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Thread: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

  1. #1
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    A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    For whatever reason I have recently been musing about my Blue Jays, and just what a great team they were in the mid 80s to early 90s. Rock solid at every position, year after year. Lose a Damaso Garcia, gain a Roberto Almomar. Lose a George Bell, gain a Joe Carter. Because of the depth of their farm system, they just kept bringing up terrific players, or trading for some. Given their record the last 10 years, it makes me nostalgic.

    Since Toronto is my team, I have rose-colored glasses. But I got thinking about Gance Mulliniorg (the 3rd base platoon combo of Rance Mulliniks and Garth Iorg) and started wondering if anyone had suggestions as to what the best platoon combo ever was for a single season. My submission:

    Rance Mulliniks/Garth Iorg, 3rd Base, Toronto, 1985.
    Combined 654 at-bats, 198 hits (.303), 88 runs, 48 doubles, 17 HRs, 94 RBIs, .965 fielding avg. Neither was speedy, but they made a fantastic 1-2 punch at third and were IMO unsung heroes of that particular terrific team.

    I'm sure someone will come up with some combo that will put their numbers to shame - but hey, I was 15 and will never forget those two....

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    Here's one of the top of my head:

    1961 Catcher New York Yankees:

    G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG
    Howard: 129 446 64 155 17 5 21 77 28 65 .348 .387 .549
    Blanchard: 93 243 38 74 10 1 21 54 27 28 .305 .382 .613


    A combined: .332 with 42 HR 129 RBI...and a true platoon.

    Surely there have been better..but this was damned good.
    Last edited by Sharkey; 04-25-2006 at 04:50 PM.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    I believe Blanchard and Howard also did some outfield duty for the Yankees.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    You need to add Yogi Berra to that platton mix. He played catcher - outfield for the Yanks then also. In 61 Howard batted if I remember correctly .361 & Berra had 22 hrs, 271 BA & 61 ribbies.

    I could be wrong but all three rotated at catcher-outfield at the same time.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    Thumper: Howard appeared in 9 games at first base that year. 111 as a catcher. If this disqualifies them...I am not apt to be among those that would do so. Blanchard played less than one dozen games in the OF. Berra appeared 15 times a catcher. Blanchard 48.

    Lopez was the other outfielder in the rotation.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    I certainly wasn't trying to disqualify them, rather I was indicating their additional value to a great team..........

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    It is hard to find two guys that only play/split one position.. and I wasn't trying to intimate you were trying to disqualify them.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    I doubt we'll find a better tandem than those guys....but I'll probably dick off at work for few hours tomorrow trying............

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    I am sure there is one out there..but I am also pretty sure it would predate them.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    Didn't Blanchard hit something like four or five homers in consecutive pinch-hit appearances that year? Or he got into a game and hit two, then had three straight homers doing pinch hitting. Something like that.

    1961... just a magical, unforgettable year for Yankee fans. Maris' 61, Mantle's 54, Blanchard's 5 in a row, Whitey Ford won 25 or something like that. 25-4? Every day was like Christmas.

    "Dynasty" is a book about the Yankees from 1949-65. Well worth reading.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    One combo I thought of when I was posting this thread was from last year, but it would have a tremendous asterisk on it: Tony Clark and Chad Tracy at 1B for the Diamondbacks. Clark's stats were .304 with 30 HRs and 87 ribbies, while Tracy batted .308 with 27 HRs and 72 RBIs. Only problem was they both played about 140 games, and both only played about half at first. Tracy also played outfield and Clark did some DHing against AL teams. That was enough to DQ them for me...

    I still like Gance Mulliniorg, if only because they were true-blue platooners. Garth might have subbed in at 2B a couple of games for Damaso Garcia, and other than that they just had some pinch hitting. Their offensive numbers reflect their platoon almost exclusively.

    Sharks - your submission beats mine I think, even factoring out numbers attained with Blanchard in left and Howard on 1st. Some team that 61 Yankees had.... I was never a Howard fan though because I read "Ball Four" as a kid and that always made me think of Elston as a yes-man and not a team player.....
    Last edited by TKO11; 04-26-2006 at 07:42 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    The year Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp at first base would have to be one of the great platoon combos. Of course the slumping Wally never got back at first base again for the yanks, and was traded to the Reds the next season where he rebounded with a pretty decent season. The mists of time have obscured how good of a player he was, he was a HR champ in the deadball era as I recall just before the Babe discovered his own HR grove at Boston. Borderline HOFer for sure had he not been replaced so abruptly which probably ruined him mentally near the end of his career. I don't think the combined numbers of the two that season are especially outstanding though.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    Probably Cliff. Iorg did after all play quite a bit of 2nd base as well in 1985 if I recall correctly.

    Iorg played in Syracuse too...I remember that as a little kid.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    Actually Sharks, I don't think Iorg started any games at second - he played there when they'd pinch-hit for Dammo late in games. Nice flexibility for the team - move Garth over from third to second and bring Mully in to play third.

    Iorg did a great job managing the Syracuse team - I'd like to see him in the bigs managing one day.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    He may not have started any games at 2nd..not sure...just remember him playing there.

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    Re: A Baseball Topic - Greatest Platoon Combo

    In regards to platooning, Casey Stengal was noted for doing it
    throughout his tenure as the manager of the New York Yankees
    from 1949 to 1960.

    - Chuck Johnston

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