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Do you have a favorite obscure baseball player/coach?

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  • Do you have a favorite obscure baseball player/coach?

    I'm wondering if you have a choice for your favorite obscure baseball figure from the past. As the word “figure” indicates, the person doesn’t have to be a player; it can be anyone employed within the game itself, by a team or by a league, including umpires, coaches, scouts, and front office personnel.

    I came up this idea, thinking that time and a focus on sabermetrics and efforts to determine who should be in the Hall of Fame have left many uniquely interesting and/or appealing retired/deceased baseball people by the wayside. Hoping this thread can bring up some old baseball people who are worth remembering.

    My choice is Lena Blackburne, for the rubbing mud and him pitching his last game at 42, in 1929, and him getting the White Sox’s first two hits at the original Comiskey Park. Among other reasons.

  • #2
    I read Birdie Tebbetts' autobiography a few years ago, and he had a pretty interesting life in baseball. Player, manager, scout, he saw a lot, and he was a bit of a character too. He came up with the Tigers right after their 1935 World Series championship, and was the catcher who succeeded Rudy York after it became clear that first base was the only position York could handle defensively. He was the only one who knew for certain why Joe McCarthy started Denny Galehouse in the famous 1948 tiebreaker, and he refused to reveal the reason even up to his dying day, saying that it should be completely obvious to anyone with common sense. He also gave Bob Uecker his first shot as a player, since he was friends with Uecker's father. I'd recommend his book to anyone who enjoys baseball history through the eyes of a lifer.
    Baseball Junk Drawer

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    • #3
      I am still fond of Mark Bellhorn, hence my name play moniker.

      Going way back, I am fascinated by Tim Jordan, two time NL HR champion and otherwise pretty much forgotten. I became aware of him through a classic photo showing Tim in his follow through, it looks like he had a really sweet swing. I'm not sure why his career ended so soon, he was still an effective hitter at the end...I wonder if he had a serious injury.
      "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial

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      • #4
        Player? Hank Schenz
        Employee? The Giants 1951 electrician, Abe Chadwick. They knew each other... I'll leave it at that.

        Modern guys? Mark Whiten. Loved watching him throw, and I was at his 4 HR game in Cincinnati. We were guests of Tim Costo, who played OF for the Reds briefly. My buddy, who knew Tim and all of the Reds players who came through AAA Indianapolis (he worked for the club at the time) caught a foul ball that night. Hit by.... yep. Tim Costo. It was freaky.
        Last edited by StanTheMan; 02-07-2012, 03:41 PM.
        "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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        • #5
          Got a whole lineup:

          LHP: Stubby Overmire, stocky lefty with big curve ... fast ball was his "change ... drove Yankee sluggers crazy ... they bought him
          RHP: Steve Gromek, toiled in shadows of Feller, Lemon, etc.
          C: Jim Hegan, great defender; great arm; great game caller
          1B: Ferris Fain/Mickey Vernon
          2B: Jimmy Bloodworth
          3B: Harlond Clift
          SS: Cecil Travis and Johnny Berardino, [email protected] ... Dr. Hardy, Chief of Staff, "General Hospital" for ABOUT 30 years
          LF: Jeff Heath
          CF: Walt Judnich
          RF: Bob Kennedy - what an arm!
          Last edited by leewileyfan; 02-07-2012, 09:27 AM.

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          • #6
            Eric Gregg was fun to watch. Interesting moves behind the plate and he always seemed to have fun when on the bases as well. He put on a show, but in a good way.
            "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

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            • #7
              John Paciorek, one of three Paciorek brothers to play in the majors, had a great one-game career. In 1963, at age 18, he played that game for the Houston Astros and went 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs and four runs scored. Before his last at bat he received a standing ovation for his efforts. But a back injury that required surgery prevented him from ever reaching the big leagues again.

              http://www.stevenkwagner.com/Paciorek.times.htm
              Last edited by Lpeters199; 02-10-2012, 04:11 AM.

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              • #8
                I always really liked Todd hundley growing up. I know he was an all star for a few years but I feel like he's kind of forgotten now.

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                • #9
                  I always remember Gary Lavelle and Al Holland when they were a great 1-2 punch for the Giants in the early 1980's.

                  1979-BB-TS1-311-NA_F_285x412.jpg

                  2934_1_654538.jpg
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                  • #10
                    Marlon Anderson, Richie Hebner
                    "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

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                    • #11
                      John Wockenfuss.
                      Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                      Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                      Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                      Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                      Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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                      • #12
                        Mark Petkovsek
                        1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                        1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                        1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                        The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                        The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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                        • #13
                          I don't know if you could call Charlie Neal obscure . . . He was twice an all-star and might have been the best position player on the World champion '59 Dodgers, but I always felt he had the talent to do more than he did. A late start and getting lost in the early Mets didn't help, but I don't really know why.
                          Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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                          • #14
                            Yes I do. Stanley George "Frenchy" Bordagaray, the inspiration for my forthcoming book "WTF-A Lazy Man's System For Evaluating Ballplayers". As I posted somewhere on here about a month ago:

                            When I evaluate players, I don't use WAR, because I don't believe in comparing players to imaginary replacement players. Besides, trying to figure out how it's calculated makes my head hurt.

                            I have my own system. I compare them to a real flesh-and-blood player. I use Frenchy Bordagaray of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, because his stats are fairly typical, and I like his nickname. Frenchy was a free spirit. He was the only player in the 1930's with a mustache. You could say he was 40 years ahead of his time. He once spat on an umpire, a la Roberto Alomar, but instead of issuing some wishy-washy apology, Frenchy took his punishment like a man, although he did say "The fine was more than I expectorated."

                            I call my system Wins Topping Frenchy (WTF). If your stats aren't better than Frenchy's I disregard you, unless of course you've got a really interesting story to tell.
                            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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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
                              Yes I do. Stanley George "Frenchy" Bordagaray, the inspiration for my forthcoming book "WTF-A Lazy Man's System For Evaluating Ballplayers". As I posted somewhere on here about a month ago:

                              When I evaluate players, I don't use WAR, because I don't believe in comparing players to imaginary replacement players. Besides, trying to figure out how it's calculated makes my head hurt.

                              I have my own system. I compare them to a real flesh-and-blood player. I use Frenchy Bordagaray of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, because his stats are fairly typical, and I like his nickname. Frenchy was a free spirit. He was the only player in the 1930's with a mustache. You could say he was 40 years ahead of his time. He once spat on an umpire, a la Roberto Alomar, but instead of issuing some wishy-washy apology, Frenchy took his punishment like a man, although he did say "The fine was more than I expectorated."

                              I call my system Wins Topping Frenchy (WTF). If your stats aren't better than Frenchy's I disregard you, unless of course you've got a really interesting story to tell.
                              Of course you can compare Frenchy's career with that of other players with X number of ABs to get a baseline, similar to the one they use in WAR. "Replacement" is not imaginary, it is possible to calculate how valuable replacement is as a whole across the league. The issue becomes with specific players having different amounts of talent below them on their specific organizations. Of course some players would have better than Frenchy below them and other worse than Frenchy below them too, so I don't see how that changes anything; you run into the same problem.

                              In fact, since his career WAR is 2.9 in 11 seasons, all you have done is put a face to the replacement player. Comparing an 11 year vet to Frenchy will be almost the same as comparing him to the hypothetical replacement player.

                              But it is an intriguing idea. Find some exactly average guy and use his name for an "average" baseline. We should probably pick a dead guy so they won't get upset!
                              Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 02-10-2012, 06:13 AM.
                              1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                              1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                              1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                              The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                              The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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