’79 Champs Witness Bucs Rise to 5th Place

I was supposed to be in the audience tonight. But a business trip looms tomorrow. Thusly, I witnessed the game courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio. 22 members of the 1979 World Series champs were honored before the game and they got to watch Zach Duke, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones pitch and pound the Reds into submission. And into the cellar.

The Pirates took over 5th place with their fifth straight win. Duke allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks in seven innings. The Pirates got on Justin Lehr in the first inning with three runs. Doumit was in the middle of it. With the Pirates already up 1-0, one gone in the first and Jones on third, Doumit hit a high bouncer back to Lehr. The Reds hurler wanted to get two and end the inning, but Doumit hustled down the line and was credited with a fielder’s choice RBI. He then swiped second based and scored on a single from Lastings Milledge.

Doumit hit a two run homer high into the seats in right in the fifth to make it 6-1. Jones added a two run double in next frame and the route was on. The Pirates added four more in the 7th. Steve Pearce had a two run single. Had it not been for an acrobatic stop by Brandon Phillips off the bat of Delwyn Young that Phillips helped turn into a double play, it could’ve been worse.

Lehr allowed six runs on 8 hits in five innings.

The Good

Five straight wins.

Fifth place.

Doumit had three hits, scored three times and drove in three.

Jones also had three hits and three runs knocked home.

Duke picks up win #10.

The Bad

Nothing at all, other than me not being in the Steel City tonight.

The Rest

The 19 players from the 1979 team on hand were:

Matt Alexander, Dale Berra, Bert Blyleven, John Candelaria, Mike Easler, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Lee Lacy, Bill Madlock, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Dave Parker, Don Robinson, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Kent Tekulve. Chuck Tanner and coach Al Monchak were there along with trainer Tony Bartirome. Willie Stargell’s wife was also there.

Among the deceased in addition to Stargell are Bill Robinson, John Milner, Dave Roberts and Dock Ellis (not on post-season roster). Living players who did not come back were Jim Bibby, Doe Boyland (not on post-season roster), Joe Coleman (not on post-season roster), Tim Foli, Gary Hargis (not on post-season roster), Alberto Lois (not on post-season roster), Rick Rhoden (disabled most of the season), Enrique Romo, Frank Taveras (traded early on for Foli), Ed Whitson (traded for Madlock in June)

This was Doumit’s fifth career game with three runs scored. It was the third time he reached three RBI and three runs scored in one contest.

Jones has six RBI in the last two games.

Duke reached double figures in wins for the second time in his career.

Each of the starting 8 had a hit and scored a run.

Last five game winning streak was May 15 to 20th against Colorado and Washington. Each of the starters were the winning pitcher during the current winning streak.The bullpen picked up three wins during the earlier winning streak.

Luis Cruz got his third start of the year in place of Ronny Cedeno who has a fractured finger.

Welcome back Phil Dumatrait who pitched a scoreless inning, his first game since July 7, 2008.

 

The Case for Dave Parker

Below is a post I wrote a couple of years ago (January 2005 to be exact) for the old “Buried Treasure” site that was part of MVN before we became Pittsburgh Lumber Co. I took a look at Dave Parker’s Hall of Fame candidacy. With the Cobra once again falling well short of induction today (and the original post no longer available), I thought I’d pull this one off my computer and put it back out there.

One thing that I think about now that I didn’t think about then is how a player’s career looks seven or ten years in. For example, seven years into Dave Parker’s career – say 1980 – he looked like he was on the path for the Hall of Fame. He had an MVP, two batting titles and multiple Gold Gloves. Seven years into the career of Robin Yount (after 1981 but before 1982) or Paul Molitor (the mid-1980s), would you have thought of them as having a career path that suggested Hall of Fame numbers? Through age 30, Molitor’s most similar player (according to Baseball-Reference.com) is Rafael Furcal. 

Molitor and Parker both had drug issues. Molitor overcame his issues early in his career, ostensibly before his peak. Parker’s issues started just as he was in his prime. Molitor and Yount both wound up with about 2000 more plate appearances than Parker did. The Cobra made an appearance at a baseball card show in November of 2008 in Cincinnati and still looks great. I wonder if he will write an autobiography. I’m sure he has some tales to tell.  

 

Congrats to Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg on their election to the Hall of Fame. Both are worthy candidates and I know of at least one Cubs fan who has something to smile about after an otherwise miserable season.

 

There seem to be three main debates about existing Hall candidates who aren’t in:

 

1. Should Bert Blyleven be in?

2. Should Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage get in?

3. Should Jim Rice get in? (maybe some people would argue about Andre Dawson and Steve Garvey, as well).

 

I’d like to tackle the Rice question and compare him to Eddie Murray and Dave Parker.

 

Bill James, in his most recent Historical Abstract, claimed Rice is the most overrated player in the past 30 years and has Frank Howard, Albert Belle and Roy White ranked ahead of him in the left field category. Bill Simmons recently wrote on ESPN’s Page 2 that if the Dodgers had offered Don Sutton even up for Jim Rice the Red Sox essentially would’ve laughed. Yet, Sutton is in Cooperstown and Rice is waiting. Simmons is correct, but despite the fact that they both ended their careers in the late ’80s, Sutton is nearly 8 years older than Rice. So, that isn’t a very fair point.

 

Career numbers – total

 

Rice:  1249 runs;  2452 hits; 373 doubles; 382 HRs; 1451 RBIs; 670 BB; 1423 Ks; and .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 1627 runs; 3255 hits; 560 doubles; 504 HRs; 1917 RBIs; 1333 BB; 1516 Ks; and .287/.359/.476 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker: 1272 runs; 2712 hits; 526 doubles; 339 HRs; 1493 RBIs; 683 BB; 1537 Ks; and .290/.339/.471 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray is unquestionably a Hall of Famer. He is somewhat of the cheapest of the 500 HR hitters (excluding those who may or may not have been on the juice) in the sense that he never hit 35 HRs in a single year. He might’ve in 1981, but who knows. However, let’s look at each player’s average over 162 games.

 

Career numbers per 162 games 

 

Rice: 97 runs; 190 hits; 29 doubles; 30 HRs; 113 RBIs; 52 BB; 110 Ks;  .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 87 runs; 174 hits; 30 doubles; 27 HRs; 103 RBIs; 71 BB; 81 Ks; .287/.359/.476 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker:  84 runs; 178 hits; 35 doubles; 22 HRs; 98 RBIs; 45 BB; 101 Ks; .290/.339/.471 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Things look a bit different here. Rice didn’t walk as much as Murray, but he hit for a higher average and their OBPs are about equal. Rice holds a 25 point lead in slugging. Parker’s lack of walks and low HR total early in his career hamper him. This isn’t exactly fair either since Rice’s career was substantially shorter than Murray’s and slightly shorter than Parker’s. So, let’s look at each player’s career numbers after they played in a roughly equivalent number of games.

 

Rice played in 2089 games in his career. I totaled Murray’s numbers (2135 games) through the 1990 season and I totaled Parker’s numbers (2177 games) through the 1989 season. Let’s compare those numbers. Rice’s are unchanged.

 

Career totals through approximately 2100 games played

 

Rice:  1249 runs;  2452 hits; 373 doubles; 382 HRs; 1451 RBIs; 670 BB; 1423 Ks; and .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 1210 runs; 2352 hits; 402 doubles; 379 HRs; 1373 RBIs; 1026 BB; 1076 Ks; and .294/.372/.494 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker: 1154 runs; 2416 hits; 470 doubles; 307 HRs; 1342 RBIs; 609 BB; 1337 Ks; and .293/.343/.479 BA/OBP/SLG

 

This makes things between Rice and Murray a bit more even. Murray has narrowed the gap  in SLG and has a bigger lead on OBP, yet Rice, despite just three more HRs has 80 more career RBIs. Rice played in Fenway. Let’s look at the career splits for each of these guys (thank you Retrosheet!) Splits stop after 1992 for Murray so they aren’t complete

 

Home/Road Splits

 

Rice home – 208 HRs; .320/.340/.495 BA/OPB/SLG

Rice away – 174 HRs; .277/.330/.459 BA/OPB/SLG

Murray home – 194 HRs; .291/.372/.473 BA/OPB/SLG

Murray away – 220 HRs; .289/.362/.495 BA/OPB/SLG

Parker home – 170 HRs; .303/.350/.497 BA/OPB/SLG

Parker away – 169 HRs; .278/.329/.446 BA/OPB/SLG

 

Rice’s away numbers look like Parker’s. They aren’t bad but Rice’s performance away from Fenway pales when compared to what he did in his own backyard.

 

Rice and Parker each won an MVP. Murray and Rice finished in the top 5 in voting six times. Parker reached the top 5 in five seasons. Mark McGwire reached that level just three times. Murray and Rice made eight All-Star teams and Parker made seven. Murray and Parker each one three Gold Gloves. Rice was shut out in that department, but even Bill James says he was a better outfield than he was given credit for.

 

Final Analysis

 

Murray is in, as everybody knows, and deserves to be there. Rice isn’t in and seems to be stuck squarely on the fence. I think he’ll get in eventually.  Parker isn’t in and I don’t think he ever will be.

 

I’ve often thought about what would’ve happened to the Cobra if he hadn’t gotten messed up on drugs in the early ’80s. Would’ve had had a Hall of Fame career? I took a look at this in a crude fashion to satisfy my own curiosity.

 

I assume Parker’s career tailspin started in 1980 and lasted four years (the lost period). Though he had decent year in 1980 it wasn’t as good as what fans in Pittsburgh were used to. 1981 brought the strike and he was hurt in 1982. 1983 was  miserable year for him.  Then he went to Cincinnati in 1984 and righted the ship.  I took the four years previous to 1980 (1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 – the before period) and the four years after 1983 (1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 – the after period) and averaged Parker’s numbers for those years. I then took the worse case scenario and ratioed the number of games played to come up with what kind of numbers he might’ve had in the four “lost” years if he his career had stayed on track. As an example, he averaged more homers in the “after” period than he did in the “before” period, so when assuming new HR totals for the “lost” period, I used the numbers from the “before” period because they were lower. So, in this scenario, the strike still happens and the injuries still sideline him. The difference isn’t enough to get him over the hump. I figure he would’ve had no more than another 50 hits, still leaving him short of 2800, and about another two dozen homers, still shy of 400.

 

I figure the strike probably cost him in the neighborhood of 50 hits. But then again it cost a lot of good hitters who aren’t in the Hall 50 hits – Al Oliver, Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Andre Dawson.

 

I loved watching Dave Parker play. He was a five tool player all the way. No matter how I look at it, his numbers aren’t as impressive as they should be to get in the Hall of Fame. I’d love to see him get in and if somebody wants to persuade that he belongs, I’m certainly open to it.

 

 

The Case for Dave Parker

Below is a post I wrote a couple of years ago (January 2005 to be exact) for the old “Buried Treasure” site that was part of MVN before we became Pittsburgh Lumber Co. I took a look at Dave Parker’s Hall of Fame candidacy. With the Cobra once again falling well short of induction today (and the original post no longer available), I thought I’d pull this one off my computer and put it back out there.

One thing that I think about now that I didn’t think about then is how a player’s career looks seven or ten years in. For example, seven years into Dave Parker’s career – say 1980 – he looked like he was on the path for the Hall of Fame. He had an MVP, two batting titles and multiple Gold Gloves. Seven years into the career of Robin Yount (after 1981 but before 1982) or Paul Molitor (the mid-1980s), would you have thought of them as having a career path that suggested Hall of Fame numbers? Through age 30, Molitor’s most similar player (according to Baseball-Reference.com) is Rafael Furcal. 

Molitor and Parker both had drug issues. Molitor overcame his issues early in his career, ostensibly before his peak. Parker’s issues started just as he was in his prime. Molitor and Yount both wound up with about 2000 more plate appearances than Parker did. The Cobra made an appearance at a baseball card show in November of 2008 in Cincinnati and still looks great. I wonder if he will write an autobiography. I’m sure he has some tales to tell.  

 

Congrats to Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg on their election to the Hall of Fame. Both are worthy candidates and I know of at least one Cubs fan who has something to smile about after an otherwise miserable season.

 

There seem to be three main debates about existing Hall candidates who aren’t in:

 

1. Should Bert Blyleven be in?

2. Should Bruce Sutter and Goose Gossage get in?

3. Should Jim Rice get in? (maybe some people would argue about Andre Dawson and Steve Garvey, as well).

 

I’d like to tackle the Rice question and compare him to Eddie Murray and Dave Parker.

 

Bill James, in his most recent Historical Abstract, claimed Rice is the most overrated player in the past 30 years and has Frank Howard, Albert Belle and Roy White ranked ahead of him in the left field category. Bill Simmons recently wrote on ESPN’s Page 2 that if the Dodgers had offered Don Sutton even up for Jim Rice the Red Sox essentially would’ve laughed. Yet, Sutton is in Cooperstown and Rice is waiting. Simmons is correct, but despite the fact that they both ended their careers in the late ’80s, Sutton is nearly 8 years older than Rice. So, that isn’t a very fair point.

 

Career numbers – total

 

Rice:  1249 runs;  2452 hits; 373 doubles; 382 HRs; 1451 RBIs; 670 BB; 1423 Ks; and .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 1627 runs; 3255 hits; 560 doubles; 504 HRs; 1917 RBIs; 1333 BB; 1516 Ks; and .287/.359/.476 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker: 1272 runs; 2712 hits; 526 doubles; 339 HRs; 1493 RBIs; 683 BB; 1537 Ks; and .290/.339/.471 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray is unquestionably a Hall of Famer. He is somewhat of the cheapest of the 500 HR hitters (excluding those who may or may not have been on the juice) in the sense that he never hit 35 HRs in a single year. He might’ve in 1981, but who knows. However, let’s look at each player’s average over 162 games.

 

Career numbers per 162 games 

 

Rice: 97 runs; 190 hits; 29 doubles; 30 HRs; 113 RBIs; 52 BB; 110 Ks;  .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 87 runs; 174 hits; 30 doubles; 27 HRs; 103 RBIs; 71 BB; 81 Ks; .287/.359/.476 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker:  84 runs; 178 hits; 35 doubles; 22 HRs; 98 RBIs; 45 BB; 101 Ks; .290/.339/.471 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Things look a bit different here. Rice didn’t walk as much as Murray, but he hit for a higher average and their OBPs are about equal. Rice holds a 25 point lead in slugging. Parker’s lack of walks and low HR total early in his career hamper him. This isn’t exactly fair either since Rice’s career was substantially shorter than Murray’s and slightly shorter than Parker’s. So, let’s look at each player’s career numbers after they played in a roughly equivalent number of games.

 

Rice played in 2089 games in his career. I totaled Murray’s numbers (2135 games) through the 1990 season and I totaled Parker’s numbers (2177 games) through the 1989 season. Let’s compare those numbers. Rice’s are unchanged.

 

Career totals through approximately 2100 games played

 

Rice:  1249 runs;  2452 hits; 373 doubles; 382 HRs; 1451 RBIs; 670 BB; 1423 Ks; and .298/.352/.502 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Murray: 1210 runs; 2352 hits; 402 doubles; 379 HRs; 1373 RBIs; 1026 BB; 1076 Ks; and .294/.372/.494 BA/OBP/SLG

 

Parker: 1154 runs; 2416 hits; 470 doubles; 307 HRs; 1342 RBIs; 609 BB; 1337 Ks; and .293/.343/.479 BA/OBP/SLG

 

This makes things between Rice and Murray a bit more even. Murray has narrowed the gap  in SLG and has a bigger lead on OBP, yet Rice, despite just three more HRs has 80 more career RBIs. Rice played in Fenway. Let’s look at the career splits for each of these guys (thank you Retrosheet!) Splits stop after 1992 for Murray so they aren’t complete

 

Home/Road Splits

 

Rice home – 208 HRs; .320/.340/.495 BA/OPB/SLG

Rice away – 174 HRs; .277/.330/.459 BA/OPB/SLG

Murray home – 194 HRs; .291/.372/.473 BA/OPB/SLG

Murray away – 220 HRs; .289/.362/.495 BA/OPB/SLG

Parker home – 170 HRs; .303/.350/.497 BA/OPB/SLG

Parker away – 169 HRs; .278/.329/.446 BA/OPB/SLG

 

Rice’s away numbers look like Parker’s. They aren’t bad but Rice’s performance away from Fenway pales when compared to what he did in his own backyard.

 

Rice and Parker each won an MVP. Murray and Rice finished in the top 5 in voting six times. Parker reached the top 5 in five seasons. Mark McGwire reached that level just three times. Murray and Rice made eight All-Star teams and Parker made seven. Murray and Parker each one three Gold Gloves. Rice was shut out in that department, but even Bill James says he was a better outfield than he was given credit for.

 

Final Analysis

 

Murray is in, as everybody knows, and deserves to be there. Rice isn’t in and seems to be stuck squarely on the fence. I think he’ll get in eventually.  Parker isn’t in and I don’t think he ever will be.

 

I’ve often thought about what would’ve happened to the Cobra if he hadn’t gotten messed up on drugs in the early ’80s. Would’ve had had a Hall of Fame career? I took a look at this in a crude fashion to satisfy my own curiosity.

 

I assume Parker’s career tailspin started in 1980 and lasted four years (the lost period). Though he had decent year in 1980 it wasn’t as good as what fans in Pittsburgh were used to. 1981 brought the strike and he was hurt in 1982. 1983 was  miserable year for him.  Then he went to Cincinnati in 1984 and righted the ship.  I took the four years previous to 1980 (1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979 – the before period) and the four years after 1983 (1984, 1985, 1986 and 1987 – the after period) and averaged Parker’s numbers for those years. I then took the worse case scenario and ratioed the number of games played to come up with what kind of numbers he might’ve had in the four “lost” years if he his career had stayed on track. As an example, he averaged more homers in the “after” period than he did in the “before” period, so when assuming new HR totals for the “lost” period, I used the numbers from the “before” period because they were lower. So, in this scenario, the strike still happens and the injuries still sideline him. The difference isn’t enough to get him over the hump. I figure he would’ve had no more than another 50 hits, still leaving him short of 2800, and about another two dozen homers, still shy of 400.

 

I figure the strike probably cost him in the neighborhood of 50 hits. But then again it cost a lot of good hitters who aren’t in the Hall 50 hits – Al Oliver, Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey, Andre Dawson.

 

I loved watching Dave Parker play. He was a five tool player all the way. No matter how I look at it, his numbers aren’t as impressive as they should be to get in the Hall of Fame. I’d love to see him get in and if somebody wants to persuade that he belongs, I’m certainly open to it.

 

 

Posted in Dave Parker. Comments Off on The Case for Dave Parker

Gossage Voted into HOF; Others Continue to Wait

Goose Gossage was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame today. Overdue, I’d say. Jim Rice was a close second and has a shot next year as the only safe candidate for selection is Rickey Henderson. That, of course, assumes Henderson doesn’t some how make a comeback this year.
Couple of comments…
First, my ballot would’ve included numerous other players. Rice, Andre Dawson, Bert Blyleven, Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Tim Raines all belong in my opinion.
Second, I’m disappointed that Raines received so little love. If there was no such person as Rickey Henderson, everyone would better recognize what a talent Raines was. Eddie Mathews was overlooked for enshrinement in part because he was playing alongside Hank Aaron for most of his career. Uh, the man had 500 homers. I’d be inclined to have Raines in before the other candidates that I’d put in.
Dave Parker received less than 20% of the vote. Former Bucco Shawon Dunston got one vote.
ESPN doesn’t list their names, but Jose Rijo and Brady Anderson got no votes. Rijo was also on the ballot in 2001 and received one vote then. I guess his comeback must’ve been too unsuccessful to keep that vote.
Somehow Todd Stottlemyre managed to get a vote. I’m still sore that Andy Van Slyke got no votes in 2001. How is it possible that no writers voted for Van Slyke? He was a good player – a top five MVP finisher two times, won multiple Gold Gloves and was a great interview. Inconceivable.
No word yet on whether Gossage will be pictured in a Pirates stove top hat on his plaque.

Gene Clines: One of the 9, Two Times Over

Not sure why exactly, but I’ve been thinking about Gene Clines recently. So, to continue with a somewhat random (both in time and in quality of play) string of posts on ex-Pirates from back in the day, let’s talk Gene Clines.
Notables
How acquired: Buccos pick in the 6th round of the 1966 draft
Switcheroo: He was originally chosen as a pitcher but switched to OF because he could rake. He led the Salem (rookie) loop in hitting in 1966.
The jump: After spending parts of three seasons at AA, Clines made the jump to the Show in 1970.
First ML game: June 28, 1970. He appeared as a pinch runner in the 7th inning against the Padres replacing Jose Pagan who had doubled home what would be the winning run.
First ML hit: 7th inning pinch hit single (batting for Orlando Pena) off Jerry Koosman of the Mets in a losing effort
Keep your glove in your locker: In his rookie year, Clines appeared in 31 games, but played the field just seven times.
Super PH: Clines filled the role of pinch hitter quite well throughout his career. He topped ten pinch hits in a single season three times and finished his career with 59 pinch hits. That was good enough for top 40 all-time when he retired. He has since been passed numerous times.
Brush with greatness, part 1: Clines was one of nine minorities to start on 9/1/71, which is believed to be the first all-minority starting nine in the history of MLB.
Brush with greatness, part 2: Clines was one of nine Bucco players to amass 100 hits in 1972, which I believe is a record for most players reach triple digits in safeties in a single year for teams that didn’t employ a DH.
What might have been: He appeared to be the next in a mold of high average/marginal power outfielders in the mold of Matty Alou and Manny Mota. After playing well in the role of fourth outfielder in 1971 and 1972, Clines became the primary right fielder in 1973 after the Manny Sanguillen in RF experiment was ended. Unfortunately for Clines, that gig lasted all of about a month from mid-June to July 10. Against the Padres on 7/10/73, Clines tore ligaments in his ankle in a bizarre play. Clines was on first attempting to steal on a pitch that turned out to be ball four to Dave Cash. Clines aborted his slide into second and tore up his ankle in the process. He would miss the rest of the month and never be the same player again (he was hitting .291 at the time of the injury and hit .227 after coming off the DL). By the time he was healthy, Richie Zisk and Dave Parker were on the scene and Clines would once again be the spare OF in 1974.
How he got away: Clines didn’t hit very well in 1974. He made just five starts after the All-Star break and wound up with a .225 BA and just six XBH in 276 at bats. He was traded to the Mets that off-season for catcher Duffy Dyer.
Bouncing around: He spent a year in the Big Apple and then won in Arlington. He was dealt to the Cubs and played for them for two full years. He was released in May 1979 and stayed on with the Wriglies as a coach. He has coached for several teams including, most recently, the Cubs again.
Last ML Hit and last ML appearance: Clines had a pinch hit single on 5/8/79 off Doug Bair (then of the Reds, formerly of the Pirates). Clines was released on 5/11. All 10 of his at bats in 1979 were in the form of pinch hitting appearances.

Posted in Dave Cash, Dave Parker, Doug Bair, Duffy Dyer, Gene Clines, Jose Pagan, Manny Sanguillen, Matty Alou, Orlando Pena, Richie Zisk. Comments Off on Gene Clines: One of the 9, Two Times Over

Gene Clines: One of the 9, Two Times Over

Not sure why exactly, but I’ve been thinking about Gene Clines recently. So, to continue with a somewhat random (both in time and in quality of play) string of posts on ex-Pirates from back in the day, let’s talk Gene Clines.
Notables
How acquired: Buccos pick in the 6th round of the 1966 draft
Switcheroo: He was originally chosen as a pitcher but switched to OF because he could rake. He led the Salem (rookie) loop in hitting in 1966.
The jump: After spending parts of three seasons at AA, Clines made the jump to the Show in 1970.
First ML game: June 28, 1970. He appeared as a pinch runner in the 7th inning against the Padres replacing Jose Pagan who had doubled home what would be the winning run.
First ML hit: 7th inning pinch hit single (batting for Orlando Pena) off Jerry Koosman of the Mets in a losing effort
Keep your glove in your locker: In his rookie year, Clines appeared in 31 games, but played the field just seven times.
Super PH: Clines filled the role of pinch hitter quite well throughout his career. He topped ten pinch hits in a single season three times and finished his career with 59 pinch hits. That was good enough for top 40 all-time when he retired. He has since been passed numerous times.
Brush with greatness, part 1: Clines was one of nine minorities to start on 9/1/71, which is believed to be the first all-minority starting nine in the history of MLB.
Brush with greatness, part 2: Clines was one of nine Bucco players to amass 100 hits in 1972, which I believe is a record for most players reach triple digits in safeties in a single year for teams that didn’t employ a DH.
What might have been: He appeared to be the next in a mold of high average/marginal power outfielders in the mold of Matty Alou and Manny Mota. After playing well in the role of fourth outfielder in 1971 and 1972, Clines became the primary right fielder in 1973 after the Manny Sanguillen in RF experiment was ended. Unfortunately for Clines, that gig lasted all of about a month from mid-June to July 10. Against the Padres on 7/10/73, Clines tore ligaments in his ankle in a bizarre play. Clines was on first attempting to steal on a pitch that turned out to be ball four to Dave Cash. Clines aborted his slide into second and tore up his ankle in the process. He would miss the rest of the month and never be the same player again (he was hitting .291 at the time of the injury and hit .227 after coming off the DL). By the time he was healthy, Richie Zisk and Dave Parker were on the scene and Clines would once again be the spare OF in 1974.
How he got away: Clines didn’t hit very well in 1974. He made just five starts after the All-Star break and wound up with a .225 BA and just six XBH in 276 at bats. He was traded to the Mets that off-season for catcher Duffy Dyer.
Bouncing around: He spent a year in the Big Apple and then won in Arlington. He was dealt to the Cubs and played for them for two full years. He was released in May 1979 and stayed on with the Wriglies as a coach. He has coached for several teams including, most recently, the Cubs again.
Last ML Hit and last ML appearance: Clines had a pinch hit single on 5/8/79 off Doug Bair (then of the Reds, formerly of the Pirates). Clines was released on 5/11. All 10 of his at bats in 1979 were in the form of pinch hitting appearances.

Posted in Dave Cash, Dave Parker, Doug Bair, Duffy Dyer, Gene Clines, Jose Pagan, Manny Sanguillen, Matty Alou, Orlando Pena, Richie Zisk. Comments Off on Gene Clines: One of the 9, Two Times Over

Downfall of the Fam-A-Lee – Part 17

Like 1982, the Pirates were very much in the race in 1983. The club was tied for first as late as September 17. The Buccos went just 6-8 over the final two weeks of the season while the Phillies caught fire and went 13-2 over the same stretch to win the division by a comfortable six games.
The team was dominated by outstanding pitching. The staff was fourth in the league in ERA and second in strikeouts. The offense was average. Jason Thompson slipped from his 1982 marks (and would continue to slip), though his OBS+ was still solid. The team finished third in the league in BA and fourth in OBP, but just seventh in runs scored.
So what happened next? Dave Parker left for his hometown as a free agent. The Pirates picked up aging former All-Star Amos Otis as a free agent hoping he’d be a suitable offensive stop gap in the wake of Parker’s not-so-amicable exit. Here’s a look at what else was done during the off-season and during the 1984 campaign.
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