Thursday, October 11, 2012

#225 Enos Cabell - Detroit Tigers

Enos Cabell's 9th Topps card shows him getting low on a ground ball at third base.  As a Tiger fan I never liked the oversized-silver-outlined-orange D on the hat.  I much prefer the smaller solid orange D they use now.

Player: Enos Cabell was a singles-hitting corner infielder whose major league career spanned from 1972 to 1986.  Undrafted after high school, he signed with the Orioles in 1969 and had some good years in the minors.  Baltimore had Boog and Brooks at the corners and although Cabell reached the majors in 1972 he would bat just 241 times in three seasons with the O's. 
Cabell got his break when he was traded to Houston in the Lee May deal.  He started the year as the starting leftfielder but after a while was used as a sub at the corners until settling into the third base role in September.  He hit .264 with a pair of homers in 374 plate appearances.
He retained the starting gig at the hot corner for the next five years in Houston and filled in at first several times a year.  Despite his 6'4" frame he didn't hit for power.  Even with half his games outside the home run suppressing Astrodome, he slugged just .377 from '75 to '80.  He hit .278 over this time frame and averaged 30 stolen bases. 
Before the '81 season he was dealt to the Giants and he hit .255/.278/.326.  Cabell was traded again, this time to Detroit in exchange for Champ Summers.  In Detroit, Cabell was a semi-regular, seeing most of his action at first base.  He hit a hollow .261 in '82 but rebounded to hit a career best .311 in 1983 while improving his slugging .111 points to .434.
Cabell returned to the Astros via free agency for the '84 season and put up similar numbers as he hit .310 in his return to Houston.  The Astros peddled Cabell to the L.A. Dodgers in July of '85 where he finished the year with a .272 average.  He nearly missed the '86 season after he was suspended for cocaine use that was made public during the Pittsburgh drug trials.  Cabell eventually got out of it by doing community service and continued with the Dodgers but batted just .256 in 107 games. 
After 15 seasons Cabell retired with a career .277/.308/.370 line. 
Flipside:  Cabell's 16 home run season in 1977 really jumps out at me.  He never hit more than three before that season and never topped eight afterwards.
Oddball:  In 2008 Enos Cabell was sued by footballer Vince Young.  It seems Cabell and two other men had applied for a trademark for Vince Young's VY initials and Invinceable nickname to be used on merchandise.  The case took several years to resolve, and it seems like a pretty slimey thing to do to a fellow athlete.  Even if it is Vince Young. 
History:  Cabell appeared three times in the postseason with Baltimore, Houston, and Los Angeles but never made it past the league championship series.  He batted .184 in 38 at bats including a 1-for-13 '85 NLCS with LA. 
Cabell didn't provide much pop at the plate and his average wasn't always enough to compensate.  His biggest asset was speed and versatility. 
Strangely on Baseball Reference's similarity scores, Cabell's 4th best comparison was the subject of the previous card, Mickey Rivers.

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