Friday, October 21, 2005

And The Award Goes To...

I'll bet none of you knew that I was responsible for naming the winner of one of baseball's most prestigious awards. But in fact, I get the job of naming the winner of the Cangelosi Award, given to baseball's worst player. It is named after the legendary John Cangelosi, the 80s and 90s journeyman outfielder who had possibly the worst defensive instincts in the history of baseball and had only speed going for him. He was the first player who I remember thinking, "Wow, this guy actually has some talent, but he is a horrible baseball player." So in 2003, I began naming Cangelosi Award winners. The criteria is to be a Cangelosi-type player. You need to have some talent but blow it by being stupid, a thug, having terrible instincts, etc. So as much as I would like to name Willie Bloomquist as the worst player in baseball, it's not his fault that he is on a major league roster. He does what he can with his poor skills.

The previous winners:
2003, Alex Sanchez, OF, Milwaukee/Detroit. Here is a man with excellent hitting skills. He hit .287 with 25 SBs in 2003 and has continued with similar numbers since. However, he can't stick even with bad teams like Milwaukee, Detroit, and in 2005, Tampa Bay. His indifference to playing defense is somewhat legendary and his excellent speed can't make up for that. In 2003, he won particular favor for being suspended while with the Brewers, along with Izzy Alcantara, for laughing after they had collectively screwed up a play in the outfield that cost their team a couple of runs.

2004, Ben Davis, C, Seattle/Chicago White Sox. Ben Davis might be the stupidest player to ever play the game. And in baseball, that's really saying something. The mental lapses he made a catcher were somewhat awe-inspiring. He had immense talent. But both San Diego and Seattle, a team not known for its quality catchers, gave up on him. In 2004, he hit a brilliant .207 in 193 ABs. He did not even play for the White Sox this year and I am not sure he is even in professional baseball anymore. A terrific waste of talent.

And the 2005 award winner is....

Sidney Ponson, P, Baltimore. I have long thought Sir Sidney Ponson, the first knighted player to win the Cangelosi, was a horrible pitcher, mostly because of some bad fantasy league experiences with the guy. He was always disappointing with the Orioles. He then had one good 1/2 season in 2003, and the Orioles dumped him on the Giants for prospects. It seemed like they made a smart move as he reverted to his usual sucking in San Francisco. However, the Orioles hadn't had enough Ponson and they resigned him to an ungodly large contract after 2003. He has of course been horrible since then, going 11-15 with a 5.30 ERA last year and 7-11 with a 6.21 ERA this year. To make things better, his personal life blew up in his face this year. He was arrested in his home nation of Aruba last winter for getting into a fight on the beach. This year, not only was he terrible but he was arrested for drunk driving twice and managed to get released by the Orioles for violating the terms of his contract. Had he only sucked, he would at least got paid millions of dollars. But his behavior was so stupid that not only was he the worst player in major league baseball this year, but he also cost himself millions of unearned dollars. He clearly has some talent as he showed in 2003. But that didn't keeping him from winning the third annual Cangelosi Award.