You remember THIS cover.

Notice Snyder and Carter aren’t smiling as much on the card as they were on the cover.

On paper, the Indians had Brett Butler, Pat Tabler, Cory Snyder, Joe Carter, Tony Bernazard, Brook Jacoby, Andre Thornton and Mel Hall. Yes, the pitching was a bit shaky but they were supposed to score runs, runs, runs. The 1986 team was 12th in ERA but could improve, while the 1986 Indians led the league in runs.

Just a gander at the back of this card shows all that went wrong.

The pitching was dreadful – 14th in ERA. The leader in wins was 7 (Bailes, Candiotto and Niekro). The leader in saves was Doug Jones with 8.

However, the offense, which was first in runs in 1986, was 12th in runs. Since all of the focus on the Indians was the offense, this was failure to the max degree.

Brett Butler lead in runs, triples and stolen bases. But while he stole 33 bases, he was caught 16 times. He had a great OBP, yet only scored 91 runs despite 618 plate appearances.

Cory Snyder hit 33 home runs. But even with 33 home runs, his OPS+ was 89. He hit .236 with no walks, and his SLG was only .456 even with 33 home runs.

Julio Franco hit .319, and while it wasn’t empty, it wasn’t quite full. Plus he missed 34 games.

Joe Carter had 32 home runs 106 RBI, but just a .304 OBP.

Mel Hall hit .280 but walked just 2o times.

Thornton was done. Bernazard was ineffective. The catchers were egregious (Bando, Allanson, Dempsey – need I say more)?

And then there’s Brook Jacoby. What to make of Jacoby’s season?

He played 155 games. He hit .300 with 75 walks and 32 home runs. His OPS was .928 and his OPS+ was 143.

That’s an All-Star season for a third baseman, no matter what year. Well, except that Jacoby had just 69 RBI.

Of his 32 home runs, 27 were solo home runs. He hit just .221 with a .657 OPS with men on base. With the bases empty, his OPS was 1.032. He normally batted sixth, seventh or eighth – and the guys in front of him were horrible OBP guys.

It was the perfect storm of stink – Jacoby batted behind guys who couldn’t get on base, and when they could get on base he became Tony Bernazard.

But at least he wasn’t on the cover of SI or on the card. To this day Joe Carter and Cory Snyder get the blame, while Jacoby is a mere footnote buried in a Chuck Klosterman article.

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About Scott Fendley

By day, Scott Fendley works as the Director of Data Analysis for Central Washington University's Foundation. At The Spitter, he's the guy sitting in the corner telling you young whippersnappers about what had happened long ago (or in 2015, whatever). His passion for baseball and statistical analysis began in 1972, when he opened his first pack of baseball cards and was dazzled by the numbers on the back for players such as Joe Grzenda, Glenn Beckert, Ted Kubiak and Mike Hedlund. Fendley is a native of Crawfordsville, Indiana and a graduate of Wabash College and Indiana University. He's been in the fundraising business since 2000, and has worked in operations, as a consultant in Minnesota and at a software company in Florida before migrating to Washington State to work at CWU. He also has had careers in printing, publishing, and catalog operations, but they were not as fulfilling as philanthropy. He has given numerous presentations on fundraising operations (including one involving baseball cards in regards to data sets), and has written articles published in two books by CASE about Advancement Services. For a number of years, he was a free-lance sports writer covering high school sports in his hometown. He also has blogged for several years on several blogs and currently, besides the Spitter, he is embarking on a large music review project called But Is It Any Good (isitanygoodsite,wordpress.com). Fendley lives in Ellensburg, WA with Krissy, his fiance, and their dog Maeby Lancaster von Funkenstein. He has two children, Katie and Kristin, who find his interest in baseball amusingly old fashioned.

2 responses »

  1. Nick says:

    Very well researched, good post!

  2. Jeff says:

    This is another example of the famous SI cover jinx!!!!

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