It's Christmas time for stat geeks as Hardball Times has released the first Win Shares of the 2006 season and thus I can now I start tracking the MVP candidates for the season. Of coursing being that we are just a little over six weeks into the season this can all be taken with a grain of salt but hey I need excuses for entries. So every Tuesday now I'll have an updated Top 10 list for each league.
I'll start with the National League as let's face it, the race is alredy over. Barring injury everyone is running for second place behind Albert Pujols this season. He just completely blows away the field and didn't give a thought to anyone else at the top spot. What you will notice is the high placement of a couple of pitchers which didn't surprise me as with the small sample of games the more impact an individual starting pitcher can have. Those two pitchers are the least likely candidates to still be in the Top 10 come September.
#10 Chase Utley, Phillies
.302/.372/.547, 25 RC, .277 EQA, 14.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#9 Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.257/.437/.459, 27 RC, .288 EQA, 7.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#8 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
167 ERA+, 5.71 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 22.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#7 Morgan Ensberg, Astros
.281/.401/.619, 30 RC, .291 EQA, 15.1 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#6 Carlos Delgado, Mets
.298/.394/.610, 34 RC, .291 EQA, 15.9 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#5 Carlos Lee, Brewers
.296/.392/.655, 34 RC, .296 EQA, 20.1 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#4 Bronson Arroyo, Reds
221 ERA+, 3.58 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 23.1 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#3 Lance Berkman, Astros
.319/.384/.652, 37 RC, .293 EQA, 18.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares
#2 Tom Glavine, Mets
189 ERA+, 2.64 K/BB, 1.03 WHIP, 20.2 VORP, 8 Win Shares
.333/.469/.833, 49 RC, .327 EQA, 33.1 VORP, 14 Win Shares
Now for the American League which could be a wide open race all year. As of right now DH's (or DH types) are dominating the field with the likes of Giambi, Thome, Hafner, and Gomes. Ramon Hernandez, Alexis Rios, and Jose Contreras all won't be there at the end and Contreras' stock will drop dramtically pretty soon with him on the DL. The two big candidates from last year, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz, are both off to relatively slow starts but figure both will make a push at some point.
#10 Ramon Hernandez, Orioles
.315/.385/.488, 29 RC, .280 EQA, 11.0 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#9 Nick Swisher, A's
.305/.405/.664, 28 RC, .294 EQA, 18.4 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#8 Alexis Rios, Blue Jays
.367/.386/.692, 30 RC, .294 EQA, 17.2 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#7 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.358/.407/.642, 33 RC, .294 EQA, 24.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#6 Travis Hafner, Indians
.314/.430/.628, 37 RC, .303 EQA, 21.6 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#5 Miguel Tejada, Orioles
.361/.402/.613, 30 RC, .295 EQA, 25.7 VORP, 7 Win Shares
#4 Jonny Gomes, Devil Rays
.288/.421/.648, 32 RC, .295 EQA, 18.7 VORP, 10 Win Shares
#3 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.269/.480/.654, 38 RC, .311 EQA, 19.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#2 Jose Contreras, White Sox
335 ERA+, 1.91 K/BB, 0.87 WHIP, 24.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares
.290/.438/.694, 43 RC, .304 EQA, 23.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares
I'm personally not sold that Thome will keep this up all year but you never know.
-So Monmouth blew out Hampton 71-49 in the play in game tonight. Hampton had the worst RPI of any team with a winning record in the entire country and you can thank those conference tournaments for that. Now every year after this game ends the ESPN analyst has to talk about the school getting it's first ever NCAA tournament win, which always annoys me, and tonight was no different. Did Monmouth really win a tournamnet game? After all it is the "play in" game which by the wording of it seems to indicate that the winner of the game gets into the tournament. In my view Monmouth has now qualified for the tournament while Hampton has failed to do so. Monmouth will win its first real tournament game if it were to beat Villanova, which we know won't happen.
-The other postseason tournament started tonight, the NIT. I normally never pay attention to it but after a lackluster year Stanford finds themself in it, snapping their 11 year NCAA tournament streak. They beat Virginia 65-49 in their Opening Round game as UVA looked like a team that traveled 3000 miles for a game they didn't want to play which tends to happen in the NIT as motivation plays a big factor in how long a team lasts in it. Cardinal travel to play the biggest snub of the NCAA Tournament, Missouri State for their next game where they'll probably get slaughtered but hey for one night at least Stanford didn't look like mediocre team they are.
-Due to Stanford's lack of success they didn't have as many t.v. games as past years when they were a Top 10 team thus I paid a lot less attention to college basketball this year. This of course creates a problem filling out a bracket but sometimes less knowledge is a good thing. My typical formula is to look a trends for past tournaments. Things such as usually one 13, one 12, and one 11 seed will pull off a 1st round upset and at least one double digit seed will get into the Sweet 16. Of course this strategy is very hit and miss as it can really be a guessing game when it comes to picking true upset (#9 over #8, #10 over #7 aren't upsets). But I prefer doing this as I rarely play for money, including this year, so it makes it more interesting to try to have some low seed teams picked out that I can root for on the first couple of days. So here's my true upsets for the first round with very little actual research going into it:
Southern Illinois over West Virginia
Bradley over Kansas
Utah State over Washington
I then have Bradley beating Pittsburgh to become the 3rd #13 seed ever to get to the Sweet 16. Ya I've really lost it on that one. Northern Iowa is my #10 seed getting to the Sweet 16 after upsetting Ohio State. Other things of note is I having Syracuse beating Duke in the Sweet 16 which may just be my disgust for Duke but a #1 seed getting bumped for the Elite Eight is usually a strong bet. Everyone seems to be picking Tennessee to be an early exit so I put them into the Elite Eight before losing to UConn. I have Oklahoma reaching the Elite Eight which again I've probably lost it on that one. Then to finish it off I have Iowa getting all the way to the national championship game before losing to UConn.
-Annnnnnnnnnnd time to finish this off with some useless facts. Here's the biggest first round upset of every tournament since they expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
1985: #13 Navy 78, #4 LSU 55
1986: #14 Cleveland State 83, #3 Indiana 79
1987: #14 Austin Peay 68, #3 Illinois 67
1988: #14 Murray State 78, #3 N.C. State 75
1989: #14 Siena 80, #3 Stanford 78
1990: #14 Northern Iowa 74, #3 Missouri 71
1991: #15 Richmond 73, #2 Syracuse 69
1992: #14 East Tennessee State 87, #3 Arizona 80
1993: #15 Santa Clara 64, #2 Arizona 61
1994: #12 Wisconsin-Green Bay 61, #5 California 57
1995: #14 Weber State 79, #3 Michigan State 72
1996: #13 Princeton 43, #4 UCLA 41
1997: #15 Coppin State 78, #2 South Carolina 65
1998: #14 Richmond 62, #3 South Carolina 61
1999: #14 Weber State 76, #3 North Carolina 74
2000: #11 Pepperdine 77, #6 Indiana 57
2001: #15 Hampton 58, #2 Iowa State 57
2002: #13 UNC-Wilmington 93, #4 USC 89 OT
2003: #13 Tulsa 84, #4 Dayton 71
2004: #12 Manhattan 75, #5 Florida 60
2005: #14 Bucknell 64, # Kansas 63
ESPN is already doing the "Chasing Bonds" treatment for Albert Pujols but it really should be "Chasing Wagner." According to HardballTimes.com Pujols is on pace to tie Honus Wagner's single season record of 59 Win Shares set back in 1908. I am outraged the media is ignoring this potential historic event. Come on the homerun record has been broken twice in the last eight years, the Win Shares record hasn't been broken in 98 years! Don't you remember as a kid always wondering if someone would reach that magical #59?
Anyways no shock at all who's #1 in the N.L. still and I might as well give the entire Top 10 to Pujols. Not much else of note, two drop out and one of the "Most Overrated Players in Baseball" cracks to the Top 10.
Drop Outs: Carlos Delgado, Carlos Lee
#10 Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.276/.447/.503, 36 RC, .316 EQA, 13.8 VORP, 10 Win Shares
#9 Chase Utley, Phillies
.328/.406/.554, 35 RC, .298 EQA, 18.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares
#8 Bronson Arroyo, Reds
195 ERA+, 3.79 K/BB, 1.06 WHIP, 26.7 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#7 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.259/.382/.600, 32 RC, .324 EQA, 20.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#6 Morgan Ensberg, Astros
.272/.403/.627, 36 RC, .322 EQA, 20.8 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#5 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.335/.432/.599, 41 RC, .338 EQA, 25.4 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#4 Tom Glavine Mets
167 ERA+, 2.32 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 23.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#3 Lance Berkman, Astros
.296/.375/.605, 40 RC, .307 EQA, 17.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
#2 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
191 ERA+, 6.00 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 28.1 VORP, 9 Win Shares
.323/.450/.804, 58 RC, .365 EQA, 37.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares
On the A.L. side there's a lot of change with five players dropping out from last week with a couple of familiar faces jumping in including Baseball Jesus himself. But the #1 spot stays the same and even though Thome isn't blowing away the rest of the league like Pujols he definently has a comfortable edge right now. Of course a name you will not see anywhere on this list is the WORST PLAYER EVER, MR. UNCLUTCH A-FRAUD!!!!! God damn how is he not playing in Single-A now? How do the Yankees win any games with him dragging down the club?
Drop Outs: Jonny Gomes, Vernon Wells, Alexis Rios, Nick Swisher, Ramon Hernandez
#10 Jose Lopez, Mariners
.292/.322/.497, 40 RC, .284 EQA, 15.8 VORP, 10 Win Shares
#9 Jose Contreras, White Sox
250 ERA+, 2.73 K/BB, 0.87 WHIP, 25.9 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#8 Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
.319/.432/.503, 36 RC, .318 EQA, 15.7 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#7 Miguel Tejada, Orioles
.333/.391/.587, 35 RC, .325 EQA, 27.6 VORP, 8 Win Shares
#6 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.260/.464/.583, 40 RC, .348 EQA, 19.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#5 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
.314/.441/.577, 36 RC, .337 EQA, 20.5 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#4 Derek Jeter, Yankees
.348/.433/.519, 41 RC, .325 EQA, 27.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#3 Travis Hafner, Indians
.311/.443/.627, 46 RC, .353 EQA, 26.6 VORP, 9 Win Shares
#2 Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays
199 ERA+, 3.19 K/BB, 1.28 WHIP, 26.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares
.304/.440/.684, 51 RC, .351 EQA, 28.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares
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.
I had almost forgotten that the NBA Draft was only a week away. I used look forward to the draft before ESPN took over coverage of it from TNT. Now in the early days of my blog (waaaaaaaaay back four and a half months ago) I did an entry on the 1989 NBA Draft, ranking the players drafted using the basketball version of win shares. I decided that would be a better way to do a Draftback entry for the NBA rather than the usual listing of the first round making stupid comments.
I picked the 1993 draft because it ended up leading to the downfall of the Golden State Warriors franchise, not that they didn’t have the right idea at the time. They of course struck a blockbuster draft day with the Orlando Magic to acquire the draft rights to Chris Webber in exchange for the draft rights for Anfernee Hardaway and three future first round picks. The Warriors would win 50 games in the ’93-’94 season while Webber went on to win the Rookie of the Year. But a feud with head coach Don Nelson would lead to a holdout and then an eventual trade of Webber to Washington that would set the course for 12 years (and going) of futility. So even in a year where the Warriors ended getting arguably the best player to come out of the draft it blew up in their face.
1993 Draft Rankings per Career Win Shares
1. Chris Webber, Orlando/Golden State – 241 Win Shares (1st Pick)
2. Sam Cassell, Houston – 233 (24th)
3. Anfernee Hardaway, Golden State/Orlando – 189 (3rd pick)
4. Nick Van Exel, L.A. Lakers – 169 (37th)
5. Allan Houston, Detroit – 162 (11th)
6. Bryon Russell, Utah – 141 (45th)
7. Vin Baker, Milwaukee – 137 (8th)
8. Shawn Bradley, Philadelphia – 132 (2nd)
9. Jamal Mashburn, Dallas – 127 (4th)
10. Rodney Rogers, Denver – 114 (9th)
11. Ervin Johnson, Seattle – 110 (23rd)
12. Lindsey Hunter, Detroit – 101 (10th)
13. George Lynch, L.A. Lakers – 100 (12th)
14. Chris Mills, Cleveland – 97 (22nd)
15. Lucious Harris, Dallas – 77 (28th)
16. Calbert Cheaney, Washington – 67 (6th)
17. Isaiah Rider, Minnesota – 62 (5th)
18. Chris Whitney, San Antonio – 57 (47th)
19. Corie Blount, Chicago – 56 (25th)
20. Gheorge Muresan, Washington - 50 (30th)
21. Scott Burrell, Charlotte – 45 (20th)
22. Terry Dehere, L.A. Clippers – 21 (13th)
23. James Robinson, Portland – 20 (21st)
24. Rex Walters, New Jersey – 16 (16th)
25. Eric Riley, Dallas – 8 (33rd)
26t. Greg Graham, Charlotte – 6 (17th)
26t. Acie Earl, Boston – 6 (19th)
28. Bobbie Hurley, Sacramento – 7 (7th)
29. Mike Peplowski, Sacramento – 3 (52nd)
30t. Doug Edwards, Atlanta – 2 (15th)
30t. Josh Grant, Denver – 2 (43rd)
32t. Scott Haskin, Indiana – 1 (14th)
32t. Darnell Mee, Golden State – 1 (34th)
32t. Richard Petruska, Houston – 1 (46th)
The Zero Club
Luther Wright, Utah (18th)
Geert Hammink, Orlando (26th)
Malcolm Mackey, Phoenix (27th)
Evers Burns, Sacramento (31st)
Alphonso Ford, Philadelphia (32nd)
Ed Stokes, Miami (35th)
Rich Manning, Atlanta (40th)
Adonis Jordan, Seattle (42nd)
Kevin Thompson, Portland (48th)
Never Played in the NBA
Sherron Mills, Minnesota (29th)
John Best, New Jersey (36th)
Conrad McRae, Washington (38th)
Thomas Hill, Indiana (39th)
Anthony Reed, Chicago (41st)
Alex Holcombe, Sacramento (44th)
Mark Buford, Phoenix (49th)
Marcelo Nicola, Houston (50th)
Spencer Dunkley, Indiana (51st)
Leonard White, L.A. Clippers (53rd)
Bryon Wilson, Phoenix (54th)
Most Win Shares with the Team they were Drafted by
Note: Even though Hardaway wasn’t technically drafted by Orlando since he was acquired in a draft day trade he might as well have been drafted by them.
1. Anfernee Hardaway, 143
2. Bryon Russell, 121
3. Nick Van Exel, 94
4. Lindsey Hunter, 81 (two different stints)
5t. Vin Baker, 68
5t. Chris Mills, 68
7. Gheorge Muresan, 49
8. Calbert Cheaney, 43
9. Sam Cassell, 33
10. Allan Houston, 31
OMG two entries in one day, I'm out of control! This year I decided to track the number of games that each team had televised by MLB's three television partners. The final week's schedule was finalized today so figured I'd actually post the final "standings" for the year. I thought it'd be better to post it on the blog rather than the TWiB form because we don't need another debate of the overexposure of two certain teams from the Northeast and God knows I've instigated a few of those debates.
Note there was only one team in MLB that did not have a single game televised by ESPN, FOX, or TBS. Try to guess before scrolling down to find out who. Really shouldn't surprise anyone.
ESPN (76 Games)
17 Games: Cubs, Red Sox
10: Dodgers, Mets
7: Angels, Brewers
6: Cardinals, Tigers, White Sox
4: Astros, Braves, Indians
2: Athletics, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, Padres, Rangers
1: Giants, Nationals, Orioles, Rockies
FOX (66 Games)
9: Red Sox, Tigers, Yankees
8: Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers
7: Angels, Cubs, Mets
6: Diamondbacks, Twins, White Sox
5: Brewers, Indians
3: Mariners, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies
2: Orioles, Royals
1: Athletics, Marlins, Nationals
TBS (26 Games)
8: Red Sox
5: White Sox, Yankees
3: Blue Jays, Cardinals, Cubs, Marlins
2: Angels, Braves, Dodgers, Mets
1: Athletics, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Indians, Mariners, Orioles, Rays, Reds, Tigers, Twins
34: Red Sox
17: Cardinals, White Sox
16: Angels, Tigers
14: Braves, Twins
13: Brewers, Rays
5: Blue Jays, Padres
4: Astros, Athletics, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Reds, Rockies
2: Nationals, Rangers, Royals
Took a different rout with the next Draftback by just focusing on the top quarterbacks to come out of each draft with brief comments on each class.
Good depth but not one star came out of this class. Marc Wilson only had one year as a starter that he threw more touchdowns than interceptions. Mark Malone had to follow Terry Bradshaw and he was just awful. David Woodley had his 15 minutes of fame when he started Super Bowl XVII but he was not a good quarterback and only lasted until 1985, although as an 8th round pick you’d have to consider him a good value pick. Gary Hogeboom now of course now best know for being a contestant on Survivor.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Marc Wilson, 15th overall by L.A. Raiders, BYU, 14391 yards
2. Erik Hipple, 85th overall by Detroit, Utah State, 10711 yards
3. Mark Malone, 28th overall by Pittsburgh, Arizona State, 10175 yards
4. Gary Hogeboom, 133rd overall by Dallas, Central Michigan, 9436 yards
5. David Woodley, 214th pick by Miami, LSU, 8558 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Gene Bradley, 37th overall by Buffalo, Arkansas State
Very little depth although did produce two pretty good quarterbacks from small schools in Neil Lomax and Wade Wilson. Rich Campbell was selected 6th overall by the Packers in one of the all-time draft blunders as he threw just 68 passes in the NFL. They passed on Ronnie Lott to pick Campbell. Whoops!
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Neil Lomax, 33rd overall by St. Louis, Portland State, 22771 yards
2. Wade Wilson, 210th overall by Minnesota, East Texas State, 17283 yards
3. Dave Wilson, Supplemental pick by New Orleans, Illinois, 6987 yards
4. Mark Herrmann, 98th overall by Denver, Purdue, 4015 yards
5. Bob Gagliano, 319th overall by Kansas City, Utah State, 3431 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Brad Wright, 96th overall by Miami, New Mexico
Basically just Jim McMahon and a whole lot of nothing. Mike Pagel hung around for a long time as a back up. Does feature one of the greatest busts in sports history as the Colts drafted Art Schlichter as the 4th pick overall who’s career would derail very quickly due to the fact that he was a degenerate gambler.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Jim McMahon, 5th overall by Chicago, BYU, 18148 yards
2. Mike Pagel, 84th overall by Baltimore, Arizona State, 9414 yards
3. Oliver Luck, 44th overall by Houston, West Virginia, 2544 yards
4. Matt Kofler, 48th overall by Buffalo, San Diego State, 1156 yards
5. Art Schlichter, 4th overall by Baltimore, Ohio State, 1006 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Mike Kelley, 149th overall by Atlanta, Georgia Tech
This draft doesn’t need introduction as it produced three Hall of Famers. Todd Blackledge was the one true bust of this famous 1st round and it’s amazing that he went so high. Bad luck back-to-back years for the Colts as we all know Elway was drafted #1 by them but whined his way into a trade.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Dan Marino, 27th overall by Miami, Pittsburgh, 61361 yards
2. John Elway, 1st overall by Baltimore, Stanford, 51475 yards
3. Jim Kelly, 14th overall by Buffalo, Miami, 35467 yards
4. Ken O’Brien, 24th overall by N.Y. Jets, UC Davis, 25094 yards
5. Tony Eason, 15th overall by New England, Illinois, 11142 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Jeff Christensen, 137th overall by Cincinnati, Eastern Illinois
No first round quarterback in this draft but it did produce decent depth with one standout in Boomer Esiason and a Super Bowl winner in Jeff Hostetler. I don’t know how Jay Schroeder ended up with 20,000+ yards passing.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Boomer Esiason, 38th overall by Cincinnati, Maryland, 37920 yards
2. Jay Schroeder, 83rd overall by Washington, UCLA, 20063 yards
3. Jeff Hostetler, 59th overall by N.Y. Giants, West Virginia, 16430 yards
4. Randy Wright, 153rd overall by Green Bay, Wisconsin, 7106 yards
5. Steve Pelluer, 113th overall by Dallas, Washington, 6870 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Rick McIvor, 80th overall by St. Louis, Texas
The ’84 Supplemental Draft was different from any other as it was to draft the rights to USFL players (those who NFL teams didn’t own the rights to already) and a handful of CFL players. The draft was three rounds with 84 picks. Steve Young was #1 overall and was only one of two quarterbacks from the draft to throw a pass in the NFL. Young had already signed with the Los Angeles Express so he wasn’t eligible for the regular draft.
1. Steve Young, 1st overall by Tampa Bay, BYU, 33124 yards
2. Frank Seurer, 76th overall by Seattle, Kansas, 340 yards
In terms of overall depth there was very little as there was no quarterback picked in the first round and only 11 quarterbacks selected overall, but a very good group of quarterbacks did come out of this draft all with very different career paths. Due to quirk the in the draft rules at the time because he wasn’t a senior Bernie Kosar was able to declare himself eligible after the regular draft and be taken in the supplemental draft so he could play for his hometown Browns.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Randall Cunningham, 37th overall by Philadelphia, UNLV, 29979 yards
2. Bernie Kosar, Supplemental pick by Cleveland, Miami, 23301 yards
3. Doug Flutie, 285th overall by L.A. Rams, Boston College, 14715 yards
4. Steve Bono, 142nd overall by Minnesota, UCLA, 10439 yards
5. Frank Reich, 57th overall by Buffalo, Maryland, 6075 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Scott Barry, 168th overall by San Francisco, UC Davis
Lots of quarterbacks drafted in the first few rounds but some what of an underwhelming group led by Jim Everett and Mary Rypien. Featured a pretty big bust in Chuck Long. I always hated Bubby Brister. Come on his name was Bubby!
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Jim Everett, 3rd overall by Houston, Purdue, 34837 yards
2. Mark Rypien, 146th overall by Washington, Washington State, 18473 yards
3. Bubby Brister, 67th overall by Pittsburgh, NE Louisiana, 14445 yards
4. Jack Trudeau, 47th overall by Indianapolis, Illinos, 10243 yards
5. Hugh Millen, 71st overall by L.A. Rams, Washington, 6440 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Robbie Bosco, 72nd overall by Green Bay, BYU
Doesn’t the have star power of the ’83 Draft but this was a very deep quarterback class with four first round picks. Just outside the Top 5 in passing yards was Packers quarterback Don Majkowski who had one great season in 1989 but injuries derailed his career. Draft does feature a huge bust in Kelly Stouffer who the Cardinals picked 6th overall. A first round bust by the Cardinals? Go figure.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Vinny Testaverde, 1st overall by Tampa Bay, Miami, 45252 yards
2. Rich Gannon, 98th overall by New England, Delaware, 28743 yards
3. Jim Harbaugh, 26th overall by Chicago, Michigan, 26288 yards
4. Steve Beurlein, 110th overall by L.A. Raiders, Notre Dame, 24046 yards
5. Chris Miller, 13th overall by Atlanta, Oregon, 19320 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Doug Hudson, 186th overall by Kansas City, Nicholls State
Although it did produce two quarterbacks who started Super Bowls, this was an incredibly weak class with zero depth. No quarterback was taken until the 3rd round when the Cardinals picked Tom Tupa who’s long term future ended being as a punter. Of the 13 qb’s selected, only five threw a pass in the NFL. Did feature two CFL standouts in Danny McManus and Kerwin Bell.
Top 5 Passing Yards
1. Chris Chandler, 76th overall by Indianapolis, Washington, 28484 yards
2. Stan Humphries, 159th overall by Washington, NE Louisiana, 17191 yards
3. Tom Tupa, 68th overall by Phoenix, Ohio State, 3430 yards
4. Scott Secules, 151st overall by Dallas, Virginia, 1311 yards
5. Kerwin Bell, 180th overall by Miami, Florida, 75 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Don McPherson, 149th overall by Philadelphia, Syracuse
Pretty much the Troy Aikman class although I suppose Rodney Peete had his moments. Cowboys picked Aikman #1 overall and then took Steve Walsh in the supplemental draft. Many thought Walsh would be better than Aikman. Many of us don’t know anything.
1. Troy Aikman, 1st overall by Dallas, UCLA, 32942 yards
2. Rodney Peete, 141st overall by Detroit, USC, 16338 yards
3. Billy Joe Tolliver, 51st overall by San Diego, Texas Tech, 10760 yards
4. Steve Walsh, Supplemental Pick by Dallas, 7875 yards
5. Timm Rosenbach, Supplemental Pick by Phoenix, Washington State, 3676 yards
Highest Pick Not to Throw a Pass: Jeff Graham, 87th overall by Green Bay, Long Beach State
In the ongoing debate in college football of playoffs vs. bowls I certainly come on the side of playoffs. I personally think the bowls have out lived their usefulness and that any tradition left in the system was pissed away when the Big Ten and Pac-10 agreed to join the BCS a few years back thus no longer guaranteeing that those two conference’s champions would meet in the Rose Bowl. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998 it has only avoided controversy twice, in 2002 and 2005 simply because they lucked out by having two major conference, unbeaten teams left at the end of the year. Not surprisingly those are the only two years that the BCS title game hasn’t been terrible. It is only in years like 2002 and 2005 where the BCS “works” but if you look at college football’s history there are several years with scenarios where such a system would have been incapable of solving any controversy. One of those years was 1993.
After many near misses at a national title Bobby Bowden and Florida State came into 1993 the run away favorites to win the title. Led by the eventual Heisman trophy winner Charlie Ward, the Seminoles destroyed every team in their path. I had forgotten how dominate they were, just look at their jaw dropping results from that year.
8/28 vs. Kansas 42-0
9/4 at Duke 45-7
9/11 vs. Clemson 57-0
9/18 at North Carolina 33-7
10/2 vs. Georgia Tech 51-0
10/9 vs. Miami 28-10
10/16 vs. Virginia 40-14
10/30 vs. Wake Forest 54-0
11/6 at Maryland 49-20
Not even their tormenters from Miami could give them a real challenge. Then came a trip to South Bend. The Irish were also undefeated and came in at #2 in both polls. The Noles fell behind 24-7 but made a furious comeback to pull the game to 31-24. They had the ball on the Irish 14 for one final play but Ward could not connect in the endzone and it looked like FSU’s national title hopes had been dashed but a late season loss yet again. Now going into that weekend Nebraska was undefeated and #3 in the Coaches’ Poll and #4 in the AP Poll (Miami was #3). The Cornhuskers had not been nearly as dominate as the Seminoles and Irish, with one point wins over UCLA and Kansas. The coaches would move Nebraska to #2 ahead of FSU but the media would leave the Seminoles ahead of the Huskers.
Things then of course got really interesting the following week as after their triumph over Florida State and now with strangle hold on the #1 ranking in both polls, the Irish were stunned at home by Boston College in another classic on a last second field goal 41-39. FSU that weekend slaughtered another ACC foe, N.C. State 62-3, and in the media poll reclaimed the #1 spot while Nebraska grabbed the #1 spot in the coaches poll. The Irish dropped all the way to #4 in both polls behind two different interesting stories. In the coaches poll at #3 was a surprising West Virginia team had upset Miami that week to improve to 10-0 which finally earned them some serious respect, but they were #5 in the media poll. #3 in that poll was Auburn. Auburn was on probation and ineligible for postseason, they concluded their regular season undefeated but nothing to show for it. The final weekend of the regular season would play out with FSU and Nebraska disposing of their rivals, Florida and Oklahoma, while West Virginia edged Boston College 17-14 and thus ending the season with a serious poll controversy. Here’s how the regular season concluded in the polls.
1. Florida State 11-1
2. Nebraska 11-0
3. West Virginia 11-0
4. Auburn 11-0
5. Notre Dame 10-1
1. Nebraska 11-0
2. West Virginia 11-0
3. Florida State 11-1
4. Notre Dame 10-1
5. Auburn 11-0
This is was a complete nightmare. The coaches felt the right thing to do was put Nebraska and West Virginia at the top two spots but many didn’t think either was on the level of Florida State and Notre Dame. Of course the media poll was ripped to shreds as how could you have FSU at #1 and the Irish at #5, let alone have West Virginia below FSU when they beat Boston College, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Florida State. This was the type of scenario that only a playoff could have solved. Interestingly enough there was one poll left after the SEC title game, which with Auburn ineligible didn’t have much meaning on the national scene, the media bumped the Irish past Auburn even though neither played.
In the bowl selection process the Orange Bowl held all the cards as who they picked would likely decide that national title. Nebraska had the automatic invite with winning the Big 8 so after that they had the choice of Florida State, West Virginia, and Notre Dame. The would choose the Seminoles, Notre Dame would head to the Cotton Bowl against Texas A&M, and West Virginia to the Sugar Bowl against Florida. In the afternoon of January 1st the Irish edged A&M 24-21. West Virginia would prove their doubters right as they would get murdered by the Gators 41-7 and potentially helping the pollsters quite a bit. If Nebraska could beat Florida State they would get an undefeated and relatively undisputed national champion. They took a 16-15 lead with a little over a minute to go but Charlie Ward would march the Seminoles down the field in a drive that included a fourth down conversion and very controversial personal foul penalty for a field goal and an 18-16 lead with 21 seconds left. A celebration penalty though gave Nebraska life and get in field goal range but kicker Byron Bennett badly hooked the 45 yard attempt. Everyone waited for the polls the next day to see if Notre Dame jumped Florida State due to the way everything shook out but the Irish’s unconvincing win over the Aggies left them at #2 and Bobby Bowden with his long awaited first national title, despite losing to the team who was at #2.
Preseason AP Top 25
1. Florida State
4. Texas A&M
7. Notre Dame
16. Penn State
17. Ohio State
20. North Carolina
21. Boston College
24. Mississippi State
25. N.C. State
Top 25 Regular Season Match-ups
#20 North Carolina 31, #18 USC 9
#3 Miami 23, #20 Boston College 7
#1 Florida State 57, #21 Clemson 0
#11 Notre Dame 27, #3 Michigan 23
#17 Oklahoma 44, #5 Texas A&M 14
#8 Tennessee 38, #22 Georgia 6
#10 Colorado 45, #24 Baylor 21
#16 Ohio State 21, #12 Washington 12
#1 Florida State 33, #13 North Carolina 7
#9 Florida 41, #5 Tennessee 34
#20 Stanford 41, #7 Colorado 37
#3 Miami 35, #13 Colorado 29
#18 North Carolina 35, #19 N.C. State 14
#1 Florida State 28, #3 Miami 10
#13 Washington 24, #16 California 23
#25 UCLA 68, #19 BYU 14
#1 Florida State 40, #15 Virginia 14
#2 Alabama 17, #10 Tennessee 17 tie
#19 Auburn 38, #4 Florida 35
#5 Ohio State 28, #25 Michigan State 21
#18 Michigan 21, #7 Penn State 13
#20 Colorado 27, #9 Oklahoma 10
#22 UCLA 39, #12 Washington 25
#6 Miami 49, #23 Syracuse 0
#7 Arizona 9, #25 Washington State 6
#21 Virginia 17, #12 North Carolina 10
#3 Ohio State 24, #12 Penn State 6
#6 Nebraska 21, #20 Colorado 17
#15 UCLA 37, #7 Arizona 17
#25 Kansas State 21, #14 Oklahoma 14
#24 Michigan 13, #21 Wisconsin 21
#3 Ohio State 14, #15 Wisconsin 14 tie
#7 Tennessee 45, #13 Louisville 10
#19 Penn State 38, #17 Indiana 31
#2 Notre Dame 31, #1 Florida State 24
#5 Ohio State 23, #19 Indiana 17
#11 Texas A&M 42, #20 Louisville 7
#17 Boston College 41, #1 Notre Dame 39
#9 West Virginia 17, #4 Miami 14
#6 Auburn 22, #11 Alabama 14
#16 UCLA 27, #22 USC 21
#25 Virginia Tech 20, #23 Virginia 17
#1 Florida State 33, #7 Florida 21
#2 Nebraska 21, #16 Oklahoma 7
#5 West Virginia 17, #11 Boston College 14
#14 Penn State 38, #25 Michigan State 37
#9 Florida 28, #16 Alabama 13 (SEC Title)
#10 Wisconsin 41, #25 Michigan State 20
Bowl Results (MVP)
Las Vegas: Utah State 42, Ball State 33 (Anthony Calvillo)
Sun: #19 Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 10 (Jerald Moore)
Aloha: #17 Colorado 41, #25 Fresno State 30 (Rashaan Salaam)
Liberty: Louisville 18, Michigan State 7 (Jeff Brohm)
Copper: #20 Kansas State 52, Wyoming 17 (Andre Coleman)
Holiday: #11 Ohio State 28, BYU 21 (Raymont Harris)
Freedom: USC 28, Utah 21 (Johnnie Morton)
Gator: #18 Alabama 24, #12 North Carolina 10 (Brian Burgdorf)
Alamo: California 37, Iowa 3 (Dave Barr)
Peach: #24 Clemson 14, Kentucky 13 (Brentson Buckner)
Independence: #22 Virginia Tech 45, #21 Indiana 20 (Maurice DeShazo)
Fiesta: #16 Arizona 29, #10 Miami 0 (Chuck Levy)
Carquest: #15 Boston College 31, Virginia 13 (Glenn Foley)
Hall of Fame: #23 Michigan 42, N.C. State 7 (Tyrone Wheatley)
Cotton: #4 Notre Dame 24, #7 Texas A&M 21 (Lee Becton)
Citrus: #13 Penn State 31, #6 Tennessee 13 (Bobby Engram)
Rose: #9 Wisconsin 21, #14 UCLA 16 (Brent Moss)
Sugar: #8 Florida 41, #3 West Virginia 7 (Errict Rhett)
Orange: #1 Florida State 18, #2 Nebraska 16 (Charlie Ward)
Final AP Top 25
1. Florida State
2. Notre Dame
7. West Virginia
8. Penn State
9. Texas A&M
11. Ohio State
13. Boston College
19. North Carolina
20. Kansas State
22. Virginia Tech
Charlie Ward, Florida State
Marshall Faulk, San Diego State
LeShon Johnson, Northern Illinois
Errict Rhett, Florida
J.J. Stokes, UCLA
Johnnie Morton, USC
Ryan Yarborough, Wyoming
Carlester Crumpler, East Carolina
Pete Mitchell, Boston College
Mark Dixon, Virginia
Stacy Seegars, Clemson
Aaron Taylor, Notre Dame
Wayne Gandy, Auburn
Jim Pyne, Virginia Tech
Korey Stringer, Ohio State
Marcus Spears, Northwestern State
Rich Braham, West Virginia
Todd Steussie, California
Bernard Williams, Georgia
Rob Waldrop, Arizona
Dan Wilkinson, Ohio State
Sam Adams, Texas A&M
Lou Benfatti, Penn State
Derrick Alexander, Florida State
Shante Carver, Arizona
Kevin Patrick, Miami
Bryant Young, Notre Dame
Trev Alberts, Nebraska
Derrick Brooks, Florida State
Jamir Miller, UCLA
Barron Wortham, UTEP
Dana Howard, Illinois
Antonio Langham, Alabama
Aaron Glenn, Texas A&M
Jeff Burris, Notre Dame
Corey Sawyer, Florida State
Bobby Taylor, Notre Dame
Bracey Walker, North Carolina
Jaime Mendez, Kansas State
Bjorn Merten, UCLA
John Becksvoort, Tennessee
John Stewart, SMU
Terry Daniel, Auburn
David Palmer, Alabama
Hey its entry #200! Ya I had nothing special thought out. I've tried putting together a list of the Top 50 Oakland A's of All-Time but am never satisfied with the list when I put it together. I also tried putting together a list of the Top 100 baseball players of my baseball lifetime but that became too difficult and eventually too subjective as I made adjustments to it. So as a total cop out I decided to list the Top 50 most replied to threads in the Sports forum here at TSM which is pretty much the only forum I post in for the most part. I'd pull quotes from these threads but not even I'm not Bored enough to go through threads with thousands of posts to find something remotely funny although feel free to do it for me.
1. One & Only MLB playoff discussion thread 3616 replies
Sarted September 27, 2003 by KingPK
Most Posts: Choken One - 612
2. English Football 3483
Started June 22, 2003 by welshjerichomark
Most Posts: TheFranchise - 893
3. The Official MLB Offseason Topic 2396
Started November 9, 2003 by Bored
Most Posts: alkeiper - 448
4. Fantasy NBA League? 2264
Started October 1, 2003 by MarvinisaLunatic
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 415
5. The OAO NBA Playoffs/Finals Thread 2145
Started April 10, 2004 by Dangerous A
Most Posts: Choken One - 203
6. And So it Begins 2132
Started October 28, 2004 by Bruiser Chong
Most Posts: alkeiper - 238
7. The one and only NHL playoffs thread 1989
Started October 6, 2003 by Urban Warfare
Most Posts: ???
8. The ALCS: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox 1902
Started October 9, 2004 by The Dames
Most Posts: Anglesault - 246
9. NFL Discussion Forumtable 1870
Started November 14, 2006 by Agent of Oblivion
Most Posts: Porter - 144
10. Smartmarks Fake Baseball League 1714
Started October 18, 2003 by Evolution
Most Posts: Evolution - 553
11. Another reason why ESPN sucks 1681
Started April 13, 2006 by KingPK
Mosts Posts: Leena - 156
12. 2006-7 MLB Offseason Thread 1593
Started October 2, 2006 by Mik
Most Posts: cheech13 - 182
13. 2006 NFL Off-Season 1558
Started January 3, 2006 by FFMS
Most Posts: Carlito Brigante - 203
14. The OaO 2003-2004 NBA Thread! 1369
Started October 23, 2003 by Just J
Most Posts: alfdogg - 167
15. The 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs thread 1317
Started April 4, 2004 by CanadianChris
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 99
16. The Official 2003 NBA Playoffs Thread 1246
Started April 16, 2003 by Crazy Dan
Mosts Posts: ???
17. Official College Football thread 1229
Started September 2, 2003 by Vern Gagne
Most Posts: Bored - 216
18. The NFL Offseason/Pre-Draft Thread 1177
Started January 22, 2005 by MrRant
Most Posts: Vitamin X - 158
19. TSM Fantasy Baseball 2007 1150
Started January 12, 2007 by MJ Styles
Most Posts: MJ Styles - 179
20. TSM 2006 NBA Playoffs thread 1140
Started April 17, 2006 by Dangerous A
Most Posts: alfdogg - 105
21. The One & Only 2003 NFL Draft Thread 1126
Started April 25, 2003 by Flyboy
Most Posts: ???
22. The Rose Bowl Thread 1112
Started December 3, 2005 by Bored
Most Posts: Damaramu - 236
23. NBA Offseason Thread 1109
Started May 8, 2006 by Kingofthe909
Most Posts: alfdogg - 143
24. NBA Offseason News and Moves 1104
Started June 17, 2004 by NaturalBornThriller4:20
Most Posts: alfdogg - 106
25. 2006-07 MLB Offseason Thread (Part II) 1095
Started December 11, 2006 by alkeiper
Most Posts: cheech13 - 154
26. NHL 2006 Playoffs thread... 1087
Started April 17, 2006 by Carlito Brigante
Most Posts: CanadianChris - 165
27. NBA Roundtable Discussion 1056
Started December 7, 2006 by alfdogg
Most Posts: Ripper - 145
28. Head 2 Head Fantasy Baseball 2005 1026
Started February 21, 2005 by Lightning Flik
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 205
29. NHL 2006 Off-Season... 1012
Started June 19, 2006 by Carlito Brigante
Most Posts: Kingofthe909 - 134
30. NCAA Basketball Tournament Thread 1006
Started March 17, 2005 by Slayer
Mosts Posts: Damaramu - 131
31. The OAO NHL 2003-2004 Season Thread 1003
Started December 2, 2003 by CanadianChris
Most Posts: CanadianChris - 118
32. Super Bowl XL 996
Started January 22, 2006 by CanadianChris
Most Posts: Hawk 34 - 67
33. NBA Offseason Stuff 953
Started May 31, 2005 by alfdogg
Most Posts: alfdogg - 128
34. The One and Only Divisional Playoffs thread 917
Started January 10, 2004 by CanadianChris
Most Posts: FrigidSoul - 102
35. College Hoops: NCAA Tournament Rounds 1 and 2 913
Started March 13, 2006 by SilverPhoenix
Most Posts: Leena - 100
36. 2005-2006 MLB Offseason thread 891
Started October 19, 2005 by Mik
Most Posts: FFMS - 138
37. Fantasy Football 871
Started July 7, 2003 by razazteca
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 162
38. The Official SmartMarks Fantasy Football Thread 869
Started July 28, 2002 by The Man in Blak
Most Posts: ???
39. NBA Playoffs 2006: Conference Semifinals 867
Started May 6, 2006 by alfdogg
Most Posts: naiwf - 89
40. TSM Head-to-head FantasyBaseball League~! 841
Started February 18, 2004 by Lightning Flik
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 216
41. TOAO NFL Week 2 Thread 813
Started September 13, 2003 by bps21
Most Post: tpww - 144
42t. Anyone up for Fantasy Football? 808
Started July 3, 2004 by LaParkaMarka
Most Posts: Lightning Flik - 151
42t. 2005-06 MLB Offseason Thread (Part II) 808
Started Decmeber 11, 2005 by alkeiper
Most Posts: alkeiper - 114
44. OAO 2004 MLB Games Thread 800
Started April 4, 2004 by HarleyQuinn
Most Posts: Anglesault - 165
45. Yankees/Twins ALDS Thread 799
Started October 5, 2004 by alkeiper
Most Posts: mike546 - 131
46. The ONE and ONLY World Series Thread 795
Started October 16, 2003 by alkeiper
Most Posts: Mik - 179
47. The 2006 NFL Draft Thread 766
Started April 28, 2006 by Gert T
Most Posts: teke184 - 100
48. World Cup 2006 in Germany 753
Started May 10, 2006 by CurryMan
Most Posts: Kingofthe909 - 75
49. The 2004 NFL Draft 749
Started April 15, 2004 by JackBauer
Most Posts: bps21 - 102
50. NBA Playoffs 722
Started April 17, 2005 by alfdogg
Most Posts: The Electrifyer - 59
Time to take a brief break from the nostalgia. On Tuesday the first conference tournaments in college basketball will tip off and thus starts the two weeks of the season that render the regular season meaningless. The idea that with two weeks left in the season that almost every team in college basketball has a chance to qualify for the tournament is insane. The majority of conferences every team qualifies for their conference tournament. It is technically possible for a team to go winless in its conference yet qualify for the field of 65. What is this the Special Olympics? Everybody is a winner!
First starting with the major conferences…what is the point? Almost every winner in the conference tournament of a major conference was getting into the tournament anyways. Really why should beating a conference team on a neutral court (well depending on where tournament is being played which I’ll get to) matter in qualifying for the tournament? You likely won’t meet another conference team in the real tournament until the Elite Eight or Final Four and typically a team who’s chances of getting into the real tournament are depending on how they play in their conference tournament aren’t going to get that far. Also if a major conference team goes undefeated in conference play, like Duke at the moment, what do they have left to prove? Why should they risk injury in essentially meaningless games for them? For a team like Duke the ACC tournament is almost like an exhibition because they’ve already wrapped up a #1 seed. Can you imagine what would happen if J.J. Reddick were injured in a nothing ACC first round game? Okay that would be worth just to see Dick Vitale openly weep on live television.
Now with the smaller conferences it does a get little more tricky. Defenders of the conference tournaments will say this is the only exposure they get which is a valid point. But what really bothers me about conference tournaments for smaller conferences is a team can have their entire season wiped out by one bad game or a team that has absolutely no business getting into the tournament can have one hot week qualify four the tournament just to get annihilated by a #1 seed. These smaller conferences where they will only get one bid there is always a chance a team with a losing record or just hovering over .500 will get into the tournament just because they won three straight games in early March in their weak conference. By not including the best team from every conference they are just devaluing the overall strength of the real tournament. If you actually included the truly best teams from all these smaller conferences maybe every once in a while we’d get an interesting #1 vs. #16 game.
A glaring problem with conference tournaments is that many are played at the same venue every year thus some teams get home court advantages ever year. Duke and North Carolina will always have more fans in the ACC tournament as its played Greensboro, NC every year. UCLA and USC will always have home court in the Pac-10 tournament as it always played in Los Angeles. It’s ridiculous especially in a conference like the Pac-10 where there is an NBA arena in every region of the conference that would be perfectly capable of hosting the tournament on a rotating basis. Why is there this refusal in most conferences to rotate where the tournament hosted? Sure it’s all about ticket sales but you can’t tell me in each conference there is only one venue that can put a decent number of people in the seats for a tournament.
I’d personally like conference tournaments to go away. You win your regular season title, you should get an automatic bid. If there was a system in place where if there was a tie for a regular season title that they had a one game playoff between the top two teams then that would be perfectly fine. In fact why can’t there just be a conference title game for every conference between the 1st and 2nd place teams (or division winners in conferences like the SEC and Big XII) in every conference this time of year rather than this nonsense where the 11th place team gets to extend its season? For smaller conferences most of them only get their title game televised by ESPN anyways. To be honest I’m not even sure all these small conferences should get a bid but that’s for another entry. But they’re here to stay and ESPN can romanticize them all want but really they’re celebrating how pointless it was to watch the last four months of games.
I had been looking for an excuse to do an entry on one of the most bizarre years in baseball history and the A.L. MVP pick in 1981 was controversial so might as well do a redo. 1981 featured the strike to end all strikes, until the 1994 strike trumped it of course. The players went on strike on June 12th that year over free agent compensation and did not comeback until August 9th, losing 712 games in the process.
Now the owners decided to come up with an idea to drum up some interest back in the sport to bring back a jaded fanbase after the strike ended: a split season. The standings as they were for games played before the strike would be considered the first half and then the second half would be the games played after the strike ended. An extra round of playoffs would be added where the division champ of the first half would meet the division champ of the second half. Now if the entire nation didn't say "What are they fucking stupid?" when the announced this, then they should have. My guess is the owners came up with this idea to try to recoup some of the revenue they lost from the strike by getting an extra round of playoffs.
You don't even have to be a baseball fan to see the obvious problems with the idea. First off the season restarted it meant all the division leaders thru June 11th had already clinched a playoff spot: Yankees, A's, Phillies, and Dodgers. These four teams had essentially nothing to play for beyond pride for two months as they already knew they were going to the playoffs. Doesn't really get the competitive juices flowing, you know? Second problem was the nightmare scenerio where teams who had better records overall for the entire season being left out of postseason play due the split season where otherwise they would have been division champions. Hey guess what? It happened.
St. Louis finished with a 59-43 record overall, 2 games better than second half N.L. East champion Montreal and 2 1/2 over first half champ Philadelphia. But it got much worse in the N.L. West. Cincinnati finished 66-42 overall, 4 games better than first half champ Los Angeles and 6 1/2 games better than second half champ Houston. The Reds had the best record in baseball in 1981 and did not go the playoffs. Let me repeat that, the team with the best record in baseball did not qualify for the postaseason. I'm surprised there wasn't riots in the streets of Cincinnati. The madness doesn't stop there as in the A.L. West, Kansas City won the second half title but finished the season 3 games under .500 overall. So we have the best team in baseball not in the playoffs and a team with a losing record in the playoffs. Almost makes you think they would have been better off shutting down the season like they would 13 years later.
Oh ya the A.L. MVP. Rollie Fingers won the award marking the first time a closer had won it. Already gone over this in the 1984 and 1992 redos that closers should not be winning the MVP. He would beat out Rickey Henderson in a very tight race. My only guess is that the resut was due to Fingers being the established, World Series hero while Henderson was only his second full season. It's also pretty rare for players with low homerun totals to win the award as he only hit six homeruns in the short '81 season. His teammate Tony Armas was the only other player to receive a first place vote and finished 4th overall despite being, ironically enough, the 4th best player on his own team that year.
1) Rollie Fingers 2) Rickey Henderson 3) Dwight Evans 4) Tony Armas 5) Eddie Murray 6) Carney Lansford 7) Dave Winfield 8) Cecil Cooper 9) Goose Gossage 10) Tom Paciorek 11) Dwayne Murphy 12) Kirk Gibson 13) Steve McCatty 14) Bobby Grich 15) Jack Morris 16) Al Oliver 17t) Buddy Bell 17th) Robin Yount 19) Bill Almon 20) Jerry Mumphrey 21t) Mike Hargrove 21t) Alan Trammell 23t) Steve Kemp 23t) Greg Luzinski 23t) Dennis Martinez 23t) Ken Singleton 27t) George Brett 27t) Dave Stieb
.336/.389/.439, 68 RC, 133 OPS+, .301 EQA, 32.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares
.294/.360/.464, 66 RC, 138 OPS+, .310 EQA, 34.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares
.259/.348/.493, 62 RC, 146 OPS+, .308 EQA, 29.3 VORP, 20 Win Shares
.326/.379/.509, 78 RC, 151 OPS+, .315 EQA, 39.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares
.294/.360/.534, 73 RC, 156 OPS+, .319 EQA, 40.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
150 ERA+, 1.49 K/BB, 1.08 WHIP, 51.9 VORP, 18 Win Shares
.304/.378/.543, 72 RC, 164 OPS+, .325 EQA, 49.1 VORP, 21 Win Shares
.320/.363/.495, 75 RC, 151 OPS+, .316 EQA, 42.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.319/.408/.437, 76 RC, 150 OPS+, .323 EQA, 45.6 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.296/.415/.522, 90 RC, 163 OPS+, .333 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares
Damn what kind of self hating A's fans am I to not give the award to RICKEY~? Also I'm taking an award away from a player who has his number retired by the A's. What have I done!?
Anyways as I mentioned in my entry about my first game that Evans has been very under valued over the years. Also have a couple of other good players who have been forgotten in Cecil Cooper and Bobby Grich. Hey and look STEVE McCATTY!!! What you don't remember Steve McCatty? Ya okay '81 was his only good year and he should have won the Cy Young. I guess a similar parallel would be 2003 when Esteban Loaiza blew away any other year he had but couldn't get the Cy Young. I did actually come close to putting Fingers at #10. Oh and that Tom Paciorek card is awesome.
There's a new Sports Illustrated poll of 470 Major League players asking who are the most overrated and most underrated players in baseball. Stuff like this is incredibly subjective as someone may consider one player underrated while the other considers that same player overrated. My assumption is that the player's perspective would be how they feel the media and fans view the player and that will influence their opinion on whether or not they consider someone overrated or underrated. So here's the Top 10 for both lists with my comments on what I think of each player and I throw in a name at the end of who I considered the most overrated and most underrated players of last season.
1. Derek Jeter - Too obvious but facts are he is overrated by New York media/fans and major media outlets like ESPN. I have said in the past though that I feel Jeter is almost slightly underrated by non-Yankee fans at this point. You can tell Jeter is overrated just by how the New York media and ESPN are all up in arms (well from what people are saying on the board) over him topping the list as some how it is inexcusible that Baseball Jesus is on the list at all.
2. Carlos Beltran - This seems a bit odd to me, I suppose probably because of the contract he signed and he had a bit of an off year last season. Coming into this season though I'd consider him underrated by how much criticism he was getting.
3. Alex Rodriguez - Truly laughable for him to be this high. One of the true elite players in the game yet he typically doesn't get the credit he deserves and any failure he has in the "clutch" his magnified ten fold. Sure no player deserves the contract he got but not his fault the Rangers were stupid enough to give it to him.
4. J.D. Drew - Again no reason for him to be on the list and he is almost certainly underrated. He's a great hitter but is always hurt and many discard anything good he has done due to his injury problems. He showed in 2004 the type of numbers he can put up in a full season.
5. Nomar Garciaparra - How can he be underrated when he's be the subject of ridicule due to his injury problems? What because he was once great and now isn't that makes him overrated? Really makes no sense.
6. A.J. Burnett - Have to agree on this one but he's a "victim" of starting pitchers being overrated in general.
7. Jason Kendall - A common theme seems to be obscene contracts and Kendall certainly isn't worth what he makes. I doubt many still view Kendall as a good player anymore so my guess is the general view of him currently is probably neither overrated or underrated. Trust me though A's fans know he sucks.
8. Kerry Wood - Man players are just cruel as at least according this poll any player with a history of injuries is overrated.
9. Josh Beckett - Interesting. Maybe a tad overrated because of the 2003 postseason which tends to happen to any player who has a strong postseason.
10. Johnny Damon - I'd agree to a certain extent though his last two years he really was good but this also comes from the contract he signed. Probably more overrated circa 2003 than he is now.
My 2005 Most Overrated Player: Scott Podsednik - Remember he tought the White Sox how to bunt so they won the World Series. We don't need those meaningless homeruns!
1. Michael Young - See now this is a player who I could see being overrated a couple of years from now. Players who everyone says is underrated eventually go the other way.
2. Bobby Abreu - Certainly not nearly as underrated as he was two or three years ago. I'd say he's probably fits into neither category.
3. Garret Anderson - Now this what I was talking in term of Young as personally I view Garret Anderson as overrated now. A few years back I considered him underrated. He gets on base at a poor rate and he has below average power for a corner outfielder.
4. Mark Loretta - Probably true to a certain extent. His great 2004 season went largely unnoticed. He's on the Red Sox now so he'll probably be overrated by the end of the year.
5. David Eckstein - Okay very good 2005 season no doubt by the "scrappy" Eckstein is probably a bit overrated because he's "scrappy."
6. Bill Mueller - I'd say he doesn't fit either category.
7. Chone Figgins - I'd say neither tilting towards slightly overrated.
8. Vernon Wells - You know he really hasn't done a whole lot at the plate the last two seasons, although off to a great start this year. He does get his just due when it comes to his defense.
9. Raul Ibanez - What? He's had a couple of good years by far from a star. I don't know do most view him as a scrub or something? Very odd he's on the list.
10. Melvin Mora - I'd agree with this one although his numbers were down last year, still were pretty good and his name doesn't really come up often when talking about the better 3rd basemen in the league.
My 2005 Most Underrated Player: Brian Giles - I ranked him as the best right fielder in baseball last season but because he plays in a park that is death to hitters his counting numbers just didn't look impressive.
Ugh, I had almost finished the entire entry and my dumbass clicks the back button by accident. Click forward, nothing there. So fuck it I'm not typing all that out again so here's the quick version of the Top 10 for each league and maybe I'll edit in some numbers later.
Pujols still has a huge lead although it could be gone if he misses the full six weeks like many think he will.
Edit: Okay I've put the numbers in now.
10. Jason Bay, Pirates
.305/.427/.614, 49 RC, .328 EQA, 30 VORP, 9 Win Shares
9. Carlos Beltran, Mets
.266/.389/.572, 42 RC, .309 EQA, 21.4 VORP, 12 Win Shares
8. Lance Berkman, Astros
.299/.380/.598, 45 RC, .310 EQA, 20.6 VORP, 12 Win Shares
7. David Wright, Mets
.327/.400/.559, 47 RC, .315 EQA, 25.5 VORP, 11 Win Shares
6. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.349/.437/.593, 51 RC, .338 EQA, 32.5 VORP, 10 Win Shares
5. Chase Utley, Phillies
.323/.389/.541, 43 RC, .300 EQA, 27.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
4. Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.285/.454/.505, 48 RC, .317 EQA, 19.0 VORP, 14 Win Shares
3. Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.310/.363/.628, 54 RC, .309 EQA, 25.8 VORP, 13 Win Shares
2. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
217 ERA+, 5.00 K/BB, 1.08 WHIP, 40.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
.308/.442/.751, 65 RC, .357 EQA, 38.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares
Basically can flip a coin between Thome and Hafner right now but gave Thome the nod for the edge in Win Shares.
10. Curtis Granderson, Tigers
.287/.388/.483, 43 RC, .295 EQA, 18.9 VORP, 12 Win Shares
9. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.326/.379/.606, 44 RC, .314 EQA, 28.2 VORP, 10 Win Shares
8. Ramon Hernandez, Orioles
.307/.366/.512, 47 RC, .298 EQA, 18.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
7. Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
.319/.434/.505, 44 RC, .322 EQA, 22.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
6. Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.306/.405/.669, 42 RC, .333 EQA, 22.3 VORP, 10 Win Shares
5. Derek Jeter, Yankees
.344/.435/.495, 47 RC, .320 EQA, 30.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
4. Alexis Rios, Blue Jays
.359/.397/.631, 47 RC, .324 EQA, 26.5 VORP, 11 Win Shares
3. Jason Giambi, Yankees
.277/.458/.620, 51 RC, .350 EQA, 27.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
2. Travis Hafner, Indians
.308/.449/.631, 57 RC, .355 EQA, 33.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares
.296/.432/.656, 58 RC, .344 EQA, 30.2 VORP, 13 Win Shares
Don Mattingly - First Baseman
New York Yankees 1982-1995
7th year on the ballot
Past HOF Voting Results
1985 AL MVP
1985 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1985 AL Silver Slugger - 1B
1985 ML Sporting News Player of the Year
1986 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1986 AL Silver Slugger - 1B
1987 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1987 AL Silver Slugger - 1B
1988 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1989 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1991 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1992 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1993 AL Gold Glove - 1B
1994 AL Gold Glove - 1B
All-Star Selections: 6 (1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989)
1984: Batting Average, Hits, Doubles, OPS+
1985: Doubles, RBI, Total Bases
1986: Hits, Doubles, Total Bases, Runs Created, Slugging %, OPS, OPS+
Hall of Fame Stats
Black Ink: Batting - 23 (84) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 111 (185) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 34.1 (211) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 133.5 (95) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in HOF: 2 (Kirby Puckett, Jim Bottomley)
Other Similar Batters: Cecil Cooper, Garret Anderson, Wally Joyner, Hal McRae, Will Clark, Tony Oliva, Jeff Conine, Keith Hernandez
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 263
Career WARP3: 89.1
Would he get my vote?
No. He was unbelievable from 1984-1986, very good from 1987-1989, and then just very ordinary from 1990-1995. His peak was just too short and back problems took away his power as he hit over 20 homeruns only once in the final eight years of his career. He was an excellent defensive first baseman but there's only so much of a bonus you can give for first base defense.
I've made it no secret I'm a junkie for original televised footage of classic sporting events. Back in the day when ESPN Classic actually showed classic games I would love watching classic games from the 70's and 80's. I was thrilled when two years ago MLB started releasing complete World Series boxsets of the 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series which I promptly bought all three and did write ups of all three sets on the blog. Last year two more World Series sets were released, 1977 and 1987 but I have yet to start watching either. Considering how bad the A's will be this season I might finally crack those sets open when looking for alternative things to watch during the baseball season. Both the NBA and NHL have followed suit although I'm not as interested in those sets as I am for baseball and football, but I would pick up the 1987 NBA Finals set if they ever release it as I have fond memories of it as a bandwagon Laker fan when I was younger. There has even been a set of "classic" Notre Dame games released which I did a write up the Cathlolics vs. Convicts game but haven't gotten around to viewing any of other the games.
The NFL had been a long time holdout when it comes to airing any classic games, even on their own channel, but last year around the Super Bowl they finally started re-airing original Super Bowl broadcasts which continued this year. Also this past Fall they released a handful of DVD sets and individual DVDs with "classic" games. Their choices so far have been a bit odd. They released three sets of every playoff game from the 1999 Rams, 2000 Ravens, and 2002 Bucs seasons. The '99 Rams set would be kinda interesting as that year's Super Bowl had probably the best finish ever in a Super Bowl but I really have no interest in anything from the last ten years and there's nothing "classic" on either '00 Ravens or '02 Bucs set. They also released the 1980 NFC Championship game between the Eagles and Cowboys. Now that'd be a must have for an Eagles fan but the game was not particularly competitive and why release that game instead of the 1981 NFC Championship featuring "The Catch"? In addition there is a three game set of "classic" Cleveland Browns games (yes I know, what classic Browns games?) but the three games they picked left a lot to be desired. One of the games is a regular season blowout from 1989 against the Steelers and another is a playoff clinching win against the Falcons from 2002. If they swapped out either of those games for their double overtime win in the '86 playoffs against the Jets I would have bought it.
Now there were two others that I did decide to pick up, the 1992 AFC Wild Card Game featuring the Bills record comeback against the Oilers and they released an 11 game set of the 1985 Chicago Bears season. I actually haven't received the Bears set yet as I got in on backorder from DeepDiscountDVD.com when it was on sale for only $44 a month ago but should be receiving it any day now. Now there are not any real "classics" on that Bears set but the '85 Bears always held a special place in my childhood because the Bears were the first "it" team for me that you just had to watch and as I've mentioned before my earliest sports memory is watching Super Bowl XX. On the set there is their MNF loss to the Dolphins that ended their undefeated season, which is actually kind of surprising as these sets are of course marketed to the fans of the teams but having that game on the set made it an automatic purchase for me as I don't know if I ever watched the original live game.
So here's my complete list of of sports DVDs, that have original games on them:
1975 World Series
1977 World Series
1979 World Series
1986 World Series
1987 World Series
Notre Dame Collector's Edition (7 Games)
1992 AFC Wild Card Bills vs. Oilers
1985 Chicago Bears (11 Games)
In April MLB will be releasing the 2001 World Series boxset but again I'm not particularly interested in anything from the last decade, especially something that was televised by FOX, so I'm not sure if I'm going to pick that one up even if it was a true classic. Before then in early March there will be another World Series boxset released and, well....there's no fucking way I'm going to buy it.
Now finally finishing off these Worst lists with designated hitters. Since the DH has only been around since 1973 these are the worst DH seasons of all-time. Unlike every other position, there is no additional value to be provided by DH beyond what they do with their bat. They aren't even expected to be threats on the basepaths either as most DH's are aging veterans or guys who are so slow they couldn't even handle first base. The top of the list falls into the aging veteran category as he was a great hitting catcher, who you can make a legit argument for him being a Hall of Famer, but he fell of a cliff offensively in this season at age 34 and goes down as the worst DH season by a wide margin. Not surprising there are a few all-time greats on this list who were the twilight of their careers.
Top 25 Worst Designated Hitter Seasons of All-Time (per OPS+)
1. Ted Simmons, 1984 - Milwaukee Brewers 61 OPS+ (.221/.269/.300)
2. Ruben Sierra, 1996 - New York Yankees/Detroit Tigers 75
3t. Alvin Davis, 1991 - Seattle Mariners 76
3t. Tommy Harper, 1974 - Boston Red Sox 76
5. Joe Carter, 1997 - Toronto Blue Jays 77
6t. Scott Hatteberg, 2005 - Oakland A's 81
6t. Dave Parker, 1991 - California Angels/Toronto Blue Jays 81
8t. Larry Sheets, 1988 - Baltimore Orioles 83
8t. Mitchell Page, 1979 - Oakland A's 83
10. Greg Vaughn, 1995 - Milwaukee Brewers 85
11t. Paul Molitor, 1998 - Minnesota Twins 86
11t. Eddie Murray, 1994 - Cleveland Indians 86
13. Eddie Murray, 1996 - Cleveland Indians/Baltimore Orioles 86
14t. Gerald Perry, 1990 - Kansas City Royals 90
14t. Dave Kingman, 1986 - Oakland A's 90
16. Julio Franco, 1997 - Cleveland Indians/Milwaukee Brewers 91
17t. Edgar Martinez, 2004 - Seattle Mariners 92
17t. Rico Carty, 1979 - Toronto Blue Jays 92
17t. Deron Johnson, 1975 - Chicago White Sox/Boston Red Sox 92
20t. Carl Everett, 2005 - Chicago White Sox 94
20t. George Brett, 1993 - Kansas City Royals 94
20t. Andre Thornton, 1985 - Cleveland Indians 94
20t. Reggie Jackson, 1984 - California Angels 94
24t. Carl Yastrzemski, 1981 - Boston Red Sox 95
24t. Hank Aaron, 1975 - Milwaukee Brewers 95
Back by popular demand, add another "Worst" list with the worst pitcher seasons since 1961 using ERA+. Checking baseball-reference.com, unlike qualifications for the batting title, it appears the qualification for the ERA title has never changed. In order to qualify a pitcher must pitch at least one inning per team game. Now I could have gone back to 1901 then but again it would been littered with too many early 20th century pitchers that most us have never heard of. The worst ERA+ of all-time was Rube Bressler of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1915 who posted an ERA+ of 56. To put that into context, he had an 5.20 ERA while the league ERA that season was 2.93.
I elected to go with 1961 since that was the beginning of the expansion era of MLB when the Angels and Senators (ver 2.0) were added to the American League. Now on the player lists there were a lot of ties and there would have been a ton for the pitcher list so to make it slightly less cluttered I break the ties by who threw more innings (as in who sucked in a larger sample). And the top of the list is someone who we could never forget, nor can we ever forget his wife's huge tits.
Top 25 Worst Pitcher Seasons since 1961 (per ERA+)
1. Jose Lima, 2005 - Kansas City Royals 63 ERA+ (6.99 ERA in 168 2/3 IP)
2. Jack Lamabe, 1964 - Boston Red Sox 65
3. Eric Milton, 2005 - Cincinnati Reds 66 (186 1/3 IP)
4. Rick Wise, 1968 - Philadelphia Phillies 66 (182)
5. Mark Davis, 1984 - San Francisco Giants 66 (174 2/3)
6. Bob Knepper, 1989 - Houston Astros/San Francisco Giants 66 (165)
7. Jim Deshaies, 1994 - Minnesota Twins 66 (130 1/3)
8. Warren Spahn, 1964 - Milwaukee Braves 67
9. Matt Keough, 1982 - Oakland A's 68 (209 1/3)
10. Steve Arlin, 1973 - San Diego Padres 68 (180)
11. Phil Ortega, 1965 - Washington Senators 68 (179 2/3)
12. Javier Vazquez, 1998 - Montreal Expos 69
13. Vida Blue, 1979 - San Francisco Giants 70 (237)
14. Frank Baumann, 1961 - Chicago White Sox 70 (187 2/3)
15. Pete Broberg, 1972 - Texas Rangers 70 (176 1/3)
16. Joel Pineiro, 2006 - Seattle Mariners 70 (165 2/3)
17. Terry Mulholland, 1995 - San Francisco Giants 70 (149)
18. Dick Ruthven, 1981 - Philadelphia Phillies 70 (146 2/3)
19. Willie Fraser, 1988 - California Angels 71 (194 2/3)
20. Bob Walk, 1993 - Pittsburgh Pirates 71 (187)
21. Bill Singer, 1975 - California Angels 71 (175)
22. Brandon Duckworth, 2002 - Philadelphia Phillies 71 (163)
23. Terry Mulholland, 1994 - New York Yankees 71 (120)
24. Jack Fisher, 1967 - New York Mets 72 (220 1/3)
25. Joe Coleman, 1975 - Detroit Tigers 72 (201)
In a couple of weeks we have the chance to witness something none of us have seen before (I assume we have no one in their 60's on this board) and that is see the Cardinals as champions of the NFL. This got me to wonder about how many franchises in the four major North American professional sports leagues have never won their league's championship in my lifetime. I also wanted to know who would replace the Cardinals as the most moribund franchise in the NFL (I know you will all be shocked!) and who in the NBA and NHL have the longest run since their last championship.
In total there are 47 teams who have failed to win a single "world" championship in the last 30 years, of course that does not include expansion franchises who have come into existence since. Note I do count championships won in the AFL, ABA, and WHA for those franchises who were grandfathered in to their current leagues. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Phoenix Coyotes (won the last ever Avco Cup in the WHA as the Winnipeg Jets in 1979) are set to join this list after this year. The Seattle Supersonics would have also joined the list if they hadn't had their franchise stolen away.
1. Chicago Cubs - 100 years
1908 World Series Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Have not played in a World Series since 1945 which is a longer drought for playing for a championship than any other franchise has gone without winning a championship (current streak).
2. Arizona Cardinals (Chicago/St. Louis) - 61 years
1947 NFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Before this year had won one playoff game since last championship.
3. Cleveland Indians - 60 years
1948 World Series Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Had a 41 year World Series drought between 1954 and 1995.
4. Sacramento Kings (Rochester Royals/Cincinnati Royals/Kansas City) - 57 years
1951 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a NBA Finals since '51 championship.
5. San Francisco Giants (New York) - 54 years
1954 World Series Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Haven't won a championship since moving to San Francisco in 1958 and hopefully never will.
6. Detroit Lions - 51 years
1957 NFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: One playoff win since last championship.
7. Atlanta Hawks (St. Louis) - 50 years
1958 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Last conference/division finals appearance was in 1970.
8. Philadelphia Eagles - 48 years
1960 NFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Have now lost four conference championship games this decade.
9t. Chicago Blackhawks - 47 years
1961 Stanley Cup Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff appearance in last 11 years, although that will change this year.
9t. Minnesota Vikings - 47 years
Misery Fun Fact: 0-4 in Super Bowls and 0-4 in conference championship games since their last Super Bowl in 1976.
9t. Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers) - 47 Years
1961 AFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 1-4 in conference championship games.
9t. Texas Rangers (Washington Senators) - 47 years
Misery Fun Fact: Oldest franchise in the Big Four leagues to never reach the championship round of it's sport. Zero playoff series wins.
13. Houston Astros - 46 years
Misery Fun Fact: Took 43 years win their only NL pennant.
14. San Diego Chargers - 45 years
1963 AFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in AFL/AFC Championship games since '63.
15. Cleveland Browns - 44 years
1964 NFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 0-6 in NFL/AFC Championship games since '64.
16. Buffalo Bills - 43 years
1965 AFL Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Only franchise in the Big Four to lose in the championship round of it's sport in four consecutive years.
17. Atlanta Falcons - 42 years
Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past divisional round of playoffs only twice.
18t. New Orleans Saints - 41 years
Misery Fun Fact: Did not win a playoff game in their first 33 years of existence.
18t. Toronto Maple Leafs - 41 years
1967 Stanley Cup Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Haven't played in a Cup Final since '67 championship.
20t. Cincinnati Bengals - 40 years
Misery Fun Fact: One playoff appearance in last 18 years.
20t. Denver Nuggets - 40 years
Misery Fun Fact: Have yet to reach the NBA Finals since merger in '76-'77.
20t. Los Angeles Kings - 40 years
Misery Fun Fact: Reached Cup Finals only once.
20t. New York Jets - 40 years
Misery Fun Fact: If Brett Favre couldn't bring them a Super Bowl, who can????
20t. St. Louis Blues - 40 years
Misery Fun Fact: Last Cup Finals appearance was in 1970.
25t. Kansas City Chiefs - 39 years
Super Bowl IV Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Have only reached conference championship game once since Super Bowl IV win.
25t. Milwaukee Brewers (Seattle Pilots) - 39 years
Misery Fun Fact: Won only two division championships.
25t. Phoenix Suns - 39 years
Misery Fun Fact: Despite a .559 all-time winning pct., only reached NBA Finals twice.
25t. San Diego Padres - 39 years
Misery Fun Fact: 1-8 in World Series games.
25t. Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos) - 39 years
Misery Fun Fact: Only playoff appearance was in the bizarre '81 split season.
30t. Buffalo Sabers - 37 years
Misery Fun Fact: Only two Stanley Cup Finals appearances.
30t. Cleveland Cavaliers - 37 years
Misery Fun Fact: 35 year wait for their only NBA Finals appearance.
30t. Los Angeles Clippers (Buffalo Braves/San Diego) - 37 years
Misery Fun Fact: .364 all-time winning percentage and never reached a conference final.
30t. Milwaukee Bucks - 37 years
1971 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Advanced past first around of playoffs only once in last 19 years.
30t. Vancouver Canucks - 37 years
Misery Fun Fact: Their two Stanley Cup Finals appearances are the only two years they've reached the conference finals.
35. Boston Bruins - 36 years
1972 Stanley Cup Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Only one playoff series win since 1995.
36t. Indiana Pacers - 35 years
1973 ABA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 1-5 in Eastern Conference finals series.
36t. Miami Dolphins - 35 years
Super Bowl VIII Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Best all-time winning pct. of any active NFL franchise (.583) but haven't played in a Super Bowl in 24 years.
36t. New York Knicks - 35 years
1973 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Seven straight losing seasons.
39t. Golden State Warriors - 33 years
1975 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Haven't reached conference finals in 32 years.
39t. Philadelphia Flyers - 33 years
1975 Stanley Cup Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 0-5 in Stanley Finals series since '75 championship.
39t. Utah Jazz (New Orleans) - 33 years
Misery Fun Fact: Only one losing in last 25 years but only two NBA Finals appearances to show for it.
39t. Washington Capitals - 33 years
Misery Fun Fact: Reached conference finals only once.
43t. New Jersey Nets (New York) - 32 years
1976 ABA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: Only advanced past first round of playoffs six times since NBA merger.
43t. Seattle Seahawks - 32 years
Misery Fun Fact: Just two conference championship game appearances.
45t. Portland Trail Blazers - 31 years
1977 NBA Champions
Misery Fun Fact: 8-17 in first round playoff series since '77 championship.
45t. Seattle Mariners - 31 years
Misery Fun Fact: 14 straight losing seasons at their inception and played in the ALCS only twice.
47. Washington Wizards (Bullets) - 30 years
1978 NBA Champions
Miser Fun Fact: Advanced past first round of playoffs only three time since '78 championship.
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.
Draftback...ain't I clever? The NFL Draft is later this month and the point of this blog is a lot of nostalgia so might as well look back at some old drafts, plus I've done no football content to this point. Pretty much picked in 1990 at random and because at first glance the 1st round looks rather uninspiring. I will only be looking back at the first round picks as to hell with going over the whole thing. Don't expect any real insight as unlike baseball there isn't much in terms of statisical analyst to do when it comes to football. There is Football Outsiders but their data only goes back five or six years.
1. Indianapolis - Jeff George, QB, Illinois
The Colts traded up to make this controversial choice at the time as it surprised many that he left Illinois early and some weren't even sure he was worth a 1st round pick, let alone the #1 choice overall. All things considered George didn't have that bad of a career but his habit of being a jackass kind of always painted him a bad light. Didn't help that he never made it to a Pro Bowl either.
2. N.Y. Jets - Blair Thomas, RB, Penn State
An overhyped Penn State running back who is a bust in the NFL? GET OUT! Actually showed signs of being a good NFL back in his rookie year but bad knees did him in.
3. Seattle - Cortez Kennedy, DT, Miami
Seven time Pro Bowl selection who would spend his entire 11-year career with the Seahawks. Definently a good pick here.
4. Tampa Bay - Keith McCants, LB, Alabama
Was rated #1 overall by many but he was a huge bust. Last I thing heard on him was he stole a car last year. Ya life didn't turn out to well for him.
5. San Diego - Junior Seau, LB, USC
No brainer here, 11 Pro Bowl selections and a future spot in Canton.
6. Chicago - Mark Carrier, DB, USC
Good NFL career as he burst on the scene his rookie year with a 10 interceptions on his way to Defensive Rookie of the Year. Selected to three Pro Bowls.
7. Detroit - Andre Ware, QB, Houston
Hands down the #1 rated QB coming into the draft and everyone thought he'd be star because he was drafted by a team that had the run and shoot offense. Hey how'd that turn out?
8. New England - Chris Singleton, LB, Arizona
Lasted seven years...um ya that's all I got.
9. Miami - Richmond Webb, T, Texas A&M
Another good pick here, made it to seven Pro Bowls, playing 11 of his 13 years in Miami.
10. New England - Ray Agnew, DE, N.C. State
Halfway decent player who hung around forever it seemed.
11. L.A. Raiders - Anthony Smith, DE, Arizona
Pass rushing specialist who was an absolute beast his first few years in the league.
12. Cincinnati - James Francis, LB, Baylor
Solid player who played nine seasons with the Bengals.
13. Kansas City - Percy Snow, LB, Michigan State
The only thing I remember about Snow was I had one of the "behind the scenes" NFL tapes and one segment was on the Chief's war room before the '90 Draft and they were pretty excited about Snow. He ended lasting a whole three years.
14. New Orleans - Renaldo Turnbull, DE, West Virginia
Part of those scary good Saints' linebacker cores from the early 90's. Decent career with his best year coming in 1993 when he had 13 sacks.
15. Houston - Lamar Lathon, LB, Houston
You can see this was a very deep linebacker draft. Solid career.
16. Buffalo - James Williams, DB, Fresno State
With a common name like that you think I'll actually know anything about the guy?
17. Dallas - Emmitt Smith, RB, Florida
Safe to say everyone except maybe San Diego regretted not taking him.
18. Green Bay - Tony Bennett, LB, Mississippi
Yet another linebacker who had a solid career.
19. Green Bay - Darrell Thompson, RB, Minnesota
1641 yards rushing, 3.5 YPC, 7 career touchdowns, gone after 1994. Ya not a good pick
20. Atlanta - Steve Broussard, RB, Washington State
You know it would have been kind of interesting to see what Broussard would have done in a standard offense rather than the run and shoot. Okay maybe not that interesting but might have given a not so non-descript career.
21. Pittsburgh - Eric Green, TE, Liberty
Pretty good tight end who made it to two Pro Bowls.
22. Philadelphia - Ben Smith, DB, Georgia
Played six years and really who noticed?
23. L.A. Rams - Bern Brostek, C, Washington
I don't think I paid as much attention to the NFL as I thought (and I don't pay that much attention today) I did. The guy played for the Rams so being a 49er fan you think I'd remember the guy with them playing each other twice a year but I don't.
24. N.Y Giants - Rodney Hampton, RB, Georgia
Good career, had five consecutive 1000 yard seasons from '91 to '95.
25. San Francisco - Dexter Carter, RB, Florida State
49ers had the right idea drafting a running back as they would end up being correct in their concerns about Roger Craig lasting much longer (he didn't) but Carter wasn't the guy to replace him. Actually led the 49ers in rushing his rookie year but that just tells you had bad their running game was.
I decided to watch Baseball Tonight because apparently I want to punish myself, might as well make an entry out of it. Watching people analyze one week of baseball is always hilarious anyways especially when it’s done by the likes of Harold Reynolds and John Kruk. Who cares about sample sizes? Tigers/Brewers in the World Series!
-Chris Berman is doing the show because it’s the Sunday of the Masters and he must do Baseball Tonight every Masters’ Sunday every year to show off his green jacket. He genuinely thinks people care. The world would stop if we didn’t see him squeeze all that fat in his green jacket.
-Berman can’t believe that the Phillies let Vincente Padilla go and Kruk and Reynolds agree. Gee I know the guy had a 1.50 WHIP last year, what kind of a nut lets go of a pitcher like that? Hey he’s 2-0 so I’m sure he’s on top of Kruk’s Cy Young list.
-Kruk went on a mini-rant about how Jim Leyland gets things done his way and that the Tigers are going to manufacture runs and he's not going to baby pitchers (woo hoo Tommy John surgery for everyone!) "because the more you baby pitchers the more they pitch like babies." Of course the Tigers "manufactured" 17 homeruns this week. Maybe Leyland has all of his players smoking too? OMG nicotine is a performance enhancing drug!
-Berman loves Kevin Millar. He loves him. It hurts him seeing him play such a shitty first base. This man has waaaaaay too many man crushes.
-Now Reynolds criticizes the Blue Jays for leaving Roy Halladay in too long, which Kruk agrees with. What happened to not babying pitchers? Well Halladay already has had shoulder surgery so I suppose Kruk just believes in running a pitcher into the ground and then baby him after he has surgery.
-Berman asks the panel, who is the best lefty in baseball? Steve Phillips says Cliff Lee. Hey I can’t believe this guy isn’t a GM still, can you?
-They are playing Godsmack as bumper music to commercial breaks. Way to keep with the times ESPN. What demographic are they targeting exactly?
-They are doing a countdown of Barry Bonds’ 20 greatest moments and #14 is him being intentionally walked with the bases loaded in a meaningless game. Ya that was exciting.
-Chipper Jones’ injury is shown and I swear Berman gets a hard on every time a player gets hurt because he gets to his patented soft tone voice where the producers cutout the background music because this a very serious situation and Chris Berman is talking. At the end of the Braves/Giants highlights Berman says “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” Comedic genius I tells ya.
-Diamond Cuts, it’s extreme highlights with nu-metal! Seriously who are they targeting? Are there really viewers sitting around through the whole show wanting listen to Godsmack to overly produced baseball highlights? At least it’s not like last year where they would do features on other no longer relevant bands talking about baseball.
With all the MVP talk for the potential "non-steroid" single season homerun record holder Ryan Howard, even though he wouldn't really deserve it, I figured it'd be good to redo for the year of the homerun chase, 1998. Mark McGwire would beat out Sammy Sosa for the homerun record that year but it was Sosa who that took home the MVP in a landslide.
Sosa won the MVP over McGwire for one simple reason, the Cubs won the Wild Card and the Cubs making the playoffs is always a big deal. The Cardinals weren't a bad team but at 83 wins were never in the hunt for a postseason birth thus McGwire was never given much of a chance for the award despite his 70 homeruns. Sosa took 30 of the 32 first place votes and not surprisingly the only two first place votes for McGwire were from the St. Louis writers. Although their homerun totals were close when it came to OBP and SLG, it wasn't much of a contest. McGwire's slugging was 105 points higher (.742 to .637) and his on base was 93 points higher (.470 to .377). Now one who argues the case for a player on a playoff team against a player on a non-playoff team is often that the player on the playoff team had more pressure on him to come up with more hits in key situations. Even though McGwire wasn't in a pennant chase he faced more pressure all year than any player in baseball in 1998, even more than Sosa.
Obviously there was no one else who was given any consideration for MVP. Moises Alou was the consensus 3rd place choice while Greg Vaughn, Craig Biggio, Andres Galarraga, and Trevor Hoffman were the only other players to receive over 100 voting points. Despite having his usual great year Barry Bonds only finished 8th.
1) Sammy Sosa 2) Mark McGwire 3) Moises Alou 4) Greg Vaughn 5) Craig Biggio 6) Andres Galarraga 7) Trevor Hoffman 8) Barry Bonds 9t) Chipper Jones 9t) Jeff Kent 11) Vinny Castilla 12) John Olerud 13) Valdimir Guerrero 14) Mike Piazza 15) Tony Gwynn 16) Kevin Brown 17) Larry Walker 18) Rod Beck 19) Jeromy Burnitz 20) Scott Rolen 21t) Dante Bichette 21t) Tom Glavine 21t) Randy Johnson 24t) Javy Lopez 24t) Mickey Morandini
.324/.371/.589, 135 RC, 152 OPS+, .311 EQA, 59.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.272/.363/.597, 123 RC, 158 OPS+, .317 EQA, 61.4 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.313/.404/.547, 134 RC, 146 OPS+, .317 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.312/.399/.582, 135 RC, 157 OPS+, .325 EQA, 69.2 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.328/.390/.570, 127 RC, 152 OPS+, .321 EQA, 73.9 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.308/.377/.647, 157 RC, 160 OPS+, .320 EQA, 68.3 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.354/.447/.551, 138 RC, 163 OPS+, .340 EQA, 70.4 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.325/.403/.503, 125 RC, 139 OPS+, .315 EQA, 80.5 VORP, 35 Win Shares
.303/.438/.609, 146 RC, 177 OPS+, .344 EQA, 83.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.299/.470/.752, 179 RC, 217 OPS+, .379 EQA, 104.3 VORP, 41 Win Shares
The Moises Alou card makes me giggle.
See if someone had just told Barry back in 1998 that he had a better year than Sammy maybe he wouldn't have taken steroids. But as for the result, McGwire should have won in a landslie as he completely blows away the competition. Too bad now he's apparantly worse than Hitler for deceiving the nation or something.