Sanchez’ Title Almost Didn’t Happen

Congratulations to Freddy Sanchez on winning the NL batting title. He’s the first Bucco since Bill “Mad Dog” Madlock in 1983 to capture the crown. Nobody could have predicted this before the season since the Pirates themselves weren’t even convinced that Sanchez had the tools to be an everyday player. It was by pure luck the he became an everyday player in 2006. Despite the fact that in his first full season he hit .295 and he was the player they wanted badly when trading Jeff Suppan to the Red Sox the Pirates inexplicably went out in the winter of 2005-06 and signed an aging Joe Randa. The ironic thing is that the Pirates traded for Randa in 1996 in the last of the fire sales dumping Jay Bell and Jeff King to KC. All Randa did was hit .302 that season but for some reason the Pirates didn’t re-sign him that winter and he left for Detroit. If Randa didn’t get hurt early this season the NL batting champ would have spent the season on the bench. And for those who think that Freddy’s title was a fluke here’s a look at how he has fared against some of the best in the game in his brief career (the following chart is from the Pirates website).

Brandon Webb: 2-for-6
John Smotlz: 3-for-10
Mark Buehrle: 2-for-6
Jose Contreras: 2-for-3
Bronson Arroyo: 2-for-5
Dontrelle Willis: 6-for-10
Roger Clemens: 4-for-10
Roy Oswalt: 6-for-18
Andy Pettitte: 7-for-20
Greg Maddux: 6-for-11
Chris Capuano: 8-for-18
Johan Santana: 2-for-3
Pedro Martinez: 2-for-4
Chris Carpenter: 6-for-17

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