July 24, 2017

Outgoing Is Incoming To The Other Side

March 21, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

March brings Spring Training- and Madness. Jamie Moyer is trying to play this year. He is the Phillie in Winter. There were a lot of retirements over the past few months: Smoltz, Glavine, Frank Thomas, Garciaparra. It’s like the state offered an enhanced severance package or something. But Moyer keeps plugging along. If he does, he will be a four decade guy. (Junior Griffey and Omar Vizquel are other possibilities.) He is also on the verge of a millstone. Having surrendered 491 taters over his career, he’s only a few home runs from 500 and only a few more behind Robin Roberts. If you give up that many dingers, you have to be good. Roberts was more than that. He was great and made the Hall of Fame. Roberts has one foot in what Stephen Gould called the hagiographic and quotidian parts of the game. He was a Whiz Kid. He was also the guy who hired Marvin Miller and made the Players Association more of a union than it was previously.

You can make a chain of Phillies between Roberts and Moyer. . Roberts played with Tony Taylor, the Cuban infielder. Taylor played with Don Money. Money, incidentally, has been managing in the Brewers system for over a decade and is the utility guy on the All-Mammon Team. Money played with Mike Schmidt. An ad for 7-UP featuring Schmidt appears in 1982’s Pink Floyd The Wall. I think it’s during “Run Like Hell.” Schmidt played with Dykstra. Nails played with the immortal Kevin Sefcik (not to be confused with Bob Zupcic) who played with Pat Burrell who played with Moyer.

Moyer’s father in law is Digger Phelps. Wikipedia claims that “taking a digger,” meaning a trip and fall was named for him. But I don’t buy that. Before he showed up on College Game Night, he was a coach for 20 years. I don’t know how good he was, but he had a penchant for upsets. Knocked off seven top ranked teams while at Notre Dame. Before that, he coached at Fordham. One time, they went up to Amherst to play UMass. This was when Julius Erving was a Minuteman. They upset the favored home team by using a full court press. Rick Pitino was a freshman guard at UMass at the time and he never forgot this. Pitino’s other influence was Jim Boeheim. Back around the Bicentennial, Pitino assisted under him. Pitino’s teams play a pressure defense. Boeheim’s run the 2-3. But both are like Don Shula in football. They adapt their offenses to their personnel. While a student at Syracuse, Boeheim roomed with Dave Bing; the future mayor of Detroit. Bing has a history in the Motor City. He was also a Piston. Teamed up with Dave DeBuscherre.

DeBuscherre was a two sport guy in the pros. In addition to playing basketball he was a pitcher. (Dave was also the only baseball player to ever become commissioner of a major league; if the ABA counts.) I have a theory that power forwards make good pitchers. NFL teams have been trying to convert them into tight ends. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates are the most successful examples. But witness the two sport careers of Gene Conley, Ron Reed, Mark Hendrickson, and Scott Burrell. Burrell never made the majors, but he was the only guy drafted in the first round for two entirely different sports. Tim Stoddard was the first person to appear in both a Final Four and a World Series. I could go on. Robin Roberts himself played hoops at Michigan State. DeBuscherre pitched for the White Sox briefly. Luis Aparicio was on the team. Aparicio was traded to Baltimore for Hoyt Wilhelm where he teamed up with an aging Robin Roberts.

Trivia question: Who was the other player that appeared in both the World Series and the Final Four?

Jon Daly has been a SABR member since 2001. He has written several biographies for SABR that have appeared online or in books, including ones on Billy Southworth and Jim Willoughby. His writing has also appeared online at websites such as Baseball Think Factory and The Hardball Times. Jon is also the sole contributor to the blog Designated Sitter (http://designatedsitter.blogspot.com/) He Tweets @designatedsittr and can be reached at jon31768@gmail.com.

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