2006 will mark 20 years of sports memories for me and I'm finally starting to feel like an old fart who reminisces about the good 'ol days. Fact is I was an old man when it came to sports when I was a kid as I loved sports history and researching useless sports facts which is still one of my favorite things to do. Regulars to sports folder have seen this most recently with my several useless fact posts in the Comments that don't warrant a thread, um thread, but that died off fairly quickly and figured it'd probably be more appropriate to post useless stuff like that in a blog.
So to make this all about me, I'll take a look back at my first ever live sporting event: 5/11/1986, Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics. As to memories about the actual game I have little to none. I only remember my family and I sat in the Plaza Level (2nd deck) of the Coliseum on the first base saide. My dad bought me an A's bobblehead, the old school ceramic ones not the plastic ones that you get today, which I promptly broke about a week later. Anything I remember from the game now comes from looking at the boxscore from Retrosheet. It featured a great "name" pitching of Oil Can Boyd vs. Moose Haas. The A's trailed 6-4 going into the 9th but a Carney Lansford homerun started a rally. They had 1st and 2nd with two out but pinch hitter Dusty Baker grounded out to the pitcher (wasn't hot enough for him?) to end the game with a Red Sox victory. That makes me feel old right there that Baker who will be in his 13th year of managing this season was playing in my very first live MLB game.
Now to look back at the starting line-ups from that game and just throw in a few comments about each player with their stats from 1986.
1. Dwight Evans RF (.259/.376/.476, 41.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares) - Doesn't get nearly the publicity for the Hall of Fame of his outfield mate Jim Rice, mainly because Evans fell off the ballot without notice while Rice remains a serious candidate. It's odd as Evans was equal the hitter of Rice and was unquestionably the superior defensive outfielder. Evans bests Rice in career Win Shares 347 to 282. Very underrated during his playing days and post career. Hopefully he'll get more notice when he comes up on the Veteran's Committee ballot.
2. Wade Boggs 3B (.357/.453/.486, 82.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares) - Roger Clemens would win the MVP in '86 but it should have been Boggs. I'm not sure where this myth that Boggs wasn't a feared hitter comes from beyond that he wasn't a power hitter but circa 1986 pitchers should have been pretty fucking scared to face Boggs.
3. Bill Buckner DH (.267/.311/.421, 21.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Yes I'm sure you can see the irony in Bucker at DH in 1986.
4. Jim Rice LF (.324/.384/.490, 61.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) - I was on the Rice for HOF bandwagon a couple of years ago but I've jumped off since. If he ever gets in I won't have a problem though but it wouldn't be much of an oversight either if he never gets in.
5. Don Baylor 1B (.238/.344/.439, 29.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Mr. HBP who lucked into playing on three straight A.L. Champions on three different teams form '86 to '88 (Red Sox, Twins, A's).
6. Rich Gedman C (.258/.315/.424, 26.0 VOP, 18 Win Shares) - This was the last of a decent three year run for Gedman but he hit the wall the following season.
7. Marty Barrett 2B (.286/.353/.381, 38.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares) - Good season in a largely unspectacular career. I only remember him going beserk in the Red Sox dugout in the infamous Game 4 of the '90 ALCS when Roger Clemens was ejected.
8. Steve Lyons CF (.250/.312/.363, 0.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - Bad player and possibly even worse announcer. Claim to fame was playing literally every position and dropping his pants during a game when he was with the White Sox.
9. Ed Romero SS (.210/.270/.283, -3.9 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - I found edromero.com but it sadly it was a lounge singer not the baseball player.
1. Tony Phillips 2B (.256/.367/.345, 22.7 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Vastly underrated player who's best days would come away from Oakland. By no means a superstar but he just simply got a base a lot and could give you solid defense at multiple positions. He did smoke rock though. Has congress investigated the performance enhancements of crack?
2. Dwayne Murphy CF (.252/.364/.386, 18.9 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Another underrated player. Probably would have been better appreciated if he played today as he got on base at a good rate, could hit for power (although by '86 he'd lost it), and was one of the best defensive outfielders of his era. Didn't help him that he played along side one of the greatest outfielders ever during his prime in RICKEY~.
3. Jose Canseco LF (.240/.318/.457, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - He hit the first homerun I ever saw live in this game (not that I remembered it) but he was on the juice so it should ERASED FROM THE RECORDS!!!! Anyways the guy was a prick and by '89 I hated him. Wally Joyner absolutely got robbed in the '86 ROY voting by Canseco.
4. Dave Kingman DH (.210/.255/.431, 4.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Awww Dave Kingman, never saw a pitch he didn't like. Really how long would he have lasted today with more emphasis on OBP? It amazes me a guy with so much power could draw so few walks. He'd hit 35 homeruns that year which is the record for most homeruns by a player in his final season but the average and on base tell you why no one was calling him up after '86.
5. Bruce Bochte 1B (.256/.357/.337, 12.8 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - No this isn't the Padres' manager. Is the answer to a trivia question, who was the A's starting 1B before Mark McGwire?
6. Carney Lansford 3B (.284/.332/.421, 32.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - Good hitter who was fun to watch because of his unique batting stance. Was my mom's favorite player and she probably would have fucked him she had the chance. Then I would have had to kill him.
7. Mike Davis RF (.268/.314/.454, 30.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - Was the A's "star" if you will the season before. Traded to the Dodgers after the '87 season where he did nothing but he drew a walk in front of Kirk Gibson's homerun in the Game 1 of the '88 Series. Thus I want him dead.
8. Alfredo Griffin SS (.285/.323/.364, 34.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Never much of hitter but his glove kept him in the league for 18 years and had a badass JheriCurl.
9. Bill Bathe C (.184/.208/.359, -2.8 VORP, 1 Win Share) - Yes he was the back up catcher with those numbers, not that starter Mickey Tettleton did a whole lot better (.204/.325/.389, 11.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares).
Okay that's enough nostalgia for one night.