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Sports nostalgia and useless facts

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HOF Profile: Harold Baines

Harold Baines - Designated Hitter/Rightfielder   Chicago White Sox 1980-1989, 1996-1997, 2000-2001 Texas Rangers 1989-1990 Oakland Athletics 1990-1992 Baltimore Orioles 1993-1995, 1997-1999, 2000 Cleveland Indians 1999   Awards 1989 AL Silver Slugger - DH   All-Star Selections: 6 (1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1999)   League Leader 1984: Slugging %   Career Ranks Games: 17th Hits: 39th TB: 30th 2B: 52nd HR: 50th RBI: 23rd BB: 82nd RC: 44th   Hall of Fame Stats   Black Ink: Batting - 3 (499) (Average HOFer ≈ 27) Gray Ink: Batting - 40 (595) (Average HOFer ≈ 144) HOF Standards: Batting - 43.5 (116) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 66.5 (267) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in HOF: 3 (Tony Perez, Al Kaline, Billy Williams) Other Similar Batters: Dave Parker, Rusty Staub, Andre Dawson, Dwight Evans, Chili Davis, Fred McGriff, Andres Galarraga   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)   1980: 8/1.2 1981: 10/5.3 1982: 19/6.9 1983: 20/6.2 1984: 24/9.1 1985: 25/7.8 1986: 20/7.0 1987: 13/3.7 1988: 18/4.4 1989: 18/6.3 1990: 11/4.6 1991: 22/6.5 1992: 15/3.3 1993: 15/4.9 1994: 6/3.0 1995: 11/5.3 1996: 13/5.5 1997: 12/4.1 1998: 8/2.5 1999: 15/4.6 2000: 4/1.2 2001: 0/-1.0   Career Win Shares: 307 Career WARP3: 102.4   Would he get my vote?   No. When it comes to players who spent the majority of their career not playing the field I feel they have to hit at the level an excellent first baseman to get in the HOF and Baines is no where close. Sort of like a hitting version of Tommy John in that his career counting numbers are impressive but only because he played a very long time and his peak is just not that impressive. Baines actually was a fairly decent defensive outfielder but knee problems were what forced him to become an everyday DH when he was only 28.

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 2002 A.L. MVP

A's lost two out of three to the Orioles this weekend in Baltimore and as May closes out it is once again looking like this is the year the A's string of winning seasons comes to an end. But it seems that way every year the first couple of months of the season before they go on some insane run for a couple of months that saves their season. Their former shortstop Miguel Tejada had never homered in 25 games against the A's before homering in back-to-back days this weekend and it was five years ago when Tejada played a major role in the A's most remarkable run of all when they won an American League record 20 straight games. It was that streak and some timely hits by Tejada that would be the primary reason he would be awarded the A.L. MVP after the season and it was always a very questionable win in the minds of statheads. I fully supported him winning the award at the time Miggy could have shit on my floor and I wouldn't have minded but enough time has past that it is time for me to take back what he didn't really deserve.   Tejada received 21 of the posssible 28 first place votes beating out Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano by a comfortable margin. A-Rod hit 57 homeruns and had 142 RBI in 2002 and those normally would be plenty for the writers to give him in the MVP the problem being this was of course when he was with the Rangers where wins did not come very often in Texas. Tejada hit 23 fewer homeruns than A-Rod and had a near idential OPS to his teammate Eric Chavez who finished 14th in the voting. But the main facotr in the writers view was that the Rangers won only 72 games, finishing 31 games behind Miggy and the A's, thus A-Rod could not have been truly "valuable" if his team played so poorly. Soriano had his breakout year with the Yankees, coming up with one homerun shy of a 40-40 season but given how loaded the Yankees line up was it was hard in the view of the writers to give the award to a player with so much help around him with teammates Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams both finishing in the Top 10.   So should A-Rod have been the slam dunk winner and how bad of a choice was Tejada?   Actual Results 1) Miguel Teajda 2) Alex Rodriguez 3) Alfonso Soriano 4) Garret Anderson 5) Jason Giambi 6) Torii Hunter 7) Jim Thome 8) Magglio Ordonez 9) Manny Ramirez 10) Bernie Williams 11t) David Eckstein 11t) Nomar Garciaparra 13) Barry Zito 14) Eric Chavez 15t) Eddie Guardado 15t) Troy Percival 17) Ichiro Suzuki 18) Billy Koch 19) Derek Lowe 20t) Pedro Martinez 20t) Mike Sweeney   #10 .310/.352/.528, 118 RC, 132 OPS+, .290 EQA, 64.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #9 .320/.381/.597, 132 RC, 152 OPS+, .312 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #8 169 ERA+, 2.33 K/BB, 1.13 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #7 .308/.354/.508, 116 RC, 122 OPS+, .288 EQA, 58.6 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #6 .300/.332/.547, 123 RC, 131 OPS+, .291 EQA, 68.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #5 .333/.415/.493, 125 RC, 143 OPS+, .312 EQA, 66.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #4 .349/.450/.647, 125 RC, 190 OPS+, .353 EQA, 75.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #3 .314/.435/.598, 143 RC, 174 OPS+, .341 EQA, 79.2 VORP, 34 Win Shares   #2 .304/.445/.677, 145 RC, 191 OPS+, .357 EQA, 85.0 VORP, 34 Win Shares   #1 .300/.392/.623, 150 RC, 152 OPS+, .317 EQA, 86.8 VORP, 35 Win Shares   Some idiot on this board once said this back in 2003: Oh wait, that was me. Fuck.   Anyways A-Rod, Thome, and Giambi all have great cases. Thome suffered the same fate as A-Rod that year as he was on a bad team otherwise he may have had a shot at the award if he had been on a contender. Alas I deferred to A-Rod's slight edge in both VORP and Win Shares (WARP3 as well) to give him the nod but there was simply no easy pick that season so this was the perfect year for someone like Tejada to win.

Bored

Bored

 

CFB Pick 'Em Contest Announcement

Regulars of the Sports forum know that for the past three years I've been running a College Football Pick 'Em Contest. At the conclusion of last season I was uncertain if I wanted to continue running this contest. During last season the contest started to become a chore for me to run rather than a fun time killer. But after giving it it some thought and given the desire of others to keep it going I've decided to do it for at least one more year. I'll be holding off on posting the sign up thread for this upcoming season until mid-July as I hope having sign ups start closer to the beginning of the season will mean less people jumping ship right as the contest starts. Last year I started signs up around this time and I had four people drop out within a month into the season. Further details of the 2007 contest will be held off until then, including a change in the BCS rankings.   To keep this entry in with the theme of my blog, it's time for a random list which relates to the contest. Last year I posted the Bored's College Football Pick 'Em Encyclopedia which had a recap of the first two seasons of the contest and all-time standings. I don't really feel like typing up a recap of last season but I have gone ahead and updated the all-time contest standings so here they are.   All-Time Records (ordered by total wins)   Note: Results where replacements picks were used are thrown out.   1t. CanadianChris 29-13 1t. teke 184 29-14 3. iggymcfly 28-11 4. Edwin MacPhisto 27-14 5. Vern Gagne 25-16 6t. AlwaysPissedOff 23-17 6t. phoenixrising 23-18 8t. Bored 22-18 8t. nogoodnick 22-21 10t. Cuban Linx 21-7 10t. Lando Griffin 21-19 10t. Spaceman Spiff 21-21 10t. Will Scarlet 21-22 14. Spicy McHaggis 20-21   15t. MarvinisLunatic 19-12 15t. Cartman 19-21 17t. Agent of Oblivion 18-21 17t. Gert T 18-21 19. Kotzenjunge 17-20 20t. JHawk 16-22 20t. bravesfan 16-23 22t. Secret Agent 13-12 22t. Agent Bond34 13-14 22t. Kingofthe909 13-16 22t. the pinjockey 13-25 26. Porter 12-13 27t. SilverPhoenix 11-10 27t. therealworldschampion 11-20   29. A MikeSC 9-3 30t. Loaded Glove 8-13 30t. Damaramu 8-15 30t. Carnival 8-17 33t. kkktookmybabyaway 7-5 33t. Urban Warfare 7-6 33t. Danville Wrestling 7-7 33t. Flyboy 7-7 33t. Vampiro69 7-7 33t. Leena 7-8 33t. Vitamin X 7-16 39t. UTBroward 6-7 39t. HarleyQuinn 6-8 39t. Angel Grace Blue 6-19 42t. Hawk 34 5-7 42t. Ortonsault 5-7 44t. Matt Young 4-2 44t. Dangerous A 4-7 44t. 2GOLD 4-9 44t. Mad Dog 4-9 48t. Jimbo 1-1 48t. "Hail" bps21 1-2 50t. IK Cool Jew 0-3 50t. Rob E Dangerously 0-4

Bored

Bored

 

2008 Bowl Bubble

Did this the last couple of years so might as well keep doing. This is just a conference-by-conference breakdown (plus Notre Dame) of where everyone stands when it comes to making bowl games.   I know last year you were all thinkg, "Hey they just aren't enough bowl games and I was outraged that 6-6 South Carolina didn't go to a bowl game last year." My friends, the NCAA and ESPN have listened to you and they added two more bowl games (Congressional and St. Petersburg Bowls) bringing the total number of bowl games to 34. That increases the odds even further this year that if you are 6-6 and play in a BCS conference, you will probably find a bowl bid some where. But for the sake of taking into account all possible scenarios I'm not going to consider all six win teams as locks just yet to make bowl games except in certain conferences which I'll get to.   Note Navy has already accepted a bid to the Congressional Bowl.   ACC   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Orange, Chick-Fil-A, Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Meineke Car Care, Emerald, Humanitarian, Congressional   Locks: Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina   Bowl Eligible: Boston College, Maryland, Miami, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest   Bubble Teams: Clemson, Duke, N.C. State, Virginia   As usual the ACC is just one big entertaining, clusterfuck. Technically it is possible that all 12 teams will become bowl eligible as there just isn't a whole lot of difference in talent from 1 to 12 but the odds of that are very, very slim. The most important game among the bubble teams will be two weeks from now when Virginia hosts Clemson. Duke and N.C. State are both longshots.   Notre Dame   Bowl Tie-ins: Cotton, Gator, Sun   I'm going to mention the Irish before the Big East since what happens to them directly effects the Big East bids. With their loss last night the Irish's were officially eliminated from BCS consideration but if they run the table they could still get into the Cotton Bowl (note this would take away a bid from the SEC) although they'd have to win at USC to do so. 7-5 is more realistic but that also means beating Navy this week which isn't a given and if they do end up 7-5 they probably get an invite to the Gator Bowl or at worst the Sun Bowl, which if either happens the Big East loses a bid. At 6-6 it then gets a bit dicey for them as they then would need to rely on an open bid and hope they don't get gobbled up by 7-5 teams who don't have a bid. By rule any bowl that has a bid that couldn't be filled by one of their conference affiliations, they must invite an available 7+ win team over a 6 win team. If this happens and Notre Dame gets shutout of a bowl at 6-6, expect that rule to change.   Big East   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS, Gator/Sun, Meineke Car Care, International, Papajohns.com, St. Petersburg   Locks: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh   Bowl Eligible: Connecticut, South Florida, West Virginia   Bubble Teams: Louisville, Rutgers   Now that I've covered Notre Dame, it's very likely the Big East will have only five available bids instead of six so 7+ wins might be a must in this conference to go bowling. If everything goes to form, the Louisville/Rutgers game on 12/4 will be an elimination game for bowl eligibility. The Cardinals do have Cincinnati and West Virginia at home before then and its not out of the question they could spring an upset in one of those games.   Big Ten   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Rose (two bids?), Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City   Locks: Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State   Bowl Eligible: Iowa   Bubble Teams: Illinois, Wisconsin   As long as Ohio State avoids an upset in their final two games against Illinois and Michigan, they will give the conference a second team in a BCS bowl. Wisconsin has some bizarre scheduling this year as they finish the year against I-AA Cal Poly so you can put them down for win #6 there, if they don't do it this week against Minnesota. Illinois has much longer odds as they finish at home against Ohio State and then at Northwestern.   Big XII   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Fiesta (two bids?), Cotton, Holiday, Gator/Sun, Alamo, Insight, Independence, Texas   Locks: Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech   Bowl Eligible: Kansas, Nebraska   Bubble Teams: Colorado, Kansas State, Texas A&M   Unless something truly shocking happens, this conference will send two teams into the BCS. That also means that it doesn't look they'll fill the Texas Bowl bid and possibly not the Independence Bowl bid either. Kansas State has the easier road of the three bubble teams as they have Nebraska and Iowa State at home but a loss in either eliminates them.   Conference USA   Bowl Tie-ins: Liberty, GMAC, Texas, Armed Forces, New Orleans, St. Petersburg   Locks: Rice, Tulsa   Bowl Eligible: East Carolina   Bubble Teams: Houston, Marshall, Memphis, Southern Miss, UTEP   Outside chance that the conference won't fill the illustrious St. Petersburg Bowl bid as Marshall, Southern Miss, and UTEP all need two wins and they will all need to spring an upset to do so. Memphis is a near lock with only home dates against UCF and Tulane remaining.   MAC   Bowl Tie-ins: Motor City, GMAC, International   Locks: None   Bowl Eligible: BCS?, Ball State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan   Bubble Teams: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois, Temple   The MAC is kind of a poor man's Big XII this year because the three best teams in the conference all play in the same division, that being the West divison. Now you probably are wondering how the hell can I say Ball State isn't a lock? Yes they are undefeated and it is not impossible that they could sneak into the BCS if both Utah and Boise State lose. But the problem is, is that they still have to play CMU and WMU. If they were to lose both games and then say the East division champ were to upset the West division champ in the MAC title game then Ball State could find themselves without a MAC affiliated bowl game to go to, if both CMU and WMU were invited over them. The odds are strongly against this and they likely find an open bid somewhere but again have to take into account all possible scenarios, however unlikely. This is also why CMU and WMU are not locks either in case there is a huge upset in the title game.   Mountain West   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS?, Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Armed Forces, New Mexico   Locks: Air Force, BYU, TCU, Utah   Bubble Teams: Colorado State, UNLV, Wyoming   As we all know, Utah will be going to a BCS Bowl (likely the Fiesta) if they finish undefeated which would give the conference five bids. UNLV and Wyoming will play an elimination game this week. The Rebels will be in great shape if they win as they finish the season against lowly San Diego State. Since all three bubble teams are 4-6, it is possible that the New Mexico Bowl will become an open bid if Utah does end up in the BCS.   Pac-10   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Rose (two bids?), Holiday, Sun, Emerald, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Poinsettia   Locks: Arizona, California, Oregon, Oregon State, USC   Bubble Teams: Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA   The reason why all eligible teams are already locks in this conference is because UCLA and ASU play an elimination game on 11/28 thus there can be no more than seven eligible teams for the conference. There is an outside shot at the Pac-10 getting two teams in the BCS because if Oregon State wins out, they win the conference by tiebreak over USC and get the Rose Bowl bid. The odds are against this because the Beavers still have Cal, Arizona, and Oregon left to play but it's certainly not impossible. Also, STANFORD~ will beat Cal to become bowl eligible...or at least they better win.   SEC   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS/Sugar (two bids?), Capital One, Cotton, Outback, Chick-Fil-A, Music City, Liberty, Independence, Papajohns.com   Locks: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina   Bowl Eligible: Kentucky, LSU   Bubble Teams: Arkansas, Auburn, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt   Just like the Big XII, it would be a shocker if the SEC doesn't send two teams into the BCS so you can put them down for ten bids. Now they might not fill them all as Mississippi State for one will need pull off the upset of the year at Alabama this week just to stay alive and Auburn will have to upset Georgia or Alabama to become bowl eligible. Mississippi should pick up win #6 against UL Monroe this week.   Sun Belt   Bowl Tie-in: New Orleans   Locks: None   Bowl Eligible: Troy   Bubble Teams: Arkansas State, FIU, Florida Atlantic, UL Lafayette, Middle Tennessee   Barring something unforeseen, the conference title should come down to the ULL/Troy game on 11/22. The conference this year does now have contingency bids with the Congressional Bowl, Papajohns.com Bowl and the Independence Bowl where if those bids are not filled by the primary conference, a Sun Belt team will be taken although I think they have to be 7-5 or better but I could be wrong about that.   WAC   Bowl Tie-ins: BCS, Humanitarian, Hawaii, New Mexico   Locks: Boise State   Bowl Eligible: San Jose State   Bubble Teams: Fresno State, Hawaii, Louisiana Tech, Nevada, New Mexico State   Boise State will be huge BYU fans on 11/22 as they need Utah to lose that game to get into the BCS, otherwise they play another glorified home game against a 6-6 ACC team in the Humanitarian Bowl. Now the conference does have a contingency bid with the Poinsettia Bowl if the Pac-10 doesn't fill it and popular speculation is that they will invite the Broncos to play BYU. Not sure that is much of a consolation prize though. The rest of this conference is a complete mess and I'm not even going to attempt to figure out how it will shakeout.

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 1999 A.L. MVP

Since I'm on the starting pitcher theme I'm going with another year where a starting pitcher was in serious contention for the award. Pedro Martinez went 23-4 with a 2.07 ERA in 1999 and finished 2nd in the A.L. MVP voting. He would actually receive more first place votes than any other candidate, eight, but fell 13 voting points behind the winner Ivan Rodriguez. 1999 was the height of the offesive explosion during the late 90's which is now labeld the steroid era. It's not surprising Martinez received so much support as a pitcher putting up those kind of numbers with the game being dominated by offense.   Rodriguez's MVP win has been ridiculed heavily by the stathead crowd. With so many great offensive performances during the year his numbers paled in comparison to many others. Of course his excellent defense earns him bonus points and his numbers in many other years would have been MVP calibar but not in 1999. Given his win and Pedro's strong showing maybe it was a little writer backlash against the "arena baseball" that was being played that year. In all of this though the biggest contributer to Rodriguez's win may have been teammates Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez splitting their votes as they finished with the exact same number of first place votes and ended up tied for 3rd overall. If a couple of first place votes had been switch to the other one of them would have won the MVP.   So how bad of a choice was Pudge? Was Pedro Martinez really the MVP? Should have one of the Indians won it?   Actual Results   1) Ivan Rodriguez 2) Pedro Martinez 3t) Roberto Alomar 3t) Manny Ramirez 5) Rafael Palmeiro 6) Derek Jeter 7) Nomar Garciaparra 8) Jason Giambi 9) Shawn Green 10) Ken Griffey Jr 11) Bernie Williams 12) Carlos Delgado 13) Juan Gonzalez 14) Mariano Rivera 15) Alex Rodriguez 16) Omar Vizquel 17) Matt Stairs 18t) John Jaha 18t) B.J. Surhoff   #10 .309/.384/.588, 136 RC, 143 OPS+, .317 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #9 .315/.422/.553, 134 RC, 148 OPS+, .332 EQA, 75.6 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #8 .285/.384/.576, 132 RC, 138 OPS+, .312 EQA, 75.7 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #7 245 ERA+, 8.46 K/BB, 0.92 WHIP, 101.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #6 .324/.420/.630, 151 RC, 160 OPS+, .336 EQA, 86.1 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #5 .323/.422/.533, 127 RC, 140 OPS+, .324 EQA, 86.4 VORP, 35 Win Shares   #4 .357/.418/.603, 133 RC, 152 OPS+, .335 EQA, 97.0 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #3 .342/.435/.536, 139 RC, 157 OPS+, .330 EQA, 90.6 VORP, 33 Win Shares   #2 .333/.442/.663, 151 RC, 174 OPS+, .352 EQA, 89.3 VORP, 35 Win Shares   #1 .349/.438/.552, 149 RC, 161 OPS+, .337 EQA, 118.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares   Really who else could it have been? The guy is the MVP every year! FACE OF BASEBALL~!   Anyways for the all the hype Jeter gets as a living legend, 1999 was truly the one year where he was out of this world and he's never really come close to it since. It's so far above any other year he's had you could call it a fluke at this point. But it is interesting that in this year he didn't come that close to winning the MVP. As much as I mock the Jeter lovefest by New York media/fans, ESPN, and Fox I do feel that he is some what underrated by non-Yankee fans who are so sick of the hype. Maybe it's possible non-New York writers are the same way. Also when you look at the little support Bernie Williams had there could have also been a bit of a Yankee backlash after their historically dominate 1998 season. Who knows, maybe Jeter's legend didn't truly reach ridiculous levels until his insanely overrated play in the Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS when THAT FAT FUCK JEREMY GIAMBI DIDN'T SLIDE!!!!   Oh and going back to the original subject of the thread, Martinez like every year had to a skip a few starts and that has always hurt his potential MVP credentials. It's really a tribute to his great season that despite only making 29 starts he would crack the Top 10. And yes Rodriguez was a very bad choice as MVP although he came very close to being in the Top 10 and I flip-flopped between him and Green for the 10 spot.

Bored

Bored

 

Award Redo: 2003 A.L. MVP

In a recent entry on Leelee's Blog, she mocked my MVP redo's by bringing up her favoriter player's, Alex Rodriguez, 2003 MVP win. Hey I thought it was funny. But then treble, our resident Toronto Blue Jay fan, made this post: Well obviously I have to settle this heated debate.   Given that it was less than three years ago, many probably remember the MVP debate from that year. A-Rod won the A.L. MVP despite playing on a Ragners team that lost 91 games. Obviously not his fault but as I talked about in the Award Redo: 1987 N.L. MVP entry it is very rare for a player on a last place team to win the MVP and many don't feel a player on a last place team deserves consideration for the MVP. The year before A-Rod lost out to the A's Miguel Tejada with the main reason being that Tejada was on a first place team and A-Rod was on a last place team.   2003 was the ideal year for a player on a last place team to win the award as there was no clear favorite. It is obvious by just looking at the results as ten different players would receive first place votes: A-Rod, Delgado, Jorge Posada, Shannon Stewart, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Vernon Wells, Tejada, and Jason Giambi. Delgado did play on a winning team but not a first place team in Toronto. In a year when there is no clear favorite also some undeserving players get serious consideration. Most obvious was Shannon Stewart who received a groundswell of support late in the season after helping the Twins win the A.L. Central and was deservedly mocked by the stat geeks. Stewart finished the year with fewer Win Shares than A's closer Keith Foulke and I've already gone over before how hard it is for a closer to match the value of an everyday player. Another player who received way too much support was David Ortiz who only played in 128 games yet received four first place votes. His 15 Win Shares were by far the fewest of any player who received an MVP vote.   The A-Rod vs. Delgado debate of course was discussed on the TSM boards back in 2003 and this will be my second voting on the award. In this thread posters voted on all the MLB awards from 2003. As you'll see I was very anti-last place and anti A-Rod at the time although I've relented on my stance against players on last place teams winning the award since. Here was my ballot I posted on September 28, 2003: I was very much drinking the Miguel Tejda Kool-Aid at the time as in retrospect he really didn't deserve any consideration. So time to redo the real ballot and my ballot, but will I change my first place vote?   Actual Results 1) Alex Rodriguez 2) Carlos Delgado 3) Jorge Posda 4) Shannon Stewart 5) David Ortiz 6) Manny Ramirez 7) Nomar Garciaparra 8) Vernon Wells 9) Carlos Beltran 10) Bret Boone 11) Miguel Tejada 12) Bill Mueller 13) Jason Giambi 14) Garret Anderson 15t) Keith Foulke 15t) Frank Thomas 17) Eric Chavez 18t) Carlos Lee 18t) Magglio Ordonez 20) Alfonso Soriano 21) Derek Jeter 22) Pedro Martinez 23) Ichiro Suzuki 24t) Aubrey Huff 24t) Esteban Loaiza 24t) Jason Varitek 27) Mariano Rivera   #10 .307/.389/.522, 106 RC, 126 OPS+, .310 EQA, 64.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #9 .267/.390/.562, 117 RC, 149 OPS+, .317 EQA, 66.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #8 .290/.338/.525, 117 RC, 128 OPS+, .297 EQA, 69.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #7 .317/.359/.550, 133 RC, 131 OPS+, .303 EQA, 71.0 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #6 .281/.405/.518, 99 RC, 146 OPS+, .319 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #5 .250/.412/.527, 112 RC, 151 OPS+, .326 EQA, 63.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #4 .294/.366/.535, 121 RC, 138 OPS+, .312 EQA, 75.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #3 .325/.427/.587, 141 RC, 160 OPS+, .339 EQA, 77.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #2 .298/.396/.600, 141 RC, 148 OPS+, .324 EQA, 96.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #1 .302/.426/.593, 140 RC, 160 OPS+, .338 EQA, 83.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares   Ya stick it A-Rod, you're not CLUTCH~! And god damn do baseball cards suck now or what?   Anyways this was an incredibly close call and I could have flipped a coin but I gave the nod to Delgado. There's a serious case for Manny as well.

Bored

Bored

 

Draftback: 1983 NFL Draft

Vern asked for it so here it is. All the attention goes to the quarterbacks in the draft but there are some pretty impressive players at other positions that came out of this draft. This draft did live up to the hype.   1. Baltimore - John Elway, QB, Stanford Right FBI Agent: Don't worry Mrs. Simpson we've helped hundreds of people in danger. We'll give you a new name, a new job, new identity.   Homer: (Raising hand) Oooh, I want to be John Elway! (Homer starts day dreaming about being John Elway. The ball is snapped to Homer and he dives over the pile into the endzone.)   Announcer: Elway takes the snap and runs it in for a touchdown! Thanks to Elway's Patanent last second magic the final score of Super Bowl XXX is Denver 7, San Francisco 56.   Homer:(Back to reality) Woo Hoo!   2. L.A. Rams - Eric Dickerson, RB, SMU Probably due to his numerous contract holdouts Dickerson gets left out a lot now when talking about the greatest running back of all-time but he deserves consideration. How about that the #1 and #2 picks lived up to the hype? Doesn't happen very often.   3. Seattle - Curt Warner, RB, Penn State A Penn State running back who wasn't a bust, strange. Had two 1400+ yards seasons.   4. Denver - Chris Hinton, T, Northwestern Obviously didn't stay in Denver as he was traded to Baltimore in the Elway trade. Seven time Pro Bowl selection.   5. San Diego - Billy Ray Smith, LB, Arkansas Took us to the 5th pick to find a non-Pro Bowl player but Smith was decent. Now an awful analyst on FSN's college football show that no one watches.   6. Chicago - Jimbo Covert, T, Pittsburgh Certainly sounded like an offensive lineman. Two Pro Bowl selections.   7. Kansas City - Todd Blackledge, QB, Penn State First true bust of the draft and it's fitting he was the one true bust of the famous quarterback class.   8. Philadelphia - Michael Haddix, RB, Mississippi State Now we're getting some busts. Career high in rushing yards was 311.   9. Houston - Bruce Matthews, G, USC Simply one of the greatest offensive lineman ever. Selected to 14 Pro Bowls.   10. N.Y. Giants - Terry Kinard, S, Clemson Decent, 31 career interceptions.   11. Green Bay - Tim Lewis, CB, Pittsburgh Had 12 interceptions in his first two years but a neck injury forced him into early retirement in 1986.   12. Buffalo - Tony Hunter, TE, Notre Dame Only lasted four years.   13. Detroit - James Jones, RB, Florida Hung around for a while but never cracked 1000 yards and only 3.6 career ypc.   14. Buffalo - Jim Kelly, QB, Miami Didn't join the Bills until 1986 as he spent three years in the USFL with the Houston Gamblers. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.   15. New England - Tony Eason, QB, Illinois You'll get differing opinions on whether Eason was a bust or not though he had a couple of good years but flamed out pretty quick.   16. Atlanta - Mike Pitts, DE, Alabama Played 12 years despite not being all that good.   17. St. Louis - Leonard Smith, DB, McNeese State Lasted nine seasons.   18. Chicago - Willie Gault, WR, Tennessee Never really broke out as a star but was a big time deep threat.   19. Minnesota - Joey Browner, S, USC 37 career interceptions, six Pro Bowls.   20. San Diego - Gary Anderson, RB, Arkansas Solid all-purpose back who had almost as many receiving yards as rushing.   21. Pittsburgh - Gabriel Rivera, DT, Texas Tech Paralyzed in an accident while driving drunk during his rookie year. Take a bow loser.   22. San Diego - Gill Byrd, CB, San Jose State Holds franchise record for interceptions with 42.   23. Dallas - Jim Jeffcoat, DE, Arizona State Never a star but lasted 15 seasons and had 102 career sacks.   24. N.Y. Jets - Ken O'Brien, QB, UC Davis I don't believe in '83 the draft had an audience yet but it would have been pretty fun to have seen Jets' fans react to them drafting a QB from UC Davis. Selected to two Pro Bowls.   25. Cincinnati - Dave Rimington, C, Nebraska Unspectacular seven year career.   26. L.A. Raiders - Don Mosebar, T, USC Played every o-line position in his 12 year career.   27. Miami - Dan Marino, QB, Pittsburgh Who?   28. Washington - Darrell Green, CB, Texas A&I Another all-time great to close out the first round.   Other Players of Note   32. L.A. Rams - Henry Ellard, WR, Fresno State 37. N.Y. Giants - Leonard Marshall, DT, LSU 39. Buffalo - Darryl Talley, LB, West Virginia 49. San Francisco - Roger Craig, RB, Nebraska 61. Kansas City - Albert Lewis, CB, Grambling 64. Chicago - Dave Duerson, S, Notre Dame 84. Washington - Charles Mann, DE, Nevada 110. L.A. Raiders - Greg Townsend, DE, TCU 167. Miami - Reggie Roby, P, Iowa 203. Chicago - Richard Dent, DE, Tennessee State 223. Miami - Mark Clayton, WR, Louisville 276. Cincinnati - Tim Krumrie, DT, Wisconsin 289. San Francisco - Jesse Sapolu, C, Hawaii 310. Denver - Karl Mecklenburg, LB, Minnesota 334. Miami - Anthony Carter, WR, Michigan

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Where'd They Go?: 1996 Oakland A's

After talking about the mediocre '97 Pirates and doing the 1996 MVP redo it got me thinking about my favorite losing A's team, the 1996 version. The A's by this time were well removed from their three consecutive pennant winning teams with only Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach left from those glory days. The team was predicted to be one of the worst in baseball going into season mainly due to having a starting rotation who's "#1 starter" was Todd Van Poppel. Oof.   To add insult to injury with the low expectations they were also forced out of their home park for their first homestand. The Oakland Coliseum was undergoing a massive reconstruction to accomodate the Raiders who moved back to Oakland the previous year. The old bleachers and old giant scoreboards were torn down and a monstrosity that the locals would soon call Mt. Davis (in fact I think I came up with the name first or at least that's what I tell myself) in "honor" of Raiders' owner Al Davis. It was to make the stadium more football friendly and it was basically Oakland's way of bending over and taking it in the ass for the Raiders while completley ignoring the A's in the process. The stadium wasn't anywhere close to being ready and the A's first six home games were moved to Las Vegas. The construction would go on during the season with jackhammer sounds becoming a regular ballpark experience the first couple of months of the season and it was a major embarassment for the franchise.   But as it turned out they weren't horrible, not any good mind you but they managed not to finish last in the A.L. West and for a brief period of time after the All-Star Break they looked like they might break .500. After beating the Blue Jays on July 26th they were 54-50 and within five games of first place but that would be their peak. They would still be at .500 by mid-August but then they had a stretch where they lost 13 out of 16 which effectively buried their season. They finished the year 78-84 which was a small victory for a team expected to lose over 90 games. As I talked about in the '96 redo, offense was completely out of control that season and the A's took full advantage hitting a team record 243 homeruns which made them very entertaining to watch even if they weren't that good. Fortunently Van Poppel wouldn't stay the staff's #1 starter for very long as he'd get bombed and the former top prospect's Oakland career would come to an end later in the season when he was put on waivers. But the rest the rotation was horrible as advertised with a hodge podge of marginal prospects and never weres.   So here's a look back at my favorite losing team and where they went.   C: Terry Steinbach (.272/.342/.529, 40.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - At age 34, Steinbach hit a career high 35 homeruns, 19 above his previous high which came nine years earlier. Draw your own conclusions. This would be his last season in Oakland as he'd sign with his hometown Twins to finish out his career, retiring after 1999.   1B: Mark McGwire (.312/.467/.730, 91.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares) - This was McGwire's first full season since 1992, although he still started year with another trip to the DL, and he would have the best year of his career to that point. Really I just look at this numbers still in awe and this season was more special to me than his '98 season only because he was still in Oakland of course. He of course was traded to the Cardinals at the trade deadline in 1997 as the franchise hit rock bottom in a deal that is best forgotten. Retired after 2001.   2B: Tony Batista (.298/.350/.433, 15.9 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - The A's actually had a three headed monster here with former second baseman of the future Brent Gates and awful utility infielder Rafael Bournigal. Batista was a midseason call up and won the everyday job the last two months of the season. After showing promise he had an awful '97 season and was left unprotected in the expansion draft where he was picked up by Arizona. Since then had stops in Toronto, Baltimore, Montreal, Japan, and now with Minnesota.   3B: Scott Brosius (.304/.393/.516, 43.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - After mediocre numbers his first few years in the league Brosius brokeout with a very good year both offensive and defensively. His production then dropped like a rock in '97 and was traded to the Yankees for Kenny Rogers soon after the season ended. He'd become a World Series hero in 1998 with them which fooled them into keeping him as their regular 3rd baseman for the next three years although his final season in 2001 wasn't bad.   SS: Mike Bordick (.240/.307/.318, -5.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Bordick had been living off a good year offensively in 1992 for a long time and I forgot how truly awful he was offensively. Only kept an everyday job due to his defense. Last season in Oakland as he signed with the Orioles. In 2000 out of no where the first half of the season he suddenly started hitting for power which got Mets' GM Steve Phillips all excited so he traded Melvin Mora for him. Ouch. He'd then promptly go right back to the Orioles after the season. His final year was in 2003 with Toronto.   LF: Jason Giambi (.291/.355/.481, 26.6 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Yes you're reading that right: LF, Jason Giambi. He came up as a 3rd baseman but that was occupied by Brosius who was very good defensively and Giambi's future position at 1st was of course filled by McGwire. Phil Plantier, yes that Phil Plantier, actually started more games in left than anyone for the A's but let's just pretend like that didn't happen. Giambi did get a fair amount of time at 1st when they'd DH McGwire. As for Giambi's defense in left...it was like if Lonnie Smith & Manny Ramirez had a kid. It was bad, really bad. As we all know Giambi was with the A's thru 2001 and then became the poster boy for selling out by signing with the Yankees.   CF: Ernie Young (.242/.326/.424, 7.6 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - This was Young's only full season in the Majors. He could hit some homeruns and play pretty good defense but couldn't hit a breaking pitch to save his life so no surprise why he didn't last long. He's become a Crash Davis type of player as he's still hanging around the minors hitting homeruns and gets the occasional cup of coffee, most recently with Cleveland last year at age 34.   RF: Jose Herrera (.269/.318/.378, -2.2 VORP, 5 Win Shares) - Was acquired in the Rickey Henderson/Steve Karsay deal in 1993, never really developed and this was his 2nd and last year in the Majors. Out of baseball after 2000 but looking at his Baseball Cube page apparantly tried to make a comeback last year with the Orioles' Double-A team but only played in five games.   DH: Geronimo Berroa (.290/.344/.532, 33.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Berroa was a long time minor leaguer who outside of a spending a year with the Braves in 1989 as a Rule V draftee hadn't been given much of a shot in the Majors. Finally in 1994 at age 29 the A's signed him and he became a fan favorite beacuse he basically put everything into every swing, putting up some pretty good numbers. Traded to the Orioles in 1997 and his production fell off from there. Brief stops in Detroit, Cleveland, Toronto, and Los Angeles. Out of baseball after 2001.   Starting Rotation   Don Wengert (86 ERA+, 16.2 VORP, 6 Win Shares) - I should preface that the A's nine pitchers make 10 or more starts in '96 so I'm going with the four guys who made more than 20 starts as they obviously didn't have a set rotation all year. After showing promise early in the minors, Wengert couldn't get Triple-A hitters out by the the A's pitching woes forced them to use him on the big club which was a theme for A's pitching in the mid-90s. Traded to the Paders after 1997, he'd bounce around to the Cubs, Royals, Braves, and Pirates. Out of baseball after 2002.   Doug Johns (80 ERA+, 4.7 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Not really a prospect as he debuted at age 27 the previous year and his low K rate in the minors pretty much told you he wasn't going to make it in the Majors but again the A's didn't have many options. A's waived him the following season. Did spend a couple of years as a reliever and spot starter with the Orioles, was done with baseball after 1999.   John Wasdin (80 ERA+, 0.8 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - A former first round pick, he again couldn't get Triple-A hitters out but was forced into the rotation and was absolutlely lit up in this his rookie year. Traded to the Red Sox for Jose Canseco of all people the following season he's had a second career as a sometimes effective middle reliever although usually not. Had stops in Colorado, Baltimore, Toronto, and now with Texas although currenlty in the minors.   Ariel Prieto (116 ERA+, 27.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Before the Hernadez brothers made it cool to find Cuban pitchers there was Ariel Prieto. He was very much hyped as a future star but '96 was the only year that was ever moderately effective as I suppose he was the Hideki Irabu of Cuban pitchers. Last appeared in the Majors in 2001 with Tampa Bay although still hangs around the minors most recently with the Marlins Triple-A team although doesn't appear on any roster this year.   Closer: Billy Taylor (111 ERA+, 16.0 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - Taylor was your typical losing team closer who no on notices because save situations don't become that important for losing teams. He was passable but nothing special. But good 'ol Steve Phillips saw his decent save totals and traded Jason Isringhausen for him at the trade deadline in 1999. Oops! Taylor didn't even make the Mets postseason roster. Made stops in Tampa and Pittsburgh, done after 2001.

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L.A. Clippers: Top 10 Individual Seasons

As I'm sure anyone who follows sports knows that the Los Angeles Clippers won a playoff series for the first time in 30 years and the first time ever since they've been the Clippers. Outside of a very brief glimmer of hope in the early the 90's they have been the model of futility in professional sports. Since I root for the New Clippers (YOUR Golden State Warriors) I figured I might as well jump on their bandwagon. I do have reservations though what with the gratuitous shots of Billy Crystal that will only increase with them into the next round and Donald Sterling getting credit for anything.   Now for a "tribute" to the Clippers I present the Top 10 best individual seasons by Clippers players since they became the Clippers in 1978 using the basketball version of Win Shares. Again I preface as always I have no idea how reliable this stat is. What this list does show is that Elton Brand has already become the franchise's greatest player, not that this franchise has been full of great players. In fact this past season Brand had the best season ever by a Clippers player.   What other blog will you find Swen Nater content?   1. Elton Brand, '05-'06, 41 Win Shares 24.7 PTS, 10.0 REB, 2.6 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.5 BLK, 2.2 TO   2. Elton Brand, '01-'02, 36 Win Shares 18.2 PTS, 11.6 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.0 STL, 2.0 BLK, 2.2 TO   (couldn't find an image of a Clippers card) 3. World B Free, '78-'79, 33 Win Shares 28.8 PTS, 3.9 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.4 STL, 0.4 BLK, 3.8 TO   4. Danny Manning, '91-'92, 29 Win Shares 19.3 PTS, 6.9 REB, 3.5 AST, 1.6 STL, 1.5 BLK, 2.6 TO   5. Elton Brand, '04-'05, 28 Win Shares 20.0 PTS, 9.5 REB, 2.6 AST, 0.8 STL, 2.1 BLK, 2.3 TO   6. Elton Brand, '03-'04, 26 Win Shares 20.0 PTS, 10.3 REB, 3.3 AST, 0.9 STL, 2.2 BLK, 2.8 TO   7. World B Free, '79-'80, 25 Win Shares 30.2 PTS, 3.5 REB, 4.2 AST, 1.2 STL, 0.5 BLK, 3.4 TO   8. Swen Nater, '80-'81, 24 Win Shares 15.6 PTS, 12.4 REB, 2.4 AST, 0.6 STL, 0.6 BLK, 2.6 TO   9. Mark Jackson, '92-'93, 24 Win Shares 15.2 PTS, 5.0 REB, 9.3 AST, 1.7 STL, 0.2 BLK, 2.8 TO   10. Corey Maggette, '03-'04, 23 Win Shares 20.7 PTS, 5.9 REB, 3.1 AST, 0.9 STL, 0.2 BLK, 2.8 TO

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Draftback: 1980's MLB Roundup

The draft is tommorrow so I've decided just to do a quick list of the top players of each draft from the 1980's per Win Shares with a couple of other things thrown in. Now when putting this together I was quickly skimming over the list of players who played in the Majors from each draft so it's entirely possible I might have missed a key player or two so feel free to point out any omissions. For each year I only take in account players who signed.   1980   Top Pick Overall: Darryl Strawberry, 252 Win Shares, Mets Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #2 Garry Harris, Blue Jays Most Career Win Shares: Strawberry Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Craig Lefferts 91, 9th Round, Cubs Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Eric Davis 224, 8th Round, Reds   1981   Top Pick Overall: Mike Moore, 133 Win Shares, Mariners Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #11 Mike Sodders, Twins Most Career Win Shares: Tony Gwynn 398, 3rd Round, Padres Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: David Cone 205, 3rd Round, Royals Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Joe Carter 240, #2 Overall, Indians; Kevin McReynolds 202, #6 Overall, Padres; Paul O'Neill 259, 4th Round, Reds; Devon White 207, 6th Round, Angels; Fred McGriff 326, 9th Round, Yankees; Lenny Dykstra 201, 13th Round, Mets Other Pitchers with 180+ Career Win Shares: Mark Langston 184, 2nd Round, Mariners; Frank Viola 187, 2nd Round, Twins; John Franco 183, 5th Round, Dodgers   1982   Top Pick Overall: Shawon Dunston, 151 Win Shares, Cubs Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #2 Augie Schmidt, Blue Jays Most Career Win Shares: Jose Canseco 272, 15th Round, A's Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: David Wells 203, 2nd Round, Blue Jays Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Terry Pendleton 202, 7th Round, Cardinals Other Pitchers with 180+ Career Win Shares: Dwight Gooden 187, #5 Overall, Mets; Jimmy Key 188, 3rd Round, Blue Jays; Bret Saberhagen 193, 19th Round, Royals; Kenny Rogers 185, 39th Round, Rangers   1983   Top Pick Overall: Tim Belcher, 132 Win Shares, Twins (did not sign) Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #5 Stan Hilton, A's Most Career Win Shares: Roger Clemens 421, #19 Overall, Red Sox Most Career Win Shares by a Player: Wally Joyner 253, 3rd Round, Angels Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Ron Gant 206, 4th Round, Braves   1984   Top Pick Overall: Shawn Abner, 13 Win Shares, Mets Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #13 Bob Caffrey, Expos Most Career Win Shares: Greg Maddux 371, 2nd Overall, Cubs Most Career Win Shares by a Player: Mark McGwire 342, #10 Overall, A's Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Jay Bell 245, #8 Overall, Twins; Ken Caminiti 242, 3rd Round, Astros Other Pitchers with 180+ Career Win Shares: Tom Glavine 290, 2nd Round, Braves; Jamie Moyer 184, 6th Round, Cubs   1985   Top Pick Overall: B.J. Surhoff, 231 Win Shares, Brewers Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #5 Kurt Brown, White Sox Most Career Win Shares: Barry Bonds 661, #6 Overall, Pirates Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Randy Johnson 297, 2nd Round, Expos Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Will Clark 331, #2 Overall, Giants; Barry Larkin 347, #4 Overall, Reds; Rafael Palmeiro 394, #22 Overall, Cubs; David Justice 233, 4th Round, Braves; Mark Grace 294, 24th Round, Cubs Other Pitchers with 180+ Career Win Shares: John Smoltz 257, 22nd Round, Tigers   1986   Top Pick Overall: Jeff King, 115 Win Shares, Pirates Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #14 Greg McMurty, Red Sox (did not sign) Most Career Win Shares: Gary Sheffield 398, #6 Overall, Brewers Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Kevin Brown 241, #4 Overall, Rangers Other Players Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Matt Williams 241, #3 Overall, Giants; Todd Zeile 221, 2nd Round, Cardinals   1987   Top Pick Overall: Ken Griffey Jr., 358 Win Shares, Mariners Highets Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #2 Mark Merchant, Pirates Most Career Win Shares: Craig Biggio 411, #22 Overall, Astros Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Kevin Appier 189, #9 Overall, Royals Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Albert Belle 243, 2nd Round, Indians; Ray Lankford 228, 3rd Round, Cardinals; Reggie Sanders 201, 7th Round, Reds; Steve Finley 286, 13th Round, Orioles   1988   Top Pick Overall: Andy Benes, 139 Win Shares, Padres Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #5 Bill Bene, Dodgers Most Career Win Shares: Mike Piazza 309, 62nd Round, Dodgers Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Benes Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Robin Ventura 272, #10 Overall, White Sox; Tino Martinez 216, #14 Overall, Mariners; Marquis Grissom 248, 3rd Round, Expos; Luis Gonzalez 285, 4th Round, Astros; Jim Edmonds 263, 7th Round, Angels; Kenny Lofton 261, 17th Round, Astros   1989   Top Pick Overall: Ben McDonald, 83 Win Shares, Orioles Highest Pick Not to Play in the Majors: #4 Jeff Jackson, Phillies Most Career Win Shares: Jeff Bagwell 387, 4th Round, Red Sox Most Career Win Shares by a Pitcher: Trevor Hoffman 144, 11th Round, Reds Other Players with 200+ Career Win Shares: Frank Thomas 362, #7 Overall, White Sox; Mo Vaughn 201, #23 Overall, Red Sox; Chuck Knoblauch 231, #25 Overall, Twins; John Olerud 301, 3rd Round, Blue Jays; Tim Salmon 228, 3rd Round, Angels; Ryan Klesko 222, 5th Round, Braves; Jim Thome 279, 13th Round, Indians; Brian Giles 228, 17th Round, Indians; Jeff Kent 295, 20th Round, Blue Jays

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Award Redo: 1986 A.L. MVP

I think every sports fan has certain athletes they dislike or even on some level hate. Sometimes there are some justifiable reason to dislike the athlete and other times it is just irrational hate. For me that athlete is Roger Clemens. I can't stand the fat fuck. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense as Clemens has many memorable failures against my Oakland A's over the years. Clemens was 0-7 head-to-head vs. Dave Stewart when Stewart pitched for the A's. Hell you'd think I'd like the guy but I don't. I've grown tired of his several near retirements which started with his so called farewell season of 2003. That season he was forced on to the All-Star team by Bud Selig after not being selected to the team and was given a long standing ovation in his "final" start in the 2003 World Series even though at no point before or during the season did he ever say that it would be his final year. Now he's on his way back yet again and in honor of his return I will attempt to take something away from him: the 1986 American League Most Valuable Player Award.   1986 was the last time a starting pitcher won an MVP award as Clemens had arguably the best season of his career going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA while playing on the best team in the league. In the 1995 N.L. MVP redo I established that it is still possible for a starting pitcher to win an MVP award although it is very difficult. Certainly Clemens had the type of year a starting pitcher would need to warrant consideration for an MVP and he received 19 of the 28 possible first place votes. His main competition was the defending A.L. MVP Don Mattingly and he had an even better season than his MVP year but his RBI total was down from 145 to 113 so undoubtedly that hurt him in the view of the writers. Then other player to receive first place votes was Clemens' teammate and another former MVP in Jim Rice. Rice had a great year but the best position player on the Red Sox was clearly Wade Boggs who won the batting title with a .357 avg and also lead the league with a .453 obp. Boggs only finished 7th in the voting.   Actual Results 1) Roger Clemens 2) Don Mattingly 3) Jim Rice 4) George Bell 5) Jesse Barfield 6) Kirby Puckett 7) Wade Boggs 8) Wally Joyner 9) Joe Carter 10) Dave Righetti 11) Doug DeCinces 12) Mike Witt 13) Don Baylor 14) Tony Fernandez 15) Teddy Higuera 16) Gary Gaetti 17t) Marty Barrett 17t) Scott Fletcher 17t) Pete O'Brien 20) Jose Canseco 21) Jim Presley 22) Dick Schofield   #10 .263/.358/.469, 102 RC, 125 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #9 156 ERA+, 2.80 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #8 .302/.335/.514, 114 RC, 130 OPS+, .300 EQA, 49.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #7 .282/.355/.461, 102 RC, 122 OPS+, .296 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #6 .328/.366/.537, 131 RC, 140 OPS+, .307 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #5 .324/.384/.490, 117 RC, 137 OPS+, .310 EQA, 52.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #4 .289/.368/.559, 120 RC, 147 OPS+, .315 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #3 169 ERA+, 3.55 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 84.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #2 .357/.453/.486, 128 RC, 157 OPS+, .337 EQA, 73.2 VORP, 37 Win Shares   #1 .352/.394/.573, 155 RC, 161 OPS+, .338 EQA, 85.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares   OH IN YO FACE CLEMENS, IN YO FACE!!!   See the fact fuck wasn't even the best player on his own team. That's it he shouldn't be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Pretty much a toss up between Mattingly and Boggs, I wouldn't argue with anyone who feels Boggs should have won it. RICKEY~ didn't receive any votes and neither did Ripken who also didn't receive any votes in the 1984 A.L. MVP redo when I chose him as the winner.   In the near future I'll be posting an 80's round up of MVP redos for the years haven't done yet but aren't interesting enough for their own entry...and I'm not even sure if this one was either.

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Where'd They Go?: 1997 New York Mets

For the next Where’d They Go? I had already decided on doing a Mets team and ironically enough I received a request from TSM Mets’ fan strummer to do one for the 1997 Mets. The one I had chosen was the overpaid, sexual assaulting, firecracker throwing 1992 Mets. But I’m a giver so instead I will be doing the 1997 Mets.   The Mets had gone through six years of losing featuring many bad contracts, bad trades, and bad management. Basically the Mets the from 1991 to 1996 were the New York Knicks of today. Finally in ’97 things started to come together for the franchise under manager Bobby Valentine who had taken over as manager during the previous season for the young pitcher arm shredding Dallas Green. While the Mets never made a serious run for the N.L. East title they were in the thick of the Wild Card race for much of the summer but were never able to get closer than two games of the eventual World Champion Marlins. So let’s meet the 1997 New York Mets and see where they went.   C: Todd Hundley (.273/.394/.549, 45.2 VORP, 22 Win Shares) – This was during Hundley’s peak when he emerged as one of the best hitting catchers in baseball. He would have elbow surgery following season which would effectively derail his career. He was terrible in his return the following season in an ill-conceived move to leftfield and likely should have sat out the entire year. The Mets had acquired Mike Piazza during 1998 and Hundley would be on his way out to the Dodgers following the season. He had one good year in 2000 with the Dodgers but that was only productive year left. Signed as a free agent with the Cubs following that season. Played there for two years and was traded back to Los Angles to play one final injury filled season.   1B: John Olerud (.294/.400/.489, 36.2 VORP, 27 Win Shares) – Olerud’s first year in New York many thought he was already on his way down as a player but put together three very productive years with the Mets. Signed as a free agent after 1999 with Seattle where he would play until mid-2004 when he appeared to be washed up. After being released he was picked up by the Yankees and was mildly productive. Went to Boston for 2005 as a part-time player and retired after the season.   2B: Carlos Baerga (.281/.311/.396, 6.9 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – The Mets had a good second baseman in Jeff Kent but traded him the year before to get…Baerga. Whoops. After an early peak Baerga already was past his prime in his late 20’s. He’d leave the Mets after 1998 and would bounce around from San Diego, back to Cleveland, Boston, Arizona (had a surprisingly good year in 2003 as a role player), and finally Washington last year. On no MLB roster this year so I assume he’s now retired.   3B: Edgargdo Alfonzo (.315/.391/.432, 36.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – This was Alfonzo’s breakout year at age 23. Had a disappointing 1998 but followed that up with two phenomenal years where he amassed 65 Win Shares. Seemed on his way to becoming a superstar but had a bad year in 2001 with several nagging injuries. Rebounded in 2002 and cashed in as a free agent by signing with the Giants. His days a productive player would be over when he reached San Francisco and played three mediocre years there. Traded after 2005 to the Angels who released him in May, then the Blue Jays gave him a shot but released him after only a month with the team. Appears his career maybe over at age 32.   SS: Rey Ordonez (.216/.255/.256, -18.1 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Everyone wanted to make Ordonez the next Ozzie Smith but it wasn’t going to happen and I don’t care how good defensively he may have been, those offensive numbers are of someone who should have been in Triple-A. Never lived up to the hype and was traded to Tampa Bay after to 2002. Played one year there and went to San Diego but never played a game with the big club. The Cubs of course couldn’t resist picking up a weak hitting middle infielder and picked him up but let him go after two months.   LF: Bernard Gilkey (.249/.338/.417, 9.0 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – Hindsight being what it is the Mets probably could have suckered some team into trading a major prospect for Gilkey following his career year of ’96. This ended up being his last season as everyday player. Did end up being traded during 1998 to Arizona but for no one of note. Released by the D-Backs in 2000 and was picked up by the Red Sox. Finished his career with Atlanta in 2001.   CF: Carl Everett (.248/.308/.420, 2.8 VORP, 13 Win Shares) – Mets actually had three primary center fielders during the season. They traded Lance Johnson for Brian McRae in a six player waiver deal to the Cubs in August. Everett was a big time prospect who at age 26 at this point looked like he might not live up to the hype. Unfortunately for Mets’ fans GM Steve Phillips had a fetish for trading for middle relievers and he traded Everett after the season to the Astros for John Hudek. He’d have two very good years in Houston but they traded enigmatic outfielder to the Red Sox after 1999 for Adam Everett. He signed a big money contract extension with the Red Sox before the season started and had a great year but like everywhere else wore out his welcome. Traded three more times first to Texas after 2001, then to White Sox during 2003, signed as a free agent with Expos, and then traded back to the White Sox during 2004. Now currently with the Mariners.   RF: Butch Huskey (.287/.319/.503, 19.1 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – Alex Ochoa led the Mets in games played in right field but Huskey made the most starts. I can’t remember if Huskey was ever expected to end up being really good or not but he never did become all that good beyond a couple of decent years like this one. Mets traded him to Seattle after 1998, who traded him to Boston during the 1999. Split 2000 with the Twins and Rockies. Spent 2001 in the minors and that appears to be where his career ended.   Rotation   Rick Reed (140 ERA+, 54.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Reed was always that decent pitcher who you couldn’t see his real name in MLB video games because he was a “scab” player in 1995. I’m sure Brett Butler and Tom Glavine left him flaming bags of poo on his doorstep. This was arguably Reed’s best year and followed up with another good year in ’98. Merely an average pitcher through most of his career, he was traded in a deadline deal to the Twins in 2001 for Matt Lawton and pitched there thru 2003. He signed with the Pirates in 2004 but failed to make the Opening Day roster and decided to retire.   Dave Mlicki (101 ERA+, 31.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Reading up on him apparently every Mets fan will always love him for his shutout of the Yankees in their first interleague mathc-up in ’97. Other than that, a very non-descript career who was traded several times. Mets traded during 1998 to the Dodgers in a deal for Hideo Nomo. Dodgers traded him last than a year later to Detroit, who would trade him two years later to Houston for Jose Lima.   Bobby Jones (111 ERA+, 32.2 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – Jones was a steady if unspectacular pitcher for the Mets for several years. A shoulder injury in 1999 would limit him to nine starts and he never had a season with ERA under 5 after that. Finished his career with two seasons with the Padres.   Mark Clark (95 ERA+, 12.9 VORP, 6 Win Shares) – Mets stats only as Clark was in that Johnson/McRae deal to the Cubs in August but he was the only other Mets pitcher with more than 20 starts. Mediocre pitcher who often seemed to luck into winning seasons. Actually pitched great for the Cubs down the stretch to last place in ’97 but was terrible the following season. The always desperate for pitching Rangers signed him as a free agent where’d he had have two god awful years to finish his career.   Closer: John Franco (158 ERA+, 18.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares) – The longtime Mets’ closer was still effective at age 36. Being that he was left handed he was able hang around after he was no longer effective as he was with the Mets thru 2004. Astros picked him up for 2005 but released him midseason. Never officially announced his retirement but his career is most certainly over. Finished 3rd on the all-time saves list with 424.

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Award Redo: 1987 A.L. MVP

Okay I've redone all the 80's MVPs but this was one that I kind of have been wanting to do an entry for. The main reason is because 1987 was the year that my favorite player of all-time Mark McGwire burst on to the scene by completely obliterating the rookie homerun record with 49 homeruns. It's really one of those records that it's hard to imagine it ever being broken as Mike Piazza's 35 in 1993 is the most by a rookie since. In the Summer of '87 everyone was going out of their way to buy up as many of McGwire's Olympic card from the 1985 Topps set as they could. Now I know McGwire wasn't the MVP but I had always had it my head that he had a better year than the winner of the MVP that year.   The writer's pick for A.L. MVP was George Bell as he won it in a tight race over Alan Trammell, receiving 16 first place votes to Trammell's 12. Now when it comes to awards voting most writers submit their ballots before the season ends and that could have made a difference here. After dropping three out of four in Toronto on the next to last weekend of the season the Tigers sat two and a half games out of first place behind the Blue Jays. It's quite possible that series won the MVP for Bell over Trammell as Bell played a big role in the series win going 8 for 18. But the in the final weekend of the season the Tigers would sweep the Jays in Detroit to take the A.L. East title. Who knows how many writer's submitted their ballots right after the series in Toronto? Also if Trammell had won the MVP in '87 maybe he'd get a little more support in the Hall of Fame voting. I've always had the Shiny Object Theory when it comes to HOF voting where writer's will almost always give more support to a player who won a major award in their career than someone who didn't. Just look at Bruce Sutter (Cy Young in 1979) being elected to the HOF this year instead of Goose Gossage (never won a Cy Young).   Actual Results   1) George Bell 2) Alan Trammell 3) Kirby Puckett 4) Dwight Evans 5) Paul Molitor 6) Mark McGwire 7) Don Mattingly 8) Tony Fernandez 9) Wade Boggs 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Jeff Reardon 12) Darrell Evans 13t) Doyle Alexander 13t) Tom Henke 13t) Wally Joyner 16) Kent Hrbek 17) Danny Tartabull 18) Robin Yount 19) Roger Clemens 20t) Jack Morris 20t) Kevin Seitzer 20t) Ruben Sierra 23) Jose Canseco 24) Matt Nokes   #10 .309/.390/.541, 123 RC, 142 OPS+, .318 EQA, 54.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares   #9 .305/.417/.569, 129 RC, 156 OPS+, .332 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares   #8 .327/.378/.559, 122 RC, 146 OPS+, .319 EQA, 50.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #7 .332/.367/.534, 121 RC, 132 OPS+, .304 EQA, 55.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #6 .308/.352/.605, 129 RC, 146 OPS+, .318 EQA, 60.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares   #5 154 ERA+, 3.09 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 92.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #4 .289/.370/.618, 127 RC, 164 OPS+, .335 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #3 .353/.438/.566, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .344 EQA, 74.8 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #2 .363/.461/.588, 151 RC, 173 OPS+, .358 EQA, 90.1 VORP, 32 Win Shares   #1 .343/.402/.551, 133 RC, 155 OPS+, .334 EQA, 96.6 VORP, 35 Win Shares   So Bell wasn't a terrible choice but not a particularly good one either. Boggs plays bride's maid again in my redos just like he did with the 1986 one. What happened with the Red Sox in '87? Defending A.L. Champs and three of the Top 10 players in the league on their team yet they finish six games under .500. Sounds like a "Where'd They Go?" team.

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College Football in 1991

I've been trying for a while to figure out some sort reoccurring entry for what's become my favorite sport to watch on television in the last several years and that's college football. But I haven't been able to come up with anything to this point so I figured I'd post some memories and some useless facts which is what this blog was created for.   As I've said before my "sports life" began in 1986 but it wasn't until 1991 that I took a true interest in college football. Really two things stuck out and that was Desmond Howard and that Stanford had a good team for the first time in a while. Howard was the hyped player that seemed to deliver every week. I will never forget watching that Michigan/Ohio State game when he struck the Heisman pose after a punt return for a touchdown. There was this sense from the announcers and the crowd that right before the punt that he was going to do something big. Him striking that pose in perfect unison with Keith Jackson's "Hello Heisman" call is I think one of the truly cool moments sports history.   Now since I had started following sports with a rabid interest Stanford had been lackluster in football, except in 1986 when they played in the Gator Bowl but again I wasn't into college football at the time. The year before they had pulled off a shocking upset of then #1 Notre Dame in South Bend but need nothing of note after that. In '91 they had an early season upset of Colorado but were only 2-3 after five games. Starting quarterback Jason Polumbus was knocked with a shoulder injury and back up Steve Stenstrom took over, leading the Cardinal to six straight victories and just their second bowl bid in 13 years. I still have on tape and watch at least once a year their 38-21 ass kicking of then #6 Cal in the Big Game that year with "Touchdown" Tommy Vardell scoring three td's.   Now on to the useless facts. 1991 may have been as reponsible as any year for the creation of the BCS because it ended with a split national champ between two undefeated schools who could not play each other in the bowls, Miami and Washington. Miami was ranked higher in the preseason poll so they ended up higher than Washington at the end of the season although it was near upset against a weak Boston College team (week after Wide Right I) that cost Miami the top spot in the Coaches' Poll.   Preseason AP Top 25 1. Florida State 2. Michigan 3. Miami 4. Washington 5. Florida 6. Notre Dame 7. Penn State 8. Georgia Tech 9. Clemson 10. Oklahoma 11. Tennessee 12. Houston 13. Colorado 14. Texas 15. Nebraska 16. USC 17. Auburn 18. Iowa 19. BYU 20. Michigan State 21. Texas A&M 22. Alabama 23. Ohio State 24. UCLA 25. Syracuse   Top 25 Regular Season Match-ups   Week 1 #7 Penn State 34, #8 Georgia Tech 22 #1 Florida State 44, #19 BYU 28   Week 2 #23 UCLA 27, #25 BYU 23   Week 3 #2 Miami 40, #10 Houston 10 #3 Michigan 24, #7 Notre Dame 14 #6 Florida 35, #16 Alabama 0 #11 Tennessee 30, #21 UCLA 16 #23 Baylor 16, #12 Colorado 14   Week 4 #4 Washington 36, #9 Nebraska 21 #18 Syracuse 38, #5 Florida 21 #6 Tennessee 26, #23 Mississippi State 24   Week 5 #1 Florida State 51, #3 Michigan 31 #5 Tennessee 30, #13 Auburn 21 #7 Clemson 9, #19 Georgia Tech 7 #14 Florida 29, #21 Mississippi State 7 #16 Nebraska 18, #24 Arizona State 9   Week 6 #1 Florida State 46, #10 Syracuse 14 #7 Michigan 43, #9 Iowa 24 #18 California 27, #24 UCLA 24 #19 N.C. State 28, #21 Georgia Tech 21   Week 7 #2 Miami 26, #9 Penn State 20 #10 Florida 35, #4 Tennessee 18 #7 Notre Dame 42, #12 Pittsburgh 7 #20 Illinois 10, #11 Ohio State 7 #22 Georgia 37, #23 Mississippi State 17   Week 8 #3 Washington 24, #7 California 17 #14 Alabama 24, #8 Tennessee 19 #22 Colorado 34, #12 Oklahoma 17 #15 Iowa 24, #13 Illinois 21 #19 Texas A&M 34, #16 Baylor 12 #24 Syracuse 31, #20 Pittsburgh 27   Week 9 #19 Clemson 29, #12 N.C. State 19 #20 East Carolina 24, #23 Pittsburgh 23   Week 10 #9 Nebraska 19, #15 Colorado 19 tie #11 Iowa 16, #13 Ohio State 9 #21 Baylor 9, #24 Arkansas 5   Week 11 #13 Tennessee 35, #5 Notre Dame 34 #6 Florida 45, #23 Georgia 13 #10 Iowa 38, #25 Indiana 21 #24 Virginia 42, #18 N.C. State 10   Week 12 #2 Miami 17, #1 Florida State 16 #4 Michigan 20, #25 Illinois 0 #8 Penn State 35, #12 Notre Dame 13   Week 13 #4 Michigan 31, #18 Ohio State 3 #21 Stanford 38, #6 California 21   Week 14 #5 Florida 14, #3 Florida State 9 #11 Nebraska 19, #19 Oklahoma 14   Bowl Games California: Bowling Green 28, Fresno State 21 (MVP, Mark Szlachcic) Aloha: Georgia Tech 18, #17 Stanford 17 (MVP, Shawn Jones) Blockbuster: #8 Alabama 30, #15 Colorado 25 (MVP, David Palmer) Liberty: Air Force 38, Mississippi State 15 (MVP, Rob Perez) Independence: #24 Georgia 24, Arkansas 15 (MVP, Andre Hastings) Gator: #20 Oklahoma 48, Virginia 14 (MVP, Cale Gundy) Holiday: BYU 13, #7 Iowa 13 tie (MVP, Ty Detmer) Freedom: #23 Tulsa 28, San Diego Sate 17 (MVP, Ron Jackson) Copper: Indiana 24, Baylor 0 (MVP, Vaughn Dunbar) Sun: #22 UCLA 6, Illinois 3 (MVP, Arnold Ale) Citrus: #14 California 37, #13 Clemson 13 (MVP, Mike Pawlawski) Peach: #12 East Carolina 37, #21 N.C. State 34 (MVP, Jeff Blake) Cotton: #5 Florida State 10, #9 Texas A&M 2 (MVP, Sean Jackson) Orange: #1 Miami 22, #11 Nebraska 0 (MVP, Larry Jones) Fiesta: #6 Penn State 42, #10 Tennessee 17 (MVP, O.J. McDuffie) Hall of Fame: #16 Syracuse 24, #25 Ohio State 17 (MVP, Marvin Graves) Rose: #2 Washington 34, #4 Michigan 14 (MVP, Steve Emtman) Sugar: #18 Notre Dame 39, #3 Florida 28 (MVP, Jerome Bettis)   Final AP Top 25 1. Miami 2. Washington 3. Penn State 4. Florida State 5. Alabama 6. Michigan 7. Florida 8. California 9. East Carolina 10. Iowa 11. Syracuse 12. Texas A&M 13. Notre Dame 14. Tennessee 15. Nebraska 16. Oklahoma 17. Georgia 18. Clemson 19. UCLA 20. Colorado 21. Tulsa 22. Stanford 23. BYU 24. N.C. State 25. Air Force   All-Americans   QB Ty Detmer, BYU Casey Weldon, Florida State   RB Vaughn Dunbar, Indiana Trevor Cobb, Rice Russell White, California Amp Lee, Florida State Marshall Faulk, San Diego State   WR Desmond Howard, Michigan Mario Bailey, Washington Carl Pickens, Tennessee   TE Kelly Blackwell, TCU Derek Brown, Notre Dame Mark Chmura, Boston College   OL Greg Skrepenak, Michigan Bob Whitfield, Stanford Jeb Flesch, Clemson Jerry Ostroski, Tulsa Mirko Jurkovic, Notre Dame Jay Leeuwenburg, Colorado Eugene Chung, Virginia Tech Leon Searcy, Miami Troy Auzenne, California Ray Roberts, Virginia Tim Simpson, Illinois   DL Steve Emtman, Washington Santana Dotson, Baylor Brad Culpepper, Florida Leroy Smith, Iowa Joel Steed, Colorado Shane Dronett, Texas Rob Bodine, Clemson Robert Stewart, Alabama   LB Robert Jones, East Carolina Marvin Jones, Florida State Levon Kirkland, Colorado Marco Coleman, Georgia Tech David Hoffman, Washington Steve Tovar, Ohio State Joe Bowden, Oklahoma Darrin Smith, Miami Erick Anderson, Michigan   DB Terrell Buckely, Florida State Dale Carter, Tennessee Kevin Smith, Texas A&M Darryl Williams, Miami Darren Perry, Penn State Troy Vincent, Wisconsin   K Carlos Huerta, Miami Jason Hanson, Washington State   P Mark Bounds, Texas Tech   KR Qadry Ismail, Syrcause   PR Kevin Williams, Miami

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MVP Watch #7

Not much of note in the N.L. this week accept the arrival of You Know Who for the first time this year.   #10 Chase Utley, Phillies .317/.382/.531, 71 RC, .294 EQA, 40.5 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #9 Barry Bonds, Giants .255/.477/.509, 63 RC, .333 EQA, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #8 Nick Johnson, Nationals .302/.429/.535, 73 RC, .321 EQA, 39.0 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #7 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals .288/.361/.594, 83 RC, .305 EQA, 40.3 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #6 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins .330/.429/.545, 78 RC, .321 EQA, 42.8 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #5 David Wright, Mets .315/.387/.568, 83 RC, .308 EQA, 37.8 VORP, 20 Win Shares   #4 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks 192 ERA+, 4.68 K/BB, 1.11 WHIP, 59.6 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #3 Carlos Beltran, Mets .274/.381/.598, 78 RC, .311 EQA, 40.2 VORP, 23 Win Shares   #2 Lance Berkman, Astros .318/.403/.602, 87 RC, .319 EQA, 41.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares   #1 Albert Pujols, Cardinals .328/.444/.713, 92 RC, .354 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 26 Win Shares     And the wide open A.L. race has a new #1.   #10 David Ortiz, Red Sox .281/.389/.607, 78 RC, .318 EQA, 42.8 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #9 Jermaine Dye, White Sox .316/.395/.620, 71 RC, .322 EQA, 37.6 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #8 Johan Santana, Twins 153 ERA+, 5.43 K/BB, 1.01 WHIP, 46.7 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #7 Francisco Liriano, Twins 237 ERA+, 4.31 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 47.5 VORP, 16 Win Shares   #6 Derek Jeter, Yankees .344/.423/.466, 76 RC, .314 EQA, 46.0 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #5 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays .322/.385/.624, 75 RC, .320 EQA, 51.5 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #4 Manny Ramirez, Red Sox .310/.429/.608, 78 RC, .334 EQA, 43.0 VORP, 19 Win Shares   #3 Jim Thome, White Sox .293/.408/.632, 85 RC, .330 EQA, 46.7 VORP, 18 Win Shares   #2 Travis Hafner, Indians .308/.438/.637, 92 RC, .351 EQA, 58.1 VORP, 17 Win Shares   #1 Joe Mauer, Twins .381/.457/.534, 69 RC, .334 EQA, 51.4 VORP, 20 Win Shares

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Award Redo: 1985 N.L. MVP

In case you didn't know Dwight Gooden is currently behind bars in a seven month prison sentence after another drug relapse. Gooden has described his time in prison as torture and I have to imagine he can't be the happiest of guys right about now. But I'm here to cheer ol' Doc up and take a look back at the year he was on top of the baseball world and see if he should have won the MVP.   After phenomenal rookie year (17-9, 2.60 ERA) Gooden followed it up with one of the best years by a pitcher in recent baseball history going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA. He won the Cy Young unanimously and finished 4th in the MVP voting receiving one first place vote. The winner of the MVP was Willie McGee who had the best year on the best team in the National League, receiving 14 of the 24 first place votes. McGee bucked the usual trend of MVP voting of giving the award to power hitters and his 10 homeruns in 1985 were the fewest hit by an MVP winner since Maury Wills in 1962 who hit only six homeruns. He beat out two 30+ homerun seasons by Dave Parker and Pedro Guerrero who received six and three first place votes respectively. Really overall this was a pretty solid ballot produced by the N.L. writes as no one in their Top 10 seemed completely out of place beyond the usual lack of respect for Tim Raines who finished only 12th despite his usual excellence. Only really bizarre voting was a throw away 10th place vote for Mariano Duncan who put up a .244/.293/.340 line as a rookie for the first place Dodgers.   Actual Results 1) Willie McGee 2) Dave Parker 3) Pedro Guerrero 4) Dwight Gooden 5) Tom Herr 6) Gary Carter 7) Dale Murphy 8t) Keith Hernandez 8t) John Tudor 10) Jack Clark 11) Vince Coleman 12) Tim Raines 13) Ryne Sandberg 14t) Hubie Brooks 14t) Mike Marshall 16) Orel Hershiser 17) Keith Moreland 18t) Mike Scioscia 18t) Ozzie Smith 20) Jeff Reardon 21t) Jose Cruz 21t) Bill Doran 23t) Mariano Duncan 23t) Tony Gwynn 23t) Fernando Valenzuela 23t) Glenn Wilson   #10 .305/.364/.504, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .301 EQA, 61.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares   #9 .312/.365/.551, 127 RC, 148 OPS+, .306 EQA, 47.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares   #8 .302/.379/.416, 95 RC, 124 OPS+, .303 EQA, 50.3 VORP, 30 Win Shares   #7 183 ERA+, 3.45 K/BB, 0.94 WHIP, 80.8 VORP, 27 Win Shares   #6 .281/.365/.488, 98 RC, 139 OPS+, .306 EQA, 46.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares   #5 .300/.388/.539, 129 RC, 151 OPS+, .318 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 31 Win Shares   #4 .353/.384/.503, 119 RC, 148 OPS+, .318 EQA, 67.5 VORP, 36 Win Shares   #3 .320/.422/.577, 118 RC, 181 OPS+, .349 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 35 Win Shares   #2 .320/.405/.475, 110 RC, 153 OPS+, .330 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 36 Win Shares   #1 226 ERA+, 3.88 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 99.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares   There you go Dwight, you are the winner of the only 1985 N.L. MVP given away by some guy on a wrestling message board. Now don't be dropping that new MVP in the shower.

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The Streak

Last night the Oakland A’s beat the Seattle Mariners 4-0 and by doing so have tied a Major League record with 15 consecutive wins over a divisional opponent (Braves turned the trick against the Padres in 1974). On the season the A’s are 53-51 against everyone besides the Mariners while on the flip side the Mariners are 55-49 against everyone besides the A’s. The A’s dominance of the Mariners has now put them a position that didn’t seem possible just a few weeks earlier and that is a commanding lead in the A.L. West. Now it was just four years ago around this time of year that the A’s were in the middle of another streak, one of much more historic importance that I was able to see in person.   On August 12th, 2002 the A’s lost the Toronto Blue Jays 2-1 at home dropping themselves 4 and a half games back of the first place Mariners. They wouldn’t lose another game until 24 days later. The following night an Eric Chavez two run single in the 7th broke a 3-3 tie, Billy Koch made it interesting in the 9th as he usually did but the A’s held on for a 5-4 win. They’d take the rubber match 4-2 the next day. That Friday on the 16th I went to the game with my brother as the A’s played the White Sox, the first of three games I’d attend during the streak not that I had any idea at the time what had started. Jermaine Dye led off the 2nd with a homerun and that would be enough for Cory Lidle and three relievers as the A’s went on to win 1-0. After sweeping the White Sox that weekend they headed to Cleveland for four games. The Indians would hardly put up a fight as the A’s outscored them 29-7 during the four game sweep and left Cleveland in a tie for first now with the Mariners. Next up was a trip Detroit. The A’s crushed the hapless Tigers 9-1 and 12-3 for wins #10 and #11 in the streak and the Mariners had lost both days giving the A’s a two game lead now in the West, a six and a half game swing in a span of 11 games. But in the finale in Detroit it appeared the streak would come to an end. In the 4th starter Aaron Harang was tagged for five runs, capped by a Randall Simon three run homer off reliever Micah Bowie to give the Tigers a 7-2 lead. A’s were still down 7-3 going into the 8th but it was in that inning that you got the feeling this streak wasn’t going to end anytime soon. Greg Myers led off the inning with a homerun, Chavez would hit a two run double a few batters later to cut the lead to a run, and then John Mabry followed with another two run double to give the A’s the lead. They tacked two more runs on in the 9th on a Dye homer and the A’s would win 10-7 for win #12. Off to Kansas City next for a fairly easy sweep to cap a 10-0 road trip and head home with a 15 game winning streak.   Now while on this was going on baseball involved in another labor dispute. My Dad and I had tickets to the A’s return game from the road trip on Friday the 30th against the Twins but there was potentially not going to be a game at all as the player’s were set to go on strike the day before if a labor deal was not agreed on. Obviously the A’s had probably more to lose than any team if a strike happened both on the field and at the box office. But for the first time a very, very long time the player’s union compromised with the owners and a strike was avoided. That following night there was a bit of a buzz in the crowd as the A’s closed in the American League record of 19 straight wins held by the ’06 White Sox and ’47 Yankees but at the same time you didn’t get the sense that people thought it would happen. It didn’t help that Jacque Jones would hit the first pitch of the game from Tim Hudson into the right field seats. But Ray Durham would answer with his lead off homerun in the bottom of the inning and the A’s would eventually win 4-2 for win #16. The next day I was off to Tahoe for the weekend for my brother’s bachelor party and I would miss three remarkable games by the A’s, not that I really noticed beyond catching a few highlights at the casinos. A’s won Saturday 6-3, after Ricardo Rincon had coughed up the lead in the top of the 8th they had answered with three runs in the bottom of inning to get the win. With the A’s now two wins shy of tying the record, they would start a streak of three straight games that they would win in their last at bat. Koch would blow a 5-2 lead in the 9th giving up homeruns to Corey Koskie and Micahel Cuddyer. But with two out and one on in the bottom of the 9th, Miguel Tejada hit a walkoff homerun against Eddie Guardado for the 7-5 win. Kansas City came in for Labor Day the next day for a brief two game “series.” The A’s blew yet another late inning lead but Tejada would get the game winning hit again after the A’s loaded the bases for a 7-6 win and tie the A.L. record with 19 straight wins.   I came home from Tahoe on Tuesday morning the 3rd and the A’s had an odd off day between the two home games that day. For whatever reasons I hadn’t even thought about going to the game the next night and I was surprised about two hours before the game my Dad asks me if I want to the game but I was like “sure, why not?” Now a weeknight game against the Royals wasn’t going to have much of a presale so we weren’t too concerned about tickets even if we knew there would be a huge walk up because of the possibility witnessing baseball history. I thought that a lot of the walk up would be people getting off work and buying tickets right before the opening pitch. But apparently people were there all day long getting tickets and everything outside of Mount Davis was sold out by the time we got to the game. For those unfamiliar Mount Davis is the football monstrosity that was erected in the outfield of the Oakland Coliseum back in 1996 in place of the old school bleachers. I had never sat on top of Mount Davis and I’ll never do it again unless the A’s get to the World Series. There’s little to no sarcasm in me saying that you have a better view of San Francisco up there than you do of the field. A good portion of the outfield is obstructed so we had to pretty much rely on what the rest of the crowd did to figure what happened on long fly balls. But bad seats aside the game started out as good as anyone could hope for. By the end of the 3rd inning the A’s had torched Paul Byrd and Darrell May for an 11-0 lead. The A.L. record was in the bag. Even when the Royals scored five in the 4th there was still none of the 55,000+ at the game who was worried at all and as the 11-5 lead held most of us just wanted the game to end as soon as possible so we could see the celebration. Then came the 8th with Chad Bradford in the game for the A’s.   Brent Mayne walked. Emil Brown walked. Neifi Perez singled. Luis Ordaz reaches on fielder’s choice, no out recorded, Mabry scores, 11-6.   Bradford was lifted for Rincon and at this point my Dad and I started to head down the ramps to get down the field level area and watch the rest of the game standing behind the field level seats. Still not that worried but wishing they would stop this from getting too interesting. Now it is a long ass walk down Mount Davis to field level and Michael Tucker struck out while we were walking but as we reached the bottom a large portion of the stadium groaned…Royals just scored again on a Carlos Beltran sac fly. But there were now two out and the A’s were still up 11-7. Rincon was lifted for Jeff Tam and we finally settled on a spot to watch the rest of the game. Any remaining thoughts that the A’s still had this under control soon went out the window. Mike Sweeney crushed one down the left field line and it was now 11-10. It was at that point that I let out a loud “FUCK!” and got a dirty look from some old lady. It was also at that time that Billy Beane was in the A’s clubhouse breaking several things. Thankfully Raul Ibanez grounded out to ended the inning but you suddenly now didn’t even care about the record and were more worried about the A’s being part of a different record by blowing an 11-0 lead. A’s went quietly in the 8th and it was now up to Koch. Joe Randa led off with a single and Mayne bunted him over to 2nd. Koch though would strike out Brown and got two strikes on Luis Alicea…this was it, the 20th straight win! Or not. Alicea singles. Randa scores. Tie game 11-11.   The sound you heard in the Coliseum was 55,000+ people being punched in the stomach at the same time. You just couldn’t believe what had happened. A team with a 19 game winning streak, playing one of the worst team’s in baseball, just blew an 11-0 lead. Now faced with possibly extra innings and the A’s bullpen almost completely exhausted, things couldn’t be grimmer. Against Jason Grimsely, Dye led off the night with a harmless fly out. Scott Hatteberg came up to pinch hit for Eric Byrnes. Grimsley missed with the first pitch and then….         Everyone knew it was gone the second it left his bat. I've never been one to start celebrating and high fiving complete strangers at sporting events but you couldn't help it here. In an instant this had gone from the worst game I've ever been to, to the best game I've ever been to.   Two days later in Minnesota the streak was over. Exactly one month later the Twins would end the A's season in another dissapointing, heartbreaking playoff ALDS loss by the A's and the streak was forgotten. But it is kind of cool to know that I was able to watch some true baseball history in person.   The Streak (* - Game I saw in person)   #1: A's 5, Blue Jays 4 #2: A's 4, Blue Jays 2 #3: A's 1, White Sox 0* #4: A's 9, White Sox 2 #5: A's 7, White Sox 4 #6: A's 8, Indians 1 #7: A's 6, Indians 3 #8: A's 6, Indians 0 #9: A's 9, Indians 3 #10: A's 9, Tigers 1 #11: A's 12, Tigers 3 #12: A's 10, Tigers 7 #13: A's 6, Royals 3 #14: A's 6, Royals 4 #15: A's 7, Royals 1 #16: A's 4, Twins 2* #17: A's 6, Twins 3 #18: A's 7, Twins 5 #19: A's 7, Royals 6 #20: A's 12, Royals 11*

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HOF Profile: Lee Smith

Now we get to the our first holdover and someone who has received some decent support.   Lee Smith - Closer   Chicago Cubs 1980-1987 Boston Red Sox 1988-1990 St. Louis Cardinals 1990-1993 New York Yankees 1993 Baltimore Orioles 1994 California Angels 1995-1996 Cincinnati Reds 1996 Montreal Expos 1997   5th year on the ballot   Past HOF Voting Results 2003: 42.34% 2004: 36.56% 2005: 38.8% 2006: 45.0%   Awards 1991 NL Rolaids Relief Award 1992 NL Rolaids Relief Award 1994 AL Rolaids Relief Award   All-Star Selections: 7 (1983, 1987, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995)   League Leader 1983: Saves 1991: Saves 1992: Saves 1994: Saves   Career Ranks Saves: 2nd Games: 8th H/9: 97th K/9: 11th K/BB: 61st ERA+: 30th   Hall of Fame Stats   Black Ink: Pitching - 12 (178) (Average HOFer ≈ 40) Gray Ink: Pitching - 48 (512) (Average HOFer ≈ 185) HOF Standards: Pitching - 13.0 (578) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Pitching - 135.0 (50) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Pitchers in HOF: 2 (Rollie Fingers, Bruce Sutter) Other Similar Pitchers: Jeff Reardon, John Franco, Roberto Hernandez, Trevor Hoffman, Rick Aguilera, Kent Tekulve, Jose Mesa   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)   1980: 2/0.7 1981: 4/2.5 1982: 13/4.5 1983: 19/8.3 1984: 15/4.9 1985: 17/5.9 1986: 17/7.2 1987: 15/7.4 1988: 12/4.7 1989: 11/3.9 1990: 17/6.2 1991: 15/6.5 1992: 12/4.2 1993: 9/3.4 1994: 8/4.9 1995: 8/5.0 1996: 4/2.1 1997: 0/0.1   Career Win Shares: 198 Career WARP3: 82.2   Would he get my vote?   No. I personally just have a hard time thinking someone who spent their career almost exclusively as a short reliever as being a HOF. As I've mentioned before a closer can rarely ever be considered the most valuable player on a team. Even though he retired as the all-time saves leader Smith was definately a notch below the elite closers in baseball history (Fingers, Eckersley, Rivera, Gossage, Sutter, Quisenberry, Wilhelm, Hoffman) and by the time he reached his mid-30s he was just padding his career save totals.

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HOF Profile: Dave Concepcion

Dave Concepcion - Shortstop   Cincinnati Reds 1970-1988   14th year on the ballot   Past HOF Vote Results 1994: 6.81% 1995: 9.35% 1996: 13.40% 1997: 12.68% 1998: 16.91% 1999: 11.87% 2000: 13.43% 2001: 14.37% 2002: 11.86% 2003: 11.09% 2004: 11.26% 2005: 10.66% 2006: 12.50%   Awards 1974 NL Gold Glove - SS 1975 NL Gold Glove - SS 1976 NL Gold Glove - SS 1977 NL Gold Glove - SS 1979 NL Gold Glove - SS 1981 NL Silver Slugger - SS 1982 NL Silver Slugger - SS   All-Star Selections: 9 (1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982)   League Leader None of note   Career Ranks Games: 48th   Hall of Fame Stats   Gray Ink: Batting - 25 (863) (Average HOFer ≈ 144) HOF Standards: Batting - 29.1 (311) (Average HOFer ≈ 50) HOF Monitor: Batting - 106.5 (136) (Likely HOFer > 100)   Similar Batters in HOF: 3 (Bobby Wallace, Pee Wee Reese, Luis Aparicio) Other Similar Batters: Omar Vizquel, Tony Fernandez, Bert Campaneris, Alan Trammell, Royce Clayton, Garry Templeton, Frank White   Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)   1970: 5/1.9 1971: 4/0.9 1972: 6/3.5 1973: 16/5.9 1974: 25/10.7 1975: 19/8.0 1976: 23/10.2 1977: 19/8.7 1978: 25/8.8 1979: 24/10.2 1980: 17/6.1 1981: 20/9.7 1982: 17/8.3 1983: 8/4.2 1984: 11/3.1 1985: 12/2.8 1986: 8/2.4 1987: 8/3.6 1988: 2/0.8   Career Win Shares: 269 Career WARP3: 109.7   Would he get my vote?   No. I did give him more thought than I originally anticipated mainly due to his strong WARP3 number but he seems overrated by that measure. He was the best shortstop of his era which is definately worthy of some extra credit but he played in a dreadful era for shortstops. His career OPS+ is actually one point higher than Ozzie Smith's but Smith had 56 more Win Shares and 39.6 more WARP3 despite only playing a half season longer. He had some very good years in his prime but the level of performance just wasn't high enough to warrant a spot in the HOF.

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Worst...Game...Ever

I attended the Mariners/A's game last night. On paper it seemed like a very favorable match-up with Dan Haren pitching for the A's against Jeff Weaver of the Mariners. Haren didn't have it last night, and he really hasn't had it for the last few weeks, but through six innings he had only given up one run mainly due to the Mariners over agressive hitting. He'd thrown 99 pitches to that point and I thought it'd be a good idea to get the hook instead of pressing their luck especially with scored tied 1-1. But manager Bob Geren did press his luck and got the whammy as Jose Vidro would hit a two run double to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead to finally knock Haren out of the game, the Mariners eventually going on to win 7-1. Now this was not the worst game I've ever been to from the standpoint of a heartbreaking loss (that would be this game) but it was one of the worst games I've ever been to from the quality of play by the A's. The A's committed five errors with Marco Scutaro tying an American League record with four errors in one game by a third baseman. Hey I saw history! So for this brief entry I give a brief list of some of the worst performances by the A's that I've seen live in person. The list is brief is I'm doing this off the top of my head and my memories of individual games as a kid aren't particularly good which I'll chalk up to having a short attention span.   June 21, 1987 vs. Texas. Now see talking of not having a good memory, I can't 100% vouch for that I went to this game but it was the second game of a double header and I have an early baseball memory of being at a double header against the Rangers with the A's getting blown out so odds are it was this game. A's lost 13-3 and some guy named Bob Brower for the Rangers hit two homeruns. Ron Cey DH'd for the A's that day. God I feel old.   June 30, 1997 vs. San Diego. The A's hit rock bottom as a franchise in 1997 and this game was pretty much how the season went. The Padres scored seven runs in the 2nd inning, featuring two three-run homeruns by Wally Joyner and Tony Gwynn off starter Don Wengert. He was replaced by Dan Johnson who I thought was good at the time because he had a 2.08 ERA. Not really grasping the idea of sample sizes at that point, he'd only pitched 13 innings so far that season, I would be very dissapointed as he would give up six runs of his own including a two run homerun to Greg Vaughn in the 4th. It was 11-3 at the end of the 4th, 15-5 at the end of the 6th, with the Padres clinging to a 15-6 win.   October 1, 2004 vs. Anaheim. This was an awful game and it was a heartbreaker. It was the first game of the final series of the year and the A's were one game out of first place behind the Angels. Mark Mulder made the start despite having a horrific last two months of the season and clearly needed to be skipped in the rotation for rookie Joe Blanton. Mulder would get hooked after surrendering four runs in the 2nd. Blanton would shadow him and kept the A's in it until the 6th when the Angels figured him out and Alfredo Amezaga (who hit .161/.212/.247 in 93 at bats that year) hit a grand slam to make it 8-0, eventually skunking the A's 10-0. And it was my birthday. Angels clinched the division the next day.

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The Greatest World Series Game Never Played

I'd figured I'd take a break from the usual lists to tell a quick story about the only World Series game I ever had the chance to attend. It's a pretty well known game because it didn't end being played as scheduled and it was 18 years ago today. It was Tuesday, October 17th, 1989 as the Oakland A's were to play the San Francisco Giants in Game 3 of their Bay Bridge World Series at Candlestick Park.   My Dad had bought tickets from Game 3 and 4 at Candlestick and he was going to take me to Game 3 and my brother to Game 4. Now you might wonder why as A's fans we'd have tickets to games in San Francisco and not Oakland but then you'd have to realize what a dump Candlestick Park was/is. The Oakland Coliseum today is thought of as one the worst ballparks around but at the time it was still regarded as good park and might as well have been Candem Yards compared to Candlestick. The A's had a larger season ticket base than the Giants at the time and with having the much nicer stadium the four games scheduled for Oakland were gone in an instant. Of course the games for Candlestick were gone quickly as well but there was actually people willing to give up those tickets for the right price unlike the games at the Coliseum. If I remember right I believe my Dad was able to buy our tickets off someone from he knew at work at $50 a piece in the nosebleed section. I don't think my Dad let me actually know how bad the seats really were but in the end would just be happy to be going to a World Series game especially with the A's out to a 2-0 series lead.   My memories of the day are pretty sketchy. I remember my Dad had bought a World Series program for me before hand for me to read on the way to the game. With the early 5:15 start time start time to get the game in east coast primetime we only got there probably about 20 minutes before the first pitch. Since we were so close to the game starting we decided to grab food before we got to the seats since there was no way I'd leave my seat during the game. Just as we got on line for food the stadium started shaking. We were on a concession line that was below the upper deck of the stadium and I remember just looking up as I guess that was my natural instinct was to see if anything was gonna fall. My Dad grabbed and rushed me to the little overhang by the concessions. Just a hunch if the stadium actually collapsed we'd be dead but if we actually survived what a better place to be trapped than by the food? For those of us who were not in their seats there wasn't even 100% certainty that it was earthquake or if the fans shook stadium. I remember right after the stadium stoppedd shaking a loud roar went up in the stadium and I heard a Giants fan near by yell "that's how you start a fucking game!" It was definately felt like a big earhtquake but it went by so quick and everything pretty much seemed fine. I was scared shitless but at least I was still going to see a World Series game.   Our seats were out towards rightfield and when we got to them I could see the leftfield foul pole was still shaking. I looked straight down the rightfield foul pole but one problem, you couldn't see rightfield at all from the angle of our seats and god damn did the field look far away. But again at least I was going to see a World Series game, if not really see the whole game itself with our view. Everyone seemed to think the game would be played although clearly delayed at that point. I can't remember at what time they called the game but shortly before that the gravity of the situation hit us when someone with a radio near by said this:   "The Bay Bridge collapsed."   That's a shit your pants moment right there. The image that went through my head was that the bridge went into the fucking water. What about the other bridges? How do we get home? As it turned out it was just a single portion of the upper deck of the bridge that collapse but at this point there was obvoiously going to be no baseball played that night. The rest of the night is a complete blur. I think my 11 year old brain had exploded that night and I was just worried about us getting home, although part of me was also excited by the prospect I might not have to school the next day. Although the Bay Bridge was the only bridge with major damage, all bridges were closed so we had to head south towards Santa Clara and go around the Bay to get home. This would normally be about a 40 minute drive but with so many people either trying to get home or get out of the city this turned into about a four hour trip just to get to the South Bay. Another problem that night was that because of the quake a lot of gas stations closed and we ended running out of gas in Santa Clara by the Great America theme park. On fumes my Dad got us into a hotel parking lot but as you can imagine that night all hotels were booked up. It was a very large hotel with a huge lobby and they were allowing people to come in without a room and sleep in the lobby which it appeared we'd end up doing. But my Dad was able to buy some gas from a gardner at the hotel from a lawnmower and enough to fill up to find an open gas station and get home. So about seven hours after the earthquake we were finally home. And I had to go to school. Fuck.   So at the start of this I mentioned that this would be about the only chance I had to go to a World Series game. Of course everyone the series resumed 10 days later but I didn't go. Why? Becuase I was a big fucking pussy. Okay I guess in reality i was just a scared kid who was going through some post traumatic shit but on the other hand I was just a pussy, who also watched way too much of the post-earthquake news coverage. I'm one of those people who will watch non-stop disaster news coverage. I remember for weeks after 9/11 watching the footage of the planes going into the WTC over and over and over and over again no matter how tough it was to watch. Every 9/11 when that footage starts getting replayed on t.v. again I always end up watching it. Back in '89 after the earthquake I just kept watching the news coverage of the earthquake and the home video footage shot in the immediate aftermath of the quake. This in particular of a car falling down the collapsed portion of the bridge was played non-stop and I ended up just scaring myself into not going to the next game. To this day I'm actually not scared of earthquakes at all but I was then. So I regret that I've never had another chance since to go to a World Series game but I suppose also I should be happy the earthquake didn't last longer or otherwise I might have been a Candlestick Park sandwich.

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TSB Sim Season: Super Bowl

It's time for the Tecmo Super Bowl, uh Super Bowl, extravaganza! Here's recap of the playoffs.     San Francisco 49ers   Regular Season Results (13-3) 1: L – Giants 21-24 OT 2: W – Chargers 34-14 3: L – Vikings 24-27 OT 4: W – Rams 35-21 5: L – Raiders 14-21 6: Bye 7: W – Falcons 31-14 8: W – Lions 28-3 9: W – Eagles 27-9 10: W – Falcons 24-17 11: W – Saints 35-24 12: W – Cardinals 21-10 13: W – Rams 35-34 14: W – Saints 21-20 15: W – Seahawks 31-21 16: W – Chiefs 28-17 17: W – Bears 21-10   Offense Rankings Total: 2nd Pass: 2nd Rush: 23rd   Defense Rankings Total: 9th Pass: 18th Rush: 3rd   Offense QB: Joe Montana - 150/222, 3810 Yards, 41 TD, 12 Int RB: Roger Craig - 68 Att, 540 Yards, 2 TD RB: Tom Rathman - 114 Att, 726 Yards, 16 TD WR: John Taylor – 22 Rec, 510 Yards, 8 TD WR: Jerry Rice - 75 Rec, 1955 Yards, 21 TD TE: Brent Jones – 15 Rec, 365 Yards, 2 TD C: Jess Sapolu LG: Guy McIntyre RG: Harris Barton LT: Bubba Parris RT: Steve Wallace   Reserves QB: Steve Young RB: Dexter Carter, Harry Sydney WR: Mike Wilson, Mike Sherrard TE: Jamie Williams   Special Teams K: Mike Cofer – 58/59 XP, 6/10 FG P: Barry Helton – 11 Punts, 43.1 Avg   Defense RE: Kevin Fagan – 15 Sacks NT: Michael Carter – 2 Sacks LE: Pierce Holt – 7 Sacks ROLB: Bill Romanowski – 1 Sack RILB: Keith Delong LILB: Matt Millen – 1 Sack LOLB: Charles Haley – 13 Sacks RCB: Don Griffin – 2 Int LCB: Darryl Pollard FS: Ronnie Lott – 6 Int SS: Dave Waymer – 8 Int   Houston Oilers   Regular Season Results (10-6) 1: L – Raiders 21-30 2: W – Bengals 23-21 3: W – Chiefs 21-17 4: L – Patriots 17-35 5: Bye 6: W – Broncos 10-7 7: W – Jets 30-24 OT 8: W – Dolphins 35-14 9: W – Bengals 44-24 10: L – Redskins 24-27 OT 11: W – Cowboys 21-10 12: L – Browns 21-24 13: L – Steelers 20-28 14: W – Eagles 31-28 OT 15: W- Steelers 21-9 16: L – Browns 21-30 17: W – Giants 30-24 OT   Offense Rankings Total: 3rd Pass: 1st Rush: 26th   Defense Rankings Total: 19th Pass: 24th Rush: 15th   Offense QB: Warren Moon – 153/226, 3959 Yards, 38 TD, 20 Int RB: Lorenzo White – 86 Att, 620 Yards, 6 TD WR: Ernest Givins – 45 Rec, 1191 Yards, 13 TD WR: Haywood Jeffries – 32 Rec, 838 Yards, 7 TD WR: Drew Hill – 31 Rec, 701 Yars, 9 TD WR: Curtis Duncan – 43 Rec, 1176 Yards, 9 TD C: Jay Pennison LG: Mike Munchak RG: Bruce Matthews LT: Don Maggs RT: Dean Steinkuhler   Reserves QB: Cody Carlson RB: Allen Pinkett, Victor Jones, Doug Lloyd WR: Tony Jones, Gerald McNeil   Special Teams K: Tony Zendejas – 48/50 XP, 10/13 FG P: Greg Montgomery – 6 Punts, 47.3 Avg   Defense RE: Sean Jones – 11 Sacks NT: Doug Smith – 3 Sacks LE: William Fuller – 11 Sacks ROLB: Johnny Meads – 2 Sacks RILB: Al Smith LILB: John Grimsley – 2 Sacks LOLB: Ray Childress – 12 Sacks RCB: Richard Johnson – 4 Int LCB: Chris Dishman – 3 Int FS: Terry Kinard – 1 Int SS: Bubba McDowell – 2 Int     Super Bowl XXVI: San Francisco 49ers vs. Houston Oilers   1st Quarter   49ers won the coin toss but would turn it over immediately as Dexter Carter fumbled the opening kickoff as the Oilers recovered on the 49ers 30 yard line. They couldn't move the ball at all though and settled for a Tony Zendejas 45 yard field goal for a 3-0 lead. 49ers moved the ball into the Oilers territory on their first possession but Mike Cofer missed a 53 yard field goal. Warren Moon would hit Ernest Givins on a 46 yard catch and run on the next play which would eventually lead to another Zendejas field goal.   Houston 6, San Francisco 0   2nd Quarter   Mike Cofer missed another long field goal, this time 59 yards, and the Oilers looked to turn this into a rout early as they march down the field and Warren Moon takes it in himself from the 1 for a 13-0 lead. 49ers finally answered though with a quick drive that ended with a Tom Rathman 15 yard touchdown run. On the ensuing kick off Gerald McNeil is tackled in the endzone for a touchback...no wait it's Tecmo Rules so it's a safety! 49ers get the ball back and pull within a point on a Cofer field goal near the end of the half.   Houston 13, San Francisco 12   Halftime   Best. Halftime Show. Ever.   3rd Quarter     Oilers offense scuffles in the quarter as they fail to pick up a first down. After a long run by Rathman, Jerry Rice begins to make his presence felt as he catches 19 yard touchdown pass from Joe Montana to give the 49ers their first lead of the game.   San Francisco 19, Houston 13   4th Quarter     Oilers retake the lead on their next possession in part to a 29 yard Moon run and then Hill makes a leaping 39 yard touchdown grab. It's the 4th quarter though, and it's the Super Bowl, so you knew Montana would march the 49ers right back and it wasn't without drama. Oilers stuff Rathman on 3rd and Goal at the 1 but on the 4th and Goal Rathman scores the go ahead touchdown. Oilers still had enough time to comeback but they would lose 18 yards on three plays and then on 4th and 28 the great Tecmo computer logic shows up as they run the ball. It did catch the 49ers off guard as Lorenzo White rumbled for 13 yards but well short of the first down. As the 49ers tried to run out the clock Rathman fumbled on the Oilers 30 but it went out of bounds. The next play Rathman would take it the distance for his third touchdown of the game, wrapping up the Super Bowl MVP honors and a third Super Bowl title in four years for the 49ers. The 49ers ended the season on a 14 game winning streak.  

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Draftback: 1998 MLB Draft

Hey look my blog isn't dead! Okay it's pretty close to being dead but decided to throw together a Draftback baseball entry before this upcoming week's MLB Draft.     1. Phillies - Pat Burrell, Third Baseman, Miami   Heavily scrutinized, but very productive player throughout his career outside a dreadful 2003 season.   2. Athletics - Mark Mulder, Pitcher, Michigan State   Rotator cuff problems have pretty much ruined a once promising career.   3. Cubs - Corey Patterson, Outfielder, Harrison High School (Harrison, GA)   Toolsy player who has never figured out the strikezone.   4. Royals - Jeff Austin, Pitcher, Stanford   Usually doesn't take three picks to get to the first bust in a baseball draft. 65 1/3 career innings in the Majors.   5. Cardinals - J.D. Drew, Outfielder, Florida State   Of course the year before Drew (and agent Scott Boras) infamously refused to sign with the Phillies after being the #2 pick overall. Incredibly talented player but injuries have hampered him for most of his career.   6. Twins - Ryan Mills, Pitcher, Arizona State   Didn't reach Triple-A until 2003 and was out of baseball after 2004.   7. Reds - Austin Kearns, Outfielder, Lafayette High School (Lexington, KY)   Has shown flashes of potentially being a great hitter in the past but injuries and a lack of consistency have held him back.   8. Blue Jays - Felipe Lopez, Shortstop, Lake Brantley High School (Altamonte Springs, FL)   Had one great year offensively in 2005 but not much else and is poor defensively.   9. Padres - Sean Burroughs, Third Baseman, Wilson High School (Long Beach, CA)   Never developed any power and now appears to be out of organized baseball.   10. Rangers - Carlos Pena, First Baseman, Northeastern   Very odd career, broke out with a monster season last year but remains to be seen if it was a fluke or not.   11. Expos - Josh McKinley, Shortstop, Malvern Prep School (PA)   Never got past Double-A, hit .254/.340/.375 in seven minor league seasons.   12. Red Sox - Adam Everett, Shortstop, South Carolina   Great defense, terrible offense.   13. Brewers - J.M. Gold, Pitcher, Toms River North High School (Toms River North, NJ)   Topped out at high Single-A ball.   14. Tigers - Jeff Weaver, Pitcher, Fresno State   Easy to forget he was pretty impressive early on his career but now hanging by a thread with the Brewers Triple-A squad.   15. Pirates - Clint Johnston, Pitcher, Vanderbilt   Gave up pitching after 2001, but becoming a first baseman only got him to Double-A.   16. White Sox - Kip Wells, Pitcher, Baylor   Sorta like Weaver in that he showed some promise early on his career but has stringed together some truly awful seasons.   17. Astros - Brad Lidge, Pitcher, Notre Dame   The demise of his career post-Pujols has been greatly exaggerated.   18. Angels - Seth Etherton, Pitcher, USC   6.30 ERA in 115 1/3 innings in the Majors.   19. Giants - Tony Torcato, Third Baseman, Woodland High School (Woodland, CA)   Only had 53 MLB plate appearances.   20. Indians - C.C. Sabathia, Pitcher, Vallejo High School (Vallejo, CA)   Cy Young winner last season who barring injury will cash in big this offseason, even with a potential down year.   21. Mets - Jason Tyner, Outfielder, Texas A&M   Has some how fooled teams into giving him 1400+ plate appearances in the Majors. Has hit four homeruns in nearly in 5000 plate appearances in professional baseball and he's a corner oufielder!   22. Mariners - Matt Thornton, Pitcher, Grand Valley State   Next Randy Johnson he was not but has become a decent reliever.   23. Dodgers - Bubba Crosby, Outfielder, Rice   Great name but not so good player.   24. Yankees - Andy Brown, Outfielder, Richmond High School (Richmond, IN)   .219 career hitter in eight minor league seasons.   25. Giants - Nate Bump, Pitcher, Penn State   Had a bumpy career. *rim shot*   26. Orioles - Rick Elder, Outfielder, Sprayberry High School (Marietta, GA)   Never got past high Single-A and lasted only five seasons in the minors.   27. Marlins - Chip Ambres, Outfielder, West Brook High School (Beaumont, TX)   Pretty much a career minor leaguer.   28. Rockies - Matt Roney, Pitcher, Edmond North High School (Edmond North, OK)   An extended stint with the 119-loss Tigers in 2003 has been about it for him.   29. Giants - Arturo McDowell, Outfielder, Forest Hill High School (West Palm Beach, FL)   Another swing and a miss for Brian Sabean.   30. Royals - Matt Burch, Pitcher, Virginia Commonwealth   Double-A was as good as it got for him.     Other Picks of Note   33. Expos - Brad Wilkerson 35. White Sox - Aaron Rowand 43. Yankees - Mark Prior (did not sign) 50. Reds - Adam Dunn 57. Tigers - Brandon Inge 83. Rangers - Barry Zito (did not sign) 162. Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff 176. Brewers - Bill Hall 210. Rockies - Matt Holliday 225. Athletics - Eric Byrnes 258. Cardinals - Jack Wilson 265. Red Sox - Mark Teixeira (did not sign) 272. Astros - Morgan Ensberg 390. Rockies - Juan Pierre 411. Blue Jays - Jay Gibbons 499. Twins - J.J. Putz (did not sign) 500. Reds - B.J. Ryan 550. Marlins - Adam LaRoche (did not sign) 609. Orioles - Cliff Lee (did not sign) 1139. White Sox - Mark Buehrle

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Worst Catcher Seasons since 1957

Baseball-Reference.com Play Index is saving this blog with more useless lists1 Today I list the 25 worst individual offensive seasons according to OPS+ since 1957, who qualified for the batting title in their given year. Why 1957 instead of all the way back to the beginning modern era in 1901? Because I'm lazy and because the current guidelines for qualifying for the batting title were adopted in '57. The current rule is a player must average 3.1 plate appearances per total number of games played by their team which with the 162 game schedule works out to 502 plate appearances. Here's a copy and paste of the guidelines through out the years from Baseball-Reference.com:   If we took into account players prior to 1957 it would be littered with early 20th century players, who many of you including myself probably never heard of and wouldn't be able to add comments like "Hey I remember him, he sucked!" In case you were wondering, the worst offensive season ever by a catcher who qualified for the batting title was Bill Bergen in 1909 who had an OPS+ of 1 (.139/.163/.156 in 372 plate appearances). Again like with my last entry a lot these guys played a lot due to superior defense (Bob Boone is on it four times) but some probably shouldn't have been playing much at all.   Top 25 Worst Offensive Catcher Single Seasons (per OPS+)   1. Matt Walbeck, 1994 - Minnesota Twins 37 OPS+ (.204/.246/.284)   2. Brad Ausmus, 2006 - Houston Astros 54 3t. Brad Ausmus, 2003 - Houston Astros 55 3t. Jim Sundberg, 1975 - Texas Rangers 55 5. Joe Girardi, 1995 - Colorado Rockies 58 6t. Jason Kendall, 2007 - Oakland A's/Chicago Cubs 63 6t. Bob Boone, 1986 - California Angels 63 8. Tony Pena, 1991 - Boston Red Sox 66 9t. Michael Barrett, 2001 - Montreal Expos 68 9t. Joe Girardi, 1994 - Colorado Rockies 68 11t. Kirt Manwaring, 1994 - San Francisco Giants 69 11t. Johnny Edwards, 1970 - Houston Astros 69 13. Bob Boone, 1974 - Philadelphia Phillies 70 14. B.J. Surhoff, 1988 - Milwaukee Brewers 71 15. Bob Boone, 1985 - California Angels 72 16t. Butch Wynegar, 1978 - Minnesota Twins 73 16t. Randy Hundley, 1968 - Chicago Cubs 73 18. Joe Oliver, 1993 - Cincinnati Reds 74 19t. Pat Borders, 1993 - Toronto Blue Jays 75 19t. Bob Boone, 1980 - Philadelphia Phillies 75 21t. Benito Santiago, 2001 - San Francisco Giants 76 21t. Benito Santiago, 1993 - Florida Marlins 76 21t. Rick Cerone, 1979 - Toronto Blue Jays 76 21t. John Bateman, 1971 - Montreal Expos 76 21t. John Bateman, 1970 - Montreal Expos 76

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Worst RF Seasons since 1957

The worst offensive season by a rightfielder has stood for over 100 years as Jack Dunn in 1902 had an OPS+ of 56 (.211/.256/.249). But for this modern exercise, 1999 was officially The Year of the Shitty Hitting Outfielder as players from that season have topped the list at each outfield spot.   Top 25 (or so) Worst Offensive Rightfielder Seasons since 1957 (per OPS+)   1. Derek Bell, 1999 - Houston Astros 66 OPS+ (.236/.306/.350)   2t. Cory Snyder, 1989 - Cleveland Indians 70 2t. Mike Hershberger, 1964 - Chicago White Sox 70 4. Felix Jose, 1993 - Kansas City Royals 71 5. Mike Hershberger, 1965 - Kansas City A's 72 6. Dave May, 1974 - Milwaukee Brewers 73 7t. Tony Womack, 1999 - Arizona Diamondbacks 77 7t. Hosken Powell, 1980 - Minnesota Twins 77 9t. Jeromy Burnitz, 2002 - New York Mets 80 9t. Steve Finley, 1990 - Baltimore Orioles 80 9t. Glenn Wilson, 1987 - Philadelphia Phillies 80 12. Dave Martinez, 2000 - Tampa Bay Devil Rays/Chicago White Sox/Texas Rangers/Toronto Blue Jays 81 13t. Alex Ochoa, 2001 - Cincinnati Reds/Colorado Rockies 82 13t. Jose Guillen, 1997 - Pittsburgh Pirates 82 13t. Darnell Coles, 1989 - Seattle Mariners 82 13t. Bob Bailor, 1978 - Toronto Blue Jays 82 17. Mark Kotsay, 1999 - Florida Marlins 83 18t. Randy Winn, 2006 - San Francisco Giants 84 18t. Alexis Rios, 2005 - Toronto Blue Jays 84 18t. Juan Encarnacion, 2004 - Los Angeles Dodgers/Florida Marlins 84 18t. Roger Cedeno, 2003 - New York Mets 84 18t. Jose Guillen, 1998 - Pittsburgh Pirates 84 18t. Rob Deer, 1993 - Detroit Tigers/Boston Red Sox 84 18t. Ron Fairly, 1967 - Los Angeles Dodgers 84 25t. Danny Bautista, 2004 - Arizona Diamondbacks 85 25t. Brian Jordan, 2000 - Atlanta Braves 85 25t. Pat Kelly, 1970 - Kansas City Royals 85 25t. Gino Cimoli, 1963 - Kansas City A's 85

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