MVP Elections – 1967 NL

orlando-cepeda1967 was an odd year for MVPs.  There was a unanimous choice that year, which certainly happens, but I think most baseball fans, if they’re not familiar with irregularities in MVP voting, would assume that Carl Yastrzemski would have earned that distinction with his AL Triple Crown season (alas, some writer chose the Twins’ Cesar Tovar, of all people, leaving Yaz one vote shy of a clean sweep). Instead, the unanimous selection came in the NL in the person of Orlando Cepeda, which some will cite as one of the more egregious examples of the “RBI leader + Pennant winner = MVP” trope.  To others, though, this is an example of leadership being provided by an outstanding player in a new and difficult circumstance, justifying his MVP selection and creating a narrative worthy of the award.  So let’s step back to 1967 in the NL.

As was the case in our 1960 NL post, there was no NL pennant race to speak of in 1967.  While the AL thrilled to one of the great ones (perhaps the greatest?) in history, the NL was a bore all summer.  The Cardinals took over first on June 19th and never relinquished the lead. The closest any pursuer would come was on July 24th when the Cubs opened a three game set with a win over the Cards and moved into a tie at the top. But St. Louis took the next two and pulled away over the rest of the summer, as the heat increased at Wrigley, both literally and metaphorically, with the Cubs, like the ivy, wilting, eventually finishing 14 games back and in third, while the Cards went 101-61 to win by ten games (the Giants were second).

Instead of a pennant race, the big narrative in the NL was around the MVP – Orlando Cepeda.  It is perhaps one of baseball’s more famous stories that the Giants in the 1960s had a boatload of hitting talent, and Cepeda was certainly one of those stars.  At some point, though, management realized that he was blocking an even brighter star, Willie McCovey, at first base.  After injuries derailed Cepeda in 1965, the Giants tried him in LF in early 1966, but when that experiment failed, Cepeda was shipped to the Cardinals, where he had a pretty good year, while the Giants came up two games short in the NL.

The following year, Cepeda posted his MVP season in what may have been the best year of his career (it was either this season or in 1961). His .325 average (6th in the NL) was a career high, as was his .399 OBP (3rd, and only .005 out of first).  With Cepeda’s respectable .524 SLG placing him fifth in the league, it all added up to a fourth best OPS result of .923.  Cepeda scored 91 and knocked 25 homers, to go along with his league leading 111 RBI, and, for good measure, finished second with 37 doubles. He certainly seemed to have justified the Cardinals’ move in trading for him, and made the Giants look foolish for giving up on him.  The narrative was almost cinematic in its karmic justice, particularly as Cepeda’s old team finished ten games out in second place (likely leading to a lot of Giants “what ifs” in the minds of the writers).

But, as we’ve  become accustomed to in these posts, Cepeda was not the only Cardinal having a banner year.  Catcher Tim McCarver, the MVP runner-up, slashed .295/.369/.452, with 26 2B, 14 HR, 68 scored and 69 batted in, all as the finest young (25) catcher in the NL (well, there WAS a fella in Cincinnati, but he only played in 26 games; his coming out party would be the following year).  McCarver was known even then as a cerebral player and a leader, and his style appealed to the voters, particularly those who believed in the catcher’s ability to “handle” the pitching staff, especially since the Cardinals allowed the second fewest runs in the NL (557, just behind the Giants’ 551), so McCarver must’ve had SOME effect, right?  As for other Cardinals, Lou Brock did next best in MVP voting, slashing .299/.327/.472 with 113 R, 76 RBI, 21 HR and 52 SB.  I can’t think there were too many other players capable both of 20+ HR and 50+ SB, so Brock looked good, finishing 7th in the voting.  Julian Javier (9th) and Curt Flood (13th) also show up in the voting for the Cards, which shouldn’t be too big a surprise – it was a deep, balanced team.

Willie Mays was having the worst year of his career between the Korean War and his stint with the Mets, so he wasn’t a real candidate.  But there were three non-Cardinals who finished 3rd, 4th and 5th in the voting, for each of whom a reasonable case can be made.  Taking them in order:

Roberto Clemente lapped the field to win his fourth (and last) batting title by a whopping 24 points, posting a .357 average that was exceeded in the NL by only three players from 1949 to 1993 (Rico Carty in 1970, Joe Torre in 1971, and Tony Gwynn in 1986). This was the second of three times that Clemente would hit .350 or better, matching Gwynn,  Stan Musial and Larry Walker, as the only NLers with that trifecta in the integrated era.  But Clemente wasn’t all batting average; coming off an MVP award the previous year, he also led the NL with 209 hits and smacked 26 doubles, 10 triples, and 23 homers.  His .400 OBP was then a career best (and 2nd in the league, by .004, to Dick Allen, who only played 122 games), his .554 SLG was third (again, right behind Dick Allen, so don’t count him if you don’t want to), and his OPS was 2nd (again, behind Dick Allen, so take that for what it’s worth). But, when your team, which was in the thick of the pennant chase the year before, drops 11 wins to finish at .500, it’s going to be tough to get a lot of attention from MVP voters.

Ron Santo was next.  Santo narrowly missed a .300/.400/.500 season, slashing .312/.397/.512 while mashing 31 HR, with 98 RBI and 107 runs scored.  He also led the league in walks, with 96, and recorded an even 300 TB.  There’s actually not that much to say about this Ron Santo season, because it’s basically the same as his 1966 campaign and the ones he would post from 1968 to 1970.  Santo was nothing if not consistent.  Had the Cubs not faded down the stretch, this season (which looks an awful lot like an MVP year) would probably have been the winner.

Finally, there’s the ever-present Hank Aaron, who’s been mentioned in each post so far (but don’t worry; this is his last one). Aaron led the NL in HR (39) and R (113) and finished third in RBI, one behind Clemente and two behind league-leader Cepeda.  Unfortunately, those totals came in the Braves second year in Atlanta, and their first year in the second division and first below .500 since moving out of Boston – in other words, before Aaron’s MLB career even began!  So, an MVP award was, perhaps, not in the cards (or Cards) for Aaron.

So, as we look back on 1967, is the winner a leader on the pennant winner, or a player with flashier numbers for a disappointing team?  And, no matter which way you answer that first question, WHICH leader on a pennant winner or star for another team is the man of the hour?  Or is there another player elsewhere you think deserves the honor?

DIRECTIONS:  Please list 5-10 players on your MVP ballot (ballots with fewer than 5 candidates will be thrown out).  Ballots will be scored as per BBWAA scoring (14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1).  Strategic voting is discouraged, though unenforceable, so please just don’t do it, as the goal here is to (somewhat) mimic the BBWAA process.  The post will be live for about a week; please discuss and vote whenever you’d like, but there will be no vote changes, so don’t vote until you’re sure you’re ready!

 

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98 Comments on "MVP Elections – 1967 NL"

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--bill
Guest

A cursory look suggests the main candidates are Aaron, Cepeda, Clemente, and Santo.
The big question for me is: how seriously to take Santo’s fielding numbers? Both Fangraphs and Bref give Santo’s 1967 campaign fielding numbers that are much higher than usual for Santo.

bstar
Guest

We definitely should take defensive numbers from that era with a grain of salt, but another advanced metric system for defense AND traditional stats suggest Santo’s 1967 campaign may have indeed been the best defensive season of his career.

Total Zone: +18 Rfield
DRA (from Baseball Gauge): +22 Rfield
—————————————-
Putouts at 3B: 1st in NL
Assists at 3B: 1st in NL
Double Plays at 3B: 1st in NL
Fielding % at 3B: 4th in NL
Range Factor at 3B: 1st in NL

bstar
Guest

One other check: I don’t really know how DRA is computed but TZ and all the traditional stats can be greatly influenced by playing the infield in front of a pitching staff that allows a lot of ground balls. But there’s not really anything there either — the Cubs’ 1967 Groundouts to Air Outs ratio was 1.22, which was only the 4th highest out of 10 NL teams that year.

So, in my opinion, Santo’s big Rfield number that year looks legit.

no statistician but
Guest
Bstar: Santo played 1441 innings at third that year, his nearest competitors, Clete Boyer for the Braves and Maury Wills for the Pirates, played 1299 and 1239 respectively. At putouts and assists per inning they’re all pretty close. Didn’t check double plays. I don’t think this makes Santo’s performance less impressive: he did it day after day without let-up. In fact he did it day after day without let-up through the decade while keeping his diabetes a secret. One of the last of the old-time gutsy ballplayers. Those who only know him through his stats or as a not-very-good garrulous… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
Some other possibilities besides the ones mentioned above: In San Francisco, Willie Mays may not have played up to his usual high standards but another Willie- McCovey- had a good year in spite of playing in only 135 games. Jim Ray Hart knocked the cover off the ball at the plate and perhaps once or twice in the field. Tom Haller was his usual solid self behind the plate. Besides Santo, the Cubs had Billy Williams, Randy Hundley and most surprisingly Adolfo Phillips in center. Pete Rose was the biggest contributor on offense for Cincinnati. Ted Abernathy was outstanding in… Read more »
Steven
Guest

1. Cepeda
2. Clemente
3. Brock
4. Aaron
5. McCarver
6. Santo
7. McCormick
8. Rose
9. Hart
10. Staub

Paul E
Guest
Cepeda, despite not quite having “numbers” superior to the entire league (Aaron, Clemente, Santo) upon season’s end, did somehow manage to be selected NL MVP unanimously. This season was a Cardinals’ runaway. Here below, please find standings as of 8/23/1967: Team Name G W L T PCT GB St. Louis Cardinals 124 77 47 0 .621 – Cincinnati Reds 125 67 58 0 .536 10.5 Chicago Cubs 130 68 61 1 .527 11.5 San Francisco Giants 124 65 59 0 .524 12.0 Atlanta Braves 121 63 58 0 .521 12.5 Philadelphia Phillies 122 63 59 0 .516 13.0 Pittsburgh Pirates… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

To continue:
Total Bases
263 Aaron
262 Allen
253 Cepeda
249 Brock

Runs Created
109 Allen
105 Cepeda
102 Aaron
98 Santo

Paul E
Guest
Herewith, F W I W: 1) Cepeda – best player on best team 2) Clemente 3) Aaron 4) Allen 5) Bunning 17-15 with FIVE 1-0 losses 6) Brock 7) Santo 8) Hart 9) Wynn 10) B. Williams In the introductory narrative above, the author is dismissive of Allen’s 122 games played. Actually, he played in the Phillies’ first 122 games and then lacerated his hand, severing his ulna nerve, and ending his season pushing his stalled ’52 Ford (Found On Road Dead) in the rain. Through 122 games, Allen lead the NL in runs created, runs scored, and triples. He… Read more »
ATarwerdi96
Guest

1) Roberto Clemente
2) Hank Aaron
3) Orlando Cepeda
4) Ron Santo
5) Tim McCarver
6) Ted Abernathy
7) Adolfo Phillips
8) Willie McCovey
9) Billy Williams
10) Joe Torre

David P
Guest

One oddity about Tovar´s 1967 season is that he´s credited with playing 164 games even though the Twins only played 162. The last player to play more than 162 games in a season was Greg Walker for the ´85 White Sox (163 vs 162 for his team).

I assume there was some rule that counted individual stats from rainouts? And that the rule was subsequently changed?

Richard Chester
Guest

The Twins had 2 tie games in 1967 giving them 164 games total.

oneblankspace
Guest
Stats from rain-shortened games still count; the part of the rule that was changed is that tie games are resumed from the point of suspension now rather than restarted from scratch. The 1985 ChiSox and BoSox had a game that was 1-1 in the 8th when it was rained out and made up as part of a doubleheader. Ties do not count in the standings in baseball, but they have since ca. 1970 in the NFL as ½ win, ½ loss, and counted similarly in the NHL when they had ties. The last tie game in the Majors that was… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

By the way, voting for this round will close at 11:59 PM on Wednesday, 10/26. So you’ve still got plenty of time. I know I’m having trouble figuring out my down-ballot candidates, regarding who makes it and who doesn’t. So any clarity in the comments is appreciated.

Hartvig
Guest
Looking at that 67 Cardinals team somehow it makes sense that they dominated to such an extent while at the same time there are things that you can point to that says they really shouldn’t have. The most obvious factor working against them should have been Steve Carlton and Bob Gibson both having pretty pedestrian seasons- Carlton because he hadn’t quite put it all together yet & Gibson because of injury. Yet all of their starters were very solid, including a young Nelson Briles pulled out of the pen to cover when Gibby was out. And in that pen Joe… Read more »
Gary Bateman
Guest

1. Cepeda
2. Santo
3. Clemente
4. Aaron
5. Brock
6. Abernathy
7. Wynn
8. Hart
9. McCarver
10. McCovey

bstar
Guest

VOTE
1. Clemente
2. Santo
3. Cepeda
4. Aaron
5. Bunning

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Clemente
Aaron
Abernathy
Bunning
Staub
Dick Hughes
Cepeda
McCarver
Santo
Seaver

Kahuna Tuna
Guest

For career, SO/BB ≥ 3, H/9IP ≤ 7, at least 50% of appearances starts, minimum ten career decisions, ranked by career IP:

1760, Clayton Kershaw
471.1, José Fernández
307, Dick Hughes

Doug
Guest
Dick Hughes was a bespectacled righty for the Cardinals who, as a 29 year-old, was runner-up in the 1967 RoY voting with a 16-6 record and 2.67 ERA. Had two starts in the 1967 WS. Hughes got the start in the Cards 4th game of the 1968 season, so evidently had made the rotation coming out of the spring. Had a rough outing, though, and was out of the rotation immediately (must be a record for losing your spot in the rotation). In fact, Hughes was hardly used at all the rest of the season. Doesn’t appear he was injured,… Read more »
Jeff M
Guest

Wow, that is bizarre. Thirty four MLB starts giving up less than 1 baserunner per inning, career ERA+ of 118, and you can’t make the rotation?

My old copy of The Ballplayers says “Arm trouble ended his short career.” The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers doesn’t say anything about him, other than his pitches were (in priority) Fastball, Slider, Curve and Screwball. Maybe the latter accounted for the arm trouble.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
I threw him a 6th place vote because he came out of nowhere. The unexpected is valuable. I do think it is a good argument that in an 8-team league with no playoff rounds, the winner’s best player should be recognized as valuable. Though, what do we say when a team wins the pennant by 10.5 games. No one player really put them over the hump. _______ More on Hughes from here: http://www.dailystatesman.com/story/1857010.html Near the end of Spring Training in 1968, he was warming up to pitch when he felt something tear in his shoulder. “It was like there was… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Cepeda, 1967 RISP: .380/.505/.577 79 RBI in 180 PA Voomo: “Though, what do we say when a team wins the pennant by 10.5 games. No one player really put them over the hump.” Or the BBWAA, tries to figure out who did put them over the hump. Cepeda was a unanimous selection. The BBWAA must have been fairly certain of his value. I get the 1985 argument that Henderson inflated Mattingly’s RBI totals but I don’t see fantastic OBA’s ahead of Cepeda. If you want to say that it was a traditional lineup and Cepeda, like Juan Gonzalez years later,… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Paul E,
Yeah, I hear you. And the writers of that era would know better than I, sure.
I picked Clemente.
His splits with RISP were pretty good, too:

.369 / .435 / .500 / .935
80 RBI

birtelcom
Editor

Hughes apparently tore his rotator cuff in spring training, 1968. They didn’t have a good way to either diagnose or treat this issue at the time, and he tried to pitch with it in ’68 as best he could.

Jeff B
Guest

1)Aaron-Atl
2)Clemente-Pit
3)Cepeda-StL
4)Santo-ChC
5)Allen-Phi
6)Bunning-Phi
7)McCovey-SFG
8)Hart-SFG
9)Staub-Hou
10)McCarver-StL

Jeff M
Guest

1. Clemente
2. Santo
3. Aaron
4. Cepeda
5. Bunning
6. Nolan
7. Seaver
8. Abernathy
9. McCarver
10. Allen

Paul E
Guest

R I S P
Aaron .363 /.462/.726 1.188
Allen .347 /.515/.693 1.208
Cepeda .380/.505/.577 1.082
Clemente.369/.435/.500 .935
Mays .294/.365/.523 .888
McCovey.256/.386/.603 .989
Santo .293 /.417/.497 .914

Hartvig
Guest

One more, for people’s consideration:

McCarver .281/.417/.482/.900

Not too shabby for a catcher who probably should have won a Gold Glove as well.

birtelcom
Editor
Using once again my formula that averages out b-ref WAR, fangraphs WAR and Win Probability Added (WPA), I get Clemente as the #1 guy for the 1967 NL. Also, my mother had a crush on Roberto, which would give him bonus points if he needed them. Santo has a significant lead in WAR, both b-ref and Fangraphs, over everyone, but his WPA drops him down. That’s partly because WPA doesn’t include defense, just offense and pitching. But it is also because Santo’s clutch performance on offense wasn’t great — he hit worse in higher leverage game situations in 1967, which… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
Birtlecom: “Also, my mother had a crush on Roberto, which would give him bonus points if he needed them.” Perhaps Mom worked part-time for the BBWAA or whomever was giving out Gold Gloves?: 1962 – 1965 Assists Putouts Errors IP dWAR GG 90 1262 17 5514 3.3 0 Callison 59 1085 39 5047 1.8 4 Clemente
birtelcom
Editor

I think that until recently the Gold Glove winners were selected, on behalf of Rawlings, by MLB managers and coaches. I’d remember, and you probably would too, if my mother was an MLB manager or coach. She did teach me to swing a baseball bat, although she taught me backwards, so I was a rare lefty who batted as a right-handed hitter.

Mike L
Guest

That’s funny. Non-baseball reference. My daughter, who is a lefty, took a class in conducting. The prof would not let her stay in the class unless she agreed to conduct with the baton in her right hand.

Paul E
Guest

Well, at least you didn’t bat cross-handed. Perhaps she was the inspiration for Cleon Jones and Rickey Henderson?

Steven
Guest

And Sandy Koufax

no statistician but
Guest
I’m having a hard time with this group of player-seasons. Here are some observations: To me Orlando Cepeda was the clear-cut MVP through August, as Paul E @ #7 substantiates with numbers. Then he tanked for the rest of the year, the WS, and pretty much the 1968 season. This kind of swan dive in those bad old days usually indicated an injury or other health problem the player was afraid to own up to. Henry Aaron. Can’t see him in the running at all. His Home/Road splits are all that make him seem a candidate, and home was the… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Your points here, nsb, are exactly, 100% the reason I chose this season over a lot of other really interesting ones in the 1960s. Good luck choosing!

David P
Guest

NSB: “I think BBs may exaggerate a player’s offensive value to a degree, thus creating a slightly inflated OPS+ (and as a result WAR).”

WAR is definitely not calculated using OPS+. They use the actual value of a walk.

no statistician but
Guest

Change that to “slightly inflated OPS+ and WAR.”

Yeah, I know, WAR is a statistical wonder that has it all down to an exact science, but somebody deep in the background is making decisions about what worth to assign various elements of contribution, and regardless of his, her (or their) presumed impartiality concerning how to crunch the numbers, walks to me seem consistently to inflate player value in both registers. It isn’t much, usually, but it’s there.

However, I’m no statistician.

David P
Guest

NSB – No one’s claiming that WAR is perfect, that’s a straw man argument.

Again, the point is that WAR assigns a value to walks that reflects their actual value. And that value is less than a single, as it should be.

If you have evidence that walks inflate someone’s WAR, then please present it.

no statistician but
Guest

David P:

Absolute statistical evidence I have none.

I’m highly suspicious, though, of all those BBs that, yes, Barry Bonds, the BB wonder, received late in his career—as to their being evaluated impartially. Also, the productivity of my favorite player, Mantle, seems inflated to me in his decline. For instance, what did he bring to the offense in 1968 besides 106 walks? Aren’t they the major element in his oWAR of 4.1, which otherwise contributed 57 runs and 54 RBIs, just 93 runs produced, when you subtract the 18 dingers?

So it’s just an impression.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

If the purpose of WAR is to measure value over a replacement-level player, then certainly a feared-hitter being pitched around is valuable.
If he wasn’t, the opposing team wouldn’t deliberately walk him.
So no, a walk doesn’t do as much damage as a single with runners on, but a guy in the lineup with a .400 (or .600!) OBP is creating far more Potential Runs than a replacement-level hitter.

Not Bonds’ fault that he was hitting in front of Pedro Feliz, Ray Durham, Bengie Molina, Ryan Klesko, and A.J. Pierzynski.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Benito Santiago, Reggie Sanders, Jose Cruz, Edgardo Alfonzo

Richard Chester
Guest

Weighted on-base average (wOBA) is one of the basic constituent values used in the calculation for WAR. The value for a single in the wOBA calculation in recent years is about 0.9 and the value for a BB is about 0.7.

David P
Guest

But who was driving in or scoring runs in 1968 (Mantle’s final season)? I can show you a half dozen AL players with similar OPS, runs scored and RBI as Mantle that year.

As an aside, it’s better to look at Rbat as opposed to oWAR (which includes batting, baserunning, positional adjustment, and replacement value adjustment).

Paul E
Guest

NSB,
I have a lot more faith in the offensive numbers of the sabremetrics game than the defensive side. The concept of RC/27 outs makes a lot more sense to me than Kevin Kiermeir or Jason Heyward running down fly balls, hitting like late ’60’s middle infielders, and being worth 6 WAR ….and, finally, some genius like Theo Epstein handing him a $140,000,000 contract.

Hartvig
Guest
I’m with nsb in that I don’t know what to make of this election. 1967 was about the peak of my early love affair with baseball but most of my attention was on the AL and in those days most of my information about the NL came in the form of box scores and as much space as the Grand Forks Herald allotted for write-ups of the games supplemented by the occasional copy of Sports Illustrated or Sport magazine if I could get enough change together to buy a copy. Most of my information on the AL came courtesy of… Read more »
Steven
Guest
I disagree that the performances of Gibson and Carlton were mediocre. Gibson was 10-6 (and an All-Star that year), when he broke his leg as a result of a line drive courtesy of Clemente on July 15. When he came back, Gibson was 3-1, preceding his three-victory performance in the World Series. Nelson Briles, who replaced the injured Gibson in the rotation, was a “six-week” MVP in the interim. Carlton fashioned a 14-9 mark in what was his first full year as a starter. His “mediocrity” prior to a dismal 1970 season was the second half of 1968, causing Red… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

I’ll concede I should have qualified that they were simply mediocre when compared to their their usual high standards

no statistician but
Guest

Cubs in the World Series?

They still have a chance to screw it up—or maybe not. The curse is broken.

I’m thinking of Steve Goodman and Ron Santo, Vince and Lou, Ernie and Jack Brickhouse, Ryno and Fergie.

I’m almost ready to root for an NL team in the Series, first time since 1959.

oneblankspace
Guest

Cu** have not won the Series since they moved to the North Side — maybe Weeghman Park, aka Wrigley Field, is the problem.

About the only other times I can think of that neither team had won the World Series in the past 50 years — 2010, 2005, 1980 (1997 just misses), but all of those involved an expansion team that had never won.

You’re thinking of Lou Boudreau — the shortstop and manager the last time Cleveland won the Series?

no statistician but
Guest
The In***** released Lou when he was past his peak. The Cu** hired him as an untrained radio commentator and stuck with him till he retired. He was revered in Chicago. Doubt that could be said about Cleveland, where he just passed through. Lou was big in local affairs—school board member out in the south suburbs of Chi where he came from, etc.—and was also revered as a high school great in both basketball and baseball in his home town of Harvey, Illinois, which borders on Chicago. Went to U of I in Urbana and led both the teams there… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Longest WS-winning droughts, both teams.
2016 – 68 years
2010 – 50 years
2005 – 44 years
2002 – 42 years
1995 – 38 years
2015 – 29 years
1948 – 28 years

oneblankspace
Guest

The graphic I saw added the droughts of both teams, so 2005 came out as 88+44=132 while 2010 was 50+66=116.

oneblankspace
Guest

or was it 50+56=106?

I couldn’t find it when I went back to look again.

Hartvig
Guest

Which would make this year 176 years, I believe.

THAT is one record that will likely never be topped.

Jeff M
Guest

As the Cubs celebrated last night, my one negative thought was that there were no long-time Cubbies on the team to truly appreciate the drought. Rizzo and Travis Wood in their fifth years in Chicago…that’s really nothing. Guess we gotta go with Pat Hughes and and Len Kasper in the booth for sentimentality .

Hub Kid
Guest
Ron Santo Roberto Clemente Tim McCarver Orlando Cepeda Hank Aaron Curt Flood Lou Brock Jim Ray Hart Tony Gonzalez Dick Allen Although he comes out on top by bWAR anyhow, Santo does have walks, defense and “team achievement” over Clemente… My method isn’t far off “bWAR only”, as reductive as that can be. I add in a modest “team bonus” to reflect the MVP’s traditional “successful team” component, and then tinker slightly for splits, narrative and personal preference. Discussion here has a pretty nifty line in narrative and splits, so that helps… I’ve pretty much swapped McCarver and Cepeda, and… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Hub:

Aaron’s career draws more attention in retrospect than it did during his early and middle years as a Brave, not that it was ignored by any means.

My recollection is that he was just . . . there. He wasn’t flamboyant, he didn’t have a narrative attached, he wasn’t interviewed much. He was a kind of silent force to be reckoned with. He didn’t shout out, though, and the media didn’t play him up until he was threatening the Babe’s record. Only then did he become controversial, and only then did his earlier excellence become appreciated.

Mike L
Guest
I want to second NSB on Aaron. He had the misfortune of starting his career during the jazzy era of Willie, Mickey and the Duke, Williams and Musial were still around, and the peak of his brilliance didn’t quite match the absolute single season best of of other stars. He never hit more than 45 HR, never won a triple crown, and sometimes had great years when others were having arguably better ones. His 1959 season, where he hit .355 with 400 TB, he finished 3rd–deservedly–behind Banks and Matthews. If we use WAR as a rough sort-out, he never led… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Not too be “that guy,” but Aaron hit 47 HR in 1971.

no statistician but
Guest

Mike L was obviously referring to seasons when the Braves played at home in a real ball park. (31/16 HR split).

–that other guy

Mike L
Guest

Yes, Dr. Doom, to quote George H.W. Bush in his final debate with Dukakis, “My fellow Americans, I am that man and I ask for your support.”
I’m just too distracted for accuracy. Going back to the misery of politics for the next sixteen days.

Dr. Doom
Guest

NSB, Hammerin’ Hank was just making up for the 50 HR seasons that County Stadium cost him in 1957 (18H/26R) and 1960 (19H/25R). The Launching Pad may not have been a representative site… but either was the place he played his best seasons. The HR probably come out at close to a wash. So I don’t begrudge him that big # in ’71.

Mike L
Guest

In County Stadium, he hit 195 HR in 4227 PA, in Atlanta he hit 190 HR is 2577 PA, and on the road 370 HR in 7137 PA. I suppose if you wanted to project, if he had played all home games in County, his final total would have been 684, short of the Babe’s record. All in Atlanta 872 (Sadaharo Oh territory).

Dr. Doom
Guest
If all of Aaron’s PAs had been on the road, he’d be prorated to have hit 723 HR. So you’re correct in the the Launching Pad helped more than County Stadium hurt – but only by a total of 32 HR in the span of his 23 season career. So, basically, just over 1 per season – or, if you want to confine it to his Atlanta years (9 of ’em) it’s only three-and-a-half HR per year. Pretty minor, I would say. Good luck in your baseball hibernation and your time spent in the weeds of politics. Yeesh.
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

If he had played all his seasons for the Denver team in the year 2000:

.365 / .438 / .663 / 1.101

3391 R
5034 H
832 2B
131 3B
1004 HR
3574 RBI

Hartvig
Guest

Thems some pretty good numbers.

no statistician but
Guest

For the HHS re-vote of the NL MVP award of 1967:

1) Orlando Cepeda/ Roberto Clemente (Tie)
Or—if ties aren’t allowed, then I’ll go with the writers and take Cepeda as #1, leaving Clemente as #2.

3) Ron Santo
4) Hank Aaron
5) Tim McCarver
6) Lou Brock
7) Ted Abernathy
8) Jim Ray Hart

Through August Cepeda had the better season, but Clemente didn’t fade. Cepeda’s season, though, propelled the league champions. To my mind a dead heat.

Cepeda, incidentally,hit .419, OPS 1.057, against the Giants, the team that finished 2nd. Also the team that dumped him for McCovey. Against the third place Cubs: .371, 1.048.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I believe I’d rather avoid ties, so I’m just going to go ahead and give Cepeda your #1 spot, though I understand the dilemma!

Bryan O'Connor
Editor

1. Santo
2. McCarver
3. Clemente
4. Cepeda
5. Aaron
6. Allen
7. Bunning
8. Torre
9. Hart
10. McCovey

Catching is hard. And important.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Well, I’d better make sure I actually post my own ballot, not just keep track of everyone else’s. 🙂 Here we go. This has been a really, really tough one for me. 1. Roberto Clemente – The Pirates were disappointing in 1966. I can’t see how Clemente is to blame for that. 2. Hank Aaron – His numbers were inflated by the Launching Pad, I get that. But it’s really hard for me to place him any lower. 3. Ron Santo – I don’t know when Ron Santo deserved an MVP. Probably oneof those seasons from 1966-1970, but I have… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

1. Clemente
2. Cepeda
3. Aaron
4. McCovey
5. Santo
6. Bunning
7. McCarver

--bill
Guest

This was tough. Three great years (Aaron, Clemente, Santo) on teams that went nowhere; two good years (McCarver, Cepeda) on the team that dominated. Lots of good pitching–Bunning, Short, Queen, Nolan, Perry, Seaver, but no dominant pitcher on the Cards, since Gibson was out for so long.

I went with “best player on best team” as the decider.
1. Orlando Cepeda
2. Tim McCarver
3. Roberto Clemente
4. Ron Santo
5. Hank Aaron
6. Jim Bunning
7. Gary Nolan
8. Chris Short
9. Adolfo Phillips
10. Tom Seaver (’cause I grew up in NJ in the 70s)

DVG
Guest

1. Clemente
2. Cepeda
3. Aaron
4. Santo
5. Bunning
6. Brock
7. McCarver
8. McCovey
9. Seaver
10. Hart

Dr. Doom
Guest

Reminder: today is your last day to get your vote in. And this is FUN voting, not the kind of serious voting that Mike L spends his non-baseball time dealing with. 🙂 We already have a record number of voters for one of these MVP posts, but it never hurts to have more!

Mike L
Guest

Thanks, Dr. Doom. Think of it as a non-skewed poll?

Doug
Guest

1. Santo
2. Clemente
3. Aaron
4. Cepeda
5. Brock
6. McCarver
7. Wynn
8. Hart
9. McCovey
10. Allen

I would have rated Allen higher had he not missed a quarter of the season.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
1) Ron Santo 2) Hank Aaron 3) Orlando Cepeda 4) Roberto Clemente 5) Tim McCarver Looks like I agree with some other Top-5 lists, but not the order. Ground rules: – Pitchers are just as qualified as position players for the MVP – Team success (or lack thereof …) is mostly ignored, and at most used as a tie-breaker – I start with WAR, but with a fair amount of skepticism (in particular defensive ratings that are unusually good/ bad). -Contemporary opinion, season narrative, mainstream stats all are given their due. In particular, the writers at the time knew a… Read more »
Brendan Bingham
Guest
My vote is later in this post, but first a few things… 1) Trades. St Louis profited greatly from trading for Orlando Cepeda in 1966 and then trading him away in 1969, at least as viewed through the lens of WAR. In ’66 the Cardinals traded Ray Sadecki to San Francisco to get Cepeda. Sadecki was 25 years old, and following the trade, he would amass 10.4 WAR for the rest of his career. In contrast, Cepeda (age 28) would earn 11.0 WAR in three years with the Cardinals and then be traded straight up for Joe Torre. Following the… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
“My rules for MVP consideration. They’re stated more clearly by Lawrence Azrin (post 80) than I could state them myself. Thanks, Lawrence!” Brendan, you’re welcome! It’s been a while since I posted here (nothing bad happened, I just had other things going on …), so I thought that it’d be useful for other HHS posters to know where I’m coming from, so to speak. The one “MVP consideration rule’ I feel strongly about is that pitchers should get equal consideration with position players – it’s stated directly in the voting instructions. The bias towards players on playoff teams bothers me,… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Hello everyone! Here’s your summary of the 1967 NL MVP race. Let’s begin with a rundown of how they finished: 1. Roberto Clemente, 213 (9) 2. Orlando Cepeda, 170 (5) 3. Ron Santo, 155 (3) 4. Hank Aaron, 146 (1) 5. Tim McCarver, 95 (1) 6. Jim Bunning, 61 7. Lou Brock, 42 8. Dick Allen, 37 9. Jim Ray Hart, 31 10. Ted Abernathy, 31 11. Willie McCovey, 21 12. Gary Nolan, 16 13. Adolfo Phillips, 11 14. Rusty Staub, 10 15. Jimmy Wynn, 10 16. Tom Seaver, 8 17. Chris Short, 7 18. Dick Hughes & Curt Flood,… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
Different order of course, but nearly all of the same names as found on the BBWAA that year. Tony Perez at #8 and Julian Javiar at 9 were the highest place finishers not to receive any votes from the HHS gang. Others were Fergie Jenkins (#12), Ernie Banks (#14) & Clete Boyer (#21), Bob Gibson & Randy Hundley (tied for #22) & Tommy Davis (#26). Mike McCormick fell the furthest from #6 to #21. Adolfo Phillips at #13 was the highest place finisher in HHS voting not named on any BBWAA ballots. Others were Chris Short, Joe Torre & Billy… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

“Adolfo Phillips at #13 . . .”

Adolfo Phillips was as great a liability on the field as an asset. His best season was ’67, and only the first half of that was good, BA .306, OPS .977.

Second half he showed more his usual form, BA .227, OPS .698.

As to his lack of attention on the field, sulkiness, and talent for bone-head plays, such things don’t show up well in stats.

At any rate, nobody in a press box that year was going to call him one of the hundred best players, much less in the top 25.

Paul E
Guest

nsb,
….and,naturally, through the magic of WAR,he’s the second best player on the Cubs 🙁
ahead of frequent and perennial All Stars like Banks, Williams, Beckert, and Kessinger. But, 80 BB’s and only 7 errors charged will do that

no statistician but
Guest

The 80 BBs seem a lot, but Philips was walked intentionally 29 times, then a record, because his bat was considerably better than that of the pitcher who followed. As for his leading off in ’66, David P, obviously Durocher wasn’t impressed and decided to try something different the next year, placing Philips where his erratic performance could do the least harm and where he could find himself. It worked through June, the Adolfo got lost again.

David P
Guest

Phillips was the Cubs primary leadoff hitter in ’66 and did a decent job, putting up a .344 OBP. The next year he was dropped to 8th in the order.

I guess because anytime you have the opportunity to lead off Don Kessinger (.275 OPB, .272 SLG) and Paul Popovich (.265 OBP, .239 SLG), you gotta go for it!!!

Hartvig
Guest

I’ll concede that Phillips may have been a less talented version of Yasiel Puig but it doesn’t hurt to remember that the vast majority of sportswriters of that era were old, white guys who were solidly pro-management in their outlook as well. Add in that Durocher could be the breath of hell if he didn’t particularly care for you as well.

I’ll bow to your much greater depth of knowledge of the era than I have but I would also be interested in hearing what his teammates might have said about him, if anything.

David P
Guest
From what I’ve read, Phillips was quite emotionally sensitive and didn’t take well to criticism. And he also felt that he had no friends on the Cubs. On top of that, I think it’s important to remember that he was one of the first MLB players from Panama and was likely dealing with cultural and perhaps language issues. And his tail off in ’67 was apparently due to back and ankle issues, not to “erratic performance”. And while I have no problem with Phillips not leading off in ’67, replacing him with your two worst hitters is just plain stupid… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Hartvig:

My only memories are that Phillips periodically drove teammates and fans to distraction—my father being one—that Durocher kept him in the lineup when others were questioning not his physical but mental and emotional lapses (for want of a better word). Santo famously took Phillips by the throat once after a messed up play.

Paul E
Guest

Call me “bitter”, but those newly-minted-MVP-led Pirates were 16.5 back on August 23rd. “Player of the Year”? Yeah, maybe. But, not valuable enough to make up 16.5 games.

Once again, the BBWAA’s 1966 MVP Clemente had a better year the following season like Frank Robinson did in 1962. Somehow, we failed to give Frank his just due here at HHS

David P
Guest

Paul E – I generally agree with your perspective. I’ve seen the argument made that it shouldn’t matter how many games the player’s team won. Taken to its logical conclusion, that means someone could be MVP even if his team went 0-162. That, for me, is a bridge too far.

I’m all for advanced stats but the advanced stats community seems to want to turn the MVP award into the “WAR award”. I for one, am not on board with that…

Hartvig
Guest
I tend to come down somewhere in between with the caveat that pretty much all of my personal “rules” when it comes to voting for MVP are pretty much subject to change on a whim if they don’t fit my needs at a particular moment. In general, I look at team performance as something slightly more than a bonus but not at all disqualifying at the same time. Basically, if a guy on an also ran was a bit better than someone on a contender the guy on the contender is probably going to finish higher in my voting. But… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Una vez mas,
Runs Created / 27 Outs Adjusted for AIR
9.670 Allen
9.556 Clemente
8.778 Cepeda
8.667 Aaron
8.111 McCovey
7.767 Santo
7.667 Hart
6.667 Wynn
I just don’t think the difference between Cepeda and Clemente is significant enough to justify our selection of the Pittsburgh RF’er….but, hey, that’s what democracy will do for you

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