MVP Elections – 1974 NL

steve-garveyHey HHS folks! Dr. Doom here. I love Captain America – an odd thing for the REAL (fictional) Dr. Doom to say, perhaps, but true nonetheless. In fact, as I type this, I’m wearing a Captain America t-shirt. And you, Steve Garvey, are no Captain America. But Captain America or not, Mr. Garvey is at the center of this next post.

Well, that’s my opinion anyway. Whether you share it or not, it’s time to dig in on the 1974 NL MVP race!

Now, I realize that this is our fourth trip to the NL in five posts. But AL fans, have no fear – by the time we’re done with this series of 14 posts, fully half of them will have been from the junior circuit.

But, on to 1974. In the wake of the Watergate scandal America had lost its naïve, innocent belief in the inherent goodness of politicians, disco was king, and yadda yadda yadda, etc. etc. No one cares. The Dodgers had the NL’s best record, going 102-60, and never trailed in their division after April 14th. Even though the defending NL West champion Reds nearly caught them (trailing by only 1½ games as late as September 14th), overtaking the Dodgers was never really more than a pipe dream, with LA taking the season series over Cincinnati 12-6. Have you noticed how many non-races we’ve had in this process so far? It seems that many elections of the type I’ve been highlighting are characterized by an MVP choice from a runaway pennant winner, with more statistically deserving candidates further down the ballot.

As I’m sure you’re used to by now, the Dodgers, as the top team in the NL, were VERY well-represented come MVP-voting time. Three of the top five vote-getters were Dodgers. The winner was, of course, Steve Garvey, the charismatic, young, good-looking defensive wizard at 1B. Garvey, it’s worth remembering, was not yet the celebrity player he became. After playing in only 114 games the year before, 1974 was Garvey’s first season as the full-time, ironman player he would become. The Dodgers didn’t know it then, but Garvey’s breakthrough season would become very familiar for the remainder of the decade. Take a look.

Year G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB
1974 ★ 156 685 642 95 200 32 3 21 111 5 4 31 66 .312 .342 .469 .811 130 301
1974-80 Avg 161 696 646 88 201 32 4 23 104 9 6 38 70 .311 .348 .480 .828 130 310
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/28/2016.

While those are nice numbers, and especially nice as an average season, they don’t exactly scream MVP. However, the BBWAA had to find a way to explain the Dodgers leapfrogging the Reds, and this new, young player seemed to make the difference – and that may be all the explanation that was needed.

But, of course, the other Dodgers who showed up in the voting were an interesting pair. Finishing 3rd in the MVP vote was Mike Marshall, that season’s Cy Young winner. Marshall pitched in a remarkable 106 games, still the record total despite relievers today who routinely average an inning or less per game (as  was the case for Salomon Torres, with 94 games in 2006, and for  Pedro Feliciano, with 92 games in 2010). Marshall’s average, though, was very nearly 2 innings of work per appearance, totaling a starter’s workload of 208.1 IP, with a 15-12 record and 2.42 ERA, while saving 21 games. The other Dodger to acquit himself well in the voting was Jim Wynn. Wynn was a great but under-appreciated-in-his-own-time player, whom many statheads will now argue (possibly with some exaggeration) was a near-HOF-caliber player. Wynn had 104 R, 32 HR and a career-high 108 RBI, while slashing .271/.387/.497 in what was arguably his career year. Wynn’s (unadjusted) .884 OPS was sixth best in the league – not bad for a 32-year-old in Dodger Stadium!

There were two candidates from Cincinnati, and they’re names that’ll sound awfully familiar – Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan. Cincinnati disappointed by falling from NL champs to missing the playoffs. But it’d be hard to blame Bench or Morgan. Let’s begin with the former. Johnny Bench was already established as one of baseball’s best players, owner of two MVP awards and leading the league in HR and RBI in each of those seasons (1970 & 1972). But, of course, in both of those years, the Reds were division (and ultimately NL) champs, compared to a second-place finish in 1974, albeit with a very solid 98-64 record that would claim a division crown in many a year (had the Reds been in the NL East, they would’ve topped the Pirates by 10 games). Bench managed to play a remarkable 160 G by catching 137, playing 3B 36 times, and manning 1B 5 times (I realize that doesn’t add up; he started 129 times at C and 30 at 3B, entering as a reserve or moving around during the game on the other occasions). Bench was the league-leader in RBI (129) and TB (315), and finished 2nd in HR (33), R (108), and 2B (38). His slash line of .280/.363/.507 was good enough to give him the 7th-best OPS in the NL, all while continuing to be the greatest catcher in history.

Morgan, on the other hand, was just beginning to emerge. Already a perennial All-Star, in 1974 Morgan placed himself firmly in the discussion of the best player in the senior circuit. Morgan’s .427 OBP was tops in the league, he scored 107 R (3rd on the Reds, 4th in the NL), and his 22 HR (which sounds like a pretty decent number for a middle infielder to a fella like me raised on Selig-era baseball) was actually 10th best in the NL (that total ranked 37th in the NL in 2016). Morgan also knocked in a respectable 67 – not bad for a top-of-the-order guy (he batted 2nd 97 times, 3rd 43 times, and 8th or 9th the rest of the time, presumably pinch-hitting). He started only 140 games, which hurt his numbers in comparison to the other candidates, all of whom (with the exception of the Pirates’ players I’ll mention below) basically played full seasons. Morgan’s .293/.427/.494 slash was good for the NL’s second-best OPS, his 120 walks also ranked 2nd (just six behind Darrell Evans‘s majors-leading total), and his 3rd place total of 58 stolen bases might’ve made more waves if not for the exploits of one Lou Brock.

The rest of the serious candidates for MVP were all from different teams, so we’ll take them one at a time.

First up is the St. Louis candidate, Lou Brock. For the eighth time in 9 years (and the final time in his career, believe it or not), Lou Brock led the NL in stolen bases. Only, in 1974, Brock didn’t just lead in stolen bases, he lapped the field with a total of 118 thefts (which has since been topped only once) that was twice as many as runner-up Dave Lopes, and which broke both the modern (Maury Wills‘ 104 total in 1962) and post-1887 (Billy Hamilton‘s 111 mark in 1889 & 1891) single season records (the AA’s Hugh Nicol and Arlie Latham both surpassed Brock’s total during the 1887 season; their marks and Hamilton’s were aided by the practice prior to 1898 of also crediting stolen bases for advancing extra bases on a hit). Brock finished the year with 753 career stolen bases, passing Eddie Collins during the season for 3rd place all time to trail only Hamilton (914) and Ty Cobb (now acknowledged as 897, but at the time thought to be 892).  Brock also slashed .306/.368/.381, scored 105 and drove in 48, with 25 doubles and 3 round-trippers.

Next is young Mike Schmidt of the Phillies. The previous year, Schmidt’s true rookie season (following a 13-game cup-of-coffee in ’72), he had played in 132 games and struck out 136 times – which is not, as you may know, any good (more especially back then). Though he batted only .196 (then the lowest mark of the live ball era in a 400 PA rookie season, and eclipsed since only once), Schmidt did show some promise with 18 HR. Still, I have to imagine it was Schmidt’s defense that was the cause of any excitement Phillies’ fans may have had entering ’74. But in 1974, Schmidt exploded onto the scene. He led the NL in HR with 36, knocked in 116 (2nd), scored 108 (also 2nd), had 310 TB (again 2nd), and slashed .282/.395/.546, with that SLG leading the NL, and the OBP placing him 4th. Not bad for a 24-year-old defensive wizard at 3rd base! I would venture to guess that Brock’s base stealing exploits, as well as Philly’s sub-.500 finish (80-82, but portending better things to come), may have made Schmidt a less attractive candidate than he might otherwise have been.

Finally, Eastern Division champ Pittsburgh needed a representative somewhere near the top of the MVP vote, and the honor of the best showing fell to Al Oliver, with a 7th place finish in the balloting. Oliver finished second in the league with a .321 average, but added only 33 walks for a relatively pedestrian .358 OBP. Though Oliver homered only 11 times, his 38 doubles helped him to a decent .475 SLG mark that was complemented nicely by 96 R and 85 RBI. Honestly, though, if you were to tell me that you were moved more by Willie Stargell (league-leading .944 OPS) or Richie Zisk (100 RBI, 30 2B, 8th in OPS), I wouldn’t begrudge you that.

So, who’s the winner? One of these guys? Someone else (there are plenty of interesting down-ballot choices, and I hardly mentioned any pitchers)? Only you* can decide!

*Technically, the BBWAA already decided. But we’re making our own choice, here. 🙂

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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58 Comments on "MVP Elections – 1974 NL"

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David P
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Steve Garvey is actually the reason that I become interested in advanced stats. I had several of his baseball cards as a kid and I was convinced that he couldn’t be as good as people claimed he was. I would stare at his stats and try to figure out what the disconnect was. Eventually I worked out a formula to evaluate players that showed my hypothesis to be correct. A few years later, I picked up my first copy of Bill James’ Baseball Abstract and was thrilled/stunned to see that the formula that I had worked out was almost exactly… Read more »
David P
Guest

Here’s a thought…had the NL been split along geographic lines, putting the Reds and the Braves in the east and the Cubs and the Cardinals in the west, then the Reds easily win the east in 1974. And perhaps Morgan or Bench wins the MVP that year instead of Garvey

no statistician but
Guest
What I see in Steve Garvey—the player, not the man—is a guy who makes Charlie Gehringer seem erratic. It’s not just that he performed so consistently through his peak years that the stats are nearly interchangeable; his yearly and lifetime splits are boringly regular as well. I’ll stick with BA to illustrate: Career: .294 Vs RHP .295; LHP .292 Home .298; away .290 RISP .295; men on .301 Against teams w/losing records .295; against winners .294 At night: .293; day .298 The one significant thing that defies this profile of regularity is Garvey’s late season and post season performance. In… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

In his book The Historical Baseball Abstract Bill James talks about how Garvey had a plan going into each season about how many times he would bunt or try to guess on pitches and all kinds of different things.

And I think you’re right that the pendulum may have swung too far in the other direction on Garvey and the others you mentioned. Lou Brock might be another name that belongs on that list.

oneblankspace
Guest

Another player to consider… Phil Niekro.

Top*/Top 4 finishes: 39 GS, 18 CG*, 6 ShO, 20 W*, 302 1-3 IP*, 195 K, 4 BK, 2.38 ERA, 7.8 bWAR, 5.07 aPW*

The Braves finished 88-74, just like the Pirates, but 14 games out of first.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Crazy thing about Niekro: Niekro’s home park was the Launching Pad… see the last MVP post for a discussion of how ludicrous that park was in the ’70s. Anyway, Mike Marshall’s home park was Dodger Stadium. Niekro pitched 94 more innings than Marshall, and in all those extra innings, gave up only 25 extra runs*. That’s 2.39 runs per nine. Marshall’s actual runs per nine was 2.85. So, he would’ve had to pitch more than 10 CG, AND pitch even more effectively to match Niekro… and even then, would’ve done so with a much more run-depressing home ballpark. *Note: I’m… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Another pitching possibility is 16th-place finisher Andy Messersmith. Messersmith finished 5th in ERA (just behind teammate Marshall) with a 2.59 mark. He was second in innings to Niekro (292), and second in strikeouts (221; Steve Carlton had 240). He had a 2.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was 4th in the league, again just behind Marshall. And on top of all of that, he tied Niekro for the league lead with 20 wins, and had the best winning-percentage in the NL with a sparking 20-6 record. He was the All-Star Game starter, and was the second-place finisher for the Cy Young award.… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Messersmith, by the way, was also first in WHIP. Also, the Mets top three (John Matlack, Jerry Koosman, and Tom Seaver) combined to start 101 games and toss 766.1 innings. They were first, second, and eighth (Seaver, Matlack, Koosman) in strikeout-to-walk ratio. Their ERAs weren’t great, but I’m not sure they were to blame for that. They were 3rd, 4th, and 7th in strikeouts (Seaver, Matlack, Koosman), and 1st, 3rd, and 4th (Matlack, Seaver, Koosman) in FIP. They all had pedestrian W-L records: Seaver: 11-11 Matlack: 13-15 Koosman: 15-11 That may have kept them off of people’s radars, but it… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Re: the launching pad, in 1974 the left and right center fences were drawn in ten feet. The team’s HR total dropped from 118 to 65 at home, BA from .286 to .245. The pitching staff, which had finished 12th in ERA in 1973 came in second in ’74 with a H/R split of 3.09/3.02. Niekro’ s ERA was second on the team to that all-time great Buzz Capra. In any event, the launching pad aborted in 1974.

Steven
Guest
In 1974, I didn’t hear or read much about Garvey until the All-Star game; Wynn and Marshall were the Dodgers having the big years. Morgan and Bench were at or near their Hall of Fame peaks. Oliver, Schmidt and Stargell were having steady Oliver, Schmidt and Stargell years. Reggie Smith (along with Ted Simmons) was driving in Bake McBride and Lou Brock, for the Cardinals, who almost pulled off the East Division NL crown. Brock’s 130 steals that year, and Al Hrabosky’s relief antics and success took the spotlight away from Bob Gibson’s decline. Brock, at 35, was the motor… Read more »
Steven
Guest

118 stolen bases for Brock, not 130. Anyway, he didn’t make Maury Wills happy by breaking Wills’ 104. That alone counts for something.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Interesting that Garvey’s modern defensive stats say that he was merely average.

’74 was Schmidt’s best season, according to WAR.

Reggie Smith had a big year in his first season in the NL. No difficulty in transition switching leagues or leaving Fenway.

Jack Billingham was 16th in MVP and 6th in CY with a 0.0 WAR.
(-0.7 including batting)

Cesar Cedeno had 57 SB and 102 RBI
That’s the 5th most SB with 100 ribbies:
83 … Cobb
76 … Cobb
61 … Ben Chapman
60 … Joe Morgan
57 … Cedeno
57 … Honus
55 … Cobb

David P
Guest

Voomo –

What I find interesting about Garvey’s defensive numbers is his time at 3rd base (70-72). He committed 47 errors in only 136 complete games, plus parts of 57 other games. And yet he’s rated at +6 runs for that 3 year period at 3rd. I don’t have time to check but his range factor must have been outstanding for him to rate positive defensively with all those errors.

Paul E
Guest

Garvey was so bad, Dick Allen played a lot of 3B for the Dodgers in 1971. I believe Garvey was a lot better at hitting pitched baseballs than throwing fielded baseballs. Even as a 1B, he had trouble with the 3-6-3 (IIRC)

bstar
Guest

RE: Garvey at third.

Not only does Baseball Gauge’s DRA agree with TZ that Garvey was an above average third baseman from 1970-72, they actually credit him with +21 runs. So he must have had good range, or, more likely, really good hands. I say good hands because that’s the only positive thing I remember about his defense at first.

DRA disagrees on Garvey’s 1974 season at 1st (-9 runs, compared to 0 TZ runs).

Jeff Harris
Guest

Schmidt
Morgan
Bench
Wynn
Cedeno
R. Smith
Garvey

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Most IP, with zero games started:

208.1 … Mike Marshall (1974)
179.0 … Mike Marshall (1973)
168.1 … Bob Stanley
167.2 … Bill Campbell
165.1 … Eddie Fisher
159.1 … Hoyt Wilhelm
157.0 … Dick Radatz
157.0 … Mar Eichhorn

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Regarding Schmidt, he was, of course, ‘on pace’ to have his greatest season in 1981. (12.2 WAR)

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

On Marshall’s season…

5+ IP … 2 times
4+ IP … 8
3+ IP … 22
2+ IP … 62
1+ IP … 97
___________

He had 100+ IP on the road and at home, as a reliever.
___________

Batters faced him 281 times with RISP:
.200 / .252 / .252 / .504
___________

Just over one third of his IP were in the 9th inning.
But that was still 70 IP
And he had a 1.66 ERA
___________

He appeared in 54 games on zero days rest (or less)
___________

He had significant Catcher splits.

Ferguson (92 IP)
.285 / .332 / .390 / .723
3.51 ERA

Yeager (116 IP)
.216 / .268 / .261 / .529
1.47 ERA

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Vote:

Mike Marshall
Mike Schmidt
Cesar Cedeno
Jim Wynn
Joe Morgan
Johnny Bench
Reggie Smith
Ralph Garr
Phil Neikro
Al Oliver

Paul E
Guest

Wynn
Schmidt
Morgan
Bench
Stargell
Brock
Cedeno
Garvey
Rose
Niekro
At the All Star break, the Dodgers lead was 5.5 games. Wynn was 1st in HR’s , and 2nd in slugging percentage and RBI. I believe Bench became the first catcher ever to lead his league in total bases, but Wynn still managed 100 BB, 100 R, and 100 RBI for the pennant winners. I do remember there was much excitement and talk about Wynn resurrecting his career in LA and it being a bit of a surprise he didn’t win the MVP (perhaps due to his BA tailing off?).

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Most TB by a Catcher:

355 … Bench
355 … Piazza
335 … Ivan Rod
320 … Hartnett
320 … Piazza
318 … L.P. Berra
317 … Campanella
315 … Bench (’74 – led league)

314 … Javy Lopez
311 … Torre
308 … Piazza
307 … Mauer
307 … Piazza
307 … Piazza
306 … Torre
302 … Ivan Rod
302 … Walker Cooper
302 … Dickey
_____________

I checked down to 270 TB.
Nobody else has led the league.

David Horwich
Guest

“…Brock didn’t just lead in stolen bases, he lapped the field with a total of 118 thefts (which has since been topped only twice)…”

Just a bit of errata here – Brock’s total has only been bested the one time.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Brock received 16 intentional walks in 1974.
No, he wasn’t in the 8-hole.
He batted leadoff 150 times.

Batting 2nd was Ted Sizemore.
Bad, not awful. No power threat.
But still…

This walking of Brock was a trend.
From 1965-1973:
6,6,6,7,15,12,5,12,15
Curious.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

For that 10-year stretch he averaged

67 SB
10 IBB

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Most IBB with at least 50 SB:

26/56 … Gwynn (’87)
26/50 … Raines (’87)
16/118 . Brock
15/53 … Brock
15/70 … Brock
14/53 … Brady Anderson
13/70 … Raines
13/78 … Jose Reyes
12/51 … Brock
12/63 … Brock
12/56 … Gene Richards
11/96 … Omar Moreno
10/56 … Ichiro

Hartvig
Guest

According to B-R it’s been bested 3 times but 2 of those were in 1887 when Hugh Nicol stole 138 and Arlie Latham 129. They were among 15 players to steal 84 or more bases that season, including 6 with over 100.

It’s possible that the catcher standing 20 feet or more behind home plate may have had something to do with this.

Gary Bateman
Guest

There appears to be three major differences on the Dodgers from ’73 to ’74–Wynn (replacing Willie Davis) in the outfield, Marshall (always) on the mound and Garvey as the regular first baseman with Buckner moving to the outfield. Of the three, I believe Wynn had the most impact, therefore:

1. Wynn
2. Schmidt
3. Marshall
4. Bench
5. Morgan
6. Garvey
7. Brock
8. Cedeno
9. Oliver
10.Garr

Dr. Doom
Guest

Just to clear things up, let’s close this round of voting at 11:59 PM on Tuesday, November 8th. Sorry for not posting this earlier! I’m adding an extra day to what I had planned to make sure that people know when the round wraps up. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Paul E
Guest

How about some Baseball Prospectus and the rarely cited VORP?:
74.7 Schmidt
74.0 Morgan
73.6 Wynn
66.3 Bench
56.3 Stargell
55.9 Cedeno
50.5 Garr
48.1 Evans
48.0 Hebner
47.9 Reggie Smith

Paul E
Guest

or, for that matter, how about some Baseball Prospectus ‘BWARP”
11.56 Schmidt
8.78 Wynn
8.57 Morgan
7.45 Bench
7.42 Evans
6.97 Cedeno
6.10 Smith
5.86 Rose
5.86 Bonds
5.85 Zisk

no statistician but
Guest
To begin: Some general comments on MVP choices until recent times. The sportswriters who voted, in the main, did try to pick whom they considered the most valuable players in the leagues for those years, but many if not most of those writers were appreciative of certain nuances that are no longer considered relevant. One, it’s better not to vote for the previous year’s winner. (Many examples, but notably Ted Williams in 1947.) Two, a big comeback year has added worth. (Cepeda, Dawson, Pendleton) Three, triple crown stats have added worth, especially RBIs. (Jackie Jensen, etc.) Four, in a year… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

I agree in particular with the assessment that “1974 in the NL doesn’t seem to fit.” That’s the main reason I highlighted this year for a post! It’s such an odd year, and I hope we can continue to generate discussion around it.

David P
Guest

I’m going to cast my first ballot. Although I don’t remember this year, I do remember the players. So…

1) Bench – Second in WAR for a 98 win team and WAR probably doesn’t fully capture his full defensive value.
2) Wynn – Best player on the team that won the most games.
3) Morgan – Could be convinved to swap him with Bench.
4) Schmidt – Call me old-fashioned but I think winning does matter. Or at least should be considered.
5) Messersmith – Contributed with arm and bat.

Hmmm…I think that’s about as deep as I want to go with this ballot.

Andy
Admin

For those of you subscribed to comments on this post, I wanted to let you know that the site is back up and running.

no statistician but
Guest

Guess I put my comment in the wrong place. here it is again.

First Trump, then the loss of HHS, although not in that order, I guess. It’s been a long month.

Hope this election is still going on, since I’m working up a vote.

no statistician but
Guest

First Trump, then the loss of HHS, although not in that order, I guess. It’s been a long month.

Hope this election is still going on, since I’m working up a vote.

no statistician but
Guest
1. Schmidt. 2. Wynn. 3. Marshall. 4. Bench. 5. Morgan. 6. Garvey. 7. Zisk. 8. Smith. 9. Brock. 10. Cesar Cedeno. My vote in this election goes against the grain in some respects, but the 2016 AL vote more than justifies it, I think, since Mike Schmidt was the engine that drove the Phillies in 1974 far more than Mike Trout drove the Angels in 2016, and he did it to better effect. Trout’s 10.6 WAR for the Halos this years was a remarkable 35% of the team’s 30.2 WAR, true, but its impact? The team’s 74-88 record was 12th… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Schmidt
Stargell
Bench
Smith
Wynn

Hartvig
Guest
I’m having to do this from memory since the post-it I had written my vote on disappeared not long ago. Looking over the candidates I have a pretty good idea of who I voted for but I’m sure the order might be a little different. 1) Johnny Bench I’m not positive how many of these elections we’ve held but I know for a fact I voted for a catcher in at least 2 of them so I may as well continue down that path. Plus, of course, this is Johnny Bench we’re talkin’ about. 2) Mike Schmidt Yeah, I know… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
I regret not reading/re-reading the comments thread before casting my vote because: a) David P’s pointing out that Messersmith also contributed with his bat probably would have been enough to land him a spot on my ballot rather than just getting honorable mention. b) Paul E’s comments on VORP/BWARP reminded me that the always under-appreciated and often overlooked Darrell Evans was indeed overlooked by me and c) Voomo’s comment on Mike Marshall’s season reminded me that I had planned to make a comment about how if I could vote for a position instead of just an individual player that the… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

“VORP/BWARP reminded me that the always under-appreciated and often overlooked Darrell Evans…..”
HARTVIG,
How about that 1973 season? Evans was 1st in BWARP and VORP and 5th in Fielding Runs per Basebal;l Prospectus. He was 2nd in position-player WAR (9.0) and 2nd in oWAR (7.1) and first in runs created (143). yeah, a wee bit under rated

Dr. Doom
Guest

Hey everyone! Sorry I didn’t check in this weekend! I absolutely saw that the site is up, and I’ve been reading your comments. I’m just going to let you know here (and I’ll re-post this in the “welcome back” thread) that this election IS STILL OPEN. Let’s say we’d like to keep it open until Sunday night (12/18), 11:59 PM, just in case people need to go back up the thread and re-read some of the comments. SO glad to have the site up and running again!!!!

Dr. Doom
Guest
Hey everyone! Just want to get my ballot in before I forget! 1. Johnny Bench – a Swiss army knife who was the league’s most devastating hitter, primarily as the greatest defender at the most difficult position. Had he won in real life, it would’ve been the third consecutive #evenyear MVP for Bench. 2. Mike Schmidt – I get why so many people have voted for him at #1. I’m probably underrating his season by placing him here. But I just can’t help the “foreknowledge” that he’s going to be an even BETTER hitting in about 6 years, and I… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

By the way, I want to encourage people to vote their actual opinion, rather than vote strategically (since the BBWAA has no option of strategic voting, since the voting is blind). But I will say this: this election is, as of my vote (the 11th) an EXTREMELY tight, 3-man race. If you’re considering voting, you should definitely do so! Every vote counts.

Paul E
Guest

Further data outside the WAR realm of perfected calculation:
WIN SHARES 1974 N L

38.5 Schmidt
36.6 Morgan
35.5 Bench
32.1 Wynn
29.2 Stargell
28.5 Niekro
28.0 Evans
27.2 Cedeno
26.8 Garvey
26.5 Garr

Interestingly, one could possibly make the argument that the top 3 in Win Shares above are the best at their respective positions over the last 50 years.

no statistician but
Guest
I don’t see any real place to insert this comment, so I’m putting it here. I noticed a few days ago at B-ref that Boo Ferriss and Ralph Branca recently passed away. Ferris was 94 and Branca 90. Back when they were in their early 20s they both were stars for a few moments in the baseball heavens, but injuries took them down, and neither had success past the age of 25. Branca, of course, is remembered as the victim of Bobby Thomson’s famous “shot,” but he was the mainstay as well on the 1947 Dodger pennant winner with 21… Read more »
--bill
Guest

My vote:
1. Wynn
2. Morgan
3. Bench
4. Stargell
5. Schmidt
6. Rose
7. Messersmith
8. Matlock
9. Niekro
10. Zisk.

Dr. Doom
Guest

I’m going to assume that your #8 is a vote for Jon Matlack, the Mets pitcher and NL WAR leader, not a vote for Bill Madlock, who had rookie status in 1974 and had a 125 OPS+. Correct me if I’m wrong. Also correct me if it is, indeed, a vote for Matlock, a defense attorney played by Andy Griffith. Not that he doesn’t deserve votes for his courtroom demeanor and cool under pressure, but I just don’t think he was in the NL in 1974.

--bill
Guest

Yeah, Matlack, with all due respect to Matlock.

Dr, Doom
Guest
Final voting results: In our closest race ever (and we’re unlikely to see one closer), the 1974 NL MVP winner is Jim Wynn! Wynn was a great player who hit in pitchers’ parks all his career. Had the BBWAA agreed with our electorate that Wynn was the MVP of the NL in 1974, I wonder what that would’ve done to his HOF chances. It shall remain a mystery. Overall, 11 ballots were cast. Here were the finishes. As always, I’ll list the players’ point totals, then their first-place votes in paratheses: Jim Wynn, 103 points (3) Mike Schmidt, 102 points… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Doom,
Thanks for doing the tabulations without the aid of Deloitte. I imagine we have to go with Trammell versus Bell in 1987 and whomever versus Dawson in 1986 in the next go-round? Or bitter Greenwell versus Canseco in 1988?

Hartvig
Guest

My money is on either the 81 or 84 AL election first (since we’re going chronologically and the winners were both closers, Fingers & Willie Hernandez) but I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of the 82 NL (Murphy’s first) or maybe even the 85 AL (Donnie Ballgame), which offers a pretty good case for how the guys who set the table are viewed very differently from the guys that clear it.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Well, Paul E and Hartvig, I’ll spoil the next one for you. Paul E, my interest tends to be less in elections like the AL in ’87 where there are only two candidates and the question is about which was “right.” My interest tends to lie in those elections where the winner isn’t all that clear. Plus, elections like ’87 (in both leagues, including Dawson’s win in the NL, as you’ve mentioned) have been hammered to death. I would like to see some different things talked about. Hartvig, you’re spot-on that the next election is the AL in 1981. The… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
While there may not have been a clear consensus over who the MVP should have been it does appear that we did agree it shouldn’t have been Garvey. He wasn’t an awful choice on the BBWAA’s part- he WAS a very good player having a very good year on the team with the best record in baseball- but it’s also true that to single him out as the most deserving that you also had to put a lot of emphasis on his team’s record and on the value of a .300+ batting average and in RBI’s. And while it’s true… Read more »
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