Me, Elsewhere: Not Tall, Just Good

My latest Hardball Times article focuses on the little people. I’m not talking metaphorically here:

I thought it might be fun to highlight some players who enjoyed considerable success despite being “vertically challenged.” Since I’m such a fan of creating fake teams, I decided to assemble a squad of short players who were also very good (or good players who were also very short, if you prefer).

There are a few Padres connections. Matt Stairs is our team’s first baseman, while former first-base coach Davey Lopes is our reserve infielder. Also, pretty much by default, Fred Norman is our left-handed pitcher.

Norman spent parts of 1971-1973 in San Diego and went a remarkable 13-30. His record everywhere else was 91-73, but playing for the Padres back then would do that to a guy. Still, he retains a place in our hearts.

I tried coming up with a short (5’9″ and under) team for the Padres, but it wasn’t easy. Here are the best guys I found at each position:

Pos Player              PA   BA  OBP  SLG OPS+ Comment
C   Humberto Quintero  102 .242 .284 .337  68  He was our only choice
1B  Alex Pelaez          8 .250 .250 .250  39  See Quintero; a local product
2B  Quilvio Veras     1788 .270 .366 .353  95  Hey, an actual good player
3B  Luis Salazar      2383 .267 .298 .375  90  All-time Padres leader in games played at 3B
SS  Enzo Hernandez    2609 .225 .283 .267  61  The legend
LF  Eric Young         310 .241 .320 .348  69  It was either him or Tony Gonzalez
CF  Jarvis Brown       157 .233 .335 .331  78  See Pelaez
RF  Jim Vatcher         44 .222 .349 .250  71  See Brown
UT  David Eckstein     893 .268 .325 .341  88  Haters be hatin'
UT  Jerry Turner      1686 .259 .321 .390 103  Our best hitter played all three OF positions

                 IP  W-L   ERA ERA+
RHP Tom Phoebus 139  3-12 4.60  72
LHP Fred Norman 413 13-30 3.55  94

There are many ways to make the Padres look bad, but I may have found the worst. What a terrible All-Short team they have.

Anyway, the squad I managed to assemble drawing from a larger pool of players is quite good; it includes Hall of Famers and everything. But don’t take my word for it, read the full article.

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4 Responses »

  1. Mel Ott
    5’9″ ; 170 lbs
    511 HRs; 304/414/533
    Not only was he short, he had a short name. While never a Padre, he is the first player I always think of in discussions like this.

    [Only after leaving the comment did I see that you were looking only at players from 1961 forward.]

  2. @Didi: Those are some impressive numbers Tim Collins is posting: 15.3 K/9 this year, 13.8 for the career. Could he be the new Mike Holtz?

    @parlo: Ott is one of the all-time great short players. He, Joe Morgan, and Eddie Collins are (metaphorically speaking) head and shoulders above the rest.

  3. Hey, it looks like those guys are at my level. Geoff, I have a question for you: What happened to Padres pitcher James Needy? He was drafted last year and played a little for the AZL Padres, but he has not played this year. And another question: Why isn’t Donavan Tate playing regularly for the AZL Padres?

    Thank you.