IKF. 193 comments


The Wally Pipp story is legendary now.

Pipp was the starting first baseman for the New York Yankees in the 1920s. A good home run hitter, he was strikeout prone and less than stellar in the field.

In 1925 Pipp started the season slowly. The entire Yankee team, in fact, did. After making the World Series in three of the four previous seasons, the Yankees were mired in seventh place (out of eight teams) when, on June 2, Wally Pipp showed up to Yankee Stadium with a headache.

He asked for the day off.

The Yankees put in some guy named Lou Gehrig in his place. That game, Gehrig went 3-for-5. He played the next 2,130 games.

Pipp was quickly traded to Cincinnati, and was out of baseball three seasons later.

Sometimes you have to replace the former star with a better guy.

In a totally unrelated story, on April 9 of 2018, Rangers starting second baseman Rougned Odor, who had played every game the season before, and every game so far in the 2018 season, pulled a hamstring running the bases and had to leave the game.

Odor was coming off the worst season anyone with 30-plus home runs ever had, finishing second-to-last in all of baseball in batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS.

He started 2018 as uninspiringly as his 2017 season, hitting just .206 with no home runs and just four runs driven in.

Odor was replaced by Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who has started every game since.

Kiner-Falefa is no Lou Gehrig. And his consecutive game streak, currently standing at just eleven games, will not come within the same try-county area of Gehrig’s. But he has quickly become a fan favorite. And he is producing, hitting .289 with one home run, four RBIs, and an OPS that is better already than what Odor’s has been able to accumulate for his career. Oh, and Kiner-Falefa plays much better defense.

Two of Kiner-Falafa’s four RBIs came in yesterday’s 7-4 win over the Seattle Mariners, in a bases-loaded situation that has been deadly for the Rangers this season. They were huge runs, the sixth and seventh of the game for Texas, as Rangers pitching desperately tried to give the game away.

Again, Kiner-Falefa is no Lou Gehrig. And Jeff Banister is no Miller Huggins, legendary manager of the New York Yankees. Banister would never have the cojones to replace Odor with Kiner-Falefa full time.

When Odor returns, Kiner-Falefa will return to Triple-A Round Rock. And the Rangers will return to having a gaping hole in their lineup and in their infield defense.

That’s a shame.

The Rangers have made a significant upgrade at second base. With a guy from their own beleaguered system. A guy who plays better defense, make better contact, and gives them a better lineup.

They are destined for a last-place finish. Watching young guys like Kiner-Falefa succeed is about the only thing worth watching on this team this season.

You never want to wish an injury on anyone. But you do want Rougned Odor to take his time coming back.

Don’t rush things, Rougned. Make sure that hamstring is good and ready. Give it some time. Maybe try to come back sometime in July or August. Of the 2023 season.

The Rangers can make it without you. Somehow.

That Kiner-Falefa kid is okay.


Trevor Cahill (1-0, 0.00) vs. Matt Moore (1-3, 5.59)
Game time: 7:05

How the Athletics hit against Moore.
How the Rangers hit against Cahill.