Kansas City with a couple of team mates who went on to be great managers, Dick Williams & Whitey Herzog. Klimchock was a career reserve player who saw action at third base, second base, outfield & one game at catcher. He won two batting titles hitting over .330 twice in the minor leagues. He also hit 19 HRs three different seasons in the minor but never carried that power over into the majors.

He moved on to the Milwaukee Braves for four seasons, spending a brief time in Washington with the Senators in 1963 as well. He spent the first part of the 1965 season with the Braves but was sent to the New York Mets in September as the player to be named later in the Billy Cowan deal. Klimchock got a chance with the 1966 Mets in April, seeing action in just five games going 0-5 with three strike outs as a pinch hitter. He played 120 games for the 1966 AAA Jacksonville Suns with future Mets Tom Seaver, Tug McGraw, Bud Harrelson & Ken Boswell. He hit 11 HRs with 20 doubles & 52 RBIs but only batted .230.

In October he was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Floyd Weaver who would never play for the Mets at the big league level. Klimchock played three seasons in Cleveland having his best year in 1969 batting .287 with career highs in at bats (258) games (90) hits (74) HRs (6) doubles (13) & RBIs (26). After the 1970 season he finished his career at AAA Denver in 1971.

In a 12 season career he batted .232 with 155 hits 13 HRs 21 doubles 3 triples & 69 RBIs. He would also struggle defensively at the major league level, making 15 errors in 159 chances at third base (.906 %).

Retirement: Klimchock is currently the president for the Arizona Major League Alumni. The group promotes the game to kids with former major leaguers through community activities.

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