Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Your SKO Random Third Baseman of the Day: Dave Magadan

Name: David Joseph Magadan
Height: 6'3'' Weight: 200 lb.
Bats: Left Throws: Right

Believe it or not kids, you can buy this autographed Magadan photo for just 12.00 on Ebay!

For years Cubs fans have remembered Mark Grace as a solid OBP, great average, chubby-chasing, Marlboro loving infielder with slightly below average power. He wasn't. Well, he was all of those things, but just about every one of those could also be used to describe Dave Magadan. Actually I don't really know what kind of women Magadan loved, or what tobacco he preferred, but he was a good hitter/on base guy for most of his major league career, but he's living proof that a guy like Mark Grace isn't weak for a corner infielder. A guy like Dave Magadan, with his career .377 slugging percentage, is.

Magadan, the cousin of Lou Piniella, started his career with the Mets in 1986 and started for them until 1992. He hit .328 in 1990 and never posted an OBP below .367 in that stretch. He then bounced around as part time player for the Marlins, Mariners, and Astros before coming to the Cubs in 1996 to be a part of the three headed monster the Cubs had at third base that year, between Magadan, Jose Hernandez, and Leo Gomez. The young Hernandez started the opener, struggled, was replaced by Gomez, who wilted in the second half, leading to 41 starts at the hot corner for Magadan, who naturally posted one of the worst seasons of his career, hitting just .254 (career avg.-.288) with a .360 OBP (career-.390), and a .367 slugging % (career-.377), with just 3 homers and 17 RBIs. One highlight, though, was his .963 fielding % at third base, well above his .951 mark for his career.

After the Cubs finished the season a disappointing 76-86, Magadan and Gomez were both jettisoned to make room for rookie superstar Kevin Orie, and that worked out famously, I believe. Magadan would go on to play five more major league seasons with the A's and Padres before retiring in 2001 at the age of 38. He spent 2003 to 2006 as the hitting coach for the Padres (they sucked) until he was fired. He then was hired as the Red Sox hitting coach in 2007 (they didn't suck), and thus he has proven that hitting coaches don't necessarily matter. At all.