After the 1973 season, the Milwaukee Brewers moved their Triple A affiliate from Evansville, Indiana to Sacramento, California. Since the former ballpark of previous iterations of the Sacramento Solons had been demolished, the ’74 version of the Solons began playing their games at Hughes Stadium.
Hughes Stadium was a joke as far as baseball goes–the left field foul pole was 233 feet from home plate!
There was a ‘high screen,’ but the details seem to be lost to history. But the offensive totals were definitely not lost.
In 1974, outfielder Sixto Lezcano was in the fourth and final year of his stellar minor league career, and this was at just age 20.
Lezcano was five years younger than league average and got bonus points for that, but he lost twice that for playing half his games on a field that had a left field fence 70 feet shorter than the one that my 12-year-old nephew plays on in Nekoosa, Wisconsin.
#21 Sixto Lezcano, 1974 Sacramento (AAA)
[table id=17 /]
Sixto Lezcano was one of my favorite Brewer players from the mid-late 70s, with the ability to hit for average and power, along with his superior defensive skills and cannon arm. He won a Gold Glove in 1979 while playing for the Brewers and finished 15th in the Most Valuable Player voting that year, slashing .321/.414/.573 to go along with 28 home runs and 101 runs batted in.
But prior to that, Lezcano had a pair of solid years in the minors, playing at Danville (Midwest, A) and Shreveport (Texas, AA) before his fabulous season in Sacramento.
(Author’s note: in 1972, Lezcano played in the Midwest League All-Star game against my beloved Wisconsin Rapids Twins at Witter Field, which was two miles from my childhood home. Officially, the score was reported as a 1-1 tie, but it was alternatively reported otherwise. There is a good possibility that my 12-year-old self attended that contest.)
In 1974, Lezcano took advantage of the short left field porch at Hughes Stadium, smacking 34 round-trippers, nearly matching his previous two and one-half year’s total of 35.
As it was over forty years ago, only basic statistics were kept, so it is hard to give many details of Lezcano’s season. The team went 66-78, finishing last in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) West Division. As good as Lezcano’s campaign was, he was not even named to the PCL All-Star team!
Sixto ranked high in the final league stats in homers (34-4th), total bases (306-4th), hits (165, tied for 5th), and slugging (.602-5th). He also placed in the top ten in runs scored (100), triples (8), RBI (99), and OPS (.995).
Although the team record was pretty bad in 1974, Lezcano put up some very good numbers and that showing propelled him to the major leagues for good.
And who, of my era, could forget the dulcet tones of County Stadium PA announcer Bob Betts…’now batting, right fielder, Sixxxxttttoooo Lezzzzcaaannnno.’