And finally the starting pitchers to complete this year's rankings. The list is made up of the top 120 pitchers in games started. Francisco Liriano did not make the cut while Roger Clemens and Jered Weaver were among the last five to make it. I factor in the same stats as I did for the relievers but I also include ERA+ for the starters.
As I mentioned in my 2006 awards entry I wasn't sure if I'd end up changing my selection the 3rd best pitcher in the A.L. I picked C.C. Sabathia for 3rd when I posted the entry but as you'll see that changed here in the rankings.
2004 Top 10
1. Randy Johnson
2. Johan Santana
3. Ben Sheets
4. Curt Schilling
5. Jason Schmidt
6. Roger Clemens
7. Jake Peavy
8. Carl Pavano
9. Brad Radke
10. Oliver Perez
2005 Top 10
1. Roger Clemens
2. Johan Santana
3. Andy Pettitte
4. Pedro Martinez
5. Dontrelle Willis
6. Chris Carpenter
7. Jake Peavy
8. John Smoltz
9. Roy Oswalt
10. Mark Buehrle
2006 Starting Pitcher Rankings
1. Johan Santana, Twins
2. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
3. Roy Oswalt, Astros
4. Chris Carpenter, Cardinals
5. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
6. John Smoltz, Braves
7. Bronson Arroyo, Reds
8. Aaron Harang, Reds
9. John Lackey, Angels
10. Jason Schmidt, Giants
11. Mike Mussina, Yankees
12. Curt Schilling, Red Sox
13. C.C. Sabathia, Indians
14. Carlos Zambrano, Cubs
15. Jered Weaver, Angels
16. Derek Lowe, Dodgers
17. Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees
18. Dan Haren, A's
19. Chris Capuano, Brewers
20. Jason Jennings, Rockies
21. Roger Clemens, Astros
22. Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays
23. Erik Bedard, Orioles
24. Chris Young, Padres
25. Jeremy Bonderman, Tigers
26. Justin Verlander, Tigers
27. Brett Myers, Phillies
28. Barry Zito, A's
29. Josh Johnson, Marlins
30. Jake Peavy, Padres
31. Kelvim Escobar, Angels
32. Dave Bush, Brewers
33. Kenny Rogers, Tigers
34. Greg Maddux, Cubs/Dodgers
35. Matt Cain, Giants
36. Nate Robertson, Tigers
37. Kevin Millwood, Rangers
38. Tom Glavine, Mets
39. Jose Contreras, White Sox
40. Dontrelle Willis, Marlins
41. Jeff Francis, Rockies
42. Clay Hensley, Padres
43. Freddy Garcia, White Sox
44. Jon Garland, White Sox
45. Aaron Cook, Rockies
46. Ervin Santana, Angels
47. Jake Westbrook, Indians
48. Brad Penny, Dodgers
49. Andy Pettitte, Astros
50. Vincente Padilla, Rangers
51. Javier Vazquez, White Sox
52. A.J. Burnett, Blue Jays
53. Cole Hamels, Phillies
54. Jamie Moyer, Mariners/Phillies
55. Scott Olsen, Marlins
56. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
57. Woody Williams, Padres
58. Ted Lilly, Blue Jays
59. Zach Duke, Pirates
60. Jeff Suppan, Cardinals
61. Josh Beckett, Red Sox
62. Brad Radke, Twins
63. Miguel Batista, Diamondbacks
64. Pedro Martinez, Mets
65. Orlando Hernandez, Diamondbacks/Mets
66. Randy Johnson, Yankees
67. Cliff Lee, Indians
68. Mark Hendrickson, Devil Rays/Dodgers
69. Ian Snell, Pirates
70. Joe Blanton, A's
71. Doug Davis, Brewers
72. Jarrod Washburn, Mariners
73. Gil Meche, Mariners
74. Tim Hudson, Braves
75. Matt Morris, Giants
76. Livan Hernandez, Nationals/Diamondbacks
77. Jon Lieber, Phillies
78. Daniel Cabrera, Orioles
79. Noah Lowry, Giants
80. Jaret Wright, Yankees
81. Claudio Vargas, Diamondbacks
82. Cory Lidle, Phillies/Yankees
83. Tim Wakefield, Red Sox
84. Mark Buehrle, White Sox
85. Esteban Loaiza, A's
86. Kris Benson, Orioles
87. Paul Maholm, Pirates
88. James Shields, Devil Rays
89. Eric Milton, Reds
90. Rick Nolasco, Marlins
91. Chan Ho Park, Padres
92. Steve Trachsel, Mets
93. Byung-Hyun Kim, Rockies
94. Jamey Wright, Giants
95. Paul Byrd, Indians
96. Mike O'Connor, Nationals
97. Adam Loewen, Orioles
98. Josh Fogg, Rockies
99. Taylor Buchholz, Astros
100. Tony Armas Jr., Nationals
101. Elizardo Ramirez, Reds
102. John Koronka, Rangers
103. Rodrigo Lopez, Orioles
104. Mark Redman, Royals
105. Casey Fossum, Devil Rays
106. Scott Elarton, Royals
107. Jeff Weaver, Angels/Cardinals
108. Ramon Ortiz, Nationals
109. Sean Marshall, Cubs
110. Jae Seo, Dodgers/Devil Rays
111. Odalis Perez, Dodgers/Royals
112. Wandy Rodriguez, Astros
113. Carlos Silva, Twins
114. Jason Marquis, Cardinals
115. Jason Johnson, Indians/Red Sox/Reds
116. Joel Pineiro, Mariners
117. Runelvys Hernandez, Royals
118. Brian Moehler, Marlins
119. Shawn Chacon, Yankees/Pirates
120. Oliver Perez, Pirates/Mets
Closer list is the Top 30 in saves, of course saves are not factored in the rankings. Same statistics taken into account as middle relievers but I also include Win Shares for closers.
2004 Top 3
1. Brad Lidge
2. Joe Nathan
3. Eric Gagne
2005 Top 3
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Billy Wagner
3. Todd Jones
2006 Closer Rankings
1. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
2. B.J. Ryan, Blue Jays
3. Joe Nathan, Twins
4. J.J. Putz, Mariners
5. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
6. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
7. Takashi Saito, Dodgers
8. Billy Wagner, Mets
9. Trevor Hoffman, Padres
10. Akinori Otsuka, Rangers
11. Huston Street, A's
12. Chris Ray, Orioles
13. Chad Cordero, Nationals
14. Mike Gonzalez, Pirates
15. Francisco Cordero, Rangers/Brewers
16. Brian Fuentes, Rockies
17. Bobby Jenks, White Sox
18. Tom Gordon, Phillies
19. Bob Wickman, Indians/Braves
20. Joe Borowski, Marlins
21. Todd Jones, Tigers
22. Jorge Julio, Mets/Diamondbacks
23. Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals
24. Brad Lidge, Astros
25. Ryan Dempster, Cubs
26. Armando Benitez, Giants
27. Jose Valverde, Diamondbacks
28. Eddie Guradado, Mariners/Reds
29. Ambriorix Burgos, Royals
30. Derrick Turnbow, Brewers
Considering that my favorite team in sports was just eliminated on a walk off homerun, I feel pretty good. Going into today I just wanted the A's to pull out one win and then let the Tigers celebrate at home on Sunday as I didn't really want the A's to get my hopes up by winning both games this weekend. Well don't worry about having my heartbroken now. But this series was effectively over after the 4th inning in Game 2 when Esteban Loaiza failed to get a shutdown inning after a Milton Bradley homerun in the 3rd gave the A's a 3-1 lead and for the first time some momentum in the series but it was quickly dashed by four Tiger runs. It was painfully obvious at that point that the Tigers were on a roll that can't be stopped.
Tonight I'll just need to avoid the highlights and avoid reading any lame A's message boards talking about how the A's have no heart and how Billy Beane is a shitty GM. Considering everything that went wrong for the A's this year it is amazing they came this far. Really the shockingly healthy Frank Thomas was the only thing that really broke the A's way this year. They had injury plagued and/or underachieving years from key players such as Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden, Huston Street, Mark Kotsay, Milton Bradley, and Mark Ellis. As you've seen by my player rankings at least so far on the offensive side this was simply on paper not a team that you'd think would have won 93 games and swept a very good Twins in the ALDS. The future doesn't look too bright with a depleted farm system and a scary amount of young talent down in Anaheim but this is the most satisfied I've been at the end of the year with an A's team since 2000.
I never got to truly appreciate the A's run in the late 80's and early 90's because really as a kid how can you appreciate or understand the major accomplishments of your favorite sports team? I was spoiled rotten by the A's and 49ers to point that I pretty much expected my teams to always be in the hunt for championships. I was 12 years old when the A's beat the Red Sox 3-1 in Game 4 of the 1990 ALCS to sweep that series and win their third straight A.L. pennant. That game of course is best known for the premature, and hilarious to me, ejection of Roger Clemens in the 2nd inning. The A's winning was expected and their postgame celebration was fairly subuded. The A's that year would be swept by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, a result that was even more shocking that their loss the Dodgers two years earlier. Little did we know it would be 16 years and five postseason failure later that the A's would win another playoff series.
1992 was the end of that dynasty and I unfortunately witnessed the nail in the coffin live in person, courtesy of the bat of Roberto Alomar. I attended Game 4 of that year's ALCS, the first A's playoff game I ever had a chance to go to. Well okay that isn't entirely true as I was at Game 3 of the World Series on October 17, 1989 but...that's another story. In that game in 1992 with Blue Jays leading the series 2 games to 1 the A's jumped Jack Morris with a five run third inning. They led 6-1 going into the 8th inning and the game was in the bag and the A's were back in the series. But Tony LaRussa pressed his luck a bit with an aging Bob Welch and left him in to start the 8th who was promptly met with an Alomar double. LaRussa hooked him for Jeff Parrett who had been very reliable during the regular season but became very unreliable here. He gave up back-to-back singles to Joe Carter and Dave Winfield to make the game 6-2. No matter, the A's had Dennis Eckersley and LaRussa would now rely on him to get a two inning save. But Eck would then give up rbi singles to John Oledrud and Candy Maldanado to make it 6-4. But it still seemed fairly secure but that ended quickly in the 9th. Eckersley just didn't have it that day as he gave up a lead off single to Devon White and then...Alomar hits one of the biggest LCS homeruns in history. I still remember those annoying Blue Jays wives sitting in one section waving around their blue "J's" as Alomar circled the bases. What did I do, along with my brother? We left. Ya too young and stupid to realize how lame it is to leave a tie game in the ALCS in the 9th inning but that's what we did. I would miss Mark McGwire bunt, yes BUNT, in the 9th inning and then a horrible baserunning miscue by A's fans cult hero Eric Fox that would send the game to extra innings. I would then miss the Blue Jays eventually win on that most exciting of baseball plays, the sacrafice fly, in the 11th. So really I didn't end up regretting our decision to leave early.
But thanks to Eric Chavez and Marco Scutaro I'll be going to another ALCS game, either Game 1 against Detroit or Game 3 against New York. I want to say how happy I am that Eric Chavez played a big role in today's win. The guy has been nothing but a scapegoat for irrational A's fans since fan favorite Miguel Tejada left. Sure he hasn't lived up to the hype and promise he showed just a few years ago but the guy deserved to finally shine in the spotlight.
I already posted in the ALCS thread about the game, where I was probably on t.v. for a split second on the Inge homerun, so I'd like to throw in something for the blog. Ever since 9/11 the New York Yankees and I'm guessing the Mets as well play "God Bless America" during the 7th inning stretch and in the immediate aftermatch of 9/11 this was common across baseball. As time has passed the regular tradition of the 7th inning stretch has continued in most ballparks, including in Oakland. But since we're in the playoffs now Bud Selig feels it's necessary to force everyone to play this God awful song that grinds a game to a complete halt and makes break in the middle of the 7th twice as long. If New York wants to do it that's fine but forcing all other teams remaining in the playoffs to do it is lame and really pointless. What exactly is the significance of playing "God Bless America"? Even if you're the most patriotic of Americans you have to admit it's not a good song. Tonight it didn't really matter with the general awfulness of the A's performance but the break to play "God Bless America" can completely take the air out an entire stadium after an exciting Top of the 7th.
Sorta off topic I hadn't been to a playoff game since 2002 and I forgot how long the breaks are between innings because of network commercials. Almost every inning the pitcher would finish his warm ups and have to just stand there for 30 seconds so FOX could come back from commercial.
Tommorrow, back to the player rankings moving on to shortstops. God Bless Jeter.
What if a day of college football passed without anything interesting happening? Would it make a sound?
Game of the Day: Illinois 23, Michigan State 20. Woof. Texas Tech/Texas A&M was probably better I'm guessing but I only saw the end of that game when ABC put us on the west coast finally out of our misery by pulling Oregon's live rape of ASU's defense. My local Comcast Sportsnet picks up the 4th tier Big Ten game that gets thrown on ESPN+ and these games usually end up being more entertaining that the games ESPN puts on in their early timeslots on the main channels. This game made me sad because it means there's one more BCS team that you can't argue that they might be on the level of Stanford. Hey way to defend the middle of the field after the game Spartans, you think that would have worked during the game? We're all gonna miss John L Smith's rantings after he's gone. It might be tommorrow.
WTF Score of the Day: See above.
Other Games that I Make Lame Jokes and Little Analysis About
Arkansas State 31, Florida International 6. So if Arkansas State loses by 46 to SMU and the FIU loses by 25 to Arkansas State the next week, does that mean FIU gets relegateted to high school?
Virginia 37, Duke 0. Thank you Blue Devils. You're my last hope to eclipse the futility of Stanford.
SMU 33, Tulane 28. This was Tulane's first home game since Hurricane Katrina and obviously only the Saints . Hey SMU now has a winning record. Are they paying their players again?
Georgia 14, Mississippi 9. You know I can appreciate good defensive football and realize that is what the SEC is about but this was like watching flies fuck.
Colorado State 35, Fresno State 23. Something to keep on eye with Oregon's move up the polls is their close call against Fresno is suddenly looking pretty bad right now.
Wisconsin 52, Indiana 17. Let's see Northwestern's coach dies and the Wildcats get crushed by a I-AA team and Indiana's coach returns from brain cancer and they play like this. I feel bad Kansas' fans after Mark Mangino finally has a heart attack.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Oregon 48, Arizona State 13. Damn that Rudy Carpenter voodoo doll that Sam Keller has is working pretty well.
California 41, Oregon State 13. People are so excited about Cal in the Bay Area that this game wasn't even televised locally. One of the few times the complete indifference to college sports here benefits me.
USC 28, Washington State 22. OMG USC SHOULD BE SPELLED SUC. One thing about the Trojans though is they do need to start featuring Emmanuel Moody more. He's clearly better than Chauncey Washington.
Washington 21, Arizona 10. Watching Ty Willingham begin to resurrect the Huskies program isn't making me feel better.
UCLA 31, Stanford 0. For the first time this year the Cardinal defense forced a team to punt. More progress! Please kill me.
Game of the Day: Notre Dame 40, Michigan State 37. It was almost like the Spartans decided they'd have a game that would mirror the way they usually play every season. Hot start, then a lousy finish. Being that this was on ESPN on ABC on ESPN2 on Disney this is now "one of the ages" or something. Of course if this game had been played in South Bend and thus been televised on NBC, ESPN probably wouldn't care that much. ESPN did nail it though in what this game meant as Notre Dame just earned $14 million last night with this win, though they seemed to celebrate the fact more than look down on it. The Irish simply don't have another challenging game the rest of the year until they travel to Los Angeles and even they get humiliated in that game they will still be guarenteed a BCS bowl. Like I said last week they will play themselves back into the national title picture whether you like or not.
WTF Score of the Day: Georgia 14, Colorado 13. There was no jaw dropping upset yesterday (sorry Ball State, you're barely I-A as it is) and this was as close as we were going to get. The Bulldogs were the Top 10 that was a mystery to people coming into this week. The mystery is over, they aren't a Top 10 team.
Other Games that I Make Little Analysis and Lame Jokes About
Arkansas 24, Alabama 23. You know people have been lynched in Alabama for a lot less than what kicker Leigh Tiffin did yesterday. Time to transfer to Florida State, kid. I'm guessing the good feelings Tide fans had for Mike Shula last year will dissapear in a hurry this year.
SMU 55, Arkansas State 9. Isn't there something in the NCAA rules that if you lose by more than 40 to SMU you are demoted to Division II the next day? I mean god damn, it's fucking SMU! Let's not forgot Arkansas State is the defending Sun Belt champions. I think a 46 year old Eric Dickerson could run circles around a Sun Belt defense.
Maryland 14, Florida International 10. Maybe it's time Ralph Friedgen started putting weight back on as the Terps were much better a 100 pounds ago.
Ohio State 28, Penn State 6. I was watching the A's game so I missed most of this one and I unfortunately missed sideline reporting about Joe Paterno almost shitting his pants during the game.
Houston 34, Oklahoma State 25. I only mention this game because Vern reads the blog and I won my match-up against him in my pick 'em contest yesterday because of this game. Kevin Kolb is yo daddy Vern!
Whack Pac Wrap Up
California 49, Arizona State 21. God damnit.
Washington 29, UCLA 19. Newsflash, the Huskies don't suck this year. Isaiah Stanback is becoming quite the competent quarterback.
USC 20, Arizona 3. Zzzzzz. Good lord was that boring. That Emmanuel Moody though is pretty damn good.
Oregon State 38, Idaho 0. If you're still wondering how Michigan State coul blow that game last night then remember that they acutally made Idaho look halfway decent in their opener.
Washington State 36, Stanford 10. Hey the Cardinal defense allowed 238 rushing yards, their best showing of the year. Progress! I wanna cry.
With all the MVP talk for the potential "non-steroid" single season homerun record holder Ryan Howard, even though he wouldn't really deserve it, I figured it'd be good to redo for the year of the homerun chase, 1998. Mark McGwire would beat out Sammy Sosa for the homerun record that year but it was Sosa who that took home the MVP in a landslide.
Sosa won the MVP over McGwire for one simple reason, the Cubs won the Wild Card and the Cubs making the playoffs is always a big deal. The Cardinals weren't a bad team but at 83 wins were never in the hunt for a postseason birth thus McGwire was never given much of a chance for the award despite his 70 homeruns. Sosa took 30 of the 32 first place votes and not surprisingly the only two first place votes for McGwire were from the St. Louis writers. Although their homerun totals were close when it came to OBP and SLG, it wasn't much of a contest. McGwire's slugging was 105 points higher (.742 to .637) and his on base was 93 points higher (.470 to .377). Now one who argues the case for a player on a playoff team against a player on a non-playoff team is often that the player on the playoff team had more pressure on him to come up with more hits in key situations. Even though McGwire wasn't in a pennant chase he faced more pressure all year than any player in baseball in 1998, even more than Sosa.
Obviously there was no one else who was given any consideration for MVP. Moises Alou was the consensus 3rd place choice while Greg Vaughn, Craig Biggio, Andres Galarraga, and Trevor Hoffman were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. Despite having his usual great year Barry Bonds only finished 8th.
1) Sammy Sosa 2) Mark McGwire 3) Moises Alou 4) Greg Vaughn 5) Craig Biggio 6) Andres Galarraga 7) Trevor Hoffman 8) Barry Bonds 9t) Chipper Jones 9t) Jeff Kent 11) Vinny Castilla 12) John Olerud 13) Valdimir Guerrero 14) Mike Piazza 15) Tony Gwynn 16) Kevin Brown 17) Larry Walker 18) Rod Beck 19) Jeromy Burnitz 20) Scott Rolen 21t) Dante Bichette 21t) Tom Glavine 21t) Randy Johnson 24t) Javy Lopez 24t) Mickey Morandini
.324/.371/.589, 135 RC, 152 OPS+, .311 EQA, 59.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.272/.363/.597, 123 RC, 158 OPS+, .317 EQA, 61.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.313/.404/.547, 134 RC, 146 OPS+, .317 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.312/.399/.582, 135 RC, 157 OPS+, .325 EQA, 69.2 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.328/.390/.570, 127 RC, 152 OPS+, .321 EQA, 73.9 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.308/.377/.647, 157 RC, 160 OPS+, .320 EQA, 68.3 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.354/.447/.551, 138 RC, 163 OPS+, .340 EQA, 70.4 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.325/.403/.503, 125 RC, 139 OPS+, .315 EQA, 80.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.303/.438/.609, 146 RC, 177 OPS+, .344 EQA, 83.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.299/.470/.752, 179 RC, 217 OPS+, .379 EQA, 104.3 VORP, 41 Win Shares
The Moises Alou card makes me giggle.
See if someone had just told Barry back in 1998 that he had a better year than Sammy maybe he wouldn't have taken steroids. But as for the result, McGwire should have won in a landslie as he completely blows away the competition. Too bad now he's apparantly worse than Hitler for deceiving the nation or something.
Game of the Day: Oregon 34, Oklahoma 33. YEAAAAAAAAH! DOING IT FOR THE CONFERENCE!!!
Anyways this was interesting as between the first two Oregon possessions and their last two possessions, the Sooners dominated this game by the score of 33-10. The talk of Dennis Dixon looking like Vince Young is funny just because it shows the media's lack of imagination. Hey look he's black and wear's #10...next Vince Young! This was definently the wildest finish of the year so far and as much as the refs screwed the Sooners on this their defense had a role in blowing this in the end. Good defenses don't blow a 13 point lead with under three minutes left in the game. In the end I think it's still tough to gague how good either one of these teams are.
The WTF Score of the Day: Southern Illinois 35, Indiana 28. Okay I'm stretching it here as beating the Hoosiers isn't really an accomplishment.
The "I always preferred the Bounty Bowl" Game of the Day: Clemson 27, Florida State 20. This was a wild game that was overlooked due to Clemson's loss to Boston College last week. It featured FSU blocking an extra point and returning it for two points and then blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown. This game is also another sign that FSU just isn't the program they once were as it used to be impossible for ACC teams to leave Doak Campell with a win.
The "What do you mean Brady Quinn isn't Jesus Christ?" Game of the Day: Michigan 47, Notre Dame 21. Not that my Pick 'Em contest is a proper gague of what the country thought of Michigan's chances but only one person out of 40 picked them to win. Quinn's Hesiman chances are gone but those stomping on the Irish's grave shouldn't get too excited just yet. If you look at their schedule they could still very well end up being 10-1 going into Southern Cal which means they'll be back in the national title picture come the end of November.
"New Orelans doesn't care about black coaches" Game of the Day: Tulane 32, Mississippi State 29. Hey I agree it took way too long for a black head coach to be hired in the SEC but the Sylvester Croom era needs to come to an end. Before a 22 point 4th quarter just make this a game, the Bulldogs had scored a total of seven points through the first 11 quarters of the season.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Washington State 17, Baylor 15. Did a Wazzu/Baylor match-up really have enough demand to play it in Seattle? Anyways the Cougars may have a shot at a bowl game this year.
California 42, Portland State 16. Ooooo I'm so impressed.
Washington 21, Fresno State 20. Now here was an under the radar upset that received zero notice yesterday. Huskies blocked a Fresno extra point to tie the game with under five minutes to go.
Arizona State 21, Colorado 3. Gee you think they are having problems learning Dan Hawkins system in Boulder?
USC 28, Nebraska 10. This was a weird game because either people are getting on USC for not scoring more or for Nebraska for not making it closer. Really for me this game went about as expected beyond the Huskers suddenly deciding not to throw the ball.
Arizona 28, Stephen F Austin 10. Well if anything for the Wildcats the win over BYU is looking pretty good now as the Cougars crushed a decent Tulsa team in week 2 and then this week took BC to overtime on the road.
Navy 37, Stanford 9. They lost Mark Bradford for the season last week and now Evan Moore is hurt again. This is by far the worst BCS team not named Duke. Did I mention I hate football?
This is likely going to be my final look at the MVP race since there is now only two and a half weeks left. Last time I nearly bumped Albert Pujols from the top spot for the first time this season in favor of Carlos Beltran but this time around Pujols' has a firm grip back on the #1 spot. Of course in the media it's a two man race that doesn't include Beltran and almost a once man race with Ryan Howard. I mocked Howard last time but he's almost making a believer out of me as he makes a big jump (now finally the Most Valuable Phillie) but in my view he's still far behind Pujols and Beltran. For those who insist that Howard is the MVP ask these three questions:
Is he the best hitter in the league?
Is he the best all around player in the league?
Is he the best player on the best team in the league?
The answer to all three of those questions is no. He's had an amazing year and he might break the "non-steroid" homerun record (which kkk pretty much echoed my thoughts on that bullshit last week) but he's not the MVP.
10. Garrett Atkins, Rockies
.326/.401/.551, 111 RC, .303 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
9. Jose Reyes, Mets
.297/.349/.496, 112 RC, .284 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
8. Nick Johnson, Nationals
.297/.434/.532, 109 RC, .323 EQA, 53.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
7. David Wright, Mets
.311/.384/.538, 114 RC, .303 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 30 Win Shares
6. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.290/.361/.590, 122 RC, .303 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
5. Lance Berkman, Astros
.306/.411/.606, 123 RC, .322 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 30 Win Shares
4. Ryan Howard, Phillies
.316/.413/.682, 118 RC, .332 EQA, 74.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.339/.430/.582, 132 RC, .330 EQA, 74.7 VORP, 33 Win Shares
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.283/.388/.617, 119 RC, .318 EQA, 67.3 VORP, 37 Win Shares
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.323/.426/.677, 131 RC, .342 EQA, 75.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
Now the A.L. has been a wide open race all year...until now. It's not over yet but Baseball Jesus has now emerged as the clear choice for A.L. MVP. Travis Hafner already had no chance at the writer award and now he has no chance either now on my ballot due to his season ending broken hand. He's at #2 currently but obviously he'll fall lower than that. Now Johan Santana is starting to enter the MVP dicussion in some circles and I think he's making himself a legit case as well. But I think it's going to be tough for him or teammate Joe Mauer to catch Jeter. As the Red Sox have faded, so has Manny Ramirez. I almost gave him the top spot last time but now he barely stays in the Top 5. Jermaine Dye seems to be Jeter's main competition in the media but I doubt he can win if the White Sox don't make the playoffs.
10. Grady Sizemore, Indians
.293/.377/.535, 112 RC, .309 EQA, 65.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
9. Justin Morneau, Twins
.324/.379/.583, 110 RC, .313 EQA, 51.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
8. Jim Thome, White Sox
.291/.414/.604, 111 RC, .329 EQA, 57.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
7. David Ortiz, Red Sox
.285/.401/.628, 111 RC, .327 EQA, 63.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.322/.388/.637, 110 RC, .325 EQA, 63.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares
5. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.318/.436/.612, 109 RC, .338 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
4. Joe Mauer, Twins
.348/.433/.505, 97 RC, .321 EQA, 61.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
3. Johan Santana, Twins
166 ERA+, 5.35 K/BB, 0.98 WHIP, 74.8 VORP, 24 Win Shares
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.439/.659, 124 RC, .353 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 24 Win Shares
1. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.346/.423/.492, 125 RC, .321 EQA, 75.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares
Let's just get yesterday's depressing day out of the way.
Game of the Day: Akron 20, N.C. State 17. By far the most fun I've had watching a game thru two weeks in what's been a dull start to the college football season. ESPN actually made a good decision for once by dumping Rutgers skull fucking of Illinois and switching to the ESPNU telecast of this game for the 4th quarter. The Zips appeared on the ropes after N.C. State took a 10-7 lead and blocked a punt deep in Akron territory. Coach Steroid made a dubious call to go for it on 4th down inside the five instead of kicking the field goal and the Zips stuffed them. Akron had only -2 yards on offense in the second half to this point but proceded to go 96 yards on six plays for the go ahead touchdown. State then marched back down and scored a touchdown on a 4th down to take a 17-14 lead with under two minutes to go. Then it what should have provided more controversy than it did the referees flagged State for excessive celebration. The most pathetic thing is sports right now is college referees after a player scores a touchdown. You see them run over immediately to any player and try get in their face to go back to the sideline even if all the player is doing is hugging a teammate. State had just scored a potential winning touchdown in the 4th quarter and they aren't supposed to celebrate? If you aren't taunting the other team no flag should ever be thrown. In any event Akron got decent field position on the kickoff and marched down for the winning score which we all know was on a 4th down with three seconds left. You had to agree with the call because quarterback Luke Getsy made a mistake when he scrabbled and had the touchdown by fell to soon to the ground to avoid the hit and came up inches short of the goal line. Settling for three would have deflated the team's momentum for overtime.
The WTF Score of the Day: New Hampshire 34, Northwestern 17. Northwestern coach Randy Walker must wish he was dead after this performance. Oh wait...
The "No mah son ain't the problem" Game of the Day: Florida State 24, Troy 17. A school with the talent resources that FSU has should never only have 10 points against a Sun Belt team after thee quarters. This game is also a perfect example of why motivation does play an important role in college sports as I doubt the Seminols gave even a second thought about this game possibly being competitive.
The Too Bad it Wasn't on T.V. Game of the Day: Iowa State 16, UNLV 10. Apparantly the Rebels stayed on the field for about 15 minutes after the game stomping on the Cyclones logo after the game as the refs didn't review an incomplete pass in the endzone on the last play of the game that would have given the Rebels the win if overturned. Oh ya and Cyclones don't make any plans for Kansas City in December.
The "Fuck You Cosby" Game of the Day: Louisville 62, Temple 0. That line is stolen from Deadspin and it was funny enough that I had to post it here. A Louisville fan had posted on their that back in the 80's Bill Cosby had mocked the Louisville football program on the Tonight Show after a blowout loss to Temple.
Whack Pac Wrap Up
Boise State 42, Oregon State 14. It's scary to think that the Beavers may only be the 3rd or 4th worst team in the Pac-10 and they get humiliated like this.
Oklahoma 37, Washington 20. I suppose it's nice the Huskies played them tough for a half but considering how bad the Sooners looked against a mediocre UAB team last week, I wouldn't take any moral victories from a a 17 point loss.
Washington State 56, Idaho 10. At least we know Wazzu is better than Michigan State.
LSU 45, Arizona 3. Um ya, probably wan't a good idea to talk shit about LSU during the week. Let's see who should talk shit, the team that won a national title in 2003 or the one that hasn't been to a bowl game since 1998?
California 42, Minnesota 17. Meh, you guys still were humiliated on national television by a team that was a two point conversion from losing to Air Force this week.
UCLA 26, Rice 16. Now I take back what I said about being impressed by the Bruins.
Arizona State 52, Nevada 21. Nice to see the Sun Devils actually show up this week.
Oregon 31, Fresno State 24. The Ducks needed a Leon Lett play from Fresno to help them win this game but any game where the kicker scores the winning touchdown is fun. The Ducks are now the last hope for the Pac-10 getting any respect (not that they deserve any right now) with the game against Oklahoma next week. Ducks had to win this game just have the Pac-10 go 3-2 against the WAC this week.
San Jose State 35, Stanford 34. I hate football.
Been a little while now since the last MVP Watch as was waiting for Hardball Times to finally update the Win Shares totals.
Hey so did you hear that Ryan Howard is now the N.L. MVP winner? If your left handed and fat, this is your year! You know the media goo-goos and ga-gas over homeruns and RBI and then they wonder why players take steroids? Of course is Howard even the MVP of the Phillies is a more interesting question. As for the league he's in Top 10 but with a month left he's got no shot at the top spot on my ballot. Now as for the #1 spot things keep getting more interesting. I really, really wanted to give Beltran the top spot finally but I didn't pull the trigger but that might change a month from now. Also we may have a late 3rd candidate to the race as Miguel Cabrera clocks at a very strong #3.
#10 Nick Johnson, Nationals
.286/.423/.511, 93 RC, .312 EQA, 42.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#9 David Wright, Mets
.294/.369/.511, 97 RC, .294 EQA, 34.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
#8 Ryan Howard, Phillies
.294/.382/.628, 96 RC, .313 EQA, 50.2 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#7 Jose Reyes, Mets
.298/.351/.488, 103 RC, .285 EQA, 47.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
#6 Chase Utley, Phillies
.317/.385/.525, 94 RC, .296 EQA, 53.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
#5 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.294/.365/.603, 110 RC, .303 EQA, 52.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares
#4 Lance Berkman, Astros
.308/.414/.614, 112 RC, .323 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#3 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.337/.426/.585, 117 RC, .328 EQA, 64.8 VORP, 30 Win Shares
#2 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.286/.389/.631, 111 RC, .321 EQA, 63.1 VORP, 34 Win Shares
#1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.323/.424/.665, 114 RC, .337 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
For the A.L. it's still anyone's guess but by the way things are shaking out now Derek Jeter may win the real award by default and he's still in strongly my Top 5. I nearly had a new #1 here and originally had Manny Ramirez taking the top spot but changed my mind due the uncertain staus of his knee. The media favorite David Ortiz is now clutching his heart (awww I'm mean) and his season could be over. Joe Mauer is still in the Top 5 but he needs a strong September to grab the award.
#10 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.319/.374/.583, 93 RC, .310 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#9 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.261/.420/.594, 101 RC, .330 EQA, 46.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#8 Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.326/.392/.649, 99 RC, .328 EQA, 59.3 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#7 Johan Santana, Twins
153 ERA+, 5.03 K/BB, 1.02 WHIP, 62.7 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#6 Jim Thome, White Sox
.294/.413/.615, 103 RC, .331 EQA, 53.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#5 David Ortiz, Red Sox
.287/.400/.633, 105 RC, .329 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#4 Joe Mauer, Twins
.356/.434/.514, 91 RC, .322 EQA, 57.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
#3 Derek Jeter, Yankees
.337/.413/.480, 108 RC, .311 EQA, 61.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
#2 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.326/.442/.628, 108 RC, .345 EQA, 62.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
#1 Travis Hafner, Indians
.307/.434/.643, 120 RC, .347 EQA, 74.6 VORP, 23 Win Shares
Another entry flushed because I'm a dumbass. I had been working on for an hour and a half on a new "Where'd They Go?" entry, this one on the '91 Mariners but decided to be typing here in the blog instead of C&P from a Word file. I was almost done with their line-up and but I had to restart my computer and I hit restart before realizing I hadn't saved my entry. So this is a complete throw away entry and I'll just talk briefly about one thing.
-ESPN I'm going to let you in on a little something...you don't have Monday Night Football. You may have the name, you might be showing games on Monday nights this year, but you don't have Monday Night Football. Monday Night Football is now shown on Sunday nights. NBC landed the dream deal where they will be able select better games the last couple of months of the season while ESPN your stuck with your lousy schedule. What you have ESPN is Sunday Night Football on Monday nights. No shock at all NBC's presentation and coverage absolutely smokes ESPN's, even though NBC hasn't covered the sport since 1997. It's pathetic the way they've been hyping their preseason MNF games and then after the game ends they start SportsCenter with a 15 minute segment with extended highlights and analyzing the game people just saw, a meaningless exhibition. It's scary to think how much coverage and hype they'll give to their regular season MNF games.
In the ongoing debate in college football of playoffs vs. bowls I certainly come on the side of playoffs. I personally think the bowls have out lived their usefulness and that any tradition left in the system was pissed away when the Big Ten and Pac-10 agreed to join the BCS a few years back thus no longer guaranteeing that those two conference’s champions would meet in the Rose Bowl. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998 it has only avoided controversy twice, in 2002 and 2005 simply because they lucked out by having two major conference, unbeaten teams left at the end of the year. Not surprisingly those are the only two years that the BCS title game hasn’t been terrible. It is only in years like 2002 and 2005 where the BCS “works” but if you look at college football’s history there are several years with scenarios where such a system would have been incapable of solving any controversy. One of those years was 1993.
After many near misses at a national title Bobby Bowden and Florida State came into 1993 the run away favorites to win the title. Led by the eventual Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward, the Seminoles destroyed every team in their path. I had forgotten how dominate they were, just look at their jaw dropping results from that year.
8/28 vs. Kansas 42-0
9/4 at Duke 45-7
9/11 vs. Clemson 57-0
9/18 at North Carolina 33-7
10/2 vs. Georgia Tech 51-0
10/9 vs. Miami 28-10
10/16 vs. Virginia 40-14
10/30 vs. Wake Forest 54-0
11/6 at Maryland 49-20
Not even their tormenters from Miami could give them a real challenge. Then came a trip to South Bend. The Irish were also undefeated and came in at #2 in both polls. The Noles fell behind 24-7 but made a furious comeback to pull the game to 31-24. They had the ball on the Irish 14 for one final play but Ward could not connect in the endzone and it looked like FSU’s national title hopes had been dashed but a late season loss yet again. Now going into that weekend Nebraska was undefeated and #3 in the Coaches’ Poll and #4 in the AP Poll (Miami was #3). The Cornhuskers had not been nearly as dominate as the Seminoles and Irish, with one point wins over UCLA and Kansas. The coaches would move Nebraska to #2 ahead of FSU but the media would leave the Seminoles ahead of the Huskers.
Things then of course got really interesting the following week as after their triumph over Florida State and now with strangle hold on the #1 ranking in both polls, the Irish were stunned at home by Boston College in another classic on a last second field goal 41-39. FSU that weekend slaughtered another ACC foe, N.C. State 62-3, and in the media poll reclaimed the #1 spot while Nebraska grabbed the #1 spot in the coaches poll. The Irish dropped all the way to #4 in both polls behind two different interesting stories. In the coaches poll at #3 was a surprising West Virginia team had upset Miami that week to improve to 10-0 which finally earned them some serious respect, but they were #5 in the media poll. #3 in that poll was Auburn. Auburn was on probation and ineligible for postseason, they concluded their regular season undefeated but nothing to show for it. The final weekend of the regular season would play out with FSU and Nebraska disposing of their rivals, Florida and Oklahoma, while West Virginia edged Boston College 17-14 and thus ending the season with a serious poll controversy. Here’s how the regular season concluded in the polls.
1. Florida State 11-1
2. Nebraska 11-0
3. West Virginia 11-0
4. Auburn 11-0
5. Notre Dame 10-1
1. Nebraska 11-0
2. West Virginia 11-0
3. Florida State 11-1
4. Notre Dame 10-1
5. Auburn 11-0
This is was a complete nightmare. The coaches felt the right thing to do was put Nebraska and West Virginia at the top two spots but many didn’t think either was on the level of Florida State and Notre Dame. Of course the media poll was ripped to shreds as how could you have FSU at #1 and the Irish at #5, let alone have West Virginia below FSU when they beat Boston College, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Florida State. This was the type of scenario that only a playoff could have solved. Interestingly enough there was one poll left after the SEC title game, which with Auburn ineligible didn’t have much meaning on the national scene, the media bumped the Irish past Auburn even though neither played.
In the bowl selection process the Orange Bowl held all the cards as who they picked would likely decide that national title. Nebraska had the automatic invite with winning the Big 8 so after that they had the choice of Florida State, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. The would choose the Seminoles, Notre Dame would head to the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M, and West Virginia to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. In the afternoon of January 1st the Irish edged A&M 24-21. West Virginia would prove their doubters right as they would get murdered by the Gators 41-7 and potentially helping the pollsters quite a bit. If Nebraska could beat Florida State they would get an undefeated and relatively undisputed national champion. They took a 16-15 lead with a little over a minute to go but Charlie Ward would march the Seminoles down the field in a drive that included a fourth down conversion and very controversial personal foul penalty for a field goal and an 18-16 lead with 21 seconds left. A celebration penalty though gave Nebraska life and get in field goal range but kicker Byron Bennett badly hooked the 45 yard attempt. Everyone waited for the polls the next day to see if Notre Dame jumped Florida State due to the way everything shook out but the Irish’s unconvincing win over the Aggies left them at #2 and Bobby Bowden with his long awaited first national title, despite losing to the team who was at #2.
Preseason AP Top 25
1. Florida State
4. Texas A&M
7. Notre Dame
16. Penn State
17. Ohio State
20. North Carolina
21. Boston College
24. Mississippi State
25. N.C. State
Top 25 Regular Season Match-ups
#20 North Carolina 31, #18 USC 9
#3 Miami 23, #20 Boston College 7
#1 Florida State 57, #21 Clemson 0
#11 Notre Dame 27, #3 Michigan 23
#17 Oklahoma 44, #5 Texas A&M 14
#8 Tennessee 38, #22 Georgia 6
#10 Colorado 45, #24 Baylor 21
#16 Ohio State 21, #12 Washington 12
#1 Florida State 33, #13 North Carolina 7
#9 Florida 41, #5 Tennessee 34
#20 Stanford 41, #7 Colorado 37
#3 Miami 35, #13 Colorado 29
#18 North Carolina 35, #19 N.C. State 14
#1 Florida State 28, #3 Miami 10
#13 Washington 24, #16 California 23
#25 UCLA 68, #19 BYU 14
#1 Florida State 40, #15 Virginia 14
#2 Alabama 17, #10 Tennessee 17 tie
#19 Auburn 38, #4 Florida 35
#5 Ohio State 28, #25 Michigan State 21
#18 Michigan 21, #7 Penn State 13
#20 Colorado 27, #9 Oklahoma 10
#22 UCLA 39, #12 Washington 25
#6 Miami 49, #23 Syracuse 0
#7 Arizona 9, #25 Washington State 6
#21 Virginia 17, #12 North Carolina 10
#3 Ohio State 24, #12 Penn State 6
#6 Nebraska 21, #20 Colorado 17
#15 UCLA 37, #7 Arizona 17
#25 Kansas State 21, #14 Oklahoma 14
#24 Michigan 13, #21 Wisconsin 21
#3 Ohio State 14, #15 Wisconsin 14 tie
#7 Tennessee 45, #13 Louisville 10
#19 Penn State 38, #17 Indiana 31
#2 Notre Dame 31, #1 Florida State 24
#5 Ohio State 23, #19 Indiana 17
#11 Texas A&M 42, #20 Louisville 7
#17 Boston College 41, #1 Notre Dame 39
#9 West Virginia 17, #4 Miami 14
#6 Auburn 22, #11 Alabama 14
#16 UCLA 27, #22 USC 21
#25 Virginia Tech 20, #23 Virginia 17
#1 Florida State 33, #7 Florida 21
#2 Nebraska 21, #16 Oklahoma 7
#5 West Virginia 17, #11 Boston College 14
#14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37
#9 Florida 28, #16 Alabama 13 (SEC Title)
#10 Wisconsin 41, #25 Michigan State 20
Bowl Results (MVP)
Las Vegas: Utah State 42, Ball State 33 (Anthony Calvillo)
Sun: #19 Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10 (Jerald Moore)
Aloha: #17 Colorado 41, #25 Fresno State 30 (Rashaan Salaam)
Liberty: Louisville 18, Michigan State 7 (Jeff Brohm)
Copper: #20 Kansas State 52, Wyoming 17 (Andre Coleman)
Holiday: #11 Ohio State 28, BYU 21 (Raymont Harris)
Freedom: USC 28, Utah 21 (Johnnie Morton)
Gator: #18 Alabama 24, #12 North Carolina 10 (Brian Burgdorf)
Alamo: California 37, Iowa 3 (Dave Barr)
Peach: #24 Clemson 14, Kentucky 13 (Brentson Buckner)
Independence: #22 Virginia Tech 45, #21 Indiana 20 (Maurice DeShazo)
Fiesta: #16 Arizona 29, #10 Miami 0 (Chuck Levy)
Carquest: #15 Boston College 31, Virginia 13 (Glenn Foley)
Hall of Fame: #23 Michigan 42, N.C. State 7 (Tyrone Wheatley)
Cotton: #4 Notre Dame 24, #7 Texas A&M 21 (Lee Becton)
Citrus: #13 Penn State 31, #6 Tennessee 13 (Bobby Engram)
Rose: #9 Wisconsin 21, #14 UCLA 16 (Brent Moss)
Sugar: #8 Florida 41, #3 West Virginia 7 (Errict Rhett)
Orange: #1 Florida State 18, #2 Nebraska 16 (Charlie Ward)
Final AP Top 25
1. Florida State
2. Notre Dame
7. West Virginia
8. Penn State
9. Texas A&M
11. Ohio State
13. Boston College
19. North Carolina
20. Kansas State
22. Virginia Tech
Charlie Ward, Florida State
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State
LeShon Johnson, Northern Illinois
Errict Rhett, Florida
J.J. Stokes, UCLA
Johnnie Morton, USC
Ryan Yarborough, Wyoming
Carlester Crumpler, East Carolina
Pete Mitchell, Boston College
Mark Dixon, Virginia
Stacy Seegars, Clemson
Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame
Wayne Gandy, Auburn
Jim Pyne, Virginia Tech
Korey Stringer, Ohio State
Marcus Spears, Northwestern State
Rich Braham, West Virginia
Todd Steussie, California
Bernard Williams, Georgia
Rob Waldrop, Arizona
Dan Wilkinson, Ohio State
Sam Adams, Texas A&M
Lou Benfatti, Penn State
Derrick Alexander, Florida State
Shante Carver, Arizona
Kevin Patrick, Miami
Bryant Young, Notre Dame
Trev Alberts, Nebraska
Derrick Brooks, Florida State
Jamir Miller, UCLA
Barron Wortham, UTEP
Dana Howard, Illinois
Antonio Langham, Alabama
Aaron Glenn, Texas A&M
Jeff Burris, Notre Dame
Corey Sawyer, Florida State
Bobby Taylor, Notre Dame
Bracey Walker, North Carolina
Jaime Mendez, Kansas State
Bjorn Merten, UCLA
John Becksvoort, Tennessee
John Stewart, SMU
Terry Daniel, Auburn
David Palmer, Alabama
Last night the Oakland A’s beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0 and by doing so have tied a Major League record with 15 consecutive wins over a divisional opponent (Braves turned the trick against the Padres in 1974). On the season the A’s are 53-51 against everyone besides the Mariners while on the flip side the Mariners are 55-49 against everyone besides the A’s. The A’s dominance of the Mariners has now put them a position that didn’t seem possible just a few weeks earlier and that is a commanding lead in the A.L. West. Now it was just four years ago around this time of year that the A’s were in the middle of another streak, one of much more historic importance that I was able to see in person.
On August 12th, 2002 the A’s lost the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 at home dropping themselves 4 and a half games back of the first place Mariners. They wouldn’t lose another game until 24 days later. The following night an Eric Chavez two run single in the 7th broke a 3-3 tie, Billy Koch made it interesting in the 9th as he usually did but the A’s held on for a 5-4 win. They’d take the rubber match 4-2 the next day. That Friday on the 16th I went to the game with my brother as the A’s played the White Sox, the first of three games I’d attend during the streak not that I had any idea at the time what had started. Jermaine Dye led off the 2nd with a homerun and that would be enough for Cory Lidle and three relievers as the A’s went on to win 1-0. After sweeping the White Sox that weekend they headed to Cleveland for four games. The Indians would hardly put up a fight as the A’s outscored them 29-7 during the four game sweep and left Cleveland in a tie for first now with the Mariners. Next up was a trip Detroit. The A’s crushed the hapless Tigers 9-1 and 12-3 for wins #10 and #11 in the streak and the Mariners had lost both days giving the A’s a two game lead now in the West, a six and a half game swing in a span of 11 games. But in the finale in Detroit it appeared the streak would come to an end. In the 4th starter Aaron Harang was tagged for five runs, capped by a Randall Simon three run homer off reliever Micah Bowie to give the Tigers a 7-2 lead. A’s were still down 7-3 going into the 8th but it was in that inning that you got the feeling this streak wasn’t going to end anytime soon. Greg Myers led off the inning with a homerun, Chavez would hit a two run double a few batters later to cut the lead to a run, and then John Mabry followed with another two run double to give the A’s the lead. They tacked two more runs on in the 9th on a Dye homer and the A’s would win 10-7 for win #12. Off to Kansas City next for a fairly easy sweep to cap a 10-0 road trip and head home with a 15 game winning streak.
Now while on this was going on baseball involved in another labor dispute. My Dad and I had tickets to the A’s return game from the road trip on Friday the 30th against the Twins but there was potentially not going to be a game at all as the player’s were set to go on strike the day before if a labor deal was not agreed on. Obviously the A’s had probably more to lose than any team if a strike happened both on the field and at the box office. But for the first time a very, very long time the player’s union compromised with the owners and a strike was avoided. That following night there was a bit of a buzz in the crowd as the A’s closed in the American League record of 19 straight wins held by the ’06 White Sox and ’47 Yankees but at the same time you didn’t get the sense that people thought it would happen. It didn’t help that Jacque Jones would hit the first pitch of the game from Tim Hudson into the right field seats. But Ray Durham would answer with his lead off homerun in the bottom of the inning and the A’s would eventually win 4-2 for win #16. The next day I was off to Tahoe for the weekend for my brother’s bachelor party and I would miss three remarkable games by the A’s, not that I really noticed beyond catching a few highlights at the casinos. A’s won Saturday 6-3, after Ricardo Rincon had coughed up the lead in the top of the 8th they had answered with three runs in the bottom of inning to get the win. With the A’s now two wins shy of tying the record, they would start a streak of three straight games that they would win in their last at bat. Koch would blow a 5-2 lead in the 9th giving up homeruns to Corey Koskie and Micahel Cuddyer. But with two out and one on in the bottom of the 9th, Miguel Tejada hit a walkoff homerun against Eddie Guardado for the 7-5 win. Kansas City came in for Labor Day the next day for a brief two game “series.” The A’s blew yet another late inning lead but Tejada would get the game winning hit again after the A’s loaded the bases for a 7-6 win and tie the A.L. record with 19 straight wins.
I came home from Tahoe on Tuesday morning the 3rd and the A’s had an odd off day between the two home games that day. For whatever reasons I hadn’t even thought about going to the game the next night and I was surprised about two hours before the game my Dad asks me if I want to the game but I was like “sure, why not?” Now a weeknight game against the Royals wasn’t going to have much of a presale so we weren’t too concerned about tickets even if we knew there would be a huge walk up because of the possibility witnessing baseball history. I thought that a lot of the walk up would be people getting off work and buying tickets right before the opening pitch. But apparently people were there all day long getting tickets and everything outside of Mount Davis was sold out by the time we got to the game. For those unfamiliar Mount Davis is the football monstrosity that was erected in the outfield of the Oakland Coliseum back in 1996 in place of the old school bleachers. I had never sat on top of Mount Davis and I’ll never do it again unless the A’s get to the World Series. There’s little to no sarcasm in me saying that you have a better view of San Francisco up there than you do of the field. A good portion of the outfield is obstructed so we had to pretty much rely on what the rest of the crowd did to figure what happened on long fly balls. But bad seats aside the game started out as good as anyone could hope for. By the end of the 3rd inning the A’s had torched Paul Byrd and Darrell May for an 11-0 lead. The A.L. record was in the bag. Even when the Royals scored five in the 4th there was still none of the 55,000+ at the game who was worried at all and as the 11-5 lead held most of us just wanted the game to end as soon as possible so we could see the celebration. Then came the 8th with Chad Bradford in the game for the A’s.
Brent Mayne walked.
Emil Brown walked.
Neifi Perez singled.
Luis Ordaz reaches on fielder’s choice, no out recorded, Mabry scores, 11-6.
Bradford was lifted for Rincon and at this point my Dad and I started to head down the ramps to get down the field level area and watch the rest of the game standing behind the field level seats. Still not that worried but wishing they would stop this from getting too interesting. Now it is a long ass walk down Mount Davis to field level and Michael Tucker struck out while we were walking but as we reached the bottom a large portion of the stadium groaned…Royals just scored again on a Carlos Beltran sac fly. But there were now two out and the A’s were still up 11-7. Rincon was lifted for Jeff Tam and we finally settled on a spot to watch the rest of the game. Any remaining thoughts that the A’s still had this under control soon went out the window. Mike Sweeney crushed one down the left field line and it was now 11-10. It was at that point that I let out a loud “FUCK!” and got a dirty look from some old lady. It was also at that time that Billy Beane was in the A’s clubhouse breaking several things. Thankfully Raul Ibanez grounded out to ended the inning but you suddenly now didn’t even care about the record and were more worried about the A’s being part of a different record by blowing an 11-0 lead. A’s went quietly in the 8th and it was now up to Koch. Joe Randa led off with a single and Mayne bunted him over to 2nd. Koch though would strike out Brown and got two strikes on Luis Alicea…this was it, the 20th straight win! Or not. Alicea singles. Randa scores. Tie game 11-11.
The sound you heard in the Coliseum was 55,000+ people being punched in the stomach at the same time. You just couldn’t believe what had happened. A team with a 19 game winning streak, playing one of the worst team’s in baseball, just blew an 11-0 lead. Now faced with possibly extra innings and the A’s bullpen almost completely exhausted, things couldn’t be grimmer. Against Jason Grimsely, Dye led off the night with a harmless fly out. Scott Hatteberg came up to pinch hit for Eric Byrnes. Grimsley missed with the first pitch and then….
Everyone knew it was gone the second it left his bat. I've never been one to start celebrating and high fiving complete strangers at sporting events but you couldn't help it here. In an instant this had gone from the worst game I've ever been to, to the best game I've ever been to.
Two days later in Minnesota the streak was over. Exactly one month later the Twins would end the A's season in another dissapointing, heartbreaking playoff ALDS loss by the A's and the streak was forgotten. But it is kind of cool to know that I was able to watch some true baseball history in person.
The Streak (* - Game I saw in person)
#1: A's 5, Blue Jays 4
#2: A's 4, Blue Jays 2
#3: A's 1, White Sox 0*
#4: A's 9, White Sox 2
#5: A's 7, White Sox 4
#6: A's 8, Indians 1
#7: A's 6, Indians 3
#8: A's 6, Indians 0
#9: A's 9, Indians 3
#10: A's 9, Tigers 1
#11: A's 12, Tigers 3
#12: A's 10, Tigers 7
#13: A's 6, Royals 3
#14: A's 6, Royals 4
#15: A's 7, Royals 1
#16: A's 4, Twins 2*
#17: A's 6, Twins 3
#18: A's 7, Twins 5
#19: A's 7, Royals 6
#20: A's 12, Royals 11*
All the talk on ESPN and the TWiB threads when it comes to the American League MVP award in 2006 is about Clutchie McClutchie of the Boston Red Sox being the MVP favorite. One debate that has creeped up again and will certainly be talked about as we get closer to the end of the season is whether or not a DH should win the MVP. In my 1995 A.L. MVP redo I showed that a DH should be able to win the MVP award. Well okay my original intention when doing the redo was to show the voter bias against Albert Belle by the media and then in turned out Edgar Martinez should have won the MVP. An everyday DH has never won the MVP award so I'll take a look back at the closest thing we've had to a DH winning the award.
Don Baylor won the 1979 A.L. MVP while splitting time between the outfield and the DH spot. He played 97 games in the outfield and 65 games at DH, the most games ever played at DH by an MVP winner to date. As usual it's not particularly hard to figure out why a player won the MVP. Baylor played on the A.L. West champion Angels and he led the league in RBI and runs scored. Baylor was also his very own Clutchie McClutchie as he hit .330 with RISP. Despite his high RBI total and also finishing 4th in the A.L. in homeruns who only finished 10th in the league in slugging. In fact the Angels team leader in slugging was not Baylor but Bobby Grich. But because of his 139 RBI Baylor won the award in a lopsided vote, taking 20 of 28 first place votes.
In second place was Ken Singleton who had the best year on the best team in the league but received only three first place votes as his RBI total was only 111. George Brett picked up two first place votes and then other three first place votes were for Mike Flanagan although he only finished 6th. He was the near unanmious choice for Cy Young but as you'll see he was agruablly not the best pitcher in the league. Ahead of Flanagan were two Red Sox, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. Lynn led the league in average, obp, and slugging while playing a Gold Glove center field. Awww I just gave away my pick didn't I?
1) Don Baylor 2) Ken Singleton 3) George Brett 4) Fred Lynn 5) Jim Rice 6) Mike Flanagan 7) Gorman Thomas 8) Bobby Grich 9) Darrell Porter 10) Buddy Bell 11t) Jim Kern 11t) Mike Marshall 11t) Eddie Murray 14) Brian Downing 15) Sixto Lezcano 16) Roy Smalley 17t) Steve Kemp 17t) Willie Wilson 19) Mark Clear 20) Paul Molitor 21) Rick Burleson 22) Tommy John 23) Cecil Cooper 24t) Willie Horton 24t) Reggie Jackson 26t) Dan Ford 26t) Ron Guidry 26t) Mike Hargrove
.322/.372/.469, 102 RC, 126 OPS+, .296 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.54 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, 72.6 VORP 24 Win Shares
.321/.414/.573, 113 RC, 164 OPS+, .334 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#7 (I couldn't find a 1980 or 1979 card for Grich, first time I've had that problem)
.294/.365/.537, 105 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.296/.371/.530, 122 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 57.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.291/.421/.484, 109 RC, 142 OPS+, .319 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.325/.381/.596, 141 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.405/.533, 124 RC, 156 OPS+, .327 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.329/.376/.563, 137 RC, 148 OPS+, .313 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.423/.637, 143 RC, 176 OPS+, .341 EQA, 82.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
So what did we learn today? That outfield/DHs should never win the MVP! Wait okay that really doesn't make sense. Okay RBIs are overrated! Well you probably already should have known that. Okay we didn't learn anything but at least we had the first reference ever to Sixto Lezcano in this board's history and it's about fucking time.
In case you didn't know Dwight Gooden is currently behind bars in a seven month prison sentence after another drug relapse. Gooden has described his time in prison as torture and I have to imagine he can't be the happiest of guys right about now. But I'm here to cheer ol' Doc up and take a look back at the year he was on top of the baseball world and see if he should have won the MVP.
After phenomenal rookie year (17-9, 2.60 ERA) Gooden followed it up with one of the best years by a pitcher in recent baseball history going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the Cy Young unanimously and finished 4th in the MVP voting receiving one first place vote. The winner of the MVP was Willie McGee who had the best year on the best team in the National League, receiving 14 of the 24 first place votes. McGee bucked the usual trend of MVP voting of giving the award to power hitters and his 10 homeruns in 1985 were the fewest hit by an MVP winner since Maury Wills in 1962 who hit only six homeruns. He beat out two 30+ homerun seasons by Dave Parker and Pedro Guerrero who received six and three first place votes respectively. Really overall this was a pretty solid ballot produced by the N.L. writes as no one in their Top 10 seemed completely out of place beyond the usual lack of respect for Tim Raines who finished only 12th despite his usual excellence. Only really bizarre voting was a throw away 10th place vote for Mariano Duncan who put up a .244/.293/.340 line as a rookie for the first place Dodgers.
1) Willie McGee 2) Dave Parker 3) Pedro Guerrero 4) Dwight Gooden 5) Tom Herr 6) Gary Carter 7) Dale Murphy 8t) Keith Hernandez 8t) John Tudor 10) Jack Clark 11) Vince Coleman 12) Tim Raines 13) Ryne Sandberg 14t) Hubie Brooks 14t) Mike Marshall 16) Orel Hershiser 17) Keith Moreland 18t) Mike Scioscia 18t) Ozzie Smith 20) Jeff Reardon 21t) Jose Cruz 21t) Bill Doran 23t) Mariano Duncan 23t) Tony Gwynn 23t) Fernando Valenzuela 23t) Glenn Wilson
.305/.364/.504, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .301 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.312/.365/.551, 127 RC, 148 OPS+, .306 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.302/.379/.416, 95 RC, 124 OPS+, .303 EQA, 50.3 VORP, 30 Win Shares
183 ERA+, 3.45 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 80.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.281/.365/.488, 98 RC, 139 OPS+, .306 EQA, 46.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.300/.388/.539, 129 RC, 151 OPS+, .318 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.353/.384/.503, 119 RC, 148 OPS+, .318 EQA, 67.5 VORP, 36 Win Shares
.320/.422/.577, 118 RC, 181 OPS+, .349 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.320/.405/.475, 110 RC, 153 OPS+, .330 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 36 Win Shares
226 ERA+, 3.88 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 99.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
There you go Dwight, you are the winner of the only 1985 N.L. MVP given away by some guy on a wrestling message board. Now don't be dropping that new MVP in the shower.
For the first time this year I actually had to give more than a second of thought for who would take the #1 spot in the N.L. MVP race. As the Cardinals have slumped so has Albert Pujols and Carlos Beltran has now tied him for the M.L. lead in Win Shares. Pujols hangs on to the top spot for now but we now finally have a race. Chase Utley is hot, David Wright is not, and Ryan Howard makes his first appearance of the year.
#10 Ryan Howard, Phillies
.294/.378/.625, 78 RC, .308 EQA, 41.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#9 Nick Johnson, Nationals
.294/.425/.521, 82 RC, .317 EQA, 39.1 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#8 David Wright, Mets
.308/.383/.545, 86 RC, .302 EQA, 37.1 VORP, 20 Win Shares
#7 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
175 ERA+, 4.31 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 58.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#6 Chase Utley, Phillies
.328/.390/.557, 86 RC, .301 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#5 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.290/.362/.594, 93 RC, .304 EQA, 43.0 VORP, 23 Win Shares
#4 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.326/.422/.547, 90 RC, .319 EQA, 47.4 VORP, 21 Win Shares
#3 Lance Berkman, Astros
.322/.411/.621, 96 RC, .324 EQA, 46.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares
#2 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.284/.388/.626, 93 RC, .318 EQA. 52.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.319/.428/.684, 98 RC, .344 EQA, 56.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares
Hey did you hear the news? David Ortiz has won the American League Most Valuable Player award. ESPN told me so. All kidding aside after not even being on my radar until recently Ortiz has made a big jump on my imaginary ballot and if he keeps this up he could even possibly grab the top spot by the end of the year, but for the moment he's still not even the Red Sox MVP in my view. Travis Hafner has grabbed the top spot back but it wasn't without reservations and I gave consideration to everyone in the top 4 this week for the #1 spot. Carlos Guillen and Justin Morneau both make their first appearance in the Top 10.
#10 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.319/.382/.597, 79 RC, .314 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares
#9 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.249/.407/.578, 82 RC, .322 EQA, 35.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares
#8 Justin Morneau, Twins
.323/.378/.605, 85 RC, .313 EQA, 41.9 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#7 Carlos Guillen, Tigers
.307/.389/.511, 75 RC, .304 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 20 Win Shares
#6 David Ortiz, Red Sox
.291/.395/.627, 90 RC, .324 EQA, 51.3 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#5 Jim Thome, White Sox
.298/.417/.627, 91 RC, .332 EQA, 49.5 VORP, 19 Win Shares
#4 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.319/.429/.633, 91 RC, .338 EQA, 52.7 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#3 Derek Jeter, Yankees
.350/.425/.487, 88 RC, .317 EQA, 54.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#2 Joe Mauer, Twins
.365/.446/.525, 75 RC, .328 EQA, 52.8 VORP, 22 Win Shares
#1 Travis Hafner, Indians
.306/.430/.641, 103 RC, .348 EQA, 62.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares
1975 World Series Game 4 - Red Sox 5, Reds 4 (boxcore and play account)
-The Cincinnati crowd audibly groans when starter Fred Norman gets behind 2-0 to the first batter of the game. Man, tough crowd.
-The announcers throughout the series have been talking about the possibility of Rico Petrocelli retiring after the Series. He’d retire after the following season.
-Announcers do a promo for the reunion of Simon & Garfunkle on Saturday Night Live that week.
-The video quality is very good for the first six innings and then in the 7th goes to shit. It’s such a dramatic change that for a second it almost seems like it’s a completely different game.
-They show Luis Tiant’s wife a few times and she’s waving some giant noise maker and the announcers say she does it for every game during the entire game. Now why didn’t the crowd around her rise up and slay her, I have no idea.
-In the 9th inning Tony Kubek thinks Tiant is at almost 200 pitches. Errr not quite. He did throw 163 pitches which is a lot of fucking pitches. Given his shutout in Game 1 and another complete game victory here he was definitely the MVP of the series so far. He even has a couple hits and runs scored in the series although he was just a .164 career hitter.
1979 World Series Game 4 - Orioles 9, Pirates 6 (boxscore and play account)
-Once again no network graphics for this game which is getting annoying. This game was played on a Saturday so they run a bunch of college football scores during the game which would have been kind of neat to see, if only to me. Cosell seems more excited about reciting the scores to the college games than this game itself.
-They hype the Red River Shootout game which was to follow the telecast of Game 4. Texas beat Oklahoma 16-7, the Sooners only loss of that season.
-It’s mentioned that the Pirates and Tim Foli have agreed on a new five-year contract. He’d spend just two years of the contract there as he was traded to the Angels after 1981. In Game 3 and this game the Pirates fans do a “Foli, Foli, Foli” chant. I’m not aware if Tim ever lost part of his ear during a game or landed on some thumbtacks while diving for a groundball.
-In this series and the ’75 Series there are several check swings that in today’s game would always be called strikes that are almost always called balls here. There must have been some rule change or evolutionary change in how umps call check swings in the last 30 years. In the Orioles huge 8th inning Doug DeCinces checks his swing on a two strike pitch that 99.9% of the time would been called a strike in today’s game but is called a ball here without question. He would draw a walk and be followed by pinch hit doubles by John Lowenstein and Terry Crowley.
1986 World Series Game 4 - Mets 6, Red Sox 2 (boxscore and play account)
-A potential great storyline never happened in this series as Tom Seaver would have been the Game 4 starter here for the Red Sox but an ankle injury caused him to miss playoffs. Jerry McNamara decides to go with Al Nipper and his 5.38 ERA here instead of having Bruce Hurst on three days rest. Nipper was solid in this game though and the Red Sox missed several opportunities against Ron Darling who didn’t give up an earned run in his first two starts.
-The crack researchers at NBC note that Danny Heep, who was at DH for the Mets, is the first DH in World Series history with the initials DH. God I hope that doesn’t end up on his tombstone.
-Lenny Dykstra’s homerun in the 7th goes off Dwight Evans glove. They compare it to Dave Henderson’s play in Game 5 of the ACLS where a Bobby Grich flyball went out of his glove and over the wall for a homerun but this wasn’t nearly as bad. Evans had it on his webbing and it would have been a snow cone job if he caught it. If he timed his jump better he would have had it.
-Classic series or not, the last three games haven’t been very competitive.
The Detroit Tigers have been one of the more proud franchises in baseball history. That was until Mike Ilitch bought the team after the 1992 season. Before their ownership the Tigers had never endured more than four consecutive losing seasons. This year’s Tigers are just 17 wins away from ending 12 years of futility and are very likely to reach the postseason for the first time since 1987. But Ilitch's first year as owner was the Tigers last succesful one.
In the Tigers last winning season of ’93 they lead the Majors in runs scored with 899. They were of course helped by the hitter friendly Tiger Stadium but the offense was genuinely good. The pitching on the other hand allowed a Major League high 188 homeruns which although helped/hurt by Tiger Stadium the pitchers were genuinely bad. The Tigers started the season red hot as after a 12-1 spanking of the defending champs Toronto on June 12th they were 38-22 with a four game lead on the Jays. But just 10 days later a 12-9 loss to Baltimore would start a 10 game losing streak that they could never fully recover from.
C: Chad Kreuter (.286/.371/.484, 30.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – This was only one of two seasons that Kreuter played over 100 games in and was by far his best year. This would be the second of seven teams he would play for in his career. Went to Seattle in ’95 and then spent the following year with the White Sox. They traded him with Tony Phillips to the Angels in 1997. The Angels sent him back to Chicago late in 1998. Spent the following year in Kansas City and finally found a stable job with the Dodgers for three years. Began 2003 back where he started in Texas but was released a month into the season.
1B: Cecil Fielder (.267/.368/.464, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Fielder hit 30 homeruns with 117 rbi but those were quiet, big numbers as he was only 5th among Tigers regulars in slugging. He remained a very steady performer but never came close to his huge 1990 season. Tigers traded him to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra in 1996 where Cecil would have a good World Series going 9 for 23. His power numbers would slip dramatically after this and was washed by ’98 being released by both the Angels and Indians. Tried to make a return to Toronto in 1999 but failed to make the team. Has spent his post career gambling away the millions he earned and is now estranged from his son Price Fielder.
2B: Lou Whitaker (.290/.412/.449, 36.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) – Sweet Lou’s career was winding down at this point but when he was in the line up he was still very productive. Would retire after 1995 when he played in just 84 games but put up a strong .293/.372/.518 line. One of the great tragedies in Hall of Fame voting as he received only 15 votes in his first year of eligibility, failing to stay on the ballot despite being very comparable to his HOF contemporary Ryne Sandberg. Whether Whitaker deserves to be in the HOF or not is open for debate, I believe he does, but it is a joke that he couldn’t even receive enough support stay on the ballot for more than a single season.
3B: Travis Fryman (.300/.379/.486, 56.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – This was Fryman’s breakout season at 24 but it would end up being his best season. He actually started more games at shortstop (81 to 68) but I had a choice of talking about Alan Trammell or Scott Livingstone so I of course put Fryman at 3rd. At the start of the year Fryman was at short and Trammell was at 3rd but the Tigers would realize that Fryman was much better defensively at 3rd and flipped them back. Traded to the expansion Diamondbacks after the 1997 season but would never suit up for them as he would be flipped to Cleveland two weeks later for Matt Williams. Would play the rest of his career with the Indians, highlighted by a great 2000 season, and retired after 2002.
SS: Alan Trammell (.329/.388/.496, 40.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Coming off a year where he only played 29 games due to a broken ankle, the other side of the Tigers long time middle infield duo was also still productive when he was in the line up. Trammell of course spent his entire career in Detoit, retiring after 1996. Has faired better in HOF voting than Whitaker but is no where close to being elected, appearing on just 17.7% of the ballots in the most recent election.
LF: Tony Phillips (.313/.443/.398, 46.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares) – The previously light hitting, utility man Phillips had emerged as one of the top lead off hitters in the game due to his great ability to draw walks (132 in ’93) and this was his best year. Would spend one more season in Detroit before signing as a free agent with the Angels. Signed with the White Sox in ’96 who then traded him the previously mentioned deal with Chad Kreuter back to the Angels. In August of that year he would be caught smoking crack in an Anaheim hotel and really who hasn’t? He was released by the Angels before the 1998 season, then picked up by the Blue Jays two months later who would trade him after a month in a deadline deal to the Mets. Returned to Oakland in 1999 for his final season in the Majors.
CF: Milt Cuyler (.213/.276/.313, -7.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) – A passable rookie year in 1991 some how convinced the Tigers to keep trotting Cuyler out to center for a couple of more years although in just in part time duty, he still played too much. Mysteriously still found part time Major League work for a few more years including a trip to Boston in 1996. But in 1998 he had a historic year with the Rangers putting up a jaw dropping .500/.571/1.333 line. Even with a batting average heavy OBP those number are insane. Oh wait it was only in 7 at bats…never mind.
RF: Rob Deer (.217/.302/.381, -3.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – Everybody’s favorite no batting average power hitter, Deer was a poor man’s Dave Kingman. Okay Deer actually could draw walks but holy shit he could not make any contact at all. He was about as true a “three outcome hitter” as you could get and the primary outcome was a strikeout. Did not finish the season in Detroit as he was traded to Boston in August. This appeared to be his last year in the Majors but in 1996 made a comeback with the Padres. In true Deer fashion he went 9 for 50 (seven of the hits for extra bases) and struck out 30 times.
DH: Kirk Gibson (.261/.337/.432, 15.4 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Fuck him.
Utility: Mickey Tettleton (.245/.372/.492, 31.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares) – Tettleton started 51 games at catcher, 38 in RF, 35 at 1B, 16 in LF, and surprisingly only 3 at DH considering he couldn’t play any position well but hit for enough power that you needed him the line up everyday. Signed as a free agent with Texas after 1994 and spent his final three years there.
Mike Moore (82 ERA+, 3.0 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – A big free agent signing for the Tigers before the season leaving the friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum for Tiger Stadium proved very hazardous to Moore’s ERA. The Tigers offense carried him to a 13-9 record. Never effective in Detroit, retired after 1995.
John Doherty (97 ERA+, 15.3 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – I remember little to nothing of Doherty and found little to nothing about him. His baseball-reference sponsor says he hurt his arm so I’ll believe it. Tigers waived him before the ’96 season and was picked up by the Red Sox, pitching in only three games.
David Wells (103 ERA+, 28.3 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Was released right before the season by the Blue Jays, Wells would end up saving his career in Detroit. Tigers would trade him to the Reds in 1995 in a deadline deal. Spent the next year in Baltimore before signing with the Yankees where he became the GREATEST PITCHER OF ALL-TIME or something. Traded for Roger Clemens before 1999 to Toronto and then traded to the White Sox before 2001 in the “oh we didn’t know Mike Sirotka’s arm was dead” deal. After an injury filled year there he would return to the Yankees for two years. Played with the Padres in 2004 and then joined the Red Sox where is now just fat and injured.
Bill Gullickson (80 ERA+, -2.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The long time mediocre Gullickson was just about at the end of his career here and would retire after the following year.
Closer: Mike Henneman (163 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – One of Henneman’s better seasons. Struggled badly the following year but rebound in 1995 where he’d be dealt in a waiver deal to Houston for Phil Nevin. Spent his final year in ’96 with Texas.