Thursday, August 6, 2009

1976 Topps #167 - Freddie Patek

  • Freddie Patek was an infielder (mostly shortstop) from 1968-1981. He spent most of his career with the Kansas City Royals. During most of his career he was the smallest player in the league. He is listed at 5'5" and 148 lb.
  • He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1966 and played in their minor league system from 1966-1968. He was brought up in June 1968 for a month, went back down for a month in July/August, and then was with the Pirates to stay. Patek batted .255 in 61 games for the Pirates.
  • Fred was the starting shortstop for the Pirates in 1969 and batted .239 in 147 games. He played in only 84 games in 1970 and batted .245-- there are a couple of two-week gaps in his playing time, which may indicate trips to the DL or some sort of military service. After the season Patek was traded to the Royals.
  • Patek had his best offensive season in 1971 and finished 6th in AL MVP balloting. He batted .267 and led the league in triples with 11. Fred stole 49 bases and led the AL in caught stealing with 14. He remained the Royals' regular shortstop through the 1978 season. His seasons were virtually interchangeable, with batting averages in the .220-.240 range and at least 30 stolen bases each year. He made three AL All Star teams (1972, 1976, 1978). Patek batted .389 in both the 1976 and 1977 American League Championship Series.
  • Fred didn't play as much in 1979. He played in only one game after August 14. Fred batted .252 in 106 games and stole only 11 bases. He was caught stealing 12 times. After the 1979 season Patek became a free agent and signed with the California Angels.
  • In 1980 Patek played in 86 games and batted .264. He played very little in 1981 (.234 in 47 at bats) and was released during spring training in 1982.
  • After being released by the Angels, Patek had a variety of jobs in and out of baseball. He was a baseball commentator and worked in the Ranger and Brewer organizations. He has also been in the restaurant and roofing business.
  • He had to deal with tragedy in 1992 when his 19-year-old daughter Kim was in an auto accident and was paralyzed from the neck down. She passed away four years later.


  1. wow. I can't imagine the pain. Horrible.

  2. When I was a kid, a new kid moved into town from Kansas (I lived in New York). He would talk about Freddie Patek (and Mayberry and Brett and Otis) nonstop.

    We became good friends, in part because he didn't like the Yankees. And back then the Royals and Yankees always faced each other in the postseason.