1990 Rickey Awards

I was reading the Old STATS Baseball Scorecards and they had a leadoff Triple Crown. It consisted of On Base Average, Runs and Stolen Bases. This is logical as On Base Average relates to batting average, Runs relates to RBIs and stolen bases is like, but not as helpful to winning as home runs.

I wondered who would be the leaders every year, as non-leadoff hitters try to get on base and score runs. Some even try to steal bases. I developed a formula like Bill James did for the regular triple crown. As Bill did his study, he came up with 1,000 total points which is impossible to hit. I did the same:

On Base Average: Maximum 400 points. I award two points for every point above .300 and up to .500.

Runs. Maximum 300 points. I awarded 2 points for every run up to 150 runs.

Stolen Bases. I award 3 points for each stolen base up to 100.

I debated the number of points for stolen bases, but decided I wanted an advantage for actual lead off men. Also, there haven’t been many years someone exceeded 100 stolen bases.

After reading a few of these listings, a Bill James online a reader came up with the name Rickey awards after Rickey Henderson, the man many of us consider the greatest leadoff man in baseball history. So, I will periodically call these the Rickey Awards.

1990 AL

Here is the AL Rickey Leaders for 1990:

1. Rickey Henderson Oak 711
2. Julio Franco Tex 451
3, Fred McGriff Tor 397
4. Tony Phillips Det 379
5. George Brett KC 365
5. Harold Reynolds Sea 365
7. Cecil Fielder Det 362
8. Ken Griffey Jr Sea 362
9. Wade Boggs Bos 350
10. Roberto Kelly NY 342

What I Learned:

This is the year that started this project. Rickey Henderson won the Rickey Triple Crown, first in on base average, runs and stolen bases. He won all three categories quite easily as no one else had a great year in the AL in 1990 in any one of the three categories. Julio Franco was solid in all three categories. No wonder Cecil Fielder’s year looked so good.

Ken Griffey Jr made it for the first time. Another father son combo. I pretty sure Junior will make it in other years.

1990 NL

Here is the NL Rickey Leaders for 1990:

1. Barry Bonds Pitt 576
2. Brett Butler SF 563
3. Lenny Dykstra Phil 547
4. Bip Roberts SD 496
5. Vince Coleman StL 457
6. Eddie Murray LA 444
7. Tim Raines Mon 435
8. Ron Gant Atl 427
9. Ryne Sandberg Chi 415
10. Delino DeShields Mon 410

What I Learned:

The last two years Otis Nixon had 37 and 50 stolen bases with less than 300 plate appearances each season.

The only real edge Bonds had over Butler was in on base percentage. Butler scored more slightly more runs and Bonds had one more stolen base.

1991 AL

Here is the AL Rickey Leaders for 1991:

1. Rickey Henderson Oak 584
2. Julio Franco Tex 540
3. Paul Molitor Mil 521
4. Frank Thomas Chi 517
5. Tim Raines Chi 475
6. Roberto Alomar Tor 443
7. Luis Polonia Cal 432
8. Wade Boggs Bos 431
9. Jose Canseco Oak 426
10. Rafael Palmeiro Tex 420

What I Learned:

This is Rickey’s 11 title in 12 years. However, I think 1990 was his last truly dominate year. This year was strong year in the American League with four players over 500. One being Frank Thomas a pure power hitter, but an on base machine.

Tim Raines did well in his first year in the American League.

Also, power hitters Jose Conseco and Rafael Palmeiro ended up in the top 10. Jose did steal some bases. Wade Boggs is hanging in there.

1991 NL

Here is the NL Rickey Leaders for 1991:

1. Brett Butler LA 540
2. Barry Bonds Pitt 539
3. Otis Nixon Atl 460
4. Ozzie Smith StL 457
5. Ryne Sandberg Chi 432
6. Delino DeShields Mon 428
7. Barry Larkin Cinn 404
8. Marquis Grissom Mon 394
9. Bobby Bonilla Pitt 392
10. Howard Johnson NY 390


What I Learned:

Upset, I wasn’t expecting Butler to beat MVP Barry Bonds by one point. The difference was runs scored as Bonds had a higher on base average and more stolen bases. Bonds teammate Bonilla who some argued should have won the MVP and finished 2nd in the MVP vote finished 9th here.

Marquis Grissom finished 8th despite an on base average of .310 as he led the NL in stolen bases with 76.

Ozzie Smith finished in the top 10 in all three categories to take fourth place.

1992 AL

Here is the AL Rickey Leaders for 1992:

1. Roberto Alomar Tor 567
2. Rickey Henderson Oak 548
3. Kenny Lofton Clev 514
4. Frank Thomas Chi 512
5. Brady Anderson Bal 505
6. Tim Raines Chi 499
7. Chuck Knoblauch Minn 478
8. Shane Mack Minn 468
9. Pat Listach Mil 452
10. Edgar Martinez Sea 450

What I Learned:

This was a strong year in the American League as Paul Molitor didn’t make the top 10 with 449 points.

Rickey was hurt because he only played 117 games.

Frank Thomas makes the list, but it is difficult to be those great leadoff men when you don’t steal many bases. He had two of the great leadoff men finish 2 and 3 in front of him Rickey and Kenny Lofton. Also, Roberto Alomar is a hall of famer who had the lot of the characteristics of a good leadoff man. Lofton was the only one in the top 4 not in the hall of fame, but he got a lot of votes in the GOR (Gallery of Renown).

1992 NL

Here is the NL Rickey Leaders for 1992:

1. Barry Bonds Pitt 647
2. Brett Butler LA 521
3. Bip Roberts Cinn 502
4. Marquis Grissom Mon 476
5. Craig Biggio Hou 462
6. Ray Lankford StL 442
7. John Kruk Phil 427
8. Delino DeShields Mon 420
9. Steve Finley Hou 410
10. Ozzie Smith StL 409


What I Learned:

Barry Bonds didn’t need the stolen bases to get first place this year. I am surprised how well Brett Butler is doing, 2 seconds and a first in the 90s.

No wonder people wanted Bip Roberts. I didn’t remember him being this good on offense.

John Kruk impressed me. I didn’t expect him to make one of these lists. I know he hit for good average but was second this year in on base average. Scored enough runs to hold onto seventh place.

1993 AL

Here is the AL Rickey Leaders for 1993:

1. Kenny Lofton Clev 658
2. Rickey Henderson Oak-Tor 651
3. Roberto Alomar Tor 599
4. John Olerud Tor 564
5. Tony Phillips Det 560
6. Paul Molitor Tor 512
7. Ken Griffey Jr Sea 493
8. Frank Thomas Chi 476
9. Rafael Palmeiro Tex 456
10. Chad Curtis Cal 454

What I Learned:

Kenny Lofton beat Rickey as he had 17 more stolen bases than him.

There were 8 players in the top 10 in on base average who were also in the top 10 in runs. They are the top 8 on the list above.

John Olerud and Tony Phillips finished 1 and 2 in on base average respectively.

1993 NL

Here is the NL Rickey Leaders for 1993:

1. Barry Bonds SF 661
2. Lenny Dykstra Phil 637
3. Gregg Jefferies StL 532
4. John Kruk Phil 478
5. Jeff Blauser Atl 470
6. Marquis Grissom Mon 469
7. Delino DeShields Mon 457
8. Brett Butler LA 451
9. Jay Bell Pitt 436
10. Eric Young Col 400

What I Learned:

Lenny Dykstra had a Rickey like year, but it was but it was his last full year. He wasn’t bad his last three seasons but was always hurt and was out of baseball by age 33. An interesting career as he platooned in New York so had only 3 seasons of 500 or more plate appearances, but two of those he was great.

Montreal had a good running game in the early 90s with Grissom and Deshields who make the top 10 year after year. In 1990 they had Nixon and Raines, but Grissom was a part time rookie.

1994 AL

Here is the AL Rickey Leaders for 1994:

1. Kenny Lofton Clev 546.8
2. Frank Thomas Chi 479.8
3. Albert Belle Clev 400.2
4. Chuck Knoblauch Minn 388.4
5. Paul Molitor Tor 386
6. Paul O’Neill NY 375
7. Tony Phillips Det 373.6
8. Ken Griffey Jr Sea 363.8
9. Rickey Henderson Oak 353.4
10. Will Clark Tex 344.4

What I Learned:

Since they played only about 70 percent of the season, I multiplied on base average by 1.4 rather than 2.

Paul Molitor stole 20 bases without getting caught in 1994 and 12 bases without getting caught in 1995. In 1995 he was 38 years old.

The power hitters did will in the shortened season getting 2nd, 3rd, 8th and 10th.

1994 NL

Here are the 1994 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Jeff Bagwell Hou 464.4
2. Craig Biggio Hou 448.4
3. Barry Bonds SF 441.4
4. Brett Butler LA 394.4
5. Tony Gwynn SD 388.6
6. Marquis Grissom Mon 361.6
7. Barry Larkin Cinn 330.6
8. Lenny Dykstra Phil 326.6
9. Fred McGriff Atl 307.6
10. Dave Justice Atl 305.8

What I Learned:

Jeff Bagwell earned his MVP. I was surprised to see two Astros on top. I had forgotten what a year Bagwell had that season.

1995 AL

Here are the 1995 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Edgar Martinez Sea 576.2
2. Chuck Knoblauch Minn 575.2
3. Frank Thomas Chi 490.2
4. Tim Salmon Cal 469.2
5. Kenny Lofton Clev 459.6
6. John Valentin Bos 454.2
7. Tony Phillips Cal 446.2
8. Jim Thome Clev 444.4
9. Albert Belle Clev 438.8
10. Otis Nixon Tex 426.6


What I Learned:

I used 1.8 instead of 2 as a multiplier for on base average as the major leagues played 90 percent of the season.

Edgar Martinez stole only 4 bases but it was enough to give him an edge over Chuck Knoblauch.

The sluggers are doing better as we are in the steroid era.

1995 NL

Here are the 1995 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Barry Bonds SF 546.8
2. Craig Biggio Hou 535.8
3. Barry Larkin Cinn 518.2
4. Quilvio Veras Flo 491.2
5. Reggie Sanders Cinn 464.6
6. Steve Finley SD 434.8
7. Tony Gwynn SD 402.2
8. Brett Butler LA-NY 390.6
9. Eric Young Sr Col 390.4
10. Jeff Bagwell Hou 390.2

What I Learned:

The top 3 are all hall of famers.

Quilvio Veras who came in fourth is barely remembered by fans but had a real good first season, but never took it to the next level.

The last 3 in the top 10 are so close, they probably so close they should probably be a three-way tie.

1996 AL

Here are the 1996 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Chuck Knoblauch Minn 711
2. Kenny Lofton Clev 633
3. Edgar Martinez Sea 579
4. Alex Rodriguez Sea 555
5. Jim Thome Clev 550
6. Mark McGuire Oak 542
7. Frank Thomas Chi 541
8. Roberto Alomar Bal 537
9. Albert Belle Clev 501
10. Otis Nixon Tor 490


What I Learned:

Chuck Knoblauch had quite a year. No wonder the Yankees wanted him. He was a great ballplayer for the Twins, but the yips eventually ruined him in New York.

Albert Belle and Ken Griffey Jr. (who barely missed the top 10) stole 27 bases in 28 attempts. Belle was 11 for 11 and Griffey was 16 for 17.

Sluggers are most of the top 10 but the two leadoff men took first and second.

1996 NL

Here are the 1996 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Barry Bonds SF 686
2. Gary Sheffield Flo 614
3. Ellis Burks Col 596
4. Jeff Bagwell Hou 587
5. Eric Young Sr Col 571
6. Barry Larkin Cinn 562
7. Rickey Henderson SD 551
8. Lance Johnson NY 508
9. Craig Biggio Hou 473
10. Ken Caminiti SD 467

What I Learned:

Bonds and Sheffield were tied before I calculated in stolen bases giving Bonds an easy victory.

Colorado had two of the top 5 but I am hoping their park won’t affect the top 10 to often. Besides Eric Young the guy who stole a lot of bases was Juan Pierre. Pierre never did have a good on base percentage and didn’t play for the Rockies very long. In fact, Young would soon play for the Dodgers.

Rickey still had enough to finish 7th.

1997 AL

Here are the 1997 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Chuck Knoblauch Minn 600
2. Frank Thomas Chi 535
3. Edgar Martinez Sea 526
4. Brian Hunter Det 514
5. Bernie Williams NY 475
6. Rusty Greer Tex 461
7. Ken Griffey Jr Sea 459
8. Jim Thome Clev 457
9. Derek Jeter NY 441
10. Manny Ramirez Clev 434

What I Learned:

I didn’t know Chuck Knoblauch was going to be so good in this study and I learned how to spell his name.

The two young Yankees Williams and Jeter snuck into the top 10.

The first six in on base average (Frank Thomas, Edgar Martinez. Jim Thome, Mo Vaughn, David Justice, and Manny Ramirez) stole 11 total bases.

1997 NL

Here are the 1997 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Larry Walker Col 689
2. Craig Biggio Hou 663
3. Barry Bonds SF 649
4. Jeff Bagwell Hou 561
5. Mike Piazza LA 485
6. Kenny Lofton Atl 479
7. Ray Lankford StL 473
8. Eric Young Sr Col-LA 465
9. Andres Galarraga Col 463
9. Delino DeShields StL 463

What I Learned:

Larry Walker was also named MVP and led the league in Baseball Reference WAR. He had s super year to say the least.

Colorado had two others in the top 10, but Eric Young was already traded, and Andres Galarraga went as a free agent to the Braves.

1998 AL

Here are the 1998 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Rickey Henderson Oak 552
2. Jose Offerman KC 545
3. Derek Jeter NY 512
4. Kenny Lofton Clev 506
5. Alex Rodriguez Sea 504
6. Bernie Williams NY 491
7. Shannon Stewart Tor 487
8. Ray Durham Chi 486
9. Tom Goodwin Tex 474
10. Chuck Knoblauch NY 449

What I Learned:

Derek Jeter beat Alex Rodriguez, but Alex had a lot more power.

The 1998 Yankees had three players make the top 10. This was the greatest team I ever saw play in my opinion.

Only one player was in the top 10 in on base average and runs, Albert Belle. Chuck Knoblauch beat him out for 10th place.

Rickey came back with a great year. Another victory.

I never knew Jose Offerman had such a great year. He ended up with 5.3 WAR for the year, by far his best.

1998 NL

Here are the 1998 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Mark McGuire StL 603
2. Craig Biggio Hou 602
3. Barry Bonds SF 600
4. Larry Walker Col 558
5. Jeff Bagwell Hou 553
6. Chipper Jones Atl 502
7. Jason Kendall Pitt 490
8. John Olerud NY 482
9. Sammy Sosa Chi 476
10. Gary Sheffield Flo-LA 468

What I Learned:

Mark McGuire only swiped one base, but it was enough for victory.

Sammy Sosa is the only one in the top 10 not to finish in the top 10 in on base average.

1999 AL

Here are the 1999 AL Rickey Leaders:

1. Roberto Alomar Clev 631
2. Derek Jeter NY 601
3. Manny Ramirez Clev 552
4. Omar Vizquel Clev 544
5. Brady Anderson Bal 534
6. Bernie Williams NY 529
7. Chuck Knoblauch NY 510
8. Shawn Green Tor 496
9. Edgar Martinez Sea 487
10. Ken Griffey Jr Sea 486

What I Learned:

Lot of teammates on the list. Cleveland had 3 of the top 4. The Yankees had 3 of the top 7, with two Seattle sluggers filling the last two slots on the list.

Omar Vizquel came in 4th which can help his hall of fame argument.

1999 NL

Here are the 1999 NL Rickey Leaders:

1. Jeff Bagwell Hou 684
2. Bobby Abreu Phil 609
3. Chipper Jones Atl 589
4. Tony Womack Ari 578
5. Roger Cedeno NY 570
6. Larry Walker Col 565
7. Rickey Henderson NY 535
8. Craig Biggio Hou 502
9. Mark McGuire StL 484
10. Fernando Tatis StL 479

What I Learned:

Tony Womack and Roger Cedeno came in first and second respectively in the stolen base race.

For a season only 20 years ago it is neat it has 4 hall of famers, Bagwell, Jones, Henderson and Biggio.

Top 10 AL 1990s

  1. Rickey Henderson 58
  2. Kenny Lofton 55
  3. Chuck Knoblauch 50
  4. Frank Thomas 49
  5. Roberto Alomar 42
  6. Edgar Martinez 31
  7. Tony Phillips 21
  8. Julio Franco 20
  9. Derek Jeter 20
  10. Paul Molitor 19

What I Learned:

Rickey came back to the American League long enough to win the 1998 Rickey title and the AL Rickey player of the decade. This sounds like something Rickey would say.

The top 10 already has 5 hall of famers Henderson, Thomas, Alomar, Martinez and Molitor with at least Jeter in the future.

Henderson earned 8 points and Lofton 5 points in the NL.

Chuck Knoblauch might have won the decade contest if he stayed with the Twins. They tended to want more stolen bases as they didn’t have the hitters up and down the lineup that the Yankees had.

Top 10 NL 1990s

  1. Barry Bonds 94
  2. Craig Biggio 51
  3. Brett Butler 45
  4. Jeff Bagwell 45
  5. Larry Walker 24
  6. Lenny Dykstra 21
  7. Marquis Grissom 21
  8. Bobby Bonilla 20
  9. Bip Roberts 15
  10. Delino DeShields 14
  11. Mark McGwire 14

What I Learned:

Jeff Bagwell had plenty of speed to go with his power for a strong tie for third place finish.

The National League has lower totals after Bonds, as a lot of players only made the top 10 one or two years.

Mark McGwire made the top 10 despite playing only two years in the National League.

Here is how I figured the decade top 10. I gave 12 points for first place each year. Then 10 for second, 8 for third, 7 for fourth down to one point a year for 10th.  

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