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Sunday, March 05, 2006

The "Sandberg Game"

June 23, 1984 is a day that all Cubs fans have ingrained in their memory. That was the day that Ryne Sandberg burst on the national scene, cemented an All-Star appearance, vaulted himself into the race for MVP, and had a day that had a stunned Whitey Herzog calling him the best player he'd ever seen.

On that day Sandberg singled in the second inning driving home Bob Dernier tying the score at 1, singling in the third with the Cubs down 7-1 only to be stranded, grounding out in the 5th driving home Jay Johnstone making the score 7-2, singling in the 6th driving in both Richie Hebner and Dernier making the score 9-8, homering off of Bruce Sutter to lead off the 9th inning and to tie the game at 9, and finally homering again off Sutter with Dernier on and two outs to knot the game at 11 in the bottom of the 10th. The Cubs would go on to win 12-11 on a Dave Owen single that scored Leon Durham in the bottom of the 11th.

That's 5 for 6 with 7 RBIs.

I was thinking about that game today because I was testing a program I'd written to calculate Win Probabilities based on retrosheet data combined with custom team run environments and win probabilities calculated by Dave Studeman. Using SQL Server I can now calculate the WP for any game for which I have retrosheet data (covering 1970-1992 and 2000-2005) in about 2 seconds.

In any case here is the chart produced for "The Sandberg" game.

As for individual players not suprsingly Sandberg comes out on top with a WPA of 1.11 while Sutter is at -.943. The logic I use for assigning individual offensive and defensive WPA is crude at the moment and doesn't take into consideration stolen bases, great defensive plays, and basically anything but standard batting events.


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