Today In Brewer History: So long, Steve Hovley

B-Ref Bullpen

The former Seattle Pilot was sent on his way 43 years ago today.

On this day in 1970 the Brewers and A's cut a deal to sent outfielder Steve Hovley to Oakland in exchange for pitcher Al Dowling and catcher Tito Francona.

Hovley had made his major league debut a year earlier with the Seattle Pilots, appearing in the outfield in 91 games and batting .277/.338/.365. He's probably better known for his numerous appearances in Jim Bouton's Ball Four, like this note about his nickname:

Hovley said he didn't mind being called Orbit. "In fact I get reinforcement from it," he said. "It reminds me that I'm different from them and I'm gratified."

What's different about Hovley is that he'll sit around reading Nietzsche in the clubhouse, and sometimes he'll wonder why a guy behaves a certain way. In baseball, that's a revolutionary.

Hovley went on to play parts of four seasons in the big leagues with Oakland and Kansas City. After his baseball career was over he worked as a plumber.

The Brewers didn't get much back in the deal. Francona was in his final major league season, and Downing appeared in just 17 games as a Brewer before departing for Los Angeles, where he won 20 games in 1971.

With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd like to wish a happy birthday today to 1961 and 1965 Milwaukee Brave Frank Thomas. He turns 84 and we covered his birthday in this space last year.

Today is also the 14th anniversary of the 1999 ceremony to retire Paul Molitor's number. We covered that event in this space two years ago.

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