Harold Baines

This was printed in the Chicago Tribune sports section on July 9, 1984 , one day before the All Star game on July 10.

The lede asks did Joe Altobelli, AL manager, make a mistake by not choosing future HOFer Harold Baines for the All Star team after having a great game on the last day before All Star break, 7/8/1984. Since this article was written day of the All Star game the author, Bob Logan, did not know the AL loses.

As a team the White Sox are right now in first place in AL West with a +3 WAA at the beginning of 7/8.  Talks of a subway series are once again in vogue.  Their lineups however are almost exactly league average and all  CHA starters are under water except for Richard Dotson.  By the end of 1984 White Sox end up -14 WAA, second to last place in AL West.

Here’s Baines’ box score entry on 7/8/1984.

Rank WAA Name PA R RBI TB H W Pos
XXXXX 1.05 Harold_Baines 5 1 4 9 4 0 RF

At the start of this game Harold Baines is unranked and not even in the top ten right fielders according to Part 2 of our All Star picks series.   We have shown over the years that there are many highly qualified candidates in each position but only so many slots on an All Star roster.  Who gets chosen by fans or managers can be very arbitrary which is why listing the number of All Star appearances on a player’s career resume can obfuscate.  Some players will have better second halves, some will have worse.  Some are merely chosen due to their popularity with fans and/or in markets with a lot of voters. 

End of year stats are all that should matter in evaluating a career.  Here’s Harold Baines’ trajectory through 1984.  Highlighted is the snapshot date taken for our outfield All Star picks.

Harold_Baines RF

DateID Rank WAA
19840426 XXXXX -0.42
19840510 XXXXX -0.63
19840524 XXXXX -0.48
19840607 XXXXX 0.19
19840621 XXXXX 0.44
19840705 XXXXX 0.97
19840722 +139+ 1.34
19840805 +144+ 1.47
19840819 +070+ 2.71
19840902 +100+ 2.33
19840916 +135+ 1.85
19840930 +081+ 3.04

By the end of 1984 Baines’ ranked almost #80 which is rank #100 in 30 team leagues.  There were many much better AL right fielders than Baines when the 1984 All Star team was chosen as well as at the end of the season.

End of 1984 Right Fielders

Rank WAA Name_TeamID Pos  
+002+ 7.83 Dave_Winfield_NYA RF-CF  
+004+ 7.08 Dwight_Evans_BOS RF  
+016+ 5.77 Kirk_Gibson_DET RF  
+043+ 4.16 Darryl_Strawberry_NYN RF-CF  
+050+ 3.72 George_Bell_TOR RF-LF  
+059+ 3.49 Fred_Lynn_ANA RF-CF  
+077+ 3.17 Andre_Dawson_WAS RF  
+081+ 3.11 Harold_Baines_CHA RF  
+085+ 2.92 Larry_Parrish_TEX RF-DH-3B  
+092+ 2.73 Dave_Parker_CIN RF  

Neither Krik Gibson or Dwight Evans made the All Star cut in 1984 either and both were far more deserving than Baines. 

Season starts up again tomorrow with the Cubs facing Dodgers at Wrigley Field.  Until then ….