The term “dirtsack” is not usually one of endearment but around Hash Sports it is intended to be worn as a badge of honor. The dirtsack is the fine line that bridges the all-stars to the flashes in a pan. They have been the backbone of professional sports for thousands of years and continue to be the lifeblood of leagues everywhere. The men that make you turn to your friend at the bar and say, “this guy is still playing?” These aren’t the bums, hot dogs, or try-hards that plague professional leagues across all sports. Dirtsacks are the guys that end up making a very solid living for them and their families with a nice, wholesome decade or so long career that you pretty much forgot about.
This week’s DOTW is Bernard Gilkey. Yeah, remember Bernard Gilkey? He put together a pretty nice little career on the field with a .275 BA, 118 HRs, and 575 RBI over a 12-year career. With a 162 game average of 15 HRs, 71 RBI, and 15 stolen bases, Gilkey pretty much set the precedent for what kind of stats earn you a DOTW award. Not eye popping or world-beating numbers, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t mind having that guy on my team. A true dirtsack always has a year or two he can really hang his hat on and the Gilkamonster didn’t disappoint in 1996. He finished 14th in the MVP voting with 30 bombs, 117 RBI’s, 108 runs, and a .317 average. This led to his show-stealing role as “baseball player getting hit in head with fly ball as spaceship flys over-head” in the original Men In Black.
Gilkey’s acting career fizzled out along with his health on the field as he only managed to play 100 games one time after that stellar 1996 season. After a nice career with the Cardinals and Mets, Gilkey turned in a few seasons with the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Braves before hanging em up after the ’01 season. Sidenote – he is on the “Bobby Bonilla” contract and still earning up to $1 million a year until 2018 from the D-backs. Couple that with royalties from MIB and Gilkey is most likely sitting on a beach somewhere thinking, “I wonder if everyone forgot about me…?” Not us, Bernard…not us.