Greetings, HHS fans! Dr. Doom here again, with yet another interminably-long post about an MVP race.
This is our final trip to the Senior Circuit, so my fellow NL fans and I will have to be happy with this one. The year was 2000. It was the first of a new millenium, or the last of an old one, or perhaps the only year of the Willenium (which was technically released in 1999, but it was too good of a joke to pass up). The point is, that was an actual debate that people would have. I was enjoying the summer between 6th and 7th grade, all awkward and growing my first couple of facial hairs, small and blonde though they were.
Hey everyone! Dr. Doom here, posting under Doug’s name. Here’s our next MVP post here at HHS.
Remember baseball in 1998? I sure do. There’s all that stuff about America falling in love with baseball again. I’m not sure how true it is, but if it’s a lie, it’s an awfully fun one in which a couple of sluggers are tasked with reinvigorating Americans’ love of their national pastime following the bad taste left by the player strike four years earlier. Playing the roles of dual protagonists, of course, were Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, making their run at Roger Maris‘s single-season home run record. But that’s an NL story. We’re here to talk about the American League. And in the American League in 1998, the big story was all about one team: the New York Yankees.
Dr. Doom here again, with yet another MVP post.
The National League in 1997 was an interesting bird. The second-best team was the Florida Marlins, who won the wild card. The best team was the Braves – just as they had been in 1996, and 1995, (1994 was the strike year,) and 1993, and 1992, and 1991. And they would be again in 1998, and in 1999. The ’90s were their party, alright. Too bad it didn’t work out for them in the World Series department. Anyway, one of the oddest things about the 1997 NL is just how balanced it was; only 3 of the 14 teams were more than 5 games under .500. And of course, this was the middle of Selig-ball.
Incidentally, 1997 was probably the first season that I followed really heavily from start to finish. I had been following the AL from before the strike, at least a little. But, in the Brewers final year in the AL, I thought it was about time to start checking out the competition. And, of course, with 1997 being the advent of inter-league play, it was the perfect time to start learning. It was also convenient, for the purposes of this post, that I remember bits and pieces of this year. But, because we’re in the heart of Selig-ball, just remember that the numbers are going to be a LOT bigger all of a sudden, both for position players and pitchers. May your eyes adjust well! Continue reading
Hello again, everyone! Dr. Doom here with another MVP post.
This time, we examine the National League of 1986. I’ll get to the pennant race (which I normally start with) in a moment, but I want to begin by saying something about the MVP voting of 1986. This was the year of the aging player. The vast majority of the players who show up here were stars already in the late-1970s, yet hung around long enough to still be in play in 1986. And, to their good fortune, when some of them had a resurgence, the NL was weak enough that their good-but-not-great performances were enough to stand out.
The second-place teams in each league won 86 in ’86, which I guess would’ve been fine if the division winners hadn’t won 96 and 108 games. There was no race to speak of in either division, with the Astros pulling away in late July and the Mets having the division sewn up by May Day, by which point they already had a 5-game lead after having taken over first place for good on April 22nd. The Mets finished the season with 108 wins – matching the ’75 Reds with a number that hadn’t been seen in the NL since the 1909 Pirates! To this day, only those Pirates and the 1906 Cubs have won more games in the National League than the 1986 Mets. Continue reading
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.
Greetings again, HHS-ers! Dr. Doom here, via Doug again.
You’re going to notice a pattern here: whenever a reliever wins an MVP, I’m going to give it the sideways eyes and have us re-examine, because… I’m just not sure I buy relievers being that valuable.
So that leads us to 1984. I feel like every time I look at one of these years, the BIG story in baseball is something going on in the other league. We looked at the AL in 1981, when the NL was the real mess. We looked at the NL in 1967, when the greatest pennant race in history was in the AL. Finally, with 1984, we rectify that trend.
Dr. Doom here (via Doug), back for more MVP re-voting!
If your jam was 1970s baseball… well, I’m sorry that we were only there one year. It’s not that the ’70s didn’t have their share of interesting MVP races. They certainly did! What they didn’t necessarily have was the years I was looking for: the ones with multiple good candidates, any of whom could be called the MVP.
Thankfully, if you’re a fan of ’70s baseball, you’re probably also a fan of ’80s baseball. And if you are, boy oh boy are you in for a good few posts. This is the first of SEVEN posts in which we’ll be examining 1980s baseball.
Hey 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!
1967 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.
Howdy, everyone! It’s our first AL post – though, admittedly, we’re still stuck in the early-60s.
1963 was oddly typical (that may be an oxymoron, but I’m going to let it stand). The Yankees won the AL for the 13th time in 15 years (they’d win the next year, too), so that was no change. A Yankee was named MVP for the 10th time in that 15 year span – so again, nothing new, particularly since Yankees catchers won more MVPs in this stretch than their teammates at other positions. Pythagoras had the Yankees and White Sox two games apart, but the Yanks actually won it by 10 in the win column, with each team missing its expected wins by four, but in opposite directions.