Baseball Toaster Mike's Baseball Rants
This is my site with my opinions, but I hope that, like Irish Spring, you like it, too.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
Mike's Baseball Rants


10  09  07 
06  05  04  03 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
Links to MBBR
Out Voted, The ROY (and I Don't Mean Hobbs) Edition
2004-11-29 12:43
by Mike Carminati

Parts I, II, III, IV, and V

Next in our review of the most overlooked players in award-voting history is Rookie of the Year. The ROY award was by far the most complicated study and comes with the most caveats.

What is a rookie after all?

The current eligibility rules are that the player enters the given year with fewer than 130 career at-bats, 50 career innings pitched, and forty-five days of major-league experience. These were set forth in 1971. This year, Lew Ford met the first two but not the third. The problem is that you have to work in the commissioner's office to be able to calculate major-league experience; the other two are readily available. I was unable to find the rules prior to 1971 but will continue scanning my old TSN Baseball Guides.

The ROY, like the Cy Young, was at first just given out to one player in the entire majors. In 1947 and '48 only one Rookie of the Year per year was awarded. From 1949 on, each league has its own ROY winner.

For this study, I will base eligibility on the first two criteria above (<130 ABs and <50 IP). I will lump all players together for 1947-48 and separate them by league for every year since. This will mean that players who were not considered eligible at the time (like Ford) will be included in the list, and I'm fine with that. I think that it demonstrates how esoteric and meaningless the third rule (i.e., fewer than 45 days on a major-league roster) is.

So without further ado here's the list:

NameYrLgWin SharesTot WSRank
Billy Grabarkewitz1970NL2929.101
Al Rosen1950AL2929.001
Joe Ferguson1973NL2929.001
Vada Pinson1959NL2726.901
Reggie Jackson1968AL2525.201
Max Alvis1963AL2524.603
Ralph Garr1971NL2524.501
Bobby Grich1972AL2323.002
Rich Rollins1962AL2322.602
Dusty Baker1972NL2322.601
Ruppert Jones1977AL2222.502
Lew Ford2004AL2222.001
Joe Foy1966AL2221.902
Irv Noren1950AL2221.702
Stan Rojek1948NL2121.103
Ed Charles1962AL2120.903
Bob Lee1964AL2020.102
Luke Easter1950AL2019.904
Bobby Murcer1969AL2019.802
Willie Horton1965AL2019.702
Bobby Thomson1947NL2019.703
Richie Hebner1969NL2019.601
Dan Quisenberry1980AL1919.403
Walt Moryn1956NL1918.902
Terry Forster1972AL1918.803
Davey Williams1952NL1918.603
Randy Milligan1989AL1918.602
Andy Carey1954AL1818.402
Larry Doby1948AL1818.405
Craig Biggio1989NL1818.301
Earl Torgeson1947NL1818.305
Ron Guidry1977AL1818.106
Tom Brunansky1982AL1818.102
Bobby Darwin1972AL1818.004
Sam Bowens1964AL1817.504
Ned Garver1948AL1817.506
Solly Hemus1951NL1717.402
Mike Marshall1983NL1717.304
Don Lenhardt1950AL1717.205
Dale Long1955NL1717.201
Dick Tidrow1972AL1717.005
Mike Lansing1993NL1716.903
Willie Randolph1976AL1716.803
Don Blasingame1956NL1716.603
Dennis Eckersley1975AL1716.603
Ken McBride1961AL1716.405
Tom Haller1962NL1616.401
Burt Hooton1972NL1616.403
Bob Chesnes1948NL1616.407
Rick Reichardt1966AL1616.203
Mike Andrews1967AL1616.203
Greg Luzinski1972NL1616.204
Mike Fiore1969AL1616.103
Pete Incaviglia1986AL1616.104
Wayne Comer1969AL1616.004
Jerry Walker1959AL1615.90
Jim Owens1959NL1615.902
Marv Breeding1960AL1615.903
Tony Conigliaro1964AL1615.805
Sammy Ellis1964NL1615.804
Wayne Gross1977AL1615.807
Dwayne Murphy1979AL1615.801
Spider Jorgensen1947NL1615.807
Billy Loes1952NL1615.705
Al Downing1963AL1615.705
Rick Monday1967AL1615.704
Nate Colbert1969NL1615.704
Chris Speier1971NL1615.704
Marty Barrett1984AL1615.705
John Rocker1999NL1615.703
Monte Irvin1950NL1615.602
Bill White1956NL1615.604
Norm Cash1960AL1615.604
Pat Kelly1969AL1615.506
Matt Young1983AL1615.503
Roberto Kelly1989AL1615.504
Dale Mitchell1947AL1615.508

I'm sorry it's so long but I wanted to include all of the overlooked rookies who actually finished first in their leagues in Win Shares (i.e., Rank).

By the way, here are the men who actually won in those years:

YrLgNameWin SharesTot WSRank
1950ALWalt Dropo2121.203
1955NLBill Virdon1414.102
1959NLWillie McCovey1212.105
1962NLKen Hubbs98.5012
1968ALStan Bahnsen2322.802
1969NLTed Sizemore1717.203
1970NLCarl Morton2120.903
1971NLEarl Williams1918.603
1972NLJon Matlack2221.702
1973NLGary Matthews2121.002
1979ALAlfredo Griffin1414.003
1979ALJohn Castino99.3012
1989NLJerome Walton1717.002
2004ALBobby Crosby1313.002

As a Phils fan, I have to love that Richie "The Hack" Hebner was ignored the year that Teddy Sizemore won the award. One can understand why the voters select, say, Willie McCovey, but someone has to explain to me how John Castino got a share of the award in 1979.

If one were to list these overlooked players by year, the result would be, as with the Cy Young, that large numbers of overlooked players occurred when the award was shared between the two leagues (four per year in 1947-48). However, early voting was lackluster at best overall (four overlooked in the AL in 1950 and three in the NL in 1956).

It seems that the new rules were instituted in 1971 because so many questionable candidates were getting the award and so many qualified ones were either overlooked or ineligible. In 1968 Reggie Jackson was completed ignored in favor of Stan Bahnsen, "The Bahnsen Burner", who quickly burned out his arm. (The Senators' Del Unser, later a teammate of Bahnsen in Montreal, was the only other candidate to receive a vote.) From 1968 to 1973 there was one "eligible" rookie that was overlooked but had more Win Shares than the actual award winner (i.e., eligible by my rules).

Since 1973 only three players have been overlooked/ineligible with more Win Shares than the award winner. One was Ford. The other two were Dwayne Murphy (1979) and Craig Biggio (1989) and both played at least 45 games the previous season even though they met the at-bat cutoff. Since 1990 only three players have made the list: Ford, Mike Lansing (1993), and John Rocker (1999). Rocker pitched in 47 games (38 innings) in 1998. In the 1993 NL voting, eleven players received votes (including Pedro Martinez, Carlos Guillen, Jeff Conine, Kirk Rueter, and Ricky Gutierrez) and Mike Piazza swept the first-place votes, but Lansing, then a third baseman with no pop who had not played a major-league game before the season started, was completely ignored.

I decided not to eliminate those players who had appeared in at least 45 games prior to their "rookie" season. They clearly did not pass the experience criterion, but I think it’s the silliest of the three rules. I mean, 130 at-bats and 50 innings pitched are pretty arbitrary numbers (especially for relievers as opposed to starters), but at least they are reasonable. I see no reason why Dwayne Murphy should have been ineligible in 1979 because the A's decided to use him in 60 games in 1978 as defensive replacement in the outfield and pinch-runner. He only had 52 at-bats for the season. I think these rules were outdated before the print dried in 1971.

I understand the need to set up some objective rule to determine rookie eligibility. I just think that Lew Ford, who had all of 73 major-league at-bats entering the 2004 season, shouldn't have to pay for it. I would prefer something closer to though not as stringent as the batting/ERA title eligibility rules. Let's say that a player becomes ineligible once he has accumulated at least 251 plate appearances. That is based on the batting title's 3.1 plate appearances per game and 81 games or half of a season. For pitchers, 81 innings or one per game based on half a season (that is for starting pitchers—relievers would be limited to something like 30 innings). I would eliminate the experience threshold altogether. Who cares how many days a player sat on a major-league bench?

Another alternative would be to keep the current criteria but extend the player's eligibility for another year should he receive no votes in the ROY voting. That would enable players like Ford, who met the criteria but clearly did get enough exposure to merit consideration, to have another chance. Throw 'em back—they're not big enough yet. Maybe the criteria that I outlined would be the ceiling for the players thrown back so that those players who just plain stunk their rookie year don't get another chance the next year.

Anyway, the last entry in this series will be study of how well the voters have done over the years based on Win Shares. I want to look not only at the high-profile cases where Mo Vaughn and Juan Gonzalez stole the MVP from Alex Rodriguez. I want to see how closely all the seedings match reality. For instance, someone has to explain to me how Bobby Abreu finished with three points in this year's NL MVP vote but J.D. Drew had 114 and finished in sixth place. If you say it's because the Braves, and not the Phils, won the NL East (an argument I find silly anyway), then explain to me how fellow Phils Jim Thome finished ahead of Abreu after Abreu had a markedly better season than Thome. It must be those 12 extra home runs (42 for Thome and 30 for Abreu). Then explain to me how Todd Helton and Juan Pierre both ended up with nine votes. Then there are the five points that were all that Melvin Mora received in the AL vote. At least he finished ahead of Chone Figgins. But I digress.

I'd like to look at how closely the voting totals per award reflect reality and how that relationship, or lack thereof, has changed over time.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.