Thursday’s Den: 13 baseball careers that deserve another look

13) Vada Pinson:
— Had 2,757 hits in 18 years, mostly for Cincinnati
— From 1959-67, he played in 154+ games every year.
— Led NL in hits twice, doubles twice, triples twice, runs scored once.
— Arguably the best player not in the Hall of Fame.

12) Octavio Dotel— July 1999, Dotel is a rookie for the Mets; he is pitching on a Saturday afternoon against the Cubs. I’m in my dad’s hospital room; he had cancer surgery four days earlier, and now, the nurse is struggling with one of the tubes in his right arm.

My dad lets out a yell, the nurse jumps and asks if she hurt him. He waves his left arm and says “Its not you. The Cubs have the bases loaded.”

Got up, went up and got a Coke out of a vending machine and stopped worrying about him.

— Played for 13 different teams, in a 15-year career.
— Was with Astros for five years; didn’t play more than two years for anyone else.
— Started 30 games his first two years, started only four more games in his career. He wound up with 109 saves.
— Made the playoffs five times, for five different teams.

11) Al Oliver
— One of the most underrated hitters ever: hit .303 in an 18-year career.
— Made All-Star Game seven times.
— Played 10 years for the Pirates, then bounced around to six other teams.
— Led NL in RBI’s in 1982, when he was 35.

10) Tommy John: He actually had two different careers:
— 1963-74 , before the surgery: 124-106
— 1975— Sat out entire season
— 1976-89, after the surgery: 164-125
— From 1977-82- Made playoffs five times in six years, his only playoff appearances.

9) Nolan Ryan
— Threw seven no-hitters, with last one coming at age 44. 
— Spent 27 years in majors; pitched in ’69 World Series at age 22, but never got back.
— Led AL in strikeouts four years in row from 1987-90, at ages 37-40.
— How the hell did someone this good lose 292 games (324-292)?

8) Jamie Quirk
— Played 18 years in majors, batted 250+ times in only one season.
— Played for eight teams, playing 11 years in Kansas City.
— Made playoffs four times, winning a ring with ’85 Royals.
— .645 career OPS; he must’ve been a good receiver.

7) Mike Morgan
— Morgan started a game against the Orioles three days after his high school graduation, at age 18. He lost 3-0 on a Sunday afternoon.
— Wound up lasting 22 years in the majors, for 12 different teams.
— In 1991-92, he went a combined 30-16 for Dodgers/Cubs, his best stretch.
— Made playoffs twice, with ’98 Cubs, ’01 Diamondbacks.

6) Matt Stairs
— Played 19 years in the majors for 12 different teams.
— Hit 265 home runs, had career OPS of .832.
— Played five years for the A’s, only team he played with for more than 3 years.
— Won a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies. 

5) Jose Vizcaino
— Played 18 years in majors for eight different teams.
— 434 games at 2B, 226 at 3B, 947 at short, 355 as a pinch-hitter.
— Never made an All-Star Game, but earned $26M in his career.
— Made playoffs six times, three times with Houston. 

4) Gary Sheffield
— Played 22 years in big leagues, for eight teams.
— Hit 509 homers, had a career OPS of .905.
— Hit .312, had .998 OPS in four years with Dodgers.
— Made nine All-Star Games, played in playoffs six years.

3) Gaylord Perry
— Played for eight teams in his 22-year career.
— Went 314-265 in his career, with 303 complete games.
— Went 21-6 for the ’78 Padres, when he was 39 years old.
— Wrote a book in 1974; Me and the Spitter. He admitted he cheated.

2) Bartolo Colon
— Was the last active major leaguer who had played for the Montreal Expos.
— Once threw 38 consecutive strikes in a game at Anaheim.
— Played for 21 years with 11 different teams; he spent six years in Cleveland.
— Went 247-188 our his career, made four All-Star Games

1) Rickey Henderson
— All-time greatest base stealer, with 1,406 stolen bases.
— Played 25 years in majors for nine teams; he played 14 years in his hometown of Oakland, in four different stints.
— Led off 81 games with home runs, 27 more than anyone else.
— Had a career on-base %age of .401; in 1990, he had a .439 OB%. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.