Thursday, May 01, 2008

Robbed of a post season MVP Part 1 - ALCS

There is no greater title in baseball than being a hero in the post season.
It can define your career and your legacy.

Some players never had the back of a baseball card that would catch your eye but they came up big in October and became the team's biggest hero.

Johnny Podres for the 1955 Dodgers, Gene Tenace for the 1972 A's, Bucky F---ing Dent for the 1978 Yankees etc.

But for every team that came back for an unlikely win and for every MVP crowned as an October immortal, there is another team that lost... and some poor guy gave the performance of their life but missed the chance to be their city's God.

We here at Sully Baseball want to give them their due.
Here are the players that would have won a post season MVP award if their team didn't wet the bed.

So before I start listing, let's set down the parameters:

First of all I am only including series when they actually handed out MVPs.

World Series MVPs were first awarded in 1955...
The NLCS didn't hand out MVPs until 1977
And for some reason the ALCS didn't see fit to award an MVP until 1980

Royals defeat Blue Jays 4-3

Batted .333 including sparking a come from behind rally in game 2.

How close were the Blue Jays from winning?

Up 3 games to 1 but losing 2-0 in game 5, the Blue Jays loaded the bases
against Danny Jackson but failed to score. Jackson throws a complete game

Trailing by 2 runs in game 6, the Jays put two runners on in the 7th and
9th but can not score.

Who was the goat?

Dave Steib lost his control in the 6th inning of game 7. A pair of walks
and a hit batter set up a bases clearing triple by Jim Sundberg that put
the game away.

Actual MVP: George Brett

Red Sox defeat Angels, 4-3

Threw complete game win in game 1 and pitched 8 2/3 solid innings in game 5.

How close were the Angels from winning?

Angels lead the series 3-1 and had a 5-2 lead going into the 9th inning.
After Baylor homered to make it a 5-4 lead, manager Gene Mauch panicked
and removed dominating Mike Witt for Gary Lucas who hit the only batter he
faced. Then 1 strike from the pennant, Donnie Moore let up Dave
Henderson’s 2 run homer.

The Angels tied the game in the 9th and had the pennant winning run on
third with 1 out. Seldom used Red Sox reliever Steve Crawford got the next
batters out without letting up a run, then shut down in the 10th, working
around a walk.

Down 1, needing 2 to win the pennant, the Angels went down in order in the

The Angels took a 2-0 first inning lead in game 6, but were outscored 18-3
the rest of the series.

Who was the goat?

Donnie Moore is the obvious goat for letting up the Henderson homer and
then losing it in the 11th inning sac fly, again to Henderson.

Gene Mauch deserves a lot grief for removing Mike Witt in the fateful 9th

Actual MVP: Marty Barrett


Blue Jays defeat A’s, 4-2

Pitched into the 8th inning of game 1 and threw a complete game victory in
a potential elimination game 5.

How close were the A’s from winning?

Never close to winning, but seemed ready to tie the series at 2 with the
unbeatable Stewart ready for game 5. The A’s bombed Jack Morris and took a
5-1 3rd inning lead in game 4. The Blue Jays rallied off of Bob Welch but
Dennis Eckersley struck out Ed Sprague to end the 8th.

In the 9th, Robbie Alomar homered off of Eckersley to tie the game.
In the bottom of the 9th, the A’s got the winning run to third but
couldn’t score pinch runner Eric Fox.

The Blue Jays took the lead in the 11th and Tom Henke got Mark McGwire to
fly out with the tying run on first.

Who was the goat?
Dennis Eckersley did his finger pointing fist pumping an inning too early.
The A’s seemed ready to stampede to the World Series, but the Alomar home
run was a stunning blow that KOed the A’s championship run.


Indians defeat Orioles 4-2


No record but struck out 25 batters in 15 innings including a 15 strikeout
in 7 inning performance in game 4.

How close were the Orioles from winning?

Never played a clinching game, but all 4 losses were 1 run losses with two
in extra innings.

In game 6, with Mike Mussina throwing a 1 hit, 10 K 8 inning masterpiece
to try and force a game 7, the Orioles strand runners in 10 of the 11
innings. The Indians clinch the pennant in the top of the 11th on Tony
Fernandez’s home run.

Who was the goat?
Pick an Orioles hitter… but Robbie Alomar was frozen on a series clinching
called third strike.

Actual MVP: Marquis Grissom


Yankees defeat Red Sox 4-3

Threw key wins for the Red Sox in games 1 and 4.

How close were the Red Sox from winning?

The Red Sox led game 7 in Yankee Stadium 5-2 going into the 8th inning.
Pedro Martinez, who usually tired after 7 innings, got the first batter
out but Trot Nixon misjudged Jeter’s drive to the wall.

The Yankees rallied with a series of two strike hits, climaxing in
Posada’s game tying double to center.

The Red Sox got runners in scoring position in the 9th and 10th but
couldn’t score off of Mariano Rivera. Wakefield then served up Aaron
Boone’s clinching home run, but the series should never have gotten that

Who was the goat?
Grady Little who refused to use the relievers Williamson, Embree and
Timlin (who baffled the Yankees all series) when the Red Sox were 5 outs
from a startling pennant.

Actual MVP: Mariano Rivera


Red Sox defeat Yankees 4-3

Batted .412 with 2 homers and 10 RBI… but that doesn’t even tell the whole
story. Had the series ended after 4 games, Matsui would have batted .550.

How closer were the Yankees from winning?

They were winning in the 9th with Rivera on the mound and a 3 games to 0
series lead. That’s pretty close!

They had base runners in the 10th, 11th and 12th of game 4… and couldn’t

The Yankees had a 2 run lead in the 8th of game 5…
And then left runners in scoring position in the 9th, 12th and 13th innings.

Finally the Yankees had the pennant winning run at the plate when Keith
Foulke struck out Tony Clark to tie the series at 3-3

Who was the goat?
There were plenty of horns to go around. Kevin Brown lasted less than 2
innings of the game 7 show down, Mariano Rivera blew the save in game 4
and the bats went dead.

But Alex Rodriguez who didn’t drive in a run after the third inning of
game 4 and slapped the ball from Bronson Arroyo’s glove during a critical
rally was the goat everyone remembers.

Actual MVP: David Ortiz


Red Sox defeat Indians 4-3

Homered twice and got several big hits as the Indians ran up a 3-1 lead.

How close were the Indians to winning?

Down by 1 in the 7th inning in game 7, Kenny Lofton reached second on Julio Lugo's error and Franklin Guitierrez seemed to have tied the game with a 1 out single. Third base coach Joel Skinner inexplicably held Lofton at third base even though Manny Ramirez hadn't even touched the ball when Lofton rounded third. Casey Blake hit into an inning ending double play.

Down by 3 in the 8th inning, the Indians put the first two on with nobody out. With the tying run at the plate in the form of the heart of the lineup, Papelbon struck out Hafner, got Martinez to ground out and was driven to the wall by Garko to end the inning. The Red Sox scored six times in the 8th to put the game away.

Who was the goat?

The Indians coaching staff. Joel Skinner holding up Kenny Lofton at third killed the Indians momentum. Meanwhile manager Eric Wedge let Rafael Betancourt let up TWO late inning run scoring extra base hits to Dustin Pedroia. How was he still in the game after the first one?

Actual MVP: Josh Beckett

So there you have the AL.
Never up… poor bastards from the NLCS

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