When you think about baseball in the 1990s, names like Ken Griffey Jr. and Cal Ripken come to mind. Yet, there were so many classic, run of the mill, and mediocre ballplayers in that time as well. Here are some of the most average to grace professional ballfields during that time.
General guidelines used are at least 10 years played several of which were spent as a starter, a career average below .265 and not so stellar power numbers – 15-20 home runs and 70 RBIs a season. Keep in mind, other factors, such as funny memories and the comedic value of a player’s name, can weigh in as well. Also keep in mind, this list is almost 100 percent arbitrary.
Feel free to add players you thought should be included in the comment section.
Butch Huskey. This is based solely on the fact that his name is Butch Huskey.
Shane Spencer. Yankees’ play-by-play man Rod Sterling dubbed him ‘The Home Run Dispencer,’ even though Spencer had just 59 in his career and never hit more than 12 in a single season. Fitting.
Royce Clayton. It’s not easy to play for 11 different teams in a 17-year career and hit just .258 lifetime.
5. Charlie Hayes, 3B When you spend no more than three consecutive seasons with one team during a 14-year career, you must be pretty darn average. Hayes bounced from San Francisco to Philadelphia to New York to Colorado back to Philly, then to Pittsburgh, back to New York, back to San Fran, then to Milwaukee before finishing up in Houston in 2001.
A career .262 hitter, Hayes usually finished with between eight and 15 home runs a season and cracked 20 just once. He never reach 100 RBIs either, and floated around 45-65 a year for most of his career.
4. Mickey Morandini, OF
When you think about what Mickey Morandini did well during his 11-year career, a few things come to mind: he only grounded into 94 double plays in 4,558 at-bats (that’s .02 per game, for the fans counting at home) and he finished 24th in MVP voting for the NL in 1998. But when those are the things you did well, you’re probably pretty mediocre.
Morandini hit .262 in his career, same as Hayes, and never had more than 10 home runs in a season – he averaged about four per campaign. He did steal roughly 15 bases a year, but six seasons with an average below .260 earn him a spot on this list.
3. Pete Incaviglia, LF
To be honest, I don’t think I had ever heard of Incaviglia before making this list, but it really doesn’t matter. The Pete Incaviglia Rule, which yes, is a real thing, was created to prevent recently drafted players from being traded immediately after being signed. If that doesn’t scream mediocrity, I just don’t know what does anymore.
Incaviglia hit .246 lifetime but actually turned in some decent power numbers in the early stages of his career – five straight 20 home run seasons, starting as a rookie. In all but one of those years, as well, he had 80-plus RBIs. He was connected to steroids a decade after his retirement, which may explain those outlying statistics.
Either way, juiced up or not, he has a rule named after him. That’s plenty for me.
2. David Bell, IF
Although his career didn’t really get going until the late 1990s and early 2000s, Bell epitomizes mediocrity of this era. He didn’t hit for average, power, or anything really. He played for seven different teams in 12 years, finishing his career with a less than stellar .257 average and 123 home runs. He never had more than 80 RBIs in a single season and hit more than 15 long balls just three times. His finest year came in 2004, when Bell hit .291 with 18 home runs and 77 RBIs with the Phillies.
1. Desi Relaford, SS, 2B
Another guy who didn’t really establish his mediocrity until the early 2000s, Relaford was known much more for his defense than his bat. In true average fashion, he played every position except catcher and first base during his 11-year career, which saw him play for seven different teams. He even pitched an inning for the Mets, topping 90 mph and retiring the side 1-2-3.
At the plate, however, it was a different story. Relaford hit .243 in his career, never eclipsing 10 home runs or 60 RBIs. And right when we thought Relaford couldn’t get any more awesome, he founded a hip-hop label in Jacksonville after he retired.