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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Darrell Porter

Eligible in 1993.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 02:29 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2277544)
If he had a few more seasons like he had in '79...

Sad ending.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 02:43 PM (#2277553)
Bill James has Porter as the #18 catcher of all-time (or had, as of 2001), just behind Freehan, IRod, Munson, Ellie Howard, Bresnahan and Buck Ewing, and ahead of Lance parrish, Wally Schang, Bob Boone, Lombardi and Tenace.

Among those 12 "borderliners," shall we say, Porter's peak 31 season is #3 behind Freehan 35 and Howard 32. But his 2nd best season (23) is better only than Schang, Boone and Schnozz. His 3rd (19) is better than Boone and Schnozz. His career total is 6th, however, but his top 5 (98) is tied for 7th behind Freehan, IRod, Howard, Bresnahan, Munson and Parrish (tied with Ewing who did it in about half the games).

There were only 27 catchers at that time with 200 career WS (actually 26 plus IRod who had 186 and has obviously gone over 200, there are probably others by now), so I guess he is among the top 27 or so, but 18 seems really high. Mickey Tettleton, rated at #37, trails by 38 total WS but is very comparable on all the other dimensions.

Among the 12, I would have him ahead of Boone and Schang, but that's about it, and I would move Parrish ahead of him, all of which leaves him as about the #25 catcher. A lot better than I woulda thought, but ballot-worthy only if and when we elect Munson, Howard and Bresnahan (not to mention Trouppe).

I think I detect a little bit of KC bias.
   3. Kyle S Posted: January 10, 2007 at 02:59 PM (#2277568)
I assume that Piazza and IRod were already ahead of him in 2001 (and are now way ahead of him). I have to suspect that Javy Lopez has passed him by now as well (which obviously isn't relevant to this thread, but is interesting to me as a Braves fan :).
   4. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2277590)
Correct on Piazza and IRod, I dont' know about Javy.
   5. Michael Bass Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2277607)
Minor nitpick:

Mickey Tettleton, rated at #37, trails by 38 total WS but is very comparable on all the other dimensions.

One other dimension: Tettleton played about 1/3 of his games at positions other than catcher, maybe slightly more. Given that all these guys need a catcher bonus to get within a galaxy of the ballot, that's a significant difference.

Otherwise, I generally agree with #25ish, I think, if you include Negro Leaguers.
   6. John M. Perkins Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:50 PM (#2277609)
Darrell Porter preceded Mickey Tettleton as a Southeast H.S. (OKC) catcher.
   7. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2277648)
Well, I was thinkin' 25ish without the NeLers.
   8. Suff Posted: January 10, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2277662)
For some reason, I picked Darrell Porter off of a KC Royals placemat when I was about 5 years old as my favorite player. Then he was the MVP of the first World Series I ever watched, in 1982. (He also had a key pass-ball in game 6 of the '85 Series that was part of the STL melt-down, which further endeared him to me). I read his autobiography "Snap Me Perfect, The Darrell Porter Story," which was written in '83 or '84. It detailed his fall inot drugs in the '70s and how he had overcome. It's really sad how he died, because the indications were that he had actually been clean from '80 on, and that the dose that killed him was not an overdose amount, so it could have very well been his first sniff in more than 20 years. It really sad, because it shows how addiction can stick with you for a lifetime, and it undermines all the anti-drug work he had done in the 20 years prior to his death.

As a player, Porter was only a HOF-type player for 3 years at the most and spent the rest of his career being a player that was better than his batting average and modest HR totals would indicate. It was good to see him ranked so high in the Bill James book, but any serious HOM/HOF discussion is, of course, unmerited.
   9. OCF Posted: January 10, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2277665)
One of the driving motivations behind the wild ride of trades Whitey Herzog took the Cardinals on in the 1980-81 off-season was that Porter was available as a free agent and Whitey wanted his guy.

Now, "wanting his guy" is the kind of behavior that gets Dusty Baker slammed around here - it's not often that good a reason. And Porter did leave his best years behind in Kansas City. But he was still a good player.

I have to think that Ted Simmons was going to be gone one way or another, as a way of Herzog asserting his dominance over that team. But the fixation on Porter meant that Terry Kennedy was also expendable. Kennedy was traded to San Diego for Rollie Fingers, and then (after the Cardinals also acquired Sutter), Fingers and Simmons were both bundled off to Milwaukee in a massive multiplayer swap.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 10, 2007 at 05:57 PM (#2277717)
It really sad, because it shows how addiction can stick with you for a lifetime, and it undermines all the anti-drug work he had done in the 20 years prior to his death.

Your typical AA/NA/OA meeting will tell you that it doesn't just stick with you for a lifetime, it IS you for a lifetime. One of the first steps is admitting you are powerless over the substance or activity. So just because you're on the wagon doesn't mean the addiction is cured. Interestingly I read an article some years ago (which due to how long it was ago I may be misparaphrasing in some way) that AA had a splinter group who believed they could drink again in moderation after a certain length of abstinence. The leader of that group fell off the wagon and ultimately disavowed the splinter group's position, suggesting the awful, insidious power of addiction to undo the good people have done.
   11. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2277931)
An alcoholic is an alcoholic. There is no such thing as a former alcoholic. Rather, one is a recovering alcoholic or one is a practicing alcoholic.
   12. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2007 at 02:24 AM (#2278132)
(He also had a key pass-ball in game 6 of the '85 Series that was part of the STL melt-down, which further endeared him to me).

Game seven meltdown?

Bill James must be fond of Porter because he was a big part of the KC dynasty. I didn't realize that he was a small part of the long-delayed championship. Should have been Tony Fernandez, Jimmy Key, and co.
   13. Richard Posted: January 11, 2007 at 07:09 AM (#2278249)
I seem to recall that James says somewhere in the New Historical Abstract that Porter lost the Royals the 1980 World Series almost single handedly. I know little about that series, though I note Porter went 1 for 14. What does James mean?
   14. The Buddy Biancalana Hit Counter Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2278808)
I seem to recall that James says somewhere in the New Historical Abstract that Porter lost the Royals the 1980 World Series almost single handedly. I know little about that series, though I note Porter went 1 for 14. What does James mean?

Someone can certainly look this up and provide the facts of the matter, but my memory says that damn near all of those 13 outs came with people on base.
   15. Suff Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:23 PM (#2278830)
1980: I seem to recall from Porter's autobiography that he had a key baserunning blunder at home plate in a pivotal game (Checking...) I see he was thrown out at the plate in the 3rd inning of game 1, which they lost by one. 1 for 14 the rest of the Series didn't help, either, I'm sure.

1985: Game seven meltdown?

I'm talking about the Game 6 meltdown in the ninth inning after the Deckinger call, where Jack Clark dropped a foul pop-up by Steve Balboni (who then singled), and Porter had the passed ball after the Cardinals had erased Jorge Orta (who was the beneficiary of the Deckinger call) at thrid base on a botched bunt attempt by Sundberg, effectively giving the Royals back the sac bunt, putting the winning run in scoring position, and forcing them to intentionally walk Hal McRae to get to Dane Iorg, who won the game with a 2-run single.

The Cardinals, of course, continued their meltdown the next night in Game 7.
   16. Suff Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:34 PM (#2278839)
1980: He was also thrown out at home in the 6th inning of Game 5; they were up 3-2 at the time, but would lose by one.

I seem to remember one of them was a Jeremy Giambi-like no-slide thing, too.

Quisenberry blew two saves and lost both games 2 and 5, so he seems to be as much a culprit as Porter, though.

(And it pains me to say so, since these might be my two favorite players ever).
   17. Suff Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2278842)
1980: He was also thrown out at home in the 6th inning of Game 5; they were up 3-2 at the time, but would lose by one.

I seem to remember one of them was a Jeremy Giambi-like no-slide thing, too.

Quisenberry blew two saves and lost both games 2 and 5, so he seems to be as much a culprit as Porter, though.

(And it pains me to say so, since these might be my two favorite players ever).

(To make another correction, Porter went 2 for 14 in the Series, not 1-14. By my count he only had about 3-4 LOB. It must have been the baserunning things that James is referring to.)
   18. Dizzypaco Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2278851)
I went back and checked the games. I only looked at the four games they lost, because those are the only ones where he could have negatively affected the outcome:

In game 1, he went 0 for 2 with 2 walks. He never batted with runners on base. He was thrown out at home in the 3rd inning, and they lost by 1.
In Game 2, he didn't play. He pinch hit in the 9th, leading off the inning, and made an out.
In Game 5, he went 2 for 4. Once again he didn't bat with anyone on base. He was thrown out at home again, and they lost by one
In game 6, they didn't play.

All together, he with 2 for 7 with 2 walks and 0 LOB in the losses. So all of the blame has to be related to his baserunning - I don't think he cost them any games with the bat.
   19. Shalimar Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:59 PM (#2278866)
Interestingly I read an article some years ago (which due to how long it was ago I may be misparaphrasing in some way) that AA had a splinter group who believed they could drink again in moderation after a certain length of abstinence. The leader of that group fell off the wagon and ultimately disavowed the splinter group's position, suggesting the awful, insidious power of addiction to undo the good people have done.

Not sure about the AA splinter group part, but 2-3 years ago a group based on that belief made headlines because the leader(from Minnesota? not sure now) drove drunk and killed someone in an accident. She subsequently repudiated the group, though there was speculation that she might have done it to avoid prison time in the manslaughter case rather than from a true change of heart.
   20. The District Attorney Posted: January 11, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2278902)
I seem to recall that James says somewhere in the New Historical Abstract that Porter lost the Royals the 1980 World Series almost single handedly. I know little about that series, though I note Porter went 1 for 14. What does James mean?
The Bob Boone entry in question:
In the 1980 World Series, which Darrell Porter lost for the Royals almost single-handedly, here were two plays on which Porter was out at home plate, and tried to tip-toe in, avoiding a collision. This really wasn't typical of Porter, who was a hard-nosed player, but he chose the wrong time to turn into Darrell Milquetoast. Anyway, after the second play a reporter asked Boone if there was some sort of gentleman's agreement among catchers. "Yeah," said Boone, "the agreement is you get knocked on your ass."
Bob Boone. I remember thinking he would be in the Hall of Fame. Announcers never shut up about his "framing" pitches; he was the all-time leader in games played at catcher at one point (Fisk passed him IIRC), and I believe each player who has that distinction at their position is in (or was at that point); and he started hitting late in his career, like Ozzie! I see now that he isn't even close to the HOF, but with his defensive skills, he'd probably be a helluva candidate if he had a more normal aging curve. Who takes ages 32-39 off and then starts hitting again?? It's very weird.
   21. AndrewJ Posted: January 11, 2007 at 10:51 PM (#2278914)
<i.Bill James has Porter as the #18 catcher of all-time (or had, as of 2001), just behind Freehan, IRod, Munson, Ellie Howard, Bresnahan and Buck Ewing, and ahead of Lance parrish, Wally Schang, Bob Boone, Lombardi and Tenace.</i>

As good as Darrell Porter was and as much as I love Bill James, you pretty much have to lower the NBJHBA rankings for 1970s Royals players (except for George Brett) by about 10 or 15 places...
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 12, 2007 at 12:13 AM (#2278964)
(except for George Brett)

Even the great Brett was pushed up a smidge in that book.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: January 12, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2278967)
1979 - 1st in AL times on base with 279 (141 games C, 15 DH).
Has any other catcher EVER done that?

also that year - .291-20-112, 1st in walks, 5th in RBI, 2nd in OBP, 5th in triples with 10, 142 OPS+ (10th). wow.

RIP, Darrell. My wife is a second cousin of his, and her father knew that side of the family.
   24. Urban Faber Posted: January 12, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2279007)
And it was after '79 that he first admitted that he was having problems.
   25. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 12, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2279067)
I completely disagree with #21 regarding James' ranking of Royals players.

In the Quisenberry comment he specifically says he gave Quisenberry the lowest possible subjective ranking, just to avoid people accusing him of things like comment #21
   26. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 12, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2279071)
James' ranking are just very peak heavy, it's not surprising at all that he'd have a guy like Porter, who had one huge year and a couple of other pretty good ones ranked so high.
   27. baudib Posted: January 12, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2279114)
very similar to Daulton except his career was 50 percent longer and Daulton had more top-shelf years.

I wonder if the guy would have had a better, longer career playing today. The guy hit .265/.360/.535 and .238/.387/.423 in limited playing time in his last two seasons; I can easily envision J.P. or Billy Beane picking him up as a DH option -- in today's market he could get $6 million a year or so.
   28. DCW3 Posted: January 12, 2007 at 06:16 AM (#2279150)
1979 - 1st in AL times on base with 279 (141 games C, 15 DH).
Has any other catcher EVER done that?


As far as I can tell, no.

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