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Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Most Meritorious Player: 1987 Discussion

Tom Kelly’s Twins triumph over Whitey’s Cardinals and Sparky’s Tigers to obtain the 1987 championship trophy. One of the most controversial MVP ballots ever, I expect good participation.

MMP voting will end on November 6, 2013. 1987 pennant will fly forever.

Player			SH WS		BBR WAR
Wade Boggs		32.5		8.3
Tony Gwynn		29.3		8.5
Alan Trammell		35.3		8.2
Ozzie Smith		32.6		6.4
Dale Murphy		28.7		7.7
Darryl Strawberry	30.1		6.4
Eric Davis		29.4		7.9
Tim Raines		33.6		6.7
Mike Schmidt		25.7		6.1
Pedro Guerrero		27.4		4.7
Jack Clark		32.3		5.4
Mark McGwire		29.8		5.1
Don Mattingly		27.0		5.1
Devon White		17.2		5.6
Jesse Barfield		19.1		4.7
Cal Ripken		19.6		3.2
Dwight Evans		24.5		4.7
Randy Ready		17.4		5.8
Tim Wallach		27.5		4.3
Tony Fernandez		23.5		5.1
Paul Molitor		28.7		6.0
George Bell		26.5		5.0
Kal Daniels		21.6		4.2
Bill Doran		23.6		4.7
Willie Randolph		21.3		4.7
Howard Johnson		24.3		4.3
Kevin Seitzer		23.4		5.5
Carney Lansford		23.2		5.2
Brett Butler		20.3		4.9
Robin Yount		26.4		3.3
Andy Van Slyke		25.0		5.5
Terry Steinbach		15.3		3.6
Matt Nokes		19.7		3.4
Benito Santiago		14.6		3.4
Kevin Mitchell		14.4		3.9
Kirk Gibson		20.3		4.3
Barry Bonds		22.0		5.8
Kirby Puckett		28.7		4.2
Andre Dawson		20.0		4.0

Roger Clemens		28.3		9.4
Frank Viola		24.8		8.1
Bret Saberhagen		23.4		8.0
Jimmy Key		23.6		7.4
Bob Welch		19.6		7.5
Orel Herhsiser		20.2		7.4
Doyle Alexander		18.9		6.2
Rick Sutcliffe		18.8		6.6
Mike Scott		18.4		5.6
Jack Morris		21.4		5.1
Charlie Liebrandt	20.1		6.1
Ted Higuera		19.6		6.5
Nolan Ryan		15.9		4.8
Mark Langston		20.7		5.9
Mark Gubicza		16.3		5.0
Jim Clancy		17.5		5.0
Dave Stewart		16.9		4.3
Bert Blyleven		18.1		4.5
Dwight Gooden		13.5		4.1

Tim Burke		19.1		4.2
Tom Henke		18.1		3.4


DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2013 at 05:17 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2013 at 05:21 PM (#4557486)
By position

1B - Jack Clark
2B - Bill Doran
SS - Alan Trammell
3B - Wade Boggs
LF - Tim Raines
CF - Dale Murphy
RF - Tony Gwynn
DH - Paul Molitor

SP - Roger Clemens, Frank Viola, Bret Saberhagen, Jimmy Key
RP - Tim Burke
   2. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4557499)
Tim Raines didn't debut until May 2nd of that season (the Expos' 22nd game) because of collusion (he couldn't sign with his original team until a month into the season but nobody else offered him a competing offer?). Is it appropriate to make some adjustment to Raines's totals for this here? For example, Raines is 6th in the NL in WAR at BB-Ref w/ 6.7. Blowing up his 6.7 to account for the 21 games he missed would give him 7.7 bWAR which would move him up to a tie for third place (still behind Gwynn, Davis). Eyeballing the intro, an adjustment of this kind would probably put Raines #1 in Win Shares.

Is this kind of adjustment kosher for this project?
   3. OCF Posted: October 02, 2013 at 05:53 PM (#4557508)
I'm going to have to hunt through old computer files to see if I can find anything I actually wrote in 1987. Or maybe even hard copy, but that seems less likely. And there will be file compatibility and data storage issues, for sure. But maybe I'll find something?

I'm pretty sure that my contemporary opinion was that the NL MVP should have been Gwynn, and that I thought that Gwynn, Raines, Eric Davis, and Jack Clark all made plausible candidates. #5 on my NL list was Ozzie Smith. I don't know how far my opinions extended - it may have been a top 8 or a top 10, and I think that Murphy, Strawberry, and Schmidt all got mentions.

It's also clear that I didn't really have access at the time to systematic estimates of defensive value. I also didn't have park factors, although I knew about park effects. And I wasn't being systematic about comparing players from different parts of the defensive spectrum, although I was quite aware of the concept of the defensive spectrum.

Of my NL "offensive big four" of Gwynn, Raines, Davis, and Clark, I see above in the WAR column that Clark comes in a fair bit behind the others. That must be about defensive value.

One comment I know I had about Gwynn at the time: his 1987 season line looked like it belonged to Raines.

As for the AL, I know I thought that Alan Trammell should have been the MVP. Beyond that, I don't think I had things lined up in any particular order. Only I knew that George Bell, like Andre Dawson, was nowhere near the top of the list.
   4. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 02, 2013 at 06:26 PM (#4557531)
Is this kind of adjustment kosher for this project?

That's a good question.

If you can give people WWII credit and minor league credit for the HOM, and I think I've seen people give minor league credit on seasonal MMP votes, I can certainly see an argument for giving Raines credit for the time he missed due to collusion
   5. OCF Posted: October 02, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4557544)
1987 is also the source of some of my favorite examples of things.

One is this: if you want to talk about RBI, it really matters a lot more who is batting in front of you than who is batting behind you. "Protection" is just not all that big a deal. Having runners on base in front of you is a very big deal. Take for instance, two third basemen who each batted .300 with 30 HR: Tim Wallach and Brook Jacoby. (OK, if you want to get technical on me, Wallach didn't quite hit .300 and didn't quite have 30 HR, but you know what I mean.) Wallach had 123 RBI and finished 4th on the NL MVP ballot. Jacoby had 69 RBI. Having Joe Carter, Mel Hall, and Cory Snyder all in the same lineup will do that to you. And we know who was batting in front of Wallach.

Along the same lines, Willie McGee had a standard issue McGee-ish season, SLG .434. But batting 5th in the order behind Clark (and Clark's .459 OBP) gave McGee the opportunity to have 105 RBI. While Leon Durham, on the other hand ...
   6. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2013 at 06:39 PM (#4557547)
Candidate Eligibility: Any North American professional baseball player is eligible for the Most Meritorious Player (MMP) award including players in the top Negro Leagues or independent teams. Voters should consider the player’s on-field contribution to Major League Baseball (MLB) team(s) in that season only. If part of the season was spent outside MLB, that value may be considered as well. However, the player’s on-field contribution should be judged in relation to the highest level major league, not relative to a minor league. A season may include playoff or World Series games but does not include spring training or exhibition games. No credit will be given for games not played due to injury, wartime service or contract holdouts.

   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 02, 2013 at 06:51 PM (#4557557)
No credit will be given for games not played due to injury, wartime service or contract holdouts.

Thanks, DL.
   8. OCF Posted: October 02, 2013 at 06:55 PM (#4557560)
What happened to Raines wasn't a contract holdout. He declared for free agency. The official rules in place at the time included that the player could not re-sign with his own team until May 1. Raines received no offers. Which was collusion, and an arbitrator subsequently ruled that the owners were in the wrong. And Raines receiving no offers was utterly ridiculous. I think every team in the majors could have used him, and he would have made every team in the majors better. Even the Yankees who had Rickey Henderson - they could have played one of them in left, one in center, batted one of them leadoff and one of them 2nd, and watch how many RBI's Mattingly would have gotten.

Raines signed with the Expos as soon as it was allowed and he was in the lineup on May 2.

But while it wasn't a holdout, Raines was not playing competitive baseball for any team in any league; he had no actual value during that time, only potential value. (Obviously he was maintaining his skills, since he was quite ready to play on May 2.) That's our conundrum.
   9. OCF Posted: October 02, 2013 at 07:39 PM (#4557609)
It should be added that Andre Dawson did succeed in moving to a new team. He did that by an act of surrender: he went to Cubs and offered to sign a blank contract and let the club fill in the amount. Checking the salaries listed on bb-ref: Dawson's salary dropped from about $1.05 M in 1986 to $700 K in 1987. For a sense of some other salaries at the time: Mattingly was making about $1.97 M, Gary Carter and George Brett each about $2.06 M. Raines had been making $1.51 M in 1986 and wound up getting $1.67 M in 1987.

Of course the sportswriters cheered very loudly for Dawson's decision to allow the owners to keep several hundred thousand dollars that should have been his. And that cheering has at least something to do with why those writers were happy to vote for him for MVP.
   10. DL from MN Posted: October 02, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4557978)
Looking at rate production is acceptable when judging players. I think we changed the language to "contract holdouts" to allow some wiggle room but the intention is you get credit for playing baseball.
   11. OCF Posted: October 02, 2013 at 11:26 PM (#4558023)
I found what is probably the oldest partly recoverable baseball-related document in my computer files. Unfortunately, I can only open it with "recover text from any file" and it clearly had some tables in it, which aren't coming through. It's not an end-of-the year file but dates from mid-September, 1987. It seems to be directed toward MVP and Cy Young cases.

I've got the following position players listed, and this may be in order of a possible MVP vote. I don't see either Boggs or Gwynn; I'm guessing that they were first on each list and got lopped off. I do claim to have RC and RC/27 outs for each, but those numbers haven't survived. Reconstruction what the lists probably were:

1. Gwynn
2. E. Davis
3. J. Clark
4. Raines
5. Murphy
6. O. Smith
7. Strawberry
8. Guerrero
9. Schmidt
10. Dawson

1. Boggs
2. Trammell
3. Dw. Evans
4. Molitor
5. McGwire
6. Mattingly
7. (maybe someone missing here?)
8. Fernandez
9. Puckett
10. Samuel

And I list some pitchers. It's not clear that they're in order for the CY.

Then there's a section for comments. Reconstructed, the comments look like this:

#1: The pitching situation doen't look good, but in fact, the situation in the American League is about normal, with the National League a little worse. We've been spoiled by two very good years. Consider these (run average)/(league run average) cases: (What follows is a table that includes Clemens, Scott, Saberhagen, Tudor, Gooden - I probably meant Clemens from 1986, and Tudor, Gooden, and Saberhagen from 1985.)

#2: Boggs' fantastic offensive year must be acknowledged, but I won't complain if Trammell wins it.

#3: Considering the differences between leagues and ballparks, I think Gwynn is having a better year than Boggs. However, all four of Gwynn, Davis, Clark, and Raines deserve to win!

#4: McGwire is clearly the AL Rookie of the Year; I have no idea about the NL.

#5: For a man talking about retiring, Mike Schmidt is a long way from over-the-hill.

#6: Why don't I think more of Dawson and G. Bell? Look in the walk column - both men make too many outs because they won't take pitches.

#7: Why do I like Trammell, Fernandez. O. Smith, Nokes? Position and defense count, too!

#8: Can you believe that Roger Clemens was left off the All-Star team?


Some comments on my own old comments:

Since this was mid-September, some things would have changed after that. Clearly, I was convinced at the time that I would have voted for Boggs over Trammell. I don't know if I stayed with that after the season was over. In the NL, Jack Clark would have looked worse at the end of the season because he was out hurt, and Eric Davis either tailed off, was hurt, or both.

In #3 - touting Gwynn over Boggs - I won't swear that I had really processed the positional difference between 3B and LF.

I notice that in DL from MN's first post on this thread, his all-star team doesn't seem to have a catcher. Maybe Nokes is someone to look at?
   12. Moeball Posted: October 03, 2013 at 01:06 AM (#4558127)
1987 - wow, what a season! From collusion to pennant races, from corked bats to a bizarre postseason, ending in the first "all home win" WS, it was a year of many stories.

HRs were flying out of the parks at record rates -no one knew about any players being juiced (at the time, anyways) but there was a lot of speculation that the balls certainly were. As it turned out, I think it was in August that one of Howard Johnson's bats got confiscated and, after that, suddenly HR rates went back down. Just weird.

Awards handed out were very strange. Some things that happened kind of needed to, even if they were for the wrong reasons, and some other stuff was just beyond bizarre. Andre Dawson won an MVP for a poor team - writers did need to be reminded that the MVP shouldn't necessarily always come from a pennant winner; the best player - the Most Valuable, I should say - could conceivably come from a losing team. It's just that Andre Dawson wasn't that player. There were many players in the league that year who were much better than Andre Dawson. But the NL Cy Young Award really put the writers in a quandary. Nolan Ryan notched two-thirds of the "Pitcher's Triple Crown" - leading the league in ERA (he was the only starter in the NL to have an ERA under 3 that year - a good year for hitters) and K's. But due to some of the worst offensive support in MLB history - truly historically bad - he had naught but an 8-16 W-L record to show for his efforts. The BBWAA will never, ever give an award named after Cy Young - the king of Wins - to a pitcher with a record of 8-16. There were other starters who had excellent seasons and even had winning records – but no one was a 20-game winner so the writers couldn’t really figure out what to do. They wound up giving the award to closer Steve Bedrosian, a rather dubious choice.

The AL also had some strange goings-on in the postseason awards. The MVP was given to George Bell for his HR and RBI numbers, but given that he probably wasn’t even the best player on his own team – much less in the league – it was a questionable choice as well.

The Twins were one of the first teams to show you could win a championship even if the team wasn’t that great overall due to a short series not requiring the kind of depth needed to be successful during the regular season. Minnesota’s pitching staff had a 4.63 ERA during the regular season – I believe that is the worst ever for a WS champion, and a major factor in the team’s relatively mediocre 85-77 W-L record. But Frank Viola had an excellent season (159 ERA+), Bert Blyleven was still solid later in his career (115 ERA+) and Les Straker was decent as the #3 starter (106 ERA+). The rest of the staff was mostly wretched, but in the postseason you didn’t really have to go with your #4 and #5 starters as all the off days allowed you to go with a 3-man rotation, so opposing teams didn’t see the weak part of Minnesota’s staff. They also caught a break due to the flip-flopping of home field advantage in those days (in even-odd years) so they had HFA in both the ALCS and the WS, despite playing teams with much better records. This played right into Minnesota's hands, as they had a huge Home-Road differential. They wound up winning all 4 of their home games in the WS, the first to feature no road wins in the entire Fall Classic.

Next up: my MMP selections.
   13. Moeball Posted: October 03, 2013 at 02:41 AM (#4558153)
At any rate, on to my list for MMP:

1) Alan Trammell – really put it all together in every sense. Hit the heck out of the ball (154 OPS+), ran the bases expertly (21 out of 23 stealing), kicked it up a notch at the end of the season when the Tigers were trying to overtake Toronto (1.167 OPS from September 1 on to the end of the season) and was a monster in the clutch (1.090 OPS in close/late inning situations). Oh, yeah, and he played solid defensively at the most important position out in the field, shortstop.
2) Tony Gwynn – San Diego’s finest player had his finest all around season. 158 OPS+, stole 56 while only being caught stealing 12 times (yes, he wasn’t always the fat slow guy we saw in the ‘90s), had a career –high 82 walks, scored 119 runs and won a Gold Glove with exceptional play in RF.
3) Wade Boggs – had a real power stroke for the first (only?) time in his career, which made him doubly deadly since nobody could get him out. Also played a much better defensive 3B than he was given credit for at the time.
4) Eric Davis – probably the best actual player in MLB in 1987 – tremendous power, great speed, monster clutch numbers, brilliant defensive play in CF. But he only played in 129 games so that dings him some compared to numbers 1-3 on my list.
5) Tim Raines – as others have pointed out, he lost the month of April to stupidity and corruption by the owners which was (as always ultimately happens in MLB) openly encouraged and rewarded by the media and the public at large. So such stupidity and corruption continues to this day. Raines still had an incredible year and scored 123 runs in only 139 games.
6) Roger Clemens – followed up his amazing 1986 season with an even better one in 1987 when taking the higher run-scoring environment into context.
7) Frank Viola – turned into ace of Twins’ staff with sparkling 2.90 ERA in a hitters’ park in a hitters’ year.
8) Jimmy Key – led AL in ERA despite pitching in Toronto. Logged a whopping 156 innings at home with a 2.36 ERA, something awfully tough to do there.
9) Dale Murphy – last of his run of excellent seasons was solid both offensively and defensively. Too bad his career fell off a cliff after this. Didn’t see it coming.
10) Paul Molitor – only played in 118 games, still led the AL in runs scored with 114. That’s astounding! His only season with an OPS over 1.000.
11) Randy Ready – continuing the theme of outstanding production despite limited playing time. Only got into 124 games but Super Sub played outstanding defense at 2B and 3B filling in where needed and also rang up a 153 OPS+.
12) Ozzie Smith – the Wizard had his best year with the bat (.392 OBA) while still playing his usual stellar defense at SS. Key cog in Cardinals’ success.
13) Jack Clark – yet another player who had a great season except he couldn’t stay in the lineup. Only played 131 games but led NL in both OBA and SLG. Only real power bat in Cards’ lineup carried the bulk of the offensive load most of the season.

Honorable mention – just missed – Mark McGwire – hit 49 HRs his rookie season, demolishing previous record of 38 (something he would do again later in his career). 28 of his HRs came on the road, indicating he was already a good shot to make a run at 61.
Darryl Strawberry, Mike Schmidt and an emerging Barry Bonds also had excellent seasons that just missed making the list. Bret Saberhagen and Orel Hershiser added excellent years on the mound portending of things to come.
   14. OCF Posted: October 03, 2013 at 03:44 AM (#4558164)
Many years later, as the BBWAA ponders the Hall of Fame candidacy of Alan Trammell. Well, you know, he never won an MVP.

As if the hallucination that .308/47/134 is the only argument you need for MVP has anything to do with Trammell or his qualifications. (Of course, the AL MVP could have been Boggs. Or, scanning the WAR lists, Clemens.)

My ancient recovered memo doesn't seem to mention Ryan - but it might be that he is there, just not readably. I know that by the off-season I was saying that Ryan deserved the CY.
   15. DL from MN Posted: October 03, 2013 at 08:57 AM (#4558216)
I forgot to list Matt Nokes at C.

   16. OCF Posted: October 03, 2013 at 07:53 PM (#4558916)
A note on Jack Clark:

In April, May, and June, Clark drew 62 walks and hit 23 HR in 320 plate appearances. He was drawing walks 19.4% of the time (up from 16% in April alone), and hit a HR every 13.9 PA.

That changed in July and August. In 209 plate appearances in July and August he drew 68 walks and hit 11 HR. That's "only" a HR every 19 PA, but he was drawing walks an astounding 32.5% of the time.

That largely seems to have been an adjustment in other teams' strategies. With Clark as the only power threat in the entire Cardinal lineup, other teams seem to have vowed to just never give him anything good to hit. Clark maintained discipline and didn't go chasing bad pitches, but the whole treatment was wearing on him and messing with his timing. His BA dropped quite a bit in those months. Not that many of the walks were recorded as IBB, but the UIBB was alive and well. That was really the most extreme "let's pitch around him" strategy I can recall, other than Barry Bonds in the 21st century. Clark went on to miss most of September due to injury, which is why I didn't include any September stats above.

At the time, Clark was employing an extreme closed stance. He had a violent triggering mechanism in which he stomped down with his back heel just before he pulled back that front leg and opened up his hips. And the violent trigger was the start of a very violent swing. I don't recall any of his HR from that year as being polite little just over the fence fly balls. They tended to be long, long gone.

My 1987 joke proposal for deciding the NL MVP: collect a panel of NL starting pitchers, and wire them to a polygraph machine. Show them slides of the various candidates, in their batting stances, with the pictures taken from the pitcher's perspective. Ask our wired up pitchers to say, "I'm not afraid of him. I can get him out when I need to." And then decide the award based on the cumulative polygraph response. My bet was that that would have tipped the award to Jack Clark. (In other words, TEH FEAR.)

I may expand on this later to talk about the full glorious weirdness of the 1987 Cardinal offense.
   17. DL from MN Posted: October 04, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4559647)
1987 prelim

1) Wade Boggs - #2 last year for me. Boggs versus Gwynn is all positional value. They have nearly equal bats and gloves compared to their position. Gwynn's edge in baserunning is evened out by Boggs playing 3B. The difference between Boggs and Gwynn is rounding error.
2) Tony Gwynn
3) Roger Clemens - best pitcher again and has a reasonably good argument for #1. Top 3 are essentially tied.
4) Alan Trammell - just below the top three at the moment
5) Ozzie Smith - Trammell is the better hitter and Ozzie the better baserunner and defender. Value is pretty close.
6) Dale Murphy
7) Frank Viola - raw scores just below Straw but I anticipate a postseason boost
8) Darryl Strawberry - best hitter 1987
9) Eric Davis
10) Bret Saberhagen
11) Tim Raines - rate production doesn't look any better than anyone ahead of him
12) Mike Schmidt - old man makes another ballot
13) Jimmy Key

14-20) Pedro Guerrero, Bob Welch, Jack Clark, Mark McGwire, Cal Ripken, Doyle Alexander, Orel Hershiser
   18. DL from MN Posted: October 04, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4559864)
#7: Why do I like Trammell, Fernandez. O. Smith, Nokes? Position and defense count, too!

Looks like Nokes is your missing man in the AL list.
   19. DanG Posted: October 04, 2013 at 11:24 PM (#4560534)
Relief pitchers for 1987.

Rk             Player WAR ERASV    WPA  WHIP GF GS    IP Age  Tm Lg  G  W  L  ERA   BA OPS+
1           Tim Burke 4.3  356 18  5.009 0.890 30  0  91.0  28 MON NL 55  7  0 1.19 .196   31
2           Tom Henke 3.3  182 34  2.454 0.926 62  0  94.0  29 TOR AL 72  0  6 2.49 .188   48
3        Todd Worrell 3.2  157 33  3.264 1.268 54  0  94.2  27 STL NL 75  8  6 2.66 .242   82
4     Andy McGaffigan 3.2  176 12  2.248 1.222 30  0 120.1  30 MON NL 69  5  2 2.39 .235   69
5       Dale Mohorcic 3.2  150 16 
-0.272 1.077 54  0  99.1  31 TEX AL 74  7  6 2.99 .245   70
6    Dennis Eckersley 3.0  137 16  1.963 1.003 33  2 115.2  32 OAK AL 54  6  8 3.03 .228   68
7          Dave Smith 2.9  239 24  1.708 1.000 44  0  60.0  32 HOU NL 50  2  3 1.65 .182   36
8           Lee Smith 2.8  137 36  0.078 1.386 55  0  83.2  29 CHC NL 62  4 10 3.12 .259   85
9          Chuck Crim 2.7  125 12  1.690 1.323 18  5 130.0  25 MIL AL 53  6  8 3.67 .266   85
10      Mark Eichhorn 2.7  143  4  1.760 1.269 27  0 127.2  26 TOR AL 89 10  6 3.17 .234   80
11         Dan Plesac 2.6  176 23  1.064 1.084 47  0  79.1  25 MIL AL 57  5  6 2.61 .213   55
12     Frank Williams 2.5  184  2 
-0.060 1.325 19  0 105.2  29 CIN NL 85  4  0 2.30 .254   83
13        John Franco 2.5  167 32  1.705 1.256 60  0  82.0  26 CIN NL 68  8  5 2.52 .245   74
14         Rob Murphy 2.3  139  3  0.204 1.222 21  0 100.2  27 CIN NL 87  8  5 3.04 .239   75
15    Steve Bedrosian 2.3  151 40  3.522 1.202 56  0  89.0  29 PHI NL 65  5  3 2.83 .237   77
16         Jerry Reed 2.2  139  7  1.954 1.261 17  1  81.2  31 SEA AL 39  1  2 3.42 .255   76
17      Jeff Robinson 2.2  139 14  3.681 1.159 40  0 123.1  26 TOT NL 81  8  9 2.85 .209   74
18       Frank DiPino 2.2  136  4  0.961 1.363 20  0  80.0  30 CHC NL 69  3  3 3.15 .253   86
19      Mike Henneman 2.2  143  7  2.507 1.200 28  0  96.2  25 DET AL 55 11  3 2.98 .238   75
20       Kent Tekulve 2.2  138  3  2.787 1.190 38  0 105.0  40 PHI NL 90  6  4 3.09 .243   73
21      Bobby Thigpen 2.2  169 16  2.851 1.236 37  0  89.0  23 CHW AL 51  7  5 2.73 .256   78
22     Mitch Williams 2.2  139  6  1.517 1.445 32  1 108.2  22 TEX AL 85  8  6 3.23 .175   71 
   20. toratoratora Posted: October 05, 2013 at 12:58 AM (#4560594)
OK-I've been meaning to take place in this for some time but lacked the time.I'm thinking of doing a system that takes weighted placements from a few different stats and combining them to form a weighted average type thing-to be specific I was thinking of awarding 10 points to the first place finisher,9 to second,8 to 3rd and so on for each of the following stats, BBRWAR, FWAR and Win Shares, then totaling the player ranking points for each stat to crown a winner.

However, in running a test spreadsheet on this season, I can't help but note that Win Shares has no pitchers in the top ten (This despite FWAR and BWAR both having Clemens leading the majors in WAR). Is there a weakness in win shares that I should know about that would skews pitcher rankings? Or is this just a bad year for pitchers? If Win Shares has a weakness, can anyone recommend a third aggregate rate stat that I could use in it's place,preferably something that will rely on a different defensive matrix than FWAR and BWAR?
   21. lieiam Posted: October 05, 2013 at 01:51 AM (#4560614)
In general Win Shares rates pitchers lower than the various WAR and WARP systems so I don't think this year is an aberration.
To be honest, I'm not sure WHAT defensive systems are used, but I have three possibilities for you:
1- There's the baseball prospectus WARP numbers. I used to be able to access them (w/out paying) but the shortcut no longer works for me (or at least had stopped working many months ago and I haven't tried again since).
2- Through baseball gauge you can download the WAR numbers that he no longer uses on his website (having replaced them with baseball reference WAR)[You can also reference WSAB through baseball gauge but that is similar to basic WS with low pitcher rankings].
3- If you join the hall of merit yahoo group you can access Dan Rosenheck's WARP numbers. You may be able to access them w/out joining the yahoo group but I'm not sure how anymore.

I'm sure there's more out there... but that's what I'm aware of.
   22. DanG Posted: October 05, 2013 at 02:41 AM (#4560615)
You can use a multiplier for modern pitchers with Win Shares that brings them to better equity with position players. Usually I add 25%, raising a 20 win share pitcher to 25. It should maybe be more than that.
   23. toratoratora Posted: October 05, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4560675)
You can use a multiplier for modern pitchers with Win Shares that brings them to better equity with position players. Usually I add 25%, raising a 20 win share pitcher to 25. It should maybe be more than that.

Ok,I like this-weigh the pitchers similarly to a catchers bonus. Using common sense to catch skews was something I was planning on doing anyhow.
I was asking about defensive metrics because I was hoping to find three or so aggregate stats with different base factors so as to catch a representational cross section of what really happened during a season. The different base metrics aren't a necessity but,since I trust defensive stats a whole lot less than offensive stats, I thought that using them would give me a more accurate picture of who really was the best player during any given season and more importantly, mitigate detection risk.
Follow up questions:
1-Is there a basis for using 25% as a bonus for WS or is that a guesstimation?
2-Purely for curiosity,(well,that and better understanding)why does WS underrate pitchers.
3-How does one embed excel tables here?

That said, right now, here's what I'm coming up with. The number in parenthesis is the players total ranking points. The range is 0 (No top ten points) to 30 (Finishes first in all three metrics.Feel free to comment...

1-Clemens(30)-A clean sweep for the Rocket.Didn't see this coming at all but 18(!!) CG,a career high in IP and 7 SO will do that for you. Better than his prior season and,by BWAR,the 3rd greatest season in Clemens illustrious career.
2-Trammell(24)-The man I thought would win. A spectacular season with an elite September run. Per Wiki, "In September, he batted .416 with six homers and 17 RBIs, putting together an 18-game hitting streak in which he hit a .457, helping his team to win the AL East division by two games on the last day of the season"
3-Boggs (23)-IIRC, for years Boggs and the Sawx had been at odds, with Wade wanting more cash and the Sox responded in the negative, that he wasn't a power hitter worth the big bucks. Fine,sayeth the Wade, put me in the three hole and let me hit and I'll show you what I can do. And this was contentious ####. Wade already held a grudge for all those years in the minors, being underpaid and under-appreciated was just the icing on the cake. In 87, The Sox gave in and let him hit back in the order and Wade responded by leading the AL in OPS, hit 24 Jacks and put up the only 1.000+ OPS of his career. My favorite player as a kid. Through the eighties, I used to bet Wade against the field for the batting title.
4-Gwynn (16)-The young skinny Gwynn was fleet of foot (56 steals,13 triples) and had a good glove and 1987 was the HoF'ers best season. Also one of the decades great strat cards, 1 OF, AA and those 82 BB to go with the .370 BA make for a real nice OBP.
5-Raines(11)-Another great strat card and,possibly, Raines best season. Hurt by collusion but not so much that it would really adjust his placement here.Even weighting his stats by an extra 12% to make up for the games he was shorted won't put him above Clemens, Trammel and Boggs.
6-Frank Viola(10)-Bouncing back from a tough season with a 159 ERA+ and his best season to date.
7-Eric the Red(9)-The best all around player in baseball and the one who left you holding your breath in wonder at his possibilities. 37 HR to go with 50 steals and transcendence in the OF.
8-Murphy(9)-The last (And by OPS+ the best) year of Murph's great 80's run.Career highs in HR,OPB and OPS. Who would have guessed that at 31, he was toast?
9-The Wiz (8)-The wiz hits .300 with 89 BB and 40 doubles to go with 49 steals in the best offensive season of his career. A few years back people would have mocked the idea that Ozzie would ever become an offensive force
10-Jack Clark(5)-Always an ass but the man could hit.The only power and truly the straw that stirred the drink on on Whitey's teams of fleet footed switch hitting gold glove ########. As usual, was injured part of the year, playing in only 131 games which hurts his standings.
11-Saberhagen(5)-An odd numbered year so Sabes is on the top of his game. The worst of his great three odd years
12-Higuera(4)-WAR is quite kind to Teddy.I had remembered him a a good pitcher but nothing like what WAR sees. A 119 ERA+ gives a top ten WAR? Hmmm,the Brew Crew had a high park factor but not that high.Were the defenses that bad? BREF shows only three players with DWAR over 0 and the OF of Yount,Deer and Braggs has a combined -2.1 DWAR. I'm a bit up in the air on this one, though I should note that WAR is equally fond of Teddy's terrific 1986.
13-Straw(3)-Straw goes 30/30.

Side note-Had Paul Molitor played enough games he would have made this list. As is he almost did

Comments/criticisms are welcome
   24. lieiam Posted: October 05, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4560927)
addendum to my comment in post 21 regarding toratoratora's question:
I foolishly failed to think about the question and listed one system that I use w/out numbers for pitchers (Dan R's WARP).
anyway, it looks like a moot point anyway as toratoratora has a prelim ballot in the preceding post.
But, still, I had to say something...
   25. toratoratora Posted: October 05, 2013 at 07:12 PM (#4560974)
I appreciated the comments lieiam. I'd like to factor in a few more systems,smooth out any random deviations,so any more systems suggestions are lovely.
I going to run the loose one I just set up now on some prior years, see if it comes up with results comparable to the voting or if it dances way off on it's own,then determine what,if any, adjustments need be made.
   26. Mr. C Posted: October 06, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4561564)
With all the great offensive performances of 1987, the thing that I remember is the last 7 games of the season for the Toronto Blue Jays: blowing a 3 1/2 game lead in the last week of the season. Three in a row to Detroit on the final week end.

Note about DL's top players by position list: Dale Murphy actually played the full season in RF in 1987.

My 1987 all star teams:


C Ossie Virgil
1B Jack Clark
2B Juan Samuel and Bill Doran (take your pick) Samuel waa slightly better offensively and Doran slightly better defensively)
3B yet again Mike Schmidt
SS Ozzie Smith
RF Dale Murphy
CF Eric Davis
LF Tim Raines
SP: Bob Welsh, Oral Hershiser, Rick Sutcliffe, Mike Scott
Rel; Two Montreal relievers: Tim Burke and Andy McGaffigan (basically the same rating)

C Carlton Fisk: Matt Nokes certainly had the best offensive numbers, but defensively, Fisk clearly was better. Either would be a good choice
1B Eddie Murray: Although Mattingly had good defensive numbers, in 1987 Murray's were unbelievable (according to DRA) Either would be a good choice
2B Willie Randolph
3B Wade Boggs
SS Alan Trammell
RF Jesse Barfield
CF Even in a down year Ricky comes out on top, but if you want to choose someone who played totally in CF it would be Kirby Puckett
LF George Bell
DH Paul Molitor
SP: Roger Clemens, Bret Saberhagen, Frank Viola, Jimmy Key
RP: Dale Morhorcic. My heart is with Tom Henke, but he had much superior defensive support than Mohorcic

   27. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 06, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4561586)
Take for instance, two third basemen who each batted .300 with 30 HR: Tim Wallach and Brook Jacoby.

Interesting. Also, Brook Jacoby was a hell of a player for a little while there. Why is today the first time I've heard his name?
   28. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 06, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4561594)
Prelim w/ comments:

1. Clemens
2. Boggs: My emotional favorite. I have had a soft spot for third basemen since childhood.
3. Trammell: Guy can't catch a break. There's always someone just a weeeeee bit better than he is.
4. Gwynn
5. F. Viola
6. Mr Ozzie Smith: easily the transcendent star of the 80s
7. Saberhagen
8. Eric Davis -- Oh, the what ifs. Mike Trout before there was Mike Trout.
9. Dale Murphy, pride of Portland
10. Tim Raines, subject of Bill James' funniest comment in the NBJHA.
11. Jimmy Key, coolest name in baseball that year.
12. Bob Welch, sounds like burping.
13. Darryl Strawberry, second coolest name in baseball that year.
   29. OCF Posted: October 06, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4561701)
Also, Brook Jacoby was a hell of a player for a little while there. Why is today the first time I've heard his name?

Flash back to 1983 for one of the worst pennant race trades I can remember. In August, 1983, Atlanta traded several players to be named later to Cleveland for Len Barker. Barker was a starting pitcher who was, or had been, a star. Named after the season was over, the two PTBNL who mattered were Jacoby and Brett Butler.

Barker was meh down the stretch: 6 starts, 33 innings. 103 ERA+, 1-3 record. And Atlanta finished 3 games behind the Dodgers (yes, Atlanta was in the NL West) to miss the postseason. Jacoby was blocked behind Bob Horner - or he would have been blocked if Horner could ever have stayed healthy. Butler wasn't blocked, but he was playing LF so Dale Murphy could continue to play CF.

Flash forward a couple of years or so. Barker only had about 200 unremarkable innings left in his career, which probably could have been covered about as well by pitchers in the Brave organization. With Horner hurt frequently the Braves went long stretches of time with a hole at 3B. Without Butler, the Braves had no decent leadoff hitter.

I think one of the reasons you haven't heard Jacoby's name is that his 1987 season got so little recognition, and a large part of why it got so little recognition was the microscopic number of RBI. And as I said above, those RBI are really more about Carter, Hall, and Snyder than about Jacoby. There are some bad synergies in stacking several low-OBP sluggers together in the same lineup.
   30. DL from MN Posted: October 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4561704)
Dale Murphy actually played the full season in RF in 1987.

Then it's Eric Davis
   31. Mr. C Posted: October 06, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4561869)
1987 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. Eric Davis 8.44 WARR
2. Roger Clemens 8.32 WARR
3. Dale Murphy 7.75 WARR
4. Bret Saberhagen 7.24 WARR
5. Alan Trammell 7.13 WARR
6. Mike Schmidt 7.13 WARR
7. Frank Viola 6.95 WARR
8. Wade Boggs 6.86 WARR
9. Tim Raines 6.69 WARR
10. Tony Gwynn 6.56 WARR
11. Bob Welch 6.55 WARR
12. Darryl Strawberry 6.40 WARR
13. Randy Ready 6.32 WARR

Rest of the top 20
14. Orel Hershiser
15. Jimmy Key
16. Charlie Liebandt
17. Teddy Higuera
18. Ozzie Smith
19. Jack Clark
20. Rick Sutcliffe

   32. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 08, 2013 at 02:05 PM (#4565287)
Flash back to 1983 for one of the worst pennant race trades I can remember. In August, 1983, Atlanta traded several players to be named later to Cleveland for Len Barker. Barker was a starting pitcher who was, or had been, a star. Named after the season was over, the two PTBNL who mattered were Jacoby and Brett Butler.

Barker was a "star" because he went
8-7 (strike year) and

He also got a lot of press when he threw the first perfect game in some 15 years (A writer interviewed his grandmother, and asked her for her thoughts on Barker's perfect game, she allegedly said, "that's nice I hope he does better next time")

The funny part was that he was no kind of star, he was actually pretty meh, a serviceable 3rd starter more or less. However, the Braves traded their young leadoff hitter/starting CF for him (who was pretty popular in Atl at the time) and Jacoby who was hitting .315/.387/.542 in Richmond (should have traded Komminsk).

The Braves doubled down by extending Barker for 5 years, in 1988 he was the 4th highest paid Brave despite having not pitched for them since 1985.

To be fair to the Braves, Barker had good stuff, you'd see him throw, you'd see 19-12 and 15-11, and you'd say yeah that's about right, but in reality he just gave up too many runs
   33. Qufini Posted: October 08, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4565489)
1987 Preliminary Ranking- Position Players only

1. Wade Boggs, 3B, Boston Red Sox
2. Alan Trammell, SS, Detroit Tigers- based on the generally accepted premise that MVPs come from teams in playoff contention, Trammell was the clear choice in '87 over George Bell. I argued as much at the time, even though I lived in territory that had as many Blue Jay fans as Tiger ones (I lived 1 hr from Detroit, 3 from Toronto). However, I've long since abandoned the idea that MVPs have to come from contenders and while Trammell was great in '87, Boggs was even better. If I were ever to go with my heart over the numbers, this would have been the year.
3. Dale Murphy, RF, Atlanta Braves
4. Tony Gwynn, RF, San Diego Padres- Murphy narrowly edges Gwynn based on slightly better defense
5. Paul Molitor, DH/3B, Milwaukee Brewers
6. Eric Davis, CF, Cincinnati Reds
7. Tim Raines, LF, Montreal Expos- Davis takes the tiebreaker over Raines based on the tougher defensive position
8. Jack Clark, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
9. Mark McGwire, 1B, Oakland Athletics- great rookie year, though in danger of missing the final ballot when I add pitchers
10. Mike Schmidt, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies- the old man is still pretty good

11. Darryl Strawberry, RF, New York Mets
12. Dwight Evans, RF, Boston Red Sox
13. George Bell, LF, Toronto Blue Jays
14. Don Mattingly, 1B, New York Yankees
15. Pedro Guerrero, LF/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
16. Brook Jacoby, 3B, Cleveland Indians
   34. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2013 at 02:36 PM (#4566943)
1987 ALCS

Player    G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS  E
Puckett   5  24  3  5  1  0  1  3  0  5  .208  .208  .375  .583  1  0  0  

Gibson   5  21  4  6  1  0  1  4  3  8  .286  .375  .476  .851  3  0  0
Trammell 5  20  3  4  1  0  0  2  1  2  .200  .238  .250  .488  0  0  1

Pitcher  G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
FrViola  2  2  5.25  1  0  0  0  12.0  14  7  5  9  1.583  
Blyleven 2  2  4.05  2  0  0  0  13.1  12  6  3  9  1.125

Alexander 2  2  10.00  0  2  0  0  9.0  14  10  1  5  1.667
   35. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2013 at 02:39 PM (#4566946)
1987 NLCS

Player   G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS  E
OSmith   7  25  2  5  0  1  0  1  3  4  .200  .276  .280  .556  0  0  1
JClark   1  1  0  0  0  0  0  0  0  1  .000  .000  .000  .000  0  0  X

Mitchell 7  30  2  8  1  0  1  2  0  3  .267  .267  .400  .667  1  0  1
WClark   7  25  3  9  2  0  1  3  3  6  .360  .429  .560  .989  1  1  1 
   36. DL from MN Posted: October 09, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4566949)
1987 WS

Player    G  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS  SB  CS  E
Puckett   7  28  5  10  1  1  0  3  2  1  .357  .419  .464  .884  1  1  1

OSmith    7  28  3  6  0  0  0  2  2  3  .214  .267  .214  .481  2  0  0
JClark   DNP 

Pitcher  G  GS  ERA  W  L  SV  CG  IP  H  ER  BB  SO  WHIP
FrViola  3  3  3.72  2  1  0  0  19.1  17  8  3  16  1.034 
Blyleven 2  2  2.77  1  1  0  0  13.0  13  4  2  12  1.154  
   37. Qufini Posted: October 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM (#4568042)
1987 Full Prelim- (Now With Pitchers!)

1. Wade Boggs, 3B, Boston Red Sox
2. Alan Trammell, SS, Detroit Tigers- based on the generally accepted premise that MVPs come from teams in playoff contention, Trammell was the clear choice in '87 over George Bell. I argued as much at the time, even though I lived in territory that had as many Blue Jay fans as Tiger ones (I lived 1 hr from Detroit, 3 from Toronto). However, I've long since abandoned the idea that MVPs have to come from contenders and while Trammell was great in '87, Boggs was even better. If I were ever to go with my heart over the numbers, this would have been the year.
3. Dale Murphy, RF, Atlanta Braves
4. Tony Gwynn, RF, San Diego Padres- Murphy narrowly edges Gwynn based on slightly better defense
5. Paul Molitor, DH/3B, Milwaukee Brewers
6. Eric Davis, CF, Cincinnati Reds
7. Tim Raines, LF, Montreal Expos- Davis takes the tiebreaker over Raines based on the tougher defensive position
8. Jack Clark, 1B, St. Louis Cardinals
9. Jimmy Key, P, Toronto Blue Jays- 164 ERA+ in 261 innings
10. Roger Clemens, P, Boston Red Sox- 154 ERA+ in 281 innings
11. Mark McGwire, 1B, Oakland Athletics- great rookie year sneaks onto the bottom of the ballot
12. Mike Schmidt, 3B, Philadelphia Phillies- the old man is still pretty good
13. Darryl Strawberry, RF, New York Mets- a great year for NL outfielders; Darryl is the 5th on the ballot and sometime outfielder Clark shows up as a first baseman

14. Frank Viola, P, Minnesota Twins
15. Dwight Evans, RF, Boston Red Sox
16. George Bell, LF, Toronto Blue Jays
17. Don Mattingly, 1B, New York Yankees
18. Pedro Guerrero, LF/1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
19. Brook Jacoby, 3B, Cleveland Indians
20. Bret Saberhagen, P, Kansas City Royals- Hershiser is my top NL pitcher in a lowly 21st place
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 10, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4568188)
I think one of the reasons you haven't heard Jacoby's name is that his 1987 season got so little recognition, and a large part of why it got so little recognition was the microscopic number of RBI.

The 1987 season was also a very good year for home runs so there were quite a few fluky home run seasons - Wade Boggs hit 24 (2nd-best in his career was 11), my go-to guy for fluky HR season in 1987 was Larry Sheets (surely you've all heard of Larry Sheets, right?) - .316/31/94 in 1987, .266 career batting average, 18 HRs in his 2nd-best season. So, you combine the large number of guys with fluky-good HR numbers and Jacoby's fluky-low RBIs to go with it and he just sort of blended in as one more guy who took advantage of the rabbit-ball that year.
   39. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 10, 2013 at 06:02 PM (#4568376)
my go-to guy for fluky HR season in 1987 was Larry Sheets (surely you've all heard of Larry Sheets, right?) - .316/31/94 in 1987, .266 career batting average, 18 HRs in his 2nd-best season.

18 in 338 At bats, Sheets had power, 38 one year in the minors, hit .308/.365/.542 in Japan.

I'd argue that Wally Joyner's 34 was more anomalous, or Moreland's 27

   40. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 10, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4568384)
I'd argue that Wally Joyner's 34 was more anomalous, or Moreland's 27

Fair enough - you're right that the anomaly of Sheets's 1987 season was as much playing time as anything else. Of course, the very fact that you can throw out two more names on top of the three I named and we haven't even mentioned Andre Dawson's 49 home runs kind of reinforces the point: career-high home run numbers in 1987 seemed like they were a dime a dozen.
   41. OCF Posted: October 10, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4568504)
On the surpassing weirdness of the 1987 Cardinals offense:

The Cardinals had a good offense, but they did it in a way that tends to confounds many of the usual notions of how an offense is built. They're skating on the edges of the applicability of many of the usual formulas.

They scored 798 runs, placing 2nd in a league that averaged 731 runs. That's slightly misleading, since they played in a mild hitters park (PF 102) while the Mets and the Giants played in pitchers parks. So if we just take the one simple step of dividing runs scored by park factor (using multi-year batting PF from bb-ref) we get the following table of runs scored:

Mets: 866
Giants: 816
Cardinals: 782
Reds: 753

with the other 8 teams in the league being below average.

OK, the Cardinals were the 3rd best offense in the league. The Mets had the best offense in the league by doing everything well. The Mets had the highest BA in the league, the highest SLG, and the 2nd highest OBP. They even stole bases pretty well, at 159-49. The Giants were a power team, with the power distributed around the lineup. (The Giants were pretty bad at basestealing at 125-96). The Mets had a raw team OPS+ of 108, which was 116 with the pitchers removed. The Giants had a raw team OPS+ of 102, which was 110 with the pitchers removed. (League-wide raw OPS+ was 93.) But the Cardinals had a raw OPS+ of 89, which was 94 with the pitchers removed. That 89 ranked 9th out of 12 teams. So how does a team with notably below average OPS+ become the 3rd best offense in the league? Part of it is basestealing and other baserunning, of course. The Cardinals were 248-72 as base stealers, first in the league in steals while only 4th in the league in CS. But that's only part of it.

Another small part of it was the ballpark. I've said that the St. Louis ballpark was playing as a slight hitters park, but it got there in an unbalanced way. With its huge outfield expanses and high walls, it strongly suppressed HR, but with fast turf everywhere and good visibility for hitters, it enhanced BA and doubles and triples.

Looking at the Cardinals component by component (not corrected for park factors):

They were middle of the pack in hits and BA.
They led the league in OPB. They also led the league in BB.
They were middle of the pack in strikeouts. They had a number of players who avoided the strikeout, but they had two (Clark and Coleman) who struck out a lot.
They were middle of the pack in doubles but 2nd in the league in triples (that's the ballpark)
They were dead last in HR, and 9th out of 12 teams in SLG.

So how did they score so many runs with so little power? Part of it is synergy. There are positive synergies to stacking together several players with high OBP, just as there are negative synergies to staking together several players with low OBP. (The Cleveland team that year is one example of the latter.) And part of it is efficiency of lineup construction.

The usual leadoff hitter was Vince Coleman. Coleman was one of the greatest baserunners in the history of the game, but in his first two seasons, he was no kind of hitter. In 1987, he drew enough walks and hit enough singles to get his OBP up to .363. Which, given his baserunning, was all he needed to be useful. The usual #2 hitter was Ozzie, having the offensive year of his career: .392 OPB, 40 doubles, and he was an excellent and efficient baserunner himself. Terry Pendleton had shown he could field the position at 3B, but his bat had been a disappointment, mostly - but in 1987, he showed up with his own .360 OPB in the #3 spot. So three OPB's in a row above .360, they could all run, and the three of them hit 15 HR all combined. That left a lot of base runners on for Jack Clark, and as I mentioned above, Clark was a monster. But as I also mentioned above, the other teams took to pitching around Clark. Which left even more base runners on for Willie McGee in the #5 spot, with a .285 BA and 37-11-11 extra base hit line. I don't see an easy way to make comparative remarks about LOB. I'm sure the Cardinals had plenty of them, but it was still an efficient lineup.

Before the season started, the Cardinals made one big trade. And, in retrospect, of all the deals that Whitey Herzog made in his 1981-1987 run, some of them very sharp, this one may have been the worst. With Darrell Porter now gone, Whitey really wanted a catcher, and he had his eye on the one he wanted: Tony Pena. Pena was a flamboyant defensive catcher (including that he often sat rather than squatted), and if he could keep his average up near .300, he was a pretty good hitter for a catcher as well. The Cardinals trended Andy Van Slyke, Mike Lavalliere, and a pitching prospect named Mike Dunne to Pittsburgh for Pena. The fan base loved it. "We got Tony Pena!" Van Slyke was a CF-quality defender playing RF, and a left-handed hitter with a large platoon split. A lot of his offensive value was in places other than BA. Whitey failed to see Van Slyke's value, and basically never let him play against LHP. (J.D. Drew would travel a similar path a number of years later.) The Pirates made him a full-time CF. He still had the platoon split, but he was worth playing full time.

The trade bombed. Pena couldn't keep his BA up, and he didn't do much besides BA, so he was a bad hitter in 1987. Lavalliere was a decent enough defensive catcher and he could even hit a little. WAR values for 1987-88-89: Pena -1.1, 2.4, 0.9. Lavalliere 2.9, 2.1, 1.3. So even if it had been a straight-up catcher for catcher swap, the Cardinals would have lost the trade. And then without Van Slyke they basically had no right fielder. So they improvised. Of the several people who played RF that year, the most effective was Jose Oquendo. Oquendo could have been a pretty respectable SS, although of course that position was not open. He was excellent at getting on base and had no power at all. His slash stats were .286/.408/.335. So add him to the high OBP's piled together in that odd offense.
   42. All In The Guetterman, Looking Up At The Stargell Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:15 AM (#4569025)
Good stuff, OCF.

IIRC, Pena got a hand or wrist injury he played through which sapped his BA.

IN RE: that trade, my pet theory that I've mentioned before is that Herzog's judgement was waylaid by his memory of himself and of Mickey Mantle; no other white OF could remotely compare to Mantle. Van Slyke was blond and thin and fast, superficially resembling them both. He was no Mantle, but no Herzog either. Yet I think Herzog saw more of a younger version of himself in Van Slyke, and he was always truly (no false modesty) self-deprecating about his abilities as a player. Van Slyke was pretty much doomed with St. Louis.

As for real, long term value of course the trade was bad, but even worse was the timing. At the time of the trade, Pena had cachet as the slickest fielding catcher in the league, best against the running game, best range, plus he could hit fairly well. Then his BA sucked with the Cardinals and, that year, Santiago debuted with San Diego and he appeared to be a whole level better than Pena ever was. St Louis's new and long-coveted catcher wasn't the best in the league anymore even if he hadn't got hurt and his batting gone in the toilet. Then LaValliere proved to be decent and Dunne had one very good year in 88 and of course Van Slyke became what everyone knows.

In retrospect, Clark was even more important than he appeared, and as you say, he was obviously a monster that year. Attempts to replace his production with Brunansky and, especially, Bob Horner were pathetic failures. Guerrero's one good year in 1989 was not coincidentally the one good year the team had in the balance of Whitey's tenure.
   43. jdennis Posted: October 11, 2013 at 02:23 AM (#4569039)
I have Burke as the top pitcher in the NL (weak field) and Key as the top pitcher in the AL. Rough guesstimate:

1. Boggs
2. Key
3. Trammell
4. J. Clark
5. Davis
6. Gwynn
7. Clemens
8. McGwire
9. Viola
10. Murphy
11. Evans
12. Molitor
13. Strawberry
14. D. Alexander
15. Raines
   44. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 11, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4569083)
To be fair to the Braves, Barker had good stuff, you'd see him throw, you'd see 19-12 and 15-11, and you'd say yeah that's about right, but in reality he just gave up too many runs

Barker had great stuff, I wouldn't fault an GM that watched him pitch and thought he was on the verge of breaking through if he could get on a better team. Sorta like Gil Meche on the Mariners, to pull a name out of the air. He got hurt and never really had a chance to refine his game, but I understand the gamble.
   45. dlf Posted: October 11, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4569158)
Pena was a flamboyant defensive catcher (including that he often sat rather than squatted) ...

He didn't just sit, he would put one leg out to the side kind of like a hurdler's stretch and then bend at the waist. By doing so, he kept his target v-e-r-y low. Combine this with the move away from the Umpires' outside chest protector in the AL (the NL had done so several years earlier) and this resulted in a further lowering of the strike zone. This was the ultimate conclusion in the evolution of the catcher's croutch from the pre-1900s catchers setting up several feet behind the batter and standing up, to the barely bent knees of the deadball era (allowing a quicker reaction to bunts) to the 90 degree angle of the Berra-Campanella generation to the resting nearly on the heels of Bench's generation. The strike zone followed south to where pitches above the belt were virtually never called strikes for Pena and subsequent catchers.
   46. OCF Posted: October 11, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4569249)
In the fantasy world of what if the Cardinals had never made the Pena trade... OK, they won the pennant anyway and took the WS to 7 games, so what am I asking for? But if you just made Van Slyke the everyday RF, and Lavalliere the regular catcher: Van Slyke hit .293/.354/.507 in 1987. He would mostly have replaced Curt Ford (.285/.325/.408) and Lindeman and Morris, who were pretty bad. Oquendo would still have seen a lot of use as the first option off the bench, the guy you could double-switch with absolutely anyone since he could play anywhere. Then you'd have Lavalliere's .300/.377/.365 instead of Pena's .214/.281/.307, which is a pretty big change. (Both in about 400 PA, so still need lots of backup C.) If McGee could have 105 RBI hitting .285/.312/.434 in the #5 spot, then Van Slyke could have had maybe 115 RBI in the same spot, and McGee would still have had opportunities batting 6th. Lavalliere would probably go to #8, but he'd be a .300-hitting #8, and his OBP would have rolled a lot of innings around. Clark going down in September would still have hurt, but they'd have been a little better-equipped to handle it in house - say Van Slyke in the cleanup spot, and maybe have him play 1B with Oquendo in the outfield.
   47. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 11, 2013 at 01:11 PM (#4569258)
Tim Burke, 1987:

Burke missed the first couple of weeks of the season, as Andy McGaffigan and Randy St. Claire split the save opportunities. When Burke came back he was relegated to the secondary role in the pen he'd had his first two seasons, until McGaffigan and St. Claire pitched their way out of key relief roles after some disastrous outings against the Reds in mid-May. Burke pitched well is his first crack at the end-game role for about a month, then he too had a couple of bad outings, one against Pittsburgh and one against the Cardinals, and was unceremoniously dumped back into the support role in favor of Jeff Parrett, fresh off the DL himself. Parrett failed miserably while Burke recovered his form, and by mid-July Burke was back closing games. From July 19 through the end of the season Burke was 5-0 with 10 saves and no blown saves, and allowed runs in just 4 of 26 appearances, while stranding 8 of 11 inherited runners. And the Expos, who were seven games back of the Cardinals when Burke was re-inserted into the closer role, went into a 4-game set in St. Louis at the start of the last week within 3 gamesa and with a chance to move in front with a sweep only to be shut out in a doubleheader by Joe Magrane and Greg Mathews (a doubleheader in which the Cardinals managed just 4 runs themselves).

-- MWE
   48. bjhanke Posted: October 12, 2013 at 05:52 AM (#4570246)
Tora - I've been, for several years of MMPs now, tracking the disconnect between Win Shares and WAR on the value of pitchers (all the WAR systems that I know of have this characteristic in common). I, personally, am much more inclined to believe Win Shares on this. That is, I think that WAR systems overrate pitchers, at least in the late 1970s and the 1980s. If you want to see how it all stacks up, you might try what I do to start my yearly analysis: I rank by ordinals the players at the top of the discussion thread by Win Shares and then by WAR. Out of that, I can compile a good first guess as to my ballot. I ALWAYS find (this has been going on for over a decade of MMP votes) that WAR has pitchers ranked higher than Win Shares. Other than that, the systems have their differences, but nothing like the pitching one. But I, at least, don't think that the mistake, if there is a mistake instead of an approach difference, is in Win Shares.

OCF - One of the reasons that the Cards scored more runs than you might expect is that Whitey finally got Willie McGee to accept hitting 5th. Willie hated doing that, would complain in the press, and sometimes downright sulk. He thought of himself as a leadoff man or a #2 hitter behind Coleman. Whitey, however, realized that 1) his team had no power aside from Jack Clark, 2) Ozzie Smith had turned himself into a good leadoff man, and a much better #2 hitter than Willie was, 3) Willie didn't take walks, so his OBP wasn't leadoff-man high, and 4) although fast, Willie was also a lousy base stealer. With this team, Willie had as much power as any other #5 hitting candidate. He also had - how to say this - a very high percentage of Hits per Plate Appearance. With no walks, he had a high percentage of AB within his PA, and he did hit for a high average. That profile is worth more hitting 5th than 2nd.

Also, Whitey's problem with Van Slyke was the platoon differential, and nothing else. He just could not live with it, and talked about it constantly on the air and in the press. Jim Lindeman is on the 1987 roster mostly because he had become the righty side of a RF platoon with Van Slyke before the trade. In 1987, Curt Ford played RF instead of Lindeman because Whitey wasn't crazy enough to think that Lindeman could actually hit or play RF. He'd just gotten stubborn obsessing over Van Slyke's platoon splits.

One more note: This is the Cardinal team that was famously described as "Jack Clark and the Seven Leadoff Men." You'll hear that sometimes about the 1985 team, but that team had Darryl Porter and Andy Van Slyke. It was not really lacking in power, although it wasn't going to lead the league in homers or anything.

And finally, I bow to no one in my respect for Jose Oquendo, but by 1987, he no longer ran fast enough to play CF regularly, or to beat Andy Van Slyke out of any OF spot. Also, Willie McGee would have gone absolutely ballistic had Whitey tried to hit him as low as 6th. What Whitey SHOULD have done was to bench Terry Pendelton and play Oquendo at 3B. But Whitey kept on waiting for Pendelton to start hitting for power, which only happened when he got to The Launching Pad. - Brock Hanke
   49. OCF Posted: October 12, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4570369)

No, I wouldn't have benched Pendleton. Above, I listed his .360 OBP as one of the positive attributes of the offense, and while Oquendo could have been a respectable defender at most positions, I would assume that Pendleton was a better defensive 3B than Oquendo could have been. (I remember him being particularly good at running down outfield foul flies from his 3B position). And while 12 HR isn't all that many, it's more than zero (which is what Oquendo hit.) Now, Oquendo in the lineup instead of Herr might have worked out ... never mind. Doesn't matter all that much.

In my "what if Van Slyke had still been there" fantasy lineup, I suppose you could have batted Van Slyke 3rd instead of 5th. But he would have been the best suited to "protect" Clark. Only change the wording, since I don't really believe in "protection". Call it "payback" instead. So you're going to walk him anyway - we want to cash in some runs on the deal. Of course, Ozzie had to bad 2nd - he was just so well suited to that lineup spot.

The team was full of skinny black guys. But of course, you could recognize McGee instantly from 1000 yards away, and Ozzie and Coleman were reasonably distinctive as well. The generic one - "There's a skinny black guy but who is he?" - that was Curt Ford.


During last night's game, I saw a shot of Bob Gibson in the dugout. The red jacket was maybe a little over the top, but the man looked good. Then I went and added it up: wow, he's 78 years old! Doesn't look it.
   50. OCF Posted: October 13, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4571072)
A look at 1987 starting pitchers:

I just noticed some information in bb-ref. I don't know if it's new, or if it's been there and I hadn't previously noticed. For each pitcher, there's RA, there's a defensive support adjustment, there's a customized park factor, there's a customized average runs against environment, and there's a role adjustment, which is usually about .15 runs per game (that is, starters averaged about .15 higher RA than relievers.)

Here are some pitchers presented in the old way that I have been doing in previous years:

Clemens 22-9
Viola 19-9
Saberhagen 19-10
Key 20-9
Higuera 17-12
Liebrandt 17-10
Langston 18-12

Welch 17-11
Hershiser 18-12 (good hitter)
Sutcliffe 15-11
Scott 17-11 (bad hitter)

Now, what would happen if I used all of the new information? I decided to leave out one piece of it - the approximately .15 starter role adjustment. But I used everything else.

Clemens 22-9
Viola 19-9
Saberhagen 19-9
Key 19-10
Higuera 18-11
Liebrandt 17-10
Langston 18-12

Welch 18-9
Hershiser 18-11
Sutcliffe 17-10
Scott 17-10

So the AL pitchers came out about the same. It looks like leaving out the role adjustment kept that comparability. But the NL pitchers all look better on the new version than the old version, which worries me some - maybe there's something a little off in the adjustment for DH/non DH?

The biggest item is the defensive support. Key had better than average defensive support while Higuera had worse than average support. So the new stats push Key down a little and pull Higuera up a little.
   51. lieiam Posted: October 13, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4571208)
here's my prelim using my normal methods.
it's tight at the top!!

1 Clemens, Roger 9328
2 Trammell, Alan 9220
3 Boggs, Wade 9043
4 Gwynn, Tony 8269
5 Raines, Tim 7996
6 Davis, Eric 7983
7 Murphy, Dale 7679
8 Viola, Frank 7632
9 Smith, Ozzie 7504
10 Clark, Jack 7307
11 Strawberry, Darryl 7247
12 Saberhagen, Bret 7223
13 Key, Jimmy 7161

14 Molitor, Paul 6827
15 McGwire, Mark 6458
16 Schmidt, Mike 6393
17 Hershiser, Orel 6345
18 Higuera, Teddy 6138
19 Welch, Bob 6068
20 Guerrero, Pedro 5998

   52. EricC Posted: October 18, 2013 at 06:30 AM (#4576630)
My long-delayed 1987 prelim.

I had forgotten just how big a spike year 1987 was, and that it had
the highest HR rate ever up until then.

As usual, a mix of ~75% Win-Shares and ~25% WAR, with consideration of
position and rates of production.

Dawson would be around 100th. Now, maybe he was more clutchy than the
uberstats indicate, and doesn't deserve to be this low. There was
no way, however, that he was as deserving as Straw, Gwynn, or Murphy,
3 other RF in the same league.

1. Alan Trammell
2. Roger Clemens
3. Jimmy Key
4. Paul Molitor
5. Frank Viola
6. Tim Raines
7. Wade Boggs
8. Ozzie Smith
9. Eric Davis
10. Bret Saberhagen
11. Jack Clark
12. Daryl Strawberry
13. Tony Gwynn

14-21. Orel Hershiser, Dale Murphy, Kirby Puckett, Willie Randolph,
Charlie Liebrant, Pedro Guerrero, Mark Langston, Mark McGwire

Top C: Nokes
Top RP: Burke
   53. DL from MN Posted: October 22, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4580399)
Raines received no offers.

Imagining the Twins with Raines instead of Dan Gladden, who was acquired that offseason via trade. Wow.
   54. OCF Posted: October 22, 2013 at 09:32 PM (#4580560)
Addendum to post #50, for the National League

Doing it my old way:

Welch 17-11
Hershiser 18-12 (good hitter)
Sutcliffe 15-11
Scott 17-11 (bad hitter)
Ryan 15-9 (dreadful hitter)

Doing it my new way:

Welch 18-9
Hershiser 18-11
Sutcliffe 17-10
Scott 17-10
Ryan 15-8

So while I may have thought at the time that Ryan deserved the NL Cy Young, this doesn't really bear that out. (And you do have to dock him for his Koufaxian offensive stats.) But still - he was a LOT better than 8-16.
   55. toratoratora Posted: October 22, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4580612)
In one of my initial runs Ryan came in at 15...which shocked me.fWar loved his season,placed him as the 9th most valuable player in baseball that year. Led the league in K's,ERA+, H/9, SO/9 and somewhat shockingly SO/BB.All in front of a worse than average defense. Even weighing in the Astrodome's PF of 92 (96 multiyear),that's a season that deserved a whole lot more than 8-16.
He finished fifth in the CYA voting, the first time I can ever remember a real discussion about a pitcher with a losing recorded perhaps being the best pitcher in his league.
   56. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4580793)
He finished fifth in the CYA voting, the first time I can ever remember a real discussion about a pitcher with a losing recorded perhaps being the best pitcher in his league.

The NL Cy voting created all sorts of issues for the voters. The guy who won the most games (Sutcliffe) and the guy who won the second-most games (Shane Rawley) didn't sniff the ERA lead (although Sutcliffe cracked the top 10 in ERA+). The ERA leaders were Ryan, Pittsburgh rookie Mike Dunne, Hershiser, and Rick Reuschel. Ryan was under .500, as noted, and Hershiser was right at .500. Dunne barely qualified for the ERA title, and Reuschel was 13-9 and didn't pitch especially well after going to the Giants. Hershiser probably should have won the award; he pitched more innings than anyone else in the league (in part because LA had an awful bullpen most of the year; the top 3 in NL IP were all Dodgers) and finished third in ERA. But he got lit up in two late-season starts against the Giants and the Astros, which cost him a sub-3 ERA, an over-.500 record, and most likely the award.

-- MWE
   57. James Newburg Posted: October 24, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4582118)
My ballot uses Win Probability Above Replacement to rank players. To calculate this, I first take context-neutral WPA (WPA/LI) to measure batting and pitching contributions. Then, I apply each player's batting runs-to-WPA/LI ratio and apply it to their fielding runs and positional adjustment. For instances in which the batting runs to wins ratio is exceptionally small or large, I adjust the fielding runs to wins ratio at 10:1. Finally, I add in a replacement level adjustment for playing time (WAR - WAA).

The 1987 ballot is very tight. One win separates the top seven players, so it's not like I can say with certainty that Mike Schmidt is the MMP, even though he gets my first-place vote. It's really just measurement error and you can make a case for any one of the top seven.

1987 Ballot

1. Mike Schmidt - 8.3 WPAR (4.4 O / 1.7 D / 2.1 R)
2. Dale Murphy - 8.2 WPAR (5.3 O / 0.6 D / 2.3 R)
3. Tim Raines - 8.0 WPAR (5.6 O / 0.1 D / 2.3 R) - Adjusted for collusion lockout.
4. Eric Davis - 7.9 WPAR (5.1 O / 0.9 D / 1.9 R) - If he was more durable, he would have won the MMP.
5. Alan Trammell - 7.8 WPAR (4.9 O / 0.8 D / 2.1 R)
6. Ozzie Smith - 7.6 WPAR (2.2 O / 3.1 D / 2.3 R)
7. Wade Boggs - 7.4 WPAR (4.6 O / 0.8 D / 2.0 R)
8. Roger Clemens - 7.0 WPAR (4.6 P / 2.4 R)
9. Tony Gwynn - 7.0 WPAR (4.6 O / 0.1 D / 2.3 R)
10. Jimmy Key - 7.0 WPAR (4.7 P / 2.3 R)
11. Frank Viola - 6.6 WPAR (4.4 P / 2.2 R)
12. Randy Ready - 6.4 WPAR (3.5 O / 1.4 D / 1.5 R) - Another MMP-caliber season on a per-game basis.
13. Darryl Strawberry - 6.3 WPAR (5.6 O / -1.5 D / 2.2 R)
   58. DL from MN Posted: October 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4582308)
James - thanks for the ballot. I have a couple questions

1) Do you consider postseason performance?
2) Who is your top NL pitcher?
   59. James Newburg Posted: October 24, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4582388)
I don't consider postseason performance, though I'll revisit doing so.

My top NL pitcher is Orel Hershiser at #14.
   60. The District Attorney Posted: October 24, 2013 at 02:03 PM (#4582417)
Raines receiving no offers was utterly ridiculous. I think every team in the majors could have used him, and he would have made every team in the majors better. Even the Yankees who had Rickey Henderson - they could have played one of them in left, one in center, batted one of them leadoff and one of them 2nd, and watch how many RBI's Mattingly would have gotten.
Someone figure this out, I would love to have a guess.
   61. OCF Posted: October 24, 2013 at 02:16 PM (#4582425)
One issue with that is that Henderson wound up having an injury-shortened season.

Two partial seasons by leadoff hitters:

Henderson: 95G, 440 PA. .291/.423/.497. 78 runs. 4.7 WAR.

Molitor: 118G, 542 PA. .353/.438/.566. 114 runs. 6.0 WAR.
   62. lieiam Posted: October 26, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4584112)
Here's (at least for the moment) my 10 favorite albums of 1987:
1- The Chameleons- Strange Times
2- McCarthy- I Am A Wallet
3- Husker Du- Warehouse: Songs and Stories
4- For Against- Echelons
5- Galaxie 500- Today
6- The Wipers- Follow Blind
7- The Go-Betweens- Tallulah
8- The Dukes of Stratosphear- Psonic Psunspot
9- The Smiths- Strangeways Here We Come
10-The Pixies- Come On Pilgrim
   63. Kiko Sakata Posted: October 28, 2013 at 10:25 PM (#4587998)
My preliminary ballot.

As always, I calculate my own Player won-lost records from Retrosheet play-by-play data. I calculate them two ways: pWins tie to team wins, eWins are context-neutral; I look at wins over positional average (WOPA) and replacement level (WORL). I include postseason games, weighted the same as regular-season games; I give a slight boost to catchers and relief pitchers; I give some weak preference to players who are the best in the majors at their position.

Mixing it all together, I get weighted stats here, which I then tweak a little bit to create my final ballot:

(numbers here are pWins - pLosses, pWOPA, pWORL, all including postseason games)

1. Alan Trammell (23.0 - 16.5, 4.1, 6.1) - best player in MLB - 3rd different AL shorstop to top my ballot in 6 years (all pretty easily)
2. Roger Clemens (18.4 - 11.9, 3.6, 5.1) - best pitcher in MLB
3. Darryl Strawberry (24.3 - 16.4, 3.1, 5.1) - best player in NL (it surprised me too)
4. Ozzie Smith (23.4 - 19.2, 2.6, 4.7) - pretty close to Strawberry
5. Frank Viola (19.2 - 14.0, 3.0, 4.6) - very good season, but clearly behind Clemens among AL pitchers
6. Wade Boggs (19.2 - 14.6, 2.3, 3.9) - best 3B in MLB
7. Dale Murphy (22.1 - 19.0, 0.7, 2.7) - two full wins better in eWins (context-neutral) than pWins, top 5 in MLB by the former
8. Teddy Higuera (16.5 - 12.2, 2.5, 3.9) - much better year for AL pitchers than NL
9. Mike Schmidt (22.6 - 16.8, 2.4, 4.3) - I forgot he was still this good this late
10. Eric Davis (20.8 - 15.0, 2.4, 4.1) - best CF in MLB, what a joy to watch him when he was young and healthy
11. Bret Saberhagen (15.5 - 10.9, 2.6, 3.9) - 4th-best pitcher in MLB, also 4th best in AL
12. Orel Hershiser (17.4 - 15.6, 1.9, 3.6) - best NL pitcher
13. Jimmy Key (14.3 - 10.8, 2.0, 3.3) - 6th pitcher on my ballot is a little more than I'd like, but I don't see a good position player to replace him.

Honorable mention: Bob Welch, Rick Reuschel, Jack Clark

My system really doesn't care for Tim Raines or Tony Gwynn (they're probably both toward the bottom of my top 20). I'm not entirely sure why: the missed time is part of it with Raines; for Gwynn, my system rates him above average at everything (hitting, baserunning, fielding), just not quite enough above-average, I guess. I debated tossing him onto the bottom of the ballot, perhaps as high as 11th since the ballot's pitcher-heavy anyway. I might still do that when I shift to the ballot thread. We'll see.

   64. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4588425)
1987 music I like

Sonic Youth - Sister
Husker Du - Warehouse
U2 - Joshua Tree
Big Black - Songs about #######
REM - Document
Minutemen - Ballot Result
Love and Rockets - Earth, Sun, Moon
Pixies - Come on Pilgrim
Jesus and Mary Chain - Darklands
Dinosaur Jr - You're Living All Over Me
Replacements - Pleased to Meet Me
Public Enemy - Yo! Bum Rush the Show
Front 242 - Official Version
Einsturzende Neubauten - 5 on the Open Ended Richter Scale
Skinny Puppy - Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate
Butthole Surfers - Locust Abortion Technician
Tom Waits - Frank's Wild Years
Depeche Mode - Music for the Masses
Jane's Addiction - S/T
Faith No More - Introduce Yourself
Aerosmith - Permant Vacation
Bruce Springsteen - Tunnel of Love
X - See How We Are
Guns and Roses - Appetite for Destruction
   65. DL from MN Posted: October 29, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4588926)
Looks like a pretty clear 3-way split for 1st place after all these prelims. This will be one of our more interesting elections.
   66. OCF Posted: October 29, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4589011)
On Whitey Herzog's run with the Cardinals: the "all-Whiteyball" team.

For the most part, I'm going to pick players from the 1982, 1985, and 1987 pennant winners. The team will feature defense and speed.

C: 1982 Darrell Porter (the Tony Pena experience did not work out.)
1B: 1982 Keith Hernandez. (Jack Clark was a better hitter, especially in 1987, but Clark comes with significant health baggage, and there is a vast difference in defense. I like the idea of giving this team a magnificent defensive infield.)
2B: 1985 Tom Herr
3B: 1987 Terry Pendleton
SS: 1987 Ozzie Smith (He was probably a little stronger on defense earlier in the decade, but he was still Ozzie, and this was his peak as an offensive player.)
LF: 1982 Lonnie Smith (We have to give back some on defense whatever we do here. It may be a little more thematic to go with a 1987 Coleman and have the 100+ stolen bases, but the 1982 version of Lonnie was basically a rerun of the peak of Lou Brock's career.)
CF: 1985 Willie McGee (It's probably a little unfair to fully claim the spike year in BA. But this is still who we want.)
RF: 1985 Andy Van Slyke (This is a tough one, since as discussed above, Whitey never committed to Van Slyke and he never played full time. But our alternatives involve either giving away a lot of defense by using a 1982 Hendrick or by forcing Clark to play the outfield, or to give away some offense by using the 1987 Ford/Oquendo combination. Defensively, Van Slyke was a CF playing in right.)

#1 starter: 1985 John Tudor
#2 starter: 1982 Joaquin Andujar
Rest of the rotation: I don't really feel like sorting through the guys like Stuper and Magrane. Bob Forsch probably gets in there somewhere. Find guys who will throw strikes and trust the defense and the ballpark.
Closer/fireman: 1982 Bruce Sutter
Setup: 1987 Todd Worrell

Some bench specialists:
Utility: 1987 Jose Oquendo
LOOGY: 1985 Ken Dayley (actually used as a half-closer)
Pinch runner: Coleman, of course.

Turning that into a batting order is kind of insane, in part because there is no cleanup hitter, but here's a shot:

1. Lonnie
2. Ozzie
3. Hernandez
4. Porter
5. McGee
6. Van Slyke
7. Herr
8. Pendleton
9. P
   67. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: October 30, 2013 at 05:29 PM (#4589807)
My prelim ballot: no postseason credit but some credit for being part of a Division contending team
1. Trammell- peak year for overlooked HOFer, leads Tigers past Jays, steps up in a big way with the bat
2. Boggs- I'm not a Boggs fan but an amazing year. The '87 version of Boggs added power, arguably his finest year even though the Soxs were a bit hungover from the '86 disappointment
3. Gwynn- .370 just looked so special, it made .400 seem possible
4. Murphy- the final great season for a wonderful player who put "teh fear" into opposing pitchers
5. Davis- too bad he only played 129 games. 40/40 would've been a done deal
6. Raines- no extra credit for missing games but what a great season for another overlooked HOFer
7. Dw Evans- Dewey gets dinged in WAR for struggling to play 1B--a position thust upon him when the team cut ties w/Billy Buck. Evans belongs in the HOF, in a week or two we'll see if he's on the Expansion Era ballot
8. Clemens- best pitcher, his contract holdout was cannon fodder for writers looking to place blame for a disappointing season
9. Key- my favorite player at the time. Two-time Sporting News AL pitcher of the yr (87&94;). His HOF case is a poor man's version of Bucky Walters. A great pitcher who was rarely the ace, was occassionally great, and always at least decent. Not a HOFer but worthy of more praise than he gets.
10.JClark- the power behind the running Redbirds. He also has evidence Mike Fischlin juiced!
11.O Smith- the defense behind Herzog's Redbirds. The anti-Clark. Has evidence Mike Fischlin did not juice.
12. Molitor- memorable hitting streak. Along with Raines, Davis, and Clark--had a great season but missed too many games
13.Viola- slightly forgotten great season since he went 24-7 & won CY in '88

Honorable mention: Bill Schroeder(nowhere near top 13 but hit .332 w/14HR in 270PA. Sillyball year). Strawberry just missed and so did Schmidt in his last great yr. Top NL pitcher Bob Welch
   68. Tubbs is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle Posted: March 05, 2014 at 07:14 PM (#4666981)
DL - Hi. This is Brock. When we were doing the 1985-1987 seasons, I had a series of short comments I wanted to write about the postseasons of those three years. The theme was that a lot more of what happened was due to manager mistakes - by managers (Whitey Herzog in two of those three years) who did not normally make those mistakes - than to the players who ended up with the misplays. However, when those years were going on, I had little time, and never got those done. If anyone is interested in this topic - manger mistakes in the WS. I would love to do those, since I now have some time. The question is where to put them. There's no point in putting them in the threads about those years, because no one's reading those any more. Would it be OK for me to put them somewhere coming up, like one of the 1951 threads? If so, which one and when? I don't want to just block up a discussion with three comments about years we've already voted, but I do think the three years' of WS mistakes is helpful info to have when you see new WS, or are thinking about postseason play, or looking at managers and how they perform under stress. So, is there a good place to put those, or should I just forget it, since I'm way late of any relevant deadline? - Thanks, Brock Hanke

When Brock gets his computer problems fixed I'd love to see his comments and everyone elses on the mgr mistakes of the time
   69. caiman Posted: March 22, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4675499)
Hi All,

As many of you are aware, I have been (very slowly) developing my website. Not all is perfect, and I hope you don't mind some basic snafu's.

The website is and contains political, physics and baseball areas.

If you are only interested in the baseball area of the website, the baseball area can be directly gotten to via this address:

The baseball area has (partial list):
•a copy of the introduction and explanation of the RPA methodology from my 1994 book.
•Every hitter with at least 200 computed plate appearances (CPA) in 2013 with his complete RPA rated 2013 offensive breakdown against each of the 6 types of pitchers faced (all shown on a single screen).
•The list of the top career hitter and pitcher performers from 1900-2012 in career RPA run value.
•The top hitters and pitchers in each league for every individual season from 1900-2013
•Full rosters of all National League teams from 1900-1960, with the RPA ratings and RPA run values for every player (more years and the AL to come).
•My important talk at the 1998 SABR Negro Leagues conference in Artlantic City
•The video of my talk on sports and drugs under capitalism from several years ago.

If you have email contacts with baseball fans who might be interested in seeing the above player ratings or the articles or the video on the website, please forward this email to them.

--Mike Gimbel

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