Sully Baseball Podcast – Eireann Dolan talks about Sean Doolittle’s trade to Washington and avocados – July 20, 2017

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Friend of the Podcast Eireann Dolan returns to talk about her fiancee Sean Doolittle and his trade to the Washington Nationals. Somehow we talked about The Muppets Take Manhattan and fresh avocados as well.

Making the big moves on this episode of Sully Baseball.

While we are at it, enjoy the In Memoriam video.

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Cris Carpenter 1993 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 20, 2017

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I wonder what Cris Carpenter thought when he watched Chris Carpenter pitch for the Cardinals.

I mean he HAD to watch Carpenter pitch all those years with St. Louis and shake his head. There is no way he didn’t.

Hell, there is a sports writer named Paul Sullivan who works in Chicago that I check in on from time to time and wonder what life would be like if I were THAT Paul Sullivan and not your pal Sully.

But Cris without an H must look at Chris with an H and long for his career.

Look, I am not going to besmirch Cris without an H. He made it to the majors leagues, played a few seasons and had a couple of good years as a reliever. I can’t say that.

But he was supposed to be a star for the Cardinals. And another person with his exact same name save for the H WAS a star for the Cardinals and was great on the biggest stage.

It is kind of strange.

Cris without an H was born in Florida but went to high school and college in Georgia. In 1987, the Cardinals made him the 14th pick in the draft.

Future All Stars Jack Armstrong, Mike Remlinger, Travis Fryman and Pete Harnisch were all still available. So was Hall of Famer Craig Biggio.

Then again, Chris Myers, Dan Opperman and Kevin Garner were drafted ahead of Carpenter and none of them made the majors leagues. So there is that.

A star reliever in college, the Cardinals tried to convert him into a starter. He split 1988 between AAA Louisville and St. Louis. The goal seemed clear. This was not a long term rebuilding process. They expected him to be part of a staff that won 2 of the previous 3 pennants. Injuries to Danny Cox and Joe Magrane opened up a spot in the rotation that Carpenter needed to fill.

In 1989, the starter experiment seemed over as he began closing games in Louisville with mixed results but still managed to spend in the majors.

On September 17, he made a spot start against the Phillies. There were no shortage of professional hitters on the Phillies that day. Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk, Ricky Jordan, Von Hayers and Darren Daulton were all in the lineup.

But Carpenter had one of his best games, pitching into the 8th and finishing with 7 1/3 innings of shutout ball to earn the win. It was a flash of what could have been.

He split 1990 between AAA and St. Louis but pitched all of 1991 and 1992 with the parent club with some success. He won 10 games out of the bullpen in 1991, not that that tells us anything. In 1992, he threw 73 relief appearances and had an ERA of 2.97 as a set up man.

After the 1993 season, as this card suggests, he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and wound up on the original Marlins squad. He threw a shutout inning in the very first game in Marlins history, helping set up Charlie Hough’s win and Bryan Harvey’s save.

He did not finish the season in Florida as he was dealt for Robb Nen, who would wind up being a part of the Marlins first title 5 years later.

Between the second half of 1993 and 1996, Carpenter bounced between Texas, Milwaukee and the minors before finally retiring.

Right around his retirement, Chris with an H emerged as a pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. After 6 years of up and down production in Toronto, Carpenter wound up in St. Louis.

There HE became the Chris Carpenter who pitched the Cardinals into the playoffs, winning a Cy Young and being the ace for 6 World Series champions.

Chris without an H teaches social studies in his home town in Georgia. He said in an interview that he felt like he was rushed to the majors and wasn’t ready for the spotlight.

Chris with an H was a late bloomer and got the glory.

Claudell Washington 1989 Fleer Update – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 19, 2017

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Every year at the end of the World Series, there in inevitably a group of veterans who put in many many years and finally won their first ring. Those are always touching moments.

And every year there is a kid who just got called up from the minor leagues who picked up a ring and never have to wonder if they will ever win one during their career. Players like Derek Jeter, Buster Posey, Dustin Pedroia and Cal Ripken for that matter won a ring early and got weight off of their shoulders right off the bat.

Then you have someone like Claudell Washington who before he he could legally drink, checked off major accomplishments on the big league level and then played long enough to become a distinguished veteran. Born in LA, he was signed as an unsigned free agent out of Berkeley High School by the A’s in 1972.

The local kid tore up single AL ball in 1973. He was 19 years old in 1974 when he was assigned to Birmingham of AA. He batted .361 there with 11 homers and 33 stolen bases while posting an eye popping .976 OPS.

The A’s at the major league level were the two time defending World Champs, but they found room for 19 year old Washington on the big league roster. And unlike his unrelated namesake Herb Washington, whose role it was to be a pinch runner and never take the field or bat, CLAUDELL Washington could play. He appeared in 73 games and did not embarrass himself, batting .285 with a .702 OPS. He didn’t homer but he tripled 5 times.

That October, the 19 year old was in the post season. He started Game 2 of the ALCS and singled and scored against Baltimore’s Dave McNally.

He appeared in all 5 World Series games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In game 4, he reached base 3 times and scored, helping the A’s win 5-2. He also got a hit in the Game 5 clincher.

By 19 years old, he was a World Series champion.

In 1975, the 20 year old batted .308, stole 40 bases, hit 10 homers and was named to the All Star team.

His new teammate that year was future Hall of Famer Billy Williams. He was 37 years old and had played 16 years without one single post season game to his name. I always wondered what he thought of Washington checking World Series winner off his to do list before his 20th birthday.

The A’s won the Division again that year but were swept by Boston.

Washington would play 15 more seasons (17 in all) and bounce from team to team. He had some incredible highs, such as being a major part of the 1982 Braves playoff run and being named to his second All Star team. He had some lows, like being named in the Pittsburgh drug trials (which almost seem quaint now.)

By the time he was a New York Yankee in 1988, he was a 33 year old distinguished veteran, being a reliable performer in centerfield between Hall of Famers Rickey Henderson and Dave Winfield.

With the Yankees clinging to a thin hope for the AL East on September 9, 1988, Washington hit a walk off homer in the 9th against the Tigers to win the game. Two days later, he hit a walk off shot in the 18th inning. He became a Yankee fan favorite with those heroics.

Between 1989 and 1990 he went back and forth between the Yankees and the Angels before calling it quits.

Washington played with many Hall of Famers and did so over three decades and accomplished a lot in his 17 year career. But the hard stuff? He got that out of the way early.