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Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End
They called Ron Coomer the “Coom Dawg.” What a lame nickname. Like, the guy played in the majors for nine seasons, and that’s the best they could come up with? Ron Coomer really does sound like the name of an obscure athlete, too. I could never picture Ron Coomer being an all-star, yet his Wikipedia page informed me that indeed, Coomer was the Twins’ lone representative in the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park. And with the all-millenium team in attendance, featuring a Ted Williams lovefest, Coomer is a mere footnote upon the 1999 baseball season. Coomer struck out in his only All-Star Game at-bat.
The Athletics took the infielder in the 14th round of the 1987 draft. Coomer kicked around in the A’s, White Sox’, and Dodgers’ farm systems before being traded to the Twins in 1995, for whom he would make his debut on August 1. Most of his major league success would come in Minnesota, where he would play five full seasons, including his all-star performance in 1999. Coomer hit .278 for the Twins with 77 home runs and a .746 OPS.
During the 2000 season, Coomer was moved from third base to accomodate the emergence of power-hitting third baseman Corey Koskie. The Twins released Coomer after that 2000 season, and he played a season each for the Cubs, Yankees, and Dodgers. The Coom Dawg was never the same after he left Minnesota. His last season was in 2003, when he played in just 69 games for Los Angeles.
Just because I was curious, other members of the ’99 AL All-Star Team? John Jaha, BJ Surhoff, Jose Offerman, and Brad Ausmus. Good thing Pedro was pitching.
Today is, of course, Father’s Day and we here at OA would be remiss if we didn’t pay a bit of an omage to the men in our lives who were there to beat us when we fucked up as kids. And so in that spirit, we’re putting a very special obscure spotlight today, on one very happy dad.
Delino DeShields was the 12th overall pick in the 1987 MLB first year player draft by les Expos, and he made his debut in April of 1990. DeShields was a solid base-stealer in his day, and his 463 steals make him the 44th most prolific base stealer in the history of the game. DeShields made zero all-star appearances in his 13 seasons, and never hit more than 11 home runs. He finished his career with a very average average, at .268, and is perhaps best known for being shipped to LA after the 1993 season for a young Pedro Martinez in what is widely regarded as the worst trade in Dodgers history.
DeShields retired after the ’02 season, and the world thought that it had seen the last of baseball players named Delino DeShields. Boy were we wrong. This June, Delino DeShields, Jr, was picked 8th overall by the Astros, a full four spots ahead of Papa Delino 23 years ago. Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to see Little Delino make it to the majors, but to have a major league father-son obscure tandem for baseball fans across generations to enjoy? That’s a different kind of success. Happy Father’s Day to my dad and to Delino DeShields.