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Monday, April 23, 2007

Brian Downing

Eligible in 1997.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2007 at 12:03 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: April 23, 2007 at 12:10 AM (#2342492)
Not your typical career progression, to say the least. :-)
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: April 23, 2007 at 04:37 AM (#2342877)
Yeah, no kidding!

I remember Downing as a kid, battling Herrmann, Essian, and Varney for playing time behind the plate.
With the White Sox: 121 06/96 93

Traded to the Angels basically for Bobby Bonds before 1978.

98 and then 141 OPS+ in 1978-79.
Misses most of 1980.
So-so 1981 OF-C season.
132 OPS+ as a pure OF in 1982.
Then becomes an OF-DH, with 132-15-27-19-30-37-28-18 added on.


Without even looking, seems like Ted Simmons light if he had stuck mostly as a C.
   3. DCW3 Posted: April 23, 2007 at 06:55 AM (#2342943)
He had a 139 OPS+ in his final season, in almost 400 PAs. Not too many hitters who have retired on a higher note than that.
   4. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: April 23, 2007 at 07:44 AM (#2342953)
Hero.
   5. AROM Posted: April 23, 2007 at 11:48 AM (#2342979)
Favorite player ever. Named my cat after him.
   6. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: April 23, 2007 at 12:36 PM (#2342990)
'roids?
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2007 at 12:48 PM (#2342999)
Very unorthodox leadoff hitter for the time - speedy low OBA guys were all the rage in the 80s. One of my favorite non-Royals. Didn't really seem to tail off towards the end of his career.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: April 23, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2343111)
'roids?

I wonder that too. And we'll surely revisit the question with Parrish and Puckett in upcoming elections.
   9. AROM Posted: April 23, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2343313)
Didn't really seem to tail off towards the end of his career.

As good a hitter as he ever was at age 41. Makes you wonder how long he could have played if he wanted to. If he wanted to try and DH in his mid 50's, I'd kick Hillenbrand off the team and give Brian another shot.
   10. Paul Wendt Posted: April 24, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2343801)
Very unorthodox leadoff hitter for the time - speedy low OBA guys were all the rage in the 80s.

I think the sun had set on orthodoxy. In Boston there was talk radio debate whether Wade Boggs was a bad leadoff man and/or it was stupid to use him there. But there is talk radio debate today whether Manny Ramirez should bunt with men on 1st & 2nd, none out.
   11. tfbg9 Posted: April 28, 2007 at 06:11 PM (#2348420)
One of the Original 'Roiders, no doubt in my mind, almost. He actually stopped wearing glasses or any other type of corrective lenses mid-career fer Pete's sake. That's extremely fishy, along with the total transformation in body type, and glaring power surge.
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: April 29, 2007 at 12:50 AM (#2348755)
He actually stopped wearing glasses or any other type of corrective lenses mid-career fer Pete's sake.

Will steroids do that? Where can I get some?
   13. tjm1 Posted: May 03, 2007 at 06:23 PM (#2353412)
Downing's case presents an interesting question (although he's clearly not HOF or HOM material):

1) There is only circumstantial evidence that he used steroids. He bulked up in his late 20's, when it's a lot easier to gain a lot of muscle mass than in one's late 30's, like Bonds did. As for the eyeglasses - I don't use steroids, and my prescription for eyeglasses has gotten weaker in my early 30's than it was in my late 20's, and my eye doctor told me this is fairly common, and probably means I'll need bifocals in my 40's or 50's.

I wonder if Bill James knew he was pointing out all the evidence that Downing may have used steroids in his glowing review of Downing changing the man he was that appeared in the historial abstract. On the one hand, there doesn't seem to be a trace of irony in that comment. On the other hand, I doubt James would miss this, or that he would approve of using steroids.

2) For most of Downing's career, including the period in which he bulked up, steroids were legal, or at least barely illegal, in the United States. There was no baseball policy on steroids until long after he retired. If he did use steroids, then, was that really wrong, just because they were/are performance enhancing, and other sports banned them? Some sports ban Sudafed.

I'm not sure how I feel about this myself. I would have to say that steroid use before the 1990 changes to US drug law would, in all fairness, have to be considered a lesser form of cheating than using amphetamines - both are banned by other sports, and the laws against steroids were more lenient back then.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 03, 2007 at 09:22 PM (#2353629)
Nonetheless, ex post facto is alive and well in the steroid debate world!
   15. AROM Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2357115)
On the one hand, there doesn't seem to be a trace of irony in that comment. On the other hand, I doubt James would miss this, or that he would approve of using steroids.

I doubt James even thought of steroids at that time. When the comment was written Jose Canseco was still a minor leaguer. Steroids was something that nobody in baseball gave much thought to at the time.

He actually stopped wearing glasses or any other type of corrective lenses mid-career fer Pete's sake.

I thought it was HGH, not steroids, that can improve vision. I don't think synthetic HGH was available until the very end of Downing's career. Do you have a source for him stopping use of all corrective lenses? I thought he just switched to contacts. I could be wrong on this, but I think I followed his career pretty closely. See post #5. And its NOT a coincidence that I waited until #5 to post a comment here.
   16. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2357132)
Named my cat after him.

My cat is named Tucker, but is not named for Tucker Ashford or Tommy Tucker.

My other cat is named Henry. He is vaguely named for Hank Aaron because we kicked baseball names around like Harmon, Honus, and Hazen.

My other cat is named Topper, and she was named that before we got her, so nothing there either.

I have no other other cats.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:43 PM (#2357134)
My next two dogs will be named "Amos" and "Otis."
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2357141)
For Famous and Spofford?
   19. Kirby Kyle Posted: May 07, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2357153)
I thought it was HGH, not steroids, that can improve vision.

hGH does not improve vision.

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