Card: 1971 Topps #3
Richard John McAuliffe (November 29, 1939 – May 13, 2016), whose mother was Italian, was born in Hartford, CT. He was a shortstop / second baseman, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers (1960–73) and Boston Red Sox (1974–75). He was a part of the Tigers' 1968 World Series championship, and was known for his unusual batting stance. A left-handed hitter, Dick held his hands very high with an open stance that faced the pitcher. As the pitcher delivered to home plate, he moved his forward (right) foot to a more conventional position before swinging.
Dick made his major league debut on September 17, 1960 with the Detroit Tigers. McAuliffe never hit higher than .274 but was a significant contributor to the Tigers' offensive output in the 1960s. In 1964, he hit a career-high 24 home runs, the most by any Tiger that season. In 1965, he was the American League's starting shortstop in the All Star game, and he went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs batted in.
In 1966, he finished the season ranked fourth in the league with a .373 on-base percentage and fifth in the league with a .509 slugging percentage. After making the American League All Star team in 1965 and 1966 at shortstop, McAuliffe agreed to move to second base in 1967 to make room for Ray Oyler to take over at shortstop. Even with the move, Dick was selected for his third consecutive All Star team in 1967. In 1967, he was among the American League leaders in walks with 105 (3rd), 245 times on base (3rd), 7 triples (3rd), 92 runs (5th), 118 strikeouts (5th), 22 home runs (8th), and a .364 on-base percentage (9th).
In the Tigers' 1968 World Championship season (see 00:14:57), Dick played a key role. He had a .344 on-base percentage, led the American League with 95 runs scored, and showed power with 50 extra base hits. He also tied a major league record by going the entire 1968 season without grounding into a double play and is the only American League player who has done so. McAuliffe also improved defensively in 1968, reducing his error total from 28 in 1967 to nine in 1968, finishing second among American League second basemen in fielding percentage. He finished seventh in the 1968 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, behind teammates Denny McLain (1st), Bill Freehan (2nd), and Willie Horton (4th).
On August 22, 1968, McAuliffe was involved in a brawl with Chicago White Sox pitcher Tommy John. After one pitch barely missed McAuliffe's head, and another was thrown behind him, McAuliffe charged the mound, drove his knee into John's shoulder and separated it. John was out for the season, and McAuliffe was suspended for five games. Interviewed 30 years later, McAuliffe was still convinced John was throwing at his head. In the 1968 World Series, McAuliffe played all seven games at second base, and had 5 runs scored, and 6 hits, 4 walks, 3 runs batted in, and one home run.
McAuliffe continued as the Tigers' starting second baseman through the 1973 season. He was traded from the Tigers to the Boston Red Sox for Ben Oglivie on October 23, 1973.
Bill James ranked McAuliffe 22nd all-time among second baseman in his Historical Baseball Abstract. Incredibly, considering his position, size, and era, he retired among historically strong-hitting Detroit's all-time top ten in five offensive categories.
After a battle with Alzheimer's disease, McAuliffe died on May 13, 2016, at the age of 76, after suffering a stroke.
Dick McAuliffe is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dick is also part of the Detroit Tigers Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Dick is also part of the Boston Red Sox Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all Dick’s baseball cards at TCDB
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