Wednesday, February 27, 2013

#47-Brian Harper

Drafted by the then California Angels in the 4th Round of the draft out of San Pedro High School Brian Harper hit so well that just two years after being drafted he was called up to the Angels and debuted in September of 1979 at the age of 19. After a couple more years of hitting well in the minors he was recalled again in 81. In December he was sent to the Pirates for shortstop Tim Foli and Harper began his long sojourn around the majors that would last until 1988. In Pittsburgh he served as a pinch-hitter and reserve outfielder. In 85 he was sent to St. Louis, 86, Detroit, 87 Oakland and in 1988, after being released by the A's signed with Minnesota. Up to this point he was a career .233 hitter with 11 homers and 50 RBI's over 205 games and 390 AB's. His career WAR was a meager -0.9. At this point he was less than a journeyman who had bounced around the majors and at the age of 28 was probably at his last stop. 
In 1988 he set career highs in games and at-bats along with avg. of .295 and tied his best RBI total of 20. Harper who had mostly played as a corner outfielder was now making more appearances behind the plate and in 1989 would become the Twins' regular catcher. The next six season saw Harper at his peak and win a World Series ring in 1991 hitting .381 in the series against Atlanta with an RBI and 2 runs scored. 92 and 93 continued on with his excellent seasons until 94 when injuries and the strike limited his playing time. The injuries carried over when he signed with Oakland in 95 where he only appeared in 2 games before ending his career. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Modesto Bee Article

Here is my latest article in the Bee. Without a doubt this is the goriest article I've written. Its an article so bloody that if Eli Roth read it he would hurl. :) 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#46-Rob Dibble

Rob Dibble is shown here in his Reds road uniform and with the blue background its probably a shot taken at Shea Stadium durning an afternoon game.  It could have been taken on July 8 or 9, 1989 during the two weekend afternoon games in New York. He went 1.3 innings and gave up 4 runs in his two appearances there. He also was fined $400 by the league for his involvement in a fight between the teams during the Saturday game. He also aggravated his elbow in the fight and several days later was put on the disabled list. 
Drafted by the Reds in the First Round (20th pick) in the June amateur draft (secondary phase) the 6'4 230 Ib right-hander came out of Florida Southern College he was sent to Billings, Montana minor league team. Pitching poorly as a starter by 85 he was sent to the bullpen where he back his climb through the minors and in 88 made his major league debut. In 87 while at Nashville he threw a pitch close to a batter and in what would become a common occurrence in his career lost his temper and charged the umpire for which he was fined.
1989 and 90 were Dibble's his best seasons going 10-5 with a 2.09 ERA in 89 and earning a WAR of 3.9 which he would equal the next season with a 8-3 record and a 1.74 ERA along with 11 saves. He was also striking out batters at a tremendous rate. 12.8 per 9 in 89 and 12.5 in 90. Dibble went on to a 13.6 in 91, 14.1 in 92 before dropping back to a 10.6 in 93. Pitching for the World Series winning Reds in 1990 saved a game in the NLCS against the Pirates. He also struck out 10 batters of the 16 batters he faced giving up no hits and only walking one. In the Series he picked up a win in the Reds sweep of the A's. 
While he was a great striker out pitcher he still had his displays of temper. In the spring of 89 he gave up a home run and after his work on the mound was done went an smashed up a picnic table and threw several chairs into a pond. During the regular season in another fit of rage he threw a bat against the back stop and was ejected for that. Manager Pete Rose didn't mind "that's one reason why he's a good pitcher-his temper and his temperament." 
By June of 1991 Dibble had accumulated a total of seven days of suspensions and $2,000 of fines after abusive language towards a fan, throwing a ball into the stands at Riverfront Stadium and hitting a fan and he also threw a ball behind Eric Yelding of the Houston Astros. After serving a three game suspension Dibble, on a throw to first base on a bunt attempt, hit Cubs batter Doug Dascenzo and the pitcher was thrown out by plate umpire Joe West. 
In 1992 he was involved in a wrestling match with Reds' manager Lou Piniella "after the reliever suggested Piniella had misled reporters about the condition of his pitching shoulder." 91 and 92 were good season but not to the level of his previous years and shoulder trouble reduced him to a 6.48 ERA and a WAR -1.6. Missing all of 94 to rehab after surgery on the troublesome shoulder he pitched for the White Sox in 95 but was suspended during spring training for referring to the replacement players-the regular players were being locked out by the owners-as  people who "would be stuck with the label [replacement player]for life "like child molesters." For those comments Dibble was suspended for conduct unbecoming to a White Sox player. He also said the replacement players were "beer league" and Chicago's minor-leaguers could beat them. It was Dibble's ninth suspension. He would make the White Sox roster but wasn't effective and pitched just one more season in the majors with the Brewers before finally retiring. 
Rob Dibble's time as an announcer with the Washington Nationals was a sadly a short living experience since I enjoyed listening to the Nats game when he was with them. After his firing over comments regarding Stephen Starsbrug's injury I now listen to the other team's announcers since the replacement announcers are just too bland. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

#45-Dave Parker

What else does one need to say about Dave Parker other than provide a link to one of the greatest defensive plays I've ever seen! Going into the 1979 All-Star Game Parker was one of my favorite players but those two throws only confirmed it.  I know things didn't end well in Pittsburgh but I just prefer to remember that game and forget about the Pittsburgh drug trials and his spat with Willie Stargell. 
As an A's fan his coming to Oakland via a trade that sent Jose Rijo to the Reds would come back to haunt us the year this set was released and Parker was by then playing for the Brewers. Nevertheless, we did get a ring in 1989, earthquake and all.