From Kent Hrbek to Cupid Childs

December 29, 2017
  

2017-71

50.  Donnie Baseball and Will the Thrill

              Don Mattingly’s back problems took away his power after four great seasons and robbed him of his Hall of Fame ticket, but he was a legitimate #1 for a couple of years.   In 1987 Jack Clark played only 131 games, but drew 136 walks and hit 35 homers.  The Cardinal offense that year was Jack Clark and seven leadoff men—and it worked.  No one else on the team hit more than 12 home runs, and only one player (Ozzie Smith) hit .300, but the Cardinals were second in the league in runs scored and won 95 games:

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Don

Mattingly

1985

1

35

145

.324

.939

30.37

Keith

Hernandez

1985

2

10

91

.309

.814

28.14

Mike

Schmidt

1985

3

33

93

.277

.907

28.12

Eddie

Murray

1985

4

31

124

.297

.906

27.77

Jack

Clark

1985

5

22

87

.281

.895

22.50

Alvin

Davis

1985

6

18

78

.287

.822

20.72

Kent

Hrbek

1985

7

21

93

.278

.795

20.63

Leon

Durham

1985

8

21

75

.282

.822

19.66

 

     

 

   

 

 

Don

Mattingly

1986

1

31

113

.352

.967

31.88

Keith

Hernandez

1986

2

13

83

.310

.859

27.65

Von

Hayes

1986

3

19

98

.305

.859

23.58

Eddie

Murray

1986

4

17

84

.305

.859

23.56

Pete

O'Brien

1986

5

23

90

.290

.854

20.59

Glenn

Davis

1986

6

31

101

.265

.837

20.39

Alvin

Davis

1986

7

18

72

.271

.799

20.29

Kent

Hrbek

1986

8

29

91

.267

.831

20.26

 

     

 

   

 

 

Jack

Clark

1987

1

35

106

.286

1.055

29.93

Don

Mattingly

1987

2

30

115

.327

.937

29.33

Will

Clark

1987

3

35

91

.308

.951

27.27

Mark

McGwire

1987

4

49

118

.289

.987

26.37

Dwight

Evans

1987

5

34

123

.305

.986

24.57

Kent

Hrbek

1987

6

34

90

.285

.934

23.07

Wally

Joyner

1987

7

34

117

.285

.894

22.33

Von

Hayes

1987

8

21

84

.277

.877

22.16

 

              Will Clark’s story is similar to Mattingly’s; he was a truly great player for a few years, but was stopped by injuries.   I think the most serious problem was bone chips in the elbow. . .damaged the elbows, and he was never quite the same player afterward.  

 

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Will

Clark

1988

1

29

109

.282

.894

34.05

Mark

McGwire

1988

2

32

99

.260

.830

26.68

Don

Mattingly

1988

3

18

88

.311

.816

25.78

George

Brett

1988

4

24

103

.306

.898

23.77

Fred

McGriff

1988

5

34

82

.282

.928

23.13

Alvin

Davis

1988

6

18

69

.295

.875

22.07

Glenn

Davis

1988

7

30

99

.271

.818

21.98

Eddie

Murray

1988

8

28

84

.284

.836

21.84

 

     

 

   

 

 

Will

Clark

1989

1

23

111

.333

.953

37.84

Jack

Clark

1989

2

26

94

.242

.869

28.11

Fred

McGriff

1989

3

36

92

.269

.924

27.08

Mark

McGwire

1989

4

33

95

.231

.806

24.72

Pedro

Guerrero

1989

5

17

117

.311

.868

24.61

Don

Mattingly

1989

6

23

113

.303

.828

22.90

Alvin

Davis

1989

7

21

95

.305

.920

22.75

Eddie

Murray

1989

8

20

88

.247

.743

22.39

 

     

 

   

 

 

Will

Clark

1990

1

19

95

.295

.805

31.75

Fred

McGriff

1990

2

35

88

.300

.930

27.07

Mark

McGwire

1990

3

39

108

.235

.859

25.56

Eddie

Murray

1990

4

26

95

.330

.934

25.56

Cecil

Fielder

1990

5

51

132

.277

.969

23.59

Rafael

Palmeiro

1990

6

14

89

.319

.829

22.04

George

Brett

1990

7

14

87

.329

.902

21.90

Jack

Clark

1990

8

25

62

.266

.974

21.07

 

     

 

   

 

 

Will

Clark

1991

1

29

116

.301

.895

32.21

Fred

McGriff

1991

2

31

106

.278

.890

26.48

Rafael

Palmeiro

1991

3

26

88

.322

.922

24.98

Cecil

Fielder

1991

4

44

133

.261

.860

23.39

Mark

McGwire

1991

5

22

75

.201

.714

22.17

John

Kruk

1991

6

21

92

.294

.851

22.04

Jeff

Bagwell

1991

7

15

82

.294

.824

21.27

Wally

Joyner

1991

8

21

96

.301

.848

20.28

 

              Whereas Mattingly’s injuries clearly did cost him a Hall of Fame career, I kind of think that Will Clark may have done enough, before the injuries, that he should be elected.   We’ll leave that argument for another time.   Another point about Clark was that he may have had the greatest last two months of his career in baseball history.   He closed his career with a 51-game stint for the Cardinals in which he hit .345 with a 1.081 OPS.    Even David Ortiz didn’t play THAT well the last two months of his career.  Clark was only 36 when he retired.  I always thought that he quit because he was competing with players who were taking steroids and HGH and drugs that didn’t even have a name, and he didn’t want to take the drugs he would have to take to stay ahead of those guys.  

 

51.  May 27, 1968

              You probably know, I am guessing, that the two 1994 Most Valuable Players, Frank Thomas and Jeff Bagwell, were born on the same day.   They have similar profiles as hitters—right-handed first basemen with tremendous numbers of walks, high averages and power.   Bagwell was much faster than Thomas; frankly many of you are much faster than Frank Thomas.   Thomas was the greater player the first half of his career, probably Bagwell was the second half.  

 

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Frank

Thomas

1992

1

24

115

.323

.975

32.32

Will

Clark

1992

2

16

73

.300

.860

27.79

Fred

McGriff

1992

3

35

104

.286

.950

26.63

Jeff

Bagwell

1992

4

18

96

.273

.812

26.44

Mark

McGwire

1992

5

42

104

.268

.970

25.48

Rafael

Palmeiro

1992

6

22

85

.268

.786

25.33

John

Kruk

1992

7

10

70

.323

.881

22.15

Cecil

Fielder

1992

8

35

124

.244

.783

20.71

 

     

 

   

 

 

Frank

Thomas

1993

1

41

128

.317

1.033

32.38

John

Olerud

1993

2

24

107

.363

1.072

29.61

Rafael

Palmeiro

1993

3

37

105

.295

.926

27.28

Jeff

Bagwell

1993

4

20

88

.320

.903

26.45

Fred

McGriff

1993

5

37

101

.291

.924

24.84

Mickey

Tettleton

1993

6

32

110

.245

.864

23.38

Will

Clark

1993

7

14

73

.283

.799

22.00

Mark

Grace

1993

8

14

98

.325

.867

20.97

John

Kruk

1993

9

14

85

.316

.905

20.87

 

     

 

   

 

 

Jeff

Bagwell

1994

1

39

116

.367

1.201

32.00

Frank

Thomas

1994

2

38

101

.353

1.217

30.81

Fred

McGriff

1994

3

34

94

.318

1.012

24.54

Rafael

Palmeiro

1994

4

23

76

.319

.942

24.05

Will

Clark

1994

5

13

80

.329

.932

21.31

Mo

Vaughn

1994

6

26

82

.310

.984

21.24

John

Olerud

1994

7

12

67

.297

.869

19.73

Mark

Grace

1994

8

6

44

.298

.784

18.15

Andres

Galarraga

1994

9

31

85

.319

.949

17.58

 

     

 

   

 

 

Frank

Thomas

1995

1

40

111

.308

1.061

31.04

Jeff

Bagwell

1995

2

21

87

.290

.894

29.87

Mo

Vaughn

1995

3

39

126

.300

.963

24.92

Mark

McGwire

1995

4

39

90

.274

1.125

24.03

Rafael

Palmeiro

1995

5

39

104

.310

.963

23.86

Fred

McGriff

1995

6

27

93

.280

.850

21.27

Tino

Martinez

1995

7

31

111

.293

.920

20.93

Mark

Grace

1995

8

16

92

.326

.911

20.74

Eric

Karros

1995

9

32

105

.298

.905

19.19

 

     

 

   

 

 

Jeff

Bagwell

1996

1

31

120

.315

1.021

35.64

Frank

Thomas

1996

2

40

134

.349

1.085

31.43

Mark

McGwire

1996

3

52

113

.312

1.198

30.30

Mo

Vaughn

1996

4

44

143

.326

1.003

26.75

Rafael

Palmeiro

1996

5

39

142

.289

.927

25.57

Andres

Galarraga

1996

6

47

150

.304

.958

22.33

Tino

Martinez

1996

7

25

117

.292

.830

21.23

John

Jaha

1996

8

34

118

.300

.941

20.04

Jeff

King

1996

9

30

111

.271

.843

19.93

 

     

 

   

 

 

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Frank

Thomas

1997

1

35

125

.347

1.067

33.69

Jeff

Bagwell

1997

2

43

135

.286

1.017

33.09

Mark

McGwire

1997

3

58

123

.274

1.039

30.05

Jim

Thome

1997

4

40

102

.286

1.001

26.69

John

Olerud

1997

5

22

102

.294

.889

24.94

Mo

Vaughn

1997

6

35

96

.315

.980

24.85

Tino

Martinez

1997

7

44

141

.296

.948

23.65

Rafael

Palmeiro

1997

8

38

110

.254

.815

22.61

Andres

Galarraga

1997

9

41

140

.318

.974

21.81

Tony

Clark

1997

10

32

117

.276

.876

20.08

 

     

 

   

 

 

Mark

McGwire

1998

1

70

147

.299

1.222

35.44

Jeff

Bagwell

1998

2

34

111

.304

.981

32.29

John

Olerud

1998

3

22

93

.354

.998

29.02

Jason

Giambi

1998

4

27

110

.295

.873

24.80

Rafael

Palmeiro

1998

5

43

121

.296

.945

24.63

Jim

Thome

1998

6

30

85

.293

.997

24.28

Mo

Vaughn

1998

7

40

115

.337

.993

24.05

Carlos

Delgado

1998

8

38

115

.292

.978

23.66

Andres

Galarraga

1998

9

44

121

.305

.991

23.48

Tino

Martinez

1998

10

28

123

.281

.860

21.48

 

     

 

   

 

 

Jeff

Bagwell

1999

1

42

126

.304

1.045

32.98

Jason

Giambi

1999

2

33

123

.315

.975

30.56

Mark

McGwire

1999

3

65

147

.278

1.120

30.41

John

Olerud

1999

4

19

96

.298

.890

26.48

Jim

Thome

1999

5

33

108

.277

.967

25.66

Carlos

Delgado

1999

6

44

134

.272

.948

24.63

Fred

McGriff

1999

7

32

104

.310

.957

20.75

Mo

Vaughn

1999

8

33

108

.281

.866

20.62

Ryan

Klesko

1999

9

21

80

.297

.908

20.52

Todd

Helton

1999

10

35

113

.320

.981

20.45

 

              Mark McGwire was 3 ½ years older than Bagwell and Thomas, but McGwire finally got healthy and had his fantastic three-year run after they had had their MVP seasons.   He hit 193 homers in three seasons.   1999-2000 is the high water mark of the steroid era, before their use was widely condemned.  Mark McGwire hit 65 homers and drove in 147 runs in 1999, and ranks as the #3 first baseman of the season.   Mike Sweeney drove in 144 runs, and ranks 10th.   The numbers from that era are just crazy. 

 

52.  Grew Into Anabolic Monster By Injection

              The phrase above isn’t mine.   I used to do this thing, trying to figure out what player’s names stood for.  The one above was invented by one of Rob Neyer’s friends.

 

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Jason

Giambi

2000

1

43

137

.333

1.123

36.03

Carlos

Delgado

2000

2

41

137

.344

1.134

29.96

Jeff

Bagwell

2000

3

47

132

.310

1.039

28.20

Todd

Helton

2000

4

42

147

.372

1.162

25.94

Jim

Thome

2000

5

37

106

.269

.929

24.63

Ryan

Klesko

2000

6

26

92

.283

.909

24.54

Rafael

Palmeiro

2000

7

39

120

.288

.954

24.19

John

Olerud

2000

8

14

103

.285

.831

24.13

Mark

McGwire

2000

9

32

73

.305

1.229

23.94

Mike

Sweeney

2000

10

29

144

.333

.930

21.88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason

Giambi

2001

1

38

120

.342

1.137

36.72

Jim

Thome

2001

2

49

124

.291

1.040

29.73

Jeff

Bagwell

2001

3

39

130

.288

.966

27.91

Ryan

Klesko

2001

4

30

113

.286

.923

27.85

Todd

Helton

2001

5

49

146

.336

1.116

27.02

Carlos

Delgado

2001

6

39

102

.279

.948

26.59

Rafael

Palmeiro

2001

7

47

123

.273

.944

23.78

John

Olerud

2001

8

21

95

.302

.873

22.37

Richie

Sexson

2001

9

45

125

.271

.889

21.70

Fred

McGriff

2001

10

31

102

.306

.930

20.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason

Giambi

2002

1

41

122

.314

1.034

33.28

Jim

Thome

2002

2

52

118

.304

1.122

31.08

Todd

Helton

2002

3

30

109

.329

1.006

28.84

Ryan

Klesko

2002

4

29

95

.300

.925

27.76

Carlos

Delgado

2002

5

33

108

.277

.955

27.61

Jeff

Bagwell

2002

6

31

98

.291

.919

23.82

John

Olerud

2002

7

22

102

.300

.893

22.84

Richie

Sexson

2002

8

29

102

.279

.867

21.54

Mike

Piazza

2002

9

33

98

.280

.903

20.91

Derrek

Lee

2002

10

27

86

.270

.872

20.90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd

Helton

2003

1

33

117

.358

1.088

31.25

Carlos

Delgado

2003

2

42

145

.302

1.019

28.31

Jim

Thome

2003

3

47

131

.266

.958

28.24

EJason

Giambi

2003

4

41

107

.250

.939

28.05

Derrek

Lee

2003

5

31

92

.271

.888

23.82

Richie

Sexson

2003

6

45

124

.272

.927

22.02

Jeff

Bagwell

2003

7

39

100

.278

.897

22.00

Ryan

Klesko

2003

8

21

67

.252

.810

21.38

Kevin

Millar

2003

9

25

96

.276

.820

18.62

Mike

Sweeney

2003

10

16

83

.293

.858

18.39

 

53.  El Hombre

              Albert Pujols played third base in 2001, left field in 2002-2003.   In 2004 he moved to the infield, and baseball had its first truly dominant first baseman since Stan Musial:

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Albert

Pujols

2004

1

46

123

.331

1.072

37.58

Todd

Helton

2004

2

32

96

.347

1.088

29.71

Carlos

Delgado

2004

3

32

99

.269

.907

24.02

Mark

Teixeira

2004

4

38

112

.281

.929

23.16

Jim

Thome

2004

5

42

105

.274

.977

22.83

Derrek

Lee

2004

6

32

98

.278

.860

22.33

Jason

Giambi

2004

7

12

40

.208

.720

20.38

Sean

Casey

2004

8

24

99

.324

.915

19.67

Jeff

Bagwell

2004

9

27

89

.266

.842

19.58

Brad

Wilkerson

2004

10

32

67

.255

.872

18.93

 

     

 

   

 

 

Albert

Pujols

2005

1

41

117

.330

1.039

36.07

Mark

Teixeira

2005

2

43

144

.301

.954

27.66

Derrek

Lee

2005

3

46

107

.335

1.080

27.55

Todd

Helton

2005

4

20

79

.320

.979

26.88

Carlos

Delgado

2005

5

33

115

.301

.981

26.28

Lance

Berkman

2005

6

24

82

.293

.934

25.57

Jason

Giambi

2005

7

32

87

.271

.975

22.68

Paul

Konerko

2005

8

40

100

.283

.909

21.02

Richie

Sexson

2005

9

39

121

.263

.910

20.91

Lyle

Overbay

2005

10

19

72

.276

.816

18.19

 

     

 

   

 

 

Albert

Pujols

2006

1

49

137

.331

1.102

36.85

Lance

Berkman

2006

2

45

136

.315

1.041

28.99

Mark

Teixeira

2006

3

33

110

.282

.886

25.04

Ryan

Howard

2006

4

58

149

.313

1.084

25.02

Todd

Helton

2006

5

15

81

.302

.880

23.02

Justin

Morneau

2006

6

34

130

.321

.934

22.93

Carlos

Delgado

2006

7

38

114

.265

.909

22.65

Kevin

Youkilis

2006

8

13

72

.279

.810

20.56

Paul

Konerko

2006

9

35

113

.313

.932

20.41

Nick

Swisher

2006

10

35

95

.254

.864

19.06

 

     

 

   

 

 

Albert

Pujols

2007

1

32

103

.327

.997

34.77

Mark

Teixeira

2007

2

30

105

.306

.963

27.02

Ryan

Howard

2007

3

47

136

.268

.976

26.18

Lance

Berkman

2007

4

34

102

.278

.896

25.94

Carlos

Pena

2007

5

46

121

.282

1.037

24.56

Prince

Fielder

2007

6

50

119

.288

1.013

24.23

Adrian

Gonzalez

2007

7

30

100

.282

.849

22.93

Kevin

Youkilis

2007

8

16

83

.288

.843

22.72

Justin

Morneau

2007

9

31

111

.271

.834

22.43

Todd

Helton

2007

10

17

91

.320

.928

21.43

First

Last

YEAR

Rank

HR

RBI

Avg

OPS

Value

Albert

Pujols

2008

1

37

116

.357

1.114

35.70

Lance

Berkman

2008

2

29

106

.312

.986

29.28

Mark

Teixeira

2008

3

33

121

.308

.962

27.01

Kevin

Youkilis

2008

4

29

115

.312

.958

26.87

Adrian

Gonzalez

2008

5

36

119

.279

.871

26.18

Prince