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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Sheinin - A Lifelong Dream Washed Away

I feel privileged to be able to tell the story of Brian Mazone, big league pitcher who watched his debut get rained out. - Dave Sheinin, Washington Post

Bote Man Posted: August 30, 2018 at 12:16 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cup o coffee, debuts, phillies

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   1. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: August 30, 2018 at 01:20 PM (#5736384)
good read
   2. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 30, 2018 at 02:14 PM (#5736434)
Agreed. And it was a dick move of the Phillies not to call him up when the rosters expanded and let him get an inning or two. The official excuse:

"But because Mazone was not on their 40-man roster of protected players, and because that roster was full, the Phillies, in the heat of a playoff race, would have had to risk losing another player to make room."
The heat of a pennant race? On Sept. 1, they were 15.5 games back of the first-place Mets. They went 18-10 in September to climb to within...12 games. As far as the 40-man roster spot, I don't know how to look this up, but surely there was someone on the 15-day DL that they could have moved to the 60-day. They somehow found a roster spot to purchase Randall Simon from the Rangers on Sept. 1. I doubt they would have missed his .542 OPS in 23 PA.

EDIT: In fairness, they finished only 3 games out of the wild card. But still.

The irony is that these days, a team would be falling all over itself to call him up as another lefty in the bullpen.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 30, 2018 at 03:19 PM (#5736486)
RTFA. Well done.

It's a tough business - not really anyone's fault that he came so close, just missing a roster spot a couple of times, including the rainout, but it obviously gnaws at him a bit even if he's moved on.
   4. sotapop Posted: August 30, 2018 at 04:39 PM (#5736529)
another vote for RTFA. Excellent. (Sheinin usually is; his profile of Josh Hamilton when he came back in 2007 is maybe my favorite baseball profile ever.)

I'd bet everyone here remembers a guy like this. For me it's a Yankees' pitcher named Roger Slagle. I was a kid back in 1979 and remember watching a late-season game in that lost season (Munson had just died maybe a month before, and the possible WS three-peat was never gonna happen). I think it was against Detroit, and I was watching it on a little B&W television in the basement. It was late, they brought in this guy I'd never heard of to wrap it up, he pitched two clean innings, struck out two with a big curve, and I thought, OK, hope for next season.

Never saw him again. Then the Internet happens and a couple of decades later I Google him, and he's the subject of chapter in a book called "A Cup of Coffee." Slagle's story was kinda similar. He thought, OK, I got my break, this is going to happen -- and then in the off-season (iirc) he had to work a second job, got hurt, tried to pitch through it and had a bad spring, struggled, almost worked his way back but got passed over and got re-injured, career over.

Amazon now lists three or four baseball books with that title. Now I gotta find 'em all. These stories just hit a spot with me.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2018 at 05:21 PM (#5736551)
some think Moonlight Graham was just a movie character
"Field of Dreams" fudged some of the details, but the basics were real - got into a game, but never got to the plate. both died in Minnesota.
   6. Man o' Schwar Posted: August 30, 2018 at 05:42 PM (#5736565)
Stuff like this makes me remember Adam Greenberg, who famously took a pitch to the head in his first major league PA in 2005 and missed the rest of the year with concussion symptoms. He struggled the next year in the minors, got released, then kicked around for the next 6 years in independent baseball before getting signed by the Marlins for a single game in MLB in 2012.

I always wished the Cubs had called him up again in 2006, just to do it. They were a last place team without much to play for, and could have brought him up for a weekend without jeopardizing anyone's playoff chances. I'm glad he got his chance finally years later.

   7. Perry Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:02 PM (#5736577)
The flip side of stories like this that I always remember is a guy named Doug Clarey with the Cardinals. He was a reserve 2B in Class A ball in 1976 and not any kind of prospect, when the big club got into a roster situation and needed a body for a few days. He was up long enough to get into a game in the 16th inning -- and hit the game-winning homer. A few days later he went back down to Class A and that was basically it. Four career PAs, but he did have that homer.
   8. spycake Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:06 PM (#5736581)

EDIT: In fairness, they finished only 3 games out of the wild card. But still


Looks like the 2006 Phillies had the wild card lead as late as Sep. 24. So there was a pennant race.

Looks like Randall Simon was busy -- 23 pinch hit appearances in just a month.
   9. spycake Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:21 PM (#5736589)
To heck with his dream -- just 1 day service time would have gotten him lifetime health insurance. (43 days for a pension.)
   10. Rally Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:38 PM (#5736598)
#9, I wonder if he got that, article doesn’t say. No MLB appearance but maybe he has one day on the roster to his credit. Just depends on the timing of when they would have had to make the transaction vs. when the game was called.
   11. spycake Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:51 PM (#5736608)
#9, I wonder if he got that, article doesn’t say. No MLB appearance but maybe he has one day on the roster to his credit. Just depends on the timing of when they would have had to make the transaction vs. when the game was called.


The reference to the 40 man roster seems to confirm that he didn't get it. They flew him in, but hadn't added him to the roster yet. I guess they can wait until game time to do that, and game time never came...
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: August 30, 2018 at 06:56 PM (#5736613)
Greenberg's AB came against a Cy Young Award winner - but it was knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, the guy you'd least likely be terrified to face, post-trauma. Greenberg struck out, but it was a comfortable K.

plus he got a Topps card out of it
   13. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 30, 2018 at 07:03 PM (#5736615)
Great article. Mazone really gave it his best shot and he should be really proud of himself for never giving up.

Dude looks like he's got a nice life in Encinitas with 2 kids and a wife, nothing to complain about there and that garage is a real man cave. He's got skateboards, fins, boogie boards, bikes...looks like a fun stuff to do with your wife and kids.
   14. BDC Posted: August 30, 2018 at 08:27 PM (#5736656)
I remember a couple of guys here and there, nothing as dramatic as these one-game or no-game stories, but oddities of careers. I was at the major-league debut of a pitcher named Brian Sikorski, in 2000. He pitched seven shutout innings against the defending (and to-be) World Champion Yankees. He lost three of his only other four starts that year, with a ND. He never started another game in the majors, though he threw 30 games in relief for a couple of clubs in 2006.

Then there was a 1980s Phillie named Greg Legg. The Phillies had him up in April and September of 1986. Legg went 8 for his last 14 to finish at .450 for the season. He had just two more major-league at-bats after that, though he spent eight more seasons in AAA. batting .280-.300 a lot of the time. Legg's never even getting another September callup after '86 still baffles me, since several of those Phillies teams were terrible, and it would not have killed them to give the guy some playing time. The upside is that he can tell people he had a career major-league batting average of .409. That must win some bar bets.
   15. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 30, 2018 at 08:36 PM (#5736663)
I was at the major-league debut of a pitcher named Brian Sikorski, in 2000. He pitched seven shutout innings against the defending (and to-be) World Champion Yankees. He lost three of his only other four starts that year, with a ND. He never started another game in the majors, though he threw 30 games in relief for a couple of clubs in 2006.


Sikorski spent ten seasons in Japan, and was a minor star as a reliever there, making two All-Star teams and leading the league in saves in 2010 with 33.
   16. JJ1986 Posted: August 30, 2018 at 08:52 PM (#5736674)
As far as the 40-man roster spot, I don't know how to look this up, but surely there was someone on the 15-day DL that they could have moved to the 60-day.
This is just one, there are probably more, but Scott Mathieson went on the DL on September 3 and never pitched again that year.

Edit: Aaron Rowand last played in August. Another phantom player, Tim Gradoville, was outrighted on September 23 with over a week left in the season; they could have called up Mazone then with a free roster spot.
   17. spycake Posted: August 30, 2018 at 10:04 PM (#5736715)
The Phillies did bring Mazone back repeatedly -- he spent parts of the next 4 seasons back at their AAA affiliate -- so they must have liked him, but I guess that also means they had plenty of chances to give him his day. Although the parent club finished in 1st place all 4 of those years too so I guess they had other priorities.

Mazone is still 5 years younger than Jamie Moyer was when he last pitched for the Phillies, so never say never! :)
   18. Jay Z Posted: August 31, 2018 at 12:10 AM (#5736757)
I attended the second and last game played by relief pitcher Tom Gilles of the Blue Jays in 1990. He picked up the win in an 11-5 game against the Brewers. Duane Ward blew a 4-2 lead in the 7th, Gilles made two pitches and got Glenn Braggs to ground out 1-3. Blue Jays scored 7 runs in the 8th and 9th.

I remember Gilles riding in the bullpen car, which was unheard of at the time.
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 31, 2018 at 12:32 AM (#5736762)
The Phillies did bring Mazone back repeatedly -- he spent parts of the next 4 seasons back at their AAA affiliate -- so they must have liked him, but I guess that also means they had plenty of chances to give him his day. Although the parent club finished in 1st place all 4 of those years too so I guess they had other priorities.
Wow. That's even more of a dick move, then - completely heartless to treat the guy like generic organizational roster fodder without any thought given to his experience at a human level. Pretty ironic for a franchise that was notoriously the most anti-analytics in baseball at the time. "Can't treat players like numbers! Gotta see the human element!" Indeed.
   20. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 31, 2018 at 01:11 AM (#5736776)
Walter Alston struck out in his only MLB at-bat. He came back later, though.
   21. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 31, 2018 at 01:26 AM (#5736779)
Then there's the time nine of them played in one game. The one who had never pitched before, anywhere, gave up 26 runs. 14 years later he became a Jesuit priest, the only priest ever to pitch in the major leagues (Preacher Roe notwithstanding).
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 31, 2018 at 01:32 AM (#5736782)
The one who had never pitched before, anywhere, gave up 26 runs.
In fairness, it was only 24 runs. And, according to BBRef, -1 of those was earned. Yes, negative one.

EDIT: Well, it says -1 in the box score. On Allan Travers' individual page we find out that 14 of the 24 runs were earned.
   23. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 31, 2018 at 02:22 AM (#5736783)
The one who had never pitched before, anywhere, gave up 26 runs. 14 years later he became a Jesuit priest, the only priest ever to pitch in the major leagues (Preacher Roe notwithstanding).


Yep. He wasn't a baseball player at all. He was the assistant student manager of the St. Joseph College varsity baseball team. He didn't expect to have to play. Yet here he was, not only playing, but pitching to Eddie Collins and Home Run Baker. Oh, and he hit third. The one impressive thing is that he had seven assists, and no errors.
   24. Rally Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:28 AM (#5736868)
There were two sacrifice hits in the game. WTF? Actually those might be sac flies instead of bunts.

If bunts, is that a **** move? Or an act of mercy, giving the overmatched team a free out?

10 stolen bases, including 5 by Eddie Collins. Travers should have drilled him. Maybe the unwritten rulebook had not yet been unwritten back then.

3 pitchers for the A's went 3 innings each. Jack Coombs is credited with the win for starting and throwing 3 scoreless innings. When did the 5 inning rule for starters happen? Herb Pennock struck out 7 over the last 3 innings to earn a (retroactive) save. His team was up 20-2 when he entered. That would still get him a save today, because 3 innings.
   25. Gary Truth Serum Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:34 AM (#5736872)
Then there's the time nine of them played in one game.

One of the starting nine, Billy Maharg, actually appeared in one more game in 1916. But two of the reserves who entered the game also made their only major league appearance, so it was ten. The third reserve, Hughie Jennings, had a longer career.
   26. Perry Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:45 AM (#5736881)
One of the starting nine, Billy Maharg, actually appeared in one more game in 1916.


And of course later was involved as a key go-between in the 1919 World Series fix.
   27. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5736882)
Great article, and great thread. I hope to see it go a couple hundred posts.
   28. geonose Posted: August 31, 2018 at 11:41 AM (#5736921)
It was only ten years ago so I remember this guy. I don't know why he was called up for a single game on May 18 against the Marlins, but he pinch hit for Jimmy Gobble in the 9th inning and singled, then promptly got doubled off first on a line drive. But hey, he will always have that career 1.000 average to point to!
   29. DanG Posted: August 31, 2018 at 01:07 PM (#5736983)
The one who had never pitched before, anywhere, gave up 26 runs.
He was lucky his battery-mate was Deacon McGuire, catching in his 1,612th and final game behind the dish. Manager Jennings had hired his old teammate to coach that year, so when duty called the 48-year-old suited up.

This game put McGuire in the record books. As a kid, I always wondered how this guy played in 26 seasons, more than any of the game's legends. It was one more year than hall of famers Eddie Collins and Bobby Wallace, two more than Cobb (the official record books didn't count Anson's years in the NA).
   30. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 31, 2018 at 03:12 PM (#5737039)
When did the 5 inning rule for starters happen?


1950.
   31. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 31, 2018 at 06:25 PM (#5737097)

some think Moonlight Graham was just a movie character
"Field of Dreams" fudged some of the details,
No time travel?
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: August 31, 2018 at 07:47 PM (#5737123)
no, the time travel is 100 pct kosher, as is the rest of the movie.

I just mean stuff like what year Moonlight appeared in that NY Giants game. and of course there's the Shoeless Joe L/R kerfuffle.
   33. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 31, 2018 at 08:26 PM (#5737133)
The one who had never pitched before, anywhere, gave up 26 runs.

In fairness, it was only 24 runs.

Sorry-- it was 26 hits, 24 runs. Both still MLB records for a pitcher, although Jose Lima gave it a go.
   34. Jay Z Posted: August 31, 2018 at 08:35 PM (#5737138)
There was a guy on the roster of the 1974 Dodgers for about a month and a half at the start of the season. Lee Robinson. Never played that season or any other. Wonder what the record is for most games active without playing.
   35. base ball chick Posted: August 31, 2018 at 10:23 PM (#5737224)
one of my favorite astros called up and got almost nothing (except health insurance for life) was a guy named phil barzilla who was a decent lefty but never got promoted because the Organization didn't like him for some reason, but he DID get one day and 0.1 innings/ 1 batter in 06, got sent right back down and never got another chance
   36. Zach Posted: September 04, 2018 at 07:28 PM (#5738557)
I wonder if Eduardo Villacis ever wished it was raining?
   37. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 04, 2018 at 08:03 PM (#5738571)
There was a guy on the roster of the 1974 Dodgers for about a month and a half at the start of the season. Lee Robinson. Never played that season or any other.


Robinson was on the roster from May 11 to July 3 without appearing in a game. The Dodgers' players voted him a $2,000 World Series share, so he must have an impression on them.

Wonder what the record is for most games active without playing.


It's not quite the same because he had appeared in one previous game, and pitched in 33 later in his career, but bonus baby pitcher Tom Qualters was on the Phillies active roster for the entire 1954 season, but never appeared in a game.

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