Mike Schmidt was one of the greatest third baseman baseball has ever known. He slugged 548 homers over 18 seasons all with the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s generally regarded as one of the better fielding third baseman in history as well. He won 10 gold gloves at the position between 1976-1986.
Yet, he was known as “Mr. Cool” during his career in Philadelphia. Schmidt never really showed much emotion either good or bad and that seemed to infuriate the passionate Phillie fans. There were definitely big moments in which he struggled, most notably the 1980 NLCS and the 1983 World Series. After popping out or striking out with runners on, he would just calmly walk back to the dugout, put his helmet and bat away and then just sit, not showing any emotion on the bench.
Evan Longoria has had a short career so far, but the similarities between him and Schmidt are striking. Both have big power and play their position extremely well. It would not surprise me a bit if one day Longoria is considered to be an even greater player than Schmidt. However, watching Longoria play last night against the Orioles, I found one more shocking comparison. Longoria also has a “Mr. Cool” attitude. Batting in the ninth inning with the tying run on third and one out, Longoria failed to drive home the tying run. Instead, he popped to the infield. Instead of slamming his bat down, he just ran to first base. Instead throwing his helmet upon reaching the dugout, he calmly sat down and rooted for his teammates.
Fortunately for the Rays and Longoria, Casey Kotchman came through with a clutch hit. Longoria later drove in the winning run and was three for four in those spots in the game. Obviously he cares and I think it’s a good thing that he isn’t overt in showing frustration. I just thought that the similarities between the two great players was so striking. Hopefully for the Rays sake, we’ll start seeing MVP-like performances from the young superstar.