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  • Riggs Stephenson

    I'm just curious, for the sake of discussion, what everyone's views are on Riggs Stephenson?

    .366 career average/.407 career OBP%

    Is comparable to Ross Youngs, who played in the same era and is in the HOF...

    Sorry if he has been discussed before...
    "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
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  • #2
    I've often thought about Stephenson. His numbers are phenomenal, just really stick out among the greats. However, he was a backup almost for almost all of his career... only had four seasons where he was the full time starter. If you look at his ink totals, they're not that impressive... because he only had 4 total qualifying seasons. Great player, not really used enough (don't know enough about him to know whether or not there was a reason for this?).
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

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    • #3
      It might have been that he was just seen as a godawful fielder and not worth his bat. In 1927, his first year as a regular, his BA was 4th in the league, he led the NL in doubles, and the Cubs were good, but Stephenson barely got any MVP attention, finishing 20th, behind several other Cubs. This, to me, strongly suggests that the voters saw significant downsides to playing him to partially offset the obvious benefits of it. Maybe he was known as a bad fielder, I don't know. He also was probably very slow, since he hit very, very few triples for the era he played in. I'm pretty ignorant about Riggs though, aside from what the numbers say, so I could be wrong on both counts.

      Gotta say, however, what everyone says about Stephenson is "Man, those numbers just look amazingly incredible, but you gotta remember the context." But I, to be honest, don't even think his numbers look that great. He had doubles power, but hit very few triples or homers. Even in that awesome run scoring environment, his RBI totals aren't that great. In his 4 years as a regular he drove in 100 just once. He slugged .500 only once in those 4 years. Basically, he's got the .336 batting average, and a bunch of other decent, but unspectacular, complementary numbers. The way people talk about Riggs Stephenson, though, you'd think he was hitting .350 with 40 homers those years or something.
      "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

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      • #4
        --Ipod, I seldom hear people talk about Stephenson at all. I do agree with the rest of your post though. Stephenson was widely regarded as having the worst throwing arm of his day and wasn't well regarded in other aspects of defense either. Alot of hitters of similar (or better) skill spent most or all of their careers in the minors for the same reason. Buzz Arlett, Ike Boone and Ox Eckhardt were PCL stars who put up huge numbers (and nearly matched them in brief MLB careers), but who weren't seen as major league defenders. Defense being taken more seriously then. Stephenson did hit for a pretty empty average too. A lousy defensive LF has to add either power or speed to even a terrific average (and Riggs wasn't leading the league) to have real value.

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        • #5
          it appears that stephenson would have perhaps been a part time dh or a bench player, maybe even a pinch hitting, 'lenny harris' kind of guy today- IF he was even good enough to play in today's game, which is highly suspect IMO. his lack of power would hurt him today, as power is expected from dh's. there were a lot of guys in that era that were in the big leagues solely because they could hit, such as fatty fothergill, who was a true regular in only one or two years, i believe. stephenson may be the best of the players of that era not in the hall, whose high averages alone comprise the bulk of their worth though.
          oscargamblesfro
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          Last edited by oscargamblesfro; 01-03-2006, 08:16 AM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Baseball Guru
            I'm just curious, for the sake of discussion, what everyone's views are on Riggs Stephenson?

            .366 career average
            Now that WOULD be amazing
            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.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by RuthMayBond
              Now that WOULD be amazing

              Obvious typo as it should be .336..
              "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
              ~~Al Gallagher


              God Bless America!

              Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

              Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Baseball Guru
                Is comparable to Ross Youngs, who played in the same era and is in the HOF...
                I suppose he is somewhat comparable to Youngs, but Youngs got in mostly becaue of favoritism of the Veterans' Committee and sympathy for his premature death.

                Youngs wasn't a tremendous fielder, but he was certainly better than Stephenson, who was just god awful. Riggs could hit, but his numbers are big time inflated by time and place. His relative line of 115/115/115 is good, but not HOF worhty for a guy with only 5134 PAs. Horrible fielding, good hitting, and a really short career puts a guy 10 miles or more from the Hall.

                One more thing, how he does in all of Bill James' HOF tests. He does horrible:

                Black Ink: Batting - 2 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
                Gray Ink: Batting - 41 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
                HOF Standards: Batting - 33.3 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
                HOF Monitor: Batting - 56.5 (Likely HOFer > 100)

                Especially considering those aren't era adjusted, and Stphenson played in one of the biggest offensive era of all time, that closes the book on his case.

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                • #9
                  So do you think he doesn't get looked at mostly because he wasn't really a fulltime player?

                  If you look at his career #'s though he compares very favorably to Ross Youngs, who is in the HOF...

                  Youngs:
                  1211-Games
                  4627-AB's
                  1491-Hits
                  236-Doubles
                  93-Triples
                  42-hr's
                  592-rbi's
                  .322-avg
                  .399-obp%
                  .441-slg%
                  ********************************
                  Riggs:
                  1310-Games
                  4508-AB's
                  1515-Hits
                  321-Doubles
                  54-Triples
                  63-Hr's
                  773-rbi's
                  .336-avg
                  .407-obp%
                  .473-slg%


                  So looking at just those raw #'s, Riggs looks to have the edge over Youngs in just about every catagory and the fact that he wasn't an everyday player makes it even more amazing... So I am thinking he is getting penalized for not being an everyday player.. How else can you justify Ross in over Riggs?

                  Personally I don't think Youngs really should be in but if he is in, I'm just curious as to why Riggs is not....
                  "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                  ~~Al Gallagher


                  God Bless America!

                  Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                  Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 538280
                    I suppose he is somewhat comparable to Youngs, but Youngs got in mostly becaue of favoritism of the Veterans' Committee and sympathy for his premature death.

                    Youngs wasn't a tremendous fielder, but he was certainly better than Stephenson, who was just god awful. Riggs could hit, but his numbers are big time inflated by time and place. His relative line of 115/115/115 is good, but not HOF worhty for a guy with only 5134 PAs. Horrible fielding, good hitting, and a really short career puts a guy 10 miles or more from the Hall.

                    One more thing, how he does in all of Bill James' HOF tests. He does horrible:

                    Black Ink: Batting - 2 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
                    Gray Ink: Batting - 41 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
                    HOF Standards: Batting - 33.3 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
                    HOF Monitor: Batting - 56.5 (Likely HOFer > 100)

                    Especially considering those aren't era adjusted, and Stphenson played in one of the biggest offensive era of all time, that closes the book on his case.
                    Thanks for those HOF test #'s.... I wrote my post while you were doing yours...lol

                    Can you show me the #'s for Youngs according to James?
                    "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                    ~~Al Gallagher


                    God Bless America!

                    Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                    Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

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                    • #11
                      I think everyone has clearly covered the reasons why Riggs isn't an HoFer. To be a RFer who played the majority of his career in the 1920's and only hit 42 HR's is pretty damning.

                      Not meaning to give offense to anyone, but citing Ross Youngs as a close comparable is evidence the player should not be in the HoF. Youngs probably ranks in the Top 15 mistakes in the HoF.
                      Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KCGHOST
                        I think everyone has clearly covered the reasons why Riggs isn't an HoFer. To be a RFer who played the majority of his career in the 1920's and only hit 42 HR's is pretty damning.

                        Not meaning to give offense to anyone, but citing Ross Youngs as a close comparable is evidence the player should not be in the HoF. Youngs probably ranks in the Top 15 mistakes in the HoF.
                        Indeed. Youngs was the 9th player outed in the Hall of Mistakes elections, which seems about right.

                        Youngs is the only hall of famer on Stephenson's comp list at BBRef, another indication of Riggs' lack of HOF qualifications.
                        Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                        Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baseball Guru
                          Thanks for those HOF test #'s.... I wrote my post while you were doing yours...lol

                          Can you show me the #'s for Youngs according to James?
                          Ross Youngs
                          Black Ink: Batting - 5 (Average HOFer ~ 27)
                          Gray Ink: Batting - 115 (Average HOFer ~ 144)
                          HOF Standards: Batting - 32.0 (Average HOFer ~ 50)
                          HOF Monitor: Batting - 72.5 (Likely HOFer > 100)

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                          • #14
                            Thanks 538280
                            "There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem - once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.
                            ~~Al Gallagher


                            God Bless America!

                            Click here to see my baseball tribute site!

                            Click here to see the best pitcher NOT in the HOF!

                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not that I think the guy's a HoF'er (or anything even remotely close to it), but the guy was a much better hitter than he's being given credit for. Give a floor of 100 PA's, and he never hit below .319. A 130 OPS+ is fairly impressive. If he'd been able to stay at 2B, where he started, he'd have a fairly legitimate excuse for being brought up in a Hall of Fame conversation. As it is, he's a good, not great, player, on the outside of the top 100 of all time looking in, along with similar players like Bob and Irish Meusel, Dave Parker, Harold Baines, and Reggie Jackson.
                              "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                              Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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