Stars that faded away...

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
17,244
Maine
I definitely hear what you're saying, but I have trouble believing that someone who played for 21 seasons could have faded away. I guess there are many definitions of what fits the criteria.
I think there should be a clear distinction between a guy who arguably hung around too long bouncing from team to team (like a Murray or a Giambi or a Carlton) and someone who had a high peak before flaming out quickly and disappearing into obscurity at a relatively young age (King Felix, Lincecum, etc).
 

bob burda

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
1,485
Frank Tanana went from being a dominant 9+Ks per 9 innings,130-150 ERA+ guy for 3 years until age 23, to being a league average innings eater and junkballer (a quotable guy, he called his fastball "my '79 Blazer" in those later years). He hurt his arm after averaging about 250 IP from ages 20 to 24. It was an immediate decline but quite stable in its averageness after the early brilliance, made possible by knowing how to change speeds and excellent control. By the end of his career I think most people had forgotten how good he'd been at the start.
 
Last edited:

Marciano490

Urological Expert
SoSH Member
Nov 4, 2007
53,748
Frank Tanana went from being a dominant 9+Ks an inning 130-150 ERA+ guy for 3 years until age 23, to being a league average innings eater and junkballer (a quotable guy, he called his fastball "my '79 Blazer" in those later years). He hurt his arm after averaging about 250 IP from ages 20 to 24. It was an immediate decline but quite stable in its averageness after the early brilliance, made possible by knowing how to change speeds and excellent control. By the end of his career I think most people had forgotten how good he'd been at the start.
Damn, dude threw 13 SO innings….twice!
 

trekfan55

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Oct 29, 2004
9,150
Panama
Dustin Pedroia.

To a lesser extent, Kevin Youkilis.
Dustin was KO´d by Machado. Never recovered from that knee injury and we know he was dying to go out there and play. I still remember him taking grounders on his knees when he had broken his ankle in 2010.

Kevin Youkilis is a good example. In his case, it seems like switching back to 3rd base was the culprit.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

critical thinker
SoSH Member
Dec 19, 2009
8,598
I know he had a good career as a reliever for awhile, but Scott Kazmir was crazy good as a starter until he got hurt and was never really the same afterward. Not sure if he would fit the bill.

Rich Porcello might, though. He won a surprise CYA in 2016 and was out of the league as of 2020.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
15,533
I always thought that Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield fit this mold. Both had a few big seasons when they were young (mid-20s) in the mid-1980s (and along with Joe Carter were expected to become a perennial All-Star outfield for the Blue Jays), but then each one kind of came back to Earth and had several unmemorable seasons thereafter.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,397
I always thought that Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield fit this mold. Both had a few big seasons when they were young (mid-20s) in the mid-1980s (and along with Joe Carter were expected to become a perennial All-Star outfield for the Blue Jays), but then each one kind of came back to Earth and had several unmemorable seasons thereafter.
Alex Rios and Vernon Wells.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 23, 2009
17,244
Maine
I always thought that Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield fit this mold. Both had a few big seasons when they were young (mid-20s) in the mid-1980s (and along with Joe Carter were expected to become a perennial All-Star outfield for the Blue Jays), but then each one kind of came back to Earth and had several unmemorable seasons thereafter.
I think you mean George Bell rather than Joe Carter. When Moseby and Barfield shared the outfield in Toronto, Carter was in Cleveland.

Definitely a great fit for the thread though. Barfield led the AL in HR at age 26, won two Gold Gloves in RF, and out of the league before age 33. Moseby didn't quite have the same highs but he was done by age 31. Even Bell fits. MVP in 1987, fourth in 1989. Done by 1993 at age 33.
 

Ferm Sheller

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2007
15,533
I think you mean George Bell rather than Joe Carter. When Moseby and Barfield shared the outfield in Toronto, Carter was in Cleveland.

Definitely a great fit for the thread though. Barfield led the AL in HR at age 26, won two Gold Gloves in RF, and out of the league before age 33. Moseby didn't quite have the same highs but he was done by age 31. Even Bell fits. MVP in 1987, fourth in 1989. Done by 1993 at age 33.
Yes, you're absolutely right. It was Bell, not Carter.
 

Hoya81

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 3, 2010
6,638
Barry Zito

Troy Glaus always felt like a guy who should have hit 500+hrs if he spent his career here, but was out of baseball at 34 despite still being somewhat productive.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

has fancy plans, and pants to match
Dope
Apr 12, 2001
21,991
Definitely a great fit for the thread though. Barfield led the AL in HR at age 26, won two Gold Gloves in RF, and out of the league before age 33. Moseby didn't quite have the same highs but he was done by age 31. Even Bell fits. MVP in 1987, fourth in 1989. Done by 1993 at age 33.
Traded by the Cubs to the cross-town White Sox for Sammy Sosa.
 

Leather

given himself a skunk spot
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
28,188
Justin Morneau came to mind. He even had a great year the 3rd year before he retired in Colorado and then the injuries finally caught up to him.
Morneau had a huge concussion I believe in 2010 and he was never the same afterwards. It's a real shame.

The ones that came to mind for me are Grady Sizemore and Prince Fielder.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
15,223
Do Dwight Gooden or Daryl Strawberry count?

Addiction rather than injury.
Strawberry had a bit of a revival with the Yankees in the 1990's.

I also recall when the Dodgers signed both Strawberry and his friend Eric Davis. Both rapidly fell off but bounced around for quite a while afterwards.
 

iddoc

lurker
Nov 17, 2006
55
This thread is the perfect prelude to the impending hot stove clamor about signing age 29/30 stars to lucrative long term contracts.
 

Jason Bae

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 23, 2021
426
NJ
I know he had a good career as a reliever for awhile, but Scott Kazmir was crazy good as a starter until he got hurt and was never really the same afterward. Not sure if he would fit the bill.

Rich Porcello might, though. He won a surprise CYA in 2016 and was out of the league as of 2020.
Kazmir was never really a reliever (only two MLB relief appearances). He looked pretty toasty in Anaheim, struggling with velocity and keeping his K:BB ratio above 1. He had a pretty brutal line in AAA (15.1 IP, 17.02 ERA, 22 hits, 20 walks, 14 K's, 6 HBPs, 5 wild pitches) and then put up a 5.34 ERA for Sugar Land in 2012. He made a pretty good comeback the year after with Cleveland and put up a 3.75 ERA from 2013-16 with various teams before getting hurt. What also made it surprising was that he did a pretty good job limiting walks (2.8 BB/9) considering he had a career 4.2 BB/9 prior to 2013. He did make one more brief comeback in 2021 after missing 2017-2020.
 

PC Drunken Friar

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 12, 2003
12,895
South Boston
Does Richie Sexson count as a "star"?

16.9 WAR in previous 6 seasons (not including an injury season), which includes 3.9 and a 2.7 in the last 2 (of those 6).

Next 3- seasons...-1.3 WAR
 

brs3

sings praises of pinstripes
SoSH Member
May 20, 2008
5,108
Jackson Heights, NYC
Johnny Damon, retired 241 hits shy of 3k, but once he joined the MFY, he faded into obscurity even on his own team. Did you know he played for the Tigers, Rays & Indians after the Yanks?

edit: he wasn't terrible during the fade, just obscure and nowhere near as exciting.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
5,725
Johnny Damon, retired 241 hits shy of 3k, but once he joined the MFY, he faded into obscurity even on his own team. Did you know he played for the Tigers, Rays & Indians after the Yanks?

edit: he wasn't terrible during the fade, just obscure and nowhere near as exciting.
Don’t recall the year but the Sox claimed him off waivers late in the season but he didn’t want to come back to Boston.
 
Aug 20, 2007
268
Boston
Travis Hafner - A late bloomer, he became a Cleveland's full time DH in 2003, his age 26 season.

Age 27 he slashed .311/.410/.583 (league leading 162 OPS+)
Age 28 he slashed .305/.408/.595 (second in league 168 OPS+)
Age 29 he slashed .308/.439/.659 (league leading 181 OPS+)

Hafner finished 24th, 5th, and 8th in MVP voting between 2004-2006. The most interesting thing about Hafner is that he never made an All-Star team; I guess there was only room for one DH, and Ortiz was the bigger star.

He had a big drop off at age 30, hitting .266/.385/.451 (a still very good 120 OPS+) After that he mostly played partial seasons for Cleveland due to injuries. From ages 31-35, Hafner averaged 86 games a year, slashing .259/.353/.436 (117 OPS+). At age 36 he signed with the Yankees and hit .202/.301/.378 in 82 games.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,397
Travis Hafner - A late bloomer, he became a Cleveland's full time DH in 2003, his age 26 season.

Age 27 he slashed .311/.410/.583 (league leading 162 OPS+)
Age 28 he slashed .305/.408/.595 (second in league 168 OPS+)
Age 29 he slashed .308/.439/.659 (league leading 181 OPS+)

Hafner finished 24th, 5th, and 8th in MVP voting between 2004-2006. The most interesting thing about Hafner is that he never made an All-Star team; I guess there was only room for one DH, and Ortiz was the bigger star.

He had a big drop off at age 30, hitting .266/.385/.451 (a still very good 120 OPS+) After that he mostly played partial seasons for Cleveland due to injuries. From ages 31-35, Hafner averaged 86 games a year, slashing .259/.353/.436 (117 OPS+). At age 36 he signed with the Yankees and hit .202/.301/.378 in 82 games.
Hank Blalock, Morgan Ensberg. Richard Heldago (this isn't his name, what is his name?). Like 100 other Texas and Houston players.

edit: Richard Hidalgo.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
26,784
Saskatoon Canada
I think you mean George Bell rather than Joe Carter. When Moseby and Barfield shared the outfield in Toronto, Carter was in Cleveland.

Definitely a great fit for the thread though. Barfield led the AL in HR at age 26, won two Gold Gloves in RF, and out of the league before age 33. Moseby didn't quite have the same highs but he was done by age 31. Even Bell fits. MVP in 1987, fourth in 1989. Done by 1993 at age 33.
Jesse Barfield is a really nice guy and does lots of youth coaching with the Jays. He said he had a back issue that never really stopped him from playing but reduced his flexibility after he left Toronto. He said after he retired a physio helped him with it, but it was written off as aging when he played. He and Dwayne Ward both told the parents they thought they had injuries that current baseball medicine would have solved. They both thought the medical advancements of the game were a bigger factor in the game changing than anything else. Ward thought the number of relievers who come out of the pen throwing 95+ had to do with people understanding how to look after the pitchers and stop them from getting hurt when they are young. He said when he came up the minors were a "war-zone" where tons of pitchers got hurt, and were released.
 

Philip Jeff Frye

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 23, 2001
9,234
Is Tony Clark the "blink and you missed it" first baseman? Because I don't feel like I blinked at him - more like watched in frozen horror as the train wreck of his 2002 season happened. He'd had five straight seasons above a 120 OPS+ with the Tigers, with both power and OBP, before we got him and he then went .207/.265/.291 for us. Absolutely putrid. An OPS+ of 47 - that's significantly worse than JBJ was for us this year! He then turned back into a decent player, hanging around for 7 more seasons, not as good as he had been in Detroit, but not nearly as terrible as he had been with us either, until the end.

And of course, he almost knocked us out of the 2004 ALCS.
 

Cesar Crespo

79
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2002
21,397
Was Roberto Alomar mentioned? Which reminds me of his teammate, Carlos Baerga.

edit: Alomar was coming off a career year, got paid by the Mets and just fell off. 7.3 WAR in 2001. The next 3 years, -0.3.
 

Ale Xander

killed off Vin Scully
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
52,621
Was Roberto Alomar mentioned? Which reminds me of his teammate, Carlos Baerga.

edit: Alomar was coming off a career year, got paid by the Mets and just fell off. 7.3 WAR in 2001. The next 3 years, -0.3.
Hall of Famers that the Mets signed way too late could be a decent thread
 

worm0082

Penbis
SoSH Member
Sep 19, 2002
3,891
Johnny Pesky? Led mlb in hits with over 200 rookie year, missed 3 years in WW2, came back led in hits again with over 200 twice. In 7 seasons with Sox had almost 800 runs and 1300 hits then after he left did almost nothing. He’s probably be in the HOF if not for the war years he missed, the way the veterans committee was voting guys in back then.