Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, the all time bullshit baseball lineup:

Ladies and gentlemen, the all-time bullshit baseball lineup:

                                    We all know about the baseball greats,  the not so greats, the decents, and the down right terribles (Johnnie LeMaster, come home, all is forgiven),but today I would like to discuss some of the true oddities of the game, and somehow put them into line-up form.I will admit, there aren't too many recent players on here, as some of the circumstances that allowed  these people on the field(real or imagined)are products of a bygone era of over- the- top crazy owners, political incorrectness ,and people's vivid imagination.(Not to mention, very questionable coaching moves)There will be controversies over who I've included and who I've not included, so I welcome any and all comments on this entry.Just know, that this is coming from someone who follows the game closely while trying to keep the past(time)alive.Anyway,enough of my chest beating, here they are, the All Time Bullshit Baseball Lineup:

  Starting Pitcher:Sidd Finch

                              (Yes, the second "d " is intentional.)On April 1st, 1985, a Sports Illustrated article entitled "The curious case of Sidd Finch" was published.The piece, written by George Plimpton, gives the details of The Mets newest phenom who not only could throw 168 MPH but would often do it wearing just one shoe.Although the story was obviously a hoax, many people believed it to be true(including a gullible, 15 year old me, although even I figured it out when my brother reminded me it was April Fool's Day),leading to a follow up story of his retirement a week later, then a confession a week after that.In fact,if you took the first letter of each word of the beginning sentence of the article, it spelled out "Happy April Fool's Day"! 

Catcher:Harry Chiti

             Chiti, a very real(and not very good)player is included here mainly for having had the distinction of being the only player in baseball history to be traded for himself.You see, when the Cleveland Indians wanted to trade him to the New York Mets, they settled for a "player to be named later" , but when Chiti proved to be incompetent, he actually became that "Player to be named later".You know you're bad when you can't beat out "Choo choo"Coleman for a spot.

First base:Abner Doubleday

            Did the inventor of baseball actually play first base?Did he ever play the game at all?Perhaps, but we'll never know, seeing as Abner Doubleday was actually a Civil War Vet who had nothing to do with the invention of the game at all.I put him here as a reminder to everyone that it's O.K. to admit that our national pastime most likely evolved from the English sport Cricket and, to a lesser extent(or greater, depending on your view) the game Rounders( played mostly by women).Nice to have a field named after you, though... 

Second Base:Eddie Gaedel

        Bill Veeck was awesome.The owner responsible for some of the greatest publicity stunts of all time (Hiring Max Patkin, the "Clown Prince of baseball" to coach for the Indians, Disco Demolition Derby night in Chicago, both beautiful disasters)may have set the bar too high(or in this case, too low)for other wacko owners to top.As owner of the 1951 St.Louis Browns, Veeck hired a midget, Eddie Gaedel to pinch hit leading off the second game of a double header against Detroit.The Tigers pitcher, Bob Cain, couldn't help but laugh, as he threw 4 straight balls to catcher Bob Swift, who was down on his knees to catch them.It was obviously Gaedel's only at bat, resulting in a 1.000 on base percentage,(Veeck got him a contract earlier that day, so it was an official at bat)and while he never played the field, I figured I'd put him at second, where they usually put the little guys(Sorry Dustin Pedroia).

Third Base:Bucky Dornster (from WKRP in Cincinnati) 

                 I know it was just a (great)T.V. show, and I know the episode I'm referencing was actually a softball game, but who can forget the iconic image of Bucky the station engineer (Played by Bill Dial, also a writer for the show)catching a line drive at 3rd while still holding a cup of beer?...If that visual doesn't embody the American spirit, then what does...

Shortstop:Mickey Stanley

                      Stanley, a superior defensive outfielder and decent hitter, was asked by Detroit Tigers manager Mayo Smith  to play the final 9 games of the 1968 season at shortstop, a position he had never played before.The move was made to prepare for the World series, as they had already clinched the AL pennant.You see, Ray Oyler, the Tigers starting shortstop, was a .135 hitter, so by playing Stanley at shortstop, they could put Al Kaline in the outfield, improving their line-up quite a bit.During the 16 games(9 regular season and 7 in the World Series )he played shortstop, Stanley made a total of 4 errors(which makes him Ozzie Smith compared to Jose Offerman),batted decent enough, and the Tigers won it all.People have said it's one of the greatest coaching decisions ever...I just think it took a lot of BALLS...

Left Field:Pete Gray

                    War is was watching wartime baseball, apparently...during the early-mid forties, so many of the game's great players had to serve their country in WWII, that a number of players who wouldn't even be considered to make teams, did.This resulted in The St.Louis Browns winning their only pennant in 1944(They lost to the cross town rival Cardinals),which doesn't sound so odd, until you realize that the very next year, the American league champs were so depleted of players, they actually called up Pete Gray, a one armed outfielder.He would swing the bat with one hand, and while in the outfield,he would switch his glove from his one good arm to the stub in order to throw(A move Jim Abbot, a pitcher in the 90's did to great effect, even pitching a no-hitter once).And yes,of course he was an inspiration, batting 2.18 in his only season(well above the Mendosa line),having a movie made about him and such, but it just goes to show you how much integration was needed... and I'm pretty sure Satchel Paige could have thrown a no hitter with one arm behind his back...

Center Field:Herb Washington

              Charlie O.Finley had a lot of ideas.The notorious Oakland A's owner wanted to use orange baseballs at night so they were easier to see(never happened),he also came up with the designated hitter idea(which, unfortunately, did happen),and then came up with the designated runner, which did happen, sort of...You see ,in 1974, Finley hired Herb Washington, a world class sprinter who hadn't played baseball since high school, to strictly be a pinch runner( Herb's 1975 Topps card is the only one ever to have a position listed as "Pinch Runner"),an idea that would be vetoed in these days of baseball labor unions.He did O.K., stealing 31bases in 48 tries(actually, that's not that great), but he also got picked off at first during game 2 of the 1974  World Series against The Dodgers by reliever Mike Marshall.And while he never had an at bat, and never played in the field, I put him in center for his speed.


Right Filed:Roy Hobbs/Pedro Ceranno Platoon

        Two right fielders from two baseball movies were included here, because A)I needed a right fielder,and B)Both Robert Redford and Dennis Haysbert look like they could actually play.(I believe Redford did play semi-pro ball at one point).And whether it was for the fictional New York Knights of the 30's or the all-too real Cleveland Indians of the late 80's(before they got good), these two represented their posititons well.I may do a "Best and worst baseball players in movies"entry in the future, but for now,I'll just settle for these 2...btw, The movie version of "The Natural", as some of you know, differs greatly from the book version(sadder ending there), but I'm a sap, so I don't mind seeing lights being broken by 500 ft homers.And as far as "Major League" goes, just remember ,"It's very bad to steal Jobu's rum...very bad"...

And now, where they would appear:
Batting first:Eddie Gaedel(Who will walk)
Second:Herb Washington(Who can bunt him over and maybe beat it out)
Third:Mickey Stanley(As the only good "Real" player, he needs to be in the hitter's spot)
Fourth:Hobbs/Cerrano(Depending on whether it's a left handed or right handed pitcher)
Fifth:Harry Chiti(I know, the pickings are getting slim , but he technically WAS a major leaguer)
Sixth:Pete Gray(Maybe slap one up the middle...I mean, what else is he gonna do?)
Seventh:Abner Doubleday(Maybe he can use his bayonet to threaten the umpire)
Eighth:Bucky Dornster:(His huge gut maybe produce a HBP)
Ninth:Sidd Finch(No matter what, he'll still be a better hitting pitcher than Phil Neikro was...)

The curious case of Sidd Finch                    


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