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The 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1980s: #3 Bill Doran

Posted by Andy
Our string of Astros that started with Danny Darwin ends here with Bill Doran. You may have noticed Doran in the background of Darwin's card.

Doran is shown here on his 1988 Score card, #52. There are many photos like this in that set, with the player's face largely invisible. My first reaction is always "Gah! What a terrible photo!" but then I remember that 88 Score features a nice headshot on the back of each card, reserving the front for an action shot. So we get the best of both worlds on one card.

Bill Doran was never all All-Star. He didn't get a single Hall of Fame vote. He had very few top 10 appearances in major statistical categories.

But Doran was terribly under-appreciated.

Firstly, Doran did make the top 10 in walks 4 different times. In the 1980s, he had 514 walks and 460 strikeouts--really nice.

From 1982 to 1989, Doran was 29th in WAR. Limiting the list to just second basemen, Doran stacks up nicely:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To PA OPS Tm
1 Lou Whitaker 34.6 1982 1989 5092 .795 DET
2 Ryne Sandberg 33.4 1982 1989 5379 .780 CHC
3 Bill Doran 26.2 1982 1989 4501 .721 HOU
4 Willie Randolph 26.1 1982 1989 4632 .722 NYY-LAD
5 Johnny Ray 20.5 1982 1989 5119 .729 PIT-TOT-CAL
6 Tom Herr 20.3 1982 1989 4524 .710 STL-TOT-PHI
7 Frank White 17.2 1982 1989 4525 .709 KCR
8 Glenn Hubbard 17.2 1982 1989 3699 .689 ATL-OAK
9 Robby Thompson 14.6 1986 1989 2249 .719 SFG
10 Bobby Grich 14.3 1982 1986 2451 .798 CAL
11 Steve Sax 14.3 1982 1989 5335 .704 LAD-NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/11/2012.

Doran was a hair better than Willie Randolph and just a little off the pace set by Whitaker and Sandberg. He also had fewer plate appearances than those other guys.

Have a read at the copy on the back of Doran's card below. The  mention of Doran being considered one of the Major's best second basemen counters my inclusion him on this list! I'm utterly amazed, though, at the mention of on-base percentage on there--in 1988!!

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