Monday, June 17, 2013

The Bret Barberie Incident

Last week, we heard about the disastrous start to the Six Packs' 1992 Draft, with The Ramon Martinez Incident.

As I alluded to at the time, that incident didn't mark the low point of the Six Packs' draft that day. Six Packs' owner Kelly Barone fell into a distracted, brooding funk after getting stuck with Martinez. He came into the Draft with significantly less money to spend than all but one other owner, and blowing .13 on a pitcher he wanted nothing to do with threw his entire strategy and approach into chaos.

When he should have been focused on moving on, all Kelly could think about was his misjudgment in bidding on Martinez. This festering wound was brought back to the surface when Kelly tried to bid on Tom Candioti, a pitcher he had come into the Draft wanting, but was unable to bid high enough because of the money he'd wasted on Martinez.

Of course, Pitcher wasn’t the only roster spot Kelly needed to fill that day. He also came into the Draft with all three corner infield spots open (1B, 3B, 1B/3B). Combined, the other eight teams needed to fill 11 corner spots. Considering the disadvantage Kelly was working with money-wise compared to the other teams, he had is work cut out for him.

Throughout the Draft, there had been a lot of joking about which team would end up with Cub third baseman Gary Scott. In 1991, Scott had torn the cover off the ball in Spring Training and went early in the Draft, for .09 to Dem Rebels. Scott had a terrible season, hitting just .165, and the Rebels cut him. When Scott had another great Spring Training in 1992 and was again named the Cubs’ starting third baseman, Scott’s availability in the Draft became a running gag.

As the Draft wore on, corner infielder after corner infielder was put up for bid, 7 of them over the first several rounds of the Draft, and Kelly did not acquire a single one of them. Whether it was by design or the effects of the Martinez/Candiotti debacle, the 6th round of the Draft was drawing to a close and Kelly had not filled any of his corner infield spots. In fact he hadn’t drafted a single player since Ramon Martinez.

Dem Rebels owner, Rich, was sitting directly across from Kelly, and noticed him dropping out of the bidding early on corner men, and began to speculate about who Kelly was waiting for. When Ruffins’ owner, Dave, nominated Expos infielder Bret Barberie, Rich and Kelly began to discuss whether Barberie, the Expos’ Opening Day third baseman, had been the corner infielder Kelly had been waiting for. Kelly claimed he had forgotten about Barberie, but he joined in the bidding, clearly encouraged by the opportunity to fill his 3B roster spot.

Unfortunately Kelly and Rich failed to check Barberie’s defensive games played for the previous season. Although he had played 10 games at 3B, that was short of the 20 needed to qualify to be drafted there in 1992 – Barberie qualified only at SS, the position he had played the most in 1991.

When Kelly finally won the bidding for Barberie, there was some good natured celebration over the fact that Kelly had recovered from his earlier troubles, but the celebration was short-lived as other owners put the kibosh on his plans to put Barberie at 3B.

The Bret Barberie Incident was yet another mishap in Kelly’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, but it wasn’t the final insult. That came later, when Kelly was forced to draft Gary Scott for .09 to fill his last corner infielder spot.


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