Odds and Ends
Fellow All-Baseball.com writer Alex Belth and I co-authored an article that appeared on Bronx Banter yesterday. Belth is one of the best baseball writers in any medium and working with him on a collaborative piece was an honor and a pleasure.
The article was part of Alex's Yankee Preview, a series which he has been running this week, featuring Mike Mussina (by Ben Jacobs) on Monday, Jason Giambi (by Steven Goldman) Tuesday, Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter (by Alex and yours truly) Wednesday, Alex Rodriguez (by Cliff Corcoran) Thursday, Jorge Posada (by Jay Jaffe) Friday, and Mariano Rivera (by Christopher DeRosa) Saturday. Alex will wrap up his series with a Roundtable discussion on Sunday and Monday with a star-studded cast of baseball experts, including several nationally known sportswriters.
Our article was also highlighted yesterday on Clutch Hits.
Bronx Banter: The Odd Couple (February 25, 2004)
Have you ever read a more clever introduction than that? Well, thanks to Darren Viola, aka Repoz, baseball fans can enjoy his witty comments every day on Baseball Primer's Clutch Hits.
Here are a couple of other examples from earlier this week:
For the uninitiated, the Pluto-Kuiper mission is designed to fly by and make studies of the planet Pluto and to encounter one or more of the large bodies in the Kuiper belt beyond the orbit of Pluto. Terry Pluto is a longtime Cleveland Indians beat writer and Duane Kuiper was a singles-hitting second baseman for the Tribe from 1974-1981.
Irving Peress was the Army dentist who took the Fifth Amendment multiple times in connection with his affiliation with the Communist Party.
There are plenty more where those came from. Here are a few more "Repozisms":
*Crouching Tiger, bidden' dragged on regarding an article at the time on the Detroit Tigers' difficulty in signing catcher Ivan Rodriguez.
*A matchick made in heaven? in reference to my interview with Jay Jaffe of the Futility Infielder last weekend. Tom Matchick was a futility infielder with the Detroit Tigers (among others) in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
*(Kirk) Reuter gives out more singles than a dating service.
*This is the worst Met patch-up job I've seen since Lindsey Nelson split his underarm hoisting a few at McCanns.
*...and Clutch Hits co-worker Jon Daly's favorite: (After Tony LaRussa and Mike Scioscia both won Manager of the Year awards in 2002) The last time two Italians won Manager of the Year it was at the Gristedes on Mott Street in 1957.
An Army brat, Darren is married and has twin boys (who he claims are both 15). He hung around Yankee Stadium in the 1960s and 1970s, various New York City punk clubs in the 1980s and 1990s (primarily as a DJ), and has been doing his schtick on Baseball Primer during the 2000s. His favorite player (drumroll, please) is none other than Roger Repoz, who had an undistinguished career with the Yankees, Athletics, and Angels from 1964-1972.
If the baseball-playing Repoz has a claim to fame, it's that he ranks second on the all-time list for the highest OPS in a season with a batting average of less than .200.
HIGHEST OPS WITH BA < .200 (250 OR MORE AB)
YEAR OPS AVG 1 Mark McGwire 2001 .808 .187 2 Roger Repoz 1971 .707 .199 3 Ruben Rivera 1999 .701 .195 4 Rob Deer 1991 .700 .179 5 Steve Balboni 1990 .697 .192 6 Mike Schmidt 1973 .697 .196 7 Andre Thornton 1976 .696 .194 8 Harmon Killebrew 1975 .692 .199 9 Gorman Thomas 1986 .687 .187 10 Dean Palmer 1991 .684 .187It may not be The Beatles, but it's not Bad Company either. Two Hall of Famers and a first-ballot inductee on his way. Three out of ten. A better batting average than Repoz, whose career high was .247 in 1967, ever had. Twenty home run crowns, 54 top ten HR finishes, 13 times leading the league in strikeouts, and 50x among the top ten in Ks. Everyone except Darren's man Repoz contributes to the good as well as the dubious rankings.
Darren, on the other hand, contributes nothing but positives for all of us.