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westofyou
11-13-2006, 10:39 AM
scrap·py (skrp)
adj. scrap·pi·er, scrap·pi·est
1. Quarrelsome; contentious.
2. Full of fighting spirit.

One of the most long running love affairs in Baseball is the love usually showered on the "Scrappy" player. We all know who they are, where they come from (usually nowhere) and what they do to get our attention (chances are it involves speed or hustle). Currently pushing the envelope of scrappy is the Reds own Ryan Freel.

Most of these players tend to be on the small side, that in itself lends a me against the rest of the world air to their approach to the game, and since most fans aren't players they appreciate this effort to the point of unending adoration or the assumption that every player despite their skill level, age or health should attempt to play like the "scrappy" guy does. Scrappy players often are tagged with nicknames that exemplify their playing style.

Chances are the scrappy player will be loved everywhere, more likely he will be adored in the areas of the country that cling to old school values and the hard back of the working man... or at least the myth of his continued existence.

Of course that pretty much pigeon holes the Mid-West as an area that welcomes the scrappy players to their fold with open arms and hearty pats on the back, and nowhere does this seem to happen more than in Cincinnati.

How important is the illusion of hustle and scrappy behavior?

Pretty important if you take Warren Giles word for it in this 1945 Sporting News article


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/giles.gif

Pretty much lays the groundwork for what your granddad expected to see on the diamond and what your dad grew up hearing what should be. But what makes a Scrappy player?

Aside from not being star most scrappy players are often, young and unknown or diminutive to the point that the patrons are amazed that they can compete against the bigger boys. The Reds history of course goes far back to the 19th century and it is there that we can find the scrappy player making his first appearance for the Reds, and it's there that we start our journey.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/arlie.jpg

ARLIE LATHAM
Special Skill Set (Agitator)
HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 150

If 19th century Ball had a dictionary chances are good that Latham would be listed under scrappy.

A man of first, it was Arlie's roaming of the baselines during his teams at bats that drew the fans to the park as he berated the opposition loudly, eventually the league created the coaches box to herd Latham's active voice away from the batters box and give piece to the umpire. Known as "The Freshest Man on Earth" Arlie was the first ballplayer to go to the stage as well as the first fulltime coach (NY Giants 1907)

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Worked into his 80's in the Giants Press Box at the Polo Grounds.


YEAR SB AVG SLG OBA OPS
1890 20 .250 .311 .346 .657
1891 87 .272 .386 .372 .759
1892 66 .238 .283 .310 .593
1893 57 .282 .350 .368 .718
1894 59 .313 .403 .393 .796
1895 48 .311 .380 .375 .755
=============================
TOTAL 337 .279 .355 .361 .715
POS 159 .280 .382 .353 .735
LEAGUE 163 .269 .365 .347 .712


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/hoy.jpg

DUMMY HOY
HEIGHT: 5'6"
WEIGHT: 160
Special Skill Set (Speed)

Towards the end of Arlie's tenure as a Red another player emerged as the scrappy player that received the fans adulation. William "Dummy" Hoy at 5'4" was along with Miller Huggins the smallest of the scrappy Reds. A centerfielder, who was completely deaf and mute Hoy was known for his speed and the area he cover in League Park. Being deaf in an era that labeled such men as "Dummy's" automatically lifts Hoy's scrappy factor. His journey through the game found him playing in four separate leagues (AA, NL, PL, AL) and eventually settling in Cincinnati where he was a member of the fraternal organization "The Ballplayers of Yesterday."

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Threw out the first pitch of Game Three of the 1961 World Series in Cincinnati at age of 99.


YEAR SB AVG SLG OBA OPS
1894 27 .299 .426 .416 .842
1895 50 .277 .403 .363 .767
1896 50 .298 .409 .403 .812
1897 37 .292 .376 .375 .751
1902 11 .290 .380 .389 .769
==============================
TOTAL 175 .292 .400 .390 .790
POS 120 .299 .401 .364 .766
LEAGUE 174 .316 .422 .390 .811


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/miller.jpg

MILLER HUGGINS
HEIGHT: 5'6"
WEIGHT: 140
Special Skill Set (Walks)

Huggins was small, so very small and slight that it pretty much becomes the persona that you are always seeing when is name is mentioned, especially when pictured aside the big bopper Ruth himself. But one thing is for sure Huggins was a local hero long before Pete Rose was ever heard of. "He's gonna make everyone forget they ever heard of Bid McPhee." Joe Kelley on Miller Huggins. Not quite, but still a legend for his ability to take a walk in an era that didn't produce many Huggins was lauded for his style of play by the local fans and was affectionately known as "Little Everywhere"


YEAR SB BB AVG SLG OBA OPS
1904 13 88 .263 .328 .377 .705
1905 27 103 .273 .326 .392 .718
1906 41 71 .292 .338 .376 .714
1907 28 83 .248 .289 .346 .635
1908 30 58 .239 .287 .321 .608
1909 11 28 .214 .245 .335 .580
=================================
TOTAL 150 431 .260 .310 .362 .672
POS 113 233 .255 .328 .318 .646
LEA 116 258 .248 .309 .318 .627

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Managed the great Yankee teams in the 20's and got dangled off the back of a train by Babe Ruth.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/hans.jpg

HANS LOBERT
HEIGHT: 5'9"
WEIGHT: 170
Special Skill Set (Fast)

"Hans" received his name because he looked like Honus Wagner; it was Wagner himself who gave Hans his nickname during a brief stint with the Pirates. Known as the fastest man in baseball Hans is famous for racing a horse in Oxnard, California in 1913 (he lost) As a Reds he manned 3 positions and was involved in a big trade with the Philles a team that he remained involved with off and on for the rest of his life.


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1906 .310 .366 .366 .732
1907 .246 .313 .299 .612
1908 .293 .407 .348 .755
1909 .212 .294 .304 .598
1910 .309 .395 .369 .764
==========================
TOTAL .269 .353 .332 .685
POS .252 .325 .319 .644
LEA .247 .314 .314 .629

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Managed the misrable 1942 Phillies and tried to instill a "small ball" fast type of game, the type that was "his type" of game back in the day. The Phillies also attempted to accent the fast factor by calling the team the "Phils" instead of Phillies.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/heine.gif

HEINE GROH
HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 158
Special Skill Set (Run Producer)

One of the caveats of being scrappy is that you usually aren't applying that label to stars of the game, however there are always a few guys that are stars and so scrappy that you have give them their due. Early in the Reds history Heine Groh would be that man, A star 3rd baseman and unique hitter Groh was a man that hit doubles, could take a walk and fielded his position flawlessly with a glove as big as his hand he finished his career with a fielding percentage a shade behind renowned glove man Brooks Robinsons. With his oddly shaped bat Groh would face the pitcher with both feet pointing at the box, punching at the ball and applying the hit em where they ain't theory Groh etched his figure into the mind of Reds fans and helped bring them their first championship as well. That's scrappy gold; you can get free drinks on that for the rest of your life.


YEAR R AVG SLG OBA OPS
1913 51 .282 .378 .351 .729
1914 59 .288 .358 .391 .749
1915 72 .290 .390 .354 .745
1916 85 .269 .374 .370 .744
1917 91 .304 .411 .385 .796
1918 88 .320 .396 .395 .791
1919 79 .310 .431 .392 .823
1920 86 .298 .393 .375 .768
1921 54 .331 .417 .398 .815
==========================
TOTAL 665 .298 .394 .378 .772
POS 503 .265 .353 .324 .677
LEAGUE513 .265 .344 .325 .670

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Worked at the cashier window at River Downs (Race Track in Cincinnati) until his 80's


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/cuckoo.jpg

CUCKOO CHRISTENSEN
HEIGHT: 5'6"
WEIGHT: 156
Special Skill Set (Entertainer)

Part of the scrappy lore always involves a player that comes from nowhere (or having a nickname like, Cuckoo or Bubba).

Cuckoo Christensen is the epitome of that type of player. Bought from St. Paul in 1926 Christensen immediately grabbed the fans attention with acrobatic somersaults in the outfield and the habit of hanging near the stands and talking to the fans, grabbing there hearts all the while fooling the Reds enough to have them trade Edd Roush and hand the CF job to Christensen... who failed horribly ad disappeared from the game faster than you can say Mike Frank.


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1926 .350 .438 .426 .864
1927 .254 .286 .330 .617
======================
TOTAL .315 .383 .392 .775
POS .288 .399 .348 .747
LEAGUE.297 .411 .355 .766

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Played nine years of Minor league ball after failing in 1927.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/charlie.gif

CHUCK DRESSEN
HEIGHT: 5'5"
WEIGHT: 146
Special Skill Set (Throwback)

Before Cuckoo and after Cuckoo the Reds had some smaller players that might have been seen as the "scrappy type" but something about them often couldn't get the fans complete adulation, For Hughie Critz it was his educated background, and the fact that he was darn good all the time, for Charlie Dressen it was his lack of skill, but it's the scrappy Charlie Dressen as manager that gets him into the Reds Scrappy Hall of Fame.

Taking the reigns of the team in the midst of the great Depression rebuild Dressen focused on "small ball" and aggressive baseball. His 1937 team was called "The Roughhouse Reds" and after the failure of that concept was clear Dressen was the ex-manager of the Reds.


1935 6th 68 85 .444 31.5
1936 5th 74 80 .481 18
1937 8th 56 98 .364 40

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Managed the Dodger team that blew the 13 game lead in 1951.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/rocky_bridges_sm.jpg

ROCKY BRIDGES
HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 170
Special Skill Set (Funny Guy)


February 16, 1953
Received cash from Philadelphia Phillies as part of 4-team trade in which Philadelphia Phillies sent cash to Milwaukee Braves; Philadelphia Phillies sent Russ Meyer to Brooklyn Dodgers; Milwaukee Braves sent Earl Torgeson to Philadelphia Phillies; Brooklyn Dodgers sent Rocky Bridges to Cincinnati Reds; Brooklyn Dodgers sent Jim Pendleton to Milwaukee Braves; and Cincinnati Reds sent Joe Adcock to Milwaukee Braves.

Sometimes a scrappy guy is the guy a team looks to obtain in hope of transferring said scrappiness to the team as a whole... this football think might work in the coal field leagues but rarely does it work in major league baseball. The trade above made by Gabe Paul sent a man who would hit 305 more home runs for a man who would be best known for his huge chaw and funny quotes:


"It's a good thing I stayed in Cincinnati for four years -- It took me that long to learn how to spell it." - Rocky Bridges


"Coaching third with a pitcher on base is like being a member of a bomb disposal squad. The thing could blow up in your face at any moment." - Rocky Bridges


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1953 .227 .273 .288 .561
1954 .231 .250 .322 .572
1955 .286 .327 .341 .668
1956 .211 .211 .348 .558
1957 .000 .000 .500 .500
==========================
TOTAL .241 .283 .306 .589
POS .272 .425 .343 .768
LEAGUE .265 .393 .337 .730

Post-Career Scrappy Feat – Became Humorist.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/peteshead.gif

PETE ROSE
HEIGHT: 5'11"
WEIGHT: 192
Special Skill Set (Hit Machine, Versatile)

No discussion of scrappy and the Reds can avoid the Hit King, despite the general rule of scrappy = unknown and scrappy = small we have to believe that Pete Rose or “Charlie Hustle” to you scrappy nickname folks belongs at the top of the list. Whether he running to first or the track after the game Rose was always on the move and his longevity and abilities hoisted him to legend status in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s There will only be one Charlie Hustle in the scrappy hall of fame and we’ll even let him in despite his past discretions.


AVG SLG OBA OPS
TOTALS .303 .409 .375 .784
LG AVERAGE .262 .386 .328 .714
POS AVERAGE .269 .399 .336 .735

Post-Career Scrappy Feat – Let’s just move on.


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/sab.gif

CHRIS SABO
HEIGHT: 5'11"
WEIGHT: 185
Special Skill Set (Power)

Spuds, or Sabs as he was often referred to was a reckless base runner a goggled spaz in an era of fast turf ball and on a team that the Fans in Cincinnati still long for. Sabo first makes the scene in the baseball world when Gene Bennett in Dollar Sign On the Muscle, mentions him. His next appearance is when he stole the 3rd base Job from Buddy Bell under the watchful eye of King Scrappy himself Pete Rose in 1988. He finished his career with the Reds almost a decade later in the shadow of a corked bat incident and years of injuries.


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1988 .271 .414 .314 .728
1989 .260 .395 .316 .711
1990 .270 .476 .343 .819
1991 .301 .505 .354 .859
1992 .244 .422 .302 .723
1993 .259 .440 .315 .755
1996 .256 .400 .354 .754
======================
TOTAL .270 .447 .328 .775
POS .261 .391 .327 .719
LEAGUE.261 .403 .323 .726

Post-Career Scrappy Feat – Managed in the Reds system


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/cstynes.jpg

CHRIS STYNES
HEIGHT: 5'9"
WEIGHT: 175
Special Skillset (Still Wondering)

The 1997 trade that brought Chris Stynes and Jon Nunnely was an infusion of pure scrappiness as Stynes took the Reds fans hearts right away with a powerful 200 at bats in a season that had been a major disappointment through and through. The following year the pair would prove to be equally disappointing and by the 2001 season both were gone. But it was Stynes who teased the Reds with his ability to play multiple positions poorly and his streaky BA driven lines in part time roles often enticed the manager to slot him in starting roles where he never failed to fail.

Best know in retrospect as being scrappy without a nickname, nor was he a loveable scrappy guy, having left a reputation around the game as being somewhat “Grumpy.”


YEAR AVG SLG OBA OPS
1997 .348 .485 .394 .879
1998 .254 .340 .323 .663
1999 .239 .301 .310 .610
2000 .334 .497 .386 .883
=======================
TOTAL .300 .421 .358 .779
POS .272 .434 .345 .780
LEAGUE.267 .433 .340 .773
Post-Career Scrappy Feat – Last seen in Minor league ball


http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/freel.jpg
RYAN FREEL
HEIGHT: 5'10"
WEIGHT: 185
Special Skillset - Speed


CAREER GAMES BY POSITION:
2B: 94 3B: 81 LF: 56 CF: 134 RF: 101
================================================== ==
YEAR TEAM AGE SB CS AVG SLG OBA OPS
2001 Blue Jays 25 2 1 .273 .318 .333 .652
2003 Reds 27 9 4 .285 .431 .344 .775
2004 Reds 28 37 10 .277 .368 .375 .743
2005 Reds 29 36 10 .271 .371 .371 .743
2006 Reds 30 37 11 .271 .399 .363 .762
================================================== ==
TOTALS 121 36 .274 .383 .367 .751
LG AVERAGE 25 10 .270 .435 .341 .777
POS AVERAGE 36 13 .271 .429 .338 .767
================================================== ==

Part of being unique in the world of scrappy is the Jim Gilliam method, versatility. It worked for Tony Phillips and it certainly is working for Ryan Freel.


SECOND BASE
YEAR TEAM AGE G PO A E DP PCT RANGE
2003 Reds 27 11 14 20 1 2 .971 3.09
2004 Reds 28 15 25 23 0 4 1.000 3.20
2005 Reds 29 48 91 127 6 24 .973 4.54
2006 Reds 30 13 23 25 1 2 .980 3.69
TOTALS 94 164 215 9 36 .977 4.03

THIRD BASE
YEAR TEAM AGE G PO A E DP PCT RANGE
2003 Reds 27 2 0 2 0 2 1.000 1.00
2004 Reds 28 56 42 107 12 11 .925 2.66
2005 Reds 29 10 5 25 2 1 .938 3.00
2006 Reds 30 13 7 25 0 2 1.000 2.46
TOTALS 81 54 159 14 16 .938 2.63

OUTFIELDER
YEAR TEAM AGE G PO A E DP PCT RANGE
2003 Reds 27 24 58 2 0 0 1.000 2.50
2004 Reds 28 89 184 8 3 1 .985 2.16
2005 Reds 29 51 109 7 0 0 1.000 2.27
2006 Reds 30 105 238 12 5 1 .980 2.38
TOTALS 270 589 29 8 2 .987 2.29

Since he was plucked off the waiver wire in 2002 Freel has been a the speed man for the Reds, compiling 3 straight seasons of 35 steals plus, which in modern Reds history is quite the feat.


STOLEN BASES >= 35

1 Joe Morgan 1972-77 6
2 Bob Bescher 1909-13 5
T3 Mike Mitchell 1909-11 3
T3 Dick Egan 1909-11 3
T3 Gary Redus 1983-85 3
T3 Eric Davis 1986-88 3
T3 Ryan Freel 2004-06 3
T8 Armando Marsans 1912-13 2
T8 Buck Herzog 1914-15 2
T8 Barry Larkin 1995-96 2

One has to think that Freels arrival had a little to do with the Reds quick dump of Todd Walker a few weeks after his signing, perhaps in the back of Bowdens mind Freel was the future at second base (and apparently he still is to some folks who follow the Reds).

One thing's for sure is Ryan Freel is the embodiment of the Reds history of scrappy players, he is tough and relentless plus his emergence from nowhere is classic baseball mythos and helped him grab the Reds fanbases adoration with superb defensive plays and speed on the bases. There is nothing like a vertical streach on the warning track to get the fans blood boiling, and you can pretty much count on guys like Freel being signed because of they do stuff like this all the time.

Scrappy baseball will never fully disappear from the game, it will continue to grab bottom roster spots, fuel hyperbole about "playing the game right" and it will continue to surprise and disappoint baseball executives, managers and fans. Because scrappy is something that can't be put in a jar and applied when needed, it pours out of the player like water over a dam and sometimes the mess is as noticable as the success.

RFS62
11-13-2006, 10:42 AM
Fantastic stuff, as usual.

:beerme:

RANDY IN INDY
11-13-2006, 10:43 AM
I admire the guys who get the most out of what the good Lord gave them, study the game, and do whatever it takes to stay there. If you could somehow transplant that attitude and desire into the most talented, you definitely would have something.

RANDY IN INDY
11-13-2006, 10:43 AM
And, again, great post, westofyou!:thumbup:

Spring~Fields
11-13-2006, 10:54 AM
Outstanding, very nice :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

Highlifeman21
11-13-2006, 11:00 AM
So our "Power of Tradition" is scrappy?

Maybe he doesn't quite fit the mold, but wasn't Bip Roberts scrappy?

Redsland
11-13-2006, 11:11 AM
Maybe he doesn't quite fit the mold, but wasn't Bip Roberts scrappy?
Or Donny Sadler?

RedsManRick
11-13-2006, 11:35 AM
Great stuff WoY.

Cyclone792
11-13-2006, 07:03 PM
http://www.baseballminutia.com/images/heine.gif

HEINE GROH
HEIGHT: 5'8"
WEIGHT: 158
Special Skill Set (Run Producer)

One of the caveats of being scrappy is that you usually aren't applying that label to stars of the game, however there are always a few guys that are stars and so scrappy that you have give them their due. Early in the Reds history Heine Groh would be that man, A star 3rd baseman and unique hitter Groh was a man that hit doubles, could take a walk and fielded his position flawlessly with a glove as big as his hand he finished his career with a fielding percentage a shade behind renowned glove man Brooks Robinsons. With his oddly shaped bat Groh would face the pitcher with both feet pointing at the box, punching at the ball and applying the hit em where they ain't theory Groh etched his figure into the mind of Reds fans and helped bring them their first championship as well. That's scrappy gold; you can get free drinks on that for the rest of your life.


YEAR R AVG SLG OBA OPS
1913 51 .282 .378 .351 .729
1914 59 .288 .358 .391 .749
1915 72 .290 .390 .354 .745
1916 85 .269 .374 .370 .744
1917 91 .304 .411 .385 .796
1918 88 .320 .396 .395 .791
1919 79 .310 .431 .392 .823
1920 86 .298 .393 .375 .768
1921 54 .331 .417 .398 .815
==========================
TOTAL 665 .298 .394 .378 .772
POS 503 .265 .353 .324 .677
LEAGUE513 .265 .344 .325 .670

Post-Career Scrappy Feat - Worked at the cashier window at River Downs (Race Track in Cincinnati) until his 80's.

Great stuff, woy.

I had to highlight your Heinie Groh section since I believe that Groh should absolutely be in the Hall of Fame. He's one of the most underrated third basemen in the history of the game, and he may be one of the most underrated players altogether in the history of the game.

His best seasons were in a terrible era for run scoring and in a pitcher's park, and two of his top seasons (1918 and 1919) were shortened due to WWI, lessening their perceived impact on his peak value. Putting his numbers into context and giving him minor war credit for those two top seasons, I definitely believe he rates up there among the top dozen or so third basemen ever.

Ya gotta love that bat too:


http://img391.imageshack.us/img391/8761/grohdn3.jpg

RedFanAlways1966
11-14-2006, 07:44 AM
Thanks for a great read, woy! :thumbup:

westofyou
11-14-2006, 11:20 AM
So our "Power of Tradition" is scrappy?

Maybe he doesn't quite fit the mold, but wasn't Bip Roberts scrappy?

Bip was scrappy, but his stay in Cincinnati was short and eclipsed at the time by Sabo, who was extraordinary scrappy, and had been endorsed by the king himself Pete Rose.

registerthis
11-14-2006, 12:10 PM
Or Donny Sadler?

Nah, Donny was just "bad".

westofyou
11-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Nah, Donny was just "bad".
How bad?

Bad enough that he caused his departure from Boston by having a fling with Troy O'Leary's wife.

redsupport
11-14-2006, 12:36 PM
Let me know when you find a black player who has the sobriquet of "scrappy"

Chip R
11-14-2006, 12:37 PM
Let me know when you find a black player who has the sobriquet of "scrappy"


Bip was scrappy, but his stay in Cincinnati was short and eclipsed at the time by Sabo, who was extraordinary scrappy, and had been endorsed by the king himself Pete Rose.

:)

Team Clark
11-14-2006, 12:42 PM
:)

I would throw Tony Phillips and Lenny Harris in there too.

redsupport
11-14-2006, 12:44 PM
Freddy Benavides?

dabvu2498
11-14-2006, 12:46 PM
Let me know when you find a black player who has the sobriquet of "scrappy"

Chone Figgins is most definately a scrap-meister.

westofyou
11-14-2006, 01:12 PM
Let me know when you find a black player who has the sobriquet of "scrappy"

Shoot, let me know when one lands in Cincinnati and gets the press the others get.

redsupport
11-14-2006, 01:19 PM
scrappy black red infielders
Jake Wood
Elio Chacon
German Barranca
Rafael Landestoy
Charlie Neal

westofyou
11-14-2006, 01:22 PM
Yeah those 63 ab's for Neal in 1963 were very telling.

redsupport
11-14-2006, 01:32 PM
Only a man as estimable as yourself could dissect the Neal career with Reds, I would expect to see a break down of his various and sundry abilities and then compared and contrasted with jake Wood's significant contributions!