The Anagrammatical Beauty of Warner Madrigal

As a tournament Scrabbler, I spend a lot of time anagramming.  That hobby trickles into my day-to-day activities, as I often find myself passing street signs and rearranging the letters.

So it should come as no surprise that I like to anagram baseball player names.  Sometimes there is nothing really wonderful to be done with a particular player’s name.  Other times, you happen upon someone like Warner Madrigal.

On August 7, 2008, during a Rangers/Yankees game, in the comments section of a Bronx Banter post, I had brought up for discussion the hairdo of this portly rookie Texas Rangers pitcher. A few moments later, after running his name through my anagramming software (it shouldn’t surprise anyone to read that I possess such an item), I chimed in that the chunky reliever’s name anagrammed to “MARGINAL REWARD”.  A legend was born.

Now Madrigal’s legend was actually conceived earlier that season, when the 6’1″, 265-pounder made his made his major league debut in a game at Yankee Stadium.  With the Rangers leading 7-6 in the bottom of the 7th, Madrigal took to the mound, and was greeted thusly:
B. Abreu, Ground-rule Double (Fly Ball to LF Line)
A. Rodriguez, Walk
J. Giambi, Double to LF (Line Drive to Deep LF); Abreu Scores; Rodriguez Scores
J. Posada, Double to RF (Ground Ball); Giambi Scores
R. Cano, Single to RF (Ground Ball); Posada to 3B
W. Betemit, Groundout: 2B-P; Posada Scores; Cano to 2B
B. Gardner, Wild Pitch; Cano to 3B
B. Gardner, Single to RF (Line Drive to Short CF-RF); Cano Scores
Jamey Wright relieves Madrigal

Madrigal ended his debut with an ERA of 162.00, which exceeded his Body Mass Index only slightly.

He recovered enough to finish the year with an ERA under 5.00, but 2009 saw him battle wildness and a pesky forearm problem. After spending 2010 in the minors, pitching well for Oklahoma City, the Rangers released him at the end of the year.

This Spring the Yankees, on the heels of signing other stout slingers like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, signed “The Marginal One” to a minor-league deal.  You’ll note that Baseball Prospectus projects his 2011 VORP to be 0.0.  If that ain’t the epitome of a MARGINAL REWARD …

(A version of this post originally appeared on Bronx Banter.)


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