Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia Phillies’

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Tom Foley

tom foley backtom foley frontAt first glance, there isn’t anything odd about this card, right? Well Foley was a left-handed high school quarterback, yet he played infield – and we aren’t talking about first base. Most infielders throw right handed – almost all, like 99.9%. So, somehow, Foley could throw a football with his left hand and a baseball with his right. I find this incredibly odd.

He wasn’t all that bad either. According to Fangraphs, he was 15 fielding runs above a replacement player for his career. However, most of that comes from a +9 in 1994 when he appeared in just 59 games, so the numbers might not 100% explain his defensive capabilities. Still, it appears Foley was no slouch. Certainly he passed the eye test of major league managers (for what that’s worth), as he played for 13 seasons: 463 games at shortstop, 385 at second and 90 at third.

Foley had a pretty long utility infield career, think of a light hitting Mike Gallego. He’d peak when he got to Montreal when this card was printed. He was traded from the Phillies to the Expos in a deal that brought fellow Flip Sider Dan Schatzeder to Philadelphia. From 1987-1989 (his age 27-29 seasons), Foley would post a .260/.318/.381 line and average 118 games.

As peaks go, it was a pretty lonesome valley, but he did put together 3.5 wins above a replacement player during that time. He’d finish with just 3.7 in his career. Still, he logged 1,108 games largely due to his versatility – a versatility that goes beyond your typical utility infielder as Foley was a left-handed football thrower – a definite rarity.

Oh and he even pitched a game. It was in 1989, he got the last out for Montreal in a May 1 contest against Cincinnati. He pitched 0.1 inninngs, gave up one HR and collected one out as the Expos would lose 16-9. Chris Sabo collected four hits and two Ks in that game and a young Paul O’Neil went 3-5 with one HR and five RBIs.

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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: Jamie Moyer

jaime moyer back jaime moyerThis is Jamie Moyer’s rookie card. This card was printed in 1987. It is 2010 and Moyer is still pitching. My gosh, my golly.

Apparently, way back, 30 years ago, Moyer threw at least 27 consecutive hitless innings. It was just high school, but people luck into hits all the time. Surely this foretold of greatness for the young Moyer. He would be a sixth round draft pick in 1984 and would reach the majors in 1986. However, from 1986 – 1991, Moyer would post a 4.56 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. In 1998 the Cubs would trade him and Rafael Palmeiro to the Texas Rangers for, predominantly, Mitch Williams and Curt Wilkerson.

In 1993, he would resurface with the Baltimore Orioles and pitch pretty well over three seasons. He’d then make stops in Boston, Seattle and Philadelphia. In 2003, at age 40, Moyer would finish fifth in the Cy Young voting. In 2008, he would win the World Series while playing for his beloved Philadelphia Phillies – 28 years after he graduated high school.

Nearly 30 years ago, Moyer had a 27 inning hitless streak. If you told that 18-year-old high school student that he would have a 24 season professional baseball career, he would been dumbfounded. Heck, I know it is currently happening and I’m dumbstruck.

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For the history of this series, check out this article: Howard Johnson.

h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Steve Bedrosian

bedrosian back bedrosian frontJudging by his awesome facial hair and hobbies, Bedrosian seems to be the consummate flame-throwing good ole boy (never mind that he was born in Massachusetts). To me, four wheeling and breeding dogs screams hunter — of course, I’m not a hunter, so I might be completely wrong. Either way, given these three things: awesome beard, four-wheeler and breeds dogs, you would absolutely agree that he is capable of 120+ IPs in (predominantly) relief in back-to-back years.

Bedrosian did accomplish that feat and so much more. Outside of 1985, Bedrosian was basically a relief pitcher. It’s kind of odd because in ’85, he threw 206.2 innings and posted a 3.83 ERA. Of course he had a 4.14 FIP and recorded just 5.84 K/9 compared to the 8.71 rate he posted in the previous season. Another reason he’d start zero games for the rest of his career after posting 37 starts for the Braves? The organization would trade him and Milt Thompson to the Phillies for Pete Smith and Ozzie Virgil. The Phillies saw his ability to strike guys out in relief and kept him there permanently.

It’d turn out to be a pretty smart move. Bedrosian finished his career with the 34th most relief wins all time with 65 — one more than Al Hrabosky, he of the awesomest facial hair ever. Of course, on the flip side, Bedrosian has the 31st most loses (61) in relief in MLB History — tied with Bob Stanley and one ahead of Mike Stanton.

You add up that career and durability and you get the pitcher with the 46th most innings pitched in relief in MLB history — just 2.1 innings behind José Mesa (seriously – what? I’m as confused as you are).

However, the most surprising/confusing aspect of Bedrosian’s career would be the 1987 season. He did post a 2.83 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 7.5 K/9 and lead the league in saves with 40. Not surprising you’d say? A pretty average/above average year? Well, he won the Cy Young that year, yet had only a 2.0 WAR and only 89 IPs. Sure his win was by no means unanimous as he received just 9 first place votes (out of 24). The problem is no one could see through records and recognize the dominance of Orel Hershiser (16-16, 264 IPs, 3.06 ERA, 190 Ks, 1.21 WHIP).

Relievers are often a different breed – fiery and eclectic as always. Bedrosian, while not really remembered and with his Cy Young completely forgotten, is one of the more underrated useful relievers of all time. Plus, you can’t ignore that beard, ahem Brian Wilson.

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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: Candy Maldonado

Maldonado backMaldonado frontReally? I mean, really? Travelling is an enjoyable experience? Maybe the mid-80s were different — there weren’t interminable security lines and strip searches that would make Demi Moore blush. Maybe back then you could bring whatever food you wanted on a plane and meet people at the gate.

I didn’t fly much as a youngster in the 80s — my family drove places. It was not a good thing…for anyone. The only saving grace was the Game Boy and Tetris.

I abhor travelling, but I like vacationing. Occasionally, air travel is fun – like on an overseas flight that isn’t too long but full of free booze. That’s my kind of travelling. But in reality, getting from point A to point B has gotten more painful than ever before.

I’m sure this isn’t want Maldonado meant when he marked “travelling” under the “enjoyable experiences” portion of the questionnaire. But I’m literal.

It’s a good thing Maldonado liked to travel, as baseball, at each level, involves a fair bit of it. In addition, Maldonado played 15 seasons in the pros for seven different teams (Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Blue Jays, Rangers, Cubs and Brewers). He was traded three times…for Alex Trevino, some nobodies and Glenallen Hill (more on him later). As mostly a part time player, he’d earn just 9.7 WAR for his career.

That doesn’t do justice to his career though. When you play 15 seasons in the Bigs you accumulate some interesting stats and, as it turns out, Maldonado was quite adept at hitting pinch-hit HRs. For instance, Maldonado is tied for 16th all time in MLB history for pinch-hit HRs. He hit 11, just two behind Hill and five behind Willie McCovey.

Perhaps the oddest thing about Maldonado’s career: only three times in MLB history has a pinch-hit homerun been the only run of the game. Maldonado accomplished this “feat” against Mark Davis on April 13, 1985.

Speaking of pinch-hitting, Maldonado had the 16th best season in MLB history in terms of pinch hit average — .425 in 1986. Not too shabby. He also earned roughly $9 million in his career – enough to make travelling at lot more relaxing…

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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: Shane Rawley

Rawley back Rawley frontThe cadence of this card is stunning. We learn that, seven years prior to its printing, Rawley earned his pilot’s license. Then, of his many interests (we assure you they are numerous) he likes to write. That’s pretty cool; writing is a fun thing to do for some people. Then, oh-by-the-way, Rawley also likes flying. Umm no **** Sherlock.

It would stand to reason if a guy was so motivated to get his pilot’s license it would be because he likes flying airplanes. I would imagine that he wasn’t flying commercial jets in the off-season to pick up pocket change. It’s just funny to me how weirdly worded this card is — there are four sentences that have very little connection with one another – and, in actuality, some are not even complete sentences.

Regardless, the ebb and flow of the narrative is kind of like Rawley’s career. In his first four seasons with the Mariners, Rawley would pitch in 159 games and amass 309.1 innings and 182 punch-outs while posting a 3.75 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. He started only five games for the Mariners.

He would then be traded in 1981 to the New York Yankees. In two+ years, Rawley would start 60 games, pitch in relief in 32 others and post a 4.11 ERA and 1.39 WHIP before being traded to the Phillies, for whom he would start 140 games and appear in only five as a reliever.

He’d be finished in the majors after the 1989 season, his first with the Twins, during which he’d start 25 games.

Given his handedness–he was a southpaw–it’s odd that he left the game just two years after being a 17 game winner. You’d think he’d at least get to be a LOOGY out of the pen. Unfortunately, Rawley would exhibit absolutely no platoon splits — righties hit .271/.340/.405 off him, while lefties hit .272/.333/.371.

He clearly had an up and down career – shifting from starter to reliever — lets hope his flying skills weren’t as rocky.

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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: Brian Buchanan

Buchana backBuchana front

I really find this card funny – for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that it allows me to make a little fun of the New York Yankees….

So let me get this straight. Matt Nokes walks in free agency because the Yanks have a young catcher in the minors who is playing pretty well and the team can obtain a supplemental draft pick when he signs with another organization. The Yankees then use that pick on someone named Brian Buchanan – a big 6’3, 190 lbs left-handed pitcher out of high school. Of course, as you (the reader) no doubt see, Buchanan played JV baseball for two years and didn’t pitch his junior season. So, the Yankees drafted a guy with exactly 42.2 varsity high school innings. Not typically the recipe for success.

He’d spend six years in the Yankees minor league system tapping out at AA. He’d finish with not exactly horrible minor league numbers spread over nine years (3.99 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 7.2 Ks/9). What really hurt him was his control; he’d walk 4.1 batters per nine in the minors. Unfortunately, like so many other draft picks, Buchanan would never toe the rubber for a major league ball club.

As for the other Brian Buchanan – and seriously was it the PR departments idea to draft guys with the same name in back-to-back years — he’d log 14 seasons in the minors, finishing with a .279/.341/.450 slash line and 141 HRs. He’d never play for the Yankees as he, along with Eric Milton, Christian Guzman and Danny Mota would be shipped to the Twins in exchange for Chuck Knoblauch. Truly this trade helped both sides. The Twins ultimately got two steady major league performers and Knoblauch played a solid second base for the Yankees. However, Buchanan would do nothing for the Twins – hitting a grand total of 16 HRs in 414 ABs before being traded to the Padres for Jason Bartlett.

Of course Bartlett would put up some great minor league numbers (.299/.373/.417) leading him to become a semi-darling of the stat-community. He was then packaged along with Matt Garza for, predominantly, Delmon Young.

So, the Yankees got no major league appearances from back-to-back Brian Buchanan first round draft picks. Of course, they did turn one into part of chuck Knoblauch — which is a pretty good thing.

You have to love the MLB draft – strange things always seem to happen which is decidedly the case with the only two MLB players to have been named Brian Buchanan.

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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: Terry Mulholland

Mulholland baclkMulholland frontThis is Terry Mulholland’s rookie card. He was a first round draft pick of the Giants in 1984 as a 23-year-old. He’d never perform well in the minors (723.2 IPs, 3.69 ERA and 1.49 WHIP), so it isn’t terribly surprising that he would have to work as a gas station attendant during the off-season. Clearly he wasn’t drawing the Annie Savoy bedroom eye dollars.

It took him four years, but by 1988, the Giants would pay him enough ($70,000) to leave the Chevron behind. However, his finest year wouldn’t come until 1993 for the Philadelphia Phillies for whom he would go 9-10 but post a 3.34 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. He’d follow that up with back-to-back 225+ IP campaigns.

Mulholland would also be part of five different trades that included the likes of Steve Bedrosian (who was himself traded three times between the Braves, Giants and Phillies), Dennis Cook, Desi Relaford, Jose Hernandez and Paul Shuey. In addition, Mulholland was part of the oldest battery (along with Pat Borders) in baseball history and pitched the first no-hitter in venerable Veteran’s stadium history.

Given his longevity as a LOOGY, it’s not surprising that his career compares favorably to Jeff Fassaro, Greg Swindell, Shane Rawley and Darren Oliver.

Still, his most memorable start would be game six of the 1993 World Series. He’d give up five runs in five innings of work, but pitch well enough for the Phillies to be in position to win the game when, hells bells, Mitch Williams entered. Unfortunately, Williams would give up a walk-off season-ending home run to Joe Carter that led to the leap of joy.

In all, Mulholland would pitch 20 seasons and earn $20.1 million — enough to buy a lot of cool baseball cards. Along the way, he would make stops in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, Atlanta, Minnesota, Chicago, etc. That’s a lot for a guy who started off needing to pump gas in the off-season. Oh, and one other thing, he recorded a win in 18 consecutive seasons, tied for the 51st longest streak in major league baseball history.

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