Forgotten Heroes Part 1: Dave Stieb

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Photo Cred: Cleveland 19

Every year, deserving players miss out on the Hall of Fame. There is a lot of bias and politics that can go on in the decision-making process. There are quite a few issues specifically with the MLB and NFL Hall of Fame voting. The MLB HOF voting is so broken that even respected columnist Buster Olney decided to abstain from sending his ballots. I am trying to do my part by talking about two players who I think deserve to be in their respective HOFs. I will be talking about two forgotten heroes from different sports: Dave Stieb in baseball and Ken Riley (RIP) in football. They have been unfairly snubbed, and I want to try to change that. This will be part one of a two-part series, with Stieb being the focus.

Photo Cred: Sporting News                                                             Photo Cred: Wikipedia

The focus will be on statistics to plead their cases. That is how HOF voting decisions SHOULD be made, not focusing on arbitrary limits or on morality. That doesn’t mean morality shouldn’t count (like with the PED issue), but there needs to be some control over it. I will also provide information on what can be done to get them into the HOF. Some of the information isn’t intended to sway their cases in a particular direction but rather to honor their legacies.

Photo Cred: Wikipedia                                                                    Photo Cred: Wikipedia

Dave Stieb

Stieb played baseball at San Jose Community College (SJCC) and Southern Illinois University (SIU). He was an outfielder ever since he started playing the sport. There was no chance of him even considering pitching; not even in high school. That’s because his parents did not allow him or his brother (Steve) to do so. He was a pretty good player at SIU, leading the team in multiple categories and getting them to the NCAA’s Midwest Regional finals.

Photo Cred: Twitter

For all his great statistics and achievements, he wasn’t highly scouted. Blue Jays executive Bobby Mattick famously said “I didn’t like his swing” in a 1983 Sports Illustrated article. He was asked to pitch while at SJCC and rejected that proposal. He thought he could be drafted as an outfielder and wanted to keep fielding and hitting. When Mattick (a scouting supervisor) and Al LaMacchia (a scout) came to see an SIU game, LaMacchia asked Stieb if he wanted to pitch in pro ball. Stieb, again, rejected. The reason they asked about Stieb converting to pitching was he helped out on the mound in a doubleheader game that they saw. It was a game where SIU was down on well-rested pitchers.

Stieb, the Pitcher

Of all the outfielders at SIU, Stieb had “the best [slider] on the staff“. It almost seemed like he was a natural! “After working with him for a day or two, Mark [Newman] (SIU’s pitching coach) told me (head coach Richard “Itchy” Jones) Dave already had a better breaking ball than any of our starters. And he had great velocity.” “Stieb knocked our eyes out. He was absolutely overpowering. We didn’t like him as a hitter, but he sure as hell opened our eyes when he started pitching,” said Mattick. Stieb, later, figured out as much in the minors. ”They liked me as a pitcher because they said I had a live arm,” Stieb said. ”I was throwing the ball 93, 94 miles an hour. They also said I had a fluid motion and I didn’t need much work.”

Photo Cred: Through The Fence Baseball

However, he did want to live in the past. “It was hard for me to fathom why they wanted me to be something I wasn’t,” Stieb says. “I don’t think I even knew how to figure an ERA [earned run average] in those days.” It was becoming evident, though, that pitching was the route he needed to take. ”The Blue Jays drafted me,” he said, ”and while we were negotiating, they asked if I would pitch. I said I didn’t know. They said, ‘Let’s put it this way. The quickest way to make it would be pitching.’ I said O.K.” And there begins Stieb’s journey as a pro baseball player and pitcher.

The Statistics & Achievements

Overall Statistics

College

1978- 0.394 batting average (BA), 12 HRs, 48 RBIs. 17 innings pitched (IP), at least one save (SV).

Photo Cred: Southern Illinois University Athletics

MiLB

All stats are provided by Stats Crew.

Batting

1978:

Pitching

According to Stats Crew, his minor league service was in this order: Dunedin Blue Jays (Florida State League) 1978-79, Syracuse Chiefs (International League) 1979, Dunedin (FSL) 1992, Omaha Royals (American Association 2) 1993, Nashville Sounds (American Association 2) 1993, Sarasota White Sox (FSL) 1993, Dunedin (FSL) 1998, Syracuse SkyChiefs (IL) 1998. I will follow this order instead of the other out-of-order instances on the site.

  • 1978- Dunedin Blue Jays/Single-A: 2-0, 2.08 earned run average (ERA), four games (G; four games started (GS)), one complete game (CG), 26.0 IP, 23 hits allowed (H), 10 runs allowed (R), six earned runs allowed (ER), one home run allowed (HR), one walk allowed (BB), eight strikeouts (SO).
  • 1979-
    • Dunedin/Single-A: 5-0, 4.24 ERA, eight G (eight GS), two CG, one shutout (SHO), 51.0 IP, 54 H, 30 R, 24 ER, 28 BB, one intentional walk (IBB), 38 SO, four hit-by-pitches allowed (HBP), one balk (BK), three wild pitches (WP).
    • Syracuse Chiefs/Triple-A: 5-2, 2.12 ERA, seven G (seven GS), four CG, 51.0 IP, 39 H, 15 R, 12 ER, 14 BB, 20 SO, two HBP, one WP.
  • 1992- Dunedin/Advanced-A: 1-1, 2.13 ERA, two G (two GS), 12.7 IP, seven H, six R, three ER, four BB, 11 SO, two HBP, one BK.
  • 1993-
    • Omaha Royals/Triple-A: 3-3, 6.42 ERA, nine G (eight GS), one CG, one SHO, 47.7 IP, 63 H, 37 R, 34 ER, 10 HR, 12 BB, 18 SO, two HBP, two WP.
    • Nashville Sounds/Triple-A: 0-1, 3.86 ERA, one G (one GS), 7.0 IP, nine H, three R, three ER, two BB, three SO, one WP.
    • Sarasota White Sox/Advanced-A: 1-1, 5.84 ERA, two G (two GS), 12.3 IP, 18 H, 10 R, eight ER, two HR, two BB, 14 SO, one HBP.
  • 1998-
    • Dunedin/Advanced-A: 2-0, 3.00 ERA, three G (three GS), 15.0 IP, 17 H, eight R, five ER, two HR, five BB, 19 SO, one WP.
    • Syracuse SkyChiefs/Triple-A: 5-4, 2.73 ERA, nine G (nine GS), two CG, 66.0 IP, 44 H, 23 R, 20 ER, five HR, 17 BB, one IBB, 47 SO, two HBP, two WP.

Photo Cred: Flickriver

MLB

All stats are provided by Baseball-Reference. To see more advanced pitching, click here. Some of the select advanced pitching stats are influenced by:

Batting
  • 1979- Two G.
  • 1980- Two G, one PA, one AB, .000 BA, .000 OBP, .000 SLG, .000 OPS.
  • 1981- Four G, one R.
  • 1982- One G.
  • 1986- One G, one R.
  • 1987- One G.
  • 1988- One G.
  • 1998- One G, one PA, one AB, .000 BA, .000 OBP, .000 SLG, .000 OPS.
Pitching

He played for the Toronto Blue Jays from 1979-1992. After playing with the Chicago White Sox in 1993, he returned to the game in 1998 with the Blue Jays again.

  • 1979-
    • Basic: 8-8, 4.31 ERA, 18 G (18 GS), seven CG, one SHO, 129.1 IP, 139 H, 70 R, 62 ER, 11 HR, 48 BB, three IBB, 52 SO, four HBP, one BK, three WP.
    • Advanced: 3.6 SO9, 1.08 SO/W, 0.8 HR9, 1.446 WHIP, 0.743 OOPS, 3.3 BB9, 0.288 BAbip, 4.24 FIP, 0.7% SO-BB%, 1.4 WAR, eight QS, 4.6 RS/GS, 4.3 RS/IP, 9.2% SO%, 6.9% XBH%, two CS, 82% SB%.
  • 1980-
    • Basic: 12-15, 3.71 ERA, 34 G (32 GS), 14 CG, four SHO, 242.2 IP, 232 H, 108 R, 100 ER, 12 HR, 83 BB, six IBB, 108 SO, six HBP, two BK, six WP.
    • Advanced: 3.6 SO9, 1.08 SO/W, 0.4 HR9, 1.298 WHIP, 0.743 OOPS, 3.1 BB9, 0.281 BAbip, 3.61 FIP, 2.5% SO-BB%, 4.9 WAR, 17 QS, 3.8 RS/GS, 3.4 RS/IP, 10.8% SO%, 5.7% XBH%, seven CS, 72% SB%.
  • 1981-
    • Basic: 11-10, 3.19 ERA, 25 G (25 GS), 11 CG, two SHO, 183.2 IP, 148 H, 70 R, 65 ER, 10 HR, 61 BB, two IBB, 89 SO, 11 HBP, two BK, one WP.
    • Advanced: 4.4 SO9, 1.46 SO/W, 0.5 HR9, 1.138 WHIP, 0.618 OOPS, 3.0 BB9, 0.241 BAbip, 3.51 FIP, 3.7% SO-BB%, 4.4 WAR, 15 QS, 2.8 RS/GS, 2.6 RS/IP, 11.9% SO%, 5.5% XBH%, nine CS, 47% SB%.
  • 1982-
    • Basic: 17-14, 3.25 ERA, 38 G (38 GS), 19 CG, five SHO, 288.1 IP, 271 H, 116 R, 104 ER, 27 HR, 75 BB, four IBB, 141 SO, five HBP, one BK, three WP.
    • Advanced: 4.4 SO9, 1.88 SO/W, 0.8 HR9, 1.200 WHIP, 0.658 OOPS, 2.3 BB9, 0.263 BAbip, 3.79 FIP, 5.6% SO-BB%, 7.6 WAR, 23 QS, 3.9 RS/GS, 3.9 RS/IP, 11.9% SO%, 5.3% XBH%, 15 CS, 42% SB%.
  • 1983-
    • Basic: 17-12, 3.04 ERA, 36 G (36 GS), 14 CG, four SHO, 278.0 IP, 223 H, 105 R, 94 ER, 21 HR, 93 BB, six IBB, 187 SO, 14 HBP, one BK, five WP.
    • Advanced: 6.1 SO9, 2.01 SO/W, 0.7 HR9, 1.137 WHIP, 0.632 OOPS, 3.0 BB9, 0.246 BAbip, 3.55 FIP, 8.2% BB%, 7.0  WAR, 26 QS, 4.4 RS/GS, 3.8 RS/IP, 16.4% SO%, 6.8% XBH%, six CS, 70% SB%.
  • 1984-
    • Basic: 16-8, 2.83 ERA, 35 G (35 GS), 11 CG, two SHO, 267.0 IP, 215 H, 87 R, 84 ER, 19 HR, 88 BB, one IBB, 198 SO, 11 HBP, two WP.
    • Advanced: 6.7 SO9, 2.25 SO/W, 0.6 HR9, 1.135 WHIP, 0.623 OOPS, 3.0 BB9, 0.258 BAbip, 3.32 FIP, 10.1% SO-BB%, 7.9 WAR, 26 QS, 4.2 RS/GS, 4.0 RS/IP, 18.3% SO%, 5.7% XBH%, eight CS, 56% SB%.
  • 1985-
    • Regular Season-
      • Basic: 14-13, 2.48 ERA, 36 G (36 GS), eight CG, two SHO, 265.0 IP, 206 H, 89 R, 73 ER, 22 HR, 96 BB, three IBB, 167 SO, nine HBP, one BK, four WP.
      • Advanced: 5.7 SO9, 1.74 SO/W, 0.7 HR9, 1.140 WHIP, 0.610 OOPS, 3.3 BB9, 0.236 BAbip, 3.69 FIP, 6.5% SO-BB%, 6.8 WAR, 27 QS, 4.5 RS/GS, 4.3 RS/IP, 15.4% SO%, 5.2% XBH%, eight CS, 56% SB%.
    • Postseason-
      • Basic: 1-1, 3.10 ERA, three G (three GS), 20.1 IP, 11 H, seven R, seven ER, one HR, 10 BB, two IBB, 18 SO, one HBP.
      • Advanced: 8.0 SO9, 1.80 SO/W, 0.4 HR9, 1.033 WHIP, 4.4 BB9.
  • 1986-
    • Basic: 7-12, 4.74 ERA, 37 G (34 GS), two games finished (GF), one CG, one SHO, one SV, 205.0 IP, 239 H, 128 R, 108 ER, 29 HR, 87 BB, one IBB, 127 SO, 15 HBP, seven WP.
    • Advanced: 5.6 SO9, 1.46 SO/W, 1.3 HR9, 1.590 WHIP, 0.849 OOPS, 3.8 BB9, 0.321 BAbip, 4.86 FIP, 4.4% SO-BB%, -0.2 WAR, 15 QS, 4.8 RS/GS, 4.2 RS/IP, 13.8% SO%, 8.6% XBH%, 13 CS, 50% SB%.
  • 1987-
    • Basic: 13-9, 4.09 ERA, 33 G (31 GS), one GF, three CG, one SHO, 185.0 IP, 164 H, 92 R, 84 ER, 16 HR, 87 BB, four IBB, 115 SO, seven HBP, four WP.
    • Advanced: 5.6 SO9, 1.32 SO/W, 0.8 HR9, 1.357 WHIP, 0.706 OOPS, 4.2 BB9, 0.265 BAbip, 4.28 FIP, 3.6% SO-BB%, 2.3 WAR, 14 QS, 6.1 RS/GS, 6.2 RS/IP, 14.6% SO%, 7.4% XBH%, 13 CS, 48% SB%.
  • 1988-
    • Basic: 16-8, 3.04 ERA, 32 G (31 GS), one GF, eight CG, four SHO, 207.1 IP, 157 H, 76 R, 70 ER, 15 HR, 79 BB, 147 SO, 13 HBP, five BK, four WP.
    • Advanced: 6.4 SO9, 1.86 SO/W, 0.7 HR9, 1.138 WHIP, 0.611 OOPS, 3.4 BB9, 0.241 BAbip, 3.62 FIP, 8.1% SO-BB%, 14.8% S/Str, 4.1 WAR, 20 QS, 4.8 RS/GS, 4.4 RS/IP, 17.4% SO%, 5.2% XBH%, 27.9% L/SO%, 14 CS, 59 SB%.
  • 1989-
    • Regular Season-
      • Basic: 17-8, 3.35 ERA, 33 G (33 GS), three CG, two SHO, 206.2 IP, 164 H, 83 R, 77 ER, 12 HR, 76 BB, two IBB, 101 SO, 13 HBP, one BK, three WP.
      • Advanced: 4.4 SO9, 1.33 SO/W, 0.5 HR9, 1.161 WHIP, 0.617 OOPS, 3.3 BB9, 0.238 BAbip, 3.83 FIP, 2.9% SO-BB%, 11.8% S/Str, 3.3 WAR, 18 QS, 5.3 RS/GS, 4.7 RS/IP, 11.9% SO%, 5.3% XBH%, 16.5% L/SO%, six CS, 65% SB%.
    • Postseason-
      • Basic: 0-2, 6.35 ERA, two G (two GS), 11.1 IP, 12 H, eight R, eight ER, two HR, six BB, 10 SO.
      • Advanced: 7.9 SO9, 1.67 SO/W, 1.6 HR9, 1.588 WHIP, 4.8 BB9.
  • 1990-
    • Basic: 18-6, 2.93 ERA, 33 G (33 GS), two CG, two SHO, 208.2 IP, 179 H, 73 R, 68 ER, 11 HR, 64 BB, 125 SO, 10 HBP, five WP.
    • Advanced: 5.4 SO9, 1.95 SO/W, 0.5 HR9, 1.165 WHIP, 0.616 OOPS, 2.8 BB9, 0.260 BAbip, 3.36 FIP, 7.1% SO-BB%, 13.0% S/Str, 5.9 WAR, 24 QS, 4.7 RS/GS, 3.9 RS/IP, 14.5% SO%, 5.2% XBH%, 25.4% L/SO%, eight CS, 43% SB%.
  • 1991-
    • Basic: 4-3, 3.17 ERA, nine G (nine GS), one CG, 59.2 IP, 52 H, 22 R, 21 ER, four HR, 23 BB, 29 SO, two HBP.
    • Advanced: 4.4 SO9, 1.26 SO/W, 0.6 HR9, 1.257 WHIP, 0.667 OOPS, 3.5 BB9, 0.264 BAbip, 4.01 FIP, 2.5 SO-BB%, 8.8% S/Str, 1.6 WAR, six QS, 3.7 RS/GS, 3.7 RS/IP, 11.9% SO%, 5.3% XBH%, 24.1% L/SO%, five CS, 50% SB%.
  • 1992-
    • Basic: 4-6, 5.04 ERA, 21 G (14 GS), three GF, one CG, 96.1 IP, 98 H, 58 R, 54 ER, nine HR, 43 BB, three IBB, 45 SO, four HBP, four one WP.
    • Advanced: 4.2 SO9, 1.05 SO/W, 0.8 HR9, 1.464 WHIP, 0.775 OOPS, 4.0 BB9, 0.289 BAbip, 4.53 FIP, 0.5 SO-BB%, 12.0% S/Str, -0.2 WAR, five QS, 4.2 RS/GS, 3.1 RS/IP, 10.8% SO%, 7.7% XBH%, 31.1% L/SO%, six CS, 33% SB%.
  • 1993-
    • Basic: 1-3, 6.04 ERA, four G (four GS), 22.1 IP, 27 H, 17 R, 15 ER, one HR, 14 BB, 11 SO.
    • Advanced: 4.4 SO9, 0.79 SO/W, 0.4 HR9, 1.836 WHIP, 0.757 OOPS, 5.6 BB9, 0.329 BAbip, 4.47 FIP, -2.8% SO-BB%, 14.6% S/Str, -0.4 WAR, two QS, 4.6 RS/GS, 3.7 RS/IP, 10.3 SO%, 2.8% XBH%, 33.3% L/SO%, one CS, 75% SB%.
  • 1998-
    • Basic: 1-2, 4.83 ERA, 19 G (three GS), seven GF, two SV, 50.1 IP, 58 H, 31 R, 27 ER, six HR, 17 BB, one IBB, 27 SO, five HBP.
    • Advanced: 4.8 SO9, 1.59 SO/W, 1.1 HR9, 1.490 WHIP, 0.772 OOPS, 3.0 BB9, 0.301 BAbip, 4.93 FIP, 4.4% SO-BB%, 7.8% S/Str, 0.1 WAR, 7.3 RS/GS, 7.9 RS/IP, 11.8% SO%, 7.0% XBH%, 33.3% L/SO%, three CS, 63% SB%.

Photo Cred: Society for American Baseball Research      Photo Cred: Trading Card Database

Overall Achievements

College
MiLB

N/A

MLB/Canadian Baseball

Information was taken from Wikipedia, MLB.com, and Baseball-Reference.

Photo Cred: Toronto Star                                       Photo Cred: Cooperstowners in Canada

Key Numbers to Consider

Information was taken from Wikipedia, MLB.com, and Baseball-Reference. All these statistics are AL-only, not the whole MLB.

Photo Cred: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

My Inspiration

Secret Base’s Jon Bois (writer and director) and Alex Rubenstein (writer and producer). They created the masterpiece titled Captain Ahab: The story of Dave Stieb. They also talked about his HOF case and how to get him in, which I will mention later. It was a four-part documentary.

Photo Cred: Reddit

Key Points made in the documentary

Photo Cred: YouTube                                                         Photo Cred: Facebook

How to get him into the Hall of Fame?

One of the most important parts of the documentary is getting Stieb into the HOF. The Era Committee is the avenue to pursue here. There are four types of eras to look from. Specifically, for Stieb, he’s in the Modern/Contemporary Baseball period (1970-87). 10 players get on the ballot to be voted in each time. The Historical Overview Committee oversees the voting and 75% of votes are still needed to make the HOF.

Photo Cred: Cooperstown Cred                               Photo Cred: Call to the Pen

The Contemporary Baseball Era/Player Ballot will have its next election in December 2022. The players being voted in will join the Class of 2023. Stieb is among the candidates to be voted in, but he has not even reached the ballot in the last two elections. As Bois and Rubenstein mentioned in their documentary, this may be the best year to vote Stieb in.

More Information

  • The Toronto Blue Jays drafted him in the fifth round of the 1978 MLB June Amateur Draft. He was the 106th overall pick.
  • Stieb retired in 1993 due to back problems. He had a five-year hiatus away from baseball.
  • He came out of retirement in 1998 and played in Toronto again for just that season. After the end of the season, he was done for good.
  • He had one of the richest contracts in baseball in 1985
    • Terms of the deal: 11 years, $25M
    • Included a team option and a rise in salary from 1993-95 ($1.9M, $2.0M, and $2.1M respectively)
    • Included a signing bonus of $700k
    • The actual terms would pay Stieb $16.6M
      • Incentives and deferred payments would raise the deal to $25M+
    • He would get guaranteed money for three years
  • He has watched the documentary and is very impressed by it!
  • Happy birthday, Dave Stieb! He turned 65 on July 22nd.

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