Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Baseball Trivia: A Pirates of the Allegheny Birthday Edition!

In the first four seasons of his career, this left-handed hitter – who threw right-handed – played a fair number of games as a corner infielder. Yet, by his fifth season, he had a center field job locked down (67.5% of career games played in center). Today we celebrate his 60th birthday with some trivia!

His playing career lasted from 1983 to 1995 and he racked up 41.8 fWAR. His two best seasons were 1988 and 1992 (6.4 & 6.5 fWAR, respectively). In both of those seasons, he finished fourth in the NL MVP vote, losing to Kirk Gibson and then outfield mate, Barry Bonds. All of his Baseball Reference player page Black Ink occurs in those two seasons. In 1988, he led the majors with 15 triples and 13 sacrifice hits and led the NL in assists as a centerfielder with 12. Four years later, he led the National League with 199 hits and 45 doubles.

Back to those three-baggers. During the span of his career (’83-’95) he hit 91 triples, which was good for fifth-best in all of Major League Baseball. Brett Butler – the ballplayer not the stand-up comedian – had 124 triples in that time. Just for the fun of it, only José Reyes has as many as 91 triples from 2007-’18 (in a comparable amount of PAs, too! 6495 to 6283).

As a player, he never won a World Series, coming closest when his ’85 St. Louis Cardinals lost in seven games to George Brett’s Kansas City Royals. He only started Games 3 and 7, as he was splitting time in right field with a debilitated android posing as César Cedeño. In those two starts, he went 1-8 with three strikeouts.

After his playing career, he’s had a couple of coaching jobs. He became Jim Leyland’s first base coach starting in 2006 and remained in that position until 2009. In that first year as a major-league coach, he once again came close to winning a World Series ring, but the Tigers lost in five games to the Cardinals. He also spent a couple of seasons as first base coach for the Seattle Mariners and Lloyd McLendon‘s staff in the ’14-’15 seasons.

Between coaching jobs, he got to enjoy watching one of his sons begin his playing days in the big leagues. On May 20th, 2012, his son hit his first career homer against the St. Louis Cardinals, of course, smacking it into the left-field bleachers off of Marc Rzepczynski. Father and son are removed by only two degrees of separation, according to Baseball Reference’s Oracle of Baseball, despite their playing careers occurring 17 years apart. Dad played with Willie McGee in 1983, who played with Adam Kennedy in 1999, who then played with the son.

Who’s the birthday boy with a rookie card that can still fetch upwards of $25 if autographed?

If you haven’t figured out who the most ripped first base coach in recent memory is by now, feel free to click here for the ANSWER!!!

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