Shooty Babitt

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Mack Neal Babitt

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Biographical Information[edit]

"If you ever see Shooty Babitt play second base for me again, I want you to Shooty me." - Billy Martin

Shooty Babitt was born March 9, 1959, in Oakland, California. He attended Berkeley High School in California. In his senior year, he was named to the all-Northern California team along with Greg Zunino, whose son, Mike, was a first round pick of the Seattle Mariners two and a half decades later. In the 1977 amateur draft, the Oakland A's took Shooty in the 25th round.

Babitt played his first pro season with the Medicine Hat A's, in the Pioneer League. He was used mostly as a third baseman. In 50 games, his line was .300/.363/.411. He was sent to the Modesto A's, in the California League in 1978, playing third, the outfield and also at DH. In 109 games, his line was .263/.351/.381, all figures that were close to the team averages. In 1979, he was the Waterbury A's main second baseman in the Eastern League, leading the team with 68 runs scored and 184 total bases. In 133 games, his line was .267/.325/.380. He split the 1980 season between Waterbury and the Ogden A's in the Pacific Coast League, playing second base at both levels. He began the season with Ogden but was sent down to Waterbury in June before coming back to Triple A one month later. His OPS was .789 with Waterbury in 29 games, but only .639 with Ogden in 93 games.

Despite his modest numbers at Triple A in 1980, Babitt took advantage of an opening at second base with the big league A's in 1981. He was the Opening Day starter at second base and did well at the beginning, hitting close to .300 until mid-May. After the midseason strike, he remained the team's second baseman until September, when he made only one start in the second game of a doubleheader. In 54 games, his final line was .256/.314/.301 in what was his lone season in the big leagues. It was clear that the A’s would go another direction at second base in 1982. His defense was especially an issue as he turned only 5 double plays. In September and the postseason, it was Dave McKay and Keith Drumright who manned the position.

Babitt began the 1982 campaign with the Tacoma Tigers, in the PCL. He was not doing too bad, playing second base and hitting .290 although without much power or plate discipline when he was released in June. He was picked up by the Montreal Expos organization in a year in which their second base position was a mess, which of course had repercussions at the Triple A level with the Wichita Aeros in the American Association. Babitt played 31 games with Wichita, hitting .282. He played the 1983 season with both Wichita and the Memphis Chicks in the Southern League. His overall stats were the best of his career. In 121 games, mostly at second but also in the outfield, his combined OPS was .759 with a career-high 19 stolen bases. His playing time was cut significantly in 1984 with the Indianapolis Indians in the American Association. He was a utility player with most of his time in the outfield. His line was .230/.345/.303 in 55 games when he was released in June.

After his playing career, Babitt remained in baseball. He was a longtime scout with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2008, he moved to the New York Mets. He also worked as a TV analyst for the Oakland A's, beginning in 2008. His son, Zach Babitt, was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 2007 amateur draft out of high school but chose to attend college. Zach was then drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2012 amateur draft, signed with the Dodgers and played two seasons in the low minor leagues.

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