Saturday, August 24, 2013

Don't Choke!

Hitting was not my specialty as a baseball player.  Given that, I tried anything to get on base.  Lean into that fastball and get a free ride to first (and a really nasty bruise to boot)?  Sure, why not?  Choke up a few inches?  Heck, let’s choke up a lot of inches!  Choke and poke – that was me!

My 15-year-old, on the other hand, would rather die than choke up.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him choke up ever.  Even with an 0 and 2 count, he would never do anything so unmanly. 

Hey, Conor (my 15-year-old)!  Take a look at these guys.  Major leaguers all.  And nobody here’s afraid to choke up.

Light-hitting middle infielder now, are we?  How come these kind of guys never just posed with their gloves?

Though Terry Harmon did manage to stick in the majors for ten years, he was never a starter.  Playing backup to Dave Cash, Larry Bowa, and Mike Schmidt certainly didn’t help. 

In fact, in 1974, he was on the roster for the whole year but got in only 20 games (and 15 at bats!).  Cash, Bowa, and Schmidt?  They all got in 162 games each.

Wikipedia says Terry followed up his baseball career as an announcer with a local sports station, then a home shopping channel, and finally with a 24/7 jewelry channel.  Sounds like Terry finally found his niche.

That’s Mr. Light-Hitting Middle Infielder to you.

Larry Bowa managed to stick in the bigs for 16 years, and was a five-time All Star to boot.  It was not, however, his bat that got him there.  Over those 16 years, he batted a mere .260 and hit only 15 homers (less than one per year!).  On the flip side, though, he did lead the league in fielding average six times and win two Gold Gloves.

You may also know him as a manager, coach, and announcer.
Are you kidding me?

We’ve already talked a little about Felix Millan in this blog – in particular, about his Groucho-Marx-like eyebrows

I reviewed some of his stats there.  One thing I didn’t share was his wonderful nickname, “El Gatito.”  That’s Spanish for “The Kitten,” and was given him for his smooth hands in the field. 

No, really – is this a joke?  There’s more bat below this dude’s hands than above them.

Love the ‘stache though.

“Oh, if only I could hit like Felix!”

Actually, Gene Richards wasn’t a bad player at all.  In fact, he:
  • Was the first player selected in the ‘75 draft
  • Set a then rookie record for stolen bases with 56
  • Led the NL in triples in 1981
  • Can fix you up with a nice mortgage in Burlington VT (oops – wrong Gene Richards)

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