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Thread: Ted Williams vs. Left-handed Pitchers

  1. #41
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    George Brett for his career had a 140 point difference, and his old age lefty stats are not pretty. Whereas in his younger days he actually had better stats against lefties at times.


    Basically what I am trying to say is that it is almost impossible to make the claim that Ted Williams is this or that based on a small amount of at bats when he was very old and oft injured.

    I've said it before but I am willing to bet that before Ted's 1958 season his line against lefties is somewhere around .325/.450/.550. That isn't bad that is great, especially for a left handed hitter facing left hand pitchers.

  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by SABR Matt
    Joe, Sultan et al...you might as well try to build a case against Ted Williams using split data against lefties pitching on Tuesday night games on the road while it was raining and the pitcher was wearing a red jock strap. GET REAL. You obviously have an agenda inmind to discredit Ted Williams and are grasping at straws.
    I don't get it Matt, no bias, no agenda on my part.
    I was not selective in posting certain years with some numbers, Ted's batting average against LH pitchers that pitched complete games, 1939 to 1960. Thats the young Ted and the older Ted. If you look you will notice that I made the point in bold letters that it was a small sample, that was post #626.

    I would think that the writer pointing out it was a small sample would be taken by the readers that they should not to put too much into the numbers.

    In post #652 I did say that I would like to see some splits on other great hitters, LH and RH hitters and see how they did with some splits facing pitchers LH and RH and than I might conclude that Ted's split numbers might not be out of the ordinary.

    Just not enough numbers on Ted or others at this time. But I will stand by what I also said, I am a bit surprised at what the small sample showed. Again no real conclusion from my end, not until I see some real numbers.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 01-23-2007 at 01:58 PM.

  3. #43
    It's not only a small sample, it's a biased-sample. If you look at all Redsox in those CG, they'd all look bad. If you look at all Yankees in CG, theyd also look bad. That's the point.

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Tango Tiger
    It's not only a small sample, it's a biased-sample. If you look at all Redsox in those CG, they'd all look bad. If you look at all Yankees in CG, theyd also look bad. That's the point.
    Agreed Tango but those are the only LH/RH pitching splits I could find, complete games pitched against the Bosox. I have already given that some thought, if the games were complete it's obvious in most cases the pitcher was on that day. Even if the Bosox looked bad when a complete game was thrown against them were talking about Ted Williams, not just another average or even above average hitter,

  5. #45
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    Thanks for providing sanity Tango. Oy. The misuse of split data of all types is my biggest frustration with current baseball thinkers. It's a well known fact that most left handed batters have an increasing lefty/righty split differential as they age into their late thirties. It has to do with losing reaction time because the swing slows down.

  6. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by SABR Matt
    Thanks for providing sanity Tango. Oy. The misuse of split data of all types is my biggest frustration with current baseball thinkers. It's a well known fact that most left handed batters have an increasing lefty/righty split differential as they age into their late thirties. It has to do with losing reaction time because the swing slows down.

    Who is talking about a player in his late 30's. I am completely ignoring Ted's split numbers in his late 30's, I know he was human, just like many others, he slowed down.

    First, I am not here to say or try to prove that Ted Williams had a real flaw a weakness at the plate, never said or tried to post numbers saying he did. I pointed out the sample was small and in fairness to Ted, I could not come to a conclusion.

    I did say and still do, I'm a bit surprised that in what I was aware of, that the small sample showed a wider gap than I would have thought, Ted's average against LH pitchers, pitching complete games against the Bosox.

    So now you raise the issue of age, understandable but even when young Ted hit lower against some LH pitching, not terrible just lower than I would have guessed.

    1939 to 1951------Ted was 32 years old in 1951.
    369 at bats----Ba.256

    369 at bats is still rather small but a better comparison than pointing out some single seasons where he had 30 or 50 at bats and age was not a factor here.

    So can I say it again, the sample above is small but age does not figure in.
    Can I say this again, if you read my posts I think it's evident I'm not knocking Ted's hitting against LH pitchers.

  7. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    I;ve said it before but we really have no way of knowing that he did that poorly against lefties.
    We have over 5000 PA's worth of information. We have a very good idea how he did because that's more than half of his career represented.

    Post

    You're right, Ubi, he was a "pretty good" hitter against lefties. .297 hitter with a .473 career slugging percentage. Certainly befitting of the greatest hitter who ever lived. Guy with only a very good average and a VERY mediocre slugging percentage.

    He drew lots of walks, but so do lots of players with decent averages and low slugging. That doesn't make them awesome hitters. We're talking about Ted Williams as the so-called "greatest hitter who ever lived".

    Meanwhile he went .345 with a .647 slugging against RHP. He had 855 walks and only 256 strikeouts vs. righties. Versus lefties, 193 walks vs. 127 strikeouts. So again, unless there's some drastic, vast turnaround for the years we don't have yet available, it's quite clear that Ted Williams was very much neutralized by left handed pitching. The disparity in production is simply vast.

    His OPS against RHP is 1.135, which would but him a scintilla behind Babe Ruth for the #1 spot alltime.

    His OPS against LHP for the years we have available is .895, which puts him outside of the top 60 alltime, right near guys like Mickey Cochrane, Hal Trotsky, and Indian Bob Johnson. True, it's more his later years, but it's also true that the OPS isn't park adjusted, which mitigates much of the difference anyway.

    And what we just learned here, coutesty of ShoelessJoe, is that in another full season's worth of AB's- his entire career against left handers pitching CG's, he hit an incredible .244. It's a comparatively small piece of information, but congruous with and supportive of everything else that's come to light.

  8. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by Tango Tiger
    It's not only a small sample, it's a biased-sample. If you look at all Redsox in those CG, they'd all look bad. If you look at all Yankees in CG, theyd also look bad. That's the point.
    5100 PA's of one career is a small sample? Oh, ok. Fair enough.

  9. #49
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    I think you are purposefully putting on blinders and I have no idea why. You ignore data, you ignore reasoning. you ignore practically everything to push some oddball agenda of yours.

    We do not have 5000+ PA of Ted Williams hitting against lefties. What we do have is a hitter who while playing past his prime was a great hitter against lefties and then when he got older and more injured declined. For whatever reason you wish to ignore these facts and instead focus on a couple hundred at bats when Ted was 38+ years old and act like it means something. I've have already shown several times now that Ted in the 50's up until 1958 was a very very good against lefties. You wish to ignore this because it doesn't fit your world view.

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001
    5100 PA's of one career is a small sample? Oh, ok. Fair enough.
    5100 PAschosen carefully representing only at bats garnered in the least favorable platoon split against only pitchers having their best days.

  11. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by SABR Matt
    5100 PAschosen carefully representing only at bats garnered in the least favorable platoon split against only pitchers having their best days.
    Read the post. It's not pitchers having their best days. It's against all left handed pitching.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan_1895-1948
    This is a guy some have touted as the greatest hitter ever. Why isn't he capable of going 3-4 against a lefty who's going good and throws a complete game.
    The same reason Ruth didn't routinely Do you and csh have to attempt to tear down Williams to make Ruth seem better?
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  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001
    Read the post. It's not pitchers having their best days. It's against all left handed pitching.

    No it isn't. It is against all pitchers.

  14. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    No it isn't. It is against all pitchers.
    It represents his splits for more than half his career. That's not statistically significant to you, though, right?

  15. #55
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    I never said that. What I am saying is that you fail to understand what is you are looking at. We probably have around 50% of Ted's PA against lefties. It just so happens that that data is for the back half of his career. We also know due to some limited data at the very back end of his career what his splits are at the very end and therefore what his splits are just before that. We know that his numbers just before his decline in 1958 are very good to great. You want to ignore that, so in effect you wish to damn him twice for his last three seasons. Once on the seasonal level and then again at the career level.

    We know two things. We know in the 50's when Ted was healthy and younger he hit lefties very well. We also know that Ted in the 40's was a better player then he was in the 50's. So should we assume that his splits should go downhill in the 40's? Or should we assume that he probably hit lefties better in his prime then when he was older?

    On top of all that you have very little to no data at all for any left handed hitter (or right handed hitter) before 1957 and you have basically nothing to compare Ted Williams too. You can't compare him to Babe you can't compare him Lou.

  16. #56
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    I agree with Ubiquitous here totally.

    I think this is very interesting info but I don't think it's somehow damning to Williams. Like was said Williams did do not so well against LHP in his really old and oft injured years, past age 38. Take out those years and his BA/OBP/SLG is .319/.440/.519. This is still missing the most of the first half of his career when overall he hit better than he did later. Add that on and I think just his BA will get up to at least .325 or so. He hit .350 career through age 38 so there's a difference, but it's not huge. According to the same member who wrote the pice being referenced Cobb hit 20 points below his career average against LHP. I don't think a 25 or so point difference is such a huge thing. He still has the huge amount of walks too. I think the biggest thing is that he appeared to hit for less power against LHP. Oveall I think Williams probably did have a bigger split against LHP than other left handed batters, but not by an insane margin like it's being made out to be I don't think it's somehow damning to his rep as perhaps the greatest hitter ever.

    And as far as the info with LH pitchers pitching a CG I again don't see how that is such a big deal. This is Williams in selected games throughout his career against LHP who were having a very good day (pitching a CG). That is the very definition of "finding" data to prove a preconceived notion. Go out and find how Ted did against LH pitchers pitching extremely well if you can't find evidence elsewhere.

  17. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    I never said that. What I am saying is that you fail to understand what is you are looking at. We probably have around 50% of Ted's PA against lefties. It just so happens that that data is for the back half of his career. We also know due to some limited data at the very back end of his career what his splits are at the very end and therefore what his splits are just before that. We know that his numbers just before his decline in 1958 are very good to great. You want to ignore that, so in effect you wish to damn him twice for his last three seasons. Once on the seasonal level and then again at the career level.
    I'm not ignoring it. The seasons "before his decline in 58'" are incorporated into the .297/.473 line that covers over half of his career PA's. I'm not looking at three seasons or ignoring anything. His last four seasons, which we discussed originally before this new info came to light, was 1730 PA's. This is 5100 of his 9700.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    We know two things. We know in the 50's when Ted was healthy and younger he hit lefties very well.
    Where do "we" know that he hit lefties very well in the 50's? We know he was lousy against them his last four years, lousy against them in CG's, and for the years we have available, very mediocre overall against them, that is, for the supposed greatest hitter to ever live.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    We also know that Ted in the 40's was a better player then he was in the 50's.
    Actually, Ted's OPS+ during the 40's was 193, from 1950-60 it was 185. So he really wasn't that much better in the 40's as a hitter in terms of OPS (which is what we've been looking at). We're not examining overall playing output, we're talking about hitting splits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    So should we assume that his splits should go downhill in the 40's? Or should we assume that he probably hit lefties better in his prime then when he was older?
    What do you mean by his splits "going downhill"? If anything, after accumulating nearly a decade of experience against left handed pitching prior to the 50's, he should actually have learned how to hit LHP better, relatively speaking, in comparison to his youth. We're comparing Ted to himself, and I see no reason why we should presume that he should have hit lefties better (again, compared to himself) in the 40's than the 50's.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiquitous
    On top of all that you have very little to no data at all for any left handed hitter (or right handed hitter) before 1957 and you have basically nothing to compare Ted Williams too. You can't compare him to Babe you can't compare him Lou.
    I'm looking into Ruth, Cobb, and Lou, since you brought it up. I'm interested to see how they did and I'll dig as deep as possible.

    Saying that it's only useful to compare him to pre 1957 players is somewhat misleading- yes, we don't have the splits available, but unless you're going to just blindly assume that most left handers playing roughly in Ted's timeframe ALSO performed much worse against left handed pitching (ergo making it largely attributable to his era), than it doesn't factor into this discussion.

    Also, in terms of homeruns (yet another piece of the puzzle), and it includes old timers and everyone that ever hit 300 homeruns. In case you guys missed it.

    Quote Originally Posted by HitchedtoaSpark
    In another of my lengthy perusings of SABR's treasured Home Run Encyclopedia, I was surprised at coming across this fact--namely, that a scant 12.3% of Ted Williams' lifetime home runs came against left-handed pitchers. Further analysis yielded this equally surprising fact--to wit, that of all the LH sluggers in the game's history with at least 300 lifetime home runs to their credit, only Duke Snider (who was frequently sat down against lefties) has a worse percentage of his home runs off of lefties. How many left handed hitters are there with 300 career homeruns? There are over 100 total....

    The breakdown is as thus (list is as of 1995, when the book was published):
    Code:
    Name	       Total  Vs. RHP  Vs. LHP   %*
    Babe Ruth	714	495	219	30.7
    Reggie Jackson	563	384	179	31.8
    Willie McCovey	521	421	100	19.2
    Ted Williams	521	457	64	12.3
    Eddie Mathews	512	418	94	18.4
    Mel Ott	         511	400	111	21.7
    Lou Gehrig	493	350	143	29.0
    Stan Musial	475	320	155	32.6
    Willie Stargell	475	372	103	21.7
    Carl Yastrzemski452	374	78	17.3
    Billy Williams	426	325	101	23.7
    Darrell Evans	414	317	97	23.4
    Duke Snider	407	374	33	8.1
    Graig Nettles	390	281	109	27.9
    Norm Cash	377	316	61	16.2
    Johnny Mize	359	274	85	23.7
    Yogi Berra	358	273	85	23.7
    Dave Parker	339	237	102	30.1
    Boog Powell	339	270	69	20.4
    George Brett	317	229	88	27.8
    Fred Lynn	306	246	60	19.6
    Harold Baines 	301	243	58	19.3
    Chuck Klein	300	241	59	19.7
    
    * - Percentage of total home runs hit against LHP.
    As a corrolary to this, look at the players with weakest LHP homerun percentage totals we do have most of Eddie Mathews' career documented. His line against LHP was .232/.335/.401. Yaz was a .244/.321/.371 career hitter against LHP.

    And as a sidenote...presumably Babe Ruth's percentage of AB's against LHP was not only vastly lower than it is today, but also lower than Ted's %.

    And yet he managed to hit almost a third of his homeruns off of left handed pitching.

  18. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001
    I'm not ignoring it. The seasons "before his decline in 58'" are incorporated into the .297/.473 line that covers over half of his career PA's. I'm not looking at three seasons or ignoring anything. His last four seasons, which we discussed originally before this new info came to light, was 1730 PA's. This is 5100 of his 9700.
    Yes and taking his decline out and looking at him when was not in decline we find that he was a better hitter.

    Where do "we" know that he hit lefties very well in the 50's? We know he was lousy against them his last four years, lousy against them in CG's, and for the years we have available, very mediocre overall against them, that is, for the supposed greatest hitter to ever live.
    What are you kidding? You can't do simple subtraction? Secondly he wasn't lousy against lefties in his last 4 years. In 1957 his lefty splits would make him one of the top 3 hitters in the league. In 1959 Ted was lousy all around and injured. 1958 and 1960 he wasn't good against lefties.

    Finally unless you got documentation about other hitters against pitchers with complete games you have nothing on whether or not Ted was sub-par in those games.

    Actually, Ted's OPS+ during the 40's was 193, from 1950-60 it was 185. So he really wasn't that much better in the 40's as a hitter in terms of OPS (which is what we've been looking at). We're not examining overall playing output, we're talking about hitting splits.
    So he wasn't better like I said then?

    What do you mean by his splits "going downhill"? If anything, after accumulating nearly a decade of experience against left handed pitching prior to the 50's, he should actually have learned how to hit LHP better, relatively speaking, in comparison to his youth. We're comparing Ted to himself, and I see no reason why we should presume that he should have hit lefties better (again, compared to himself) in the 40's than the 50's.
    Experience does not trump age

    I'm looking into Ruth, Cobb, and Lou, since you brought it up. I'm interested to see how they did and I'll dig as deep as possible.

    Saying that it's only useful to compare him to pre 1957 players is somewhat misleading- yes, we don't have the splits available, but unless you're going to just blindly assume that most left handers playing roughly in Ted's timeframe ALSO performed much worse against left handed pitching (ergo making it largely attributable to his era), than it doesn't factor into this discussion.
    No i didn't say to only compare him to pre-1957 players.


    Also, in terms of homeruns (yet another piece of the puzzle), and it includes old timers and everyone that ever hit 300 homeruns. In case you guys missed it.



    As a corrolary to this, look at the players with weakest LHP homerun percentage totals we do have most of Eddie Mathews' career documented. His line against LHP was .232/.335/.401. Yaz was a .244/.321/.371 career hitter against LHP.

    And as a sidenote...presumably Babe Ruth's percentage of AB's against LHP was not only vastly lower than it is today, but also lower than Ted's %.

    And yet he managed to hit almost a third of his homeruns off of left handed pitching.

    Is Ted Williams Eddie Mathews? Are they similar players? Do they have similar styles? No, so then what does it prove? We know players have platoon splits. The evidence does not suggest that Ted had a huge platoon split for the majority of his career like you assume.

  19. #59
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    This is an entirely pointless conversation anyway. Who cares what his splits were in the 40s...the fact is that when you add it all up, he was a SENSATIONAL hitter. There's really no way to impugn that fact without losing the forest to examine the moss on the side of a tree.

  20. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond
    The same reason Ruth didn't routinely Do you and csh have to attempt to tear down Williams to make Ruth seem better?
    I honestly don't give a rats arse. This has nothing to do with Ruth so why bring him up. This is about Ballgame. I was surprised at the numbers, that's all. I did mention that even if he did struggle against lefties, to put up the numbers he did is that much more incredible. No bias here.

    And Matt, your Frankenstein comment was pretty funny but completely off-base.
    "By common consent, Ruth was the hardest hitter of history; a fine fielder, if not a finished one; an inspired base runner, seeming to do the right thing without thinking. He had the most perfect co-ordination of any human animal I ever knew." - Hugh Fullerton, 1936 (Chicago sports writer, 1893-1930's)

    ROY / ERA+ Title / Cy Young / WS MVP / HR Title / Gold Glove / Comeback POY / BA Title / MVP / All Star / HOF

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