I have been watching some of the LA Dodgers games this year, mostly to see the pitching, but Carl Crawford has caught my eye as well. After a hiatus of approx. 15 years from watching baseball and collecting cards, I have been reacquainting myself with the MLB. Mostly I have been looking on players who started their career around the time I stopped watching because those are the players I’m unfamiliar with.
Crawford is one of the guys I am a bit disappointed for missing out on watching his career. He is just the type of player I like most. The “Tim Raines” type of player has always been my favourite, and Crawford fits the type exactly.
Unfortunately, Crawford has become “The Perfect Example” of how unpredictable it is to guess Hall of Famers. Starting out in Tampa Bay becoming a regular player at the early age of 21, he seemed to be a good pick for speculation, getting a few extra rookie and insert cards seemed a good bet. When be began his tear, stealing every base known to man, and hitting around .300 with 80 to 110 runs per season, not to mention popping of some key HRs, the speculation could be seen as beginning to pay off. With only his low walk totals being a blemish (he is a lead off hitter after all), Crawford started to become a good shot to reach the Hall.
But then everything derailed. The trade from Tampa Bay to Boston made Andrew Friedman seem like a clairvoyant, as Crawford’s slow fall to injury-prone mediocre player began in his new Red Sox uniform. Since leaving Tampa, Crawford, due to injury after injury killed his career,and lost his shot to be a Hall of Famer, Similar to players such as Eric Davis, and Don Mattingly, Crawford can be added to a long list of Hall of Fame talent killed off by injury.
Crawford Just turned 34 in August, so perhaps I am a bit premature, If he returns to play like he did in Tampa for the 2016 season and stays in that form for another 7 or more years, getting at least 150 hits per year, and stealing another 150 to 200 bases, both possible but remotely achievable, then Crawford could turn his whole career around. But if he can’t play uninjured now at 34 years old then the likelihood of him staying injury-free until his 41st birthday is remote.
But damn, it would have been fun to watch him during his Tampa years, I’m sad I missed it.