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  1. awesome.

    Comment by big baby — August 18, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  2. A little late for an April Fools joke, isn’t it?

    Comment by Nick — August 18, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  3. Someone’s been reading his DFW.

    Enjoyed the essay, but am a little confused. Are you one of the aforementioned “Statheads”? Or is that a total non-sequitor from your Mark Bellhorn adoration?

    I also feel that it’s worth mentioning that Bellhorn doesn’t fit into any of the categories you listed.

    Comment by Nate — August 18, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  4. I assume some people won’t like this type of post because it isn’t using stats and trends to give us insight on performance. I, personally, am a little resistant to it for that reason, but I found myself reading the whole thing and enjoying it.


    Comment by Pat — August 18, 2009 @ 2:58 pm

  5. Fantastic.

    Incidentally, I totally have mancrushes on Scott Hatteberg, Jack Cust, and Mark Ellis.

    Comment by Dan — August 18, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  6. The idea of Mark Bellhorn was a pretty good one, but I think what Theo Epstein was hoping for when he signed him was more like Adam Dunn.

    Comment by dragonflyball — August 18, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  7. Brief Interviews with Hideous Ballplayers?

    Comment by Keegs — August 18, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  8. I’m partial to Todd Walker for odd-ball crushes.

    Comment by Matt B. — August 18, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  9. This reminds me a bit of another treaty on the genealogy of love, Plato’s Syposium, which isn’t all that surprising ‘cuz, just like Diotima’s conception of love as a beggarly boy, Mark Bellhorn sleeps in doorways, and is a master of artifice and deception.

    Comment by RPMcSweeney — August 18, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  10. I hope one day to admire the romantic loner who ignores the conventional OBP-centric wisdom and hacks at first pitches and sliders in the dirt.

    Comment by Tim S. — August 18, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

  11. jeff francoeur is pretty good looking. does that help at all?

    Comment by big baby — August 18, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

  12. treatise

    Comment by brendan — August 18, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  13. I was thinking Bobby Crosby myself.

    Comment by Dan — August 18, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

  14. Love it. I’m an A’s fan and amongst my circle of A’s fan friends we regularly refer to Mark Ellis as the Best Player in Baseball (or BPIB for short). Partly in jest, partly serious. Point 1 definitely comes really close but it’s not just in the stats- it’s also appreciating the underlying value when watching the game itself. Watching Ellis glide effortlessly to his left to make a rangy play look routine. Watching Cust flex his iron will as he takes balls 2 inches off the plate to work the count full and then earn a walk after falling behind early in the count. There’s real beauty there and it’s all the more valuable because you can miss it so easily if you’re not paying attention. My wife and I recently got a pair of kittens and I was happy to convince her on the names Jack and Elly.

    Another note is that part of the factor here is a “diamond in the rough” designation. Cust/Ellis/Hatteberg were all acquired as essentially freely available talent. Amongst the Big Three Tim Hudson was always my favorite because he was the 14th rounder making good as opposed to the high profile picks of Mulder/Zito. On the current pitching staff there isn’t a single player more compelling than Dallas Braden for similar reasons (and his devotion to the town of Stockton scores extra points here) and I definitely love me some Brad Ziggler.

    Great column.

    Comment by Tim — August 18, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

  15. Shouldn’t the statnerd hero always and forever be Brian Bannister?

    Comment by Bill — August 18, 2009 @ 3:36 pm

  16. Yuniesky Betancourt?

    Comment by Benne — August 18, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  17. nerdjoke fail

    Comment by RPMcSweeney — August 18, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  18. More nominees:

    Josh Phelps
    Jim Mecir
    Bobby Kielty
    Jeremy Affeldt (pre-bullpen)
    Rafael Soriano (pre-bullpen)
    Andy Sonnanstine
    Matt Murton

    Comment by Ben — August 18, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  19. Ah, Bucky Jacobsen, we hardly knew ye.

    Comment by NadavT — August 18, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  20. Kila Kaaihue!!!!

    Comment by Will — August 18, 2009 @ 4:05 pm

  21. Who are you? You just started writing here and at THT, where did you come from?

    Comment by Nick — August 18, 2009 @ 4:18 pm

  22. He’s Carson Cistulli. It’s at the top of the article.

    *pulled from the vault of completely unhelpful comments*

    Comment by TCQ — August 18, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  23. Haha.

    How about ridiculously washed-up players?

    I’m still waiting for a Jeff Fassero comeback.

    Comment by gnomez — August 18, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  24. Dumb. Bring back useful posts that teach me stuff.

    Comment by Shush — August 18, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  25. Seconded. I saw Sal Fasano catch a few games for the Colrado Springs Sky Sox. I think he’s still got something left in the tank.

    Comment by RPMcSweeney — August 18, 2009 @ 4:50 pm

  26. Sex Muscles Branyan!

    Comment by mkd — August 18, 2009 @ 5:02 pm

  27. Pablo Sandoval? Unlike the other guys listed though, he’s actually good.

    Comment by Nick — August 18, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

  28. I was critical of your first post, but you’ve won me over here. Your description of your feelings toward Bellhorn in 2004/5 mirror mine 100%. As a Red Sox fan, he was bar none my favorite player on the 2004 team during the regular season, and when he suddenly turned into Mr. October en route to their first championship in 1000 years, it was too perfect for words.

    Comment by Nick — August 18, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  29. The one player I always recall have an irrational liking to regardless of context was Ryan Klesko. Maybe it was the fact that his name rules.

    Interestingly enough, looking at his B-R page he had a much, much better career than I ever remember him having. Would he be considered undervalued in his time?

    Comment by Joel — August 18, 2009 @ 6:14 pm

  30. Bring back commenters that had something worth saying.

    Comment by joser — August 18, 2009 @ 6:35 pm

  31. Guilty as charged/

    Comment by Brendon — August 18, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

  32. Oil can Boyd.
    Never knew why except he was a string bean of a pitcher who threw, and did, strange and bizarre stuff.

    Comment by toratoratora — August 19, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  33. Yes, the two times this guy has ever written have really hamstrung Fangraphs and prevented it from publishing meaningful baseball analysis.

    Comment by Teej — August 19, 2009 @ 11:14 am

  34. makes sense to me

    Comment by Luke — August 19, 2009 @ 12:42 pm

  35. How does Bellhorn not fit #1? I mean, not now, but in his MLB career, esp. his 2004 yr with Boston?

    Comment by puck — August 19, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  36. I’ve had a Wily Mo Pena mancrush for quite some time, but I think it’s time we part ways. I always hoped the Pirates would get him and just give him a full season’s worth of playing time and just see what it would amount to.

    Comment by Pat — August 19, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  37. For what it’s worth, Mark was/is one of my closest friends since we were in 5th grade. I actually just took my 9 year old son out to Colorado Springs to see Mark for 4 days. Mark DOES still have game and for a (soon-to-be in a few days) 35 year old I agree that he could still add value to an MLB team.

    He’s a consummate professional…he’s never been on a stage that intimidates him…and literally every clubhouse he’s ever been a part of will agree that he’s a steady calm among the players which comes in handy during the playoffs.

    As you were willing to admit Carson, I’m a bit bias due to Mark being my friend but I too just LOVED watching Mark patiently take a good pitch to wait for what he knew was his perfect pitch. Did it result in him getting called out on a 3rd strike that was slightly off the outside corner, sure…but that’s an art that has been lost during the recent MLB trend to swing-at-anything-as-long-as-you-swing-hard philosophy.

    Bottom line, my son will forever be a Mark Bellhorn fan and I can only WISH that he develops half the level of baseball skill that Mark has realized during his career!!

    Comment by Todd — August 19, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  38. My favorite Bellhorn stat: in 2004 he struck out in 29.7% of his PA — except with a runner on 3B and less than 2 out, where he fanned 10.5% (the first one coming, IIRC, in late June or early July) while hitting .345 / .421 / .793.

    Which leads naturally to the crucial question is: if you take WPA (the ultimate measure of actual value, even if it’s less predictive that many other metrics) and adjust for PT and defensive position, and then add defensive value according to UZR and Plus / Minus, who was the MVP of the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox?

    Actually, the answer is Curt Schilling. But how about among position players?

    I’ve asked this question of many intelligent Sox fans, and even after telling them they won’t get it with five guesses, they still don’t get it.

    Not Ortiz, not Manny, not Damon, not Varitek, not Mueller … aha! they chorus. “Kevin Millar? You’re kidding.”

    And of course it’s not Millar, either. Astute readers will of course have guessed the actual answer, as they already know the answer to the question “which Boston Red Sox had a higher OBP and SA in the WS than the alleged MVP Manny Ramirez while playing at the other end of the defensive spectrum, and furthermore had the crucial hit in the first and only contested game, and was therefore one of the easiest MVP choices in WS history?”

    That Mark Bellhorn could be the actual, true regular-season positional player AND World Series MVPs and get booed out of town the next year … only in Boston.

    (Todd, if you see this and pass it on to Mark, you might note that the author of this opinion is not just some Internet crackpot but one of Theo’s former baseball ops consultants.)

    Comment by Eric M. Van — August 19, 2009 @ 4:26 pm

  39. Bellhorn’s success in the 2004 postseason was in some sense a representation of the triumphant of ‘new’ stats over ‘traditional’ stats in the mainstream. A majority of Red Sox fans wanted Bellhorn benched in the playoffs for Pokey Reese, only to later witness Bellhorn hit a homer in 3 straight games. Of course, they later boo’d him out of town, but don’t let that dim my glowing recollection of GODHORN.

    Comment by sheahilly — August 19, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  40. Swing and a pop-up….

    Comment by Matt Sisson — August 20, 2009 @ 9:59 am

  41. Not only does he hack at first pitch sliders in the dirt, he might very well hit them out of the park.

    Comment by B — August 20, 2009 @ 10:10 am

  42. There was definitely a period in time Klesko was very highly regarded in baseball. When he was in his mid-20′s on the Braves, he was definitely considered among baseball’s best young players.

    Comment by B — August 20, 2009 @ 10:14 am

  43. I think any Sox fan worth his salt loved Dinghonk.

    Comment by Tom — August 20, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  44. So many of my friends focused on all the things Bellhorn DIDN’T do well, that they couldn’t see all the things he did well. I even named my fantasy team Mark of the Hellborn in 2005. Love that guy, and his AF hair.

    Comment by StevieStats — August 21, 2009 @ 2:01 pm

  45. Genealogy: A hay stack full of needles. It’s the threads I need.

    Comment by Roland — March 20, 2010 @ 6:58 am

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