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From The Undefeated, formerly Jason Whitlock’s long-awaited website, on a topic I’ve often discussed:

Mission Impossible: African-Americans & analytics
Why blacks are not feeling the sports metrics movement

Wilbon

BY MICHAEL WILBON @REALMIKEWILBON
May 24, 2016

The mission was to find black folks who spend anytime talking about advanced analytics, whose conversations are framed by — or even casually include references to — win shares or effective shooting percentage, WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) or points per 100 possessions. It’s a failed mission so far. Totally empty. Conclusion: Advanced analytics and black folks hardly ever mix. Set aside the tiny handful of black men who make a living somewhere in the sports industry dealing directly with the numbers and there is absolutely zero mingling.

Log onto any mainstream website or media outlet (certainly any program within the ESPN empire) and 30 seconds cannot pass without extreme statistical analysis, which didn’t exist 20 years ago, hijacking the conversation. But not in “BlackWorld,” where never is heard an advanced analytical word. Not in urban barbershops. Not in text chains during three-hour games. Not around office water coolers. Not even in pressrooms or locker rooms where black folks who make a living in the industry spend all day and half the night talking about the most intimate details of sports.

Draymond Green playing by feel

Let’s take the Golden State Warriors locker room, for example. I thought the complete stiff-arming of the statistical revolution might very well be generational. Old black folks don’t, but younger black folks might.

Wrong.

I asked Draymond Green, the Warriors star whose new-age game is constantly being defined statistically, if he engages in any advanced analytics conversation either professionally or personally. His answer was emphatic.

“No. Neither. Professionally, I play completely off of feel. I hear people discussing my game in terms of all these advanced numbers. I have no part of it,” Green said. “Even paying attention to it, from a playing standpoint, would make me robotic and undermine my game.”

As Yogi Berra said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

For example, in the first half of the 20th Century, the highly articulate Ty Cobb, the son of a college professor, tended to win the verbal debates over whether ballplayers should strive to hit line drives or, as the less intellectual Babe Ruth contended, swing with an uppercut to hit home runs. The fans sided with Ruth, but the sportswriters tended to side with Cobb, pointing to his even higher batting average, the traditionally most prestigious hitting statistic. But Ruth collected a huge number of walks (which aren’t counted in the batting average) due to pitchers fearing to throw one down the middle that he could hit out of the park, so more sophisticated statistical analysis has subsequently demonstrated what every 12 year old boy in America knew in 1923: Ruth was even better than Cobb.

As I pointed out in my 2011 Taki’s Magazine review of the movie Moneyball:

Smart middle-aged white guys really like baseball statistics. Sabermetrics provides men with a sheltered playpen in which to study nature and nurture with little risk of being called sexist or racist.

The bigger question is whether smart quantitatively-oriented white guys devote too much of their time to thinking hard about sports numbers (for which they are unlikely to become the object of Two Minutes Hates) rather than more important real world issues (at the risk of having their careers destroyed).

I’ve pointed out that blogger / psychiatrist Scott Alexander is a potential Bill James of psychiatric pharmaceuticals, a field of huge importance to human happiness that currently tends to lack sources of high quality independent critical analysis.

Real estate is another field in which moneyball techniques could be applied. As I’ve pointed out, economist Raj Chetty’s current project where he’s wheedled his way into access to an unbelievable trove of IRS 1040 data has revealed a whole series of interesting patterns. For example, states without many trees (e.g., the Dakotas) have done relatively better economically since 2007 than states with a lot of trees (e.g., the Carolinas), a reversal of the 1990s. But neither Chetty nor most of the journalists writing about his work have bothered to look hard at the implications of his numbers.

There’s a definite crimestop problem where almost anything could get you in trouble these days, leading to smart guys tending to go into playpens like sabermetrics where they won’t get Watsoned.

 
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  1. Just a side note – Whitlock was let go from running The Undefeated last year before it was ever published.

    • Replies: @whorefinder
    Yeah, I remember this was supposed to be Whitlock's ship, then he rankled a lot of the black writers he was managing by demanding the same standards of them as of white sportswriters. An internal email was released to "attack" Whitlock where Whitlock was basically making fun of how lazy black sportswriting was and how he wasn't going to give blacks the same "token black/Jason Blair" pass that white editors did.

    That, apparently, was the "bad" thing---how dare a black editor demand blacks work as hard as whites!

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can't flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss. (The other part is female solidarity is largely a myth, as females see other females in their group as competition, and so the group devolves into cattiness and backbiting; males in structured groups see one another as teammates working towards a goal, and so cohesion is much easier to create in all-male groups).

    Whitlock has long been one of the few black sportswriters who probably would get along in the iSteve comments. Heck, he's probably here already, lurking a lot. Was one of the last sportswriters I used to read regularly before I gave up following sports entirely. Wasn't a token black writer---he deserves his success.
  2. MQ says:

    This seems quite exaggerated to me. Lebron James, for example, is well known to examine stats/metrics and I’ve heard him to discuss his own statistical patterns very cogently in interviews. But for active players, they are not going to be metrics nuts because they have to engrain physical instincts in their bodies, which is quite a different matter than poring over numbers. They don’t want to second-guess themselves constantly.

    Shane Battier, known as an extremely intelligent player who certainly understands metrics, explains it pretty well here:

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/shane-battier-not-advanced-statistical-data-previously-thought-031418288–nba.html

  3. Doesn’t Wilbon resemble the fella who shot his two coworkers during a live news report from a few years back? Charles Barkley has difficulty with them analytics.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Ruth's OPS was 1.164, while Cobb's was 945. In addition, Ruth was responsible for 253 wins, while Cobb had 242, according to Bill James. They are 1-2 all time.

    As for Wilbon's doppelganger, I always thought he looked like Zacarias Moussaoui, who currently lives with the Unabomber.

    The incident you are referring to happened last summer, believe it or not. The killer looks more like Perd Hapley from Parks & Recreation than Wilbon.
  4. I can remember when SLG and OBP were big deal analytics, and I can also remember when Bill James, John Thorn, and Pete Palmer got started. The attempt to quantify greatness, or to predict performance, will ever remain elusive. But at the same time, a lot of advanced metrics involved the sorts of things common sense would have told you before: so and so is a fly ball pitcher, so and so is good for a walk.

    Nowadays, advanced sabermetrics is basically for people who like to mess around with numbers. After all, the stats, however forbidding they may appear, are almost always just arithmetic. So, in general, the people who will like to mess around with numbers are going to be bright white guys. Why should that be a surprise?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    But at the same time, a lot of advanced metrics involved the sorts of things common sense would have told you before: so and so is a fly ball pitcher, so and so is good for a walk...
     
    ...and so-and-so of Stratford in Warwickshire is far more likely to have written those plays than any one of the many others put forward by fevered moderns. The Claremont study babbaged the entire works of all of them, "sabermetrically", only to reinforce traditional scholarship. No one else who left written work sounds anything like Will.
  5. The irony that Afrocentrics claim the Black race invented math, when Blacks on average are horrible at math.

    Yesterday a White child golf prodigy asked Steve Harvey what 4 x 3 is and Steve’s mind drew a blank, he couldn’t answer.

    Steve Harvey has to be the most low IQ man in America to have his own talk show. If Steve Harvey was a White man but still had the same IQ he has now, Hollywood would have deemed him too dumb to have his own Ellen DeGeneres style show.

  6. This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It’s one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it’s another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can’t, write about it.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It’s one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it’s another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can’t, write about it.

    Intelligence is one aspect of sports, including boxing. But it is only one aspect. Listen to Mike Tyson talk. He is certainly not dumb. The Klitschkos are intelligent. It was not a detriment to their success. But they are certainly physically suited to the sport, and have trained a lot.
    , @Dave Pinsen

    On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes.
     
    This seems unlikely, especially if you include Jewish athletes at all levels. Even at the pro level, I'm not sure it's true. Do you have numbers for both?

    Also, a hundred years ago, boxing was considered a fairly cerebral sport. The other commenter mentioned the Klitschko brothers, who speak several languages and both have PhDs. Even those without much formal education, such as Bernard Hopkins, seem to be smarter-than-average. Which makes some sense in that boxing training requires conscientiousness, and that correlates with intelligence, IIRC.
    , @Truth
    Some of the greatest boxers of the postwar era were Jewish.
    , @DCThrowback
    Boxing: the sweet science, not the sweet sociology
  7. I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA). All the statistical stuff shows is on the extreme margin, but it’s usually fairly predictable who will end up in the NBA Finals in any given year (there are usually 3-4 teams in consideration for the Championship in any given year). I know stuff on the margin matters in a lot of situations, but really, we didn’t need advanced statistics to know that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or LeBron James were/are great players.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.
     
    That's not it at all. Draymond doesn't "naturally" know what percent of Dirk's potential assists turn into made baskets (i.e., actual assists), nor would he have "naturally" known what Shawn Bradley's adjusted plus-minus was.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA).
     
    Your formula is wrong as it arguably fails to account for the last 13 champions: the Spurs (four times) and the Mavs and the Pistons and the '06 Heat and the '09 and '10 Lakers (none of which had "two top-5/10 players") and possibly the Celtics and the '12 and '13 Heat (was Wade or Bosh really a top-5/10" player at that time?) and the Warriors.

    And how do you decide who the "top-5/10" and "top-15/20" players are, anyway?

  8. I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA). All the statistical stuff shows is on the extreme margin, but it’s usually fairly predictable who will end up in the NBA Finals (there are usually 3-4 teams in consideration for the Championship in any given year). I know stuff on the margin matters in a lot of situations, but really, we didn’t need advanced statistics to know that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or LeBron James were/are great players.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."

    In general, the Bill James revolution mostly succeeded in introducing stats that accorded with the rankings of players that fans with season tickets or who listened to every game on the radio would come up with. The new stats are better for things like league MVP voting for which no voter could see every game around the league and thus they relied on summary statistics, especially RBIs, that were less in accord with who was doing the most to help his team win than fans at every game would come up with.

    , @Hepp

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

     

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that "analytics" tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that's pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.
  9. Remember FireJoeMorgan?

    • Replies: @Bugg
    Remarkable that by the very statistical analysis that he deplored, Joe Morgan, a veritable OBP machine, was a better player than he was given credit for at the time he he played based on exactly those metrics. Yet he didn't grasp it at all and was full of contempt for such metrics.
  10. A White man with the same IQ as Steve Harvey would have been deemed by society as being dumber than George W. Bush, who was a C average student in college.

    • Replies: @Truth
    That dumb guy did win the presidency....
  11. “anytime” is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.

    • Replies: @anonitron1
    Nor is irrelevant prescriptivist autism a good way to engage with perfectly comprehensible writing.
    , @Anonym
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=W-7svgsEi8Q
    , @dumpstersquirrel
    '“anytime” is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.'

    When referring to an indefinite point in time, "anytime" is correct. When referring to a particular point in time "any time" is correct.

    Examples:

    "If you ever need any time off work, let your supervisor know. "

    "If you need to use the restroom at anytime, you don't have to notify your supervisor; just go to the restroom!"
    , @dumpstersquirrel
    In the case of this article, yes, "anytime" is incorrect; it should be "any time."
  12. You seem to have come to the same conclusion as none other than Noam Chomsky. It’s been a while since I read any of his books so I can only vaguely paraphrase, but he also thinks that sports analysis acts as a safe outlet for people to use their minds on, rather than politics.

  13. @Claude
    "anytime" is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.

    Nor is irrelevant prescriptivist autism a good way to engage with perfectly comprehensible writing.

    • Replies: @Dirk Dagger

    irrelevant prescriptivist autism … perfectly comprehensible writing
     
    Yup. ¡Tienes razón en eso!
  14. The bigger question is whether smart quantitatively-oriented white guys devote too much of their time to thinking hard about sports numbers (for which they are unlikely to become the object of Two Minutes Hates) rather than more important real world issues (at the risk of having their careers destroyed).

    I don’t think there is any question of that Steve. The answer is “definitely”. Though that is changing slowly.

  15. @Chase
    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green's quote. He doesn't need the advanced statistics because he is "smart" (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I'll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA). All the statistical stuff shows is on the extreme margin, but it's usually fairly predictable who will end up in the NBA Finals (there are usually 3-4 teams in consideration for the Championship in any given year). I know stuff on the margin matters in a lot of situations, but really, we didn't need advanced statistics to know that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or LeBron James were/are great players.

    “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

    In general, the Bill James revolution mostly succeeded in introducing stats that accorded with the rankings of players that fans with season tickets or who listened to every game on the radio would come up with. The new stats are better for things like league MVP voting for which no voter could see every game around the league and thus they relied on summary statistics, especially RBIs, that were less in accord with who was doing the most to help his team win than fans at every game would come up with.

    • Replies: @Winthorp
    Benjamin Morris' pre-538 "Case for Rodman" epic is notable here. Smart observers of basketball knew at the time what Rodman was doing was incredibly valuable, awkwardness be damned. But Morris' case for his value is nonetheless a bit shocking:

    https://skepticalsports.com/the-case-for-dennis-rodman-guide/
  16. I follow Nate Silver on Twitter. You’d think that maybe people in love with data and statistics would have heretical thoughts, but whenever he gives his opinion it’s all racism this and sexism that.

    Just because these nerds can think logically about sports, doesn’t mean they’re any more prone to crimethink.

    • Replies: @Anonym
    I follow Nate Silver on Twitter. You’d think that maybe people in love with data and statistics would have heretical thoughts, but whenever he gives his opinion it’s all racism this and sexism that.

    Just because these nerds can think logically about sports, doesn’t mean they’re any more prone to crimethink.

    What Nate Silver thinks and what he writes are likely to be two very different things.

    , @Ed
    He's gay, there's an inner black woman screaming to bust out of him I suppose.
  17. @Jack D
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It's one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it's another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can't, write about it.

    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It’s one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it’s another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can’t, write about it.

    Intelligence is one aspect of sports, including boxing. But it is only one aspect. Listen to Mike Tyson talk. He is certainly not dumb. The Klitschkos are intelligent. It was not a detriment to their success. But they are certainly physically suited to the sport, and have trained a lot.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Matter of opinion. Tyson has roughly a third grade education, not to mention that he's been hit in the head, concussed, quite a few times during his career (which can by the way affect the brain).
  18. Ed says:

    FYI Whitlock was dumped from ESPN after failing to get The Undefeated off the ground after 3 years.

    He doesn’t much care for Coates either:

    SN: Why is there acrimony between you and celebrated author/journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates? Did you make a mistake with him in your recruiting effort for “The Undefeated?”

    Whitlock: Glad to clear this up. I was brought back to ESPN in August of 2013. I reached out to Coates via email in November of 2013. We had a brief 15- to 20-minute phone conversation. I was effusive in my praise of his writing talents. He expressed he was uninterested in leaving “The Atlantic.” It was an exploratory, respectful conversation. I had no job to offer at the time. I wasn’t authorized to hire anyone. My first priorities were Jesse Washington and Mike Wise, two of my collaborators. It wasn’t until the Fall of 2014 and the new fiscal year that I was given the greenlight to hire anyone. My first two hires were Amy Barnett and Danielle Cadet. My next hires were in December of 2014 when I began reporting to Marie Donoghue. That’s when we were able to land Washington and Wise. In May of 2014, I emailed Coates to tell him how much I enjoyed “The Case For Reparations.” I asked him to do a podcast interview. He said he would try to accommodate my request. It didn’t happen. I left him alone. Zero hard feelings. In 2015, stories started popping up referencing his friends/surrogates about how he turned me down for a job and how I offered to triple his salary. Then he later analogized me to a drug dealer during a radio interview. Then I made the mistake of purchasing and reading “Between the World and Me,” his bestselling book. It’s a hopeless, God-less, Marxist book that allegedly is written for the edification of young black people. Any understanding and appreciation of the magnificent and courageous African-American journey is respectful of our relationship with religion and a Higher Power. What’s between the world and Ta-Nehisi Coates is an understanding of the power of prayer, hope, faith and Jesus. Feeding young people a beautifully written and seductive hopeless ideology is wishing destruction on them. The book helped me fully understand what he represents. Coates’ pro-black shtick is how elitist, Talented Tenth-believing black people try to be pro-black. They use their platforms to whine publicly about the harrowing, state-sanctioned plunder they suffered while purchasing a $2 million home. That’s not hate. I live a pampered life, too. I just try to have enough self-awareness to know my 1-percent problems are unworthy of a full column on a major media platform. I thought and think Coates would benefit greatly from working in a black media environment. His ideas need to be vigorously challenged by black people, particularly those of us who realize the danger of separating faith from fate.

    http://www.sportingnews.com/other-sports/news/jason-whitlock-the-undefeated-espn-details-fox-sports-speak-for-yourself-bill-simmons/bzyva9x0cpr318hire1lbf94p

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    That right there might be the most devastating, and funny, takedown of T. Genius Coates I have ever read. Hats off, Jason Whitlock.

    For the record, T. Genius is not a communist, he doesn't have the education to hold any serious theoretical opinions. He is however an atheist and he has mastered the postmodern word salad. Plus he has a good ear, and writes well.

  19. @Hepp
    I follow Nate Silver on Twitter. You'd think that maybe people in love with data and statistics would have heretical thoughts, but whenever he gives his opinion it's all racism this and sexism that.

    Just because these nerds can think logically about sports, doesn't mean they're any more prone to crimethink.

    I follow Nate Silver on Twitter. You’d think that maybe people in love with data and statistics would have heretical thoughts, but whenever he gives his opinion it’s all racism this and sexism that.

    Just because these nerds can think logically about sports, doesn’t mean they’re any more prone to crimethink.

    What Nate Silver thinks and what he writes are likely to be two very different things.

  20. @Hepp
    I follow Nate Silver on Twitter. You'd think that maybe people in love with data and statistics would have heretical thoughts, but whenever he gives his opinion it's all racism this and sexism that.

    Just because these nerds can think logically about sports, doesn't mean they're any more prone to crimethink.

    He’s gay, there’s an inner black woman screaming to bust out of him I suppose.

  21. @Chase
    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green's quote. He doesn't need the advanced statistics because he is "smart" (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I'll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA). All the statistical stuff shows is on the extreme margin, but it's usually fairly predictable who will end up in the NBA Finals (there are usually 3-4 teams in consideration for the Championship in any given year). I know stuff on the margin matters in a lot of situations, but really, we didn't need advanced statistics to know that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or LeBron James were/are great players.

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that “analytics” tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that’s pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren’t very smart, even intuitively.

    • Agree: ben tillman
    • Replies: @Forbes

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren’t very smart, even intuitively.
     
    Athletes are likely to be instinctual but not intuitive. They 'know' what works instinctually, through their particular experience with athletic performance and competitive success. 'Not over-thinking it' is a mantra for athletes. Getting the game to slow down, letting it come to you and taking what it gives, are ways of thinking about--of reacting to the game instinctually.

    That is not to suggest intuition has no part. Probably most of the great players in all sports have been intuitive as well as instinctual. But the typical pro player is playing due to athletic prowess, not because he knows how to outsmart his opponent with better insight.
    , @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.
    , @Jonathan Silber
    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.

    They're smart, but not book smart, and thank God for that.
    , @Reg Cæsar

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s?
     
    Ah, but to do so would have been one more concession that the ABA got things right.

    They're still using that ugly brown ball. Doesn't basketball have the highest ball-t0-playing-surface ratio of all sports? (Not including Foosball and table tennis, that is.) Why not take advantage of that?

    For years the Pacers had a dyslectic T-shirt that said "Est. 1976"-- nine years from the truth. Whose idea was that?

    Kentucky and Virginia made a wise choice in steering clear of the NBA.

  22. We don’t need no stinkin’ advanced analytical whatchamacallits.

  23. Why would an athlete, much less a black athlete engage “in any advanced analytics conversation either professionally or personally”? However his play is being described?

    Most of the analytics are outcome or results oriented (activity) in order to help fans understand performance or success (accomplishment). And for management to make relative player assessments. But the difference between the All-Star who bats .325 and the 25th player on the roster who bats .225 isn’t reduced to a conversation about the All-Star knowing (or doing) something to get 1 more hit in 10 at-bats.

    As Einstein said, Not everything that counts is counted, and not everything that is counted counts.

    The Bill James-Moneyball craze was popularly launched because Billy Beane was a “five tool” star prospect that made it to ‘the show’ as a backup, and rode the pine. He was certain he was proof that subjective scouting observations of player prospects didn’t work–there had to be a better way. And then-Oak GM Sandy Alderson suggested Beane immerse himself in Bill James work.

  24. @Anonym
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It’s one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it’s another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can’t, write about it.

    Intelligence is one aspect of sports, including boxing. But it is only one aspect. Listen to Mike Tyson talk. He is certainly not dumb. The Klitschkos are intelligent. It was not a detriment to their success. But they are certainly physically suited to the sport, and have trained a lot.

    Matter of opinion. Tyson has roughly a third grade education, not to mention that he’s been hit in the head, concussed, quite a few times during his career (which can by the way affect the brain).

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Why do you have two names?
  25. I always thought Rush Limbaugh screwed the pooch when he let Wilbon off the hook so easy. I happened to be watching PTI when Wilbon made those claims about Limbaugh. I put “Limbaugh racist statements” in the google machine and out popped all the quotes Wilbon had just repeated on TV. The site was obviously a fake site, a gag of some sort, but the great Washington Post reporter fell for it like a fool and slandered someone on TV.

    Limbaugh’s lawyers obviously contacted ESPN and Wilbon made one of those”he did not say it but could have said it” apologies. Limbaugh should have sued the idiot into poverty. He had an ironclad case.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    There is not evidence that Limbaugh is a vindictive guy.
  26. I’m a woman but I spend a lot of time on a sports/general interest site dominated by young black men. Many of them have trouble with basic fractions and percentages. They can’t understand that if 40 percent of the people on food stamps are black and 40 percent are white, blacks are far more likely than whites to be on food stamps.

    There are some bright guys on site, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, and finance, but they dumb down their comments to fit in. It is mostly a place for them to have a few laughs.

    The guys in the sports forum are mostly concerned with their favorite team or favorite player. There were a few near break downs over Kobe Bryant’s retirement. They really hate it when black players are compared to whites. I can’t see them wanting to objectively study teams and players. It would interfere with the trash talking.

    • Replies: @Lurker

    I’m a woman but I spend a lot of time on a sports/general interest site dominated by young black men. Many of them have trouble with basic fractions and percentages. They can’t understand that if 40 percent of the people on food stamps are black and 40 percent are white, blacks are far more likely than whites to be on food stamps.
     
    White SJWs have the exact same problem. Or claim to.
  27. So basically without directly saying it, Wilbon is saying it: In answer to Steve’s question contained in his post–Advanced Metrics is “acting white”. Basically, most racially aware blacks aren’t about to consciously engage in activities that are perceived by their community as “acting white”.

    Also, I believe that Steve and other news sources have made mention this yr (and for several decades) that blacks’ overall math scores either continue to decline relative to the population or their overall math scores simply aren’t all that, especially since blacks’ mean IQ tends to average around 85. Given that framework, why would anyone be surprised that very few blacks engage in Sabermetrics and or statistic-based careers?

    What percentage of the top elite global mathematicians are black? How many annual Ph.d’s in STEM related fields are awarded to blacks? If the total percentage is less than 1-2%, would anyone really be surprised? I mean, aside from Sharpton, Jackson, Obama, etc who would reach for the race card as the “obvious” answer for lack of representation.

    But I must say I’m impressed with Wilbon’s fairness in that he’s not playing the race card (at least directly) a la Ta-Nehisi Coates and concluding his argument with “Because blacks aren’t going into this field, “obviously” it means that the field is ipso facto racist.” Have to give credit when and where its due and Wilbon at least is fair, he just appears to be brushing it off as not all that important in everyday lives, yet it would still be nice for him to see some blacks represented in the “smart white stuff” SWPL kind of thing just to say “See? We have them too.”

  28. @Ed
    FYI Whitlock was dumped from ESPN after failing to get The Undefeated off the ground after 3 years.

    He doesn't much care for Coates either:


    SN: Why is there acrimony between you and celebrated author/journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates? Did you make a mistake with him in your recruiting effort for "The Undefeated?"

    Whitlock: Glad to clear this up. I was brought back to ESPN in August of 2013. I reached out to Coates via email in November of 2013. We had a brief 15- to 20-minute phone conversation. I was effusive in my praise of his writing talents. He expressed he was uninterested in leaving "The Atlantic." It was an exploratory, respectful conversation. I had no job to offer at the time. I wasn’t authorized to hire anyone. My first priorities were Jesse Washington and Mike Wise, two of my collaborators. It wasn’t until the Fall of 2014 and the new fiscal year that I was given the greenlight to hire anyone. My first two hires were Amy Barnett and Danielle Cadet. My next hires were in December of 2014 when I began reporting to Marie Donoghue. That’s when we were able to land Washington and Wise. In May of 2014, I emailed Coates to tell him how much I enjoyed "The Case For Reparations." I asked him to do a podcast interview. He said he would try to accommodate my request. It didn’t happen. I left him alone. Zero hard feelings. In 2015, stories started popping up referencing his friends/surrogates about how he turned me down for a job and how I offered to triple his salary. Then he later analogized me to a drug dealer during a radio interview. Then I made the mistake of purchasing and reading "Between the World and Me," his bestselling book. It’s a hopeless, God-less, Marxist book that allegedly is written for the edification of young black people. Any understanding and appreciation of the magnificent and courageous African-American journey is respectful of our relationship with religion and a Higher Power. What’s between the world and Ta-Nehisi Coates is an understanding of the power of prayer, hope, faith and Jesus. Feeding young people a beautifully written and seductive hopeless ideology is wishing destruction on them. The book helped me fully understand what he represents. Coates’ pro-black shtick is how elitist, Talented Tenth-believing black people try to be pro-black. They use their platforms to whine publicly about the harrowing, state-sanctioned plunder they suffered while purchasing a $2 million home. That’s not hate. I live a pampered life, too. I just try to have enough self-awareness to know my 1-percent problems are unworthy of a full column on a major media platform. I thought and think Coates would benefit greatly from working in a black media environment. His ideas need to be vigorously challenged by black people, particularly those of us who realize the danger of separating faith from fate.
     
    http://www.sportingnews.com/other-sports/news/jason-whitlock-the-undefeated-espn-details-fox-sports-speak-for-yourself-bill-simmons/bzyva9x0cpr318hire1lbf94p

    That right there might be the most devastating, and funny, takedown of T. Genius Coates I have ever read. Hats off, Jason Whitlock.

    For the record, T. Genius is not a communist, he doesn’t have the education to hold any serious theoretical opinions. He is however an atheist and he has mastered the postmodern word salad. Plus he has a good ear, and writes well.

  29. Dennis Rodman paid attention to the percentages, knowing certain players tended to miss shots in predictable ways and positioning himself for the rebound accordingly. See this 1996 SI article .

    “The Rodman paradox is that he can look as though he is barely in control of his emotions on the court, on the edge of some outburst, when he is in fact coolly processing information. He is taking into account who the shooter is, the area on the court from which the shooter is firing, the trajectory of the ball, the positioning of his opponents and the percentages, which indicate that most shots will rebound long and to the opposite side of the basket from which they were launched. “People think I just go get the damn ball, because they don’t take the time to really look at what I do,” he says. “Rebounding isn’t brain surgery, but there’s more to it than being able to jump higher than the next guy. A lot of the work is done before you ever even jump.””

    • Replies: @Clifford Brown
    Yeah, but Rodman endorsed Trump so everything he says in invalid...


    http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/24/politics/dennis-rodman-donald-trump-endorsement/
  30. When you’re paid huge sackfuls of money to put a ball through a hoop I’d think you’d concentrate on practicing putting a ball through the hoop. Or…

    Are there a lot of Bill James’s in hockey, rugby, AR football?

  31. @Claude
    "anytime" is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.

  32. @Hepp

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

     

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that "analytics" tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that's pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren’t very smart, even intuitively.

    Athletes are likely to be instinctual but not intuitive. They ‘know’ what works instinctually, through their particular experience with athletic performance and competitive success. ‘Not over-thinking it’ is a mantra for athletes. Getting the game to slow down, letting it come to you and taking what it gives, are ways of thinking about–of reacting to the game instinctually.

    That is not to suggest intuition has no part. Probably most of the great players in all sports have been intuitive as well as instinctual. But the typical pro player is playing due to athletic prowess, not because he knows how to outsmart his opponent with better insight.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    Another way to consider athlete mental processes is to use the Myers-Briggs or similar psych profile format. It would not be surprising to me to find out that top athletes are more likely to be more Sensory than iNtuitive. Their profiles would be STJ, and could be either ESTJ for extroverts, or ISTJ for introverts. I'm guessing that the modal iSteve reader is INTJ. Has anyone looked into that?
  33. Speaking of sports and genetics, an interesting article from the WSJ:

    “A new WSJ study finds 48.8% of players are related to an elite athlete—that number is 17.5% for the NFL and 14.5% for MLB”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/nba-basketball-runs-in-the-family-1464130236

  34. @Hepp

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

     

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that "analytics" tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that's pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We’re in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren’t as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he’s a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn’t because analytics made Draymond a better player, it’s because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Have there been any innovations in technique that make players better shooters from long distance?
    , @Steve Sailer
    The Clippers have a white guy from Duke, JJ Redick, who specializes in long distance shooting. He was the only player in the league whose arm wingspan was less than his height: short arms allow you to control your shots more precisely, but they're bad for everything else in basketball.
    , @Hepp

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders.

     

    Here's a list of 3 point leaders per season.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Basketball_Association_annual_three-point_field_goal_percentage_leaders

    Back in the mid-90s, Tim Legler and Steve Kerr were leading the league in 3 pt percentage by 52 percent. Those numbers would be good enough to lead the league almost every year in the 2000s.

    Is there any evidence that 3 point percentage has gone down? I looked for overall 3 pt percentage for the entire league over time, but couldn't find anything quickly.

    If the players today are better shooters, that's probably no accident. Players are working on their 3 pt game because that's what's valued.
    , @whorefinder
    As to 3-pointers: one reason they took so long to become popular was the NBA made it much easier for poor shooters both to get into the league and to get closer to the hoop.

    Starting with the Detroit Pistons of the early 1990s, taunting, hacking, traveling, and double-dribbling became far less called than had been previously. This was because the NBA sought to create a dynasty with the Pistons, because dynasties sell tickets, and the Celtics/Lakers were on the wane. So the NBA eased up on calling fouls for taunting, hacking, traveling, and double-dribbling, all of which played to rough-and-tumble Pistons' strength.

    However, even when the Pistons petered out and Jordan's Bulls became the league's dynasty, the NBA didn't re-start calling the fouls/violations again. 1990s and early 200s NBA basketball became streetball, with lots of fouls/violations uncalled that would have never made the cut in, say, 1980 or 1975. (The use of steroids by NBA players during the 1990s and 2000s didn't help; the hulking masses of this era--three times as muscular as dudes in the 70s and 80s---created a lot of 'roid rage mishaps).

    As a result, players got into the league who were poor shooters but could hack and slash and grab with the best of them--the rules suited their style. In addition, if a player wanted high stats on shooting, he could travel or double dribble to get closer; in Shaq's rookie season, there was a big highlight showing him leaping from the top of the paint for a slam, sheepishly landing shy of the hoop, and then just leaping again and making the slam----all without a call for traveling. It was the era where big men dominated---Shaq, Hakeem, 'Zo, etc.--because the rules made inside play a lot easier than outside play.

    It's only been recently that the NBA finally clamped down on some of the bigger violations/fouls that were allowed for so long. As a result, outside shooting returned.
    , @Sam Haysom
    My understanding was that the long unpredictable bounces negated the advantage the defensive team has rebounding. In other words it's not so much that offensive rebounding is less imporant but that long shots offset the inherent advantages the defense has to rebound the ball on shorter shots. Is that wrong?
    , @ben tillman

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders.
     
    If the players who were (despite any defensive shortcomings) put on the court shot 35% from 3 and 45% from 2, they needed to be taking more threes while they were on the court. The top 4 three-point shooters by percentage in 1984-85 (Byron Scott, 43%, Larry Bird, 43%, Brad Davis, 41%, Trent Tucker, 40%) combined to make 158 threes, less than half a three per game per player.

    About the "handful" thing -- I randomly checked 1991-92, and 20 players (with enough shots to qualify) shot at least .382 from three, including "near-superstars" like Mike Iuzzolino and Paul Graham (who????).
  35. Most of the sabermetric stats are considerably more useful to a manager than a player. OBP is more important than batting average or RBI’s, but baseball is selecting players for their ability to hit a 95mph fastball or judge the spin on the ball. In basketball we now know that players should be shooting more threes, but the game selects for coaches and GM’s that notice that and players that can actually do it.

    Furthermore, many of the statistics are measuring outcomes that may be relevant to making future predictions but aren’t useful to the people actually providing the inputs. Score differential is usually the best indicator of relative difference between teams, but what does that tell you as a player? Score more points?

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "OBP is more important than batting average or RBI’s, but baseball is selecting players for their ability to hit a 95mph fastball or judge the spin on the ball. "

    Nah, nah, hold it, hold it. You need both. Player who can hit a 95mph fastball and if men are on base, then it goes without saying that he will tend to hit a lot of RBIs. The more RBIs scored, the more total runs are scored. The more total runs scored, the more games (and hopefully WSs) are won.

    Batting average still remains the purest stat that determines whether or not an individual player can actually consistently hit the ball, and hopefully the individual player's ratio is above one third of the time (.300+).

    OBP means absolutely nothing IF the individual man on base does not score in a particular inning, which is roughly between 49.9-59.9% of the time. Just because a runner is on base doesn't automatically translate into a run scored. Also, its not just any player getting on base but which player. The C? Who cares, he's usually the slowest on the team so most likely he'll be the first out in the double play.

    Perhaps one reason why sabermetrics is still largely regulated to MLB is because unfortunately MLB is on the decline and has been for over 25 yrs at least. NFL; World Soccer; even PGA all achieve higher ratings than MLB. Even such an innocuous thing as a GOP candidate debate in late summer drew far higher ratings, with a few of these debates actually rivaling the AL/NLCS games. Very, very telling that in this day and age of advanced stats and information on MLB and yet they have fewer total number of fans in the US their total market share is declining. In other words, spots that are current, and real to the majority of sports fans isn't a museum relic of the past which is what MLB is dangerously turning into: A game for old white people still stuck in the past.

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would've, hands down. Not so anymore.

  36. Dirk Dagger [AKA "Chico Caldera"] says:
    @anonitron1
    Nor is irrelevant prescriptivist autism a good way to engage with perfectly comprehensible writing.

    irrelevant prescriptivist autism … perfectly comprehensible writing

    Yup. ¡Tienes razón en eso!

  37. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    Have there been any innovations in technique that make players better shooters from long distance?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Practice makes perfect, and the 3-point line was only instituted on the lower levels of basketball in the last twenty years.
    , @Phil
    I think there are selection pressures that have changed and incentivize better shooting

    They changed the illegal defense rule about 10 years or so ago, which has made it much harder to hide bad shooters on offense, and made it more important for each offensive player to be a reasonably passable shooter

    https://www.reddit.com/r/nba/comments/3iyhcf/can_someone_explain_the_illegal_defense_rule_and/

    This is a decent write up about what's going on

  38. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    The Clippers have a white guy from Duke, JJ Redick, who specializes in long distance shooting. He was the only player in the league whose arm wingspan was less than his height: short arms allow you to control your shots more precisely, but they’re bad for everything else in basketball.

    • Replies: @alaska3636
    I imagine that has a similar effect on a golf swing: more arc, more margin of error.
  39. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders.

    Here’s a list of 3 point leaders per season.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Basketball_Association_annual_three-point_field_goal_percentage_leaders

    Back in the mid-90s, Tim Legler and Steve Kerr were leading the league in 3 pt percentage by 52 percent. Those numbers would be good enough to lead the league almost every year in the 2000s.

    Is there any evidence that 3 point percentage has gone down? I looked for overall 3 pt percentage for the entire league over time, but couldn’t find anything quickly.

    If the players today are better shooters, that’s probably no accident. Players are working on their 3 pt game because that’s what’s valued.

  40. @Dignan
    Just a side note - Whitlock was let go from running The Undefeated last year before it was ever published.

    Yeah, I remember this was supposed to be Whitlock’s ship, then he rankled a lot of the black writers he was managing by demanding the same standards of them as of white sportswriters. An internal email was released to “attack” Whitlock where Whitlock was basically making fun of how lazy black sportswriting was and how he wasn’t going to give blacks the same “token black/Jason Blair” pass that white editors did.

    That, apparently, was the “bad” thing—how dare a black editor demand blacks work as hard as whites!

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can’t flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss. (The other part is female solidarity is largely a myth, as females see other females in their group as competition, and so the group devolves into cattiness and backbiting; males in structured groups see one another as teammates working towards a goal, and so cohesion is much easier to create in all-male groups).

    Whitlock has long been one of the few black sportswriters who probably would get along in the iSteve comments. Heck, he’s probably here already, lurking a lot. Was one of the last sportswriters I used to read regularly before I gave up following sports entirely. Wasn’t a token black writer—he deserves his success.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can’t flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss.
     
    The reason women hate working for other women is that women don't "get" hierarchy, and women bosses don't "get" the fact that, as the boss, they are officially superior to the women beneath them and therefore do not need to engage in stupid, petty status shows.
    , @Marty T
    Yeah, I love Whitlock. Very rare to find any sportswriter, black or white, who doesnt wholly succumb to the stock leftist narrative. Of course, a white sportswriter who was as non-politically correct as Whitlock would have trouble finding employment at all.
  41. @Jack D
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It's one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it's another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can't, write about it.

    On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes.

    This seems unlikely, especially if you include Jewish athletes at all levels. Even at the pro level, I’m not sure it’s true. Do you have numbers for both?

    Also, a hundred years ago, boxing was considered a fairly cerebral sport. The other commenter mentioned the Klitschko brothers, who speak several languages and both have PhDs. Even those without much formal education, such as Bernard Hopkins, seem to be smarter-than-average. Which makes some sense in that boxing training requires conscientiousness, and that correlates with intelligence, IIRC.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Pretty much all sports are considered cerebral until blacks start competing and winning. The intelligence of the Klitschko brothers exists in other sports if anyone cared to look.

    Shaquille O'Neal has a doctorate. Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel will begin studying for his PhD in math at MIT this fall. Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe Lance Dreher has a PhD.

    Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, and Kobe Bryant speak multiple languages.

    Rowing (or is it crew?) consistently produces PhDs. Lots of world and Olympic level figure skaters from the US have medical and law degrees. Figure skating has a high concentration of Jews from the US and former Soviet Union.

    , @5371
    Sorry to disappoint you, but the Klichkos are idiots, as they demonstrate every time they open their mouths. They got their degrees for being famous.
  42. Maybe they’re just Nietzscheans:

    The great rationality of all education in morality has always been that
    one tried to attain to the certainty of an instinct: so that neither
    good intentions nor good means had to enter consciousness as such. As the soldier exercises, so should man learn to act. In fact, this
    unconsciousness belongs to any kind of perfection: even the
    mathematician employs his combinations unconsciously–

    What, then, is the significance of the reaction of Socrates, who
    recommended dialectics as the road to virtue and made mock when morality
    did not know how to justify itself logically?– As if this were not part
    of its value–without consciousness it is no good–

    Positing proofs as the presupposition for personal excellence in virtue
    signified nothing less than the disintegration of Greek instincts. They
    are themselves types of disintegration, all these great “virtuous men”
    and word-spinners.

    In praxi, this means that moral judgments are torn from their
    conditionality, in which they have grown and alone possess any meaning,
    from their Greek and Greek-political ground and soil, to be
    denaturalized under the pretense of sublimation. The great concepts
    “good” and “just” are severed from the presuppositions to which they
    belong and, as liberated “ideas,” become objects of dialectic. One looks
    for truth in them, one takes them for entities or signs of entities: one
    invents a world where they are at home, where they originate–

    In summa: the mischief has already reached its climax in Plato– And
    then one had need to invent the abstractly perfect man as well: –good,
    just, wise, a dialectician–in short, the scarecrow of the ancient
    philosopher: a plant removed from all soil; a humanity without any
    particular regulating instincts; a virtue that “proves” itself with
    reasons. The perfectly absurd “individuum” in itself! unnaturalness of
    the first water–

    When morality–that is to say subtlety, caution, bravery, equity–has
    been as it were stored up through the practice of a whole succession of
    generations, then the total force of this accumulated virtue radiates
    even into that sphere where integrity is most seldom found, into the
    spiritual sphere. In all becoming-conscious there is expressed a
    discomfiture of the organism; it has to try something new, nothing is
    sufficiently adapted for it, there is toil, tension, strain–all this
    constitutes becoming-conscious —

    Genius resides in instinct; goodness likewise. One acts perfectly only
    when one acts instinctively. Even from the viewpoint of morality, all
    conscious thinking is merely tentative, usually the reverse of morality.
    Scientific integrity is always ruptured when the thinker begins to
    reason: try the experiment of putting the wisest men on the most
    delicate scales by making them talk about morality–

    It could be proved that all conscious thinking would also show a far
    lower standard of morality than the thinking of the same man when it is
    directed by his instincts.

    – The Will to Power

  43. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    As to 3-pointers: one reason they took so long to become popular was the NBA made it much easier for poor shooters both to get into the league and to get closer to the hoop.

    Starting with the Detroit Pistons of the early 1990s, taunting, hacking, traveling, and double-dribbling became far less called than had been previously. This was because the NBA sought to create a dynasty with the Pistons, because dynasties sell tickets, and the Celtics/Lakers were on the wane. So the NBA eased up on calling fouls for taunting, hacking, traveling, and double-dribbling, all of which played to rough-and-tumble Pistons’ strength.

    However, even when the Pistons petered out and Jordan’s Bulls became the league’s dynasty, the NBA didn’t re-start calling the fouls/violations again. 1990s and early 200s NBA basketball became streetball, with lots of fouls/violations uncalled that would have never made the cut in, say, 1980 or 1975. (The use of steroids by NBA players during the 1990s and 2000s didn’t help; the hulking masses of this era–three times as muscular as dudes in the 70s and 80s—created a lot of ‘roid rage mishaps).

    As a result, players got into the league who were poor shooters but could hack and slash and grab with the best of them–the rules suited their style. In addition, if a player wanted high stats on shooting, he could travel or double dribble to get closer; in Shaq’s rookie season, there was a big highlight showing him leaping from the top of the paint for a slam, sheepishly landing shy of the hoop, and then just leaping again and making the slam—-all without a call for traveling. It was the era where big men dominated—Shaq, Hakeem, ‘Zo, etc.–because the rules made inside play a lot easier than outside play.

    It’s only been recently that the NBA finally clamped down on some of the bigger violations/fouls that were allowed for so long. As a result, outside shooting returned.

    • Agree: Triumph104
  44. Ivy says:
    @Forbes

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren’t very smart, even intuitively.
     
    Athletes are likely to be instinctual but not intuitive. They 'know' what works instinctually, through their particular experience with athletic performance and competitive success. 'Not over-thinking it' is a mantra for athletes. Getting the game to slow down, letting it come to you and taking what it gives, are ways of thinking about--of reacting to the game instinctually.

    That is not to suggest intuition has no part. Probably most of the great players in all sports have been intuitive as well as instinctual. But the typical pro player is playing due to athletic prowess, not because he knows how to outsmart his opponent with better insight.

    Another way to consider athlete mental processes is to use the Myers-Briggs or similar psych profile format. It would not be surprising to me to find out that top athletes are more likely to be more Sensory than iNtuitive. Their profiles would be STJ, and could be either ESTJ for extroverts, or ISTJ for introverts. I’m guessing that the modal iSteve reader is INTJ. Has anyone looked into that?

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    I'd say we've got a decent share of S and P. That's where the "noticing" comes in.

    Top athletes are likely more F than T.
    , @Seneca
    Wow I am an INTJ!

    You sound pretty knowledgeable about Meyer-Briggs.

    Could you please tell me what my best marriage partner match would be? I am serious. From past experience I think I could use some help in that area LOL.

    Also curious as to why you guess that many iSteve readers might be INTJ types.

    Seriously, please set forth your idea in greater detail. I am very curious. Thanks!
    , @Truth
    Very few "J"s in elite level sports, the don't react quickly or unpredictably enough.
  45. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    My understanding was that the long unpredictable bounces negated the advantage the defensive team has rebounding. In other words it’s not so much that offensive rebounding is less imporant but that long shots offset the inherent advantages the defense has to rebound the ball on shorter shots. Is that wrong?

    • Replies: @Anonn
    I think those are two different but related phenomena. Long shots take longer bounces, but the advantage of getting five guys back on defense is way higher than a long shot offensive board. Crashing the offensive boards all the time kills your team on defense. See Enes Kanter.
  46. I suspect it’s mostly just more practice at shooting the three pointer. You can also see yourself on HD now so it’s easy to diagnose what’s going on with your shot. Players’ shots are more uniform than ever; you hardly ever see a good player with an unorthodox shot anymore. Players that do not have a traditional shooting motion really suffer for it in the draft now, and so get fewer opportunities.

    • Replies: @JimL
    Does anyone remember the bizarre shooting form of George McGinnis of the Indiana Pacers? One hand, did not use the off hand as a guide. It seemed to work for a while and then he turned into an awful shooter.
  47. @Ivy
    Another way to consider athlete mental processes is to use the Myers-Briggs or similar psych profile format. It would not be surprising to me to find out that top athletes are more likely to be more Sensory than iNtuitive. Their profiles would be STJ, and could be either ESTJ for extroverts, or ISTJ for introverts. I'm guessing that the modal iSteve reader is INTJ. Has anyone looked into that?

    I’d say we’ve got a decent share of S and P. That’s where the “noticing” comes in.

    Top athletes are likely more F than T.

    • Replies: @Ivy
    Here is some info and discussion about top athletes being ESTP.

    https://whichmbtitype.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/which-mbti-type-is-most-common-for-athletes/
  48. @Steve Sailer
    Have there been any innovations in technique that make players better shooters from long distance?

    Practice makes perfect, and the 3-point line was only instituted on the lower levels of basketball in the last twenty years.

  49. Black people have a very loose broad definition of “nerd” or “blerd”. They call Kanye West a nerd/blerd, even though I haven’t seen any evidence that Kanye West is a book smart rhode scholar who uses big words that most Blacks or people in general regardless of race would not understand. Kanye West’s vocabulary is not drastically different from other urban inner city Dindu rappers, so how the hell is he a nerd like Sheldon Cooper, Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter, and Rajesh Koothrappali?

    Actual Black nerds like the fictional Steve Urkel character are quite rare in real life.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    "Actual Black nerds like the fictional Steve Urkel character are quite rare in real life."

    Except for the POTUS.
  50. @Desiderius
    I'd say we've got a decent share of S and P. That's where the "noticing" comes in.

    Top athletes are likely more F than T.

    Here is some info and discussion about top athletes being ESTP.

    https://whichmbtitype.wordpress.com/2010/09/17/which-mbti-type-is-most-common-for-athletes/

  51. Wow, all of you are dancing so hard around this its like watching the Bolshoi Ballet. Black guys are bad at Math. See. Its not an advanced issue of psychology or even an in-depth discussion about statistical averages. The black race did not have a written language or even a rudimentary number system. Its not a shock they are poor at Math. Yes, its a race and IQ thing.
    Its why there are so few black coaches and so many black players. Statistics and averages is what separates great championship coaches from goofballs who should be teaching gym class to high schoolers. Moneyball is just the latest in a long line of statistical analytics that give some coaches an edge. Football coaches have playbooks, but most Pro and College coaches have to watch and play the averages to get the championships that justify their high salaries.
    When will blacks narrow the gap? Just like every other gap due to IQ about fifteen minutes past never.

    • Replies: @Truth

    The black race did not have a written language or even a rudimentary number system. Its not a shock they are poor at Math. Yes, its a race and IQ thing.
     
    This is oft-repeated foolishness.
  52. Lot says:

    Real estate is another field in which moneyball techniques could be applied.

    When large amounts of money are involved in markets, the weak version of the efficient market hypothesis generally will apply. Baseball I think was a laggard rather than an innovator in using statistical innovations, so the question is more why was baseball and sports generally so late to the party.

    Some possible answers:

    (1) marketable fan favorites on the team are just as important as win/loss in terms of making money (who makes more money for a team, Yao Min/Jeremy Lin or a similar but 5% better black player?)

    (2) owners not always focused on maximizing wins as a way to make money off the team, versus squeezing tax money out of local governments and television contracts

    (3) owners deferring to the management judgment of charismatic former jocks over more cerebral types who can critically use existing statistical measures and refine their own

    (4) owners being conservative/lazy/complacent because the value of a sports franchises goes up every year without much regard to how good the team is, or just being dumb/lucky to own the team via inheritance, or being so filthy rich they run the team their way as a hobby rather than to make money

    (5) owners and managers have an informal agreement with each other not to bid up individual player salaries to their collective detriment by poaching players they think are undervalued by other teams. a weaker version is not an actual anti-poaching agreement, but a sort of social norm not to do it too much.

    possible evidence for this is player trades seem to be a lot more common than poaching players or what you’d expect in a free market. think about other markets. how often do two people moving to each others’ cities trade houses? almost never, not even 1 out of 1000 real estate transactions, because it is stupid to try to do it that way. you sell your house for a market price, then you buy another one at a market price, not try to find someone who has exactly what you want and wants exactly what you have. same thing with companies and workers. yet in pro sports, trading players allows the value of the player’s labor to be transferred without a dollar-valuation being attached to it, as opposed to just hiring one, or buying out a player’s contract and negotiating a new one with him.

    i am not an expert or even particularly knowledgeable about the topic, so this could be completely wrong. a test of the theory would be to compare how common player trades (including player-for-draft-pick trades, which still avoid putting an actual dollar figure on a player) are now versus the 1960’s before pro sports player salaries because such a big factor in team economics. I’d predict the current routine trading of players was less common compared to simply finding players not under contract and/or buying out with cash a contracted player on another team. my impression of low-paid minor league play is that trades are less common compared to just releasing and hiring players individually. if so that is additional support.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Funny, I was just talking to a Brit expat soccer fan yesterday, and his favorite club has an Asian kid on the roster essentially because of the team's shirt sales in his home country.
    , @ScarletNumber
    I think trades were more common then because of lack of free agency.
  53. @Publius
    Most of the sabermetric stats are considerably more useful to a manager than a player. OBP is more important than batting average or RBI's, but baseball is selecting players for their ability to hit a 95mph fastball or judge the spin on the ball. In basketball we now know that players should be shooting more threes, but the game selects for coaches and GM's that notice that and players that can actually do it.

    Furthermore, many of the statistics are measuring outcomes that may be relevant to making future predictions but aren't useful to the people actually providing the inputs. Score differential is usually the best indicator of relative difference between teams, but what does that tell you as a player? Score more points?

    “OBP is more important than batting average or RBI’s, but baseball is selecting players for their ability to hit a 95mph fastball or judge the spin on the ball. ”

    Nah, nah, hold it, hold it. You need both. Player who can hit a 95mph fastball and if men are on base, then it goes without saying that he will tend to hit a lot of RBIs. The more RBIs scored, the more total runs are scored. The more total runs scored, the more games (and hopefully WSs) are won.

    Batting average still remains the purest stat that determines whether or not an individual player can actually consistently hit the ball, and hopefully the individual player’s ratio is above one third of the time (.300+).

    OBP means absolutely nothing IF the individual man on base does not score in a particular inning, which is roughly between 49.9-59.9% of the time. Just because a runner is on base doesn’t automatically translate into a run scored. Also, its not just any player getting on base but which player. The C? Who cares, he’s usually the slowest on the team so most likely he’ll be the first out in the double play.

    Perhaps one reason why sabermetrics is still largely regulated to MLB is because unfortunately MLB is on the decline and has been for over 25 yrs at least. NFL; World Soccer; even PGA all achieve higher ratings than MLB. Even such an innocuous thing as a GOP candidate debate in late summer drew far higher ratings, with a few of these debates actually rivaling the AL/NLCS games. Very, very telling that in this day and age of advanced stats and information on MLB and yet they have fewer total number of fans in the US their total market share is declining. In other words, spots that are current, and real to the majority of sports fans isn’t a museum relic of the past which is what MLB is dangerously turning into: A game for old white people still stuck in the past.

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would’ve, hands down. Not so anymore.

    • Replies: @Truth

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would’ve, hands down. Not so anymore.
     
    Both Bread and Circuses.
  54. Bugg says:
    @LJS
    Remember FireJoeMorgan?

    Remarkable that by the very statistical analysis that he deplored, Joe Morgan, a veritable OBP machine, was a better player than he was given credit for at the time he he played based on exactly those metrics. Yet he didn’t grasp it at all and was full of contempt for such metrics.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    a better player than he was given credit for at the time
     
    Other than those back-to-back MVP awards.

    Granted I was a five-year-old at the time, but I seem to remember Little Joe getting (and deserving) plenty of credit for the Reds' greatness.

    Lower mean IQ doesn't account for all (or even most) of the black distaste for analytics. It's also relative to (and a reaction to) whites who have abstracted themselves out of any sort of intuitive feel for life, leading to many of the maladies Steve notices here.

  55. Phil says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Have there been any innovations in technique that make players better shooters from long distance?

    I think there are selection pressures that have changed and incentivize better shooting

    They changed the illegal defense rule about 10 years or so ago, which has made it much harder to hide bad shooters on offense, and made it more important for each offensive player to be a reasonably passable shooter

    Can someone explain the illegal defense rule and how it changed ISO ball? from nba

    This is a decent write up about what’s going on

  56. @Bugg
    Remarkable that by the very statistical analysis that he deplored, Joe Morgan, a veritable OBP machine, was a better player than he was given credit for at the time he he played based on exactly those metrics. Yet he didn't grasp it at all and was full of contempt for such metrics.

    a better player than he was given credit for at the time

    Other than those back-to-back MVP awards.

    Granted I was a five-year-old at the time, but I seem to remember Little Joe getting (and deserving) plenty of credit for the Reds’ greatness.

    Lower mean IQ doesn’t account for all (or even most) of the black distaste for analytics. It’s also relative to (and a reaction to) whites who have abstracted themselves out of any sort of intuitive feel for life, leading to many of the maladies Steve notices here.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I still don't understand why Morgan is in the HOF. No 500HRs, no 3,000Hits but then I also don't understand why Jim Rice is in the HOF (well, actually I do, HOF Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons pushed for his inclusion for many yrs), but yet Dave Kingman is not. Or Rusty Staub or Al Oliver. I have a suspicion that Staub has a better chance to make Cooperstown at a later time, but I'm trying to recall why I would tend to think that.

    Morgan had the advantage of playing alongside Pete Rose (who by virtue of being the all time MLB hits leader would be in the HOF under most circumstances) and of course Johnny Bench. Its almost as if Rose and Bench were "supposed" to be the main cogs in the Big Red Machine that made it into Cooperstown, but Pete screwed up by getting a lifetime ban. Therefore, the other CIN HOF member slot went to Morgan. After all, Morgan, unlike Bench, wasn't a unanimous first ballot HOFer. I mean, CIN's Tony Perez had very similar offensive category numbers to Morgan and yet he's still not in the HOF. Perhaps if an Hispanic advocacy group were to pressure MLB then "suddenly" in a few yrs, Tony Perez's name would be included on the short list for Cooperstown.


    No, lower IQ doesn't account for all the reason for blacks' distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US? How many take an active interest in such math related fields compared to whites? These are fair questions, I'm sorry to say. Also there is the cultural aspect of blacks' general distain for anything that they perceive as "too white". Facts are facts and one can't just wish them away.

    Some of those abstractions in STEM related fields (and also in the medical community at large, for example) have lead to many breakthroughs in medicine, science, etc. which tend to be the fields that blacks still aren't highly represented in.

    That's why I said that Wilbon at least deserved credit for not playing the race card directly in his article as most community leaders, activists, etc would tend to be doing at this point.

    But I truly don't understand why Joe Morgan or Jim Rice are in the HOF, unless we take into account the popularity and personal politics of the sportswriters who vote on the candidates they tend to like and don't like. Also remember that Joe Morgan had already started to work for ESPN around the time he got inducted into the HOF, hardly a coincidence.

    , @Steve Sailer
    I can recall Sports Illustrated going into great depth in 1976 to explain why Joe Morgan's statistics in 1975 were even better than the traditional batting average, homers, and rbis looked due to the huge number of times he walked and how seldom he was caught stealing. I don't recall if they mentioned that he almost never grounded into a double play.

    Okay, here's the SI article from April 1976:

    "Little Joe Morgan's 1975 happenings included a National League pennant and a World Championship for the Cincinnati Reds and a Most Valuable Player Award for himself, which he won 321½-154 over Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski in the most lopsided MVP balloting in league history. ... Morgan won his third straight Gold Glove award for fielding excellence, led the league with 132 bases on balls, finished second in stolen bases with 67 in 77 attempts, was fourth in hitting with a .327 average and fourth in runs scored with 107, had 17 home runs, drove in 94 runs and hit into only three ground-ball double plays, a league low. Morgan also tied Tony Perez as the Reds' leader in game-winning hits with 15."

    http://www.si.com/vault/1976/04/12/616325/the-little-big-man

    Here's an interesting quote from Morgan:

    "I remember something that Ron Brand told me when I played in Houston, something that put the meaning of 'asset' in focus for me. I was hitting about .280, and I was talking real cocky, and Brand said to me, 'Joe, a lot of guys hit .280, but there aren't any other players in baseball who can get on base like you can. That's what you should be proud of, not your .280.' At the time I didn't take what he said in the right way, but now I'm proud of all the walks I get."

    That's possibly a reference to his rookie season of 1965 when Morgan was 21 and he hit .271 (in the Astrodome) and led the league in walks. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to another second baseman, Jim Lefevre of the Dodgers, who had similar stats but nowhere near as many walks. So, walks were kind of a sophisticated concept in 1965, but by 1976 Sports Illustrated emphasized them.
  57. @Chase
    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green's quote. He doesn't need the advanced statistics because he is "smart" (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I'll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA). All the statistical stuff shows is on the extreme margin, but it's usually fairly predictable who will end up in the NBA Finals in any given year (there are usually 3-4 teams in consideration for the Championship in any given year). I know stuff on the margin matters in a lot of situations, but really, we didn't need advanced statistics to know that Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson or LeBron James were/are great players.

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

    That’s not it at all. Draymond doesn’t “naturally” know what percent of Dirk’s potential assists turn into made baskets (i.e., actual assists), nor would he have “naturally” known what Shawn Bradley’s adjusted plus-minus was.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA).

    Your formula is wrong as it arguably fails to account for the last 13 champions: the Spurs (four times) and the Mavs and the Pistons and the ’06 Heat and the ’09 and ’10 Lakers (none of which had “two top-5/10 players”) and possibly the Celtics and the ’12 and ’13 Heat (was Wade or Bosh really a top-5/10″ player at that time?) and the Warriors.

    And how do you decide who the “top-5/10” and “top-15/20” players are, anyway?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    none of which had “two top-5/10 players"
     
    5'10" is pretty short for the NBA. And nobody's seen 15' 20" since Goliath.
  58. […] 4. Steve Sailer against Political Correctness […]

  59. @SPMoore8
    I can remember when SLG and OBP were big deal analytics, and I can also remember when Bill James, John Thorn, and Pete Palmer got started. The attempt to quantify greatness, or to predict performance, will ever remain elusive. But at the same time, a lot of advanced metrics involved the sorts of things common sense would have told you before: so and so is a fly ball pitcher, so and so is good for a walk.

    Nowadays, advanced sabermetrics is basically for people who like to mess around with numbers. After all, the stats, however forbidding they may appear, are almost always just arithmetic. So, in general, the people who will like to mess around with numbers are going to be bright white guys. Why should that be a surprise?

    But at the same time, a lot of advanced metrics involved the sorts of things common sense would have told you before: so and so is a fly ball pitcher, so and so is good for a walk…

    …and so-and-so of Stratford in Warwickshire is far more likely to have written those plays than any one of the many others put forward by fevered moderns. The Claremont study babbaged the entire works of all of them, “sabermetrically”, only to reinforce traditional scholarship. No one else who left written work sounds anything like Will.

  60. @ben tillman

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.
     
    That's not it at all. Draymond doesn't "naturally" know what percent of Dirk's potential assists turn into made baskets (i.e., actual assists), nor would he have "naturally" known what Shawn Bradley's adjusted plus-minus was.

    I actually think a lot of the statistical stuff is way over-rated, especially in basketball. The secret to winning has always been: Have two top-5/10 players, one top-15/20 and a decent surrounding group, and put them with a coach who knows what he is doing (there are about five in the NBA).
     
    Your formula is wrong as it arguably fails to account for the last 13 champions: the Spurs (four times) and the Mavs and the Pistons and the '06 Heat and the '09 and '10 Lakers (none of which had "two top-5/10 players") and possibly the Celtics and the '12 and '13 Heat (was Wade or Bosh really a top-5/10" player at that time?) and the Warriors.

    And how do you decide who the "top-5/10" and "top-15/20" players are, anyway?

    none of which had “two top-5/10 players”

    5’10” is pretty short for the NBA. And nobody’s seen 15′ 20″ since Goliath.

  61. @Dave Pinsen

    On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes.
     
    This seems unlikely, especially if you include Jewish athletes at all levels. Even at the pro level, I'm not sure it's true. Do you have numbers for both?

    Also, a hundred years ago, boxing was considered a fairly cerebral sport. The other commenter mentioned the Klitschko brothers, who speak several languages and both have PhDs. Even those without much formal education, such as Bernard Hopkins, seem to be smarter-than-average. Which makes some sense in that boxing training requires conscientiousness, and that correlates with intelligence, IIRC.

    Pretty much all sports are considered cerebral until blacks start competing and winning. The intelligence of the Klitschko brothers exists in other sports if anyone cared to look.

    Shaquille O’Neal has a doctorate. Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel will begin studying for his PhD in math at MIT this fall. Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe Lance Dreher has a PhD.

    Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, and Kobe Bryant speak multiple languages.

    Rowing (or is it crew?) consistently produces PhDs. Lots of world and Olympic level figure skaters from the US have medical and law degrees. Figure skating has a high concentration of Jews from the US and former Soviet Union.

    • Replies: @Triumph104
    Correction:

    John Urschel still plays for the Ravens. He is studying for his math PhD in the off season. He earned four straight As this spring semester. He works out with MITs Division 3 football team.
    , @Buffalo Joe
    Don't know how O'Neal got a Doctorate, maybe honorary. Urschel is a local Jesuit Prep product who was working on his Masters while still playing college ball, so he is a rarity. Kobe Bryant spent most of his childhood in Italy so he needed to speak Italian.
  62. @anonn
    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders. Most players shot a really bad percentage from three. We're in a golden age for the NBA now, in part, because there are good shooters at every position now, and most of them are 2-way players.

    Additionally, taking a lot of threes creates long, unpredictable rebounds and puts the shot-taker out of position for rebounds. One of the insights of analytics in basketball was that offensive rebounds aren't as important as we thought. A player like Draymond Green would have been a different player, a monster on the offensive boards a generation ago, but now he's a ball-handler, defensive stopper, small-ball center, and occasional outside shooter. This isn't because analytics made Draymond a better player, it's because analytics made the coaches use his players in better roles.

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders.

    If the players who were (despite any defensive shortcomings) put on the court shot 35% from 3 and 45% from 2, they needed to be taking more threes while they were on the court. The top 4 three-point shooters by percentage in 1984-85 (Byron Scott, 43%, Larry Bird, 43%, Brad Davis, 41%, Trent Tucker, 40%) combined to make 158 threes, less than half a three per game per player.

    About the “handful” thing — I randomly checked 1991-92, and 20 players (with enough shots to qualify) shot at least .382 from three, including “near-superstars” like Mike Iuzzolino and Paul Graham (who????).

    • Replies: @Anonn
    Interesting, but you've got to look at the total number of shots taken as well considering disparity in the eras. it looks like the immortal Paul Graham made a whopping 55 three pointers in his magical year. I think Steph Curry made 55 three pointers in a long weekend.
  63. @Ivy
    Another way to consider athlete mental processes is to use the Myers-Briggs or similar psych profile format. It would not be surprising to me to find out that top athletes are more likely to be more Sensory than iNtuitive. Their profiles would be STJ, and could be either ESTJ for extroverts, or ISTJ for introverts. I'm guessing that the modal iSteve reader is INTJ. Has anyone looked into that?

    Wow I am an INTJ!

    You sound pretty knowledgeable about Meyer-Briggs.

    Could you please tell me what my best marriage partner match would be? I am serious. From past experience I think I could use some help in that area LOL.

    Also curious as to why you guess that many iSteve readers might be INTJ types.

    Seriously, please set forth your idea in greater detail. I am very curious. Thanks!

    • Replies: @Truth
    INTJ is the "know it all" type.

    So her opinion on Isteve posters is correct.
    , @Ivy
    Seneca: start here http://www.myersbriggs.org/ then troll through the various offshoot websites and tests.
    Light/Truth: I'm male

    Site note about Myers Briggs: At one time, as related to me by a military trainer, the military put all flag-rank officers through training that included MB. They found that the most common by far was the STJ.

  64. @Desiderius

    a better player than he was given credit for at the time
     
    Other than those back-to-back MVP awards.

    Granted I was a five-year-old at the time, but I seem to remember Little Joe getting (and deserving) plenty of credit for the Reds' greatness.

    Lower mean IQ doesn't account for all (or even most) of the black distaste for analytics. It's also relative to (and a reaction to) whites who have abstracted themselves out of any sort of intuitive feel for life, leading to many of the maladies Steve notices here.

    I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF. No 500HRs, no 3,000Hits but then I also don’t understand why Jim Rice is in the HOF (well, actually I do, HOF Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons pushed for his inclusion for many yrs), but yet Dave Kingman is not. Or Rusty Staub or Al Oliver. I have a suspicion that Staub has a better chance to make Cooperstown at a later time, but I’m trying to recall why I would tend to think that.

    Morgan had the advantage of playing alongside Pete Rose (who by virtue of being the all time MLB hits leader would be in the HOF under most circumstances) and of course Johnny Bench. Its almost as if Rose and Bench were “supposed” to be the main cogs in the Big Red Machine that made it into Cooperstown, but Pete screwed up by getting a lifetime ban. Therefore, the other CIN HOF member slot went to Morgan. After all, Morgan, unlike Bench, wasn’t a unanimous first ballot HOFer. I mean, CIN’s Tony Perez had very similar offensive category numbers to Morgan and yet he’s still not in the HOF. Perhaps if an Hispanic advocacy group were to pressure MLB then “suddenly” in a few yrs, Tony Perez’s name would be included on the short list for Cooperstown.

    No, lower IQ doesn’t account for all the reason for blacks’ distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US? How many take an active interest in such math related fields compared to whites? These are fair questions, I’m sorry to say. Also there is the cultural aspect of blacks’ general distain for anything that they perceive as “too white”. Facts are facts and one can’t just wish them away.

    Some of those abstractions in STEM related fields (and also in the medical community at large, for example) have lead to many breakthroughs in medicine, science, etc. which tend to be the fields that blacks still aren’t highly represented in.

    That’s why I said that Wilbon at least deserved credit for not playing the race card directly in his article as most community leaders, activists, etc would tend to be doing at this point.

    But I truly don’t understand why Joe Morgan or Jim Rice are in the HOF, unless we take into account the popularity and personal politics of the sportswriters who vote on the candidates they tend to like and don’t like. Also remember that Joe Morgan had already started to work for ESPN around the time he got inducted into the HOF, hardly a coincidence.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    "I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF."

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    , @Brutusale
    You need another explanation for Rice. He hated sportswriters, and they hated him.

    Morgan was a very good cog in an indomitable machine. Look at the lineup:

    Pete Rose
    Joe Morgan
    Johnny Bench
    Tony Perez
    Davey Conception
    Cesar Geronimo/George Foster platoon
    Ken Griffey
    Chaney/Flynn/Vukovich platoon

    Gullett/Nolan/Bellingham/Darcy starters
    McEnaney/Borbon/Eastwick in the bullpen

    As tough a team as you'll ever see. Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon, which was the only "analytics" in baseball at the time.

    As Jim Bouton pointed out in his 1969 book Ball Four, pitcher and kinesiology Masters degree-holder Mike Marshall was an early adopter of statistical analysis. He had a problem with the stultifying caveman attitudes then prevalent in baseball, which is why an intelligent guy with a Cy Young and multiple All-Star appearances played for 9 teams in 12 years.

    As Bouton quoted, the prevalent attitude was, "Stop thinking, you're hurting the team!".

    Fun fact about Marshall: the year Marshall considered leaving baseball to finish his doctorate, he was the guy who told teammate Tommy John he should try the radical surgery proposed by team doctor Frank Jobe, even give Jobe's quoted odds of success a 1 in 100. That operation now bears John's name.

    , @Desiderius

    No, lower IQ doesn’t account for all the reason for blacks’ distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US?
     
    You miss my point. The number of black STEM grads is way less than would be predicted on the basis of the IQ gap alone, and even that number is grossly inflated by AA.
  65. @Desiderius

    a better player than he was given credit for at the time
     
    Other than those back-to-back MVP awards.

    Granted I was a five-year-old at the time, but I seem to remember Little Joe getting (and deserving) plenty of credit for the Reds' greatness.

    Lower mean IQ doesn't account for all (or even most) of the black distaste for analytics. It's also relative to (and a reaction to) whites who have abstracted themselves out of any sort of intuitive feel for life, leading to many of the maladies Steve notices here.

    I can recall Sports Illustrated going into great depth in 1976 to explain why Joe Morgan’s statistics in 1975 were even better than the traditional batting average, homers, and rbis looked due to the huge number of times he walked and how seldom he was caught stealing. I don’t recall if they mentioned that he almost never grounded into a double play.

    Okay, here’s the SI article from April 1976:

    “Little Joe Morgan’s 1975 happenings included a National League pennant and a World Championship for the Cincinnati Reds and a Most Valuable Player Award for himself, which he won 321½-154 over Philadelphia’s Greg Luzinski in the most lopsided MVP balloting in league history. … Morgan won his third straight Gold Glove award for fielding excellence, led the league with 132 bases on balls, finished second in stolen bases with 67 in 77 attempts, was fourth in hitting with a .327 average and fourth in runs scored with 107, had 17 home runs, drove in 94 runs and hit into only three ground-ball double plays, a league low. Morgan also tied Tony Perez as the Reds’ leader in game-winning hits with 15.”

    http://www.si.com/vault/1976/04/12/616325/the-little-big-man

    Here’s an interesting quote from Morgan:

    “I remember something that Ron Brand told me when I played in Houston, something that put the meaning of ‘asset’ in focus for me. I was hitting about .280, and I was talking real cocky, and Brand said to me, ‘Joe, a lot of guys hit .280, but there aren’t any other players in baseball who can get on base like you can. That’s what you should be proud of, not your .280.’ At the time I didn’t take what he said in the right way, but now I’m proud of all the walks I get.”

    That’s possibly a reference to his rookie season of 1965 when Morgan was 21 and he hit .271 (in the Astrodome) and led the league in walks. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to another second baseman, Jim Lefevre of the Dodgers, who had similar stats but nowhere near as many walks. So, walks were kind of a sophisticated concept in 1965, but by 1976 Sports Illustrated emphasized them.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.
    , @David In TN
    I recall a 1968 Sport Magazine Piece, "The Managers Rate The Players." Joe Morgan was in his fourth season in Houston and was said to "be a better base stealer than Lou Brock, but didn't go as often."
  66. @Steve Sailer
    I can recall Sports Illustrated going into great depth in 1976 to explain why Joe Morgan's statistics in 1975 were even better than the traditional batting average, homers, and rbis looked due to the huge number of times he walked and how seldom he was caught stealing. I don't recall if they mentioned that he almost never grounded into a double play.

    Okay, here's the SI article from April 1976:

    "Little Joe Morgan's 1975 happenings included a National League pennant and a World Championship for the Cincinnati Reds and a Most Valuable Player Award for himself, which he won 321½-154 over Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski in the most lopsided MVP balloting in league history. ... Morgan won his third straight Gold Glove award for fielding excellence, led the league with 132 bases on balls, finished second in stolen bases with 67 in 77 attempts, was fourth in hitting with a .327 average and fourth in runs scored with 107, had 17 home runs, drove in 94 runs and hit into only three ground-ball double plays, a league low. Morgan also tied Tony Perez as the Reds' leader in game-winning hits with 15."

    http://www.si.com/vault/1976/04/12/616325/the-little-big-man

    Here's an interesting quote from Morgan:

    "I remember something that Ron Brand told me when I played in Houston, something that put the meaning of 'asset' in focus for me. I was hitting about .280, and I was talking real cocky, and Brand said to me, 'Joe, a lot of guys hit .280, but there aren't any other players in baseball who can get on base like you can. That's what you should be proud of, not your .280.' At the time I didn't take what he said in the right way, but now I'm proud of all the walks I get."

    That's possibly a reference to his rookie season of 1965 when Morgan was 21 and he hit .271 (in the Astrodome) and led the league in walks. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to another second baseman, Jim Lefevre of the Dodgers, who had similar stats but nowhere near as many walks. So, walks were kind of a sophisticated concept in 1965, but by 1976 Sports Illustrated emphasized them.

    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench….or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in ’68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn’t score.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.
    , @The Alarmist
    You totally forgot about Lee May. I'm also assuming you have bought into that BS that Pete Rose should kept out of the HOF.
    , @The Last Real Calvinist

    So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

     

    A case has been made for Perez: he was voted into the HoF in 2000.
    , @Brutusale
    Yeah, people forget where the concept of "cleanup" hitter came from.
    , @Desiderius

    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench….or Tony Perez.
     
    Who feasted on the fastballs produced by Morgan's base-stealing capacity (and OBP that made that possible - Billy Hamilton's achilles heel).

    Ultimately, baseball sabermetrics comes down to not making outs, and Morgan was a master of every variation of that.
  67. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I still don't understand why Morgan is in the HOF. No 500HRs, no 3,000Hits but then I also don't understand why Jim Rice is in the HOF (well, actually I do, HOF Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons pushed for his inclusion for many yrs), but yet Dave Kingman is not. Or Rusty Staub or Al Oliver. I have a suspicion that Staub has a better chance to make Cooperstown at a later time, but I'm trying to recall why I would tend to think that.

    Morgan had the advantage of playing alongside Pete Rose (who by virtue of being the all time MLB hits leader would be in the HOF under most circumstances) and of course Johnny Bench. Its almost as if Rose and Bench were "supposed" to be the main cogs in the Big Red Machine that made it into Cooperstown, but Pete screwed up by getting a lifetime ban. Therefore, the other CIN HOF member slot went to Morgan. After all, Morgan, unlike Bench, wasn't a unanimous first ballot HOFer. I mean, CIN's Tony Perez had very similar offensive category numbers to Morgan and yet he's still not in the HOF. Perhaps if an Hispanic advocacy group were to pressure MLB then "suddenly" in a few yrs, Tony Perez's name would be included on the short list for Cooperstown.


    No, lower IQ doesn't account for all the reason for blacks' distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US? How many take an active interest in such math related fields compared to whites? These are fair questions, I'm sorry to say. Also there is the cultural aspect of blacks' general distain for anything that they perceive as "too white". Facts are facts and one can't just wish them away.

    Some of those abstractions in STEM related fields (and also in the medical community at large, for example) have lead to many breakthroughs in medicine, science, etc. which tend to be the fields that blacks still aren't highly represented in.

    That's why I said that Wilbon at least deserved credit for not playing the race card directly in his article as most community leaders, activists, etc would tend to be doing at this point.

    But I truly don't understand why Joe Morgan or Jim Rice are in the HOF, unless we take into account the popularity and personal politics of the sportswriters who vote on the candidates they tend to like and don't like. Also remember that Joe Morgan had already started to work for ESPN around the time he got inducted into the HOF, hardly a coincidence.

    “I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF.”

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No 3,000 Hits and no 500 HRs. Greatest dynasties? Uh, in the '70's Morgan didn't play for Charles Finley's A's. Generally speaking, a dynasty wins more championships than it loses. CIN lost in '70 and '72. They also lost in five in the '73 NLCS to the mediocre Mets of all teams. For historical long term dynasties that span 2-3 generations, there is of course the 1921-1964 NY Yankees. (20/29 WS in 44 yrs and only finishing lower than third place two seasons).

    Even in the '70's NY won 2 WS, the same as CIN and so did PIT by the way. I mean, by that account RF Dave Parker should have been inducted into the HOF. I'm sorry, I can't ignore the story, perhaps anecdotal, about Veteran Committee member Ted Williams fighting to get his teammate, 2B Bobby Doerr into the HOF. He refused to vote for Bill Mazeroski until Doerr was inducted. As soon as Doerr got into the HOF, Mazeroski did like a couple yrs after. This kind of subjectivity (personal politics, etc) tends to happen in HOF voting and not just in MLB.

    It's not the Hall of Very Good, or the Hall of the greatest players you've never heard of. Or the most amazing best players from the top 5% that ever played. You said the right word, decent. He was decent. Not great. By this metric I suppose Dave Concepcion should be inducted fairly soon.

    I like what Pete Rose said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith. "People generally know who the greatest players are in any generation. They dominate, they're the greatest from their peers. You don't have to wait 20-30 yrs after they quit to figure out that they were great." Granted, he had a personal stake in why he made the statement. But that doesn't change the fact that he was right.

    Example: Harmon Killebrew was not a first ballot HOF, and he had more career HRs and RBIs than Mickey Mantle. That's like, wow. Talk about subjective HOF voting.

    , @The Last Real Calvinist

    “I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF.”

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?
     
    Morgan was, and remains, the best offensive second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. He was definitely a better player than Rose.

    Rose had a couple of genuinely great years offensively, but mostly he was very good, and of course incredibly durable. He also moved all over the field in his career -- from second base to (mostly) left field to third base to first base -- not so much because he was such a defensive whiz, but because he wasn't especially great at any position.

    Morgan had a true hall of fame-quality peak that lasted quite a few years, from his late 20s well into his 30s, reaching its apotheosis in a phenomenal 1976 season in which he was the highest-cotane fuel powering the Big Red Machine.

    I was a huge Reds fan back in the 70s and 80s, but I have to admit I didn't appreciate Morgan's excellence at the time. I was kid who was too impressed by Rose's headfirst slides and George Foster's majestic home runs.
    , @Truth
    2b is probably historically the weakest offensive position. Morgan was better than guys like Joe Gordon, Red Schoendienst, Nellie Fox and Mazeroski.

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hof/hofst2b.shtml
    , @Forbes
    Batting 3rd in the line-up would be the manager's judgement of the best all-around hitter on the team.

    Ideally (opinions differ), first in order is 'getting on base' (where OBP comes in) and speed for base stealing. Second is contact hitter, low strike-outs, and speed (needs to execute hit n run). Third is best hitter. Fourth--clean-up--is top power hitter (SLG), and fifth is second best power hitter.

    Batting third in that Reds line-up is saying something. A lot of these thresholds (500 HR, 3000 hits) are testaments to injury-free longevity, not an absolute measure of excellence--though certainly doesn't preclude it. HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.
  68. @Steve Sailer
    "I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF."

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    No 3,000 Hits and no 500 HRs. Greatest dynasties? Uh, in the ’70’s Morgan didn’t play for Charles Finley’s A’s. Generally speaking, a dynasty wins more championships than it loses. CIN lost in ’70 and ’72. They also lost in five in the ’73 NLCS to the mediocre Mets of all teams. For historical long term dynasties that span 2-3 generations, there is of course the 1921-1964 NY Yankees. (20/29 WS in 44 yrs and only finishing lower than third place two seasons).

    Even in the ’70’s NY won 2 WS, the same as CIN and so did PIT by the way. I mean, by that account RF Dave Parker should have been inducted into the HOF. I’m sorry, I can’t ignore the story, perhaps anecdotal, about Veteran Committee member Ted Williams fighting to get his teammate, 2B Bobby Doerr into the HOF. He refused to vote for Bill Mazeroski until Doerr was inducted. As soon as Doerr got into the HOF, Mazeroski did like a couple yrs after. This kind of subjectivity (personal politics, etc) tends to happen in HOF voting and not just in MLB.

    It’s not the Hall of Very Good, or the Hall of the greatest players you’ve never heard of. Or the most amazing best players from the top 5% that ever played. You said the right word, decent. He was decent. Not great. By this metric I suppose Dave Concepcion should be inducted fairly soon.

    I like what Pete Rose said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith. “People generally know who the greatest players are in any generation. They dominate, they’re the greatest from their peers. You don’t have to wait 20-30 yrs after they quit to figure out that they were great.” Granted, he had a personal stake in why he made the statement. But that doesn’t change the fact that he was right.

    Example: Harmon Killebrew was not a first ballot HOF, and he had more career HRs and RBIs than Mickey Mantle. That’s like, wow. Talk about subjective HOF voting.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.
  69. @Steve Sailer
    "I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF."

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    “I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF.”

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    Morgan was, and remains, the best offensive second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. He was definitely a better player than Rose.

    Rose had a couple of genuinely great years offensively, but mostly he was very good, and of course incredibly durable. He also moved all over the field in his career — from second base to (mostly) left field to third base to first base — not so much because he was such a defensive whiz, but because he wasn’t especially great at any position.

    Morgan had a true hall of fame-quality peak that lasted quite a few years, from his late 20s well into his 30s, reaching its apotheosis in a phenomenal 1976 season in which he was the highest-cotane fuel powering the Big Red Machine.

    I was a huge Reds fan back in the 70s and 80s, but I have to admit I didn’t appreciate Morgan’s excellence at the time. I was kid who was too impressed by Rose’s headfirst slides and George Foster’s majestic home runs.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No way. Rose is the all time Hits leader, he won three batting titles. In a rational world he would be considered one of the top ten best offensive players to have ever played the game. Its not even arguable that Pete Rose was a far greater and more impactful offensive player than Joe Morgan. Did Morgan have 3,000 hits? No. Did he even have over 200 hits in a season? No. Did he hit as high as .330 in a season? No. Did Morgan have a 40 plus game hitting streak in his career? No.
    Was he even a first ballot HOFer? Answer: No. So its not unanimous that he was the greatest 2B ever to play the game. Excellent? Of course. Amazingly talented, absolutey. But the greatest ever? Come come now.

    "Spectactular claims require spectacular evidence." And unfortunately, not seeing it.

    Its understandable with how people tend to view Pete Rose now, especially since his band ca.1989, but lets not entirely rewrite history just to suit a narrative or personal agenda.

    Morgan had about 4-7 peak yrs and within those yrs he had about 3-5 amazing yrs that could be considered "great".

    I respectfully submit that Tony Perez was a far better offensive player than Morgan ever was.
    , @Desiderius

    not so much because he was such a defensive whiz
     
    All-time leader in defensive percentage (1-errors/chances) among outfielders?

    Pete Rose.

    Imperfect stat, but still says something about reliability/consistency.
  70. @Sam Haysom
    My understanding was that the long unpredictable bounces negated the advantage the defensive team has rebounding. In other words it's not so much that offensive rebounding is less imporant but that long shots offset the inherent advantages the defense has to rebound the ball on shorter shots. Is that wrong?

    I think those are two different but related phenomena. Long shots take longer bounces, but the advantage of getting five guys back on defense is way higher than a long shot offensive board. Crashing the offensive boards all the time kills your team on defense. See Enes Kanter.

  71. @ben tillman

    While it is true that a 35% chance at 3 points is better than a 45% chance at 2, there are some good reasons why the game took so long to change. Until recently the only players who consistently shot that percentage were a handful of near-superstars like Reggie Miller or Dennis Scott, and those guys were terrible defenders.
     
    If the players who were (despite any defensive shortcomings) put on the court shot 35% from 3 and 45% from 2, they needed to be taking more threes while they were on the court. The top 4 three-point shooters by percentage in 1984-85 (Byron Scott, 43%, Larry Bird, 43%, Brad Davis, 41%, Trent Tucker, 40%) combined to make 158 threes, less than half a three per game per player.

    About the "handful" thing -- I randomly checked 1991-92, and 20 players (with enough shots to qualify) shot at least .382 from three, including "near-superstars" like Mike Iuzzolino and Paul Graham (who????).

    Interesting, but you’ve got to look at the total number of shots taken as well considering disparity in the eras. it looks like the immortal Paul Graham made a whopping 55 three pointers in his magical year. I think Steph Curry made 55 three pointers in a long weekend.

    • Replies: @Truth
    Funny thing about Paul Graham, his nickname was "Snoop"( he looked a lot like Snoopy) and he played most of his career for the Hawks. Three-pointers were the last thing he was known for, instead, he was one of the NBA's original "streetball" players, way ahead of his time. I remember him always driving coaches crazy with his whirly-twirly moves, which worked sometimes and led to ridiculous turnovers.
  72. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No 3,000 Hits and no 500 HRs. Greatest dynasties? Uh, in the '70's Morgan didn't play for Charles Finley's A's. Generally speaking, a dynasty wins more championships than it loses. CIN lost in '70 and '72. They also lost in five in the '73 NLCS to the mediocre Mets of all teams. For historical long term dynasties that span 2-3 generations, there is of course the 1921-1964 NY Yankees. (20/29 WS in 44 yrs and only finishing lower than third place two seasons).

    Even in the '70's NY won 2 WS, the same as CIN and so did PIT by the way. I mean, by that account RF Dave Parker should have been inducted into the HOF. I'm sorry, I can't ignore the story, perhaps anecdotal, about Veteran Committee member Ted Williams fighting to get his teammate, 2B Bobby Doerr into the HOF. He refused to vote for Bill Mazeroski until Doerr was inducted. As soon as Doerr got into the HOF, Mazeroski did like a couple yrs after. This kind of subjectivity (personal politics, etc) tends to happen in HOF voting and not just in MLB.

    It's not the Hall of Very Good, or the Hall of the greatest players you've never heard of. Or the most amazing best players from the top 5% that ever played. You said the right word, decent. He was decent. Not great. By this metric I suppose Dave Concepcion should be inducted fairly soon.

    I like what Pete Rose said in an interview with Stephen A. Smith. "People generally know who the greatest players are in any generation. They dominate, they're the greatest from their peers. You don't have to wait 20-30 yrs after they quit to figure out that they were great." Granted, he had a personal stake in why he made the statement. But that doesn't change the fact that he was right.

    Example: Harmon Killebrew was not a first ballot HOF, and he had more career HRs and RBIs than Mickey Mantle. That's like, wow. Talk about subjective HOF voting.

    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.

    • Replies: @Captain Tripps

    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.
     
    Uh, Ryne Sandberg?

    From his Hall of Fame entry at http://baseballhall.org/hof/sandberg-ryne:

    "In 1984, Sandberg led the Cubs to their first postseason play since the 1945 World Series, hitting .314 and leading the league in runs scored with 114, and triples with 19. He also began turning on the ball and chipped in 19 homers on his way to the NL MVP award. He also made his first of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, and won his second of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards.

    In 1990, Sandberg led the NL in homers with 40, while also leading the league in runs and total bases, driving in 100 runs and stealing 25 bases. He was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1925 to lead the NL in homers.

    Sandberg finished his career with the highest fielding percentage at second base with .989. He had 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games.

    At the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman and also had hit more home runs than any second baseman in baseball history."

    Granted, he did not have Morgan's speed on the bases, and he gets some points taken off for no championships, but he was a pretty darn good second baseman, the best defender at his position all time by far (which is consistently underrated).
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    If so, then he would've been unanimously inducted into the HOF during his first yr of eligibility since everyone would have known it to be an obvious fact.

    "Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence"--Carl Sagan

    Cobb; Ruth; Wagner; Mathewson; Johnson were among the earliest inductees into the HOF before its opening in 1939. It wasn't even disputed that those were among the best to ever have played the game (at that time). In other words, Babe Ruth, who had just retired in '35, didn't have to wait until 1956 to be inducted into the HOF a la "Aren't we missing someone in the Hall? Who is that? Oh yeah! That fat dude who hit tons of homers! He's not in yet? How'd we ever miss him?" The greatest of the great or the top .00001% within the top 1.0% are definitely inducted within their first yr of eligibility. Michael Jordan didn't have to wait ten-fifteen yrs to be inducted. I don't think that Brady or Payton will have to wait twenty yrs to be inducted either.
    Perhaps people are making allowances by trying to state that within the top one percent of great players there are the greatest of the great (Ruth) and there are borderline kinda sorta maybe great (Dawson, Rice, and Morgan). This kind of subjective voting does tend to call into question as to whether or not Halls of Fame are really necessary after all since many, many players are in them that have no business being there whatsoever.

    Where are the 3,000 hits or the 500 HRs? Where is the hitting .400 in a single season? Or hitting safely in 40, 50 plus consecutive games? Hornsby won the coveted Triple Crown twice, did Morgan win the Triple Crown even once?

    I know that Hornsby hit over .400 several times and that he was about 70 career hits shy of 3,000. Trying to remember who had more HRs, because Hornsby had around 340 HRs would have to check on Morgan's career total, but I know it wasn't 500, much less 400.
  73. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.

    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

     

    Also have to remember that Morgan played the first seven or eight years of his career for the Astros. His offensive stats therefore suffered noticeably, i.e. because of hitting in the Astrodome. His number shot upwards as soon as he got to Cincinnati.

    BTW, I do think Pete Rose belongs in the HoF. But Morgan was better.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Means absolutely nothing, if the run does not score. Did Morgan score 1.000 percent of the time he got on base? Bill James did no favors by elevating an incidental stat without examining the full context. Reaching base means diddly if the run does not score. Just means a double play or a fly out to end the inning. Granted, in Morgan's case he had the base stealing ability to manufacture runs. If James had been consistent, he would have emphasized that you need BOTH---Getting on base AND stealing bases in order to manufacture runs. Everything in life involves a certain amount of risk and sports is no different. No risk, no reward.

    No 3,000 hits an no 500 HRs. I can see why Reggie doesn't think he's all that. And Reggie Jackson won more WS's by the way.
  74. @James B. Shearer
    Dennis Rodman paid attention to the percentages, knowing certain players tended to miss shots in predictable ways and positioning himself for the rebound accordingly. See this 1996 SI article .

    "The Rodman paradox is that he can look as though he is barely in control of his emotions on the court, on the edge of some outburst, when he is in fact coolly processing information. He is taking into account who the shooter is, the area on the court from which the shooter is firing, the trajectory of the ball, the positioning of his opponents and the percentages, which indicate that most shots will rebound long and to the opposite side of the basket from which they were launched. "People think I just go get the damn ball, because they don't take the time to really look at what I do," he says. "Rebounding isn't brain surgery, but there's more to it than being able to jump higher than the next guy. A lot of the work is done before you ever even jump.""

    Yeah, but Rodman endorsed Trump so everything he says in invalid…

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/24/politics/dennis-rodman-donald-trump-endorsement/

  75. @Steve Sailer
    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

    Also have to remember that Morgan played the first seven or eight years of his career for the Astros. His offensive stats therefore suffered noticeably, i.e. because of hitting in the Astrodome. His number shot upwards as soon as he got to Cincinnati.

    BTW, I do think Pete Rose belongs in the HoF. But Morgan was better.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Joe Morgan suffered in Houston because of an injury, that he was playing for a lousy team and the fact that Harry "The Hat" Walker was an idiot.
  76. “The bigger question is whether smart quantitatively-oriented white guys devote too much of their time to thinking hard about sports numbers (for which they are unlikely to become the object of Two Minutes Hates) rather than more important real world issues (at the risk of having their careers destroyed).”

    Where there’s hard cash involved and money to be made (e.g. hedge funds) I imagine that PC would go out of the window and HBD come in. But there’s a self-correcting mechanism which means you can’t just look at the world and decide to put all your savings in Japan, say, because monocultural and smart. If a place is relatively monocultural and smart (as most of Northern Europe was 30 years back), they’ll have high wages, high taxes, employment rights etc – in other words they won’t hand all the fruits of their labour and ingenuity to some foreign investor. And investing in smart, monocultural but more corrupt (China) bears the risk that the roundeye will simply be ripped off.

  77. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.

    You totally forgot about Lee May. I’m also assuming you have bought into that BS that Pete Rose should kept out of the HOF.

  78. “… states without many trees (e.g., the Dakotas) have done relatively better economically since 2007 than states with a lot of trees (e.g., the Carolinas), a reversal of the 1990s. But neither Chetty nor most of the journalists writing about his work have bothered to look hard at the implications of his numbers.”

    In our burgeoning Idiocracy, the conclusion would be to cut down all the trees and then plan to plant new ones if the resulting boom were to cool off.

  79. @Jack D
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It's one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it's another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can't, write about it.

    Some of the greatest boxers of the postwar era were Jewish.

  80. @Jefferson
    A White man with the same IQ as Steve Harvey would have been deemed by society as being dumber than George W. Bush, who was a C average student in college.

    That dumb guy did win the presidency….

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Yup...the dumb guy won the last few presidential elections.
  81. @Triumph104
    I'm a woman but I spend a lot of time on a sports/general interest site dominated by young black men. Many of them have trouble with basic fractions and percentages. They can't understand that if 40 percent of the people on food stamps are black and 40 percent are white, blacks are far more likely than whites to be on food stamps.

    There are some bright guys on site, pharmacists, lawyers, engineers, and finance, but they dumb down their comments to fit in. It is mostly a place for them to have a few laughs.

    The guys in the sports forum are mostly concerned with their favorite team or favorite player. There were a few near break downs over Kobe Bryant's retirement. They really hate it when black players are compared to whites. I can't see them wanting to objectively study teams and players. It would interfere with the trash talking.

    I’m a woman but I spend a lot of time on a sports/general interest site dominated by young black men. Many of them have trouble with basic fractions and percentages. They can’t understand that if 40 percent of the people on food stamps are black and 40 percent are white, blacks are far more likely than whites to be on food stamps.

    White SJWs have the exact same problem. Or claim to.

    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome


    Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks
    ...
    Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.
    ...
    "More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings," he said.
    ...
    Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population.
    ...
    Brian Forst, a professor ... "More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one," Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black.
    ...
    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.

     

  82. @Ivy
    Another way to consider athlete mental processes is to use the Myers-Briggs or similar psych profile format. It would not be surprising to me to find out that top athletes are more likely to be more Sensory than iNtuitive. Their profiles would be STJ, and could be either ESTJ for extroverts, or ISTJ for introverts. I'm guessing that the modal iSteve reader is INTJ. Has anyone looked into that?

    Very few “J”s in elite level sports, the don’t react quickly or unpredictably enough.

  83. @Dr. Doom
    Wow, all of you are dancing so hard around this its like watching the Bolshoi Ballet. Black guys are bad at Math. See. Its not an advanced issue of psychology or even an in-depth discussion about statistical averages. The black race did not have a written language or even a rudimentary number system. Its not a shock they are poor at Math. Yes, its a race and IQ thing.
    Its why there are so few black coaches and so many black players. Statistics and averages is what separates great championship coaches from goofballs who should be teaching gym class to high schoolers. Moneyball is just the latest in a long line of statistical analytics that give some coaches an edge. Football coaches have playbooks, but most Pro and College coaches have to watch and play the averages to get the championships that justify their high salaries.
    When will blacks narrow the gap? Just like every other gap due to IQ about fifteen minutes past never.

    The black race did not have a written language or even a rudimentary number system. Its not a shock they are poor at Math. Yes, its a race and IQ thing.

    This is oft-repeated foolishness.

  84. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "OBP is more important than batting average or RBI’s, but baseball is selecting players for their ability to hit a 95mph fastball or judge the spin on the ball. "

    Nah, nah, hold it, hold it. You need both. Player who can hit a 95mph fastball and if men are on base, then it goes without saying that he will tend to hit a lot of RBIs. The more RBIs scored, the more total runs are scored. The more total runs scored, the more games (and hopefully WSs) are won.

    Batting average still remains the purest stat that determines whether or not an individual player can actually consistently hit the ball, and hopefully the individual player's ratio is above one third of the time (.300+).

    OBP means absolutely nothing IF the individual man on base does not score in a particular inning, which is roughly between 49.9-59.9% of the time. Just because a runner is on base doesn't automatically translate into a run scored. Also, its not just any player getting on base but which player. The C? Who cares, he's usually the slowest on the team so most likely he'll be the first out in the double play.

    Perhaps one reason why sabermetrics is still largely regulated to MLB is because unfortunately MLB is on the decline and has been for over 25 yrs at least. NFL; World Soccer; even PGA all achieve higher ratings than MLB. Even such an innocuous thing as a GOP candidate debate in late summer drew far higher ratings, with a few of these debates actually rivaling the AL/NLCS games. Very, very telling that in this day and age of advanced stats and information on MLB and yet they have fewer total number of fans in the US their total market share is declining. In other words, spots that are current, and real to the majority of sports fans isn't a museum relic of the past which is what MLB is dangerously turning into: A game for old white people still stuck in the past.

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would've, hands down. Not so anymore.

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would’ve, hands down. Not so anymore.

    Both Bread and Circuses.

    • Replies: @Buffalo Joe
    Light!, With the Kardashians it's Buns and Circus.
  85. @Seneca
    Wow I am an INTJ!

    You sound pretty knowledgeable about Meyer-Briggs.

    Could you please tell me what my best marriage partner match would be? I am serious. From past experience I think I could use some help in that area LOL.

    Also curious as to why you guess that many iSteve readers might be INTJ types.

    Seriously, please set forth your idea in greater detail. I am very curious. Thanks!

    INTJ is the “know it all” type.

    So her opinion on Isteve posters is correct.

  86. @Steve Sailer
    "I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF."

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    2b is probably historically the weakest offensive position. Morgan was better than guys like Joe Gordon, Red Schoendienst, Nellie Fox and Mazeroski.

    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hof/hofst2b.shtml

  87. @Lurker

    I’m a woman but I spend a lot of time on a sports/general interest site dominated by young black men. Many of them have trouble with basic fractions and percentages. They can’t understand that if 40 percent of the people on food stamps are black and 40 percent are white, blacks are far more likely than whites to be on food stamps.
     
    White SJWs have the exact same problem. Or claim to.

    Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks

    Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.

    “More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings,” he said.

    Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population.

    Brian Forst, a professor … “More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one,” Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black.

    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.

    • Replies: @Jefferson
    Black males in The U.S are disproportionately killed by the police, but in the vast majority of cases it is justified because of their sky high off the charts crime rate.

    Now if Black males committed crimes at the same low proportion as Chinese Americans and Italian Americans for example and they were still disproportionately killed by the police, than you could have chalked it up to racism.
    , @Forbes

    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.
     
    In absolute terms, the statement is ignorant only if you believe police shootings are a random occurrence of the general population.

    Perhaps the relevant population might be described as 'justice-involved' persons. That would shed more light than heat in the discussion.
  88. @Anonn
    Interesting, but you've got to look at the total number of shots taken as well considering disparity in the eras. it looks like the immortal Paul Graham made a whopping 55 three pointers in his magical year. I think Steph Curry made 55 three pointers in a long weekend.

    Funny thing about Paul Graham, his nickname was “Snoop”( he looked a lot like Snoopy) and he played most of his career for the Hawks. Three-pointers were the last thing he was known for, instead, he was one of the NBA’s original “streetball” players, way ahead of his time. I remember him always driving coaches crazy with his whirly-twirly moves, which worked sometimes and led to ridiculous turnovers.

  89. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.

    So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    A case has been made for Perez: he was voted into the HoF in 2000.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    And most likely for the reason I have stated: Perez is hispanic and perhaps some activists behind the scenes lobbied for his inclusion. But if he was all that, wonder why it still took the voters nearly twenty yrs to remember how great he was?

    Did it take the voters 20 yrs to remember "Oh, yeah! That dude what's his name Williams! Or that guy, Stan the Man! They're not in yet? How'd we ever miss them? We better put them in the Hall real quick now since its been twenty five yrs since they retired!"

    Again to paraphrase Pete Rose: People generally know who the greatest most dominant players are and it shouldn't have to take 20 yrs to induct them. Perez didn't get in until after Mogan, both players were not first ballot HOFers in their first yr of eligibilty OR in their first several yrs of eligibility, which is the truest test of whether a player is great or not, to be honest. In Morgan's case, he was working at ESPN so he had a visible presence in MLB media. That certainly didn't hurt. Had he quietly retired from baseball completely, its a fair question to wonder if he'd still be included in the HOF. If Morgan was all that, then why wasn't he inducted in his first yrs of eligibility?

    Let's take it further: Derek Jeter. His first yr for HOF eligibility is in 2020. Does anyone here think that Derek Jeter is going to have to wait 10, 15, 20, 30yrs to be inducted into Cooperstown? Why not? Same for Mariano Rivera, his first yr of eligibiity is in 2019. Now I can see the voters holding Rivera back til 2020 to have both Rivera and Jeter inducted in the same class type of thing for ratings, for tons of NY fans who would turn out in record numbers to see the ceremony type of thing but the fact remains: Neither player is going to have to wait 10, 20, etc yrs to get inducted into the HOF.
  90. @Steve

    I spent a long time banging away at the horrible state of psychiatric drug mis-usage – but made no impact and a lot of enemies. The powers that enforce bad prescribing are just too powerful and pervasive – the only realistic option is to teach and learn psychopharmacological self-defense.

    The genius of this field is – of course – David Healy

    http://davidhealy.org

    and Bob Whitaker has also done very fine work

    http://robertwhitaker.org/robertwhitaker.org/Anatomy%20of%20an%20Epidemic.html

    The difference is that in sports ‘moneyball’ statistics make money; whereas in psychiatry it is the bad/ dishonest statistics that make the money.

  91. @Jack D
    This ties in somewhat to your remark (via Dundee) that being intelligent is not particularly an asset in a boxer. On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes. It's one thing to talk about sports and compile sports statistics, it's another thing to DO sports. Those who can, DO, even if they can barely write their names. Those who can't, write about it.

    Boxing: the sweet science, not the sweet sociology

  92. @Steve Sailer
    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.

    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.

    Uh, Ryne Sandberg?

    From his Hall of Fame entry at http://baseballhall.org/hof/sandberg-ryne:

    “In 1984, Sandberg led the Cubs to their first postseason play since the 1945 World Series, hitting .314 and leading the league in runs scored with 114, and triples with 19. He also began turning on the ball and chipped in 19 homers on his way to the NL MVP award. He also made his first of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, and won his second of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards.

    In 1990, Sandberg led the NL in homers with 40, while also leading the league in runs and total bases, driving in 100 runs and stealing 25 bases. He was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1925 to lead the NL in homers.

    Sandberg finished his career with the highest fielding percentage at second base with .989. He had 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games.

    At the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman and also had hit more home runs than any second baseman in baseball history.”

    Granted, he did not have Morgan’s speed on the bases, and he gets some points taken off for no championships, but he was a pretty darn good second baseman, the best defender at his position all time by far (which is consistently underrated).

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Sandberg was real good, with a hitting career shaped kind of like Morgan's: early peak, then some unspectacular years when he was in his late 20's ought-to-be prime (second basemen get dinged up all the time, especially turning the double play), then a mature peak in his early 30s. Sandberg kind of lost interest earlier than Morgan, who had some interesting late career years like 1982 with the Giants.

    So comparing them depends upon how much to weight Sandberg being a great defensive second baseman while Morgan was merely a quite good one, since clearly Morgan was a better offensive player (especially after adjusting for his years playing in the Astrodome in the late 1960s) while Sandberg played in Wrigley Field in the 1980s.

  93. Here’s how Golden State comes back against the Thunder.

    Have Curry and Klay take 100 3’s every game here on out with 3 other screeners on top. Make the drive the last resort offensive action.

  94. @Lot

    Real estate is another field in which moneyball techniques could be applied.
     
    When large amounts of money are involved in markets, the weak version of the efficient market hypothesis generally will apply. Baseball I think was a laggard rather than an innovator in using statistical innovations, so the question is more why was baseball and sports generally so late to the party.

    Some possible answers:

    (1) marketable fan favorites on the team are just as important as win/loss in terms of making money (who makes more money for a team, Yao Min/Jeremy Lin or a similar but 5% better black player?)

    (2) owners not always focused on maximizing wins as a way to make money off the team, versus squeezing tax money out of local governments and television contracts

    (3) owners deferring to the management judgment of charismatic former jocks over more cerebral types who can critically use existing statistical measures and refine their own

    (4) owners being conservative/lazy/complacent because the value of a sports franchises goes up every year without much regard to how good the team is, or just being dumb/lucky to own the team via inheritance, or being so filthy rich they run the team their way as a hobby rather than to make money

    (5) owners and managers have an informal agreement with each other not to bid up individual player salaries to their collective detriment by poaching players they think are undervalued by other teams. a weaker version is not an actual anti-poaching agreement, but a sort of social norm not to do it too much.

    possible evidence for this is player trades seem to be a lot more common than poaching players or what you'd expect in a free market. think about other markets. how often do two people moving to each others' cities trade houses? almost never, not even 1 out of 1000 real estate transactions, because it is stupid to try to do it that way. you sell your house for a market price, then you buy another one at a market price, not try to find someone who has exactly what you want and wants exactly what you have. same thing with companies and workers. yet in pro sports, trading players allows the value of the player's labor to be transferred without a dollar-valuation being attached to it, as opposed to just hiring one, or buying out a player's contract and negotiating a new one with him.

    i am not an expert or even particularly knowledgeable about the topic, so this could be completely wrong. a test of the theory would be to compare how common player trades (including player-for-draft-pick trades, which still avoid putting an actual dollar figure on a player) are now versus the 1960's before pro sports player salaries because such a big factor in team economics. I'd predict the current routine trading of players was less common compared to simply finding players not under contract and/or buying out with cash a contracted player on another team. my impression of low-paid minor league play is that trades are less common compared to just releasing and hiring players individually. if so that is additional support.

    Funny, I was just talking to a Brit expat soccer fan yesterday, and his favorite club has an Asian kid on the roster essentially because of the team’s shirt sales in his home country.

  95. @whorefinder
    Yeah, I remember this was supposed to be Whitlock's ship, then he rankled a lot of the black writers he was managing by demanding the same standards of them as of white sportswriters. An internal email was released to "attack" Whitlock where Whitlock was basically making fun of how lazy black sportswriting was and how he wasn't going to give blacks the same "token black/Jason Blair" pass that white editors did.

    That, apparently, was the "bad" thing---how dare a black editor demand blacks work as hard as whites!

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can't flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss. (The other part is female solidarity is largely a myth, as females see other females in their group as competition, and so the group devolves into cattiness and backbiting; males in structured groups see one another as teammates working towards a goal, and so cohesion is much easier to create in all-male groups).

    Whitlock has long been one of the few black sportswriters who probably would get along in the iSteve comments. Heck, he's probably here already, lurking a lot. Was one of the last sportswriters I used to read regularly before I gave up following sports entirely. Wasn't a token black writer---he deserves his success.

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can’t flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss.

    The reason women hate working for other women is that women don’t “get” hierarchy, and women bosses don’t “get” the fact that, as the boss, they are officially superior to the women beneath them and therefore do not need to engage in stupid, petty status shows.

    • Agree: Desiderius
    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
    Plus women make -everything- personal. Men don't give a damn.
  96. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I still don't understand why Morgan is in the HOF. No 500HRs, no 3,000Hits but then I also don't understand why Jim Rice is in the HOF (well, actually I do, HOF Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons pushed for his inclusion for many yrs), but yet Dave Kingman is not. Or Rusty Staub or Al Oliver. I have a suspicion that Staub has a better chance to make Cooperstown at a later time, but I'm trying to recall why I would tend to think that.

    Morgan had the advantage of playing alongside Pete Rose (who by virtue of being the all time MLB hits leader would be in the HOF under most circumstances) and of course Johnny Bench. Its almost as if Rose and Bench were "supposed" to be the main cogs in the Big Red Machine that made it into Cooperstown, but Pete screwed up by getting a lifetime ban. Therefore, the other CIN HOF member slot went to Morgan. After all, Morgan, unlike Bench, wasn't a unanimous first ballot HOFer. I mean, CIN's Tony Perez had very similar offensive category numbers to Morgan and yet he's still not in the HOF. Perhaps if an Hispanic advocacy group were to pressure MLB then "suddenly" in a few yrs, Tony Perez's name would be included on the short list for Cooperstown.


    No, lower IQ doesn't account for all the reason for blacks' distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US? How many take an active interest in such math related fields compared to whites? These are fair questions, I'm sorry to say. Also there is the cultural aspect of blacks' general distain for anything that they perceive as "too white". Facts are facts and one can't just wish them away.

    Some of those abstractions in STEM related fields (and also in the medical community at large, for example) have lead to many breakthroughs in medicine, science, etc. which tend to be the fields that blacks still aren't highly represented in.

    That's why I said that Wilbon at least deserved credit for not playing the race card directly in his article as most community leaders, activists, etc would tend to be doing at this point.

    But I truly don't understand why Joe Morgan or Jim Rice are in the HOF, unless we take into account the popularity and personal politics of the sportswriters who vote on the candidates they tend to like and don't like. Also remember that Joe Morgan had already started to work for ESPN around the time he got inducted into the HOF, hardly a coincidence.

    You need another explanation for Rice. He hated sportswriters, and they hated him.

    Morgan was a very good cog in an indomitable machine. Look at the lineup:

    Pete Rose
    Joe Morgan
    Johnny Bench
    Tony Perez
    Davey Conception
    Cesar Geronimo/George Foster platoon
    Ken Griffey
    Chaney/Flynn/Vukovich platoon

    Gullett/Nolan/Bellingham/Darcy starters
    McEnaney/Borbon/Eastwick in the bullpen

    As tough a team as you’ll ever see. Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon, which was the only “analytics” in baseball at the time.

    As Jim Bouton pointed out in his 1969 book Ball Four, pitcher and kinesiology Masters degree-holder Mike Marshall was an early adopter of statistical analysis. He had a problem with the stultifying caveman attitudes then prevalent in baseball, which is why an intelligent guy with a Cy Young and multiple All-Star appearances played for 9 teams in 12 years.

    As Bouton quoted, the prevalent attitude was, “Stop thinking, you’re hurting the team!”.

    Fun fact about Marshall: the year Marshall considered leaving baseball to finish his doctorate, he was the guy who told teammate Tommy John he should try the radical surgery proposed by team doctor Frank Jobe, even give Jobe’s quoted odds of success a 1 in 100. That operation now bears John’s name.

    • Replies: @e
    Morgan STILL doesn't understand baseball. He can't "get" how or WHY the Oakland A's beat the Big Red Machine.

    Joe, it's a team game and it's about the little things as well as the big things. For instance, one of the most underrated second basemen for his contributions to the A's winning, was the play of light % hitting, unspectacular second baseman, Dick Green. Green was remarkable (not just in the Reds-A's Series, but throughout his tenure) at positioning himself where the hitter would hit the ball. Now, that requires not only that Green knew the hitters' swings and tendencies but also that Green trusted the pitch's intended location AND that the A's had pitchers that hit their spots with regularity.Green was so trusting of the pitching that he was often on the move before the hitter took a swing. Further, while he was a low average hitter, he was effective in moving runners over when it counted. The A's that Charlie Finlay put together were a remarkable team.

    , @Desiderius

    Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon
     
    At it's height (1976 - the year they swept the playoffs and WS), the Machine was known for the consistency of it's starting eight (i.e. not platooning). The only non-HOF-caliber member of that eight (Geronimo, who was in the line-up for his defense) hit .307 that year.
  97. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.

    Yeah, people forget where the concept of “cleanup” hitter came from.

  98. @Truth
    That dumb guy did win the presidency....

    Yup…the dumb guy won the last few presidential elections.

  99. @The Last Real Calvinist

    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

     

    Also have to remember that Morgan played the first seven or eight years of his career for the Astros. His offensive stats therefore suffered noticeably, i.e. because of hitting in the Astrodome. His number shot upwards as soon as he got to Cincinnati.

    BTW, I do think Pete Rose belongs in the HoF. But Morgan was better.

    Joe Morgan suffered in Houston because of an injury, that he was playing for a lousy team and the fact that Harry “The Hat” Walker was an idiot.

    • Replies: @SPMoore8
    I remember Joe Morgan from the beginning because he was a local boy (Castlemont HS in Oakland.) He was one of those players who was always attracting attention to himself in the game, either in the field, at the plate, or on the bases. Always seemed to make the big play. Always seemed to do whatever needed to be done at the plate. Always the last guy you wanted to see in the ninth inning.

    Mays was that kind of player, too. It's kind of hard to describe: high energy, but not manic; very alert, but not hyper. As for great players in general, there's a certain charisma involved; not just how they perform but how they look and act. There are definitely style points in how you evaluate a baseball player. And, yes, there's such a thing as team leadership, too. On that score, Morgan was probably better than Hornsby, who from what I heard had a Barry Bonds like personality.

    Another thing about Morgan: personable, and a great interview. Whenever the Giants lost to Houston, Morgan was the guy they talked to in the postgame show. A very gracious guy.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Those are excuses. Ernie Banks was inducted into the HOF in first year of eligibility and he played for the Cubs, one of the most mediocre NL teams post 1945. Things got so bad from a manager stace that at one time during Banks' career, the Cubs went to a rotating manager system of using first and third base coaches. In 1972 the Phillies finished in last place and lost about 105 games. Steve Carlton went 27-10 and won the Cy Young Award. Carlton did great. If only the Phils could've found a way to have him pitch every single day they might have finished over .500.
  100. @Steve Sailer
    I can recall Sports Illustrated going into great depth in 1976 to explain why Joe Morgan's statistics in 1975 were even better than the traditional batting average, homers, and rbis looked due to the huge number of times he walked and how seldom he was caught stealing. I don't recall if they mentioned that he almost never grounded into a double play.

    Okay, here's the SI article from April 1976:

    "Little Joe Morgan's 1975 happenings included a National League pennant and a World Championship for the Cincinnati Reds and a Most Valuable Player Award for himself, which he won 321½-154 over Philadelphia's Greg Luzinski in the most lopsided MVP balloting in league history. ... Morgan won his third straight Gold Glove award for fielding excellence, led the league with 132 bases on balls, finished second in stolen bases with 67 in 77 attempts, was fourth in hitting with a .327 average and fourth in runs scored with 107, had 17 home runs, drove in 94 runs and hit into only three ground-ball double plays, a league low. Morgan also tied Tony Perez as the Reds' leader in game-winning hits with 15."

    http://www.si.com/vault/1976/04/12/616325/the-little-big-man

    Here's an interesting quote from Morgan:

    "I remember something that Ron Brand told me when I played in Houston, something that put the meaning of 'asset' in focus for me. I was hitting about .280, and I was talking real cocky, and Brand said to me, 'Joe, a lot of guys hit .280, but there aren't any other players in baseball who can get on base like you can. That's what you should be proud of, not your .280.' At the time I didn't take what he said in the right way, but now I'm proud of all the walks I get."

    That's possibly a reference to his rookie season of 1965 when Morgan was 21 and he hit .271 (in the Astrodome) and led the league in walks. He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to another second baseman, Jim Lefevre of the Dodgers, who had similar stats but nowhere near as many walks. So, walks were kind of a sophisticated concept in 1965, but by 1976 Sports Illustrated emphasized them.

    I recall a 1968 Sport Magazine Piece, “The Managers Rate The Players.” Joe Morgan was in his fourth season in Houston and was said to “be a better base stealer than Lou Brock, but didn’t go as often.”

  101. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It is not because they are stupid, it is because great athletes are mostly right-brained, the side of the brain that sees the big picture, that “feels”, that relies upon intuition, and does not verbalize its thoughts. Those who are very organized and use logic, analysis, math, and sequences are all left-brained. By the way, many great CEO’s are right-brained, too, leaving the details to staff members to work out the numbers for great ideas.

  102. @Brutusale
    Joe Morgan suffered in Houston because of an injury, that he was playing for a lousy team and the fact that Harry "The Hat" Walker was an idiot.

    I remember Joe Morgan from the beginning because he was a local boy (Castlemont HS in Oakland.) He was one of those players who was always attracting attention to himself in the game, either in the field, at the plate, or on the bases. Always seemed to make the big play. Always seemed to do whatever needed to be done at the plate. Always the last guy you wanted to see in the ninth inning.

    Mays was that kind of player, too. It’s kind of hard to describe: high energy, but not manic; very alert, but not hyper. As for great players in general, there’s a certain charisma involved; not just how they perform but how they look and act. There are definitely style points in how you evaluate a baseball player. And, yes, there’s such a thing as team leadership, too. On that score, Morgan was probably better than Hornsby, who from what I heard had a Barry Bonds like personality.

    Another thing about Morgan: personable, and a great interview. Whenever the Giants lost to Houston, Morgan was the guy they talked to in the postgame show. A very gracious guy.

    • Replies: @William Badwhite
    I played in a charity golf tournament about 10 or so years ago (at Spyglass, part of the Pebble Beach complex) with a retired NFL QB (he had been a starter for 4-5 years but spent most of his years as a backup on some very good teams). It was typical charity golf tourney pace of play (glacial) and Joe Morgan was the designated celebrity in the group behind us. Seemingly every hole there was a backup and his group would wander onto the tee box with us. Many of the waits went 10+ minutes so we had lots of opportunity to talk.

    We quickly realized that Morgan, while a very nice guy, talked incessantly and didn't hear a word anybody else said. He was like a radio station: on transmit-only.

    One particularly lengthy wait at a par 3 our QB came up with the idea of trying to get Morgan to stop talking by interrupting him with questions, then arguing with his answers. He said "Hey Joe, who was the center fielder on those Reds teams?" Morgan stopped whatever he blathering on about and answered "Cesar Geronimo". Our QB then said "I thought it was Ken Griffey Junior"? Morgan said "no he was there many years later. It was Geronimo". The rest of started taking turns interrupting him. Someone chimes in "I thought it was Robin Yount"? then "wasn't it actually Shoeless Joe Jackson" then "no...I clearly remember it was Bo Jackson" then "wasn't it Wayne Gretzky" then "I seem to remember Elvis Costello..." and it continued to get more absurd. Each time Morgan would stop his monologue to correct the questioner. We were having a tough time not laughing as we asked the questions. Eventually our QB injected the name of the NFL HOF'er that he backed up as having played center field on the Big Red Machine. Finally Morgan stopped talking long enough to say "Oh...you guys have been hitting the bottle huh?" then went back to his story.

    We conceded defeat.
  103. @whorefinder
    Yeah, I remember this was supposed to be Whitlock's ship, then he rankled a lot of the black writers he was managing by demanding the same standards of them as of white sportswriters. An internal email was released to "attack" Whitlock where Whitlock was basically making fun of how lazy black sportswriting was and how he wasn't going to give blacks the same "token black/Jason Blair" pass that white editors did.

    That, apparently, was the "bad" thing---how dare a black editor demand blacks work as hard as whites!

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can't flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss. (The other part is female solidarity is largely a myth, as females see other females in their group as competition, and so the group devolves into cattiness and backbiting; males in structured groups see one another as teammates working towards a goal, and so cohesion is much easier to create in all-male groups).

    Whitlock has long been one of the few black sportswriters who probably would get along in the iSteve comments. Heck, he's probably here already, lurking a lot. Was one of the last sportswriters I used to read regularly before I gave up following sports entirely. Wasn't a token black writer---he deserves his success.

    Yeah, I love Whitlock. Very rare to find any sportswriter, black or white, who doesnt wholly succumb to the stock leftist narrative. Of course, a white sportswriter who was as non-politically correct as Whitlock would have trouble finding employment at all.

  104. Im a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I made up a list of the 10 top NBA centers of all time and only Moses Malone seemed like clearly a two digit IQ.

    For example, Kareem has made himself, at an advanced age, into a pretty good pundit with a column on politics and society in Time.

    , @Triumph104
    Stephen Curry doesn't have a college degree.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2015/12/03/davidson-wont-retire-stephen-currys-jersey-until-he-earns-his-degree/

    I agree with your assessment on the others.

    An idiot star player is Derrick Rose. He bombed the ACTs three times and had someone take the SAT for him in Wisconsin. His high school also changed his grades so he would be NCAA eligible.
    , @dumpstersquirrel
    "Im [sic] a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent [sic] than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so."

    LOL.
  105. @Triumph104
    Pretty much all sports are considered cerebral until blacks start competing and winning. The intelligence of the Klitschko brothers exists in other sports if anyone cared to look.

    Shaquille O'Neal has a doctorate. Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel will begin studying for his PhD in math at MIT this fall. Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe Lance Dreher has a PhD.

    Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, and Kobe Bryant speak multiple languages.

    Rowing (or is it crew?) consistently produces PhDs. Lots of world and Olympic level figure skaters from the US have medical and law degrees. Figure skating has a high concentration of Jews from the US and former Soviet Union.

    Correction:

    John Urschel still plays for the Ravens. He is studying for his math PhD in the off season. He earned four straight As this spring semester. He works out with MITs Division 3 football team.

  106. @Steve Sailer
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."

    In general, the Bill James revolution mostly succeeded in introducing stats that accorded with the rankings of players that fans with season tickets or who listened to every game on the radio would come up with. The new stats are better for things like league MVP voting for which no voter could see every game around the league and thus they relied on summary statistics, especially RBIs, that were less in accord with who was doing the most to help his team win than fans at every game would come up with.

    Benjamin Morris’ pre-538 “Case for Rodman” epic is notable here. Smart observers of basketball knew at the time what Rodman was doing was incredibly valuable, awkwardness be damned. But Morris’ case for his value is nonetheless a bit shocking:

    https://skepticalsports.com/the-case-for-dennis-rodman-guide/

  107. @anonn
    I suspect it's mostly just more practice at shooting the three pointer. You can also see yourself on HD now so it's easy to diagnose what's going on with your shot. Players' shots are more uniform than ever; you hardly ever see a good player with an unorthodox shot anymore. Players that do not have a traditional shooting motion really suffer for it in the draft now, and so get fewer opportunities.

    Does anyone remember the bizarre shooting form of George McGinnis of the Indiana Pacers? One hand, did not use the off hand as a guide. It seemed to work for a while and then he turned into an awful shooter.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    McGinnis was the worst "superstar" ever. Beside shooting jumpshots one handed, he made a huge number of turnover, records that might never broken.
  108. @The Last Real Calvinist

    “I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF.”

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?
     
    Morgan was, and remains, the best offensive second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. He was definitely a better player than Rose.

    Rose had a couple of genuinely great years offensively, but mostly he was very good, and of course incredibly durable. He also moved all over the field in his career -- from second base to (mostly) left field to third base to first base -- not so much because he was such a defensive whiz, but because he wasn't especially great at any position.

    Morgan had a true hall of fame-quality peak that lasted quite a few years, from his late 20s well into his 30s, reaching its apotheosis in a phenomenal 1976 season in which he was the highest-cotane fuel powering the Big Red Machine.

    I was a huge Reds fan back in the 70s and 80s, but I have to admit I didn't appreciate Morgan's excellence at the time. I was kid who was too impressed by Rose's headfirst slides and George Foster's majestic home runs.

    No way. Rose is the all time Hits leader, he won three batting titles. In a rational world he would be considered one of the top ten best offensive players to have ever played the game. Its not even arguable that Pete Rose was a far greater and more impactful offensive player than Joe Morgan. Did Morgan have 3,000 hits? No. Did he even have over 200 hits in a season? No. Did he hit as high as .330 in a season? No. Did Morgan have a 40 plus game hitting streak in his career? No.
    Was he even a first ballot HOFer? Answer: No. So its not unanimous that he was the greatest 2B ever to play the game. Excellent? Of course. Amazingly talented, absolutey. But the greatest ever? Come come now.

    “Spectactular claims require spectacular evidence.” And unfortunately, not seeing it.

    Its understandable with how people tend to view Pete Rose now, especially since his band ca.1989, but lets not entirely rewrite history just to suit a narrative or personal agenda.

    Morgan had about 4-7 peak yrs and within those yrs he had about 3-5 amazing yrs that could be considered “great”.

    I respectfully submit that Tony Perez was a far better offensive player than Morgan ever was.

  109. @Steve Sailer
    But Morgan got on base .429 in his first half dozen years with the Big Red Machine.

    Means absolutely nothing, if the run does not score. Did Morgan score 1.000 percent of the time he got on base? Bill James did no favors by elevating an incidental stat without examining the full context. Reaching base means diddly if the run does not score. Just means a double play or a fly out to end the inning. Granted, in Morgan’s case he had the base stealing ability to manufacture runs. If James had been consistent, he would have emphasized that you need BOTH—Getting on base AND stealing bases in order to manufacture runs. Everything in life involves a certain amount of risk and sports is no different. No risk, no reward.

    No 3,000 hits an no 500 HRs. I can see why Reggie doesn’t think he’s all that. And Reggie Jackson won more WS’s by the way.

  110. @The Last Real Calvinist

    So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

     

    A case has been made for Perez: he was voted into the HoF in 2000.

    And most likely for the reason I have stated: Perez is hispanic and perhaps some activists behind the scenes lobbied for his inclusion. But if he was all that, wonder why it still took the voters nearly twenty yrs to remember how great he was?

    Did it take the voters 20 yrs to remember “Oh, yeah! That dude what’s his name Williams! Or that guy, Stan the Man! They’re not in yet? How’d we ever miss them? We better put them in the Hall real quick now since its been twenty five yrs since they retired!”

    Again to paraphrase Pete Rose: People generally know who the greatest most dominant players are and it shouldn’t have to take 20 yrs to induct them. Perez didn’t get in until after Mogan, both players were not first ballot HOFers in their first yr of eligibilty OR in their first several yrs of eligibility, which is the truest test of whether a player is great or not, to be honest. In Morgan’s case, he was working at ESPN so he had a visible presence in MLB media. That certainly didn’t hurt. Had he quietly retired from baseball completely, its a fair question to wonder if he’d still be included in the HOF. If Morgan was all that, then why wasn’t he inducted in his first yrs of eligibility?

    Let’s take it further: Derek Jeter. His first yr for HOF eligibility is in 2020. Does anyone here think that Derek Jeter is going to have to wait 10, 15, 20, 30yrs to be inducted into Cooperstown? Why not? Same for Mariano Rivera, his first yr of eligibiity is in 2019. Now I can see the voters holding Rivera back til 2020 to have both Rivera and Jeter inducted in the same class type of thing for ratings, for tons of NY fans who would turn out in record numbers to see the ceremony type of thing but the fact remains: Neither player is going to have to wait 10, 20, etc yrs to get inducted into the HOF.

  111. @Steve Sailer
    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.

    If so, then he would’ve been unanimously inducted into the HOF during his first yr of eligibility since everyone would have known it to be an obvious fact.

    “Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence”–Carl Sagan

    Cobb; Ruth; Wagner; Mathewson; Johnson were among the earliest inductees into the HOF before its opening in 1939. It wasn’t even disputed that those were among the best to ever have played the game (at that time). In other words, Babe Ruth, who had just retired in ’35, didn’t have to wait until 1956 to be inducted into the HOF a la “Aren’t we missing someone in the Hall? Who is that? Oh yeah! That fat dude who hit tons of homers! He’s not in yet? How’d we ever miss him?” The greatest of the great or the top .00001% within the top 1.0% are definitely inducted within their first yr of eligibility. Michael Jordan didn’t have to wait ten-fifteen yrs to be inducted. I don’t think that Brady or Payton will have to wait twenty yrs to be inducted either.
    Perhaps people are making allowances by trying to state that within the top one percent of great players there are the greatest of the great (Ruth) and there are borderline kinda sorta maybe great (Dawson, Rice, and Morgan). This kind of subjective voting does tend to call into question as to whether or not Halls of Fame are really necessary after all since many, many players are in them that have no business being there whatsoever.

    Where are the 3,000 hits or the 500 HRs? Where is the hitting .400 in a single season? Or hitting safely in 40, 50 plus consecutive games? Hornsby won the coveted Triple Crown twice, did Morgan win the Triple Crown even once?

    I know that Hornsby hit over .400 several times and that he was about 70 career hits shy of 3,000. Trying to remember who had more HRs, because Hornsby had around 340 HRs would have to check on Morgan’s career total, but I know it wasn’t 500, much less 400.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Morgan was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first round. He played more games at second base than anybody else in history except Eddie Collins. He was 5th all time in walks (all positions), behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams, 11th all time in stolen bases, 6th all time in power-speed combination, behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, and Bobby Bonds.

    He was the best offensive player on one of the best teams ever while playing a Gold Glove second base.

  112. @Brutusale
    Joe Morgan suffered in Houston because of an injury, that he was playing for a lousy team and the fact that Harry "The Hat" Walker was an idiot.

    Those are excuses. Ernie Banks was inducted into the HOF in first year of eligibility and he played for the Cubs, one of the most mediocre NL teams post 1945. Things got so bad from a manager stace that at one time during Banks’ career, the Cubs went to a rotating manager system of using first and third base coaches. In 1972 the Phillies finished in last place and lost about 105 games. Steve Carlton went 27-10 and won the Cy Young Award. Carlton did great. If only the Phils could’ve found a way to have him pitch every single day they might have finished over .500.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Banks' 1967 Cubs included Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley. Fergie Jenkins, Ray Culp, Joe Niekro and Ken Holtzman. It's not like they sucked.

    Morgan's 1967 Astros had Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, Mike Cuellar and not much else.

    I'll give you the '72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton's season was immense.
  113. @Hepp

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

     

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that "analytics" tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that's pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren’t very smart, even intuitively.

    They’re smart, but not book smart, and thank God for that.

  114. @SPMoore8
    I remember Joe Morgan from the beginning because he was a local boy (Castlemont HS in Oakland.) He was one of those players who was always attracting attention to himself in the game, either in the field, at the plate, or on the bases. Always seemed to make the big play. Always seemed to do whatever needed to be done at the plate. Always the last guy you wanted to see in the ninth inning.

    Mays was that kind of player, too. It's kind of hard to describe: high energy, but not manic; very alert, but not hyper. As for great players in general, there's a certain charisma involved; not just how they perform but how they look and act. There are definitely style points in how you evaluate a baseball player. And, yes, there's such a thing as team leadership, too. On that score, Morgan was probably better than Hornsby, who from what I heard had a Barry Bonds like personality.

    Another thing about Morgan: personable, and a great interview. Whenever the Giants lost to Houston, Morgan was the guy they talked to in the postgame show. A very gracious guy.

    I played in a charity golf tournament about 10 or so years ago (at Spyglass, part of the Pebble Beach complex) with a retired NFL QB (he had been a starter for 4-5 years but spent most of his years as a backup on some very good teams). It was typical charity golf tourney pace of play (glacial) and Joe Morgan was the designated celebrity in the group behind us. Seemingly every hole there was a backup and his group would wander onto the tee box with us. Many of the waits went 10+ minutes so we had lots of opportunity to talk.

    We quickly realized that Morgan, while a very nice guy, talked incessantly and didn’t hear a word anybody else said. He was like a radio station: on transmit-only.

    One particularly lengthy wait at a par 3 our QB came up with the idea of trying to get Morgan to stop talking by interrupting him with questions, then arguing with his answers. He said “Hey Joe, who was the center fielder on those Reds teams?” Morgan stopped whatever he blathering on about and answered “Cesar Geronimo”. Our QB then said “I thought it was Ken Griffey Junior”? Morgan said “no he was there many years later. It was Geronimo”. The rest of started taking turns interrupting him. Someone chimes in “I thought it was Robin Yount”? then “wasn’t it actually Shoeless Joe Jackson” then “no…I clearly remember it was Bo Jackson” then “wasn’t it Wayne Gretzky” then “I seem to remember Elvis Costello…” and it continued to get more absurd. Each time Morgan would stop his monologue to correct the questioner. We were having a tough time not laughing as we asked the questions. Eventually our QB injected the name of the NFL HOF’er that he backed up as having played center field on the Big Red Machine. Finally Morgan stopped talking long enough to say “Oh…you guys have been hitting the bottle huh?” then went back to his story.

    We conceded defeat.

    • Agree: SPMoore8
  115. e says:
    @Brutusale
    You need another explanation for Rice. He hated sportswriters, and they hated him.

    Morgan was a very good cog in an indomitable machine. Look at the lineup:

    Pete Rose
    Joe Morgan
    Johnny Bench
    Tony Perez
    Davey Conception
    Cesar Geronimo/George Foster platoon
    Ken Griffey
    Chaney/Flynn/Vukovich platoon

    Gullett/Nolan/Bellingham/Darcy starters
    McEnaney/Borbon/Eastwick in the bullpen

    As tough a team as you'll ever see. Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon, which was the only "analytics" in baseball at the time.

    As Jim Bouton pointed out in his 1969 book Ball Four, pitcher and kinesiology Masters degree-holder Mike Marshall was an early adopter of statistical analysis. He had a problem with the stultifying caveman attitudes then prevalent in baseball, which is why an intelligent guy with a Cy Young and multiple All-Star appearances played for 9 teams in 12 years.

    As Bouton quoted, the prevalent attitude was, "Stop thinking, you're hurting the team!".

    Fun fact about Marshall: the year Marshall considered leaving baseball to finish his doctorate, he was the guy who told teammate Tommy John he should try the radical surgery proposed by team doctor Frank Jobe, even give Jobe's quoted odds of success a 1 in 100. That operation now bears John's name.

    Morgan STILL doesn’t understand baseball. He can’t “get” how or WHY the Oakland A’s beat the Big Red Machine.

    Joe, it’s a team game and it’s about the little things as well as the big things. For instance, one of the most underrated second basemen for his contributions to the A’s winning, was the play of light % hitting, unspectacular second baseman, Dick Green. Green was remarkable (not just in the Reds-A’s Series, but throughout his tenure) at positioning himself where the hitter would hit the ball. Now, that requires not only that Green knew the hitters’ swings and tendencies but also that Green trusted the pitch’s intended location AND that the A’s had pitchers that hit their spots with regularity.Green was so trusting of the pitching that he was often on the move before the hitter took a swing. Further, while he was a low average hitter, he was effective in moving runners over when it counted. The A’s that Charlie Finlay put together were a remarkable team.

  116. @Dave Pinsen

    On the other hand there are a lot more Jewish sports WRITERS than there are Jewish athletes.
     
    This seems unlikely, especially if you include Jewish athletes at all levels. Even at the pro level, I'm not sure it's true. Do you have numbers for both?

    Also, a hundred years ago, boxing was considered a fairly cerebral sport. The other commenter mentioned the Klitschko brothers, who speak several languages and both have PhDs. Even those without much formal education, such as Bernard Hopkins, seem to be smarter-than-average. Which makes some sense in that boxing training requires conscientiousness, and that correlates with intelligence, IIRC.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the Klichkos are idiots, as they demonstrate every time they open their mouths. They got their degrees for being famous.

  117. @Hippopotamusdrome


    Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks
    ...
    Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.
    ...
    "More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings," he said.
    ...
    Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population.
    ...
    Brian Forst, a professor ... "More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one," Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black.
    ...
    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.

     

    Black males in The U.S are disproportionately killed by the police, but in the vast majority of cases it is justified because of their sky high off the charts crime rate.

    Now if Black males committed crimes at the same low proportion as Chinese Americans and Italian Americans for example and they were still disproportionately killed by the police, than you could have chalked it up to racism.

  118. @The Last Real Calvinist

    “I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF.”

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?
     
    Morgan was, and remains, the best offensive second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. He was definitely a better player than Rose.

    Rose had a couple of genuinely great years offensively, but mostly he was very good, and of course incredibly durable. He also moved all over the field in his career -- from second base to (mostly) left field to third base to first base -- not so much because he was such a defensive whiz, but because he wasn't especially great at any position.

    Morgan had a true hall of fame-quality peak that lasted quite a few years, from his late 20s well into his 30s, reaching its apotheosis in a phenomenal 1976 season in which he was the highest-cotane fuel powering the Big Red Machine.

    I was a huge Reds fan back in the 70s and 80s, but I have to admit I didn't appreciate Morgan's excellence at the time. I was kid who was too impressed by Rose's headfirst slides and George Foster's majestic home runs.

    not so much because he was such a defensive whiz

    All-time leader in defensive percentage (1-errors/chances) among outfielders?

    Pete Rose.

    Imperfect stat, but still says something about reliability/consistency.

  119. @Brutusale
    You need another explanation for Rice. He hated sportswriters, and they hated him.

    Morgan was a very good cog in an indomitable machine. Look at the lineup:

    Pete Rose
    Joe Morgan
    Johnny Bench
    Tony Perez
    Davey Conception
    Cesar Geronimo/George Foster platoon
    Ken Griffey
    Chaney/Flynn/Vukovich platoon

    Gullett/Nolan/Bellingham/Darcy starters
    McEnaney/Borbon/Eastwick in the bullpen

    As tough a team as you'll ever see. Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon, which was the only "analytics" in baseball at the time.

    As Jim Bouton pointed out in his 1969 book Ball Four, pitcher and kinesiology Masters degree-holder Mike Marshall was an early adopter of statistical analysis. He had a problem with the stultifying caveman attitudes then prevalent in baseball, which is why an intelligent guy with a Cy Young and multiple All-Star appearances played for 9 teams in 12 years.

    As Bouton quoted, the prevalent attitude was, "Stop thinking, you're hurting the team!".

    Fun fact about Marshall: the year Marshall considered leaving baseball to finish his doctorate, he was the guy who told teammate Tommy John he should try the radical surgery proposed by team doctor Frank Jobe, even give Jobe's quoted odds of success a 1 in 100. That operation now bears John's name.

    Sparky Anderson knew how to platoon

    At it’s height (1976 – the year they swept the playoffs and WS), the Machine was known for the consistency of it’s starting eight (i.e. not platooning). The only non-HOF-caliber member of that eight (Geronimo, who was in the line-up for his defense) hit .307 that year.

  120. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench....or Tony Perez. As SI article noted, Perez had as many game winning clutch hits as Morgan. Shame that Perez has somewhat slipped through the cracks, so to speak, by HOF voters. Before Bench showed up in '68, Tony Perez was the main RBI man and usually led the team in HRs as well. So if a case was made for Morgan, then certainly a case could be made for Tony Perez to enter Cooperstown.

    Perhaps one day Sabermetrics will overcome their disdain for the traditional RBI stat, which corresponds to an assist in basketball and soccer. Just as assists are quite important in NBA, so too are RBIs. Without them, most times the run doesn't score.

    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench….or Tony Perez.

    Who feasted on the fastballs produced by Morgan’s base-stealing capacity (and OBP that made that possible – Billy Hamilton’s achilles heel).

    Ultimately, baseball sabermetrics comes down to not making outs, and Morgan was a master of every variation of that.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Uh, no, Perez was well established on the Reds before Morgan joined them in 1972. He was already a well known and feared batsman in his own right.

    Again, no 3,000career Hits and no 500 HRS. If he was all that, then it should also show up in the traditional offensive categories that, you know, have been established for hitting greatness for well over a century. Did Morgan win a batting title? No. Did he lead the NL in HRs? No. Did he ever have a 40+ game hitting streak in the seasons that he played? No.

    Also, since Morgan was amazing at not making outs, then we should expect to see that reflected directly in his batting average. Did Morgan ever hit over .400? No. Ty Cobb; Rogers Hornsby; and Ted Williams, however, did.

    In OAK and in NY, Reggie Jackson was clearly the straw that stirred the drink. In CIN, Morgan wasn't the straw, Bench, Rose, Perez have a better claim on that one.

    Alas, Cooperstown is becoming the Hall of Very Good, or, the greatest players that you didn't really know were the greatest....until we told you so. So just cause you always thought individual players were good but not quite all that, that doesn't really matter....because old white men armed with sabermetrics have the power to determine who is and who is not "really" among the top 1% of the "greatest" of all time.
  121. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I still don't understand why Morgan is in the HOF. No 500HRs, no 3,000Hits but then I also don't understand why Jim Rice is in the HOF (well, actually I do, HOF Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons pushed for his inclusion for many yrs), but yet Dave Kingman is not. Or Rusty Staub or Al Oliver. I have a suspicion that Staub has a better chance to make Cooperstown at a later time, but I'm trying to recall why I would tend to think that.

    Morgan had the advantage of playing alongside Pete Rose (who by virtue of being the all time MLB hits leader would be in the HOF under most circumstances) and of course Johnny Bench. Its almost as if Rose and Bench were "supposed" to be the main cogs in the Big Red Machine that made it into Cooperstown, but Pete screwed up by getting a lifetime ban. Therefore, the other CIN HOF member slot went to Morgan. After all, Morgan, unlike Bench, wasn't a unanimous first ballot HOFer. I mean, CIN's Tony Perez had very similar offensive category numbers to Morgan and yet he's still not in the HOF. Perhaps if an Hispanic advocacy group were to pressure MLB then "suddenly" in a few yrs, Tony Perez's name would be included on the short list for Cooperstown.


    No, lower IQ doesn't account for all the reason for blacks' distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US? How many take an active interest in such math related fields compared to whites? These are fair questions, I'm sorry to say. Also there is the cultural aspect of blacks' general distain for anything that they perceive as "too white". Facts are facts and one can't just wish them away.

    Some of those abstractions in STEM related fields (and also in the medical community at large, for example) have lead to many breakthroughs in medicine, science, etc. which tend to be the fields that blacks still aren't highly represented in.

    That's why I said that Wilbon at least deserved credit for not playing the race card directly in his article as most community leaders, activists, etc would tend to be doing at this point.

    But I truly don't understand why Joe Morgan or Jim Rice are in the HOF, unless we take into account the popularity and personal politics of the sportswriters who vote on the candidates they tend to like and don't like. Also remember that Joe Morgan had already started to work for ESPN around the time he got inducted into the HOF, hardly a coincidence.

    No, lower IQ doesn’t account for all the reason for blacks’ distaste for analytics but it does tell an important part of the story. After all, how many black STEM grads per yr are there in the US?

    You miss my point. The number of black STEM grads is way less than would be predicted on the basis of the IQ gap alone, and even that number is grossly inflated by AA.

  122. @Hippopotamusdrome


    Talk show host: Police kill more whites than blacks
    ...
    Medved said that blacks are much more likely to be killed by another black person than they are by a cop.
    ...
    "More whites than blacks are victims of deadly police shootings," he said.
    ...
    Yes, more whites than blacks die as a result of an encounter with police, but whites also represent a much bigger chunk of the total population.
    ...
    Brian Forst, a professor ... "More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because whites outnumber blacks in the general population by more than five to one," Forst said. The country is about 63 percent white and 12 percent black.
    ...
    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.

     

    Medved said that police kill more whites than blacks. In absolute terms, that is accurate. However, the statement ignores that there are more than five times more whites than blacks in America.

    In absolute terms, the statement is ignorant only if you believe police shootings are a random occurrence of the general population.

    Perhaps the relevant population might be described as ‘justice-involved’ persons. That would shed more light than heat in the discussion.

  123. @JimL
    Does anyone remember the bizarre shooting form of George McGinnis of the Indiana Pacers? One hand, did not use the off hand as a guide. It seemed to work for a while and then he turned into an awful shooter.

    McGinnis was the worst “superstar” ever. Beside shooting jumpshots one handed, he made a huge number of turnover, records that might never broken.

  124. @Marty T
    Im a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so.

    I made up a list of the 10 top NBA centers of all time and only Moses Malone seemed like clearly a two digit IQ.

    For example, Kareem has made himself, at an advanced age, into a pretty good pundit with a column on politics and society in Time.

  125. @Steve Sailer
    "I still don’t understand why Morgan is in the HOF."

    Because he was a decent defensive second baseman who batted third in the lineup of one of the greatest dynasties of all time?

    Batting 3rd in the line-up would be the manager’s judgement of the best all-around hitter on the team.

    Ideally (opinions differ), first in order is ‘getting on base’ (where OBP comes in) and speed for base stealing. Second is contact hitter, low strike-outs, and speed (needs to execute hit n run). Third is best hitter. Fourth–clean-up–is top power hitter (SLG), and fifth is second best power hitter.

    Batting third in that Reds line-up is saying something. A lot of these thresholds (500 HR, 3000 hits) are testaments to injury-free longevity, not an absolute measure of excellence–though certainly doesn’t preclude it. HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    And offensive categories such as HRs and career H's figure very prominently in a players "greatness". Since voters vote for a players total overall career, we should expect to see that he lead in those traditional categories. The fact that he did not, is quite telling and demonstrates that other things, such as politics (Morgan was quite media friendly throughout his career) which do play a direct role on sportswriters. Only naivety would suggest it doesn't play a role at all when they cast their votes.
  126. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    If so, then he would've been unanimously inducted into the HOF during his first yr of eligibility since everyone would have known it to be an obvious fact.

    "Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence"--Carl Sagan

    Cobb; Ruth; Wagner; Mathewson; Johnson were among the earliest inductees into the HOF before its opening in 1939. It wasn't even disputed that those were among the best to ever have played the game (at that time). In other words, Babe Ruth, who had just retired in '35, didn't have to wait until 1956 to be inducted into the HOF a la "Aren't we missing someone in the Hall? Who is that? Oh yeah! That fat dude who hit tons of homers! He's not in yet? How'd we ever miss him?" The greatest of the great or the top .00001% within the top 1.0% are definitely inducted within their first yr of eligibility. Michael Jordan didn't have to wait ten-fifteen yrs to be inducted. I don't think that Brady or Payton will have to wait twenty yrs to be inducted either.
    Perhaps people are making allowances by trying to state that within the top one percent of great players there are the greatest of the great (Ruth) and there are borderline kinda sorta maybe great (Dawson, Rice, and Morgan). This kind of subjective voting does tend to call into question as to whether or not Halls of Fame are really necessary after all since many, many players are in them that have no business being there whatsoever.

    Where are the 3,000 hits or the 500 HRs? Where is the hitting .400 in a single season? Or hitting safely in 40, 50 plus consecutive games? Hornsby won the coveted Triple Crown twice, did Morgan win the Triple Crown even once?

    I know that Hornsby hit over .400 several times and that he was about 70 career hits shy of 3,000. Trying to remember who had more HRs, because Hornsby had around 340 HRs would have to check on Morgan's career total, but I know it wasn't 500, much less 400.

    Morgan was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first round. He played more games at second base than anybody else in history except Eddie Collins. He was 5th all time in walks (all positions), behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams, 11th all time in stolen bases, 6th all time in power-speed combination, behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, and Bobby Bonds.

    He was the best offensive player on one of the best teams ever while playing a Gold Glove second base.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    5th all time in walks, then he should be among the top three or five players in MLB history in Runs Scored, as he must've scored tons of runs. But he's not, so in this case walks are totally irrelevant. Its no different than a person who had a career better OPS if he swung with an uppercut swing as opposed to a flinching or taking a check swing type of undercut. So what? Who cares?

    Come on. Power-speed combo is a bogus stat. H, RBIs, BA, and HRs. Where does Morgan's career rank in total numbers in these well established stats? The top ten? The top 20? I'm surprised that for all his SBs, Morgan didn't have 3,000Hits, when Brock, Henderson, Cobb, Wagner, (to name a few who have more career SBs than Morgan) did, that's also telling. Also, didn't Eddie Collins have more career SBs as well? And Eddie Collins had well over 3,000Hits and had a much higher batting average. For all Morgan's vaunted speed (which is accurate he was that fast) I'm also surprised that he doesn't have the all time career lead in Triples nor did he ever hit over 20 3Bs in a single season. Triples do require that one can hit the ball far but also be an amazingly speed demon on the basepaths, like say, Carl Crawford was a few yrs ago. Crawford was actually stole home a few time. For a few seasons, Carl Crawford's speed was unbelievable.

    These are reasonable questions, especially since I have no opinion either way, except to make the case that behind all the window dressing of sabermetrics, the fact remains that oftentimes the media tend to like certain players over others. One reason for this is because some players are more media friendly.
  127. @Captain Tripps

    Joe Morgan was the greatest second baseman since Rogers Hornsby. There is nobody else close over the last 80 years.
     
    Uh, Ryne Sandberg?

    From his Hall of Fame entry at http://baseballhall.org/hof/sandberg-ryne:

    "In 1984, Sandberg led the Cubs to their first postseason play since the 1945 World Series, hitting .314 and leading the league in runs scored with 114, and triples with 19. He also began turning on the ball and chipped in 19 homers on his way to the NL MVP award. He also made his first of 10 consecutive All-Star appearances, and won his second of nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards.

    In 1990, Sandberg led the NL in homers with 40, while also leading the league in runs and total bases, driving in 100 runs and stealing 25 bases. He was the first second baseman since Rogers Hornsby in 1925 to lead the NL in homers.

    Sandberg finished his career with the highest fielding percentage at second base with .989. He had 15 streaks of 30 or more consecutive errorless games.

    At the time of his retirement after the 1997 season, he held the all-time record of 123 consecutive errorless games by a second baseman and also had hit more home runs than any second baseman in baseball history."

    Granted, he did not have Morgan's speed on the bases, and he gets some points taken off for no championships, but he was a pretty darn good second baseman, the best defender at his position all time by far (which is consistently underrated).

    Sandberg was real good, with a hitting career shaped kind of like Morgan’s: early peak, then some unspectacular years when he was in his late 20’s ought-to-be prime (second basemen get dinged up all the time, especially turning the double play), then a mature peak in his early 30s. Sandberg kind of lost interest earlier than Morgan, who had some interesting late career years like 1982 with the Giants.

    So comparing them depends upon how much to weight Sandberg being a great defensive second baseman while Morgan was merely a quite good one, since clearly Morgan was a better offensive player (especially after adjusting for his years playing in the Astrodome in the late 1960s) while Sandberg played in Wrigley Field in the 1980s.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    the late 1960s
     
    i.e. the modern dead-ball era, dominated by the likes of Gibson and Koufax. Rose's numbers during those years are the clearest mark of his greatness (notice the doubles totals).
    , @Captain Tripps
    Yes; Sandberg's mid-career sleepwalk (comparatively) is a head-scratcher. He had the talent to be on the level of Morgan/Hornsby, but never realized it. Still good enough to get in the Hall (though as others have noted, with some subjective bias among sportswriters). I have to admit my bias, though; I saw my first game at age 5, Wrigley Field, 1969. That was the year the Cubs could have, but collapsed in September. Been a fan since.

    It would be interesting to see defense analyzed more among Hall of Famers. For instance, how many put-outs did Sandberg initiatiate/complete against Hall of Fame batting competition (i.e. Gwynn in San Diego, or Smith in St. Louis, etc.) compared to his 2B peers during the same time frame? How many additional outs against the HOF competition was he responsible for that possibly took X percentage points off their final career BA? Though the data is probably too noisy/fuzzy to make any conclusions from.
  128. @Steve Sailer
    Sandberg was real good, with a hitting career shaped kind of like Morgan's: early peak, then some unspectacular years when he was in his late 20's ought-to-be prime (second basemen get dinged up all the time, especially turning the double play), then a mature peak in his early 30s. Sandberg kind of lost interest earlier than Morgan, who had some interesting late career years like 1982 with the Giants.

    So comparing them depends upon how much to weight Sandberg being a great defensive second baseman while Morgan was merely a quite good one, since clearly Morgan was a better offensive player (especially after adjusting for his years playing in the Astrodome in the late 1960s) while Sandberg played in Wrigley Field in the 1980s.

    the late 1960s

    i.e. the modern dead-ball era, dominated by the likes of Gibson and Koufax. Rose’s numbers during those years are the clearest mark of his greatness (notice the doubles totals).

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Double totals greatly aided by turf.
  129. @Jefferson
    Black people have a very loose broad definition of "nerd" or "blerd". They call Kanye West a nerd/blerd, even though I haven't seen any evidence that Kanye West is a book smart rhode scholar who uses big words that most Blacks or people in general regardless of race would not understand. Kanye West's vocabulary is not drastically different from other urban inner city Dindu rappers, so how the hell is he a nerd like Sheldon Cooper, Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter, and Rajesh Koothrappali?

    Actual Black nerds like the fictional Steve Urkel character are quite rare in real life.

    “Actual Black nerds like the fictional Steve Urkel character are quite rare in real life.”

    Except for the POTUS.

    • Replies: @Ed
    He didn't grow up around blacks so his intellect was allowed to develop unmolested. If he grew up where his wife grew up at he'd have been mercilessly bullied.
  130. @Steve Sailer
    The Clippers have a white guy from Duke, JJ Redick, who specializes in long distance shooting. He was the only player in the league whose arm wingspan was less than his height: short arms allow you to control your shots more precisely, but they're bad for everything else in basketball.

    I imagine that has a similar effect on a golf swing: more arc, more margin of error.

  131. @William Badwhite
    "Actual Black nerds like the fictional Steve Urkel character are quite rare in real life."

    Except for the POTUS.

    He didn’t grow up around blacks so his intellect was allowed to develop unmolested. If he grew up where his wife grew up at he’d have been mercilessly bullied.

    • Agree: Triumph104
  132. @Triumph104
    Pretty much all sports are considered cerebral until blacks start competing and winning. The intelligence of the Klitschko brothers exists in other sports if anyone cared to look.

    Shaquille O'Neal has a doctorate. Former Baltimore Ravens player John Urschel will begin studying for his PhD in math at MIT this fall. Former Mr. America and Mr. Universe Lance Dreher has a PhD.

    Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, and Kobe Bryant speak multiple languages.

    Rowing (or is it crew?) consistently produces PhDs. Lots of world and Olympic level figure skaters from the US have medical and law degrees. Figure skating has a high concentration of Jews from the US and former Soviet Union.

    Don’t know how O’Neal got a Doctorate, maybe honorary. Urschel is a local Jesuit Prep product who was working on his Masters while still playing college ball, so he is a rarity. Kobe Bryant spent most of his childhood in Italy so he needed to speak Italian.

  133. @Truth

    All we have to do to examine: Quick. New Kardashian episode is on, opposite the ALCS. Which one draws the higher ratings? Twenty yrs ago, the ALCS would’ve, hands down. Not so anymore.
     
    Both Bread and Circuses.

    Light!, With the Kardashians it’s Buns and Circus.

  134. @Claude
    "anytime" is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.

    ‘“anytime” is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.’

    When referring to an indefinite point in time, “anytime” is correct. When referring to a particular point in time “any time” is correct.

    Examples:

    “If you ever need any time off work, let your supervisor know. ”

    “If you need to use the restroom at anytime, you don’t have to notify your supervisor; just go to the restroom!”

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    “If you need to use the restroom at anytime, you don’t have to notify your supervisor; just go to the restroom!”
     
    That is not correct. If "anytime" is a word at all (and apparently it is), it cannot be used after "at".
  135. @Claude
    "anytime" is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.

    In the case of this article, yes, “anytime” is incorrect; it should be “any time.”

  136. @Marty T
    Im a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so.

    Stephen Curry doesn’t have a college degree.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2015/12/03/davidson-wont-retire-stephen-currys-jersey-until-he-earns-his-degree/

    I agree with your assessment on the others.

    An idiot star player is Derrick Rose. He bombed the ACTs three times and had someone take the SAT for him in Wisconsin. His high school also changed his grades so he would be NCAA eligible.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    My brother works in advertising and worked with Derrick Rose for nearly two days.

    The guy can't complete a basic sentence. Forget about a expletive free sentence, just a basic sentence above say, the level of a nine yr old child.
  137. @Marty T
    Im a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so.

    “Im [sic] a smart white guy with little use for analytics. I watch sports for the athleticism and the emotion and the heart. By the way, it seems to me star basketball players average more intelligent [sic] than the black average. Kobe certainly has a triple digit IQ; likely Lebron does too. Stephen Curry has a degree from Davidson and Russell Westbrook seems pretty articulate as well. Kevin Durant seems to be kinda dumb, but not extremely so.”

    LOL.

  138. @Desiderius

    Yes, but who was driving Morgan in? Usually Bench….or Tony Perez.
     
    Who feasted on the fastballs produced by Morgan's base-stealing capacity (and OBP that made that possible - Billy Hamilton's achilles heel).

    Ultimately, baseball sabermetrics comes down to not making outs, and Morgan was a master of every variation of that.

    Uh, no, Perez was well established on the Reds before Morgan joined them in 1972. He was already a well known and feared batsman in his own right.

    Again, no 3,000career Hits and no 500 HRS. If he was all that, then it should also show up in the traditional offensive categories that, you know, have been established for hitting greatness for well over a century. Did Morgan win a batting title? No. Did he lead the NL in HRs? No. Did he ever have a 40+ game hitting streak in the seasons that he played? No.

    Also, since Morgan was amazing at not making outs, then we should expect to see that reflected directly in his batting average. Did Morgan ever hit over .400? No. Ty Cobb; Rogers Hornsby; and Ted Williams, however, did.

    In OAK and in NY, Reggie Jackson was clearly the straw that stirred the drink. In CIN, Morgan wasn’t the straw, Bench, Rose, Perez have a better claim on that one.

    Alas, Cooperstown is becoming the Hall of Very Good, or, the greatest players that you didn’t really know were the greatest….until we told you so. So just cause you always thought individual players were good but not quite all that, that doesn’t really matter….because old white men armed with sabermetrics have the power to determine who is and who is not “really” among the top 1% of the “greatest” of all time.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Perez was a valuable hitter, but he wasn't really good enough defensively to stay at third base, and first basemen who can hit like him are extremely useful but not rare. Tony Perez is pretty comparable to, say, Adrian Gonzalez, currently of the Dodgers, who is an admirable, high paid player but not a rarity. In contrast, Morgan was a remarkable offensive talent for a second baseman.

    Rose was an amazing offensive player and tremendously durable, but during their seven years together, Morgan was clearly the superior hitter, baserunner, and defensive player, although Morgan was younger so it's not a perfect comparison.

    Bench was a great defensive catcher and on-and-off a great hitter.

  139. @Triumph104
    Stephen Curry doesn't have a college degree.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2015/12/03/davidson-wont-retire-stephen-currys-jersey-until-he-earns-his-degree/

    I agree with your assessment on the others.

    An idiot star player is Derrick Rose. He bombed the ACTs three times and had someone take the SAT for him in Wisconsin. His high school also changed his grades so he would be NCAA eligible.

    My brother works in advertising and worked with Derrick Rose for nearly two days.

    The guy can’t complete a basic sentence. Forget about a expletive free sentence, just a basic sentence above say, the level of a nine yr old child.

  140. @The Z Blog
    I always thought Rush Limbaugh screwed the pooch when he let Wilbon off the hook so easy. I happened to be watching PTI when Wilbon made those claims about Limbaugh. I put "Limbaugh racist statements" in the google machine and out popped all the quotes Wilbon had just repeated on TV. The site was obviously a fake site, a gag of some sort, but the great Washington Post reporter fell for it like a fool and slandered someone on TV.

    Limbaugh's lawyers obviously contacted ESPN and Wilbon made one of those"he did not say it but could have said it" apologies. Limbaugh should have sued the idiot into poverty. He had an ironclad case.

    There is not evidence that Limbaugh is a vindictive guy.

  141. @Forbes
    Batting 3rd in the line-up would be the manager's judgement of the best all-around hitter on the team.

    Ideally (opinions differ), first in order is 'getting on base' (where OBP comes in) and speed for base stealing. Second is contact hitter, low strike-outs, and speed (needs to execute hit n run). Third is best hitter. Fourth--clean-up--is top power hitter (SLG), and fifth is second best power hitter.

    Batting third in that Reds line-up is saying something. A lot of these thresholds (500 HR, 3000 hits) are testaments to injury-free longevity, not an absolute measure of excellence--though certainly doesn't preclude it. HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    And offensive categories such as HRs and career H’s figure very prominently in a players “greatness”. Since voters vote for a players total overall career, we should expect to see that he lead in those traditional categories. The fact that he did not, is quite telling and demonstrates that other things, such as politics (Morgan was quite media friendly throughout his career) which do play a direct role on sportswriters. Only naivety would suggest it doesn’t play a role at all when they cast their votes.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Don't be obtuse: Morgan had huge offensive numbers for a second baseman of his time and place. He won back to back near unanimous MVPs as the top offensive player on consecutive world series winners.
    , @Forbes
    HOF is certainly political/personality biased--it's sportswriters doing the voting. Players and/or opposing players voting would probably be a better approach, but it is what it is.
  142. @Steve Sailer
    Sandberg was real good, with a hitting career shaped kind of like Morgan's: early peak, then some unspectacular years when he was in his late 20's ought-to-be prime (second basemen get dinged up all the time, especially turning the double play), then a mature peak in his early 30s. Sandberg kind of lost interest earlier than Morgan, who had some interesting late career years like 1982 with the Giants.

    So comparing them depends upon how much to weight Sandberg being a great defensive second baseman while Morgan was merely a quite good one, since clearly Morgan was a better offensive player (especially after adjusting for his years playing in the Astrodome in the late 1960s) while Sandberg played in Wrigley Field in the 1980s.

    Yes; Sandberg’s mid-career sleepwalk (comparatively) is a head-scratcher. He had the talent to be on the level of Morgan/Hornsby, but never realized it. Still good enough to get in the Hall (though as others have noted, with some subjective bias among sportswriters). I have to admit my bias, though; I saw my first game at age 5, Wrigley Field, 1969. That was the year the Cubs could have, but collapsed in September. Been a fan since.

    It would be interesting to see defense analyzed more among Hall of Famers. For instance, how many put-outs did Sandberg initiatiate/complete against Hall of Fame batting competition (i.e. Gwynn in San Diego, or Smith in St. Louis, etc.) compared to his 2B peers during the same time frame? How many additional outs against the HOF competition was he responsible for that possibly took X percentage points off their final career BA? Though the data is probably too noisy/fuzzy to make any conclusions from.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Second basemen are like catchers, they have more off years offensively due to a lot of chronic minor injuries sustained playing defense (because they get spiked by baserunners while turning the double play). I don't know why Sandberg receded temporarily in his later 20s, but it was probably minor injuries that he didn't want to complain too much about.
  143. @Steve Sailer
    Morgan was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first round. He played more games at second base than anybody else in history except Eddie Collins. He was 5th all time in walks (all positions), behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams, 11th all time in stolen bases, 6th all time in power-speed combination, behind Barry Bonds, Ricky Henderson, Willie Mays, Alex Rodriguez, and Bobby Bonds.

    He was the best offensive player on one of the best teams ever while playing a Gold Glove second base.

    5th all time in walks, then he should be among the top three or five players in MLB history in Runs Scored, as he must’ve scored tons of runs. But he’s not, so in this case walks are totally irrelevant. Its no different than a person who had a career better OPS if he swung with an uppercut swing as opposed to a flinching or taking a check swing type of undercut. So what? Who cares?

    Come on. Power-speed combo is a bogus stat. H, RBIs, BA, and HRs. Where does Morgan’s career rank in total numbers in these well established stats? The top ten? The top 20? I’m surprised that for all his SBs, Morgan didn’t have 3,000Hits, when Brock, Henderson, Cobb, Wagner, (to name a few who have more career SBs than Morgan) did, that’s also telling. Also, didn’t Eddie Collins have more career SBs as well? And Eddie Collins had well over 3,000Hits and had a much higher batting average. For all Morgan’s vaunted speed (which is accurate he was that fast) I’m also surprised that he doesn’t have the all time career lead in Triples nor did he ever hit over 20 3Bs in a single season. Triples do require that one can hit the ball far but also be an amazingly speed demon on the basepaths, like say, Carl Crawford was a few yrs ago. Crawford was actually stole home a few time. For a few seasons, Carl Crawford’s speed was unbelievable.

    These are reasonable questions, especially since I have no opinion either way, except to make the case that behind all the window dressing of sabermetrics, the fact remains that oftentimes the media tend to like certain players over others. One reason for this is because some players are more media friendly.

  144. @ben tillman

    This is similar, btw, to how women hate working for women bosses, in part because the female bosses demand the women do the same hard job the men do, and the women employees can’t flirt their way to lazy work like they could with a male boss.
     
    The reason women hate working for other women is that women don't "get" hierarchy, and women bosses don't "get" the fact that, as the boss, they are officially superior to the women beneath them and therefore do not need to engage in stupid, petty status shows.

    Plus women make -everything- personal. Men don’t give a damn.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    Plus women make -everything- personal. Men don’t give a damn.
     
    Yes, I agree. That was supposed to be in my comment somewhere, but I guess it wasn't.
  145. @Kyle a
    Doesn't Wilbon resemble the fella who shot his two coworkers during a live news report from a few years back? Charles Barkley has difficulty with them analytics.

    Ruth’s OPS was 1.164, while Cobb’s was 945. In addition, Ruth was responsible for 253 wins, while Cobb had 242, according to Bill James. They are 1-2 all time.

    As for Wilbon’s doppelganger, I always thought he looked like Zacarias Moussaoui, who currently lives with the Unabomber.

    The incident you are referring to happened last summer, believe it or not. The killer looks more like Perd Hapley from Parks & Recreation than Wilbon.

  146. @Captain Tripps
    Yes; Sandberg's mid-career sleepwalk (comparatively) is a head-scratcher. He had the talent to be on the level of Morgan/Hornsby, but never realized it. Still good enough to get in the Hall (though as others have noted, with some subjective bias among sportswriters). I have to admit my bias, though; I saw my first game at age 5, Wrigley Field, 1969. That was the year the Cubs could have, but collapsed in September. Been a fan since.

    It would be interesting to see defense analyzed more among Hall of Famers. For instance, how many put-outs did Sandberg initiatiate/complete against Hall of Fame batting competition (i.e. Gwynn in San Diego, or Smith in St. Louis, etc.) compared to his 2B peers during the same time frame? How many additional outs against the HOF competition was he responsible for that possibly took X percentage points off their final career BA? Though the data is probably too noisy/fuzzy to make any conclusions from.

    Second basemen are like catchers, they have more off years offensively due to a lot of chronic minor injuries sustained playing defense (because they get spiked by baserunners while turning the double play). I don’t know why Sandberg receded temporarily in his later 20s, but it was probably minor injuries that he didn’t want to complain too much about.

  147. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    And offensive categories such as HRs and career H's figure very prominently in a players "greatness". Since voters vote for a players total overall career, we should expect to see that he lead in those traditional categories. The fact that he did not, is quite telling and demonstrates that other things, such as politics (Morgan was quite media friendly throughout his career) which do play a direct role on sportswriters. Only naivety would suggest it doesn't play a role at all when they cast their votes.

    Don’t be obtuse: Morgan had huge offensive numbers for a second baseman of his time and place. He won back to back near unanimous MVPs as the top offensive player on consecutive world series winners.

    • Replies: @David In TN
    During Joe Morgan's MVP years in Cincinnati there was no dispute that he was a great player.
    , @MC
    Since this is a thread about how blacks don't use advanced stats, maybe I should point out that Joe Morgan has over 100 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which gives him the 30th-most valuable career of any MLB player in history according to advanced stats:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_career.shtml

    Anyone who thinks he doesn't belong in the HOF knows zip about baseball.
  148. @Seneca
    Wow I am an INTJ!

    You sound pretty knowledgeable about Meyer-Briggs.

    Could you please tell me what my best marriage partner match would be? I am serious. From past experience I think I could use some help in that area LOL.

    Also curious as to why you guess that many iSteve readers might be INTJ types.

    Seriously, please set forth your idea in greater detail. I am very curious. Thanks!

    Seneca: start here http://www.myersbriggs.org/ then troll through the various offshoot websites and tests.
    Light/Truth: I’m male

    Site note about Myers Briggs: At one time, as related to me by a military trainer, the military put all flag-rank officers through training that included MB. They found that the most common by far was the STJ.

    • Replies: @Seneca
    Thanks!
  149. @Steve Sailer
    Don't be obtuse: Morgan had huge offensive numbers for a second baseman of his time and place. He won back to back near unanimous MVPs as the top offensive player on consecutive world series winners.

    During Joe Morgan’s MVP years in Cincinnati there was no dispute that he was a great player.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Yeah, Yoj is getting hung up on Morgan's lack of consistent excellence relative to Rose, the best of all-time if that's the criteria. But it's not. The claim was that Morgan wasn't appreciated, which is refuted by his MVPs during the time when he was actually producing at that level. During the rest of his career, he was merely outstanding.

    Perez on the other hand is under-appreciated, and in exactly the way that was the original topic of the thread. The Big Red Machine died the day they let him go, despite picking up Seaver for peanuts the same year.
  150. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Uh, no, Perez was well established on the Reds before Morgan joined them in 1972. He was already a well known and feared batsman in his own right.

    Again, no 3,000career Hits and no 500 HRS. If he was all that, then it should also show up in the traditional offensive categories that, you know, have been established for hitting greatness for well over a century. Did Morgan win a batting title? No. Did he lead the NL in HRs? No. Did he ever have a 40+ game hitting streak in the seasons that he played? No.

    Also, since Morgan was amazing at not making outs, then we should expect to see that reflected directly in his batting average. Did Morgan ever hit over .400? No. Ty Cobb; Rogers Hornsby; and Ted Williams, however, did.

    In OAK and in NY, Reggie Jackson was clearly the straw that stirred the drink. In CIN, Morgan wasn't the straw, Bench, Rose, Perez have a better claim on that one.

    Alas, Cooperstown is becoming the Hall of Very Good, or, the greatest players that you didn't really know were the greatest....until we told you so. So just cause you always thought individual players were good but not quite all that, that doesn't really matter....because old white men armed with sabermetrics have the power to determine who is and who is not "really" among the top 1% of the "greatest" of all time.

    Perez was a valuable hitter, but he wasn’t really good enough defensively to stay at third base, and first basemen who can hit like him are extremely useful but not rare. Tony Perez is pretty comparable to, say, Adrian Gonzalez, currently of the Dodgers, who is an admirable, high paid player but not a rarity. In contrast, Morgan was a remarkable offensive talent for a second baseman.

    Rose was an amazing offensive player and tremendously durable, but during their seven years together, Morgan was clearly the superior hitter, baserunner, and defensive player, although Morgan was younger so it’s not a perfect comparison.

    Bench was a great defensive catcher and on-and-off a great hitter.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    On and off? When he retired, Bench had the most HRs for a catcher in MLB History. He too won two MVPs. If anyone can lay claim as being CINs straw, it's Bench. But also Rose, the all time MLB hits leader (and three time batting champ).
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I see the Perez to Gonzalez comparison, and that's fair. What I've been saying is that while perhaps Morgan's career stats are amazing for a 2B at that time, the HOF is no longer the elite .0001% or so within the top one percent, its the Hall of very good. HOF is supposed to be the culmination of a player of his entire career, and if Morgn truly belonged in the HOF, then he would have had posted career numbers in the traditional offensive categories.

    Example: KC 3B George Brett, who in some ways can be compared to Morgan. Brett hit .390 in 1980, won a couple batting titles and did hit over 3,000Hits. That does still remain a valuable offensive career stat, namely because only about 30 or so MLB players have managed to get 3,000 or more total hits over their careers out of how many, 10,0000 players in MLB's history? If he were at that level of "great", then we should expect to see that his career stats would contain 3,000 H; 500 HRs, etc. namely because few MLB players have managed to reach those milestones during their careers. Its not an anti-Morgan but a reasonable question as in: why are people making such a fuss over these types of borderline players (borderline as in HOF worthy or not) if there is doubt, and in this case I think there is, then he doesn't belong in Cooperstown.

    I mean honestly. Not everyone in the HOF is equal. Morgan isn't equal to Willie Mays, Aaron, Musial, Williams, Ruth. He just isn't. I don't care what position he played. We can compare certain stats of his with other players. All those walks are meaningless unless it directly translated into Runs Scored (which is a major offensive category) and he's not in the top five of Runs Scored.

    In other words, the HOF loses its credibility when it starts inducting so many obviously borderline players and not focusing on the top say .00001% within the top one percent. Its unfortunate that Barry Bonds so embarrassed the powers that be within MLB because he'd have been in Cooperstown long before the PEDs scandal. Just based on earlier part of his career projections and Bonds would've had over 500HRs and possibly 600 SBs, for example. Now there's no clear way to know.

    I've never said that Morgan wasn't an amazing player, clearly he was. I agree that he was probably in the top 1-2% of all time amazing players in MLB's storied history. But "great"? No, I"m sorry I don't think he was. Great implies equality with one's HOF peers. As in Aaron = Ruth = Williams = Cobb = Speaker = Young/Johnson = Carlton = Ryan = Seaver = etc. and I just wouldn't put Morgan in that circle. He's not at that level of top .00001% of all time greats to have ever played the game. In fact, there really aren't that many of those players in any given generation, perhaps 6-7 total players over a 10yr plus career that can plausibly lay claim to being the greatest of their generations.

    Pete Rose, by virtue of being the all time H leader is clearly in that category (also I think he is in the top three in Runs Scored) in that sense, his career was far greater than Mogans namely because he did an amazing thing, only two players in MLB history have over 4,000 career hits and that's not chump change.

    It's a shame that he ruined his Cooperstown chances, truly a shame.
  151. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Matter of opinion. Tyson has roughly a third grade education, not to mention that he's been hit in the head, concussed, quite a few times during his career (which can by the way affect the brain).

    Why do you have two names?

  152. @David In TN
    During Joe Morgan's MVP years in Cincinnati there was no dispute that he was a great player.

    Yeah, Yoj is getting hung up on Morgan’s lack of consistent excellence relative to Rose, the best of all-time if that’s the criteria. But it’s not. The claim was that Morgan wasn’t appreciated, which is refuted by his MVPs during the time when he was actually producing at that level. During the rest of his career, he was merely outstanding.

    Perez on the other hand is under-appreciated, and in exactly the way that was the original topic of the thread. The Big Red Machine died the day they let him go, despite picking up Seaver for peanuts the same year.

  153. @Jim Don Bob
    Plus women make -everything- personal. Men don't give a damn.

    Plus women make -everything- personal. Men don’t give a damn.

    Yes, I agree. That was supposed to be in my comment somewhere, but I guess it wasn’t.

  154. @dumpstersquirrel
    '“anytime” is actually two words. Not a good way to start a discussion about analytics.'

    When referring to an indefinite point in time, "anytime" is correct. When referring to a particular point in time "any time" is correct.

    Examples:

    "If you ever need any time off work, let your supervisor know. "

    "If you need to use the restroom at anytime, you don't have to notify your supervisor; just go to the restroom!"

    “If you need to use the restroom at anytime, you don’t have to notify your supervisor; just go to the restroom!”

    That is not correct. If “anytime” is a word at all (and apparently it is), it cannot be used after “at”.

  155. @Lot

    Real estate is another field in which moneyball techniques could be applied.
     
    When large amounts of money are involved in markets, the weak version of the efficient market hypothesis generally will apply. Baseball I think was a laggard rather than an innovator in using statistical innovations, so the question is more why was baseball and sports generally so late to the party.

    Some possible answers:

    (1) marketable fan favorites on the team are just as important as win/loss in terms of making money (who makes more money for a team, Yao Min/Jeremy Lin or a similar but 5% better black player?)

    (2) owners not always focused on maximizing wins as a way to make money off the team, versus squeezing tax money out of local governments and television contracts

    (3) owners deferring to the management judgment of charismatic former jocks over more cerebral types who can critically use existing statistical measures and refine their own

    (4) owners being conservative/lazy/complacent because the value of a sports franchises goes up every year without much regard to how good the team is, or just being dumb/lucky to own the team via inheritance, or being so filthy rich they run the team their way as a hobby rather than to make money

    (5) owners and managers have an informal agreement with each other not to bid up individual player salaries to their collective detriment by poaching players they think are undervalued by other teams. a weaker version is not an actual anti-poaching agreement, but a sort of social norm not to do it too much.

    possible evidence for this is player trades seem to be a lot more common than poaching players or what you'd expect in a free market. think about other markets. how often do two people moving to each others' cities trade houses? almost never, not even 1 out of 1000 real estate transactions, because it is stupid to try to do it that way. you sell your house for a market price, then you buy another one at a market price, not try to find someone who has exactly what you want and wants exactly what you have. same thing with companies and workers. yet in pro sports, trading players allows the value of the player's labor to be transferred without a dollar-valuation being attached to it, as opposed to just hiring one, or buying out a player's contract and negotiating a new one with him.

    i am not an expert or even particularly knowledgeable about the topic, so this could be completely wrong. a test of the theory would be to compare how common player trades (including player-for-draft-pick trades, which still avoid putting an actual dollar figure on a player) are now versus the 1960's before pro sports player salaries because such a big factor in team economics. I'd predict the current routine trading of players was less common compared to simply finding players not under contract and/or buying out with cash a contracted player on another team. my impression of low-paid minor league play is that trades are less common compared to just releasing and hiring players individually. if so that is additional support.

    I think trades were more common then because of lack of free agency.

  156. @Steve Sailer
    Perez was a valuable hitter, but he wasn't really good enough defensively to stay at third base, and first basemen who can hit like him are extremely useful but not rare. Tony Perez is pretty comparable to, say, Adrian Gonzalez, currently of the Dodgers, who is an admirable, high paid player but not a rarity. In contrast, Morgan was a remarkable offensive talent for a second baseman.

    Rose was an amazing offensive player and tremendously durable, but during their seven years together, Morgan was clearly the superior hitter, baserunner, and defensive player, although Morgan was younger so it's not a perfect comparison.

    Bench was a great defensive catcher and on-and-off a great hitter.

    On and off? When he retired, Bench had the most HRs for a catcher in MLB History. He too won two MVPs. If anyone can lay claim as being CINs straw, it’s Bench. But also Rose, the all time MLB hits leader (and three time batting champ).

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Bench hit .234 for the 1975 Big Red Machine. He was always feast or famine at the plate. His mean performance was exceptional for a catcher (and his defense was unparalleled), but he was relatively high variance.
  157. @Steve Sailer
    Perez was a valuable hitter, but he wasn't really good enough defensively to stay at third base, and first basemen who can hit like him are extremely useful but not rare. Tony Perez is pretty comparable to, say, Adrian Gonzalez, currently of the Dodgers, who is an admirable, high paid player but not a rarity. In contrast, Morgan was a remarkable offensive talent for a second baseman.

    Rose was an amazing offensive player and tremendously durable, but during their seven years together, Morgan was clearly the superior hitter, baserunner, and defensive player, although Morgan was younger so it's not a perfect comparison.

    Bench was a great defensive catcher and on-and-off a great hitter.

    I see the Perez to Gonzalez comparison, and that’s fair. What I’ve been saying is that while perhaps Morgan’s career stats are amazing for a 2B at that time, the HOF is no longer the elite .0001% or so within the top one percent, its the Hall of very good. HOF is supposed to be the culmination of a player of his entire career, and if Morgn truly belonged in the HOF, then he would have had posted career numbers in the traditional offensive categories.

    Example: KC 3B George Brett, who in some ways can be compared to Morgan. Brett hit .390 in 1980, won a couple batting titles and did hit over 3,000Hits. That does still remain a valuable offensive career stat, namely because only about 30 or so MLB players have managed to get 3,000 or more total hits over their careers out of how many, 10,0000 players in MLB’s history? If he were at that level of “great”, then we should expect to see that his career stats would contain 3,000 H; 500 HRs, etc. namely because few MLB players have managed to reach those milestones during their careers. Its not an anti-Morgan but a reasonable question as in: why are people making such a fuss over these types of borderline players (borderline as in HOF worthy or not) if there is doubt, and in this case I think there is, then he doesn’t belong in Cooperstown.

    I mean honestly. Not everyone in the HOF is equal. Morgan isn’t equal to Willie Mays, Aaron, Musial, Williams, Ruth. He just isn’t. I don’t care what position he played. We can compare certain stats of his with other players. All those walks are meaningless unless it directly translated into Runs Scored (which is a major offensive category) and he’s not in the top five of Runs Scored.

    In other words, the HOF loses its credibility when it starts inducting so many obviously borderline players and not focusing on the top say .00001% within the top one percent. Its unfortunate that Barry Bonds so embarrassed the powers that be within MLB because he’d have been in Cooperstown long before the PEDs scandal. Just based on earlier part of his career projections and Bonds would’ve had over 500HRs and possibly 600 SBs, for example. Now there’s no clear way to know.

    I’ve never said that Morgan wasn’t an amazing player, clearly he was. I agree that he was probably in the top 1-2% of all time amazing players in MLB’s storied history. But “great”? No, I”m sorry I don’t think he was. Great implies equality with one’s HOF peers. As in Aaron = Ruth = Williams = Cobb = Speaker = Young/Johnson = Carlton = Ryan = Seaver = etc. and I just wouldn’t put Morgan in that circle. He’s not at that level of top .00001% of all time greats to have ever played the game. In fact, there really aren’t that many of those players in any given generation, perhaps 6-7 total players over a 10yr plus career that can plausibly lay claim to being the greatest of their generations.

    Pete Rose, by virtue of being the all time H leader is clearly in that category (also I think he is in the top three in Runs Scored) in that sense, his career was far greater than Mogans namely because he did an amazing thing, only two players in MLB history have over 4,000 career hits and that’s not chump change.

    It’s a shame that he ruined his Cooperstown chances, truly a shame.

  158. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Those are excuses. Ernie Banks was inducted into the HOF in first year of eligibility and he played for the Cubs, one of the most mediocre NL teams post 1945. Things got so bad from a manager stace that at one time during Banks' career, the Cubs went to a rotating manager system of using first and third base coaches. In 1972 the Phillies finished in last place and lost about 105 games. Steve Carlton went 27-10 and won the Cy Young Award. Carlton did great. If only the Phils could've found a way to have him pitch every single day they might have finished over .500.

    Banks’ 1967 Cubs included Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley. Fergie Jenkins, Ray Culp, Joe Niekro and Ken Holtzman. It’s not like they sucked.

    Morgan’s 1967 Astros had Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, Mike Cuellar and not much else.

    I’ll give you the ’72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton’s season was immense.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    I’ll give you the ’72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton’s season was immense.
     
    It was, and they did, but his teammates did hit much better when Carlton was the starter. And, of course, Carlton helped himself out at times, as in the first big-league game I ever saw when Carlton topped off a one-hitter with a two-run triple to drive in the game's only runs at Chavez Ravine.

    It was an awesome accomplishment to win 27 games, complete 30, throw 343 innings, and strike out 310 in a strike-shortened season -- with a sub-2 ERA -- on a team that won just 59 games total.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    And, so the question is, how did the '67 Cubs do in the WS that yr? Oh that's right, they didn't win the pennant. So you can say which player was on which team, point is, the Cubs post WW2 up to around 1969 (when they choked away an Eastern Division lead of about 10 games to the Mets) and a couple of intermittent seasons have for the most part sucked. At best, the Cubs have been mediocre and in some ways thats even worse than sucking.

    Still surprised that Chicago even follows the "Loveable Losers" What is so exciting about losing yr after yr? That's their unofficial nickname, "…losers". And losing yr after yr tends to suck. The Windy City ought to follow the White Sox, they actually got it done in 2005.

    CHI has not won the pennant since 1945. Have not won the WS since 1908. By any definition, that is the meaning of suck, to fail yr after yr and never getting it done. Sports is very cut and dry about things like losing and winning.

    If I mention the Yankees, among the first adjectives associated with them is "winners". Maybe that's where Trump gets the attitude from. You know he has to be a Yankees fan. "We're gonna win, and we're gonna win so often you're gonna get tired of it."

    How can you ever get tired of winning?

  159. @Desiderius

    the late 1960s
     
    i.e. the modern dead-ball era, dominated by the likes of Gibson and Koufax. Rose's numbers during those years are the clearest mark of his greatness (notice the doubles totals).

    Double totals greatly aided by turf.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    He was playing in Crosley during those years.
  160. @Brutusale
    Double totals greatly aided by turf.

    He was playing in Crosley during those years.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    His six best years for doubles ALL came after he started playing on turf. All occurred AFTER age 32.
  161. Right. First season in Riverfront was 1970.

  162. @Brutusale
    Banks' 1967 Cubs included Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley. Fergie Jenkins, Ray Culp, Joe Niekro and Ken Holtzman. It's not like they sucked.

    Morgan's 1967 Astros had Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, Mike Cuellar and not much else.

    I'll give you the '72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton's season was immense.

    I’ll give you the ’72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton’s season was immense.

    It was, and they did, but his teammates did hit much better when Carlton was the starter. And, of course, Carlton helped himself out at times, as in the first big-league game I ever saw when Carlton topped off a one-hitter with a two-run triple to drive in the game’s only runs at Chavez Ravine.

    It was an awesome accomplishment to win 27 games, complete 30, throw 343 innings, and strike out 310 in a strike-shortened season — with a sub-2 ERA — on a team that won just 59 games total.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    343 innings? 30 complete games? Oh my goodness!! Didn't Carlton know that Bill James doesn't approve of such heresies? Didn't he realize that his arm would fall off, literally, within 3-4 yrs and that he'd never be able to ever use it again? Who did he think he was, the Pope? Can just walk on water, heal the blind and poof, toss 30 complete games in a single season. Most MLB pitchers won't throw that many complete games for their entire career and this what's his name does it in a single season. Probably pitched batting practice too (as many, many MLB pitchers tended to do for decades to keep their arms loose and warmed up), and he probably threw dozens of pitches on his days off in the bullpen (also something not uncommon for most MLB pitchers to do).

    Quick, "obviously" Carlton was taking PEDs because it's just not possible for any pitcher to throw for more than 220 innings. I'll bet Carlton didn't even have a 100 pitch per game pitch count. This just baffles the mind. How DID Carlton manage to do this, unless he was taking PEDS? There simply is no other explanation.

    343 innings, goodness. That simply isn't heard of in this day and age. Better not let Nate Silver and Bill James see those stats or they simply wouldn't like it and proceed to explain why it simply isn't possible for MLB pitchers to throw for more than 220 innings in a season and "maybe" possibly, throw for about 2 complete games, every third yr so that their arms don't fall off or wear out cause its been so overused.

    Seriously, Carlton 1972 season as well as his career IS an example of what a top MLB HOFer within the .00001% tends to have…exceptional evidence for the claims being made and his '72 season ranks as one of the all time greats.

    And his arm didn't fall off. Fancy that.

    Almost met him at the HOF one yr (one of the few times he's come) I should've asked him "How'd you do it and not have your arm fall off?" I think I'll ask him if he ever attends an induction of which I'm interested in seeing.

  163. @ben tillman

    I’ll give you the ’72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton’s season was immense.
     
    It was, and they did, but his teammates did hit much better when Carlton was the starter. And, of course, Carlton helped himself out at times, as in the first big-league game I ever saw when Carlton topped off a one-hitter with a two-run triple to drive in the game's only runs at Chavez Ravine.

    It was an awesome accomplishment to win 27 games, complete 30, throw 343 innings, and strike out 310 in a strike-shortened season -- with a sub-2 ERA -- on a team that won just 59 games total.

    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon "Lefty" Gomez. "Lefty" Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?
  164. @Desiderius
    He was playing in Crosley during those years.

    His six best years for doubles ALL came after he started playing on turf. All occurred AFTER age 32.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Artificial turf made for some fun baseball.
    , @Desiderius
    That's an impressive point, but the original context was Rose's performance in the 60s dead-ball era relative to other players.
  165. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    HOF marks someone as the best position player-batter of his era.

    And offensive categories such as HRs and career H's figure very prominently in a players "greatness". Since voters vote for a players total overall career, we should expect to see that he lead in those traditional categories. The fact that he did not, is quite telling and demonstrates that other things, such as politics (Morgan was quite media friendly throughout his career) which do play a direct role on sportswriters. Only naivety would suggest it doesn't play a role at all when they cast their votes.

    HOF is certainly political/personality biased–it’s sportswriters doing the voting. Players and/or opposing players voting would probably be a better approach, but it is what it is.

  166. @ScarletNumber
    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.

    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. “Lefty” Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar


    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.

     

    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. “Lefty” Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?

     

    Grove and Gomez played in the American League.
  167. @ben tillman

    I’ll give you the ’72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton’s season was immense.
     
    It was, and they did, but his teammates did hit much better when Carlton was the starter. And, of course, Carlton helped himself out at times, as in the first big-league game I ever saw when Carlton topped off a one-hitter with a two-run triple to drive in the game's only runs at Chavez Ravine.

    It was an awesome accomplishment to win 27 games, complete 30, throw 343 innings, and strike out 310 in a strike-shortened season -- with a sub-2 ERA -- on a team that won just 59 games total.

    343 innings? 30 complete games? Oh my goodness!! Didn’t Carlton know that Bill James doesn’t approve of such heresies? Didn’t he realize that his arm would fall off, literally, within 3-4 yrs and that he’d never be able to ever use it again? Who did he think he was, the Pope? Can just walk on water, heal the blind and poof, toss 30 complete games in a single season. Most MLB pitchers won’t throw that many complete games for their entire career and this what’s his name does it in a single season. Probably pitched batting practice too (as many, many MLB pitchers tended to do for decades to keep their arms loose and warmed up), and he probably threw dozens of pitches on his days off in the bullpen (also something not uncommon for most MLB pitchers to do).

    Quick, “obviously” Carlton was taking PEDs because it’s just not possible for any pitcher to throw for more than 220 innings. I’ll bet Carlton didn’t even have a 100 pitch per game pitch count. This just baffles the mind. How DID Carlton manage to do this, unless he was taking PEDS? There simply is no other explanation.

    343 innings, goodness. That simply isn’t heard of in this day and age. Better not let Nate Silver and Bill James see those stats or they simply wouldn’t like it and proceed to explain why it simply isn’t possible for MLB pitchers to throw for more than 220 innings in a season and “maybe” possibly, throw for about 2 complete games, every third yr so that their arms don’t fall off or wear out cause its been so overused.

    Seriously, Carlton 1972 season as well as his career IS an example of what a top MLB HOFer within the .00001% tends to have…exceptional evidence for the claims being made and his ’72 season ranks as one of the all time greats.

    And his arm didn’t fall off. Fancy that.

    Almost met him at the HOF one yr (one of the few times he’s come) I should’ve asked him “How’d you do it and not have your arm fall off?” I think I’ll ask him if he ever attends an induction of which I’m interested in seeing.

    • Replies: @ben tillman

    343 innings? 30 complete games? Oh my goodness!! Didn’t Carlton know that Bill James doesn’t approve of such heresies? Didn’t he realize that his arm would fall off, literally, within 3-4 yrs and that he’d never be able to ever use it again? Who did he think he was, the Pope? Can just walk on water, heal the blind and poof, toss 30 complete games in a single season.
     
    Ha ha. I'm no sure what changed between now and then, but I do know (and I guess you do, too) that he won Cy Young awards five, eight, and 10 years later.
  168. @Brutusale
    Banks' 1967 Cubs included Billy Williams, Ron Santo, Glenn Beckert, Don Kessinger, Randy Hundley. Fergie Jenkins, Ray Culp, Joe Niekro and Ken Holtzman. It's not like they sucked.

    Morgan's 1967 Astros had Jimmy Wynn, Rusty Staub, Mike Cuellar and not much else.

    I'll give you the '72 Phillies, though. They DID suck, and Carlton's season was immense.

    And, so the question is, how did the ’67 Cubs do in the WS that yr? Oh that’s right, they didn’t win the pennant. So you can say which player was on which team, point is, the Cubs post WW2 up to around 1969 (when they choked away an Eastern Division lead of about 10 games to the Mets) and a couple of intermittent seasons have for the most part sucked. At best, the Cubs have been mediocre and in some ways thats even worse than sucking.

    Still surprised that Chicago even follows the “Loveable Losers” What is so exciting about losing yr after yr? That’s their unofficial nickname, “…losers”. And losing yr after yr tends to suck. The Windy City ought to follow the White Sox, they actually got it done in 2005.

    CHI has not won the pennant since 1945. Have not won the WS since 1908. By any definition, that is the meaning of suck, to fail yr after yr and never getting it done. Sports is very cut and dry about things like losing and winning.

    If I mention the Yankees, among the first adjectives associated with them is “winners”. Maybe that’s where Trump gets the attitude from. You know he has to be a Yankees fan. “We’re gonna win, and we’re gonna win so often you’re gonna get tired of it.”

    How can you ever get tired of winning?

  169. @Ivy
    Seneca: start here http://www.myersbriggs.org/ then troll through the various offshoot websites and tests.
    Light/Truth: I'm male

    Site note about Myers Briggs: At one time, as related to me by a military trainer, the military put all flag-rank officers through training that included MB. They found that the most common by far was the STJ.

    Thanks!

  170. @Brutusale
    His six best years for doubles ALL came after he started playing on turf. All occurred AFTER age 32.

    Artificial turf made for some fun baseball.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    Certainly more fun for the players than, say, football, but that's a low bar. 70s rockturf was not an ideal surface.
  171. MC says:
    @Steve Sailer
    Don't be obtuse: Morgan had huge offensive numbers for a second baseman of his time and place. He won back to back near unanimous MVPs as the top offensive player on consecutive world series winners.

    Since this is a thread about how blacks don’t use advanced stats, maybe I should point out that Joe Morgan has over 100 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which gives him the 30th-most valuable career of any MLB player in history according to advanced stats:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_career.shtml

    Anyone who thinks he doesn’t belong in the HOF knows zip about baseball.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No, all that's being said is if he's to be placed among the top .00001 of the greatest ever to play in MLB, then the career stats should bear this out. WAR, a relatively new stat, can be somewhat misleading. It is a TEAM game, after all (though obviously players don't get paid the same, etc). Advanced stats, whatever. CIN was already a solidly excellent team before Morgan showed up in '72 (they had won the 1970 pennant). They lost the '72 WS to OAK as well as choking in the '73 NLCS to the Mets before rising to the level of their abilities with championships in '75 and '76. By this measure, by dint of his appearing in 14 WS and playing in 10 championships, NY C Yogi Berra's WAR should be in the top 5-10 of all time MLB players. Wins above replacement don't mean much if the team as a whole don't actually, you know, WIN (e.g. WS Championships or at least pennants in a given year).

    Funny thing is that for over a century, the only position player to be awarded the W stat was the pitcher because that's the one key component to any team and the pitcher changes from day to day.

    Perhaps Joe Morgan is the example of sabermetrics influence in who and who should not be considered the premiere example of "greatest" of all time. He certainly wasn't considered among the greatest players of all time to have played during his prime (1970's) especially when compared to Jackson, Mays, Aaron, Brooks and Frank Robinson, Clemente, Carlton, Rose,Bench, Seaver, etc.

    As an individual player, one's career stats are what counts, and not some bogus "Well WAR automatically means he's the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause). Well, where are the career stats to go along with it?

    See, WAR in theory is a good stat, when it happens to coincide with the top .00001 players to have played the game. Babe Ruth, for example, changed the entire MLB's way of playing (emphasis on HR, and higher scoring in general) and the team he joined, NY, a somewhat mediocre franchise starting winning pennants and championships. That can be directly traced to him. But CIN was already a strong pennant contender without Morgan and did just fine with Bobby Tolan at 2B.

    I'm just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he's in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB. Is Morgan at least in top five in doubles? Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader.

  172. @Brutusale
    His six best years for doubles ALL came after he started playing on turf. All occurred AFTER age 32.

    That’s an impressive point, but the original context was Rose’s performance in the 60s dead-ball era relative to other players.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    Yeah, Rose played in Crosley, which if memory serves, was the smallest park in MLB in the 60s.

    What I find interesting from the 60s is Carl Yastrzemski, a very good but not great player for his first five years who began working with an Eastern European trainer in the 1966-1967 offseason. He went on to more than double his previous season high home run totals during his Triple Crown 1967 season. He was 27 and hitting his physical peak, but something seems fishy.

    Speaking of the "dead ball" 60s, does anyone think there will ever be another 30-game winner in MLB? It's been 48 years since Denny McLain won 31 with 336 IP. I don't think anyone reaches 250 IP anymore.
  173. @Steve Sailer
    Artificial turf made for some fun baseball.

    Certainly more fun for the players than, say, football, but that’s a low bar. 70s rockturf was not an ideal surface.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    I think there are some subtle groundskeeping things that could be done to real grass outfields to get line drives to roll through the gaps between outfielders more often for doubles and triples. Golf greenskeepers have lots of tricks for increasing or decreasing how far tee shots roll. I'd like to see a natural grass outfield that's as fast as Kansas City's artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.
    , @Brutusale
    I played high school football on one of the early college turf fields, and getting hit seemed less painful than hitting the turf.
  174. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    On and off? When he retired, Bench had the most HRs for a catcher in MLB History. He too won two MVPs. If anyone can lay claim as being CINs straw, it's Bench. But also Rose, the all time MLB hits leader (and three time batting champ).

    Bench hit .234 for the 1975 Big Red Machine. He was always feast or famine at the plate. His mean performance was exceptional for a catcher (and his defense was unparalleled), but he was relatively high variance.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Roy Campanella was like that too: three MVPs in 5 years, but his off years were really off.

    Catching is just a tough job and catchers are hurt a lot of the time.

    Yogi Berra was a rare exception: he got MVP votes in 15 straight seasons, winning three. His teams went to 14 World Series and one of his managers went to the Hall of Fame, Casey Stengel, even though a big part of his success was filling out his line-up card six days a week with Mickey Mantle batting 3rd and playing center and Yogi Berra batting clean-up and catching.
    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Exactly, Bench has no business in the HOF. Feast or famine, a complete bust. Gotcha. Of course, Morgan didn't become "great" until his years in CIN. So perhaps he benefitted from playing with a team called the Big Red Machine and the likes of Bench, Perez, Rose, etc.
  175. @Hepp

    I think a lot of wisdom is actually embedded in Draymond Green’s quote. He doesn’t need the advanced statistics because he is “smart” (that might not be the right word for controlling your body so expertly, but I’ll use it here). In other words, smart white guys are desperately trying to figure out things that come obvious to naturally gifted athletes.

     

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s? When I was like 8 years old, I figured out that if you shoot 35% from 3 and 45% taking a two-point shot, you need to be taking more 3s. But it took the NBA almost 30 years after the 3 point shot was introduced to fully take advantage. I hear Van Gundy during the game the other day saying that "analytics" tells you not to take many midrange shots, but he disagrees. But I think that's pretty obvious if you think about things statistically.

    Seems like that people involved in sports aren't very smart, even intuitively.

    Is that true? How long did it take the NBA to realize that people needed to shoot more 3s?

    Ah, but to do so would have been one more concession that the ABA got things right.

    They’re still using that ugly brown ball. Doesn’t basketball have the highest ball-t0-playing-surface ratio of all sports? (Not including Foosball and table tennis, that is.) Why not take advantage of that?

    For years the Pacers had a dyslectic T-shirt that said “Est. 1976”– nine years from the truth. Whose idea was that?

    Kentucky and Virginia made a wise choice in steering clear of the NBA.

  176. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon "Lefty" Gomez. "Lefty" Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?

    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.

    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. “Lefty” Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?

    Grove and Gomez played in the American League.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Technically, one of PIT John Candaleria's nicknames (aside from "Candy" and "The Candy Man") was Lefty. And PIT is in the National League.
  177. @Desiderius
    Bench hit .234 for the 1975 Big Red Machine. He was always feast or famine at the plate. His mean performance was exceptional for a catcher (and his defense was unparalleled), but he was relatively high variance.

    Roy Campanella was like that too: three MVPs in 5 years, but his off years were really off.

    Catching is just a tough job and catchers are hurt a lot of the time.

    Yogi Berra was a rare exception: he got MVP votes in 15 straight seasons, winning three. His teams went to 14 World Series and one of his managers went to the Hall of Fame, Casey Stengel, even though a big part of his success was filling out his line-up card six days a week with Mickey Mantle batting 3rd and playing center and Yogi Berra batting clean-up and catching.

  178. @Desiderius
    Certainly more fun for the players than, say, football, but that's a low bar. 70s rockturf was not an ideal surface.

    I think there are some subtle groundskeeping things that could be done to real grass outfields to get line drives to roll through the gaps between outfielders more often for doubles and triples. Golf greenskeepers have lots of tricks for increasing or decreasing how far tee shots roll. I’d like to see a natural grass outfield that’s as fast as Kansas City’s artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    I’d like to see a natural grass outfield that’s as fast as Kansas City’s artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

     

    I agree. Those KC teams were a blast to watch. Would simply having varieties of grass that could be cut shorter do the trick? MLB outfield grass always looks lush and lovely, but I also miss seeing those balls shoot the gap like they used to on turf. Anything to get some more motion in the game; it would also encourage more contact hitting instead the 'three true outcomes' swinging from the heels we've got so much of now.
    , @ScarletNumber
    I shocked to learn that George Brett led the AL in triples three times.
  179. …some subtle groundskeeping things that could be done to real grass outfields to get line drives to roll…

    Golf greenskeepers have lots of tricks for increasing or decreasing how far tee shots roll.

    Take a hint from curling, and add sweepers.

  180. @Steve Sailer
    I think there are some subtle groundskeeping things that could be done to real grass outfields to get line drives to roll through the gaps between outfielders more often for doubles and triples. Golf greenskeepers have lots of tricks for increasing or decreasing how far tee shots roll. I'd like to see a natural grass outfield that's as fast as Kansas City's artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

    I’d like to see a natural grass outfield that’s as fast as Kansas City’s artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

    I agree. Those KC teams were a blast to watch. Would simply having varieties of grass that could be cut shorter do the trick? MLB outfield grass always looks lush and lovely, but I also miss seeing those balls shoot the gap like they used to on turf. Anything to get some more motion in the game; it would also encourage more contact hitting instead the ‘three true outcomes’ swinging from the heels we’ve got so much of now.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    They sure made Charlie Lau a nice living!

    Where you play dictates how you play. Jim Rice was a guy whose HR stats actually suffered because he played in Fenway. A lot of right-handed fly ball hitters had some cheap homers due to the Green Monster, but Rice was the king of line drive guys. I was a season ticket holder in those days, and it seemed that every year he had 6-8 absolute rockets that would have been homers in any other park, but because of the 38-foot high wall, they were doubles, and in some cases, singles. Some caromed back so far that the shortstop could have made the play on the ball
  181. @Desiderius
    That's an impressive point, but the original context was Rose's performance in the 60s dead-ball era relative to other players.

    Yeah, Rose played in Crosley, which if memory serves, was the smallest park in MLB in the 60s.

    What I find interesting from the 60s is Carl Yastrzemski, a very good but not great player for his first five years who began working with an Eastern European trainer in the 1966-1967 offseason. He went on to more than double his previous season high home run totals during his Triple Crown 1967 season. He was 27 and hitting his physical peak, but something seems fishy.

    Speaking of the “dead ball” 60s, does anyone think there will ever be another 30-game winner in MLB? It’s been 48 years since Denny McLain won 31 with 336 IP. I don’t think anyone reaches 250 IP anymore.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Speaking of the “dead ball” 60s, does anyone think there will ever be another 30-game winner in MLB?
     
    Ha! I just looked at a minor league franchise's record of no-hitters over the years. Of their last five, only one was by a single pitcher. The last two, the only ones in this decade, were each credited to three pitchers.

    If managers will pull pitchers, even two pitchers, before they've given up the first hit, a 30-win season looks a long, long way away.

    Thanks to a recent rule change, Babe Ruth is now co-credited with a no-hitter, even though he didn't pitch a single out:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Ernie_Shore

  182. @Desiderius
    Certainly more fun for the players than, say, football, but that's a low bar. 70s rockturf was not an ideal surface.

    I played high school football on one of the early college turf fields, and getting hit seemed less painful than hitting the turf.

    • Replies: @Desiderius
    The old (the Natatorium for the 96 Olympics sits there now) SAC (student athletic complex) intramural fields at Georgia Tech had that old Astroturf, and when they were installed they forget a layer so sand came up through the turf. A lot of bloody flag football/ultimate games on those fields.
  183. @The Last Real Calvinist

    I’d like to see a natural grass outfield that’s as fast as Kansas City’s artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

     

    I agree. Those KC teams were a blast to watch. Would simply having varieties of grass that could be cut shorter do the trick? MLB outfield grass always looks lush and lovely, but I also miss seeing those balls shoot the gap like they used to on turf. Anything to get some more motion in the game; it would also encourage more contact hitting instead the 'three true outcomes' swinging from the heels we've got so much of now.

    They sure made Charlie Lau a nice living!

    Where you play dictates how you play. Jim Rice was a guy whose HR stats actually suffered because he played in Fenway. A lot of right-handed fly ball hitters had some cheap homers due to the Green Monster, but Rice was the king of line drive guys. I was a season ticket holder in those days, and it seemed that every year he had 6-8 absolute rockets that would have been homers in any other park, but because of the 38-foot high wall, they were doubles, and in some cases, singles. Some caromed back so far that the shortstop could have made the play on the ball

  184. @Desiderius
    Bench hit .234 for the 1975 Big Red Machine. He was always feast or famine at the plate. His mean performance was exceptional for a catcher (and his defense was unparalleled), but he was relatively high variance.

    Exactly, Bench has no business in the HOF. Feast or famine, a complete bust. Gotcha. Of course, Morgan didn’t become “great” until his years in CIN. So perhaps he benefitted from playing with a team called the Big Red Machine and the likes of Bench, Perez, Rose, etc.

  185. @Reg Cæsar


    There is a reason that in the 140-year history of the National League, there is only one pitcher who is called Lefty.

     

    Uh, HOFer For NY Vernon “Lefty” Gomez. “Lefty” Grove (also in the HOF). Or was this stated in jest?

     

    Grove and Gomez played in the American League.

    Technically, one of PIT John Candaleria’s nicknames (aside from “Candy” and “The Candy Man”) was Lefty. And PIT is in the National League.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Just stop it, you are embarrassing yourself.
  186. @MC
    Since this is a thread about how blacks don't use advanced stats, maybe I should point out that Joe Morgan has over 100 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), which gives him the 30th-most valuable career of any MLB player in history according to advanced stats:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/WAR_career.shtml

    Anyone who thinks he doesn't belong in the HOF knows zip about baseball.

    No, all that’s being said is if he’s to be placed among the top .00001 of the greatest ever to play in MLB, then the career stats should bear this out. WAR, a relatively new stat, can be somewhat misleading. It is a TEAM game, after all (though obviously players don’t get paid the same, etc). Advanced stats, whatever. CIN was already a solidly excellent team before Morgan showed up in ’72 (they had won the 1970 pennant). They lost the ’72 WS to OAK as well as choking in the ’73 NLCS to the Mets before rising to the level of their abilities with championships in ’75 and ’76. By this measure, by dint of his appearing in 14 WS and playing in 10 championships, NY C Yogi Berra’s WAR should be in the top 5-10 of all time MLB players. Wins above replacement don’t mean much if the team as a whole don’t actually, you know, WIN (e.g. WS Championships or at least pennants in a given year).

    Funny thing is that for over a century, the only position player to be awarded the W stat was the pitcher because that’s the one key component to any team and the pitcher changes from day to day.

    Perhaps Joe Morgan is the example of sabermetrics influence in who and who should not be considered the premiere example of “greatest” of all time. He certainly wasn’t considered among the greatest players of all time to have played during his prime (1970’s) especially when compared to Jackson, Mays, Aaron, Brooks and Frank Robinson, Clemente, Carlton, Rose,Bench, Seaver, etc.

    As an individual player, one’s career stats are what counts, and not some bogus “Well WAR automatically means he’s the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause). Well, where are the career stats to go along with it?

    See, WAR in theory is a good stat, when it happens to coincide with the top .00001 players to have played the game. Babe Ruth, for example, changed the entire MLB’s way of playing (emphasis on HR, and higher scoring in general) and the team he joined, NY, a somewhat mediocre franchise starting winning pennants and championships. That can be directly traced to him. But CIN was already a strong pennant contender without Morgan and did just fine with Bobby Tolan at 2B.

    I’m just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he’s in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB. Is Morgan at least in top five in doubles? Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Go read the 1976 Sports Illustrated article on why Morgan did more to help his team win than anybody else in baseball. It cites several obscure stats that later became central to sabermetrics and Wins Above Replacement calculations: Morgan's huge number of walks (132 in 1975 when the Reds went 10-54 and won the World Series), his large number of stolen bases and few times caught stealing (60-9), and his seldom grounding into double plays (only 3 times in 1975 despite hitting behind guys like Pete Rose who got on base a lot).

    In other words, sophisticated baseball observers had most of the components of sabermetrics already, they just didn't have a consistent framework. It's one reason I claim that the sabermetrics revolution is often overstated. As Yogi would say, you could observe a lot just by watching. Anybody following the Reds closely in 1975-1976 could tell that Morgan was immensely valuable, and the SI reporter Mark Mulvoy dug up some sophisticated stats to illustrate why.

    Today what Mulvoy did is systematized in various synthetic stats that didn't exist back then. But baseball decisionmaking was pretty good most of the time long before sabermetrics because you can observe a lot just by watching.

    As for Morgan not reaching various career totals, he was better at his peak than his teammate Pete Rose was at his peak, both offensively and defensively, but he was a second baseman whereas Rose gave up playing second base. So Morgan's career totals are gigantic for second basemen but not for all position players. Also Morgan's early career numbers were held down playing in the Astrodome from 1965-1972. And he had a weird period after his big injury in 1968 in 1969-1971 when he was very good but not as excellent as in 1965-1967 or as great as in 1972-1977.

    Morgan was less durable than Rose, playing 20 seasons instead of 24, and usually missing more games during the season than Rose did. If Rose had stayed at second base he probably would have gotten hurt too much to break Ty Cobb's record.

    Anyway, Morgan and Rose are excellent examples of the differences between peak versus career numbers. Rose was just consistently good at singles, doubles, and walks from 1963-1981, which is an incredibly long period.

    , @MC
    Oh man, where to start.

    You say that WAR is a "misleading" stat, then you claim that a better measure of player value is World Series championships. So I guess Frankie Crosetti, with 8 WS wins, 98 home runs, a .245 batting average, and 113 stolen bases, is some kind of super star:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/crosefr01.shtml

    "As an individual player, one’s career stats are what counts, and not some bogus “Well WAR automatically means he’s the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause)."

    I'm not sure you have any idea how WAR is calculated, and I'm not going to explain it to you. Suffice it to say that it is entirely based on "career stats," and uh, pitchers accumulate WAR too, you know.

    "I’m just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he’s in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB."

    Let's take just THREE of those criteria. Can you guess how many players are in the top 10 for Runs Scored, HR, and hits? Go ahead and guess.

    Here's the list:

    Hank Aaron.

    Throw in batting average or SB and it's zero. You "expect" something ludicrous.

    "Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader."

    Is Morgan accused of using steroids? Of betting on baseball? No? Then what on earth do Rose and Bonds have to do with his HOF case?
  187. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No, all that's being said is if he's to be placed among the top .00001 of the greatest ever to play in MLB, then the career stats should bear this out. WAR, a relatively new stat, can be somewhat misleading. It is a TEAM game, after all (though obviously players don't get paid the same, etc). Advanced stats, whatever. CIN was already a solidly excellent team before Morgan showed up in '72 (they had won the 1970 pennant). They lost the '72 WS to OAK as well as choking in the '73 NLCS to the Mets before rising to the level of their abilities with championships in '75 and '76. By this measure, by dint of his appearing in 14 WS and playing in 10 championships, NY C Yogi Berra's WAR should be in the top 5-10 of all time MLB players. Wins above replacement don't mean much if the team as a whole don't actually, you know, WIN (e.g. WS Championships or at least pennants in a given year).

    Funny thing is that for over a century, the only position player to be awarded the W stat was the pitcher because that's the one key component to any team and the pitcher changes from day to day.

    Perhaps Joe Morgan is the example of sabermetrics influence in who and who should not be considered the premiere example of "greatest" of all time. He certainly wasn't considered among the greatest players of all time to have played during his prime (1970's) especially when compared to Jackson, Mays, Aaron, Brooks and Frank Robinson, Clemente, Carlton, Rose,Bench, Seaver, etc.

    As an individual player, one's career stats are what counts, and not some bogus "Well WAR automatically means he's the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause). Well, where are the career stats to go along with it?

    See, WAR in theory is a good stat, when it happens to coincide with the top .00001 players to have played the game. Babe Ruth, for example, changed the entire MLB's way of playing (emphasis on HR, and higher scoring in general) and the team he joined, NY, a somewhat mediocre franchise starting winning pennants and championships. That can be directly traced to him. But CIN was already a strong pennant contender without Morgan and did just fine with Bobby Tolan at 2B.

    I'm just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he's in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB. Is Morgan at least in top five in doubles? Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader.

    Go read the 1976 Sports Illustrated article on why Morgan did more to help his team win than anybody else in baseball. It cites several obscure stats that later became central to sabermetrics and Wins Above Replacement calculations: Morgan’s huge number of walks (132 in 1975 when the Reds went 10-54 and won the World Series), his large number of stolen bases and few times caught stealing (60-9), and his seldom grounding into double plays (only 3 times in 1975 despite hitting behind guys like Pete Rose who got on base a lot).

    In other words, sophisticated baseball observers had most of the components of sabermetrics already, they just didn’t have a consistent framework. It’s one reason I claim that the sabermetrics revolution is often overstated. As Yogi would say, you could observe a lot just by watching. Anybody following the Reds closely in 1975-1976 could tell that Morgan was immensely valuable, and the SI reporter Mark Mulvoy dug up some sophisticated stats to illustrate why.

    Today what Mulvoy did is systematized in various synthetic stats that didn’t exist back then. But baseball decisionmaking was pretty good most of the time long before sabermetrics because you can observe a lot just by watching.

    As for Morgan not reaching various career totals, he was better at his peak than his teammate Pete Rose was at his peak, both offensively and defensively, but he was a second baseman whereas Rose gave up playing second base. So Morgan’s career totals are gigantic for second basemen but not for all position players. Also Morgan’s early career numbers were held down playing in the Astrodome from 1965-1972. And he had a weird period after his big injury in 1968 in 1969-1971 when he was very good but not as excellent as in 1965-1967 or as great as in 1972-1977.

    Morgan was less durable than Rose, playing 20 seasons instead of 24, and usually missing more games during the season than Rose did. If Rose had stayed at second base he probably would have gotten hurt too much to break Ty Cobb’s record.

    Anyway, Morgan and Rose are excellent examples of the differences between peak versus career numbers. Rose was just consistently good at singles, doubles, and walks from 1963-1981, which is an incredibly long period.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I understand that Morgan was excellent as a 2B. 2B wasn't Rose's natural position, though. He was very good to excellent at 2B, SS, 3B (which eventually became more or less his established position) as well as OF-1B. He was just an all around excellent defensive whiz at nearly every position, except of course for P and C. It also goes to show that Pete possessed a much stronger arm and better all around infield range than Morgan for him to shifted over to 3B.

    The other arguments for Morgan, honestly, are excuses. Carlton's 27-10, 310K's, 1.92E.RA came for dead last PHIL (59-102). Obviously for whatever the reason, Carlton wasn't affected on the days he started by the Phillies's horrible season or rather somehow they managed to rise to the occasion of helping their franchise pitcher. In other words, a lack of support generally doesn't hinder the top greatest players; individually their stats don't tend to suffer. Harmon Killebrew didn't play for great teams during a portion of his career and yet his offensive totals are quite excellent. It's also a matter of subjective opinion that Morgan's peek was better than Rose's. Pete Rose has the most hits in all of MLB history, including 10 seasons of over 200 plus hits in a season. As well as a 44 game hitting streak. I mean, Rose won 3 batting titles and also an MVP, he was rookie of the year, played in more WS's, I'm sorry I'm not seeing a down period in Pete's career. By most objective measures, had it not been for his gambling problems, I think its fair to state that Pete Rose would be in the HOF first ballot without doubt and widely regarded as among the best singles hitters of all time. Only one of two MLB players to have over 4,000 hits? And he is also in the top five (or was) in Runs Scored. I can't put Morgan over Rose in total greatness. Its a shame that one was banned not only from MLB but from the HOF.

    If Morgan was better at his peak, then we should expect to see it reflected in his total career numbers. The thing is, Pete Rose's peak was more consistent and durable over a 24yr career. There was one time he had like 7-9 consecutive seasons where he played in 160plus games, he could almost have challenged Lou Gehrig's total game streak (the guy didn't take many days off).
    He simply was one of the greatest pure singles hitters in MLB history. Considering that he started out in Crosley field and then played without much difficulty in artificial turf Riverfront Stadium, Veterans Stadium etc. didn't seem to hinder him in the least. Yes, he was blessed not to have any major injury during his career that significantly sidelined him, but that's life. Who said that life was fair?

    By any objective measure, Pete Rose ranks as one of MLB's greatest, as in top .00001% to ever play the game. Really isn't debatable, and I think everyone here knows that. Let's not rewrite history just because the man had some personal problems and he isn't likely to make Cooperstown (which is truly a shame). Certain names that stand out in the 60's and 70's, and Pete Rose is easily in the top ten. It also didn't matter which team Rose played for (though obviously remembered with CIN), he was still playing at a fairly consistent dominant level up to the next to last full season (ca.1983 or 84, when he was in his early forties). Morgan, as you mentioned, didn't become truly the player he's remembered until around 1972, when he went to the Reds. Also, when Joe Morgan left CIN, his numbers started to decline so that begs the question perhaps he benefitted more in CIN than did Pete Rose, who played just as well in PHIL and did quite well in MON. He went back to CIN so he could break Ty Cobb's all time hits record with his hometown team.

    Reminds me, as this is the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio's still record MLB 56 hitting streak and I believe that this week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the hitting streak. Ironically Pete Rose had a 44 game hitting streak. In Richard Lally's book "Bombers" Joe Morgan believed that only Pete Rose was capable of breaking DiMaggio's streak, that he didn't meant in his opinion that no one ever will.

    But fair is fair: Everyone knows that Pete Rose ranks among the all time greatest MLB players bar none in singles hits, runs scored, also ranks at the top in Games Played, At Bats. As just a pure consistent singles hitter, he's the greatest ever. Just because he made a mess of personal problems let's not rewrite the history books.

    If Ichiro Suzuki started his career in the US, I would consider changing my opinion because Ichiro could easily have had a chance to have 4,500 or more career hits in MLB had he began his career in the US.
    , @MC
    It bears mentioning that WAR is adjusted by position, so a second baseman who hits 40 homers is worth more than a first baseman who hits 40 because almost anyone in MLB can play 1st, but not 2nd.
  188. @Steve Sailer
    I think there are some subtle groundskeeping things that could be done to real grass outfields to get line drives to roll through the gaps between outfielders more often for doubles and triples. Golf greenskeepers have lots of tricks for increasing or decreasing how far tee shots roll. I'd like to see a natural grass outfield that's as fast as Kansas City's artificial turf was when Willie Wilson and George Brett were ringing up 20 triples per year.

    I shocked to learn that George Brett led the AL in triples three times.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    Heck, the Kansas City ballpark's turf was so hard and fast back then that in the 1980 ALCS 35-year-old Graig Nettles, coming off a couple of months on the disabled list in a season in which he hit no triples and did not attempt to steal a base, hit an inside-the-park home run.

    I much prefer grass to artificial turf, but I think baseball games would be more fun if they kept the grass "firm and fast" like the greenskeepers do for the US Open golf tournament. More triples!

    , @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Why? He won a couple batting titles, hit .390 in 1980, and has over 3,000 career hits. I don't think Joe Morgan ever lead the league in triples, though. Maybe he did. Morgan didn't lead the league in many offensive stats though during his career and didn't win a batting title (nor has 3,000 hits).
  189. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Technically, one of PIT John Candaleria's nicknames (aside from "Candy" and "The Candy Man") was Lefty. And PIT is in the National League.

    Just stop it, you are embarrassing yourself.

  190. @ScarletNumber
    I shocked to learn that George Brett led the AL in triples three times.

    Heck, the Kansas City ballpark’s turf was so hard and fast back then that in the 1980 ALCS 35-year-old Graig Nettles, coming off a couple of months on the disabled list in a season in which he hit no triples and did not attempt to steal a base, hit an inside-the-park home run.

    I much prefer grass to artificial turf, but I think baseball games would be more fun if they kept the grass “firm and fast” like the greenskeepers do for the US Open golf tournament. More triples!

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Greg Nettles, as well as Clete Boyer, were two 3B's that HOF elite 3B Brooks Robinson considered to be the two 3B who were equal to him. I think that's also telling, which players are considered amazing by their peers. In the 50s/60's most MLB players were fans of Mantle; Mays; perhaps Aaron; Clemente. In the 70's it probably was Reggie; Rose; Yaz; Bench; and some pitchers. I just don't recall Morgan's name being "Oh, yeah! That's the man, he's the greatest bar none" by his peers. Obviously they thought highly of him, but not on the level like "We're watching the greatest to ever play the game" kind of thing. Also quite telling.

    In Morgan's case, Sabermetrics helped him reach the HOF. Under previous generations he certainly wouldn't have been in first yrs of eligibility. HOF is a reward for a consistent long haul career, not for a few seasons of amazingness or at least it should be. I suppose sabermetrics will next make an argument for Bobby Gritch; Mark Belanger; Paul Dade; perhaps even Willie Montanez. And yet the all time hits leader remains barred from the HOF.
    , @ben tillman
    There's nothing more exciting than an attempt at an inside-the-park home run. Our local park has a green hill behind straightaway center field to help hitters see the ball. I'd like to see the Rangers remove the hill and push the fence back 30 or 40 feet.
  191. @Brutusale
    Yeah, Rose played in Crosley, which if memory serves, was the smallest park in MLB in the 60s.

    What I find interesting from the 60s is Carl Yastrzemski, a very good but not great player for his first five years who began working with an Eastern European trainer in the 1966-1967 offseason. He went on to more than double his previous season high home run totals during his Triple Crown 1967 season. He was 27 and hitting his physical peak, but something seems fishy.

    Speaking of the "dead ball" 60s, does anyone think there will ever be another 30-game winner in MLB? It's been 48 years since Denny McLain won 31 with 336 IP. I don't think anyone reaches 250 IP anymore.

    Speaking of the “dead ball” 60s, does anyone think there will ever be another 30-game winner in MLB?

    Ha! I just looked at a minor league franchise’s record of no-hitters over the years. Of their last five, only one was by a single pitcher. The last two, the only ones in this decade, were each credited to three pitchers.

    If managers will pull pitchers, even two pitchers, before they’ve given up the first hit, a 30-win season looks a long, long way away.

    Thanks to a recent rule change, Babe Ruth is now co-credited with a no-hitter, even though he didn’t pitch a single out:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Ernie_Shore

  192. @Steve Sailer
    Go read the 1976 Sports Illustrated article on why Morgan did more to help his team win than anybody else in baseball. It cites several obscure stats that later became central to sabermetrics and Wins Above Replacement calculations: Morgan's huge number of walks (132 in 1975 when the Reds went 10-54 and won the World Series), his large number of stolen bases and few times caught stealing (60-9), and his seldom grounding into double plays (only 3 times in 1975 despite hitting behind guys like Pete Rose who got on base a lot).

    In other words, sophisticated baseball observers had most of the components of sabermetrics already, they just didn't have a consistent framework. It's one reason I claim that the sabermetrics revolution is often overstated. As Yogi would say, you could observe a lot just by watching. Anybody following the Reds closely in 1975-1976 could tell that Morgan was immensely valuable, and the SI reporter Mark Mulvoy dug up some sophisticated stats to illustrate why.

    Today what Mulvoy did is systematized in various synthetic stats that didn't exist back then. But baseball decisionmaking was pretty good most of the time long before sabermetrics because you can observe a lot just by watching.

    As for Morgan not reaching various career totals, he was better at his peak than his teammate Pete Rose was at his peak, both offensively and defensively, but he was a second baseman whereas Rose gave up playing second base. So Morgan's career totals are gigantic for second basemen but not for all position players. Also Morgan's early career numbers were held down playing in the Astrodome from 1965-1972. And he had a weird period after his big injury in 1968 in 1969-1971 when he was very good but not as excellent as in 1965-1967 or as great as in 1972-1977.

    Morgan was less durable than Rose, playing 20 seasons instead of 24, and usually missing more games during the season than Rose did. If Rose had stayed at second base he probably would have gotten hurt too much to break Ty Cobb's record.

    Anyway, Morgan and Rose are excellent examples of the differences between peak versus career numbers. Rose was just consistently good at singles, doubles, and walks from 1963-1981, which is an incredibly long period.

    I understand that Morgan was excellent as a 2B. 2B wasn’t Rose’s natural position, though. He was very good to excellent at 2B, SS, 3B (which eventually became more or less his established position) as well as OF-1B. He was just an all around excellent defensive whiz at nearly every position, except of course for P and C. It also goes to show that Pete possessed a much stronger arm and better all around infield range than Morgan for him to shifted over to 3B.

    The other arguments for Morgan, honestly, are excuses. Carlton’s 27-10, 310K’s, 1.92E.RA came for dead last PHIL (59-102). Obviously for whatever the reason, Carlton wasn’t affected on the days he started by the Phillies’s horrible season or rather somehow they managed to rise to the occasion of helping their franchise pitcher. In other words, a lack of support generally doesn’t hinder the top greatest players; individually their stats don’t tend to suffer. Harmon Killebrew didn’t play for great teams during a portion of his career and yet his offensive totals are quite excellent. It’s also a matter of subjective opinion that Morgan’s peek was better than Rose’s. Pete Rose has the most hits in all of MLB history, including 10 seasons of over 200 plus hits in a season. As well as a 44 game hitting streak. I mean, Rose won 3 batting titles and also an MVP, he was rookie of the year, played in more WS’s, I’m sorry I’m not seeing a down period in Pete’s career. By most objective measures, had it not been for his gambling problems, I think its fair to state that Pete Rose would be in the HOF first ballot without doubt and widely regarded as among the best singles hitters of all time. Only one of two MLB players to have over 4,000 hits? And he is also in the top five (or was) in Runs Scored. I can’t put Morgan over Rose in total greatness. Its a shame that one was banned not only from MLB but from the HOF.

    If Morgan was better at his peak, then we should expect to see it reflected in his total career numbers. The thing is, Pete Rose’s peak was more consistent and durable over a 24yr career. There was one time he had like 7-9 consecutive seasons where he played in 160plus games, he could almost have challenged Lou Gehrig’s total game streak (the guy didn’t take many days off).
    He simply was one of the greatest pure singles hitters in MLB history. Considering that he started out in Crosley field and then played without much difficulty in artificial turf Riverfront Stadium, Veterans Stadium etc. didn’t seem to hinder him in the least. Yes, he was blessed not to have any major injury during his career that significantly sidelined him, but that’s life. Who said that life was fair?

    By any objective measure, Pete Rose ranks as one of MLB’s greatest, as in top .00001% to ever play the game. Really isn’t debatable, and I think everyone here knows that. Let’s not rewrite history just because the man had some personal problems and he isn’t likely to make Cooperstown (which is truly a shame). Certain names that stand out in the 60’s and 70’s, and Pete Rose is easily in the top ten. It also didn’t matter which team Rose played for (though obviously remembered with CIN), he was still playing at a fairly consistent dominant level up to the next to last full season (ca.1983 or 84, when he was in his early forties). Morgan, as you mentioned, didn’t become truly the player he’s remembered until around 1972, when he went to the Reds. Also, when Joe Morgan left CIN, his numbers started to decline so that begs the question perhaps he benefitted more in CIN than did Pete Rose, who played just as well in PHIL and did quite well in MON. He went back to CIN so he could break Ty Cobb’s all time hits record with his hometown team.

    Reminds me, as this is the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio’s still record MLB 56 hitting streak and I believe that this week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the hitting streak. Ironically Pete Rose had a 44 game hitting streak. In Richard Lally’s book “Bombers” Joe Morgan believed that only Pete Rose was capable of breaking DiMaggio’s streak, that he didn’t meant in his opinion that no one ever will.

    But fair is fair: Everyone knows that Pete Rose ranks among the all time greatest MLB players bar none in singles hits, runs scored, also ranks at the top in Games Played, At Bats. As just a pure consistent singles hitter, he’s the greatest ever. Just because he made a mess of personal problems let’s not rewrite the history books.

    If Ichiro Suzuki started his career in the US, I would consider changing my opinion because Ichiro could easily have had a chance to have 4,500 or more career hits in MLB had he began his career in the US.

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    Ichiro currently has 4243 hits between NPB and MLB, so he is only 13 short of Rose.
  193. @ScarletNumber
    I shocked to learn that George Brett led the AL in triples three times.

    Why? He won a couple batting titles, hit .390 in 1980, and has over 3,000 career hits. I don’t think Joe Morgan ever lead the league in triples, though. Maybe he did. Morgan didn’t lead the league in many offensive stats though during his career and didn’t win a batting title (nor has 3,000 hits).

  194. @Steve Sailer
    Heck, the Kansas City ballpark's turf was so hard and fast back then that in the 1980 ALCS 35-year-old Graig Nettles, coming off a couple of months on the disabled list in a season in which he hit no triples and did not attempt to steal a base, hit an inside-the-park home run.

    I much prefer grass to artificial turf, but I think baseball games would be more fun if they kept the grass "firm and fast" like the greenskeepers do for the US Open golf tournament. More triples!

    Greg Nettles, as well as Clete Boyer, were two 3B’s that HOF elite 3B Brooks Robinson considered to be the two 3B who were equal to him. I think that’s also telling, which players are considered amazing by their peers. In the 50s/60’s most MLB players were fans of Mantle; Mays; perhaps Aaron; Clemente. In the 70’s it probably was Reggie; Rose; Yaz; Bench; and some pitchers. I just don’t recall Morgan’s name being “Oh, yeah! That’s the man, he’s the greatest bar none” by his peers. Obviously they thought highly of him, but not on the level like “We’re watching the greatest to ever play the game” kind of thing. Also quite telling.

    In Morgan’s case, Sabermetrics helped him reach the HOF. Under previous generations he certainly wouldn’t have been in first yrs of eligibility. HOF is a reward for a consistent long haul career, not for a few seasons of amazingness or at least it should be. I suppose sabermetrics will next make an argument for Bobby Gritch; Mark Belanger; Paul Dade; perhaps even Willie Montanez. And yet the all time hits leader remains barred from the HOF.

  195. MC says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    No, all that's being said is if he's to be placed among the top .00001 of the greatest ever to play in MLB, then the career stats should bear this out. WAR, a relatively new stat, can be somewhat misleading. It is a TEAM game, after all (though obviously players don't get paid the same, etc). Advanced stats, whatever. CIN was already a solidly excellent team before Morgan showed up in '72 (they had won the 1970 pennant). They lost the '72 WS to OAK as well as choking in the '73 NLCS to the Mets before rising to the level of their abilities with championships in '75 and '76. By this measure, by dint of his appearing in 14 WS and playing in 10 championships, NY C Yogi Berra's WAR should be in the top 5-10 of all time MLB players. Wins above replacement don't mean much if the team as a whole don't actually, you know, WIN (e.g. WS Championships or at least pennants in a given year).

    Funny thing is that for over a century, the only position player to be awarded the W stat was the pitcher because that's the one key component to any team and the pitcher changes from day to day.

    Perhaps Joe Morgan is the example of sabermetrics influence in who and who should not be considered the premiere example of "greatest" of all time. He certainly wasn't considered among the greatest players of all time to have played during his prime (1970's) especially when compared to Jackson, Mays, Aaron, Brooks and Frank Robinson, Clemente, Carlton, Rose,Bench, Seaver, etc.

    As an individual player, one's career stats are what counts, and not some bogus "Well WAR automatically means he's the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause). Well, where are the career stats to go along with it?

    See, WAR in theory is a good stat, when it happens to coincide with the top .00001 players to have played the game. Babe Ruth, for example, changed the entire MLB's way of playing (emphasis on HR, and higher scoring in general) and the team he joined, NY, a somewhat mediocre franchise starting winning pennants and championships. That can be directly traced to him. But CIN was already a strong pennant contender without Morgan and did just fine with Bobby Tolan at 2B.

    I'm just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he's in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB. Is Morgan at least in top five in doubles? Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader.

    Oh man, where to start.

    You say that WAR is a “misleading” stat, then you claim that a better measure of player value is World Series championships. So I guess Frankie Crosetti, with 8 WS wins, 98 home runs, a .245 batting average, and 113 stolen bases, is some kind of super star:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/crosefr01.shtml

    “As an individual player, one’s career stats are what counts, and not some bogus “Well WAR automatically means he’s the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause).”

    I’m not sure you have any idea how WAR is calculated, and I’m not going to explain it to you. Suffice it to say that it is entirely based on “career stats,” and uh, pitchers accumulate WAR too, you know.

    “I’m just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he’s in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB.”

    Let’s take just THREE of those criteria. Can you guess how many players are in the top 10 for Runs Scored, HR, and hits? Go ahead and guess.

    Here’s the list:

    Hank Aaron.

    Throw in batting average or SB and it’s zero. You “expect” something ludicrous.

    “Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader.”

    Is Morgan accused of using steroids? Of betting on baseball? No? Then what on earth do Rose and Bonds have to do with his HOF case?

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Misinterpreting what I stated. Frankie Crosetti wasn't the straw that stirred the NY drink. Come on. Frankie, Red Rolfe, Babe Dalgren were all starters for NY but I'm not referring to them anymore than I'm talking about Heinrich or Keller. I mean, Crosetti didn't lead the AL in any major offensive category.

    The straws that stirred the McCarthy WSs (1936-42) were: DiMaggio; Dickey; Gehrig (for 36-38); HOF P Gomez; and Ruffing. During this period, DiMaggio won a batting title, 2 MVPs, and this is the 75th anniversary of his 56 game hitting streak. Gehrig won the MVP in '36. Dickey hit .362 in '37 and set the record for catching 13 consecutive seasons in 100+ games per season (which was later tied by Johnny Bench in 1980).

    Although I don't understand why Rizzuto is in the HOF. Actually I do. The Veterans Committee pushed for him (Berra was at one time on the Committee) this is one of the reasons some yrs ago the HOF started to chastise the Veterans Committee because they were using their votes to help induct their former teammates, their buddies into the HOF. I mean, Bobby Doerr? Come on. Joe Gordon I also don't quite understand, though he did have similar types of numbers comparable to Morgan's and he also won an MVP in '42.

    I have never said that Aaron wasn't in the top .0001% of MLB players. He clearly is, everyone knows it, his peers knew it, etc. But you've just made my point. Aaron is an obvious choice because he is in the top .0001% of greatest to ever play in MLB and his stats bear it out both careerwise and in single seasons when he lead the NL in major offensive categories. Like DUH.
    You must work on reading comprehension a bit more. What I've been saying is that the greatest players will tend to dominate in major offensive categories, I never said that they have to dominate in all of them. But at least in some of the MAJOR categories. Let's take Babe Ruth for an example. At the time of his retirement, he was number one in HR; RBI; and like in the top ten in BA (still is by the way). Morgan isn't in the top ten in BA; or in: HR; RBI; H (he doesn't have 3,000, which would be fine IF he was in the top 5-10 in HR; RBI; BA; something to offset that). He's not in the top 5-10 in any of the traditional major offensive categories.

    But, it also shows you didn't carefully listen to what I said. Pete Rose is the all time MLB leader in H and is also in top five in Runs Scored, Games Played, At Bats. He was a fairly dominant consistent hits leader. He should be in the HOF, except for a personal mistake. I wonder if in the future some PC oriented commissioner won't overrule that and just allow him to apply for reinstatement. Wishful thinking, perhaps but you never know.

    I originally stated that its very possible that aside from Bench, Pete Rose was designated to make the HOF as those were the two CIN players that fueled the engine of the Big Red Machine. They were like a tandem. Morgan didn't play the majority of his career at CIN and only put up bigger numbers when he got there (which then proceeded to drop off once he left). But as Rose is obviously barred from Cooperstown, well, who was the other CIN player of the 70's that most remember? Interesting as someone pointed out that Tony Perez was inducted in 2000, about fifteen yrs after he retired so clearly there was some legitimate doubt as to his career being HOF worthy. Stats don't improve with age; they stay the same and if a player wasn't considered quite all that when he retired it really doesn't make much sense to "suddenly discover" him decades post-retirement and induct him into the HOF. It tends to call into question the concept of HOFs. Either its for the top .0001% players to ever have played the sport or its the hall of very good, borderlines etc.
  196. @Steve Sailer
    Go read the 1976 Sports Illustrated article on why Morgan did more to help his team win than anybody else in baseball. It cites several obscure stats that later became central to sabermetrics and Wins Above Replacement calculations: Morgan's huge number of walks (132 in 1975 when the Reds went 10-54 and won the World Series), his large number of stolen bases and few times caught stealing (60-9), and his seldom grounding into double plays (only 3 times in 1975 despite hitting behind guys like Pete Rose who got on base a lot).

    In other words, sophisticated baseball observers had most of the components of sabermetrics already, they just didn't have a consistent framework. It's one reason I claim that the sabermetrics revolution is often overstated. As Yogi would say, you could observe a lot just by watching. Anybody following the Reds closely in 1975-1976 could tell that Morgan was immensely valuable, and the SI reporter Mark Mulvoy dug up some sophisticated stats to illustrate why.

    Today what Mulvoy did is systematized in various synthetic stats that didn't exist back then. But baseball decisionmaking was pretty good most of the time long before sabermetrics because you can observe a lot just by watching.

    As for Morgan not reaching various career totals, he was better at his peak than his teammate Pete Rose was at his peak, both offensively and defensively, but he was a second baseman whereas Rose gave up playing second base. So Morgan's career totals are gigantic for second basemen but not for all position players. Also Morgan's early career numbers were held down playing in the Astrodome from 1965-1972. And he had a weird period after his big injury in 1968 in 1969-1971 when he was very good but not as excellent as in 1965-1967 or as great as in 1972-1977.

    Morgan was less durable than Rose, playing 20 seasons instead of 24, and usually missing more games during the season than Rose did. If Rose had stayed at second base he probably would have gotten hurt too much to break Ty Cobb's record.

    Anyway, Morgan and Rose are excellent examples of the differences between peak versus career numbers. Rose was just consistently good at singles, doubles, and walks from 1963-1981, which is an incredibly long period.

    It bears mentioning that WAR is adjusted by position, so a second baseman who hits 40 homers is worth more than a first baseman who hits 40 because almost anyone in MLB can play 1st, but not 2nd.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Of course, 2B is a much easier position to play than either SS or 3B since 2B's don't tend to have the arm strength as SS and 3B and they don't cover as wide a range as SS much less 3B. In other words, WAR is adjusted in a fairly arbitrary/subjective kind of way "Everyone knows" that such and such can hit so many HRs so its "worth more" if another position player does it. Whatever. Whichever position player consistently hits the HRs over a career and if more than 500, he should be inducted into the HOF. It doesn't really need to be more complicated than that. Funny how most of these newly discovered stats are by people who never actually played in MLB or were managers, coaches, (no on field experience, which tends to help just as relevant work experience helps when applying for a job).
  197. @Brutusale
    I played high school football on one of the early college turf fields, and getting hit seemed less painful than hitting the turf.

    The old (the Natatorium for the 96 Olympics sits there now) SAC (student athletic complex) intramural fields at Georgia Tech had that old Astroturf, and when they were installed they forget a layer so sand came up through the turf. A lot of bloody flag football/ultimate games on those fields.

  198. @MC
    Oh man, where to start.

    You say that WAR is a "misleading" stat, then you claim that a better measure of player value is World Series championships. So I guess Frankie Crosetti, with 8 WS wins, 98 home runs, a .245 batting average, and 113 stolen bases, is some kind of super star:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/c/crosefr01.shtml

    "As an individual player, one’s career stats are what counts, and not some bogus “Well WAR automatically means he’s the most important cog (not the pitcher, of course) so obviously he has to be placed into the HOF, just cause)."

    I'm not sure you have any idea how WAR is calculated, and I'm not going to explain it to you. Suffice it to say that it is entirely based on "career stats," and uh, pitchers accumulate WAR too, you know.

    "I’m just saying that for someone in the HOF, one would expect to see that the stats that have been established since well over a century would go along with the player. We should expect to see that he’s in the top 5-10 in Runs Scored; HR; RBI; Hits; BA; Slugging Average, perhaps triples and also top five in SB."

    Let's take just THREE of those criteria. Can you guess how many players are in the top 10 for Runs Scored, HR, and hits? Go ahead and guess.

    Here's the list:

    Hank Aaron.

    Throw in batting average or SB and it's zero. You "expect" something ludicrous.

    "Yet, because of personal mistakes, the all time career hit leader remains shut out of HOF as does the all time HR leader."

    Is Morgan accused of using steroids? Of betting on baseball? No? Then what on earth do Rose and Bonds have to do with his HOF case?

    Misinterpreting what I stated. Frankie Crosetti wasn’t the straw that stirred the NY drink. Come on. Frankie, Red Rolfe, Babe Dalgren were all starters for NY but I’m not referring to them anymore than I’m talking about Heinrich or Keller. I mean, Crosetti didn’t lead the AL in any major offensive category.

    The straws that stirred the McCarthy WSs (1936-42) were: DiMaggio; Dickey; Gehrig (for 36-38); HOF P Gomez; and Ruffing. During this period, DiMaggio won a batting title, 2 MVPs, and this is the 75th anniversary of his 56 game hitting streak. Gehrig won the MVP in ’36. Dickey hit .362 in ’37 and set the record for catching 13 consecutive seasons in 100+ games per season (which was later tied by Johnny Bench in 1980).

    Although I don’t understand why Rizzuto is in the HOF. Actually I do. The Veterans Committee pushed for him (Berra was at one time on the Committee) this is one of the reasons some yrs ago the HOF started to chastise the Veterans Committee because they were using their votes to help induct their former teammates, their buddies into the HOF. I mean, Bobby Doerr? Come on. Joe Gordon I also don’t quite understand, though he did have similar types of numbers comparable to Morgan’s and he also won an MVP in ’42.

    I have never said that Aaron wasn’t in the top .0001% of MLB players. He clearly is, everyone knows it, his peers knew it, etc. But you’ve just made my point. Aaron is an obvious choice because he is in the top .0001% of greatest to ever play in MLB and his stats bear it out both careerwise and in single seasons when he lead the NL in major offensive categories. Like DUH.
    You must work on reading comprehension a bit more. What I’ve been saying is that the greatest players will tend to dominate in major offensive categories, I never said that they have to dominate in all of them. But at least in some of the MAJOR categories. Let’s take Babe Ruth for an example. At the time of his retirement, he was number one in HR; RBI; and like in the top ten in BA (still is by the way). Morgan isn’t in the top ten in BA; or in: HR; RBI; H (he doesn’t have 3,000, which would be fine IF he was in the top 5-10 in HR; RBI; BA; something to offset that). He’s not in the top 5-10 in any of the traditional major offensive categories.

    But, it also shows you didn’t carefully listen to what I said. Pete Rose is the all time MLB leader in H and is also in top five in Runs Scored, Games Played, At Bats. He was a fairly dominant consistent hits leader. He should be in the HOF, except for a personal mistake. I wonder if in the future some PC oriented commissioner won’t overrule that and just allow him to apply for reinstatement. Wishful thinking, perhaps but you never know.

    I originally stated that its very possible that aside from Bench, Pete Rose was designated to make the HOF as those were the two CIN players that fueled the engine of the Big Red Machine. They were like a tandem. Morgan didn’t play the majority of his career at CIN and only put up bigger numbers when he got there (which then proceeded to drop off once he left). But as Rose is obviously barred from Cooperstown, well, who was the other CIN player of the 70’s that most remember? Interesting as someone pointed out that Tony Perez was inducted in 2000, about fifteen yrs after he retired so clearly there was some legitimate doubt as to his career being HOF worthy. Stats don’t improve with age; they stay the same and if a player wasn’t considered quite all that when he retired it really doesn’t make much sense to “suddenly discover” him decades post-retirement and induct him into the HOF. It tends to call into question the concept of HOFs. Either its for the top .0001% players to ever have played the sport or its the hall of very good, borderlines etc.

    • Replies: @Desiderius

    But you’ve just made my point.
     
    First Rule of Holes, Yoj.
  199. @MC
    It bears mentioning that WAR is adjusted by position, so a second baseman who hits 40 homers is worth more than a first baseman who hits 40 because almost anyone in MLB can play 1st, but not 2nd.

    Of course, 2B is a much easier position to play than either SS or 3B since 2B’s don’t tend to have the arm strength as SS and 3B and they don’t cover as wide a range as SS much less 3B. In other words, WAR is adjusted in a fairly arbitrary/subjective kind of way “Everyone knows” that such and such can hit so many HRs so its “worth more” if another position player does it. Whatever. Whichever position player consistently hits the HRs over a career and if more than 500, he should be inducted into the HOF. It doesn’t really need to be more complicated than that. Funny how most of these newly discovered stats are by people who never actually played in MLB or were managers, coaches, (no on field experience, which tends to help just as relevant work experience helps when applying for a job).

  200. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    Misinterpreting what I stated. Frankie Crosetti wasn't the straw that stirred the NY drink. Come on. Frankie, Red Rolfe, Babe Dalgren were all starters for NY but I'm not referring to them anymore than I'm talking about Heinrich or Keller. I mean, Crosetti didn't lead the AL in any major offensive category.

    The straws that stirred the McCarthy WSs (1936-42) were: DiMaggio; Dickey; Gehrig (for 36-38); HOF P Gomez; and Ruffing. During this period, DiMaggio won a batting title, 2 MVPs, and this is the 75th anniversary of his 56 game hitting streak. Gehrig won the MVP in '36. Dickey hit .362 in '37 and set the record for catching 13 consecutive seasons in 100+ games per season (which was later tied by Johnny Bench in 1980).

    Although I don't understand why Rizzuto is in the HOF. Actually I do. The Veterans Committee pushed for him (Berra was at one time on the Committee) this is one of the reasons some yrs ago the HOF started to chastise the Veterans Committee because they were using their votes to help induct their former teammates, their buddies into the HOF. I mean, Bobby Doerr? Come on. Joe Gordon I also don't quite understand, though he did have similar types of numbers comparable to Morgan's and he also won an MVP in '42.

    I have never said that Aaron wasn't in the top .0001% of MLB players. He clearly is, everyone knows it, his peers knew it, etc. But you've just made my point. Aaron is an obvious choice because he is in the top .0001% of greatest to ever play in MLB and his stats bear it out both careerwise and in single seasons when he lead the NL in major offensive categories. Like DUH.
    You must work on reading comprehension a bit more. What I've been saying is that the greatest players will tend to dominate in major offensive categories, I never said that they have to dominate in all of them. But at least in some of the MAJOR categories. Let's take Babe Ruth for an example. At the time of his retirement, he was number one in HR; RBI; and like in the top ten in BA (still is by the way). Morgan isn't in the top ten in BA; or in: HR; RBI; H (he doesn't have 3,000, which would be fine IF he was in the top 5-10 in HR; RBI; BA; something to offset that). He's not in the top 5-10 in any of the traditional major offensive categories.

    But, it also shows you didn't carefully listen to what I said. Pete Rose is the all time MLB leader in H and is also in top five in Runs Scored, Games Played, At Bats. He was a fairly dominant consistent hits leader. He should be in the HOF, except for a personal mistake. I wonder if in the future some PC oriented commissioner won't overrule that and just allow him to apply for reinstatement. Wishful thinking, perhaps but you never know.

    I originally stated that its very possible that aside from Bench, Pete Rose was designated to make the HOF as those were the two CIN players that fueled the engine of the Big Red Machine. They were like a tandem. Morgan didn't play the majority of his career at CIN and only put up bigger numbers when he got there (which then proceeded to drop off once he left). But as Rose is obviously barred from Cooperstown, well, who was the other CIN player of the 70's that most remember? Interesting as someone pointed out that Tony Perez was inducted in 2000, about fifteen yrs after he retired so clearly there was some legitimate doubt as to his career being HOF worthy. Stats don't improve with age; they stay the same and if a player wasn't considered quite all that when he retired it really doesn't make much sense to "suddenly discover" him decades post-retirement and induct him into the HOF. It tends to call into question the concept of HOFs. Either its for the top .0001% players to ever have played the sport or its the hall of very good, borderlines etc.

    But you’ve just made my point.

    First Rule of Holes, Yoj.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    That makes no sense, Dezey. But I do appreciate that you made my point.
  201. @Desiderius

    But you’ve just made my point.
     
    First Rule of Holes, Yoj.

    That makes no sense, Dezey. But I do appreciate that you made my point.

  202. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    343 innings? 30 complete games? Oh my goodness!! Didn't Carlton know that Bill James doesn't approve of such heresies? Didn't he realize that his arm would fall off, literally, within 3-4 yrs and that he'd never be able to ever use it again? Who did he think he was, the Pope? Can just walk on water, heal the blind and poof, toss 30 complete games in a single season. Most MLB pitchers won't throw that many complete games for their entire career and this what's his name does it in a single season. Probably pitched batting practice too (as many, many MLB pitchers tended to do for decades to keep their arms loose and warmed up), and he probably threw dozens of pitches on his days off in the bullpen (also something not uncommon for most MLB pitchers to do).

    Quick, "obviously" Carlton was taking PEDs because it's just not possible for any pitcher to throw for more than 220 innings. I'll bet Carlton didn't even have a 100 pitch per game pitch count. This just baffles the mind. How DID Carlton manage to do this, unless he was taking PEDS? There simply is no other explanation.

    343 innings, goodness. That simply isn't heard of in this day and age. Better not let Nate Silver and Bill James see those stats or they simply wouldn't like it and proceed to explain why it simply isn't possible for MLB pitchers to throw for more than 220 innings in a season and "maybe" possibly, throw for about 2 complete games, every third yr so that their arms don't fall off or wear out cause its been so overused.

    Seriously, Carlton 1972 season as well as his career IS an example of what a top MLB HOFer within the .00001% tends to have…exceptional evidence for the claims being made and his '72 season ranks as one of the all time greats.

    And his arm didn't fall off. Fancy that.

    Almost met him at the HOF one yr (one of the few times he's come) I should've asked him "How'd you do it and not have your arm fall off?" I think I'll ask him if he ever attends an induction of which I'm interested in seeing.

    343 innings? 30 complete games? Oh my goodness!! Didn’t Carlton know that Bill James doesn’t approve of such heresies? Didn’t he realize that his arm would fall off, literally, within 3-4 yrs and that he’d never be able to ever use it again? Who did he think he was, the Pope? Can just walk on water, heal the blind and poof, toss 30 complete games in a single season.

    Ha ha. I’m no sure what changed between now and then, but I do know (and I guess you do, too) that he won Cy Young awards five, eight, and 10 years later.

  203. @Steve Sailer
    Heck, the Kansas City ballpark's turf was so hard and fast back then that in the 1980 ALCS 35-year-old Graig Nettles, coming off a couple of months on the disabled list in a season in which he hit no triples and did not attempt to steal a base, hit an inside-the-park home run.

    I much prefer grass to artificial turf, but I think baseball games would be more fun if they kept the grass "firm and fast" like the greenskeepers do for the US Open golf tournament. More triples!

    There’s nothing more exciting than an attempt at an inside-the-park home run. Our local park has a green hill behind straightaway center field to help hitters see the ball. I’d like to see the Rangers remove the hill and push the fence back 30 or 40 feet.

  204. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    I understand that Morgan was excellent as a 2B. 2B wasn't Rose's natural position, though. He was very good to excellent at 2B, SS, 3B (which eventually became more or less his established position) as well as OF-1B. He was just an all around excellent defensive whiz at nearly every position, except of course for P and C. It also goes to show that Pete possessed a much stronger arm and better all around infield range than Morgan for him to shifted over to 3B.

    The other arguments for Morgan, honestly, are excuses. Carlton's 27-10, 310K's, 1.92E.RA came for dead last PHIL (59-102). Obviously for whatever the reason, Carlton wasn't affected on the days he started by the Phillies's horrible season or rather somehow they managed to rise to the occasion of helping their franchise pitcher. In other words, a lack of support generally doesn't hinder the top greatest players; individually their stats don't tend to suffer. Harmon Killebrew didn't play for great teams during a portion of his career and yet his offensive totals are quite excellent. It's also a matter of subjective opinion that Morgan's peek was better than Rose's. Pete Rose has the most hits in all of MLB history, including 10 seasons of over 200 plus hits in a season. As well as a 44 game hitting streak. I mean, Rose won 3 batting titles and also an MVP, he was rookie of the year, played in more WS's, I'm sorry I'm not seeing a down period in Pete's career. By most objective measures, had it not been for his gambling problems, I think its fair to state that Pete Rose would be in the HOF first ballot without doubt and widely regarded as among the best singles hitters of all time. Only one of two MLB players to have over 4,000 hits? And he is also in the top five (or was) in Runs Scored. I can't put Morgan over Rose in total greatness. Its a shame that one was banned not only from MLB but from the HOF.

    If Morgan was better at his peak, then we should expect to see it reflected in his total career numbers. The thing is, Pete Rose's peak was more consistent and durable over a 24yr career. There was one time he had like 7-9 consecutive seasons where he played in 160plus games, he could almost have challenged Lou Gehrig's total game streak (the guy didn't take many days off).
    He simply was one of the greatest pure singles hitters in MLB history. Considering that he started out in Crosley field and then played without much difficulty in artificial turf Riverfront Stadium, Veterans Stadium etc. didn't seem to hinder him in the least. Yes, he was blessed not to have any major injury during his career that significantly sidelined him, but that's life. Who said that life was fair?

    By any objective measure, Pete Rose ranks as one of MLB's greatest, as in top .00001% to ever play the game. Really isn't debatable, and I think everyone here knows that. Let's not rewrite history just because the man had some personal problems and he isn't likely to make Cooperstown (which is truly a shame). Certain names that stand out in the 60's and 70's, and Pete Rose is easily in the top ten. It also didn't matter which team Rose played for (though obviously remembered with CIN), he was still playing at a fairly consistent dominant level up to the next to last full season (ca.1983 or 84, when he was in his early forties). Morgan, as you mentioned, didn't become truly the player he's remembered until around 1972, when he went to the Reds. Also, when Joe Morgan left CIN, his numbers started to decline so that begs the question perhaps he benefitted more in CIN than did Pete Rose, who played just as well in PHIL and did quite well in MON. He went back to CIN so he could break Ty Cobb's all time hits record with his hometown team.

    Reminds me, as this is the 75th anniversary of DiMaggio's still record MLB 56 hitting streak and I believe that this week marks the anniversary of the beginning of the hitting streak. Ironically Pete Rose had a 44 game hitting streak. In Richard Lally's book "Bombers" Joe Morgan believed that only Pete Rose was capable of breaking DiMaggio's streak, that he didn't meant in his opinion that no one ever will.

    But fair is fair: Everyone knows that Pete Rose ranks among the all time greatest MLB players bar none in singles hits, runs scored, also ranks at the top in Games Played, At Bats. As just a pure consistent singles hitter, he's the greatest ever. Just because he made a mess of personal problems let's not rewrite the history books.

    If Ichiro Suzuki started his career in the US, I would consider changing my opinion because Ichiro could easily have had a chance to have 4,500 or more career hits in MLB had he began his career in the US.

    Ichiro currently has 4243 hits between NPB and MLB, so he is only 13 short of Rose.

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