This week on the podcast, Jacob and I decided to pick a Dodgers team that could best resemble the mix of ragtag players like in the movie Major League.
The goal here wasn’t to pick bad players, though as a limit we only selected from a group of players who accumulated no more than one win above replacement in their Dodgers career. There are quite a few such players — 238 position players who had at least 200 plate appearances, and 184 pitchers with at least 50 innings.
Our plan was to field a team that could win on at least some level, but also be endearing in some way. There are a lot of great stories in these lists of players, and several players who were great elsewhere but just didn’t perform as well with the Dodgers.
The team we chose is mostly done, though we’d like your help with two choices. We have a 15-man roster — eight starting position players, one utility, four starting pitchers, and two relievers. Here are our consensus picks:
‘Major League’ Dodgers
The choices we have remaining are three slots, and that’s where you come in.
First base and utility were down to three for two spots, but we decided Fred McGriff was a lock because of his old Tom Emanski commercials that ran on ESPN seemingly in perpetuity. So we’re down to choosing between a left-handed bat and a right-handed bat for the utility spot (click on each name for their stories):
Pick our ‘Major League’ utility player
This poll is closed
High Pockets Kelly
Our final two starting rotation slots come down to three deadball era pitchers for two spots, all with great stories (click on each name for their stories):
Pick one for our ‘Major League’ pitching staff (note: top two vote-getters will be chosen)
This poll is closed
Boom Boom Beck
Pea Ridge Day
Please send any and all podcast questions to email@example.com, or tweet us at @ericstephen or @jacobburch.
This week’s pick is Rafael Bournigal, who made the position player list above thanks to his -0.7 WAR in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers. Drafted in the 19th round by the Dodgers in 1987 out of Florida State (I mistakenly said 1992 on the podcast), Bournigal got cups of coffee in September 1992 and 1993 with the Dodgers.
Known for his defense, Bournigal only hit one home run in 1,962 minor league plate appearances through 1993. Jose Offerman led the majors in errors at shortstop in 1992 and 1993, then in 1994 he simply wasn’t hitting, so at the end of June the Dodgers sent him to Triple-A Albuquerque, where he stayed for the remainder of the season.
Bournigal was called up to play defense, and started all 40 games the rest of the way until the strike hit in August. “Even though he hit at Albuquerque, we didn’t bring Bournigal here for his bat. He can go get the ball with the best of them,” then-coach Bill Russell told the LA Times.
Bournigal his just .224/.291/.267 in 1994, and was traded to the Expos in 1995. He played parts of seven seasons in the majors, also seeing time in the big leagues with the A’s and Mariners.
Episode link (time: 1:27:14)