Sunday, August 3, 2014

Card #86: Dane Iorg

Who Can It Be Now?
Dane Charles Iorg was born on May 11, 1950, in Eureka, California.  He was a baseball star at Arcata High School and, as a result, was drafted in 16th Round of the 1968 June Draft by the Kansas City Royals.  

That draft position was not enough to convince him to forego his opportunity to play collegiate baseball at Brigham Young University, however, so Iorg went to Salt Lake City instead and majored in P.E.  For the Cougars, he played regularly all three years and drew attention his junior year when he finished his collegiate season in 1971 with a .401/.485/.685 slash line with 11 HR, 50 RBI, 4 SB, and 32 BB versus 10 K in 48 games.  Indeed, in 1982, he was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame.  

The Philadelphia Phillies selected Iorg in with the 22nd pick of the 1st Round of the June Secondary Draft in 1971.  Despite being Mormon, Dane does not appear to have gone on a Mormon mission as most 19-year-olds in the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church do.  Perhaps it was because he was a sports star, perhaps it was because his parents were not all that active in the LDS Church, or perhaps it was because of the Vietnam War getting kids drafted, but Iorg does not appear to have missed any time in his career for that.  Indeed, after being drafted, Iorg went directly to Walla Walla in the Northwest League and hit the cover off the ball -- .367/.459/.542 in 333 plate appearances.

For whatever reason, it appears that Iorg was loaned or assigned to the Carolina League with a Texas affiliate in 1972 and, once again, he hit well.  That earned him a short call-up to Double-A, where he struggled.  After those initial struggles in 1972, though, his 1973 season was far better at Reading and it earned him a look at Triple-A in Toledo in 1974 in the International League.  Iorg took a while to adjust there once again, and his career appeared to have stalled out between Double-A and Triple-A as of 1975.

In 1976, though, in Oklahoma City, Iorg found his batting stroke and hit .326/.408/.528. The problem was that Iorg was already 26 years old by 1976 and he did not even get a call-up to the major leagues off that strong Triple-A season.  Iorg did receive a chance in spring training the next year, however, to make the team and he did so as an injury-replacement for regular 1B Richie Hebner.  Once Hebner came back, Iorg went back to Triple-A.

The Phillies were in the heat of the 1977 pennant race, though, and wanted to get an upgrade for their outfield.  As a result, the Phillies worked out a deal at the June 15 trade deadline with the St. Louis Cardinals, sending Rick Bosetti, Tom Underwood, and Iorg to St. Louis in exchange for Bake McBride and Steve Waterbury.  Iorg spent a few weeks with the Cardinals Triple-A affiliate before getting the opportunity to serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter off the bench.  

Iorg had a similar experience in 1978.  He started as a lefty pinch-hitter early in the year, but he struggled in that role -- hitting .143/.211/.143 when he was sent back down to Triple-A at the end of May.  The Cardinals gave Iorg a September call-up, though, and he started to hit the ball much better late in the year.  As a result, 1978 -- at the age of 28 -- was the last time that Iorg spent anything more than a three-game injury rehabilitation stint in the minor leagues.

That's not to say he became a regular, but he did become a regular bat off the bench for manager Ken Boyer, and, later, Whitey Herzog starting in 1979 and ending in 1984, when his contract was sold to the Cardinals in-state cohorts the Kansas City Royals.  He spent two years serving as a designated hitter/utilityman for the Royals before moving closer to home (well, not that close, but at least he was in the same state as Eureka) to San Diego to close out his career in 1986.

Iorg was a member of two World Series championship teams in 1982 with the Cardinals (more on that later) and 1985 with the Royals.  Indeed, Iorg came back to haunt his former team in that 1985 World Series, blooping a hit with the bases loaded in Game 6 (after that horrendous call by Don Denkinger) to drive in two runs and win the game for the Royals.

Iorg retired from baseball after the 1986 season.

Mustache Check: I'm not sure -- does the LDS Church allow mustaches? They didn't let Dane grow one here.

Family Ties
If you were a fan of baseball in the 1980s, you knew that Dane's brother Garth played major league baseball also.  More on him and his multiple baseball playing sons in a few hundred cards.  What you might not know is that Dane's son Seth also played baseball at Brigham Young.

Dane was the oldest of three Iorg boys, and Garth was the youngest.  The middle brother was Lee Iorg, and he also played baseball.  He was in the New York Mets farm from 1974 through 1977, getting promoted to Triple-A Tidewater before his .197/.248/.291 hitting caught up to him and he was released.

A Few Minutes with Tony L.
Welcome to the biography for one of my two least favorite major league baseball players in all of the 1980s.  It's not that Dane Iorg was a jerk -- I never met him.  Nope.  It's simpler than that: he absolutely destroyed the Brewers in the 1982 World Series.  

In that Series, the designated hitter was used.  At that time, the use of the DH alternated years, and Iorg served as the DH against right-handed pitching for the Cardinals.  In the five games in which he played, Iorg went 9-for-17 with four doubles, a triple, an RBI, and four runs scored.  He wasn't the MVP (Darrell Porter was) but Iorg was the guy who caught a hot streak at exactly the right time to sear himself into my brain as one of the most hated men in baseball.

I've gotten over it now -- I mean, it's been 32 years -- but it took a long time.  Hell, I even hated Garth because of Dane.

Some former LDS members have called out guys like Dane and Dale Murphy for being Sabbath-breakers, never going on a mission, and otherwise having different rules apply to them as opposed to others in the church.  I don't know much about that, but it seems to have really ticked those folks off.

These days, Dane is a distributor and some-time pitchman for a company called Synergy Worldwide.  According to this video, he absolutely loves Proargi9+, though he doesn't exactly explain what the product is.  If he were on one of those Food Network Stars or Apprentice "reality" shows, he would be booted off for that.

Anyway, it appears that the product contains l-arginine, which its website says is an amino acid that helps your body enhance its own cardiovascular system. It looks like it tastes terrible -- I mean, the guy on that page is getting paid to show off the product, and he's grimacing in the photo.  But, according to WebMD, it might have use "as a cream for sexual problems in both men and women."  

So, even if it tastes bad, it might make you feel real good.  Maybe that's why the product is so awesome!


  1. Is mixed berry the only flavor? If there was fruit punch I would have ordered.

  2. Dale Murphy joined the LDS Church after he had signed with the Braves.

    1. I don't doubt it. That hasn't stopped those lapsed LDS members from complaining, though.

    2. Can't imagine there's a lot of positivity happening on a website devoted to ex-Mormons, but maybe that's just my view as a current Mormon.
      IMO, you should do your best to follow all the commandments, but if playing baseball on a few months of Sundays is the worst thing you do, I think you're doing alright.

    3. No question about it, Marcus. I was reading a story about Dale Murphy when looking at the Barry Bonnell write-up, and it mentioned that church elders had told Murphy that he could do more to help the Mormon Church by playing and setting a good example than he could if he went on a mission. I totally believe that to be the case for him.