White Hat Sports Headlines

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Oil Can, this ones for you...

So, I'm sure everyone has heard that Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd is attempting a Major League comeback this year at age 49. He hasn't pitched in the bigs since 1991, but apparently he is still pitching in the low 90's (mph not age). This list is of the best players, position by position, who have either stayed in baseball too long or tried to make a pathetic comeback.

Catcher: This one is tough because most catchers change positions or go to DH to prolong their careers. My selection is Benito Santiago, who caught games in the bigs up until age 40. This sort of deserves an asterisk, however, because Benny has been mentioned in the BALCO fiasco.

First Base: This choice was easy, considering this geriatric player was around until age 48. Julio Franco, having his best year at age 35 in 1994, retired in 2007. No one knows why he was able to keep a contract for so long, he wasnt even that good.

Second Base: This pick is somewhat bittersweet, because I liked this guy. Craig Biggio came into the league as a catcher, but was quickly converted to 2B, and later in his career platooned at 2B and OF. His last couple years were awful to watch, but I'm sure Houston fans still love him. One thing I will give the guy, he played his whole career for one team. There is a lot to be said about that.

Shortstop: This guy actually still plays, and for some reason doesn't look much older than 30. He is 42, however, and has hovered just above the Mendoza line his last 2 seasons. Omar Vizquel was great in his prime, but nowadays not so much. Someone please stop giving this guy a job and let him retire in peace.

Third Base: Personally this guy is one of my favorites. Cal Ripken had one of the greatest careers of any Major Leaguer, ever. He retired at age 40, but once he broke Gehrig's record, he really only accomplished two things. He got his 3,000th hit, and he hit a homer in his last All-Star game. We miss you Cal, but mostly from pre-1998.

Outfield: First Choice is definitely Moises Alou. The guy is going to be 43 years old this July, and he still hasnt retired. He has been plagued by injury the last few years and has barely been able to step onto the playing field. He hasnt played a full season since '04, but hey why not play through the rest of the decade, right?

Outfield: This outfielder is THE greatest base stealer of all time. Rickey Henderson is loved and respected by all who know baseball. He was a fantastic player until 1999, but continued to play until 2003 at age 44. This of course is not counting his years with the Newark Bears or other independent league clubs after he retired from the bigs.

Outfield: The final outfield pick was also a prolific base stealer, Kenny Lofton, but seriously looked pathetic in his final year in 2007. Lofton was great around the bases, but really didnt do much after he turned 35 in 2002. Yet he decided to stick around for 5 more years, ouch.

Ok now it's time to talk about starting pitchers. This is where it gets interesting. Here I will name five starters and one closer who stuck around or are still sticking around too long.

SP #1: This pick is terribly obvious. Jamie Moyer is too damned old to pitch. He was too old to pitch 5 years ago, yet at age 46, he's still pitching, poorly. Moyer's career ERA is over 4.20 and he has had a ton of seasons in which he's posted ERA's over 5.00. The other ugly part of his current game is that his fastball tops out at a whopping 74 mph.

SP #2: This is also an easy choice. Jesse Orosco was on of the first players I ever saw on a baseball card. I remember getting my first set of card in 1989. They were Topps, and Jesse Orosco was the first card I looked at. The funny thing about Orosco is that he was 32 in 1989, and pitched until I was one year removed from high school (2003). He was 46 at retirement, and his best years were certainly behind him.

SP #3: The Rocket. No, not Gary Busey in Rookie of the Year. Roger Clemens. One of the most dominant pitchers of all time. Had he retired in 2000 at age 38, we may not even be talking about this whole steroid scandal. But thanks to Roger's amazing abilities to pitch in the high 90's even towards the end of his career (I wonder how?), He managed to pitch a half season for the yankees in 2007 and make $22,000,000. Thanks Rog, we all know it was Debbie's fault.

SP #4: This guy definitely did not have the same genes as young looking Omar Vizquel. Charlie Hough retired in 1994, and looked older than most managers (besides Leyland). He was a knuckleballer, however, so that added many years to his career. He was still effective up until retirement, he just makes this list solely based on his nursing home looks.

SP #5: Randy Johnson will be pitching in September (barring any injury) during his 46th birthday. No one can deny this pitcher has better then most "stuff," still years after his Over-the-Hill party in 2004. It will be interesting to see what he can do in '09, but please retire Randy. I don't ever want to watch you attempt to hit a baseball ever again.

Closer: Is it possible to amass over 550 saves in only 15 years? Is it possible to accomplish this feat with a career ERA over 4.00? It sure is, just ask Trevor Hoffman. This guy is arguably the greatest closer of all time (if you are from San Diego, not New York). He was thrown out of his home at Petco after 15 solid seasons as the Padre's closer, and will try to replicate his '08 season in Milwaukee. Part of me really just wishes he would have retired after last year. But hey good luck with the Brew Crew, you are going to need it.

Well there is the list, hopefully all of you agree with the picks. I intentionally strayed from naming Satchel Paige, who retired from the MLB at age 59. Satchel was something special, and didnt deserve to be on this list of has-beens and never were's. Personally, I would love to see Oil Can come back and setup Mo Rivera for the Yankees. Good Luck in your travels Dennis, as I will be awaiting the day you show up on Yahoo's Waiver list so I can add you to my roster.

Eric Goldthwaite

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