Saturday, November 26, 2005

November 26th, 1956

Bob Walk Born

In the past, I've done funny names those which jump out at me for their absurdity one way or the other. Those are "bad" names in baseball, but today there's the first ever "bad baseball name." Now, for a hitter, being named "Bob Walk" is not altogether a bad thing. Not as good a name as Homer Bush--although that one didn't quite work out, as Homer managed just eleven of his namesake hit--but still not a bad name. For a pitcher however, it’s a pretty terrible name. And, appropriately enough, Bob's problem was, in fact, the walk. His strikeout rate was nothing special, but high enough that he could've survived if he worked to keep guys off the bases. The problem however, was that Bob was a trifle walk happy, surrendering more than three walks per nine innings, for a strikeout-to-walk ratio of under 1.3.

Now, Bob did manage a fairly long career, albeit a largely mediocre one, and has now moved onto to color commentary duty for the Pirates, so his story is largely a nice one, triumph over the unfortunate name. We can only hope that whatever secret Bob used, he has passed onto the new pitcher-with-a-bad-name, Grant Balfour, and yes, that's pronounced just like which number pitch gives the batter a free pass. Good luck, Grant.

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