Monday, May 11, 2020

Random Baseball Players

One of my favorite podcasts is The PosCast featuring sports writer Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur, who you may know better as the creator, co-creator, writer, and/or producer of The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Office, and Masters of None, only some of the best television comedies over the last decade. In a recent episode, they talked with Stefan Fatsis and Jonathan Hock about the 2020 Name of the Year Bracket and then transitioned to a draft of some of the first baseball players that popped into their minds. Now that I'm a podcast veteran, I figured that I would share my list, um, on my blog and not on a podcast.

One ground rule here. The player can't be a great player. Sure you can share the time you saw Barry Bonds, Pedro Martinez, Mike Trout, or Nolan Ryan, but what fun would that be. The purpose of this post is to name five random players.

Dave Magadan - I spent lots and lots and lots of time collecting baseball cards and going to card shows in the late 80s and early 90s. For some reason, I had a bunch of rookie cards of Mets 3B/1B Dave Magadan. I thought he was going to be really good and the cards would be worth a lot of money. I thought wrong. Amazingly, Magadan played 16 seasons in the majors. Also amazingly is that Magadan had only 42 home runs in 4159 at-bats. That's a terrible ratio for someone that plays 1B/3B. Actually, that a terrible ratio for anyone playing baseball.

Doug Frobel - I always thought that Frobel was a funny name.

Tuffy Rhodes - I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in the same fantasy baseball league since 1991. We generally draft a few days into the season, so that we knew who made the opening day roster. In 1994, Chicago Cubs outfielder Tuffy Rhodes hit three home runs on opening day, and we all thought he was going to have a monster season. In our auction league draft, someone got him for like $30, which was a huge amount at that time. Rhodes hit 5 home runs the rest of the year.

Vicente Palacios - I shared this story earlier, but I attended the 1988 Pirates home opener With the bases loaded and no one out in the 6th inning, manager Jim Leyland brought in Palacios who retired the next three batters without allowing a run. And that was just the start to Palacios' Hall of Fame career! Random fact that I just learned from his Baseball Reference page: Palacios pitched in 7 games for the San Diego Padres in 2000 after last playing in the majors in 1995.

Steve Nicosia - Nicosia was the backup catcher for the Pirates in the late 70s and early 80s. I believe that I went to a game near the end of Nicosia's tenure with my family and another family. My memory is a little fuzzy, but before the game, we were hanging out by the bullpen or third/first base line asking for an autograph or baseball. Finally, Steve Nicosia threw a ball to one of the kids in the other family. I didn’t get a ball, and to this day, I still haven’t got a baseball at a game. No, I'm not bitter.

Honorable mentions:

Jose Tabata for breaking up a perfect game with two strikes and two outs in the 9th inning by getting hit by a pitch.

Archi Cianfrocco for being my friend Dan's favorite player. If Dan still reads this blog, I hope he can explain the obsession of over a career -4.0 WAR hitter. I think Dan might have met Archi at an Expos game.

Tuffy Rhodes photo by Getty.

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