Sunday, September 8, 2013

Dumb, Dumber, and Dumbest (Round 2)

The camera freezes a moment in time.  You could be looking really smart at that moment, or you could be looking really dumb.  The camera doesn’t care. 

Heck, I’m sure there are pictures of Albert Einstein and Marilyn Vos Savant out there with eyes closed and mouths wide open.  And that sort of pose makes even the smartest people look like they should be sitting on the couch, drinking Bud, eating Doritos, and watching Cops.

So, let’s just assume that’s the case here as well.  I’m sure these guys were all rocket surgeons and brain scientists in the off season.

Though he never amounted to much in the pros, Gary Sutherland was quite the star before his professional career.  In fact, Gary:
  • Was an All American at USC
  • Also played on the basketball team there
  • Was on the US Olympics baseball team (a demonstration sport at Tokyo 64)
  • Was a local figure skating champion in high school

Must be the teeth.

Tom Shopay’s main claim to fame is playing all or part of seven seasons, but never getting more than 75 at bats in any one of those.

Oh, he also got cut from his Little League team.  

And, just to put the final nail in the coffin, here’s a little something from Cal Ripken, Jr., who also collected cards when he was a kid:

I was an Orioles fan.  Seems like it took me forever to get Brooks Robinson.  I had a whole bunch of Tom Shopays though.

The teeth, I tell ya, it’s the teeth.  Or maybe the underbite.

Like Tom Shopay, Bill Butler also played for seven seasons.  He was marginally better, starting for the Royals in their inaugural season and also in the following year.  
Overall, he finished 23-35 (.397), with a 4.21 ERA and 1.465 WHIP.  Comparable pitchers include Ross Baumgarten and Juan Eichelberger.

By the way, don’t confuse Bill with current KC star Billy Butler.

Or the overbite …

Jose Arcia was up for only three years, but managed to get almost twice as many at bats as Tom Shopay.  Like Bill Butler, he had two seasons in the sun that came after being drafted by an expansion team – in Jose’s case, the Padres.

The Pads traded him to the Twins for one Jerry Schlegelmilch.  Folks, I couldn't make this stuff up.

“You mean one of these?  Like I’m selecting one?  A bat?  ….  Uh, uh …  I don’t get it.”

Another so-so player, Tom Grieve was up for nine years, getting in 1,900 at bats.  He had only one year where he was a genuine starter, getting in 526 at bats and hitting 20 homers.

It was a popular look in Our Nation’s Capital that year.

Continuing our parade of mediocrity, Ed Stroud finished his six-year career with a .237 average and 14 homer runs in 1,353 at bats.

Interestingly, his nicknames include both “The Streak” and “The Creeper.”  How can that be possible?

Okay, George, one’s a fastball and two’s a …  Have you got a curve?  Okay, one’s a fastball and …  No, a fastball.   One.   A  fastball.  Okay, now two …  George?  George?

So, it should come as no surprise to you that George Stone is not frequently confused with Tom Seaver or Jim Palmer.  Stone was up for nine years, finishing two games above .500 and with a 3.89 ERA.  He did have one really good year, though, where he went 12-3 with a 2.80 ERA for the World-Series-losing Mets.

If only his IQ was as high as his batting average.  People wouldn’t be making fun of Mario Mendoza then, would they?

Well, well, well – it’s Mr. Mediocrity himself.  You may actually be surprised to find that Mendoza actually finished 15 points above his eponymous line.  Of his nine years in the majors, though, he did finish a majority of them under .200.

I’m not sure if it’s because of his famous line or what, but Mario is in the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.

No, not that Mike Tyson.  

This Mike Tyson:
  • 5’ 9”
  • 170 lbs
  • 1,017 games
  • 27 HRs
  • Middle name: Ray
  • Nicknames: none

That Mike Tyson:
  • 5’ 10”
  • 230 lbs.
  • 58 fights
  • 50 wins
  • 44 knockouts
  • Middle name: Gerald
  • Nicknames: Kid Dynamite, Iron Mike, The Baddest Man on the Planet

If you’re not that bright, don’t try to look like you are.  Okay?  It only makes you look kinda … well … even less bright than you actually are.

Verh Ruhle reminds me a lot of George Stone.  Ruhle was up for nine years and finished with a 67-78 record and 3.73 ERA.  

And, like Stone, Ruhle had one great year.  In Ruhle’s case, it was 1980, when he went 12-4 with a 2.37 ERA, and the Astros won their first title.

You may also know him as a pitching coach for the Astros and then the Reds.

Frank Tanana was actually not a bad-looking guy.  This shot, though, makes it look like he should be on the Special Olympics baseball team.

Tanana is far and away the best player in this post.  He won 240 games and recorded almost 2,800 strikeouts in a 21-year career.

He also was a three-time All Star, and led the league in ERA, strikeouts, and shutouts. Finally, he had a 1.000 fielding average for six different seasons.

More dumb right here.


  1. In your "old enough to drive?" post, that's Gary Sutherland's equally-babyfaced brother Darrell.

  2. Thanks, Jim - got it. And it's good to have a fact-checker as on the ball as you are. Cheers,

    - Cliff

  3. I remember Vern Ruhle as the pitcher who broke Jim Rice's hand with a pitch which kept him out of the 1975 World Series.

  4. Note the shopping trolley being used a bat box in the Ed Stroud card.

  5. The Senators were always such a classy organization ...

  6. The Sporting News of August 23, 1975 has an article and a photo of Vern Ruhle, in academic garb, receiving his Olivet College business degree in a ceremony at Tiger Stadium on August 6; he was unable to attend the regular ceremony in May.

    Why do they use Mario Mendoza as the standard for a low batting average? Ray Oyler, Casey Wise, and John Vukovich, to name three, were considerably worse.

  7. Good point. My guess is it's probably because Mendoza did such a good job of looking like someone who struggled to hit .200. In fact, I'd say he looks a lot more like the batboy.

  8. Thanks to the DH, it wasn't until Frank Tanana played with the Mets in 1993 --- his TWENTY-FIRST SEASON in the Majors --- that he scored his first run.