Tuesday, January 29, 2019

The Manrique Effect

As much as I throw Fred Manrique under the bus, or make fun of him (in a loving way, of course), I have a confession, I like Fred Manrique.

How could you not? Look at that smile. It's infectious. As bad as it sounds, Fred is the perfect example of what it was to be a late 1980s White Sox player. He was likable enough, but there was no way you would want to field a whole team of Manriques. He would have to be the luckiest player in the MLB if he was the reason the White Sox were a success.

The most notable comparison to another major league player would be an age comparison to Billy Martin, age 27. Billy Martin is most remembered for being a manager and being a television spokesperson, rather than his playing career. In fact, if Billy wasn't a Yankee, it might be doubtful if he makes his All-Star appearance or makes it to any World Series.

It's nothing against Billy or Fred, they just aren't players that you build teams around. The same goes for the late 80s White Sox teams. Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines are people you build around, but you don't stand much success if you build that with Fred Manrique, Dan Pasqua and Dave LaPoint. Again, there's nothing against those players. I love the Cory Snyders and the Shawn Abners. The Juan Agostos and the Tim Huletts.The Damaso Martes and the Willie Harrises.

Some teams have enough talent to utilize these players properly and they become the folk heroes. Some teams only have a few standout players and these Manrique type players are exposed. They are great teammates and great people, but were not built to shoulder the responsibility for carrying the team on a regular basis.

I've been saying for many years that my ideal card set would include everybody that played for every team in a given year. Multiple cards for players that played for multiple teams. Even the cup of coffee players would get cards. The closest I came to that reality would be early 90s Score and Donruss, 2000s Upper Deck and mid 2000s Topps Total. Even they missed players though. Most of those sets also featured players that never sniffed the majors.

I root for every player that even made a major league roster. My dreams of playing for the White Sox or the Expos (or any MLB team really) were crushed in 1991. I had a neighbor, who was slightly older, and a real jerk. Nearly every time I would practice in the backyard, I heard nothing but negativity from him and his friends. Eventually, I just stopped practicing in the backyard. In hindsight, it was a pretty silly reason to stop, but at that age, it was devastating.

Those childish insults didn't crush my passion for the game itself. I just devoted my high school existence to other pursuits, such as art, cartooning, writing, creating music and appreciating cinematic efforts of any variety.

Even if I didn't like the way Fred Manrique was penciled in for DH on a rare occasion, he achieved the dream. I will always respect that. Only the criminally insane would build a team around Fred Manrique, but I will take those career-high six triples that he smacked in 1988. I was probably at one of the three games where he hit a triple at old Comiskey Park that year. If I wasn't, I certainly watched all six on television. As always, watching the dream, if I couldn't live it.


JediJeff said...

Jim Parque.

Loved that guy.

Steve Gierman said...

Ahhh, Jim Parque! The only name that really surprised me on the Mitchell Report. Loved him too.

GCA said...

You must like 2002 & 2003 Upper Deck 40 Man. I do!

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