Thursday, October 23, 2014

#306 Damon Berryhill

About the Front: Damon Berryhill can pat his head and rub his hip at the same time! Now that is true talent.

About the Back: So, which poor soul was so offensively inept that he was pinch-hit for by Berryhill? As you may have guessed, it was a pitcher. Damon batted for reliever Mark Davis and blasted a 2-2 offering from Larry Andersen down the right field line for his first career walk-off homer. The Braves had already used Mark Lemke, Jeff Blauser, and Lonnie Smith off of the bench before turning to their reserve catcher.

Triple Play:

1. Two weeks after the Cubs first played under lights at Wrigley Field, Damon hit the first homer for a Chicago player in a night game in the Friendly Confines. It's a two-run shot against Houston's Mike Scott on August 22, 1988. Later in the game, he adds a go-ahead three-run shot off of Joaquin Andujar. It is the only multi-homer game of his career.

2. As the Braves' primary catcher in the 1992 World Series, Berryhill had only two hits in 22 at-bats, but one of those was a three-run homer off of Jack Morris that provided the margin of victory in a 3-1 Atlanta victory in the Series opener.

3. He was the minor league catching coordinator for the Diamondbacks and then the Rangers before getting into minor-league managing. He has skippered Dodgers' farm teams since 2009, most recently piloting the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes in 2014.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I always perceived something of a smirk in Damon's expression on this card. He could be looking at his first base coach after an iffy called strike, as if to say, "Can you believe that?".

Bill James Said: "The Braves and the Blue Jays are in similar positions, in that both have outstanding catching prospects who are ready or nearly ready to play, but also have incumbent catchers who, while they aren't much with the bat, have nonetheless become integral parts of teams which are winning." Atlanta let Berryhill go to Boston as a free agent in 1994, handed Javy Lopez the starting job, and never looked back. Carlos Delgado didn't stick behind the plate in Toronto, but did okay for himself as a first baseman.

On This Date in 1993: October 23.The Troubles, the ongoing violence between Unionists and loyalists in Northern Ireland, claims nine more civilian victims as a Provisional IRA bomb goes off prematurely in the Shankill area of Belfast. The bomber is also killed in the blast. The intended targets were loyalist paramilitary leaders who were expected to be meeting above a fish shop in the area.

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