Andy Etchebarren, catcher for those great Oriole teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s, died Saturday at the age of 76.
Etchebarren was a 2x all-star, and played with the Orioles in 1962, then 1965-1975. He was with the Angels 1975-1977 and with the Brewers in 1978.
His first full season was in 1966, when he guided the Orioles to their first WS title, including their years as the St. Louis Browns. In his first full year in the majors, Etchebarren hit .221-11-50, OPS+ 89. He was an All-Star and finished 17th in MVP voting. Obviously, he was valued more for his defense than his offense. He also was an All-Star in 1967.
From 1969-1974 he platooned with Elrod Hendricks at catcher for the Orioles. In that time span, the O’s won the AL pennant in 1969, the WS in 1970, the pennant in 1971, and the AL East in 1973 and 1974. In only two seasons (1966 and 1967) with Baltimore did Etchebarren play in more than 100 games. The only other season he was in over 100 games was in 1976 with the Angels.
His 162 g. average was .235-8-53, OPS+88. Platoon C, valued more for D than offense.
In 1971, Thurman Munson of the Yankees made only one error. On the play, Etchebarren ran over Munson at the plate and caused Munson to drop the ball. If I remember correctly, Munson had to be removed from the game because of a concussion.
In the postseason, Etchebarren hit .154-1-4 in 21 games.