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 just 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.
Outfielder Sixto Lezcano‘s season at ‘Sacto’ ranked 21st in the ‘Top Minor League Hitters in Milwaukee Brewers History’ series, while two upcoming posts (#4 and #5) will feature teammates of Sixto that year in the Pacific Coast League.
Our #5 top hitter is Bill McNulty. He was signed in 1965 by the Kansas City Athletics (forerunners of the Oakland A’s) and had a bad rookie season at Leesburg (Class A Florida State League), slashing just .199/.271/.301 in 133 games.
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McNulty bounced around between A and AA ball the next three years, never quite doing enough at the higher level to justify a move to AAA. That would come in 1969.
At AA Birmingham, McNulty found his power stroke and smacked 20 home runs in 323 plate appearances with a slashline of .288/.347/.568, earning a promotion to AAA Iowa in the American Association. Somewhere in the middle of this season, McNulty was called up by Oakland and went 0-for-17 in five games, with ten strikeouts.
In 1970 and 19171, he played solely at Iowa, hitting 49 homers in 213 games.
I’m not sure what happened the next year, as he played for AAA Evansville in the Brewers chain, hitting 24 homers in a .258/.354/.471 season. The following year (1973) he played for AAA Tidewater in the New York Mets organization, where he slashed .248/.373/.501.
That would lead to 1974, when he played for Sacramento, once again with Milwaukee and had a monster season that few in the Brewers chain have matched.
#5 Bill McNulty, 1974 Sacramento (AAA)
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McNulty was 27 at the time, with the league average for hitters at 24.9. He lost points for that as well as many points for playing in the bandbox known as Hughes Stadium.
He led the PCL in all power metrics, with his 55 homers, 135 RBI, .690 slugging percentage, 1.128 OPS, and 363 total bags. In addition, his 135 runs scored paced the loop, while he placed second in hits (173) and on-base percentage (.438). His 96 base-on-balls placed third.
In 1975 McNulty was back at Sacramento, where he slashed .305/.389/.571 in 175 plate appearances.
Unhappy with his situation, McNulty crossed the ocean and played for Lotte in the Japan Pacific League, where he hammered 13 dingers in 195 at-bats, but only hit .190/.257/.400.
He retired after that season, with 237 minor league home runs. Since 1962, McNulty hit the most home runs in a single season in the minors, but the record has an asterisk due to the fact that the left field fence was less than 250 feet from the plate. (Source: Baseball America)
Baseball Reference’s ‘BR Bullpen’ has some interesting facts about the minor league slugger who struggled to a 1-for-27 major league career.