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Yuni vs. his predecessors, part 2 March 7, 2008

Posted by Brad in commentary, stats.
Tags: , ,

Yesterday it was Craig Reynolds, today it’s….

1979-1980 Mario Mendoza
Mario Mendoza
Stats: .218/.246/.276 in 650 at bats in 2 seasons. He had more than four times as many strikeouts (104) as walks (25).
Place in M’s fandom: Thanks to George Brett, Mario Mendoza is forever famous for being a horrendous hitter. The Mendoza Line, a batting average of .200, is now the statistical definition of being terrible. The M’s actually gave Mendoza 373 at bats to get a .198 batting average in 1979. Ouch. Sadly, the M’s have let players like Dave Valle and Richie Sexson try to match Mendoza’s 1979 season. On the bright side, at least M’s fans get some cheap beer out of it.
Wikipedia/Google: Mendoza’s awfulness inspired a decent band, The Mendoza Line. I like “Catch a Collapsing Star.” I think Mario’d appreciate the line “It’s our limitations that make us who we are.”

Here’s the highlight of a nice Mendoza bio:

Tom Paciorek… stated that Mendoza was one of the Mariners’ most popular players and was something of a clubhouse wag. Mendoza’s favorite target was the grizzled veteran (DH) Willie Horton… Mendoza was forever giving Horton a hard time on everything from his age to never playing the field. According to Paciorek, Willie Horton used to always say to Mario Mendoza, “Get away from me, you crazy Mexican.”

Ah, the ’70s…

In his book, Kirby Arnold has a great quote on why George Brett singled out Mendoza for infamy. In 1980, when Brett was trying to hit .400, the Royals had a late September series against the M’s. Brett went 2-11, thanks in part to Mendoza. Here’s Brett’s quote (which Arnold got from mlb.com)

“I still think I should have hit .400 that season… The reason I didn’t was Mario Mendoza. Mendoza took three hits away from me, all right up the middle, on unbelievable plays. I needed five more hits for .400… to this day, I still hate the sucker.” (20)

In conclusion, no one has ever liked Mario Mendoza. On the other hand, George Brett probably doesn’t know who Yuniesky Betancourt is. I’d say advantage: Yuniesky.

Tomorrow: Some guy I bet you’ve never heard of!



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