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  • Bobby Grich

    Bobby Grich is a real mystery to me. Before I joined BBF, I had literally never heard of him. The other day, I did a Google search just to find out what he looked like. According to the sabermetric stats, though, Grich clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame. Here's the case for and against Grich.

    PRO:

    - 329 Win Shares with a strong peak
    - 115.4 WARP3 with a very strong peak - seven seasons above 9 WARP3
    - career 125 OPS+ which is excellent for a second baseman
    - 4 Gold Gloves
    - 6 All-Star Games

    CON:

    - 1833 hits, 224 home runs, .266 BA are all well short of HoF standards, even for second basemen
    - Never came close to winning an MVP - best finishes were 8th and 9th
    - BBWAA voters dropped him off the HoF ballot after just one election. Out of 430 ballots, Grich got only 11 votes. The voters have been known to make mistakes, but this is a serious black mark in my mind.

    I wasn't alive in the '70s (well technically I was but I don't remember anything). I'd specifically like to hear from people who were watching baseball in the '70s and early '80s. Was Grich ever perceived as a great player, one of the best in the game, a future Hall of Famer? Was he a true superstar that the writers just forgot or ignored, maybe because he played for mostly bad teams? Or are the uberstats just overrating him because he walked a lot? Does Grich belong in the Hall of Fame?
    38
    Yes, absolutely
    42.11%
    16
    No, absolutely.
    26.32%
    10
    No, but would not mind if he was in.
    7.89%
    3
    Yes, but I do not mind that he is out.
    23.68%
    9

  • #2
    In the pre-stathead days when Grich was playing, Grich was well-regarded by those who closely followed baseball. He was overshadowed by his flashier teammates but well respected for his defense as well as his offense for a middle infielder when he was a player. He's a classic example of a player regarded as underrated while he was playing. I know I heard his name enough in discussions at the time about who was underrated.
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    Comment


    • #3
      He certainly wasn't hurt by being on bad teams. Of the seasons he had 300 or more AB, 10 times his teams were over .500 (and one at 81-81), and he was on five division champs, none of which made the World Series.

      Even so, I tend to agree with Captain Cold Nose's assessment despite questions of how underrated a multiple time all-star can be.

      Jim Albright
      Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
      Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
      A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

      Comment


      • #4
        i think grich was comparable to craig biggio- not so much as a player, but in the sense that he was always a respected player, but never thought of as a superstar, and like Biggio in terms of it took him well into his career before the public at large started to catch on to how good he was. he certainly didn't have the name recognition of some of the other 2b in baseball at the time, and was certainly more obscure to casual fans than big market players like randolph or lopes, never mind a superstar like joe morgan....

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by jalbright
          He certainly wasn't hurt by being on bad teams. Of the seasons he had 300 or more AB, 10 times his teams were over .500 (and one at 81-81), and he was on five division champs, none of which made the World Series.
          Good catch, but that just makes it more puzzling to me that Grich had so little support in MVP voting.

          Grich will become eligible for VC consideration in 2007. It'll be interesting to see what his HoF contemporaries think of him, since he was so completely dissed by the BBWAA voters.

          Biggio has definitely been an underrated star throughout his career, but he's still received more MVP support than Grich ever did (4th and 5th place finishes).

          Comment


          • #6
            Grich was underrated in terms of comparison to all other players. The middle infield, in general, didn't have an abundance of highly regarded players during Grich's prime. Manny Trillo was elected as a starter two years in a row almost by default. Because the position wasn't so highly regarded outside of Joe Morgan, Girch appeared to be the best of a weaker lot, which really was not fair to Grich.
            Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
            Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
            Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
            Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
            Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

            Comment


            • #7
              I think Grich's first major league manager, Earl Weaver, certainly appreciated the types of things Grich could do. He was almost ideal for Earl. But the Bill James/sabermetric appreciation of the value of on base percentage didn't begin to enter the public consciousness until Grich's career was half over. Grich had nice power for a second baseman, but not league leading power. James has written that it took those two absolute monster MVP years by Morgan to get him something close to his due, so I wouldn't think it odd that a contemporary with many of the same virtues though at a slightly lower level would fail to be properly appreciated.

              Jim Albright
              Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
              Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
              A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

              Comment


              • #8
                i've seen him compared to bobby doerr and joe gordon for historical players, but it's unclear to me who the most comparable second baseman of today would be, any guesses?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by abacab
                  Bobby Grich is a real mystery to me. Before I joined BBF, I had literally never heard of him. The other day, I did a Google search just to find out what he looked like. According to the sabermetric stats, though, Grich clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame. Here's the case for and against Grich.

                  PRO:

                  - 329 Win Shares with a strong peak
                  - 115.4 WARP3 with a very strong peak - seven seasons above 9 WARP3
                  - career 125 OPS+ which is excellent for a second baseman
                  - 4 Gold Gloves
                  - 6 All-Star Games

                  CON:

                  - 1833 hits, 224 home runs, .266 BA are all well short of HoF standards, even for second basemen
                  - Never came close to winning an MVP - best finishes were 8th and 9th
                  - BBWAA voters dropped him off the HoF ballot after just one election. Out of 430 ballots, Grich got only 11 votes. The voters have been known to make mistakes, but this is a serious black mark in my mind.

                  I wasn't alive in the '70s (well technically I was but I don't remember anything). I'd specifically like to hear from people who were watching baseball in the '70s and early '80s. Was Grich ever perceived as a great player, one of the best in the game, a future Hall of Famer? Was he a true superstar that the writers just forgot or ignored, maybe because he played for mostly bad teams? Or are the uberstats just overrating him because he walked a lot? Does Grich belong in the Hall of Fame?
                  How many second basemen in history have 226+ HRs?

                  Kent
                  Morgan
                  Sandberg
                  Hornsby
                  Gordon
                  Biggio

                  I think that's it for second basemen.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    not so much baseball but - i ran a popular baltimore county restaurant for some years and grich would occassionally come in - the waitresses hated him - said he was arrogant and cheap - i never had a problem - he signed for me and we chatted a bit

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I watched Bobby Grich when he was with the Orioles. Later, when he moved on to the Angels I didn't see him play nearly as much (I'm on the East coast).

                      When he was playing he was considered a good hard-working player but never really a star. I perceived him that way and I know that others I talked baseball to at the time did as well.

                      Years later, as I branch into statistical metrics I am surprised by Grich as much as any other player of how he is perceived...as HOF worthy. At first I was like, get off it, this guy was no HOF'er. But the more I looked at his stats, how he measured up, how others looking at his numbers (posters), and the so called 'experts' like Thorn/Palmer and Bill James I realized that he was really that good.

                      He wasn't flashy; he wasn't the kind of player who grabbed your attention; he didn't have monster games or years; and he certainly didn't give the impression of a future HOF'er.

                      He appears to be one of those players that quietly amassed a very fine career without bringing much attention to himself. He hit for an acceptable average; had good power for a middle infielder; fielded his position well without being spectacular; and got on base very well by being patient.

                      Is he a HOF'er? Not sure. I wouldn't vote for him but I wouldn't complain if he did.

                      Yankees Fan Since 1957

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bkmckenna
                        not so much baseball but - i ran a popular baltimore county restaurant for some years and grich would occassionally come in - the waitresses hated him - said he was arrogant and cheap - i never had a problem - he signed for me and we chatted a bit
                        Outside Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, just hanging around before going in one Sunday, Bobby Grich came walking in. Dressed in a 3 piece suit, carrying the Sunday papers, and a briefcase. Kids pestered him for his autograh and he just walked on by, not signing one.
                        As he got closer to the players entrance where we were, I merely noded and said, "Hi Bobby". To my surprise he looked at me, smiled, nodded, said something I didn't quite catch although it sounded pleasent enough, and went on in. He may only have paid attention because my wife, who got her share of looks, was standing beside me in a halter top and cutoff jeans. :-)

                        Anyway he seemed nice enough in the very brief encounter with him.

                        Why I remember this is that before the game, as a competition, Grich was in a cow milking contest with some other O's. He won if I recall.

                        Yankees Fan Since 1957

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                          How many second basemen in history have 226+ HRs?

                          Kent
                          Morgan
                          Sandberg
                          Hornsby
                          Gordon
                          Biggio

                          I think that's it for second basemen.
                          There's another good catch. Guess I've been spoiled by all the slugging middle infielders of 1995-present, that I forgot standards used to be different.

                          Even so, I doubt anyone would argue that Grich was as good as Biggio or Sandberg, and I hope no one would argue Grich was as good as Morgan or Hornsby. That leaves Gordon, who isn't in the Hall, and Kent, who probably won't make it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by abacab
                            Bobby Grich is a real mystery to me. Before I joined BBF, I had literally never heard of him.
                            Insert ElHalo joke here
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by abacab
                              Even so, I doubt anyone would argue that Grich was as good as Biggio or Sandberg
                              I would argue Grich is better than Sandberg.

                              In my mind, all Ryno has here is longevity, and even that is lacking because Grich probably did have more career value.

                              First, let's look at offense. I don't think it's even close. Grich beats him in OPS+ by 11 points, and in EqA by 7 points. Sandberg was better in the much more flashy BA (though only slightly), but Grich took his pitches and killed him in OBP. Power is about equal, probably with a slight edge to Grich because some of Sandberg's power is coming from his BA. Here are their relative stats (BA/OBP/SLG):

                              Grich-103/115/110
                              Sandberg-106/102/112

                              Sandberg is better in rel. SLG but Grich beats him in rel. IsoPower 126 to 124. I think IsoPower is a better measure of pure power than SLG%.

                              Overall, Sandberg's small BA advantage and arguable slugging advantage is certainly outweighed by the fact Grich was far better at getting on base. The OPS+ and EqA paint a good picture of their offensive abilities.

                              Whats left? Baserunning and fielding.

                              Sandberg was a better baserunner. But, I'm sure we all know that that means little in the big picture. Grich's walks take care of that easily. Basestealing is included in EqA, and it still shows Grich being superior offensively.

                              Fielding? They were both tremendous defensive second basemen. The Gold Glove voters were more impressed by Sandberg, giving him 9 Gold Gloves to Grich's four. But, they obviosly thought Sandberg was a better overrall player, so their opinions were probably biased somewhat.

                              Defensive stats have reached a consensus that Grich was a better fielder. BP gives Grich 531 FRAR and 129 FRAA, compared to Sandberg's 503 FRAR and 72 FRAA. Defensive Win Shares have Grich at 5.68 DWS/1000 innings, with Sandberg at 5.18 DWS/1000. Fielding Runs has Grich at 126 runs and Sandberg at 99.

                              So, who do we trust? The stats or the opinions of the Gold Glove voters? I think the stats are more trustworthy. Gold Gloves have proven in the past to not be credible with selections like Palmeiro in 1999. I often think that the voters don't really know how to quantify defensive performance so they often give it to a good hitter. They are almost as often won with the bat as they are with the glove, in summary. The defensive stats are to be trusted.

                              And even if we chose to believe the GG voters, it would be awful tough to overcome the offense. Although not regarded to be as good with the bat, Grich's primary offensive skills were undervalued, while people weren't paying any attention to Sandberg's lack of patience. I go with Grich, rather easily.

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