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Trivia time: great players who split time at RF and 3B

Posted by Andy on August 10, 2011

Only 4 players in history have had a season in which they qualified for the batting title, had an OPS+ of at least 160, and played at least 20 games in right field and 20 games at third base. How many can you name?

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Jose Bautista 2011 195 30 TOR 103 456 362 81 114 19 1 33 76 88 70 .315 .450 .646 1.096 *95/D
2 Jose Bautista 2010 166 29 TOR 161 683 569 109 148 35 3 54 124 100 116 .260 .378 .617 .995 *95/3D8
3 Mel Ott 1939 174 30 NYG 125 508 396 85 122 23 2 27 80 100 50 .308 .449 .581 1.030 *95
4 Mel Ott 1938 178 29 NYG 150 652 527 116 164 23 6 36 116 118 47 .311 .442 .583 1.024 *59
5 Honus Wagner 1901 160 27 PIT 140 619 549 101 194 37 11 6 126 53 39 .353 .417 .494 .911 695/47
6 King Kelly 1879 184 21 CIN 77 353 345 78 120 20 12 2 47 8 14 .348 .363 .493 .855 592/84
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

Bautista is on pace to (pretty easily) do it again this year since he's already played at least 20 games at both positions and would have to fall into a horrible slump for his OPS+ to fall below 160.

Reader Detroit Michael sent in this idea, and he remarked how unusual it is for a player to post such a great offensive season while being moved around so much on defense. I agree.

Here are a few other unusual splits, otherwise using the same requirements on offense.

LF and 3B

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Pedro Guerrero 1985 181 29 LAD 137 581 487 99 156 22 2 33 87 83 68 .320 .422 .577 .999 *7538/9
2 Dick Allen 1966 181 24 PHI 141 599 524 112 166 25 10 40 110 68 136 .317 .396 .632 1.027 *57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

CF and 3B

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Pete Browning 1884 174 23 LOU AA 103 462 447 101 150 33 8 4 47 13 0 .336 .357 .472 .829 *583/417
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

1B and CF

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Bob Allison 1964 163 29 MIN AL 149 594 492 90 141 27 4 32 86 92 99 .287 .404 .553 .957 *3879
2 Stan Musial 1952 167 31 STL NL 154 676 578 105 194 42 6 21 91 96 29 .336 .432 .538 .970 *837/91
3 Harry Stovey 1885 163 28 PHA AA 112 529 486 130 153 27 9 13 75 39 0 .315 .371 .488 .858 *38
4 Pete Browning 1884 174 23 LOU AA 103 462 447 101 150 33 8 4 47 13 0 .336 .357 .472 .829 *583/417
5 Ed Swartwood 1883 185 24 PIT AA 94 437 412 86 147 24 8 3 25 0 .357 .394 .476 .869 *38/92
6 Cal McVey 1875 195 25 BOS NA 82 390 389 89 138 36 9 3 87 1 5 .355 .356 .517 .873 *382/197
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

1B and RF

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Lance Berkman 2011 175 35 STL NL 100 404 336 64 98 15 1 28 75 63 63 .292 .401 .592 .993 *937/D
2 Lance Berkman 2006 163 30 HOU NL 152 646 536 95 169 29 0 45 136 98 106 .315 .420 .621 1.041 *39/7D
3 Hank Aaron 1971 194 37 ATL NL 139 573 495 95 162 22 3 47 118 71 58 .327 .410 .669 1.079 *39
4 Frank Robinson 1969 165 33 BAL AL 148 643 539 111 166 19 5 32 100 88 62 .308 .415 .540 .955 *93/7
5 Steve Evans 1914 176 29 BTT FL 145 580 514 93 179 41 15 12 96 50 49 .348 .416 .556 .973 *973/8
6 Jim O'Rourke 1879 172 28 PRO NL 81 375 362 69 126 19 9 1 46 13 10 .348 .371 .459 .829 *93/257
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

1B and LF

Rk Player Year OPS+ Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Albert Pujols 2003 187 23 STL NL 157 685 591 137 212 51 1 43 124 79 65 .359 .439 .667 1.106 *73/D
2 Willie Stargell 1972 163 32 PIT NL 138 569 495 75 145 28 2 33 112 65 129 .293 .373 .558 .930 *37
3 Carl Yastrzemski 1970 177 30 BOS AL 161 697 566 125 186 29 0 40 102 128 66 .329 .452 .592 1.044 *37/8
4 Frank Howard 1970 170 33 WSA AL 161 706 566 90 160 15 1 44 126 132 125 .283 .416 .546 .962 *73/9
5 Frank Howard 1969 178 32 WSA AL 161 702 592 111 175 17 2 48 111 102 96 .296 .402 .574 .976 *73/9
6 Willie Stargell 1969 163 29 PIT NL 145 594 522 89 160 31 6 29 92 61 120 .307 .382 .556 .938 *73/9
7 Frank Howard 1968 170 31 WSA AL 158 663 598 79 164 28 3 44 106 54 141 .274 .338 .552 .890 *73
8 Bob Allison 1964 163 29 MIN AL 149 594 492 90 141 27 4 32 86 92 99 .287 .404 .553 .957 *3879
9 Willie McCovey 1963 161 25 SFG NL 152 627 564 103 158 19 5 44 102 50 119 .280 .350 .566 .915 *73/9
10 Frank Robinson 1960 169 24 CIN NL 139 562 464 86 138 33 6 31 83 82 67 .297 .407 .595 1.002 *37/5
11 Roy Sievers 1957 164 30 WSH AL 152 657 572 99 172 23 5 42 114 76 55 .301 .388 .579 .967 *73
12 Stan Musial 1952 167 31 STL NL 154 676 578 105 194 42 6 21 91 96 29 .336 .432 .538 .970 *837/91
13 Stan Musial 1951 183 30 STL NL 152 678 578 124 205 30 12 32 108 98 40 .355 .449 .614 1.063 *738/9
14 Ralph Kiner 1951 185 28 PIT NL 151 670 531 124 164 31 6 42 109 137 57 .309 .452 .627 1.079 *73
15 Stan Musial 1950 164 29 STL NL 146 645 555 105 192 41 7 28 109 87 36 .346 .437 .596 1.034 3789
16 Stan Musial 1946 183 25 STL NL 156 702 624 124 228 50 20 16 103 73 31 .365 .434 .587 1.021 *37
17 Jack Fournier 1915 172 25 CHW AL 126 514 422 86 136 20 18 5 77 64 37 .322 .429 .491 .920 *378/9
18 Steve Evans 1914 176 29 BTT FL 145 580 514 93 179 41 15 12 96 50 49 .348 .416 .556 .973 *973/8
19 Ed Delahanty 1901 174 33 PHI NL 139 621 542 106 192 38 16 8 108 65 58 .354 .427 .528 .955 *73/89
20 Ed Delahanty 1896 190 28 PHI NL 123 574 499 131 198 44 17 13 126 62 22 .397 .472 .631 1.103 *73/4
21 Dan Brouthers 1881 179 23 BUF NL 65 288 270 60 86 18 9 8 45 18 22 .319 .361 .541 .902 *73/9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/9/2011.

There are obviously a lot more possible combinations of positions, but I'll leave it to you to find other interesting examples.

Thanks, Detroit Michael, for sending in such a gem.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 10th, 2011 at 7:32 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

46 Responses to “Trivia time: great players who split time at RF and 3B”

  1. Kingturtle Says:

    mel ott at third base? i had no idea. that's awesome.

  2. Great question. Got 3 - shame on me for not knowing 1879 better. Interesting thing for Wagner, Ott and Bautista is that this came mid-career. Wagner was in the midst of a shift from OF to IF. Didn't realize he didn't become an everyday shortstop until 29. Ott was an OF with a mid-career dalliance at 3B from 28-31. And Bautista, it's surprising that this far into his career, they continue to move him around.

  3. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    What's really fun about King Kelly's 1879 season is that he played 20+ games at third, in right field and behind the plate. No one else has done that.

    shame on me for not knowing 1879 better. On me too. Definite gap in my eddycation.

    Here are some others:

    • C and DH: Joe Mauer, 2009, 170
    • 3B and DH: Edgar Martinez, 1992, 164; Paul Molitor, 1987, 161
    • P and LF: Babe Ruth, 1918, 194
    • LF, CF and RF: Babe Ruth, 1920, 255; Stan Musial, 1948, 200; Benny Kauff, 1914, 166
    • 1B, LF and RF: Steve Evans, 1914, 176

    Tip o' the Kahuna fedora to the Federal League and their forward-thinking scorekeeping policies.

  4. Here's a 2 out of 3 player. Albert Pujols didn't make your list in 2001 because his OPS+ was ONLY 157. He had at least 39 games at RF, LF, 1B and 3B.

    In 2002 his OPS+ was 151 with at least 21 games at 1B, 3B and LF
    In 2003 his OPS+ was 187 with at least 62 games at 1B and LF.
    Starting in 2004 he was the regular 1B after Tino Martinez was traded.
    This year he played 7 games at 3B with 3 errors.

    Of the 4 positions listed here, he's played the fewest games at 3B and RF with by far the lowest fielding percentage.

    Bauyista playing 3rd in 2010 was while Encarnacion was injured and 2011 because Jason Nix was hitting 0.169. Even though he's been an "emergency regular" starter at 3B the last two years, he was the starting 3B for Pitt the only year - 2007 - that he qualified for the batting title prior to 2010.

  5. Not too many people will notice since he's stuck playing in Washington, but Michael Morse is surprisingly close to cracking that LF/1B list (155).

  6. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Looking at these lists leaves me with one big question:

    Why in the world isn't Pete Browning in the Hall Of Fame?

  7. I thought of Tony Phillips when I read this post. I think Phillips is the most underrated player of the last 50 years.

    In 1991 Phillips had a 122 ops+, .284/.371/.438, while playing 46 games at 3b, 36 at 2b, 25 at LF, and 23 at RF.

    In 1993 Phillips had a 130 ops+, .313/.443/.398, while playing 70 games in LF, 51 at 2b, and 34 at RF.

    Gil Mcdougald had a 141 ops+ .306/.396/.488 and spent 82 games at Third Base and 55 games at Second Base in 1951.

    In 1995 Bobby Bonilla had a 151 ops+ .325/.385/.599 and spent 70 games at 3b, 32 games at LF, and 38 games in RF.

  8. @6 Frank,

    The main problem with Pete Browning is that 80% of his career was spent in the American Association and The Player's League. I think the prevailing thought is that these were inferior leagues to the National League.

    Another problem is that his career was kind of short. He only about 5000 plate appearances with only 1000 coming from the National League.

  9. #7, I agree about Tony Phillips (maybe not MOST overrated, but definitely overrated.) I think I know why, too. Shall I wrote a post on this for tomorrow?

  10. @9 Andy,

    I think you meant "underrated" yes?

    I would enjoy seeing a post on that topic.

    Mcdougald is another very underrated player who had one of the strangest careers in the last 50-60 years and his career ended rather abruptly and strangely as well. Also, it's very odd for a player from those 50's Yankees teams to be underrated.

  11. Yeah underrated...heh. That was the cynic in me that automatically typed overrated.

    I'm going to do a Card of the Week (that is a truly laughable name at this point) on Phillips, probably posting tomorrow.

  12. June 30 Babe Ruth hits his 11th and final HR of the year to lead the AL and tie for the major league lead.

    July 8 Although Babe Ruth's blast over the fence in Fenway scores Amos Strunk, as the Sox win 1-0 over Cleveland, prevailing rules reduce Babe's HR to a triple. Prior to 1920, the game ended at the moment the winning run scored. This rule affected the scoring of 40 hits, from 1884 to 1918, that would now be scored as game winning home runs.

  13. He didn't have a big OPS+, but one of the rarest position splits in the modern era was 1B/SS by Milwaukee's Mark Loretta in 1998-99. He played at least 56 games at both SS and 1B both years (including 74/66 in '99), with at least 13 games at each other IF position both years.

  14. Re: Honus Wagner -- In The Glory of Their Times, several contemporaries remark that in spite of his unorthodox style, Wagner was the best defensive player in the game, no matter what position he played.

  15. Musial's '52 season in the lists above includes 20+ games at 1B, CF and LF.

    Musial and Frank Howard each did the 1B, LF thing and had the 170 OPS+ in 3 straight seasons.

  16. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Another problem with Browning is I think he was a butcher in the field.

  17. "Bautista ... have to fall into a horrible slump for his OPS+ to fall below 160."

    Actualluy, he's kind of in that slump right now. Since the all-star game his slash is: .209 / .345 / . 358. Still getting his walks, but not much more.

    Could be the sliding catch in the all-star game where he jammed his foot against the wall may be the root of his problems. He came up lame a couple of days later after a hard slide into 3rd on the same leg. Many were surprised he was back after missing only 3 games - maybe he rushed things coming back so soon.

  18. Richard Chester Says:

    @10

    McDougald was left unprotected by the Yankees for the expansion draft for the 1961 season. He was sure he would be selected in that draft so he decided to retire instead. We Yankee fans never underrated him, we were well aware of his capabilities and versatility. I don't know what you mean by his having a strange career but he did have a rather strange batting stance when he first joined the Yankees.

  19. Brian Wells Says:

    It was said of Pete Browning that an Indian cigar store statue could cover more ground in the outfield than Browning!He, of course, is the original Louisville Slugger whom the famous H&B bat is named after.His nephew,Tod Browning, directed Dracula(1931) and the notorious Freaks(1932).

  20. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Well, maybe someday...

  21. "... he remarked how unusual it is for a player to post such a great offensive season while being moved around so much on defense. I agree."

    For an illustration of the opposite scenario, consider Edwin Encarnacion of the Blue Jays.

    Apr 1 to May 23, 20 games at 1B/3B, 14 games at DH, .239 / .264 / .328
    May 24 to Aug 9, 17 games at 1B/3B, 42 games at PH/DH, .311 / .379 / .549

    Playing DH regularly has definitely been a tonic for Edwin.

  22. DaveKingman Says:

    I love that Hank Aaron 1971 season. 'Roid-free, at age 37.

    The man had a hammer.

  23. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @19/ Brian Wells Says: "It was said of Pete Browning that an Indian cigar store statue could cover more ground in the outfield than Browning!..."

    Brian, there was also the {small} possibility the ball could hit the statue and ricochet back to the infield...

    To give credit where credit is due, that line about Pete Browning and the Indian cigar store statue (and the one I added) comes from a baseball book about the best and worst fielders throughout baseball history. It was called "Mitts", by William Curran.

    I think it was published in the early 80s, a very entertaining read. Anyone else remember it?

  24. [...] Baseball-Reference Blog: Great players who split time at RF and 3B King Kelly, of the Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, is one of them. Which prompts the question: why isn’t King a first name anymore? Or Killer? Share var addthis_config = {"data_track_clickback":true}; Category : Cincinnati Reds Tags : Boys, Dontrelle, Loss/Lonely, Reporter, Winless [...]

  25. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I love that Hank Aaron 1971 season. 'Roid-free, at age 37.

    Noticeably bigger than in his younger days. Teammate of Tom House. Hmmm.
    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2005-05-03-steroids-house_x.htm

  26. Not far below the guys already mentioned was Bobby Bonilla, who put up some pretty fair numbers while playing lots of games at 1B, 3B, LF, and RF, especially in 1991 with the Pirates and 1993 with the Mets.

  27. @ 21 He's one of 4 players to play at least 20 games at 3B this year. They've played 7 at 3B. They've had 15 different players at DH. His 45 total games at DH leads the team but is the lowest for team leaders from teams with winning records. But he's batting 0.331 at DH vs 0.223 at 3rd, so it looks good for him at DH.

  28. Robin Yount won MVPs as a SS and CF, in different years of course, 82 and 89.

  29. Hank Aaron in 1971
    The moved him from RF to 1B on June 17 when Cepeda's bad knee put him out of action for most of the remainder of the year. This meant less running for Aaron who had typically faded in the last part of the season. Aaron was 37 and the 139 games he played that year was the lowest since 1954, his rookie year. Out of 10 doubleheaders he only started both games once. I think the move to first helped him and was less strain on his body. He hit 0.344 in the 2nd half of the year, his highest 2nd half batting average since 1964.

  30. Pete Rose All Star at 5 different positions (1B, 2B, 3B, RF, LF). Silver Slugger aT 1B. ROY at 2B. 2 Golden Gloves as a RF. MVP at LF. Top 5 MVP vote getter at 3B, RF, LF

  31. @18 Richard,

    Mcdougald had a strange career in that he was a tremendous fielder who never played more than 45% of his games at anyone one position. Usually fielders of his caliber play at least 60% of their careers at one position. And then he played difficult positions as well, it's not like he played LF or 1b because he was at the end of his career and couldn't field anymore.

    Mcdougald:

    3b: 599 games
    2b: 508 games
    SS: 284 games

    His career is also strange in that he decided to retire in 1961 at the age of 32 when he was still a productive player. Like you said he was drafted by the Angels but rather than play with them he retired. He could have had a big year in 1961 playing with the Angels in old Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. It's conceivable that he could have continued to play until 1965-66. He also would have stood out much more on his own playing on the Angels.

    I guess if you were born in the 20's-40's you have a good memory of him but anyone born since 1955 has no recollection of him as a player. Overall he's a very underrated player in baseball history.

    He's underrated by the Yankee franchise. He's kind of seen as a supporting/minor player rather than one of the best players on those Yankees of the 50's. I don't think they ever did a Yankeeography about him or really focused on his contributions to those 50's Yankees teams. I don't think there's a lot of pictures of photographs of him in the New Yankee Stadium. Was he invited to the closing of the old Yankee Stadium or was his name mentioned?

    Ask most Yankee fans to name a list of the top 20 Yankees of all time and I guarantee that his name well rarely come up.

    WAR rates him as the 19th best Yankee position player of all time in terms of career Wins Above Replacement which if very impressive considering the names involved.

    Top 20 Yankees per career WAR as of August 2011:

    1-Babe Ruth: 149.6
    2-Mickey Mantle: 120.2
    3-Lou Gehrig: 118.4
    4-Joe DiMaggio: 83.6 *missed 3 years because of WW2
    5-Derek Jeter: 70.3
    6-Yogi Berra: 62.1
    7-Bill Dickey: 54.4 *missed 2 years because of WW2
    8-Willie Randolph: 49.8
    9-Bernie Williams: 47.3
    10-Tony Lazzeri: 46.6
    11-Jorge Posada: 45.0
    12-Earle Combs: 44.7
    13-Roy White: 44.5
    14-Alex Rodriguez: 44.4
    15-Thurman Munson: 43.4
    16-Charlie Keller: 42.4 *missed 1 1/2 years because of WW2
    17-Phil Rizzuto: 41.8 *missed 3 years because of WW2
    18-Graig Nettles: 40.6
    19-Gil McDougald: 40.0
    20-Don Mattingly: 39.8

  32. Richard Chester Says:

    @31

    That was an interesting post. I have often wondered if hitting Herb Score with a line drive played a role in McDougald's early retirement. Also on your list is Charlie Keller who never seems to get his full due.

  33. Johnny Twisto Says:

    McDougald is well before my time but I love players of his type. Junior Gilliam was a contemporary who seems similar.

  34. @32

    Agreed, Keller was a tremendous player who never gets his due, Extremely underrated and just overlooked player. He was on a HOF path and then the war came and then I think he broke his leg in kind of a fluke running situation.

    I'm not that familiar with the Herb Score situation as far as Mcdougald goes. There's an interesting section about Mcdougald in Bill James' Historical Abstract.

    The Angels played in the old Wrigley Field in L.A. which was where they filmed "Home Run Derby" back in the 50's. Mcdougald could have hit 30-40 home runs in that band box.

    Supposedly the Angels offered him a lot of money and he didn't take it and I don't really know the reason why he didn't play with them.

  35. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I don't remember the broken leg but I know Keller had a lot of back problems, which is part of the reason he rarely played full seasons (competing with Henrich and Selkirk and then Woodling and Bauer (and oh yeah, DiMaggio) for PT is the other part).

  36. Richard Chester Says:

    @31, @34

    I just did some quick research on McDougald. It was the Washington Senators who drafted him.

  37. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @32/Richard Chester- on Gil McDougald, I do not believe that hitting Herb Score with a line drive played any part in his retirement. That incident occurred on May 7, 1957, but McDougald did not retire until after the 1960 season.

    McDougald did say he would retire if Score became permanently blinded, but Score eventually got all his vision back, and started pitching again late in the 1958 season.

    I agree with @31/ John Q, that McDougald is very underrated as a Yankee; his versatility between 2nd/ 3rd/ SS allowed Casey Stengel to constantly shuffle the Yankees middle infield throughout the 50s, but still maintain stability.

    Ironic that his willingness to be a "supersub" contributed to his reduced credit for his contributions. His WAR is a very respectible 40.0 - there are a number of HOFers with a worse total. Players with about the same WAR total include Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, and Chuck Klein.

  38. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @7, @26 - Bobby Bonilla was the first player I thought of when I saw this topic.

    Tony Phillips and B.J. Surhoff were active around the same time, and I never knew where to find them in a game because they moved around so much. I got to calling them, collectively, Tony Surhoff. (I couldn't use B.J. Phillips because that name was already taken by the Time Magazine writer who wrote that "most splendid time in sport" quote about opening day but by then was writing in the Business section of the Philadelphia Inquirer.) Pujols was like that early in his career, too.

    Surhoff was a shortstop in college, but when the Brewers drafted him first overall in 1985, they made him into a catcher. (Somewhat the reverse of what the Nationals have done with Bryce Harper. The Tigers also made a shortstop-to-catcher switch with Brandon Inge when they drafted him.) He played all over the diamond after being a catcher his first few years, but I remember once noticing that he only had one major league appearance at shortstop. Still, that was enough to earn him that slot on the Philadelphia Phillies "wrong brothers" team that I posted about here recently, until the Phillies signed Nomar Garciaparra's brother for their farm system.

  39. @36 Richard,

    There's a few web-sites that claim that he was drafted by the Senators but I don't know if that's true.

    Bill James had a pretty detailed account of the Angels acquiring the rights to Mcdougald but Gil refused to sign.

    Actually nobody actually drafted him because I think he retired before the Expansion draft.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_Major_League_Baseball_expansion_draft

  40. Richard Chester Says:

    @39

    I did more research on McDougald and there seems to be confusion over who drafted him. Going from memory, he retired when he learned he was on the unprotected list but nevertheless was selected by the Angels or Senators who hoped they could coax him into playing.

    What I just read about him was that he did not want to uproot his family with a move and was considering opening his own business. Also his stats had been dropping in the three prior years and perhaps he thought he was losing his skills. He said that hitting Score with the line drive had nothing to do with his decision to retire.

  41. Detroit Michael Says:

    Thanks, Andy, for running with this idea. Great execution.

  42. Detroit Michael Says:

    Regarding Charlie Keller getting or not getting his due, the first chart in this story is intersting:
    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/8/12/2358507/world-series-win-probability-added-leaders

    The 1B/CF list reminds how odd it was that twice in a row the Angels broke a player into the majors as a first baseman, then switched him to center field where the guy became an excellent defender. I'm referring to Jim Edmonds and Darrin Erstad. Odd career progression to be repeated consecutively.

  43. Michael, I see Edmonds played only about 20 games at 1B over the first 4 seasons in the majors...I don't recall him being primarily a first baseman--was he in the minors?

  44. Detroit Michael Says:

    Well, that's what I get for relying on my memory instead of looking it up! I will make up for that lapse with this post hopefully.

    In a simplified manner, Edmonds' early career looks like this, based on his game logs at this website:
    Games 1-18 (1993): starting RF as a September call-up
    Games 19-33 (1994): bench player, more LF than anything else
    Games 34-53 (1994): starting 1B (replacing Eduardo Perez in early May)
    Games 54-112 (1994): starting corner outfielder, both LF and RF
    Games 113-onward (1995-) starting CF for years (Chad Curtis was traded)

    If you want to be really kind to me, one can see that my memory had some basis in reality. When Edmonds claimed a starting job for good, it was originally as a 1B and it did take a bit of wandering around at positions generally regarded as easier in the defensive spectrum before Edmonds became an everyday player (and eventually a Hall of Fame candidate and Gold Glove winner) in CF. It still strikes me as an odd career path considering he became a stand-out defensive player in centerfield.

  45. I don't know if it had anything to do with the retirement but in his later years McDougald became profoundly deaf. He got a cochlear implant and became involved in the small community of implant recipients, of which I knew several members.

    The popular buzz among the community members was that he had lost his hearing because of a mid-career beaning, but it could have been a rumor. I met him face to face but never asked. Usually a cochlear implies a destruction of the cochlea, which is usually caused by disease.

    Anyone know for sure?

  46. [...] had a fine major-league career but doesn't get a lot of credit for it. He was recently mentioned on my thread about players who played multiple positions with the very unusual SS/1B combo. He was the top 2B in MLB in [...]