Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#465 Tony Fernandez

About the Front: Great picture, with Barry Bonds barreling into second base in an attempt to break up the double play and Tony Fernandez suspended in midair, completing the relay throw to first. My crack research shows that this shot was taken during the May 17, 1992 game in Pittsburgh. In the bottom of the first, Bonds was hit by an Andy Benes pitch to load the bases. Gary Varsho slapped a grounder to second baseman Tim Teufel. Teufel threw to Fernandez to force Bonds at second base, but Varsho beat out the relay to first and Orlando Merced scored from third. Ultimately the Padres won 6-5, with Fernandez collecting a pair of singles, a walk, an RBI, and two runs scored in five plate appearances.

About the Back: Tony's 17 triples in 1990 blew away the competition, with National League leader Mariano Duncan totaling 11 three-baggers and American League runner-up Sammy Sosa notching 10.

Triple Play:

1. Fernandez won four straight Gold Gloves at shortstop, 1986-1989. He also made the All-Star team in 1986, 1987, 1989, 1992, and 1999. The 1999 season saw him reach career highs with a .328 average, .427 on-base percentage, 41 doubles, 75 RBI, and a 125 OPS+ at age 37.

2. Tony batted .327 in 43 career postseason games, and drove in nine runs for Toronto in the 1993 World Series.

3. To date, he is the Blue Jays' all-time leader in Baseball Reference's defensive WAR (11.9) as well as games played (1,450), hits (1,583), and triples (72).

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I didn't like Fernandez when I was 11 and he helped those blasted Jays beat the Phillies in the World Series. But I REALLY developed a distaste for him four years later when he jumped on a first-pitch slider by Armando Benitez with two outs in the top of the 11th in Game Six of the ALCS, sending the best Orioles team of my lifetime home for the winter without a ring. Lousy bum.

Bill James Said: "It is assumed at this writing that Fernandez will leave the Blue Jays for greener bank accounts, leaving Alex Gonzalez to play short for Toronto." Tony did indeed sign with the Reds as a free agent, but for just half a million dollars plus incentives.

On This Date in 1993: August 11. The Cubs blow leads of 5-0, 7-5, 10-7, and finally, 11-10 on the road against the Marlins. Randy Myers hands Florida a walkoff win in the bottom of the ninth, loading the bases with one out on a walk, a single, a stolen base, and an intentional walk. Jeff Conine's sacrifice fly ties it up, and Gary Sheffield ends the game with an RBI single.

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