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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday…Tito Fuentes

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One of the things I remember best about Tito Fuentes was when he walked to home plate he would tap home plate with the knob of his bat then flip the bat right side up and assume his batting stance. As a young kid it was cool to watch.

He played for 13 seasons in the major leagues between 1965 and 1978, primarily as a second baseman. Fuentes played for most of his career with the San Francisco Giants, where he still remains a fan favorite.

. He appeared in the postseason during the 1971 season as his Giants won the NL West title; his two-run home run in Game 1 of the 1971 NLCS helped San Francisco take an early series lead against the Pittsburgh Pirates,[2] but that would turn out to be the Giants’ only win of the best-of-five series. Fuentes continued to be the Giants’ second baseman for three more seasons. In 1973, he set a National League record by recording a .993 fielding percentage, the highest for any regular second baseman in league history.[3] Ironically, Fuentes had led all National League second basemen in errors during the previous two seasons before setting the new record for excellence. His record stood for 13 seasons before Ryne Sandberg recorded a .994 percentage at second in 1986.

After the 1974 season, San Francisco traded Fuentes and a future Rookie of the Year, Butch Metzger, to the San Diego Padres for another second baseman, Derrel Thomas. Tito played for two seasons in San Diego before leaving as a free agent. In 1977, Fuentes played with the Detroit Tigers and had a career-best .309 batting average. Despite having his best season, he was not brought back in 1978 (since the Tigers had a young Lou Whitaker waiting in the wings). The Montreal Expos then purchased his contract. Before the start of the season, however, Fuentes was released. During the year, he signed with the Oakland Athletics, but he was released again after batting just .140 in only 13 games.

Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…Tito Fuentes.

MLB statistics
Batting average .268
Home runs 45
Runs batted in 438
Teams

 

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