Please excuse the incredibly awkward title. Some sports nicknames are just too...something...to pass up.
baseball fans have probably forgotten about The Little Unit. An entire
generation of baseball fans have no idea just how big of a deal he was.
the uninitiated, Ryan Anderson is one of the defining tales on how
talent, promise, and can't miss prospects are things that can mean very
little in the game of baseball. A first round selection by the
Mariners, and topped the club's Basebal America prospect list every
season from 1998 to 2002, ranking in the top 25 of BA's top 100 each
season and making the top 10 in 3 of the 5.
unlike some prospects who earn high grades based of projectability or
promise, Anderson backed it up on the field. Nicknamed the Little Unit
due to his 6'10" 200+lb frame that resembled Mariners ace the Big Unit
Randy Johnson both in stature and fastball velocity, Anderson blew
through the majors. By age 20, he put up a 3.98 era with 146 K's in 104
innings in the absurdly hitter-friendly AAA PCL. Let me slow that
....at age 20
that's about where it all fell apart. Anderson pitched 27 innings over
the next 5 years, as injuries and questions over his work ethic sent
his career off course. By 25, he was out of baseball.
COMC's recent spring cleaning sale, I found this Little Unit auto for a
whopping $.58. It had to be in my collection, a reminder of what could
have been, but also perhaps a reminder that there is no such thing as a
sure thing in baseball.