Morning Sports Update

‘Why can’t we get players like that?’ Bob Lobel explained the origin of his famous question

It dates back to a disastrous Red Sox trade from 1990.

Jeff Bagwell
Jeff Bagwell, a former Red Sox prospect, playing for the Astros in 2003. AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Tonight, the Bruins face the Senators in Ottawa at 7 p.m.

Elsewhere, the Celtics are also in action this evening, hosting the Rockets at 7:30 p.m.

On Sunday, the Patriots will be at home to play the Dolphins in a critical matchup at 1 p.m.

Bob Lobel explained the origin of a famous question: In his nearly 30 years working for WBZ-TV sports, Bob Lobel became known for several regular jokes, including his usage of a literal panic button.

One of his longest running (and enduring) lines was a simple question: “Why can’t we get players like that?”

The origin of the question, unsurprisingly, came from an ironic piece of humor. Lobel explained the backstory in a recent interview with WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton on “Sports Final.”


“It was a Lou Gorman moment,” Lobel told Burton, referencing the longtime Red Sox executive. Following the disastrous Red Sox decision (made by Gorman) to trade prospect Jeff Bagwell to the Astros in 1990, it eventually became clear that the Boston native was going to be a star player.

“Anytime he would hit a home run — and he hit a lot of them when he went to Houston — I asked, ‘Why can’t we get players like that?'” said Lobel. It remains a universally applicable refrain for teams that trade away future talent.

Bagwell, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2017, hit 449 career home runs. He won Rookie of the Year in 1991 and an MVP Award in 1994.

Trivia: What other former Astros player — who played in Houston from 1988-2007 — was also inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the last decade?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He ranks second all-time in the “hit by pitch” statistic, with 285.

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Trivia answer: Craig Biggio


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