Monday, August 17, 2015

Owen Friend Bought To Ensure His $50 Pension

Owen Friend played infield through the early fifties with a few teams, the Browns, Cubs, Tigers, Cleveland and Boston. He was traded and transacted a few times during that time period, but one heretofor undocumented one certainly is worth publishing.

His Baseball Reference major league page mentions his purchase by the Cubs from the Red Sox in 1955, and that he played for the Cubs in 1956. But it isn't that simple.

Friend was released by the Cubs in spring training, and signed with AAA Havana, in the Reds' system. This set up the deal mentioned in the May 25, 1956 Evening Sun from Hanover, Pennsylvania...

"Cubs Recall Winceniak, and Sell Friend To Havana  CHICAGO—Infielder Ed Winceniak has been recalled from Havana of the International League by the Chicago Cubs and Owen Friend has been sold outright to the same club. Winceniak had been optioned only two weeks ago by the Cubs. The recall completes a gesture of courtesy by the Cubs personnel director, Wid Matthews.... Friend had needed only a few more days service in the majors to qualify him for a $50 month pension at the age of 50."

And that was it for Friend in the majors. He went to Vancouver for a couple of seasons, and to independent Dallas after that, but soon, Phoenix came calling:

"The Giants picked up additional infield help today when Owen Friend was sold to Phoenix by the Dallas Rangers of the American Association."

Phoenix was his last AAA playing stop. Recalling a player for ten days so he could get a $50-a-month pension....certainly wouldn't have seen any player of team bother with that today.

Friend pic from snipview.


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