Small State Heroes
While cruising www.baseball-reference.com I noticed that Kevin Mench, recently aquired by the Blue Jays has been quietly creeping up on the all-time home run record from players born in Delaware.
Mench has 89 career homers and the three way tie between Dave May, John Mabry and Randy Bush at 96 is at stake. You may remember these players but I am sure many would be hard up to name a player or pitcher from Delaware. There have only been 48 major leaguers to hail from The First State.
California has had over 1800 major leaguers suit up. Followed by Pennsylvania, New York, Illionis and Ohio respectively. After that there is a bit of a drop off. Some states will surprise you, 211 from Iowa, 345 from Indiana, 298 from Alabama, only 264 from Virginia. Yes baseball is an old sport and some of these states suffer from historical underepresentation (Arizona) or overrepresentation (Alabama). An interactive colour-coded map with roll-over pop ups would be money here but to no avail, here is the list of the 17 states who have not yet had 100 Major Leaguers and their greatest hitter and pitcher.
Hank Leiber – 3 time AS with ChiC and NYG in the 30s-40s, career ended early due to WW2. Career line of .288/.356/.462.
John Denny – ’83 CYA winner with PHI. 13 quality season with a .532 WPCT makes him the best pick.
Johnny Frederick – Played only 6 full seasons for Brklyn, forgettable player with a decent line of .308/.357/.477.
Goose Gossage – ’08 HOFer. One of the toughest relievers of all time. Long, dignified ML career.
George Gore – Played in 14 seasons and 1300 games in the 19thC. Career line of .301/.386/.411.
Bob Stanley – One of the greatest Firemen. Got Mookie Wilson to ground out weakly to Bill Buckner on 25 Oct 1986…
Rhode Island 71
Nap Lajoie – ’37 HOFer. One of the greatest hitters of all time. Over 3200 hits, 5 AL batting titles, .338 career average.
Clem Labine – Great Dodger reliever in the 50s-60s. Led NL in saves twice.
New Hamphire 50
Bernie Friberg – Decent ML career in the 20’s. Mostly with the Phils, career line of .281/.356/.373.
Mike Flanagan – 1979 CYA. 18 yrs, 167 Wins, all with Balt or Tor. One of the best from 1977-84.
Delino DeShields – 13 yrs with 5 teams. Had decent career record for hits, runs, SB, 3B.
Sadie McMahon – Won 173 games in just 9 season. Led Baltimore to 3 straight NL pennants in 1890’s.
Carlton Fisk – ’00 HOFer. One of the best hitting catchers of all-time. 11 time all-star. Very arrogant.
Ray Fisher – An average pitcher with the New York Highlanders. 100 career wins.
South Dakota 36
Dave Collins – Journeyman outfielder with tonnes of speed. 395 career SB. More 3B than HR.
Floyd Bannister – Journeyman pitcher. Had decent seasons in mid 1980s with CWS and Sea.
Duke Sims – Utah’s greatest hitter should be called Duke sLims. Over 11 yrs .239/.340/.401 line.
Bruce Hurst – Won 136 games betwen 1983-92. Great lefty for Boston and San Diego
Shane Victorino – Current Phillie. Lots of steals.
Charlie Hough – Dinosaur knuckleballer. Holds record for most times striking out 4 in an inning.
Harmon Killebrew – ’84 HOFer, ’69 MVP, 15 time AS. Retired as 5th alltime with 573 HR’s.
Vern Law – ’60 CYA, all-time great Pirate, 162 wins in 16 season in Steeltown.
Marty Cordova – Forgettable outfield with a little pop. Played through the ’90s with a .274/.344/.448 line.
Barry Zito – ’00 CYA. Once the highest paid pitcher in ML. Tonnes up potential, career has popped like his name minus ‘o’.
New Mexico 21
Ralph Kiner – ’75 HOFer. 369 dingers in only 10 seasons. 6 time AS. Led NL in HR 7 times. .279/.398/.548 career line.
Duane Ward – Arm troubles shortend career of a great reliever. 121 career saves. Out of baseball by the time he was 30.
John Lowenstein – Ordinary player. Played 15 season with a line of .253/.337/.403.
Dave McNally – 3 time AS. 184 career wins and a .604 WPCT, makes him an Orioles favourite.
North Dakota 15
Darin Erstad – 2 time AS. Career line of .285/.339/.412. meh.
Rick Helling – A respectable 91-83 lifetime. Had a solid 1998 with Tex 20-7 dispite 4.41 ERA.
Mike Lansing – Solid middle infielder with Montreal and Colorado. 1110 games over 9 seasons.
Tom Browning – 1991 AS. Perhaps the best pitcher in the NL, between 1985-90. 123 career wins.
Josh Phelps – Can’t play a position. A decent .273/.344/.476 line over 7 seasons.
Curt Shilling – ’93 LCS MVP, ’01 WSMVP. 10-2 Postseason record. Borderline HOFer.