Posts Tagged ‘1993’

h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: David West/Frank Viola


And I thought the grammar on the back of the Topps cards were bad. Man, Upper Deck, which was so hot in 1990, really flubbed this one. There are so many missing words in this that it’s ridiculous. How hard would it be to write: “West was key part of 5 pitcher deal to the Mets for Frank Viola. He was drafted #4 by Mets in June ’83.” And, by #4 they mean a fourth rounder, not that he was the fourth overall pick.

So he wasn’t as big of a bust as you would surmise. He did spend 10 seasons in the majors, finishing with a 4.66 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 1.41 K:BB rate in 569.1 innings. He had one decent year for the Twins, in 1991, when he started 12 games and finished with a 4.54 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He really helped the Twins get to the World Series that year, as he threw 5.2 innings in relief in the ALCS without allowing a run. Of course, his World Series was terrible, as he finished with an ERA of infinity (he allowed four runs without recording an out).

Two years later, he had arguably his best season (2.92 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 1.71 K:BB) for the Phillies. Thanks to Mitch Williams, his utter relief failures are not as heavily remembered. In the NLCS, he allowed five runs/four earned in 2.2 innings and in the World Series, he allowed three earned runs in just one inning of work. He made well over $2.5 million in his career, tasted victory and defeat and even played in Japan. Still, he was by no means the key part of the Frank Viola trade (at least in hindsight).

In addition to West, the New York Mets sent Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummon and Kevin Tapani to the Twins.

Adding in those elements makes this not a particularly astute move by the Mets (but what else is new). While West was worth -0.3 WAR for the Twins, Aguilera was worth 16.1 WAR, Drummon was worth 0.7 WAR and Tapani was worth 17.5 WAR. At the time of the deal, Aguilera (who has an awesome beard) was 27 and owned a career 3.58 ERA and 1.29 WHIP for the Mets over 473 innings. Aguilera was especially valuable in 1991, posting a 2.35 ERA with 42 saves and a 1.07 WHIP – heck he even received some MVP votes. He also threw 8.1 innings in the play-offs, earning five saves and allowing just one earned run.

Tapani also turned in a banner season in 1991: 34 starts, 244 innings, a 2.99 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 3.38 K:BB rate. He finished seventh in the CY Young voting, but you could make the argument that he deserved to be top four, at least. Tapani didn’t fare so well in the 1991 ALCS, getting shellacked by the Toronto Blue Jays. But he redeemed himself in the World Series: he started two games, pitched 12 innings and went 1-1.

That’s a blueprint for building a championship there. The Twins gave up one decent starting pitcher who was near 30 for a bunch of younger cheaper pieces.

So what about Viola? At the time of the deal, Viola was 29 and would be worth 9.6 WAR for the Mets. He was effectively done after 1993, just four years after the deal.

Still, he had a fantastic career. He gave up the 3,000th hit to Rod Carew in 1985. When it was all said and done, Viola started 420 games, the 27th most in baseball history by a southpaw. He won 176 games of those games, the 43rd most by a lefty. Of course he also lost 150 games, tied for the 34th most by a southpaw (with Hal Newhouser and Ken Hotlzman). Viola finished with 1,844 Ks, the 26th most all-time by a lefty. Not bad.

I always love looking at these types of deals – it seems that giving tons of young cheap talent for near-30s “stars” comes back to bite the team giving the young talent more often than not. Still, you have to give the Twins credit for dealing Viola who had just helped them win a World Series two years before.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: Gary Gaetti

I write a lot for a living and for fun. So I get caught up in wording – both incredibly awesome turns of phrases and the unsuccessful. So, I ask, is it possible Topps got a computer to write the anecdotes for the backs of the 1993 cards? I’ve never heard of anyone enjoying the distinction of something – it sounds like one of those auto-Fantasy team name generators.

Regardless of how the card was worded, it’s a pretty cool footnote on a career to score the 20,000th  run in a franchises’ history.

But it’s just a footnote, because what a career Gaetti amassed. When it was all said and done, he appeared in the 43rd most career games (2507) in baseball history – just behind Bill Buckner.

He finished with the 36th most doubles by a righty, oddly 36 more than Barry Larkin, Steve Garvey and Luke Appling. He also tallied the 42nd most RBIs by a righty — more than Mike Piazza, Hank Greenberg, Hugh Duffy, and others.

Of course, the bane of longevity is the GIDPs – Gaetti created two outs from one hit the 32nd most times in MLB history. He put in play a twin killing 236 times – one more than George Brett. He also swung and missed a lot – the 21st most times in MLB history. Still, with great Ks, comes great power: he has the sixth most HRs by a 3b in MLB history.

In all those games, he ended up participating in the 15th most losses in MLB history and ended 116 of the 1314 games he lost.

In addition to his milestone run scores, Gaetti was part of the seventh most triple plays in MLB history and was part of two in one game!

Still, he is most known for the 1987 post-season. He was the MVP of the American League Championship with a .300/.348/.650 line with two HRs, which happen to be the first time in MLB history that a player hit homers in his first two postseason plate appearances.

Gaetti had a long meandering career worth 37.9 WAR. Hey, he was even used as a reliever twice, by two different teams. He finished with a 7.71 ERA and one strikeout in three appearances.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Scott Servais

scottservaisback

I know you can’t assume a level of intelligence in your audience. However, what is the likelihood that people would think that Scott Servais and Scott Service are related, merely because their last names are pronounced the same?

It’d be like me explaining that Tom Green and Graham Greene, although they arent related, pronounce their surnames the same. No crap – there’s an e on the end of one! (Also in Greene’s homeland they pronounce it HER-b, because there’s a fucking ‘H’ in it!). See more Izzard here!

Service didn’t have much of a playing career (although it did span 11 seasons). He finished with a .245/.306/.375 line in 2,778 plate appearances. He showed promise in 1993 as a 26 year-old, smacking 11 HRs and posting a .244/.313/.415 line (it was before steroids were invented, so that’s legitimate power) in just 291 PAs. The following strike-shortened season saw him, mostly, replicate those power numbers (nine HRs) in 251 PAs.

scottservai

After the strike, he’d hit 13 HRs in 304 PAs, but wouldn’t get full-time playing duties until he was shipped (along with Luis Gonzalez) to the Chicago Cubs for Rick Wilkins in 1995. He’d be in Chicago for parts of four years — and over his three full seasons with the club he averaged 428 PAs, eight HRs, and a .251/.311/.364.

Clearly, the highlight of his playing career was on May 25, 1992, when he singled and scored a run off his nemesis Scott Service. For his career, Servais would be 2/6 against Service with a walk, two Ks, and a sacrifice. It’s quite the Professor X.-Magneto battle.

But in reality, Servais’ sweeping success would come later. He is the director of player development for the Texas Rangers…who have seen a great farm system allow the major league squad superior flexibility (Neftali Feliz as a closer instead of starter, Justin Smoak got them Cliff Lee, Mitch Moreland stepped in, Nelson Cruz became good, Ian Kinsler developed, etc.).

As for Service, well, he’d finish with a 4.99 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 8.9 K/9 rate and a 3.9 BB/9 rate. He was also once purchased by the Chunichi Dragons from the Montreal Expos and part of a trade involving Neon Deion Sanders. Outside of that, his best year would be 1998 (oddly enough, or not, the year he pitched the most innings). He threw 82.2 innings and recorded 95 Ks.

Other than the Japanese experience, his biggest baseball moment was probably being in the bullpen for the first game in Colorado Rockies history. Ahhhh, who am I kidding, it was clearly the 10 times he faced the diabolical Scott Servais.

Swear to god, I just realized, their forenames are pronounced the same, but, I just checked, and they’re not related!

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