Baseball Aristocracy: The Man and the Earl

Although there has already been much discussion in comments to other posts on the passing of Stan Musial and Earl Weaver, a separate thread for these all-time greats is more than appropriate.

Weaver’s teams were a cumulative 420 regular season games over .500 with him as manager. In the history of the American League, only Joe McCarthy was more games over .500 as a manager in the AL as well his for his career as a whole.

A Play Index search that I did produces just three guys: Stan Musial, Joe Carter and Felipe Alou. What did I search? Clue: it was a career, regular season search.

Here’s a pretty good all-time NL everday starting lineup by position:
C: Bench
1B: Musial (played more games there than any other individual position, if you count the three OF positions separately)
2B: Hornsby
SS: Wagner
3B: Schmidt
LF: Bonds
CF: Mays
RF: Aaron

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47 Comments on "Baseball Aristocracy: The Man and the Earl"

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Andy
Guest

I don’t understand the significance of the lineup you listed.

kds
Guest
Note that until yesterday 6 of the 8 were living. To get a best living NL team we put Pujols at 1B, Morgan at 2B, and the Wiz at SS. Starting pitchers could be Maddux, Seaver, Niekro, Gibson and Carlton, with Hoffman to close. Harder to come up with such a great team associated with Weaver because we are limited to Orioles of a certain period. Still, we have Murray at 1B, Grich (well qualified for the HOF) at 2B, Cal at SS, Brooksie at 3B and Frank in RF. Probably Dempsey behind the plate, Blair in CF and Singleton… Read more »
bstar
Guest

I think I’d pick Belanger as my Weaver shortstop over Ripken. Earl only managed Cal for the first two years of his career (3.9 Weaver WAR), while Belanger accumulated 36-37 WAR from mid ’68 to ’81 under Weaver’s guidance.

e pluribus unum
Guest

Thanks for reminding us of James’s book, kds. I took your advice and re-read the section on Weaver (and then a few more). James is consistently good, and so was Earl. I always rooted against Weaver’s teams (at least in the Series), and always really liked Weaver and his players.

kds
Guest
Note that until yesterday 6 of the 8 were living. To get a best living NL team we put Pujols at 1B, Morgan at 2B, and the Wiz at SS. Starting pitchers could be Maddux, Seaver, Niekro, Gibson and Carlton, with Hoffman to close. Harder to come up with such a great team associated with Weaver because we are limited to Orioles of a certain period. Still, we have Murray at 1B, Grich (well qualified for the HOF) at 2B, Cal at SS, Brooksie at 3B and Frank in RF. Probably Dempsey behind the plate, Blair in CF and Singleton… Read more »
kds
Guest

Sorry for the double post. I did successfully correct a spelling error.

GrandyMan
Guest

Coincidentally, typing “Stan the Man” in the BBRef search bar turns up not only Stan Musial, but also relief pitcher Don Stanhouse, nicknamed “Stan the Man Unusual,” who once played for Earl Weaver. I’m too young to remember him, but apparently he was pretty unusual – and he also gave Weaver fits:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Stanhouse

Doug
Editor

Stanhouse’s other nickname was “full pack”. He worked very slowly and seldom had clean 1-2-3 innings. But, he usually would work his way out of his jams in the end. The nickname referred to Weaver’s chain-smoking (he would sneak drags in the tunnel between pitches) as in Stanhouse worked so slowly, Earl could smoke a full pack while he was on the mound.

Hartvig
Guest

For the AL I’d counter with:
C- Berra or maybe Cochran (I don’t care what WAR says, neither Pudge is going ahead of Yogi)
1b- Gehrig
2b- Collins
SS- Rodriguez or Ripken
3b- Brett or Matthews (I assume that Eddie’s brief stay in Houston doesn’t count against him since Hammerin’ Hank’s stop in Milwaukee when it was still in the AL didn’t)
LF- Teddy Ballgame
CF- Cobb or Mantle
RF- I’m drawing a blank with this one…

I wouldn’t bet a nickel on which team would win but I’d give my right arm to see it.

Ed
Guest

Hartvig – One correction. Mathews played almost his entire career in the NL. His only time in the AL was his last two years in Detroit.

And yeah, the AL has a big hole in right field, doesn’t it?

Hartvig
Guest

Dammit, they keep moving that Milwaukee franchise on me…

So Brett it is then

Robbs
Guest

Assuming Hartvig drawing a blank on Kaline is joke.

bstar
Guest

I think maybe there’s another candidate. Played for the Yankees after being traded from the Red Sox……who WAS that guy? Had some power, too.

Bells
Guest

Correction – Nick Swisher was traded from the White Sox to the Yankees, not the Red Sox. I think you’re just a little confused bstar.

bstar
Guest

Mismatched Sox…my laundry resembles that statement.

oneblankspace
Guest

Some thought he was a babe.

Hartvig
Guest

That was it!

Babe Herman.

What do you mean he wasn’t a right fielder and I’ve got the wrong league again?

Oh, I give up.

Nash Bruce
Guest

He was a pitcher. Although he dabbled in lots of things after hours…..

Hartvig
Guest

Yeah as much as it pained me to leave Trammell & Kaline out of the starting lineup- but they are on my bench!- it was actually some other fellow I had in mind.

bstar
Guest

Sam Crawford? Harry Heilmann? Great players, but better than Kaline? 🙂

RJ
Guest

Obviously it’s Joe Carter.

Luis Gomez
Guest

No, it is Karim Garcia.

Timmy Pea
Guest

Sam Crawford was better!

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Hartvig,

I’d also mention Lajoie at second, Boggs at third, and Speaker in CF, though I agree with the first names you list at each position.

You didn’t mention pitchers, but the AL has gotta start with Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove, and the NL with Greg Maddux, Grover Cleveland Alexander,Warren Spahn and Christy Mathewson.

There are relatively few modern players because movement between the leagues is so much common since the early 60s, and of course much more so since free agency in the late 70s.

bstar
Guest

Stan Musial, Joe Carter, and Felipe Alou are the only players in history (Play Index era) to play at least 300 games at 1B, RF, CF, and LF.

birtelcom
Guest

Exactly correct.

bstar
Guest

Pete Rose had 500+ games at 5 different positions: LF, 3B, RF, 1B, and 2B.

RBI Man
Guest

That Rose guy might be a HOFer

Robbs
Guest

Non Hall players all-time nine including recent hall of shamers looking good based on stats alone.

C-Piazza
1B McGwire
2B Biggio

Robbs
Guest

Sorry fat thumbs
C Piazza
1B McGwire or Palmiero
2B Biggio or Whitaker
ss Trammel
3B Rose
LF Bonds or Raines or Shoeless
CF Allen
RF Evans
Starters Clemens Schilling Pedro Morris Closer Smith?

MikeD
Guest

I’d have Bagwell ahead of McGwire.

Of course, this list will change over the next few years as Bagwell (on mine), Biggio and Piazza should all gain election.

Insert Name Here
Guest

RIP.

I’m surprised to not see anyone mention this yet, but both the Man and the Earl were connected to St. Louis, Missouri, and were both first signed by the Cardinals. St. Louis-born Weaver was picked up by the Cards to be the Man’s 2B in 1948, although obviously that didn’t come to fruition.

If the Rule of Threes holds true, Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Herzog, Red Schoendienst, etc. better be careful!

Steven
Guest

I just saw an interview with Schoendienst on a St. Louis news program. He turns 90 in February, and doesn’t look or sound like he’s aged much over the past three decades.

John Autin
Editor
For guys who played only in the NL, I’d go: C – Bench 1B – Musial 2B – Sandberg SS – Wagner 3B – Schmidt LF – Bonds CF – Mays RF – Ott OF reserve – Clemente IF reserve – Vaughan RHSP – Alexander RHSP – Maddux RHSP – Mathewson LHSP – Spahn RP – Hoffman The AL-only squad: C – Fisk 1B – Gehrig 2B – Collins SS – A-Rod 3B – Brett (I’m treating this like the postseason, so bye-bye, Boggs) LF – Williams CF – Mantle (can’t have Cobb fouling up the chemistry) RF – Kaline… Read more »
Artie Z.
Guest

Well, we came up with pretty much the same position players – and I didn’t see this post. Though I still think you have to put Cobb in CF just because you want to have him roaming CF and not the streets!

Artie Z.
Guest
Looking for players who ONLY played for teams in each league (ruling out some greats like Ruth and Aaron): NL C – Bench 1B – Musial 2B – Jackie Robinson (or Frisch or Biggio or Sandberg) 3B – Schmidt SS – Wagner LF – Bonds CF – Mays RF – Ott AL C – Fisk/Cochrane (Berra ruled out due to 9 ABs with Mets) 1B – Gehrig 2B – Collins 3B – A-Rod/Brett SS – A-Rod/Ripken LF – Ted Williams CF – Cobb/Speaker/Mantle/DiMaggio RF – Kaline/Reggie The NL team seems to have less debate about who the best ever is,… Read more »
no statistician but
Guest

A couple of feats by Musial now probably forgotten:

First player to hit five home runs in a day. Does anyone besides me remember the newspaper photo of him holding five baseballs?

Set the National league record for consecutive games played, 895—since bested by Billy Williams and Steve Garvey.

Some others:

At his retirement was first in career hits and doubles for National Leaguers, second in career HRs.

Holds the record for All Star Game HRs, Total Bases(with Mays), X-base Hits(also with Mays), Pinch Hits.

Doug
Editor
Musial ranked 2nd in NL career HR when he retired, but dropped out of the top 5 just six years later, during the 1969 season. However, today he’s still in the top 10, where he should stay for the forseeable future, barring a Chipper Jones comeback or Pujols returning to the NL. Musial was also part of the first NL game involving both 4 and 5 players all over 200 career HR. The first was in 1955 with Campanella, Hodges and Snider, and the second a year later with the same group plus Hank Sauer. In both instances, Musial was… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

Doug: I looked for similar AL stats, maybe you could give me a confirmation. First game with 4 players with 200 HR was 9-6-50 (Joe D., Mize, Doerr and Stephens). First game with 5 players was the next day with the same 4 players plus Ted Williams who made his first appearance after his All=Star game injury. First game with 3 players with 300 homers was on 5-28-51 with Joe D., Mize and Williams.

Doug
Editor

I have these first AL games:

4 x 200 – 5/31/36 (Bottomley, Hornsby, Simmons, Goslin)
5 x 200 – your game 9/7/50
3 x 300 – 5/28/34 (Hornsby, Gehrig, Ruth)

Richard Chester
Guest

Thanks Doug, I never knew that Bottomley played in the AL

Brent
Guest

So the mantle of the greatest living Cardinal passes to whom now? Bob Gibson? And how about the greatest living manager? Joe Torre? Bobby Cox? Arguably, I suppose, the greatest living manager and the greatest living Cardinal are found in the same person, Tony LaRussa.

Doug
Editor
Here are the WAR leaders, as Cardinals, among living players. Batting. Rk Player WAR/pos 1 Albert Pujols 83.9 2 Ozzie Smith 62.8 3 Ted Simmons 42.7 4 Lou Brock 39.9 5 Jim Edmonds 36.4 6 Ray Lankford 35.3 7 Keith Hernandez 32.9 8 Red Schoendienst 30.6 9 Bill White 25.7 10 Scott Rolen 24.7 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool UsedGenerated 1/21/2013.   Pitching Rk Player WAR 1 Bob Gibson 77.5 2 Chris Carpenter 26.4 3 Steve Carlton 19.7 4 Adam Wainwright 18.9 5 John Tudor 18.8 6 Ernie Broglio 18.1 7 Matt Morris 17.2 8 Curt Simmons 17.1… Read more »
John Autin
Editor
Musial may have had a platoon disadvantage more often than any other LHB for whom those data are known. It probably didn’t make a big difference in his stats, since he hit lefties almost as well as righties. But I still think it’s interesting. I used the batting split finder to find the leaders in games vs. LH and RH starting pitchers from 1916-2012. (I used the starting pitcher rather than the PA platoon splits, because the former are much more complete. About 1/3 of Musial’s PAs are not identified specifically vs. LHP or RHP, but the starting pitcher is… Read more »
Doug
Editor
That seems to make sense. For whatever reason, there was an unusual increase in the number of left-handed starter in the NL for most of Musial’s career. There was a similar increase in the AL starting about 1948 that continued to the mid-50s but then subsided until the mid-60s. Most-probably, the decline of LHers during the war was attributable to the difficulty in finding any kind of pitching – you had to take what you could get, and mostly it was RHers. The chart shows number of LH starters in NL each year, having 10 or more starts. Should mention,… Read more »
Tim Pea
Guest

Was Earl Weaver a SABRmeter?

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