I'm going to keep doing this until I start grasping at straws to find decent players to fill out every pick, which I had to do with at least one of the following picks. As I get further down the list the honorable mention picks become increasingly difficult. Again this is just since the merger and what the player did over the course of their career, not what they necessarily did for the team that drafted them which is plainly obvious with pick #33.
31. L.A. Rams – Nolan Cromwell, S, Kansas 1977
Honorable Mention: Roman Phifer (1991), Carl Pickens (1992), Al Wilson (1999)
32. L.A. Rams – Henry Ellard, WR, Fresno State 1983
Honorable Mention: Fred Smerlas (1979), Ray Donaldson (1980), Drew Brees (2001)
33. Atlanta – Brett Favre, QB, Southern Miss 1991
Honorable Mention: Fred Dean (1975), Wesley Walker (1977), Isaac Bruce (1994)
34. Pittsburgh – Jack Ham, LB, Penn State 1971
Honorable Mention: Steve Nelson (1974), Tim McDonald (1987), Carnell Lake (1989)
35. Tampa Bay – Mike Alstott, FB, Purdue 1996
Honorable Mention: Keith Fahnhorst (1974), Christian Okoye (1987), Alge Crumpler (2001)
36. N.Y. Giants – Tiki Barber, RB, Virginia 1997
Honorable Mention: Kevin Mawae (1994), Lawyer Milloy (1996), Chad Johnson (2001)
37. Philadelphia – Randall Cunnigham, QB, UNLV 1985
Honorable Mention: Cris Collinsworth (1981), Leonard Marshall (1983), Darren Woodson (1992)
38. Chicago – Mike Singletary, LB, Baylor 1981
Honorable Mention: Doug English (1975), Boomer Esiason (1984), Flozell Adams (1998)
39. Buffalo – Darryl Talley, LB, West Virginia 1983
Honorable Mention: Keena Turner (1980), Daryl Johnston (1989), Keith Sims (1990)
40. N.Y. Giants – Michael Strahan, DE, Texas Southern 1993
Honorable Mention: Bob Baumhower (1978), Al Baker (1979), Thurman Thomas (1988)
41. New England – Andre Tippett, LB, Iowa 1982
Honorable Mention: Mark Gastineau (1979), Dave Waymer (1980), Ken Norton (1988)
42. San Francisco – Randy Cross, G, UCLA 1976
Honorable Mention: Rulon Jones (1980), Charlie Garner (1994), Jake Plummer (1997)
43. St. Louis Cardinals – Dan Dierdorf, T, Michigan 1971
Honorable Mention: Matt Millen (1980), Mushin Muhammad (1996), Corey Dillon (1997)
44. Pittsburgh – Dermontti Dawson, C, Kentucky 1988
Honorable Mention: Chad Brown (1993), Sam Madison (1997), Kris Jenkins (2001)
45. Oakland – Dave Casper, TE, Notre Dame 1974
Honorable Mention: Joe Morris (1982), Ricky Watters (1991), Lofa Tatupu (2005)
46. Pittsburgh – Jack Lambert, LB, Kent State 1974
Honorable Mention: David Hill (1976), Larry Allen (1994), Samari Rolle (1998)
47. Cleveland – Jerry Sherk, DT, Oklahoma State 1970
Honorable Mention: Tony Collins (1981), Michael Barrow (1993), Frank Sanders (1995)
48. Oakland – Howie Long, DE, Villanova 1981
Honorable Mention: Lydell Mitchell (1972), Dwight Stephenson (1980), LeRoy Butler (1990)
49. San Francisco – Roger Craig, RB, Nebraska 1983
Honorable Mention: Delvin Williams (1974), Pete Johnson (1977), Brian Blades (1988)
50. Cleveland – Michael Dean Perry, DT, Clemson 1988
Honorable Mention: Tom Newberry (1986), Eddie Robinson (1992), Marcus McNeill (2006)
51. New Orleans – Rickey Jackson, LB, Pittsburgh 1981
Honorable Mention: Matt Blair (1974), Sean Jones (1984), Pepper Johnson (1986)
52. Miami – John Offerdahl, LB, Western Michigan 1986
Honorable Mention: Joe Devlin (1976), Bob Golic (1979), Mark Duper (1982)
53. Pittsburgh – Mel Blount, CB, Saginaw Valley State 1970
Honorable Mention: Harvey Martin (1973), Danny White (1974), Eric Davis (1990)
54. Minnesota – Sammy White, WR, Grambling State 1976
Honorable Mention: Jim LeClair (1972), Darrin Smith (1993), Anquan Boldin (2003)
55. Miami – Tim Foley, DB, Purdue 1970
Honorable Mention: John Mendenhell (1972), Randy Logan (1973), Corey Fuller (1995)
56. Dallas – Todd Christensen, TE, BYU 1978
Honorable Mention: Wesley Walls (1989), Jason Hanson (1992), Osi Umenyiora (2003)
57. Dallas – Mark Stepnoski, C, Pittsburgh 1989
Honorable Mention: Joe Ferguson (1973), Mark Carrier (1987), Devin Hester (2006)
58. San Francisco – Jeremy Newberry, C, California 1998
Honorable Mention: Gary Spani (1978), Ricky Proehl (1990), Travis Henry (2001)
59. Phoenix – Aeneas Williams, CB, Saginaw Valley State 1991
Honorable Mention: Jeff Hostetler (1984), Kirk Lowdermilk (1985), Marcus Washington (2000)
60. New Orleans – Pat Swilling, LB, Georgia Tech 1986
Honorable Mention: Quinn Early (1988), Kordell Stewart (1995), Darren Shaper (1997)
Wow, two entries in one week? I'm gonna need an extended vacation after exhausting myself like this.
Next Sunday the All-Star Game reserves will be selected for this year's extra special, Yankee Stadium Circle Jerk All-Star Game presented by FOX. And hey it counts or something. I originally intended on picking my own All-Star team using all that stat geek crap I typically use but that was going to take longer than I wanted so instead I decided to make predictions for All-Star reserves primarily relying on those Joe Morgan friendly stats (AVG, HR, RBI, Wins, ERA, Saves). Player balloting will be going on this week for picking the reserves so doubt too much of what happens this week will effect the results.
Here are the current vote leaders in the fan balloting as of this past week:
C: Joe Mauer, Twins
1B: Kevin Youkilis, Red Sox
2B: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox
3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees
OF: Manny Ramirez, Red Sox; Josh Hamilton, Rangers; Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners
Only race in doubt is at catcher as Mauer tries to hold off Jason Varitek (really, Red Sox fans?).
C: Geovany Soto, Cubs
1B: Lance Berkman, Astros
2B: Chase Utley, Phillies
3B: Chipper Jones, Braves
SS: Hanley Ramirez, Marlins
OF: Alfonso Soriano, Cubs; Kosuke Fukudome, Cubs; Ken Griffey Jr., Reds
The one race that appears to be coming down to the wire is at shortstop as Ramirez and Miguel Tejada are locked in a tight battle. Outside chance Ryan Braun will slip into the final outfield spot. Now on to my predictions.
My A.L. Reserves Predictions
C: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
1B: Justin Morneau, Twins
2B: Ian Kinsler, Rangers; Brian Roberts, Orioles
3B: Mike Lowell, Red Sox
SS: Michael Young, Rangers
OF: Magglio Ordonez, Tigers; Carlos Quentin, White Sox; Vladimir Guerrero, Angels; Jermaine Dye, White Sox
DH: Hideki Matsui, Yankees
SP: Cliff Lee, Indians; Joe Saunders, Angels; Mike Mussina, Yankees; Vicente Padilla, Rangers; Justin Duchscherer, Athletics; Scott Kazmir, Rays; Roy Halladay, Blue Jays
RP: Francisco Rodriguez, Angels; Mariano Rivera Yankees; Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox; Joe Nathan, Twins; Joakim Soria, Royals
My N.L. Reserves Predictions
C: Brian McCann, Braves; Russell Martin, Dodgers
1B: Albert Pujols, Cardinals; Adrian Gonzalez, Padres
2B: Dan Uggla, Marlins
3B: David Wright Mets; Aramis Ramirez, Cubs
SS: Jose Reyes, Mets
OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers; Pat Burrell, Phillies; Carlos Lee, Astros; Xavier Nady, Pirates
SP: Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks; Edinson Volquez, Reds; Ben Sheets, Brewers; Aaron Cook, Rockies; Ryan Dempster, Cubs; Tim Lincecum, Giants; Carlos Zambrano, Cubs; Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
RP: Brad Lidge, Phillies; Billy Wagner, Mets; Kerry Wood, Cubs; Jon Rauch, Nationals
Say what you want about Barry Bonds, and really please I insist you say nasty things about him, but he was really, really fucking good.
Top 20 Left Fielder Seasons since 1979 (per Win Shares)
1. Barry Bonds, 2001 - San Francisco Giants 53.9 Win Shares
Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
2001 36 SFG NL 153 476 129 156 32 2 73 137 13 3 177 93 .328 .515 .863 259 411 0 2 35 9 5
2. Barry Bonds, 2004 - San Francisco Giants 53.0
3. Barry Bonds, 2002 - San Francisco Giants 48.9
4. Barry Bonds, 1993 - San Francisco Giants 46.7
5. Albert Pujols, 2003 - St. Louis Cardinals 41.1
6. Barry Bonds, 1992 - Pittsburgh Pirates 40.8
7. Barry Bonds, 2003 - San Francisco Giants 39.2
8. Barry Bonds, 1996 - San Francisco Giants 39.0
9. Rickey Henderson, 1990 - Oakland A's 38.9
10. Kevin Mitchell, 1989 - San Francisco Giants 37.7
11. Albert Belle, 1998 - Chicago White Sox 37.4
12. Barry Bonds, 1990 - Pittsburgh Pirates 36.7
13. Luis Gonzalez, 2001 - Arizona Diamondbacks 36.6
14. Barry Bonds, 1991 - Pittsburgh Pirates 36.5
15. Barry Bonds, 1997 - San Francisco Giants 36.4
16. Barry Bonds, 1995 - San Francisco Giants 36.1
17. Tim Raines, 1985 - Montreal Expos 35.8
18. Pedro Guerrero, 1985 - Los Angeles Dodgers 34.8
19. Rickey Henderson, 1980 - Oakland A's 33.9
20. Tim Raines, 1987 - Montreal Expos 33.8
Bored Blog Trivia Question: I really fucking hate one of the players on this list. Which one is it? (Hint: He's a rat piece of shit)
Top 20 Right Fielder Seasons since 1979 (per Win Shares)
1. Sammy Sosa, 2001 - Chicago Cubs 42.4 Win Shares
Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
2001 32 CHC NL 160 577 146 189 34 5 64 160 0 2 116 153 .328 .437 .737 203 425 0 12 37 6 6
2. Jose Canseco, 1988 - Oakland A's 38.9
3. Tony Gwynn, 1997 - San Diego Padres 38.6
4. Bobby Abreu, 2004 - Philadelphia Phillies 37.0
5. Ichiro Suzuki, 2001 - Seattle Mariners 36.0
6. Magglio Ordonez, 2007 - Detroit Tigers 35.6
7. Brian Giles, 2005 - San Diego Padres 35.4
8. Sammy Sosa, 1998 - Chicago Cubs 35.2
9. Tony Gwynn, 1984 - San Diego Padres 35.0
10. Manny Ramirez, 1999 - Cleveland Indians 34.7
11. Gary Sheffield, 2003 - Atlanta Braves 34.5
12. Gary Sheffield, 1996 - Florida Marlins 34.5
13. Shawn Green, 2001 - Los Angeles Dodgers 34.2
14. Ruben Sierra, 1989 - Texas Rangers 34.2
15. J.D. Drew, 2004 - Atlanta Braves 34.0
16. Dave Winfield, 1979 - San Diego Padres 33.0
17. Gary Sheffield, 2005 - New York Yankees 32.7
18. Lance Berkman, 2004 - Houston Astros 32.3
19. Larry Walker, 1997 - Colorado Rockies 32.0
20. Vladimir Guerrero, 2007 - Los Angeles Angels 31.6
You know I should probably finish this up this week being that the 2008 season ends on Sunday which will make these lists out of date. But hey that also means it'll be time to work on my "famous" Bored Player Rankings which will just serve as a painful reminder of how bad the A's offense was this year.
Top 20 Designated Hitter Seasons since 1979 (per Win Shares)
1. Frank Thomas, 1991 - Chicago White Sox 33.8 Win Shares
Year Ag Tm Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG *OPS+ TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1991 23 CHW AL 158 559 104 178 31 2 32 109 1 2 138 112 .318 .453 .553 180 309 0 2 13 1 20
2. Frank Thomas, 2000 - Chicago White Sox 33.7
3. Edgar Martinez, 1995 - Seattle Mariners 31.7
4. David Ortiz, 2005 - Boston Red Sox 31.6
5. Rafael Palmeiro, 1999 - Texas Rangers 31.1
6. Paul Molitor, 1991 - Milwaukee Brewers 29.6
7. David Ortiz, 2006 - Boston Red Sox 29.4
8. Paul Molitor, 1993 - Toronto Blue Jays 29.4
9. David Ortiz, 2007 - Boston Red Sox 28.9
10. Paul Molitor, 1987 - Milwaukee Brewers 28.6
11. Paul Molitor, 1992 - Milwaukee Brewers 28.4
12. Edgar Martinez, 2000 - Seattle Mariners 28.2
13. Dave Winfield, 1992 - Toronto Blue Jays 26.7
14. Edgar Martinez, 1997 - Seattle Mariners 26.6
15. Hal McRae, 1982 - Kansas City Royals 26.1
16. Jim Thome, 2006 - Chicago White Sox 26.0
17. Manny Ramirez, 2001 - Boston Red Sox 25.1
18. David Ortiz, 2004 - Boston Red Sox 25.1
19. Travis Hafner, 2006 - Cleveland Indians 25.0
20. Frank Thomas, 1998 - Chicago White Sox 24.7
So I waited two weeks before doing my 2nd Pointless Top 25 because I wanted to do some hard research on all 119 I-A teams...or I just didn't feel like it last week. You make the call!
Again I spend about ten minutes doing this so don't bother spending more than ten seconds reading it.
3. Penn State
4. Oklahoma State
13. Texas Tech
14. Virginia Tech
15. Ohio State
16. North Carolina
18. Michigan State
19. Wake Forest
20. Boise State
22. South Florida
24. Ball State
Mark Grace, First Baseman
Chicago Cubs 1988-2000
Arizona Diamondbacks 2001-2003
1992 NL Gold Glove - 1B
1993 NL Gold Glove - 1B
1995 NL Gold Glove - 1B
1996 NL Gold Glove - 1B
All-Star Selections: 3 (1993, 1995, 1997)
Runs Created: 98th
July 7, 1989 - San Diego at Chicago
Goes 4 for 4 with three doubles and a home run.
Hall of Fame Stats
Black Ink: Batting - 3 (507) (Average HOFer ≈ 27)
Gray Ink: Batting - 86 (265) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 38.0 (165) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 60.5 (309) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in HOF: 1 (Enos Slaughter)
Other Similar Batters: Keith Hernandez, Mickey Vernon, John Olerud, Hal McRae, Wally Joyner, Bill Buckner, Al Oliver, Joe Judge, Joe Kuhel
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 294
Career WARP: 86.2
My Stupid Opinion
Grace always hit for a good average (Top 10 in N.L. batting average nine times), get on base at a good rate (Top 10 in OBP seven times), and was a superb defensive first baseman. Problem with him though is that he had very little power and the standards for HOF first basemen are higher than any other position and he just doesn't really have much of a case. Among first basemen who had a minimum of 3000 plate appearances between 1988 and 2003 (when Grace was active), he ranks only 17th in OPS+
kkk mentioned in his blog about how former players he watched becoming general managers and presidents of teams makes him feel old. For example Chris Mullin was the identity of the Golden State Warriors when I was growing up and now he's their general manager. But there's another general manager (and now part owner) in Oakland that everyone knows, Billy Beane, but unlike Mullin he's far better known for his work in the front office than as a player. In fact you'd probably have barely even noticed the guy when he played. Although I didn't happen to learn this until many years later but I actually had been witness to his last at bat in the Majors.
As I mentioned in my first entry I had very few memories at all about my first baseball game. In fact as great as the A's were in the late 80's I have very few in game memories about them even though I went to probably 6-7 games a year. One game that I do sorta remember was on October 1, 1989. October 1st happens to be my birthday and from '87 to '89 I had my birthday party at the A's game. Really the only thing I remember about the game itself was Mark McGwire homering (his birthday too) and the A's beating the Royals on the final day of the regular season. A couple of years ago on another nostalgia trip I was looking at the boxscore and play account for game. Being that it was the last day of the regular season and the A's had wrapped up the A.L. West they pulled all their starters during the middle of the game. It went into extra innings and in the 11th inning with it tied 3-3, Billy Beane came up with a runner on 2nd and no one out. If you know anything about the Beane-era A's is that they rarely bunt, as they shouldn't as it's fairly useless strategy in the American League. But what did they ask the young Beane to do on this date?
Yup, Beane's last at bat in the Majors was a bunt and I was there to witness "history"....not that I remembered it.
Fun fact: The Royals DH in this game was Bill Buckner, just like my first game.
Since the Pro Bowl was today I thought about trying to find some useless, maybe interesting Pro Bowl facts but then I remembered there is nothing interesting about the Pro Bowl. When I was younger I actually used to love watching the game and would even record it to watch it again later. What the hell was wrong with me? I would be upset when my favorite players wouldn't play in the game but now I question the sanity of any player who'd play in the game. Hey if I were a player I wouldn't play, call me a pussy if you want but I wouldn't risk my career in such a meaningless game. Well I guess suffering a potential career ending injury in the Pro Bowl wouldn't be as bad as suffering one playing a flag football game on the beach like poor Robert Edwards in 1999.
One thing I did find when I was looking for anything from the past from the Pro Bowl was the first MVP of the Pro Bowl after I was born (that being the 1979 Pro Bowl) was Ahmad Rashad. Almost no one seems to remember that he was a pretty good wide receiver in his day at the University of Oregon and then with the Minnesota Vikings. His post career is better remembered for marrying the mom from the Cosby Show and being Michael Jordan's personal interviewer. You know in the 1990's if you were to kick Michael Jordan in the balls you would have also been kicking Ahmad Rashad in the head.
Speaking of verbal fellatio of athletes, I made the mistake of flipping on the Pro Bowl when they were discussing Brett Favre. Now I don't have it down word for word but here is essentially what Mike Patrick said of Favre possibly retiring:
Good lord. I know announcers aren't journalists but how can you take someone seriously when they something like this? Mike also seems to have a conflict of interests with his feelings as he says it'll make him happy but it will break his heart. With him done with announcing after tonight he'll now have free time to stalk Brett. I definently won't miss him as listening to Mike Patrick announce a game always sounded to me like a guy calling a game that he just saw the previous week.
In kkk's most recent entry on K-Mart customer service he made mention of how he had thought Harold Baines didn't get enough credit as a player. Now Baines best season was probably 1984 when he was still an everyday outfielder. Now he was never a serious MVP cadidate and '84 was no different but the MVP voting that year was quite interesting. For one a closer won it in Willie Hernandez of the Tigers. A closer winning an MVP should always raise a few eyebrows as it's pretty much impossible for them to equal the value of an everyday player.
Now Hernandez was far from your one inning and done closers of today. He pitched 140 innings that year which is a ton of innings for someone who didn't make a single start. He was dominating with 112 strikeouts to 36 walks, a 1.92 ERA, and ridiculous 0.94 WHIP. Obviously since he won the MVP, he also won the Cy Young. Now a closer winning a Cy Young is something that probably shouldn't happen too often but can happen and be a legitimate choice. In 1984 there simply wasn't starter with numbers (at least the standard ones) that really jumped out and when a closer has a year like Hernandez did under those circumstances it's not surprising he won the Cy Young. Dave Steib would have been the better choice but of course the writers overlooked him due to only having 16 wins (not his fault). But Hernandez was not a bad choice at all for winning the Cy Young.
Now in 1984 the A.L. was a one team league: Detroit Tigers. They started the year 30-5 and basically it was all over after that as the second place Blue Jays finished 15 games back, who had the second best record in the league overall. Really it's hard to blame the writers for wanting to give a Tiger the MVP that year when they were so much better than the competition. But was Hernandez the right Tiger? Kirk Gibson and Alan Trammell finished 6th and 9th in the voting repsectively and as I mentioned before a closer can't match the value of a star everyday player like those two.
But there was something else that was interesting about the '84 A.L. MVP voting, it was who finished 2nd: Kent Hrbek. The Twins that year finished 81-81 and Hrbek didn't crack the Top 5 of any writer favored offensive categories (AVG, HR, RBI). How could a first baseman on the Twins get more votes than a household name like Eddie Murray and a rising star in the media capital of the world in Don Matttingly who played the same position? You would think Hrbek would get overshadowed. This really puzzled me but when you look at the A.L. West that year in conjuction with the Tigers dominance of the East it starts to make "sense" how the writers voted Hrbek that high. See since the Tigers great start eliminated any chance of a pennant race all the attenion went to the West. Now the race in the West was almost as bad as the race in the N.L. West in 2005. The Royals would win the division at 84-78 with the Twins and Angels tied for second just three games back at .500. Royals would have finished 6th in the East with that record. The West was so bad that the last place Rangers were closer to first than the second place Blue Jays were in the East to Tigers. The Twins were neck and neck with the Royals and Angels going into the final couple of weeks of the season when the MVP voting was going on. The Twins would lose six straight to end the season but it was the added attention that Hrbek received and the lack of a race of the East that nearly propelled him to the MVP.
So should have a Tigers position player won the MVP? Should one of the big name first basemen with better numbers than Hrbek have won the award? Or was it someone who received almost no support at all for the award? Now I'll tell you...if your still reading.
For reference here is the actual order of finish in '84:
1) Willie Hernandez 2) Kent Hrbek 3) Dan Quissenberry 4) Eddie Murray 5) Don Mattingly 6) Kirk Gibson 7) Tony Armas 8) Dave Winfield 9) Alan Trammell 10) Willie Wilson 11) Dwight Evans 12) Alvin Davis 13t) Harold Baines 13t) Dave Kingman 13t) Jim Rice 16t) Lance Parrish 16t) Willie Upshaw 18) Brian Downing 19t) Steve Balboni 19t) George Bell 19t) Andre Thorton 22t) Buddy Bell 22t) Lloyd Moseby 22t) Dave Steib 25t) Juan Beniquez 25t) Mike Boddicker 27t) Doyle Alexander 27t) Cal Ripken
.284/.391/.497, 110 RC, 146 OPS+, .318 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.293/.399/.458, 91 RC, 145 OPS+, .327 EQA, 60.6 VORP, 28 Win Shares
130 ERA+, 2.25 K/BB, 1.14 WHIP, 74.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.340/.393/.515, 116 RC, 154 OPS+, .328 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.298/.361/.441, 101 RC, 126 OPS+, .302 EQA, 69.1 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.295/.388/.532, 130 RC, 147 OPS+, .321 EQA, 63.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.314/.382/.468, 99 RC, 136 OPS+, .308 EQA, 66.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.343/.381/.537, 125 RC, 156 OPS+, .328 EQA, 72.7 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.306/.410/.509, 123 RC, 156 OPS+, .335 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.304/.374/.510, 122 RC, 145 OPS+, .318 EQA, 92.2 VORP, 37 Win Shares
As you see in the actual results, Ripken is the last name listed. He received just a single a 10th place vote. It wasn't like he was some young player no one had heard of yet, he won the the MVP the year before! But what happens to a lot MVP winners who were on the top team in their league, like the Orioles were in '83, and the following year the team isn't as good the perceived value of that MVP drops like a rock. Really him, Murray, Mattingly, Trammell, or the always overlooked Evans would have made fine choices. Hrbek just missed the Top 10 and Hernandez may have cracked the Top 15 if I extended the list that far but neither were deserving as much support as they received. As you'll see I did include a pitcher in Steib and two players in Yount and RICKEY~ who didn't receive a single vote in '84. The legendary Juan Beniquez, who had 382 plate apperances, received more support than Ripken, Yount, and Henderson. That's pretty bad.
This Tuesday the United States plays its World Baseball Classic opener against Mexico. As widly documented by now several top players have pulled out from the U.S. squad and other countries thus we aren't getting a true showing of the world's best. The best example of this is now the inclusion of the ancient and no longer effective starting pitcher Al Leiter to the U.S. roster. As much as George Steinbrenner has voiced his displeasure with the tournament he didn't say anything about being upset over Leiter being added to the team as he is not even expected to make the Yankees. Now even with Leiter on the team the U.S. still should win the um, whatever they give away to the winner, but the U.S. men's basketball team should always win the gold in the Olympics too.
So I've decided to pick my own United States roster. Every U.S. born player is available to me in this fictional scenerio. I'll use the same roster set up as the current U.S. team has: 4 starting pitchers, 10 relievers, 3 catchers, 7 infielders, and 6 outfielders.
Note: Let's be real, A-Rod is the best shortstop in baseball even if he plays 3rd now so I'm putting him at short. Hafner doesn't play the field really but there is the DH in the tournament and the way he rakes righties you'd need to have him in there.
Ya, Aaron Rowand. I was having hard time picking the 6th outfielder so I went with a defensive specialist. It does give me three center fielders but really you can stick Rowand in a corner late in the game for someone like Dunn or Sheffield. Ya, ya no true lead off hitter on the roster but with this many big bats you don't need one. Giles would make a good lead off hitter with his excellent plate patience.
Just as I finished this I figured, why not pick the Un-American team? No, no not Venezuela. I'm gonna pick a team of U.S. players you wouldn't want representing Team U.S.A. I'm only taking into account players who regulars last season as obviously I could pick an entire team filled with bench scrubs or guys who had cups of coffee in the Majors.
Al Leiter (oh the irony)
Scott Podsednik (ya I said it!)
All weekend I had to hear how the A's Opening Night game against the Yankees was going to be a rainout. It rained all day here in the Bay Area and then suddenly tonight it clears up a bit. So I was happy at first that I wouldn't have to stay up until one in the morning tonight to watch the entire game but that changed pretty quick. Barry Zito was chosen as the Opening Night starter even though everyone knows the ace of the staff is Rich Harden. I think manager Ken Macha fell into the manager trap of letting the "veteran" get the start. Zito has a knack for getting into 3-2 counts way too often and against a patient team like the Yankees that will get you killed and they have killed him in recent years. Zito's line tonight: 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Woof. It's 11-1 Yankees in the 5th inning as I type this so safe to say it's not the hometown heroes night.
In my aborted preview of the A's I had talked about Zito likely leaving after this season and might as well go briefly into that now. Now preface of course my thoughts aren't scewed simply because Zito pitched like Russ Ortiz tonight. I can pretty much predict the media outcry when Zito leaves for a big money deal to a big market team after this season but it will all be moot. He simply isn't worth the money he is going to get as starting pitchers are the most overpriced position in baseball right now. Just take a look at A.J. Burnett. Very talented but very injury prone and has yet to have that breakout season where he emerges as a top of the line starter yet he signed a 5-year, $55 million deal. Her certainly benefitted from a weak crop of free agent starting pitchers but it also shows how painfully overvalued starting pitching is. Zito has had a better career to this point than Burnett, has zero injury history (with his easy delivery he may never have arm problems), and is even slightly younger than Burnett. Barring a disasterous season he'll almost certainly parlay a contract that is at least worth as much as Brunett's and maybe even a a million or two more a year. Can anyone legitimately say Barry Zito is worth possibly $12-14 million a year? Now the fact that you can pencil him in for 220+ innings a year at above average production does certainly make him more valuable than maybe his peripheral numbers would indicate. But really that type of money should only go to the elite pitchers which Zito is by no means. The A's also have three good, young starting pitchers on their staff that they have under their control thru the end of the decade and money like that would be much better spent on a position player (or two).
Now 13-1, Yankees still batting in the 5th. It better be a rain free night with Harden pitching tommorrow or mother nature can kiss my ass. At least Frank Thomas homering in his first at bat with the A's didn't make this night a total loss.
-Brief Final Four thought, the "Greatest Tournament Ever" ended with a big thud. This was the first time since 1976 that the Final Four didn't have a game decied by single digits when Indiana finished off their undefeated championship run. And wow is that Noah kid from Florida is good...and wow is he one ugly mother fucker.
Just trying to mix up the entires and come up with something different I figured with the NBA Playoffs starting Saturday it'd be time to do an NBA entry. Being a Golden State Warriors fan it's hard to get nostalgic about much of antyhing so I figured I'd pick the year that they last made the playoffs, the first post-Jordan year, and an NBA Finals that was overshadowed by a slow speed chase of a white Ford Bronco. I wasn't sure where I'd go with the entry but one thing that I'm trying to look more into are the sabermetric side of basketball statistics. It's not nearly as well known as baseball sabermetrics and I'm not completely sure how reliable they are.
There's two stats that have caught my interest, John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating and the basketball version of Win Shares that was created by the guy who runs basketball-reference.com. I actually did an entry a couple of months ago using Win Shares to compare how well players from the 1989 NBA Draft faired in their careers. Now since I'm not sure how reliable these are, and I didn't want to do a carbon copy of my Award Redos that I do baseball's MVP, I figured I'd just compare the All-NBA teams from the '93-94 season as voted by the media and who were the top players according to these two statiscal formuals.
'93-94 All-NBA Teams (media version)
F: Karl Malone, Utah (22.9 PER, 37 Win Shares)
F: Scottie Pippen, Chicago (23.2 PER, 32 Win Shares)
C: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston (25.3 PER, 43 Win Shares)
G: John Stockton, Utah (22.5 PER, 38 Win Shares)
G: Latrell Sprewell, Golden State (15.9 PER, 28 Win Shares)
F: Charles Barkley, Phoenix (22.8 PER, 26 Win Shares)
F: Shawn Kemp, Seattle (22.9 PER, 32 Win Shares)
C: David Robinson, San Antonio (30.7 PER, 52 Win Shares)
G: Kevin Johnson, Phoenix (20.6 PER, 28 Win Shares)
G: Mitch Richmond, Sacramento (17.7 PER, 18 Win Shares)
F: Derrick Coleman, New Jersey (21.4 PER, 25 Win Shares)
F: Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta/L.A. Clippers (21.4 PER, 25 Win Shares)
C: Shaquille O'Neal, Orlando (28.5 PER, 47 Win Shares)
G: Gary Payton, Seattle (17.8 PER, 27 Win Shares)
G: Mark Price, Cleveland (22.7 PER, 26 Win Shares)
Now here's the top players by position using Player Efficieny Rating
5. Chris Webber, Golden State (21.7 PER)
4. Eric Murdock, Milwaukee (20.4 PER)
5. Reggie Miller, Indiana (20.2 PER)
6. Rod Strickland, Portland (19.9 PER)
Now using Win Shares
4. Otis Thorpe, Detroit (31 Win Shares)
5. Horace Grant, Chicago (30 Win Shares)
6. A.C. Green, Phoenix (29 Win Shares)
3. Mookie Blaylock, Atlanta (30 Win Shares)
4. Stacey Augmon, Atlanta (29 Win Shares)
Probably the most interesting thing is Robinson and O'Neal both coming out ahead of Olajuwon who won the league's MVP and then had that incredible postseason. Sprewell making the All-NBA first team appears to have been way off and I have no problem agreeing with him being overrated. The high PER for Eric Murdock looks a bit odd and he didn't fair to well according to Win Shares (only had 15).
Going into Thursday's games Chicago, Milwaukee, Sacramento, Denver, and Memphis are all pretty much on the verge of elimination. Now they can still lose a game and not be eliminated but they'll have to pull off something that has only been done 11 times since 1984 when the NBA Playoffs expanded to 16 teams and that's comeback from 2 games to 0 to win a series. I need an excuse for an entry so here's a look back at those 11 series.
1987 Western Conference First Round
#5 Golden State over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2
Game 1: Jazz 99, Warriors 85
Game 2: Jazz 103, Warriors 100
Game 3: Warriors 110, Jazz 95
Game 4: Warriors 98, Jazz 94
Game 5: Warriors 118, Jazz 113
You'd think as a Warriors fan I'd remember this series fondly but I have no memories of it because as a kid I was a bandwagon Lakers fan. The only thing I remember about the Warriors in the '87 playoffs was Sleepy Floyd's 51 point game against the Lakers in the West Semis, the Warriors only win in that series.
1990 Eastern Conference First Round
#5 New York over #4 Boston, 3 games to 2
Game 1: Celtics 116, Knicks 105
Game 2: Celtics 157, Knicks 128
Game 3: Knicks 102, Celtics 99
Game 4: Knicks 135, Celtics 108
Game 5: Knicks 121, Celtics 114
I'd guess that no one thought the Knicks had a prayer after giving up 157 points in Game 2. Most impressive about the Knicks comeback was by beating Boston in the Game 5 they ended a personal 26 game losing streak at the Boston Garden.
1993 Western Conference First Round
#1 Phoenix over #8 L.A. Lakers, 3 games to 2
Game 1: Lakers 107, Suns 103
Game 2: Lakers 86, Suns 81
Game 3: Suns 107, Lakers 102
Game 4: Suns 101, Lakers 86
Game 5: Suns 112, Lakers 104
Forgot about this series as the Lakers nearly swept the heavily favored Suns. Very controversial call in Game 5 on a Charles Barkley put back on an air ball where it appeared the shot clock may have expired that forced the game into overtime.
1993 Eastern Conference Finals
#2 Chicago over #1 New York, 4 games to 2
Game 1: Knicks 98, Bulls 90
Game 2: Knicks 96, Bulls 91
Game 3: Bulls 103, Knicks 83
Game 4: Bulls 105, Knicks 95
Game 5: Bulls 97, Knicks 94
Game 6: Bulls 96, Knicks 88
Kincks seemed to determined to end the Bulls dynasty by taking the first two games but it was not meant to be in this the biggest series to have a 2-0 defecit erased.
1994 Western Conference First Round
#8 Denver over #1 Seattle, 3 games to 2
Game 1: Sonics 106, Nuggets 82
Game 2: Sonics 97, Nuggets 87
Game 3: Nuggets 110, Sonics 93
Game 4: Nuggets 94, Sonics 85
Game 5: Nuggets 98, Sonics 94
The first eight seend to ever beat a one seed in the arguably the biggest upset in NBA Playoff history. I just seem to remember Robert Pack playing out of his mind in that series.
1994 Western Conference Semi-Finals
#2 Houston over #3 Phoenix, 4 games to 3
Game 1: Suns 91, Rockets 87
Game 2: Suns 124, Rockets 117
Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 102
Game 4: Rockets 107, Suns 96
Game 5: Rockets 109, Suns 86
Game 6: Suns 103, Rockets 89
Game 7: Rockets 104, Suns 94
Rockets were left for dead after losing the first two games at home against the defending West Champs.
1995 Western Conference Semi-Finals
#6 Houston over #2 Phoenix, 4 games to 3
Game 1: Suns 103, Rockets 108
Game 2: Suns 118, Rockets 94
Game 3: Rockets 118, Suns 85
Game 4: Suns 114, Rockets 110
Game 5: Rockets 103, Suns 97
Game 6: Rockets 116, Suns 113
Game 7: Rockets 115, Suns 114
If you were a Suns fan circa 1995 you must have wanted to murder the entire Rockets team. This year's loss was even worse as they blew a 3-1 lead.
2001 Western Conference First Round
#5 Dallas over #4 Utah, 3 games to 2
Game 1: Jazz 88, Mavericks 86
Game 2: Jazz 109, Mavericks 98
Game 3: Mavericks 94, Jazz 91
Game 4: Mavericks 107, Jazz 77
Game 5: Mavericks 84, Jazz 83
Mavs came back from 17 points down in Game 5 and won an a Calvin Booth lay up in the final seconds.
2004 Western Conference Semi-Finals
#2 L.A. Lakers over #3 San Antonio, 4 games to 2
Game 1: Spurs 88, Lakers 78
Game 2: Spurs 95, Lakers 85
Game 3: Lakers 105, Spurs 81
Game 4: Lakers 98, Spurs 90
Game 5: Lakers 74, Spurs 73
Game 6: Lakers 88, Spurs 76
Everyone remembers the Derek Fisher basket in Game 5 in that awful, awful game.
2005 Eastern Conference First Round
#5 Washington over #4 Chicago, 4 games to 2
Game 1: Bulls 103, Wizards 94
Game 2: Bulls 113, Wizards 103
Game 3: Wizards 117, Bulls 99
Game 4: Wizards 106, Bulls 99
Game 5: Wizards 112, Bulls 110
Game 6: Wizards 94, Bulls 91
Signature moment was of course Gilbert Arenas' buzzer beater in Game 5.
2005 Western Conference First round
#4 Dallas over #5 Houston, 4 games to 3
Game 1: Rockets 98, Mavericks 96
Game 2: Rockets 113, Mavericks 111
Game 3: Mavericks 106, Rockets 102
Game 4: Mavericks 97, Rockets 93
Game 5: Mavericks 103, Rockets 100
Game 6: Rockets 101, Mavericks 83
Game 7: Mavericks 116, Rockets 76
The first five games were awesome, the last two not so much.
You know I was going to do a "Steve Howe Memories" entry and just post the lyrics to "White Lines" but thought better of it.
I needed to do something to keep me from punching a wall thinking about the A's sinking $22 million Esteban Loaiza so might as well do a redo. I've been trying to find a year with a truly bad choice for MVP and with the best choice receiving little support and I'm kinda running out of examples in my lifetime so picked out an old one.
1974 was a historic year as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career homerun record, Lou Brock stole a then record 118 bases, and hey the A's won their third consecutive World Series. The Dodgers paced the National League with 102 wins and their young first baseman Steve Garvey took home the MVP despite not even being the best player on the team. Now you may say it would be unfair to pick apart an older MVP choice as stats such as Win Shares and VORP were a long way from being known and batting average was still considered the best stat to identify a good hitter by the general public. And I say "fuck you", hindsight is a wonderful tool.
Garvey won the award due to having a high average, finishing 3rd in the leauge in RBI, and playing on the best team in the league. But one big mark against Garvey through out his career as he didn't get on base at a very good rate and in '74 he didn't crack the Top 30 in OBP in the league. He was one of three Dodgers to finish in the Top 5 in the voting. Reliever Mike Marshall pitched in a record 106 games, throwing 208 innings, finished 3rd (also win Cy Young) and the always underrated Jimmy Wynn finished 5th. Wynn really played in the wrong era as he'd be much better appreciated now with his good power and great ability to draw walks. Marshall likley received so much support due to the insane number of apperances he made but he also wasn't the best pitcher on the Dodgers, that being Andy Messersmith. Even with his incredible workload as a reliever he only finished tied for 5th on the team in Win Shares.
Brock's record stolen base record resulted in him getting a 2nd place finish and was the only real competitor to Garvey in the voting as he received eight first place votes. Like Garvey though he wasn't the best player on his team as ex-Red Sox and future Dodger Reggie Smith was. In fact Brock was probably a worse 2nd place choice than Garvey was a 1st place choice. The great Johnny Bench and a young Mike Schmidt received solid support but no first place votes.
1) Steve Garvey 2) Lou Brock 3) Mike Marshall 4) Johnny Bench 5) Jimmy Wynn 6) Mike Schmidt 7) Al Oliver 8) Joe Morgan 9) Richie Zisk 10) Willie Stargell 11) Reggie Smith 12) Ralph Garr 13) Ted Simmons 14) Dave Cash 15) Dave Concepcion 16t) Jack Billingham 16t) Cesar Cedeno 16t) Al Hrabosky 16t) Andy Messersmith 20) Buzz Capra 21t) Richie Hebner 21t) Blake McBride 21t) Lynn McGlothen 21t) Rennie Stennett 25t) Bill Buckner 25t) Ron Cey
.321/.358/.475, 104 RC, 136 OPS+, .301 EQA, 48.2 VORP, 26 Win Shares
132 ERA+, 2.35 K/BB, 1.10 WHIP, 67.8 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.353/.383/.503, 116 RC, 143 OPS+, .300 EQA, 50.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.309/.389/.528, 107 RC, 157 OPS+, .318 EQA, 51.1 VORP, 25 Win Shares
159 ERA+, 2.22 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 81.0 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.271/.387/.497, 105 RC, 151 OPS+, .314 EQA, 45.5 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.301/.407/.537, 110 RC, 168 OPS+, .331 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.280/.363/.507, 114 RC, 143 OPS+, .306 EQA, 57.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
.282/.395/.546, 122 RC, 158 OPS+, .318 EQA, 68.0 VORP, 39 Win Shares
.293/.427/.494, 108 RC, 159 OPS+, .336 EQA, 80.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares
Morgan didn't receive a whole lot of support but he would win the MVP the next two years but maybe it should have been three in a row. Garvey doesn't crack the Top 10 but he was always overrated. And the Mike Schmidt card is the greatest thing ever although I'm not sure how exciting that image would be in 3-D.
I mentioned it my last entry that I was running out of Redo ideas in my lifetime and then I realized I skipped over an obvious one in the 1995 A.L. MVP. I can't believe I missed it because I did the 1995 N.L. MVP already and it also gives me an opportunity to reminisce about one of the worst ideas since New Coke.
Edit: I've decided to do the 1995 A.L. MVP redo in a seperate entry that I'll do in the next day or two and leave this as an entry on it's own.
As I already mentioned on the redo of the 1995 N.L. MVP, we came incredibly close to replacement/scab players starting the season as the strike was still going in March. Although that embarassment was avoided for baseball another would pop up that October. The previous season a national television deal split between ABC and NBC had started which was called The Baseball Network. The name was purely for marketing reasons as there was no actual Baseball Network as all it was is ABC and NBC, I believe on a rotating basis, would have a Friday Night primetime game every week after the All-Star Break. Now there was no feature game as everyone just got a local game which the broadcast team being split between to local announcers of the two teams. It seemed very odd as what was the point of having a national game of the week if all you received was a local game? But the presentation of the games was inoffensive and I suppose it was nice to watch a local game with a national feel to it. The strike of course ended the 1994 season and there was no postseason to cover. The Baseball Network deal was still in place for 1995 and it was the same coverage for the regular season. But then came the postseason....
1995 was the first year that the new expanded playoffs would be used with the new five game divisonal round. The format for it initially was a nightmare as someone thought it was a good idea to pre-determine what divisions would play each other and what division would play the wild card team in the divisional rather than basing it on record. So for example in the A.L., the Mariners played the wild card Yankees despite having the worst record of the divison winners while the two best teams in the league, the Indians and Red Sox, were forced to play each other in the divisional playoffs. Then for the five game series they decided to go with the awful 2-3 format where the team with homefield would actually start the series on the road and then go home for three games if necessary.
But now onto the actual coverage of the playoffs. They decided that one network would host the entire divison round and then would switch to the other network for the league championship series. This seemed odd and unecessary and of course created an fairly obvious problem, as in how would they televise the entire division series on one network? The brilliant plan the came up with was schedule all four games at the same exact time, 8PM EST/5PM PST, and only provide a regional telecast. You have to stand in awe of the stupidity of this. The NBA could televise every single playoff game of a 16 team first round yet MLB could only figure out how to televise one game a night. So me being California I only was able to see the Dodgers/Reds series for the first three nights of the playoffs and nothing else.
Now I know what your thinking, or if you've forgotten, "now there's no way they did this for the league championships, right?" They did. The Reds/Braves and Mariners/Indians league championships series would be played at the exact same time, every night and the country would be split between them. I'm not even sure how they handled the Reds and Indians coverage. Can you imagine being an life long Indians fan, a franchise playing in it's first ever ALCS, living in Cincinnati and not being able to watch the game?
Thankfully The Baseball Network deal was only for two years and in 1996 a new deal started with Fox televising regular season games and then splitting the postseason with NBC. All division series games were televised but unfortunently we've been stuck with Fox ever since. But when we whine about the awful coverage of Fox or the fiasco with games being put on Fx and ABC Family channel in the past, just remember for one year it was much, much worse.
Vern/Culloden asked to do a redo on this one so I'll put off the 1995 A.L. MVP for another day. 1989 is kind of an interesting year to examine, and hey my favorite sporting year, as Robin Yount won the MVP which I can remember at the time being surprised. Ruben Sierra was the hot young superstar of the moment and he broke out with a great year at age 23 and I always figured he should have won it, without every actually looking to deeply into the issue.
When I'm trying to find an interesting year to do a redo on the first thing I always check are Win Shares. If a player led the league in Win Shares and won the MVP he had to have been at the very least deserving of serious consideration. I had glanced at 1989 before and Yount tied with Sierra for the lead Win Shares so that's partly why I haven't bothered. But there was no clear choice that season, six different players received first place votes, and the Brewers were only a .500 team and the Rangers won 83 games. Usually in a year like this when there is no clear choice it can open the door for an undeserving player on a division winner to steal the award but that wasn't the case. It was a very weak year for offense and is the last time the A.L. homerun leader had fewer than 40 homeruns (Fred McGriff, 36).
The other four players to receive first place votes are an interesting group, due to none of them deserving any serious consideration. Cal Ripken finished 3rd on a the surprise team of the A.L. that season. Baltimore had come off their infamous 107 loss season and started year with a staggering 0-21 start, a record that might never be broken. The rebounded in '89 with a shocking run at the A.L. East title coming up just two games short of the Blue Jays. But even Ripken's writer friendly numbers (.264 avg, 21 hr, 84 rbi) hardly screamed MVP even in a weak year for offense.
Fourth and fifth place went to players on the division winning teams. George Bell received four first place votes even though his teammate McGriff had a far superior year. Dennis Eckersley was next and I don't need to repeat my argument about closers. Eckersley had a stint on the DL and only threw 58 innings although was of course his dominant self when healthy. The last player to receive a first place vote was Eck's teammate Carney Lansford. What was so interesting about this was Lansford finished 17th in the voting so he appeared on hardly any ballots at all yet someone gave him a first place vote. He actually had a very good year, not MVP calibar mind you but hey may have deserved passing consideration for a 10th place vote.
In a year without much offense and no clear choice among the players you would think a pitcher could emerge as the MVP and there was a very interesting candidate out there. Bret Saberhagen won the Cy Young, receiving all but one first place vote, and finished 8th in the MVP voting. With a 23-6 record, 2.16 ERA, and throw in playing on a Royals team that won 92 games I have to say I'm surprised he didn't receive more support from the writers.
One last note about the voting, this season had possibly the worst player (in terms of the season they had) to receive an MVP vote ever. Someone gave Mookie Wilson a 10th place vote, who had been acquired by the Blue Jays from the Mets at the trade deadline. Even a truly great player shouldn't garner an MVP vote if they were in the league for just the final two months of the season. In 247 plate appearances Wilson put up a .298/.311/.370 line. I'm sure he probably had a couple of "clutch" hits down the stretch which I'm assuming swayed some idiot writer to give him a spot on his ballot.
1) Robin Yount 2) Ruben Sierra 3) Cal Ripken 4) George Bell 5) Dennis Eckersley 6) Fred McGriff 7) Kirby Puckett 8) Bret Saberhagen 9) Rickey Henderson 10) Bo Jackson 11) Dave Parker 12) Gregg Olson 13) Bert Blyleven 14) Dave Stewart 15) Don Mattingly 16) Joe Carter 17) Carney Lansford 18) Nick Esasky 19) Tony Fernandez 20) Mike Moore 21t) Wade Boggs 21t) Steve Sax 23t) Alvin Davis 23t) Nolan Ryan 25t) Chilli Davis 25t) Mark McGwire 25t) Mookie Wilson
140 ERA+, 2.98 K/BB, 1.12 WHIP, 65.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.315/.379/.439, 103 RC, 132 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.7 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.305/.424/.496, 104 RC, 156 OPS+, .335 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.339/.379/.465, 112 RC, 131 OPS+, .306 EQA, 59.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.274/.411/.399, 89 RC, 133 OPS+, .325 EQA, 50.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.330/.430/.449, 120 RC, 143 OPS+, .324 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.269/.399/.525, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .335 EQA, 53.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.306/.347/.543, 120 RC, 146 OPS+, .314 EQA, 58.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
178 ERA+, 4.49 K/BB, 0.96 WHIP, 79.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.318/.384/.511, 120 RC, 152 OPS+, .326 EQA, 75.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
There you have it, Robin Yount was the best choice and in a year with no run away winner the writers actually picked the right guy. Any of the Top 4 would have been fine choices and I shuffled 2 thru 4 a couple of times before settling on it.
MLB Draft is a couple of weeks away so might as well do some Draftbacks, plus I'm having to wait to do 2006 MVP Watch #2 as Hardball Times doesn't have update Win Shares yet. I picked the 1990 draft because it is an infamous draft for the Oakland A's. They had 4 of the first 36 picks and took four pitchers who would were dubbed the "Four Aces." Those four pitchers were Todd Van Poppel, Don Peters, Dave Zancanaro, and Kirk Dressendorfer. Um ya, they didn't quite live up the hype.
1. Braves - Chipper Jones, Shorstop, High School
Braves certainly can't complain about how this worked out. Has put up a .303/.401/.538 line thru 2005 and won an MVP in 1999. If he can manage to put up a few more good years he may have a case for the Hall of Fame.
2. Tigers - Tony Clark, Outfield, High School
Of course converted to first base has to put together an okay career that peaked early from the ages of 25 to 27. Seemed finished a couple of years ago until having a great year out of no where last season.
3. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, Catcher, High School
Decent career and any franchise has to be happy if they get over 12 years in the Majors out of a catching prospect.
4. White Sox - Alex Fernandez, Pitcher, High School
Pretty good pitcher who's career was cut short by shoulder problems.
5. Pirates - Kurt Miller, Pitcher, High School
Our first bust and it's baseball so there will be plenty more. Was never effective above Double-A but still some how made it to the Majors as a member of the Marlins. 7.48 ERA in 80 2/3 innings in the Majors.
6. Mariners - Marc Newfield, First Base, High School
Outside of a decent 1996 season was never a factor in the Majors. Twice traded with Ron Villone.
7. Reds - Dan Wilson, Catcher, Minnesota
Another decent career out of a catcher here although it came with the Mariners as the Reds traded him after the 1993 season with Bobby Ayala for Bret Boone and Erik Hanson.
8. Indians - Tim Costo, Shortstop, Iowa
Traded to the Reds in 1991, only played 43 games in the Majors.
9. Dodgers - Ron Walden, Pitcher, High School
First player on the board who never made it to the Majors.
10. Yankees - Carl Everett, Outfield, High School
Put together a pretty good career filled temper tantrums and disbelief of dinosaurs. Never played for the Yankees as the Marlins picked him up in the '92 expansion draft.
11. Expos - Darrell Andrews, Shortstop/Pitcher, High School
Could go both ways apparantly but not to the Majors.
12. Twins - Todd Ritchie, Pitcher, High School
Oddly enough his best year in professional baseball came in the Majors with the Pirates in 1999 when he went 15-9 with a 3.49 ERA. Lousy at pretty much any other point.
13. Cardinals - Donovan Osborne, Pitcher, UNLV
Moderatley effective pitcher early in his career but injuries pretty much shut him down by age 28 although has made a couple of comebacks including with the Yankees last season.
14. A's - Todd Van Poppel, Pitcher, High School
Ahhhhhhhhhh nooooooooooooooooooooo. Would have gone much higher in the draft but teams were worried he'd enroll at Texas but ended up signing with the A's which ended up being the wrong choice for both parties.
15. Giants - Adam Hyzdu, Outfield, High School
254 career homeruns in the minors, 14 in the majors.
16. Rangers - Daniel Smith, Pitcher, Creighton
Just 29 innings pitched in the Majors.
17. Mets - Jeromy Burnitz, Outfield, Oklahoma State
I suppose he's a journeyman power hitter? Over 300 career homeruns with seven teams.
18. Cardinals - Aaron Holbert, Shortstop, High School
Career minor leaguer who had only three at bats in the Majors until last season when he appeared in 22 games for the Reds.
19. Giants - Eric Christopherson, Catcher, San Diego State
Probably wished they drafted the next guy.
20. Orioles - Mike Mussina, Pitcher, Stanford
Very consistent, good pitcher through most of his career and some would argue he may have a case for the Hall of Fame, although I wouldn't be one of them.
21. Astros - Tom Nevers, Shortstop, High School
Whole career spent in the minors, mostly at Double-A.
22. Blue Jays - Steve Karsay, Pitcher, High School
Once traded for Rickey Henderson, injuries prevented from ever making it as a starter but resurrected his career in 1998 as a reliever after the A's traded him to the Indians for Mike Fetters. D'oh.
23. Cubs - Lance Dickson, Pitcher, Arizona
Debuted just two months after he was drafted making three starts and then never returned to the Majors.
24. Expos - Rondell White, Outfield, High School
Never lived up to the hype but has put together a pretty good career.
25. Padres - Robbie Beckett, Pitcher, High School
6.09 career ERA in the minors yet he still got a couple of cups of coffee with the Rockies.
26. A's - Don Peters, Pitcher, St. Francis
Not even close. FOUR ACES!
Other Picks of Note
2nd Round, White Sox - Bob Wickman
4th Round, Angels - Garret Anderson
5th Round, Mariners - Bret Boone
6th Round, Mariners - Mike Hampton
6th Round, Angels - Troy Percival
7th Round, Indians - David Bell
9th Round, Mets - Fernando Vina
10th Round, Rangers - Rusty Greer
11th Round, Mets - Darren Dreifort (did not sign)
21st Round, Twins - Eddie Guardado
22nd Round, Yankees - Andy Pettitte
24th Round, Yankees - Jorge Posada
Woo hoo, my three World Series box sets showed up today. I’ll try to figure out some sort of entry to do on the sets beyond a simple review. Probably will start by watching the bonus disk on the 1986 set that has Game 6 of the NLCS.
Hey remember how overrated Carlos Beltran was and how he was overpaid? What happened to that talk? He’s arguably the best healthy player in baseball right now. To no surprise Pujols is still on top even on the DL but Beltran is making a serious push for the top spot. If the Mets do end up winning the East you could have an interesting teammate duel for the MVP with him and David Wright, depending on how much Pujols’ injury time affects his chances. Scott Rolen has stepped up in Pujols’ absence and makes his first appearance in the Top 10. After a huge jump into the Top 10, Alfonso Soriano goes cold and nearly tumbles out of it while his teammate Nick Johnson is red hot. The slumping Chase Utley drops out of the Top 10 for the first time this season.
#10 Alfonso Soriano, Nationals
.289/.350/.585, 57 RC, .299 EQA, 23.9 VORP, 13 Win Shares
#9 Bobby Abreu, Phillies
.292/.455/.500, 54 RC, .318 EQA, 23.9 VORP, 14 Win Shares
#8 Scott Rolen, Cardinals
.355/.430/.589, 42 RC, .323 EQA, 27.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#7 Nick Johnson, Nationals
.309/.436/.554, 55 RC, .328 EQA, 30.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
#6 Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
.339/.435/.562, 54 RC, .330 EQA, 34.0 VORP, 11 Win Shares
#5 Lance Berkman, Astros
.308/.386/.602, 53 RC, .313 EQA, 24.2 VORP, 14 Win Shares
#4 David Wright, Mets
.335/.404/.587, 55 RC, .319 EQA, 33.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#3 Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
226 ERA+, 5.69 K/BB, 1.07 WHIP, 41.6 VORP, 13 Win Shares
#2 Carlos Beltran, Mets
.300/.408/.643, 59 RC, .329 EQA, 34.3 VORP, 17 Win Shares
.308/.442/.751, 65 RC, .357 EQA, 38.1 VORP, 19 Win Shares
Finally we have a new #1 in the A.L. as Jim Thome is starting to cool off. He actually leads the league in Win Shares still but the new #1 topped him in every other category. Joe Mauer pulls off what Alfonso Soriano did last week and makes a huge jump into the Top 10. Vernon Wells also makes a big jump and might be emerging as a serious MVP candidate this year. I do have some sad news this week…Baseball Jesus has dropped out. Do not cry though, there will be a resurrection.
#10 Curtis Granderson, Tigers
.282/.379/.464, 49 RC, .290 EQA, 18.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares
#9 Ramon Hernandez, Orioles
.292/.353/.498, 50 RC, .291 EQA, 17.7 VORP, 13 Win Shares
#8 Miguel Tejada, Orioles
.333/.392/.556, 51 RC, .318 EQA, 37.1 VORP, 11 Win Shares
#7 Jermaine Dye, White Sox
.298/.393/.639, 47 RC, .325 EQA, 23.1 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#6 Alexis Rios, Blue Jays
.335/.386/.623, 51 RC, .320 EQA, 28.2 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#5 Jason Giambi, Yankees
.270/.443/.616, 54 RC, .341 EQA, 26.5 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#4 Joe Mauer, Twins
.378/.443/.523, 44 RC, .331 EQA, 33.0 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#3 Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
.328/.384/.624, 53 RC, .320 EQA, 34.7 VORP, 12 Win Shares
#2 Jim Thome, White Sox
.281/.415/.615, 61 RC, .331 EQA, 29.8 VORP, 14 Win Shares
.303/.454/.620, 65 RC, .356 EQA, 37.7 VORP, 13 Win Shares
As I've mentioned I have purchased the 1975, 1979, and 1986 World Series box sets released by MLB this year. I decided to start by watching the bonus disks on the 1986 set before viewing the World Series games. The DVD sleeves are very cool as they have little facts on the cover of them and then on the back they have the boxscore to the game on that disk, then on the inside they have a completely play-by-play account of the game. There's two bonus disks on the 1986 set, one featuring the classic Game 6 of the '86 NLCS that went 16 innings and the other featuring a few clips and interviews. Here are the complete list of features on that bonus disk:
1. Mets Clinch Division Title (final out of game against Cubs on 9/17)
2. NLCS Game 3: Lenny Dykstra's Walkoff HR
3. NLCS Game 5: Gary Carter's Walkoff Single
4. Lenny Dysktra: Red Sox Premature Celebration
5. Keith Hernandez: Perspective On Game 6 Rally
6. Keith Hernandez: Nerve-Wracking Game 6
7. Kevin Mitchell: Coach's Tip Before Scoring in Game 6
8. Mookie Wilson: Mindset Of His Historic At Bat
9. Mookie Wilson: Unfair To Blame Buckner
10. Bill Buckner: Mookie Wilson's Gronder And The Error
11. Bill Robinson: Perspective On Buckner's Error
12. Ray Knight: Game 6 Memories
13. Lenny Dykstra: Full Team Effort
14. Mike Piazza And Mookie Wilson Discuss Game 6
15. Inside The Moments Of Game 6 (has a clip of Dave Henderson's Game 5 ALCS homerun)
16. Ray Knight: Confidence Entering Game 7
17. Keith Hernandez: Mound Conversation With Jesse Orosco
18. Gary Carter: Catching The Last Out
19. World Series Last Out, Clubhouse Euphoria
20. Trophy Presentation
21. Championship Clubshouse Interviews
22. 1987 Opening Day Ring Ceremony
The N.L. East clinching out was interesting because it gives a you a glipse of what no longer is allowed, fans storming the field like it was a college football game. Probably for the best as it looked like a riot was ready to breakout before the clip ends.
Of course the real treat is that other bonus disk with the complete Game 6 of the 1986 NLCS. The game itself clocked in at 4 hours and 42 minutes but with the commercials cut out the game and the postgame coverage clocks in at just about 4 hours on the disk. The game went so long that ABC's postgame coverage is short as they had to switch coverage to Game 7 of the ALCS that night.
I took down some notes as I was watching the game (no I didn't watch it all in one sitting). Keith Jackson and Tim McCarver were the announcers and McCarver was not nearly as annoying back then as he is now. I'm not going to go over every moment of the game of course so here's the boxscore and play account from retrosheet.org
-Bob Knepper started for the Astros on three days rest. They threw out a stat at the beginning of the telecast that Knepper was 14-5 with a 2.17 ERA on three days rest over the last three years.
-There were several empty seats in the upper deck when the game started. They did fill up a few innings but don't think it was a sellout.
-A sign in the crowd "Knepper + Scuffy = World Series". Scuffy was Astros ace Mike Scott and was known for allegedly scuffing the baseball by using sandpaper. It's very interesting during the game Jackson and McCarver often joke about Scott's possible cheating ways. Of course 20 years later there is all this phony moral outrage over cheating baseball players.
-Knepper was a being bitch on the mound the whole game. Almost every close pitch that was called a ball he'd slump his shoulders down and look straight at the umpire. In a regular season game he probably would have been ejected at some point. Until the 8th inning I thought Jackson and McCarver were calling the umpire "Brock Landers" but they they finally said his full name which was actually Fred Brocklander.
-That being said Knepper was throwing an absolute gem the first eight innings. Mets only had three baserunners with two singles and literally were hitting nothing hard.
-Jackson and McCarver mention the Mets set the record for most strikeouts by a team in an LCS and think it will last for a while. They casually mention that the record was held by the Royals just set the previous year and don't bother to bring up that it was the first year that LCS series were best out of 7 so of course strike out records were being broken with more games being played. I wasn't Bored enough to look up who holds the record now.
-I had forgotten that the Mets were down 3-0 going into the 9th of this game (I didn't look at the boxscore before viewing so I'd be mildly unaware of the events of the game). Dykstra hit a pinch hit triple to start the rally and it was first hard hit ball all day by the Mets.
-Astros closer Dave Smith was the goat of the series as he had given up the Dykstra homerun in Game 3 in his only apperance and came in here with it 3-2 with a runner on 2nd and one out. Tough situation but he proceeded to walk Carter (who the flash a graphic that he was 0 for his last 12 against Smith) and Strawberry before Ray Knight hits a sac flay to tie it. McCarver says it's unusual that Smith was having problems as he has "excellent command." On the year Smith's BB/9 ratio was 3.54. Not terrible but certainly not excellent.
-There was a wild moment in the Knight at bat with the bases loaded. The first pitch on the outside corner was called a strike, and it looked pretty good to me, but Knight being the dick he always was complained about it. Then on a 1-2 pitch a pitch clearly outside is called a ball but then the fun starts. Astros catcher Alan Ashby slams his fist and then Dickhead Knight complains about the call too claiming it was the same spot as the first pitch. Astros manager Hal Lanier runs out to the mind to talk to Smith all the while yelling at the umpire. Shorstop Dickie Thon then runs to the mound yelling at the umpire and Lanier has to restrain him to keep him from getting ejected. Again if this was a regular season game plenty of people would have been ejected.
-The signature moment of the game was actually by the losing team when Billy Hatcher hit a homerun in the bottom of the 14th to tie the game up after the Mets took the lead It was a majestic shot off the left field foul pole with Hatcher having his own Carlton Fisk moment as he ran backwards down the line hoping the ball would stay fair. Hatcher though in the top of the 16th would help the Mets to a three run inning by misplaying a fly ball by Strawberry leading off the inning that he would then let bounce over his head and allow Strawberry to go to 2nd. It was lamely scored a double.
I think I'll do little notes on all the games on each set and group each Game 1 in a single entry and then Game 2, etc. I'm looking forward to watching the '79 series as I know very little about the series itself beyond the ugly (or great?) uniforms.
Quickie this time around.
10. Jose Reyes, Mets
9. Bobby Abreu, Phillies
8. Nick Johnson, Nationals
7. Bronson Arroyo, Reds
6. Brandon Webb, Diamondbacks
5. Lance Berkman, Astros
4. Miguel Cabrera, Marlins
3. Carlos Beltran, Mets
2. David Wright, Mets
1. Albert Pujols, Cardinals
10. Derek Jeter, Yankees
9. Paul Konerko, White Sox
8. Manny Ramirez, Red Sox
7. Jason Giambi, Yankees
6. Joe Mauer, Twins
5. Johan Santana, Twins
4. Curtis Granderson, Tigers
3. Vernon Wells, Blue Jays
2. Jim Thome, White Sox
1. Travis Hafner, Indians
This year in college football there will be something called the BCS Championship Game or as I like to think of it, Fiesta Bowl II. It will match up the #1 and #2 teams in the BCS rankings and it will take place in the new Arizona Cardinals stadium which will be the new site of the Fiesta Bowl. It’s not a bowl game but it’ll be played at a bowl site the week after a bowl game was just played in it. It was the NCAA’s lame compromise they came up with for those who want to keep the bowl tradition and those who want a tournament or “plus one” format without actually addressing any of the flaws with the current format. But after it was after the 1986 regular season in the Fiesta Bowl where arguably the first true National Championship game may have ever taken place.
The landscape of college football was very different 20 years ago as many big time programs besides Notre Dame were still independents. Florida State, Boston College, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, South Carolina, and others were all independents. Two other national powerhouse independents would emerge as the #1 and #2 teams in the country in Miami and Penn State. Since neither had a conference affiliation thus neither was required to go to a particular bowl game. This is where the Fiesta Bowl came in as unlike the other major bowls they were not aligned with any conference to take their champion thus there able to invite both of the nation’s only undefeated teams. Miami were huge favorites with Heisman trophy winner Vinny Testaverde at quarterback, the Hurricanes beat their opponents by an average score of 38-12 during the regular season. Miami was the cockiest team on the planet at the time and infamously showed up to Tempe like this:
At a dinner to honor both teams the week of the game, the Hurricanes walked out of it. Jerome Brown was quoted as “Did the Japanese sit down and eat with Pearl Harbor before they bombed them?” You know equating yourself with the Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor has never been the smartest thing to say. But Penn State would upset Miami 14-10 to win an undisputed national championship, intercepting Testaverde five times in the game. Four years later Penn State would join the Big Ten and spark the move of several independents to join conferences.
One other thing 1986 was also the Year of the Boz, probably the greatest marketing ever of a college athlete ever. Oklahoma's All-American linebacker Brian Bosworth created a complete alter ego for himself known as The Boz and made himself the most recognizable player in college football. Oklahoma won the Big 8 title but Bosworth would be suspended from the Orange Bowl for testing positive for steroids.
Here are useless facts from 1986.
Preseason AP Top 20
6. Penn State
7. Texas A&M
9. Ohio State
11. Florida State
20. Michigan State
Top 20 Reguarl Season Match-ups
#1 Oklahoma 38, #4 UCLA 3
#3 Miami 23, #13 Florida 15
#5 Alabama 16, #9 Ohio State 10
#14 LSU 35, #7 Texas A&M 17
#17 Washington 40, #10 Ohio State 7
#4 Alabama 21, #13 Florida 7
#7 Washington 52, #11 BYU 21
#1 Miami 28, #2 Oklahoma 16
#5 Michigan 20, #20 Florida State 18
#12 USC 20, #6 Washington 10
#11 Iowa 24, #17 Michigan State 21
#16 Arizona State 16, #15 UCLA 9
#12 Washington 24, #18 Stanford 14
#4 Michigan 20, #8 Iowa 17
#10 Arizona State 29, #15 USC 20
#11 Texas A&M 31, #20 Baylor 30
#6 Penn State 23, #2 Alabama 3
#7 Auburn 35, #13 Mississippi State 6
#1 Miami 41, #20 Florida State 23
#7 Arizona State 34, #6 Washington 21
#8 Alabama 38, #19 Mississippi State 3
#17 Ohio State 31, #11 Iowa 10
#18 USC 20, #14 Arizona 13
#18 LSU 14, #6 Alabama 10
#17 Arkansas 14, #17 Texas A&M 10
#10 Washington 17, #19 UCLA 17 tie
#3 Oklahoma 20, #5 Nebraska 17
#14 Arizona 34, #4 Arizona State 17
#6 Michigan 26, #7 Ohio State 24
#18 UCLA 45, #10 USC 25
#14 Auburn 21, #7 Alabama 17
Bowl Games (MVP)
California: San Jose State 37, Miami of Ohio 7 (Mike Perez)
Independence: Mississippi 20, Texas Tech 17 (Mark Young)
Hall of Fame: Boston College 27, #17 Georgia 24 (James Jackson, Georgia)
Sun: #13 Alabama 28, #12 Washington 6 (Cornelius Bennett)
Aloha: #16 Arizona 30, North Carolina 21 (Alfred Jenkins)
Gator: Clemson 27, #20 Stanford 21 (Rodney Williams)
Liberty: Tennessee 21, Minnesota 14 (Jeff Francis)
Holiday: #19 Iowa 39, San Diego State 38 (Mark Vlasic)
Freedom: #15 UCLA 31, BYU 10 (Gaston Green)
Bluebonnet: #14 Baylor 21, Colorado 9 (Ray Berry)
All-American: Florida State 27, Indiana 13 (Sammie Smith)
Peach: Virginia Tech 25, #18 N.C. State 24 (Erik Kramer, N.C. State)
Rose: #7 Arizona State 22, #4 Michigan 15 (Jeff Van Raaphorst)
Citrus: #10 Auburn 16, USC 7 (Aundray Bruce)
Cotton: #11 Ohio State 28, #8 Texas A&M 12 (Chris Spielman)
Orange: #3 Oklahoma 42, #9 Arkansas 8 (Spencer Tillman)
Sugar: #6 Nebraska 30, #5 LSU 15 (Steve Taylor)
Fiesta: #2 Penn State 14, #1 Miami 10 (Shane Conlan)
Final AP Top 20
1. Penn State
4. Arizona State
7. Ohio State
13. Texas A&M
19. Boston College
20. Virginia Tech
Vinny Testaverde, Miami
Brent Fullwood, Auburn
Paul Palmer, Temple
Terrence Flagler, Clemson
Brad Muster, Stanford
Cris Carter, Ohio State
Wendall Davis, LSU
Tim Brown Notre Dame
Keith Jackson, Oklahoma
Jeff Bregel, USC
Randy Dixon, Pittsburgh
Danny Villa, Arizona State
John Clay, Missouri
Ben Tamburello, Auburn
Jeff Zimmerman, Florida
Chris Conlin, Penn State
Dave Croston, Iowa
Paul Kiser, Wake Forest
John Elliott, Michigan
Randal McDaniel, Arizona State
Mark Hutson, Oklahoma
Harris Barton, North Carolina
John Phillips, Clemson
Jerome Brown, Miami
Danny Noonan, Nebraska
Tony Woods, Pittsburgh
Jason Buck, BYU
Reggie Rogers, Washington
Tim Johnson, Penn State
Cornelius Bennett, Alabama
Shane Conlan, Penn State
Brian Bosworth, Oklahoma
Chris Spielman, Ohio State
Terry Maki, Air Force
Thomas Everett, Baylor
Tim McDonald, USC
Bennie Blades, Miami
Rod Woodson, Purdue
Garland Rivers, Michigan
John Little, Georgia
Gordon Lockbaum, Holy Cross
Mark Moore, Oklahoma State
Jeff Jaeger, Washington
Marty Zendejas, Nevada
Jeff Ward, Texas
Barry Helton, Colorado
Greg Horne, Arkansas
Bill Smith, Mississippi
Greg Montgomery, Michigan State
All the talk on ESPN and the TWiB threads when it comes to the American League MVP award in 2006 is about Clutchie McClutchie of the Boston Red Sox being the MVP favorite. One debate that has creeped up again and will certainly be talked about as we get closer to the end of the season is whether or not a DH should win the MVP. In my 1995 A.L. MVP redo I showed that a DH should be able to win the MVP award. Well okay my original intention when doing the redo was to show the voter bias against Albert Belle by the media and then in turned out Edgar Martinez should have won the MVP. An everyday DH has never won the MVP award so I'll take a look back at the closest thing we've had to a DH winning the award.
Don Baylor won the 1979 A.L. MVP while splitting time between the outfield and the DH spot. He played 97 games in the outfield and 65 games at DH, the most games ever played at DH by an MVP winner to date. As usual it's not particularly hard to figure out why a player won the MVP. Baylor played on the A.L. West champion Angels and he led the league in RBI and runs scored. Baylor was also his very own Clutchie McClutchie as he hit .330 with RISP. Despite his high RBI total and also finishing 4th in the A.L. in homeruns who only finished 10th in the league in slugging. In fact the Angels team leader in slugging was not Baylor but Bobby Grich. But because of his 139 RBI Baylor won the award in a lopsided vote, taking 20 of 28 first place votes.
In second place was Ken Singleton who had the best year on the best team in the league but received only three first place votes as his RBI total was only 111. George Brett picked up two first place votes and then other three first place votes were for Mike Flanagan although he only finished 6th. He was the near unanmious choice for Cy Young but as you'll see he was agruablly not the best pitcher in the league. Ahead of Flanagan were two Red Sox, Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. Lynn led the league in average, obp, and slugging while playing a Gold Glove center field. Awww I just gave away my pick didn't I?
1) Don Baylor 2) Ken Singleton 3) George Brett 4) Fred Lynn 5) Jim Rice 6) Mike Flanagan 7) Gorman Thomas 8) Bobby Grich 9) Darrell Porter 10) Buddy Bell 11t) Jim Kern 11t) Mike Marshall 11t) Eddie Murray 14) Brian Downing 15) Sixto Lezcano 16) Roy Smalley 17t) Steve Kemp 17t) Willie Wilson 19) Mark Clear 20) Paul Molitor 21) Rick Burleson 22) Tommy John 23) Cecil Cooper 24t) Willie Horton 24t) Reggie Jackson 26t) Dan Ford 26t) Ron Guidry 26t) Mike Hargrove
.322/.372/.469, 102 RC, 126 OPS+, .296 EQA, 59.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
148 ERA+, 2.54 K/BB, 1.19 WHIP, 72.6 VORP 24 Win Shares
.321/.414/.573, 113 RC, 164 OPS+, .334 EQA, 56.0 VORP, 27 Win Shares
#7 (I couldn't find a 1980 or 1979 card for Grich, first time I've had that problem)
.294/.365/.537, 105 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 62.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.296/.371/.530, 122 RC, 144 OPS+, .310 EQA, 57.0 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.291/.421/.484, 109 RC, 142 OPS+, .319 EQA, 59.5 VORP, 31 Win Shares
.325/.381/.596, 141 RC, 154 OPS+, .317 EQA, 71.2 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.295/.405/.533, 124 RC, 156 OPS+, .327 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.329/.376/.563, 137 RC, 148 OPS+, .313 EQA, 69.3 VORP, 33 Win Shares
.333/.423/.637, 143 RC, 176 OPS+, .341 EQA, 82.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
So what did we learn today? That outfield/DHs should never win the MVP! Wait okay that really doesn't make sense. Okay RBIs are overrated! Well you probably already should have known that. Okay we didn't learn anything but at least we had the first reference ever to Sixto Lezcano in this board's history and it's about fucking time.
Considering that my favorite team in sports was just eliminated on a walk off homerun, I feel pretty good. Going into today I just wanted the A's to pull out one win and then let the Tigers celebrate at home on Sunday as I didn't really want the A's to get my hopes up by winning both games this weekend. Well don't worry about having my heartbroken now. But this series was effectively over after the 4th inning in Game 2 when Esteban Loaiza failed to get a shutdown inning after a Milton Bradley homerun in the 3rd gave the A's a 3-1 lead and for the first time some momentum in the series but it was quickly dashed by four Tiger runs. It was painfully obvious at that point that the Tigers were on a roll that can't be stopped.
Tonight I'll just need to avoid the highlights and avoid reading any lame A's message boards talking about how the A's have no heart and how Billy Beane is a shitty GM. Considering everything that went wrong for the A's this year it is amazing they came this far. Really the shockingly healthy Frank Thomas was the only thing that really broke the A's way this year. They had injury plagued and/or underachieving years from key players such as Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, Rich Harden, Huston Street, Mark Kotsay, Milton Bradley, and Mark Ellis. As you've seen by my player rankings at least so far on the offensive side this was simply on paper not a team that you'd think would have won 93 games and swept a very good Twins in the ALDS. The future doesn't look too bright with a depleted farm system and a scary amount of young talent down in Anaheim but this is the most satisfied I've been at the end of the year with an A's team since 2000.
Closer list is the Top 30 in saves, of course saves are not factored in the rankings. Same statistics taken into account as middle relievers but I also include Win Shares for closers.
2004 Top 3
1. Brad Lidge
2. Joe Nathan
3. Eric Gagne
2005 Top 3
1. Mariano Rivera
2. Billy Wagner
3. Todd Jones
2006 Closer Rankings
1. Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox
2. B.J. Ryan, Blue Jays
3. Joe Nathan, Twins
4. J.J. Putz, Mariners
5. Francisco Rodriguez, Angels
6. Mariano Rivera, Yankees
7. Takashi Saito, Dodgers
8. Billy Wagner, Mets
9. Trevor Hoffman, Padres
10. Akinori Otsuka, Rangers
11. Huston Street, A's
12. Chris Ray, Orioles
13. Chad Cordero, Nationals
14. Mike Gonzalez, Pirates
15. Francisco Cordero, Rangers/Brewers
16. Brian Fuentes, Rockies
17. Bobby Jenks, White Sox
18. Tom Gordon, Phillies
19. Bob Wickman, Indians/Braves
20. Joe Borowski, Marlins
21. Todd Jones, Tigers
22. Jorge Julio, Mets/Diamondbacks
23. Jason Isringhausen, Cardinals
24. Brad Lidge, Astros
25. Ryan Dempster, Cubs
26. Armando Benitez, Giants
27. Jose Valverde, Diamondbacks
28. Eddie Guradado, Mariners/Reds
29. Ambriorix Burgos, Royals
30. Derrick Turnbow, Brewers