Lidge Named Comeback Player of the Year in the NL

30 09 2008

by John Ryan

Named on 22 of the 30 ballots cast by the writer’s of MLB.com, Brad Lidge earned Comeback Player of the Year for the National League, defeating Kerry Wood by 19 votes, 53 to 34. The win marks a dramatic comeback that capped off a downward spiral that started 3 seasons ago versus Albert Pujols. While many fans and media members alike never forgot the at-bat by Pujols, Lidge spent the next three seasons trying to forget. He lost his job as Astros closer twice, blew 14 save chances in 2 years and finally was traded to Philadelphia for a bunch of spare parts. That’s when Lidge’s luck turned. After earning his first save April 7, Lidge never looked back. He didn’t surrender his first run until his 18th appearance, and finished the season a perfect 41 of 41 in save opportunities. “This season’s been a grind,” the 31-year-old Lidge said as he stood in the Phillies’ clubhouse, soaked with champagne and wearing a gray T-shirt that proclaimed Philadelphia champion of the NL East. “Nothing’s been easy.” While that may be true of late, since Lidge has looked a bit shaky since being sat down for a few days mid season to rest his arm, he has made it look easy most of the time. Lidge did appear to wear down a bit in August after a much-hyped story in the all-star game where he warmed up on six different occasions and estimates he did a week’s worth of warming up for an exhibition game. Cliff Lee was named the American League winner, edging out Mike Mussina.

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4 responses

2 10 2008
Tom Peters

Did Brad Lidge really have adversity? Just because you had some demons in the closet and did well doesn’t trump a player coming back from injury. Silly.

2 10 2008
Michael DeLuca

I don’t know that comeback necessarily has to be comeback from injury. Many believed that Lidge could never again be a successful closer, that his mental makeup and psyche would never be the same. He certainly proved those critics wrong and that would have to be considered a comeback of sorts.

2 10 2008
Tom Peters

I disagree. While a mental block may be a hinderance to success it is not the obstacle that a physical injury would be.

Lidge *thought* he could not pitch, while Wood could not *physically* pitch.

3 10 2008
John

Couldn’t disagree more, Tom. Would you give a comeback player of the year award to Albert Pujols if he was out for the year in 2009 then in 2010 put up his career averages in numbers? How do you define a comeback? I define it as bringing your career numbers closer to the mean rather than deviating from the mean? Example would be Pat Burrell in 2006. In 2005, a down year, he hit .221 with 20something HR’s and low 60’s RBI’s. This deviates from his career average in a major way. A “comeback” is just that: coming back to the mean. I see your point as well, but it’s too hard to give it to superstars who come back from injuries. I get that they’re technically “coming back,” but I don’t believe the award was meant for superstars coming back from a year long injury. There numbers are always around the same. It’s simply Finite Mathematics, averages, means, and standard deviations…..

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