The bat broke when it hit that golden chalice.
Why we like him: Iin 1992, Pat Listach (pronounced: liss-STASH) looked like a promising big-league talent. He was just 24 years old and won the starting job at shortstop on a strong Brewers squad that finished second in the AL East in 1992 behind an excellent Blue Jays team. That season Milwaukee's lineup featured the aging legends, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount, productive young guys beginning to find their niche in the league like Greg Vaughn and Dante Bichette, and steady veteran guys like Kevin Seitzer and B.J. Surhoff. They even featured a sneaky-good pitching staff full of guys who all had career years at the same time. If Toronto hadn't been so good that year, the Brewers probably would have been the World Series favorites.
Listach's '92 season wasn't necessarily the most productive rookie season ever (See: Pujols, Albert), but it definitely felt like this guy was going to be here for the long haul. He started the season on fire from the nine hole, and had worked his way into the Brewers' leadoff spot by May. He batted .290 in his first major-league season, and showed good speed with 54 steals in 149 games. He had become such an asset to a very good team that people around the game were overlooking some pretty glaring weaknesses, like a propensity for striking out, even as a leadoff hitter (124 Ks in '92). Nonetheless, Listach took home the 1992 Rookie of the Year trophy, narrowly beating out Kenny Lofton, and even finished 18th in MVP voting.
The following year, the league started to figure out how to pitch to Listach, as his batting average fell to a pedestrian .244, and he continued to strikeout at an alarming clip. He did pick it up a little in 1994, batting .296 in just 16 games, but in 1995 Listach only managed a lame .219 average. He was traded to the Yankees in a waiver trade in 1996, but never played a single game for the Bombers. After being granted free agency at the end of '96, Listach signed on with the Astros where he batted .182 through 54 games in 1997 before being released on July 1. He then bounced around and downward like a Plinko disk through a couple of minor league organizations, but never played another major-league game.
Pat Listach was a flash in the pan in its purest form, but he was just lucky enough to take home an award for it. His final line: 6 seasons, .251 average, 5 homers, 338 Ks, and one trophy. Since his retirement from playing ball, he's served as a pretty successful manager in the Cubs minor league system before working his way back to the majors as the Nationals' third base coach in 2009. If you're just dying to see Pat Listach right now, take a look in the Cubs' dugout. He became their bench coach in 2010 and still coaches benches to this day. If Donny Baseball looks like he could still hit .280 right now at 50, Listach looks like he could hit .130 and destroy a buffet at 43.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pat Listach, Ballplayer.