Posts Tagged ‘wilson alvarez’

h2h Corner ~ Check You out on the Flip Side: Scott Fletcher

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.

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h2h Corner ~ Check You Out On the Flip Side: Sammy Sosa

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

Sosa - 1991 Back
Sosa - 1991 FrontFortunately this card was printed before George W. Bush became the 43rd president. Otherwise the back of the card might read “President George W. Bush once traded Sammy Sosa to the Chicago White Sox!”

Thankfully, for these purposes (and many others), the people who write the backs of baseball cards aren’t prescient. If they were, we wouldn’t get the wonderful tidbit that Sosa was signed way back in 1985 by Omar Minya and Amado Dinzey. Now, the second name has absolutely no relevance for me and many of you.

The first name, however, is the guy in charge with screwing up the Mets. By most accounts Minya has a darn good scouting eye, especially with Latin-born ballplayers. I never gave that sentiment much thought.

Well, PEDs-or-not, Sosa was a terrific find. There have been many people in the history of baseball who saw a 16- or 17-year-old and decided he had to sign him. But how many of those players ended up with over 600 career home runs? I’m going to guess none. I hope Minya gets a tremendous amount of joy talking about the day he discovered Sosa – he and Dinzey deserve it.

That said some other baseball men messed up as Sosa was traded twice: once by the Rangers (with Wilson Alvarez) for Harold Baines; and three years later for George Bell. What’s funny (mostly to me) is that, as a youngster, going to games at Camden yards I’d call Harold Baines grandpa when he would ground into double play after double play for the Orioles. In fact, Baines grounded into 80 double plays while with the Orioles. That might be true, but a case could be made that he was every bit as much the offensive player as Tony Perez, Andre Dawson and Jim Rice.

One more interesting tidbit – Sosa was traded alongside Wilson Alvarez who no-hit the Baltimore Orioles in 1991. I was nine and in the stands. I’d never been so devastated watching baseball history…that is until 1996.

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