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  • #16
    1) Babe Ruth
    2) Ted Williams
    3) Barry Bonds
    4) Willie Mays
    5) Ty Cobb
    6) Honus Wagner
    7) Mickey Mantle
    8) Stan Musial
    9) Tris Speaker
    10) Lou Gehrig

    Musial by a thin margin. Their peak is avout equal. Stan has the longevity case and was a above-average fielder at the corner OF positions.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by DoubleX
      I just want to apologize to everyone if I'm sounding belligerent. Gehrig is just one of the few players I feel very strongly about. I think it's pretty rare that I get this uppity on these boards about any one player.

      You're fine. Passion is a good thing. Just don't get caught in the pickle of a Foxx vs. Gehrig thread

      Comment


      • #18
        I think this is a great poll. I will take Gehrig but this one os very close.

        I would like to see say a Heilmann and Yaz better hitter poll.
        "If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn't thinking"

        Gen. Patton

        Comment


        • #19
          --I think most people would agree its a close call between these two. In the "Best Position Players of All Time" series of polls Musial came in 8th and Gehrig 9th. That probably is a fair representation of their consensus ranking by our membership.

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          • #20
            --Pretorius, I'd say Heilman was the better hitter, but Yaz the better player. Even just as hitters, Yaz was more valuable due to his much longer career.

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by [email protected]
              Musial by a thin margin. Their peak is avout equal. Stan has the longevity case and was a above-average fielder at the corner OF positions.
              Peak about equal? Musial had a fantastic peak, but equal? Here are there 10 best OPS+ seasons:

              Gehrig: 221, 208, 203, 195, 194, 190, 181, 177, 177, 177
              Musial: 200, 183*, 182, 180*, 176, 175*, 172, 169, 167, 166

              * = Years when the league was depleted by WWII service.

              That's not very equal, IMO, especially when you consider that Gehrig may have had a few more 170+ seasons left in him (in his last healthy season, he posted a 177), and that three of Musial's listed seasons came against a waterdowned league during WWII.

              Musial was great, but 6 seasons of an OPS+ of over 190? 10 seasons over 175?! That's a ridiculously rarefied peak.

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by DoubleX
                Let me ask you this then. For 15 years, who was the better player?
                I love Gehrig, and the guy is one of my heroes. It's hard not to go with him here, and it is close.

                Musial through age 36 was incredible at the plate, and he facing much better (and more varied) pitching. Most (if not all) of Gehrig's lead in counting stats through the same age was attributable to his era and lineup.

                As far as defense, Musial gets an A- by defensive Win Shares and Gehrig a B-. The baseball prospectus stats agree- they show Musial was actually a very good fielder, and Gehrig as about average. Even Total Baseball's wacky "fielding runs" show Musial as having the edge in the field.

                However, I don't have any anecdotal/biographical info about their fielding (the Ray Robinson book is at home). I'd be very interested to hear the qualitative side of things regarding their fielding, since I tend to be distrustful of fielding stats (and all stats on face value).

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by DoubleX
                  Musial was great, but 6 seasons of an OPS+ of over 190? 10 seasons over 175?! That's a ridiculously rarefied peak.
                  That's a mean-adjusted stat, though. Dan Brouthers is equal to Joe Jackson vis-a vis OPS+.

                  You have to make some kind of adjustment for league quality. Yes, he played 2 years during the war, but he had his best years later, and he also played the twilight of his career in what might have been the most competitive league in baseball history.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Musial...

                    Gehrig was a great hitter but he had a l ot in his favor when he did what he did...until he got ill of course.

                    Of course So did Musial...playing throughout the war...but he continued to dominate a much more integrated and competitive league right into the 50s...I just think he was a better all around player.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Originally posted by csh19792001
                      You have to make some kind of adjustment for league quality. Yes, he played 2 years during the war, but he had his best years later, and he also played the twilight of his career in what might have been the most competitive league in baseball history.
                      It's not as if these two players played generations apart. Their careers and peaks were separated by just a decade. So now let's take a look at when Musial put up those 10 OPS+ seasons I listed earlier, as you'll see, most of them came either during WWII, or before intergration, or just after intergration, and thus arguing league quality differences is not enough for Musial to overcome the significant lead Gehrig has in most years:

                      200: 1948 - Intergration just barely begun, league quality is hardly better than it was during Gehrig's career. The difference in league quality certainly does not make the gap between Gehrig's highest of 221.

                      183: 1946 - No intergration, quality of league argument is certainly enough to make up the difference between this and Gehrig's 208.

                      182: 1951 - Quality of league argument has some weight here, but again, it's not enough to overcomes Gehrig's 203.

                      180: 1943 - The league's talent-level is very diluted by WWII, and thus league quality argument is not nearly enough to overcome Gehrig's 195.

                      176: 1949 - Again, intergration has just barely begun, and the difference in league quality is not enough to matach Gehrig's 194.

                      175: 1944 - The league's talent-level is even more diluted by WWII, and thus league quality argument is not nearly enough to overcome Gehrig's 190.

                      172: 1957 - Finally, the league quality argument has some weight and might just be enough to be on equal footing with Gehrig's 181.

                      169: 1953 - Again, league quality argument is probably good enough here to be on equal fotting with Gehrig's 177.

                      167: 1952 - If Musial's 169 in 1953 can match a Gehrig 177, then a Musual 167 in 1952 is probably a little behind a Gehrig 177 (which is what he has here).

                      166: 1954 - Again, league quality here is probably enough for Musial to be on equal footing with Gehrig's 3rd 177.


                      So most of Musial's best years came before the league quality argument was in his favor and in years that the argument is not enough to overcome the distance that he trails Gehrig by.

                      As for lineup's, let's not forget that Musial also played on some good teams early in his career when he put up most of these numbers, four times winning the pennant, so he too was surrounded by a good team when putting up a lot of these numbers.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DoubleX
                        Peak about equal? Musial had a fantastic peak, but equal? Here are there 10 best OPS+ seasons:

                        Gehrig: 221, 208, 203, 195, 194, 190, 181, 177, 177, 177
                        Musial: 200, 183*, 182, 180*, 176, 175*, 172, 169, 167, 166

                        * = Years when the league was depleted by WWII service.

                        That's not very equal, IMO, especially when you consider that Gehrig may have had a few more 170+ seasons left in him (in his last healthy season, he posted a 177), and that three of Musial's listed seasons came against a waterdowned league during WWII.

                        Musial was great, but 6 seasons of an OPS+ of over 190? 10 seasons over 175?! That's a ridiculously rarefied peak.
                        hahaha OWNED

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by csh19792001
                          You have to make some kind of adjustment for league quality. Yes, he played 2 years during the war, but he had his best years later, and he also played the twilight of his career in what might have been the most competitive league in baseball history.
                          It's not as if these two players played generations apart. Their careers and peaks were separated by just a decade. So now let's take a look at when Musial put up those 10 OPS+ seasons I listed earlier, as you'll see, most of them came either during WWII, or before intergration, or just after intergration, and thus arguing league quality differences is not enough for Musial to overcome the significant lead Gehrig has in most years:

                          200: 1948 - Intergration just barely begun, league quality is hardly better than it was during Gehrig's career. The difference in league quality certainly does not make the gap between Gehrig's highest of 221.

                          183: 1946 - No intergration, quality of league argument is certainly not enough to make up the difference between this and Gehrig's 208. It's also a down year in terms of league quality since much of the league's talent is reassimilating and readjusting following the timeoff during the war.

                          182: 1951 - Quality of league argument has some weight here, but again, it's not enough to overcomes Gehrig's 203.

                          180: 1943 - The league's talent-level is very diluted by WWII, and thus league quality argument is not nearly enough to overcome Gehrig's 195.

                          176: 1949 - Again, intergration has just barely begun, and the difference in league quality is not enough to matach Gehrig's 194.

                          175: 1944 - The league's talent-level is even more diluted by WWII, and thus league quality argument is not nearly enough to overcome Gehrig's 190.

                          172: 1957 - Finally, the league quality argument has some weight and might just be enough to be on equal footing with Gehrig's 181.

                          169: 1953 - Again, league quality argument is probably good enough here to be on equal fotting with Gehrig's 177.

                          167: 1952 - If Musial's 169 in 1953 can match a Gehrig 177, then a Musual 167 in 1952 is probably a little behind a Gehrig 177 (which is what he has here).

                          166: 1954 - Again, league quality here is probably enough for Musial to be on equal footing with Gehrig's 3rd 177.


                          So most of Musial's best years came before the league quality argument was in his favor and in years that the argument is not enough to overcome the distance that he trails Gehrig by. There are really only 3 or 4 years here where league quality could make a difference in this comparison and put Musial in the same range as Gehrig, if not past Gehrig. But even then, it's for years 7-10. Meaning, league quality doesn't really help Musial catch up to Gehrig in years 1-6.

                          As for lineup's, let's not forget that Musial also played on some good teams (in water-downed leagues) early in his career when he put up most of these numbers, four times winning the pennant, so he too was surrounded by a good team when putting up a lot of these numbers.

                          As for defensive prowess, I have read things to the effect of the opposite to which you say statistics suggest. I have read that Gehrig was a very good defender who improved with age, while Musial was above average at best. I'll try to find some of my source material on that and post it, but chances are, it's coming from books and articles that I've passed by during the years, though the material has been enough for me to think of Gehrig as a better defensive player.
                          Last edited by DoubleX; 01-11-2006, 08:01 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by DoubleX

                            As for lineup's, let's not forget that Musial also played on some good teams (in water-downed leagues) early in his career when he put up most of these numbers, four times winning the pennant, so he too was surrounded by a good team when putting up a lot of these numbers.

                            This one is obvious. Look at the runs/game in Gehrig's era (the highest by far in modern baseball history) and compare that to Stan's (somewhat neutral overall). Also, you could look at the runs scored by the yankees per season and take off Lou's production (and do the same for Stan) in an attempt to disentangle team value and individual value. That would take awhile, but I'm certain you would see that Lou was simply on vastly better offensive teams; he had Babe Ruth hitting ahead of him for 10 years, and Joe Dimaggio ahead of him his final 3 years.

                            As to all of the other stuff....
                            OPS+ is a crude thumbnail stat which only examines what happens in the batter's box, and at that, doesn't do a great job of even doing that.

                            What you're really looking for with your estimations is something like WARP3- it factors in league strength as measured by standard deviations, and it ALSO figures fielding and baserunning into the equation. Although it's far from perfrect, for those reasons, it's light years more useful and valid than OPS+ in isolation.

                            The scaling is much different than with OPS+, though- 1 win is significant in terms of value.

                            Stan's best season (1948) was about equal in value to Gehrig's best (1934) after attempting to adjust for league strength.

                            Musial comes out ahead in top 3 and top 5 seasonal value, and probably top 10 value as well.

                            Career WARP3
                            Musial: 187.6
                            Gehrig: 142.8

                            In terms of just sheer quality (not even considering longevity/cumulative value), though, I'd say when taking everything into account it's somewhat close, with Musial slightly ahead. Certainly a far more accurate picture than we would obtain using OPS+ alone, especially given that we're not just talking about offense.


                            As for defensive prowess, I have read things to the effect of the opposite to which you say statistics suggest. I have read that Gehrig was a very good defender who improved with age, while Musial was above average at best. I'll try to find some of my source material on that and post it, but chances are, it's coming from books and articles that I've passed by during the years, though the material has been enough for me to think of Gehrig as a better defensive player.

                            If all of the statistical evidence available says directly the opposite, then I'd say that's a tough claim to make (Gehrig actually being more valuable on defense than Musial. You might be right, but I see no reason (as yet) to agree. I'd be very interested to see what you'd find, however.
                            Message in text above.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by DoubleX
                              But that's the crux of my point. What separates Gehrig is the fact that he did what he did for 15 years before getting sick, and he was as good as ever in his last healthy year. He proved he could play at that level for a long time, and thus it's much easier to assume Gehrig could do it for a few more years than it is for Youngs or Chapman or Thon or Congiliaro, since they only did it all for a few years. We know Gehrig was more than just a player with a few years of dominance, and we know he was a player with more than a decade of dominance. We know that he had longevity in him. We don't know that about Youngs and the others. It's apples and oranges in my book.

                              Given what we know of Gehrig (15 years of dominance, great year his last healthy year, great durability), it's much easier to assume that he could be productive for a few more than it is to assume that say Youngs could even get to 10 years of high production (since so many players sparkle and fade, but we know Gehrig wasn't one of them).
                              The crux of your argument is assuming things--which is what if fantasy in my book. Youngs did it up to age 29--why is that too short? Your dividing line is arbitrary, and that's what I object to. My position is it's hard enough to figure this stuff out in terms of what actually happened without introducing the what-ifs. The only what-ifs I am willing to indulge in are for guys who due to color lines, military service, or interleague agreements (Japan, mainly) were prevented from competing. Health is just a part of the player--Gehrig had it until his last season, and then, suddenly and tragically, he no longer did.

                              Jim Albright
                              Seen on a bumper sticker: If only closed minds came with closed mouths.
                              Some minds are like concrete--thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
                              A Lincoln: I don't think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by jalbright
                                The crux of your argument is assuming things--which is what if fantasy in my book. Youngs did it up to age 29--why is that too short? Your dividing line is arbitrary, and that's what I object to. My position is it's hard enough to figure this stuff out in terms of what actually happened without introducing the what-ifs. The only what-ifs I am willing to indulge in are for guys who due to color lines, military service, or interleague agreements (Japan, mainly) were prevented from competing. Health is just a part of the player--Gehrig had it until his last season, and then, suddenly and tragically, he no longer did.

                                Jim Albright
                                Originally posted by jalbright
                                The crux of your argument is assuming things--which is what if fantasy in my book. Youngs did it up to age 29--why is that too short? Your dividing line is arbitrary, and that's what I object to. My position is it's hard enough to figure this stuff out in terms of what actually happened without introducing the what-ifs. The only what-ifs I am willing to indulge in are for guys who due to color lines, military service, or interleague agreements (Japan, mainly) were prevented from competing. Health is just a part of the player--Gehrig had it until his last season, and then, suddenly and tragically, he no longer did.

                                Jim Albright
                                There is a world of difference between Youngs and Gehrig. Youngs did what he did for just 7 seasons, and only twice had an OPS+ as high as 160. Whereas Gehrig did it for 14 years and 13 times had an OPS+ higher than 160. That is a world of difference when it comes to making an educated guess about what the players were capable of and how long they can sustain it. Moreover, Youngs wasn't nearly as consistent as Gehrig during his 7 year run. Whereas Gehrig, year after year for 14 years, did virtually the same thing. We know so much more about Gehrig and what he was capable of at that point of his career, then we do about Youngs and what he was capable of at an earlier stage of his career, especially considering that we couldn't predict Youngs from one year to the next anyway.

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