Today’s Random Player From My Baseball Project That May or May Not Amount to Anything is Wayne Causey. Causey was one of two third basemen signed by the Baltimore Orioles in the winter of 1955. Causey signed for $35,000 and was therefore a “Bonus Baby”. You see, there was a rule in Major League Baseball at the time that stated if a player was signed to a contract of more than $4,000 the team had to keep him on the big league roster for two full years. Two full years, not seasons. He played parts of three seasons for the Orioles and posted a 41 OPS+ in 310 plate appearances. It was then that he was finally sent to the minors. He spent three and a half years in the Baltimore farm system and was then traded to the Kansas City Athletics. He would go on to play decently for the A’s, posting a 99 OPS+ in six seasons. Overall in 1105 games he hit .252/.333/.341 for five different teams.
I mentioned that he was one of two third basemen signed by the Orioles in 1955. The other one signed for $4,000 and was promptly sent to the minors. He moved up rapidly through the minors, but because he wasn’t a “Bonus Baby”, he was able to move at his own pace and by 1960 Brooks Robinson was the everyday third basemen for Baltimore. He was the 1964 AL MVP and the 1970 World Series MVP. In 1983 he was listed on 92% of the Hall of Fame ballots in his first year of eligibility.
Would Causey have had the same success had he had a chance to hone his skills in the minors instead of being overmatched in the majors? Nobody knows, but one really can’t deny that keeping him in the bigs did him any good.