Monday, April 30, 2007

The Red Sox Destroy Young Pitchers

Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners: Destroyed the Red Sox on April 11 with a complete game, one-hit shutout. Seven days later, he left a start against Minnesota with elbow pain after just 25 pitches. The Mariners put him on the disabled list the following day with a strained right forearm flexor muscle.

Gustavo Chacin, Toronto Blue Jays: A renowned Red Sox killer (most left-handers are these days), Chacin shut down the Sox on April 17, allowing one run on six hits in 6.2 innings. Thirteen days later and two ineffective starts later, he was placed on the disabled list today with a strained left shoulder.

Jeff Karstens, New York Yankees: The only team he has faced in 2007 is Boston, and it hasn't gone well. Seven earned in his first outing, then a busted right fibula in the first inning of his second start. Call it bad luck if you want - Julio Lugo is now The Enforcer (he breaks legs - get it?)

That's three - who's next? Who wants some? What are you lookin' at, Hughes? Watch out, Igawa. Don't even think about it, Loewen (seriously - you're on my fantasy team. Stay out of this).

1 Comment:

For Once, Karma Laughs At Derek Jeter

News flash: Derek Jeter is a great baseball player.

Sure, his defensive ability is nothing to write home about, but his strength has always been his offense, the ability to consistently get on base and set the table for the All-Star sluggers behind him. His best season at the dish was 1999, when he notched career highs in batting average (.349), homeruns (24), runs batted in (102), OPS (.990), runs scored (134), hits (219), triples (9), walks (91), on base percentage (.438), slugging percentage (.552), total bases (346) and intentional walks (5). It was a very good year.

Second on the list is probably 2006, when the Yankee Captain hit .343, drove in 97 runs, and recorded a .900 OPS. He also started an interesting streak near the end of the season, as discovered by the New York Post's George King and noted in his "Yankee Notes" column today:

Derek Jeter's eighth-inning homer extended his hitting streak to 17 games. That's the longest active AL streak. He has hit safely in 20 of the 21 games he has had an official at-bat in and 56 of the last 58 regular season games.
Those numbers didn't seem like they could even remotely be right, so I looked them up on Baseball-Reference.com. Guess what? They are.

On August 20, Jeter contributed two hits in an 8-5 Yankees win over the Red Sox. It was the start of a 25 game hitting streak (not including an 0-for-0 performance against Tampa Bay on September 12; three walks and a hit by pitch kept the streak intact) that didn't end until the immortal Kevin Jarvis and Craig Hansen held him hitless in four at-bats on September 17. The very next day, the Yankees visited Toronto and Jeter started another streak with a seventh inning single off Jason Frasor. He hit safely in the final eleven games of the season, 36 of the last 37.

Jeter had hits in his first three games this season before being shut down by Baltimore on April 7. Again, the next day, he started a new streak with a base hit (a first inning single off Erik Bedard). As noted by King, this streak is currently active at seventeen games, meaning Jeter has hit safely in 20 of 21 games this season (again, there was a Tampa Bay game with no plate appearances mixed in). That, friends, is 56 of 58 over the last two seasons.

What does this mean, exactly? I'm not entirely sure, but how about this: four average-at-best pitchers - Jarvis, Hansen, Steve Trachsel, and Danys Baez - are the difference between a pressure-free statistical oddity and an unconventional assault on what many consider the most unbreakable record of all-time.

That's what he gets for (presumably) banging Mariah Carey. And Jessica Alba. And Jessica Biel. And Gabrielle Union. If only he'd nailed four average chicks, that record would be his right now.

6 Comments:

Friday, April 27, 2007

It's Not You, Barry - Don Just Doesn't Like Baseball

MLBPA Executive Director Donald Fehr used to be one of the most hated figures in professional sports. On Friday, he met with sports editors from the Associated Press and addressed the man who has succeeded him in the role of baseball's primary villain: San Francisco Giants leftfielder Barry Bonds, who enters the weekend fifteen homeruns shy of breaking Hank Aaron's career record of 755.

Fehr's thoughts on Bonds were surprisingly apathetic, especially given his position as head of the union. For starters, he's pretty sure he won't be in the stands when Bonds unloads for number 756:

"I won't follow him around, but I generally don't go to games during the season, so that's nothing new for me."
Say what you will about Fehr's lame rationalization - you'd think he would make an exception for something like this - at least he said he probably wouldn't be there and gave a reason. According to the same AP article, commissioner Bud Selig "still hasn't decided whether he will attend" any potential record-breaking games.

Barry shouldn't worry, however, because there is a good chance (that's what "probably possible" means, right?) that someone from the MLBPA will be on hand to congratulate him. Sounds like they'll even pay the way for this official representative:

"My guess is it's probably possible if not likely that somebody from our office will be there because Bobby Bonilla is in the office and he'll probably go...And if he wants to go, we'll certainly send him."
Translation: Nobody in the office really wants to travel for this, but Bobby drew the short straw. Honestly, the way the statement is worded, doesn't it sound like Bonilla is expected to catch the record-breaking game as a show of personal support for Bonds, but the MLBPA will gladly consider him an "official" representativce?

The best part of the whole article, however, comes near the end, when Fehr rails about "cable-television culture" and the way it has apparently driven the PED scandals of the past few years:

"They're going to say, with everything else that was going on America, between global warming and a war and 9-11 and the collapse of health care and everything else, why did we spend all this time on steroids and Anna Nicole Smith and whether Britney Spears did this or that or the other and all the rest of it? And yet it dominates the news, it just dominates it."
Just a thought, but maybe we're spending all this time on steroids in baseball because we're concerned about the trickle-down effect to high school kids who see their sports heroes using and figure, "These can't be that bad." It's certainly not as big a problem as the war in Iraq, but to place it in a category with Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears is an unnecessary minimization of the issue.

1 Comment:

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raise Your Hand If You Know Who Tommy John Is

I usually limit my old people ramblings to weekends on Awful Announcing, but Zach from The Big Picture mentioned Julio Franco in a comment on yesterday’s Damion Easley post and it got me thinking about the most impressive old people in baseball history.
Wikipedia has a list of these Golden Oldies, so I picked a few of my favorites. In no particular order…

Satchel Paige (Retirement Age: 59ish)
Satchel Paige’s awesomeness as an old person can be explained by one statement: nobody knew how old he really was. His official date of birth was July 7, 1906, but rumor had it that he had been born as early as the late 1890s, making his 1965 appearance at the “official” age of 59 all the more amazing.

Nolan Ryan (Retirement Age: 46)
He earned his 300th win, recorded his 5,000th strikeout and pitched two no-hitters after celebrating his fortieth birthday, but Nolan Ryan will always be known to an entire generation of baseball fans as the guy who beat the holy hell out of Robin Ventura in 1993. One question: shouldn’t a 46-year-old veteran know better than to hit a guy on the top of the head with his pitching hand?

Minnie Minoso (Retirement Age: 54, 57 – something like that)
Any guy that stands in against a major league pitcher at the age of 54, even as a gimmick, deserves respect. The White Sox gave Minoso eight plate appearances in 1976 and two more in 1980, allowing him to play major league baseball in five different decades. He wanted to do it again in the 1990s, but the powers that be refused to okay the idea.

Tommy John (Retirement Age: 46)
Think even half the kids who have Tommy John surgery in high school and college actually know who Tommy John was? Probably not.

Julio Franco (Retirement Age: who said anything about retiring?)Let’s face it: like it or not, we’re not getting rid of Franco anytime soon. Chances are he sticks around to take a shot at 3,000 career hits, which isn’t as nutty as it may seem: he’s 433 away right now – an average of 65 a year for the next seven years or so gets him there.

2 Comments:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who Says The New York Post Isn't Informative?

I subscribed to the RSS feed for the New York Post a couple of weeks ago on a whim, figuring it would be interesting to see the differences in the way the paper's sports coverage differed from that of the rival New York Times. I wasn't really expecting much from the Post, so it was somewhat shocking when I clicked on a story today and actually learned something.

Damion Easley is still a major league baseball player.

Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed that this information had passed me by, since I like to pretend I know something about baseball. My last recollection of Easley was from his 6+ year stint with the Detroit Tigers, which ended badly when he was released before the start of the 2003 season. He apparently did not fall off the face of the earth at that point, but signed almost immediately with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he spent two months playing third base and hitting .187.

After three more seasons with the Marlins and Diamondbacks (during which time he reinvented himself as a jack-of-all-trades who could and would play all four infield positions), Easley ended up with the Mets this season, where he has hit two homers in seven games, including last night's game-tying shot against Rockies closer Brian Fuentes.

This shouldn't really matter to me, but it's nice to see a guy like Easley (who had pretty much disappeared off the baseball rader) getting the chance for one last hurrah at the major league level. If he hits one more homerun this season, it will be the 150th of his career.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check the major league rosters to see if there are any other active players that have been completely forgotten.

1 Comment:

Mmm...Beer

When I was a kid following the Red Sox, Wade Boggs was one of my favorite players. He batted lefty, I batted lefty. He liked chicken, I liked chicken. He flirted with .400 a time or two, I flirted with 1.000 once (okay, it was in the local farm league, where the coaches pitched every other inning. That's still impressive, right?). So yeah - we had a lot in common.

One thing we don't have in common? I've never much cared for beer (doesn't mean I won't give it the ol' college try every now and again), Boggs is potentially a huge fan. Like, "This is your liver. Please cut that shit out" huge. This video is a few years old, but entertaining nonetheless:


My favorite part: "No, it's not true. It wasn't 64. A lot of people have fun with that, it's not-it's nothin' to brag about."

Translation: "I pounded 60 of them sumbitches between California and Boston, and I am goddamn proud of it."

3 Comments:

Monday, April 23, 2007

David Halberstam Is Dead

Flipping back and forth between the Yankees-Devil Rays and Red Sox-Blue Jays tonight, I caught the tail end of an ESPN report on the death of Pulitzer Prize winning author David Halberstam, who was killed in an automobile accident in San Francisco on Monday. He was 73.

It's almost fitting that the news came while I was watching these two games: one of the first baseball books I remember reading as a kid was Summer of '49, Halberstam's classic retelling of the 1949 down-to-the-wire pennant race between the Sox and Yanks. A talented writer who seemed to enjoy creating a combination of the reality and legend of sports in his work, he followed '49 up with books on the 1964 pennant race, Michael Jordan, Ted Williams and his Red Sox teammates/lifelong friends and Bill Belichick. Altogether he wrote 21 books.

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This Question Is Possibly Dumb, But I'm Gonna Ask It Anyway

I don't care if this makes me look stupid. It needs to be asked.

Why don't baseball teams ever put an obvious overshift on for righthanded hitters?

It's a serious question (in that I don't have an actual answer). One reason might be the limited range of the first base position - he has to be able to get to the back easily, so you don't want to pull the second baseman too far off and leave a gaping hole on the right side - but doesn't the overshift create a huge hole for lefthanded hitters as well?

Personally, I think the overshift variance stems from the "knowledge" that all lefties are dead pull hitters. I played organized baseball for ten years, and every at-bat started the same way: with the opposing team yelling "LEFTY!!!" and collectively sliding twenty feet to the left. It's the reason most of us learned to hit the ball the opposite way - guaranteed double.

Anyone got any better ideas?

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

"We will PREVAIL! We WILL prevail! We will prevail. We are...Virginia Tech."



(A tip of the cap to Dan Shanoff for the video, and also the ribbon logo on the sidebar.)

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Thank You, Cleveland

Botched posts became an epidemic yesterday: Lozo from Why Don't We Get Drunk and Blog? lost one due to the fickle nature of Blogger, The Dan from Fox Sports had a potential gem disappear into thin air after he "accidentally" hit a button, and my post on a potential Larry Doby Day in Cleveland is gone forever. That's what I get for choosing not to write it in Word.

I'm not going to rewrite the entire thing, but here's the deal: several days ago, the Cleveland Indians announced that they have asked Major League Baseball for permission to hold a Jackie Robinson Day-style tribute to Doby, the first African-American player in American League history, on July 5, the 60th anniversary of his debut.

It's a great and necessary idea to honor Doby, but having the entire team wear his number 14 is not necessarily the way to do it. Would've been great if they had thought of it first, but at this point I'm afraid it doesn't feel like much more than copycatting. The tribute would mean more if it had a more original tone.

Still, I'd like to see one player chosen to wear Doby's number. If he's scheduled to start on that day, C.C. Sabathia would probably be the best choice; if not, both Grady Sizemore and Josh Barfield took part in the Robinson tribute by wearing number 42 and would probably leap at the possibility to honor Doby.

Another Trailblazer: Indians to honor American League's first black player (SI.com)

(Hat Tip to Our Book of Scrap.)

3 Comments:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jets Fans Do Not Appreciate Honesty

I wrote a post a few months ago that included, as a way of describing my status as a New England Patriots fan, the following paragraph:

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty firmly entrenched on the Patriots bandwagon, having hopped on during the 2001 season and sticking around through three Super Bowl wins in the last five years. I’d like to think, however, that my fandom is real and will continue even when Tom Brady retires (the over/under: five years) and Bill Belichick is no longer considered a genius. Talk to me in five or ten years, though, and we’ll see where things stand.

I thought I was being very honest about the origins of my fandom - more honest than many of the others who are still jostling for space on the Patriots bandwagon, at least. I can't say exactly why the team never garnered my attention as a kid - maybe because they sucked until Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe rode into town, maybe because the Red Sox and baseball got to me first, maybe because I can't remember ever sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and watching a game with my dad - but it didn't.

The fine folks at Jets Insider, one of whom revived this post on the message boards there on Monday, apparently do not find such honesty to be a redeeming virtue. Some of them seem genuinely bothered by the fact that I admit to such a heinous act as jumping on a bandwagon, following a winning team, and being uncertain of how I will feel toward that team when the players who initially drew me in have moved on. I hereby apologize to those that have been made physically ill by the horror of my actions.

If it makes you feel better, I still like the Celtics.

2 Comments:

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Barry Bonds Only Has 131 Homeruns To Go

I'm starting to come around on Barry Bonds - say what you will about his pharmaceutical habits, there has never been a more feared hitter than Bonds was from 2001-2004 - but the thought of him breaking Hank Aaron's homerun record leaves me feeling conflicted. On the one hand, it's fascinating any time such a longstanding and important record falls; on the other, the steroid question casts a bothersome shadow over the entire situation.

Remember, though, that even if/when Bonds passes Aaron, he won't quite be the most prolific homerun hitter of all-time. That honor will still belong to Josh Gibson Sadaharu Oh, the Japanese slugger who went deep 868 times in 22 seasons with the Yomiuri Giants (including nineteen straight years with 30+ homers). Oh played under different conditions than his contemporary Aaron - smaller ballparks, for instance - but those are still some impressive numbers.

I don't speak Japanese, but the video below appears to be a compilation of Oh's most important homeruns, from number 1 to number 868. The timestamped dates in the upper lefthand corner confused me at first, but a run through Wikipedia cleared it up: each homerun is marked using the Japanese era name rather than the traditional Western format. In this case, the era was Showa, the name for the years that fell under the reign of Hirohito. Oh's career began in Showa 34 (1959) and ended in Showa 55 (1980).

3 Comments:

Monday, April 16, 2007

I'm Not Sure Steve Phillips Is Your Best Source For Baseball Information

I hate to say this, but Steve Phillips and I construct arguments in much the same way: by clearly missing or avoiding multiple sides of the issue at hand, utilizing shoddy examples for the crap that we do produce, and trying to make up for a lack of knowledge or understanding by consistently talking down to our audiences. We both have some skills – he can talk fairly well, I can write fairly well – but there just isn’t a whole lot of substance to either of us.

At least I can admit my shortcomings. Phillips, not so much. He’s pretty much been sucking at his job for several years now, first as the general manager of the New York Mets and lately, as a baseball analyst for ESPN.

On Baseball Tonight this evening, Phillips put his analyst hat on, picked up a baseball bat, and began sounding like someone who has never actually seen people play the game before. The basic point of the segment was that whenever a color analyst refers to a power hitter who failed to extend his arms and thus failed to generate maximum power, he is misleading the viewers with an incorrect statement. Real power, says Phillips, is generated through the hips and speed with which the bat passes through the hitting zone. I can accept both of those, largely because they sound consistent with what little I actually know about hitting.

What I can’t accept is the reasoning and examples provided by Phillips. For instance, in talking about bat speed, he insisted that the closer a hitter’s hands are to his body, the more speed he can generate; if the arms are extended, less bat speed is possible. Sounded a little fishy at first, but I chose to totally dismiss it after he introduced the first example: figure skaters. Yes, Phillips tried to tell me that Albert Pujols extending his arms while swinging a baseball bat is the same as Brian Boitano extending his arms to slow down a spin. I’m not a physics expert, but they don’t really seem like the same thing. At all.

Phillips then compounded the crappy analogy with similarly crappy video examples. As “evidence” of his point, he showed three video clips of players with full arm extension who were unable to hit the ball with any authority. One problem: all three clips showed a player who had been fooled into chasing a bad pitch low and away, leaving him off-balance and reaching for the ball. Of course one’s arms will be fully extended in that situation. But when an analyst talks about a player extending his arms, that’s generally not what he means. He is usually referring to a guy who gets jammed inside, forcing him to pull his hands in and limit the natural flow of his swing.

Try it: take a baseball bat (real or pretend, doesn’t matter) and take a few imaginary swings at a nice fat pitch over the middle of the plate. If you get a good swing on the ball, both arms will be fairly close to full extension and the motion will feel good, natural. Now pretend Mariano Rivera’s out there on the mound, pounding cutters in on your fists. You have to bring your hands in toward your body, making the swing look and feel more awkward.

To demonstrate his point, Phillips showed footage of several players taking good swings at pitches out over the plate. In every single one, the front arm was fully extended, the back arm nearly so. For whatever reason, Phillips chose to consider full extension as the point where the arms are almost uncomfortably straight, on the follow through, rather than when they are comfortably extended, at the point of contact.

Like I mentioned above, I don’t know a lot about hitting, so this could be off-base and Steve Phillips could actually know what he’s talking about. Or you could have just spent the last several minutes reading the insane ramblings of a man who should have been in bed two hours ago. But it doesn’t seem likely (the first option; the second is completely true). Anyone who tries to compare baseball players to figure skaters (I’m picturing John Kruk and Michelle Kwan, for the record) doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt.

5 Comments:

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Here's To You, Mr. Robinson

It took until the sixth inning of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball game, almost eleven o'clock on Jackie Robinson Day in major league baseball, but finally - FINALLY - someone made note of the fact that Larry Doby deserves recognition for being the second African-American to cross the color line.

Who was this oh-so-wise voice of reason? Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, a great player who was also the first African-American manager in the major leagues.

I'll grant that Doby wasn't quite at the same level as Jack Robinson - it still takes a lot of strength to be second, of course, but Doby probably wouldn't have had a major league career if not for Jack - but if this is at heart a celebration of baseball's integration, then blatant ignorance of Doby's contributions should not be allowed.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Have To Remember To Vote In The Next Election

(Hey, guess what? This is One More Dying Quail's 200th post. It might almost be time to do a "Best Of..." type feature - what do my faithful readers think?)

Three months ago, New Hampshire State Representative Bea Francoeur broke the law. She did something relatively minor, something I myself do pretty much every time I get behind the wheel: she went over the speed limit. The difference? She got caught. Near an elementary school. At 8:10 in the morning. On a school day.

Sorry ma’am, that’ll be $75 – cash, check or charge.

One problem: Francoeur says that because she was headed to the state capital in Concord on “official business”, state law prohibits her from being ticketed for the offense.

What was her “official business”, you ask? An important vote, perhaps, or a meeting on a vital issue? Nope; she was in a hurry to get to Concord to attend Governor John Lynch’s inauguration. An inauguration that began at eleven o’clock in the morning.

Most of you reading this probably know very little about New Hampshire, but there is one thing that I’m sure everyone can understand: the state is not that big. You can easily drive across the widest part in a couple of hours. The drive north takes a big longer, but Nashua to Pittsburg, which is way up there, can be done in less than four hours.

Nashua to Concord? Forty minutes. Strike one, Ms. Francoeur.

Now, onto that pesky law. Here’s the pertinent part, Article 21:

Privileges of Members of Legislature. No member of the house of representatives or senate shall be arrested, or held to bail, on mesne process, during his going to, returning from, or attendance upon, the court.

Fair enough. But there are a few problems with this.

First, the law explicitly uses the words “arrested” and “held to bail”. Francoeur was a victim of neither. A commenter on one site tried to explain this away by saying that a speeding ticket is a form of bail. Please. It seems clear to me (admittedly, I’m no lawyer) that the intent of this law is to prevent the extended detention of a legislator (more on that in a second). According to Nashua police Captain Peter Segal, Francoeur “wasn’t kept long and the drive to Concord takes only an hour.” Unless that “mesne process” part means something important, I’m not buying this particular excuse.

Second, check out the date the article was written: June 2, 1784. That’s really old, which doesn’t mean it’s wrong, but that we should consider the circumstances surrounding its creation. An editorial in the New Hampshire Union Leader provides a nice explanation:

“The provision, Part II, Article 21, was written to prevent tyrannical governors from shutting down the people’s Legislature by arresting and holding members while the Legislature was in session. It was an old trick employed by British royalty, and our Founding Fathers were sharp enough to make it a violation of the state constitution.”

I don’t think our Founding Fathers foresaw the day a State Representative would try to use their clever little law to get out of a $75 ticket. Unless there is a conspiracy afoot, invoking this article should carry no weight.

And third, if we’re going to interpret the law literally – if we accept that a speeding ticket is a form of bail and that she was going to Concord on state business, so the law applies – then lets apply the whole thing literally. Nowhere in there do I see the word “her” or “she”. Clearly, this particular law applies only to male members of the legislature. Don’t blame me – I don’t write the laws, I just interpret them.

The bottom line here is that Bea Francoeur is engaging in a practice that is silly and insulting to the people of Nashua and New Hampshire. Instead of hiding behind “principle”, she should accept the fact that she did something wrong, she got caught, and she should pay her fine.

Francoeur ought to pay up, move on (Nashua Telegraph)
Lawyer: Speeding-ticket breaks a tradition for state’s lawmakers (New Hampshire Union Leader)
N.H. legislator claims immunity for speeding ticket (Boston.com)

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rest Easy, Paul

The Boston Celtics have officially given up.

Word came out today, courtesy of Boston.com via the Associated Press, that captain Paul Pierce will not play in the final five games of the season due to a nagging left elbow injury. The news caps a disappointing year for Pierce, who averaged 25 points and 5.9 rebounds, but missed 35 games with elbow and foot problems.

This is a good move. As they showed during an abominable 2-22 stretch from December 22 to February 7, the Celtics are an entirely different team without Pierce on the floor. He’s not a young man anymore (he’ll turn thirty in October), but there should still be little doubt that if the team is to return to respectability anytime soon, he will be the one leading the charge. To do so, they need him to be as healthy as possible. Even if ending his season now only gives them an extra week, it’s seven more days for him to concentrate on rehabbing his elbow and resting his body.

Unfortunately for the Celtics, Pierce’s teammates seem determined to follow their fearless leader, no matter the cost. The AP article also mentioned that Brian Scalabrine is done for the season, while Al Jefferson and Delonte West might remain on the sidelines. This is in addition to the four other players who are occupying a roster spot but will not play again in 2006-07: Tony Allen, Michael Olowokandi, Theo Ratliff and Wally Szczerbiak.

All told, the Celtics currently have nearly as many guys injured (seven) as available (nine), and the remaining players are decidedly lacking in veteran leadership. The senior player of the group, in terms of experience, is Kendrick Perkins, who is averaging 4.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in his fourth NBA season. The old man of the group is Ryan Gomes, who doesn’t celebrate his 25th birthday until September. There are four rookies in the rotation – Rajon Rondo, Allan Ray, Leon Powe and Kevinn Pinkney – all of whom are averaging at least 18 minutes per game. Even Sebastian Telfair is seeing more action.

This could be a good thing in the end – you would think that Gerald Green HAS to benefit from playing 36 minutes a night – but it’s tough right now. Getting the kids some time on the court is all well and good, but baptisms by fire don’t always work as planned.

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The Bizarro Hall of Fame: Introducing the Class of 1989

As part of an ongoing project, One More Dying Quail will be profiling the 182 current members of the Bizarro Hall of Fame, an organization that currently exists only in my mind. It was created in the wake of Major League Baseball’s infamous Steroid Era as a way of honoring those players whose careers were perfectly mediocre: the only requirement is that a candidate be listed on the official Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and receive zero votes.

Class of 1989

Jim Barr – Barr had a fairly unremarkable career with the San Francisco Giants and California Angels, but owns a fairly remarkable record: on August 23, 1972, he retired the final twenty-one batters he faced; six days later, he set down the first twenty. The forty-one consecutive outs remains a major league record. Another interesting fact: Barr was drafted six times between 1966 and 1970.

Terry Crowley – Many current observers lament the fact that the Hall of Fame’s standards have sunk so low that players such as Scott Brosius are now included on the ballot. They are obviously unaware of Terry Crowley, a man whose main claims to fame were serving as the first designated hitter in Baltimore Orioles history and being a really good pinch-hitter. He has spent the last eight years as the Orioles hitting coach.

Joe Ferguson – Luke Walker was almost a part of baseball history, but Joe Ferguson turned him into a mere footnote. In the second game of a July 18, 1971 doubleheader, the Pirates’ Walker took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bid ended quickly when the first batter, Ferguson, hit his first major league homerun. Two years later, Ferguson enjoyed his best season, hitting 25 homers and driving in 88 runs.

Woodie Fryman – Am I insane in thinking that Woodie Fryman is Travis Fryman’s father? There seems to be no proof of it anywhere on the Internets. Anyway, Woodie spent most of his career as a journeyman pitcher for six organizations. He made two All-Star appearances as a starter in 1968 and 1976, but enjoyed his greatest success in a relief role with the Montreal Expos from 1979-82. In 1981, Fryman helped Les Expos to the playoffs with seven saves and a 1.88 ERA.

Cesar Geronimo – Geronimo was not a great offensive player (his career-best OPS was .796) but he hit well in the post-season, with .280 and .308 averages in Cincinnati’s back-to-back wins over Boston in 1975 and New York in 1976. His true value in that time, however, was as one of the National League’s best defensive outfielders, with four consecutive Gold Gloves awards in the mid-seventies.

Dave Goltz – If the name doesn’t sound familiar (and it didn’t to me), it’s probably because Goltz toiled for some mediocre Minnesota teams in the 1970s. He still won fourteen or more games every season from 1975-79 (and lost ten or more from 1974-80), including a 20-11 mark in 1977 that earned him a sixth place finish in the voting for the National League Cy Young award.

Jon Matlack – For some reason, I expected Matlack’s numbers to be better; sorry to say, but there might have been some weird confusion with Jerry Koosman. Matlack was a good pitcher, however, winning fifteen games and the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1972. He averaged fifteen wins a year 1972-76, but slumped to 7-15 in 1977 and was shipped off to Texas after the season. His first season resulted in fifteen wins for the second place Rangers, but it was his last good season. Also (and there’s really no reason to mention this, other than it made me laugh), his middle name is Trumpdour.

Rudy May – Aside from leading the American League with a 2.46 ERA in 1980, the highlight of Rudy May’s career has to be the June 1976 trade that sent him from the New York Yankees to the Baltimore Orioles. Sure, it meant he missed out on the Bronx Bombers back-to-back championships in 1977 and 1978, but it’s cool because the deal also included Bizarro Hall of Famers Scott McGregor and Doyle Alexander.

Bake McBride – An interesting little factoid: of the eight players who took home the National League Rookie of the Year award from 1972-1979 (there was a tie in 1976), five were Bizarro Hall of Famers. McBride, a 37th round draft pick by the Cardinals in 1970, was the third in that stretch, hitting .309 and stealing thirty bases for St. Louis in 1974. His most amazing feature, however, was his hair; while not quite up to the high level set by Oscar Gamble, McBride’s mane was a legendary feature in it’s own right.

Bill Robinson – Robinson made his major league debut with the Atlanta Braves at the age of 23 and spent his next two seasons with the Yankees, but a .171 average landed the 26 year old back in the minor leagues for two full seasons. He reemerged with the Phillies in 1972 and hit 25 homeruns the following season. After being traded to Pittsburgh at the start of 1975, Robinson became an offensive threat, hitting twenty-plus homeruns three times.

Richie Zisk – When Bill Veeck bought the Chicago White Sox in 1976, he walked right into the birth of free agency. Knowing he couldn’t compete financially for the best players, he chose instead to go after guys who were questions marks and sign them for reasonable prices. Zisk was one of those players, and he paid off big-time, enjoying the best season of his career (30 homeruns, 101 RBI, .290 batting average and the first of two All-Star appearances) before bolting to Texas for a ten year, $2.3 million deal.

(Coming soon: the Bizarro Hall of Fame Class of 1988.)

(All Hall of Fame voting results were obtained from the official web site of the
National Baseball Hall of Fame. Statistical information included in postings for the Bizarro Hall of Fame was, unless otherwise noted, originally compiled by Baseball-Reference.com.)

1 Comment:

Monday, April 09, 2007

If Mike Hampton Is Not Superstitious, He Should Be


I don't know what happened to Mike Hampton in 2005 - maybe he broke a mirror, walked under a ladder, or bought a black cat - but he obviously pissed off some higher power. Monday, it was announced that he will miss his second consecutive season following surgery to repair a torn tendon in his pitching elbow.

Hampton's only option at this point may be to try pitching right-handed. Seriously. How much worse can it be? Or he can just sit at home and do elbow strengthening exercises while counting the roughly $30 million he will clear from the Braves for the exactly 0 innings of work he has turned in since August 19, 2005.

If he gets bored, however, and opts to consider another line of work, this guy has just one word to say to him.


2 Comments:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Remember Jack, But Don't Forget Larry

Sixty years ago this coming Sunday, Jack Robinson stepped onto a baseball field and into the history books. A fiery competitor and talented all-around athlete, he had been chosen by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey as the ideal player to implement what is sometimes called “The Great Experiment”: the crossing of baseball’s “color line”, a barrier that had prevented African-American players from competing in the major leagues since the late 1800s.

Following his April 15th debut, Robinson did exactly as Rickey had hoped, winning the Rookie of the Year award, leading the Dodgers into the World Series and keeping his cool in the face of tremendous hatred from teammates, opposing players and fans alike. It was the start of a ten-year career that would ultimately be capped by a long-awaited World Series victory for Brooklyn in 1955 and induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

Robinson’s contributions to the game of baseball and the civil rights movement led Major League Baseball to honor him in 1997 by retiring his number 42 throughout the league. It was an unprecedented move that brought Robinson, who died in 1972, back to the forefront and presented his story to an entirely new generation of baseball fans.

Because players who wore number 42 at the time of its retirement were allowed to continue doing so until the end of their own playing days, New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera still provides a reminder of Robinson’s legacy every time he takes the mound. On April 15, 2007, however, he won’t be the only one. On that day, with every team in baseball paying some sort of homage to Jack’s legacy, any player on any team will have the option of pulling on number 42.

The idea was originally conceived by Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. and embraced by commissioner Bud Selig. Griffey wasn’t yet three years old when Robinson died, but has nevertheless studied and learned the lessons imparted by his predecessor’s life:

“What I think: If he didn’t achieve or didn’t overcome the racial tension, would I be wearing this uniform? Or, when was the next opportunity that an African-American would get a chance to put on another major league uniform if he didn’t achieve what he did?”

Griffey’s grasp of those who came before him and the way they affected his own career are admirable, but they highlight a regrettable omission that is often made when discussing the issue of race in baseball: the contributions of Lawrence Eugene Doby.

Where Jack Robinson is always celebrated, Larry Doby is often forgotten. The first African-American to play in the American League, he was originally signed by innovative Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck in early July 1947 and made his major league debut on July 5. His first season was difficult (.156 batting average in 32 at-bats, mostly as a pinch-hitter and second baseman), but he shifted to the outfield in 1948 and became a key player on the Indians championship team that year and its pennant winner in 1954.

Unlike Robinson, who was a 28-year-old veteran of the United States military and the Negro Leagues by the time he made his major league debut, Doby was only 23 when he joined the Indians, a kid thrown into a hellish situation. Like Robinson, however, he had played in the Negro Leagues (four years with the Newark Eagles), was an excellent ballplayer, and was greeted with distrust and outright hate by many people, including some of his new teammates. Robinson was no stranger to racism – he was court-martialed in 1944 after refusing to move to the back of a military bus; he was eventually acquitted of the charges – but Doby was less used to such behavior:

“I’d never faced any circumstances like that. Teammates were lined up and some would greet you and some wouldn’t. You could deal with it, but it was hard.”

It is nearly impossible to imagine the similar situations faced by Robinson and Doby – young men who kept their composure despite facing more than most of us can fathom – but for some reason, the latter man’s story has never been fully appreciated by Major League Baseball or its fans. Robinson’s number 42 was retired by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1972 and all of baseball in 1997; Doby’s number 14 wasn’t retired by the Indians until 1994. Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers Association of America in 1962, his first year of eligibility; Doby also made it to Cooperstown, but he had to wait until 1998, and then only after the writers had finished considering his case and passed him on to the Veteran’s Committee.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s plan to honor Jack Robinson by wearing his number 42 is a great idea, one that every major leaguer should consider sharing next week. But it would also be a great idea if somebody on the Cleveland Indians – maybe C.C. Sabathia, who recently lamented the lack of young black players in the game – asked team management for permission to don number 14.

Because while Jack Robinson was great and deserves all the accolades he has received, the career of Larry Doby is worthy of recognition as well.

Doby was AL’s first African-American player (ESPN)
Jackie Robinson Statistics (Baseball-Reference.com)
Larry Doby Statistics (Baseball-Reference.com)
Retired Uniform Numbers in the American League (Baseball-Almanac.com)
Lack of black players a ‘crisis,’ Indians ace says (MSNBC.com)
The Court Martial of Jackie Robinson (American Heritage)

5 Comments:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

That Wasn't A Very Nice Thing To Do

Update: The Big Lead is back online and has issued a preliminary response - Do it Again and the Kitten Dies.

Update: Many more blogs have chimed in with shows of support for The Big Lead (still down as of 1:12 AM on April 7); the additions have been added to the list below. Also of note is an email I received from one observer of the situation, who emailed ESPN's ombudsman, Le Anne Schreiber, regarding the situation. Schreiber replied, "Rest assured, I will have something to sayabout the shutdown of thebiglead.com in my column next week. Thanks." Should be interesting to see what she has to say.

Colin Cowherd is not a very nice person.

Earlier today, he used his vast ESPN Radio audience to stage an unwarranted attack on The Big Lead, shutting the site down for most of the day. I’m hesitant to attempt an explanation of the entire story, so if you’re curious to know exactly what happened, head over to Deadspin – they’ll fill you in.

After reading about the incident this afternoon, I tried to wrap my mind around why Cowherd would bother with something like this. An attempt to put bloggers “in their place”, perhaps? A not-so-subtle message to the “underground”, primarily Deadspin, that ESPN is still the biggest fish in the pond, capable of crushing virtually any outlet that dares step out of line? Something to do on a Thursday morning? Damned if I can figure it out, although a combination of those three points would not surprise me in the least.

Regardless of the reasoning, however, Cowherd has a couple of potential problems on his hands. One, it has been suggested that his exhortation to the masses to shut down The Big Lead might have been a teensy weensy bit illegal, and two, he appears to have awakened Deadspin. The blogosphere isn’t perfect, but one thing I like about it is that it’s like a family. If a bully comes along and does something to hurt the little brother, then big brother reserves the right to kick the shit out of the bully. I don’t know what would happen if circumstances actually pitted Deadspin against ESPN, but I’d like to think that Will and HIS audience can come up with something.

Until that point, however, Colin Cowherd will have to contend with the relatively minor onslaught of the proverbial cousins such as the blogs listed below. We might not have the influence of Deadspin or The FanHouse, but we reserve the right to voice our displeasure with this bothersome act. Besides, most of us have been linked on The Big Lead at some time or another, so it seems only right to lend support when they need it.

(Be forewarned, however: Cowherd said something about making this a regular feature; I think he went back and forth between once a week and once a day. So if you look tomorrow and have 1,000,000 hits and your site is groaning like it just ate some bad Chinese, congratulations – you’re one of the chosen ones).

(One last thing I’d like to note: while looking around, I saw mentions of a few things that could probably be considered illegal in most states. In my mind, it’s okay to talk about Cowherd as a radio host, but leave his family, friends, and household pets out of it. It only makes us, the bloggers, look like bad guys.)

The following blogs are among those who have contributed support to The Big Lead thus far:

This Hurts Us More Than It Hurts You, Colin (Deadspin)
Cowherd: Nous Accusons! (Every Day Should Be Saturday)
Colin Cowherd Has Listeners? (AOL FanHouse)
Colin Cowherd Can Eat A Fat D—K (Kissing Suzy Kolber)
What To Do With Sports Radio Douches? (With Leather)
Colin Cowherd Is A Jackass (Our Book of Scrap)
Colin Cowherd is an angry man (The Buried Lead)
Not only is this wrong, it’s likely illegal (The Postmen)
Colin Cowherd: Proof positive that the worldwide leader is the root of all evil (The Wayne Fontes Experience)
Colin Cowherd Has No Soul (Sportable)
The Words of a Madman (The Feed)
Cowherd The Bot-Herder (Super Dee Duper)
ESPN Willfully Destroys Sports Blogger/Competition (Her Loyal Sons)
Spring football news will have to wait (The House Of Heat)
Cowherd crosses a line (Sports Media Watch)
Colin Cowherd public enemy #1 (Savante’s String)
Colin Cowherd is a Sad Little Boy (Yelling Louder)
On open discourse: Colin Cowherd (Pacifist Viking)

Blogs added after the original post was written may be found below:

Colin Cowherd Can Eat A D*** (Awful Announcing)
Hey Jesus, Take That Cross Off Your Back and Jam it Through Colin Cowherd’s Face (Check Out My HEMI)
April Archives (Stupid Sideline Reporters)
Douchebag of the Year (Thunder Matt’s Saloon)
http://www.startribune.com/blogs/randball/?p=587 (Randball)
Win One for the Little Guys; Boycott ESPN (Hire Jim Essian!)
Colin Cowherd: Douchebaggery, The Sequel (The M-Zone)
Colin Cowherd: An Act of Self-Defense (Nation Of Islam Sportsblog)
I Never Liked This Guy (This Suit Is Not Black)
Fuck Colin Cowherd (Flyers Fieldhouse)
“I’m a reacher, not a teacher.” (Ladies…)
Cincinnati Hates Colin Cowherd, Too (Mondesi’s House)
Colin Cowherd is a Douchebag (Sports Show On Mute)
Colin Cowherd Likes Unicorns (Seal Clubbers)
Who’s got 2 thumbs and is now known as Shrutebag? This Guy! (Awful Officiating)
Colin Cowherd should jump in front of a fucking truck (The Big Picture)
The Big Lead: Still Down. Thanks, Schrutebag (Deadspin)
Colin Cowherd: Dead To Me (Just Call Me Juice)
Somehow, We Let All The Morons On Radio And TV (Signal to Noise)
Top 10 reasons Colin Cowherd is FANtastic (The Sports Hernia)
Supporting my fellow bloggers against Colin Cowturd (Stiles Points)
Criminal Cowherd? (Loupickney.com)
Cowherd takes on the Blogosphere (Cola For The Soul)
If I Ran…: ESPN (If I Ran)
Evolution of The Herd (College Game Balls)
Cow-herd the Cow-ard (55)
Colin Cowherd? More Like Colin Coward! (East Coast Bias)
Colin Cowherd, Schrutebag (Foul Balls)
Sports! Sort Of. Well, Schrutebag, Hot Cubs Fans, and a Fat Drunken Guy (Different Day, Same Trainwreck)
Time to join the Underground Train plowing into Colin Cowshit (Sports Bastards)
What A Cow(h)ard (Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician)
For The Idiot File: Colin Cowherd (Oriole Post)

7 Comments:

Down With Dice-K

I hate Dice-K.

No, not the baseball player. I actually am quite smitten with Daisuke Matsuzaka, who in his short tenure with the Red Sox has not only shown the ability to be a dominant major league pitcher, but also to bring some good manners and joy back to Boston baseball (case in point: after making a nice play on a bunt in the fifth inning of today’s game, the camera caught him saying something to the umpire, then walking off the field with a huge grin on his face. I have a personal policy to like any player who appears to realize how lucky he is to have that job).

No, I just hate the nickname.

I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: modern nicknames could use some work. Sure, there are still some great ones floating around out there – El Guapo is one of my top ten ever – but all too often we ignore the opportunity to bestow a truly great nickname upon someone in favor of something easier. (I’m looking at you, whoever was responsible for A-Rod, T-Mac and Man-Ram.)

When Matsuzaka signed with the Sox, I took the opportunity to toss out a few potential nicknames that might roll off the tongue easier than the six syllables of “Daisuke Matsuzaka”. NESN and Boston.com were making bland suggestions such as Dice-K and D-Mat, both of which are easy to say, but I thought he deserved something better. So I threw out five names that seemed relevant and interesting: Esu (I think that’s the Japanese word for ace, but still can’t guarantee that it’s true), Andrew (Andrew “Dice-K” – get it?), Daisy (but only if he sucks), The Oxygen Destroyer (my personal favorite) and Kaibutsu (his nickname in Japan, it means “The Monster”).

Needless to say, none of these has caught on, although there is still hope: Boston.com today featured a column by Gaku Tashiro of Sankei Sports, a Japanese writer who is very familiar with Matsuzaka and his past exploits. In the article, there is no mention of Dice-K or D-Mat (or even The Oxygen Destroyer. Pity), but Tashiro very clearly explains the origins of the Kaibutsu (kah-ee-boo-tsoo) nickname.

What it comes down to is this: in America, a player is most likely to be called “Monster” due to an overwhelming physical presence. (See Dick Radatz.) In Japan, however, such a name refers more to the spirit of the player:

“But in Japan, when an athlete is called Kaibutsu, it has a connotation of special respect and admiration. Such a name is given only to those who are considered superhuman, and whose talents surpass the normal limits of what a player can do.”

If Tashiro is to be believed, Kaibutsu is more than a nickname for Matsuzaka: it is a word that exemplifies his way of life. It is the reason he throws over a hundred pitches in a single bullpen session, or always heads to the mound with the intention of finishing what he started, or single-handedly wins the Koshien tournament for his high school team (the Kaibutsu name dates to the 1998 Koshien).

It’s obvious that in Japan, Matsuzaka IS Kaibutsu; none of this Dice-K crap. I’d like to see him receive that same respect in America, especially if he continues to achieve the same results as his major league debut yielded: seven innings, six hits, one earned run, one walk, and ten strikeouts.

So what do we say, Red Sox fans? For once, let’s not be mindless purveyors of the “Red Sox Nation”, “Manny Being Manny”, “Dice-K” drivel with which we are assailed on a daily basis. Let’s turn back the clock, dare to be original (well, sort of) and give this player the respect he has already earned.

(Note: on the NESN post-game show, Jason Varitek just said, “Sometimes in the heat of the moment, my Japanese isn’t so good.” Thought it sounded funny – like his day-to-day Japanese is great, but if he gets flustered, forget about it.)

2 Comments:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mike Lowell Would Do Well To Forget That This Night Ever Happened

The night started out okay for Mike Lowell. He drove in two runs with a double in the top of the first inning as the Red Sox offense spotted starter Josh Beckett a 3-0 lead, but that was pretty much the last thing that went right for the Red Sox third baseman. In the final eight innings, Lowell went 0-for-3 with an uncharacteristic three errors, including back-to-back misplays in the third. To put things in perspective, he only made a total of six errors in 153 games last season.

Fortunately, Beckett had a good night, (one run on two hits in five innings) and that early double held up. The bullpen wasn’t half bad either, bouncing back from a fairly crappy opening day performance to allow only one base runner in four innings of work.

J.D. Drew was the only Sox player with more than one hit (he’s hitting .429 – watch out, Ted Williams!), while Lowell and Kevin Youkilis drove in two runs apiece. The Beard’s drive, a seventh inning shot to left-center that made the score 6-1, was Boston’s first of the season.

In a related issue, I discovered tonight that Baseball-Reference.com, which is by far my go-to site for historical baseball statistics, is taking a shot at providing updated stats during the course of the season. If this works out, the baseball section of Yahoo! Sports just became a little less relevant for me.

(Photo Credits: Boston Dirt Dogs and Yahoo! News)

1 Comment:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

Billy Packer's endorsement of Greg Oden as the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player got me thinking about the last guy to win the award for a losing team: Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon, a guy Oden has drawn comparisons to, back in 1983. I was alive during Olajuwon's entire professional career but don't recall watching him play very often - I didn't watch a lot of basketball after Magic Johnson's announcement and Reggie Lewis' death, and any previous memories are hazy.

It was nice to find this video, then, featuring ten minutes of Hakeem being The Dream. The highlight reel is long, but impressive - Hoops-Central, which put it together, was smart enough to showcase three or four "force of nature"-type plays in the first ninety seconds.

I've always questioned the comparisons between Oden and Olajuwon, and the video doesn't change that. Both are unquestionably dominant on the defensive end of the floor, but I'm not sure that what we've seen from Oden offensively warrants such an evaluation.

1 Comment:

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Bizarro Hall of Fame: Introducing The Class of 1990

As part of an ongoing project, One More Dying Quail will be profiling the 182 current members of the Bizarro Hall of Fame, an organization that currently exists only in my mind. It was created in the wake of Major League Baseball’s infamous Steroid Era as a way of honoring those players whose careers were perfectly mediocre: the only requirement is that a candidate be listed on the official Baseball Hall of Fame ballot and receive zero votes.

Class of 1990

Mike Caldwell – For three years after a solid 14-5, 2.95 campaign for San Francisco in 1974, Caldwell’s career seemed to be on the decline. He was dealt from Cincinnati to Milwaukee in June 1977, however, and his career revived for one glorious final act, a 22-9 record and second place finish in the Cy Young voting in 1978.

Roy Howell – The fourth overall pick in the 1972 draft, Howell was traded to Toronto a month into the team’s inaugural season of 1977 and made the American League All-Star team in 1978. He signed with Milwaukee as a free agent following the 1980 season, appearing in three playoff series over the next two years. After a promising start in the 1981 Division Series (4-for-5), he went hitless in fourteen at-bats in the ALCS and World Series.

Jose Morales – Morales finished his twelve-year major league career with a total of 375 hits, nearly one third of which came as a pinch-hitter. His only appearance on Baseball Reference’s “Appearances on Leaderboards and Awards” section comes thanks to his status as the National League’s ninth oldest player in 1984.

Amos Otis – A five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glover, Otis hit .478 with three homeruns for the Kansas City Royals in the team’s 1980 World Series loss to Philadelphia. He played fourteen of his seventeen major league seasons in Kansas City, finishing in the top ten in the Most Valuable Player voting four times.

Tony Scott – Not many 71st round draft picks ever make the major leagues, let alone stick around for eleven seasons, but Tony Scott did just that, earning steady playing time with St. Louis and Houston from 1979-1982. The first year was his best, as he used his speed to steal 37 bases and tally ten triples for the Cardinals.

Ken Singleton – A powerful hitter with a good eye, Singleton racked up over 2,000 hits, 1,000 runs batted in and nearly 250 homeruns in 15 major league seasons. His best year was 1979, when his 35 homeruns, 111 RBI and second-place finish in the MVP voting powered Baltimore to the World Series. They lost that Fall Classic to Willie Stargell’s Pittsburgh Pirates, but Singleton got his ring four years later when the O’s beat Philadelphia.

Paul Splittorff – Splittorff was drafted by the Royals in the 25th round of the 1968 draft and made his major league debut two years later. Three years after that, he was a twenty game winner for Kansas City, helping the team to a second-place finish in the American League West. He ultimately won 166 games in fifteen major league seasons, all of them with the Royals.

John Stearns – The second overall pick in 1973 made four All-Star teams in his eleven year career, but was left off the squad in 1978, which might have been his best season (career-high 15 homeruns, 25 stolen bases, 65 runs scored). His career was technically spent with two teams, the Phillies and Mets, but 809 of 810 games were spent with the Mets; he played one game in Philadelphia before being dealt to New York as part of a trade for Tug McGraw.

Champ Summers – Champ was an undrafted free agent who only had 350 hits in eleven seasons, so I’m gonna turn this one over to the Rumors and Rants, which put together a tremendous listing of the various bloggers’ thoughts on their favorite players. In a tremendous coincidence, the all-time favorite of The Wayne Fontes Experience was…Champ Summers. Their thoughts:

“His style of play really struck a chord in a teenaged me. As a left-handed, dead pull hitting, platoon OF/DH, Champ had a swing that was tailor made for Tiger Stadium. Unfortunately, Summers often butted heads with Sparky Anderson, which led to a trade that absolutely devastated me. The best seasons of Summers’ career were spent with the Tigers, while making me a fan for life.”

Dick Tidrow – Tidrow won forty games in his first three seasons, but only managed sixty in his last ten years. He appeared in three straight World Series for the Yankees from 1976-78, posting a 1.93 ERA in the last year.

(Coming soon: the Bizarro Hall of Fame Class of 1989.)

(All Hall of Fame voting results were obtained from the official web site of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Statistical information included in postings for the Bizarro Hall of Fame was, unless otherwise noted, originally compiled by Baseball-Reference.com.)

2 Comments:

Um, Yeah...Not A Good Start


Curt Schilling might have had one of his roughest outings in recent memory, Julio Lugo might currently be making roughly $3 million per strikeout, Jonathan Papelbon might have spent the entire game spitting sunflowers seeds and shooting beaver in the bullpen, and Joel Pineiro might have an ERA of 27.00, but breathe easy, Sox fans, for there is a bright side: after a stunning spring training debut, The Beard of Kevin Youkilis continued to impress on Opening Day, finishing 2-for-4 and scoring the lone Red Sox run.

Let's put today's game in perspective, quickly: the second-best offensive performance, after The Beard, was turned in by a rookie second baseman who came into the season with a career .191 batting average. When it's easier to name the guys who DIDN'T strike out in a particular game (J.D. Drew and Dustin Pedroia), you might have a problem.

One more thought on Schilling: yesterday, I saw him on NESN, talking about how everyone was counting him out this season and he wanted to have a good year and prove the naysayers wrong. I know it's only one start, but Curt...perhaps you should blog a little less, work on that changeup a little more. Just a suggestion. Or feel free to discount this admittedly kneejerk reaction and reel off ten wins in a row. Your call.

0 Comments: