Your Red Sox Blind Spot

The Allented Mr Ripley

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What past or present Sox player, coach or manager has sucked by any objective measure, yet you have some weird affinity for him, to the point where you find yourself constructing sneakingly elaborate conditions under which he was slightly useful? Or better yet, your subjectivity has led you to simply misremember how bad he actually was? You think to yourself, "Solid player, if unspectacular," until you look upon his baseball-reference.org page and stare in horror at the abject suck.
 
Like Marty Barrett, for instance. He wasn't a favorite of mine, I wouldn't die on the hill that is Marty Barrett, but I certainly thought he was a capable hitter for a second baseman, the result of an era where too much emphasis was placed on batting average. And even his BA wasn't great, it was serviceable. Marty Barrett was pretty sucky. But, you know, Marty Barrett. '86 ALCS MVP.
 
I currently feel that way about Daniel Nava. He's a lot more productive than Marty Barrett ever was, but in all likelihood he'll be out of baseball in a couple of years, unless he hangs on as pinch-hitting specialist against righties. Yet part of me thinks that if he was ever just handed a starting job and told, "It's yours for the season, kid," he'd rake. I'm sure this has everything to do with his backstory and how he got here, he's a Disney film in waiting. Yet his 2013 was pretty damn good.
 
Then again, so was Rob Murphy's 1989.
 
And speaking of Rob Murphy...
 

Bob Montgomerys Helmet Hat

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Matsuzaka for me.  Yup, he was frustrating to watch about 90% of the time, and he was mediocre to bad often.  But every now and then he'd show flashes of what we'd hoped he would be, and those outings captivated me.  Somehow, those are the outings I remember, and I actually found myself looking forward to his starts, while most here dreaded them.
 

mwonow

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Most backup catchers. Not that I ever really wanted to see them start, but Mirabelli, Kotteras, Ross...they all seemed like they could contribute given the chance.
 
I remember Bob Watson as a guy who I thought would hit no matter what.
 
For a year or so, Denny Doyle was my Nava - but the real answer to that part of the question is "Doug Flutie." ALL HE DOES IS WIN!
 

smastroyin

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Scott Fletcher, though he wasn't around very long, and the reason for my affinity is going to be far and away the geekiest mentioned.  Way back in the day a friend and I had written a really bad baseball sim using BA and SLG.  We happened to write it in the spring of 1987 for whatever programming class we had back then, and did it as AL vs NL all-stars (by our own reckoning).  Even though his BA was "only" .300 in 1986 (we used 1986 stats to simulate, of course), he always seemed to go 4 for 5 or something in our simulated games.  So for whatever reason I privately overrated him anyway.  
 
He was actually pretty decent for the 93 Sox, and if everyone other than Valentin and Vaughn hadn't been completely punchless wonders, maybe he would have gotten a shot at more Sox glory.  Of course the strike ended his time here, and he was replaced by another one of my binkies, Luis Alicea.  Can you tell I was a 2B through little league?
 

dwainw

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Tony Pena.  Fun, infectious personality, etc., etc., and put up a very solid first season with Sox as they won the division.  I really liked him, even as his offensive output plummeted each following year, correlating with the the team's performance through the early 90's.  Still, I was sad to see him go to Cleveland, and watching what he did to us in '95 put a real "special" twist into that nut punch.
 

wibi

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Wily Mo Pena.  Couldnt hit a pitch that wasnt straight but for some reason I couldnt turn off the TV whenever he was at the plate.  
 

IdiotKicker

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Casey Fossum. Maybe it's just that I have a soft-spot for lefties with big, slow breaking balls, but I was never able to wrap my head around the fact that he wasn't very good. For his career, he had exactly one season with an ERA+ above 100. I also harbor similar feelings about the more-talented Barry Zito. This all likely has to do with the fact that I was a soft-tossing lefty with a big breaking ball. Soft-tossing meaning somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 mph.
 

gryoung

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The Allented Mr Ripley said:
What past or present Sox player, coach or manager has sucked by any objective measure, yet you have some weird affinity for him, to the point where you find yourself constructing sneakingly elaborate conditions under which he was slightly useful? Or better yet, your subjectivity has led you to simply misremember how bad he actually was? You think to yourself, "Solid player, if unspectacular," until you look upon his baseball-reference.org page and stare in horror at the abject suck.
 
Like Marty Barrett, for instance. He wasn't a favorite of mine, I wouldn't die on the hill that is Marty Barrett, but I certainly thought he was a capable hitter for a second baseman, the result of an era where too much emphasis was placed on batting average. And even his BA wasn't great, it was serviceable. Marty Barrett was pretty sucky. But, you know, Marty Barrett. '86 ALCS MVP.
 
I currently feel that way about Daniel Nava. He's a lot more productive than Marty Barrett ever was, but in all likelihood he'll be out of baseball in a couple of years, unless he hangs on as pinch-hitting specialist against righties. Yet part of me thinks that if he was ever just handed a starting job and told, "It's yours for the season, kid," he'd rake. I'm sure this has everything to do with his backstory and how he got here, he's a Disney film in waiting. Yet his 2013 was pretty damn good.
 
Then again, so was Rob Murphy's 1989.
 
And speaking of Rob Murphy...
 
Marty Barrett was not "pretty sucky" .......lifetime BA around . 280 .......in 10 years he struck out a total of 267 times .......played a solid, not spectacular, second base ......and - best of all - pulled the hidden ball trick several times ......that puts him on my list of sox favorites.
 

reggiecleveland

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I had soft spots for guys that were good but lost it. I like Bellhorn in 05, Yza for the last few years of dubious value.
 
I thought Todd Benzinger was a good player for a while.
 

glennhoffmania

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Coco.  I know he was never a bad player, but I was so sure he'd become a star.  And every time the evidence showed that he wasn't, I kept thinking it was just a matter of time.  When the Sox acquired him I was psyched.  When there was talk that they'd include him in a Santana deal I was bummed out.
 

Otis Foster

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wibi said:
Wily Mo Pena.  Couldnt hit a pitch that wasnt straight but for some reason I couldnt turn off the TV whenever he was at the plate.  
 
WMP hit a shot that almost decapitated a good friend sitting in the Monster Seats. It flew out so fast that even on replay I lost sight of the ball. It dented the back wall, or so I'm, told.
 
If the MFY hadn't signed him to that stupid one way contract, he could have been sent to P'Tucket to learn the finer points of the game.  
 
A wasted career. His agent didn't do him any favors.
 

Eddie Jurak

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Todd Benzinger.

One of the promising kids on the cover of the1988 Red Sox media guide ("The Fun Has Just Begun"; others were Greenwell, Burks, Horn, Marzano, and maybe one other I can't recall).

He came up in 1987, and was decent in his first exposure to the majors (106 OPS+). In 1988, his BA slipped to .251, but he somehow managed to drive in 70 runs (in 120 GP) despite a sub-.300 OBP and only 13 HR. I thought he could really hit, but, traded to CIN in the Nick Esasky deal, his best days (such as they were) were already past.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Bob Montgomery's Helmet Hat said:
Matsuzaka for me.  Yup, he was frustrating to watch about 90% of the time, and he was mediocre to bad often.  But every now and then he'd show flashes of what we'd hoped he would be, and those outings captivated me.  Somehow, those are the outings I remember, and I actually found myself looking forward to his starts, while most here dreaded them.
 
This is it for me as well. He had one great year in 2008, but even then you could make a pretty good argument that it was due to an unsustainable h/9 and BABIP luck. Rocco Baldelli is another. He had an 89 wRC+ but a .325 wOBA (which really isn't awful). The problem was he couldn't stay on the field and when he could, he was pretty poor defensively.
 
I think I have an MLB The Show team from that year where I made him an all star caliber player because, damnit, that was supposed to be a coup by the Sox.
 

dcmissle

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Here's one for Old Hickory and Pete Sheppard -- Craig Hansen.  He'll be up and make an immediate impact in the pennant race, as a newbie even.  Yup.
 
On the other hand, Gammons did rip up his program and exit Fenway Park upon learning that Bagwell was dealt.
 
Dice-K for me as well.  You just wanted him to be very good.  Gyroball my ass.
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Otis Foster said:
 
WMP hit a shot that almost decapitated a good friend sitting in the Monster Seats. It flew out so fast that even on replay I lost sight of the ball. It dented the back wall, or so I'm, told.
 
I talk about that home run from time to time. That's awesome that you know the guy it almost hit. Would suck if it actually hit him, of course, but since he was fine, that's fucking cool as hell. That ball almost made it back to the infield on the ricochet if I recall.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
Glenn Hoffman. I really wanted to believe he didn't suck. And boy, did he suck.
 
Honorable mention from the same era: Mark Clear. I was convinced he had impeccable control of the upper edge of the zone, and the umps wuz robbing him blind. Looking back, he was probably just wild as holy hell.
 

grimshaw

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-Todd Benzinger.  Dude had a really sweet stroke and some power. I thought he would be a monster but he ended up below replacement level for his career.
-Phil Plantier when sitting on imaginary toilet seats was in style.  I was just psyched to have a new stance to imitate.  I got his autograph in spring training when he was on the Blue Jays.  I walked away from Darin Fletcher to get it.
-Randy Kutcher for his fine mustache.
 
More recently Ryan Kalish and Ryan Lavarnway
 

Laser Show

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Snodgrass'Muff said:
 
I talk about that home run from time to time. That's awesome that you know the guy it almost hit. Would suck if it actually hit him, of course, but since he was fine, that's fucking cool as hell. That ball almost made it back to the infield on the ricochet if I recall.
This is my one enduring memory of the WMP era and every time he comes up on SOSH I love how everyone remembers it. I might try to find the video of it later... but perhaps it's best left as legend.

Matsuzaka is up there for me. I will go to my grave arguing that with the pitching market in 06, spending that much on Dice-K was a good decision.
 

Kremlin Watcher

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Butch Hobson and Rich Gedman. I had a thing for 3b men and catchers when I was young, and for some reason these two lunchpail guys appealed to me.
 
But god were they awful. Hobson's career OPS+ is 91; Gedman's is 90, although Gedman had a few decent years there in the mid-80s. And what a manager Hobson made, no?
 

Snodgrass'Muff

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Laser Show said:
This is my one enduring memory of the WMP era and every time he comes up on SOSH I love how everyone remembers it. I might try to find the video of it later... but perhaps it's best left as legend.

Matsuzaka is up there for me. I will go to my grave arguing that with the pitching market in 06, spending that much on Dice-K was a good decision.
 
The other one that stands out for me is the bomb he hit in Kansas City that cleared the left field stands and hit the roof of a building across the paved path.
 

TheoShmeo

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Aaron Cook.
 
I told anyone who would listen that he was going to be just what the rotation needed.
 
Dec 10, 2012
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Lee Tinsley. The Red Sox didn't have much speed and here he was and I was gaga over him. Was upset when he was traded to Philly. I didn't like Heathcliff at all. But boy did trade #1 turn into a great trade #2. And Tinsley couldn't hit mendoza at either Philly and Seattle and retired. Thank you Jason and Derek.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Gary Allenson, duh...
 
He was a Dirt Dog before such a thing was fashionable, with a motley combination of mud, grass stains, tobacco juice, boogers, and God knows what else coating his uniform and catcher's gear.  He loved firing up his pitchers and jawing with umpires.  He had Alex Cora-level intangibles.  There was the legendary walk-off bunt.  And he always seemed to come up with that timely hit.
 
Except he pretty much didn't come up with the timely hit.  Or any other hit for that matter.  Career OPS+ of 71, career SLG of .325.
 
Others I didn't give up on when I probably should've include Daniel Bard, Rey Quinones, Joe Lahoud, and Ken Tatum.
 
Edit:  Savin Hillbilly's bringing up Mark Clear was a good one too.  An effective Mark Clear curveball remains one of the most unhittable pitches I can possibly imagine facing.  I also thought it was just a matter of the umpires being unable to track it.
 

Trlicek's Whip

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Tom Brunansky's three seasons with the Sox (1990-1992). I was a teenager when the Twins won the World Series in 1987 and latched on to Kirby Puckett & Co., including Brunansky. He was fair to middling but I always loved watching him in RF. 
 
For a comparable pitcher from that era: Greg A. Harris. He never sucked, but I liked watching him pitch. I seem to remember his curveball being sharp. And later on he got to switch pitch for the Expos... I'm not remembering if he had that hankering already with Boston. 
 

EdRalphRomero

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Donnie Sadler.  The guy never really hit in the minors.  But he did hit 11 homers in 131 ABs in Pawtucket the year before he was called up.  The guy was so fast.  I still remember him tripling in '98 and it was like watching a speeded up tape.  He was a good defender and he showed flashes with the bat.  And man that speed.  Strange part is in 1999 he had a .313 OBP in 49 games but he only stole 2 bases.  I really thought he was going to be an All-Star even when the evidence piled up to the contrary.
 
(Funny side note, he's now a hitting coach in the Phillies organization.  Career .546 OPS and all)
 

Papo The Snow Tiger

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Win Remmerswaal - I got the 1978 yearbook and saw that he was the first player to recieve all of his amatuer training in Europe to make a major league roster. He was good for stretches in 1980.
 
&
 
Roger LaFrancois - I spent most of the 1982 season hoping he's just get into a game. He spent the whole season with the Sox, but only ahd 10 at bats. Still, he had a .400 average. Never played in the majors again.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Trlicek's Whip said:
I seem to remember his curveball being sharp. And later on he got to switch pitch for the Expos... I'm not remembering if he had that hankering already with Boston. 
 
I'm pretty sure he did express an interest in doing it with the Sox, and the idea was scotched on the grounds that it would "make a travesty of the game" or some such claptrap. It's hard to remember now what a hidebound, harrumphing old franchise this used to be in the Yawkey/Harrington days.
 

TSC

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Laser Show said:
This is my one enduring memory of the WMP era and every time he comes up on SOSH I love how everyone remembers it. I might try to find the video of it later... but perhaps it's best left as legend.
 
 
No, please find the video.
 
I will forever remember that HR. It was still rising as it hit the Monster seats. Were it not for the Monster I honestly believe it would have cleared the Pike.
 

grimshaw

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Dwayne Hosey (not to be confused with Wayne Housie) and Michael "Prime Time" Coleman as well.  Both were speed power guys in the minors who just didn't pan out.  Hosey started in the '95 playoffs IIRC.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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Loved his potential all through the minors. A shortstop who could get on base and hit from both sides of the plate? Yes, please. And this was in the age of Lugo, Nick Green and so on so the need was great. He was hurt just enough for me to excuse any poor play and occasionally great enough to tantalize everyone on the board. When he finished the 2010 season on fire I was certain we were going to get the prime years of an offensive star and could happily trade Scutaro or let Jed handle 3B until the AGon trade killed the dream.
 
Wily Mo is a great one too. Always remember those bombs and also the late inning granny he hit off Chris Ray (why did he throw him a fastball????) to beat Baltimore. The other enduring memory of him of course is a routine fly ball to shallow center that he got under at a decent sprint, bobbled a hundred times and dropped.
 

rajendra82

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Trlicek said:
For a comparable pitcher from that era: Greg A. Harris. He never sucked, but I liked watching him pitch. I seem to remember his curveball being sharp. And later on he got to switch pitch for the Expos... I'm not remembering if he had that hankering already with Boston. 
I enjoyed Greg A. Harris as well, and I do remember wishing he would switch pitch in every game he was in. He must clearly had that hankering when he was with the Red Sox. Another thing I liked about grim was trying to compare his starts with Greg W. Harris all the time.
 

TSC

SoSH's Doug Neidermeyer
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TheShynessClinic said:
 
No, please find the video.
 
I will forever remember that HR. It was still rising as it hit the Monster seats. Were it not for the Monster I honestly believe it would have cleared the Pike.
 
I believe this is it. August 2nd against the Indians.
 
https://secure.mlb.com/media/player/mp_tpl_3_1.jsp?w_id=509487&w=2006/open/tp/archive08/080206_clebos_pena_hr_tp_350.wmv&pid=mlb_tp&gid=2006/08/02/clemlb-bosmlb-1&mid=200608021590496&cid=mlb&fid=mlb_tp350&v=2
 
Hit tracker says the true distance was only 407', with a speed of 116mph off the bat.
 
I don't think I believe that.
 

URI

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Mark Bellhorn.

I still get upset that there are some people on here who wanted Pokey Reese to get the lion's share of the playing time at 2b when Nomar came back.

Those people are still wrong, and did not understand baseball. This is the hill I will die on.
 

snowmanny

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Nobody has mentioned Julio Lugo.  There's a great argument to be made that he should have beem terrific. Anyone want to hear it?
 

Todd Benzinger

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reggiecleveland said:
I had soft spots for guys that were good but lost it. I like Bellhorn in 05, Yza for the last few years of dubious value.
 
I thought Todd Benzinger was a good player for a while.
 
Benzinger? No way! Me too.
 
He was so clutch...
 

LondonSox

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Coco was one for me too, I was convinced he was going to be a star and bought his jersey the day he arrived.
 
I may have to say RDLR given how much of a sulk I had. I was (am convinced) he's going to be a really good starter or a ridiculous closer. Every start I'd be like this is the one.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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MYRTLE BEACH!!!!
I was going to say Brian Daubach, but I just checked his B-R page and he didn't suck as much as I thought. Short career, but 4 seasons in Boston with 20+ HR's doesn't scream out suck.
 

Cumberland Blues

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I was big on Wily Mo too.  In addition to that absolute laserbeam HR mentioned above - he hit the hardest non-HR ball I've ever seen.  I was sitting down the RF line and he hit (IIRC off Joel Pinero, then of the Mariners) a ridiculous topspin liner to right that bounced about 30-40 feet in front of the track and cleared the bullpen on the bounce.  Not sure I've ever seen video of this so I could be misremembering just how far in front of the track it hit - but it was as far away from the fence as I've ever seen an automatic double land and it cleared the pen easily on one hop.
 

JohntheBaptist

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Definitely Bellhorn--still one of my favorite Sox ever, actually. Have his signature on an 04 WS ball, it's the only autograph I own. I loved Pokey too, but--the Pokey People were simply incorrect.
 
Wily Mo Pena was absolutely one as well. I think I knew deep down he was never going to be Larry Walker or whatever, but something about his name, his cartoonish size, and holy god that power was sooo easy to fall in love with. It was like having an actual beast-monster on your team, like one of the Space Jam bad guys or something. That ricochet HR is burned in my memory, too--it absolutely nearly got back to the infield.
 

JohntheBaptist

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snowmanny said:
Nobody has mentioned Julio Lugo.  There's a great argument to be made that he should have beem terrific. Anyone want to hear it?
 
Lugo's one I was pretty stubborn about post-signing and until about May when I couldn't even watch him any more. But yeah--"he's not great at anything, but he does everything well! That's a great player!" Yeesh.
 

Cumberland Blues

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Going back further...when they came up around the same time, I was sure Eddie Jurak was going to be a way better player than Wade Boggs.  15yr old me was not a very good scout.
 

Al Zarilla

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Joe Foy. Good 1 1/2  years, then faded. [SIZE=13.63636302948px] World Series 3B in '67.[/SIZE]
 
Billy C. Maybe because of Tony.
 
[SIZE=13.63636302948px]John Tudor. Blossomed with the Cards after being mediocre with Boston.[/SIZE]
 
Bobby Ojeda. M[SIZE=13.63636302948px]ediocre with Boston, beat us in the 1986 WS. [/SIZE] :angry:
 

Todd Benzinger

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OK, I'll admit it. Gabe Kapler. I remember arguing at some point in 2003 that he should be the starting CFer over Damon.
 
Anyone else ready to fess up about Gabe?
 
BTW, according to Fangraphs, he was never even decent for the Sox.
 

WinRemmerswaal

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Papo The Snow Tiger said:
Win Remmerswaal - I got the 1978 yearbook and saw that he was the first player to recieve all of his amatuer training in Europe to make a major league roster. He was good for stretches in 1980.
 
 
+1 on Win, although since I was 10 at the time he was my favorite player for the same reason I rooted for Jim Rice.
 
But on topic my answer was Juan Pena. After those first couple of appearances I was convinced that he was ready to dominate and could not understand why they insisted on burying him in AAA. Maybe better for an irrational prospect blind spot thread, but same idea.
 

phenweigh

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URI said:
Mark Bellhorn.

I still get upset that there are some people on here who wanted Pokey Reese to get the lion's share of the playing time at 2b when Nomar came back.

Those people are still wrong, and did not understand baseball. This is the hill I will die on.
I think my blind spot for Mark had to do with how he got booed in the '04 regular season.  It seemed so unfair to me ... didn't those dumbasses realize he was having a good season in spite of the K rate!?!.  One game I had very good seats behind home plate and I'm sure he heard me shout encouragement as loud as I could.  He earned redemption in the ALCS and WS, before his downturn in '05.  I still believe he would have been a good player for the Sox in '05 if not for the home crowd negativity.
 
I always tended to root for underdog-types: Spike Owen, George Kottaras, Brian Daubach. But to answer the question in this thread, I have to go with Bob Zupcic.

Fun name to say, made some incredible catches in center field, and power that never translated to the majors other than a couple of late-inning grand slams in 1992.