Glenn Hubbard (by Rusty S.)

I remembered that Glenn Hubbard had a reputation as good defensive 2nd baseman. What I did not know is that, according to Baseball Reference, he is the career leader among 2nd basemen in Range Factor per 9 innings. Complete data for range factor exist only back to 1974, but that was still a pleasant surprise to me.

For those of you who are not old enough to remember the 5’ 9”, 150 pound Hubbard, you may remember his 1990’s reincarnation, Mark Lemke.

Hubbard broke into the majors early, getting 178 plate appearances at age 20 in 1978. I don’t know how much of this to attribute to his resume, and how much of that was a function of the 1978 Atlanta Braves.

Hubbard had a career .244/.328/.349 batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage, with 70 home runs in 5122 plate appearances. He never really had a standout offensive year; his best season at the plate was probably 1983 when he batted .263 with 12 home runs, and he was named to his only All-Star team. However, from 1980 until he was granted free agency in 1987, Hubbard was consistently in the top 3 among National League 2nd basemen in Fielding Percentage, Assists, and Double Plays Turned.

In 1982, Hubbard led the National League in sacrifice hits with 20. (I am contractually obligated to crack the door open for someone to talk about Fredi once per write-up.) On June 27, he hit a walk off home run in the 10th inning against the Padres to secure the second game of a double-header sweep.

I don’t remember why the Braves let Hubbard go, but after just a season and a half in Oakland, his playing career was over in 1989, at age 31. Hubbard was the Braves first base coach from 1999 – 2010, and is currently the bench coach for the Lexington Legends, in the Royals organization.

64 thoughts on “Glenn Hubbard (by Rusty S.)”

  1. I really liked Hubbard, but his career line of .244/.328/.349 is pretty sad. I guess for a 2nd baseman during that era, the line was about average – especially considering the lack of emphasis on OPS and his defense. All in all, his stats over 5122 plate appearances are indicative of the mediocre to terrible teams we fielded during those years.

  2. Hubbard was a terrific fielder & he really could turn the DP. His approach was different from Lemke’s. The Lemmer would often pull away from the bag backwards to avoid the runner, but Hubbard used a more old-fashioned method. He’d fire the ball inches over the runner’s head & he’d often get toppled at second.

    I remember that HR vs. San Diego. It actually happened in late July (not June) because it represented a high-water mark for the season. They won the next 2 vs. SD after that, and they stood at 61-37. With a 9.5-game lead over LA, they were rolling.

    But not so fast… immediately after that SD series, they lost 19 of 21 (including 8 vs. LA) and then stood at 63-56. Quite a difference. What looked like a walk in the park became a battle to the last day with LA & SF.

    Favorite David Bowie Quote: “It’s not who does it first, it’s who does it second.”

    It’s a quote that he, reportedly, “borrowed.” Whether it’s brilliant or just clever… it’s pretty good.

    Prediction for tonight: Bama 31 Clempsun 21

  3. Clemson gave up 37 points to North Carolina, 32 points to South Carolina and 41 to NC State. I think Clemson will move the ball, but Bama will wear them down in the second half. 37 to 20 Bama.

  4. In watching McGriff highlights and comparing his body type to Jason Heyward’s, it really seems like Jason Heyward should be more like Fred McGriff and less like… Jason Heyward. McGriff, according to B-Ref, was playing at 6’3″, 200 LB, and Heyward is 6’5″, 240 LB. I mean, come on. Have you ever seen a bigger, more athletic player with less power?

  5. @8, I often thought that when watching Jason–he should try to hit like McGriff. McGriff kept his knees unbent and would generate great leverage and lift with his lower half. Heyward keeps his upper body vertical and goes into a deep knee bend like a Cossack dancer. Obviously, I know nothing about professional hitting, but it sure does look more awkward.

  6. If McGriff belongs in the HOF, then so would Dale Murphy.

    Personally, I thought McGriff was better than average to good, not great.

    Murphy was great, but only for about 5 years, not long enough for HOF induction.

  7. I just read the BP top ten prospects list. I don’t really understand how Albies, who turned 19 last week has a 2017 ETA while Swanson, who turns 22 next month has a 2018 ETA. I realize age isn’t a primary factor here, but both players are described as having a pretty high level of polish. Also, debuting in the age 20 season isn’t all that common. 2017 seems pretty bullish on Albies, especially after losing a decent chunk of development time due to injury this last summer.

  8. Fred McGriff has a similar career to David Ortiz. McGriff is .284/.377/.509, and Ortiz is .284/.377/.547, and one would assume Ortiz’s rate stats will fall in his final season. McGriff has 493 HRs, and Ortiz has 503 (with another 25 HR next year). McGriff also played a pretty good first base, whereas Ortiz has not logged more than 10 games at 1B since his age-28 season. Ortiz is considered to be a sure-fire HoFer, and McGriff, sadly, is getting lost in the steroid era. I would also argue that McGriff’s personality perhaps may be causing him to be forgotten, whereas Ortiz is “Big Papi” and played most of his career in a huge media market.

    I’m not a huge HoF guy (the whole thing is incredibly subjective and unfair, methinks), but I’m pretty passionate about Crime Dog being in the Hall.

  9. I don’t recall McGriff as being particularly good with the glove. And he couldn’t throw at all. The 3-6-3 was a challenge for him, and forget about nailing anyone at the plate.

    @2 Interesting recall on Hubbard and Lemke. Hubbard was a superb second baseman. Bill James wrote once that he thought he was better than Mazeroski.

  10. Been listening to “Diamond Dogs” all day. But for some reason, my most vivid Bowie memories involve middle-school-age roller disco & skating in circles to “Fame,” “Golden Years” & “Young Americans” — the mid-’70s hits. Radio in Columbus, Ga., was not playing “Rebel Rebel.”

    Only saw him once: He was playing on Moby’s “Area2” tour (a package that included rappers, DJs & electronic acts) at Jones Beach Amphitheatre on the south shore of Long Island, summer 2002, IIRC.

    He went onstage (with Earl Slick on guitar) just as a big storm was rolling in. He zoomed thru the hits plus some curious covers (Neil Young, Pixies) & was doing “Heroes” when a big thunderclap made him visibly wince & recoil onstage. He finished up the song, then cut out before the lightning got too close.

    It started pouring & we sprinted to the parking lot. We drove back to the city soaked, but plenty happy we got to see Bowie, even if was an abbreviated set.

    I had an older friend who lived in Atlanta when the Braves first moved there & he told me that would go see the Pirates every time they came to town in 1966-67, just to see Maz turn the DP (or Clemente uncork one from RF). He said Maz was a magician, like the ball was never even in his glove.

    I only remember Maz as a late-career backup, who also played some 3B. Dave Cash had already taken his spot at 2B, with Rennie Stennett waiting in the wings.

    You saw Maz in those days, right?

  11. @17 ububba

    Thanks for the story! Bowie had an incredible presence. One of those “Who Can Forget..” performers that stick.

    With Bing Crosby singing a Christmas song
    With Queen, “Under Pressure”
    Portraying a Goblin King, or the Great White Duke, or Ziggy, or a fictional Nikola Tesla… and so many more.

    Can it be that this very public person could keep his illness so private for over a year?
    Most Amazing!

  12. The deeply evil backdoor cover… If I were in the LV sports book, I would’ve given the 7.5 (and lost my ass).

    Underrated Bowie film performance: As a comically nervy Andy Warhol in “Basquiat.”

  13. Amazing game for the national championship. I have to believe that those really were the two best teams in college football. As an Alabama fan seeing so many players make key plays to win the game was a lot of fun. It was truly a team effort.

  14. @22, The funny thing is had Henry not been ruled in the end zone, Alabama runs another 30 seconds off the clock and then kicked the field-goal and I would be willing to bet so to speak, that Clemson doesn’t have enough time to score and Alabama wins by eight.

  15. We’re all aware that the stalker in that video is Trent Reznor, yes? I mean, we all know that, right?

  16. #24
    That would’ve made one side of the room pretty happy, sure.

    I was kind of thinking that Bama might go for it on 4th down. End the game there or, if they don’t score on 4th, there’s about 30 seconds remaining & Clemson has to go 99 yards in 1 or 2 plays with no timeouts.

    Why risk a blocked FG or a KO-return TD? The way that game was going, nothing would’ve shocked me.

    And welcome back to Athens, Coach Smart.

  17. I had some reasons to root for each team, but none were overwhelming, which is what I hope for in a NC when my team is not playing. The game most certainly was exciting and was close until the very end. Great conclusion to the season.

    Now, McElwain, go get us a top-3 class.

  18. Free agent market is starting to pick up again. Wei-Yin Chen to Marlins (and Chris Johnson, but who cares about him), Gerardo Parra to Rockies.

    I wonder what comes first — Chen being traded, or Chen opting out (he’s got an opt-out after 2017).

  19. Maybe Chris Johnson can hit a game-winning grand slam against us the way Uggla did, and then Melvin can rob a potential game-winning home run against the Padres. That sounds marvelous.

  20. Apparently, the Marlins took Johnson over Francoeur. If you combined Johnson’s bat with Francoeur’s glove, you could probably get $20.00 for them on eBay.

  21. @18: Sorry, been away for a few days… Y’know, I don’t remember seeing Mazeroski. But I don’t think the 10 year old me thought about defense very much. I sure as hell remember Stargell and Clemente. Interesting… I just looked that 1966 Pirate team up and Clemente was older than Mazeroski. I wouldn’t have guessed that…. Just shows how *little* defense mattered to me back then, I guess.

  22. @35, I was planning to just save my $200 this year that I normally spend on MLB extra innings, but you’re really tempting me. Dorn and Mudge heroics plus the prospect of seeing Nick Swisher pitch…man, sign me up.

  23. My dad’s side of the family is all from Pittsburgh. My father’s father was a TV reporter in Pittsburgh, but he happened to be at Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. He went on TV the next day with no voice at all, just almost inaudibly hoarse. But no one minded. No one else in the city had a voice left, either.

    I remember a few Christmases ago, my uncle was telling that story to his daughter, my cousin, who had never heard of Bill Mazeroski before. Tears came to his eyes as he told the story.

  24. The Braves let Hubbard walk so they could bring in Damaso Garcia as the new 2B in 1988.

    Garcia hit .117 and was replaced at midseason by an up-and-coming 2B named Ronnie Gant.

  25. Heyman is reporting (on Twitter) that the Braves have “some” interest in Yoenis Cespedes, of all people.

    I hope this is just Cespedes’s representatives trying to drum up his market, because this one doesn’t make any damn sense at all to me. If you’re going to go that route, why not just bring back Justin Upton?

  26. It’s not my $$ so yes please on Cespedes and/or Upton. Stick Olivera in AAA until he looks like a potential major league ball player

  27. As it gets closer to spring training, there are a lot of rumors that these guys will take pillow deals, which would make sense in the Braves plans, in theory. Maybe they take him on a short deal, and trade Inciarte.

  28. For a guy with an 800 OPS Cespedes has bounced around a whole lot – 4 teams in 4 years. If this is serious (I honestly doubt it), it means we’ve either given up on Olivera for this year (at least) or we’ve decided to move Olivera to 3rd and we are looking to deal Garcia. Neither move makes any sense to me.

  29. td,

    It may mean we know what deal we can make on Markakis. Send Markakis and his money and a so so prospect out to get maybe a fair upper minors catcher. Then, add that 11 mill to something for Cespedes.

    Cespedes is right handed, so he helps our seemingly overwhelming lefty outfield environment (excepting Olivera).

  30. Any deal involving Liberty Media spending money on the on-field major league talent is fine by me. My heart does not bleed for Liberty going over an arbitrary budget to put proven players on the field and Adonis Garcia or whoever on the bench. No tears.

  31. It’s less the money to me and more that Cespedes is thirty and likely to get a contract longer than I’m comfortable with. By 2017 or 2018 he could be an albatross. It’s the Markakis deal again, just with a sexier name (and more potential upside, granted, but not by an extraordinary amount).

    And again, Justin Upton is right there, two years younger.

  32. @52 – Are you thinking Cespedes would be able to play right field? He was a Gold Glove left fielder so that makes sense. I don’t think Olivera in right field makes any sense at all.

  33. Not this again…nobody cares about Liberty’s budget beyond what it means they will spend on our roster. That’s it. This idea that anyone here grieves over Liberty’s profits or lack therof is just some sort of misguided anti-capitalist narrative. Can we stop even talking about anyone’s emotional reaction to Liberty’s bottom line?

  34. My hope is that we’re only interested in Cespedes because we feel like the market for position players is such that we can sign him to a relative bargain rate contract, one that could be moved or kept with similar ease. But I suppose that if one believes we’re trying to be good in 2017, then signing an outfielder is a reasonable baseball move., There’s almost nothing available on the free agent market next offseason, so I guess if we actually plan on being watchable in 2017, we may as well add an outfielder now, rather than next offseason.

  35. Our recent fascination with Cuban players leads me to believe that there may be some truth to the Cespedes rumors…but if its me I’d stick Upton in LF, and let Adonis and Hector battle it out for 3b.

  36. #Dodgers intend for Jordan Schafer to try pitching after he agreed to minor-league contract, source says.

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