Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bruce Campbell, 1931 Chicago White Sox

Bruce “Soupy” Campbell entered the 1931 season as a fresh-faced 21 year-old backup outfielder with just 11 career plate appearances under his belt. The Chicago-born youth could probably have helped the Sox out immediately if Pale Hose manager Donie Bush hadn’t felt so committed to his undistinguished outfield of Johnny Watwood, Lew Fonseca, and Carl Reynolds. As the team’s part-time fifth outfielder, stuck behind 33 year-old Bob Fothergill (85 OPS+), “Beef and Barley” Campbell made the most of his limited playing time. Collecting just 18 plate appearances, “Cream of Tomato” became the first (and only) player in Major League history to collect 15 or more total bases in five or fewer games (he played four). Playing one week’s worth of games, “Chicken Noodle” bashed out two home runs (good for a fourth-place tie on the team that year), two doubles, a .412/.444/.882 line, and an amazing 250 OPS+. This remarkable performance seemed only to agitate White Sox management, however. Following a 93-loss 1931 season, the team traded “Bisque” (too many?) to the Cleveland Indians for starting pitcher Bump Hadley, who the Sox would then flip for Luke Sewell and utility infielder Red Kress (Kress would accrue 528 undistinguished plate appearances for the team before being traded for someone named Bob Boken). “Jambalaya” [note: I’m so sorry] thrived after leaving Chicago. As the White Sox were suffering through a 49-102 season in 1932, a record made possible by the play of starting outfielder Liz Funk (78 OPS+), Soupy received 593 plate appearances with the hapless St. Louis Browns, collecting 268 total bases, knocking in 85 runs, and serving as one of the few bright spots on the 91-loss team. Campbell went on to have a substantial career, starting for Detroit in the 1940 World Series and accumulating 91 RBI. Over the course of his career, Campbell had a .290/.367/.455 slash line and a 109 OPS+ average per 162 games. Never a superstar, it’s still safe to say the Chisox did not properly respect the abilities of…ready for it?... "Gazpacho."

5- G, 15+ TB

No comments:

Post a Comment