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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Top 100 San Diego Padres: #85 Enzo Hernandez


Last week I wrote about a mediocrity named Bob Barton. Today I find myself trying to summon something positive to say about Enzo Hernandez. And on Tuesday, I shall wax poetic on the sub-par baseball skills of Rudi Stein of the Bad News Bears.

The presence in our Top 100 of players of Enzo’s ilk makes me wonder if perhaps this list should have been limited to the top 50 Padres. Go to the Baseball-Reference.com page of Enzo Octavio Hernandez, and you’ll find this quip from page sponsor Stephen Rodrick: “A tip of the cap [to] one of baseball’s least productive hitters in history.”

Stephen Rodrick is correct. At the plate, Hernandez was not merely bad. He was historically bad. In his rookie season with the Padres, he drove in just twelve runs despite accumulating 549 at-bats. He barely missed being the first regular in history to commit three errors for every RBI, as he finished with 33 miscues. Enzo’s slugging percentages in his first three seasons- .250, .249, and .239- would be an outstanding series in bowling, but stand as a testament to his impotence in baseball.

The tiny Venezuelan with the tinier OPS managed to compile a slugging or on-base percentage in excess of .300 just once in his career, posting a .319 OBP as well as slugging .321 in 1976, his finest offensive performance by a significant margin.

His career BA/OBP/SLG line of .224/.283/.266 looks like a joke, but is in fact the line of a man who was a regular/semi-regular in the National League for six seasons.

A sort of poor man’s Neifi Perez, Enzo has become a symbol of the early Padre squads’ futility. Nonetheless, he wasn’t entirely bad. He was an excellent base-stealer on the rare occasions that he found himself on base. He seldom struck out, and was a competent bunter. And he wasn’t exactly the worst defensive shortstop in the league.

Crap, who am I kidding?!? Enzo Hernandez sucked. Whenever you find yourself frustrated by today’s Padres, be thankful that there’s no Enzo in the bunch.


Blogger SD in PGH said...

Enzo deserves to be on this list for one reason: John DeMott's colorful introduction of him.

When Enzo would stride up to the plate for another futile at-bat, DeMott, the public address announcer, would say, "NumberelevenEnzo (pause) Herrrrrnannnndezzz."

It was absolutely the most memorable announcement of a batter I've ever heard. That helped get the Friar Faithful through a lot of a sorry seasons.

6:51 AM, June 29, 2006  

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