Sully Baseball Podcast – The Yawkeys, The Marlins and The Afterlife – March 1, 2018

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AP – Wilfredo Lee

 

The Yawkey family have left a legacy not worth honoring. Meanwhile I figure out how the Marlins can save the off season and still build for the future and I bring the death of my Aunt Edith into the discussion.

Living a good life on this episode of Sully Baseball.

 

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

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Larry Andersen 1991 Fleer – Sully Baseball for July 30, 2017

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With Jeff Bagwell going into the Hall of Fame this year, Larry Andersen will be mentioned often.

Bagwell was traded for Larry Andersen and an all time bad trade was pulled off.

Let me try to justify the trade.

Larry Andersen had a long and solid career as a reliever. After bouncing around the Cleveland and Pittsburgh systems throughout 1970s, he finally broke through with the 1981 Seattle Mariners. He was a part of the Phillies bullpen when they won the 1983 pennant and pitched in the thrilling 1986 NLCS for Houston.

In 1990, the Red Sox were aiming for a Division Title and possible ALCS rematch with the A’s. They looked like they were finally getting some breathing room against Toronto with an 8 game winning streak that padded their Division lead to 6 1/2 games. Roger Clemens was having one of his best seasons ever and Mike Boddicker was a reliable number 2 starter.

But the rest of the rotation consisted of overachievers like Dana Kiecker and Tom Bolton. And the bullpen was hardly deep. Closer Jeff Reardon was the only reliever to finish the season with an ERA under 4.00. If Boston would have any hope to hold off Toronto for the Division and beat Oakland for the pennant, they would need pitching depth.

Andersen came over from Houston on the last day of August and pitched well in September. In his 15 games and 22 innings pitched, would strikeout 25 while walking only 3. He posted a 1.23 ERA, earning a save against the Yankees on September 21st. Andersen would not allow a run in his first 11 appearancesfor the Red Sox. As it turned out, they needed every bit of help in the pen. Boston finished the season 13-17, but winning the Division on the final day of the season.

They got clobbered in the ALCS. Andersen lost a game in relief as Oakland swept the Red Sox in 4. He would leave Boston and sign with San Diego.

Acquiring the bullpen depth for the stretch run did not cost Boston a single player on the major league roster. And native New Englander Jeff Bagwell looked expendable. He was a fine hitting prospect, but farm hands Tim Naehring, Mo Vaughn, Scott Cooper and Phil Plantier all looked more promising. Besides, Bagwell was a skinny kid without a lot of home run power.

Transformed in Houston he became the Rookie of the Year in 1991 and NL MVP in 1994. The idea of giving up a native New England 1-2 punch of Bagwell and 1995 AL MVP Mo Vaughn tortured Red Sox fans.

Anderson pitched for four more seasons and earned a save in the 1993 NLCS for the Phillies. He finished his career during the 1994 strike, logging 14 plus seasons in the majors.

Andersen is now an announcer with a great set of pipes. It is safe to say he is not one of the most beloved former Red Sox of all time. Hopefully 3 recent World Series titles will heal that wound.

(Part of this was originally posted as part of a blog I wrote on January 6, 2015.)

Charlie Lea 1989 Fleer – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 14, 2017

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Most of these cards I do for this series, I just pull out of the shoebox in my closet and write about them with no regard of order nor of placing any significance on the date posted.

Sometimes I match things up. I had Giancarlo (Mike) Stanton, Mike Stanton and Mike Stanton on 3 straight days in June. That wasn’t an accident.

Today is also intentional. It is Bastille Day, the day of French Independence. Charlie Lea was born in France and played most of his career for the French speaking fans of Montreal. He is the Frenchiest of all Frenchies who ever Frenched in baseball history.

Naturally the card I have for him is when he briefly played with the Minnesota Twins.

Like most baseball players who were born in France, like Giants manager Bruce Bochy, he was the son of a serviceman stationed there. He did most of his growing up in Tennessee and went to University of Memphis when the Expos picked him in the 9th round of the 1978 draft.

Looking back, it was a pretty solid 9th round. The Reds drafted Charlie Liebrandt and the Dodgers drafted Steve Sax in that round. Consider that half of the first 12 players picked in the first round never made it to the majors, those teams would have been better off picking Liebrandt, Lea or Sax. But I digress.

He didn’t seem to go far after being drafted from University of Memphis, he played for the Memphis Chicks in 1878, 1979 and 1980 before a quick trip through Denver and making his big league debut with the Expos on June 12, 1980. He threw 8 strong innings, allowing a single run and getting the win.

He was a contributor to the Expos team that contended until the end of the season, going 7-5 with a 3.72.

In 1981, he got off to a clunky start, throwing some game out of the bullpen and not getting out of the 5th in a pair of starts.

Then on May 10, 1981, he faced the San Francisco Giants in the second game of a double header. He retired the first 9 batters he faced including Hall of Famer Joe Morgan and solid hitters like Enos Cabbell, Darrell Evans and Larry Herndon.

He allowed a walk to Bill North, but he was caught stealing. He retired Cabell and Morgan to finish the fourth. The fifth was 1-2-3 for Lea. So was the 6th and the 7th.

Into the 8th, he faced the minimum. And because of a Tim Wallach homer and RBI doubled from Rodney Scott and Andre Dawson, Lea (pronounced LEE) had a 4-0 lead going into the 8th.

He started losing his control when he walked 3 of the first 4 batters of the 8th. But thanks to a double play off the bat of Darrell Evans and a fly out by Billy Smith, Lea finished the 8th with no runs and most importantly, no hits.

In the 9th, Lea retired pinch hitter Jim Wohlford and Bill North. With only Enos Cabell standing in the way between Lea and a no hitter, it was no contest. Lea got Cabell to fly out and clinch the no hitter. Montreal went ecstatic for the French native and his no no.

Injuries kept him off the playoff roster in 1981 but by 1982, he was back in form. He pitched 177 2/3 innings in 1982, winning 12. By 1983, he was an elite pitcher, giving the Expos 16 wins and a 3.12 ERA over 222 innings.

He won the 1984 All Star Game, throwing a career high 224 1/3 innings, winning 15 and keeping his ERA down to 2.89.

Then his shoulder went out. The 27 year old All Star of 1984 missed all of 1985, 1986 and threw a single inning in 1987 where he was clobbered.

He made a comeback attempt with the Twins the year AFTER they won the World Series. He did not pitch badly, throwing 130 innings and posting a 4.85 ERA after missing 3 seasons. But he was out of gas.

Lea returned to Memphis to be the voice of the Triple A team’s radio broadcast until he died of a heart attack in 1981.

Beloved to this day by Montreal fans, the French born Lea gives us reason to cheer VIVE LA FRANCE on this Bastille Day.