FanPost

Finding the Clutchiest Superstar

(Bumped from FanPosts. --Eric)

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Having digested a fair number of discussions about baseball over the years, it seems that a consensus has emerged among some fans about how to determine if a player is nothing more than a choking dog.  A player might put up great regular season numbers, and in many cases even great post-season numbers, but if he fails in a single, notable instance he is clearly a choking dog and deserves to be labeled as such in all conversations about that player's career.

So I set out to find the superstar players, both current and historical, who meet the high standards of some our more enlightened baseball brethren.  Could I find one noble-hearted lion who managed to succeed in all his endeavors?  Would there be a player or perhaps even players who managed to land a big hit every time he stepped up to the plate in a "clutch" situation?  Could I manage to find the clutchiest superstar in baseball history?

Below are the results of my experiment.

Hank Aaron:  The true homerun king in many a fan's estimation, Aaron won a world title in 1957 for the Milwaukee Braves. Though Aaron posted a 1.116 OPS in three post-season series, including an insane 1.50 OPS in the three-game sweep at the hands of the Mets in the 1969 NLCS, he flew out in a critical at-bat in game 7 of the 1958 World Series.
Verdict: Choking Dog

Albert Pujols:  Sure Albert won a world title with the Cardinals and launched a homerun against Brad Lidge in the 2005 NLCS that still has not landed, and sure he has a 1.009 career post-season OPS, but Albert went 0-4 in game six of that 2005 NLCS in a game the Cards lost 5-1.
Verdict: Choking Dog

Babe Ruth:  The Sultan of Swat, the greatest player in the history of the game, and member of 7 world championship teams.  Alas Ruth was caught stealing to end game 7 of the 1926 World Series.  
Verdict: Choking Dog.

Alex Rodriguez:  Come on, he's the only choking dog in the New York market who's an even bigger choking dog than David Wright or Carlos Beltran.  Just ask any regular caller to WFAN.
Verdict: Choking Dog

Joe DiMaggio:  So the guy won a measly nine world titles in ten tries, do you see the gap in that playing service between 1942 and 1946?  Evidently Joltin Joe fought in World War II and failed to singlehandedly bring down the Nazis, leaving it up to Brad Pitt to do the job that the Clipper failed to do.  
Verdict: Choking Dog

Ryan Howard:  Won a world title with the Phillies in 2008.  But then there's this.
Verdict: Choking Dog.

David Wright:  Hey, I said superstars.
Verdict: Ineligible.

Ted Williams: See the explanation for Joe DiMaggio.  Ted missed further playing time in the early 50s to fight in Korea.  Ted's unclutchness in this war military engagement led to an unsatisfying conclusion to the conflict.
Verdict: Choking Dog

Mickey Mantle:  Won 7 world titles and was in a World Series every year but two in his first fourteen years in the league.  Was caught stealing once during the 1960 World Series, which the Yankees eventually lost in seven.
Verdict: Choking Dog

Barry Bonds:  Despite a .700 OBP and 1.294 Slugging Percentage in the 2002 World Series, unclutchily failed to swing wildly at intentional balls and mash them into the seats.  Whiffed against John Franco in the top of the 9th inning of game 3 of the 2000 NLDS.  Plus he couldn't even throw out Sid Bream at home plate.  Sid Bream?  I mean come on.
Verdict: Choking Dog 

Derek Jeter: Captain Clutch!  Surely Captain Clutch has never failed to deliver in the post-season.  We all know that he wills his team to victory through his steely resolve.  One look from those beautiful eyes and his teammates are instantly entranced.  Then, in the clutches of his Jedi mind control, he leads them to victory.  We know that Jeter is the awesomest, bestest, winningest human being ever.  He is Mr. November.  His homerun in the 4th game of the 2001 World Series raised the spirits of an entire city.  To even suggest that he's not clutch is a blasphemy that should turn the utterer to stone.

Oh, you mean he only had 3 other hits in that World Series?  And then he went 3-17 in the 2007 ALDS against Cleveland.  And he only hit .231 in last year's ALCS?  Nevermind.
Verdict: Choking Dog

 

Conclusion:  I tried.  But despite my tireless efforts I could not find a clutch superstar, at least according to criteria of baseball's most demanding fans.  I must therefore conclude that every player in the history of Major League Baseball is a choking dog.

Except Dave Eckstein.  Of course.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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