Glenallen Hill – 1991 Fleer
March 21, 2011
Spider Man, Spider Man…
On an AOL Cubs’ fan board (remember those?) I got into huge arguments with those who I decided were stats neanderthals (basically Glen Beckert was their ideal second baseman because he didn’t strike out) about the value of Glenallen Hill.
The uproar started when I said that Hill was defensively challenged, a platoon player and was losing his speed. They took that as an affront to his manhood, especially when I said he was losing his speed. To them, I said he didn’t hustle. I didn’t say that. He was getting slower and no longer stealing bases or using his speed. (Little known to us, he was juicing (he admitted it) and the bulk cut down his speed.)
They saw Hill playing full blast all the time and thought he was what the Cubs needed – hustle. Never mind he was getting slower. Never mind that he played defense “aking to watching a gaffed haddock surfacing for air”. He was what the Cubs needed. Yes, he could mash the ball – but he wasn’t a good fit and getting older. When his bat went, he was out of the league quickly.
At times, the Cubs played an outfield of Henry Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa and Glenallen Hill. Can you count the doubles to the gap during those games, children? It’s probably a very big number!
My retort was that those guys wanted the young Hill, not the Hill that was playing in Wrigley in 1999. But no matter, I was a stats geek-o (though part of my argument was that Lou Piniella got sick of him and released him in 1998, so that wasn’t so empirical was it?)
The Hill in this card was that player. He was fast, could hustle, he just didn’t hit as well as he did later in his career.
And why the nickname Spiderman? Turns out when he was a youngster in Toronto, he was sleepwalking and dreaming about spiders and fell through a glass window.