Friday Happy Hour at the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill
Welcome to the Elysian Fields Bar & Grill, where baseball fans recognize the utter stupidity of football’s Gatorade shower.
* Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle on what happened in Colorado: “We were sending four guys to the All-Star Game and finishing in third place. We decided we needed to emphasize pitching and defense. You win with pitching and defense. You send four guys to the All-Star Game with offense.”
* Hurdle was taken by the Kansas City Royals with the ninth overall pick of the 1975 draft. The Expos, 241 picks later, took Andre Dawson in the 11th round. Mel Didier, the former Rangers scout, was the Expos scouting director at the time and worked out both at the same time before the draft in West Palm Beach.
* Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez and Kevin Brown should all be on the Hall of Fame ballot next year.
* Tommy Hunter and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be signing autographs at Academy Sports in Fort Worth on Friday. They will be there from 6:30-8 p.m. So will Jim Sundberg, Josh Lewin and assistant general manager Thad Levine. The address is 5836 North Tarrant Parkway.
* Hunter and Saltalamacchia will be in McKinney on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Academy Sports located at 1720 West University Drive.
* Elvis Andrus is hitting .247 with a .287 on-base percentage in 23 games for Magallanes in the Venezuelan Winter League. He hit .257 with a .346 on-base percentage in 50 games there last year.
* But Max Ramirez is up to 13 home runs in 59 games. He’s one behind the leader. He led the league last year with 15 in 50 games.
* Omar Poveda is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in three starts and five relief appearances down there and Guillermo Moscoso is 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts and 13 relief appearances.
* But the Rangers Pitcher of the Year in Winter Ball is Luis Mendoza. He is 7-4 with a 2.89 ERA in the Dominican Republic. He leads the league in strikeouts and is second in wins and ERA.
* Just for the heck of it: Mitch Williams.
* You know that all batters – home and visitors – combined for a .335 on-base percentage at the Ballpark in Arlington last season. That was the lowest in one season at the Ballpark.
* By the way, the Rangers .119 average for their pinch-hitters was the second lowest in the Major Leagues and the second lowest in club history. Rangers pinch-hitters batted .108 in 1996. Of course, the Rangers didn’t need to pinch-hit much that year, not when their No. 9 hitter, Kevin Elster, was driving in 99 runs.
* Actually Elster had only 92 RBI in the No. 9 spot that season. But it’s still the most ever by a No. 9 hitter. By a wide margin. Next is Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who had 61 RBI in the bottom spot in 2003.
* Elster also struck out 130 times that year in the No. 9 spot. That was not a record. Actually it was an improvement for the Rangers. The record for most strikeouts by a No. 9 hitter is 145. That’s how many Benji Gil had for the Rangers in 1995.
* Greg McElroy Sr., father of the University Alabama quarterback, was the Rangers marketing director before going to work for the Cowboys.
* During the Depression, Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis took a voluntary 40 percent paycut. That was in 1933.
* Rangers outfielder Brandon Boggs turns 27 on Saturday.
* Harry Wright’s birthday is Sunday. This is No. 175 for Harry. Or would have been. Harry and George Wright were on the 1869 Cincinnati Reds, the first professional team.
* Harry later led Boston to six pennants in seven years in 1871-78. His 1875 team was pretty good. They were 71-8 in winning the National Association pennant. Pitcher Al Spalding was 55-5 in 63 starts and nine relief appearances. He is down for 52 complete games and 575 innings pitched that year. He had a 1.52 ERA but it’s hard to give up an earned run when your team commits 483 errors in 79 games.