Two for Tuesday: Fourplay

When I was in college, each floor of my dorm had an intramural team. I lived on the fourth floor, and the trick was to come up with a clever name for our team. Naturally, being male college students, we came up with the name “Fourplay.” (The following year, in honor of “Star Wars,” we were “The Fource.”) So I was rather surprised to hear in 1991 that there was a new smooth jazz band that had the same idea of naming themselves “Fourplay.” In their case, it was four superstars of smooth jazz: Lee Ritenour (session man since the early Seventies) on guitar, Bob James (who among other things wrote “Angela,” the theme fronm the TV show “Taxi”) on piano and keyboards, Nathan East (played with Eric Clapton and wrote the song “Easy Lover” for Phil Collins and Philip Bailey) on bass, and Harvey Mason (who worked with all of the others at one time or another) on drums. Together, they recorded three albums, Fourplay (1991), Between the Sheets (1993), and Elixir (1994). Lee Ritenour left the band in 1997; his replacement was the equally-talented Larry Carlton. With Carlton, they recorded 4 (1998), Snowbound (1999), Yes, Please! (2000), Heartfelt (2002), Journey (2004), X (2006), and Energy (2008). Carlton left the band in 2010, and was replaced by Chuck Loeb (yet another superb smooth jazz guitar player), with whom they recorded Let’s Touch The Sky (2010) and Esprit de Four (2012). There was also a “greatest hits” album released in 1997, after Ritenour’s departure.

The two songs here are in fact the first two songs off of the first album, “Bali Run,” featuring Lee Ritenour on guitar, and “101 Eastbound,” featuring Larry Carlton. Enjoy!

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By the way: This is post number 200 for this blog. Thanks for being there for me!

Steve Trout (#atozchallenge)

Steve Trout: Pitcher, bats and throws left (source: morthas.com)
Steve Trout: Pitcher, bats and throws left (source: morthas.com)

Joined the White Sox: 6/8/76, drafted by the White Sox in the first round of the 1976 amateur draft
Left the White Sox: 1/25/83, traded to the Chicago Cubs with P Warren Brusstar for IFs Scott Fletcher and Pat Tabler and Ps Dick Tidrow and Randy Martz
White Sox statistics: 115 games, 37-40, 3.82 ERA, 292 strikeouts

Steve, known as “Rainbow” to White Sox fans, was the son of former major league pitcher Dizzy Trout. I saw him on a Sunday afternoon pitch six innings of a no-hitter in which he made an incredible diving stop of a bunt, throwing to first while practically lying flat on the ground. Of course, the wheels came off after that, and Steve ended up losing the game. But he looked good doing it…

Ron Santo (#atozchallenge)

Ron Santo: infielder, batted and threw right (source: halloffamememorabilia.com)
Ron Santo: infielder, batted and threw right (source: halloffamememorabilia.com)

Joined the White Sox: 12/11/73, traded from the Chicago Cubs for Ps Ken Frailing, Steve Stone and Jim Kremmel and C Steve Swisher
Left the White Sox: after the 1974 season, retired
White Sox statistics: 117 games, .221 average, 5 home runs, 41 RBI

Ron Santo was a legend on the North Side. At one time, he was to the National League what Brooks Robinson was to the American, namely the best third baseman in the league. He was an All-Star ten times, from 1963 through 1973 (except for 1970), hit 342 home runs lifetime, and finished his career with a .277 average and an OPS (on base average plus slugging percentage) of .825. The Cubs had received Bill Madlock, a highly-touted rookie third baseman, in the trade that sent Fergie Jenkins to Texas, and were willing to part with Santo. The Sox sent seveeral players to the Cubs and got Santo, who played all four infield positions and was used as a designated hitter in 1974, before deciding to retire.

Ron had suffered with diabetes his whole life, eventually losing the lower half of both legs. He was an announcer with the Cubs from 1990 until his death in 2010. The BBWAA, who elect players to the Hall of Fame, showed him little support in his years of eligibility, but the Veterans’ Committee elected him last year. It was an honor sadly overdue.

Gary Redus (#atozchallenge)

Gary Redus: outfield, bats and throws right (source: amazon.com)
Gary Redus: outfield, bats and throws right (source: amazon.com)

Joined the White Sox: 3/26/87, traded by the Philadelphia Phillies for P Joe Cowley and cash
Left the White Sox: 8/19/88, traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for IF/OF Mike Diaz
White Sox statistics: 207 games, .246 average, 18 HR, 82 RBI

Gary Redus brought lots of speed to the White Sox, stealing 78 bases (an 86% rate) in just under two years. The White Sox rewarded Gary for his good 1987 by trying to cut his pay by $30,000 in 1988. Gary won his arbitration case and got a 15% raise, likely the reason that he was traded before 1989….

Jim Qualls (#atozchallenge)

Jim Qualls: outfield/pinch hitter, bats both, throws right (source: hallofffamememorabilia.com)
Jim Qualls: outfield/pinch hitter, bats both, throws right (source: hallofffamememorabilia.com)

Joined the White Sox: 12/14/71, traded by the Cincinnati Reds for P Pat Jacquez
Left the White Sox: 6/16/72, released
White Sox statistics: 11 games, .000 batting average, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Jim Qualls had been a successful pinch hitter with the Cubs during their quest for the NL East title in 1969. He spent most of his time in the minor leagues after that before the White Sox picked him up to use as a pinch hitter. After he was released, he signed with the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes of the Japan Pacific League.