Like most baseball geeks, I'm a longtime user of Baseball-Reference.com. I've always thought it would be cool to sponsor a page, but being the conservative spender I am, I never felt like I had a good reason to do it. Now that I have a baseball blog which I'm hoping grows into something popular, I finally have that reason.
A link to Baseball Junk Drawer now appears on four pages:
Tarrik Brock. As a Cub fan, I remember Brock's brief tenure with the team. He got sent back to the minors early in the 2000 season and was never heard from again, but I still have a memory of him making a great catch against the left field wall. I recall it being on the road, which would make sense, since making a catch against the Wrigley Field wall is a lot more dangerous than against one of the padded walls of baseball's newer stadiums.
Just to see if my memory could possibly be correct, I checked the play-by-play accounts of all the games in which Brock played the outfield on the road. As best I can tell, it must've been from the Cubs' April 9 game in Cincinnati. You can see that in the bottom of the 10th Eddie Taubensee led off the inning with a flyball to deep left field. I remember the catch seeming dramatic at the time. Perhaps the fact that the game was in extra innings made it so.
In a related note, my nickname for the Cubs' 2000 season is "The Year of the Blown Save." I looked up the stats to confirm my memory, and the Cubs did in fact lead the Majors in blown saves that year. It was unreal. It seemed like every game the bullpen would lose it for us. I even remember watching one game where the Cubs had a late-inning lead. Rather than allow myself to get fooled again, I sat back and waited for them to blow it. Sure enough, they did. It was satisfying in a way, knowing that I'd handled my emotional investment prudently. There was a brief glimmer of hope that season when the Cubs started the second half on a tear, but after about three weeks it was back to their usual business of losing. Ah, memories.
The 1906 Cleveland Naps. One day I was looking through some stats and I discovered that this was one of the unluckiest teams of all time.
Their pitching staff, led by three 20-game winners, had an ERA+ of 125, best in the AL. Their hitters, led by Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick, had an OPS+ of 114, best in the AL. Their team fielding percentage was .967 and their defensive efficiency rating was .727, both (again) best in the AL. Where did the Naps finish? Third place.
If Pythagorean W-L had existed back in those days, people would've seen that the Naps were incredibly unlucky while the Highlanders and White Sox had benefitted from a few breaks. Lucky though they may have been, as a White Sox fan (yes, I'm a fan of both the Cubs and the White Sox), those "Hitless Wonders" are one of my favorite historical champions.
Jimmy Moore. It always used to fascinate me when I'd look through the old Baseball Encyclopedia and see a guy who'd played in the World Series his only year in the Majors (that's another list that's coming, by the way). Jimmy Moore was the only one I ever saw who played in two World Series in only two Major League seasons (1930 and 1931 with the Philadelphia Athletics). It seemed fitting for a blog like this one to be sponsoring a guy who held that distinction.
Rimp Lanier. Back when I was a wee baseball geeklet (OK, I was actually in my teens), I tried to compile a list of every player with a World Series ring. It involved looking at the complete rosters of every World Series winner and determining who'd contributed enough to have certainly gotten a ring. One name I came across when I reached the 1971 Pirates was Rimp Lanier. Rimp? What kind of name was that? How do you get "Rimp" out of Lorenzo? I see he was only only 5'8" and 150 lbs. Perhaps "Rimp" evolved from "Shrimp"?
The thing about these guys with short stints in the Majors is that we often don't know much about them. Now that his minor league stats are available, we can see that he was apparently a speedster with good plate discipline but a poor fielder. After a slow start in 1972 he ended up being demoted to double-A, where he played one more year before disappearing from baseball. I wish I knew what his story was.
There's a new spring in my step. No longer a freeloader, I'm now a financial supporter of one of the greatest sites on the internet. It's fun to be a part of something bigger than yourself.