Make me an offer, man, and I'll probably chuck it into the stands.
Why we like him: I wouldn't say I like Jose Offerman, but I do like to think about him. As far as my memory goes, Jose was undoubtedly the single worst defensive shortstop from my childhood. He managed to hang in there and boast a career that spanned 15 seasons and 7 different clubs. You didn't want seats down the first base line with this guy at shortstop unless you had a hardhat, kevlar vest, and proof of insurance. As the old joke goes: How do you spell 'Offerman?' An 'O,' two 'Fs,' and 230 'Es.'
Offerman came up with the Dodgers in 1990 where he didn't exactly light the box score on fire, posting a .155 average in 29 games in 1990 before finding his crap-tastic groove in 1991 and hitting .195 in 52 games. I can honestly say I have no idea what Tommy Lasorda was thinking by keeping him around. He was a shortstop that couldn't hit sand if he fell off a camel, he couldn't catch the swine flu, and he was a candidate to hit an elderly fan in the thorax with an errant throw on any given play, and somehow he made the All Star team in 1995.
Watching a routine grounder to shortstop with Offerman out there was like watching a 1990 Honda CRX with racing slicks try to navigate an icy road near a crowded playground. There was a possibility that everything would be fine at the end, but there was also the possibility of something horrible happening. Bleeding bystanders crying all the way to the Dodger Stadium exits, carnage so epic that Brett Butler would swallow his chaw, you name it. He was that bad.
After six seasons of that caliber of play, anyone would be headed for Kansas City, and that's exactly what happened in 1996. Offerman spent three seasons in the world's barbecue capital where his coaching staff had the revelation that maybe a guy who can't catch or throw probably should be at shortstop. The Royals played him all over the field--second base, in the outfield, first base--and his defense was convincingly less horrible. When the Red Sox took a flyer on him for the 1999 season, he was at least a productive batter, posting near-.300 or better averages from 1995 until 1999. By the time his career was winding down in the early 00s, he had settled into his role as an emergency first baseman/outfielder/designated hitter who did what he could and didn't worry too much about his glove.
So what was Jose Offerman's appeal? I think it's about respect. You don't make 230 errors by accident. You make 230 errors by giving it your best shot every time out, only your best is just slightly terrible. We salute you, Jose Offerman, and give you 230 Es for effort.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jose Offerman, Ballplayer.