Bill Melton played for the Chicago White Sox from 1968 through 1975. "Beltin' Bill" slugged 33 home runs in 1970 and 1971, leading the American League in 1971.
He was traded to the California Angels for Jim Spencer and Morris Nettles after the 1975 season. It was a sad day for me as a young White Sox fan.
This picture represents what is missing from sports today. When I was a kid, I could always count on Melton and third. He wasn't the greatest, but he was very good and he was ours. Year after year, Melton manned third base.
After Melton left, we had a revolving door of Kevin Bell, Junior Moore, Eric Soderholm, Greg Pryor, Jim Morrison and on. This continued pretty much until Robin Ventura came along and brought some stability.
Getting up on my old man soap box, I long for the days of player stability. Free agency and contracts make rosters turn over in large numbers every year. It wasn't perfect back in my day, but it was familiar. It was comforting to see Melton there every time.
This picture also represents me meeting one of the very first athletes I ever remember. Back in the early 70's, I never imagined I would someday meet Melton. I also had the pleasure of talking to him at length and interviewing him.
Melton was and is a class act. As I said to him that day, I thank him for the memories!
Bill Melton and me in Morton Grove, IL-
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