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How good could Joe Charboneau have been?

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  • How good could Joe Charboneau have been?

    Joe Charboneau was the 1980 AL Rookie of the Year and many of you know. Charboneau injured his back in spring training in 1981 and was never the same. What could he have done sans the back injury that forced him to retire after the 1982 season?

    Charboneau.jpg
    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-07-2012, 10:57 AM.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

  • #2
    not be a curmudgeon but there was the mythology about him opening beer bottles with his eye socket or such pranks, that to paraphrase Bil James (or someone else on the subject) didn't lend itself to a long career.

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    • #3
      Charboneau was such a flake that I don't think he would have amounted to much as a Major Leaguer. In Cleveland there was more talk about his bizarre behavior then about his playing skills.

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      • #4
        He turned 25 in his rookie season and had a 129 OPS+ in barely enough plate appearances to qualify, and as a basically average fielding corner outfielder.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by PVNICK View Post
          not be a curmudgeon but there was the mythology about him opening beer bottles with his eye socket or such pranks, that to paraphrase Bil James (or someone else on the subject) didn't lend itself to a long career.
          But this had nothing to do with Charboneau's downfall, though. Regardless how zany he may have been Charboneau could play. He had strong minor league numbers. His last two minor league seasons he hit .350/.437/.539 and .352/.422/.597. then he hits .289/.388/.488, 129 OPS+. After his career as a player ended Charboneau became a hitting instructor, first base coach an director of operations for several minor league teams. And I don't agree that zany behavior necessarily precludes a long and productive career? Dennis Rodman was a freak yet had a long and successful career.
          Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-07-2012, 11:11 AM.
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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          • #6
            Originally posted by brett View Post
            He turned 25 in his rookie season and had a 129 OPS+ in barely enough plate appearances to qualify, and as a basically average fielding corner outfielder.
            Ron Kittle was the same age when he won his ROY, Joe was a bit more complete as a hitter and also more mobile. Ron had more power but was a wild swinger with no idea of the strike zone.
            I'd guess that Joe may have been able to do a bit better than Ron for a career, maybe hit .250 and reach 150-200HRs, if he decided to be a ballplayer instead of a freak show AND had not been hurt. I know that there are guys like Charlie Keller who were just a back injury waiting to happen, just had a congenital issue that would not let them have a long baseball career...I wonder if Joe was the same way.
            "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by brett View Post
              He turned 25 in his rookie season and had a 129 OPS+ in barely enough plate appearances to qualify, and as a basically average fielding corner outfielder.
              The 10th best OPS+ that season was 133. Charboneau seriously hurt his back in 1981 which basically ended his career. Could Charboneau have improved his hitting stats 10% across the board? Add 10% to his 1980 stats and he have a fine hitter.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                But this had nothing to do with Charboneau's downfall, though. Regardless how zany he may have been Charboneau could play. He had strong minor league numbers. His last two minor league seasons he hit .350/.437/.539 and .352/.422/.597. then he hits .289/.388/.488, 129 OPS+.
                Ron Kittle hit .342 with 50HRs in AAA when he was 24. Super Joe had his big numbers in A and AA, where a top prospect would not be playing at ages 23 and 24.
                "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                • #9
                  I'm trying to find dome details about Charboneau's back injury. According to this SABR article he had 2 disks removed from his spine. That sounds like he had a major injury.

                  http://research.sabr.org/journals/jo...far-out-phenom
                  Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 06-07-2012, 03:04 PM.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    most of us remember Charb was a NY Knight in The Natural
                    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
                    2. Strat-O-Matic Baseball Player, Collector and Hobbyist since 1969, visit my strat site: http://forums.delphiforums.com/GamersParadise
                    3. My table top gaming blog: http://cary333.blogspot.com/

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                      I'm trying to find dome details about Charboneau's back injury? According to this SABR article he had 2 disks removed from his spine. That sounds like he had a major injury.

                      http://research.sabr.org/journals/jo...far-out-phenom
                      Boy, hard to come back as a baseball player after that. I know two guys who had that done and they both walked like zombies for as long as I knew them after that.
                      Joe was a really tough guy, though. Said he earned money as a teen fighting bareknuckled in abandoned railroad cars, the winner was usually the first one who managed to kick the other in the groin. He was also famous for giving himself stitches and pulling his own teeth, and I remember some stories about him having just superhuman strength. BBRef says he was born in Belvidere, IL, but I think he grew up in CA in really poor surroundings.
                      "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 9RoyHobbsRF View Post
                        most of us remember Charb was a NY Knight in The Natural
                        I'll bet Joe wouldn't have even blinked about being shot like Redford, would have just poured whiskey and slapped a few bandaids on the wounds and kept playing.
                        "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
                          Boy, hard to come back as a baseball player after that. I know two guys who had that done and they both walked like zombies for as long as I knew them after that.
                          Joe was a really tough guy, though. Said he earned money as a teen fighting bareknuckled in abandoned railroad cars, the winner was usually the first one who managed to kick the other in the groin. He was also famous for giving himself stitches and pulling his own teeth, and I remember some stories about him having just superhuman strength. BBRef says he was born in Belvidere, IL, but I think he grew up in CA in really poor surroundings.
                          For some reason I think he grew up in the National City/Chula Vista region of San Diego. I was stationed near there when I was in the Navy and that area was not the nicest.

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                          • #14
                            I was in high school during Charboneau's Rookie of the Year season. In Cleveland he was seen as a self destructive version of Mark Fidrych.

                            I also remember his 1981 Fleer card as being the first really big money rookie card in the early 80s baseball card boom.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
                              For some reason I think he grew up in the National City/Chula Vista region of San Diego. I was stationed near there when I was in the Navy and that area was not the nicest.
                              I think that Joe said that most of the spectators for his railcar bouts were migrant workers, the fights were for their entertainment and to give them something to gamble on...seemed like Joe's family was even less priviliged than them. Seems like somewhere near San Diego would fit that bill.
                              "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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