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Bob Tewksbury Figured Out What Two Hall Of Fame Pitchers Couldn’t

Tyler Kepner of The New York Times wrote a fun piece Monday about Mickey Morandini, an unformidable second baseman for the Phillies, Cubs and Blue Jays from 1990-2000. Turns out the 170-pound Morandini hit an impressive .352 for his career against three pitchers elected to the Hall of Fame Tuesday afternoon: Randy Johnson, John Smoltz and Pedro Martinez.

Morandini retired with a .268 overall average, so he’s a little like a guy who gets wet hopping over a puddle, then goes on to win the Olympic long jump.

“I can name a handful of pitchers who threw probably 75 or 80 miles an hour, and I couldn’t sniff them,” he told the Times. “I can’t tell you how many ground balls to second I hit off Bob Tewksbury.”

We can tell you.

One.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, in a June 5, 1992, game against Tewksbury and the St. Louis Cardinals, Morandini grounded to Cards second baseman Jose Oquendo, who threw to second to force out Morandini’s teammate Ricky Jordan.

Morandini’s point — that he struggled against Tewskbury, an effective but by no means legendary pitcher — is right. He was a career 4 for 30 against Tewk, for a .133 average.

By the way, the Times piece is a teensy bit misleading when it says Morandini “became Rogers Hornsby” (who hit a career .358) when he faced the three Hall of Famers. Morandini hit Smoltz and Martinez exceptionally well, but he hit just .200 (1 for 5) against Johnson.

So to Morandini, Johnson was just another Bob Tewksbury.

CORRECTION (Jan. 6, 6 p.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Mickey Morandini as a shortstop. In fact, he played mostly at second base.

CORRECTION (Jan. 7, 10:30 a.m.): An earlier version of this article gave the wrong stats for Mickey Morandini’s performance against Bob Tewksbury. He was 4 for 30, not 4 for 32.

Mike Wilson was FiveThirtyEight’s first managing editor.

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