A somber week for local baseball on all fronts, most notably Carl Pohlad’s death. Patrick Reusse offered up an unflattering report on how Bill Smith has spent the off-season and Nick Punto wants to play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic, which is sad in the fact that it was the biggest on-field personnel news of the week.
Against that backdrop, it feels necessary to point out a comment made on the last post, in which someone noted: “I’m not old enough to remember Andy Griffith running the team…”
Taking the initiative, the frequent-and-witty commenter Ask Kleiner opted to take a look back at the Mayberry 9 — here’s the team photo album — and offered up this lineup analysis:
Inspired by the presence of one poster who thinks Andy Griffith once owned the Twins, here’s my Mayberry batting order:
1. Floyd Lawson, 2B – Not to be confused with Sal Maglie. Constantly fidgeting, Floyd would have to bat first. He’d go out of his mind having to wait. Light-hitting, of course, the scrappy scissors jockey nevertheless had a way of agitating the opposition.
2. Opie Taylor, SS – Just about the time Opie was starting to get interested in girls and rock music (The Sound Committee, anyone?) he also became a helluva glove man with a fast-developing throwing arm. Not so hot with the stick because of his youth, he nevertheless was adept bunting Floyd over to second.
3. Howard Sprague, RF – This was a tough decision. Straight-laced to a fault and a momma’s boy to boot, Sprague was a surprisingly clutch offensive player, as evidenced by his flirting with that 300 game at the bowling alley.
4. Andy Taylor, 3B – No question here, he hit both for power and average and served as a calming influence within an infield that was otherwise beset with garden-variety personality clashes. They routinely spun his cap around at Mount Pilot, but he dealt with it with customary aplomb.
5. Goober Pyle, LF – The grease monkey got to work on his Cary Grant impersonation out there in left. Though an unorthodox hitter, he had a career OBP of .366, largely because his penchant for wearing his pants so high confused the umpires.
6. Otis Campbell, C – Portly in the mold of many catching greats, drunk in the mold of others, Otis was a surprisingly steady backstop. Give him day games off that follow night games and you could write his name on the card 140 times a year. Had a little pop, but no wheels.
7. Aunt Bea, 1B – Her constant fretting over things no one cared about grated on her teammates, but her motherly, protective nature in fielding throws from Opie and Andy overrode any character concerns. Ideally, you’d want a first-sacker with a little more pop, but the ol’ gal could still get around on a fastball if you didn’t dress it up too much.
8. Ernest T. Bass, DH – The mercurial mountain man lacked the attention span to play a position in the field, but had a way of sparking rallies at the bottom of the order. Not the hitter is brother Randy was, but better on the bases.
9. Barney Fife, CF – His battle with nerves gave us no choice but to bat him here. Slight in stature, this emotional tinderbox overcame his lack of comportment to become a solid centerfielder. Offense was another deal entirely. Without the support of that noted Mayberry slump-buster Thelma Lou, One-Bullet Barney would have been relegated to utility detail.
Thanks, AK. Back soon with more baseball. (And for those of you frustrated that there’s not more Twins content on the Twins blogs, well, there’s not much Twins news out there, right?)