Monday, November 3, 2014

#313 Greg Hibbard

About the Front: Sometimes, a man just has to take notice of his surroundings, let out a deep breath, and exclaim, "Ahh! The dugout. Home sweet home."

About the Back: Greg Hibbard's four-hitter against the Royals was also his only career shutout, as it so happened.

Triple Play:

1. Given the depth of the White Sox' pitching staff, featuring Jack McDowell, Alex Fernandez, and Wilson Alvarez, the team left Hibbard unprotected in the November 1992 expansion draft. The Marlins took him with their 12th pick and flipped him to the Cubs for infielders Alex Arias and Gary Scott. Now pitching uptown, the lefty went 15-11 with a 3.96 ERA for the Cubs in 1993. No southpaw since Ken Holtzman in 1970 had notched a 15-win season for the Cubbies.

2. Greg signed a three-year, $6.75 million contract with the Mariners but was only able to provide 80.2 ugly innings in 1994 (1-5, 6.69 ERA, 1.81 WHIP) as a return on the team's investment. Shoulder troubles cost him part of 1994, all of 1995 and 1996, and ultimately his career. He retired in the spring of 1997, never having regained his former strength.

3. He has been a minor league coach ever since, spending the past dozen years in the Cleveland Indians organization.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: This photo might look cheesy now, but I always liked a card that depicted a player enjoying himself, staged or not. There weren't a lot of dugout shots in 1993 Topps, anyhow, and variety is the spice of life.

Bill James Said: "Tommy John-type pitchers have four defining characteristics: they're lefthanded, have excellent control, get 70% ground balls, and cut off the running game." So if only Hibbard had blown out his elbow instead of his shoulder, he may have hung around for another decade or two.

On This Date in 1993: November 3. Alan Trammell re-ups with the Tigers for another year. The six-time All-Star shortstop will be 36 on Opening Day, 1994, and will hit .267/.307/.414 in just 76 games in the coming season.

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