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Thursday, March 03, 2022

Dorktown: Captain Ahab: The Story of Dave Stieb

Jon Bois’ latest series. Part 1 linked above. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here.

villageidiom Posted: March 03, 2022 at 09:53 PM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: blue jays, dave stieb, jon bois, toronto, toronto blue jays

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   1. The Honorable Ardo Posted: March 03, 2022 at 11:34 PM (#6066719)
I've always viewed Stieb affectionately. He has one of the great hidden pitching primes in MLB history.

Rookie season: 18 starts, 8-8, league average ERA+ (the team was 53-109; not quite Carlton going 27-10 but still very impressive)
1980-85 seasonal average: 34 starts, 13 CG, 254 IP, 3.07 ERA, 139 ERA+... but only a 14-12 record. That's crazy.
1986-90 seasonal average: 32 starts, 3 CG, 203 IP, 3.62 ERA, 113 ERA+, 14-9 record as the Blue Jays got better around him.
Post-1990 totals, including 1998: 10-14 record, 4.60 ERA, 93 ERA+ in 228 IP.

How many Cy Young Awards should he have won? 1982 is an absolute no-brainer and nowadays would be a nearly unanimous vote for Stieb. He runs into three historically great, all-time Top 10 relief seasons, though: Fingers in '81, Quisenberry in '83, Hernandez in '84. In 1985, it's a coin flip between him and Saberhagen; you can slice it either way without looking foolish. (I say Bert Blyleven also has a case; his IP and CG totals have not been matched since, and he had far worse teammates than Stieb or Sabes.)

Stieb's Hall of Merit voting record is interesting, too. He debuted on the 1998 ballot (we decided we didn't "know" he would make a comeback) in 15th place, behind guys like Bucky Walters, Gavvy Cravath, and Tony Perez who've fallen into our deep backlog. But he improved every year: to 10th, 7th, 5th, lastly 3rd and inducted (with newly eligible shortstops Alan Trammell and Ozzie Smith ahead of him) in 2002.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: March 04, 2022 at 12:19 AM (#6066720)
no more appropriate way to introduce the criminally underrated Dave Stieb than a misspelling in the headline...
   3. villageidiom Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:14 AM (#6066731)
no more appropriate way to introduce the criminally underrated Dave Stieb than a misspelling in the headline...
Fixed on the headline, but permanently in the URL.

And also... Dammit, I always got his spelling screwed up when I was younger, and I checked it before I created the post, and I still got it wrong.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:17 AM (#6066733)
Mark McGuire, Cal Ripkin, and Manny Rameriz can commiserate.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: March 04, 2022 at 11:37 AM (#6066744)
I checked it before I created the post, and I still got it wrong.

that's okay, I am on a long, long winning streak of forgetting which way to turn the key to lock my car (the fob switch fizzled out).

if I go with my first instinct, it's wrong. and if I remember, "wait, my first instinct is always wrong so this time I'll do the opposite" - I still wind up being wrong, somehow.
   6. A triple short of the cycle Posted: March 04, 2022 at 11:49 AM (#6066745)
Hope you're not driving a stick shift.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2022 at 12:04 PM (#6066746)
Almost right from the start the Blue Jays’ farm system produced a ton of talent. Stieb, Barfield, Moseby, Luis Leal, Mark Eichhorn, Kelly Gruber, Cecil Fielder. And then there are the guys they nabbed as minor leaguers - Clancy, Bell, Upshaw, McGriff. Quite a run of good young players.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 12:07 PM (#6066747)
Gruber was a Rule 5 pick and they got Fielder from the Royals for Juan Beniquez FWIW.
   9. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2022 at 12:11 PM (#6066748)
Ok, put them in the second category then ;). But I forgot Tony Fernandez!
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2022 at 01:28 PM (#6066749)
And Jimmy Key! And Tom Henke (from the Rangers)!

The first NBC Game of the Week I remember watching was a Blue Jays game and I remember the broadcasters marveling about what a fantastic farm system the Jays had. Of course, it was in reference to the latest hot shot prospect - Sil Campusano - so they didn't all pan out.
   11. Karl from NY Posted: March 04, 2022 at 02:32 PM (#6066752)
Mark McGuire, Cal Ripkin, and Manny Rameriz can commiserate.

Time to break out my favorite team listing:

C Roy Campenella
1B Mark McGuire
2B Red Scheondeinst
SS Phil Rizutto
3B Cal Ripkin
LF Carl Yaztremski
CF Ricky Hendersen
RF Roberto Clemante
P Roger Clemons
RP Phil Neikro
   12. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2022 at 02:44 PM (#6066754)
And Jimmy Key!
I thought I had Key in there, but no - must have been an editing mistake. And we both left out David Wells.

I think Rob Ducey was probably their biggest miss, no?

Greg Maddox has to be on the all-misspelling team.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 04, 2022 at 03:44 PM (#6066759)
And Greg Nettles.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2022 at 03:49 PM (#6066760)

And Greg Nettles.


In our defense, Mr. and Mrs. Nettles really needed to decide whether he was Greg or Craig, not some combination of the two.
   15. Ithaca2323 Posted: March 04, 2022 at 04:38 PM (#6066762)
How many Cy Young Awards should he have won?


At least 2, maybe 4.

1982: Too huge a bWAR edge to ignore (7.6 to 5.7) and only slightly worse in ERA+ 140 to 138 than the guy in second.
1983: Big bWAR edge (7.0 to 5.5). Third in ERA+ and the starter who was first (Honeycutt) threw 100 fewer innings in the AL.
1984: Decent edge in bWAR (7.9 to 7.2), super slight edge in ERA+ compared to Blyleven.
1985: Lots of guys lumped in between 7.1 and 6.3 bWAR, but with Steib at 6.8 and having a solid ERA+ edge compared to the other three — 171 to 153, 143, and 134 respectively, I think it's enough to push him to the front.

   16. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: March 04, 2022 at 05:58 PM (#6066766)
Realistically, what would've had to happen for Stieb to get legit HOF support? I'm guessing a combination of:

1) Win a few of those Cy Youngs,
2) Another 3-4 years of similar performance in the early 1990s
3) Maybe the 1985 Jays getting to the World Series and winning it with Stieb playing well would've helped, too.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 04, 2022 at 06:06 PM (#6066768)
A couple more strikes with two outs in the ninth in certain games as well.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 04, 2022 at 06:53 PM (#6066769)
By the standards of his era, Stieb is light years from the HoF, as reflected by his 1.4% support. By those standards, he needed at least another 1000 innings give or take, possibly not quite at his career rate. It's a pet theory of mine that guys caught in "transition" periods get extra screwed in HoF voting. Starting was in transition from a start every 4 days to every 4 games to every 5 days to every 5 games during Stieb's career. Voters seemed to still be applying the criteria of the earlier generation in terms of wins and innings, levels it was very difficult for a 1980s starter to reach. That gives us "Jack Morris, best starter of the 80s" not that they thought he was that good but he was the only guy who came close to those IP/win totals of the 60s/70s. But that intransigence on the BBWAA's part didn't look so wrong when the next generation of HoF starters went on to throw 4000 innings, 300 wins and even the lesser guys like Smoltz, Schilling, Mussina easily surpassed Steib's IP, win, etc. totals.

And nice as Stieb's peak was, it wasn't Koufax. So what he mainly needed was to debut 15-20 years after he did. Even then:

DS 2895 IP, 176 W, 122 ERA+, 56.5 bWAR, 0 CYA
RH 2749 IP, 203 W, 131 ERA+, 65.4 bWAR, 2 CYA (plus 2 2nds, 3 more top 5)

Halladay is (likely) the first example of a new SP standard for the HoF and it's still a pretty ludicrously high one. Greinke is another pretty good comp and I'm not sure how well he's going to do (may depend on how much he adds from here):

ZG 3110 IP, 219 W, 123 ERA+, 68.0 bWAR, 1 CYA (2nd, 4th)

Stieb would obviously look a lot better with a couple of CYAs and it's far from clear why he should have done worse in voting than Greinke -- he has just a 4th and a 5th. Surely he would have done much better in CYA voting in the last decade than in real time. Of course he also wouldn't have those seasons over 250 IP so would have about 150 innings less unless he stayed healthy into his 30s (Greinke has needed 16.5 "full" seasons to get to his IP total).

Although I haven't put a lot of thought into it, I wouldn't put Stieb in my personal HoF. Of course my standards are higher than the actual HoF and the HoM. I have no problem with the claim that Stieb was the best of the (relatively) bad lot of 80s pitchers but it just worked out that none of them belong (unless you want to put Blyleven in this group), many the victims of injury. Them's the breaks. No HoF "SS" debuted between Aparicio (56, a questionable selection; Banks 53) and Yount (74) but nobody seems compelled to induct Fregosi because he was the best SS of the 60s. Fregosi even had the 2nd-best WARpos in 1964 and 1970, finishing 13th and 12th in MVP (Yaz really got ripped off in 1970). There are players worse than Stieb and Fregosi in the HoF but those are more errors of commission than omission.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6066778)
By the way, I am sure I have never seen "Clemante" in my life. It's not even pronounce "Clemante" and since there is no common name Clemante or Clemant, why would anybody spell it that way? (Now that he was "Bob" Clemente early in his career is another matter.) And I doubt anybody who ever needs to spell Schoendienst's name doesn't look it up or, if they don't, gets that close. What next, mis-spelling Doug's name as Mientkeiwicz?

Pettitte has a claim (way too many Ts). I have seen Maddux misspelled about a million times more often than Clemens. I know the French word for war but I still often misplace the Rs in Guerrero. I'm not sure I've ever seen Ripkin but I assume most of you have given how often it's cited.

Obvious ones like is it Ryan or Jeff with 2 Ns in Zimmerman? How many Ns in Holtzman? (One) Is that a K or a H Zach? Those shouldn't even count.
   20. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:18 PM (#6066779)
Ryan Sandberg
   21. Rally Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:28 PM (#6066780)
Garrett Anderson, Jared Weaver
   22. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:29 PM (#6066781)
Back in 1992, I had to tell a Cactus League t-shirt vendor that McGwire was misspelled on his wares.
   23. Rally Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:30 PM (#6066782)
I think GA had fewer Ts than every other Garrett in MLB history, whether it was a first or last name.
   24. Adam Starblind Posted: March 04, 2022 at 09:48 PM (#6066784)
. I know the French word for war but I still often misplace the Rs in Guerrero.



I don’t think Vlad and Pedro are French.
   25. Ron J Posted: March 05, 2022 at 07:56 AM (#6066791)
#19 I was on usenet in the 90s. Saw plenty of "Ripkin"
   26. Bull Pain Posted: March 06, 2022 at 09:23 PM (#6066853)
Seeing that 250K people have viewed a 48 minute part one of four full on dorky Dave Stieb video gives me hope for humanity.

I had no idea Stieb went from being a solid college outfielder at SIU (which was a very good program at the time) to a Major League starting pitcher in the span of 13 months.
   27. Mr. Hotfoot Jackson (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: March 06, 2022 at 09:57 PM (#6066858)
Cincinnati is probably the most commonly misspelled major league city. I see it with an extra "t" fairly often.
   28. Mr. Hotfoot Jackson (gef, talking mongoose) Posted: March 06, 2022 at 10:01 PM (#6066859)
"Guerre" suckered me into misspelling "guerilla" in an editing class in grad school. The French are not to be trusted.
   29. Adam Starblind Posted: March 06, 2022 at 10:30 PM (#6066861)
Guerrero is derivative of “guerra,” the Spanish word for war. France doesn’t really enter into it, unless you want to know how to run away in an actual war.
   30. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 06, 2022 at 10:44 PM (#6066864)
France doesn’t really enter into it, unless you want to know how to run away in an actual war.


Well I don't know, they gave the Anglo-Saxons a pasting in 1066. They sort helped the U.S. a bit during that whole revolutionary thing they had going; especially at Yorktown. Napoleon had a nice run until the usual issues in Russia that most invaders seemed to run into years ago.

Nowadays countries just sit around and watch sovereign nations get invaded by their neighbours and do stuff all about it....
   31. Adam Starblind Posted: March 06, 2022 at 11:01 PM (#6066867)
That’s even longer ago than 1986.
   32. villageidiom Posted: March 16, 2022 at 08:12 AM (#6067950)
Part 2 is available. I've linked it at the top.
   33. villageidiom Posted: March 29, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6069528)
Part 3 has arrived. It's linked at the top.
   34. Lonnie Smith for president Posted: March 29, 2022 at 01:36 PM (#6069534)
Thank you for keeping this thread alive, villageidiom. All the hub-bub over the Mattingly MLB documentary elsewhere on this site, and the answer to the "who would be a better representative of the 80s to shine a light upon?" was under our nose all along. That era of Blue Jays was pretty terrific; with a little better luck or a more generous post-season format, they had the makings of a championship squad. As for Steib, like anyone playing for a team not favored by Game Of The Week, he was a powerful mysterious stranger with unironic mustache, like Thomas Magnum's body double. And wow, those highlights from the '85 ALCS are just aces.
   35. sunday silence (again) Posted: March 29, 2022 at 03:08 PM (#6069549)
No HoF "SS" debuted between Aparicio (56, a questionable selection; Banks 53) and Yount (74) but nobody seems compelled to induct Fregosi because he was the best SS of the 60s.


The more I look at him, the more I think Campaneris is horribly under valued. His fielding, base running, and narrative should have had a larger impact on his chances.
   36. villageidiom Posted: April 12, 2022 at 03:46 PM (#6071321)
Part 4 (of 4, I believe) has dropped. It's linked at the top.

Part 3, BTW, had a mini-documentary on Rickey Henderson embedded within.

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