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  • #46
    Originally posted by leecemark
    --I think you can make a case for DiMaggio being the better ballplayer in their respective primes. Williams quite clearly had the better career though. Any argument to the contary would only make its author look foolish. Of course, I'm one of people who already believe (not waiting for the new stats 20-30 years away ) Wilt Chamberalin was a much better player than Bill Russell too. Russell just had much better teammates. Which, now that I think about it, so did DiMaggio.
    Pretty good assessment, although the Red Sox in the late 40's were a very talented team, had they won the last game of the season in 48 & 49 could have had 3 pennants in 4 seasons. Ted was pretty much a one-dimensional player, although that skill, being batting, may be the most imporatant, since it produces runs and Ted was as good at that as anyone.

    A quick aside about the Wilt vs. Russell argument...best line I ever heard, on who was better was "if you brought an alien to watch an NBA game, he would be most impressed with Wilt. But if you wanted to win a championship, go with Russell." Either way, I have had very little interest in the NBA since their era, save for the Bird-Magic rivalry in the 80's and watching some of Jordan in the 90's.
    It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

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    • #47
      Sultan, that overlap image of the old and new Yankee stadium is one of the coolest things I've seen! You think Yankee stadium looks lopsided now, it is almost ridiculous how lopsided it was back then. I know most parks, for whatever unknown reason, are made to favor lefties but the original Yankee stadium was ridiculous. I mean what was the purpose of making it so ridiculously difficult for righties?? We all know how much Death Valley killed DiMaggio but not many people mention how much the Mick got killed too when he hit from the right side. :grouchy

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      • #48
        --On the other hand, The Mick took advantage of the short porch the 75% or so of the time he hit lefty. The park adjustments are probably fair enough for a switch hitter at Yankee Stadium.

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        • #49
          No doubt the 295 helped certain hitters with little pop. It would be nice if we had home run distances on record so we knew how much it actually helped. For a hitter like Ruth, a spray power hitter, who was pitched the way he was, Yankee Stadium no doubt hurt him as much as it helped. The ones he pulled didn't exactly scrape over the fence. Its unfair to paint every lefty with the same broad stroke just because the '295 was there.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Joltin' Joe
            I mean what was the purpose of making it so ridiculously difficult for righties?? We all know how much Death Valley killed DiMaggio but not many people mention how much the Mick got killed too when he hit from the right side. :grouchy
            Goodness gracious. I would think it was rather obvious. Yankee Stadium was built and good to go by 1923. It was built by Colonel Huston, and loosely based on the Polo Grounds, in a particular way.

            Their strategic design was to make it easy for The Babe to hit lots of homers, while simultaneously dampening enemy power. They figured more hitters hit right than left, so let's suppress that with an expansive LF bulge to absorb enemy power.

            They figured they had good OFers/pitchers, so they'd make it hard to score runs, while letting local Casey at the bat whale away.

            Now while this may be somewhat crude, that is their exact reasoning for such a strangely contorted ballpark configuration.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by 64Cards
              A quick aside about the Wilt vs. Russell argument...best line I ever heard, on who was better was "if you brought an alien to watch an NBA game, he would be most impressed with Wilt. But if you wanted to win a championship, go with Russell."
              Exactly, Russell was better in real life than he was on paper, and vice versa for Chamberlain. That's the point, but some of the constituency here obsessed with statistics (and not knowing anything else but statistical analysis) haven't broadened their horizons enough to realize this.

              And for the record, only when Wilt became a great all around player (and far less selfish player) did his team actually win a championship. His STATS were drastically less impressive than they had been in the early 60's, when he set all the records.

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              • #52
                --Depends which stats you're looking at. The year Chamberlain won his first championship he was 5th in scoring, led in rebounds and FG percentage and was fourth in assists. He probably would have led in blocked shots if they had kept track of that too. The change in style (and finally beating the Celtics) was probably driven mostly by having better teammates to share the load with. Chamberlain always beat Russell in their head to head matchups, but the other 4 guys on his side were getting their asses kicked.

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                • #53
                  A stat man lauds Joe Dimaggio!!

                  Joe Dimaggio
                  2150 Beach Street
                  San Franciso, CA 94123


                  January 3, 1985

                  Dear Joe,
                  My best wishes to you for a happy 1985. I hop you had a chance to see the NOVA show in which you so kindly participated. I have received so many favorable comments, with unanimous agreement that your appearance mad eth show.

                  I mentioned to you in San Francisco that my colleague Ed Purcell, a Nobel Laureate and one of the world’s greatest physicists, had determined that your fifty-six-game hitting streak was, statistically, the most unusual and unexpected great event in the history of baseball. Ed recently sent me the enclosed note in which he derives the reason for his statement. The mathematical details need not be perused, but the chart on the back of the second page will give you some idea of how remarkable and unpredictable your achievement was in statistical terms. The top row labeled b represents lifetime batting averages of .400, .380, and .300. The first column, labeled n at the left indicates the number of games in a hitting streak- 40, 50, and 60 in this example.

                  The nine numbers in the chart itself give you the probability that a batter with lifetime batting averages of b will have a hit streak of number of games n over a career of 1,000 games. Just consider the .0096 value for a .350 lifetime average, and a 50 game hitting streak. This means that a lifetime .350 batter has only nine chances in a thousand to have a 50 game hitting streak in a career of 1,000 games. To make it more likely than unlikely that such a hitting streak would exist, the number in the chart must be great than .5- for a probability of greater than one-half.

                  Thus, there would have to be fifty-two lifetime .350 hitters in order to make the probability of a 50 game hitting streak more than likely (.0086 times 52 equal the crucial value of one-half). I don’t have my encyclopedia handy, but I think that only 3 people actually have lifetime averages exceeding .350 (Cobb, Hornsby, and perhaps Joe Jackson). But your streak went for 56 games, a value that would only become more likely to happen (than not to happen) if baseball included more than 100 lifetime .350 hitters.

                  You asked me jokingly if this analysis meant that your record would never be broken. Even us pompous academics wouldn’t dare to make a statement like that. But Ed Purcell’s analysis does suggest that of all baseball records, your hit streak is surely the one least likely to be broken.

                  Thanks again for you time and, especially, for your kindness to my son Ethan.

                  Sincerely,
                  Steven Jay Gould

                  Gould (2003), Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville (188-189).

                  Ill post this on the “greatest records” thread, as well.

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by csh19792001
                    Exactly, Russell was better in real life than he was on paper, and vice versa for Chamberlain. That's the point, but some of the constituency here obsessed with statistics (and not knowing anything else but statistical analysis) haven't broadened their horizons enough to realize this.

                    And for the record, only when Wilt became a great all around player (and far less selfish player) did his team actually win a championship. His STATS were drastically less impressive than they had been in the early 60's, when he set all the records.
                    Bill Russell has to be recognized as one of the greatest team players in NBA history.
                    Russ started with the Celts in the late 50's. He played with Cousy, Sharman, Ramsey, Tommy H. of Auerbach's first freat dynasty. He was the defense that the team needed to go over the top.
                    Auerbach changed the entire team over the course of the next several years. He brought in Santch Sanders, K.C. Jones, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, and others. Guess what? With Russell at Center as the cornerstone the Celtics never missed a beat and kept winning.
                    The man won 2 NCAA Championships; then a Gold Medal in the Summer Olympics; and won the NBA Championship 11 or 13 years!!! Yhe only 2 years the Celtics did not win the Championship was in '57 when Russell was injured during the Finals and the Bob Pettit/Cliff Hagen Hawks from St. Louis won. The other was when Wilt, surrounded by Hal Greer, Wali Jones, Luke Jackson, Chet 'The Jet Walker. and Billy Cunningham as a rookie 6th man won it all.

                    As for Wilt, froma standpoint or natural ability I think his 2nd only to MJ as the freatest player in NBA history. Forget his scoring for a second: Look at his rebound and shots blocked (for when the NBA counted them). Plus, he's the only Center in NBA history to lead the league in assists for a season.

                    Yankees Fan Since 1957

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by leecemark
                      --Depends which stats you're looking at. The year Chamberlain won his first championship he was 5th in scoring, led in rebounds and FG percentage and was fourth in assists. He probably would have led in blocked shots if they had kept track of that too. The change in style (and finally beating the Celtics) was probably driven mostly by having better teammates to share the load with. Chamberlain always beat Russell in their head to head matchups, but the other 4 guys on his side were getting their asses kicked.
                      And Russell would let Chamberlain score 50 (concentrating on the rest of the game), because the Celtics would still win, and Russell wasn't the selfish egomaniac as Wilt was. He cared more about his teammates than his stats and personal glory, and his teams won as a result.

                      Only when Wilt adopted this philosophy to become a far less selfless and more complete (yet far less statistically dominating player) did he actually win a championship. The year Philly finally won, he was scoring HALF of what he was in his best year.

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                      • #56
                        --I'm not sure that allowing the man you are supposed to be guarding score 50 points can be made up in other areas. I'll stick with my interpretation. Chamberlain could beat Russell, but not by enough to make up for the whipping the other Celtics were putting on his teammates.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by leecemark
                          --Depends which stats you're looking at. The year Chamberlain won his first championship he was 5th in scoring, led in rebounds and FG percentage and was fourth in assists. He probably would have led in blocked shots if they had kept track of that too. The change in style (and finally beating the Celtics) was probably driven mostly by having better teammates to share the load with. Chamberlain always beat Russell in their head to head matchups, but the other 4 guys on his side were getting their asses kicked.
                          Exactly. His 76'er team had Hal Greer (HOF), Chet Walker (outstanding for years), Wali Jones, and Luke Jackson. Billy Cunningham (HOF) was a young 6th man.

                          His Laker Championship teams had Jerry West (HOF), Gail Goodrich, Happy Hairston, and Jimmy McMillan. Elgin Baylor (HOF) by then was best by injuries and a shadown of himself by the time Wilt got to LA.

                          When Wilt had the teammates he blended into the team concept and was a winner.

                          Russell was surrounded by HOF and near HOF'ers his entire career. BUT give him credit, he was the foundation to two totally distinct Celtic teams that never missed a beat and kept winning.
                          How can you argue with 2 NCAA titles; and Olympic Gold Medal; and 11 of 13 NBA Championships the last couple as a player/coach????

                          Yankees Fan Since 1957

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by csh19792001
                            selfish egomaniac as Wilt was.
                            Wilt was NEVER selfish or anything in the sense of the word. He just wanted to win. His first seven years in the league his coach instructed him to score like no man before-he did. The rest of his career his coach instructed him to take the higher percentage shot and get his teammates involved- he did. If you're ever gonna criticze Wilt's style of play blame his coaches, not him. NO athlete ever did what he was instructed to do better than Wilt.

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                            • #59
                              My gut reaction is that, if I were starting a franchise and could pick either Joe or Ted to be the headpiece of it, and I only had 5 seconds to pick, I'd end up picking Joe. But I tend to believe in the intrinsic value of being a well-rounded player.
                              "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by csh19792001
                                And Russell would let Chamberlain score 50 (concentrating on the rest of the game), because the Celtics would still win, and Russell wasn't the selfish egomaniac as Wilt was. He cared more about his teammates than his stats and personal glory, and his teams won as a result.

                                Only when Wilt adopted this philosophy to become a far less selfless and more complete (yet far less statistically dominating player) did he actually win a championship. The year Philly finally won, he was scoring HALF of what he was in his best year.
                                I agree with others. I don't understand how Russell could have actually helped his team by allowing Wilt to score 50 points. Why does Wilt even have to incorporate his teammates if he can just score by himself every posession?

                                Also, from all I have read about Wilt, he was anything but a selfish egomaniac.

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