Taking a trip through history, one page at a time
When I was just a wee lad, I can remember a friend of mine whose father regularly purchased for him the latest baseball encyclopedia.
This book was awesome for baseball nerds like us, who enjoyed pouring over stats and history. In the year 2012, of course, the encyclopedia has gone the way of eight-track tapes.
The internet has created vaults of information available to us faster than Alfonso Soriano swings at a 50-foot curveball.
When I first discovered www.baseball-reference.com, I felt like Kim Kardashian must have felt when she learned of no-fault divorces.
Ever since then, I find myself being a regular visitor to the site. Sometimes it’s to settle an argument, others are just idle curiosity. I’ve come to call it getting “BR’d”. It happens at work, it happens at home, pretty much anywhere I have an internet connection.
Last Tuesday evening, I was following the Cubs game via GameCast when I noticed a Brewers player named Maldonado. Immediately, I felt I was about to get BR’d.
I flew my right hand to my mouse and positioned it in the URL line, typing “ba” before autofill took care of the rest. Within seconds, I was on the page of former Dodger, Blue Jay and Cub.
For whatever reason, my memory of the Candy Man far outperforms his actual statistics. I often find this to be the case when I’m being BR’d.
Also, I seem to remember him playing for the Cubs longer than just a portion of the 1993 season, but that’s all it was.
These were the Cubs teams of my youth, and this was one was better than most. No playoffs, of course, but an 84-78 record used to be quite an accomplishment on the North Side.
Anyway, while looking at the pitching numbers from that squad, Anthony Young’s name leaped out at me. Young, as you may recall, is rather dubiously known for setting a Major League record for dropping 27 straight decisions while with the Mets.
Naturally, he was a fit on the North Side.
I then discovered that Young may be the unluckiest pitcher in history. Seriously.
In 1992 and ’93, Young went a combined 3-30 but posted earned run averages of 4.17 and 3.77. Hardly what you’d expect for a dude that dropped 30 games.
In his career, Young finished with a 3.89 ERA in 181 appearances. Certainly not Cooperstown-worthy, but it also doesn’t put him in Mendoza territory, either. His record with a respectable ERA? 15-48. Poor Anthony.
For the sake of comparison, Fergie Jenkins won 284 career games with an ERA just a half-run lower.
So, there you have it. From Candy Maldonado to Anthony Young and everywhere in between. Baseball-reference.com: The Internet’s best time-waster.