Tommie Reynolds interview

1970-topps-tommie-reynolds Tommie Reynolds was drafted by the Kansas City Athletics in 1963, and played for them among other teams like the Mets, Angels and Brewers before he retired after the 1972 season. Mr. Reynolds was also a bench coach for the Oakland A’s during their 1989 World Series run, and later followed Tony LaRussa to St. Louis where he did the same for the Cardinals during the summer of 1996.

I recently received the following interview in the mail. I’d like to thank Mr. Reynolds for his time and baseball wisdom. In a day and age when geeks who have never picked up a bat in their lives argue endlessly over mind-boggling and trivial stats, it’s refreshing to pick the mind of an old veteran who actually knows what the fuck they are talking about.  Enjoy:

You once shared the outfield with 2 greats – Reggie Jackson and Rick Monday. What was Reggie like back then-had he acquired his hot dog persona yet?

No- he wasn’t. He was a good outfielder with a strong arm. He played the game right. If we hadn’t lost him for 2 weeks I think we would have won the pennant.

You played in Kansas City, Oakland, New York, Anaheim and Milwaukee. What was the most enjoyable city to play in? Did you get along with your managers?

Oakland was my most enjoyable one, we were in a pennant race.  I got along with all my managers except Dale Crandell who took over for Dave Bristol whom I enjoyed playing for.

Was it tough playing for an awful Mets team in 1967? (editors note: they lost 101 games)

The thing that I disliked is that I didn’t play more. I was used mostly as a late inning replacement for Tommie Davis. I think we competed well with the league, we were just a little short on the pitching. Tom Seaver was our best… he was .500 for an also-ran team.

I heard a radio interview recently with pitcher Dave Stewart who said that Jose Canseco didn’t want to be there once the play-offs started. Is this true? Did you have a relationship with either?

I don’t know if that’s true or not. I didn’t have much contact with Jose. I do know that in 1989 he competed his tail off in the series.

You were also a bench coach with the St. Lois Cardinals. What is your relationship with Tony LaRussa, and do you think he should be a HOFer?

I had a great relationship with Tony all the way back to 1964. He should definitely be in the Hall. He’s a great motivator, strategist and teacher.

How did it feel to win the World Series in 1989, and was it your biggest baseball thrill?

It was a great feeling to be part of a historical game; to come back after the earthquake and sweep the Giants was awesome. I was more excited for the players. My greatest thrill was making it to the Major Leagues when others doubted me.

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2 Comments

But does he prefer Tom or Tommie? I’m just kidding.That would be a stupid question just like asking him if he thinks on base percentage or batting average is a more thorough measure of a hitter’s contribution would be a stupid question. Man oh man. That sentence took me like 7 minutes to construct and it’s still a run on. I’m gonna need 7 more years to understand BABIP, WAR and OPS+. I’m only kidding again. I detect your reluctance to embrace…do I dare say innovative ways of analyzing a player’s production through statistics? Geez aren’t I ever observant this evening?

The way I see it is why not? If you put a machine whipping out calculations beside a telepathic clairvoyant Earl Weaver, there might be the next dynasty in the making right there. I have no choice in the matter. I need all the help I can get even if he is a snot nosed stat nerd more affectionately known as a seamhead. Weaver, by the way, used tons of note cards with all kinds of chicken scratch stats and what not or at least that’s what Gary Roenicke told me with regards to his platooning.

This type of statistical thinking has been around for a lot longer than most people know about. It’s only the last 15 years or so that it has begun to hit the mainstream. As Julien Priester used to say while warming up for the Sun Ra Arkestra, “we better get our seat belts on.”

And after all my babble….all I wanted to say is nice interview and extra nice that Mr. Reynolds responded by snail mail.

I am not against modern day stats…yet WAR leaves me perplexed because of the fact that the replacement could be a complete fuck up or a recent call-up. It’s rubbish. OBP is important unless it’s a player like Jack Cust or Daric Barton who should be hitting the snot out of the ball because of their respective positions. I’m not sure how any slow footed mongrel (like Joey Votto or Prince Fielder) helps anyone with OBP. Clogging the basepaths can sometimes hinder. I just think stats are deceiving, much like a woman wearing makeup. (not that most of these geeks have ever fucked anything CLOSE to a supermodel) We will have to talk more in depth about players that I think are “winners,” and how they help a team win i small ways that are bigger than box-scores.

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