Happy Birthday Roman Mejias!
The only reason I know anything about Roman Mejias is – of course – because I have his baseball card. 1958. Not sure why I have his card. I probably traded a Mickey Mantle and a Sandy Koufax for him. I was not so sharp back then. But I always liked his card; he looks like a nice guy with an interesting name.
I’ve always like the old cards with the little cartoons on the back. They should do that again. (Of course I haven’t seen any recent cards, perhaps they are doing that again.) I wonder where the Big State League was? And the Pony League?
The card has his birthday as 1932, but baseball reference puts it at 1930. Probably an honest mistake. That Pirates logo on the card is kind of a mess.
Mejias big year came later on, in 1962. He was the star of the expansion Houston Colt 45’s in their first year in the league. The Colt 45s went 64 – 96 that year, but Mejias hit .286 with 24 home runs, 76 rbis, and a dozen stolen bases. Kind of a surprise, as in both ’60 and ’61, with the pirates, his major league batting stats were 0 for 1, with 1 strikeout. (He also scored one run in each of those seasons; must have been put in as a pinch runner, I guess.) The Colt 45s traded Mejias to the Red Sox after the ’62 season, and with the Sox in ’63 he only hit .227 with 11 hr and 39 rbis. In ’64 he hit .238 in about 100 at bats with the Red Sox, and that was it for him. Nice for him that he had that one glory year, 1962, where he was the star of the team.
Bill Thompson has put together a website devoted to the Houston Colt 45s, and has a page devoted to Roman Mejias, including a few bits of audio from radio broadcasts of games – like this one, where Mejias hits the first inside-the-park home run for the Colt 45s.