Tag:Chan-Ho Park
Posted on: July 12, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Remembering the 2001 All-Star Game

Rodriguez, Ripken

By Evan Brunell

Arizona is currently in the headlines due to hosting the 2011 All-Star Game, but 10 years ago the state made news due to the Diamondbacks downing the Yankees in a thrilling World Series that will stand as one of the all-time best.

But 2001 also boasted an All-Star Game to remember as Seattle hosted Cal Ripken, Jr.'s 19th and final (and all consecutive) All-Star Game. It should have been 20, but he wasn't elected to the game in his rookie year, when he won the Rookie of the Year Award and finished 30th in MVP voting.

Ripken, who retired after the 2001 season as baseball's Ironman with an impregnable 2,632 consecutive games played, was voted in as the starting third baseman, but moved to his old home of shortstop when starting shortstop Alex Rodriguez "encouraged" (read: physically pushed) Ripken to return to his home for over 14 years.

“At the time, it wasn’t so meaningful because I was mad," Ripken told the Baltimore Sun last week. "I don’t like to be surprised. I was wired, I was on a mike, and I really wanted to tell [Rodriguez], ‘No, get out of here,’ in a different way than I just described it to you.”

Despite Ripken's aversion, the swapping of positions was a great sight to see, with a young superstar standing aside for a legend.

“It was the coolest gesture that anyone can give you,” Ripken added. “When it was all said and done and I hadn’t embarrassed myself out there, it was the coolest gesture ever.”

But Ripken wasn't done showing us what made him such a terror for two decades and what got him elected to the Hall of Fame on his first try by a landslide. After a career in which he redefined the shortstop position and made it a power position with a career line of .276/.340/.447 and two MVP awards, Ripken gave everyone a final goodbye by being named Most Valuable Player after hitting the first pitch he saw in the game from Chan Ho Park in the third inning over the left-field fence, scoring the game's first run and becoming the oldest player to ever homer in the All-Star Game. (See below for video.)

That score held until the fifth inning, when Ivan Rodriguez singled off Mike Hampton, scoring Jason Giambi to push the AL lead to 2-0. That was whittled to 2-1 on Ryan Klesko's sacrifice fly against Mike Stanton, scoring Jeff Kent. Derek Jeter and Magglio Ordonez both delivered back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the sixth against Jon Lieber to provide the final score, 4-1.

Ripken's home run was recently named a finalist in MLB.com's Midsummer Classics contest, and is going up against Stan Musial's walkoff home run in the 12th inning of the 1955 game. The winner will be announced during the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.

On the eve of the All-Star Game 10 years later, the 2001 game still stands as one of the greatest.

See other All-Star Games to remember: 1941: Ted Williams blasts walkoff homer | 1949: First integrated edition | 1970's Ray Fosse/Pete Rose collision | 1999: Ted Williams steals show | 2002: The Tie

For complete All-Star Game coverage, keep up with Eye on Baseball in Phoenix

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Posted on: July 5, 2011 8:31 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:32 pm
 

Some All-Stars leave a mark in only appearance

Bo Jackson

By C. Trent Rosecrans


All-Star teams aren't always composed of stars. For every Mickey Mantle or George Brett or Willie Mays, there's a Mickey Morandini, Ken Brett and Joe Mays.

And then, of course, there's Bo Jackson.

While not all players who make an All-Star team have great careers or stick in our memories, it's not alwyas the Hall of Famers that leave a mark.

Jackson's baseball career was hardly ever boring, he oozed talent -- blending speed and power like few before or after. One of the greatest athletes who ever lived, Jackson was in the majors on pure athleticism alone and was just starting to show off what he could do with more baseball under his belt when he suffered a hip injury in a 1990 playoff game for the Oakland Raiders while persueing his "hobby" of dominating the NFL.

The apex of his baseball career came on July 11, 1989, in Anaheim, Calif. Jackson had 21 home runs at the All-Star break and had been voted into the game as a starter by the fans. He ended the top of the first with a running catch on Pedro Guerrero's liner, saving two runs. But it was the top of the inning that would be his defining moment.

Leading off the bottom of the first, he crushed a Rick Reuschel pitch 448 feet to center field. See the play here:


In the second he beat out a potential double play, allowing the eventual go-ahead run to score. He also stole second, advancing to third on the throw, becoming just the second player in All-Star history to homer and steal a base in the same game. The first was Mays. Jackson was named the game's Most Valuable Player.

I remember listening to the game on the radio as my dad hurried us home after one of my own All-Star games. My team had won, but I was more excited to get home to watch the guy from my other team, the Kansas City Royals. I heard the homer on the radio -- and even there you could tell just how hard it was hit by the sound and the announcer's reaction -- and even though I didn't see it live, I watched the highlights over and over. My memory as a 13-year-old was just that my team was once again the center of the baseball universe and the Royals would be carried into the next decade by the game's most exciting player. That didn't happen, but I'll always remember that homer, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Jackson's not the only player to shine in his only All-Star Game, here's a couple of names, well-known and more obscure, who played in just one All-Star Game but left a mark.

Hideo NomoHideo Nomo, 1995: With baseball reeling from the strike that canceled the World Series the year before, a Japanese import brought a mania back to the game as the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo created a frenzy not only in the United States, but in Japan, as well. Japanese fans got up early in what was there Wednesday morning to watch their new favorite son strike out three batters in two innings. Heathcliff Slocumb, in his only All-Star appearance, would get the win, but Nomo was the reason people were watching to begin with.

Bill Caudill, 1984: The right-handed reliever had 36 saves for the A's in 1984 and struck out nearly a batter an inning. His lone All-Star appearance was one to remember, striking out all three batters he faced, Tim Raines, Ryne Sandberg and Keith Hernandez in the eighth inning.

Max West, 1940: Just 23, West started in right field for the National League in 1940 as a representative of the Boston Braves, coming off a carer-high 19-homer season in 1939. After the first two batters of the 1940 game at Sportsmen's Park in St. Louis reached off of starter Red Ruffin, West homered to center, leading the team to a 4-0 victory. It would be West's only All-Star at-bat of his career. He missed three seasons due to his service in World War II and played in just two more seasons after the war, never duplicating his pre-war success.

Every great All-Star moment, has another side -- even the Harlem Globetrotters need their Washington Generals. Many players make just one All-Star appearance and not all of their marks are positive. Sometimes a player's lone All-Star Game is something to forget.

Here's a couple of those:

Chan-Ho Park, 2001: The 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle was all about the retiring Cal Ripken Jr., anyway, but in the third inning the Korean right-hander grooved a fastball down the heart of the plate and Ripken put it into the bullpen, making him the oldest player to ever hit a homer in the All-Star Game.


Brian Downing, 1979: Downing played 20 seasons and had 2,099 hits and 275 home runs, but made just one All-Star team, in 1979. In his lone All-Star plate appearance, Downing singled off of Bruce Sutter to lead off the eight in a tie game. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a strikeout, Downing tried to score on a single to right by Graig Nettles. Had just about anyone else been in right field, Downing scores and is in line to be the game's hero. However, it was the Cobra, Dave Parker, in right. Just watch the video:


Dock Ellis, 1971: Ellis is best-known for the no-hitter he threw while on LSD, but was good enough to win 138 games in parts of 12 seasons and finish his career with a 3.46 ERA. He made his only All-Star team in 1971 and started the game for the National League at Tiger Stadium. With a 3-0 lead in the third and a runner on first, Ellis faced pinch hitter Reggie Jackson.


After Jackson's homer, Ellis gave up another two-run homer in the inning to Frank Robinson, finishing as the game's loser.

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Posted on: March 11, 2011 6:04 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 6:29 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Ruben Amaro's best, worst moves

Amaro

By Evan Brunell

Now that Charlie Manuel is in the books with a two-year extension, the Phillies are turning to Ruben Amaro, the GM that has steered the club to two consecutive playoff berths after replacing Pat Gillick. Philly.com reports that Amaro's own extension is "lacking just the finishing touches."

That begs the question: what has been Amaro's best and worst moves to date? For all of the machinations that Amaro has done -- some of which were head-scratching -- it's impressive that there were a litany of candidates for Amaro's best moves, but aside from one painfully obvious move, none of his worst moves are truly terrible.

3 UP

1. Welcome to Philadelphia, Cliff Lee! (And welcome back.)

At the trade deadline of 2009, Ruben Amaro pulled off a trade that cemented Philadelphia as a team to be feared. Lacking a clear ace, Lee predictably became a monster in the NL and helped lead Philadelphia to a second straight NL pennant. While Lee would be traded in the offseason (we'll get back to this), the impact he had on the club was immeasurable. 

Even better is that Ben Francisco came along for the ride and provided an excellent bat off the bench as backup outfielder -- and now may be poised to open the year as the starting right fielder after a hot spring. In fact. Francisco may make this deal look even better if and when he finally settles in as a full-time player. Don't forget that he received a ton of playing time in Cleveland and showed he was capable of being a solid starter.

All the club gave up was Carlos Carrasco, Lou Marson, Jason Knapp and Jason Donald. Carrasco looks like a fungible back-of-the-rotation pitcher while Marson shows no aptitude for hitting and figures to have a lengthy career as a backup catcher -- not a  player to miss. Donald, meanwhile, has been getting all the playing time he can handle and doesn't look any better than a second-division starter best used as a utility player. Knapp could be the player that pays the deal off for Cleveland, but even he's in doubt with his checkered injury history.

Also counted in this category is bringing Lee back to town. While trading Lee to the Mariners ended up being a mistake, every ounce of credit is deserved by Amaro for being unafraid to tactically admit a mistake. After claiming Lee simply wanted too much to resign, they bounced him to Seattle and then opened the checkbook to bring him back and got a steal by convincing Lee to ink a five-year deal. While the average annual value of the deal is higher as a result (with a total value of $120 million), the Phillies did very well to only lock themselves into five years.

2. What's up, Doc?

Amaro wasn't done spinning blockbuster deals for starting pitchers, as he would bring in Roy Halladay five months later to be the new anchor of the team. All Halladay did in his first NL season was toss a perfect game against the Marlins and stifle the Reds during Game 1 of the NLDS with a no-hitter. He nailed down a Cy Young Award with a 2.44 ERA in 250 2/3 innings, posting a Lee-ian 7.30 BB/K ratio. In addition, Halladay did so while agreeing to a three-year, $60 million pact with a fourth-year option. Philadelphia had told Halladay they did not want to go beyond three guaranteed years, something they clearly changed their mind on with Lee, but regardless, they locked Doc up to a sweetheart of a deal.

So why does this rank below Lee? Simple: This time around, Amaro gave up a pretty decent package to snag Halladay. Kyle Drabek has already made his major-league debut and there is already talk of Drabek hitting 200 innings pitched in his first full season once 2011 rolls around. You can't project Drabek to be another Halladay, but the Jays did well to get a replacement for the top of the rotation. They also snagged outfielder Michael Taylor who was sent to Oakland for Brett Wallace. While Taylor bombed in Triple-A for the A's, he still remains a solid prospect worth watching. Wallace would later be dealt to Houston for center fielder Anthony Gose, a player the Jays had tried to get included in the Halladay deal that Amaro shipped away in the Roy Oswalt trade. Lastly, Toronto netted Travis D'Arnaud, who ranked No. 61 on CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list and could be Toronto's catcher for a very long time.

But make no mistake about it: the Halladay deal was fantastic for Philadelphia, especially because Amaro clearly recognized the window of opportunity for Philadelphia to win was now, with well-established players capable of winning a World Series. Sure, these players Amaro dealt away could have helped the Phillies extend their winning window, but there are no guarantees of the future, plus Philadelphia still improbably has a strong farm system after decimating it in the Lee, Halladay and Oswalt trades.

3. Signing Chan-Ho Park

Yes, I couldn't think up a clever title for this one. But signing Park to a one-year, $2.5 million deal ended up paying off big time when Park was finally convinced to vacate the rotation in favor of the bullpen. By the time the South Korean arrived in Philadelphia, he had been a top starter for the Dodgers, a massive bust who made millions of dollars in Texas, rebuilt his value in San Diego, missed an entire year as a member of the Mets, then returned to L.A. and turned heads with his production out of the bullpen.

However, Park still wanted to start. Amaro granted his wish, but after seven disastrous starts in which Park put up a 7.29 ERA, he was exiled to the bullpen where he instantly became a weapon. In 50 relief innings, Park went on to whiff 52 and walk 16 while posting a 2.52 ERA. Unfortunately, that would be Park's only (so far) season in Philly as he insisted on another crack at the rotation. He would eventually go to the Yankees where he experienced bad luck, then returned to his strong self as a reliever in the nether regions known as Pittsburgh. Park will pitch in Japan for the 2011 season where, presumably, he will get his wish to start.

It may have just been one year, but the production Amaro received out of Park was invaluable in the march to the NL pennant. Not all successful moves are of the blockbuster variety. In many cases, it's the smaller, unheralded pieces that end up being crucial.

Phillies

3 DOWN

1. He did WHAT?

Yes, Ruben Amaro signed Ryan Howard to a massive five-year, $125 million deal in April, virtually a full two years before the deal will kick in. Who thought this was a good idea?

Howard was a fantastic player before 2010, but was entering his age-30 year. As someone who had a late start to his career and doesn't appear that he can hold up well thanks to old-people skills (tied up in walks and power), any slippage of Howard's power reduces his value significantly.

And that's what happened in 2010, as he hit "just" 31 home runs and 23 doubles. But hey, five triples. Howard will begin his massive deal at age 32, and it's hard to fathom anyone giving him five years and $125 million as a 32-year-old, even if he rebounds with a strong year. In addition, it's not as if Philadelphia got a discount. They could have easily waited a year and then locked Howard into the deal. This was just completely unnecessary and will unfortunately become known as a disastrous deal.

2. Driving off a Cliff (Lee)

Yes, Cliff Lee is Amaro's 1 and 1A best moves of his tenure, but trading Lee away continues to be a head-scratcher, doubly so given Lee's return as a free agent. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, so what was the issue at the time?

Simply put, Lee was expected to command a huge extension and the overtures that Amaro/Philadelphia made were rebuffed. It doesn't appear that any thought was given to a deal that eventually ended up bringing Lee back, but that's purely speculation. What we do know is that the price Lee was thought to be commanding influenced the trade. In addition, Amaro wanted to restock the farm system after the initial Lee and Halladay deal.

But that's where he went off course, agreeing to import Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez for Lee. And simply put, none of these players appear to have the ceiling of the prospects Philly surrendured to get Lee. Aumont is a reliever who may never reach the majors, Gillies is a speedster with a questionable bat and questionable off-field issues and Ramirez is a mildly intriguing prospect. This is one trade that, from the day it was consummated (not unlike the Howard contract) was panned, and not just because of the concept behind the deal, but the return as well.

3. Jumping the gun on Ibanez

When Raul Ibanez was inked to a three-year, $31.5 million pact the day after Christmas of 2008, many didn't quite understand the deal, but it wasn't thought to be terrible. That changed quickly, as that was the offseason that the market corrected itself and many players were frozen out until well into the new year. If Ibanez had waited just a couple more weeks, he would have easily seen his market drop to no more than two guaranteed years, and it's unlikely he could have commanded $10 million per year.

Ibanez kicked off 2009 with an absolutely silly .309/.367/.649 mark in 289 plate appearances, but upon returning from a left groin strain, it was an entirely different year as Ibanez finished the drive with a .232/.326/.448 line, but he ended up with a ring. Last season, Ibanez continued where he left 2009 off, finishing with a .275/.349/.444 mark and 16 home runs -- lowest since 2004, when he also had 16, and also his lowest as a full-time starter. Couple that with his defense and inability to hit left-handed pitchers and Ibanez isn't quite living up to his deal as he enters the final year.

However, this is one deal that stood up better than most expected when it was signed. And if this is only Amaro's third worst move, he's doing fairly well. But that Howard contract...

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Posted on: November 9, 2010 7:58 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2010 9:29 pm
 

Hoffman eyeing D-Backs?

Trevor Hoffman Trevor Hoffman has repeatedly said he'd like to find a closer's spot for 2011 and in lieu of that, he could retire.

On Monday, Evan predicted four possible landing spots , and Hoffman must have been reading, as he mentioned Evan's No. 1 possibility -- the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I've known [Arizona general manager Kevin Towers] for such a long time and I figured having a little history there would help," Hoffman told MLB.com's Barry Bloom . "But I don't know. I'm coming off a tough year. I don't know if people are going to be turned off by that or not. I hope the strong second half I had will compensate."

Hoffman's agent, Rick Thurman, told Bloom he hasn't talked directly with Towers yet, but has discussed relievers with the team. Thurman also represents Brian Fuentes, Arthur Rhodes, Will Ohman, Octavio Dotel and Chan-Ho Park.

"We just kind of glazed over the topic of Trevor," Thurman said. "They're looking for a closer. They need a lot of pitching. They're looking for back end relief help."

UPDATE: Towers tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he hasn't spoken to Hoffman or Thurman, but will certainly listen.

"You'd be nuts if you didn't at least consider somebody like Trevor Hoffman," Towers told Piecoro (via Twitter ).

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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