Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Who's On First?

Both Bay Area teams need firstbasemen,

one team let go a future bright star at

first and the other is keeping two that

do not make one !

By Amaury Pi-GonzálezSo, we are going to start the last two

months of the baseball season, the

last 65 or so games (if there is not strike)

and both of our teams are desperate

at first base.

First the A’S: Scott Hatteberg is a nice

player, but basically coming out of the

bench, if you already had a stellar guy

at first base that was hitting 30 to 40

Homeruns and driving in 100 or more

runs. In 1995 Hatteberg began the

season in Pawtucket were he hit

.271 in 45 games and was recalled

from Pawtucket by the Boston Red

Sox early September of that year.

Before the Athletics signed Hatteberg

to a one year contract through 2002,

he played with Boston for eight seasons

and had a combined average of .267.

Scott Hatteberg best year in the “power”

category was1998 with Boston when in

a total of 112 games played hit 12 Homeruns

and drove in 43 runs. That was his

best season to date, before joining

the A’S. The A’S started the season

with promising prospect Carlos Peña

at firstbase, but got traded basically

because A’S management didn’t like his

attitude, he didn’t really listen to the

coaches and to the people that wanted to

make him a star. So Peña is playing

firstbase for Detroit and my personal

feeling is that if you leave him alone

he will be a very good hitter with a

very nice swing and a 30 to 40 Homeruns

100 plus RBI per season.

Isn’t that what the A’S wanted from

first base after Jason Giambi left

for the Yankees and opened a big

account at Chase Manhattan Bank

in New York ? Someday in the future

the A’S will regret of not hanging on to

Carlos Peña.The A’S are stuck with Hatteberg at the first base position

and that has become a burden

since If Chávez doens’t get really

hot in these last two months of

the season, Miguel Tejada will

have to drive 200 runs for the

A’S to have a chance in a very weak

and powerless lineup. Art Howe hopes

that guys like Chávez and Dye can

carry the power in August and September

since the A’S hitting with runners in

scoring position is the worse in all

of the American League. Billy Beane

needs a miracle at first base, but

I doubt If Jim Thome will be that guy

leaving Cleveland for Oakland. Thome

is coming to Oakland this week, but

he is wearing the Indians uniform.

Thome is one of the real sluggers in

baseball even though he was not selected

for the All Star Game. With Cleveland

this season Thome is on his way to

50 or more Homeruns and way over

100 runs batted in.

Giants at First Base: Season started with

a healthy Jack Thomas Snow aka

J.T. Snow. But as the whole world can

see his power has evaporated. During

the last game of a three-game series

in Pac Bell Park against the Dodgers

recently, J.T,. hit in the fourth spot in

the line-up for Dusty’s Giants. When was

the last time you have seen a guy with

4 Homeruns on a 27th of July hitting

clean up in a Major League game ?

I don’t think Dusty was expecting J.T.

to be Sammy Sosa in 2002, but a guy

that had averaged 20 to 30 Homeruns

and 80 to 100 RBI per season, this

poor showing left the Giants exposed,

exposed to bring young Damon Minor

and play him at first. Well, at the time

of this article, Minor has 10 homeruns

and has shown that he can go deep

much more often than J.T., but Minor

is alternating at first base with Snow,

so this season is going to be very

tought to evaluate Damon Minor and

what he could really do if he played

140 or more games,in other words

one whole season.

The Giants brough up from Fresno

infielder(converted outfielder) Tony

Torcato. Before the Giants acquired

veteran outfielder Kenny Lofton from

the Chicago White Sox, Torcato had

a chance to play in two of the three games

against the Dodgers and did fairly

well. Torcato (a left handed hitter) has

a ncie swing and as of today has 3 hits

in 2 games at the Major League level.

But the Giants don’t have much in the

way of position players in the minor

leagues. Torcato was one of their

best young players in Triple A, and he

is not a first baseman. J.T. Snow has

a large contract and is signed with the

Giants until the completion of the

2003 season. Dusty’s choices are

Snow and Minor and those are the

only guys he plays at first base, although

sometimes when a guy like Randy

Johnson takes the mound Dusty is

forced to play Ramón Martínez or Jeff

Kent at first base. J.T. Snow has won

six (6)Gold Gloves at first base and

he might be one of the very best ever

defensively at that position, but he is

no Ozzie Smith either. Ozzier won

16 Gold Gloves in 19 Major League

seasons, dominated his position

like no other shortstop in history and

was inducted this year in the Hall of

Fame. In the future guys like Ron

Santo and Dave Concepción (defense

specialist at their positions) should be

inducted to the HOF.

The Giants might be looking for a

slugger first baseman after the season

and could part with J.T. Snow as well

as Jeff Kent(last year in contract).

There is always the posibility that

the Giants will clean house, starting

with manager Baker and General

Manager Brian Sabean. That all remains

to be seen, but first base is a real

problem for the Giants at this point

and time. But If….If Barry Bonds wanted

to play first base next year ? Usually

you would have less of a chance of injury by playing first base instead of the outfield.

For those of my age, you remember,

the greatest player in modern era,

Giants Willie Mays. He ended his

career by playing some first base.

Will somebody has to convince Barry?

I will think so and I go even further.

I think there are only 3 people that

might be able to convince Bonds to

switch to first: 1-His father Bobby,

2-His Godfather Willie Mays and

3-His manager, Dusty Baker.

So, there you have it. Between the A’S and

the Giants and a total of 3 first basemen

among both teams it doesn’t look like

there would be a total combined of

30 Homeruns or 100 RBI, not even

close ! The Hatteberg-Snow-Minor

trifecta is not really what you hope from

a position that traditionally in baseball

is a “power position”.

Hasta la vista !


Amaury Pi-González is on his eight season as the Spanish Play by Play Announcer

for the San Francisco Giants. Previously,

for 17 seasons with the Oakland A’S.

During Postseason with ESPN/LBC

Radio Network and Fox Sports International.

Fox Sports(Engoish)PLay by Play during

past two Caribbean World Series.

His columns/articles are also available

at as well

as various bilingual publications in the

county and Latinamerica.


1 Anonymous { 07.29.02 at 1:31 pm }

Well, granted, the first basemen for both teams are not too hot, but the last paragraph is a little silly, considering that to date they have already combined for 26 home runs. But don’t let accuracy get in the way of finishing with a fluorish.

You must log in to post a comment.