Greg Luzinski in…The Thursday Haiku (Historic First–and Possibly Last–Installment!!)

May 17, 2007

Zen Teachings of the Iron-Gloved Slugger

Lazy fly to left.
Luzinski squints, haltingly
plods. Nothing routine.


  1. 1.  Greg Luzinski AND Steve Bartman both went to my high school. Does that mean anything cosmic?

  2. 2.  I have a softball team. Periodically, we go for pizza and beer after the games. Many years ago, we were drunk enough to start making up haikus about each other, and that translated into a rash of haiku composition over the ensuing months.

    After each game, someone writes a Game Report to immortalize the heroics of the game. I think there must be something about this week and Haiku, since this week, the game report was, out of the blue, presented in a 21-stanza series of haikus.

    One example:
    Midway through the game
    It was close at 6 to 8.
    Then they changed pitchers.

    What were they thinking?
    We walked. And walked. And walked more.
    Most pitches weren’t close.

    Stange, huh?

  3. 3.  1: What a twosome. Well, you’d have to think they’d both be welcome at a White Sox fan gathering, and that they’d both prefer that fly balls not be hit to them during said gathering.

    2: Maybe all the haikuing is due to the coming of spring (theoretically anyway–it was in the low 40s this morning here in the town of Bartman and Luzinski).

  4. 4.  I remember Luzinski playing first base with a batting helmet on late in the 1983 season. The Sox wanted to make sure he was ready for the DH-less World Series. For the next 22 years, we were embarrassed that we’d once thought the White Sox would play in a World Series.

  5. 5.  4: Yes, according to his page on baseball-reference.com (http://www.baseball-reference.com/l/luzingr01.shtml) he played two games at first in ’83, his first moments in the field since 1980. No errors!

    That page is worth visiting if you’ve never really checked out Luzinski’s slugging stats. He was a grade A power hitter for a lot of years, and he even hit over .300 for three years in a row for the Phillies (in two of those years finishing second in the MVP vote). He also won the 1978 Roberto Clemnente award for combining on-field excellence with community involvement.

    As for his fielding, Bill James said it best: “It was like having Herman Munster out there.”

  6. 6.  As if the world needed any more confirmation that my playing career was doomed, the mitt I used from about 1979 through last summer was a Rawlings RBG-80 Greg Luzinski model. Can’t imagine what anyone was thinking — Rawlings, Luzinski, my dad — when they came up with that one.

  7. 7.  Speaking of gloves, I used a “Dave Kingman model” throughout my high school career as a CF (1984 grad in Ohio).

    Who was a worse OF – Kingman or Luzinski? Gotta be close.

  8. 8.  6
    I had the exact same model!

  9. 9.  6, 8: How many Luzinski gloves did they make! Jay’s Luzinski glove had quite a long life; I wonder what finally caused it to be retired.

    My glove was a non-athlete-endorsed Cooper (I think the company mostly made hockey equipment; I echoed this non-specialty buy years later by buying a guitar made by Hohner, the harmonica company). I pretended it had been endorsed by Cecil Cooper, even though it wasn’t for a lefty and wasn’t a first baseman’s mitt (and didn’t have the name Cecil on it, of course).

    7: Kingman was a pretty good all-around athlete, but I guess that didn’t translate at all to his fielding. He did log more years in the NL than Luzinski, however, for whatever that’s worth.

  10. 10.  I had a Reggie Jackson glove, and then a Rickey Henderson one. Neither one was as bad in the field as Kingman or Luzinski, but they were left-handed and I wasn’t. Around the time the Reggie glove wore out, I went to baseball mitt day at Comiskey Park. The free glove had “Flex Action” written where the autograph was supposed to go. If it hadn’t fallen apart the first time I played catch, “Flex Action” would have been my main one.

  11. 11.  Also, my neighbor gave me an Elston Howard catcher’s mitt. Our catcher preferred it to the one the coach had, so the mid-1980’s A-League Padres used an Ellie Howard.

  12. 12.  8 Wow, Bob, you’re the first person I’ve come across (besides my brother, who had the identical model) who owned a Luzinski model. I guess that explains why neither of us is winding down major league careers at this point.

    7 Bill James called Luzinksi the worst outfielder he ever saw bar none, and that certainly included Kingman. FWIW, Baseball Prospectus’ fielding stats have Kong at -51 runs for his career, but most of the damage (-39) was at first base. The Bull was at -102 in LF… and +1 at 1B, helmet and all, mostly through 28 decent games there in 1971.

    9 I retired the glove when the dessicated lacing that attached the web to the index finger broke. Fixing it isn’t out of the question, but when I priced out repairs, they were about as much as I wound up spending on a new mitt.

    One of the things I noticed when shopping for one is the dearth of player-endorsed models now. Even as the market has proliferated with numerous brands, the likelihood of a kid being able to link his slab o’ leather to some identifiable player, no matter how good or how crappy, as we were able to seems to be a thing of the past. Which is about as sad as what’s happened to the baseball card market that’s so celebrated here.

  13. 13.  wtf? my attempt to link to previous posts didn’t work despite following the code that was used by the others. Oh well…

  14. 14.  I used a glove my dad had bought, apparently at random, a decade before — well before he had any sons to play catch with.
    Thus, I was the only kid in my mid-’80s Little League to use a Paul Blair model.
    At least Blair could pick it a little.

  15. 15.  My parents are friends with Greg and he is such a fun…and funny…guy…except for when he threw my cat into the hot tub…

  16. 16.  14 I also had a Paul Blair hand-me-down glove that I used in t-ball in the late 80’s. It is in my parents’ garage (I believe) to this day.

  17. 17.  14 I also had a Paul Blair hand-me-down glove that I used in t-ball in the late 80’s. It is in my parents’ garage (I believe) to this day.

  18. Roberto Duran…..fists of stone. Luzinki-glove of cement.

  19. My first signature model glove was a Bill Buckner model. Obviously this was years before his knees limited his abilities (or his world Series gaff), but when I pulled this glove out for my daughter to use in the mid-90’s it was funny/ironic to see that signature on a glove.

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