Posts Tagged ‘raul mondesi’

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: Thad Bosley

bosleybackbosleybackfrontContinuing my week of music, that somehow I neglected to get Katy Perry to sponsor, we have Thad Bosley. Like Ruben Sierra and Raul Mondesi, he recorded his own album – this was before it was super ShagFu cool to do so.

Of course, he wasn’t a salsa man, but a gospel singer. So what is it with athletes and music? I mean I guess it has moved more to basketball players lately — but between the salsa twins (Sierra, Mondesi) and Bosley, we have a heck of “a making of the band.” Not surprisingly, Bosley was also a member of a funk group called Ballplayers which featured Lenny Randle…yes THE Lenny Randle (h/t to Wikipedia).

At this point in his career, Bosley had earned at least $1 million, making it easy to finance “Pick Up The Pieces.” But did he deserve the riches and album cover bitches? Absolutely, he was worth about 2.7 WAR from 1977-1986. This translates to about $10 million in free agent value.

Before the funk and gospel, Bosley was a fourth round draft pick by the California Angels in 1974. He hit .326/.359/.433 in 69 AAA games in 1977 before getting the call. He appeared in 58 games for the Angels and looked promising (.297/.346/.363). Of course, the power was absent and his BABip was .346 (for his career that average rested at .315). In the off-season, the Angels traded Bosley along with Bobby Bonds and Richard Dotson to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Downing, Dave Frost and Chris Knapp.

Downing was the real get in the trade, he was worth 37.7 WAR in California and added an additional five WAR for the Texas Rangers. Bosley would be worth only 0.4 WAR for the White Sox as he posted a .262/.310/.323 line in 172 games. However, Bosley would stick around for 9 more seasons and finish with a career line of .272/.330/.357 with just 20 HRs in 784 career games. So why did he last so long? He was perceived as a pinch-hitting asset – think of him as the 1980s version of Lenny Harris.

In fact, Bosley is one of only 26 people in MLB history to pinch-hit a home-run and hit another homer in the same game. He did so on August 12, 1985. There are some other notable players who have accomplished this “feat”: Frank Howard, Jeff Bagwell (who somehow did it before the next guy), Kirk Gibson, Robin Ventura and Ryan Howard. Bosley also put together one of the best pinch-hit seasons in the history of the game: He had 20 pinch hits in one year, the 20th most ever.

Given he was basically a “career hitter,” it’s not overly surprising that Bosley was named hitting coach for the Texas Rangers on November 23, 2010. In all, Bosley did nothing overly spectacular, except, when infrequently called upon, he went up to the plate and made a good at bat. In reality, that’s pretty darn impossible to do.

Lastly, hold for my diatribe against poetry. I’ve taken an insane amount of poetry/literature courses, including: Milton, the English Elegy (more Milton), Victorian Poets and Essayists, Romantic Poets and Essayists, Creative Writing: Poetry, Poetry 101, etc. I like some poetry and find the puzzle older poets presented in their verse fascinating. However, I write to express myself. I think hiding one’s meaning in writing kind of defeats the purpose (unless you are Nietzsche, in which case it is the purpose). Poetry is beautiful but subjective, I prefer more objective writing stylings…like Katy Perry lyrics.

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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.