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Thread: Player Profiles - Harry Spilman

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    Member NebraskaRed's Avatar
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    Player Profiles - Harry Spilman



    William Harry Spilman was born on July 18, 1954 in Albany, Georgia. Early in his career he was touted in the media as “the next Pete Rose.”

    Signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1974, Spilman started in Billings where he was to appear in 54 games, going .309/.366/.433/.799. In 1975 and ’76 he was in Tampa where he appeared in a combined 133 games, going .249/.367/.360/.727. After that he moved on to Indianapolis where his numbers steadily improved.


    It was in 1978 that Spilman was invited to the Reds’ spring training camp for the first time. An Alabama newspaper interviewed Spilman at the time, detailing his daily workout routine that included stretches, table tennis, and “shooting the breeze.” The reporter asked the Reds’ farm team director Sheldon Bender about Spilman. Bender said, “He’s the best hitting prospect we’ve seen in the past 5 or 6 years since Driessen.”



    Spilman would go on to spend 1978 in Indianapolis, hitting .295/.383/.445/.828 before the Reds called him up that September to appear in four games.



    Spilman never lived up to the comparisons with Rose. In 1979 he appeared in 43 games for the Reds, and put up mediocre numbers. In 1980 he appeared in 65 games going .267/.327/.426/.753. It was his best year with the Reds. He was traded to the Astros midway through 1981.

    On April 19, 1983 Spilman even won a game for the Astros, and it was against his old team. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Spilman came to bat as a pinch-hitter with two runners on. He promptly shot a Tom Hume pitch over the right field wall for a walk-off win.

    "Guys you trade seem to come back to haunt you," Reds manager Russ Nixon told reporters afterward. "You've got to give him credit. He hit a bad pitch…I know the pitch was up. I know it had to be up to go that far."

    Spilman would go on to play for the Giants and the Tigers before retiring in 1990. He went on to be a minor league hitting coach for the Indians, and then for the Brewers in the past few years.

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Player Profiles - Harry Spilman

    He was in competition with Ray Knight to replace Rose at 3B in ST of 79'. As we all know, Knight won.
    Last edited by George Anderson; 08-06-2013 at 01:48 PM.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Member 757690's Avatar
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    Re: Player Profiles - Harry Spilman

    Spilman starts one of my favorite Reds transaction threads. The Reds got plenty of value over the years from Spilman via smart trades.

    Spilman was traded to the Astros for Rafael Landestoy, who was a few years later traded to the Dodgers for pitching prospect John Franco. Franco became an All-Star closer, and was eventually traded to the Mets for Randy Myers, the head Nasty Boy for the 1990 World Series team. He was traded to the Padres for Bib Roberts, who had a great, All-Star year as the Reds leadoff hitter in 1992.

    Not a bad return for Spilman over the years.
    "Man, the pitch looks fast, even in slow motion." Thom Brennaman on Chapman's fastball.

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    Member NebraskaRed's Avatar
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    Re: Player Profiles - Harry Spilman

    Quote Originally Posted by 757690 View Post
    Spilman starts one of my favorite Reds transaction threads. The Reds got plenty of value over the years from Spilman via smart trades.

    Spilman was traded to the Astros for Rafael Landestoy, who was a few years later traded to the Dodgers for pitching prospect John Franco. Franco became an All-Star closer, and was eventually traded to the Mets for Randy Myers, the head Nasty Boy for the 1990 World Series team. He was traded to the Padres for Bib Roberts, who had a great, All-Star year as the Reds leadoff hitter in 1992.

    Not a bad return for Spilman over the years.
    That's great! I love seeing how trades branch out years and years later.


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