In this edition, we honor 1990s great Scott Pose, a University of Arkansas product who became a favorite of Tony Muser for a few months at the end of last century, and reaffirmed the power of the human spirit.
- Pose was drafted by the Reds in 1989, fresh from his studies at the University of Arkansas, a highly regarded bastion of intellectualism. Pose is one of 36 Razorbacks who have played in the big leagues. Other notables include former Royals Jeff King and Kevin McReynolds, as well as the classy gentleman, Cliff Lee. In 1992, the Marlins snagged Pose in the Rule 5/Rule V/Rule Five/Rule Cinco Draft.
- The next season, at the age of 26, Pose made his Major League Debut on Opening Day with the Marlins. Guess who recorded the first at-bat in Marlins history? Thats right, Scott Pose, who reached on an error in the bottom of the first inning. Pose would go 1-5 with two RBI, plating Walt Weiss in the 2nd inning (single) and Jeff Conine in the 6th (groundout), pacing the Marlins to a 6-3 victory. Pose remained the starter in CF for the next nine games or so, hitting .222/.263/.278 over that span. From there, he moved into a reserve role, and was demoted on April 22nd, never appearing in a Marlins uniform again. A sad fate for an historical figure. As a Marlin, Pose hit .195/.233/.244 in 43 PAs.
The first-ever Marlins game. Can you see Scott Pose in this picture?
- The next four years saw Pose lead a vagabond's existence, as he bounced across America. Pose was dropped by the Marlins, then signed or acquired in turn by the Brewers, Dodgers (they remembered Opening Day 1993), Twins, Indians and Blue Jays, before Pose signed with the Yankees in 1996. The amazing thing about all this movement is that he seems to have never actually hit well in the minor leagues across this span. Perhaps his best season came in 1995, when he hit .310/.397/.365 with the Salt Lake Buzz. An empty .310 at high altitude, at the age of 28. Yea!
- In 1997 Pose found himself the recipient of some Joe Torre love, as he actually got a fair amont of run on a Yankees team that won 96 games and won the Wild Card. (Remember when the Orioles were good?) As an outfield reserve, Pose appeared in 54 games that season, garnering 96 plate appearances. While he spent almost the entire season on the active roster, his main time to shine was in July, when he started in 10 games and appeared in another 3, hitting .250/.308/.278. Overall, he hit .218/.292/.264 with three steals. Still, Pose made the post-season roster, and appeared in the concluding game of the epic Indians-Yankees series, serving as a pinch-runner for Paul O'Neil, who doubled with two outs in the top of the 9th. Unfortunately, Jose Mesa retired Bernie Williams to end the game, sending Pose and the Yankees home.
- Pose would spend another season in the Yankees' farm system, before signing with the Royals in 1998. With the 1999 Royals Pose would set his career marks for playing time, hits, batting average, etc. 1999 was his shot, and he didn't do bad with the opportunity, hitting .285/.377/.307 (are you listening Joey Gathright?) in 158 PAs. Muser played Pose in all three outfield positions, mostly slotting him in at LF. Pose also appeared as a pinch-hitter 43 times that season (who was he PHing for? Me?) going .189/.302/.216 in that always tough role. Without a doubt, the strangest aspect of Pose's career was that he actually appeared quite a lot as a DH, for reasons I cannot currently divine using the internet. Pose earned 69 career PAs as a DH, more than he ever got as a CF or RF. In 1999 Muser really latched onto the idea of Pose as DH, slotting him there in 16 games. Pose responded by hitting .280/.383/.280 in that role. All this strangeness came to a head at the end of the season, when Pose's last four appearances were all as the starting DH. Perhaps inspired by Pose's '99 season, Jeff Pearlman of SI profiled Pose that September.
- Pose was on the Opening Day roster with the Royals in 2000, and appeared as a pinch-hitter on Opening Day. Still, despite almost always being around, Pose played sparingly in 2000, starting just three games, while appearing as a PH in 44 other games. Pose hit .188/.278/.188 in 56 PAs that year, becoming a different kind of Three True Outcomes player: he could single, walk or ground out. Nothing else. As a big league Pose's last extra-base hit came on May 29th of 1999, and he finished his career on a 154 straight PAs without-an-extra-base-hit streak. Pose's last Major League game was on September 29th, 2000, a 6-4 loss to the White Sox, in game 160 on the year. With the Royals trailing 6-4 with one out in the 9th and facing Keith Foulke, Pose pinch-hit for Rey Sanchez. He struck out swinging. Two minutes later, Mike Sweeney did the same, and the game was over.
Pose witnessed firsthand the birth of a franchise.
Everything was new and fresh. Just pulling on his white and teal trimmed No. 2 uniform was something special.
Born in Davenport, Iowa, Pose grew up a New York Yankees fan. Baseball was somewhat traditional to him, so donning an expansion team's jersey was different.
"It was strange wearing a uniform that was never seen before," he says. "At the same time, it was groundbreaking and pioneering to be part of a new team."
As fate would have it, the Marlins beat the Dodgers 6-3 in Game No. 1. Hough got the win. Pose became the Marlins first base runner.
In his first at-bat he reached on an error by second baseman Jody Reed. Initially, the grounder was ruled a hit but was changed to an error.
"Kind of indicative of my career," Pose said profoundly.
Pose spent 2001-2 with various AAA affiliates, with the Rangers' team in Oklahoma City as his last rodeo. He hit .202/.287/.250 in limited action that season, and was not heard from again.
Pose made over $700,000 dollars in baseball... He played Matt Crane in the Kevin Costner movie For the Love of the Game.