Friday, August 26, 2016

Russ Sullivan Bounced to Portland

Russ Sullivan was an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers in the early fifties, posting a nice .267 lifetime average, with a .357 OBP and some power in just 150 at-bats.

For some reason, Sullivan couldn't stick with the big club, and he spent all of 1954 in AA Little Rick for the Tigers organization. Russell's Baseball-Reference page has only his signing by Detroit in his list of transactions, but he took a couple of trips after that 1954 season.

Sullivan goes from Little Rock (where he hit .333) in 1954, to independent Portland of the PCL to start the 1955 season. It wasn't a straight-line path, however. From the Jan. 21, 1955 Medford Mail Tribune:

"Russ Sullivan, purchased by the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League from Little Rock of the Southern Assn. last month, has been claimed on waivers by the Portland Beavers of the PCL, it was announced today."

So Sullivan is bought by Hollywood in Dec. of 1954, then waived away to Portland in January. Odd.

Sullivan didn't stay in Portland very long, partway through the season he was sold to the IL. From the

Eugene Register-Guard of May 12, 1955:

"Outfielder Russ Sullivan was sold to Columbus of the International League…”

Sullivan was a productive player for Columbus, in the Athletics' system in 1955 and 1956, and the Pirates organization in the early 1957 season. The then-34-year-old outfielder, still a solid hitter, was dealt back to the Kansas City system, and AAA Buffalo. This article sang his praises in the Free Lance Star of Aug. 24, 1957:

“Russ Sullivan, who joined Buffalo two weeks ago, is one of the big reasons why the Bisons have regained first place in the International League race."

"The 31-year-old veteran outfielder was purchased from the Columbus Jets Aug. 9…”

Baseball-Reference says he was 34! Either way, Sullivan's career ended on a high note, with an overall .314 average for both of the teams in 1957. Lifetime, he was a .310 minor league hitter, which leaves us wondering why a major league team didn't give him a longer shot.

Sullivan card photo lifted from 


No comments:

Post a Comment