I have this red shirt that I’m quite fond of and all that’s on it is a picture of an old Nintendo system.
I was wearing it the other day while sampling some new brews at Mammoth Brewing Company and the worlds of nerds united. The guy behind the counter just looks at me after pouring the Golden Trout Pilsner and says “R.B.I. Baseball.”
That was it. We shared two common bonds through those two words – a fondness for craft beers and old school Nintendo. Which, of course, if you were relatively into sports you had three games: Tecmo Bowl, Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out and R.B.I. Baseball.
Does anyone even remember Al Pedrique as a player? Probably not because he had a three-year major league career in which he played for three different teams.
However, he has a cult-ish like following for the mere fact that he ended up as the starting National League All-Star Team shortstop on R.B.I.
How in the hell did that happen?!
In 1987, the year the stats from the game were taken, Pedrique hit .294 with one home run and 27 RBI! Of course, this wasn’t the Golden Age of Shortstops when A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar and Tejada were dominating the American League – and at least two were juicing, likely three – but c’mon!
Pedrique wasn’t even a legit All-Star in his rookie year of 1987. Ozzie Smith, who finished second in the MVP voting in 1987, couldn’t have been used on R.B.I.’s NL roster because he was already representing St. Louis.
So, why couldn’t R.B.I.’s creators have chosen Hubie Brooks, who was Ozzie’s backup in the 1987 All-Star Game, as the NL’s shortstop? Or Shawon Dunston. Or Barry Larkin? Or previous Random Pro, Garry Templeton.
“Aw now,” you might be saying, “maybe Pedrique was a slick-fielder when shortstops were known for their glovework and carried a weak stick.” Wrong! Look at this list – Pedrique is ranked as the 45th best (worst?) fielding shortstop in the NL in 1987.
With bench players on the NL team like Pedro Guerrero, John Kruk, Tony Gwynn and Dale Murphy, Pedrique immediately hit the showers when I was controlling the Senior Circuit. I didn’t care if left-handed Tony Gwynn was playing shortstop because defense in those early baseball video games didn’t matter. Every player was the same size and looked like a miniature Eric Cartman out there on the field.
So, “Pedriq” as he was labeled in the game, or “Ped-rick” as I called him, was of no use to us and still confounds R.B.I. players about why he was selected as the NL’s shortstop.
In other news, Pedrique was hired as interim manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004 and promptly managed like he played – poorly. During a three-game series with the Giants in town, he ordered Arizona’s pitchers to intentionally walk Barry Bonds every time he stepped to the plate so he wouldn’t hit his 700th home run against Arizona.
Shocking that he wasn’t retained after that. Oh, and his 22-61 record as a manager.
Finally … if you’re like me and would like to whistle something for the rest of the day, click this link: RBI Baseball Song
Try getting that out of your head!
Do-do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do-do-doo, do-do-do-do-doo, doooo-DOOOO.