Monday, February 17, 2014

Hippie Freaks

Baseball players are always about ten years out of date. Guys with hair like this were actually running around taking LSD, blowing up buildings, and participating in orgies at communes back in the ‘60s. Baseball players, on the other hand, waited until the ‘70s to engage in that kind of behavior. 

I believe they called this an “anglo.”  Kinda like an afro, but – then again – totally not. It was particularly popular for Jewish guys – of which Steve is most definitely.

Indeed, Steve comes in third among Jewish pitchers – behind Ken Holtzmann and some guy named Colfax or Koufax or something – in wins and strikeouts. Overall, he was up for 12 years, winning just over 100 games. 

He had one incredible year, 1980, where he went 25-7 and nabbed the Cy. He also, unfortunately, blew his arm out – primarily by throwing about 50% curve balls. The year after, he went 4-2, and was then out of baseball. He left with no regrets, though, saying once, “I knew it would ruin my arm. But one year of 25–7 is worth five of 15–15.”

Hippie freak and proud of it.

I always liked Ted Simmons. To me, he seemed like one pretty darn good catcher. Others think so too. In fact, the first suggestion for Ted on Google is “ted simmons hall of fame.” Considering his actual HoF vote never topped 4%, though, it sounds like the powers that be may not exactly agree.  

That said, Simmons did put up some pretty good numbers. Over 21 years, he totaled not quite 9000 at bats, almost 250 homers, almost 1400 RBIs, almost 2500 hits, and a .285 average. He was an eight-time All Star as well.

Finally, let’s look at his similarity scores. Of his ten most similar players, eight are in the Hall, including fellow catchers Berra and Fisk.

All in all, if it were up to me, I’d be singing that Paul McCartney tune, “Do me a favor / Open the door, and let ‘em in …”

Hey, it’s Tim Lincecum!

Except for the hair, Stan Wall was unfortunately no Tim Lincecum. Stan was up for three years with the Dodgers, tossing 66 innings and finishing 4-6 with a 3.86 ERA. Somehow, he managed to get up to the plate only six times in that span. (And, no, he never did get on base.)

There’s not a lot out there on Stan. It’s not a super uncommon name, though, so our poor guy has to compete with many other Stan Walls – a minority business leader, a boxer, a rugby ref, a street in West Monroe, LA ... My diligent searching also uncovered this rather interesting site,, which seems to be encouraging Stans of the world to unite, but which actually makes no sense whatsoever.

That eye is kinda creeping me out.

Rick Auerbach was a middle infielder who somehow managed to parlay very mediocre gifts into ten years in the bigs. I’m talking about a lifetime average of .220 and never topping two figures in homers. 

He did have one year as a regular however. Somehow or other, the Brewers were desperate enough to give him 550 at bats in 1972. He rewarded that vote of confidence with a .218 average, two dingers, and 30 RBIs. He did, though, manage to nab 24 bases. 

I understand he’s also quite the bowler.

Yup, that’s why. Just like I thought. Rick Auerbach, meet Henry Lee Lucas – famous serial killer, and your twin brother, separated at birth.

Ohmigod, it’s Abbie Hoffman.  Steal this base!

Okay, for those of you out there who are a little lacking in the lifetime experience arena (i.e., you happen to be younger than dirt), Abbie Hoffman was this radical hippie guy who went around protesting things and generally stirring things up. He was part of the Chicago Seven (and, no Mr. Millenial, that’s not a rock tribute band). He wrote a book called Steal This Book (get it now?). He had one of those incredible Jewish-guy afros … like Ross here.

Ah yes, Ross Grimsley … Not a bad pitcher, Ross finished with a 124-99 record over 11 years in the bigs.  His dad, Ross Sr. also pitched in the majors.

Abbie Hoffman, RIP

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