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What if Dave Kingman had 500 HRs. HOFER?

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  • #91
    Sometimes teams just don't want to deal with the drama/perceived headache. See Barry Bonds. A fading superstar isn't going to help a bad team draw more fans, and a good team might not want a cancer for a guy who may stop producing at any time.
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    • #92
      Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
      Sometimes teams just don't want to deal with the drama/perceived headache. See Barry Bonds. A fading superstar isn't going to help a bad team draw more fans, and a good team might not want a cancer for a guy who may stop producing at any time.
      I also thought about that later in life when I learned more about the type of person Dave Kingman was. In fact, in Tony LaRussa's 2011 book, One Last Strike, when he talks about that 1986 Oakland A's team, he mentions Kingman first in a list of the veterans that he said were a mix of "quality veterans and talented enigmas," even after a quarter century, he thought to list Kingman first. Maybe there is nothing to that, but I found it interesting when I saw it. He clearly wasn't thrilled with the team he was hired to manage when he first got there, but he got them to turn it around in the second half and move from last in the AL West when he arrived to third in that division in 1986. Matter of fact, just because I like the speech he gave when he got there, why don't I just post his thoughts from that book here (pages 183-185):

      The Oakland club I inherited was a lot like the one I'd encounter in St. Louis ten years later. The players had grown accustomed to doing things their way. Maybe it was a function of the times. The players and their union were gaining more and more control and earning more and more money. Both in '86 and '96, the "I'm in this for me" vibe was present. I'd taken an honest bull-by-the-horns approach in '86, but I didn't think that would work with the Cardinals. Dave McKay, who has been with me since '86 as a coach, asked me to resurrect what he called "the Gutless Speech."

      The '86 A's had a core of quality veterans and talented enigmas - Dave Kingman, Carney Lansford, Dusty Baker, Jose Canseco (who was named Rookie of the Year), and Joaquin Andujar. When I took over the A's in 1986 a few weeks after I had been fired in Chicago, I'd had the advantage of playing against them in the division. They developed bad habits of making a lot of of mental mistakes, getting really discouraged, and establishing some cliques. When things were going wrong, misery loved company, and guys would get together and just complain about it all. Basically, their minds were just blown.

      The effort level was down, and that was the piece I singled out in my first meeting with them: we were going to play hard. When a guy doesn't play hard, it's the manager who justifiably gets held responsible. "He can't even manage effort." Then the next level is that if the guys are playing hard but they aren't playing worth a crap, throwing to the wrong base and all that, people say, "He can't teach them to play the game right."

      I'd joined the A's midseason. I needed to do something to get their attention focused on priority one - how are we going to fix what's wrong? So I told them, "I've been in this division. I know how talented you guys are. I also know how messed up you guys are. I've played against you guys, and it's not even close to being competitive, the effort level. But I guarantee you in the clubhouse there's a lot of effort. Talking crap. Blaming other people. Blaming the front office. Blaming the manager. This stuff's going to stop. Whatever problems there are, you're going to give the manager or the coach a chance to fix the problem. If we don't know it exists, how can we fix it? I guarantee you there isn't anything, from what I've seen here, that can't be fixed, but you've got to speak up about it to us, okay?"

      I stared out at the room and caught my breath. No one said a thing. I continued by taking a page from Dick Williams circa 1971. At his first meeting as manager of the A's after coming over from Boston, he had challenged us to quit relying on Mr. Finley, the team owner, and instead look to him and the coaches to solve all problems. Then he'd dropped the bomb. He'd told us that he was going to provide Mr. Finley's phone numbers in our lockers. We could call him all day today if we wanted to. But after that if we used that number without giving him and the coaches the chance to fix the problem first, he'd have our asses.

      I wasn't about to start handing out the owner's number, but I knew we needed to make sure the phone lines to my office were open.

      "Let me just tell you something else. I don't really know you guys well enough yet. I don't really know if anybody's going to come up and tell me anything. So listen to this. If there's somebody in here that's a professional major league player that's got any kind of integrity, any kind of balls, and you know there's a problem and you don't give me or the coaches the chance to fix it, you're a no-good gutless mother - - -. Furthermore, I know you've got these little cliques here. So if your little team of guys knows that you're pissing and moaning and you're continuing to complain and you don't come tell me, then all your little cliquey boyfriends are no-good gutless mothers too. Now, is there anybody that's got the balls to tell me right now that they disagree with what I'm saying about a guy who wouldn't give me or a coach a chance to fix a problem?"

      In some form or another, just about every year since then, when things aren't quite going right, Dave McKay would ask me to dust off that speech. I've only ended up using it maybe two or three times since '86 as a last resort. Once they got over the shock of the language in the speech, I hope they understood this was a way to hold the guys accountable for what was taking place between the lines and outside them. Despite sometimes having to do a bit of acting to deliver it, I also fully believed what I said to be true. In Oakland, the speech worked immediately - we went from last to third that season. The culture began to change, and we had a great run of success after that, from '88 to '92.
      "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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      • #93
        The A's didn't want headaches & drama so they hired Reggie Jackson?

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        • #94
          Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
          The A's didn't want headaches & drama so they hired Reggie Jackson?
          He was pretty tame at 41, and he was a great mentor for Mark McGwire that year. I remember seeing an interview with the two of them, possibly around the All Star break that year. Reggie was laughing and having a good time in his final season, and he said that he thought Mark had the potential to hit more HRs than he did and/or to go into the Hall of Fame. I am a little fuzzy on which one he said and which one the interviewer mentioned during the chat. What can I say, it was a long time ago and at 11 years old, I didn't know who that rookie was that was being interviewed with the great Reggie Jackson!

          Apparently, LaRussa like Jackson in 1987, because he mentioned his positive influence on the younger hitters on the team in his last book. Sounds like the straw wasn't doing as much stirring in '87 perhaps?
          "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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          • #95
            Hey, Jax is one of my all time favorites. But still, "You know, we need a calming influence in our clubhouse ... hmmmm, I wonder ...."

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            • #96
              Originally posted by westsidegrounds View Post
              Hey, Jax is one of my all time favorites. But still, "You know, we need a calming influence in our clubhouse ... hmmmm, I wonder ...."
              I know, right! Hilarious, but I guess that saying about truth being crazier than fiction really works in some cases.
              "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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              • #97
                Assuming he would have hit 500, he would have been the first member of the 500 club to never be elected IMO. No shot.
                To quote Edwin Starr "WAR, huh, yeah..What is it good for? Absolutely nothing. Say it again, y'all"

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                • #98
                  Originally posted by Herr28 View Post
                  He was pretty tame at 41, and he was a great mentor for Mark McGwire that year. I remember seeing an interview with the two of them, possibly around the All Star break that year. Reggie was laughing and having a good time in his final season, and he said that he thought Mark had the potential to hit more HRs than he did and/or to go into the Hall of Fame. I am a little fuzzy on which one he said and which one the interviewer mentioned during the chat. What can I say, it was a long time ago and at 11 years old, I didn't know who that rookie was that was being interviewed with the great Reggie Jackson!

                  Apparently, LaRussa like Jackson in 1987, because he mentioned his positive influence on the younger hitters on the team in his last book. Sounds like the straw wasn't doing as much stirring in '87 perhaps?

                  I was at that game in Oakland where McGwire and Reggie were interviewed. I think it was the Saturday Game of the Week on NBC. (Back when there was one national game a week!)

                  They were interviewed on the 3rd base line before the game started I think. I was about in the sixth row. Can't quite recall the interviewer...it might have been Costas. I was around 14 or 15 years old, so it was a while ago,

                  McGwire got a pie in the face at the end of the interview; I think Carney Lansford delivered it.

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                  • #99
                    Originally posted by Cougar View Post
                    I was at that game in Oakland where McGwire and Reggie were interviewed. I think it was the Saturday Game of the Week on NBC. (Back when there was one national game a week!)

                    They were interviewed on the 3rd base line before the game started I think. I was about in the sixth row. Can't quite recall the interviewer...it might have been Costas. I was around 14 or 15 years old, so it was a while ago,

                    McGwire got a pie in the face at the end of the interview; I think Carney Lansford delivered it.
                    That is awesome! I had forgotten about it until just recently while thumbing through LaRussa's book looking for quotes on McGwire. When I saw the Reggie Jackson reference involving that 1987 team, it sparked my hazy memory of that long ago interview. That one game of the week was always my favorite. I was a Cardinal fan living in WGN broadcast area, so the only games I ever saw were Cubs games...
                    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                    • The Cubs in the late 70s had one of the worst defensive outfields in recent memory, with Kingman in left, and the equally inept Mike Vail in center. As one Chicago newspaper reporter put it: "What Kingman didn't get, Vail didn't get either".
                      They call me Mr. Baseball. Not because of my love for the game; because of all the stitches in my head.

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                      • There are a lot of arguments against Kingman for the hall and I agree that he is not worthy. However, it can not be disputed that Kingman is in the HR distance HOF (if one existed). He hit it a mile.
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                        • Putting Dave Kingman in the HOF would be like putting Vince Coleman in the HOF. They both were very good at one thing. You just could not count on them to win you a game by doing something other than their expertise.
                          Your Second Base Coach
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                          • Originally posted by Second Base Coach View Post
                            Putting Dave Kingman in the HOF would be like putting Vince Coleman in the HOF. They both were very good at one thing. You just could not count on them to win you a game by doing something other than their expertise.
                            Good point. If you like home run hitters on your team, Kingman was your guy. If you liked base stealers on your team, Coleman was the thief for you (or "me" as it turned out at the time). However, if you liked outstanding, well rounded players that would actually help your team win games, you'd have to go find somebody else. These two didn't really fit that bill, from what I remember.
                            "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean

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                            • I don't think he would have gone in with 500. Dunn will probably hit 500, and I doubt he's going in. And Dunn is better than Kingman.
                              Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                              • What if he had gotten to 600 HR?

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