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Fewest homers 1990 to 1995

Posted by Andy on January 30, 2009

I'm reading "Birth of a Dynasty" by Joel Sherman right now, a book about the rise of the Yankees to eventually win 4 World Series titles in 5 years from 1996 to 2000. Much of the early part of the book is about the 1995 Yankees, Buck Showalter, and the decline of Don Mattingly.

Sherman points out that among players with as many AB as Mattingly over 1990 to 1995, only 8 players (including Mattingly) had as few as 58 HR. I found that stat shocking, until I looked at the list:

  Cnt Player             **HR**   AB  From  To   Ages   G    PA    R    H   2B  3B  RBI  BB  IBB  SO  HBP  SH  SF GDP  SB   CS   BA   OBP   SLG   OPS  Positions Teams
+----+-----------------+-------+-----+----+----+-----+----+-----+----+----+---+---+----+----+---+----+---+---+---+---+----+---+-----+-----+-----+-----+---------+-----------+
    1 Lance Johnson        17    3255 1990 1995 26-31  862  3489  444  941  94  74  305  187  16  223   6  23  18  71  204  66  .289  .327  .379  .706 *8/79D    CHW
    2 Brett Butler         18    3327 1990 1995 33-38  874  3946  543 1011  99  53  234  514  10  380  17  66  22  23  228 103  .304  .397  .382  .779 *8        SFG-LAD-TOT
    3 Jody Reed            21    3055 1990 1995 27-32  822  3497  375  829 175   6  259  351  20  274  16  56  19  84   29  28  .271  .348  .353  .701 *4/6D     BOS-LAD-MIL-SDP
    4 Tony Fernandez       30    3091 1990 1995 28-33  815  3490  421  841 147  45  300  324  23  331  21  33  21  70  108  65  .272  .343  .378  .721 *6/54     TOR-SDP-TOT-CIN-NYY
    5 Wade Boggs           39    3065 1990 1995 32-37  808  3571  464  944 175  17  341  459  75  259   6   3  38  73    5   8  .308  .395  .414  .809 *5/D3     BOS-NYY
    6 Tony Gwynn           42    3066 1990 1995 30-35  770  3353  456 1047 192  29  388  243  77  111   5   9  30  95   64  28  .341  .387  .464  .851 *9/8      SDP
    7 Steve Finley         45    3147 1990 1995 25-30  838  3487  451  881 127  53  267  247  20  360  15  59  19  45  168  61  .280  .333  .397  .730 *89/7     BAL-HOU-SDP
    8 Don Mattingly        58    2981 1990 1995 29-34  770  3299  392  853 170   5  382  274  54  206  11   0  33  90    6   2  .286  .345  .405  .750 *3/D7     NYY

Right away I realized that these are all full-time players and most of them are leadoff guys. Mattingly makes the list because he didn't walk very much. The complete list is here and only 35 guys had at least Mattingly's 2,981 AB over that span. Correct reporting by Sherman, if a bit misleading.

Lowering the bar to 2000 AB over that span yields this list, with Mattingly having the 51st fewest homers among a field of 138, a much more intuitive measure of his relative performance.

I'm going to feature some other stats gleaned from Sherman's book. Incidentally I think the book is quite good and reveals a lot of interesting info about Buck Showalter, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, and numerous others.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009 at 8:15 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

7 Responses to “Fewest homers 1990 to 1995”

  1. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    I haven't read this, but I did read the book by Buster Olney from a few years ago about the death of the dynasty. Pretty interesting.

  2. I heard somebody..........i won't name names.....(cough hank).......is trying to resurrect the dynasty, but somethings going wrong and it's gonna be a flesh eating zombie that raises salaries by large amounts and results in the death of a few unlucky teams.

  3. I've read the Olney book too, and it was also good.

    Incidentally, Sherman's book is not a Yankee-loving book. It points out many problems with the organization, starting with G Steinbrenner and going down the list of many personnel, including players. I think many baseball fans would enjoy it, including Yankee fans, Yankee-haters, and Yankee-neutrals, if such a category even exists.

  4. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    If only all organizations could be so flawed to win 4 titles in 5 years.

  5. For the preceding 6 years (1984-1989) Mattingly was first in HR of 4 players with as many AB, and 6th of 156 in HR among players with 2000 AB. Quite a decline. He went from great to ordinary.

  6. Here's another way to look at it. In those years ('90-'95) there were 29 players who played at least 720 games (120 per year) with at least 50% of their games at either left , right or first. Only Luis Polonia and Joe Orsolak had a worse OPS+.
    http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/8env

    From 1984-1989 there were 36 players who met that criteria. Nobody was better than Mattingly.
    http://www.bb-ref.com/pi/shareit/QkwV

  7. Many years ago, in another forum, I pointed out the similarities in the career shapes of Mattingly and Joe Medwick.