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1970s vs. 1930s-Top Level Talent

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  • #31
    Originally posted by leecemark
    --EH, your arguments are a little contradictory. You argue both that the 30s had high offense because it had more great hitters and then go on to say that there were only two significantly above average pitchers in the whole decade. If the pitching sucked then maybe the hitting wasn't that great. OTOH, if you are right about the large number of great hitters, then maybe the pitching was better than it looks.
    Not really contradictory; it's not impossible that there are lots of great hitters and few great pitchers. Some eras, like the 90's, had both. Some eras (like the 80's) had neither. It's my belief that the 30's happened to have a lot more than usual of one, and a lot fewer than usual of the other. Don't see how that's contradictory.

    --I'd agree that some of the difference in hitting/pitching in eras might be attributed to talent distribution. This is more likely to be the case when conditions haven't changed much, but the balance shifts anyway. However, conditions did change dramitically around 1920 and it took a decade and a half or so for the balance to start returning. Pitchers had to adapt to the live/clean balls and banishment of trick pitches. Batters had a field day while pitchers were learning to adapt and adding new pitches to replace the spitter/shine/emery balls. That is all about conditions and little to none about the talent level of hitters/pitchers.
    This doesn't make a whole lot of sense, though. Yes, there was a massive change in playing conditions around 1920. No, I don't think that that really affected the 30's all that much. After a decade of the live ball, pitchers had certainly had a chance to figure out what was going on and adapt to it. Yes, 1930 in the National League certainly was an abberation in hitting conditions. But this was no longer the case a few years later... look at this, league averages:


    1930, NL: .303/.358/.448
    1935, NL: .277/.328/.391

    This wasn't a situation ripe for offensive outbursts from every Tom, Dick, and Harry; this was a situation where there was an aberation in 1930 that didn't really translate to the rest of the time. Offensive levels were elevated in 1930 because of conditions that were specific to the time and not a result of leftover aftershocks from the introduction of the live ball. By 1935, it certainly had nothing to do with anything.
    "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

    Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

    Comment


    • #32
      Originally posted by ElHalo
      Trosky had more 100 RBI seasons by age 25 than McCovey had in his career, and had by that time scored 100 twice as many times as McCovey would in his whole career. Four times in his first six seasons, Trosky hit at least .330; McCovey hit .300 exactly once in his career. McCovey was the better HR hitter, but Trosky partially makes up for that by being almost twice the doubles hitter McCovey was.

      Let's do a little though experiment. I'm looking for everyone in history who's put up the following numbers per 161 games:

      .300 BA, .500 SLG, 40 doubles, 25 homers, 100 R, 100 RBI.

      The complete list? Lou Gehrig, Hank Greenberg, Albert Pujols, and Hal Trosky. McCovey's massive longevity advantage makes it close, but at his best, he was nowhere NEAR the player Trosky was. Hal Trosky: Yet another legendary, hero-hitter that SABRmetrics doesn't like because he didn't walk much. Yech.
      You made an argument similar to this about rating Dizzy Dean above Robin Roberts; that Dizzy Dean is better because, at their best, Dean was far better than Roberts. Except in the early 1950s, Roberts was clearly, easily, the single best pitcher in the league, and everyone knew it. It's less obvious, because his awesome peak is framed by inferior seasons, whereas Dean's wasn't. I think you're doing the same thing with Trosky and McCovey. In the late 1960s, McCovey was unequivocally the best hitter in the league. Even at his best, I don't think Trosky was ever able to claim that title, even for a single season. In 1936, he led the league in TB and RBI, but Gehrig beat him in BA, on-base %, slugging %, HR, and had only 2 fewer TB, and played for the pennant winner. It's unusual for a player to have both a short, dominant peak, and a long career, but in those cases I don't see any logical reason to put such a player below one with a short, dominant peak and a short career.
      "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

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      • #33
        --EH, the NL deadened their balls a little after the carnage of 1930 and the balance was restored fairly quickly. The AL did not follow suit and offensive levels remained very high through the 30s.

        Comment


        • #34
          1930, NL: .303/.358/.448
          1935, NL: .277/.328/.391
          In 1930 things got out of hand, and the NL president most certainly did something about it. He introduced a different ball in '31, one with higher seams and a heavier cover. Homers dropped 45% and the league average dropped 26 points. Hubbell was quoted as saying "The ball just plain felt bigger in your hand. It was easier to grip."

          1911 - added cork to rubber core of baseballs. League BA went up 30 points, and ERA rose from 2.53 to 3.34. Trick pitches soon brought hitters back to reality though.

          1920 - I'd recommend some myth de-bunking reading (Big Sticks by William Curran).

          1925 - added cushioned cork center to baseballs. In '26, League BA dropped in the NL by 12 points and in the AL by 11 points. Homers fell by 31% in the NL and by 20% in the AL. No changes were made to the ball and the trend reversed itself.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by iPod
            You made an argument similar to this about rating Dizzy Dean above Robin Roberts; that Dizzy Dean is better because, at their best, Dean was far better than Roberts. Except in the early 1950s, Roberts was clearly, easily, the single best pitcher in the league, and everyone knew it. It's less obvious, because his awesome peak is framed by inferior seasons, whereas Dean's wasn't. I think you're doing the same thing with Trosky and McCovey. In the late 1960s, McCovey was unequivocally the best hitter in the league. Even at his best, I don't think Trosky was ever able to claim that title, even for a single season. In 1936, he led the league in TB and RBI, but Gehrig beat him in BA, on-base %, slugging %, HR, and had only 2 fewer TB, and played for the pennant winner. It's unusual for a player to have both a short, dominant peak, and a long career, but in those cases I don't see any logical reason to put such a player below one with a short, dominant peak and a short career.
            Just because you're the best in your league in your era doesn't necessarily mean that you're better than somebody who wasn't the best in his league in a different era. Eddie Plank wasn't one of the top 5 pitchers of the dead ball era. Jack Morris was the top pitcher of the 80's. I have absolutely no question that Eddie Plank was better than Jack Morris.

            Dean's a little different story, because there was so much going on outside the numbers with him, but in comparing Trosky and McCovey, it's not like I'm comparing two guys with comparable peaks, one of whom lasted much longer. McCovey had a tremendous year in 1969, but other than that, we're not really talking about a monster. Outside of that year, we're talking about a guy who never hit .300, never hit 50 HR's, never drove in 130, only scored 100 once and never as many as 105. And with the exception of walk drawing, Trosky's 1936 was every bit as good as McCovey's 69. And on top of 1936, Trosky had 3 more seasons where he hit .330 and drove in over 100. So while, yes, if two players have comparable peaks, the one with the longer career should go first. But Trosky peak was just much, much higher than McCovey's, so I give the nod to Trosky.
            "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

            Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

            Comment


            • #36
              --McCovey was the best player in a league with Aaron, Clemente, Allen, Williams, Santo, Stargell, Morgan all in their primes. His OPS+ was over 200 that season. Trosky's career high was nearly 50 points lower. In fact McCovey career average OPS+ was not much below Trosky's career best - and McCovey did that over a much longer career vs a better league. McCovey is at least a top 10 1B. Trosky isn't even close to the top 20.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by 538280
                It doesn't give them an advantage when talking about just the number of superstars in the leauge (which is what we're talking about). Just because there are more players in the leauge doesn't mean there are more superstars.
                My take on it is this: The 30's had 16 teams. The 70's had, what, 24? The way I look at it is that there are more players, therefore, there is a higher opportunity for 1 of those extra 8 teams to produce and outstanding players.

                If I were interviewing candidates for a position, I'd rather be able to choose from a pool of 24 than 16. That gives me a 33% chance of finding the most talented one than if I limited myself to the first 16.

                Yankees Fan Since 1957

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by leecemark
                  --If Reggie had played in the Baker Bowl in the 20s and 30s he would have hit 50+ HR pretty much every year and probably would have broken Ruth's single season record a couple times and by a good margin. You could also bump his average up 50 points or so.
                  --Jackson played in some of the most extreme pitchers parks and in an era where numbers were down across the board. Klein played in what may have been the best hitters park ever for LH batters (Coors being the only competition) in the most explosive offensive era ever.
                  --The era factor also applies to Trosky. 100 RBI was not a mark of particular distinction in the AL of the 1930s. Dickey did benefit greatly from Yankee Stadium. he had very little power until he learned to pull toward the short porch. His home/road HR splits are some of the most extreme in history.
                  Thank you. Saved me time and effort to reply to ElHalo's post. I agree with all your assertions. EhHalo seems to look only at the numbers with regard to what context they are drawn from nor what those numbers are telling him. It simply is not enough to just look at numbers without researching what they mean.
                  ElHalo states he 'knows' about Klein's park and era but then proceeds to ignore them and post numbers to comp him to Jackson. Unintentinally, he simply reinforced my belief that Jackson was clearly better than Klein even though he was trying to show the opposite.

                  Yankees Fan Since 1957

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Second Base
                    1970s-Morgan (1), Carew (9), Grich (12), Lopes (23)
                    1930s-Gehringer (8), Herman (14), Lazzeri (19), Myer (24)
                    No Frisch?

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by ElHalo
                      Just because you're the best in your league in your era doesn't necessarily mean that you're better than somebody who wasn't the best in his league in a different era. Eddie Plank wasn't one of the top 5 pitchers of the dead ball era. Jack Morris was the top pitcher of the 80's. I have absolutely no question that Eddie Plank was better than Jack Morris.

                      Dean's a little different story, because there was so much going on outside the numbers with him, but in comparing Trosky and McCovey, it's not like I'm comparing two guys with comparable peaks, one of whom lasted much longer. McCovey had a tremendous year in 1969, but other than that, we're not really talking about a monster. Outside of that year, we're talking about a guy who never hit .300, never hit 50 HR's, never drove in 130, only scored 100 once and never as many as 105. And with the exception of walk drawing, Trosky's 1936 was every bit as good as McCovey's 69. And on top of 1936, Trosky had 3 more seasons where he hit .330 and drove in over 100. So while, yes, if two players have comparable peaks, the one with the longer career should go first. But Trosky peak was just much, much higher than McCovey's, so I give the nod to Trosky.
                      This is absolutely unbelievable! You are the only person I have ever heard that would rate Hal Trosky over Willie McCovey.

                      Your absolute failure to consider the era is where you are in error.

                      Another point is you keep mentioning trosky's RBI's. He should be glad his temamates were on base so often, in position, for him to drive them home. RBI's is so teammate dependant that I almost literally ignore them.

                      As for Trosky's BA, what was the League BA? What was the League BA in McCovey's time?

                      Other than in 1969 we're not talking about a "monster" when speaking of McCovey??? Well, when you put his and Trosky's careers in context, McCovey simply slaughters Trosky.

                      Yankees Fan Since 1957

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by leecemark
                        --McCovey was the best player in a league with Aaron, Clemente, Allen, Williams, Santo, Stargell, Morgan all in their primes. His OPS+ was over 200 that season. Trosky's career high was nearly 50 points lower. In fact McCovey career average OPS+ was not much below Trosky's career best - and McCovey did that over a much longer career vs a better league. McCovey is at least a top 10 1B. Trosky isn't even close to the top 20.
                        I'm in a weird position having to defend Trosky; I'm not a huge Trosky fan or anything. But, like a lot of players, Trosky suffers in OPS because he didn't draw walks. When a player can do a lot of other things on offense, but can't really draw walks (like, say, Traynor, Sisler, Ichiro, etc., etc.), I don't hold it against them, and I'll feel that they're a lot better offensive players than guys who get higher OPS+'s from drawing walks, but aren't as skilled at other offensive areas. McCovey was only 9 points over league average in BA, but his OBP rises over his BA by 104 points from walks. That, to me, is a sign of empty offense, and it shows a guy who wasn't anywhere near as good as his numbers. You might disagree.
                        "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                        Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by yanks0714
                          This is absolutely unbelievable! You are the only person I have ever heard that would rate Hal Trosky over Willie McCovey.

                          Your absolute failure to consider the era is where you are in error.
                          No, it's not a failure to consider era so much as an emphasis on different kinds of offense. McCovey is 9 points above average in BA, and 48 in OBP, on his career. I, admittedly, have a bias against guys who gain much of their offensive value from walks and homers. McCovey happens to be one of those guys.
                          "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                          Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            And another thing. I HATE similarity scores, completely useless things, but just for the fun of it...

                            Albert Pujols' top 10 most similar players through age 25:

                            1. DiMaggio
                            2. F. Robinson
                            3. Foxx
                            4. Aaron
                            5. Trosky
                            6. Guerrero
                            7. Cepeda
                            8. Griffey, Jr.
                            9. Mantle
                            10. Medwick

                            Some pretty nice company there. Other than Cepeda, I'd say that every single one is not only better than McCovey, but so much better than McCovey as to be absolutely embaressing. Just my opinion.
                            "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                            Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              --On the flip side, only one of Trosky's 10 most similar players is a Hall of Famer. That being marginal case Hack Wilson. From seasons 2-6 he is most similar to Orlando Cepeda every season. That would actually be a nice thing to have on your resume - except that Trosky compiled similar numbers in the offense rich 30s to those compiled in the neo-deadball 60s by Cepeda. He wasn't really as good as Cepeda.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by ElHalo
                                And another thing. I HATE similarity scores, completely useless things, but just for the fun of it...

                                Albert Pujols' top 10 most similar players through age 25:

                                1. DiMaggio
                                2. F. Robinson
                                3. Foxx
                                4. Aaron
                                5. Trosky
                                6. Guerrero
                                7. Cepeda
                                8. Griffey, Jr.
                                9. Mantle
                                10. Medwick

                                Some pretty nice company there. Other than Cepeda, I'd say that every single one is not only better than McCovey, but so much better than McCovey as to be absolutely embaressing. Just my opinion.
                                But people criticize similarity scores for exactly the same reason we're criticizing your high opinion of guys like Klein and Trosky.
                                "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

                                Comment

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