Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati reds’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Ozzie Virgil

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I’ve never flown a model airplane – unless we are talking the paper variety in second grade religion class. I made some model airplanes, but mostly got bored when I had to glue all the little pieces together — logistics weren’t my thing. Still, I can think of two scenes that involve flying model airplanes and I imagine you can think of more.

The first is in Rushmore when Max first meets Margaret — maybe I’ve seen that movie too much – but it’s a poignant and understated scene. The second is from the hilarious Modern family when Jay rams Phil in the face — good comedy includes violence — trust me.

Anyway, I feel like Virgil would have enjoyed the later. He’s a stout dude (6’1 180) who caught for part of 11 seasons in the majors (mostly for the Philadelphia Phillies) and was a two-time all-star. Over a two-year span (from 1984-1985), he’d catch 272 games, post a respectable slash line (.254/.330/.433) and hit 37 HRs. In 1987 he hit 27 dingers for the Atlanta Braves.

He would finish his career as a more productive player than his father, Ozzie Virgil, Sr. who would finish his nine-year career with a .231/.263/.331 slash line. Regardless, here’s hoping they shared a few chuckles about the pitchers they caught while flying model airplanes.

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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: Max Venable

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As you likely know, this series started because I bought a bunch of cheap 1987 Topps packs off the internet, opened them and found good cards but, more importantly, interesting nuggets of info on the backs. Let’s just say it’s a good thing I didn’t start with the 1986 set. Man it is totally George Blanda — if there is info, it is usually such-and-such ballplayer collected his first hit on such-and-such date – yuck.

Occasionally there are some “Talkin’ Baseball” sections which seem to be the precursor to SCOOTER, i.e., they are inane. The one you see on the back of Venable is actually not the only one to reference player’s names and palindromes – apparently that was a set-wide motif.

So why did I choose this one out of the myriad of boring palindromes captured forever in the 1986 set? Because Max just happens to be Will Venable’s father. Will got his first full-time action this year for the San Diego Padres in his age-27 season and performed kind of well. In fact, I believe he had a truly bizarre, yet effective season. Sure his 0.1 WAR would suggest otherwise, but he did hit 13 HRs and swipe 29 bases. Maybe he is more of a roto, specifically h2h, player, then real-life, but I see a guy who, if he could stay healthy for 162 games, would put up a 20-30 season. His average and OBP aren’t great, but they aren’t as bad as some other regulars people trot out there.

Still Will will likely have a shorter major league career than his pops. Max played in parts of 12 seasons, finishing with a .241/.302/.345 slash line predominantly for the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. He only once played in over 100 games and would hit just 18 HRs in his career.

The oddest thing about the father/son combo? They both drew the attentions of the Baltimore Orioles but never played for the organization. In February of 1988, the Orioles signed Max, but released him in March of the same year. On June 7, 2004, the Orioles drafted Will in the 15th round, but would not sign him.

As for old palindrome Eddie Kazak? He’d play parts of five seasons, mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals before being traded to the Reds along with Wally Westlake for Dick Sisler and Virgil Stallcup. Talk about some interesting (old-timey) names. Kazak would appear in just 13 games for the Reds and bat .067. Those were the last hacks he took in the big leagues. Oddly enough, Dick is the son of baseball legend George Sisler.

Baseball is often described as the great bridge between fathers and sons. It’s also a game where just showing up can land you in the (obscure) record books…just ask Kazak who was a Red for 13 games.

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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: Angel Bravo

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Was 1970 all that long ago? It was just 40 years, yet things sure have changed in Major League Baseball. Signed as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela by the Chicago White Sox in 1963, Bravo had to work as an electrician in the off-season to make enough money to support his playing days—days that ended up being fairly short.

Bravo, at 26, showed some promise over 27 games for the White Sox in 1969. He hit .289, the only HR of his career and stole the only bases (2) of his career. However, in the off-season, he was traded to the Reds for Gerry Arrigo who would pitch in just three games for the White Sox and post a 12.83 ERA. That was the last season in the majors for Arrigo.

The Reds didn’t give Bravo a ton of run in 1970, as he saw only 65 games. Still, he hit a respectable .277 and posted a pretty darn good .365 OBP. However, after a slow start to the 1971 campaign, Bravo would again be traded–this time for Al Ferrara. Ferrara, like Arrigo, would play in only one year for his new club. Ferrara posted a .182 AVG and .270 OBP for the Reds in his last major league season.

In total, Bravo was traded twice and both times the players were out of baseball within a year. Bravo himself was out of the majors after the 1971 season. He would play one more year in the minors, but was never heard from again. Hopefully the electrician thing worked out. At the very least, Bravo can say that his Baseball Reference page has been visited 13,922 times.

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