View Poll Results: Stats/Opinions: What are you inclined to lean towards.

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  • I tend to favor stats over opinions.

    39 47.56%
  • I tend to favor opinions over stats.

    2 2.44%
  • False question: Must be case by case, but tend to favor stats.

    36 43.90%
  • False question: Must be case by case, but tend to favor opinions.

    5 6.10%
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Thread: Sabremetrics/Traditional Opinions

  1. #401
    Posted 6/7/05
    Quote Originally Posted by ElHalo View Post
    I feel very sorry for you.

    This is a little long, and I apologize for that, but please do me the favor of reading through it. Let me give you two hypothetical examples. Bear with me, because I really think I have a point to make here about the way you look at things.


    Example 1: There's a kid living in a project house in Brooklyn. Let's call him Steve. Unlike most kids in Brooklyn, he's actually played baseball before, actually knows how many strikes it takes to make an out. Actually, he's amazingly good at baseball. He's 16 years old, and he plays in a regional league with guys five and six years older, and absolutely kills them. Doesn't play for his high school team, because he dropped out of high school. Nevertheless, scouts have no choice but to take notice of him. The kid hits over .800 in league play, and gets a home run in half of his hits, even when they play in huge, minor league parks with major league fence distances. He plays shortstop, and fields like Ozzie Smith on speed. NOTHING gets by him on his side of the field, NOTHING, and he's got a cannon arm and hands like butter. At the plate, when he's not hitting homers out of the park, he bashes excellently placed line drives left and right, and never swings at anything outside the strikezone. In short, he's the perfect ballplayer. Scouts salivate at the kid's potential, and as soon as he's old enough, the Mets snatch him up with the second pick in the draft. The only reason he didn't go first was that the first pick belonged to Minnesota, and Carl Pohlad knew that there was no way he was going to be able to afford the kid's bonus. Lucky break for the Mets.

    Anyway, the kid plays that summer in rookie ball, and absolutely tears up the league. He continues to hit well over .500, smashing homers everywhere with perfect plate discipline. But it's his fielding at SS that really stands out. Nobody's ever seen anything like it. The next year, the kid gets invited to Port St. Lucie to try out for the Mets big league club, and there are rumors that he's the favorite to land the starting job, even though he's only 18 years old. In Spring Training, he lights up the league pitchers like no one has ever seen before. Johan Santana looks like a slow pitch softball geezer against the kid. Nobody can even remotely come close to stopping him, and, again, his fielding brings shocked silence from the crowds whereever he plays. The managers and scouts look at the kid and swallow hard. He makes ARod look like Angel Berroa. The scouts don't say that he could be the best player ever. They say that he's already the best player ever. He gets the starting job with ease, even though he's only 18. He leads all Grapefruit Leaguers in every major statistical category.

    The Mets open that season at home in Flushing. The night before his first game, he goes back to the project house in Brooklyn to see his old friends and get himself psyched up for his first major league game. That night, he's sitting outside his apartment house drinking a soda while chatting with his oldest friends, when he gets hit with a stray bullet from a drug deal gone wrong at the next building over, and dies instantly.

    Where do you rank this kid on your all time lists? My guess is that you say something to the effect of: "I don't. I can't rank somebody on potential or what they should have done. I can only rank them based on what they actually did do on the baseball field, not. Sure, it was only random chance that the guy happened to die then, but I can't give the guy credit for what probably would have happened, only for what actually did happen. 49 times out of 50, he doesn't get shot there, but this was that one time, and we can only go by what did happen. Even though it wasn't his doing that there was a drug deal and a shooting going on at the next building over, sometimes a guy falls into circumstances that prevent him from doing what he should have done. Too bad."

    Fair enough.

    Example 2: It's October 1960. Bill Mazeroski is a light hitting second baseman known for his defense. As a hitter, he's a heck of a defensive second baseman. He only missed three games all year, but only had 64 RBI. He comes to bat in the bottom of the 9th inning in game 7 of the World Series, and hits a Series winning home run.

    What kind of bonus credit do you give Maz for this home run? My guess, and forgive me if I'm mistaken, is that you say something along the lines of: "I don't give him credit for this any more than for any other home run. He wasn't solely responsible for his team being in a situation where a HR would win the WS for them anyway. For his career, he only hit a home run in 1.6% of his PA's. 49 times out of 50, he wouldn't have hit a home run, and he can't be given extra credit just because this happened to be that one time out of fifty by random chance."

    Now, let's look at these two situations.

    In Steve's case, he should have been the greatest player ever, but through the absolute worst of luck, random chance and circumstances outside of his control, he wasn't the greatest player ever. He gets no credit for it.

    In Bill's case, he shouldn't have won his team the WS, but through the absolute greatest of luck, random chance and circumstances outside of his control, he was the guy who won the WS for his team. He gets no credit for it.

    Now, here's my question. In Steve's case, he gets no credit because you can only give him credit for what actually happened on the field, even though he should have been the best ever if not for random chance. In Bill's case, he gets no credit because, even though by what actually happened he was the WS hero and won his team a title, he shouldn't have done so according to the probabilities and it was only luck that he did.

    How can you reconcile this? How can you say that in Steve's case, what should have happened didn't matter and you can only go by what actually happened on the field, while in Bill's case, you can't go by what actually happened on the field and have to rank him according to what should have happened?
    Posted 6/14/05
    Quote Originally Posted by ElHalo View Post
    This is just a simple fact. Are you familiar with the concept of Schrodinger's Cat?

    If not, I'll give you a quick hypothetical. Assume that one in five people is allergic to bees, so that if they get stung by a bee, they'll die. Assume that if you lock a person in a linen closet with a bee, there's a ten percent chance that the bee will sting the person. You have no idea if your wife is allergic to bees. You lock her in the linen closet with a bee, and go out to the bar to get obliterated.

    Question: One hour later, is your wife alive or dead? Statistically, you can know that she's got a 98% chance of surviving her ordeal in the linen closet. But she can't be 98% alive. She's either alive or dead... it's binary, either or. She can't be 2% dead. You're at the bar, you can't hear her screaming, so you have no idea whether she happened to get stung. You know that she probably survived, but if someone asked you to give a definitive answer, yes or no, is your wife alive, you can't do it.

    Because, while statistics can give you trends and probabilities of what happened, they can never tell you what happened in any particular instance. You can't get 30% of a hit. In baseball, you either get a hit or you don't. If I tell you that a leadoff hitter has a .350 BA, and then ask you whether or not he got a hit in the first inning last Thursday, you can't tell me. Pretty simple fact.
    BRING BACK EL HALO!!!

    Anyone know what happened to him? Guy posts 10,204 times in 5 years and then vanishes.....

  2. #402
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    I won't answer the poll. It doesn't ask for the answer that I'd give. I favor a combination of opinions (MVPs, ASGs, MVP votes), team success, ind postseason success, traditional stats, and yes even sabermetrics. I don't hate sabermetrics. I think that it has a place in combination with the other factors that I list. I could devise a formula giving proportional weight to my 5 factors, but that might spoil it all. What I don't like like about sabermetrics is what I call the "throw down". "Dave Concepcion isn't a HOFer because his OPS+ is poor." We throw down one stat and ignore everything else that we did.
    Living in castles
    a bit at a time
    The King started laughing
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  3. #403
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    Posted 6/7/05


    Posted 6/14/05


    BRING BACK EL HALO!!!

    Anyone know what happened to him? Guy posts 10,204 times in 5 years and then vanishes.....
    I thought he said he was going to 82games.com
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

  4. #404
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    I thought he said he was going to 82games.com
    This is a joke, I am guessing? Doesn't seem like the 82games type.
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  5. #405
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    Posted 6/7/05


    Posted 6/14/05


    BRING BACK EL HALO!!!

    Anyone know what happened to him? Guy posts 10,204 times in 5 years and then vanishes.....
    Maybe he was stung by a bee.

    As for the poll, I try to give equal weight to stats and opinions, as neither are entirely trustworthy.
    "Only twice in my life has the hair on the back of my neck stood up straight. The first time was when I saw Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel. The second time was when I saw Sandy Koufax's fastball" - Al Campanis.

  6. #406
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    Quote Originally Posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    Maybe he was stung by a bee.

    As for the poll, I try to give equal weight to stats and opinions, as neither are entirely trustworthy.
    Hilarious first comment, and I agree with the second completely.
    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean

    "I sure was having a picnic with Frisch. You oughta seen the fellows in the clubhouse when I was puttin' him on. They was duckin' behind posts, tryin' to keep Frank from seein' how they was laughin', an' I had a time keepin' a straight face myself. I hope Frank manages the Cardinals forever. I sure love to drive that Dutchman nuts!" Dizzy Dean

  7. #407
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
    This is a joke, I am guessing? Doesn't seem like the 82games type.
    That's what he told me. I really don't know anything about that website
    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
    Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

  8. #408
    Quote Originally Posted by Herr28 View Post
    Hilarious first comment, and I agree with the second completely.
    About 1,000 of his posts were totally off the wall, totally belligerent, and- at times- brilliant. Quintessential and idiosyncratic, always. I almost always disagreed with him, but he always, ALWAYS stuck to his guns, and became a legend around here for his logic and his prose.

    In fact, he was so entertaining that there was a thread titled "Bring Back El Halo!" or "Where is El Halo!?"....still trying to find it.....

  9. #409
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthMayBond View Post
    That's what he told me. I really don't know anything about that website
    It is a NBA saber-metric site, if you will.
    1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

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  10. #410
    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    Posted 6/7/05


    Posted 6/14/05


    BRING BACK EL HALO!!!

    Anyone know what happened to him? Guy posts 10,204 times in 5 years and then vanishes.....
    The "kid" in the top post is [based on] Rod Carew.

  11. #411
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR Hart View Post
    I won't answer the poll. It doesn't ask for the answer that I'd give. I favor a combination of opinions (MVPs, ASGs, MVP votes), team success, ind postseason success, traditional stats, and yes even sabermetrics. I don't hate sabermetrics. I think that it has a place in combination with the other factors that I list. I could devise a formula giving proportional weight to my 5 factors, but that might spoil it all. What I don't like like about sabermetrics is what I call the "throw down". "Dave Concepcion isn't a HOFer because his OPS+ is poor." We throw down one stat and ignore everything else that we did.

    Great post. That's also my biggest issue with sabermetrics: The notion that "my opinion is right because I can point to this stat to 'prove' it."

    Also, I differentiate sabermetrics with the study of advanced stats. The two obviously are connected, but there's a cult feel to sabermetrics that transcends the mere study of advanced stats.
    "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

  12. #412
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    My answer to the poll would be:

    I tend to favor watching, listening to, or reading about baseball rather than seeing or hearing the discussion between sabermetrics and traditional stats/opinions.

    But it seems like a lot of people on both sides might have a problem with getting past their preferences/differences to just have fun talking about baseball. We all agree on far more than we disagree on. Starting with a love for the game and its rich history. That should be a spot that true fans can always fall back on when things start to get a little out of hand.
    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean

    "I sure was having a picnic with Frisch. You oughta seen the fellows in the clubhouse when I was puttin' him on. They was duckin' behind posts, tryin' to keep Frank from seein' how they was laughin', an' I had a time keepin' a straight face myself. I hope Frank manages the Cardinals forever. I sure love to drive that Dutchman nuts!" Dizzy Dean

  13. #413
    Quote Originally Posted by ElHalo View Post
    It's not that it's impossible to mathematically explain everything that happens in a baseball game. With enough data, you sure can explain it all (though you and I differ vastly in one respect... all that "minutia" that you so cavalierly dismiss, I consider to make up 20% or 25% of a player's worth... but that's an argument for another day). With enough data, you can mathematically explain everything. If you had the location and trajectory of every particle during the Big Bang, you could mathematically describe the entire history (and future) of the universe. With a powerful enough computer and enough detail on what every single little bit of the universe is doing (which would require some way of circumventing the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, but that's also a story for another day), you can calculate every single reaction that's about to happen, and from that you can extrapolate every single one that's going to happen immediately after that, and... well, eventually you'll be able to tell me who's winning the WS next year. It's highly unlikely that any human being will ever have all of that knowledge, but it's not really impossible.

    No, I don't feel sorry for you because you've dedicated your life to something that can't be done... I feel sorry for you because you want to do so. The thirst for knowledge is usually a good thing. It gives us medicines and cell phones, and lets us know that volcanic eruptions aren't the result of giant Earth gods fighting epic battles under our feet. But in all those areas, there's a result that's desirable.

    Where's the desirable result here? If you ever do come up with a mathematical model that can perfectly describe a player (or, at least do so as perfectly as you possibly can without pissing off Heisenberg), what would be the inherent value in that? You'd be able to tell with definitive accuracy who was the best at playing a children's game. That's it. You won't be giving people medicines that can save their lives. You won't be giving us a cheap and easy way to communicate over long distances. You won't be giving us some deeper philisophical understanding into the nature of existence. You'll be able to describe what happens in a children's game.

    What is baseball? Baseball played by children is a form of exercise and relaxation. Baseball played by MLB players is, pure and simple, a form of entertainment for the rest of us. That's the ONLY reason it exists. To entertain the masses.

    And what, in essense, is entertainment supposed to be? According to my dictionary, it's something that holds the attention of someone with something amusing or diverting. Well, baseball certainly fits that role. It's most assuredly a diversion, and it certainly can be amusing at times. It certainly provides most of us here with hours of enjoyment, just reading what other people have to say about it at this website.

    But what would a comprehensive mathematical model of player value accomplish? Well, it would certainly remove the enjoyment factor from the game. If all these polls on "Who was better, Ruth or Cobb?" could be answered with a flat "Ruth, he beats Cobb 52-47 on the irrefutable Total Player Evaluation scale," well, that would kind of destroy all the enjoyment that we get out of arguing such things, wouldn't it? Having a proper and complete mathematical model for player evaluation would almost entirely kill the joy of being a fan of baseball, because there would be nothing to ponder or argue about... there'd just be a formula to plug into. Watching games would be kind of pointless, because we'd all know what kind of trends players would be expected to follow, and anything that happened in any individual game would be left to random chance... which would effectively make watching a baseball game the same thing as watching a spinning roulette wheel, except no one's betting on it. Mathematics have no appreciation for aesthetics, and entertainment is all about aesthetics... you might call it baseball's reason for being.

    So now that we've established that having a comprehensive mathematical model for player evaluation would make us lose a whole, whole lot, what will it make us gain? Well, it will give us definitive answers as to who was better than whom. Ok. What's the inherent value in that? Well, it will give you the irrefutable right answer in discussion of the type that take place on this message board. But what's the real value to society? There isn't any, because in the end you have to get back to the fact that baseball is a children's game, that exists for no other reason than to entertain people. Having a mathematical understanding of it won't cure cancer. It won't give us a deeper understanding of the cosmos. It'll just make the one who has the form chart in front of him right and those who don't wrong. And it will destroy all aesthetic arguments... which, as I stated before, are the entire purpose of baseball to begin with.

    You stated before that baseball is both a game and a science. This is basically where you're going wrong. Science exists to understand how the universe works and in what ways we can affect it. Baseball exists to give people something to do a Tuesday night. If physics isn't fun, well, that certainly won't change what happens during the compression cycle in a deisel engine. If baseball stops being fun, it basically ceases to exist. And if baseball becomes nothing more than a mathematical expression that falls into a normal distribution curve, it stops being fun.

    I don't think your quest is an inherently fruitless one. And I don't feel sorry for you because I think that you're wrong, or headed down the wrong path. No, I feel sorry for you because the answers you're seeking give you so precious little to gain, and ever so much to lose. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is almost always a good thing. But knowledge that completely explains an activity that exists solely for people to argue about and sit on the edge of their seat in anticipation of what will come next... that's kind of counterproductive. It's like a magician showing the audience how he does all of his tricks... sure, it might be nifty to know exactly how something occurred that you couldn't figure out before. But after a moment, you find that the figuring out was the only thing that made it entertaining in the first place, and that if it's not entertaining, it's completely useless. I don't know why you'd want to ruin things for yourself and everyone else in that way.
    I think this was the impetus for SABR Matt to resign forever from this site.

  14. #414
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    But what would a comprehensive mathematical model of player value accomplish? Well, it would certainly remove the enjoyment factor from the game. If all these polls on "Who was better, Ruth or Cobb?" could be answered with a flat "Ruth, he beats Cobb 52-47 on the irrefutable Total Player Evaluation scale," well, that would kind of destroy all the enjoyment that we get out of arguing such things, wouldn't it? Having a proper and complete mathematical model for player evaluation would almost entirely kill the joy of being a fan of baseball, because there would be nothing to ponder or argue about... there'd just be a formula to plug into. Watching games would be kind of pointless, because we'd all know what kind of trends players would be expected to follow, and anything that happened in any individual game would be left to random chance... which would effectively make watching a baseball game the same thing as watching a spinning roulette wheel, except no one's betting on it. Mathematics have no appreciation for aesthetics, and entertainment is all about aesthetics... you might call it baseball's reason for being.
    a part of the Post of the century.

    As I said, on this site we often get what I call the "throw down". OPS+, WAR, and ERA+ are the most common stats used in the throw down. Example:"Dave Concepcion isn't a HOFer because his OPS+ is poor." We throw down one stat and ignore everything else that we did." As I've said, baseball players are not math problems.
    Last edited by JR Hart; 07-04-2014 at 01:08 AM.
    Living in castles
    a bit at a time
    The King started laughing
    and talking in rhyme.

    -N. Young

  15. #415
    On this, you and I are in complete and total agreement. I'd not noticed this thread but I'm glad I did. ElHalo's entire post needs to be carved on a mountainside somewhere. And you put the arrow in the middle of the bullseye with your throwdown analogy. I'm not anti-saber at all, I love the new lines of thought it brings to the table. I just think too many of its most vociferous advocates bring a sledgehammer to the table when it's unnecessary IMO, and act like they get off on tweaking people's noses and tearing down statues rather than expanding the knowledge base.

    Quote Originally Posted by JR Hart View Post
    a part of the Post of the century.

    As I said, on this site we often get what I call the "throw down". OPS+, WAR, and ERA+ are the most common stats used in the throw down. Example:"Dave Concepcion isn't a HOFer because his OPS+ is poor." We throw down one stat and ignore everything else that we did." As I've said, baseball players are not math problems.

  16. #416
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR Hart View Post
    a part of the Post of the century.

    As I said, on this site we often get what I call the "throw down". OPS+, WAR, and ERA+ are the most common stats used in the throw down. Example:"Dave Concepcion isn't a HOFer because his OPS+ is poor." We throw down one stat and ignore everything else that we did." As I've said, baseball players are not math problems.

    Spoken from the guy who found 70's and 80's era baseball absolutely boring, worse in quality than 19th century baseball, the mid 90's to mid 00's baseball to be the best baseball in many generations, oh, and thought that batting average was the best way to measure hitters.

    I understand the need to post something to bump a thread up but SABR Matt didn't leave because of El Halo. El Halo was gone long before Matt left.
    Last edited by Ubiquitous; 07-05-2014 at 10:06 AM.

  17. #417
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    ElHal.o's entire post needs to be carved on a mountainside somewhere
    Yes it does It embodies the spirit of being a baseball fan.
    Living in castles
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    The King started laughing
    and talking in rhyme.

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  18. #418
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    There are many kinds of baseball fans. In fact baseball has long drawn the more mathematical or analytically inclined fan. Heck, 100 years ago you had fans coming up with linear weights!

  19. #419
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    I spend a lot of time looking at and enjoying sabermetics and statistical analysis. I am every bit of a baseball fan that anybody else is here. It enhances my personal enjoyment of the game. If it doesn't yours...cool. Thank gosh we have a mixed bag here, it would be boring if we didn't. I for one am very glad we are not all like-minded at BBF. We can debate the accuracy and effectiveness of newer vs.older stats all day long...

    But we should never be so elitist to insinuate that there is one right way to enjoy or take in the game.
    Last edited by Bothrops Atrox; 07-05-2014 at 11:00 AM.
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  20. #420
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bothrops Atrox View Post
    I spend a lot of time looking at and enjoying sabermetics and statistical analysis. I am every bit of a baseball fan that anybody else is here. It enhances my personal enjoyment of the game. If it doesn't yours...cool. Thank gosh we have a mixed bag here, it would be boring if we didn't. I for one am very glad we are not all like-minded at BBF. We can debate the accuracy and effectiveness of newer vs.older stats all day long...

    But we should never be so elitist to insinuate that there is one right way to enjoy or take in the game.
    +10000000000000
    Living in castles
    a bit at a time
    The King started laughing
    and talking in rhyme.

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  21. #421
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    See, I knew you guys were really in a unique online bromance! I love it - Bothrops and JR on the same page, literally and figuratively. We all do agree on far, far more than we disagree on I think. Some people just really want to focus on the things that are the differences and get nasty about it. I am not talking about anyone in particular, just saying. Baseball is a great game with a rich and wonderful history, enough of which to be enjoyed both through story and numbers, however we choose to take it in.
    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean

    "I sure was having a picnic with Frisch. You oughta seen the fellows in the clubhouse when I was puttin' him on. They was duckin' behind posts, tryin' to keep Frank from seein' how they was laughin', an' I had a time keepin' a straight face myself. I hope Frank manages the Cardinals forever. I sure love to drive that Dutchman nuts!" Dizzy Dean

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