6’3″ 220 pounds: two Hall of Famers

Today’s random featured card is John Smoltz. (pulled from a 2021 Topps Archive pack)

I can’t bear to look at Smoltz staring at me all day, so I’m displaying the back of his card. Today is the first day that Astrotrain is volunteering as a cardholder.

A player the same size as John Smoltz—baseball’s home run record holder

The back of Smoltz’s card lists him as 6’3” 220 pounds. Which is the same specs for the guy who held the home run record for 25 years (before Babe Ruth broke it)—Roger Connor.

Today in 1921, Babe Ruth tied the career home run record. Although the newspapers didn’t even mention this record. (I read about this today on sabr.org)

Being 6’3”/220 was unusual back then. That’s how the New York Giants got their name. Roger Connor played for the New York National League team.

SABR’s Bill Lamb puts it more eloquently:

Towering over his contemporaries, Connor was also the chief inspiration for the moniker bestowed on New York’s first great baseball team: the Giants. But all this did little to generate enduring interest in him. A quiet, dignified man both on and off the diamond, Connor was rarely involved in the kind of incident that spawned press attention or gave rise to the memorable anecdote. 

And oddly enough, baseball’s former home run champ wasn’t in the Hall of Fame for a very long time. Again from SABR:

More than 40 years after Connor’s death, rectification of this slight commenced with the historic achievement of another quiet, dignified professional, Hank Aaron. Among the questions provoked that April 1974 evening when Aaron smashed his 715th home run was this one: If Aaron had just broken Babe Ruth’s career home-run record, whose record had Ruth broken? The answer to that question shined the spotlight on long-neglected Roger Connor. Two years later Connor received his due when ceremonies in Cooperstown included the belated but eminently deserved induction of Connor into the ranks of baseball’s immortals.

A big player, a small park

Back to the other 6’3″ 220 player John Smoltz. He is building a mini ballpark in his town of Lansing, Michigan.

Image from Strikeout Baseball Facebook Page

It’s a semi-enclosed baseball diamond that allows kids to play 2-on-2, 3-on-3, or a full team. Smoltz compares it to a Top Golf sort of place where you can swing a bat and not worry about how good you are.

From the Lansing State Journal, “John Smoltz puts name behind new baseball field aimed at inner-city youth.”

Because of the size, you don’t need nine people in the field to play defense. Players can play with anywhere from 2-10 players while simulating the experience of pitching, hitting and fielding in a baseball environment.

Smoltz compares it to Top Golf, which has become increasingly popular over the last decade or so.

“I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces,” Smoltz said. “I’m telling you, I think this will be an opportunity for kids to say, ‘hey, let’s go 3-on-3, let’s 2-on-2, 1-on-1.’ At max, this will be 5-on-5.

“When people go to play Top Golf, I guarantee their handicaps aren’t very good and they probably never play. So they can get a club, hit a ball and see a reaction. That’s what’s going to be here. They’ll hit a ball, and they’re going to get to see a reaction. That, to me, is unique in and of itself.”

They broke ground in June 2022. How is the ballpark going now? The Strikeout Baseball Facebook Page has photos.

John Smoltz Strikeout Baseball Field cinder blocks
John Smoltz Strikeout Baseball Field sidewalk
John Smoltz Strikeout Baseball Field steel girders

Funny how you can see the computer mockups and think, “ok, that’s a nice small field.” Then you see photos of the steel trusses being constructed; you realize how much material and effort goes into making something like this.

All players 6’3″ & 220 pounds

Here’s the complete list of all the MLB players who weighed 220 pounds at 6 feet 3 inches (per stathead.com). By the way, stathead lists John Smoltz as 6’3″ and 210 pounds. I’m not sure why his 2021 Topps Archives card says 220 pounds.

(scroll beyond this list to find some interesting points about the players with the worst WAR)

Player nameCareer WARFromTo
Roger Connor (HOF)78.318801897
Paul Goldschmidt60.920112023
Tim Wallach38.519801996
George Springer35.820142023
Ryan Klesko26.719922007
Carlos Gómez24.420072019
Jay Buhner2319872001
Terry Kennedy21.619781991
Richard Hidalgo19.219972005
Willie Aikens7.919771985
Casey Kotchman7.520042013
Geoff Blum3.319992012
Gunnar Henderson3.320222023
Ryan Langerhans3.120022013
Jeremy Hermida2.720052012
Pancho Herrera2.619581961
Niko Goodrum220172022
Travis Ishikawa1.120062015
Greg Bird0.620152019
Barry Enright0.320102013
Garin Cecchini0.220142015
Gene Curtis0.219031903
Kyle Kendrick0.220072017
Francisco Liriano0.120052019
Alex White0.120112012
Edwin Ríos0.120192023
Dan Wheeler0.119992012
Scott Linebrink0.120002011
Brock Stewart020162023
Nick Gorneault020072007
Zach Plesac020192023
B.J. Rosenberg020122014
Jesse English020102010
Kyle Bird020192019
Danny Burawa020152015
Bobby Cassevah020102012
Jack Egbert020092012
Joe Hietpas020042004
Jon Knott020042007
Edward Mujica020062017
Pat Neshek020062019
Todd Rizzo019981999
Sean Runyan019982000
Robby Scott020162019
Blake Taylor020202022
Kodi Whitley020202022
Austen Williams020182019
Chris Bosio019861996
Scott Copeland020152018
Jon Leicester020042007
Ryan Mattheus020112015
Bryan Morris020122017
Paco Rodríguez020122015
Mike Schooler019881993
Al Severinsen019691972
Sean Barker020072007
Justin Thomas020082012
Austin Adams020172023
Tyler Duffey020152022
Hersh Freeman019521958
Jandel Gustave020162022
Kyle Lobstein020142021
Zach Neal020162023
Ariel Prieto019952001
Matt Skrmetta020002000
Dale Mohorcic019861990
Fred Rath019981998
Scott Fredrickson-0.119931993
Peter Moylan-0.120062018
Jordan Smith-0.120102011
Alex Hassan-0.120142014
Brad Snyder-0.120102014
Jakob Junis-0.120172023
Ryan McBroom-0.120192021
Jorge Toca-0.119992001
Mike Tonis-0.120042004
Chris Hatcher-0.219981998
Max Kranick-0.220212022
Mitch Keller-0.220192023
Félix Hernández-0.220052019
Tom Wilson-0.220012004
Alex Young-0.320192023
Taylor Buchholz-0.320062011
Joe McCarthy-0.420202020
Danny Clyburn-0.419971999
Adam Moore-0.520092018
Andy Tracy-0.520002009
Josh Whitesell-0.520082009
Andrew Lambo-0.720132016
Will Middlebrooks-0.820122017
Guillermo Velasquez-0.819921993
Jason Bergmann-0.820052010
Chris Shaw-0.920182019
Brant Brown-0.919962000
José Fernández-0.919992001
Chad Mottola-0.919962006
Wayne Simpson-1.119701977
Zack Collins-1.320192022
Jon Lieber-1.319942008
Eric Munson-1.420002009
Ralph Branca-1.719441956
Ryan O’Hearn-2.220182023
Ryan O'Hearn headshot

Funny to see Ryan O’Hearn is the worst MLB player at 6’3″ and 220 pounds. He is currently the first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. Yesterday, my random featured card was of the first basemen he replaced on the Orioles—Trey Mancini.

I found a pack of Topps Archive 2021 in my desk drawer. I'm going to pull one card a day from the pack. It will be the featured card on my desk. 

The first card I pull: Trey Mancini, the Cub with the worst WAR this year.

Mancini is 6’4″ 230 pounds.

Shot heard round the world from another 6’3″ 220 player

If Ryan O’Hearn improves his play (and his career WAR), then the next player with the worst WAR is Ralph Branca. Quick facts from his Wikipedia article:

  • Three-time All-Star
  • In a 1951 playoff, Branca surrendered a walk-off home run to Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants; the game-winning hit was known as the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”.
  • On Opening Day in 1947—which was also Jackie Robinson’s major league debut—Branca lined up on the field beside Robinson, while other players refused. He was a pallbearer at Jackie Robinson’s funeral in October 1972.
  • Starting pitcher in Game 1 of the 1947 World Series.

Rather amazing that such an acclaimed player can have the worst career WAR.

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