An unconventional source of power was credited with Mickey Tettleton's surprising 1989 campaign.
There weren't many expectations for the 1989 Orioles. The year before, the club had set the bar for futility by losing the first 21 games of the season. They would end the year with a 54-107 record. In the offseason, management traded the golden gloved, silver slugging first baseman and perennial MVP candidate Eddie Murray to the Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell. It was hardly a steal for Baltimore and, what's more, the club suddenly had a 30 home run-sized hole in their already weak lineup. No one expected the O's to do anything but remain in the cellar for another year.
Then Mickey Tettleton came to the plate. Tettleton, a catcher, came up with the A's in 1984 at the age of 23. For four years, he acted as a serviceable backup, appearing in roughly half of Oakland's games. In 1986, he played in a then-career high 90 games, knocking out 10 home runs in 211 at-bats (to go along with his .204 batting average). Following Terry Steinbach's breakthrough 1987, Tettleton was cut from the team in spring training. He quickly signed on with Baltimore, where he took on a very similar role for the (dubious) record-setting club. He ended that memorable 1988 season with 11 home runs and a .261 average in 286 at-bats.
The Value Picks list continues to hit well, but Michael finds room for a newly healthy Luke Scott as well as a host of marginal talent in Playing Pepper.
A thin bench led Toronto to put David Cooper(Yahoo! 1%, ESPN 0%, CBS 3%) on the disabled list instead of waiting for his back problems to clear up. Depending on how Adam Lind plays (and feels), Cooper could return to the Jays when he’s eligible, but he’s still just an AL-only player if he does.
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We all know wins aren't a good way to judge pitchers, but we'd miss them if they went away.
"My choice for the front-runner is Welch, but I know a lot of people say Clemens. I know what Clemens has done for Boston, but now is not the time to change the rules. The guys who won it the last three years won the most games and had good stats. If Bob Welch continues to win at this pace, and he doesn't get it, something is terribly wrong with the judging." | A's pitcher Dave Stewart, in a 1990 Sports Illustrated story on that season's Cy Young voting
Bob Welch had just won his 20th game when his Oakland teammate was asked about the voting, and it was just Aug. 17. It was his 13th season and the first and last time that the 33-year-old Welch would win 20 games.
Prince Fielder's new deal has albatross potential, but the Tigers hope it doesn't turn out like one of John's picks for the worst contracts of the free-agent era.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As your mind reels at the size of Prince Fielder's payday, take a look at this list of 10 free-agent deals that didn't work out well for the teams that handed them out, which originally ran on February 20, 2007.
Lou Gehrig put out less often than he made out, getting on base in the batter's box helps you get on base in the bedroom, taking a girl to a game is the best way to beat birth control, and other lessons I learned from old-timey baseball songs. (Caution: some adult themes.)
Baseball and sheet music. Put them together, and the very words conjure images of taking in an afternoon affair at the ballpark with one's nearest and dearest before retiring to the parlor and gathering 'round the piano for the latest in Victorian after-dinner entertainment.* What could be more wholesome?
Everything, apparently. The following songs, unearthed on a trip through the Library of Congress' online Performing Arts Encyclopedia, are dirty enough to make one wonder why it was that Nelly Kelly** loved baseball games, and—even more suspiciously—how she came to know all the players' names.
With the Rangers reeling from a Pujolsian pounding, young lefty Derek Holland helped right the ship in Game Four.
On Saturday night, Albert Pujols put together the best single-game offensive performance in World Series history as the Cardinals piled up 16 runs against the Rangers. On Sunday night, Pujols and friends couldn't buy a run and could scarcely collect a hit. The eight St. Louis batters besides Lance Berkman combined to go 0-for-25 as Derek Holland and Neftali Feliz combined on a two-hit shutout. Backed by Josh Hamilton's first extra-base hit of the Series and a three-run homer by Mike Napoli, the Rangers evened things up at two games apiece with a 4-0 win.
While the starters for the Brewers and Cardinals got off to a slow start, the offenses did not in Game One.
Zack Greinkeversus "phony" Chris Carpenter. Tony Plush, er, Nyjer Morganversus "Alberta" Pujols. A showcase for the coming winter's two top free-agent first basemen. A rematch of the 1982 World Series. A good old-fashioned NL Central grudge match featuring the league's top two slugging teams, and six of the league's top 13 sluggers according to slugging percentage. This year's National League Championship Series between the "Beast Mode" Brewers and the more staid Cardinals does not lack for storylines, tough talk, or the potential for fireworks. On Sunday afternoon, the two teams produced plenty of the latter, albeit without the sideshows we'd been led to expect. After falling behind early, the Brewers used a two-pitch sequence to break the game open in the fifth inning, with Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder each plating a pair of runs in the space of a few moments. Behind their big bats and their bullpen, the Brewers took Game One, 9-6.
Michael looks back at the best and the worst of his 2011 Value Picks at corner infield and designated hitter.
As the Value Picks writers have done all week, I’m showing off my hits and misses from this season. Hits and misses, like value itself, are subjective terms. For example, it was a bad call to add Steven Pearce the same day he hit the disabled list or Nolan Reimold just days before Vladimir Guerrero returned from the DL, but as single-league picks on the list for a week, they didn’t hurt much. And preseason choiceDavid Freese ended up with a .297 batting average, fourth among third basemen, but his value was diluted by two months lost to a broken hand.
A late-season collapse raises more questions about the Bucs' future
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the league division series, league championship series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm-system overview.
With the panic button on hold in Boston, here's a look at how poorly some teams have finished in September to still make October.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a playoff race after all. On Sunday in Boston, the Rays pounced on the Red Sox for six runs in the first five innings, taking advantage of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's inability to stop Tim Wakefield's knuckleball—the backstop was charged with four passed balls, and was party to a wild pitch as well—and won their third game in a pivotal four-game series. The win pulled Tampa Bay to two games behind Boston in the AL wild-card race with 10 games left to play. The odds are still heavily in the Sox’ favor because they play the Orioles seven times while the Rays play the Yankees seven times, but given that less than two weeks ago it appeared the playoff slate was all but sealed, even this much drama is a pleasant surprise—at least if you're not a New Englander.
One slugger arrives as another departs Michael's Value Picks list, where third basemen, late-season call-ups, and keeper options abound
Owners go two different directions in the final weeks of the season (actually, three, if you count those who are now obsessed with fantasy football, but they’re unlikely to be BP readers). One, they can throw in the towel and look to the future in keeper leagues; two, they can press on and try to finish in the money. You’ll find players for both directions in this week’s Value Picks list.
Nyjer Morgan and Alex Rios join the outfield VP ranks this week.
Arrivals Nyjer Morgan, Milwaukee Brewers (Yahoo! 18%, ESPN 18%, CBS 27%) Value Picks has shunned Nyjer Morgan for most of the season—not for lack of faith in his abilities but because so many early raves were written about him that readers were expected to know the opinions on the ballplayer. With the season winding down, it's time to revisit an old friend. Nothing about his skills has really changed, and here's what was written before: