Baseball – Dick Williams, Curtis Granderson, Johnny Damon, Jack Burdock

Dick Williams (b. 1929) was an unremarkable player for 13 seasons, but then went on to a Hall of Fame career as a manager.  His Boston Red Sox captured the American League pennant in 1967, and he won another pennant in the National League with the Padres. In between were his two World Championships with Oakland A's in 1972 and 1973. http://fairandunbalancedblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/baseball-losses-in-2011.html  

Those paying attention to Granderson’s first season with the Yankees, in 2010, most likely noticed the rise in his home runs per at-bat, but that surge did not forecast the 41 homers he launched last season. The biggest difference in his 2011 skill set was a newfound ability to hit left-handed pitching. After hitting 18 homers over 751 at-bats against lefties from 2006 to 2010, Granderson hit 16 in 191 at-bats last season. It is also worth noting that while Granderson racked up 25 stolen bases, he was caught 10 times and may receive the green light less frequently. Much like Kemp, Granderson is a low contact rate hitter and, as a result, is a liability in batting average. Look for a .250ish average, 30 homers and an R.B.I. total much closer to his three-year average (85) than the 119 he delivered last season. While those numbers are still valuable, they simply do not provide enough of a return for those currently http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/fantasy-focus-regression-risks/#more-57069

Damon has done nothing in recent years to hide his obsession with reaching 3,000 hits, in part because he believes it will elevate his Hall of Fame chances. He is 277 hits shy of the milestone. However, executives from three teams that had interest in Damon expressed concerns a fixation with 3,000 has diminished an attribute that greatly contributed to the perception of Damon as a winning player: patient, tough at-bats. And statistics appear to confirm the criticism. Damon’s batting average dropped 10 points from 2010 to 2011, but his on-base average fell a more dramatic 29 points to .326 from .355, his career average entering last year. His walk percentage fell to 7.9 per 100 plate appearances after he had averaged 10.7 over the previous five years, never falling below 10.0.  http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/forget_about_hit_LhWK6fOBqWp9dNKqr6pP5M#ixzz1mSX3cpzL

At the peak of his career, John Joseph “Black Jack” Burdock was considered to be the premier second baseman of 19th-century professional baseball. An article in Harper’s Weekly on May 16, 1885, about that year’s baseball season featured “the nine men universally acknowledged as the most expert players in their respective positions in the field,” and Burdock was selected as the second baseman of this precursor of today’s all-star teams, along with four future Hall of Famers: King Kelly (right field), Charles “Hoss” Radbourn (pitcher), Buck Ewing (catcher), and John Montgomery Ward (“the best base runner”). Sadly, Burdock’s considerable skill and athleticism were ultimately undermined by alcoholism. He became a binge drinker starting in the early 1880s, resulting in essentially the end of his major-league career by the conclusion of that decade. http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/834f6239


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