This is one that I’ve been putting off as it seemed too obvious for an entry. No one in there right mind thinks in 1991 that Terry Pendleton was a better player than Barry Bonds except apparently the 12 baseball writers who voted for Pendleton over Bonds. Now Pendleton winning wasn’t on the level of Andre Dawson winning in 1987 and actually after reviewing it there certainly have been several worse choices for MVP in the past.
There’s an easy answer as to why Pendleton won the MVP and that was because the Braves were the feel good story of 1991. The Braves had lost 89 games or more in six consecutive seasons and had lost 97 the year before. But that all changed in ’91 when they made a shocking run at the N.L. West title and Pendleton received a good portion of the credit for their run. After all he wasn’t with the Braves before ‘91 and when he joins the team they suddenly became good so it must have been because of him, or at least that was probably the logic of some writers. Now I don’t want to slam Pendleton, he had a great year and he was the MVP of the Braves that season as he had a career year offensively after appearing to be washed at age 29 just a year earlier with the Cardinals. What would hurt Bonds in the MVP voting was A) he won the MVP the year before and did not have as good a year to follow it up, B) the Pirates ran away with the East title while the Braves were in a dog fight into the final weekend with the Dodgers for the West title so in September all eyes were on Atlanta, and C) he was already the miserable prick we know today and thus not liked by the media. Pendleton and Bonds received 22 of the 24 first place votes with Bonds’ teammate Bobby Bonilla receiving one. Not sure why someone picked Bonilla over Bonds but it did not cost Bonds the award and Bonilla had a great year. The other first place vote though went to Brett Butler who I’m assuming received it from a Dodgers writer. Butler had a good year but far from deserving to win it and he only placed 7th in the overall voting.
Now what eventually convinced me to write an entry on this one had little to do with the winner of the award but one bizarre 10th place vote. Dave Martinez was with the Expos at the time and I don’t think MVP and Dave Martinez have ever been uttered before but yet he showed up one writer’s ballot that year. Martinez played in 124 games, received 427 plate appearances, with his Triple Crow stats at .295 avg, 7 hr, 42 rbi. It got me thinking as to how in the world did a writer justify giving Dave Martinez an MVP vote, even if only a 10th place? The Expos lost 90 games that year so it wasn’t like he had some relevant “clutch” hits down the stretch that would caused a writer to overrate him. The two best players on the Expos in 1991 were his outfield mates Ivan Calderon and Larry Walker so it’s hard to imagine his play was noticed more over those two. Then it donned on me…the writer meant to vote for his teammate Dennis Martinez. El Presidente won the N.L. ERA title and it’s completely conceivable for a writer to have given the league leader in ERA a 10th place vote. I can’t confirm this is what happened but there is no other logical explanation for it.
1) Terry Pendleton 2) Barry Bonds 3) Bobby Bonilla 4) Will Clark 5) Howard Johnson 6) Ron Gant 7) Brett Butler 8) Lee Smith 9) Fred McGriff 10) Darryl Strawberry 11) Tom Glavine 12t) Jay Bell 12t) David Justice 14t) Andre Dawson 14t) John Smiley 16) Tony Gwynn 17t) John Kruk 17t) Barry Larkin 17t) Ryne Sandberg 20t) Dave Martinez 20t) Chris Sabo 20t) Ozzie Smith
.294/.367/.483, 97 RC, 139 OPS+, .311 EQA, 43.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.259/.342/.535, 105 RC, 145 OPS+, .308 EQA, 47.2 VORP, 25 Win Shares
153 ERA+, 2.78 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 55.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.278/.396/.494, 104 RC, 147 OPS+, .322 EQA, 48.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.304/.377/.454, 88 RC, 143 OPS+, .315 EQA, 54.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.319/.363/.517, 111 RC, 139 OPS+, .308 EQA, 53.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.302/.391/.492, 112 RC, 150 OPS+, .323 EQA, 49.9 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.291/.379/.485, 109 RC, 137 OPS+, .310 EQA, 52.5 VORP, 37 Win Shares
.301/.359/.536, 109 RC, 152 OPS+, .321 EQA, 53.2 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.292/.410/.514, 109 RC, 161 OPS+, .337 EQA, 61.6 VORP, 37 Win Shares
See...I put an asterisk. Cause he's a cheater. HAHAHAHA. People who use asterisks to mock Bonds are so clever.
Anyways you to have to admit that's one prophetic card.
Since my 1991 Mariners entry was flushed and I doubt I’ll try to type it again anytime soon so I might as well do 1991 A.L. MVP redo which does feature a Mariner player being underrated by the voters. But the main reason this particular MVP was interesting is that it’s one of those cases with where player on a losing team won the award. Now in the 1987 N.L. MVP redo Andre Dawson was shown to be one of the worst choices ever, nevermind that he played on a last place team. For the 2003 A.L. MVP redo A-Rod was shown to be perfectly acceptable choice for the award but just not my choice.
In 1991 Cal Ripken had the best year offensively of his career and won the MVP by somewhat of a close margin over Cecil Fielder despite playing on a Orioles team that lost 95 games, the next to worst record in the league. What likely helped Ripken win the award was that the two division winners, Minnesota and Toronto, lacked a standout candidate. Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar both received first place votes but neither cracked the top 4 and really neither should have received a first place vote. Kirby Puckett was the only Twins player in the Top 10 and did not receive a first place vote. The rest of the A.L. after that was highly competitive as nine teams won between 81 and 87 games that season.
Looking at the basic, writer friendly numbers my guess as to why Ripken won the award over the likes of Fielder and Jose Canseco was due to both Fielder and Canseco having batting averages in the .260’s so they gave the nod to Ripken even though those two both topped Ripken in homeruns and RBI. It’s a good thing that the writers did vote Ripken over Fielder as he would have been a terrible choice and the classic case of writers giving the award to a player simply because he lead the league in RBI, which nine voters used that line of thinking and chose Fielder as their MVP. Despite his prodigious counting stats Fielder only finished 9th in the league in slugging and that was while playing in a hitter’s park. Per Win Shares and VORP, Mickey Tettleton was the best player on the Tigers that year but he didn’t receive a single vote. Sandwiched between Fielder and Canseco was the White Sox young slugger Frank Thomas who was in his first full season. Thomas led the league in OBP and OPS but managed just one first place vote. The most surprising snub in the voting was Ken Griffey Jr. who already had emerged as one of the best and most popular players in baseball while helping the Mariners to their first ever winning record yet he only placed 9th. My only guess is he got penalized for not being a power hitter at that point as he hit only 22 homeruns but did hit 42 doubles.
1) Cal Ripken 2) Cecil Fielder 3) Frank Thomas 4) Jose Canseco 5) Joe Carter 6) Roberto Alomar 7) Kirby Puckett 8) Ruben Sierra 9) Ken Griffey Jr. 10) Roger Clemens 11) Pal Molitor 12) Danny Tartabull 13) Jack Morris 14) Chili Davis 15) Julio Franco 16) Devon White 17) Scott Erickson 18) Rick Aguilera 19) Rafael Palmeiro 20) Robin Ventura 21) Dave Henderson
.307/.357/.502, 120 RC, 138 OPS+, .316 EQA, 52.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.322/.389/.532, 130 RC, 155 OPS+, .333 EQA, 69.5 VORP, 26 Win Shares
164 ERA+, 3.71 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 74.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.341/.408/.474, 113 RC, 146 OPS+, .332 EQA, 70.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.316/.397/.593, 114 RC, 171 OPS+, .346 EQA, 62.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.325/.399/.489, 128 RC, 147 OPS+, .328 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.266/.359/.556, 113 RC, 157 OPS+, .333 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.327/.399/.527, 117 RC, 155 OPS+, .334 EQA, 68.2 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.323/.374/.566, 138 RC, 162 OPS+, .337 EQA, 94.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.318/.453/.553, 140 RC, 180 OPS+, .365 EQA, 81.9 VORP, 34 Win Shares
This was like the 2003 A.L. MVP as neither of the Top 2 is a wrong pick and when you have two evenly matched candidates like this I do give the nod to the player who played on a winning team. I also gave Thomas the 1992 A.L. MVP and he won the ’93 & ’94 awards in real life. I haven’t put the numbers in for those two years but I think I’ll have to look into that and see if the Big Hurt should have had four straight MVP awards. This was a tough ballot to put together as I changed 3 thru 9 a few times and even looking at it now I’m not entirely settled on it.
Vern/Culloden asked to do a redo on this one so I'll put off the 1995 A.L. MVP for another day. 1989 is kind of an interesting year to examine, and hey my favorite sporting year, as Robin Yount won the MVP which I can remember at the time being surprised. Ruben Sierra was the hot young superstar of the moment and he broke out with a great year at age 23 and I always figured he should have won it, without every actually looking to deeply into the issue.
When I'm trying to find an interesting year to do a redo on the first thing I always check are Win Shares. If a player led the league in Win Shares and won the MVP he had to have been at the very least deserving of serious consideration. I had glanced at 1989 before and Yount tied with Sierra for the lead Win Shares so that's partly why I haven't bothered. But there was no clear choice that season, six different players received first place votes, and the Brewers were only a .500 team and the Rangers won 83 games. Usually in a year like this when there is no clear choice it can open the door for an undeserving player on a division winner to steal the award but that wasn't the case. It was a very weak year for offense and is the last time the A.L. homerun leader had fewer than 40 homeruns (Fred McGriff, 36).
The other four players to receive first place votes are an interesting group, due to none of them deserving any serious consideration. Cal Ripken finished 3rd on a the surprise team of the A.L. that season. Baltimore had come off their infamous 107 loss season and started year with a staggering 0-21 start, a record that might never be broken. The rebounded in '89 with a shocking run at the A.L. East title coming up just two games short of the Blue Jays. But even Ripken's writer friendly numbers (.264 avg, 21 hr, 84 rbi) hardly screamed MVP even in a weak year for offense.
Fourth and fifth place went to players on the division winning teams. George Bell received four first place votes even though his teammate McGriff had a far superior year. Dennis Eckersley was next and I don't need to repeat my argument about closers. Eckersley had a stint on the DL and only threw 58 innings although was of course his dominant self when healthy. The last player to receive a first place vote was Eck's teammate Carney Lansford. What was so interesting about this was Lansford finished 17th in the voting so he appeared on hardly any ballots at all yet someone gave him a first place vote. He actually had a very good year, not MVP calibar mind you but hey may have deserved passing consideration for a 10th place vote.
In a year without much offense and no clear choice among the players you would think a pitcher could emerge as the MVP and there was a very interesting candidate out there. Bret Saberhagen won the Cy Young, receiving all but one first place vote, and finished 8th in the MVP voting. With a 23-6 record, 2.16 ERA, and throw in playing on a Royals team that won 92 games I have to say I'm surprised he didn't receive more support from the writers.
One last note about the voting, this season had possibly the worst player (in terms of the season they had) to receive an MVP vote ever. Someone gave Mookie Wilson a 10th place vote, who had been acquired by the Blue Jays from the Mets at the trade deadline. Even a truly great player shouldn't garner an MVP vote if they were in the league for just the final two months of the season. In 247 plate appearances Wilson put up a .298/.311/.370 line. I'm sure he probably had a couple of "clutch" hits down the stretch which I'm assuming swayed some idiot writer to give him a spot on his ballot.
1) Robin Yount 2) Ruben Sierra 3) Cal Ripken 4) George Bell 5) Dennis Eckersley 6) Fred McGriff 7) Kirby Puckett 8) Bret Saberhagen 9) Rickey Henderson 10) Bo Jackson 11) Dave Parker 12) Gregg Olson 13) Bert Blyleven 14) Dave Stewart 15) Don Mattingly 16) Joe Carter 17) Carney Lansford 18) Nick Esasky 19) Tony Fernandez 20) Mike Moore 21t) Wade Boggs 21t) Steve Sax 23t) Alvin Davis 23t) Nolan Ryan 25t) Chilli Davis 25t) Mark McGwire 25t) Mookie Wilson
140 ERA+, 2.98 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 65.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.315/.379/.439, 103 RC, 132 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.305/.424/.496, 104 RC, 156 OPS+, .335 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.339/.379/.465, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .306 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.274/.411/.399, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .325 EQA, 50.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.330/.430/.449, 120 RC, 143 OPS+, .324 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.269/.399/.525, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .335 EQA, 53.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.306/.347/.543, 120 RC, 146 OPS+, .314 EQA, 58.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
178 ERA+, 4.49 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP, 79.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.318/.384/.511, 120 RC, 152 OPS+, .326 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
There you have it, Robin Yount was the best choice and in a year with no run away winner the writers actually picked the right guy. Any of the Top 4 would have been fine choices and I shuffled 2 thru 4 a couple of times before settling on it.
Hey look a reader request, Culloden Hastings writes:
Hey take away something from Kirk Gibson? No complaints from me.
Gibson winning the MVP in 1988 always seemed like an odd choice. It always appeared on the surface just to be your typical writer vote where the guy who is SCRAPPY~ or TOUGH~ or a LEADER~ gets more support than he deserves. Gibson's Dodgers have been romanticized by the L.A. media to the point that you'd think they were some dynasty rather than the complete fluke they actually were. It's likely Bill Plaschke pleasures himself every night to Game 1 of the '88 World Series.
Without looking that closely into it before I figured Will Clark or Darryl Strawberry should have won the award. Strawberry finished 2nd in the voting but split some votes with his 3rd place teammate Kevin McReynolds who had quite the good season himself. Clark finished 5th without any first place votes as the Giants hovered just above .500. Also someone of possible consideration was Gibson's teammate Orel Hershiser who went on a record scoreless inning streak at the end of the season.
So was Gibson a bad pick? Is there anyway it couldn't have been Clark or Strawberry? Will I discover time travel and kill Gibson and Hershisher before the '88 World Series?
1) Kirk Gibson 2) Darryl Strawberry 3) Kevin McReynolds 4) Andy Van Slyke 5) Will Clark 6) Orel Hershiser 7) Andres Galarraga 8) Glenn Davis 9) Danny Jackson 10) David Cone 11) Tony Gwynn 12) John Franco 13) Eric Davis 14) Bobby Bonilla 15) Andre Dawson 16) Randy Myers 17) Brett Butler 18) Steve Sax
.273/.363/.489, 83 RC, 139 OPS+, .314 EQA, 48.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.296/.347/.429, 86 RC, 119 OPS+, .294 EQA, 55.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.274/.366/.476, 102 RC, 142 OPS+, .310 EQA, 50.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.302/.352/.540, 113 RC, 149 OPS+, .314 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.288/.336/.496, 91 RC, 142 OPS+, .312 EQA, 48.3 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.288/.345/.506, 104 RC, 143 OPS+, .312 EQA, 56.6 VORP, 28 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.44 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 64.8 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.269/.366/.545, 109 RC, 165 OPS+, .327 EQA, 54.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.290/.377/.483, 98 RC, 149 OPS+, .324 EQA, 56.4 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.282/.386/.508, 113 RC, 160 OPS+, .332 EQA, 63.1 VORP, 37 Win Shares
As much as it pains me Gibson wasn't a bad choice for MVP although Clark would have been a much, much better pick. So the biggest mistake by the writers wasn't Gibson winning but the lack of support for Clark. Maybe it had to do that the guy was a dick to the media or because his middle name was Nuschler...NUSCHLER! Is that even a name?
There's an ongoing debate about the baseball Most Valuable Player voting: Should it go to the best player in baseball or should it go to the best player on a winning team? I used to be very much on the side of it should be the best player on a winnig team but I've backed off that, although today I still don't think a player on a last place team shouldn't be winning the MVP but don't believe that a player on a losing or middle of the road team should be automatically discarded from consideration.
Whatever side of the debate you are on everyone can agree one of the most bizarre MVP winners was Andre Dawson in 1987. The main reason Dawson won most likely was because he lead the league in homeruns and rbi which is always to grab the attention of the voters. But what was odd about was that Dawson played on a last place team in the Cubs. Now at 76-85 I suppose the Cubs were a "good" last place team but they were never in serious contention in the very tough N.L. East which featured three teams with 90+ wins that year. Also when you looked at Dawson's numbers beyond the homeruns and rbi they weren't that impressive. He hit .287 with a .328 OBP and despite his 49 homeruns who only finsihed 6th in SLG in a year full of great offensive performances. There were several of great candidates on some of the leagues top teams (Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Expos) yet a player on a last place team wins it who's numbers did not blow away the competition. Here's the actual order of finish for the 1987 N.L. MVP:
1) Dawson 2) Ozzie Smith 3) Jack Clark 4) Tim Wallach 5) Will Clark 6) Darryl Strawberry 7) Tim Raines 8) Tony Gwynn 9) Eric Davis 10) Howard Johnson 11) Dale Murphy 12) Vince Coleman 13) Juan Samuel 14) Mike Schmidt 15) Pedro Guerrero 16) Steve Bedrosian 17) Milt Thompson 18t) Bill Doran 18t) Terry Pendleton
So I've decided to redo the voting and give my own Top 10 for that year (note used '88 cards since they'd be '87 photos).
.308/.371/.580, 113 RC, 153 OPS+, .311 EQA, 49.5 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.293/.388/.548, 112 RC, 142 OPS+, .313 EQA, 58.1 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.338/.416/.539, 123 RC, 155 OPS+, .331 EQA, 69.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.417/.580, 136 RC, 156 OPS+, .328 EQA, 73.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.303/.392/.383, 90 RC, 105 OPS+, .288 EQA, 59.1 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.370/.447/.511, 135 RC, 158 OPS+, .341 EQA, 90.8 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.284/.398/.583, 122 RC, 162 OPS+, .332 EQA, 69.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.293/.399/.593, 112 RC, 155 OPS+, .330 EQA, 78.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.286/.459/.597, 115 RC, 176 OPS+, .353 EQA, 65.2 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.330/.429/.526, 119 RC, 149 OPS+, .333 EQA, 78.7 VORP, 34 Win Shares
As you see Dawson doesn't even crack the Top 10. If Raines played anywhere less but Montreal he probably gets more consideration although even in this year he didn't finish higher than his teammate Tim Wallach. Dawson of course played in Montreal originally and had signed as a free agent with the Cubs before the '87 season. It's highly unlikely he would have won the award in '87 with his numbers playing Montreal. Raines truly was one of great, underappreciated players of the 80's.
Okay I've redone all the 80's MVPs but this was one that I kind of have been wanting to do an entry for. The main reason is because 1987 was the year that my favorite player of all-time Mark McGwire burst on to the scene by completely obliterating the rookie homerun record with 49 homeruns. It's really one of those records that it's hard to imagine it ever being broken as Mike Piazza's 35 in 1993 is the most by a rookie since. In the Summer of '87 everyone was going out of their way to buy up as many of McGwire's Olympic card from the 1985 Topps set as they could. Now I know McGwire wasn't the MVP but I had always had it my head that he had a better year than the winner of the MVP that year.
The writer's pick for A.L. MVP was George Bell as he won it in a tight race over Alan Trammell, receiving 16 first place votes to Trammell's 12. Now when it comes to awards voting most writers submit their ballots before the season ends and that could have made a difference here. After dropping three out of four in Toronto on the next to last weekend of the season the Tigers sat two and a half games out of first place behind the Blue Jays. It's quite possible that series won the MVP for Bell over Trammell as Bell played a big role in the series win going 8 for 18. But the in the final weekend of the season the Tigers would sweep the Jays in Detroit to take the A.L. East title. Who knows how many writer's submitted their ballots right after the series in Toronto? Also if Trammell had won the MVP in '87 maybe he'd get a little more support in the Hall of Fame voting. I've always had the Shiny Object Theory when it comes to HOF voting where writer's will almost always give more support to a player who won a major award in their career than someone who didn't. Just look at Bruce Sutter (Cy Young in 1979) being elected to the HOF this year instead of Goose Gossage (never won a Cy Young).
1) George Bell 2) Alan Trammell 3) Kirby Puckett 4) Dwight Evans 5) Paul Molitor 6) Mark McGwire 7) Don Mattingly 8) Tony Fernandez 9) Wade Boggs 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Jeff Reardon 12) Darrell Evans 13t) Doyle Alexander 13t) Tom Henke 13t) Wally Joyner 16) Kent Hrbek 17) Danny Tartabull 18) Robin Yount 19) Roger Clemens 20t) Jack Morris 20t) Kevin Seitzer 20t) Ruben Sierra 23) Jose Canseco 24) Matt Nokes
.309/.390/.541, 123 RC, 142 OPS+, .318 EQA, 54.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.305/.417/.569, 129 RC, 156 OPS+, .332 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.327/.378/.559, 122 RC, 146 OPS+, .319 EQA, 50.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.332/.367/.534, 121 RC, 132 OPS+, .304 EQA, 55.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.308/.352/.605, 129 RC, 146 OPS+, .318 EQA, 60.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
154 ERA+, 3.09 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 92.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.289/.370/.618, 127 RC, 164 OPS+, .335 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.353/.438/.566, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .344 EQA, 74.8 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.363/.461/.588, 151 RC, 173 OPS+, .358 EQA, 90.1 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.343/.402/.551, 133 RC, 155 OPS+, .334 EQA, 96.6 VORP, 35 Win Shares
So Bell wasn't a terrible choice but not a particularly good one either. Boggs plays bride's maid again in my redos just like he did with the 1986 one. What happened with the Red Sox in '87? Defending A.L. Champs and three of the Top 10 players in the league on their team yet they finish six games under .500. Sounds like a "Where'd They Go?" team.
I think every sports fan has certain athletes they dislike or even on some level hate. Sometimes there are some justifiable reason to dislike the athlete and other times it is just irrational hate. For me that athlete is Roger Clemens. I can't stand the fat fuck. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense as Clemens has many memorable failures against my Oakland A's over the years. Clemens was 0-7 head-to-head vs. Dave Stewart when Stewart pitched for the A's. Hell you'd think I'd like the guy but I don't. I've grown tired of his several near retirements which started with his so called farewell season of 2003. That season he was forced on to the All-Star team by Bud Selig after not being selected to the team and was given a long standing ovation in his "final" start in the 2003 World Series even though at no point before or during the season did he ever say that it would be his final year. Now he's on his way back yet again and in honor of his return I will attempt to take something away from him: the 1986 American League Most Valuable Player Award.
1986 was the last time a starting pitcher won an MVP award as Clemens had arguably the best season of his career going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA while playing on the best team in the league. In the 1995 N.L. MVP redo I established that it is still possible for a starting pitcher to win an MVP award although it is very difficult. Certainly Clemens had the type of year a starting pitcher would need to warrant consideration for an MVP and he received 19 of the 28 possible first place votes. His main competition was the defending A.L. MVP Don Mattingly and he had an even better season than his MVP year but his RBI total was down from 145 to 113 so undoubtedly that hurt him in the view of the writers. Then other player to receive first place votes was Clemens' teammate and another former MVP in Jim Rice. Rice had a great year but the best position player on the Red Sox was clearly Wade Boggs who won the batting title with a .357 avg and also lead the league with a .453 obp. Boggs only finished 7th in the voting.
1) Roger Clemens 2) Don Mattingly 3) Jim Rice 4) George Bell 5) Jesse Barfield 6) Kirby Puckett 7) Wade Boggs 8) Wally Joyner 9) Joe Carter 10) Dave Righetti 11) Doug DeCinces 12) Mike Witt 13) Don Baylor 14) Tony Fernandez 15) Teddy Higuera 16) Gary Gaetti 17t) Marty Barrett 17t) Scott Fletcher 17t) Pete O'Brien 20) Jose Canseco 21) Jim Presley 22) Dick Schofield
.263/.358/.469, 102 RC, 125 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
156 ERA+, 2.80 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.302/.335/.514, 114 RC, 130 OPS+, .300 EQA, 49.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.282/.355/.461, 102 RC, 122 OPS+, .296 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.328/.366/.537, 131 RC, 140 OPS+, .307 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.324/.384/.490, 117 RC, 137 OPS+, .310 EQA, 52.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.289/.368/.559, 120 RC, 147 OPS+, .315 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
169 ERA+, 3.55 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 84.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.357/.453/.486, 128 RC, 157 OPS+, .337 EQA, 73.2 VORP, 37 Win Shares
.352/.394/.573, 155 RC, 161 OPS+, .338 EQA, 85.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
OH IN YO FACE CLEMENS, IN YO FACE!!!
See the fact fuck wasn't even the best player on his own team. That's it he shouldn't be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Pretty much a toss up between Mattingly and Boggs, I wouldn't argue with anyone who feels Boggs should have won it. RICKEY~ didn't receive any votes and neither did Ripken who also didn't receive any votes in the 1984 A.L. MVP redo when I chose him as the winner.
In the near future I'll be posting an 80's round up of MVP redos for the years haven't done yet but aren't interesting enough for their own entry...and I'm not even sure if this one was either.
In case you didn't know Dwight Gooden is currently behind bars in a seven month prison sentence after another drug relapse. Gooden has described his time in prison as torture and I have to imagine he can't be the happiest of guys right about now. But I'm here to cheer ol' Doc up and take a look back at the year he was on top of the baseball world and see if he should have won the MVP.
After phenomenal rookie year (17-9, 2.60 ERA) Gooden followed it up with one of the best years by a pitcher in recent baseball history going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the Cy Young unanimously and finished 4th in the MVP voting receiving one first place vote. The winner of the MVP was Willie McGee who had the best year on the best team in the National League, receiving 14 of the 24 first place votes. McGee bucked the usual trend of MVP voting of giving the award to power hitters and his 10 homeruns in 1985 were the fewest hit by an MVP winner since Maury Wills in 1962 who hit only six homeruns. He beat out two 30+ homerun seasons by Dave Parker and Pedro Guerrero who received six and three first place votes respectively. Really overall this was a pretty solid ballot produced by the N.L. writes as no one in their Top 10 seemed completely out of place beyond the usual lack of respect for Tim Raines who finished only 12th despite his usual excellence. Only really bizarre voting was a throw away 10th place vote for Mariano Duncan who put up a .244/.293/.340 line as a rookie for the first place Dodgers.
1) Willie McGee 2) Dave Parker 3) Pedro Guerrero 4) Dwight Gooden 5) Tom Herr 6) Gary Carter 7) Dale Murphy 8t) Keith Hernandez 8t) John Tudor 10) Jack Clark 11) Vince Coleman 12) Tim Raines 13) Ryne Sandberg 14t) Hubie Brooks 14t) Mike Marshall 16) Orel Hershiser 17) Keith Moreland 18t) Mike Scioscia 18t) Ozzie Smith 20) Jeff Reardon 21t) Jose Cruz 21t) Bill Doran 23t) Mariano Duncan 23t) Tony Gwynn 23t) Fernando Valenzuela 23t) Glenn Wilson
.305/.364/.504, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .301 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.312/.365/.551, 127 RC, 148 OPS+, .306 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.302/.379/.416, 95 RC, 124 OPS+, .303 EQA, 50.3 VORP, 30 Win Shares
183 ERA+, 3.45 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 80.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.281/.365/.488, 98 RC, 139 OPS+, .306 EQA, 46.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.300/.388/.539, 129 RC, 151 OPS+, .318 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.353/.384/.503, 119 RC, 148 OPS+, .318 EQA, 67.5 VORP, 36 Win Shares
.320/.422/.577, 118 RC, 181 OPS+, .349 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.320/.405/.475, 110 RC, 153 OPS+, .330 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 36 Win Shares
226 ERA+, 3.88 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 99.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
There you go Dwight, you are the winner of the only 1985 N.L. MVP given away by some guy on a wrestling message board. Now don't be dropping that new MVP in the shower.
As I've mentioned before I have several redos done that I've just never bothered to do entries on but after doing the Mattingly entry I figured it'd be a good time to do an entry on the year he won the MVP. Also had thought about doing it after last week's Jeff Bagwell debate that popped up in the MLB Offseason Thread, Part II. The poster who was truly against Bagwell as being a HOF was NYankees who while getting completely destroyed in the debate also tried to back up Mattingly's HOF case and made this comment:
And I sort of agreed with him as I chose Mattingly as my choice for the 1986 A.L. MVP although I wouldn't say he got screwed out of the award as Roger Clemens was not a bad choice. So in theory maybe Mattingly should have been a back-to-back MVP winner which would probably have helped his case when it comes to the actual HOF voters. But was Mattingly the right choice in 1985? Mattingly won the MVP without much opposition, taking 23 out of the 28 first place votes as the Yankees had their best team in the 80's winning 97 games although coming up two games short of the Blue Jays. Mattingly of course had a lot to do with the Yankees success as he led the league in doubles, finished 3rd in batting average, 2nd in slugging, 4th in homeruns, and led that all important baseball writer statistic, runs batted in. He knocked in 145 runs in 1985 a whopping 21 more than 2nd place Eddie Murray which was probably the biggest reason he won the MVP.
George Brett received the other five first place votes putting up a phenomenal .335/.436/.585 line with a 30 homeruns and 112 rbi while helping lead the Royals to the A.L. West title. Only three other players received over 100 voting points: Mattingly's teammate Rickey Henderson who hit a then career high 24 homeruns while leading the league with 80 stolen bases and of course a big reason why Mattingly knocked in so many runs, Wade Boggs who hit .368 which would best showing of his career, and Eddie Murray who had his usual strong year. The homicidal, genocidal, suicidal Donnie Moore finish 6th in the voting. Okay I've just wanted an excuse to use that line at some point.
1) Don Mattingly 2) George Brett 3) Rickey Henderson 4) Wade Boggs 5) Eddie Murray 6) Donnie Moore 7) Jesse Barfield 8) George Bell 9) Harold Baines 10) Bret Saberhagen 11) Dan Quisenberry 12) Dave Winfield 13) Carlton Fisk 14) Darrell Evans 15) Ron Guidry 16) Phil Bradley 17) Cal Ripken 18) Kirk Gibson 19) Steve Balboni 20) Tom Henke 21t) Doyle Alexander 21t) Dennis Lamp 21t) Kirby Puckett 24) Damaso Garcia 25) Rich Gedman
171 ERA+, 1.74 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 78.1 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.300/.365/.498, 113 RC, 133 OPS+, .306 EQA, 50.9 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.287/.364/.518, 110 RC, 140 OPS+, .317 EQA, 54.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares
145 ERA+, 4.16 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 68.2 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.289/.369/.536, 106 RC, 142 OPS+, .313 EQA, 48.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.297/.383/.523, 118 RC, 149 OPS+, .324 EQA, 55.3 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.368/.450/.478, 140 RC, 151 OPS+, .338 EQA, 81.2 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.324/.371/.567, 140 RC, 156 OPS+, .328 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.314/.419/.516, 118 RC, 157 OPS+, .346 EQA, 86.7 VORP, 38 Win Shares
.335/.436/.585, 142 RC, 178 OPS+, .356 EQA, 93.1 VORP, 37 Win Shares
So Mattingly won an MVP in 1985 that he probably shouldn't have won and he lost an MVP in 1986 that he probably should have won. See it all balances out in the end. For the record from 1984 to 1987 on my redos I had Mattingly 3rd, 3rd, 1st, and 8th respectively. Not too shabby but not a Hall of Famer.
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.
I had been looking for an excuse to do an entry on one of the most bizarre years in baseball history and the A.L. MVP pick in 1981 was controversial so might as well do a redo. 1981 featured the strike to end all strikes, until the 1994 strike trumped it of course. The players went on strike on June 12th that year over free agent compensation and did not comeback until August 9th, losing 712 games in the process.
Now the owners decided to come up with an idea to drum up some interest back in the sport to bring back a jaded fanbase after the strike ended: a split season. The standings as they were for games played before the strike would be considered the first half and then the second half would be the games played after the strike ended. An extra round of playoffs would be added where the division champ of the first half would meet the division champ of the second half. Now if the entire nation didn't say "What are they fucking stupid?" when the announced this, then they should have. My guess is the owners came up with this idea to try to recoup some of the revenue they lost from the strike by getting an extra round of playoffs.
You don't even have to be a baseball fan to see the obvious problems with the idea. First off the season restarted it meant all the division leaders thru June 11th had already clinched a playoff spot: Yankees, A's, Phillies, and Dodgers. These four teams had essentially nothing to play for beyond pride for two months as they already knew they were going to the playoffs. Doesn't really get the competitive juices flowing, you know? Second problem was the nightmare scenerio where teams who had better records overall for the entire season being left out of postseason play due the split season where otherwise they would have been division champions. Hey guess what? It happened.
St. Louis finished with a 59-43 record overall, 2 games better than second half N.L. East champion Montreal and 2 1/2 over first half champ Philadelphia. But it got much worse in the N.L. West. Cincinnati finished 66-42 overall, 4 games better than first half champ Los Angeles and 6 1/2 games better than second half champ Houston. The Reds had the best record in baseball in 1981 and did not go the playoffs. Let me repeat that, the team with the best record in baseball did not qualify for the postaseason. I'm surprised there wasn't riots in the streets of Cincinnati. The madness doesn't stop there as in the A.L. West, Kansas City won the second half title but finished the season 3 games under .500 overall. So we have the best team in baseball not in the playoffs and a team with a losing record in the playoffs. Almost makes you think they would have been better off shutting down the season like they would 13 years later.
Oh ya the A.L. MVP. Rollie Fingers won the award marking the first time a closer had won it. Already gone over this in the 1984 and 1992 redos that closers should not be winning the MVP. He would beat out Rickey Henderson in a very tight race. My only guess is that the resut was due to Fingers being the established, World Series hero while Henderson was only his second full season. It's also pretty rare for players with low homerun totals to win the award as he only hit six homeruns in the short '81 season. His teammate Tony Armas was the only other player to receive a first place vote and finished 4th overall despite being, ironically enough, the 4th best player on his own team that year.
1) Rollie Fingers 2) Rickey Henderson 3) Dwight Evans 4) Tony Armas 5) Eddie Murray 6) Carney Lansford 7) Dave Winfield 8) Cecil Cooper 9) Goose Gossage 10) Tom Paciorek 11) Dwayne Murphy 12) Kirk Gibson 13) Steve McCatty 14) Bobby Grich 15) Jack Morris 16) Al Oliver 17t) Buddy Bell 17th) Robin Yount 19) Bill Almon 20) Jerry Mumphrey 21t) Mike Hargrove 21t) Alan Trammell 23t) Steve Kemp 23t) Greg Luzinski 23t) Dennis Martinez 23t) Ken Singleton 27t) George Brett 27t) Dave Stieb
.336/.389/.439, 68 RC, 133 OPS+, .301 EQA, 32.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares
.294/.360/.464, 66 RC, 138 OPS+, .310 EQA, 34.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares
.259/.348/.493, 62 RC, 146 OPS+, .308 EQA, 29.3 VORP, 20 Win Shares
.326/.379/.509, 78 RC, 151 OPS+, .315 EQA, 39.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares
.294/.360/.534, 73 RC, 156 OPS+, .319 EQA, 40.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
150 ERA+, 1.49 K/BB, 1.08 WHIP, 51.9 VORP, 18 Win Shares
.304/.378/.543, 72 RC, 164 OPS+, .325 EQA, 49.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
.320/.363/.495, 75 RC, 151 OPS+, .316 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.319/.408/.437, 76 RC, 150 OPS+, .323 EQA, 45.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.296/.415/.522, 90 RC, 163 OPS+, .333 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
Damn what kind of self hating A's fans am I to not give the award to RICKEY~? Also I'm taking an award away from a player who has his number retired by the A's. What have I done!?
Anyways as I mentioned in my entry about my first game that Evans has been very under valued over the years. Also have a couple of other good players who have been forgotten in Cecil Cooper and Bobby Grich. Hey and look STEVE McCATTY!!! What you don't remember Steve McCatty? Ya okay '81 was his only good year and he should have won the Cy Young. I guess a similar parallel would be 2003 when Esteban Loaiza blew away any other year he had but couldn't get the Cy Young. I did actually come close to putting Fingers at #10. Oh and that Tom Paciorek card is awesome.
One way to measure a player's value can be their ability to stay healthy. Obviously if a player can give at least average production for their position and stay in the line-up everyday their value might be higher than their statistics may indicate especially if their team lacks a suitable replacement. This can come up when considering someone for MVP. Some seasons there maybe a player who's peripheral numbers were superior to other candidates but they missed 30-40 games due to injury thus their value for that season decreased and the other candidates may have been more valuable simply because they stayed healthy all season.
That brings me to the 1980 A.L. MVP which was won by George Brett and he won it rather easily. Of course what is most remembered about Brett's 1980 season is that he had a .390 batting average, the closest a player had come to hitting .400 since Ted Williams had a pulled off the feat 39 years earlier. What many people don't remember is that Brett only played in 117 games that year due to injuries. In fact he barely qualified for the batting title as a player needed 502 plate appearances to qualify and Brett finished with 515. Now Brett didn't simply just have a high batting average, he also had a .454 OBP and a .664 SLG, both tops in the league. Although I typically discard RBI's his total was worth mentioning as he had 118 RBI in those 117 games. Even with his phenomenal numbers could he possibly be the run away MVP winner while missing 45 games?
The other candidates who received a lot of support were led by Reggie Jackson. At age 34 he had one of the best years of his career hitting .300 with 41 homeruns and playing on a Yankees team that won 103 games but he was a distant second to Brett. His teammate Goose Gossage finished 3rd and closers don't deserve the MVP, blah blah blah. Willie Wilson, Cecil Cooper, and Eddie Murray were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. One very odd first place vote went to Yankees catcher Rick Cerone and just a hunch he was probably the heart of the team or some crap like that. Anyways he had a good year, especially for him, but no where near an MVP calibar season.
1) George Brett 2) Reggie Jackson 3) Goose Gossage 4) Willie Wilson 5) Cecil Cooper 6) Eddie Murray 7) Rick Cerone 8) Dan Quisenberry 9) Steve Stone 10) Rickey Henderson 11) Al Oliver 12) Tony Armas 13t) Al Bumbry 13t) Ben Ogilvie 15t) Mike Norris 15t) Willie Randolph 17) Robin Young 18t) Buddy Bell 18t) Mickey Rivers 20) Alan Trammell 21) Ken Singleton 22t) Miguel Dilone 22t) Tony Perez 24t) Fred Lynn 24t) John Wathan
148 ERA+, 2.17 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 84.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.326/.357/.421, 105 RC, 112 OPS+, .290 EQA, 49.4 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.304/.397/.485, 113 RC, 142 OPS+, .313 EQA, 49.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.304/.362/.562, 121 RC, 153 OPS+, .313 EQA, 52.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.352/.387/.539, 131 RC, 155 OPS+, .321 EQA, 71.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.318/.392/.433, 109 RC, 128 OPS+, .303 EQA, 58.4 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.294/.427/.407, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .316 EQA, 63.8 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.303/.420/.399, 99 RC, 134 OPS+, .315 EQA, 54.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.300/.398/.597, 122 RC, 172 OPS+, .335 EQA, 64.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.390/.454/.664, 137 RC, 202 OPS+, .368 EQA, 92.7 VORP, 36 Win Shares
See I don't always just do redos to point out horrible choices by the writers. Okay the royally screwed Mike Norris out of the Cy Young but that's another redo.
Amazingly as it seems even though he only played 117 games Brett was the deserving choice and there's simply no one else to consider. As you can see it wasn't like there was a weak group of candidates but Brett out classed them all with one of the most incredible seasons of all-time.
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.
All the talk on ESPN and the TWiB threads when it comes to the American League MVP award in 2006 is about Clutchie McClutchie of the Boston Red Sox being the MVP favorite. One debate that has creeped up again and will certainly be talked about as we get closer to the end of the season is whether or not a DH should win the MVP. In my 1995 A.L. MVP redo I showed that a DH should be able to win the MVP award. Well okay my original intention when doing the redo was to show the voter bias against Albert Belle by the media and then in turned out Edgar Martinez should have won the MVP. An everyday DH has never won the MVP award so I'll take a look back at the closest thing we've had to a DH winning the award.
Don Baylor won the 1979 A.L. MVP while splitting time between the outfield and the DH spot. He played 97 games in the outfield and 65 games at DH, the most games ever played at DH by an MVP winner to date. As usual it's not particularly hard to figure out why a player won the MVP. Baylor played on the A.L. West champion Angels and he led the league in RBI and runs scored. Baylor was also his very own Clutchie McClutchie as he hit .330 with RISP. Despite his high RBI total and also finishing 4th in the A.L. in homeruns who only finished 10th in the league in slugging. In fact the Angels team leader in slugging was not Baylor but Bobby Grich. But because of his 139 RBI Baylor won the award in a lopsided vote, taking 20 of 28 first place votes.
In second place was Ken Singleton who had the best year on the best team in the league but received only three first place votes as his RBI total was only 111. George Brett picked up two first place votes and then other three first place votes were for Mike Flanagan although he only finished 6th. He was the near unanmious choice for Cy Young but as you'll see he was agruablly not the best pitcher in the league. Ahead of Flanagan were two Red Sox, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. Lynn led the league in average, obp, and slugging while playing a Gold Glove center field. Awww I just gave away my pick didn't I?
1) Don Baylor 2) Ken Singleton 3) George Brett 4) Fred Lynn 5) Jim Rice 6) Mike Flanagan 7) Gorman Thomas 8) Bobby Grich 9) Darrell Porter 10) Buddy Bell 11t) Jim Kern 11t) Mike Marshall 11t) Eddie Murray 14) Brian Downing 15) Sixto Lezcano 16) Roy Smalley 17t) Steve Kemp 17t) Willie Wilson 19) Mark Clear 20) Paul Molitor 21) Rick Burleson 22) Tommy John 23) Cecil Cooper 24t) Willie Horton 24t) Reggie Jackson 26t) Dan Ford 26t) Ron Guidry 26t) Mike Hargrove
.322/.372/.469, 102 RC, 126 OPS+, .296 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.54 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, 72.6 VORP 24 Win Shares
.321/.414/.573, 113 RC, 164 OPS+, .334 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#7 (I couldn't find a 1980 or 1979 card for Grich, first time I've had that problem)
.294/.365/.537, 105 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.296/.371/.530, 122 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 57.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.291/.421/.484, 109 RC, 142 OPS+, .319 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.325/.381/.596, 141 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.405/.533, 124 RC, 156 OPS+, .327 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.329/.376/.563, 137 RC, 148 OPS+, .313 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.423/.637, 143 RC, 176 OPS+, .341 EQA, 82.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
So what did we learn today? That outfield/DHs should never win the MVP! Wait okay that really doesn't make sense. Okay RBIs are overrated! Well you probably already should have known that. Okay we didn't learn anything but at least we had the first reference ever to Sixto Lezcano in this board's history and it's about fucking time.
You know I was going to do a "Steve Howe Memories" entry and just post the lyrics to "White Lines" but thought better of it.
I needed to do something to keep me from punching a wall thinking about the A's sinking $22 million Esteban Loaiza so might as well do a redo. I've been trying to find a year with a truly bad choice for MVP and with the best choice receiving little support and I'm kinda running out of examples in my lifetime so picked out an old one.
1974 was a historic year as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career homerun record, Lou Brock stole a then record 118 bases, and hey the A's won their third consecutive World Series. The Dodgers paced the National League with 102 wins and their young first baseman Steve Garvey took home the MVP despite not even being the best player on the team. Now you may say it would be unfair to pick apart an older MVP choice as stats such as Win Shares and VORP were a long way from being known and batting average was still considered the best stat to identify a good hitter by the general public. And I say "fuck you", hindsight is a wonderful tool.
Garvey won the award due to having a high average, finishing 3rd in the leauge in RBI, and playing on the best team in the league. But one big mark against Garvey through out his career as he didn't get on base at a very good rate and in '74 he didn't crack the Top 30 in OBP in the league. He was one of three Dodgers to finish in the Top 5 in the voting. Reliever Mike Marshall pitched in a record 106 games, throwing 208 innings, finished 3rd (also win Cy Young) and the always underrated Jimmy Wynn finished 5th. Wynn really played in the wrong era as he'd be much better appreciated now with his good power and great ability to draw walks. Marshall likley received so much support due to the insane number of apperances he made but he also wasn't the best pitcher on the Dodgers, that being Andy Messersmith. Even with his incredible workload as a reliever he only finished tied for 5th on the team in Win Shares.
Brock's record stolen base record resulted in him getting a 2nd place finish and was the only real competitor to Garvey in the voting as he received eight first place votes. Like Garvey though he wasn't the best player on his team as ex-Red Sox and future Dodger Reggie Smith was. In fact Brock was probably a worse 2nd place choice than Garvey was a 1st place choice. The great Johnny Bench and a young Mike Schmidt received solid support but no first place votes.
1) Steve Garvey 2) Lou Brock 3) Mike Marshall 4) Johnny Bench 5) Jimmy Wynn 6) Mike Schmidt 7) Al Oliver 8) Joe Morgan 9) Richie Zisk 10) Willie Stargell 11) Reggie Smith 12) Ralph Garr 13) Ted Simmons 14) Dave Cash 15) Dave Concepcion 16t) Jack Billingham 16t) Cesar Cedeno 16t) Al Hrabosky 16t) Andy Messersmith 20) Buzz Capra 21t) Richie Hebner 21t) Blake McBride 21t) Lynn McGlothen 21t) Rennie Stennett 25t) Bill Buckner 25t) Ron Cey
.321/.358/.475, 104 RC, 136 OPS+, .301 EQA, 48.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares
132 ERA+, 2.35 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 67.8 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.353/.383/.503, 116 RC, 143 OPS+, .300 EQA, 50.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.309/.389/.528, 107 RC, 157 OPS+, .318 EQA, 51.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares
159 ERA+, 2.22 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 81.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.271/.387/.497, 105 RC, 151 OPS+, .314 EQA, 45.5 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.301/.407/.537, 110 RC, 168 OPS+, .331 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.280/.363/.507, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .306 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.282/.395/.546, 122 RC, 158 OPS+, .318 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 39 Win Shares
.293/.427/.494, 108 RC, 159 OPS+, .336 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares
Morgan didn't receive a whole lot of support but he would win the MVP the next two years but maybe it should have been three in a row. Garvey doesn't crack the Top 10 but he was always overrated. And the Mike Schmidt card is the greatest thing ever although I'm not sure how exciting that image would be in 3-D.
Ya I'm really digging into the archives now. This one just stood out to me because Dick Groat won the MVP. Not Hank Aaron, not Willie Mays, but Dick Groat. For those who don't know Groat was a light hitting but excellent defensive shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He hit only 39 homeruns in his 14 year career with 2 of them coming in his MVP winning season. Now it certainly is possible for a non-power hitter to be a legit MVP candidate but probably only Ozzie Smith was good enough defensively to make up for a complete lack of power to be an MVP candidate. Groat also drew very few walks and was no threat at all on the basepaths as he had only 14 career steals.
There are probably three reasons Groat won the MVP. 1) Won the batting title, 2) Played on the N.L. Champs, and 3) This cover of Sports Illustrated in August of that year that described Groat as the "Fiery Leader of the Pirates." See he's the leader of the best team in the league, how isn't he the MVP? I'm sure he was clutch and had intagibles also. Basically Dick Groat was overrated. Interesting enough his teammate Don Hoak finished 2nd in the voting and he also was not deserving of being voted that high. Hey maybe the writers disagreed on who was real leader of the Piartes?
One other note on the voting was in the 5th place was Cardinals closer Lindy McDaniel. Hey who knew in 1960 writers were already overrating closers? I honestly don't even know if they were called closers back then.
1) Dick Groat 2) Don Hoak 3) Willie Mays 4) Ernie Banks 5) Lindy McDaniel 6t) Ken Boyer 6t) Vern Law 8) Roberto Clemente 9) Ernie Broglio 10) Eddie Mathews 11) Hank Aaron 12) Roy Face 13) Del Crandall 14) Warren Spahn 15) Norm Larker 16) Stan Musial 17) Maury Wills 18) Vada Pinson 19) Joe Adcock 20t) Smokey Burgess 20t) Frank Robinson 20t) Larry Sherry 23) Pancho Herrera
.297/.343/.497, 95 RC, 134 OPS+, .304 EQA, 32.3 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.298/.354/.500, 91 RC, 139 OPS+, .311 EQA, 36.4 VORP, 25 Win Shares
149 ERA+, 1.88 K/BB, 1.20 WHIP, 55.0 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.297/.407/.595, 111 RC, 169 OPS+, .339 EQA, 53.3 VORP, 23 Win Shares
140 ERA+, 3.42 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 62.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.304/.370/.562, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .308 EQA, 51.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.271/.350/.554, 115 RC, 145 OPS+, .310 EQA, 63.2 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.292/.352/.566, 119 RC, 155 OPS+, .325 EQA, 52.6 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.319/.381/.555, 126 RC, 160 OPS+, .331 EQA, 62.2 VORP, 38 Win Shares
.277/.397/.551, 121 RC, 165 OPS+, .340 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 38 Win Shares
Didn't these 1960 baseball writers know that Groat only had a .283 Equivalent Average? Idiots!
No Pirates make the list as they were just a very good team without any true standout player. Not sure why Mathews and Aaron received so little support as the Braves finished 2nd to the Pirates.
This is a bit of a throw away entry but I had been wanting to rundown the 23 MVP redos I've done entries for. I have other redos that I've done (including the entire decade of the 80's) but haven't done entries for yet. What I decided to do is group the redos into categories in terms of how good or bad the choice was by the writers. Thought it would be a good time to do this after the writer's awful choice of Justin Morneau. I had Morneau 9th on my 2006 A.L. MVP mock ballot.
Writers Made the Right Choice
1980 A.L. George Brett
1989 A.L. Robin Yount
1999 N.L. Chipper Jones
Writers Choice was Pefectly Acceptable (Writer's Pick/My Pick)
1985 N.L. Willie McGee/Dwight Gooden
1986 A.L. Roger Clemens/Don Mattingly
1988 N.L. Kirk Gibson/Will Clark
1991 A.L. Cal Ripken/Frank Thomas
1995 N.L. Barry Larkin/Greg Maddux
2003 A.L. Alex Rodriguez/Carlos Delgado
Writers Made the Right & Wrong Choice (Writer's Picks/My Pick)
1979 N.L. Keith Hernandez & Willie Stargell/Keith Hernandez
Bad Choices by the Writers (Writer's Pick/My Pick)
1979 A.L. Don Baylor/Fred Lynn
1987 A.L. George Bell/Alan Trammell
1991 N.L. Terry Pendleton/Barry Bonds
1998 N.L. Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire
The Justin Morneau Achievement Awards (Writer's Pick/My Pick)
1960 N.L. Dick Groat/Eddie Mathews
1974 N.L. Steve Garvey/Joe Morgan
1981 A.L. Rollie Fingers/Dwight Evans
1984 A.L. Willie Hernandez/Cal Ripken
1987 N.L. Andre Dawson/Tim Raines
1992 A.L. Dennis Eckersley/Frank Thomas
1995 A.L. Mo Vaughn/Edgar Martinez
1996 A.L. Juan Gonzalez/Alex Rodriguez
1999 A.L. Ivan Rodriguez/Derek Jeter
Considering that my favorite team in sports was just eliminated on a walk off homerun, I feel pretty good. Going into today I just wanted the A's to pull out one win and then let the Tigers celebrate at home on Sunday as I didn't really want the A's to get my hopes up by winning both games this weekend. Well don't worry about having my heartbroken now. But this series was effectively over after the 4th inning in Game 2 when Esteban Loaiza failed to get a shutdown inning after a Milton Bradley homerun in the 3rd gave the A's a 3-1 lead and for the first time some momentum in the series but it was quickly dashed by four Tiger runs. It was painfully obvious at that point that the Tigers were on a roll that can't be stopped.
Tonight I'll just need to avoid the highlights and avoid reading any lame A's message boards talking about how the A's have no heart and how Billy Beane is a shitty GM. Considering everything that went wrong for the A's this year it is amazing they came this far. Really the shockingly healthy Frank Thomas was the only thing that really broke the A's way this year. They had injury plagued and/or underachieving years from key players such as Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden, Huston Street, Mark Kotsay, Milton Bradley, and Mark Ellis. As you've seen by my player rankings at least so far on the offensive side this was simply on paper not a team that you'd think would have won 93 games and swept a very good Twins in the ALDS. The future doesn't look too bright with a depleted farm system and a scary amount of young talent down in Anaheim but this is the most satisfied I've been at the end of the year with an A's team since 2000.
This week I spent five minutes working on the poll instead of the usual ten.
3. Penn State
4. Oklahoma State
10. Ohio State
14. Boise State
15. Texas Tech
17. Georgia Tech
18. Boston College
20. South Florida
23. Florida State
24. Ball State
So I waited two weeks before doing my 2nd Pointless Top 25 because I wanted to do some hard research on all 119 I-A teams...or I just didn't feel like it last week. You make the call!
Again I spend about ten minutes doing this so don't bother spending more than ten seconds reading it.
3. Penn State
4. Oklahoma State
13. Texas Tech
14. Virginia Tech
15. Ohio State
16. North Carolina
18. Michigan State
19. Wake Forest
20. Boise State
22. South Florida
24. Ball State
You've seen the rest, now you'll see...more of the rest. It's my own personal college football Top 25 that shouldn't be read by anyone. I did this for about a month last year before getting Bored with it and I expect the same this year.
We're not even halfway through the season but were already down to 13 BCS conference unbeatens and 18 total in Division I-A. My feeling is at this point if you are still undefeated I'm going to rank you, regardless of schedule and conference affiliation. Also I try to keep the rankings based what you've done so far this year and who you've played which will explain why I have Texas Tech so low as they should be embarrassed for scheduling such a weak non-conference schedule and there is no justification to rank them in the Top 10 at the moment. I'm sure I will end up contradicting myself as early as this poll though, plus I'm taking about ten minutes to put this together.
3. Penn State
9. South Florida
10. Boise State
20. Ball State
21. Oklahoma State
24. Texas Tech
25. Virginia Tech
Okay this is the last of this to keep my sanity but I decided I might as well finish on a nice round number at 100. I'll be honest there are a few of my picks who I've never heard of the player as some selections have never produced a Pro Bowl player. So I went with guys who started a lot figuring they couldn't have sucked, plus getting a long term starter is very good value at this point in the draft. I had no idea the Dolphins drafted Joe Theismann.
61. Philadelphia – Brian Dawkins, S, Clemson 1996
Honorable Mention: Mickey Shuler (1978), Albert Lewis (1983), Shaun Rogers (2001)
62. Dallas – Tony Hill, WR, Stanford 1977
Honorable Mention: Eric Williams (1984), Robert Brooks (1992), Antwaan Randle El (2002)
63. N.Y. Jets – Mo Lewis, LB, Georgia 1991
Honorable Mention: Terry Metcalf (1973), Jerry Ball (1987), Marv Cook (1989)
64. San Diego – Dan Fouts, QB, Oregon 1973
Honorable Mention: Dave Duerson (1983), Kyle Clifton (1984), Olin Kreutz (1998)
65. Dallas – Dexter Coakley, LB, Appalachian State 1997
Honorable Mention: Carlton Williamson (1981), Jerry Fontenot (1989), Ray Buchanan (1993)
66. Tampa Bay – Ronde Barber, CB, Virginia 1997
Honorable Mention: Charlie Waters (1970), William Henderson (1995), Nick Hardwick (2004)
67. Cincinnati – Ken Anderson, QB, Augustana (IL) 1971
Honorable Mention: Robert Pratt (1974), Mike Cofer (1983), Joel Steed (1992)
68. Chicago – Lance Briggs, LB, Arizona 2003
Honorable Mention: Jim Carter (1970), Jack Del Rio (1985), Tom Tupa (1988)
69. Washington – Russ Grim, G, Pittsburgh 1981
Honorable Mention: Lance Mehl (1980), Glenn Parker (1990), Jason Witten (2003)
70. Dallas – Erik Williams, T, Central State (OH) 1991
Honorable Mention: Lawrence McCutcheon (1972), Jimmie Giles (1977), LeRoy Irvin (1980)
71. New Orleans – Hoby Brenner, TE, USC 1981
Honorable Mention: Bob Newton (1971), Donnie Abraham (1996), Duce Staley (1997)
72. Philadelphia – Jeremiah Trotter, LB, Stephen F Austin 1998
Honorable Mention: Mike McCoy (1976), Lance Smith (1985), Henry Thomas (1987)
73. Miami – Jason Taylor, DE, Akron 1997
Honorable Mention: Steve McMichael (1980), Guy McIntyre (1984), Joey Porter (1999)
74. New England – Curtis Martin, RB, Pittsburgh 1995
Honorable Mention: James Hasty (1988), Will Shields (1993), Steve Smith (2001)
75. Oakland – Mark Van Eeghen, FB, Colgate 1974
Honorable Mention: Pete Metzelaars (1982), Denard Walker (1997), Steve Foley (1998)
76. Seattle – Ahman Green, RB, Nebraska 1998
Honorable Mention: Doug Cosbie (1979), Fredd Young (1984), John Taylor (1986)
77. Philadelphia – Fred Barnett, WR, Arkansas State 1990
Honorable Mention: Linden King (1977), Bubba McDowell (1986), Corey Harris (1992)
78. Miami – Leon Gray, T, Jackson State 1973
Honorable Mention: Nat Moore (1974), David Fulcher (1986), Laveranues Coles (2000)
79. Denver – Lyle Alzado, DE, Yankton 1971
Honorable Mention: Gregg Bingham (1973), Henry Marshall (1976), William Andrews (1979)
80. San Francisco – Bill Romanowski, LB, Boston College 1988
Honorable Mention: Paul Lankford (1982), Derek Smith (1997), Darrell Jackson (2000)
81. Miami – Curtis Johnson, CB, Toledo 1970
Honorable Mention: Bernard Jackson (1972), Earl Dotson (1993), Chris Cooley (2004)
82. San Francisco – Joe Montana, QB, Notre Dame 1979
Honorable Mention: John Stallworth (1974), Rodney Holman (1982), John Lynch (1993)
83. Denver – Ed McCaffrey, WR, Stanford 1991
Honorable Mention: Steve Brown (1983), Jay Schroeder (1984), Greg Spires (1998)
84. Washington – Charles Mann, DE, Nevada 1983
Honorable Mention: Rob Carpenter (1977), Tim Harris (1986), Dwight Smith (2001)
85. Dallas – Tony Tolbert, DE, UTEP 1989
Honorable Mention: Randy Dixon (1987), William White (1988), Greg Wesley (2000)
86. L.A. Rams – Jackie Slater, T, Jackson State 1976
Honorable Mention: Morten Andersen (1982), Andre Reed (1985), Tedy Bruschi (1996)
87. New England – Tim Goad, DT, North Carolina 1988
Honorable Mention: Ron Hall (1987), Moe Gardner (1991), Mike McKenzie (1999)
88. Denver – Tom Jackson, LB, Louisville 1973
Honorable Mention: Ricardo McDonald (1992), Jason Gildon (1994), Morlon Greenwood (2001)
89. San Francisco – Terrell Owens, WR, Tennessee-Chattanooga 1996
Honorable Mention: Roy Green (1979), Chris Warren (1990), Lorenzo Neal (1993)
90. Dallas – Pat Donovan, T, Stanford 1975
Honorable Mention: Tootie Robbins (1982), Yancey Thigpen (1991), Antonio Freeman (1995)
91. Philadelphia – Brian Westbrook, RB, Villanova 2002
Honorable Mention: Jeff Christy (1992), Mike Vrabel (1997), Brian Griese (1998)
92. Pittsburgh - Hines Ward, WR, Georgia 1998
Honorable Mention: Dennis Harrison (1978), Derrick Rodgers (1997), Casey Rabach (2001)
93. Green Bay - Ken Ellis, CB, Saginaw Valley State 1970
Honorable Mention: Joe Phillips (1986), Tyrone Williams (1996), Steve McKinney (1998)
94. Pittsburgh - Thomas Everett, S, Baylor 1987
Honorable Mention: Matt Herkenhoff (1974), Bob Horn (1976), Dave Widell (1988)
95. Denver - Rick Upchurch, WR/KR, Minnesota 1975
Honorable Mention: Todd Bell (1981), Michael Pittman (1998), Jonas Jennings (2001)
96. San Francisco - Charles Haley, DE, James Madison 1986
Honorable Mention: Bruce McNorton (1982), Maurice Hurst (1989), Ron Stone (1993)
97. New Orleans - Joel Hilgenberg, C, Iowa 1984
Honorable Mention: Vince Newsome (1983), Chris Calloway (1990), Todd Perry (1993)
98. Oakland - Cliff Branch, WR, Colorado 1972
Honorable Mention: Rich Gannon (1987), Donnie Edwards (1996), Derrick Mason (1997)
99. Miami - Joe Theismann, QB, Notre Dame 1971
Honorable Mention: Joe Federspiel (1972), Keith Hamilton (1992), Phillip Daniels (1996)
100. N.Y. Giants - Mark Bavaro, TE, Notre Dame 1985
Honorable Mention: Dave Dalby (1972), Michael Bankston (1992), Rudi Johnson (2001)
I'm going to keep doing this until I start grasping at straws to find decent players to fill out every pick, which I had to do with at least one of the following picks. As I get further down the list the honorable mention picks become increasingly difficult. Again this is just since the merger and what the player did over the course of their career, not what they necessarily did for the team that drafted them which is plainly obvious with pick #33.
31. L.A. Rams – Nolan Cromwell, S, Kansas 1977
Honorable Mention: Roman Phifer (1991), Carl Pickens (1992), Al Wilson (1999)
32. L.A. Rams – Henry Ellard, WR, Fresno State 1983
Honorable Mention: Fred Smerlas (1979), Ray Donaldson (1980), Drew Brees (2001)
33. Atlanta – Brett Favre, QB, Southern Miss 1991
Honorable Mention: Fred Dean (1975), Wesley Walker (1977), Isaac Bruce (1994)
34. Pittsburgh – Jack Ham, LB, Penn State 1971
Honorable Mention: Steve Nelson (1974), Tim McDonald (1987), Carnell Lake (1989)
35. Tampa Bay – Mike Alstott, FB, Purdue 1996
Honorable Mention: Keith Fahnhorst (1974), Christian Okoye (1987), Alge Crumpler (2001)
36. N.Y. Giants – Tiki Barber, RB, Virginia 1997
Honorable Mention: Kevin Mawae (1994), Lawyer Milloy (1996), Chad Johnson (2001)
37. Philadelphia – Randall Cunnigham, QB, UNLV 1985
Honorable Mention: Cris Collinsworth (1981), Leonard Marshall (1983), Darren Woodson (1992)
38. Chicago – Mike Singletary, LB, Baylor 1981
Honorable Mention: Doug English (1975), Boomer Esiason (1984), Flozell Adams (1998)
39. Buffalo – Darryl Talley, LB, West Virginia 1983
Honorable Mention: Keena Turner (1980), Daryl Johnston (1989), Keith Sims (1990)
40. N.Y. Giants – Michael Strahan, DE, Texas Southern 1993
Honorable Mention: Bob Baumhower (1978), Al Baker (1979), Thurman Thomas (1988)
41. New England – Andre Tippett, LB, Iowa 1982
Honorable Mention: Mark Gastineau (1979), Dave Waymer (1980), Ken Norton (1988)
42. San Francisco – Randy Cross, G, UCLA 1976
Honorable Mention: Rulon Jones (1980), Charlie Garner (1994), Jake Plummer (1997)
43. St. Louis Cardinals – Dan Dierdorf, T, Michigan 1971
Honorable Mention: Matt Millen (1980), Mushin Muhammad (1996), Corey Dillon (1997)
44. Pittsburgh – Dermontti Dawson, C, Kentucky 1988
Honorable Mention: Chad Brown (1993), Sam Madison (1997), Kris Jenkins (2001)
45. Oakland – Dave Casper, TE, Notre Dame 1974
Honorable Mention: Joe Morris (1982), Ricky Watters (1991), Lofa Tatupu (2005)
46. Pittsburgh – Jack Lambert, LB, Kent State 1974
Honorable Mention: David Hill (1976), Larry Allen (1994), Samari Rolle (1998)
47. Cleveland – Jerry Sherk, DT, Oklahoma State 1970
Honorable Mention: Tony Collins (1981), Michael Barrow (1993), Frank Sanders (1995)
48. Oakland – Howie Long, DE, Villanova 1981
Honorable Mention: Lydell Mitchell (1972), Dwight Stephenson (1980), LeRoy Butler (1990)
49. San Francisco – Roger Craig, RB, Nebraska 1983
Honorable Mention: Delvin Williams (1974), Pete Johnson (1977), Brian Blades (1988)
50. Cleveland – Michael Dean Perry, DT, Clemson 1988
Honorable Mention: Tom Newberry (1986), Eddie Robinson (1992), Marcus McNeill (2006)
51. New Orleans – Rickey Jackson, LB, Pittsburgh 1981
Honorable Mention: Matt Blair (1974), Sean Jones (1984), Pepper Johnson (1986)
52. Miami – John Offerdahl, LB, Western Michigan 1986
Honorable Mention: Joe Devlin (1976), Bob Golic (1979), Mark Duper (1982)
53. Pittsburgh – Mel Blount, CB, Saginaw Valley State 1970
Honorable Mention: Harvey Martin (1973), Danny White (1974), Eric Davis (1990)
54. Minnesota – Sammy White, WR, Grambling State 1976
Honorable Mention: Jim LeClair (1972), Darrin Smith (1993), Anquan Boldin (2003)
55. Miami – Tim Foley, DB, Purdue 1970
Honorable Mention: John Mendenhell (1972), Randy Logan (1973), Corey Fuller (1995)
56. Dallas – Todd Christensen, TE, BYU 1978
Honorable Mention: Wesley Walls (1989), Jason Hanson (1992), Osi Umenyiora (2003)
57. Dallas – Mark Stepnoski, C, Pittsburgh 1989
Honorable Mention: Joe Ferguson (1973), Mark Carrier (1987), Devin Hester (2006)
58. San Francisco – Jeremy Newberry, C, California 1998
Honorable Mention: Gary Spani (1978), Ricky Proehl (1990), Travis Henry (2001)
59. Phoenix – Aeneas Williams, CB, Saginaw Valley State 1991
Honorable Mention: Jeff Hostetler (1984), Kirk Lowdermilk (1985), Marcus Washington (2000)
60. New Orleans – Pat Swilling, LB, Georgia Tech 1986
Honorable Mention: Quinn Early (1988), Kordell Stewart (1995), Darren Shaper (1997)
If you haven't checked out Pro-Football-Reference.com lately you should as it isn't the completely useless site it used to be. This is a site that until recently didn't even have QB Ratings but now it has all kinds of neat features such as a searchable draft database. With the help of this I decided to do a quicky project for the blog by putting together an All-Time NFL Draft.
Now this isn't some all-time fantasy draft I'm doing but rather I'm selecting who in my opinion were the best players ever at each selection of the draft (i.e. Who is the best #1 pick of all-time?). To keep my sanity I'm only doing this since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger and I stopped at 30 picks although I might do another entry for more picks. Along with who I picked as the best player at each selection I also listed three "honorable mention" picks at each selection just to give you an idea of how many good players (or very average players for that matter with some of them) were taken at each selection. I originally thought of doing it based on who were truly the best draft picks for the team that originally drafted each player but that was going to be way too time consuming so I took the easy way out and just picked purely based on the player's career, regardless of where they had their most success.
1. Baltimore Colts (traded to Denver) - John Elway, QB, Stanford 1983
Honorable Mention: Eric Campbell (1978), Bruce Smith (1985), Peyton Manning (1998)
2. N.Y. Giants – Lawrence Taylor, LB, North Carolina 1981
Honorable Mention: Tony Dorsett (1977), Eric Dickerson (1983), Marshall Faulk (1994)
3. Detroit – Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State 1989
Honorable Mention: Anthony Munoz (1980), Cortez Kennedy (1990), Chris Samuels (2000)
4. Chicago – Walter Payton, RB, Jackson State 1975
Honorable Mention: John Hannah (1973), Dan Hampton (1979), Jonathan Ogden (1996)
5. Atlanta – Deion Sanders, CB, Florida State 1989
Honorable Mention: Mike Haynes (1976), Junior Seau (1990), LaDanian Tomlinson (2001)
6. L.A. Raiders – Tim Brown, WR, Notre Dame 1988
Honorable Mention: James Lofton (1978), Walter Jones (1997), Torry Holt (1999)
7. Washington – Champ Bailey, CB, Georgia 1999
Honorable Mention: Phil Simms (1979), Sterling Sharpe (1988), Troy Vincent (1992)
8. San Francisco – Ronnie Lott, DB, USC 1981
Honorable Mention: Mike Munchak (1982), Willie Roaf (1993), Roy Williams (2002)
9. Houston Oilers – Bruce Matthews, G, USC 1983
Honorable Mention: Terry McDaniel (1988), Richmond Webb (1990), Brian Urlacher (2000)
10. Pittsburgh – Rod Woodson, DB, Purdue 1987
Honorable Mention: Marcus Allen (1982), Jerome Bettis (1993), Willie Anderson (1996)
11. Dallas – Michael Irvin, WR, Miami 1988
Honorable Mention: Dennis Harrah (1975), Wilber Marshall (1984), Dwight Freeney (2002)
12. Tampa Bay – Warren Sapp, DT, Miami 1995
Honorable Mention: Clay Matthews (1978), Jim Lachey (1985), Warrick Dunn (1997)
13. Kansas City – Tony Gonzalez, TE, California 1997
Honorable Mention: Franco Harris (1972), Mike Kenn (1978), Kellen Winslow (1979)
14. Buffalo – Jim Kelly, QB, Miami 1983
Honorable Mention: Randy Gradishar (1974), John Jefferson (1978), Ruben Brown (1995)
15. Denver – Dennis Smith, S, USC 1981
Honorable Mention: Isaac Curtis (1973), John L Williams (1986), Anthony Miller (1988)
16. San Francisco – Jerry Rice, WR, Mississippi Valley State 1985
Honorable Mention: Raymond Clayborn (1977), Luis Sharpe (1982), Troy Polamalu (2003)
17. Dallas – Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida 1990
Honorable Mention: Louis Wright (1975), Damien Woody (1999), Steve Hutchinson (2001)
18. Washington – Art Monk, WR, Syracuse 1980
Honorable Mention: Willie Gault (1983), Alfred Williams (1991), Eddie Kennison (1996)
19. Indianapolis – Marvin Harrison, WR, Syracuse 1996
Honorable Mention: Joey Browner (1983), Randall McDaniel (1988), Casey Hampton (2001)
20. L.A. Rams – Jack Youngblood, DE, Florida 1971
Honorable Mention: Mike Quick (1982), Will Wolford (1986), Steve Atwater (1989)
21. Minnesota – Randy Moss, WR, Marshall 1998
Honorable Mention: Lynn Swan (1974), John Alt (1984), Jerry Gray (1985)
22. Indianapolis – Andre Rison, WR, Michigan State 1988
Honorable Mention: Jack Reynolds (1970), Hanford Dixon (1981), Harris Barton (1987)
23. Cleveland – Ozzie Newsome, TE, Alabama 1978
Honorable Mention: Ray Guy (1973), Bruce Armstrong (1987), Ty Law (1995)
24. Baltimore Ravens – Ed Reed, S, Miami 2002
Honorable Mention: Raymond Chester (1970), James Brooks (1981), Eric Moulds (1996)
25. San Francisco – Ted Washington, DT, Louisville 1991
Honorable Mention: Stanley Morgan (1977), Bobby Butler (1981), Chris Hovan (2000)
26. Baltimore Ravens – Ray Lewis, LB, Miami 1996
Honorable Mention: Joe DeLamielleure (1973), Kent Hill (1979), Alan Faneca (1998)
27. Miami – Dan Marino, QB, Pittsburgh 1983
Honorable Mention: Reggie McKenzie (1972), Neal Anderson (1986), Larry Johnson (2003)
28. Tampa Bay – Derrick Brooks, LB, Florida State 1995
Honorable Mention: Guy Morris (1973), Darrell Green (1983), Trevor Pryce (1997)
29. Dallas (traded to L.A. Raiders) – Steve Wisniewski, G, Penn State 1989
Honorable Mention: Tommy Casanova (1972), Joe Cribbs (1980), Chris Spielman (1988)
30. Philadelphia – Eric Allen, CB, Arizona State 1988
Honorable Mention: Greg Pruitt (1973), Louie Kelcher (1975), Patrick Kerney (1999)
Wow, two entries in one week? I'm gonna need an extended vacation after exhausting myself like this.
Next Sunday the All-Star Game reserves will be selected for this year's extra special, Yankee Stadium Circle Jerk All-Star Game presented by FOX. And hey it counts or something. I originally intended on picking my own All-Star team using all that stat geek crap I typically use but that was going to take longer than I wanted so instead I decided to make predictions for All-Star reserves primarily relying on those Joe Morgan friendly stats (AVG, HR, RBI, Wins, ERA, Saves). Player balloting will be going on this week for picking the reserves so doubt too much of what happens this week will effect the results.
Here are the current vote leaders in the fan balloting as of this past week:
C: Joe Mauer, Twins
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Only race in doubt is at catcher as Mauer tries to hold off Jason Varitek (really, Red Sox fans?).
C: Geovany Soto, Cubs
1B: Lance Berkman, Astros
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies
3B: Chipper Jones, Braves
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
OF: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs; Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs; Ken Griffey Jr., Reds
The one race that appears to be coming down to the wire is at shortstop as Ramirez and Miguel Tejada are locked in a tight battle. Outside chance Ryan Braun will slip into the final outfield spot. Now on to my predictions.
My A.L. Reserves Predictions
C: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
1B: Justin Morneau, Twins
2B: Ian Kinsler, Rangers; Brian Roberts, Orioles
3B: Mike Lowell, Red Sox
SS: Michael Young, Rangers
OF: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; Carlos Quentin, White Sox; Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Jermaine Dye, White Sox
DH: Hideki Matsui, Yankees
SP: Cliff Lee, Indians; Joe Saunders, Angels; Mike Mussina, Yankees; Vicente Padilla, Rangers; Justin Duchscherer, Athletics; Scott Kazmir, Rays; Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, Angels; Mariano Rivera Yankees; Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox; Joe Nathan, Twins; Joakim Soria, Royals
My N.L. Reserves Predictions
C: Brian McCann, Braves; Russell Martin, Dodgers
1B: Albert Pujols, Cardinals; Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
2B: Dan Uggla, Marlins
3B: David Wright Mets; Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Jose Reyes, Mets
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Pat Burrell, Phillies; Carlos Lee, Astros; Xavier Nady, Pirates
SP: Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks; Edinson Volquez, Reds; Ben Sheets, Brewers; Aaron Cook, Rockies; Ryan Dempster, Cubs; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Carlos Zambrano, Cubs; Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
RP: Brad Lidge, Phillies; Billy Wagner, Mets; Kerry Wood, Cubs; Jon Rauch, Nationals