The Detroit Tigers have been one of the more proud franchises in baseball history. That was until Mike Ilitch bought the team after the 1992 season. Before their ownership the Tigers had never endured more than four consecutive losing seasons. This year’s Tigers are just 17 wins away from ending 12 years of futility and are very likely to reach the postseason for the first time since 1987. But Ilitch's first year as owner was the Tigers last succesful one.
In the Tigers last winning season of ’93 they lead the Majors in runs scored with 899. They were of course helped by the hitter friendly Tiger Stadium but the offense was genuinely good. The pitching on the other hand allowed a Major League high 188 homeruns which although helped/hurt by Tiger Stadium the pitchers were genuinely bad. The Tigers started the season red hot as after a 12-1 spanking of the defending champs Toronto on June 12th they were 38-22 with a four game lead on the Jays. But just 10 days later a 12-9 loss to Baltimore would start a 10 game losing streak that they could never fully recover from.
C: Chad Kreuter (.286/.371/.484, 30.2 VORP, 16 Win Shares) – This was only one of two seasons that Kreuter played over 100 games in and was by far his best year. This would be the second of seven teams he would play for in his career. Went to Seattle in ’95 and then spent the following year with the White Sox. They traded him with Tony Phillips to the Angels in 1997. The Angels sent him back to Chicago late in 1998. Spent the following year in Kansas City and finally found a stable job with the Dodgers for three years. Began 2003 back where he started in Texas but was released a month into the season.
1B: Cecil Fielder (.267/.368/.464, 27.8 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Fielder hit 30 homeruns with 117 rbi but those were quiet, big numbers as he was only 5th among Tigers regulars in slugging. He remained a very steady performer but never came close to his huge 1990 season. Tigers traded him to the Yankees for Ruben Sierra in 1996 where Cecil would have a good World Series going 9 for 23. His power numbers would slip dramatically after this and was washed by ’98 being released by both the Angels and Indians. Tried to make a return to Toronto in 1999 but failed to make the team. Has spent his post career gambling away the millions he earned and is now estranged from his son Price Fielder.
2B: Lou Whitaker (.290/.412/.449, 36.4 VORP, 19 Win Shares) – Sweet Lou’s career was winding down at this point but when he was in the line up he was still very productive. Would retire after 1995 when he played in just 84 games but put up a strong .293/.372/.518 line. One of the great tragedies in Hall of Fame voting as he received only 15 votes in his first year of eligibility, failing to stay on the ballot despite being very comparable to his HOF contemporary Ryne Sandberg. Whether Whitaker deserves to be in the HOF or not is open for debate, I believe he does, but it is a joke that he couldn’t even receive enough support stay on the ballot for more than a single season.
3B: Travis Fryman (.300/.379/.486, 56.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares) – This was Fryman’s breakout season at 24 but it would end up being his best season. He actually started more games at shortstop (81 to 68) but I had a choice of talking about Alan Trammell or Scott Livingstone so I of course put Fryman at 3rd. At the start of the year Fryman was at short and Trammell was at 3rd but the Tigers would realize that Fryman was much better defensively at 3rd and flipped them back. Traded to the expansion Diamondbacks after the 1997 season but would never suit up for them as he would be flipped to Cleveland two weeks later for Matt Williams. Would play the rest of his career with the Indians, highlighted by a great 2000 season, and retired after 2002.
SS: Alan Trammell (.329/.388/.496, 40.6 VORP, 17 Win Shares) – Coming off a year where he only played 29 games due to a broken ankle, the other side of the Tigers long time middle infield duo was also still productive when he was in the line up. Trammell of course spent his entire career in Detoit, retiring after 1996. Has faired better in HOF voting than Whitaker but is no where close to being elected, appearing on just 17.7% of the ballots in the most recent election.
LF: Tony Phillips (.313/.443/.398, 46.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares) – The previously light hitting, utility man Phillips had emerged as one of the top lead off hitters in the game due to his great ability to draw walks (132 in ’93) and this was his best year. Would spend one more season in Detroit before signing as a free agent with the Angels. Signed with the White Sox in ’96 who then traded him the previously mentioned deal with Chad Kreuter back to the Angels. In August of that year he would be caught smoking crack in an Anaheim hotel and really who hasn’t? He was released by the Angels before the 1998 season, then picked up by the Blue Jays two months later who would trade him after a month in a deadline deal to the Mets. Returned to Oakland in 1999 for his final season in the Majors.
CF: Milt Cuyler (.213/.276/.313, -7.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) – A passable rookie year in 1991 some how convinced the Tigers to keep trotting Cuyler out to center for a couple of more years although in just in part time duty, he still played too much. Mysteriously still found part time Major League work for a few more years including a trip to Boston in 1996. But in 1998 he had a historic year with the Rangers putting up a jaw dropping .500/.571/1.333 line. Even with a batting average heavy OBP those number are insane. Oh wait it was only in 7 at bats…never mind.
RF: Rob Deer (.217/.302/.381, -3.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – Everybody’s favorite no batting average power hitter, Deer was a poor man’s Dave Kingman. Okay Deer actually could draw walks but holy shit he could not make any contact at all. He was about as true a “three outcome hitter” as you could get and the primary outcome was a strikeout. Did not finish the season in Detroit as he was traded to Boston in August. This appeared to be his last year in the Majors but in 1996 made a comeback with the Padres. In true Deer fashion he went 9 for 50 (seven of the hits for extra bases) and struck out 30 times.
DH: Kirk Gibson (.261/.337/.432, 15.4 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – Fuck him.
Utility: Mickey Tettleton (.245/.372/.492, 31.7 VORP, 24 Win Shares) – Tettleton started 51 games at catcher, 38 in RF, 35 at 1B, 16 in LF, and surprisingly only 3 at DH considering he couldn’t play any position well but hit for enough power that you needed him the line up everyday. Signed as a free agent with Texas after 1994 and spent his final three years there.
Mike Moore (82 ERA+, 3.0 VORP, 7 Win Shares) – A big free agent signing for the Tigers before the season leaving the friendly confines of the Oakland Coliseum for Tiger Stadium proved very hazardous to Moore’s ERA. The Tigers offense carried him to a 13-9 record. Never effective in Detroit, retired after 1995.
John Doherty (97 ERA+, 15.3 VORP, 9 Win Shares) – I remember little to nothing of Doherty and found little to nothing about him. His baseball-reference sponsor says he hurt his arm so I’ll believe it. Tigers waived him before the ’96 season and was picked up by the Red Sox, pitching in only three games.
David Wells (103 ERA+, 28.3 VORP, 10 Win Shares) – Was released right before the season by the Blue Jays, Wells would end up saving his career in Detroit. Tigers would trade him to the Reds in 1995 in a deadline deal. Spent the next year in Baltimore before signing with the Yankees where he became the GREATEST PITCHER OF ALL-TIME or something. Traded for Roger Clemens before 1999 to Toronto and then traded to the White Sox before 2001 in the “oh we didn’t know Mike Sirotka’s arm was dead” deal. After an injury filled year there he would return to the Yankees for two years. Played with the Padres in 2004 and then joined the Red Sox where is now just fat and injured.
Bill Gullickson (80 ERA+, -2.1 VORP, 5 Win Shares) – The long time mediocre Gullickson was just about at the end of his career here and would retire after the following year.
Closer: Mike Henneman (163 ERA+, 18.3 VORP, 11 Win Shares) – One of Henneman’s better seasons. Struggled badly the following year but rebound in 1995 where he’d be dealt in a waiver deal to Houston for Phil Nevin. Spent his final year in ’96 with Texas.
Brady Anderson - Outfielder
Boston Red Sox 1988
Baltimore Orioles 1988-2001
Cleveland Indians 2002
All-Star Selections: 3 (1992, 1996, 1997)
1996: Extra Base Hits
None of note
August 7, 1998 - Baltimore at Minnesota
Career high five hits which included two homeruns and two doubles.
Hall of Fame Stats
Gray Ink: Batting - 37 (643) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 26.1 (376) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 38.0 (473) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in HOF: None
Top 10 Similar Batters: Johnny Callison, Devon White, Rick Monday, Roy White, Lloyd Moseby, Chet Lemon, Claudell Washington, Jimmy Wynn, Ray Lankford, Amos Otis
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 214
Career WARP3: 77.3
My Stupid Opinion
A bit of a late bloomer as his breakout year didn't come until age 28 as to that point he looked like he might be a bust. Will always be remembered for being the least likely player ever to hit 50 homeruns. He's the only player in MLB history to hit 50 homeruns in one season without having a 30+ homerun season at any other point in his career (not counting Prince Fielder). Interesting enough his breakout year of '92 is ranked as being better than his '96 season by both Win Shares and WARP. I'm guessing it has to do with his 53 stolen bases that year and I think he was probably a much better defensive outfielder at that point. Also in 1996 everyone seemed to be hitting 50 homeruns so his year doesn't really standout. Not as good as what his similar batters show as Wynn and Otis in particular were much better players.
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
This past week the Golden State Warriors ended 13 years of misery by finally clinching a playoff bid. My interest in the Warriors has never come close to my passion for the A's or even the 49ers but I'm excited never the less. As a kid I was a bandwagon Laker fan, which was hard not to do in the 80's, but around age 12 or 13 I dumped my bandwagon ways and started rooting strictly for the local teams then finally adopting the Warriors as my NBA team. I was a freshman in high school the last time the Warriors were in the playoffs and I only have vague memories of their season. I do remember going to their fan fest that year and getting my picture taken with Byron Houston, well because the lines for Chris Mullin and Latrell Sprewell were way too long. Damn little I knew at the time how oddly cool it would have been to have a picture taken with Sprewell although I seem to remember Houston got arrested on gun posession charges later in the year.
Now trying to figure out an entry for this I finally found an excuse to use paperofrecord.com. It's a free newspaper archive service that happens to have an expansive archive of old Sporting News. The Sporting News was still some what relevent then, although by then had already lost of a lot of it's prestige, so I figured it'd be interesting to check out an issue from 13 years ago this week and see what was being talked about in the world of sports.
Cover Story: Soar Subject. Can Danny Manning and the Hawks rise to occasion?
-Hawks had the #1 seed in the East going into the playoffs but they would be pushed to five games by the Heat in the first round and then lost in six to the Pacers in conference semis.
Sound Bites: Gorge Steinbrenner, giving yet another manager a vote of confidence:
-Hey he didn't lie. He'd fire him after 1995 instead. Who would have thought that 12 years later Steinbrenner hadn't fired another manager since? Showalter has of course been fired from two more jobs since.
-The NFL announced for the first time their games would be available by pay-per-view for home dish owners.
-In 1994 for the first time those advertisements behind home plate started popping up and in the "Voice of the Fan" section there is one from a fan saying he won't purchase any product shown behind homeplate and urging others to do the same. How'd that boycott turn out?
A Lively Debate: Only two weeks into the season, juicy theories abound about the core of the game - the ball itself.
-Everyone in baseball seemed to be hitting homeruns to start the season and many thought the ball was juiced. The word "steroids" is never mentioned once in the article. I miss those days.
-In a little blurb with an update on the baseball labor situation it is mentioned that Senator George Mitchell is a lock to be the next commissioner, if he wants the job. Guess he didn't want it.
-Dave Stewart accuses Barry Bonds of not respecting anyone but himself. Get out!
-In the Expos' notes section, pitcher Ken Hill shows why his future wouldn't have been as a GM. Expos were off to a slow 4-8 start and he complained about them trading Delino DeShield to the Dodgers in the offseason and saying that teams didn't fear them anymore. Who did the Expos receive for DeShields? Some guy named Pedro Martinez.
-Of course this time of year the NFL Draft was about to happen and they had an article ranking the top defensive players in the draft.
Defensive Ends: 1. Willie McGinest 2. Henry Ford 3. Joe Johnson 4. Shante Carver 5. Fernando Smith
Defensive Tackles: 1. Dan Wilkinson 2. Bryant Young 3. Sam Adams 4. Romeo Bandinson 5. William Gaines
Outside Linebackers: 1. Trev Alberts 2. John Thierry 3. Jamir Miller 4. Rob Fredrickson 5. Ron Woolfork
Inside Linebackers: 1. Winfred Tubbs 2. Kevin Mitchell 3. Allen Aldridge 4. Ken Alexander 5. Jermaine Younger
Cornerbacks: 1. Aaron Glenn 2. Antonio Langham 3. Dewayne Washington 4. Thomas Randolph 5. Tyronne Drakeford
Safties: 1. Toby Wright 2. Marvin Goodwin 3. Van Malone 4. Jason Sehorn 5. Anthony Phillips
-They added a quick Top 50 overall rankings. Comment on Heath Shuler: "A cut above Rick Mirer." High praise indeed.
-Also they had a mock 1st Round draft. Most interesting pick they had...Charlie Ward 19th overall to the Vikings. Ooookaaay.
-Speculation that the Raiders might move to Orlando. Damn, too bad that didn't happen. A's might have had a new stadium in Oakland by now.
-Charles Barkley on the Knicks. Knicks would come within one win of winning it all.
-Dennis Rodman on the Sonics. Wow, Rodman surprisingly prophetic as the Sonics were shocked by the Nuggets in the 1st round.
2006 will mark 20 years of sports memories for me and I'm finally starting to feel like an old fart who reminisces about the good 'ol days. Fact is I was an old man when it came to sports when I was a kid as I loved sports history and researching useless sports facts which is still one of my favorite things to do. Regulars to sports folder have seen this most recently with my several useless fact posts in the Comments that don't warrant a thread, um thread, but that died off fairly quickly and figured it'd probably be more appropriate to post useless stuff like that in a blog.
So to make this all about me, I'll take a look back at my first ever live sporting event: 5/11/1986, Boston Red Sox at Oakland Athletics. As to memories about the actual game I have little to none. I only remember my family and I sat in the Plaza Level (2nd deck) of the Coliseum on the first base saide. My dad bought me an A's bobblehead, the old school ceramic ones not the plastic ones that you get today, which I promptly broke about a week later. Anything I remember from the game now comes from looking at the boxscore from Retrosheet. It featured a great "name" pitching of Oil Can Boyd vs. Moose Haas. The A's trailed 6-4 going into the 9th but a Carney Lansford homerun started a rally. They had 1st and 2nd with two out but pinch hitter Dusty Baker grounded out to the pitcher (wasn't hot enough for him?) to end the game with a Red Sox victory. That makes me feel old right there that Baker who will be in his 13th year of managing this season was playing in my very first live MLB game.
Now to look back at the starting line-ups from that game and just throw in a few comments about each player with their stats from 1986.
1. Dwight Evans RF (.259/.376/.476, 41.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares) - Doesn't get nearly the publicity for the Hall of Fame of his outfield mate Jim Rice, mainly because Evans fell off the ballot without notice while Rice remains a serious candidate. It's odd as Evans was equal the hitter of Rice and was unquestionably the superior defensive outfielder. Evans bests Rice in career Win Shares 347 to 282. Very underrated during his playing days and post career. Hopefully he'll get more notice when he comes up on the Veteran's Committee ballot.
2. Wade Boggs 3B (.357/.453/.486, 82.0 VORP, 37 Win Shares) - Roger Clemens would win the MVP in '86 but it should have been Boggs. I'm not sure where this myth that Boggs wasn't a feared hitter comes from beyond that he wasn't a power hitter but circa 1986 pitchers should have been pretty fucking scared to face Boggs.
3. Bill Buckner DH (.267/.311/.421, 21.5 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Yes I'm sure you can see the irony in Bucker at DH in 1986.
4. Jim Rice LF (.324/.384/.490, 61.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares) - I was on the Rice for HOF bandwagon a couple of years ago but I've jumped off since. If he ever gets in I won't have a problem though but it wouldn't be much of an oversight either if he never gets in.
5. Don Baylor 1B (.238/.344/.439, 29.1 VORP, 16 Win Shares) - Mr. HBP who lucked into playing on three straight A.L. Champions on three different teams form '86 to '88 (Red Sox, Twins, A's).
6. Rich Gedman C (.258/.315/.424, 26.0 VOP, 18 Win Shares) - This was the last of a decent three year run for Gedman but he hit the wall the following season.
7. Marty Barrett 2B (.286/.353/.381, 38.0 VORP, 22 Win Shares) - Good season in a largely unspectacular career. I only remember him going beserk in the Red Sox dugout in the infamous Game 4 of the '90 ALCS when Roger Clemens was ejected.
8. Steve Lyons CF (.250/.312/.363, 0.4 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - Bad player and possibly even worse announcer. Claim to fame was playing literally every position and dropping his pants during a game when he was with the White Sox.
9. Ed Romero SS (.210/.270/.283, -3.9 VORP, 2 Win Shares) - I found edromero.com but it sadly it was a lounge singer not the baseball player.
1. Tony Phillips 2B (.256/.367/.345, 22.7 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Vastly underrated player who's best days would come away from Oakland. By no means a superstar but he just simply got a base a lot and could give you solid defense at multiple positions. He did smoke rock though. Has congress investigated the performance enhancements of crack?
2. Dwayne Murphy CF (.252/.364/.386, 18.9 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Another underrated player. Probably would have been better appreciated if he played today as he got on base at a good rate, could hit for power (although by '86 he'd lost it), and was one of the best defensive outfielders of his era. Didn't help him that he played along side one of the greatest outfielders ever during his prime in RICKEY~.
3. Jose Canseco LF (.240/.318/.457, 30.2 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - He hit the first homerun I ever saw live in this game (not that I remembered it) but he was on the juice so it should ERASED FROM THE RECORDS!!!! Anyways the guy was a prick and by '89 I hated him. Wally Joyner absolutely got robbed in the '86 ROY voting by Canseco.
4. Dave Kingman DH (.210/.255/.431, 4.8 VORP, 8 Win Shares) - Awww Dave Kingman, never saw a pitch he didn't like. Really how long would he have lasted today with more emphasis on OBP? It amazes me a guy with so much power could draw so few walks. He'd hit 35 homeruns that year which is the record for most homeruns by a player in his final season but the average and on base tell you why no one was calling him up after '86.
5. Bruce Bochte 1B (.256/.357/.337, 12.8 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - No this isn't the Padres' manager. Is the answer to a trivia question, who was the A's starting 1B before Mark McGwire?
6. Carney Lansford 3B (.284/.332/.421, 32.8 VORP, 19 Win Shares) - Good hitter who was fun to watch because of his unique batting stance. Was my mom's favorite player and she probably would have fucked him she had the chance. Then I would have had to kill him.
7. Mike Davis RF (.268/.314/.454, 30.3 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - Was the A's "star" if you will the season before. Traded to the Dodgers after the '87 season where he did nothing but he drew a walk in front of Kirk Gibson's homerun in the Game 1 of the '88 Series. Thus I want him dead.
8. Alfredo Griffin SS (.285/.323/.364, 34.2 VORP, 17 Win Shares) - Never much of hitter but his glove kept him in the league for 18 years and had a badass JheriCurl.
9. Bill Bathe C (.184/.208/.359, -2.8 VORP, 1 Win Share) - Yes he was the back up catcher with those numbers, not that starter Mickey Tettleton did a whole lot better (.204/.325/.389, 11.3 VORP, 8 Win Shares).
Okay that's enough nostalgia for one night.
A week ago on the wonderful baseball stat geek site Hardball Times there was this article about the 1994 Montreal Expos. The article is titled "Where Are They Now?" but it more or less only tells you were they went rather than where they are now, not that I was needing to find out where Freddie Benavides was nowadays. So I figured I'd do the same for another team from the past but have a more approriate title for it. Now for picking the team I was going to go with 1989 Oakland A's or the 1997 Florida Marlins but figured I'd go for something more obscure for the first one so I picked the 1985 New York Yankees. The 80's were considered the dark days for the Yankees, at least by their fan base, but they actually had some very good teams that decade just with no World Series ring to show for it. The best Yankee team of the '80s was the 1985 team which won 97 games but came up two games shy of the Blue Jays for the A.L. East title.
Catcher: Butch Wynegar (.223./.356/.320, 10.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - After putting up solid offensive numbers the previous three years, Wynegar hit the catcher wall in '85. He'd spend one more year with the Yankees and then be traded to the Angels where'd he finish out his career.
First Base: Don Mattingly (.324/.371/.567, 78.9 VORP, 32 Win Shares) - Donny Baseball might be a tad overrated by Yankee fans of the 80's but you can kind of understand why when you look at his numbers during the mid-80's. He would of course spend his whole career with the Yankees, retiring after 1995. He won the MVP in '85 but he actually wasn't the best player on his own team.
Second Base: Willie Randolph (.276/.382/.356, 32.9 VORP, 20 Win Shares) - Very consistent, solid performer in the 80's for the Yankees. He'd leave after 1988 as a free agent to the Dodgers. From there he'd be traded the A's during the 1990 season and get to play in his fourth World Series. He'd finish up with one year stops with the Brewers and Mets before retiring after 1992.
Third Base: Mike Pagliarulo (.239/.324/.442, 19.4 VORP, 13 Win Shares) - Aww one of my favorite "names" when I was a kid. Good power but couldn't hit for average or draw walks. He'd flame out pretty quick being traded to the Padres in 1989, ended up with Twins in 1991 and picked up a World Series ring, finshing up with the Orioles and Rangers.
Shortstop: Bob Meacham (.218/.302/.266, 2.7 VORP, 11 Win Shares) - Egads is that an ugly line. If the Yankees had a competent shortstop in '85 maybe they win the East. Maybe Baseball Jesus, The Jeter, will discover time travel and lead the '85 Yankees to World Series title. *fist pump*
Left Field: Ken Griffey (.274/.331/.425, 19.2 VORP, 14 Win Shares) - At 35, Junior's dad was still an okay player. He'd be traded to the Braves for another aging outfielder in Claudell Washington in 1986. He'd make a nostalgic trip back to the Reds at the end of the decade before being released during the World Series run of 1990. Then five days later he'd be picked up by the Mariners in a marketing ploy by having father and son play together.
Center Field: Rickey Henderson (.314/.419/.516, 94.1 VORP, 38 Win Shares) - The man, the myth, the legend, and the real 1985 A.L. MVP. This would be Rickey's best year until he topped it and finally won the MVP in 1990. Of course that was with the A's as he was traded midseason back to Oakland in a trade that still has to have Yankee fans gritting their teeth. The booty for Rickey: Luis Polonia, Greg Cadaret, and Erick Plunk. Woof. Rickey would get his first World Series ring in '89, while Polonia would lead the league having sex with 14 year olds. Running thru where Rickey went:
Right Field: Dave Winfield (.275/.328/.471, 38.0 VORP, 21 Win Shares) - Hey look George Steinbrenner's favorite player. '85 was actually the start of a bit of down time in Winfield's career (for him) before he swung back up the bell curve in 1988. Traded to the Angels for Mike Witt in 1990, would win a World Series with the Blue Jays in 1991, make the late career hometown visit with the Twins for a couple of years, then finish up with the Indians in 1995.
Designated Hitter: Don Baylor (.231/.330/.430, 26.6 VORP, 12 Win Shares) - Baylor was definently a product of the DH extending a player's career. Couldn't pay the field anymore but could still hit a decent number of homeruns so he stayed in the line-up. As mentioned before he'd make a tour of the next three A.L. Champions in the Red Sox, Twins (World Champs), and A's before retiring.
Ron Guidry - (123 ERA+, 58.4 VORP, 18 Win Shares) - This would be Guidry's last good year and he finished 2nd to Bret Saberhagen in the '85 Cy Young voting. He played his entire career with the Yankees, retiring after 1988.
Phil Niekro - (98 ERA+, 27.9 VORP, 10 Win Shares) - If I ever have a son he's gonna learn how to throw a knuckleball so he can earn a Major League salary into his late 40's and support me since I'll have no Social Security.
Ed Whitson - (83 ERA+, -0.5 VORP, 4 Win Shares) - Okay maybe if the Yankees didn't have Ed Whitson making 30 starts in 1985 they win the East. Whitson had a weird career as he did absolutlely nothing of note for 12 seasons then suddenly at age 34 with the Padres he pitches like a stud for two seasons in '89 and '90 then falls off a cliff in '91 and was out of the league after that. OMG HE WAS ON THE JUICE!!!!
Joe Cowley - (102 ERA+, 25.0 VORP, 9 Win Shares) - I really don't know whole lot about Cowley. He'd be traded to the White Sox after the '85 season, pitched decently in '86, traded to the Phillies right before the '87 season where he'd meltdown and was out of baseball soon after.
Closer: Dave Rigehtti - (145 ERA+, 30.0 VORP, 15 Win Shares) - Absolute beast of a closer during the mid-80's. Started to tail off by the end of the decade and the Yankees let him leave as a free agent after 1990. Spent three years with the Giants then made brief stops with the A's, Blue Jays, and White Sox before retiring after 1995.
What We Learned Last Night: The only team capable of beating USC in the Coliseum is Stanford. Hey they got the last two wins there.
Everything continues to be completely fucked up this year. We're now down to ten BCS conference undefeated teams and only three of them would anyone have expected to be at this point. Again I always give the benefit of the doubt to those teams so all of them are in my Top 10, even UConn. Also decided not to rank any two loss teams for this week, although that will go out the door next week. Sure you could argue Florida but they lost Auburn, who lost to Mississippi State and all three of those teams have two loses. I can't really justify ranking Mississippi State above Florida but how can you rank Florida above Auburn if they lost them at home?
The only one loss teams that I don't have ranked are Texas Tech and Texas A&M. Tech has played just about the weakest schedule of any BCS conference team to this point and lost to a bad Oklahoma State team. I did a double take when I noticed A&M was 5-1 as they've looked like complete shit against any team with a pulse but they pulled out close wins over Fresno State and Oklahoma State to keep their season from turning into a disaster. Those two happen to play each other next week so whoever wins I'll finally rank them.
But really none of this means anything, so don't bother reading it.
2. Ohio State
4. South Florida
5. Boston College
8. Arizona State
11. South Carolina
14. West Virginia
18. Virginia Tech
20. Florida State
23. Boise State
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
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
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
QB: Steve Young
RB: Dexter Carter, Harry Sydney
WR: Mike Wilson, Mike Sherrard
TE: Jamie Williams
K: Mike Cofer – 58/59 XP, 6/10 FG
P: Barry Helton – 11 Punts, 43.1 Avg
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
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
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
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
QB: Cody Carlson
RB: Allen Pinkett, Victor Jones, Doug Lloyd
WR: Tony Jones, Gerald McNeil
K: Tony Zendejas – 48/50 XP, 10/13 FG
P: Greg Montgomery – 6 Punts, 47.3 Avg
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
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
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
Best. Halftime Show. Ever.
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
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.
My favorite baseball team, and favorite team in all sports, the Oakland Athletics are going to suck this year. For the first time since the the late 90's I'm going into a baseball season with no hope or optimism. So since my favorite team is going to suck, I hope all your favorite teams suck this year too. Time for a little free floating hostility as I run down the other 29 teams in MLB and why they suck.
(Disclaimer: Don't take any of this seriously)
Angels: John Lackey's arm is about fall off and they'll find out that they wasted another $90 million on another overrated centerfielder. If Lackey does end up having surgery at some point hopefully they'll do something for his face too. God damn is that an ugly mother fucker.
Astros: Hey maybe they can bring back Roger Clemens again! That'll solve everything!
Blue Jays: They still play baseball in Canada?
Braves: No one gave a shit about them in Atlanta when they were good and no one gives a shit about them now that they suck. Move them to Alaska. For that matter move every professional sports franchise out of Atlanta.
Brewers: Anything that makes Bud Selig happy is a bad thing and the Brewers ever getting back to the playoffs will make him happy, so with that in mind I continue to hope for several more years of mediocre Brewers baseball. Signing Jason Kendall will of course help that cause for this year.
Cardinals: Seriously, fucking retire already LaRussa. Once you lucked out with the 2006 World Championship you should have done the George Constanza "Alright that's it for me! Goodnight everybody!"
Cubs: 100 years, no championships and now they are selling Wrigley Field's naming rights. Just kill yourself Cubs fans because it's gonna 100 more years of the same shit.
Diamondbacks: Would somebody kill Eric Byrnes already?
Dodgers: They're gonna trade Matt Kemp for Joe Crede, you just know it. Jeff Kent can't teach these kids how to win ya know!
Giants: HAHAHAHAHA...yes keep convincing yourself Giants fans and front office that you didn't need Barry. God I can't wait for the Summer when they are 30 games out of first place and averaging less than 10k fans a game. It's gonna be great! Seriously if they ever fire Brian Sabean I'm going to cry.
Indians: Seriously eat a fucking dick Cleveland for blowing it against the Red Sox in the ALCS to help that annoying fucking fan base celebrate another championship.
Mariners: Trading for Erik Bedard isn't going to cover up that this team vastly overachieved last year and Bill Bavasi is still the GM which will always lead to failure.
Marlins: Would somebody kill Jeffrey Loria already?
Mets: This team looks like it wants to go out of it's way to out perform the A's in the injury department this year. I personally approve of the failure of all New York teams so hopefully they'll crash and burn.
Nationals: Dmitri Young and Elijah Dukes on the same team...excellent.
Orioles: Batting 4th, Kevin Millar.
Padres: Padres' "fans" gave Barry Bonds a standing ovation when he tied Hank Aaron's record. At the end of the season Tony Gwynn Jr. hits a game winning triple against the Padres that forces them into a one game playoff against the Rockies which the Padres lose in crushing fashion. It's called karma, bitch.
Phillies: Would have been better off trading Kyle Kendrick to Japan for real and thrown Adam Eaton in the deal. Gonna be another cocktease year for Phillies' fans but like they give a shit anyways as they'll be too busy chanting "E-A-G-L-E-S" at the games.
Pirates: Not even worth it.
Rangers: Why does this franchise not get shit on more for being a complete joke? 47 years in existence and not a single playoff series win. They'll have no problem blowing by the 50 year mark and beyond.
Rays: Ooo they have so much young talent! They might be really good in 2010! Who gives a shit? Still going to be 90% Yankees and Red Sox fans at their games.
Reds: The fact that there are Reds fans who actually want to get rid of Adam Dunn tells me they deserve a manager like Dusty Baker.
Red Sox: Hey remember when we all thought it'd be great if the Red Sox won a championship so we could stop hearing all the whining from their fan base about "The Curse"? We never knew how good we had it. Every SAWX fan I see this year, I'm kicking square in the fucking nuts.
Rockies: Like the Indians, fuck you for losing to the Red Sox.
Royals: This team is more painful to watch than George Brett popping his hemorrhoids.
Tigers: Kenny Rogers is an asshole and Todd Jones is a closet fag.
Twins: 1. Trade Johan Santana, 2. ???, 3. Profit
White Sox: Is this team gonna suuuuuuuuuuck? YES!
Yankees: Derek Jeter is a selfish prick who is going to drag this franchise down very soon by his refusal to leave shortstop. This guy is the Lonnie Smith of shortstops. But whatever, Yankee fans deserve any losing season they get and hopefully they'll happen soon.
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?
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
.307/.389/.522, 106 RC, 126 OPS+, .310 EQA, 64.1 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.267/.390/.562, 117 RC, 149 OPS+, .317 EQA, 66.5 VORP, 23 Win Shares
.290/.338/.525, 117 RC, 128 OPS+, .297 EQA, 69.9 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.317/.359/.550, 133 RC, 131 OPS+, .303 EQA, 71.0 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.281/.405/.518, 99 RC, 146 OPS+, .319 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.250/.412/.527, 112 RC, 151 OPS+, .326 EQA, 63.5 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.294/.366/.535, 121 RC, 138 OPS+, .312 EQA, 75.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.325/.427/.587, 141 RC, 160 OPS+, .339 EQA, 77.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.298/.396/.600, 141 RC, 148 OPS+, .324 EQA, 96.3 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.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.
All weekend I had to hear how the A's Opening Night game against the Yankees was going to be a rainout. It rained all day here in the Bay Area and then suddenly tonight it clears up a bit. So I was happy at first that I wouldn't have to stay up until one in the morning tonight to watch the entire game but that changed pretty quick. Barry Zito was chosen as the Opening Night starter even though everyone knows the ace of the staff is Rich Harden. I think manager Ken Macha fell into the manager trap of letting the "veteran" get the start. Zito has a knack for getting into 3-2 counts way too often and against a patient team like the Yankees that will get you killed and they have killed him in recent years. Zito's line tonight: 1 1/3 IP, 4 H, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K. Woof. It's 11-1 Yankees in the 5th inning as I type this so safe to say it's not the hometown heroes night.
In my aborted preview of the A's I had talked about Zito likely leaving after this season and might as well go briefly into that now. Now preface of course my thoughts aren't scewed simply because Zito pitched like Russ Ortiz tonight. I can pretty much predict the media outcry when Zito leaves for a big money deal to a big market team after this season but it will all be moot. He simply isn't worth the money he is going to get as starting pitchers are the most overpriced position in baseball right now. Just take a look at A.J. Burnett. Very talented but very injury prone and has yet to have that breakout season where he emerges as a top of the line starter yet he signed a 5-year, $55 million deal. Her certainly benefitted from a weak crop of free agent starting pitchers but it also shows how painfully overvalued starting pitching is. Zito has had a better career to this point than Burnett, has zero injury history (with his easy delivery he may never have arm problems), and is even slightly younger than Burnett. Barring a disasterous season he'll almost certainly parlay a contract that is at least worth as much as Brunett's and maybe even a a million or two more a year. Can anyone legitimately say Barry Zito is worth possibly $12-14 million a year? Now the fact that you can pencil him in for 220+ innings a year at above average production does certainly make him more valuable than maybe his peripheral numbers would indicate. But really that type of money should only go to the elite pitchers which Zito is by no means. The A's also have three good, young starting pitchers on their staff that they have under their control thru the end of the decade and money like that would be much better spent on a position player (or two).
Now 13-1, Yankees still batting in the 5th. It better be a rain free night with Harden pitching tommorrow or mother nature can kiss my ass. At least Frank Thomas homering in his first at bat with the A's didn't make this night a total loss.
-Brief Final Four thought, the "Greatest Tournament Ever" ended with a big thud. This was the first time since 1976 that the Final Four didn't have a game decied by single digits when Indiana finished off their undefeated championship run. And wow is that Noah kid from Florida is good...and wow is he one ugly mother fucker.
I think every sports fan has certain athletes they dislike or even on some level hate. Sometimes there are some justifiable reason to dislike the athlete and other times it is just irrational hate. For me that athlete is Roger Clemens. I can't stand the fat fuck. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense as Clemens has many memorable failures against my Oakland A's over the years. Clemens was 0-7 head-to-head vs. Dave Stewart when Stewart pitched for the A's. Hell you'd think I'd like the guy but I don't. I've grown tired of his several near retirements which started with his so called farewell season of 2003. That season he was forced on to the All-Star team by Bud Selig after not being selected to the team and was given a long standing ovation in his "final" start in the 2003 World Series even though at no point before or during the season did he ever say that it would be his final year. Now he's on his way back yet again and in honor of his return I will attempt to take something away from him: the 1986 American League Most Valuable Player Award.
1986 was the last time a starting pitcher won an MVP award as Clemens had arguably the best season of his career going 24-4 with a 2.48 ERA while playing on the best team in the league. In the 1995 N.L. MVP redo I established that it is still possible for a starting pitcher to win an MVP award although it is very difficult. Certainly Clemens had the type of year a starting pitcher would need to warrant consideration for an MVP and he received 19 of the 28 possible first place votes. His main competition was the defending A.L. MVP Don Mattingly and he had an even better season than his MVP year but his RBI total was down from 145 to 113 so undoubtedly that hurt him in the view of the writers. Then other player to receive first place votes was Clemens' teammate and another former MVP in Jim Rice. Rice had a great year but the best position player on the Red Sox was clearly Wade Boggs who won the batting title with a .357 avg and also lead the league with a .453 obp. Boggs only finished 7th in the voting.
1) Roger Clemens 2) Don Mattingly 3) Jim Rice 4) George Bell 5) Jesse Barfield 6) Kirby Puckett 7) Wade Boggs 8) Wally Joyner 9) Joe Carter 10) Dave Righetti 11) Doug DeCinces 12) Mike Witt 13) Don Baylor 14) Tony Fernandez 15) Teddy Higuera 16) Gary Gaetti 17t) Marty Barrett 17t) Scott Fletcher 17t) Pete O'Brien 20) Jose Canseco 21) Jim Presley 22) Dick Schofield
.263/.358/.469, 102 RC, 125 OPS+, .307 EQA, 53.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
156 ERA+, 2.80 K/BB, 1.21 WHIP, 75.3 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.302/.335/.514, 114 RC, 130 OPS+, .300 EQA, 49.9 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.282/.355/.461, 102 RC, 122 OPS+, .296 EQA, 58.7 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.328/.366/.537, 131 RC, 140 OPS+, .307 EQA, 65.4 VORP, 26 Win Shares
.324/.384/.490, 117 RC, 137 OPS+, .310 EQA, 52.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.289/.368/.559, 120 RC, 147 OPS+, .315 EQA, 51.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
169 ERA+, 3.55 K/BB, 0.97 WHIP, 84.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.357/.453/.486, 128 RC, 157 OPS+, .337 EQA, 73.2 VORP, 37 Win Shares
.352/.394/.573, 155 RC, 161 OPS+, .338 EQA, 85.8 VORP, 34 Win Shares
OH IN YO FACE CLEMENS, IN YO FACE!!!
See the fact fuck wasn't even the best player on his own team. That's it he shouldn't be allowed in the Hall of Fame. Pretty much a toss up between Mattingly and Boggs, I wouldn't argue with anyone who feels Boggs should have won it. RICKEY~ didn't receive any votes and neither did Ripken who also didn't receive any votes in the 1984 A.L. MVP redo when I chose him as the winner.
In the near future I'll be posting an 80's round up of MVP redos for the years haven't done yet but aren't interesting enough for their own entry...and I'm not even sure if this one was either.
Okay I've redone all the 80's MVPs but this was one that I kind of have been wanting to do an entry for. The main reason is because 1987 was the year that my favorite player of all-time Mark McGwire burst on to the scene by completely obliterating the rookie homerun record with 49 homeruns. It's really one of those records that it's hard to imagine it ever being broken as Mike Piazza's 35 in 1993 is the most by a rookie since. In the Summer of '87 everyone was going out of their way to buy up as many of McGwire's Olympic card from the 1985 Topps set as they could. Now I know McGwire wasn't the MVP but I had always had it my head that he had a better year than the winner of the MVP that year.
The writer's pick for A.L. MVP was George Bell as he won it in a tight race over Alan Trammell, receiving 16 first place votes to Trammell's 12. Now when it comes to awards voting most writers submit their ballots before the season ends and that could have made a difference here. After dropping three out of four in Toronto on the next to last weekend of the season the Tigers sat two and a half games out of first place behind the Blue Jays. It's quite possible that series won the MVP for Bell over Trammell as Bell played a big role in the series win going 8 for 18. But the in the final weekend of the season the Tigers would sweep the Jays in Detroit to take the A.L. East title. Who knows how many writer's submitted their ballots right after the series in Toronto? Also if Trammell had won the MVP in '87 maybe he'd get a little more support in the Hall of Fame voting. I've always had the Shiny Object Theory when it comes to HOF voting where writer's will almost always give more support to a player who won a major award in their career than someone who didn't. Just look at Bruce Sutter (Cy Young in 1979) being elected to the HOF this year instead of Goose Gossage (never won a Cy Young).
1) George Bell 2) Alan Trammell 3) Kirby Puckett 4) Dwight Evans 5) Paul Molitor 6) Mark McGwire 7) Don Mattingly 8) Tony Fernandez 9) Wade Boggs 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Jeff Reardon 12) Darrell Evans 13t) Doyle Alexander 13t) Tom Henke 13t) Wally Joyner 16) Kent Hrbek 17) Danny Tartabull 18) Robin Yount 19) Roger Clemens 20t) Jack Morris 20t) Kevin Seitzer 20t) Ruben Sierra 23) Jose Canseco 24) Matt Nokes
.309/.390/.541, 123 RC, 142 OPS+, .318 EQA, 54.4 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.305/.417/.569, 129 RC, 156 OPS+, .332 EQA, 57.7 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.327/.378/.559, 122 RC, 146 OPS+, .319 EQA, 50.4 VORP, 27 Win Shares
.332/.367/.534, 121 RC, 132 OPS+, .304 EQA, 55.1 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.308/.352/.605, 129 RC, 146 OPS+, .318 EQA, 60.6 VORP, 26 Win Shares
154 ERA+, 3.09 K/BB, 1.18 WHIP, 92.8 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.289/.370/.618, 127 RC, 164 OPS+, .335 EQA, 60.7 VORP, 30 Win Shares
.353/.438/.566, 115 RC, 161 OPS+, .344 EQA, 74.8 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.363/.461/.588, 151 RC, 173 OPS+, .358 EQA, 90.1 VORP, 32 Win Shares
.343/.402/.551, 133 RC, 155 OPS+, .334 EQA, 96.6 VORP, 35 Win Shares
So Bell wasn't a terrible choice but not a particularly good one either. Boggs plays bride's maid again in my redos just like he did with the 1986 one. What happened with the Red Sox in '87? Defending A.L. Champs and three of the Top 10 players in the league on their team yet they finish six games under .500. Sounds like a "Where'd They Go?" team.
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
Let me say first off I hate the bowls. Okay scratch that I kind of like them but I hate the bastardized system we currently have that helps determine an undisputed champ about half of the time and in the process kills any tradition the bowl system still had. I'm an all or nothing guy when it comes to bowl games. Give me the Pac-10 champ against the Big Ten champ in the Rose, give me the SEC champ in the Sugar, and give me the Big XII champ in the Orange (not the fucking Fiesta) or don't give me any bowls at all, give me playoffs. Give me tradition or give me a real NCAA Division I-A College Football National Champion every year.
But we, or just me I suppose, have to deal with the cards we've been dealt so in that regard I'm going to take a look at each conference in March Madness kind of way to see who is going bowling and who is on the bubble. I'm not going to do any projections as I'm just not Bored enough to take the time to do so as there is still plenty of season left to fuck up any sort of projections. Now this year we've gone back to the 12 game schedule, which I can't stand because it guarentees teams with non-winning records will go to bowl games and thus we'll most likely end up with teams who went 6-7 but still being able to call their season a success because they went to the Birmingham Bowl. Also to make matters worse, as of last season I-AA wins now count every year rather than every four years to become bowl eligible. So if you're in a BCS conference and you are already at six wins, you're going bowling. Now to fill conference bids bowls can not take a 6-6 team over a team with a winning record so it's not impossible that a 6-6 BCS conference team could be left out but it would take an unusual set of circumstances for that to happen beyond a team just flat out rejecting an invite. There's always at least one or two conference bids that can't be filled by it's designated conference.
Conference bids: Orange/BCS, Chick-Fil-A (ugh), Gator, Champs Sports, Music City, Car Care, Emerald, MPC
Locked up a bid: Boston College, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech
Near locks: Florida State, Miami
On the Bubble: N.C. State, Virginia
Seminoles have Virginia and Western Michigan at home so they'll definately get to six wins and as bad as they've been it still would be a pretty big upset if Wake Forest won in Doak Campbell. Although if FSU does end up 6-6 and they find themselves invited to Boise I would wonder if they would choose not to go but doubtful they'd wanna piss off the ACC like that. Miami has a much tougher remaining schedule and it's also not out of the realm possibility they could also end up squeaking into a bowl at only 6-6. N.C. State closes the the season with UNC and ECU but before that they need to upset Clemson or Georgia Tech to get into a bowl and after last week's loss against Virginia that doesn't seem likely. Virginia breathed some life into their season with that win but they'll need to win at FSU or Virginia Tech including a win at home against Miami to get to a bowl.
Conference bids: Fiesta/BCS, Cotton, Holiday, Alamo, Gator or Sun, Insight, Independence, Texas
Locked up a bid: Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M
Near locks: Oklahoma State, Texas Tech
On the Bubble: Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State
This conference has been impossible to figure out once you get past Texas and there's plenty of potential jumbling of the standings left to go. I was reluctant to call anyone a near lock but both the Cowboys and Red Raiders have Baylor at home. If either drops that game though they go on the bubble. Now like those two Kansas State does only need one more win and they do get Colorado this but it's in Boulder and don't forget what they did to Texas Tech a few weeks ago. After that the Wildcats have a loss against Texas and then it's a rivalry game at Kansas where all bets are off. Along with the two road games already mentioned, Baylor closes at home against Oklahoma so barring a miracle it's likely the Bears will have to wait another year before ending their bowl drought. Kansas has an outside shot of winning at Iowa State and then winning at home against against the Wildcats. If not they will need to upset Missouri at home to close out the season, assuming they get at least a split in the first two game. Iowa State has done nothing to indicate they can run the table but they are technically still alive.
Conference bids: BCS, Gator or Sun, Car Care (Navy has a conditional bid), Texas, International, Birmingham
Locked up a bid: Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, West Virginia
Near locks: South Florida
On the Bubble: Cincinnati, Connecticut, Syracuse
USF I have as a near lock simply because they still have Syracuse at home. An upset at home against Pittsburgh this week would also get the job done. Although Cincinnati is clearly the better team than USF, they are on the bubble as the have West Virginia and Rutgers next and then close out at UConn. I think they can beat UConn but the Huskies may also be playing for a bid so there's no guarentee. UConn will have to win their next three as they close at Louisville. Syracuse could run the table to get to a bowl. And I also could fuck Beyonce.
Conference bids: Rose/BCS, Capital One, Outback, Alamo, Champs Sports, Insight, Motor City
Locked up a bid: Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin
Near locks: Purdue
On the Bubble: Indiana, Michigan State, Minnesota
Purdue has been exposed in recent weeks and they have a 13 game schedule so they do need to get to seven wins but you have to figure they can win two out of three against Michigan State, Illinois, and Indiana. If they don't they are in big trouble going into Hawaii to close the season. Indiana can wrap up a bid at Minnesota this week but can you really guarentee a win for a team who already loss to I-AA team in any week? Lose to the Gophers and their chances dim in a hurry. The Spartans can help their chances big time if they win at home against Purdue this week but if the greatest comeback in college football history can't turn their season around, nothing will. Minnesota is toast.
Conference bids: Liberty, GMAC, Birmingham, Armed Forces, New Orleans
Locked up a bid: Tulsa, Houston
Near locks: Southern Miss
On the Bubble: East Carolina, Marshall, Rice, SMU, Tulane, UAB, UCF, UTEP
This conference just blows this year and really doesn't deserve five bids. If Houston were to drop their last three games it's possible they could be left out but it's unlikely and they have very winnable games against SMU and Memphis left. Southern Miss may have played themselves on to the bubble with their loss at home against ECU but they've played all their tough games and I'd be very surprised if they didn't win three of their last four. As for the bubble teams there are waaaaaaaay too many scenerios to go into with ECU and UTEP being the most likely to get the last two bids.
This entry is going longer than I expected so I'll stop now and do another entry tommorrow for the rest of the conferences.
Devon White - Centerfielder
California Angels 1985-1990
Toronto Blue Jays 1991-1995
Florida Marlins 1996-1997
Arizona Diamondbacks 1998
Los Angeles Dodgers 1999-2000
Milwaukee Brewers 2001
1988 AL Gold Glove - OF
1989 AL Gold Glove - OF
1991 AL Gold Glove - OF
1992 AL Gold Glove - OF
1993 AL Gold Glove - OF
1994 AL Gold Glove - OF
1995 AL Gold Glove - OF
All-Star Selections: 3 (1989, 1993, 1998)
None of note
None of note
Hall of Fame Stats
Gray Ink: Batting - 41 (581) (Average HOFer ≈ 144)
HOF Standards: Batting - 21.3 (651) (Average HOFer ≈ 50)
HOF Monitor: Batting - 34.5 (502) (Likely HOFer > 100)
Similar Batters in HOF: None
Top 10 Similar Batters: Amos Otis, Claudell Washington, Brady Anderson, Chet Lemon, Marquis Grissom, Johnny Callison, Felipe Alou, Cesar Cedeno, Johnny Damon, Gary Matthews
Year-by-Year Win Shares & Wins Above Replacement Level (WARP3)
Career Win Shares: 207
Career WARP3: 79.2
Would he get my vote?
No. During his prime he was an outstanding defensive centerfielder, very deserving for most of the Gold Gloves he won, and a good base stealer but outside of 1991 was never that much of hitter. Only had a career OBP of .319, never hit higher than .283, and struck out a lot which is not a good combination. His similar batters make him look better than he was as only Marquis Grissom had a lower career OPS+.
Been a long time since I did one of these as I got discouraged after flushing my 1991 Mariners entry by accident. But after doing the 80's tournament figured I might as well do one on the team that won it, the 1980 Expos. I normally try to focus on teams from the last 20 years since many of the players I at least have memories of seeing play but there are a quite a few interesting players from this club and I hadn't done one on the Expos yet.
Expos were in a heated three team race with the defending World Champion Pirates and eventual World Champion Phillies for the N.L. East title much of the second half. The Pirates faded down the stretch but the Expos and Phillies were tied for first going into the final weekend of the season and just happened to have a series against each other Montreal. Phillies won on Friday 2-1 and then the next day the Expos heart was broken when Woodie Fryman couldn't close it out in the 9th as the Phillies tied it 4-4 on a two out Bob Boone RBI single and then in the 11th Mike Schmidt hit a two run homerun off Steve Bahnsen to win it.
C: Gary Carter (.264/.331/.486, 34.9 VORP, 30 Win Shares) – “The Kid” at age 26 had already established himself as one of the best catchers in the game and finished a distant 2nd to Mike Schmidt in the MVP voting. Like most Expos stars they didn’t hang on to him and he was traded to the Mets following the 1984 season for Hubie Brooks, Mike Fitzgerald, Herm Winningham, and Floyd Youmans. He would hit the catcher wall in 1987 and was released following an injury plagued 1989 season. Picked up with the Giants where had a decent year as a platoon catcher. Signed with the Dodgers for 1991 and then returned for nostalgia to Montreal in 1992 where he retired. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.
1B: Warren Cromartie (.288/.345/.430, 19.8 VORP, 17.4 Win Shares) – Cromartie was a highly touted prospect who never quite lived up to the hype and he hit for very little power for a first baseman. Played in Montreal thru 1983 and then headed to Japan where he became a big star for Yomiuri Giants. He’d write a book about his experience in Japan which would inspire the movie “Mr. Baseball.” He returned to the States in 1991 where he played for the Royals as a back up.
2B: Rodney Scott (.224/.307/.293, 9.8 VORP, 13.2 Win Shares) – Scott was all speed and little else. He stole 63 bases and led the N.L. with 13 triples in 1980 which would lead to someone giving him a throw away 10th place MVP vote. For his career he hit just 3 homeruns in 2487 plate appearances, all of them in 1979. Most notable thing about him was in 1982 he walked off the Expos team in protest for them releasing Bill Lee and the Expos were more than accommodating in releasing Scott the next day. He was picked up by the Yankees who would also release later that year and would mark the end of his MLB career.
3B: Larry Parrish (.254/.310/.427, 9.2 VORP, 12.6 Win Shares) – Parrish had come off what appeared to be a breakout year offensively where he hit .307 with 30 homeruns and finished in the Top 5 in the MVP voting but it turned out to be a fluke, although part of his struggles in 1980 were due to a wrist injury. Dealt right before the 1982 season to Texas for Al Oliver. Played almost the rest of his career with the Rangers before being released in his final year of 1988, then picked up by the Red Sox to finish out the season. Had a brief but forgettable run as manager of the Tigers in 1999.
SS: Chris Speier (.265/.351/.330, 15.0 VORP, 12.5 Win Shares) – Speier was in the middle of a decent 19 year career although much of the rest of his career was spent as a back up. Traded to the Cardinals late in the 1984 season he’d then sign with the Cubs for a two year stint. Signed with the Giants from there where he played out the rest of his career, retiring after 1989. His son Justin currently pitches for the Angels.
LF: Ron LeFlore (.257/.337/.363, 17.0 VORP, 18 Win Shares) – LeFlore was a very interesting player because he was an ex-con and was discovered in prison by Billy Martin. After robbing people of their money for several years, LeFlore was robbing bases! Yeah I didn’t put too much thought into that. Stole a career high 97 bases in 1980 and is the only player to ever lead both leagues in steals. He signed as a free agent with the White Sox following the season but struggled there for his final two years in the Majors.
CF: Andre Dawson (.308/.358/.492, 50.9 VORP, 29.1 Win Shares) – This was Dawson’s breakout year at age 25, winning his first Gold Glove and finished 7th in the MVP voting. A free agent after 1986, with his knees already destroyed by the Olympic Stadium turf he signed with the Cubs where he’d win a very dubious MVP award his first year in Chicago. Stayed a fairly productive hitter thru his entire tenure in Chicago but after signing with the Red Sox in 1993 his power disappeared. Spent his final year with the Marlins in 1995. Currently fighting an uphill battle to get into the Hall of Fame and he just barely misses the cut for me.
RF: Ellis Valentine (.315/.367/.524, 23.9 VORP, 15.2 Win Shares) – Valentine was a super talented player but injuries starting this year derailed his career and was limited to just 86 games this year. He was hit in the face by a pitch from Cardinals’ reliever Roy Thomas in a game in late May, suffering a broken cheek bone. He struggled mightily following this season and the Expos traded him during the 1981 season to the Mets for Jeff Reardon which ended being a brilliant trade for Montreal. Played for the Angels in 1983, didn’t play a game in the Majors in 1984, and then played just 11 games with the Rangers in 1985.
Steve Rogers (120 ERA+, 50.6 VORP, 19.7 Win Shares) - Steve Rogers was a scrawny fine arts student specializing in industrialization in the 1940's before America entered World War II. He attempted to enlist in the army only to be turned away due to his poor constitution. A U.S. officer offered Rogers an alternative way to serve his country by being a test subject in project, Operation: Rebirth, a top secret defense research project designed to create physically superior soldiers. Rogers accepted and after a rigorous physical and combat training and selection process was selected as the first test subject. He was given injections and oral ingestion of the formula dubbed the "Super Soldier Serum" developed by the scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine. Rogers was then exposed to a controlled burst of "Vita-Rays" that activated and stabilized the chemicals in his system. The process successfully altered his physiology from its frail state to the maximum of human efficiency, including greatly enhanced musculature and reflexes.
After the assassination of Dr. Erskine. Roger was re-imagined as a superhero who served both as a counter-intelligence agent and a propaganda symbol to counter Nazi Germany's head of terrorist operations, the Red Skull. Rogers was given a costume modeled after the American flag, a bulletproof shield, a personal sidearm and the codename Captain America. He was also given a cover identity as a clumsy infantry private at Camp LeHigh in Virginia. Barely out of his teens himself, Rogers made friends with the teenage camp mascot, James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. Barnes accidentally learned of Rogers' dual identity and offered to keep the secret if he could become Captain America's sidekick. Rogers agreed, and trained Barnes. Roger met President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who presented him with a new shield made from a chance mixture of iron, Vibranium and an unknown catalyst. Throughout World War II, Captain America and Bucky fought the Nazi menace both on their own and as members of the superhero team the Invaders, which after the war evolved into the All-Winners Squad.
In the closing days of World War II in 1945, Captain America and Bucky tried to stop the villainous Baron Zemo from destroying an experimental drone plane. Zemo launched the plane with an armed explosive device on it, with Rogers and Barnes in hot pursuit. They reached the plane just before it took off, but when Bucky tried to defuse the bomb, it exploded in mid-air. The young man was believed killed, and Rogers was hurled into the freezing waters of either the North Atlantic. Neither his body or Bucky's were found, and both were presumed dead.
The Avengers discovered Rogers' body in the North Atlantic, his costume under his soldier's uniform and still carrying his shield. Rogers had been preserved in a block of ice since 1945, which melted after the block was thrown back into the ocean by an enraged Sub-Mariner. When Rogers revived, he related his last, failed mission in the closing days of the war. Rogers accepted membership in the Avengers, and although he soon adjusted to modern times well enough to eventually assume leadership of the team, he was plagued by guilt for not being able to prevent Bucky's death. He also undertook missions for the national security agency S.H.I.E.L.D., which was commanded by his old war comrade Nick Fury. Rogers established a residence in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York and has discovered that Bucky had been held in suspended animation throughout the Cold War performing assassinations as the Winter Soldier.
Recent events have been tumultuous for Captain America. As the passage of the the Superhuman Registration Act drew near, Maria Hill (the leader of S.H.I.E.L.D.) propositioned Rogers and the Avengers to join S.H.I.E.L.D. in enforcing the act. When he refused, Hill had her trained "Superhuman Response Unit" attack him. During the scuffle Rogers avoided being tranquilized and managed to escape by lodging his shield in an aircraft and forcing the pilot to fly him to safety. Soon after, at the Baxter Building the Watcher told the heroes who had gathered there about the Captain's escape. Captain America soon became the de facto leader of the Secret Avengers, heroes fighting against the registration act, much to the consternation of his erstwhile friend Iron Man. While the two made sporadic attempts to reconcile during the Civil War, the clashes between their respective teams became more and more heated, ultimately leading to a pitched battle in the middle of New York City. At the end of the battle, as Cap was about to deliver a finishing blow to Iron Man, he was tackled by several emergency workers. Realizing the damage the war was doing to the city and its civilian population, Captain America unmasked and surrendered as Steve Rogers.
On his way to an arraignment at the Federal Courthouse in New York City, Captain America was shot in the right shoulder by a sniper's bullet. Several subsequent shots were fired point blank at Rogers by Sharon Carter, brainwashed by Dr. Faustus who was allied with the Red Skull. Sharon, unaware of her actions and concealed by the crowd during the shooting, escorted Rogers to the hospital while the Falcon and the Winter Soldier subdued the sniper, Crossbones (Brock Rumlow). Captain America was pronounced dead on arrival at Mercy Hospital. Sharon's memory was restored by a keyword spoken by the Red Skull's daughter, Sin (Sinthia Shmidt).
Oh wait...wrong Steve Rogers. This Steve Rogers was the rock of the Expos rotation, playing his entire 13 year career in Montreal. There you go.
Scott Sanderson (115 ERA+, 37.9 VORP, 14.4 Win Shares) – I actually went over Sanderson already in the '89 Cubs entry. He was actually quite the phenom at this point as he was only 23. Traded to the Cubs in a three team, six player deal after the 1983 season.
Bill Gullickson (119 ERA+, 22.9 VORP, 10.1 Win Shares) – Gullickson was the #2 overall pick in 1977 and this was his rookie year at age 21. Had a losing record in 1981 but did pitch very well although it would pretty much be his peak. Very mediocre for the majority of the rest of his career, he was traded after one of his better years in 1985 to the Reds. They traded him to the Yankees in late 1987 and Gullickson then spent the next two years in Japan. Came back to America in 1990 to pitch for the Astros and then signed with the Tigers where he won an offense aided 20 games in 1991. Played the rest of his career there thru 1994. Ironically enough Gullickson and Sanderson are both #1 on each others career similarity scores.
Bill Lee (72 ERA+, -7.6 VORP, 1 Win Share) – Lee, Charlie Lea, and David Palmer shared the 4th spot in the rotation but I went with Lee since he’s the most recognizable name. The Sapceman’s career was obviously winding down at this point as he had a terrible year. Rebounded a bit in limited duty the following year but as before mentioned was released in 1982.
Relief Ace: Woodie Fryman (159 ERA+, 17.5 VORP, 12.7 Win Shares) – We’re still a little bit away from the closer position taking the role we know it as today as Fryman led the Expos with 17 just saves at age 40. He had actually retired midseason three years earlier while with the Reds but changed his mind after the season. Retired after 1983.
I've been lazy with this blog for a few months now so no surprise I'm only getting around to second Draftback before the draft. Decided might as well do one from 10 years ago with the 1997 Draft and it is interesting to look at because one first rounder is in jail and another is dead. Can't beat that combo.
1. St. Louis - Orlando Pace, T, Ohio State
Not always glamerous to pick a lineman with the first pick overall but hard to argue with the Rams choice here. Selected to seven Pro Bowls.
2. Oakland - Darrell Russell, DT, USC
Lived up to the hype his first few years in the league but drug problems would derail his career among various other issues. Out of the league by 2004 and out of this life by 2005 when he was killed in a car accident.
3. Seattle - Shawn Springs, CB, Ohio State
Very good corner all be it a bit inconsistent at times during his career.
4. Baltimore - Peter Boulware, LB, Florida State
Would win Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to three Pro Bowls.
5. Detroit - Bryant Westbrook, CB, Texas
Not a total bust but pretty close to one considering he was a Top 5 pick.
6. Seattle - Walter Jones, T, Florida State
A complete bitch when it comes to contracts but he gets the job done. Six Pro Bowl selections.
7. N.Y. Giants - Ike Hilliard, WR, Florida
Okay receiver but when you take a receiver this high you'd hope they'd have at least one 1000 yard season and Hilliard has had none.
8. N.Y. Jets - James Farrior, LB, Virginia
The Jets had the #1 pick but they traded down. Farrior was considered a bit of a dissapointment while with the Jets but excelled with the Steelers.
9. Arizona - Tom Knight, CB, Iowa
It's the Cardinals, so really what did you expect? Three interceptions in his career.
10. New Orleans - Chris Naeole, G, Colorado
Big risk taking a guard this high but Naeole has been a solid player.
11. Atlanta - Michael Booker, CB, Nebraska
Not very good at all.
12. Tampa Bay - Warrick Dunn, RB, Florida State
Has a chance to pass the 10,000 yard mark in rushing this year and one of the true good guys in the NFL.
13. Kansas City - Tony Gonzalez, TE, California
Likley on his way to the Hall of Fame but he went to Cal so fuck him.
14. Cincinnati - Reinard Wilson, DE, Florida State
Well I guess on the plus side Wilson wasn't horrible like most Bengals' 90's first round picks but still not anything to get excited about.
15. Miami - Yatil Green, WR, Miami
Tore his ACL on literally the first day of training camp and never fully recovered. Only played one season in 1999.
16. Tampa Bay - Reidel Anthony, WR, Florida
I thought he'd be awesome. I was wrong.
17. Washington - Kenard Lang, DE, Miami
Average at best.
18. Tennessee - Kenny Holmes, DE, Miami
Another unspectacular Miami end.
19. Indianapolis - Tarik Glenn, T, California
Has developed into a very good tackle and selected to the last three Pro Bowls. But another Cal product, bleh.
20. Minnesota - Dwayne Rudd, LB, Alabama
A complete beast at Alabama...not so much in the NFL. Best known for his helmet tossing incident in 2002 that cost the Browns a game.
21. Jacksonville - Renaldo Wynn, DE, Notre Dame
22. Dallas - David LaFleur, TE, LSU
23. Buffalo - Antowain Smith, RB, Houston
Decent although he has to be one of the worst backs ever to have two 1,000 yard seasons.
24. Pittsburgh - Chad Scott, CB, Maryland
Has been a solid DB.
25. Philadelphia - Jon Harris, DE, Virginia
Two years. Two sacks. Bust.
26. San Francisco - Jim Druckenmiller, QB, Virginia Tech
Jesus tap dancing Christ, I had blocked this pick out of my memory. Horrible. Seriously do not know what the fuck they were thinking here especially with Jake Plummer on the board who seemed like a pefect fit for the 49ers offense at the time.
27. Carolina - Rae Carruth, WR, Colorado
Yessss it's everyone's favorite hiring a guy to kill your pregnent girlfriend and get found hiding in the trunk of your car wide receiver. Complete disphit.
28. Denver - Trevor Pryce, DE, Clemson
The string of mediocre ends, um, ends here. Four time Pro Bowl selection.
29. New England - Chris Canty, CB, Kansas State
Lasted four years and no one really noticed.
30. Green Bay - Ross Verba, G, Iowa
I just like the Deadspin entry on him.
Other Players of Note
34. Baltimore - Jamie Sharper, LB, Virginia
36. N.Y. Giants - Tiki Barber, RB, Virginia
42. Arizona - Jake Plummer, QB, Arizona State
43. Cincinnati - Corey Dillon, RB, Washington
44. Miami - Sam Madison, CB, Louisville
52. Buffalo - Marcellus Wiley, DE, Columbia
60. Green Bay - Darren Sharper, S, William & Mary
65. Dallas - Dexter Coakley, LB, Appalachian State
66. Tampa Bay - Ronde Barber, CB, Virginia
69. Chicago - Bob Sapp, G, Washington
71. Philadelphia - Duce Staley, RB, South Carolina
73. Miami - Jason Taylor, DE, Akron
91. Pittsburgh - Mike Vrabel, LB, Ohio State
98. Tennessee - Derrick Mason, WR, Michigan State
108. Chicago - Marcus Robinson, WR, South Carolina
229. N.Y. Jets - Jason Ferguson, DT, Georgia
Before I get to the football, this week I go on baseball overdrive with the Bored's 2007 MLB Awards and Bored's 2007 MLB Player Rankings. Both are great if you were in a coma since April which I wish I was instead of being subjected to the A's season.
I didn't end up having work yesterday after all so I was able to be lazy and gorge myself on college football all day after all but the Cal/Oregon game left such a bad taste in my mouth that I didn't feel like doing an unfunny Wrap Up entry. Cal is now a legit Top 3 team which means there is no God.
As for my Pointless Top 25, with so many top teams losing this weekend it is pretty much impossible not to give some 1 loss teams a decent ranking. But that being said I stil think the entire Top 10 should only be unbeaten teams, even though that is proving very difficult. Again don't even bother reading it.
4. Ohio State
6. South Florida
7. Boston College
9. Arizona State
12. South Carolina
19. West Virginia
20. Kansas State
22. Michigan State
Can you believe that it will be 10 years since the McGwire/Sosa homerun chase and 10 years since the Yankees tore through the American League on their way to an 114 win season? I really have nothing to add to that and I am just posting one of my random lists, this time around every team's Opening Day/Night starter from the '98 season. I went to every A's Opening Night game from 1995-2002 and in '98 it was actually a fairly momentous occasion as they were playing the Red Sox in Pedro Martinez's first ever start for them. Pedro dominated as expected but glancing at the boxscore I forgot it was also Dennis Eckersley's first appearance in Oakland since 1995 as he played his final year with the Sox. On to the list...
Angels: Chuck Finley
Astros: Shane Reynolds
Athletics: Tom Candiotti
Blue Jays: Roger Clemens
Braves: Greg Maddux
Brewers: Cal Eldred
Cardinals: Todd Stottlemyre
Cubs: Kevin Tapani
Devil Rays: Wilson Alvarez
Diamondbacks: Andy Benes
Dodgers: Ramon Martinez
Expos: Carlos Perez
Giants: Shawn Estes
Indians: Charles Nagy
Mariners: Randy Johnson
Marlins: Livan Hernandez
Mets: Bobby Jones
Orioles: Mike Mussina
Padres: Kevin Brown
Phillies: Curt Schilling
Pirates: Francisco Cordova
Rangers: John Burkett
Reds: Mike Remlinger
Red Sox: Pedro Martinez
Rockies: Daryl Kile
Royals: Tim Belcher
Tigers: Justin Thompson
Twins: Bob Tewksbury
White Sox: Jamie Navarro
Yankees: Andy Pettitte
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)
Installment two of my whoever knows how long part series where I give very little insight to past NFL Drafts. The '93 draft had a lot intrigue going as it was your classic draft where the top two picks were expected to be quarterbacks but it was only a question of who the New England Patriots would select, Rick Mirer or Drew Bledsoe, and who the Seattle Seahawks would end up with.
1. New England - Drew Bledsoe, QB, Washington State
Okay so he isn't going to be a Hall of Famer but Bledsoe has put together a pretty good career that just peeked early. At least New England did pick the correct quarterback here.
2. Seattle - Rick Mirer, QB, Notre Dame
Boy Bill Walsh really took a hit in the "genius" department when he proclaimed Mirer was the next Joe Montana. He had a decent rookie year but it was all downhill from there.
3. Phoenix - Garrison Hearst, RB, Georgia
His first four years in the league were plagued with knee injuries and he was looking like a bust but turned his career around in San Francisco. Ended up with just under 8,000 career rushing yards.
4. N.Y. Jets - Marvin Jones, LB, Florida State
Jones was probably the #1 rated player going into the draft. Decent player but never became star everyone projected him to be.
5. Cincinnati - John Copeland, DT, Alabama
6. Tampa Bay - Eric Curry, DE, Alabama
Bust. Only 12 sacks in his seven year career.
7. Chicago - Curtis Conway, WR, USC
Decent career. More than 8,000 yards receiving and over 50 touchdowns is nothing to be ashamed of.
8. New Orleans - Willie Roaf, T, Louisiana Tech
Arguably has had the best career of any player from this draft and pretty much a lock for the Hall of Fame.
9. Atlanta - Lincoln Kennedy, T, Washington
Forgot he played for the Falcons. Was rated even with Roaf going into the draft, obviously didn't have the career of Roaf but was still a pretty good lineman.
10. L.A. Rams - Jerome Bettis, RB, Notre Dame
ESPN killed any love I could have for Bettis and they do that for a lot athletes for me. Anyways good pick for the Rams, too bad for them they didn't hang on to him.
11. Denver - Dan Williams, DE, Toledo
Workout wonder who moved up the board but was nothing special. Hey that never happens.
12. L.A. Raiders - Patrick Bates, S, Texas A&M
Bust. Lasted only three years, left the Raiders before the 1995 season without notice, lots of off the field problems.
13. Houston - Brad Hopkins, T, Illinois
Been a rock at tackle for the Oilers/Titans franchise, good pick.
14. Cleveland - Steve Everitt, C, Michigan
Pretty good but only lasted seven years.
15. Green Bay - Wayne Simmons, LB, Clemson
Showed flashes of brilliance early in his career but never reached his full potential. Was killed in a car accident a few years ago.
16. Indianapolis - Sean Dawkins, WR, California
Made a career out of being a second or third option but not what you want out of a 1st round pick.
17. Washington - Tom Carter, CB, Notre Dame
Average at best who cashed in on a big money deal with the Bears in 1997 who waived him two years later.
18. Phoenix - Ernest Dye, T, South Carolina
Injury riddled, short career that was spent primarily as a back up.
19. Philadelphia - Lester Holmes, G, Jackson State
Nothing special, started for three teams.
20. New Orleans - Irv Smith, TE, Notre Dame
I don't know why but I always thought he'd up being good. He wasn't.
21. Minnesota - Robert Smith, RB, Ohio State
Like Hearst injuries hampered him early in his career but he turned it around. Not your typical pro football personality as he had his best year in 2000 and then promptly retired.
22. San Diego - Darrien Gordon, CB, Stanford
Average corner but an excellent punt returner.
23. Pittsburgh - Deon Figures, CB, Colorado
Just another average corner.
24. Philadelphia - Leonard Renfro, DT, Colorado
Lasted two years, yup that's a bust.
25. Miami - O.J. McDuffie, WR, Penn State
Had a few decent years but lacked the size to become a great NFL wideout.
26. San Francisco - Dana Stubblefield, DT, Kansas
Maybe remembered more now for being a big contract bust for the Redskins but was a great pick for the 49ers.
27. San Francisco - Todd Kelly, LB, Tennessee
I remember my friends all thinking Kelly was going to be great and that we thought Stubblefield was a bad pick. Probably had to do with Kelly having a much easier name to say. Nothing career.
28. Buffalo - Thomas Smith, CB, North Carolina
Solid cover corner.
29. Green Bay - George Teague, S, Alabama
Decent player who's best known for being the guy who hit Terrell Owens when he posed on the Dallas Cowboys' star.
Other Players of Note
37. Cincinnati - Tony McGee, TE, Michigan
40. N.Y. Giants - Michael Strahan, DE, Texas Southern
52. Minnesota - Qadry Ismail, WR, Syracuse
70. Denver - Jason Elam, K, Hawaii
74. Kansas City - Will Shields, G, Nebraska
79. Minnesota - Gilbert Brown, DT, Kansas
82. Tampa Bay - John Lynch, S, Stanford
118. Green Bay - Mark Brunell, QB, Washington
170. Seattle - Michael McCrary, DE, Wake Forest
181. L.A. Raiders - Greg Biekert, LB, Colorado
196. Dallas - Brock Marion, S, Nevada
207. N.Y. Giants - Jesse Armstead, LB, Miami
214. Houston - Blaine Bishop, S, Ball State
219. San Francisco - Elvis Grbac, QB, Michigan
222. San Diego - Trent Green, QB, Indiana
Before I got side tracked with my entry on The Baseball Network, I'd put together a redo for the 1995 A.L. MVP. This particular vote was one of the best examples of writer bias and how character plays a part in players winning awards. In an incredibly tight vote Mo Vaughn beat out Albert Belle receiving one more first place vote than Belle. To say this was a joke is an understatement. You don't need EQA, VORP, or Win Shares to tell you that Vaughn was in no way better the Belle in 1995. Let's just look at the standard numbers:
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG TB
Vaughn 140 550 98 165 28 3 39 126 11 4 68 150 .300 .388 .575 316
Belle 143 546 121 173 52 1 50 126 5 2 73 80 .317 .401 .690 377
Edit: Fuck, it of course previewed perfectly fine and it comes out like this. Oh well.
How could anyone look at those numbers and pick Vaughn over Belle? Maybe the writers were just blown away that a man as fat as Vaughn could steal 11 bases. Seriously how the hell did that happen? A guy with a 50-50 doubles/homeruns season with a near .700 slugging and playing on the best team in the league would seem like a slam dunk for the writers. Belle led the league in Slugging, Runs, Total Bases, Doubles, Homeruns, and RBI (tied with Vaughn). His resume that year screams MVP. But Albert Belle was perceived as a bad guy, which was true, and Mo Vaughn was perceived as a good guy, which was partially true. There is no other logical explination for it. The writers liked Vaughn and hated Belle. To add to the case against Vaughn he was arguably not even the best player on his own team as John Valentin had a huge breakout season for the Sox.
A quick look at the rest of the voting, Edgar Martinez finished 3rd with four first place votes as the Mariners won their first division title ever. Then there was 4th place...Jose Mesa. The man has since become a walking punchline in recent years but at one point he was a very good closer. Again the closer argument doesn't have to be made again but someone actually gave Mesa a first place vote. Somebody actually thought that Jose Mesa was the MVP of the league playing on a team that had Belle, Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, Carlos Baerga, and Kenny Lofton. It's vote like that that should get your voting privledges revoked. Other name of note was Tim Salmon who finished 7th who may have made a much more serious run at the MVP if it weren't for the Angels last season collapse.
1) Mo Vaughn 2) Albert Belle 3) Edgar Martinez 4) Jose Mesa 5) Jay Buhner 6) Randy Johnson 7) Tim Salmon 8) Frank Thomas 9) John Valentin 10) Gary Gaetti 11) Rafael Palmeiro 12) Manny Ramirez 13) Tim Wakefield 14) Jim Edmonds 15) Paul O'Neill 16) Mark McGwire 17t) Wade Boggs 17t) Chuck Knoblauch 19t) Gary DiSarcina 19t) Cal Ripken 21) Kirby Puckett
.300/.388/.575, 119 RC, 145 OPS+, .319 EQA, 52.3 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.308/.402/.558, 108 RC, 148 OPS+, .323 EQA, 46.9 VORP, 25 Win Shares
.333/.424/.487, 109 RC, 138 OPS+, .319 EQA, 72.3 VORP, 27 Win Shares
196 ERA+, 4.52 K/BB, 1.05 WHIP, 87.5 VORP, 22 Win Shares
.314/.438/.558, 110 RC, 158 OPS+, .341 EQA, 61.5 VORP, 24 Win Shares
.298/.399/.533, 109 RC, 139 OPS+, .317 EQA, 74.4 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.330/.429/.594, 136 RC, 164 OPS+, .342 EQA, 70.6 VORP, 29 Win Shares
.308/.454/.606, 137 RC, 178 OPS+, .364 EQA, 76.4 VORP, 28 Win Shares
.317/.401/.690, 150 RC, 178 OPS+, .351 EQA, 85.6 VORP, 30 Win Sahres
.356/.479/.628, 153 RC, 183 OPS+, .372 EQA, 91.0 VORP, 32 Win Shares
I fully expected for Belle to come out on top but I completely forgot about Martinez. When I put it all on paper Edgar was the easy choice and he emerged as the Mariners premier hitter with Ken Griffey Jr. missing half the season due to a broken wrist. As you see Vaughn was indeed not even the best player on his own team. I nearly left him off the list as he came down between him and Mark McGwire who had ridiculous rate numbers (200 OPS+, .370 EQA) but missed 40 games due to injury so I gave the nod to Vaughn.
Next up is 1984 and I selected this particular year as it features easily the worst #1 pick of the 1980's. The Mets had the #1 pick and they wanted to draft Mark McGwire but could not agree on a contract so they settled for this...
1. Mets - Shawn Abner, Outfield, High School
Abner never put on a real Mets uniform as he was traded to San Diego after the 1986 season in the Kevin Mitchell/Kevin McReynolds deal. .227/.269/.323 line in 392 ML games with only 13 career Win Shares.
2. Mariners - Bill Swift, Pitcher, Maine
Another player involved in a Kevin Mitchell deal, traded to the Giants in a five player deal after the 1991 season. It was in San Francisco where Swift broke out, winning the ERA title in 1992 and winning 21 games in 1993. That was his peak though as he had elbow, shoulder, and other various arm problems through out his career going back to his Seattle days.
3. Cubs - Drew Hall, Pitcher, Morehead State
Fewer than 200 IP in the Majors, primarily as a reliever.
4. Indians - Cory Snyder, Shortstop, BYU
Could hit for power but had zero plate discipline. In 1987 he stuck out 166 times with only 31 walks.
5. Reds - Pat Pacillo, Pitcher, Seton Hall
His 85 walks in 149 innings at Triple-A in 1986 was a bad sign. Only a little over 50 IP in the Majors.
6. Angels - Erik Pappas, Catcher, High School
Nice strikeout/walk numbers (53/48) but results weren't pretty when he put it in play in his very short career. But hey he was the MVP of the 2002 European Baseball Championships.
7. Cardinals - Mike Dunne, Pitcher, Bradley
I must have had thirty 1988 Topps Mike Dunne cards. Traded to the Pirates in the Andy Van Slyke/Tony Pena deal right before the 1987 season. On the surface had a very impressive rookie year (13-6, 3.03 ERA) but his poor K/BB ratio (72/68) spelled doom for any future success.
8. Twins - Jay Bell, Shortstop, High School
Yet another #1 pick traded before they reach the Majors. Traded to Cleveland in 1985 in a deal for Bert Blyleven. Good hitting shortstop who lasted 18 years.
9. Giants - Alan Cockrell, Outfield, Tennessee
Didn't make his ML debut until 1996 for a cup of coffee with the Rockies.
10. A's - Mark McGwire, First Base, USC
My favorite player of all-time. I want him in the Hall of Fame but under the current circumstances might never get in.
11. Padres - Shane Mack, Outfield, UCLA
Very good hitter but only played nine years filled with several nagging injuries.
12. Rangers - Oddibe McDowell, Outfield, Arizona State
One of the great first names in baseball history. Already a regular player by 1985 but beyond a decent second year, not much of a career.
13. Expos - Bob Caffrey, Catcher, Cal State Fullerton
An Olympian but never a Major Leaguer.
14. Red Sox - John Marzano, Catcher, Temple
Believe it or not actually played in 10 different ML seasons but only 301 games played in that span.
15. Pirates - Kevin Andersh, Pitcher, New Mexico
I searched his name on Google Groups and there was a total of one entry.
16. Royals - Scott Bankhead, Pitcher, North Carolina
One decent year in 1989 but otherwise an erratic career.
17. Astros - Don August, Pitcher, Chapman College
Traded for Danny Darwin late in 1986, had a decent rookie year but was a mess after that.
18. Brewers - Isaiah Clark, Shortstop, High School
Brother of mid-90's Padres scrub Phil Clark. That's all I got.
19. Braves - Drew Denson, First Base, High School
Only 41 career ML at bats.
20. White Sox - Tony Menendez, Pitcher, High School
Threw over 1000 innings in the minors, only 29 in the majors.
21. Phillies - Pete Smith, Pitcher, High School
Traded to Atlanta after the 1985 season in a deal for Steve Bedrosian, the Braves hot shotted him from Double-A in 1987 which probably doomed his career. Threw almost 200 innings at age 22 in 1988 and it's no shock he had arm problems after that.
22. Yankees - Jeff Pries, Pitcher, UCLA
The Yankees first, 1st Round pick since 1979 (kept giving them up for free agent signings) and never made it to the Majors.
23. Dodgers - Dennis Livingston, Pitcher Oklahoma State
One of several bad 1st round picks by the Dodgers in the 80's.
24. Giants - Terry Mulholland, Pitcher, Marietta College
Hasn't been effective in about seven years but he's left handed so he's still getting a Major League salary at 103 years old.
25. Orioles - John Hoover, Pitcher, Fresno State
Pitched just two games in the Majors.
26. White Sox - Tom Hartley, Outfield, High School
Never made it.
Other Picks of Note
1st Round (Compensatory) Expos - Norm Charlton
2nd Round Braves - Tom Glavine
2nd Round Yankees - Al Leiter
2nd Round Cubs - Greg Maddux
3rd Round Astros - Ken Caminiti
6th Round Cardinals - Lance Johnson
6th Round Cubs - Jamie Moyer
12th Ruond Mets - John Wetteland (did not sign)
13th Round Expos - Jeff Brantley (did not sign)
14th Round Brewers - John Jaha
15th Round Angels - Chuck Finley
17th Round Angels - Dante Bichette
20th Round Red Sox - Jack McDowell (did not sign)