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Monday, July 08, 2013

Most Meritorious Player: 1984 Discussion

Detroit beats San Diego in the World Series. The Royals and Cubs also made the postseason.

MMP voting will end on August 7, 2013.

Player			SH WS		BBR WAR
Cal Ripken		37.2		9.9
Ryne Sandberg		38.4		8.5
Gary Carter		30.3		7.4
Alan Trammell		28.5		6.6
Mike Schmidt		25.6		7.0
Tim Raines		30.8		6.4
Eddie Murray		33.4		7.0
Lloyd Moseby		26.7		7.3
Jose Cruz		28.9		6.3
Dale Murphy		32.6		5.5
Robin Yount		26.4		5.9
Tony Gwynn		35.1		6.3
Dwight Evans		29.3		5.4
Wade Boggs		28.3		6.3
Buddy Bell		26.3		6.1
Keith Hernandez		32.7		6.3
Don Mattingly		28.8		6.3
Dave Winfield		26.3		5.3
Chet Lemon		23.8		6.2
Bob Brenly		21.3		3.7
Tony Pena		21.3		5.8
Ozzie Smith		18.4		5.0
Rickey Henderson	28.0		6.0
Kirk Gibson		25.7		5.1
Kevin McReynolds	25.0		5.4
Tony Armas		20.6		2.7
Alvin Davis		27.0		5.9

Dave Stieb		25.3		7.9
Bert Blyleven		19.9		7.2
Rick Rhoden		19.2		6.5
Doyle Alexander		22.6		6.1
Mike Boddicker		23.1		5.2
Jim Beattie		16.7		5.3
Alejandro Pena		18.0		5.1
Dwight Gooden		18.1		5.7
Frank Viola		22.3		4.4
Rick Mahler		17.3		5.1
Mark Langston		18.6		4.6
Bud Black		20.0		4.7
Phil Niekro		15.3		4.7
Mario Soto		17.3		4.9

Willie Hernandez	24.0		4.8
Bruce Sutter		21.7		4.5
Dan Quisenberry		23.7		3.4


DL from MN Posted: July 08, 2013 at 02:10 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: July 08, 2013 at 02:24 PM (#4487875)
All-Position Team

C - Gary Carter
1B - Eddie Murray
2B - Ryne Sandberg
SS - Cal Ripken
3B - Mike Schmidt
LF - Jose Cruz
CF - Tim Raines
RF - Tony Gwynn

SP - Dave Stieb, Bert Blyleven, Rick Rhoden, Doyle Alexander
RP - Willie Hernandez
   2. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4487948)
One of the most boring baseball seasons in my memory. Two of the four races were over by the end of July, the Cubs had pretty much buried the Mets by the first of September, and it was really hard to have any interest in the AL West when it wasn't even clear that the winning team would finish above .500. The NLCS was interesting primarily because of what happened to the Cubs, but it wasn't exactly riveting baseball except for Game 4 and about half of Game 5.

-- MWE
   3. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4487962)
Still don't understand how on earth sportswriters decided Willie Hernandez was worthy of the Cy Young AND Most Valuable Player awards. Sure, he had a fine season - but the Tigers won 104 games! A closer was the difference-maker?
   4. Monty Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4487966)
My favorite season! Padre fans don't have a lot to choose from.
   5. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:47 PM (#4487980)
Still don't understand how on earth sportswriters decided Willie Hernandez was worthy of the Cy Young AND Most Valuable Player awards. Sure, he had a fine season - but the Tigers won 104 games! A closer was the difference-maker?

Well, people looked at the Tigers of 1983 and the Tigers of 1984 and went "what's the difference"? The most obvious difference was 32 saves from Hernandez, back when closers were still pitching more than 100 innings in a year.

In retrospect, it seems pretty clear that a healthy Kirk Gibson and a full year of Howard Johnson instead of Tom Brookens (even though HoJo wasn't yet HoJo) were more important.

-- MWE
   6. DL from MN Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4487982)
Sportswriters and other observers hadn't picked up on how relief pitching is easier than starting pitching yet. For sportswriters of that era the bullpen they saw growing up was mainly long reliever mop-up guys. The new relief specialists went "every day" and they had tremendous success, sometimes with really big radar gun readings. They didn't know yet that pitchers get a big advantage if they only see a batter once and they also are able to throw harder. Plus the starting pitchers were being "babied" by the year after year drop in innings pitched totals.
   7. DL from MN Posted: July 08, 2013 at 03:55 PM (#4487987)
There are a LOT of things that look different in retrospect. The AL MVP 1-3 results were Hernandez, Hrbek and Quisenberry. Ripken received just 1 vote. Dave Stieb received just 1 vote for CYA. Quiz was 2nd despite pitching half as many innings as Stieb with nearly the same ERA.

   8. DL from MN Posted: July 08, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4487995)
MMP voting is open to everyone. I'm sure some people here have a better memory of 1984 than I do. I attended my first major league baseball game in 1984. I'd love to hear from people with an "as-it-happened" perspective.
   9. Qufini Posted: July 08, 2013 at 10:04 PM (#4488299)
I'll be leaving soon for a family vacation without internet access (for the most part) and won't be back until August. But I don't want to miss a vote so DL (or anyone else), please re-post this to the 1984 ballot thread when appropriate. Thanks.

1984 Prelim Ballot

1. Cal Ripken Jr., SS, Baltimore Orioles: even better than his '83 MVP campaign with +23 fielding runs to go along with a 146 OPS+ and 122 runs created
2. Ryne Sandberg, 2B, Chicago Cubs: the Baseball Writers got this one right; +12 fielding runs, a 140 OPS+ and 126 runs created make Ryno the best player in the National League
3. Gary Carter, C, Montreal Expos: the defense is down a bit from '83 (only +8 runs) but the bat is back in a big way- 143 OPS+ and 108 runs created
4. Eddie Murray, 1B, Baltimore Orioles: 157 OPS+ and 130 runs created, plus a strong glove with +10 fielding runs
5. Mike Schmidt, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies: an NL-leading 154 OPS+ and a respectable 108 runs created to go with +10 fielding runs
6. Dave Stieb, P, Toronto Blue Jays: one of the more difficult years to assess pitchers- or maybe just a really poor year for pitching in the Senior Circuit- I could have ranked Stieb as high as 3rd (where WAR ranks him) or as low as 8th
7. Alan Trammell, SS, Detroit Tigers: a shade below Ripken in every facet: 136 OPS+, 100 runs created, +15 fielding runs- but still a great year
8. Don Mattingly, 1B, New York Yankees: a shade below Murray in every facet- 156 OPS+, 120 runs created and +6 fielding runs- but still a great year
9. Mike Boddicker, P, Baltimore Orioles: a 139 ERA+ in 261 innings
10. Tim Raines, CF, Montreal Raines: the Rock takes over in centerfield for the Hawk and posts a 138 OPS+ with a 124 runs created
11. Bert Blyleven, P, Cleveland Indians: a 144 ERA+ in 245 innings
12. Doyle Alexander, P, Toronto Blue Jays: I don’t remember Doyle ever being this good- maybe because he’s more famous for being on the wrong side of the John Smoltz trade- but a 132 ERA+ in 161 innings gets him a low ballot MMP vote
13. Dale Murphy, CF, Atlanta Braves: a 149 OPS+ and 123 runs created but he wasn’t as good a fielder as people remember (minus 8 fielding runs)

14. Alvin Davis, 1B, Seattle Mariners: a career year from Davis- 147 OPS+ and 117 runs created- falls just short of the ballot
15. Frank Viola, P, Minnesota Twins: close to being the 5th AL starting pitcher on the ballot with a 131 ERA+ in 257 innings
16. Dwight Evans, RF, Boston Red Sox: Dewey can still hit (147 OPS+ and 132 runs created) but his defense has dropped off considerably (minus 9 runs)
17. Bruce Sutter, RP, St. Louis Cardinals: a 227 ERA+ in 122 innings makes him the best pitcher in the NL
18. Lloyd Moseby, CF, Toronto Blue Jays: a 127 OPS+ and +20 fielding runs in center
19. Kent Hrbek, 1B, Minnesota Twins: a 145 OPS+ and +12 fielding runs at first
20. Rick Rhoden, P, Pittsburgh Pirates: the best starting pitcher in the NL with a 134 ERA+ in 238 innings though this Gooden kid who finished 26th on my ratings looks to have a bright future ahead of him
   10. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 08, 2013 at 10:34 PM (#4488319)
Ripken received just 1 vote.

It's the flip side of Mike's comment in #5. The '83 Orioles won 98 games. The '84 Orioles won 85 games. Obviously, Ripken and Murray weren't as good.
   11. OCF Posted: July 08, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4488347)
Still don't understand how on earth sportswriters decided Willie Hernandez was worthy of the Cy Young AND Most Valuable Player awards. Sure, he had a fine season - but the Tigers won 104 games! A closer was the difference-maker?

Well, people looked at the Tigers of 1983 and the Tigers of 1984 and went "what's the difference"? The most obvious difference was 32 saves from Hernandez, back when closers were still pitching more than 100 innings in a year.

In retrospect, it seems pretty clear that a healthy Kirk Gibson and a full year of Howard Johnson instead of Tom Brookens (even though HoJo wasn't yet HoJo) were more important.

I thought I remembered an analysis from Bill James at the time that attributed the change in Detroit from 1983 to 1984 mostly to improvement an solidification of the secondary and bench players around the stars. But I looked in the 1985 Abstract and it's not there. Maybe I have that backwards? Maybe what I'm really remembering is an explanation of why the Tigers didn't repeat in 1985, in which case it would be in the 1986 Abstract, which I have somewhere in the house but can't currently locate. Anyone else have a copy of the 1986 Abstract lying around? In any case, whatever he said might be worth replicating with more modern tools.
   12. DanG Posted: July 08, 2013 at 11:11 PM (#4488358)
Guillermo's WPA is the second best mark since WW2. Sutter was worked the most in his career, and it essentially finished him.

Rk             Player WAR ERASV   WPA  WHIP GF GS    IP Age  Tm Lg  G  W L  ERA   BA OPS+
1    Willie Hernandez 4.8  204 32 8.647 0.941 68  0 140.1  29 DET AL 80  9 3 1.92 .194   41
2        Bruce Sutter 4.6  227 45 4.410 1.076 63  0 122.2  31 STL NL 71  5 7 1.54 .245   82
3       Ernie Camacho 3.4  170 23 2.216 1.200 49  0 100.0  29 CLE AL 69  5 9 2.43 .229   65
4       Dave Righetti 3.3  163 31 3.488 1.204 53  0  96.1  25 NYY AL 64  5 6 2.34 .223   65
5     Dan Quisenberry 3.3  152 44 4.630 1.028 67  0 129.1  31 KCR AL 72  6 3 2.64 .247   67
6           Ted Power 3.0  134 11 1.685 1.279 42  0 108.2  29 CIN NL 78  9 7 2.82 .237   78
7         Bill Dawley 2.9  172  5 2.266 1.194 27  0  98.0  26 HOU NL 60 11 4 1.93 .234   89
8          Jay Howell 2.8  142  7 0.934 1.158 23  1 103.2  28 NYY AL 61  9 4 2.69 .223   65
9     Steve Bedrosian 2.8  163 11 1.115 1.171 28  4  83.2  26 ATL NL 40  9 6 2.37 .210   73
10       Doug Corbett 2.8  190  4 1.420 1.247 30  1  85.0  31 CAL AL 45  5 1 2.12 .244   71
11       Bill Caudill 2.7  138 36 1.974 1.121 62  0  96.1  27 OAK AL 68  9 7 2.71 .218   79
12       Gary Lavelle 2.6  128 12 0.456 1.327 42  0 101.0  35 SFG NL 77  5 4 2.76 .246   93
13     Craig Lefferts 2.5  169 10 2.268 1.060 29  0 105.2  26 SDP NL 62  3 4 2.13 .229   67
14        Tom Waddell 2.5  135  6 1.159 1.082 26  0  97.0  25 CLE AL 58  7 4 3.06 .202   71
15        Ray Searage 2.4  556  6 1.764 0.939 16  0  38.1  29 MIL AL 21  2 1 0.70 .155   25 
   13. bobm Posted: July 08, 2013 at 11:30 PM (#4488377)
Maybe what I'm really remembering is an explanation of why the Tigers didn't repeat in 1985, in which case it would be in the 1986 Abstract, which I have somewhere in the house but can't currently locate. Anyone else have a copy of the 1986 Abstract lying around? In any case, whatever he said might be worth replicating with more modern tools.

1986 Abstract, p 127, in the Detroit Tigers section. Piece is titled "Whu' Happen?" James concludes, "the essential difference between the Tigers in 1984 and those of 1985 was the offense. And the essential difference in the offense between 1984 and 1985 was the bench."

   14. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: July 08, 2013 at 11:30 PM (#4488378)
I'd love to hear from people with an "as-it-happened" perspective.

Sandberg game

I wasn't there, but I did watch the entire thing on TV. 7 RBI in a game they won by 1. 1.063 WPA. Willie McGee hit for the cycle, drove in 6 and scored 3 and was the second best player in the game.
   15. DanG Posted: July 09, 2013 at 12:05 AM (#4488418)
Who can forget Bubba Helms?
   16. OCF Posted: July 09, 2013 at 12:16 AM (#4488430)
Obviously, a large part of the mythos of Jack Morris, Postseason Superhero stems from a single game in 1991. But I'm wondering if just a little of the groundwork for the idea was laid in the 1984 World Series? Oddly, of course. That was a very odd WS.

The 1984 San Diego team seems to be a particularly unmemorable WS team. They were a better than average (but not close to league-leading) offensive team with better than average (but not close to league-leading) pitching. They were a 92 win team, but just 87 wins by Pythag. They squeezed through a 5 game NLCS despite being outscored 26-22. The Padres won Game 5 as a bullpen game after Show (who had given up the rout in Game 1) got yanked early.

Here are the performances by starting pitchers in the WS:

San Diego:

Thurmond: 5 IP, 3 runs
Whitson: 0.2 IP, 3 runs
Lollar: 1.2 IP, 4 runs
Show: 2.2 IP, 4 runs
Thurmond: 0.1 IP, 3 runs


Morris: 9 IP, 2 runs
Petry: 4.1 IP, 5 runs
Wilcox: 6 IP, 1 run
Morris: 9 IP, 2 runs
Petry: 3.2 IP, 3 runs

So we had a series in which competent starting pitching was in extremely short supply, especially on the San Diego side. The Padre relief pitching was superb - or it was superb up until Gossage got lit up in the last two innings of Game 5. (In particular, Hawkins was excellent in long relief.) But the Padre starters were constantly dropping their team into holes in the early parts of games. (It should also be noted that Dick Williams was hooking his starters at a velocity unimaginable in today's relief-specialized game.)

And against the backdrop of San Diego having no good starters in the series, there's Morris with two solid complete games (game scores 69 and 73). It wasn't a great WS for Morris by conventional standards - but it was good enough and it towered over the San Diego starters.
   17. OCF Posted: July 09, 2013 at 03:44 AM (#4488482)
"the essential difference between the Tigers in 1984 and those of 1985 was the offense. And the essential difference in the offense between 1984 and 1985 was the bench."

Having bb-ref makes looking at these things a lot easier now.

1983 Tigers: 86 R better than league on offense, 20 R better than league on defense, 92-70 record.
1984 Tigers: 121 R better than league on offense, 60 R better than league on defense, 104-58 record.
1985 Tigers: 1 R worse than league on offense, 35 R better than league on defense, 84-77 record.

Those numbers are all park-adjusted using the multi-year park factors. The park generally played as near-neutral. There was a one-year hitters park spike in 1985 that washes out of the multi-year numbers. So there was more of a roller coaster on offense, although the defense and pitching weren't constant.

To break that down individually, I looked at WAR for position players. Which does include defense, of course.

First up, the "big five" of these Detroit teams: Parrish, Whitaker, Trammell, Lemon, and Gibson.
Total WAR from these five: 25.2 in 1983, 25.0 in 1984, and 20.2 in 1986.

Someone above suggested that the big difference between 1983 and 1984 might have been Gibson, but Gibson's improvement was offset by Parrish and Whitaker not being as good in 1984 as they had been in 1983, so it balances out. Of course, if I told you that your team could have five starters with a 25 WAR total, and they'd do it two years in a row, you'd be very pleased. That's a fantastic core for a team. But then at least some of the decline from 1984 to 1985 was in this core - in this case, it was mostly Trammell and Lemon who weren't as good in 1985.

Next, the other four players that bb-ref's algorithm declares to be starters (not always the next four most important players):

1983 - Cabell, Brookens, Herndon, G.Wilson: 11.7
1984 - Herndon, Bergman, H.Johnson, Da.Evans: 5.1
1985 - Brookens, Herndon, Da.Evans, Grubb: 6.9

The surprise there is the decline in this category from 1983 to 1984. All four of those players in 1983 were quite good, between 2.0 and 3.9 WAR. (Yes, that's Enos Cabell with a 3.2 WAR - he batted over .300 and fielded 1B well.) But the offense, at least, was better in 1984 than it had been in 1983. So where is that coming from? Quite a bit of it is from "bench" - players other than the ones bb-ref calls starters. There wasn't much there in 1983. (Wockenfuss 1.3, Leach 1.0, ....) There was quite a bit more in 1984: R.Jones 2.3, Brookens 2.0, Grubb 1.2, Garbey 0.6. It's still not obvious from that why the 1984 team was better than the 1983 team.

And yes, some significant chunk of the 1984 to 1985 decline does come from the bench - those other players. Most of the important ones in 1985 (Garbey, N.Simmons, Bergman) had negative WAR.

It is hard to account for everyone that way, (I didn't try to deal with the more minor reserves) and I'm not sure you can trust WAR to add up "correctly" over a team. But there it is.
   18. DL from MN Posted: July 09, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4488606)
Chris - will copy to ballot thread. Surprised to see Sutter but not Hernandez in your top 20. Enjoy your vacation.
   19. Qufini Posted: July 09, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4488718)
Still don't understand how on earth sportswriters decided Willie Hernandez was worthy of the Cy Young AND Most Valuable Player awards. Sure, he had a fine season - but the Tigers won 104 games! A closer was the difference-maker?

As a kid at the time, I remember being shocked that Trammell didn't win the MVP. Of course, our line of thought was probably no more complicated than Robin Yount wins MVP as shortstop on pennant-winning team in '82, Cal Ripken wins MVP as shortstop on pennant-winning team in '83, Alan Trammell is shortstop on pennant-winning team in '84. Looking back at the numbers now, I'm happy to see that Trammell was at least a credible candidate (especially if you accept the condition that the MVP should come from a playoff team).

However, I'm surprised that Willie Hernandez was a much better candidate than I remember. Maybe my memory is colored by the less than dominant Hernandez of '85-'89 (or by Quisenberry having more saves in '84). But I didn't expect to see Hernandez with a historically great WPA (despite all of WPA's flaws, it can be a helpful stat for evaluating relief pitchers).

   20. Qufini Posted: July 09, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4488724)
Chris - will copy to ballot thread. Surprised to see Sutter but not Hernandez in your top 20. Enjoy your vacation.

Thanks, DL. I'm looking forward to it (we leave Thursday so I may post a comment or two between now and then).

I prefer Sutter's advantage in ERA+ (227 to 204) to Hernandez's lead in innings (140 to 122). But Hernandez did very well. I could have placed him ahead of Rhoden for 20th but I didn't want to completely ignore NL starters. As it is, he's 21st and ahead of Bud Black, Doc Gooden and some very good position players like Keith Hernandez.
   21. EricC Posted: July 10, 2013 at 08:39 AM (#4489624)
1984 prelim. Ratings are based on a combination of about
75% win shares and 25 % WAR, and include information about
rates, playing time, and performance relative to position.

Thanks to DL for compiling the stats- I find it very useful.
Since Alvin Davis makes the top 20 of both my and Chris Fluit's
prelims, is it possible to add his stats to the shortlist above?

#1 Ripken and #2 Sandberg shouldn't be controversial. Unlike in
1983, where I had Ripken #1 by a nose, he has a large lead
this year. Sandberg's WS lead does come as a surprise to me.

My system really doesn't like CF this year because of the "relative
to position" parts. Murphy, Moseby (~#23) and Raines (~#26)
could be underrated, but I've had Murphy very high on recent ballots,
and I'm a big "Raines belongs in the HoF" proponent. Interestingly, two
candidates that I have slighted in the past on similar grounds,
Keith Hernandez, and Buddy Bell, finally make my ballot this year.

Not a great year for pitchers- only 4 make my top 20 (all of them
AL pitchers), and only Stieb makes the top 13. For those tracking
results by league, my top NL pitcher is Sutter (~#30) and top
NL SP Gooden (~#34) (perhaps he will do better in 1985......).

1. Cal Ripken
2. Ryne Sandberg
3. Eddie Murray
4. Rickey Henderson
5. Gary Carter
6. Tony Gwynn
7. Dave Stieb
8. Alan Trammell
9. Keith Hernandez
10. Don Mattingly
11. Wade Boggs
12. Jose Cruz
13. Buddy Bell

14-21. Bert Blyleven, Mike Boddicker, Robin Yount, Alvin Davis,
Dwight Evans, Dale Murphy, Doyle Alexander, Mike Schmidt

Top RP: Willie Hernandez (~#24)
Top DH: Dave Kingman (~#31)
   22. Mr. C Posted: July 10, 2013 at 09:28 AM (#4489656)
1984 All Stars

C Jim Sundberg
1B Eddie Murray
2B Frank White
3B Buddy Bell
SS Cal Ripken
LF Ricky Henderson
CF Lloyd Moseby
RF Dwight Evans
DH Dave Kingman
SP Dave Stieb, Bert Blyleven, Doyle Alexander, Jim Beattie
RP Willie Hernandez

C Gary Carter
1B Keith Hernandez
2B Ryne Sandberg
3B Mike Schmidt
SS Ozzie Smith
LF Jose Cruz
CF Tim Raines
RF Tony Gwynn
SP Rick Rhoden, Dwight Gooden, Alejandro Pena, Rick Mahler
RP Bruce Sutter

   23. Qufini Posted: July 10, 2013 at 10:15 AM (#4489710)
Mr. C, you have Jim Beattie ahead of Mike Boddicker?
   24. DL from MN Posted: July 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4489742)
1984 prelim

1) Cal Ripken - he laps the field. Yount was close in 83, Sandberg isn't in 84.
2) Ryne Sandberg
3) Dave Stieb - top AL pitcher for several years now
4) Gary Carter
5) Alan Trammell
6) Mike Schmidt - will take the lead from Aaron for # of ballot appearances in 1984
7) Tim Raines
8) Bert Blyleven
9) Eddie Murray
10) Jose Cruz - Lots of Dale Murphy fans, fewer Jose Cruz fans
11) Dale Murphy
12) Robin Yount
13) Tony Gwynn

14-20) Dwight Evans, Wade Boggs, Buddy Bell, Keith Hernandez, Don Mattingly, Dave Winfield, Rick Rhoden

Sutter and Hernandez are in the next 10 slots
   25. DL from MN Posted: July 10, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4489750)
Added Alvin Davis. Hrbek rates as the 5th best 1B this year but was way up there for MVP voting. This was a screwy AL MVP vote.
   26. Mr. C Posted: July 11, 2013 at 12:27 AM (#4490677)

This isn't exactly how I do my evaluation, but it gives my thought process. I use Value added runs to determine runs above average.

RA for AL in 1984: 4.45. Both pitchers are starters and both faced opposition which was close to average. No adjustments necessary.

Beattie RAA is 19.5 giving him a raw RA of 3.62. Seattle has one of the poorer defenses in the AL. According to my calculations that results in a run adjustment of -.27 runs per game or an adj RA of 3.35. Seattle is a slight hitters park so 3.35/1.011 gives a final adj RA of 3.31.

Boddicker's RAA is 29.6, giving him a raw RA of 3.43. However Baltimore has one of the best defenses in the AL, resulting in a run adjustment of .39 runs per game or an adj RA of 3.82. Baltimore is a slight pitchers park so 3.82/.977 gives a final adj RA of 3.91.

This is only part 1 of my calculation, but it should give you an understanding of why Boddcker does not rate as highly in my system. It is also the reason that when Mike Norris and Steve McCatty (a few years back) were being touted as the top AL pitchers, they did not make my list. Oakland has a great defense in a pitcher's park and the resulting adjustments did not make them look as good as their raw stats would indicate.

   27. Rob_Wood Posted: July 11, 2013 at 10:28 PM (#4491792)

Also, the Tigers of that era were very strong "up the middle" (Trammell, Whitaker, Parrish, Lemon) with good pitching. You'd think that they'd have been able to find more offensive value from 1B, 3B, RF, and LF.
   28. Mr. C Posted: July 12, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4492163)
1984 Preliminary Ballot

Batters: start with RA (using value added runs), adjust for park, position and defense (average of TZ and DRA) Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal Runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement)

Pitchers: start with RA (using value added runs) adjust for quality of opposition, park, team defense and role (reliever or starter) Convert adjusted RAA to wins. Add 60% of normal runs above replacement to get WARR (wins above reduced replacement)

1. Cal Ripken 9.38 WARR
2. Tony Gwynn 7.77 WARR Since value added runs are based on context, Gwynn's .410/.503/.528 line with runners in scoring position results in 20+ more value added runs than batting runs based on regular linear weights.
3. Eddie Murray 7.67 WARR
4. Keith Hernandez 7.23 WARR
5. Ryne Sandberg 7.04 WARR
6. Dave Stieb 7.05 WARR
7. Buddy Bell 6.81 WARR
8. Jose Cruz 6.78 WARR
9. Gary Carter 6.74 WARR
10. Alan Trammell 6.59 WARR
11. Bert Blyleven 5.91 WARR
12. Alvin Davis 6.38 WARR
13. Kent Hrbek 6.13 WARR

The rest of the top 20
Lloyd Moseby
Tony Pena
Doyle Alexander
Mike Schmidt
Ricky Henderson
Tim Raines
Rick Rhoden Hitting ability places him ahead of Gooden as best NL pitcher

   29. DL from MN Posted: July 12, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4492353)
I'm considering putting MMP voting on hiatus after the 1985 vote. Interest is waning and I don't have time to sell the project, just enough to keep it going.
   30. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 12, 2013 at 01:50 PM (#4492381)
Now that school's out, I finally have time for this again. Can someone remind me how many we're meant to vote for? Is it 13?

Anyway, prelim ballot with some comments.

1. Ripken, obvs. -- Weird note: my uncle Bobby was a dead ringer for Cal, Jr, until Bobby got super fat.
2. Gary Carter -- catcher bonus
3. Ryne Sandberg -- When I was a kid, the Cubs were on the tube all the time, and I loved the #### out of Ryne Sandberg.
4. Tim Raines -- Subject of maybe my 2nd-favorite player comment in the NBJHA, after Ernie Lombardi.
5. Dave Stieb -- can never remember how to spell his danged name. Did I get it right?
6. Rik Albert
7. Mr Lloyd Moseby
8. Trammell
9. Schmidt -- If there were a way to vote Trammell & Schmidt in the same spot, I'd do it.
10. E Murray
11. Dale Murphy -- Hometown hero when I was a kid. Shirttail cousin of mine -- we share like a great-great-great grandmother or something, I forgot.
12. Gwynn -- Favorite freakshow talent of the 80s-90s. Got fat, quit fielding, never had much power, but literally never quit hitting singles as long as he was in the game. Seriously: the man batted .324 at the age of 41 some seventeen years after this. He's 53 now and I'd bet he could still bat .300. The only thing that stopped him was his inability to stay on the field. Also, an hilariously high voice for a big man.
13. J Cruz
   31. DL from MN Posted: July 12, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4492417)
Yes, 13 this year.
   32. lieiam Posted: July 13, 2013 at 12:19 AM (#4492965)
@DL from MN:
Well... I certainly hope MMP doesn't go on hiatus... but I understand you're feeling. I'm hoping we get a big influx now to make it worth your time!!
   33. DL from MN Posted: July 15, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4494491)
I would appreciate it if we could get some blog/twitter attention to see if we can draw in some more interest. Maybe someone can compare/contrast the project to date after 25 votes (1960-84) versus the results from MVP voting. I can provide the results spreadsheet if it makes things easier.
   34. DL from MN Posted: July 15, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4494730)
1984 ALCS

Trammell 3 11 2 4 0 1 1 3 3 1 .364 .500 .818 1.318 0 0
Lemon 3 13 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0

Hernandez 3 0 2.25 0 0 1 0 4.0 3 1 1 3 1.000

Black 1 1 7.20 0 1 0 0 5.0 7 4 1 3 1.600
   35. DL from MN Posted: July 15, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4494736)
1984 NLCS

Sandberg 5 19 3 7 2 0 0 2 3 2 .368 .455 .474 .928 3 1

Gwynn 5 19 6 7 3 0 0 3 1 2 .368 .381 .526 .907 0 0
   36. DL from MN Posted: July 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4494744)
1984 WS

Lemon 5 17 1 5 0 0 0 1 2 2 .294 .368 .294 .663 2 1
Trammell 5 20 5 9 1 0 2 6 2 2 .450 .500 .800 1.300 1 1

Gwynn 5 19 1 5 0 0 0 0 3 2 .263 .364 .263 .627 1 2

Hernandez 3 0 1.69 0 0 2 0 5.1 4 1 0 0 0.750

Very good postseason for Trammell. Hernandez adds 9.1 more tough innings to his 1984 resume.
   37. OCF Posted: July 17, 2013 at 07:24 PM (#4497742)
Some pitching, by RA+ equivalent (which ignores team defense).

Stieb 20-9
Blyleven 18-9
Alexander 18-11
Boddicker 18-11
Hernandez 12-3; with inherited runner adjustment 14-4
Quisenberry 10-4; with inherited runner adjustment 12-5
Camacho 8-3; with inherited runner adjustment 11-5

Rhoden 17-10, excellent hitter
Gooden 15-9
Pena 14-8
Hershiser 13-8 (partly in relief)
Sutter 10-3; with inherited runner adjustment 14-5

Hernandez and Sutter both pitched a lot of innings, but by the standards of the firemen of the 70's, they didn't see very many inherited runners. It looks like they were both brought in often at the beginning of innings, although also often for 2 or 3 inning stints. Also, Herndandez allowed zero UER for the year, so he looks good by RA+.

Gooden's actual results for the season don't match his fielding-independent statistics; it is one of the great FIP years of all time. Gooden was 19 years old at the time, and had pitched the previous season in A ball. He was presumably doing quite a bit of learning over the course of the season. After I looked at his game log, I though it was worth isolating out his last 9 games, starting on August 11. In those 9 games:

His W-L record was 8-1.
He pitched 76 innings, or 8.44 per game.
He allowed 10 runs, 9 of them earned. That's an ERA of 1.07
He allowed 42 hits, or 4.97 per 9 innings
He allowed 13 walks, or 1.54 per 9 innings (a WHIP of 0.724)
He recorded 105 strikeouts, or 12.43 per 9 innings

I think it's safe to say that after mid-August, he was already the pitcher he would be the next year.
   38. OCF Posted: July 17, 2013 at 07:28 PM (#4497747)
The Pirates were a fascinating team.

In a near-neutral park in which an average team scored 658 runs, the Pirates allowed only 567 runs but scored only 615 themselves. That should have given them a Pythag W-L of 87-75, but they missed that by an astonishing 12 games, finishing 75-87 and last in the division.

The starting rotation of Rhoden, McWilliams, Tudor, Candelaria, and DeLeon were healthy (only 9 starts by any other pitchers) and had ERA+ of 134, 134, 124, 111, 97. The bullpen was decent. The even got hitting from the pitching staff, headlined by Rhoden's 111 OPS+ in 92 PA and Don Robinson's 114 in 35 PA.

On the other side? Well, we can start with the top of the batting order. Marvell Wynne was the season-long leadoff hitter. With a .310 OPB (although there were several starters with lower OPB than that), zero HR, and a 24-19 SB-CS record. No one hit more than 17 HR. Only Jason Thompson had more than 42 BB.

So, were they the best-pitching bad team ever? Of course, that depends on whether we classify them as a bad team. They were that with their actual record and bottom of the division placement. But their Pythag was the equal of the Padres, and the Padres won the pennant.

That pitching staff wasn't young - every one of the starters except DeLeon was 30 or 31, and DeLeon was the weakest of the five anyway. They would soon break the group up with trades (including trading Tudor to where he would star the next year, getting a 66 OPS+ corner outfielder in return) and the ones they didn't trade faded with age.
   39. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: July 17, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4497787)
I'm considering putting MMP voting on hiatus after the 1985 vote. Interest is waning and I don't have time to sell the project, just enough to keep it going.

I certainly do not want to see the MMP go away since I enjoy the discussions so much but I myself have trouble deciding on a ballot but here's a prelim one:

1. Ripken--amazing he dropped from #1 to #27 in the MVP vote from '83 to '84, 85-win O's were 5th in East but won one more game than West champ Royals
2. Sandberg--great season, helped lead Cubs to first postseason since '45. I just noticed his BB Ref page now has a horrib pic of Ryno with a bad cop mustache
3. K Hernandez--a great comeback story for player and franchise. The right leader for this young team, made everyone better
4. Gwynn--best player on a surprising SD team
5. G Carter--how do you trade this man after this season?!?!
6. Murray--along with Cal, didn't slump after winning it all unlike most of the rest of the team
7. Schmidt--amazing how he put up MVP-caliber numbers almost every year
8. Trammell--most important player on ensemble '84 Tigers
9. Dw Evans--an underrated year by an underrated player
10. Raines--in the middle of excellent string of great years
11. Steib--not a great year for pitchers but looks like he was the best
12. Dale Murphy--maybe not the most dominant player in the game but still excellent
13. Blyleven--quietly excellent with the Tribe

Honorable mention:
W(G) Hernandez, B Sutter, and Quiz had great years out of the pen
Buddy Bell--last great year of an excellent run in Texas, maybe his career wasn't quiet HOF-worthy by he played like a HOFer for the Rangers
Alvin Davis--116 RBI & .391 OBP as a mature rookie for franchise going nowhere
Lloyd Moseby--best hitter of Toronto's young offense

Tough to narrow down to 13... 
   40. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM (#4497796)
I just noticed his BB Ref page now has a horrib pic of Ryno with a bad cop mustache

It is kind of amazing how bad a moustache can make some men look. Ryne is a very handsome man, in a sunny, All-American kind of way, but with that moustache he looks like a pederast. Meanwhile, some men (like my father, for instance) look semi-formed without a moustache, and very good with one.

Also, #38 is exactly the kind of post that draws me to these discussions.
   41. Rob_Wood Posted: July 18, 2013 at 03:01 AM (#4497827)

Who can we contact to try to drum up interest/support/participation in the MMP project?

- Rob Neyer
- Joe Posnanski
- Dan Szymborski
- others ...

If it helps, I'd be willing to write up our results to date and compare them to the actual MVP/Cy Young voting.
   42. DL from MN Posted: July 18, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4497920)
Posnanski is a friend of the HoM. I should make a correction - the 1985 vote will make 25 years (61-85). I think there's a retrospective blog posting there.

Good to see more people interested in voting. It isn't that hard and for me in the 1980s it's like looking at the backs of my baseball cards.
   43. bjhanke Posted: July 18, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4498328)
Sorry, DL, I don't remember much about the 1984 season. I was distracted by other interests that year. The one thing I do remember was talk about the Padres having a "compressed" 4-man offense, where all the good hitters hit back to back. I think Bill James speculated that this probably produced more runs than the players' numbers would indicate, because the placing of the four good hitters in a row helped synergy. I looked the Padres up in BB-REF, though, and while people may have thought that this was true, it was not. The Padres did only have four players with OPS+ over 100, but they weren't hitting in a row. The leadoff man, Alan Wiggins, and the #3 hitter, Steve Garvey, had OPS+ of 90 and 91, surrounding Gwynn, who was clearly the best hitter on the team. Wiggins scored 106 runs because he stole 70 bases, and Garvey led the team in RBI because he always came up when Wiggins was in scoring position, but they were clearly NOT among the four best hitters on the team. Their apparent good hitting results were actually the result of where they were in the batting order. - Brock Hanke
   44. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 18, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4498432)
The Pirates of 1984 were a team in transition, only they didn't realize it quite yet.

The 1983 Pirates had given the Phillies some token competition. As late as the next-to-last weekend of the season the Bucs were only three games out with a season-ending series coming up against their cross-state rivals, with some idea that they might be able to come from behind and grab the division title - an idea that was quickly dashed when the Bucs proceed to drop three straight while the Phils were closing out their 14-of-15 run that finally put the division away. But given that there wasn't a dominant team in the NL at the time, and that the Pirates still had what appeared to be a fairly young core, there was no reason to break up the team. Dave Parker was clearly leaving for a free agent deal, but Doug Frobel looked like a more than passable replacement, and there was reason to hope that Lee Mazzilli could bounce back and provide some offense in the outfield as well, and certainly the Bucs were expecting a bounceback season from Jason Thompson, too. Thompson had been signed to a five-year deal following a monster 1982 season only to lose his power stroke, but he was just 29 and there wasn't any particular reason to think he'd lost it. Sure, there were signs of slippage - the Pirates scored only 4.07 runs per game in 1983, dropping below league average for the first time in a long while - but things didn't really look all that terrible.

To that end, the major deal the Bucs made in the offseason was to move Mike Easler to the Red Sox for John Tudor. They stood more or less pat everywhere else, with Frobel taking over right and Mazzilli platooning with Amos Otis in left with Lee Lacy also available.

And nothing went right from the get-go. Thompson didn't recover his power stroke. Mazzilli didn't hit. Otis didn't hit. Marvell Wynne didn't get any better, neither did Dale Berra. And most importantly, Bill Madlock, coming off his fourth batting title and second in three years, stopped hitting. The Pirates lost seven of 10 on a season-opening road trip to the Pacific Coast and St. Louis, and never sniffed .500 after that; losing 10 of 11 on their second West Coast road swing leading up to the All-Star break essentially buried them.

But they still weren't a *bad* team. Johnny Ray hit .300. Tony Pena had 15 home runs, made the All-Star team, and won a Gold Glove. Lee Lacy and Jim Morrison had good years off the bench. Thompson was still relatively young, there was still some hope for him. Madlock couldn't be done as a productive player. The rotation and bullpen were solid. All the Bucs needed was a power boost in the outfield and they'd be all set.

So that's where they went. Steve Kemp (and Tim Foli to take over at SS) for Berra. George Hendrick for Tudor (replaced by Rick Reuschel, signed as a free agent). Sixto Lezcano as a free agent.

And it failed again - spectacularly - and then the Pirates *were* a bad team. Thompson still didn't hit. Madlock *was* done as a productive player. None of the acquisitions hit. And by the end of the season the Pirates were in full-fledged rebuild mode. Kent Tekulve went to Philadelphia early in the season for Al Holland, who was moved again at the trading deadline along with Candelaria and Hendrick. Madlock was moved on August 31. Foli was released in June. By the end of the season the Pirates were starting Sam Khalifa at SS and trade acquisitions Sid Bream, RJ Reynolds, and Mike Brown, along with holdovers Morrison and Joe Orsulak. After the season the Pirates traded Wynne, and early in 1986 the Bucs dumped Thompson and his contract on the Expos.

The 1984 Pirates were a team that wasn't ready to admit that the glory days were over. They were certainly unlucky to some extent - but the basic problem was that they thought the team, and especially the hitters, were better than they actually were at that point.

-- MWE
   45. OCF Posted: July 18, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4498557)
Johnny Ray hit .300. Tony Pena had 15 home runs, made the All-Star team, and won a Gold Glove. Lee Lacy and Jim Morrison had good years off the bench.

It's kind of a technicality to refer to Lacy as "bench." He didn't exactly have a regular position, but he wound up with 520 PA, which is a lot more playing time than either Mazzilli or Frobel at 309 and 306 PA. And Lacy was the best hitter on the team (.321/.362/.464, OPS+ 132, 21-11 SB-CS which was at lest better than Wynne.) He was the third most valuable position player after Pena and Ray, who had significant defensive and positional value.

Of course, if your best hitter is a 36 year old journeyman 4th outfielder setting a personal high for playing time, that's probably not a sign that your team has much to look forward to. Which is the point that MWE is making, and which the team realized by the middle of the next season.


The Cardinals and the Pirates made two major deals over the next few years. Hendrick for Tudor (a deal which both Mike and I referred to in our comments) was an absolute steal for the Cardinals. Van Slyke and LaValliere for Pena ... not so much.
   46. bjhanke Posted: July 18, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4498592)
The Van Slyke for Pena trade was one example of Whitey having rare bad judgment. He decided that Van Slyke was only a platoon hitter (which explains most of the career of Jim Lindeman), and wanted to trade him so he could get a full-time right fielder. Whitey was obviously wrong about that. Van Slyke did have a platoon differential, but it wasn't large enough to offset his many strengths. But at least Whitey got the Gold Glove catcher he wanted after Porter. - Brock Hanke
   47. OCF Posted: July 18, 2013 at 07:41 PM (#4498608)
But at least Whitey got the Gold Glove catcher he wanted after Porter.

In retrospect, just keeping LaValliere wouldn't have been so bad.
   48. Mike Emeigh Posted: July 19, 2013 at 09:06 AM (#4498757)
Lacy started 1984 as a bench player and he didn't become a regular starter until July. Tanner essentially gave up on Frobel in mid-May but Lacy was still in a semi-platoon with guys like Brian Harper, Benny Distefano, and Joe Orsulak; his playing time gradually increased because he was the only outfielder hitting at all. Lacy managed to parlay that career year into a free-agent deal with Baltimore in the off season.

As a side note, the Orioles were in more or less exactly the same place as the Pirates, although they had two guys in Ripken and Murray who were much better than any Pittsburgh hitter. It took them a while longer to realize that they needed to reload, and they wound up wasting most of the best years of Ripken's career.

-- MWE
   49. lieiam Posted: July 20, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4499708)
Here's my prelim ballot.
no postseason bonus; 10% catcher bonus.
rating is a combo of 6 systems, 4 WAR related and 2 WS related.
This is almost certainly going to be the same as my final ballot.

1 RIPKEN, CAL 9854
5 GWYNN, TONY 7456
6 STIEB, DAVE 7415
8 RAINES, TIM 7097
10 CRUZ, JOSE 6916
13 MURPHY, DALE 6574

16 BELL, BUDDY 6454
17 BOGGS, WADE 6428
   50. Moeball Posted: July 23, 2013 at 03:06 AM (#4501610)
OK, this is the first time I've participated in the MMP discussions - hopefully I can keep this up but it is quite time-consuming to think out (although fascinating as well!).
First, some background to provide a little more narrative from someone who remembers 1984 quite vividly:
1)The Tigers were THE story. It started in early April - Jack Morris and the team got a national TV boost on Saturday, April 7 - the NBC GOTW - Morris pitched a no-no and the Tigers were off and running.
2)The 35-5 start. Think about that. Only 1/4 of the way through the season and the team was already 30 games over .500 and the division race was already pretty much over.
3)They went on cruise control after that and played a little over .500 ball for a few months. On September 4 they were 88-51 (53-46 since the hot start)and Toronto had finally pulled to within 7.5 games of the Tigers. With a 6-game showdown coming up - 3 games in Toronto one week and 3 in Detroit the following week - the Blue Jays had a chance to make a race of it if they could win, say, at least 5 of the 6 games. But this Detroit team seemed capable of literally flipping a switch and turning it on whenever they wanted. They just crushed any hope Toronto had, sweeping the 3 games in Toronto and winning 2 of 3 in Detroit. The lead was back to double digits and Detroit wound up winning the division by 15 games.
4)The postseason - sweeping KC in 3 straight and taking the Padres apart in 5 games. This Detroit team was a machine.
5)Historical perspective - like other great teams such as the 1927 Yankees, the Tigers led wire-to-wire, in first place every single day of the season. They led the league in most runs scored and fewest allowed. They were a truly dominant team. Unlike many other great teams, however, they weren't a team of great strengths so much as a team without any weaknesses. No Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig-type seasons in this lineup. But there were no easy outs in the lineup, either. Parrish only hit .237 with a .287 OBA; but it was a very loud “subpar” season, with 33 HRS and 98 RBIs. A pitcher certainly couldn't take him lightly; but Parrish had much better seasons than this. Darrell Evans and Larry Herndon both had relatively crummy seasons for them, yet still had OPS+ of 105 and 104, respectively. Whitaker and Trammell had excellent seasons, but neither was a "career year". Gibson and Lemon had other seasons about as good or better than '84. No real career years in the lineup, yet every position was at least average or above average. No real weaknesses. The pitching staff was similar. Outside of Willie Hernandez, no one on the staff had a "career" year. Morris and Petry were good, but each had better seasons in ERA+ than '84. It was just a very solid team from top to bottom; the bench was excellent, too.

The other main stories were the surprises in the NL such as the Cubs, led by Ryne Sandberg - someone above already referenced his breakout game against the Cardinals where he homered not once, but twice off of Sutter in key late-inning situations. BTW, this was also a Saturday nationally televised game that woke up a lot of people to what was going on at Wrigley. I've got to think Sandberg was just about the best trade the Cubs ever made, considering he was almost a throw-in on the Larry Bowa- for - Ivan De Jesus trade.

Just for the heck of it - much was made of Rick Sutcliffe going 16-1 with a 2.69 for the Cubs after his trade from Cleveland; almost as important to the Cubs' pitching that season was getting Eckersley from Boston - 10 wins with a 3.03 ERA after joining the Cubs. Two very good trades. Also - Eck had a K/W ratio of over 3:1 in the first 3 innings of games; ratio was under 2:1 in remaining innings. Hmm, maybe beginning to show signs of being better suited to relief work?

My Padres were a very mediocre team that got a bit lucky, but watching Tony Gwynn emerge as a bona fide star was sweet. If you want to know why the Padres outplayed their pythagoran numbers, T. Gwynn is where you start. He was absolutely money in the clutch; he had the highest WPA of anyone in the majors that year. Unfortunately, what most people remember about the Padres from '84 was the Garvey Game in the playoffs against the Cubs. Heck, the Padres retired Garvey's number because of that, which should tell you how pathetic their team history is.

OK, on to my thoughts on the rankings for MMP:

1)Ripken in a landslide. I think the 9.9 WAR (7.7 WAA) B-Ref lists him at actually understates just how good he was that season.
2)Sandberg. Almost single-handedly carried a team into the playoffs that hadn't seen postseason play in 39 years.
3)Gary Carter - I think catchers are horribly underestimated by WAR. A catcher who is a solid hitter, great defensively and can play 159 games out of a 162 game season (143 as catcher)is golden.
4)T Gwynn - most dangerous hitter in the game with runners on base and Gold Glove defense, too.
5)Trammell - in my opinion, second best shortstop in AL this year was also second best player, period. Under the heading of Keltner List, where it asks "could this player, at his peak, carry a team to a championship?" In 1984 Trammell was the World Series MVP; the best player on what was by far the best team.
6)E. Murray - just another in a string of terrific years. Biggest problem for O's in '84 that jumps out at me was that the two-headed platoon monster in LF that had put up MVP-type numbers in '82 and '83 (Roenicke/Lowenstein)just fell off a cliff in '84. But Murray and Ripken were outstanding.
7)Keith Hernandez - ok, this one looks unusual, I admit. But the '84 Mets made great strides forward, winning 90 games despite being outscored by opponents. One of biggest reasons was Hernandez - great clutch hitter, steadying influence in the field.
8)Lloyd Moseby - what a terrific year - excellent hitting, baserunning, fielding, the whole package emerged as real star for Jays.
9)Dave Stieb - other reason Toronto was emerging as a pretty good team - consistently put up excellent numbers despite pitching in good hitters' park. The actual Best Pitcher of the '80s, not Jack Morris.
10)Blyleven - you know, the writers keep trying to push Jack Morris as the "Pitcher of the '80s", but this wasn't even Bert's good decade and he was still a better pitcher than Morris.
11)Mike Schmidt - had a mediocre season for him; still the best 3rd baseman around. Man, that guy was great. Phillies fans still booed him anyways.
12)Rickey - had a poorer season than the previous 4, but had one important trend starting - he was starting to hit for power for the first time in his career, which would make him even more dangerous in the years to come.
13)NY tie - Mattingly/Gooden - both just starting runs of greatness for a few seasons but that sadly fizzled out.

Just missed the cut – Dewey Evans, Jose Cruz, Tim Raines, Mike Boddicker, Chet Lemon, Wade Boggs, Dwayne & Dale Murphy.
   51. AndrewJ Posted: July 23, 2013 at 07:03 AM (#4501628)
The competitive balance in 1980s baseball was pretty damn strong: So many dominant teams -- the '83 White Sox, the '84 Tigers, the '86 Mets -- failed to repeat the following season.
   52. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: July 23, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4502224)
Moeball, great list and great narrative too. Excellent info on the '84 Tigers being able to turn it up and keep the Jays out of contention

7)Keith Hernandez - ok, this one looks unusual, I admit. But the '84 Mets made great strides forward, winning 90 games despite being outscored by opponents. One of biggest reasons was Hernandez - great clutch hitter, steadying influence in the field.

The '84 Mets weren't supposed to contend for the Division title but led the East as late as July 31, ultimately finishing six games behind the Chicago Cubs, in 2nd place, with a 90-72 record.  The '84 Mets were actually outscored 676 to 652 over the course of the season, giving them a pythagorean record of only 78-84.  However, the team rose to the occasion in one-run games going 29-20 with an NL-best .592 win/loss percentage and were an unbelievable 11-1 with a MLB-best .917 win/loss percentage in extra inning games.  Hernandez batted .400 and drove in or scored the winning run in four of those twelve extra inning games including a July 24, two-out, 10th inning walk-off-RBI single against the Cards that, ironically, came off Neil Allen (one of the pitchers Herzog acquired when he shipped Hernandez to the then-Siberia of baseball).
   53. DL from MN Posted: July 24, 2013 at 10:48 AM (#4502697)
Thanks for posting Moeball. I can't have a tie for counting purposes on the final ballot so you'll have to flip a coin.

Gwynn does rate as a very good fielder at this point in his career. Much different player than the later Tony Gwynn.
   54. Moeball Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4503025)
DL - give my #13 spot to Donnie Baseball, then, for 1984. Doc's gonna beat him up one side and down the other in 1985, so let Mattingly have the tiebreaker here.

I just want to reiterate that for me this was a really great time to be a baseball fan. My Padres made it to the World Series in '84, good times indeed. Actually, with the Padres making their first postseason that year, the day games against the Cubs in Wrigley to start the NLCS meant a lot of businesses in San Diego shut down for the afternoon so we all could hit the local pubs and watch the games. It was a big deal at the time.

1982 - Robin Yount has great year at SS and leads Brewers to WS
1983 - Cal Ripken has great year at SS and leads Orioles to WS
1984 - Alan Trammell has great year at SS and leads Tigers to WS

As I've mentioned in other threads, I think this started to change the way a lot of AL teams started to view the SS position - and maybe middle infielders in general - maybe you could have a big hitter at the position after all, even if they didn't field like an Ozzie Smith-type SS. It's not like Yount, Ripken and Trammell were exactly slouches defensively, anyways, even if they didn't look like a prototypical SS. Yount, Ripken, and Trammell in the '80s begat Jeter, A-Rod and Nomar in the '90s, so I think you could see a real shift in philosophy for putting a lineup together.

Of course, I'm wondering why the NL didn't get this first, since Ernie Banks was the real original "Power hitting SS who can actually still field the position well" back in the '50s. I guess Ernie was a true original that no one could duplicate.
   55. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 24, 2013 at 10:18 PM (#4503382)
My preliminary ballot. I calculate Player won-lost records from Retrosheet play-by-play data. I calculate them two ways: tied to team wins (pWins) and context-neutral (eWins). I rank players based on wins over positional average (WOPA) and replacement level (WORL), giving equal weight to both of these and both sets of records (so pWOPA, pWORL, eWOPA, eWORL). I count postseason games equal to regular-season games and give bonuses to catchers and relief pitchers. I also use "best at his position in MLB" as a tiebreaker in some cases. Here's my numbers when I put them all together. Pulling straight from there, then, here's my preliminary ballot (numbers are pWins - pLosses, pWOPA, pWORL):

1. Cal Ripken, 25.8 - 19.6, 4.4, 6.5 - the best season of his career, which says a lot considering he deservedly won two MVP awards
2. Ryne Sandberg, 25.7 - 19.3, 3.5, 5.6 - best 2B in MLB, best player in the NL
3. Alan Trammell, 21.5 - 15.7, 3.8, 5.6 - best player on the best team
4. Kirk Gibson, 23.5 - 15.4, 3.5, 5.3 - 2nd-best player on the best team, arguably the best OF in MLB, strong postseason helps him out here
5. Eddie Murray, 22.5 - 15.0, 3.2, 5.0 - best 1B in MLB (& still my favorite player ever)
6. Gary Carter, 20.0 - 16.3, 1.9, 3.6 - best C in MLB
7. Mike Schmidt, 22.1 - 17.7, 1.9, 3.8 - best 3B in MLB
8. Dwight Evans, 25.5 - 19.8, 2.1, 4.3 - best RF in MLB controlling for context & ignoring postseason (the latter two put Gibson ahead of him on my ballot)
9. Willie Hernandez, 10.3 - 3.4, 3.2, 4.1 - best relief pitcher (& arguably overall pitcher) in MLB, arguably one of the top 5 seasons for a relief pitcher for which I've calculated Player won-lost records
10. Tony Gwynn, 26.9 - 19.1, 2.7, 4.9 - best National League outfielder, best player on NL pennant winner
11. Dale Murphy, 24.2 - 20.0, 1.5, 3.5 - best CF in MLB - looks a lot better in eWins than pWins
12. Rickey Henderson, 22.2 - 17.2, 2.0, 3.9 - best LF in MLB
13. Lou Whitaker, 20.3 - 15.7, 2.8, 4.5 - best 2B in AL, looks better in context than out

Honorable Mention: Dwight Gooden (16.5 - 11.7, 3.2, 4.4), Tim Raines (24.1 - 20.4, 1.2, 3.3), Lloyd Moseby (21.8 - 18.4, 1.5, 3.4), Keith Hernandez (19.8 - 13.8, 2.2, 3.7), Rick Sutcliffe (17.2 - 13.2, 2.7, 4.0), Bert Blyleven (14.3 - 9.3, 2.7, 3.7), Dave Stieb (16.0 - 12.5, 2.0, 3.3)

I'm a little troubled that my ballot ends up having no starting pitchers, and I could give Gooden a bump to get on-ballot (he's 14th as is), but I'll probably just go with what I have.

Unlike many other great teams, however, [the Tigers] weren't a team of great strengths so much as a team without any weaknesses.

I looked at teams using my Player won-lost records, and the '84 Tigers were one of 7 teams since 1947 who were above-average at everything. That said, they also placed 4 players on my 13-man ballot, so they clearly also had some "great strengths" going for them.
   56. DL from MN Posted: July 26, 2013 at 03:32 PM (#4504929)
1984 music I like

Minutemen - Double Nickels on the Dime (one of my favorite records ever)
Husker Du - Zen Arcade (ditto)
Replacements - Let It Be (one more)

Prince - Purple Rain (best year ever for MN music?)
Run DMC - Run DMC
REM - Reckoning
Madonna - Like a Virgin
Minor Threat - Minor Threat
Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
Metallica - Ride the Lightning
Skinny Puppy - Remission
Minutemen - Politics of Time
Meat Puppets - II
Ramones - Too Tough to Die

Edit: Left off Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense
   57. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: July 26, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4504946)
Ernie Banks was the real original "Power hitting SS who can actually still field the position well" back in the '50s

Vern Stephens in the 40's.
   58. DL from MN Posted: July 26, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4504987)
Honus Wagner was the original but nobody made any copies.
   59. lieiam Posted: July 27, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4505284)
here's my favorite albums from 1984:
1- The Fall- The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall
2- New Model Army- Vengeance
3- XTC- Big Express
4- Echo and the Bunnymen- Ocean Rain
5- Felt- The Strange Idol Patterns and Other Short Stories
6- The Smiths- The Smiths
7- Robyn Hitchcock- I Often Dream Of Trains
8- The Stranglers- Aural Sculpture
9- The Go-Betweens- Spring Hill Fair
10-Husker Du- Zen Arcade
   60. DL from MN Posted: July 30, 2013 at 10:08 AM (#4507694)
Reminder to new voters that you should post a ballot in the official ballot thread
   61. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: July 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4507876)
The only album that mattered in 1984: Bruce Springsteen's Born in the USA. Defined my childhood. Along with Astral Weeks and The Clash, the most listened-to album in my life by a wide margin.
   62. DL from MN Posted: July 30, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4507919)
Two more records from 1984

Cabaret Voltaire - Micro-Phonies
Coil - Scatology
   63. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 04, 2013 at 02:50 PM (#4512588)
So, from 1978-1983 I cut myself adrift from the world of baseball fandom as I went to England to look after my grandparents and attend university. While I had hoped to catch up on these seasons with the MMP, life intervened and put a stop to that. The next 'baseball lacuna' in my life would 1990-2002, although I had much less personal responsibility for that one. I shall mentally prepare myself for further distractions from this project when we get to those years.

In 1984, however, I was three years out of university, and living and working in London, England. This was the year I finally got a decent-paying job, and could afford to buy the International Herald Tribune or, even better, the international edition of USA Today. It was kind of hard to catch up, because so many of the players I remembered had retired. The 1984 season would prepare my fallow baseball field for the fertile crops of 1985-89.

I rank players using my own WAR system based on converting wOBA to run values. For hitters, this gives heavy weighting to their value above the league average at their position, as well as the overall league average. For pitchers, I use their opponents'-batting line to calculate a wOBA that I compare with the league-average wOBA as either starter or reliever, as appropriate. These are converted to batting and pitching wins. For both, at this step I add an above-replacement value to their wins. There is also a park-adjustment step earlier on to their original wOBA, before any comparisons. For fielding, I use a modification of fielding Win Shares Above Bench, converting these to wins by dividing the straight WSAB by three.

This preliminary ballot should be moved to the actual ballot thread should it not face strenuous objections, and I don't have time to make any adjustments. I am supposed to be travelling from Tuesday night to either Thursday night or Friday, although this is liable to change at short notice.

1 - Cal Ripken is a full win ahead of anyone else. This season's dominance resembles some of the Schmidt/Morgan seasons of the 1970s.
2 - Gary Carter gets a big boost from park and from his position, to carry him ahead of some players with better unadjusted wOBAs.
3 - Rickey Henderson doesn't look so good in the systems displayed at the top of the page here as he does in mine. I have him close to Carter in value, and again he gains from playing in a pitcher's park.
4 - Alan Trammell is overshadowed by Ripken. Not as much power, didn't walk as much, worse fielder. Nonetheless, he is a remarkably good hitter for a shortstop.
5 - Tim Raines.
6 - Dave Stieb finished exactly equal to Raines, but I put Raines ahead because his raw value was hurt a little bit more by his ballpark than Stieb's, despite my usual preference to break ties in favour of pitchers. Was it harder to hit in the NL or harder to pitch in the AL? This could be another tiebreaker.
7 - Bert Blylevyn has a case to be ranked ahead of Stieb, but I would definitely put him behind Raines, which is another reason to put Raines ahead of Stieb. Blylevyn had better control than Stieb, and although he gave up the same number of homers, he surrendered notably fewer doubles and fewer hits overall.
8 - Ryne Sandberg, in my memory, seemed likely to be at the top of my ballot. But I discounted him heavily on account of his playing in a hitter's haven. Also, NL 2Bs hit really well, almost as good as NL 3Bs. (But shortstops hit embarrassingly badly in the NL.)
9 - Jose Cruz is THE BIGGEST SURPRISE ON MY BALLOT. I have no real memory of him for this season. His raw value is hidden by the Astrodome, but also by the fact that NL LFs were the worst hitters of the three OF positions. (Had Raines played in any other than CF, he again would have done a bit better.)
10 - Mike Schmidt.
11 - Tony Gwynn.
12 - Eddie Murray is the lowest ranked of a trio very close in total value. So I ranked them by their positional adjustments.
13 - Robin Yount gets the nod ahead of Don Mattingly in part because his completely unadjusted wOBA is a little bit higher compared with the positional average wOBA than Mattingly's.

Special Mention should go to the top NL pitcher, Dwight Gooden, whom I rank 15th overall despite a much lower unadjusted wOBA than Stieb's. It does seem it might well have been harder to hit in the NL, than it was to pitch in the AL. And Willie Hernandez provided a second surprise by finishing as high as 16th.
   64. DL from MN Posted: August 05, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4512961)
Thanks for checking in again fra paulo.

Been seeing quite a bit of support for Rickey. Dan R's data shows him 0.8 wins below average in the field which makes him the worst fielder in my consideration set (far from worst in the spreadsheet). Does this match other systems?
   65. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 05, 2013 at 12:18 PM (#4513025)
Does this match other systems?

He is the second worst fielder in my AL top ten, behind tenth-man Dwayne Murphy. (-0.8 FSWAB versus -1.5)
   66. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 05, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4513179)
Been seeing quite a bit of support for Rickey. Dan R's data shows him 0.8 wins below average in the field which makes him the worst fielder in my consideration set (far from worst in the spreadsheet). Does this match other systems?

My system seems him as fairly well above average (which is consistent with his career in general). Baseball-Reference shows him as basically average (+1 in Rfield), which is his worst defensive season between 1980 and 1990 (+12/yr average for those seasons).
   67. John DiFool2 Posted: August 06, 2013 at 07:59 PM (#4514661)
Grasp the rules, since this was such a magical season for the Cubs (until those last 3 games of course), I figured I would become the lone dissenter for the #1 spot:

1. Ryne Sandberg: Okay, 1.4 WAR gap between the two in favor of Cal. How much of that is based on solid evidence, and how much on fuzzier metrics? Defense of course makes up almost all of the difference (23 runs vs. 13): for the 5 years surrounding 1984 (inclusive), BBRef has Cal's D as worth

0 (!)

Avg. 11.2



Avg. 6.0

Other systems might also close the gap.

For some strange reason BBRef gives Cal a 4 run edge on baserunning (4-0), despite the stolen bases being 32-7 to 2-1, Ryno. That simply doesn't pass the smell test, given how much faster Ryno was.

Once you adjust for that stuff, the gap becomes less than half a run, which is too close to call. At that point I'll note Ryno has a 4.6 to 3.5 gap in WPA, and that his performance may have made enough of a difference to ensure his team won the division (vs. the Orioles finishing a distant 5th). I don't put a huge premium on a team's finishing position in such things, but if it otherwise this close I will.

2. Cal Ripken.
3. Dave Stieb. Clearly the best pitcher that year.
4. Gary Carter. A catcher with his D leads the league in RBI's, and finishes 14th in the MVP balloting??
5. Eddie Murray. So how many Cy's and MVP's did these 3 guys win in some alternate universe?
6. Mike Schmidt. Just another excellent season for comparison with some other great retired players, he doesn't seem to get much press anymore...
7. Bert Blyleven. Add him to the Alternate Universe Award list...
8. Alan Trammell. Ditto (this is becoming a trend...).
9. Tim Raines. x5.
10. Wade Boggs. 2nd favorite player of the 80's after Ryno.
11. Tony Gwynn
12. Rick Rhoden
13. Don Mattingly
14. Chet Lemon. Detroit CF was huge back then...
15. Keith Hernandez.
   68. Kiko Sakata Posted: August 07, 2013 at 01:05 AM (#4514925)
Ryno has a 4.6 to 3.5 gap in WPA

How much of that difference is that one game -- the Ryne Sandberg game?

Ryne Sandberg's WPA from that game was 1.063, so, depending on the rounding, possibly all of it.

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