Oh, Laddie M’Boy…Ya Just Din’ Have It…

Cohen Williams “Laddie” Renfroe – interesting name, interesting stats, and an interesting pitching style.

He was a minor league closer going up through the Cubs chain and in 1989 in AA he compiled some quirky stats. Starting just two games, while appearing with 78, he went 19-7 with 15 saves.

But AAA was a bit rougher. Yet the Cubs being the Cubs, they reached for Laddie in mid-1991 to fill one of their bullpen holes.

It didn’t work out. In four games, he gave up seven runs, 11 hits, and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. His most regrettable performance was in his third game on July 7th against the Cards. He blew a one-run lead with two out in the ninth, and then after the Cubs scratched out a run off of Cris “The Punter” Carpenter in the 11th, Renfroe gave up a double to Todd Zeile, and then three singles and a walk for the loss. After nine days, he had one lousy performance against Atlanta and it was back to Iowa, for good.

After 1992, he was out of the game.

Had Score not wanted an huge set in 1992, Renfroe would never have received a card. He did get a major league debut card for Topps in 1992 but not a card in a regular set, except for this one.

Say what you want about huge sets (like the 10,357 card sets of late Upper Deck), sometimes these big sets give a guy their only shot at cardboard glory.

As long as they look at the front, and not look at the stats on the back, I bet Cohen Williams Renfroe (“Laddie” to his friends) is quite proud!

 

 

Umm…

I can’t add anything to this.

PS – More Gint-A-Cuff scoring soon, but after tomorrow it’ll be about a week since I got things to do and people to see and suits to put on…

 

 

Hey, Look At That…

Yeah, I’ve been busy recently. Lots of hours at Target. A busy time with legal and other issues. Jobs being searched for and resumes sent. Networking done. And a girlfriend who left today to visit Russia with a campus group at the school she works at. She’s gone for two weeks.

Oh, and I’ve finished getting the boxes ready for Spring Cleaning and going to mail out Wednesday (today for most of us, tomorrow for some).

So have a look at Greg Harris (the original model) looking silly…

Is This Where The Royals Lost The Mojo?

Some housekeeping: Thanks to some AWESOME DUDES the Spring Cleaning signup is closed. The want list is open, of course, and will be continually updated, but soon I will ship out the spring cleaning lots. Huzzah to all! Huzzah!

Now to the main event:

When you think of David Howard (if you ever do except when browsing through your baseball card collection) you think of a generic middle infielder that would have been more apt for a team in the 70s than the 90s. He was the ultimate good field (4.4 dWAR) no hit (-2.6 oWAR) player that could help as a defensive replacement and a day-off starter. If he played every day, your team was in trouble.

Howard came up in 1991 and established himself as a major league defender and an offensive millstone. Still, the Royals liked him and he got the lions share of the PT at short in 1992. His competition was Rico Rossy and Curtis Wilkerson. Perhaps that was a reason they went 72-90.

There was an expansion draft for Florida and Colorado in 1992, and each team could protect 15 players at first. After both the first and second round the teams could claw back players. Each teams protected list was ‘secret’. (Hah!)

With the 21st pick in the draft, the Marlins selected Jeff Conine from the Royals. Most every baseball fan of some seasoning knows Conine. He was a good  player for many years. Yes, he held on too long, but he was a good guy with a sweet swing. Conine also beat long odds to make it, being a 58th round draft pick out of UCLA in 1987. That’s about the time where you either did draft-and-follows or drafted friends, neighbors and relatives. But he made the majors in short order and was a top-rated prospect – being the #45 ranked by Baseball America in 1991.

Conine was hurt in 1991, but rebounded in 1992 and got another call-up to the bigs. He would also be 27 in 1993. But the Royals regular outfield contained Kevin McReynolds and Jim Eisenreich, both over 30 and the main backups were Gary Thurman and Kevin Koslofski, both in the same age range as Conine.

It’s not out of the ordinary that Conine would be on the expansion list. Fifteen players throughout the organization isn’t that much of a list (the expansion lists were for majors and minors except for very recent draftees). Looking at the 1992 Royals, there are at least six pitchers the Royals would protect, leaving nine others from other positions, not to mention any players from the minors.

However, when reports came out from the various sites about who was protected, it was reported that the Royals protected Howard.

David Howard over Jeff Conine. A guy who raked all through the minors when he was healthy versus a guy who was called up to the bigs despite hitting just .122 in AAA and whose career OPS in the MINORS was .577.

Never mind the Royals were soon to sign Greg Gagne to play short. (Gagne signed about three weeks after the expansion draft, and you’d be daft if you thought that they hadn’t zeroed in on Gagne before then.)

Now the reports could have been wrong, but the fact that many reported (as I remember) that Howard was protected and Conine was not spells the beginning of the end of the Royals as contenders and beginning of the Royals as also-rans only out-stanked by the Pirates.

Deep Thoughts With Bobby Thigpen?

Can a man with a mullet have deep thoughts?

I mean, you don’t ask Barry Melrose about Hegelianism, or the plight of the serfs in 14th century Europe and how that relates to modern day service workers, or parsing the differences in the Gospels as to the fate of Judas Iscariot, do you?

I think Thigpen was thinking about how one can go from 57 saves to 30 at the drop of a hat….

Terry, Portrait Of A Serial Killer

The look on Steinbach’s face is unsettling. I think the BAU team should be after him.

As for the title…

And of course, you remember Michael Rooker from Eight Men Out as Chick Gandil:

To close the circle, Michael Rooker played a sheriff on a Criminal Minds episode.

I just put those in there to distract you from Steinbach’s scary mug…

Hide the children!

It’s THE Scott Leius…

So what do we know about the Troisieme – But of the Twins? (Heh…he said butt…)

A. He’s got a hella-mullet!

B. The Twins spring training jerseys were a bit flimsy.

C. He’s only 2 1/2 months older than I am.

D. He was a teammate of the immortal Willie Fraser in college. Now that’s something you can hang your hat on.

E. He hit .357 in the 1991 World Series.

F. 1991 was his only good year at the plate. He was considered a fine defensive player, finishing second in the Gold Glove voting at third in 1994. But the advanced metrics of the time show that he was about at replacement level on defense. He didn’t make errors, and that probably helped him.

G. He was supposed to be the regular shortstop in 1993 for the Twins, but on April 21 he left a game after scoring a run, and was not seen again in the big leagues. Were aliens involved?

H. He was a kid from Yonkers, but has stuck around Minnesota and is now a coach at Big League Baseball Camp with Tim Laudner and Gene Larkin. I couldn’t see if he still had the mullet.

No, Not This One…

Sorry, folks. Due to technical difficulties we mixed up the player for this post. While we intended to extol the virtues of Chris Carpenter, current Cardinal and former Blue Jay hurler and frequent DL visitor.

But instead, the used-to-be-crack research staff found this card of Cris Carpenter, former Cardinal, Marlin, Brewer, Ranger and punter for the University of Georgia. While this Carpenter was an OK pitcher, the many paragraphs lauding Chris Carpenter and his surgeons had to be scrapped.

The sackings will begin shortly…

(Mynd you, Moose bites can be pritti nasti)

 

 

Protip:

Having a fully intact bat of regulation size and weight will increase your ability to hit.

Which One Was He, Kid Or Play?

Good question.

Thanks to hats and helmets, you never really get to see the nuances of a baseball players hair unless it’s to the extreme.

Oscar Gamble circa 1975 is one thing – Smith’s do was another.

Lonnie’s hairstyle fit snugly into a hat or helmet, and only reveal it’s wonder when the lid came off.

Skates, of course, was the goat of the 1991 series after being deked by the Twins middle infield during a hit-and-run play.

His fielding was comedic, yet believe it or not he was a plus fielder and had an outstanding defensive season in 1989 to go along with his best offensive season (168 OPS+, 21 home runs). Had the Braves had anyone else that could have played the game, Smith would have had triple digits in runs and RBI.

He hung on as a regular through 1991 and finally ran out of steam in 1994. But he was always a fun player, an underrated player, and could hit for average, run, and get on base. Had not Raines and Henderson been around, he could have been remembered as a great lead-off hitter.

But now, everyone will remember his adventures in left field and that gaffe in the 1991 Series. Oh, and now, that hairdo.

You know, hairstyles do come and go…thank goodness!

 

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