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George Foster

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    Freakshow
    Registered User

  • Freakshow
    replied
    Corner-OF types within 7 WAR, 6 OPS+ and 812 PA of Foster:
    Code:
    Player            WAR/pos Rfield OPS+   PA From   To
    Minnie Minoso        47.5     27  130 7712 1949 1980
    Ellis Burks          46.3    -32  126 8177 1987 2004
    Kiki Cuyler          44.4     14  125 8100 1921 1938 H
    Bobby Veach          44.1     30  127 7572 1912 1925
    Roy White            43.0     34  121 7735 1965 1979
    Rocky Colavito       41.7     57  132 7559 1955 1968
    Heinie Manush        41.5     -1  121 8419 1923 1939 H
    George Foster        41.3     38  126 7812 1969 1986
    Dixie Walker         40.6     16  121 7670 1931 1949
    Hugh Duffy           40.1     67  123 7841 1888 1906 H
    Jose Canseco         39.2    -30  132 8129 1985 2001
    Augie Galan          38.8     19  122 7005 1934 1949
    Ken Singleton        38.6    -59  132 8559 1970 1984
    Tim Salmon           37.1    -44  128 7039 1992 2006
    Moises Alou          36.7    -16  128 7913 1990 2008
    Paul ONeill          35.2      8  120 8329 1985 2001
    Juan Gonzalez        35.1    -53  132 7155 1989 2005
    Magglio Ordonez      34.7    -45  125 7745 1997 2011

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  • Tyrus4189Cobb
    Gator wrastler

  • Tyrus4189Cobb
    replied
    Too much of a peak player

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  • brett
    Registered User

  • brett
    replied
    Foster's biggest problem is that he didn't get a chance to play full time until age 26. By the end of '81 people saw him as having risen to a hall of fame pace based on '75-'81. '81 was the strike year but he went .295 with 22 home runs and 90 RBI in 108 games (a 33 home run 135 RBI pace). He really didn't do anything else.

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  • Freakshow
    Registered User

  • Freakshow
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    in 1975, despite good hitting and amazing guys at the top of the order. Does anyone know the Reds' batting order that year?
    At the bottom of this page you'll see that Foster most often batted 6th (or lower) that year, after Perez or Driessen, although it wasn't until July that he started hitting there regularly. That was George's breakout year (at age 26); he didn't start much for the season's first four weeks and didn't settle in as the everyday LF until May 18th, so he only had 511 PA that year.

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  • four tool
    Registered User

  • four tool
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    Foster was the NLs version of Jim Rice. At the close of the 1970s, it appeared as if both men would coast into the Hall of Fame. They were putting up numbers that hadn't been seen in a while. What killed Foster is that he stopped being productive after 1981, and Rice had a couple more really good seasons after that. Rice's good years were more spread out, and I think this helped him, as it gave the perception that he was 'dominant' for the entire 1975-1986 period. In reality, he had 6 or 7 'dominant' seasons during that period, with some so-so ones thrown in as well. Foster was dominant from 1975-1981, then stunk. He actually had about the same amount of great years as Rice, and similar career value. The way people saw it, though, he was washed up at an early age, and Rice had more longevity.

    The 1981 strike also hurt him a lot, as he was headed for a monster year. Another 35 120 .300 year would have helped him a lot. it would have also been much more impressive than his 1976-1978 seasons, because the Reds in 1981 were no longer the 'Big Red machine'. Foster had 22 homers when the strike hit, and the second highest guy had 7. 90 RBI in 108 games in that lineup is incredible.

    He also seemed to be able to get 90 RBI a lot, but not 100. He had 90-98 RBI 4 times. Give him 100 RBI those 4 years, and I think maybe he sneaks into the HOF. Rice had 100+ RBI 8 times, compared to only 3 for Foster. he also had only 78 RBI in 1975, despite good hitting and amazing guys at the top of the order. Does anyone know the Reds' batting order that year?
    A good summary of the career, and remember how long it took Rice to get in. IMHO, neither is hall worthy. Foster for the reasons stated, Rice because he wasn't that good that long, despite perceptions. Ted Williams once said Rice was a good, but not great hitter, and that was when Rice was in his prime.

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  • willshad
    Registered User

  • willshad
    replied
    Foster was the NLs version of Jim Rice. At the close of the 1970s, it appeared as if both men would coast into the Hall of Fame. They were putting up numbers that hadn't been seen in a while. What killed Foster is that he stopped being productive after 1981, and Rice had a couple more really good seasons after that. Rice's good years were more spread out, and I think this helped him, as it gave the perception that he was 'dominant' for the entire 1975-1986 period. In reality, he had 6 or 7 'dominant' seasons during that period, with some so-so ones thrown in as well. Foster was dominant from 1975-1981, then stunk. He actually had about the same amount of great years as Rice, and similar career value. The way people saw it, though, he was washed up at an early age, and Rice had more longevity.

    The 1981 strike also hurt him a lot, as he was headed for a monster year. Another 35 120 .300 year would have helped him a lot. it would have also been much more impressive than his 1976-1978 seasons, because the Reds in 1981 were no longer the 'Big Red machine'. Foster had 22 homers when the strike hit, and the second highest guy had 7. 90 RBI in 108 games in that lineup is incredible.

    He also seemed to be able to get 90 RBI a lot, but not 100. He had 90-98 RBI 4 times. Give him 100 RBI those 4 years, and I think maybe he sneaks into the HOF. Rice had 100+ RBI 8 times, compared to only 3 for Foster. he also had only 78 RBI in 1975, despite good hitting and amazing guys at the top of the order. Does anyone know the Reds' batting order that year?
    willshad
    Registered User
    Last edited by willshad; 07-21-2012, 12:49 AM.

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  • PVNICK
    Registered User

  • PVNICK
    replied
    Originally posted by leecemark View Post
    --Foster did have a reputation for not being a particularly hard worker and he definately wasn't a guy who appeared to be going all out, all the time. He stood out in stark contrast to a guy like Rose who was max effort all the time, which probably accounts some for Anderson not warming up to him for so long. During Sparky's Tiger years he feel in love with some young player almost every spring, but they weren't always guys with great talent - they were guys who "played the game right". This probably played a significant role in his early decline. You can only coast so long on natural talent. The guys who last do so by working hard at maintaining their bodies and skills.
    I remember him being described as quiet, religious or think that was it, as a Red. Every article ofr so it seemd mentioned the 29 inch waist. Can't say I recall the lack of work ethic but then again he was just a name on a baseball card until he hit it big and I was still a kid.

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  • leecemark
    History Mod

  • leecemark
    replied
    Originally posted by chicagowhitesox1173 View Post
    Didn't some of the Reds players yell at him alot for being lazy? I think I heard Rose and Morgan used to get on his case about work ethics.
    --Foster did have a reputation for not being a particularly hard worker and he definately wasn't a guy who appeared to be going all out, all the time. He stood out in stark contrast to a guy like Rose who was max effort all the time, which probably accounts some for Anderson not warming up to him for so long. During Sparky's Tiger years he feel in love with some young player almost every spring, but they weren't always guys with great talent - they were guys who "played the game right". This probably played a significant role in his early decline. You can only coast so long on natural talent. The guys who last do so by working hard at maintaining their bodies and skills.

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  • Second Base Coach
    Tabletop Baseball Fan

  • Second Base Coach
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    Foster is one of the biggest "what ifs" of the HOF gray area. And Foster IS in the HOF gray area. Most guys who do what Foster did aren't in the HOF, but some (more than one) are.

    Foster was originally a product of the Giants' system, but he was trapped behind Bobby Bonds, Ken Henderson, and Willie Mays. As a prospect, Garry Maddox and Gary Matthews were ahead of him, and there was a guy named Bernie Williams (not Bernabe) who was rated about even with Foster as a prospect. His chances of moving up were not good in 1970.

    Foster got a break when, during the 1971 season, the Reds traded for him to fill the hole caused by CF Bobby Tolan's injury. Foster turned in a 13-58-.241 line for the year in 473 ABs while playing CF. This wasn't the most auspicious debut for a 22 year old who we are discussing about being a HOFer, but it wasn't terrible for the era. One could conclude that Foster, given a regular job, would have thrived.

    Instead, events conspired to keep Foster on the bench for THREE MORE YEARS:
    • The Reds reinstated Tolan to the lineup, even though his injury was a knee injury, and he was never the same player after that.
    • In 1972, Sparky tried to fill his OF void with "proven veterans" like Ted Uhlaender and a few others.
    • In 1973, Sparky acquired Cesar Geronimo, and chose to live with his defense in CF.
    • In 1974, Ken Griffey, Sr. was the hot Red prospect, and he became the third OF regular.


    Foster did not re-emerge as a regular until age 26, in 1975, when Dan Driessen's glove became a liability. That's when Sparky installed Pete Rose at 3B and the LF job became open. Foster got the job, and held it this time.

    There is much made of the four players that were the leadership core of the great Reds teams (Rose, Morgan, Bench, and Perez). What is forgotten is the performance of Foster. In 1975, Foster was part of a team that won their division by 20 games, and who won perhaps the greatest World Series ever. In 1976, the Reds went all the way again, and Foster finished second to teammate Morgan in MVP voting. (Foster was actually the favorite for much of the year, but Morgan finished super strong that year to win back-to-back awards.)

    All of this was before the 50 HRs in 1977.

    Foster's image was tarnished by his mediocre 1982 season with the Mets; he was a permanent disappointment for the Mets after that. Foster's 1983-85 seasons were reasonably productive, however; they were seasons consistent with the decline phase of a HOFer's career. Foster went into the tank again in 1986, and that ended up being his last season. Whether or not he could have squeezed out a last hurrah is irrelevant; he didn't really try to.

    There ARE some legit questions about how good Foster was. One would have expected a future HOFer to have seized Tolan's job by the throat in 1971, playing Gehrig to Tolan's Pipp. Foster didn't do that. One would have expected a future HOFer to have risen above the cast of thousands in the Red outfield from 1972-74, but Sparky was a guy with a bias toward veterans and glove guys, plus the Reds were not in rebuilding mode; they contended every year but 1971 (the year Foster first played regularly). Foster dropped on the Red depth chart over that period and had to re-emerge as a prospect.

    Had Foster just been given a job at age 22 and been told to go for it, things probably would have been different. Foster would have achieved 400 HRs easily, and would probably have had a Stargell-esque career. He's be a stronger candidate than he is now.

    I really can't support Foster for the HOF; there are guys ahead of him. A number of guys. Foster was a guy who SHOULD have been a HOFer, and, with a little more luck, probably would have been.
    This is an excellent post on Foster's career. I think much of his fame come from his numbers that were in turn a function of his place in one of the best batting orders of all time. The same problems I have with ranking his career are the same ones I have with Don Mattingly.

    The phrase "very good but not historically great" comes to mind yet again.

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  • Fuzzy Bear
    Say Hey!

  • Fuzzy Bear
    replied
    Originally posted by dl4060 View Post
    His years with the Mets were below expectations. You are correct that the first year was awful, but the next three were not great. They were ok, but well below expectations. He needed to put together afew 120-130 ops+ seasons, and apart from 1985 he did not do that, although 1984 was not awful.

    The other thing that hurt him, was that he really was not a regular until he was 25 or 26, which hurt his counting numbers.
    I do wish to state that Foster's 1983-85 seasons did represent something of a bounce-back from 1982.

    I lived in New York in 1982, and I remember the pummelling in the sports pages Foster took almost daily. It really ended the days where he was considered a star. Had he had even a 1983 season in 1982 he would have been looked upon as better than he was, but he killed his rep as a star in 1982 to where he was never again viewed as a star; even a "declining star".

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  • chicagowhitesox1173
    2005 World Series Champs

  • chicagowhitesox1173
    replied
    Didn't some of the Reds players yell at him alot for being lazy? I think I heard Rose and Morgan used to get on his case about work ethics.

    Leave a comment:

  • dl4060
    Registered User

  • dl4060
    replied
    Originally posted by Fuzzy Bear View Post
    What killed him was not "his years with the Mets", but his first year and his last year with the Mets.

    Foster never got over having such a bad first year with the Mets, as far as the media and fans were concerned. They paid all that money for a guy who hit 13 HRs with a low BA who wasn't special on defense. They expected 30 plus HRs. They never took into account that Foster was 33 when he began that contract, and Shea was more brutal than Riverfront for a hitter. Foster had productive seasons from 1983-85, but they were below expectations, and because of that, many Mets fans seem to think that Foster's whole stay in NY was 1982 x 5. Not true.
    His years with the Mets were below expectations. You are correct that the first year was awful, but the next three were not great. They were ok, but well below expectations. He needed to put together afew 120-130 ops+ seasons, and apart from 1985 he did not do that, although 1984 was not awful.

    The other thing that hurt him, was that he really was not a regular until he was 25 or 26, which kept his counting numbers a bit below hall expectations. Had he gotten three more early seasons, he might have gone in.
    dl4060
    Registered User
    Last edited by dl4060; 07-14-2012, 06:44 PM.

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  • jalbright
    Researcher/advocate/mod

  • jalbright
    replied
    Threads merged to collect the George Foster material in one thread.

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  • jjpm74
    replied
    Originally posted by Cowtipper View Post
    Why'd you bump a 4 year old thread just to suggest that it can be combined with an 8 year old thread? That seems like a waste of time to me.

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  • Cowtipper
    Retired

  • Cowtipper
    replied
    These can be combined:

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...-George-Foster

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