Wherever Bob Barker may be now, he ought to be smiling. I can’t be the only baseball pundit to invoke the name of his long-running game show now that David Price has signed an insanely lucrative contract to play for the Boston Red Sox.
Price, who has the same middle name as I have, (Taylor,) is 30, a lefty pitcher from Tennessee. He’s already been an All-Star 5 times and copped a Cy Young Award. In the regular season he’s got a record of 104-56. But his playoff woes(a 2-6 record) are well documented. Boston is a long way from a playoff team, so he should be able to rack up regular season numbers for the next 7 years without having to concern himself with pitching in October. That formula worked for Walter Johnson. The Big Train pitched for biblically bad teams and has over 400 wins to his name.
Price could have bled Dodger blue. They drafged him straight out of high school but he chose Vanderbilt University, in his native Tennessee instead. In a moment of peak in college he almost quit to work at McDonalds. Fortunately his coach talked him out of making the mistake of his life. The Rays took him first overall in the 2007 draft. He was in their bull pen by the end of 2008, a starter the next year and the rest is history. The last two seasons he’s been traded at the trading deadline-first to Detroit, then to Toronto when it became clear the Tigers were going down the tubes like the rest of Detroit. Now it’s Boston, who have been in the cellar the last two years. Red Sox Nation hopes Price is the Messiah. At over 30 million a year he will need to be. The problem is one man can’t change a team. See Walter Johnson above. See also Ty Cobb. Great as he was, after 1909 he was never in a World Series. For a more modern point of reference see Ernie Banks-a Hall of Famer on a succession of positively dreadful Cubs teams. As I could tell any of my small nieces or nephews, putting in one piece doesn’t mean you finished the puzzle.
Gary Sanchez is 23 today. He’s a hot prospect for the Yankees, which may be why they unloaded reliable backup catcher John Ryan Murphy a couple of months ago. Sanchez most recently launched a home run in the Arizona Fall League All-Star game.
Darryl Kile was born on this date in 1968. He was taken from this world much too soon, at 34 in June of 2002. The Cardinals and Cubs were supposed to meet that day at Wrigley Field in a Fox Game of the Week. There was a prolonged delay. The reason was kept quiet as long as possible. Finally the word came out-Kile had died in his hotel room of a heart attack. The game was postponed.
Pedro Borbon of Cincinnati’s legendary Big Red Machine was born on this day in 1946. He passed away in June of 2012. He was almost always available in Sparky Anderson’s bull pen in a day when most other teams still expected their starters to go the distance. Fans may not know he got his first win with the California Angels, coming out of the pen to beat the Seattle Pilots in their only season, 1969. The Angels sent him to the Reds a year later, and he pitched in the postseason 4 times starting in 1972. He was nobody to mess around with on the playing field. After a brawl in 1973 in a game against the Mets, he accidentally put a Mets’ hat on. When he saw he had a Mets hat he didn’t just remove it-he took a chomp out of it.