July 4th game notes EXPANDED — now more noteworthy!

Orioles 4, @Mariners 2: In his season debut, Chris Tillman didn’t allow a man past 1st base until his last batter, with 1 out in the 9th.

  • Adam Jones is on pace for exactly 40 HRs, but he doesn’t need that many to make a bit of history. Only one Orioles/Browns CF has ever hit at least 27 HRs in a season (Brady Anderson, 50 in 1996). We’re talking about an original AL franchise, folks. There have been 136 seasons of 30+ HRs by CFs, including 3 (by 2 different players) for a team that was born in 1998.
  • First time in 37 career starts that Tillman has gone 8+ IP with no earned runs. Actually, it’s the first time he’s gone 8+ IP, period. He’s the 5th pitcher this year (and the first since April 9) to go at least 8.1 IP in his first outing.
  • 14th game this year that Seattle had 4 hits or less, 2 more than any other team.
  • There aren’t many negatives for Jim Johnson this year, but he has let in all 4 inherited runners. The known record for letting in all inherited runners is 9, last done by Mark Thompson in 1995. Johnson has yielded just 3 hits with RISP this year, and 2 of them came with inherited RISP.
  • At his present rate of losses (11 in 17 starts), Hector Noesi needs just 14 more starts to become the first 20-game loser in Mariners history.

@Nationals 9, Giants 4:

  • Madison Bumgarner fanned 7 in 5 IP, but a trio of 2-strike counts in the 4th and 5th led to HRs, and he failed to go 6+ IP for the first time since his season debut.
  • At this pace, Bumgarner will easily become the first pitcher with two seasons of 200+ IP by age 22 since (hide your eyes, SF fans) Steve Avery in 1991-92. He would also be the first age 22 or under to lead the league in IP since Dwight Gooden in 1985. One more: He would be the first ever with 2 qualifying seasons of 4+ SO/BB by age 22; only 4 pitchers have even 1 such year.
  • Not easy to build a hitting streak as a backup catcher, but Washington’s Jhonatan Solano has hit in 7 straight games out of 8 starts this year, never starting more than once in a 3-day span. He’s 11 for 28 thus far, 2 HRs, 3 doubles. There is nothing in his charts to suggest that he’s a good hitter.
  • Solano had the 7th catcher-game this year with both a HR and a SB, by 7 different guys. There were just 4 such games all last year, 6 in 2010.
  • There are 28 relievers with 25+ IP and a sub-2 ERA. The Nats have 4, the Orioles 3, five teams have 2, eleven have 1, and twelve have none.
  • Sure, I think David Wright should have been the starting All-Star 3B. But it’s no travesty to pick a guy who’s having a fine year and leads Wright in WAR since 2009.
  • Mark DeRosa has 5 hits in 44 ABs … and 10 walks, none intentional.

Padres 8, @Diamondbacks 6: That’s 5 straight wins for San Diego (and 13 of their last 22), who hadn’t won more than 3 in a row through June. Their last 6-game win streak was in April 2010.

  • Chris Denorfia (5-3-4-0) has two of the seven 4-hit games by a Padre this year, and he leads the team in BA (.306), OPS and OPS+ (128) while playing errorless defense — all for a salary of just over $1 million.
  • In 5 starts since Stephen Drew‘s return, displaced SS Willie Bloomquist is 9 for 23 with 6 Runs.
  • Huston Street has converted all 13 save chances, and has a 0.64 WHIP and 1.23 ERA in 22 IP. The Padres got him at a net salary cost of $7 million for 1 year, to replace Heath Bell, who signed with Miami for 3 years at $9 million. Street is 6 years younger, has better career rate stats than Bell across the board, and had a higher K rate last year. Guess who’s winning the swap so far?
  • In a very strong year for CFs, Chris Young stands out in a bad way. His 87 OPS+ ranks 23rd among the 34 CFs with at least 150 PAs.

@Blue Jays 4, Royals 1: Toronto advanced 6 bases on flyball outs, including 3 sac flies. Casey Janssen has converted all 11 of his 9th-inning save chances without allowing a run.

  • Could a team stay within a 6-game range of the .500 mark for a whole season? The Jays are halfway there; they haven’t been lower than 1 game under .500, nor higher than 5 games over (and the last time they got to +5, they lost 5 straight).
  • Last 40 games for Colby Rasmus: .302/.956, 35 RBI, 31 Runs.
  • 14th multi-hit game for Jose Bautista this year, just the 3rd without a HR.
  • Darren Oliver is one of the best old relievers in history. Out of 40 relievers with 250+ IP from age 37 onward, Oliver’s 177 OPS+ is 2nd only to The Great Mariano. And he’s on track to be just the 2nd with 5 seasons of 50+ IP and an ERA below 3 from age 37 onward; Hoyt Wilhelm had 9 such years, and Oliver, Mariano, and Trevor Hoffman 4 apiece.

Cubs 5, @Braves 1Bryan LaHair broke a tie in the 4th with his first HR in 12 gamesAlfonso Soriano preserved the lead with a great throw, and Jeff “Home Run” Baker hit his 2nd pinch-HR in 10 ABs this year, as Chicago claimed their 7th win in 9 games, allowing 8 runs total in the 7 wins (and 27 in the 2 losses).

  • Hot & cold running starter: In his first 2 starts this year, Paul Maholm allowed 6 runs in 4 IP each time. Then came a 4-game win streak with a 1.07 ERA, an 8-start winless stretch with a 6.43 ERA, and now 2 straight wins allowing 1 total run. The totals: In his 6 wins, 4 runs in 39.2 IP (0.91 ERA). In his 6 losses, 32 runs in 27 IP (10.33 ERA).
  • Anthony Rizzo (10 for 31, 3 HRs) already has more hits in 8 games this year than he did in his last 31 games (20 starts) of 2011, and more HRs in 32 PAs than he hit in 153 PAs last year.
  • LaHair is hitting .341/1.018 with the bases clear, but .167/.573 with RISP.
  • Andrelton Simmons (.311 BA, 121 OPS+) has reached safely in 19 of his 22 games with 4+ PA, and (please hold your fire!) his dWAR rating is off the charts — 1.7 dWAR, 4th among all shortstops in less than half the games of the other contenders. His range factor and DP rate are oustanding.

____________________

@White Sox 5, Rangers 4 (10): One day after swatting his first HR in his new stockings, Kevin Youkilis got his first game-winning hit in almost 2 years. Mike Adams had 6 chances to get strike 3 on Alejandro De Aza leading off, but walked him, and 7 tries for strike 3 on Youk, whose single was decisive after De Aza stole second.

  • In his 2nd and 3rd career games, A.J. Griffin has held the AL’s top 2 offenses to totals of 2 runs (1 ER) on 5 hits over 12 innings. Griffin and teammate Jarrod Parker are the only pitchers in 2011-12 to start their careers with 3 straight games of 6+ IP and 2 runs or less. But Griffin has yet to get a decision.
  • I’s a good year so far for the A.J. battery. There are 5 active players known by those initials; besides Griffin, A.J. Burnett is 9-2, C A.J. Ellis has a .400 OBP and 125 OPS+, and C A.J. Pierzynski is having his best offensive year ever, slugging .524. Only A.J. Pollock has yet to make an impact.
  • Alex Rios has raised his BA to .317 by going 22 for 46 in his last 11 games (3 HRs, 5 doubles), with 13 runs, 10 RBI — and no walks.

Yankees 4, @Rays 3: New York snapped their 9-game Tropicana skid with a big assist from Kyle Farnsworth, who set fire to a 3-1 lead by walking 4 out of 5 man to start the 8th, and from Robinson Cano, who greeted the next reliever with a 2-run single. That bailed out Boone Logan, who had surrendered a lead for the first time this year on Carlos Pena‘s 2-run HR in the 7th, and foiled David Price‘s bid to become the AL’s first 12-game winner (7 IP, nicked only by Mark Teixeira‘s solo HR).

@Pirates 6, Astros 4: Pittsburgh has won 7 of their last 8 games and 10 of their last 12 series. They’ve averaged 5.65 runs since June began. And now they’re alone in first place for the first time this year.

@Cardinals 4, Rockies 1: Who’s hotter than Matt Holliday? In his last 17 games, he’s 33 for 64 with 19 RBI, 16 Runs and a 1.423 OPS.

  • 31-50 is Colorado’s 3rd-worst first half in club history; they’ve been 28-53 twice.
  • 11th Rockies road game this year with no HRs by either side. There’s been just 1 such game in Coors Field.

Phillies 9, @Mets 2: Our long national nightmare is over: Cliff Lee is winless no more.

  • This game captures the dilemma for Terry Collins when Chris Young pitches well through 6 IP (today, 0 R, 2 H, 2 BB) — He must know that Young is a 6-inning pitcher; the 3 instant runs in today’s 7th brought his season marks for that frame to 23.16 ERA, .533 BA and 1.200 SLG, and his career 7th-inning ERA to 5.82. On the other hand, the Mets bullpen remains hideous; today’s 6 runs in 2 IP pushed their season ERA to 5.11.
  • Ty Wigginton has 14 RBI against the Mets (11 for 25, 3 HRs), and 21 RBI vs. everyone else.
  • Juan Pierre is hitting .500 against the Mets (14 for 28), and .296 vs. everyone else.
  • How are the new home field dimensions working for the Mets? In 42 home games, they’ve been out-homered by 41-32. Last year they were out-homered 58-50 in 81 home games.

@Dodgers 4, Reds 1: Aaron Harang and 2 relievers combined on a 3-hitter, as LA won consecutive games for the first time since June 9-10 against Seattle.

  • Cincinnati’s 6-week run atop the division came to an end.

@Tigers 5, Twins 1: Adding to his MLB lead in IP and CG, Justin Verlander went the distance on 4 hits, beating Minnesota for the 6th straight time, and took over the lead in strikeouts.

  • Austin Jackson and Miguel Cabrera reached safely in all 8 trips. They would be the first Tigers teammates since 1961 with OPS at least .940.
  • Cabrera (2 HRs, double) scored 3 runs for just the 2nd time this year; he has a .578 OBP in his last 10 games. Of his 18 HRs, 16 have come against righties, and 13 at home.
  • Jackson’s .957 OPS would be the highest for a Bengal CF since Heinie Manush in 1926.
  • Since 2009, Verlander leads the majors in IP, SO and Wins. He’s the only Tigers SP with an ERA below 4.35 this year.

Marlins 7, @Brewers 6: One strike away from defeat, Gaby Sanchez tied the game with an opposite-field HR off John Axford. Miami went ahead in the 10th with two more 2-out hits. Milwaukee failed in 3 chances with RISP to win or tie in their last 2 innings,

  • Just the 3rd HR in 196 PAs this year for Sanchez, who also raised his BA over .200 for the first time since June 11. He was 2 for 42 in high-leverage situations, and 1 for 15 in the 9th or later.
  • That’s a lotta leverage: 11 of 23 save chances for Heath Bell have started with a 1-run lead (7 saves, 4 blown).

124 thoughts on “July 4th game notes EXPANDED — now more noteworthy!

  1. 1
    Angus says:

    GREAT QUESTION: Is Alex Gordon going to set an all-time record for doubles to rbi ratio??? 25 doubles and 26 rbi’s? Sounds like you should investigate Mr. Autin. Love the site, can’t read enough, Angus

    • 4
      Doug says:

      Actually, Willie Bloomquist has a higher ratio than Gordon this year, with 16 doubles to 12 RBI. His is one of 7 (so far) qualifying seasons with doubles 20% or more above RBI.

      The largest percentage difference was 47% (25 2B to 17 RBI) by Johnny Cooney in 1938. Largest absolute difference was 11 (36 2B to 25 RBI) by Frank Baumholtz in 1953. Most RBI with more doubles was 51 RBI and 54 2B by Mark Grudzielanek in 1997.

      • 34
        mosc says:

        Grudzielanek had 54 doubles !?!

      • 35
        Ed says:

        Something else about that Grudzielanek season. It’s by far the lowest Rbat (i.e., batting runs) for a season of 50+ doubles. Grudzielanek had a -17 Rbat that year. The only other two negative seasons were Brian Roberts in 2004 (50 doubles, -3 Rbat) and Luis Gonzalez in 2004(52 doubles, -2 Rbat).

    • 5
      Doug says:

      Should add that Eric Young is the only player with two qualifying seasons with more doubles than RBI (min. 10 RBI), 43/42 in 2001 and 29/28 in 2002.

    • 14
      PP says:

      speaking of doubles, Votto hit #34 yesterday, he’s at 34-47

    • 15
      PP says:

      actually, I just saw the 43-42 comment above, that’s a crazy stat

    • 16
      PP says:

      another thing on Eric Young, he had a fairly productive career for someone who “only” made 29 mil

    • 23
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      I know it’s only a partial season, but in 2002 Cliff Floyd had 21 doubles (and 7 HR) in 47 games for the Red Sox, but only 18 RBI. It seemed like his whole time w/the Red Sox, Floyd was cranking out XBH, but not knocking that many runs in.

  2. 2
    Doug says:

    In the Jays 4-1 win over the Royals, Toronto`s 4 runs came on 3 sac flies and a tally manufactured by a leadoff single by Colby Rasmus, advancement to 3rd on two deep flies, and an RBI single by Yunel Escobar. It was only the 5th time in Blue Jays history scoring 4 runs or less in a game with 3 or more sac flies, but the 2nd time in as many years.

    Since sac flies started being recorded, teams have scored all their runs on 3 sac flies only 23 times, and on 4 sac flies just once (MON v. CHC, 1980-05-28).

    • 7
      Daniel Longmire says:

      Doug, it was an interesting game to listen to, then watch the highlights of after I got home. Tonight I discovered something I never knew before that made me curious: why is the batter not credited with a sacrifice fly when a runner or runners advance to another base, but IS given credit when the runner scores? A sacrifice bunt is granted by the scorer whenever the runner(s) move up a base. Now, people may argue that the bunt is an intentional play by the batter to “give himself up”, but I don’t see how hitting a deep fly ball to cash in a teammate is any more planned or controllable. Thoughts/quotes from the rule book?

      • 8
        Doug says:

        That’s the way the rules are. The thinking is probably that advancement to home, because of the long throw from the outfield, is the only play where a batter can reasonably expect to advance most runners with a medium to deep fly ball. Hence, with a runner at third, it is more reasonable to assume intentionality (is that a word?) by the batter by swinging in a manner to promote “lifting” the ball into the outfield. Thus, sac flies are awarded only on advancements to home.

        As was seen in tonight’s game, both advancements by Rasmus in the 7th inning were on warning track fly balls. Even at that, a more alert outfielder would have had a shot at Rasmus at 2nd, who clearly surprised the defense with his aggressive baserunning play.

        Personally, I’m not a big fan of scoring sac flies without an AB, for the reason you cite. To me, there can be just as much intentionality with a Baltimore chop swing with a runner at 3rd, and usually as much likelihood of scoring the runner. Yet, I can’t imagine such a play would ever be considered as a sacrifice.

        • 10
          Daniel Longmire says:

          Those are all valid reasons; I just find it to be an inconsistent application of the rules. Either mark both plays the same way you would for advancement on a fielder’s choice (0 for 1), or make each of them a sacrifice hit and consider it an unofficial at-bat. Sticking out a bat and nudging the ball 30 feet seems far less impressive to me than guiding the ball 300 feet to right-centre.

          Off-topic, as a Jays fan, I’m liking Rasmus more every day. His baseball IQ appears very high, and his skills are multi-dimensional and only improving. The front office seems to have stolen the Cardinals blind on this one.

          • 12
            Ed says:

            Daniel – I agree with your comments. It’s one of the things that bothers me about fans who espouse batting average as some sort of sacrosanct statistic while denouncing/ridiculing advanced stats. The truth is that there are a lot of decisions that go into deciding what’s an out and what isn’t and those decisions effect batting average. A ground ball the scores a run is on out but a fly ball isn’t. Why? They both accomplished the same thing. Or why isn’t a batter given two outs for grounding into a double play?

          • 20
            John Autin says:

            Ed @12 — And let’s not forget the silliness of denying an RBI on a GIDP. That must have been the brainstorm of an “RBI-are-all-I-know-and-all-that-matters” curmudgeon. For anyone aware of more than the elemental stats, the counting of a GIDP on the batter’s stat sheet is “punishment” enough. And there are times, like the top of the 9th in a tie game, facing a high-strikeout pitcher, when a GIDP that brings in the run is a perfectly satisfactory outcome.

      • 18
        Richard Chester says:

        From 1925 to 1930 the rule was that a batter is credited with a sacrifice for advancing a base runner on a fly ball regardless of to which base the runner advanced.

        • 25
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          This is a very useful data point when comparing batting averages of different eras. Six of the 11 highest BA’s for all of MLB in the 20th century were the six seasons from 1925 to 1930.

          Of course, almost all of that is the offensive context, but counting more base-advancing flies as not being official at bats helped a little, also.

          Did Hornsby in 1925 (.403) and Terry in 1930 (.401) hit .400 because of this rule? Would Carew in 1977 (.388) or Brett in 1980 (.390) have hit .400 with this scoring rule in effect? Inquiring minds want to know…

          • 29
            Richard Chester says:

            LA: It looks like 6 of the top 22 highest BA occurred from 1925 to 1930. From 1926 to 1930 4 of the top 22 BA occurred.

            In 1930 Terry hit .401 with 254 hits in 633 AB. If you assume all of his 19 SH were fly balls his average would be .390.

            From 1926 to 1930 Gehrig had 85 SH and for the rest of his career he had 8.

        • 26
          Richard Chester says:

          I did some more research on that SF rule. It seems that the rule was in effect from 1926 to 1930.

          • 27
            Ed says:

            This article gives the long, sodid history of the sacrifice fly. While the current rule has been in place starting with the 1954 season, prior to that, the rule was changed repeatedly. A quick recap of how the rules has changed, beginning with 1990:

            1900-1907: No sac flies, not even for scoring plays
            1908-1925: Scoring sac fly only
            1926-1930: As noted by Richard, all fly balls that advance a runner counted as a sac fly
            1931-1938: No sac flies, not even for scoring plays
            1939: Scoring sac flies only
            1940-1953: No sac flie, not even for scoring plays

            http://research.sabr.org/journals/sacrifice-fly

          • 92
            Daniel Longmire says:

            Thanks for the research, Richard and Ed. I had no idea the concept of a sac fly even existed before ’54; that is an INSANE number of changes to the rule. And John, I think any team would gladly exchange two outs for one run in any situation, except perhaps bases loaded with none out. Why not have a GIDP RBI? You can have a sac fly where a runner is also gunned down trying for second or third, and it still counts as a run batted in. It’s ludicrous.

  3. 3
    Timmy Pea says:

    I’m disappointed Juan Pierre did not make the all-star team. It would have been nice if he’d made the first of his career.

  4. 9
    Doug says:

    There was an unusual sequence of plays in the Yankees/Rays game today. In the Yankee 7th, with A-Rod on 2nd and Swisher on 1st, during a timeout on the field, A-Rod walked over to first and engaged Swisher in conversation. Ken Singleton on YES speculated that A-Rod may have been alerting Swisher of his intention to steal 3rd, and urging Swisher to take advantage and also move up a base. Sure enough, a pitch or two later, Alex did steal 3rd and, looking back to find Swisher, made quite an animated display of frustration in seeing Nick still at first.

    As it happened, the catcher had collided with the home plate umpire while attempting to throw to 3rd, and the umpire called interference on himself and sent Alex back to 2nd (I’ve never seen that before). An out later, Rodriguez again stole 3rd and again was beside himself to see Swisher still anchored to first.

  5. 11
    Ed says:

    The Indians pounded Ervin Santana for 8 runs in 1.1 innings yesterday, dropping his career totals against the Tribe to a 1-8 record with a 5.03 ERA. His one victory….the no-hitter he threw against them last year!

    • 21
      John Autin says:

      And in the 3 games in which Derek Lowe has allowed 11+ hits (total of 13 ER in 17.2 IP), his record is 2-0 and the team’s 3-0.

      Lowe’s rate of 3.01 SO/9 would be the lowest by a qualifier since 2004 … except that Henderson Alvarez is even lower this year (2.82).

      It would be fun to see those two matched up. Cleveland and Toronto have a series next weekend, but rotations are impossible to predict because of the All-Star break.

      • 24
        Ed says:

        Had never heard of Henderson Alvarez before but how does someone go from 5.7 SO/9 to 2.8 at age 22? Last year he had 4 or more strikeouts in 7 of 10 starts (70%). This year it’s 1 of 16 (6.7%)!!! Meanwhile, his walk rate has nearly doubled from a year ago (1.1 to 1.9) and his home runs allowed are also up (1.1 to 1.5). And yet his ERA+ has only slipped from 122 to 103. Weird. Still, it’s hard to see how he can be successful long-term if those sort of trends continue.

        • 33
          Doug says:

          It seems to this observer that Alvarez has some maturing to do. He has frequently had problems getting on the same page with his catcher. I recall one game where, after a mound conference with Arencibia, he gave up a late HR with men on, throwing some kind of lollipop pitch right in the batter’s wheelhouse. After the play, Arencibia glared at him and Alvarez just kind of shrugged his shoulders, as if to say “Well, that’s what you said you wanted me to throw”. When the inning ended, the two had a heated exchange in the dugout.

          Not sure what it all means, but Alvarez seems very laid back and unassertive. I think the team is looking for him to bear down and concentrate more and, if he’s not confident with a pitch, then don’t throw it.

  6. 17
    Evan says:

    The Cardinals turned the uncommon 3-6-5 double play without an overrun of third or a shift yesterday:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22847039&c_id=mlv

    It actually would have been easier to turn the unusual 3-5-6 double play instead.

    • 19
      John Autin says:

      Thanks for the video link, Evan.

      If I were writing the rules, I would make it so that the force play is removed when a batted ball strikes an infielder’s glove on the fly. That would be consistent with the tag-up rule, i.e., as soon as a fielder touches a fly ball, the runner can tag up and try to advance, even if the fielder winds up juggling the ball before catching it.

      There’s no reason for the defense to benefit from their own failure to make a clean catch, whether the drop is intentional or not.

      • 22
        Evan says:

        So the fielders would be required to physically tag the runner not just simply step on the base? It seems like this would create some inequitable results and excessive tag plays, such as when the pitcher knocks down a liner up the middle. Would you allow the defense to have one force out, a force out at 1st, but not other bases? I’m not sure your rule helps them in this situation as both runners were forced to hold up not knowing if the ball would be caught – clearly they still need to run if the ball isn’t caught since the batter is now occupying 1st. I feel like the runner should’ve been able to make it to third on that play.

        • 36
          John Autin says:

          Evan, here’s how I’m thinking through this issue:

          First principle — The rules should not create an incentive for dishonesty.
          Second principle — As much as possible, the rules should promote (not penalize) smart play.

          The main purpose of my rule would be to prevent inequitable double plays, such as the one that happened in the video. I find it inequitable because it penalized proper baserunning. Runners are taught to hold up on a line drive with less than 2 out, to avoid being doubled off if it is caught. The defense shouldn’t find a benefit in dropping the ball, whether by accident or “by accident”. It’s the same logic as the infield fly rule.

          We already have a rule that addresses a fielder intentionally dropping a line drive for the clear purpose of getting a double play on the baserunners. Rule 6.05(l) states:

          [A batter is out when—] An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases;

          But we have nothing in place that prevents a wily, quick-thinking fielder from “accidentally” dropping a line drive. He really has nothing to lose: If he fools the umpire, he can get the double play. If the umpire thinks he did it intentionally, there’s no penalty — it’s just as though he did catch it (batter is out, runners stay at original bases).

          If the defense can’t benefit by dropping the ball on purpose, why should they benefit via accident or pretense?

          My rule would simply say that, once the ball touches an infielder on the fly, the runners are not forced to advance unless the batter reaches 1st base safely. (The latter is necessary because only one runner can occupy a base.) Otherwise, they advance at their own risk, but are not forced.

          In practice, once the ball hits a fielder and hits the ground, what happens next would come down to the batter’s judgment: If he thinks he can reach safely without putting the runners at even greater risk, he tries for 1st base. But if he wants to prevent any possibility of a double play, he can declare himself out by abandoning the effort to reach 1st base, and that’s what I think would happen in the vast majority of cases.

          Once it’s laid out, I don’t think my rule is any harder to grasp than the infield fly rule, the tag-up rule, or any of the other baserunning rules.

      • 31
        Doug says:

        It’s still kind of a grey area as Evan points out in #22 above.

        Unless the batter is deemed automatically out if the umpire rules the ball should have been caught. In other words, an extension of the infield fly rule, except invoked after the fact rather than before. That would take some getting used to.

  7. 28
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    #27/ Ed –
    Supposedly,the sacrifice rule was created after the 1907 season, when the Phillies manager (Billy Murray) noted that his star right fielder Sherry Magee had the facility of often producing a long run-producing fly ball whenever there was runner on third and less than two out.

    Looking at his yearly SH totals, there does seem to be quite a jump from his first four seasons of 1904-07, and the rest of Magee’s career.

  8. 30
    Lawrence Azrin says:

    #29/ Richard –

    Should’ve made this clearer: I meant the BA FOR ALL OF MLB for the years 1925-1930, not the BA for individual players.

    As for Terry – I’m guessing that a hitter of Terry’s stature wasn’t called upon to lay one down for the good of the team very often. But with McGraw as manager and in-game strategies being quite different from today, who knows. If even two of those SHs in 1930 were non run-scoring fly balls that merely advanced runners, then he would not have batted .400 by today’s scoring rules.

    • 32
      Doug says:

      You would probably be surprised then to know that Terry had 85 sacrifices for 1925-30, with a minimum of 17 each year for 1927-30. Ironically, those last four seasons with all the sacrifices, Terry slugged over .500 every year, but was under .500 in 1925-26 when he had “just” 12 sacrifices total. The notion of sacrificing being a “noble act” for every player to aspire to was evidently still prevalent even as late as the late 20s.

      The pattern made more sense after that, with just 12 sacrifices total in 1931-33, then quickly surged up to 35 for 1934-35 when age started to catch up to Terry (notwithstanding his .354 and .341 BAs those years).

  9. 37
    RJ says:

    Even as a Giants fan who is happy to see Panda starting the ASG, I think fan voting is stupid.

    • 43
      John Autin says:

      Trust me, RJ, the players didn’t do any better than the fans when they had the vote.

      It’s an exhibition, so I say let the fans see whom they choose. I don’t like the way teams promote fans voting for their home players nor the fact that someone can vote 25(?) times, but I can’t get worked up over Wright not being voted in when he’ll still be on the team.

      • 51
        bstar says:

        RJ, I’m in the same boat. Dan Uggla starting at second base, while I’m happy for him, is a bit embarrassing. He’s fallen off a cliff recently at the plate. So instead of bitching and whining about no Braves outfielder on the squad(but Jay Bruce(?) is), I’m keeping my mouth shut about it since Uggla’s in.

        • 58
          RJ says:

          Solution: John Autin picks the team!

          Seriously though, Brandon Crawford, he of the .242/.289/.339 slash and the 79 OPS+, came SECOND in the shortstop vote, 300,000 votes behind Rafael Furcal. Brandon Belt (decent but not great) is also seemingly the second best first baseman in the National League.

          My annoyance at seeing the excellent Ryan Vogelsong not be selected is offset by my relief at these two not being the NL starters.

      • 66
        Lawrence Azrin says:

        There’s a fundamental contradiction at work here; we still call the MLB All-Star game an “exhibition”, yet the result is now used to determine the home-field advantage of the World Series that year.

        Sorry, but “exhibitions” should _not_ factor in determining the results of the MLB championship season. Since the MLB AS game is now more than a mere “exhibition”, perhaps MLB should:

        – take the voting for the starters away from the fans, and select a team that would actually give each league the best chance to win
        – have starting pitchers go 3/4 innings, instead of 1/2 innings
        – eliminate the “every team needs one player selected” rule
        – not try to get every AS player in the game at the expense of real strategy

        .. In short, approach the AS game as a regular-season game which requires every effort to be won, and is not a glorified exhibition. That _was_ the way the AS game was played through the 70s.

        This will never happen, of course – to many competing interests at work (AS bonuses, individual teams).

        • 68
          John Autin says:

          Lawrence, I agree that the linkage Bud created between the ASG winner and the WS home advantage is stupid. Exhibitions shouldn’t “count” for anything in the real race.

          But the chain of cause and effect from who is elected an ASG starter to which team actually wins the WS is, in my opinion, so vaporous as to be not worth a moment’s thought.

          Consider the well-known fact that signing a star free-agent is usually worth no more than 3 to 5 wins to a team over a full season.

          Now we’re talking about one game, a game in which virtually no one ever plays the whole game. And we’re talking about the difference between maybe a great player and a good player, expressed over a couple of ABs and a few defensive innings. Even if there were three or four bad fan selections, the likely effect on the ASG outcome is very small.

          And then the home-field advantage in the WS is, historically, a relatively small factor in who wins. Here are the “home” teams for the last 10 WS:
          – 2002, Angels, won games 6 and 7.
          – 2003, Yankees, lost WS in game 6.
          – 2004, Boston, swept.
          – 2005, White Sox, swept.
          – 2006, Tigers, lost in 5.
          – 2007, Boston, swept.
          – 2008, Tampa, lost in 5.
          – 2009, Yankees, won in 6.
          – 2010, Giants, won in 5.
          – 2011, Cardinals, won games 6 and 7.

          The “home” team did win 7 of the 10, but I see only 2 where the extra home game even arguably made a difference. I realize this is not even 10% of all WS, but the point is, it’s not a HUGE advantage.

          Ultimately, whether Dan Uggla starts the ASG, or the more-deserving-this-year Darwin Barney or Aaron Hill, is very unlikely to impact the World Series.

          • 69
            Lawrence Azrin says:

            John A.,

            I understand your basic point,that either the method of player selection to the AS game, or the sprcific strategies used, usually do not determine whether the AL or NL wins a particular AS game.

            HOWEVER, I have a larger philosophical point:

            Since the AS game now _does_ determine WS HFA, stop treating it otherwise as an exhibition. If you really care about who wins and loses the AS game, stop picking a zillion players, and doing your best to play them all.

            It really wouldn’t be that hard; just go back to the way the AS game was played in, say, 1965, when the fans were not voting and players often played most or even the entire game.

  10. 38
    Timmy Pea says:

    Good on Reggie Jackson! Too bad he hedged on Andy Pettitte though.

    • 39
      Jason Z says:

      I just read the article in SI. Jackson beyond the steroid comments, said that Kirby Puckett, Gary Carter, Jim Rice and Bert “be home” Blyleven should not be in the HOF. He added that Jack Morris deserves
      it over Bert as he was the dominant pitcher of the era.

      BTW, that was a nice bunt by Juan Pierre. It always amazes me how few
      players really know how to bunt.

      • 40
        Ed says:

        Jackson didn’t actually say Morris should be in the Hall. Just that he was the dominant pitcher of his era. One could read between the lines, but I’d hate for someone to do that to me.

        BTW, he also listed Phil Niekro and Don Sutton as guys that shouldn’t be in the Hall.

        • 42
          John Autin says:

          My dad used to rail against putting a .262 hitter in the Hall of Fame. I always defended Reggie’s belonging, and I still would. But these opinions are disappointing.

          BTW, Reggie had a single in 17 ABs against Phil Niekro near the ends of their careers. Reggie faced Blyleven more than any other pitcher, and Bert struck him out 49 times in 140 PAs (35%), with slashes of .214/.264/.397. I wouldn’t say “sour grapes” necessarily, but it sure does smell bad.

          • 45
            Timmy Pea says:

            You know, with Reggie it really might be sour grapes. He has a fire about him that doesn’t sound like it’s diminished much since he played. I like that he said Hank Aaron is still the HR king.

          • 54
            MikeD says:

            Apparently Reggie’s beef with Gary Carter is he didn’t believe lifetime .262 hitters like Carter should be in the HOF. Oh, wait…

            For the record, I maybe one of the few people who actually think Reggie Jackson was underrated.

      • 41
        Timmy Pea says:

        There is a lot that Reggie said I don’t agree with, like Puckett not being in the HoF. But you can have discussions and disagreements about Puckett, Morris, and be confident that their stats speak for themselves. Can’t say that about ARod, Sosa, and Palmiero because you just don’t know.

        • 67
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          I thought that there was some sort of informal agreement amongst the “Fraternity Of MLB HOF Players” not to publicly question if any of them are actually worthy of being in the HOF. Reggie’s statements seem to be a fairly serious breach of that philosophy.

          Can anyone remember another HOF player making sinilar statements? I can’t.

          Than again, mebbe it’s just “Reggie! being Reggie!”, still being the straw that stirs the drink, not giving a $h!% what anyone else thinks of his opinions…

      • 44
        bstar says:

        The comments by Jackson show to me why letting ex-players decide who gets in the HOF is, and always has been, a bad idea. I think a good portion of the really questionable HOF selections have been by the Veterans Committee. For Jackson to not have an understanding that Blyleven and Jack Morris didn’t really pitch in the same era is scary to me(Blyleven had over 100 wins before Morris debuted in 1977). His perspective on Sutton and especially Niekro is scary bad as well. I agree with him about Puckett and Rice but that’s it.

        • 46
          Timmy Pea says:

          Reggie’s a Jack Morris fan! (Sound of me giggling) hehe

          • 48
            Jason Z says:

            I think if Reggie is a Jack Morris fan, and his comments support that, it probably came to
            fruition toward the end of Jack’s career when
            he won those two more rings and pitched that epic game seven against Smoltz.

            Reggie aka Mr. October probably became a Morris
            fan at the end of his career and specifically after game seven in 91. Of course if he likes postseason heroics, has he forgotten Puckett’s homer in game six?

          • 49
            Timmy Pea says:

            Reggie’s all over the place with his HoF thoughts.

        • 47
          Ed says:

          I was thinking the same thing re: Blyleven vs. Morris. Another thing…Gary Carter played his entire career in the NL, Reggie in the AL. So how does Reggie know that Gary wasn’t a HOFer???

          • 50
            bstar says:

            And if Reggie is using “best pitcher of his era” to praise Jack Morris, how in the world is Gary Carter not the best catcher of his era? I don’t really consider he and Johnny Bench contemporaries. Bench’s heyday was the early 70s and Carter didn’t debut til ’74.

        • 79
          Lawrence Azrin says:

          Bstar –

          Agreed; although there’s been a few questionable BBWAA (writers) choices (Dean, Hunter, Perez, Sutter, Rice), all of the worst HOF selections were by the Old-timers Veterans Committees.

          In particular, there’s the cluster of six to ten players known as the Friends of Frankie Frisch, the ones chosen in the 1970s when Frisch was highly influencial with the Veterans Committee:
          -Dave Bancroft
          -Travis Jackson
          -Jesse Haines
          -Ross Youngs

          and four of the very very worst HOF selections:
          -George “High Pockets” Kelly
          -Freddie Lindstrom
          -Chick Hafey
          -Rube Marquard

          None of the writers choices have come close to being as bad as the last four players here.

          • 88
            Timmy Pea says:

            Wow! I looked some of the guys up and you’re right. Travis Jackson might be best of the lot, and maybe you can try to put in context the era and all, but still. Bancroft played for the great Giants teams of ’21, ’22, and ’23. Maybe taking the era into consideration for him helps too, but more than likely it’s thanks to Frisch as you say.

    • 95
      John Autin says:

      I see that Reggie is now apologizing for some of his comments to SI:
      http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/8136799/officials-reggie-jackson-apologizing-criticism-alex-rodriguez

      Unfortunately, what he’s apologizing for is NOT his apparently seat-of-the-pants judgments about HOFers who don’t belong, but his utterly reasonable remark about A-Rod: “I think there are real questions about his numbers. As much as I like him, what he admitted about his usage does cloud some of his records.”

      I understand why the apology is necessary, politically, for someone in the role of Yankees special adviser. But it’s a very sad day for reason and independent thought.

  11. 52
    Jimbo says:

    Oliver’s ERA has gone down each year from age 37-41! Going from good to better to great.

  12. 53
    MikeD says:

    I wonder what got into Reggie when he gave this interview? I guess he hasn’t mellowed that much even in his mid-60s and can still tap into the spirit of “I’m the straw that stirs the drink” when talking to the press.

    When I read this I didn’t know where to begin. So many statements, so many things I disagreed with, yet even some I didn’t disagree with. No consistency in his thoughts.

    I can’t wait for the annual HOF dinner when he’s sitting there with Blyleven, Sutton, Rice, Neikro and others who he doesn’t think belongs. “So Reggie, you don’t think we’re HOFers?” Ha.

    I do think there’s more here than we can understand. By that, I mean on the competitive level. He may have grudges, some serious, some maybe even playful, with these guys. Overall, I can’t take much of it too seriously. Perhaps it’s sensory overload from all his statements! Each one could be a column here unto iself that we could be debated endlessly, and in may ways we have already going back to B-R. Morris, Bonds, Clemens, Pettitte, Puckett, Neikro, Sutton, etc., etc.

    High Heat Stats introduces the Reggie Chronicles!

  13. 55
    Jim Bouldin says:

    For the record I think the very idea of a Hall of Fame is a fairly backward idea to begin with.

    • 56
      John Autin says:

      That’s great, Jim — my posts haven’t crossed the 100-comment barrier in a while. 🙂

      • 65
        Jim Bouldin says:

        Glad to help out John.

        Oh and I forgot to add that baseball should be understood through statistical analysis only. We need more data, more graphs, more acronyms, more math, more computations, more calculators, MORE NUMBERS!. Indeed, all games should be simulated; no need to actually play all these things…

        • 70
          no statistician but says:

          Jim Boudin, Jim Boudin, he was a bold, adventurin’ man.

          (Maybe not old enough to catch the reference, but at least he has thrown down the gauntlet.)

          Thanks, Jim.

    • 102
      tag says:

      Jim, this is the sanest comment I’ve read. I’ve never understood the obsession with halls of fame. I’m all for a baseball museum, one that traces the history of the game, mentions the great players and singles out the memorable events, but this notion of enshrinement…

      Yes, the Hall of Fame exists, fine, but I’ve always thought it was best treated like, say, the Belgian monarchy. New princes and princesses are born every so often, adding to and extending it, and maybe every now and then someone writes a feature story about them / it, but that’s the extent of the interest for any normal adult.

      • 105
        e pluribus munu says:

        I strongly object to this line of thinking. It implies a type of maturity in baseball fans that would exclude me.

      • 107
        John Autin says:

        I can honestly say, this is the first time that I’ve ever thought about the rationale for having a HOF.

        As a purely practical matter, even though I’ve been able to reach a sort of apathy towards the All-Star Game, I’m not sure I could do the same about the Hall as long as it continues to occupy such a prominent place in the baseball firmament.

        But I do see that the question deserves to be pondered. So, thanks for bringing it up.

        • 108
          Thomas Court says:

          Yeah… I feel the same way about the All-Star game. Which makes me wonder why I have become apathetic about it when it was so important to me growing up.

          The Hall is still THE Hall… but questions regarding why we as fans think it is so important are really going to need an answer when certain candidates start becoming eligible. Trenches are going to be dug – with one side adamant about keeping certain players out, and the other insisting on induction.

          It will be those on the outside that ask, “Why is it so important to begin with?”

          Beats me… but it is.

          • 112
            tag says:

            Well, Thomas, my argument would be that for a long time in the history of western civ monarchies were, um, kind of important but we “matured” past that by developing various forms of democracy, and thank god. (Only the UK, one of the greatest democracies, is a little backward in regard to their thinking on monarchy.) Maybe we just need to get a little more forward thinking on this subject, and let Jim write our Magna Carta / be our Wilhelm Tell 🙂

            As I said above, we should be moving in the direction of a great baseball museum, a Louvre of the national pastime. In fact, there is a great baseball museum in Kansas City, one that will astound you if you visit it, which could use all of our support right now and maybe some of the mental energy we dissipate on these endless HoF debates.

          • 113
            no statistician but says:

            Concerning the All-Star game, I think what has happened is that with the proliferation of franchises and the virtual doubling of numbers of players eligible, there has come an inevitable confusion of too many choices, too many players with good credentials one has barely heard of, not enough interest in too many of the guys who finally make the team.

            League loyalty, too, has diminished, I suspect. I used to be an American Leaguer all the way, but with the breakdown into multiple divisions and the introduction of inter-league play, free agency shifting star players around like chess pieces in a crazy game where the captured play for the other side, I find it very hard to care about leagues, and less about divisions except insofar as they determine who make the playoff series.

          • 115
            John Autin says:

            @113 nsb — I think you’re exactly right with all of that. So I just got an idea:

            Each league makes 2 All-Star team, one chosen by the fans, the other by the managers. Rosters would be shorter.

            Extend the break by one day; some teams already get Thursday off, so the schedule shouldn’t be a big problem.

            On Tuesday, the league teams play off, two 7-inning games (like amateur doubleheaders). The league winners go on to the AL-NL game on Wednesday.

            This format would:

            (a) preserve the fan voting, while giving the “objectively deserving” a better shot and exploiting the natural tension between the two;

            (b) allow the games to be played in a more authentic manner, removing the pressure to squeeze 25 men into one team-game, allowing the AL-NL game to be truly “played to win”; and

            (c) raise a little more revenue. Even if the preliminary games aren’t worth big TV dollars, the attendance would raise some money.

            Any takers?

          • 118
            Nash Bruce says:

            um, ya, sounds good John, but many players would be selected by both the managers and the fans……how to resolve that???

          • 119
            RJ says:

            @118 Nash Bruce – I’d say fan voting would take precedence; the manager can take what’s left. With shorter rosters this shouldn’t create too much of an imbalance. Or maybe the right to first pick alternates year on year somehow?

          • 123
            John Autin says:

            @118 Nash — What RJ said @119 is what I had in mind — the fans get first pick, the managers get the leftovers. I think the teams would be fairly balanced.

  14. 57
    Thomas Court says:

    I am with BStar on this one. Former players should not have a say on what players are voted in. Their perspectives are too skewed and more importantly too limited. It’s the same reason why college football coaches should not have a vote on weekly team rankings. Are they really supposed to prepare their teams to play each week AND evaluate every other team in the country? NO.

    Sportswriters are not perfect either, since many of them will hold personal grudges against Hall of Fame candidates when voting time comes around. But at least writers have a better perspective on all of the players. Not just the ones that Reggie played with or against.

    Reggie’s problem is that even if someone pointed out the things about Blyleven that solidified his Hall of Fame credentials, he would never admit that he was wrong.

    I will use this post to also mention again that we were robbed by injury of a player that truly would have been an interesting HOF candidate: Eric Chavez. Through the age of 28, he had won 6 consecutive Gold Gloves at third, and was hitting between 22-34 home runs a year. He had a chance to make the Hall of Fame without appearing in an All-Star game. Now that would have been interesting.

    • 59
      Tubbs says:

      I agree it would have been interesting to see how a healthy Chavez’s career would have played out. He was still pretty young when he got hurt and was racking up Gold Gloves even after A-rod moved to 3rd. However, at his peak he had a reputation of being “un-clutch”, I seem to remember his baseball reference page around that time was always sponsored by someone pointing that out. He was overshadowed by Giambi , The Big Three, & Tejeda but Oakland chose to sign him for the long term based on his age & what they felt he could accomplish. Of course almost immediately after he signs the contract he gets hurt & A’s fans were left with the likes of Jack Hananhan & Adam Kennedy at 3rd. Third base has a lot of near HOFers like Bell, Nettles, Bando, Boyer, & Evans so it’s likely a healthy Chavez could have at the very least joined that group.

    • 62
      Paul E says:

      TC @ 58 & Tubbs – 59:
      Just wondering if you fellows believe Chavez was the superior of Rolen – talent wise. Just curious….I just believe Rolen would have put up 400+ hr’S/2,500 hits, etc… without back problems (early Phillies years) and twice getting run over in the baseline (Cardinals0 necessitating surgeries

      • 72
        MikeD says:

        I’m not TC or Tubbs, nor do I play them on TV or the Internet, but prior to Chavez’s back injuries, I’d rate them as roughly equivalent type hitters, although Rolen slightly ahead. A slightly better hitter, slightly better fielder, slightly better foot speed, etc.

        Injuries have held back both players, with Chavez suffering the most. A case can be made that Rolen is a HOFer by past third basemen elected to the Hall. Yet he’s not going to get in. Another in the list of 3B’man who will sit on the wrong side of the borderline HOFer debate. Chavez could have very well been part of that group, too, although he would have fell short too.

        • 111
          MikeD says:

          Can we keep this thread going all year? 200, 300, 400 posts?!

          I meant to post this article the other day when the mini-Eric Chavez discussion broke out, so I’ll drop it in here now.

          Since I’m in NY, I get to see Chavez play and I have to say every time I see him walk to the plate I legitimately worry about him. When he was having multiple back surgeries with the A’s, I was rooting he could make it back, but I mostly wished he just retired. I remember a quote from a doctor saying that Chavez’s injuries and multiple back surgeries meant that if he fell the wrong way he could end up paralyzed. Yet here he is continuing to play.

          I ran across the WSJ article a week or two back on what Chavez has to do to get ready every day, from the hours of work he does from the moment he gets out of bed, to how he has to basically keep moving from 3pm to 11pm every game day so his back doesn’t cease up. Pain is a regular, daily occurance.

          The article has nothing to do with stats. It’s simply about one man’s drive to keep playing.

          http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304765304577480803911265114.html

      • 73
        Tubbs says:

        Through their age 29 season Chavez (98-07) had 32.9 WAR while Rolen (96-04) checked in at 44.1. Chavez wasn’t as good at drawing walks as Rolen so that hurt his OBP but was Improving as he had lead AL in walks in ’04. Chavez was a bit of supporting star to Giambi & Tejeda while Rolen was viewed in a little higher light. I’d give Rolen the edge talent wise. He’ll make a great HOF argument when he retires. Funny thing is him, Schilling, & Abreu all are borderline HOFers (although I don’t see how you can keep Schilling out) & could be inducted as Phillies. They played together from 98-00 on sub .500 teams. By contrast, Utley, Howard, Rollins won the 08 WS & 07-11 NL East but w/the injuries mounting Utley is doubtful for the HOF & it will be interesting to see if Howard gets back to his 40 HR+ form of a few yrs ago. Rollins’ career has been good but not a HOF worthy. So the 98-00 squad could have more HOFers inducted as PHillies than the 07-11 teams, though the HOF could put Rolen in as a Card.

        • 75
          MikeD says:

          Re: Schilling. Douchebaggery? I guess that hasn’t be a reason in the past, so probaby won’t be now! : -)

          • 76
            Mike L says:

            Schilling has a small present issue with a large defaulted bond obligation for his now defunct business that the State of Rhode Island will be paying on his behalf. Doesn’t change his accomplishments on the field, but might take a little sheen off the gentleman’s halo.

          • 86
            Tubbs says:

            I’ll be the first to admit that while I never cared for Schill–all the way back to the ’93 postseason–I think his excellent postseason record puts him over the top. Additionally, he passed 3,000 strike outs so while his current legal issues & being on a crowded will keep his vote totals low at first, I don’t see how you can keep him out of the HOF

          • 93
            Timmy Pea says:

            In defense of Curt Schilling: He’s a loud mouth, and not a very good businessman. But, he lost his money as well as the RI taxpayers money. There are ways to operate a company without putting everything you’ve ever earned at risk, and Schilling should have done that. Schilling is now as poor as you and I, and his past political stances are coming back to haunt him in his quest for a financial comeback. The difference between being a really good athlete, and being a crack businessman has shown itself in the Schilling matter without a doubt. Having said all that, he put his own money on the line and lost. That is the flip side of the American dream and proof that in the real world, unlike modern little league baseball, not everyone gets a trophy at the end of the season for participating. There are clear cut winners and losers in the real world and Schilling lost.

          • 94
            Tubbs says:

            Schilling will rebound. He’s a bigmouth but actually pretty well spoken, articulate, & not afraid to state his opinions. I don’t believe he’s written an autobiography but with his candidness he would have a lot to say in a book. Though I never liked him, I did respect how outspoken he was about steroids. He wasn’t the most popular with a lot of teammates, I remember one of his nicknames was “Red Light” since he loved the camera

    • 78
      John Autin says:

      Thomas, I think Chavez through age 27 was roughly 50/50 for the Hall, based solely on comparison to those who came before him.

      I used age 27 for two reasons:
      (a) It was his last very good year (4.5 WAR, no later year worth more than 2.5); and
      (b) While he’d compare even better using an age-26 cutoff, it would seem foolish to omit the most common peak age.

      Through age 27, Chavez had amassed 28.5 WAR. I then searched for two sets of inactive position players through age 27:
      (1) Those with at least 27 WAR who are not in the HOF; and
      (2) Those with no more than 30 WAR (and at least 3,000 PAs) who are in the HOF.

      The “not” group contains 30 players, not counting those not yet eligible and Jeff Bagwell, who has had two years on the ballot and got 56% this year.
      http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/8C5rg
      (I left the ineligibles in the list – Nomar, I-Rod, Junior, Thomas, Barry, Shoeless Joe.)

      The HOF group contains 46 players, not counting two who were elected as managers.
      http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/8IXCb

      So if the HOF list is much longer than the “not” list, why do I say Chavez was just 50/50?

      I think the electors are smarter now, both the BBWAA and the Veterans Committee, and there’s just more “water under the bridge.” Many of these HOFers wouldn’t stand a chance if they were on today’s ballot.

      • 82
        John Autin says:

        I’ll add that Chavez through 27 had a lot in common with Buddy Bell, including their WAR totals: 28.5 for Chavez, 29.1 for Bell. Both were good on both sides of the ball, but were overshadowed by bigger stars at the position; Bell had made one AS team (age 21), Chavez none.

        So what’s my point? Bell continued at a very high level for another 5 years, compiling 27.9 WAR from age 28-32, winning the Gold Glove each year. He had a couple more decent years after that, and finished with a healthy 61.6 WAR.

        Buddy Bell appeared on the HOF ballot in 1995, got 1.7% of the vote, and was banished forever from the BBWAA ballot.

        So, you never know. Chavez might have kept going for several more years and still gotten the brush-off. Some guys just aren’t viewed as “stars” even when they should be.

        • 87
          Tubbs says:

          I don’t think Bell gets enough credit, his yrs in Texas were amazing, he was at his best at the plate & in the field as a Ranger. He won all those Gold Gloves w/the popular Brett & Nettles as competition. Hard to believe he didnt even come close to 5% of the vote. Even after Santo’s overdue election, 3rd base is sparse on HOFers. Rolen will be very borderline & could be a Santo type on the Vet Comm ballot. Bell deserves a longer look. I would be okay with Bell, Nettles, Darrell Evans, or one of the other 3B getting some attention with Vet Comm Expansion Era voters but dont see it happening

  15. 60
    Timmy Pea says:

    I think Reggie reads HHS and understands the HoF battles being waged!

    • 61
      Nash Bruce says:

      All of this talk of Reggie and deserving HOF candidates got me digging through some of B-Ref’s player pages. Yow! Dale Murphy had more gray and(!)black ink than an average HOF…..short period of dominance be damned.
      And, in the spirit of All-Star balloting, he IS a personal favorite of mine 😀

      • 63
        Jason Z says:

        I agree with Dale Murphy. He was arguably the best player
        in his league (or second behind Mike Schmidt) from about
        1982-87. I realize that is short, but when you are the
        best player in your league for that length of time, you
        should be in.

        • 64
          no statistician but says:

          I don’t have feelings about Dale Murphy particularly, but the comments on Eric Chavez above stirred a thought I’ve often had about players whose careers are severely shortened or diminished by injury or illness. Beyond the tragedies of people like Addie Joss and Ross Youngs, you have those such as George Sisler, and to a lesser degree Chuck Klein, who never returned to their previous level of dominance, Sandy Koufax, who retired rather than suffer, and Kirby Puckett, who surely had several good years left in him when the eye ailment struck.

          All of these players have been voted into the Hall, true, but over time, with the exception of Koufax, I’ve seen their credentials doubted by players, writers, posters, and experts. My mental response to such criticism has come in the form of a revision to the Hall along the lines of noting peak performers and career performers, not an original thought, but one that might clarify some distinctions and allow for a truer evaluation of other peak performers like Murphy. This goes against the line of thinking that the Hall is too big already, but . . ..

        • 71
          birtelcom says:

          For what it’s worth, Murphy had the the fourth most Wins Above Replacement(b-ref version) in the NL over the period 1982-1987:
          1. Mike Schmidt 36.8
          2. Tim Raines 34.1
          3. Gary Carter 33.0
          4. Dale Murphy 32.3
          5. Ozzie Smith 30.7

          The Fangraphs version of WAR has the same top 4 in the same order:
          1. Schmidt 39.0
          2. Raines 36.5
          3. Carter 34.8
          4. Murphy 33.4
          5. Keith Hernandez 30.9

          • 77
            MikeD says:

            When it comes to the HOF, I value peak more than the very good player who is a career compiler, yet ideally the HOF candidate would have both. I’ll spend more time analyzing the cases of players like Murphy and Mattingly than I will the Lou Whitaker types. The HOF is about marketing the game and its history, and of course rewarding greatness. Yet any player who can claim he was the best overall, or in the top few for a four or five year period will get more serious consideration from me than they would have in the past. Mattingly still falls short, but I’d vote for Murphy.

          • 80
            John Autin says:

            I’ll make a case against Dale Murphy:

            1. Short career for a HOFer (2,180 games) — 26 HOF position players with all or almost all of their career in the expansion era played more games than Murphy. The only HOFers with all or virtually of their careers in that era and fewer games than Murphy were Puckett, Jim Rice, Johnny Bench (catchers have a separate G standard), and Ryne Sandberg (2Bs have shorter careers than OFs). Barry Larkin had the same number of games as Murphy.

            2. Home park boosted his stats — Murphy was a .250 hitter away from home, with a .764 OPS. Per 162 home games, Murphy averaged 32 HRs, 100 RBI, 94 Runs — but per 162 road games, 27 HRs, 88 RBI and 84 Runs. Without the Launching Pad, he might not have any “black ink,” or maybe just a HR title.

            3. His 121 OPS+ would be lower than any expansion-era HOF outfielder except Andre Dawson (119), and the Hawk played about 3 extra seasons.

            4. I’m not sure if those 1982-87 WAR lists were meant to aid or hinder Murphy’s case, but let’s add some context:
            — The years chosen are absolutely Murphy’s 6-year prime.
            — Using B-Ref’s formula, no other player on those lists had his 6-year prime in that period. Schmidt’s prime was 1974-79 (47.1 bWAR); Carter’s prime was 1980-85 (38.7); Raines’s prime was 1981-86 (37.5); Ozzie’s prime was 1984-89 (35.8); Keith’s prime was 1979-84 (33.5 WAR). Murphy’s prime bWAR was 32.3.
            — All those guys had better primes than Murphy, and longer primes than Murphy.
            — Raines and Hernandez aren’t in the HOF.

            I think the lists make a case against Murphy. That period is his claim to Fame — yet among players with 2,500 PAs in 1982-87, Murphy ranks 7th in OPS+.

            5. Compare to contemporary HOFers. Murphy played from 1976-93, so let’s take the 20 years from 1975-94. There are 18 pp-HOFers who played at least 1500 games in that span. All but Reggie had more WAR than Murphy — and Reggie had the bulk of his WAR before ’75.

            Let’s give Murphy every possible chance and look at only the 10 years from 1980-89, when he amassed 44.2 WAR (his other 8 seasons produced negative WAR). There are 11 pp-HOFers with at least 1,200 games in 1980-89 (Murphy had over 1,500). Seven of the 11 had more WAR than Murphy in that period — even though the time span was chosen specifically to benefit Murphy — and 2 more are right on his heels. Only Winfield and Rice trail Murphy for that period, and their best years obviously were in the ’70s.

            I’m not a Murphy hater. He was really good for several years. But even though his image benefited from almost a “perfect storm” of circumstances, even his superficial case isn’t overwhelming. I just don’t see how you get Dale Murphy in the Hall without seriously upsetting the apple cart.

            Maybe — maybe — if his Braves had won a pennant instead of getting swept in their one series; maybe if Murphy had driven in a run or had more than 3 singles in that series. Maybe if he’d had an OPS+ title. But as it stands, I vote no.

          • 81
            Mike L says:

            I’ll side with John A. @80. Murphy’s stats oddly resemble Mattingly’s, with a highly valued short term peak that was certainly excellent, but not off the charts, and then a descent into just about league average. I really liked both players, but neither is Hall-worthy. If you look at other players who had shorter careers and five or six year peaks and made the Hall, their peaks were higher (like Koufax) or they sustained a high level of play (like Puckett.)

          • 83
            Ed says:

            Thanks John! You saved me about an hour’s worth of work, typing up an anti-Murphy HOF post. 🙂

          • 84
            bstar says:

            @80 JA,
            Dale Murphy was my childhood baseball hero. He’s still probably #2 all-time on my list behind Greg Maddux(although Tim Hudson is seriously pushing Murphy for 2nd place).

            As much as I want to provide counterpoints to all your issues with Murphy’s career, JA, a lot of what you say is true. I do think pointing out his home/road splits and calling into question his black ink might be a bit much, partly because I’ve never heard anyone bring into question someone like sabermetric darling Dwight Evans and his obvious home-field advantage. I’ve only heard myself point out Wade Boggs’ more-obvious-than-Murph’s home/road splits when people want to suggest Boggs was as good as Brett, Chipper, or Eddie Mathews. So I think this might be a little too selective for me, personally.

            I also don’t think Murph’s prime, which you dissected in detail, is the problem at all with his case. I do think winning two MVPs in a row DOES mean something historically and being one of the game’s best for a period of years is something that should be remembered.

            The problem to me with Murph’s case is what happened before and especially after his prime. He fell off a cliff once his prime ended, and the big hole where you could always get Dale out(breaking balls low and away) got even bigger.

            I consider myself to be a little less of a believer in peak value than most, and while I wouldn’t say I’m 100% pro-compiler, I do think what you are able to do after your prime and into your mid and late 30s says a lot about whether or not you are a true Hall of Famer. I think Dale Murphy had 2/3 of a true Hall of Fame career but couldn’t finish it off.

            So ultimately I don’t have a problem with Murphy not getting in, at least now. He definitely smells like a decent Vets Committee selection down the road, however.

          • 85
            bstar says:

            Oh, and to help bring your comment total closer to the 100 threshold(do we all get free pizza if we get there?), JA what is a pp-Hall of Famer?

          • 89
            John Autin says:

            @81 bstar — It’s certainly not my intention to cut down an idol. Dale Murphy was a great player for some years; I think we both agree that he wasn’t great for quite long enough to deserve enshrinement.

            I made my points about his prime because I think that’s the only argument that can be made for his election, a la Sandy Koufax.

            I don’t think it’s unfair to bring up extreme home/road splits. I’ll gladly acknowledge that Wade Boggs was a far better hitter in Fenway than elsewhere; his career OPS was about 150 points better at home. Still, his home and road OPS were better than Murphy’s, and he played longer. Dwight Evans’s splits weren’t as extreme, but in any case, he also had better home and road OPS than Murphy, and played much longer.

            Murphy’s two MVP Awards would carry more weight with me if he had truly deserved them both. But there were several better NL players in 1982: Gary Carter, my choice for MVP, edged Murphy in BA, OBP and SLG, while catching 153 games, and did it for a team that was by any reasonable measure just as good as the Braves (3 games worse by actual record, 5 games better by run differential). Pedro Guerrero hit better than Murphy in a FAR tougher park, and his team finished a game behind Murphy’s. Andre Dawson had a great year, and Mike Schmidt could just as easily have won his 3rd straight MVP, as he led the league in OBP, SLG and OPS+.

            As I see it, Murphy won the ’82 MVP because the Braves got established right away as the surprise story, starting off 13-0, and Murphy was easily the team’s best player. He had a terrific year, but you don’t ordinarily win the MVP with .281/.378/.507. He won a Gold Glove, but the advanced metrics don’t agree; I won’t put up a big fuss about it, but the fact is that he had 6 assists and 9 errors. Andre Dawson had more assists, fewer errors, and a far better range factor.

            It just so happened that there weren’t any other bold-face candidates on the two division winners, by the traditional measures. Lonnie Smith had a great year, led the league with 120 Runs, but the voters generally overlook leadoff types.

            Juan Gonzalez won 2 MVPs. Justin Morneau won an MVP and ran a strong 2nd another time; he just as easily could have outpointed Pedroia in 2008. The MVP Award shouldn’t carry absolute weight towards a HOF argument.

            Again, I’m not trying to cut down Dale Murphy. I wish he had kept going strong for the 3-4 more years that would have put him in the Hall. But it is what it is.

          • 90
            John Autin says:

            P.S. My inelegant term “pp-HOFer” meant position player Hall of Famer. I probably didn’t even need to specify “position players,” since we wouldn’t ordinarily compare a CF with a pitcher.

          • 91
            bstar says:

            JA @89, fair enough. I think we share a pretty similar view of Murphy’s career, actually. I just couldn’t resist giving my two cents worth. And no, you weren’t tearing down an idol. Once I became aware of advanced stats, it became pretty obvious Murph wasn’t as good as I thought at the time, and even if he were his counting stats are just too far away from HOF norms for outfielders anyway. I think longevity has to play a part, too, unless you’re all-time dominant for a shorter career.

          • 98
            Tubbs says:

            It’s unfortunate for Murphy that he wasn’t able to hang around in Colorado a little longer & hit a couple more home runs & pass 400. Saber stats don’t help Murphy too much but back when he debuted on the HOF ballot back in ’99, counting stats were pretty much all the voters looked at & 400 looks a lot better than 398. Back then only Darrell Evans & Dave Kingman had hit 400+ & not been elected–but they had sub .250BAs where Murphy’s was .265, yet somehow you think of him having a higher career BA. It also hurt that Murphy debuted on the ballot with Ryan, Brett, Yount & Fisk. Moreover, the Steroid Era was in full swing making the 80s sluggers stats look small by comparison. That summer before was the home run chase.

  16. 96

    To add to the earlier conversation regarding sac flies, I don’t think that a batter should be (dis)credited with an 0-1 for a reached-on-error.

    Seems more fair to have that also be an ‘unofficial” at-bat.

    • 97
      John Autin says:

      I would be comfortable eliminating errors altogether. The scoring is so haphazard, and the scoring decisions are now generally tilted in the batter’s favor; you can hardly be charged with an error unless the ball is hit right at you, without too much pace, unless of course a home-team pitcher has an ERA among the league leaders.

      Errors are just noise now in the big statistical picture. Let them swim in the regular pool along with bloop hits and hard-hit outs.

      • 99

        Here’s an article into today’s NYT written by a former official scorer:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/sports/baseball/a-baseball-official-scorers-call-isnt-always-last-word.html?_r=1&ref=sports

        There’s even a quote from the baseball coach of my alma mater (also attended by Steve Balboni and Brian Sabean).

        • 100

          Oh, and JA, just to get your thread to 100 comments, and because there’s no recap for the 7/7 games, I’ll mention that the Yankees finally won a game without hitting a home run.

          In a game where they scored 10
          At Fenway

          Though Teix’s go ahead triple flew about 415 on the fly.

          • 101
            John Autin says:

            Actually the 2nd homerless win by the Yanks, but I won’t look a gift comment in the mouth!

            Since the thread reached 100, everyone who commented gets the same valuable prize I got when the Camden RiverSharks won their game last Sunday:

            One dollar off a hoagie at any Wawa store! (Full-size only.)

            (I’ll mail the coupons out just as fast as I can photocopy them.)

          • 103
            RJ says:

            Do you ship to Great Britain?

          • 104
            John Autin says:

            @103 RJ — Only if you give me a different (and British) term for a hoagie / hero / sub / grinder / po-boy / torpedo / wedge / muffaletta / whatnot.

          • 114
            tag says:

            John, that term is “belegtes Brot” in German and I’ll be expecting my hoagie delivered fresh and appropriately ontime in Switzerland.

          • 116
            RJ says:

            @104 JA – Why of course, we call them stuffed American crumpets round these parts.

          • 117
            Nash Bruce says:

            wow John! Probably (hopefully?) no one, including you will see this comment (as I do not wish to be a ‘thread extender’ or whatever) but I live on a rock in the middle of the largest ocean on the planet Earth…..but I did grow up in Jersey, so hell yeah, hook me up with that Wawa hoagie!……

          • 121
            Timothy Pea says:

            If Florida they’re called Cubans!

  17. 106
    Jason Z says:

    Getting back to Reggie, I would love to know his opinion about Don Mattingly.

    If he doesn’t support Kirby Puckett he can’t support Mattingly.

    According to B-ref similarity scores, Puckett is number four to Mattingly,
    and Mattingly is number one to Puckett. Both had their careers end prematurely.

    The difference is that Puckett played at a high level throughout, before
    his vision suffered and he had to retire.

    Mattingly was on a first ballot HOF pace through 1989, and then the back
    injury robbed him of his power. He lingered on through 1995 but was never
    the same.

    I know injuries are part of the game, but so is luck, and if Mattingly had
    been lucky enough to stay healthy, it is my opinion that he would have played
    for the Yankees long enough to be a part of at least 2, if not all four of their championship teams from 96-00. This being the case, and without the back injury, I have no doubt that he would have been a very productive hitter well into the late 90’s. And if so, he would have been a first ballot HOF’er with probably 95% of the vote.

    It’s unfortunate. You need luck and ability to make the HOF. And Mattingly fell short in the luck department.

    • 109
      MikeD says:

      Do you really want to know Reggie’s opinion on Mattingly? If you do, I’m guessing it’s more for humor. : -) I wouldn’t expect consistency of thought from Jackson, although my guess is he would vote no on Mattingly. In fact, I’d be shocked if he thought otherwise.

      The few comments I’ve seen from Reggie about Mattingly haven’t been overwhelmingly warm. He was upset one Old Timers’ Day when Mattingly was introduced after Reggie, and of course to great and welcoming applause that was dramatically greater than Reggie’s welcome. Reggie was not happy. He wanted to know why the Yankees would introduce a non-HOFer like Mattingly after him, blabbering on about how many more HRs he hit than Mattingly etc. Of course, he ignored that Mattingly was a lifelong Yankee, won an MVP as a Yankee, had far greater career statistics as a Yankee, and of course was and still is more popular with Yankee fans than Reggie, who played all of five years for the team.

      This is not meant as an attack on Reggie. Let’s just say he scores high on the narcissism scale and I view most of his comments now as funny. I still believe that Reggie was underrated.

    • 122
      Lawrence Azrin says:

      Even though Mattingly and Puckett show up very high on each other’s Similar Batters list, this _does not_ make them directly comparable in their HOF qualifications. Puckett was mostly a CFer, with some RF (276 G), while Mattingly was a career first baseman (80 games elsewhere).

      The offensive HOF standards for a career first baseman, even a great-fielding one such as Mattingly, are considerably higher than for a career CFer. That’s why Puckett is over the HOF line, while Mattingly is under it.

      It’s not fair that Mattingly’s back woes derailed his HOF chances, but you could say that about many players (Klu sez “Hello”).

      You can play the “what if?” game forever – if George Sisler hadn’t suffered that attack of sinusitis, he might today be regarded in the same way as Cobb or Speaker…

  18. 120
    Jason Z says:

    I guess since the Yankees have banned Reggie, I won’t be getting that Mattingly opinion.

    • 124
      bstar says:

      I’d like to think I never wish for bad things to happen to anyone, but I do feel the urge to chuckle a little at this. Apparently the Straw that Stirred the Drink stirred a little too viguorously this time.

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