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Those who watch Yankees games on YES know that Michael Kay will often mention Homer Bush’s role on the 1998 Yankees whenever discussing how important good baserunning and stolen bases are, particularly from bench players. He tends to pontificate on the topic for a while, suggesting Bush was the consummate bench player and was a key cog on the 1998 Yankees. Yet a close look at the numbers suggest that Kay is misremembering the importance of Homer Bush.
Bush did hit well in his limited appearances, with a gaudy .380/.421/.465 line. However, despite being with the team all year, those numbers came in just 78 plate appearances, and he had just 4 extra base hits and 5 RBI on the season. More importantly, his baserunning was adequate at best. He was just one run better than average as a baserunner in 1998, and had just 6 stolen bases to go with 3 CS’s. In total, he was worth 0.8 wins above replacement over the regular season. The postseason was even less eventful. Over 3 series, he had no at-bats, stole 2 bases, and scored one run. In all, he had a limited impact on the basepaths, in the field, and although he performed well when given a chance, at the plate as well.
The next time Michael Kay brings up Homer Bush’s stellar 1998 season on the basepaths, just tune him out. Bush was an adequate bench piece, and nothing more.
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