Bill Schroeder – 1986 Fleer

February 22, 2012

 

Forget Chuck Norris…

No one messes with Bill Schroeder behind the dish…

Just look at him. You wanna piece of him?

Well do ya?

Thought so.

 

Frank Wills – 1986 Fleer

November 11, 2011

“Wrong Number, Meat”

Frank was a loner during his year with the Mariners.

You would be an angry man if you went from spending 1984 with a perennial contender, the Royals (don’t laugh please) to spending 1985 with the laughing stock of the American League.

You would be an irate man if you only went to the Mariners after spending the spring with the Mets, who were very much on the rise. (Wills was part of a four-team deal also involving the Royals, Mets, Rangers and Brewers also involving Danny Darwin, Don Slaught, Tim Leary and Jim Sundberg.)

You would be a furious man if you went 5-11, 6.00 (ERA 70+) with more walks than strikeouts and earned a trip to the Great White North (Calgary) for a stint.

And you would be an irascible curmudgeon if some nosy photographer wanted to snap your picture while stewing over your last outing and watching Mark Langston or Jim Beattie also getting their head caved in.

So, yeah…shut up meat.

Back & Gone Again…

I’m now off to a wedding in Da Region (the area of Indiana near Chicago – they claim not to be Hoosiers but they are…they definitely are). So whilst I do read and comment on occassion (without pissing off my girlfriend, that’s why it’s on occassion) another post won’t happen until next week.

And I’m on pins and needles about some job interviews. But hey, that’s the way it goes.

And yes, Mr. Owl, my Manifesto can stretch to include non-players as base cards for sets I want to collect. What’s the use of a manifesto if it can’t bend to whims?

So with that, enjoy Jaime Cocanower, a vestige of a time when the Brewers were trying, in vain, to recapture 1982 on the backs of power, eschewing defense and pitching. But they also tried to use the same players from 1982, and they got old in a hurry.

Case in point, the 1985 Brewers. Mr. Cocanower wasn’t awful (6-8, 4.33).  That was a serviceable #5 starter. The top 4 were Danny Darwin (2.7 WAR despite a bad luck 8-18 record), Ted Higuera (15 wins and a 3.2 WAR – so much for W/L record, eh Joe Morgan? Higuera wasn’t seven wins better than Darwin), Moose Haas (8-8, 3.84 and a 1.6 WAR) and the grizzled vet Ray Burris (9-13, 4.81 but with decent peripherals and a 1.4 WAR).

Unfortunately, Pete Vuckovich got 22 starts to show that he was really, truly, done. Rollie Fingers saved 17 games but also showed that he was really, truly, done. Bob Gibson saved 11 games but allowed 44% of his inherited runners to score. Pete Ladd was done. Ray Searage wasn’t up to the task (as noted here…). Bob McClure was as meh as he always was. And don’t talk to me about Rick Waits.

The starting five (allowing that Cocanower could have been the fifth instead of Vuckovich) with a better pen could have carried the team. But the Brewers weren’t built for that. They were allegedly built to thump the ball.

Of the Top 11 hitters based on ABs in 1985, nine were vets of the 1982 team. Of those nine, only Molitor, Yount and Ed Romero were under 30. (And yes, Ed Romero doesn’t really count).

The other five were Charlie Moore (STILL HERE?), Jim Gantner (who seemed to be barely hanging on in 1986 at age 32 – he made a career out of hanging on), Cecil Cooper (just 16 HRs as a 1B / DH), Rick Manning (SERIOUSLY?), Ben Oglivie and Ted Simmons. The ‘kids’ waiting to replace them were also old – Marc Brouhard, Doug Loman, and Bobby Rose were on the wrong side of 27.

The other regulars were Paul Householder, a failed phenom (much in the Clint Hurdle mode) whose season looks OK until you remember that he hit .321 with eight home runs and an OPS of 998 in September, and he compilde a 595 OPS the five previous months and Ernie Riles, an overvalued player who hit enough singles to finish third in the ROY voting but was an bad shortstop and useless when he slumped to .260.

That was a team that was supposed to reclaim the Harvey Wallbanger’s mystique?

The next year, the Brewers decided to clean house and revamped their pitching staff and younger players like Rob Deer, Glenn Braggs and Dale Sveum began peppering their lineup cards.

Why do I write this? Well, this great article by Rany Jazayerli points out that the 2011 Brewers are similar to Harvey’s Wallbangers. With free agency, the free fall could take longer than four seasons for the Brewers to bottom out, but signs are there for another collapse after a glorious season.

But in baseball, you take those risks. If you feel you have one chance to win due to happenstance and circumstance, you take the chance. I don’t like destroying the future of a club to win now in many circumstances, but sometimes you gotta.

And the 2011 Brewers gotta.

This Could Be Me, As A Player

First thing – I have been silent thanks to a great weekend. No, really, it was great.

Second, I will be posting my updated want list and late this week post the sign up sheet for the Spring Cleaning.

Third, I now have a part-time job at Target. No, I’m not spending my earning on blasters. Yet.

As for Gallego, I may have been weird, or realistic, but in dreaming of playing baseball for $$ as a kid I always thought I’d be more of a middle infielder than anything. I knew I didn’t have power but I thought with smarts and versatility I could carve out a niche. At least when I dreamt about it.

Of course, that was in the 70′s and 80′s where you had 15 position players, usually, so there was plenty of room for a utility infielder or two on the roster. So I identified with the Junior Kennedys, Dave Rosellos, Scott Fletchers, and yes, Mike Gallegos of the world.

For the most part, Gallego was a guy who could play multiple positions, bunt and keep things steady by giving everyone a day off or two. Just as long as he wasn’t the regular, he was valuable.

Gallego, though, DID become the ‘regular’ shortstop in 1989 and the ‘regular’ second baseman in 1990, and had predictably so-so results.

In 1991, he really was the regular 2B for the A’s (126 games started) and somehow had a great offensive season, hitting 12 home runs and had a 4.3 WAR. (With those 12 homers, did he find the leftover juice in the locker room?? Hmmm…)

The Yanks made him a millionaire after that season, and in 1992 he didn’t do much, but he had another great year in 1993 as a plug-in at 2B, SS and 3B. After that, it was a steady decline into coaching.

Yeah, I know, most kids want to be the stars – Ripken, Boggs, Bench, Morgan. But baseball needs Gallego’s as well. And you know, why can’t you dream about that too?

Jerry Reed – 1986 Topps

December 8, 2010

Eastbound & Down?

Actually, I prefer this:

Or this:

Oh, hell, once more with feeling:

Well, I know it’s not the same Jerry Reed. But there are similarities.

One, actually. It took both of them a long time to get to the top of their professions.

The guitarist didn’t have his first real hit until “Guitar Man” in 1967, when he was 30. It took a while for him to be really established, and then he had a short career at the top. (Not counting his forays into cinema).

The pitcher was almost 30 when he got his first real shot at the bigs with Cleveland. It took him a while to get established and then he had a short career at the top.

Reed had a couple of cups of coffee and a danish with the Phils and Indians before Cleveland called him up in mid-1985. He was their best pitcher out of their pen that season (Von Ohlen had a better ERA but let in almost 50% of his inherited runners). So, of course, Cleveland releases him in spring training the next year, so they could keep Dickie Noles, Jamie Easterly and Jim Kern. Three has-beens and an order of fries, please.

Seattle signed him, late, put him in AAA and called him up near the end of the 1986 season. He then spent some decent years toiling in obscurity for the Mariners (but it beats toiling in obscurity in the PCL), setting up and co-closing with luminaries such as Mike Schooler, Bill Wilkinson, Ed Nunez, Michael Jackson and Dennis Powell.

Like I said, it beats slinging baseballs in Old Orchard Beach.

But all things come to an end, and in 1990 the end came for Reed. Seattle released him early in the season after a few ineffective outings, then the Red Sox signed him but he wasn’t up to snuff. In early August, they also cut him loose.

It wasn’t the end for Reed, though. He signed to play for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball League in the fall of 1990. He lasted four games – the league didn’t last much longer.

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