When you search for “raw deal” on Google, the first entry is for the 1986 film by the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold and Darren McGavin.

Twenty-nine years ago Les Moss got a raw deal in his second big-league managing job.Moss_Les

Yes, second. He managed the 1968 Cubs for just 36 games, going 12-24 for the eighth-place Cubbies.

In 1979, John Lester Moss took over for the retired Ralph Houk as Tigers manager. Moss had been in the Tigers farm system managing the Triple-A Evansville (Ind.) Triplets in the American Association and it was, I guess, his turn.

Moss managed the Tigers for just 53 games in ’79. Detroit sat at a 27-26, on the morning of June 14. Before Moss could order lunch, he was out of a job and Sparky Anderson was the Tigers’ new manager. (Officially, first base coach Dick Tracewski was the interim manager. Trixie led the Tigers to a 2-0 record before Sparky took over.)

So the Moss Era was over before it even began. The managing era, that is.

Did you know that Les Moss had a 13-year career as a catcher in the majors? He debuted in 1946 as a 21-year-old with the St. Louis Browns. He played in just a dozen games that year but finished a .371 average.

A review of his year-by-year stats show one thing: he was ridiculously inconsistent. For example:

  • 1947: 96 games, .157 avg.
  • 1948: 107/.257
  • 1949: 97/.291
  • 1950: 84/.266
  • 1951: 87/.193

…and so on. What else?

  • He never hit more than 14 homers in a season
  • His career average was .247; career OBP: .333

Though he didn’t hang around Detroit for very long, Les Moss is another player in the Tigers’ rich history.

Today the Tulsa native turns 83.

**Update: Moss passed away Aug. 29, 2012.