Happy Birthday, Phil Garner! Born April 30, 1949.

Today we salute Phil Garner, who turns 75. Despite a 16-year playing career from 1973 to 1988, we have no memory of his playing days – and only recall him as a manager of teams that struggled to crack .500 in the 1990s and 2000s. 

What’s really amazing is how Garner racked up 3 All-Star appearances (1976, 1980 and 1981) despite being a lifetime .260 hitter and never cracking the .300 mark or more than 17 HRs in any season of his career. 

Garner did have good speed during the first decade but we still aren’t quite sure how he amassed a career 29.7 WAR. For reference, that’s a higher WAR than some contemporaries who were considered stars at some point (Greg Luzinski 26.2, Steve Sax 25.7, Kevin Mitchell 29.1). At 985-1,054, Garner’s 15-year record as a manager with the Brewers, Tigers and Astros was also kind of meh, and he still holds the record for most games managed without achieving 1,000 wins. 

So here’s to you, Phil Garner, for maximizing 30+ years of success without the big numbers. Who was your favorite “he was ok” guy, player or manager, who just seemed to stick with it long enough to make his name unforgettable without being remarkable?

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