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Archive for the ‘Top 10 List’ Category

Listed below are the 10 worst All Stars of the 1980s.  To qualify for the list the player had to:

  • Make an All Star game in the 1980s
  • Make no more than one career All-Star appearance
  • Be painfully mediocre

10. Matt Nokes (1987):  Nokes had exactly one good year his entire career and it was his rookie season, 1987.  Nokes helped lead the Detroit Tigers back to the playoffs as he crushed 32 homers and finished 3rd in the Rookie of the Year voting.  He had some decent power numbers later in his career but at the cost of a low batting average and miserable on-base percentage numbers.

9.Ron Davis (1981): Davis made the 1981 All Star game as a member of the New York Yankees.  He was a reliever, and saved six whole games that season.  He retired with a career ERA+ of 101, making him almost completely average.  He is the father of Mets prospect, Ike Davis.

8.Jerry Mumphrey (1984):  Jerry Mumphrey was “okay”.  He stuck around the big leagues for 15 seasons and made one All-Star game.  In 1984, “Jer” hit .290 and slugged nine home runs.  He was a man amongst boys.  He had better seasons earlier in his career, and retired with an OPS+ of 108, just a tick above average.

7.Ken Reitz (1980): Ken “Zamboni” Reitz was good with the glove, but the guy couldn’t hit a lick.  In 11 big league seasons, he hit .260 (OPS+ 79).  In 1980, he hit .270, which was darn close to his career best.  In ended up being his final big league season.  While a deft fielder, Reitz had a reputation as one of the slowest runners in history.

6.Vance Law (1988):  I have a few Vance Law baseball cards, and I remember him as the guy that wore really creepy glasses.  These things were huge with thin frames, dude looked weird (pictured).  Personal attacks aside, The Long Arm of the Law was a pretty mediocre ballplayer.  He played above-average D, but struggled with the stick.  Law is currently the head baseball coach at BYU (that explains his weird look, no offense).

5.Tom Hume (1982):  Tom Hume was a first round pick that ended up being a mediocre relief pitcher.  Not what you’re looking for with your first round pick.  Hume was decent enough to play in the bigs for 11 seasons.  Over that time, he lost 14 more games than he won and finished with an ERA+ of 98.  Tom worked as the Reds bullpen coach for 11 seasons.

4.Bob Walk (1988): Bob Walk had a very decent career.  He was a major piece for Jim Leyland on some of those good Pirates teams of the late 1990s as he could start and relieve at a pretty average level.  Walk won 105 games, more than he lost, and finished with a ERA+ of 91.  Bob now does radio work for the Pirates.

3.Kevin Bass (1986): Don’t ask me why, but I always though my Kevin Bass baseball cards were “good”.  I thought they would be worth some serious cash.  Turns out that Mr. Bass was downright average, hitting .270 for his career (OPS+ 105), while hitting about eight home runs a year.  He made the 1986 squad as he hit .311 with 20 home runs on a pretty good Houston Astros club.  Two of Bass’ son’s were drafted by a big league team.

2.Pat Tabler (1987): Pat Tabler was another first round pick, that just kind of fizzled.  Tabler, drafted in 1976, made his big league debut in 1981 and started a bit in the mid-1980s.  He played all over the diamond with varying degrees of success.  In 1987 he hit .307 with 11 home runs (a pathetic career high).  For his career, Tabler had an OPS+ of 99, almost exactly mediocre.  Tabby Cat (seriously, that’s his nickname) does TV work with the Blue Jays.

1. Greg Swindell (1989):  Greg Swindell was an effective pitcher for good chunks of his big league career, both as a starter and as a reliever.  Swindell played 17 seasons, which is damn impressive.  He played in one All-Star game, which is damn hilarious.  Swindell made the mid-summer classic in 1989 as a young starter with the Indians.  He went 13-6 that season with an ERA+ of 118.  He transitioned from starter to reliever in 1996, winning a ring with the D’Backs in 2001. He now does TV work with the Diamondbacks.

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Chuck Nevitt posts up against Manute Bol.

10. Chuck Nevitt (1.6ppg, 0.7 BPG, 1.5RPG, 155 games):  Nevitt stood at 7’5” and weighed just a tick over 200 pounds.  He was basically a freak show.  He was never a quality player, but got plenty of pub for being so tall and sporting a classic 1980s mustache.

McIlvaine gets murdered by Shaq.

9. Jim McIlvaine (2.7ppg, 3.1 RPG, 1.7 BPG):  McIlvaine signed up with a 64-win Sonics team that nearly beat Jordan and the Bulls.  His MASSIVE contract led to the Sonics becoming financially strapped and forced the club to trade Shawn Kemp.  McIlvaine made over $30M in his career.

Laimbeer man handles a helpless Will Perdue.

8. Bill Laimbeer (12.9 PPG, 9.7 RPB, 0.9 BPG):  Laimbeer was an absolute beast on the boards, he was once a league leader.  He developed a reputation as a badass enforcer and won a pair of titles with the Detroit Pistons.

The Dunking Dutchman

7. Rik Smits (14.8 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.3 BPG):  I’ve highlighted the Dunking Dutchman here before.  He was the 7’4” pillar at the center of some very good Pacers teams in the 1990s.

What a glorious perm.

6. Jack Sikma (15.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 0.9 BPG):  Sikma is the best player on this list.  He could should the jumper for a 7 footer and shot nearly 90% from the line.  However, his main contribution to the league was the greatest white-man perm in the history of the world.

Pretty sure his feet are still touching the floor.

5. Greg Ostertag (4.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG):  Ostertag was 7’3” of flabby goodness.  He had some quick moves around the rim for a fat man and hung around the league as a decent rebounder and a bit of a hot head.

Is his form correct?

4. Mark Eaton (6.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 3.5 BPG): Eaton’s greatness was one of the first issues covered on this site a few months back.  At his peak he was one of the top shot blockers of all-time.  At his worst he was an offensively challenged woolly mammoth of a man.

Taking a quick breather.

3. Raef LaFrentz (10.1 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 1.6 BPG):  LaFrentz was a lottery pick by the Denver Nuggets in the 1998.  He was a quicker player when he was young, but a knee injury his rookie year robbed him of his quickness.  He then became an overpaid version of Danny Ferry.  When it was all said and done he made over $80M playing in the NBA.

...and the crowd goes wild!!!

2. Chris Dudley (3.9 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG):  Dudley was a teammate guy.  He was never a great player but was always lauded as an exemplary teammate.  Dudley was a freak by NBA standards as a Yale guy.  He is one of the worst free-throw shooters in league history and is currently running for Governor of Oregon.

Living the dream.

1. Shawn Bradley (8.1 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.5 BPG):  One of the biggest busts in league history.  Everything about this guy is either funny, weird, or sad.  He was born in Germany, went to college in Utah, went on a Mormon mission trip before entering the draft, was pale, and was 7’6”.  He was also dunked on more than any player in the history of the universe.

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Pro sports has a long standing tradition of turning its former players into its future managers and coaches.  It started back in the day with the role of the player/manager.  Some athletes across all sports have excelled in this role, including the great Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics.  However, greats like Ty Cobb have struggled mightily in that position.

The focus of this Top 10 List is on former players who have gone on to become managers or head coaches in their sport.  You won’t find guys like Joe Torre on this list.  You also will not find greats like Casey Stengel or Sparky Anderson, two guys who didn’t do a lot as players but are Hall of Fame managers.  This list will feature only guys who have been mediocre as both players AND as managers/coaches.  Enjoy!

10. Lloyd McClendon (.244 career hitter / .430 W% as manager):  McClendon could very easily be higher on this list, but I thought he was a great guy to leadoff for this group.  McClendon was a decent hitter during his eight big

Lloyd loses his shit.

league seasons, retiring with an OPS+ of 94.  However, he was your typical, mediocre National League fill-in player.  He would pinch-hit and he could play multiple positions.  His highlight was a player came in the 1993 NLCS when he was forced to start and responded with a .727 AVG and a home run before the Pirates went down to the Braves.  McClendon’s last season as a player was in 1994 with the Pirates.  He returned to the Steel City in 2001 as the Pirates manager and promptly guided them to their first 100 loss season in 16 years.  None of the McClendon led Pirates clubs finished higher than 4th in the division and he was fired in the middle of the 2005 season.  I’m totally sure how he kept his job for that long.  Say what you want about the Mad McClendon, but the guy could really throw a tantrum.  In 2001, McClendon was arguing with the 1st base umpire and ripped the base out of the ground and ran off of the field with it.  He was fined $1,000.

9. Vinny Del Negro (9.1 ppg as a player / About to be fired by the Bulls):  Del Negro was a painfully average basketball player.  For the most part, Vinny was a bench player.  He put together a decent run in the mid-1990s with the David Robinson-led San Antonio Spurs, averaging 14 a game during the 1995-96 season.  When Vinny called it quits as a player in 2001-2002, he had career averages of 9.1 ppg and 3.2 apg.  Not exactly an all-league sort of player.  The circumstances that led to Vinny being named a head coach in the NBA are a bit fuzzy.  Let me put it this way, the guy must have some dirt on several higher-ups in the NBA.  Del Negro managed to turn his job as a radio commentator into a front office position with the Phoenix Suns.  Then, prior to the 2008-09 NBA season, Del Negro was named the head coach of the Bulls despite having ZERO coaching experience.  All he’s done since then is put up a total record of 82-82.  His Bulls teams have gone 41-41 in both seasons he has coached.  In many ways he is perfectly mediocre.

8. Herm Edwards (9 seasons, zero Pro Bowls / .422 W% as NFL coach):  Herm Edwards is probably best known for his

Intensity.

awesome soundbites as an NFL head coach.  His postgame comments were hardly mediocre, but really, the guy never got great results.  As a player, Edwards was a pretty decent defensive back and spent the bulk of his NFL career in Philadelphia with the Eagles.  Edwards peaked as a player during his first two seasons, picking off a combined 13 passes in those two years.  However, he never reached those heights again and was out of the league after nine seasons.  Edwards then worked his way up the coaching ranks and was hired as the head coach of the Jets for the 2001 season.  Herm put up a pair of 10-win seasons, but that was pretty much it.  After a 4-12 season with the Jets he was fired, only to be quickly hired by the Chiefs.  He had a 4 win season in KC and a 2 win season and was canned after the 2008 season.  He has one of the worst winning percentages in the history of the NFL for someone who has coached in at least 100 games.  Ladies and gentleman, Herman Edwards!!  Get excited!!

7. Hal McRae (3 All Star games in 19 seasons / .458 W% as manager):   Hal McRae might be the best player on this list.  He was a pretty good hitter in the 1970s and 1980s spending most of his time as a designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals.  He retired with over 2,000 hits and a .290 average.  However, he was very limited defensively and was never really a guy you were afraid of.  He wasn’t exactly the star of any team he played on.  McRae retired as a player at the age of 41 and was hired to lead the Royals as manager only four years later.  McRae did okay in Kansas City, posting three winning records in four years (including the strike shortened 1994 season).  McRae was known to flip his lid from time to time as a manager and never led a team of his to the post season.

6. ML Carr (10 ppg in 10 seasons / .293 W% as coach):  ML Carr is one of the worst coaches in NBA history.  He took the Boston Celtics franchise and ran the baby right into the ground in the mid-1990s.  Carr put together a mediocre first season as coach with a 33-49 record, narrowly avoiding the humiliating 50-loss mark.  In his second season, the Celtics went 15-67 and Carr soon found himself out of work.  Since then Carr has spent some time working in the WNBA.  Don’t let him tell you this was a lateral move.  As a player, Carr was decent.  Never known as a scorer, he was a decent defensive player.  Carr led the league in steals in 1978-79 while playing for the Detroit Pistons.

5. Gary Kubiak (5 starts in 9 NFL seasons / 31-33 as a coach):  Gary Kubiak started a mind-boggling 5 games in 9 NFL seasons.  Dude barely got off the pine.  Kubiak spent his entire career, after being drafted in the 8th round of the NFL Draft, backing up John Elway.  So, we can’t really blame him for staying on the bench.  In his limited action, Kubiak posted a pretty dismal QB rating of 70.6 and threw 14 career touch downs.  Since “retiring”, Kubiak has been the man calling the shots for the Houston Texans.  In his four seasons there, Kubiak has not seen a lot of improvement, winning between six and nine games each season, including a high of nine in 2009.  For some reason, Gary and his wife have given each of their three boys a first name starting with the letter “K”.  Hopefully none of their middle names start with K.

4. Jim Zorn (67.3 QB rating / 12 wins in 2 seasons as a coach):  If Jim Zorn had been able to hang in there as a coach for more than two years he would be much higher on this list.  As a player, Zorn was painfully mediocre and it’s entirely possible that he used up all of his favors and luck by staying in the NFL as a player for 11 years.  Zorn spent most of his career in Seattle with the Seahawks before making cameo appearances with Tampa Bay and Green Bay.  Zorn has the distinction of leading the league in interceptions and times sacked in separate seasons and threw 30 more picks than TDs for his career.  Zorn was named the head coach of the Redskins before the 2008 season.  He led the Skins to a disappointing 8-win season in 2008 and then followed that up with a 4-win season, making him the most obvious fire in the history of organized sports once the season ended.

3. Ron Washington (414 hits in 10 seasons / Did cocaine while managing the Rangers):  Ron Washington was a utility

Cocaine is one hell of a drug.

infielder as a player.  He was a regular for the Twins in 1982, but spent the rest of his career as a back up for five different clubs.  When Washington was done as a player in 1989, he retired with an OBP below .300 and an OPS+ of 79, meaning he was about 21% beneath your average player.  Yikes.  Washington emerged as a big time managing prospect while working in Oakland.  He was hired before the 2007 season to lead the Texas Rangers.  He has a .496 winning percentage in Texas and was said to be on the hot seat before this season started.  Then, before the 2010 season started, it was revealed by Washington himself, that he did cocaine last summer while managing the Rangers.  Somehow the guy has kept his job.  I don’t understand.

2. Sam Mitchell (8.7 ppg in 13 seasons / .452 W% as a coach):  Sam Mitchell ranks high on this list due to his longevity.  He was never considered a “good” player but stuck around because he was good buddies with Kevin Garnett.  Sam was a member of the first ever Minnesota Timberwolves team and averaged 13 points a game during his first two years in the league.  He also found time to lead the league in fouls during his second season.  Mitchell was reliable, seldom missing time due to injuries and played on some damn good teams in Minnesota and Indiana.  When his playing days were over, Mitchell worked as an assistant and was eventually hired to lead the Toronto Raptors.  Mitchell clashed a bit with the Raptors star Vince Carter.  This helped lead Carter to (I believe this) tank on purpose and force a trade out of Toronto.  Either way, the Raptors never won more than 47 games with Mitchell and when he was fired after 17 games in 2008, he was 33 games under .500 as a coach.

1. Phil Garner (16 seasons, 99 OPS+ / One playoff appearance in 15 years as a manager):  Phil Garner is blessed with on of my all-time favorite nicknames, Scrap Iron.  “Scrap Iron” worked primarily as an infielder during his 16 seasons as a player.  He spent most of his career with the Pirates and Astros.  He was named to three All Star teams and played until he was 39 years old.  Garner was never really great at any one things, but could play all over the infield and wasn’t a total zero at the plate.  When his playing days were done, Scrap Iron moved to the bench for good.  He got his first job managing the Brewers in 1992.  That season the Brewers won 92 games.  No Garner-led team has won that many games in a season since then.  Garner actually hung in Milwaukee for seven more seasons after than and posted a losing record in each season, but never lost more than 93 games.  He really just kept doing enough to NOT get fired; until, ya know, he was fired.  Garner was fired in 1999 and was hired to manage the Tigers in 2000.  Scrap Iron lasted only two full seasons in Detroit and was fired after starting 0-6 in 2002.  He took the 2003 season off, but in 2004 he was hired to manage the Houston Astros.  It was in 2005 that Garner led a team to the playoffs for the first time.  Sadly, he was right back around the .500 mark the next season and sucked the year after that.  In 15 years as a manager he has a mediocre winning percentage of .483.

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Today’s feature will be our first top-10 list. A while back I started thinking about some of my favorite sports movies and realized that a lot of the films on my list featured some pretty mediocre athletes. It’s hard to say which of these characters is the most mediocre so I more or less based the rankings on my personal favorites. Enjoy.

1. Teen Wolf (1985): Scott Howard played by Michael J. Fox. At only 5’4 it’s hard to imagine MJF actually playing basketball. And to say the least, Scott Howard was a poor basketball player. He even admits to having a “bad jump shot and a bad haircut” to his childhood friend “Boof.” I think one of the reasons I like this movie so much is that there is a girl called “Boof”, although I still cannot figure out where they came up with that name. Needless to say, Teen Wolf is a must see flick if you like MFJ, werewolves, urban surfing and mediocre basketball at its best.

2. The Replacements (2000): Shane Falco played by Keanu Reeves. I actually just watched this movie over the weekend. I don’t know what it is, but I love Keanu Reeves. He is such a commanding actor. In this film Reeves plays washed up QB, Shane Falco, who after a disappointing sugar bowl performance ends up scrubbing barnacles off the bottom of boats in the DC harbor. Falco is your typical under-achiever, a guy who never fully lives up to his potential. If I were to compare Shane Falco to an actual NFL quarterback I would say that he most closely resembles Mark Brunell (a poor man’s Mark Brunell).

3. Major League (1989): Jake Taylor played by Tom Berenger and Ricky “The Wild Thing” Vaughn played by Charlie Sheen. Major League is arguably the greatest movie of all time. If you haven’t seen it, then you’re missing out. Tom Berenger shines as a washed out catcher with two bad knees and a drinking problem. Charlie Sheen plays bad-boy Ricky Vaughn: a former convict with a rocket for an arm who nails cougars in his spare time.

4. Jerry Maguire (1996): Rod Tidwell played by Cuba Gooding Jr. Cuba won an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in this movie. He plays a petulant and under-paid wide receiver who struggles to get the attention and money he feels he deserves. Rod Tidwell is probably the best athlete on this list but still doesn’t qualify as a “marquee” wide receiver.

5. Mr. Baseball (1992): Jack Elliot played by Tom Selleck. With what is arguably the best mustache in show business, Tom Selleck hits one out of the park as the lead role in this classic baseball flick. Old, worn-out, unproductive and over-paid, Jack Elliot is the total package. The guy is an absolute dude. He dips, knocks dingers and screws every piece of ass from New York to Tokyo. Selleck plays aging former World Series MVP Jack Elliot who is traded to a Japanese team because he just can’t cut it in the bigs anymore. This is a quintessential guy film because Tom Selleck is the epitome of what it means to be a man.

6. White Men Can’t Jump (1992): Billy Hoyle played by Woody Harrelson. My mother wouldn’t let me watch this movie when it came out back in the early 90’s. Probably because she didn’t want me to be encouraged to become Billy Hoyle and hustle people playing street ball in LA. Plus, Woody Harrelson is a total dude.

7. Mystery Alaska (1999): John Biebe played by Russell Crowe. It’s weird how Russell Crowe went from Mystery Alaska to Gladiator in less than a year. I contend that he is more of a bad ass in this movie than in any other role he has played during his acting career.

8. The Mighty Ducks (1992): Gordon Bombay played by Emilio Estevez. Every kid loves the Mighty Ducks movies, and growing up I was no exception. I’ve decided to include Gordon Bombay on this list since he is the touchstone for the Mighty Ducks series. Estevez made an entire career by playing this washed-up hockey star. It’s too bad that he still isn’t as cool as his brother or father.

9. Baseketball (1998): Squeak Scolari played by Dian Bachar. Ok, we all know that Basketball is a fictitious sport, but still one of the best comedies of the 90’s. It’s a tremendous parody of professional sports and Squeak Scolari is by far the most mediocre player on the Beers roster.

10. Space Jam (1996): Bill Murray as himself. Bill Murray is a god. Nothing more to add.

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