Cooperstown Confidential: The Hands of Stone team

Michael Cuddyer is a decent little player to have on a ballclub. He has power, drives in his share of runs, draws about 60 walks in a full season, and will play anywhere he’s asked to suit up. That last trait became the impetus to this week’s article.

Given the loss of Tsuyoshi Nishioka to a broken leg, the Twins were faced with the chore of plugging a major hole at second base. Ron Gardenhire has decided to give Cuddyer, among others, a look at the position. Cuddyer makes for an interesting sight, with his 6-foot-2, 220-pound body bouncing around the middle infield. Cuddyer will surely give it all he has, but if he plays for any stretch of time at the pivot, he has a chance to string together enough misplays for a full-length blooper reel.

His move from right field to second base has me thinking of the worst defensive players at each position over the history of the game. We’ve set up a few rules. To be considered, a player must be retired. He also must have played at least 100 games at the position. And his career must have started after World War II, so that we could poll staff members about players they had actually seen.

Although these selections are based mostly on observation and anecdotal evidence, we have included TotalZone ratings (the comprehensive system developed by Sean Smith). In every case, the selected players had TotalZone ratings well into the negative numbers.

Finally, my intention with this article is to create a fun and entertaining discussion, and not to be cruel. Almost everyone listed below was a good player who could hit; a number of them were versatile. They were useful players who could help you win, especially if employed properly. They just didn’t have the ability to be good defenders.

With all that in mind, here’s my unofficial “Hands of Stone” team, with lots of help coming from The Hardball Times staff. It is by no means intended to be the final say on the matter; your suggestions for your own stone-hands team are more than welcome.

Catchers
(First team) Cliff Johnson: TotalZone Rating -17

He was a good backup catcher to have, a strong and patient hitter, with the ability to deliver pinch-hit home runs (he’s third on the all-time list), but his rock-like hands, stiff movements, and popgun arm prevented him from playing the position every day. In 1976, he led all major league catchers in passed balls, despite playing in only 66 games, a rather remarkable achievement. “Heathcliff” also wasn’t particularly adept at calling a game, and didn‘t enjoy warming up pitchers in the bullpen. For the most part, Johnson concentrated his efforts on swinging a bat, making him the ideal catcher-turned-DH.

(Honorable mention) Alan Knicely: TotalZone Rating -7

The poor man’s version of Cliff Johnson, Knicely was not quite as bad defensively, but was significantly weaker with the bat. Knicely actually had a strong arm—he threw out 25 per cent of baserunners—but his hands consisted of some composition of granite and sandstone. In 108 games behind the plate, Knicely made a boggling 11 errors. (Pro-rated over a full 162 games, that comes out to nearly 20 errors in a season.) Knicely’s minor league numbers indicated he would hit in the big leagues, so his teams in Houston and Cincinnati tried to keep him in the lineup at other spots, specifically the outfield and first base. When Knicely didn’t hit as expected, his major league days became numbered to a precious few.

First base
(First team) Dick Stuart: TotalZone Rating -59

If there were to be a captain for the “Hands of Stone” team, it would be tough to find a better choice than Stuart. Nicknamed “Dr. Strangeglove” for his legendary feats of fielding, he achieved the Triple Crown of poor defensive play: bad hands, little range, and a weak throwing arm. At his worst, he managed to make 29 errors in one season, a stunning achievement for someone playing first base. In seven other seasons, he managed to reach double figures in miscues, giving him 10 or more errors in eight out of 10 full seasons. .

(Honorable mention) Jason Giambi: TotalZone Rating -41

I was tempted to give the backup nod to Mo Vaughn, especially for his ineptitude as a Met and an Angel, but I had the “privilege” of watching Giambi so closely for so long that I just couldn’t pass him up. Giambi had the range of a thimble at first base; if the ball was not hit right at him, it was a sure base hit to right field. He also had a terrible throwing arm, which was exacerbated by a fear of throwing. Given the combination, the Yankees rarely turned the 3-6-3 double play in games in which he played. And there were very few 3-2 putouts at the plate. If Giambi had a saving grace as a defender, it was his soft hands, which allowed him to pick errant throws out of the dirt from time to time. But other than that, well, Dick Stuart would have been proud.

Second base
(First tam) Jorge Orta: TotalZone Rating -76

An outfielder in a middle infielder’s body, Orta possessed hard hands and a slow turn on the double play, a lethal combination. Eventually, the White Sox wised up and moved Orta to left field, where he could do less damage. In 1977, Orta was one of the featured players in arguably the worst defensive double play combination of the expansion era. Orta served as the pivot man for shortstop Alan Bannister, who committed 40 errors that season. Playing as part of the colorful “South Side Hit Men,” Orta and Bannister created some interesting defensive adventures for the ‘77 White Sox, who finished dead last in the American League in double plays.

(Honorable mention) Gregg Jefferies: TotalZone Rating -39

Try as they might, the Mets desperately wanted Jefferies to succeed as a second baseman. They hoped that Jefferies’ natural athleticism would eventually make him an acceptable pivot man, but their wishful thinking never materialized into reality. Jefferies had speed, quickness and a good arm, but he also had hands of rock, looked statuesque trying to turn the double play, and simply lacked the basic instincts required of a middle infielder. He played second base so badly that it’s an absolute wonder that he came up as a shortstop, playing the game’s most demanding defensive position at most of his minor league stops. Yowzer.

Shortstop
(First team) Jose Offerman: TotalZone Rating -69

He looked like a shortstop, long and lean and athletic, with the accompanying speed and quickness. But in reality, Offerman’s defensive displays were nightmarish. Perhaps “incompetent” would be the best way to describe Offerman’s work as a shortstop. He had bad hands, poor footwork, and a scattershot arm. He could handle pop-ups, but that was about it in terms of any favorable defensive attributes. In retrospect, it’s rather remarkable that the Dodgers used him exclusively at shortstop for six seasons, including three years as a regular at the position. Later in his career, the Royals converted him to first base, but then decided to push their luck by trying him at second base. The Royals soon realized that he could not turn the double play, a prerequisite for the position. In spite of his continuing problems, the Red Sox signed him to an expensive free agent contract and anointed him their starting second baseman. By the end of his Red Sox stint, he was bobbling balls in the outfield and handling some of the DH duties.

(Honorable mention) Roy Smalley, Sr.: TotalZone Rating -13

This is the shortstop who played for the Cubs in the early 1950s, not to be confused with his son of the same name, who played for the Twins and Yankees in the ’70s and ’80s. “He made 51 errors in 1950, and maintained a like ratio in less-complete years,” says Joe Distelheim, a writer and editor for The Hardball Times. “In the city that produced Tinker to Evers to Chance, he and his double play partner, Eddie Miksis, were known as ‘Smalley to Miksis to the dugout.’ And Smalley is comfortably in negative numbers for the advanced-stats years.” On all counts, the elder Smalley fits quite nicely onto the second team.

Third base
(First team) Jim Ray Hart: TotalZone Rating -38

Hardball Times writer and longtime San Francisco Giants observer Steve Treder offers a succinct profile of Hart’s play at the hot corner. “He had only two problems defensively: fielding and throwing,” says Treder. “Other than that, he was fine.”

Far better suited to playing left field, Hart actually played more games at third base than at any other position, much to the chagrin of Giants pitchers who threw sinkerballs. Hart lacked the hands, mobility, and range to play third, and by his own admission, did not take a lot of interest in his fielding. Like many of the players on the “Hands of Stone” team, he finished his career as a DH, performing in that role for the 1973 Yankees.

(Honorable mention) Ray Jablonski: TotalZone Rating -36

He was nicknamed “Jabbo” as a play on his last name, but the nickname could well have described the way he jabbed and stabbed his glove at ground balls. (Given the comical nature of his play at third and the sound of his nickname, Jabbo would have made an appropriate recruit for the Marx Brothers.) Jablonski was a terrific hitter, but his defensive hijinks ultimately cost him his job as a regular with the Cardinals, where he was known as one of the “Polish Falcons,” along with Steve Bilko and Rip Repulski. In 1954, Jablonski reached his nadir defensively when he committed 34 errors at the hot corner, sinking his fielding percentage to .926. The Cardinals reacted by trading him to the Cubs, clearing the way for Ken Boyer to move in at third. Simply put, Jabbo was a DH 20 years before its time.

Left field
(First team) Greg “The Bull” Luzinski: TotalZone Rating -93

Bull, meet “The Donkey.” Luzinski was the Adam Dunn of his day. He combined incredibly slow feet with a weak arm and a general awkwardness that would have made him a better fit as a first baseman, his original position in the Phillies system. Having to play on the artificial turf of the old Veterans Stadium only underscored Luzinski’s lack of speed and coordination. It remains a mystery why the Phillies ever moved him from first base, the only position he played during his minor league career. With a body that made him look like a professional wrestler, The Bull was never a good fit for the outfield.

(Honorable mention) Kevin Reimer: TotalZone Rating -25

Remarkably, Reimer averaged an error for every 10 games he played in the outfield. He was particularly bad on those rare occasions when his teams dared to put him in right field, where he posted an .875 fielding percentage. This former Rangers and Brewers outfielder tried very hard, but he had no instincts, couldn’t run, couldn’t catch, and couldn’t throw. And that about covers it.

Center field
(First team) Willie Montanez: TotalZone Rating -14

Another former Phillie, Montanez lasted only two seasons in center field before management mercifully moved him to first base. Montanez would become a capable defensive first baseman, but he lacked the foot speed and the tracking ability needed to play in the middle of the outfield. Watching Montanez and Luzinski play together in the Phillies’ 1972 outfield must have been akin to viewing an uncut version of The Last House on the Left.

(Honorable mention) Gene Richards: TotalZone Rating -5

He had terrific lateral speed, but it rarely brought him to the ball without misadventure. Richards ran bad routes and possessed pitchfork hands, a deadly combination for a center fielder. The Padres wisely played him in left field, but he struggled almost as badly there as he did in center field. For good measure, Richards couldn’t throw either.

Right field
(First team) Dave Kingman: TotalZone Rating -7

One of the memories of my childhood is watching Dave Kingman stagger under fly balls at Shea Stadium. Kong was actually a good athlete (in addition to having gargantuan power), but his athletic ability didn’t translate into fielding prowess. As Steve Treder points out about Kingman‘s early career with the Giants, “he ran extremely well for a guy of his size, and he had a tremendous arm and he liked to show it off. But with every succeeding year he seemed to regress defensively, and it wasn’t long before he’d simply given up any sincere effort to do anything except maximize the distance, and not even so much the frequency, of his home runs.”

By the time Kong joined the Mets, his fielding had fully regressed. Kingman failed to get good jumps, ran awkwardly, and lacked soft hands. Unfortunately, he wasn’t much better at first base and was actually worse at third base (where he could have given onetime teammate Jim Ray Hart a run for his money) so most of his teams struggled to find a spot to hide him.

(Honorable mention) Jose Canseco TotalZone Rating -21

The muscleman wasn’t as bad as indicated by the way he once played Carlos Martinez’ fly ball off his head and over the right field wall at the old Municipal Stadium, but he wasn’t good either. Canseco had all the tools to be more than competent as a defender: speed, deceptive quickness, and a strong arm. Unfortunately, tools do not make one a defensive stalwart. Canseco did not run good routes toward fly balls, he ran clumsily, and he owned hands of granite. At times, Canseco played the outfield with all the coordination of Raquel Welch trying to tap dance without swinging her arms.

Utility
Curt Blefary: TotalZone Rating -19 (for all positions combined)

Even a team of poor defensive players needs a good utilityman, one who can provide the right blend of versatility and fielding ineptitude. The man known as “Clank” fits the bill. He played the outfield, first base, a little bit behind the plate, and even some cameos at third base—all with subpar results. Blefary deserves credit for trying hard and having a good attitude about his versatility. At one point in his career, he willingly carried eight gloves around with him, so that he could cover just about every position on the field, if called upon. The type of glove or mitt didn’t matter; each glove provided the resounding sound of iron hitting baseball.

Pitcher
Tommy John: TotalZone Rating: not applicable

Pitchers are difficult to evaluate defensively since they don’t play every day and don’t often become directly involved in fielding plays, other than bunts and come-backers. But let’s give it a try anyway. A borderline Hall of Famer in terms of his pitching, John lacked mobility and coordination when it came to handling batted balls. If John was on his game, the best way to beat him was to bunt—again and again and again. As a left-handed pitcher, he was particularly vulnerable to bunts down the first base line. Not even “Tommy John surgery” could fix that.

Billy Loes: TotalZone Rating: not aplicable

A flaky right-hander with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Loes was notorious for his on-the-field mental lapses, which is exactly the kind of characteristic that can make a pitcher a fielding liability. After all, Loes once claimed that he lost a ground ball in the sun!

The best of the rest: Earl Williams (catcher), Mo Vaughn (first base), Juan Samuel (second base), Alan Bannister (shortstop), Butch Hobson (third base), Gary Matthews (left field), Ralph Garr (center field), and Pedro Guerrero (right field).

References & Resources
I’d like to give special thanks to the members of The Hardball Times staff, particularly Joe Distelheim, Dave Studeman, and Steve Treder, for their input into this article. Also, acknowledgment should go to Sean Smith, for developing his detailed defensive ranking system, known as TotalZone.

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Comments

  1. gdc said...

    Thought Guerrero’s adventure at 3B eclipsed his OF career, but he doesn’t compare to Joel (.887 fielding) Youngblood’s 1984 visit to the hot corner, lower than Ryan Braun’s rookie year there.

    If you are really talking about bad hands rather than just bad defense, the description should let Giambi off.  What I was expecting to see are the guys like Offerman and Richards who had the speed or arm but just managed to not handle balls they did touch either from reflexes, inattention, or footwork moving them into positions where even good fielders could not react to the bounce regularly.  I also thought most of Hobson’s badness was throwing accuracy rather then not collecting the balls he could reach.

  2. Bruce Markusen said...

    gdc, Hands of Stone was just a creative name I applied to the team. These players are listed here for poor defensive ability, based on a combination of everything: lack of range, bad throwing arm, bad hands. It’s meant to look at the total package defensively.

  3. Steve Treder said...

    Regarding Alan Knicely:  I distinctly recall watching a game on TV when Knicely was playing for the Cardinals, so it had to have been 1986.  Knicely was playing first base, and went into foul territory to attempt to catch a pop-up … but missed the ball and it hit him right on the side of the head.  OUCH!

    His St. Louis teammates, of course, thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.  The TV camera panned across the dugout, and you never saw people laughing so hard.  Coach Red Schoendienst looked like he was going to have a coronary he was cracking up so profusely.

    Ah, ballplayers.

  4. stevebogus said...

    How did Nolan Ryan get overlooked? A career .895 fielding percentage and easy to steal on. Plus with all those strikeouts he’s the perfect pitcher for this team since you want as few balls in play as possible.

  5. Paul Wootten said...

    Phillie fans in the 70’s will remember Luzinski standing in left field with his back toward CF.  The understanding was that he was responsible for everything from his nose to the left field line.  Garry Maddox went after everything from the Bull’s rear end to left-center.

  6. Wade Swormstedt said...

    I remember Alex Johnson being particularly bad in LF for the Reds. And when the Reds still had Doggie at 1B, Driessen had to play 3B, and his throwing errors cost several games. But he ended up being pretty good at 1B scooping up bad throws. As for nicknames, what about Larry Biittner? 2 i’s, 2 t’s, no hands.

  7. Travis M. Nelson said...

    Not that he was as big a name as most of these guys, but NY Giants right fielder DOn Mueller was apparently not much of a fielder (career -15 in TZ despite playing in fewer than 1100 games).  The story goes that he once asked Willie Mays if it was true that he was the best center fielder in the league.  Mays’ deadpan response was,

    “The best right fielder, too.”

  8. Dan J said...

    Bill James mentions Luzinski and Kingman in his the revised Historical Baseball Abstract, comparing Luzinski as outfielder to Herman Munster and quoting Richie Ashburn’s take on a delay of game to fix Kingman’s glove—“they should have called a welder.”

  9. Joe Pilla said...

    As a Mets fans—reading this list of defensively-challenged notables, and, naturally, encountering the names Kingman and Samuel—I was induced to take two Ibuprofen and lie down before replying.
    Anyway, here goes…

    I once attended a Phils-Mets game at Shea in the early 80’s where Kingman, allegedly manning first base, demonstated in breathtaking fashion his versatility at the position. Whether falling down while pursuing a fearsome foul pop, fanning at a grounder and a throw, or flipping a ball over an incredulous teammate, he stunned us in Section 2, upper deck—an admittedly hard-bitten bunch—into silence.

    On the day of the 1983 trade with the Cards for Keith Hernandez, pushing Kong to the bench—and again the first time I witnessed Hernandez as a Met charge past the mound to snatch up a bunt and nip a runner at third base—I prostrated myself towards Cooperstown, lightheaded at the change in my expectations when the Mets took the field…

  10. Jim C said...

    Frank Howard had some adventures in LF when playing for the Senators. I was at one game, sitting in the left field corner, when a flyball was hit to straightaway left. I swear Frank said “I’ll try it.” Whitey Herzog had a great line about those bad-fielding Mets teams of the 80’s. Conceding that Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez were good glovemen, he said, “It’s unusual for a National League team to have 6 DH’s.”

  11. Paul E said...

    Bruce:
      “It remains a mystery why the Phillies ever moved him from first base, the only position he played during his minor league career”.

      Those great Philadelphia teams of the early ‘70’s were committed to Deron Johnson batting clean-up and playing SOMEWHERE. With super-prospect Don Money at 3B (moved over from SS in his minor league days to make room for Bowa), Johnson had to play 1B, and consequently, Luzinski in LF. Those Phillies teams of the early ‘70’s could put the expansion Mariners to shame. Carlton winning 27 in 1972 has got to be one of the 10 greatest feats in the history of the sport……….

  12. Bruce Markusen said...

    Dan, you are correct. Giambi, of course, is still a backup first baseman for the Rockies. I will have to replace him with Mo Vaughn, after all. And perhaps Zeke Bonura should get a nod at first base, too.

  13. Van Wilhoite said...

    Jim Ray Hart should not be the winner at 3B; it should be Butch Hobson: Total Zone Rating -51

  14. Mr.Fox said...

    Chuck Hiller, journeyman National League second baseman in the 60’s actually had the nick name “iron Hands”

  15. John D said...

    When I was a child,my first baseball glove was a three fingered Ray Jablonski made by Wilson.I used to lay on my bed and toss a tennis ball up to the ceiling and thereby play catch with myself.When I first got my three fingered Jablonski and tossed my tennis ball toward the ceiling,I dropped the ball.

  16. Steve Treder said...

    Fun discussion here. 

    And no fun discussion of lousy fielding is complete without a quote from a wonderful article Roy Blount Jr. wrote way back in 1970:

    “Speaking of bad fielding and baserunning, surely ineptitude is funnier in baseball than in other sports. Bad defense in football or basketball is tragic, shameful, dismal. In baseball it is Dick Stuart earning the nicknames ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ ‘Stonefinger,’ or ‘Ancient Mariner’ (who stoppeth one in three).

    “It is Curt Blefary becoming known as ‘Clank,’ and Ray Jablonski and Lou ‘The Mad Russian’ Novikoff winning a warm spot in every heart because they persisted, without letting it weaken their characters, in being so awful afield. If a man has a good heart and can hit, bad fielding, at least in retrospect and at a safe distance, can come to seem almost a sign of grace, like a bear’s inability to reason.”

  17. Bruce Markusen said...

    Tracy, did not know those numbers on Matt Young. He wasn’t known as a particularly good pitcher, but he was really awful when it came to fielding.

  18. Tracy said...

    My nominee for pitcher on this team would be Matt Young, whose career fielding percentage was .878.

    He got off to a decent start, but had a .765 percentage in his fourth season (4 errors in 17 chances). He followed that three seasons later by fielding .827, making nine errors. Finally, he bottomed out by fielding .625, making six errors in 16 chances.

  19. charles said...

    I wonder if Michael Kay ever grasped how foolish he sounded whenever he talked of Jason Giambi and his “ever improving” fielding?

  20. Coolhand said...

    As an Astros fan in the early ‘00’s, I found it remarkable how bad a centerfielder Roger Cedeno was, given his speed and athleticism.

    Fun article.

  21. Ed Buskirk Jr. said...

    Coolhand, I know what you mean. He was a huge disappointment to Tiger fans too, and they gave the Astros Brad Ausmus for him, to add insult to injury.

  22. KJOK said...

    Fun article.

    Some alternatives:

    C- Dick Dietz, Mike Piazza
    1B- Ted Kluszuski, Frank Thomas
    2B – Steve Sax, Pete Rose
    SS – Jeff Blauser, Frank Taveras
    3B – Dean Palmer, Joe Torre
    LF – Leon Wagner, Ryan Klesko, Willie Horton
    CF – Larry Hisle, Al Oliver
    RF – Glenallan Hill, Derek Bell

  23. Jim C said...

    @KJOK-Thomas was a good first baseman early in his career, and Rose, as much as I can’t stand him, always worked hard to make himself a better player, no matter where they put him. Any hands of stone team that does not include Pedro Guerrero, either at 3B or the OF, is definitely incomplete.

  24. Ed R. said...

    An old story, possibly apocryphal:

    During the Guerrero experiment at 3rd base, Tommy Lasorda asks Pedro what he’s thinking when he’s in the field.  “I hope they don’t hit it to me,” answers Pedro.  “O.K., ” says Tommy, disappointed, “What else are you thinking?”  Pedro’s answer?  “I hope they don’t hit it to Sax.”

  25. Derek Ambrosino said...

    Couple of quick comments -

    1. I’m thinking Bobby Bonilla deserves some consideration at 3B as well.

    2. I remember watching my VHS of “Super Duper Baseball Bloopers” over and over as a kid; that Tommy John play where he commits 3 errors on a single play is amazing.

    3. Offerman was destined to be here, and if any GMs were into geeky word games, they would have known this – his name is an anagram for “Major Offense”

  26. Jim C said...

    As long as we’re on to individual plays, I’ll never forget a play I saw on TV, Mets at Reds, in ‘88 I believe. Late in a close game, Reds get the first two guys on, first and second, none out, and everyone knows a bunt is coming. The batter gets it down toward third, Hojo overthrows first, Strawberry gets it and overthrows third, by now the batter is heading to second, Hojo fires it back into RF, and then Straw overthrows 3rd one more time, and all three guys score. Truly hilarious.

  27. Steve Treder said...

    How about a Stone-Handed Inning?

    I was too young to have witnessed this one myself, but as the youngest in a family of Giants fans, it was passed down to me as part of the Lore of the Long-Suffering.

    April 29, 1960, Giants against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.  The Giants take a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning behind ace pitcher Sam Jones.

    Norm Larker leads off with a single to center.  Maury Wills hits a line drive to third baseman Joey Amalfitano, who knocks it down but can’t handle it.  It’s generously scored as a single.  Runners on first and second, no outs.

    Johnny Podres lays down a sac bunt, that Jones fields but can’t decide which base to throw it to.  Everybody safe, this one also charitably scored as an infield single.  Bases loaded, no outs.

    Jim Gilliam hits a comebacker to Jones, who fields it, but in attempting to turn the home-to-first DP, he throws it past catcher Bob Schmidt.  Two runs score, Podres goes to third, Gilliam to second.  Still no outs.

    With the infield in, Charlie Neal hits a grounder to shortstop Eddie Bressoud.  The baserunners freeze, but Bressoud boots the grounder, Neal safe at first on the error.  Bases loaded again, still no outs.

    Wally Moon hits a grounder to first baseman Willie McCovey, who also attempts to get the force out at home, and also throws the ball away.  Two more runs score.  Runners now at second and third.  Still no outs.

    Duke Snider walks.  Just because it’s more fun to have the bases loaded.  With no outs.

    Gil Hodges hits a fly to center field, too shallow to score the run.  Hooray!  One out!

    John Roseboro comes up.  On a 3-2 count, he hits a grand slam home run.

    Jones retires the next two hitters, and the inning is mercifully finished.  The damage:  8 runs, 4 hits (could easily have been scored as 2 hits, 3 errors (could easily have been scored as 5 errors).  But nobody left on base!

  28. Dan J said...

    @KJOK, re: Willie Horton as second alternate left fielder.

    Should a player be on this team if everyone’s first memory of him is throwing out Lou Brock at the plate, the turning point of a World Series?

  29. KJOK said...

    For a die-hard Cardinals fan whose favorite player was Lou Brock?  I think I can put Willie on the Hands of Stone team. ;>)

  30. Van Wilhoite said...

    @Derek Ambrosino- when Eric Young first came up to play 2nd for LA while Offerman was at SS- as a double play combo they were called E.Y. and E6.

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  32. mike said...

    Billy Loes did indeed lose a grounder in the sun. At Ebbets Field, the upper tier had arches in the design through which the sun shone late in the afternoon. In a Series game (forget what year exactly) a high bouncer came out of that glare and he booted it. I never saw him play so he might have been a mug as far as fielding, but he doesn’t deserve the HoS designation for that play alone.

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