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Obscure Baseball Figure Project

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 10, 2011

Years ago, I read a fun book called Cult Baseball Players.  If you've ever read it, this next bit of news may interest you.  Heck, it may interest you even if you never read that book.

The good folks at Misc. Baseball are working on a "Favorite Obscure Baseball Figure Project." Here's what they wrote on that:

A little while ago I came up with the idea of asking various baseball fans to pick their favorite obscure baseball figure from the past. As the word “figure” indicates, the person doesn’t have to be a player; it can be anyone employed within the game itself, by a team or by a league, including umpires, coaches, scouts, and front office personnel (but not the media).

My idea is that time and a focus on sabermetrics and efforts to determine who should be in the Hall of Fame have left many uniquely interesting and/or appealing retired/deceased baseball people by the wayside. I’m asking for help in bringing to light some old baseball people who are worth remembering.

Obscurity is a little hard to define, but by definition it excludes anyone in the Hall of Fame. My general guideline is that if the typical enthusiastic but non-obsessive baseball fan either hasn’t heard of him or barely recognizes his name, he’s obscure. By “favorite” I don’t necessarily mean that you admire or like the guy, just that you think he’s interesting, compelling, or represents something important in baseball history.

It could be someone like Hal Chase or one of the Black Sox, who you don’t like at all, but are fascinated by. Some examples of good candidates for favorite obscure player are Art (the Great) Shires, Arlie Latham, Fats Fothergill, Kirby Higbe, Johnny Mostil, Chick Stahl, and Lou Sockalexis. Or, from the non-player ranks, George Moriarty, Nick Altrock, George Magerkurth, Chub Feeney, Art Fowler, and Dick Howser.

Sounds like fun, eh? So, anyone here come to your mind? Feel free to leave them in the comments section here - or at Misc. Baseball, if you prefer. And, if you want to contact the powers behind this project, they can be reached at: animus08 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 10th, 2011 at 5:01 pm and is filed under Bloops. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

162 Responses to “Obscure Baseball Figure Project”

  1. Fleet Walker comes to mind. Herb Washington, too.

  2. Mine would be Silent Mike Tiernan. Not that I'm necessarily drawn to taciturn players, but he had a fine career in the ancient NL and didn't bequeath much in the way of stories. Always assumed him to be a gentleman based on essentially his obit.

  3. Radar O'Reilly Says:

    Rawly Eastwick 1975 Reds, first NL Rolaids Fireman of the Year winner. Proto-closer along with Rollie Fingers.

  4. Mine would be Jay Dahl, who pitched for the Colt .45s all-rookie lineup for one game in 1963 and died in a car accident two years later at 19.

    I've always wondered what his story was.
    Was he thrilled to have had a shot at the big leagues (esp. so quickly and so young), or embittered to have gone back to the low minors after essentially being used as part of a publicity stunt?
    Would he have made his way back up to the bigs, and showed up again 10 years later working out of the bullpen in Cleveland or someplace?

    Of course, there's not much of sabermetric or historic interest in his 2 2/3 innings in the bigs; it's all the backstory, I suppose.

  5. Eddie Gaedel of the St. Louis Browns. Shortest player in history, wore number 1/2.

  6. I want to say Kerry Dineen. Local boy made good by making the Yankees in 1975. I seem to recall him making a game winning play or hit near his first game. And, that was pretty much it for him.

  7. Lipman Pike
    The first home run king.

  8. Ed Hearn - for most players, either their wikipedia page or their bb-ref page is the first one to pop up.

    Although he may not be obscure much longer. According to his website, Hollywood has called!!!

  9. Juan Sin Miedo Says:

    Mark Belanger, remembered fondly by many O's fan of the 70's. Mark was compared to a young Marty Marion in a 1967 Sporting News article and then again was rated as the top AL short stop in an "Sports" magazine article in 1980 (Nolan Ryan was on the cover), interesting read if you would like to know how Robin Yount and Ozzie Smith was rated back in 1980 (FYI Larry Bowa was rated No. 1 SS in NL) Mark won 8 GG awards but left a lot to be desired with the bat.

  10. @MTL

    Actually, I think Gaedel wore 3/8, not 1/2. (He wasn't big enough for 1/2.) I was reading his SABR biography the other day, thanks to this blog.

  11. Urban Shocker.

    hard pressed to find a better baseball name than his

  12. A player I've always liked is Alan "Dirty Al" Gallagher. He was an eminently mediocre third baseman for the Giants and Angels, but was very colorful; he wore crazy clothing and did backflips on the field. So I'll nominate him.

  13. Sparky Lyle, who liked to plant his ass in the birthday cakes of his teammates during their celebrations.

  14. Adam Penale Says:

    Fred Van Dusen, 1 at bat, which was a HBP

  15. For whatever reason, as a kid (I'm 27 now) Andy Van Slyke was someone special. I wasn't a Pirates fan (far from it... Mets), so maybe it had to do with the teams playing back in the ol' NL East, but I just remember thinking the dude was something else. It got to the point that I once drunkenly insisted that Andy Van Slyke invented baseball. He somehow became that impressive in my subconscious. I probably couldn't pick the guy out of a lineup at this point, but I remember listening to Mets games on The Fan back in the day and just being in bizarre awe of the guy.

  16. @Eric

    Gaedel wore 1/8.

    Mentioning Jay Dahl and his being used reminds me of David Clyde, who was used similarly by Bob Short (there's another possible subject) with the Rangers in 1973. Pitched in the big leagues at 18 and out by age 24, I think. Luckily for Clyde, he is alive and presumably well.

  17. Spartan Bill Says:

    Chris Pittaro

    Another victim of the Sparky Anderson hype machine, Whike the tigers were having a fantastic 1984 season Pittaro was hitting .284 w/ 11 HRs at AA ball. Well he wasn;t going to beat Lou Whitaker for the 2nd base position, but Sparky moved him to 3B in spring training, and with the aid of the gullible Detroit media, Pittaro was going to lead the team to bigger and better things in 1985.

    He did go 3-4 on opening day, but within about 4 weeks he was on the bench and 2 weeks after that he was in Nashville learning how to be a SS. Came up and played 2 games in June but hit only .194 in AAA

    He made the team again to start the 86 season, but 2 weeks later he and his .095/.095/.095 kine were back in AAA,

  18. Dave Criscione.

    The guy had 10 plate appearances as a third-string catcher on the 1977 Orioles, and that was it for his major-league career. One of them, on July 25, was an 11th-inning walkoff home run in Criscione's only at-bat of that game (he entered in the 10th for defense).

    The batter before Criscione, who made an out to lead off the 11th inning, was Brooks Robinson, who retired less than three weeks later. By then, Criscione, 25 years old, was back in the minors, never to return. He had a respectable .768 OPS at AAA the following year but retired afterward at age 27.

    I was at that game, and since then I often think of Criscione and think that there's a guy who must remember that one swing extremely well.

  19. NoChanceforPettitte Says:

    @17
    You could also add /Torey Lovullo...both victims of the Hype Machine.

    I go with Lyman Bostock. It's sad that he's obscure.

    and Terry Larkin, who shot his wife and tried several times unsuccessfully to kill himself before finally succeeding by drawing a razor across his neck.

  20. Spartan Bill Says:

    Back in the 1980s, the Tigers had a TV broadcast team of George Kell and Al Kaline; 2 great players but two awful broadcasters.

    I am paraphrasing a bit here, but this dialogue actually occurred on Opening Day 1985

    KELL: They are taking the ball out of play here so young Chris Pittaro can be given the baseball as a memento of his first major league hit.
    KALINE: That;s something that every major leaguer will remember for the rest of his life.
    KELL: You remember your first major league hit Al?
    KALINE: No I don't actually.

  21. @#11: Cannonball Titcomb is the winner of the "best baseball player name ever" award.

  22. Kid Elberfeld. Anybody who drops a knee on Ty Cobb's neck is OK by me!

  23. The Mets had a pitcher years ago who would lose his hat with every pitch...I think it was Charlie Puelo.

    I once was listening to a Mets game on the radio when Bob Murphy said that (Mets utility infielder) "Kelvin Chapman is the only player named Kelvin in baseball history." He's on my list too.

  24. Brian Wells Says:

    I used to work with an elderly gentleman some years ago who, as a young kid, had gone to a baseball clinic over in Little Rock,Ar. given by Kid Elberfeld.After the first day of workouts, as the players and coaches were showering,my late co-worker asked Elberfeld where all those scars on his shins came from and Elberfeld just said "Cobb" and kept showering.

  25. He's recent, but I'm always going to have a soft spot for Matthew LeCroy.

  26. The starting Yankee outfield during WWII..Herscel Martin LF..Tucker Stainback CF...and Bud Metheny RF...a grand alliance if there ever was one.

  27. Max Patkin!

  28. Larry Yount.

    Announced into a game as a reliever for the Houston Astros, injured himself warming up and never "pitched" in the major leagues again.

    I hear his younger brother was pretty good too.

  29. How about Red Hoff who played for the Yankees even before Babe Ruth played for the Red Sox, but only died in 1998. He was 107 years old at his death.

  30. Curtis Pride.

  31. Bob "hurricane" Hazle
    Came in....... earned his name
    .....went out with a whisper

  32. Most career WAR by a non-pitcher with fewer than 100 homers and career BA under .240:
    1. Mark Belanger 32.5
    2. Rick Dempsey 23.8
    3. Eddie Miller 20.5
    4. Gary Pettis 18.2
    5. Wayne Garrett 15.9

    As a Mets fan, I'll take Garrett.

  33. AlvaroEspinoza Says:

    Kevin Maas!

    The "Baby Bomber" had one hell of a half season in '90 as a rookie for the Yanks. Then, nothin'.

  34. Spindlebrook Says:

    This is right in my wheelhouse...

    I have many, many favorite players like this. Especially ones whose ML career was very short or fragmented.

    Steve Fireovid is one who came to mind immediately, his book The 26th Man is a fine diary of a minor league season.

    Other faves of mine include Ken Huckaby, Andy Abad, Dan Rohrmeier, Bubba Carpenter, Neil Fiala, Mike Maksudian, Rich Sauveur, Shawn Gilbert, Steve Ratzer, Tony Barron, Matt Skrmetta, Brian Dallimore, Rick Short, Steve Bowling, Creighton Gubanich, Roger LaFrancois, Max St. Pierre...

    Also, I'm a fan of former replacement players who later made the bigs, like Edgar Caceres, Ron Rightnowar, Ron Mahay, Dan Masteller, etc, and the 18 players whose ML career began and ended in 1994 (look them up, I doubt if anyone has heard of these guys).

    PS...the Met whose hat fell off with every pitch was John Pacella.

  35. @20

    Looked up Kaline's first hit.... an eighth inning single in a 14-3 loss in Chicago, on July 8, 1953. The pitcher was the immortal Luis Aloma, who picked up a save for two innings of work in which he gave up five hits and a run. The loss left the Tigers 26-53. Not surprised he doesn't remember.

    As much as I loved Kaline the player, he was an awful announcer. Way too nice, and way too bland.

    Kell, however, I always liked. For an old ball player, he was always a pro as an announcer. Knew when to talk, and when to let the tension of a game speak for itself. He started talking about James' abstract on air very early... I'm pretty sure it was when James was still self-publishing. He did think about, and talk about, the subtleties of the game much more than other announcers, even his main radio competition, Ernie Harwell.

  36. Ed Jurak - Sox utility infielder 80's. So obscure that I always said that I would marry any girl who knew who he was. Never found that girl, but still found a great wife.

    My Dad's favorite is Sibbi Sisti from his youth as a Boston Braves fan. Nothing particularly compelling except for a cool name.

  37. Sibbi Sisti was in "The Natural." True story. He played a coach on a team playing the Knights.

  38. Pete Gray (March 6, 1915 – June 30, 2002) was a professional baseball player best known for playing in the major leagues despite having lost his right arm in a childhood accident.

  39. Aloysius Joseph "Allan" Travers, aka Rev. Aloysius Stanislaus Travers (May 7, 1892 – April 19, 1968) was a Major League Baseball pitcher who made a one-game appearance during the 1912 strike of the Detroit Tigers.

    Travers was only playing because the Detroit Tigers team had refused to play after their team mate Ty Cobb had been suspended for attacking a heckler. Travers pitched the sport's most unlikely complete game, allowing 26 hits, 24 runs, 14 earned runs, 7 walks and 1 strikeout. Travers faced 50 batters through 8 innings, and was tagged with the loss in the 24-2 decision.

  40. Archibald Wright "Moonlight" Graham (November 10, 1879 – August 25, 1965) was an American professional baseball player who appeared as a right fielder in a single major league game for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905. His story was popularized by Shoeless Joe, a novel by W. P. Kinsella, and the subsequent 1989 film Field of Dreams, starring Kevin Costner, and featuring Burt Lancaster and Frank Whaley as older and younger incarnations of Graham.

  41. Edward Carl "Eddie" Gaedel (June 8, 1925 – June 18, 1961), born in Chicago, Illinois, was an American with dwarfism who became famous for participating in a Major League Baseball game.

    Gaedel (some sources say the family name may actually have been Gaedele[1]) gained immortality in the second game of a St. Louis Browns doubleheader on Sunday, Aug. 19, 1951. Weighing 65 pounds (29.5 kg), and standing 3 feet 7 inches (1.09 m) tall, he became the shortest player in the history of the major leagues. He made a single plate appearance and was walked with four consecutive balls before being replaced by a pinch-runner at first base. His jersey, bearing the uniform number "⅛", is displayed in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  42. Lawrence Columbus "Crash" Davis (July 14, 1919 - August 31, 2001) was an American professional baseball player whose name inspired that of the main character of the 1988 movie Bull Durham.

  43. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Someone mentioned Curtis Pride. Yes, he's one of my favorites, too. A three-sport star at John F. Kennedy High School in Wheaton, MD, he was on a soccer all-star team that played in China. His other sport was basketball, which he played at the College of William & Mary. He had a fairly high grade point average, too, which no doubt helped him get into William & Mary.

    Curtis Pride may have been the first deaf player who didn't have a certain nickname. It's a real shame that these players got this nickname, but I hope we have progressed to the point where no one else who is deaf is known by that name.

  44. Charles Victor Faust ("Victory") (October 9, 1880 in Marion, Kansas – June 18, 1915 in Steilacoom, Washington) was an American Major League baseball player whose career, statistically speaking, was only slightly lengthier than that of Moonlight Graham, but who was regarded by his team, the New York Giants, as a good luck charm.

    Also known as Charlie Faust, he won a spring tryout with the Giants in 1911, after informing manager John McGraw that a fortune teller back home in Kansas had told him he needed to go pitch for the Giants and help them win the pennant. Faust had no real pitching ability, but McGraw was a superstitious sort, and brought Faust along. He actually put him in for a couple of innings in different games, late in the 1911 season.

    Faust was persistent in his belief that he could contribute to the Giants' success. Faust's delusion seems to have been associated with some mental disorder; he was later institutionalized in Oregon and in Washington state. When McGraw dismissed him from the Giants, Faust was never able to adjust to his release and harbored hopes of rejoining major league baseball until the final illness that led to his death.

  45. And on a personal note: Jerry Dybzinski (SS) in the early 80s mostly with Cleveland.

    When I was in grade school I took a bunch of baseball cards to class. When I was at lunch someone stole most of the better cards, ripped up the others but left poor Ol' Jerry D's card along. I've still got that card.

  46. What might have been ...
    ... John Kull.
    Perfect fielding percent as a fielder.
    Perfect winning percent as a pitcher.
    Perfect batting average as a hitter.

  47. Herbert Lee Washington (born November 16, 1951 in Belzoni, Mississippi) is a former world-class sprinter in the early 1970s who parlayed his speed into a brief Major League Baseball stint.

    Washington played in 105 major league games without batting, pitching, or fielding, playing exclusively as a pinch runner. He had 31 stolen bases in 48 attempts and scored 33 runs during his short career.

    Washington's 1975 Topps baseball card is the only baseball card ever released that uses the "pinch runner" position label.

  48. Charley Smith. In 1965, he (along with Al Jackson), was traded by the Mets to St. Louis for 1964 NL MVP Ken Boyer, then, in 1966, was traded to the Yankees straight up for Roger Maris.

  49. Masanori "Mashi" Murakami, born May 6, 1944 in Ōtsuki, Yamanashi, Japan) is a former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants.

    He is notable for being the first Japanese player ever to play for a Major League team. Sent over to the United States by the Nankai Hawks, Murakami saw success as a reliever for the Giants, debuting at the age of 20 in 1964. In 1965, he struck out over one batter per inning pitched, posted an ERA under 4 and earned eight saves. Following this season, however, Murakami headed back to his original Japanese club due to contractual obligations, where he continued his success for another 17 years.

    For thirty years Murakami was the only Japanese player to appear in an MLB game. Pitcher Hideo Nomo became the second Japanese-born player to play in MLB in 1995.

  50. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    My personal favorite {no surprise to anyone who has heard me extol his virtues} would be Cookie Rojas; although I would also favor some public acclaim for Eddie Stanky {"He can't hit, throw or field; all he can do is beat you"} and, of course, George Case {"The greatest player no one ever heard of"}. And {already mentioned}, Fleet Walker, the man who broke the color line several decades before Jackie Robinson was an itch in his daddy's britches.

  51. James Alan "Jim" Bouton (born March 8, 1939) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher. He is also the author of the controversial baseball book Ball Four, which was a combination diary of his 1969 season and memoir of his years with the New York Yankees, Seattle Pilots, and Houston Astros.

  52. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    One other candidate; Dennis Ribant -- the first EVER winning Mets starting pitcher.

  53. Fritz Peterson (P) & Mike Kekich (P).

    Peterson swapped families with fellow Yankee pitcher Mike Kekich in an arrangement the pair announced at spring training in March 1973. Peterson and Kekich had been inseparable friends since 1969; both families lived in New Jersey, their children were about the same age, and often they all would visit the Bronx Zoo or the shore or enjoy a picnic together. They decided that they would one day trade wives, children, and even dogs.

    The affair began in 1972, when the two couples joked on a double date about wife swapping, a phenomenon that caught on in some uninhibited circles during the early 1970s. According to one report, the first swap took place that summer, after a party at the home of New York sportswriter Maury Allen. The couples made the change official in October; Kekich moving in with Marilyn Peterson and Peterson with Susanne Kekich, but no word leaked out until spring of 1973. A light moment came when New York Yankees General Manager Lee MacPhail remarked, "We may have to call off Family Day." The trade worked out better for Peterson than it did for Kekich, as Peterson is still married to the former Susanne Kekich, with whom he has had four children. Kekich and Marilyn Peterson did not last long.

  54. Pedro Borbón. The prototype middle reliever. Could Sparky Anderson have been Captain Hook without him? Took a bite out of a Mets' hat after the brawl in the 1973 LCS. Probably could've pitched 2 innings a game for 5 or 6 days in a row.

  55. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Although he might not qualify {he is in the Hall of Fame, only in Japan; so he might not count} would be Lefty O'Doul.

  56. Ozzie Canseco. I seem to remember him playing more than just 9 games for the A's back in the summer of 1990.
    He and his brother "combined" to hit 462 home runs.

  57. How about Duke Carmel? One of the earliest men to play with both the Yankees and Mets- along with a cool-sounding name...

  58. Steven Louis "Dalko" Dalkowski (born June 3, 1939 in New Britain, Connecticut) is a retired left-handed pitcher in minor league baseball. He is sometimes called the fastest pitcher in baseball history and had a fastball that probably exceeded 100 MPH. Some experts believed it went as fast as 115 MPH.

    Dalkowski was also famous for his unpredictable performance and inability to control his pitches. His alcoholism and violent behavior off the field caused him problems during his career and after his retirement.

    Career statistics" Games IP H BB SO W L ERA
    Total 236 995 682 1354 1396 46 80 5.59

  59. And of course let's not forget Johnny Dickshot, Jack Glasscock, & Rusty Kuntz...

  60. Thomas McGrath Says:

    I enjoyed looking at a lot of the entries. I would enter either of two people both sides of the same improbable event. One is a record that will NEVER be broken, the other a record I only would like to see if a member of my favorite team broke it.

    People discuss records that will never be broke like DiMaggio's consecutive game hit streak or Williams consecutive reaching base streak. There is one record that will NEVER be broken: Most Grand Slams Given Up To One Player, Inning: Chan Ho Park 2.

    My second person would be the obscure soul who upped his career GS totalin that game to 2 in the 3rd inning of an April 23, 1999 game vs. the Dodgers. He did go 0 for 3 in the rest of the game finishing with only 8 RBIs: Fernando Tatis

  61. John Francis Paciorek (born February 11, 1945, in Detroit, Michigan) is an American baseball player with three career Major League at-bats, all for the Houston Colt .45s in 1963.

    He is famous for having arguably the greatest one-game career in baseball history. Paciorek, who had been called up when rosters expanded in September, got into the final game of the 1963 season, on September 29, as the right fielder. He went to the plate five times, hitting three singles and drawing two walks, for a perfect career batting average and on-base percentage of 1.000, scoring four runs and driving in three during the game.[1]

    Back injuries forced Paciorek to have surgery in 1964, causing him to miss the entire 1965 season. He then played in the minors until 1969, but never again played in the big leagues.

  62. Merv Rettenmund was a solid player who played for a long time that nobody remembers. Also, Rick Miller and Larry Harlow.

  63. #23 & #34,

    Check out 1981 Topps #414. It's a good shot of Pacella with his hat off.

    Someone I think of as far as obscurity is Hal W Smith, who hit a 3 run, 2 out HR in bottom of the 8th in a WS game 7 to put his team up 9-7, but how many non-Pirate fans know who he was?

  64. Sidd Finch was a fictional baseball player, the subject of the notorious article and April Fools' Day hoax "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch" written by George Plimpton and first published in the April 1, 1985 issue of Sports Illustrated.

    Plimpton reported that Hayden "Sidd" (short for Siddhartha) Finch was a rookie baseball pitcher in training with the New York Mets. Finch, who had never played baseball before, was attempting to decide between a sports career and one playing the French horn. What was astonishing about Finch was that he could pitch a fastball at an amazing 168 mph, far above the record of a "mere" 103 mph, with pinpoint accuracy. He also wore only one shoe—a heavy hiker's boot—when pitching.

  65. Check out Ray Shook, Roy Schalk (no relation to Ray Schalk), John Paciorek, Monty Stratton, Mike Squires, Johnny Dickshot and Dave Dravecky. All have great stories, if you look hard enough.

    I wouldn't exactly classify Nick Altrock as a non-player. He was the star pitcher for the 1906 "Hitless Wonders" World Champion Chicago White Sox.

  66. Ray Perry or Tony Freitas

  67. Ralph Richard "Blackie" Schwamb (August 6, 1926 in Los Angeles, California - December 21, 1989 in Lancaster, California), was a German-American professional baseball player who was a pitcher in the Major Leagues in 1948. He played for the St. Louis Browns were he pitched in 12 games was 1-1,7 strike outs and a era of 8.53. After the 1948 season, Schwamb killed a Long Beach doctor by the name of Dr. Donald Buge. Schwamb was doing the work to pay off a debt to Los Angeles mobster, Mickey Cohen[1]. His life is subject of Eric Stone's 2005 book Wrong Side of the Wall.

  68. Hector Vilanueva from the Cubs in the early 1990s.

  69. Paul Schaal, who got shipped off to the Angels by the Royals to make room for a rookie..........named George Brett.

  70. Evil Squirrel Says:

    Marc Sagmoen, the last MLB player to ever be issued the #42 conventionally, although that number (Which he only wore for his debut on 4/15/97) is inexplicably absent from his player page. The first of his 6 career hits was an inside the park homer.

  71. Charlie Metro, player-manager-scout and inventor of the batting tee

  72. Hal Trosky.

    Played 154 games as a 21-year-old rookie, OPS+ 150, 89 extra-base hits. As a 23-year-old, led the league in total bases and RBI with an OPS+ of 146.

    Hit the absolute crap out of the ball for about 7-8 years, but is almost completely forgotten because he retired young (migraines) and had the misfortune of playing first base in the American League at the same time as Gehrig, Foxx, and Greenberg.

  73. @28
    "Larry Yount.

    Announced into a game as a reliever for the Houston Astros, injured himself warming up and never "pitched" in the major leagues again.

    I hear his younger brother was pretty good too."

    Good call, Chuck. That immediately reminded me of Adam Greenberg, a pinch hitter who was hit in the head with the only major league pitch he would receive.

  74. As a Marlins fan (yes, we exist), I'm gonna go with Joe Strong. Came up with the Marlins in 2000, the year after the Rays brought up Jim Morris, so he kind of gets overshadowed, but when you've played in five countries over sixteen years before finally getting the call at age 37, you can hardly say his story is any less intriguing. Looked like the sort of guy who'd be named Joe Strong, too.

  75. I nominate Jamie Quirk, who turned in 18 seasons playing every position except pitcher and wore 10 different uniform numbers for 8 teams. Quirk finally crested 500 hits in season 17 and led the MLB (for a while) in "homers hit by surname starting with Q."

    Jamie's most notable moment came in 1984 as, for one at-bat, a Cleveland Indian.

    "...with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, [closer Ron] Davis gave up a two-out home run to Jamie Quirk, who was making his only plate appearance in a one-week stint with the Indians. The game basically eliminated the Twins from the AL West race. I submit that anyone who thinks Reusse is too negative about local sporting concerns needs to watch Ron Davis set everything you’ve ever loved on fire, over and over and over again, before judging him."

    RandBall article: Stu's Hunt Down: Jamie Quirk

  76. Most of my favorite obscure players are guys are guys who had awesome short stints. I played Strat-O-Matic in the 80s/90s, and we did away with limitations on playing time in the league, which gave some of these guys truly great seasons.

    Randy Asadoor comes to mind. He had a career of 60 PA, all with San Diego in 1986, during which he hit .364/.397/.455 for an OPS+ of 137. He was 23 that year. But he never got another shot.

    Luis Medina was one of those AAAA players. He came up with the Indians in 1988 and smashed 6 homers in 51 AB. He struck out a ton and had an OBA of .309, but I did have him hit over 50 homers for me in a SOM season.

    Of course there are the old favorites Eddie Gaedel and John Paciorek, both of whom others have mentioned. Gotta love those guys.

  77. oh yeah, and don't forget Astyanax Douglass - just for having such a cool name.

  78. @62

    Thank you! I knew there was someone who had done something like that but had no idea what his name was. Interestingly, John Paciorek was brothers with both Jim and Tom Paciorek. Jim debuted in the majors in 1987, 24 years after his brother!

  79. Alex Cole... speedy singles hitter... can't get a regular job and starts dealing drugs and running charges on his friend's credit card.

  80. Benny Distefano, the last left-handed player to play catcher in the major leagues.

  81. Atom @21 -- Cannonball Titcomb is definitely in the running for "best baseball player name ever," but my money's on Stubby Clapp III.

  82. Albanate @23 -- Alas, Kelvin Chapman lost that "only Kelvin" distinction by 1981, when the A's brought up Kelvin Moore.

  83. Thurman Munson, Steve Kemp, Willie Montanez, Mike Easler, John Milner, Fred Lynn, Joe Rudi, Jose Cruz, Ron Cey, Bake McBride, Ken Reitz, Tito Fuentes, Felix Millan, Ellis Valentine, Greg Luzinski, Bill Madlock, Jerry Remy, Kent Tekulve, Enzo Hernandez, Chris Chambliss, Graig Nettles, Gary Matthews, Sixto Lezcano, Manny Sanguillen, Al Oliver, Dave Parker, Richie Zisk, Jim Kern, Mickey Rivers, Bruce Bochte, Mike Hargrove, Frank Tanana, Bill Buckner, Al Cowens, Ron Guidry

  84. @84 Some strange definitions of obscure

    "Thurman Munson"

    Yankee captain, killed in a plane crash?

    RoY AND MVP?

    FOUR-time batting king?

    MVP, drug trials?

    Perhaps Bosox fans would like to tell you a story

    I hear he did all right in 1978

  85. Wonderful Willie Smith, one of the last truly 2-way players.

    With the Angels in 1964, Willie Smith:
    -- Played 87 games in the outfield, LF, batting .301 with 11 HRs in 373 PAs and a 125 OPS+; in the field, he made just 2 errors and had a positive dWAR.
    -- Pitched 31.2 innings in 15 games (including 1 start), with a 2.84 ERA / 116 ERA+.

    For his career, Smith pitched 61 innings over 29 games, with a 3.10 ERA / 113 ERA+. As a hitter, his OPS+ was over 100 in 4 out of 5 seasons i in which he had 200+ PAs.

    Smith's 46 career HRs ranks 7th among all players with at least 20 games pitched.

    On Opening Day 1969, Willie Smith pinch-hit for Jim Hickman in the bottom of the 11th with the Cubs down by a run, and smacked a 2-run HR off Barry Lersch for the walk-off win.

    Smith came up with Detroit. In his last minor-league season before his MLB debut, Smith went 14-2 in 17 starts at AAA, with a 2.11 ERA in 145 IP, and batted .380 in 50 games (31 of them as a nonpitcher).

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/smithwi02.shtml

  86. Most people seem to be sticking to players, but the post says other baseball figures are eligible too.

    I'd have to add Fresco Thompson, the former Dodger front-office stalwart.
    I just love the resonance of the name:
    Fresco Thompson.

    (I didn't know -- or perhaps had forgotten -- that he played in the bigs too. I looked him up while typing this.)

  87. Babe Ganzel, OF with the Senators in 1927-28. Batted .438 in a September cameo in 1927 (21 for 48), with 7 walks and 3 Ks, for a 1.176 OPS.

    In his first full game, Babe Ganzel went 4 for 4 with a triple and double, plus a walk. All 4 hits came off the wonderfully-named Browns pitcher Elam Vangilder, in support of the marvelously-named Hod Lisenbee. Babe batted 3rd for the Sens, surrounded by HOFers Sam Rice, Bucky Harris and Goose Goslin; he was batting in the place of HOF teammate Tris Speaker, who sat out the game.

    He hit his only HR on September 29, 1927; in that same game, a slightly more famous Babe went deep twice, tying his own season record with 59 HRs. (Ruth would hit his 60th the next day, also against Ganzel and the Senators.)

    On October 2, 1927, the last day of the season, in a Sens-A's game that featured HOFers Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons, Tris Speaker and Sam Rice, as well as the stars Jimmy Dykes and Max Bishop, Babe Ganzel was the batting star, as he repeated his 4-4, triple, double line from 2 weeks prior.

    The following year, Babe Ganzel went 2 for 26 and was sent back to the minors. He continued to hit well there for several years, but never got another shot at the bigs.

    Babe Ganzel was the son of Charlie Ganzel, a longtime major leaguer who was a catcher and utility man for the Boston Beaneaters, one of the dominant teams in the 1890s. Charlie Ganzel won pennants with Boston in 1891-93 and '97.

    According to B-R Bullpen: "Charlie debuted in the majors 43 years before Babe, the longest span between the first game by a MLB father and his MLB son. Charlie had been dead for 13 years by the time Babe debuted."

    Babe's uncle, John Ganzel, also played several years in the majors, leading the 1907 NL with 16 triples.

  88. Yes, had this seem idea. Was going to call it "The Uncommon Collection" and vote in a player every year for the rest of time but am too busy to get it started. I think Mario Mendoza, Moe Berg, Bob Ueker, Pete Gray, Moonlight Graham, Fleet Walker were all going to be on the first ballot of the Uncommon Collection.

  89. Cliff Mapes, who had three numbers retired. First he wore number 3, which was retired a few days before Babe Ruth's death. Then he was assigned number 7. Later on Mickey Mantle wore thaat number.
    Mapes was eventually traded to the Detroit Tigers, and work number 6. Shortly after he left the Tigers, number 6 was assigned to Al Kaline.

  90. Ron Wright. One game, 3 at bats in MLB career. Strikeout, grounded into double play, grounded into triple play. If there were a stat for outs created per plate appearance, his career average of 2.0 would definitely be difficult to beat.

  91. Al Benton, who pitched mainly for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s through the early 1950s. On August 6, 1941 against the Cleveland Indians in the third inning he had two sacrifice hits in the inning. Detroit won the game 11-2, when all the runs were scored in the same inning.
    Once I heard a baseball announcer say Benton was the only person to strike out both Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle. As a young pitcher with Cleveland he struek out Ruth in his last season with the Yankees.
    In Benton's last year with Boston he struck out a young Mickey Mantle.

  92. Ellis Valentine. As sweet an age 22-25 run as you could want, but got hit in the face with a ball mid-1980 and was never the same after that. Drugs were apparently a part of it too.

    He also had one of the best outfield arms in history, with 25 assists at age 23, after which nobody ran on him any more.

  93. Fred Caliguiri, probably known primarily to more seasoned members of the Philadelphia A's Historical Society . . . Fred pitched the last couple months in the woeful 1941 A's rotation, part of 1942, and was gone from the majors. But on September 28, 1941, Connie Mack sent him out for the last game of the season (second game of a DH) against the Red Sox in Shibe Park, one of the games that Ted Williams elected to play that day with his .400 average on the line. Fred "held" Williams to two-for-three, but mastered the rest of the Red Sox with a six-hit, 7-1, complete game win.

  94. Anybody have the story on Dick Kokos? A couple of good years with the St. Louis Browns in late 40s - early 50s. Then never to be heard of again...

  95. @76

    "Jamie's most notable moment came in 1984 as, for one at-bat, a Cleveland Indian.
    "...with the score tied in the bottom of the ninth, [closer Ron] Davis gave up a two-out home run to Jamie Quirk, who was making his only plate appearance in a one-week stint with the Indians. The game basically eliminated the Twins from the AL West race."

    I think I was at that game

    " I submit that anyone who thinks Reusse is too negative about local sporting concerns needs to watch Ron Davis set everything you’ve ever loved on fire, over and over and over again, before judging him."

    He was pretty decent through 1985 (but forget after that)

  96. Richard Chester Says:

    @92

    I read somewhere that Al Benton was the only pitcher to even pitch to Ruth and Mantle.

  97. Rob Ducey, who had one of the most impressively unimpressive careers in major league history.

    Every team has a man on the roster who can usually fill in at a few positions, come in as a late defensive replacement, and is the first to be sent to the minors when a spot is needed. Usually, a player will fill this role for a year or two, either moving up to become a regular or heading back to the minors on their way out of the game.

    Then there’s Rob Ducey. Ducey played 13 seasons in the majors (1987-2001), plus a two-year mid-career stint in Japan. This is a fairly impressive number – players become eligible for the Hall of Fame with ten seasons – especially considering that Ducey never once did anything that anybody would possibly remember.

    His consistency was impressive, though it’s the same kind of consistency shown by a drunk who passes out in the same alley every night. During his first seven years, mostly spent with the Blue Jays, Ducey never had fewer than 48 or more than 85 at bats in a season. He got between 15 and 17 hits for five straight seasons, and six or seven RBI’s for four straight. Usually a player with this kind of statistical record is a defensive specialist, perhaps a back-up catcher, or can be used as a pinch runner, but Ducey was an outfielder who didn’t steal more than two bases until his ninth season in the majors.

    Ducey was born in Toronto, so maybe the Blue Jays had the same kind of rules as Canadian radio, where a certain percentage of all songs have to be performed by Canadian artists; he also later played for the Montreal Expos. Still, four U.S. teams (plus the Nippon Ham Fighters) let Ducey hang around with them. He finally rewarded the Phillies in 1999 with his breakout season: A .261 average, 8 home runs and 33 RBIs. In other words, Ducey did not appear in the Mitchell Report.

    Ducey finished his playing career in 2004, playing for the Canadian Olympic team which finished 4th. He was the oldest player in the tournament, which is probably the most impressive line in his career. Well, except for the time he was essentially traded for himself:

    http://1988score.blogspot.com/2009/04/where-are-they-now-rob-ducey.html

  98. I would like to draw your attention to the player who took over in the outfield when the Babe left the Yankees. He was a good Canadian by the name of George "Twinkletoes" Selkirk. He was a decent player, although no Babe, but hit a very respectable .290, topped 100 RBI twice and batted over .300 five out of his nine seasons.

  99. [...] February 10, 2011 at 3:01 pm Obscure Baseball Figure Project » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive [...]

  100. Guest Pants Says:

    Here's my "All Obscurity" team, straight from my childhood.

    C - Don Slaught
    1B - Alvin Davis
    2B - Delino DeShields
    3B - Steve Buechele
    SS - Shawon Dunston
    LF - Kal Daniels
    CF - Chuck Carr
    RF - Felix Jose
    DH - Kevin Maas

    C - Mike Stanley
    1B/PH - Gerald Perry
    IF - Mike Gallego
    OF - Glenallen Hill
    OF - Roberto Kelly
    UT - Bip Roberts

    SP - Storm Davis
    SP - Oil Can Boyd
    SP - Jim Abbott
    SP - Sid Fernandez
    SP - Steve Avery

    RP - Steve Farr
    RP - Mike Schooler
    RP - Steve Olin
    RP - Kent Mercker
    RP - Alejandro Pena

  101. Thanks for all the responses already: I run the Misc. Baseball blog, and I'll be busy for a while getting all of the picks pasted in over there and putting in the relevant links. It's kind of a runaway train here that's overwhelmed the picks I've gotten by emailing people, but I appreciate it.

  102. Benny Kauff:

    The 'Ty Cobb of the Federal League', never really lived up to it in the majors, but had a few good seasons.

    Turned down a bribe by Hal Chase and was also banned by Landis (who didn't by him, right!) after being acquitted of accepting stolen cars.

  103. PS on Kauff,

    He is a beast in historical sims!

  104. PPS on Kauff
    He doesn't even have a gravestone where he's buried :-(

  105. Matt Alexander, who made a 9 year career as a defensive replacement and pinch runner. His numbers in the 4 years he played with the Bucs were pretty strange indeed.

  106. Luvtheobscure Says:

    I gotta go with Cesar (Coco) Gutierrez, a part time middle infielder with the Tigers and (I believe) the Mets. He went 7 for 7 in a game for the Tigers back in the early 70's. Nice to be known for something.

  107. Richard Chester Says:

    How about Ross Moschitto? He served as a pinch-runner and late game defensive replacement for Mickey Mantle in 1965. He appeared in 96 games with only 28 PA.

  108. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    Relief pitcher for the Cubs. . . . .
    Recorded 10 saves in a pennant-contending season. . . .
    His Uniform #42 has been retired, but not in his name. . . . . .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Chuck "Twiggy" Hartenstein.

  109. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    We would serenade this reliever from the bleachers back in the day when bleacher seats were $1 and there were no lights at Wrigley Field.
    "If the ball leaves the park
    And don't land 'til it's dark,
    That's Za-moray....."
    .
    Oscar Zamora.

  110. Mike Brito.

  111. The Littlest Angel, Albie Pearson, was a fan favorite at Wrigley Field and Dodger Stadium when he played for the Angels. He was chosen to the All-Star team at least once. He retired at around 30 due to injuries.

  112. Joel Youngblood.

    Only player to play in two games, for two different teams, in two cities, on the same day. He also picked up a hit in each game, both off of future HOF pitchers.

    See http://en.allexperts.com/q/Baseball-Trivia-General-2552/2009/9/Played-2-teams-day.htm#b.

  113. Spartan Bill Says:

    Blue Jays CF Rick Bosetti

    When the fans in the $2.00 seats in the Upper CF Bleachers at Tiger Stadium would trat him like any other visiting CF and yell "Bosetti Sucks", as he warmed up his arm between innings. he would turn to the crowd and direct them like a maestro.

    Using hand gestures, he was able to turn the simple chant where he was buld the chant up to a crescendo and then get us to stop at his cue. He would then applaud the crowd.

  114. The 2 White Sox pitchers that whittled away into obscurity, Britt Burns and his younger brother Mike Sirotka.

  115. Obscure Baseball Figure Project » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog ......

    [...]In 1965, he struck out over one batter per inning pitched, posted an ERA under 4 and earned eight saves. Following this season, however, Murakami headed back to his original Japanese club due to contractual obligations, where he continued his succ...

  116. Duffy Dyer, okay backup catcher for the Mets and some other teams. Always loved the name.

  117. "Super Joe" Charboneau

  118. David @91 -- Wow, that Ron Wright game was really something!

    And that triple play was one of the odder ones I've seen described:
    -- April 14, 2002, Seattle at Texas, top of the 4th, runners on 1st & 3rd. Wright, the Mariners' DH, grounded back to pitcher Kenny Rogers, who got the forceout at 2nd. Ruben Sierra broke for home (I'd forgotten he ever played for SEA!), Texas SS A-Rod threw to the plate and they caught Sierra in a rundown, out 6-2-5-1. Wright tried to take 2nd on the play and was thrown out, Rogers to 2B Mike Young.

    I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher get 2 assists on the same play -- not to mention a putout!

    Other notes from that game:
    -- A-Rod drove in 5 with a pair of HRs, but the bullpen coughed up 8 runs in 3 IP and Texas lost this game, 9-7; they lost the next day 13-11, as the M's completed a 4-game road sweep in which they scored 38 runs.
    -- After setting the AL record with 116 wins in 2001, the Mariners were 9-3 after this game and reached 17-4 to open the season, giving them a mark of 133-50 (.727) since A-Rod's departure.
    -- Ruben Sierra had the second and last 5-hit game of his career.
    -- John Olerud went 4-4 with a walk.
    -- John Rocker finished the game for Texas.

    BTW, Ron Wright has the longest B-R bullpen page I've ever seen for a hitter who never reached base in the big leagues....
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Ron_Wright

  119. [...] These entries come by way of a post on the Baseball-Reference blog: [...]

  120. @ 12 His full name was Alan Mitchell Edward George Patrick Henry Gallagher! I remember Dalton Jones in 1969 or 70 hitting a grand slam homer but only got a single because he passed a guy on the bases! I think he was on the same team as a favorite "baseball hangman game" guy Ken Szotkiewicz who didn't even hit his sperm count in 1970.

  121. @117, you stole my idea for Duffy Dyer, though I was going to list him because I somehow ended up with 5 copies of his 1972 Topps card.

    Next we can add Al "Two Wives" Martin, who briefly threatened to be a semi-credible replacement for Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh.

    Mario Mendoza isn't obscure for the line named in his honor, but is for the two innings he pitched for the Buccos. That happened the same year Tony Dungy briefly QB'd for the Steelers.

    Joe Foy just randomly from the Senators in their final season, at the same time Curt Flood was there.

    And finally Mark Smith because of his time with the Pirates in the late 90s. He was a big kid everyone wanted to see do well. I remember him coming up with a clutch two-run single to win a game somewhere along the line, but the breakout never quite came. He actually kept at it for a number of years and has a story far more common than those of the folks we normally think about. This guy could be the poster boy for remembering that even the 'worst' major leaguer is a pretty special athelete, and even a few partial seasons at the league minimum isn't too shabby. I hope he made a nice life after baseball.

  122. Phil in Indiana Says:

    REPLY TO POST 94 FROM 704_BRAVE: ("...Anybody have the story on Dick Kokos? A couple of good years with the St. Louis Browns in late 40s - early 50s. Then never to be heard of again...")

    Was he any relation to a Mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana back in the 30s?
    Maybe you've seen, there's been a lot of stuff in the news and the global internet this week concerning the controversy over naming a government building in honor of the mayor, Harry Baals.
    I wonder if the ball player had to take the same kind of ribbing they're giving good ol' Harry this week.....

  123. #108 Richard Chester- Ross Moschitto is a great example of how the Yankees' farm system deteriorated after they stopped paying bonuses for youngsters. Another great name from the early CBS years was Dooley Womack- pretty good short man for a couple of years... also can't forget Roger Repoz and Thad Tillotson...

  124. Phil in Indiana Says:

    REPLY TO POST 112 BY GARY W:....thank you for mentioning Wrigley Field in your submission about Albie Pearson. No doubt some people among the younger visitors here might be confused.
    There were two Wrigley Fields, one in L.A., and that's where the Angels first played before moving to the Big A in Anaheim. The Cubs held spring training out there, and Mr. Wrigley wanted them to be "accustomed" to their home field in Chicago on Opening Day. It worked out great, they lost about as often either place.
    Too bad the historical preservationists weren't as active back then and somebody might still be using that park, but after all, it was just another hold ball park in those days, and you can't have old decrepit ruins getting in the way of all the glamour and progress out there. The west coast Wrigley was the site of the original "Home Run Derby" TV show.
    If you want "obscure," who was the announcer on Home Run Derby?

  125. How about Paul Hines. The first player to win the triple crown. He put up decent numbers in his career.

  126. Richard Chester Says:

    @123

    His real name was Kokoszka.

  127. Cecil Travis, subject of the book "Cecil Travis of the Washington Senators: The War-Torn Career of an All-Star Shortstop"

    Synopsis: A three time All-Star, Cecil Travis was coming into his prime and already well on his way to a Hall of Fame career when he was drafted for World War II in 1941. He would spend the next four years in the 76th infantry division. When he finally returned to the game, in 1945, Travis was no longer the dominant player he had been. In the three seasons that followed his return-the last three seasons of his career-only once did Travis play in more than 75 games, and his offensive numbers plummeted. Yet his pre-war accomplishments were such that he finished his 12-year career with a .314 batting average and baseball maven Bill James put Travis atop his list of players most likely to have lost a Hall of Fame career to the war.

    (Disclaimer: I have no connection to this publication and do not stand to make any profit from its sales)

  128. Many people remember Phil Linz, the utilitly Yankee infielder famous for the 1964 "Harmonica" incident. (If you're not familiar with that, Google it)

    However, few know this story: In 1965, (I believe) Linz fouled a ball into the
    stands at Yankee Stadium and hit his mother in the head! In those days of
    low player salaries, Linz was smart enough to turn the incident into cash by appearing (with his mother), on the TV quiz show, "I've Got a Secret".

    Contrast this with the reaction of Oriole's player Jay Gibbons, who, in 2006, after fouling a ball off his own wife, threatened to sue the league and the team.

  129. Lou Klimchock!

  130. I always have liked Johnny Dickshot

  131. Spartan Bill Says:

    @129

    Back then TV game shows didn;t pay well either. A friend of mines Father worked for the production company that taped What;s My Line and to Tell the truth. I would be surprised if that appearance by Phil Linz and Mom got them $100 to split between them.

  132. Bill Sharman,Brooklyn Dodgers... later as HOF Basketball player... thrown out of only game from the bench.

  133. Richard Chester Says:

    Branch Rickey and George Halas were obscure as players but they both became extremely famous for other reasons.

  134. Bert Shepard lost a leg as WW 2 fighter pilot... as amputee,pitched 5+ innings in relief with 2 strikeouts in one game for Washington Senators in 1945.Monty Stratton got star treatment with movie starring actor Jimmy Stewart as major league pitcher who lost leg to hunting accident inspired to return to pitch at minor league level.

  135. Spartan Bill Says:

    @135

    Your post on Bert Shepard prompted me to look at the box score from August 4, 1945. Shepard actually relieved Joe Cleary, who holds the MLB record for highest career ERA with no minimum IP.

    Cleary allowed 7 ER in 1/3 IP and never appeared in another game. His lifetime ERA will forever be 189.00.

    On a positive note, his 27.00 K/9 will be tough to beat.

  136. @11

    I'm not sure he counts as obscure, but I think Van Lingle Mungo trumps Urban Shocker in pure name terms. One of the reasons he's not obscure is Dave Frishberg's eponymous song. A lot of the players in that song fall into this category, my favorite would be Sig Jakucki. I don't know how many hours I spent listening to that song trying to figure out what he was saying when he said "Sig Jakucki."

  137. Spartan Bill, remember that not all K's are outs, (WP or PB on strike 3 with 1st base open). You could have K/9 > 27. Many have 4 K's in an inning. The tough part would be never pitching another inning. Of course, you can strike out the side and allow many runs in an inning.

  138. Spartan Bill Says:

    That's why I said tough and not "impossible".

  139. Here is another great name: Butterfly Dickerson.

  140. I mean Buttercup Dickerson.

  141. Brendan Burke Says:

    I give you one of the few players whose B-R page is incorrect... Moonlight Graham and his one plate appearance. Yes, he did get one PA, it was a sacrifice fly.

  142. Mike Schilling Says:

    Ron Pruitt. The definition of the utility man: played every position besides pitcher and middle infielder. In 1982, he got into 5 games for the Giants as a September call-up. On the 30th he hit a 2-run walkoff bloop single to keep the Giants' pennant hopes alive, in one of the most exciting plays I've ever seen.

  143. Reply to Phil in Indiana...
    Mark Scott was the broadcaster for Home Rum Derby.

    Another obscure figure was Rick Reichardt, a bonus baby with the Angels who was supposed to be the next Mickey Mantle. He was off to a great season in 1966 when he came down with a kidney infection, and had to have a kidney removed. He was never the same. He was out of the majors by 1974.

  144. Ted Cox. He played five seasons in the majors, beginning with the Red Sox in 1977. His first seven plate appearances consisted of six hits and a walk.

  145. Charley Lindstrom , son of HOF'er,Freddie Lindstrom,and Hal Trosky,Jr. played together last game of 1958 for Chi. White Sox. Catcher,Lindstrom's one ever game of major league play of 5 innings featured a triple in one official at bat,one run,one rbi,a walk and a passed ball. Trosky,also son of namesake,pitched his last 2 of 3 total mlb innings and got his only major league pitching victory.

  146. Tony Horton ... though not totally obscure is often forgotten in the pantheon of characters who have played the game. Horton famously crawled back to the dugout on his hands and knees after being embarassed by Steve Hamilton's,"Folly Floater",a modern day "Eephus pitch" made famous by Rip Sewell.Horton's emotional state led to his retirement less than 2 months after this incident,but not before he hit for the cycle in a game.

  147. Guest Pants Says:

    @142

    Moonlight Graham couldn't have had a sac fly, because the rule didn't come into effect until 1908. Not only that, he would have recorded an RBI.

  148. It is baseball lore perhaps that Billy Maharg who exposed the 1919 Black Sox scandal was in fact Moonlight Graham,as his last name is spelled backwards .Am open to new facts/feedback in this regard.

  149. Inf-Of,John Miller obscure 60's player with unique distinction of only major league homeruns were on first at bat,and last at bat (Pinch-hit). Next- pitcher,Henry Mathewson produced 2 saves and a loss in 3 games... obscured by brother,HOF'er,Christy Mathewson. Next- Earle Mack produced a triple,a single,one rbi in 16 at bats,with a stolen base credited.Mack managed briefly in Pa.,obscured by father,HOF'er,Connie Mack.Next- brothers... 60's pitchers,Diomedes Olivo and Chi-Chi Olivo. Diomedes made his mlb debut at age 41.

  150. As minor leaguer, does Michael Jordan rise to the level of obscure baseball player ? I'd vote yes on that.

  151. Regarding comment 144 from Gary W.

    Thanks for that reference! That show was a train wreck that you couldn't help looking at. Have there ever been more stilted, unnatural conversations than those? The Mantle/Mays episode was a classic.

  152. Skeeb Wilcox Says:

    Lorenzo "Rimp" Lanier. Possibly the "obscurest" of Pirates from years of being a fan. My cousin and I were walking along U.S. Route 19 in Ireland, West Virginia one late summer afternoon in 1971 when we saw a car coming up the road that just seemed a bit "unusual". There were five people in the car, an older man driving, four younger men...three in the back...with Pirates' uniforms hanging in the driver's side backseat window. I have always suspected that those were the first batch of 1971 September call-ups for the Bucs...of which Rimp Lanier would have been one. Since I-79 was not completely finished at that point and that U.S. Route 19 was the main link between Charleston and Pittsburgh and that scenario was a high probability of being true. Every time I see Al Oliver in person I ask him about Rimp...

  153. Phil in Indiana Says:

    Obscure players with an obscure connection:
    Bruce Kimm
    Paul Schramka
    Jim Tracey
    Fritz Connally
    Mark Guthrie
    .
    .
    .
    What did they all do while in uniform for the same team (during different seasons)?

  154. Phil in Indiana Says:

    RE: my Post 154 trivia question, the answer is not some easy thing like "they all got a single," it is something "unique" to them, no other players did.

  155. Spindlebrook Says:

    @ 154 - They were all Cubs, right?

    Of those, Bruce Kimm was Mark Fidrych's personal catcher during Mark's heyday in Detroit. Plus, Fritz Connally's first two ML home runs were grand slams.

    Some more obscure Cubs: Gary Krug, Kurt Seibert, Steve Davis, Herman Segelke, Johnny Abrego, Steve Engel, Butch Benton, Mike Mahoney, Mike Sember, Laddie Renfroe, Joe Kraemer, Bill Johnson...

  156. @ 154: They were all 7th round draft picks by the Cubs that played in the majors with the team.

  157. Jim "Pigpen" Dwyer. Was he really called Pigpen for any good reason?

  158. @129 - Didn't Denard Span line a foul off his mother last season? She was sitting right near the dugout and when he fouled it off, he immediately ran over to see if she was ok...

  159. Phil in Indiana Says:

    Re: posts #156 Spindlebrook and #157 CRTYonker:.....yes, they were all Cubs, and if they were all drafted in the 7th round, that's nice, BUT that has nothing to do with what they did "while in uniform" for the Cubs. Just BEING in uniform is a clue.....

  160. Re: the trivia question @154 from Phil in Indiana:

    All 5 players while with the Cubs wore numbers that have been retired, and each was the last to wear that number other than the player for whom it was retired.

    Bruce Kimm was the last Cub to wear Ron Santo's #10.
    Paul Schramka was the last Cub before Ernie Banks to wear Banks's #14.
    Jim Tracy was the last Cub before Ryne Sandberg to wear Sandberg's #23.
    Fritzie Connally was the last Cubs player to wear Billy Williams's #26.
    Mark Guthrie was the last Cub to wear the #31 that has been retired to honor both Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.

    P.S. Both Guthrie and Kimm also wore other numbers with the Cubs.

    P.P.S. No, of course I didn't know any of this; I googled the 5 names together in quotes, and all 3 hits were about Cubs uniform numbers:
    http://www.cubsbythenumbers.com/cubs-all-time.html#no42

  161. Phil in Indiana Says:

    To John Autin: YOU WIN THE CIGAR ! ! ! ....except that we're in the non-smoking section of this website.
    Interestingly, your google searches took me to the website where I researched this information. I didn't realize it would be that easy.
    I did not include 42 for Bruce Sutter, since the Cubs never actually retired it for him and MLB retired it for Jackie Robinson, but the google search would probably have linked it, too.