Top 100 Baseball Blog

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Ernie Fazio's Meteoric Rise to a Major League Baseball Career

In baseball, young players are rushed to the majors all the time for a variety of reasons. This can be especially true for expansion teams, who are attempting to stock their rosters with any semblance of big league talent. Sometimes it ends up working out for the player and other times, like in the case of infielder Ernie Fazio, things just don’t up clicking and leading to a lengthy career.

Fazio was a slight (5’7” and 165 pounds) second baseman who starred for Santa Clara University. He was signed by the fledgling Houston Colt .45s in 1962 as a 20-year-old and made his big league debut by the end of the year, collecting a long single in 12 at-bats.

In 1963, Houston lost 96 games but gave Fazio extended playing time. Unfortunately, he was just not ready for primetime. Appearing in 102 games (228 at-bats), he hit just .184 with two home runs and five RBIs. However, a significant highlight was hitting a home run on August 18th against future Hall-of-Fame Warren Spahn.

Fazio spent the next two years in the minors, hitting a combined .263 with 35 home runs. Although that production put him back on track for a promotion, it would not come with Houston, as following the 1965 season he was the player to be named to complete a trade that had occurred earlier that brought slugger Jim Gentile over from the Kansas City Athletics.

Appearing in 27 games, primarily off the bench, for Kansas City in 1966, Fazio managed just seven hits in 34 at-bats and drove in two runs. He continued playing in the minors through 1969 for several organizations but never realized the potential that had brought him to the majors at such an early age. He wound up appearing in 141 big league games, hitting .182 with two home runs and eight RBIs.

A number of years ago, Fazio answered some questions about his career. Keep reading for more.

Ernie Fazio Interview:

How did you first become interested in baseball?: I started when I was really young. I kept playing, and my dad helped me along the way. Before you knew it, I played for a real good American Legion team in Oakland, California. A coach there; he coached guys like Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, and Curt Flood; and so I stayed. I worked out every day, and so that’s how I got started.

Did you have a favorite team or player while you were growing up?: Not really. I just loved baseball and followed everyone.

What was your signing experience like with Houston?: I was playing very good baseball, and played against all the top teams. Then I went to Santa Clara University, and we had a great team; I mean the best they ever had at the university. We went to the College World Series and we lost the championship game in 15 innings, which is a world record.

Right after the game, I came home, and Houston was there, and I signed with them. That was it. They had a bunch of other ball players that signed at the same time.

What was it like being part of the inaugural Houston team (1962)?: I met a lot of good guys, but overall they were jealous. I was making big money at the time, and they weren’t making that much money, so they kind of took a little back seat to me.

What is your favorite moment from your baseball career?: It was hitting my first major league home run, off Warren Spahn. Willie Mays hit his first home run off Warren Spahn too. I really respected Willie Mays, so that felt kind of great.

If you could do anything differently about your career, what would you do?: Not really. If I had to do it again, I would probably sign with the San Francisco Giants, because Houston, they had their pick of three ball players from every major league team. When I signed, I was the first rookie, and being a small guy, they said, ‘How did you ever sign with someone?’ So, I think I would have probably signed with the San Francisco Giants, or one of those teams from around here.

I would probably work just as hard as I did to get there. Once I got there, I got swamped by everything else. I would have worked twice as hard, looking back, because I wish I was still in baseball in some capacity. 

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

National Harbor, Maryland Welcomes the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Approximately 3,000 baseball executives from nearly 200 professional teams, media from around the world, and hundreds of exhibitors and job seekers will converge on National Harbor, Maryland, for the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings™ at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center from Dec. 4-8. 

The Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities (PBEO®) Job Fair will begin the morning of Sunday, Dec. 4, with the Business of Baseball Workshop. The workshop will provide insight on how to find the right job in baseball, what it takes to succeed once they find a job and what to expect throughout the baseball season. The event will include speakers from Minor League Baseball® and Major League Baseball® organizations and an address from Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. 

The 23rd annual PBEO Job Fair will conclude Dec. 7. Currently, more than 250 jobs have been posted for this year’s event. Just over 550 individuals have registered for the job fair, looking for the opportunity to choose from a variety of available positions, meet with representatives from professional teams and interview on-site. 

The Banquet, presented by New Era Cap Co., will take place Sunday night, Dec. 4. Emceed by Houston Astros radio broadcaster and PBEO Job Fair alumnus Robert Ford, the Banquet will feature the presentation of some of Minor League Baseball’s most prestigious awards, including the King of Baseball, John H. Johnson President’s Award, Charles K. Murphy Patriot Award, Larry MacPhail Award, Mike Coolbaugh Award, Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award and the John Henry Moss Community Service Award. 

The Awards Luncheon, sponsored by Musco Sports Lighting, will be held Monday, Dec. 5. Mike Capps, the play-by-play voice of the Round Rock Express, will host the annual event that honors award winners from the previous baseball season. 

A staple of the Baseball Winter Meetings for more than two decades, the Bob Freitas Business Seminar & Workshop Series will take place Monday, Dec. 5, and Tuesday, Dec. 6, delivering insightful speakers and attention-grabbing topics to attendees. The event allows for attendees to hear featured speakers, as well as break into smaller groups to discuss ideas and thoughts on the business of professional baseball. A complete list of speakers and topics can be accessed here. 

Opening Night at the Baseball Trade Show, sponsored by Team Scotti and Populous, will be held Monday, Dec. 5, from 5-8 p.m., in Prince George’s Exhibit Halls B-D of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Featuring more than 250 exhibitors and encompassing over 100,000 square feet of exhibitor space, the Baseball Trade Show is held in conjunction with the Baseball Winter Meetings and spans three days. Exhibiting companies include manufacturers and distributors of apparel, caps, gift items, souvenirs, promotional products, stadium equipment, food and beverage products, player equipment and service companies, including insurance, architecture, concessions, printing, marketing, internet and entertainment, among others. 

Other ancillary events of the week include Moving Diversity Forward on Sunday afternoon, where respected individuals in the field of diversity and inclusion, as well as executives in the baseball industry, will discuss how they have found success establishing diverse practices within their respective organizations and communities. The Women in Baseball Leadership Event, entering its ninth year as a Baseball Winter Meetings event, will be held Tuesday, Dec. 6. This networking opportunity is open to women currently employed by a Minor League Baseball or Major League Baseball club or league, and features interactive discussions and presentations intended to promote professional development and networking among female executives. This year’s event is sponsored by InfoMart. 

The Gala, being held at Nationals Park on Dec. 7, is the final social event of the 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings. The event is sponsored by Rawlings, New Era Cap Co., K&K Insurance, Budweiser, the Washington Nationals, Essensa and Levy Restaurants. 

For the complete Baseball Winter Meetings schedule and additional event information, visit

You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew