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Athletics Obtain Rocky Colavito from Tigers

Nov. 18, 1963 - The Kansas City Athletics began a program for power today by obtaining Rocky Colavito, one of the American League’s top sluggers, in a three-for-two trade with the Detroit Tigers. In return, the Tigers received Jerry Lumpe, a second base mainstay at Kansas City the last five years, and two starting pitchers, Dave Wickersham and Ed Rakow. The Tigers also sent Bob Anderson, a right-handed reliever, and cash estimated at $50,000 to the Athletics. “We are paying a heavy price to acquire the power hitting we need, but we must have power in our line-up,” said Pat Friday, general manager of the Athletics. Colavito, considered a slight disappointment last season by the Tigers when he batted .271 and hit 22 home runs, has been one of the league’s top sluggers since he became a regular with the Cleveland Indians in 1956. The Indians traded him to the Tigers in April 1960 for Harvey Kuenn. Colavito’s greatest day at the plate was June 10, 1959, when he hit 4 consecutive home runs in one game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. “We feel Colavito will be able to hit between 40 and 50 home runs for us next year,” said Friday. The 331-foot left field fence in Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium is 9 feet shorter than the line in Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. The deepest part of Municipal Stadium is 421 feet, compared with 440 feet in Tiger Stadium. One source in Detroit said today the reason the Tigers traded Colavito was because of the strained relationship that had developed between Rocky and the front office. Colavito was so angry about the contract he got last season that he didn’t speak to general manager Jim Campbell all year. Nobody played harder for the Tigers than Colavito. In four years in a Detroit uniform, he hit 139 home runs and knocked in 430 runs — an average of 35 homers and 108 RBIs a year. But the Tigers felt his attitude offset his desire and ability. “He felt we cheated him last season,” said a member of the Detroit organization. “I tried to tell him he was getting treated fairly, but he’s a stubborn kid.” Colavito got $54,000 last season. Colavito felt he should have been given more and was a staunch holdout through the first week of spring training. When Campbell wouldn’t yield, Rocky signed — but he was hopping mad and stayed that way.

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