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Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Hall of Fame Dodger Shortstop Meets His Successor

Pee Wee Reese spent sixteen years with the Dodgers - the entirety of his big league career. He missed three full seasons while off fighting in World War II, and was a vital member of the Dodgers throughout his tenure with the club, sporting nine seasons of 4.5 WAR or better. While my youth precludes me from having seen countless shortstops to man the position for the Dodgers since Reese hung up his cleats, it's safe to say the void at SS has been a major one.

$5.74 for some '50s Goodness

Outside of Maury Wills (overrated but better than most of the other Dodgers to man the position) and a few good to very good seasons from the injury-plagued and injury-prone Rafael Furcal, I can't remember the last decent shortstop the Dodgers have had, particularly in my lifetime.

That will all hopefully change with Devaris Strange-Gordon. After a cup of coffee that recently resulted in a trip back to AAA, Gordon will hopefully work on his shortcomings and be a fixture with the club beginning in 2012. Because the alternatives are not pretty (come on, we all know it's just a matter of time before Juan Castro's corpse makes its semi-triumphal return).

015/199, $5. USA! USA!

All I'm hoping for (and I think all anyone can hope for) is a guy who walks a fair amount, plays good defense, and steals bags at a high rate. His speed will mean nothing if he's the next Juan Pierre and is only successful about 75% of the time. As long as he can reach and maintain an 80% or higher level of stolen-base efficiency, his blazing speed and tiny wheels can be an asset to the club.

Gordon's four minor league stints featured wOBAs over .350 in three of the four campaigns, a very good sign. Of course, he sported high BABIPs in those seasons, but his incredible speed can account for much of that, as he'll certainly beat out more than his fair share of ground balls and rack up the infield hits.

If Gordon can work his BB% up to the ten percent mark and consistently work free passes, his lack of pop can be negated (as it already is based on the fact that he's a shortstop). He can certainly be a very productive player by smacking doubles and triples, limiting his caught stealings, and not becoming Hanley Ramirez with the leather.

Was this all just a poor excuse to mask the fact that I wanted to post these cards and needed a way to tie them together? Perhaps. Or maybe, just maybe, I might be dabbling once again in actual analysis. You know, what this here blog was originally intended for.

My contest remains open, so join in if you have yet to! Bonus Question # 2 drops Monday.

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Oh, and the Reese came in a large lot that also included a few cards from my Cheap HOF Vintage post - the Killebrew, Mathews, and Schoendienst. This was part of that lot as well.

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