If Clint Barmes never got another major league at bat, he’d still always be remembered for the injury he sustained in the summer of 2005 while carrying deer meat up the stairs of his apartment building. He talked about that in the Houston Chronicle yesterday. This part struck me:
Barmes was a .318 hitter in 86 major league games before the mishap. He has batted .244 in 579 games since.
“It’s one of those things where everybody is like, ‘What would have happened if I didn’t get hurt?’ ” Barmes said. “I’ve thought about that. I’m not going to lie.”
Before 2005 he had two cups of coffee in which he didn’t hit terribly well. Before that, in six minor league seasons, he didn’t hit significantly better than he has in his major league career.
I’m not suggesting that his collar bone injury had no effect on him — I broke my collar bone 17 years ago and I still feel some random effects from it — but is it not possible that his 86-game hot start in 2005 was a tad fluky? Only once in his career before that stretch had he hit above .300, and that was on his second go-around at AAA at age 25 in extremely hitter-friendly Colorado Springs.
The collar bone injury makes for a good story — and Barmes even credits the injury for him getting serious with the woman he went on to marry — but I don’t think it’s at all clear that, but for the injury, Barmes would be winning batting titles and making eight figure salaries.