Monday, September 2, 2013

#69 John Vander Wal

About the Front: The protruding tongue doesn't really work for anyone but Michael Jordan. Of course, the photographer could've just caught John Vander Wal preparing to spit out a mouthful of sunflower seeds.

About the Back: Civil War history, snowmobiling, and R-C vehicles...Vander Wal is a true renaissance man.

Triple Play: 

1. In 1995, John set a record with 28 successful pinch hits in a season. He batted .389/.471/.681 (28-for-72) with four homers and 17 RBI.

2. Though he spent most of his career as a reserve player, Vander Wal got 461 plate appearances for the Pirates in 2000 and set career highs with 24 home runs and 94 RBI.

3. After he retired in 2004, John became a scout for the Padres.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I wasn't sure if it was "Vander Wal", "Van Der Wal" (as it appeared on his 1992 Donruss card), or "VanderWal". Names are hard.

Bill James Said: "Vander Wal's '93 season isn't as weak as it looks; his secondary average was .293, and he was playing in a pitcher's park and doing a lot of pinch hitting." He hit .233 with a .320 on=base percentage in 244 trips to the plate.

On This Date in 1993: September 2. Snoop Dogg and his bodyguard are charged with the murder of a 20-year-old gang member in an August 25 drive-by shooting. They will be cleared of the charges in 1996.

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