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Roy White over Jim Rice!?

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  • Roy White over Jim Rice!?

    I need some help making sense of this one...

    During the Yankees telecast last night, Michael Kay cited a comment by Bill James in the Boston Globe stating the Roy White's career was better than Jim Rice. I don't know if James also implied that White is thus more Hall worthy than Rice, but the Yankees announcers nonetheless took it that way.

    Now I know Roy White was a very good player on some poor Yankees teams and was a great complimentary piece on some great Yankees teams, but I have never thought of him as being anything remotely near Hall of Fame worthy or better than say current players like Matt Lawton or Marquis Grissom or recent players like Lenny Dykstra and Andy van Slyke (though White endeared himself more than these guys by playing for some great Yankees teams); but I can't make sense of how Roy White was a better player and was more valuable to his team than Jim Rice?

    White was twice an all-star ('69 and '70) and his best season was 1971 during which he batted .296, 22 homeruns, 94 RBIs, 109 runs and 24 SBs. He never hit more than 19 homeruns in any other season and only topped 80 RBI's one other time. He never batted over .300 and only once finished in the top 10 in batting ('71). He never won any major awards or finished in the top 10 in MVP voting, compared to six top 5 finishes for Rice including a win.

    Here are some career totals for the two players with 162 game averages in parentheses:

    HTML Code:
    		White			Rice
    Years		15			16
    Hits		1803 (155)		2452 (190)
    HR		160 (14)		382 (30)
    RBI		758 (65)		1451 (113)
    Runs		964 (83)		1249 (97)
    SB		223 (20)		58 (4)
    Avg.		.271			.298
    OBP		.360			.352
    OPS+		121			128
    The Fenway effect aside, with the exception of stolen bases and a slight difference in OBP, Rice blows White out of the water in every category.

    White may have been better in the field and on the bases than Rice, but Rice's vastly superior hitting should make this a no brainer, so could someone please explain why Bill James may have thought this?
    Last edited by DoubleX; 07-29-2004, 08:55 AM.

  • #2
    Either he's saying Rice is less Hall worthy than a player who is not Hall worthy

    Or maybe he's including post-player careers?????


    • #3
      I don't know what he meant, but I assume it was just playing careers since Michael Kay kept saying that Bill James said Roy White had a better career than Jim Rice. And Michael Kay and Ken Singleton kept saying that if you take away Rice's MVP year ('78), it would be easier to see that White is better. How the heck can that be? Rice had 6 or 7 other seasons with similar production to '78, White never had one such season, let alone 6 or 7 seasons that were even half as productive.


      • #4
        Roy White is not even on the same page as Jim Rice.

        Jim Rice was the best player in the American League a couple of years and Roy White was never even the best player on his own team.

        White was a good major Leaguer but nothing more.

        The New York Yankee mouth pieces would spout enough crap to make you believe Jason Giambi is the second coming of Lou Gehrig also


        • #5
          I didn't hear the commentary, but I also fidn it hard to believe.

          White never had a top-10 in MVP voting, only played on two all-star teams, doesn't rank in the top 100 in any career categories, has a black ink of only 8 and grey ink of 73. A nice player but not a superstar. He top comparisons are to jose Cardenal and Claudell Washington, which sounds about right.

          Rice has 1 MVP, as well as finishing third twice, 4th twice, and 5th once. He made 8 all-star teams. He is in the top 100 career slugging percentage, hits, total based, home runs, RBIs and extra base hits. His black ink is 33 and grey ink is 176, both above the average of hall of famers. His top (non active) comparisons are Orlando Cepeda and Duke Snider, which again sounds about right.

          Rice was one of the premier players in the league for a decade, White never was. There is really no comparison - rice should be in HOF conversations (and I presonally believe he should be in), but no one would ever confuse Roy White for a Hall of Famer.

          Again, I didn't hear the commentary, but I have to belive the Yankees announcers took it out of context. These two just don't compare.


          • #6
            Does White still work for the Yankees?
            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


            • #7
     - last 2 paragraphs

              Which years are being compared here?


              • #8
                --The Yanks announcers got it right. In his New Historical Baseball Abstract James has a lengthy article on why he thinks White was better than Rice. Basically, he say parks effects, more walks and less GIDP for White overcome the huge difference in raw numbers and most people's perceptions. He ranks White 25 and Rice 27 amoung LFers. I don't buy it myself, but it is what James had to say.


                • #9
                  Eh... Jim Rice is a LOT closer to the Hall than Roy White is anyway. Bill James' is just one opinion... and I don't think it's a ridiculous one, but like leecemark I disagree with him in going that far against Rice.


                  • #10
                    I'll summarize from The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.

                    James points out that Rice's typical triple-crown states from 1979-79 were 34, 114, .311, while White's typical states from 1968-72 were 15, 74, .283. However, White had 87 walks per season compared to Rice's 46, struck out only 58 times as compared to Rice's 118, and stole 20 bases per year compared to Rice's 8 with a better stolen base percentage. White also grounded into fewer double plays, and had more sacrifice hits and flies than Rice.

                    Now, according to James, Rice was creating 115 runs per season, while White was creating 94 per season. But during White's playing days, the AL averaged 3.80 runs per team per game, and Yankee Stadium reduced runs scored by 9%. During Rice's peak period, the AL averaged 4.34 runs per team per game, and Fenway Park increased run scoring by 20%. According to James, "Making that adjustment, White's 94 runs per season represent about 26 games worth of team offense (94 divided by 3.65), while Rice's 115 runs represent about 24 games worth of offense (115 divided by 4.73)."

                    James then proceeds to state that White made 419 outs per season, while Rice made 456, and White was better than Rice in the field. He also points out that in 1977 and 1979, Rice hit 39 home runs, but only 12 of them were on the road; White in his best years would hit 10 home runs at home, and 10 on the road.

                    Finally, we'll look at win shares.

                    White - 263
                    Rice - 282

                    Best three seasons
                    White - 34, 29, 29
                    Rice - 36, 28, 28

                    Best five consecutive seasons
                    White - 140
                    Rice - 127

                    Win shares per 162 games
                    White - 22.65
                    Rice - 21.85

                    That's Bill James' argument. He states that "There isn't an ocean between them, just a stream." For the record, James placed White as the 25th best major league left fielder of all time, while he placed Rice 27th on the list of left fielders.
                    Last edited by AG2004; 07-29-2004, 12:41 PM. Reason: (Typo corrected)


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose
                      Does White still work for the Yankees?
                      Roy White replaced Lee Mazilli as the Yanks Firstbase and Outfield coach after Lee was named manager of the Orioles. I believe he was coaching in the A's system for the past few years and was a Yankees coach for a few years in the 80's.


                      • #12
                        When I read this in James's book, I immdiately disagreed. White wasn't a bad player by any means, but he wasn't the perennial All-Star, threatening offensive force that Rice was. He may have had a better eye than Rice, but Rice has hall credibility, and White doesn't. Rice was argubaly the most feared hitter in the American League at his peak. White may have been faster, too, but he just wasn't the threat that Rice was, and Rice's hitting abilities put him above White in my eyes.



                        • #13
                          James ranking White as the 25th greatest left fielder in history over Rice as the 27th is not necessarily the same as James saying that White is "more Hall-worthy" than Rice. James might very well have simply been trying to follow the system's logic to the extreme just to make the point that (a) Rice wasn't as good as some people believe and (b) White was better than many people remember.

                          Much the same as James ranking of Craig Biggio as the 5th greatest second baseman in history. Biggio certainly wasn't then (nor will ever be) the 5th best ever, but the controversy surrounding the selection certainly brought an awful lot of attention to Biggio's fabulous career, creating a spotlight on a great player that otherwise might have slipped under the radar. Perhaps James wasn't so much saying that Biggio is de facto the 5th best second baseman, so much as he belongs in the discussion of the 10-best ever?

                          Those who've read as much James as I have would probably be inclined to agree that the man is a good writer who often elects to make a statement to illustrate his point more than attempting to make the statement itself definitive. James is - first and foremost - a writer, no a scientist.

                          Rice was a legitimately great player for a brief period and a very good one for an extended period. White was a very good player for an extended period. I think James just saw some similarities in their value and used the occassion to draw attention to his point-of-view on both players. I doubt that, given the opportunity, James himself would select White over Rice to play for his team if he could go back to both when they were young and James had games to win. The ratings were a product of a formula. Keep in mind, also, that the highest possible input of the formula for those rankings is the subjective part, which might be the reason White was #25 to Rice's #27.

                          Either way, without that in the book, is it likely that two Yankee announcers would have mentioned Roy White at all in the broadcast? After all, how many Yankee fans, under the age of, say, 21, have ever even heard of Roy White?
                          "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                          "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                          "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                          "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Chancellor
                            Either way, without that in the book, is it likely that two Yankee announcers would have mentioned Roy White at all in the broadcast? After all, how many Yankee fans, under the age of, say, 21, have ever even heard of Roy White?
                            Well, all of them, I'm sure, seeing as how he's the Yankees current first base coach. Before he became the Yanks' first base coach, though, I can assure you that almost none would be the answer to that question.

                            Although you might also be able to question how many baseball fans under the age of 21 have heard of Jim Rice. I'll tell you that I'm over 21, by a handful of years although not decades, and when I hear the name "Jim Rice," the first thing that pops into my head is the guy who used to be an outfielder for the Washington Senators in the 20's, Sam Rice (one of my favorites, by the way). In the pantheon of Red Sox' heroes, Jim Rice isn't exactly a Ted Willams, Carl Yastremski, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, etc... he's not even a Mike Greenwell.
                            "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                            Sean McAdam,


                            • #15
                              --Well he's not Ted Williams, but he's not Mike Greenwell either. I'm not sure how popular Rice may be in Boston, but he was better than Greenwell and Pesky and probably Doerr. For a few years he was a superstar and for most of his career a nice guy to have in your lineup. He doesn't exactly have my wholehearted endorsement for the Hall of Fame, but he's better than any number of current members.


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