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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Jim Beauchamp, Can't Expect - Playing Days

This features Jim Beauchamp's playing career. For the feature on his coaching days, go to Jim Beauchamp, Hard Work

It was perhaps the best two-game span of Jim Beauchamp's career. On Aug. 21., 1972, the Mets hitter knocked in three on two home runs against the Astros. The next night, he knocked in four, hitting another home run.

In both games, Beauchamp knocked in the game-winners.

"I can't expect things to go on like this," Beauchamp told The Associated Press after the second contest. "But at least I'm contributing for a change."

Beauchamp was contributing in his ninth season with time in the majors, his 14th as a pro. He would go on contributing in the game, as a manager and a coach, contributing almost until his passing in 2007 - after nearly five decades in baseball.

Beauchamp's career in baseball began in 1958, signed by the Cardinals as an amateur free agent out of Grove High School in Oklahoma.

Beauchamp started at single-A York in 1958, then moved to AA Tulsa in 1959. He made AAA San Juan and Charleston in 1961. In September 1963, Beauchamp debuted with the Cardinals.

In four games with St. Louis, Beauchamp got three at bats and no hits. For 1964, he arrived with Houston in a three-player deal. He got into 23 games for the Colt .45s, getting nine hits for a .164 average. He also hit two home runs.

In an exhibition game in the new Astrodome in April 1965, Beauchamp knocked in six runs, three on a home run. During the season, Beauchamp got into 24 games for the renamed Astros, hitting .189. By May, he arrived with the Braves in another trade. He got into just four more games that year with the Braves.

He spent 1966 completely at AAA Richmond, returning to the majors with the Braves in 1967 for just four more game. His big league time, though, increased. By 1970, Beauchamp got into 75 total games between the Astros and the Cardinals.

In 1971, he returned to St. Louis and got into 77 games. In 1972, when he got those three home runs in two nights, Beauchamp got into 56 other contests, hitting .242, with five total home runs.

The night he hit his two home runs, Beauchamp hit his first ball almost to the wall for an out.

"I thought, 'Here we go again. That'll be my best shot of the night," Beauchamp told The AP. "I had a good cut at a fastball on that one. I'm known primarily as a fastball hitter, so I decided to look for breaking pitches after that."

Beauchamp played in one more big league season, 50 games in 1973 with the Mets, ending with time in 10. He then played one more season in the minors with the Cardinals, ending his playing career.

He then went on to his long post-playing career as a manager and coach in the minors, and making it back to the majors as a coach for the Braves.

For the feature on his coaching days, go to Jim Beauchamp, Hard Work

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