Monday, June 11, 2012


As Casey Stengel used to say (before he stopped saying anything): you could look it up. But if you did that, I wouldn't have to, and I wouldn't like that. David Pinto's Day-By-Day Database is a meta-guilty pleasure, and we gotta take those where we can get them these days.

So here is what the batting leaders looked like after games were played on June 10, 1987.

You may recall that this season, 25 years ago, was the big boomin' homer season, and that it caused the Lords to upshift a strike zone that had been shrunk to a upper region that barely went north of the belly button.

Let's look at the NL first. Walkman John Kruk (would he have been better thought of--hell, would he have been better, period--if his name had been Jack...nah, he probably would've started swinging for the fences and turned into a pumpkin) was having a helluva year with that .470 OBP, but this was the season that the other Jack--or should I say the only Jack--Jack Clark--was seriously scary. Dale Murphy was having his best season, and that's saying something for a guy who'd already won two MVP awards.

Eric Davis was threatening to be the first 40-40 player in the game's history. He didn't make it, but that feat would happen in the year immediately following 1987--pulled off by everyone's favorite Cuban uncle, Jose Canseco.

Some of the names here are more than a bit astonishing. Jeff Leonard? Hitting nearly .350, OPS over 1.000? Candy Maldonado? A .987 OPS? One can be excused for blinking. Mookie Wilson? Glenn freakin' Hubbard, for Crissakes? A .455 OBP?? Ozzie Virgil? Sid Bream? Cranklin Stubbs??

We went a little deeper in the 1987 AL data simply to make sure that we captured Joe Carter. Actually, Joe had had a pretty good season for the Indians the year before and it simply wasn't clear at this point that the rest of his career would look a lot like the numbers he was putting up in '87. (However, it didn't take that long for it to become evident.)

Rob Deer, who'd started out like a house afire (we showed these stats once before, back in late April), is still having a fine season--as with many of these folk, he'd wait till the All-Star Break to work on his swan dive.

Old-time fans of Larry Sheets and Mike Davis may now quietly shed a tear for two guys who were looking like stars as of early June 1987.

A lot of AL first baseman had the "meh syndrome" working in '87. There's a bunch of 'em--Pete O'Brien, Greg Walker, Wally Joyner, Kent Hrbek, Glenn Davis, even Eddie Murray--who are having fair-to-middlin' seasons (.800-.850 OPS with good-but-not-great power numbers)

This will eventually be George Bell's MVP year, and that was not really all that good of a thing...but ol'George was lucky in that the NL voters chose Andre Dawson, whose credentials for the award were similar to Bell's--league leading HR/RBI totals. It took everyone's mind off the fact that Bell wasn't the best player in his league, either.