Tuesday, July 1, 2014
#242 Charlie O'Brien
About the Back: Who knew that Charlie was a collegiate slugger? He didn't exceed 25 career home runs in the majors until 1995, his tenth season.
1. He pioneered and popularized the hockey-style catcher's mask while playing in Toronto, as this style offered better impact absorption for foul tips.
2. With the 1996 Blue Jays, O'Brien set career highs with 109 games played, 13 home runs, and 44 RBI.
3. Charlie hit his second (and final) career triple on April 27, 1997, a decade after his first three-bagger. Teammate Dan Plesac quipped that the games were still shown in black and white the last time O'Brien tripled.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I still identify Charlie most by his two years as Greg Maddux's personal catcher in 1994-1995 with the Braves.
Bill James Said: "He is an exceptional defensive catcher, better than Hundley, and would have had a good career if he could have hit .255 consistently." He couldn't; his lifetime average was .221, but he still made it into 800 games in 15 seasons and won a ring with Atlanta in 1995.
On This Date in 1993: July 1. The Braves sign a pair of international amateur free agents, pitcher Bruce Chen and outfielder Andruw Jones. Who would've thought that Chen would be the one from that pair still active in MLB today?