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Paying Tribute to the Greatest Tiger Team of My Generation

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November 30, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Larry Herndon

by @ 6:37 am. Filed under Debate, Larry Herndon, Ruppert Jones

Sparky Anderson loved to platoon. And left field was no exception in 1984. After coming off of back to back quality seasons in 1982 and 1983, Larry Herndon lost time to the recently acquired Ruppert Jones, who actually outplayed him in the time he got.

Herndon, as you’ll see, had a pretty mediocre season. He only played in 125 games, and although he did hit .280, it was really without a lot of punch. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 52
Homeruns 7
RBIs 43
Avg. .280
OBP .333
Slg% .400
Runs Created 54
OPS+ 104

Batting Runs Above Replacement 17
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 12
Equalized Average .266
Wins Above Replacement Player 3.2

The OPS+ of 104 and the equalized average of .266 tell it all. To take things one step further, his Batting Runs Above Average was 3, and his Fielding Runs Above Average was 0. It’s unanimous. Larry Herndon had a pretty average season, and doesn’t match up to George Foster.

Score Card 1975 Reds 5, 1984 Tigers 1

You can read Blade’s analysis of George Foster at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 21, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Alan Trammell

by @ 11:00 am. Filed under Alan Trammell, Debate

Leave it up to Tram. Old reliable. He had a career OPS+ of only 110, and he had just as many seasons below 100 as he did above. But over almost 2,300 career games, he posted a batting average of .285, and an OBP of .352.

1983 was Alan Trammell’s breakout season. In fact it was almost a carbon copy of what he would do in 1984. The five time All Star finished in the top five in hitting in four different seasons, and finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting on three different occasions, including a ninth place finish in 1984. He never won the award, but probably should have in 1987, when he lost out to George Bell.

Alan Trammell was also a solid fielder, winning four gold gloves in five years until Tony Fernandez stepped onto the scene and began his streak of four straight in 1986.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 85
Homeruns 14
RBIs 69
Avg. .314
OBP .382
SLG% .468
Runs Created 98
OPS+ 136

Batting Runs Above Replacement 46
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 36
Equalized Average .297
Wins Above Replacement Player 9.0

So, the shutout ends. I actually thought Dave Concepcion would give Trammell a run, because he had quite a good career, but 1975 wasn’t one of his better seasons. Outside of fielding, Trammell is the better player. And even comparing these two seasons, that differential wasn’t very big.

Scorecard 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 1

You can read Blade’s analysis of Dave Concepcion at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 15, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Howard Johnson

by @ 9:09 pm. Filed under Debate, Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson was one of those Tigers who got away. The switch hitting rookie had a solid campaign his first season, hitting twelve homeruns and driving in fifty in 355 at bats. But for whatever reason, he never was on Sparky’s good side and during the offseason, he was traded to the Mets for Walt Terrell, a solid left handed starter.

HoJo then went on to have three 30/30 seasons, and he finished in the top 10 of the MVP voting three times for the Mets. In 1991, he led the league in homeruns (38) and RBIs (117) and was seventh in OPS (.877). The Tigers on the other hand, went through Tom Brookens (a solid player and a fan favorite, but hardly an all star as he hit .246 for his career), Darnell Coles (had a solid 1986, but nothing much after that), Rick Schu (.214 as a starter in 1989), and Tony Phillips (utility man who played more at third then anywhere else) during Johnson’s peak years. It wasn’t until Travis Fryman in 1991 when the Tigers developed a regular, everyday third basemen.

But enough about my gripes. Here’s the the numbers on HoJo’s rookie season:

Runs 43
Homeruns 12

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RBIs 50
Average .248
OBP .324
Slg% .394
Runs Created 45
OPS+ 99
Batting Runs Above Replacement 13
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 6
Equalized Average .260
Wins Above Replacement Player 2.1

Well, it looks like I’m getting skunked so far, because the Howard Johnson of 1984 doesn’t match up to Pete Rose. But with Tram and the outfield coming up, I see a turn coming.

Scorecard – 1975 Reds 4, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Pete Rose at Reds Cutting Edge.

November 8, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Lou Whitaker

by @ 9:26 pm. Filed under Debate, Lou Whitaker

Lou Whitaker was always my favorite Tiger growing up. I think it was the way everyone chanted “Lou” at the games. Little did I know that this was common practice for any player with the first name Lou. Lou Piniella apparantly got the chant, as does Lou Merloni (at least he did when he played for the Red Sox).

Whitaker is listed as the thirteenth best second basemen of all time by Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract. He was a great hitter with two strikes on him, and ended his career with more walks then strikeouts. He followed up what was probably his best season in 1983 with a solid campaign in 1984. He won the gold glove despite what the numbers show over at Baseball Prospectus, and played in the All Star Game in 1984.

Let’s take a look at the numbers:

Runs 90
Home Runs 13
RBIs 56
Avg. .289
OBP .357
SLG% .407
Runs Created 81
OPS+ 113

Batting Runs Above Replacement 30
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 19
Equalized Average .276
Wins Above Replacement Player 5.4

A fine season, but compared to the MVP of the league, and according to Bill James, the 15th best player of all time at any position, he just doesn’t quite stack up.

Scorecare 1975 Reds 3, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Joe Morgan at Red’s Cutting Edge.

November 3, 2004

The Great Debate – 1975 Reds vs. 1984 Tigers – Darrell Evans

by @ 8:07 pm. Filed under Darrell Evans, Debate

Prior to the 1984 season, the Tigers made what, at the time, was the biggest free agent pickup in the history of the team. Signing Darrell Evans was a big deal, similar to the Tiger’s signing Pudge in 2004 was a big deal. And in 1984, Darrell Evans was a big bust. I won’t go into too much detail on him because he mostly played DH, but his contribution was minimal. Of course in 1985 he’d hit 40 homeruns, but his 28 extra base hits in 1984 left Tiger’s fans wondering if, at 37, he was over the hill.

The other deal the Tigers made was a trade with the Phillies. The Tigers sent John Wockenfuss and Glenn Wilson to the Phillies for Willie Hernandez and first basemen Dave Bergman. Bergman got the bulk of the starts at first base in 1984, and was platooned there for the rest of the 1980s.

He only played in 131 games during the season, and here’s what his numbers looked like in 1984:

Runs 42
Homeruns 7
RBIs 44
Average .273
OBP .351
SLG% .417
Runs Created 39
OPS+ 113

Batting Runs Above Replacement 15
Fielding Runs Above Replacement 15
Equalized Average .276

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Wins Above Replacement Player 3.3

The 113 OPS+ isn’t anything to complain about, but the rest of his numbers just weren’t there. This one was pretty much a clean sweep, as Tony Perez and the Reds win another one.

Score – 1975 Reds 2, 1984 Tigers 0

You can read Blade’s analysis of Tony Perez at Reds Cutting Edge.

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