Hello, Mr. Worthless, and the Ghost of Zoilo Versalles

When the Angels made the best deal made by any major league team during the past decade, unloading Vernon “Worthless” Wells to the yankees, and he got off to a great start, certain ny yankee fans who are friends of HDawg were gloating over their root beer as to the STEAL OF THE CENTURY. I sat back, gloated back, and expressed my assurances that Mr. Worthless would be hitting .220 by mid-summer.

Well, Mr. Worthless is just about there, weeks early, going oh-for-three in the yankees-Rays game tonight, lowering his season average to .221. But then, the ignominy to end all ignominies! Mr. Worthless has been pinch-hit for many times as of late, but before he could make his fourth out of the game, and lower his average to that mystical, magic .220 figure, manager Joe Girardi chose to call him back, and in his stead, bat the ghost of Zoilo Versalles.

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That’s right, friends, 42 years after Zoilo Versalles last appeared in a major league game, a NEW Zoilo has appeared, one Zoilo Almonte, a minor league veteran who had spent eight long years in the yankee system, batting a distinguished .269 (27 points hight than the REAL Zoilo hit over his 12 year major league career.)

I’m sure you all remember the saga of the REAL Zoilo, who played shortstop for the Minnesota Twins in the 1960s, and who did have two pretty good years, 1964 and then 1965, the year in which he and the Twins lost the World Series to the Dodgers. He hit .286 in the Series, and impressed the Dodgers so much, that two years later, they traded for him. NOT the best move the Dodgers ever made. Zoilo stayed in LA for one horrendous season, 1968, a season in which no baseball expert could possibly detect whether he had a worse offensive or a worse defensive season. Zoilo made 28 errors in only 119 games that year, and batted a robust .196.

That off-season, there was an expansion draft, and the Dodgers did not protect him, and he was picked by the brand new San Diego Padres. The Padres were, however, too smart for that, and promptly traded him to Cleveland, before ever making an error in a Padre uniform. He rebounded to .227 while with the Indians, but they sent him to the late, lamented Washington Senators for the stretch drive, and his career ended the following year when he returned to form, hitting .191 for the Braves.

The NEW Zoilo is an outfielder, and he has now started his career in fine fashion, carrying on the Zoilo tradition by going oh-for-two in his first two major league at bats. (NEW Zoilo actually made his major league debut against the Dodgers, yesterday).

But, we digress – back to Mr. Worthless. The early-season AL MVP front-runner (hee-hee) has now driven in exactly THREE runs in his last 94 at bats.

Some combination of Angels’ and yankees’ money is paying Mr. Worthless $21,000,000 this season to not drive in runs.

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