I wondered about Mariners' hurler Charlie Furbush over the past few years,wondering why Seattle kept the pitcher in tow.
Of course, my wondering had nothing to do with his past couple of very good seasons. As in last year Furbush was 5-2, 2.72 over 46.1 innings, with a terrific 0.95 WHIP, and this year he is 2-4, 3.20 over 53 more innings, with 1.086 WHIP. Plus, Furbush has a solid 122 strikeouts over 99.1 innings.
My problem is unreasonable. It just seems like a guy who goes by Charlie and is 6'5" sounds more avuncular than dominant to me.
So, when I started filling in my roster last night when the Giants and Pirates matched up for their only series in San Francisco this year, who was pitching for Pittsburgh? Charlie Morton, going up against Madison Bumgarner.
I asked my mates if anyone could think of a dominant pitcher named Charlie, and Bill Arnold brought up both Charlie Liebrandt and Charlie Hough.
And, while Liebrandt turned in a pretty good resume from the mid-80's into the 90's--and graced my Strat-O-Matic team during much of that period--he was more a control pitcher than a dominant one. Liebrandt was 140-119, 3.71 over 2308 innings, but he only whiffed 4.4 per nine innings, and was 6'3".
There was also Charlie Hough, who went 216-216, 3.75 over 25 seasons and 3801 innings, though with 5.6 strikeouts per nine innings in his 6'2" knuckleballing body.
I did look through the Charlies at the Baseball-Reference site, and could only make it through the first 125 names before yielding to write this and shoot for some sleep, and I did make some discoveries.
As in Chuck Finley was a hard thrower, with 7.3 strikeouts per nine over his 3189 innings (200-173, 3.85), and though he is 6'6", well, he goes by "Chuck" which just sounds tougher than Charlie.
Another Chuck was Chuck Connors, who was also 6'6", but was also a Chuck, was a hitter (and not such a great one at .228-2-14 over 67 Major League games), and became an actor (The Rifleman, Branded--and got that Lebowski fans--and a great part in William Wyler's fine western The Big Country).
Also, Connors' given name was not Chuck, but rather Kevin Joseph Aloysius Connors.
Both Charlie Comiskey and Charlie Ebbets, both of whom were managers, came up in that first batch as well. Both also had ball parks named for them, among other things.
So, I was surprised when Charlie, as in Morton, held the Giants to seven hits and a walk over 7.2 innings, tossing just 83 pitches, 54 for strikes--and earned his fifth win of the season, pushing his record to 5-3, 3.42 over 13 starts and 76.1 innings.
In fact, he more than matched up against Bumgarner, who went eight, but was taken down by a three-run Clint Barmes jack down the left field line in the seventh.
Still, though I saw the performance with my own eyes--in fact I scored every pitch of the contest--I still have a hard time believing the 6'5" Morton is that good.
Though he does have 5.9 punchouts per nine, better than the other Charlies.
Maybe it is time I rethought this pitching Charlie prejudice?