Any Player/Any Era: Larry Walker for Baseball Past & Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/05/03/playerany-era-larry-walker/. A look at how Walker would have fared on the late 1930s St. Louis Cardinals, away from Coors Field and the steroid era.
Posts Tagged ‘St. Louis Cardinals’
Any player/Any era: Eric Davis for Baseball Past & Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/03/02/playerany-era-eric-davis/.
Some fond memories of his time with the Orioles and wondering how he would do on the 1960s St. Louis Cardinals.
Any player/Any era: Pedro Guerrero for Baseball Past and Present: http://baseballpastandpresent.com/2012/01/05/3848/
Well to quibble and parse words and whatnot: he can’t make key defensive plays at any point, I mean the ball has to be hit to him or an infielder has to throw a difficult ball to him – otherwise his job at first base is pretty pedestrian by defensive standards.
Still, Jordan had a reputation as a great defensive player. In fact, his .988 career fielding percentage is tied for 28th best with people like Freddy Lynn, Mike Devareaux, Paul O’Neil, the great Paul Blair, Tim Raines, Andy Van Slyke, Jay Buhner, Steve Finley and others. There’s a fair number of Orioles on that list – Raines and Buhner are the only ones who never played for Baltimore. And guess where Jordan was born? You got it: Baltimore.
Do the defensive metrics back up his fielding percentage and reputation? Sort of. His dWAR (defensive wins above replacement player) is 16.1, oddly enough most of his value came as a right fielder. What’s most misleading about this card is that Jordan played just 27 games at first in his career and played 1,382 games in the outfield. I always remembered Jordan as an outfielder but, based on this card, assumed he was an ill-suited first baseman – shows you can’t believe everything you read.
Jordan was quite the underrated player. From 1995-2002, he accumulated 30.8 WAR (Fangraphs), the 35th most during that span and just a few ticks behind the immortal Frank Thomas. During that stretch, he hit .291/.341/.473 and averaged 18 HRs, yet made an All-star team just once.
Jordan’s last season was the year this card was printed. He didn’t exactly go out on top. Still, I’ll always remember him as the foil to Deion Sanders. Sanders was the flashy one who was better at football than baseball. Jordan always seemed rather workmanlike and was clearly better at baseball than football. Either way, he fielded his position well, hit decently and was one of the better players for a seven-year stretch – not much more you can ask for from a career.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the butchering of the English language. First, Jordan wasn’t really a first baseman. Second, “has prospered in the major leagues as the productive offensive…” just makes no sense. How about: “has prospered in the major leagues a productive offensive…” Third, the whole end of the sentence is Goobeldy Gook. This is up there with the all time greats when it comes to poorly written back of the base ball cards. It really should have been part of the 1987 Topps set.
Matt Wieters: Awesome Catcher for the Platoon Advantage: http://www.platoonadvantage.com/2011/12/matt-wieters-awesome-catcher.html
It’s been an incredibly tough season/off-season for Orioles fans. After the way the club finished 2010 and a pretty good 2010 offseason (sure they made their share of bad signings, but, this time, they were limited to one-year deals!), which saw them deal fringy relievers for solider major league players, Orioles fans could smile a little smile that the team was at least sort of going in the right direction. On April 9, the Orioles were 6-2 and 5.5 games ahead of Boston and Tampa Bay. Of course, reality set in and the Orioles continued to completely and utterly fail to develop minor league talent at the major league level and finished 69-93, 28 games behind the Yankees. Then, the 2011 off-season came and GM candidate after candidate turned them down. Eventually, they hired Dan Duquette (who has been out of baseball almost as long as it has been since the Orioles finished above .500), and, sadly, it didn’t seem nearly as embarrassing as it could have been. Of course, the one joy Orioles fans had throughout the season was the defense of Matt Wieters. It was beautiful to watch him play baseball well. Then, when the Fielding Bible and Gold Glove Awards recently came out, we had validation for our love of Wieters.
What I didn’t realize is that DeShields was Kenny Lofton before Lofton was. DeShields had a full ride to run point for Villanova before being the 12th overall pick in the 1987 MLB draft by the Montreal Expos. And, of course, there was that little tidbit of him Spud Webbing a dunk contest in a battle across sports (I assume this was a Rock n Jock, but can’t find the video).
He made quick work of the minors, posting great OBPs and made his debut in 1990 at 21. He hit .289/.375/.393 in 129 games.
Unfortunately, a lot of that average was BABIP driven as he hit .349 on balls in play that year. He came back to earth in 1991, hitting .238/.347/.332 and would lead the league with 151 Ks. In addition, his .9623 fielding percentage that year was the seventh worst by a second baseman in a season since 1946. But he got on base and ran, accumulating 56 SBs. You combine his steals with Marquis Grissom (who had 76 swipes) and you get the 11th most prolific stolen base combo in MLB history.
His average bounced back in a major way in 1992, as he hit .292/.359/.398 with 46 steals. Again, if you pair him and Grissom (78 steals) you get a bad ass burglar combo – the 16th best duo in history. After four years with the Expos, he had a .277/.367/.373 line and 187 SBs.
The Dodgers, evidently thinking he was the next Lou Whittaker, traded a promising young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez for his services. That didn’t work out so well. DeShields struggled in LA, going .241/.326/.327 in three years.
After leaving the Dodgers in free agency, he played well for the Cardinals for two years, and then signed with the Baltimore Orioles. His first two seasons with the Orioles went well, but his third was horrid. He hit .197/.312/.309 and made the last out in Hideo Nomo’s no-hitter. The Orioles released him and the Cubs scooped him up. He played better for the Cubs and combined went 23/25 in SBs that year, tied for the 28th best stolen base percentage in a season in MLB history (min. 20 SBs).
Speed was clearly DeShields calling card from a positive standpoint. He ended his career with the 45th most SBs in MLB history: two ahead of Bobby Bonds and two behind Eric Young, Sr.
Of course, striking out and poor fielding would be DeShields calling card from a negative standpoint. He finished with 1,061 Ks, the 29th most in MLB history by a lefty (two behind Any Van Slyke, another erstwhile Oriole). The 151 Ks in ’91 were the 29th most in a season by a lefty (tied with fellow Flip Sider Ray Lankford). Hey, hopefully he can appreciate symmetry.
[Complete non-sequitur] For some reason I can’t divorce him from José Offerman in my head…and what do you know, Offerman is #1 on his similarity score.
Still, DeShields was a fun Luis Castillo-like player. He also put in work after his playing career, co-founding the Urban Baseball League and raising some athletes. You know about his son, but his eldest daughter appears to be the next preeminent female dunker.
In his work with the Urban League, he travels with fellow Flip Sider Oil Can Boyd as part of the Oil Can Boyd Urban All Stars.
I can understand the joy of electric trains…I think. When I was a kid, I had a long looping wooden track. I had hundreds of trains/cars/trucks, etc. I would set them up bumper to bumper in some order that made sense to a five year old. Then I would start with one and push them around. I would then swap some vehicle positioning and push them around the track again. My little mind found this incredibly fun and pleasing.
Hey to each his own, Rayford clearly needed a hobby to take his mind off the trials and tribulations of life in the minor/major leagues.
Rayford was drafted in 1975 by the California Angels and reached AAA in 1979. The following season, he was traded to the Baltimore Orioles along with a bag o’ cash for Larry Harlow, who had a decent season in 1980 for the Angles but would be out of baseball after 1981. Rayford wasn’t ready for prime time, however, as he spent the majority of 1980 and ’81 in the minors, appearing in the longest game in baseball history, a 33-inning, eight hour and 25 minute affair.
He got to play sparingly in 1982 with the big league club and was replaced by Cal Ripken at third on May 30, thus launching the longest consecutive games played streak in baseball history.
He was bounced between the Cardinals and Orioles for the next few years and would be finished in the majors after the 1987 season, the year this card was printed. Still, he had successes in limited opportunities. In 1985, he hit .306/.324/.521 and 18 HRs in 372 plate appearances.
Before he officially retired form ball, he played in the minors from 89-91, appearing in just 81 games as a player. He actually had a tougher task than playing, as he was a player-coach the last two seasons.
I do hope he got a World Series ring for 1982, that could be the centerpiece of this model train set.