Sunday, November 1, 2009

1976 Topps #254 - Rudy Meoli

  • Rudy Meoli played in parts of six seasons from 1971-1979. Meoli was drafted by the California Angels in 1969 and tore up the rookie level Pioneer League by batting .351 in 69 games as an 18-year-old shortstop. Rudi progressed through the Angels system and was a September call-up in 1971. He spent the entire 1972 season in the minors and then was promoted to the Angels for the 1973 season.
  • Meoli began the '73 season as a backup and then became the starting shortstop in mid-May. He kept the job until the All Star break but his lack of offense (.223 average for the season) and shaky fielding (27 errors in 95 games) caused his return to the bench in late July.
  • Rudy started the 1974 season in AAA Salt Lake City. He batted .308 and was recalled on July 31. Meoli became the Angels' starting third baseman for a few weeks and batted .240 in 90 at bats.
  • In 1975 Meoli stayed with the Angels for the entire season as a utiltyman. He batted .214 in 126 at bats. After the '75 season he was traded to the San Diego Padres in a trade that brought Bobby Valentine to the Angels. He didn't stay with the Padres very long -- they traded Rudy to the Cincinnati Reds for Merv Rettenmund at the end of spring training.
  • Rudy spent the 1976 and 1977 seasons playing for the Reds' AAA Indianapolis ballclub. At the end of the season he was purchased from the Reds by the Chicago Cubs. Meoli split the season between AAA Wichita and the Cubs. He batted .103 in 29 at bats for the Cubs and was released after the season.
  • Meoli signed with the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training in 1979. He spent the month of April with the Phillies' AAA Oklahoma City club, then was recalled on May 1 and spent the next several weeks with the Phillies. Rudy batted .268 in 73 at bats for the Phillies. This would be his last major league action. He was sold to the Minnesota Twins in late June and spent the rest of the season in AAA Toledo. Meoli tried to catch on with the San Francisco Giants in 1980 but was cut in spring training.
  • Us kids on the block thought Rudy's 1975 card was considered to be of some value since the "action shot" looked cool.
  • Liked to face: Dick Drago (.545 in 11 AB); Steve Busby (.316 in 19 AB); Stan Bahnsen (.308 in 13 AB); Joe Coleman (.222 in 9 AB but hit his only major league homer off of him)
  • Hated to face: Luis Tiant and Wilbur Wood (.143 in 14 AB vs. both); Jim Hunter (.100 in 10 AB)

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