Monday, May 5, 2014

Hiding in Plain Sight

Maybe they were just shy. Maybe the photographer was just incredibly incompetent. I don’t know. How else to explain all these major league baseball players who appear to be doing all they can to avoid eye contact?

Ronald Wayne Garrett, huh? Is that the way you signed all your baseballs and programs? Did it make your fingers hurt after awhile?

Wayne Garrett was up for ten years, six of those as the Mets’ starting third baseman. Overall, though, he finished with a mere 61 homers and a measly .239 average over 3000-some at bats. That may explain why the Mets traded away both Amos Otis and Nolan Ryan to try and replace him (ouch!).

Wayne did get to play in two World Series. And that included some highlights – three homers – as well as some lowlights – a .179 average, tying a then single Series record by striking out 11 times, and making the final out in the ’73 Series by popping up to the infield.

Fun facts about Wayne:
  • He had two brothers who also played professional baseball 
  • All three brothers went by their middle names (?!?!)
  • Wayne’s nicknames were “Red” and “Huckleberry Finn”
  • He was once on The Dating Game

Something’s telling me this wasn’t a double in the gap.  Something’s telling me Jerry has hit a weak grounder to second.  Something’s telling me shame is a thing Jerry Grote has to deal with on a daily basis.  

Jerry Grote was actually not a bad player – at least for a catcher.  He was up for 16 years, got in over 1400 games, and was a two-time All Star. He was also first in some fancy SABRmetric stuff – range factor, total zone runs – that I don’t even pretend to understand.

Jerry has his own website, though it appears to have only a single page. Other fun facts about Jerry:
  • He was in a tornado as child 
  • He caught a no-hitter that resulted in a loss
  • He was into Transcendental Meditation
  • He was once on What’s My Line

I believe that’s a person. He appears to be on his knees. In the middle of the desert. Or perhaps the beach. A well-groomed beach. Or a well-groomed desert. That’s all I can say.

B. Robinson is actually Brooks Robinson. You may have heard of him. In fact, you may have heard of him in this particular World Series. I watched it on TV as an 11-year-old, and still remember it to this day. Actually, not only did he seem to make a play like this once every inning, he also batted .429 with a couple of homers and six RBIs. One of the most obvious World Series MVPs there’s ever been – and one of my boyhood heroes as well.

More Brooks here, here, and here.

Is Willie the guy on the right?  With the big butt?  No, wait a minute, he plays for the Phils.  Must be the guy on the left.  The guy with the P on his shirt.

Though probably not well-remembered today, Willie Montanez was a pretty darn good player. He hit 30 homers and drove in 99 runs in his rookie year, coming in second in RoY voting. He was also a one-time All Star, and once had three consecutive years batting over .300. 

He had a reputation as a real hot dog though, which may explain why he played for nine teams in 14 years. By the way, he was once traded for Garry Maddox (see above).

I think I’d hide too, with a haircut like that.

Roy Smalley was a College All-American and is also in the College Baseball Hall of Fame. He played 13 years in the bigs, mostly as shortstop for the Twins, where he played for his uncle, Gene Mauch. Roy was a one-time All Star, and wielded a pretty potent bat (at least in those pre-Ripken days) as well as a good glove.

You can find Roy’s dad, also named Roy, right here.

Ron “The Man in the Iron Mask” Pruitt

Ron Pruitt was actually quite a versatile fellow. In addition to catcher, he also played outfield, third base, and first base. For some reason, though, his baseball cards always had him either catching or batting. 

Ron was another All-America. Unfortunately, he was no Roy Smalley. Over nine years, he totaled not quite 800 at bats, getting over 200 at bats in a season only once.

Currently, Ron runs a baseball academy in Akron.

Ted, over here!  Ted!

Ted’s been here before, where we found him to be a long-haired hippie freak. In that post, I made an argument for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Here are some other highlights from Ted’s career:
  • One Silver Slugger award
  • Seven seasons hitting over .300
  • Two no-hitters (um, catching them, that is)

Ted’s also been a GM, director of player development, scout, and coach.

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