16 January 2010

1987 National League

The St. Louis Cardinals won their third division title and third pennant of the 1980s with their familiar brand of "Whiteyball," a run-and-gun offense styled by manager and de facto GM Whitey Herzog. Whitey had first say over all player moves, and something was working. In their big park, the Cardinals went for speed and defense, with one power hitter on hand, in this case Jack Clark. Clark would have been the hands-down MVP, but he was hurt and missed the last month. That may have helped lead to some of the oddest award choices ever seen. The Cardinals outlasted their two rivals, New York and Montreal, for the division flag. St. Louis won 95 games, the Mets 92, and the Expos 91. It was a good race all year. The Phillies and Pirates were just under .500 in a tie for fourth, and the Cubs last with 85 losses, mediocre but not bad. The bad teams were in the West. San Francisco won the division with 90 victories, and the Reds were second with just 84. Houston ran third but posted 86 losses, more than any Eastern team. LA lost 89, Atlanta 92, and San Diego, just three years removed from their 1984 pennant, lost 97. Tony Gwynn won the batting title for the last-place Padres with a .370 average. Pedro Guerrero was second at .338. Jack Clark, his season truncated, still led in on-base and slugging and, of course, OPS. Tim Raines led with 123 runs, followed by Vince Coleman at 121. Gwynn had 218 hits. Tim Wallach had 42 doubles, Juan Samuel 15 triples. Andre Dawson led with 49 HR and 137 RBI. Dale Murphy was next in homers with 44, Wallach next in RBI with 123. Coleman stole 109 bases. Murphy and Gwynn tied for the lead in runs created. No pitcher won 20 games; Rick Sutcliffe led with 18, and Shane Rawley won 17. Nolan Ryan led with 270 strikeouts and a 2.76 ERA, though his record was just 8-16. It was a weird year. Mike Dunne (yes, Mike Dunne) was second in ERA at 3.03. Mike Scott was second in strikeouts at 233. Steve Bedrosian led with 40 saves and ended up taking the Cy Young. Orel Hershiser led with 265 innings, Fernando Valenzuela and Rick Reuschel tied with 12 complete games. Win Shares leaderboard: Players; Tim Raines (Montreal) 34, Jack Clark and Ozzie Smith (St. Louis) 33, Eric Davis (Cincinnati) and Darryl Strawberry (New York) 30, Dale Murphy (Atlanta) and Tony Gwynn (San Diego) 29, Pedro Guerrero (Los Angeles) and Tim Wallach (Montreal) 28, Mike Schmidt (Philadelphia) 26. Andre Dawson had 20 WS. Pitchers; Orel Hershiser (Los Angeles) 21, Tim Burke (Montreal) 20, Rick Sutcliffe (Chicago) and Bob Welch (Los Angeles) 19, Mike Scott (Houston) 18, Todd Worrell (St. Louis) 17, Andy McGaffigan (Montreal) and Steve Bedrosian (Philadelphia) 16, Lee Smith (Chicago), John Franco (Cincinnati), Nolan Ryan and Dave Smith (Houston), and Rick Reuschel (Pittsburgh) 15 each. WARP3 scores: Gwynn 9.4, Davis 8.8, Ozzie 8.5, Murphy 8.4, Raines 7.7, Schmidt 7.6, Strawberry 6.5, Randy Ready (San Diego, career year) 6.3, Clark, Barry Bonds and Andy Van Slyke (both Pittsburgh) 6.2, Juan Samuel (Philadelphia) 5.6, Guerrero and Wallach 5.4, Bill Doran (Houston) 5.3, Benito Santiago (San Diego) 5.2, Will Clark (San Francisco) 4.9. Pitchers; Hershiser 7.1, Sutcliffe 6.8, Welch 6.6, Scott 5.6, Ryan 5.0, Burke and Worrell 4.8, L, Smith 4.6, Franco 4.4, D. Smith 4.1, Dwight Gooden (New York) 4.0, Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles) 3.5, Bedrosian 3.4. WAR leaders, position players: Gwynn 7.6, Murphy 7.3, Davis 7.2, Raines 6.9, Smith 6.4, Schmidt 6.2, Clark 5.8, Strawberry 5.6, Bonds 5.5, Van Slyke 5.3, Guerrero 5.1, Doran and Johnson 4.4, Clark and Wallach 4.3, Hayes 4.0. Pitchers: Ryan 6.8, Scott 5.9, Hershiser 5.6, Reuschel 4.9, Welch 4.5, Gooden 4.4, Z. Smith 4.1, Sutcliffe 3.9, Sebra 3.7, Magrane 3.2, Downs 3.1, Darwin and L. Smith 3.0. Actual award voting: MVP (top 15): Place Name Team 1st place Points 1 Andre Dawson CHC 11 269 2 Ozzie Smith STL 9 193 3 Jack Clark STL 3 186 4 Tim Wallach MON 1 165 5 Will Clark SFG 0 128 6 Darryl Strawberry NYM 0 95 7 Tim Raines MON 0 80 8 Tony Gwynn SDP 0 75 9 Eric Davis CIN 0 73 10 Howard Johnson NYM 0 42 11 Dale Murphy ATL 0 34 12 Vince Coleman STL 0 20 13 Juan Samuel PHI 0 19 14 Mike Schmidt PHI 0 13 15 Pedro Guerrero LAD 0 12 Oy vey. Cy Young: Place Name Team 1st Place Points 1 Steve Bedrosian PHI 9 57 2 Rick Sutcliffe CHC 4 55 3 Rick Reuschel TOT 8 54 4 Orel Hershiser LAD 2 14 5 Dwight Gooden NYM 1 12 5 Nolan Ryan HOU 0 12 7 Mike Scott HOU 0 9 8 Bob Welch LAD 0 3 Double oy vey. Rookie (top 5) Place Name Team 1st place Points 1 Benito Santiago SDP 24 120 2 Mike Dunne PIT 0 66 3 Joe Magrane STL 0 10 4 Casey Candaele MON 0 9 5 Gerald Young HOU 0 7 A unanimous pick here. Best Player: Ozzie Smith. I thought Ozzie deserved the MVP at the time, and I still do today. Raines tops the Win Shares, Gwynn the WARP3, but Ozzie does well both places and he played for the winners. Dawson was a big whiff by the BBWAA, one of the worst selections ever. 1. Ozzie Smith; 2. Tony Gwynn; 3. Tim Raines; 4. Eric Davis; 5. Darryl Strawberry; 6. Jack Clark. Best Pitcher: Orel Hershiser, although "none of the above" might be fitting here. Hershiser was 16-16 on the eve of his monster season, but was 3rd in wins, 3rd in ERA, 4th in strikeouts, 1st in innings. It's easy to see how Bedrosian snuck in and stole this award. 1. Orel Hershiser; 2. Bob Welch; 3. Nolan Ryan; 4. Mike Scott; 5. Dwight Gooden. Best rookie: Benito Santiago, although this was his best season. Best manager: Whitey Herzog of the Cardinals, rebounding from a below .500 season to win the pennant.

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