Thursday, January 31, 2013

#295 Jerry Remy - Boston Red Sox

This is one of those awkward pictures that captures the subject in a position only known to baseball.  Jerry Remy appears here on his 8th Topps with his rookie card appearing in the '76 set.  It took him long enough but Remy has a better mustache now than he did as a player.

Player: Jerry Remy is so strongly associated with the Boston Red Sox that it is easy to forget that he started his professional career with the California Angels.  Drafted in the 6th round of the January draft in 1971, Remy debuted with the Angels in 1975.  He assumed starting duties at secondbase and batted .258/.311/.311.  He was fast and aggressive runner stealing 34 bases but was nabbed 21 as well.

Remy was a consistent performer for the Angels with OPS+ of 83, 87, and 85 while in California.  He got a little wiser on the base paths as he stole 35 and 41 bases while getting caught 16 and 17 times in the '76 and '77 seasons.  His value was definitely his speed and glove work but he posted just 7.0 in his first three years despite playing in 444 games.

In December of 1977, the Halos sent Remy to his home state of Massachusetts for pitcher Don Aase.  Remy got off to a good start for the Red Sox batting .309 in April.  He made his only All-Star team in 1978 but did not play.  He ended the year batting .278 with a pair of home runs and 30 stolen bases. 

Remy was beleaguered with injuries the next few years playing in just 143 games over the '79 and '80 seasons.  When he was healthy he was effective batting .297 and .313.  The strike of '81 and several days off early in the season limited him to 88 games.  He had his best year at the plate batting .307/.368/.338 and his OPS+ of 100 was his first mark over 88 in his career.

Now healthy Remy played nearly everyday the next two years.  Although he batted .280 in '82 and .275 in '83 he had zero pop in his bat with just 46 combined extra base hits over the two seasons. 

Remy was felled by a knee injury in May of '84 from which he never recovered.  He was released by Boston in the offseason and a comeback in '85 was unsuccessful.   

Flipside:  Those two homers in '78 were the last of his career.

Oddball:  Remy is now well known for his work in the Red Sox broadcast booth but I didn't know he had written five children's books.  His Hello, Wally! series originated from stories Remy would tell during Sox games.

History:  Remy played 10 years in the big leagues and although his knee injury ended his career, his best days were already behind him.  He put up 7.0 of his 12.6 career WAR while in California and played just above replacement level his last few years. 

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