The Sad Tale of Ryan Klesko.
The facial hair. The scowl. THAT SWING.
In the mid-90’s Ryan Klesko was one of the truly unheralded great players in the National League, smacking home runs that didn’t just leave the park, they fucked off with alarming speed. Little white pellets send to an early grave by one of the most massive and effective left-handed uppercut swings you’ll see.
For the Braves, he was always used in a platoon by Bobby Cox whether at 1st base or the outfield as is typical of someone younger in the organization where a veteran is installed. He only had more than 500 at bats once in his Atlanta Brave career, resulting in a very respectable .282/34/93 in 528 AB’s. He just never got the full chance to shine in town, though he had a monstrous postseason in 1995, the only year the Braves won the World Series. He wasn’t a stellar defender nor a butcher, but he was an old school beast of a guy who demolished the ball and he was loaded with fire. There was no questioning the guy’s heart, that’s for sure.
They traded him to San Diego and for a few years there he was a star. He played full-time, smacked the dick out of the ball, and even padded his fantasy value by stealing 46 bases in 2000 and 2001 combined. Atlanta never gave him enough due but when he went to San Diego it all came together.
Then he started to get hurt. He lost considerable time to injury and hasn’t been able to stick around consistently enough to factor in to his teams’ (the Giants were his home last year) fates. That said, when he’s in the lineup he’s typically productive as hell.
Now, he’s without a team. Totally without a team. Like Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza and many others. Except Ryan Klesko still has gas in the tank.
I mean, don’t feel too sorry for the guy. He’s amassed $60,175,500 in career earnings to date, hosts his own outdoorsman television show, and has multiple houses all around the country. He’s not a poor man and though he’s not a Hall of Famer, he’s got a very respectable career summary that reads .279/278/987 with 1564 hits.
I just think that with all of the attention being given to other “DH Types” like Barry Bonds and Mike Piazza, Ryan Klesko (who is now healthy) is positioned to be a much better investment that doesn’t come with any of the baggage the other gentleman carry.
I’m sure Ryan isn’t losing sleep over it, but it’s just sad to me.
- Nick Nunziata thinks the Yankees should tell Morgan Ensberg and Shelly Duncan to piss off and make Ryan Klesko their starting 1st baseman. He’s the closest thing they’d have to the blue-collar grunts that made the team so special a decade ago.
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