A fond farewell to Mark, who wasn't a Red long, but is a Red for life in our memories.
He didn't make it to the majors until age 25, yet still managed to hang on in the show for 14 seasons in the sun, making over $5M in the process (though always less than $1M/year, and only twice more than $600k), and most certainly securing a healthy MLB pension. All this while never accumulating more than 259 AB's in a single season. Astonishingly, he had such a heavy lefty/righty split (OPS of .558 vs. R, .751 vs. L) that only 184 of his career 2131 plate appearances came against lefties.
For the Reds, he only played in 37 games during that magical 1999 season. He slapped the horsehide pretty well for the good guys, posting a monstrous 1.074 OPS. The Reds were smart enough (OK, Jack McKeon was shrewd enough) that his AB's came exclusively against righties that year, inflating his stats to a career high OPS+. Actually, he did have a PA against a lefty ONCE that year...and he worked a walk. Scraptastic!
And no career obit for Mark would be complete without mentioning that he came and went via trades of monumentally different values.:
February 2, 1999: Traded by the San Diego Padres with Greg Vaughn to the Cincinnati Reds for Damian Jackson, Reggie Sanders, and Josh Harris (minors).
January 14, 2000: Traded by the Cincinnati Reds with a player to be named later to the Milwaukee Brewers for Alex Ochoa. The Cincinnati Reds sent Gene Altman (minors) (May 15, 2000) to the Milwaukee Brewers to complete the trade.
The Ochoa trade was a yawn, but Ochoa actually played well for the Reds in limited time, then we traded Ochoa for Robin Jennings and Todd Walker. Jennings played decently for the Reds in limited time, and Walker was decent during his tenure, too. And when Tony Blanco was acquired for Walker, he was a bust...but since he was a toolsy outfielder, we bilked $50k out of Leatherpants in the 2004 Rule V draft. So even when we got rid of Sweeney, he gave us a couple of serviceable starters for a season or two, and then led us to pulling one over on Leatherpants that led to some cash...which we later wasted on CoPat. Meh.
Thanks, Mark. Enjoy your retirement. The righties won't miss you.