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Mickey Mantle V. Willie Mays

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  • Mantle by a slim margin.
    “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

    "I don't care if the guy is yellow or black, or if he has stripes like a ******* zebra. I'm the manager of this team and I say he [Robinson] plays." - Leo Durocher

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    • Did I commented on this post? I think there are two different things: being a better ballplayer or having a better career.

      There are many examples or comparisons for this, but I'll get to the point. Mantle was the better ballplayer, but Mays had the better career. I think that has to be obvious. Mantle had to many health issues to be on par with Mays who is widely regarded as one of the 3 best players ever, if not the GOAT.
      "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
      George Brett

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      • Originally posted by Yankillaz View Post
        Did I commented on this post? I think there are two different things: being a better ballplayer or having a better career.

        There are many examples or comparisons for this, but I'll get to the point. Mantle was the better ballplayer, but Mays had the better career. I think that has to be obvious. Mantle had to many health issues to be on par with Mays who is widely regarded as one of the 3 best players ever, if not the GOAT.
        I can agree to three out of four, I don't see Mays as the greatest of all time. I think that honor goes to Ruth.

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        • Originally posted by Yankillaz View Post
          Did I commented on this post? I think there are two different things: being a better ballplayer or having a better career.

          There are many examples or comparisons for this, but I'll get to the point. Mantle was the better ballplayer, but Mays had the better career. I think that has to be obvious. Mantle had to many health issues to be on par with Mays who is widely regarded as one of the 3 best players ever, if not the GOAT.
          To be honest, I'm no longer convinced Mantle had the better peak. About the only thing Mantle did better than Mays was walk, which made him a slightly better offensive player.

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          • Originally posted by fenrir View Post

            To be honest, I'm no longer convinced Mantle had the better peak. About the only thing Mantle did better than Mays was walk, which made him a slightly better offensive player.
            I agree. Mays' and Mantle's top three seasons are nearly identical by Baseball reference WAR. If you look at top 5 seasons, top 7 seasons, or top ten seasons Mays jumps way ahead.

            They were both great ballplayers at their best.
            ''A sport without black people ain't a sport. That's just a game!... That's like me saying, 'Ooh, I got the highest SAT score in the whole world, but no Asians took the test.' What kind of crap is that? 'I just won the marathon. No Kenyans could run, though!'''
            Chris Rock

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            • Originally posted by westfield View Post

              I agree. Mays' and Mantle's top three seasons are nearly identical by Baseball reference WAR. If you look at top 5 seasons, top 7 seasons, or top ten seasons Mays jumps way ahead.

              They were both great ballplayers at their best.
              Yep. Problem is people look strictly at OPS+ and automatically deem Mantle's peak as better, not taking into account other factors. Even if Mantle was better than Mays for 2 or so seasons, that doesn't necessarily make his peak better. Mays basically had 13 seasons in a row where he was an MVP caliber player, and six seasons with a WAR higher than 10.0. Mantle on the other hand "only" had 3 seasons with a WAR 10.0 or higher. I don't consider WAR to be the be all end all stat, but I think WAR does highlight that Mays was an absolutely brilliant player at his peak. Just because he didn't post ridiculous video game offensive numbers like Ruth or Bonds from 2001-2004, doesn't take away the fact that at his peak Mays was among the very best players ever. Heck, people gush over Mike Trout now, when Mays was basically Mike Trout for most of his career.

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              • Originally posted by fenrir View Post

                Yep. Problem is people look strictly at OPS+ and automatically deem Mantle's peak as better, not taking into account other factors. Even if Mantle was better than Mays for 2 or so seasons, that doesn't necessarily make his peak better. Mays basically had 13 seasons in a row where he was an MVP caliber player, and six seasons with a WAR higher than 10.0. Mantle on the other hand "only" had 3 seasons with a WAR 10.0 or higher. I don't consider WAR to be the be all end all stat, but I think WAR does highlight that Mays was an absolutely brilliant player at his peak. Just because he didn't post ridiculous video game offensive numbers like Ruth or Bonds from 2001-2004, doesn't take away the fact that at his peak Mays was among the very best players ever. Heck, people gush over Mike Trout now, when Mays was basically Mike Trout for most of his career.
                To be honest, I think WAR overrates the best seasons of Mays (and of course Trout as well). A 10 WAR season should be a historic season, among the best ever, and you just don't see that from Mays or Trout. Yeah a center fielder with a 170 or so OPS+ is awesome, especially if that guy is a good fielder....BUT not really any better than a number of other, lesser guys did at their peak, with much lower WAR totals(for instance, hack Wilson in 1930, 'only' 7.4 WAR.). Common sense tells us that Mantle's best years blow Mays' best years away. it's sort of like the way Will Clark had as much Win Shares in 1989 as Ted Williams in 1941. Sometimes, the 'advanced' stat is just flat out wrong.
                I do not wish to get into another in a long line of 'WAR bashing debates', but suffice to say that according to WAR, every season of Trout's career thus far has been superior to Hack Wilson in 1930, and damn near every year of Mays' career was superior.
                Last edited by willshad; 06-23-2017, 11:44 PM.

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                • Originally posted by fenrir View Post

                  Yep. Problem is people look strictly at OPS+ and automatically deem Mantle's peak as better, not taking into account other factors. Even if Mantle was better than Mays for 2 or so seasons, that doesn't necessarily make his peak better. Mays basically had 13 seasons in a row where he was an MVP caliber player, and six seasons with a WAR higher than 10.0. Mantle on the other hand "only" had 3 seasons with a WAR 10.0 or higher. I don't consider WAR to be the be all end all stat, but I think WAR does highlight that Mays was an absolutely brilliant player at his peak. Just because he didn't post ridiculous video game offensive numbers like Ruth or Bonds from 2001-2004, doesn't take away the fact that at his peak Mays was among the very best players ever. Heck, people gush over Mike Trout now, when Mays was basically Mike Trout for most of his career.
                  Yes, I agree. Depending on how you view fielding, baserunning, league quality and other factors (like how you define peak) they both can have great and equal peaks. For the record, I dont think WAR is the end all either, and I think WAR Underates Mays' 1954 season.

                  I dont think someone's " common sense" overrules, you know, facts and numbers and stats and context.
                  Last edited by westfield; 06-24-2017, 11:52 AM.
                  ''A sport without black people ain't a sport. That's just a game!... That's like me saying, 'Ooh, I got the highest SAT score in the whole world, but no Asians took the test.' What kind of crap is that? 'I just won the marathon. No Kenyans could run, though!'''
                  Chris Rock

                  Comment


                  • I recall WAR is not the final metric to determine which player was better. I just don't think that Mays had a better season than Mantle's 56 or 57. A view of the best 10 seasons among them two, from a historical perspective:

                    1. Mantle, 1956
                    2. Mantle, 1957
                    3. Mays, 1954
                    4. Mantle, 1961
                    5. Mays, 1965
                    6. Mays, 1955
                    7. Mays, 1962
                    8. Mays, 1964
                    9. Mays, 1963
                    10. Mays, 1957

                    The top seasons belong to Mantle, but 7 out of 10 belong to Mays.
                    "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
                    George Brett

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Yankillaz View Post
                      I recall WAR is not the final metric to determine which player was better. I just don't think that Mays had a better season than Mantle's 56 or 57. A view of the best 10 seasons among them two, from a historical perspective:

                      1. Mantle, 1956
                      2. Mantle, 1957
                      3. Mays, 1954
                      4. Mantle, 1961
                      5. Mays, 1965
                      6. Mays, 1955
                      7. Mays, 1962
                      8. Mays, 1964
                      9. Mays, 1963
                      10. Mays, 1957

                      The top seasons belong to Mantle, but 7 out of 10 belong to Mays.
                      The thing with Mantle, is that he often missed games and/or had low RBI totals that made his seasons seem worse than they were. 1955, 1958, 1962 and 1964 match up nicely with any Mays season. He was basically Mays with 50-60 walks added.

                      He had a 200 OPS+ for the whole period from 1955-1958, and a 188 OPS+ from the entire ten year period from 1955-1964.

                      Mays never had a single season of 188 OPS+.

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                      • It's a fun question to debate, because they were both inner-circle great, with incredible skills. Mantle will always be sort of like the great Negro League players, in that you know they were incredibly gifted, but assessing their true greatness will always get stuck in the quagmire of "what if?"

                        One thing that jumps out at me, which gives Mays the nod in my humble opinion: The dude hit 660 home runs playing half his games in Candlestick Park. If we enter into the "what if" game about Mantle's health, we must also give that same consideration to Mays' home ball park, which was death on hitters. So was a good chunk of his career, which was played during the pitching-rich 60s.

                        The Say Hey Kid wins this one, IMHO.
                        "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Victory Faust View Post
                          It's a fun question to debate, because they were both inner-circle great, with incredible skills. Mantle will always be sort of like the great Negro League players, in that you know they were incredibly gifted, but assessing their true greatness will always get stuck in the quagmire of "what if?"

                          One thing that jumps out at me, which gives Mays the nod in my humble opinion: The dude hit 660 home runs playing half his games in Candlestick Park. If we enter into the "what if" game about Mantle's health, we must also give that same consideration to Mays' home ball park, which was death on hitters. So was a good chunk of his career, which was played during the pitching-rich 60s.

                          The Say Hey Kid wins this one, IMHO.
                          I agree with you on this one.
                          "I am not too serious about anything. I believe you have to enjoy yourself to get the most out of your ability."-
                          George Brett

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Yankillaz View Post
                            I recall WAR is not the final metric to determine which player was better. I just don't think that Mays had a better season than Mantle's 56 or 57. A view of the best 10 seasons among them two, from a historical perspective:

                            1. Mantle, 1956
                            2. Mantle, 1957
                            3. Mays, 1954
                            4. Mantle, 1961
                            5. Mays, 1965
                            6. Mays, 1955
                            7. Mays, 1962
                            8. Mays, 1964
                            9. Mays, 1963
                            10. Mays, 1957

                            The top seasons belong to Mantle, but 7 out of 10 belong to Mays.
                            As I said previously, I agree that Mantle's two best seasons were probably better than any of Mays best seasons, but as you just pointed out...Mays peak was much longer, which, IMO, makes his peak better.

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                            • Mays had a better all around career but Mantle's peak was better. 1956, 1957 & 1961 combine those 3 years together
                              & compare those with Mays 3 best years and there is separation.

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