Jason looks at the worst players, by career WARP, to make multiple trips to the All-Star Game.
Last week, we looked at players who racked up large career WARP figures but for one reason or another (underappreciation, the league being incredibly stocked at their position, steady goodness rather than flashes of greatness) didn't make very many All-Star teams. This week, having sufficiently buried the lede, it's time to look at the players who inspired this investigation in the first place: the very worst players to make multiple All-Star Games. Caveats and notes:
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Once upon a time, two men named Bobby Jones pitched in the same game, for the same team. Actually, it was four times and two teams...
A while back, Ben Lindbergh wrote about players who share a name with Hall of Famers. In the comments there was a discussion of similarly named contemporary players such as the slick-fielding, lousy hitting shortstops known as Alex Gonzalez and the mediocre pitchers called Bobby Jones.
Looking back at some of the quaint records broken in 1988.
Earlier this week, Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford set a club record by saving his 26th straight game for the club. Former mustachioed closer Doug Jones held the previous record for the Brewers, with a 25-game streak in 1997. As you may imagine, Jones' name got mentioned on Brewers' broadcasts in the days leading to the save more times than in the last 10+ years combined. Aside from making me wonder when Jones ever pitched for the Brewers (he'll always be an Indian in my mind), I didn't think too much of it.
Talking with friends of mine, though, it quickly became clear that not everyone remembers Jones at all, Indian or Brewer or Athletic alike. So I did what anyone would do - I went to Google and found an old Jones baseball card that featured his legendary 'stache so prominently. The card I chose was the 1989 Topps Record Breaker shown below. It doesn't have as close-up of a view as I was hoping, but it got the job done.
What should the Braves do absent their third baseman, and should they do anything?
There's something very wrong with the picture: the Braves, in a pennant race for the first time in five years, Bobby Cox's last stand, and Chipper Jones is out. Not just out, but out for the season, and depending on how he feels about trying to come back, possibly out for forever.
Where does the dearly departed Escobar rank among the shortstops Bobby Cox has employed in 30 seasons as a manager?
In Bill James’ underappreciated book The Bill James Guide to Managers, James lists “All-Star Teams” for several of the great managers, choosing the best single-season performances the manager got at each position. This approach led to surprises, a subjective approach notwithstanding. Did Casey Stengel never have a better first baseman than Sam Leslie in 1934? Was Bobby Tolan really a better center fielder for Sparky Anderson than Chet Lemon? Al Bumbry ’80 for Earl Weaver’s center field instead of Paul Blair ’69?
It is premature to compile Bobby Cox’s all-time all-star team given that his players have through the end of the season to jump onto the list before the 69-year-old is expected to wrap up his Hall of Famer career. Despite this, I was inspired by the trade of Yunel Escobar to try to compile a list covering the manager’s 30-year career. The question I wanted to answer: did the Braves just trade the best single-season shortstop of Cox’s career? Escobar’s .299/.377/.436 and 14 home runs of last season would seem to be a strong year by a shortstop for a man who never managed any of the era’s Hall of Fame shortstops.
Saying good-bye to the Big Unit, the Bay deal, plus more news and views from around the game.
You didn't have to have a bat in your hands and stand just 60 feet and six inches away from Randy Johnson to understand the Big Unit was not the intimidating pitcher of old last year. The 6-foot-10 left-hander just did not strike fear into the hearts of opposing hitters last season, his first with the Giants, and the 21st of his major-league career. The fastball was 90 mph instead of 100, and the slider that gave left-handed hitters no chance and made right-handed batters cringe lacked the old bite.
Chipper Jones has a magical number next to his name, which hasn't been seen at the end of a full season in over sixty five years.
Sabermetric study has long ago proven that batting average is not one of the better indicators of a player's offensive prowess. On-base percentage, slugging percentage, and a host of other, more advanced metrics paint a clearer picture. A look at Chipper Jones' OBP, SLG, and EqA shows the venerable Braves third baseman is off to an outstanding start this season. Jones' 1144 OPS and .389 EqA are both second in the major leagues to the Astros' Lance Berkman (1243, .393), while his .459 OBP and .685 SLG are both third.