To Oakland, Peña became expendable once Bert Campaneris got back into the lineup starting around May 1 and, at the same time, got his bat back -- in the 14-game stretch bookending Peña's last two appearances with Oakland, Campaneris pushed his numbers from .184/.212/.265 to .252/.302/.402.
|Dell Today's 1971 Milwaukee Brewers|
Peña moved up the chain slowly, spending a full season in Class D, a season and a half in Class B, nearly two full seasons in Class AA before spending parts of three seasons in Triple-A. He did not reach the major leagues until 1965 at the age of 28, meaning that he literally was always older than the average age of players in the leagues in which he was playing.
The Cubs gave Peña his chance in 1965 in what amounted to a challenge trade for Andre Rodgers. Neither team really won the challenge as neither man really did much for their new teams. The one notable event that did occur, though, was that Peña hit homers in his first two major league games, something that did not happen again until 1980. Peña ended up getting set down to the minors early in the 1966 season, and it did not look good for him having a major league career.
All that was not enough to convince Philadelphia to protect the Dominican from the expansion draft. This was especially true because Philadelphia had a hotshot young prospect that they believed was ready to play -- a guy by the name of Don Money.
The Padres decided to pluck Peña off the Phillies expansion list as the 48th pick of the National League expansion draft. Once again Peña was a regular, but once again Peña's performance led his employer to think, "you know what, we need to upgrade at shortstop." That is why Peña was in Oakland -- having been traded there in spring training in 1970.
Milwaukee plugged the now 33-year-old into its lineup nearly immediately on his arrival. Over two seasons with the club, Peña didn't hit all that well -- .238/.281/.316, an OPS+ of 67 -- but he did fill in at a number of different positions. To tell you how awful those early Brewer teams really were, Peña actually played 52 of his 113 games (only 62 starts total, mind you, but still...) at first base. Yes, a 5'8" first baseman who hit anemically for a shortstop.
|1994 Miller Brewing Commemorative|
I can't find much of anything about Peña after his playing career ended. All I can say, though, is that he died very young -- at the age of just 45 years old -- on July 23, 1982 in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. I also don't know how accurate this website is, seeing as it is only available through the Wayback Machine on Archive.org, but according to Aguiluchos.com, Peña died due to alcohol poisoning.
Peña appeared as a Brewer -- or, rather, was featured as a member of the Brewers -- on just five cards or items. These include the three I've shown here that I own. In addition, I do not have Peña's 1971 O-Pee-Chee card, nor do I have the black-and-white photo that the Brewers recycled above for the Miller set that they also used in 1971 for their team picture pack.
Thanks for stopping by.