Wednesday, January 11, 2006

January 11th, 1922

Frank Fanovich Born

One of the little games I play to amuse myself--often when I tire of the anagrams--is seeing how much about a player one can divine just from looking at his stats. Did he hit for decent average? Have any power? If a guy has lousy batting numbers but a ten year career, it's usually a safe bet that he was a middle infielder. The game isn't quite as much fun with pitchers but still rewarding. Having done absolutely no research on the matter, of this fact I am sure: insofar as his Major League career was concerned, Frank Fanovich could not find the plate.

Now, fairness dictates that I say I don't know why Fanovich couldn't find the plate. I don't know if he was a fireballer with no control or a junkballer who nibbled too much or what, but he couldn't throw strikes. How do I know this? Well, let's see. In his career--which was just two seasons, 1949 and 1953--Fanovich pitched a total of one hundred and five innings. In those innings, he walked a total of sixty-five men, making his career walks per nine innings a rather mighty five and a half. Of course, it wasn't just the walks. In 1953, despite pitching only sixty-one and two-thirds innings, Fanovich managed to appear in the top ten in both wild pitches (third, with seven) and hit batsmen (tied for tenth, with six).

So what was Fanovich's problem? I don't know repeated attempts at discovering it failed to turn up anything that would explain his problem. All I can tell you then is that when it came to throwing strikes in the bigs, Frank Fanovich couldn't do it.

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