Why big league managers side with pitching experience vs. pitching talent come the post season is beyond me.
Look what David Price, a September call up with a mere five innings of MLB experience, did against Boston in game seven.
The super-talented lefty begins by striking out the hot-hitting J.D. Drew on four pitches before closing the deal in the bottom of the ninth helping send the Rays to the World Series.
Price’s outing reminds me of Joe Torre’s decision in 2005 to add 39-year-old Al Leiter to his playoff roster because the crafty left-hander had “experience,” never mind his regular season record of (7-12) with a 6.13 ERA.
Leiter pitched in four playoff games during 2005 posting an “experienced’ 7.34 ERA – now, that’s some kind of experience.
But, not even the great Torre is alone in his thinking; take Sweet Lou for example this October.
Piniella added the washed-up Bob Howry to his staff noting the right-hander’s decade worth of MLB experience.
And why not add Howry, he only finished his worst season in the bigs in 2008 (5.35 ERA).
Unfortunately, the Cubs played so poorly Howry never had the chance to further prove my point.
Meanwhile, during the same year of Torre’s blunder, 24-year-old rookie Bobby Jenks anchored the White Sox’s pen bringing the trophy to Chicago’s south side.
Three years earlier the Angels’ Francisco Rodriguez, a September call up like Price, dominated in the playoffs as well, winning five games in relief for the eventual World Champion Halos.
The following season ‘Trader Jack’ McKeon rode 21-year-old rookie Dontrelle Willis’ (3-0) post season all the way to the promise land.
So, when it’s a decision between experience and talent, I’ll take the later.
Affectionately known as “The Hawk,” Andre Dawson cut his teeth with the Montreal Expos playing in 24 games during 1976.
The following campaign Dawson made a name for himself winning Rookie of the Year honors after batting .282 avg., 19 HRs and 65 RBIs.
Dawson played 10 seasons north of the boarder using a unique blend of raw power and speed to collect more than 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases with the Expos.
In his fourth season The Hawk began a streak of eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1980-1988) in center field while also twice finishing second in the NL MVP voting: 1981 Mike Schmidt and 1983 Dale Murphy.
However, Dawson jettisoned Montreal’s Astroturf for the grass surface of Wrigley Field in 1987; his ageing knees holding up long enough for the right fielded to finally claim the NL’s MVP Award (.287 avg., 49 HRs and 137 RBIs) despite Chicago’s last place finish in the division.
The memorable 1987 season made Dawson a fan favorite in Chicago; he stayed five more seasons in the Windy City before departing for Boston after 1992.
Two years later the Miami, Florida native returned home to wrap up his 21-year playing career with the Marlins.
While only managing to play in 121 games over two seasons with Florida, Dawson put the finishing touches on a career that made him one of only six players ever to club more than 300 home runs (438) and steal more than 300 bases (314).
Furthermore, Dawson is also part of the elite 400 homers and 300 steals club; only Willie Mays (660 HR, 338 SB) and Barry Bonds (762 HR, 514 SB) have achieved such numbers.
That being said, Andre’s best bid at the Hall of Fame came during 2005 when he received 61 percent of the 75 percent needed for induction into the Hall.
See Dawson’s career statistics at baseball-reference.com.
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