John Lowenstein
1973 Cleveland Indians Postcards John Lowenstein.jpg
Outfielder
Born: (1947-01-27) January 27, 1947 (age 75)
Wolf Point, Montana
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 2, 1970, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
May 4, 1985, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Batting average.253
Home runs116
Runs batted in441
Teams
Career highlights and awards

John Lee Lowenstein (born January 27, 1947) is an American former professional baseball outfielder and designated hitter, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles.

Playing career

Lowenstein was born in Wolf Point, Montana. He attended the University of California, Riverside where he was a three-year letterman with the Highlanders in 1966, 1967 and 1968.[1] As an All-American in his senior year,[2] he led the team in seven offensive categories including batting average (.393) and on-base and slugging percentages (.488 and .600 respectively). He was the first person in UC Riverside history to both receive an athletic scholarship and be selected in the MLB draft,[3][4] 401st overall in the 18th round by the Cleveland Indians in 1968.[5] He was inducted into the UC Riverside Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.[3]

Although he never played in a major league game for them, Lowenstein was briefly a member of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays between the 1976 and 1977 seasons. He was traded by the Indians to the Blue Jays for designated hitter Rico Carty, and reacquired in the same off-season for utility infielder Héctor Torres.

He is known for being part of a left-field platoon during the late 1970s and early 1980s with Gary Roenicke for the Baltimore Orioles.[6][7] He had been claimed off waivers by the Orioles from the Rangers on November 27, 1978.[8]

Lowenstein hit an extra inning walk-off home run for the Baltimore Orioles to win Game 1 of the 1979 American League playoffs against the California Angels.[9] He also made a spectacular, off-the-wall catch to rob the Phillies' Bo Diaz of a home-run in Game One of the 1983 World Series[10] and hit a home run for the Orioles in Game 2.[6] Lowenstein and the Orioles won the World Series that year, four games to one.

Eccentricities

While with the Indians in 1974, he started the John Lowenstein Apathy Club as opposed to having a fan club. He explained, "The people who start fan clubs do it for a publicity gimmick, and I don't care for it. I've turned down about a half dozen fan clubs already. They're a big hassle."[11]

He was taken off the field on a stretcher in the seventh inning of a 4–3 Orioles win over the Oakland Athletics at Memorial Stadium on June 19, 1980. While sliding into second base in an attempt to extend a game-tying single, he was accidentally hit on the back of his head by a ball thrown by first baseman Jeff Newman who was the cut-off man on the play. As he reached the dugout, the seemingly unconscious Lowenstein abruptly sat up and pumped his fists in a victory salute to the crowd.[12] He explained, "It was simply an opportunity I could not pass up."[7]

Broadcaster

Lowenstein was an announcer for Oriole television broadcasts on Home Team Sports for eleven seasons, working as an analyst with Mel Proctor. After he was told before the 1996 season he would not be retained, Lowenstein speculated the Orioles put pressure on Home Team Sports to remove him from the booth.[13]

In 1986, Lowenstein served as a backup color commentator (behind Joe Garagiola and Tony Kubek) on NBC's Game of the Week broadcasts alongside play-by-play man Ted Robinson; Lowenstein and Robinson called the May 17 game between Kansas City and the Chicago White Sox.

References

  1. ^ Baseball: All-Time Roster – University of California, Riverside Athletics. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  2. ^ Baseball: All-Americans – University of California, Riverside Athletics. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Hall of Fame: John Lowenstein – University of California, Riverside Athletics. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  4. ^ Baseball: All-Time Draft Picks – University of California, Riverside Athletics. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  5. ^ 1968 MLB June Draft Pick Transactions, Rounds 11–20, June 7 – Pro Sports Transactions. Retrieved September 17, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Cronin, Don (13 October 1983). "Lowenstein Gets His Turn". Mid Cities Daily News. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b Wulf, Steve (12 July 1982). "It's The Right Idea For Left". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  8. ^ Baltimore Orioles 25th Anniversary: 1979 Information Guide (Lowenstein's profile on pages 96–97). Retrieved October 23, 2020
  9. ^ Loomis, Tom (3 October 1979). "Lowenstein Latest Hero For Baltimore ". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  10. ^ "1983 WS Gm1: Lowenstein robs Diaz of a home run" – via www.youtube.com.
  11. ^ Peterson, Harold. "People," Sports Illustrated, June 24, 1974. Retrieved October 23, 2020
  12. ^ Nissenson, Herschel (20 June 1980). "Lowenstein Uses Head To Ignite Victory ". The Prescott Courier. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
  13. ^ Kent, Milton (22 January 1996). "Lowenstein: Maybe criticism of O's led to 'inexplicable' firing". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2 April 2011.