African American Player Profile: Jackie Robinson (1947-1956)
In honor of Black History Month, instead of Record of the Day, we will have an African American featured on every update. It is only fitting that we begin with Jackie Robinson, the first African American to break into the major leagues during the modern era. Jackie faced as much adversity as any professional sports player, having to deal with hatred and prejudice everywhere he went and even from his teammates. He stuck through it, silencing critics with the first-ever Rookie of the Year Award in 1947. So followed a decade of excellence, six All Star elections, an MVP award, a World Series ring, an election to the Hall of Fame, and in 1997, the retiring of his uniform No. 42 by every major league team. The Georgia native picked up his MVP award in 1949 after hitting 16 home runs and batting .342 with 37 stolen bases in 156 games for the Dodgers. He helped Brooklyn to the 1955 World Series and finished his career in 1956 with 137 home runs, a .311 average, and 197 stolen bases in 1,382 games.
Free Agent Signings
Phillies signed Chad Qualls (6-8, 3.51 ERA, .263 BAA, 2012 age: 33) to a one-year, $1.15 million deal.
Astros signed Livan Hernandez (8-13, 4.47 ERA, .291 BAA, 2012 age: 37) to a minor league deal.
Nationals signed Chad Durbin (2-2, 5.53 ERA, .306 BAA, 2012 age: 34) to a minor league deal.
Mariners signed Carlos Guillen (3 HR, 13 RBI, .232 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 36) to a minor league deal.
Giants agreed to terms with Clay Hensley (6-7, 5.19 ERA, .238 BAA, 2012 age: 32) on a one-year, $750,000 deal (plus up to $300,000) in incentives.
White Sox signed Dan Johnson (2 HR, 4 RBI, .119 AVG, 0 SB, 2012 age: 32) to a minor league deal.
Marlins signed Chad Gaudin (1-1, 6.48 ERA, .333 BAA, 2012 age: 29) to a minor league deal.
Chad Qualls will join Philadelphia as an experienced arm to complement an iffy Jose Contreras. The 6'5" righty has pitched in eight seasons for the Astros, Diamondbacks, Rays and Padres, having spent some time at closer and some time as set-up man. Qualls broke in with Houston in 2004 and was a consistent force at the back ends of bullpens until a rough 2010, after which he rebounded for a solid season. is best season with Houston was his final in 2007 in which he posted a 3.05 ERA and five saves in 79 appearances. Upon joining the Diamondbacks in 2008, the SoCal native was even better, posting a 2.81 ERA, .224 BAA, and nine saves in 77 appearances in Arizona. Ironically, though the Diamondbacks' Chase Field is a renowned hitters' haven, Qualls posted a minuscule 1.14 ERA and .167 BAA in 43 appearances at his not so friendly home field. Inheriting a full time closing role in 2009, Qualls posted a 3.63 ERA and saved 24 games in 29 tries despite missing time to injury, finishing with 51 appearances on the year. He struggled immensely in 2010, beginning the year with Arizona and posting an 8.29 ERA with twelve saves in 43 appearances before a trade to Tampa Bay. He didn't fare much better for the Rays, posting a 5.57 ERA in 27 appearances. Overall, he finished with a 7.32 ERA in 70 appearances. San Diego picked him up on a one-year deal and he rebounded nicely, finishing with a 3.51 ERA in 77 appearances. Over his eight-year career, he is 38-34 with a 3.78 ERA and 51 saves in 537 games. He never posted an ERA above 3.76 except for his abysmal 2010.
Chad Durbin brings Washington a proven veteran reliever who may or may not earn a bullpen spot but will be ready to jump in in the case of an injury. Durbin's best days came in 2008 for the Phillies where he posted a 2.87 ERA in 71 appearances for the World Series champs. 2010 proved to be another solid season where the big righty was 4-1 with a 3.80 ERA in 64 appearances. He also has starting experience, having started 75 games for the Royals, Indians and Tigers from 2000-2007. His best year as a starter was 2001, where he was 9-16 with a 4.93 ERA in 29 starts for Kansas City. Over his 12-year career, he is 38-46 with a 5.10 ERA in 364 games (75 starts).
Rays traded Russ Canzler (0 HR, 1 RBI, .333 AVG, 0 SB, 2012 age: 26) to the Indians for cash considerations.
Diamondbacks claimed Craig Tatum (0 HR, 7 RBI, .195 AVG, 1 SB, 2012 age: 29) off waivers from the Astros.
Teams followed in this update: Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves
If your team is not included, please email me and I will add them.
HR: home runs. RBI: runs batted in. AVG: batting average. SB: stolen bases. ERA: earned run average. BAA: batting average against. K's: strikeouts. WPCT: winning percentage