Felix Jose – 1990 Score
December 24, 2010
“Wait, So It’s Not Junior Felix Jose?”
From a set that I named “Slanted, Yet Not Enchanted” at Night Owl’s, I bring you a player that at times confused me. Not only because of his name, and his sobriquet’s closeness to Junior Felix, but as someone who should have been in the league a lot longer than he was.
Or at least I thought so.
At the time, if you recall, Oakland was the Tiffany franchise. They were loaded with good, young players and crafty vets. The only weakness they had was in right field, where Stan Javier just wasn’t up to snuff. So in 1990, Jose looked like an excellent replacement after a couple of solid years at AAA. He seemed to be an all-around player.
With the Hendersons, Canseco, and Jose it looked like the Oakland outfield would be solid for a few more years. Of course, in pennant races, all bets are off, and even though the A’s were pulling away from the rest of the AL West, LaRussa and company pulled the trigger on some late August deals, obtaining Harold Baines from the Rangers for two pitchers who wound up with short careers (Joe Bitker and Scott Chiamparino) and then the big deal was snagging Willie McGee from the Cards for Stan Royer and Jose.
Baines and McGee were headed for free agency after the deal, but still those deals looked like highway robbery for the A’s.
Royer didn’t pan out, but Jose did at first. In his first full year in St. Louis, he hit well, got on base, stole a few bases, and played a competent outfield. He made the All-Star team and was arguably the MVP of the team.
He had another fine year in 1992, and again it seemed he would be part of a young outfield that would last a long time. Gilkey, Lankford and Jose were all 27 or under, and all had multiple skills.
Except the Cards packed him off to Kansas City for Greg Jefferies at the beginning of Spring Training. Jefferies tore up the NL in 1993 (much to the chagrin of Mets fans everywhere) while Jose struggled back in the AL.
And I mean struggled. He lost his discipline and most of his power. He only slugged .349. It was a train wreck of a season.
Jose rebounded in 1994 – he hit .303 with a .362 OBP. His power was back. Then, the strike hit.
And then Jose became the baseball vagabond.
He signed late after the strike was settled, and released a month later. The Cubs signed him, sent him to Iowa and released him soon after.
Two years ago he was the centerpiece of a big trade. Now, he was fighting for his baseball life, and he just turned 30.
Felix just dug in, and played wherever he could. The minors, South Korea, Mexico, winter ball. He did get back to the bigs in 2000 with the Yanks and 2002-03 with Arizona, but most of the time was out of the US (heck, out of the continent) playing outfield.
He still was at it as late as 2009. Playing for Schaumburg in the Northern League he hit .306 with an .833 OPS. Now, it’s just a lower-level independent league, and he was only the DH, but give the guy a break – Jose was 44 years old.
I just finished clearing the ice and snow off of our driveway and sidewalk, and I hurt in about 42,198 places. I just turned 45. Jose could probably go 2-4 with a double today at age 45.
He may be doing that now somewhere!
As I said, this Score series is what I called “Slanted & Not So Enchanted”, so here’s a bunch of Pavement from the album “Slanted & Enchanted”. Now go and slack…