Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday Baseball Post

The great Frank Thomas, the Big Hurt, formally retired last week, although he's been out of baseball for a while, last playing in 2008.  He is, of course, a shoe-in HOFer; apparently there are some people who question that, but he is both certain to be voted in (barring scandal or whatever) and fully deserving.  I guess, in some ways, his career wound up a little on the disappointing side, but only because his first seven plus years (1990-1997) were just that good.

There are two well-known oddities about Frank Thomas.  The first is that he had the same name as another excellent player from an earlier era.  That's no big deal, although I have to say that my dad believes that baseball players should be like horses (and I guess Hollywood actors) -- if the name is already taken, you have to come up with a different one.  Of course, the Frank Thomases didn't come close to overlapping, unlike the Alex Gonzalez or the Jeff Robinson pairs, each of which had a decade or so of overlap, and each of which were very similar players, and each of which bounced around a lot so it was even harder to keep track of which was which.  As far as I know, neither Alex Gonzalez or Jeff Robinson ever picked up a nickname.  Now, Baltimore once had a pair of same-name scrub pitchers...looking it up...yes -- not only two Mike Smiths, but two Michael Anthony Smiths (but not the recent Michael Anthony Smith, who was also a scrub pitcher).   Since the Orioles also had Jon Miller doing play-by-play back then, he promtly gave them what I guess was the first nickname he thought of, which was to insert their home state into their name, so one of them became Mississippi Mike Smith and the other became Texas Mike Smith.  All of them (and both the Jeff Robinsons, for that matter) were righties.

Guess I got lost there.  Well, I was going to say something clever about Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell being born on the same day, but I've run out of time. 


  1. Great on base % and OPS. Should definitely be in the Hall.

  2. Alex Gonzalez the Marlin has the nickname Sea Bass.

    The other Alex Gonzalez, who used to be called "the good Alex Gonzalez" before Baseball Prospectus types realized that there is no good Alex Gonzalez, earned the personal nickname "Dreamkiller" due to his error in the 2003 NLCS.


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