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redsmetz
06-02-2008, 05:13 PM
I wasn't sure what to title this and I'm still not entirely satisfied with the thread title.

I saw in USA Today that Mike Lieberthal signed a one day minor league deal with the Phillies so he could retire in their organization. We've seen this some lately. The story, though, noted his stats for his career and they weren't all that bad overall (14 seasons, 1212 games, .274 BA, 257 doubles, 150 HR's). It was HR number that jumped out at me as it was such a round number.

I thought about who Baseball-reference.com would show as his comparables and it confirmed for me that it wasn't a bad group of ballplayers.

What I thought about though was that we're so focused on who the super players are, the studs and yet, the game has quite a lot of ballplayers who are have had decent careers and for a year or two (maybe 3 or 4) are pretty good ballplayers. I thought about how you really can't name a "career year" except from the view of the entire career. Lieberthal's was 1999 when at age 27 he hit .300 with 33 doubles, 31 homers and 96 RBI's. He made the All Star game that year and the next along with his sole Gold Glove.

His comparable players is an interesting group of players who had some decent years among them (some better than others, but that's life really).


Jason Varitek (969)
John Valentin (937)
Sandy Alomar (930)
Darrin Fletcher (924)
Ron Belliard (920)
Mike Stanley (915)
Davey Johnson (914)
Frankie Hayes (907)
Charles Johnson (905)
Mike Lansing (905)

So really, I guess the topic is players that weren't superstars and their careers that weren't so bad and at times, they were pretty good. It's really the beauty of the game of baseball. I just wish I could come up with a better title for the thread!

OldRightHander
06-02-2008, 05:25 PM
Sometimes players like that make the difference on a good team, the guy that can push a team over the top. You can't fill a roster with superstars, but you add a couple of these guys into the mix and sometimes that ok team becomes good, or that good team becomes great.

redsmetz
06-02-2008, 05:38 PM
Sometimes players like that make the difference on a good team, the guy that can push a team over the top. You can't fill a roster with superstars, but you add a couple of these guys into the mix and sometimes that ok team becomes good, or that good team becomes great.

That's an excellent point. Two players from the 1990 team that might fit that description would be Mariano Duncan and Billy Hatcher (particularly Hatcher who was absolutely lights out in the Series). Duncan probably had one of his best season with the 1996 Yankees when he was again on a World Series winner.

cincrazy
06-02-2008, 05:41 PM
Sometimes players like that make the difference on a good team, the guy that can push a team over the top. You can't fill a roster with superstars, but you add a couple of these guys into the mix and sometimes that ok team becomes good, or that good team becomes great.

I loved Eddie Taubansee from that 1999 team. He'll be nothing but a blip in Reds history, but he played such an integral role on such a good team. He was a good professional hitter, hit several important home runs, and did a decent job running the staff, especially when you look at the rotation that team had.

Hoosier Red
06-02-2008, 05:59 PM
Sometimes players like that make the difference on a good team, the guy that can push a team over the top. You can't fill a roster with superstars, but you add a couple of these guys into the mix and sometimes that ok team becomes good, or that good team becomes great.


Joe Posnanski calls them Championship Caliber guys.
3 average players having good years will probably get you further than 1 superstar having an MVP type year.

In 1999 the Reds had a lot of those; Taubensee, Boone, Cameron, Parris, Villone, Williamson

camisadelgolf
06-02-2008, 06:02 PM
When I read this thread, a bunch of names come to mind, with a couple of them being Paul O'Neill and Reggie Sanders.

Caseyfan21
06-02-2008, 06:10 PM
Sometimes players like that make the difference on a good team, the guy that can push a team over the top. You can't fill a roster with superstars, but you add a couple of these guys into the mix and sometimes that ok team becomes good, or that good team becomes great.

Just about every team that makes an unexpected run has at least a few guys like this having career years. That's basically all a team needs is a few above average veteran guys to have career type years.

OldRightHander
06-02-2008, 06:11 PM
That's an excellent point. Two players from the 1990 team that might fit that description would be Mariano Duncan and Billy Hatcher (particularly Hatcher who was absolutely lights out in the Series). Duncan probably had one of his best season with the 1996 Yankees when he was again on a World Series winner.

Duncan had some key hits in the NLCS that year, particularly a big three run bomb that helped them win one of the games.

Cyclone792
06-02-2008, 06:11 PM
Here's a few guys Reds fans should check out:

Dutch Ruether
Jimmy Ring
Ivey Wingo
Frank McCormick
Lonnie Frey
Billy Werber
Whitey Moore
Junior Thompson
Jim Turner
Gordy Coleman
Gene Freese
Joey Jay

Among others ...

bucksfan2
06-03-2008, 10:34 AM
Roll players are key in baseball. I would argue that Liberthal was on his way to becoming one of the best catchers in baseball when he suffered a major leg injury. As for Paul Oniel I would say that he was more than just a roll player. I believe Luis Soto the yankee 2b always seemed to make an impact in the playoffs.

redsmetz
06-03-2008, 10:59 AM
In some ways, it's a cruel endeavor, baseball is. The peak for many a ballplayer is short and yet, you have quite a number of players who have 10-15 year careers with many of those years as a journeyman. Youth is, as they say, fleeting and every player reaches a point where they know it's time to hang it up. And yet, each can say "I played in the big leagues". And some of that time, they shined like a star.

SunDeck
06-03-2008, 11:57 AM
Not a Red, but one guy I would put in that category is Craig Counsell. In fact, take away Schilling and Johnson and the '01 DBacks had a bunch of those guys.