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1986, 1988, New Candidates

1988 New Candidates

Where 1987 was like a brief return to the wild offensive levels of the 1920s, just a year later 1988 returned part of the baseball world to the deadball dumps of the 1960s. The AL dropped half a run a game from 1987’s outburst, but that only brought it back to the mid-70s. In the NL, scoring bottomed out, falling three-quarters of a run to a level not seen since 1968. It stayed that way for five years.

Do you think these guys shared a blow dryer?

Do you think these guys shared a blow dryer?

This was the year that Kirk Gibson won an MVP by getting stomping’-a** angry about Jesse Orosco’s eyeblack trick. Then he hit a homer you’ve probably seen before. In retrospect, however, the big story was related to the guy he hit the homer off of. Dennis Eckersley, the archetype modern closer in Tony LaRussa’s new-fangled bullpen scheme. The bullpen revolution had begun already, but no one is more closely associated with, or loathed because of, its rapid acceleration into specialization than LaRussa. Why has scoring dropped today back to 1988-1992 levels? Partly because ever increasing specialization brings more and more power arms and platoon assassins into every single game.

Beginning with John Hiller in our 1986 election, and continuing with Mike Marshall last election and Sparky Lyle this time around, 1970s and early 1980s relief aces will be regularly rolling out over the next 15 or so elections. Goose Gossage (2003) will be the last before Eckersley himself pivots us into closerdom in 2004.

F= Hall of Fame member
M = Hall of Merit member
S = Hall of Stats member

NEW FOR 1988

Mark Belanger
Sparky Lyle
Bobby Murcer
Reggie Smith (M,S)
Willie Stargell (F,M,S)
Luis Tiant (S)
Rich Wise



One thought on “1988 New Candidates

  1. Reggie Smith was one of the more underappreciated players I saw in the 1970s and I’m glad you’re giving him a look. Also happy to see Murcer get a look. I always thought he was devalued simply because he wasn’t Mantle (or DiMaggio). And whatever will you do with Mark Belanger? Couldn’t hit the floor if he fell out of bed, but among the best shortstops I ever saw.
    Enjoy the challenges. 🙂

    Posted by verdun2 | July 9, 2014, 8:45 am

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