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Steven Goldman 

Steven Goldman

The Editor in Chief of Baseball Prospectus, Steven Goldman has been with BP since 2003, writing the "You Could Look It Up" column which ties baseball history into current events, and now "The BP Broadside," a current events column. As an editor, Steven has supervised the creation of the BP books "Mind Game" and "It Ain't Over," as well as the last six editions of the New York Times bestselling Baseball Prospectus annual. As a solo author, he wrote Forging Genius about the professional education of Casey Stengel. He also writes the Pinstriped Bible for the YES Network and releases original songs at Casual Observer Music. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, two children, and a pair of cats named after famous Republicans.

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01-03

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: The Nose Knows
by
Steven Goldman

11-20

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0

The BP Wayback Machine: The Gift of Kuhn
by
Steven Goldman

09-14

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The BP Wayback Machine: The Showalter Gambit
by
Steven Goldman

07-27

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: What is a Deadline Trade Worth?, Part 1
by
Steven Goldman

03-23

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: Jon Lester, Meet Mel Parnell
by
Steven Goldman

03-18

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0

BP Beta Blog: Get a Free Copy of BP's Extra Innings
by
Steven Goldman

03-02

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69

The BP Broadside: The Final Broadside
by
Steven Goldman

02-29

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13

Prospectus Preview: AL Central 2012 Preseason Preview, Part Two
by
Steven Goldman and Ben Lindbergh

02-28

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28

Prospectus Preview: AL Central 2012 Preseason Preview, Part One
by
Steven Goldman and Ben Lindbergh

02-27

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11

The BP Broadside: Zimmerman, Rendon, and the Nagging Itch to Scratch a McQuinn
by
Steven Goldman

02-24

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98

The BP Broadside: Say It Ain't So, Braun!
by
Steven Goldman

02-24

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4

The BP Wayback Machine: Spring Training, What's it Good For?
by
Steven Goldman

02-22

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27

The BP Broadside: Manny Ramirez Through the Wrong End of the Telescope
by
Steven Goldman

02-17

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6

The BP Broadside: The Kid's Biggest Moment
by
Steven Goldman

02-16

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8

The BP Broadside: Fernandomania and Linsanity
by
Steven Goldman

02-10

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21

The BP Broadside: The Latino
by
Steven Goldman

02-08

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19

The BP Broadside: Pardon Me, Sir, But Have You Ever Even TALKED To A Female Baseball Fan?
by
Steven Goldman

02-06

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7

The BP Broadside: The Vanishing American League Pinch-Hitter
by
Steven Goldman

02-03

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74

The BP Broadside: Josh Hamilton and His Persecutors
by
Steven Goldman

02-01

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6

The BP Broadside: My Seven Days of Nervous Baseball and Other Stories
by
Steven Goldman

01-30

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15

Baseball Prospectus Book News: Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers Available for Pre-Order
by
Steven Goldman

01-30

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20

The BP Broadside: Jorge Posada and the Third-String Yankees
by
Steven Goldman

01-27

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7

The BP Broadside: Who Cares if the Tigers Got Fat?
by
Steven Goldman

01-17

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3

The BP Broadside: 1987: The Silver Jubilee, Part I
by
Steven Goldman

01-09

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54

State of the Prospectus
by
Steven Goldman

12-27

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7

The BP Broadside: The Rudy Pemberton Project Goes to Baltimore
by
Steven Goldman

12-24

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3

From the Editor's Desk: We Like the Holidays So Much, We're Taking an Extra Day
by
Steven Goldman

12-20

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12

The BP Broadside: Jersey Scrooge to Darvish: Drop Dead
by
Steven Goldman

12-14

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4

The BP Broadside: Cottleston Pirates
by
Steven Goldman

12-09

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18

The BP Broadside: The Best First Baseman in Angels History
by
Steven Goldman

12-07

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3

BP Unfiltered: Winter Meetings Dispatch: It's Like a Dentist said Rinse to 10,000 People at Once
by
Steven Goldman

12-07

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24

BP Unfiltered: Winter Meetings Dispatch: The Social Ramble Ain't Restful, with Jose Reyes, Albert Pujols, Huston Street
by
Steven Goldman

12-06

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5

BP Unfiltered: Winter Meetings Dispatch, with Some Santos Trade Thoughts
by
Steven Goldman

12-06

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22

The BP Broadside: The Singular Love of Manny Ramirez
by
Steven Goldman

12-05

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7

BP Unfiltered: Wallflower at the Prom
by
Steven Goldman

11-30

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13

The BP Broadside: Bobby No Valentine for Pitchers
by
Steven Goldman

11-11

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4

The BP Broadside: The Ramos and Rhem Kidnappings
by
Steven Goldman

11-08

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25

The BP Broadside: Tumbling in the Twin Cities
by
Steven Goldman

11-04

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25

The BP Broadside: Exorcising the Ghost of Leo
by
Steven Goldman

10-31

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6

The BP Broadside: Tony LaRussa and the Hall of Fame Screw
by
Steven Goldman

10-29

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3

BP Unfiltered: BP Game 7 Roundtable HERE
by
Steven Goldman

10-24

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BP Unfiltered: World Series Game 5 Roundtable HERE
by
Steven Goldman

10-22

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7

The BP Wayback Machine: Every Team Has a Special GM, Except the Cubs
by
Steven Goldman

10-21

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62

The BP Broadside: In Defense of Tony LaRussa
by
Steven Goldman

10-20

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BP Unfiltered: BP World Series Game 2 Roundtable HERE
by
Steven Goldman

10-14

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BP Unfiltered: NLCS Game 4 Roundtable HERE
by
Steven Goldman

10-12

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BP Unfiltered: ALCS G3 Roundtable with BP HERE
by
Steven Goldman

10-10

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10

Kiss'Em Goodbye: Philadelphia Phillies
by
Steven Goldman, Kevin Goldstein and ESPN Insider

10-10

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1

BP Unfiltered: Live-Chat the Playoffs With Us on Tuesday and Thursday (Updated)
by
Steven Goldman

10-07

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22

The BP Broadside: The ALDS Goat Remains Masked and Anonymous
by
Steven Goldman

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The A's say there is no risk to signing Manny, but there definitely is, especially if fruit cocktail is being served.

He’s a friend of a friend of a relative that I see at family gatherings sometimes, an ex-teacher who is excessively bitter about what seem to me to be his own failings. On holidays, he plays vulture at the table. With dirt caked under his nails, he digs at the serving bowls with his fingers. If he’s before you in the serving order, you will wind up going hungry because he’s fouled the horn of plenty.

When he’s not picking at the food, he picks at his former students. In the greatest statistical anomaly in the history of man, every student he ever had was a total moron. I don’t know where he was teaching—perhaps it was the Secret Kingdom Where Everyone is the Seventh-Generation Product of Inbreeding Between Siblings, in which case maybe he had a point. Otherwise, it seems to me that he suffers from a case of blaming one’s limitations on the supposed limitations of others. It’s not that you can’t teach, but that your students are too dumb to learn.

Knowing this guy, I’m willing to give the students the benefit of the doubt.



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Gary Carter's greatest moment in baseball was not any single hit or play, but just saying "Yes" at the right time.

By this morning you have no doubt read countless stories about Gary Carter, his playing career, and his character both on and off the field. The links came flying furiously yesterday, because his passing had been a foregone conclusion for quite awhile. Sadly, in our business that means not only sorrow and sympathy but getting a head start on writing the obituary.

There was extra incentive to start early on Carter, because in this case there are no crocodile tears; he was an important and beloved figure in at least two baseball towns and a legitimate Hall of Famer (for more on this aspect of Carter’s career, see Jay Jaffe’s piece elsewhere on the site). His career .262/.335/.439 rates don’t look like much in our offensively bloated era, but he played in a difficult park at a more austere time. At his peak, which lasted (roughly) from 1977 through 1985, Carter hit .276/.349/.478. Give that a park and era adjustment and maybe grant the Kid a few points of production for the wear and tear of catching, and you have a real star. His OPS+ for those years was 129, his TAv about .300. That is to say nothing of his strong defensive abilities.

I don’t want to focus on Carter’s on-field achievements today, but of the crucial moment of team-building in which he played a key role. That was the day he was traded from the Expos to the Mets. This far removed, it is difficult to remember that the Expos were once a legitimate baseball team, not the bastard stepchild of MLB, existing to make salary-dumping deals such as that which sent John Wetteland to the Yankees for the immortal Fernando Seguignol and bundles of greenback dollars.

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New York is in a state of Linsanity, which brings to mind the craze of one particular rookie phenom.

I am embarrassed to confess that at one time I thought Tom Seaver deserved the 1981 Cy Young Award over Fernando Valenzuela. Seaver had lost one of the closest votes ever to the Dodgers rookie, tying him in first place votes 8-8, but lost on a second-place vote, 70-67. Perhaps it was my sympathy for a great pitcher against an upstart, or simply my natural cynicism about any fad, and Fernandomania! was definitely that, though a bandwagon his fans were right about. I don’t know enough about basketball and the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin to tell you if he’s going to be a flash in the pan or a lasting contributor like Valenzuela was, but the excitement greeting his unexpected rise has some of the same flavor to it.

Thirty-one years later, it’s easy to forget just what an incredible debut Valenzuela had. The chubby 20-year-old had pitched 17 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in 1980 after posting a 3.10 ERA at San Antonio of the Texas League, a circuit in which the average ERA was 4.25. Flash forward to Opening Day 1981, when Jerry Reuss had to pull out of his scheduled start at home against the Astros and Joe Niekro. Instead of substituting Burt Hooton, Bob Welch, Rick Sutcliffe, or any other pitcher hanging around the staff, manager Tommy Lasorda went with the kid. The results were instantaneous, the lefty screwballer pitching a complete game shutout.

From there, it would be about six weeks before Valenzuela didn’t pitch a complete game or even recorded a loss. In his first eight starts, Valenzuela went 8-0 with seven complete games, five of them shutouts. In those 72 innings, he allowed just four runs (0.50 ERA) on 43 hits while walking 17 and striking out 68. He was less fun after that, posting a 3.66 ERA—above the league average—in the 17 starts remaining in the strike-truncated season, albeit with another three shutouts.

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In the early 1960s, Baseball feared the rising number of Latinos in the game, but in this area, at least, the game has been a positive example for tolerance.

Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto played second and third base for the Pirates and Dodgers in the 1930s and 40s and remains known for delivering one of the great moments in World Series history, the pinch-hit double that broke up Bill Bevens’ no-hitter with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the 1947 World Series. Ironically, it was his last hit in the majors—not even Ted Williams got a police escort off the field after his last hit. After being cut by the Dodgers, Lavagetto played for some excellent Pacific Coast League teams with his hometown Oakland Oaks, including the 1948 league champions, then went on to a long career as a coach and manager.

Lavagetto was the last manager of the original Washington Senators and the first manager of the Minnesota Twins.  It was in the latter capacity that he gave the 1961 interview, titled “The Challenge from Latin-America” in Baseball Digest. Author Dick Gordon wrote:

While there were only 45 Latins (or seven percent of the of the total) on major league rosters this spring, the number is steadily increasing. And the fact that there are an estimated 500 of them in organized ball already indicates the threat of a Castro etc. “invasion” not by soldiers armed with rifles but by athletes with rifle arms.

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The makers and promoters of the patronizing "Baseball Boyfriends" app have an appreciation of women and baseball that apparently froze in the 1950s. Donna Reed is dead—long live the female stathead.

Baseball has always had an ambivalent relationship with its female audience, often assuming they had to be catered to or patronized to stoke their interest in the game. For those marketing the game, it often seems as if the idealized image of the distaff fan is not the modern woman, whose adherence to received, stereotypical notions of gender roles erodes by the day, but Ruth Ann Steinhagen, the schizophrenic who, obsessed with Phillies first baseman Eddie Waitkus, lured him into a trap and tried to murder him in 1949. Women, in their view, see ballplayers as sex objects as much or more than they do as athletes involved in a competition that can hold their interest for its own sake. This seems to be the reasoning behind Baseball Boyfriends, a “fantasy” game aimed at women and girls in which participants “pick a new hottie or hang onto you hunk.” [sic]

Steinhagen, 19, had been fixated on Waitkus since seeing him play for the Cubs in 1947, making a shrine of his pictures and clippings and conducting an imaginary relationship with him. She had no interest in the game, she said, until she began to focus on Waitkus. “I just became nuttier and nuttier about the guy,” she later testified, “[I decided] if I can’t have him nobody can. And then I decided I would kill him.”  On June 14, 1949, the Phillies were in Chicago. Steinhagen took a room in the Phillies’ hotel and had a note delivered to the first sacker: “Mr. Waitkus, It is extremely important that I see you as soon as possible. We're not acquainted, but I have something of importance to speak to you about.” After calling and being put off for half an hour, Waitkus appeared at Steinhagen’s room. According to her own testimony:

At the time I had a knife in my skirt pocket and was going to use that on him. When I opened the door he came rushing past me. I expected him to stand there and wait until I asked him to come in and during that time I was going to stab him with the knife. I was kind of mad that he came right in and sat down and didn’t give me a chance to stab him. He looked at me surprised and said, “What do you want to see me about?” I said, “Wait a minute. I have a surprise for you.”

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February 6, 2012 5:54 am

The BP Broadside: The Vanishing American League Pinch-Hitter

7

Steven Goldman

The relief locusts have overrun the pinch-hitters' habitat.

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Josh Hamilton may be his own worst enemy, but coming in a close second are those that would scourge him for weakness.

Having reached the age of 41, I can state honestly that I have never been drunk or high. I drink socially and consume the odd glass of wine at home but have never had more than I could handle and have never touched a joint or any medication that wasn’t prescribed by a doctor or available over the counter at a drug store. When I tell people this, they either don’t believe me or ask, in so many words, if I am some kind of abstemious, moralistic prude, a question that I always feel like answering by gesturing towards my exceedingly ample body and asking, “Does this suggests abstemiousness to you?”

In fact, I have nothing against tying one on (with whatever substance—our definitions of legal and illegal drugs are highly arbitrary) if that’s what you choose to do; it’s your body, and so long as you abuse it in such a way that you’re not hurting anyone else, I don’t see where I have any kick coming. My reasons for not overdoing it stem from one of my earliest memories. At a very young age, I was introduced to a man who was trying to put his life back together after a long period of drug abuse. He seemed very old to me at the time, the way all adults seem old to young children, but thinking back, I realize he was probably no older than 25. He simply looked much older. More frightening though, was his dissipated air and distracted way of talking. “He… left long spaces… between words… and tended to trail off… in the middle of what he was…” Most of his attempts at speaking ended with him staring off into space.

I was told that this young old man once had a brilliant mind, but years of habitual drug use (I was never told what kind) had left him a shell of what he once was. Somehow, despite my youth, a message got through to me that I never forgot: “Better not to start.” Over time, as I observed my own psychology and also watched friends and acquaintances in various states of inebriation and debauchery, I realized three things:

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A litany of thwarted hopes, Livan Hernandez, Jack Quinn, and other mutterings.

It is Wednesday, One of My Seven Days of Nervous Baseball
On Mondays, I feel like it’s August 16, 1920 and I’m Ray Chapman, striding to the plate against Carl Mays at the Polo Grounds. I’m going to take that submarining busher’s next pitch and kill it—I just have to remember to crowd in so he doesn’t get me on the inside corner.

On Tuesdays, I feel like I’m Lou Gehrig. It’s April 30, 1939, and Joe Gordon is patting me on the back for making a routine stop on a grounder.

On Wednesdays, I feel like it’s June 18, 1977 and I’m Paul Blair. Reggie Jackson has just dawdled after a Jim Rice double and manager Billy Martin has sent me out to right field to replace him in the middle of the inning and on national television. I don’t know if Billy is right or if he’s wrong; I just know that this is the longest jog of my life because Reggie is going to kill me when I finally get there.


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The sequel is finally coming.

It is my pleasure to announce that, at long last, Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers, is available for preorder.

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Team all-stars by WARP string-where would the pennants stop? Plus, some of the best and worst songs of 1987.

Jorge Posada and the Third-String Yankees
I was asked on the radio last week where Jorge Posada ranked as a Hall of Fame candidate. I responded that he was the third-best catcher in Yankees history in career value, which proved to be a good, not-quite-off-the-top-of-of-my head guess (when someone asks you to rank the presidents, you can play it lose as long as you start with George Washington and not Warren Harding, but when it comes to ballplayers you have to know your Berra-Dickey do-re-mi). I became curious as to just how good the third-best team in a team’s history might be. Part of the fun of following baseball is making lists, and this seemed to be a good excuse to make one.

If we ranked each position by career WARP, how far down would we have to go before we reached a team that wouldn’t win the pennant every year? Would Jorge still get his share of rings?


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January 27, 2012 3:00 am

The BP Broadside: Who Cares if the Tigers Got Fat?

7

Steven Goldman

Dour commentary on the Prince Fielder deal is harshing Steve's buzz. Plus: Alan Trammell's peak value defined.

I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket
Back in the mid-1930s, Irving Berlin wrote a song for a Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers picture called, “I’m Putting All My Eggs in One Basket”:

I've been a roaming Romeo
My Juliets have been many
But now my roaming days have gone
Too many irons in the fire
Is worse than not having any
I've had my share and from now on:
I'm putting all my eggs in one basket
I'm betting everything I've got on you

That Berlin chestnut (the Yankees can feel free to use it—or anything else—in place of Berlin’s “God Bless America” at the first available seventh-inning stretch) came to mind when the news of Prince Fielder’s nine-year, $214 million contract poked its way through the hairy fabric of my reality. The Tigers were an easy pick to repeat as American League Central champions even before signing Fielder due to the strength of their pitching staff and the bland quality of the competition. Having compensated for the loss of Martinez plus something extra, they can contemplate rampaging through the division and then blasting their way deeper into the postseason than they did last year.









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January 17, 2012 3:00 am

The BP Broadside: 1987: The Silver Jubilee, Part I

3

Steven Goldman

Anniversaries that won't be celebrated at a ballpark near you, from "Don Mattingly Arbitration Day" to "Milwaukee Brewers Night of the Big Tease."

Twenty-five years ago, the 1987 season became known as the Year of the Home Run. It seems odd now that a jump in major-league home-run production from 37.5 per at-bat to 32.3 brought cries not of “steroids!” but of “rabbit ball!” Perhaps we were naïve then—Jose Canseco was already in the league. In addition to being a year in which both MVP votes still deeply offend me (hey, Hall of Fame voters: Alan Trammell lost the award to George Bell by 332-311, including just 16-12 in first-place votes. Is it possible that just four voters could have been wrong?), it was a year in which Wade Boggs hit 24 home runs, four players went 30-30, and Mark McGwire took the rookie home-run record and shattered it into 49 pieces.

McGwire’s is at least one accomplishment that won’t be getting a big ballpark remembrance this year. In addition, here are 16 1987 first-half anniversaries that probably will go unnoticed before the All-Star break.

February 17: Don Mattingly breaks a record set just a few days earlier by Jack Morris by winning the largest arbitration award in history, $1.975 million. Said Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, “'The monkey is clearly on his back… He has to deliver a championship for the Yankees like Reggie Jackson did when he was the highest-paid Yankee. The pressure is on him. I expect he'll carry us to a World Series championship, or at least the pennant… He's like all the rest of them now. He can't play little Jack Armstrong of Evansville, Ind. He goes into the category of modern-player-with-agent looking for the bucks. Money means everything to him.” At this time, the owners were knee-deep in collusion, and Mattingly and Morris were among the few players cashing in. P.S.: In 2005, the Yankees will pay Tony Womack $2 million as a free agent.

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