I always enjoyed watching Russell Branyan play because when he hits the ball, it stays hit. He is stupid strong. I pretty much enjoy any mediocre player who can detonate a baseball from time to time, the guys who can hit the 450' plus bombs..Juan Francisco, Wily Mo Pena, the guys who hit the longest home runs and put on the biggest displays in bp but are just average or below average in every other aspect its even fun to watch them strike out but when the ball gets in the way of the bat, bye bye. I also enjoy watching the reactions from the fans when some no-name guy puts on a Josh Hamilton-like performance in bp outshining the superstar sluggers, they are like "who is that,"
Last edited by John239; 04-05-2012 at 02:39 PM.
Wily Mo Pena showed signs of learning to be a real hitter when the Bosox worked with him on pitch selection and containing his swing...didn't last. I still wonder what he could have become if Manny had actually been claimed on waivers and Pena had become Boston's LFer (if I have my timing on that right vis a vis Wily Mo's time with the team).
One guy in the Branyan/Mo Pena mold who had even less success was Eric Anthony, and he will always stick in my memory from one at bat. Came up to pinch hit in the Astrodome, huge swing and a miss at a fastball for strike one. Second pitch, Eric gets a fastball where he wants it and hits a tremendous line drive about 10-20' foul that just caromed off the back wall of the Dome with a crash...I mean, this ball was just plain rocked. My jaw dropped and I stammer to my buddy, "Did you see that?!?!?" He sneers and says, "Foul ball, so what??" like he thinks I didn't realize it wasn't a HR. It was just a strike on him, but to hit the ball across that big building on a line in a couple of seconds...wow.
Third pitch, offspeed, huge swing, nowhere near the ball, K.
One of the guys I loved growing up was Rafael Belliard. He looked like a kid playing second base next to Fred McGriff. There were several guys who fit the "mediocre" description on those Braves teams that I loved, though. Jeff Blauser, Mark Lemke, Belliard, Mike Bielecki... I'll stop now.
I have always been a fan of Willie Bloomquist, ever since his days with the Mariner's and even beyond. I remember seeing him at his first cup of tea and saw him crushing the ball. Never happened again... but loved his attitude and his willingness to play anywhere, he just wanted to play.
Anyway, I have a few
Toby Harrah---used to play wiffle ball with my friends, and we each would pick a player from a deck of cards...I went with Toby and I learned how to Switch hit by emulating his stance...he was also the only player I hit more than 3 HRs emulating. I kept his stance all throughout my short baseball career.
David Eckstein---too small, too slow, no power...didn't matter to Eckstein, he plugged along for a nice career
Jim st Vrain --- a little known Cubs pitcher back in the 1900's who was such a poor hitter Frank Chance told him to try hitting from the other side, he did and got a hit....then ran to 3rd base...haha
Chris Coste---I am a proud member of the CosteGuard
Rey Ordonez---On the hated Mets, but he was fun to watch
But my favorite has to be Ricky Jordan, the PH of the Phutile Phillies...he'd come through more than not for the perennial losers
There are so many...especially having been a Met Fan. So many mediocre players :-)
Richie Hebner (Though I hated him as Met- Liked him everywhere else). I sort of had the same stance and Lefty Swing.
Wayne Garrett-decent glove around the IF and a few good seasons- Good Eye, Warning Track Power, Lefty Bat.
Lots of late 70's Mets sucked...but I liked Joel Youngblood and Mazzilli. If Lee Had Joel's RF Arm he might have stuck around the majors a lot longer.
Have to second Oscar Gamble. For the Fro alone.
Loved all the broken down over the hill Yanks of 1973...Johnny Callison, Sudden Sam, Jim Ray Hart..Good to Great players in their day but on fumes by then.
Nick Adenhart....what a career he should have had!
"A ballplayer has to just go out and be mean. You can't play half-heartedly. If you do, there's someone right over your shoulder that'll take your job away. If you don't do your job, what they're paying you for, why should they pay you? You just can't put in eight hours, that's what a lot of people don't realize about athletes. Very few people realize the pressure." Dave Kingman
Unfortunately the guys that I would have as my favorites even at my adult age I can't look back and say they were mediocre. If I had to put forth one it, as above, would be Lee Mazzilli with the late 70s Mets.
After being on this site though I almost want to say Jim Rice.
Barry Bonnell, nice guy. Love the Oscar Gamble post. I'll throw in Roy White, Glen Hubbard, and Ryan Spilbourghs.
You want mediocre, but memorable - at least for Expos fans in the Jarry Park days.
Once we longterm fans reach middle age, we have a few dozen names to list on something like this. One of the more recent names would be Kirk Rueter.
As a righthander with nearly nothing exceptional in his repertoire, Rueter won games wayyyyy beyond what anyone would expect. He was a major overachiever with mediocre talent, IMO. His fastball was fantastically average, if you get my drift. The rest of his arsenal was average as well. All he did was win games, with a career W-L record of over .600 over 10 + years. Pitching for the Giants would not explain his ability to win.
Someone already mentioned Craig Counsell. Other names off of the top of my head would include Tony Solaita, in the late 1970s. There was a game I attended which I remember him winning with a late game homer.
Last edited by abolishthedh; 04-11-2012 at 12:56 PM.
Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP.
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill.
Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.
Welcome back, Dave!!! Great to see you back after all these years.
Terry Harmon the Phillies utiltyman from the 70's. Somehow I have every baseball card made of him.
"(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack
"I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)