Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kenny Williams and Steroids

There's an interesting tidbit in today's Chicago Tribune about why Kenny Williams is so adamantly opposed to steroids in baseball. Says the general manager:
When I went to Detroit, I was traded from Chicago to Detroit, and there were a couple guys doing it who ultimately beat me out of a job," Williams said Tuesday. "I'm very sensitive to it."
The problem with the piece is that staff writer Mark Gonzalez did not do the tiny bit of homework necessary to identify who the potential steroid users were. One visit to Baseball-Reference.com would identify the potential suspects.

Kenny Williams was traded from the Sox to the Tigers before the 1989 season. In the 1988 season, the Tigers employed the following outfielders:

Chet Lemon (144 games)
Gary Pettis (126 games)
Pat Sheridan (111 games)
Luis Salazar (68 games) (yes, that
Luis Salazar)
Dwayne Murphy (43 games)
Fred Lynn (22 games)
Larry Herndon (15 games)
Dave Bergman (13 game)
Mike Heath (9 games)
Billy Beane (6 games) (yes,
that Billy Beane)
Bill Bean (4 games) (another Bill Bean)
Scott Lusader (4 games)
Ray Knight (2 games) (yes, the former 1986 WS MVP)
Jim Morrison (2 games) (yes, the former Sox second sacker)

What a motley crew of individuals that was. No wonder the Tigers were looking for help. And, since they already had several ex-Soxers playing the outfield (Morrison, Salazar and Lemon), why not pick up Kenny Williams?

In 1989, the Tigers employed the following outfielders:

Gary Pettis (119 games)
Chet Lemon (111 games)
Kenny Williams (87 games)
Fred Lynn (68 games)
Gary Ward (51 games)
Tracy Jones (36 games)
Pat Sheridan (35 games)
Scott Lusader (33 games)
Rob Richie (13 games)
Bill Bean (6 games) (the other Bean)
Mike Brumley (4 games)
Mike Heath (3 games)
David Bergman (1 game)

Still a pretty bad outfield. Kenny Williams actually played the third most games of any outfielder. Unfortunately for him, he hit .205 with a .269 OBP and a .302 SLG. His OPS+ was 63.

In 1990, the year that Kenny Williams was released, the Tigers had these players in the outfield:

Lloyd Moseby (116 games)
Chet Lemon (96 games)
Gary Ward (85 games)
Larry Sheets (79 games)
John Shelby (68 games)
Kenny Williams (47 games)
Scott Lusader (42 games)
Tracey Jones (27 games)
Milt Cuyler (17 games)
Darnell Coles (11 games)
Tony Phillips (8 games)
David Bergman (5 games)
Mike Heath (3 games)
Jim Lindeman (1 game)

Now, in 1991, the year after Kenny Williams was cut (he was cut in mid-1990), the Tigers fielded far fewer outfielders:

Milt Cuyler (151 games)
Rob Deer (132 games)
Lloyd Moseby (64 games)
Tony Phillips (56 games)
Pete Incaviglia (54 games)
John Shelby (47 games)
Skeeter Barnes (33 games)
John Moses (12 games)
David Bergman (4 games)
Luis De Los Santos (3 games)
Mickey Tettleton (3 games)

Of this cast of characters, we can surely exclude some. Kenny Williams was not "beat out" by Gary Pettis, Fred Lynn or Chet Lemon, who were already established major leaguers by the time he got to Detroit. Moreover, Lynn and Pettis were gone by 1990. Lloyd Moseby was also an established major leaguer with the Blue Jays that the Tigers traded for and was likely always going to start. Gary Ward was another established veteran who came in for the 1990 season (and was gone by 1991). Mike Heath and David Bergman were regulars at other positions and in no way could be said to beat out Williams. Some other guys were just hangers on who didn't beat out anyone: Tracy Jones (gone by 1991), Pat Sheridan (gone by 1991), Scott Lusader (gone by 1991).

If you look at the list, there really are only a few guys that fall into the category of emerging as Tiger outfielders in the 1989-1991 period. I won't name them, because it wouldn't be fair to draw conclusions (I simply do not know anything beyond what was written in the Tribune). And, heck, I may be wrong about Moseby and Ward, anyway. But it's certainly an interesting thought project. I wish Gonzalez had followed up on that one.

Comments-[ comments.]
If you've been reading Gonzalez this year, lack of effort wouldn't surprise you. He mails in regularly, rehashing his own and others material. He also referred to the Boston Red Sox as "the Sox" in an interviewer. He sucked before that but since he is pariah.

The dyspeptic
Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?