Saturday, March 10, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #38 Bob Stanley

Bob Stanley, CL, #46 (1977-1989)

115-97, 637 G, 132 SV, 3.64 ERA

Bob Stanley, nicknamed “Steamer” because like the Stanley Steamer vacuum, he sucks, is perhaps the best Red Sox player to be almost universally disliked in the popular imagination. Roger Clemens may be hated by many, but others still love him. Jose Offerman and Mike Lansing might be derided, but they weren’t terribly good, but ol’ Bob Stanley was both awfully good and awfully disliked by the Red Sox faithful.

Be honest, have you ever met a Bob Stanley fan? (Note: Okay, at his Baseball Reference page his sponsors describe him as “Forever beloved for plunking Mike Barnacle at the 1992 Sox Fantasy Camp In Winter Haven.” But they don’t count. And have you noticed Jose is borrowing heavily from Baseball Reference in these? Wikipedia too, but now that he’s mentioned it, it’s not plagiarism.)

But why was Bob Stanley so disliked? Was it his wild pitch that allowed Mookie Wilson to score the tying run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series? Nope, every one knows that was a passed ball. Beside, Dave Stapleton should have been pitching, or something like that. Was it the relish with which he played his role as the bullpen fun police and heartless killjoy? Possibly, this is the guy who ceremonially popped a beach ball with a rake on his appreciation night at Fenway. Really. Still, probably not.

No the reason, that Bob Stanley is widely unloved despite being the Red Sox All-Time save leader with 132, despite having a career ERA of 3.64, despite being a two time All-Star is that Bob Stanley, for all of his excellence, never, ever allowed fans to feel safe when he entered a game. Even in 1983 when he was second in the A.L. in saves with 33 and plunked down a nifty 2.85 ERA, did you ever relax when he entered a game? No, you didn’t, unless you responded to his entering a game with 50mg of valium.

A while ago, Jose suggested that a new statistic be named after Steamer. He suggested that when a reliever picks up a win after blowing a lead, effectively stealing the win, he should be credited with a “Stanley.” Look at his numbers. In 1983, arguably his best season, Stanley saved 33 games while blowing 14 saves, tying a major league record. At the same time, he had eight wins and 10 losses. Do you ever feel good when your closer has that many decisions? Chances are quite a few of those wins should be scored as Stanleys.

Yes, yes, the single season blown save record is shared with a couple of pretty good pitchers named Fingers and Sutter, but still, 14 in a year? Only in a situation like that, could Calvin Schiraldi swipe the closing job.

Player bio by Jose of Jose's Keys to the Game


John said...

How could I forget Steamer popping all of those bleacher beach balls!

Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

Excellent typing, Jose. Naturally Speaking is your software of choice?

Anonymous said...

Bob Stanley is one on the nicest men I have ever met.......still willing to sign baseballs for kids even when their parents are cruel and rude to him. Give him a break! We are way past that and our New England teams are a DYNASTY now. Let's appreciate all who represent and have represented the Red Sox and N.E. teams! Go BOSTON!

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the late 80s, my friends and I used to call him: Bob "I will Raise Your ERA not Mine" Stanley for all the inherited runners he allowed to score. Yes, he sucked. That simple.

Hollie said...

This will not truly have success, I consider so.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite Sox pitchers growing up as a kid. I've talked to him more than a dozen times since then and Bob's a great guy. You'd never guess he used to pitch in the MLB until he starts telling awesome stories from back in the day.

CJ Mollo said...

I can remember getting so nervous whenever you they announced his entrance into a game. Why the Red Sox were so loyal to him I'll never know. People get down on Buckner, who had an impressive career, yet hardly anybody mentions the wild pitch that allowed Mookie Wilson to tie the game and get on base in the first place.