Wednesday, September 29, 2010

WORLD'S BEST CUP OF COFFEE: In the waning days of the summer of 1963, after the minor league baseball season ended, the Houston Colt .45s* made a young right-fielder named John Paciorek** a September call-up. He rode the pine until exactly 47 years ago today, when he played his first major league game. In five plate appearances that day, Paciorek hit three singles, walked twice, and scored four runs. That was the end of his major-league career, leaving him with a career average and OBP of 1.000 (and SLG of 1.000). His career OPS+ is 495. If I were him, I would have my Baseball-Reference page framed.

*Remember when we used to name sports teams after guns and ammunition? How I hated you, 1978 Washington Bullets.

**This story would be slightly more impressive to Paciorek's grandkids if their great uncles Tom and Jim, Paciorek's two brothers, didn't have their own major-league careers -- 21 games for Jim and 18 seasons for Tom.


  1. Benner11:50 AM

    His teammate Joe Morgan would note that in 5 baserunning chances, he failed to "manufacture" any runs . . . by the way, can we have a thread to talk about how awful "The Tenth Inning" is? 

  2. The Pathetic Earthling11:55 AM

    I need to dig up the numbers, but I have a friend whose father poked around the minors for about six or seven years, and finally got called up to start for the Yankees in some meaningless late-September second-half of a double header game in the late 1950s/early 1960s  He was warming up when the skies opened up -- that game was postponed until the next day -- he finished the season never appearing in the bigs (I think he was sent down a couple of days later).  As he says, "one lousy pitch in the dirt from being in the baseball almanac."  

  3. Daniel Fienberg4:29 PM

    It always makes you wonder which version of this kinda thing makes the best story. Is it the Paciorek version, with those ridiculous one-game numbers? Is it the Moonlight Graham version, playing the field, but never getting out of the on-deck circle in one game? Is it the Larry Yount version, where your bother is a Hall of Famer, but you got hurt throwing warm-up pitches and never even got into a game?

    Or are they all just great stories? Probably that one...


  4. Other versions: Adam Greenberg, Cubs, 2005, fastball to the head on his first pitch.  Concussion, never had another ML at-bat.

    Brian Esposito: an inning as a defensive replacement catcher in 2007; finally returned to the majors this month at the age of 31 and has had 2 PAs so far with the Astros.

  5. isaac_spaceman6:14 PM

    None of those guys can say "I stepped in there against major league pitching, and nobody ever got me out." 

  6. Marsha11:46 PM

    The Greenberg version cannot be the best version. There is nothing good about the Adam Greenberg story. It was scary and remains horrifically depressing.

  7. girard317:21 PM

    While all the other stories make you feel sad for the fate they had, the Paciorek story makes you wonder what the hell happened to him and all that promise.

  8. isaac_spaceman7:49 PM

    Well, he sat the bench for almost all of his September call-up, and having watched his brother for several seasons, I can say that baseball genius, as opposed to mediocrity, didn't run in the family.  So I'm going with "lucky day from a quadruple-A player" instead of "genius mysteriously vanished."