Unsung Heroes

Re. my "barlor game," Josh in Hollywood writes about four Giants who made their teams that much better in subtle ways:

--1986: This was where the Giants went from lovable losers to a team to be taken seriously, year in and year out. The MVP: Roger Craig. I'm not sure if a manager can really be an MVP, but if it's possible, he was. With his "humm-baby" and his squeeze plays, and his instructions to the team to never complain about the 'Stick, Roger was a winner and made the Giants into one as well through sheer positive attitude and agressiveness. He was the Phil Jackson of baseball, but in place of Zen, he used good ol' fashioned Southern wisdom. And he had the foresight to hire Dusty Baker. Thanks, Rog.

--1993: Robby Thompson. It was his career year, yes, but there was more. I was always fond of saying Robby would take a line drive in the face to win a big game. In September, 1993, he proved me right. Needing a win to stay ahead of the hard-charging Braves, and down one in the 9th at home to the Pads, Robby took a Trevor Hoffman fastball of his jaw to get on base for Will Clark. The Thill homered, and the Giants had a huge walk-off win. Of course, without R.T. in the lineup the Gaints lost 8 in a row and eventually lost to the Braves, but there was Robby on the last day of the season playing despite having to wear one of those ridiculous, Terry Steinbach face mask deals. Thanks, Robby.

--1997: Forget Jeff Kent, J.T. Snow, Estes, Gardner, Rueter. The most important guy on Dusty's first division title team was supposed to be a bench player behind new leadoff guy Darryl Hamilton and shitty slugger and arachnophobe Glenallen Hill. But Stan Javier wouldn't have it. He took over leadoff during Hamilton's injury, and moved to right when he came back. He provided great D, good OBP, some SB's, and a spark to The Little Team That Could, including hitting the first HR in interleague history, an opposite field shot, no less. Thanks, Stan.

--2000: Everybody talked about Bonds and Kent. The MVP came down to Bonds and Kent. But nobody seemed to notice that there was a guy hitting behind them who hit .344 with 20-something HR's. Ellis Fucking Burks was the MVP of that team. They were like 90-15 when he played or something. And look what they did the next year without him. Bonds hit 73 bombs, but Kent was terrible in the clutch and Rios and Vanderwal couldn't get a big hit to save their lives. And they still finished two games back of the World Champs.

Thank you for the venue to ramble on. Now back to the harsh reality that is the 2004 Giants. --Josh in Hollywood

Thanks, Josh. I'll add one comment: Not only was Burks the heart and soul of the 2000 Giants with his bad knees, clutch hitting and apartment right across the street from Pac Bell (he supposedly liked to hang out at Momo's after the game); but the Giants have been looking for the next Ellis Burks ever since he left. Right field at Pac Bell has become left field in Seattle -- the place for vagrants, charlatans, false hopes, wannabes, couldabeens, but no one to hang out, relax, have a Momo's martini and drive in 100 runs for four or five years.

For those who missed it, I invite anyone who wants to wax poetic about their favorite player in their favorite year -- the unsung MVP -- to write me. Doesn't have to be a Giant. Pick your year and player.


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by HaloScan.com