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Just Tuesday of this week, on this very site, inimitable Bauxite Thomas told the world,

    Nelson Cruz continued his attempt to pry the “Mr. October” nickname away from Reggie Jackson with the first walk-off grand slam in postseason history.

While "Whoa" Nellie didn't "slam" anyone this evening, he did fire a three-run jack into the left field belachers in extra frames to propel his Texas teammates to a second-consecutive 7-3 overtime win in the ALCS. (Detroit is now Very Sad.)  And for the record, it is the first time in all of MLB history that one player has hit two extra-inning home runs in the same postseason series, so Cruz's pursuit of becoming Texas' own Senor Octubre is still very much fair game.

The Rangers, now up 3-1 in this series, look to return to the World Series this year (how preternaturally odd that sounds to anyone who's lived in North Texas for more than a year or two) -- they'd be the first AL team to do so, outside of the multi-ringed Yankees, since your 1992-93 Blue Jays.

Today's Question of the Day (essay format, no wrong answers ) ...

What good-but-not-pre-eminent ballplayer do you best remember as emerging, even exploding, into the public consciousness during the MLB post-season? Bonus points for Jays fans who can name someone other than "Touch 'em all" Joe Carter -- and a speciial no-prize for anyone here who can tell tales of actually seeing, live and in person, any of the miracles performed by this little guy more than 30 years ago ....
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Mick Doherty - Wednesday, October 12 2011 @ 11:33 PM EDT (#245766) #

Just as I posted this thread, longtime Friend of Batter's Box Jamey Newberg snet out one of his valued iNewberg report  game summary e-mails. It was exactly six words long:

Same inning.

Same score.

Same man.

Nicely summarized, Jamison, And you avoided the schlocky, gimmicky "Cruz" pun temptation unlike every other writer in Western civilzation .... kudos!

spudzer - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 05:59 AM EDT (#245769) #
Wasn't Pat Borders little known before the '92 WS?
AWeb - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 07:57 AM EDT (#245770) #

Mark Lemke gained a post-season rep for Atlanta with a series of multi-hit games, or so my memory insists. He might not be good enough for this list though. David Justice jumps out for me too, although he didn't so much explode on the scene in the post-season as refuse to leave the scene (he was there every year except 1996 from 1991-2002)

The late 90's Yankees are full of guys who were good but not pre-eminent - O'Neill, Pettitte (is he too good for this list?), Martinez, Brosius, to name a few - that had big post-season moments and thereafter seemed bigger/better than they were.

I remember John Lackey as a surprising postseason guy for the Angels, rather than a trainwreck for the Red Sox. Speaking of current Red Sox, Beckett certainly emerged in the postseason



zeppelinkm - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 08:55 AM EDT (#245771) #
David Eckstein? Scrappy little fan favorite has a phenominal series to win WS MVP, ups reputation from scrappy gamer to something almost mythical in the world of scrappy, gritty, clutch overachievers.
Matthew E - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 09:48 AM EDT (#245773) #
What good-but-not-pre-eminent ballplayer do you best remember as emerging, even exploding, into the public consciousness during the MLB post-season?

That's a really hard question. Most of the guys I can think of either a) were already prominent (Josh Beckett with the Marlins), or b) had a big postseason moment but didn't become really famous as a result of it (Ed Sprague). Hmm.
bpoz - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 09:53 AM EDT (#245774) #
1992 Hrs by Alomar & Gruber against Eck. From Oakland to Atlanta. I called the Hr by Sprague against Reardon. I seem to remember the Jays being able to handle Reardon. When Sprague was drafted by the Jays either a couple of days before or after in the College WS he hit a big Hr. So I just got that strong feeling that he would do it. And he was a pinch hitter too I believe.

Memory can sometimes be faulty. I think against the Phillies T Stottlemire stole a base or something, it was unexpected and he scraped his chin which was bleeding. Don't know how accurate or even relevant that is, unless he scored.
BalzacChieftain - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 09:57 AM EDT (#245775) #

Cody Ross comes to mind from last season.

Also, while Beltran is way too good to be included here, in 2004 (contract year) when he was dealt from KC to the Astros, the playoff race really made him a household name, compounded by all the playoff home runs. This certainly helped him out in getting his mega-contract with the Mets. Up until then for most fans, he was just the center fielder for the Royals and not necessarily a superstar.

electric carrot - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#245776) #
Kurt Bavacqua San Diego Padres.
KirK Gibson LA Dodgers

DJRob - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#245777) #

No wrong answers, eh?  You may have explicitly ruled out Joe Carter, but the other guy involved in that home run meets your crtieria of 'exploding' into public consciousness.  Mitch Williams pitched well in the 93 NLCS, and had a save in game 2 against Toronto, but had caught the public's attention due to his wildness.  His fans found him tough to watch and Curt Shilling famously would put a towel over his head whenever Williams was on the mound.  Mitch, for his apology and the sad way his career imploded following the WS may have gotten more attention than Carter did.

James W - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 10:29 AM EDT (#245778) #
Stottlemyre walked to lead off the 2nd inning of game 4 of the 1993 World Series. Roberto Alomar then hit a 2-out single to center field, and Stottlemyre tried to advance to 3rd base. He was thrown out and scraped his chin trying to slide headfirst.

The Jays eventually won the game, 15-14.
Thomas - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 10:49 AM EDT (#245779) #
I'm not sure if they're exactly what you're looking for, as they were both in their rookie (or even pre-rookie) season, but two good players who made an undeniable mark in the postseason in the last fifteen years were Andruw Jones and Francisco Rodriguez.
greenfrog - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#245780) #
Carlos Beltran, 2004 Houston Astros (just before landing a huge FA contract with the Mets). Hit 455/500/1091 (OPS 1591) in the NLDS and 417/563/958 (OPS 1521) in the NLCS. In the two series (12 games total), the 27-year-old had three doubles, eight home runs, 21 runs scored, 14 RBI, six SB (0 CS).

I'd say that was somewhat of an explosion.
johnny was - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 12:11 PM EDT (#245782) #
Jim Leyrtiz was a fairly unremarkable player who had some pretty huge playoff success, especially '96 with the Yankees.
Edmonton Marc - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#245783) #

I'll echo the Josh Beckett emergence.  Pitching a complete game shutout in the clinching game of the 2003 World Series to beat the hated Yankees was a memorable performance, and deserving of the MVP of that series. 

Before that, the 23 year-old pitcher was just another one of the promising young Marlins pitchers, just like AJ Burnett & Dontrelle Willis (at least in my mind).  Obviously, not all promising young pitchers step up so huge on such a big stage...

John Northey - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 12:22 PM EDT (#245784) #
First name to my mind was Buddy Biancalana, shortstop for the KC Royals in 1985. Lifetime 51 OPS+, 188/277/261 in 1985 over 81 games but was pressed into service. He hit 278/435/278 and was great defensively that WS. It may not sound like much, but he was very popular for some reason (kinda like Johnny Mac) and just seemed to be in the right place at the right time that year.

The next season he made it into 100 games for the one and only time, 71 OPS+ (his peak) but then fell off to a OPS+ of 3 the following season then had a year in the minors before retiring after his age 28 season.
Dewey - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 12:37 PM EDT (#245785) #
Stottlemyre’s ‘slide’ was a real belly-flop/chin-banger.  I don’t think he ever quite made it to the bag.  He took a good deal of razzing for it from team-mates and press, as I recall.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 12:55 PM EDT (#245786) #
Oooh, Buddy Biancalana. Some here on Da Box might be too young to remember this, but post-Series, he became a frequent one-word puchline to many things on the original Late Night with David Letterman show on NBC. That HAD to play a role in his popularity ..
DaveB - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 01:07 PM EDT (#245787) #
Bucky Effing Dent. The Fenway homer was not post-season, but winning the WS MVP that year pretty well ensured him being in the public consciousness for a long, long time.

Another guy: Bill Mazeroski. Already a good young player at the time but that homer to beat the Yankees made Maz a household name.
Mike Green - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 05:35 PM EDT (#245788) #
Lou Brock was a good, but not great, player who exploded into the public consciousness with his performance in the 1967 World Series. 
Gerry - Thursday, October 13 2011 @ 06:29 PM EDT (#245789) #
Rommie Lewis was removed from the 40 man roster and he elected to become a free agent.
Richard S.S. - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 03:10 AM EDT (#245795) #
In case you need a Minor League fix, here's in the AFL. 
mathesond - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 09:58 AM EDT (#245797) #
Bucky Dent, and Orel Hershiser
MatO - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#245801) #
Kirk Gibson gets all the publicity for his one plate appearance in the 1988 WS but Mickey Hatcher was the star.
Mick Doherty - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 11:18 AM EDT (#245802) #
True about Hatcher, but talk about a career-defining at-bat for Gibson, who already had a HUGE WS homer (Tigers, '84) on his resume .... if Gibby doesn't hit that homer off Eck, he's a guy who had  really nice career, All-Star quality, maybe he still ends up a manager, but as a player, he's basically Ken Singleton (to pick a quality, mostly-forgotten OF off the top of my head) .... he hits that homer, and he's Legen-(wait for it)-DARY!
MatO - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 11:37 AM EDT (#245803) #
In 1968 Mickey Lolich won 3 games in the WS against the Cardinals, including Game 7 on 2 days rest against Bob Gibson.  Lolich had an ERA of 3.19 that season.  Sounds fine but it was good for an ERA+ of 95 in 1968.  Gibson had an ERA of 1.12 that year!  What's even more amazing is that Lolich hit a HR in game 2.  In 1017 regular season PA, Lolich never hit a HR.  In fact he had only 7 total extra base hits.  His career line was .110  .215   .121  for a career OPS+ of -2.  What's inexplicable is how Lolich managed to draw 105 walks which gives him that gaudy OBP.
bball12 - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 12:43 PM EDT (#245804) #

Dont forget the great Al Weis - NY Mets - 1969

He had some big hits off of some good pitchers in a couple very big moments.


smcs - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 04:24 PM EDT (#245807) #
A while back, I asked if there had been any research put into the sun's position and hitting ability, prompted by commentators saying Matt Moore was using the sun and shadows but CJ Wilson (I think) wasn't. Well, someone has done something.

There is certainly something about the sun's position, but it varies wildly from spot to spot. Maybe a more focused approach using each stadium would reveal something, but it looks like when the sun is at it's lowest, but still visible over the top of the stadium, hitting is at its worst (look at dead center, for instance).
Mike Green - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 04:40 PM EDT (#245808) #
Because it's da Box and because it's Friday afternoon, cuttlefish camouflage.
sam - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 05:10 PM EDT (#245809) #
It looks like Tony LaCava has been given permission to talk to the Orioles about their vacant GM position. I wish Tony the best of luck. A couple years back I was working at a Toronto restaurant and Tony LaCava and his family came in for dinner. The owner of our restaurant knew I was a huge Jays fan and introduced me to him. LaCava was extremely nice even though he was with his family and talked baseball with me for a good five minutes in between courses. It'll be a huge loss to the team if he leaves, but I wish him the best of luck.
Glevin - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 06:55 PM EDT (#245811) #
"Bucky Dent, and Orel Hershiser"

Hershiser made his name during the 1988 regular season when he set the record for scoreless innings and was the best pitcher in the league.
CeeBee - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#245812) #
Didn't Ron Swoboda do something quite worth remembering in the 69 series as well? Maybe a diving game saving catch or something?
squagles - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 07:47 PM EDT (#245813) #
There is certainly something about the sun's position, but it varies wildly from spot to spot.

Geocentric is the new moneyball.
Chuck - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#245814) #
Brian Doyle. 9 post-season hits in 1978. 10 regular season hits in 1978. 32 regular season hits in career.
Mick Doherty - Friday, October 14 2011 @ 10:20 PM EDT (#245815) #
Chuck, absolutely. Denny's little brother is the miracle-working "little guy" I linked to in the final graf of the lede copy. For two weeks, he was the greatest second baseman in NYY history!
TamRa - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 04:39 AM EDT (#245817) #
"It looks like Tony LaCava has been given permission to talk to the Orioles about their vacant GM position."

Point of order - it's been reported, as quoted on MLBTR, that the jays do not require other teams to ask permission. Apparently they believe it makes them a more attractive place to work.
Chuck - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 08:43 AM EDT (#245818) #

Denny's little brother is the miracle-working "little guy" I linked to

Oops. Sorry, I missed that. EChuck.

Magpie - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 12:26 PM EDT (#245820) #
Might I suggest Bret Saberhagen in the 1985 World Series? And Graig Nettles in 1978.

Going further back, two veterans bound for the Hall of Fame (but not really household names to this point in their careers) made themselves really famous in October: Brooks Robinson in 1970, and Roberto Clemente the following year.
Mike Green - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 01:50 PM EDT (#245821) #
It's funny that you mention Brooks.  I was looking back at a youtube video of the 1969 Mets-Orioles WS highlights the other day to refresh my memory of the famous Agee catches (which were indeed pretty damn impressive) and I was struck by how many singles the Mets hit in the hole between Brooks and Belanger.  In the 70 series, Brooks made a bunch of tremendous plays on screamers (many off the bat of Lee May, if memory serves correctly) down the line.  What a difference a year makes. 

Agee, of course, would equally well fit in this group. 

greenfrog - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 07:06 PM EDT (#245825) #

"Blue Jays prospect Travis d'Arnaud needs surgery to repair torn ligaments in his thumb.

"The promising 22-year-old catcher tore the ligaments while playing for Team USA in the Baseball World Cup. It's not yet known how the procedure will affect his 2012. d'Arnuad batted .311 with a .944 OPS, 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 114 games this season at Double-A New Hampshire."

Source: Bob Elliot on Twitter
Original Ryan - Saturday, October 15 2011 @ 09:45 PM EDT (#245826) #
Dan Szymborski posted his minor league park multipliers for 2011 over at BBTF, for those interested in seeing how Toronto's minor league ballparks rank. For those new to this stuff, please note that the multipliers are relative to the league, not the level. That's why Las Vegas doesn't look all that extreme.
katman - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 02:57 AM EDT (#245827) #
Argh. Guess we're signing 2 backup catchers this offseason...
TamRa - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 03:11 AM EDT (#245828) #
it's a minor setback and it means nothing in terms of off-season activity. At the very worst he'd be a couple of weeks behind in ST

Mike Green - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 10:19 AM EDT (#245829) #
Is there a source for that, Tamra?  After the BJ Ryan thing, I am from Missouri when it comes to injury reporting.  Ligament repair to a thumb (depending on the particulars) could certainly be a significant long-term matter for a catcher.

Other Cruz puns: liner, to Japan (after the Rangers win the WS).  My favourite: the Rangers earned a World Series berth on the Cruz. 

ramone - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 10:51 AM EDT (#245830) #
Wilner and Davidi tweeted about d'Arnaud's injury last night:

"The great @injuryexpert tells us d'Arnaud's torn thumb ligament shouldn't set him back "too terribly much". Good news #Bluejays fans! #jays"

"As @elliottbaseball 1st reported, Travis d'Arnaud hurt hand at WCup. Had surgery to fix tendon last week. Jays say he'll be 100% for spring"
Mike Green - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 11:21 AM EDT (#245831) #
Thanks for the references.  Tweets, without links, aren't particularly awe-inspiring when it comes to the long-term effects of thumb surgery for a catcher.  It is good news that he is expected to participate normally in spring training activities.

The problem with catchers is that they often accumulate a series of significant injuries, and at some point during most years, one injury or another acts up and affects performance.  If I was rating the prospects now, I'd have Marisnick/Gose ahead of d'Arnaud. 

Richard S.S. - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 12:12 PM EDT (#245832) #

If you had a budget of $150.0 Million, per year, to spend on Team Salaries, how do you spend it?   Who, you spend it on is meaningless for the purpose of the Question.   Who or Whom, can change too rapidly.

The Starters (5) are allotted how much?  

The Relievers (6-7) are allotted how much?

The Outfield (3) are allotted how much?

The Infield (5) are allotted how much?

The Bench (5-6): D.H., 4th OF, 2nd C, at least 1 INF and INF/OF; are allowed how much?

There's only 1 caveat.   You must allot all the money or the Budget is permanently reduced.

Mike Green - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 12:38 PM EDT (#245833) #
There is no generic formula.  If your farm system is churning out great outfielders (like the Reds of the mid-80s- Eric Davis, Kal Daniels, Gary Redus, Paul O'Neill....), you don't want to be spending much on outfielders, and similarily with any other possible need.

Even if the question is as specific as the 2012 Blue Jays who have needs at several spots, much depends on how you treat players.  Is Bautista a right-fielder indefinitely or a first baseman? 

sam - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 01:55 PM EDT (#245834) #
I'd say those are overly optimistic predictions for d'Arnaud. Major hand or wrist injuries for baseball players are difficult to come back from 100% in four or five months time.
Anders - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 01:58 PM EDT (#245835) #
Dan Szymborski posted his minor league park multipliers for 2011 over at BBTF, for those interested in seeing how Toronto's minor league ballparks rank.

Nothing too crazy, though Dunedin seems like a big hitters park. It is interesting to see that New Hampshire plays as neutral. Keith Law makes a point to mention it's a huge hitters park pretty much every time he talks about Jays hitting prospects there.

TamRa - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 07:08 PM EDT (#245836) #
I'd always understood that the FSL was a very heavily pitcher's league. if Dunedin is a hitters park, surely it is only by comparison to other FSL parks, no?
hypobole - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 09:43 PM EDT (#245838) #

iKLaw claims the New Hampshire home park benefits left handed batters (I guess similar to Yankee Stadium). I found this in a blog that seems to confirm KLaw's claims:

"The left field foul pole stands 326 feet away, but the wall quickly just out to 380 feet, creating a wide swath of space in left center field.  The other side is a different story with the right field foul pole just 306 feet away, making Northeast Delta Dental Stadium a dream for left-handed power hitters, and a nightmare for the pitchers facing them."

Richard S.S. - Sunday, October 16 2011 @ 09:55 PM EDT (#245839) #

Pitching: $65.0 MM; Starters: $42.5 MM; Relievers: $22.5 MM.

Batting: $75.0 MM; Infield: $37.5 M; Outfield; $27.5 MM; Bench: $10.0 MM.

The Oops Factor: $10.0 MM.   In case you have to exceed any category, the Deal got bigger, or you couldn't let him go, type money you might need.


bpoz - Monday, October 17 2011 @ 02:42 PM EDT (#245860) #

I think 2010 & 2011 payroll was US$65-75mil. Maybe exchange rate plays a factor.
Also $6mil to Phil in Halladay trade. Whatever $ for 2010 players like Rivera, Tallet, Miller etc.. And maybe $5mil for Teahen in 2012.

Current attendance of 2mil should increase to 2.5 and 3mil with 90+ wins in the near future.

I believe I have read, but not sure:
1) When the time is right the payroll will go up to $120mil or $150mil. Influencing factors unknown.
2) From AA I believe "2 players being equal I will always choose the cheaper one". At 1B EE is cheaper than Lind but who is better and is it significant to warrant the extra $, Fielder is also a 1B but costs more. Also being close to equal is probably equal to equal.

While Napoli was more expensive was he equal to EE or Lind? A 3 year comparison is probably a better comparison.
Lind gets 2009 as a big plus. Napoli was under appreciated in LAA. EE could also be better given the right situation. Injuries is a factor and playing hurt/not 100% is also a factor.

My personal conclusion which could be wrong is that 1 player does not put you over the top.

My general conclusions for the Jays in the next 5 years (short memories allow me to go nuts):
1) The most expensive team will not be the best.
2) Any WS winner may not be the best or most expensive team.
3) We may get to $120mil but probably not over. If Lawrie gets to be very good he will sign a long term contract. But before he actually collects $10mil/yr, Bautista & his cost will be gone.
4) FAs cost will not play a major part, unless AA wants to acquire mediocrity. Per AA the best FAs are retained by their teams, so you never get a chance to acquire them.
AA is correct with J Beckett, he never became a FA. But Tex in NYY IMO was a great FA. Pujols, Fielder, CC, C Lee may not be considered in "the best category" due to length of contract, they will be old in the last couple of years.

We get to our $120mil-150mil if a Halliday type would be willing to stay at the going rate. They know that they will get their money so now the correct situation is the crucial factor.
IMO we do not have a Halladay type right now on the Jays. Maybe Romero when he has to re-up, now is too early. Even Halladay may not be a Halladay type when he has to re-up if he wants 5 years and why should he not.

2 monster years by Snider and he wants big $ & years and he will be young still. Morrow is young but may be a FA in 3 more years, if he has only 1 great year do you commit to him long term, someone will. Your backup is Alvarez & Drabek right now, because I don't see why they cannot be as good as Morrow over the next 3 years. If given enough starts in 2012 a direct comparison is possible between Morrow & Alvarez in 2012. 40 starts by Alvarez is a good sample size but his age is still very young.
Richard S.S. - Monday, October 17 2011 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#245869) #

Exchange figure$ are not a factor a$ yet.

The payroll will increase to $120.0 MM by 2012, 2013 or 2014.   Any increase to $150.0 MM will be natural contract increases and "keeping our own".

If our Starting Rotation is better and our Bullpen is much better, then we might be 1 player away.

Brandon Morrow is in his 2nd arbitration year.   A contract this offseason may not be our best option, but in may be our best deal economically.

Signing a Free Agent at age 27 (like Fielder) is possible, only when His Team can no longer afford him.   You then get, 4 years of his talent, before he reaches the normal age of Free Agent, for an exceptional price.  The only other way of getting those top caliber players is trading for them at an exceptional price.  A.A. just decides on how much he wants to pay and considers how long it takes to do otherwise.

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