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Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Terry Pendleton, Kevin Mitchell and Cecil Fielder

All eligible in 2004.

Terry Pendleton

Kevin Mitchell

Cecil Fielder

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2007 at 01:56 PM | 58 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: August 21, 2007 at 02:12 PM (#2493321)
Mitchell was my favorite of the three.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 21, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2493339)
Cecil was a pretty good story. He was big in Japan, came back to the States, and made a huge splash. I was really disappointed to learn about his gambling issues and his lack of parenting skills.

Pendleton certainly seems to be heads and tails above the other two in terms of character.

BTW, Julio Franco is older than all three.
   3. JPWF13 Posted: August 21, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2493361)
Pendleton had a really strange looking career
Hit .297/.342/.433 in AAA
hit .324/.357/.420 in 262 MLB at bats and then...

was as bad a hitter as you can imagine for two years, then from 87 to 89 he was decent considering that he was a good defensive 3B

he won in arbitration after his 1989 season, $1.85mm an absolutely absurd sum to be awarded in arbitration, given salaries in 1989/90 and his established level -
then he hit .230 /.277/.324 in 1990 and afterwards the Cards let him go without offering arbitration.

The Braves then overpaid for his services in 1991- they were a bad team - had finished last 3 years in a row- Schuerholz/Cox wanted his glove and were willing to overpay for it- $1.75mm

Viola! for the next 2 years he was one of the ten best players in the NL. He quickly sunk back into mediocrity after that, but the Braves had Chipper and no longer needed him.
Schuerholz/Cox- brilliant or lucky or both?
   4. DL from MN Posted: August 21, 2007 at 02:57 PM (#2493363)
"He was big in Japan"

I got the style but not the grace
I got the clothes but not the face
   5. OCF Posted: August 21, 2007 at 03:17 PM (#2493378)
Pendleton was fast for a third baseman. One play he was unusually good at was racing out into the outfield to catch a deep foul popup.

The 80's Cardinals never put together what would have been the perfect infield defense at the same time, because Hernandez was gone before Pendleton arrived. I think Oberkfell/Smith/Herr/Hernandez was a better group than Pendleton/Smith/Herr/Clark, but Pendleton could pick'em.

Of course, Pendleton's (highly unexpected) MVP really should belong to Bonds, but Barry's got a bunch of those anyway.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2493394)
Well, that's a threesome. Only Fielder failed to win a very poorly deserved MVP.

>Cecil was ...big in Japan,

He was just big.

None is in my consideration set now that I've whittled it down from 150+ to 50+. Come to think of it, they might not be in the top 150.
   7. McLovin Posted: August 21, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2493413)
Even in retrospect, I don't think Pendleton's MVP is a travesty, and it is understandable. His OPS is only 40 points lower than Bonds's, while presumably playing a very good 3B. (Note Bonds's 25 IBB, slightly inflating his OBP.) Bonds's season didn't seem quite as good as the year before, when he did win MVP. Pendleton probably got some credit for being a key guy coming in and helping to change a losing culture, and he probably deserves it. I watched a lot of Braves games that season, and it also seemed that Pendleton was always coming up with big hits, (though a quick look at his splits does not show him hitting much better in the clutch). Anyway, the most objective and rigorous analysis of each player's runs added on offense and defense probably favors Bonds, but it looks close enough that all the hard-to-quantify ######## could make it a toss-up.
   8. DCW3 Posted: August 21, 2007 at 07:27 PM (#2493673)
I think Bonds deserved the MVP in 1991, but it's actually a little surprising that he did as well as he did in the voting (2nd place finish, 10 first-place votes), considering what the voters usually look at. It has to be pretty rare for a corner OF who didn't finish in the league's top 10 in batting average or HR to get that many votes. But he was second in the NL in RBIs for the team with the best record in the league, and that, not his OBP or OPS, was what got him all those votes.

Much uglier than Pendleton's '91 MVP was the fact that four voters actually picked him ahead of Bonds in 1992:

Bonds, 1992: .311/.456/.624, 205 OPS+, 39 SB
Pendleton, 1992: .311/.345/.473, 125 OPS+, 5 SB

And both their teams made the playoffs.
   9. Colin Posted: August 21, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2493806)
Schuerholz/Cox- brilliant or lucky or both?

Brilliant and lucky with Pendleton the first time around; however, they pushed their luck and got bitten on the *** when they brought him back in 1996. 177 PA of sub-600 OPS down the stretch. And man, game six of the World Series. i still can see him swinging away at every ball Jimmy Key offered, hacking away right after Key walked Jermaine (8 BB in 300 PA) Dye with the bases loaded, until finally hitting into the rally-ending double play. Man, that whole world series still ****** me off.

Terry Pendleton did great things for the Braves in 91 and 92. I just wish he hadn't been brought back for that brutal 96 performance.
   10. McLovin Posted: August 22, 2007 at 12:24 AM (#2494085)
FWIW, I calculate Bonds with 116 baseruns in '91, and Pendleton with 103. But Atlanta actually scored about 20 more runs than BsR projects, so I'd bump Pendleton up to 106. Bonds made 36 fewer outs. Bonds hit better with RISP and in close games. Pendleton had a big September, was huge when Atlanta won 8 games in a row to overtake LA for the division lead at the end of the season, and hit very well against LA. The Pirates were up at least 10 games most of September. Bonds played a gold glove LF; Pendleton a very good 3B. I don't see how anyone could call it an obvious mistake for Pendleton to win.

I'll admit that in '92, it looks very hard to justify a vote for Pendleton over Bonds. A lot of clubhouse credit there... Oddly, Win Shares has them much closer in '92 than '91. At a glance, I can't understand why WS thinks Pendleton's '92 was so much better than '91 (35 to 27). Defensively, he led the league with 6 each year. So his batting WS in '92 were 29, compared to 21 in '91, even though his OPS+ was 14 points lower? ATL slightly outperformed Pythag both seasons. Pendleton played a few more games in '92. I don't get it.
   11. Bleed the Freak Posted: August 22, 2007 at 12:35 AM (#2494110)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaTU9wbuPvY

The picture is fuzzy but worth your time if you haven't seen this great catch previously.

http://www.beckett.com/items/346082/?N=0

The above is a renactment from 1993 Topps of his famous catch.

It was great meeting Kevin Mitchell. I asked him to sign that very card at CJ Sports Cards in San Diego in 2005. When healthy, he could mash with the best of them. A colorful character in person too.
   12. OCF Posted: August 22, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2494143)
I'm pretty sure that was Ozzie Smith as the hitter who got robbed.
   13. Bleed the Freak Posted: August 22, 2007 at 12:57 AM (#2494191)
12. OCF Posted: August 21, 2007 at 08:43 PM (#2494143)

I'm pretty sure that was Ozzie Smith as the hitter who got robbed.

Your correct!
   14. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 22, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2494229)
Here's how I see the 1991 NL MVP race:

SFrac = Percentage of a league average player's plate appearances
BWAA = batting wins above league average
BRWAA = baserunning wins above league average
FWAA = fielding wins above positional average
Rep = Wins above average generated by a replacement player at the same position in the same amount of playing time
WARP = Wins above replacement player

Player   Pos SFrac BWAA BRWAA FWAA  Rep WARP
Larkin  6   .78  3.5   0.5  1.5 
-2.6  8.1
Bonds   7   .94  6.0   0.4  0.7 
-0.9  7.9
Sandberg   4  1.02  4.3   0.3  1.2 
-1.7  7.6
OSmith  6   .95  2.0   0.7  1.0 
-3.2  6.8
Pendleton  5   .95  3.4   0.1  1.7 
-1.3  6.5
WClark  3   .93  5.0   0.3  0.8 
-0.2  6.2
Bonilla 7  1.01  5.1  
-0.4 -0.2 -1.0  5.5
Butler  8  1.08  3.0  
-0.5  1.1 -1.6  5.2
Bell 6   .99  1.7  
-0.1  0.1 -3.3  5.0
Sabo 5   .95  3.2   0.4  0.1 
-1.2  4.9 


I know Larkin only played 123 games--but *man*, were they good. Fourth in the league in OPS, oustanding baserunning (particularly of the non-SB variety), and near-historically great defense at SS according to the uberstats (118 defensive Rate by BP, 12.5 Fielding WS per 162 games). His missed games make it very, very close, but he was just so extraordinary when he played that I still think he's the MVP.

Pendleton, although he had an excellent season, was a very bad MVP choice--why not take Ryno if you wanted an infielder and didn't like Larkin's missed games?
   15. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 22, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2494235)
whoa what happened to preformatted columns? is there a new syntax?
   16. Chris Fluit Posted: August 22, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2494530)
Thanks for the Tom Waits reference, DL!
   17. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 22, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2494839)
Of the course the same could be said for Graham Parker.
   18. sunnyday2 Posted: August 22, 2007 at 01:45 PM (#2494853)
Wouldn't it be interesting if we were to pick MVPs someday?
   19. FelizForPresident Posted: August 23, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2496923)
First baseball card I ever owned...Kevin Mitchell when I was age 5 and he was my favorite player
   20. GregQ Posted: August 23, 2007 at 08:31 PM (#2497027)
When the Giants traded Chris Brown for Mitchell I was sure they had traded a future multiple all star player for a troublemaker. At the time there was a lot of beanball wars going on in baseball and someone asked him about it. He said that anyone that charged the pitcher would have to go through him first- that is when I became a big fan. When Mitchell was still playing for that semi-pro team, I think the Sonoma Crushers, he came to a ball game at Candlestick with the owners and sat in the row in front of me. He was polite but a bit quiet, but we wre cracking up because he bought food from every vendor that went by-polish, cotton candy, peanuts, red rope, you name it, he tried it all.
   21. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2497086)
I haven't read The Ticket Out yet (it's on my shelf, waiting), but I remember hearing when it came out that Chris Brown was most recently driving a dump truck. He might even have gone over to Iraq as a driver. I might be making that up, but I seem to remember it.

Has anyone read The Ticket Out? Should I move it up on my reading list?
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2007 at 09:05 PM (#2497091)
Oh, here's a Big Daddy memory. He was playing in Yankee Stadium. He ropes a line drive down into the Barfield corner and rounds for second. Jesse comes up throwing and fires a missle into Espinoza's chest from the corner. Fielder was out by like twenty feet and essentially walked into the tag.
   23. GregQ Posted: August 23, 2007 at 09:07 PM (#2497096)
Brown did drive a truck for Halliburton, but left Iraq and died last year in a fire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Brown_(baseball_player)
   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 23, 2007 at 09:15 PM (#2497111)
Wow, what a sad story. Thanks gregq.
   25. JPWF13 Posted: August 23, 2007 at 09:21 PM (#2497122)
WRT Cecil Fielder, at age 26 he had an OPS+ of 167, 51 home runs and a k/uibb ratio of 182/79.
(Neutralized pr BBRef: .287/.389/.614 with 54 homers and 143 RBI.

at age 27 he had an OPS+ of 134 (neutralized line of .266/.352/.522 with 45 Hr and 138 RBI)

Last year at age 26 Ryan Howard had an OPS+ of 170 and a K/UIBB ratio of 181/71 (and a neutralized line of .299/.408/.627 with 54 homers and 134 rbi)

This year Ryan Howard has an OPS+ of 139* and a neutralized line of .253/.376/.546.

Essentially Cecil Fielder WAS Ryan Howard. (and that comparison absolutely infuriates Phillies Phans like nothing else.

Other than that Fielder was a poor defensive 1B with 5939 PA and a career OPS+ of 119. Makes the Hall of Good (as opposed to the HOVG), but 1990 was an impressive offensive season.




*remove IBBs before doing OBP and Fielder's OPS+ at 26 and 27 actually matched Howard's ratehr than being slightly less
   26. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: August 24, 2007 at 01:52 PM (#2498044)
What if the Blue Jays had had Fielder, Olerud, Delgado and McGriff all at the same time? McGriff at 1B, Fielder DH, Olerud P-RF, Delgado C?
   27. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 24, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2498049)
Then they would have won back to back World Series in 1992-1993.
   28. Spahn Insane Posted: August 24, 2007 at 04:44 PM (#2498240)
I got the style but not the grace
I got the clothes but not the face


Got the rooster
but not the crow
Got the ebb,
But not the flow.
   29. Mongo Posted: August 25, 2007 at 01:07 AM (#2498895)
Are there any other cases, other than Fielder/McGriff for the Jays and Cepeda/McCovey for the Giants, where two players of at least their level of talent came up for the same team in (nearly) the same year at the same position? I cannot think of any offhand, but I have a feeling that I'm missing an obvious set.

Bill
   30. JPWF13 Posted: August 25, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2499030)
Are there any other cases

I know this is double counting- but McGriff was a Yankee minor league 1B at the same time as Mattingly- Matting;y was approx 2 year ahead so McGriff was sent to Toronto...

Rice and Lynn came up at the same time, and both were OFs, but that's not the same thing, OFs and SPs don't really block eachother.
   31. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: August 25, 2007 at 02:23 AM (#2499036)
Are there any other cases, other than Fielder/McGriff for the Jays and Cepeda/McCovey for the Giants, where two players of at least their level of talent came up for the same team in (nearly) the same year at the same position?


Grace/Palmiero
   32. baudib Posted: August 25, 2007 at 03:06 AM (#2499099)
I don't know if this is exactly what you're looking for, but the Phillies came up with Ryne Sandberg, Julio Franco and Juan Samuel roughly the same time. Samuel didn't turn out to be as good as the other two, but he was probably the most highly regarded of the three in the minors. Of course, even though all three were primarily second basemen, Sandberg was expendable because he was really a third baseman and Franco started as a shortstop.

The Brooklyn Dodgers came up with Roy Campanella and Gil Hodges in the same year. There are some reports that Hodges was a terrific catcher, but obviously with Campy around, he wasn't going to be needed behind the plate.
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: August 25, 2007 at 03:08 AM (#2499100)
Jimmie Hall came up in 1963 and blocked Tony Oliva who then came up in 1964.
   34. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: August 25, 2007 at 03:21 AM (#2499118)
, Sandberg was expendable because he was really a third baseman


I didn't think this sounded right, and I checked. Sandberg was primarily a SS in the Phillies system. He played only 4 games a 3B. The Cubs put him at 3B after the trade because they had acquired 2B Bump Wills in another high profile trade.
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2007 at 02:20 PM (#2499277)
Blalock and Teixeira?

Cronin and Vaughan? It's close, but maybe Cronin was too early?

Dawson and Raines?

Murphy and Rickey?

Brady Anderson and Ellis Burks and Mike Greenwell?

Darren Daulton and John Russell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   36. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: August 25, 2007 at 07:18 PM (#2499438)
Johnny Kling and Frank Chance?

Ryan, Van Haltren and Duffy? (Although they played them all together)

Reese and Pesky, although they may not be close enough in value.

Glavine and Smoltz, if you're looking at pitchers.

Otis and Singleton? (Different positions, but Mets fans like to complain about bad trades.)

Bagwell and Vaughn?
   37. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: August 25, 2007 at 08:02 PM (#2499470)
Man, Terry Pendleton played in 5 world series and lost every one of them.
   38. Mongo Posted: August 25, 2007 at 08:34 PM (#2499535)
Okay, third time I'm typing this. I had accidently backed out of the typing box both previous times, losing everything I had typed each time. This time I'm using notepad.

Comparing games played with at least some 1B to games played with no 1B:

YEAR CEPEDA McCOVEY

1958 147/1 n/a
1959 122/29 51/1
1960 91/60 71/30
1961 81/71 84/22
1962 160/2 17/74
1963 150/6 23/129
1964 139/3 26/104
1965 4/29 156/4
1966* 6/13 145/5

* Cepeda was traded to the Cardinals early in the 1966 season.

In 1960-61, Cepeda and McCovey split the 1B time fairly evenly. McCovey was stuck mainly in the OF from 1962-64, and moved back to 1B in 1965 after Cepeda's injury.

YEAR UPSHAW FIELDER McGRIFF

1985 147/1 25/5 n/a
1986 154/1 7/27 1/2
1987 146/4 16/66 14/93
1988 -/- 17/57 153/1

Willie Upshaw was the first-string 1B through 1987, with both Fielder and McGriff on limited playing time. *rolls eyes*

YEAR PALMEIRO GRACE

1986 0/22 n/a
1987 18/66 n/a
1988 5/147 133/1

Palmeiro did not become a full-time 1B until he was traded to the Rangers after the 1988 season.

Bill
   39. BDC Posted: August 25, 2007 at 08:45 PM (#2499548)
Manny Sanguillen became the Pirates' regular catcher in 1969. Though he was quite a bit younger, Milt May came up in 1970 and was Sanguillen's principal backup by '71. I remember writers saying at the time that Sanguillen was the second-best catcher in the National League, and May was the third-best ...
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2007 at 09:32 PM (#2499620)
Man, Terry Pendleton played in 5 world series and lost every one of them.

And I rooted against him in all but the first one!!!!
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 25, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2499640)
Reese/Pesky is a great one.

Varitek and Hatteberg is kind of a weird one.

Edgar and Presley...sort of....

Sheffield, Speiers, and Listach all came up as SS right around the same time and were pretty close in age.

In 1986ish, Mike Aldrete and Will Clark was sure to be included in this list, the new Cepeda/McCovey...didn't turn out quite like that.

And how can I forget Mike Stanley and Geno Petralli?
   42. McLovin Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:09 AM (#2499761)
Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain! nah, agreed that pitchers can't really count.

There might have been one brewing in the Yankees infield at the turn of the century. But D'Angelo Jimenez broke his neck and Alfonso Soriano seized 2B.

McCann/Saltalamacchia

Maybe a little too much separation...but Roberto Kelly was the Yanks regular CF for 2 seasons before Bernie Williams finally made his long-awaited debut. Williams split a couple seasons between Columbus and NY before forcing the Yanks to trade Kelly away.

Kurt Stillwell and Barry Larkin

Obviously none of these have proven themselves to be on the Cepeda/McCovey level.
   43. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:19 AM (#2499765)
Obviously none of these have proven themselves to be on the Cepeda/McCovey level.


I dunno, Grace/Palmeiro are pretty close. By WARP3:

Grace - 96.4
Palmeiro - 138.8
McCovey - 106.9
Cepeda - 87.8

Yeah, I know the latter two are HOFers and the former two are not, but Raffy would be had he not gotten caught, and Cepeda is probably a mistake, and probably not much better than Grace.

Someone made the comment that Raffy didn't play much first base until he left the Cubs, which is true. But it was pretty obvious watching him in 1988 that his future was at first.
   44. McLovin Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:25 AM (#2499766)
Actually, although room can always be made for pitchers, it's interesting to note all the good arms Texas(!) produced in the mid-80s. Jose Guzman came in '85, followed by Bobby Witt, Edwin Correa, Kevin Brown, and Mitch Williams all in '86. (Williams started all through the minors, though he was immediately put in the pen in the majors.) That's a lot of guys at once who all put up quality seasons in the majors, to varying degrees.

Actually, at the same time (83-86) KC came up with Saberhagen, Gubicza, Danny Jackson, and Scott Bankhead, 4 guys who all pitched at least 10 seasons. That seems like a lot.
   45. McLovin Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:26 AM (#2499767)
I dunno, Grace/Palmeiro are pretty close.

Oh, I just meant my examples.
   46. BDC Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:33 AM (#2499771)
interesting to note all the good arms Texas(!) produced in the mid-80s

And one of the best of them, Kenny Rogers, was stuck in the minors for seven years (1982-88).
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 26, 2007 at 12:38 AM (#2499773)
Reese had already been sold to the Dodgers before Pesky's emergence as a top prospect, and wasn't exactly developed by the Red Sox (he came with the Louisville franchise in 1939 and was sold six months later), so I wouldn't necessarily include this pairing on the list.

Bill Almon and Ozzie Smith make a good pair, though.

-- MWE
   48. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 26, 2007 at 02:05 AM (#2499803)
Hey, didn't Pesky Reese play for the Red Sox a couple years ago?
   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: August 26, 2007 at 02:22 AM (#2499812)
Some people's lives are justified by their good works, some by their children, and some by their unique talents, but Kevin Mitchell's life has been justified by one quote:

"It makes me feel like a champion."

He was talking about why he ate Vick's Vap-O-Rub.
   50. sunnyday2 Posted: August 26, 2007 at 04:49 AM (#2499889)
Joe Cronin and Buddy Myer.
   51. DL from MN Posted: August 27, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2500748)
Mauer and Morneau? Maybe wishful thinking.
   52. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 27, 2007 at 02:44 PM (#2500757)
BTW, Julio Franco is older than all three.


put together
   53. James Darnell's #1 Fan Posted: August 27, 2007 at 10:55 PM (#2501402)
Teixeira/Gonzalez?
Alomar Jr/Santiago?

That's all I got.
   54. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 27, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2501407)
Robbie Alomar and Bip Roberts. No? Come on....
   55. Paul Wendt Posted: August 30, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2504604)
Bill James wrote about Phil Rizzuto and Jerry Priddy.
I don't recall whether Priddy was a shortstop.
   56. Jose Molina wants a nickname like ARod Posted: September 02, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2508225)
Gretzky and Messier
   57. sunnyday2 Posted: September 02, 2007 at 03:04 AM (#2508269)
Priddy was the 2B in the Yankees farm system at the same time Rizzuto was the top SS.
   58. The Adam Dunn Effort #44 Posted: September 16, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2527417)
Pendleton - check - I swatted more than a few layups away from the little man back in high school. When is he getting a mgr's gig? 2008 I predict.

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