Braves One Year Wanker: Robert Fick

Fred McGriff. Ryan Klesko. Andres Galarraga. Rico Brogna. Ken Caminiti. Robert Fick. That’s how the succession of the first baseman’s mitt went from the mid nineties to the early aughts. If that doesn’t make you appreciation Freddie Freeman, I don’t know what will. That brings us today’s Braves One Year Wanker, Robert Fick.

Braves One Year Wanker, Robert Fick

It’s seemingly an easy position to fill. There’s got to be someone out there who can give you a 110 OPS+ for a decent price and doesn’t embarrass you over there. With all due respect to Ron Washington, I think you could make it work with a non-first baseman too. But here we are. To be fair, Robert Fick wasn’t as bad as some of the other sad-sack first sackers. Caminiti, Brogna, Wally Joyner, Wes Smelms, etc. were much worse. But Robert Fick joined the 2003 Atlanta Braves which likely included a couple of steroid users but nonetheless included some huge bats. This was the team that set the Atlanta record of home runs in a season. This was the year Javy Lopez hit 43 home runs, easily a career high, and sported a 169 OPS+. All told, 4 guys had OPSes over .900. Even Rafael Furcal put 15 balls over the wall and had a better OPS than Fick.

So Fick stood out as the weak link in the lineup at the position where you should expect the most amount of production. It is, however, a defensible position to not throw any money at first baseman when you have Marcus Giles playing second, Lopez behind the plate, and an outfield consisting of Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and Gary Sheffield. Adam LaRoche was perceived to be a decent prospect at the time, so it was also fair to not block him and just give Fick a one-year deal. But he’s a wanker, so we shall discuss him.

Just Fickin’ Great…

Fick had a couple of really nice seasons in Detroit in a pitcher’s park with a big right field, so the thought was that he would hit righties and Julio Franco would hit lefties and everything would be great. Instead, his 95 OPS+ was the least amongst starters and he was widely perceived as a jerk. There are the anecdotal stories that the fella liked the sauce and didn’t like humans, but there’s the indisputable record of Fick attempting to knock the ball out of Eric Karros’ glove during the playoffs that year.

So while he’s on the cusp, the verdict is that he’s a wanker, not just for his lackluster play, but also because, well, he’s just a wanker.

Thanks for reading on Braves One Year Wanker, Robert Fick. If you enjoyed this piece, take a look at our entire history category, which includes all the wankers and wonders!

16 thoughts on “Braves One Year Wanker: Robert Fick”

  1. Even when that guy was in Detroit he acted like a douche. I am surrounded by Tiger fans and they couldn’t stand him, and their fans love every Tiger

  2. My memory was that he actually wasn’t that bad in the first half. And, actually, I checked the numbers, and my memory was right:

    1st Half: 271 PA, 8 HR, 51 RBI, .296/.354/.481
    2nd Half: 189 PA, 3 HR, 29 RBI, .229/.307/.325

    He carried himself like a jerk, and in later years has acknowledged remorse for the way he acted on his way out of Detroit, so it sounds like he may have grown up a bit. But if Robert Fick could have followed up on his first half with comparable numbers the rest of the year, honestly, I think we’d all have tolerated his antics. I know I would’ve!

  3. If he had a full year of a .835 OPS, he’d have been one of the better Braves 1Bs of the decade.

  4. I hadn’t realized that he lost his mom to melanoma at an early age. So that’s something he has in common with Freddie Freeman, who also has Canadian roots.

    Gosh, that’s a nice story. Thanks so much for sharing it, Seat Painter. Mike is such an easy guy to root for. I hope I can enjoy the privilege for many more years to come.

  5. Our Wanker pieces are getting removed from Braves Facebook groups for profanity. This is the low point of my cross-posting career.

  6. Rico Brogna and Robert Fick are sort of meshed together in my mind. I remember how badly Brogna played and that Fick was lackluster, but beyond that all the memories are inseparable.

    Too bad BJ Surhoff spurned them in 2000. I’m pretty sure they wanted him back to play 1B again but he didn’t like 1B and wanted to return to Baltimore.

  7. I was a teenager during the 2000 to 2005 run where, looking back, our teams were good enough to win the division and lose in the first round, as they did. There were really some awful players manning prime offensive positions during that run. During that run, the following players probably had no business getting the PAs they got:

    2000: Reggie Sanders, Keith Lockhart, Bobby Bonilla, Walt Weiss, even Wally Joyner
    2001: Rico Brogna, Quilvio Veras, Wes Helms, Keith Lockhart, Ken Caminiti. Veras is borderline since he played good defense and was technically still young.
    2002: Keith Lockhart, Vinny Castilla, Wes Helms. Henry Blanco is borderline with his 56 OPS+ because he got so many PAs (256, a lot for a backup)
    2003: Mark DeRosa, Darren Bragg, Matt Franco. Bragg is a little unfair because he hit well the season previous, but he still got too many PAs this year.
    2004: Mark DeRosa. I don’t care what he did later in his career; he was bad for too long for us.
    2005: Brian Jordan, Raul Mondesi. This makes bringing back Nick Markakis for $2M in 2020 quite palpable in comparison.

    My criteria was that if you badly under-hit your position for around 150 PAs or more, you didn’t play excellent defense, and you weren’t considered a prospect. So I was patient with DeRosa until he became a 28-year old who couldn’t hit. I don’t remember and I don’t feel like looking it up, but I don’t know why Javy was so bad in 2002 and Blanco got so many PAs.

    But this sums up that leg of the run pretty well: Keith Lockhart, from 1999 to 2003, compiled 1,027 PAs and had a 64 OPS+, didn’t play great defense, and had no positional versatility. You just can’t be serious about winning championships if you do stuff like that. If we came out of the rebuild, and then we handed that many PAs over that period of time to a sub-replacement level player, I would look at this FO a lot differently.

  8. @6 – To be honest, I wouldn’t really want my kids to be exposed to words like “Garret Anderson” either.

    @8 but yeah, blunder is good.

  9. I’d forgotten about this, but the Braves were down to 2 first basemen, Robert Fick and a guy that has been recently DFA’d by the Twins. They chose Fick and the other guy signed with the Red Sox for a non-guaranteed 1.2 MM.

    Big Papi.

  10. The amazing thing about this series is how easy it is to come up with guys both good and bad who only had one Braves season. For every Chipper and Smoltz there are a heck of a lot of Zoilo Versalles’s.

  11. Wanker? He played three positions in MLB(outfield, infield and catcher), and pinch hit. Try that! Both his parents died during his career. He struggled with some addictions but played as hard as anyone and was very athletic. Suck it boneheads. Write about something else. Yes, I’m his older brother.

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