Thursday, December 31, 2015

Eddie Kazak Was In Demand; But Would He Play?

Eddie Kazak was a third baseman in the late forties and early fifties for the Cardinals and, briefly, the reds. He played so well in just 92 games in 1949 that he made the NL All-Star team, though he didn't come close to that kind of year after that. After a short stop with the Reds, he was sold to the Tigers, who sent him to their Buffalo farm team in 1953.

That is where Kazak's Baseball Reference page ends his transactions, but he played for quite awhile longer, and was dealt quite a bit as well.

After a nice enough season in Buffalo, Kazak was sent to Beaumont, the Cubs' AA team for 1954: from the Lubbock Evening Journal of Oct. 19, 1953:

“Beaumont's Exporters of the Texas League got third baseman Eddie Kazak and some cash yesterday in a trade that sent pitcher Don Swartz, to Buffalo. Kazak, who played with Houston in the Texas League in 1951, hit .275 the past season with Buffalo. He was the all-star third baseman for the National League while playing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1949. Swartz had a 14-7 season with Beaumont in 1953.”

Swartz never made the majors, and would finish a decent minor league career with Buffalo in 1954.

Kazak spent just the one year in Texas, then headed to independent San Diego. From the Denton Record-Chronicle of Oct. 13, 1954:

“Eddie Kazak, star Beaumont third baseman, has been sold to San Diego of the Pacific Coast League for $7,500 and a player. Allen Russell, owner of the Beaumont club, said the player, who is not known yet, would be sent here next spring. Kazak, the Texas League all- star third baseman the past season, hit .344.”
I wasn't able to find the player-to-be-named, but Kazak would go on to play 3+ years for San Diego, during which the Indians took the team as their AAA affiliate in the PCL.

In 1958, Kazak ran afoul of Padre manager George Metkovich and was sent to Cincinnati's Seattle club, according to the Arizona Republic of Aug. 14, 1958:

“The San Diego baseball club has sold Eddie Kazak to the Seattle Rainiers for an undisclosed sum, Padre general manager Ralph Kiner announced last night. Kazak, 38, who has played infield and outfield with the Pacific Coast League, was suspended in Portland Aug. 5 by George Metkovich. Padre field manager -“
Kazak had refused to play, citing injury. That theme recurred a year later, when he bounced from Seattle to Miami (Baltimore AAA) to Sacramento (Braves AAA) through the season of 1959. The source this time is the Daytona Beach Morning Journal of June 2, 1959:

“Looking for a long ball hitter, the Sacramento Solons yesterday purchased third baseman Eddie Kazak from Miami of the International League. Kazak, 38, was sold to Miami by Seattle a week ago because he refused to play regularly, claiming injuries.”
That covers the last two transactions of Kazak's career as he finished off with a couple games for the Braves' AA team in Austin in 1960. A near-40-year old player in enough demand to find buyers for his services....though he evidently was too hurt to play regularly.

That would get him $10 mil a year these days.

Kazak photo from


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