Hershiser thinks there ought to be. "There's a way to bring value to a team player, but to save money management refuses to do it," he says. "That's why holds for relievers are rejected. You could emphasize some stats to make it more of a team game. But if they brought out those stats, it would change the salary structure."
And don't the players know all about salary structure. Can you blame them for looking out for themselves, once they realized nobody else would? You have to understand, management is complicit in the players' selfishness. "When I played," says Giants manager Dusty Baker, who was a big leaguer with four teams from 1968 through '86, "the front office used to tell us, 'If you win, you all will get paid.' " It was true that World Series money was once a significant proportion of a player's salary. These days, that check is a per diem. "Now, if you win," says Baker, "some get paid, and some get traded to meet a budget." (But selfish owners are another story.)
So a guy like Rickey Henderson late in the 1995 season raises his average to .300 and sits out seven of the last eight games. It wasn't even to protect a batting tide, which would have been a cheesy enough thing to do, but to stay at .300. Or Frank Thomas, who has been criticized by former teammates for sacrificing run production in order to keep up his batting average. Or Danny Tartabull, the anti-Ripken, who wouldn't play with so much as a hangnail.
By the way, did we just name some selfish players? We didn't mean to. Swear.