Mar 6, 2016

Original 1962 Mets Utility Playr: Ed Bouchee (1962)

Edward Francis Bouchee was born on March 7, 1933 in Livingston, Montana. The left handed hitting first baseman was signed out of Washington State University by the Spokane Indians. He batted .319 in his first season at A ball & then went off to serve two years in the Korean War. 

After his military service his contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1955. He batted .313 at A ball Schenectady & then was promoted to AAA Miami in 1956. He hit .294 there making it to the majors for nine games in with the Philadelphia Phillies. 

In his first full season (1957) he had 168 hits, 84 walks (4th in the NL) & led the league in hit by pitches (14). He hit 17 HRs with 35 doubles (third in the NL) 76 RBIs batting .293 & posting a .394 on base % (third in the NL). At first base he led the league in errors (16) assists (125) & games (157). He came in second in the Rookie of the Year voting to his teammate Jack Sanford. 

 Drama: Personal Troubles came to haunt Bouchee the next year; first he was charged with indecent exposure, after exposing himself to two young girls. He pleaded guilty, spent a few months in a psychiatric institution in Connecticut & was placed on three years’ probation. He returned to the Phillie's that July, but had no 1958 baseball card issued due to his legal troubles. The Topps Company did not want to be associated with Bouchee.

 Upon his return in 1959 Bouchee played 136 games posting a .986 fielding % (5th in the NL) leading the league at first base in assists (95) put outs (1127) & games (134). At the plate he had another solid year, hitting .285 with 15 HRs 29 doubles & 74 RBIs. 

In May of 1960 after 22 games, he was traded to the Chicago Cubs with future Mets pitcher Don Cardwell in exchange for Tony Taylor & Cal Neeman. He took over the Cubs first base job for the next two seasons, his offense fell off as he hit .237 in 98 games that season. In 1961 he played in 112 games, batting .248 with 12 HRs & 38 RBIs. 

Bouchee would become an original Met in 1962, when he was chosen as the teams 30th pick in the 1961 expansion draft. On April 14th, 1962 he would appear as a pinch hitter, drawing a walk in the first game in Mets history at Sportsman’s Park. He got a hit two days later & went three for five as a pinch hitter before getting his first start. 

On April 13th he his pinch hit was a three run HR, although the Mets lost the game 15-5. In his first start at first base he got three hits against the St. Louis Cardinals including another HR driving in two runs in the 9-4 Met loss. At the end of April Bouchee hit another three run HR, finishing the month with three HRs batting .320 with eight RBIs. 

 It all went downhill from there, his average fell to .160 by July & he didn't hit another HR all year. He was sent down to AAA Syracuse finishing out the season there hitting .287. Overall he played in fifty games for the ’62 Mets, nineteen as a backup first baseman & was also used as a pinch hitter. Bouchee hit.161 with three HRs, two doubles, ten RBIs & a .302 on base %. 

 In 1963 he played at AAA Buffalo batting .266 in 87 games finishing off his playing career. In his seven year career he batted .265 with 583 hits 61 HRs 114 doubles 290 RBIs & .368 on base %. 

Retirement: After baseball he went on to hold a management position at the Adelco Auto Supply Company until his retirement. In January 2012 he passed away from complications with diabetes, he was 80 years old.

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