We talked the big Yankees and Mariners trade, Jesus Montero, Michael Pineda, Hector Noesi, Jose Campos, Yoenis Cespedes, Cleveland Indians, Ryan Madson, the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Prince Fielder, Washington Nationals, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Buster Posey, Neftali Feliz, Colby Rasmus, Yu Darvish, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, Kerry Wood, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, Drew Stubbs, Ian Stewart, fantasy baseball, and roto.
Posts Tagged ‘texas rangers’
We’ll talk the big Yankees and Mariners trade, Jesus Montero, Michael Pineda, Hector Noesi, Jose Campos, Yoenis Cespedes, Cleveland Indians, Ryan Madson, the Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Prince Fielder, Washington Nationals, Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Buster Posey, Neftali Feliz, Colby Rasmus, Yu Darvish, Daniel Descalso, Tyler Greene, Kerry Wood, Johan Santana, Johnny Damon, Drew Stubbs, Ian Stewart, fantasy baseball, and roto.
Well to quibble and parse words and whatnot: he can’t make key defensive plays at any point, I mean the ball has to be hit to him or an infielder has to throw a difficult ball to him – otherwise his job at first base is pretty pedestrian by defensive standards.
Still, Jordan had a reputation as a great defensive player. In fact, his .988 career fielding percentage is tied for 28th best with people like Freddy Lynn, Mike Devareaux, Paul O’Neil, the great Paul Blair, Tim Raines, Andy Van Slyke, Jay Buhner, Steve Finley and others. There’s a fair number of Orioles on that list – Raines and Buhner are the only ones who never played for Baltimore. And guess where Jordan was born? You got it: Baltimore.
Do the defensive metrics back up his fielding percentage and reputation? Sort of. His dWAR (defensive wins above replacement player) is 16.1, oddly enough most of his value came as a right fielder. What’s most misleading about this card is that Jordan played just 27 games at first in his career and played 1,382 games in the outfield. I always remembered Jordan as an outfielder but, based on this card, assumed he was an ill-suited first baseman – shows you can’t believe everything you read.
Jordan was quite the underrated player. From 1995-2002, he accumulated 30.8 WAR (Fangraphs), the 35th most during that span and just a few ticks behind the immortal Frank Thomas. During that stretch, he hit .291/.341/.473 and averaged 18 HRs, yet made an All-star team just once.
Jordan’s last season was the year this card was printed. He didn’t exactly go out on top. Still, I’ll always remember him as the foil to Deion Sanders. Sanders was the flashy one who was better at football than baseball. Jordan always seemed rather workmanlike and was clearly better at baseball than football. Either way, he fielded his position well, hit decently and was one of the better players for a seven-year stretch – not much more you can ask for from a career.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on the butchering of the English language. First, Jordan wasn’t really a first baseman. Second, “has prospered in the major leagues as the productive offensive…” just makes no sense. How about: “has prospered in the major leagues a productive offensive…” Third, the whole end of the sentence is Goobeldy Gook. This is up there with the all time greats when it comes to poorly written back of the base ball cards. It really should have been part of the 1987 Topps set.
It doesn’t get any more white bread than Scott Fletcher, me thinks. There are so many generic “scrappy” middle infielders that Fletcher can get lost in history. However, I posit that Fletcher was perhaps the most “scrappy” middle infielder of all time, at least tangentially.
What does he like to do? Fish and golf – doesn’t get any more mundane than that (although I do enjoy both activities in moderation and as long as I don’t have to touch the bait).
The Imperials, his favorite musical group, are an American Christian outfit that started as a southern gospel quartet. The group did work with Elvis, recorded the theme song to the Daniel Boone TV show and were the first Christian group to use cordless mics, four individual microphones on stage (at the same time!) and a live band on stage.
What a hootenanny.
Fletcher’s favorite food is the exotic chicken, book is the bible and he would like to meet Jesus.
Well then. Hello Middle America.
Still, he had a pretty good stretch from 1983-1988. Aside from 1985, he was worth more than 2.6 WAR every year and averaged 3 WAR per season. He was rewarded with a pretty big contract in 1980s terms, becoming the first athlete in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to earn more than $1 million a year, according to Wikipedia.
Then, the following year, on July 29, 1989, he was traded by the Rangers along with Wilson Alvarez (who no-hit the Orioles, when I was sitting in the bleachers) and Sammy Sosa to the White Sox for Harold Baines and Fred Manrique.
He had a pretty fascinating career: was drafted four times and traded three times.
Still, the thing I find most fascinating is that he sold greeting cards door to door. This is even a thing? I guess nowadays people don’t sell anything door to door and travelling salesmen don’t really exist, but still, greeting cards? Were there no stores with soda fountains? Did his failure as a greeting card salesman lead to the rise of CVS around the country (there are five within three blocks of my house)? So many questions, so much Americana.
Scott Fletcher, IF, fisherman, golfer, chicken-lover, Bible-reader, greeting card salesman. I wonder if he ever earned a set of steak knives.
We’ll talk the World Series, replay and umpires, the DH-rule, the Arizona Fall League, take a quick look ahead to 2012 and free agency, Ken Griffey Jr.’s historic award and Brooks Robinson’s statue, Theo to the Cubs, White Sox and Robin Ventura, the Red Sox locker room, and much much more.
Talk about same ole same ole…
Rhodes posted a 1.72 ERA in 2001 (the best mark out of the pen in the AL that season). In 2010, Rhodes posted a 2.53 ERA out of the pen. That’s nine years apart. Oh, and Rhodes career began in 1991 as a starter with the Baltimore orioles (he’d allow 47 hits and 23 walks in just 36 IPs in his initial season).
To date, Rhodes has a career that spans 20 years…but it sure didn’t look like he’d stick around that long. As a kid I sat in the bleachers of Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards. I hated Arthur Rhodes and Sidney Ponson and Alan Mills (unless he was choking Daryl Strawberry) and Jose Mesa and Armando Benitez (A Buster Olney column!) and Ben McDonald. They all sucked and they were all chokers – I was an unforgiving pre-teen.
Rhodes especially let me down because I had such high hopes for him. In 1992, when he was just 22, Rhodes started 15 games for the Orioles and posted a 3.63 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. He also managed to limit his walks (3.6 per nine) and increase his k/9-rate (7.3). In short, to an untrained eye, Rhodes looked like the real deal. What I know now is that Rhodes would never, as a starter, be that frugal with free passes and he’d never be the type to post a 0.6 HR/9 rate – it was simply unsustainable. So, the idea that he was a 2.03 K:BB pitcher was pure poppycock.
Sure enough, over the next two years as a starter, he saw HR/9 rate around 1.5, BB/9 rate around 5.0 and K:BB walk between 1 and 1.5 – not so good. In 1995, Rhodes would start nine games and post a 7.16 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. Toward the end of the year, the Orioles tried him as a reliever. In 10 appearances (hardly much of a sample size), he posted a 4.88 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Not great, but surely better than Rhodes the starter. What’s more interesting is that he allowed a .202/.316/.412 line to opposing hitters.
In 1996, Rhodes would start the last two games of his career and make 26 relief appearances. His era was 4.02 and his WHIP was 1.34 – not shocking, eh? Then, in 1997, he made 53 relief appearances with a 3.02 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Clearly, the Orioles found what Rhodes was made to do (i.e. become my generation’s Jesse Orosco).
There would be some bumps along the way (1999, 2000, 2004 and 2006), but some brilliance, especially as a LOOGY. For his career he has limited lefty opponents to a .216/.282/.319 line.
But, as the back of the card reflects, there wasn’t much finer than his 2001. In addition to his amazing ERA, Rhodes went 8-0. Only 13 people in the history of the game have gone 8-0 or better in a season. In addition, as of this writing, he is second all-time in holds, with 217.
While the Orioles of the mid-/late-90s never quite got there, their success corresponded with the organization figuring out how best to use some of its assets. Clearly Rhodes was a helpful piece and is someone who continues to build a semi-historic baseball career.
For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.
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.
Not 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).
Like 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.
For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.