Saturday, January 19, 2013

#293 Glenn Gulliver - Baltimore Orioles

This is Glenn Gulliver's one and only Topps card.  By the way he looks back at the bat as he leaves the batters box, I'd bet he probably just earned a base on balls.  Later you'll read why that seems like a safe bet. 
He looks kind of creepy in the inset pic. 
Baseball Card Database

Player: Glenn Gulliver played college ball at Eastern Michigan and was an 8th round pick of his hometown Detroit Tigers in 1976.  He started at AA ball and shuttled between AA an AAA through the '79 seasons never hitting over .277 or over 12 home runs.  He moved up to AAA in '80 and '81 and although he wasn't able to hit over .265 Gulliver had one thing going for him though- he could draw a walk.  If Kevin Youkalis is the "Greek God of Walks" then maybe Gulliver was the "British Baron of Base on Balls". Gulliver walked in 20.5% of his plate appearances for Evansville in '80 and 19.2% in '81. 

When Gulliver failed to make the Tigers roster in '82 they sold him to the Orioles who sent him to Rochester where he walked with reckless abandon...if there is such a thing.  He walked 24.7% of the time racking up 90 freebies in 87 games while putting up a ridiculous .295/.468/.478 line.  Baltimore had Cal Ripken at thirdbase but when manager Earl Weaver, (who just passed away at age 82) moved Ripken to shortstop midyear, it created a void at the hot corner. 

"Honeybear" Floyd Rayford couldn't hold the job and veteran Rich Dauer played there some when he wasn't playing second base but he wasn't the answer either.  Gulliver was called up and made his debut on July 17.  He was an instant success getting a hit and at least one walk in his first five games.  His bat then went cold but he still walked at a high rate.  He finished the year with 37 walks in 185 plate appearances with a .200/.363/.269 line. 

Gulliver didn't make the O's opening day roster in '83 and spent most of the year back at Rochester frustrating hurlers with his refusal to swing at anything out of the zone.  He racked up 117 walks with a .936 OPS and earned a September call up.  Although Baltimore was in the midst of a 98 win season, thirdbase had been a black hole yet again.  Todd Cruz started there more than anyone and had great range but couldn't hit.  When Gulliver came up he started 16 of their last 32 games but finished only three of them, usually pulled in favor of Cruz by the 7th inning.  Gulliver found major league pitchers harder to square up and hit just .213/.333/.277. 

Gulliver wasn't eligible to play in the postseason as the Orioles went on and won the World Series.  Gulliver turned 29 in October and his window was closing.  He never made it back to the major leagues toiling in the minors for the Orioles, Cardinals, Braves, and back to the O's before calling it quits in '86.

Baseball Card Database
Flipside: Considering how many pitches he must have seen, Gulliver had great contact skills never striking out more than 41 times in a minor league season.
Oddball: According to the website House of Names, the Gulliver surname evolved through the Old French word goulafre which means greedy or glutton.  Appropriate here since our subject hoarded base on balls. 
History: Gulliver had a short stay in the majors with a .203/.356/.271 line in parts of two seasons.  Injuries hurt his career path as he never played more than 123 games in a single season.  Had he been born a generation later he may have been promoted to the majors a little sooner as his on base skills would have been better appreciated.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of those 'what the hell did he just do' photos. Drop a bunt? Have the bat knocked out of his hands? So much better than a posed photo.