Famous For Something Else: NBA Ref David Guthrie

David Guthrie is a referee in the National Basketball Association. But before he was a ref on the hardwood, he played hardball in the Reds organization. Drafted in the 26th round of the 1995 draft out of NC State, Guthrie played infield positions from 1995 to 1998. Although he never hit well, he did reach AA by the end of his career:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
1995 21 1.1 Princeton APPY Rk CIN 55 207 181 28 37 11 0 0 13 7 1 18 41 .204 .286 .265 .551 48 4 3 4 1 1
1996 22 1.4 Billings PION Rk CIN 48 219 181 45 41 6 3 4 28 10 1 26 48 .227 .343 .359 .702 65 4 7 3 2 0
1997 23 1.5 Charleston WV SALL A CIN 73 264 233 27 50 7 2 3 26 6 2 20 75 .215 .295 .300 .595 70 5 7 3 1 0
1998 24 -0.1 Chattanooga SOUL AA CIN 67 225 203 23 39 5 4 0 9 1 1 16 58 .192 .261 .256 .517 52 3 3 3 0 0
4 Seasons 243 915 798 123 167 29 9 7 76 24 5 80 222 .209 .296 .294 .590 235 16 20 13 4 1
Rk (2 seasons) Rk 103 426 362 73 78 17 3 4 41 17 2 44 89 .215 .315 .312 .627 113 8 10 7 3 1
A (1 season) A 73 264 233 27 50 7 2 3 26 6 2 20 75 .215 .295 .300 .595 70 5 7 3 1 0
AA (1 season) AA 67 225 203 23 39 5 4 0 9 1 1 16 58 .192 .261 .256 .517 52 3 3 3 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/9/2015.

By the way, the players who Guthrie was drafted before in the 1995 draft and signed a contract include Pedro Feliciano, Justin Speier, and Gabe Kapler.

Advertisements

Famous For Something Else: Scott Boras

Scott Boras, of course, is famous as a baseball agent. But some of you might not know that he once played baseball and was a pretty good player in the minors!

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1974 21 Cardinals GULF Rk STL 33 120 95 13 26 3 2 0 10 7 2 18 16 .274 .402 .347 .749
1975 22 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 99 368 300 39 83 15 4 2 36 1 1 60 24 .277 .402 .373 .776
1976 23 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 129 512 437 63 129 22 6 2 44 2 0 56 38 .295 .378 .387 .765
1977 24 3 Teams 2 Lgs A-AA CHC,STL 110 405 343 54 100 11 6 1 33 4 0 55 36 .292 .392 .367 .759
1977 24 St. Petersburg FLOR A STL 22 92 78 17 27 2 2 0 7 2 0 12 9 .346 .440 .423 .863
1977 24 Midland,Arkansas TL AA STL,CHC 88 313 265 37 73 9 4 1 26 2 0 43 27 .275 .377 .351 .728
1977 24 Arkansas TL AA STL 13
1977 24 Midland TL AA CHC 75
4 Seasons 371 1405 1175 169 338 51 18 5 123 14 3 189 114 .288 .390 .374 .765
Rk (1 season) Rk 33 120 95 13 26 3 2 0 10 7 2 18 16 .274 .402 .347 .749
A (3 seasons) A 250 972 815 119 239 39 12 4 87 5 1 128 71 .293 .393 .385 .778
AA (1 season) AA 88 313 265 37 73 9 4 1 26 2 0 43 27 .275 .377 .351 .728
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/10/2014.

As you can see, Boras was a pretty good player. In fact, in 1976 he made the Florida State League All-Star Team! However, he had knee problems, and that forced him to retire… and eventually led him to become an agent.

Famous For Something Else: Frank Borghi, the washed-up catcher who helped Team USA pull off one of the greatest upsets in the history of Soccer

The World Cup is going on now in Brazil, so perhaps there is no better time than now to talk about Frank Borghi.

Who is Frank Borghi?

Well, let’s go back to 1950. It was a World Cup year, with the tournament in Brazil then, as it is now. And Team USA was in it then, as it is now. However, this was decades before the United States was even semi-competitive in international competitions, and the team was made up entirely of amateurs or semi-pros, many of them from St. Louis, a hotbed of soccer much like it is a hotbed of baseball.

It was from St. Louis that Frank Borghi came into the picture. Borghi was the team’s goalkeeper, primarily because he lacked much leg strength to actually kick the ball well. Of course, that wasn’t his main profession- he made his living in the funeral home business, and at the time was driving a hearse as his day-job.

Not surprisingly, his relative inexperience showed early on, as he had given up 3 goals to Spain in a 3-1 loss. It wasn’t looking any easier, with England coming up and with a team made entirely of their top professional players, having already beaten Chile 2-0.

But a funny thing happened: the United States won, 1-0, on the strength of a goal in the 38th minute by Joe Gaetjen, a Haitian cook (others say he was a dishwasher or student, or possibly all three) who lived in New York and was only on the team due to the lax FIFA citizenship regulations of the time. The win wouldn’t have been possible without Borghi, who constantly stopped the English onslaught, holding them scoreless despite 20 shots on goal.

The end result was a shocker. It is said (possibly inaccurately) that many newspapers around the world, not believing the result, printed it as a 10-0 win for England, having thought there was a mistake. It probably looked even more shocking a few days later, when the USA was trounced by Chile, 5-0.

Which brings us back to Borghi. After all, he was a goalie mainly because he didn’t have much leg strength, which begs the question of how he got into soccer in the first place?

The answer is that originally he didn’t. No, his true love was baseball- soccer was initially just a hobby to stay fit during the off-season. In fact, Borghi was a good enough player that he was briefly a professional, playing catcher in the very low minors of the Cardinals system in 1946:

Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
1946 21 -1.4 Carthage KOML D STL 103 272 71 9 6 0 .261 .338 92
1 Season 103 272 272 71 9 6 0 .261 .261 .338 .599 92
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 6/23/2014.

While in Carthage, Borghi would have likely caught for future MLB pitchers Cloyd Boyer and Bob Habenicht. Borghi, however, would never reach anywhere close to the bigs as a baseball player- according to Baseball Reference, 1946 would be his only year professionally (other sources say that he played more than that year, but it’s possible that those were in non-affiliated leagues or simply have been lost due to the haphazard score-keeping and coverage of the minors at the time). After his professional baseball career ended, he spent more of his time on soccer… which is how a washed-up catcher helped Team USA pull off one of the biggest upsets in soccer history.

Borghi still lives in St. Louis and is a member of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame and the National Soccer Hall of Fame.