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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Top 100 San Diego Padres: #95 Jerry Mumphrey


It was 1980, and speed was king. Baseball’s landscape was littered with basethieves more daring and prolific than any in today’s game. And no team boasted more of these larcenous jackrabbits than the San Diego Padres.

This was the game I grew up with, and while I now realize the insignificance of the stolen base on runs scored, I will never forget how much fun it was to watch. And watching the Padres, the first team in MLB history to feature three players with 50 or more steals, was indeed fun.

The most effective of the local bandits was a comically bad-fielding centerfielder named Jerry Mumphrey. In his lone season in Padre-brown, Mumphrey stole 52 bases (30 more than the second-best total in his fifteen-year career) and was caught a mere five times. His .298 batting average and 49 bases on balls enabled him to post a .352 OBP, relative to a league OBP of .320. Jerry’s stolen base total, in addition to Gene Richards’ 61, Ozzie Smith’s 57, and Dave Winfield’s 23, helped the Friars pace the NL with a now-unthinkable 239 thefts.

Unfortunately, much of the apparent value of Mumphrey’s offensive performance was negated by his defensive misadventures. His circuitous routes to the ball, coupled with his league-leading 11 (yes, ELEVEN) errors, made him a less-than-ideal centerfielder. With the equally inept Richards in left, perennial Gold Glover Winfield was the pitchers’ only outfield friend.

Mumphrey had been obtained from the Indians for Bob Owchinko and Jim Wilhelm, neither of whom will appear in this Top 100 countdown. On March 31 the following year, after a single memorable Padre campaign, Jerry was shipped to the Yankees with John Pacella in exchange for Ruppert Jones, Joe Lefebvre, Tim Lollar, and Chris Welsh. Two of the players netted in that transaction will appear on our list. Essentially, Owchinko, Wilhelm, and Pacella were swapped for three of the 100 best players in team history. If that is to be Jerry Mumphrey’s legacy, perhaps 95 is too low a ranking


Blogger Dre said...

I love this.... Its cool that you are unearthing new Padres (at least for me)! Keep up the good work guys!

7:19 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

NEW? Dude, I remember going early to ballgames to catch BP and get Mumphrey's autograph!!!

Glad you're enjoying it. It only gets better from here.

9:23 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Geoff said...

Wow, Joe Lefebvre made the top 100? ;-)

10:03 PM, March 29, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

Purely on the strength of excessive vowels and a fine throwing arm, Geoff.

7:22 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

Well, hey Lance! I am not THAT old and I haven't lived in SD at any point in my life... :) But I should start to know people....

8:06 AM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger LynchMob said...

Lance - check that ... I think you've implied in your reply to Geoff that Joe Lefebvre is in the Top 100 ... and I'm pretty sure that previous comments (here or elsewhere) has determined that he's not ... because I remember commenting that I thought he should be ... before knowing the ranking was based on analyics and not factor in such things as the beauty of throws from RF ...

re: Mumphrey ... I have a recollection of a game that lasted ~20 innings ... ending a Padres' loss due to an error on the CF'er ... which seems like it was Mumph ... I'll look for a box ...

1:00 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

LM, I Think Geoff was joking, and I most certainly WAS joking.

And Dre: Damn right you should get to know people!!! You've come to the right place. And you'll be happy to know that the boys from Gaslamp Ball will be guest-writing a few of our Top 100.

4:09 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Richard B. Wade said...

We should get gwynntown's input on who the only five good players to ever put on a Padre uniform are.

4:20 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

Yeah we should..... That would be a crackup..... I think he already posted his opinion on a GaslampBall post...

5:47 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

Gwynnclown's approval should have been sought prior to us even beginning this list. To not consult the man Tony Gwynn was named for was blasphemy.

6:03 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

You really do crack me up Lance.... Stop being funny! ;)

7:17 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

I just can't help myself, Dre. Funny comes as easy to me as ignorant does to Gwynnclown.

We all have our traits, you see. Some of us are just a little luckier when it comes to what those traits may be.

Take #95 Jerry Mumphrey, for example. Iron glove, but fast with a capital F. See, there's good traits and bad ones. Mine are all good, though.

7:43 PM, March 30, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

Wow.... You really think yourself a perfect person ;).... Maybe that's another one of your traits... A HUGE EGO! joking of course... :D

9:59 AM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

Yes. A huge, but perfectly justifiable, ego. What of it???

By the way, I beat up on gwynnclown a bit more this morning over at Gaslamp. Say what you want about that simpering dolt, but he can certainly take a punch.

12:03 PM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

I saw you harrasing him.... I've been over there a lot today, because I have today off. (Cesar Chavez day I think)... Keep it up! ;)

12:34 PM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Lance Richardson said...

Just posted another comment over there. Dex and jbox will probably start deleting my stuff eventually, so I'm trying to hold back. It's tough, though. He's such an ignorant simpleton, I find it hard not to slap his little ass around.

4:03 PM, March 31, 2006  
Blogger Dre said...

:) Well, I have refrained. I guess it's not in my true character to do somet.... *cracks up at the total lie he's telling* Keep it up! I don't have enough guts to do it! ;)

4:24 PM, March 31, 2006  

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