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Gehrig/Pujols: Can Al catch Lou?

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  • Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
    I think Cal set a record for SS assists in a season early in his career, not sure if it still stands. He could throw very well even when off balance and was able to set up very deep because his arm allowed him to make the longer throws with ease. Ripken, Brooks Robinson, and Lou Boudreau are three examples of very slow runners who were also truly elite defenders on the left side of the infield. Right when Weaver moved Cal to SS people started wondering when he'd move back to 3B, but Earl knew what he was doing.
    You hit it exactly!
    Dave Kent

    Comment


    • If it hasn't already been mentioned, you wonder what age Pujols really is.

      He's clearly in decline at this stage. How he handles being out of his comfort zone in St Louis remains to be seen, early indications aren't very good.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by willshad View Post
        What more proof do you need to show that Gehrig is better?
        What makes you think you can directly compare stats from two guys who were separated 75 years?

        There is no proof, but all available evidence points to Pujols' competition and pitching being much stronger than Gehrig's. Lou is one of my heroes and always will be, but we have to be honest about this timeline debate.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
          What makes you think you can directly compare stats from two guys who were separated 75 years?

          There is no proof, but all available evidence points to Pujols' competition and pitching being much stronger than Gehrig's. Lou is one of my heroes and always will be, but we have to be honest about this timeline debate.
          Isn't that the whole point of the thread?..to compare the two players? If we just throw up our hands and say it's impossible, then why even debate to begin with? If we are indeed we are going to debate it then we have two options: we can compare the two players on raw numbers, or we can compare them on relative numbers. Gehrig wins easily on both counts.

          What 'evidence' is there that the league now is better? Even if that is so, then every player during Gehrig's time was playing against the same level of low competition, and inferior pitching, and he still stood out. What more could he and Ruth do? If they had batted .450 every year and drove in 200, then some people would still say it is only because of low level of competition.

          I've said this before: people want to penalize Gehrig in two ways, and in the process try to discount both his relative rates and his raw stats. They say his raw stats cannot be taken seriously because he played in such a high scoring era, and that his relative stats cannot be taken seriously, because everyone was still playing 'small ball', and he was hitting home runs. Well to me, you can't have it both ways. If the league was still stuck in the dead ball way of thinking, then why was scoring so high? If it was so easy to hit, then why was only Ruth and Foxx in a few years, able to match Lou's numbers?

          The whole basis of sabermetrics is, because comparing raw stats throughout eras is unfair, to compare players based on relative stats. If we are then going to say that the relative stats are also skewed, then there is really no way to even have such debates as this. There is no way to 'prove' that players have gotten better. on average, over time. If anything, the only 'proof' we have points to the fact that the players have remained about the same in quality. This 'proof' is the fact that baseball is a continuous process. Some players playing now also played against guys 20 years ago...and some players playing 20 years ago also played against guys who played 20 years earlier...and so on. This is very important. If the average player was indeed improving at such a rapid rate, then it would not be possible for 35 and 40 year olds to keep up with the ever improving influx of younger, better players. In any case, I think once you reach a certain level, then you max out, and the numbers you put up will remain about the same. Some players can do great in AAA ball , and then flop in the majors...and some players can do good in the majors, and light it up in AAA..but I think that the BEST players wouldn't change. I think if you put Pujols or Kemp in AAA, then they will have about the same numbers, despite the lower 'league quality'
          Last edited by willshad; 05-04-2012, 08:19 PM.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Dude Paskert View Post
            I wouldn't argue that Foxx was a great defender, but he was hardly lumbering...he was about Mantle's size and build, and probably almost as fast. Billy Werber told a great story about Foxx catching him from behind at a field day and winning a 100 yard dash against a whole lineup of speedsters.
            Werber prefaced this by saying that he got on Foxx for not hustling for second on balls hit off the Monster, and Jimmie replied that he couldn't get those extra bases because he wasn't fast like Billy. This tells me that lack of effort may have had more to do with Foxx not being a great defender than athletic ability. Jimmie also threw very well, as one would expect from a guy who started as a catcher.

            Murray was a good all around athlete, but certainly didn't match guys like Gehrig, Pujols, and Foxx in strength.
            I agree that Foxx should not be described as "lumbering". In "Jimmie Foxx: The Life and Times of a Baseball Hall of Famer" by W. Harrison Daniel, Foxx was quite a track star in high school, running the 80 yard dash in 8.6 seconds (then a high school record), the 220 yard dash in 23 seconds, and high jumping 5 feet 8 inches. Not exactly what I would call "lumbering". And Bill James gives Foxx a fielding grade of "A" in his Win Shares book.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by willshad View Post
              Isn't that the whole point of the thread?..to compare the two players? If we just throw up our hands and say it's impossible, then why even debate to begin with? If we are indeed we are going to debate it then we have two options: we can compare the two players on raw numbers, or we can compare them on relative numbers. Gehrig wins easily on both counts.

              What 'evidence' is there that the league now is better? Even if that is so, then every player during Gehrig's time was playing against the same level of low competition, and inferior pitching, and he still stood out. What more could he and Ruth do? If they had batted .450 every year and drove in 200, then some people would still say it is only because of low level of competition.

              I've said this before: people want to penalize Gehrig in two ways, and in the process try to discount both his relative rates and his raw stats. They say his raw stats cannot be taken seriously because he played in such a high scoring era, and that his relative stats cannot be taken seriously, because everyone was still playing 'small ball', and he was hitting home runs. Well to me, you can't have it both ways. If the league was still stuck in the dead ball way of thinking, then why was scoring so high? If it was so easy to hit, then why was only Ruth and Foxx in a few years, able to match Lou's numbers?

              The whole basis of sabermetrics is, because comparing raw stats throughout eras is unfair, to compare players based on relative stats. If we are then going to say that the relative stats are also skewed, then there is really no way to even have such debates as this. There is no way to 'prove' that players have gotten better. on average, over time. If anything, the only 'proof' we have points to the fact that the players have remained about the same in quality. This 'proof' is the fact that baseball is a continuous process. Some players playing now also played against guys 20 years ago...and some players playing 20 years ago also played against guys who played 20 years earlier...and so on. This is very important. If the average player was indeed improving at such a rapid rate, then it would not be possible for 35 and 40 year olds to keep up with the ever improving influx of younger, better players. In any case, I think once you reach a certain level, then you max out, and the numbers you put up will remain about the same. Some players can do great in AAA ball , and then flop in the majors...and some players can do good in the majors, and light it up in AAA..but I think that the BEST players wouldn't change. I think if you put Pujols or Kemp in AAA, then they will have about the same numbers, despite the lower 'league quality'
              Comparing players who played played 60-70 years part is extremely subjective. Statistics do not tell the whole story. I will point this out again. Only one player (Barry Bonds) was able to come close statistically to a Babe Ruth, or a Lou Gehrig, or Ted Williams, and he did it on steroids. Do you honestly think if Lou Gehrig played today, he would have had multiple seasons with a .700+ Slugging%, and multiple 200+ OPS+ seasons (including a season where he surpassed 220)? If so, then apparently he was FAR more talented than any player who plays today.

              The issue for me isn't whether or not Lou Gehrig would be elite. My issue is with people knocking Pujols simply because he hasn't posted video games numbers like Gehrig did, when in reality no non steroid player has been capable of those kind of numbers for over 50+ years. Hell, even with all the flagrant steroid abuse going on, only ONE juicer was able to approach Babe Ruth/Gehrig/Williams type numbers.
              Last edited by fenrir; 05-04-2012, 09:55 PM.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by willshad View Post
                Isn't that the whole point of the thread?..to compare the two players? If we just throw up our hands and say it's impossible, then why even debate to begin with? If we are indeed we are going to debate it then we have two options: we can compare the two players on raw numbers, or we can compare them on relative numbers. Gehrig wins easily on both counts.
                You DO realize that an OPS+ of 200 in 1927 is irreconcilable with an OPS+ of 200 in 2007, right?

                You do understand how much harder it is to dominate in today than it was 75 years ago....or do you just think almost all the best players in history just happened to finish their careers more than 5 decades ago?

                What's more likely?

                We have three options. We can compare them on raw numbers (silly waste of time), or on relative numbers (which doesn't mean much because they're "relative" only in comparison to the average guy in that league, that year). Gehrig "wins easily on both counts" because a good percentage of the competition he was dominating wouldn't even be in the Bigs today. The entire bottom quartile (or perhaps more!) would have their places taken by African American, Latin American, and now even some Asian players that weren't even around in Gehrig's day...save a handful of outliers/novelty acts.

                And there is plenty of evidence suggesting that the average player has gotten better and that the game has advanced fundamentally since 1930. And by "plenty" of evidence, I mean "basically ALL the evidence". Stats based on standard deviation of player performance from top to bottom, film, anecdotal information, scouting techniques and global scope, the exponential advances in health and the science of sports nutrition and training, etc. etc.

                Go ahead and throw out some facts to challenge/refute the claim that athletes and the average ballplayers are much better today. Or all the evidence supporting/proving that the pre 1950 superstars were just much better than modern guys. I'd like to hear the rationale which has been underpinning posts inspiring sentiments such as the last one for years. This isn't personal; many people feel the way you do....


                Originally posted by willshad View Post
                If you put Pujols or Kemp in AAA, then they will have about the same numbers, despite the lower 'league quality'
                I have no idea why you would forward such a silly idea.
                Last edited by csh19792001; 05-04-2012, 11:22 PM.

                Comment


                • OK, then forget 70 years ago for a minute. Why couldn't Pujols even catch Frank Thomas' best years if he was so good? Why hasn't he ever had a top 30 season? He was great, but also over-rated a lot. He's no top 10 player by a mile.
                  Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

                  Comment


                  • There are a couple of logical fallacies that need to be addressed here.

                    First of all, let's assume that the players HAVE improved over time. If the average played has improved so much, then wouldn't it make sense that the BEST players have likewise improved?

                    Second of all, nobody has answered why, if the new players keep getting better, the older players are not run out of the league at a more rapid pace.

                    Third of all, if the players are so much better now, why does every all time player list still have the old timers all over the top 10, top, 20 and top 100?

                    I think it is very possible that many of the best players played nearly 100 years ago. Sometimes random distribution just happens that way.

                    How exactly are we supposed to 'adjust' for league quality? Do we just reduce Lou's and Babe's stats by 10%? 20%? 50%? Do we then have to adjust EVERY players stats from pre-1930 accordingly?

                    All these people who claim that the league quality has improved so rapidly..Id love to see their list of top 50 all time players.

                    The reason Pujols has not had a 200 OPS+ season is because he is not that selective at the plate. It has nothing to do with is hitting ability. Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Bonds, etc were able to get their OPS+ scores so high because they walked 150 times a year. Add 50 walks to every Pujols season and see what he ends up with.
                    Last edited by willshad; 05-04-2012, 11:50 PM.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by willshad View Post
                      There are a couple of logical fallacies that need to be addressed here.

                      First of all, let's assume that the players HAVE improved over time. If the average played has improved so much, then wouldn't it make sense that the BEST players have likewise improved?

                      Second of all, nobody has answered why, if the new players keep getting better, the older players are not run out of the league at a more rapid pace.

                      Third of all, if the players are so much better now, why does every all time player list still have the old timers all over the top 10, top, 20 and top 100?

                      I think it is very possible that many of the best players played nearly 100 years ago. Sometimes random distribution just happens that way.

                      How exactly are we supposed to 'adjust' for league quality? Do we just reduce Lou's and Babe's stats by 10%? 20%? 50%? Do we then have to adjust EVERY players stats from pre-1930 accordingly?

                      All these people who claim that the league quality has improved so rapidly..Id love to see their list of top 50 all time players.
                      )
                      The reason Pujols has not had a 200 OPS+ season is because he is not that selective at the plate. It has nothing to do with is hitting ability. Ruth, Gehrig, Williams, Bonds, etc were able to get their OPS+ scores so high because they walked 150 times a year. Add 50 walks to every Pujols season and see what he ends up with.
                      Here are the seasons where a player had a Slugging% over .700 (I removed all steroid users from this list)

                      Code:
                      Rank 	Player (age that year) 	Slugging %	Year	Bats
                      
                      2.	Babe Ruth+ (25)	.8472	1920	L
                      3.	Babe Ruth+ (26)	.8463	1921	L
                      6.	Babe Ruth+ (32)	.7722	1927	L
                      7.	Lou Gehrig+ (24)	.7654	1927	L
                      8.	Babe Ruth+ (28)	.7644	1923	L
                      9.     Rogers Hornsby+ (29)	.7560	1925	R
                      11.	Jeff Bagwell (26)	.7500	1994	R
                      12.  Jimmie Fox+ (24)	.7487	1932	R
                      14.	Babe Ruth+ (29)	.7391	1924	L
                      15.	Babe Ruth+ (31)	.7374	1926	L
                      17.	Ted Williams+ (22)	.7346	1941	L
                      18.	Babe Ruth+ (35)	.7317	1930	L
                      19.	Ted Williams+ (38)	.7310	1957	L
                      21.	Frank Thomas (26)	.7293	1994	R
                      22.	Hack Wilson+ (30)	.7231	1930	R
                      23.	Rogers Hornsby+ (26)	.7223	1922	R
                      24.	Lou Gehrig+ (27)	.7212	1930	L
                      25.	Larry Walker (30)	.7201	1997	L
                      26.	Albert Belle (27)	.7136	1994	R
                      27.	Larry Walker (32)	.7100	1999	L
                      28.	Babe Ruth+ (33)	.7090	1928	L
                      29.	Al Simmons+ (28)	.7076	1930	R
                      30.	Lou Gehrig+ (31)	.7064	1934	L
                      31.	Mickey Mantle+ (24)	.7054	1956	B
                      32.	Jimmie Foxx+ (30)	.7044	1938	R
                      33.	Jimmie Foxx+ (25)	.7033	1933	R
                      34.	Stan Musial+ (27)	.7021	1948	L
                      Frank Thomas, Bagwell, and Belle all three posted a Slugging% over .700 in a season that was shortened by the strike, and Larry Walker was undoubtedly aided by the hitters paradise known as coors field. Basically, looking at this list, when it comes to Slugging% all of the best hitters ever seemed to play 50-60+ years ago. Again, to me this seems incredibly odd. Hell, even when Mantle played the league wasn't fully integrated, and was inferior to the NL during his playing days.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by SavoyBG View Post
                        Afraid Not.

                        OPS
                        1927 Babe - 1.258
                        1927 Lou - 1.240
                        This may interest you. http://moregehrig.tripod.com/id103.html

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by willshad View Post
                          I think if you put Pujols or Kemp in AAA, then they will have about the same numbers, despite the lower 'league quality'
                          This may be the single most absurd assertion I have ever seen on this forum...
                          Last edited by Joltin' Joe; 05-05-2012, 06:31 PM.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Joe33 View Post
                            If it hasn't already been mentioned, you wonder what age Pujols really is.

                            He's clearly in decline at this stage. How he handles being out of his comfort zone in St Louis remains to be seen, early indications aren't very good.
                            Are we sure the birthdate on the back of his baseball card is correct?
                            Your Second Base Coach
                            Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.
                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5hCIvMule0

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by fenrir View Post
                              Here are the seasons where a player had a Slugging% over .700 (I removed all steroid users from this list)

                              Code:
                              Rank 	Player (age that year) 	Slugging %	Year	Bats
                              
                              2.	Babe Ruth+ (25)	.8472	1920	L
                              3.	Babe Ruth+ (26)	.8463	1921	L
                              6.	Babe Ruth+ (32)	.7722	1927	L
                              7.	Lou Gehrig+ (24)	.7654	1927	L
                              8.	Babe Ruth+ (28)	.7644	1923	L
                              9.     Rogers Hornsby+ (29)	.7560	1925	R
                              11.	Jeff Bagwell (26)	.7500	1994	R
                              12.  Jimmie Fox+ (24)	.7487	1932	R
                              14.	Babe Ruth+ (29)	.7391	1924	L
                              15.	Babe Ruth+ (31)	.7374	1926	L
                              17.	Ted Williams+ (22)	.7346	1941	L
                              18.	Babe Ruth+ (35)	.7317	1930	L
                              19.	Ted Williams+ (38)	.7310	1957	L
                              21.	Frank Thomas (26)	.7293	1994	R
                              22.	Hack Wilson+ (30)	.7231	1930	R
                              23.	Rogers Hornsby+ (26)	.7223	1922	R
                              24.	Lou Gehrig+ (27)	.7212	1930	L
                              25.	Larry Walker (30)	.7201	1997	L
                              26.	Albert Belle (27)	.7136	1994	R
                              27.	Larry Walker (32)	.7100	1999	L
                              28.	Babe Ruth+ (33)	.7090	1928	L
                              29.	Al Simmons+ (28)	.7076	1930	R
                              30.	Lou Gehrig+ (31)	.7064	1934	L
                              31.	Mickey Mantle+ (24)	.7054	1956	B
                              32.	Jimmie Foxx+ (30)	.7044	1938	R
                              33.	Jimmie Foxx+ (25)	.7033	1933	R
                              34.	Stan Musial+ (27)	.7021	1948	L
                              Frank Thomas, Bagwell, and Belle all three posted a Slugging% over .700 in a season that was shortened by the strike, and Larry Walker was undoubtedly aided by the hitters paradise known as coors field. Basically, looking at this list, when it comes to Slugging% all of the best hitters ever seemed to play 50-60+ years ago. Again, to me this seems incredibly odd. Hell, even when Mantle played the league wasn't fully integrated, and was inferior to the NL during his playing days.
                              8 of the 21 old timers are Babe Ruth, the best player ever. 16 of the 21 happened between 1920 and 1938, which is when the very, very last of the deadball players would have been exiting the league, the league was all experienced live-ball players and more importantly - pitchers. Williams, Ruth, Mantle, Wilson and Gehrig were helped by advantageous home parks. Ken Williams

                              Just expanding on your idea's.

                              There was not this type of dominance 1871-1919, then Ruth. Baseball strategy changed radically for the first time. Everyone caught up eventually.

                              Another thing, the earliest HR stars: Ruth, Gehrig, Cy Willams, Ken Williams, Hornsby, Klein, Wilson, had advantageous home parks.
                              "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Second Base Coach View Post
                                Are we sure the birthdate on the back of his baseball card is correct?
                                Regardless, he is only 6 months away from his postseason where he hit .330 with 6 HRs and a record-breaking 10 doubles. And only one month away from his .350+, 7-HR Spring. Even if he were 45, it would explain why he "dropped off so fast". Its not like 35.5 years old is that different from 35 years old.
                                1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

                                1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

                                1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


                                The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
                                The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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