With Alex Rodriguez’s benching by manager Joe Girardi for today’s fifth game of the ALDS against the Orioles, he finds himself connected to Hall of Famer Willie Mays - but not in a way A-Rod would want.
The only other time that a player with more than 600 home runs did not start a playoff game was Game 2 of the 1973 World Series when Mays, in his last season as a ballplayer, was not in the lineup for the Mets against the Oakland A’s. (He would pinch run for Rusty Staub in the 9th. The game would go 12 and Mays would end up 1-2 with an RBI and run scored.)
Random note: Mays final major league at-bat was in Game 4 of the World Series when he pinch hit for reliever Tug McGraw (then of Mets, best known as a Phillie) in the 10th inning. Mays grounded into a fielder’s choice.
A-Rod, copyright Elsa/Getty Images and courtesy si.com
The Say Hey Kid, courtesy thecrazymetsfan.com
Roger Jongewaard, Super Scout
In 2004, Roger Jongewaard was awarded the Roland Hemond Lifetime Achievement Award from Baseball America in honor of his career in baseball. Jongewaard was a scout, and a mighty good one at that.
Beginning with the New York Mets, Jongewaard pushed the team to draft future stars including Darryl Strawberry (#1 overall in 1980), Lenny Dykstra (13th round, 1981), and Billy Beane (#23 overall in 1980), who disappointed as a player, but made his name as the GM for the Oakland A’s and became famous as the subject of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball.
Jongewaard moved to the Seattle Mariners in 1985 and was instrumental in the decision to take a high school graduate from Moeller High School in Cincinnati: Ken Griffey, Jr. (#1 overall in 1987)*. Six years later, Jongewaard recommended drafting a high school shortstop from Florida named Alex Rodriguez (#1 overall in 1993).
Roger Jongewaard, who passed away at the age of 76, was named West Coast Scout of the Year in 2005 and was named a Legend in Scouting by the Professional Baseball Scouting Association in 2010.
Additional sources: USAToday.com and baseball-reference.com
(Image of Griffey courtey of pittpeas.mlbblogs.com; image of A-Rod is courtesy of North and South of Royal Brougham; image of Darryl Strawberry is courtesy of sikids.com and copyright of Manny Millan/SI.)
* Jongewaard convinced the Mariners to take Griffey over Cal State-Fullerton pitcher Mike Harkey. Harkey was drafted 4th by the Cubs. He would play for 8 seasons for four different teams, finishing with a 36-36 career record.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 630th home run today
tying Ken Griffey, Jr. for fifth place on the all-time list.
And no. one. cares.
Ladies and gentlemen…The Steroids Era!