Thursday, June 11, 2015

#437 Chris Hammond

About the Front: That's not the yawning abyss behind Chris Hammond; it's probably just the batter's eye.

About the Back: Hammond hit that home run off of John Burkett; it was a two-run shot in the bottom of the fourth that gave Cincinnati a 4-3 lead. He was no slouch with the bat, finishing his career with a line of .202/.285/.290, four homers, and 14 RBI in 286 plate appearances.

Triple Play:

1. His older brother Steve was an outfielder, and batted .230 with one home run and 11 RBI in 46 games with the Royals in 1982. The elder Hammond spent a large part of seven different seasons in AAA, and finished his career in Japan in 1987 with the Nankai Hawks.

2. Chris was the AAA American Association's Pitcher of the Year in 1990, when he led the league with 15 wins, a 2.17 ERA, and 149 strikeouts, becoming the first pitcher in the league's modern incarnation (1969-1997) to capture the Triple Crown.

3. Hammond had shoulder surgery in 1998 and retired to a 200+ acre horse ranch in Randolph County, AL with his family. He returned to baseball in 2001 and was back in the big leagues the following year as a full-time reliever, with a sparkling 0.96 ERA in 76 innings for the Braves. He spent one season apiece with Atlanta, the Yankees, the Athletics, the Padres, and the Reds before retiring for good after the 2006 season.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I always identify Chris Hammond as a Marlin, since that's where he was pitching when I picked up on baseball.

Bill James Said: "He was pounded senseless the second half, which has been his habit - in his career he is 22-14 before the break, but 3-17 after."

On This Date in 1993: June 11. The Blue Jays fill a need at shortstop, reacquiring Tony Fernandez from the Mets in exchange for outfielder Darrin Jackson. Fernandez, who had been a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover in his first stint with Toronto (1983-1990), is invigorated by the trade, batting .306/.361/.442 with the Jays. He'd managed an anemic .225/.323/.295 line in 48 games in New York.

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