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Happy birthday, Larvell Blanks

Happy 63rd to former Ranger utility infielder Larvell Blanks

Marianna Massey

Happy birthday to former Ranger infielder Larvell Blanks, who turns 63 today.

Larvell Blanks was originally a 3rd round draft pick of the Atlanta Braves, who was traded to the Cleveland Indians in a three way deal that saw Ralph Garr go to the Chicago White Sox. Blanks then was dealt right at the end of the 1978 season to the Texas Rangers, with Cleveland sending Blanks and reliever Jim Kern to Texas for starting pitcher Len Barker* and outfielder Bobby Bonds.

* I remember, as a kid, hearing lamentations about the Rangers dealing Barker, how he was another great pitcher the Rangers gave away. But in looking at his stats, he wasn't anything special...he had an ERA+ greater than 100 only once in eight seasons after the Rangers traded him. Also kind of interesting is that he led the A.L. in K/9 in 1980, at 6.8. The K/9 for the American League as a whole in 2012 was 7.4. So Barker led the league in 1980 with a K-rate that would have been below average last year.

Blanks spent only the 1979 season in Texas, putting up a .200/.259/.267 line as a backup shortstop and second baseman in 138 plate appearances. After the season, he was packaged with Doyle Alexander and $50,000 and sent back to Atlanta for Adrian Devine and Pepe Frias. Blanks didn't hit for Atlanta, either, and the Braves released him in August of 1980. Blanks then spent the next five seasons playing in the Mexican League before retiring.