Finally. Finally, finally, finally, finally I am excited about a World Series. I don't give a shit about the predictions of this being lowest rated World Series ever. If this ends up being true, then it's Fox and MLB's fault (and by proxy the WWL) for programing casual fans to think that only the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs matter. I personally have not watched the majority of a World Series since 1997 and let me run down each year as to why I didn't care.
1998: New York Yankees vs. San Diego Padres
At this time I was fairly indifferent towards the Yankees but I was always partial to the Padres because I liked Tony Gwynn. This was clearly a huge mismatch and I knew the Padres had no chance but I did tune into Game 1, which I was into until the bottom of the 7th when Tino Martinez took a pitch right down the middle (or at least that's what I remember) that should been a called strike three against Mark Langston to strand the bases loaded and keep the game tied. Next pitch, grand slam, and I tuned out from the rest of the series after that.
1999: New York Yankees vs. Atlanta Braves
Already saw them play in '96 and had no desire to see them play again. I think I watched about five minutes of Game 1 and that was it.
2000: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets
I like most people outside of New York and Bristol, CT didn't give a shit. Did not watch a single second of the series.
2001: New York Yankees vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
Now this one I think I will have to revisit some day but at the time I couldn't be bothered to watch any of it, not even Game 7. The Yankees had eliminated the A's for the second straight and this time in heartbreaking fashion in part to the most overrated defensive play in baseball history because some fat fuck didn't slide...not that I'm still bitter. I wanted to no part of the Yankees or any sort of baseball after that.
2002: Anaheim Angels vs. San Francisco Giants
Finally the Yankees reign of terror is stopped but instead we get the Rally Monkey against the Assholes by the Bay. Giants fans are the most smug group of fans in sports, with no real reason to be, and this didn't help matters. I think briefly tuned into Game 6 to torture myself but that was it.
2003: New York Yankees vs. Florida Marlins
Once again the Yankees were back to poison us all so once again I didn't tune in, although I think I did flip on the end of Game 6 due primarily to this board.
2004: Boston Red Sox vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Now I was genuinely intrigued by this series, for a brief moment. If had to say who my N.L. team is, it'd probably be the Cardinals because I did pretty much adopt them as my second favorite team and followed them pretty closely when Mark McGwire played there. I really thought it would be a good series and since it was the Red Sox, it would end with Boston have their hearts ripped out which is always fun. How wrong I was. I watched most of Game 1 and then quickly lost interest.
2005: Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
Now this series was kinda similar to this year because it was a very fresh match-up. But 2005 was all about LOLZ OZZIEBALL > MONEYBALL and Joe Morgan and the usual band of idiots slobbering all over the White Sox ability to "manufacture runs." If it had ended up being a competitive series I might have tuned for a Game 6 or 7 but it wasn't, so I didn't watch any of it.
2006: Detroit Tigers vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Now I'm going to contradict myself with the "Caridnals are my N.L. team" thing because I really didn't want them to win this series. The baseball elitist in me simply didn't want to see an 83 win team win a World Series because I felt it cheapened the whole season. I didn't have any real animosity towards the Tigers for shitkicking the A's right out of the ALCS but I was disappointed that I wouldn't get use my World Series tickets so really wasn't up for watching the series. I think I tuned in every once in a while during the series but overall the whole thing fell flat and I could only put up with so much "David Eckstein is clutch and scrappy" talk.
2007: Boston Red Sox vs. Colorado Rockies
God damn did the 2007 postseason suck ass or what? Didn't watch a single second of the series.
All weekend I had to hear how the A's Opening Night game against the Yankees was going to be a rainout. It rained all day here in the Bay Area and then suddenly tonight it clears up a bit. So I was happy at first that I wouldn't have to stay up until one in the morning tonight to watch the entire game but that changed pretty quick. Barry Zito was chosen as the Opening Night starter even though everyone knows the ace of the staff is Rich Harden. I think manager Ken Macha fell into the manager trap of letting the "veteran" get the start. Zito has a knack for getting into 3-2 counts way too often and against a patient team like the Yankees that will get you killed and they have killed him in recent years. Zito's line tonight: 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Woof. It's 11-1 Yankees in the 5th inning as I type this so safe to say it's not the hometown heroes night.
In my aborted preview of the A's I had talked about Zito likely leaving after this season and might as well go briefly into that now. Now preface of course my thoughts aren't scewed simply because Zito pitched like Russ Ortiz tonight. I can pretty much predict the media outcry when Zito leaves for a big money deal to a big market team after this season but it will all be moot. He simply isn't worth the money he is going to get as starting pitchers are the most overpriced position in baseball right now. Just take a look at A.J. Burnett. Very talented but very injury prone and has yet to have that breakout season where he emerges as a top of the line starter yet he signed a 5-year, $55 million deal. Her certainly benefitted from a weak crop of free agent starting pitchers but it also shows how painfully overvalued starting pitching is. Zito has had a better career to this point than Burnett, has zero injury history (with his easy delivery he may never have arm problems), and is even slightly younger than Burnett. Barring a disasterous season he'll almost certainly parlay a contract that is at least worth as much as Brunett's and maybe even a a million or two more a year. Can anyone legitimately say Barry Zito is worth possibly $12-14 million a year? Now the fact that you can pencil him in for 220+ innings a year at above average production does certainly make him more valuable than maybe his peripheral numbers would indicate. But really that type of money should only go to the elite pitchers which Zito is by no means. The A's also have three good, young starting pitchers on their staff that they have under their control thru the end of the decade and money like that would be much better spent on a position player (or two).
Now 13-1, Yankees still batting in the 5th. It better be a rain free night with Harden pitching tommorrow or mother nature can kiss my ass. At least Frank Thomas homering in his first at bat with the A's didn't make this night a total loss.
-Brief Final Four thought, the "Greatest Tournament Ever" ended with a big thud. This was the first time since 1976 that the Final Four didn't have a game decied by single digits when Indiana finished off their undefeated championship run. And wow is that Noah kid from Florida is good...and wow is he one ugly mother fucker.
I'm always happy with the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot is announced as it means content for my blog! I'll be doing profiles on each the first year nominees over the next few weeks but before I get to what I wanted to talk about in this entry, here are links to old profiles I did for the returnees on this year's ballot listed in order of where they finished in the voting last year.
1. Jim Rice 72.2% (15th and final year)
2. Andre Dawson 65.9% (8th)
3. Bert Blyleven 61.9% (12th)
4. Lee Smith 43.3% (7th)
5. Jack Morris 42.9% (10th)
6. Tommy John 29.1% (15th and final year)
7. Tim Raines 24.3% (2nd)
8. Mark McGwire 23.6% (3rd)
9. Alan Trammell 18.2% (8th)
10. Don Mattingly 15.8% (9th)
11. Dave Parker 15.1% (13th)
12. Dale Murphy 13.8% (11th)
13. Harold Baines 5.2% (3rd)
If a player played ten seasons in the Majors they are eligible for nomination on the baseball writer's ballot but believe it or not there actually is a screening process for the HOF ballot. I always find it interesting to see what players didn't make the cut and originally thought about making brief comments on each player but there were more players than I expected so this is just going to be a random list. Whole lot of back up catchers and middle relievers but there's a few decent players in there.
Brian L Hunter
In a recent entry kkk talked about how excited Pirates' fans were in 1997 over the small glimmer of hope the team provided that year. Now I haven't really given any thought to the '97 Pirates before now and nor has anyone outside of Pittsburgh but I need excuses for an entry so by god I'm gonna talk about '97 Pirates.
The Pirates currently hold the longest active streak of losing seasons in baseball at 13 seasons (well on their way to 14) and 1997 was the closest they've come to sniffing .500 since the departure of that guy Pedro Gomez follows around 24/7. As a Golden State Warriors fan I know the Bucs fan's pain and what it is like to get excited about mediocrity. The high watermark for them in '97 was on August 25th they were 67-64 and just three games out of first place. Now a team being just three games over .500 being only three games out in late August tells you that the N.L. Central was pretty bad in 1997. They would lose their next four games and never be over .500 the rest of the year although they would not be mathematically eliminated until September 24th. The division was almost as bad as N.L. West was in 2005 as the Astros would take the division crown with just 84 wins. The Pirates would finish 79-83 with a second place finish, five games out of first.
One thing to keep in mind about this Pittsburgh team is that they had a pathetic $10.7 million payroll, by far the lowest in baseball in 1997 so any success they certainly had to be considered overachievers. The Reds had the highest payroll in the N.L. at $49.7 million but the Bucs finished ahead of them. Now I take a look back at the Little Bucs That Sorta Could and where they've went since.
C: Jason Kendall (.294/.391/.434, 40.9 VORP, 22 Win Shares) - Just his second year but he had already emerged as the team's best player. He was a rising star but as well know in 1999 he'd have a horrific leg injury although he'd comeback in 2000 and have one the best years of his career which he'd parlay into an obscene contract that the Pirates would spend a few years trying to unload. Finally after a very good 2004 season he was traded to Oakland where unfortunately for the A's, and me, he'd hit catcher career wall in 2005.
1B: Kevin Young (.300/.332/.535, 26.5 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - Mainly a 4-A player Young put up solid numbers in a platoon with Mark Johnson in '97. In 1999 he'd have himself a pretty good year but that would be bad news for Pirates fans as he'd get a four-year, $24 million contract after that and hit like crap for the duration of the contract. Young really signifies what is wrong with the Pirates organization as after slugging just .399 in 2001, just awful for a first baseman, they still managed to give him 525 plate appearances the following season. They finally cut him loose during the 2003 season.
2B: Tony Womack (.278/.326/.374, 32.5 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - Aww the stat geek punching bag. After cups of coffee the previous three seasons this would qualify as Womack's rookie season and it he wasn't half bad. But it was obvious from that year already that he wasn't a reliable option as a lead off hitter, although he'd fool teams for several years just because of his speed, as he had only 43 walks in 689 plate appearances. He was traded to the Diamondbacks for the 1999 season, where he'd pick up a ring in 2001. Had two very short stints after trades in 2003 with the Rockies and Cubs. Then in 2004 with the Cardinals he'd have his career year at age 34 and convince the Yankees that he could be their regular second baseman for 2005. Whoops! What was so great about the Yankees signing Womack was that everyone knew he would suck. So congratulations to everyone for being right for once. Now currently with the Reds.
3B: Joe Randa (.302/.366/.451, 32.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Acquired from the Royals before the season in what would be the first of five trades he's been in, he had a decent season. He's really the type of guy that would be useful for a good team that had a big hole at third base for a cheap price. Problem is he ends up on bad teams all the time who count him to be a key hitter in their line up. Following the season he'd be taken in the expansion draft by Arizona who'd unload him the same day to Detroit for Travis Fryman. Just another one year stint there and he'd be traded to the Mets who'd trade him six days later to Kansas City where he'd find a home for six years. Spent 2005 between the Reds and Padres and has now comeback to Pittsburgh to recreate that '97 magic!
SS: Kevin Polcovich (.273/.350/.396, 14.6 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Who? No really, I have no memory of this guy. This would be his rookie year at age 27 and he'd only spend one more year in the Majors. He was one of six guys to have more than 10 starts at shortstop for the Pirates in '97 including aging veterans Dale Sveum, Kevin Elster, and Shawon Dunston.
LF: Al Martin (.291/.359/.473, 33.1 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - You always have to feel sorry for a guy who has to replace a legend but that's what Martin had to do. The typical numbers he put up would have been very good if he was a great fielding, center fielder but he was a poor fielding, corner outfielder. He also was awful against left handers so he often had to be platooned. Traded to the Padres before the 2000 season he'd bounce around from there to Seattle, be out of baseball in 2002, and then finish his career in 2003 with the Devil Rays. Al Martin Fun Facts: Arrested in 2000 for bigamy and made up a story about playing football at USC. Yes because no one pays attention to USC football.
CF: Jermaine Allensworth (.255/.340/.339, 4.6 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Simply a prospect who never panned out and no surprise with those numbers. Traded to the Royals during the 1998 season who'd flip him to the Mets less than two months later where he'd last appear in the Majors in 1999. Last seen in the independent Northern League.
RF: Jose Guillen (.267/.300/.412, 1.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - This was Guillen's rookie year at just 21 years old as the Pirates hot shotted him from High A ball and he was clearly not ready yet they kept him up all year playing him in 144 games. It was this incredibly stupid decision that contributed to Guillen having a very slow start to his career. Traded to the Devil Rays in 1999 he'd be released by four different teams until in 2003 he'd breakout with the Reds. He'd be traded in a deadline deal to Oakland and then sign with the Angels on a surprisingly cheap deal as there were rumors of attitude problems. This would come up in late September in a key series with the A's where the Angels would suspend him for the rest of the season for an unknown clubhouse altercation. You know when a team in the middle of the pennant chase essentially dumps it's starting left fielder, who was having a pretty good year, that's probably a sign that the guy might have some problems. Currently he's with the Nationals where he wants to beat up Pedro Martinez or something. Maybe he should beat up Jim Bowden.
Esteban Loaiza (104 ERA+, 25.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - Loaiza has made a career out of being very average and '97 was no different and is probably now the definition of a journeyman starter. Pirates traded him to Texas during 1998, who would trade him to Toronto during 2000. After a miserable 2002 season he signed on the cheap with the White Sox and out of no where had a Cy Young caliber season. Then traded to the Yankees for Jose Contreras in a deadline deal which would turn into an absolute nightmare for him and the Yankees. Signed with the Nationals in 2005 and then signed a three-year, $22 million deal with the A's that I'm absolutely hating.
Jon Lieber (96 ERA+, 17.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - Yet another pitcher who's put together an average career. Pirates traded him to the Cubs for Brant Brown after 1998 (that turned out well) where he'd have a 20 win season in 2001. Late in 2002 he'd have Tommy John surgery which would cause him to miss the entire 2003 season. The Yankees gambled on him before 2003 knowing he'd miss the season and he'd comeback for 2004 to be a moderately succesful pitcher who Yankee fans fell in love with. Now currently with the Phillies.
Jason Schmidt (93 ERA+, 12.6 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Oh here's a painful one for Pirates fans. Acquired in a late season dump of Denny Neagle the year before, Schmidt was a hot shot prospect. Now typically leaving the Braves seems to be career suicide for a starting pitcher. After two decent seasons, shoulder problems with derail Schmidt as he would miss four months that season. He'd struggle at times in 2001 and it was uncertain if he'd ever regain form. So during that season, with him eligible for free agency following the year, the Pirates traded him to San Francisco for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong. In 2003 Schmidt would emerge as one of the best pitchers in baseball and follow that up with a very good 2004. Injuries have again slowed him down since but safe to say the Pirates wish they had gotten a little more in return for him.
Steve Cooke (100 ERA+, 10.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Another Pirates prospect that was probably rushed too soon. He had a pretty good rookie year in 1993 but shoulder problems would pop up the following season, probably due to throwing 210 innings at age 23, and he'd barely pitch at all the next two seasons before finally returning to full action in '97. But his shoulder and elbow were thrashed, he'd sign with the Reds but make only one apperance for them in 1998 and was out of baseball by 1999.
Francisco Cordova (118 ERA+, 32.9 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Young, overused, Pirates pitcher with shoulder problems. See a theme? Cordova broke out in 1997 as a potential rising star pitcher and had a combined no hitter against the Astros in July. He'd follow it up with a very good 1998 season and Pirates fan's hearts were all a flutter. But those pesky shoulder problems would pop up in 1999, he'd only throw 95 innings in 2000, and that was it for his career. Really too bad as he looked like he might be the real deal.
Closer: Rich Loiselle (139 ERA+, 16.3 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - Pirates pitcher with injury problems, this is just getting depressing. Loiselle set a Pirates rookie record with 29 saves in '97 and then had a decent '98 season before elbow problems would effectively end his career. He'd have multiple surgeries and comebacks over the following few years but he'd never be effective again, his career over by 2001.
So there you have it. I just spent more time than anyone every will on the 1997 Pirates. What do I win?
For the next Where’d They Go? I had already decided on doing a Mets team and ironically enough I received a request from TSM Mets’ fan strummer to do one for the 1997 Mets. The one I had chosen was the overpaid, sexual assaulting, firecracker throwing 1992 Mets. But I’m a giver so instead I will be doing the 1997 Mets.
The Mets had gone through six years of losing featuring many bad contracts, bad trades, and bad management. Basically the Mets the from 1991 to 1996 were the New York Knicks of today. Finally in ’97 things started to come together for the franchise under manager Bobby Valentine who had taken over as manager during the previous season for the young pitcher arm shredding Dallas Green. While the Mets never made a serious run for the N.L. East title they were in the thick of the Wild Card race for much of the summer but were never able to get closer than two games of the eventual World Champion Marlins. So let’s meet the 1997 New York Mets and see where they went.
C: Todd Hundley (.273/.394/.549, 45.2 VORP, 22 Win Shares) – This was during Hundley’s peak when he emerged as one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. He would have elbow surgery following season which would effectively derail his career. He was terrible in his return the following season in an ill-conceived move to leftfield and likely should have sat out the entire year. The Mets had acquired Mike Piazza during 1998 and Hundley would be on his way out to the Dodgers following the season. He had one good year in 2000 with the Dodgers but that was only productive year left. Signed as a free agent with the Cubs following that season. Played there for two years and was traded back to Los Angles to play one final injury filled season.
1B: John Olerud (.294/.400/.489, 36.2 VORP, 27 Win Shares) – Olerud’s first year in New York many thought he was already on his way down as a player but put together three very productive years with the Mets. Signed as a free agent after 1999 with Seattle where he would play until mid-2004 when he appeared to be washed up. After being released he was picked up by the Yankees and was mildly productive. Went to Boston for 2005 as a part-time player and retired after the season.
2B: Carlos Baerga (.281/.311/.396, 6.9 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – The Mets had a good second baseman in Jeff Kent but traded him the year before to get…Baerga. Whoops. After an early peak Baerga already was past his prime in his late 20’s. He’d leave the Mets after 1998 and would bounce around from San Diego, back to Cleveland, Boston, Arizona (had a surprisingly good year in 2003 as a role player), and finally Washington last year. On no MLB roster this year so I assume he’s now retired.
3B: Edgargdo Alfonzo (.315/.391/.432, 36.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – This was Alfonzo’s breakout year at age 23. Had a disappointing 1998 but followed that up with two phenomenal years where he amassed 65 Win Shares. Seemed on his way to becoming a superstar but had a bad year in 2001 with several nagging injuries. Rebounded in 2002 and cashed in as a free agent by signing with the Giants. His days a productive player would be over when he reached San Francisco and played three mediocre years there. Traded after 2005 to the Angels who released him in May, then the Blue Jays gave him a shot but released him after only a month with the team. Appears his career maybe over at age 32.
SS: Rey Ordonez (.216/.255/.256, -18.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Everyone wanted to make Ordonez the next Ozzie Smith but it wasn’t going to happen and I don’t care how good defensively he may have been, those offensive numbers are of someone who should have been in Triple-A. Never lived up to the hype and was traded to Tampa Bay after to 2002. Played one year there and went to San Diego but never played a game with the big club. The Cubs of course couldn’t resist picking up a weak hitting middle infielder and picked him up but let him go after two months.
LF: Bernard Gilkey (.249/.338/.417, 9.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – Hindsight being what it is the Mets probably could have suckered some team into trading a major prospect for Gilkey following his career year of ’96. This ended up being his last season as everyday player. Did end up being traded during 1998 to Arizona but for no one of note. Released by the D-Backs in 2000 and was picked up by the Red Sox. Finished his career with Atlanta in 2001.
CF: Carl Everett (.248/.308/.420, 2.8 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – Mets actually had three primary center fielders during the season. They traded Lance Johnson for Brian McRae in a six player waiver deal to the Cubs in August. Everett was a big time prospect who at age 26 at this point looked like he might not live up to the hype. Unfortunately for Mets’ fans GM Steve Phillips had a fetish for trading for middle relievers and he traded Everett after the season to the Astros for John Hudek. He’d have two very good years in Houston but they traded enigmatic outfielder to the Red Sox after 1999 for Adam Everett. He signed a big money contract extension with the Red Sox before the season started and had a great year but like everywhere else wore out his welcome. Traded three more times first to Texas after 2001, then to White Sox during 2003, signed as a free agent with Expos, and then traded back to the White Sox during 2004. Now currently with the Mariners.
RF: Butch Huskey (.287/.319/.503, 19.1 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – Alex Ochoa led the Mets in games played in right field but Huskey made the most starts. I can’t remember if Huskey was ever expected to end up being really good or not but he never did become all that good beyond a couple of decent years like this one. Mets traded him to Seattle after 1998, who traded him to Boston during the 1999. Split 2000 with the Twins and Rockies. Spent 2001 in the minors and that appears to be where his career ended.
Rick Reed (140 ERA+, 54.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Reed was always that decent pitcher who you couldn’t see his real name in MLB video games because he was a “scab” player in 1995. I’m sure Brett Butler and Tom Glavine left him flaming bags of poo on his doorstep. This was arguably Reed’s best year and followed up with another good year in ’98. Merely an average pitcher through most of his career, he was traded in a deadline deal to the Twins in 2001 for Matt Lawton and pitched there thru 2003. He signed with the Pirates in 2004 but failed to make the Opening Day roster and decided to retire.
Dave Mlicki (101 ERA+, 31.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Reading up on him apparently every Mets fan will always love him for his shutout of the Yankees in their first interleague mathc-up in ’97. Other than that, a very non-descript career who was traded several times. Mets traded during 1998 to the Dodgers in a deal for Hideo Nomo. Dodgers traded him last than a year later to Detroit, who would trade him two years later to Houston for Jose Lima.
Bobby Jones (111 ERA+, 32.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – Jones was a steady if unspectacular pitcher for the Mets for several years. A shoulder injury in 1999 would limit him to nine starts and he never had a season with ERA under 5 after that. Finished his career with two seasons with the Padres.
Mark Clark (95 ERA+, 12.9 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Mets stats only as Clark was in that Johnson/McRae deal to the Cubs in August but he was the only other Mets pitcher with more than 20 starts. Mediocre pitcher who often seemed to luck into winning seasons. Actually pitched great for the Cubs down the stretch to last place in ’97 but was terrible the following season. The always desperate for pitching Rangers signed him as a free agent where’d he had have two god awful years to finish his career.
Closer: John Franco (158 ERA+, 18.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – The longtime Mets’ closer was still effective at age 36. Being that he was left handed he was able hang around after he was no longer effective as he was with the Mets thru 2004. Astros picked him up for 2005 but released him midseason. Never officially announced his retirement but his career is most certainly over. Finished 3rd on the all-time saves list with 424.
After talking about the mediocre '97 Pirates and doing the 1996 MVP redo it got me thinking about my favorite losing A's team, the 1996 version. The A's by this time were well removed from their three consecutive pennant winning teams with only Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach left from those glory days. The team was predicted to be one of the worst in baseball going into season mainly due to having a starting rotation who's "#1 starter" was Todd Van Poppel. Oof.
To add insult to injury with the low expectations they were also forced out of their home park for their first homestand. The Oakland Coliseum was undergoing a massive reconstruction to accomodate the Raiders who moved back to Oakland the previous year. The old bleachers and old giant scoreboards were torn down and a monstrosity that the locals would soon call Mt. Davis (in fact I think I came up with the name first or at least that's what I tell myself) in "honor" of Raiders' owner Al Davis. It was to make the stadium more football friendly and it was basically Oakland's way of bending over and taking it in the ass for the Raiders while completley ignoring the A's in the process. The stadium wasn't anywhere close to being ready and the A's first six home games were moved to Las Vegas. The construction would go on during the season with jackhammer sounds becoming a regular ballpark experience the first couple of months of the season and it was a major embarassment for the franchise.
But as it turned out they weren't horrible, not any good mind you but they managed not to finish last in the A.L. West and for a brief period of time after the All-Star Break they looked like they might break .500. After beating the Blue Jays on July 26th they were 54-50 and within five games of first place but that would be their peak. They would still be at .500 by mid-August but then they had a stretch where they lost 13 out of 16 which effectively buried their season. They finished the year 78-84 which was a small victory for a team expected to lose over 90 games. As I talked about in the '96 redo, offense was completely out of control that season and the A's took full advantage hitting a team record 243 homeruns which made them very entertaining to watch even if they weren't that good. Fortunently Van Poppel wouldn't stay the staff's #1 starter for very long as he'd get bombed and the former top prospect's Oakland career would come to an end later in the season when he was put on waivers. But the rest the rotation was horrible as advertised with a hodge podge of marginal prospects and never weres.
So here's a look back at my favorite losing team and where they went.
C: Terry Steinbach (.272/.342/.529, 40.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - At age 34, Steinbach hit a career high 35 homeruns, 19 above his previous high which came nine years earlier. Draw your own conclusions. This would be his last season in Oakland as he'd sign with his hometown Twins to finish out his career, retiring after 1999.
1B: Mark McGwire (.312/.467/.730, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares) - This was McGwire's first full season since 1992, although he still started year with another trip to the DL, and he would have the best year of his career to that point. Really I just look at this numbers still in awe and this season was more special to me than his '98 season only because he was still in Oakland of course. He of course was traded to the Cardinals at the trade deadline in 1997 as the franchise hit rock bottom in a deal that is best forgotten. Retired after 2001.
2B: Tony Batista (.298/.350/.433, 15.9 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - The A's actually had a three headed monster here with former second baseman of the future Brent Gates and awful utility infielder Rafael Bournigal. Batista was a midseason call up and won the everyday job the last two months of the season. After showing promise he had an awful '97 season and was left unprotected in the expansion draft where he was picked up by Arizona. Since then had stops in Toronto, Baltimore, Montreal, Japan, and now with Minnesota.
3B: Scott Brosius (.304/.393/.516, 43.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - After mediocre numbers his first few years in the league Brosius brokeout with a very good year both offensive and defensively. His production then dropped like a rock in '97 and was traded to the Yankees for Kenny Rogers soon after the season ended. He'd become a World Series hero in 1998 with them which fooled them into keeping him as their regular 3rd baseman for the next three years although his final season in 2001 wasn't bad.
SS: Mike Bordick (.240/.307/.318, -5.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Bordick had been living off a good year offensively in 1992 for a long time and I forgot how truly awful he was offensively. Only kept an everyday job due to his defense. Last season in Oakland as he signed with the Orioles. In 2000 out of no where the first half of the season he suddenly started hitting for power which got Mets' GM Steve Phillips all excited so he traded Melvin Mora for him. Ouch. He'd then promptly go right back to the Orioles after the season. His final year was in 2003 with Toronto.
LF: Jason Giambi (.291/.355/.481, 26.6 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Yes you're reading that right: LF, Jason Giambi. He came up as a 3rd baseman but that was occupied by Brosius who was very good defensively and Giambi's future position at 1st was of course filled by McGwire. Phil Plantier, yes that Phil Plantier, actually started more games in left than anyone for the A's but let's just pretend like that didn't happen. Giambi did get a fair amount of time at 1st when they'd DH McGwire. As for Giambi's defense in left...it was like if Lonnie Smith & Manny Ramirez had a kid. It was bad, really bad. As we all know Giambi was with the A's thru 2001 and then became the poster boy for selling out by signing with the Yankees.
CF: Ernie Young (.242/.326/.424, 7.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - This was Young's only full season in the Majors. He could hit some homeruns and play pretty good defense but couldn't hit a breaking pitch to save his life so no surprise why he didn't last long. He's become a Crash Davis type of player as he's still hanging around the minors hitting homeruns and gets the occasional cup of coffee, most recently with Cleveland last year at age 34.
RF: Jose Herrera (.269/.318/.378, -2.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Was acquired in the Rickey Henderson/Steve Karsay deal in 1993, never really developed and this was his 2nd and last year in the Majors. Out of baseball after 2000 but looking at his Baseball Cube page apparantly tried to make a comeback last year with the Orioles' Double-A team but only played in five games.
DH: Geronimo Berroa (.290/.344/.532, 33.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Berroa was a long time minor leaguer who outside of a spending a year with the Braves in 1989 as a Rule V draftee hadn't been given much of a shot in the Majors. Finally in 1994 at age 29 the A's signed him and he became a fan favorite beacuse he basically put everything into every swing, putting up some pretty good numbers. Traded to the Orioles in 1997 and his production fell off from there. Brief stops in Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Out of baseball after 2001.
Don Wengert (86 ERA+, 16.2 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - I should preface that the A's nine pitchers make 10 or more starts in '96 so I'm going with the four guys who made more than 20 starts as they obviously didn't have a set rotation all year. After showing promise early in the minors, Wengert couldn't get Triple-A hitters out by the the A's pitching woes forced them to use him on the big club which was a theme for A's pitching in the mid-90s. Traded to the Paders after 1997, he'd bounce around to the Cubs, Royals, Braves, and Pirates. Out of baseball after 2002.
Doug Johns (80 ERA+, 4.7 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Not really a prospect as he debuted at age 27 the previous year and his low K rate in the minors pretty much told you he wasn't going to make it in the Majors but again the A's didn't have many options. A's waived him the following season. Did spend a couple of years as a reliever and spot starter with the Orioles, was done with baseball after 1999.
John Wasdin (80 ERA+, 0.8 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - A former first round pick, he again couldn't get Triple-A hitters out but was forced into the rotation and was absolutlely lit up in this his rookie year. Traded to the Red Sox for Jose Canseco of all people the following season he's had a second career as a sometimes effective middle reliever although usually not. Had stops in Colorado, Baltimore, Toronto, and now with Texas although currenlty in the minors.
Ariel Prieto (116 ERA+, 27.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Before the Hernadez brothers made it cool to find Cuban pitchers there was Ariel Prieto. He was very much hyped as a future star but '96 was the only year that was ever moderately effective as I suppose he was the Hideki Irabu of Cuban pitchers. Last appeared in the Majors in 2001 with Tampa Bay although still hangs around the minors most recently with the Marlins Triple-A team although doesn't appear on any roster this year.
Closer: Billy Taylor (111 ERA+, 16.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Taylor was your typical losing team closer who no on notices because save situations don't become that important for losing teams. He was passable but nothing special. But good 'ol Steve Phillips saw his decent save totals and traded Jason Isringhausen for him at the trade deadline in 1999. Oops! Taylor didn't even make the Mets postseason roster. Made stops in Tampa and Pittsburgh, done after 2001.
The Detroit Tigers have been one of the more proud franchises in baseball history. That was until Mike Ilitch bought the team after the 1992 season. Before their ownership the Tigers had never endured more than four consecutive losing seasons. This year’s Tigers are just 17 wins away from ending 12 years of futility and are very likely to reach the postseason for the first time since 1987. But Ilitch's first year as owner was the Tigers last succesful one.
In the Tigers last winning season of ’93 they lead the Majors in runs scored with 899. They were of course helped by the hitter friendly Tiger Stadium but the offense was genuinely good. The pitching on the other hand allowed a Major League high 188 homeruns which although helped/hurt by Tiger Stadium the pitchers were genuinely bad. The Tigers started the season red hot as after a 12-1 spanking of the defending champs Toronto on June 12th they were 38-22 with a four game lead on the Jays. But just 10 days later a 12-9 loss to Baltimore would start a 10 game losing streak that they could never fully recover from.
C: Chad Kreuter (.286/.371/.484, 30.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – This was only one of two seasons that Kreuter played over 100 games in and was by far his best year. This would be the second of seven teams he would play for in his career. Went to Seattle in ’95 and then spent the following year with the White Sox. They traded him with Tony Phillips to the Angels in 1997. The Angels sent him back to Chicago late in 1998. Spent the following year in Kansas City and finally found a stable job with the Dodgers for three years. Began 2003 back where he started in Texas but was released a month into the season.
1B: Cecil Fielder (.267/.368/.464, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Fielder hit 30 homeruns with 117 rbi but those were quiet, big numbers as he was only 5th among Tigers regulars in slugging. He remained a very steady performer but never came close to his huge 1990 season. Tigers traded him to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra in 1996 where Cecil would have a good World Series going 9 for 23. His power numbers would slip dramatically after this and was washed by ’98 being released by both the Angels and Indians. Tried to make a return to Toronto in 1999 but failed to make the team. Has spent his post career gambling away the millions he earned and is now estranged from his son Price Fielder.
2B: Lou Whitaker (.290/.412/.449, 36.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) – Sweet Lou’s career was winding down at this point but when he was in the line up he was still very productive. Would retire after 1995 when he played in just 84 games but put up a strong .293/.372/.518 line. One of the great tragedies in Hall of Fame voting as he received only 15 votes in his first year of eligibility, failing to stay on the ballot despite being very comparable to his HOF contemporary Ryne Sandberg. Whether Whitaker deserves to be in the HOF or not is open for debate, I believe he does, but it is a joke that he couldn’t even receive enough support stay on the ballot for more than a single season.
3B: Travis Fryman (.300/.379/.486, 56.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – This was Fryman’s breakout season at 24 but it would end up being his best season. He actually started more games at shortstop (81 to 68) but I had a choice of talking about Alan Trammell or Scott Livingstone so I of course put Fryman at 3rd. At the start of the year Fryman was at short and Trammell was at 3rd but the Tigers would realize that Fryman was much better defensively at 3rd and flipped them back. Traded to the expansion Diamondbacks after the 1997 season but would never suit up for them as he would be flipped to Cleveland two weeks later for Matt Williams. Would play the rest of his career with the Indians, highlighted by a great 2000 season, and retired after 2002.
SS: Alan Trammell (.329/.388/.496, 40.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Coming off a year where he only played 29 games due to a broken ankle, the other side of the Tigers long time middle infield duo was also still productive when he was in the line up. Trammell of course spent his entire career in Detoit, retiring after 1996. Has faired better in HOF voting than Whitaker but is no where close to being elected, appearing on just 17.7% of the ballots in the most recent election.
LF: Tony Phillips (.313/.443/.398, 46.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares) – The previously light hitting, utility man Phillips had emerged as one of the top lead off hitters in the game due to his great ability to draw walks (132 in ’93) and this was his best year. Would spend one more season in Detroit before signing as a free agent with the Angels. Signed with the White Sox in ’96 who then traded him the previously mentioned deal with Chad Kreuter back to the Angels. In August of that year he would be caught smoking crack in an Anaheim hotel and really who hasn’t? He was released by the Angels before the 1998 season, then picked up by the Blue Jays two months later who would trade him after a month in a deadline deal to the Mets. Returned to Oakland in 1999 for his final season in the Majors.
CF: Milt Cuyler (.213/.276/.313, -7.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) – A passable rookie year in 1991 some how convinced the Tigers to keep trotting Cuyler out to center for a couple of more years although in just in part time duty, he still played too much. Mysteriously still found part time Major League work for a few more years including a trip to Boston in 1996. But in 1998 he had a historic year with the Rangers putting up a jaw dropping .500/.571/1.333 line. Even with a batting average heavy OBP those number are insane. Oh wait it was only in 7 at bats…never mind.
RF: Rob Deer (.217/.302/.381, -3.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – Everybody’s favorite no batting average power hitter, Deer was a poor man’s Dave Kingman. Okay Deer actually could draw walks but holy shit he could not make any contact at all. He was about as true a “three outcome hitter” as you could get and the primary outcome was a strikeout. Did not finish the season in Detroit as he was traded to Boston in August. This appeared to be his last year in the Majors but in 1996 made a comeback with the Padres. In true Deer fashion he went 9 for 50 (seven of the hits for extra bases) and struck out 30 times.
DH: Kirk Gibson (.261/.337/.432, 15.4 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Fuck him.
Utility: Mickey Tettleton (.245/.372/.492, 31.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares) – Tettleton started 51 games at catcher, 38 in RF, 35 at 1B, 16 in LF, and surprisingly only 3 at DH considering he couldn’t play any position well but hit for enough power that you needed him the line up everyday. Signed as a free agent with Texas after 1994 and spent his final three years there.
Mike Moore (82 ERA+, 3.0 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – A big free agent signing for the Tigers before the season leaving the friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum for Tiger Stadium proved very hazardous to Moore’s ERA. The Tigers offense carried him to a 13-9 record. Never effective in Detroit, retired after 1995.
John Doherty (97 ERA+, 15.3 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – I remember little to nothing of Doherty and found little to nothing about him. His baseball-reference sponsor says he hurt his arm so I’ll believe it. Tigers waived him before the ’96 season and was picked up by the Red Sox, pitching in only three games.
David Wells (103 ERA+, 28.3 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Was released right before the season by the Blue Jays, Wells would end up saving his career in Detroit. Tigers would trade him to the Reds in 1995 in a deadline deal. Spent the next year in Baltimore before signing with the Yankees where he became the GREATEST PITCHER OF ALL-TIME or something. Traded for Roger Clemens before 1999 to Toronto and then traded to the White Sox before 2001 in the “oh we didn’t know Mike Sirotka’s arm was dead” deal. After an injury filled year there he would return to the Yankees for two years. Played with the Padres in 2004 and then joined the Red Sox where is now just fat and injured.
Bill Gullickson (80 ERA+, -2.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The long time mediocre Gullickson was just about at the end of his career here and would retire after the following year.
Closer: Mike Henneman (163 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – One of Henneman’s better seasons. Struggled badly the following year but rebound in 1995 where he’d be dealt in a waiver deal to Houston for Phil Nevin. Spent his final year in ’96 with Texas.
For the first time in a while I actually felt like writing a real blog entry and doing one of my favorite, but time consuming, series of entries the "Where'd The Go?" series. This time around I picked a Brewers team since they are finally relevant again. While the Brewers do have the Cubs breathing down their necks in their attempt to break the franchise's 25 year postseason drought, they at least do appear to finally be on their way to their first winning season in 15 years so I will look back at that team.
The 1992 Milwaukee Brewers have always stuck in my mind only because that season they were the only team during the regular season to have a winning record against the A's as County Stadium was always house of horrors for Oakland for whatever reason. The Brewers won 92 games that year under first year manager Phil Garner, finishing four games behind the eventual World Champion Blue Jays in the East. That on the surface would make it sound like a close race but in reality the Brewers were never a serious factor and it was 20-7 September when the Blue Jays were comfortably ahead already that propelled them up the standings. Between June 6th and September 18th the Brewers spent just one day in 2nd place in the East before finally overtaking the Orioles for good on September 19th. This team would have almost the last remnants of the 1982 Harvey's Wallbangers as it would be both Paul Molitor and Jim Gatner's last year with the team and Robin Yount would retire after the following season.
C: B.J. Surhoff (.252/.314/.321, 1.9 VORP, 16.2 Win Shares) - This was Surhoff's final season as a regular catcher as he would only play 33 more games behind the plate, the last coming in 1995 which was also his last year with the club. Signed as a free agent with Baltimore where he'd be a remarkably consistent if not great hitter. They traded him in a deadline deal to the Braves in 2000 but he'd return to the Orioles in 2003 playing his final three years there.
1B: Franklin Stubbs (.229/.297/.368, -2.8 VORP, 6.8 Win Shares) - Stubbs was a former big time prospect for the Dodgers who never lived up to the hype and was toast by age 30. He was actually even worse in '91 (.213/.282/.359) but the Brewers were stuck with him after signing him to a two year contract after his one good season in 1990 while in Houston. Played one more year in the Majors with Detroit. His #1 similarity score is Ken "The Hawk" Harrelson so maybe he has a future as a god awful announcer.
2B: Scott Fletcher (.275/.335/.360, 12.5 VORP, 17.4 Win Shares) - A slick fielding second baseman, this was Fletcher's only year in Milwuakee. Signed as a free agent with the Red Sox where he spent two years and then had his final year in 1995 with Detroit. His main claim to fame is he was a part of the Harold Baines/Sammy Sosa trade in 1989.
3B: Kevin Seitzer (.270/.337/.367, 11.7 VORP, 15.6 Win Shares) - Seitzer had an odd career as his best season's where his rookie year (1987) and his next to last year (1996). Could hit for average, draw a walk, and played a decent third base but never really stood out partly because he had almost no power. Signed with the A's following this year, which I now just remembered, where he struggled. They gave up on him quickly by releasing him in July and went right back to Milwaukee where he started hitting again. Traded to the Indians during his shockingly good age 34 year in '96 in a waiver deadline deal for Jeromy Burnitz and would retire after the following season.
SS: Pat Listach (.290/.352/.349, 36.4 VORP, 20.7 Win Shares) - One of the great mystery Rookie of the Year winners who people years from now, and maybe even today, who look back at old award winners and will ask "Who the hell was Pat Listach?" He beat out Kenny Lofton for the award despite Lofton having the better season and well it would be understatement to say Listach didn't do much of anything else after 1992. Brewers traded him to the Yankees in late 1996 as part of a Graeme Lloyd/Bob Wickman swap but he never played for them. Played one season in Houston before being out of the Majors.
LF: Greg Vaughn (.228/.313/.409, 5.7 VORP, 15.6 Win Shares) - Vaughn was the only legit power threat in the '92 Brewers line up as he led the team with 23 homeruns, Paul Molitor being the only player on the team with more than 10. His breakout year would be the followings season but he was wildly inconsistent for most of his career. Traded in a deadline deal to the Padres in 1996 where he'd have his best year in 1998 when he hit 50 homeruns and finished 4th in the MVP voting. He was then traded after that season to the Reds where he spent one year there, played three seasons in Tampa Bay, and one partial season in Colorado in 2003 before retiring.
CF: Robin Yount (.264/.325/.390, 14.4 VORP, 20.1 Win Shares) - As already mentioned this was Yount's next to last season and he was still a decent enough player but had clearly declined quite a bit since his second MVP season of 1989. Probably could have hung on a couple of more years past 1993 as a back up but decided to retire at age 37. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.
RF: Darryl Hamilton (.298/.356/.400, 27.0 VORP, 18.0 Win Shares) - Dante Bichette actually played more games in right field than any other Brewer but was more of a platoon player as Hamilton saw more action playing all three outfield positions. Adequate hitter, good glove centerfielder, Hamilton spent seven years in Milwaukee. Signed as a free agent with Texas after 1995 where he spent just one season and then signed with the Giants. They traded him a deadline deal ('92 Brewers: Deadline Deal Kings) in 1998 to the Rockies for Ellis Burks which ended being a really stupid trade for Colorado. He'd be traded in yet another deadline deal in 1999 to Mets where he accoding to his Wiki entry he didn't get along with Bobby Valentine and put a "hex" on the Mets after being released in 2001. Now works in the Commissioner's Office shining Bud Selig's shoes or something.
DH: Paul Molitor (.320/.398/.461, 58.7, 28.4 Win Shares) - Still an excellent hitter at age 35, I placed him 4th in my 1992 A.L. MVP Redo. After 15 years in Milwaukee he departed thru free agency to Toronto in 1993 where he had even a better season and placed 2nd in the MVP voting that year. He would have one of the great postseason performances of all-time leading the Blue Jays two a second straight World Championship and winning the World Series MVP. Signed with his hometown Twins after 1995 to finish out his career, retiring after 1998. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004.
Bill Wegman (120 ERA+, 48.2 VORP, 15.5 Win Shares) - Wegman pitched 261 2/3 innings in 1992 which I'm guessing didn't do wonders for his arm as he didn't pitch that many combined the next two seasons. Couldn't find much of anything on him but I assume he had problems previously as he made only 13 starts in 1989 and 1990. Out of the Majors after 1995.
Jaime Navarro (115 ERA+, 45.7 VORP, 15.4 Win Shares) - Very erratic, innings eater this was one of Navarro's best years. After a poor year in 1994 he was picked up by the Cubs where he put together a couple of decent seasons. This led the White Sox to sign him to a four year deal after 1996 which ended up being a disaster as he posted ERA's of 5.79, 6.36, and 6.09 the next three seasons. They got the Brewers to take him them off their hands in 2000 but in five starts he had an ERA of 12.74 before they released him. Picked up by the Rockies and was sent to Triple-A but they released him a month later then the Indians gave him a shot but obviously he hadn't had anything left. Bounced around the minors thru 2003.
Chris Bosio (106 ERA+, 34.4 VORP, 13.1 Win Shares) - This was Bosio's last year in Milwaukee. For some reason I remember not liking him and I have no idea why. Anyways he would sign a big money, four-year deal with the Mariners after this season. While he'd be decent the first couple of seasons he was plauged with injuries most of his stay in Seattle and once the contract was up after 1996 so was his career.
Ricky Bones (84 ERA+, 5.6 VORP, 4.1 Win Shares) - Was acquired shortly before the season from the Padres in the Gary Sheffield trade. Played on seven teams in 11 years, Milwaukee was the only place that Bones had an extended stay. Had one good season as a starter in 1994 but by 1996 he was so bad that he was a PTBNL in the before mentioned trade with the Yankees that had Pat Listach thrown in. Pitched just seven innnings down the stretch for the Yankeess giving up 11 runs. Bounced around from Cincinnati, Kansas City (decent year as a short reliever in '98), Baltimore, and finally Florida.
Closer: Doug Henry (95 ERA+, 2.5 VORP, 5.7 Win Shares) - Brewers had a great bullpen in '92 but for whatever reason stuck with Henry as their closer. A late bloomer, Henry made his MLB debut at age 27 the year before and the following season would be his last as a closer. Spent the rest of his career as your typical journeyman, middle reliever as he'd be good one year and bad the next. Traded to the Mets after 1994, went to the Giants in 1997, then to the Astros, back to the Giants, and finally finishing out his career in 2001 with the Royals.
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.
In my 1989 A.L. MVP redo, I made reference the Orioles surprise run at the A.L. East title that year after their miserable 1988 season and that gave me my next subject for a Where'd They Go? entry.
Pretty much can sum up the Orioles '88 season by looking back at their first 21 games of the season.
April 4: Brewers 12, Orioles 0
April 6: Brewers 3, Orioles 1
April 8: Indians 3, Orioles 0
April 9: Indians 12, Orioles 1
April 10: Indians 6, Orioles 3
April 11: Indians 7, Orioles 2
April 12: Royals 6, Orioles 1
April 13: Royals 9, Orioles 3
April 14: Royals 4, Orioles 3
April 15: Indians 3, Orioles 2
April 16: Indians 1, Orioles 0
April 17: Indians 4, Orioles 1
April 19: Brewers 9, Orioles 5
April 20: Brewers 8, Orioles 6
April 21: Brewers 7, Orioles 1
April 22: Royals 13, Orioles 1
April 23: Royals 4, Orioles 3
April 24: Royals 3, Orioles 1
April 26: Twins 4, Orioles 2
April 27: Twins 7, Orioles 6
April 28: Twins 4, Orioles 2
It finally ended on April 29th in Chicago with a 9-0 win over the White Sox and their rookie starter Jack McDowell. Six of the 21 losses came against the Royals who Baltimore would go 0-12 against in 1988. Hey but after an 0-21 start you have no where to go but up but "up" for the Orioles was playing 32 games under .500 the rest of the season, ending up with 107 losses. Here's a look bacK at the team who epitomized losing for me as a kid.
C: Mickey Tettleton (.261/.330/.424, 15.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - Released by the A's right before the start of the season, in limited playing time Tettleton showed some of the power he'd display in future years, breaking out the following season with 26 homeruns. Traded to the Tigers after the 1990 season he'd play their four years and then three years in Texas, his career over after 1997.
1B: Eddie Murray (.284/.361/.474, 46.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - Once Cal Ripken is inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, this Orioles team will be one of three teams from the 1988 season with more than one Hall of Famer on it's roster. Murray was still very productive into his 30's but this would be his last full season in Baltimore as he was traded to the Dodgers during the offseason for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell (ehhhh). Tested the free agent waters mutliple times going for L.A. to the Mets after 1991 and then to Cleveland after 1993. He would make a return visit to the Orioles in 1996 via trade to hit his 500th homerun. Split time between the Angels and Dodgers in 1997, his final season. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
2B: Billy Ripken (.207/.260/.258, -16.3 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - I have to imagine having Billy play the full season with brother Cal was a publicity stunt as there was no way Billy should have been playing a full season with Major League team, even one as bad as the Orioles, circa 1988. Outside of a decent 1990 season the younger Ripken never developed. Left Baltimore after 1992 he bounced around the Majors to Texas, Cleveland, Detroit, with even a return visit to the Orioles in 1996 mixed in.
3B: Rick Schu (.256/.316/.363, 4.4 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Rene Gonzales played more games at 3rd but Schu made more starts, not that it really mattered. Originally pegged as the guy to the replace Mike Schmidt in Philadelphia as the Phillies actually moved Schmidt to 1st base in 1985 but he never lived up to the hype. Out of organized baseball from 1992 to 1995 made a brief appearance with the Expos in 1996.
SS: Cal Ripken (.264/.372/.431, 55.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares) - Had an off year in '87, Ripken bounced back to have a nice season in the Orioles terrible year. No need to go into the details of his career and will be a first ballot HOF selection next year.
LF: Pete Stanicek (.230/.313/.310, -3.6 VORP, 3 Win Shares) - Orioles had no set outfield all season long with Stanicek making just 46 starts in left but that was the most on the team. This was the only significant playing time he had in the Majors and his baseball career was over quickly after.
CF: Fred Lynn (.252/.312/.482, 16.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Actually didn't finish the season in Baltimore as he was traded at the waiver deadline to Detroit for Chris Hoiles to make way for Brady Anderson. Could still hit for power at this point but it was obvious his career was starting to wide down. Finished his career in 1990 with San Diego.
RF: Joe Orsulak (.288/.331/.422, 12.2 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - Orsulak made a career out of being a servicable, platoon outfielder. First year in Baltimore he'd play there thru 1992 and the join the Mets. Was actually part of a deal in 1997 between the Marlins and Expos that sent Cliff Floyd to Florida and that would be his last season.
DH: Larry Sheets (.230/.302/.343, -7.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Yup not a good sign when your DH puts up those numbers although Eddie Murray actually made the most starts at DH. Sheets was living off his 31 homeruns in the previous year in the homerun explosion of '87. Out of baseball after 1993.
Jose Bautista (91 ERA+, 16.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Had put up some fairly impressive numbers in the minors but Bautista's low K rate showed that he wasn't going to be effective in the Majors. Managed to have a couple of decent years with the Cubs as a reliever in 1992/93. Bounced around mutliple teams and orginzations, last appearing in the Majors in 1997 with St. Louis.
Jeff Ballard (89 ERA+, 8.3 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - Tied for the team lead in wins with a grand total of eight he was another young pitcher the Orioles were counting on but had a sub 3.0 K/9 ratio. Some how managed to win 18 games the following year despite awful peripherals. Played a couple of seasons in Pittsburgh, his career over after 1994.
Jay Tibbs (72 ERA+, -10.4 VORP, 1 Win Share) - When you throw almost 160 innings and end up with a single Win Share you know you were bad. Win/Loss record is always deceiving but in the case of Tibbs' 4-15 record it wasn't. Hell how'd he manage to win four games? Actually went 5-0 with a 2.84 ERA the following year in only eight starts but I couldn't find out if he got hurt. Finished career with Pirates in 1990. Despite a short career was involved in four different trades.
Mike Boddicker (101 ERA+, 15.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Another veteran who did not finish the season with the team, he was dealt to the Red Sox at the trade deadline for prospects Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling in a trade that would be scrutinized by Sox fans for several years although he was very effective during his time in Boston. Left Boston as a free agent after 1990 for Kansas City, finishing up his career in 1993 in Milwaukee.
Closer: Tom Niedenfuer (111 ERA+, 10.9 VORP, 7 Win Shares) - Always to be remembered for his two game winning homeruns given up to Ozzie Smith and Jack Clark in the 1985 NLCS. By this point Niedenfuer was no longer the strikeout artist he was but still effective. Signed with Seattle after the season where had an awful year, then finished up his career with a decent year in St. Louis.
My 1987 A.L. MVP Redo helped me find my next “Where’d They Go?” subject as there was one team that year that had three players in my top 10, that being the Boston Red Sox. Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Dwight Evans all had great years and having three players of that caliber playing for the defending A.L. Champs you’d think that'd lead to a successful year. They finished 78-84. What happened?
Obviously three stars can not lead a team of 25 to a championship. After you got past those three and Mike Greenwell the ’87 Sox were a terrible team. They spent just one day over .500 (8-7 on April 22nd) the entire season. The major problem was pitching as they posted 4.77 team ERA, only Baltimore and Cleveland were worse. The bullpen was particularly awful with an ERA of 5.42 and only 16 saves. Maybe the most glaring problem for the Red Sox was they were seemingly a completely different team on the road. They were a very strong 50-30 at home. They were a miserable 28-54 on the road.
C: Marc Sullivan (.169/.198/.238, -14.7 VORP, 2 Win Shares) – 14 OPS+. 14! How is that even possible for a non-pitcher? Sullivan was part of a three headed non-hitting monster at catcher for the Sox along Rich Gedman and John Marzano. The previously reliable Gedman heldout the first month of the season and then had a thumb injury midseason. How in the world was Sullivan in the Majors you ask? His dad Haywood Sullivan was co-owner of the Red Sox at the time. Aww nepotism. This would be Sullivan’s last year in the bigs.
1B: Dwight Evans (.305/.417/.569, 57.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares) – Dewey was moved to first in July after they released Bill Buckner. Evans struggled badly at first and I’m not sure why they chose to move him to first instead of rookie Todd Benzinger who got the majority of time in right field the remainder of the year. I guess maybe the thinking was with Evans being 35 they wanted to attempt to extend his career by moving him to first. Stayed with the Red Sox thru 1990 and spent his final year in Baltimore. Deserved a lot more support for the Hall of Fame than he got, which was almost no support at all.
2B: Marty Barrett (.293/.351/.351, 18.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – Barrett had a decent year after his career year of ’86. In 1989 a knee injury cut his year, and eventually career, short and rookie Jody Reed took his job from there. Left the Sox after 1990 and had a brief stint in 1991 with the Padres before being released.
3B: Wade Boggs (.363/.461/.588, 90.1 VORP, 32 Win Shares) – Boggs was well into his peek here with another MVP caliber season winning his third of four straight batting titles. This was the one year that Boggs showed serious power as he hit 24 homeruns in an assumed juiced ball year. His production dipped severely in 1992 and after that year he signed as a free agent with the Yankees where rebounded with a great year in 1994 and won his only World Series ring in 1996. Closed out his career with the Devil Rays, retiring after 1999. He actually gave his HOF cap rights to the D-Rays as part of his contract but thankfully the HOF changed it’s rules and players no longer are able choose the cap they wear on their plaque. Inducted with a Red Sox cap last year.
SS: Spike Owen (.259/.337/.343, 10.7 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Owen sure made a career out of being a weak hitter and unspectacular defensive shortstop. Traded after 1988 to the Expos where he’d spend four years. Traded again after 1993 to the Yankees. In 1994 with the Angels he put up a shocking .310/.418/.422 line in 82 games but he went back to his usual numbers in ’95 which was his final season.
LF: Jim Rice (.277/.357/.408, 9.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – This was the year where Rice seemed to age about five years as he was hobbled with knee problems. Moved to DH the following year but that failed to really extend his career and he retired after 1989. His HOF support is continuing to grow and though he’ll have no shot for 2007 with the Ripken/Gwynn ballot, I will not be surprised if he is elected on the 2008 ballot over the more deserving Tim Raines.
CF: Ellis Burks (.272/.324/.441, 17.4 VORP, 15 Win Shares) – Solid rookie year for Burks who was just 22 at the time. Had his first of many injuries in 1989 when he was limited to 97 games due to a shoulder injury. In his 18 year career he only played more than 140 games in a season four times but when he was in the line up he was usually great. Signed with the White Sox in 1993 for one season and then signed with the Rockies. Traded in a deadline deal to the Giants in 1998 and played there thru 2000. Spent the next three years in Cleveland and made a return to the Red Sox in 2004 but only played in 11 games.
OF: Mike Greenwell (.328/.386/.570, 41.9 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – This was Greenwell’s “rookie” year but he had played parts of the last two seasons and started 61 games in left, 28 games in right, and 15 games at DH. Really broke out the following year finishing in the Top 5 in the A.L. in average, OBP, SLG, hits, rbi, and a few other categories. He finished 2nd in the MVP voting but would never come close to match that year again. Would spend his entire MLB career in Boston, leaving after 1996 to play in Japan.
DH: Don Baylor (.239/.355/.404, 9.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – Boston stats only as Baylor would be traded with a month left in the season to the Twins. He was playing on borrowed time at this point although he would have a great World Series. Played his final year in 1988 with Oakland.
Roger Clemens (154 ERA+, 92.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – Who?
Bruce Hurst (103 ERA+, 40.2 VORP, 15 Win Shares) – Hurst was the only other competent pitcher on the Sox, starters or bullpen, although this wasn’t a particularly good year for him. Oddly enough made the All-Star team but Clemens didn’t. Signed as a free agent with the Padres in 1989 and had arguably his best year posting a 2.69 ERA. Had three good years in San Diego but a shoulder problem hampered him in 1992 and he found out after the season he had a torn rotator cuff. Only would pitch 51 innings after that, traded to the Rockies midseason in 1993 and then spent 1994 with the Rangers.
Al Nipper (84 ERA+, 4.5 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Nipper was a junkballer who fooled some hitters a few years earlier when he first came up to the Majors but by this time he was figured out. Sox traded him and Calvin Schiraldi to the Cubs in an absolute fleecing to get Lee Smith. Nipper actually did pitch fairly well splitting time between starter and reliever in ’88. Was released right before the 1989 season and did not pitch in the Majors that year. Not sure if he was injured or in the minors. Pitched 24 innings for the Indians in 1990, his final year.
Jeff Sellers (86 ERA+, 10.7 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Supposedly had great stuff but apparently never knew where it was going. Traded after 1988 to Cincinnati in the Nick Esasky deal and never pitched in the Majors again.
Bob Stanley (91 ERA+, 8.8 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – This was a forgettable return to starter for Stanley who’d only made two starts in the previous six years. The workhorse reliever was moved back to the bullpen the following season and had a good year but struggled in 1989, announcing his retirement at the end of the season.
Closer: Wes Gardner (84 ERA+, 7.0 VORP, 4 Win Shares) – Red Sox didn’t really have a closer for their awful bullpen but Gardner picked up 10 of the 16 saves. Spent the following year as a long reliever/fifth starter and had his only productive year in the Majors. Traded to the Padres after 1990, splitting his final year with them and the Royals.
I’ve wanted to do another one these for a while now and to tie it in with the 1986 TSM Baseball Simulation League (only two spots left, sign up today!) so figured I should pick a team from 1986 which is about as much thought as I put into picking the ’86 Texas Rangers for this entry, although they had a very interesting, young outfield.
The Rangers were coming of a 99 loss season in 1985 and were fielding one of the younger teams in the league entering the ’86 season. They would spend a good portion of the first half of the season in first place in the A.L. West but lost the lead for good in early July to the eventual division champion Angels. The stayed within striking distance through most of August but the Angels were able to coast to the division crown in September.
C: Don Slaught (.264/.308/.449, 14.5 VORP, 11.6 Win Shares) – Good hitting catcher but was rarely used full-time due to his poor defense. Rangers acquired him a four team deal before the ’85 season and he would be traded three more times in his career. Traded to the Yankees after the ’87 season he then signed with the Pirates in 1990 where he would have his longest tenure and best years. Signed with the Reds in 1996 but was dealt to the Angels before ever playing a game in Cincinnati, then traded in waiver deadline deal later that year to the White Sox. Signed with San Diego in 1997 but was released in May which marked the end of his career.
1B: Pete O’Brien (.290/.385/.468, 40.4 VORP, 23.9 Win Shares) – This was a career year for O’Brien during a solid four year stretch from ’83 to ’87. Rangers would trade him in a package deal to the Cleveland for Julio Franco following the ’88 season. Signed a four year deal with the Mariners after 1989 which ended up being a complete disaster for Seattle.
2B: Toby Harrah (.218/.332/.367, 3.1 VORP, 6.6 Win Shares) – Last season of a 17 year career spent primarily as a third baseman and shortstop. Had an excellent plate patience (had a career high .432 OBP at age 36 a year earlier) and hit for decent power but was very poor defensively.
3B: Steve Buechele (.243/.302/.410, 2.4 VORP, 12.2 Win Shares) – Ever have one of those players that you irrationally hated when you were younger and can’t remember why? Buechele was one of those guys for me. Pretty good defense but never much with the bat. Traded to Pittsburgh in a waiver deal in 1991 who then would trade him midseason the following year to the Cubs. Released by them in 1995, he then returned for I suppose a nostalgia return to the Texas that lasted 19 days.
SS: Scott Fletcher (.300/.360/.400, 35.5 VORP, 19.9 Win Shares) – Another career year here, I already talked about him in the 1992 Milwaukee Brewers entry.
OF: Ruben Sierra (.264/.302/.476, 9.4 VORP, 11.2 Win Shares) – Gary Ward was the primary left fielder this season for the Rangers and had a few more plate appearances but I couldn’t pass up talking about “The Village Idiot.” Never became the next Roberto Clemente as some had pegged him, he showed a lot of promise early in his career with a couple of outstanding years in 1989 and 1991 but peaked in his mid-20’s. Traded in a blockbuster deadline deal to the A’s in 1992 for a rat piece of shit. I was thrilled at the time but after the ’92 season Sierra decided to bulk up and become more of a power hitter which did not pay off. Had very much worn out his welcome by 1995 and was traded to the Yankees for fellow disgruntled outfielder Danny Tartabull. Traded again almost exactly a year later to the Tigers for Cecil Fielder who would toss him off to the Reds following season. For the next ten years he bounced to the Blue Jays, White Sox, Mets (minors only), Indians, back to the Rangers, Mariners, Rangers yet again, Yankees again, and finally the Twins in 2006. Did sign a minor league deal with the Mets last season but nothing came of it.
CF: Oddibe McDowell (.266/.341/.427, 23.1 VORP, 19.8 Win Shares) – Quite possibly the greatest first name in the history of first names, this was as good as would get for Oddibe as his career flamed pretty quick. Was part of the deal for Julio Franco following the ’88 season, wouldn’t last very long in Cleveland as they dealt him to the Braves midseason in ’89. Put up some solid numbers in half a season with Atlanta but came back down to earth again the following year. Didn’t appear in the Majors between 1991 and 1993 before making a return to the Rangers in 1994 as a back up.
RF: Pete Incaviglia (.250/.320/.463, 16.4 VORP, 16.1 Win Shares) – There was a lot of buzz about Incaviglia going into the season as he made the Rangers without playing a single game in the minors after putting up record numbers at Oklahoma State. Certainly had a lot of power but his inability to make consistent contact kept his homerun totals down as the 30 he hit this season as rookie would end up being a career high. Was released by the Rangers before the 1991 season, would spend the next two years in Detroit and Houston. In 1993 he signed with the Phillies where he made a pretty good contribution as a platoon player on their pennant winning team. Spent one more season there before playing a year Japan and then returning to Philly in 1996. They would trade him a waiver deadline deal to Baltimore later that year, would bounce around to three more teams and was out of the Majors after 1998.
DH: Larry Parrish (.276/.347/.509, 32.6 VORP, 16.7 Win Shares) – Already discussed him in the 1980 Montreal Expos entry, this was one of his best seasons.
Charlie Hough (114 ERA+, 33.2 VORP, 14.2 Win Shares) – It’s amazing when you look back at Hough’s career that he wasn’t a regular starting pitcher until age 34. The knuckeballer was 38 at this point (looked 50) and was in the middle of the best stretch of his career. Signed as a free agent with the White Sox after 1990, spent two years there and then was part of the expansion Marlins for the final two years of his career.
Ed Correa (102 ERA+, 27.8 VORP, 10.3 Win Shares) – Correa was only 20 years old and this was his only full season in the Majors. Had 189 strikeouts but also 126 walks so I’ll just guess he threw hard but had no clue where it was going most of the time. Played just one more year in the Majors.
Bobby Witt (79 ERA+, -2.2 VORP, 3.4 Win Shares) – This was Witt’s rookie year and he clearly wasn’t ready. In his first two seasons he threw 300 1/3 innings and walked 283 batters. Yikes. Only had one good year in 1990 and would be part of the before mentioned Sierra/Shit trade in 1992 to Oakland. Signed with the Marlins in 1995 but would be traded back to Texas later that season. Dealt to the Cardinals in 1998, he became a nomad the rest of his career but did pick up a World Series ring in his final year in 2001 with Diamondbacks.
Jose Guzman (95 ERA+, 10.2 VORP, 6.1 Win Shares) – Yet another young pitcher, I always thought he was Juan Guzman’s brother but I was wrong. After a decent year in 1988 shoulder problems would cost him full two seasons but did comeback to have two more solid years in Texas. He parlayed that into a lucrative four year deal with the Cubs which was good for him and bad for the Cubs as his arm problems returned in 1994 and didn’t pitch a single inning for them the last two years of the deal.
Closer: Greg Harris (152 ERA+, 30.4 VORP, 14.3 Win Shares) – This was the only year that Harris was really a closer per say as most of his career was a long reliever/swingman. Had several stops in his career with his longest being in Boston from 1989 to 1994. His claim to fame is that in this game (next to last appearance of his career) as a member of the Expos he became the only pitcher in the 20th century to throw from both sides of the mound.
Joe Carter and Cory Snyder of the Clevleand Indians graced the cover of Sports Illustrated's 1987 Baseball Preview issue. It declared the Indians as the best team in the American League. The ’87 Indians would lose 101 games. How could this happen? No one is picking a team who was terrible the year before to win a pennant and indeed the year before the Indians were the surprise team of baseball. There have plenty of looks at the infamous ’87 Indians so I figured I’d look at the ’86 team that led to their label as preseason contenders the following season
Going into 1986 the Indians were coming off a 102 loss season but would put together their best team in 27 years, leading the Majors in runs scored. They were never serious contenders in the A.L. East to the Red Sox in ’86 as their highpoint was on July 23rd when they were 51-41, five games out of first place. After terrible month of August (12-19) they hovered around .500 but won 9 of their last 12 games to finish 84-78, their first winning season since 1979.
C: Andy Allanson (.225/.260/.280, -9.3 VORP, 0 Win Shares) – 101 games played, 0 Win Shares. Wow. Allanson was a rookie and brought absolutely nothing to the table. On top of those stomach turning offensive numbers he also committed 20 errors. Played with the Indians thru 1989 then bounced around to Detroit, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and California.
1B: Pat Tabler (.326/.368/.433, 28.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – Tabler would have made an awesome middle infielder with his numbers but problem was he played first base. ’86 was his best year as he finished 4th in the A.L. in average but he had almost no power with a career .379 SLG. Traded to the Royals in 1988 for Bud Black, then traded to the Mets in 1990 (the fifth trade of his career), and finished his career with two years in Toronto.
2B: Tony Bernazard (.301/.362/.456, 48.2 VORP, 25 Win Shares) – The top A.L. second baseman in 1986 per Win Shares, this was also Bernazard’s career year (possible trend?). Traded midseason the following year to Oakland in what would be his last year in the Majors before a brief comeback with the Tigers in 1991.
3B: Brook Jacoby (.288/.350/.441, 30.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares) – Only 26, Jacoby appeared to be a rising star but would peak the following year with a 32 homerun season. Fell off a cliff performance wise after age 30, the Indians traded him to Oakland in 1991 and then return to Cleveland a forgettable final season in 1992.
SS: Julio Franco (.306/.338/.422, 41.9 VORP, 18 Win Shares) – Allegedly 27 years old at the time, Franco was one of my favorite non-A’s players as a kid because of his bizarre batting stance. He was awful defensive shortstop and was moved over to second base in 1988. After that year he was traded to the Rangers for Pete O’Brien, Oddibe McDowell, and Jerry Browne where he’d win the batting title in 1991. Signed with the White Sox for the 1994 season where had a terrific year but during the baseball strike decided to play over in Japan for the ’95 season. He returned to Cleveland in 1996, released late in 1997, signed with Milwaukee, and then went back to Japan in 1998. Played in Mexico in 1999 but did appear in one game for one at bat for the Devil Rays in September. Played the next two years in Mexico but the Braves purchased his contract late in 2001 and has since made a surprising return as solid, platoon player. This year joined the Mets at age 117.
LF: Mel Hall (.296/.346/.493, 29.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares) – Hall was the very definition of a platoon outfielder. In 1986 the left handed hitter had just 26 at bats against left handed pitchers. Basically a decent hitter against righties but completely useless against lefties. Traded to the Yankees before the 1989 season and I’ll just post his awesome bio on BaseballLibrary.com to talk about the rest of his career.
CF: Brett Butler (.278/.356/.375, 18.3 VORP, 20 Win Shares) – Very good leadoff hitter he was the master of the bunt single. Was a late bloomer as his prime was actually in his early-30’s. Signed with the Giants after 1987, played there for three years then became one of the most hated players by Giants fans when he signed with the Dodgers after 1990. Traded late in 1995 to the Mets and then came right back to the Dodgers, retiring after 1997.
RF: Joe Carter (.302/.335/.514, 49.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – Although later recognized more for his playing days with the Blue Jays, 1986 was actually Carter’s best year (trend!). Indians traded him to San Diego after 1989 for Sandy Alomar, Carlos Baerga, and Chris James. Almost exactly a year later he would be traded in a blockbuster deal to Toronto with Roberto Alomar for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. Played for the Blue Jays for seven years and of course became a World Series hero in 1993. Split his final season in 1998 with Baltimore and San Francisco.
DH: Andre Thorton (.229/.333/.392, 7.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Thorton was washed up at this point after being an unsung, very good DH for several years. Played in only 36 games the following year hitting just .118, his final season.
UTL: Cory Snyder (.272/.299/.500, 19.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – I figured I’d throw Snyder in since he was on that infamous S.I. cover and it was partly the hype behind him that led to the Indians being overrated going into the following year. He hit 24 homeruns in only 103 games as a rookie but no one bothered to notice his .299 OBP and that he struck out 123 times with only 16 walks! Having 100+ more strikeouts than walks is hard to do and Snyder did it three more times in his career. Traded in 1991 to Toronto, then signed with San Francisco, and then played two years in Los Angeles.
Tom Candiotti (116 ERA+, 47.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – This was Candiotti’s first full year in the Majors and he was the Indians only good pitcher in 1986, leading the A.L. with 17 complete games. Traded to the Blue Jays in 1991 in a five player deal. Then signed with Dodgers who he played with for six years. Signed with the A’s after 1997 then released during the 1999 season but was picked up for a return to Cleveland. Signed with the Angels before the 2000 season but did not make the team.
Ken Schrom (91 ERA+, 12.4 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – The Indians offense helped the mediocre pitcher to 14-7 record and an All-Star selection. Posted a 6.50 ERA the following year which would be his last in the Majors.
Phil Niekro (96 ERA+, 7.3 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – I doubt we’ll ever see another rotation with two knuckleballers on it and besides everyone knows only Doug Mirabelli can catch them. Anyways Niekro was 47 at this point and was no longer effective. His final year come next season as the Indians traded him in August to Toronto who released him a few weeks later. Picked up for a purely sentimental final start with the Braves and retired after the season. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Closer: Ernie Camacho (102 ERA+, 9.9 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – A former 1st round pick of the A’s he had an injury filled, sporadic career and this was one of only two years that he threw more than 30 innings.
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.
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.
This week the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu for some magic beans and Chase Utley was the talk of baseball with his assault on Joe DiMaggio’s consecutive hitting streak record, so the Phillies are having the best week ever! Oh Utley’s streak ended last night…but hey at least they got rid of Lazy Abreu. You know what rhymes with Abreu? Poo. That’s the kind of hard hitting analysis that you can also get from the TWiB thread.
So with the Phillies in the news the past week I figured might as well make them the next WTG? feature and the subject will be the Fightins’ from 1995. The Phillies that year stormed out of the gate after the delayed start to the season, winning 23 of their first 31 games. After beating the Cardinals 5-3 on June 25th they were 37-18, the best record in the National League with a 4 ½ game lead over the Braves in the East. Two weeks later at the All-Star Break they would be 4 ½ games behind the Braves. The Phillies lost 17 out of 20 games after June 25th and by August 10th they were under .500 after capping an eight game losing streak. After hitting rock bottom less than a week later the Phillies showed signs of life going through a stretch where they won 10 of 12 games and grabbed the Wild Card lead. But it turned out to be one big tease to a young Al Keiper as the Phillies would lose 21 of their last 31 games, finishing six games under .500. Several injuries to key players and a punchless line-up that had a MLB worst 94 homeruns were too much for the Phillies to overcome.
C: Darren Daulton (.249/.359/.401, 12.8 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – Daulton tore knee ligaments in a game against the Dodgers on August 25th which was just about when the Phillies started their collapse after taking the Wild Card lead. That would be the last game he would ever play at catcher. He only played five games the following season and was traded to the Marlins midseason in 1997 where he would pick up a World Series before retiring. It was also in 1997 when Daulton began to fucking nuts.
1B: Gregg Jefferies (.306/.349/.448, 14.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Jefferies spent the first half of the year in left field and then the second at first after Dave Hollins was traded to Boston. After two very good years in St. Louis it had appeared that he might start living up to the hype he received as a prospect for the Mets but it never happened with the Phillies. They traded him a waiver deal to the Angels in 1998 and then spent two seasons as a part time player with the Tigers.
2B: Mickey Morandini (.283/.350/.417, 21.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Morandini was one of six Phillies to make the All-Star team based on their hot start that was fading by the break. After a down year in 1997 he was traded to the Cubs for Doug Glanville and would have a career year in 1998. Too bad for him it wasn’t a contract year so wasn’t in a position to cash in on it and fell off a cliff after that. He signed with the Expos before 2000 but never played a game with them as he was reacquired by the Phillies before the season started. He would be traded in a waiver deal to the Blue Jays. He’d be re-signed by the Jays after the season but did not make the club for 2001.
3B: Charlie Hayes (.276/.340/.406, 10.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – This was second go around with the Phillies for Hayes, which would be the first of three times he’d return to a team he used to play for. He signed with the Pirates after the season who would trade him at the waiver deadline to the Yankees where he lucked out and got to catch the final out of the World Series without doing anything else of note. Yankees traded him after 1997 to the Giants where he’d spend two seasons. Spent 2000 with the Brewers and then signed with the Astros who released him midseason in 2001.
SS: Kevin Stocker (.218/.304/.274, -7.4 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Stocker pretty much pissed away all good feelings about him when he was an important midseason season call up for the Phillies during their 1993 championship season. Was traded after 1997 to the expansion Devil Rays for Mr. Poo which set the tone for the future the of the D-Rays franchise. They released him during the 2000 season and was picked up by the Angels to finish his career.
LF/RF: Jim Eisenreich (.316/.375/.464, 22.3 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – As a kid I was never an autograph seeker but one of the few autographs I ever got was Jim Eisenreich in 1992 when he was with the Royals and I’m not really sure why. The Phillies had nine different players make 20 or more starts in the outfield in ’95 with Eisenreich leading the way with 90 total starts, the majority in right. Signed with Marlins after 1996 where he picked up a World Series ring. Traded to the Dodgers midseason in 1998 in the monster Mike Piazza/Gary Sheffield deal but Eisenreich was washed up and it would be his last stop.
CF: Andy Van Slyke (.243/.333/.350, 2.4 VORP, 3 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired in June due to Lenny Dykstra’s injury problems. Van Slyke had hit the career wall the year before and it wasn’t getting any better this year which would be his last.
CF: Lenny Dykstra (.264/.353/.354, 2.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Dykstra was pretty much crippled at this point by knee and back problems, he played in only 62 games. Many thought his career was finished at this point and they were almost right as he tried to gut it out the following year but only lasted 40 games although with decent numbers (.261/.387/.418). Missed all of 1997 and tried to make a comeback in ’98 but was injured again in Spring Training, then officially retiring.
RF: Mark Whiten (.269/.365/.481, 10.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Phillies stats only, acquired for Dave Hollins from the Red Sox in July. Whiten only played in 60 games for the Phillies yet he tied for the team lead in homeruns with 11. The well traveled Whiten would be released during the following season then picked up by Atlanta who would trade him a couple of months later to Seattle. Spent 1997 with the Yankees and then had a second stint with the Indians for one full season and a couple of cameo appearances the following two years.
Paul Quantrill (92 ERA+, 13.5 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – This was Quantrill’s only full year as a starting pitcher and it’s not hard to see why. Traded after the season to Toronto and was in their rotation at the start of the year but was removed from it by midseason. It’d be the following year he’d begin a nice run as one of the better middle relievers in the game. With the Jays thru 2001 before being traded to the Dodgers with Cesar Izturis. Signed with the Yankees after 2003 but unfortunately for them he started to suck at that point and gave up the game winning homerun to THE GREATEST CLUTCHIEST HITTER WHOEVER CLUTCHED WHO ISN’T DEREK JETER in Game 4 of the ALCS that year that sparked the Red Sox comeback. Yankees traded him midseason in 2005 to the Padres who would release him in August and was picked up by the Marlins to finish the season. Announced his retirement last March.
Tyler Green (81 ERA+, 5.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The former much hyped first round pick, Green’s MLB future was already bleak at this point with major arm problems although he was, believe it or not, selected to the All-Star team. He went into the break with a 2.75 ERA but those arm problems popped up again soon after. Just a hunch Jim Fregosi having him throw three complete games in a span of five starts might not have helped his situation. Spent two more injury plagued years and then was out of the Majors.
Mike Mimbs (104 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Mimbs was a 26 year old rookie who posted a decent ERA despite walking 75 batters in 136 2/3 innings pitched. Not surprisingly a man with that kind of command didn’t last long in the Majors, last appearing in 1997.
Curt Schilling (121 ERA+, 22.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) – Schilling’s sock wasn’t bloody and wasn’t red yet but I’m sure he was just as annoying as he is today. Wait, wait Curt just IM’d me and he’s insisting typing his own profile as he wants to mention how great his 9/11 speech was, talk about steroids, and I’m sure throw in his opinion on the war in Lebanon because god damnit the world is waiting for Curt’s opinion on any every subject because he said so. Well not on my watch Schilling! Go verbally masturbate yourself some more on the SOSH boards.
Closer: Heathcliff Slocumb (149 ERA+, 15.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – This was Slocumb’s first year as a closer and hey he managed a good ERA despite a 1.51 WHIP. Traded to the Red Sox after the season and again got by on giving up tons of baserunners but not a lot of runs. In 1997 though all those baserunners finally started touching homeplate more often but he at this point he was a PVC~ so the bullpen starved Mariners traded prospects Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for him in a deadline deal. Remember kids trading prospects for mediocre relievers never ends well. Signed with the Orioles in 1998 who released him a month into the season and was picked up by the Cardinals. Traded the Padres in another deadline deal in 2000 and they released him during the offseason.
Been a long time since I did one of these as I got discouraged after flushing my 1991 Mariners entry by accident. But after doing the 80's tournament figured I might as well do one on the team that won it, the 1980 Expos. I normally try to focus on teams from the last 20 years since many of the players I at least have memories of seeing play but there are a quite a few interesting players from this club and I hadn't done one on the Expos yet.
Expos were in a heated three team race with the defending World Champion Pirates and eventual World Champion Phillies for the N.L. East title much of the second half. The Pirates faded down the stretch but the Expos and Phillies were tied for first going into the final weekend of the season and just happened to have a series against each other Montreal. Phillies won on Friday 2-1 and then the next day the Expos heart was broken when Woodie Fryman couldn't close it out in the 9th as the Phillies tied it 4-4 on a two out Bob Boone RBI single and then in the 11th Mike Schmidt hit a two run homerun off Steve Bahnsen to win it.
C: Gary Carter (.264/.331/.486, 34.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares) – “The Kid” at age 26 had already established himself as one of the best catchers in the game and finished a distant 2nd to Mike Schmidt in the MVP voting. Like most Expos stars they didn’t hang on to him and he was traded to the Mets following the 1984 season for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans. He would hit the catcher wall in 1987 and was released following an injury plagued 1989 season. Picked up with the Giants where had a decent year as a platoon catcher. Signed with the Dodgers for 1991 and then returned for nostalgia to Montreal in 1992 where he retired. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
1B: Warren Cromartie (.288/.345/.430, 19.8 VORP, 17.4 Win Shares) – Cromartie was a highly touted prospect who never quite lived up to the hype and he hit for very little power for a first baseman. Played in Montreal thru 1983 and then headed to Japan where he became a big star for Yomiuri Giants. He’d write a book about his experience in Japan which would inspire the movie “Mr. Baseball.” He returned to the States in 1991 where he played for the Royals as a back up.
2B: Rodney Scott (.224/.307/.293, 9.8 VORP, 13.2 Win Shares) – Scott was all speed and little else. He stole 63 bases and led the N.L. with 13 triples in 1980 which would lead to someone giving him a throw away 10th place MVP vote. For his career he hit just 3 homeruns in 2487 plate appearances, all of them in 1979. Most notable thing about him was in 1982 he walked off the Expos team in protest for them releasing Bill Lee and the Expos were more than accommodating in releasing Scott the next day. He was picked up by the Yankees who would also release later that year and would mark the end of his MLB career.
3B: Larry Parrish (.254/.310/.427, 9.2 VORP, 12.6 Win Shares) – Parrish had come off what appeared to be a breakout year offensively where he hit .307 with 30 homeruns and finished in the Top 5 in the MVP voting but it turned out to be a fluke, although part of his struggles in 1980 were due to a wrist injury. Dealt right before the 1982 season to Texas for Al Oliver. Played almost the rest of his career with the Rangers before being released in his final year of 1988, then picked up by the Red Sox to finish out the season. Had a brief but forgettable run as manager of the Tigers in 1999.
SS: Chris Speier (.265/.351/.330, 15.0 VORP, 12.5 Win Shares) – Speier was in the middle of a decent 19 year career although much of the rest of his career was spent as a back up. Traded to the Cardinals late in the 1984 season he’d then sign with the Cubs for a two year stint. Signed with the Giants from there where he played out the rest of his career, retiring after 1989. His son Justin currently pitches for the Angels.
LF: Ron LeFlore (.257/.337/.363, 17.0 VORP, 18 Win Shares) – LeFlore was a very interesting player because he was an ex-con and was discovered in prison by Billy Martin. After robbing people of their money for several years, LeFlore was robbing bases! Yeah I didn’t put too much thought into that. Stole a career high 97 bases in 1980 and is the only player to ever lead both leagues in steals. He signed as a free agent with the White Sox following the season but struggled there for his final two years in the Majors.
CF: Andre Dawson (.308/.358/.492, 50.9 VORP, 29.1 Win Shares) – This was Dawson’s breakout year at age 25, winning his first Gold Glove and finished 7th in the MVP voting. A free agent after 1986, with his knees already destroyed by the Olympic Stadium turf he signed with the Cubs where he’d win a very dubious MVP award his first year in Chicago. Stayed a fairly productive hitter thru his entire tenure in Chicago but after signing with the Red Sox in 1993 his power disappeared. Spent his final year with the Marlins in 1995. Currently fighting an uphill battle to get into the Hall of Fame and he just barely misses the cut for me.
RF: Ellis Valentine (.315/.367/.524, 23.9 VORP, 15.2 Win Shares) – Valentine was a super talented player but injuries starting this year derailed his career and was limited to just 86 games this year. He was hit in the face by a pitch from Cardinals’ reliever Roy Thomas in a game in late May, suffering a broken cheek bone. He struggled mightily following this season and the Expos traded him during the 1981 season to the Mets for Jeff Reardon which ended being a brilliant trade for Montreal. Played for the Angels in 1983, didn’t play a game in the Majors in 1984, and then played just 11 games with the Rangers in 1985.
Steve Rogers (120 ERA+, 50.6 VORP, 19.7 Win Shares) - Steve Rogers was a scrawny fine arts student specializing in industrialization in the 1940's before America entered World War II. He attempted to enlist in the army only to be turned away due to his poor constitution. A U.S. officer offered Rogers an alternative way to serve his country by being a test subject in project, Operation: Rebirth, a top secret defense research project designed to create physically superior soldiers. Rogers accepted and after a rigorous physical and combat training and selection process was selected as the first test subject. He was given injections and oral ingestion of the formula dubbed the "Super Soldier Serum" developed by the scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine. Rogers was then exposed to a controlled burst of "Vita-Rays" that activated and stabilized the chemicals in his system. The process successfully altered his physiology from its frail state to the maximum of human efficiency, including greatly enhanced musculature and reflexes.
After the assassination of Dr. Erskine. Roger was re-imagined as a superhero who served both as a counter-intelligence agent and a propaganda symbol to counter Nazi Germany's head of terrorist operations, the Red Skull. Rogers was given a costume modeled after the American flag, a bulletproof shield, a personal sidearm and the codename Captain America. He was also given a cover identity as a clumsy infantry private at Camp LeHigh in Virginia. Barely out of his teens himself, Rogers made friends with the teenage camp mascot, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. Barnes accidentally learned of Rogers' dual identity and offered to keep the secret if he could become Captain America's sidekick. Rogers agreed, and trained Barnes. Roger met President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who presented him with a new shield made from a chance mixture of iron, Vibranium and an unknown catalyst. Throughout World War II, Captain America and Bucky fought the Nazi menace both on their own and as members of the superhero team the Invaders, which after the war evolved into the All-Winners Squad.
In the closing days of World War II in 1945, Captain America and Bucky tried to stop the villainous Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental drone plane. Zemo launched the plane with an armed explosive device on it, with Rogers and Barnes in hot pursuit. They reached the plane just before it took off, but when Bucky tried to defuse the bomb, it exploded in mid-air. The young man was believed killed, and Rogers was hurled into the freezing waters of either the North Atlantic. Neither his body or Bucky's were found, and both were presumed dead.
The Avengers discovered Rogers' body in the North Atlantic, his costume under his soldier's uniform and still carrying his shield. Rogers had been preserved in a block of ice since 1945, which melted after the block was thrown back into the ocean by an enraged Sub-Mariner. When Rogers revived, he related his last, failed mission in the closing days of the war. Rogers accepted membership in the Avengers, and although he soon adjusted to modern times well enough to eventually assume leadership of the team, he was plagued by guilt for not being able to prevent Bucky's death. He also undertook missions for the national security agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which was commanded by his old war comrade Nick Fury. Rogers established a residence in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and has discovered that Bucky had been held in suspended animation throughout the Cold War performing assassinations as the Winter Soldier.
Recent events have been tumultuous for Captain America. As the passage of the the Superhuman Registration Act drew near, Maria Hill (the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.) propositioned Rogers and the Avengers to join S.H.I.E.L.D. in enforcing the act. When he refused, Hill had her trained "Superhuman Response Unit" attack him. During the scuffle Rogers avoided being tranquilized and managed to escape by lodging his shield in an aircraft and forcing the pilot to fly him to safety. Soon after, at the Baxter Building the Watcher told the heroes who had gathered there about the Captain's escape. Captain America soon became the de facto leader of the Secret Avengers, heroes fighting against the registration act, much to the consternation of his erstwhile friend Iron Man. While the two made sporadic attempts to reconcile during the Civil War, the clashes between their respective teams became more and more heated, ultimately leading to a pitched battle in the middle of New York City. At the end of the battle, as Cap was about to deliver a finishing blow to Iron Man, he was tackled by several emergency workers. Realizing the damage the war was doing to the city and its civilian population, Captain America unmasked and surrendered as Steve Rogers.
On his way to an arraignment at the Federal Courthouse in New York City, Captain America was shot in the right shoulder by a sniper's bullet. Several subsequent shots were fired point blank at Rogers by Sharon Carter, brainwashed by Dr. Faustus who was allied with the Red Skull. Sharon, unaware of her actions and concealed by the crowd during the shooting, escorted Rogers to the hospital while the Falcon and the Winter Soldier subdued the sniper, Crossbones (Brock Rumlow). Captain America was pronounced dead on arrival at Mercy Hospital. Sharon's memory was restored by a keyword spoken by the Red Skull's daughter, Sin (Sinthia Shmidt).
Oh wait...wrong Steve Rogers. This Steve Rogers was the rock of the Expos rotation, playing his entire 13 year career in Montreal. There you go.
Scott Sanderson (115 ERA+, 37.9 VORP, 14.4 Win Shares) – I actually went over Sanderson already in the '89 Cubs entry. He was actually quite the phenom at this point as he was only 23. Traded to the Cubs in a three team, six player deal after the 1983 season.
Bill Gullickson (119 ERA+, 22.9 VORP, 10.1 Win Shares) – Gullickson was the #2 overall pick in 1977 and this was his rookie year at age 21. Had a losing record in 1981 but did pitch very well although it would pretty much be his peak. Very mediocre for the majority of the rest of his career, he was traded after one of his better years in 1985 to the Reds. They traded him to the Yankees in late 1987 and Gullickson then spent the next two years in Japan. Came back to America in 1990 to pitch for the Astros and then signed with the Tigers where he won an offense aided 20 games in 1991. Played the rest of his career there thru 1994. Ironically enough Gullickson and Sanderson are both #1 on each others career similarity scores.
Bill Lee (72 ERA+, -7.6 VORP, 1 Win Share) – Lee, Charlie Lea, and David Palmer shared the 4th spot in the rotation but I went with Lee since he’s the most recognizable name. The Sapceman’s career was obviously winding down at this point as he had a terrible year. Rebounded a bit in limited duty the following year but as before mentioned was released in 1982.
Relief Ace: Woodie Fryman (159 ERA+, 17.5 VORP, 12.7 Win Shares) – We’re still a little bit away from the closer position taking the role we know it as today as Fryman led the Expos with 17 just saves at age 40. He had actually retired midseason three years earlier while with the Reds but changed his mind after the season. Retired after 1983.
In recent years the WWE has made a killing on wrestler themed DVD's that feature several full length versions of classic matches. Now not necessarily influenced by the WWE but Major League Baseball has now started releasing DVD box sets of classic World Series featuring full length games from the entire series. This year they've released 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series on DVD and I'd imagine there will be more of this in the future. Even though I'm not a fan of the Reds, Pirates, or Mets I do plan on buying these sets once the price goes down. Now a couple of years ago the NFL started releasing box sets called the "NFL Super Bowl Collections." This confused some people as they wondered if these were original broadcasts of the NFL games or not. Of course they weren't as they were just the classic half-hour highlight films of the games done by NFL Films that anyone can see on ESPN every January.
Now before they changed their programming a little over a year ago ESPN Classic was paradise for a diehard sports fan who loved watching classic sporting events. You could find original broadcasts of classic MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, boxing, and racing on a regular basis. There was one thing always missing though and that was original broadcasts of classic NFL games. This always had struck me as unusual. Given that ESPN has been televising NFL games since 1987 and with their deal with ABC you'd figure at the very least they'd be able to show classic Sunday & Monday Night Football games but no such luck.
I've searched as much as I can but I've never been able to find out why the NFL refuses to allow any broadcast of this archived footage. When the NFL Network started up a few years back I always assumed that they would air classic games on the channel. With 24 hours to fill on a channel that would only interest serious NFL fans you would think they would fill some of that time but showing classic games but they do not. My only theory has been that given the deal with NFL Films it seems that the NFL only wants them to be the sole history teller of their sport. Back in the late 90's they started putting together NFL Films versions of full length historical games such as Super Bowl III and the 1982 NFC Championship game. These were kind of cool when they first aired but they've only done a handful of games and they still don't have the feel of watching an original broadcast game.
I will continue to not understand why the NFL sits on a goldmine they have. These classic games are just sitting there with no one to see them. With MLB now jumping on the DVD bandwagon of selling classic footage you'd hope the NFL will do the same in the future. The sales just for boxed sets of full length Super Bowls would be through the roof especially if they packaged them for particular teams like the 49ers, Cowboys, and Steelers. The NFL certainly has never turned down the chance to make more money and I don't see why they refuse to do so in this case.
Back in August when I was completely out of ideas for this blog I started simming a Tecmo Super Bowl season using an NES emulator I downloaded like five years ago and posted the results here. I got through the regular season but for the playoffs I'd decided I should sit and watch the computer play itself instead of just simming the games and I was Bored in a hurry. After two games I stopped and eventually forgot about the whole thing. But I'm currently out of ideas again so might as well finish thing, just in time for the real NFL Playoffs.
So you don't have to go digging for the old entries (and why would you?) here's the playoff picture:
Since I don't think I ever bothered to watch the computer play itself back in the day I don't remember if there is any sort of bug that causes every playoff game to be decided by exactly seven points but that is what happened in this round. Hopefully that won't continue.
AFC Wild Card: San Diego Chargers vs. Miami Dolphins
SD: Butts 42 Run
SD: Carney 23 FG
MIA: Clayton 62 Pass from Marino
MIA: Clayton 24 Pass from Marino
MIA: Stoyanovich 21 FG
Mark Clayton burned the Chargers’ secondary for 152 yards as after a sluggish first half the Dolphins dominate the second half to advance. Charges moved the ball inside the Dolphins’ 30 late in the 4th quarter but turned it over on downs.
NFC Wild Card: Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles
When I did this game back in August it looks like I forgot to take a screen shot of the boxscore.
Eagles 28, Redskins 21
WAS: Clark 59 Pass from Rypien
PHI: Williams 52 Pass from Cunningham
WAS: Clark 25 Pass from Rypien
PHI: Williams 44 Pass from Cunningham
WAS: Clark 14 Run
PHI: Cunningham 4 Run
PHI: Sherman 21 Run
An amazing performance by QB Eagles aka Randall Cunningham leads the Eagles into the next round. Cunningham threw for 220 yards and ran for 127 more as the Redskins defense did not force the Eagles to punt the entire game. The Redskins offense moved through the Eagle defense like butter in the first half scoring all three possessions but could not get a first down in the second half.
AFC Wild Card: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Oilers
HOU: Fuller 37 Fumble Return
HOU: Jefferies 11 Pass from Moon
PIT: Hoge 7 Run
HOU: Duncan 19 Pass from Moon
PIT: Williams 3 Run
In the a battle of the #3 offense in the league and the #1 defense in the league, offense won out as the Oilers outlast the Steelers. Pittsburgh made it a game after digging a 14-0 hole and had the ball at the end of the game but in true Tecmo computer fashion they ran the ball and ran out the clock.
NFC Wild Card: Los Angeles Rams vs. New York Giants
LA: Warner 1 Run
NY: Megget 2 Run
LA: Lansford 29 FG
NY: Bahr 55 FG
LA: Gary 5 Run
LA: Anderson 13 Pass from Everett
NY: Ingram 36 Pass from Simms
The defending Super Bowl Champs season comes to a disastrous end as after choking away a first round bye down the stretch they then proceed to be upset by the Rams in the Wild Card round. Willie Anderson went wild on the Giants secondary as the Rams were able to the move the ball without much resistance most of the game. Giants scored a meaningless touchdown as time expired to make the final score closer than it really was.
Warren Moon is the star of the week as he scorched the Bengals for 450 yards passing, which is pretty damn high for a simmed game on Tecmo, and helped the Oilers take sole possesion of first place in the AFC Central. The Browns lost their share of the lead after getting murdered by the league's best defense, the Steelers 41-0. In the NFC Central, the Vikings avoided an embarrasing loss to the Cardinals and in the process took an almost insurmountable four game lead as the Bears continue to struggle dropping one to the Saints this week 14-10.
Week 9 Scores
Atlanta 30, L.A. Rams 27 OT
ATL: 2-6, RAM: 5-3
-Mike Rozier: 115 yards rushing
Houston 44, Cincinnati 24
HOU: 6-2, CIN: 2-6
-Warren Moon: 450 yards passing
Seattle 24, San Diego 14
SEA: 5-4, SD: 4-5
-Dave Krieg: 195 yards passing
Minnesota 21, Phoenix 20
MIN: 7-2, PHX: 2-7
-Wade Wilson: 147 yards passing
New Orleans 14, Chicago 10
NO: 4-4, CHI: 3-5
-Dalton Hilliard: 97 yards rushing
Washington 21, N.Y. Giants 14
WAS: 5-3, NYG: 6-2
-Ricky Sanders: 6 rec, 122 yards
San Francisco 27, Philadelphia 9
SF: 5-3, PHI: 5-3
-Joe Montana: 201 yards passing
Dallas 24, Detroit 21
DAL: 4-4, DET: 2-6
-Emmitt Smith: 99 yards rushing
Kansas City 27, L.A. Raiders 10
KC: 4-5, RAI: 7-2
-Stephone Paige: 5 rec, 171 yards
Tampa Bay 14, Green Bay 9
TB: 2-6, GB: 1-7
-Bucs Defense: 4 interceptions
Pittsburgh 41, Cleveland 0
PIT: 5-3, CLE: 5-3
-Browns Offense: 77 total yards
New England 16, Denver 14
NE: 2-6, DEN: 3-5
-Steve Grogan: 162 yards passing
Bye Weeks: Buffalo (8-0), Indianapolis (3-5), Miami (6-2), N.Y. Jets (1-7)
Leaders thru Week 9
1. Dan Marino, 197.5
2. Phil Sims, 194.4
3. Jim Kelly, 176.9
1. Warren Moon, 2109
2. Marino, 1954
3. Joe Montana, 1939
1. Marino, 23
2. Montana, 21
3. Jim Everett, 20
1. Jerry Rice, 37
2. Anthony Miller, 32
3. Henry Ellard, 30
1. Rice, 977
2. Ellard, 761
3. Miller, 713
1. Rice, 10
2t. Many tied with 8
1. Johnny Johnson, 777
2. Christian Okoye, 775
3. Neal Anderson, 766
1. Johnson, 11
2t. Anderson, 10
2t. Marcus Allen, 10
1t. Joey Browner, 7
1t. Kevin Ross, 7
3t. Many tied with 6
1. Lawrence Taylor, 14
2t. Bruce Smith, 13
2t. Simon Fletcher, 13
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Many tied with 9
Punting Avg: Sean Landetta, 51.0
Punt Return Avg: Henry Ellard, 12.8
Kick Return Avg: Danny Peebles, 20.6
And then there was one. The Raiders suffered their first loss of the season in the Battle of Los Angeles to the Rams 35-31. Rams now improve to a surprising 5-2 and maintain their one game lead on the 49ers in the NFC West. The Bills hit the halfway point and their bye week undefeated as they cruised to another win over the Bengals. The Vikings blew out the Patriots 37-10 and continue their large lead the NFC Central.
Week 8 Scores
Buffalo 31, Cincinnati 14
BUF: 8-0, CIN: 2-5
-Thurman Thomas: 127 yards rushing
Indianapolis 28, N.Y. Jets 21
IND: 3-5, NYJ: 1-7
-Jeff George: 254 yards passing
Minnesota 37, New England 10
MIN: 6-2, NE: 1-6
-Anthony Carter: 6 rec, 158 yards
New Orleans 27, Tampa Bay 0
NO: 3-4, TB: 1-6
-Buccaneers: 78 yards of offense
Houston 35, Miami 14
HOU: 5-2, MIA: 6-2
-Warren Moon: 291 yards passing
Pittsburgh 14, Seattle 10
PIT: 4-3, SEA: 4-4
-Dave Krieg: 36% comp pct, 86 yards
Kansas City 31, Denver 20
KC: 3-5, DEN: 3-4
-Stephone Paige: 6 rec, 170 yards
L.A. Rams 35, L.A. Raiders 31
RAM: 5-2, RAI: 7-1
-Jim Everett: 309 yards passing
Phoenix 31, Atlanta 24
PHX: 2-6, ATL: 1-6
-Timm Rosenbach: 266 yards passing
San Francisco 28, Detroit 3
SF: 4-3, DET: 2-5
-Joe Montana: 252 yards passing
Cleveland 23, San Diego 20
CLE: 5-2, SD: 4-4
-Eric Metcalf: 5 rec, 115 yards
Chicago 28, Green Bay 17
CHI: 3-4, GB: 1-6
-Neal Anderson: 122 yards rushing
Bye Weeks: Dallas (3-4), N.Y. Giants (6-1), Philadelphia (5-2), Washington (4-3)
Leaders thru Week 8
1. Phil Simms, 210.6
2. Dan Marino, 197.5
3. Jim Kelly, 176.9
1. Marino, 1954
2. Kelly, 1771
3. Joe Montana, 1738
1. Marino, 23
2t. Jim Everett, 18
2t. Kelly, 18
1. Jerry Rice, 33
2. Anthony Miller, 27
3. Many tied with 26
1. Rice, 881
2. Duper, 709
3. James Lofton, 635
1. Rice, 9
2t. Henry Ellard, 8
2t. James Lofton, 8
1. Thurman Thomas, 697
2. Neal Anderson, 685
3. Christian Okoye, 657
1. Marcus Allen, 10
2. Neal Anderson, 9
3t. Many tied with 8
1. Joey Browner, 7
2t. Many with 6
1t. Lawrence Taylor, 13
1t. Bruce Smith, 13
3t. Many tied with 12
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Steve Christie, 9
Punting Avg: Mark Saxon, 51.1
Punt Return Avg: Henry Ellard, 12.8
Kick Return Avg: Tim Brown; Danny Peebles, 19.2
Nearing the midway point of the season and the Bills and Raiders still can't be beat. Bills had a lackluster effort against the lowly Colts but still prevailed 31-23 while the Raiders beat the Seahawks 24-14 to now take a commanding three game lead in the AFC West. Even with their dominance the Bills aren't running away with their division as the Dolphins are right on their heels, improving to 6-1 after a 27-24 win over the Chiefs. Earnest Byner returned to action for the Redskins and nearly returned to the top of the league's leading rushers but it wasn't enough to beat Byner's former team the Browns as they downed the Skins 17-16.
Week 7 Scores
San Francisco 31, Atlanta 14
SF: 3-3, ATL: 1-5
-Joe Montana: 232 yards passing
L.A. Rams 24, San Diego 6
RAM: 4-2, SD: 4-3
-Willie Anderson: 6 rec, 178 yards
L.A. Raiders 24, Seattle 14
RAI: 7-0, SEA: 4-3
-Marcus Allen: 85 yards rushing
Minnesota 20, Phoenix 14
MIN: 5-2, PHX: 1-6
-Herschel Walker: 116 yards rushing
Philadelphia 28, New Orleans 14
PHI: 5-2, NO: 2-4
-Randall Cunningham: 225 yards passing
N.Y. Giants 21, Pittsburgh 6
NYG: 6-1, PIT: 3-3
-Giants: Win despite only 165 yards of offense
Miami 27, Kansas City 24
MIA: 6-1, KC: 2-5
-Mark Clayton: 6 rec, 153 yards
Cleveland 17, Washington 16
CLE: 4-2, WAS: 4-3
-Reggie Langhorne: 3 rec, 92 yards
Cincinnati 21, Dallas 14
CIN: 2-4, DAL: 3-4
-Troy Aikman: 35% comp pct, 2 int
Houston 30, N.Y. Jets 24 OT
HOU: 4-2, NYJ: 1-6
-Warren Moon: 270 yards passing
Buffalo 31, Indianapolis 23
BUF: 7-0, IND: 2-5
-Thurman Thomas: 109 yards rushing
Bye Weeks: Chicago (2-4), Denver (3-3), Detroit (2-4), Green Bay (1-5), New England (1-5), Tampa Bay (1-5)
Leaders thru Week 7
1. Phil Simms, 210.6
2. Dan Marino, 201.6
3. Jim Kelly, 171.5
1. Marino, 1727
2. Kelly, 1600
3. Joe Montana, 1486
1. Marino, 21
2t. Simms, 16
2t. Kelly, 16
1. Jerry Rice, 29
2t. Anthony Miller, 24
2t. Mark Duper, 24
1. Rice, 790
2. Duper, 657
3. Jay Novacek, 584
1. Rice, 8
2t. Henry Ellard, 7
2t. James Lofton, 7
1. Christian Okoye, 574
2. Earnest Byner, 572
3. Thurman Thomas, 570
1. Marcus Allen, 10
2t. Many with 7
1. Eddie Anderson, 6
2t. Many with 5
1. Lawrence Taylor, 13
2. Chris Doleman, 11
3t. Many with 10
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Steve Christie, 9
Punting Avg: Mark Saxon, 51.1
Punt Return Avg: Henry Ellard, 12.8
Kick Return Avg: Chris Warren, 20.2
Without Bo Jackson the Raiders still remained undefeated after beating the surprisingly mediocre 49ers 21-14. The Bills also are still unscathed as they slaughtered the Bears 38-7. The Cardinals, Bucs, and Falcons all picked up their first wins of the season and now every team in the league has at least one win. The big performance of the week came from Mark Duper who scorched the Jets secondary for 217 yards receiving in the Dolphins' 31-21 win.
Week 5 Scores
L.A. Raiders 21, San Francisco 14
RAI: 5-0, SF: 2-3
-Marcus Allen: 88 yards rushing
Seattle 30, Indianapolis 14
SEA: 3-2, IND: 2-3
John L Williams: 236 total yards
Miami 31, N.Y. Jets 21
MIA: 4-1, NYJ: 1-4
-Mark Duper: 6 rec, 217 yards
Phoenix 28, New England 10
PHX: 1-4, NE: 1-4
-Johnny Johnson: 210 total yards
Denver 17, Minnesota 14 OT
DEN: 3-2, MIN: 3-2
-John Elway: 196 yards passing
San Diego 28, Kansas City 7
SD: 4-1, KC: 2-3
-Marion Butts: 137 yards rushing
Atlanta 28, New Orleans 27
ATL: 1-4, NO: 2-3
-Chris Miller: 237 yards passing
Washington 21, Philadelphia 14
WAS: 3-2, PHI: 3-2
-Art Monk: 5 rec, 143 yards
Buffalo 38, Chicago 7
BUF: 5-0, CHI: 2-3
-Jim Kelly: 285 yards passing
Tampa Bay 20, Detroit 17
TB: 1-4, DET: 2-3
-Vinny Testaverde: 216 yards passing
L.A. Rams 24, Green Bay 16
RAM: 3-2, GB: 1-4
Jim Everett: 179 yards passing
N.Y. Giants 24, Dallas 16
NYG: 4-1, DAL: 2-3
-Phil Simms: 210 yards passing
Bye Weeks: Cincinnati (1-3), Cleveland (2-2), Houston (2-2), Pittsburgh (2-2)
Leaders thru Week 5
1. Dan Marino, 219.1
2. Phil Simms, 205.6
3. Steve Walsh, 165.4
1. Marino, 1262
2. Joe Montana, 1254
3. Walsh, 1154
1. Marino, 18
2t. Many with 12
1. Jerry Rice, 26
2. Mark Duper, 19
3t. Many with 18
1. Rice, 680
2. Duper, 546
3. Art Monk, 480
1. Rice, 7
2t. Many with 6
1. Earnest Byner, 449
2. Thurman Thomas, 399
3. Bobby Humphrey, 392
1t. Dalton Hilliard, 6
1t. Marcus Allen, 6
3t. Many with 5
1t. Many with 4
1. Lawrence Taylor, 13
2. Simon Fletcher, 8
3t. Many with 7
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Steve Christie, 7
Punting Avg: Mark Saxon, 53.1
Punt Return Avg: Henry Ellard; Johnny Bailey, 13.0
Kick Return Avg: Chris Warren, 23.0
The massacre of star running backs continues into Week 4. The league's leading rusher Earnest Byner was injured in the Redskins' loss to the previously winless Bengles and Tecmo legend Bo Jackson was also hurt in the Raiders' win over the winless Falcons. Barry Sanders did return to action this week after missing two games and rushed for 179 yards but the Lions still lost to the Colts. In other action the Steelers knocked the Eagles from the ranks of the unbeaten and the lowly Patriots picked up their first win with a stunning blowout of the Oilers.
Week 4 Scores
Miami 35, Green Bay 14
MIA: 3-1, GB: 1-3
-Miami Defense: 5 interceptions
Indianapolis 17, Detroit 14
IND: 2-2, DET: 2-2
-Jeff George: 207 yards passing
Dallas 24, Phoenix 7
DAL: 2-2, PHX: 0-4
-Troy Aikman: 220 yards passing
Kansas City 17, Seattle 7
KC: 2-2, SEA: 2-2
-Christian Okoye: 171 yards rushing
Chicago 42, N.Y. Jets 3
CHI: 2-2, NYJ: 1-3
-Ken O’Brien: 7% comp pct, 34 yards, 4 int
Buffalo 28, Tampa Bay 20
BUF: 4-0, TB: 0-4
-Jim Kelly: 196 yards passing
Pittsburgh 27, Philadelphia 10
PIT: 2-2, PHI: 3-1
-Bubby Brister: 213 yards passing
Cincinnati 21, Washington 14
CIN: 1-3, WAS: 2-2
-Earnest Byner: leaves injured
New England 35, Houston 17
NE: 1-3, HOU: 2-2
-Irving Fryar: 6 rec, 157 yards
N.Y. Giants 35, Cleveland 10
NYG: 3-1, CLE: 2-2
-Mark Ingram: 4 rec, 145 yards
Minnesota 24, New Orleans 16
MIN: 3-1, NO: 2-2
-Saints: 16 yards rushing
L.A. Raiders 27, Atlanta 20
RAI: 4-0, ATL: 0-4
-Bo Jackson: leaves injured
San Diego 23, Denver 14
SD: 3-1, DEN: 2-2
-Anthony Miller: 4 rec, 109 yards
San Francisco 35, L.A. Rams 21
SF: 2-2, RAM: 2-2
-Jerry Rice: 6 rec, 196 yards
Leaders thru Week 4
1. Phil Simms, 213.3
2. Dan Marino, 205.6
3. Randall Cunnigham, 196.8
1. Joe Montana, 1085
2. Bernie Kosar, 1037
3. Marino, 918
1. Marino, 14
2t. Montana, 10
2t. Simms, 10
1. Jerry Rice, 20
2t. Henry Ellard, 14
2t. Anthony Miller, 14
1. Rice, 560
2. Irving Fryar, 392
3. Ellard, 386
1. Rice, 6
2t. Andre Rison, 5
2t. Mark Duper, 5
1. Earnest Byner, 449
2. Christian Okoye, 360
3. Neal Anderson, 347
1t. Tom Rathman, 5
1t. Anderson, 5
3. Many with 4
1. Many with 4
1. Lawrence Taylor, 10
2t. Michael Cofer, 7
2t. Simon Fletcher, 7
SPECIAL TEAMS LEADERS
Field Goals: Jeff Jaeger, 6
Putning Avg: Mark Saxson, 53.1
Punt Return Avg: Terrance Mathis, 17.5
Kick Return Avg: Chris Warren, 24.0