-So Monmouth blew out Hampton 71-49 in the play in game tonight. Hampton had the worst RPI of any team with a winning record in the entire country and you can thank those conference tournaments for that. Now every year after this game ends the ESPN analyst has to talk about the school getting it's first ever NCAA tournament win, which always annoys me, and tonight was no different. Did Monmouth really win a tournamnet game? After all it is the "play in" game which by the wording of it seems to indicate that the winner of the game gets into the tournament. In my view Monmouth has now qualified for the tournament while Hampton has failed to do so. Monmouth will win its first real tournament game if it were to beat Villanova, which we know won't happen.
-The other postseason tournament started tonight, the NIT. I normally never pay attention to it but after a lackluster year Stanford finds themself in it, snapping their 11 year NCAA tournament streak. They beat Virginia 65-49 in their Opening Round game as UVA looked like a team that traveled 3000 miles for a game they didn't want to play which tends to happen in the NIT as motivation plays a big factor in how long a team lasts in it. Cardinal travel to play the biggest snub of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State for their next game where they'll probably get slaughtered but hey for one night at least Stanford didn't look like mediocre team they are.
-Due to Stanford's lack of success they didn't have as many t.v. games as past years when they were a Top 10 team thus I paid a lot less attention to college basketball this year. This of course creates a problem filling out a bracket but sometimes less knowledge is a good thing. My typical formula is to look a trends for past tournaments. Things such as usually one 13, one 12, and one 11 seed will pull off a 1st round upset and at least one double digit seed will get into the Sweet 16. Of course this strategy is very hit and miss as it can really be a guessing game when it comes to picking true upset (#9 over #8, #10 over #7 aren't upsets). But I prefer doing this as I rarely play for money, including this year, so it makes it more interesting to try to have some low seed teams picked out that I can root for on the first couple of days. So here's my true upsets for the first round with very little actual research going into it:
Southern Illinois over West Virginia
Bradley over Kansas
Utah State over Washington
I then have Bradley beating Pittsburgh to become the 3rd #13 seed ever to get to the Sweet 16. Ya I've really lost it on that one. Northern Iowa is my #10 seed getting to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Ohio State. Other things of note is I having Syracuse beating Duke in the Sweet 16 which may just be my disgust for Duke but a #1 seed getting bumped for the Elite Eight is usually a strong bet. Everyone seems to be picking Tennessee to be an early exit so I put them into the Elite Eight before losing to UConn. I have Oklahoma reaching the Elite Eight which again I've probably lost it on that one. Then to finish it off I have Iowa getting all the way to the national championship game before losing to UConn.
-Annnnnnnnnnnd time to finish this off with some useless facts. Here's the biggest first round upset of every tournament since they expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
1985: #13 Navy 78, #4 LSU 55
1986: #14 Cleveland State 83, #3 Indiana 79
1987: #14 Austin Peay 68, #3 Illinois 67
1988: #14 Murray State 78, #3 N.C. State 75
1989: #14 Siena 80, #3 Stanford 78
1990: #14 Northern Iowa 74, #3 Missouri 71
1991: #15 Richmond 73, #2 Syracuse 69
1992: #14 East Tennessee State 87, #3 Arizona 80
1993: #15 Santa Clara 64, #2 Arizona 61
1994: #12 Wisconsin-Green Bay 61, #5 California 57
1995: #14 Weber State 79, #3 Michigan State 72
1996: #13 Princeton 43, #4 UCLA 41
1997: #15 Coppin State 78, #2 South Carolina 65
1998: #14 Richmond 62, #3 South Carolina 61
1999: #14 Weber State 76, #3 North Carolina 74
2000: #11 Pepperdine 77, #6 Indiana 57
2001: #15 Hampton 58, #2 Iowa State 57
2002: #13 UNC-Wilmington 93, #4 USC 89 OT
2003: #13 Tulsa 84, #4 Dayton 71
2004: #12 Manhattan 75, #5 Florida 60
2005: #14 Bucknell 64, # Kansas 63
I'm not someone to get overly sentimental about someone famous dying. If I didn't know someone personally I just don't have a lot of emotions. Sure it's sad they died but in the end I can't feel an overt emotional connection to them, whether it be Eddie Guerrero or now Kirby Puckett. Being that I'm 27 years old, Puckett was of course in his prime when I was a kid. I personally don't have any unique Puckett memories, everyone remembers his Game 6 homerun against the Braves, and my perspective on him is a little odd being an A's fan. The Twins were their biggest rival during the late 80's and early 90's in what was really a great, forgotten rivalry. Naturally I couldn't stand the Twins or Puckett and I would dread the A's every trip to the Metrodome.
So in an attempt to do some sort of "memory" post I figured I'd go to retrosheet.org and scan Puckett's daily lines and pick out some of his great games.
May 8, 1984 - Twins 5, Angels 0
Puckett's MLB debut where had four hits. He'd hit safely in 19 of his first 20 games.
April 22, 1985 - Twins 9, Mariners 5
Puckett hits his first career homerun off of Matt Young after not hitting one his rookie year, he went 3 for 5 on the day.
July 18, 1986 - Twins 7, Orioles 3
Puckett's first multi-homerun game, leading the game off with a homerun off of Scott McGregor.
August 1, 1986 - Twins 10, A's 1
In the same game where Bert Blyleven gets his 3,000th strikeout, Puckett hits for the cycle getting it with a homerun in the 8th off of Darrel Akerfelds.
August 30, 1987 - Twins 10, Brewers 6
After going 4 for 5 with two homeruns the previous day he follows that up with a 6 for 6 two double, two homeruns performance.
October 24, 1987 - Twins 11, Cardinals 5
Goes for 4 for 4 as the Twins force a Game 7.
May 13, 1989 - Twins 10, Blue Jays 8
Puckett goes 4 for 5, all of his hits are doubles.
June 26, 1989 - Twins 4, A's 3
Puckett goes 3 for 5 and hits a walk off homerun against Todd Burns in the 10th inning.
October 13, 1991 - Twins 8, Blue Jays 5
Went 4 for 5 the previous game, hits a 1st inning homerun off of Tom Candiotti, finishes this game 3 for 5 as the Twins win the ALCS and he wins the series MVP.
October 26, 1991 - Twins 4, Braves 3
Needs no introduction.
August 14, 1992 - Twins 9, Mariners 6
Hits two homeruns, six RBI, includes a grand slam in the 3rd inning off Brian Fisher.
July 13, 1993 - American League 9, National League 3
Wins All-Star game MVP, 2 for 3 with a homerun off Terry Mulholland.
August 15, 1993 - Twins 12, A's 5
Goes 5 for 5 with a two homeruns in the second game of a double header.
August 10, 1994 - Twins 17, Red Sox 7
Matches his career high with seven RBI, which he did against the Red Sox earlier in the season, hitting two homeruns with a grand slam in what would end up being their last game of the '94 season before the strike.
Puckett's Year-by-Year Win Shares
This Tuesday the United States plays its World Baseball Classic opener against Mexico. As widly documented by now several top players have pulled out from the U.S. squad and other countries thus we aren't getting a true showing of the world's best. The best example of this is now the inclusion of the ancient and no longer effective starting pitcher Al Leiter to the U.S. roster. As much as George Steinbrenner has voiced his displeasure with the tournament he didn't say anything about being upset over Leiter being added to the team as he is not even expected to make the Yankees. Now even with Leiter on the team the U.S. still should win the um, whatever they give away to the winner, but the U.S. men's basketball team should always win the gold in the Olympics too.
So I've decided to pick my own United States roster. Every U.S. born player is available to me in this fictional scenerio. I'll use the same roster set up as the current U.S. team has: 4 starting pitchers, 10 relievers, 3 catchers, 7 infielders, and 6 outfielders.
Note: Let's be real, A-Rod is the best shortstop in baseball even if he plays 3rd now so I'm putting him at short. Hafner doesn't play the field really but there is the DH in the tournament and the way he rakes righties you'd need to have him in there.
Ya, Aaron Rowand. I was having hard time picking the 6th outfielder so I went with a defensive specialist. It does give me three center fielders but really you can stick Rowand in a corner late in the game for someone like Dunn or Sheffield. Ya, ya no true lead off hitter on the roster but with this many big bats you don't need one. Giles would make a good lead off hitter with his excellent plate patience.
Just as I finished this I figured, why not pick the Un-American team? No, no not Venezuela. I'm gonna pick a team of U.S. players you wouldn't want representing Team U.S.A. I'm only taking into account players who regulars last season as obviously I could pick an entire team filled with bench scrubs or guys who had cups of coffee in the Majors.
Al Leiter (oh the irony)
Scott Podsednik (ya I said it!)
Since I'm on the starting pitcher theme I'm going with another year where a starting pitcher was in serious contention for the award. Pedro Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA in 1999 and finished 2nd in the A.L. MVP voting. He would actually receive more first place votes than any other candidate, eight, but fell 13 voting points behind the winner Ivan Rodriguez. 1999 was the height of the offesive explosion during the late 90's which is now labeld the steroid era. It's not surprising Martinez received so much support as a pitcher putting up those kind of numbers with the game being dominated by offense.
Rodriguez's MVP win has been ridiculed heavily by the stathead crowd. With so many great offensive performances during the year his numbers paled in comparison to many others. Of course his excellent defense earns him bonus points and his numbers in many other years would have been MVP calibar but not in 1999. Given his win and Pedro's strong showing maybe it was a little writer backlash against the "arena baseball" that was being played that year. In all of this though the biggest contributer to Rodriguez's win may have been teammates Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez splitting their votes as they finished with the exact same number of first place votes and ended up tied for 3rd overall. If a couple of first place votes had been switch to the other one of them would have won the MVP.
So how bad of a choice was Pudge? Was Pedro Martinez really the MVP? Should have one of the Indians won it?
1) Ivan Rodriguez 2) Pedro Martinez 3t) Roberto Alomar 3t) Manny Ramirez 5) Rafael Palmeiro 6) Derek Jeter 7) Nomar Garciaparra 8) Jason Giambi 9) Shawn Green 10) Ken Griffey Jr 11) Bernie Williams 12) Carlos Delgado 13) Juan Gonzalez 14) Mariano Rivera 15) Alex Rodriguez 16) Omar Vizquel 17) Matt Stairs 18t) John Jaha 18t) B.J. Surhoff
.309/.384/.588, 136 RC, 143 OPS+, .317 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.315/.422/.553, 134 RC, 148 OPS+, .332 EQA, 75.6 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.285/.384/.576, 132 RC, 138 OPS+, .312 EQA, 75.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
245 ERA+, 8.46 K/BB, 0.92 WHIP, 101.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.324/.420/.630, 151 RC, 160 OPS+, .336 EQA, 86.1 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.323/.422/.533, 127 RC, 140 OPS+, .324 EQA, 86.4 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.357/.418/.603, 133 RC, 152 OPS+, .335 EQA, 97.0 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.342/.435/.536, 139 RC, 157 OPS+, .330 EQA, 90.6 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.442/.663, 151 RC, 174 OPS+, .352 EQA, 89.3 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.349/.438/.552, 149 RC, 161 OPS+, .337 EQA, 118.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares
Really who else could it have been? The guy is the MVP every year! FACE OF BASEBALL~!
Anyways for the all the hype Jeter gets as a living legend, 1999 was truly the one year where he was out of this world and he's never really come close to it since. It's so far above any other year he's had you could call it a fluke at this point. But it is interesting that in this year he didn't come that close to winning the MVP. As much as I mock the Jeter lovefest by New York media/fans, ESPN, and Fox I do feel that he is some what underrated by non-Yankee fans who are so sick of the hype. Maybe it's possible non-New York writers are the same way. Also when you look at the little support Bernie Williams had there could have also been a bit of a Yankee backlash after their historically dominate 1998 season. Who knows, maybe Jeter's legend didn't truly reach ridiculous levels until his insanely overrated play in the Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS when THAT FAT FUCK JEREMY GIAMBI DIDN'T SLIDE!!!!
Oh and going back to the original subject of the thread, Martinez like every year had to a skip a few starts and that has always hurt his potential MVP credentials. It's really a tribute to his great season that despite only making 29 starts he would crack the Top 10. And yes Rodriguez was a very bad choice as MVP although he came very close to being in the Top 10 and I flip-flopped between him and Green for the 10 spot.
Time to take a brief break from the nostalgia. On Tuesday the first conference tournaments in college basketball will tip off and thus starts the two weeks of the season that render the regular season meaningless. The idea that with two weeks left in the season that almost every team in college basketball has a chance to qualify for the tournament is insane. The majority of conferences every team qualifies for their conference tournament. It is technically possible for a team to go winless in its conference yet qualify for the field of 65. What is this the Special Olympics? Everybody is a winner!
First starting with the major conferences…what is the point? Almost every winner in the conference tournament of a major conference was getting into the tournament anyways. Really why should beating a conference team on a neutral court (well depending on where tournament is being played which I’ll get to) matter in qualifying for the tournament? You likely won’t meet another conference team in the real tournament until the Elite Eight or Final Four and typically a team who’s chances of getting into the real tournament are depending on how they play in their conference tournament aren’t going to get that far. Also if a major conference team goes undefeated in conference play, like Duke at the moment, what do they have left to prove? Why should they risk injury in essentially meaningless games for them? For a team like Duke the ACC tournament is almost like an exhibition because they’ve already wrapped up a #1 seed. Can you imagine what would happen if J.J. Reddick were injured in a nothing ACC first round game? Okay that would be worth just to see Dick Vitale openly weep on live television.
Now with the smaller conferences it does a get little more tricky. Defenders of the conference tournaments will say this is the only exposure they get which is a valid point. But what really bothers me about conference tournaments for smaller conferences is a team can have their entire season wiped out by one bad game or a team that has absolutely no business getting into the tournament can have one hot week qualify four the tournament just to get annihilated by a #1 seed. These smaller conferences where they will only get one bid there is always a chance a team with a losing record or just hovering over .500 will get into the tournament just because they won three straight games in early March in their weak conference. By not including the best team from every conference they are just devaluing the overall strength of the real tournament. If you actually included the truly best teams from all these smaller conferences maybe every once in a while we’d get an interesting #1 vs. #16 game.
A glaring problem with conference tournaments is that many are played at the same venue every year thus some teams get home court advantages ever year. Duke and North Carolina will always have more fans in the ACC tournament as its played Greensboro, NC every year. UCLA and USC will always have home court in the Pac-10 tournament as it always played in Los Angeles. It’s ridiculous especially in a conference like the Pac-10 where there is an NBA arena in every region of the conference that would be perfectly capable of hosting the tournament on a rotating basis. Why is there this refusal in most conferences to rotate where the tournament hosted? Sure it’s all about ticket sales but you can’t tell me in each conference there is only one venue that can put a decent number of people in the seats for a tournament.
I’d personally like conference tournaments to go away. You win your regular season title, you should get an automatic bid. If there was a system in place where if there was a tie for a regular season title that they had a one game playoff between the top two teams then that would be perfectly fine. In fact why can’t there just be a conference title game for every conference between the 1st and 2nd place teams (or division winners in conferences like the SEC and Big XII) in every conference this time of year rather than this nonsense where the 11th place team gets to extend its season? For smaller conferences most of them only get their title game televised by ESPN anyways. To be honest I’m not even sure all these small conferences should get a bid but that’s for another entry. But they’re here to stay and ESPN can romanticize them all want but really they’re celebrating how pointless it was to watch the last four months of games.
You know I really did want to avoid doing three straight entries of the same feature but dammit I'm loving doing this and this blog is basically my own playground to geek out on useless information so might as well keep doing what I love. Besides there's only two of you reading this.
The 1979 N.L. MVP vote had the most unique result ever: a tie. A TIE!?!? What kind of a crap is that? There's no ties in baseball! I was only one year old at the time but I imagine there must have been riots across the country after this result was announced and if there wasn't there should have been. Fuck the hostage crisis, this was the biggest crisis in America in November 1979.
Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell shared the award in '79. Well I don't know if they shared, I'd assume they made two trophies otherwise that'd be a pretty cheap thing for MLB to do. Now what was odd, beyond the tied result, was Hernandez easily beat Stargell in first place votes, 10 to 4. There's no rule for a tiebreak but clearly more voters felt Hernandez was the MVP. In 3rd place was Dave Winfield who received the same number of first place votes as Stargell although due to the Padres poor performance Winfield probably was left off a few ballots all together as he finished 61 points behind the co-winners.
So for over 26 years we've been stuck with this tie...until today. I will settle the debate. Get out your magic markers kids and get ready to cross out one of those names. Or will you be crossing out both of them?
Actual 1979 results:
1t) Keith Hernandez 1t) Willie Stargell 3) Dave Winfield 4) Larry Parrish 5) Ray Knight 6) Joe Niekro 7) Bruce Sutter 8) Kent Tekulve 9) Dave Concepcion 10) Dave Parker 11) Dave Kingman 12) George Foster 13) Mike Schmidt 14) Steve Garvey 15t) Omar Moreno 15t) Pete Rose 17) Gary Carter 18) Bill Madlock 19) J.R. Richard 20) Phil Niekro 21t) Joe Sambito 21t) Tom Seaver 23) Johnny Bench 24) Andre Dawson 25) Garry Templeton 26) Gary Matthews 27) Dave Collins 28) Bob Horner
.314/.331/.458, 102 RC, 113 OPS+, .276 EQA, 63.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.303/.395.449, 106 RC, 135 OPS+, .306 EQA, 55.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
130 ERA+, 3.19 K/BB, 1.09 WHIP, 68.7 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.265/.372/.464, 100 RC, 128 OPS+, .306 EQA, 68.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.331/.418/.430, 113 RC, 130 OPS+, .304 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.307/.357/.551, 107 RC, 146 OPS+, .307 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.310/.380/.526, 123 RC, 141 OPS+, .309 EQA, 58.1 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.253/.386/.564, 119 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 64.1 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.308/.395/.558, 131 RC, 165 OPS+, .329 EQA, 68.7 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.344/.417/.513, 132 RC, 152 OPS+, .322 EQA, 71.9 VORP, 29 Win Shares
There you have it, you can sleep well at night now that Keith Hernandez is the sole winner of the 1979 N.L. MVP. Someone please inform the widow Stargell that we must take away his half of the MVP award.
Really Stargell had no business even being considered for the award. As you can see the Pirates best player was Dave Parker, who won the MVP himself the year before but since his numbers weren't as good as the previous year the voters penalized him. Stargell was probably only about the 4th or 5th best player on the team that year. But the reason whey he got so much support was because he was really fucking old and he was the "heart and soul" of the We Are Family Pirates and baseball writers get chubbies thinking of stuff like that.
In kkk's most recent entry on K-Mart customer service he made mention of how he had thought Harold Baines didn't get enough credit as a player. Now Baines best season was probably 1984 when he was still an everyday outfielder. Now he was never a serious MVP cadidate and '84 was no different but the MVP voting that year was quite interesting. For one a closer won it in Willie Hernandez of the Tigers. A closer winning an MVP should always raise a few eyebrows as it's pretty much impossible for them to equal the value of an everyday player.
Now Hernandez was far from your one inning and done closers of today. He pitched 140 innings that year which is a ton of innings for someone who didn't make a single start. He was dominating with 112 strikeouts to 36 walks, a 1.92 ERA, and ridiculous 0.94 WHIP. Obviously since he won the MVP, he also won the Cy Young. Now a closer winning a Cy Young is something that probably shouldn't happen too often but can happen and be a legitimate choice. In 1984 there simply wasn't starter with numbers (at least the standard ones) that really jumped out and when a closer has a year like Hernandez did under those circumstances it's not surprising he won the Cy Young. Dave Steib would have been the better choice but of course the writers overlooked him due to only having 16 wins (not his fault). But Hernandez was not a bad choice at all for winning the Cy Young.
Now in 1984 the A.L. was a one team league: Detroit Tigers. They started the year 30-5 and basically it was all over after that as the second place Blue Jays finished 15 games back, who had the second best record in the league overall. Really it's hard to blame the writers for wanting to give a Tiger the MVP that year when they were so much better than the competition. But was Hernandez the right Tiger? Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell finished 6th and 9th in the voting repsectively and as I mentioned before a closer can't match the value of a star everyday player like those two.
But there was something else that was interesting about the '84 A.L. MVP voting, it was who finished 2nd: Kent Hrbek. The Twins that year finished 81-81 and Hrbek didn't crack the Top 5 of any writer favored offensive categories (AVG, HR, RBI). How could a first baseman on the Twins get more votes than a household name like Eddie Murray and a rising star in the media capital of the world in Don Matttingly who played the same position? You would think Hrbek would get overshadowed. This really puzzled me but when you look at the A.L. West that year in conjuction with the Tigers dominance of the East it starts to make "sense" how the writers voted Hrbek that high. See since the Tigers great start eliminated any chance of a pennant race all the attenion went to the West. Now the race in the West was almost as bad as the race in the N.L. West in 2005. The Royals would win the division at 84-78 with the Twins and Angels tied for second just three games back at .500. Royals would have finished 6th in the East with that record. The West was so bad that the last place Rangers were closer to first than the second place Blue Jays were in the East to Tigers. The Twins were neck and neck with the Royals and Angels going into the final couple of weeks of the season when the MVP voting was going on. The Twins would lose six straight to end the season but it was the added attention that Hrbek received and the lack of a race of the East that nearly propelled him to the MVP.
So should have a Tigers position player won the MVP? Should one of the big name first basemen with better numbers than Hrbek have won the award? Or was it someone who received almost no support at all for the award? Now I'll tell you...if your still reading.
For reference here is the actual order of finish in '84:
1) Willie Hernandez 2) Kent Hrbek 3) Dan Quissenberry 4) Eddie Murray 5) Don Mattingly 6) Kirk Gibson 7) Tony Armas 8) Dave Winfield 9) Alan Trammell 10) Willie Wilson 11) Dwight Evans 12) Alvin Davis 13t) Harold Baines 13t) Dave Kingman 13t) Jim Rice 16t) Lance Parrish 16t) Willie Upshaw 18) Brian Downing 19t) Steve Balboni 19t) George Bell 19t) Andre Thorton 22t) Buddy Bell 22t) Lloyd Moseby 22t) Dave Steib 25t) Juan Beniquez 25t) Mike Boddicker 27t) Doyle Alexander 27t) Cal Ripken
.284/.391/.497, 110 RC, 146 OPS+, .318 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.293/.399/.458, 91 RC, 145 OPS+, .327 EQA, 60.6 VORP, 28 Win Shares
130 ERA+, 2.25 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 74.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.340/.393/.515, 116 RC, 154 OPS+, .328 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.298/.361/.441, 101 RC, 126 OPS+, .302 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.295/.388/.532, 130 RC, 147 OPS+, .321 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.314/.382/.468, 99 RC, 136 OPS+, .308 EQA, 66.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.343/.381/.537, 125 RC, 156 OPS+, .328 EQA, 72.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.306/.410/.509, 123 RC, 156 OPS+, .335 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.304/.374/.510, 122 RC, 145 OPS+, .318 EQA, 92.2 VORP, 37 Win Shares
As you see in the actual results, Ripken is the last name listed. He received just a single a 10th place vote. It wasn't like he was some young player no one had heard of yet, he won the the MVP the year before! But what happens to a lot MVP winners who were on the top team in their league, like the Orioles were in '83, and the following year the team isn't as good the perceived value of that MVP drops like a rock. Really him, Murray, Mattingly, Trammell, or the always overlooked Evans would have made fine choices. Hrbek just missed the Top 10 and Hernandez may have cracked the Top 15 if I extended the list that far but neither were deserving as much support as they received. As you'll see I did include a pitcher in Steib and two players in Yount and RICKEY~ who didn't receive a single vote in '84. The legendary Juan Beniquez, who had 382 plate apperances, received more support than Ripken, Yount, and Henderson. That's pretty bad.
A week ago on the wonderful baseball stat geek site Hardball Times there was this article about the 1994 Montreal Expos. The article is titled "Where Are They Now?" but it more or less only tells you were they went rather than where they are now, not that I was needing to find out where Freddie Benavides was nowadays. So I figured I'd do the same for another team from the past but have a more approriate title for it. Now for picking the team I was going to go with 1989 Oakland A's or the 1997 Florida Marlins but figured I'd go for something more obscure for the first one so I picked the 1985 New York Yankees. The 80's were considered the dark days for the Yankees, at least by their fan base, but they actually had some very good teams that decade just with no World Series ring to show for it. The best Yankee team of the '80s was the 1985 team which won 97 games but came up two games shy of the Blue Jays for the A.L. East title.
Catcher: Butch Wynegar (.223./.356/.320, 10.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - After putting up solid offensive numbers the previous three years, Wynegar hit the catcher wall in '85. He'd spend one more year with the Yankees and then be traded to the Angels where'd he finish out his career.
First Base: Don Mattingly (.324/.371/.567, 78.9 VORP, 32 Win Shares) - Donny Baseball might be a tad overrated by Yankee fans of the 80's but you can kind of understand why when you look at his numbers during the mid-80's. He would of course spend his whole career with the Yankees, retiring after 1995. He won the MVP in '85 but he actually wasn't the best player on his own team.
Second Base: Willie Randolph (.276/.382/.356, 32.9 VORP, 20 Win Shares) - Very consistent, solid performer in the 80's for the Yankees. He'd leave after 1988 as a free agent to the Dodgers. From there he'd be traded the A's during the 1990 season and get to play in his fourth World Series. He'd finish up with one year stops with the Brewers and Mets before retiring after 1992.
Third Base: Mike Pagliarulo (.239/.324/.442, 19.4 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Aww one of my favorite "names" when I was a kid. Good power but couldn't hit for average or draw walks. He'd flame out pretty quick being traded to the Padres in 1989, ended up with Twins in 1991 and picked up a World Series ring, finshing up with the Orioles and Rangers.
Shortstop: Bob Meacham (.218/.302/.266, 2.7 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - Egads is that an ugly line. If the Yankees had a competent shortstop in '85 maybe they win the East. Maybe Baseball Jesus, The Jeter, will discover time travel and lead the '85 Yankees to World Series title. *fist pump*
Left Field: Ken Griffey (.274/.331/.425, 19.2 VORP, 14 Win Shares) - At 35, Junior's dad was still an okay player. He'd be traded to the Braves for another aging outfielder in Claudell Washington in 1986. He'd make a nostalgic trip back to the Reds at the end of the decade before being released during the World Series run of 1990. Then five days later he'd be picked up by the Mariners in a marketing ploy by having father and son play together.
Center Field: Rickey Henderson (.314/.419/.516, 94.1 VORP, 38 Win Shares) - The man, the myth, the legend, and the real 1985 A.L. MVP. This would be Rickey's best year until he topped it and finally won the MVP in 1990. Of course that was with the A's as he was traded midseason back to Oakland in a trade that still has to have Yankee fans gritting their teeth. The booty for Rickey: Luis Polonia, Greg Cadaret, and Erick Plunk. Woof. Rickey would get his first World Series ring in '89, while Polonia would lead the league having sex with 14 year olds. Running thru where Rickey went:
Right Field: Dave Winfield (.275/.328/.471, 38.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - Hey look George Steinbrenner's favorite player. '85 was actually the start of a bit of down time in Winfield's career (for him) before he swung back up the bell curve in 1988. Traded to the Angels for Mike Witt in 1990, would win a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1991, make the late career hometown visit with the Twins for a couple of years, then finish up with the Indians in 1995.
Designated Hitter: Don Baylor (.231/.330/.430, 26.6 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - Baylor was definently a product of the DH extending a player's career. Couldn't pay the field anymore but could still hit a decent number of homeruns so he stayed in the line-up. As mentioned before he'd make a tour of the next three A.L. Champions in the Red Sox, Twins (World Champs), and A's before retiring.
Ron Guidry - (123 ERA+, 58.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - This would be Guidry's last good year and he finished 2nd to Bret Saberhagen in the '85 Cy Young voting. He played his entire career with the Yankees, retiring after 1988.
Phil Niekro - (98 ERA+, 27.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - If I ever have a son he's gonna learn how to throw a knuckleball so he can earn a Major League salary into his late 40's and support me since I'll have no Social Security.
Ed Whitson - (83 ERA+, -0.5 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Okay maybe if the Yankees didn't have Ed Whitson making 30 starts in 1985 they win the East. Whitson had a weird career as he did absolutlely nothing of note for 12 seasons then suddenly at age 34 with the Padres he pitches like a stud for two seasons in '89 and '90 then falls off a cliff in '91 and was out of the league after that. OMG HE WAS ON THE JUICE!!!!
Joe Cowley - (102 ERA+, 25.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - I really don't know whole lot about Cowley. He'd be traded to the White Sox after the '85 season, pitched decently in '86, traded to the Phillies right before the '87 season where he'd meltdown and was out of baseball soon after.
Closer: Dave Rigehtti - (145 ERA+, 30.0 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Absolute beast of a closer during the mid-80's. Started to tail off by the end of the decade and the Yankees let him leave as a free agent after 1990. Spent three years with the Giants then made brief stops with the A's, Blue Jays, and White Sox before retiring after 1995.
To not turn this into solely a blog about the Oakland A's (although I'll probably just go back to them for my next entry) I figured I'd pull out something random. So here is a look back at the 1989 NBA Draft using Win Shares.
I picked the '89 Draft because for quite the lack of talent that came out of it as there is not a future Hall of Famer in the class, it featured it's 2nd pick overall Danny Ferry pitching a fit after being selected by the Clippers and sitting out the '89-'90 season, and it was the first year that the draft was shrunk to two rounds. As you'll see they couldn't fit nearly a full round of decent NBA talent. In addition only Clifford Robinson is still active from the '89 Draft so you can realistically evaluate a draft when almost every player is no longer in the league rather than those who try to evalute only a few years after a draft. Robinson incidently enough was the best value pick of the draft as he was not selected until 36th overall.
Now for Win Shares, everyone thinks of them for baseball but at Basketball-Reference.com they came up with a version for basketball. I don't know how reliable the stat is but seems useful to compare the success of players who were drafted the same year.
1989 NBA Draft Rankings by Career Win Shares
1. Glenn Rice, Miami - 270 Win Shares (4th pick)
2. Vlade Divac, L.A. Lakers - 269 (26th)
3. Clifford Robinson, Portland - 258 (36th)
4. Tim Hardaway, Golden State - 252 (14th)
5. Shawn Kemp, Seattle - 237 (17th)
6. Mookie Blalock, New Jersey - 203 (12th)
7. Sean Elliott, San Antonio - 174 (3rd)
8. Nick Anderson, Orlando - 161 (11th)
9. B.J. Armstrong, Chicago - 138 (18th)
10. Dana Barros, Seattle - 133 (16th)
11t. Danny Ferry, L.A. Clippers - 103 (2nd)
11t. Sherman Douglas, Miami - 103 (28th)
13. George McCloud, Indiana - 80 (7th)
14t. J.R. Reid, Charlotte - 70 (5th)
14t. Pooh Richardson, Minnesota - 70 (10th)
14t. Blue Edwards, Utah - 70 (21st)
17. Chucky Brown, Cleveland - 58 (43rd)
18t. Pervis Ellison, Sacramento - 52 (1st)
18t. Doug West, Minnesota - 52 (38th)
20. Tom Hammonds, Denver - 45 (9th)
21. Stacey King, Chicago - 40 (6th)
22. Dino Radja, Boston - 38 (40th)
23. Haywoode Workman, Atlanta - 31 (49th)
24. Todd Lichti, Denver - 17 (15th)
25. Michael Ansley, Orlando - 16 (37th)
26. Randy White, Dallas - 14 (8th)
27. Greg Grant, Phoenix - 10 (52nd)
28. Kenny Battle, Detroit - 9 (27th)
29. Jeff Martin, L.A. Clippers - 8 (31st)
30. Byron Irvin, Portland - 7 (22nd)
31. John Morton, Cleveland - 6 (25th)
32. Michael Smith, Boston - 5 (13th)
33. Brian Quinnett, New York - 4 (50th)
34t. Pat Durham, Dallas - 3 (35th)
34t. Kenny Payne, Philadelphia - 3 (19th)
36t. Jeff Sanders, Chicago - 2 (20th)
36t. Anthony Cook, Phoenix - 2 (24th)
36t. Frank Kornet, Milwaukee - 2 (30th)
39t. Ed Horton, Washington - 1 (39th)
39t. Doug Roth, Washigton - 1 (41st)
39t. Scott Haffner, Miami - 1 (45th)
The Zero Club
Roy Marble, Atlanta (23rd)
Dyron Nix, Charlotte (29th)
Stlaney Brundy, New Jersey (32nd)
Jay Edwards, L.A. Clippers (33rd)
Gary Leonard, Minnesota (34th)
Ricky Blanton, Phoenix (46th)
Mike Morrison, Phoenix (51st)
Michael Cutright, Denver (42nd)
Reggie Cross, Philadelphia (44th)
Reggie Turner, Denver (47th)
Junie Lewis, Utah (48th)
Jeff Hodge, Dallas (53rd)
Toney Mack, Philadelphia (54th)
Here's one more list, as we know just because a player had a good career didn't necessarily make him a good draft pick for the team that drafted him. So here's the Top 10 in career Win Shares for the team they were drafted by.
1. Shawn Kemp 180
2. Sean Elliott 169
3. Nick Anderson 151
4. Clifford Robinson 137
5. Vlade Divac 120
6. Tim Hardaway 115
7. Glenn Rice 109
8. B.J. Armstrong 102
9. Doug West 50
10. Dino Radja 38
Yikes quite the drop off after Armstrong.
Since the Pro Bowl was today I thought about trying to find some useless, maybe interesting Pro Bowl facts but then I remembered there is nothing interesting about the Pro Bowl. When I was younger I actually used to love watching the game and would even record it to watch it again later. What the hell was wrong with me? I would be upset when my favorite players wouldn't play in the game but now I question the sanity of any player who'd play in the game. Hey if I were a player I wouldn't play, call me a pussy if you want but I wouldn't risk my career in such a meaningless game. Well I guess suffering a potential career ending injury in the Pro Bowl wouldn't be as bad as suffering one playing a flag football game on the beach like poor Robert Edwards in 1999.
One thing I did find when I was looking for anything from the past from the Pro Bowl was the first MVP of the Pro Bowl after I was born (that being the 1979 Pro Bowl) was Ahmad Rashad. Almost no one seems to remember that he was a pretty good wide receiver in his day at the University of Oregon and then with the Minnesota Vikings. His post career is better remembered for marrying the mom from the Cosby Show and being Michael Jordan's personal interviewer. You know in the 1990's if you were to kick Michael Jordan in the balls you would have also been kicking Ahmad Rashad in the head.
Speaking of verbal fellatio of athletes, I made the mistake of flipping on the Pro Bowl when they were discussing Brett Favre. Now I don't have it down word for word but here is essentially what Mike Patrick said of Favre possibly retiring:
Good lord. I know announcers aren't journalists but how can you take someone seriously when they something like this? Mike also seems to have a conflict of interests with his feelings as he says it'll make him happy but it will break his heart. With him done with announcing after tonight he'll now have free time to stalk Brett. I definently won't miss him as listening to Mike Patrick announce a game always sounded to me like a guy calling a game that he just saw the previous week.
2006 will mark 20 years of sports memories for me and I'm finally starting to feel like an old fart who reminisces about the good 'ol days. Fact is I was an old man when it came to sports when I was a kid as I loved sports history and researching useless sports facts which is still one of my favorite things to do. Regulars to sports folder have seen this most recently with my several useless fact posts in the Comments that don't warrant a thread, um thread, but that died off fairly quickly and figured it'd probably be more appropriate to post useless stuff like that in a blog.
So to make this all about me, I'll take a look back at my first ever live sporting event: 5/11/1986, Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics. As to memories about the actual game I have little to none. I only remember my family and I sat in the Plaza Level (2nd deck) of the Coliseum on the first base saide. My dad bought me an A's bobblehead, the old school ceramic ones not the plastic ones that you get today, which I promptly broke about a week later. Anything I remember from the game now comes from looking at the boxscore from Retrosheet. It featured a great "name" pitching of Oil Can Boyd vs. Moose Haas. The A's trailed 6-4 going into the 9th but a Carney Lansford homerun started a rally. They had 1st and 2nd with two out but pinch hitter Dusty Baker grounded out to the pitcher (wasn't hot enough for him?) to end the game with a Red Sox victory. That makes me feel old right there that Baker who will be in his 13th year of managing this season was playing in my very first live MLB game.
Now to look back at the starting line-ups from that game and just throw in a few comments about each player with their stats from 1986.
1. Dwight Evans RF (.259/.376/.476, 41.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares) - Doesn't get nearly the publicity for the Hall of Fame of his outfield mate Jim Rice, mainly because Evans fell off the ballot without notice while Rice remains a serious candidate. It's odd as Evans was equal the hitter of Rice and was unquestionably the superior defensive outfielder. Evans bests Rice in career Win Shares 347 to 282. Very underrated during his playing days and post career. Hopefully he'll get more notice when he comes up on the Veteran's Committee ballot.
2. Wade Boggs 3B (.357/.453/.486, 82.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares) - Roger Clemens would win the MVP in '86 but it should have been Boggs. I'm not sure where this myth that Boggs wasn't a feared hitter comes from beyond that he wasn't a power hitter but circa 1986 pitchers should have been pretty fucking scared to face Boggs.
3. Bill Buckner DH (.267/.311/.421, 21.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Yes I'm sure you can see the irony in Bucker at DH in 1986.
4. Jim Rice LF (.324/.384/.490, 61.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) - I was on the Rice for HOF bandwagon a couple of years ago but I've jumped off since. If he ever gets in I won't have a problem though but it wouldn't be much of an oversight either if he never gets in.
5. Don Baylor 1B (.238/.344/.439, 29.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Mr. HBP who lucked into playing on three straight A.L. Champions on three different teams form '86 to '88 (Red Sox, Twins, A's).
6. Rich Gedman C (.258/.315/.424, 26.0 VOP, 18 Win Shares) - This was the last of a decent three year run for Gedman but he hit the wall the following season.
7. Marty Barrett 2B (.286/.353/.381, 38.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares) - Good season in a largely unspectacular career. I only remember him going beserk in the Red Sox dugout in the infamous Game 4 of the '90 ALCS when Roger Clemens was ejected.
8. Steve Lyons CF (.250/.312/.363, 0.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - Bad player and possibly even worse announcer. Claim to fame was playing literally every position and dropping his pants during a game when he was with the White Sox.
9. Ed Romero SS (.210/.270/.283, -3.9 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - I found edromero.com but it sadly it was a lounge singer not the baseball player.
1. Tony Phillips 2B (.256/.367/.345, 22.7 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Vastly underrated player who's best days would come away from Oakland. By no means a superstar but he just simply got a base a lot and could give you solid defense at multiple positions. He did smoke rock though. Has congress investigated the performance enhancements of crack?
2. Dwayne Murphy CF (.252/.364/.386, 18.9 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Another underrated player. Probably would have been better appreciated if he played today as he got on base at a good rate, could hit for power (although by '86 he'd lost it), and was one of the best defensive outfielders of his era. Didn't help him that he played along side one of the greatest outfielders ever during his prime in RICKEY~.
3. Jose Canseco LF (.240/.318/.457, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - He hit the first homerun I ever saw live in this game (not that I remembered it) but he was on the juice so it should ERASED FROM THE RECORDS!!!! Anyways the guy was a prick and by '89 I hated him. Wally Joyner absolutely got robbed in the '86 ROY voting by Canseco.
4. Dave Kingman DH (.210/.255/.431, 4.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Awww Dave Kingman, never saw a pitch he didn't like. Really how long would he have lasted today with more emphasis on OBP? It amazes me a guy with so much power could draw so few walks. He'd hit 35 homeruns that year which is the record for most homeruns by a player in his final season but the average and on base tell you why no one was calling him up after '86.
5. Bruce Bochte 1B (.256/.357/.337, 12.8 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - No this isn't the Padres' manager. Is the answer to a trivia question, who was the A's starting 1B before Mark McGwire?
6. Carney Lansford 3B (.284/.332/.421, 32.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - Good hitter who was fun to watch because of his unique batting stance. Was my mom's favorite player and she probably would have fucked him she had the chance. Then I would have had to kill him.
7. Mike Davis RF (.268/.314/.454, 30.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - Was the A's "star" if you will the season before. Traded to the Dodgers after the '87 season where he did nothing but he drew a walk in front of Kirk Gibson's homerun in the Game 1 of the '88 Series. Thus I want him dead.
8. Alfredo Griffin SS (.285/.323/.364, 34.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Never much of hitter but his glove kept him in the league for 18 years and had a badass JheriCurl.
9. Bill Bathe C (.184/.208/.359, -2.8 VORP, 1 Win Share) - Yes he was the back up catcher with those numbers, not that starter Mickey Tettleton did a whole lot better (.204/.325/.389, 11.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares).
Okay that's enough nostalgia for one night.
kkk mentioned in his blog about how former players he watched becoming general managers and presidents of teams makes him feel old. For example Chris Mullin was the identity of the Golden State Warriors when I was growing up and now he's their general manager. But there's another general manager (and now part owner) in Oakland that everyone knows, Billy Beane, but unlike Mullin he's far better known for his work in the front office than as a player. In fact you'd probably have barely even noticed the guy when he played. Although I didn't happen to learn this until many years later but I actually had been witness to his last at bat in the Majors.
As I mentioned in my first entry I had very few memories at all about my first baseball game. In fact as great as the A's were in the late 80's I have very few in game memories about them even though I went to probably 6-7 games a year. One game that I do sorta remember was on October 1, 1989. October 1st happens to be my birthday and from '87 to '89 I had my birthday party at the A's game. Really the only thing I remember about the game itself was Mark McGwire homering (his birthday too) and the A's beating the Royals on the final day of the regular season. A couple of years ago on another nostalgia trip I was looking at the boxscore and play account for game. Being that it was the last day of the regular season and the A's had wrapped up the A.L. West they pulled all their starters during the middle of the game. It went into extra innings and in the 11th inning with it tied 3-3, Billy Beane came up with a runner on 2nd and no one out. If you know anything about the Beane-era A's is that they rarely bunt, as they shouldn't as it's fairly useless strategy in the American League. But what did they ask the young Beane to do on this date?
Yup, Beane's last at bat in the Majors was a bunt and I was there to witness "history"....not that I remembered it.
Fun fact: The Royals DH in this game was Bill Buckner, just like my first game.
Let's see so far I've taken away MVPs from Andre Dawson, Willie Hernandez, and Willie Stargell. But now I have to do something truly painful...take away an MVP from a former member of the Oakland A's. I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
In 1992 Dennis Eckersley was the A.L. MVP & Cy Young winner just like Hernandez eight years earlier. Eck was his usual dominante self at that time with a 51 saves, 1.91 ERA, 8.45 K/BB Ratio, and 0.91 WHIP. There was one problem. Eck defined what the closer position has become today and that is one inning and done. In '92 he pitched 80 innings which as it turned out would end up being the most innings he'd ever throw as a closer. But a pitcher throwing 80 innings can't even come close to being truly the most valuable player on his own team let alone entire league. Now I loved Eckersley, he was a great story as a recovering alcoholic, and I fully supported him getting into the Hall of Fame due his unique career line. This is the guy who during a two year span in 1989 and 1990 in 131 innings, he had 128 strikeouts and walked only seven batters...SEVEN! But he was quite possibly one of the worst choices ever for MVP.
Now in 1984 redo I said Hernandez wasn't deserving of serious consideration for MVP but that he may cracked the Top 15 and even though he wasn't the best choice for Cy Young, he wasn't a bad choice either. I can not say the same for Eckersley as it'd be quite a while before I'd reach him on a list of the most valuable in 1992 and there were a handful of pitchers who were much more deserving of winning the Cy Young such as Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, and Kevin Appier. As for value to his own team Eckersley was no where near as valuable as Mark McGwire and Rickey Henderson that season. He was very important to the A's winning their 4th division title in five years but you have to play eight innings to get to him and other players have to make bigger impacts for them to come out on top...which you can pretty much say about every closer today.
So today I take away the MVP from an Oakland Athletic...but maybe I'll just turn around and give it to another? Maybe it was one of the three Toronto Blue Jays in the Top 10? Or maybe it was someone who received no first place votes? Ya okay you probably figured it out by now.
Actual 1992 Results
1) Dennis Eckersley 2) Kirby Puckett 3) Joe Carter 4) Mark McGwire 5) Dave Winfield 6) Roberto Alomar 7) Mike Devereaux 8) Frank Thomas 9) Cecil Fielder 10) Paul Molitor 11) Carlos Baerga 12) Edgar Martinez 13) Jack Morris 14t) Brady Anderson 14t) Roger Clemens 16) Juan Gonzalez 17) Ken Griffey Jr. 18) Pat Listach 19) Jack McDowell 20) George Bell 21t) Mike Bordick 21t) Mike Mussina 23) Albert Belle
175 ERA+, 3.35 K/BB, 1.07 WHIP, 64.9 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.315/.394/.467, 107 RC, 138 OPS+, .316 EQA, 58.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.343/.404/.544, 116 RC, 163 OPS+, .344 EQA, 76.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.290/.377/.491, 108 RC, 137 OPS+, .316 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.312/.354/.455, 104 RC, 128 OPS+, .305 EQA, 63.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.329/.374/.490, 116 RC, 138 OPS+, .315 EQA, 64.1 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.320/.389/.461, 110 RC, 140 OPS+, .325 EQA, 67.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.268/.385/.585, 105 RC, 175 OPS+, .350 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.310/.405/.427, 98 RC, 129 OPS+, .322 EQA, 67.9 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.323/.439/.536, 136 RC, 174 OPS+, .361 EQA, 89.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
Hey take away an MVP from a former A's player and give it to a current A's player, GENIUS!
Thomas did not receive a single first place vote. He and the White Sox were slightly better the year before and he finished 3rd. He only hit 24 homeruns but had 46 doubles so he gets punished for supposed loss of power. Some how Joe Carter received four first place votes despite the great year Alomar had. Okay I know why, the almighty RBI but even he didn't lead the league that year as Cecil Fielder did. George Bell received three voting points with a spectacular line of .255/.294/.418 but Shane Mack didn't receive a single vote.
Okay finally taking a break from the Award Redos...until the next entry probably. For the next Where'd The Go? I wanted to find a team that was a complete fluke. A team that had success one year with no winning seasons in the years prior and then no winning seasons in the years after which where the '89 Cubs qualify. Actually I could have also picked the '84 Cubs but decided to go with the more recent example.
Cubs history of futility is well documented and every time they have a glimmer of success it becomes big news. Before the '89 season there last winning season had been 1984 and their next winning season after would not be until 1993. In '89 the fielded the second youngest team in the National League with several key players who were rookies or second year players. Managed by future Joe Torre cabana boy Don Zimmer the Cubs went on a magical run to the N.L. East title with a 93-69 record before Will Clark pretty almost single handily dispatched them in the NLCS. Given how young they were it figured they were a nice core to lead this team to a championship down the line but they never even came close after 1989. Here's a look back as to where this team went.
C: Damon Berryhill (.257/.291/.341, 6.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - Just his second year Berryhill had pretty much established self as an unspectacular catcher who'd bounce around the Majors for a while and that's what he did. He had rotator cuff surgery in September of that year so he was not on the postseason roster and was filled in by rookie Joe Girardi. He'd be traded to the Braves a couple of years later where he'd be their regular catcher during the 1992 postseason. Had one year stints with the Red Sox, Reds, and Giants before calling it quits after 1997.
1B: Mark Grace (.314/.405/.457, 43.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares) - Another second year player, Grace was a rising star at this time and this would end up being one of his best years. He would lead the Majors in hits during the decade of the 90's which will probably get his some mild HOF support but really isn't one. Played withe Cubs thru 2000 before signing with the Diamondbacks where he'd pick up a World Series ring in 2001.
2B: Ryne Sandberg (.290/.356/.497, 56.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares) - I to this day have never met someone named "Ryne". Anyways he had usual good season in '89 and would finish 4th in the MVP voting. He would retire during the 1994 season but then unretire before 1996 to play two more years withe Cubs. Inducted into the HOF last year.
3B: Luis Salazar (.282/.316/.414, 13.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - The actual regular 3rd baseman in the regular season was Vance Law but he was just terrible so the Cubs acquired Salazar from the Padres at the waiver trade deadline. Not that he was much better than Law but he did hit surprisingly well for them the last month of the season and the NLCS. Maybe that ended up being bad for the Cubs as they hung onto him thru 1992 where he did nothing of note.
SS: Shawon Dunston (.278/.320/.403, 29.1 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - I always figured they made a mistake on Shawon's birth certificate and he just never decided to fix it. It probably wasn't even until the mid-90's that I realized how to spell his name right. Could hit for a decent average and some power for a shortstop but couldn't draw a walk to save his life and just awful defensively but stuck around for 18 years. With the Cubs thru 1995 then bounced around to the Giants, back to the Cubs, Pirates, Indians, back to the Giants, Cardinals, Mets, back to the Cardinals, and then a 3rd stint with Giants where'd he retire after 2002.
LF: Dwight Smith (.324/.382/.493, 31.5 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Smith may have epitomized the '89 Cubs. With numbers like that in his rookie year you would have thought he was on his way to big things. Alas it didn't happen. Stuck around with the Cubs thru 1993, split time with the Angels and Orioles in 1994, and then spent two season with the Braves where in 1995 he got to pick up a World Series ring as a bench player.
CF: Jerome Walton (.293/.335/.385, 25.9 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Remember how excited you'd be to have the rookie card of any rookie who did anything without noticing they weren't that good to begin with? That was Jerome Walton for me. He won the 1989 N.L. ROY and that was about it for him in terms of relevance. Played with the Cubs thru '92 and then bounced from the Angels, Reds, Braves, Orioles, and to the Devil Rays.
RF: Andre Dawson (.252/.307/.476, 19.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - By '89 the beating Dawson's knees to playing all those years on the Olympic Stadium turf started to catch up to him. He did rebound the following year for one more good year. With the Cubs thru 1992 and had two year stints with the Red Sox and Marlins before retiring after 1996.
Greg Maddux (128 ERA+, 35.4 VORP, 20 Win Shares) - Hey who's this guy? Only 23 years old at the time Maddux had already broken out with a strong year in 1988 and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting in 1989. He'd post a 2.18 ERA in 1992 and as Cubs fans painfully know he'd sign a big money free agent contract after that season with the Braves where he'd become one of the greatest pitchers of all-time. Of course returned to the Cubs in 2004 where he is still active.
Rick Sutcliffe (103 ERA+, 22.5 VORP, 14 Win Shares) - . This was Sutcliffe's last decent season as injury limited him to 23 starts the next two years. Would pitch two years with the Orioles and then a brief stint with the Cardinals in 1994 before retiring.
Mike Bielecki (121 ERA+, 29.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - By far Bielecki's best season and part of the fluky nature of the '89 season and his long term future was in the bullpen. Traded with the Berryhill to the Braves after 1991, he'd three different trips to Atlanta with one year stints with the Angels and Indians mixed in.
Paul Kilgus (86 ERA+, -14.1 VORP, 3 Win Shares) - With those numbers you can tell Kilgus wasn't Major League material. Was acquired in the Mitch Williams/Rafael Palmeiro trade before the season this would be his last season as a regular starter. Had cups of coffee with the Orioles, Blue Jays, and Cardinals.
Scott Sanderson (96 ERA+, 7.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Marginally effective pitcher that would play 19 years and who'd luck into signing with the defending World Champion A's after '89. Then went to the Yankees in 1991 where he'd have a good year then hung around the Majors thru 1996 primarily with the Angels.
Closer: Mitch Williams (137 ERA+, 13.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - What can be said about this guy that hasn't been already? It's amazing he had any sucess at all with his lack of command. Achieved a bit of a cult status in 1989 due to his wild delivery. Dealt to the Phillies after 1990 where you know what happened in 1993. Then traded to the Astros after that year where he'd never be the same.
A little story about Williams, he had a very brief stint with the Royals in 1997 where I saw him pitch one of his last games ever live against the A's on April 25, 1997. He was out of the Majors in 1996 but some how made the Royals out of Spring Training. The Royals were crushing the A's 10-3 and there were probably only about 3,000 people left in the park by the time Wild Thing came in for mop up duty in the 9th. We gave him a mocking standing ovation when he came out figuring he'd probably make the inning exciting. He'd walk Matt Stairs on four pitches to start the inning and went 3-0 to Scott Speizo and the little of us there were going nuts. He'd then recover to strike out Speizo and strike out the side of Scott Brosius and Tony Batista. Ya that was a bad omen for the '97 A's.
Okay back to the redos. In the last two redos I took away an MVP from a closer, Willie Hernandez and Dennis Eckersley. Since I've established that closers should not receive serious consideration for the MVP award and now to turn the focus to starting pitchers. In the last three redos a starting pitcher cracked the Top 10 but I didn't give any of them serious thought for the #1 spot. In today's game with five man rotations and relaitvely stricter pitch counts a pitcher it is difficult for a starting pitcher to rack up the innings to match the value of an everyday player. You have to go back to 1980 to find the last starting pitcher to throw over 300 innings in a single season, Steve Carlton. Since that year three closers have won the MVP award but only one starting pitcher, Roger Clemens in 1986. It seems very odd that closers now seemingly have a better shot to win an MVP than starting pitchers.
Now this brings me to a year that a starting pitcher received serious consideration for the MVP and deservedly so, 1995. Remember 1995? The strike was still going on by Spring Training and we came very close to seeing replacement/scab players fielding Major League teams in games that counted but it ended right before Opening Day. I can even remember an exhibition game at the Coliseum with scab players right before the strike ended. The start of the season was pushed back to late April and the season shrunk to 144 games.
That year Greg Maddux had probably the best season a starting pitcher has had in my lifetime. He went 19-2 with 1.63 ERA, which was actually slightly higher than his previous year but he had better peripherals. He would win the Cy Young unanimously and finish 3rd in the MVP voting with seven first place votes. 2nd place went to Dante Bichette who benefitted from Coors Field and the Rockies surprise run to the Wild Card in the third year of exsistence. The winner would be Barry Larkin. Larkin's win has been perceived as possibly not deserving since '95 as he followed up that year with an even better season in '96 and I'd count myself as one of the doubters to this point. One interesting result in the '95 voting was the complete lack of support for Barry Bonds who finished 12th overall as the Giants floundered at the bottom of the N.L. West.
So was 1995 finally a year a starting pitcher should have won an MVP? Was Barry Larkin's win undeserving? Did Dante Bichette really have a better year than Barry Bonds?
1) Barry Larkin 2) Dante Bichette 3) Greg Maddux 4) Mike Piazza 5) Eric Karros 6) Reggie Sanders 7) Larry Walker 8) Sammy Sosa 9) Tony Gwynn 10) Craig Biggio 11) Ron Gant 12) Barry Bonds 13) Mark Grace 14) Derek Bell 15) Jeff Bagwell 16t) Andres Galarraga 16t) Charlie Hayes 18t) Vinny Castilla 18t) Chipper Jones 20t) Fred McGriff 20t) Pete Schourek 22t) Jeff Conine 22t) Tom Henke
.340/.364/.620, 131 RC, 130 OPS+, .286 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.326/.395/.516, 113 RC, 143 OPS+, .309 EQA, 56.3 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.368/.404/.484, 105 RC, 138 OPS+, .312 EQA, 56.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.298/.369/.535, 108 RC, 145 OPS+, .309 EQA, 50.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.306/.397/.579, 110 RC, 155 OPS+, .320 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.302/.406/.483, 104 RC, 141 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.346/.400/.606, 105 RC, 172 OPS+, .338 EQA, 72.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.319/.394/.492, 96 RC, 134 OPS+, .311 EQA, 77.1 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.294/.431/.577, 125 RC, 168 OPS+, .339 EQA, 77.0 VORP, 36 Win Shares
259 ERA+, 7.87 K/BB, 0.81 WHIP, 94.0 VORP, 30 Win Shares
I'm starting to remember why I stopped collecting baseball cards, too damn many of them by the mid-90s.
So there you have it, Greg Maddux should have been the first N.L. pitcher to win the MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968. But in retrospect Barry Larkin was hardly a bad choice and was a deserving candidate as again with most years there always a few good candidates. There is a very good case to be made for Mike Piazza as well. As it turns out beyond Bichette's 2nd place finish and Bonds lack of support the '95 voting wasn't too bad. Okay there was one bizarre result with Charlie Hayes getting four voting points. Even his baseball writer friendly numbers were nothing special (.276 AVG, 11 HR, 85 RBI) and he played on a losing team.
Next Thursday and Friday will be what I consider the best two days of the year in sports. There is simply nothing more fun from a viewing standpoint than the 1st round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. 16 games both days with basketall all day long on CBS. You know you won't get through the day without seeing something exciting. I had originally scheduled both days off from work but someone in my department was let go last week and I do the work of two people as it is I might be going in Thursday so we don't fall behind. But for at least a day and a half I'll just be gorging myself on college basketball.
My favorite tournament by far was the 1998 tournament, simply because Stanford had ended a 56 year drought and reached the Final Four. After being a perennial doormat on the west coast for a number of years, Mike Montgomery had legitimized the program. After 1st round losses in 1989 and 1992, in 1995 Stanford picked up their first tournament win since the 1942 National Championship. Next year they'd nearly upset Marcus Camby and UMass in the 2nd round. In '97 they would end Tim Duncan's college career by beating Wake Forest in the 2nd round before losing in overtime to Keith Van Horn and Utah in the Sweet 16.
For the '97-98 season they would return with much of same team at the core but with one big loss in All-American point guard Brevin Knight. Junior Arthur Lee would take over the point with the rest of the line up being Kris Weems, Pete Sauer, Mark Madsen, and Tim Young. One of their last games of the regular season was a 32 point humiliation by Arizona. Although just their fourth loss of the season many doubted Stanford would last in the tournament. I can still remember after they were given a #3 seed, Digger Phelps whined about them getting such a high seed on ESPN's selection show and it was the only team he thought was seeded too high.
Some people's doubts seemed warranted after they had a surprisingly tough game from the College of Charleston in the first round. After that they though they would blow out Western Michigan in the 2nd round and then just beat the shit out of Purdue in the Sweet 16. Now the Purdue game wasn't a blow out but the Boilermakers were expected to out physical Stanford with well publicized inside duo of Brad Miller and Brian Cardinal. But led by Mark Madsen and freshman Jarron Collins they just punished the Purdue duo the entire game. Then came the regional final against upstart Rhode Island led by their backcourt of Cuttino Mobley and Tyson Wheeler. As the #8 seed they had upset #1 seed Kansas in the 2nd round and then eliminated the feel good team of the tournament Valparaiso. I fully expected Stanford to beat them but by the end of the game was just a wreck as URI controlled most of the game. Then came one of the great individual performances in the final minute of a game.
Mobely hit two free throws with 59.3 seconds left to put URI up 71-65. Arthur Lee then took over the game.
-Lee hits an off balance three pointer with 52 seconds left, 71-68 URI
-Stanford fouls with 49.8 seconds left, Mobely hits one out of two free throws, 72-68 URI
-Lee feeds Mark Madsen inside for two with 40.7 seconds left, 72-70 URI
-Stanford fouls with 38.8 seconds left, Preston Murphy hits two free throws, 74-70 URI
-Lee drives the length of court, scores and is fouled with 32 seconds left, hits the free throw (didn't miss the entire tournament), 74-73 URI
-Lee strips Mobely after the inbound, the ball gets knocked to Madsen, he dunks and is fouled with 26.2 seconds left, hits the free throw, 76-74 Stanford. I've watched that play on tape probably a few hundred times and I'll never get tired of it.
URI would unrravel after that, turning the ball over the next posession, then Tyson Wheeler would miss three free throws, Lee would hit two more free throws, a URI half court shot at the buzzer would end the score at 79-77 Stanford. Lee scored 10 points and had the key steal of the game in the final minute. Stanford advanced to play Kentucky in the Final Four. Everyone, and I mean everyone, pretty much was preparing for a Kentucky/North Carolina final as Stanford and Utah were after thoughts. The Cardinal would lose to Kentucky in a forgotten classic 86-85 in overtime. I think it gets forgotten as one of the great tournament games because it didn't have that dramatic finish or an upset that other great games get remembered for. It was just a incredibly well played game by both teams and Dean Smith after the game on CBS said it was the best game he'd ever seen. I remember not even being upset after they lost as they weren't expected to give Kentucky any sort of a challenge and they played so well that I couldn't be mad that they came up short. It's the one game where a favorite team of mine lost that I would still watch on tape years later.
1998 Tournament Results
March 12, 1998
#1 North Carolina 88, #16 Navy 52
#8 Charlotte 77, #9 Illinois-Chicago 59
#4 Michigan State 83, #13 Eastern Michigan 71
#5 Princeton 69, #12 UNLV 57
#14 Richmond 62, #3 South Carolina 61
#11 Washington 69, #6 Xavier 68
#2 Connecticut93, #15 Farleigh Dickenson 85
#7 Indiana 94, #10 Oklahoma 87 OT
#1 Arizona 99, #16 Nicholls State 60
#9 Illinois State 82, #8 Tennessee 81 OT
#4 Maryland 82, #13 Utah State 68
#5 Illinois 64, #12 South Alabama 51
#3 Utah 85, #14 San Francisco 68
#6 Arkansas 74, #11 Nebraska 65
#2 Cincinnati 65, #15 Northern Arizona 62
#10 West Virginia 82, #7 Temple 52
March 13, 1998
#1 Kansas 110, #16 Prairie View 52
#8 Rhode Island 97, #9 Murray State 74
#13 Valparaiso 70, #4 Mississippi 69
#12 Florida State 96, #5 TCU 87
#3 Stanford 67, #14 Charleston 57
#11 Western Michigan 75, #6 Clemson 72
#2 Purdue 95, #15 Delaware 56
#10 Detroit 66, #7 St. John's 64
#1 Duke 99, #16 Radford 63
#8 Oklahoma State 74, #9 George Washington 59
#4 New Mexico 79, #13 Butler 62
#5 Syracuse 63, #12 Iona 61
#3 Michigan 80, #14 Davidson 61
#6 UCLA 65, #11 Miami 62
#2 Kentucky 82, #15 South Carolina State 67
#10 Saint Louis 51, #7 UMass 46
March 14, 1998
#1 North Carolina 93, #8 Charlotte 83 OT
#4 Michigan State 63, #5 Princeton 56
#11 Washington 87, #14 Richmond 66
#2 Connecticut 78, #7 Indiana 68
#1 Arizona 82, #9 Illinois State 49
#4 Maryland 67, #5 Illinois 61
#3 Utah 75, #6 Arkansas 69
#10 West Virginia 75, #2 Cincinnati 74
March 15, 1998
#8 Rhode Island 80, #1 Kansas 75
#13 Valparaiso 83, #12 Florida State 77 OT
#3 Stanford 83, #11 Western Michigan 65
#2 Purdue 80, #10 Detroit 65
#1 Duke 79, #8 Oklahoma State 73
#5 Syracuse 56, #4 New Mexico 46
#6 UCLA 85, #3 Michigan 82
#2 Kentucky 88, #10 Saint Louis 61
March 19, 1998
#1 North Carolina 73, #4 Michigan State 58
#2 Connecticut 75, #11 Washington 74
#1 Arizona 87, #4 Maryland 79
#3 Utah 65, #10 West Virginia 62
March 20, 1998
#8 Rhode Island 74, #13 Valparaiso 68
#3 Stanford 67, #2 Purdue 59
#1 Duke 80, #5 Syracuse 67
#2 Kentucky 94, #6 UCLA 68
March 21, 1998
#1 North Carolina 75, #2 Connecticut 64
#3 Utah 76, #1 Arizona 51
March 22, 1998
#3 Stanford 79, #8 Rhode Island 77
#2 Kentucky 86, #1 Duke 84
March 28, 1998
Kentucky 86, Stanford 85 OT
Utah 65, North Carolina 59
Kentucky 78, Utah 69
In one of his recent entries kkk talked about his favorite looking baseball cards. This got me be remembering one of my favorite baseball card collecting habits from my childhood, buying those store brand baseball sets. Stores like K-Mart and Toys 'R' Us would have their baseball cards, typically produced by Topps, that would feature star players or rookies. The sets were cheap and the cards were all glossy which was still a very unique feature back in the late 80's.
The first such set I remember buying was the 1987 Topps Toys 'R' Us Rookies set. It was a set of 33 cards featuring the rookies from the 1986 season. I took terrible care of the cards and now I don't even remember where they are but I do still remember those black boarded cards. I couldn't find individual pictures of the cards but I did find a site that showed that displays the entire set. Here are the links:
1. Andy Allanson, 2. Paul Assenmacher, 3. Scott Bailes, 4. Barry Bonds, 5. Jose Canseco, 6. John Cerutti, 7. Will Clark, 8. Kal Daniels, 9. Jim Deshaies
OMG Bonds and Canseco's cards were together, it was a sign!!!
10. Mark Eichhorn, 11. Ed Hearn, 12. Pete Incaviglia, 13. Bo Jackson, 14. Wally Joyner, 15. Charlie Kerfeld, 16. Eric King, 17. John Kruk, 18. Barry Larkin
See a relatively thin John Kruk.
19. Mike LaValliere, 20. Greg Mathews, 21. Kevin Mitchell, 22. Dan Plesac, 23. Bruce Ruffin, 24. Ruben Sierra, 25. Cory Snyder, 26. Kurt Stillwell, 27. Dale Sveum
28. Danny Tartabull, 29. Andres Thomas, 30. Robby Thompson, 31. Jim Traber, 32. Mitch Williams, 33. Todd Worrell
As you see 1986 produced a pretty impressive crop of rookies and some several infamous names as well. I had been thinking of trying to do a Reward Redo that wasn't an MVP vote but every other award in baseball only allows three players to be voted on a ballot. So I figured I'd do a Top 10 list of the best rookie season from 1986.
In my first entry about my very first game I mentioned that Wally Joyner was robbed by Jose Canseco in the '86 ROY voting and I'll put that claim to the test. They were the only two to receive first place votes on the A.L. side with Mark Eichhorn and Cory Snyder receiving some secondary support. In the N.L. the award was won by Todd Worrell who had already become nationally known as he had been a late season call up in '85 and made the Cardinals postseason roster. He became a household name due to being involved in the infamous blown call by Don Denkinger in Game 6 of the World Series that would eventually cost the Cardinals the series. Worrell was a near unanimous choice as Kevin Mitchell was the only player to a receive a first place vote.
So who was the best rookie of 1986?
147 ERA+, 2.59 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP, 23.1 VORP, 13 Win Shares
.272/.299/.500, 62 RC, 115 OPS+, .276 EQA, 24.6 VORP, 13 Win Shares
.287/.343/.444, 62 RC, 121 OPS+, .284 EQA, 22.1 VORP, 14 Win Shares
.277/.344/.466, 53 RC, 125 OPS+, .290 EQA, 21.6 VORP, 14 Win Shares
.250/.320/.463, 80 RC, 109 OPS+, .277 EQA, 24.6 VORP, 16 Win Shares
175 ERA+, 1.78 K/BB, 1.23 WHIP, 26.5 VORP, 19 Win Shares
.240/.318/.457, 86 RC, 115 OPS+, .286 EQA, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares
.270/.347/.489, 87 RC, 124 OPS+, .290 EQA, 35.4 VORP, 15 Win Shares
.290/.348/.457, 95 RC, 119 OPS+, .292 EQA, 41.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
246 ERA+, 3.69 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP, 66.4 VORP, 21 Win Shares
Canadian Greats? He was born in San Jose.
Okay I was right that Jose Canseco robbed someone but it was actually Mark Eichhorn. Yes a middle reliever was the top rookie of 1986. He had actually made his MLB debut back in 1982 but didn't get another shot in the majors until four years later. He didn't make a start but pitched in 157 innings (five innings short of qualifying for the ERA title), striking out 166, and posting a 1.72 ERA in what would be by far his best year.
One more thing here's the career Win Shares rankings for the 33 players in that 1987 Topps Toys 'R' Us Rookies set. Ya big shock who's #1.
1. Barry Bonds 661
2. Barry Larkin 347
3. Will Clark 331
4. Jose Canseco 272
5. Wally Joyner 253
6. Ruben Sierra 222
7. Danny Tartabull 188
8. Kevin Mitchell 178
9. John Kruk 156
10. Robby Thompson 155
11. Kal Daniels 112
12. Pete Incaviglia 107
13. Dan Plesac 106
14. Todd Worrell 105
15. Mike LaValliere 95
16. Paul Assenmacher 86
17. Cory Snyder 85
18. Mark Eichhorn 83
19. Bruce Ruffin 76
20. Mitch Williams 75
21. Kurt Stillwell 73
22. Bo Jackson 72
23. Jim Deshaies 68
24. Dale Sveum 55
25. Eric King 50
26. John Cerutti 45
27. Andy Allanson 27
28. Scott Bailes 26
29. Andres Thomas 23
30. Greg Mathews 22
31. Charlie Kerfeld 15
32. Jim Traber 11
33. Ed Hearn 5
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.
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!
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.
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.
Resident TSM Astros fan vivalaultra inspired me by his excitement over me mentioning Glenn Davis in the new TWiB thread and bringing up him being traded to the Orioles. During the '90/'91 offseason the Astros traded their slugging first baseman for three prospects named Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, and Pete Harnisch. Davis played three injury filled years in Baltimore while Schilling and Finley are still active players. Quite the coup by the Astros but Schilling and Finley's best years would come away from Houston as they would both be traded within the next three years.
This gave me an idea, which I've actually thought of before, of looking at the evolution of a trade and see what other moves it spawned. I orignally was going to post this in the TWiB thread but there is an insane number of moves that that one trade created and changed the lives of many players. This is only from the Astros perspective or otherwise this would go on forever. Now since I'm lazy I'm only C&Ping the transactions from baseball-reference.com.
Fun Facts from the Evolution of the Glenn Davis Trade
-13 future trades, the last made in 2004
-61 Players traded
-Acquired Brad Ausmus from the Tigers, then traded him back to the Tigers, and then traded back for him. If he's never traded again by the Astros he will be the last connection to the Davis trade.
January 10, 1991: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Baltimore Orioles for Pete Harnisch, Curt Schilling, and Steve Finley.
April 2, 1992: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Grimsley.
March 30, 1993: Released by the Houston Astros.
November 28, 1994: Traded by the Houston Astros to the New York Mets for players to be named later. The New York Mets sent Todd Beckerman (minors) (December 6, 1994) and Juan Castillo (April 12, 1995) to the Houston Astros to complete the trade.
December 28, 1994: Traded by the Houston Astros with a player to be named later, Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Roberto Petagine, and Brian Williams to the San Diego Padres for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez (the other one), Phil Plantier, and Craig Shipley. The Houston Astros sent Sean Fesh (minors) (May 1, 1995) to the San Diego Padres to complete the trade.
July 19, 1995: Traded by the Houston Astros to the San Diego Padres for Rich Loiselle and Jeff Tabaka.
Pedro A. Martinez
October 10, 1995: Traded by the Houston Astros to the San Diego Padres for Ray Holbert.
December 15, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.
January 5, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.
July 23, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Danny Darwin.
December 10, 1996: Traded by the Houston Astros with Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, Orlando Miller, and cash to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, C.J. Nitkowski, and Daryle Ward.
January 10, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cincinnati Reds.
February 7, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago White Sox.
Brad Ausmus & C.J. Nitkowski
January 14, 1999: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Detroit Tigers for Paul Bako, Dean Crow, Brian Powell, Carlos Villalobos (minors), and Mark Persails (minors).
December 20, 1999: Signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.
December 23, 1999: Traded by the Houston Astros with Mike Hampton to the New York Mets for Roger Cedeno, Octavio Dotel, and Kyle Kessel (minors).
March 29, 2000: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Philadelphia Phillies for Yorkis Perez.
April 11, 2000: Purchased by the Florida Marlins from the Houston Astros.
July 24, 2000: Released by the Houston Astros.
December 11, 2000: Traded by the Houston Astros with Chris Holt and Mitch Meluskey to the Detroit Tigers for Brad Ausmus, Doug Brocail, and Nelson Cruz.
June 23, 2001: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Detroit Tigers for Dave Mlicki.
November 30, 2001: Signed as a Free Agent with the Detroit Tigers.
November 11, 2002: Granted Free Agency.
December 16, 2002: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Colorado Rockies for Victor Hall (minors).
January 25, 2003: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ruddy Lugo (minors).
June 24, 2004: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Houston Astros to the Oakland Athletics. The Oakland Athletics sent Mike Wood and Mark Teahen (minors) to the Kansas City Royals. The Houston Astros sent John Buck and cash to the Kansas City Royals. The Kansas City Royals sent Carlos Beltran to the Houston Astros.
January 11, 2005: Signed as a Free Agent with the New York Mets.
I've finished watching Game 1 from each DVD so as I mentioned before I'm taking little notes while watching each game. Of course as i read some of my notes I'm not even sure what I intended on bringing up. Of course I won't go over every detail of the game as there is no point.
Interesting to note that for all three of these World Series that the winner of Game 1 was the team that ended up losing the series. Backs up Al's entry on playoff odds on how Game 1 is the least important game.
1975 World Series - Game 1 - Red Sox 6, Reds 0 (boxscore and play account)
-Announcers for Game 1 are Curt Gowdy, Dick Stockton, and Tony Kubek. Stockton was not a network announcer at this time as he was the local t.v. announcer for the Red Sox. They will be rotating announcers during the series as there will be a Reds announcer for Game 2. I guess this must have been common in the 70's as I remember watching Game 7 of the '73 Series on ESPN Classic a few years ago and old A's announcer Monty Moore was doing the play-by-play.
-Secretary of Treasury William E Simon threw out the first pitch. The crowd was shockingly unexcited by this.
-When Pete Rose is up in the first it is amusing how they bring up him being a huge fan of the game and always knowing what's going on in other games. If only they knew at the time why he was doing that.
-They say Johnny Bench has 50 foul ball homeruns in 1975. Now that sounds like bullshit to me. Who'd even keep track and how do you truly determine if a foul ball would have been a homerun?
-Why you can never predict the future: Bring up the great future of Reds starter Don Gullett who's career would end just three years later at age 27 due to shoulder problems.
-Joe Morgan sure did whine a lot to umpires when he played, not that I'm surprised.
-Kubek suggests that umpires should all be under one umbrella instead having seperate umps for A.L. and the N.L. which wouldn't change for another 20 years.
-God damn Sparky Anderson was only 41 in 1975? He already looked to be in his 60's.
-Luis Tiant started for the Red Sox and he was a lot fun to watch pitch...with no one on base. When someone was on base he is incredibly slow going to the mound.
-I had heard that was problems with the older stock footage and it shows up in the 6th inning as the audio suddenly is about five seconds ahead of the video and doesn't synch up again until the bottom of the 7th, thankfully when the biggest action of the game happens. The Red Sox scored all six runs in that inning.
-Gowdy does a promo for the first ever Saturday Night Live hosted by George Carlin that was to debut that night.
1979 World Series - Game 1 - Orioles 5, Pirates 4 (boxscore and play account)
-Announcers for the series are Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Don Drysdale.
-As you see in the picture the field is absolutely ripped to shreads and good example of why it's for the best that muti-purpose stadiums are almost now a thing of the past. It didn't help matters that Game 1 was rained the night before and it snowed over night. Game time temperature was 41 degrees and it most likley dipped below freezing by the end of the game. Many of the players just look miserable out there.
-Oh ya the black tops with yellow pants for the Pirates was not a good look. Although the Orioles orange unis would make a decent third jersey today.
-Pirates starter Bruce Kison came into the game 4-0 with a 0.41 ERA in his career in the postsason. He'd get knocked out after just recording one out in this game as the Orioles scored all their runs in the first although it was broken open by a bad throw by Phil Garner at 2nd.
-Not much of surprise that Cosell really brings nothing to the telecast except name dropping athletes who he had dinner with. One story that amused me was he brings up that he ran into Mike Flanagan's wife in Montreal and saying that she was visiting Flanagan's former teammate Ross Grimsley. Maybe it was just the general sleaziness of Cosell but the way he tells the story it almost sounds like he Flanagan's wife was cheating on him with Grimsley.
-They talk about Dave Parker's house and car being vandalized early in the season by fans because he signed a huge contract before the season. Yes how dare the defending MVP get paid! Anyone gone after A-Rod's house yet?
-Speaking of Paker I remember when he was with the A's towards the end of his career having a huge gut but here there is no sign of one. Guess cocaine is indeed slimming.
-Holy crap does ABC go overboard with showing player's wives. I should have kept count but I'd say they showed about 15 different players wives. Did the world really need to see Jim Rooker's wife? I'll give Doug DeCinces the award for having the hottest wife of the night although it was slim pickings. Everyone knows the groupies are hotter.
-I'm doubting Drysdale's analyst skills as in the bottom of the 8th Orioles second baseman Rich Dauer gets on base and Drysdale thinks he should steal. Jackson and Cosell both correct him pointing out that Dauer didn't steal a base all year. Nice research there Donny.
1986 World Series - Game 1 - Red Sox 1, Mets 0 (boxscore and play account)
-Announcers for the series are Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola.
-In the top of the first Garagiola brings up the Red Sox not being known for manufacturing runs. Now if this were Joe Morgan or most other ESPN anlysts this would be said with much disdain and followed by a mini-rant on why that doesn't work. But here Garagiola says it without being condescending and says it's worked for the Red Sox all year.
-Early in the game Scully brings up that he's surprised the Mets haven't tried to drag bunt down to first to take advantage of Buckner. How about a ground ball?
-It really is painful watching Buckner run as he has to hobble with every step.
-I didn't know Dwight Gooden had a gold cap on his front tooth. Don't think he wore it when he pitched.
-They mention that Darryl Strawberry was 0 for 45 in the August that year in Shea Stadium. Hmmm you think he was booed at all that month?
-In the 5th inning Scully mentions that there is a Mets pitcher who hates throwing to first base but he doesn't want to give that name away because he doesn't want to give a scouting report to the Red Sox. Maybe it was naive but it was kind of refreshing. Garagiola does get Scully to say the pitcher's name the following inning, that being Sid Fernandez.
-What everyone forgets about this series is the way the Red Sox won Game 1 on a play eerily similar to the final play of Game 6. In the 7th with Jim Rice on 2nd, Rich Gedman hits a ground ball to 2nd and it goes right through Tim Teufel's legs. Rice comes around and scores the only run of the game. There is a bizarre play at the plate which is what that screencap is of. When Rice comes home, Ron Daring goes to back up the throw at the plate while Dave Henderson tries to get into position to signal Rice to slide. The two don't see each other and completely wipe each other out. Both appear to be injured but both stay in the game.
-NBC producer's have a sense of humor as during Red Sox starter Bruce Hurst at bat in the 7th, they flash a graphic saying that Hurst has struck out in every at bat in his career. It was the first game he'd ever hit in. He struck out a 3rd straight time here.
-Red Sox manager John McNamara does in the 8th inning here what he didn't do in Game 6, replace Bill Bucker at first base with Dave Stapelton. Stapelton would make a play in the 9th inning on a Ray Knight bunt to get the lead runner at 2nd that there would have been no way for Bucker to have made the play and it possibly prevented the Mets from tying the game.
I've finished watching Game 2 of all three series so here are some of my notes.
1975 World Series Game 2 - Reds 3, Red Sox 2 (boxscore and play account)
-This game is incomplete on the disk. Apparantly the top of the 2nd is missing from the film archives. Thankfully it was just a 1-2-3 inning for the Reds.
-OBP gets it's first notice I think in all three of the series here although it's referred to as "on base average" as they have a graphic when Joe Morgan is up mentioning that he led the league in that category although the announcers don't mention it.
-They hype several times during the game a feature Sunday Night special NFL game between the Raiders and Chiefs that was following the game. Chiefs beat the Raiders 42-10 that night.
-Morgan continues his whining from Game 1 here and even tries to fake getting hit by a pitch in the 6th by claiming the ball grazed his jersey and then pitched a fit when they wouldn't give him the base. Replays show it didn't hit him. Two games of watching him and I'm already hating him as a player. I took joy in him getting thrown out trying to steal in the 7th right after Tony Kubek said he probably shouldn't be stealing with Johnny Bench up. SMARTBALL~!
-Speaking of SMARTBALL~ this game ended up being decided on what Joe would refer to as "manufacturing runs" but was really more luck than anything. With the Red Sox up 2-1 going into the 9th, Bench led off with a double. Tony Perez would hit a soft ground ball to short which allowed Bench to move to 3rd which I'm sure Perez was trying to do. George Foster would pop up to left, which was not deep enough to score Bench. Then with two outs Dave Concepcion hits a slow chopper up the middle that Red Sox second baseman Denny Doyle has to eat and allows Bench to score the tying run. Ken Griffey would double next to give the Reds the lead. Just think if Concepcion hits a line drive right at Doyle, the Red Sox would have been up 2-0, maybe won the series, and saved the world from being subjected to Fever Pitch.
1979 World Series Game 2 - Pirates 3, Orioles 2 (boxscore and play account)
-The graphics are missing from the footage of this game.
-I forgot to mention this in the Game 1 notes but sitting right directly behind home plate in both games is that John 3:16 guy who wore a rainbow colored wig. Never holds up any John 3:16 sign here though. What's funny here is that ABC puts a camerman right directly in front of him during this game to try obstruct the view of him. You never once see a shot from the behind homeplate so clearly the camera wasn't turned on.
-ABC thankfully cut back on the number of player's wive shots in this game but they do show Ken Singleton's wife for the first time and she knocks out Doug DeCinces' wife for the hottest wife of the series.
-Several Pirates have stars on their caps that were given by Willie Stargell during the season which were called "Stargell's Stars." Bert Blyleven, who started this game, had none. Man fuck Willie. Even by his peers Blyleven was undervalued. They'd play an interview with Blyleven before the game and it's brought up how baseball writers didn't think he could win a big game.
-The announce during the game that J.R. Richard had signed a four-year contract to stay in Houston rather than test the free agent market. It would be that following year when he'd have his stroke.
-Sorta like game Game 2 of '75 this game ends up being won on some fortunate bounces. Game was tied 2-2 going into the 9th, with two out Pirates catcher Ed Ott hit a groundball to 2nd which takes a bad hop right before Billy Smith can field it and it bounces away from him. Phil Garner would walk and then Manny Sanguillen hit a pinch hit single that would be the game winner.
1986 World Series Game 2 - Red Sox 9, Mets 3 (boxscore and play account)
-I can't even imagine the hype that when into this game as it was a match-up of Roger Clemens vs. Dwight Gooden which was about as epic of a pitching match-up you could get in 1986. As you can tell just looking by the score it didn't live up to the hype although they did have to follow up a 1-0 game. Neither pitcher had much of anything going for them in this one.
-Howard Johnson started at 3rd for this game in place of a slumping Ray Knight which ironically enough Dickhead Knight would end up being the World Series MVP.
-The Mets were just crushing Clemens but every deep flyball they hit seemed to die at the track. You knew it wasn't their night by what happened in the 4th and 5th. Dave Henderson led off the 4th with a homerun for the Sox. Then in the bottom of the inning Darryl Strawberry and Howard Johnson both hit balls that looked like and sounded like homeruns when they left at the bat but both barely stayed in the park. Davey Johnson then decideds not to pinch hit in the inning for Gooden, who was already looking bad at that point, and then top of the 5th he gives up a two run shot to Dwight Evans.
-It's kind of tough to tell in the screencap but in the bottom of the 6th some fan threw a ball at Jim Rice while he was catching a flyball.
-Strawberry struck out twice in each of the first eight postseason games.
-Everytime I here Scully say "a little roller up along first" I expect the next words to be "BEHIND THE BAG! IT GETS THROUGH BUCKNER!"
-Interesting to note that in this series and the '75 Series not once has the word "curse" come up yet. I really wonder if the "curse" nonsense didn't really pick up steam until after this series. Forgetting what happened in Game 6 it's amazing when you think about that the previous year the Royals became the first team ever to lose the first two games in the World Seires at home and comeback to win the series. What were the odds that the same thing would happen two years in a row after never happening before? The Red Sox had to feel good about themselves at this point and this particular game wasn't even as close as the score indicated.
First half awards, except Manager of the Year which I could careless about. The smart managers are usually smart every year and the dumb managers are usually dumb every year. The award itself is striclty based preseason predictions and who exceeds them.
Starting with the MVP of course in my view it is still Albert Pujols' award to lose but in the view of the baseball writer's it appers to be David Wright's award to lose. If the Mets continue to blow away the rest of the N.L. and Wright continues to hit as his current pace he many win the award rather easiy. As you'll see I don't even consider Wright the best player on his team in the first half. Carlos Beltran is getting zero respect simply because he signed a huge contract and because he underachived last year. You'll hear Jose Reyes' name mentioned for MVP more than Beltran's.
10. Nick Johnson, Nationals
.295/.421/.538, 65 RC, .319 EQA, 33.8 VORP, 16 Win Shares
9. Carlos Lee, Brewers
.290/.353/.563, 69 RC, .297 EQA, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares
8. Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.293/.447/.467, 69 RC, .312 EQA, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares
7. Jose Reyes, Mets
.300/.357/.481, 71 RC, .285 EQA, 34.5 VORP, 17 Win Shares
6. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
183 ERA+, 4.90 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP, 51.2 VORP, 15 Win Shares
5. David Wright, Mets
.316/.386/.575, 75 RC, .310 EQA, 36.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares
4. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.334/.442/.566, 73 RC, .325 EQA, 42.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares
3. Lance Berkman, Astros
.317/.405/.607, 77 RC, .320 EQA, 36.9 VORP, 19 Win Shares
2. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.279/.388/.606, 69 RC, .315 EQA, 38.7 VORP, 20 Win Shares
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
.316/.435/.703, 79 RC, .350 EQA, 46.4 VORP, 22 Win Shares
For Cy Young this was a pretty easy choice of Brandon Webb as he's been a cut above the competition all year. Jason Schmidt is not getting any notice because of a 6-5 record but he's been dominant. For 3rd it was a toss up between Chris Capuano and Bronson Arroyo but I gave the nod to Capuano for his K/BB ratio.
3. Chris Capuano, Brewers
141 ERA+, 4.48 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 39.0 VORP, 13 Win Shares
2. Jason Schmidt, Giants
163 ERA+, 2.50 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP, 44.4 VORP, 12 Win Shares
1. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
Rookie of the Year is another fairly easy choice of Dan Uggla although if I had to bet I think Ryan Zimmerman may end up emerging as the top rookie by the end of the year. Prince Fielder has only 8 Win Shares and a .320 OBP in case you were wondering where he is.
3. Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
.271/.337/.413, 50 RC, .268 EQA, 19.1 VORP, 10 Win Shares
2. Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
.287/.350/.478, 58 RC, .278 EQA, 15.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares
1. Dan Uggla, Marlins
.307/.366/.510, 61 RC, .292 EQA, 30.0 VORP, 13 Win Shares
Travis Hafner I think deserves the crown as the most underrated player in baseball now. He's arguably been the best hitter in baseball not named Albert Pujols over the last two and a half years yet he still has yet to make an All-Star team. The race is wide open but Hafner doesn't have a prayer unless the Indians go on another second half run and even then it seems highly unlikely they'll get close enough to the Tigers and White Sox for anyone to really notice. Where's David Ortiz? This was actually the first time all year I even gave consideration to Ortiz but he ended about 12th for me. The writers love him because he's "clutch" yet he's hitting a modest .280 with RISP and of course because he leads the leauge in the almighty RBI. Manny Ramirez is besting him in AVG/OBP/SLG and has hit .303 with RISP.
10. Curtis Granderson, Tigers
.278/.367/.462, 64 RC, .285 EQA, 23.1 VORP, 17 Win Shares
9. Carl Crawford, Devil Rays
.319/.359/.521, 72 RC, .297 EQA, 28.9 VORP, 17 Win Shares
8. Jason Giambi, Yankees
.260/.415/.611, 70 RC, .329 EQA, 33.5 VORP, 15 Win Shares
7. Johan Santana, Twins
155 ERA+, 5.75 K/BB, 1.00 WHIP, 42.9 VORP, 15 Win Shares
6. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.345/.427/.462, 68 RC, .314 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares
5. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.318/.397/.646, 66 RC, .326 EQA, 36.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares
4. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.306/.434/.615, 70 RC, .335 EQA, 38.4 VORP, 17 Win Shares
3. Joe Mauer, Twins
.378/.447/.535, 60 RC, .331 EQA, 44.2 VORP, 18 Win Shares
2. Jim Thome, White Sox
.298/.414/.651, 80 RC, .334 EQA, 43.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares
1. Travis Hafner, Indians
.322/.461/.650, 88 RC, .361 EQA, 55.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares
For Cy Young there are three candidates that are head and shoulders above everyone else. I couldn't put Liriano over Santana and Halladay because Liriano has thrown 40+ fewer innings. If they were hitters he'd have about 120+ less plate appearances. That's tough to make up.
3. Francisco Liriano, Twins
250 ERA+, 4.43 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 41.9 VORP, 14 Win Shares
2. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
164 ERA+, 4.50 K/BB, 1.03 WHIP, 44.0 VORP, 14 Win Shares
1. Johan Santana, Twins
ROY was a pretty easy list to put together. Myself personally I think both Liriano and Papelbon will level off in the second half as there is no way two rookie pitcher's are going to be this unstoppable all year long. Papelbon's ERA+ is insane but he'll have some bad luck eventually that will shoot that ERA up.
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers
147 ERA+, 2.09 K/BB, 1.17 WHIP, 35.4 VORP, 12 Win Shares
2. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
803 ERA+, 5.88 K/BB, 0.72 WHIP, 28.3 VORP, 12 Win Shares
1. Francisco Liriano, Twins