Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Monday, December 31, 2012
Let’s begin by celebrating 15 players who I predict are making their one and only appearance on the [Hall of Fame] ballot.
I was always strangely fascinated by the fact that Jeff Conine was a world-class racquetball player. That’s how he was always described, too, as “world class.” Conine was a good big-league player who hit as high as .319, hit as many as 26 homers, drove in 105 RBIs one year, but it was this world-class racquetball thing that blew my mind. As good a baseball player as he was, it seemed a waste to me that he wasn’t able to take his place as one of the world’s elite racquetball players.
Since he stopped playing baseball, Conine has apparently begun competing in triathlons and Ironman competitions. He’s really an extraordinary athlete.
I will always remember fondly how Roberto Hernandez handled failure… He would be sitting and waiting by his locker when the reporters came in. He’d have a cup of beer by his stool. And he would be ready to answer every question. No, I didn’t have it tonight. Yes, I take the blame for this loss. No, I don’t think we will let it carry over. Yes, I feel like I let my teammates down. Then, he would wait until all the questions were answered, take his beer, and prepare his mind for tomorrow. It was the best attitude I ever came across in sports.
What’s interesting about [Mike] Stanton is that he pitched forever as a lefty specialist and he really wasn’t all that good against left-handed hitters. I mean he was only slightly better against lefties than righties… Stanton was actually quite miserable in his one-out appearances. He went 6-18 with an 11.70 ERA, gave up 159 hits in 77 2/3 innings. It is true that when the games are split up 1/3 of an inning at a time, it’s kind of hard to determine what is good or bad. I will point out that his 11.70 ERA is the highest for any pitcher with 125 or more one-out appearances.
But, hey, he made a living… He cashed more than $30 million in big league checks, which sure as heck isn’t bad for a 13th round draft pick who started one big league game in his career.
How does this guy:
.292/.355/.407, 44 stolen bases, 5 homers, 84 runs scored, 63 Ks, brilliant centerfield defense
Become this guy:
.264/..336/.525, 8 stolen bases, 34 homers, 103 RBIs, 94 Ks and, yes, brilliant centerfield defense.
Steve Finley was a shape-shifter… The three years Finley stole more than 25 bases, he hit 5, 8 and 10 home runs. The six years he hit 25-plus homers, he never stole more than 22 bases and only once did he steal more than 16. He was one kind of player. Then, suddenly, he was another kind of player.
One way Finley was a pioneer: He was one of the first to shift to the harder (and, perhaps, easier to shatter) maple bats.
The District Attorney
Posted: December 31, 2012 at 02:47 PM | 80 comment(s)
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