I have been trying to figure out a new series of posts. I decided on Hero of the Working Man, a series of posts dedicated to the bottom tier of players. The guys that work the hardest to stay in the majors. The journeymen that play well at every stop in their career, but their real job is to keep the position warm for the next big thing in the minors.
Ty Wigginton is that guy. Drafted by the Mets in the 17th round of the 1998 Major League draft, he had to fight every step in his career. I first met Ty in 2002 in Norfolk, I got his autograph and he sealed me as a fan of his when he gave me his cracked bat after a game. I have been rooting for him every since.
He has had many stops, six teams in ten major league seasons. However every stop he makes the best of it. He has played nearly every position except for catcher, he doesn’t enter the conversations of awards or the All Star game (one appearance in 2010). His career 162 game average is 0.267/22/77, not flashy but definitely worth having in the heart of your lineup.
His stops have included the Mets, Pirates, Rays, Astros, Orioles, and currently the Rockies. Amazingly enough among his top ten most similar players on baseball-reference are also heroes of the working man:
- Hank Blalock
- Scott Brosius
- Aaron Boone
- Chris Sabo
- Corey Koskie
- Cory Snider
Every step in his career he has produced and at 33 he is still doing quite well. Currently for the Rockies, he is batting 0.266/9/27 in 206 at bats. Extrapolated out that would put him right at his career average. I can envision Ty doing this for the next seven years, because teams will always need that veteran in their lineup, keeping the position warm for the hot rookie in the minors.
As for his autographs, he has very few certified autographs and the one to own is without a doubt his 2001 Bowmans Best card (pictured below). Although many are available on eBay for between $6 – $30, I have personally been able to pick this one up for $2 shipped. A bargain for a hard working player who enchants the average Joe (or chemgod).