MVP Elections – 1986 NL

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

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.

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Inaugural Babies

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

Today’s Young Guns and WAR Contribution by Age

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.

Rk Player Year WAR/pos From To Age G PA R H HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Carlos Correa 2016 10.1 2015 2016 20-21 252 1092 128 266 42 164 115 217 .276 .354 .475 .829 *6/H HOU
2 Francisco Lindor 2016 10.3 2015 2016 21-22 257 1122 149 304 27 129 84 157 .306 .356 .454 .810 *6/HD CLE
3 Bryce Harper 2015 19.8 2012 2015 19-22 510 2143 328 528 97 248 279 449 .289 .384 .517 .902 978/HD WSN
4 Manny Machado 2015 17.7 2012 2015 19-22 451 1979 252 511 68 215 128 330 .281 .330 .458 .787 *5/6 BAL
5 Mike Trout 2014 28.6 2011 2014 19-22 493 2195 373 572 98 307 269 489 .305 .395 .549 .945 *87/D9H LAA
6 Jason Heyward 2012 14.7 2010 2012 20-22 428 1730 226 392 59 196 200 373 .261 .352 .447 .799 *9/H8 ATL
7 Giancarlo Stanton 2012 12.4 2010 2012 20-22 373 1498 199 358 93 232 150 432 .270 .350 .553 .903 *9/HD8 FLA-MIA
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/6/2017.

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.

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MVP Elections – 1984 AL

willie-hernandezGreetings 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.

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Quiz: Who Am I ? (solved)

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:

  1. I pitched primarily in relief in a career of more than both 10 seasons and 500 innings
  2. I never pitched in the post-season, but was twice traded in mid-season from teams that made the playoffs
  3. 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.

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All I want for Christmas is …

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.

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MVP Elections – 1981 AL

rollie-fingersDr. 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.

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