h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Bob Shirley

Man, I just don’t know where to start. I should probably get some housekeeping out of the way  because “I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.”

I imagine that was thrown around dugouts throughout the 80s, the heyday of Shirley’s career. Certainly the early 80s was the greatest time to be a ballplayer…named Shirley (what with the wife swapping, amphetamines, cocaine, etc.). So, it’s no shock that Shirley likes watching Bill Murray movies. I mean it’d be shocking if someone didn’t like watching Bill Murray movies, he’s awesome. StripesRushmoreCaddyshackWhat about BobLost in Translation! GhostbustersGhostbusters IIAnd others!

In fact, Shirley was such a funny guy (and apparently baseball’s most ardent lover of alliteration) that he named his kids Charles, Clinton and Clayton. Could be a law firm or the starting receivers for the Rams.

For such a dominant personality (more on that later*), Shirley’s career was somewhat pedestrian. After being drafted three times from 1972 – 1976 by the Dodgers, Giants and Padres, Shirley started 35 games for the Padres in 1977. He wasn’t bad (3.70 ERA) but wasn’t very good either (1.46 K:BB rate, 4.17 FIP). He pitched pretty mediocre (mostly
in relief) for the Padres until 1980. At that point, he was traded along with Rollie Fingers and Gene Tenace to the St. Louis Cardinals for a slew of guys I’ve barely heard of (Terry Kennedy, John Littlefield, Al Olmsted, Mike Phillips, Kim Seaman [seriously], Steve Swisher and John Urrea). No shit.

He pitched one mediocre year for the Cardinals, then another for the Reds. Then it was 1983 and the Bronx Bombers and Donnie Baseball wanted him. Sandwiched between two bad years, Shirley was pretty useful from 1984-1985 for the Yankees. He was worth about 4.2 WAR. While his 1986 campaign was mediocre, he logged an impressive 105.1 IPs in relief. Then, in 1987, he pitched just 41.1 IPs.

Why, you ask?

Well, he was involved in a bit of boring, boys will be boys, clubhouse roughhousing with Don Mattingly. Mattingly, like Apollo Creed, was unable to deal with a southpaw and ended up on the DL as a result of the fracas. *Shirley, surely, was released shortly thereafter. Presumably he has spent the rest of his days with Charles, Clinton and Clayton quoting Bill Murray.

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