Dan Quisenberry’s 85 mile-per-hour fastball had batters sprinting to the plate to face him. And just as quickly, those batters were usually returning to the bench after a two-hopper to the shortstop.
With a submarine delivery that produced one of the game’s best sinkerballs, Quisenberrry became one of baseball’s best relievers of the 1980s. Now, he is a candidate for the Hall of Fame.
For a time, Dave Parker was the undisputed best player in Major League Baseball.
And though his career took more than a few unexpected twists, the numbers Parker left behind tell the story of a player who could do it all.
“I was a five-tool player,” Parker said. “I could do it all, but perhaps too controversial.”
The business of baseball, with some minor bumps, ran in the owners’ favor for almost 100 years.
Marvin Miller changed that.
Only one manager in the history of baseball has skippered one team five different times.
Billy Martin may be a controversial figure in New York Yankees history, but what is indisputable was the success he found on the diamond.
For Tony La Russa, managing a Major League Baseball team was way down on his list of career goals.
First, it was big league player. Then, he wanted to be a lawyer. But when he finally found his true calling, La Russa needed little time to establish that he was one of the best skippers the game has ever seen.
His name has become part of the sports lexicon, thanks to a surgery he helped pioneer.
But lost in the medical definitions and comeback stories is the pitching career Tommy John fashioned for nearly three decades. And it’s that career that has led him to the edge of immortality in Cooperstown.
For baseball fans in the 1970s, consistency had a name: Steve Garvey.
More often than not, that name appeared on awards, All-Star Game rosters and postseason record lists – because Steve Garvey was consistently excellent.
Although Bobby Cox’s playing days were cut short by injuries, he set out on a trail that led him to a long and successful career as one of the game’s most highly regarded managers.
In an amazing run, Cox, the one-time infielder, would skipper big league teams for three decades, accumulating more than 2,500 victories by the time he retired after the 2010 season. But his greatest accomplishments came during his second stint with the Atlanta Braves, when he led the franchise to 14 straight division crowns and a World Series title.
In an era where shortstops were fielders first, Davey Concepcion was one of the best.
In an era where shortstops were not expected to contribute much offensively, Davey Concepcion emerged as one of the most consistent hitters on Cincinnati’s legendary Big Red Machine.
Now, as the Expansion Era Committee considers candidates for Cooperstown, Davey Concepcion stands on the verge of the Hall of Fame.
The following are quote excerpts from Wednesday’s teleconference following the BBWAA Hall of Fame election announcement.
JI = Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson
JO=BBWAA secretary/treasurer Jack O’Connell