15.9.05

Tim Foli

When I was a kid, Tim Foli was my favourite baseball player because we was a shortstop and wore glasses, just like I did. I knew back the he wasn’t a great player. At short, he was sure handed but didn’t have much range. As a hitter, his shortcomings was pretty obvious even for a kid. He didn’t have much power and didn’t run well. He was a bottom of the order hitter… but a good one in my mind.

Looking back at his stats, I now realize he was an awful offensive player. He's a career .251 hitter with just 25 homers in 16 seasons in the Majors. That’s the Tim Foli I remember. What I didn’t see as a kid was that he didn’t walk and had a very low on base percentage (.283 lifetime). We didn’t know about OBP back then. Not too good for a guy that the Mets picked first overall in 1968!

In short, Foli was an out-making machine. A single hitter who walked just 25 times a year and had a knack for getting caught stealing. He got caught 55 times in his career while stealing just 81 bases. He was an aggressive player with a bad temper… and apparently an all around jerk. And I thought he was a good guy because he wores glasses!

To his credit, Foli picked the right time to have his best season. In 1979, the Pirates acquired him from the Mets in mid-april. He hit .291 in 133 games for Pittsburgh, with 28 walks, 23 doubles and 65 RBI. His OBP for the season was a career-high .330 and the Pirates won the National League pennant. In the World Series, Foli batted .333 (10 for 30) as the Pirates defeated the Orioles in 7 games.

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