Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #153 HAROLD BAINES

UNDERSTATED GREATNESS AT THE PLATE.


DH OR NOT, 1,600-PLUS RBI IS HOF WORTHY.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Harold Baines hit 384 homers and had a knack for making the most of them. He's top 10 all-time in game-winning (10th), three-run (fourth) and grand slams (10th). He finished his 22-year career with 2,866 hits, 1,628 RBI while slashing .289/.356/.465. But, like the tree in the forest that falls and no one sees it, do Baines' numbers count because so few saw him in the field? After spending a major-league record 1,652 games at designated hitter, apparently not. He has the most RBI for an eligible player not in the Hall Fame. He was a candidate for five years, never receiving more than 6.1 percent of the vote, and was dropped from the ballot in '11 after getting 4.8 percent.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • In the 25th inning and after more than 700 pitches on May 9, 1984, Baines came to bat for the White Sox against the Brewers' Chuck Porter with the score 6-6. The perfect man was up to finally end the epic eight-hour and six-minute marathon with a homer. The game, which started the day before and was suspended in the 17th inning, set an AL mark for innings and time of game. Baines finished 2-for-10.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Baines' only bold-ink stat of his career occurred in '84, when he led the AL in slugging with a .541 mark. He batted .304 with a career-high 29 homers and drove in 94.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Hit a White Sox-record 221 homers, which was eclipsed by #125 Carlton Fisk in '90.
  2. Baines' DH record 236 homers was broken by #190 Edgar Martinez in '04.
  3. Primarily a right fielder when he reached the majors in '81, Baines began having knee problems in '86 that eventually forced him to the DH role full time in '87.
  4. In eight postseason series, spanning 31 games and 113 plate appearances, Baines slashed .324/.378/.510 with five homers and 16 RBI.
  5. Holds the record for most years between 100-RBI seasons (14) after driving in 113 for the White Sox in '85 and 103 for the Orioles and Indians in '99.
1993 Topps Finest: Paging Nos. 145-153 will appear Thursday.

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