Friday, December 19, 2014

#345 Harold Baines

About the Front: In 1992, the Athletics celebrated their 25th anniversary in Oakland with this monstrously ugly logo patch, which can be seen on Harold Baines' right sleeve.

About the Back: After the 1992 season, Harold's knees were in such bad shape that he spent the last nine seasons (986 games total) exclusively as a DH, save for two innings in right field with the White Sox in 1997.

Triple Play:

1. Baines was famously scouted by Chicago owner Bill Veeck when the former was still playing Little League on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. (Veeck lived nearby at the time.)

2. His solo home run off of Milwaukee's Chuck Porter on May 9, 1984 gave the White Sox a 7-6, 25-inning win in the longest game in MLB history. It had started the night before, was suspended in the 18th inning, and resumed prior to the next day's scheduled game. The total game time was eight hours and six minutes.

3. Chicago retired his number 3 jersey in August of 1989 after trading the longtime favorite to the Rangers for a package including a young Sammy Sosa. He became the third player to have his number retired while still active, joining Frank Robinson and Phil Niekro. Harold returned to the Pale Hose twice before retiring, for one and a half seasons in 1996-1997 and then again at the end of his career (2000-2001). He has been on the team's coaching staff for the last decade.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Baines was one of my favorite players. Despite being close to immobile by the time he got to Baltimore in 1993, he just kept hitting effectively, all the way up until age 42. Just as with Chicago, he had three separate stints with the O's, and hit a cumulative .301/.379/.502 (127 OPS+) in 666 games with the hometown team.

Bill James Said: "Pulled past 2,000 hits in late July; the odds against his getting 3,000 are about 20 to 1." As I mentioned, Harold hung in there until the 21st century, and finished with 2,866 hits, still good for 43rd-most all-time.

On This Date in 1993: December 19. Cory Snide, an actor and dancer best known for portraying the titular role in the Broadway musical Billy Elliott, is born.

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