Friday, April 29, 2016

PED issues, and more tidbits

In light of the recent PED related suspensions, imagine the impact if they were to add one more penalty. The MLB Players Association and the MLB owners would never agree to this, but I believe that it would have a far bigger impact if the teams are not allowed to replace the suspended players. In other words, if player is suspended for eighty games, his team would play with a twenty-four man roster for eighty games. I think that would lead to better prevention policies, and more of a deterrent.

If the MLB was serious about policing the game, they would implement a policy like this, or similar. Imagine this scenario...a team gets wind of a positive test one morning, and immediately makes a trade to upgrade their team, possibly bringing in a player better than than the one about to be suspended. Then the suspension comes, and that team has actually been able to strengthen its team, in lieu of that suspension. Seems unethical, but it could happen (and I think has already happened at least once)

 But that's my two cents.

Some more interesting tidbits from the Elias Sports Bureau, pulled from a few sources:

  • Assuming Thursday night's start was Jake Arrieta's final appearance of the month, he will finish April with a 5-0 record and a 1.00 ERA. Only six other pitchers won five games in the month of April with an ERA of 1.00 or lower: Walter Johnson (1913), Fernando Valenzuela (1981),  Randy Johnson (2000),  Cliff Lee (2008), Zack Grienke (2009), and  Ubaldo Jiminez (2010).

  • Neil Walker hit his ninth home run of the season in the Mets' 5-2 home win over the Reds on Wednesday. Walker, who has not yet hit a double or a triple in 2016, is the first Mets player whose first nine extra-base hits of a season all were all homers. The previous team record for that sort of thing had been held by Ron Swoboda, whose first eight extra-base hits cleared the fence in 1968.

  • Logan Verrett pitched two innings of scoreless relief to earn the win for the Mets on Tuesday, just a day after getting his first relief win of 2016. Verrett was also called upon to make two starts for New York earlier this month, allowing no runs on six innings pitched in each outing. He is the first pitcher in major-league history with two relief wins and two scoreless starts of at least six innings before the end of April. The only other pitcher to do so in any calendar month over the last 50 years was Tom Bolton of the Red Sox in July 1990.

  • Yadier Molina was behind the plate for the season opener, marking the 12th consecutive season in which he was the Cardinals' opening-day catcher. Since 1900, only two other players started at catcher in 12 straight season openers for one team: Ray Schalk, 15 seasons with the White Sox (1913-27); and Bill Dickey, 14 seasons with the Yankees (1930-43).

  • David Ortiz slugged his 504th career home run in the Red Sox season-opening win in Cleveland on Tuesday. Ortiz, who turned 40 years old over the offseason, is the third 40-something to hit an opening day homer for Boston, joining Ted Williams (in Washington in 1960) and Carl Yastrzemski (in Milwaukee in 1980).

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

1919, who we should remember...

     1919 is a season that is most remembered for the World Series outcome, the ensuing outcry, the investigation, and the ultimate result.

     The Chicago White Sox were an amazingly talented team who were heavily favored to beat the Cincinnati Red in the World Series. They were also, in their eyes, underappreciated and vastly underpaid for their status as superb ballplayers. In short, the players deeply resented owner Charles Comiskey.
     The baseball reserve clause caused most of the acrimony. The reserve clause essentially locked a player into a team for the duration of his career. He remained the property of that team until he retired, or was transferred or traded to another team. (I have covered the reserve clause in an earlier posting)
     Without rehashing a whole lot of things that have been written about many times, by far better writers than I, the upshot is that the White Sox conspired to 'throw' the World Series.
     Now, let it be known that it was not the entire team that was involved. Enough of the starting lineup was involved, along with two starting pitchers. One player, Fred McMullin, was a reserve who overheard the planning, and demanded to be included.
     Third baseman Buck Weaver, while receiving no money, was implicated for being aware of the plan, and not notifying the ownership. Joe Jackson, who was unable to read or write, was also involved, did take money, and then kept asking out of the games. At the conclusion of the Series, Jackson had hit the only home run, and led both teams in batting.
     Rumors began circulating quickly about a 'fix' being in, and by the time the Series had started, the odds-makers were now making the Reds even-money favorites to win.
     The Reds did win the Series, five games to three (in a best of nine)
     Knowing the baseball landscape at the time, where gamblers and players were often in each others company; where wagering during the games was quite out in the open, it is not surprising that gamblers had that amount of access to the Sox players.
     Enough people have read "Eight Men Out" by Eliot Asinof. More have seen the move of the same name, and they have a grasp on the story. But I don't think they recognize the timeline involved.
Rumors followed the White Sox through the 1920 season, and in September of that year, a Grand Jury was convened to investigate the allegations. Reportedly, pitcher Eddie Cicotte and outfielder Joe Jackson admitted to their participation in the conspiracy. In fact, according to the book "Shoeless Joe" by David L. Fleitz (McFarland & Company, Publishers) (see the link below) there were many instances of "inconsistent fielding" that cost the Sox games during the 1920 season.
     Comiskey, whose White Sox were in a down to the wire battle against the Cleveland Indians for the American League title, suspended the seven remaining White Sox implicated for the final series against said Indians.
     In the meantime, with concern being for the integrity of the game, Baseball itself needed to address these gambling issues, lest the public lose faith in the game, and it take on an air of boxing, with the seediness of the characters that hover around the athletes, and bring outcomes into question.       To that end, the owners in both leagues hired Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis to act as the head of the newly reformed National Commission. Landis would only accept the position if he was granted absolute control and power over every player in both the majors and the minors.
     One of Landis' first acts was to immediately place the eight players on the 'ineligible list' for the 1921 season, essentially suspending them from all organized baseball. The trial took place in June, and the jury returned a verdict in early August, finding the White Sox players not guilty of all charges.
     Upon the verdict, Landis immediately handed down his own verdict:
     "Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game, no player who undertakes or promises to throw a ball game, no player who sits in confidence with a bunch of crooked ballplayers and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball."

     The eight players were left on the ineligible list on a permanent basis, banning them from baseball.
Those eight were: Ed Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch, Buck Weaver, Swede Risberg, Chick Gandil and Fred McMullin.

     Many people have said that this was the end of the "Dead Ball" era of baseball, where 'small ball' was the usual style of play. Pitching, defense, speed and strategic bunting were more commonplace than they are in today's game. The home run had not yet captivated the nation, and the stadiums of play were often cavernous ballparks that generated a lot of triples. In fact, every team in both leagues hit more triples than homers in 1919.
     And the 'dead ball' era is said to have ended in 1920, with the future of baseball being clouded by the White Sox scandal, there was a fear that the public may not trust the integrity of the game. Plus, the owners were looking with great interest at what was happening in Boston, in the persona of George Herman Ruth.

     George Herman "Babe" Ruth was a left handed pitcher for the Red Sox. And a very good one. In fact, for the five years between 1915 and 1919, he won 87 games, and had an ERA of 2.16. He set the record for the lowest ERA in the American League by a left handed pitcher with a 1.75 ERA in 1916. That record was eventually broken by Ron Guidry in 1978.
     But it was his hitting that was garnering the most attention. Over that same time, he had a .309 batting average. As I have mentioned before, a great indicator of a stellar offensive season is the 3/4/5 rule. That translates to a .300 average, .400 on base percentage and a .500 slugging percentage.                During those five years, Ruth averaged .309/.414/.571.
     The Red Sox began taking advantage of Ruth's offensive output in 1918, when they started playing him in the field on days he wasn't pitching. In 1918 and 1919, he led the league in home runs. He only pitched in seventeen games in 1919, starting fifteen and winning nine. His ERA was a very respectable 2.97.

     But more on the Bambino at a later date. Let's get back to the season at hand.

     1919 has always intrigued me, not just for the scandal, but for the amount of legendary players that were a part of that season. And in crunching the numbers, I found a bit of a surprise.
     First, I decided to look at the power numbers, which in my vernacular, is a combination of offense and pitching compared to the league averages for each. It gives a pretty good indication of how strong a team is.
     So in each league, the top 3 were:

AL                                                NL
White Sox 1st place                     Reds 1st place
Indians 2nd place                        Giants 2nd place
Yankees 3rd place                       Cubs 3rd place

     As you see, the power rankings stayed true to the finish. The interesting thing is that while the White Sox were initially heavy favorites to win the Series, the Reds actually had a stronger power number (1.2198 vs. 1.1592) So without a fix being in, I thing the Reds may have been a tougher challenge for the Sox than many thought.

     Okay, lets look at the National League offensive players first. Bear in mind, there was no post season awards during this era, so I have nothing to compare my ballots to. Also note that Phillies outfielder Gavvy Cravath didn't have enough at-bats to qualify for any batting titles, but did have enough good numbers to lead the league in home runs. So, he gets an asterisk, and I'll add an eleventh player to the top ten list. These are the overall basic rankings:

  1. Heinie Groh           Cincinnati                        5 63 .310 21 SB
  2. Gavvy Cravath*     Philadelphia                  12 45 .341 8 SB
  3. Edd Roush             Cincinnati                        4 71 .321 20 SB
  4. Hi Myers                Brooklyn                         5 73 .307 13 SB
  5. Rogers Hornsby     Cardinals                         8 71 .318 17 SB
  6. George Burns         NY Giants                       2 46 .303 40 SB
  7. Benny Kauff          NY Giants                      10 67 .267 21 SB
  8. Larry Doyle           NY Giants                        7 52 .289 12 SB
  9. Ross Youngs          NY Giants                        2 43 .311 24 SB
  10. Zack Wheat           Brooklyn                          5 67 .297 15 SB
  11. Fred Luderus         Philadelphia                     5 49 .293 6 SB

 Then looking at performance against their team's average performance:
  1. Gavvy Cravath*    above
  2. Rogers Hornsby    above
  3. Billy Southworth   Pittsburgh                         4 61 .280 23 SB
  4. Max Flack             Cubs                                  6 35 .394 18 SB
  5. Hi Myers               above
  6. Heinie Groh          above
  7. Fred Luderus         above
  8. Fred Merkle          Cubs                                 3 62 .262 20 SB
  9. Edd Roush             above
  10. Milt Stock             Cardinals                          0 52 .307 17 SB
  11. Zack Wheat           above

  And then the total combined:
  1. Gavvy Cravath*
  2. Heinie Groh
  3. Rogers Hornsby
  4. Edd Roush
  5. Hi Myers
  6. Billy Southworth
  7. Max Flack
  8. Fred Luderus
  9. Zack Wheat
  10. George Burns
  11. Irish Meusel            Philadelphia                    5 59 .305 24 SB

  And over in the American League, the basic numbers:
  1. Babe Ruth                Red Sox                        29 113 .322 7 SB
  2. Bobby Veach            Detroit                            3 97 .355 19 SB
  3. Ty Cobb                   Detroit                             1 67 .384 28 SB
  4. George Sisler           Browns                          10 83 .352 28 SB
  5. Shoeless Joe Jackson White Sox                     7 96 .351 9 SB
  6. Eddie Collins          White Sox                        4 80 .319 33 SB
  7. Harry Heilmann      Detroit                              8 92 .320 7 SB
  8. Tris Speaker            Cleveland                         2 63 .296 19 SB
  9. Ray Chapman         Cleveland                         3 53 .300 18 SB
  10. Buck Weaver          White Sox                         3 75 .296 22 SB

And then against their teams:
  1. Babe Ruth               above
  2. George Sisler          above
  3. George Burns         Athletics                            8 57 .296 15 SB
  4. Bobby Veach          above
  5. Tillie Walker          Athletics                           10 64 .292 8 SB
  6. Sam Rice               Washington                         3 71 .321 26 SB
  7. Baby Doll Jackson Browns                               4 51 .323 9 SB
  8. Joe Jackson            above
  9. Harry Heilmann     above
  10. Wally Schang         Red Sox                              0 52 .306 15 SB

Their totals combined bring us to this final tally:
  1. Babe Ruth
  2. George Sisler
  3. Bobby Veach
  4. Ty Cobb
  5. Joe Jackson
  6. Sam Rice
  7. Harry Heilmann
  8. George Burns
  9. Eddie Collins
  10. Baby Doll Jackson

     Ruth, as I'm sure will be the case throughout most of the twenties and early thirties, outpaced the offense in the American League.

     So, let's look at the pitching.

     During this 'dead ball era', where spitballs were allowed; where the emphasis was on moving runners over, stealing bases and sacrifice hits were the name of the game; where fielder's gloves were just starting to be more important, there were a large amount of 'unearned runs scored and allowed. To that end, just for comparison, I'm going to look at the difference between ERA (Earned Run Average) and just plain old Runs Allowed.
     Just as a refresher, earned runs are normal runs scored during a game. Unearned runs are scored as the result of errors, in a variety of ways that factor after errors are calculated. The average is figured to determine how many runs per a nine inning game are given up by the pitcher.
During this era, it was not uncommon for pitchers to average around 2 earned runs per game, or an ERA of 2.00.

     So the top 5 in ERA in each league:

      AL                                                      NL
  1. Walter Johnson 1.49                       Grover Cleveland Alexander 1.72
  2. Eddie Cicotte 1.82                          Hippo Vaughn 1.79
  3. Carl Weilman 2.07                         Dutch Ruether 1.82
  4. Carl Mays 2.10                               Fred Toney 1.84
  5. Allan Sothorn 2.20                         Babe Adams 1.98

     And then the top 5 in Runs Allowed in each league:
       AL                                                      NL
  1. Eddie Cicotte 2.260                         Grover Alexander 1.95
  2. Walter Johnson 2.263                      Babe Adams 2.26
  3. Carl Mays 3.08                                Fred Toney 2.34
  4. Carl Weilman 3.10                           Hippo Vaughn 2.44
  5. Stan Coveleski 3.12                         Slim Sallee 2.49

      As you can see, the disparity between the leaders, and the difference in runs per game is stark. While the dead-ball era is praised for its 'station to station' type play, it is clear that bad defense also played a part in the games, and probably some of the strategies as well.

     But back to the rankings at we'll look at the pitchers. For these, I went back to using the ERA as part of the formula, since that is what I use in all the formulas across the eras. We'll look at the NL' s basic pitcher rankings first:
  1. Slim Sallee              Cincinnati                      21- 7 2.06
  2. Grover Alexander   Cubs                              16-11 1.72
  3. Jesse Barnes            Giants                            25- 9 2.40
  4. Hippo Vaughn         Cincinnati                      21-14 1.79
  5. Dutch Ruether         Cincinnati                      19- 6 1.82
  6. Fred Toney              Giants                            13- 6 1.84
  7. Babe Adams            Pittsburgh                      17-10 1.98
  8. Ray Fisher              Cincinnati                       15- 5 2.17
  9. Hod Eller                Cincinnati                       19- 9 2.39
  10. Wilbur Cooper        Pittsburgh                       19-13 2.67

     If you note that the Cincinnati Reds are very well represented on this list, which adds to my thinking that they could have given the White Sox a run for their money in a legitimate World Series.
     Also in the National League, the average rankings against their teams matched their basic rankings. And, they also matched the overall rankings as well. So, when I changed the ERA factor in the formula to the Runs Allowed, it slightly alters those rankings. The same top ten pitchers, just in a different order.
  1. Slim Sallee
  2. Grover Alexander
  3. Fred Toney
  4. Hippo Vaughn
  5. Dutch Ruether
  6. Babe Adams
  7. Jesse Barnes
  8. Ray Fisher
  9. Hod Eller
  10. Wilbur Cooper

Now, we'll look at the American League basic ranking:
  1. Eddie Cicotte         White Sox                              29- 7 1.82
  2. Walter Johnson      Washington                            20-14 1.49
  3. Carl Weilman         Browns                                  10- 6 2.07
  4. Stan Coveleski       Cleveland                              24-12 2.61
  5. Allan Sothorn         Browns                                 20-12 2.20
  6. Lefty Williams       White Sox                             23-11 2.64
  7. Carl Mays           Red Sox/Yankees                     14-14 2.10
  8. Bob Shawkey         Yankees                                 20-11 2.72
  9. Jim Bagby              Cleveland                              17-11 2.80
  10. Herb Pennock         Red Sox                                16- 8 2.71

    That Walter Johnson averaged giving up one and a half earned runs per game, and two and a quarter total runs per game, and still lost fourteen games, it makes one wonder how good he would have been for a better team.
     As it was, he won 416 games in his stellar career, setting many records along the way. He pitched 110 shutouts. His career ERA was 2.17, his career Runs Average comes to 2.89. Yet he still lost 279 games. He is clearly one of the game's All-Time greats, and is without a doubt, one of the top pitchers ever.
     (Personally, I believe we should be handing out Walter Johnson Awards at season's end.)
     Anyway, as with the National League, the American League numbers are identical in performance against the league, and the performance in overall rankings. As above, when I change the formula to Runs Allowed, we have two additions to the list. That ranking is as follows:
  1. Eddie Cicotte
  2. Walter Johnson
  3. Stan Coveleski
  4. Carl Weilman
  5. Lefty Williams
  6. Allan Sothoron
  7. Bob Shawkey
  8. Jim Bagby
  9. Urban Shocker        Browns                                13-11 2.69
  10. Hank Thormahlen   Yankees                               12- 8 2.62

So, were I to give a league award in each league, to best player and best pitcher, I would have one winner in the National League. There would be one award for each in the American League,
The AL winners would be:

Babe Ruth

Eddie Cicotte

While the NL winner would be :

Slim Sallee

Where I to have to vote for one player to be a 'Player of the Year', My vote would be for “the Babe”

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

1990, the upset, and something we may never see again...

     The 1990 season, in which the Oakland A's were in the midst of their 'dynasty' years, accounted for a remarkable season for one player, an historic season for another player, and one of the biggest World Series upsets in history.
     The season had an auspicious start, as labor troubles caused the cancellation of a couple of weeks of Spring Training. This was the first contract negotiation after the collusion cases of the late eighties. The previous negotiations had resulted in player initiated work stoppages, so this time, ownership took to the offensive and was more aggressive in their dealing with the Players Association. The contract was ratified late, but both sides were able to salvage the 162 game season. (Of course, the next negotiation was extremely contentious, and led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
     Also of note, after a four month investigation involving George Steinbrenner's involvement with Howie Spira, an admitted gambler, who was supposedly providing Steinbrenner with damaging and embarrassing information on Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield, came to a close. In an often convoluted and ever changing story, Steinbrenner admitted to giving Spira $40,000, not as a payment for services (and information rendered) but rather, “out of the goodness of my heart”, Steinbrenner was quoted as saying.
     Eventually, Spira was indicted in Tampa for “making extortionate demands” of Steinbrenner, even though Steinbrenner had Spira sign a confidentiality agreement regarding the $40,000 payoff. Spira continued to ask for an additional $110,000 and a job with the Yankees in Tampa.
Winfield and Steinbrenner had been feuding publicly over non-payment to Winfield's non-profit David M. Winfield Foundation, of whom Spira was a non-salaried public relations agent. In fact, Winfield and Steinbrenner sued each other over the payments in 1989. Early in the season, the Yankees first benched Winfield, then traded him to the the California Angels for Mike Witt. Winfield, citing his no-trade clause in his contract, refused to report and went home to New Jersey. The Yankees countered that fact with a clause in Winfield's contract listing seven teams that he would agree to a trade to, the Angels being one of them.
     Witt reported to the Yankees the next day, but Winfield remained at home. Steinbrenner and Winfield had a two hour meeting, in which Steinbrenner apparently told Winfield that should an arbitrator declare the trade void, Winfield would return as a full-time player. Winfield had been benched in the throws of a zero for twenty-three slump. Steinbrenner gave Winfield a check for $100,000, which was the sum of Winfield's three bonus stipulations in his contract.
     Commissioner Fay Vincent declared the transaction complete upon hearing of the payment to Winfield. A grievance was immediately filed, and a hearing was held. Winfield, after some negotiations, agreed to report to the Angels after negotiating a contract extension and another bonus.
     For their part, the Yankees were heavily fined by the commissioner. $225,000 fine for tampering with Winfield (Vincent cited Steinbrenner's remark about Winfield being a full-time player). $200,000 of that was compensation to the Angels.
     After lengthy hearings and investigations, on the morning of July 30th Steinbrenner and his attorney assembled in the commissioner's office to hear the verdict. Steinbrenner had agreed to voluntarily remove himself from the day-to-day operations of the Yankees. When the decision was announced, the Yankees were in the Bronx hosting the Detroit Tigers. The 24,037 people in attendance, upon hearing news of the settlement, broke into a ninety second standing ovation.

     Of note on the field:
     Nolan Ryan won his 300th game. He also became the oldest pitcher to pitch a no-hitter, hurling his also record sixth against the A's.

     And speaking of no-hitters, there were a record nine thrown in 1990, the most noteworthy being pitched by Andy Hawkins of the Yankees, who no-hit the White Sox, but due to errors and walks, wound up as the losing pitcher in the no-hitter, as the Sox won 4-0.

     Rickey Henderson stole his 894th base, passing Ty Cobb as the all-time American League stolen base leader. (He would finish the season with 936, 2 shy of Lou Brock's record, which he would break in 1991)

     George Brett of the Royals won his third batting title. Interestingly, each of the three was in a different decade. (1976, 1980 and 1990)

     Cecil Fielder left the States to play in Japan for a year. He returned in 1990 with the Detroit Tigers, and hit 51 home runs.

     The Cincinnati Reds went from wire-to-wire to win the NL West crown, becoming the first National League team to do so in the expansion era.

     Bob Welch of the A's won twenty seven games, an amount that we have not seen since, nor does it appear we will again, with the inclusion of pitch counts and innings limits on pitchers. In fact, since Denny McLain won thirty-one in 1968, only Welch and Steve Carlton (1972) have reached twenty-seven wins.
     Amazingly, Welch won the Cy Young Award, but he was not a unanimous choice. He received just fifteen of the twenty-eight first place votes. Was that voting justified? We'll delve into that shortly.
     Willie McGee, the speedy outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals was leading the National League in hitting through August 29th when he was traded to Oakland. He left the NL with enough at bats to qualify for the league lead, hitting .335 at the time of the trade. No one caught him, so he became the only player to win a League batting championship while playing in the other league. (For the record, combined, he finished with a .324 average)
     As for the upset, the Oakland A's were a team full of promise and potential. They won three straight AL Championships, but only won one World Title. They were blind-sided by Kirk Gibson and the Dodgers in 1988, they did beat the Giants in the earthquake scarred Series on 1989, and they were unceremoniously swept by the Cincinnati Reds, who won a dozen less games than the A's did in the regular season.
     The team rankings were interesting and somewhat telling. In each league, the top 5 teams were represented in the playoffs, with just two teams from each league making the playoffs at the time.
     Those rankings, with season ending standings, are as follows:

  1. Pittsburgh Pirates               1st in NL East
  2. New York Mets                  2nd in NL East, 4 games behind
  3. Cincinnati Reds                  1st in NL West
  4. Montreal Expos                  3rd in NL East, 10 games behind
  5. Los Angeles Dodgers         2nd in NL West, 5 games behind

  1. Oakland A's                        1st in AL West
  2. Chicago White Sox             2nd in AL West, 9 games behind
  3. Toronto Blue Jays               2nd in AL East, 2 games behind
  4. Boston Red Sox                  1st in AL East
  5. Texas Rangers                     3rd in AL West, 20 games behind

     The A's played a memorable playoff series against the Boston Red Sox that saw one of the biggest rhubarbs in League Championship history. Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, with his team already down three games to none, began arguing with the home plate umpire for Game Four, Terry Cooney. A combination of frustration, and a few 'magical twelve letter words' later, and Clemens needed to be physically restrained by Sox catcher Tony Pena. Second baseman Marty Barrett was also ejected in the ensuing protest.
     When the playoff series was done, the A's had scored twenty runs to Boston's four.
The Series itself was a runaway on paper, but the opposite reality was what happened. Led by Billy Hatcher's record seven consecutive hits, and his .750 batting average, the “Little red Machine” was firing on all cylinders. (Sorry for that one, couldn't resist). The aforementioned Bob Welch got tagged for nine hits and four runs in his one Series start. Dave Stewart fared little better in his two starts, giving up ten hits and six runs (four earned) in his two tried at the Reds.
     The A's highly regarded bullpen got shellacked. Dennis Eckersley, who saved forty-eight games in sixty-three games, and who had a minuscule ERA of 0.61 on the year (he walked four men in 73 1/3rd innings that season) wound up with a Series ERA of 6.75.
     The Reds' bullpen, led by the “Nasty Boys” were unscored upon in 7 innings work during the Series, giving up 6 hits and striking out seven in the process. Overall, the Reds' Series batting average was .317.

     But now let's look at the performances on the offensive side for the regular season. First, we'll look at the top overall performances in each league:

  1. Barry Bonds           Pirates               33   114 .301
  2. Bobby Bonilla        Pirates               32   120 .280
  3. Kal Daniels            Dodgers             27    94 .296
  4. Ryne Sandberg       Cubs                  40   100 .306
  5. Eddie Murray         Dodgers             26    95 .330
  6. Eric Davis              Reds                   24    86 .260
  7. Kevin Mitchell      Giants                 35    93 .290
  8. Darryl Strawberry Mets                    37  108 .277
  9. Ron Gant               Braves                32    84 .303
  10. David Justice         Braves                28    78 .282

  1. Rickey Henderson   A's                    28    61 .325 61SB
  2. Cecil Fielder            Tigers               51  132 .277
  3. Kelly Gruber           Blue Jays          31  118 .274
  4. Jose Canseco           A's                    37  101 .274
  5. George Brett           Royals               14    87 .329
  6. Bo Jackson             Royals                28    78 .272
  7. Fred McGriff          Blue Jays           35    88 .300
  8. Mark McGwire       A's                     39  108 .235
  9. Ellis Burks              Red Sox             21   89 .296
  10. Dave Winfield   Angels/Yankees      21   78 .267

Compared to their own team's average performance:

  1. Barry Bonds              above
  2. Glenn Davis             Astros              22   64 .261
  3. Willie McGee       Cardinals (NL)     3    62 .335
  4. Ryne Sandberg         above
  5. Ron Gant                 above
  6. David Justice           above
  7. Len Dykstra            Phillies               9    60 .325
  8. Bobby Bonilla         above
  9. Eric Davis               above
  10. Kal Daniels             above

  1. Rickey Henderson     above
  2. Randy Milligan       Orioles               20   60 .265
  3. Ken Griffey Jr.         Mariners            22   80 .300
  4. Jesse Barfield          Yankees              25   78 .265
  5. George Brett              above
  6. Bo. Jackson               above
  7. Dave Winfield           above
  8. Kelly Gruber             above
  9. Kirby Puckett          Twins                 12    80 .298
  10. Roberto Kelly         Yankees              15    61 .285 42SB

Then the combination of the stats, the top rated players were...

NL:                                                  post season voting
  1. Barry Bonds                         1st MVP
  2. Ryne Sandberg                     4th MVP
  3. Bobby Bonilla                      2nd MVP
  4. Kal Daniels                          27th MVP
  5. Willie McGee                      no votes
  6. Ron Gant                             14th MVP
  7. Eric Davis                            12th MVP
  8. David Justice                       1st ROY, 24th MVP
  9. Glen Davis                           no votes
  10. Eddie Murray                       5th MVP

  1. Rickey Henderson               1st MVP
  2. Cecil Fielder                        2nd MVP
  3. Jose Canseco                       12th MVP
  4. Kelly Gruber                        4th MVP
  5. George Brett                        7th MVP
  6. Bo. Jackson                          no votes
  7. Randy Milligan                    no votes
  8. Dave Winfield                     no votes
  9. Ken Griffey Jr.                    19th MVP
  10. Kirby Puckett                     no votes

This marks the first of Barry Bonds' MVP Awards, as he beat out teammate Bobby Bonilla for the award. Bonds received twenty-three of the twenty-four first place votes, with Bonilla getting the other.

Now looking at pitching, beginning with the overall numbers:

  1. Doug Drabek                Pirates                      22- 6 2.76
  2. Ramon Martinez           Dodgers                   20- 6 2.92
  3. Frank Viola                   Mets                         20-12 2.67
  4. John Tudor                   Cardinals                  12- 4 2.40
  5. Jose Rijo                       Reds                         14- 8 2.70
  6. Ed Whitson                   Padres                      14- 9 2.60
  7. Jeff Brantley                 Giants                        5- 3 1.56 19 saves
  8. Zane Smith                   Pirates/Expos            12- 9 2.55
  9. Dave Smith                   Astros                        6- 6 2.39 23 saves
  10. David Cone                   Mets                         14-10 3.23

  1. Roger Clemens              Red Sox                    21- 6 1.93
  2. Dennis Eckersley           A's                              4- 2 0.61 48 saves
  3. Bob Welch                     A's                             27- 6 2.95
  4. Dave Stewart                 A's                             22-11 2.56
  5. Chuck Finley                 Angels                       18- 9 2.40
  6. Dave Steib                     Blue Jays                   18- 6 2.93
  7. Bobby Thigpen             White Sox                    4- 6 1.83 57 saves (record)
  8. Ron Robinson               Brewers                      12- 5 2.91 (also pitched for the Reds)
  9. Erik Hanson                  Mariners                     18- 9 3.24
  10. Eric King                      White Sox                   12- 4 3.28

Against their team's performances:

  1. John Tudor                      above
  2. Charlie Leibrandt          Braves                        9-11 3.16
  3. Ramon Martinez             above
  4. John Smoltz                  Braves                       14-11 3.85
  5. Ed Whitson                      above
  6. Doug Drabek                   above
  7. Mike Harkey                 Cubs                           12- 6 3.26
  8. Lee Smith                      Cardinals                      3- 4 2.10 27 saves (also pitched for Boston)
  9. Frank Viola                     above
  10. Jeff Brantley                   above

  1. Roger Clemens               above
  2. Chuck Finley                  above
  3. Ron Robinson                above
  4. Doug Jones                   Indians                          5- 5 2.56 43 saves
  5. Erik Hanson                   above
  6. Dennis Eckersley           above
  7. Kevin Appier                Royals                          12- 8 2.76
  8. Dave Steib                     above
  9. Steve Farr                     Royals                           13- 7 1.98
  10. Greg Olson                   Orioles                            6- 5 2.42 37 saves

Then, the compilation of the statistics brings us the top pitchers for each league, as such...

NL:                                        post season voting
  1. Doug Drabek                     1st Cy Young, 8th MVP
  2. John Tudor                         no votes
  3. Ramon Martinez                2nd Cy Young, 16th MVP
  4. Frank Viola                        3rd Cy Young
  5. Ed Whitson                        no votes
  6. Charlie Leibrandt               no votes
  7. Mike Harkey                      no votes
  8. Jose Rijo                            19th MVP
  9. Lee Smith                          no votes
  10. Jeff Brantley                      no votes

  1. Roger Clemens                  2nd Cy Young, 3rd MVP
  2. Dennis Eckersley               5th Cy Young, 6th MVP
  3. Chuck Finley                     7th MVP
  4. Bob Welch                         1st Cy Young, 9th MVP
  5. Dave Stewart                      3rd Cy Young, 8th MVP
  6. Dave Steib                          5th Cy Young (tie)
  7. Erik Hanson                       no votes
  8. Doug Jones                         23rd MVP
  9. Bobby Thigpen                  4th Cy Young
  10. Greg Olson                         no votes

     So, while Welch led the league with an impressive amount of wins, he was not the best pitcher in 1990. My numbers show that, as does the MVP vote. The Cy Young vote that year, in which each American League team has two BBWAA voters, and they each get to cast 3 votes, ended like this:

Pitcher            1st  2nd  3rd

Welch              15  10  2
Clemens            8  10  7
Stewart              3   7   7
Thigpen             2   1   7
Eckersley           0   0   2
Steib                  0   0   2
Finley                0   0   1

     With the analysis over, the post season voters were close. Clemens would have been my vote for the Cy Young Award ahead of Welch. In fact, bob Welch was the second best pitcher on his team, statistically and analytically speaking.
     The top 5 players in each league were:

  1. Barry Bonds
  2. Doug Drabek
  3. Ryne Sandberg
  4. Ramon Martinez
  5. Bobby Bonilla

And in the AL:
  1. Roger Clemens
  2. Dennis Eckersely
  3. Chuck Finley
  4. Bob Welch
  5. Rickey Henderson.

    Until next time...