Posts Tagged ‘Angels’

Any Player/Any Era: Bobby Grich for Baseball Past and Present

Any Player/Any Era: Bobby Grich for Baseball Past and Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/03/22/playerany-era-bobby-grich/. A look at the great career of Grich and how he might have fared on the 1990s Atlanta Braves.

Any Player/Any Era: Tony Phillips for Baseball Past & Present

Any Player/Any Era: Tony Phillips for Baseball Past and Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/02/09/playerany-era-tony-phillips/.

A look at how Tony Phillips would have fared with the 1950 Cleveland Indians.

h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: Gary Gaetti

I write a lot for a living and for fun. So I get caught up in wording – both incredibly awesome turns of phrases and the unsuccessful. So, I ask, is it possible Topps got a computer to write the anecdotes for the backs of the 1993 cards? I’ve never heard of anyone enjoying the distinction of something – it sounds like one of those auto-Fantasy team name generators.

Regardless of how the card was worded, it’s a pretty cool footnote on a career to score the 20,000th  run in a franchises’ history.

But it’s just a footnote, because what a career Gaetti amassed. When it was all said and done, he appeared in the 43rd most career games (2507) in baseball history – just behind Bill Buckner.

He finished with the 36th most doubles by a righty, oddly 36 more than Barry Larkin, Steve Garvey and Luke Appling. He also tallied the 42nd most RBIs by a righty — more than Mike Piazza, Hank Greenberg, Hugh Duffy, and others.

Of course, the bane of longevity is the GIDPs – Gaetti created two outs from one hit the 32nd most times in MLB history. He put in play a twin killing 236 times – one more than George Brett. He also swung and missed a lot – the 21st most times in MLB history. Still, with great Ks, comes great power: he has the sixth most HRs by a 3b in MLB history.

In all those games, he ended up participating in the 15th most losses in MLB history and ended 116 of the 1314 games he lost.

In addition to his milestone run scores, Gaetti was part of the seventh most triple plays in MLB history and was part of two in one game!

Still, he is most known for the 1987 post-season. He was the MVP of the American League Championship with a .300/.348/.650 line with two HRs, which happen to be the first time in MLB history that a player hit homers in his first two postseason plate appearances.

Gaetti had a long meandering career worth 37.9 WAR. Hey, he was even used as a reliever twice, by two different teams. He finished with a 7.71 ERA and one strikeout in three appearances.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out on the Flip Side: Ruppert Jones

I’m pretty sure I picked this card out of the thousands I go through because I thought Ruppert was misspelled (it isn’t) and the name makes me chuckle. It probably makes me chuckle because of Family Guy, but, in my head, Ruppert is really Higgins from Magnum PI – the mind does funny things.

I figure I also liked the rather mundane factoid as well. He enjoys both karate and racquetball (presumably not at the same time). I don’t really like either. Karate wasn’t my thing and I’m not a fan of Martial Arts movies (unless it is Mortal Kombat or stars JCVD). Racquetball I enjoyed a little, but it reminds me of old fogies with short shorts and smelly socks. I also hate squash (the game, not the food, acorn squash soup is delicious).

Anyway, the reflexes and agility required by both enjoyed activities must have helped Jones during his career. In 1977, he made 465 putouts, the 27th most in a season ever. In a game on May 16, 1978, Jones recorded 12 putouts, thereby tying the major league record for putouts by an outfielder in an extra-inning game. He batted fourth in the contest, went 1/6 with two Ks and his average stood at .213. Former flip-sider Shane Rawley took the loss.

The following year, 1979, Jones recorded 453 putouts, the 44th most ever in a season. The man could track down balls (even though his defensive abilities seem suspect – 2.2 dWAR for his career).

Even before all that, Jones was the first pick in the 1976 expansion draft by the Seattle Mariners, after being selected in the third round of the amateur draft by the Royals in 1973.

His 1977 season made the Mariners look like geniuses. He went .263/.324/.454 with 24 bombs – he was worth 3.3 wins above a replacement player.

However things wouldn’t progress. Aside from his record setting put-out game in ‘78, his season was a disaster. But he bounced back and played well for the Mariners in ’79, finishing his career there worth 6 WAR.

He’d spend one year with the Yankees and then three with the San Diego Padres. He played his best ball for the Padres (7.5 WAR), but they granted him free agency after the 1983 season. He signed with the Detroit Tigers.

He appeared in just two games for the Tigers in the postseason that year, didn’t contribute much, but was part of a win in the World Series against the Padres.

The majority of his post-season experience came the year before this card was printed. He went 3/17, but walked 5 times for the Angels against the Boston Red Sox. And that would wrap his last real season in the majors.

He came back in 1987 but couldn’t buy a base hit. He played another year in Japan before hanging it up and focusing on Karacquete, a new sport that never quite caught on.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

‘Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Austin Jackson – Action Jackson (Ajax for short) over the last seven days flashed 2010’s brilliance: 11/29 with a home, a steal and seven RBIs. That brought his yearly RBI total to…16.  But no one owns him for those numbers. To date,Jackson is just 4/6 in SB attempts, after going 27/33 last season. Clearly his speed pace is way down, mostly do to his complete inability to get on base (.227 average, .284 OBP). Not surprisingly, his .396 BABip last year is being replaced by a somewhat more human .327. A large portion of that has to do with more ground and fly balls and less line drives. He is being pitched roughly the same as last year and isn’t swinging and missing more or making demonstrably less contact. Is the last seven days a sign of resurgence? Sort of, I think. He’s not this bad of a hitter; he’ll get to .260 with his typical seven percent walk rate (i.e., .315 OBP). He’ll get 22-25 steals. In a lot of leagues, that is useful.

Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Immanuel Kant, one of the craziest thinkers I’ve ever encounter (I hate the Critique of Pure Reason), created something called the categorical imperative. Basically, it was one tenet that would govern all actions. When you boil it down, Kant thought a person should only do something that everyone should be allowed to do, or in his words: “Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.”

This got Kant into some sticky trouble when it comes to lying to save a life. The example goes: say someone runs into your house with a murderer hot on their heels. The polite murderer rings your doorbell and asks if the intended victim is inside. According to Kant’s morality, you have to respond that the person is inside because an act is moral not because of its consequences, but in and of itself. If you were to lie in this circumstance that would mean it was okay to lie in every instance of this circumstance, and, thusly, the soon-to-be murderer would know you were lying.

I’m not a big categorical imperative fan. I believe the outcome of actions should have a bearing on morality (and our rule of law, haphazard as it might be, somewhat reflects this, i.e., if you drive drunk and kill someone you get a higher penalty than simply driving drunk).

In my view, outcomes matter, I’m not as worried about how you get there. The same goes for fantasy baseball, especially head-to-head. All you have to do is win, it really doesn’t matter how. I routinely win h2h leagues with teams, that if it had been roto, would have finished in the middle of the pack.

At about this point in the year/week, you know what categories you are strong in. If Morneau zapped your power and there isn’t much to be had on the wire, it’s time to switch tactics. Look to gobble up speed demons – field an outfield of Jose Tabata, Juan Pierre and Michael Bourn and assure yourself of certain categories early in the week, and then try to focus on those you remain close in. If you go out to an early 8-2 lead in wins, it’s time to load up on relievers to massage those ratios and turn in some saves. Continue reading

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Rance Mulliniks

mullinkis backmullinkis frI feel like I am incredibly qualified to comment on the back of this card. See, my full name is Albert Leroy Lang III.

The name Albert stands out…and not in a good way like the name Dylan (stupid 90210) does. Furthermore, with a middle name like Leroy (even if it means ‘the King’ – and I do nominate we call LeBron LeBroy) there isn’t much to fall back on. So, for most of my life, I kinda sorta didn’t like my name.

But that began to change as I began to age and standing out of a crowd was much better than fitting cozily inside a fence. My name, while unoriginal, is original. But, more importantly, it represents the history of my family on my father’s side. Plus my initials spell a word – take that haters/younger me!

The original ALL was a hilarious and generous man who never graduated high school. He was a decorated member of the Baltimore City fire department and started his own plumbing business. He was a fierce Baltimore Colts fan and could pick a crab cleaner than Ozzie Smith could a ground ball.

The sequel would be my father, who went to local Loyola College, became a mathematician and NSA employee, got some MBAs, grew to understand the wave of the future (computers) and met my mom! Not bad…he was also a devoted Baltimore Colts fan…who has grown into a reasonable Washington Redskins fan.

I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan. The one thing all three iterations have in common – outside of our name – is a love of the Baltimore Orioles. I & II are the reasons I can recite the great Balmore teams of the Robinsons, Paul Blair, Boog Powell, Len Sakata, Apparicio, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and the immortal Earl Weaver.

So, when I first checked out the back of Mulliniks card, my initial reaction was why would your ever name you kid Rance? But just like with Bert Blyleven, initial reactions betray us; the card quickly lead me to thoughts of my own lineage. Thoughts I’m incredibly proud of.

Hopefully Rance II is as proud of his father’s accomplishments – he should be. Mulliniks would see his first major league action in 1977 as a 21 year old with the California Angels. However, he’d be used sparingly (appearing in just 150 games over three years with the major league club).

In 1979, he’d be traded with Willie Aikens to the Kansas City Royals for Al Cowens, Todd Cruz and Craig Eaton. Unfortunately, it’d be the same ole same ole for Mulliniks, as he’d see action in just 60 games over the next two seasons.

Then, at age 26, he’d be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Phil Huffman. Primarily a shortstop/utility man for the Angels and Royals, the Blue Jays would make Mulliniks a third basemen and he’d take off (sound familiar, Jose Bautista – well sort of).

In his first season, he received 353 plate appearances, and would post a decent slash line (.244/.326/.363) – this was 1982 after all. Then, in what should be called his second full season, Mulliniks would go .275/.373/.467. He clearly understood the point of the game was to avoid making outs. From 1983-1988 (his 26 through 32 birthdays), Mulliniks averaged a .374 OBP and only once had an OBP lower than .371.

He’d be out of the majors three years later, but not much could beat that prime of his – of course except for the opportunity to pass along one’s namesake.

When it was all said and done, Mulliniks posted the 16th highest batting average as a pinch hitter (min. 150 ABs) in MLB history.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Thad Bosley

bosleybackbosleybackfrontContinuing my week of music, that somehow I neglected to get Katy Perry to sponsor, we have Thad Bosley. Like Ruben Sierra and Raul Mondesi, he recorded his own album – this was before it was super ShagFu cool to do so.

Of course, he wasn’t a salsa man, but a gospel singer. So what is it with athletes and music? I mean I guess it has moved more to basketball players lately — but between the salsa twins (Sierra, Mondesi) and Bosley, we have a heck of “a making of the band.” Not surprisingly, Bosley was also a member of a funk group called Ballplayers which featured Lenny Randle…yes THE Lenny Randle (h/t to Wikipedia).

At this point in his career, Bosley had earned at least $1 million, making it easy to finance “Pick Up The Pieces.” But did he deserve the riches and album cover bitches? Absolutely, he was worth about 2.7 WAR from 1977-1986. This translates to about $10 million in free agent value.

Before the funk and gospel, Bosley was a fourth round draft pick by the California Angels in 1974. He hit .326/.359/.433 in 69 AAA games in 1977 before getting the call. He appeared in 58 games for the Angels and looked promising (.297/.346/.363). Of course, the power was absent and his BABip was .346 (for his career that average rested at .315). In the off-season, the Angels traded Bosley along with Bobby Bonds and Richard Dotson to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Downing, Dave Frost and Chris Knapp.

Downing was the real get in the trade, he was worth 37.7 WAR in California and added an additional five WAR for the Texas Rangers. Bosley would be worth only 0.4 WAR for the White Sox as he posted a .262/.310/.323 line in 172 games. However, Bosley would stick around for 9 more seasons and finish with a career line of .272/.330/.357 with just 20 HRs in 784 career games. So why did he last so long? He was perceived as a pinch-hitting asset – think of him as the 1980s version of Lenny Harris.

In fact, Bosley is one of only 26 people in MLB history to pinch-hit a home-run and hit another homer in the same game. He did so on August 12, 1985. There are some other notable players who have accomplished this “feat”: Frank Howard, Jeff Bagwell (who somehow did it before the next guy), Kirk Gibson, Robin Ventura and Ryan Howard. Bosley also put together one of the best pinch-hit seasons in the history of the game: He had 20 pinch hits in one year, the 20th most ever.

Given he was basically a “career hitter,” it’s not overly surprising that Bosley was named hitting coach for the Texas Rangers on November 23, 2010. In all, Bosley did nothing overly spectacular, except, when infrequently called upon, he went up to the plate and made a good at bat. In reality, that’s pretty darn impossible to do.

Lastly, hold for my diatribe against poetry. I’ve taken an insane amount of poetry/literature courses, including: Milton, the English Elegy (more Milton), Victorian Poets and Essayists, Romantic Poets and Essayists, Creative Writing: Poetry, Poetry 101, etc. I like some poetry and find the puzzle older poets presented in their verse fascinating. However, I write to express myself. I think hiding one’s meaning in writing kind of defeats the purpose (unless you are Nietzsche, in which case it is the purpose). Poetry is beautiful but subjective, I prefer more objective writing stylings…like Katy Perry lyrics.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Chili Davis

chilli daivs back chilli front

Man, Topps had a real succinct way to sum up Davis’ life as it stood in 1987. He likes to cook, swim, jog and travel – but one thing is missing: hitting (more on that later).

Cooking, yeah that can be fun and delicious, travelling – not so bad (if you’re not being literal). However, who really likes yogging? I mean it’s just running for as long as you can. Some of my long-term readers know I run a decent amount, but I don’t enjoy it — it’s simply the easiest way to get cardio and combat the two helpings of French Fries I had last weekend. Seriously, just because I run fast (did 7.3 miles in 51:29 recently) doesn’t mean I like it. In fact, it means I hate it and want to get it over with ASAP.

That is all well and good, perfect and succinct (tongue and cheek) analysis, but I’ll posit that what the card misses is Davis love of hitting. Davis has the 11th most at bats in major league baseball history by a switch-hitter (8,673 — more than Mickey Mantle, Ruben Sierra, Bernie Williams and Maury Wills). He also has the (not surprisingly) 13th most hits by a switch hitter with 2,380 — just 35 less than the Mick. He wasn’t hitting wimpy singles either — he logged the ninth best slugging percentage (.451) by a switch hitter, just behind Carl Everett of all people. With that slugging percentage, it wouldn’t surprise you that he ended with the fifth most RBIs by a switch hitter…more than Pete Rose and Chipper Jones.

Oddly enough, he finished with the 16th most career intentional walks since 1955. Davis had 188 which was tied with Ted Simmons and more than Dave Winfield, Rafael Palmeiro, Frank Thomas, Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew. Another thing he did better than just about every player? Hit home runs from both sides of the plate in a single game — he did it 11 times and tied for the most all-time with Eddie Murray.

Lastly, Davis played in the 62nd most games in MLB history (2,436) — more than Killebrew and Mike Schmidt. I’ll submit that any time you do several things that Hall of Famers didn’t, you’ve had a worthwhile career.

Maybe all that cooking helped him relax and focus. Clearly the swimming and yogging must have helped his longevity. Also a like of travelling couldn’t hurt as the daily baseball grind includes long hours in planes. But, in reality, I’m sure a love of putting the ball in play made Chili an underrated player in the ’80s and ’90s.

One question? Do you think Davis made chili? If so, was it caliente?

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ the Closer Carousel (Updated per Orioles)

As Kevin Nealon said, “yeah, lot of pressure. You gotta rise above it. You gotta harness in the good energy, block out the bad. Harness. Energy. Block. Bad. Feel the flow, Happy. Feel it. It’s circular. It’s like a carousel. You pay the quarter, you get on the horse. It goes up and down and around. Circular. Circle. With the music. The flow… all good things.”

It is no different than with a majority of major league closers. Sure some are like violent roller coasters (Armando Benitez, Jose Mesa) and some are like the teacups (Mariano Rivera), but most are in the muddy middle. Thus introduces your weekly reliever mash-up. Continue reading

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