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Baseball makes for convenient studies of nature-nurture questions because the data is immediately available and is quite clear-cut, with little dispute over what was or wasn’t a major league baseball game. (Although they’ve added Negro Leagues stats to the major league record, but that doesn’t have much impact on career stats because Negro Leagues teams didn’t play that many league games because they’d go off and barnstorm in the middle of the season against whomever would pay to play them.)

A topic that interested me two decades ago was how big of a cultural gap was there between American batters (white and black) and Spanish-surnamed batters (including American-born ones) at accepting bases on balls.

So, nineteen years ago, I wrote for UPI:

Analysis: Baseball’s hidden ethnic bias
By STEVE SAILER, UPI National Correspondent

LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) — The uproar over Chicago Cubs Manager Dusty Baker’s assertion that black and Latin American players get less worn down by the heat isn’t baseball’s only ethnic brouhaha.

A more important controversy involves the disparate impact of the ongoing revolution in how baseball teams evaluate players. Is the trend pioneered by the statistics-savvy general managers of Oakland, Calif., Toronto and Boston toward more rigorous evaluations of ballplayers’ records — such as searching out low-priced players with the unglamorous skill of being able to wheedle bases on balls from pitchers — biased in favor of white American players?

Or, when looked at from a more politically incorrect perspective, does this trend mean that previously the Anglo white-dominated baseball establishment had actually tended for decades to discriminate irrationally against Americans and in favor of more free-swinging Latin hitters, who on average weren’t quite as productive as their batting averages indicated?

This controversy can help illuminate issues of discrimination and disparate impact stretching far beyond baseball. The remarkable quantity and quality of baseball statistics allows for careful testing of theories about ethnic bias.

… There’s a revolution going on in how teams evaluate talent, and this growing sophistication is, on the whole, likely to benefit previously overlooked U.S. players at the expense of Latin Americans with flashier batting averages and stolen base totals. …

It’s not a racist conspiracy. In fact, it’s making baseball more meritocratic. Yet, this illustrates that almost any business strategy is likely to have a disparate impact on some group. …

The most undervalued trait, the numbers geeks have found, is a “sixth tool:” the ability to not swing at pitches outside the strike zone. Batting average, traditionally the most prestigious statistic, correlates less with scoring runs than does on-base percentage, which counts hits along with two less admired ways to get on base: walking (letting four bad pitches go by without swinging) and getting hit by a pitch.

Similarly, rigorous analysis shows that the stolen base is a much riskier tactic than was long thought. The cost of getting thrown out is at least twice the benefit of making it. Teams were overvaluing players who ran a lot because they were forgetting to count how often they got caught. …

Strikingly, the dispute between the baseball establishment and the sabermetricians is in essence a continuation of baseball’s first great argument over strategy, the one between Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Cobb, the greatest star of the early 20th century, believed baseball revolved around line drives and stolen bases. Ruth won the hearts of fans by bombing previously unimaginable numbers of home runs. Yet, in the minds of many baseball insiders and sportswriters, Cobb’s cunning, elegant style remained preferred over Ruth’s seemingly vulgar, showy antics.

What the elite didn’t understand, however, was that that Ruth had a second arrow in his offensive quiver. By intimidating pitchers with his power to slam out of the park balls thrown down the middle, he forced them to try to nibble at the edges of the strike zone. When they missed, he’d accept a walk, earning as many as 177 free passes in a season. Batting behind Ruth, Lou Gehrig ran up enormous RBI totals.

Although Cobb’s career batting average of .366 was the highest ever, significantly better than Ruth’s .342, Ruth’s on-base percentage of .474 substantially beat Cobb’s .433.

Ruth’s greatest disciple was Ted Williams (although the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds is now contending for that title), and he became a role model for many mid-century players. …

Then, Jackie Robinson arrived in the National League. …

In statistical retrospect, he seems the epitome of the smart percentage player (his career high in steals was 37). Indeed, African-Americans have provided many of the most patient hitters and highest percentage base stealers, such as Joe Morgan, Bonds (whose unbelievable-sounding 198 walks last year broke Ruth’s single season record), and Rickey Henderson (who broke Ruth’s career walks record). …

The percentage of African-American big leaguers has dropped sharply since about 1975, but not because of changes in how statistics are evaluated. Instead, baseball is simply losing the battle with basketball for popularity among black youths in America.

At the time, however, it was Robinson’s base running that electrified onlookers, especially New York journalists. …

By the 1960s, the fad for speed reached self-defeating proportions as more teams installed as their leadoff hitters extremely fast runners with low on-base percentages. “For a decade or more, baseball was held grip in the grip of the (Luis) Aparicio / (Maury) Wills generation of leadoff men,” Bill James wrote in 1986.

What James calls “the delusion that 40 or 50 stolen bases could compensate for a comparative inability to reach base” faded very slowly. For example, in 1984, Toronto’s speedy Dominican shortstop Alfredo Griffin walked four times in 140 games … and made the All Star Game.

The first Jamesian general manager was Oakland’s Billy Beane, appointed in 1997. He’s the protagonist of Michael Lewis’ recent bestseller “Moneyball.”…

The reason that scientific general managers like Ricciardi are modestly more likely to sign more white players than traditional general managers is because the old, less logical norms for evaluating ballplayers tend to slightly overrate Latin Americans.

For example, players with Spanish names (lumping both foreign and American-born Latinos together) were on average 15 percent more likely to steal bases per plate appearance than everyone else in baseball. Yet, because both groups were successful 68 percent of the time, it’s not clear how many more runs, if any, all that extra stealing contributed.

More importantly, although they are slowly improving, Hispanic players are on average less likely to accept walks than whites or African-Americans. “It’s not easy for a Latin player to take 100 walks,” said Sammy Sosa early in his famous 1998 season.

In 2002, Hispanics had a combined batting average of .264, while everyone else together hit .260. On the other hand, the Hispanic “walk average” was 0.060, while the non-Hispanics’ bases on balls ratio was 0.069, a significant 14 percent higher, leaving the non-Latinos with a better on-base percentage.

The patience gap has declined somewhat, from 16 percent in 1992 and 19 percent in 1982, probably because Latinos have largely closed the power gap. Twenty years ago, non-Hispanics hit home runs 42 percent more often than Hispanics, but that difference was 4 percent last year. …

Nobody is sure why this inequality exists, but it’s been around for decades. American Negro Leaguers playing winter ball in the islands back in the 1930s were amazed at the kind of pitches at which their hosts would swing.

Latin culture tends to emphasize excitement while African-American culture valorizes coolness. Granted, it’s hard to imagine Miles Davis playing baseball, but it’s even harder to imagine him swinging at bad pitches he was unlikely to hit.

In the past, Latinos tended to cluster at the positions where fielding was more important than power, but that does not fully account for the patience gap. In one of the few sabermetric studies ever done of the discipline disparity, David Marasco looked at American League hitters during 1994-1996. He found that American-born “glovemen” (shortstops, second basemen and catchers) were 24 percent more likely to walk than Latin American-born glovemen, while at the more offense-minded positions the gap was 7 percent.

This may be a rational response to what big league scouts look for in a prospect. Dominican youths have a saying: “You can’t walk to America.”

… Nevertheless, because the Latin tendency toward not walking is clearly not a racial difference (Latin ballplayers come in all colors), their free swinging may change in the future. For example, if Latin players are failing to get walks merely because they lack role models at an impressionable age, that’s not set in stone.

ESPN followed up on my findings 14 years later:

Diving into the walks gap between U.S.-born and Latin American players

No Latin American hitter led his league in bases on balls until David Ortiz in 2006. Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Sep 16, 2017
Peter Keating
ESPN Senior Writer

… Foreign-born Latino players have long endured a reputation for hacking away at the plate. Juan Samuel, a notoriously free-swinging hitter from the Dominican Republic who played for seven MLB teams from 1983 to 1998, put it this way: “You don’t walk off the island. You hit.”

The numbers say the walks gap between U.S.-born and Latin American players is indeed real and, almost 15 years after “Moneyball,” surprisingly persistent. Historically, Latin American hitters haven’t drawn too many walks, whether they hit for power (like Orlando Cepeda) or a high average (like Tony Oliva). From the start of integrated baseball in 1947 to 2000, 56 MLB players had careers with at least 1,000 walks. Zero were born in Latin America. No Latin American hitter led his league in bases on balls until David Ortiz in 2006. None walked 120 times in a season until Jose Bautista in 2011. And I bet you can’t name the player who retired in 2014 as the all-time leader in walks among Latin Americans. (It’s Bobby Abreu.)

To examine this phenomenon systematically, I looked at all non-pitchers who were born in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United States and Venezuela and played in at least 1,000 MLB games between 1947 and 2016. Overall, U.S.-born players earned unintentional walks in 8.5 percent of plate appearances, a rate 25 percent higher than that of Latin Americans (6.8 percent).

Following the 2022 season, I looked up how many Spanish surnamed players were among the top 100 active hitters for career bases on balls (33 of 100) vs. how many are in the top 100 for plate appearances (44). So there is still a gap, but it’s pretty subtle by this point, whereas it was obvious (at least to me) when I wrote my article in 2003.

I counted 15 African-Americans in the top 100 in walks and 15 in the top 100 in plate appearances. So, whites are about 50 out of the top 100 in walks and about 40 out of the top 100 in plate appearances.

A couple of methodological points: there are more players these days with one Hispanic parent, so I just counted players with a Spanish surname (e.g., Evan Longoria and Anthony Rendon) as Hispanic but not players with a non-Spanish surname (e.g., Eric Hosmer and the quarter Puerto Rican Giancarlo Stanton).

There are increasing numbers of Caribbean players from old Dutch colonies like Aruba and Curacao, such as Jurickson Profar. I counted them as non-Hispanic.

 
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  1. ‘…Similarly, rigorous analysis shows that the stolen base is a much riskier tactic than was long thought. The cost of getting thrown out is at least twice the benefit of making it. Teams were overvaluing players who ran a lot because they were forgetting to count how often they got caught…’

    On the other, other hand, isn’t the little Dominican jitterbugging ten feet off of first distracting the pitcher?

    You could quantify that. Compare pitchers’ performances to the number of steals executed by whoever is on first.

  2. I guess in other words there aren’t many black players because they suck at baseball

    • Replies: @Ebony Obelisk
    @Rocko

    Uh no

    Blacks are great athletes and the only reason they don’t excel at a sport would be discrimination

    It’s ludicrous in the day and age with all the data at our dispute at one found not assume bias when white men are outperforming People of Color

    The truth is that white males are unable to achieve anything unless given an unfair advantage

    white “men” have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action

    Jews and People of Color created and invented the world

    We will know that we have created an equitable society when white men are treated fairly for what they bring to the table and it just given things for existing

    Replies: @SunBakedSuburb, @fish

  3. OT

    Easily Replaced “Ex-Twitter Employees” Ponder The Social Construction of Ligma Balls

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/10/who-is-rahul-ligma.php

    [MORE]

    It’s declasse (especially without the frog accent marks) around here to link to Powerline, but Scott Johnson (no, not “Ligma Johnson”) is very, very bright and – whoopdeedoo – my wife’s second cousin or something. Although Ligma and its associated urban legend of Fortnite star, “Ninja” debuted in 2018, I was shamefully unaware of them until today.

    Agrawal, the severed head of Twitter, reportedly will receive a severance package which should far exceed the “obscene profits” in the 2 million dollars advance for ACB. Some employees will, of course, like some baseball players, become free agents, while others could apply for a Mudcat Grant. An unfortunate few might neither walk nor run for the exits (or swing for the fences or like some illegal Hispanics, swing from the fences), but rather, shockingly shuffle off their mortal Tesla coils.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @reactionry

    Allegedly Musk fired the bigwigs for cause. No severance.

    https://news.yahoo.com/elon-musk-fired-twitter-execs-105042867.html

    Replies: @guest007

    , @BB753
    @reactionry

    How many will return to India?

  4. Juan Samuel, a notoriously free-swinging hitter from the Dominican Republic who played for seven MLB teams from 1983 to 1998, put it this way: “You don’t walk off the island. You hit.”

    Although he may have seen it as a point of honor, or a display of machismo, I say he recognized that he was first and foremost an entertainer, and acted accordingly.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @HammerJack

    Juan Samuel averaged 14 triples per season in his first four seasons. He was a great athlete although not quite a great baseball player.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/samueju01.shtml

    Replies: @NJ Transit Commuter, @Gary in Gramercy

  5. @HammerJack

    Juan Samuel, a notoriously free-swinging hitter from the Dominican Republic who played for seven MLB teams from 1983 to 1998, put it this way: “You don’t walk off the island. You hit.”
     
    Although he may have seen it as a point of honor, or a display of machismo, I say he recognized that he was first and foremost an entertainer, and acted accordingly.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Juan Samuel averaged 14 triples per season in his first four seasons. He was a great athlete although not quite a great baseball player.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/samueju01.shtml

    • Replies: @NJ Transit Commuter
    @Steve Sailer

    One of the great joys of baseball is that amazing things can pop up in otherwise uneventful games. I remember seeing Juan Samuel hit an inside the park HR at a game at the Vet in the mid 80s. I can remember nothing else about the game except that…

    Replies: @Known Fact

    , @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

  6. typo: “So, whites are about 50 out of the top 100 in walks and about 40 out of the top 100 in walks”

  7. @Steve Sailer
    @HammerJack

    Juan Samuel averaged 14 triples per season in his first four seasons. He was a great athlete although not quite a great baseball player.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/samueju01.shtml

    Replies: @NJ Transit Commuter, @Gary in Gramercy

    One of the great joys of baseball is that amazing things can pop up in otherwise uneventful games. I remember seeing Juan Samuel hit an inside the park HR at a game at the Vet in the mid 80s. I can remember nothing else about the game except that…

    • Replies: @Known Fact
    @NJ Transit Commuter

    Similarly all I remember from attending one Cards-Expos game was the astoundingly slow Barry Foote trying for an inside-the-parker, and collapsing somewhere halfway around 3rd. On a ball that Samuel probably could have done two laps around the bases.

  8. @Rocko
    I guess in other words there aren't many black players because they suck at baseball

    Replies: @Ebony Obelisk

    Uh no

    Blacks are great athletes and the only reason they don’t excel at a sport would be discrimination

    It’s ludicrous in the day and age with all the data at our dispute at one found not assume bias when white men are outperforming People of Color

    The truth is that white males are unable to achieve anything unless given an unfair advantage

    white “men” have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action

    Jews and People of Color created and invented the world

    We will know that we have created an equitable society when white men are treated fairly for what they bring to the table and it just given things for existing

    • LOL: Pop Warner
    • Troll: IHTG, Prester John
    • Replies: @SunBakedSuburb
    @Ebony Obelisk

    "white 'men' have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action"

    And yet I'm still a loser.

    , @fish
    @Ebony Obelisk

    You’re less crazy in this guise Tinys. Props!

  9. Thanks for an interesting comparison. I was pondering yesterday the free-swinging Castellanos of the Phillies sparking their Game 1 scoring by sweeping one just off the ground, then striking out on three pitches well out of the strike zone in the 9th with two out, the bases loaded and the score tied.

    Then Game 2 sees Castellanos showing some patience at the plate early, then golfing a double to left-center later in the game. And Altuve’s third hit of the game was a swing of beauty on a shoulder high fastball (he seems to have snapped out of his slump).

    With all its twists and turns, quantifiable and unquantifiable variables, and what-ifs, baseball keeps us analytical types both intrigued and humbled (how about the first four pitches of Game 2!)

    Hope you’re enjoying the games. Cheers.

  10. Anonymous[421] • Disclaimer says:

    The percentage of African-American big leaguers has dropped sharply since about 1975, but not because of changes in how statistics are evaluated. Instead, baseball is simply losing the battle with basketball for popularity among black youths in America.

    The reason that the percentage of African-American players has dropped is that the percentage of foreign players has increased. Baseball puts a higher premium on accuracy and fine motor skills than do sports like football and basketball.

  11. Historically, appreciation of the base on balls and counter productiveness of steals was recognized, but a minority opinion. In the early 70s, my late father explained why Lou Brock’s steals were overrated, pointing to examples caught stealing as rally killers. He also explained how OBP was better than BA.
    His source was Branch Rickey.

    Rickey wrote a book in the 50s. In which he extolled the benefits of using OBP. He hired a statistician to help with the analysis. But this was before computers, or even hand calculators.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Dr. Doomngloom

    After WWII there were some players named Ed who specialized in getting walks, like Yost, Joost, and Stanky. It was a recognized specialty. Ted Williams would explain it to you.

    Awareness of the value of walks seemed to fade over time. Maybe it had something to do with integration and Latin players, maybe pitchers developed better control (e.g., the dominant pitcher in 1941 was Bob Feller, who was a lot like Nolan Ryan: a lot of strikeouts and walks. The top pitcher of the early 1950s was Robin Roberts who was like Ferguson Jenkins: he threw a lot of strikes and gave up a lot of homers but not as many walks.)

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom

    , @Catdompanj
    @Dr. Doomngloom

    Not sure if dad was right. But getting caught stealing only kills a "rally" if it's the third out. Who could say what would've happened if it's the first or second out? Not to mention, dad's example Brock, was successful 75% of the time.

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom, @Brutusale

  12. The Pittsburgh Pirates of the 1960s and 70s might be an interesting study for you Sailer since you still care about baseball. They fielded the first all black team in the 70s and scouted the Carribean extensively. Thus they got Roberto Clemente. It was said that he was a bad ball hitter… The catcher Manny Sanguillen would swing at anything. These teams throughout this period were offensive oriented for sure. They generally did not have the pitching depth to win a ton of WS.. but didn’t bore the shit out of you like today’s HR or nothing shit.. Aside from being woke.. the Cleveland Whatever now… the game is unwatchable..

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Stonewall Jackson

    Right, now that you mention it, the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates had high batting averages but less impressive on-base percentages. For example, the 1976 Pirates had a .267 batting average and a .321 on-base percentage.

    The Big Red Machine that year had .280 and .357.

    , @Dutch Boy
    @Stonewall Jackson

    If you like frustration, may I suggest watching the SD Padres, who specialize in taking strikes and swinging at balls. It's particularly frustrating to watch the opposing pitcher slip a first pitch fastball by them and then they flailed away at sliders and sinkers out of the strike zone.

  13. “The percentage of African-American big leaguers has dropped sharply since about 1975, but not because of changes in how statistics are evaluated. Instead, baseball is simply losing the battle with basketball for popularity among black youths in America.”

    Do you still think this is the case? I don’t see negroes decline as being a singular issue but I think basketball popularity has less to do with it than the above comment suggests.

  14. Overall, U.S.-born players earned unintentional walks in 8.5 percent of plate appearances, a rate 25 percent higher than that of Latin Americans

    The unintentional part seems a large methodological difference, possibly greater than analysis of names vs birthplace. A difference of 25% in 2017 is substantial, and notably larger than the ones you found. That’s to be expected as counting intentional walks will blunt the difference.

  15. @Steve Sailer
    @HammerJack

    Juan Samuel averaged 14 triples per season in his first four seasons. He was a great athlete although not quite a great baseball player.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/samueju01.shtml

    Replies: @NJ Transit Commuter, @Gary in Gramercy

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James’s annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau — the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel’s speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter — except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder — but wasn’t a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James’s argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, “New York Jewish”], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau’s is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman — while capable of carrying a movie when necessary — were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    • Replies: @ScarletNumber
    @Gary in Gramercy

    The Internet Archive has electronic copies of most of the later copies of the Bill James Baseball Abstract. They are well worth reading, or rereading in your case. When Maury Wills died a few weeks ago, the first thing I thought of was what Bill James wrote about him in his Historical Baseball Abstract. Bill was classy enough not to repeat it when Maury actually died.


    His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau’s is the most memorable portrayal
     
    Matthau has first credit but isn't the star per se. All the names are listed below the title. Even in The Odd Couple (and its derivative, Grumpy Old Men), Matthau is listed above the title but has second billing to Jack Lemmon. In The Fortune Cookie, Matthau won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, as Lemmon was considered the lead.

    As a leading man, Matthau's most well-known role was probably asMorris Buttermaker in The Bad News Bears
    , @Known Fact
    @Gary in Gramercy

    If Walter Matthau is going to come up in a baseball thread you have to mention his work in Bad News Bears, as the kids' grumpy old manager. (As far as The Odd Couple -- two of the great archetypal characters ever to trod the stage -- I do feel Jack Klugman and Tony Randall in the TV version were better cast than Matthau and Lemmon, or at least resonate more for me. )

    I still have my Bill James Abstracts, by the way, piled high less than three feet from my chair. Along with his conceptual statwork he has a gift for quickly distilling the skillset and personality of individual players. which is really the heart of the game

    , @ScarletNumber
    @Gary in Gramercy

    The funny thing about Juan Samuel is that he is famous in New York for being the other half of the trade that sent Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies in June 1989, eventually winning them the pennant in 1983.

    Anyway, here is what Bill James has to say about Juan Samuel in his Historical Baseball Abstract. He doesn't mention Matthau per se but I'm sure he did in a different book.


    A star in his first four years as a regular (1984-1987), scoring over 100 runs a season and driving in as many as a hundred. There was a perception, until 1987, that Samuel would develop into a superstar. He was fast, he had some power, and could play second base; there was a lot of talk about his possibly being the first middle infielder to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases.

    Cracks in his armor soon appeared. He was a second baseman, but a bad one. When you put him anywhere else, he was worse. He had tremendous speed, but a poor on-base percentage, making him less than a desirable leadoff man. He had power, but not enough power to hit in the middle of the order. He was an odd lot, a player who had obvious skills, but didn't fit into any role that you could assign to him.
     
    , @njguy73
    @Gary in Gramercy

    It's intriguing to imagine what the Phillies of the mid-'80s could have done with Julio Franco and Ryne Sandberg at short and second, and Juan Samuel in center.

    , @Brutusale
    @Gary in Gramercy

    At least one director threw Matthau a bone late in his career!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRKE4dg1OSw

  16. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

    The Internet Archive has electronic copies of most of the later copies of the Bill James Baseball Abstract. They are well worth reading, or rereading in your case. When Maury Wills died a few weeks ago, the first thing I thought of was what Bill James wrote about him in his Historical Baseball Abstract. Bill was classy enough not to repeat it when Maury actually died.

    His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau’s is the most memorable portrayal

    Matthau has first credit but isn’t the star per se. All the names are listed below the title. Even in The Odd Couple (and its derivative, Grumpy Old Men), Matthau is listed above the title but has second billing to Jack Lemmon. In The Fortune Cookie, Matthau won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor, as Lemmon was considered the lead.

    As a leading man, Matthau’s most well-known role was probably as

    [MORE]
    Morris Buttermaker in The Bad News Bears

  17. Stolen bases for their own sakes are flashy but of dubious value. However, a successfully stolen base in a close game that turns a runner into a scorer on a subsequent base hit can be very valuable. It can also get the runner out of a double play situation and extend an inning, essentially preventing an out before the play.

    There’s also the threat of the steal, which harasses the pitchers and the catchers and affects pitching to the benefit of the batters.

    I don’t know how you would account for these less quantifiable benefits of the stolen base (and its threat).

    As for walks, there seem to be two kinds of batters who walk with frequency – the first is the slugger who challenges the pitchers to paint the edges of the strike zone and to bait the batter to chase pitches outside of the zone in order to avoid delivering an extra base hit to the batter, and the other is the more wily batter who can work the count with thoughtful takes and fouling off would-be third strikes or fly balls/ground outs.

    • Replies: @Catdompanj
    @Alec Leamas (working from home)

    Agreed. Ask Mariano Rivera.

  18. in 1984, Toronto’s speedy Dominican shortstop Alfredo Griffin walked four times in 140 games … and made the All Star Game

    He had much better seasons in both 1979 and 1986, but wasn’t selected in place of Roy Smalley and Rick Burleson in 1979 and Cal Ripken, Alan Trammell, and Tony Fernandez. Please note that Griffin was not snubbed in either year, as all 5 had better years that year.

    In 1984 he made the team along with Ripken and Trammel, but one could easily argue that Robin Yount, Scott Fletcher, Spike Owen, Onix Concepcion, Julio Franco, and Tony Phillips had better years than Griffin did.

    It is worth noting that despite being an All Star in 1984, the Blue Jays traded him that very off season because they saw that Tony Fernandez was their shortstop of the future. One could very easily make the argument that replacing Griffin with Fernandez won the division for the Blue Jays in 1985, since it was such a dramatic upgrade. They also replaced Dave Collins with Jesse Barfield, which was a lesser improvement. Making Jimmy Key a starter also helped.

    • Replies: @njguy73
    @ScarletNumber

    In his 1982 Abstract, Bill James wrote about Alfredo Griffin:


    Made 31 errors, the most of any major league player. He stole 8 bases in 20 attempts in 1981, giving him a career total of 49 steals in 103 attempts. It is … a bit of a mystery why he has played so badly, but I think of him [along with another player] who could play well if there was something in front of them worth playing for, but who sort of lose interest, understandably, in their present positions. It would probably be a good opportunity to investigate the motivational value of sitting on the bench and watching a player who is half as good as you are play for a month or so.
     
    The "another player" was the Cubs' Ivan DeJesus. On him, James wrote:

    Mysterious year. He’s a good fielder, but he’s not Mark Belanger, and anyway the reason the Orioles could win with Belanger is that Weaver knew enough to bat him eighth or ninth most of the time and pinch-hit for him at will. DeJesus is not a major league player if he hits .194.
     
    https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-ten-worst-leadoff-hitters-since-1957/
  19. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

    If Walter Matthau is going to come up in a baseball thread you have to mention his work in Bad News Bears, as the kids’ grumpy old manager. (As far as The Odd Couple — two of the great archetypal characters ever to trod the stage — I do feel Jack Klugman and Tony Randall in the TV version were better cast than Matthau and Lemmon, or at least resonate more for me. )

    I still have my Bill James Abstracts, by the way, piled high less than three feet from my chair. Along with his conceptual statwork he has a gift for quickly distilling the skillset and personality of individual players. which is really the heart of the game

  20. The old adage explaining why for instance, Cuban and Dominican don’t draw too many bases on balls went something like this: ” you can’t walk off an island”. I’m guessing the thinking was that walks don’t get you noticed.
    I’m quite aware that many of these players now come from land based Central America, but at the time, most of the Hispanic ball players came from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

    • Replies: @fish
    @Catdompanj

    The old adage explaining why for instance, Cuban and Dominican don’t draw too many bases on balls went something like this: ” you can’t walk off an island”. I’m guessing the thinking was that walks don’t get you noticed.


    It was this very phrase (or something close to it) that got the evening host at the SF Giants flagship station KNBR 680 canned about a decade ago. The caterwauling on both sides got so bad that they dragged poor Filipe Alou, who knew it was just entertainment into the fray. His comment IIRC was that while poorly phrased it was in essence correct and that he didn’t think that anyone should lose their job over it.

    Replies: @anonymous

  21. @NJ Transit Commuter
    @Steve Sailer

    One of the great joys of baseball is that amazing things can pop up in otherwise uneventful games. I remember seeing Juan Samuel hit an inside the park HR at a game at the Vet in the mid 80s. I can remember nothing else about the game except that…

    Replies: @Known Fact

    Similarly all I remember from attending one Cards-Expos game was the astoundingly slow Barry Foote trying for an inside-the-parker, and collapsing somewhere halfway around 3rd. On a ball that Samuel probably could have done two laps around the bases.

  22. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

    The funny thing about Juan Samuel is that he is famous in New York for being the other half of the trade that sent Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell to the Phillies in June 1989, eventually winning them the pennant in 1983.

    Anyway, here is what Bill James has to say about Juan Samuel in his Historical Baseball Abstract. He doesn’t mention Matthau per se but I’m sure he did in a different book.

    A star in his first four years as a regular (1984-1987), scoring over 100 runs a season and driving in as many as a hundred. There was a perception, until 1987, that Samuel would develop into a superstar. He was fast, he had some power, and could play second base; there was a lot of talk about his possibly being the first middle infielder to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases.

    Cracks in his armor soon appeared. He was a second baseman, but a bad one. When you put him anywhere else, he was worse. He had tremendous speed, but a poor on-base percentage, making him less than a desirable leadoff man. He had power, but not enough power to hit in the middle of the order. He was an odd lot, a player who had obvious skills, but didn’t fit into any role that you could assign to him.

  23. against whomever would…

    Whomever is the right choice had the sentence ended there, and whoever, had its clause started another. But it’s kind of a coin flip in these “hinge” cases. It’s not a matter of what’s “right”, but what fits better. The M may be more trouble than it’s worth here.

    On the other hand, lay when used as the past tense of lie, rather than as a replacement for it, wields a power which you can feel. Compare century-old poetry from anywhere in the Anglosphere to hip-hop.

    This isn’t as off-topic as it may seem. Baseball is America’s most literary sport. (Perhaps Canada’s, too; e.g., W.P. Kinsella.) I’ve heard that said of cricket, too, elsewhere. Gridiron and rugby football were the sports of the upper crust and/or college boys. Baseball, open to all, has always been more of a cross-section.

    • Replies: @SafeNow
    @Reg Cæsar


    Baseball is America’s most literary sport.
     
    Someone once observed that there is an inverse relationship between the quality/quantity of a sport’s literature, and the size of the ball. He observed that many fine books have been written about golf, but no books have been written about cageball.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

  24. How do you factor guys who are nominally Latino like Keith Hernandez, Tino Martinez and Rafael Palmiero?

  25. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

    It’s intriguing to imagine what the Phillies of the mid-’80s could have done with Julio Franco and Ryne Sandberg at short and second, and Juan Samuel in center.

  26. @ScarletNumber

    in 1984, Toronto’s speedy Dominican shortstop Alfredo Griffin walked four times in 140 games … and made the All Star Game
     
    He had much better seasons in both 1979 and 1986, but wasn't selected in place of Roy Smalley and Rick Burleson in 1979 and Cal Ripken, Alan Trammell, and Tony Fernandez. Please note that Griffin was not snubbed in either year, as all 5 had better years that year.

    In 1984 he made the team along with Ripken and Trammel, but one could easily argue that Robin Yount, Scott Fletcher, Spike Owen, Onix Concepcion, Julio Franco, and Tony Phillips had better years than Griffin did.

    It is worth noting that despite being an All Star in 1984, the Blue Jays traded him that very off season because they saw that Tony Fernandez was their shortstop of the future. One could very easily make the argument that replacing Griffin with Fernandez won the division for the Blue Jays in 1985, since it was such a dramatic upgrade. They also replaced Dave Collins with Jesse Barfield, which was a lesser improvement. Making Jimmy Key a starter also helped.

    Replies: @njguy73

    In his 1982 Abstract, Bill James wrote about Alfredo Griffin:

    Made 31 errors, the most of any major league player. He stole 8 bases in 20 attempts in 1981, giving him a career total of 49 steals in 103 attempts. It is … a bit of a mystery why he has played so badly, but I think of him [along with another player] who could play well if there was something in front of them worth playing for, but who sort of lose interest, understandably, in their present positions. It would probably be a good opportunity to investigate the motivational value of sitting on the bench and watching a player who is half as good as you are play for a month or so.

    The “another player” was the Cubs’ Ivan DeJesus. On him, James wrote:

    Mysterious year. He’s a good fielder, but he’s not Mark Belanger, and anyway the reason the Orioles could win with Belanger is that Weaver knew enough to bat him eighth or ninth most of the time and pinch-hit for him at will. DeJesus is not a major league player if he hits .194.

    https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-ten-worst-leadoff-hitters-since-1957/

  27. I had no idea that “Rendon” was a Spanish surname

  28. “A topic that interested me two decades ago was how big of a cultural gap was there between American batters (white and black) and Spanish-surnamed batters (including American-born ones) at accepting bases on balls.”

    Thanx again Steve for providing more material for my Steve Sailer character. I’ve found your sports posts to be cornucopias (in keeping with the season) of fabric from which to weave Steve. I’m still unsure of the medium that would best suit Steve. If I could gather evidence that other Steves exist I could put together an amateur sociological study in the form of a graphic novel titled Impractical Men Who Have Wives With Money.

  29. @Ebony Obelisk
    @Rocko

    Uh no

    Blacks are great athletes and the only reason they don’t excel at a sport would be discrimination

    It’s ludicrous in the day and age with all the data at our dispute at one found not assume bias when white men are outperforming People of Color

    The truth is that white males are unable to achieve anything unless given an unfair advantage

    white “men” have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action

    Jews and People of Color created and invented the world

    We will know that we have created an equitable society when white men are treated fairly for what they bring to the table and it just given things for existing

    Replies: @SunBakedSuburb, @fish

    “white ‘men’ have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action”

    And yet I’m still a loser.

  30. How did you count foreign born Latin born players with non-spanish names like Luis Robert and Rafael Devers? Both are dark skinned I’d love to know their family history.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @t

    I dumped George Springer in the African-American column, but I recall he's complicated.

  31. A couple of methodological points: there are more players these days with one Hispanic parent, so I just counted players with a Spanish surname (e.g., Evan Longoria and Anthony Rendon) as Hispanic but not players with a non-Spanish surname (e.g., Eric Hosmer and the quarter Puerto Rican Giancarlo Stanton).

    My view is that it’s silly to include Hispanics who grew up in the U.S. They grew up with American instructors and American hitting habits. This isn’t about being Hispanic, it’s about foreign nationals from DR, Venezuela, Mexico and Panama and the instruction they received as kids. I include Panama because this post made me think of Manny Sanguillen, who would literally swing at a pitch over his head rather than walk.

  32. When iSteve starts an essay with large chunks of sports yak about baseball and race, I’m out.

    Baseball was invented by Whites (sorta, kinda, by Brits) and blacks invented no sports games.

    The big complaint recently about lack of “African Americans” on the Astros is bogus.

    Yes, not born the the good ole USA, but many black player from elsewhere. Very good players.

    I know iSteve is a stats nerd, but who wants to read others opinionizing about how Whites are unfair to other races?

    We don’t see any of that (in public) about the nearly all black sport of pro basketball. How many “White Americans” (to mimic AA term) do we find on NBA teams? One? Two? Zero? Most of the Whites are from Europe. But somehow, this is unremarkable and if you “notice” that you are an evil racist.

    • Agree: Nicholas Stix
  33. @t
    How did you count foreign born Latin born players with non-spanish names like Luis Robert and Rafael Devers? Both are dark skinned I'd love to know their family history.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    I dumped George Springer in the African-American column, but I recall he’s complicated.

  34. A Latin player who improved his batting eye noticeably during his career was Julio Franco, when he was young with the Indians his walk rate was well below average latter in his career he was above average in walks. He was an valuable player when he was with the Rangers and had the improved eye while still being able to play second base.

  35. “Although Cobb’s career batting average of .366 was the highest ever”

    Cobb’s career BA is .367. It wasn’t until the late ’90’s that groups such as Society of Baseball Research, etc. decided that in 1910, supposedly Cobb was awarded an additional base hit that he didn’t have, as the daily stats in MLB were allegedly given a day late, or some such story, and thus he also shouldn’t have been awarded a statistical tie for the 1910 BA Crown with Lajoie. In the final day of their season, Cobb sat out the final game to protect his lead for the batting title crown. Lajoie, playing a double header vs lowly STL, went something like 6-6 or 8-8,. So hated was Ty Cobb in the AL that STL contrived to allow Lajoie to get as many base hits as possible during the double header. After the first clean hit, Lajoie realized that the 3B was deliberately playing him further back than usual, and so he proceeded to bunt most of the times he came to the plate and got the additional hits.

    However, after the season officially ended, AL President Ban Johnson noticed that both players, Cobb and Lajoie ended their seasons in a statistical tie more or less, and so he awarded the 1910 Al batting title to both players. The Chalmers Automobile Company, which had promised to award a brand new car to the winner of the AL batting title that year, decided to award both Cobb and Lajoie a new car.

    The point: officially, Cobb won his batting title, received credit for the base hit, and therefore his lifetime BA remains at .367. Some of the statistical websites still award Cobb .367, as it always did during his lifetime, and for many decades afterwards.

    Regarding HR’s, From Cooperstown HOF section on Ty Cobb: “ON MAY 5, 1925, TY COBB COLLECTED 16 TOTAL BASES (THREE HOME RUNS, A DOUBLE AND TWO SINGLES), SETTING A SINGLE-GAME AMERICAN LEAGUE RECORD.”

    Cobb had decided to show the baseball media that nearly anyone could hit the ball out of the park, and in fact had told the media a few days before that he would deliberately focus on hitting HR’s. His point was proven that day.

    “Ruth’s greatest disciple was Ted Williams”

    Actually, Williams always credited Cobb with developing in him the scientific way of hitting. Cobb used to attend spring training camps during the ’40’s and ’50’s, and for a time helped to mentor Williams in the art of hitting the ball. To Ted Williams, hitting over .400 was more important to him personally than hitting 40 HR’s in a season. The batting title was the most important stat to him personally (as HOF NY CF Mickey Mantle considered it a big mark vs him for letting his career BA dip below .300).

    For pure hitting for power and average, Babe Ruth stands alone and heads and shoulders above most players ever to have played in MLB. Can’t really say anyone directly was mentored by Ruth’s style of hitting. The closest one could come to would be the modern HR sluggers, with plenty of HR’s nd RBI’s and a sub .250 BA, due in large part to their 100+ SO’s per season and their inability to hit the ball for additional base hits aside from the HR. So instead of Babe Ruth who hit for both power and average you end up with players like Mike Schmidt, Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas, or Dave Kingman. Good at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.

    “What James calls “the delusion that 40 or 50 stolen bases could compensate for a comparative inability to reach base”

    Exactly why is it a delusion? You can’t score a run unless you get on base, and SB’s puts a payer into scoring position, making it easier to score the run. It’s fairly simple, just hit the ball. Get a base hit, and you’re on base, and thus able to steal a base and get into scoring position to score the run.

    Duh.

    You can’t steal a base, unless you reach base. Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H’s in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.

    • Thanks: BosTex
    • Replies: @Gary in Gramercy
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Mike Schmidt doesn't belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were "[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else." Yes, he struck out a lot, but he walked a lot too, reaching 100 walks or more seven times (plus the strike-shortened 1981 season, in which he walked 73 times in 102 games, and would have broken 100 walks absent the missed games). His lifetime strikeout-to-walk ratio is about 1.25-1, far better than any of the other three. (Career BB: 1,507; career K: 1,883.)

    Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he'll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn't quite the best. But even if some of the ten awards were "reputational," rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player, something no one ever said about Dave Kingman. There's a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot.

    I'll stop channeling Bill James now.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    , @ScarletNumber
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi


    Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H’s in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.
     
    Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897. Also, officially Cobb had 4189 hits, but in 1985 we thought he had 4191.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

  36. @Reg Cæsar

    against whomever would...
     
    Whomever is the right choice had the sentence ended there, and whoever, had its clause started another. But it's kind of a coin flip in these "hinge" cases. It's not a matter of what's "right", but what fits better. The M may be more trouble than it's worth here.

    On the other hand, lay when used as the past tense of lie, rather than as a replacement for it, wields a power which you can feel. Compare century-old poetry from anywhere in the Anglosphere to hip-hop.

    This isn't as off-topic as it may seem. Baseball is America's most literary sport. (Perhaps Canada's, too; e.g., W.P. Kinsella.) I've heard that said of cricket, too, elsewhere. Gridiron and rugby football were the sports of the upper crust and/or college boys. Baseball, open to all, has always been more of a cross-section.

    Replies: @SafeNow

    Baseball is America’s most literary sport.

    Someone once observed that there is an inverse relationship between the quality/quantity of a sport’s literature, and the size of the ball. He observed that many fine books have been written about golf, but no books have been written about cageball.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    @SafeNow


    Someone once observed that there is an inverse relationship between the quality/quantity of a sport’s literature, and the size of the ball. He observed that many fine books have been written about golf, but no books have been written about cageball.
     
    Or autobol. Except perhaps in Portuguese.


    https://s2.glbimg.com/FskOXV8jl9OqHC-8VvljzkWM70c=/645x388/i.glbimg.com/og/ig/infoglobo1/f/original/2021/10/14/20498396_rio_de_janeiro_rj_-_21-04-1974_-_veiculos_-_automoveis_-_autobol_-_campeonato_carioca_de_fu.jpg

  37. @Stonewall Jackson
    The Pittsburgh Pirates of the 1960s and 70s might be an interesting study for you Sailer since you still care about baseball. They fielded the first all black team in the 70s and scouted the Carribean extensively. Thus they got Roberto Clemente. It was said that he was a bad ball hitter... The catcher Manny Sanguillen would swing at anything. These teams throughout this period were offensive oriented for sure. They generally did not have the pitching depth to win a ton of WS.. but didn't bore the shit out of you like today's HR or nothing shit.. Aside from being woke.. the Cleveland Whatever now... the game is unwatchable..

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Dutch Boy

    Right, now that you mention it, the 1970s Pittsburgh Pirates had high batting averages but less impressive on-base percentages. For example, the 1976 Pirates had a .267 batting average and a .321 on-base percentage.

    The Big Red Machine that year had .280 and .357.

  38. Of course balls are a social construct! Haven’t you been following the tranny issue?

  39. @Dr. Doomngloom
    Historically, appreciation of the base on balls and counter productiveness of steals was recognized, but a minority opinion. In the early 70s, my late father explained why Lou Brock’s steals were overrated, pointing to examples caught stealing as rally killers. He also explained how OBP was better than BA.
    His source was Branch Rickey.

    Rickey wrote a book in the 50s. In which he extolled the benefits of using OBP. He hired a statistician to help with the analysis. But this was before computers, or even hand calculators.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Catdompanj

    After WWII there were some players named Ed who specialized in getting walks, like Yost, Joost, and Stanky. It was a recognized specialty. Ted Williams would explain it to you.

    Awareness of the value of walks seemed to fade over time. Maybe it had something to do with integration and Latin players, maybe pitchers developed better control (e.g., the dominant pitcher in 1941 was Bob Feller, who was a lot like Nolan Ryan: a lot of strikeouts and walks. The top pitcher of the early 1950s was Robin Roberts who was like Ferguson Jenkins: he threw a lot of strikes and gave up a lot of homers but not as many walks.)

    • Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Steve Sailer

    Indeed there was a specialty, but few took it seriously. I recall reading Branch Rickey's book, but the metric didn't catch on.

    WRT Roberts and Jenkins, those HR hurt, but not so much when there's nobody on base. I remember Jenkins and he was a consistently outstanding pitcher. Just pencil him in for 20 wins.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  40. Ted Williams was Hispanic
    His mother was Mexican

  41. @Dr. Doomngloom
    Historically, appreciation of the base on balls and counter productiveness of steals was recognized, but a minority opinion. In the early 70s, my late father explained why Lou Brock’s steals were overrated, pointing to examples caught stealing as rally killers. He also explained how OBP was better than BA.
    His source was Branch Rickey.

    Rickey wrote a book in the 50s. In which he extolled the benefits of using OBP. He hired a statistician to help with the analysis. But this was before computers, or even hand calculators.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Catdompanj

    Not sure if dad was right. But getting caught stealing only kills a “rally” if it’s the third out. Who could say what would’ve happened if it’s the first or second out? Not to mention, dad’s example Brock, was successful 75% of the time.

    • Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Catdompanj

    Let's take Lou Brock as an example. In his era, the analysis says a successful steal is about .3 runs, while a caught stealing is about -.6 runs

    Brock averaged about 50 steals per season. 75% of 50 (his average success rate) times .3 yields about8.25 runs. But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win. This is small change in a dollar economy, to borrow a phrase. So the best base stealer of his era wasn't moving the needle.

    Ricky Henderson, OTOH, stole at closer to 90%. High volume at 90% was enough to be worth something like 10 runs per season. That's about an extra win per year.

    Of course the value of the steal is situational. But at high volume, one is stealing regardless of the situation, almost certainly beyond diminishing returns. Also, a lot of steals implies fewer extra base hits. Brock could only run up the steal totals when he wasn't getting a lot of doubles and homers.
    Also, the value of the steal also floats with the overall offensive production. the more runs scored with the bat, the less it makes sense to get runs with the legs. The extreme cases is home run derby vs the sporadic single.

    Don't get me wrong, the stolen base is exciting. It's kind of disappointing to realize that it's a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @ScarletNumber

    , @Brutusale
    @Catdompanj

    Dad was right. Research the differences in runs produced when there's nobody out as opposed to one or two outs.

    https://gregstoll.com/~gregstoll/baseball/runsperinning.html

  42. @Alec Leamas (working from home)
    Stolen bases for their own sakes are flashy but of dubious value. However, a successfully stolen base in a close game that turns a runner into a scorer on a subsequent base hit can be very valuable. It can also get the runner out of a double play situation and extend an inning, essentially preventing an out before the play.

    There's also the threat of the steal, which harasses the pitchers and the catchers and affects pitching to the benefit of the batters.

    I don't know how you would account for these less quantifiable benefits of the stolen base (and its threat).

    As for walks, there seem to be two kinds of batters who walk with frequency - the first is the slugger who challenges the pitchers to paint the edges of the strike zone and to bait the batter to chase pitches outside of the zone in order to avoid delivering an extra base hit to the batter, and the other is the more wily batter who can work the count with thoughtful takes and fouling off would-be third strikes or fly balls/ground outs.

    Replies: @Catdompanj

    Agreed. Ask Mariano Rivera.

  43. @Stonewall Jackson
    The Pittsburgh Pirates of the 1960s and 70s might be an interesting study for you Sailer since you still care about baseball. They fielded the first all black team in the 70s and scouted the Carribean extensively. Thus they got Roberto Clemente. It was said that he was a bad ball hitter... The catcher Manny Sanguillen would swing at anything. These teams throughout this period were offensive oriented for sure. They generally did not have the pitching depth to win a ton of WS.. but didn't bore the shit out of you like today's HR or nothing shit.. Aside from being woke.. the Cleveland Whatever now... the game is unwatchable..

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Dutch Boy

    If you like frustration, may I suggest watching the SD Padres, who specialize in taking strikes and swinging at balls. It’s particularly frustrating to watch the opposing pitcher slip a first pitch fastball by them and then they flailed away at sliders and sinkers out of the strike zone.

  44. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Although Cobb’s career batting average of .366 was the highest ever"

    Cobb's career BA is .367. It wasn't until the late '90's that groups such as Society of Baseball Research, etc. decided that in 1910, supposedly Cobb was awarded an additional base hit that he didn't have, as the daily stats in MLB were allegedly given a day late, or some such story, and thus he also shouldn't have been awarded a statistical tie for the 1910 BA Crown with Lajoie. In the final day of their season, Cobb sat out the final game to protect his lead for the batting title crown. Lajoie, playing a double header vs lowly STL, went something like 6-6 or 8-8,. So hated was Ty Cobb in the AL that STL contrived to allow Lajoie to get as many base hits as possible during the double header. After the first clean hit, Lajoie realized that the 3B was deliberately playing him further back than usual, and so he proceeded to bunt most of the times he came to the plate and got the additional hits.

    However, after the season officially ended, AL President Ban Johnson noticed that both players, Cobb and Lajoie ended their seasons in a statistical tie more or less, and so he awarded the 1910 Al batting title to both players. The Chalmers Automobile Company, which had promised to award a brand new car to the winner of the AL batting title that year, decided to award both Cobb and Lajoie a new car.

    The point: officially, Cobb won his batting title, received credit for the base hit, and therefore his lifetime BA remains at .367. Some of the statistical websites still award Cobb .367, as it always did during his lifetime, and for many decades afterwards.

    Regarding HR's, From Cooperstown HOF section on Ty Cobb: "ON MAY 5, 1925, TY COBB COLLECTED 16 TOTAL BASES (THREE HOME RUNS, A DOUBLE AND TWO SINGLES), SETTING A SINGLE-GAME AMERICAN LEAGUE RECORD."

    Cobb had decided to show the baseball media that nearly anyone could hit the ball out of the park, and in fact had told the media a few days before that he would deliberately focus on hitting HR's. His point was proven that day.

    "Ruth’s greatest disciple was Ted Williams"

    Actually, Williams always credited Cobb with developing in him the scientific way of hitting. Cobb used to attend spring training camps during the '40's and '50's, and for a time helped to mentor Williams in the art of hitting the ball. To Ted Williams, hitting over .400 was more important to him personally than hitting 40 HR's in a season. The batting title was the most important stat to him personally (as HOF NY CF Mickey Mantle considered it a big mark vs him for letting his career BA dip below .300).

    For pure hitting for power and average, Babe Ruth stands alone and heads and shoulders above most players ever to have played in MLB. Can't really say anyone directly was mentored by Ruth's style of hitting. The closest one could come to would be the modern HR sluggers, with plenty of HR's nd RBI's and a sub .250 BA, due in large part to their 100+ SO's per season and their inability to hit the ball for additional base hits aside from the HR. So instead of Babe Ruth who hit for both power and average you end up with players like Mike Schmidt, Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas, or Dave Kingman. Good at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.


    "What James calls “the delusion that 40 or 50 stolen bases could compensate for a comparative inability to reach base”

    Exactly why is it a delusion? You can't score a run unless you get on base, and SB's puts a payer into scoring position, making it easier to score the run. It's fairly simple, just hit the ball. Get a base hit, and you're on base, and thus able to steal a base and get into scoring position to score the run.

    Duh.

    You can't steal a base, unless you reach base. Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H's in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.

    Replies: @Gary in Gramercy, @ScarletNumber

    Mike Schmidt doesn’t belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were “[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.” Yes, he struck out a lot, but he walked a lot too, reaching 100 walks or more seven times (plus the strike-shortened 1981 season, in which he walked 73 times in 102 games, and would have broken 100 walks absent the missed games). His lifetime strikeout-to-walk ratio is about 1.25-1, far better than any of the other three. (Career BB: 1,507; career K: 1,883.)

    Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he’ll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn’t quite the best. But even if some of the ten awards were “reputational,” rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player, something no one ever said about Dave Kingman. There’s a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot.

    I’ll stop channeling Bill James now.

    • Agree: kaganovitch
    • Disagree: Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    • Thanks: Catdompanj
    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Gary in Gramercy

    "Mike Schmidt doesn’t belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were “[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.”

    Yes he does. At the bat, that's all he and the others did: HR, BB, SO.

    You actually made my point. Schmidt had almost as many BB's as base hits. In some seasons he had almost as many SO's as H's. That's not good enough. All these sluggers do is hit the ball out of the park. Basically after a few seasons, you can count the plate appearances and figure out when the HR is due. HR, SO, and BB. And that's pretty much it. Did Schmidt ever win a batting title? Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn't.


    "Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he’ll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn’t quite the best. "But even if some of the ten awards were “reputational,” rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player."

    Not in the same sentence with his contemporaries, HOF Brooks Robinson or Graig Nettles.


    "There’s a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot."

    He was primarily known for his bat. 548 career HR's tended to put a player into the HOF. If Kingman had hit over 500 HR's for his career, he'd be in the HOF by now. If you can put Andre Dawson in the HOF (and after a couple decades) then a case can be made for Kingman.

    "I’ll stop channeling Bill James now."

    I think you better, as that channel isn't the be and end all of MLB stats. James refused to condced the widespread usage of PEDS for nearly 20 yrs in MLB, and how that usage directly impacted the stats. So quoting him as a total expert isn't exactly a good look.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @kaganovitch

  45. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    "Although Cobb’s career batting average of .366 was the highest ever"

    Cobb's career BA is .367. It wasn't until the late '90's that groups such as Society of Baseball Research, etc. decided that in 1910, supposedly Cobb was awarded an additional base hit that he didn't have, as the daily stats in MLB were allegedly given a day late, or some such story, and thus he also shouldn't have been awarded a statistical tie for the 1910 BA Crown with Lajoie. In the final day of their season, Cobb sat out the final game to protect his lead for the batting title crown. Lajoie, playing a double header vs lowly STL, went something like 6-6 or 8-8,. So hated was Ty Cobb in the AL that STL contrived to allow Lajoie to get as many base hits as possible during the double header. After the first clean hit, Lajoie realized that the 3B was deliberately playing him further back than usual, and so he proceeded to bunt most of the times he came to the plate and got the additional hits.

    However, after the season officially ended, AL President Ban Johnson noticed that both players, Cobb and Lajoie ended their seasons in a statistical tie more or less, and so he awarded the 1910 Al batting title to both players. The Chalmers Automobile Company, which had promised to award a brand new car to the winner of the AL batting title that year, decided to award both Cobb and Lajoie a new car.

    The point: officially, Cobb won his batting title, received credit for the base hit, and therefore his lifetime BA remains at .367. Some of the statistical websites still award Cobb .367, as it always did during his lifetime, and for many decades afterwards.

    Regarding HR's, From Cooperstown HOF section on Ty Cobb: "ON MAY 5, 1925, TY COBB COLLECTED 16 TOTAL BASES (THREE HOME RUNS, A DOUBLE AND TWO SINGLES), SETTING A SINGLE-GAME AMERICAN LEAGUE RECORD."

    Cobb had decided to show the baseball media that nearly anyone could hit the ball out of the park, and in fact had told the media a few days before that he would deliberately focus on hitting HR's. His point was proven that day.

    "Ruth’s greatest disciple was Ted Williams"

    Actually, Williams always credited Cobb with developing in him the scientific way of hitting. Cobb used to attend spring training camps during the '40's and '50's, and for a time helped to mentor Williams in the art of hitting the ball. To Ted Williams, hitting over .400 was more important to him personally than hitting 40 HR's in a season. The batting title was the most important stat to him personally (as HOF NY CF Mickey Mantle considered it a big mark vs him for letting his career BA dip below .300).

    For pure hitting for power and average, Babe Ruth stands alone and heads and shoulders above most players ever to have played in MLB. Can't really say anyone directly was mentored by Ruth's style of hitting. The closest one could come to would be the modern HR sluggers, with plenty of HR's nd RBI's and a sub .250 BA, due in large part to their 100+ SO's per season and their inability to hit the ball for additional base hits aside from the HR. So instead of Babe Ruth who hit for both power and average you end up with players like Mike Schmidt, Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas, or Dave Kingman. Good at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.


    "What James calls “the delusion that 40 or 50 stolen bases could compensate for a comparative inability to reach base”

    Exactly why is it a delusion? You can't score a run unless you get on base, and SB's puts a payer into scoring position, making it easier to score the run. It's fairly simple, just hit the ball. Get a base hit, and you're on base, and thus able to steal a base and get into scoring position to score the run.

    Duh.

    You can't steal a base, unless you reach base. Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H's in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.

    Replies: @Gary in Gramercy, @ScarletNumber

    Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H’s in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.

    Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897. Also, officially Cobb had 4189 hits, but in 1985 we thought he had 4191.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @ScarletNumber

    "Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897"

    Yes, it was a mistake, had Brock's stat on the brain.


    Officially for decades, and it is on his HOF plaque, Cobb's career H total is 4,191. No reason to go back and allegedly claim to have to readjust it. I understand that its been done with other players of Cobb's generation. These were the official stats given at the time, there's no reason to challenge them.

    Also, Cobb was officially awarded a batting title in 1910 by the AL President, Ban Johnson. When its made official like that, you really can't take it away decades later after everyone has passed. During his lifetime, these were the stats he was awarded, and also that he won 12 batting titles--that stat is also on his HOF plaque. These were the known facts of the time, no reason to change them. Also it is harder to take way an actual batting title as he was officially awarded it by MLB officials, so in point of fact according to the league, Cobb did win the 1910 batting title (or at least co-won it).

    But the larger point remains that you need both: Ruth and Cobb were vital components to the game. HR's are important, but so are regular H's as well. You can't depend on HR's every single game, neither can you depend on tons of BB's every single game to help you win a ballgame. Eventually, someone has to hit the ball for a base hit, and preferably more than 1 H per game, to actually help win a ball game. This fact was so obvious for decades, even a century, until people like Bill James came along to denigrate the idea of a base hit, as for some reason hitting 1B's, 2B's, or 3B's don't count as a "true outcome" or some such nonsense like that.

    You need both: HR and H's. With consistently hitting the ball, the team won't score runs and win.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  46. @Ebony Obelisk
    @Rocko

    Uh no

    Blacks are great athletes and the only reason they don’t excel at a sport would be discrimination

    It’s ludicrous in the day and age with all the data at our dispute at one found not assume bias when white men are outperforming People of Color

    The truth is that white males are unable to achieve anything unless given an unfair advantage

    white “men” have been given at least 500 years of affirmative action

    Jews and People of Color created and invented the world

    We will know that we have created an equitable society when white men are treated fairly for what they bring to the table and it just given things for existing

    Replies: @SunBakedSuburb, @fish

    You’re less crazy in this guise Tinys. Props!

  47. @Catdompanj
    The old adage explaining why for instance, Cuban and Dominican don't draw too many bases on balls went something like this: " you can't walk off an island". I'm guessing the thinking was that walks don't get you noticed.
    I'm quite aware that many of these players now come from land based Central America, but at the time, most of the Hispanic ball players came from Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic.

    Replies: @fish

    The old adage explaining why for instance, Cuban and Dominican don’t draw too many bases on balls went something like this: ” you can’t walk off an island”. I’m guessing the thinking was that walks don’t get you noticed.

    It was this very phrase (or something close to it) that got the evening host at the SF Giants flagship station KNBR 680 canned about a decade ago. The caterwauling on both sides got so bad that they dragged poor Filipe Alou, who knew it was just entertainment into the fray. His comment IIRC was that while poorly phrased it was in essence correct and that he didn’t think that anyone should lose their job over it.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    @fish

    It was in ‘06 and wow, do our memories of the incident differ. What Kruger said was, “Caribbeans swinging at slop” (mostly referring to Pedro Feliz). Alou insisted he be fired. Radnich showed quite a bit of courage, in my view, expressly calling out Alou as a big baby who ought to know better than to mess with the livelihood of a guy with four young kids. By the way, around the same time Radnich had what might be the funniest line in SF radio history. A staff member mentioned that the current issue of Playboy featured Sharon Stone, and Radnich said, “Who the hell wants to see a 47-year old woman spread her legs?”

    Replies: @fish

  48. @SafeNow
    @Reg Cæsar


    Baseball is America’s most literary sport.
     
    Someone once observed that there is an inverse relationship between the quality/quantity of a sport’s literature, and the size of the ball. He observed that many fine books have been written about golf, but no books have been written about cageball.

    Replies: @Reg Cæsar

    Someone once observed that there is an inverse relationship between the quality/quantity of a sport’s literature, and the size of the ball. He observed that many fine books have been written about golf, but no books have been written about cageball.

    Or autobol. Except perhaps in Portuguese.

  49. anonymous[252] • Disclaimer says:
    @fish
    @Catdompanj

    The old adage explaining why for instance, Cuban and Dominican don’t draw too many bases on balls went something like this: ” you can’t walk off an island”. I’m guessing the thinking was that walks don’t get you noticed.


    It was this very phrase (or something close to it) that got the evening host at the SF Giants flagship station KNBR 680 canned about a decade ago. The caterwauling on both sides got so bad that they dragged poor Filipe Alou, who knew it was just entertainment into the fray. His comment IIRC was that while poorly phrased it was in essence correct and that he didn’t think that anyone should lose their job over it.

    Replies: @anonymous

    It was in ‘06 and wow, do our memories of the incident differ. What Kruger said was, “Caribbeans swinging at slop” (mostly referring to Pedro Feliz). Alou insisted he be fired. Radnich showed quite a bit of courage, in my view, expressly calling out Alou as a big baby who ought to know better than to mess with the livelihood of a guy with four young kids. By the way, around the same time Radnich had what might be the funniest line in SF radio history. A staff member mentioned that the current issue of Playboy featured Sharon Stone, and Radnich said, “Who the hell wants to see a 47-year old woman spread her legs?”

    • Thanks: Nicholas Stix
    • Replies: @fish
    @anonymous

    For now I’m sticking to my version but truth be told I could be mistaken.....my memory just sucks these days.

  50. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Mike Schmidt doesn't belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were "[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else." Yes, he struck out a lot, but he walked a lot too, reaching 100 walks or more seven times (plus the strike-shortened 1981 season, in which he walked 73 times in 102 games, and would have broken 100 walks absent the missed games). His lifetime strikeout-to-walk ratio is about 1.25-1, far better than any of the other three. (Career BB: 1,507; career K: 1,883.)

    Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he'll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn't quite the best. But even if some of the ten awards were "reputational," rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player, something no one ever said about Dave Kingman. There's a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot.

    I'll stop channeling Bill James now.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “Mike Schmidt doesn’t belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were “[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.”

    Yes he does. At the bat, that’s all he and the others did: HR, BB, SO.

    You actually made my point. Schmidt had almost as many BB’s as base hits. In some seasons he had almost as many SO’s as H’s. That’s not good enough. All these sluggers do is hit the ball out of the park. Basically after a few seasons, you can count the plate appearances and figure out when the HR is due. HR, SO, and BB. And that’s pretty much it. Did Schmidt ever win a batting title? Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn’t.

    “Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he’ll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn’t quite the best. “But even if some of the ten awards were “reputational,” rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player.”

    Not in the same sentence with his contemporaries, HOF Brooks Robinson or Graig Nettles.

    “There’s a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot.”

    He was primarily known for his bat. 548 career HR’s tended to put a player into the HOF. If Kingman had hit over 500 HR’s for his career, he’d be in the HOF by now. If you can put Andre Dawson in the HOF (and after a couple decades) then a case can be made for Kingman.

    “I’ll stop channeling Bill James now.”

    I think you better, as that channel isn’t the be and end all of MLB stats. James refused to condced the widespread usage of PEDS for nearly 20 yrs in MLB, and how that usage directly impacted the stats. So quoting him as a total expert isn’t exactly a good look.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Mike Schmidt was an awesome ballplayer.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schmimi01.shtml

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    , @kaganovitch
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn’t.

    In 1981 he was top 10 in batting average.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

  51. Steve,

    If one wants to discuss race, culture, and sports, then one definitely needs to comment on DJ Moore of the Carolina Panthers.

    https://sports.yahoo.com/panthers-dj-moore-catches-miraculous-game-tying-hail-mary-then-commits-dumb-penalty-that-leads-to-ot-202842679.html

    He first makes a spectacular catch to give the Panthers a great chance of winning the football game and then commits the type of penalty that blacks excel at committing that results in the Panthers eventually losing the game in overtime.

  52. @ScarletNumber
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi


    Ty Cobb stole 938 bases and had 4,191 H’s in his career, so clearly he had no problem reaching base.
     
    Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897. Also, officially Cobb had 4189 hits, but in 1985 we thought he had 4191.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897”

    Yes, it was a mistake, had Brock’s stat on the brain.

    Officially for decades, and it is on his HOF plaque, Cobb’s career H total is 4,191. No reason to go back and allegedly claim to have to readjust it. I understand that its been done with other players of Cobb’s generation. These were the official stats given at the time, there’s no reason to challenge them.

    Also, Cobb was officially awarded a batting title in 1910 by the AL President, Ban Johnson. When its made official like that, you really can’t take it away decades later after everyone has passed. During his lifetime, these were the stats he was awarded, and also that he won 12 batting titles–that stat is also on his HOF plaque. These were the known facts of the time, no reason to change them. Also it is harder to take way an actual batting title as he was officially awarded it by MLB officials, so in point of fact according to the league, Cobb did win the 1910 batting title (or at least co-won it).

    But the larger point remains that you need both: Ruth and Cobb were vital components to the game. HR’s are important, but so are regular H’s as well. You can’t depend on HR’s every single game, neither can you depend on tons of BB’s every single game to help you win a ballgame. Eventually, someone has to hit the ball for a base hit, and preferably more than 1 H per game, to actually help win a ball game. This fact was so obvious for decades, even a century, until people like Bill James came along to denigrate the idea of a base hit, as for some reason hitting 1B’s, 2B’s, or 3B’s don’t count as a “true outcome” or some such nonsense like that.

    You need both: HR and H’s. With consistently hitting the ball, the team won’t score runs and win.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Hopefully the crack down on the shift in 2023 will return the basehit to the baseball arsenal.

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

  53. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @ScarletNumber

    "Lou Brock stole 938 bases; Cobb stole 897"

    Yes, it was a mistake, had Brock's stat on the brain.


    Officially for decades, and it is on his HOF plaque, Cobb's career H total is 4,191. No reason to go back and allegedly claim to have to readjust it. I understand that its been done with other players of Cobb's generation. These were the official stats given at the time, there's no reason to challenge them.

    Also, Cobb was officially awarded a batting title in 1910 by the AL President, Ban Johnson. When its made official like that, you really can't take it away decades later after everyone has passed. During his lifetime, these were the stats he was awarded, and also that he won 12 batting titles--that stat is also on his HOF plaque. These were the known facts of the time, no reason to change them. Also it is harder to take way an actual batting title as he was officially awarded it by MLB officials, so in point of fact according to the league, Cobb did win the 1910 batting title (or at least co-won it).

    But the larger point remains that you need both: Ruth and Cobb were vital components to the game. HR's are important, but so are regular H's as well. You can't depend on HR's every single game, neither can you depend on tons of BB's every single game to help you win a ballgame. Eventually, someone has to hit the ball for a base hit, and preferably more than 1 H per game, to actually help win a ball game. This fact was so obvious for decades, even a century, until people like Bill James came along to denigrate the idea of a base hit, as for some reason hitting 1B's, 2B's, or 3B's don't count as a "true outcome" or some such nonsense like that.

    You need both: HR and H's. With consistently hitting the ball, the team won't score runs and win.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Hopefully the crack down on the shift in 2023 will return the basehit to the baseball arsenal.

    • Agree: ScarletNumber
    • Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist
    @Steve Sailer

    It will also be interesting to see if the limitation on pickoff attempts emboldens base stealers and revitalizes the old hit-and-run tactic.

  54. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Gary in Gramercy

    "Mike Schmidt doesn’t belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were “[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.”

    Yes he does. At the bat, that's all he and the others did: HR, BB, SO.

    You actually made my point. Schmidt had almost as many BB's as base hits. In some seasons he had almost as many SO's as H's. That's not good enough. All these sluggers do is hit the ball out of the park. Basically after a few seasons, you can count the plate appearances and figure out when the HR is due. HR, SO, and BB. And that's pretty much it. Did Schmidt ever win a batting title? Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn't.


    "Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he’ll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn’t quite the best. "But even if some of the ten awards were “reputational,” rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player."

    Not in the same sentence with his contemporaries, HOF Brooks Robinson or Graig Nettles.


    "There’s a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot."

    He was primarily known for his bat. 548 career HR's tended to put a player into the HOF. If Kingman had hit over 500 HR's for his career, he'd be in the HOF by now. If you can put Andre Dawson in the HOF (and after a couple decades) then a case can be made for Kingman.

    "I’ll stop channeling Bill James now."

    I think you better, as that channel isn't the be and end all of MLB stats. James refused to condced the widespread usage of PEDS for nearly 20 yrs in MLB, and how that usage directly impacted the stats. So quoting him as a total expert isn't exactly a good look.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @kaganovitch

    Mike Schmidt was an awesome ballplayer.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schmimi01.shtml

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    Career BA. 267

    That's not good enough, Steve. Mickey Mantle's is .298. Ted Williams is .344.

    As far as career HR's, those who finished around Mike Schmidt's total:

    Reggie Jackson's BA is .262

    Harmon Killebrew's BA is .256

    Basically, this is the end result for sluggers getting tons of HR's, SO's, and BBs. They don't, or can't hit the ball most of the time. Just count the plate appearances and you can figure out when the HR is due (after the SO's and BB's are factored in). Schmidt's career H total was a paltry 2,234. That's simply not good enough.




    PS: I'm surprised that you neglected to mention another HOFer in his field, music. The passing of "The Killer" Jerry Lee Lewis, considered to be one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll, which of course led directly to the British Invasion, New Wave, Punk, etc.

  55. @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Hopefully the crack down on the shift in 2023 will return the basehit to the baseball arsenal.

    Replies: @The Last Real Calvinist

    It will also be interesting to see if the limitation on pickoff attempts emboldens base stealers and revitalizes the old hit-and-run tactic.

  56. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Gary in Gramercy

    "Mike Schmidt doesn’t belong with Mark McGwire, Gorman Thomas or Dave Kingman, the three of whom were “[g]ood at hitting the ball far out of the park, and nothing else.”

    Yes he does. At the bat, that's all he and the others did: HR, BB, SO.

    You actually made my point. Schmidt had almost as many BB's as base hits. In some seasons he had almost as many SO's as H's. That's not good enough. All these sluggers do is hit the ball out of the park. Basically after a few seasons, you can count the plate appearances and figure out when the HR is due. HR, SO, and BB. And that's pretty much it. Did Schmidt ever win a batting title? Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn't.


    "Moreover, Mike Schmidt was a pretty fair third baseman, with ten (10) Gold Gloves. Granted, if a player gets a reputation as the best fielder at his position, he’ll win Gold Gloves in seasons where his defense wasn’t quite the best. "But even if some of the ten awards were “reputational,” rather than truly earned, Schmidt was an excellent defensive player."

    Not in the same sentence with his contemporaries, HOF Brooks Robinson or Graig Nettles.


    "There’s a reason Schmidt went into Cooperstown on the first ballot."

    He was primarily known for his bat. 548 career HR's tended to put a player into the HOF. If Kingman had hit over 500 HR's for his career, he'd be in the HOF by now. If you can put Andre Dawson in the HOF (and after a couple decades) then a case can be made for Kingman.

    "I’ll stop channeling Bill James now."

    I think you better, as that channel isn't the be and end all of MLB stats. James refused to condced the widespread usage of PEDS for nearly 20 yrs in MLB, and how that usage directly impacted the stats. So quoting him as a total expert isn't exactly a good look.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @kaganovitch

    Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn’t.

    In 1981 he was top 10 in batting average.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @kaganovitch

    Career batting average for Schmidt is .267

    That's not good enough. That's basically a slugger who at the plate only HR, SO, or BB.

  57. @reactionry
    OT

    Easily Replaced "Ex-Twitter Employees" Ponder The Social Construction of Ligma Balls

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/10/who-is-rahul-ligma.php



    It's declasse (especially without the frog accent marks) around here to link to Powerline, but Scott Johnson (no, not "Ligma Johnson") is very, very bright and - whoopdeedoo - my wife's second cousin or something. Although Ligma and its associated urban legend of Fortnite star, "Ninja" debuted in 2018, I was shamefully unaware of them until today.

    Agrawal, the severed head of Twitter, reportedly will receive a severance package which should far exceed the "obscene profits" in the 2 million dollars advance for ACB. Some employees will, of course, like some baseball players, become free agents, while others could apply for a Mudcat Grant. An unfortunate few might neither walk nor run for the exits (or swing for the fences or like some illegal Hispanics, swing from the fences), but rather, shockingly shuffle off their mortal Tesla coils.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @BB753

    Allegedly Musk fired the bigwigs for cause. No severance.

    https://news.yahoo.com/elon-musk-fired-twitter-execs-105042867.html

    • Replies: @guest007
    @Brutusale

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.

    Replies: @fish

  58. @Brutusale
    @reactionry

    Allegedly Musk fired the bigwigs for cause. No severance.

    https://news.yahoo.com/elon-musk-fired-twitter-execs-105042867.html

    Replies: @guest007

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.

    • Replies: @fish
    @guest007

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.



    Excellent.......drag the trials along for years.....and years.....and years!

    Replies: @guest007

  59. @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Mike Schmidt was an awesome ballplayer.

    https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schmimi01.shtml

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Career BA. 267

    That’s not good enough, Steve. Mickey Mantle’s is .298. Ted Williams is .344.

    As far as career HR’s, those who finished around Mike Schmidt’s total:

    Reggie Jackson’s BA is .262

    Harmon Killebrew’s BA is .256

    Basically, this is the end result for sluggers getting tons of HR’s, SO’s, and BBs. They don’t, or can’t hit the ball most of the time. Just count the plate appearances and you can figure out when the HR is due (after the SO’s and BB’s are factored in). Schmidt’s career H total was a paltry 2,234. That’s simply not good enough.

    PS: I’m surprised that you neglected to mention another HOFer in his field, music. The passing of “The Killer” Jerry Lee Lewis, considered to be one of the Founding Fathers of Rock and Roll, which of course led directly to the British Invasion, New Wave, Punk, etc.

  60. @kaganovitch
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Did he ever come close to winning a batting title, like many of the pre-1960 HR sluggers? Answer: no, he didn’t.

    In 1981 he was top 10 in batting average.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Career batting average for Schmidt is .267

    That’s not good enough. That’s basically a slugger who at the plate only HR, SO, or BB.

  61. @reactionry
    OT

    Easily Replaced "Ex-Twitter Employees" Ponder The Social Construction of Ligma Balls

    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2022/10/who-is-rahul-ligma.php



    It's declasse (especially without the frog accent marks) around here to link to Powerline, but Scott Johnson (no, not "Ligma Johnson") is very, very bright and - whoopdeedoo - my wife's second cousin or something. Although Ligma and its associated urban legend of Fortnite star, "Ninja" debuted in 2018, I was shamefully unaware of them until today.

    Agrawal, the severed head of Twitter, reportedly will receive a severance package which should far exceed the "obscene profits" in the 2 million dollars advance for ACB. Some employees will, of course, like some baseball players, become free agents, while others could apply for a Mudcat Grant. An unfortunate few might neither walk nor run for the exits (or swing for the fences or like some illegal Hispanics, swing from the fences), but rather, shockingly shuffle off their mortal Tesla coils.

    Replies: @Brutusale, @BB753

    How many will return to India?

  62. @Steve Sailer
    @Dr. Doomngloom

    After WWII there were some players named Ed who specialized in getting walks, like Yost, Joost, and Stanky. It was a recognized specialty. Ted Williams would explain it to you.

    Awareness of the value of walks seemed to fade over time. Maybe it had something to do with integration and Latin players, maybe pitchers developed better control (e.g., the dominant pitcher in 1941 was Bob Feller, who was a lot like Nolan Ryan: a lot of strikeouts and walks. The top pitcher of the early 1950s was Robin Roberts who was like Ferguson Jenkins: he threw a lot of strikes and gave up a lot of homers but not as many walks.)

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom

    Indeed there was a specialty, but few took it seriously. I recall reading Branch Rickey’s book, but the metric didn’t catch on.

    WRT Roberts and Jenkins, those HR hurt, but not so much when there’s nobody on base. I remember Jenkins and he was a consistently outstanding pitcher. Just pencil him in for 20 wins.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Dr. DoomNGloom

    Roberts, Jenkins, and Catfish Hunter (for a shorter career) could give you 20 wins and 300 inning pitched consistently in their 20s.

    Ferguson Jenkins should have pitching in Dodger Stadium with its 410 foot fence and Willie Davis to haul down long drives.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

  63. @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Steve Sailer

    Indeed there was a specialty, but few took it seriously. I recall reading Branch Rickey's book, but the metric didn't catch on.

    WRT Roberts and Jenkins, those HR hurt, but not so much when there's nobody on base. I remember Jenkins and he was a consistently outstanding pitcher. Just pencil him in for 20 wins.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Roberts, Jenkins, and Catfish Hunter (for a shorter career) could give you 20 wins and 300 inning pitched consistently in their 20s.

    Ferguson Jenkins should have pitching in Dodger Stadium with its 410 foot fence and Willie Davis to haul down long drives.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous

  64. @Catdompanj
    @Dr. Doomngloom

    Not sure if dad was right. But getting caught stealing only kills a "rally" if it's the third out. Who could say what would've happened if it's the first or second out? Not to mention, dad's example Brock, was successful 75% of the time.

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom, @Brutusale

    Let’s take Lou Brock as an example. In his era, the analysis says a successful steal is about .3 runs, while a caught stealing is about -.6 runs

    Brock averaged about 50 steals per season. 75% of 50 (his average success rate) times .3 yields about8.25 runs. But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win. This is small change in a dollar economy, to borrow a phrase. So the best base stealer of his era wasn’t moving the needle.

    Ricky Henderson, OTOH, stole at closer to 90%. High volume at 90% was enough to be worth something like 10 runs per season. That’s about an extra win per year.

    Of course the value of the steal is situational. But at high volume, one is stealing regardless of the situation, almost certainly beyond diminishing returns. Also, a lot of steals implies fewer extra base hits. Brock could only run up the steal totals when he wasn’t getting a lot of doubles and homers.
    Also, the value of the steal also floats with the overall offensive production. the more runs scored with the bat, the less it makes sense to get runs with the legs. The extreme cases is home run derby vs the sporadic single.

    Don’t get me wrong, the stolen base is exciting. It’s kind of disappointing to realize that it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Dr. DoomNGloom

    "It’s kind of disappointing to realize that it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    What is the saying, not all figures lie, but liars do use figures. Stats in various hands can be used to prove anything. If the baserunner does not get into scoring position (2nd base or 3rd base) then the potential run is left on base and does not score. Just standing around on first base, while barely taking a lead off the bag, isn't helping the team in the inning. Something called a double play can happen when the runner isn't going any place but staying put near the bag.

    Obviously, the best base stealers are also the ones who can are exhibit speed on the basepaths. Merely standing around on 1B after a BB isn't helping the team very much at all. What is the baserunner waiting for? for someone in the lineup to knock the ball out of the park? That simply doesn't happen every inning, let alone every single game.


    It's called small ball (or smart ball) for a reason: sometimes you do have to manufacture runs since you can't wait around for the HR. Stealing a base affords the runner to get closer to scoring position, the run has a better chance of scoring, the more runs scored the more games won.


    By the way, Lou Brock played in 3 WS. He certainly didn't hurt STL with his SB's. In 1967 Brock stole 50 SBs. During the WS of '67 Brock set a MLB record with 7 SBs as STL beat BOS in 7 games. Brock also scored 8 runs in he 1967 WS.

    Did I just say that Brock won the WS all by himself? Of course not. But he certainly didn't hurt STL with all the SBs. In other words, by stealing 7 bases certainly lead to him scoring 8 runs, at the very least some of the runs scored were directly due to his stealing bases. In a close 7 game series, such things can only help.

    For a speedy baserunner, a SB is akin to a HR slugger. It doesn't hurt the team, it can only help because it gets the runner into scoring position and the more runs scored the more games are won.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    , @ScarletNumber
    @Dr. DoomNGloom


    But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win.
     
    If each CS costs 0.6 runs, that means his caught stealings cost his teams 7.5 runs. This is a net of 0.75 runs, not 0.75 wins.

    Brock was hurt by his last three seasons, when he was 73/114 in SB, or 64 percent.

  65. @anonymous
    @fish

    It was in ‘06 and wow, do our memories of the incident differ. What Kruger said was, “Caribbeans swinging at slop” (mostly referring to Pedro Feliz). Alou insisted he be fired. Radnich showed quite a bit of courage, in my view, expressly calling out Alou as a big baby who ought to know better than to mess with the livelihood of a guy with four young kids. By the way, around the same time Radnich had what might be the funniest line in SF radio history. A staff member mentioned that the current issue of Playboy featured Sharon Stone, and Radnich said, “Who the hell wants to see a 47-year old woman spread her legs?”

    Replies: @fish

    For now I’m sticking to my version but truth be told I could be mistaken…..my memory just sucks these days.

  66. Juan Samuel was one of my favorite players growing up. Scrappy, fast, awesome to watch.

  67. @guest007
    @Brutusale

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.

    Replies: @fish

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.

    Excellent…….drag the trials along for years…..and years…..and years!

    • Replies: @guest007
    @fish

    One may want to ask Oberlin College about their strategy to drag out litigation for years.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/us/oberlin-bakery-lawsuit.html

  68. @Steve Sailer
    @Dr. DoomNGloom

    Roberts, Jenkins, and Catfish Hunter (for a shorter career) could give you 20 wins and 300 inning pitched consistently in their 20s.

    Ferguson Jenkins should have pitching in Dodger Stadium with its 410 foot fence and Willie Davis to haul down long drives.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Too bad he didn't pitch at home in the Astrodome.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    , @Anonymous
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi


    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.
     
    Accuracy and fine-motor skills are more important in baseball than in some other sports. Blacks and their fast twitch muscle fibers aren’t so compatible with accuracy and fine-motor skills.
  69. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous

    Too bad he didn’t pitch at home in the Astrodome.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    Right, Jenkins and JR Richard would've made an interesting tandem in the mid. to late '70's.

  70. Anonymous[163] • Disclaimer says:
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer, @Anonymous

    Ferguson Jenkins has the most career wins for black pitchers, at 284. Technically not an African-American but African-Canadian who originally wanted to play in the NHL.

    Accuracy and fine-motor skills are more important in baseball than in some other sports. Blacks and their fast twitch muscle fibers aren’t so compatible with accuracy and fine-motor skills.

  71. @Gary in Gramercy
    @Steve Sailer

    I long ago lost track of my copies of Bill James's annual Baseball Abstracts, but one of them famously compared Juan Samuel to character actor Walter Matthau -- the conceit being that each man had talent, but their unique strengths and weaknesses made them difficult to slot into a useful position. Samuel's speed suggested he would make a fine leadoff hitter -- except that his free-swinging ways kept his onbase percentage too low (around .300) for that role. He had good power for a middle infielder -- but wasn't a defensive standout at second base, forcing his move to the outfield, where his offensive stats were barely adequate. Despite his speed and decent throwing arm, he was never a starting-caliber center fielder; left and right fielders are expected to be big run producers, something Samuel was not, notwithstanding his offensive skill set. Essentially, went James's argument, Samuel was a player without a position.

    Similarly, Matthau, while a talented actor, lacked the looks to be a leading man, yet was too distinctive [read, "New York Jewish"], and not enough of a chameleon to cast in a lot of character actor roles. His best film parts tend to be as one of an ensemble cast, for example The Taking of Pelham One Two Three, where Matthau's is the most memorable portrayal. By contrast, actors like Robert Duvall and Gene Hackman -- while capable of carrying a movie when necessary -- were more able to disappear into a part, and complement the leading roles without stealing the show. (Granted, Matthau sometimes took unsuitable roles simply for the paycheck; by reputation, he was an inveterate gambler.)

    Replies: @ScarletNumber, @Known Fact, @ScarletNumber, @njguy73, @Brutusale

    At least one director threw Matthau a bone late in his career!

  72. @Catdompanj
    @Dr. Doomngloom

    Not sure if dad was right. But getting caught stealing only kills a "rally" if it's the third out. Who could say what would've happened if it's the first or second out? Not to mention, dad's example Brock, was successful 75% of the time.

    Replies: @Dr. DoomNGloom, @Brutusale

    Dad was right. Research the differences in runs produced when there’s nobody out as opposed to one or two outs.

    https://gregstoll.com/~gregstoll/baseball/runsperinning.html

  73. Not including walks in a player’s batting average is in a way punishing the player for not swinging at bad pitches. I noticed something similar in basketball. Field Goal percentage doesn’t include the fouled shot attempts. A player is doing good if he’s driving to the basket, getting fouled and making free throws. None of that will show up in his FG percentage for the game.

  74. @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Catdompanj

    Let's take Lou Brock as an example. In his era, the analysis says a successful steal is about .3 runs, while a caught stealing is about -.6 runs

    Brock averaged about 50 steals per season. 75% of 50 (his average success rate) times .3 yields about8.25 runs. But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win. This is small change in a dollar economy, to borrow a phrase. So the best base stealer of his era wasn't moving the needle.

    Ricky Henderson, OTOH, stole at closer to 90%. High volume at 90% was enough to be worth something like 10 runs per season. That's about an extra win per year.

    Of course the value of the steal is situational. But at high volume, one is stealing regardless of the situation, almost certainly beyond diminishing returns. Also, a lot of steals implies fewer extra base hits. Brock could only run up the steal totals when he wasn't getting a lot of doubles and homers.
    Also, the value of the steal also floats with the overall offensive production. the more runs scored with the bat, the less it makes sense to get runs with the legs. The extreme cases is home run derby vs the sporadic single.

    Don't get me wrong, the stolen base is exciting. It's kind of disappointing to realize that it's a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @ScarletNumber

    “It’s kind of disappointing to realize that it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    What is the saying, not all figures lie, but liars do use figures. Stats in various hands can be used to prove anything. If the baserunner does not get into scoring position (2nd base or 3rd base) then the potential run is left on base and does not score. Just standing around on first base, while barely taking a lead off the bag, isn’t helping the team in the inning. Something called a double play can happen when the runner isn’t going any place but staying put near the bag.

    Obviously, the best base stealers are also the ones who can are exhibit speed on the basepaths. Merely standing around on 1B after a BB isn’t helping the team very much at all. What is the baserunner waiting for? for someone in the lineup to knock the ball out of the park? That simply doesn’t happen every inning, let alone every single game.

    It’s called small ball (or smart ball) for a reason: sometimes you do have to manufacture runs since you can’t wait around for the HR. Stealing a base affords the runner to get closer to scoring position, the run has a better chance of scoring, the more runs scored the more games won.

    By the way, Lou Brock played in 3 WS. He certainly didn’t hurt STL with his SB’s. In 1967 Brock stole 50 SBs. During the WS of ’67 Brock set a MLB record with 7 SBs as STL beat BOS in 7 games. Brock also scored 8 runs in he 1967 WS.

    Did I just say that Brock won the WS all by himself? Of course not. But he certainly didn’t hurt STL with all the SBs. In other words, by stealing 7 bases certainly lead to him scoring 8 runs, at the very least some of the runs scored were directly due to his stealing bases. In a close 7 game series, such things can only help.

    For a speedy baserunner, a SB is akin to a HR slugger. It doesn’t hurt the team, it can only help because it gets the runner into scoring position and the more runs scored the more games are won.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Brock went to the World Series in each of his 3 best seasons (probably not a coincidence) and had 3 terrific performances in classic 7 game World Series, hitting .391 with power and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Modern stats say Brock generated two extra wins above replacement in those World Series games: i.e., without Brock the Cards might well have gone 0-3 instead of 2-1.

    Gibson was even better, going 7-2 with nine complete games and winning two game 7s.

    Overall for his career, Brock wasn't quite as awesome as he looked in those 21 World Series games, but he definitely came through in the clutch.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

  75. @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Too bad he didn't pitch at home in the Astrodome.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Right, Jenkins and JR Richard would’ve made an interesting tandem in the mid. to late ’70’s.

  76. @Dr. DoomNGloom
    @Catdompanj

    Let's take Lou Brock as an example. In his era, the analysis says a successful steal is about .3 runs, while a caught stealing is about -.6 runs

    Brock averaged about 50 steals per season. 75% of 50 (his average success rate) times .3 yields about8.25 runs. But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win. This is small change in a dollar economy, to borrow a phrase. So the best base stealer of his era wasn't moving the needle.

    Ricky Henderson, OTOH, stole at closer to 90%. High volume at 90% was enough to be worth something like 10 runs per season. That's about an extra win per year.

    Of course the value of the steal is situational. But at high volume, one is stealing regardless of the situation, almost certainly beyond diminishing returns. Also, a lot of steals implies fewer extra base hits. Brock could only run up the steal totals when he wasn't getting a lot of doubles and homers.
    Also, the value of the steal also floats with the overall offensive production. the more runs scored with the bat, the less it makes sense to get runs with the legs. The extreme cases is home run derby vs the sporadic single.

    Don't get me wrong, the stolen base is exciting. It's kind of disappointing to realize that it's a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi, @ScarletNumber

    But .25*50*.7 = costs about 7. runs. That is worth about an extra win.

    If each CS costs 0.6 runs, that means his caught stealings cost his teams 7.5 runs. This is a net of 0.75 runs, not 0.75 wins.

    Brock was hurt by his last three seasons, when he was 73/114 in SB, or 64 percent.

  77. @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Dr. DoomNGloom

    "It’s kind of disappointing to realize that it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    What is the saying, not all figures lie, but liars do use figures. Stats in various hands can be used to prove anything. If the baserunner does not get into scoring position (2nd base or 3rd base) then the potential run is left on base and does not score. Just standing around on first base, while barely taking a lead off the bag, isn't helping the team in the inning. Something called a double play can happen when the runner isn't going any place but staying put near the bag.

    Obviously, the best base stealers are also the ones who can are exhibit speed on the basepaths. Merely standing around on 1B after a BB isn't helping the team very much at all. What is the baserunner waiting for? for someone in the lineup to knock the ball out of the park? That simply doesn't happen every inning, let alone every single game.


    It's called small ball (or smart ball) for a reason: sometimes you do have to manufacture runs since you can't wait around for the HR. Stealing a base affords the runner to get closer to scoring position, the run has a better chance of scoring, the more runs scored the more games won.


    By the way, Lou Brock played in 3 WS. He certainly didn't hurt STL with his SB's. In 1967 Brock stole 50 SBs. During the WS of '67 Brock set a MLB record with 7 SBs as STL beat BOS in 7 games. Brock also scored 8 runs in he 1967 WS.

    Did I just say that Brock won the WS all by himself? Of course not. But he certainly didn't hurt STL with all the SBs. In other words, by stealing 7 bases certainly lead to him scoring 8 runs, at the very least some of the runs scored were directly due to his stealing bases. In a close 7 game series, such things can only help.

    For a speedy baserunner, a SB is akin to a HR slugger. It doesn't hurt the team, it can only help because it gets the runner into scoring position and the more runs scored the more games are won.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Brock went to the World Series in each of his 3 best seasons (probably not a coincidence) and had 3 terrific performances in classic 7 game World Series, hitting .391 with power and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Modern stats say Brock generated two extra wins above replacement in those World Series games: i.e., without Brock the Cards might well have gone 0-3 instead of 2-1.

    Gibson was even better, going 7-2 with nine complete games and winning two game 7s.

    Overall for his career, Brock wasn’t quite as awesome as he looked in those 21 World Series games, but he definitely came through in the clutch.

    • Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi
    @Steve Sailer

    "Overall for his career, Brock wasn’t quite as awesome as he looked in those 21 World Series games, but he definitely came through in the clutch."

    3,023 career H's. Since 1876, roughly there have been close to ten thousand men to play in MLB. Only 33 have 3,000 H's or more. That's certainly the top 1%, if not rounded out a bit. Like 500 HR's 3,000 H's will definitely qualify a player for first ballot HOF induction. 33. Out of 10,000. Not too shabby and on this side of awesome-mazing. Or awesome-tastic. Especially since 3,000 H's has to be done over a player's career which would imply that at the very least, said player has been quite consistently good, if nothing else.

    "Gibson was even better, going 7-2 with nine complete games and winning two game 7s."

    Oh, my goodness, the quiet part was said out loud. The dirty words, Complete Games. Bill James is not amused. After all, it is too much of a risk for any single pitcher to actually finish what he alone started. And, his arm didn't fall off either. Gibson pitched until 1975. Gibson also pitched (and lost) game 7 of the '68 series. But he pitched the full 9 innings. That's how much confidence STL had in him.

    Upon meeting Bob Gibson some 20+ yrs ago at an autograph signing, I complimented his '64 STL team for beating out PHL in the final week of the season. Gibson stopped me in mid sentence and exclaimed "Oh no, we had nothing to do with that. It was because of EUGENE Mach, their manager!"

    Quite a pitcher, and quite the competitor.

  78. @fish
    @guest007

    Just means that the lawsuits will have to work out how much they will be paid.



    Excellent.......drag the trials along for years.....and years.....and years!

    Replies: @guest007

    One may want to ask Oberlin College about their strategy to drag out litigation for years.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/08/us/oberlin-bakery-lawsuit.html

  79. @Steve Sailer
    @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    Brock went to the World Series in each of his 3 best seasons (probably not a coincidence) and had 3 terrific performances in classic 7 game World Series, hitting .391 with power and 14 stolen bases in 16 attempts. Modern stats say Brock generated two extra wins above replacement in those World Series games: i.e., without Brock the Cards might well have gone 0-3 instead of 2-1.

    Gibson was even better, going 7-2 with nine complete games and winning two game 7s.

    Overall for his career, Brock wasn't quite as awesome as he looked in those 21 World Series games, but he definitely came through in the clutch.

    Replies: @Yojimbo/Zatoichi

    “Overall for his career, Brock wasn’t quite as awesome as he looked in those 21 World Series games, but he definitely came through in the clutch.”

    3,023 career H’s. Since 1876, roughly there have been close to ten thousand men to play in MLB. Only 33 have 3,000 H’s or more. That’s certainly the top 1%, if not rounded out a bit. Like 500 HR’s 3,000 H’s will definitely qualify a player for first ballot HOF induction. 33. Out of 10,000. Not too shabby and on this side of awesome-mazing. Or awesome-tastic. Especially since 3,000 H’s has to be done over a player’s career which would imply that at the very least, said player has been quite consistently good, if nothing else.

    “Gibson was even better, going 7-2 with nine complete games and winning two game 7s.”

    Oh, my goodness, the quiet part was said out loud. The dirty words, Complete Games. Bill James is not amused. After all, it is too much of a risk for any single pitcher to actually finish what he alone started. And, his arm didn’t fall off either. Gibson pitched until 1975. Gibson also pitched (and lost) game 7 of the ’68 series. But he pitched the full 9 innings. That’s how much confidence STL had in him.

    Upon meeting Bob Gibson some 20+ yrs ago at an autograph signing, I complimented his ’64 STL team for beating out PHL in the final week of the season. Gibson stopped me in mid sentence and exclaimed “Oh no, we had nothing to do with that. It was because of EUGENE Mach, their manager!”

    Quite a pitcher, and quite the competitor.

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