Monday, March 14, 2011

FullCountPitch | Where Have You Gone Joe Charboneau?

For every Buster Posey or Neftali Feliz, there is a Joe Charboneau or an Angel Berroa, a Rookie of the Year whose best days quickly left them whether it was due to injuries, bad work habits, or off the field issues.

While Posey and Feliz are both expected to have strong, long careers, FCP now takes you on a journey of the not-so-fortunate ones. And who better to start with than the legendary Joe Charboneau? The 6’2″ left fielder was acquired by the Cleveland Indians in 1978 in a minor league transaction with the Philadelphia Phillies. When he hit .352 with 21 home runs at Double-A ball in 1979, it convinced the Indians, desperate for improvement after back-to-back sixth place finishes (in the then-seven team AL East), to promote him to the Major Leagues to start the 1980 season.

Things didn’t change much for the Tribe in general, they finished sixth again with a worse record then the year before, but Charboneau caught lightning in a bottle. The native of Belvidere, IL hit 23 home runs, drove in 78 runs, hit .289 and posted an .846 OPS. (His numbers might have been even better had he not missed the last six weeks of the season with a pelvis injury.) He easily outdistanced the Red Sox’ Dave Stapleton for the AL Rookie of the Year Award.

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