Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Triple-Triple (From 1969-1989)

We saw with the first instalment of this feature that the ‘triple-triple’ was accomplished 80 times by 28 different players from 1990 to the present. One may be inclined to think that it isn’t an uncommon accomplishment. Well, from the start of divisional play in 1969 through 1989 there were only 20 ‘triple-triples’ and it was done by 15 different players. Mike Schmidt towers above his peers with a quintet of 100 runs/RBI/BB seasons while Will Clark, Jack Clark, Dale Murphy, Dwight Evans, George Brett, Darrell Porter, Joe Morgan, Jimmy Wynn, Darrell Evans, Ken Singleton, Carl Yastrzemski, Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard and Sal Bando performed the feat one time apiece.

There were also 10 seasons where no player pulled it off including a three-year stretch from 1980-82 that was helped by the strike. Here’s the breakdown by year:

1989: None
1988: Will Clark
1987: Jack Clark, Dale Murphy, Dwight Evans,
1986: None
1985: George Brett
1984: None
1983: Mike Schmidt
1982: None
1981: None
1980: None
1979: Mike Schmidt, Darrell Porter
1978: None
1977: Mike Schmidt
1976: Mike Schmidt, Joe Morgan
1975: None
1974: Mike Schmidt, Jimmy Wynn,
1973: Darrell Evans, Ken Singleton
1972: None
1971: None
1970: Carl Yastrzemski
1969: Willie McCovey, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Howard, Sal Bando

Other notes of interest (unrelated to the above):

The leaks from the Mitchell report continue with innuendo about 11 free agent players named. Leaving them anonymous is a good way to keep a lid on the market. It begs the question for G.M.s “Is the player I’m negotiating with one of them?

I’m guessing this is deliberate for just that reason.

In addition, Marvin Miller is among the finalists of the Veterans Committee vote about baseball executives. Miller is long overdue for the honour. While the media likes to whip up sentiment about “greedy, spoiled and pampered players”, the fact of the matters is that players deserve their fair share of the revenue pie. On top of this, it allows players to focus year round on honing their skills and clubs take far better care of the investment they make in these guys. If baseball didn’t pay so well, the game would be losing the best athletes to other sports. Baseball is a better product than it was before Miller came on the scene. He also protected the value of player pensions.

Don Fehr should take a page from Miller’s ideology. The former executive director of the MLBPA fought for a player’s right to determine the direction his career could go. Miller focused on the right of self-determination and personal choice. When a contract expired, the player was free to go wherever he wished under the best terms he could negotiate. Fehr is focused on the salary bar and both union and agents nudge free agents to take the highest bid regardless of his preferences. This has resulted in divisions in the union. Players should be free neither beholden to the owner, the union or the agent. Free agency is just that. The modern player has switched masters. Instead of the club deciding where a player will go, it’s now the agent and union trying to influence a certain decision.

That is wrong.

Finally …

Arte Moreno expressed his interest in signing Alex Rodriguez and assured Bud Selig that he wouldn’t set any new salary records. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it sounds almost collusive; on the other hand, Scott Boras should be forced to negotiate honestly not using phantom bidders or getting owners to bid against themselves.

Boras uses many high-minded phrases that are frankly his recipe for deception. An example is this: "Any discussions as to contract terms (are) between the teams and ourselves. It's clear for all of us that we're at that point now where we've got to do a lot of work with the teams involved, and we're going to keep the information and dialogues with the clubs private and confidential as we go forward."

This ‘private and confidential dialogue’ allows Boras to say “That’s an interesting offer, but I have to let you know that there’s a team with a package on the table that is right up there with yours that I’ve been speaking with recently.” Of course, the team with the similar package is the one he owns. If pressed on knowing the identity of the bidding club Boras simply states that all dialogue is, of course, ‘private and confidential.’

I’m of the opinion that if Boras uses such dishonest, bad-faith negotiating tactics, franchises have the right to protect themselves from overbidding or bidding against themselves. I’m not a fan of owners but I do feel that if they have the top bid, they should be informed of that. It’s easy to say that owners should know better however suppose you found your dream home and the realtor had you bidding against yourself for the property in order to increase their commission. If you later found out that you had spent $20,000 more than you needed to, would you simply say to yourself ‘I should have known better’. Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean they are not entitled to an honest negotiation.

I do hope Boras gets burned here and Alex Rodriguez fires him after having to sign a deal that cost him millions; a discredited Scott Boras would work wonders for the amateur draft since young talent might not wish to be ‘the next A-Rod.’ Getting top amateur talent different representation will help restore the original intent of the draft--giving poor teams a shot at acquiring top-level prospects.

Best Regards


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