Category Archives: What Ever Happened To…

What Ever Happened To Tom Browning???

Tom Browning put together a very solid 12-year professional baseball career.  11 of his 12 years were played with the Cincinnati Reds and he tallied 123 wins and 90 losses.  Browning’s career was capped by 3 very special moments:

1 – During his first full season in 1985, Browning finished in 2nd place for the Rookie of the Year award and in 6th place for the Cy Young award.  In that ’85 season, Tom started 38 games while winning 20 and losing just 9.  His ERA that year was 3.81 and he struck out 155 batters.

2 – Tom Browning is a member of the Cincinnati Reds’ World Series championship team from 1990.  In that 4-game sweep of the Oakland A’s, Browning picked up a win helping the team win the title and make history with one of the greatest upsets in World Series history.

3 – Tom Browning threw a perfect game on September 16, 1988.  No hits, no walks, no base runners.  Browning was indeed perfect and I still remember watching the highlights of that game some 20+ years later.

Since retiring from the game, Browning has authored a book appropriately titled – ‘Tom Browning’s Tales From the Reds’ Dugout’.  He has also been hired on to be a pitching coach for the Carolina Mudcats, a AA affiliate of Cincinnati Reds.

In late-March of 2009,  Tom Browning was arrested for missing child support payments. 

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What Ever Happened To Steve Avery???

Steve Avery may have been thrown into the fire a little too early, but his talent level even at a young age had expectations high as he joined the Atlanta Braves’ talented starting pitching core nicknamed – ‘The Young Guns’.  To be considered on par with Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine must have been wonderful, and yet stressful, for Avery.

Avery made his debut with the Braves in 1990 and didn’t fare well as he finished the season with a 3-11 record alongside his 4.02 ERA.  But as the youngest player in the game in 1990, Avery managed to impress the Braves’ management enough to remain in the pitching rotation and his hard work began to pay off.  In 1991, Avery went 18-8  while finishing in 6th place for the Cy Young Award.  The next year he declined a bit as he went 11-11 but then thrived in 1993 by going 18-6 and earning his lone trip to the All-star game. 

Unfortunately Avery suffered an injury to his pitching arm in late 1993 and he would never be able to recover the success he had for the Braves.  Prior to the injury Avery had a regular season record of 48-36, but after coming back from his injury he managed to go just 44-50.  Many blame the heavy workload and pressure to perform as the Braves’ 4th starter for his breakdown.  While the Braves’ were winning division titles one after  the other, the accolades went to their talented trio of pitchers and Avery became lost in the shuffle.

In 1997 Steve Avery joined the Boston Red Sox and pitched well for them for 2 seasons.  He was no longer the dominant guy that he was in the early 90′s but he performed well as their #2 starter.  The Red Sox kept his innings down and he managed to go 16-14 for them.  In 1999 he joined the Cincinnati Reds and posted a losing record of 6-7 with an enormous ERA of  5.16.  Steve Avery left the game after the 1999 season.

Avery attempted a comeback in 2003 as he wanted to give professional baseball one more attempt.  4 years after leaving the game, Avery joined his hometown team, the Detroit Tigers, as a relief pitcher.  He went 2-0 and played in 19 contests for the Tigers before finally hanging up his cleats for good.

Today Steve Avery lives in Dearborn, Michigan with his wife and 3 children.

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What Ever Happened To Dave Magadan???

Like most players that are brought in through the New York Mets organization, the expectations put on Dave Magadan to be the saving grace of the team were immense.  Magadan had already built an impressive resume as a collegiate player as he dominated for the University of Alabama while winning several individual awards as well as taking his team to the College World Series.

Drafted in the 1st round by the Mets in 1983, Magadan was on his way to a starring role with the team.  Unfortunately for him, the Mets had a veteran and productive player at 3rd base in Howard Johnson.  Magadan was also capable of playing 1st base, but that role was occupied by Keith Hernandez – one of the best defensive first basemen in baseball history.  Still, the Mets wanted Magadan in their line-up and constantly tinkered with the roster to get him more playing time.  Never able to take over a position on a full-time basis did not seem to slow down Magadan’s production.  In just 85 games in 1987, he hit .318.  The next year he batted .277 in 112 games.  And then in 1989 he hit .286 while playing in 127 contests.

Dave Magadan’s best season was in 1990 where he played in 144 games – the most for 1 season in his entire career.  That year, Magadan hit .328 while driving in 72 runs and scoring 74. 

Of his 16 years in the big leagues, the first 7 years of Dave Magadan’s career were spent with the Mets.  The next 9 were spread over 6 more teams.  Magadan never regained his starring role on any of his new teams, yet he still performed well.  In the 9 seasons after he and the Mets parted ways, Magadan hit .275 or better 4 times. 

He ended his career with a lifetime batting average of .288 and 1,197 hits.  Never known as a power hitter, his career home run tally rests at 42.  But Magadan was productive - he scored 516 runs in his 16-season career while driving in 495.

Dave Magadan never made it to the World Series as a player.  But as a batting coach with the Boston Red Sox, Magadan won a World Series title in 2007. 

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What Ever Happened To Gary Gaetti???

Gary Gaetti was a huge part of the Minnesota Twins’ success during the late 1980′s and into the 1990′s.  Although he played for 6 teams during his 19-year career, it was in Minnesota where he earned his reputation as a solid major league player.

Gaetti’s debut led off with a smash - literally.  In his first at bat in the big leagues, Gaetti homered.  And in the 10 seasons that followed, all with the Twins, Gaetti smacked 16 or more home runs during 8 of those seasons.  A lifetime .255 hitter, Gaetti made a career for himself as a power hitter that was able to drive in tons of runs.  With 360 career home runs and 1,341 RBI to his credit it’s easy to see why ‘The Rat’ was the anchor for many of the offensive lineups he was a part of.

Gaetti was also a stellar defensive player.  A 4-time Gold Glove winner at 3rd base, Gaetti’s desire to stop everything hit in his direction made him a fan favorite.  Always willing to put his body on the line to stop a ball from getting by him was an attribute that Gaetti used as one of the Twins’ leaders.

During the 1987 playoffs against the Tigers, Gaetti won the ALDS MVP award as he homered in his first 2 at-bats.  At the time, he was the only player to do this in the history of the game until matched by Evan Longoria in 2008.  Gaetti’s lone World Series appearance came in that same 1987 season when the Twins won the championship in 7 games.  In that series Gaetti hit .259 while collecting 7 hits, including 1 home run, and 4 RBI.

After retiring for the game, Gaetti put his offensive tools to work and became a hitting instructor.  Today he serves as the hitting coach for the Durham Bulls, a minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I wonder why they call Gaetti ‘The Rat’…

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What Ever Happened To Todd Benzinger???

Like many rookies that the Boston Red Sox added to their roster in the late 80′s, Todd Benzinger had a large weight placed on his shoulders early in his career.  At the time, the Red Sox were stacked with offensive talent but were unable to reach successful results in the wins column.  Benzinger was brought in to take over at first base and once inserted into the starting line-up he was a mainstay for the remainder of his rookie year.  During that first season, Todd batted a respectable .278 while hitting 8 home runs and collecting 43 RBI.

Unfortunately because the Red Sox had not found the recipe for winning that they craved and Benzinger was traded after just 1 1/2 seasons with the team.  This turned out to be a nice change for Todd as he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds(a team he called his ‘home team’ as a child) and he became their full-time first baseman.  In 1990, Todd’s second year with the team, the Reds won the World Series in 4 games as they shocked the baseball world by defeating the powerful Oakland A’s.

Soon after, Benzinger became a player used as a tool to create equal trades due to his salary.  From Cincinnati he went to the Royals and then to the Dodgers and then he signed with the Giants and finally he signed with the Yankees.  In 3 short years, Benzinger played for 4 different teams and was unable to establish himself as an every day player.  Todd Benzinger retired from baseball in 1995 after being cut from the Yankees AAA minor league team.

Today, Todd Benzinger is the manager of the Dayton Dragons, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.  He will make his managerial debut when the 2009 season kicks off.  Todd has been quoted as saying : “I’ve been a Reds fan all my life. I want to make sure all the (players) know this is a winning culture, a winning organization.”

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What Ever Happened To Lance Parrish???

Nicknamed ‘The Big Wheel’, Lance Parrish had an extremely solid 19-year baseball career. 

An 8-time All-star at catcher, Parrish was a well respected player around the league for his power hitting abilities and his defensive skill.  With 324 career home runs to his credit, Parrish crushed 20 or more home runs in 7 different seasons.  His strong bat and ability to drive in runs(he has 1,070 RBI) made Parrish a fan favorite during his playing days with the Detroit Tigers.  And with 3 Gold Glove awards to his credit, Parrish was a defensive force as well as the anchor for many Tigers’ pitching staffs.

Parrish’s lone offensive flaw was his ability to hit for average.  Keep in mind that 20 years ago there were not many, if any, catchers that were solid contact hitters.  For his career, Parrish has a .252 average and never hit higher than .286 in any one season.  But Parrish’s low batting average did not deter from his ability to drive the ball and score runs himself.  In his career, Lance Parrish has scored 856 runs.

Parrish’s lone trip to the playoffs came during the 1984 seasons.  The Tigers did very well and Parrish won his only World Series Championship that year.  In the World Series, his average actually improved as he batted .278 while blasting 1 home run and driving in 2 runs and scoring 3 himself in just that 5-game series.

 

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What Ever Happened To Glen Davis???

In today’s world of sports the name Glen Davis refers to the Boston Celtics player that has been seen crying on the bench as a result of being reprimanded for his terrible play by teammate Kevin Garnett. 

But, back in the 1980′s Glen Davis was known as a slugging first-baseman that was crushing the ball as a member of the Houston Astros.  In Davis’ first full season in 1986, he played in 158 games.  As a full-time player, Davis excelled at the plate while smacking 31 HR’s and driving in 101 runs.  His numbers were solid and he finished second for the MVP that year to future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.  1986 also marked the first of two appearances of at the All-Star game for Davis.

In his next 3 seasons with the Astros, Davis was a full-time player and excelled at the plate.  From 1987-89 he crushed 91 homers and drove in 281 runs.  His solid play earned him 2 more Top 8 positions for the MVP award.

Then it went bad quickly.  Davis’ injuries took over and he was unable to recover his incredible hitting achieved in the mid-to-late 80′s.  Never playing more than 106 games in a season over his final 4 years in the big leagues, Davis’ once enviable power numbers tailed off and so did his playing time.

Glen Davis ended his 13-year career with a .259 batting average.  He accumulated 190 home runs and drove in 603 RBI.  You have to wonder how much more Davis could have done if his health was able to keep up with his bat from the late 80′s.  I don’t think 300+ home runs would have been out of the question.

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What Ever Happened To Bobby Bonilla???

Bobby Bonilla helped make up one of the most talented outfields in major league baseball during the 1990′s.  Alongside teammates Barry Bonds and Andy VanSlyke, this trio was one of the most complete outfields in baseball due to their incredible offense and defensive abilities.

As a 6-time All-Star and 3-time Silver Slugger winner, Bobby Bonilla offered all of the teams he played for a wide array of offense.  A solid hitter with a career batting average of .279, ‘Bobby Bo’ excelled in all phases of batting.  With 408 doubles, 287 home runs and 1,173 RBI, Bonilla provided a huge spark at the plate.  And with an on-base percentage of .358 he was able to get on base and make things happen for his team. 

‘Bobby Bo’ played for 9 different teams over the course of his career.  His most successful season came in 1997 when his Florida Marlins won the World Series.  Although he only hit .207 in the 7-game series, Bonilla did account for 5 runs and 3 RBI helping Florida win their first championship.

Bobby Bonilla retired from baseball after 16 successful seasons.  Currently living in Connecticut, it is not odd to find Bonilla at the poker table these days.  He has even been spotted at the game’s biggest event – ‘The World Series of Poker’.  Who knows, maybe one day Bobby Bonilla will get a bracelet to match the ring he already owns….

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What Ever Happened To Danny Tartabull???

Danny Tartabull was another member of the great rookie class that took baseball by storm during the 1986 season.  As a rookie with the Seattle Mariners, Tartabull finished in 5th place for the Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .270 with 25 home runs and 96 RBI.  Tartabull spent the next 5 years of his career as a member of the Kansas City Royals and this is where he reached his greatest statistical output.  In 5 seasons with the Royals, he finished in the Top 20 for the MVP 2 times.  From 1987-1991, Tartabull smashed 124 dingers and amassed 425 RBI along with scoring 276 runs as well.  After the 1991 season, Tartabull signed a contract to play for the New York Yankees but was unable to duplicate his prior success and was traded to 3 teams in his final 3 years.  In his last season in 1997, Tartabull was with the Phillies.  After fouling a ball off of his foot, Tartabull quickly retired from the sport leaving his fans and teammates puzzled.

After 14 seasons in the major leagues, Tartabull retired with a .273 average and tallied 262 home runs and 925 RBI.  He appeared in only 1 All-star game and never made the playoffs in his career.

Danny Tartabull is no longer involved with baseball and his rare public appearances since his retirement have been limited to 2 guest-starring roles as himself on Seinfeld in 1994.

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What Ever Happened To Bob Horner???

“4 home runs in 1 game – 4 home runs in 1 game – 4 home runs in 1 game – 4 home runs in 1 game”

 This feat alone mesmerized me.  I remember watching this game as a kid on WTBS back in 1986 as a 10-year old baseball fan.

But Bob Horner was on a path to baseball stardom well before this amazing 1-day accomplishment.  Drafted in 1978 by the Atlanta Braves, Horner went straight from an amazing college baseball career to the major leagues skipping what was normally a routine stop in the minor leagues.

With a .266 batting average while belting 23 home runs, Horner won the Rookie of the Year award in 1978.  In ’79 he followed up his rookie season by hitting .314 while crushing 33 homers.  Horner was on a path to become a dominant offensive threat and star of the Atlanta Braves. 

Unfortunately, injuries cost Bob Horner quite a bit of playing time during the course of his career.  Having never played in more than 141 games in a single season while also playing in 4 seasons in which he played in less than 100 games, Horner lost several opportunities to utilize his offensive skills and help his team win.  After 10 major league seasons, Horner finished his career injured while settling with 218 home runs, a .277 batting average, and 1 lone appearance in the All-star game.

 Not wanting to give up, Horner took his talents overseas in 1987 and signed on to play for the Yakult Swallows in Japan.  He performed well and hit 31 home runs in his debut season with the team.  Horner returned back to the states in hopes to sign with a major league club for the 1988 season but was released by the St. Louis Cardinals after severely injuring his shoulder.

On July 4, 2006 Bob Horner was elected into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.

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