Craig Counsell

The picture that graced Florida papers in October 1997 of Counsell hopping on home plate to score the winning run in Game Seven of the World Series captured the high point of an otherwise unremarkable career. His slick glove-work was not good enough to compensate for inconsistent hitting, so he played for four clubs over his first seven incomplete big-league seasons. But after hooking up with Arizona at the start of the 2000 season, the natural second baseman proved himself capable of playing third or short, making him a useful left-handed utilityman for the D-Backs’ playoff run.

Counsell knew that his fielding ability kept him on the roster. Unlike some players, who used their sponsorships to maintain a steady stream of new mitts, he depended on the same glove from the start of his professional career. “The Pancake” — so-called because of the floppiness of its well-worn leather — never acquired the status of Walt Weiss legendary glove (“The Creature”) but still earned its owner good-natured teasing from teammates. “You can take a picture of it,” he once told a reporter. “Just don’t put your hand in it.”