We all have players who we like for no good reason. Infielder Jeff Blauser was one of those guys for me.
During his first full season with the Atlanta Braves in 1989, Blauser showed decent pop for a SS/2B, swatting 12 homers and 24 doubles in 142 games. As those young Braves teams improved, so did Blauser’s productivity. By 1993, he was the everyday SS, flourishing in the two-hole. After a few up and down seasons, Blauser ripped off the best campaign of his career in 1997 (.308/.405/.482). I had officially become a fan.
Cubs followers surely remember how he routinely pounded the ball at Wrigley Field. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Harry Caray say, “That guy would look great in a Cubs uniform. He always hits well at Wrigley Field.” The obvious problem with that plan was that Cubs hitters didn’t get to face Cubs pitchers. At any rate, management must have been listening to Harry, as they signed the free agent Blauser during the winter of 1997. Even though I had that soft spot in my heart for the scrappy SS, this deal had trouble written all over it.
Trouble arrived quickly in the spring of 1998. By May, Blauser was scuffling along at a .663 OPS. June and July saw more of the same, and by late summer, he was sent to the bench. Blauser finished the season at a disappointing .219/.344/.299. The former Braves standout didn’t exactly “party like it’s 1999” the next season either. The Cubs saw Blauser struggle through an injury-plagued summer that limited him to 200 unproductive at bats. On October 28, 1999, he was out of Chicago and out of baseball at only 33 years old.
Gordon Gekko once said, “Never get emotional about stock.” The same is true for mediocre middle infielders. I guess it’s finally time to send that Blauser jersey to the garage sale pile.
Jeff Blauser’s Cubs Stats
|CHC (2 yrs)||673||90||127||16||5||13||52||4||4||86||145||.226||.343||.342||.685||79|