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Happy birthday, Tom Paciorek

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Happy birthday to Tom Paciorek, who turns 65 today.

Paciorek had the type of career you don't see much anymore, spending eighteen years in the majors as primarily a corner outfielder and first baseman without ever really being a regular. Paciorek made his major league debut in 1970 and hung around in the majors until 1987, with his final two seasons being with the Rangers. But in his 18 seasons in the majors, he never had more than 456 plate appearances; his only seasons of 400+ plate appearances were during a four year stretch from 1980-83 with Seattle and the ChiSox.

Paciorek had a nice run from 1978 through 1983 when he was pretty decent offensively, and he ended up with a career line of .282/.325/.415. The Rangers signed him as a free agent before the 1986 season to provide some depth and veteran leadership on a team that had a bunch of young players -- 23 players 27 or younger appeared on the Rangers that year -- and that was a surprising challenger in the A.L. West. Paciorek ended up playing all over the diamond for the Rangers in 1986, logging time not just in left field and at first base, but also at third base, where he started 13 games (appearing in 21 at the position overall), and even for two innings at shortstop, positions he had never played in the majors before 1986.

Paciorek returned to Texas at age 40 in 1987, on the heels of his .286/.305/.376 year, and put up a respectable .283/.302/.483 line in 64 plate appearances. After retirement, he gained fame (or notoriety) as Hawk Harrelson's sidekick "Wimpy" on the WGN Chicago White Sox telecasts.