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J.D. Martinez, Christian Yelich among 2018 Silver Slugger Award winners

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Awards season continues with the 2018 Silver Slugger Awards handed out on Thursday evening. Here are your winners:

American League

  • C: Salvador Pérez, Royals (second)
  • 1B: José Abreu, White Sox (second)
  • 2B: José Altuve, Astros (fifth)
  • 3B: José Ramírez, Indians (second)
  • SSFrancisco Lindor, Indians (second)
  • OF: Mookie Betts, Red Sox (second)
  • OF: Mike Trout, Angels (sixth)
  • OF: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (second)
  • DH: J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (third)

It was almost a clean sweep for Josés across the AL infield. One can certainly make an argument for Xander Bogaerts over Lindor at shortstop, but it’s splitting hairs. Bogaerts had a .373 weighted on-base average (wOBA) to Lindor’s .368. Lindor, however, led in many of the counting stats like home runs (38 to 23) and runs scored (129 to 72) while coming to the plate 165 more times. A similar hair-splitting case can be made for Alex Bregman over Ramírez at third base.

Martinez getting the award as both an outfielder and as a DH — becoming the first player to ever win the award twice in the same year — is interesting. It’s deserved, of course, as he had an absurdly productive season, batting .330/.402/.629 with 43 home runs and 130 RBI in 649 plate appearances. Martinez was far above his competition (excepting winners Trout and Betts) at both positions. Martinez, however, played 93 games at DH and 57 as an outfielder. Just give the award to him as a DH and give Aaron Judge the third outfield Silver Slugger. Alternatively, give Martinez the award as an outfielder and Khris Davis as the DH.

National League

Lots of first-time winners in the National League, including Markakis. I would have given the award to a handful of hitters over Markakis, whose .345 wOBA ranked 13th of 26 qualified outfielders. Brandon Nimmo, Bryce Harper, Charlie Blackmon, Rhys Hoskins, Lorenzo Cain, José Martínez, Ben Zobrist, Gregory Polanco, and Matt Kemp had a higher wOBA than Markakis, and Cody Bellinger tied him. That Markakis got a Silver Slugger is perplexing.

Really splitting hairs here, but Michael Lorenzen should’ve gotten the Silver Slugger for pitchers. Lorenzen hit, in 34 plate appearances, .290/.330/.710 with four homers and 10 RBI. Márquez hit .300/.300/.350 with a homer and five RBI in 65 PA.

Overall, though, the Silver Sluggers went to the most deserving players.

Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph: meet Juan Marichal and John Roseboro

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Last night the Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Cleveland Browns. No one is gonna be talking nearly as much about the outcome today, however, as they are the carnage.

Specifically, the carnage that led to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett getting ejected from the game after ripping Steelers’ quarterback Mason Rudolph’s helmet off, swinging it at him and connecting with Rudolph’s skull as the game came to a close. Things were already chippy as all get-out, but that obviously led to a brawl which will lead to a ton of suspensions, including a possibly record-breaking one for Garrett. For all your analysis on that, check out PFT, obviously.

The incident will dominate the sports shows today because malicious attempts to injure another player with a piece of equipment are pretty rare in professional sports. There was at least one incident in baseball history, however, that was analogous to what went down in Cleveland last night.

It took place on August 22, 1965 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco during a Dodgers-Giants game. That’s when Giants ace Juan Marichal, playing the role of Garrett, took a baseball bat to the head of Dodgers catcher John Roseboro, standing in for Rudolph.

The Dodgers and Giants are rivals, of course, and in 1965 the two teams were in a pitched battle for the N.L. pennant, with the Dodgers leading San Francisco by a game and a half as the day began.

Pitchers in 1965 were a bit more aggressive about claiming the inside part of the plate than they are today, and on that day, everyone seemed cranky. Marichal knocked Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills down with some chin music in the top of the second for, it appears, committing the terrible transgression of bunting for a single in his first at bat of the game. In response Koufax fired a fastball over Willie Mays’ head, sending the ball to the backstop. So everyone was even, yeah?

Nah. Marichal responded in the top of third with an inside fastball that sent Dodgers first baseman Ron Fairly sprawling to the dirt. At that point home plate umpire Shag Crawford issued a warning, indicating that that the next close pitch from either team would result in an ejection. Walter Alston’s Dodgers, though, were a clever bunch. Sure, maybe a close pitch was going to get an ace ejected in a pennant race, but there are other ways to buzz someone’s tower, right?

Pitchers batted in every game back then, of course, and Marichal came to bat in the bottom of the third. Koufax didn’t throw at him, though. Instead, Roseboro, catching for L.A., threw the ball back to Koufax in such a way as to have it sail close to Marichal’s head as he stood in the batter’s box. He later admitted in his autobiography that it was no accident, he was trying to intimidate Marichal.

Marichal flipped out, clubbing Roseboro with his bat, after which all hell broke loose (all photos, and the original caption from 1965, are from Getty Images):

 

Juan Marichal holding bat, John Roseboro attacked, and Sandy Koufax closes in.

 

Roseboro throws a punch at Marichal while latter swings bat and Koufax comes in to try and break it up.

 

On deck batter Giant Tito Fuentes pulls Roseboro away while Marichal wields bat at Koufax while umpire Shag Crawford and Giant coach Charlie Fox try to break it up.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford wrestles with Marichal while Dodgers Jim Gilliam (19) and Koufax come in. Rear is Giants coach Charlie Fox. Marichal falls to the ground on top of Shag Crawford while Giants Orlando Cepeda joins the melee.

 

Umpire Shag Crawford is shown here wrestling with Marichal as Dodgers Jim Gilliam (#19) and Sandy Koufax join in. In the rear is Giants’ coach Charlie Fox.

 

Identifiable L-R: Dodger Jim Gilliam (19); John Roseboro (with chest protector); Giants Orlando Cepeda (30); Cap Peterson (17); Warren Spahn; and Mgr. Herman Franks (3).

Willie Mays was credited with keeping the brawl from getting worse. Roseboro had military and martial arts training and, as you can see in the second photo, he was not slowed by his head injury — an injury that would require 14 stitches — from trying to take Marichal apart. Mays was the one who ultimately pulled Roseboro away and out of the fracas. He even held a towel to Roseboro’s head which by then had begun to bleed profusely. The fight eventually ended, with several players sustaining injuries due to kicks and accidental spikings of hands and legs and stuff.

The incident delayed the game for 14 minutes but the fallout beyond that was pretty tame compared to today’s standards. Marichal got an eight day suspension which, because of scheduled doubleheaders, caused him to miss ten games. He was also fined $1,750, which is around $15,000 today. Roseboro only missed two games due to his injury. The Dodgers would lose this game thanks to a big homer from Mays off of Koufax, but the Dodgers would go on to win the pennant and defeat the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.

There was additional fallout: Roseboro sued Marichal for $110,000 in damages. They’d eventually settle, with Roseboro receiving $7,500 from Marichal.

But there was no lingering bad blood. In interviews after the incident both players admitted that there was much more on their minds in 1965 that might’ve contributed to their aggression on that day. There was the rivalry, of course, and the pennant race. But Marichal had been much more personally distracted by a civil war in his native Dominican Republic that raged in 1965 and would not end until September. Roseboro had been, understandably, affected by the Watts Riots in Los Angeles which had taken place just over a week before this game. When you feel helpless about situation A, you often channel your feelings into situation B and both men said that something like that was probably simmering.

Marichal would play for the Dodgers for two games in 1975, the final year of his career. Roseboro had already retired, but Marichal’s cup of coffee with L.A. allowed them to meet up at a Dodgers old-timers game in 1982. There they posed for this photo: 

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“There were no hard feelings on my part,” Roseboro told the L.A. Times in 1990. Roseboro died in 2002. Marichal was an honorary pallbearer at his funeral.

Let’s check in with Garrett and Ruldolph in 37 years to see how they’re doing.