h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Tom Foley

tom foley backtom foley frontAt first glance, there isn’t anything odd about this card, right? Well Foley was a left-handed high school quarterback, yet he played infield – and we aren’t talking about first base. Most infielders throw right handed – almost all, like 99.9%. So, somehow, Foley could throw a football with his left hand and a baseball with his right. I find this incredibly odd.

He wasn’t all that bad either. According to Fangraphs, he was 15 fielding runs above a replacement player for his career. However, most of that comes from a +9 in 1994 when he appeared in just 59 games, so the numbers might not 100% explain his defensive capabilities. Still, it appears Foley was no slouch. Certainly he passed the eye test of major league managers (for what that’s worth), as he played for 13 seasons: 463 games at shortstop, 385 at second and 90 at third.

Foley had a pretty long utility infield career, think of a light hitting Mike Gallego. He’d peak when he got to Montreal when this card was printed. He was traded from the Phillies to the Expos in a deal that brought fellow Flip Sider Dan Schatzeder to Philadelphia. From 1987-1989 (his age 27-29 seasons), Foley would post a .260/.318/.381 line and average 118 games.

As peaks go, it was a pretty lonesome valley, but he did put together 3.5 wins above a replacement player during that time. He’d finish with just 3.7 in his career. Still, he logged 1,108 games largely due to his versatility – a versatility that goes beyond your typical utility infielder as Foley was a left-handed football thrower – a definite rarity.

Oh and he even pitched a game. It was in 1989, he got the last out for Montreal in a May 1 contest against Cincinnati. He pitched 0.1 inninngs, gave up one HR and collected one out as the Expos would lose 16-9. Chris Sabo collected four hits and two Ks in that game and a young Paul O’Neil went 3-5 with one HR and five RBIs.

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

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