BaseballReference.com is my favorite website. I can spend hours there. Sometimes, I'll start somewhere and within a few minutes, I am somewhere within their site that I have never seen before. I won't even remember how I got there. There is just so much information, it is crazy. From time to time, I think it will be fun to chronicle my travels through the site. I'll start with no plan and I'll ride the wave, where it takes me. I'll post these from time to time, unless I get arrested.
Starting Point - 1994 Minnesota Twins
1994 was the strike year. The Twins were bad, but not 90s Twins bad. They were 53-60 that year, but odds are they would have dropped off significantly because they were terrible. Their Pythagorean record was 49-64. So yeah. The Twins drew 1.4 million fans that year, a 2.1 million fan pace (more or less). OH! Alex Cole was on that team. I think we found our next destination.
Alex Cole was 6' 2"! He was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He debuted in 1990 at age 24. He played 7 seasons in the majors. He stole 40 bases as a rookie. He only hit 5 career home runs, 4 in 1994 with the Twins. His speed must have made him a relatively valuable player as he had a WAR around 2 for his first two seasons. He had good OBPs those years too. It seems like he should have been a useful player. I'm not sure what happened to him, but he was a poor defender it seems. His dWAR was negative pretty much every year. His most similar player is Nyjer Morgan. Ok, Alex Cole bores me. His last game was on May 22, 1996. Let's look at the box score.
May 22, 1996 - Seattle 6, Boston 1
Russ Davis and Darren Bragg went yard for the Mariners. Bob Wolcott went 5.2 innings, giving up 1 earned run for the win.
Short Tangent - Bob Wolcott
Bob Wolcott started 58 games for 3 teams in five seasons. He was 16 and 21 with a 5.86 ERA. Career 1.58 K:BB ratio. He was out of baseball by age 26.
Back to the Box Score!
Tim Wakefield started for the Red Sox. He gave up 6 ER in 6 IP. El Guapo, Rich Garces came in and game 2 great innings, striking out 4 and walking none. Norm Charlton had a wild pitch. Edgar Martinez was intentionally walked twice. The Mariners had a 2-3-4 of Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez. That's solid. The Mariners stole 3 bases off of Wakefield. Alex Cole pinch hit for Jose Canseco. Ok.
Apparently his nickname was The Chemist. Is that a steroids reference? I forgot that Canseco played for the Red Sox. Who else played for the Red Sox in '96?
1996 Boston Red Sox
Wil Cordero. Nomar, he must have been a rookie. Kevin Mitchell. Tom Gordon was starting. Vaughn Eshelman?
Hmm, he played 3 seasons with the Red Sox. He was 15 and 9 with a 6.07 ERA. His K:BB ratio in 1996 was just barely above 1. It was a very Samuel Deduno season. Eshelman was drafted out of the University of Houston in the 4th round by Baltimore.
University of Houston
Here are some notable players drafted out of the University of Houston: Michael Bourn, Chris Snyder, Woody Williams, Doug Drabek, Jesse Crain, Anthony Young and of course, Vaughn Eshelman. Wasn't Anthony Young the guy that lost 20 games that one year?
Nope, he lost a bunch of games in a row, I think. He was 1 and 16 for the Mets in 1993, but had a 3.77 ERA. His K:BB ratio was 1.48, which is bad, but not historically bad. His ERA+ was 107. He QUADRUPLED his win total the next season. Do the math, y'all. He had a career WAR of 0.8. He was a 38th round pick in the 1987 draft. I wonder if anyone else from that round made it to the Majors.
38th Round of the 1987 amateur draft
Yeah, somehow, yeah. Todd Haney played 101 games and hit 3 home runs (juiced!) and Tom Thobe pitched 7 games, netting a record of 0 and 1. The Twins drafted Toi Cook in that round.
He went to Stanford. Nice. There are no stats. He throws unknown, which would seem to work in his favor. He was the 960th player drafted in 1996, let's see if any other players were drafted in that position, who would be notable.
960th Picks Overall
Irving Falu in 2001. Shayne Bennett in 1992 - career WAR of -1.6. In 1967, Barton Bell was drafted 960th but the SELECTION WAS VOIDED.
Irving Falu (minors)
He played in the minors for a really long time. He was at AAA for 4 years! Over 400 games. I guess his MLB debut last season was a better story than I was aware of. He certainly put in his minor league time. I like to hear about players who work hard, play in the minors for years and years and then come up and realize their dreams. He was 28 when he made his debut and that is pretty cool. So, we went from the 1994 Minnesota Twins and ended with Irving Falu. Just another BaseballReference.com voyage and it ended on a sweet note.