Have the Bucs morphed, in the blink of a baseball eye, from dreaded futility to expected excellence?
I don’t know if that’s the proper conclusion to draw. But a few minutes of research led to a rather startling revelation:
Of the last 74 Major League teams to win 98-plus games, the Bucs were the ONLY one to not have a finalist for any of the three major individual awards: MVP, Cy Young or Manager of the Year.
Of course, announcing the three finalists is a relatively new, MLB Network-friendly concept. The finalists, however, are simply the top three in voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, which is completed by the end of the regular season.
So it is a simple process to scan past votes for the top three in each category.
In the expansion era, there was only one other big winner not recognized with a major award “finalist.” Oddly, that came in 1962, the maiden 162-game season, and there was a good reason for the 98-win Reds to be blanked: That same season, the 103-win Giants and 102-win Dodgers were both well-awarded, and it would’ve been a logistical hardship for all three to get their dues.
But the ’15 Bucs? They were just plain dissed.
Some would point out the lack of standout individual performances proved that the Pirates were a team, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
Fine. But in that case, the guy doing the new math should’ve gotten the credit: But Clint Hurdle, too, got shafted.
Anyway, that’s my opinion. Just living up to this blog’s title.