Originally posted on The Flagrant Fan  |  Last updated 12/29/12
Luis Gonzalez has been persona non grata as a spoken name here in the Tasker household. There was that certain bloop hit in 2001 that ruined everything and ended a dynasty. He is used by some to refute the greatness of the great relief pitcher he hit that bloop against (as if). But that was a long time ago. It wasn't Gonzalez's fault that Torre brought the infield in. The fact is that Gonzalez has been gone from the game for five years now. From this seat, his retirement went unnoticed and his career has had little reflection given. The guy was a better player than people remember. May it dare be said that his career was perhaps a hair or a cut below Hall of Fame caliber? The trouble with Luis Gonzalez has been the whispers. He played in the era of steroid use. His 57 homers in 2001 are treated with smirks and proof of his guilt. Plus, he is Hispanic, so that paints him guilty by association. But Gonzalez has vehemently denied ever using and to this observer's knowledge, has never been painted with a guilty test. Should we believe him? The answer is ambivalent. Does it make any difference? And yet those 57 homers stick out like a sore thumb. They make him the Brady Anderson of his era. That season was certainly his peak. It was also an outlier. But it should not detract from what was a long and productive career. Fangraphs and Baseball-reference.com differ on the value of his career. B-R has him at 48 rWAR while Fangraphs gives him ten more wins. On the bottom of his B-R page, Gonzalez passes at least one HOF test. He drove in and scored over 1,400 runs. He accumulated over 2,500 hits. His career in left field led to over 90 runs above average on defense (both sites agree on that). He tallied over a thousand extra base hits. And his career triple slash line was: .283/.367/.479. His career wOBA was .364 and his career WPA came in at 30.98. This was a terrific player! Many point to the fact that he did not become a star until he came to Arizona. To those who say that, the association again comes down to PEDs or the fact that Arizona is a nice place to hit with its dry, warm air. The fact long forgotten is that before his Arizona days, he played seven seasons with the Houston Astrodome as his home park. That place was murder on hitters. Gonzalez endured 1,465 plate appearances in the Astrodome. His OPS there was .738. Just for the sake of comparison, in later years, after the Astros moved to Minute Maid Park, Gonzales (SSS) compiled an OPS over one in that park. Imagine his current stats and then adjust for those 1,465 plate appearances and his numbers would look a whole lot better. Gonzalez also spent more than a year with the Dodgers with Dodgers Stadium as his home field and another year in Tigers Stadium. Both could be tough on hitters. Luis Gonzalez was better than you think. He walked eleven percent of the time in his career and struck out only a little over eleven percent of the time. His ground ball to fly ball ratio was neutral. He only swung and missed 6.1 percent of the time for his career. All of those things are extremely rare for a slugger. And yet Gonzalez left the game with little fanfare and is largely forgotten since he left. His career has been strangely whitewashed by the times in which we live and that is hugely unfortunate.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Recruit decommits from Michigan after mail mistake

Dez Bryant reportedly suffers concussion at practice

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kobe Bryant to be honored with his own day in LA on 8/24

Colts sign Antonio Cromartie

Connor McDavid: 'I’m not some 18-year-old kid anymore'

Aguayo seeks out mental coach after missing kicks

Josh Norman unloads on Goodell: He is 'straight horrible'

Siemian named Broncos starter for third preseason game

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

Ranking the MLB divisional races

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

NFL players under most pressure in preseason Week 3

Tre Mason's mother: RB is like '10-year-old' due to head injuries

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Inside the Pokemon World Championships, where masters are born

What we learned from this year's baffling SummerSlam event

Football Down Under: Looking back at college football overseas

31 memories from the XXXI Olympiad

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker