In our newest segment here at High Ceiling Sports, we’re trying to give some love to those athletes that, when asked about, are usually described as being okay, or decent, or satisfactory. In other words: He’s alright.
Let’s say your favourite team was facing a pitcher you don’t know much about. You ask your buddy about him and he gives you the detailed scouting report: “He’s alright.”
Or you’re going up against a team’s backup goalie. You go to their team message board to try to gain some insight into his playing style. Some intelligent insider gives you the details: “He’s alright.”
Perhaps you’re looking at some NFL stats and notice a linebacker has a bunch of tackles. You wonder if he’s a big-time playmaker or just tackling guys 8 yards past the line of scrimmage 10 times a game. When you find someone who knows a little bit about him, he tells you that, you guessed it, “he’s alright.”
I was hoping to have some sort of jingle to go with this segment. This is the best I could find on such short notice:
That’ll have to do for now.
Next up, our fancy logo reveal:
So what goes into making it into the He’s Alright Hall of Fame? First of all, it’s not an insult. I’m thinking back to players that seemed to play for a while, but never really at an elite or star level, nor at a “he sucks” level. Somewhere in between. He’s not a player you need on your team but if he’s on it, he’s alright. You wouldn’t buy his jersey or call him your favourite player, but hey, he’s alright. You won’t make a lengthy argument for his Hall of Fame induction (like I did for Torry Holt right here), but if he somehow comes up in conversation years after his retirement, you’d probably say that he was alright. Get the picture?
Let’s get started with our first ever He’s Alright player profile:
Teams: Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks
A common theme among many He’s Alright Hall of Famers is playing for a bunch of teams. You’re good enough that teams will take you, but not quite good enough that they’ll keep you around for too long. Leake is the reason this whole idea came to be. His name randomly popped into my head last night. I wondered if he was still playing. When I looked him up, this picture appeared:
This just showed how perfect Mike Leake was for the He’s Alright Club. I forgot his first name and instead was looking into Chris Leak, former Florida Gators QB (perhaps a college football candidate for the He’s Alright Club?)
Back to Mike. He last played in 2019. He decided to sit out last season because of Covid. Once again, perfect for this club; I didn’t even know that he didn’t play last season. Here’s what I do remember about Leake: he was a high draft pick (8th overall in 2009), he pretty well skipped playing in the minors, and then he proceeded to be alright for a number of years.
He stayed healthy (8 straight seasons of 30+ starts) and he did a good job not walking too many hitters. He also had a few decent seasons as a hitter.
He didn’t throw very hard and wasn’t a big strikeout guy. He also gave up over 41 homeruns in 2019 (worst in the league).
105 wins, 98 losses, 4.05 ERA
He never won more than 14 games, but never fewer than 8. Not only was he alright, he was consistently alright. He was pretty well a .500 pitcher with a 4 ERA for the duration of his career. If Mike Leake was your ace, you were in trouble. If he was your #4, that was fine. Or alright.
Check this out, though: His career earnings ended up at almost $100 million! If there’s a position to be alright at, so long as you can stay healthy, a pitcher in baseball has to be at the top of the list. Teams will pay big money for you to be alright every 5th day for them.
Congratulations, Mr. Leake, first member of the He’s Alright Club! Smile for your picture:
Wait a minute…