A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 50 Robin Yount (Number 4 Shortstop)

Robin Yount dominated the American League in 1982. He was an above average fielding shortstop, who led the league in slugging percentage Ops and Ops+, which basically meant he was arguably the best hitter in the league. I was wondering why he wasn’t an anonymous choice for the MVP award.  Some writer voted for Reggie Jackson. Not that Reggie had a bad year, but Yount had a better year hitting and Reggie was a DH. The only categories Reggie did better then Yount were home runs and walks. Despite the walks Yount had a higher on base percentage so he got on base more. He also led the league in doubles and Reggie didn’t even hit 20. He hit a lot more triples than Reggie. Yount also scored 37 more runs and had 12 more RBIs that Reggie. If someone should have received a first-place vote from the Angels, it was Doug DeCinces. He had at least as good a year with the bat (it looks to me like slightly better) as Reggie and was above average fielding third baseman. DeCinces did finish third in the voting as Jackson finished 6th so the rest of the writers had it right.

I vaguely remember the writer saying Reggie was a better clutch hitter. Since Reggie had less RBIs than Yount, did he mean down the stretch. Both the Angels and Brewers won tight races. Neither was great down the stretch. However, the Brewers were tied with the Orioles coming into the last game of the season. Fortunately for baseball fans they were playing each other. Robin Yount had a great day. As the second batter of the day, he homered to put the Brewers up 1-0. In the top of the third he hit a solo homerun to put the Brewers up 3-0. Coming into the top of eighth the score was 4-1, so the Orioles still had a chance. Yount led off with a triple and later scored. The Brewers put the game away in the ninth with 5 runs with Robin scoring 1 of them. The biggest game of the year and Yount had a super game. You don’t get much more clutch than that.

Robin Yount became a starting major league shortstop at the age of 18 for the Brewers. After 4 years he was making $80,000 a year for the Brewers and was looking to renegotiate his salary. He was 22 years old in 1978. He mentioned he might try to be a professional golfer as he was a scratch golfer and he wasn’t sure he wanted to spend the rest of his career playing baseball. He was on the disable list and left camp. Writers said this was a negotiation tactic. It might have been, but I don’t think so. I think so. Playing baseball 7 days a week for 6 months is not that easy. That and all the travel is wearing physically and mentally. I can see why Yount felt burned out in 1982. I’m not a big Bud Selig fan, but he did the right thing. He pulled back and let Yount think about it. Yount’s Father help convince him to return to baseball. Yount did. Yount started playing like a hall-of-famer after that.

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Author: Douglas Byzewski

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