Friday, May 25, 2012

Obscure Baseball Player of the Week: Billy Jo Robidoux

In a new feature here at Dave's Deep Dish, we will be looking at obscure major league baseball players that time has forgotten. These players were forgotten for good reason, yet they will have one thing in common: they have cool names. Today we look at the short and anything but illustrious career of one Billy Jo Robidoux. Though he sounds like a character out of a James Lee Burke novel, Billy Jo Robidoux was real. The X is silent, because silent Xs rule. Billy Jo was most likely discovered by a scout on the shores of a backwater bayou playing stickball with a broken fishing pole as a bat and a ball made of chewing gum and molasses. To make ends meet he wrestled alligators and operated a fan boat. In his spare time, he moonlighted at a bait and tackle shop where he shot the breeze about how hot it was gettin'.

At least that's my theory. Closer inspection reveals he was born in Western Mass, so that puts a kink in that storyline. Robidoux's career was brief and unmemorable, like a comet that no one cared to look at, for it burned their eyes. After straight up dominating the Texas League in 1985 for the El Paso Diablos, he got his shot with the Milwaukee Brewers that September and popped up to second base in his first at bat against Yankees pitcher, Rich Bordi. It was all downhill from there.

Billy Jo Robidoux would go on to play sparingly from 1985-1990 for the Brewers, White Sox and Red Sox amassing a career average of .209. He made up for the low average by hitting for no power whatsoever (.286 slugging) and not getting on base (.313 OBP). For the sabermetrically inclined, his Wins Above Replacement (WAR) was a robust -2.8. Those numbers are fairly horrific for a first baseman, which he allegedly was. Those numbers would also not be very good for a pitcher. It's almost amazing he was allowed to bat 547 times at the major league level. He was probably gritty and played the game the right way. But, at the very least, he made it to the big leagues and lived his dream. Plus, look at that mustache. He may have hit like a minor leaguer, but that mustache is professional. Congrats, Billy Jo, Dave's Deep Dish says you're a big winner today.

One of Billy Jo's problems may have been this overly relaxed batting stance.

2 comments:

  1. This was great. My favorite line "he pooped up to 2nd in his first ab and it was all down hill from there". Haha. Not sure if this would meet the cool name aspect of your blog but the fact that he has a surf board in his card might make Tim Flannery a worth subject for the triple d. http://www.nerdbaseball.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/flannery-tim.jpg

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