Feb 26, 2013, 11:52 AM EDT
Hey, it’s my first post on Hardball Talk. Very exciting. I still cannot believe that Calcaterra and Gleeman didn’t save the “Jeff Francoeur is in the best shape of his life” post for me.
Kevin Youkilis plays for the New York Yankees now. I’m not typing those words as a fact. I’m typing those words to remind myself — kind of like that guy in Memento, who would tattoo integral facts on his body because he had no short term memory. Every few seconds, it seems, I forget all about Youkilis, and then some story or Tweet will cross my consciousness, and I’ll think, “Wait, what, Kevin Youkilis plays for the Yenkees now?”
I’m not quite sure why the Youkilis thing throws me.* I feel like I’ve largely grown numb to the temperamental and capricious ways of sports free agency. It really didn’t take me too long to get used to Peyton Manning in a Broncos uniform or Albert Pujols in an Angels uniform or even LeBron James in a Miami uniform. Josh Hamilton as an Angel? Got it down already.
*What Youkilis thing? Let me read back … wait, what, Kevin Youkilis plays for the Yankees now?
So this Youk as Yank thing shouldn’t be that hard to get used to. If we all could get used to Michael Jordan in a Washington uniform and Jerry Rice in a Raiders uniform and Greg Maddux in a Dodgers uniform and, heck, Wade Boggs in a Yankees uniform, there seem no real boundaries left. But for some crazy reason, Youkilis in a Yankees uniform just doesn’t quite compute for me. It isn’t that I have any personal connection to Youkilis. It isn’t that I could only see him in a Red Sox uniform — heck, I didn’t see any real incongruity when he played for the White Sox last year.
But for some reason Kevin Youkilis playing for the Yankees — wait, what, Kevin Youkilis plays for the Yankees now? — just triggers that cable TV “recording conflict” fiber in my brain.
It has me thinking about the most incongruous unharmonious players and uniforms in sports history. Here are 10 of them.
– John Unitas playing for the San Diego Chargers. This is probably the most famous clash between player and uniform — Unitas in 1973 played for the Chargers. He was 40 years old. He started four games completed 44.7% of his passes, threw seven interceptions against three touchdown passes. It was a sad ending, but in another way it wasn’t. He went out on his own terms. Anyway, endings are supposed to be sad.
– Wayne Gretzky playing for the St. Louis Blues. Gretzky playing for the New York Rangers was strange enough. But for 18 games, he played for the Blues and that’s just weird.
– Babe Ruth playing for the Boston Braves. He hit .181 in 28 games as a publicity stunt. He did hit six home runs in 92 at-bats — so he was still on pace to hit hit 40 home runs over a full season. But he did not hit a double or triple, he was just an old ballplayer swinging for the fences and trying to give the fans one more thrill.
– Rickey Henderson playing for the Seattle Mariners. I know Rickey played for nine different clubs in his astounding career — and that doesn’t even include the Independent League teams — so it seems silly to say that you could not imagine Rickey in a certain uniform. But Rickey’s brief Seattle sojourn completely skipped my memory.
– Emmitt Smith with the Arizona Cardinals. He was there for two seasons, and a big deal was made about it, but I never really got used to it.
– Tony Dorsett with the Denver Broncos. That was just strange … he wasn’t bad for the Broncos. He ran for 703 yards in fairly limited play and scored five touchdowns. It was still strange.
– Karl Malone with the Los Angeles Lakers. Remember that little experiment intended to get the Mailman his championship ring? He was 40, he played in 42 games, and he scored 13 or so a game. The Lakers reached the finals, but lost to Detroit in five.
– Patrick Ewing with the Orlando Magic. Ugh.
– Bill Russell with the San Diego Rockets. I was shocked to find out that … no, I’m kidding, this never happened.
– Pete Rose with the Montreal Expos. He got his 4,000th hit with the Expos, so you can still see photographs of Rose in an Expos uniform. He will sign these photographs, if you like. It still doesn’t look right.
– Reggie Jackson with the Oakland A’s. Like with Rickey, it’s pretty easy to imagine Jackson in just about any uniform. But the Jackson-Oakland combination doesn’t really make much sense to my mind. (Editor’s note: I meant to say “Reggie Jackson with the Baltimore Orioles,” here, but for some reason got Oakland stuck in my head. Regular readers know: I do that sometimes. I guess Reggie Jackson with Baltimore seems SO weird to me I couldn’t even type the words).
Oct 23, 2014, 10:42 AM EDT
Presumably, the Braves will also hire a general manager, giving them the two-headed front office we’ve seen in Chicago and will soon see in Los Angeles.
Oct 23, 2014, 9:56 AM EDT
And now he may be on his way to Korea.
Oct 23, 2014, 8:59 AM EDT
The Freak was back last night. And he did OK, though he left with a stiff back.
Oct 23, 2014, 8:26 AM EDT
‘Tis the season of overanalysis.
Oct 23, 2014, 7:44 AM EDT
The rookie didn’t have control. With his pitches or with his emotions.
Oct 23, 2014, 2:25 AM EDT
Petit deserves the nod over probable starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:34 PM EDT
Yordano Ventura held the Giants to two runs over five-plus innings and the Kansas City offense awoke for seven runs on 10 hits as the Royals evened up the 2014 World Series at a win apiece with a 7-2 Game 2 victory on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
The host Royals have the visiting Giants right where they want them in Game 2 of the World Series.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:48 PM EDT
Game 2 of the World Series has been a back-and-forth affair thus far, with the visiting Giants scoring single runs in the first and fourth innings and the Royals scoring in the first and second. It’s all square at 2-2 as the action shifts to the top of the sixth.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:03 PM EDT
Major League Baseball announced in April that two new regular-season awards would be handed out every year, going to the top reliever in each league. The NL’s award was named after Trevor Hoffman and the AL’s was named after Mariano Rivera. Here, via MLB’s Twitter account, are the first recipients …
Oct 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT
The Giants jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning Tuesday before eventually winning Game 1 of the World Series in a 7-1 rout. And they got off to another fast start in Game 2 on Wednesday night, but the Royals were able to answer right back.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:05 PM EDT
Statcast, the new 3D tracking technology from MLB Advanced Media, gives us this unique look at Brandon Crawford’s rangy catch to rob Omar Infante of a hit Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series …
Oct 22, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT
Johnson was acquired from the Pirates last year.
Oct 22, 2014, 7:19 PM EDT
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that the Phillies have signed catcher John Hester to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Oct 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT
Dan Haren underwent arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. He’s expected to be ready for spring training.
Oct 22, 2014, 5:37 PM EDT
“I was doing some stuff in the training room.”
Oct 22, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT
Not so long ago that option looked like it might be a bargain, as Burton went from scrap-heap pickup to one of the league’s best setup men, but he showed major signs of decline this season while throwing 64 innings with a 4.36 ERA.
Oct 22, 2014, 4:06 PM EDT
In other news: Homeland Security agents now conduct raids over things like minor copyright violations.
Oct 22, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT
Jake Peavy vs. Yordano Ventura.
Oct 22, 2014, 3:16 PM EDT
Great Moments in the Uncanny Valley
- No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better 21
- At least Hunter Strickland entertained us last night 17
- Royals even up World Series with 7-2 Game 2 victory 26
- Craig Kimbrel wins Trevor Hoffman Award; Greg Holland gets Mariano Rivera Award 5
- World Series, Game 2: Giants vs. Royals lineups 10
- HBT Daily: Are the Royals doomed, doomed, doomed? 11
- Giants inhaling the air of superiority after Game 1 7
- What’s in a name? “Big Game” James did not come up big for Kansas City 23
- So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got? (129)
- Erroneous Narrative Alert: no, the Giants are not a “gritty,” anti-stats organization (121)
- Pedro Martinez has some opinions about who the new “face of baseball” is (112)
- PANTY RAID! Homeland Security agents confiscate unlicensed Kansas City Royals underwear (102)
- “The Kansas City Royals Are the Future of Baseball” — someone actually said that. (93)