Danny Cater – Big League’s First Baseman


Danny Anderson Cater is a former American professional baseball, whose nickname doesn’t ring a bell, unlike most other renowned monikers. Surprisingly, he is only dubbed Carter, with a mere addition of a single letter to his last name, thought to have started because linotype operators just didn’t deem “Cater” was right. What is sure is that “Carter Cater,” Oakland’s First Baseman emerged as one of the sports’ best players. In this article, let’s know more about Danny Cater, his early life, start, and journey in the Big League.

Early Life and Career

Danny Cater was born on February 25, 1940, in Austin, Texas. Sports run in his lineage, with his father having players semi-professional softball and baseball, while his mother suited for a church team.

He was a star in both football and baseball at the William B. Travis High School, eventually named as the Most Valuable Player in the National Colt League championship tournament, registering 16 out for 23 against Evanston, Illinois, though it was a losing effort as their team succumbed to their rivals.

With his innate talent and potential, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound, and 18-year old Cater signed with Philadelphia Phillies on June 8, 1958, after his graduation. He was found by Hap Morse, a Phillies scout, and Cater was reported to have been offered a sum of $24,000

Philadelphia Phillies LogoAfter signing, the Phillies sent Cater into Johnson City, Tennessee to play for their Class D rookie in a short season. Cater proved his skills, leading the tournament in many facets, such as home runs, RBIs, runs scored, and the coveted Player of the Year award.

The feat allowed Cater to move into the higher ranks, this time joining the Bakersfield Bears in 1959. Cater transferred to second base in the Class C team yet still remained as one of the top players in terms of hitting in the Californian League. In 1960, Cater switched position again, this time as a first base for the Williamsport Grays, and ranking number one among all the first basemen in the Eastern tournament.

Brimming with versatility, Cater played his fourth position in four seasons, assigned to be the third base in 1961, yet still leading the league in hits, earning him a spot in the all-star team. In 1962, Cater joined the Buffalo Bisons, and then the Arkansas Travelers in 1963, playing both the left field and third base in both Triple-A teams for two consecutive years.

While it may seem that Cater has accumulated many achievements and proven his worth, Phillies still left unprotected by the Phillies in the 1963 draft. However, no other team also selected Cater to be part of their team. When it happened, Gene Mauch, manager of the Phillies, said he was prodded not to lose Cater.

Cater in the Big League

So, in 1964, Cater joined the Phillies training as a non-roster player along with the other five rookies who made the 1964 squad. Cater was not a noise-maker per se, claiming that it just didn’t suit his field style. What Cater did is let his bat do the talking in his 12-year career in the Big League. He registered 1,229 hits, a .276 lifetime batting average, and 519 RBIs.

American League LogoFrom 1965 to 1972, Cater averaged about 500 plate appearances each season, for the given eight-year period. He was a professional hitter, with adept skills, and was always proud of his accomplishments. Some of his career highlights include getting five singles against Cleveland Indians in 1967, a double and four singles versus the Boston Red Sox in 1970.

His most outstanding feat happened in 1968 when he ranked second in the American League’s batting title, with a .290 average. He also became the league-leading first baseman with a fielding average of .995 percentage in the same season, attesting his expertise in the position.

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