Thursday Morning Tazoberry

=== Jemanji Was a Major Leaguer in a Past Life ===

Larry Stone ran a few "teammate chains" recently.  I hadn't realized that had a section called "Frivolities."  Kewl!

This allowed me, narcissistically, to determine which MLB player died just before I was born.  Dick Hoblitzel passed away about a day-and-a-half before little Jemanji had his 0th birthday.  I just knew that my MLB ancestor-body would gallavant around the majors as a fine ballplayer.

I don't believe in reincarnation any more than I do in astrology, in Poseidon's son Percy or in Casey Kotchman's ability to help the M's win a pennant.  But it's entertaining.


Hoblitzel had several things in common with me:

  1. He was a 1B, same as my position after age 35 (I enjoy 1B the most)
  2. He had fair-to-middlin' power
  3. His original team, the Reds, was the one I instantly fell in love with when I discovered baseball
  4. His other team, the Red Sox, has been my second-favorite team since the '75 World Series (the Mariners weren't exactly available to the deadball-era Hoblitzel)
  5. Though I was born righty, I enjoy batting LH more (Hoblitzel hit LH)
  6. I'm kinda interested in baseball
  7. Hoblitzel was a good-sized guy for his day
  8. His nickname:  Doc

Wikipedia says that Hoblitzel "was known as an intelligent player and well respected for his gentleman's manner, integrity and good sense."  That cinches it.  Wiki didn't say anything about Hoblitzel's humility and charm, but that can be presumed.

This one is an eye-roller, I know, but when people ask me what profession I'd choose if I were starting again at 18 -- excluding my current one -- I always say, "dentist."  Which is what Hoblitzel was.  Have always thought dentistry would offer all of the perks of family doctor, with none of the hemorrhoids.

Hm.  Hoblitzel's MLB career ended when he was sent off to Europe in 1918, and he was 74.1 years old when he died.  That gives me until December 4, 2037.  Do you suppose that on December 5th, 2037, a little moron will be born with a gift for backgammon?


=== HOF Vote ===

Edgar has 132 HOF Monitor points to Andre Dawson's 118. 

Remember, the HOF Monitor takes position into account, when it quantifies sportswriters' past voting habits. 

If you're just talking about hitting, Edgar had a 147 OPS+ to Dawson's 119 OPS+.   Dawson had 90% of Edgar's HOF points only because he was not a DH.


Our man Geoffy argues that, had Dawson been playing in Edgar's context or vice versa, Dawson would have done better under equal conditions.  For example, Dawson had to tape up his knees and play on terrible astroturf, injured.

As a rule, mega-historian James rules these "What If" arguments out of bounds. 

What if Thurman Munson hadn't crashed his plane?  Do you go back and calculate his probable stats, being that other players had the unfair advantage of breathing at age 34?  

What if Josh Gibson or Satchel Paige had been in the majors?  Supposing that Lefty Grove had been released to play in the majors 5 years earlier?

Supposing that Mickey Mantle hadn't been a drunk, or that Joe DiMaggio had played under the Green Monster?

In this particular case, Geoffy's argument carries a bit more weight.  It's true that Edgar didn't have to battle the wear-and-tear of everyday third base.  Playing DH is a nice advantage in terms of longevity.  That is a fair point.


Generally, in HOF voting, you don't give credit for what they coulda done or shoulda done.  You give credit for what they did done.

What Edgar did done, was pile up HOF points that put him at the 67th percentile of inducted HOF'ers.


Dr D



I highly doubt that anybody else's karmic twin was half the ballplayer that I... er, Dick Hoblitzel was in the deadball era.  But if anybody wants to check, see you at the Shirley MacLaine Past Life Hall.
Date-of-death finder


Deadball era outfielder for the St. Louis Browns (mostly).  Played one year with the Senators before finishing his career with the St. Louis Cards.  Died 3 days before I was born.
1) Bats left, throws right.  (I'm ambidextrous - and suck athletically from either side -- though I have carried a 174 avg righty, and a 144 avg lefty on bowling leagues).
2) Career line: .271/.365/.333 - OPS+ = 109  -- finished in top 10 in OBP 4 times, and led the league in walks twice, with a career high of 118 walks in 1915.  (I'm partial to the walk, and remain convinced that even today, the walk is STILL undervalued - so I appreciate that this guy had an eye ratio of almost 2 to 1 positive.)
3) Stole 293 bases in his career - and swiped 40+ in 4 straight years from '13 to '16.  (Okay, this is definitely NOT me.  When I run the 40, they time me with a calendar). 
4) Played CF thru 1914, then shifted to LF.  Finished nearly dead even in OF assists and errors for his career - (173-184).  I have no idea if a .942 fielding percentage for an OF was good or not in the deadball era, but he did manage 400 OF chances 3 times, (the last one while playing LF exclusively).  -- Me?  I've only played the OF in baseball or softball, so that matches -- though mostly I played RF. 
Mostly, I snicked at the fact that my potential past-lifer carried the initials  B.S.


I guess my past-life ballplayer never made the majors.  October 15th or October 16th, it does not one died in 1981. :(

okdan's picture

Ok, now I don't generally believe in this kind of stuff either, but this is incredibly weird....
My name is Dan Carson, my birthday is June 21st. No players died on June 21, 1984 (my bday), but someone DID die on June 21, 1983.
That player? Kit Carson.
The even weirder part?? My Dad's brother, my uncle... is named Kit Carson.
I am now completely freaked out.


Heh... no, you gotta go back to Oct 14 or 13 or whatever, man.  Somewhere back there, you know all of us saberdweebs played in the majors.


Reincarnation buffs would probably prefer your Year-1 date to -36 hours.  The soul has to have a chance for R&R, don'cha know.
So your last name is Carson, Dan?  Wonder if Kit Carson the ballplayer is in your family line.  There again, Shirley MacLaine's crowd is huge on transmigration within a family.  The archetype story is that of a 3-year-old patting his pocket, "this is where I keep my smokes," when that was the place that Grandpa kept his smokes.
Awesome, man.  You really were a major league player.
:- )


Between October 14th and 16th, no one died within 5 years of my birthdate...LOL
On October 13th, 1981 Jack Knott died...a very mediocre live-ball era (1933-1947) pitcher with a career K/BB of less than 0.6 and an ERA+ of 82
On October 17th, 1981, another very mediocre infielder whose best seasons came when the league was watered down by WWII died.


My theory is that I was an old time sportswriter. :)

Taro's picture

Ha! Craziness.
For what its worth I do believe in reincarnation, but most people stay in limbo for at least 50ish years before they're born again. You'd at least need some time to chill out in the womb.
I think its safe to say that this guy isn't you Doc... Not that you needed any convincing. :-)

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