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Thursday, May 29, 2008

1976 Topps Tribute: A Rookie in Turmoil

I thought I would combine my tribute to 1976 Topps with the current headlines concerning the Mets. Willie Randolph, current Mets manager, first showed up in the big leagues in 1975 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He looks pretty much the same except I think he may have stolen Jerry Royster's little mustache:
Randolph only had 61 ABs that year and was traded to the Yankees along with Ken Brett and Dock Ellis for Doc Medich. Doc was called Doc because of his last name. Dock, on the other hand, was named that by his parents. Maybe they dreamed of having a boat and somewhere to put it.

Willie was immediately good for the Yankees. He was an All-Star his first two years and received MVP votes in his third. He was a 6-time All-Star and played for 18 years, his last with the Mets. He won 1 World Series in 4 chances as a player.

Roy Staiger, the Met, played 3 years in the bigs before being traded for Sergio Ferrer. Those 2 players were identically terrible.

Dave McKay currently coaches first base for the St. Louis Cardinals. He also co wrote a weight training book with Jose Canseco. Somehow I don't think that should go on the resume. His playing career is not mentioned for obvious reasons.

Besides Randolph, Jerry Royster is the star of the bunch. He was never an All-Star, rarely above average, but played a respectable 16 years in the Majors. Why did he last so long? He had speed and his career path after playing shows he knows baseball. He has managed on every level and currently manages the Lotte Giants of the Korean Baseball Organization. Royster is the first foreigner to manage in the league's history.

That brings us back to Randolph. His Mets have arguably been as successful as the Bobby Valentine era Mets. But the post season has either been a disaster (7-game lose as heavy favorite to St.Louis in '06) or nonexistent (historic collapse in '07) The '08 squad is playing .500 baseball. Can Willie keep his job? Probably not. In this day and age of big market baseball, you have to win or be fired. It isn't necessarily fair but that is the way that it is. I don't think it is Willie's fault that pitching has been questionable at best the last few years. He didn't sign Delgado to a huge deal but he is enamored with Damion Easley. He does make decisions on a daily basis. He does control the climate of the clubhouse to some degree.

Two good weeks of baseball could put them right back in the hunt. Santana is great and a ever-withering Pedro is on the horizon. Reyes is hot and Wright could be one of the best. Who knows what could happen. Right now my pick for the East is between the Phillies and Braves.

Next Up: Bats - choking up and cheating?


dayf said...

Jerry Royster IS the star of the bunch!

MMayes said...

George Medich was nicknamed "Doc" because of a Wild West gunslinger.

Oh, wait. Medich got that nickname because he was going to medical school.