Some players are legends, with many moments over their careers that stand out, while others long for that one brief shining moment; that one moment in time (cue Whitney Houston) where they can be a star.
Such a ballplayer was Brian Doyle.
Doyle was a small infielder, whose brother, Denny Doyle, played in the 1975 WS as a member of the Red Sox and who had an eight-year career with a .250 batting average with an OPS+ of 70.
Brian didn’t even have that kind of career. Brian Doyle played just four years in the majors, just 110 games over that span (1978-1981) and accumulated just 199 major league at bats. He had a major league line of .161, one HR (at Yankee Stadium off of Len Barker in 1980) and just 13 RBI. His OPS+ was a pathetic 11. Yes, eleven.
He was 32 for 199, with three doubles, the HR. He stole one base and was caught stealing five times.
He had nothing to write home about, except for one two-week postseason period.
God Bless Him, for he made the most of his one moment in the sun.
In 1978, Doyle, a 23-year-old rookie, hit just .192 with no RBI, and not even an extra-base hit, in 52 at bats. He was 10 for 52, 0 for 3 in SB attempts, in 39 games as a backup Yankees infielder. His OPS+ was 10. Yes, TEN.
But in the last week of the regular season, Willie Randolph got hurt. Doyle was thrust into the spotlight as the Yankees 2B (by default) for the 163rd game vs. Boston, and for the postseason.
It was Doyle who started at 2b and who went 0 for 2 in seven innings in the “Bucky Dent Game” up at Fenway.
He played in three games in the ALCS vs. KC, going 2 for 7 with 1 RBI.
Then came the 1978 WS. The best six games of Brian Doyle’s life, for in that WS, Doyle made the most of what would be his only shining moment of his MLB career.
Doyle went 7 for 16, drove in two runs, and ended the WS with a .438 batting average, higher even than WS MVP Bucky Dent. He led all regulars in batting average in that WS.
The rest of his career was nondescript. He had 32 AB in 1979, getting 4 hits and 5 RBI. .125-0-5. OPS+ 7. Yes, seven.
He was 13 for 75 in 1980, getting his only MLB HR. .173-1-5. OPS+ 29.
He ended his career in 1981 for the A’s, going 5 for 40 with 3 RBI. .125-0-3. OPS+ (-19). Yes, MINUS 19.
For his career, 199 at bats. .161-1-13, OPS+ 11.
But those six games… Six VERY IMPORTANT games. Six WORLD SERIES games. 7 for 16. You can never, ever, take THAT away from him.
Doyle, now 57, is currently working with DoyleBaseball camps, which he founded in 1978 along with his brothers Denny and Blake.
Talk about making the best of your opportunity!