Tuesday, August 09, 2005


August 9th, 1939

Claude Osteen Born

You sometimes hear people--I suppose the stereotype is the elderly--speaking of how a neighborhood grew up and changed around them. "Well," they say. "I don't know about the new folks, it was so different when I moved in." Such was the case of Claude Osteen and the National League. Osteen, a pitcher who had some good years, debuted in 1957 as a seventeen year-old. That year, the National League had eight franchises, they played in one large division and were located--in order of their finish, in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Philly, New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

Fast forward to 1974, Osteen is a thirty-four year-old, sixteen year veteran starting his final year in the National League. (He would pitch in the AL in 1975, the last year of his career.) The 1974 National League had twelve franchises, now divided into two divisions. Three franchises had moved, from
Milwaukee to Atlanta, Brooklyn to Los Angeles and New York to San Francisco; while there had been four expansion teams, one of which filled the departed New York spot. The others were in Montreal, Houston and San Diego. This meant Osteen was now visiting six cities he hadn't visited in 1957, while he had lost a visit to one (Milwaukee, assuming we count a visit to the Giants and Dodgers as visiting one city). While previously he had not traveled farther west than St. Louis or north than northern Manhattan he would now go to California and so far north as to leave the United States entirely.

There isn't--unfortunately--a record of what Osteen thought of the National League growing up around him, but it is interesting that his career stretches through a time of extreme change for the league.

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