Sunday, October 19, 2014

660th Place - Glenn Hoffman

Card #202

This card presents a few interesting nuggets, the first of which is the fact it wasn't an airbrushed card.  Hoffman came to the Dodgers in the middle of the 1987 season, but it wasn't like he was a superstar player.  He had fallen out of favor in Boston many years ago, despite a brief resurgence in 1985.

On the knob of the bat you see a scratched out number replaced with "37."  That was his jersey number with Los Angeles - it makes me wonder if he brought his bats with him from the Red Sox.

You also see the "Mac" patch.  It was in honor of former coach Don McMahon.  McMahon was a former All-Star and two-time world champion who suffered a heart-attack while pitching batting practice for the Dodgers on July 22.  He would die hours later.

Hoffman spent the 1988 season, the year this card was printed, back in Triple-A for the Red Sox.  He had another cup of coffee with the Angels the following year but never again appeared in the majors...as a player.  He took over as interim manager for the Dodgers in 1998 when Los Angeles fired Bill Russell during the season.  Hoffman would serve as a coach the next year and is still a coach in the bigs, though he now serves for Bud Black over in San Diego.

And it's San Diego that brings us to Glenn's most interesting baseball factoid.  Hoffman is the big brother of Trevor Hoffman, the future Hall of Fame reliever who spent most of his career with the Padres. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

661st Place - Allan Anderson

Card #101

I did a double-take when I was looking at Anderson's Baseball Reference page, but sure enough, my eyes didn't deceive me.  In 1988, the year this card was printed, he led the league in ERA (2.45), ERA+ (166), and walks per nine innings pitched (1.6). 

Anderson has to be one of the most obscure ERA leaders in MLB history.  The season came out of left field, too.  In 1986 he pitched 21 games for Minnesota and recorded a 5.55 ERA.  His cup of coffee in 1987, just four games, produced a ghoulish 10.95 mark.  His season at AAA that year was terrible too.

Per this article, it appears his 1988 success came from an improved change-up.  The story further notes, though, that Anderson's minuscule strikeout rates were an indicator he couldn't sustain his performance.  Anderson never did replicate his 1988 season, though he did lead the league in walks per nine innings again in 1990.  1991 was his final season, but he didn't appear in the post season for the Twins.

These days you can find Allan in his hometown of Lancaster, Ohio, where he would be happy to give you pitching instruction at the Field of Dreams Practice Facility.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

662nd Place - Wes Gardner

Card #189

Gardner came over to the Red Sox with Calvin Schiraldi in the Bob Ojeda trade.  Gardner only pitched one inning for Boston in 1986, but Ojeda and Schiraldi were key players for the opposing World Series teams.

When you check the back of Gardner's baseball card, he has Benton, Arkansas, listed as his place of birth and home.  It looks like he retired there to, according to this local story which reflects on his playing career.  The article mentions he even got a chance to coach Cliff Lee in American Legion ball.

One thing not mentioned?  The night he was arrested for hitting his wife.  He was Ray Rice before Ray Rice.  I heard someone say recently (I think it was Buck Showalter) that you don't want to be judged forever by your worst mistake. 

Sometimes it's hard not to judge.