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RedsFanatic
12-19-2006, 07:57 PM
I am a young'n (turned 16 a few months ago). Willie Greene was always my favorite player growing up and then he vanished off of the face of the earth. What happened to him? I was reading the thread on dissapointing players and his name consistantly came up. Was he that highly regarded? thanks

westofyou
12-19-2006, 07:59 PM
I am a young'n (turned 16 a few months ago). Willie Greene was always my favorite player growing up and then he vanished off of the face of the earth. What happened to him? I was reading the thread on dissapointing players and his name consistantly came up. Was he that highly regarded? thanks

Willie had a quick bat, power and on base skills and could have been more then he was. Word was he just didn't care about the game and instead of fighting for it he let it slide after his stint as a Cub.

Some guys aren't built for the game outside of the lines or past a certain age, or bank account goal.

kheidg-
12-19-2006, 11:12 PM
He was highly regarded coming up in the organization but never could put it together at the major league level. Had a couple of decent seasons for the Reds but in his seasons with Toronto and Chicago he never hit over .204. Traded from the Reds to Baltimore for Jeffrey Hammonds in August 1998 and batted .150 for them. Don't know whats happened to him since 2000 however.

BigRed
12-19-2006, 11:36 PM
Willie was one of those players that could hit the fastball, but had lots of trouble with off speed stuff and the breaking ball. Knowing that the AL is a breaking ball league, he was not successful over there. I also agree that he never had the desire to work at his game to become great. He wasted his talent. It's sad.

Ravenlord
12-20-2006, 12:09 AM
Willie Greene pisses me off. i got attention from scouts, but couldn't capitalize on it because i have poor genetics (my shoulder is a mess and my knees are worse). i hate to see talent like that (i think Greene would be a HOFer if he had Adam Dunn-like commitment) wasted by caring moor about his bank account than anything else. i put Pokey Reese in the same sad category.

kheidg-
12-20-2006, 12:28 AM
Found some pretty funny articles regarding the infamous Willie Greene. IIRC his years after being traded were injury riddled with many minor injuries.

This one was from right after he was traded to the Orioles from the Reds.



Greene: No plans to replace Ripken by Kevin Seifert ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Willie Greene took Jeffrey Hammonds number, yet the question he couldnt avoid yesterday was about taking the place of Cal Ripken.

Ravenlord
12-20-2006, 12:36 AM
Found some pretty funny articles regarding the infamous Willie Greene. IIRC his years after being traded were injury riddled with many minor injuries.

This one was from right after he was traded to the Orioles from the Reds.
i searched some articles top after my origianl post. seems Willie had more in common with Pokey Reese than Cal Ripken or even Leo Gomez.

redsupport
12-20-2006, 01:33 AM
Willie Greene and Brian Greene have combined to pub;lish a book on string theory and quarks. Greene credits his new found interest in physics to discussions he had in the bullpen with Andy MacGaffigan and a late career inspiration from Randy Milligan

Patpacillosjock
12-20-2006, 01:47 AM
I always thought Willie and Jeff Branson were the future for the Reds back in the early nineties...

friggin jeff branson..thats another player I should have put in the "most frustrating" thread..

redsupport
12-20-2006, 02:19 AM
another excellent coup as a first round pick

lollipopcurve
12-20-2006, 08:16 AM
another excellent coup as a first round pick


by the Pirates

redsupport
12-20-2006, 09:22 AM
not jeff branson

BuckWoody
12-20-2006, 09:30 AM
Whenever I think of dear ole Willie I think of his arm at third...a real Nuke LaLoosh special. Plenty of speed but not too much accuracy. We used to sit right behind first base at Riverfront and we were constantly in fear of being pegged in the head by an errant throw from Willie to first.

westofyou
12-20-2006, 11:47 AM
not jeff branson

Branson was a second round pick IIRC.

First pick for the Reds that draft though

deltachi8
12-20-2006, 11:51 AM
I too thought Willie would be a star. I would make a point to cathc the Reds AAA team when they came to Buffalo to see him play and take batting practice. Incredibly quick bat and the ball just jumped off his bat. He actually played a few games at SS in AAA IIRC.

he had the tools, just not the desire to use them.

dfs
12-20-2006, 12:39 PM
Long story, but you asked.

Greene was a 1st round draft choice by the Pirates organization as a high school shortstop. As a 17 year old he put up a 900 ops in rookie league ball. He was moved to third base, but still projected as a pretty tremendous prospect.

In 1990 the pirates were pushing for the division title. Thinking flags flied forever they packaged Greene, Moises Alou and a bullpen arm for Zane Smith. Smith led the pirates in their playoff loss to the wire to wire reds. Moises Allou became Moises Alou and the Expos flipped Greene to the reds for ubberclosing prospect John Wettland (Wetteland had been part of the Belcher/Eric Davis deal and never threw a pitch for the reds.)

The reds had that fellow named Sabo at third and Greene was still young. He was called up for september appearances and flashed great talent. He was 22 when in 1994 when he got his first clear shot at a starting job. He did reasonably well in the spring, but Jim Bowden swung a deal for Tony Fernandez to come to town and play third. Well, if you sign an all star shortstop, he's going to play someplace and Tony wasn't moving Larkin over and Brett Boone was established at second, so....Willie got sent to AAA again. But for the strike, that reds team would have won the division and likely faced Wetteland and Alou in the playoffs, but for the strike.

In 1995 Fernandez moved on. Willie had a job, nobody was going to stand in his way. Something odd happened in spring training involving Willie Greene playing cards when he should have been out working. Davey Johnson threw conniptions and Green got sent to AAA again. The reds made it to the playoffs (for the last time) with Johnson spotting Jeff Branson and Mark Lewis at third while the uber-prospect got hurt at AAA. He was hit on the hands. Some say the injury sapped his quickness. Others say that's an excuse. I don't know.

1996 and Davey Johnson has been run out of town by Marge Schott for living with a woman. Good ole boy Ray Knight trying to keep his GM happy puts Willie at third. As a 24 year old, Greene puts up a 244/327/495 for an OPS+ of 115. Basically he has a slightly better season than Edwin did last year, but there were warts on his game. He threw...pretty much like Edwin and while the line is nice...a 244 batting average is percieved to be a problem. It was the best year of his career.

Under Knight the reds locker room went crazy. Rightly or wrongly Greene was percieved to be an underachieving malcontent. If he was interviewed on star of the game, Greene would be very delibrate in his responses. He was a country boy and not comfortable spouting cliches back to sports journalists.

His 97 numbers show a bump in batting average which bumped his ops but sapped his power. It's not a better line than his 96. Knight blasted Greene in the press, but then Ray Knight pretty much blasted everybody in the press. FWIW Greene's OPS in 97 was the best on the team, but that's more because Larkin and Sanders got hurt than because Greene took a step forward.

In mid 97 Jack McKeon came to town. Ray Knight had taken a perineal playoff team and turned it into ...well essentially into the type of franchise it is today. Mckeon's job was to sort out the talent and make a baseball team. If you count up the number of potential third basemen on the roster, it's pretty impressive. Konerko, Aaron Boone, Dmitri Young, Chris Stynes, Eduardo Perez and even Pokey Reese saw some PT there. During the first half of the season McKeon stuck Greene at third and left him alone. As he sorted through his talent he moved Greene around the field. He saw some playing time at shortstop, 20 games in right field and 10 games in leftfield.

While McKeon was sorting through his roster, he was also trying to find a centerfielder. Jon Nunnally ended up in the doghouse. I'm still not sure why. Reggie Sanders was game, but couldn't really cover center. Former #1 draft pick Pat Watkins kept getting hurt, so a little know prospect named Mike Frank got a look in center.

On July 26, Frank was in center and Greene was in right. Jeff Kent hits a fly ball and you can clearly see Frank calling the ball on the video. Greene comes out of no where and plows through his centerfielder. Franks' leg is broken, but he held onto the ball. Runner scores from third as Frank lays there with the ball in his mitt and the run costs the reds the game that day. Essentially both players careers are over at this point. Two years later, Frank was thrown into the Denny Neagle deal with the Yankees, but he never saw another major league at bat.

On August 10th Willie Greene is traded to the Orioles. The two teams trade problems. They took Greene and we got Jeffrey Hammonds who still wasn't the solution in center. Cameron for Konerko solved that problem nicely. After taking a look at Greene for a month, the Orioles let him go to free agency instead of sending him through arbitration. The BlueJays pick him up in 99. He doesn't hit. They let him go to the cubs as a free agent. He doesn't hit. At the end of the 00 season, Willie Greene's career is done at the age of 28.

It's tempting to paint Greene as a sympathetic character, but he managed to consecutively piss off Davey Johnson, Ray Knight and Jack McKeon in three years. He was then given chances by three other organzations who essentially all gave up on him in less than 300 at bats. Sooner or later you have to stop blaiming other people and look in the mirror.

dfs
12-20-2006, 12:56 PM
There's an error in that.

The 1990 trade involving Zane Smith also involved a pretty famous waiver wire screw up. I don't remember exactly what happened, but it seems to me the trade was forced by a waiver claim on Greene and Allou, where Smith was all they could extract from the Expos.

If anybody is into the mechanics of roster management and remembers the rules from 1990 or the specifics of the trade, please post it.

camisadelgolf
12-20-2006, 04:04 PM
Willie Greene always frustrated me because he had bunny rabbit teeth. It kind of freaked me out a little bit.

redsupport
12-20-2006, 04:15 PM
do you think he had clinical proganthism or do you think it was from underdevelopment of the mandible(a Pierre-Robin) type of syndrome. Perhaps his relative overbite affected his ability to turn the triple play

Falls City Beer
12-20-2006, 04:18 PM
do you think he had clinical proganthism or do you think it was from underdevelopment of the mandible(a Pierre-Robin) type of syndrome. Perhaps his relative overbite affected his ability to turn the triple play

We know it wasn't acromegaly.

redsupport
12-20-2006, 04:20 PM
He probably had a pituitary insufficiency that was exacerbated by Tim Pugh's pitching, if you could call it that

camisadelgolf
12-20-2006, 04:29 PM
Well, I don't think it's either of those. I think it's more Freudian. For example, I think the large front teeth can be explained by a prolonged thumb-sucking phase. In other words, he has an oral fixation, caused by either being over- or under-nursed by his mother. My guess is over- because it appears he didn't feel the need to work too hard.

redsupport
12-20-2006, 04:31 PM
he is one of the reds top players besides wayne granger, with the initals w.g.

dabvu2498
12-20-2006, 04:36 PM
he is one of the reds top players besides wayne granger, with the initals w.g.

Wilton Guerrero begs to differ.

camisadelgolf
12-20-2006, 04:48 PM
I believe there have been only five Reds with the initials 'W.G.'. You can't forget about Wally Gilbert (1932) and Whitey Guese (1901).

redsupport
12-20-2006, 04:51 PM
rarest reds initials m.d.l.h.