Any player/Any era: Kenny Lofton for Baseball Past & Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/05/17/playerany-era-kenny-lofton/. A look at how Kenny Lofton would have been appreciated on the 2000 Boston Red Sox.
Posts Tagged ‘boston red sox’
Bottom of the Ninth: What to Look for in the First Week for Closers for Razzball: http://razzball.com/bottom-of-the-ninth-what-to-look-for-in-the-first-week/.
A look at the bullpen situations of the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals.
Last Debate Me of the off-season: Alejandro de Aza and Carl Crawford for Fantasy Pros 911: http://fp911.com/debate-me-alejandro-de-aza-and-carl-crawford/. I take Carl Crawford as having the more fantasy baseball and roto value, but this argument might be too close to call.
I don’t know if I want to see a little bit of Ron Swanson in everyone, but clearly, if you major in Forestry, you have a bit of Swanson in you. According to the College Board, “If you go into forestry, you’ll have to balance growing trees for wood products with preserving the variety of living things in an area.” Apparently 119 colleges offer degrees in forestry, including SUNY Morrisville, which is near my alma mater.
Lollar had a meandering career for a guy who spent just seven years in the majors. He was drafted in the fourth round in 1978 by the New York Yankees, made his major league debut two years later and was traded the subsequent year to the San Diego Padres in a deal that brought our man and fellow flip sider, Ruppert Jones to the Pads.
He did his best and worst work for the Padres. By far, his two best seasons were 1982 and 1984. Unfortunately, his 1984 post-season experience was horrible. He started one game in the NLCS and World Series. In the NLCS, he pitched 4.1 innings and gave up three runs. He’d be mightily worse in the Series, going just 1.2 innings and giving up 4 runs.
After the season, he, Ozzie Guillen, Bill Long and Luis Salazar were traded to the White Sox for LaMarr Hoyt, Kevin Kristan and Todd Simmons. This wasn’t a particularly good trade for the Padres. Guillen was worth 14.9 WAR for the Sox and Long was worth 2.1 WAR. Salazar (-0.5 WAR) and Lollar (0.4 WAR) cancelled each other out. Meanwhile, Hoyt was worth 1.7 WAR and pitched for the Padres for just two years. Neither Kristan nor Simmons made the majors.
Aside from being part of the deal that brought Guillen to Chicago, Lollar is likely remembered for his hitting acumen. He finished with a .234/.286/.377 line, but hit 1.000/1.000/1.000 in his last year in the majors.
He did hit eight round trippers in just four seasons in the NL. And, somewhat bizarrely, he pinch hit for position players twice in the American League. The first was August 13, 1985, when he hit for Jackie Gutierrez (who finished with a .237/.261/.285 line).
The second was on August 12, 1986, when Lollar hit for Rey Quinones (another no-hit shortstop who finished with a .243/.287/.357 line). Lollar actually singled off Dan Quisenberry, but that no-hit slacker Wade Boggs grounded out afterward to end the game.
At least Lollar went out on top, singling in his last MLB at bat.
So Jeff Suppan was the Todd Van Poppel of the mid-90s? That was my initial reaction to the blurb on the back of the card.
However, that’s not really true.
As the card points out, Suppan had all the promise and pedigree of a highly touted young pitcher (he had more stuff than fluff which was the case with Van Poppel). And you can’t really fault those press clippings, as Suppan tore through the minors. In 1996, at AAA and just 21-years-old, Suppan had a 5.68 K:BB rate.
For whatever reason, though, his stuff at that time just couldn’t fool major league hitters. While he posted nearly a K per inning in the minors, he struggled to strike out more than five batters per nine with the Red Sox. After three unsuccessful seasons and 39 appearances (29 starts) with a 5.99 ERA, 1.60 WHIP and 1.83 K:BB rate, the Red Sox left him unprotected in the 1997 expansion draft* and the Diamondbacks pounced (that’s probably a poor onomatopoeia).
He pitched horribly for Arizona and they soon sold him to Kansas City. While his tenure with the Royals was unspectacular, he pitched over 200 innings during each of his four full years there (from 1999-2002), combining for a 4.79 ERA, 1.42 WHIP and 1.60 K:BB rate. Dude just ate innings, pitching the seventh most during that span – just behind Livan Hernandez, Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, Curt Schilling, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson.
After 2002, he signed as a free agent with the Pirates, who quickly traded him and Brandon Lyon to the Red Sox for Mike Gonzalez, Freddy Sanchez and dollar dollar bills. Talk about a deal involving some average players who ended up making serious bank. It was a one-year deal, so Suppan found himself a free agent again in 2003.
That’s when he met the god that is Dave Duncan. From 2004-2006, he threw 572 innings for the Cardinals, posting a 3.95 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 1.67 K:BB rate. Sure it was mostly smoke and mirrors, but that’s some quality durability.
He also came through when it matted. He went 3-3 in the post-season for the Cardinals during that stretch and dominated the New York Mets in 2006. He threw 15 innings and allowed one earned run. He was the MVP of the NLCS that year and even took Steve Trachsel (a very similar pitcher) deep in game three.
After his splendid 2006 regular and post season, Suppan was treated to a four-year $42 million contract by the Brewers (good gosh, my golly, what a folly). He pitched wretchedly for the Brewers, prompting one fan to put Suppan up for sale on eBay.
He was eventually released, but scooped up by the Cardinals. He posted a 3.84 ERA, 1.49 WHIP and 1.32 K:BB rate for the Cardinals in 70.1 IPs during 2010. That would be his last season in the majors.
While I was able to mention Suppan in the same breath as Maddux in this piece, he never lived up to those press clippings. However, the $58 million he earned in his playing time, the NLCS MVP, 2006 World Champion and 12.8 WAR suggest he was a far better player than Van Poppel ever was (TVP was worth -2.1 WAR during his career).
*Man, there were four total All-stars in that draft (although possibly a Hall of Famer in Bobby Abreu). One All-star, Damian Miller, I vaguely remember as a subpar catcher. While I was annoyed Esteban Yan was gone from the Orioles, it didn’t hurt as much as Aaron Ledesma being scooped up in the final round. I was 15 when he played for the Orioles – I had no clue he was 26 at the time as I had never heard of him. That year was magical for the Orioles (at least for awhile) and I remember an 11-3 loss to the Tigers pretty well. Jimmy Key continued his second half swoon and Esteban Yan compounded the damage, but a scrappy infielder went 2-4, raising his average to .345. Ledesma hit .352 that year for the Orioles but didn’t make a postseason appearance. The following year he hit .324 for Tampa Bay, then would be out of baseball two years later. The only two HRs he ever hit were for the Orioles and he finished with a .296/.338/.365 line. His dWAR seems average, so I’m surprised his bat never stuck. Maybe he just wasn’t that good…like Luis Mercedes.
Montgomery had a long tenure in professional baseball. He was signed as an 18-year-old and started at the D level (which is akin to Rookie ball in today’s nomenclature) in 1962 for Olean of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He played remarkably well, hitting .273/.426/.380 and found himself in A ball for Waterloo the following year.
He made stops in Seattle, Winston Salem, Pittsfield, Toronto and Louisville over the next eight years, amassing 3,061 minor league plate appearances and a .276/.323/.406 line – not bad for a catcher in the 1960s.
He was called up to the Boston Red Sox in 1970 and never looked back. Still, the Sox had a fella by the name of Carlton Fisk, so Monty didn’t see a whole lot of playing time. He didn’t see a whole lot of green either, as he apparently sold Red Sox tickets in the winter months. What does that even entail? Did he go from sandlot tosandlot hawking seats for mid-summer Orioles tilts? More than likely he went to businesses and the like, but it’d be pretty cool to buy tickets to a game from an actual player. I would certainly pay more for that experience. It takes players putting butts in the seats to a whole new level!
Any who, Montgomery played for Boston from 1970 – 1979 and got in a total of 387 games, that’s just 38.7 a year. He finished with a .258/.296/.372 line – totally serviceable for a back-up catcher in the 1970s. Oddly enough, he hung them up after one of his most successful campaigns: he hit .349/.374/.419 in 1979 in 92 plate appearances.
That said, as this card accurately points out, Monty, who was known as “The Hammer,” made his presence known on June 6, 1973 by slamming two homers in one game. Those homers directly contributed to his best year in the bigs: .320/.353/.563 and 1.5 WAR. He amassed just 1.9 WAR for his career.
Still you can’t take those sideburns away from him – he could get some mean shooting stars in there! You also can’t take away that June 6 game. He hit both homers off Doug Bird (who went 4.2 IPs in relief of Ken Wright). The Hammer’s second home run came in the bottom of the 10th to give Bill Lee the complete game victory. Baseball use to be crazy.
Lastly, someday, somewhere, Montgomery will be the answer to a trivia question as he was the last Major League player to bat without a helmet. Maybe that’s why he retired – the game had passed him by. Craig MacTavish anyone?
It doesn’t get any more white bread than Scott Fletcher, me thinks. There are so many generic “scrappy” middle infielders that Fletcher can get lost in history. However, I posit that Fletcher was perhaps the most “scrappy” middle infielder of all time, at least tangentially.
What does he like to do? Fish and golf – doesn’t get any more mundane than that (although I do enjoy both activities in moderation and as long as I don’t have to touch the bait).
The Imperials, his favorite musical group, are an American Christian outfit that started as a southern gospel quartet. The group did work with Elvis, recorded the theme song to the Daniel Boone TV show and were the first Christian group to use cordless mics, four individual microphones on stage (at the same time!) and a live band on stage.
What a hootenanny.
Fletcher’s favorite food is the exotic chicken, book is the bible and he would like to meet Jesus.
Well then. Hello Middle America.
Still, he had a pretty good stretch from 1983-1988. Aside from 1985, he was worth more than 2.6 WAR every year and averaged 3 WAR per season. He was rewarded with a pretty big contract in 1980s terms, becoming the first athlete in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to earn more than $1 million a year, according to Wikipedia.
Then, the following year, on July 29, 1989, he was traded by the Rangers along with Wilson Alvarez (who no-hit the Orioles, when I was sitting in the bleachers) and Sammy Sosa to the White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique.
He had a pretty fascinating career: was drafted four times and traded three times.
Still, the thing I find most fascinating is that he sold greeting cards door to door. This is even a thing? I guess nowadays people don’t sell anything door to door and travelling salesmen don’t really exist, but still, greeting cards? Were there no stores with soda fountains? Did his failure as a greeting card salesman lead to the rise of CVS around the country (there are five within three blocks of my house)? So many questions, so much Americana.
Scott Fletcher, IF, fisherman, golfer, chicken-lover, Bible-reader, greeting card salesman. I wonder if he ever earned a set of steak knives.
Sometimes when I read the backs of these cards, I am like, WTF, what the what, the ladylike, just like me? Yeah I don’t get my brain sometimes either.
I’m not even real sure where to start with this. I’ll go ahead and get the obvious typo out of the way – I don’t think Wasdin “hel opposing hitters…” I’m guessing he held them, held them tight with his clarineting and saxaphoning.
But, let’s dig into the massive factual inaccuracies on the back of the card. I really believe the narrative on the back was written about someone else and they simply assigned it to Wasdin.
I can find no evidence that Wasdin was a classically trained saxophonist or clarinetist. In addition, it’s hard for Wasdin to be a mound Maestro in 1995 given he appeared in just 5 games (and 17.1 IPs) for the Athletics. He didn’t even pitch particularly well: 4.67 ERA and 6.10 FIP. Moreover, he didn’t record a single save in the majors until 1999 and only recorded seven in his major league career and just four in the minors. He might have ranked among the save leaders of those pitchers who appeared on June 11, 1999 – but that’s it.
The actual vignette had to be written about one of a select group: Randy Myers, Tom Henke, Heathcliff Slocumb, Todd Worrell, Roberto Hernandez or John Wettland – as they finished in the top 10 in saves and all had K rates near nine. I couldn’t find any references to Myers, Henke, Slocumb, Worrell or Hernandez. Then, I hit pay dirt (I mean you had to assume it was Wettland, given his first and last name, right?).
Googling John Wettland’s 1996 Topps card leads to this link: http://mikekenny.blogspot.com/2010/07/classic-card-of-week_08.html. So we’ve got a culprit.
Poor John Wasdin, not even good enough to have the anecdote on his rookie card right. And it’s not as if John Wasdin was some career journeyman…yet. He was the 25th overall pick in 1993 and progressed nicely in the minors: before the 1995 season, he was the #53 prospect. The following year he was the #84 prospect.
Unfortunately he could never pitch like Wettland and crisscrossed the country during a 12-year career. In 1997, Wasdin (and cash!) was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jose Canseco. He played four years for the Red Sox, earned $1.5 million and was worth 1.7 WAR. He was bitten by the Green Monster a lot: 1.4 HR/9, leading to the nickname “Way Back Wasdin” a riff off Jerry Trupiano’s signature homerun call.
Having lived out his welcome in Boston (after two miserable post-season performances against the Indians in 1998 and 1999), Wasdin (along with Jeff Taglienti, Jeff Frye and Bran Rose) was shipped to the Colorado Rockies for Rolando Arrojo, Rich Croushore, Mike Lansing and cash.
He stumbled around from there, pitched a perfect game for the Nashville Sounds that only 750 people saw, and ended up in Japan.
It’s odd to think that the most memorable aspect* of Wasdin’s career is the erroneous back of a baseball card. I certainly never would have investigated his career had I not been initially stunned by the verbiage.
*As Bill Parker, who writes awesomely and uncommonly for the Platoon Advantage, points out: John Wasdin’s change-up in one of the late 90s version of Triple Play was randomly clocked at 120 MPHs. If I knew this, I forgot, if I didnt, I’m ashamed.