Since the Pro Bowl was today I thought about trying to find some useless, maybe interesting Pro Bowl facts but then I remembered there is nothing interesting about the Pro Bowl. When I was younger I actually used to love watching the game and would even record it to watch it again later. What the hell was wrong with me? I would be upset when my favorite players wouldn't play in the game but now I question the sanity of any player who'd play in the game. Hey if I were a player I wouldn't play, call me a pussy if you want but I wouldn't risk my career in such a meaningless game. Well I guess suffering a potential career ending injury in the Pro Bowl wouldn't be as bad as suffering one playing a flag football game on the beach like poor Robert Edwards in 1999.
One thing I did find when I was looking for anything from the past from the Pro Bowl was the first MVP of the Pro Bowl after I was born (that being the 1979 Pro Bowl) was Ahmad Rashad. Almost no one seems to remember that he was a pretty good wide receiver in his day at the University of Oregon and then with the Minnesota Vikings. His post career is better remembered for marrying the mom from the Cosby Show and being Michael Jordan's personal interviewer. You know in the 1990's if you were to kick Michael Jordan in the balls you would have also been kicking Ahmad Rashad in the head.
Speaking of verbal fellatio of athletes, I made the mistake of flipping on the Pro Bowl when they were discussing Brett Favre. Now I don't have it down word for word but here is essentially what Mike Patrick said of Favre possibly retiring:
Good lord. I know announcers aren't journalists but how can you take someone seriously when they something like this? Mike also seems to have a conflict of interests with his feelings as he says it'll make him happy but it will break his heart. With him done with announcing after tonight he'll now have free time to stalk Brett. I definently won't miss him as listening to Mike Patrick announce a game always sounded to me like a guy calling a game that he just saw the previous week.
To not turn this into solely a blog about the Oakland A's (although I'll probably just go back to them for my next entry) I figured I'd pull out something random. So here is a look back at the 1989 NBA Draft using Win Shares.
I picked the '89 Draft because for quite the lack of talent that came out of it as there is not a future Hall of Famer in the class, it featured it's 2nd pick overall Danny Ferry pitching a fit after being selected by the Clippers and sitting out the '89-'90 season, and it was the first year that the draft was shrunk to two rounds. As you'll see they couldn't fit nearly a full round of decent NBA talent. In addition only Clifford Robinson is still active from the '89 Draft so you can realistically evaluate a draft when almost every player is no longer in the league rather than those who try to evalute only a few years after a draft. Robinson incidently enough was the best value pick of the draft as he was not selected until 36th overall.
Now for Win Shares, everyone thinks of them for baseball but at Basketball-Reference.com they came up with a version for basketball. I don't know how reliable the stat is but seems useful to compare the success of players who were drafted the same year.
1989 NBA Draft Rankings by Career Win Shares
1. Glenn Rice, Miami - 270 Win Shares (4th pick)
2. Vlade Divac, L.A. Lakers - 269 (26th)
3. Clifford Robinson, Portland - 258 (36th)
4. Tim Hardaway, Golden State - 252 (14th)
5. Shawn Kemp, Seattle - 237 (17th)
6. Mookie Blalock, New Jersey - 203 (12th)
7. Sean Elliott, San Antonio - 174 (3rd)
8. Nick Anderson, Orlando - 161 (11th)
9. B.J. Armstrong, Chicago - 138 (18th)
10. Dana Barros, Seattle - 133 (16th)
11t. Danny Ferry, L.A. Clippers - 103 (2nd)
11t. Sherman Douglas, Miami - 103 (28th)
13. George McCloud, Indiana - 80 (7th)
14t. J.R. Reid, Charlotte - 70 (5th)
14t. Pooh Richardson, Minnesota - 70 (10th)
14t. Blue Edwards, Utah - 70 (21st)
17. Chucky Brown, Cleveland - 58 (43rd)
18t. Pervis Ellison, Sacramento - 52 (1st)
18t. Doug West, Minnesota - 52 (38th)
20. Tom Hammonds, Denver - 45 (9th)
21. Stacey King, Chicago - 40 (6th)
22. Dino Radja, Boston - 38 (40th)
23. Haywoode Workman, Atlanta - 31 (49th)
24. Todd Lichti, Denver - 17 (15th)
25. Michael Ansley, Orlando - 16 (37th)
26. Randy White, Dallas - 14 (8th)
27. Greg Grant, Phoenix - 10 (52nd)
28. Kenny Battle, Detroit - 9 (27th)
29. Jeff Martin, L.A. Clippers - 8 (31st)
30. Byron Irvin, Portland - 7 (22nd)
31. John Morton, Cleveland - 6 (25th)
32. Michael Smith, Boston - 5 (13th)
33. Brian Quinnett, New York - 4 (50th)
34t. Pat Durham, Dallas - 3 (35th)
34t. Kenny Payne, Philadelphia - 3 (19th)
36t. Jeff Sanders, Chicago - 2 (20th)
36t. Anthony Cook, Phoenix - 2 (24th)
36t. Frank Kornet, Milwaukee - 2 (30th)
39t. Ed Horton, Washington - 1 (39th)
39t. Doug Roth, Washigton - 1 (41st)
39t. Scott Haffner, Miami - 1 (45th)
The Zero Club
Roy Marble, Atlanta (23rd)
Dyron Nix, Charlotte (29th)
Stlaney Brundy, New Jersey (32nd)
Jay Edwards, L.A. Clippers (33rd)
Gary Leonard, Minnesota (34th)
Ricky Blanton, Phoenix (46th)
Mike Morrison, Phoenix (51st)
Michael Cutright, Denver (42nd)
Reggie Cross, Philadelphia (44th)
Reggie Turner, Denver (47th)
Junie Lewis, Utah (48th)
Jeff Hodge, Dallas (53rd)
Toney Mack, Philadelphia (54th)
Here's one more list, as we know just because a player had a good career didn't necessarily make him a good draft pick for the team that drafted him. So here's the Top 10 in career Win Shares for the team they were drafted by.
1. Shawn Kemp 180
2. Sean Elliott 169
3. Nick Anderson 151
4. Clifford Robinson 137
5. Vlade Divac 120
6. Tim Hardaway 115
7. Glenn Rice 109
8. B.J. Armstrong 102
9. Doug West 50
10. Dino Radja 38
Yikes quite the drop off after Armstrong.
kkk mentioned in his blog about how former players he watched becoming general managers and presidents of teams makes him feel old. For example Chris Mullin was the identity of the Golden State Warriors when I was growing up and now he's their general manager. But there's another general manager (and now part owner) in Oakland that everyone knows, Billy Beane, but unlike Mullin he's far better known for his work in the front office than as a player. In fact you'd probably have barely even noticed the guy when he played. Although I didn't happen to learn this until many years later but I actually had been witness to his last at bat in the Majors.
As I mentioned in my first entry I had very few memories at all about my first baseball game. In fact as great as the A's were in the late 80's I have very few in game memories about them even though I went to probably 6-7 games a year. One game that I do sorta remember was on October 1, 1989. October 1st happens to be my birthday and from '87 to '89 I had my birthday party at the A's game. Really the only thing I remember about the game itself was Mark McGwire homering (his birthday too) and the A's beating the Royals on the final day of the regular season. A couple of years ago on another nostalgia trip I was looking at the boxscore and play account for game. Being that it was the last day of the regular season and the A's had wrapped up the A.L. West they pulled all their starters during the middle of the game. It went into extra innings and in the 11th inning with it tied 3-3, Billy Beane came up with a runner on 2nd and no one out. If you know anything about the Beane-era A's is that they rarely bunt, as they shouldn't as it's fairly useless strategy in the American League. But what did they ask the young Beane to do on this date?
Yup, Beane's last at bat in the Majors was a bunt and I was there to witness "history"....not that I remembered it.
Fun fact: The Royals DH in this game was Bill Buckner, just like my first game.
2006 will mark 20 years of sports memories for me and I'm finally starting to feel like an old fart who reminisces about the good 'ol days. Fact is I was an old man when it came to sports when I was a kid as I loved sports history and researching useless sports facts which is still one of my favorite things to do. Regulars to sports folder have seen this most recently with my several useless fact posts in the Comments that don't warrant a thread, um thread, but that died off fairly quickly and figured it'd probably be more appropriate to post useless stuff like that in a blog.
So to make this all about me, I'll take a look back at my first ever live sporting event: 5/11/1986, Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics. As to memories about the actual game I have little to none. I only remember my family and I sat in the Plaza Level (2nd deck) of the Coliseum on the first base saide. My dad bought me an A's bobblehead, the old school ceramic ones not the plastic ones that you get today, which I promptly broke about a week later. Anything I remember from the game now comes from looking at the boxscore from Retrosheet. It featured a great "name" pitching of Oil Can Boyd vs. Moose Haas. The A's trailed 6-4 going into the 9th but a Carney Lansford homerun started a rally. They had 1st and 2nd with two out but pinch hitter Dusty Baker grounded out to the pitcher (wasn't hot enough for him?) to end the game with a Red Sox victory. That makes me feel old right there that Baker who will be in his 13th year of managing this season was playing in my very first live MLB game.
Now to look back at the starting line-ups from that game and just throw in a few comments about each player with their stats from 1986.
1. Dwight Evans RF (.259/.376/.476, 41.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares) - Doesn't get nearly the publicity for the Hall of Fame of his outfield mate Jim Rice, mainly because Evans fell off the ballot without notice while Rice remains a serious candidate. It's odd as Evans was equal the hitter of Rice and was unquestionably the superior defensive outfielder. Evans bests Rice in career Win Shares 347 to 282. Very underrated during his playing days and post career. Hopefully he'll get more notice when he comes up on the Veteran's Committee ballot.
2. Wade Boggs 3B (.357/.453/.486, 82.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares) - Roger Clemens would win the MVP in '86 but it should have been Boggs. I'm not sure where this myth that Boggs wasn't a feared hitter comes from beyond that he wasn't a power hitter but circa 1986 pitchers should have been pretty fucking scared to face Boggs.
3. Bill Buckner DH (.267/.311/.421, 21.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Yes I'm sure you can see the irony in Bucker at DH in 1986.
4. Jim Rice LF (.324/.384/.490, 61.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) - I was on the Rice for HOF bandwagon a couple of years ago but I've jumped off since. If he ever gets in I won't have a problem though but it wouldn't be much of an oversight either if he never gets in.
5. Don Baylor 1B (.238/.344/.439, 29.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Mr. HBP who lucked into playing on three straight A.L. Champions on three different teams form '86 to '88 (Red Sox, Twins, A's).
6. Rich Gedman C (.258/.315/.424, 26.0 VOP, 18 Win Shares) - This was the last of a decent three year run for Gedman but he hit the wall the following season.
7. Marty Barrett 2B (.286/.353/.381, 38.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares) - Good season in a largely unspectacular career. I only remember him going beserk in the Red Sox dugout in the infamous Game 4 of the '90 ALCS when Roger Clemens was ejected.
8. Steve Lyons CF (.250/.312/.363, 0.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - Bad player and possibly even worse announcer. Claim to fame was playing literally every position and dropping his pants during a game when he was with the White Sox.
9. Ed Romero SS (.210/.270/.283, -3.9 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - I found edromero.com but it sadly it was a lounge singer not the baseball player.
1. Tony Phillips 2B (.256/.367/.345, 22.7 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Vastly underrated player who's best days would come away from Oakland. By no means a superstar but he just simply got a base a lot and could give you solid defense at multiple positions. He did smoke rock though. Has congress investigated the performance enhancements of crack?
2. Dwayne Murphy CF (.252/.364/.386, 18.9 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Another underrated player. Probably would have been better appreciated if he played today as he got on base at a good rate, could hit for power (although by '86 he'd lost it), and was one of the best defensive outfielders of his era. Didn't help him that he played along side one of the greatest outfielders ever during his prime in RICKEY~.
3. Jose Canseco LF (.240/.318/.457, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - He hit the first homerun I ever saw live in this game (not that I remembered it) but he was on the juice so it should ERASED FROM THE RECORDS!!!! Anyways the guy was a prick and by '89 I hated him. Wally Joyner absolutely got robbed in the '86 ROY voting by Canseco.
4. Dave Kingman DH (.210/.255/.431, 4.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Awww Dave Kingman, never saw a pitch he didn't like. Really how long would he have lasted today with more emphasis on OBP? It amazes me a guy with so much power could draw so few walks. He'd hit 35 homeruns that year which is the record for most homeruns by a player in his final season but the average and on base tell you why no one was calling him up after '86.
5. Bruce Bochte 1B (.256/.357/.337, 12.8 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - No this isn't the Padres' manager. Is the answer to a trivia question, who was the A's starting 1B before Mark McGwire?
6. Carney Lansford 3B (.284/.332/.421, 32.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - Good hitter who was fun to watch because of his unique batting stance. Was my mom's favorite player and she probably would have fucked him she had the chance. Then I would have had to kill him.
7. Mike Davis RF (.268/.314/.454, 30.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - Was the A's "star" if you will the season before. Traded to the Dodgers after the '87 season where he did nothing but he drew a walk in front of Kirk Gibson's homerun in the Game 1 of the '88 Series. Thus I want him dead.
8. Alfredo Griffin SS (.285/.323/.364, 34.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Never much of hitter but his glove kept him in the league for 18 years and had a badass JheriCurl.
9. Bill Bathe C (.184/.208/.359, -2.8 VORP, 1 Win Share) - Yes he was the back up catcher with those numbers, not that starter Mickey Tettleton did a whole lot better (.204/.325/.389, 11.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares).
Okay that's enough nostalgia for one night.