Posts Tagged ‘2010’

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!

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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: Chris Hammond

hammond1bac2 hammond1bacI was going to write about the 1996 Chris Hammond card awhile ago, but it got lost in the shuffle. Over Thanksgiving, I was at my parents house and rummaged through a few boxes of old cards and stumbled upon this 1992 Studio Club card of Hammond that seemed equally interesting. As the Spice Girls said tonight is the night when 2 become 1!

At first, my inclination with Hammond was to prove another sample size issue that was frequent in baseball as little as just 14 years ago (see also: Johnson, Mark). It is in fact true that Hammond posted a pretty nice slash line in 1995 (.271/.364/.375) – a line that would make Russell Martin blush at this point. He also hit one of the four HRs of his career that season. Oddly enough he hit two dingers in 1993, his slash line that year: .190/.292/.317.

So what happened in 1995? Hammond got a pitcher’s typical 40+ ABs, and anyone can look like Mickey Mantle in 48 ABs. When you blow out Hammond’s career (238 ABs) you get a typical pitcher Mendoza-line triple slash: .202/.285/.290. The lesson, as always, one season and a scant number of ABs does not make a career.

Other than his 1995 year at the plate, it was an altogether forgetful career – think of him as a Rheal Cormier doppleganger, or if you prefer akin to Dan Schatzeder (who loves home video!).

However, personally, he seems like an interesting dude. Like Mark Johnson (see above link), he has an affinity for deer. He also, oddly enough, collects matches. I assume this should read matchbooks. Right? I mean there is nothing different about matches, they aren’t snowflakes. Now, matchbooks can remind people of where they have been and the histrionics that ensued somewhere. I still have a matchbook from a formal in college, for instance.

Lastly, I assume Hammond is a fan of the band, Alabama — and really who isn’t – not the state. The band has some phenomenal songs paired deliciously with fantastic beards. Although, Hammond did live in Birmingham, so maybe he’s just a fan of the state. That’d be kind of odd – maybe they have a lot of matches there? Or at least some choice match factories?

Speaking of odd things and Hammond: only 20 times has a lead-off home run won a game 1-0. Hammond, on September 14 1993, gave up a lead-off round tripper to Carlos Garcia. The Marlins lost 1-0 and Hammond joined Walter Johnson, Frank Tanana, Gaylord Perry, Randy Johnson and others in the record book as the only pitchers on the losing end of this type of a game.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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

hammond2fronthammond1front

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.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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: Jesse Orosco

orosco backorosco front realInstead of the standard title, this epic could have been called “Ode on an Oroscan Urn.”

At the baseline, this card gives us even more evidence of Orosco’s love of the art of pitching. At one point, Orosco had to play semi-pro ball in Canada to make his dream come true. Semi-pro ball in the states was so devoid of luxury that one can only imagine the standard of living for semi-pro players north of the boarder. It is likely they lived in huts on frozen lakes and bathed in holes cut in the ground (what, that’s not the intent of the holes?).

Orosco was originally drafted by the Twins in the second round of the 1978 draft. However, in December, he’d be sent to the Mets in exchange for Jerry Koosman. He’d have his longest tenure with the Mets, win a World Series and appear in 372 games with a 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 2.11 K:BB ratio. He was worth 12.2 wins above a replacement player in his eight seasons in New York.

Unfortunately, one year after winning the World Series, he would be part of a massive trade that included Bob Welch, Alfredo Griffin, Jay Howell, Kevin Tapani and several others. At the end of the dealings, Orosco would be a Dodger. The year was 1988 and Orosco would be part of another World Series champion.

His time in Los Angeles would be only one-year and start his sojourn through both leagues. Ultimately, he’d pitch 12 years in the AL and 13 in the NL for nine different teams. He retired in 2003 with the Minnesota Twins, the very team that drafted him 25 years before.

In between draft and retirement, Orosco amassed the most career games by a pitcher in MLB history – 1,252, a bit more than one-time teammate John Franco. Franco and Orosco are also one-two when it comes to games by a left-handed pitcher. While Franco has the most saves ever by a lefty, Orosco has the 12th most in MLB history — 144 – just behind Willie Hernandez. Orosco is also tied for 26th all time for the most seasons with a win. He has 20 seasons with a win – the same as David Wells, Mike Morgan, Goose Gossage, Tom Glavine, Tom Seaver, and Warren Spahn.

Orosco finished with a 3.16 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 76.6% strand rate, .276 BABip, and a 2.03 K:BB rate. More notably, he possess the 26th highest K/9 rate in MLB history — just below Mariano Rivera. He also has the 310th most Ks in MLB History.

That aside, I’ll remember his time with the Orioles the most (1995-1999). He was a stabilizing player on the best Orioles teams of my lifetime. He’d be worth 5.3 WAR over those five seasons, during which he’d turn 42. If you think that wasn’t overwhelmingly valuable, the Orioles let Armando Benitez pitch 203.2 innings during that span. I hold no fondness in my heart for the years Benitez took off my life. After leaving the O’s Orosco pitched four more seasons in the Bigs.

Orosco, like Jamie Moyer, is truly a rarity that only the game of baseball can produce.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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 Johnson

mark johnson backmark johnson frontThere are just all kinds of problems with the back of this card! For starters, would it really matter if Mark was in a relationship? It was a WIVES’ cookbook – not a married/engaged players’ cookbook. The distinction the card should have drawn is that Johnson is a player, not a wife. But, yeah, who doesn’t love a good venison jerky? I’ll submit that any cookbook without a good jerky recipe is just lame.

The second problem I have with the back of the card: 59 at bats do not make anyone good at any type of hitting...but 50% of the time it works all of the time. In the 409 plate appearances Johnson had in his career during the day, he posted a .221/.333/.303 slash line. That is pretty similar to his night slash line of .217/.302/.327. Shockingly (except, not really) Johnson’s career numbers look like .218/.314/.318. So, yeah, I guess he does perform somewhat better when the sun is shining…I near about fell in love).

In all, Johnson simply didn’t live up to his draft status (first rounder in 1994). He did show some promise in the minors, posting several awesome OBPs from 1994-1998. Of course, at age 22, he hadn’t advanced beyond AA.

In reality, outside of his wonderful cookbook appearance, the most interesting aspect of Johnson’s career was the trade he was involved in: him along with Keith Foulke and Joe Valentine to Oakland for Billy Koch, Neal Cotts and Daylon Hoyt.

Oh, and he led us to this wonderful video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_TwkupP1SA.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

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: Chris Richard

chris richard backI’ve always liked Chris Richard- I can’t really explain why. Perhaps it is because he has a similar hobby to yours truly….namely a fondness for baseball cards. I love the make-believe involved in cards, the “kid at heart” feeling opening up a new pack and hoping to get a Griffey or Mauer or Posey rookie card. When it comes to hobbies, it doesn’t get much better than baseball cards – you can truly invent anything you want with them, rank them, trade them, write about them (what, you thought I’d link to myself?), look at them, etc.

As a 21-year-old, Richard was a 19th round selection by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Oklahoma State in 1995. He’d post pretty decent minor league numbers culminating in 2000’s AAA slash line: .277/.366/.469. Based on that, Richard would get the call and appear in 62 games for the Cardinals, putting up a .265/.326/.544 slash line.

However, in the middle of the year, the Cardinals traded him and Mark Nussback to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Timlin. At the time, I was ecstatic. It looked like my team had secured a good young first basemen for the cost of a reliever, who, in my mind, simply blew games. Certainly Richard would be much better than Randy Milligan or Sam Horn (who went to high school with Mark McLemore – no joke). Unfortunately, Richard’s mediocre start would simply be his ceiling, as he posted a .262/.323/.445 slash line in 837 ABs with the Orioles.

chris richard frontIn 2003, the Orioles would move him to the Colorado Rockies for Jack Cust. Cust, a former first-rounder, had prodigious power. Again, I thought the Orioles had secured their first baseman of the future for the paltry some of an older player who never would fulfill the faulty promise I bestowed upon him. Unfortunately, Cust would get just 74 ABs in Baltimore before he left. He’d go on to have a pretty successful three year stretch for the Oakland Athletics.

But there is one thing Richard accomplished that Cust (and many others) certainly didn’t. In fact, only 24 players in MLB history ever did what Richard did, that being hit a homerun on the first pitch they ever saw in their career. This is by no means a great predictor of success, but the feat was also accomplished by such notables as Bert Campaneris, Jay Bell and Adam Wainwright.

I wonder what Richard’s favorite baseball card growing up was.

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Ed Wojna

wojna backwojna front (1)We have another entry for bizarre job a ballplayer did in the 1980s to make extra money.

We also have another entry for bizarre phrasing on the back of a baseball card. Why didn’t they just write: Ed has experience as a draftsman?

Anyway, if you were me reading the card, you’d think a draftsman was pretty cool. Of course, you wouldn’t really know what it was. In my mind, a draftsman is someone who pours a draft of beer, or potentially brews beer – either way, pretty cool jobs. Of course, now that I think about it, this would be another (redundant) name for brew master? Ok, I guess brew master is better. But draftsman isn’t half bad.

So what is a draftsman, if not a purveyor of fine hops and barley? It’s someone who turns a design idea into a physical picture. Typically draftsmen produce guides for builders – specifically pictures that are incredibly detailed and capable of being used as specifications for manufacturers. Apparently you have to know a lot of math to be a draftsman…the occupation gets lamer by the second eh?

As for Wojna’s career? Let’s just say it was good he acquired experience as a draftsman. He was a 5th round selection by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980. He was part of a deal from Philly to San Diego for Sixto Lezcano.

He’d put up iffy minor leagues numbers for the Padres from 1984-1987. He’d pitch best in ’86, going 12-7 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.37 WHIP and earn a promotion during which he pitched 39 innings and posted a 3.23 ERA and 1.49 WHIP with a 1.19 K:BB rate. Unfortunately, he’d only pitch 18.1 innings the following year in the majors and post some horrible ratios: 5.89 ERA and 1.69 WHIP. He was then shipped from the Padres to the White Sox for a player to be named later (Joel McKeon). Then from the White Sox to the Indians.

He’d pitch just 33 innings for the Indians before being released and never toeing the rubber on an MLB diamond again.

Maybe it was a good thing he needed to acquire experience as a draftsman!

Follow h2h Corner on Twitter (http://twitter.com/h2h_Corner)