Thursday, May 15, 2008

Rob Dibble, Kevin Kennedy & Too Much Time on My Hands

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was driving around on an off Friday and listening to XM's "Home Plate" channel. It's basically sports talk radio with baseball as the 24/7 topic of discussion. It's really not very good, as all the hosts are graduates from the Clichéd School of Baseball Analysis, with a heaping helping of ex-jock bravado thrown in for the knuckle-draggers who think "You never played the game" is an effective retort for any sports argument.

But, it is baseball.

If you've read this far, you probably know that Rob Dibble is a former relief pitcher – most notably for the 1990 "Nasty Boys" bullpen in Cincinnati that won, uh, "something" that year – and Kevin Kennedy is an ex-big league manager who had stops in Texas and Boston before settling in with the FOX Network.

A few weeks ago, they were discussing the subject of rookie entitlement. I believe that was the day that Tampa Bay signed 3B Evan Longoria to a six-year contract after only his sixth day with the parent club.

Predictably, these fossilized dinosaurs were aghast that an unproven commodity like Longoria could command such a lucrative deal.

To illustrate a point on how undependable rookies are, Kennedy shared a story from his time as manager of the Triple-A Albuquerque Dukes – then, an affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, it's been a few weeks, so you'll have to cut me some slack as most of this is paraphrased, but the one thing I vividly remember is that Kennedy began his anecdote with:

"This guy was a young first baseman in the Dodgers system and it was NOT Eric Karros."

The gist of it was that Dodgers' first baseman Eddie Murray had gotten hurt, so this mystery player was called up from AAA. As Kennedy tells it, the player went "something like 1 for 11" before being sent back down to the minors. When he returned, he b*tched about Dodgers' manager Tommy Lasorda, his lack of playing time and how he knew he was ready for the bigs. Kennedy says that he chewed this player out for his insolence and the anonymous infielder never made it back to The Show.

I'm not gonna lie…I was curious.

Eddie Murray signed a free agent contract with the Dodgers and played there from 1989-1991. I thought Kennedy had identified the year in question as '91, so I started there. Unfortunately, Murray played in 153 games that year, so in a 162-game season, it obvious that he was never on the 15-day disabled list.

In fact, Murray played in 160 and 155 games, respectively, during his first two years in Los Angeles, so I'm immediately ready to call bull-plop on Kennedy. Casual searches for ballplayers who went "something like 1 for 11" over the course of Murray's time with the Dodgers didn't yield any exact matches, save for a guy who went 1 for 14 in 1991.

And, yes, he was a first baseman, who was called up from Triple-A. He was Eric Karros.

Still, it's not a perfect fit.

All of Karros' at-bats that year occurred in September, so it's reasonable to assume that he was part of the annual roster expansion call-ups that teams make every year.

Karros played in just 14 games – only starting two – while primarily serving as a late-inning defensive replacement…for Eddie Murray.

Finally, Karros finished the year with the Dodgers and was installed as the everyday first baseman the following season – never returning to the minors.

So, what does any of this mean – save for the last six words of the post's title, which we've already established?

It means I've stalled long enough. I should probably go home and see if the wife and the boy are asleep yet.


Anonymous said...

That's some good sleuthin', Lou.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Next, I solve the mystery of why the hell I was listening to them in the first place.