Monday, January 31, 2011

A funny bit of Mariners history.

Brian Holman, Randy Johnson, Erik Hanson and Scott Bankhead

Laughing at Toronto Blue Jays fans...

I get a kick out of reading the comments on the sport site. The Jays fans there are about as clueless as it comes. Most of them think that AA (Alexei Anthropologist? Arnie Aardvark? Abercrombie Asseltine? I don't care) is some kind of genius.

Now, I give the guy credit for unloading Vernon Wells. However, I really didn't like the turnaround deal of sending Napoli to Texas for fat Frank freaking Francisco. That's a bad deal. Napoli would have been a very useful guy to have on the team.

These Jays fans love to go on about how much they hated Kevin Gregg last year, because his saves were nerve wracking. And they seem thrilled that they Jays have signed 3 injury prone 30+ year old relievers to battle it out for the closer role.

They clearly just don't get it.

(saves converted/opportunities %)

Francisco (career) 32/49 65%

Dotel (career) 105/150 70%

Rauch (career) 47/69 68%

Gregg (career) 122/150 81%

With Toronto 2010:

Gregg 37/43 86%

The Jays have $11 million tied up in these 3 guys for 2011. Gregg signed a 2 year deal for $10 million. And these Jays fans think they're better off? They think AA is some kind of wonderful? Oh man, they're going to hate the 9th inning this year. And the 8th. And the 7th.

When Brandon Morrow breaks down (not if, when), and when Kyle Drabek isn't the second coming of Doug (1990 version, he may well be the second coming of the 1998 version), and when Romero, Cecil and Rzepczynski fall apart from pitching too much too soon, they're going to see just how bad a team can be.

Oh, and let's not forget that they just gave 33 year old reliever Jason Frason $3.5 million for 2011. That'll help. And Carlos Villanueva at $1.4 million. More crap.

I predict the Jays will finish dead last this season. And that's just based on the pitching nightmare.

Take a look at the hitting. Wells is gone, sure that saves money but he was a 127 OPS+. Lyle Overbay's 107 OPS+ and good defense is also gone. John Buck's 115 OPS+ is gone. Fred Lewis' 103 OPS+ is gone.

Their replacements?

Rajai Davis 90 OPS+
Juan Rivera 97 OPS+

JP Arencibia 42 OPS+ (and don't be fooled by his AAA numbers. Las Vegas is a hitter's park bar none. Think 2000 Colorado)
Travis Snider 106 OPS+ (he should play full time this year, but a lot of people question his desire to succeed)

And they re-signed Edwin Encarnacion, who I like a lot, especially as he's apparently not going to be playing 3B.  Yet most of the Jays fans hate that signing.

So, the Jays are going to be relying on Jose Bautista to do something similar to 2010, which won't happen. They're also threatening to play him at 3B, although he wants to play RF. So good luck signing him to an extension.

They're going to be hoping that Aaron Hill and Adam Lind can turn their careers back around, and they're hoping beyond hope that Lind can learn to play a position. He's got one of the worst gloves in the business.

And, there's a lot of expectation on Brett Lawrie who they got in the Marcum deal, either to play 3B or take 2B and shift Hill to 3B. Most reasonably sane minds think he'll need another year in the minors.

So can anyone tell me why this AA guy is being touted as the best GM in the business? I don't see it. All I see when I look at the Jays 40 man roster is a minor league team.

It'll be a long time before the Jays add to these.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Random cards. The Cuban Comet, Minnie Minoso

Minnie hit for average, got on base a lot, had a bit of power, stole some bases (although with the amount of caught stealing's, he shouldn't have), and played a good outfield. He had 3 4th place MVP finishes, was 2nd in ROY voting, and won 3 gold gloves and was a 9 time all star. He had 1963 hits. With all that and a career OPS+ of 130, he's one of those guys that might sneak into the Hall if the Veteran's Committee was feeling generous. I think he'd make the HOF a better place.

I love his full name: Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Minoso

Love the cartoon on this one.

Two unlikely looking MVP's.

Jim Konstanty &
Denny McLain

Konstanty seems to have been a questionable choice for MVP in 1950, it could be argued that he wasn't even the best pitcher on his own team. He started and lost game one of the series, despite pitching very well. He then blew a save in game 3, and pitched 6+ innings in  relief in game 4, giving up 3 runs. Sadly the Phils got swept 4-0 by the big bad Yankees.

McLain swept the voting, getting all the first place MVP votes and all the Cy Young votes. In 1969 McLain shared the Cy with Mike Cuellar, although he did get more MVP votes than Mike. Who'd have thought then that he wouldn't pitch past 1972, when he was only 28?

Rick Dempsey autographed baseball. 1994 PCL Champions.

I'm surprised Rick still hasn't gotten a shot at managing a major league team.

Rick signed this within minutes of Albuquerque winning the title in 1994. In retrospect it might have been cooler to get it with World Series MVP on it, but at the time it seemed appropriate.

Unlike most of my signed balls, it's not a new ball nor was it an official Rawlings ball. I think it was a foul from one of the games during the series.

The magazine isn't mine, just a nice shot from the net.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Turk Wendell autographed ball.

Name, team, uniform number, date signed and personal message! Gotta love the gold pen. Not usually what I'd recommend for a ball, but it's held up perfectly for 16 1/2 years. Wow. I feel old now.

This was one of the 2 or 3 times that I got Turk's autograph through the mail in 1993 and 1994.

Autographed baseballs.

Finally got into the box from storage.

These are a few players that I've already posted about. More to come.

 Billy Wagner

 Garrett Anderson

 Jason Giambi

Phil Nevin

Eduardo Perez

Friday, January 28, 2011

Random card. Dick Allen.

Dick Allen was one hell of a hitter. Imagine how great the Wampum Walloper's numbers would have been if he'd played in an offensive era, and played past the age of 35.

Who's got the best teeth?

 Bill Stoneman has a nice subdued smile. He had no idea he'd soon be moving to Montreal.

Jim Clancy will be happy to show your sister how to grip the ball.

Cesar Cedeno smiles the smile of a man that knows the price of a human life.

Mark Eichhorn had one of the greatest relief seasons ever in 1986, and I was happy that he was back with the Jays in time to be a part of the 2 World Series teams. I always think of him as Ike Markhorn for some reason. I'm not sure what he's laughing at here, but I'm willing to bet that no one else would find it funny.

Dave Henderson really had one of the best smiles of all time.

Tony Taylor had a pretty good career, but imagine how much better it could have been if they'd allowed him to hit with a real bat! That's also got to be the worst excuse for a signature I've ever seen.

Andres Galarraga is smiling because the photographer doesn't know he's not left handed. I wonder if Andres sent a thank you note to Jim Joyce for not demoting him to the 2nd most famous Galaragga in major league history?

Random card. Tony Gwynn.

"Damn it, I just know that jerk Hoffman is taking shots of my ass again".

Some more fun cards.

 Jeff Conine skips some rope. Why was he never called "Conine the Barbarian?" Heck, he had the bone and everything (see my last post).  I guess barbarians don't skip.

I bet Jack Armstrong didn't have to do this when he was an all star in 1990. Jack switched from the number 40 that he wore in his glory day with the Reds to the number 77 in his stints with the Indians, the Marlins, and the Rangers. Based on his stats in those three seasons, I'm thinking that 77 was about the max he hit on the radar gun.

Randy Myers practices his moonwalk. He should have been practicing ducking, as he got hit pretty hard in his stint as a Jay. Randy made 13.5 million in 1999 & 2000. He pitched exactly no innings in those 2 seasons. He made one appearance for Tacoma in the PCL in 2001. He faced 4 batters, gave up 3 hits (including a home run) and a walk and 4 earned runs.

And the now-retired Trevor Hoffman pisses off some photographer by wasting film on close ups of Tony Gwynn's ass.
No doubt that Trevor was the best former minor league shortstop with an older brother named Glenn who also played in the majors to ever pitch in the bigs.

A little bat work.

I like cards that do a little more than show the standard action shots. These three show players hard at work making sure their weapons are ready for action.

 Ellis Burks give his bat 100% attention.

 Jeff Conine appears to be stroking the bone here.

Whatever Todd Zeile is doing, I'm sure he's doing in a mediocre and workmanlike way, very much like his career.

Random cards. Lyman Bostock x 2.

I can only imagine how proud the father was when the son did what he wasn't allowed to, and played in the major leagues. And I'm sure he'd have traded it all back just to have his son around for more than 28 years.

Random card. Darren Daulton.

Darren helped one of my fantasy teams win a title, so I always had a soft spot for him after that. He had a decent career considering that he didn't become a regular until he was 27, and he went out on top after helping the Marlins win the 97 World Series.

I was watching the Toronto Blue Jays 92/93 World Series DVD the other day, and in the 93 coverage there was a shot of Daulton in the locker room without his shirt on. Holy crap, did he have a muscular upper body. It was that era, wasn't it?

This is a really nice card. The color really pops, and the photo captures the essence of that 93 Phillies team.

Random card. Gil Hodges.

What a great action shot, especially for the time. It looks like he made the catch.

I love the 2 old guys in the front row, and check the guy in back with the cigarette.

This was one of those early 90's Upper Deck tri panel legend cards. Cool little set.

Random card. Frank Thomas.

Frank Thomas giving the finger to a cameraman? My oh my.

One of the least subtle examples of a player sending a message, and one of the least talked about.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1991 Score Cooperstown Card 7 card set.

This little bonus set was included only in the factory sets, so a few people may never have seen them.

4/7 are in the HOF, and Larkin and Griffey Jr will almost certainly make it, so that leaves only Will Clark.

Will dropped off the ballot after his first season when he only received 4.4% of the vote. Despite a great career, he probably won't get a lot of love from the veteran's committee either. He retired when he was 36 and still very productive. Had he stuck around for 3-4 more productive seasons, he may well have found a home in the hall.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vernon Wells.

I've never been a huge fan of the man, and I think he's been grossly overrated as a CF the last few seasons. However, I'm interested to see how he does next season.

The last 2 seasons Vernon has had the weirdest splits. 2009 he was atrocious at home and decent on the road, 2010 he was great at home and bad on the road.

If you combine his 2009 road and his 2010 home, his numbers are:

.310 47 2B 37 HR 85 RBI

2009 home and 2010 road:

.220 34 2B 19 HR 69 RBI

The only constant the last 2 season is that he's lost the ability to hit left handed pitching.

In 2009 he hit only .206 .279 .323 against LHP
In 2010 he hit only .195 .289 .354 against LHP

His career (including 2009/10) against LHP is .296 .359. 484

He's 32, he's had an inconsistent career, and he's entering the difficult career point where his eyesight will most likely start getting worse. I'm guessing the Angels will be likely to get something like this line:

.259 .294 .384 19 2B 23 HR 67 RBI

Time will tell.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A hockey post. Childhood heroes.

Yeah, I'm from Canada, so I'm allowed at least one hockey post.

 Darryl Sittler had 6 goals and 4 assists in a single game. When you're 6 years old, that makes him a hero.
 Not only did he send the picture, but a letter as well! No other player ever sent a letter, even if it was a form letter.
 Gilbert Perreault was a great player. But for the luck of the spin, he'd have been a Vancouver Canuck.
Glen Hanlon was going to be the goalie that led the Canucks to amazing success. Ultimately that didn't happen, but he still had a fine career.
This arrived unsigned along with a signed Ken Dryden postcard.  Many years later Guy was promoting his short lived energy drink called 'Flower Power', and I waited in line at the mall for almost 2 hours to get this signed. The drink was terrible.