Skip to content

Does anyone remember Mike Gimbel?

Jan 18, 2013, 8:25 AM EST

mystery man

I’m sure several people in Boston do, but most people can be forgiven if they don’t know that name.  Mike Gimbel was Bill James before he was Bill James.  At least as far as being a stathead consulting for the Boston Red Sox was concerned.

Rob Neyer told his story back in 2002. The short version: Inspired by James’ Abstracts, Gimbel began writing his own baseball analysis in the late 80s and it caught the notice of incoming Expos GM Dan Duquette who hired him as a consultant. He was useful in Duquette’s makeover of the Expos and Duquette brought Gimbel with him when he took over the Red Sox a few years later.  There his baseball ideas continued to be good ones but his P.R. savvy was less-than-good. When the luddites in the Boston press got wind of Gimbel’s gestalt they mocked him, he handled it poorly and eventually his contract wasn’t renewed. He never had another job in baseball.

Oh, and he once made the New York Times after his Brooklyn apartment was raided and several live alligators were confiscated.  Alligators which he let the neighborhood kids come in and pet.  To which I say, hey, he who is without sin cast the … no, wait. That’s just friggin’ bizarre.

Anyway, I completely forgot about Gimbel and his story until a column he wrote excoriating the BBWAA for their treatment of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens was linked over at Baseball Think Factory yesterday. It’s on the Workers World website of all places. And, while he and I may ultimately come down in the same place with respect to Bonds and Clemens, Gimbel’s argument is rather incoherent. He cites racism as a motivator of the anti-Bonds crowd when there is zero evidence of that being the case (and when it conflicts with the basically identical treatment Clemens has received). It refers to baseball owners’ profit motive in ways that do not square with their behavior today as opposed to 15 years ago.  It’s a strange read, hitting most of your classic communist tropes, and suggests a guy who is looking to fit an event into a world view which he feels has great meaning rather than trying to assess something and figure out what it means.

Beyond that, though, there’s no real point to this other than, man, I had completely forgotten about Mike Gimbel. And that between his past with the Expos and Sox, the alligator thing and writing this kind of rebop for a communist website, I bet there is a FANTASTIC movie to be made about this guy’s life. Really, somebody get me Charlie Kaufman on the phone, pronto.

(thanks to Stephen Keane for hipping me to the alligator thing)

Latest Posts
  1. Rays, Padres, Nationals agree to 11-player trade

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:16 PM EST

    wil myers rays getty Getty Images

    A three-team, 11-player trade has been agreed upon between the Rays, Padres, and Nationals. It centers around outfielder Wil Myers.

  2. Nick Markakis had neck surgery

    Dec 17, 2014, 5:08 PM EST

    Nick Markakis AP

    He is expected to be able to resume baseball activities before Spring Training begins.

  3. Blue Jays sign Ryan Kalish

    Dec 17, 2014, 4:16 PM EST

    Daniel Nava Getty Getty Images

    One-time Red Sox prospect trying to snag a bench gig.

  4. On some days, Pedro Martinez knew opposing hitters were “f****d”

    Dec 17, 2014, 4:05 PM EST

    Pedro Martinez AP

    If you don’t love Pedro Martinez there is no helping you.

  5. The Dbacks were apparently not pleased with Wade Miley’s conditioning

    Dec 17, 2014, 2:31 PM EST

    wade miley getty Getty Images

    The pitcher denies there were issues. But now he’s off to Boston, so I guess it doesn’t matter.

  6. So, apparently we’re sweating the Matt Kemp physical now

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:53 PM EST

    matt kemp getty Getty Images

    And if it blows up, it could impact the Jimmy Rollins trade too.

  7. The Red Sox acquire Anthony Varvaro from the Braves

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:30 PM EST

    Anthony Varvaro Getty Getty Images

    The Sox are getting themselves a handy reliever.

  8. Mariners acquire outfielder Justin Ruggiano from Cubs

    Dec 17, 2014, 12:12 PM EST

    Justin Ruggiano AP

    Seattle is looking for right-handed bats.

  9. Michael Kohn knew he’d play for the Braves when he was ten-years-old

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:53 AM EST

    crystal ball

    Right team, even if he picked the wrong position.

  10. “Nothing brewing” on Red Sox trading Allen Craig

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:15 AM EST

    allen craig getty Getty Images

    They’re getting lots of calls on him, though.

  11. The Wil Myers trade is “nearing the finish line”

    Dec 17, 2014, 11:10 AM EST

    wil myers getty Getty Images

    It appears as though it’ll only be a two-team trade, with Myers heading to San Diego.

  12. The United States will seek to normalize relations with Cuba

    Dec 17, 2014, 10:03 AM EST

    Cuba

    Which could have some baseball implications

  13. No, it’s not crazy to pay a free agent for what you think he’ll do in the future. That’s the bleedin’ point.

    Dec 17, 2014, 9:00 AM EST

    dodgers logo

    A columnist takes a strange approach to criticizing the Brandon McCarthy contract. And his reasoning for doing so is pretty clear.

  14. The NFL in Dodger Stadium?

    Dec 17, 2014, 8:40 AM EST

    dodger stadium getty Getty Images

    Seems like a bad idea. And that’s even if the field would even fit. Which it may not.

  15. Meanwhile, on Dan Shaughnessy’s Hall of Fame ballot

    Dec 17, 2014, 6:56 AM EST

    Tim Raines

    Tim Raines and Alan Trammell improved in the past year, apparently, returning to their 2012 quality. But some guys “just don’t look right.”

  16. Dodgers “talking to teams about” Brandon League

    Dec 16, 2014, 11:30 PM EST

    brandon league getty Getty Images

    The Dodgers dumped Brian Wilson on Tuesday afternoon, choosing to eat the remaining $9.5 million on his contract. And the new front office is not done unloading expensive mistakes from the old regime.

  17. Garrett Jones reportedly drawing trade interest

    Dec 16, 2014, 10:41 PM EST

    garrett jones getty Getty Images

    With so many clubs seeking power this winter, Garrett Jones could fetch the Fish some legitimate talent.

Featured video

Cubs shore up rotation with Jon Lester
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. M. Cabrera (4611)
  2. W. Miley (3478)
  3. M. Kemp (3354)
  4. C. Headley (2748)
  5. J. Lester (2691)
  1. E. Santana (2661)
  2. Y. Cespedes (2626)
  3. M. Scherzer (2538)
  4. W. Myers (2442)
  5. I. Desmond (2361)