Today’s Random Player From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is Pat Tabler. Tabler was drafted by the Yankees with the 16th pick of the 1976 draft, right after Leon Durham. After hitting .284/.380/.415 in 3357 minor league plate appearances and being traded to the Cubs, he made his debuts on August 21, 1981 in Wrigley. After a couple of partial seasons he was traded to the crosstown rival White Sox for Warren Brusstar and Steve Trout. Then, right before the start of the 1983 season he was traded to the Indians for Jerry Dybzinski (who would give the AL West champions a 56 OPS+ in 290 plate appearances). With the Indians he had the best years of his career. In his time in Cleveland he hist .294/.356/.408 in 707 games. Then in June of 1988 he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for new Rockies’ manager Bud Black. After a few years bouncing around he finished his career as a World Series champion with the Blue Jays in 1992.
Where Pat Tabler gained his recognition was when the bases were loaded. In 1983 he had 22 plate appearances with the bags juiced. He had 11 hits, a walk, and two sac flies. In 1984 he had five hits (one grand slam), three walks, and a sac fly in 13 plate appearances. In 1985 he was 6-7 with a grand slam, a double, and a triple. It was crazy to the point where his 1986 Donruss card gave him the nickname Mr. Clutch.
Well, in 1986 Tabler was 2-10 with the bases loaded. Typical. But overall he hit .489 with the bases loaded. In Cleveland he hit .552/.551/.828 with the bases jammed, .367/.425/.433 everywhere else.
Clutch was he? Tough to say. Yes, he hit better than Barry Bonds with the bases loaded (Bonds hit .376/.407/.624, but also in more than twice as many plate appearances), but 109 plate appearances is such a small sample size. And then factor in that the Indians only had one winning season when he was there, I wonder just how clutch that is. Overall he was a decent hitter (granted no pop, which led to his career 99 OPS+), but I also think that a little too much attention is given to 109 appearances. It’s an awesome statistical anomaly, but it is one hell of an anomaly.