In 1999, Houston Astros outfielder Carl Everett was No. 17 in the NL MVP voting. So, now we have a connection to Game 17, which will be played tonight. I'll admit that getting 17th place in MVP voting is a minor deal. And I admit this is a contrived way to talk about Carl Everett and that 1999 Astros team, the champion of the NL Central. The 97-65 Astros team played through a lot of adversity, including numerous injuries and the brain seizure of manager Larry Dierker. Carl Everett, whose contribution is sometimes underrated, was a major source of offensive and defensive production on the team.
Let's turn to Everett's 17th place finish in the NL MVP voting. Everett was one of five Astros to receive MVP votes. That should tell you about the quality of that 1999 team. Jeff Bagwell lost out to Chipper Jones for the MVP. I've listed below the Astros who received MVP votes, their rank in the voting, and Wins Above Replacement (WAR).
1999 NL MVP Rank and WAR
2. Bagwell 7.7 WAR
12. Biggio 5.2 WAR
16. Wagner 3.9 WAR
17. Everett 5.9 WAR
21 Hampton 7.6 WAR
That's more than 30 total WAR for the five Astros who received MVP votes. Carl Everett had 25 HRs, 108 RBI, a slash line of .325, .398, .571, .969, and a OPS+ of 142. On top of that offensive output, he also stole 27 bases (caught only 7 times). And he added defensive value too. He played CF and was +9, according to Total Zone; he also threw out 11 runners on the base paths.Carl Everett was critical to the 1999 team winning the division. Moises Alou was injured, and the team was without its All Star clean up hitter for a substantial period of time. Everett took his production to a new level during that period, essentially replacing Alou's offense. A hot Reds' team took over first place in the division for a substantial period around mid season, and the Astros continued to struggle to stay ahead of the Reds late in the season. And the Astros were fortunate to reap huge offensive production from Everett just as the team fought back against the Cinderella Reds' team. Although Everett played only two years for the Astros, he appears on the Astros' leaderboard for multi-HR games with five. Frequently Everett could just take over a game.
Everett was also a fiery player, and that seemed to complement an Astros' team that seemed otherwise cool by nature. I recall when Bagwell was intentionally walked in front of him, and Everett took it personally, hitting a HR and angrily yelling at the pitcher, as he rounded the bases. For most of his career, Everett was considered a difficult player. But he fitted into the Astros' club house with no trouble. Sometimes Bagwell and Biggio are given credit for maintaining a calm environment.
Carl Everett also is an interesting player for his controversial quotes. Everett does not believe that dinosaurs ever roamed the earth and he insists that dinosaur bones were man made. He is skeptical than man ever landed on the moon (an interesting observation for someone who had played for a team named after astronauts). When I typed in Carl Everett's name, Google helpfully suggested that I add "dinosaurs." Baseball-Reference.com's player page for Everett lists "C-Rex" and "Jurassic Carl" as nicknames. Maybe I disagree with a lot of Everett's quotes, but he made baseball interesting.