MVP Elections – 1985 AL

Greetings yet again, my HHS friends!  Dr. Doom, via Doug, posting about yet another MVP race.

Remember how I seemed obsessed with the National League in the 1960s?  Well, the American League in the 1980s was undoubtedly even more confusing.  Today’s target is 1985.

1985 featured a rarity – two good division races in one league. Following a three-game sweep on the road to the Tigers, Toronto led the AL East by 3 with three to play… against the 2nd place Yankees.  The Yanks took the first, and a Yankee sweep would win the division.  Of course, Toronto won game #161 to wrap things up, but that’s nearly down to the wire.  In the West, with seven to play, the Royals trailed the Angels by a game, but were ready to face the division leaders in a four-gamer in Kansas City.  The Royals took three out of four to go up two games, entering a weekend homestand against Oakland.  Simply taking two games from the A’s would win the division… which they promptly did, wrapping everything up in game #161.  But hey – both divisions were in play on the penultimate day of the season, so that’s not so bad.

In this post, I’m going to highlight 8 players, but they actually come from 6 different teams.  This is unusual, if you’ve been paying attention to my posts before.  Something about the voters and the year made it a little different, and also tended to make it clear that one candidate was abundantly better than the others.

We’ll begin with the MVP selection:  Don Mattingly.  Mattingly led the AL in TB with 370 (most in MLB since Jim Rice‘s 406 in 1978) and in RBI with 145 (most in the AL since 1949) for a team that came up just short in the division.  He also led the league in 2B (for the second straight year) with 48.  While Mattingly was not known as a major power hitter, he banged out 35 HR (his career high) and slashed .324/.371/.567, which was the 3rd best average and 2nd best SLG in the AL, adding up to the 2nd best OPS, as well.

The 3rd-best OPS in the AL belonged to Mattingly’s teammate, Rickey Henderson – though he did it really differently.  Henderson’s .314/.419/.516 line (4th/4th/7th) was beautifully symmetrical, with each part almost exactly .100 apart.  Henderson was 4th in the league in walks with 99 free passes.  He legged out 28 2B, smacked 24 HR even managed 72 RBI – not bad power numbers for a leadoff hitter, to put it far too mildly.  But with Rickey, those are never the numbers we’re looking for, are they?  Henderson stole 80 bases in 90 attempts, leading the league by 24 steals (but finishing only 9th in CS, even though no one was within 20 attempts of him) while scoring a league-destroying 146 R, 30 more than anyone else.  To put those R in perspective, it was the highest total since 1949 (Ted Williams with 150) and has been topped since only once (Jeff Bagwell with 152 in 2000).

Leading the majors in SLG and OPS was George Brett, third baseman for the West division and eventual world champion Royals.  Brett’s .335/.436/.585 slash also featured the league runner-up marks in BA and OBP to go with a career best 30 home runs and triple figures in R (108) and RBI (112), the latter marks ranking fourth and fifth respectively.  It didn’t quite match his 1980 MVP season, but was perhaps the second-best season of a first-ballot Hall of Fame career.

Another third baseman figured among the AL’s best that season; Wade Boggs was Brett’s equal (or maybe his superior) on defense, and was the man who prevented Brett from leading the league in all three slash components. Boggs led the league in batting (.368) and OBP (.450), while slugging .478, giving him the 4th-best OPS in the AL.  Not only did Boggs bang out the hits (a majors leading 240, including 42 2B, third in the league), he also walked 96 times (5th in the league) and scored 107 R, his third of seven straight century run totals.  Never a power hitter, Boggs smoked only 8 HR but did contribute 78 RBI, the second best total of his career.

While 1985 was Boggs’ first of 12 straight All-Star selections and first of four straight top 10 finishes in the MVP vote, another perennial All-Star and MVP contender turned in his usual stellar campaign. Eddie Murray recorded his 5th straight All-Star selection and fifth straight top 5 MVP finish (like Boggs, Murray would never claim the MVP title) with a very Murray-like 37 2B and 31 HR, good for 111 R (3rd) and 124 RBI (2nd). Murray slashed .297/.383/.523 for the league’s 5th-best OPS, as the O’s hung on for the final above-.500 season in their long run of excellence (after 18 straight winning campaigns, Baltimore would reach the .500 mark only once in the next 5 seasons, and only 6 times over the next quarter century).

With an OPS nearly identical to Murray’s was the man who’s been said to have the greatest outfield arm in history, Jesse Barfield.  Barfield led the Jays to their first East division championship, whacking 34 2B and 27 HR to go with 94 R and 84 RBI, good for 7th in the MVP vote, just ahead of teammate George Bell (Barfield’s iron-gloved outfield partner posted similar counting stats but trailed Barfield by 98 points in OPS).

Finishing ahead of Barfield in the MVP voting was Angels closer Donnie Moore (who would die tragically by his own hand just four years later). Moore was only 8-8, but saved 31 while pitching 103 innings in 65 G with a stellar 1.087 WHIP and 1.92 ERA. The crazy thing about the Angels is this:  there really wasn’t anyone having a great year for them in 1985.  Seriously – go look at the stats if you have to.  For a team that was still in it in the final weekend of the season, it’s really hard to explain how they did it when no one on the team was particularly good. Moore was at least stingy in allowing baserunners and runs, so he seemed to get the voting support from the Angels lobby.  Oddly, though, while he was the top MVP vote-getter among pitchers, he finished tied (with two others) for 7th in the Cy Young voting.  So… people didn’t think he was that good a pitcher, but he was super valuable. I guess.

While another relief pitcher, Dan Quisenberry, was mentioned in the voting (a very Quiz year:  league-leading 84 games, 129 IP, 2.37 ERA, 1.225 WHIP), I can say with a high degree of certainty that he was not the best pitcher on his team.  That title belonged to the final player I’ll highlight in this post, Bret Saberhagen.  Saberhagen was just beginning his great-in-odd-years but bad-in-even-ones pattern.  His strikeout to walk ratio was tops in the league (4.16).  More importantly, though, the Cy Young winner went 20-6 (2nd in W and W-L%) with a 2.87 ERA (3rd) and a league-leading 1.058 WHIP.

Is our MVP in the group I’ve shown you?  Or is someone else the choice?  Who is your 1985 AL MVP?

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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77 Comments on "MVP Elections – 1985 AL"

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Joe (@yanks23242)
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I love these type of discussions a lot more than I should, haha. Mattingly was my favorite player growing up and like the voters I oohed and ahhed at his 145 RBI, but he wasn’t even the best player on his team. And I also wonder why voters cream themselves over RBI, but gaudy run totals always get overlooked. So bizarre.

Rickey Henderson
Wade Boggs
George Brett
Don Mattingly
Jesse Barfield
Bret Saberhagen
Cal Ripken
Eddie Murray
Kirk Gibson
Dan Quisenberry

Dr. Doom
Guest

Let’s keep this one open until the end of the month. Deadline is 11:59 PM on 1/31.

Dr. Doom
Guest

If you all think we need to keep this open longer, due to the COG election going on, let me know.

Voom Zanzibar
Guest
Mattingly won on the strength of his 2nd half. A beast in August: .390 / .447 / .737 / 1.184 And then a solid September, in which most of his hits counted, as he racked up 40 RBI. Of course, Rickey was the table-setter. He scored 39 in September, with 22 SB in the month. His batting average dropped from .334 to .314 that month, but he was still getting on base at a .401 clip, with 31 walks. I watched almost every Yankees game that year. They were both fantastic, and it is hard to assign a greater value… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

Symbiotic relationship. Rickey would keep getting on, Mattingly would drive him in. Interesting tidbit about him–he almost always put his bat on the ball. 444K in 7722 PA. in 1985, he had 86XBH and 41K. WAR never loved Mattingly. But for a time he was considered one of the best players in baseball.

Scary Tuna
Guest
Although Blyleven is in the Hall of Fame and we voted him into the Circle of Greats, I found myself surprised to remember he earned nearly 100 career WAR. In 1985, he had 6.9 WAR but didn’t get a single vote for MVP, though he finished third in AL Cy Young balloting. His 17-16 record looked pedestrian compared to Saberhagen (20-6) and Guidry (22-6). After weighing the merits of several pitchers in our recent revoting of the 1984 AL MVP, it’s striking to me to look at the actual vote for the 1985 NL MVP. While Willie McGee was a… Read more »
David P
Guest

Rob Neyer has an interesting article on the 1985 MVP race. In it, he recaps what Bill James wrote in his 1986 Baseball Abstract. James, who was a Royals fan, claimed that Brett was the best player in 1985. This was always James’ greatest weakness…his inability to take off his blinders and write anything even remotely objective about the Royals.

http://www.pinstripealley.com/2013/1/29/3923864/mvp-1985-rickey-henderson-don-mattingly-george-brett

Paul E
Guest

Agreed on the James’ bias ….. but, at least George Brett could play. He had Hal McRae made out to be Ted Williams

David P
Guest

The worst was when James described Don Denkinger’s blown World Series call as a “close play that the Cardinals briefly protested”. He flatly refused to acknowledge that Denkinger blew the call and also ignored the effect of that call on the series outcome. On top of that, the article advanced the incredibly bizarre premise that since the Royals won their WS games by more runs than the Cardinals did, they were by default the better team and deserved to win the WS, regardless of the actual results on the field.

birtelcom
Guest

Hal McRae and Rickey Henderson each had 66 career triples. Rickey had 1,406 career stolen bases and McRae had 109. (Gus Bell had 66 career triples and 30 career SBs).

I have always found Bill James’s reversion to Royals fandom endearing. It makes him more human and relatable, and I suspect if he hadn’t started as a Royals fan, we might have missed out on his entire corpus.

David P
Guest

That’s a fair point Birtelcom. One thing I dislike about Fangraphs is that most of their writers say they no longer have a favorite team.

howard
Guest

Was that in one of the Abstracts? My recollection of his comments on McRae was that he might have become a superstar and a mainstay of the great Reds teams if he had not broken his leg in several places. Instead he was traded to the Royals and had a very good but not great career.

Paul E
Guest

page 687 of the New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (2001) reads, “The broken leg, beyond any question, cost McRae the Hall of Fame…..”

Dr. Doom
Guest
I’m guessing it also hurt Henderson that he only played in 143 games. Voters DO like players to stay healthy – yes, there are NUMEROUS counterexamples to this, like Brett in ’80 and Josh Hamilton, but overall, there’s a premium placed on it. In the hands of certain voters, the fact that Henderson played 143 while Brett had 155 and Mattingly 159 might’ve been enough to sway the election. Couldn’t say for sure, but since “Number of Games Played” is the second item listed in the BBWAA rules, it seems to me that it could’ve been a reason to knock… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Henderson is 1 of 8 players to have a season with more runs scored than games played (100 G min.). The others are Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, Lajoie, Foxx, Klein and Simmons.

Paul E
Guest

And, Henderson did it in an era when teams weren’t scoring 5-6 runs/game…..

Richard Chester
Guest

In 1985 there were 4.33 R/G. There have been 12 other seasons with players having more R than G, from 1901-1939. The range of R/G in those seasons was 4.36 to 5.55.

Paul E
Guest
Richard, I looked into this and I believe you might be citing ML R/G as opposed to the league they are playing in. Or, perhaps you are removing each player’s team’s R/G from the overall league average and calculating from there? I dunno; but I get something along the lines of: 1901 PHI 5.90 / AL 5.35 Lajoie 1911 DET 5.40 / AL 4.60 Cobb 1920 NYY 5.44 / AL 4.76 Ruth 1921 NYY 6.20 / AL 5.11 Ruth 1927 NYY 6.30 / AL 4.92 Ruth 1928 NYY 5.81 / AL 4.77 Ruth 1930 NYY 6.90 / AL 5.41 Ruth… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Paul E: it is the ML R/G that I posted.

Paul E
Guest

Henderson
Brett
Boggs
Mattingly
Murray
Barfield
Stieb
Saberhagen
Whitaker
Gibson

I do remember James pooh-poohing Mattingly’s 145 RBI by stating that Eddie Murray would have done just as well batting behind Henderson (1986 Abstract?) – probably when evaluating players by position. James’ word was gospel in those days…now it’s Dave Cameron (I guess?)

Doug
Guest

I attended Toronto’s clinching series over the Yanks.

In game 162, after the Jays had clinched, Phil Niekro shutout Toronto 8-0 on four hits to collect win no. 300. It was the 45th and last shutout of Niekro’s career. The Yankees resigned Niekro for the 1986 season but released him at the end of spring training. He probably should have retired then as he managed only 18-24 with a 5.11 ERA and 0.90 SO/BB ratio for his final two seasons, mostly in Cleveland.

Paul E
Guest

Right up there with Steve Carlton who went 16-37 over his final three seasons with a 5.21 ERA and 1.15 SO/BB ratio. That ERA+ was 80 ….
but, he did complete three starts in those last 70 starting assignments – that is almost Cy Young Award-like nowadays

Josh Davis
Guest

For me, Henderson’s all around excellence narrowly beats out Brett leading the Royals to the playoffs. Mattingly had a great year, but that huge RBI total is in large part due to Rickey, as mentioned above.

1. Rickey Henderson
2. George Brett
3. Don Mattingly
4. Wade Boggs
5. Jesse Barfield
6. Eddie Murray
7. Kirk Gibson
8. Phil Bradley (I had forgotten what a nice couple of years he had — what happened?)
9. Brett Butler (got overlooked this year, probably because his team was awful, but what a great season:
.311 BA, 14 triples, 47 SB and nearly error-free defense)
10. Cal Ripken Jr.

Dr. Doom
Guest
Here’s my vote: 1. Rickey Henderson – Good enough defense. But that offense – wow. Third best OPS in the league plus 80 SB at super-high effectiveness… man that’s tough to argue with. I tried to see if I could talk myself into someone else, but I couldn’t do it. 2. George Brett – Only 1.000 OPS in the AL in ’85. Great defense at third. If Henderson weren’t having such a great season, this is where my vote would’ve gone. 3. Don Mattingly – the 370 total bases are flashy. He really added the power that he lacked in… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest
Dave Stieb, 1985. How do you lead the league in ERA and ERA+, yet finish with a 14-13 record—17-19 in games started—on a team that finished 99-62? I think the reason isn’t simply Bad Luck, as some might have it. Stieb’s splits show that his best pitching was done in games when he was backed by six or more runs. In fact, his ERA in those games was a fabulous 1.58 (vs 2.57 when he got two of fewer runs). Career-wise, in fact, his worst pitching by a huge measure was when he got poor support. Lifetime ERA with 2-… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Having watched Stieb a lot, not a result I would have predicted.

For the 11 seasons (1980-90) he was a principal in the Jays’ rotation, he was better with 0-2 runs support than with more support 4 times (’84, ’87, ’89 and ’90), so it would seem he got better doing this as he gained more experience (as would be expected for most pitchers).

Voom Zanzibar
Guest

Home/Road for Boggs:

.418 / .503 / .566 / 1.069
.322 / .401 / .398 / .799

Brent
Guest
So, this one is a pet race of mine, being a Royals fan. First, Rickey was incredible, I wouldn’t take anything away from his season, he might have been the MVP. However, I would like to point something out about Brett’s last week of the season, in case it is close in anybody’s mind and they need a tie breaker. The Royals entered the last 7 games of the season (4 with the Angels and 3 with the A’s) 1 game behind the Angels: Here are the results of those games and George’s highlights: Game 156, Royals 3 Angels 1… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Brent:

You saved me the trouble of pointing this out.

Dr. Doom
Guest

It really was an incredible last week. Perhaps the best ever. And I can see how it would sway a voter. It is mentioned in the Rob Neyer article that David P posted above. I’m guessing the voters had been on the Mattingly train long enough at that point that the narrative had been written already, and they couldn’t help but stay on. But I’m surprised that this narrative didn’t capture the award for him. Perhaps, had he not already been the MVP in ’80, it would’ve won the award?

David P
Guest

But how many voters even heard about Brett’s last week? And even if they had, in 1985, RBIs were still KING. And 145 RBIs is a lot more than 112. So I think Mattingly wins regardless.

Paul E
Guest

that’s a final week to rival Yaz in ’67

David P
Guest

Here’s an oddity. In the 1985 ALCS between the Blue Jays and Royals both teams got exactly 8 hits in each of the last 3 games of the series.

Brent
Guest

So now for my vote:

1) Brett
2) Rickey
3) Boggs
4) Mattingly
5) Barfield
6) Ripken
7) Murray
8) Saberhagen
9) Stieb
10) Leibrandt

Richard Chester
Guest
I did an analysis using some of my own unique stats. I used my version of Runs Produced (RP) which is half of a player’s runs scored and half of his RBI. I determined the percentage of Runners Driven In (RDI) but not counting PA in which a player received a BB except when the bases were loaded. RDI=RBI – HR. Here’s what I ended up with. ROB1 = Runners on Base for all PA. ROB2 = Runners on Base after subtracting out PA in which the player received a BB. %RDI = RDI/ROB2 R……….RBI…….RP…….HR……..RDI…….ROB1……ROB2…….%RDI…….OPS+……Player 107…..145……126…….35……..110……..492………444……….24.8……..156……….Mattingly 108…..112……110…….30……….82……..386……….308………26.6……..179……….Brett 146……72…….109…….24……….48……..327……….279………17.2……..157………..Henderson 107……78……..93……….8………..70…….464……….401……….17.5……..151……….Boggs 111…..124……118……..31………93……..440……….387……….24.0……..149………Murray… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest
Here’s my list, I just voted for 6 players. It wasn’t easy deciding between Mattingly and Brett for the number 1 position. 1) Mattingly 2) Brett 3) Murray 4)Boggs 5) Henderson 6) Ripken I know RBI is not used for sabermetric analyses but I don’t think it should be totally ignored. It is a stat of opportunity, that’s why I calculate %RDI. Mattingly drove in Henderson 56 times that year. I don’t know if that is some sort of record as I don’t know of any easy way to research it. I did individually check a number of players with… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

I have to think Wilson drove in Hornsby or English or Cuyler an awful lot in 1929 or 1930 and Greenberg (AL record 184 RBI) plated Gehringer fairly often…. Foxx/Simmons ? Ruth/Combs?
But, that data would be extremely difficult to ‘mine’, I’m sure

Richard Chester
Guest
Actually that data is not difficult to “mine”, it’s just time consuming as you have to look up players one at a time. I just ran Lou Gehrig for his 1937 season. The PI Batting Event Finder for Gehrig accounts for 152 of his 158 RBI and it shows that he drove in Red Rolfe 53 times. The PI accounts for 162 of Wilson’s 191 RBI in 1930 and it shows Cuyler scoring on 45 of them and English scoring on 42 of them. If complete data is available you can go to a player’s home page and then to… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

In 1996 Paul Molitar drove in Chuck Knoblauch 55 times. Molitar had only 113 RBI for the season. The best way to search is to look for players with a lot of runs scored and a low number of HR.

Richard Chester
Guest

Should be Molitor.

oneblankspace
Guest
Looking at standard-type black ink, grey ink for top 4 and ties, and overall team performance (how valuable can he be if he played all season and they still finished 15 games back?), with some of my regional biases, I come to this list: 1. Mattingly, NY 2. Boggs, BOS 3. Brett, KC 4. Stieb, TOR 5. RHenderson, NY 6. WWilson, KC 7. Quisenberry, KC 8. Guidry, NY 9. Fisk, SOX 10. Blyleven, CLE-MIN Blyleven led the league in starts, complete games, and Shutouts, and the NL Cy Young winner in ’84 was traded away from Cleveland mid-season. Mattingly led… Read more »
Gary Bateman
Guest

My vote:

1. Brett
2. Henderson
3. Mattingly
4. Boggs
5. Saberhagen
6. Barfield
7. Murray
8. Blyleven
9. Quisenberry
10. Stieb

Paul E
Guest

RC RC/27/AIR
146 10.37 Brett
143 8.62 Boggs
138 9.65 Henderson
136 7.97 Mattingly
122 8.02 Murray
118 7.46 Gibson
106 6.88 Barfield

…..might have to switch my vote

Scary Tuna
Guest

Here’s my vote:

1. Brett
2. Henderson
3. Boggs
4. Mattingly
5. Barfield
6. Blyleven
7. Saberhagen
8. Ripken
9. Murray
10. Gibson

no statistician but
Guest
Several commenters in this thread have expressed the opinion that, well, yeah, it was those 145 Ribbies that deluded the MVP voters into handing the award to Mattingly in 1985, whereas we now know in our advanced wisdom that RBIs are of secondary importance. Having played a lot of baseball in my youth and seen the game from what I think is a more intimate perspective, I would have to disagree with the substance of this argument. Anyone, I also think, who has suffered a favorite team’s loss because a rally failed for want of hitting when men were in… Read more »
David P
Guest
Oh boy, where to start: 1) Yeah hardly anyone steals home so they need someone to drive them in. But the opposite is also true. Without guys like Henderson getting on base, Mattingly only drives in 35 runs in 1985. 2) On top of that Mattingly didn’t do very well with RISP in 1985, putting up a triple slash line of .314/.384/463. In fact, there were 188 players in the majors with 100+ PAs with runners in scoring position. Mattingly ranked 64th in OPS and 69th in slugging. Brett, on the other hand, was 4th and 15th. 3) So let’s… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

Re: Brett’s intentional walks.

Brett was the only bat in the KC lineup that year. He could be walked with some confidence that it was a good idea, if not with impunity. Mattingly was followed by Winfield and Baylor, who drove in 205 more runs, including, I’d guess, Henderson quite a few times. If anyone gets a pass here, it’s Brett. That’s what’s called a pun.

Dr. Doom
Guest
nsb, to your point about Brett being the only bat in the lineup, I’d add this. The Royals scored only 687 runs – second-to-last in the AL. Brett took part in 190 of those runs (112 RBI + 108 R – 30 HR = 190; I’m subtracting the home runs so they don’t get double-counted). That means Brett took part in 27.7% of the Royals’ runs that year. I’ve checked in virtually every one of these MVP posts, and I don’t remember seeing another player take part in that high a percentage. He really did mean more to his offense… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
I’m going to clock in on this one as well, all the while throwing in my nomination for Luddite of The Month. I haven’t been willing to vote for the MVP series because I have doubts about replacing what I actually saw, and valued at the time, with what advanced metrics (with their own quirks) tell me I should have seen if only I was smart enough. MVP voting reflected contemporary evaluations using metrics, (numerical and otherwise) that people at the time thought had meaning. There have been terrible selections–we all know that. But when you are talking about deciding… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
No one is suggesting that there’s “great injustice here.” i also don’t think anyone has going “charging in 3 decades later,” with a “superior” attitude. I do believe the point is to have a fun baseball topic to talk about. The 1985 season, and its corresponding MVP race, were and are interesting. New metrics can make us look at the past differently; not having lived through it can make it look different and interesting. If we had never had this thread, I would never have known that George Brett had perhaps the greatest week of baseball in the thick of… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
I wasn’t criticizing the project. Apologies if you thought so. I’ve enjoyed HHS, appreciated the discussions over the years, and learned a lot from others. If you look at this particular comment chain, you will see I was responding to NSB’s comment about personal experience and contemporary evaluation on Mattingly at his peak. I was making a point: New metrics may be more accurate, but to the extent the game was deliberately played differently in another era, data-focused evaluations of a player using those metrics may not reflect contemporary evaluations–in part because those players played to meet expectations, and managerial… Read more »
Paul E
Guest
“What a lot of boobs they must have been.” Kind of like that unanimous MVP, Orlando Cepeda, in 1967? Those deceptive 111 RBI for a 10.5-game-margin pennant winner will do it every time. If we’re going anecdotal here, I made an All Star team as a 10 year old. Batted 7th in the game….and struck out twice with the bases loaded and flew out with runners on 2nd and 3rd – all with two outs in the inning. We lost 8-6…. but, the unfortunate part of the whole thing was I didn’t get 4 AB’s the next day, the day… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Paul, 3B is critically more important than CF?

Paul E
Guest
Great point…..I’m thinking Henderson was playing LF like his earlier Oakland days. Didn’t get a lot of American League TV in an NL city (Phila.). In the words of Arthur Fonzarelli, “Cunningham, I was wrr, wrrr, I was wrrrr, I was wroooonng”. “It’s OK Fonz….. 3B is still more important than 1B.” (Isn’t that something Opie would say?) VORP 86.6 Brett 79.8 Henderson 71.3 Boggs 61.0 Mattingly B WARP 10.14 Henderson 8.81 Brett 8.30 Boggs 8.11 Barfield 6.59 Murray 6.43 Butler 6.14 Mattingly I’ll still go with the significant edge Brett has over Mattingly in RC/27 and just couldn’t vote… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Mattingly also played hard right to the end.

In the final game of the season, the day after being eliminated, Mattingly bagged four hits including a homer, and the rest of Yankees had three.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest
Rickey had 24 homeruns and 80 steals. Among Centerfielders, Only Rickey and Eric Davis have pulled that off. Rickey did it twice. Only Cesar Cedeno joins them in the 20/50 club: (Trout 2012 and his 10.8 had 30/49) 9.9 … Rickey (24/80) 8.0 … Cesar Cedeno (22/55) 7.9 … Eric Davis (37/50) 7.3 … Cedeno (25/56) 6.3 … Rickey (28/87) 5.8 … Cedeno (25/57) 5.3 … Davis (27/80) ___________________ For all positions, it has been done 19 times. 9.9 … Rickey (24/80) 9.9 … Rickey (28/65) 9.7 … Barry Bonds (37/52) 9.6 … Joe Morgan (27/60) 9.2 … Morgan (26/67)… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

I just noticed what appears to be an anomaly in Cobb’s stats.
Why does he have
11.3 WAR for 1917 and
10.7 WAR for 1911 ?

1911 is clearly the better year
(it may be the greatest season of all-time).

Is it a factor of the yearly changes in RRep (Runs from Replacement level)?

Dr. Doom
Guest
It’s not an anomaly, and it’s really easy to explain. It’s all about run environment. You’d think that the AL six years apart wouldn’t be that different in run environment, but it was hugely different. The 1911 AL featured 4.6 R/G, while the 1917 version featured only 3.6 R/G. Losing over 20% of your offense means that every run is more than 25% more important. So every little bit meant that much more. Even though the raw stats might look like 1911 is the better year, it’s not an unreasonable conclusion that Cobb’s ’17 was more valuable.
Paul E
Guest

Bobby Tolan approached the 20/50 (sort of) in 69 – 70…. ruptured his Achilles tendon playing hoops in the off-season and missed the entire 1971 season – the only division title the Reds failed to win in the four seasons between 1970 – 1973.
Eric Byrnes ?
On another note, Henderson (7) and Raines (5) had more 70 SB / 70 BB seasons than anybody. It has only been accomplished another 14 times by the rest of the baseball universe and only Bob Bescher (2) did it more than once.

Brendan Bingham
Guest

Vote:

George Brett
Rickey Henderson
Wade Boggs
Bret Saberhagen
Dave Stieb
Jesse Barfield
Don Mattingly
Charlie Leibrandt
Bert Blyleven
Rich Gedman

no statistician but
Guest
One more leap into the fray: I have to take issue somewhat with Voomo’s assessment of Henderson’s late season performance (about four comments from the top of the thread) that Rickey was doing well in September, scoring 40 with a .401 OBP. Here is what happened in the second half, Mattingly and Henderson in that order: PA: 352, 332 AB: 315, 270 R: 66, 69 H: 107, 73 RBI: 76, 35 BA: .340, .270 OBP: .396, .398 SLG: .660. .478 OPS: 1.056, .875 Add to this the fact that both Winfield (.251 BA/ .797 OPS) and Baylor (.222 BA/ .726… Read more »
Paul E
Guest

Base-Out Runs Added (RE24) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 61.91
2. Boggs (BOS) 57.27
3. Henderson (NYY) 56.18
4. Mattingly (NYY) 55.37
5. Murray (BAL) 54.43

Win Probability Added (WPA) s c a p y
1. Murray (BAL) 6.8
2. Brett (KCR) 5.5
3. Henderson (NYY) 5.0
4. Mattingly (NYY) 4.7
5. Boggs (BOS) 4.5

Situ. Wins Added (WPA/LI) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 5.3
2. Henderson (NYY) 5.2
3. Boggs (BOS) 5.1
4. Mattingly (NYY) 4.7
5. Gibson (DET) 4.6

Base-Out Wins Added (REW) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 6.0
2. Henderson (NYY) 5.5
3. Boggs (BOS) 5.4
4. Mattingly (NYY) 5.4
5. Murray (BAL) 5.3

Looks like,,,,Brett, Henderson, Boggs, Mattingly, Murray by these metrics…in that order

Paul E
Guest

Base-Out Runs Added (RE24) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 61.91
2. Boggs (BOS) 57.27
3. Henderson (NYY) 56.18
4. Mattingly (NYY) 55.37
5. Murray (BAL) 54.43

Win Probability Added (WPA) s c a p y
1. Murray (BAL) 6.8
2. Brett (KCR) 5.5
3. Henderson (NYY) 5.0
4. Mattingly (NYY) 4.7
5. Boggs (BOS) 4.5

Situ. Wins Added (WPA/LI) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 5.3
2. Henderson (NYY) 5.2
3. Boggs (BOS) 5.1
4. Mattingly (NYY) 4.7
5. Gibson (DET) 4.6

Base-Out Wins Added (REW) s c a p y
1. Brett (KCR) 6.0
2. Henderson (NYY) 5.5
3. Boggs (BOS) 5.4
4. Mattingly (NYY) 5.4
5. Murray (BAL) 5.3

Looks like,,,,Brett, Henderson, Boggs, Mattingly, Murray by these metrics…in that order

no statistician but
Guest

Dr. Doom:

In an earlier round I sounded you on having a split vote for the number one spot, and you thought it was a bad idea. Unfortunately, I’m again stuck—this time between Mattingly and Brett. According to my reckoning, they both deserved the award, and this time I’m not going to sway from that position.

Sorry, but no vote from this quarter.

Paul E
Guest

Assists 3b AL 1985
339 Brett
335 Boggs
335 Presley
319 Jacobi
316 Gaetti

OPS+ 3B 1901 – 1985
203 Brett 1980
198 Schmidt 1980
181 Allen 1966
180 Rosen 1953
179 Brett 1985

Most SB 1947 – 2016 < / = 10 CS
80/10 Henderson 1985
79/10 W. Wilson 1980
75/10 Raines 1984
70/9 Raines 1986
70/9 Raines 1985

Paul E
Guest

Assists 3b AL 1985
339 Brett
335 Boggs
335 Presley
319 Jacobi
316 Gaetti

OPS+ 3B 1901 – 1985
203 Brett 1980
198 Schmidt 1980
181 Allen 1966
180 Rosen 1953
179 Brett 1985

Most SB 1947 – 2016 < / = 10 CS
80/10 Henderson 1985
79/10 W. Wilson 1980
75/10 Raines 1984
70/9 Raines 1986
70/9 Raines 1985

Dr. Doom
Guest

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the last day of voting, so be sure too get yours in if you haven’t yet.

birtelcom
Editor

My vote, mainly based on a mix of b-ref WAR, fangraphs WAR, and b-ref WPA:
1. Rickey Henderson
2. Brett Saberhagen
3. George Brett
4. Wade Boggs
5. Jesse Barfield
6. Don Mattingly
7. Bert Blyleven
8. Eddie Murray
9. Dave Stieb
10. Kirk Gibson
Hon. Mention to Phil Bradley, Donnie Moore, Cal Ripken, Rich Gedman, all extremely close to the 9/10 level.

Hartvig
Guest
Don’t want to miss out on 2 votes in a row but I have to admit that I haven’t been able to do much research beyond a fairly quick survey. One thing that does stand out to me is that if you look at the teams & the seasons the players had is why the AL East didn’t do better overall vs the West. One reason seems to be the Tigers, who won the most in-division games of any team in the East somehow having a losing record vs. the West. But if you look at everyone outside of the… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest
Here are your final standings, with total points first and first-place votes in parentheses: 1. Rickey Henderson, 141 (6) 2. George Brett, 138 (5) 3. Don Mattingly, 104 (2) 4. Wade Boggs, 101 5. Jesse Barfield, 57 6. Bret Saberhagen, 46 7. Eddie Murray, 40 8. Dave Stieb, 29 9. Bert Blyleven, 27 (wins tiebreaker over Ripken due to receiving more 5th place votes) 10. Cal Ripken, 27 11. Kirk Gibson, 13 12. Dan Quisenberry, 7 13. Charlie Leibrandt, 5 (on three ballots to Willie Wilson’s one) 14. Willie Wilson, 5 15. Ron Guidry, 4 16. Rich Gedman, 3 (on… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

It’s a little unusual that the team with the 4th best record in the league (90-72) managed to get only a single vote and that for 10th place.

I’ve never been a big Gene Mauch fan but this is one year when he actually deserved some of the accolades.

wpDiscuz