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  • bluesky5
    replied
    Originally posted by dl4060 View Post

    Has it become too easy?

    Or are people playing a different game?

    It is probably a little bit of both in the current surge.

    I certainly get what you mean though, everyone hits them now.

    Because of the shifting and the analytics there is less value in a hard hit ball put in play right now. It used to be that guys who had warning track power would be told to hit line drives.

    A guy who maybe would have hit 290-310 with 40 doubles and 10 HR in the 80s is now probably going to be coached to generate launch angle and hit 260 with 25 HR. It used to be that only certain guys were taught to get the ball in the air. Now everyone does it.

    I would like to see a breakdown of HR/AB by percentile. Say, 5/10/25/35/50/65/75/90/95 to get an idea of the spread. Often I see people only use median/mean HR/AB rate to make their argument, which only tells me about the center of the population. I am interested in the center, but I'm also interested in the other percentiles. That would give more of an idea. My guess is that there is less difference between the 20th percentile of HR/AB and the 80th percentile of HR/AB now than there was in say, 2000. I could be very wrong. It just seems like more guys are hitting them now, but we are not seeing the 60 HR seasons we did in the late 90s. Obviously PEDs have something to do with that, the upper percentiles might still be up there if testing was not being done, but I also think that things have simply moved because everyone swings for the fences now.

    In 1921 Babe Ruth hit 50 (or so) bombs. No one else hit more than 24, and only 6 people total hit more than 20.

    In 1929 Ruth hit 46. A total of 3 people hit more than 40, 10 hit more than 30 and 16 hit more than 20. I don't know if it became easier to hit homers, or if people simply saw what Ruth was doing and started to swing for the fences. The two options are not mutually exclusive.


    Sorry for the thread drift. I still don't have a clear recollection with Foster of just how much of a problem he was. I recall him being grumpy and the press hating him because he went from a superstar to essentially an average (or below average) player after signing a massive contract. My guess is that if he had stayed in Cincinnati after signing a big deal he would not have been viewed the same way. The media there is not nearly as big, and he would have plenty of goodwill from his days as a star with the Reds. They might have tolerated the dip in production despite the huge contract. With the Mets he was looked at as a savior for an awful franchise and he ended up being bad, without the previous laurels to rest on.
    Phenomenal points

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  • dl4060
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    Like I said, the home run has become too easy.
    Has it become too easy?

    Or are people playing a different game?

    It is probably a little bit of both in the current surge.

    I certainly get what you mean though, everyone hits them now.

    Because of the shifting and the analytics there is less value in a hard hit ball put in play right now. It used to be that guys who had warning track power would be told to hit line drives.

    A guy who maybe would have hit 290-310 with 40 doubles and 10 HR in the 80s is now probably going to be coached to generate launch angle and hit 260 with 25 HR. It used to be that only certain guys were taught to get the ball in the air. Now everyone does it.

    I would like to see a breakdown of HR/AB by percentile. Say, 5/10/25/35/50/65/75/90/95 to get an idea of the spread. Often I see people only use median/mean HR/AB rate to make their argument, which only tells me about the center of the population. I am interested in the center, but I'm also interested in the other percentiles. That would give more of an idea. My guess is that there is less difference between the 20th percentile of HR/AB and the 80th percentile of HR/AB now than there was in say, 2000. I could be very wrong. It just seems like more guys are hitting them now, but we are not seeing the 60 HR seasons we did in the late 90s. Obviously PEDs have something to do with that, the upper percentiles might still be up there if testing was not being done, but I also think that things have simply moved because everyone swings for the fences now.

    In 1921 Babe Ruth hit 50 (or so) bombs. No one else hit more than 24, and only 6 people total hit more than 20.

    In 1929 Ruth hit 46. A total of 3 people hit more than 40, 10 hit more than 30 and 16 hit more than 20. I don't know if it became easier to hit homers, or if people simply saw what Ruth was doing and started to swing for the fences. The two options are not mutually exclusive.


    Sorry for the thread drift. I still don't have a clear recollection with Foster of just how much of a problem he was. I recall him being grumpy and the press hating him because he went from a superstar to essentially an average (or below average) player after signing a massive contract. My guess is that if he had stayed in Cincinnati after signing a big deal he would not have been viewed the same way. The media there is not nearly as big, and he would have plenty of goodwill from his days as a star with the Reds. They might have tolerated the dip in production despite the huge contract. With the Mets he was looked at as a savior for an awful franchise and he ended up being bad, without the previous laurels to rest on.
    Last edited by dl4060; 05-02-2022, 01:34 PM.

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  • willshad
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    I dont want to denigrate others here, but we're talking about Pete Alonso, not some schmuck who got hot one year.

    You don't think Pete Alonso has more "real power" than all but maybe a dozen of his contemporaries, tops?

    Never mind have you ever seen Alonso hit a baseball; have you ever even taken a good look at the guy? Dude's as big and strong as a horse.

    If the facts don't fit the story you're telling, the facts aren't wrong, the story is.
    I'm not debating that Alonso isn't a powerful dude, of course he is. There have also been many powerful guys in baseball history who never hit 50 home runs. Alonso was a rookie just starting out who hit 53. Do you think he could have done that in 1967 or 1977? How many would Salvador Perez or Vlad Jr have hit during any period in the 1900s? Not close to 50, I can tell you that much. Like I said, the home run has become too easy.

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  • willshad
    replied
    Originally posted by Orioles5 View Post
    If I recall George Foster got released from the Mets because of his attitude which is quite a feat considering who was in the outfield for the Mets at the time.
    If he was hitting like he had on The Reds, then his attitude would have zero problem.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by Orioles5 View Post
    If I recall George Foster got released from the Mets because of his attitude which is quite a feat considering who was in the outfield for the Mets at the time.
    Also, to be fair, the full degeneracies of Dykstra, Strawberry, and Mitchell were not even close to full flower in mid-1986.

    Those guys in full were true reprobates,, far more problematic than Foster, who IIRC was just kind of a detached grump; think Kevin McReynolds without the white privilege.

    (Thinking about the disparate treatment Foster and McReynolds received from the press for pretty much the same characteristics is kind of cringe-inducing in retrospect. It was a different time, I guess. Although Foster did have an albatross contract while Kevin Mac was on a more reasonable deal; that factor can't be discounted.)

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  • dl4060
    replied
    Originally posted by Orioles5 View Post
    If I recall George Foster got released from the Mets because of his attitude which is quite a feat considering who was in the outfield for the Mets at the time.
    I remember hearing something about his attitude not being good when I was a kid. I don't remember details. He was pretty bad for the Mets after signing a huge contract, but the Mets were actually good by the time they let him go. I think they let him go in 1986.

    I grew up in the mid-hudson valley in the 80's, and lots of my elementary school friends were Mets fans, although I was a Red Sox fan. I used to watch either the Mets on WWOR or the Yankees on WPIX, those were the options in my area. After being a superstar with the Reds Foster signed a massive deal, he was close to being the highest paid player in the game at one point. The Mets were awful at the time, and there was lots of excitement over them signing a superstar like Foster.

    Foster did not come close to living up to the contract. He alternated between being okay and being bad. He got absolutely skewered in the press. I recall him not reacting well to all of this, and understandably so. I think the vast majority of us out there would not have turned down that money. My guess is that he did not deserve all of the vitriol he received.

    Because of the size of the NY media market I think lots of us remember Foster as the disappointment with the Mets and not as the superstar he was with the Reds. That is a shame because he was pretty awesome from 75 through 81. Then in his early 30's he hit the skids. He was okay for the Mets a couple of seasons, 84 and 85, but he was pretty terrible his first two years. Even his 84 and 85 seasons were disappointments given the contract he signed. He was released in 1986. It really is too bad that his Met seasons colored his career the way they have. Maybe that is also just me, I was a toddler during Foster's late 70's seasons with the Reds, and growing up where I did I remember the Mets disappointment quite vividly. In 82 and 83 Foster became the poster child for an awful Mets team. They spent a ton of money on him and he was bad. He got more of the blame than he should have. He didn't help things, but honestly it was the Mets who gave a 32-year old that deal, and even if Foster had played the way he did in the late 70s the Mets would still have been terrible in the early 80s. His presence symbolized the early 80s malaise of the Mets, and he departed in their magical season. People don't quite remember that he was an okay player in 84 and 85 when the Mets were ascending.

    I think Foster is hurt in the eyes of the HOF by the fact that he started late and faded badly, and with a large contract in a huge media market. If he had not signed such a large deal in such a big market it might not have colored things the way it did.

    But the late start was also a big issue. His first full season was in 1971 at age 22, and he was not particularly good. From 72 through 74 I think he only played about 170 games total. Then he became a regular in 1975, and he was a star or superstar through 1981, arguably the top outfielder in the NL at the time. But not being a regular until age 26 really hurt his counting stats. Had he gotten even two more regular seasons in the early 70s and played okay, say ops+in the 120 range, his counting stats would have been very close to HOF level. Had he not ended so badly and had he started a bit earlier he would have hit over 400 homers. I think those two factors really cost him.

    In a sense, Foster is a bit like a star from when I was a kid who everyone thought would walk into Cooperstown. In the mid-80s if you said Dale Murphy would not be elected people would have laughed at you. Murphy, like Foster, started a bit slowly, although the early part of his career was better than Foster's. Then he was one of the best players in baseball from 82 through 87. Though modern metrics do take some of the luster off those seasons, he was still a superstar and that was still what I would call an HOF worthy peak. Maybe not first ballot, but HOF worthy none the less. Then after 1987 the wheels fell off. He was basically an average player from 1988 on. Had he finished a bit stronger, 2-3 more okay if not MVP level seasons followed by a couple more decline years then retiring, he probably would have gotten in.

    I'm not old enough to remember what people said about Foster with the Reds, but my guess is that around 1981 most people probably assumed he would go to Cooperstown, much like Murphy in 1987. It's a shame with both of those guys that the end has done so much to flavor our perceptions that we forget what great players they were.

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  • dgarza
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    No disputing this, but worth mentioning that on that same 1981 Reds team, Davey Concepción had probably his career year at bat (he was well past 30; so defensively he was still a plus, but his best days were behind him); he may have gotten 100 RBI if the strike hadn't wiped out 50-odd games, and in the short season he had career-best marks in BA and OBP. His HOF case took just as big a hit as Foster's, if not bigger.
    Very true. I noticed how well Concepcion was for that '81 team as well. He was recognized for that, being voted 4th in the NL MVP race, right behind Foster. That year, he was able to shine brighter than he had been in the 70s, with Rose, Perez, and Morgan out of the way, and with Bench playing a dimished role.
    1981 cost him milestones of 1,000 runs & likely 400 doubles.

    Tom Seaver missed out on potentially another 20-win season, but it's not like he really needed it.

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  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by dgarza View Post

    And, had that '81 Reds team made the playoffs (which they should have done), Foster would have had more national exposure, especially at that point in the Big Red Machine's history, 1981 being the very last year you could possibly still call it that, and Foster was finally then seen as the star of the team.
    No disputing this, but worth mentioning that on that same 1981 Reds team, Davey Concepción had probably his career year at bat (he was well past 30; so defensively he was still a plus, but his best days were behind him); he may have gotten 100 RBI if the strike hadn't wiped out 50-odd games, and in the short season he had career-best marks in BA and OBP. His HOF case took just as big a hit as Foster's, if not bigger.

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  • dgarza
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post
    I've sometimes wondered if Foster would be in the HOF were it not for the strike in 1981 and his missed time in 1979 and 1980. Six consecutive 100 RBI seasons (with likely 140+ in '81) would look nice, and it would make him look a heck of a lot like Rice.
    And, had that '81 Reds team made the playoffs (which they should have done), Foster would have had more national exposure, especially at that point in the Big Red Machine's history, 1981 being the very last year you could possibly still call it that, and Foster was finally then seen as the star of the team.

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  • willshad
    replied
    I've sometimes wondered if Foster would be in the HOF were it not for the strike in 1981 and his missed time in 1979 and 1980. Six consecutive 100 RBI seasons (with likely 140+ in '81) would look nice, and it would make him look a heck of a lot like Rice.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cougar
    replied
    Well, attitude plus not having much left in the tank.

    Bad vibes are a lot more tolerable from a guy at the peak of his powers slugging .500 than from another clearly on his last legs slugging .350.

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  • Orioles5
    replied
    If I recall George Foster got released from the Mets because of his attitude which is quite a feat considering who was in the outfield for the Mets at the time.

    Leave a comment:


  • scottmitchell74
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post

    Probably because Smith walked over 100 times and played in Dodger Stadium.

    I remember as a kid when I knew every 50 home run hitter by memory and could rattle them of quickly, along with their totals. They were pretty much all HOFers. Nowadays I look at the list and just laugh. Pete Alonso? Really?
    I figured that would be the answer. Even so Foster's OPS overall is better. No wonder the average fan and even more than average fan thinks walks are baseball's highest achievement; they have been put on a pedestal. NOT saying walks aren't important...just...relatively.

    Foster hit as many Road HRs as Smith hit....so even the Dodger Stadium thing gives me pause.



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  • Cougar
    replied
    Originally posted by willshad View Post

    That's just the thing; when EVERYONE has 'real power' then you have to start wondering what's real and what isn't. Mediocre hitting catcher Salvador Perez had 48 HRs last year, almost joining the 50 club. Marcus Semien, who is a league average hitter with decent power had 45. Little Jose Altuve has somehow turned into a power hitter. Vlad Jr at age 22, also hit 48 last season, which is more than his HOF father ever had in his entire career. Looking at the list of 30-40 HR hitters I don't even recognize most of the names most seasons nowadays. The home run has simply become too easy.
    I dont want to denigrate others here, but we're talking about Pete Alonso, not some schmuck who got hot one year.

    You don't think Pete Alonso has more "real power" than all but maybe a dozen of his contemporaries, tops?

    Never mind have you ever seen Alonso hit a baseball; have you ever even taken a good look at the guy? Dude's as big and strong as a horse.

    If the facts don't fit the story you're telling, the facts aren't wrong, the story is.

    Leave a comment:


  • willshad
    replied
    Originally posted by Cougar View Post

    I was in violent agreement with you for the first two sentences, but I think deriding Alonso is a poor choice. Alonso has very real power, and he may not have yet peaked.

    There are plenty of guys with more dubious 50-hr campaigns - Brady Anderson and Luis González come immediately to mind, but there are more. Hack Wilson never hit over 40 in any other season than 1930.
    That's just the thing; when EVERYONE has 'real power' then you have to start wondering what's real and what isn't. Mediocre hitting catcher Salvador Perez had 48 HRs last year, almost joining the 50 club. Marcus Semien, who is a league average hitter with decent power had 45. Little Jose Altuve has somehow turned into a power hitter. Vlad Jr at age 22, also hit 48 last season, which is more than his HOF father ever had in his entire career. Looking at the list of 30-40 HR hitters I don't even recognize most of the names most seasons nowadays. The home run has simply become too easy.
    Last edited by willshad; 04-30-2022, 11:11 PM.

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