I didn't see a post on this so I thought I'd do a brief write-up. Mitchell Page (coined The Swinging Rage by Monty Moore) has died at the age of 59 of undisclosed causes. Few details are currently available of his death.
Page was a godsend to an abysmal 1977 A's squad. The A's were completely depleted in the past few years by Finley's sell-off and trade frenzy from the 1970's 3-peat World Series squad. And Bowie Kuhn didn't help matters. The 1977 team was doomed by mediocre pitching (an ERA of 4.06), poor hitting (605 runs), lousy defense, and general ineptness. Page was the highlight of a team that won a mere 63 games. He hit .307 with 21 dingers, OPS of .926 and and stole 42 bases in his rookie season. I vividly recall his two homer game against the Tigers, one a blast to cavernous center field of old Tiger Stadium. That A's team had some young talent (Tony Armas), some old talent (Dick Allen & Bill North) and especially pitching (Langford, Norris, McCatty, Blue). But the '77 A's just didn't do much on the field. (All stats from Baseball Almanac).
After a game against the Red Sox that year, I waited for the players to come out, specifically waiting for Page to get his autograph. The man was a mountain & I was scared to ask, but he graciously signed for me. I still have the scorecard. Of course, for a team that drew under 500,000 that year, he was probably glad that anybody showed up to watch the team play.
Though beaten for Rookie of the Year by some switch-hitting, Hall of Fame bound Murray from Baltimore, he seemed the real deal. The sky seemed the limit for this guy. He was big, fast, and powerful. Unfortunately, his numbers never reached that level again, declining each year of his eight year career.
By all accounts he was a gentleman, with nary a harsh word said about him. He coached with LaRussa's Cards and had a small hand in the development of Pujols, among others. Rest in peace, Mr. Page, and thanks for the highlights that carried me through my 17th year.