Lafayette Drillers Flashback: Gary Atwell
The Lafayette Drillers, a Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, called Lafayette, Louisiana their home for two years, from 1975-1976.
The Drillers, who played their home games at Clark Field, were co-champions of the Texas League in 1975 with the Midland Cubs, finishing 72-57, before going 58-76 in 1976, the last year of affiliated professional baseball in Lafayette.
A number of outstanding players, who eventually made it into Major League Baseball ranks played at Clark Field in 1975 & 1976, including five former Lafayette Driller players.
All summer long, we’re taking a look back at some of the former players for the Drillers.
Today, Gary Atwell.
A resident of La Palma, California, Atwell played one season in AAA, at Phoenix in 1974, before joining the Drillers for the 1975 season.
The right-handed hitting outfielder was solid, if unspectacular for Lafayette, hitting a .277 with three home runs, and 23 runs batted in, to go along with a team-leading 14 stolen bases.
Atwell, who played his college baseball at Arizona St., also contributed 87 hits, 52 runs scored, 16 doubles, and one triple.
One of Atwell’s strengths, striking out only 26 times in 314 at-bats, while drawing 44 walks, which helped him to a very respectable .364 on-base percentage.
In a line-up that featured the big bats of such stars as Jack Clark and Gary Alexander, Atwell’s exploits have been largely forgotten. But the 1975 Lafayette Drillers would not have been co-champions of the Texas League if not for his contributions.