Position: Third Baseman
- Detroit Tigers (1990-1997)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (1997)
- Cleveland Indians (1998-2002)
- Drafted in the first round (30th overall) of the ’87 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers
- 5x All-Star (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000)
- Silver Slugger Award (1992)
- Gold Glove Award (2000)
- Career .274 average with 223 HR and 1,022 RBI in 13 seasons
- Retired in 2002 at the age of 33 due to injury
- Now manages the Class-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers (Indians organization)
A shortstop to begin his career, Fryman made the full-time switch to 3rd base in 1994, but he didn’t have the hitting statistics you typically see from today’s all-star 3rd basemen. Over his 3 all-star seasons at 3rd base (note: his other two all-star appearances were as a shortstop), he averaged a .284 batting average with 21 home runs and 97 RBI. For comparison, if Fryman put up those stats in 2007, he would have been 9th among 3rd basemen in home runs and batting average, and 8th in RBI’s. Would Fryman be an all-star 3rd baseman in today’s game? Maybe not, but he would still be a very valuable player. One of the things that made him so valuable was his consistency. He never put up gigantic numbers, but year-in and year-out he put up solid numbers. You could always count on him to hit in the upper .200’s, knock out around 20 homers, and put up 80-100 RBI. (Fryman’s career stats)
He complemented his bat with a solid glove in the field. He won the AL Gold Glove Award for 3rd basemen in 2000 after committing only 8 errors all season, including a 60-game errorless streak. He also had his best season at the plate that year, hitting a career high .321 with 22 HR and a career high 106 RBI.
Given that he had such an outstanding season in 2000 (at the age of 31), it seems odd that he only played two more seasons in the MLB. Injuries got the best of him, however. In 2001 he tore a ligament in his right elbow, and the tear led to shoulder problems which required surgery. As a result, Fryman spent a lot of time on the DL, and when he did see the field, he struggled. Fryman announced in August 2002 that he would retire at the end of the season. In conjunction with his retirement, he issued this statement:
“I’ve always considered myself a blue-collar type of player and an overachiver. I only hope that people thought I gave my best effort out there. If I was not able to play at an acceptable level, I would walk away. This season has been really long, but the 13 years went by really fast.” (recovered from this source)
Here’s a big Travis Fryman fan who makes a case for Fryman to be in the Hall of Fame. His reason? Everyone else in his era cheated. Here’s another article on Fryman and the Hall of Fame, but this one cites his intangibles as a qualifying criteria for his entry into the Hall. He was on the ballot in 2008, but received only two votes, which was 406 votes shy of what he needed to get in.
Here’s a Detroit Tigers blog that ranks the Tigers’ 1987 draft as their 5th best in history, solely because of Travis Fryman.
After working as a spring training instructor for the Indians for a few years, Fryman was hired as manager of their short-season Class A team, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, in Novemeber of 2007. In his inaugural season of managing, Fryman’s Scrappers currently sit at 13-15. Apparently, he’s already been ejected from a game.
I’m guessing the Scrappers’ players don’t do too well with the ladies:
Here’s some more evidence supporting the above statement:
A warning from Travis Fryman:
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