Every day we update our “This Day in History” section and today’s note caught our eyes and with the finale of the Yankees-Red Sox series tonight, we figured we should give a look at one-hit wonder Kevin Maas.
Twenty-one years ago today Maas set a record by blasting his 12th home run in his first 92 at-bats and during that 1990 season the left-handed hitting power hitter was tabbed “the next best thing.” People were clamoring to get their hands on Kevin Maas rookie cards. However, his meteoric rise had a meteoric fall.
Maas hit 21 home runs in just 79 games, getting over 300 plate appearances because the 1990 Yankees were one of the worst New York teams ever and because Don Mattingly was hurt for part of the year.
Quickly, though, pitchers figured Maas out. He did hit 23 home runs the following season, but batted just .220. He hit just .210 in his career against lefties and just .197 against lefty starters. He was susceptible to breaking balls and never made the adjustment to major league pitching.
He was Rob Deer without the lengthy career.
(Yes, normally Kevin Maas could be considered one of our “Random Pros of the Week” but playing off a “This Day in History,” we couldn’t wait to talk about him.)
There have been tons of Kevin Maas’ throughout baseball history. Most recently we can think of Brandon Wood, now with Pittsburgh. Wood hit 43 home runs at Class A ball in the Angels organization and was considered untouchable in any trade the Angels were to make. He’s a career .185 hitter with 17 home runs in 240 MLB games. So much for that.
Maas had a career arc of Milli Vanilli, who, oddly enough, also hit it big in 1990. But then people figured out they weren’t what they were cracked up to be and they were done. We’re not calling Kevin Maas a fraud like Milli Vanilli, but he did fool a lot of people for a decent amount of time. True story.
Maas actually hit for a good average in the minors but everyone will tell you that there is a huge difference in minor league pitching and the bigs. It’s kind of like winning a Grammy for not using your real skills.
The problem with guys who come up fast and furious (not this, though) is that unreasonable expectations are placed on them. Kevin Maas tore it up in his first few months in the majors and people were working on his bronze bust in Cooperstown. He happened to hit a hot streak and Yankees fans, enduring a horrendous season, wanted and needed something to make things brighter. They had Kevin Maas.
Too bad he couldn’t sustain it.