This post was the idea of my boss at work so I basically have to get it done today. His suggestion was to do Bill Doran, a pretty mediocre second baseman from the 1980s and early 1990s. Doran was a name I remembered from when I was a kid and I’m pretty sure I have a few of his baseball cards at my parents house in Michigan.
Doran got his start in the Houston Astros organization and made his big league debut in 1982 as a late season call up. In his first full season, 1983, Doran handled the second base duties in Houston and played well enough to pick up a few Rookie of the Year votes after hitting .271 with 12 steals and 8 homers.
Doran’s progression continued over the next seven seasons in Houston. He usually posted OPS+ totals right around the league average. Some highlights of his time with the Astros include his 42 steals in 1986 and his 1987 season in which he played all 162 games and hit a career high 16 homers while stealing 31 bases. Basically, he was a poor man’s Brian Roberts. Doran also played on the 1986 Astros team which played in one of the more memorable NLCS series of all-time against the New York Mets.
What’s so outstanding and impressive about Doran is that he was ALWAYS about average. Most guys, even on this site, have a BIG year or two, not Doran. The guys was consistently mediocre. His career-high OPS+ was 125, while dipping below 94 just once as a full-time player. That sort of production is just outstanding.
In 1990, Doran was shipped out of Houston to Cincinnati where he helped the Reds win a World Series. Playing for the Reds down the stretch that season, Doran hit a robust .373 in 17 games. He spent the next two years with the Reds before flaming out in only 20-some games in 1993 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Over the course of his bland, 12 season career, Doran never made an All-Star game and retired with an OPS+ of 106, almost perfectly league-average. Doran coached a bit in the big leagues after his career was over, but is currently out of baseball. His son, named after Nolan Ryan, is apparently attempting to be be an actor. Best of luck to him.