Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mo' Star of the Day: Luis Rivera

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I wanted to do a basketball player today, I really did. This site is not just called "Sexy Boston Baseball" and there are certainly some great Celtics' staches to choose from. But in light of yesterday's news that the union is going to decertify, almost ensuring the entire season is canceled, I just can't do it today.

So instead, in a panic move, you get Luis Rivera. From that same late 80's, early 90's Red Sox as Mike "Gator" Greenwell, Rivera manned the short stop position until John Valentin ascended. For some reason, Rivera has always stuck out in my head, maybe because he had a similar look to X Dad in the 80s or maybe he used to make some highlight real plays. Looking back on him now, though, it is pretty sad, because he was pretty terrible. Some fun facts (if you find bad baseball fun; I probably have a Pirate or Royals fan out there right?):

  • Signed as an amateur free agent out of Puerto Rico in 1981. Puerto Rican players are no longer eligible to be signed as amateur free agents; since 1990 they have been subjected to the June draft just like American and Canadian born players.
  • Was traded with John Dopson to the Red Sox for Spike Owen in 1988.
  • Was a TERRIBLE hitter. In a season in which he got at least 50 plate appearances, his highest ever average was .258, OBP .318, SLG .384, OPS .702, OPS + 10% below league average, HR 8, RBI 45, walks 35, hits 107, stolen bases 4.
  • He has the 46th worst OPS of any short stop since World War II with at least 2000 career plate appearances.
  • As bad a hitter as he was, he may have been a worse base runner. In his career, he stole 20 total bases. But was caught 22 times. Even David Ortiz has a better success rate, with 11 steals and 7 caught stealings.
  • So we've established that he can't hit or run, but what about fielding? Well, over his career he was both below average in traditional fielding stats (fielding %) and some advanced ones that we have data for (range factor). So, what would you say ya do here? He must have been a great people person.
  • Despite a career that spanned 11 seasons, he only earned over $1 million in 2 of those.
  • After his 1994 season with the New York Mets in which he received just 49 plate apperances, he toiled in the minors for 3 seasons before working his way back to the big leagues with the Astros for a 15 plate appearance cup of coffee in 1997. He finished his Major League career in 1998 with the Royals, the place where short stops go to die.
There's not a whole lot else to say about Rivera's playing career. Sorta inexplicable how he received so much playing time and was able to hang around until he was 34, but I guess the times were different. Depressing career for a depressing day in my sports world.

Still have no camera phone to show my own Mo Progress, but it is definitely coming together finally. You can even see it from relatively far away! I have shifted my goal from Tom Selleck to Ron Swanson after seeing last week's Parks and Recreation where Ron looks into the camera and says, "I have to file my toe nails every three weeks because they are too strong for clippers," and then gives a proud smirk. My hero.

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