Monday, March 29, 2010

1976 Topps #397 - Tim Foli

  • Tim "Crazy Horse" Foli was an infielder (mostly shortstop) for five teams from 1970-1985. Foli was the first player selected in the 1968 draft. He was offered a scholarship at the University of Southern California but decided to play baseball instead. Tim played in the minors from 1968-1970 and earned a late-season call up in September of 1970. Foli batted .364 in five games for the Mets in 1970.

  • Foli didn't get much playing time in 1971. He batted .226 in 97 games. Before the 1972 season Tim was traded with Ken Singleton and Mike Jorgensen to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub. Foli became the starting shortstop for the Expos and played there from 1972 until the beginning of the 1977 season. He didn't have much power or speed, and he didn't walk very often either. But Tim was difficult to strike out. He led the NL in at bats per strikeout three times during his career. During his time with Montreal Foli posted averages between .234 and .264. Tim missed a month of the 1973 season when Bob Watson slid into him and broke his jaw. On April 21, 1976 Foli hit a single, a double, and a triple before the game was suspended. The next day the game resumed and Tim hit a home run to complete the cycle.

  • Tim got off to a rough start in 1977. He was batting .175 after 13 games when he was traded even-up to the San Francisco Giants for Chris Speier on April 27. Foli didn't do much better with the Giants (.221 in 104 games) and after the season he was sold to the Mets.

  • Foli was out with an injury for one month during the 1978 season. Tim batted .257 in 113 games. Foli started the 1979 season with the Mets but he and a minor leaguer were traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Frank Taveras. Tim had his best season in 1979, batting .291 with 23 doubles and 65 RBI. He was one of the pieces that helped the Pirates to the NL East championship and eventually the World Championship. Foli drove in a run in each of the three games in the Pirates' sweep of the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS, then batted .333 in the World Series.

  • Foli continued as the regular shortstop for the Pirates in 1980 (.265) and 1981 (.247). After the 1981 season Tim was traded to the California Angels for Brian Harper. Tim was supposed to back up Rick Burleson at SS and fill in at the other infield positions, but he took over the regular SS job when Burleson tore his rotator cuff in mid-April. Foli batted .252 with a league-leading 26 sacrifices in 150 games in 1982. He didn't do much in the ALCS (.125 in 16 AB).

  • Tim's playing time diminished in 1983. Foli played in 88 games, batting .252, but he got in only one game after August 7. He was suspended for not being in uniform after a rain delay on September 11. After the season Tim was traded to the New York  Yankees for Curt Kaufman and cash.

  • Foli spent the 1984 season with the Yankees as a utility infielder. He batted .252 in 61 games. Tim must have liked that average -- he batted .252 each year from 1982-1984. After the 1984 season Foli was traded with Steve Kemp to the Pirates for Dale Berra, Jay Buhner, and Alfonso Pulido. Tim batted .189 in 19 games for the Pirates in 1985 and was released on June 17. That was it for Foli's career.

  • Tim became a coach after his playing career. He was the third base coach and infield coach for the Texas Rangers in 1986 and 1987. Tim managed Puerto Rico's Caguas team in the Caribbean World Series in the winter of 1987 but was fired after two games by general manager Feilx Milan for being disrespectful. Foli was the first base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers from 1992-1995. He was a coach with the Kansas City Royals in 1996, then managed and coached teams in the Mets' system from 1998-2000.

  • Foli had a three-year stint as a coach with the Cincinnati Reds from late 2000 to 2003. Tim got in a fight with fellow coach Ron Oester during that time. Tim took the 2004 season off then he became the manager of the Washington Nationals' AAA New Orleans Zephyrs. Foli was able to manage his son Dan (a minor league pitcher) for a little while in 2006. He continued to manage the Nats' AAA team (in both New Orleans and Syracuse) through the 2009 season. Tim is now a quality control coach for the Nationals.

  • Liked to face: Jon Matlack (.328 in 61 AB); Steve Carlton (.295 in 122 AB); Frank Viola (.545 in 22 AB)
  • Hated to face: Mike Garman (.000 in 11 AB); Tommy John (.081 in 37 AB); Doug Rau (.103 in 29 AB)

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