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  • #46
    Originally posted by 538280
    I think today's fans (at least on this board) give Ty Cobb too much respect. They look at his Relative BA (which is impressive, no doubt), and take it without adjusting for quality of play. You'll find almost everyone on here who supports Cobb as their #1 player is biased towards old timers and make almost no quality of play adjustments. To prove even more how much his Rel. BA isn't as impressive, his average didn't raise at all the 1920s when averages went up. That, to me, is alarming.

    Also, they claim Cobb had great power. Cobb did have decent power, and probably would hit around 25 HRs today, but why didn't his power increase in the 1920s? That also alarms me. Cobb goes very overrated on this board. I have yet to see a good argument for him over Mays as the #1 MLB CFer. Mays was a better fielder, and virtually the same as a hitter.

    Many would say Cobb was far superior as a hitter, but I'd take Mays. Mays has a similar OPS+, he faced better competition, and is more of my style (that's subjective, but it does factor into my rankings).
    Chris,

    On public opinion:
    I think that if believe that Cobb gets too much credit/respect on this board, your belief probably stems in large part from the fact that you probably haven't been privy WORLD of recondite information available on Ty Cobb. Some of us have spent years studying Cobb and have formed our opinions based on everything we've come across.

    On contemporary/expert accounts:
    You're a huge Oscar Charleston supporter (probably his biggest partisan here), so you certainly have a great deal of reverence for (and give a great deal of weight to) expert opinion/observation). This should only greatly increase your esteem for Cobb!! But again, it's going to be based on a thorough study of Bill's files, as well as the bios by people like Richard Bak, Mark Okkonen, and Charles Alexander.

    Now, if you read all of Bill's files and all of the Cobb biopics with an open mind and still feel the same way, I think your musings here about Cobb being overrated would carry a great deal of weight. In that case, you'd be as neo Cobb scribe). I believe that right now, you're still only getting a portion of the story (numbers on a page).

    As to what you said about OPS+:
    Cobb had a 167 OPS+, Mays had a 156. That isn't very close- and certainly not as close as it appears at face value. One guy is 9th, one 19th all-time, but more importantly, at that exalted level, each point means a hell of a lot more than it does when we're talking about two guys, say, one with an OPS+ of 100 and the other 111. Just as the separation in IQ between someone with a 100 and 111 is a far less difference as that between someone with a 156 IQ vs. a 167. Adjusting for era, it would be closer, but I doubt it would draw Mays even.

    As to Cobb having "decent" power
    That's a complete injustice to him. He led the league in slugging 8 times (only 3 players have led the league in more seasons). He also led in OPS+ 11 times. Only Hornsby (12), and Ruth (13) led the league more often.

    Cobb was the premier hitter for average AND power for just over a decade. How many players have done that?

    Cobb vs. Mays:
    Heads up, Cobb vs. Mays (some cogent arguments were made here, and the final vote tally was 27 for Cobb and 11 for Mays).

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=29371

    Cobb has been elected ahead of Mays (and pretty handily at that) in both of the "greatest position player" threads we've had over the past 2 years.

    But just taking the numbers approach....

    This thread (below) directly addresses the issue at hand. It might be the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date. You've expressed that you don't give WARP any credence, so maybe you'll like (and understand) Schell's system of derivation better.

    http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...adjusted+stats

    Ty Cobb
    .336 BA; 22 HR; .406 OBP; .550 SLG; 63 SB

    Willie Mays
    .308 BA; 29 HR; .391 OBP; .566 SLG; 49 SB

    Not too difficult a choice here- even with a very steep timeline adjustment that augments Mays' numbers, Cobb still comes out with better seasonal averages. Of course, Mays' fielding would draw him closer, but would it make up for the gap in offensive value? Doubtful.

    Cobb, the 1920's, and swinging for homeruns:
    As to the "lack of going for homeruns" criticism Cobb is always levied with.... I'll ask: how many top players from the previous generation that lasted into the 1920's completely changed their style and "started going for homeruns"? Speaker? Wheat? Collins? Cobb grew up learning a completely different style of baseball. He played it to the highest possible level for almost 15 years before one guy in the entire world came along and was successful at playing a heretical style of ball.

    You're essentially saying that Cobb should have simply repudiated his INCREDIBLE success during the 1907-19 period, dropped everything, and one day start swinging all out for homeruns every time up (in a park with a 390 ft right field wall, no less). Does it sound like a winning proposition to not only try to revamp your entire approach mid-career, but also doing so while playing in a park like that?

    There wasn't a compelling reason for him to try to become Babe Ruth. I'm sure he believe he had a lot more to lose than he had to gain by trying to become an entirely different kind of player... and can we blame him?

    Summary:
    I can see very strong arguments for Mays as the greatest ever (more so than for Ruth), but I still see more evidence for Cobb as the greatest ever. I make timeline adjustments all the time and have no qualms about Mays holding the #1 spot in the eyes of many astute baseball aficionados. Mays has moved ahead of both Ruth and Wagner on my alltime list in the past 2 years. I've learned a great deal about competitive balance and SD based player/league evaluations, and have many "modern" players in my top 20.
    Last edited by csh19792001; 09-29-2005, 06:22 PM.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by leecemark
      --Bill, assuming I am who you mean by "Mark" your list is badly out of date. Currently; 1) Mays, 2) Ruth, 3) Aaron, 4) Williams, 5) Schmidt, 6) Mantle, 7) Musial, 8) Wagner, 9) Cobb, 10) Bonds or Charleston.
      Are you at all serious about this as a top 10 greatest players ever?
      Last edited by csh19792001; 09-29-2005, 06:45 PM.

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      • #48
        Originally posted by 538280
        Bill, I think you're misunderstanding my point. My point was that Cobb supporters are being biased by ranking Cobb #1 in the first place. I honestly see absolutely no evidence for rating Cobb over Mays unless you don't make nearly enough era adjustment.

        As far as I'm concered, most of the Cobb supporters are the "there's nothing better than 1910s baseball" types. To many of them, the deadball era is their favorite era, and they wish the game went back to that style. They don't like sluggers for some foolish reason. They long for 50 stolen bases to be commonplace. Cobb supporters, don't get me wrong, I'm not insulting you, but your opinions are heavily biased.
        http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...2&postcount=49

        What did I just put all that effort in for? LOL. :o

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by csh19792001
          Are you at all serious about this as a top 10 greatest players ever?
          I think Mark's list makes perfect sense. It closely models my own, except I'd put Williams lower and Charleston higher.

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by pjf
            Bill, As our resident Ty Cobb expert (I mean this in a flattering way) please take a shot at answering this. Reading your posts it's been puzzling me when you speak of Cobb and his handling " an entire team piling on him". You say he suffered a nervous breakdown but that "he took whatever they threw at him but didn't break".
            I'm sure Bill is typing as I type this, and will respond with a well written, lengthy, informative, and sensative reply. But let me just say that Cobb didn't bring anything on himself. He was a youngster competing for the third spot in the outfield, when 3 others were more than capable. There would have to be an odd man out, and there was a large "clique" on the team that did everything they could to break Cobb's spirits. To send him waddling home with his tail between his legs. He didn't though. He took everything they gave him, and in the end their harshness proved to be the best thing for him. He ate alone, roomed alone, had pranks played on him. He had much alone time to study pitchers, to think about how to succeed. He should have thanked them, and secretly probably did.
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-30-2005, 08:43 PM.

            Comment


            • #51
              Pete,

              Thanks for your apt question. After all these years of stereo-typing, I am not put off at all at your excellent question. I have taken the time to take the major controversies of Ty's career, and have stored them in my Ty Cobb Thread, like a refrigerator. It is my 4th post, "Did All of Ty Cobb's Team Mates Hate Him?" I take it slowly and try to do it justice. I don't want to post it here, due to it's length. But it is just back of this 1 page of topics. Many of Ty's early team mates thought he wasn't right in the head.

              In those days, it was normal for a team of vets to haze rookies right back to the minors. If they wanted to protect/reserve a starting slot for a buddy, they'd make it too tough for the rookie who got an invite to team try-outs. Ty couldn't take the easy way out, and leave. His Dad's unexpected death left the family in desperate straights. Could have easily lost their homestead. So he had to take it.

              Yes, he did suffer a nervous breakdown. Mid-July, he was hitting with league leaders around .350. Suddenly, dropped to .320, hands shook, could hardly hold the bat, etc.

              Management shipped him home to a sanitarium, outside Detroit for about 5 weeks. When he returned, he stabilized and led the team in hitting, around .316. Yes, he did snap, crack, broke. But he didn't stay that way. He came back and never let them see him cry.

              Let me know what you think of my article.

              Bill

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by 538280
                Many would say Cobb was far superior as a hitter, but I'd take Mays. Mays has a similar OPS+, he faced better competition, and is more of my style (that's subjective, but it does factor into my rankings).
                How much of an era adjustment you give is, of course, a question of preference. Personally, I'd say that the marginal difference in league quality between, say, 1910 and 1960 would be somewhere between 5 and 10%. In other words, it's definitely something to take into consideration, but it's far, far from determinative.

                Another thing you have to realize... OPS+ will always, always, ALWAYS underrate contact hitters. Just think about it. For SLG, one HR is equivalent in value to 4 singles. One HR in 1960 was worth nowhere NEAR as much as four singles in 1910. 40 HR are just plain not worth 160 singles. But for SLG, it is. So a guy who doesn't hit homers (or plays in an era where a lot of homers aren't hit) will always be underrated using OPS+.

                Also, last I checked, 156 wasn't really similar to 167. It's the same difference as between, say, your boy Reggie Jackson, and David Justice.

                From where I sit, it goes like this: Cobb wasn't anywhere near as good a fielder as Mays. Cobb was a MUCH better baserunner (though still probably overrated as a baserunner). Cobb was a MUCH better hitter. Mays is #3 in my rankings, but Cobb's 2.
                "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by 538280
                  But Bill, you should give Babe a small hit. You adjusted Babe's numbers properly. However, you didn't give Cobb's numbers enough of a hit. You basically said Cobb would have the same value today as he did in the 1910s, which is obviously not anywhere near the truth.
                  Chris. You didn't read my post carefully enough. If you had, you would have seen that I DO assign Ty a small hit. And here is was, again.
                  --------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  I assign him a Relative BA in his best yrs. of 150%. He exceeded that around 9 times, so I top him out around 150% as his best in later times, due to improved competition. He would normally come in first in his league.

                  I also assign a Relative SLG. ave. of 1.60%. His leading ratios in his career were: 1.72, 1.65, 1.64, 1.64, 1.58, 1.57, 1.54, 1.50, 1.49, 1.44, 1.44, 1.43, 1.42, 142. So, from these ratios, I assign him a 1.60 in his best yr. and from 1.55-1.60 in his best seasons. Again bowing to improved competition.

                  So, although he hit 157% BA in his day, I lower him to 150% today, due to improved league quality.

                  Same thing for Rel. Slg. Ave. He hit 1.72 in his day, and I lower him to 160% today, again due to improved league quality.

                  Your critique is unfair. And you also fail to consider his almost psycho competitive attitude. He was the most competitive thing in sports during his prime.

                  Bill Burgess
                  Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-29-2005, 09:04 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                    I'm sure Bill is typing as I type this, and will respond with a well written, lengthy, informative, and sensative reply. But let me just say that Cobb didn't bring anything on himself. He was a youngster competing for the third spot in the outfield, when 3 others were more than capable. There would have to be an odd man out, and there was a large "clique" on the team that did everything they could to break Cobb's spirits. To send him waddling home with his tail between his legs. He didn't though. He took everything they gave him, and in the end their harshness proved to be the best thing for him. He ate alone, roomed alone, had pranks played on him. He had much alone time to study pitchers, to think about how to succeed. He should have thanked them, and secretly probably did.

                    Sultan, Actually, Cobb is not my greatest fascination so I've read little. However, what you post is obviously one side of the story which I've heard before. Somehow, it just goes counter to my instincts. As a guy who has played baseball I'm sure you've seen some jealousy as have I. But by and large it almost always works the other way. On every team that I've played on if a guy could help us that was all we wanted to know. Given that a persons personality is pretty much set early on and that Cobb's was pretty much known throughout his entire life I find the picked on, jealous story to be only the tip of the iceberg.


                    Cobb had problems with many of his teammates including the supposed good natured catcher Charley Schmidt. It wasn't just limited to McIntyre and the other outfielders. Most of this is really irrelevant anyway but Bill certainly has a point of view that I am interested in. There just seems that there is a lot more here than a simple explanation.

                    Also, since I've done little reading on the era (my interest are elsewhere) I really would like to know about Cobb's intangibles. Sure he was a great player but was he a positive team influence ? Even if he was an SOB he still could have had a positive effect on his team. On the other hand some of his antics could have irritated teammates. As you know team chemistry and attitude is more important than many realize.


                    Eddie Lopat on the 1951 Yankees: " Hell, I didn't give a damn if Raschi won forty games or Reynolds won fifty. I didn't give a damn who won, just as long as New York won. We had a esprit de corps on that ball club. That's what amazed Stengel, too. He never saw that before. Also, older players used to reprimand the younger ones ... We were a team and didn't tolerate individual play...Once a young Yogi Berra asked out of the second game of a doubleheader. DiMag says to Yoge, 'What the hell's wrong with you?' So Yoge says 'What do you mean?' DiMag says 'You're 23 years old and you can't catch a doubleheader? My ass'. And boy you could have heard a pin drop in that clubhouse...Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford used to say that they thought we were the meanest men they ever knew."


                    Obviously, the point of the Lopat quote was to reinforce how important team attitude is to winning. DiMaggio,in fact, claims that he admired Gehrig more than any other ballplayer for exactly the same thing. Relating this to Cobb you'll forgive me if I have trouble swallowing that three or more jealous teammates were the sole cause of the problem. Maybe, Bill can convince me otherwise.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Pete,

                      You do bring up a great point. Was Cobb never in the wrong? Hell, no. He was human and he sometimes was the biggest jerk to ever take the field. I will give you an example.

                      Once, a pitcher was giving Cobb a problem, and he wanted out of the game. So, Davey Jones was on first, and Cobb steps out of the batter's box, and yells down to first, "Can't you see the 'hit & run' sign?"

                      He had not given it, but wanted to embarrass Jones. Next pitch, he does it again. Steps out of the box and calls down, "Ah ain't gonna play with no man who misses the 'hit & run' twice in a row! He sulks off.

                      Now Jones is furious. He tells Cobb, "You gutless *******! You're chicken to bat against that pitcher! I won't be your patsy!"

                      So, Cobb was the problem there, not the victim. And he also had the problem of not being able to relax, laugh, soften a tense atmosphere, etc.

                      So I will conduct no white-washes ever. Ty did cause a lot of his own messes. But once the rep was made, a whole lot of it was forced on him. But he was the problem maybe half the time. Just couldn't bend, couldn't lose an argument. Had to be right all the time.

                      So, Pete is quite right about this.

                      Bill
                      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-14-2005, 05:49 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by [email protected]
                        Pete,

                        You do bring up a great point. Was Cobb never in the wrong? Hell, no. He was human and he sometimes was the biggest ******* to ever take the field. I will give you an example.

                        Once, a pitcher was giving Cobb a problem, and he wanted out of the game. So, Davey Jones was on first, and Cobb steps out of the batter's box, and yells down to first, "Can't you see the 'hit & run' sign?"

                        Bill, thanks for you honesty. You saved me a lot of reading. Truthfully, if I were McIntyre and the rest of them I might have given Cobb and his attitude a hard time also. Certainly, your comments puts everything in perspective. Cobb's personality and veteran players, not a good mix.

                        The more important questions are: #1 How did this affect the team and it's potential to win championships #2 Was Cobb just an individually great player (Chamberlain) or did he add something extra to the team (Russell)? #3 Was Cobb more interested in winning than personal performance? Thanks, I'll read your article tomorrow and get back to you. LOL
                        Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-30-2005, 08:42 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by pjf
                          Sultan, Actually, Cobb is not my greatest fascination so I've read little. However, what you post is obviously one side of the story which I've heard before. Somehow, it just goes counter to my instincts. As a guy who has played baseball I'm sure you've seen some jealousy as have I. But by and large it almost always works the other way. On every team that I've played on if a guy could help us that was all we wanted to know. Given that a persons personality is pretty much set early on and that Cobb's was pretty much known throughout his entire life I find the picked on, jealous story to be only the tip of the iceberg.
                          I was in no way trying to give one big blanket idea into why Cobb was how he was. He's far too complex for that.
                          His first taste of big league life though, cannot be over-looked, as we know first impressions last forever. He realized just how cut throat the league was, even on his own team, and this pushed him even harder to succeed, but also shaped his outlook. One of the biggest incidents had to be the Kid Elberfeld play, where his knee pushed Cobbs head into the ground. A professional "teach" as Cobb called it I think. From that point on, he knew that it was survival of the fittest, at all costs.
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 09-30-2005, 08:41 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Ruth
                            Williams
                            Cobb
                            Gehrig
                            Hornsby
                            shoeless Joe
                            Speaker
                            Wagner
                            Aaron
                            Mays
                            Mantle

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                              In regards to translation, you know whats sorta interesting;

                              Ruth and Cobb weren't afforded helmets, body armor, batting gloves, the small strike zone, or ligher-harder bats. Yet the pitchers could throw inside and dust them off at will, never allowing them to get comfortable at the plate. Umpires warnings rarely came, generally only when there had been an open fued between two certain players. This is one of the most over-looked factors between eras. Aside from all the technological advances, its small things like this, that allow for huge offensive numbers. Playes today can dig in, and dive out over the plate, never worrying about an inside pitch. This level of comfort as a hitter is absolutely huge, a comfort level that Cobb, Ruth, or even Frank Robinson didn't enjoy. It makes a huge difference. Seems like MLB would get a clue and allow pitchers to have more freedom, but then again, why would they want offensive numbers to decrease. If they wanted that, they could just call the true strike zone, move some fences back, outlaw body armor, closely monitor bat manufacturers, raise the seams up to a normal level, and get rid of the hitters backrop.
                              ABSOLUTELY.

                              And what historical great has benefitted from this more than anyone?

                              Balco Barry Bonds, replete with full body armor, hanging that elbow out over the plate and taking away a large portion of the pitcher's strike zone (people seem to have totally forgotten that yes, the plate is FOR THE PITCHER). Bonds digs in nice and comfy without fear of recourse, and no fear of death or serious injury.

                              How much would Cobb's, Ruth's, and Williams' numbers have improved if they could have gotten get nice and comfortable, hanging their bodies over the plate with impunity like Bonds? In the old days there were notorious head hunters like Carl Mays and Grove... later on Early Wynn, then guys like Gibson and Drysdale.

                              Where are those guys today? Today pitchers get tossed just for suspected INTENT to hit a batter, much less repeated actual offenses.

                              Today, pitchers have been totally divested of a fundamental component of the pitching arsenal. Just another factor conspiring to form the bloated post 1993 homerun epoch.
                              Last edited by csh19792001; 09-30-2005, 11:08 AM.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Chris,

                                My good buddy, and great ally. Just as I got a rep as the anti-Ruth, you are in danger of becoming the anti-Bonds.

                                Yes, Barry cheated. Yes, his stats are inflated beyond recognition, since 2001

                                But I've never heard you take Mark McGwire to task, and he also had the body armour, as do Sammy Sosa, and all the others. They all have the body armour today.

                                I do wish that the pre-1990 players had all had that too. Would have made them less vulnerable to injuries. But Barry has done things that the other armoured, steroid abusers have not. I do not defend Barry from his just critics. He earned his hard knocks, and history will discount him massively.

                                His legacy will forever carry either a visible or invisible asterisk. Either on the page or in our minds. He WILL pay for his sins, of that I assure you. I am one of the few who have yet to downrate him in my lists. But almost all of the others have returned him to his pre-2001 level. He is probably listing around 15th on most people's lists.

                                I just wish you would broaden your broadsides and include Barry in a select group of abusers, and not always isolate him as the prime offender, just because he was better. But even buddies disagree on lots of stuff. Still cool, good brother.

                                Old buddy,
                                Bill (last of the Barry lovers)

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