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Monday, March 20, 2006

Dick Groat

Eligible in 1973.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 03:06 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 03:45 AM (#1907908)
Fine, fine player, but don't get me started about that 1960 MVP... :-)
   2. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 20, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#1907953)
Fine, fine player, but don't get me started about that 1960 MVP... :-)


Groat did lead the league in BA, the Pirates did win an unexpected NL pennant, and no one in the NL really had a breakout season with the arguable exception of Ken Boyer, who did win an MVP 4 years later (when Groat was his teammate), but whose team finished third, nine games back. Groat wasn't the best player in the NL, but there have been worse awards.

-- MWE
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 04:17 AM (#1907958)
Groat wasn't the best player in the NL, but there have been worse awards.

Without question, Mike. However, if one had to pick a player who was in the pennant-race of 1960, Eddie Mathews would have been the guy, IMO.

I should have known that BTF's most famous Buc fan would be making an appearance here. ;-)
   4. DavidFoss Posted: March 20, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#1907995)
However, if one had to pick a player who was in the pennant-race of 1960, Eddie Mathews would have been the guy, IMO.

Groat spent most of September on the DL! :-) He did have a nice August though to give the Pirates a big enough lead. I'd go with Mathews, too.

The writers were determined to give the award to a Pirate (no #1 votes to non-Pirates) and the team had an extremely balanced attack that season, so the Most Valueable Pirate (which Groat probaby was) was a bit below the usual MVP standards.
   5. TomH Posted: March 20, 2006 at 01:57 PM (#1908234)
Even stranger is his 2nd-place MVP finish in 1963. He apparently got a TON of credit for helping the Cards into a pennant race. But look at his ##s compared to some guy named Aaron, and it's absurd.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: March 20, 2006 at 02:14 PM (#1908244)
I am very partial to Dick Groat, though I admit it's because of what he did on the basketball court. Obviously a great athlete--he was an all-american at Duke before Duke was Duke, in case anybody doesn't know. I think he is underrated by history, I mean he is not particularly well remembered today, I don't think. I mean, Marty Marion gets nominated by the VC. I would take Groat.

James has him #30:

30. Groat 225/31-25-21/112/18.9

The rate is not impressive but that 31 WS season in 1963 is not bad. The 225 is one less than Al Dark, and the 112 is right there with Nomar, Campy, Concepcion. Extend the WS:

Groat 225/35-25-21-20-19-16-16-15-15-15-13-13*-12*-12/adj 250

He hit .325, .319, .315 and .300 over a 6 year period beginning in 1958. He didn't walk and he didn't hit for power, however, so his OPS+ is just 89--.286/.330/.366. WS has him as an A- SS, however.

Well, he did develop doubles power and led the league in doubles in '63 with 43. He played 150 games 7 times and 140 another 3 times in a 12 year period. If he had played in the '30s he would be called "Old Reliable."

He also missed '53 and '54 in the military after playing 95 games at SS for the Pirates in 1952, He hit a respectable .284 though his OB and SA were .319 and .313 so it's a stretch to say he was "ready." In '55 he raised his SA to .351 though the OB stayed in the .310s. Eventually he raised his OB into the .330 range largely by raising his BA from .280 to .300. He walked 38 times in '55 and never got about 56, but he did have 2 anamolous seasons where his OB was over .370. Otherwise .350 and .335 were as good as it gets.

He earned 5 WS in '52 and 13 in '55 so it would be hard to add more than about 25 WS to his record (for mil service), though with an adjusted 250 he is now in Rizzuto's adjusted range and right there with Maury Wills and just short of Stephens, Bancroft, Concepcion, Tinker and Long.

And at #30 James has him ahead of Tinker, Long, Wallace, Bartell, Glasscock, Marion, Bush and many others, though of course the timeline is part of the reason.

All in all I would guess that for many he is not even HoVG but clearly he was. HoM? No way, but among the top 75 eligibles right now? Probably.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: March 20, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#1908295)
However, if one had to pick a player who was in the pennant-race of 1960, Eddie Mathews would have been the guy, IMO.


Probably. But consider this as it looked *at the time*. The Pirates hadn't won anything in 33 years, and as recently as 1957 had finished last (tied, actually, with the Cubs); then after a surprising second-place finish in 1958 fell back to fourth in 1959 (amid some rumors of internal problems). The Braves had, in the preceding four years, finished second by a game, won two pennants, and lost in a playoff. Milwaukee was *expected* to be there; Pittsburgh wasn't. Furthermore, while Mathews had an excellent season, it wasn't really anything out of the ordinary *for him*, and was actually a comedown from his 1959 season; it would have been strange to give him the award in a season where he'd actually taken a step backward.

The guy who probably really deserved it was Ken Boyer. After finishing second in 1957, the Cards had collapsed in 1958 and 1959. But despite an off-year from Stan Musial, an offense with more holes in the lineup than Swiss cheese, and a manager (Solly Hemus) who had no clue how to handle a pitching staff, the Cardinals finished a strong third, going 86-68. Boyer was the only consistent performer on the offense all season. In retrospect, the Cardinals probably would have liked to have the deal back in which they traded Gino Cimoli and Tom Cheney to the Bucs for Ron Kline. Kline was awful for the Cardinals, while Cimoli and Cheney were useful spare parts for the Bucs.



Groat spent most of September on the DL! :-)


True, but the Pirates had a seven-game lead when he went out, and got a bunch of tremendous pitching performances during the three weeks that he missed; they lost only a game and a half from their lead while Gorat was out, and clinched in the game before he came back. It didn't hurt that Dick Schofield, his replacement, hit .375/.459/.469 in September.

Interestingly enough, in the game they played on the day the clinched, a 4-2 loss to Milwaukee, a 20-YO Braves' catcher named Joe Torre made his major league debut, singling off Harvey Haddix to start a two-run rally which tied the game at 2 in the eighth. Mathews hit a 2-run dinger in the 10th off Elroy Face to win the game, but when the Cardinals lost to the Cubs, the Pirates were in.

I think he is underrated by history, I mean he is not particularly well remembered today, I don't think.


Outside of Pittsburgh, he's not. In terms of his skill set, he's very much like Rizzuto, although I think Phil was probably better overall.

-- MWE
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 03:51 PM (#1908303)
Mike, I totally understand "why" they did it. I just don't agree with it. But as you stated above, it's not the worst pick by the BWWAA.

As for Boyer, I agree he we would have been far superior to Groat. I'm not sure he was better than Mathews, but at least you could make a solid case for him.
   9. TomH Posted: March 20, 2006 at 04:24 PM (#1908337)
The 1960 NL MVP vote may not have even been the worst one that year - over in the AL, Mantle was a better hitter (OPS+ or OWP) than teammate Maris, a better basestealer, played CF instead of RF, and played in 17 more games. But the sacred stat RBI gave Roger the award. Ditto 1961.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 20, 2006 at 05:40 PM (#1908513)
The 1960 NL MVP vote may not have even been the worst one that year - over in the AL, Mantle was a better hitter (OPS+ or OWP) than teammate Maris, a better basestealer, played CF instead of RF, and played in 17 more games. But the sacred stat RBI gave Roger the award. Ditto 1961.

No argument there, Tom.
   11. DavidFoss Posted: March 20, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#1908535)
But the sacred stat RBI gave Roger the award. Ditto 1961.

Ditto 1958 (with Jensen instead of Maris). For guys like Mantle, Mays and Aaron, there seemed to be some sort of BBWAA-discount for being a perennial candidate. Like Emeigh says above, it was important to be a 'breakthrough' guy for a contender. Its 'understandable' in retrospect, but a bit frustrating an head-scratching when looking at the individual cases.
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: March 20, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#1908566)
Is that Jensen (instead of Mantle)?
   13. DavidFoss Posted: March 20, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#1908620)
Is that Jensen (instead of Mantle)?

A little grammatical confusion there. I meant to say that Mantle got robbed in 1958 as well (by Jensen instead of Maris -- who robbed him in 60-61). Sorry about that.
   14. TomH Posted: March 20, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#1908745)
watch as Tom blatantly toots his own horn here...

see http://www.philbirnbaum.com/, August 2004 issue, pg 13ff for a comprehensive treatment of the issue "have perennial candidates been hosed out of MVP awards?" among other questions (part I of the article is in the Aug 2003 issue).

The bottom line is that Aaron and Mays both may have lost a couple of MVPs each due to this effect (there could be a racism factor also), as did Wiliams, but Mantle actually did about as well as could be expected; his problem was he often didn't reach the magical 100 RBI. Obviously worse than A-Rod in the clutch :)
   15. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:15 AM (#1910072)
he was an all-american at Duke before Duke was Duke, in case anybody doesn't know.

Player of the Year.

He's so forgotten that he's remembered.

[url="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/basketball/ncaa/specials/ncaa_tourney/2005/03/18/greatest.player.groat/index.html"]Dick Groat
Duke guard may be best two-sport athlete of all time[/url]
(from the series "SI's Greatest College Basketball Player")
   16. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2006 at 07:16 AM (#1910073)
Dick Groat: Duke guard may be best two-sport athlete of all time

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