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Top 10 'Might-Have-Been Careers;

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  • Top 10 'Might-Have-Been Careers;

    I'd like to see what careers fill you with the most angst, in terms of what might have been. What aborted careers give you the most pain?

    Whether it was injury, death, bad judgment, etc., what are your Top 10 careers that you most wish had been able to finish to conclusion, without injuries, interruptions, etc. War-interruptions are valid too.

    I am not posting a poll yet, until we get the main suspects listed.

  • #2
    Form Chart:

    Joe Wood had 7 good seasons as a pitcher, '09-15.

    Sandy Koufax had 6 good seasons as a pitcher, '61-66.

    Bill Lange had 7 good seasons as an OF, 1893-1899.

    Dizzy Dean had 6 good seasons as a pitcher, 1932-37.

    Addie Joss had 7 good seasons as a pitcher, 1902-08.

    Rube Waddell had 7 good seasons as a pitcher, 1902-08.

    Urban Shocker had 9 good seasons as a pitcher, 1919-27.

    The Hall of Fame was not created to honor the 20 yr. good player, nor the 5 yr. great one. A Hall of Famer, for me, should have a peak of at least 7-8 truly great yrs. with some others yrs. as a very good one, for longevity.

    For me, even the great Koufax/Dean, were borderline Famers, due to the duration of their greatness. Joss is a truer Famer than Dean/Koufax, due to his 2 extra yrs.

    Tons of players had a great few years, got hurt, or something else happened, and were only a shell of themselves after that. Tony Oliva, Will Clark, Don Mattingly, George Sisler, Pete Reiser, Herb Score, Sam McDowell, Ken Griffey Jr., J. R. Richards, Doc Gooden, Dave Parker.

    Of course, some just threw their careers away. McDowell became a hopeless drunk, Parker got addicted to cocaine, Gooden, drugs, Strawberry, drugs, Waddell, liquor. And some got hurt, like Tony Conligliaro.

    Wood, despite fighting back and becoming an OF, was only a Hall pitcher for '11-12. Wonderful warrior's spirit, but simply not a Hall pitcher. Perhaps we should find another alternative honor to confer, as an alternative to the Hall.

    Here is the revised list after I tried my best to incorporate RuthMayBond's revisions. Is this one as best as we can get it, Jeffrey?

    Form Chart:

    Injury - Joe Wood, Sandy Koufax, Dizzy Dean, Herb Score, Tony Oliva, George Sisler, Ken Griffey, Tony Conligliaro, Al Belle, Richie Allen, Hal Trosky, Pete Reiser, Bo Jackson, Don Mattingly, Mickey Cochrane, Roy Campanella, Buck Ewing, Jimmy Ryan, Christy Mathewson, Don Drysdale, Monte Ward, Lyman Bostock, Dickie Thon, J. R. Richards (stroke), Bret Saberhagen, Bobby Valentine, Kerry Wood, Mark Fidrych, Bill Pulsifer, Steve Busby, Kirby Puckett, Eric Davis, Dave Dravecky, Joe McGinnity, Joe Charboneau, Mike Matheny, Mickey Mantle, Rogers Hornsby, Amos Rusie, Dick Radatz.

    Late start - Pete Alexander, Lefty Grove, Warren Spahn, Dazzy Vance, Walt Bond, Chief Meyers, Sam Rice, Bob Johnson.

    Disease leading to death - Lou Gehrig, Urban Shocker, Ross Youngs, Miller Huggins, Charlie Ferguson, Addie Joss, Ralph Worrell.

    Death - Thurmon Munson, Marty Bergen, Ed Delahanty, Ray Chapman, Roberto Clemente, Ken Hubbs, Steve Olin, Lyman Bostock, Harry Agganis, Bill DeLancey, Austin McHenry.

    Drugs - Barry Bonds, Daryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Dave Parker, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens,

    Alcoholism - Rube Waddell, Jimmy Foxx, Paul Waner, Pete Alexander, Sam McDowell, Mickey Mantle, Hack Wilson, Don Newcombe.

    Mental Illness Rube Waddell (autism), Marty Bergen, Charlie Sweeney.

    War - Warren Spahn, Johnny Mize, Bob Feller, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Greenberg, Cecil Travis, Elmer Gedeon.

    Bad Judgment - Bill Lange, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Hap Felsch, Buck Weaver, Hal Chase.

    Miscellaneous - Will Clark, Larry Walker, Oral Hershiser, Charlie Keller, Dale Alexander, Babe Ruth, Dick Howser, Charlie Keller, Jim Morris, Tony Horton, Ken Williams, Eddie Plank, Dave Orr, Charlie Sweeney, Charlie Jones, Billy Taylor, Jim Creighton, Bill Buckner, Rico Carty, Tom Seats, Ron Necciai, Austin McHenry, Dick Wantz, Mike Miley, Frank Reiger.

    And let's not forget to shadow list separately, Negro Leaguers, for those who feel so inclined. Only include those you really feel pretty strongly about though, OK? Mine would be Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, Satchel Paige, John Lloyd, Joe Williams, Biz Mackey, Santop, Martin Dihigo, John Beckwith, Carlos Torrienti.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 04-11-2008, 12:42 PM.


    • #3
      Gooden is the first that comes to my mind. Mattingly could have had numbers similar to Musial, but was still a ways from making that happen. Bo Jackson, though he lacked some basic baseball abilities would have certainly done some things to amaze us in 10 more years with healthy legs-including probably a couple more 90 yard runs in the NFL.

      I would have liked to see what Barry Bonds would have done without steroids.

      Albert Belle could have some huge stats by now.

      Larry Walker missed a shot at all-time greatness with his constant injuries.

      By the way, Defensive independent analyses are not very good to Joss. Most show that much of his success was due to his defense, like about half a point on his ERA+. Same for Mordecai Brown.

      Bret Saberhagen wnet back and forth between hall of famer and DL.

      Hershizer may have lasted his way to 250. Guidry too. If he had put up 1 more good year after '85 he'd be in the HOF in my book.
      Last edited by brett; 04-07-2008, 07:20 AM.


      • #4
        Good points, Brett. I had forgotten about Bo Jackson and Al Belle.

        We can even include Gehrig/Mathewson. Lou got sick around age 34, and Matty threw his arm out at only age 34. Lots of guys failed to fulfill their promise, to one thing or another. All are eligible for your lists. After we get enough candidates listed, we'll post the poll.

        I hate it when I post a poll, and then later someone points out all the folks I forgot, after it's too late to vote on them. Hate when that happens! So, we'll hold off a day or so, and then we'll all vote on the poll.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Bill Burgess View Post
          I'd like to see what careers fill you with the most angst, in terms of what might have been. What aborted careers give you the most pain?
          Going by this criteria, and this alone, I can only list two; Strawberry & Gooden. If I expand the criteria to include "fill me with the most curiousity", I can expand thusly:

          Bobby Valentine
          Richie Allen
          Kerry Wood
          JR Richard
          Mark Fidrych

          That's ten. Because I'm a Met fan, I'll always wonder about Bill Pulsifer.


          • #6
            I suppose we can include a list with some players who suffered an injury that cut or change their carrers:
            -Hal Trostky decline after that he suffered migraine that eventually push his retire
            - Charlie Keller suffered a rupture in a disc of his back in a playing action 1947 that become him in a average player.
            - Herb Score was struck in the face by a line drive in 1957 after two extraordinary seasons that practically finnished his carrer.
            -Dale Alexander´s leg injury sliding at home shortened a promisory nice Major League career.
            Tony Conigliaro, the youngest player to reach a career total of 100 home runs, was hit by a pitch on his left cheekbone in 1967 and althoughj he makes a glorius comeback later, the injury in his retine eventually force him to retire because his eyesight had been permanently damaged.
            You have to suffer a revolution to know what are you talking about.


            • #7
              For careers ended by injury, I say Mark Fidrych and Pete Reiser. But with Fidrych, I think there's a bit of Jimi Hendrix syndrome: His career looms larger because it was only that one incredible season. There's always a chance he could've turned into yet another pitcher who had a great first year before the league figured him out. As it is now, though, he's preserved in our memories: Flaky and perfect.

              Reiser could've been one of the best ever. He did everything well and he had a pair.

              In the non-injury category, I've always wondered how things would have turned out if Babe Ruth had stayed on the mound. The entire face of baseball would have been different.

              Regarding careers cut short by war, Greenberg and Williams are the two that bug me the most. What numbers they would have amassed without those interruptions!

              And, probably most frustrating of all are the great black players who never got the chance to play in the majors. What kind of records would Paige, Gibson, Charleston, etc. have amassed?

              So my top 10 are:

              10. Herb Score
              9. Babe Ruth
              8. Lyman Bostock
              7. Hank Greenberg
              6. Mark Fidrych
              5. Pete Reiser
              4. Ted Williams
              3. Oscar Charleston
              2. Satchel Paige
              1. Josh Gibson
              Last edited by Victory Faust; 04-07-2008, 07:58 AM.
              "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"


              • #8
                My biggest "what-might-have-been" for the Royals was Steve Busby. He was 41-30 and had two no-hitters after his first two full seasons (he had a September call-up prior to them) and was heading toward his second 20 win season when he came down with shoulder problems. He staggered to an 18-12 record that year, but that was the simply the last hurrah. He had torn his rotator cuff. In 1975 that was a death sentence.

                In retrospect Busby should a poster child for an overworked young pitcher. In his first 3+ seasons he had 830 IP's.

                As for Bo Jackson, he simply wasn't a very good baseball player fundamentally and refused to be coached. Yes, he did one-time electrifying things, but that was it. His career OBP of .309 is very telling. Despite all the power he had he couldn't get on base. He struck out in almost a third of his plate appearances. Despite his blazing speed he was not a prolific base stealer.
                Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball


                • #9
                  Good call. I forgot all about Busby. Having grown up during that era, it never ceases to amaze me how rotator cuff surgery has become almost routine. Remember Wayne Garland and his 10 year, 2 mil contract ?


                  • #10
                    I don't have so much sympathy for guys who threw their career away (or for guys who made the Hall anyway or nearly did).
                    My personal list is something like this, which will include guys that won't make it to the final cut

                    Herb Score
                    Pete Reiser
                    JR Richards
                    Tony Conigliaro
                    Bill Lange
                    Mark Fidrych
                    Joe Charboneau
                    Steve Olin
                    Kerry Wood
                    Lyman Bostock
                    Last edited by RuthMayBond; 04-07-2008, 09:20 AM.
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge


                    • #11
                      1. Thurman Munson
                      2. Ray Chapman
                      3. Kirby Puckett
                      4. Don Mattingly
                      5. Doc Gooden
                      6. Darryl Strawberry (man could this guy swing a bat)
                      7. Dick Howser
                      8. J.R. Richard
                      9. Lyman Bostock
                      10. Addie Joss


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
                        1. Thurman Munson
                        2. Ray Chapman
                        3. Kirby Puckett
                        4. Don Mattingly
                        5. Doc Gooden
                        6. Darryl Strawberry (man could this guy swing a bat)
                        7. Dick Howser
                        8. J.R. Richard
                        9. Lyman Bostock
                        10. Addie Joss
                        Munsons numbers were already starting to decline when he was killed.


                        • #13
                          Is it too soon to throw the towel in on Mark Prior?


                          • #14
                            Harry Agganis
                            Ken Hubbs
                            Bobby Valentine


                            • #15
                              I was a huge Eric Davis fan. From 1986-89 he looked like the second coming of Willie Mays. Then the injuries and his chance at greatness got away from him. :dismay:
                              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis


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