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Baseball: Is winning overrated?

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posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:32 PM
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I just HAVE to get to work on my death penalty brief right now, and so cannot make a long reply. But I will tell you that I think--and have previous made a lengthy post explaining why I think--that James and all the other top-rated baseball historians vastly overrate Dead Ball Era PITCHERS.

And yeah, I noticed last night that in his Top 10, you have 5 guys born before 1900, one born in the 1910's (Williams), one in the 1920's (Musial), and three in the 1930's (Mays, Mantle and Aaron). Something HAS to be wrong with that.

Depending on his views about Bonds' "incredible" feats over the past few years, he might have Bonds at #2 or even #1 now, or he might have kept him where he is (as I would), or he might have tossed him altogether (which, as you know, I think is very wrong).

I would remove Wagner from the Top 10 (and take a torrent of criticism from the same "experts" who made the laughably overrated Clemente their consensus choice for the #12 greatest player of all time). I would remove Johnson, Alexander and Young from the Top 40. I don't know just how high I would put Schmidt.

That's as much as I have time to say right now. There's no arguing with Ruth at #1--unless one chooses to be willfully blind where Bonds is concerned, and even then, he's a dubious #1. But I admit I am seriously troubled by having nobody on that list who was born after 1934. And I could give you some serious knocks on some of those top 10 players--other than Johnson, who simply doesn't belong there.

BHN




posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:50 PM
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The Hall of Fame used to be the ultimate achievement, but I feel that with the increased emphasis on winning, it's now #2. Peyton Manning already has HOF credentials, and if he plays eight more good seasons, he could make a run at Marino's all time records. But suppose he never wins a Super Bowl? I fear the criticism for him will be greater than that of Marino. He'll be one of those "Yeah, but" guys. Even if he broke all of Marino's records and retired with a rating higher than Steve Young, people would say, "Yeah, but he never won a Super Bowl".

BHN, thanks for that explanation. I always thought that while baseball experts seem to give the older players more credit than the more recent, the opposite in true in basketball. If one were to assemble an all-time team, my bet is that the NBA players who played since 1970 (and especially since 1980) would dominate the choices.

Why is Schmidt so high? I am a Phillies fan, so I love Schmidt, but how is he so high up there? Is it because he was such a great defender as well as a productive hitter?



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 04:36 PM
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Perhaps, but it shouldn't be. Mike Schmidt won all those Gold Gloves, in large part, because SOMEBODY had to win the NL Gold Gloves in those seasons. For his career, Schmidt had about 21% better range than the average third baseman, which is very good, but only about an 11% superior fielding percentage. Those are good figures, but they scarcely put him in the same league with Cletis Boyer, Graig Nettles or the incomparable Brooks Robinson.

But Schmidt created a very impressive percentage of runs, relative to the number of runs being created during his time, and that is why he rates so clearly ahead of Brett and Mathews (or vice versa). That's not to say that a 21% edge in range and 11% edge in fielding percentage are nothing; obviously they count for quite a bit. But people who remember all of his Gold Gloves tend to overstate how good he was defensively. He was nowhere near Robinson or Boyer.

BHN



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 04:49 PM
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Schmidt won the GG because he was a solid player. He deserved it. BTW, is Ron Cey in the HoF. Same type of player.



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 05:50 PM
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Cey may have been the same type of player, but he was vastly inferior to Schmidt.

In the FIELD, you can make a good case Cey was actually better than Schmidt, as his range stats are less impressive (about 12% ahead of the average 3B of his time), but his glove was superior to Schmidt's (about 30% fewer errors than the average 3B of his time!).

However, hitting is a lot more important than fielding, and there is simply no comparing the two.

Career on-base: Cey, .354; Schmidt, .380.
Career slugging: Cey, .445; Schmidt, .527.
Career runs created per 27 outs: Cey, 5.42; Schmidt, 7.01!
Career Stolen Base %: Cey, 45% (putrid); Schmidt, 65% (mediocre)
Career HR/AB: Cey, 1/22.66; Schmidt, 1/15.2 (#19 all time, including steroid cheats).

Those are just on the major "average" stats. Schmidt is over 1,500 on both runs scored and RBI's. Cey isn't within a mile on either, and isn't over 1,000 on runs scored.

So, you can make a real good case that Cey should have gotten some of Schmidt's Gold Gloves. And it's clear Schmidt was nowhere near the defensive third baseman that 2 or 3 guys in the AL were.

But as a hitter? In addition to all of the above stats, all you need to know is this: He won more HR titles than any player in history whose name was not George Herman Ruth.

Bill James agrees with you that Cey was a fine player. He rates him as the #16 third baseman of all time. But no, Cey is not in the Hall, and 3B is the place where the fewest greats are recognized. And although there is a statistical case to be made for Eddie Mathews because of his great start in MLB, I think Mike Schmidt towers over all other MLB third basemen. If you read James and others, you'll find a strong consensus among top historians in agreement with me on that one (though assuredly not about Honus Wagner).

BHN



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 08:44 PM
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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.



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 09:09 PM
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I don't think that's entirely correct about James, but it's close.

For one thing--and this is, of course, indefensible--he seems to give people extra credit for playing in his home town, K.C. There are several examples of this, but I'll just give you the best one:

There is no other way to explain his rating George Brett ahead of Eddie Mathews. Mathews scores above Brett on every single one of James' ranking criteria. That includes total career "win shares," as well as all the big-season stats and the win-shares-per-game stat. No way in the world to justify it.

Also, James obviously has slammed Hornsby some, for being the world-class pr*ck that he was, in rating him below not only Joe Morgan (which I think is correct), but also below Eddie Collins (which is only correct if you take Hornsby's disruptive, detestible personality into account).

However, as a broader proposition, you are correct. James used to rate Stan Musial ahead of Ted Williams, NOT only because he thought Musial's edges on the bases and in the field were enough to offset Williams' edge at the plate (b.t.w., Musial was a GREAT hitter in his own right, but he wasn't T.W.), but also because Williams was almost as detestible as Hornsby. In his recent and far larger book, James went on at great length about what a world-class jerk Williams was, concluding with the unforgettable sentence, "He had a lot more in common with Ty Cobb than he did with Babe Ruth." But he now rates Williams ahead of Musial, which he did NOT before. I'll guarantee you that was a real bitter pill for James to swallow.

So yeah, for the most part, James goes by his numbers. It took a lot of numbers for him to put Williams ahead of Musial, and it's clear from his discussion elsewhere that it took a lot for him to put Walter Johnson ahead of Grove (a horrible decision on his part, i.m.o.), but for the most part, he goes by his formulae. And so do other members of S.A.B.R., which is why I'm not one of them.

B.H.N.



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 01:11 AM
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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.


Dear BirdstheBest,

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.

B.H.N.



posted on Apr, 16 2006 @ 06:32 AM
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Yeah, I read that on the Wikipedia site and I wholeheartedly agree. There needs to be some sort ot correction factor. It makes me think of the passer rating stat in the NFL. I am a big football fan, and I don't think you can compare Unitas and Montana--who played in two very different eras because of rule changes--with that statistic. Regardless of what sport, there are differences in different eras. I mean, in the NBA there's pre- and post-shot clock and pre- and post-three point shot. Comparing the same stats from different eras seems unreliable to me.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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Winning makes guys overrated in fans minds. Jeter has 4 rings, Arod none. Some think Jeters the better player. He never has been, and never will be.

Btw, there is no such thing as clutch players in bb.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 08:51 PM
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By bb do you mean baseball? Because there really are.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 08:55 PM
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Originally posted by GiantsFan
By bb do you mean baseball? Because there really are.


Yes, baseball. And no, there are no clutch players in bb over extended periods. A hit, season, postseason series isn't extended, anyone can do that. There is no evidence clutch players exist in MLB.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:30 PM
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Hootie is correct about this. Guys like Reggie and Clemente may have, or seem to have, great World Series records as clutch hitters, but that's only because it's such a small sampling of their total careers as to be statistically unreliable. Bill James has written at length--and I'm sure this is what Hootie's relying on, too--a mini-treatise about the "myth" of clutch-hitting.

In the end, that's what it is: a myth. In the course of Reggie Jackson's career, he was a BELOW-average hitter with men in scoring position. But you could never convince guys my age--or 10 years younger than me--that that was true.

BHN



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:35 PM
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I know there is no actual "clutch" hitter, but there are some guys that just seem to ALWAYS get that big hit.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:40 PM
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What about Paul Molitor? In two ALCS, two World Series, and one divisional playoff (strike year 1981), Molitor's stats were .357 BA, .438 OBP, and .690 SLG. Looks like a clutch performer to me.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:41 PM
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no clutch hitter in baseball? Are you all mad? Look at what David Ortiz did last year. He alone saved us at least a dozen games.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:46 PM
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I belive they are talking about long term clutch, not just some one year performance. Sure there are guys who step up in for a playoff series (e.g., Len Dykstra in 1993), but how many have been great clutch players in multiple series?



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:47 PM
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Originally posted by BirdstheBest
What about Paul Molitor? In two ALCS, two World Series, and one divisional playoff (strike year 1981), Molitor's stats were .357 BA, .438 OBP, and .690 SLG. Looks like a clutch performer to me.


117 career post season abs is too small a sample size to say this.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by Kwyjibo
no clutch hitter in baseball? Are you all mad? Look at what David Ortiz did last year. He alone saved us at least a dozen games.


Now go look at Ortiz career stats. In his career he's hit better with no one on.



posted on Apr, 24 2006 @ 09:57 PM
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Yes, the point is that these samples are nowhere near large enough to draw conclusions, and that if they had 5 times that many innings pitched or at bats, you'd get very different stats.

Remeber what I said about Gibson?

In the 1964 Series, he did not pitch that well. He split his first two decisions, then "won" Game 7 by giving up 5 earned runs and 3 home runs, winning 7-5. The manager almost apologized for leaving Gibson in, saying he did so because he had a commitment to Gibson's heart. So really, the giant Gibson legend in the World Series comes down to 6 games--3 apiece in 1967 and 1968--and the latter 3 games were in the most notorious year of the pitcher since at least the Dead Ball Era.

But Bob Gibson's legend as the ultimate clutch pitcher got him in the Hall of Fame, not his 251-174 lifetime W-L record. And in reality, he was a BETTER pitcher than that regular season W-L record suggests.

JEEZ, this was my post #715. I just passed Babe Ruth, and I assure y'all, I did it with no steroids or HGH.

BHN

[Edited on 4/24/06 by BaseballHistoryNut]



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