Another Greatest Living Player oversight: Jim Fregosi

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More fun stuff continues to spin out of that Greatest Living Player post from the other day. This one comes from Bill Parker over at ESPN’s Sweet Spot, running down a list of underappreciated non-Hall of Famers.  Guys like Dave Stieb, Reggie Smith, Jimmy Wynn and … Jim Fregosi.

As Bill notes, Fregosi definitely should have made the conversation for Greatest Living Angel.*  He was beyond solid at shortstop for the Angels — and was easily one of the best in baseball — during the 1960s.

We forget it now, but there was a time when you didn’t need to hit a lick to play short in the majors.  In 1968 the Tigers won the AL Pennant with Ray Oyler as their Opening Day shortstop. He got 247 plate appearances in which he hit .135 and slugged .186. He was eventually replaced, but in those days it took something that bad to have a manager make such a move.

Fregosi, in contrast, posted nine straight years as an above-average hitter — for all players, not just for shortstops — in baseball’s second dead ball era.  In 1964 he slapped up a .277/.369/.463 line with 18 homers.  Adjusted for era, that’s kind of like the seasons Robbie Cano and Adrian Beltre had last year.

Good stuff from Bill, talking about some of my favorite players in baseball history.

*I think someone mentioned him in the original comment thread too.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.