Friday, June 05, 2009

Qualifying Major League Baseball players' careers - the decent and the very good

From my first post on this subject:
When flipping through players' cards, it seemed important to figure out who was destined to go straight to the commons box - without a care for cards of players who may deserve a second look.

Over the last five years, I've been more exposed to the sentiment there is more ways to view players besides saying whether a guy is a star or a scrub - it is interesting to redefine my perceptions of players as part of understanding the game more as a fan.

Decent - are Major League Baseball players who have had up-and-down careers. Maybe I'm focusing on players who have gained some prominence, but this label also applies to players who are everyday players, but hardly perennial all-star performers.

Milton Bradley - injuries and his temper have always seemed to prevent him from getting legs under his Major League career.
Travis Hafner - he was putting up some very good numbers, but he really started his Major League career late and it seemed like age has caught up during the past two seasons.
Bo Jackson - on his ability alone, he was more than a decent player, but the hip injury he suffered in football derailed more than just his professional football career.

Trot Nixon - was a first round, Top 10 overall pick back in 1993, was a productive player and a Boston Red Sox fan favorite. However, it wasn't like he was a 10-time all-star.

Chris Sabo - decent career, was a fan-favorite because he seemed to be a grinder. He also wore those goofy goggles.

The distinction between the decent and the very good players was for the most part
- there was some consistency enjoyed by the very good players.

Very good - players who enjoyed long, productive careers, were considered as possible all-star performers and/or players who were longtime franchise stars but may fall sort of being considered national stars.

Bobby Bonilla - he was a budding star in Pittsburgh, was the big free agent scapegoat for the New York Mets in the post-Darryl Strawberry early 1990s, but then had some productive years in Baltimore and Florida among stops before eventual retirement in 2001.
Will Clark - Will the Thrill starred as a budding all-star performer early in his career, left San Francisco, played hard but was never the same in his 30s as he was in his mid 20s.
Kent Hrbek - maybe the criteria for evaluating 'good' players was they were able to star for a prolonged period of time. For 1980s through the early 1990s, Hrbek fit the bill in a regional sense.
Wally Joyner - I don't think he ever lived up to the hype generated by his Wally World rookie campaign of 1986, but he played a long time as a slick-hitting, slick-fielding, once-experimented with roids first baseman.

David Ortiz - like Hafner, age has caught up with him, but Ortiz has been seen as a pivotal figure in helping a prominent franchise exorcise postseason demons. Papi may suck these days, but there is no denying the impact he has had in Boston. Put him on a lagging franchise and he maybe just a 'decent' player.

I started following Major League Baseball as a fan from the early 1990s to today -depending on when one started following the game and/or collecting cards, they can have their own set of players they consider decent [and/or very good players] that may differ from someone else.


MMayes said...

I hold Bobby Bonilla in very high esteem for his run with the Cardinals. Actually, what I appreciate about Bonilla as a Cardinal was his spring training injury that caused Tony LaRussa to replace him on the Opening Day roster with a new 3rd baseman who played the previous year in A ball, Albert Pujols.

Big D said...

Egads...I don't think anyone could get away with glasses like that today!