Baseball / Ross Newhan : Roger Clemens, Glenn Davis Have Been Tough to Top This Year
The awards. Or, as the late Jimmy Cannon would have put it: Nobody asked me, but . . .
American League--Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox. Supporters of Jim Rice, Don Mattingly, George Bell and Kirby Puckett will cry that pitchers have their own award, but this pitcher was both stabilizer and stopper, contributing more than 25% of his team’s wins and going 14-1 in games he started after the Red Sox lost.
National League--Glenn Davis, Houston Astros. How do you separate Gary Carter and Keith Hernandez? The New York Mets might have won without either, they seemed so dominant. Mike Schmidt deserves consideration, but his team, the Philadelphia Phillies, could have taken the Metroliner and still not caught the Mets. Davis helped change the Astros’ offensive image and proved that a power hitter can survive in the Astrodome. Where have you gone, Jimmy Wynn?
American--Clemens. Enough said.
National--Mike Scott, Houston. The edge seemed to belong to Fernando for winning 20 with the pathetic Dodgers. Then Scott pitched his 13-strikeout no-hitter, a stunning topper to a season in which he leads the NL in strikeouts, ERA, innings pitched and shutouts. Nothing to scoff at, even if Scott is scuffing the ball.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR American--Jose Canseco, Oakland A’s. The man is challenging for both the home run and RBI titles. No rookie in either league has ever won both. The Angels’ Wally Joyner was in his own world in the first half but out of orbit in the second.
National--Rob Thompson, San Francisco Giants. The most consistent of the league’s everyday rookies and one of the biggest surprises on a surprising team.
TOP ROOKIE PITCHER American--Mark Eichhorn, Toronto Blue Jays. His 13 wins, 10 saves and 1.65 ERA helped hold the Blue Jay pitching staff together despite the inconsistency of Dave Stieb and Jimmy Key.
National--Todd Worrell, St. Louis Cardinals. He has 9 wins and 35 saves during a season in which he has had to do it all when fellow relievers Jeff Lahti and Ken Dayley went down with injuries.
FIREMAN OF THE YEAR American--Dave Righetti, New York Yankees. He has a club-record 42 saves, including a stretch in which he converted 24 straight save opportunities. Will the Yankees ever consider moving him back to the rotation again? Never say never when George Steinbrenner is involved.
National--Dave Smith, Houston. An ailing elbow has restricted his recent availability and caused the Astros concern for the playoffs, but he was virtually unbeatable early and contributed most of his 29 saves while the Astros were establishing control of the West.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR American--Tie among Rick Burleson, Angels; Dennis Leonard, Kansas City Royals, and Joe Sambito, Boston. Sorry. They all have come from too far back to pick just one.
National--Mike Krukow, San Francisco. From 8-11 to 19-8 is testimony to the effectiveness of the split-fingered fastball. He gets a slight edge over the statistical comebacks of Buddy Bell and Ray Knight.
MANAGER OF THE YEAR American--Bobby Valentine, Texas Rangers. Gene Mauch and John McNamara may bring home longshots, but no one faced longer odds than Valentine. The Rangers lost 92 games in 1984 and 99 last season. It was then out with the old and in with the new. The result has been baseball’s biggest transformation, a team that was still alive starting the next-to-last weekend of the season, proving that Valentine and heart are synonymous.
National--Hal Lanier, Houston. It didn’t hurt that the Dodgers lost Pedro Guerrero even before the first pitch, but the rookie manager seemed to have the Astros believing from start to finish. In 25 previous seasons, the Astros had won only one Western Division title and tied for another. Met Manager Davey Johnson? He is probably justified in wondering how you can win 98 games one year and more than a hundred the next without being manager of the year in either.
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR American--Lou Gorman, Boston. He kept getting the Red Sox what they needed: A right-handed power hitter and clubhouse enforcer in Don Baylor, another proven pitcher in Tom Seaver, a steady shortstop in Spike Owen and a valuable role player in Dave Henderson. If a winter trade in which left-hander Bobby Ojeda went to the Mets seemed one-sided in New York’s favor most of the summer, it has taken on a different tone recently. Former Met Calvin Schiraldi returned from the minors in August and gave the Red Sox a bullpen stopper, recording 4 wins and 9 saves in his first 21 appearances.
National--Frank Cashen, Mets. He didn’t sit on 98 wins. He strengthened an already strong rotation by getting Ojeda from Boston, and traded with the Minnesota Twins for second baseman Tim Teufel, who has platooned with Wally Backman and improved the Mets’ depth.
ALL-STARS American--First base: Mattingly, New York; Second base: Juan Bernazard, Cleveland Indians; Shortstop: Cal Ripken, Baltimore Orioles; Third base: Wade Boggs, Boston; Outfield: Puckett, Minnesota; Bell, Toronto, and Rice, Boston; Catcher: Bob Boone, Angels.
Comment: Defensive purists will bemoan the selection of Bernazard over Frank White and Lou Whitaker but should be pleased with the selection of Boone in a year in which American League catchers generally compiled pathetic offensive statistics. Lance Parrish was an exception but didn’t play the last six weeks because of a back injury. It was difficult separating the contact-hitting Boggs from the power-hitting Doug DeCinces and disturbing to have to leave Joe Carter, Jesse Barfield and Canseco out.
National--First base: Davis; Second base: Steve Sax, Dodgers; Shortstop: Ozzie Smith, St. Louis Cardinals; Third base: Schmidt, Philadelphia; Outfield: Dave Parker, Cincinnati Reds; Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padres, and Tim Raines, Montreal Expos; Catcher: Carter.
Comment: If Davis is going to be your MVP, then he has to be the choice over Hernandez at first. The rest of it seems obvious.
Notes Can the Angels beat the Red Sox in the AL playoff series? They won 7 of the 12 regular-season games and dominated the statistics, hitting .265 while fashioning an ERA of 2.98. The Red Sox hit .239 and scored fewer runs, 41, against the Angels than against any other team. Boston’s ERA in the 12 games was 4.46. . . . The Orioles are now apparently set on coach Cal Ripken Sr. as a successor to Manager Earl Weaver and will move Cal Ripken Jr. from shortstop to third base next season, using Jackie Gutierrez at shortstop. Weaver tried 10 third basemen this season. They made 37 errors and drove in 39 runs. He now says that if he had to do it over, he would have made the Ripken-Gutierrez move from the start. “I think having someone catch the ball at those positions would have knocked a point off our ERA,” he said. “I swear I don’t believe our pitching is as bad as it looks.” . . . The Ripkens will form only the third father-son, manager-player combination in major league history. The others were Connie and Earle Mack with the Philadelphia A’s, and Yogi and Dale Berra with the Yankees. The Ripkens, however, may take it a step further. Cal’s brother, Billy, will get a shot at second base next spring. . . . Ed Lynch, a veteran Met pitcher traded to the Chicago Cubs in midseason, bemoaned the timing of the trade. “I wanted to be part of their success. It was like living with a family all year and then getting thrown out on Christmas Eve.”