Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous’ Category

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

tewks backtewksfI love the back of this card. It reminds me of Bob Ross immediately. It’s eloquent, succinct and simple: Tewks paints both canvas and the outside corner.

And it’s really true! Tewks has two of the 16 best seasons in terms of walking the fewest batters per 9 innings. In 1992 he posted the 8th best ever (tied with Greg Maddux): 0.77. This effort was behind Cy Young, Christy Mathewson (twice) and Carlos Silva (who had the best at 0.43). Tewks also owns the 16th best season tied with Cy Young at 0.84. When he finished up his career, he had a 1.5 BB/9 rate – that is 22nd all time and slightly better than Cy Young, Christy Mathewson, Old Hoss Radbourn (follow his ghost on Twitter!), and Greg Maddux. Amazing.

It’s kind of remarkable that, given his ability to control the zone, Tewks wasn’t a more productive pitcher. He got his first taste of the majors at 25 in 1986. He threw 130.1 innings for the New York Yankees that year and posted a 3.31 ERA and 1.34 WHIP — good enough for 2.2 WAR – not bad.

However he and his promise would be traded the next year in a deal for Steve Trout. The Cubs wouldn’t benefit much from the deal, as Tewks pitched just 21.1 innings for them before becoming a free agent.

The St. Louis Cardinals astutely snapped him up. While he pitched only 30 innings for the Cards his first season (1989), from 1990-1994, he averaged a 3.49 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 188 IPs, a 1.1 BB/9 rate and a 3.41 K/BB rate. He was worth 10.6 wins above a replacement player during that time.

His worst year was his walk year for the Cards. It was the beginning of his decline, as Tewks was 34. He pitched poorly for the Rangers and Padres in 1995 and 1996 respectively. He had a minor bounce back from 1997-1998 for the Minnesota Twins, averaging a 4.49 ERA, 158 IPs, a 1.34 WHIP and 1.4 BB/9 rate.

However that would end his career. His last five seasons saw BB/9 rates above 1.2 which made him an ordinary pitcher compared to his back-to-back .8 BB/9 seasons.

Well, he wasn’t exactly ordinary – clearly he was as adroit with the plate as he was with a pallet…I mean his (art)work was featured in Sports Illustrated and you know what they do with paint!

Oh and he was a fielding artist as well – he owns the 21st best fielding percentage by a pitcher (min. 1,500 IPs): .980. He is tied with Tom Glavine and Scott McGregor.

Pretty interesting, if for the Bob Ross links alone.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Jim Traber

traberbacktraberfWhile Raul Mondesi comes to the plate with his music blaring, I believe Jim Traber has one-upped him. On the night of his Major League Debut (9/21/84), Traber sung the national anthem at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. That’s pretty cool.

I loved Memorial Stadium – sort of. I grew up going to games there. The seats were cheap, it was always hot, and the Orioles always lost. There was a two-year stretch where I didn’t see a win in 30+ games. But my favorite memory is being at the last game at Memorial Stadium.

Given that it was such a hot ticket, my seat was directly behind a massive support column, so I sat on my parent’s lap during the game.

Mike Flanagan got the last out and no one left. They moved home plate to Camden Yards and players filled the field. Eventually they would start throwing balls into the stands. When this started, I hoped up on my chair, but was dwarfed by standing grown-ups. Anyway, at one point I saw a ball flying toward me…I was never more prepared for a pop-up in my life. Alas, the guy in front of me reached up and snagged the ball out of the air. That is the closest I have ever come to getting a game-used ball. It was also the only time I’ve stayed at a sporting event long after it was over. The atmosphere was electric. Unfortunately, the other chance this might have happened was ruined by Armando Benitez (Tony Freaking Fernandez!?!?).

It’s unlikely I was at the Traber national anthem game (I was 2 1/2) and I don’t really remember him at all. He is simply one of the myriad of Orioles I’ve forgotten in my lifetime.

Traber showed real promise (albeit mostly in low A ball) from 1982-1984. He routinely posted OBPs in the .380-.400 range and slugged over .500 three times. He only got 24 major league plate appearances in ’84 and didn’t do much (.238/.292/.238). He wouldn’t return to the majors until two years later and didn’t have much success either (.255/.321/.472).

He was then sent back to the minors for the duration of 1987 and part of 1988. He hit decently (.285 AVE and .479) before returning to the majors for his longest stint: 376 PAs in 103 games in 1988. Traber returned to his no slugging ways (.222/.261/.324) and was out of professional baseball one year later.

Still, you can’t take away the glorious afternoon of September 21, 1982. Traber went 1/4 as the starting DH as Oil Can Boyd (FLIP SIDE HERE) pitched a complete game shut-out.

Regardless Traber is both an accomplished professional singer and ballplayer – not many people can say that!

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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: Mark Gubicza 2.0

gubiczabackThe more I read about Mark Gubicza, the more I like him/his career. And he became the first two time Flip Sider (first appearance: here).

In this Donruss Triple Play card, we learn about another hobby of Gubicza’s (if you remember, his hobby in 1986 was “being music”). While I was confused by the phraseology in the past card, I wholeheartedly support players who approach the game like a fan (see also: Richard, Chris).

It is super cool to me that, even though Gubicza had played nine season in the majors at this point, he collects sports memorabilia and autographed baseball cards. I imagine he was able to get some really cool autos — maybe even a few George Brett’s?

Anyway, my second look at Gubicza has me investigating his career a bit more. The two-time All-star led AL pitchers in WAR in 1988. That year, he won 20 games with a 2.70 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He added 183 Ks and a 2.20 K:BB rate. Unfortunately, he’d get little Cy Young recognition, finishing behind Frank Viola and Dennis Eckersley in voting. The next year he’d lead the league in starts (36) and do it again in 1995 (with 33 starts).

gubiczabackfront

Given his durability, it isn’t surprising that he owns a few dubious Royals records, most notably: walks allowed (783) and hit batsmen (58). But you gotta be good to be able to hit that many guys. Let’s hope he parted amicably with the guys he hit and maybe even got their John Hancock on a baseball card.

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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: Daryl Boston

boston backboston frontA guy with the last name, Boston, clearly has to have some music in him. I think Boston is an underrated band — they had several good tunes – all of which Detective Dan Stark would love!

However, that said, doesn’t everyone own a good impression of Stevie Wonder. All you have to do is stare off into space and move your head around melodiously while tickling some ivory.

Also the majority of people like popular music, it’s why it’s…ummm…popular and why Katy Perry has fantastic bosoms (or versa-vicea). Still, popular music in the 80s is a bit different than it is now, so I wonder (get it?) if he has remained a fan of popular music. It is kind of hard to see Daryl Boston grooving to Miley Cyrus like all the kids do. And, in all fairness, because I like Miley, Stevie Wonder had a much better groove than Cyrus does.

Boston was the seventh overall selection by the Chicago White Sox in 1981. He torched the minors as a 21-year-old in 1984 (.312 AVG and .533 SLG) before getting the call. His first two stints wouldn’t be as successful as Stevie Wonder’s career (heck they weren’t even as successful as Rat’s career) as he would post a .213/.254/.305 line in 130 games.

But the White Sox would stick with him and he’d show some glimmers of first-round talent, going .261/.317/.424 in 159 games from 1986-1987. Unfortunately that would be the height of his tenure with the Sox, and he’d be signed, sealed, and delivered off waivers by the Mets in 1990 after accumulating just 2.4 WAR over seven seasons in Chicago.

It was a timely acquisition for the Mets, as Boston was hitting his years 27 – 29 seasons. During that time he posted a .266./.338/.429 line – much more in line with his minor league trajectory. He was worth 3.9 WAR in just 382 games with the Mets – this span would be the high point of his career.

After the 1992 season, Boston would spend one decent year in Colorado and one unsuccessful year in Pinstripes before leaving baseball. Still, Boston most certainly found the Key to Life – he had an occupation he loved and a healthy fondness for music and comedy.

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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: Raul Mondesi/Ruben Sierra

mondesimondesi frontI thought I’d kick of “deck the halls (aka music)” week with a two-fer!

I am in awe of Mondesi’s info. First of all it is supremely awesome to step to the plate in any major league stadium. It must be infinitely more awesome to do so while your own music is playing. It’s like banging the hottest chick in the world on top of a billion dollars while your multi-platinum Barry White cover-CD is playing in the background (yes the one that Sade graciously sung back-up vocals for).

Any who, I kind of feel like I grew up with Mondesi a bit. I was 11 in 1993 and he was one of the first big rookies of my time. I kind of stopped following baseball intently when I hit college which is about when this card was printed. What people seem to have forgotten was how good Mondesi was with the Dodgers. Sure he flamed out in the AL East for the most part, but, for seven seasons in LA, Mondesi put up a .288/.334/.504 slash line. He also earned 21.3 WAR during his time out west.

Unfortunately for the Blue Jays and Yankees he would earn just 6.2 WAR combined with them over 4 years.

Still, Mondesi amassed some impressive numbers. He owns the 56th best slugging percentage in MLB history by a right hander — .485. He is tied with the great, yet somewhat forgotten, Joe Adcock.

sierra backNot to be outdone, six years before Mondesi’s 2002 Topps announced to the world that Raul is a better name then Enrique, Ruben Sierra released his second salsa CD. While that’s somewhat impressive (I mean Ron Artest has released like five million albums), what’s more astounding is that Sierra performed at Madison Square Garden. I would bet his performance was better than anything the WNBA has thrown out there (Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird notwithstanding).

sierra frontLike Mondesi, Sierra was also a hot prospect who put in some serious work for the club who first signed him. In his 10 years with the Texas Rangers, Sierra put up a .280/.323/.473 slash line with 180 HRs and 90 SBs. He was an 18.4 WAR player for them. While his early career resembled Justin Upton, Andruw Jones, and Adrian Beltre, when we look at the totality of it, his numbers look a lot more like Joe Carter and Bobby Bonilla – not bad, but eh.

So what happened? Well, in 1992, the Rangers traded him to spacious Oakland along with Bobby Witt and Jeff Russell for Jose Canseco. While Canseco is largely remembered as a flop with Texas, he was worth 3.4 WAR over three seasons and put up a .269/.363/.512 slash line. Meanwhile Sierra would stumble in his four years in Oakland (.253/.303./.435) and earn -1.7

Still, coming off the juice of his promise, the Athletics were able to turn Sierra into Danny Tartabul. In his first stint with the Yankees, Sierra was worth -1.4 WAR. After rejoining the Rangers in 2000 and posting a positive WAR (0.7) in 2001 for the first time since 1994, the Rangers would move Sierra to the Yankees again. This time it was for Marcus Thames and this time, again, Sierra would be worse than a replacement level player (-0.4 WAR).

In all, Sierra was traded four times and signed by eight different organizations. Outside of the Rangers, he was worse than a replacement level player for every single organization. I feel like there should have been a Mad TV lower expectations commercial about him.

Somewhat shockingly, given Sierra’s lack of non-musical value, he ended up with the 15th most at-bats by a switch-hitter and the ninth most doubles by a switch hitter (428). He also tied for 18th for the most seasons with a HR in MLB history. He hit a HR in 19 seasons, which was also done by Gary Sheffield, Craig Biggio, Barry Larkin, Gary Gaetti, Ken Griffey Sr., Alan Trammell, Willie Stargell, Enos Slaughter and Ernie Banks.

Lastly, let’s hope his salsa music helped soothe and relax him during his career as he ended up posting the 25th most career game-ending outs. Sierra ended a game 113 times (try finding a replacement player that can do that!), two more than Ricky Henderson.

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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: Herb Perry

perry1bperry1b2I’m going to use a 2002 card to prove a 1996 card somewhat inaccurate. Watch me now.

Almost rightly so, Herb Perry thought his June 17, 1995 game against the New York Yankees would be the finest of his life. He was the main source of power in a three-run victory over the Yankees.

Coming out of the University of Florida, Perry was a second round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1991. He’d blossom in 1994 in AAA, hitting 13 HRs in 102 games and posting a .327/.397/.505 slash line. Coincidentally (or not) he got his first sniff of the majors that season. He went 1 for 9. Next season would see Perry perform decently in the minors, but, again, get few MLB at bats, although he would show promise, posting a .315/.376/.463 slash line in 184 plate appearances. However, in 1996, he would see just 13 at bats.

In comedy, timing is mostly everything, in another era, Perry might have had a nice early career. The problem with his timing is a future Hall of Famer by the name of Jim Thome, who was both younger and far better than Perry. Not surprisingly, the Indians didn’t protect Perry in the 1997 expansion draft. He was the 68th pick in that draft by the Rays.

After that, he bounced around between Tampa, the White Sox and Texas.

Finally, in 2002, the clouds parted and Perry saw his first full season and he didn’t disappoint: 132 games and a .276/.333/.480 slash line. However, the success would be short lived as he’d appear in only 60 games over the next two seasons before leaving professional baseball.

It’s amazing how Perry peaked relatively early in his career. Most notably the two homerun game against the Yanks, which he called “the greatest day of his life.” However, I’ll counter and suggest that the day, in 1996, that he purchased a thousand-cow dairy farm from his parents was the greatest. In one fell swoop he was able to provide for his parents and own land. There is nothing finer than owning an acre, I believe that is what is called manifest destiny. I imagine his favorite time working on the farm during the off-season was the fall of 2002 – at that point anything must have seemed possible.

Alas, he’d finish his career not soon thereafter with a .272/.335/.436 slash line in 1,889 plate appearances. Along the way he picked up $6.1 million and a dairy farm. Not bad at all!

As a complete non sequitur what is with the name Chan? I don’t get it. Chan Perry would taste only 25 MLB plate appearances and collect only two hits, but he does own a .292/.345/.454 line in 10 minor league seasons. The brothers Perry sure did alright by themselves and their folks!

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perry1fperry2fFor 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: Dan Majerle/Mark Price

marjlefrontpericefI’m a little out of my element with this one as basketball is not my Forte (get it!?!?). I’ve watched less and less of both college and pros (although I won’t miss March Madness) as I’ve grown older and lost free time.

However, I was riffling through some old cards and these were back to back. It was startling to me to see how similar both were. Apparently Majerle’s and Price’s trademark move is the same poetic jump shot.

marjlebackMajerle was a sweet shooter, knocking down the 19th most threes (1,360) in NBA history. He also swished eight treys in one play-off game in the 1992-1993 season to set the Suns record.

The most fascinating thing to me about Majerle is the trade he was involved in 1988. The Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Phoenix Suns a first round pick in 1988 (which turned out to be Majerle), Kevin Johnson (the mayor of Sacramento and a first round selection by the Cavs in 1987), two other players and second round picks in ’88 and ’89 for Larry Nance, Mike Sanders and a 1989 first round pick which became Randolph Keys. Not a shining moment for the Cavs.

As for Mark Price, he has the 23rd highest three-point shooting percentage (.4020) in the history of the NBA – higher than the likes of Peja Stojakovic, Ray Allen, Reggie Miller and Brent Price, among many many others (also Manut Bol).

pericebPrice also is the all-time leader in free-throw shooting percentage: .9039. It’s a real shame the sweet-shooting guard out of Georgia Tech couldn’t stay healthy. He played 80 games just once in his career and five times he failed to play in 70 games.

Still, I find it crazy that their form is so similar – even the backs of the cards are strikingly alike. “Bombs Away” is really just another way of saying “Good for Three.”

Either way, it’s clear I should stick to writing about baseball.

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