Better Than His Brother Joe?

Friday, May 08 2009 @ 05:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie


But Dom DiMaggio, who died early today at the age of 92, was an awfully good player anyway.

He didn't much resemble his brother. He stood just 5'9 (Joe is listed at 6'2), and he hit just 87 HRs in his 10 year career.† Joe had hit that many by the time he turned 23. Dominic was a leadoff hitter, and he was able to score more than 1000 runs in his brief career (1399 games). He was also a brilliant centre fielder - there are many people who think Dom was actually a better defender than Joe, which is saying quite a bit.

Dom is a longstanding member in good standing in the Hall of the Very Good, but he wasn't given much of break by the random vagaries of history. He lost three full seasons in the heart of his prime (age 26, 27, and 28) to World War II and he retired young - he was 35 during his last full season.

Anyway, here's the thing. Dom spent his entire career playing centre field for the Red Sox, and for all but one of those seasons (1952) his big brother was playing the same position for the Yankees.

Can you imagine if that was happening now? As if the press doesn't have enough Boston-New York stuff to work with... Makes you shudder.

So happy trails to the Little Professor.

Well, after a fair bit of time reading the baseball news of the day, most of which consists of self-righteous, self-satisfied, holier-than-thou responses to the Manny Ramirez news - and trust me, none of these guys said "boo" during McGwire-Sosa in 1998 - I resumed my exploration of Bill James' online site. I just paid up, shelled out my $3 (actually $9, because the billing is quarterly). And I'm working my way through the archived material, and came across this:

We have to admit that weíre not any better.†† Iím not any better than Bill Singer, and Iím not any better than Al Campanis, and Iím not any better than Marge Schott.
††††††††††† That, it seems to me, is what is missing from the Barry Bonds debate:† Forgiveness.†† Iím not any better than Barry Bonds, and Iím not any better than Mark McGwire, and Iím not any better than Roger Clemens, and Iím not any better than Pete Rose, either.†† You give me the opportunity to earn $22 million a year by taking steroids, Iíll shoot the pharmacist if I have to.†† Iím not saying itís right.†† Iím not saying I shouldnít be punished for shooting the pharmacist.† I am saying it is self-righteous to pretend that I donít have the same human failings that these guys do, and further, if you are insisting that you donít have them, I donít believe you.†† When you fire Al Campanis to show us that his failings are not your failings, I donít believe you.

Elsewhere - I was struck by the Johan Santana-Chan Ho Park pitching duel the other night. I suppose it's always slightly surprising these days when Chan Ho gets involved in a pitching duel. But here's what got my attention - his batting line:

†††††††††††††† AB† R† H† RBI† BB† SO LOB BAVG
C Park, p†††††† 0† 0† 0†† 0††† 2†† 0†† 0 .143

Johan Santana walked Chan Ho Park twice? This completely flummoxed me, because I have always had it in my mind that Chan Ho Park is one of the worst hitters who ever lived, solely because of the wonderful Nike spot he did back in 1999. (Warning - there's something very wrong with the audio in this clip, and I couldn't find a good one - turn down the sound!)

But subsequent investigation revealed that, as pitchers go, Chan Ho wasn't all that bad. He's now got 422 MLB at bats, and he's hit .180 with 3 HR and 31 RBI. He's now drawn 19 walks. By the standards of modern pitchers, he's practically an all-star. He's no Carlos Zambrano or Micah Owings... but neither is he Daniel Cabrera or Ben Sheets.

So, Mariano Rivera came into the 9th inning of a tie game and gave up back-to-back home runs for the first time in his major league career to lose the game, and New York observers are commenting that since his off-season shoulder surgery his velocity is down to about 90mph, and his cutter has flattened out..

And to all of this, I say: BWA-HA-HA!

I like Mariano Rivera, a great player, and from all all accounts a gentleman of class and dignity.

But nevertheless: BWA-HA-HA!