Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR. BESTS CELTICS GM WITH FIRST HR

Toronto Blue Jays rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his first MLB home run on Tuesday. In doing so, he bested a record previously held by…Danny Ainge.

With his home run, Guerrero became the youngest player in franchise history to hit a round tripper. The record was previously held by Ainge (H/T Sarah Langs, MLB).

IT’S ENTERTAINING WHEN SOMETHING IN BASEBALL LINKS WITH THE MOST POPULAR THREAD HERE, MISTER PRESIDENT.

 

QLE Posted: May 15, 2019 at 05:36 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, danny ainge, vladimir guerrero jr.

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: May 15, 2019 at 06:53 AM (#5842178)
Ainge's 47 OPS+ from 1979-81 was the second-worst (minimum 700 PA) in MLB over that span. Who was the worst, with a 44 OPS+?
   2. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:15 AM (#5842180)
Mendoza?
   3. TomH Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:34 AM (#5842189)
hmm.. Ozzie Smith was a lousy hitter when he came up, but 44 OPS+ is REALLY bad. Maybe Doug Flynn?
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:37 AM (#5842191)
This story is already outdated, since Vladdy Jr. hit his second one as well later in the game.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:00 AM (#5842198)
He walloped those two. Great swing. Fun to watch.
   6. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5842203)
Before his NBA career, Ainge was not just an obscure scrub to me, but a very familiar baseball player. Not that I watched many (if any at all) Blue Jays games from 79-81, the means to do so did not exist in Kentucky back then. But that's when I started collecting baseball cards, and I just remember having more Danny Ainge's than I could ever know what to do with.

To this day I have no idea if he could have been a good baseball player. He certainly was not, but apparently his basketball status forced the team to rush him, instead of having him work his way up from Medicine Hat or wherever their rookie teams played back then.

Ainge graduated high school in 1977 but didn't play baseball (at least for a team bbref has records for) that summer. In 1978, he went straight to Syracuse, the AAA team, played regularly, and hit 229/253/290. I don't know if he played baseball at BYU that spring, but in any case that's an unusually aggressive debut for a player 1 year out of high school. The next year he was in the majors. He didn't hit in AAA or the majors, but maybe he would have learned to if he had a more normal development path. Big maybe though, and very unlikely that he would have had a career as good as what he accomplished in the NBA.

I don't know if the 1981 strike turned him off baseball. He did return to play the second half of 1981, so probably that wasn't it. Probably just a case of him being a lot better at basketball than baseball at the time.
   7. bobm Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5842211)
[6] SI: OCTOBER 12, 1981- THE COURTING OF DANNY AINGE

[...]The Blue Jays officially cling to the slim hope that Ainge, who voluntarily retired from baseball on Sept. 24, will change his mind and report to the club next spring. But Ainge has already scotched that notion. "As far as I'm concerned, I'm not a part of the Toronto Blue Jays," he says. "I'm going home to Utah to get in shape for basketball. I'm retired from baseball."

To be sure, the finality with which these words were spoken echoed Ainge's previous commitment to baseball right up to June 10, when he told Bavasi he wanted to switch back to basketball.

What happened? "When I signed the contract I was sure I wanted to play baseball, but it was too early," Ainge says now. "I should have waited until after my senior year. I never imagined I would have the kind of year that I did [24.4 points per game]. My thinking was that I was stuck in a bad situation for three years and I should try and make the most out of it. I know I told a lot of people I was going to play baseball, but there's a difference between saying, 'I have a contract to play baseball,' and 'I have a contract to play baseball but I really don't want to,' which is how I felt."

As long ago as last March, Ainge had hinted that he would play basketball again. During the NCAA finals in Philadelphia, he told SI's Jack McCallum: "I've failed at things before. I think I've failed at baseball the last three years. I've set goals for myself, and I haven't come close to them. If I keep failing for a certain period of time, I'll definitely try something else. Basketball? Probably." If Boston president and general manager Red Auerbach needed additional incentive to pursue Ainge, that kind of talk could have provided it. [...]

Apparently Ainge had been reading his own line in the Jays' box scores just as closely and saw the need to try another sport. Entering the '81 season, Ainge had hit but .239 in 419 major league at bats over parts of three seasons. However, Gillick and others felt that the numbers would improve over the course of a full season. They didn't. Ainge finished this year hitting .187 with no home runs, 14 RBIs and only eight extra-base hits. What with his season-long slump, minor injuries and the legal situation, Ainge has been ineffective since early September. "It's obvious I wasn't having a successful career," he says.

While the consensus among major league scouts is that Ainge was rushed to the majors by Toronto, there is doubt that things would ever get a lot better. "I don't like him too much," says Rick Ferrell, a scout for the Detroit Tigers. "I don't think he'll hit enough. He doesn't throw too good at third base. He doesn't have power." [...]

According to testimony at the trial [between the Blue Jays and the Celtics for Ainge's service], Ainge told Bavasi of his intention to pursue basketball on June 10 in Toronto—and asked for permission to join the Celtics. Ainge said Bavasi told him, "You have to do what you have to do," and that "no contract could make a man do what he doesn't want to do." The next day, Ainge said, Blue Jay Coach Bobby Doerr and Gillick repeated those sentiments and said he shouldn't worry about his contract, which includes a clause banning Ainge from playing pro basketball. That clause was sweetened by a $300,000 bonus, of which Ainge collected the last payment, $120,000, in August. Ainge offered to return the entire bonus.

The two conversations, the Celtics contended, were tantamount to the Blue Jays' giving Ainge his release from baseball. Toronto, on the other hand, countered that the things told Ainge were merely personal statements made by stunned men, who, according to Bavasi's testimony, likened the situation to "an ailing wife being left behind by her husband for some blonde floozy from Boston." [...]

   8. eric Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:31 AM (#5842216)
Those two HRs were also the first two runs of his career. He has 17 TOB other than his two HRs. Maybe in addition to looking like a Fielder, he also runs like a Fielder?
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 15, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5842219)
To this day I have no idea if he could have been a good baseball player. He certainly was not, but apparently his basketball status forced the team to rush him, instead of having him work his way up from Medicine Hat or wherever their rookie teams played back then.


Medicine Hat it was!

The Blue Jays only had 4 minor league affiliates in 1978. No AA team.
   10. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5842239)
Who was the worst, with a 44 OPS+?

Rob Picciolo?
   11. Rally Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5842249)
#9, wow. Even more amazing is that in their first year, they only had one minor league team, Utica in the NY-Penn league.

Just hard to fathom in the days where your AAA roster functions as a reserve extension of your big league bullpen. No pitcher from that Utica team ever pitched in MLB. 3 of the position players eventually made it (including 17 year old Jesse Barfield) but none of them played MLB in 1977.

Looks like they were able to make arrangements to have some of their young players play in other team's AAA franchises. Like Ernie Whitt and Jim Clancy.

The pitching was bad, 2nd to last in runs allowed, but they still got through the whole year using only 15 pitchers.
   12. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:12 AM (#5842257)
It takes time to ramp up a farm system. The most recent round of expansion found teams without AA club in year one (less extreme than the Jays, but still).
   13. asinwreck Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5842261)
The irony of Red Auerbach being called a blonde.

How's Ainge's recovery from the heart attack going?
   14. DavidFoss Posted: May 15, 2019 at 11:29 AM (#5842269)
Mendoza?

It is.

MMendoza 44
DAinge 47
TVeryzer 57
PFrias 58
OSmith 60
RStennett 61
DFlynn 63

   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:07 PM (#5842360)
Those two HRs were also the first two runs of his career. He has 17 TOB other than his two HRs. Maybe in addition to looking like a Fielder, he also runs like a Fielder?

I was curious, so I looked. Vlad's actually been on base 19 times (including a fielder's choice and a ROE).

There have only been two hits while he was on base -- he took the extra base (1B to 3B) once. The other time, he only advanced from 2B to 3B on a single to short RF. This was with no outs in the first inning so I don't think a lot of guys would have been sent in that situation.

He's been pinch-run for three times.

And he's made two outs on the bases -- one a bad one where he tried to advance to third on a groundout and got caught in a rundown, one a caught stealing which may have been a botched hit-and-run.

The other times he basically got stranded on base and didn't have any chances to advance. So I would say that while he's clearly not a fast or good base runner, his lack of scoring while on base is more due to small sample size and being pinch run for than having missed a lot of opportunities.
   16. The Mighty Quintana Posted: May 15, 2019 at 02:26 PM (#5842367)
As a high school junior, Ainge was named to the 1977 Parade magazine High School All-America Football team. So baseball was more than likely his third best sport...
   17. JAHV Posted: May 15, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5842542)
The other times he basically got stranded on base and didn't have any chances to advance. So I would say that while he's clearly not a fast or good base runner, his lack of scoring while on base is more due to small sample size and being pinch run for than having missed a lot of opportunities.


Being pinch run for seems like good evidence in and of itself that he's a poor baserunner. How many 21-year-olds get pinch for?
   18. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:24 PM (#5842562)
As a high school junior, Ainge was named to the 1977 Parade magazine High School All-America Football team. So baseball was more than likely his third best sport...


Ainge was a legend in Oregon sports when I was in high school; people talked about him then the way they talk about Joe Harrington now. But his football career was always going to be limited. He was too skinny. BYU was then at its football peak and he never played a snap.
   19. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: May 15, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5842567)
Mendoza?

The man. The legend.
   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 15, 2019 at 10:31 PM (#5842605)

Being pinch run for seems like good evidence in and of itself that he's a poor baserunner. How many 21-year-olds get pinch for?

I didn't say he was good. But is he Prince Fielder bad? I don't think so.

I would have to go back and check but I don't think any of the pinch runners scored, either. Toronto has just not been good at driving guys in, at least not after Vlad gets on base.
   21. PreservedFish Posted: May 16, 2019 at 08:33 AM (#5842655)
Why would you pinch run for him anyway? The Blue Jays suck, let the kid have some practice running the bases. At the very least it keeps him away from the dugout snack buffet.
   22. puck Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5842704)
The Rockies announcers brought this up last night and they made it sound like they didn't know Ainge played baseball.
   23. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 16, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5842711)
I remember his father being pretty fast as a younger player. He was also rail-thin, though.
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 16, 2019 at 11:52 AM (#5842784)

Vlad Sr. stole a fair number of bases and was one HR away from being a 40-40 guy one season. But I remember he didn't have great instincts out there; he also got caught 20 times that year.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: May 16, 2019 at 12:24 PM (#5842803)
Why would you pinch run for him anyway? The Blue Jays suck, let the kid have some practice running the bases. At the very least it keeps him away from the dugout snack buffet.


The same question was asked by Jays fans.

The three pinch runners were all during his first four games in the majors. Since then, they haven't bothered using pinch runners for him at all.
   26. Rally Posted: May 16, 2019 at 02:16 PM (#5842838)
Vlad Jr. isn't slow, Baseball Savant has his sprint speed at 26.5. MLB average is 27.0, so he's a bit under. But if he's in the field with Smoak, Sogard, and Galvis, he is actually the team's fastest infielder.
   27. Rally Posted: May 16, 2019 at 02:23 PM (#5842840)
I would have to go back and check but I don't think any of the pinch runners scored, either.


The first one did. Vlad led off the bottom 9th of a tie game with a double. His PR scored on a homer.

2nd time was a 1 out single in bottom 9th of a tie game. PR did not score that inning, Jays won in 11.

3rd time he walked to start the top of the 9th, down 1 run. PR was immediately erased on a GIDP, Angels won that game.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Francis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogGiants tie pitching record in 15-inning win over Red Sox at Fenway Park
(1 - 2:41am, Sep 19)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogBarry Zito reveals why he rooted against Giants in 2010 World Series
(62 - 2:01am, Sep 19)
Last: Hysterical & Useless

NewsblogBruce Bochy wins his 2,000th game
(1 - 1:55am, Sep 19)
Last: ajnrules

NewsblogEven Gary Thorne is getting frustrated with the Orioles
(5 - 12:12am, Sep 19)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogNetanyahu? OMNICHATTER hardly knows hu!, for September 18, 2019
(113 - 12:05am, Sep 19)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

Newsblog100 losses no novelty this year; same with 100 wins
(4 - 11:53pm, Sep 18)
Last: Dr. Vaux

Newsblog37 MLB Players Destined to Become 'Guys' Who Will Be Remembered
(36 - 11:15pm, Sep 18)
Last: PreservedFish

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (Playoffs through off-season)
(6764 - 10:59pm, Sep 18)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogTwins set MLB record as 5th player reaches 30-home run mark
(10 - 9:56pm, Sep 18)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

Gonfalon CubsApproaching the Finish Line
(51 - 9:13pm, Sep 18)
Last: Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - A New Season is Upon Baldrick
(833 - 8:37pm, Sep 18)
Last: Biff, highly-regarded young guy

NewsblogTigers lose 104th game, move closer to first overall pick
(48 - 7:55pm, Sep 18)
Last: Infinite Yost (Voxter)

NewsblogFelipe Vazquez Arrested
(65 - 7:33pm, Sep 18)
Last: Jose is Absurdly Unemployed

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-18-2019
(22 - 5:51pm, Sep 18)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogNew bowl game at Fenway Park to match teams from ACC, AAC
(20 - 4:59pm, Sep 18)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

Page rendered in 0.3667 seconds
46 querie(s) executed