Not too bad.
Pepe Frias’s Wikipedia entry includes all of 30 words. From it, we learn his full name, birth date, nationality, position, and years of MLB service.
Part of that, I’m sure, is from Pepe’s being no more than your classic backup middle infielder. He did get one shot at the big time, though, when Atlanta gave him 510 at bats in 1979. He batted a respectable .259, hit the only HR he managed in 1346 career at bats, but also committed 32 errors.
His real name was Jesus Maria. His teammates called him “Harpo” (the ‘fro would grow). And another blogger pointed out how close his name is to papas fritas, Spanish for “French fries.”
Definitely getting there.
Johnnie LeMaster was another weak-hitting middle infielder. Unfortunately, he was also a first-round draft pick. And what that means is plenty of opportunities to show off that weak bat.
In fact, he was known as “Johnnie Disaster” and once came out on the field with “Boo” substituted for “LeMaster” on the back of his jersey. One blogger even wrote a post arguing that Johnnie was the worst MLB player ever.
Johnnie did, however, do something no other MLB player has ever done – he hit an inside-the-park homer in his first at bat. I guess it was all downhill from there.
Pumpsie Green didn't amount to much on the field, but off the field was another story. Bet you didn't know he:
- Went by the nickname Pumpsie, but was born Elijah
- Had a brother who played in the NFL
- Was the first black player for the Red Sox, the last team to integrate
- With Gene Conley, went missing for 3 days during the 1962 season (turning up at with him Idlewild Airport trying to buy tickets to Israel, with no passports or luggage)
You mad, bro?
Mike Ivie was another first rounder. In fact, Mike went first overall in the 1970 draft.
Mike actually had the start of a decent career, hitting 27 homers with the Giants in 1979.
Unfortunately, he then went and cut off his pinkie in a hunting accident in the offseason. After that, he got only an average of about 150 at bats over the next four years, with three different clubs, before finally bowing out.
"Ooh, teacher! Mike just said a bad word."
Hmm ... When I went to search on "dan schneider," Google suggested "dan schneider rape," "dan schneider pervert," and "dan schneider rumors." Wait a minute ... Wrong Dan!
A search on "dan schneider baseball" gets our man. There, we learn that Dan was a college All-American at the University of Arizona. He then went on to spend five years in the bigs, finishing 2-5, with a 4.71 ERA. Dan is also a member of the Pima County Sports Hall of Fame - which, by the way, is pretty much at the very opposite end of the country from Cooperstown.
I’ve already made fun of Tim McCarver’s hair and hat in a previous blog. Something’s telling me this isn’t the last we’ll be seeing of him.
In that previous blog, I touched on McCarver’s pretty decent stats. Here are some highlights from his long broadcasting career:
- He’s in the Hall of Fame (Broadcasters Wing)
- He’s won three Emmy Awards
- He won the Ford Frick Award in 2012
- He set a record for most World Series broadcast, with 13
- He’s broadcast for ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox
This seems half dumb and half like El Tiante is making fun of the batter.
Luis Tiant was a major character. Who can forget his weird back-to-the-batter windup, the cigars, the broken English, the fu man chu …?
He was also a pretty decent pitcher. He led his league twice in both ERA and shutouts, was a three-time All Star, and won 20 or more four times.
He shone in the post-season too, especially for the Sox. Overall, he finished with a 3-0 record and 2.78 ERA over 35 innings.
Wow, John Ellis sure did get around. Google tells me he was a catcher, first baseman, musician, physicist, animator, pastoralist, scrivener, and governor of North Carolina. Wikipedia actually lists no less than 40 John Ellisses.
According to his Wikipedia entry, our John Ellis:
- Was the first DH in Cleveland Indians history
- Caught Dick Bosman’s no-hitter
- Had a son who played for the University of Maine and in the Texas Rangers system for three years (and probably authored said entry)
Overall, John Sr. was up for 13 years, finishing with a .262 average and about 2700 at bats in 880-some games.
Poor Pat Dobson. He was a pretty decent pitcher, but you’d never know he was smart enough to count balls and strikes from this shot.
Pat bounced around a little before ending up with the O’s. He was part of their 1971 staff, the last major league staff to have four 20-game winners. (Name the other three! Answers below.)
After retiring, Pat went on to become a successful pitching coach and scout.
Duke Sims! Man, does this guy bring back memories. Every year, when I was collecting cards as a kid, I seemed to get a plethora of Duke Sims cards. I swear, for every one Hank Aaron or Bob Gibson, I’d have at least 18 Duke Sims.
Duke’s Wikipedia entry includes such interesting tidbits as Duke's:
- Leading all Utah-born players with career home runs
- Finishing with exactly 100 dingers on the nose
- Being the catcher in Game 2 of the AL Championship Series in 1972, “where Bert Campaneris threw the bat at Lerrin LaGrow after being hit on the ankle” (whoa!)
- Catching the last game at old Yankee Stadium before it was refurbished in 1974
For some reason, Rico Petrocelli was one of my favorite players as a kid. Not totally sure why. It might’ve just been the great Italian name (it means "soft Peter").
Petrocelli was unusual for his day and age as a shortstop who could hit the long ball. He actually hit 40 of them in 1969, a then AL record. Overall, he finished with 210 dingers, over 13 years with the Red Sox. Not a bad guy with a glove either, he led AL shortstops in fielding twice.
Still in the Boston area, Rico now owns his own marketing company, and is actually on LinkedIn. Connect with him now!
It's a Fleer, it's from the 1980s, but what a way to go out!
* - author has this card