Saturday, August 1, 2009

GSNHOF Nominee - Razor Shines

Way back in mid July I promised that Razor Shines would eventually be nominated for the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame. Well, today is his day.

Anthony Razor Shines was the third man in his family to be given the middle name Razor. In a move that exudes pure awesome, the Anthony part became an afterthought, meaning that since he was little, this dude has gone by Razor Shines (Note: Hall Eligibility necessitates the name be birth given - this still counts, as Razor is his birth given middle name. If you disagree you're probably just jealous of his great name.)

Shines has had a long career in baseball, although none of it was ever superbly successful. He started as an excellent switch hitting catching prospect in Montreal's minor league system. Shines did have a heck of a minor league career, playing sixteen seasons between the Pirates and Expos farm clubs, including nine with the Indianapolis Indians. He had 134 homeruns and over 700 rbi at the minor league level, which is quite impressive. Problem was, the Expos has Gary Carter at Catcher, and Shines wasn't going to displace him. So Shines learned the infield corners in the minors, hoping to settle in at 1B since Tim Wallach was at 3B. It worked for a hot minute, as he finally got some starts in 1985 over the much older Dan Driessen. However, after hitting .120 with no extra base hits in 50 at bats, Shines was benched one day to let super prospect Andres Galarraga play. Needless to say, Shines was done as a 1B option in Montreal, with 6 games in 1987 representing the end of his Major League Career. Despite that short career, Shines actually holds a MLB record! Sadly, it's the record for most games played by a pitcher without scoring a run, at 68 games. On a more awesome note, Razor Shines also pitched an inning once, facing four batters without allowing a run.

Razor Shines finally retired from baseball in 1994, at the age of 38. Since then, he's still been quite busy in baseball. After a few years managing the Indiapolis Indians, Shines moved to the White Sox system, which included three years under Jerry Manuel. These minor league jobs and his relationship with Manuel are what finally got him back to the big leagues, first in 2007 as a White Sox base coach and then in 2008 as the Mets base coach, where he currently resides (for better or worse).

All things told, it's a shame Razor never got much of a shot in the major leagues. He absolutely raked at the minor league level, but was blocked by all of that great Expos talent of the 80's and early 90's. Shines never got his shot at glory, but we're going to give him one more shot here at the Great Sports Name Hall of Fame. Best of luck to you Razor, let's hope this time you make it in spite of all the great
namestalent around you.

One final note: A few of the Razor Shines stories on the web include an anecdote about how Shines began the 1985 season as the Expos starting first basemen on opening day in Cincinnati (example one, example two). I've looked at both Baseball Almanac and Baseball Reference, and they both have Dan Driessen as the starter on opening day. Could anyone shine some light on this for me?

Okay one more note: Hilarious website I found after posting this: Razor Shines, Your 3rd Base Coach of Life

To see the best sports names of all time, visit the Truly Great Names page.
To see some good sports names that were voted out, visit the Good Names page.
To see the current voting ballot, visit the Ballot page.


  1. From what I can glean from, he was probably drafted as a 1B and the Expos tried to force him into catching in hopes of turning him into a prospect; he was drafted in the 18th round, so it's not like anyone had taken him seriously as someone who might hit enough to play 1B at the major league level.

    From the scouting report at the aforementioned site, he looks like a pretty weird player. He didn't have enough power to bat in the middle of the order and not enough speed to hit at the top or leg out many basehits. I don't blame the Expos for failing to give him a chance. Looking at the best of his numbers, I can't imagine him hitting better than, say, .270/.345/.420 in the majors. If that's his peak, this switch-htting 1B is probably best described as a poor man's JT Snow. But really, who knows. The Expos had taken seriously Warren Cromartie a few years prior as a solution at first, and his career averages were .281/.336/.402.

  2. Yeah, he struck me as the .270 with 15-20 homerun power. Which sort of worked back in the day, but not as a star. But you'd think the Expos might have tried.

  3. Albert Pfister (the P is silent, like in pneumonia)January 16, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    I remember seeing Razor Shines back in the late '80s. Most of the Astros games and a lot of the Rangers games are locally televised in southwest Louisiana and I remember an Astros/Expos game where Razor Shines was playing. I thought 'Razor' was just a nickname. Maybe he had an uneven beard or something and had gotten that nickname. I didn't realize it was really his given name.