NORTHERN STATES LEAGUE
2013 HALL OF FAME ELIGIBLES
Class of 2012 Batters
Roberto Alomar- It’s possible that his recent election into the “real”
Hall of Fame may influence us now- here’s his repeat monograph, 4th year on the
ballot- It seems that most years we start off with a backup catcher or a pinch
hitter type with no interest. Not so
here in 2013- as Robbie Alomar pops up first.
Alomar has a fine career, batting .286 through 16 years and being
elected to 6 All League teams and 6 All Star teams. Most of us can remember 1987 when Eric
Wolfgang selected Alomar with the #2 pick in the draft, who would soon welcome
in brother Sandy in 1991 with the #1 pick. Yes- pre-lottery. Robbie’s runs total is the best on the ballot
this year and 62 triples is tied for the top.
His 393 career SB are much better than the 2nd best on the
ballot as well. Things didn’t go that
well for Alomar’s first 3 years in the league with a poor team, though he kept
his batting average in good shape. In
1992 things started to go forward and that was his first All Star year when he
posted 49 doubles and 52 stolen bases. The
career continued with solid if not extravagant performances through 2001 with
the Wizards, when he was suddenly dumped to New England along with a rookie pick
Marlon Anderson- A pretty typical utility player, he got a couple of years of full time service in the league very soon after expansion with the East Hardwick Giants. He was able to lead the league in errors in 2003 and although his career batting average is okay at .265, it’s pretty hollow. He was originally a Walden Stinger and was traded 6 times in his career. In 2002 he batted .304 with 15 HR and 51 rbi in his “career” year.
Jeff Bagwell- His 2nd year on the ballot- the repeat monograph- Bagwell really came out of nowhere, didn’t he? I mean- how many of us even knew who he was when the Red Sox gave him up for Larry (why do cars drive on a parkway but park on a driveway?) Andersen fame. Yep- Dan Duquette- Oriole fans take notice! But Bags smoked 418 long balls in the steroid era and was never linked to the stuff that I’m aware of. He played in 162 games 4 different times in his career and was a true ironman. He drove in more than 100 runs 8 different times and batted over .300 seven times, including a still league record .411 in 1995. He was an All Star 6 times and an All Leaguer 4 times. He was the MVP in 1995 with the aforementioned .411 batting average, 98 runs and 106 rbi with 72 XBH in a strike season. Not only that, but he walked a staggering amount of times including top 10 in the league for seven straight years 1997-2003. His career .300 batting average is tied with Olerud for best on the ballot. Bagpipes was taken with the first overall pick in the 1992 Rookie Draft by Jack and the Cubs of Parker City (now Johnson) and played his entire career for the franchise. Most of us would take even his worst year (.265, 100 runs, 14 HR) of 1993 as a decent season. He was 17 for 51 in 15 post season games with 3 HR and 10 rbi. I’m not sure of the steroid stuff will bother his votes or not, and remember, he was never linked to it as others were on this ballot. But chances are that the Red Sox wish they had him back for what turned out to be a fantastic career.
David Bell- Not to be confused with David Gus Bell of days in the past (a 1979 Keystone Golden Triangle 6th round pick), this David Bell was selected by Bill Waller with his 3rd round pick in the 1996 draft, then immediately was peddled to White River for his rookie year and beyond. He started very slowly, but turned in quite a few decent years for Farmland, Jericho, and Glenville before finishing with the Wildcats in 2007. He was never a star, but spent most of his career as the 7th-9th batter, playing mostly 3B and not killing your club.
Mark Bellhorn- He was a typical East York player, and actually played 2 of his 7 years with the Mick. By the time he got to EY in 2005, his skills were diminishing however and he never returned to the OBP machine Mick was hoping for. That actually began in 2003 for the Greys when he walked a whopping 100 times while whiffing 132 times- that’s right, 232 of his 544 plate appearances were a wash. In a game where you “see ball- hit ball) he did neither for almost 43% (yes, I have a calculator) in that season. But there was a post season for the 2003 Greys and he drove in 6 with 4 XBH in the 7 post season games in which he appeared. He only cracked 50 in BB one other time in his career, and although he did smack 21 long balls for the ’03 Greys, the rest of the plate is pretty clean. A career batting average of .202 is just about where you expected his career to be.
Joe Borchard- Nothing to see or write about here. You have my permission to move along.
Jeromy Burnitz- Best part of his career might have been the funny spelling of his first name. Well- not really as Burnitz put up some very good power numbers while taking a back seat when it came to batting average. Burnitz was originally Bryan’s 2nd round pick in the 1994 Rookie Draft and after 2 non-descript years he was cut, only to resurface with the same club after the Maulers took him in the first round of the 1997 FA draft. His career then began to blossom as he had double digit HR for 10 straight years beginning in 1998 and drove in 96 or more for 4 of the next ten. He was in the post season 4 times including a 4 HR, 7rbi in 6 games performance for the 1999 Maulers. In 2002, he was peddled to Indiana in a deal which included Fred McGriff coming back, and Chad was able to get 30+ dongs out of him for 4 of the next 5 seasons. He’s currently 79th on the all time HR list (hey- it’s what I do!) yet his 857 rbi don’t get him into the top 100. He was an All-Star twice and didn’t really fade away like most guys, just disappeared, as he had 17 HR in 2007 (but a .197 BA) and was gone the next. Not too shabby- but not eye-popping either.
Vinny Castilla- I was gonna blow him off, but he really had a pretty nice NSL career. Burnie nabbed him in the third round of the 1994 rookie draft and he played just 59 games in 2 years. But in 1996 things took off and he belted 35 or more long balls for 5 straight seasons, driving in 589 in the same time span. The best part is that he accomplished this without the decline in batting average as we often see- keeping his average in the high .280s through the period. Suddenly in 2001 the bubble burst and he appeared in just 83 games with a paltry 3 HR. Two more so-so years got him peddled to Canaan, NE, Yk, and IN over the last 4 years of his career. He was a 3 time All Star and 4 time All League player, also appearing in 23 post season games with 5 HR and 26 rbi. Always a more than decent fielder (and we never really spend any time at all on this) he had as many as 18 errors just once in 2000. The career numbers are solid, just the opening and closing of the career were slightly sluggish. 307 career long balls puts him 56th on the career list and unlike Burnitz, his 1014 rbi are on the all time list at 83rd. His 1698 hits is 100th on our all time list. This was a pretty solid career.
Jeff Cirillo- What I remember most about Cirillo is at Si’s house in the winter of 1997 watching JB walk through the living room and mentioning he had made a trade with Wil, At that time, Cirillo was up and coming and we were in the infancy of rookie draft pick trading. But traded he was as Cirillo and a #2 rookie for Newfield, Hudek, a #1 rookie and a #1 FA. It turned out pretty good for the Maulers as Cirillo played the next 8 years as the primary MC 3B and put up some fine numbers. Not a power guy, Cirillo still put up 298 2 baggers and batted a league 2nd best .343 in 2002. His career BA of .288 is pretty good for this group and he had 2 more years in the top 10 in batting, 3 years in the top ten in doubles, and 2 years in the top 10 in hits. Pretty solid I would say. The trouble is he hung on too long. His last two years in MC were under .200 affairs and he did the same his first year after being traded to East York. His final campaign of 2007 was okay at .325, but his batting average sure could have been over .300 for the career had he not puttered out and stayed around. He was a 4 time All Star and played in a whopping 75 post season games for some very competitive Mauler and later 66er teams. It was without a doubt a pretty nice career.
Jeff Conine- What is this, an ex-Magic City Mauler ballot? It seems to be that as Conine spent 13 of his 15 seasons with the Maulers appearing in a massive 71 post season games for the team. Never a superstar, he plodded along just fine and posted some nice longevity numbers. He won the batting title (.346) in 2002- his lone All Star year. He was generally a 12 HR, 60 rbi type guy with a nice average and decent OBP. His 1743 hits are 91st on the career list and .279 career BA is 47th. He was originally drafted by Jericho in the 4th round of the 1993 Rookie Draft- went to Williamsport for 1994 before being traded with Cecil Fielder to Bryan for Dion Sanders and Segui. Nice trade, Wilby/
Juan Encarnacion- This guy’s real career was shut down early thanks to a serious eye injury. He was originally a Vermont Woodchuck, selected in the first round of the 1998 Rookie Draft. After 3 years he moved to New England for a year, then on to the Wizards for his final 6 campaigns. His numbers were getting better as his career moved on and although the average was never high, his 150 long balls is a pretty nice figure, But the Wizards he played for were not that good a team and his rbi totals took the hit for that with a max of 85 in 2004. Decent numbers with a high K rate and low OBP, but still something to look at in the power slots.
Sal Fasano- Wasn’t he in a FA draft just a year or two ago? Well- guess I can tell you. Yes he was- the 2009 FA draft selected by Duneland in the third round. He was cut and didn’t appear that year, hence his eligibility for this year. His best year was for yours truly as he batted .277 with 12 dongs in 61 games. As you can tell- the rest of his career was sort of flat. He does look like,,,ah, you know the story.
Steve Finley- Sometimes you just get in a rut- hammering out backup catchers or trivial RP, but suddenly I came to a screeching halt here at Finley. I recall him as being an every day type player with decent but not great stats and a little punch coupled with a little speed. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that Finely was #4 on our all time triples list with 112 and had a 3rd best on the ballot 271 steals. From 1991 to 2007 he played at least 100 games except 1995 for Longstown (94 G) and was in the top 10 in games 4 times. Not only that but he had a career 275 long balls- I just had no idea- 2365 hits (20th all time) and 1324 runs (29th). So why was this star traded 8 times in his career? Just no telling. He was originally a Jericho Roscoe after his 1990 selection in the 2nd round of the Rookie Draft and spent time with Lon (twice), Cro (twice), NE (3 times- you didn’t think Bill would be upstaged, did you) and TMI in addition to twice with Jericho. But he only got in to 39 post season tilts. He was an All-Star 4 times, yet never a starter. But this turned out to be a very good career that few of us noticed.
Julio Franco- Well, he finally retired. Or did he? What we’ll remember him for is his age and dh/ph type appearances late in his career. What we’ll forget is the incredible start he had. Early on after being selected by the Brookside Bombers with the 2nd overall pick in 1984, he was as dominant a SS and later a 2B as we had. Remember this was pre-ARod and pre-Kinsler, when 2B or SS weren’t expected to be big bats. But Julio was and his overall career numbers are a factor of 20 seasons in the league, yes, but also a factor of being a pretty darned good player. He led the league in batting with a .343 BA for the 1992 First Caps and finished 4th in 1987 (.332). The high water mark in HR was 18 in 1990, and rbi was 79 in 1992, so it’s clear he wasn’t a huge XBH man, and his errors are way, way up there (led the league with 46 in 1986 and 32 in 1992). One of the true FTF (not face to face) guys, obviously he was on Si’s roster for quite a while able to kick 120 in his 6 years there. He was a 5 time All Star and 2 time All Legaue player in 2 different positions. His career batting average of .285 is good for 31st overall and 2202 hits is good for 35th. He stole a quarter of a thousand bases and was able to manage 153 long balls. Like Finley, a pretty nice career that we may have overlooked. After 4 years in Brookside, he moved to Gulf Breeze for a year before his best years in York, followed by stints in NE, Lon, IN, and finally Keystone. So how old was he really? The questions might overshadow his excellent career.
Andres Galarraga- 4th ballot- here is the repeat- Not last year, but certainly in recent years we’ve talked about things you need to do before you die and one is to visit 750 ½ N. Belvedere in York, Pa on Wednesday night APBA Busch League night. There will be a host of characters there and we’ve just signed up another of them- The Mayor of North York, Ken Staab. But there’s a guy there named Terry Kottmeyer. What a guy. Kott has an opinion on everything and surely his use of the English language is one of his fortes. But pronunciation of names has him baffled. Oh, Smith and Jones go okay, but you should hear his Galarraga call. It takes about a minute, but he says something like, “Anderaaaaaas Galarrraggggas”. I have to assume he owned him in the face to face league at one time, but it is a treat to hear. Anyway, hopefully you’ve settled in on this monograph after breezing through the 25 backup catchers. Galarraga was an absolute stud- and Burnie will tell you all about him. He was drafted in the 2nd round (yes- 2nd!) of the 1986 Rookie Draft by the northern most franchise in the league. What did he accomplish? How about 2 MVPs (1989 and 1997), 5 All Star teams and 2 All League teams? In his 19 year career, he led the league in hitting once (.343 in 1997) and rbi once (154 in 1989) while toiling for some not so great teams. 1992, 93, and 2000 were all basically lost to injury, which makes his numbers pop out just a little more. He did have 50 HR in 1997 and 39 in 1998, but I don’t think any of us considered him a HR hitter. He was only in the top 10 in rbi twice (149 in 1997 in addition to that 154 in 1989), and his OBP was never that great. His 1807 whiffs are 2nd most on the ballot this year. In 18 Championship Series games in his career he was 11 for 68. But this was “the franchise” for the Canucks for so many years. Imagine if Andres had had some more offense around him- yet on the offensively starved Canucks of the 90s he was still able to win 2 MVPs! Only Don Mattingly has more. Lots and lots of longevity numbers- some really nice years- what do you think?
Jay Gibbons- Seems as if he may be in someone’s camp this spring. Maybe it’s Japan- not sure, but it seems as if he’s on the ballot before he’s through. He’s only 35 right now- must be available for someone, right? Scoop nabbed him with his 1st pick in the 2002 Rookie Draft and he was a contributor on some not so good Crusher squads. He played 157 games in 2004 with 27 dongs and 100 rbi and had 31 HR in 2003, but things tapered off quickly and he posted a .167 with 10 HR in 2005 in 93 games and was soon done.
Juan Gonzalez- His 3rd ballot. Old Juan gone- like gone fishing as he worked out another injury. But his career wasn’t always like that, and Gonzo was pretty dominant over the first 10 years of his career. Let’s look a little closer, shall we? We expanded in 1986 by adding 4 franchises- one being the Hollywood Knights. We knew we were in trouble when the owner, Buddy Hay, didn’t participate much in his drafts and he was expelled before the season began. At that time, Tim Whitney took over and renamed the club the Hardwick A-Team and had a decent 5 year run for us, but after winning 95 games in the 2nd year of the team’s existence, you sort of knew something was up. Tim played 3 more years then I remember the conversation we had before he left which wasn’t very pleasant. Regardless, you’re more or less up to date as Dave “Scoop” Mann joined us in 1991 and the club was renamed the Creekside Crushers. Now Scoop had a few players- I know McGwire was already on board, but back to the subject of the monograph saw Scoop take Juan with the 2nd overall pick of the 1992 Rookie Draft. Bagwell went first, Si was able to nab Plantier 4th. But Gonzalez came out hot and had 133 HR after his first 3 seasons with 366 rbi. That will help lend credibility to your team! The injury bug crept in a little in 1995-6, but then three more robust years with 59 HR in 1998 and 56 doubles combined with 147 rbi in 1999. He was a six time All-Star including 6 of his first 8 seasons, and a 5 time All-League player. He was named the rookie of the year in 1992 with 41 HR and 120 rbi. Compare his numbers on the stat sheet to Galarraga- not too shabby. He also had 15 HR in 55 post season games. His 48 HR in 1993 led the league as did the 56 doubles in 1999. He has really nice longevity numbers and his 441 HR are good for 13th in our league history. Scoop has 3 championships on the wall, and 2 of them (1996 and 2000) can be at least partly credited to Juan. We’ll always remember him for pulled hamstrings, but the numbers show us different- especially early in his career.
Todd Greene- I’m not sure how we’d find him to tell him he was elected in if he was. Here is another guy that just disappeared after batting .306 for Canaan in 2007. Todd was always a backup catcher in the league appearing in a high water mark of 71 games in 2005 for TMI. Ash took him with the 6th overall pick in the 1997 Rookie Draft, and after being talked about like he was Johnny Bench, he moved to PC for a season, back to TMI for three more, and on to Canaan to finish things off. He was 0 for 2 in SB in his career. Hee-hee. But he did what was expected of a backup catcher, didn’t embarrass anyone, and contributed a bit when he could.
Jose Hernandez- He was one of those poor man’s SS as in the 80s, middle IF started showing some offense, and boy, weren’t we all over those type players. It appeared early on that Jose would be little more than a UT IF with a little bit of pop, yet he developed into a decent starting SS and despite the huge K total, fielded the position in around average ability and was able to notch Julio Franco type power numbers over half Franco’s atbats. Originally he was in the 1992 Rookie Draft and passed on by everyone, reappearing in 1995 with Parker City as Jack grabbed him in round 2. After 3 backup type years, he moved to White River and then back to Parker City, moving to Gulf Breeze for a year before finishing up back in Johnson (was Parker City). The best year was 2000 for the Sharks when he smote (I love that word) 30 long balls and drove in 94. He whiffed 489 times in a 3 year segment in the early 00s and he likely would have been much higher up the charts with a few less punch outs. He was over all a very serviceable middle/IF for roughly 6 years in his career.
Shea Hillenbrand- He sure took a lot of blame for being a clubhouse malcontent- and perhaps that is what fried his career in mlb. It seemed he had enough ability to make an impact, not necessarily a huge one, but the career could have been so much better. He was the 10th overall pick in the 2002 Rookie Draft for the East Hardwick Giants and as his career batting average (.296) would indicate, he surely was good enough. After a lackluster rookie year he spent the next 4 years batting right at .300 even smacking 32 long balls in 2004, his one All Star year. He batted a 9th best in the league .309 in 2006 and drove in 119 that campaign and had 45 doubles in 2003. He finished up his career in 2007 for Muncie- after the East Hardwick resignation. Hmmm. Good time to talk about Muncie as Bob took a perfectly good 3B and after a season had cut him loose. No malcontents on this team! I’m just kidding, but the old White River Shark boss returned to us in 2007 as the Muncie head honcho and a simple visit to the web page would indicate to anyone how lucky we were to get him back. Plus he put me up for nearly a week last summer. But Bob has done so much…keeping the web page up to date, talking up the league, he’s the type of guy we need and want in the league. I think for the most part we have been able to accomplish that. We miss the Sharks, but love the Black Wolf. Not sure what this has to do with Shea Hillenbrand, but face it, you saw the monograph was a little longer and figured you were missing something, right? Yeah- thought so.
Bobby Kielty- He was the first guy I ever saw try and dupe a runner at 2nd that he would catch the ball (in RF) that was about to drop in for a single. Trouble was, his “dupe” had his glove at head level. I mean if you’re going to do that- why not at least make it look real? It’s a true story- I was in Tampa for a Marlin/Devil Ray (yeah- they were the Devil Rays then). But thankfully we’re not voting on the best duper (is that even a word?). A true Waller type player- in a 6 year career traded 7 times and played games for 4 teams. He was a full timer just once, for the 2004 Longstown singers- er Prospectors (Denny has a penchant for singing a song every time a player comes to bat) where he played 134 games and posted a not too robust .241 BA. But he walked 82 times that season and even notched 14 HR to add a little offense to the club. Drafted by Coach Kerr in the 5th round of the 2002 Rookie Draft, he went to Longstown for the one decent year, then to Canaan for a pair before landing in New England for the final campaign.
Corey Koskie- Selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 Rookie Draft by the Hit-Men, Koskie put up some decent if not spectacular numbers for some awfully good Cleveland teams in the early part of this century. He fit into an awesome lineup and batted over .300 for 2 Championship Series- 2003 and 2007 for the club. He was an All Star once in 2003 and notched his best season in 2005 (.304, 25 HR, 91 rbi) though he had 107 rbi in 2003. He was traded to East York for his final season. His OBP was pretty nice thanks to a 94 BB in 140 games in 2001, and the power wound up being only so-so. Although he booted 19 in 2002, the rest of the career was more than adequate at the hot corner. He played in 60 post season games in his 9 year career, batting .269 with 35 rbi.
Jason Lane- See Joe Borchard above. Did you know his middle name was Dean?
Barry Larkin- 3rd time ballot- the repeat: Whoa,
Nellie! Lots to look at here, let’s see
what I mean. It has not always been that
there were offensive SS on every roster.
Larkin might have been 5 years ahead of time, or maybe ARod, Jeter, Tulowitzki were 5
years too late. Regardless, Larkin
brought offense to a defensive position and as such transposed the game a bit
as most others have not. His numbers
don’t scare you, but you have to remember he manned a “skill” position and was
only in the top 10 in errors 1 time.
Mick’s 2nd rookie draft with us was in 1987 after his woeful
1986 expansion club took the field.
Larkin was his 2nd round pick and part of the transformation
from perennial 100 loss teams to the 7 time league champion that he is. It wasn’t instant, in fact took 5 years or so
to get over .500, but Larkin was part of it and if the 66ers had ever had a
captain, Barry would have been it. The 7
time All-Star and 4 time All-League player posted a career .277 batting average
with nearly 1000 rbi.
He batted over .300 just 4 times in his career and drove in more than 82
just once (123 in 1997), but was a needed piece of the 66er offense. He stole 53 bases in 1996 for his high water
mark, and played in 158 games in 1991.
His numbers won’t compare to the big boppers, but tell me a SS with more
impact through the 1990s. As a function
of the teams he played for, Larkin appeared in 80 post season games with 86
hits in in 327 at bats with 31 rbi. Late in his career he moved to Canaan for one
season before winding up in
Travis Lee- He came up at the same time as Derrick Lee and I remember trying to remind myself which one I wanted and which I didn’t. It made no difference, though, as Scoop grabbed him with the 3rd overall pick of the 1999 Rookie Draft. Wonder if Scoop read the same mags as I did? But Lee held down 1st base for the team through some trying times as the Crushers had some lean years in the early 00s. He was a 1B with little power yet fielded well and walked enough to punch in for a 9 year career, all with the Crushers. He drove in as many as 78 once (2002) and homered as many as 20 (2002) and actually swiped 9 sacks in 2000. The career numbers seem to be lacking a bit however.
Mike Lieberthal- Here’s another one of those guys that you have to be sure they aren’t still on an NSL roster. Lieberthal hung around for 13 seasons in the league and put together some decent seasons being an All-Star twice as well as being voted on to two All-League teams. He was snagged by Denny in the 3rd round of the 1995 Rookie Draft and after 3 pine sitting years (15 G, 21 AB) he took over the starting gig for the P’s helping them to 4 post season appearances over the next 8 seasons. He rode the Lon/Can shuttle in 2006 and finished off his career in Vermont. 2004 was an All Star/All League season when he batted .327 with 16 HR and 82 rbi. In his other All Star year (2000) he smote 28 long balls and drove in a career best 108. Shouldn’t he be managing in the majors soon? I mean a retired catcher- seems they get all the jobs.
Javy Lopez- Face it, we were all Braves fans before the advent of ESPN, Fox Sports Net, and maybe even WGN. Who didn’t like Lopez? As mentioned many times above with the advent of IF who actually contributed on offense, not many of us had a catcher who could contribute. Ash selected Lopez with the 7th overall pick in the 1994 Rookie Draft and he stayed right there in TMI for 14 seasons. In the NSL he was a very good catcher- not fantastic- but very good. He was an All Star 7 times and was on 4 All League teams. Yet he never appeared in a post season game, a reflection of the Tiger franchise which after 1991 was mostly a .500 team. So the numbers may be nice from a longevity aspect, but he just never put it all together in a career year, being much more stable and consistent through his career. His power numbers were best in 2004- 32 HR and 28 doubles but he drove in more (101) in 2005. In 2000 he had his best BA (.329) yet he only appeared in 67 games that year. Most of us can remember those old Braves teams- Blauser at SS, Lemke at 2B, Dale Murphy, etc. and Lopez was a big part. We might not be able to remember the Tigers of those years, but we can agree that Lopez was the catcher and he had a fine career.
Eli Marrero- You just have to love a guy named Eli, don’t you? How many of you have named a son Eli anyway? No matter, as the Rapper drafted him with the 10th overall pick in the 1999 Rookie Draft and he immediately slipped into his role as backup catcher on some dynamite teams. He only played as many as 116 games once (2003- an All Star season) where out of the blue he hit 28 HR and drove in 74. He only hit 33 in his other 8 seasons combined. I sort of thought his career BA might have been a little better (.234) but besides 2003 there just wasn’t much on the board for him. He retired after his 2007 season- an ugly .053 1 rbi in 32 games mostly as an limit helper.
Edgar Martinez- 3rd time around- the repeat: So much
is said about him being one dimensional and a dh type. Hard to remember that he played almost a
dozen years at third and was at least adequate doing so. That OBP is no misprint- Edgar was in the top
10 in walks in the league for 5 straight years, 1996-2000. His power was fine- not fantastic- but fine,
and his rbi compares to Belle pretty well. In addition,
Ramon E. Martinez- Why the E you might ask? There was, of course, another Ramon Martinez in the league- that one being a decent pitcher for TMI. This one well, at best a UT IF for Keystone and Gulf Breeze. He was selected in the 6th round of the 2000 Rookie Draft (yes- right after expansion we drafted all the rookies for a few years) by JB which pretty much tells you with what high regard we held him. He did appear in 110 games in 2002 for the C’s, but batted .184. Nothing much in the career numbers either.
Luis Matos- He played five years for 3 different NSL teams with not that much positive to say. Goody selected him with his 3rd rookie pick in 2001 and he was cut- anyone else cut their 3rd rookie recently? But he was and Ash got him in a FA draft and he was cut after a season, just in time for Kevin and the Jericho Roscoes to get him as the #1 FA pick in 2004. That resulted in a pretty nice.290 BA with 10 HR and 42 rbi in 109 games, but the last 3 years of his career were a wash, finishing up with Glenville and a.149 BA in 2007.
Fred McGriff- 4th ballot- here’s the repeat- We’ve
talked a little about some first basemen in this ballot and generally speaking
it was to talk about their lack of pop in a steroid era. I would bet that Fred McGriff stops that
talk. McGriff was an All Star 7 times
and All League 3 times in a wonderful 17 year career. His power numbers are tops on the ballot and
his 501 career long balls ranks 7th on our all time list. Not only the power, but McGriff carried a
nice OBP throughout his career and batted .275.
He was originally selected by South Amherst (now
Doug Mirabelli- Who can possibly forget that cab ride from Logan to Fenway after he was traded to the Red Sox and had to get there to catch Wakefield- yes, Varitek was just a tad nervous about that. But Mirabelli showed up thanks to a police escort (when was the last time you were escorted by the police when you were late?) and as I recall played decently. Speaking of decent that tells you about his NSL career- a pretty good back up catcher for the Derby Wolverines and Green Mountain Canucks with a 15 HR in 670 games season mixed in for East York. He batted .327 for the Canucks of 2005 but played in a high of 63 games in 2001. Speaking of major league skippers- he should be one shortly, right?
Phil Nevin- Speaking of guys you thought were still active in the majors- I expect to see him in camp with someone this spring. But, he’s been out for 5 years so he gets on our ballot. It doesn’t seem possible, does it? Nevin was mostly a DH/PH type guy who enjoyed his best years as a 1B/C type guy. He was great for the Woodchucks of 2002, blasting 41 HR and driving in 118 while batting .291- obviously a career year- yet posted a .125 with no XBH in the 2002 post season. The ‘chucks have been playing such great baseball and are almost always a lock for the post season, yet they seem to fade when the games get more meaningful. Yes- this leads me to think about doing a post season write up with team records and such- maybe tomorrow. Mick grabbed Nevin in the 1996 Rookie Draft moving to the Farmland Chieftones for 3 seasons before moving to Vermont for his best seasons. It ended after a couple of years as a Wolf’s Wizard. In 2001 he had a great 33 HR season with a .282 average- leading up to his monster 2002. But other than 2007 (23 dongs) things were fairly flat in the power department Still, though, there have been many worse drafted in the 4th round of a rookie draft.
John Olerud- 2nd
ballot- Dave Burnham has been around forever. He revived the old
Rafael Palmeiro- 3rd
ballot- I actually took a day off on the ballot to decide what to do with Raffy. It was easy
to think we could just blow him off like McGwire. I mean after all, weren’t they the same type
guy? Didn’t they both use the steroids
whether they admit to it or not? Ah,
guilty until proven innocent. But wait
just a second- Palmeiro’s numbers are so much better
than McGwire’s. They’re both right there
on the stat sheet- take a second and compare them. Wow! Raffy is 3rd on our All-Time list in rbi, 8th in doubles, 5th in HR, and
11th in BB. That’s very
impressive. He was a 4 time All-Star and
2 time All-League. So what’s the
beef? I guess the, “Senator- I didn’t
use steroids, period” line has me hedging.
Maybe it was the Viagra stuff.
Who knows, but all I’m going to say is how great his numbers are- the
steroid stuff is for us to judge- it’s our league and we’ll vote in who we
want. But Palmeiro’s
numbers are more than enough to get in; what do we think about his questionable
past? Maybe if he and McGwire both stood
up and said, “yes, I used”, we’d forgive?
It’s a tough subject, but Raffy did test
positive at one point. We’ll go back
into the archives of my brain and come up with all the guys who used speed in
the 80s, and other things in the early 1900s.
I mean- it’s always been there, hasn’t it? What was in the Babe’s hot dogs? Did Dock Ellis really throw a no hitter “high
as a kite”? Did Bernie Carbo come to the ball park high every day? I’m not siding with Raffy
or McGwire. I have a bottle of vitamins
here from the 1920s which had Dextroamphetamine in
it. Yeah- regular multivitamins, and
that was before anyone knew what ADD was.
If Ellis was on LSD- he sure didn’t get tested after the game for
it. What are we going to hold against a
player, and what are we not? Raffy originally was the 9th overall pick of the
original James Gang in the 1988 Rookie Draft.
After the team moved to Tod Delaricheliere, he was traded to New England in 1993 and on
Eduardo Perez- This is Eddie Perez, the catcher, not Eduardo Perez, the DH/1B type guy. I’m not even sure why you’re reading this, but Eddie was a decent back up catcher in the late 90s and early 00splaying for 4 different clubs and going through 4 different FA drafts. I think that explains his career pretty well.
Tomas Perez- Think of a lousy Ramon E Martinez. Yup- nice thoughts, eh?
Joe Randa- How could you not love this guy? I mean besides Trevor Wilson, who do you remember that smiled all day every day? Randa put together an 11 year career in the NSL with very little power but a decent average and pretty good longevity numbers. He was an All Star twice and his best year was one of those seasons when he batted .324 with 81 rbi for the 2001 Pounders. His high water mark for long balls was an unexpected 28 for the East Hardwick Giants in 2006, but after a 10 game stint for Johnson in 2007 he was gone. He did have a decent amount of doubles and was a pretty nice 7th or 8th hitter, and the career was certainly decent. He batted less than .170 in 14 post season games. Becker originally took him in the 2nd round of the 1997 Rookie Draft, and he filtered down through Pa where he had his best seasons, the Giants and then Johnson. He’s probably still smiling somewhere.
Olmedo Saenz- Traded 8 times in a 6 year career he never played for the same team in back to back years. He was basically a PH/DH type guy with a little bit of pop but no speed and not much of an eye. His last season turned out to be his best for York when he batted .308 with 12 HR and 47 rbi. He also batted over .300 for the 2000 Elite and drove in a career best 48 in 2006 for the Pounders.
Reggie Sanders- Sometimes guys mirror their major league careers and sometimes they don’t. What we remember the most about Sanders is how he was a good luck charm at the end of his career and his teams often made the playoffs. In his 15 year career in the NSL he made the post season 5 times which is pretty darn good when you consider some of the teams he played for. But many of us forget his early years when he was a bona fide 5-tool player and as such was selected by Goody with the 8th overall pick in the 1993 Rookie Draft. He then went 14 straight seasons with double digit HR and a solid batting average, putting up very good if not gaudy numbers. His best campaign was 2004 for the Elite when he smacked 42 long balls and drove in 111. His lone All Star year was 1996 for the Pounders with a career best .339 average and 37 long balls. His 301 HR is 64th on the overall list, yet no one accuses him of steroids despite the era he played in. He posted 1023 rbi (77th all time0 and 222 SB (67th all time). Perhaps some of these are longevity numbers, but he never appeared in more than 134 games in a season, 5 times playing less than 100. It started out as if it would be a superstar career, and ended as a very good career.
Larry Walker- His 2nd ballot- Now would
probably be a good time to stop walking the dog and look at a player’s
record. We can start with a career (6822
ab) batting average of .299- third to Bagwell and Olerud on the ballot.
Larry batted a career best in 2000 for the Cleveland Hit Men (.387) and
as with most players, the power peaked in the middle (58 HR, 146 rbi in 1998), then the numbers
were pretty solid on either end as well.
Marc Delarichelierre and the East Hardwick
Hurricanes took him in the 1991 rookie draft in the first round, but he was
quickly moved to the James Gang and then to
Todd Walker- It seems that he had just one killer card one year and many of us were after that card. I’m not saying he was overrated, but I clearly remember him being one we all tried to pry loose, yet it didn’t happen. He was blessed with playing for some very good teams- East York for his first 5 years followed by Vermont for 5 years. There wasn’t a ton of power, but there were some BB and a little speed at least. But Walker played a “skill” position and had decent offensive numbers- the type player we were all looking for. He didn’t kill you at 2nd base (did have 24 boots in 2006) and finished with a very nice .272 average and a .325 fielding pct. Remember that since we do not keep HBP- OBP might be a tad low. You might now ask me what a tad is. Hee-hee, look it up, junior! Walker batted over .300 3 times (.323 in 2006) and drove in a career best in 2002 (79), yet his 2 All Star years (1999 and 2005) his numbers were considerably down. Mick took him with the third overall pick in the 1997 Rookie Draft and was later sent to Vermont before finishing up in New England. He played 37 post season games batting .257.
Rondell White- I don’t think he was as hyped as Reggie Sanders was, but he was Wolfgang’s 1st round rookie pick (6th overall) in 1994. He then punched out 10 so-so seasons for the Wizards, went to NE for a year, and on to Magic City for the final 3. The career numbers are all sort of blasé, He did hit more than 18 HR once (30 in 1998) and drove in 91 that same year. But there’s nothing in the career or seasonal numbers that just makes you want to jump up and sing (unless you’re Becker). He certainly took a back seat to Griffey Jr. and Manny on some Wizard clubs, but I’m pretty sure if we asked Eric today he’ll mention he doesn’t think he got enough out of him.
Bernie Williams- He was pretty easy to like even if you’re a Yankee hater. He stretched out 16 really nice seasons for 4 NSL franchises and appeared in an almost unheard of 93 post season games, a reflection of the fine teams he was on. His OBP is really nice and a .288 batting average puts him 26th career wise. He was never in the top 10 in HR yet pounded 276 for his career and 1197 rbi makes you take notice. His 1312 runs is good for 31st overall in a career. Bernie batted .339 twice in his career (1996 and 2000). He was originally selected by East York in the1992 Rookie Draft first round and after 4 seasons moved to Magic City where the career simply exploded. His first Mauler year resulted in 187 hits, 104 rbi, and the first of his .339 batting averages. Four of the next 5 seasons he was an All Star for Bryan putting up his career year in 2000 (198H, 132 R, 137 rbi, 26 HR, 9 T, 55 BB and a .339 BA). He later went to York for 3 years and was finally pawned off to the Johnson Yankees, er Knights for his last 2 seasons. It doesn’t appear that all his numbers are simply longevity numbers, as his career was relatively short (16 seasons) for that to come into play. To maintain the high BA and OBP makes is a pretty special career, though. He’s easy to like- maybe the anti-Bonds, but that probably shouldn’t be a factor. His numbers are nice- you’ll have to decide how nice.
Craig A. Wilson- Now please tell me this, since 1979 we’ve had 3 Craig Wilson’s in the league. Why? Was there some sort of study as to the best names for you to make the majors? Couldn’t one of them been named Greg or Craigy or even Eli? Man oh man. Anyway, this Craig was traded 4 times in a 6 year career and appeared for New England in 3 different stints. He had a career year in 2005 for the Wildcats- when he batted .254 with 32 long balls and 95 rbi, but he also whiffed 159 times and clunked 26 that year. Unless you’re Nathaniel or someone named Craig Wilson I’m not sure that there is much here for you.
Preston Wilson- In 1999 we expanded for the most recent time and with that came the advent of one Mike Cross and the Crosstown Clydesdales. With Crossie you got a nice package of intensity, knowledge, and overall friend to anyone type guy. The ‘dales had some issues becoming competitive, but had a pretty nice early OF with Reggie Sanders and Preston Wilson, along with guys like “the captain”, Ricky Gutierrez. They’ve all moved on to more important things now, but Wilson (the 3rd round rookie pick in 1999) was a pretty nice return for the ‘dales, and in 2004 posted a career year, batting .312 with 40 bombs and 135 rbi helping the Clydesdales to their first Championship Series. Wilson disappointed in that post season (9 for 55, but 9 rbi and 3 HR in 16 games), but rode that nice season to an All Star and All League team. The career numbers are fairly short as his career was only 9 years, and the rest of the career wasn’t fabulous (.290 in 2000 with 98 rbi was tops), but he was certainly adequate for a team that was just getting started. He struck out way too much (196 in 156 games in 2001, 984 overall in the 9 year career), but you could have done much worse with a 3rd rounder.
Vance Wilson- A truly non-descript backup catcher, Wilson was not selected in the 2002 Rookie Draft, but was in the 2003 FA draft by the Pounders. He posted a decent .282 with 11 HR in 81 games in 2004, but there is not much else to look at on that career record. Let’s see, backup catcher, short career, should be a major league manager soon, right?
Chris Woodward- Well, here’s a reason we should lower raise eligibility requirements. Woodward averaged less than 50 games per season in his seven years and was a decent backup UT type player, one of those guys you put in to the lineup when it’s 13-1 in the 6th. Six of his years were with Green Mountain and didn’t he look great in that “Catch a Canuck” letter head that Burnie used to send out. He did manage a .319 (160 ab) in 2005 and .295 (173 ab) for the Crusaders of 2006, but everything else looks pretty bland.