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May 1, 2013

The Lineup Card

10 Players We Wish Had Stayed Healthy

by Baseball Prospectus

​1. Terry Francona
Indians manager Terry Francona often makes self-deprecating jokes about his career as a major-league player, and the numbers bear out the fact that he was, to put it kindly, mediocre in his 10 seasons with five clubs. He had a .274/.300/.351 triple-slash line with just 16 home runs in 1,827 plate appearances. However, things could have turned out differently if Francona hadn’t suffered severe knee injuries in 1982 and 1984 while playing for the Expos. He was leading the National League in hitting both times.

Francona also entered professional baseball with a good pedigree. He was the Cubs’ second-round draft pick in 1977 following his senior year of high school in New Brighton, Pennsylvania, but opted to play college baseball at Arizona. In 1980, he won the Golden Spikes Award as the nation’s best player and led the Wildcats to the College World Series title, capturing series Most Valuable Player honors in the process. The Expos made him their first-round draft pick that June.

While Francona will always be remembered as the manager who led the Red Sox to World Series championships in 2004 and 2007, those who saw him play as an amateur will always think about what might have been. —John Perrotto

2. Ryan Westmoreland
It's a no ordinary progression to go from future superstar at 19 years old to retired at 22 years old, but then again, there was never anything ordinary about Ryan Westmoreland. One of the best baseball players the state of Rhode Island has ever produced, Westmoreland was both the state's best position player and pitcher his senior year of high school (he had a 0.45 ERA and threw a 19-strikeout perfect game). The Red Sox took him in the fifth round of the 2008 draft but gave him a staggering $2 million bonus to sign. He made his debut in 2009 as a teenager in the New York-Penn League and hit .296/.401/.484 with seven homers and 19 steals in just 60 games.

After that, he was the talk of the Red Sox' farm system; Kevin Goldstein ranked him as the 14th-best prospect in the game prior to 2010. In his Red Sox Top 11 list, Goldstein wrote: "One scout described Westmoreland as having 'the tools of a top-five high school pick, with the advanced skills of a college player.' Supremely athletic, Westmoreland has average power with projection for more, as well as a keen understanding of the strike zone and a silky smooth swing with some natural lift to it. He's an outstanding runner with instincts, as indicated by his 19 stolen bases in 60 games for the Spinners without getting caught." I also remember listening to a Baseball America podcast when their Top 100 came out that preseason (he was No. 21 there). Jim Callis was asked who he liked to be the No. 1 prospect for 2011. His answer? Ryan Westmoreland.

The rest of his story is pretty well-known at this point. Those 60 games he played in the NYPL would be the only professional games of his career, as he was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation in his brain, requiring immediate and potentially life-threatening surgery. The surgery was a success, and Westmoreland continued to march on with his dream of playing in the major leagues. Unfortunately, while he was making great strides on his journey to living a full and normal life, the baseball side of the equation was proving a more difficult challenge. After a setback and a second brain surgery last July, Westmoreland's baseball career was over, and he officially retired from the game this March.

Ultimately, Westmoreland's story is one about hope, strength and determination. Despite being dealt an incredibly unfair hand, he has remained staggeringly positive and has served as an inspiration to many (both within the game and outside of it), including myself. It's just difficult, as someone who loves the game of baseball, to not feel like we were all robbed of getting the chance to watch this potential superstar patrol center field at Fenway. In a parallel universe somewhere, he’s discussed as one of the best young players in the league today. —Bret Sayre

3. Dizzy Dean
Of all the pitchers who are in the Hall of Fame for being great starting pitchers—Candy Cummings doesn’t count—none has fewer wins than Ol’ Diz. His 150 career W’s are half of what has generally been held as the magic number for starters (granting the lower bar of yesteryear, of course). Dean won 82 of those games in a mere three-season stretch from 1934-36 as part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ Gashouse Gang, winning an MVP Award in the first, at age 24, and finishing second in the other two. But then, pitching in the 1937 All-Star game, Dean had his toe broken by a line drive off the bat of another future Hall of Famer, Earl Averill. The story goes that he changed his delivery after that in order to avoid landing on the toe, resulting in a shoulder injury that augured the rapid end of Dean’s career. He was essentially done two seasons later.

Had Dean stayed healthy, it’s quite tempting to think that he would have doubled his win total and, perhaps, been remembered as one of the very greatest pitchers of all time. That’s a rash claim, perhaps, but as he himself once put it, “It ain’t bragging if ya can back it up!” Unfortunately, we never got to find out if he could. Dean probably helped his case for the Hall with his color (and colorful) commentary in the broadcast booth after he retired, and if he didn’t rack up those 150 extra wins, at least he gave us a new preterit verb when he exclaimed, “He slud into third!” —Adam Sobsey

4. Kal Daniels
The list of players with a .400 OBP and .500 SLG through their age-26 campaign (minimum 1,500 plate appearances) is short. It contains 25 names, of which 14 are in the Hall of Fame.

Kal Daniels came up with the Reds in 1986 and for 5 years hit like what we today might call a cross between Joey Votto and Lance Berkman with speed:

Player

Years

PA

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS+

HR

SB

Kal Daniels

1986-1990

1970

.300

.402

.514

151

81

81

Joey Votto

2007-2010

1870

.314

.401

.557

150

90

28

Lance Berkman

1999-2002

1903

.304

.406

.578

145

101

26

Here's what Bill James said in his 1988 Baseball Abstract after Daniels' first full big-league season:

I may be a minority of one, but I like this kid better than Eric Davis. Kal Daniels just might be the best hitter of the 1990s.

Daniels will never become the defensive player that Eric Davis is, and last year had a lot of trouble with left-handed pitching. But as a hitter, he's got it.

Daniels improved against southpaws in 1988, and although his overall numbers were down, he led the National League in OBP. The following season saw him limited to 55 games due to injury, and he was traded to the Dodgers in July. From The Scouting Report: 1990:

Five knee operations during the last two seasons have taken their toll on Daniels. But Daniels has good speed, despite his leg problems, and has the ability to steal bases.

If Daniels stays healthy (which he hasn't been able to do in his four big league seasons), sheds his moody attitude and plays with a little more intensity, he could become one of the best players in baseball. He's a potential batting champ.

He rebounded with a strong (.296/.389/.531 with 27 homers) showing in 1990 but faded badly in 1991. Daniels played in just 83 games the following year, hitting a career-worst .241/.315/.377 while being traded to the Cubs midseason.

Daniels was released after the season and never played again. His final game came one month after his 29th birthday. He finished his career with an OBP higher than Hank Aaron's and a SLG higher than Eddie Murray's. —Geoff Young

5. Rocco Baldelli
At age 31, Rocco Baldelli should theoretically be entering the final few years of his prime as a baseball player. Instead, the 2013 campaign marks Baldelli’s third full season of retirement, and he logged more than 100 big-league games just twice in his career––his first two years.

As a 21-year-old rookie in 2003, the former sixth overall pick put his tools on display by posting a .289/.326/.416 slash line with 27 stolen bases. But many believed Baldelli was only scratching the surface of his enormous potential. The late legendary Al Lamacchia, who spent more than six decades scouting for five organizations, once compared Baldelli’s skill set to that of a young Joe DiMaggio, referring to him as “Joe’s twin.”

After showing slight improvement in 2004, Baldelli was sidelined for the entire 2005 season after undergoing both ACL and Tommy John surgeries. He made a strong rebound the following year, hitting .302/.339/.533 in 92 games.

Unfortunately, the half-season stint in ’06 was the last we’d ever see of the true Rocco Baldelli, and it wasn’t necessarily his fault. The Rhode Island native couldn’t stay healthy because of his well-documented mitochondrial disorder that made recovery from minor nicks virtually impossible. To his credit, Baldelli hung on until 2010, but he was rarely healthy, and his once massive raw talent was difficult to see.

If nothing else, it’s disappointing that Baldelli wasn’t able to experience the Rays’ turn from perennial doormat to yearly contender from center field; instead, he did so from the trainer’s room. Tampa Bay lost 90-plus games in all three of his “full” big-league seasons. While he made the occasional cameo––and even hit a pair of post-season home runs in ’08––it’ll always feel like he should have been a cornerstone piece to those first successful Rays clubs. —Jason Cole

6. Herb Score
Herb Score was a phenom. The 1955 Rookie of the Year burst onto the scene with an electric fastball and a strikeout rate that no one had ever seen before. In 1955, Herb Score struck out 9.7 batters for every nine innings he pitched. As a rookie. To put that in some perspective, up to that point, the best seasons that any starter had put together on that stat were Hal Newhouser and Bob Feller, both at 8.4 in 1946. Score wasn't just young and incrementally better. This was a new level of magnitude. In 1956, he followed it up with a 9.5 mark, and it looked like the Cleveland Indians were developing an exciting new young core of players, including Rocky Colvavito and Roger Maris (yeah, him). But in 1957, Score was facing the Yankees' Gil McDougald when McDougald lined a ball right back at Score, shattering several bones in his face and eye. Score was never the same afterward. Neither were the Indians.

In a tribute to Score's classiness, he never had an unkind word for McDougald (who was, Score figured, just trying to get a hit. McDougald, for his part, rushed out to the mound rather than to first base to try to assist Score). Herb Score did return after a while, but eventually developed elbow troubles and then retired. If you've lived in Cleveland, you know that he had a second act as the radio voice of the Indians for the better part of four decades. But what if Score had stayed healthy as a pitcher? Score had his flaws (a high walk rate being one of them), but as a strikeout artist, he could have put up numbers rivaling Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton, and done it 10-15 years earlier in an environment that wasn't as strikeout-happy. And maybe the Indians would have emerged from the late '50s as a contender, rather than slumping into the '60s and '70s. And maybe the Cleveland sports narrative might have read a little different over the years. —Russell A. Carleton

7. Mark Prior
He was still just 22 and had only played a partial season in the major leagues, yet Chicago’s manager let him go well over 200 innings. Borderline criminal, right?

Except Mark Buehrle would be fine, it turns out. He would be as fine as a pitcher possibly could be. After that 2001 season with 221 1/3 innings pitched, he’d go over 230 innings the next four years and has still never set foot on the disabled list.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it worked out for the other guy to whom the first sentence applies. Mark Prior, he of the supposedly perfect mechanics and such, was the best pitcher in baseball at age 22, helping the Cubs into the postseason and following his 2.43 ERA with a 2.31 in October. Now he hasn’t pitched in the majors in seven years and is spending 2013 in the bullpen of the Louisville Bats (the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate). He generally goes into this conversation as part of a two-horse entry with Kerry Wood, yet Wood got this moment in 2012. Here’s hoping for the same for Prior some day. —Zachary Levine

8. Rick Ankiel
There are many what-might-have-beens scattered through the winds of baseball history. These are the players who the fates decided were not going to reach the heights it seemed were easily within their grasp. Rick Ankiel may not be the biggest what-if story, but he’s definitely on the list. In 1999, Ankiel made his major-league debut for the Cardinals at the age of 19 by striking out 39 hitters in 33 innings. The next season—he was 20!—he threw 175 innings and struck out 194 (an even 10 K/9). Somehow he lost the Rookie of the Year voting to Rafael Furcal. Ankiel was an ace in the making, a top-of-the-rotation guy for the next decade-plus.

Then came the end. Ankiel was picked to start Game One of the 2000 National League Division Series against the Braves. In just 2 2/3 innings, Ankiel walked six batters and threw five wild pitches. He was removed as much for the safety of the opposing batter as for his ineffectiveness. Further gory details I leave to you to look up (you can read more about it here, here, and here if you like), but the results of that game destroyed Ankiel’s career as a pitcher. Oddly, the Cardinals ended up winning the game despite the meltdown, but it was a pyrrhic victory. Ankiel was never the same pitcher. He was a mess in 2001; Ankiel walked 25 in 24 innings, gave up seven homers, and was generally ineffective. That was it for Ankiel as a major-league starting pitcher. St. Louis’ ace for the next decade was gone.

If you’re reading this, you likely know that he went down to the minors for two seasons and remade himself as a hitter. While that stands as a testament to his will and athletic abilities, as we smile and applaud, we’re left wondering what might have been if the 20-year-old with the killer fastball hadn’t inexplicably lost all his control, all his confidence, and all his promise one warm day in early October. —Matthew Kory

9. Carl Pavano
Reliving the horror experience of Carl Pavano was almost enough of a deterrent from me writing this thing altogether.

It really began with Game Four of the 2003 World Series, when Pavano held the Yankees to one run in eight innings and helped his Marlins to a huge underdog victory. Then, in 2004, Pavano pitched so well that he was sixth in Cy Young voting. The Yankees snatched him up in the offseason, inking him to a four year, $40 million deal.

His performance dipped some in 2005, but things really didn’t go off the rails until late June, when shoulder inflammation ended his season. Then, he spent almost all of 2006 rehabbing from a contusion in his buttocks he got in spring training—yes, a butt bruise—as well as back stiffness, a sore triceps, and bone chips in his elbow. On August 28, the Yankees told him they planned to activate him in three days. But, oh, wait! Carl had broken two ribs in a car accident on August 15 and somehow neglected to tell his ballclub this important fact. He didn’t play a single game in 2006.

Two weeks into the 2007 season, Pavano suffered an elbow strain that eventually led to Tommy John surgery. He made no more big-league appearances until late in 2008, by which point his contract was virtually over. He threw just 145⅔ innings for the Yankees in four seasons.

When he returned to the Bronx as a Cleveland Indian the next year, the stadium’s closed captioning on the center field scoreboard made sure even the deaf people in the stands knew what Yankee fans thought of Pavano’s invisible tenure in New York. —Dan Rozenson

10. Mike Sirotka
There are few names in the Blue Jays’ canon that conjure the sheer befuddlement of Mike Sirotka. You probably know why. After winning 20 games with a 4.11 ERA for Toronto in 2000, incumbent ace David Wells was shipped to the White Sox for a package highlighted by Sirotka, a 29-year-old left-hander with a career 4.31 ERA and 5.5 K/9 over 710.1 innings. As it turns out, those numbers would remain stagnant. A wonky shoulder ended Sirotka’s tenure in Toronto before it began, while the deal effectively eroded the relationship between White Sox general manager Kenny Williams, a rookie at the time, and then-Toronto GM Gord Ash, who insisted the White Sox didn’t disclose pertinent information about Sirotka’s health. When the dust finally settled on what would eventually be labeled “Shouldergate,” the Blue Jays found themselves on the short end of the metaphor. Sirotka never pitched another game.

The only retrospective consolation for the Jays is that Sirotka’s absence afforded Toronto an opportunity in 2001 to let a struggling 24-year-old right-hander work his way back to the bigs after posting a 10.64 ERA in 67.2 innings the season prior, earning himself a demotion to the Florida State League. That guy’s name was Roy Halladay. —Jonah Birenbaum

71 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

cardsjason

J.R. RIchard!

May 01, 2013 02:29 AM
rating: 14
 
Screamingliner

I still hold a grudge against football for what it did to Bo Jackson.

May 01, 2013 02:52 AM
rating: 13
 
cdmyers

Bo Jackson much?

May 01, 2013 03:58 AM
rating: 10
 
buddaley

Eric Davis, Pete Reiser

May 01, 2013 04:26 AM
rating: 7
 
lopkhan00

I'm disappointed Eric Davis didn't make the cut for someone above. Had he been healthy he would almost surely have been a HOFer. In 1987, we might have had a 50-50 season, and he almost certainly would have been the first to 40-40.

May 01, 2013 07:42 AM
rating: 3
 
yadenr

Thirds on ED. Easily the most fun player aside from Bo to watch. Defense, offense, baserunning...everything he did was a potential highlight. Fighting with Golden Gloves third basemen, not so much.

May 01, 2013 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
Peter Benedict

Tony Gwynn. Bbesity shortened his career, yet he was still such an amazing pure hitter, poking singles to all fields past diving infielders. I wish we could have seen what he'd have done in excellent health until the end of his career.

As a Twins fan, I wish I could have seen excellent career-long health for Kirby Puckett (and to a lesser extent Jason Kubel).

May 01, 2013 05:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Bbesity is a hell of a drug.

May 01, 2013 11:02 AM
rating: 2
 
swarmee

Don Mattingly...more healthy years would have made him a Hall of Famer. And for that matter, Ken Griffey Jr.

May 01, 2013 05:17 AM
rating: 4
 
Pluthero

I second the call for JR Richard.

May 01, 2013 05:22 AM
rating: 1
 
Paulpett

Mark Fidrych

May 01, 2013 06:22 AM
rating: 3
 
DetroitDale

Mark Fidrych.... The reason I became a baseball fan.

The irony is, with today's medical technology his injuries wouldn't have been career ending.

May 01, 2013 06:26 AM
rating: 1
 
Schere

Ross Youngs is overshadowed by some great teammates on the 1920s Giants, but he was a terrific player - a 130 OPS+ and viewed as a plus defensive OF, he led the league in assists several times (errors too). He played in the Polo Grounds, which surely confuses the defensive metrics.

At some point near the end of his age 27 season or perhaps the next year, he got sick. For a partial season, the Giants employed a full time nurse to help him through the season. He was done in baseball at 29 and dead at age 30, of kidney disease.

He was added to the HOF by the notorious Frisch-led veterans committee, but don't hold that against him...he was a helluva player.

May 01, 2013 06:55 AM
rating: 1
 
bumphillips

Eric Davis, Eric Davis, and Eric Davis

May 01, 2013 07:03 AM
rating: 9
 
Gotribe31

Grady Sizemore. Watching him play CF was an honor and a privilege.

May 01, 2013 07:06 AM
rating: 12
 
R.A.Wagman

Pete Reiser!

May 01, 2013 07:19 AM
rating: 0
 
gweedoh565

Lou Gehrig. ALS started taking its toll at during his age 35 season in 1938 (the previous year he had put up a 176 OPS+ and 7.7 bWAR, both typical figures), and by the start of the 1939 season he could barely field a ground ball, retiring and ending his "Iron Horse" consecutive game streak 8 games into the season.

His career numbers are insane and slam dunk HOF regardless, but had he been able to play until age 40 like his pal Babe Ruth, he might have surpassed 600 homers (he finished with 493); thrust himself into the all-time top 10 for bWAR (currently 18 behind); and possibly could have put the consecutive game streak out of Cal Ripken's reach (Cal's 2632 are a bit over 3 seasons more than Gehrig's 2130).

May 01, 2013 07:26 AM
rating: 6
 
apbadogs

I always get a bit choked up about how Gehrig realized his career was over...routine ground ball, flip to pitcher for out, teammates say "nice play".

May 02, 2013 07:27 AM
rating: 2
 
jonjacoby

Ryan Westmoreland and Rocco Baldelli: Two players from Rhode Island. Maybe the island is cursed? Or Paul Konerko has stolen their health for himself?

May 01, 2013 07:40 AM
rating: 2
 
ttt

Dickie Thon or Tony Conigliaro. It's sad to wonder what could have been.

May 01, 2013 07:41 AM
rating: 5
 
BarryR

+1 on both of them - Tony C is truly one of the great tragedies of baseball.

May 01, 2013 11:46 AM
rating: 0
 
Chucko

I was positive Tony C was gonna be in the article itself! At least he's here somewhere. Thanks ttt and Barry for not letting me down.

May 01, 2013 22:45 PM
rating: 1
 
therealn0d

I second the mentions (and was waiting for these names while reading the article) of Don Mattingly, Eric Davis, Ken Griffey, Jr, and Bo Jackson. I would like to add Mike Sweeney. Please let us not forget Sweeney.

May 01, 2013 07:55 AM
rating: 1
 
therealn0d

For a bit of context regarding the names involved, from BP 2005:
" Back problems suck. They destroyed the career of Don Mattingly, and Sweeney, as good a hitter as he is, is no Don Mattingly."

May 01, 2013 08:28 AM
rating: 0
 
mdangelfan

This list could go on forever. For every good player you can probably find 5-10 who at one point had equal talent, but got hurt.

May 01, 2013 08:09 AM
rating: 5
 
chaddotson

Hugh Alexander

The Bird

May 01, 2013 08:10 AM
rating: 1
 
lazyrasmus

When I was 13, Kal Daniels taught me the idea of platooning via his 1987 Pursue the Pennant card.

May 01, 2013 08:13 AM
rating: 5
 
alangreene

Kerry Wood. Never quite seen a pitcher be so dominant and he was never close to the same. Prior's on the list above, and he had a similar issue, but Wood was so amazing to watch.

May 01, 2013 08:16 AM
rating: 4
 
mblthd

Never has a pitcher more thoroughly owned another team than Kerry Wood vs. the Astros on 5/6/98.

I watched that game on WGN, and the Astros simply had no chance at all. The 20 K's was impressive, but the distance between bat and ball on the whiff-swings was consistently stunning. I swear, on one of Operation Shutdown's whiff-swings, it looked like there was a good three feet of space between the bat and the ball.

May 01, 2013 10:44 AM
rating: 4
 
Richard Bergstrom

His slider was curving like those old Nintendo games.

May 01, 2013 10:54 AM
rating: -1
 
BayCityM

If you have MLB.tv you can watch it in the "Classic" section. I did the other day and just fast forwarded the Cubs ABs. Saw a ton of new things that I forgot about.

May 01, 2013 18:10 PM
rating: 0
 
comish4lif

How about Sanford "Sandy" Koufax? Won 27 games with a 1.73 ERA in his age 30 season and never played again.

May 01, 2013 08:20 AM
rating: 8
 
SC

This and nothing and no one else. Full stop.

May 01, 2013 08:30 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

Koufax is a good one. There was something pretty cool, though, about seeing enough of his peak to get a good idea and a HOF body of work (unlike Prior, Wood, etc.) and then never having to watch his decline.

May 01, 2013 12:34 PM
 
SC

Francisco Liriano would be another. I remember watching the first half of his rookie year, up to the pitch that ended his greatness. Said to the guy next to me "I think we just saw a great thing die."

May 01, 2013 08:31 AM
rating: 6
 
therealn0d

You beat me to it. Liriano was to be my next thought. Never seen someone so electric. I always hope for him.

May 01, 2013 08:39 AM
rating: -1
 
zwestwood

Please Mike Trout, don't be on this list in 10 years.

May 01, 2013 08:54 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Dan Rozenson
BP staff

Why would you even risk cursing him like this?!

May 01, 2013 13:43 PM
 
zwestwood

You and Trevor Cahill

May 01, 2013 08:55 AM
rating: -1
 
BillJohnson

Sobering thought: Are we in the middle of seeing Albert Pujols transition onto this list?

May 01, 2013 09:19 AM
rating: 0
 
SC

Given that he's almost already a hall of famer, while it will be a shame to watch his decline, I think the 12 years of Pujols that we've gotten makes it tough to be too sad about his current state.

May 01, 2013 11:47 AM
rating: 3
 
carligula

Yeah... he's just transitioning into being 33. It happens.

May 01, 2013 16:01 PM
rating: 1
 
acmcdowell

I know he had a reasonably successful career, but I always wonder what Tony Conigliaro could have accomplished had he not been hit in the face.

May 01, 2013 09:33 AM
rating: 3
 
bhalpern

How about Steve Busby? By age 25, two-time All-Star, two no-hitters, 56 wins in age 22-25 seasons, 12.6 WAR 74-75. Imagine adding a pitcher of that caliber to the Royals squads of the mid 70's to mid 80's. He could have swung the balance of AL domination from NY to KC for most of those years.

May 01, 2013 09:43 AM
rating: 0
 
BirdlandPGH

Nick Adenhart and Darryl Kile, of course.

May 01, 2013 09:50 AM
rating: 3
 
bhalpern

Then we need to add Lymon Bostock and Thurman Munson also. There must be others but I can't think of any right away.

May 01, 2013 12:56 PM
rating: 2
 
lopkhan00

Roberto Clemente.

May 01, 2013 15:00 PM
rating: 4
 
gweedoh565

Bo Diaz, Ray Chapman, Cory Lidle, Dernell Stenson

May 01, 2013 13:02 PM
rating: 0
 
sroney

I am a little surprised that no one has mentioned Nick Johnson yet.

May 01, 2013 10:31 AM
rating: 6
 
BP staff member Zachary Levine
BP staff

Did a piece on just this about Nick Johnson back in January when he retired.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=19525

He would have been great for the list too.

May 01, 2013 12:35 PM
 
dougdorland

hard to leave out Tony Oliva

May 01, 2013 10:35 AM
rating: 1
 
mblthd

Khalil Greene's promising career as a power-hitting good-glove shortstop was sadly done in by social anxiety disorder.

May 01, 2013 10:37 AM
rating: 2
 
Richard Bergstrom

I'll echo a lot of the previous ones, from the Dickie Thons and Darryl Kiles to the Ken Griffeys... but I'll also add in Don Zimmer and Dave Dravecky.

Also, I'm not sure if Ankiel really counts since it seemed mental issues derailed him more than injuries.

May 01, 2013 10:58 AM
rating: -3
 
R.A.Wagman

Mental health is just as vital as physical health to the game.

May 01, 2013 11:16 AM
rating: 7
 
Richard Bergstrom

I understand that. I know Zack Grienke has social anxiety. Others such as Nick Esasky suffered from vertigo and other players have mental health issues related to concussions. But was Ankiel ever diagnosed with a mental issue, even as amorphous as "Mackey Sasser Disease"? The only thing I ever read was that he didn't think pitching was fun anymore. I know he had Tommy John surgery but that was three years after his playoff appearance.

May 01, 2013 16:48 PM
rating: -1
 
BarryR

Don't you mean Steve Blass Disease? Blass could just have easily been on this list, looking like he was at ace status, including excellent post season pitching, then - kablooey.

May 02, 2013 14:06 PM
rating: 1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Steve Blass works too. I've seen pitchers referred to as having Mackey Sasser disease though. On another topic, Reggie Sanders might've been a Hall of Famer if not for his persistent injuries.

May 02, 2013 20:43 PM
rating: -1
 
outdoorminer

Nick Esasky.

May 01, 2013 11:28 AM
rating: 2
 
bobbygrace

Everyone interested in this topic should read Adam Sobsey's encomium to Hak-Ju Lee, and pray that Lee doesn't join the list.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20431

May 01, 2013 12:22 PM
rating: 1
 
Jquinton82

Mickey Mantle

May 01, 2013 12:29 PM
rating: 4
 
penski
(286)

I wish Ben Sheets would've been healthy longer. I loved watching him get batters in a hole with the fastball on the outside corner and then freeze them with his wicked curve.

May 01, 2013 12:49 PM
rating: 5
 
Pat Folz

Oh my God yes, the most entertaining player in recent memory. He was like a real life video game pitcher: as fast as possible, just FB FB CU (K), FB FB CU (K), FB FB CU (K).

May 02, 2013 02:39 AM
rating: 1
 
saucyjack88

Smokey Joe Wood, all the way. He's a great story too, coming back as an Outfielder, and a damn fine one at that.

May 01, 2013 13:46 PM
rating: 1
 
Brian Kopec

In late to say Rennie Stennett.

May 01, 2013 14:25 PM
rating: 0
 
Brock Dahlke

Tsuyoshi Nishioka? ohhhh wait it wasn't the broken ankle that made him ineffective?

May 01, 2013 14:53 PM
rating: 1
 
Brock Dahlke

In all seriousness, Twins fans may remember Glenn Williams, only got 43 plate appearances, hit .425, dislocated his shoulder, and we never saw him again.

May 01, 2013 14:56 PM
rating: 0
 
jparke23

Great article and comments... the one I remember from my childhood was Buzz Capra of the Braves. Won the ERA title then had arm problems... at least that's my recollection - I was seven at the time so maybe somebody else has more insight.

May 02, 2013 09:13 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

As a kid, the boating accident that killed Steve Olin and Tim Crews was pretty traumatic.

May 02, 2013 11:12 AM
rating: 0
 
HeavyHitter

Brien Taylor.

May 02, 2013 18:02 PM
rating: 1
 
delatopia

I would have liked to have seen how good Chris Snelling would have become.

May 03, 2013 01:05 AM
rating: 1
 
John Collins
(110)

Jim Eisenreich

Also, Carl Pavano nearly died from his most recent injury.

May 06, 2013 23:15 PM
rating: 0
 
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