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  1. I have very fond memories of Don Baylor’s late career as a Red Sox fan. I was 8 and 9 in 1986 and that was the first year I really started following baseball religously. I grew up in Maine so we got about 50 games a year broadcast to us outside of what NESN was just starting. I had started collecting cards in 1985 so I had a decent idea of bubble gum stats in 1986. I remember when the Red Sox traded Mike Easler for Don Baylor in the winter prior to the 1986 season. That wa sobviously a great year to start watching the Red Sox. It started with that 20 strikeout game by Clemens in April and went through the whole season. Baylor was a big part of that with his upright muscle bound stance. I remember him just standing their letting balls bounce off his arm and shoulder. The ball would make a thud noise and fall to the ground and Baylor would just trot to first like nothing happened. My first game at Fenway was the following year in 1987 before they traded away Baylor. I was sitting halfway up the rightfield line about 30 rows back so I had a perfect view of Righthanded batters taking hacks at the monster. Baylor hit a pitch on the screws to left field. The ball got out of the park in a hurry and seemed to be rising (I know it wasn’t but it looked that way) as it barely cleared the left field fence and hit the screen. Thanks for lettin me reminisce about my early baseball fandom even though I’m off topic. On another subject Baylor could steal some bags and had some speed back in the day although he was a terrible fielder. When I look back at Jim Rice and Don Baylor today I often think of how overratted they wer based on home runs and RBI’s. Both good players with prototypical right handed power swings. In both cases defensive metrics and greater offensive metrics have reshaped the historical context of players exactly like this. Peace out thanks for the walk down memory lane. I bet without looking it up I could still list 18 or 19 guys on that 86 Red sox postseason roster.

    Comment by Spit Ball — February 21, 2013 @ 9:11 am

  2. FanGraphs should compile a list of least valuable MVP seasons (so I don’t have to). Baylor and his 4 WAR in ’79 must be on the short list. Dawson’s ’87 as well.

    Comment by Grand Admiral Braun — February 21, 2013 @ 9:38 am

  3. Willie Hernandez 1984 gotta be up their.

    Comment by Spit Ball — February 21, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  4. Interesting that he essentially mentioned BABIP has the reason for his MVP award. He was right that he was unusually unlucky in the 1978 season (.235 BABIP) and that his luck improved in 1979 (.271).

    Comment by Dan Rozenson — February 21, 2013 @ 10:02 am

  5. Here is your top twenty according to rWAR. As bad as Baylor was in 1979 (for an MVP) Willie Stargell’s 1979 NL MVP was the wost MVP season (tied with Roger Peckingpaugh)as far as rWAR is concerned of all time.

    2.3

    Roger Peckinpaugh

    WSH (1925)

    2.3

    Willie Stargell

    PIT (1979)

    2.8

    Dennis Eckersley

    OAK (1992)

    3.0

    Bob O’Farrell

    STL (1926)

    3.2

    Jeff Burroughs

    TEX (1974)

    3.5

    Frankie Frisch

    STL (1931)

    3.5

    Don Baylor

    CAL (1979)

    3.5

    Juan Gonzalez

    TEX (1996)

    3.7

    Mickey Cochrane

    PHA (1928)

    3.7

    Mickey Cochrane

    DET (1934)

    WAR

    Player

    Team (Year)

    3.7

    Andre Dawson

    CHC (1987)

    3.8

    Jake Daubert

    BRO (1913)

    4.0

    Justin Morneau

    MIN (2006)

    4.1

    Rollie Fingers

    MIL (1981)

    4.1

    Mo Vaughn

    BOS (1995)

    4.2

    Yogi Berra

    NYY (1955)

    4.2

    Don Newcombe

    BRO (1956)

    4.3

    Steve Garvey

    LAD (1974)

    4.5

    Joe DiMaggio

    NYY (1947)

    4.5

    Yogi Berra

    Comment by Spit Ball — February 21, 2013 @ 10:23 am

  6. A 260 career Babip. That’s pretty low. Some of the things he talked about as far as players being willing to strike out these days. Baylor did not strike out much but I don’t think he had a particurally pure approach at the plate. I wish we had Batted ball info on him because I remember alot of infield flyballs from him.

    Comment by Spit Ball — February 21, 2013 @ 10:50 am

  7. Thanks!!

    Comment by Grand Admiral Braun — February 21, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

  8. Surprised no questions about Baylor’s philosophy on taking HBP’s (thanks Spit Ball for the memories).

    Also, it’s interesting that Baylor once stole 50 bases in a season. I was too young to remember that, just remember him as a real big power-hitting DH.

    Comment by Delmon Youngs sprained left fat — February 21, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  9. He really has a poor approach teaching his players. It’s been proven that the GB out and sac bunt hurts your chances, and swinging less and BBing more is good, yet he teaches players to swing (or at least that’s his philosophy). I rarely actively root against non-rival teams, but I’m rooting against AZ.

    Comment by Ryan C — February 21, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

  10. My first memory of Baylor is earlier — a late season Rochester Red Wings game in 1968. When Baylor came to bat, my father said to me, “He’s going to be good.” He didn’t come back to AAA until 1970, when I believe he won the IL MVP.

    Comment by craigtyle — February 21, 2013 @ 3:39 pm

  11. League babip for his active seasons was consistently around .280 so its not as bad as would seem. Still

    Comment by Jarrod Saltalamacchia — February 21, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

  12. Back in the summer of 1986 I was an 18 year old hanging out at the players entrance to Fenway Park trying to get autographs. Myself and a kid who worked as a vendor for Harry M. Stevens were there. He was a experienced autograph seeker and told me that Don Baylor usually parked his black Ferrari in a lot adjacent to the players entrance.

    A little while later Baylor drove up, and the kid was correct that Baylor parked across the street. I walked over as he was leaving the lot and asked him for his autograph. Baylor mentioned not now kid, that he didn’t have time, and to try to get him during batting practice. I mentioned to him I didn’t have a ticket. I then said to him, “Mr. Baylor last time I tried to get your autograph in the park you didn’t sign Yankee cards. I went out and bought this card of you on the Orioles to have signed”.

    Baylor rolled his eye, put down his briefcase and signed my 75 Topps Mini. I still have it to this day. What a nice guy to take his time and sign my card. He’s a class act.

    Comment by Rob M — February 21, 2013 @ 8:59 pm

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