Comments on: Trivia time: great players who split time at RF and 3B This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: August 14th birthdays: Clay Buchholz, Mark Fidrych, Don Carman, and more » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Sun, 14 Aug 2011 11:22:45 +0000 [...] 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 [...]

By: nesnhab Sat, 13 Aug 2011 01:05:58 +0000 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?

By: Detroit Michael Fri, 12 Aug 2011 18:03:19 +0000 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.

By: Andy Fri, 12 Aug 2011 16:29:54 +0000 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?

By: Detroit Michael Fri, 12 Aug 2011 16:26:39 +0000 Regarding Charlie Keller getting or not getting his due, the first chart in this story is intersting:

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.

By: Detroit Michael Fri, 12 Aug 2011 16:19:10 +0000 Thanks, Andy, for running with this idea. Great execution.

By: Richard Chester Thu, 11 Aug 2011 04:14:51 +0000 @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.

By: John Q Thu, 11 Aug 2011 02:55:37 +0000 @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.

By: DoubleDiamond Thu, 11 Aug 2011 01:35:38 +0000 @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.

By: Lawrence Azrin Wed, 10 Aug 2011 20:18:37 +0000 @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.