HOF Plaque- Hayfu Sobah

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HOF Plaque- Hayfu Sobah

Post by recte44 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:53 pm

Born: October 9, 1942 in Japan
Drafted: 1st round, 18th overall pick, by Marquette in 1973 MBBA Dispersal Draft
All-Star selections: 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979

A first-round selection in the original MBBA draft, Sobah was a power-hitting middle infielder. Despite entering the league at the ripe age of 30 years, Sobah put up enough homers and RBIs to make the Hall of Fame in his third year of eligibility, earning the honor with 74 percent of the vote (17 of 23 ballots).

Sobah helped Marquette reach 80 wins in the league's' inaugural season, putting up MVP-type numbers of .293/.406/.582, 33 doubles, 45 homers, 127 RBI, 18 steals, 109 walks, 29 strikeouts, 136.3 XR and 29.7 OWS in 601 at-bats (somehow losing the in-game award to Miles Dalrymple -- .350/.407/.556, 44, 24, 107, 28, 53, 97, 118.5, 22.5 in 565 AB).

Possibly because of frustration with the award voting the previous season, Sobah slumped to .266/.348/.524 with 30 homers, 96 RBI and just 58 walks in 489 at-bats the next year. He fell even further early in the 1975 season, hitting just .260/.325/.451 with nine homers in 54 at-bats.

With Sobah struggling and in a walk year, Marquette general manager Travis tried to sign the 32-year-old to a contract extension but failed. Travis finally decided to deal him to New Orleans for Joe Gillstrom, Scott Payton and Frank Young.

The deal worked out better for Sobah than it did for Marquette. The Suns were knocked out of the first round in the playoffs, but Sobah and the Crawdads made the Landis Memorial Series, falling to Washington, 4-2. Sobah hit .227/.326/.515 with 23 homers, 68 RBI, 45 walks and 12 strikeouts in 330 at-bats with New Orleans.

At just 33 years old, Sobah hit the free agent market aiming for a big payday. Marquette, drooling at the thought of Sobah hitting alongside Gillstrom, signed the infielder to a four-year contract worth $11.3 million a year.

Sobah continued to struggle in the field (he finished his career with a .953 fielding percentage at short -- .981 at second) in his return to the Suns, but he returned to his pre-1975 days at the plate. Sobah put up OWS numbers of 24.6, 19.5, 25.3 and 19.2 during the contract, hitting marks of at least 24 homers, 80 RBI and 66 walks each season.

During the final year of his deal, Marquette again traded the star, sending him to Austin -- which had featured a hard-on for Sobah that would have dropped Des Moines' owner to his knees in a heartbeat -- for five players. Signed to a one-year extension for $5 million, Sobah finally hit the wall in 1980, hitting .224/.305/.419 with 13 homers and 42 RBI in 308 at-bats at 37 years old.

Las Vegas decided to give the former slugger one last chance in the majors, signing Sobah to a one-year deal for $1.5 million. The infielder struggled to a line of .178/.247/.295 in 146 at-bats, forcing Las Vegas to release him in late July.

Austin, again seeing a chance to shoot its wad without resorting to calling Iowa, picked up Sobah, but the glory days were long gone. Nearly 38, the former star was even worse -- .167/.167/.333 -- for Austin. He spent 1982 in Triple-A before finally retiring.

Sobah finished his nine-year career with totals of .260/.360/.508, 263 doubles, 230 homers, 768 RBI, 731 runs, 77 steals, 614 walks, 267 strikeouts, 749.1 XR and 159.4 OWS. Though he was just a shell of his early career by the end, Sobah struck fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers for the first seven seasons of the MBBA, rightfully earning a place in the Hall of Fame.
Matt Rectenwald
Commissioner, GM: Nashville Bluebirds

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