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RIP John Wockenfuss


romad1
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He played before my time, but I was looking at his stats and it's interesting that he was playing right between the last two Tigers World Series.  He made his ML debut in Kaline's last year and left the Tigers the year before they won the '84 WS. 

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2 hours ago, bobrob2004 said:

He played before my time, but I was looking at his stats and it's interesting that he was playing right between the last two Tigers World Series.  He made his ML debut in Kaline's last year and left the Tigers the year before they won the '84 WS. 

He was traded right before the start of the 1984 season...along with Glenn Wilson...to Philadelphia for Bergman and Willie Hernandez.  That trade was the final piece of the puzzle (along with Evans as a FA)  in making the Tigers WS champs

Edited by Shinzaki
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13 minutes ago, casimir said:

A 42nd round pick that hit .262/.349/.432 for an OPS+ of 115 for 200 PAs per season over a dozen seasons, some of those logging a couple of hundred innings behind the plate?  Not bad.

Not bad numbers but he was popular due to the combination of his funny sounding name and even funnier looking batting stance.  

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On 8/21/2022 at 11:34 PM, Shinzaki said:

Burrned his bridges on the way out of town....but he and Summers were a potent DH platoon for awhile there

What is the story behind this? I live in Florida so didn’t always get all the news from Detroit at that particular point.

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13 minutes ago, Evil Roy Slade said:

What is the story behind this? I live in Florida so didn’t always get all the news from Detroit at that particular point.

He came into camp in '84 complaining about his low pay.  He even said something like "These bums are making more than me".

So we traded him for the 1984 Cy Young winner.  But who's to say that deal wouldn't have happened anyway.  Legend is that Sparky tagged Willie as a potential target while doing TV work in the playoffs in '83.

 

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1 hour ago, oblong said:

He came into camp in '84 complaining about his low pay.  He even said something like "These bums are making more than me".

So we traded him for the 1984 Cy Young winner.  But who's to say that deal wouldn't have happened anyway.  Legend is that Sparky tagged Willie as a potential target while doing TV work in the playoffs in '83.

 

Quote

 

After signing a two-year extension for a raise to approximately $200,000 annually, he was upset to discover through newspaper reports that the mean Tigers’ contract paid about $60,000 more. “I’ve been playing for this club 10 years and I can’t make the average salary?” he asked.35 Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan had just paid a fortune for the team the previous fall. “All they say is, ‘We don’t have the cash.’ A guy just buys the club for $50 million and he’s worth $150 million. Please.”36

As trade rumors involving the Phillies swirled throughout spring training 1984, Wockenfuss insisted he’d welcome a deal. “I’ll be happy,” he said. “If it’s Philly, great. I could live at home and see my family more.”37 Finally, 10 days before Opening Day, he was swapped to Philadelphia, the reigning National League champions. Wockenfuss started 47 games for the Phillies, batting .289.

 

https://sabr.org/bioproj/person/john-wockenfuss/

I read this yesterday.  Interesting read.  To me, the article paints him as someone that always had a chip on his shoulder, and maybe had higher aspirations for himself than his talent showed.  Then again, he managed to play in 12 MLB seasons with that attitude despite being a 42nd round pick, so maybe it worked for him more than it didn't?

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In 1983 Wockenfuss enjoyed another solid year for a Tigers team that finished second with 92 victories, the most by a Detroit club since 1968. After some Angels outfield follies helped him leg out his first triple in three years in August, he insisted that he never considered trying for an inside-the-park homer. “They could have lost the ball for five minutes and I still would have been on third,” he joked.33 His dubious foot speed once prompted Anderson to remark, “The problem with John Wockenfuss getting on base is that it takes three doubles to score him.”34

OK, well, at least maybe he was realistic about his speed.

Edited by casimir
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