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Friday, March 23, 2018

Ken Brett two-way phenom | MLB.com

My father raved about Ken Brett. I didn’t get it then, but now that I’ve watched so many hyped phenoms burn out, I get it now. Watching Frank Tanana was the first for me.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2018 at 06:24 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: ken brett

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:39 AM (#5642126)
My father was also a huge Ken Brett fan.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1919 to 2017, Played at least 75% of games at P, (requiring OPS+>=90 and At least 200 plate appearances), sorted by greatest Adjusted OPS+:

Rk         Player OPS+  PA From   To   BA  OBP  SLG
1    Micah Owings  106 219 2007 2012 .283 .310 .502
2       Ken Brett   95 373 1967 1981 .262 .291 .406
3     Chad Kimsey   95 226 1929 1936 .282 .336 .432
4      Oscar Judd   91 356 1941 1948 .262 .322 .356 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/23/2018.

Spitballing here, if Brett had come up as a CF, stuck there, and hit what he did as a P, he'd have been a slightly better version of Mickey Stanley. Something like that. That's probably a little more valuable than his actual career as a pitcher, and comes with a ton of potential upside.

I suppose the closest recent comparison would be John Van Benschoten, though Van Benschoten ruined his shoulder in the minors.
   2. John DiFool2 Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:50 AM (#5642138)
Wouldn't it be Rick Ankiel?

Am kind of surprised Brett didn't try to reinvent himself as a position player.
   3. Rennie's Tenet Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:55 AM (#5642145)
Memorial Day 1974, Brett pitched eight perfect innings against the Padres, broken up by Jason Kendall's daddy, Fred. In the nitecap of the doubleheader, Brett pinch hit in the 7th and hit a two-run triple to tie the game. You'd think Posnanski might have mentioned that day in an article specifically about Brett's two way-ness.
   4. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: March 23, 2018 at 10:05 AM (#5642150)
Wouldn't it be Rick Ankiel?
I was thinking of it as someone who was a hitting prospect first who instead ended up a pitcher with an arm diminished by injury and a "what might have been" career. Though Brett was obviously about a billion times better than Van Benschoten. I'm pretty sure Ankiel was always a pitching prospect first and foremost.

(Ankiel does look like the sort of high SLG/low OBP CF that Brett might have been if being a full-time batter didn't improve his hitting one iota.)
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: March 23, 2018 at 10:09 AM (#5642155)
Brett's career OPS+ was over 100 (.269/.299/.423) before he got traded to the American League. In 1976, the White Sox let him bat for himself in two of his starts as a pitcher, and used him as a pinch-hitter six other times. He went 1-for-12 overall that year.
   6. Morty Causa Posted: March 23, 2018 at 11:07 AM (#5642207)
Well, Ken Brett was no Babe Ruth (and I knew Babe Ruth) when it comes to being a great two-way player, and I don't think he would have been great had he given up the pitching and just concentrating on the hitting, although I remember George saying Ken was a better hitter/player than he was in their youth and into pro ball.
   7. Batman Posted: March 23, 2018 at 12:48 PM (#5642269)
When I started going to old Comiskey in 1982 and 1983, the Sox had old posters drawn by either small children or Rich Gossage along the ramps inside the park, probably hiding very horrible things on the concrete. One of them was about Ken Brett hitting a home run to win a game. He was traded in 1977, five or six years earlier, so whatever was behind that poster must have been worse than the other stuff that was visible.
   8. Ziggy's screen name Posted: March 23, 2018 at 01:44 PM (#5642305)
What I learned from this article is that Ohtani has a brother who is destined for the hall of fame.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 23, 2018 at 04:53 PM (#5642476)
old posters drawn by either small children or Rich Gossage

/snicker
   10. ajnrules Posted: March 23, 2018 at 05:36 PM (#5642494)
Anybody else sad that Micah Owings was never able to make it back as a hitter? I believe he's still the only rookie pitcher to win a Silver Slugger?

EDIT: Never mind. Fernando won one as a rookie as well.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: March 23, 2018 at 06:12 PM (#5642508)
It's probably cranky nostalgia for the old days but it seems to me we had a lot more brothers in pro sports in those days and we always seemed extra fascinated with them. Three Alous -- how awesome was that! And, at least as kids, we made the mistake of thinking that one great brother must mean the second one couldn't suck (except Tommie Aaron, nobody got fooled by him). In my middle-aged cranky saber days, I wondered how much of that was old-school scout and old-boy network silliness. I mean there really is no rational reason Jesus Alou to get all that playing time other than his name.

And it's Jesus's birthday!! Merry Aloumas.
   12. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 23, 2018 at 06:14 PM (#5642510)
we had a lot more brothers in pro sports in those days

Not a lot of families can afford to put 2+ kids through TravelBall, much less the families that can afford to have one kid in it.
   13. GregD Posted: March 23, 2018 at 07:16 PM (#5642530)
I mean there really is no rational reason Jesus Alou to get all that playing time other than his name.
You ain't lying. Unless I did it wrong he has the 13th fewest career WAR (0.7) ever among the players with 4500 or more PAs.
   14. TomH Posted: March 23, 2018 at 08:46 PM (#5642556)
Well, his .280 career avg loked good to those who didn't notice he never walked. That kind of thing happened a lot back then. Jesus Alou socred 60 or more runs once in a season, and never drove in 60. Not a lot of production for a corner outfielder.
   15. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:13 PM (#5642565)
I mean there really is no rational reason Jesus Alou to get all that playing time other than his name.
Which one?
   16. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:24 PM (#5642568)
When I started going to old Comiskey in 1982 and 1983, the Sox had old posters drawn by either small children or Rich Gossage along the ramps inside the park, probably hiding very horrible things on the concrete.


At the end of its life, I’m convinced that the only thing holding old Comiskey together was several dozen layers of paint on the brickwork. It was so thick you could barely make out the mortar joints.
   17. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 24, 2018 at 10:58 AM (#5642623)
at least as kids, we made the mistake of thinking that one great brother must mean the second one couldn't suck (except Tommie Aaron, nobody got fooled by him).


We Phillies fans were hoping for Ron Allen to be a lesser Richie. Ron even had 4 slightly old for his league 20 HR seasons in the minors. He eventually got 14 PAs for the Cards in '72 and put up this line, getting a HR for his only hit:
.091/.286/.364
   18. dlf Posted: March 24, 2018 at 11:27 AM (#5642627)
For me, it wasn't a question of siblings, but of parents. I assumed that Dale Berra *had* to be great and Bump Wills would steal 100.
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: March 24, 2018 at 12:54 PM (#5642642)
we had a lot more brothers in pro sports in those days


Really? I used to think that there were more brothers in the past fifteen years or so than in other eras. I guess it's about perception. You have a pair of all stars in the Seager brothers, that is probably the biggest name right now, but then you have/had Rasmus, Young, Francisco and Tony Pena, The Duncans, Erick and Wily Aybar, Adrian/Edgar Gonzalez, Hairston, Izturis, Nix, and about another dozen I didn't mention just because they had too short of a career for both of them, and that doesn't mention some pretty big names who's career end 5+ or so years ago (Maddux, Glavine, Drew etc. )

Brothers in baseball A - J
Brothers in baseball J - Z
   20. Jay Z Posted: March 24, 2018 at 01:33 PM (#5642646)
Jesus Alou just never developed. He had his high WAR at age 23. Both he and Matty went through Tacoma at age 21, had similar statistics. Jesus was the biggest of the Alou brothers, thought to be the best growing up. Given his size and ability to make contact, it isn't hard to project power developing, but what power he had went away. Was in the teens in homers as a minor leaguer, age 19-21.
   21. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: March 25, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5642793)
Which team is stronger: all-time team of guys with brothers, dads and/or sons who played in the bigs, or guys without?

Off the top of my head, with some help from the lists in #19:

With:
C Berra, Dickey
1B Giambi, Allen, Murray, Sisler
2B Collins, Alomar
3B Brett
SS Wagner, Ripken, Larkin, Yount
LF Bonds
CF DiMaggio, Griffey
RF Aaron, Waner, Guerrero, Gwynn
P Mathewson, Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Dean, Perry, Glavine
   22. BDC Posted: March 25, 2018 at 01:55 PM (#5642804)
That's one tough lineup when you can't get a Bell, Boone, or Delehanty onto it :)
   23. dlf Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:08 PM (#5642807)
I always liked seeing the more extended familial relationships like Roy Smalley being managed by his uncle Gene Mauch or Jason Werth and his step-father Dennis (and related to Dick and Duckie Schofield). But my favorite is Casey Candaele's mother who played in the AAGPBL.
   24. Lassus Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:11 PM (#5642808)
Ken Brett has always been a local cult celebrity where I grew up for his "Utica?" line.
   25. Rally Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5642809)
I don’t know if brothers in MLB is more or less likely now, but my guess would be less likely. Simply because of average family size. Pretty hard to have a brother join you in MLB if you are an only child, or a 2 child family with a sister.
   26. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5642811)
With:
C Berra, Dickey
1B Giambi, Allen, Murray, Sisler
2B Collins, Alomar
3B Brett
SS Wagner, Ripken, Larkin, Yount
LF Bonds
CF DiMaggio, Griffey
RF Aaron, Waner, Guerrero, Gwynn
P Mathewson, Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Dean, Perry, Glavine


Without:

C - Bench, Piazza
1B - Gehrig
2B - Morgan, Hornsby
SS - Rodriguez, Smith
3B - Schmidt
LF - Williams
CF - Cobb, Mantle, Mays
RF - Ruth

SP - Seaver, Clemens, Grove, Johnson ,R, Johnson, W


Note: haven't double checked this list, just using guys not mentioned by #21. Without is far stronger. No room on the team for Foxx, Bagwell, Musial, Pujols, Mathews, Boggs, Speaker...
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:38 PM (#5642815)
How did I never know that Barry Larkin had a brother who played in one game? I'm also not sure I knew Tom Glavine's brother made the majors.
   28. stevegamer Posted: March 25, 2018 at 02:54 PM (#5642818)
re #21:
I'd put Delehanty & Rose on there ahead of Giambi & probably Allen or Guererro.
   29. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 25, 2018 at 04:06 PM (#5642825)

How did I never know that Barry Larkin had a brother who played in one game? I'm also not sure I knew Tom Glavine's brother made the majors.

Larkin also has a son who plays in the NBA.

I'm pretty sure the Mets only brought up Mike Glavine for a few games as a favor to Tom. In a season where they lost 95 games, why not, I guess.

The Uptons are another famous pair of brothers currently playing (although I guess Melvin/BJ is not really active anymore). Both were top-2 draft picks.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: March 25, 2018 at 04:42 PM (#5642833)
I didn't say we had more I said it "seems" like we had more. Lots of possibilities there from the fascination we seemed to have to nostalgia for when I was a kid (and current kids just as fascinated).
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: March 26, 2018 at 05:29 AM (#5642928)
Clemens,


Clemens might be joining the other team in a couple of years.
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2018 at 10:25 AM (#5642997)
Clemens might be joining the other team in a couple of years.
You know, sexual tension would explain a lot about the Mike Piazza incident...
   33. Spahn Insane Posted: March 26, 2018 at 11:34 AM (#5643067)
How did I never know that Barry Larkin had a brother who played in one game?

Well, it was 1998. The fact that that one game took place at the end of a season in which the Reds finished under .500 at the same time a 3-team (one of which was the Cubs) down-to-the-wire wild card race was getting all the attention may have contributed to your oversight.

FWIW, I'd never heard of the less-heralded Larkin (or Glavine) either.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: March 26, 2018 at 11:37 AM (#5643070)
I'm pretty sure the Mets only brought up Mike Glavine for a few games as a favor to Tom.


What do you think this got Mike in terms of pension and benefits?
   35. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2018 at 11:49 AM (#5643076)
Well, it was 1998. The fact that that one game took place at the end of a season in which the Reds finished under .500 at the same time a 3-team (one of which was the Cubs) down-to-the-wire wild card race was getting all the attention may have contributed to your oversight.
True. The game I remember from that time was of course Cubs-Giants. I was living in my first apartment in the city after graduating earlier that year. Addison & Greenview. Pretty fun night in the neighborhood.
   36. Spahn Insane Posted: March 26, 2018 at 11:59 AM (#5643083)
True. The game I remember from that time was of course Cubs-Giants. I was living in my first apartment in the city after graduating earlier that year. Addison & Greenview. Pretty fun night in the neighborhood.

Surely you've not forgotten the Neifi Perez homer against the Giants that forced a tie after 162. Trachsel's start against the Giants was a masterpiece of maddeningly erratic effectiveness--IIRC, he threw 5+ hitless innings, using 278 pitches and taking four hours.
   37. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2018 at 12:01 PM (#5643084)
Trachsel's start against the Giants was a masterpiece of maddeningly erratic effectiveness--IIRC, he threw 5+ hitless innings, using 278 pitches and taking four hours.
Somewhere, Steve Trachsel is still pitching that game.
   38. Spahn Insane Posted: March 26, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5643089)
That WC one-game playoff was probably a Pyrrhic victory; it was highlighted by Gary Gaetti's homer, which may well have swayed Lynch & Co. to bring him back in '99.

Not that the '99 Cubs were going anywhere anyway.
   39. Spahn Insane Posted: March 26, 2018 at 12:03 PM (#5643090)
Somewhere, Steve Trachsel is still pitching that game.

And yelling at Blue Angels.
   40. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2018 at 12:15 PM (#5643095)
That WC one-game playoff was probably a Pyrrhic victory; it was highlighted by Gary Gaetti's homer, which may well have swayed Lynch & Co. to bring him back in '99.

Not that the '99 Cubs were going anywhere anyway.
Yeah, the '98 Cubs were not built for any sort of sustainable success. Servais and Blauser were terrible, and Lance Johnson took up cliff diving. But they lucked into incredible bench/stretch drive performance from Gaetti, Brant Brown, Glenallen Hill and even Matt Mieske (remember him?). The most surprising thing I saw when I just looked them up, though, was that Trachsel was only 27 that year. I just don't think of him as ever being young.
   41. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 26, 2018 at 01:25 PM (#5643171)
How did I never know that Barry Larkin had a brother who played in one game?

Not only did the Larkins play together in the final game of 1998, but the Boone brothers started at second and third. An all brother infield!
   42. SouthSideRyan Posted: March 26, 2018 at 04:33 PM (#5643369)
[40]You failed to mention Orlando Merced, the rare September acuqisition, who hit the walk-off HR in that ridiculous Brewers game.

The '99 Cubs were never going to the playoffs, especially given the knowledge that 96 wins only returned a wild card tiebreaker game, but the offseason for Lynch was pathetic that offseason. They made a fantastic Brant Brown-Jon Lieber trade, and that was the only move of note.
   43. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 26, 2018 at 05:35 PM (#5643421)
the offseason for Lynch was pathetic that offseason. They made a fantastic Brant Brown-Jon Lieber trade, and that was the only move of note.
No, a pathetic Ed Lynch offseason was not "only making one good trade." A pathetic Ed Lynch offseason meant a multi-year contract for a terrible reliever and Shane Andrews or Willie Greene.
   44. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 26, 2018 at 06:35 PM (#5643436)
Clemens might be joining the other team in a couple of years.


Then replace him with Cy Young or Pete Alexander

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