This post is for voting and discussion in the 123rd round of balloting for the Circle of Greats (COG). This is the second of three rounds adding to the list of candidates eligible to receive your votes those players born in 1972. Rules and lists are after the jump.
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.
Major League Baseball players born on the day a U.S. President was inaugurated:
–The first major leaguer born on an Inauguration Day was born on March 4, 1861, the day Abraham Lincoln was sworn in (until the mid-20th century, scheduled inaugurations usually took place on March 4). The player born that day was apparently the child of patriotic parents because they named their brand new baby after the brand new president. Abraham Lincoln Wolstenholme was born in Philadelphia, cradle of the nation. Abe Westenholme grew up to play in three games in 1883 for the brand new National League franchise in Philadelphia, which eventually became the Phillies but was then known as the Quakers. The other MLB players born on the day a U.S.president was sworn into office were: Continue reading
Followers of the game will be aware that baseball today is awash in young talent, including the group below, showing their career totals through their age 22 seasons.
In fact, the players above all compiled 10 or more WAR by age 22. What may surprise you to learn, though, is that these 7 players from just the current decade represent fully one-sixth of all such everyday players since 1901. But, will they continue to produce handsome WAR dividends for their teams as their careers progress? To answer in a few words, for most of them, it’s very, very likely.
After the jump, more on being very good when very young, and projecting that success over a career.
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.
As we await this month’s HoF balloting, here’s a little diversion in a bit different format from most of my quizzes. Here are the clues:
- I pitched primarily in relief in a career of more than both 10 seasons and 500 innings
- I never pitched in the post-season, but was twice traded in mid-season from teams that made the playoffs
- I pitched in both leagues, but played in the AL only for expansion teams
Congratulations to Jim! He knew that our mystery player was none other than Frank DiPino, (mostly) an NL reliever from the 1980s and early 1990s. More on DiPino after the jump.
In the spirit of the season, here’s a rundown of some of the more notable transactions occurring on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Possibly the most important Christmas signing occurred in 1964 when the woeful Kansas City A’s began putting together the pieces of a future dynasty, acquiring an undrafted 18 year-old pitcher with the unlikely name of Rollie Fingers. That 1964 season also saw the A’s debuts of Dave Duncan and Blue Moon Odom, two other teenagers who would figure prominently in the first of Oakland’s three 1970s championship seasons.
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.
Scanning baseball’s statistical leaderboards for the 2016 season will tell you the players who turned in the best or worst performances last year. But, for some context, I’ve looked at some of those leading players to consider the significance of their accomplishments over a longer period than just last season. For example, you probably weren’t aware that Bryce Harper‘s .243 batting average last year was the lowest by a player leading his league in IBB, breaking the old mark of .249 by White Sox catcher Ed Herrman in 1972.
More on last season’s statistical leaders after the jump.