There are plenty of admirable baseball players in today’s game. Men who make a difference, who excel in their chosen profession and stand out as exemplary examples of dignity, courage, and determination. They defied the odds and overcame adversity to rise to the very top of their field. They shine on the biggest stages with thousand of adoring fans at their feat.
The Getting Blanked Man of the Year sort of resembles some those things. He fought his way up from the DR to the minor leagues, succeeding where hundreds of other ball players failed. That is all well and good, but not Getting Blanked Man of the Year stuff. To be the Getting Blanked Man of the Year, you need to be a guy who went 0-37 during the 2011 season. The Getting Blanked Man of the Year is Eugenio Velez.
Eugenio Velez is not the Getting Blanked Man of the Year because he went hitless in 2011, the only position player in modern baseball history to stride to the plate 40 times without picking up a single hit. That would be cruel. Cruel like posting this play index chart, showing all the hitless seasons since 1900.
Crueler still: posting this heat map of the switch-hitting Velez’s 2011 season. Heartless!
This oddity of a season isn’t what makes Velez special or worthy of Man of the Year consideration. It is that Velez took this season and stride and managed to secure a minor-league contract for next season, with the defending World Champion — and therefore best team in baseball — St. Louis Cardinals.
Kudos to you, Eugenio. May your BABIP regress from “none” to “some” while your bizarre march towards Dr. Strangeglove-esque notoriety continues unabated. You already have one more World Series ring than Barry Bonds will ever get, something you can take to your grave.