posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 01:11 AM
When Bill James figures out these rankings, they are based solely on statistics, right? I mean, he does not give "extra points" for winning titles or
assign "bad marks" for not winning, right? From that list, it is clear that some of the top 20 were winners, some were not.
Personally, I prefer the rankings be based purely on stats. If "winning" is to be considered at all, I think it should be for the players' clutch
perfomances. Certain players just have a habit of coming through during crunch time; to me, that puts them ahead of those with comparable stats.
I have gone to a website which has multiple version of "runs created"--the "basic" version, the "stolen base" version, the "technical" version, and
the "2002 version," as well as "other expressions of runs created." Under the heading of "Accuracy," it says as follows:
"Runs created is believed to be an accurate measure of an individual's offensive contribution because, when used on whole teams, the formula normally
closely approximates how many runs the team actually scores. Even the basic version of runs created usually predicts a team's run total within a 5%
margin of error. Other, more advanced versions are even more accurate."
BUT... Under the heading of "Problems with runs created," it says:
"Runs created does not take into account the stadiums in which a player hits. Certain stadiums, such as Denver's Coors Field, generally increase
offensive production in games played there [No kidding!]. Since each run scored in such stadiums is less valuable, the same number of runs created
will translate into fewer wins in a stadium like Coors than it would elsewhere. [And this would be even more true of the olden days, when some parks
were pitchers' dreams and others were pitchers' nightmares.]
"Runs created also does not take into account the era in which a player played. Due to various factors, some eras of baseball history have had
lower or higher average levels of offensive production." [No fooling. So runs in the 1910's are treated the same as runs in the late 20's and early
30's?!? And runs during the 1960's--the pitchers' dream years--are the same as runs during Steroid Ball? Yeah, that's a REAL reliable way to compare
the all-time greats from different eras.]
So, runs created in Coors Field in 1998 count the same as runs scored in Braves Field in 1917? And "runs created" for a player on a tremendous
hitting Red Sox team will come out the same as "runs created" for a player on the all-time worst team, the Dead Ball Era's 1916 Philadelphia A's?
Maybe I'm just missing the boat here, but I think these are enormous flaws in this all-holy stat. Perhaps it's an excellent stat when comparing
players on teams which score roughly similar amounts and play in fairly standard, but obviously there are some very fundamental problems here.
And I sure as hell wouldn't use this stat as though Moses had brought it down off the mountain, when making up a Top 100 Players of All Time list.
So Birds, I hope I've answered your question--at least in terms of my VIEWS--as best I can.