PET PEEVE: I have a dislike for players who have some power but whiff way too much and hit for low averages. Many of them are basically one or two-tool players. The fact that today’s game has so many players swinging for the fences with huge uppercut swings, is also alarming as the game has often turned into an extended version of Home Run Derby. This year’s All-Star Game, for example, had virtually no aspects of small ball. I can’t recall a stolen base attempt (maybe one?) or anything along the lines of a hit and run play and certainly there would not be a whiff of, say, a squeeze play–not with the swing from the heels style of play. There may have even been more homers than singles (if my memory is correct–and I’m too disgusted to bother to check on this, sorry).
Now, the 2018 season Chris Davis of the O’s just concluded was a prime example of what’s wrong with baseball today. He had 522 plate appearances and he fanned 192 times. Had he not been held out of a lot of games, he would have again reached the 200 strikeout level. He sat out 34 games, playing in just 128 contests. He struck out 37% of the time he appeared at the plate. Further, his pathetic .168 batting average set a new record for the lowest mark in big league history for a regular in a lineup. The old record was .179 set by Rob Deer, another all or nothing type player and Dan Uggla.
In addition, Davis, who had a high one year of 53 HR and 138 RBI, both tops in the A.L. and impressive enough to help him finish third in MVP voting, didn’t contribute much in 2018 when he did connect–and he connected for homers, his speciality, just 16 times for a mere 49 RBI.
NCAA ITEM: When Mike Singletary played for Baylor, he often collided with ball carriers with such force he broke his helmets. It got to the point where the team’s equipment manager took two extra helmets to games. The ESPN College Football Encyclopedia states that, in all, Singletary shattered 16 helmets. They also state that the two-time All-American made an astronomical 662 career tackles and that includes a staggering 33 in one game.
Another Baylor item: In 1923, Baylor took on Arkansas in a game played with rain drenching the field and causing horrible visibility. Baylor coach Frank D. Bridges, who had a reputation for being tricky, played 12 men on defense for the entire contest and the officials never spotted the rules violation.