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Remembering Melvin Mora

Dec 30, 2011, 9:25 AM EST

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I made a joke on Twitter earlier about how we’d see just how desperate bloggers are for content by the number of “is Melvin Mora a Hall of Famer?”  posts written today.  Hey, he retired. That’s an easy one, right?

I shouldn’t be so damn cynical, because Rob Neyer wrote up a nice Melvin Mora remembrance over at SB Nation that is worth your time. Maybe Mora won’t think it’s nice because the centerpiece of it is play in 2000 when Mora made an error that cost the Mets a game, but it’s full of great stuff. Especially when he reminds us what passed for the heavy hitting portion of the Red Sox’ lineup in 2000. Mercy.

Anyway, Rob’s post is a good reminder that we should probably do whatever we can to get away from absolutes and extremes in baseball analysis. “Is so-and-so a Hall of Famer” or “The ten best whatevers of all time” posts have their place, but we probably do way too much of that.  Rather than rating and ranking everything or trying so hard to find meaningful context to things that happen in baseball, we need to make sure there’s a place for simple stories. To remember the stuff that just sort of happened and didn’t mean a hell of a lot in the grand scheme. Because that’s most of what’s enjoyable about baseball anyway.

Melvin Mora’s career doesn’t fit into the pre-fab “how great was he?” mold. But it was long and varied enough and at times really good, and it serves as a useful means with which to tell a few stories like the one Rob tells today. And that stuff is pretty great.

  1. natsattack - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    I know it is ESPN, but Jim Caple has a good piece on Prince Fieder/Scott Boras’s 7 page book.

  2. The Common Man - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Craig, you never addressed the central question. Is Melvin Mora a Hall of Famer?

  3. Old Gator - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    I Remember Mora would make a great title for a heartwarming family drama about Latino immigrants.

  4. 18thstreet - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    I saw Melvin Mora playing third base for the Orioles, poorly. I tried to piece it together from baseball-reference, and it looks like the game must have been 2004, Mora’s first year at third and a year in which they opened against Boston (which is why I would have been there).

    Here’s what I remember, though I could be getting the details wrong: the Orioles told him very shortly before the season started that third would his new position. He was just terrible there. I remember thinking admirable it was. His team had set him up to look awful, but he was doing his best. Whatever he was getting paid (and it was surely a lot), I thought he was showing more dignity than his manager.

  5. osayorioles - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:15 PM

    I wrote a piece in my blog today about Mora – before seeing this … and did not have him in the Hall of Fame. I will remember him negatively for hitting into so many rally killing double plays, but recall him positively for the incredible improvement he made defensively over the years at 3B. But more than anything, he is a guy who came a long way from his roots where his father was murdered when he was a boy, to being a father himself of quintuplets! Melvin is a good guy.

  6. cogitobaseballergosum - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:34 AM

    My lasting memory of Mora is as the anti-Andruw Jones of facial expressions. Even after a bases-clearing double or behind-the-bag diving stab, he always looked like someone had just ruined the viewing of his Night-bloooming Mock Orchid.

  7. hushbrother - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I was at that game. I remember Daubach’s walk-off hit, but I don’t remember Mora’s error that preceded it. I also seem to recall Pedro serving up a couple of homers in that game, one being to Luis Lopez.

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