Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hal Lanier, 1968 San Francisco Giants

Sometimes I feel like, if you wanted to manage in the Major Leagues before 1998, you'd be best served taking a few rising fastballs to the head first. I mean, you'd think that Giants manager Herman Franks, who had led his club to a 279-206 record over the previous three seasons, would have the wherewithal to look at the Twins and mutter "what the shit is Ermer doing keeping Versalles in the lineup?" Apparently this was not the case, however. Enter: Hal Lanier, 25 year-old starting shortstop and son of former All Star Max Lanier. Though Hal wasn't prohibitively terrible with the bat his rookie year (75 OPS+ in 1964), he had gotten worse each of the following three years (51, 50, 48), culminating in a 38 OPS+ in 1968. How bad is a 38+ OPS? Well, in 2008, Andruw Jones's historically terrible season gained him a 34. Meanwhile, Kenji Johjima's craptacular season yielded a 64. But Lanier's cancer bat didn't concern Coach Franks, and Lanier became the only player in history to accumulate 500 or more plate appearances (518) with an on-base percentage of .225 or lower (.222). This didn't have to be the case, but Lanier didn't want to fuck up his .461 OPS by walking more than twelve times. God, Herman Franks was a moron.

500+ plate appearances, .225- on-base percentage

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