Alright, I had a little trouble comprising this list, but I felt after I did the batting stances post, I should also do one for pitchers. There were some crazy windups, motions, and overall quirks from pitchers in the 1990’s, and I put together a list of ten who I think deserve mentioning. Without further ado, let’s start the countdown!
10. Tim Wakefield
Tim Wakefield is obviously a very unique pitcher, for he is one of a rare breed: knuckleballers. But he is included on this list because not only does he throw the baffling pitch, but he has been pretty successful doing so. More focusing on his delivery, it is not too abnormal. However, I think it is very interesting how he seems to effortlessly just lob the ball over and it is probably one of the calmest pitching motions ever. Then again, how much effort do you need to exert to deliver a 60 mile per hour pitch?
9. Rod Beck
Beck had the arm swinging thing which was cool. He was also a very successful closer for a handful of years. He had a very entertaining look, with some interesting habits, fantastic mustache, and he was taken from this Earth much too soon. Finally, for those Eastbound and Down fans… who else sees a resemblance here to Kenny Powers?
RIP Rod Beck
8. Jim Abbott
Abbott had a pretty outstanding career, considering the circumstances. He only had one arm! Well, to be fair he had two arms, but he was born without a right hand. He did not let this restrict him from his dream of playing major league baseball. Although the 87-108 is not particularly impressive, he did pitch a no-hitter in 1993, and had a respectable 4.25 ERA for his career. If you’re wondering how he pitched with one hand, well read here. Lastly, I remember reading a book on Abbott when I was really young, and I just thought it was awesome. Jim Abbott is truly an inspirational story.
7. Dennis Eckersley
Known today as a NESN personality, Eckersley was a fairly fine pitcher during his time. He only made into Cooperstown and the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Other than his skills, Eck also had some great facial hair, and he too had a very unique windup.
6. Tom Gordon
Gordon was another successful closer who makes this list. Gordon was unique for wearing his hat extremely low, with the brim seemingly covering his entire face. His windup was pretty different as well, with a fairly high leg kick and an explosive burst towards the mound every time he let go of the ball.
5. Paul Byrd
Byrd had the classic, old school windup. He began his windup, and in the middle of his delivery, swung his arms back and forth before throwing the baseball.
4. Mitch Williams
Williams might be most famous for allowing Joe Carter’s walk off, World Series winning home run in 1993, but he should be noted for a couple of other things as well. First of all, what a mullet this guy had. Other than his hairdo, his pitching delivery wasn’t too weird until the end, when he nearly falls of the side of the mound every time he pitches. Another Kenny Powers look-alike here?
3. Turk Wendell
Jumping over the baselines, chewing black licorice while pitching, brushing his teeth between innings, wearing necklaces with teeth of wild animals he hunted, and asking for a contract for$9,999,999.99. Those were some of the many strange quirks that Turk Wendell possessed. In terms of personality and superstitions, this may be the most unique pitcher of all time. Wendell is also somewhat of a local boy, hailing from Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
2. Orlando Hernandez
“El Duque” had the highest leg kick that I have ever seen by a pitcher. He had a few very solid years with the Yankees, and was especially good in the playoffs. There are two specific memories that I have of El Duque.
1. One time in the late 1990’s, my grandfather brought my mom and I to see a Red Sox game at Fenway. That same day, my sister was in New York with my dad, seeing a Yankees-Mets game. Later that day, they called me and said I missed a great game, and that on one play, “this guy named Orlando Hernandez” fielded a ground ball, couldn’t get the ball out of his glove, so he threw his glove over to first base to get the out.
2. The other memory is that one time, when my cousin and I were playing one-on-one baseball (it’s possible), I was pretending to be El Duque with the high leg kick. I ended up kneeing myself in the jaw. It kinda sucked.
1. Hideo Nomo
For a little while, it looked like Nomo might be the Japanese version of Fernando Valenzuela. In a way, he was. He burst onto the scene in L.A., with the Dodgers, and had a good, but not great career. What Nomo was best known for however, was obviously his outstanding pitching windup.
Well, there it is. The top ten unique pitchers from the 1990’s. Agree? Disagree? Who did I forget? Should number one have been number ten? Should number ten have been number one? Leave a comment!
I love baseball. I love the Red Sox, even after the tragic, disappointing, embarrassing, and whatever other adjectives you can come up with to describe the ending to the 2011 season. This next top 10 list, however is not just the best MLB players of the 90’s, or my favorite Red Sox players. This next list is on my 10 favorite baseball players of the 90’s. There is a little bit of bias, I guess, with four of the players spending their prime years with the Sox. But, even though I now hate the Yankees with a passion, there are actually two members who spent a good chunk of their career with the Evil Empire. Overall, here are some statistics on the list:
World Series Championships Combined: 12 (avg. 1.2 per player)
All-Star Appearances: 59 (avg. 5.9 per player)
MVP Awards: 1 (avg. 0.1 per player)
CY Young Awards: 7 (avg. 3.5 per player, only two pitchers on list)
Gold Glove Awards: 40 (avg. 4 per player)
10. John Olerud (playing career = 1989 – 2005)
Teams = Blue Jays, Mets, Mariners, Yankees, Red Sox
Notes: .295 career batting average, 2 World Series Championships, 2 time All-Star, 3 time Gold Glove award winner, 1 batting title, wore helmet while playing first base
Olerud spent his prime years with the Blue Jays, Mets, and Mariners. This is where he garnered most of his accolades. I liked watching him play the game because he seemed like a “good guy”, and I, along with many, was curious as to why a player on defense would be wearing a batting helmet. He wore it as a precaution since he suffered a brain aneurysm while playing in college.
9. Greg Maddux (1986 – 2008)
Teams = Cubs, Braves, Dodgers, Padres
Notes: 355 wins, 3.16 career ERA, 3,371 strikeouts, 1 World Series Championship, 4 CY Young Awards, 8 time All-Star, 18 Gold Gloves (record)
Probably the best control pitcher I and many have ever seen. Greg had a great, seven-year career with the Cubs. His 11 year tenure with the Braves was even better. Maddux was unique in that he was not a flashy, strikeout pitcher who threw in the mid-90’s. But he used everything he had, and consistently performed as one of the best pitchers in baseball. I liked Maddux because he was different, and he was a modest guy.
8. Pedro Martinez (1992 – 2009)
Teams = Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, Phillies
Notes: 219-100 career record, 2.93 ERA, 3,154 strikeouts, 1 World Series Championship, 3 CY Young Awards, 8 time All-Star
Pedro threw tons of strikes, like Maddux, but other than that, the only other similarity between the two is that they are both going to be first ballot hall of famers. Pedro was a very good pitcher early in his career with the Dodgers and Expos. His dominance was at its highest in Boston, though. On the field, he was one of, if not the most dominant pitcher in baseball, and also found time to hurl a senior citizen to the Fenway grass. Off the field, he was always one of the most entertaining interviews, even if we couldn’t understand what he was saying.
7. John Valentin (1992 – 2002)
Teams = Red Sox, Mets
Notes: 1 Silver Slugger Award, Turned an unassisted triple play in 1994, Hit for the cycle in 1996
Man do I miss the days of Valentin and the number 1 player on this list manning the left side of the Sox infield. John was a great guy, and always put forth a great effort. Those are the kind of players I love to watch play the best sport in the world. While never an outstanding player, Valentin put up some solid seasons in Boston.
6. Tony Gwynn (1982 – 2001)
Team = Padres
Notes: .338 career batting average, 3,141 career hits, 15 time All-Star, 5 Gold Glove Awards, 8 batting titles, 7 Silver Slugger Awards
Gwynn had a very similar career to Cal Ripken Jr. No, he did not play five million consecutive games in a row, but he did had a hall of fame career, over 3000 hits, and maybe most impressively, spent his entire career with one organization. In this day and age, it seems like players are traded or signed to another team daily. Gwynn was a team player, only making it the World Series once (and losing), but was loyal to the city of San Diego. Gwynn always had a smile on his face and was one of the great hitters of his generation.
5. Ken Griffey Jr. (1989 – 2010)
Teams = Mariners, Reds, White Sox
Notes: 1997 American League Most Valuable Player, 13 time All-Star, 10 Gold Gloves, 630 home runs (5th all-time)
“The Kid” was the best clean hitter with the most pure power during the 90s. McGwire, Sosa, Canseco, Palmiero, and the rest of the juice heads had nothing on junior. The other reason why they’ll never match up to Griffey’s standards is because of their various attitude or off the field issues. Griffey had minimal issues, and was a pleasure to watch.
4. Tino Martinez (1990 – 2005)
Teams = Mariners, Yankees, Cardinals, Devil Rays
Notes: 4 World Series Championships, 2 time All-Star, 1 Silver Slugger Award, 339 career home runs
Yes, I know… how could I put a Yankee on a list of my favorite players?!?! But Tino and also the number two player in this group are special exceptions. I lived in New York until I was three, and my dad still lives there. He was the one who introduced me to baseball. The first stadium I ever went to was the old Yankee Stadium, and the first team I watched on TV was the Yankees. Even though I hate the team now, the first taste of baseball I had was in the Bronx, and there was no sweeter sound than Bob Sheppard’s classic voice introducing a player like Constantino “Tino” Martinez. It also doesn’t hurt that Tino’s walk-up music was one of my favorite songs ever, “Baba O’Riley” by the Who.
3. Troy O’Leary (1993 – 2003)
Teams = Brewers, Red Sox, Expos, Cubs
Notes: 127 career home runs, .309 average in 1997, had 28 HR and 103 RBI in 1999, hit the first grand slam in Red Sox postseason history
Similar to Valentin, O’Leary was never a great major leaguer, but had some nice seasons for Boston. Also, Troy was a very clutch hitter, and that was put on the national stage in game 5 of the 1999 ALDS. Pedro’s stellar relief was the main story in that game, but O’Leary hit two home runs (including a grand slam) and drove in seven runs to lead the team to the next round.
2. Bernie Williams (1991 – 2006)
Team = Yankees
Notes: 4 World Series Championships, 5 time All-Star, 4 Gold Gloves, .297 career average, 287 home runs, Puerto Rican musician
Bernie was the ultimate class act. He spent his entire career with the Yankees, and was a huge part to their four world series championships. He has numerous postseason records, and wasn’t half bad in the regular season either. I loved every time at the stadium when Bernie would get a big home run, they would play “Disco Inferno” by the Bee Gees. “Bern baby bern, disco inferno”. Lastly, during one of the last years of his career, Bernie was spending the all-star break at a minor league game of the Yankees. I was at that game. After the game, as he and his family was driving away in their car, all the fans were crowding around and he signed some autographs, and I shook his hand. It was pretty sick.
1. Nomar Garciaparra (1996 – 2009)
Teams = Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Athletics
Notes: 6 time All-Star, .313 career average, hit .372 in 2000
I will always remember the day that Nomar got traded away from the Red Sox. I was playing in one of my summer league baseball games, and during the middle innings, one of our assistant coaches told the team. Even though the move certainly worked out in the end for Boston, it was still devastating to see my favorite player leave. My family and I loved Nomar so much that we named the family dog, Nomar.
It’s past midnight, and I was going to do some more on this post, but I’m crazy tired, so here is a poll!
In honor of the current NBA lockout, this post is on my favorite basketball players of the 90’s. As a part of this list, there is one player who is still playing, one who just retired, and one who is actually shorter than me. These are not necessarily the best players, but most of them had solid NBA careers, and I enjoyed their personality, achievements, and effort in the game. Hopefully the 2011-2012 NBA season starts sooner rather than later, but until then, here are my favorite NBA players of the 1990’s…
10. Glen Rice (NBA career spanned 1989-2004)
Although Rice spent 8 of his 15 years with my 3 current least favorite teams (Heat, Lakers, Knicks), he was still a joy to watch. I’ve also been more of a fan of the three-point shooters than the flashy dunkers, and Rice was a good example of this. He is 11th on the all-time list in 3 point shots made.
9. Aaron McKie (1994-2007)
McKie was my favorite player on that Sixers team that faced the Lakers in the finals. I wanted them to win so badly but they didn’t. Allen Iverson and Larry Brown were what most people focused on with that team, but I liked watching McKie play.
8. Latrell Sprewell (1992-2005)
This is probably one I am going to regret putting on the list. Sprewell had a lot of issues during his NBA career, and they have continued during his retirement. I try to remember “Spree” as the player who was a key part of the Knicks 1999 NBA Finals run, where he averaged 26 ppg vs. the Spurs in the championship series. I have a feeling that former head coach P.J. Carlesimo will oppose my putting Sprewell on this list.
7. Grant Hill (1994-Present)
Basically the opposite of Sprewell. Hill has been an All-Star 7 times, while also winning the NBA Sportsmanship Award 3 times. A very good career, probably could have even been better if not for numerous injuries, Hill is known for being one of the nicest guys, and an all-around “good guy” in basketball.
6. Muggsy Bogues (1987-2001)
Yes!!!! I am 8 inches taller than this guy! All joking aside, for all the non-6 footers in the world, this guy was an inspiration. While never being a star, Bogues had a long, successful NBA career. Check out this huge block by Bogues.
5. Reggie Miller (1987-2005)
Other than No. 1, the only other for certain, first-ballot hall-of-famer on this list. I have a ton of respect for Reggie Miller for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that he spent his entire career with one team. That is definitely not a common thing. He now has the second most three-pointers in NBA history, after my favorite player of all-time (Ray Allen) passed him last season.
4. Larry Johnson (1991-2001)
“LJ” spent the first half of his career with the Charlotte Hornets, and the second half with the Knicks. Along with Sprewell, and the number two player on this list, Johnson was critical to New York’s run to the finals. Below is one of the greatest plays in NBA playoff history.
3. Antoine Walker (1996-2008)
Antoine has had a lot of trouble with money lately, even filing for bankruptcy last year. In his prime years though, with the Celtics, he was entertaining to watch, and a very good player as well. It didn’t take too long into Paul Pierce’s career, that the Celtics became his team.
2. Allan Houston (1993-2005)
The last of this New York Knick trio that made the list. Even though I am a Celtics fan, there were a few Knicks that I liked watching. Houston also had a clutch, game-winner in that 1999 playoffs, this one against the Heat.
and now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… the Big Aristotle, the Diesel, the Big Shamrock, Shaq
1. Shaquille O’Neal (1992-2011)
Even though Shaq spent the bulk of his career with the team I hate, he somewhat redeemed himself by coming to the Celtics for his last year. His season with Boston was largely unsuccessful, but Shaq was simply awesome. He rapped a song about Kobe, became a reserve officer in LA and Miami, starred in the movie, “Kazaam”, and has what seems like 100 of his own TV shows. All of that is not even including his on court accolades and being one of the greatest players in NBA history.
Well, there you have it. The top 10 list of my favorite NBA players from the 1990’s. Other than the fact that a former Laker is number one, and there are 3 Knicks on the list, I feel pretty good about the list. What do you think? Stay tuned for the next post which will be about the best Seinfeld moments!
Three main subjects to tackle in this “90skidsstuff” blog 3 part premiere. This post will focus on the best/most interesting/unique batting stances in MLB of the 1990’s, the best Nickelodeon shows of that decade, and finally the most significant and memorable movie lines from those 10 years.
Part 1: Batting Stances
10. Cal Ripken Jr. – The great thing about watching Ripken bat was that during a 16 year stretch, fans were able to see the stance every single game! This stance shall be called the “bat sits on your shoulder” stance.
9. Nomar Garciaparra – This one makes the list not necessarily for the stance, but for the pre-stance, 10 minute ritual. Strap on batting gloves? Check. Adjust wrist and forearm bands? Check. Tap each foot on the ground one after the other a dozen times? Check. Repeat entire ritual 5 times? Check, check, check, check, check. This is the “ritual” stance.
8. Mo Vaughn – It seemed like Vaughn was almost covering his face when with his right forearm when batting… but hey whatever works. Also, biggest upper cut swing ever! This is named the “I can’t see but I’ll hit a homer anyway” stance.
7. Gary Sheffield – Man, how did Sheffield’s arms not fall off before the pitch was thrown everytime! So much flapping around, I don’t know how he did it. The “arm workout” stance.
6. Carl Everett – Right handed stance for Everett= somewhat normal Left handed one= not at all Almost like a much uglier version of Ken Griffey Jr’s look, with a strange face. The “you can’t do it like Griffey” stance.
5. Chuck Knoblauch – Every time he stepped up to the plate I’m sure that the ump and catcher took one step away from Chuck. For some reason, he stuck his bat straight backwards almost poking the umpire in the face. The “look out blue!” stance.
4. Jeff Bagwell – Thought that after a year using this stance Bagwell would have serious knee trouble. Guess not. The “can somebody get me a chair?” stance.
3. Phil Plantier – Basically a left-handed version of the Bagwell stance. The “can somebody get me a chair please?” stance.
2. Craig Counsell – Don’t even know where to begin with this guy. I’m sure that little league coaches don’t tell their players “Craig Counsell… now that’s a guy I want you to bat like!” The “wow” stance.
and number 1 on the 10 craziest batting stances of the 1990’s is….
1. Tony Batista – Batista seriously started every at-bat looking like he was ready for a sword fight rather than attempting to hit a homerun. Somehow, miraculously it worked in the year 2000, when he hit a career high 41 homeruns. The “are you ready for the duel?” stance.
Well, that’s it for the 90skidsstuff first legit post part 1. Part 2 of this three part premiere will come soon! For those of you who stumbled upon this blog looking for television and movies from the 90’s, that will be next! Next post will be the top 10 Nickelodeon Shows of the 1990’s!