This week on "Remember When…." We are going all the way back to the early Nineties when a 25 year-old kid came up for half a season to turn the Yankee faithful into believers. Kevin Maas was going to be the next Babe Ruth.
In the middle of 1990, the Yankees called up Maas when Don Mattingly went down with back problems. The home run spree started in his 15th at-bat, from then he hit nine more in 62 at-bats! Maas tied a major league record with 12 home runs in his first 100 at-bats. His power stats over those 254 at-bats were stellar and created visions of a 40 HR season in the near future:
While Maas was clearly not a five tool player, those home runs sure looked good to the Pinstripes. Suddenly, the thought of moving Mattingly to a new position seemed possible. Unfortunately, along with all of us fantasy baseball owners who had rushed to the waiver wire for a crack at this player, the Yankee faithful would learn that what goes up must come down. (At least that’s what happened to the Topps rookie card I just had to have!)
While his 1991 season wasn’t a complete bust, the power wasn’t what it was expected to be over a full season and his batting average was a drag on the team. With Maas it was all or nothing, and to the dismay of many, there was way more bust than boom. Maas’ statistics continued to decline along with his playing time until he was out of the Major Leagues following a partial season with the Twins in 1995:
Maas played part of one more season in 1996 with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan, replacing Glenn Davis. His professional baseball career was then over. What had started with a bang, was now going out with a whimper. He had become almost the definition of a one-hit wonder. As one of those that saw that half-season in 1990, I prefer to remember what could have been.