Monday, May 3, 2021

#439 Moe Drabowsky - Kansas City Athletics

Myron Walter Drabowsky
Kansas City Athletics

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  190
Born:  July 21, 1935, Ozanna, Poland
Signed:  Signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent, July 22, 1956
Major League Teams:  Chicago Cubs 1956-1960; Milwaukee Braves 1961; Cincinnati Reds 1962; Kansas City Athletics 1962-1965; Baltimore Orioles 1966-1968; Kansas City Royals 1969-1970; Baltimore Orioles 1970; St. Louis Cardinals 1971-1972; Chicago White Sox 1972
Died:  June 10, 2006, Little Rock, AR (age 70)

A well-known practical joker, Moe Drabowsky pitched in parts of 17 seasons in the majors, earning World Series rings with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970.  Signed as a bonus baby by the Cubs in 1956, Drabowsky began his career as a starting pitcher but soon found more success as a reliever.  His best seasons as a starting pitcher came with the 1957 Cubs (13-15 in 33 starts with a 3.53 ERA) and the 1963 Athletics (7-13 in 22 starts with a 3.05 ERA).  Drabowsky was a key reliever for the Orioles in their 1966 championship season, going 6-0 with a 2.81 ERA over 44 appearances and pitching 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief in Game 1 of the World Series against the Dodgers.  After a season and a half with the expansion Royals, in which he won the first game in franchise history, Drabowsky came back to the Orioles and again pitched effectively out of the bullpen for the eventual World Champions.  Drabowsky had a lifetime record of 88-105 with 54 saves over 589 games pitched.

April 3, 2021 - Section 319, Citizens Bank Park, Pod of 4
He'd later coach in the White Sox and Cubs' systems, serving as the White Sox pitching coach in 1986 and the Cubs pitching coach in 1994.  Drabowsky was a minor league pitching instructor with the Orioles between 1995 and 2006.  Throughout his career, his practical joking including surprising teammates with live snakes, imitating front office personnel on phone calls and his prank of choice, the hot foot, in which a match is lighted while in the victim's shoe.

Building the Set
April 2, 2021 from Manchester, MO - Card #241
It's a strange time.  Spring has arrived, we finally attended a Phillies game in person and it seems as if with the arrival of the vaccine the pandemic could soon be behind us.  But I still find myself anxious, occasionally having trouble sleeping at night, and I know many of my friends and family feel the same way.  I went the entire month of March without adding to our 1965 Topps set, and as the month came to a close I decided to start off April with the purchase of a group of commons.  In search specifically for series two cards, I veered into the higher series when I found sellers on eBay auctioning off batches of cards from recent set breaks.  Over the course of a few days, I ended up winning 16 cards for $48 for an average of $3 per card.  

This Drabowsky card came from eBay seller ace64cards from Manchester, Missouri for a winning bid of $3.99.  With the weather getting warmer, having enjoyed a beer at a few Phillies games and 16 new cards in our collection, the month is starting off on the right foot.

The Card / Athletics Team Set
That's the number 25 on the front of Drabowsky's jersey, and that would be his uniform number during his time with the Athletics, the Royals and for both his stints with the Orioles.  On the back of the card, his long career at that point doesn't leave much room for any narrative, but Topps does celebrate his college no-hitter.  His SABR biography doesn't give an exact year, but I'm assuming the no-hitter came in 1954 or 1955 while Drabowsky was attending Trinity College and studying economics.

1965 Season
Drabowsky spent most of the 1965 season pitching for the Vancouver Mounties in the Pacific Coast League.  In 17 games (12 starts) for the Mounties, he was 8-2 with a 2.44 ERA, including eight complete games and two shutouts.  He had made the Athletics' opening day roster, pitching in 14 games before a June demotion as a result of his 1-5 record and 4.42 ERA.  I don't think he could have done much to actually help the woeful Athletics, who lost 103 games in 1965.

1957 Topps #84
1966 Topps #291
1967 Topps #151
1969 Topps #508
1972 Topps #627

Other Notable Baseball Cards

First Mainstream Card:  1957 Topps #84
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (15):  1957-1962, 1964-1972
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1993 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #43

85 - Drabowsky non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 4/8/21.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database


  1. I met Moe when he was coaching in the Orioles' chain in the early 90's. Really nice guy.

  2. I can't remember where exactly, but I clearly remember reading from another baseball card blog about what a great guy Moe was.