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Sports nostalgia and useless facts

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Where are the classic NFL games?

In recent years the WWE has made a killing on wrestler themed DVD's that feature several full length versions of classic matches. Now not necessarily influenced by the WWE but Major League Baseball has now started releasing DVD box sets of classic World Series featuring full length games from the entire series. This year they've released 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series on DVD and I'd imagine there will be more of this in the future. Even though I'm not a fan of the Reds, Pirates, or Mets I do plan on buying these sets once the price goes down. Now a couple of years ago the NFL started releasing box sets called the "NFL Super Bowl Collections." This confused some people as they wondered if these were original broadcasts of the NFL games or not. Of course they weren't as they were just the classic half-hour highlight films of the games done by NFL Films that anyone can see on ESPN every January.   Now before they changed their programming a little over a year ago ESPN Classic was paradise for a diehard sports fan who loved watching classic sporting events. You could find original broadcasts of classic MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, boxing, and racing on a regular basis. There was one thing always missing though and that was original broadcasts of classic NFL games. This always had struck me as unusual. Given that ESPN has been televising NFL games since 1987 and with their deal with ABC you'd figure at the very least they'd be able to show classic Sunday & Monday Night Football games but no such luck.   I've searched as much as I can but I've never been able to find out why the NFL refuses to allow any broadcast of this archived footage. When the NFL Network started up a few years back I always assumed that they would air classic games on the channel. With 24 hours to fill on a channel that would only interest serious NFL fans you would think they would fill some of that time but showing classic games but they do not. My only theory has been that given the deal with NFL Films it seems that the NFL only wants them to be the sole history teller of their sport. Back in the late 90's they started putting together NFL Films versions of full length historical games such as Super Bowl III and the 1982 NFC Championship game. These were kind of cool when they first aired but they've only done a handful of games and they still don't have the feel of watching an original broadcast game.   I will continue to not understand why the NFL sits on a goldmine they have. These classic games are just sitting there with no one to see them. With MLB now jumping on the DVD bandwagon of selling classic footage you'd hope the NFL will do the same in the future. The sales just for boxed sets of full length Super Bowls would be through the roof especially if they packaged them for particular teams like the 49ers, Cowboys, and Steelers. The NFL certainly has never turned down the chance to make more money and I don't see why they refuse to do so in this case.

Bored

Bored

 

Where'd They Go? 1996 Minnesota Twins

It's time for Part six of the "Where'd They Go?" series where I take a look at random teams from the last 20+ years and see where they went. I'll end up donig one for every franchise, except for the more recent expansion franchises. I asked Vern/Culloden what Twins team I should do and he suggested the 1996 Twins. I have no idea why the '96 Twins but here I go.   On March 28, 1996 Kirby Puckett woke up seeing a black spot on his right eye. It would turn out to be glaucoma and it would mark the end of his career. After three straight losing seasons things looked pretty bleak for the Twins with the identity of their franchise's career being over. But that season they didn't completely suck, although they were never in serious contention for a playoff birth. After a 4-3 win over the A's on September 12th they were at 74-72 but that would be be the high point of the season for them as they would drop 12 of their last 16 games, finshing six games under .500.   C: Greg Myers (.286/.320/.426, 9.4 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - I suppose if they had a Back-up Catcher Hall of Fame, Myers would have to be part of it. 1996 was one of only four years during his 18 year career that Myers was a team's primary starter although he only made 81 starts splitting time with Matt Walbeck and Mike Durant. Twins traded Myers in late '97 to the Braves and from there he go to San Diego, back to Atlanta, Baltimore, Oakland, and then to his original franchise Toronto. Played only a handful of games the last couple of years and his career appears to finally be over.   1B: Scott Stahoviak (.284/.376/.469, 18.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - This was Stahoviak's only year of relevance as the former first round pick only lasted another two seasons in the Majors. Played two years with the Iowa Cubs and out of baseball after 2000.   2B: Chuck Knoblauch (.341/.448/.517, 99.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares) - Placed 4th in my 1996 A.L. MVP redo, this would end up being Knoblauch's career year. He would sign a new five-year deal late in the season but just a year later he demanded to be traded. Before Spring Training in 1998 the Twins granted him his wish and dealt him to the Yankees for four prospects including Cristian Guzman and Eric Milton. Had a very good season offensively in 1999 in New York but the former Gold Glover winner suddenly had a case of Steve Sax disease, having extreme difficulties to making easy throws to first base. Was moved to left field his final year with the Yankees and finished his career in 2002 with Kansas City.   3B: Dave Hollins (.242/.364/.396, 8.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - Did not finish the season with the Twins as they traded him in a waiver deal to Seattle in late August for a PTBNL. Played a couple of years in Anahim after that and bounced around for cameo appearances with Toronto, Cleveland, and Philadelphia before retiring after 2002. Oh and who was the PTBNL the Twins received for Hollins? David Ortiz.   SS: Pat Mears (.267/.298/.391, 8.2 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Played nine years and the only real skill he had was getting hit by pitches. Signed with the Pirates after 1998 and played there thru 2001.   LF: Marty Cordova (.309/.371/.478, 30.0 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - The '95 ROY, Cordova continued to show promise in '96 but his production fell of badly after that due to numerous back problems. Left the Twins after 1999 and had a forgettable year in Toronto but had a surprisingly good year in Cleveland in 2001. This small bit of success convinced the Orioles to sign him to a three-year contract which he gave them a mediocre 2002 and injuries ended his 2003 season early and took away his entire 2004 season. Invited to Spring Training by the Devil Rays in 2005, he retired one day after being signed.   CF: Rich Becker (.291/.372/.434, 28.0 VORP, 20 Win Shares) - By far his best year, Becker was a low AVG/high OBP guy with little power. Twins traded him after 1997 to the Mets. From there went to Baltimore, Milwaukee, Oakland, and closed out his career in the Majors with Detroit in 2000.   RF: Matt Lawton (.258/.339/.365, -3.6 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - With the unexpected retirement of Puckett the Twins had to have a revolving door in right field with Lawton leading the way with just 51 starts. Traded in 2001 to the Mets for Rick Reed and then traded to the Indians following the season in a seven player deal for Roberto Alomar. Signed with the Pirates before 2005, he was traded twice in less than a month midseason first to the Cubs and then to the Yankees where he'd then end up getting suspended for testing positive for steroids. Signed with the Mariners before this season and has recently been designated for assignment after complaining about lack of playing time. Shockingly no one is beating down the door to pick up the washed up outfielder.   DH: Paul Molitor (.341/.390/.468, 42.6 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - His first season with his hometown team this was the future HOF's last good season. He would get his 3000th career hit in September and became the first player ever to have a 200 hit season during the year he got his 3000th hit. Retired after 1998, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.   Starting Rotation   Brad Radke (115 ERA+, 51.2 VORP, 14 Win Shares) - Received a lot of attention for allowing 40 homeruns but actually had a pretty good year. Has of course played his entire career in Minnesota.   Frank Rodriguez (102 ERA+, 28.4 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - To show how out of control offense was in 1996, Rodriguez has a 5.05 ERA but when you took park factors into account he still ends up with an ERA+ above 100, meaning his ERA was above league average. The former much hyped Red Sox prospect never developed. Twins waived him in 1999, played a couple of years in Seattle and finished his in career in Cincinnati.   Rich Robertson (101 ERA+, 30.1 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Hey another "above average" 5.12 ERA here. He walked 116 and struck only 114 which is always a bad sign for future success. Out of baseball after 1999.   Rick Augilera (95 ERA+, 16.5 VORP, 6 Win Shars) - This was Aguilera's ill fated return to starting pitching after six years as a closer. He went back to the closer role the following season. Traded to the Cubs in 1999 for Kyle Loshe and would retire after 2000.   Scott Aldred (101 ERA+, 20.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - "Above average" 5.15 ERA, I'm not sure how he convinced M.L. teams to give him so many shots over nine years but more power to him. Last appeared in the Majors with the Phillies in 2000, hung around the minors thru 2004.   Closer: Dave Stevens (111 ERA+, 13.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - "Closer" being used usely here as Stevens had only 11 saves and the Twins as a team had only 31. Last appeared in the Majors with the Braves in 2000.

Bored

Bored

 

2006 MVP Watch #2

ESPN is already doing the "Chasing Bonds" treatment for Albert Pujols but it really should be "Chasing Wagner." According to HardballTimes.com Pujols is on pace to tie Honus Wagner's single season record of 59 Win Shares set back in 1908. I am outraged the media is ignoring this potential historic event. Come on the homerun record has been broken twice in the last eight years, the Win Shares record hasn't been broken in 98 years! Don't you remember as a kid always wondering if someone would reach that magical #59?   Anyways no shock at all who's #1 in the N.L. still and I might as well give the entire Top 10 to Pujols. Not much else of note, two drop out and one of the "Most Overrated Players in Baseball" cracks to the Top 10.   Drop Outs: Carlos Delgado, Carlos Lee   #10 Bobby Abreu, Phillies .276/.447/.503, 36 RC, .316 EQA, 13.8 VORP, 10 Win Shares   #9 Chase Utley, Phillies .328/.406/.554, 35 RC, .298 EQA, 18.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares   #8 Bronson Arroyo, Reds 195 ERA+, 3.79 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 26.7 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #7 Carlos Beltran, Mets .259/.382/.600, 32 RC, .324 EQA, 20.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #6 Morgan Ensberg, Astros .272/.403/.627, 36 RC, .322 EQA, 20.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #5 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins .335/.432/.599, 41 RC, .338 EQA, 25.4 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #4 Tom Glavine Mets 167 ERA+, 2.32 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 23.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #3 Lance Berkman, Astros .296/.375/.605, 40 RC, .307 EQA, 17.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares   #2 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 191 ERA+, 6.00 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 28.1 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #1 .323/.450/.804, 58 RC, .365 EQA, 37.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares   On the A.L. side there's a lot of change with five players dropping out from last week with a couple of familiar faces jumping in including Baseball Jesus himself. But the #1 spot stays the same and even though Thome isn't blowing away the rest of the league like Pujols he definently has a comfortable edge right now. Of course a name you will not see anywhere on this list is the WORST PLAYER EVER, MR. UNCLUTCH A-FRAUD!!!!! God damn how is he not playing in Single-A now? How do the Yankees win any games with him dragging down the club?   Drop Outs: Jonny Gomes, Vernon Wells, Alexis Rios, Nick Swisher, Ramon Hernandez   #10 Jose Lopez, Mariners .292/.322/.497, 40 RC, .284 EQA, 15.8 VORP, 10 Win Shares   #9 Jose Contreras, White Sox 250 ERA+, 2.73 K/BB, 0.87 WHIP, 25.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #8 Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox .319/.432/.503, 36 RC, .318 EQA, 15.7 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #7 Miguel Tejada, Orioles .333/.391/.587, 35 RC, .325 EQA, 27.6 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #6 Jason Giambi, Yankees .260/.464/.583, 40 RC, .348 EQA, 19.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #5 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox .314/.441/.577, 36 RC, .337 EQA, 20.5 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #4 Derek Jeter, Yankees .348/.433/.519, 41 RC, .325 EQA, 27.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #3 Travis Hafner, Indians .311/.443/.627, 46 RC, .353 EQA, 26.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares   #2 Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays 199 ERA+, 3.19 K/BB, 1.28 WHIP, 26.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares   #1 .304/.440/.684, 51 RC, .351 EQA, 28.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares

Bored

Bored

 

Draftback: 1990 MLB Draft

MLB Draft is a couple of weeks away so might as well do some Draftbacks, plus I'm having to wait to do 2006 MVP Watch #2 as Hardball Times doesn't have update Win Shares yet. I picked the 1990 draft because it is an infamous draft for the Oakland A's. They had 4 of the first 36 picks and took four pitchers who would were dubbed the "Four Aces." Those four pitchers were Todd Van Poppel, Don Peters, Dave Zancanaro, and Kirk Dressendorfer. Um ya, they didn't quite live up the hype.     1. Braves - Chipper Jones, Shorstop, High School Braves certainly can't complain about how this worked out. Has put up a .303/.401/.538 line thru 2005 and won an MVP in 1999. If he can manage to put up a few more good years he may have a case for the Hall of Fame.   2. Tigers - Tony Clark, Outfield, High School Of course converted to first base has to put together an okay career that peaked early from the ages of 25 to 27. Seemed finished a couple of years ago until having a great year out of no where last season.   3. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, Catcher, High School Decent career and any franchise has to be happy if they get over 12 years in the Majors out of a catching prospect.   4. White Sox - Alex Fernandez, Pitcher, High School Pretty good pitcher who's career was cut short by shoulder problems.   5. Pirates - Kurt Miller, Pitcher, High School Our first bust and it's baseball so there will be plenty more. Was never effective above Double-A but still some how made it to the Majors as a member of the Marlins. 7.48 ERA in 80 2/3 innings in the Majors.   6. Mariners - Marc Newfield, First Base, High School Outside of a decent 1996 season was never a factor in the Majors. Twice traded with Ron Villone.   7. Reds - Dan Wilson, Catcher, Minnesota Another decent career out of a catcher here although it came with the Mariners as the Reds traded him after the 1993 season with Bobby Ayala for Bret Boone and Erik Hanson.   8. Indians - Tim Costo, Shortstop, Iowa Traded to the Reds in 1991, only played 43 games in the Majors.   9. Dodgers - Ron Walden, Pitcher, High School First player on the board who never made it to the Majors.   10. Yankees - Carl Everett, Outfield, High School Put together a pretty good career filled temper tantrums and disbelief of dinosaurs. Never played for the Yankees as the Marlins picked him up in the '92 expansion draft.   11. Expos - Darrell Andrews, Shortstop/Pitcher, High School Could go both ways apparantly but not to the Majors.   12. Twins - Todd Ritchie, Pitcher, High School Oddly enough his best year in professional baseball came in the Majors with the Pirates in 1999 when he went 15-9 with a 3.49 ERA. Lousy at pretty much any other point.   13. Cardinals - Donovan Osborne, Pitcher, UNLV Moderatley effective pitcher early in his career but injuries pretty much shut him down by age 28 although has made a couple of comebacks including with the Yankees last season.   14. A's - Todd Van Poppel, Pitcher, High School Ahhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooo. Would have gone much higher in the draft but teams were worried he'd enroll at Texas but ended up signing with the A's which ended up being the wrong choice for both parties.   15. Giants - Adam Hyzdu, Outfield, High School 254 career homeruns in the minors, 14 in the majors.   16. Rangers - Daniel Smith, Pitcher, Creighton Just 29 innings pitched in the Majors.   17. Mets - Jeromy Burnitz, Outfield, Oklahoma State I suppose he's a journeyman power hitter? Over 300 career homeruns with seven teams.   18. Cardinals - Aaron Holbert, Shortstop, High School Career minor leaguer who had only three at bats in the Majors until last season when he appeared in 22 games for the Reds.   19. Giants - Eric Christopherson, Catcher, San Diego State Probably wished they drafted the next guy.   20. Orioles - Mike Mussina, Pitcher, Stanford Very consistent, good pitcher through most of his career and some would argue he may have a case for the Hall of Fame, although I wouldn't be one of them.   21. Astros - Tom Nevers, Shortstop, High School Whole career spent in the minors, mostly at Double-A.   22. Blue Jays - Steve Karsay, Pitcher, High School Once traded for Rickey Henderson, injuries prevented from ever making it as a starter but resurrected his career in 1998 as a reliever after the A's traded him to the Indians for Mike Fetters. D'oh.   23. Cubs - Lance Dickson, Pitcher, Arizona Debuted just two months after he was drafted making three starts and then never returned to the Majors.   24. Expos - Rondell White, Outfield, High School Never lived up to the hype but has put together a pretty good career.   25. Padres - Robbie Beckett, Pitcher, High School 6.09 career ERA in the minors yet he still got a couple of cups of coffee with the Rockies.   26. A's - Don Peters, Pitcher, St. Francis Not even close. FOUR ACES!   Other Picks of Note   2nd Round, White Sox - Bob Wickman 4th Round, Angels - Garret Anderson 5th Round, Mariners - Bret Boone 6th Round, Mariners - Mike Hampton 6th Round, Angels - Troy Percival 7th Round, Indians - David Bell 9th Round, Mets - Fernando Vina 10th Round, Rangers - Rusty Greer 11th Round, Mets - Darren Dreifort (did not sign) 21st Round, Twins - Eddie Guardado 22nd Round, Yankees - Andy Pettitte 24th Round, Yankees - Jorge Posada

Bored

Bored

 

Oakland A's: Top 50 Individual Seasons

50TH ENTRY EXTRAVAGANZA!!!   Double sized issue! Mike Gallego hologram cover! If you read only one entry this is the entry you must read!   Anyways, after watching You Know Who of the San Franciso Baby Killers getting a curtain call in Oakland I needed to find something positive to talk about the A's. Since it's entry #50 figured I'd do the Top 50 individual seasons in Oakland A's history. Now the list is based almost solely on Win Shares and I used Baseball Prospectus' Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3) to break ties. I'm only taking into account full seasons with the A's so for example Rickey Henderson had 30 Win Shares in 1989 but the A's acquired him midseason from the Yankees and 20 of his Win Shares came with the A's so thus that season didn't crack the Top 50.   #50 Miguel Tejada, 2003, 25 Win Shares .278/.336/.472, 703 PA, 98 R, 177 H, 42 2B, 27 HR, 106 RBI, 10 SB, 53 BB 6.9 WARP3   #49 Dave Henderson, 1991, 25 Win Shares .276/.346/.465, 637 PA, 86 R, 158 H, 33 2B, 25 HR, 85 RBI, 6 SB, 55 BB 8.0 WARP3   #48 Rickey Henderson, 1991, 25 Win Shares .268/.400/.423, 578 PA, 105 R, 126 H, 17 2B, 18 HR, 57 RBI, 58 SB, 98 BB, 8.4 WARP3   #47 Billy North, 1973, 25 Win Shares .285/.376/.348, 642 PA, 98 R, 158 H, 10 2B, 5 3B, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 53 SB, 78 BB, 8.6 WARP3   #46 Rickey Henderson, 1992, 25 Win Shares .283/.426/.457, 500 PA, 77 R, 112 H, 18 2B, 15 HR, 46 RBI, 48 SB, 95 BB, 8.9 WARP3   #45 Carney Lansford, 1984, 25 Win Shares .300/.342/.439, 651 PA, 70 R, 179 H, 31 2B, 5 3B, 14 HR, 74 RBI, 9 SB, 40 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #44 Barry Zito, 2002, 25 Win Shares 23-5, 2.75 ERA, 35 GS, 229 1/3 IP, 78 BB, 182 SO, 1.13 WHIP, 10.1 WARP3   #43 Vida Blue, 1976, 25 Win Shares 18-13, 2.35 ERA, 37 GS, 298 1/3 IP, 20 CG, 6 SHO, 63 BB, 166 SO, 1.11 WHIP, 10.2 WARP3   #42 Eric Chavez, 2003, 25 Win Shares .282/.350/.514, 654 PA, 94 R, 166 H, 39 2B, 5 3B, 29 HR, 101 RBI, 8 SB, 62 BB, 10.3 WARP3   #41 Mike Norris, 1980, 25 Win Shares 22-9, 2.53 ERA, 33 GS, 284 1/3 IP, 24 CG, 83 BB, 180 SO, 1.05 WHIP, 10.7 WARP3   #40 Rick Monday, 1968, 26 Win Shares .274/.371/.402, 563 PA, 56 R, 132 H, 24 2B, 7 3B, 8 HR, 49 RBI, 14 SB, 72 BB, 6.5 WARP3   #39 Gene Tenace, 1973, 26 Win Shares .259/.387/.443, 636 PA, 83 R, 132 H, 18 2B, 24 HR, 84 RBI, 101 BB, 6.5 WARP3   #38 Reggie Jackson, 1972, 26 Win Shares .265/.350/.473, 572 PA, 72 R, 132 H, 25 2B, 25 HR, 75 RBI, 9 SB, 59 BB, 7.0 WARP3   #37 Dave Henderson, 1988, 26 Win Shares .304/.363/.525, 570 PA, 100 R, 154 H, 38 2B, 24 HR, 94 RBI, 47 BB, 8.0 WARP3   #36 Jose Canseco, 1990, 26 Win Shares .274/.371/.543, 563 PA, 83 R, 132 H, 14 2B, 37 HR, 101 RBI, 19 SB, 72 BB, 8.5 WARP3   #35 Bert Campaneris, 1970, 26 Win Shares .279/.321/.448, 650 PA, 97 R, 168 H, 28 2B, 22 HR, 64 RBI, 42 SB, 36 BB, 9.8 WARP3   #34 Eric Chavez, 2001, 26 Win Shares .288/.338/.540, 604 PA, 91 R, 159 H, 43 2B, 32 HR, 114 RBI, 8 SB, 41 BB, 10.2 WARP3   #33 Mike Epstein, 1972, 27 Win Shares .270/.376/.490, 537 PA, 63 R, 123 H, 18 2B, 26 HR, 70 RBI, 68 BB, 7.2 WARP3   #32 Dwayne Murphy, 1980, 27 Win Shares .274/.384/.380, 702 PA, 86 R, 157 H, 18 2B, 13 HR, 68 RBI, 26 SB, 102 BB, 8.2 WARP3   #31 Reggie Jackson, 1975, 27 Win Shares .253/.329/.511, 669 PA, 91 R, 150 H, 39 2B, 36 HR, 104 RBI, 17 SB, 67 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #30 Mark McGwire, 1990, 27 Win Shares .235/.370/.489, 650 PA, 87 R, 123 H, 16 2B, 39 HR, 108 RBI, 110 BB, 9.5 WARP3   #29 Catfish Hunter, 1974, 27 Win Shares 25-12, 2.49 ERA, 41 GS, 318 1/3 IP, 23 CG, 6 SHO, 46 BB, 143 SO, 0.99 WHIP, 9.9 WARP3   #28 Rickey Henderson, 1981, 27 Win Shares .319/.408/.437, 493 PA, 89 R, 135 H, 18 2B, 7 3B, 6 HR, 35 RBI, 56 SB, 64 BB, 11.1 WARP3   #27 Mark McGwire, 1988, 28 Win Shares .260/.352/.478, 635 PA, 87 R, 143 H, 22 2B, 32 HR, 99 RBI, 76 BB, 7.4 WARP3   #26 Rickey Henderson, 1982, 28 Win Shares .267/.398/.382, 656 PA, 119 R, 143 H, 24 2B, 10 HR, 51 RBI, 130 SB, 116 BB, 7.5 WARP3   #25 Rickey Henderson, 1984, 28 Win Shares .293/.399/.458, 597 PA, 113 R, 147 H, 27 2B, 16 HR, 58 RBI, 66 SB, 86 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #24 Sal Bando, 1971, 29 Win Shares .271/.377/.452, 643 PA, 75 R, 146 H, 23 2B, 24 HR, 94 RBI, 86 BB, 6.4 WARP3   #23 Joe Rudi, 1972, 29 Win Shares .305/.345/.486, 653 PA, 94 R, 181 H, 32 2B, 9 3B, 19 HR, 75 RBI, 37 BB, 8.3 WARP3   #22 Mark McGwire, 1996, 29 Win Shares .312/.467/.730, 548 PA, 104 R, 132 H, 21 2B, 52 HR, 113 RBI, 116 BB, 9.5 WARP3   #21 Mark McGwire, 1992, 29 Win Shares .268/.385/.585, 571 PA, 87 R, 125 H, 22 2B, 42 HR, 104 RBI, 90 BB, 9.7 WARP3   #20 Bert Campaneris, 1968, 29 Win Shares .276/.330/.361, 707 PA, 87 R, 177 H, 25 2B, 9 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 62 SB, 50 BB, 9.8 WARP3   #19 Jason Giambi, 1999, 30 Win Shares .351/.422/.553, 695 PA, 115 R, 181 H, 36 2B, 33 HR, 123 RBI, 105 BB, 7.9 WARP3   #18 Mark McGwire, 1987, 30 Win Shares .289/.370/.618, 641 PA, 97 R, 161 H, 28 2B, 49 HR, 118 RBI, 71 BB, 8.5 WARP3   #17 Mitchell Page, 1977, 30 Win Shares .307/.405/.521, 592 PA, 85 R, 154 H, 28 2B, 8 3B, 21 HR, 75 RBI, 42 SB, 78 BB, 8.6 WARP3   #16 Rickey Henderson, 1983, 30 Win Shares .292/.414/.421, 622 PA, 105 R, 150 H, 25 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 108 SB, 103 BB, 9.6 WARP3   #15 Reggie Jackson, 1974, 30 Win Shares .289/.391/.514, 604 PA, 90 R, 146 H, 25 2B, 29 HR, 93 RBI, 25 SB, 86 BB, 10.0 WARP3   #14 Vida Blue, 1971, 30 Win Shares 24-8, 1.82 ERA, 39 GS, 312 IP, 24 CG, 8 SHO, 88 BB, 301 SO, 0.95 WHIP, 11.4 WARP3   #13 Sal Bando, 1973, 31 Win Shares .287/.375/.498, 689 PA, 97 R, 170 H, 32 2B, 29 HR, 98 RBI, 82 BB, 7.7 WARP3   #12 Jose Canseco, 1991, 31 Win Shares .266/.359/.556, 665 PA, 115 R, 152 H, 32 2B, 44 HR, 122 RBI, 26 SB, 78 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #11 Reggie Jackson, 1971, 32 Win Shares .277/.352/.508, 642 PA, 87 R, 157 H, 29 2B, 32 HR, 80 RBI, 16 SB, 63 BB, 8.9 WARP3   #10 Reggie Jackson, 1973, 32 Win Shares .293/.383/.531, 629 PA, 99 R, 158 H, 28 2B, 32 HR, 117 RBI, 22 SB, 76 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #9 Miguel Tejada, 2002, 32 Win Shares .308/.354/.508, 715 PA, 108 R, 204 H, 30 2B, 34 HR, 131 RBI, 7 SB, 38 BB, 9.0 WARP3   #8 Gene Tenace, 1975, 32 Win Shares .255/.395/.464, 623 PA, 83 R, 127 H, 17 2B, 29 HR, 87 RBI, 7 SB, 106 BB, 9.9 WARP3   #7 Rickey Henderson, 1980, 34 Win Shares .303/.420/.399, 722 PA, 111 R, 179 H, 22 2B, 9 HR, 53 RBI, 100 SB, 117 BB, 10.3 WARP3   #6 Sal Bando, 1969, 36 Win Shares .281/.400/.484, 734 PA, 106 R, 171 H, 25 2B, 31 HR, 113 RBI, 111 BB, 9.2 WARP3   #5 Jason Giambi, 2000, 38 Win Shares .333/.476/.647, 664 PA, 108 R, 170 H, 29 2B, 43 HR, 137 RBI, 137 BB, 10.8 WARP3   #4 Jason Giambi, 2001, 38 Win Shares .342/.477/.660, 671 PA, 109 R, 178 H, 47 2B, 38 HR, 120 RBI, 129 BB, 11.9 WARP3   #3 Jose Canseco, 1988, 39 Win Shares .307/.391/.569, 705 PA, 120 R, 187 H, 34 2B, 42 HR, 124 RBI, 40 SB, 78 BB, 12.1 WARP3   #2 Rickey Henderson, 1990, 39 Win Shares .325/.439/.577, 594 PA, 119 R, 159 H, 33 2B, 28 HR, 61 RBI, 65 SB, 97 BB, 13.6 WARP3   #1 Reggie Jackson, 1969, 41 Win Shares .275/.410/.608, 677 PA, 123 R, 151 H, 36 2B, 47 HR, 118 RBI, 13 SB, 114 BB, 11.5 WARP3

Bored

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Award Redo: 1980 A.L. MVP

One way to measure a player's value can be their ability to stay healthy. Obviously if a player can give at least average production for their position and stay in the line-up everyday their value might be higher than their statistics may indicate especially if their team lacks a suitable replacement. This can come up when considering someone for MVP. Some seasons there maybe a player who's peripheral numbers were superior to other candidates but they missed 30-40 games due to injury thus their value for that season decreased and the other candidates may have been more valuable simply because they stayed healthy all season.   That brings me to the 1980 A.L. MVP which was won by George Brett and he won it rather easily. Of course what is most remembered about Brett's 1980 season is that he had a .390 batting average, the closest a player had come to hitting .400 since Ted Williams had a pulled off the feat 39 years earlier. What many people don't remember is that Brett only played in 117 games that year due to injuries. In fact he barely qualified for the batting title as a player needed 502 plate appearances to qualify and Brett finished with 515. Now Brett didn't simply just have a high batting average, he also had a .454 OBP and a .664 SLG, both tops in the league. Although I typically discard RBI's his total was worth mentioning as he had 118 RBI in those 117 games. Even with his phenomenal numbers could he possibly be the run away MVP winner while missing 45 games?   The other candidates who received a lot of support were led by Reggie Jackson. At age 34 he had one of the best years of his career hitting .300 with 41 homeruns and playing on a Yankees team that won 103 games but he was a distant second to Brett. His teammate Goose Gossage finished 3rd and closers don't deserve the MVP, blah blah blah. Willie Wilson, Cecil Cooper, and Eddie Murray were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. One very odd first place vote went to Yankees catcher Rick Cerone and just a hunch he was probably the heart of the team or some crap like that. Anyways he had a good year, especially for him, but no where near an MVP calibar season.   Actual Results   1) George Brett 2) Reggie Jackson 3) Goose Gossage 4) Willie Wilson 5) Cecil Cooper 6) Eddie Murray 7) Rick Cerone 8) Dan Quisenberry 9) Steve Stone 10) Rickey Henderson 11) Al Oliver 12) Tony Armas 13t) Al Bumbry 13t) Ben Ogilvie 15t) Mike Norris 15t) Willie Randolph 17) Robin Young 18t) Buddy Bell 18t) Mickey Rivers 20) Alan Trammell 21) Ken Singleton 22t) Miguel Dilone 22t) Tony Perez 24t) Fred Lynn 24t) John Wathan   #10 148 ERA+, 2.17 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 84.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #9 .326/.357/.421, 105 RC, 112 OPS+, .290 EQA, 49.4 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #8 .304/.397/.485, 113 RC, 142 OPS+, .313 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #7 .304/.362/.562, 121 RC, 153 OPS+, .313 EQA, 52.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #6 .352/.387/.539, 131 RC, 155 OPS+, .321 EQA, 71.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #5 .318/.392/.433, 109 RC, 128 OPS+, .303 EQA, 58.4 VORP, 33 Win Shares   #4 .294/.427/.407, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .316 EQA, 63.8 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #3 .303/.420/.399, 99 RC, 134 OPS+, .315 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares   #2 .300/.398/.597, 122 RC, 172 OPS+, .335 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #1 .390/.454/.664, 137 RC, 202 OPS+, .368 EQA, 92.7 VORP, 36 Win Shares   See I don't always just do redos to point out horrible choices by the writers. Okay the royally screwed Mike Norris out of the Cy Young but that's another redo.   Amazingly as it seems even though he only played 117 games Brett was the deserving choice and there's simply no one else to consider. As you can see it wasn't like there was a weak group of candidates but Brett out classed them all with one of the most incredible seasons of all-time.

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2006 MVP Watch #1

It's Christmas time for stat geeks as Hardball Times has released the first Win Shares of the 2006 season and thus I can now I start tracking the MVP candidates for the season. Of coursing being that we are just a little over six weeks into the season this can all be taken with a grain of salt but hey I need excuses for entries. So every Tuesday now I'll have an updated Top 10 list for each league.   I'll start with the National League as let's face it, the race is alredy over. Barring injury everyone is running for second place behind Albert Pujols this season. He just completely blows away the field and didn't give a thought to anyone else at the top spot. What you will notice is the high placement of a couple of pitchers which didn't surprise me as with the small sample of games the more impact an individual starting pitcher can have. Those two pitchers are the least likely candidates to still be in the Top 10 come September.   #10 Chase Utley, Phillies .302/.372/.547, 25 RC, .277 EQA, 14.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #9 Bobby Abreu, Phillies .257/.437/.459, 27 RC, .288 EQA, 7.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #8 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 167 ERA+, 5.71 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 22.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #7 Morgan Ensberg, Astros .281/.401/.619, 30 RC, .291 EQA, 15.1 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #6 Carlos Delgado, Mets .298/.394/.610, 34 RC, .291 EQA, 15.9 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #5 Carlos Lee, Brewers .296/.392/.655, 34 RC, .296 EQA, 20.1 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #4 Bronson Arroyo, Reds 221 ERA+, 3.58 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 23.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #3 Lance Berkman, Astros .319/.384/.652, 37 RC, .293 EQA, 18.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares   #2 Tom Glavine, Mets 189 ERA+, 2.64 K/BB, 1.03 WHIP, 20.2 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #1 .333/.469/.833, 49 RC, .327 EQA, 33.1 VORP, 14 Win Shares     Now for the American League which could be a wide open race all year. As of right now DH's (or DH types) are dominating the field with the likes of Giambi, Thome, Hafner, and Gomes. Ramon Hernandez, Alexis Rios, and Jose Contreras all won't be there at the end and Contreras' stock will drop dramtically pretty soon with him on the DL. The two big candidates from last year, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, are both off to relatively slow starts but figure both will make a push at some point.   #10 Ramon Hernandez, Orioles .315/.385/.488, 29 RC, .280 EQA, 11.0 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #9 Nick Swisher, A's .305/.405/.664, 28 RC, .294 EQA, 18.4 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #8 Alexis Rios, Blue Jays .367/.386/.692, 30 RC, .294 EQA, 17.2 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #7 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays .358/.407/.642, 33 RC, .294 EQA, 24.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #6 Travis Hafner, Indians .314/.430/.628, 37 RC, .303 EQA, 21.6 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #5 Miguel Tejada, Orioles .361/.402/.613, 30 RC, .295 EQA, 25.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares   #4 Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays .288/.421/.648, 32 RC, .295 EQA, 18.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares   #3 Jason Giambi, Yankees .269/.480/.654, 38 RC, .311 EQA, 19.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #2 Jose Contreras, White Sox 335 ERA+, 1.91 K/BB, 0.87 WHIP, 24.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares   #1 .290/.438/.694, 43 RC, .304 EQA, 23.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares   I'm personally not sold that Thome will keep this up all year but you never know.

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Award Redo: Dave Stieb Edition

After starting to run thin on good subjects to redo MVP's for the next natural progression would be to move on to Cy Youngs. Now Culloden/Vern suggested 1969 & 1983 A.L. Cy Young's to me and then I decided I'd throw the 1982 A.L. Cy Young in there. But as I started doing them I realized that there was a common theme with the '82 and '83 redos and that was the underrated greatness of Dave Stieb. So I've expanded I decied to do four redos in one, examining the period from 1982 to 1985 when Steib was the most consistent and best overall pitcher in the game.   1982   The 1982 A.L. Cy Young is as good a place as any to start when it comes to Cy Young redos as it featured quite possibly the worst pitcher ever to win a Cy Young in the Brewers' Pete Vukovich. In '82 Vukovich benefitted from two things, playing in a pitcher's park and being supported by the far the best offense in the league. He finished the season with an 18-6 record and an unimpressive 3.34 ERA, the highest among all pitcher's who received votes. He was lucky to have such an ERA beyond playing a pitcher's park he had an atrocious K/BB ratio as he only struck out three more batters than he walked (105 to 102). He also posted an awful 1.50 WHIP, which I didn't bother to check but I'd be very surprised if any Cy Young award winner had one worse than that. But there was no 20 game winner in the A.L. and only one pitcher, Rick Sutcliffe, posted an ERA under 3 so with no standout pitcher the writer's made this incredibly bad choice.   Now the writers were fairly split on the voting as four other pitchers received first place votes but Vukovich received 14 total. Stieb received five first place votes but only finished in 4th place as the poor hitting Blue Jays only helped him to a 17-14 record. In fact it's kinda surprising he received that much support as writers usually can't look past the win/loss record. This would be a good time to point out that I give zero consideration to win/loss record as a pitcher's single season win/loss record is much too deceiving.   Actual Results   1) Pete Vukovich 2) Jim Palmer 3) Dan Quisenberry 4) Dave Stieb 5) Rick Sutcliffe 6) Geoff Zahn 7t) Bill Caudill 7t) Bob Stanley 9) Dan Petry   #3 129 ERA+, 1.63 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 53.9 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #2 159 ERA+, 3.83 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 38.6 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #1 138 ERA+, 1.88 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, 65.0 VORP, 25 Win Shares   Now Stieb's numbers don't blow you away in '82 but in a weak year for candidates he was the best choice. I'm kind of surprised the writers didn't give Palmer a lifetime achievement Cy Young here but he only had 15 wins. Would have at least been a better choice than Vukovich. As you see with Quisenberry, unlike with the MVP I do believe closers can be viable candidates to win a Cy Young in certain years.   1983   This year features another not so glamerous Cy Young pick in the White Sox LaMarr Hoyt. Better known for his cocaine problems now, Hoyt holds the distinction of having the highest ERA ever for a Cy Young winner at 3.66. Now in fairness to Hoyt is peripheral numbers weren't bad, unlike with Vukovich, but he was definently a pitcher who won simply because of his win total as he won 24 games largely due to having the top offense in the league supporting him. Again though it was another year with a lot of strong candidates.   Hoyt's main competition was Dan Quisenberry who received nine first place votes as he had then single season record of 45 saves with a 1.94 ERA. He was though just as dominant as those numbers indicate and did it 139 innings pitched. Steib actually had a better record (17-12) and ERA (3.04) than the previous year but this time around he didn't receive a single vote which I'd attribute to having four 20 game winners instead of zero the previous year.   Actual Results   1) LaMarr Hoyt 2) Dan Quisenberry 3) Jack Morris 4) Richard Dotson 5) Ron Guidry 6) Scott McGregor   #3 117 ERA+, 2.80 K/BB, 1.16 WHIP, 61.4 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #2 142 ERA+, 2.01 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 68.9 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #1 210 ERA+, 4.36 K/BB, 0.93 WHIP, 48.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares   Quis was never Mr. Photogenic.   Even though he had a better season than '82, I couldn't pass on the dominance of Quisenberry this time around.   1984   Only going over this one briefly as I already kind of touched on it in the 1984 A.L. MVP Redo and if you remember I already gave the answer away to this one.   Willie Hernandez won the award in a tight vote over Quisenberry. Would have been quite interesting if Herandez won the MVP but didn't win the Cy Young. Bert Blyleven and Mike Boddicker also received solid support. Steib went 16-8 with a 2.83 ERA but garnered only one 3rd place vote.   Actual Results 1) Willie Hernandez 2) Dan Quisenberry 3) Bert Blyleven 4) Mike Boddicker 5) Dan Petry 6) Frank Viola 7t) Jack Morris 7t) Dave Stieb   #3 132 ERA+, 2.36 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 60.6 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #2 204 ERA+, 3.11 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 52.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #1 145 ERA+, 2.25 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 75.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares   This was Steib's best year and the year he most deserved to win the award yet he receives almost no support. 3rd place was tough as I gave considertion to Quisenberry, Boddicker, and Blyleven.   1985   Out of these four years this one was certainly the least controversial and in fact I don't think it's ever been disputed. Bret Saberhagen, in just in second season, went 20-6 with a 2.87 ERA with a near sweep of the first place votes. I wouldn't have even given this one a look if it weren't to see if possible that Steib a 3rd Cy Young redo.   Ron Guidry was only the other pitcher to receive any real support as he won 22 games. Steib had to be the hard luck pitcher of all-time with this season as he won the ERA title with a 2.48 ERA and played on a team that won 99 games with a good offense. Despite that he finsihed with only a 14-13 record so to no surprise he received little support. One interesting vote was Bert Blyleven receiving a first place vote with a 17-16 record which is shocking but kudos to one writer in 1985 thinking outside the box even though it wasn't the right choice.   Actual Results 1) Bret Saberhagen 2) Ron Guidry 3t) Bert Blyleven 3t) Dan Quisenberry 5) Charlie Liebrandt 6) Doyle Alexander 7t) Britt Burns 7t) Donnie Moore 7t) Dave Stieb 10) Mike Moore   #3 135 ERA+, 2.75 K/BB, 1.15 WHIP, 64.9 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #2 171 ERA+, 1.74 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 78.1 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #1 145 ERA+, 4.16 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 68.2 VORP, 24 Win Shares   It was close but I give Saberhagen the nod here. Hey baseball writers congrats on being right 25% of the time!   So there you have it for a four year period Stieb was the 1st or 2nd best pitcher in the league and it's a crime that he didn't come away with at least one Cy Young. Injuries shortened his career and possible bid for the Hall of Fame although even then due his bad luck his low win total would kept him out. People who try to argue Jack Morris for the Hall always try to proclaim him as the 80's Pitcher of the Decade but that honor belongs to Stieb.

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This Day in S.I. Cover History: May 13, 1991

Okay little late on this but it works as the subject, Roger Clemens, did have a start on May 13, 1991 and he's very much in the news right now as he does his best Bret Favre impression on whether he'll play this year or not. Or was Favre doing a Clemens impression? We've dealing with Roger's retirement questions for three years now.   Roger Clemens was off to a blistering start to the '91 season as he had won all six of his starts and at one point in early in the season had tossed 30 consecutive scoreless innings.   Clemens' 1991 statistics coming into May 13th: 6-0, 0.73 ERA, 51 strikeouts, 8 walks   Red Sox record going into May 13th: 18-10, 1st place in A.L. East, 1 game ahead of Toronto   Clemens on May 13th, 1991: No decision, 8 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. Red Sox lose at home to the White Sox 4-3 in 10 innings. White Sox had an early 2-0 lead on two rbi hits by Robin Ventura. Red Sox took the lead with a three run 7th highlighted on a Steve Lyons single and Sammy Sosa error that led to two runs. Clemens was lifted after eight for closer Jeff Reardon but he blew the save on a two out, pinch hit homerun to Matt Merullo. White Sox win it in the 10th on a Ron Karkovice rbi single off of Jeff Gray.   Other MLB action on May 13th, 1991: Angels' Luis Polonia has five hits in a 9-5 win over the Indians...Blue Jays' Todd Stottlemyre improves to 5-0 with 8 1/3 strong innings, beating the Royals 4-2...Brothers Tony & Chris Gwynn both homer, Tony off of David Cone in the Padres 5-2 over the Mets and Chris, pinch hitting, off of Bill Sampen in the Dodgers 8-3 win over the Expos...Phillies' closer Mitch Williams blows a 3-1 lead in San Francisco in the 9th giving up a homerun to Steve Decker and an rbi double to Matt Williams but John Kruk homers off of Rod Beck in the 11th to give Philadelphia a 3-2 win.   Other sports action May 13th, 1991: Detroit Pistons beat the Boston Celtics 104-97 in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semis, tying the series at 2-2...Nate Archibald and Dave Cowens are inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.   Fun With Google on May 13th, 1991: A discussion on whether or not Hal Morris could hit .400? Morris was hitting .402 thru May 12th. He'd go 0 for 5 on May 13th and never again get to .400. Google jinx!

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Award Redo: 1960 N.L. MVP

Ya I'm really digging into the archives now. This one just stood out to me because Dick Groat won the MVP. Not Hank Aaron, not Willie Mays, but Dick Groat. For those who don't know Groat was a light hitting but excellent defensive shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit only 39 homeruns in his 14 year career with 2 of them coming in his MVP winning season. Now it certainly is possible for a non-power hitter to be a legit MVP candidate but probably only Ozzie Smith was good enough defensively to make up for a complete lack of power to be an MVP candidate. Groat also drew very few walks and was no threat at all on the basepaths as he had only 14 career steals.   There are probably three reasons Groat won the MVP. 1) Won the batting title, 2) Played on the N.L. Champs, and 3) This cover of Sports Illustrated in August of that year that described Groat as the "Fiery Leader of the Pirates." See he's the leader of the best team in the league, how isn't he the MVP? I'm sure he was clutch and had intagibles also. Basically Dick Groat was overrated. Interesting enough his teammate Don Hoak finished 2nd in the voting and he also was not deserving of being voted that high. Hey maybe the writers disagreed on who was real leader of the Piartes?   One other note on the voting was in the 5th place was Cardinals closer Lindy McDaniel. Hey who knew in 1960 writers were already overrating closers? I honestly don't even know if they were called closers back then.   Actual results   1) Dick Groat 2) Don Hoak 3) Willie Mays 4) Ernie Banks 5) Lindy McDaniel 6t) Ken Boyer 6t) Vern Law 8) Roberto Clemente 9) Ernie Broglio 10) Eddie Mathews 11) Hank Aaron 12) Roy Face 13) Del Crandall 14) Warren Spahn 15) Norm Larker 16) Stan Musial 17) Maury Wills 18) Vada Pinson 19) Joe Adcock 20t) Smokey Burgess 20t) Frank Robinson 20t) Larry Sherry 23) Pancho Herrera   #10 .297/.343/.497, 95 RC, 134 OPS+, .304 EQA, 32.3 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #9 .298/.354/.500, 91 RC, 139 OPS+, .311 EQA, 36.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #8 149 ERA+, 1.88 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, 55.0 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #7 .297/.407/.595, 111 RC, 169 OPS+, .339 EQA, 53.3 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #6 140 ERA+, 3.42 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 62.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #5 .304/.370/.562, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .308 EQA, 51.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #4 .271/.350/.554, 115 RC, 145 OPS+, .310 EQA, 63.2 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #3 .292/.352/.566, 119 RC, 155 OPS+, .325 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 35 Win Shares   #2 .319/.381/.555, 126 RC, 160 OPS+, .331 EQA, 62.2 VORP, 38 Win Shares   #1 .277/.397/.551, 121 RC, 165 OPS+, .340 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 38 Win Shares   Didn't these 1960 baseball writers know that Groat only had a .283 Equivalent Average? Idiots!   No Pirates make the list as they were just a very good team without any true standout player. Not sure why Mathews and Aaron received so little support as the Braves finished 2nd to the Pirates.

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Most Overrated, Most Underrated

There's a new Sports Illustrated poll of 470 Major League players asking who are the most overrated and most underrated players in baseball. Stuff like this is incredibly subjective as someone may consider one player underrated while the other considers that same player overrated. My assumption is that the player's perspective would be how they feel the media and fans view the player and that will influence their opinion on whether or not they consider someone overrated or underrated. So here's the Top 10 for both lists with my comments on what I think of each player and I throw in a name at the end of who I considered the most overrated and most underrated players of last season.   Most Overrated   1. Derek Jeter - Too obvious but facts are he is overrated by New York media/fans and major media outlets like ESPN. I have said in the past though that I feel Jeter is almost slightly underrated by non-Yankee fans at this point. You can tell Jeter is overrated just by how the New York media and ESPN are all up in arms (well from what people are saying on the board) over him topping the list as some how it is inexcusible that Baseball Jesus is on the list at all.   2. Carlos Beltran - This seems a bit odd to me, I suppose probably because of the contract he signed and he had a bit of an off year last season. Coming into this season though I'd consider him underrated by how much criticism he was getting.   3. Alex Rodriguez - Truly laughable for him to be this high. One of the true elite players in the game yet he typically doesn't get the credit he deserves and any failure he has in the "clutch" his magnified ten fold. Sure no player deserves the contract he got but not his fault the Rangers were stupid enough to give it to him.   4. J.D. Drew - Again no reason for him to be on the list and he is almost certainly underrated. He's a great hitter but is always hurt and many discard anything good he has done due to his injury problems. He showed in 2004 the type of numbers he can put up in a full season.   5. Nomar Garciaparra - How can he be underrated when he's be the subject of ridicule due to his injury problems? What because he was once great and now isn't that makes him overrated? Really makes no sense.   6. A.J. Burnett - Have to agree on this one but he's a "victim" of starting pitchers being overrated in general.   7. Jason Kendall - A common theme seems to be obscene contracts and Kendall certainly isn't worth what he makes. I doubt many still view Kendall as a good player anymore so my guess is the general view of him currently is probably neither overrated or underrated. Trust me though A's fans know he sucks.   8. Kerry Wood - Man players are just cruel as at least according this poll any player with a history of injuries is overrated.   9. Josh Beckett - Interesting. Maybe a tad overrated because of the 2003 postseason which tends to happen to any player who has a strong postseason.   10. Johnny Damon - I'd agree to a certain extent though his last two years he really was good but this also comes from the contract he signed. Probably more overrated circa 2003 than he is now.   My 2005 Most Overrated Player: Scott Podsednik - Remember he tought the White Sox how to bunt so they won the World Series. We don't need those meaningless homeruns!   Most Underrated   1. Michael Young - See now this is a player who I could see being overrated a couple of years from now. Players who everyone says is underrated eventually go the other way.   2. Bobby Abreu - Certainly not nearly as underrated as he was two or three years ago. I'd say he's probably fits into neither category.   3. Garret Anderson - Now this what I was talking in term of Young as personally I view Garret Anderson as overrated now. A few years back I considered him underrated. He gets on base at a poor rate and he has below average power for a corner outfielder.   4. Mark Loretta - Probably true to a certain extent. His great 2004 season went largely unnoticed. He's on the Red Sox now so he'll probably be overrated by the end of the year.   5. David Eckstein - Okay very good 2005 season no doubt by the "scrappy" Eckstein is probably a bit overrated because he's "scrappy."   6. Bill Mueller - I'd say he doesn't fit either category.   7. Chone Figgins - I'd say neither tilting towards slightly overrated.   8. Vernon Wells - You know he really hasn't done a whole lot at the plate the last two seasons, although off to a great start this year. He does get his just due when it comes to his defense.   9. Raul Ibanez - What? He's had a couple of good years by far from a star. I don't know do most view him as a scrub or something? Very odd he's on the list.   10. Melvin Mora - I'd agree with this one although his numbers were down last year, still were pretty good and his name doesn't really come up often when talking about the better 3rd basemen in the league.   My 2005 Most Underrated Player: Brian Giles - I ranked him as the best right fielder in baseball last season but because he plays in a park that is death to hitters his counting numbers just didn't look impressive.

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This Day in S.I. Cover History: May 7, 1990

New feature! Well I'm gonna burn out on redos eventually so decided to come up with a new idea. I'll take the subject from a Sports Illustrated cover from this date and look at what that person did on that date (if anything), what happened in their sport on that date, and what may have happened in other sports on that date. I definently won't be doing this everyday as it'll probably just be a once in a while thing. I think I'll focus on only covers from my lifetime and typically the main subject will be baseball as retrosheet.org makes researching a breeze. Also to get some perspective on what sports fans were thinking about the time I'll try to dig up threads from the Google message boards. Okay it will be really to find incredibly stupid opinions from sports fans. So the subject of the first one comes from May 7, 1990:   Ken Griffey Jr. at the age of 20 was already becoming a superstar and was the rare commodity of a young player with an insane amount of hype actually living up to it.   Griffey's 1990 numbers coming into May 7th, 1990: 26 games, .385/.425/.596, 5 homeruns, 18 rbi   Mariners record going into May 7th, 1990: 12-14, 5th place in A.L. West, 7 games back   Griffey on May 7th, 1990: Went 0-2 with two walks, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Mariners lose at home to the Red Sox 5-4. Boston scored four runs in the 3rd inning off of Mariners starter Erik Hanson on two, two run doubles by Tom Brunansky and Dwight Evans. Mariners manager Jim Lefebvre is ejected in the 4th inning for arguing balls and strikes.   Other MLB action on May 7th, 1990: Detroit's Cecil Fielder hit his 11th homerun of the season in a 5-4 loss to the Brewers. Oakland's Jose Canseco homers twice in a 5-1 win over the Yankees. Atlanta's Jeff Blauser hits his first two homeruns of the season including a two run homer in the top of the 9th off Cubs' closer Mitch Williams as the Braves win 9-8. Montreal's Andres Galarraga hits a game winning double in the bottom of the 9th as the Expos beat the Giants 7-6 after the Giants had scored three in the top of the 9th to tie the game. N.Y. Mets' Frank Viola improves to 6-0 on the year in a 7-1 win over Houston.   Other Sports action on May 7th, 1990: In the NBA the Chicago Bulls beat the Philadelphia 76ers 96-85 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. In the NHL the Boston Bruins beat the Washington Capitols 4-1 in Game 3 of the Wales Conference Finals, taking a 3-0 series lead.   Fun with Google on May 7th, 1990: A brief thread on who was more valuble: Ryne Sandberg & Jose Oquendo? No really.

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Where'd They Go?: 1988 Baltimore Orioles

In my 1989 A.L. MVP redo, I made reference the Orioles surprise run at the A.L. East title that year after their miserable 1988 season and that gave me my next subject for a Where'd They Go? entry.   Pretty much can sum up the Orioles '88 season by looking back at their first 21 games of the season.   April 4: Brewers 12, Orioles 0 April 6: Brewers 3, Orioles 1 April 8: Indians 3, Orioles 0 April 9: Indians 12, Orioles 1 April 10: Indians 6, Orioles 3 April 11: Indians 7, Orioles 2 April 12: Royals 6, Orioles 1 April 13: Royals 9, Orioles 3 April 14: Royals 4, Orioles 3 April 15: Indians 3, Orioles 2 April 16: Indians 1, Orioles 0 April 17: Indians 4, Orioles 1 April 19: Brewers 9, Orioles 5 April 20: Brewers 8, Orioles 6 April 21: Brewers 7, Orioles 1 April 22: Royals 13, Orioles 1 April 23: Royals 4, Orioles 3 April 24: Royals 3, Orioles 1 April 26: Twins 4, Orioles 2 April 27: Twins 7, Orioles 6 April 28: Twins 4, Orioles 2   It finally ended on April 29th in Chicago with a 9-0 win over the White Sox and their rookie starter Jack McDowell. Six of the 21 losses came against the Royals who Baltimore would go 0-12 against in 1988. Hey but after an 0-21 start you have no where to go but up but "up" for the Orioles was playing 32 games under .500 the rest of the season, ending up with 107 losses. Here's a look bacK at the team who epitomized losing for me as a kid.   C: Mickey Tettleton (.261/.330/.424, 15.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - Released by the A's right before the start of the season, in limited playing time Tettleton showed some of the power he'd display in future years, breaking out the following season with 26 homeruns. Traded to the Tigers after the 1990 season he'd play their four years and then three years in Texas, his career over after 1997.   1B: Eddie Murray (.284/.361/.474, 46.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - Once Cal Ripken is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, this Orioles team will be one of three teams from the 1988 season with more than one Hall of Famer on it's roster. Murray was still very productive into his 30's but this would be his last full season in Baltimore as he was traded to the Dodgers during the offseason for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell (ehhhh). Tested the free agent waters mutliple times going for L.A. to the Mets after 1991 and then to Cleveland after 1993. He would make a return visit to the Orioles in 1996 via trade to hit his 500th homerun. Split time between the Angels and Dodgers in 1997, his final season. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.   2B: Billy Ripken (.207/.260/.258, -16.3 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - I have to imagine having Billy play the full season with brother Cal was a publicity stunt as there was no way Billy should have been playing a full season with Major League team, even one as bad as the Orioles, circa 1988. Outside of a decent 1990 season the younger Ripken never developed. Left Baltimore after 1992 he bounced around the Majors to Texas, Cleveland, Detroit, with even a return visit to the Orioles in 1996 mixed in.   3B: Rick Schu (.256/.316/.363, 4.4 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Rene Gonzales played more games at 3rd but Schu made more starts, not that it really mattered. Originally pegged as the guy to the replace Mike Schmidt in Philadelphia as the Phillies actually moved Schmidt to 1st base in 1985 but he never lived up to the hype. Out of organized baseball from 1992 to 1995 made a brief appearance with the Expos in 1996.   SS: Cal Ripken (.264/.372/.431, 55.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares) - Had an off year in '87, Ripken bounced back to have a nice season in the Orioles terrible year. No need to go into the details of his career and will be a first ballot HOF selection next year.   LF: Pete Stanicek (.230/.313/.310, -3.6 VORP, 3 Win Shares) - Orioles had no set outfield all season long with Stanicek making just 46 starts in left but that was the most on the team. This was the only significant playing time he had in the Majors and his baseball career was over quickly after.   CF: Fred Lynn (.252/.312/.482, 16.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Actually didn't finish the season in Baltimore as he was traded at the waiver deadline to Detroit for Chris Hoiles to make way for Brady Anderson. Could still hit for power at this point but it was obvious his career was starting to wide down. Finished his career in 1990 with San Diego.   RF: Joe Orsulak (.288/.331/.422, 12.2 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - Orsulak made a career out of being a servicable, platoon outfielder. First year in Baltimore he'd play there thru 1992 and the join the Mets. Was actually part of a deal in 1997 between the Marlins and Expos that sent Cliff Floyd to Florida and that would be his last season.   DH: Larry Sheets (.230/.302/.343, -7.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Yup not a good sign when your DH puts up those numbers although Eddie Murray actually made the most starts at DH. Sheets was living off his 31 homeruns in the previous year in the homerun explosion of '87. Out of baseball after 1993.   Starting Rotation   Jose Bautista (91 ERA+, 16.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Had put up some fairly impressive numbers in the minors but Bautista's low K rate showed that he wasn't going to be effective in the Majors. Managed to have a couple of decent years with the Cubs as a reliever in 1992/93. Bounced around mutliple teams and orginzations, last appearing in the Majors in 1997 with St. Louis.   Jeff Ballard (89 ERA+, 8.3 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Tied for the team lead in wins with a grand total of eight he was another young pitcher the Orioles were counting on but had a sub 3.0 K/9 ratio. Some how managed to win 18 games the following year despite awful peripherals. Played a couple of seasons in Pittsburgh, his career over after 1994.   Jay Tibbs (72 ERA+, -10.4 VORP, 1 Win Share) - When you throw almost 160 innings and end up with a single Win Share you know you were bad. Win/Loss record is always deceiving but in the case of Tibbs' 4-15 record it wasn't. Hell how'd he manage to win four games? Actually went 5-0 with a 2.84 ERA the following year in only eight starts but I couldn't find out if he got hurt. Finished career with Pirates in 1990. Despite a short career was involved in four different trades.   Mike Boddicker (101 ERA+, 15.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Another veteran who did not finish the season with the team, he was dealt to the Red Sox at the trade deadline for prospects Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling in a trade that would be scrutinized by Sox fans for several years although he was very effective during his time in Boston. Left Boston as a free agent after 1990 for Kansas City, finishing up his career in 1993 in Milwaukee.   Closer: Tom Niedenfuer (111 ERA+, 10.9 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Always to be remembered for his two game winning homeruns given up to Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark in the 1985 NLCS. By this point Niedenfuer was no longer the strikeout artist he was but still effective. Signed with Seattle after the season where had an awful year, then finished up his career with a decent year in St. Louis.

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 1995 A.L. MVP

Before I got side tracked with my entry on The Baseball Network, I'd put together a redo for the 1995 A.L. MVP. This particular vote was one of the best examples of writer bias and how character plays a part in players winning awards. In an incredibly tight vote Mo Vaughn beat out Albert Belle receiving one more first place vote than Belle. To say this was a joke is an understatement. You don't need EQA, VORP, or Win Shares to tell you that Vaughn was in no way better the Belle in 1995. Let's just look at the standard numbers:              G     AB    R    H    2B  3B   HR   RBI   SB  CS   BB   SO    AVG     OBP    SLG   TB Vaughn    140   550   98   165   28   3   39   126   11   4   68  150   .300    .388   .575  316 Belle     143   546  121   173   52   1   50   126    5   2   73   80   .317    .401   .690  377   Edit: Fuck, it of course previewed perfectly fine and it comes out like this. Oh well.   How could anyone look at those numbers and pick Vaughn over Belle? Maybe the writers were just blown away that a man as fat as Vaughn could steal 11 bases. Seriously how the hell did that happen? A guy with a 50-50 doubles/homeruns season with a near .700 slugging and playing on the best team in the league would seem like a slam dunk for the writers. Belle led the league in Slugging, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Homeruns, and RBI (tied with Vaughn). His resume that year screams MVP. But Albert Belle was perceived as a bad guy, which was true, and Mo Vaughn was perceived as a good guy, which was partially true. There is no other logical explination for it. The writers liked Vaughn and hated Belle. To add to the case against Vaughn he was arguably not even the best player on his own team as John Valentin had a huge breakout season for the Sox.   A quick look at the rest of the voting, Edgar Martinez finished 3rd with four first place votes as the Mariners won their first division title ever. Then there was 4th place...Jose Mesa. The man has since become a walking punchline in recent years but at one point he was a very good closer. Again the closer argument doesn't have to be made again but someone actually gave Mesa a first place vote. Somebody actually thought that Jose Mesa was the MVP of the league playing on a team that had Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Carlos Baerga, and Kenny Lofton. It's vote like that that should get your voting privledges revoked. Other name of note was Tim Salmon who finished 7th who may have made a much more serious run at the MVP if it weren't for the Angels last season collapse.   Actual Results 1) Mo Vaughn 2) Albert Belle 3) Edgar Martinez 4) Jose Mesa 5) Jay Buhner 6) Randy Johnson 7) Tim Salmon 8) Frank Thomas 9) John Valentin 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Rafael Palmeiro 12) Manny Ramirez 13) Tim Wakefield 14) Jim Edmonds 15) Paul O'Neill 16) Mark McGwire 17t) Wade Boggs 17t) Chuck Knoblauch 19t) Gary DiSarcina 19t) Cal Ripken 21) Kirby Puckett   #10 .300/.388/.575, 119 RC, 145 OPS+, .319 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #9 .308/.402/.558, 108 RC, 148 OPS+, .323 EQA, 46.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #8 .333/.424/.487, 109 RC, 138 OPS+, .319 EQA, 72.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #7 196 ERA+, 4.52 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 87.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #6 .314/.438/.558, 110 RC, 158 OPS+, .341 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #5 .298/.399/.533, 109 RC, 139 OPS+, .317 EQA, 74.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #4 .330/.429/.594, 136 RC, 164 OPS+, .342 EQA, 70.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #3 .308/.454/.606, 137 RC, 178 OPS+, .364 EQA, 76.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #2 .317/.401/.690, 150 RC, 178 OPS+, .351 EQA, 85.6 VORP, 30 Win Sahres   #1 .356/.479/.628, 153 RC, 183 OPS+, .372 EQA, 91.0 VORP, 32 Win Shares   Whaaaaaaaaa?   I fully expected for Belle to come out on top but I completely forgot about Martinez. When I put it all on paper Edgar was the easy choice and he emerged as the Mariners premier hitter with Ken Griffey Jr. missing half the season due to a broken wrist. As you see Vaughn was indeed not even the best player on his own team. I nearly left him off the list as he came down between him and Mark McGwire who had ridiculous rate numbers (200 OPS+, .370 EQA) but missed 40 games due to injury so I gave the nod to Vaughn.

Bored

Bored

 

L.A. Clippers: Top 10 Individual Seasons

As I'm sure anyone who follows sports knows that the Los Angeles Clippers won a playoff series for the first time in 30 years and the first time ever since they've been the Clippers. Outside of a very brief glimmer of hope in the early the 90's they have been the model of futility in professional sports. Since I root for the New Clippers (YOUR Golden State Warriors) I figured I might as well jump on their bandwagon. I do have reservations though what with the gratuitous shots of Billy Crystal that will only increase with them into the next round and Donald Sterling getting credit for anything.   Now for a "tribute" to the Clippers I present the Top 10 best individual seasons by Clippers players since they became the Clippers in 1978 using the basketball version of Win Shares. Again I preface as always I have no idea how reliable this stat is. What this list does show is that Elton Brand has already become the franchise's greatest player, not that this franchise has been full of great players. In fact this past season Brand had the best season ever by a Clippers player.   What other blog will you find Swen Nater content?   1. Elton Brand, '05-'06, 41 Win Shares 24.7 PTS, 10.0 REB, 2.6 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.5 BLK, 2.2 TO   2. Elton Brand, '01-'02, 36 Win Shares 18.2 PTS, 11.6 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.0 BLK, 2.2 TO   (couldn't find an image of a Clippers card) 3. World B Free, '78-'79, 33 Win Shares 28.8 PTS, 3.9 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.4 STL, 0.4 BLK, 3.8 TO   4. Danny Manning, '91-'92, 29 Win Shares 19.3 PTS, 6.9 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.6 STL, 1.5 BLK, 2.6 TO   5. Elton Brand, '04-'05, 28 Win Shares 20.0 PTS, 9.5 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.8 STL, 2.1 BLK, 2.3 TO   6. Elton Brand, '03-'04, 26 Win Shares 20.0 PTS, 10.3 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.9 STL, 2.2 BLK, 2.8 TO   7. World B Free, '79-'80, 25 Win Shares 30.2 PTS, 3.5 REB, 4.2 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.5 BLK, 3.4 TO   8. Swen Nater, '80-'81, 24 Win Shares 15.6 PTS, 12.4 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.6 BLK, 2.6 TO   9. Mark Jackson, '92-'93, 24 Win Shares 15.2 PTS, 5.0 REB, 9.3 AST, 1.7 STL, 0.2 BLK, 2.8 TO   10. Corey Maggette, '03-'04, 23 Win Shares 20.7 PTS, 5.9 REB, 3.1 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.2 BLK, 2.8 TO

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 1989 A.L. MVP

Vern/Culloden asked to do a redo on this one so I'll put off the 1995 A.L. MVP for another day. 1989 is kind of an interesting year to examine, and hey my favorite sporting year, as Robin Yount won the MVP which I can remember at the time being surprised. Ruben Sierra was the hot young superstar of the moment and he broke out with a great year at age 23 and I always figured he should have won it, without every actually looking to deeply into the issue.   When I'm trying to find an interesting year to do a redo on the first thing I always check are Win Shares. If a player led the league in Win Shares and won the MVP he had to have been at the very least deserving of serious consideration. I had glanced at 1989 before and Yount tied with Sierra for the lead Win Shares so that's partly why I haven't bothered. But there was no clear choice that season, six different players received first place votes, and the Brewers were only a .500 team and the Rangers won 83 games. Usually in a year like this when there is no clear choice it can open the door for an undeserving player on a division winner to steal the award but that wasn't the case. It was a very weak year for offense and is the last time the A.L. homerun leader had fewer than 40 homeruns (Fred McGriff, 36).   The other four players to receive first place votes are an interesting group, due to none of them deserving any serious consideration. Cal Ripken finished 3rd on a the surprise team of the A.L. that season. Baltimore had come off their infamous 107 loss season and started year with a staggering 0-21 start, a record that might never be broken. The rebounded in '89 with a shocking run at the A.L. East title coming up just two games short of the Blue Jays. But even Ripken's writer friendly numbers (.264 avg, 21 hr, 84 rbi) hardly screamed MVP even in a weak year for offense.   Fourth and fifth place went to players on the division winning teams. George Bell received four first place votes even though his teammate McGriff had a far superior year. Dennis Eckersley was next and I don't need to repeat my argument about closers. Eckersley had a stint on the DL and only threw 58 innings although was of course his dominant self when healthy. The last player to receive a first place vote was Eck's teammate Carney Lansford. What was so interesting about this was Lansford finished 17th in the voting so he appeared on hardly any ballots at all yet someone gave him a first place vote. He actually had a very good year, not MVP calibar mind you but hey may have deserved passing consideration for a 10th place vote.   In a year without much offense and no clear choice among the players you would think a pitcher could emerge as the MVP and there was a very interesting candidate out there. Bret Saberhagen won the Cy Young, receiving all but one first place vote, and finished 8th in the MVP voting. With a 23-6 record, 2.16 ERA, and throw in playing on a Royals team that won 92 games I have to say I'm surprised he didn't receive more support from the writers.   One last note about the voting, this season had possibly the worst player (in terms of the season they had) to receive an MVP vote ever. Someone gave Mookie Wilson a 10th place vote, who had been acquired by the Blue Jays from the Mets at the trade deadline. Even a truly great player shouldn't garner an MVP vote if they were in the league for just the final two months of the season. In 247 plate appearances Wilson put up a .298/.311/.370 line. I'm sure he probably had a couple of "clutch" hits down the stretch which I'm assuming swayed some idiot writer to give him a spot on his ballot.   Actual Results   1) Robin Yount 2) Ruben Sierra 3) Cal Ripken 4) George Bell 5) Dennis Eckersley 6) Fred McGriff 7) Kirby Puckett 8) Bret Saberhagen 9) Rickey Henderson 10) Bo Jackson 11) Dave Parker 12) Gregg Olson 13) Bert Blyleven 14) Dave Stewart 15) Don Mattingly 16) Joe Carter 17) Carney Lansford 18) Nick Esasky 19) Tony Fernandez 20) Mike Moore 21t) Wade Boggs 21t) Steve Sax 23t) Alvin Davis 23t) Nolan Ryan 25t) Chilli Davis 25t) Mark McGwire 25t) Mookie Wilson   #10 140 ERA+, 2.98 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 65.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #9 .315/.379/.439, 103 RC, 132 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #8 .305/.424/.496, 104 RC, 156 OPS+, .335 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #7 .339/.379/.465, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .306 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #6 .274/.411/.399, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .325 EQA, 50.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #5 .330/.430/.449, 120 RC, 143 OPS+, .324 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #4 .269/.399/.525, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .335 EQA, 53.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #3 .306/.347/.543, 120 RC, 146 OPS+, .314 EQA, 58.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares   #2 178 ERA+, 4.49 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP, 79.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #1 .318/.384/.511, 120 RC, 152 OPS+, .326 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares   There you have it, Robin Yount was the best choice and in a year with no run away winner the writers actually picked the right guy. Any of the Top 4 would have been fine choices and I shuffled 2 thru 4 a couple of times before settling on it.

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Bored

 

The Baseball Network (1994-1995)

I mentioned it my last entry that I was running out of Redo ideas in my lifetime and then I realized I skipped over an obvious one in the 1995 A.L. MVP. I can't believe I missed it because I did the 1995 N.L. MVP already and it also gives me an opportunity to reminisce about one of the worst ideas since New Coke.   Edit: I've decided to do the 1995 A.L. MVP redo in a seperate entry that I'll do in the next day or two and leave this as an entry on it's own.   As I already mentioned on the redo of the 1995 N.L. MVP, we came incredibly close to replacement/scab players starting the season as the strike was still going in March. Although that embarassment was avoided for baseball another would pop up that October. The previous season a national television deal split between ABC and NBC had started which was called The Baseball Network. The name was purely for marketing reasons as there was no actual Baseball Network as all it was is ABC and NBC, I believe on a rotating basis, would have a Friday Night primetime game every week after the All-Star Break. Now there was no feature game as everyone just got a local game which the broadcast team being split between to local announcers of the two teams. It seemed very odd as what was the point of having a national game of the week if all you received was a local game? But the presentation of the games was inoffensive and I suppose it was nice to watch a local game with a national feel to it. The strike of course ended the 1994 season and there was no postseason to cover. The Baseball Network deal was still in place for 1995 and it was the same coverage for the regular season. But then came the postseason....   1995 was the first year that the new expanded playoffs would be used with the new five game divisonal round. The format for it initially was a nightmare as someone thought it was a good idea to pre-determine what divisions would play each other and what division would play the wild card team in the divisional rather than basing it on record. So for example in the A.L., the Mariners played the wild card Yankees despite having the worst record of the divison winners while the two best teams in the league, the Indians and Red Sox, were forced to play each other in the divisional playoffs. Then for the five game series they decided to go with the awful 2-3 format where the team with homefield would actually start the series on the road and then go home for three games if necessary.   But now onto the actual coverage of the playoffs. They decided that one network would host the entire divison round and then would switch to the other network for the league championship series. This seemed odd and unecessary and of course created an fairly obvious problem, as in how would they televise the entire division series on one network? The brilliant plan the came up with was schedule all four games at the same exact time, 8PM EST/5PM PST, and only provide a regional telecast. You have to stand in awe of the stupidity of this. The NBA could televise every single playoff game of a 16 team first round yet MLB could only figure out how to televise one game a night. So me being California I only was able to see the Dodgers/Reds series for the first three nights of the playoffs and nothing else.   Now I know what your thinking, or if you've forgotten, "now there's no way they did this for the league championships, right?" They did. The Reds/Braves and Mariners/Indians league championships series would be played at the exact same time, every night and the country would be split between them. I'm not even sure how they handled the Reds and Indians coverage. Can you imagine being an life long Indians fan, a franchise playing in it's first ever ALCS, living in Cincinnati and not being able to watch the game?   Thankfully The Baseball Network deal was only for two years and in 1996 a new deal started with Fox televising regular season games and then splitting the postseason with NBC. All division series games were televised but unfortunently we've been stuck with Fox ever since. But when we whine about the awful coverage of Fox or the fiasco with games being put on Fx and ABC Family channel in the past, just remember for one year it was much, much worse.

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Bored

 

Award Redo: 1974 N.L. MVP

You know I was going to do a "Steve Howe Memories" entry and just post the lyrics to "White Lines" but thought better of it.   I needed to do something to keep me from punching a wall thinking about the A's sinking $22 million Esteban Loaiza so might as well do a redo. I've been trying to find a year with a truly bad choice for MVP and with the best choice receiving little support and I'm kinda running out of examples in my lifetime so picked out an old one.   1974 was a historic year as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career homerun record, Lou Brock stole a then record 118 bases, and hey the A's won their third consecutive World Series. The Dodgers paced the National League with 102 wins and their young first baseman Steve Garvey took home the MVP despite not even being the best player on the team. Now you may say it would be unfair to pick apart an older MVP choice as stats such as Win Shares and VORP were a long way from being known and batting average was still considered the best stat to identify a good hitter by the general public. And I say "fuck you", hindsight is a wonderful tool.   Garvey won the award due to having a high average, finishing 3rd in the leauge in RBI, and playing on the best team in the league. But one big mark against Garvey through out his career as he didn't get on base at a very good rate and in '74 he didn't crack the Top 30 in OBP in the league. He was one of three Dodgers to finish in the Top 5 in the voting. Reliever Mike Marshall pitched in a record 106 games, throwing 208 innings, finished 3rd (also win Cy Young) and the always underrated Jimmy Wynn finished 5th. Wynn really played in the wrong era as he'd be much better appreciated now with his good power and great ability to draw walks. Marshall likley received so much support due to the insane number of apperances he made but he also wasn't the best pitcher on the Dodgers, that being Andy Messersmith. Even with his incredible workload as a reliever he only finished tied for 5th on the team in Win Shares.   Brock's record stolen base record resulted in him getting a 2nd place finish and was the only real competitor to Garvey in the voting as he received eight first place votes. Like Garvey though he wasn't the best player on his team as ex-Red Sox and future Dodger Reggie Smith was. In fact Brock was probably a worse 2nd place choice than Garvey was a 1st place choice. The great Johnny Bench and a young Mike Schmidt received solid support but no first place votes.   Actual Results   1) Steve Garvey 2) Lou Brock 3) Mike Marshall 4) Johnny Bench 5) Jimmy Wynn 6) Mike Schmidt 7) Al Oliver 8) Joe Morgan 9) Richie Zisk 10) Willie Stargell 11) Reggie Smith 12) Ralph Garr 13) Ted Simmons 14) Dave Cash 15) Dave Concepcion 16t) Jack Billingham 16t) Cesar Cedeno 16t) Al Hrabosky 16t) Andy Messersmith 20) Buzz Capra 21t) Richie Hebner 21t) Blake McBride 21t) Lynn McGlothen 21t) Rennie Stennett 25t) Bill Buckner 25t) Ron Cey   #10 .321/.358/.475, 104 RC, 136 OPS+, .301 EQA, 48.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #9 132 ERA+, 2.35 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 67.8 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #8 .353/.383/.503, 116 RC, 143 OPS+, .300 EQA, 50.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #7 .309/.389/.528, 107 RC, 157 OPS+, .318 EQA, 51.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #6 159 ERA+, 2.22 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 81.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #5 .271/.387/.497, 105 RC, 151 OPS+, .314 EQA, 45.5 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #4 .301/.407/.537, 110 RC, 168 OPS+, .331 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #3 .280/.363/.507, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .306 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares   #2 .282/.395/.546, 122 RC, 158 OPS+, .318 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 39 Win Shares   #1 .293/.427/.494, 108 RC, 159 OPS+, .336 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares   SMARTBALL~!   Morgan didn't receive a whole lot of support but he would win the MVP the next two years but maybe it should have been three in a row. Garvey doesn't crack the Top 10 but he was always overrated. And the Mike Schmidt card is the greatest thing ever although I'm not sure how exciting that image would be in 3-D.

Bored

Bored

 

NBA Playoffs: 2-0 Deficit

Going into Thursday's games Chicago, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Denver, and Memphis are all pretty much on the verge of elimination. Now they can still lose a game and not be eliminated but they'll have to pull off something that has only been done 11 times since 1984 when the NBA Playoffs expanded to 16 teams and that's comeback from 2 games to 0 to win a series. I need an excuse for an entry so here's a look back at those 11 series.   1987 Western Conference First Round   #5 Golden State over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Jazz 99, Warriors 85 Game 2: Jazz 103, Warriors 100 Game 3: Warriors 110, Jazz 95 Game 4: Warriors 98, Jazz 94 Game 5: Warriors 118, Jazz 113   You'd think as a Warriors fan I'd remember this series fondly but I have no memories of it because as a kid I was a bandwagon Lakers fan. The only thing I remember about the Warriors in the '87 playoffs was Sleepy Floyd's 51 point game against the Lakers in the West Semis, the Warriors only win in that series.   1990 Eastern Conference First Round   #5 New York over #4 Boston, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Celtics 116, Knicks 105 Game 2: Celtics 157, Knicks 128 Game 3: Knicks 102, Celtics 99 Game 4: Knicks 135, Celtics 108 Game 5: Knicks 121, Celtics 114   I'd guess that no one thought the Knicks had a prayer after giving up 157 points in Game 2. Most impressive about the Knicks comeback was by beating Boston in the Game 5 they ended a personal 26 game losing streak at the Boston Garden.   1993 Western Conference First Round   #1 Phoenix over #8 L.A. Lakers, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Lakers 107, Suns 103 Game 2: Lakers 86, Suns 81 Game 3: Suns 107, Lakers 102 Game 4: Suns 101, Lakers 86 Game 5: Suns 112, Lakers 104   Forgot about this series as the Lakers nearly swept the heavily favored Suns. Very controversial call in Game 5 on a Charles Barkley put back on an air ball where it appeared the shot clock may have expired that forced the game into overtime.   1993 Eastern Conference Finals   #2 Chicago over #1 New York, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Knicks 98, Bulls 90 Game 2: Knicks 96, Bulls 91 Game 3: Bulls 103, Knicks 83 Game 4: Bulls 105, Knicks 95 Game 5: Bulls 97, Knicks 94 Game 6: Bulls 96, Knicks 88   Kincks seemed to determined to end the Bulls dynasty by taking the first two games but it was not meant to be in this the biggest series to have a 2-0 defecit erased.   1994 Western Conference First Round   #8 Denver over #1 Seattle, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Sonics 106, Nuggets 82 Game 2: Sonics 97, Nuggets 87 Game 3: Nuggets 110, Sonics 93 Game 4: Nuggets 94, Sonics 85 Game 5: Nuggets 98, Sonics 94   The first eight seend to ever beat a one seed in the arguably the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history. I just seem to remember Robert Pack playing out of his mind in that series.   1994 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #2 Houston over #3 Phoenix, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Suns 91, Rockets 87 Game 2: Suns 124, Rockets 117 Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 102 Game 4: Rockets 107, Suns 96 Game 5: Rockets 109, Suns 86 Game 6: Suns 103, Rockets 89 Game 7: Rockets 104, Suns 94   Rockets were left for dead after losing the first two games at home against the defending West Champs.   1995 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #6 Houston over #2 Phoenix, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Suns 103, Rockets 108 Game 2: Suns 118, Rockets 94 Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 85 Game 4: Suns 114, Rockets 110 Game 5: Rockets 103, Suns 97 Game 6: Rockets 116, Suns 113 Game 7: Rockets 115, Suns 114   If you were a Suns fan circa 1995 you must have wanted to murder the entire Rockets team. This year's loss was even worse as they blew a 3-1 lead.   2001 Western Conference First Round   #5 Dallas over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2   Game 1: Jazz 88, Mavericks 86 Game 2: Jazz 109, Mavericks 98 Game 3: Mavericks 94, Jazz 91 Game 4: Mavericks 107, Jazz 77 Game 5: Mavericks 84, Jazz 83   Mavs came back from 17 points down in Game 5 and won an a Calvin Booth lay up in the final seconds.   2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals   #2 L.A. Lakers over #3 San Antonio, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Spurs 88, Lakers 78 Game 2: Spurs 95, Lakers 85 Game 3: Lakers 105, Spurs 81 Game 4: Lakers 98, Spurs 90 Game 5: Lakers 74, Spurs 73 Game 6: Lakers 88, Spurs 76   Everyone remembers the Derek Fisher basket in Game 5 in that awful, awful game.   2005 Eastern Conference First Round   #5 Washington over #4 Chicago, 4 games to 2   Game 1: Bulls 103, Wizards 94 Game 2: Bulls 113, Wizards 103 Game 3: Wizards 117, Bulls 99 Game 4: Wizards 106, Bulls 99 Game 5: Wizards 112, Bulls 110 Game 6: Wizards 94, Bulls 91   Signature moment was of course Gilbert Arenas' buzzer beater in Game 5.   2005 Western Conference First round   #4 Dallas over #5 Houston, 4 games to 3   Game 1: Rockets 98, Mavericks 96 Game 2: Rockets 113, Mavericks 111 Game 3: Mavericks 106, Rockets 102 Game 4: Mavericks 97, Rockets 93 Game 5: Mavericks 103, Rockets 100 Game 6: Rockets 101, Mavericks 83 Game 7: Mavericks 116, Rockets 76   The first five games were awesome, the last two not so much.

Bored

Bored

 

Draftback: 1995 NFL Draft

Before I go into the draftback with the current state of ESPN Classic, why not have a marathon of old drafts? Just edit down the first round of each draft to two hour blocks as I think it would be mildly interesting to see how each player was evaluated as they were drafted. It certainly can't be any less interesting than "classic" pool. What exactly constitutes classic pool anyways? Maybe a match where at the end a guy breaks his pool cue over the guy's head or any match with that hot asian chick. My guess though is that ESPN might not want to air those old drafts and show that Mel Kiper Jr. is really no better than your average draft prognosticater at predicting future success.   Anyways just picked the '95 Draft at random and it features quite a few busts starting at #1.   1. Cincinnati - Ki-Jana Carter, RB, Penn State Hands down, the #1 rated player in the draft, can't miss, guarenteed star. But he injured his knee in the preseason and that pretty much doomed him for the rest of his career.   2. Jacksonville - Tony Boselli, T, USC Had the potential to be a future HOF but injuries plus a botched shoulder surgery ended his career early. Selected to five Pro Bowls.   3. Houston - Steve McNair, QB, Alcorn State Has put together a pretty good career and nearly won a Super Bowl. Injuries have slowed him down in recent years.   4. Washington - Michael Westbrook, WR, Colorado Big debate over who was the top receiver going into the draft, Westbrook or J.J. Stokes. Did it really matter in the end? One good season and that's about it.   5. Carolina - Kerry Collins, QB, Penn State Ocassinally has his moments but overall a dissapointing career. But hey he can drink any player in the league under the table.   6. St. Louis - Kevin Carter, DE, Florida Decent career, led the league with 17 sacks in 1999.   7. Philadelphia - Mike Mamula, DE, Boston College Probably the poster child for workout wonders who shoot up the draft board but then don't produce on the field. Played only five seasons.   8. Seattle - Joey Galloway, WR, Ohio State Although was highly rated, Seattle was crticized for taking him over Stokes. Has had to battle some injuries over the years but overall a fairly productive career.   9. N.Y. Jets - Kyle Brady, TE, Penn State This pick was of course a classic televised draft moment as every Jet fan in the audience wanted them to pick Warren Sapp and they were none too pleased when Brady's name was announced. Not bad numbers for a tight end but certainly not worth a Top 10 pick.   10. San Francisco - J.J. Stokes, WR, UCLA This was a pretty big deal at the time as the defending champs traded up to get the next Jerry Rice. So much for that. Never cracked 800 yards in a single season.   11. Minnesota - Derrick Alexander, DE, Florida State Another team that passed on Sapp. Five seasons. 20 sacks. Bust.   12. Tampa Bay - Warren Sapp, DT, Miami A positive drug test for marijuana (OMG, professional athletes smoke weed? No way!) dropped him in the draft and Tampa ended being the benefactor. Very good career, although massively overrated in recent years.   13. New Orelans - Mark Fields, LB, Washington State Pretty good career.   14. Buffalo - Ruben Brown, G, Pittsburgh Good pick, eight time Pro Bowl selection.   15. Indianapolis - Ellis Johnson, DT, Florida Solid career.   16. Philadelphia - Hugh Douglas, DE, Central State I suppose the Eagles wanted to make sure they got one good end out of this first round. Selected to three Pro Bowls.   17. N.Y. Giants - Tryone Wheatley, RB, Michigan Kiper had a big hard on for Wheatley but only put together one good season.   18. Oakland - Napolean Kaufman, RB, Washington Most felt the Raiders were reaching here. Not a workhorse by any means but when he touched the ball he could make big plays. Retired early to became a pastor. Loser.   19. Jacksonville - James Stewart, RB, Tennessee Decent back when healthy.   20. Detroit - Luther Elliss, DE, Utah Merely adequate.   21. Chicago - Rashaan Salaam, RB, Colorado Think Ricky Williams without the talent. A Heimsan Trophy bust? Never saw it coming.   22. Carolina - Tyrone Poole, CB, Fort Valley State Just an average corner.   23. New England - Ty Law, CB, Michigan Maybe a tad overrated but not too shabby of a pick here. Selected to four Pro Bowls.   24. Minnesota - Korey Stringer, T, Ohio State We know what happened here.   25. Miami - Billy Milner, T, Houston Shitty. Where else can you get in depth analysis like that?   26. Atlanta - Devin Bush, S, Florida State Unspectacular.   27. Pittsburgh - Mark Bruener, TE, Washington Very few catches but made his mark as a good blocking tight end.   28. Tampa Bay - Derrick Brooks, LB, Florida State Wow, what a first round by the Bucs. Potential future Hall of Famer.   29. Carolina - Blake Brockermeyer, T, Texas Decent and had a great lineman name.   30. Cleveland - Craig Powell, LB, Ohio State Played a whole three games with the Browns.   31. Kansas City - Trezelle Jenkins, T, Michigan Nine games in three years. Yikes.   32. Green Bay - Craig Newsome, CB, Arizona State Showed a lot of promise when his career started but a knee injury did him in.   Other Players of Note   37. Washington - Cory Raymer, C, Wisconsin 38. St. Louis - Zach Wiegert, T, Nebraska 47. Arizona - Frank Sanders, WR, Auburn 48. Indianapolis - Ken Dilger, TE, Illinois 50. Philadelphia - Bobby Taylor, CB, Notre Dame 60. Pittsburgh - Kordell Stewart, QB, Colorado 74. New England - Curtis Martin, RB, Pittsburgh 79. Indianapolis - Zack Crockett, FB, Florida State 90. Green Bay - Antonio Freeman, WR, Virginia Tech 132. Carolina - Frank Garcia, G, Washington 181. Atlanta - Travis Hall, DT, BYU 192. Detroit - Cory Schlesinger, FB, Nebraska 196. Denver - Terrell Davis, RB, Georgia 206. N.Y. Giants - Charles Way, FB, Virginia 230. Green Bay - Adam Timmerman, G, South Dakota State

Bored

Bored

 

Where'd They Go?: 1996 Oakland A's

After talking about the mediocre '97 Pirates and doing the 1996 MVP redo it got me thinking about my favorite losing A's team, the 1996 version. The A's by this time were well removed from their three consecutive pennant winning teams with only Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach left from those glory days. The team was predicted to be one of the worst in baseball going into season mainly due to having a starting rotation who's "#1 starter" was Todd Van Poppel. Oof.   To add insult to injury with the low expectations they were also forced out of their home park for their first homestand. The Oakland Coliseum was undergoing a massive reconstruction to accomodate the Raiders who moved back to Oakland the previous year. The old bleachers and old giant scoreboards were torn down and a monstrosity that the locals would soon call Mt. Davis (in fact I think I came up with the name first or at least that's what I tell myself) in "honor" of Raiders' owner Al Davis. It was to make the stadium more football friendly and it was basically Oakland's way of bending over and taking it in the ass for the Raiders while completley ignoring the A's in the process. The stadium wasn't anywhere close to being ready and the A's first six home games were moved to Las Vegas. The construction would go on during the season with jackhammer sounds becoming a regular ballpark experience the first couple of months of the season and it was a major embarassment for the franchise.   But as it turned out they weren't horrible, not any good mind you but they managed not to finish last in the A.L. West and for a brief period of time after the All-Star Break they looked like they might break .500. After beating the Blue Jays on July 26th they were 54-50 and within five games of first place but that would be their peak. They would still be at .500 by mid-August but then they had a stretch where they lost 13 out of 16 which effectively buried their season. They finished the year 78-84 which was a small victory for a team expected to lose over 90 games. As I talked about in the '96 redo, offense was completely out of control that season and the A's took full advantage hitting a team record 243 homeruns which made them very entertaining to watch even if they weren't that good. Fortunently Van Poppel wouldn't stay the staff's #1 starter for very long as he'd get bombed and the former top prospect's Oakland career would come to an end later in the season when he was put on waivers. But the rest the rotation was horrible as advertised with a hodge podge of marginal prospects and never weres.   So here's a look back at my favorite losing team and where they went.   C: Terry Steinbach (.272/.342/.529, 40.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - At age 34, Steinbach hit a career high 35 homeruns, 19 above his previous high which came nine years earlier. Draw your own conclusions. This would be his last season in Oakland as he'd sign with his hometown Twins to finish out his career, retiring after 1999.   1B: Mark McGwire (.312/.467/.730, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares) - This was McGwire's first full season since 1992, although he still started year with another trip to the DL, and he would have the best year of his career to that point. Really I just look at this numbers still in awe and this season was more special to me than his '98 season only because he was still in Oakland of course. He of course was traded to the Cardinals at the trade deadline in 1997 as the franchise hit rock bottom in a deal that is best forgotten. Retired after 2001.   2B: Tony Batista (.298/.350/.433, 15.9 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - The A's actually had a three headed monster here with former second baseman of the future Brent Gates and awful utility infielder Rafael Bournigal. Batista was a midseason call up and won the everyday job the last two months of the season. After showing promise he had an awful '97 season and was left unprotected in the expansion draft where he was picked up by Arizona. Since then had stops in Toronto, Baltimore, Montreal, Japan, and now with Minnesota.   3B: Scott Brosius (.304/.393/.516, 43.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - After mediocre numbers his first few years in the league Brosius brokeout with a very good year both offensive and defensively. His production then dropped like a rock in '97 and was traded to the Yankees for Kenny Rogers soon after the season ended. He'd become a World Series hero in 1998 with them which fooled them into keeping him as their regular 3rd baseman for the next three years although his final season in 2001 wasn't bad.   SS: Mike Bordick (.240/.307/.318, -5.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Bordick had been living off a good year offensively in 1992 for a long time and I forgot how truly awful he was offensively. Only kept an everyday job due to his defense. Last season in Oakland as he signed with the Orioles. In 2000 out of no where the first half of the season he suddenly started hitting for power which got Mets' GM Steve Phillips all excited so he traded Melvin Mora for him. Ouch. He'd then promptly go right back to the Orioles after the season. His final year was in 2003 with Toronto.   LF: Jason Giambi (.291/.355/.481, 26.6 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Yes you're reading that right: LF, Jason Giambi. He came up as a 3rd baseman but that was occupied by Brosius who was very good defensively and Giambi's future position at 1st was of course filled by McGwire. Phil Plantier, yes that Phil Plantier, actually started more games in left than anyone for the A's but let's just pretend like that didn't happen. Giambi did get a fair amount of time at 1st when they'd DH McGwire. As for Giambi's defense in left...it was like if Lonnie Smith & Manny Ramirez had a kid. It was bad, really bad. As we all know Giambi was with the A's thru 2001 and then became the poster boy for selling out by signing with the Yankees.   CF: Ernie Young (.242/.326/.424, 7.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - This was Young's only full season in the Majors. He could hit some homeruns and play pretty good defense but couldn't hit a breaking pitch to save his life so no surprise why he didn't last long. He's become a Crash Davis type of player as he's still hanging around the minors hitting homeruns and gets the occasional cup of coffee, most recently with Cleveland last year at age 34.   RF: Jose Herrera (.269/.318/.378, -2.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Was acquired in the Rickey Henderson/Steve Karsay deal in 1993, never really developed and this was his 2nd and last year in the Majors. Out of baseball after 2000 but looking at his Baseball Cube page apparantly tried to make a comeback last year with the Orioles' Double-A team but only played in five games.   DH: Geronimo Berroa (.290/.344/.532, 33.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Berroa was a long time minor leaguer who outside of a spending a year with the Braves in 1989 as a Rule V draftee hadn't been given much of a shot in the Majors. Finally in 1994 at age 29 the A's signed him and he became a fan favorite beacuse he basically put everything into every swing, putting up some pretty good numbers. Traded to the Orioles in 1997 and his production fell off from there. Brief stops in Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Out of baseball after 2001.   Starting Rotation   Don Wengert (86 ERA+, 16.2 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - I should preface that the A's nine pitchers make 10 or more starts in '96 so I'm going with the four guys who made more than 20 starts as they obviously didn't have a set rotation all year. After showing promise early in the minors, Wengert couldn't get Triple-A hitters out by the the A's pitching woes forced them to use him on the big club which was a theme for A's pitching in the mid-90s. Traded to the Paders after 1997, he'd bounce around to the Cubs, Royals, Braves, and Pirates. Out of baseball after 2002.   Doug Johns (80 ERA+, 4.7 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Not really a prospect as he debuted at age 27 the previous year and his low K rate in the minors pretty much told you he wasn't going to make it in the Majors but again the A's didn't have many options. A's waived him the following season. Did spend a couple of years as a reliever and spot starter with the Orioles, was done with baseball after 1999.   John Wasdin (80 ERA+, 0.8 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - A former first round pick, he again couldn't get Triple-A hitters out but was forced into the rotation and was absolutlely lit up in this his rookie year. Traded to the Red Sox for Jose Canseco of all people the following season he's had a second career as a sometimes effective middle reliever although usually not. Had stops in Colorado, Baltimore, Toronto, and now with Texas although currenlty in the minors.   Ariel Prieto (116 ERA+, 27.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Before the Hernadez brothers made it cool to find Cuban pitchers there was Ariel Prieto. He was very much hyped as a future star but '96 was the only year that was ever moderately effective as I suppose he was the Hideki Irabu of Cuban pitchers. Last appeared in the Majors in 2001 with Tampa Bay although still hangs around the minors most recently with the Marlins Triple-A team although doesn't appear on any roster this year.   Closer: Billy Taylor (111 ERA+, 16.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Taylor was your typical losing team closer who no on notices because save situations don't become that important for losing teams. He was passable but nothing special. But good 'ol Steve Phillips saw his decent save totals and traded Jason Isringhausen for him at the trade deadline in 1999. Oops! Taylor didn't even make the Mets postseason roster. Made stops in Tampa and Pittsburgh, done after 2001.

Bored

Bored

 

'93-'94 All-NBA Teams

Just trying to mix up the entires and come up with something different I figured with the NBA Playoffs starting Saturday it'd be time to do an NBA entry. Being a Golden State Warriors fan it's hard to get nostalgic about much of antyhing so I figured I'd pick the year that they last made the playoffs, the first post-Jordan year, and an NBA Finals that was overshadowed by a slow speed chase of a white Ford Bronco. I wasn't sure where I'd go with the entry but one thing that I'm trying to look more into are the sabermetric side of basketball statistics. It's not nearly as well known as baseball sabermetrics and I'm not completely sure how reliable they are.   There's two stats that have caught my interest, John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating and the basketball version of Win Shares that was created by the guy who runs basketball-reference.com. I actually did an entry a couple of months ago using Win Shares to compare how well players from the 1989 NBA Draft faired in their careers. Now since I'm not sure how reliable these are, and I didn't want to do a carbon copy of my Award Redos that I do baseball's MVP, I figured I'd just compare the All-NBA teams from the '93-94 season as voted by the media and who were the top players according to these two statiscal formuals.   '93-94 All-NBA Teams (media version)   First Team   F: Karl Malone, Utah (22.9 PER, 37 Win Shares) F: Scottie Pippen, Chicago (23.2 PER, 32 Win Shares) C: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston (25.3 PER, 43 Win Shares) G: John Stockton, Utah (22.5 PER, 38 Win Shares) G: Latrell Sprewell, Golden State (15.9 PER, 28 Win Shares)   Second Team   F: Charles Barkley, Phoenix (22.8 PER, 26 Win Shares) F: Shawn Kemp, Seattle (22.9 PER, 32 Win Shares) C: David Robinson, San Antonio (30.7 PER, 52 Win Shares) G: Kevin Johnson, Phoenix (20.6 PER, 28 Win Shares) G: Mitch Richmond, Sacramento (17.7 PER, 18 Win Shares)   Third Team   F: Derrick Coleman, New Jersey (21.4 PER, 25 Win Shares) F: Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta/L.A. Clippers (21.4 PER, 25 Win Shares) C: Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando (28.5 PER, 47 Win Shares) G: Gary Payton, Seattle (17.8 PER, 27 Win Shares) G: Mark Price, Cleveland (22.7 PER, 26 Win Shares)   Now here's the top players by position using Player Efficieny Rating   Centers   1. Robinson 2. O'Neal 3. Olajuwon   Forwards   1. Pippen 2. Kemp 3. Barkley 4. Malone 5. Chris Webber, Golden State (21.7 PER) 6. Coleman   Guards   1. Price 2. Stockton 3. Johnson 4. Eric Murdock, Milwaukee (20.4 PER) 5. Reggie Miller, Indiana (20.2 PER) 6. Rod Strickland, Portland (19.9 PER)   Now using Win Shares   Centers   1. Robinson 2. O'Neal 3. Olajuwon   Forwards   1. Malone 2. Kemp 3. Pippen 4. Otis Thorpe, Detroit (31 Win Shares) 5. Horace Grant, Chicago (30 Win Shares) 6. A.C. Green, Phoenix (29 Win Shares)   Guards   1. Stockton 2. Miller 3. Mookie Blaylock, Atlanta (30 Win Shares) 4. Stacey Augmon, Atlanta (29 Win Shares) 5. Johnson 6. Sprewell   Probably the most interesting thing is Robinson and O'Neal both coming out ahead of Olajuwon who won the league's MVP and then had that incredible postseason. Sprewell making the All-NBA first team appears to have been way off and I have no problem agreeing with him being overrated. The high PER for Eric Murdock looks a bit odd and he didn't fair to well according to Win Shares (only had 15).

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 1996 A.L. MVP

Time for another redo, this time with one of the most controversial votes ever. 1996 was a year dominated by offense. In the A.L. six teams hit over 200 homeruns, the Baltimore Orioles setting a new record with 257 (broken the very next year by Seattle). Teams in the A.L. averaged 5.39 runs per game and even in the "Steroid Era" that mark hasn't been topped since. Eight A.L. players hit 40 homeruns or more including Brady Anderson's shocking breakout year with 50.   In a year with several players having MVP claibar seasons the vote itself really came down to two players, Juan Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez. Gonzalez would beat out A-Rod by just three voting points as he received one more first place vote than A-Rod. This result would be rightfully criticized as A-Rod clearly had the better year but Gonzalez playing on a division winner and being the more established player certainly influenced the voters. But it was the way A-Rod lost the award that would be so interesting and controversial.   First thing was Ivan Rodriugez received a first place vote which was bizarre because he had no where near an MVP season. He'd finish 10th overall, the next highest vote he received was a 5th place vote, and he appeared on less than half of the ballots. Clearly the majority writers did not view Pudge as a legit candidate. It was theorized by some that the writer who voted for I-Rod had meant to vote for A-Rod but accidently switched their names on his ballot. This seemed a bit far fetched and I don't think an answer as to why the writer voted for Pudge was ever cleared up so chalk this up to just a typical idiot baseball writer.   Next was the Seattle Mariners' beat writers as they would both give their first place votes for A-Rod's teammate Ken Griffey Jr. and both voted A-Rod third behind Juan Gonzalez. The other 26 A.L. writers gave A-Rod his ten first place votes and only gave Griffey two first place votes. The Mariners' writers had ironically prevented a Seattle player from winning the MVP.   But the biggest controversy about the vote involved Oakland A's beat writer John Hickey. He voted A-Rod 7th while no other A.L. writer voted him lower than 4th. He tried to justify voting A-Rod that low essentially because people viewed Ken Griffey Jr. as the MVP of the Mariners and he only voted Griffey 5th so he just had to vote A-Rod lower than him. Of course most people are idiots and most people don't do any research or otherwise they would have realized A-Rod had clearly the better year and that Griffey was really only a marginal candidate in a year with so many big offensive seasons.   So just how bad of a choice was Gonzalez? Also should A-Rod have been an absolute slam dunk winner or was there another candidate who you could argue for?   Actual Results 1) Juan Gonzalez 2) Alex Rodriguez 3) Albert Belle 4) Ken Griffey Jr. 5) Mo Vaughn 6) Rafael Palmeiro 7) Mark McGwire 8) Frank Thomas 9) Brady Anderson 10) Ivan Rodriguez 11) Kenny Lofton 12) Mariano Rivera 13) Paul Molitor 14) Andy Pettitte 15) Jim Thome 16) Chuck Knoblauch 17t) Jay Buhner 17t) Bernie Williams 19) John Wetteland 20) Roberto Alomar 21) Terry Steinbach   #10 .289/.381/.546, 131 RC, 133 OPS+, .313 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #9 .326/.420/.583, 153 RC, 148 OPS+, .332 EQA, 76.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #8 .297/.396/.637, 140 RC, 157 OPS+, .333 EQA, 85.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #7 .328/.411/.527, 129 RC, 137 OPS+, .320 EQA, 84.2 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #6 .311/.450/.612, 138 RC, 166 OPS+, .348 EQA, 83.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #5 .349/.459/.626, 152 RC, 178 OPS+, .364 EQA, 92.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #4 .341/.448/.517, 130 RC, 142 OPS+, .330 EQA, 99.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #3 .312/.467/.730, 142 RC, 203 OPS+, .381 EQA, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #2 .311/.410/.623, 153 RC, 157 OPS+, .337 EQA, 80.9 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #1 .358/.414/.631, 157 RC, 160 OPS+, .341 EQA, 111.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares   Aura? Did I already mention how much baseball cards have sucked in the past decade?   So there you have it A-Rod was the true MVP in 1996 and really there's no one you can argue over him. There's plenty of guys who had incredible years and there's a lot of agruments for the rest of the list as even as I was typing it I thought of switching guys around but stuck with what I originally came up with. Probably the most interesting case would be McGwire who's numbers are just sick but he only played 130 games. If he managed to play 150+ there would have been a case for him and he may have even made a run at 61 that year (hit 52). Juan Gonzalez was indeed an awful, awful pick as I didn't give him any consideration for the Top 10.

Bored

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Draftback: 1983 NFL Draft

Vern asked for it so here it is. All the attention goes to the quarterbacks in the draft but there are some pretty impressive players at other positions that came out of this draft. This draft did live up to the hype.   1. Baltimore - John Elway, QB, Stanford Right FBI Agent: Don't worry Mrs. Simpson we've helped hundreds of people in danger. We'll give you a new name, a new job, new identity.   Homer: (Raising hand) Oooh, I want to be John Elway! (Homer starts day dreaming about being John Elway. The ball is snapped to Homer and he dives over the pile into the endzone.)   Announcer: Elway takes the snap and runs it in for a touchdown! Thanks to Elway's Patanent last second magic the final score of Super Bowl XXX is Denver 7, San Francisco 56.   Homer:(Back to reality) Woo Hoo!   2. L.A. Rams - Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU Probably due to his numerous contract holdouts Dickerson gets left out a lot now when talking about the greatest running back of all-time but he deserves consideration. How about that the #1 and #2 picks lived up to the hype? Doesn't happen very often.   3. Seattle - Curt Warner, RB, Penn State A Penn State running back who wasn't a bust, strange. Had two 1400+ yards seasons.   4. Denver - Chris Hinton, T, Northwestern Obviously didn't stay in Denver as he was traded to Baltimore in the Elway trade. Seven time Pro Bowl selection.   5. San Diego - Billy Ray Smith, LB, Arkansas Took us to the 5th pick to find a non-Pro Bowl player but Smith was decent. Now an awful analyst on FSN's college football show that no one watches.   6. Chicago - Jimbo Covert, T, Pittsburgh Certainly sounded like an offensive lineman. Two Pro Bowl selections.   7. Kansas City - Todd Blackledge, QB, Penn State First true bust of the draft and it's fitting he was the one true bust of the famous quarterback class.   8. Philadelphia - Michael Haddix, RB, Mississippi State Now we're getting some busts. Career high in rushing yards was 311.   9. Houston - Bruce Matthews, G, USC Simply one of the greatest offensive lineman ever. Selected to 14 Pro Bowls.   10. N.Y. Giants - Terry Kinard, S, Clemson Decent, 31 career interceptions.   11. Green Bay - Tim Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh Had 12 interceptions in his first two years but a neck injury forced him into early retirement in 1986.   12. Buffalo - Tony Hunter, TE, Notre Dame Only lasted four years.   13. Detroit - James Jones, RB, Florida Hung around for a while but never cracked 1000 yards and only 3.6 career ypc.   14. Buffalo - Jim Kelly, QB, Miami Didn't join the Bills until 1986 as he spent three years in the USFL with the Houston Gamblers. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.   15. New England - Tony Eason, QB, Illinois You'll get differing opinions on whether Eason was a bust or not though he had a couple of good years but flamed out pretty quick.   16. Atlanta - Mike Pitts, DE, Alabama Played 12 years despite not being all that good.   17. St. Louis - Leonard Smith, DB, McNeese State Lasted nine seasons.   18. Chicago - Willie Gault, WR, Tennessee Never really broke out as a star but was a big time deep threat.   19. Minnesota - Joey Browner, S, USC 37 career interceptions, six Pro Bowls.   20. San Diego - Gary Anderson, RB, Arkansas Solid all-purpose back who had almost as many receiving yards as rushing.   21. Pittsburgh - Gabriel Rivera, DT, Texas Tech Paralyzed in an accident while driving drunk during his rookie year. Take a bow loser.   22. San Diego - Gill Byrd, CB, San Jose State Holds franchise record for interceptions with 42.   23. Dallas - Jim Jeffcoat, DE, Arizona State Never a star but lasted 15 seasons and had 102 career sacks.   24. N.Y. Jets - Ken O'Brien, QB, UC Davis I don't believe in '83 the draft had an audience yet but it would have been pretty fun to have seen Jets' fans react to them drafting a QB from UC Davis. Selected to two Pro Bowls.   25. Cincinnati - Dave Rimington, C, Nebraska Unspectacular seven year career.   26. L.A. Raiders - Don Mosebar, T, USC Played every o-line position in his 12 year career.   27. Miami - Dan Marino, QB, Pittsburgh Who?   28. Washington - Darrell Green, CB, Texas A&I Another all-time great to close out the first round.   Other Players of Note   32. L.A. Rams - Henry Ellard, WR, Fresno State 37. N.Y. Giants - Leonard Marshall, DT, LSU 39. Buffalo - Darryl Talley, LB, West Virginia 49. San Francisco - Roger Craig, RB, Nebraska 61. Kansas City - Albert Lewis, CB, Grambling 64. Chicago - Dave Duerson, S, Notre Dame 84. Washington - Charles Mann, DE, Nevada 110. L.A. Raiders - Greg Townsend, DE, TCU 167. Miami - Reggie Roby, P, Iowa 203. Chicago - Richard Dent, DE, Tennessee State 223. Miami - Mark Clayton, WR, Louisville 276. Cincinnati - Tim Krumrie, DT, Wisconsin 289. San Francisco - Jesse Sapolu, C, Hawaii 310. Denver - Karl Mecklenburg, LB, Minnesota 334. Miami - Anthony Carter, WR, Michigan

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Three pitches, three homeruns

Just got a home a little while ago from my first A's game of the year against the Rangers. There's that old cheesy saying that everytime you watch a baseball game you might see something you've never seen before and today was that day for me. Was really looking forward to seeing Rich Harden pitch since he came pretty damn close to throwing a no hitter against the Rangers last season and seeing Baseball Tonight's favortie pitcher Vincente Padilla. The weather was miserable early as we've had about six weeks straight of rain in the Bay Area and it although it never really poured today there was non-stop drizzle for about the first three innings.   It was evident early on that Harden wasn't on today as he had trouble finding the strike zone and would end up walking five on the day. In the 4th Mark Teixeira lead off with a double to right, missing a homerun by about two feet. Phil Nevin came up next and I saw something I'm not sure I've seen before or at least something you don't see very often. He grounded to ball to right to Marco Scutaro for Buster Olney's favorite thing a productive out. Atlhough it didn't turn out that way as Scutaro from 2nd threw to 3rd to get Teixeira. You'll often see that play made by a shortstop but I don't know if I've a second baseman make that play. Of course there's a fine line in baseball between a head's up play and a stupid play and I'm not sure Teixeira didn't beat the throw to 3rd, I was on the first base side so I didn't have a good view of the play, but they got the out and probably saved a run that inning. Now a fielder's choice isn't exactly something I'm gonna remember or worth a blog entry over but I did have something to remember in the 6th.   In the 5th, Nick Swisher made a nice leaping grab against the wall to rob Gerald Laird of extra bases and then with two out in the bottom of the inning crushed a towering homerun to right to give the A's a 2-1 lead. Harden seemed to be settling in by then but with two out in the 6th he competely lost the strike zone again, walking Michael Young and Teixeira. Next batter, Nevin, homerun, 4-2 Rangers, and the A's staring at a 5th straight loss. But then it happeend in the bottom of the inning.   Eric Chavez. First pitch. Homerun.   Frank Thomas. First pitch. Homerun.   Milton Bradley. First pitch. Homerun.   Three pitches, three homeruns, and that's it for Padilla. Absolutely amazing stuff. I've never seen back-to-back-to-back homeruns live in person and I don't think I've ever seen it happen on three straight pitches, let alone the first three pitches of an inning. Very cool to see a first ballot Hall of Famer in Thomas mixed in there as well. The rest of the game was fairly uneventful but that was a moment I'll never forget.   Since this blog is about nostalgia for the most part and since I'm talking about the A's and three homeruns might as well bring up the times I've seen three homeruns by one player in person. First one came on May 7, 1991 against Baltimore as Harold Banies hit three homeruns. Hit a two run homerun off of Ben McDonald in the 1st, a three run homerun off of Dave Johnson in the 4th, and a solo homerun off of Jeff Robinson it the 6th. He had a chance for a four homeruns in the 8th but they Orioles walked him. Second time I saw it happen was June 11, 1999 against Los Angeles as Miguel Tejada pulled off the feat. Two run homer against Carlos Perez in the 1st, two run homer against Onan Masaoka in the 3rd, and solo homerun against Doug Bochtler in the 7th.

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