Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Countdown to 2017 Topps #21: The Most Overrated Stat

An MLB record was set this past season- one that I wasn't even aware of being broken. I wonder if the 2017 Topps Series 1 checklist will include Caleb Joseph? We're down to three weeks left on our countdown...

While the Arizona Diamondbacks may have changed opinions about how quickly an expansion team can compete, sports franchises in their first few years of existence historically have not had high expectations placed upon them. There is, after all, a reason why players are available in the expansion draft. Bad contracts are more commonplace in recent drafts than they were in earlier expansion drafts, when the available players tended to be aging vets and- as in the case of today's featured player- replacement level players.

As I look at this photo of Steve Staggs, I'm left wondering what exactly is going on in his head. Is he extremely focused on what's taking place in front of him? Is he in the middle of a slump at the plate and trying to find some way to make an adjustment? Perhaps spending the first few years of your career with two different expansion teams (the Royals being the first) takes its toll on you. For all we know, he knew his time in the bigs was short. Whatever the case might be, Staggs wouldn't even be with the Blue Jays for 1978- his final season in the majors.

Traded by the Blue Jays to the Oakland A's for Sheldon Mallory, Staggs broke camp with the Athletics and spent the first three months on their major league roster, accumulating 97 plate appearances. Though his BA was nothing to get excited about (neither was his power- a .321 slugging percentage), Steve did reach base 38 times (19 hits, 19 walks), good enough for a .392 OBP. 

So what legacy did Steve leave for us? Well, for one there is his 1978 Topps card, which, along with his O-Pee-Chee counterpart, is his lone major league card. He also left us with a record that stood for 38 years. His 97 plate appearances without registering an RBI were the most ever for a non-pitcher, until the Orioles Caleb Joseph accumulated 141 PA in 2016 without any of that most overrated stat. 


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