Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Year Of Dicks, Day 417

Yes, we have already reached Dick Paradise, but our work is far from done here. The Year Of Dicks is long, and there's much ground to cover. Welcome back.


And, if you will, welcome Dick Schofield to The Year Of Dicks.

Was Dick Schofield The Last Great Dick of Major League Baseball?

Until a new Dick emerges (and yes, There Is Another in the minors, who we'll visit later in the series, by which time I hope he's past A ball), I believe that he was. He retired in 1996, and there's only one player with "Dick" in his first name who made it to the bigs after Dick Schofield (he'll also be covered later in the series, so no names, please). That gentleman did not play for long, whereas Dick here played for parts of 14 seasons, made the playoffs with the 1986 Angels (how I best remember him), and while he rode the bench for it, he won a World Series with the 1993 Blue Jays.

No knock on previous honoree R.A. Dickey here, either, but to truly be a Great Dick of Major League Baseball (or of any major sports league), you really need to have the Dick in your first name. It's like being a first-ballot Baseball Hall of Famer rather than a got-in-on-his-last-try guy or a Veteran's Committee guy. (Though, I will be audacious enough to suggest that the Great Dicks Of Major Pro Sports are a more credible organization, if perhaps a looser one, than the Hall.)

If you're unfamiliar, Dick Schofield is also part of a Dick dynasty. His father, with whom he shares a name, also had a long and productive Major League career (which we'll visit in a later post). We almost had 3 generations of these Dicks in MLB, but alas, Dick's sister Kim (an Olympian herself; sports are strong in this bloodline) opted to name their son Jayson instead of Dick. While I consider this to be a somewhat questionable decision on her part, and am sad that there isn't a Washington National named Dick Werth, I am sure she had her very good reasons for it.

So, mark it on your calendars. A month and a half into the second year of The Year Of Dicks, we've established something of an informal caste system. First names with Dick are better than last names with Dick, as a rule, and multiple generations of Dicks are something truly special.

Back to our subject, though. I remember Dick Schofield as being a pretty good glove guy, and while he wasn't what most people consider a good hitter, he was a pesky hitter, sort of along the lines of fellow Angel shortstop David Eckstein (though Eckstein's the better of the two overall, and was a much bigger pain in the ass at the plate), where they'd often do something bigger than you'd expect despite being what folks think of as bottom-of-the-lineup kinda guys. However, despite his .230 career average, Schofield hung on much longer than Eck did.
 
If you're wondering, Dick is still in pro baseball, managing the Reds-affiliated Billings Mustangs to a 41-35 finish last year. Keep up the good work, Dick!

A personal note: I just noticed that the card used for the aforementioned R.A. Dickey post came from Tom of The Angels, In Order. As the Dick Schofield card above also came from Tom (he's been going above and beyond lately in helping me finish '92 Fleer Ultra and Stadium Club), I believe this makes Tom our first multiple contributor! Thanks, Tom!

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