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Rogers Hornsby vs. Honus Wagner

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  • #31
    Originally posted by White Knight View Post
    IMO, you rank Schmidt far too high. No way he was better than Gehrig, or even Boggs or A-Rod IMO.
    Whoaaaaaaaa hold on there. You must be the first poster I have ever seen rank Boggs ahead of Schmidt. Hell, I have Boggs 4th among 3Bmen (5th if you count ARod at 3rd), and I see that as a bit of a stretch. Boggs was very good, but never even approached being the best player in his league. Schmidt was the best in the NL for about 6 or 7 years.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by White Knight View Post
      IMO, you rank Schmidt far too high. No way he was better than Gehrig, or even Boggs or A-Rod IMO.
      Boggs ahead of Schmidt??? That I cannot agree with. I don't think you can make a reasonable argument to have Boggs ahead of Schmidt.

      Gehrig over Schmidt? I can see that and won't press the issue. I main points for Schmidt over Gehrig are that he played in a far more competitive era than did Lou. I think the 1970's to mid-80's may be the most competitive era ever in baseball. This era had the highest percentage of black players plus the Latino's were also making inroads in greater numbers in this time period.
      Plainly speaking, the competion was fierce. It was harder for a player to rise above his fellow players. Those who did were clearly all-time players....lead by Schmidt.

      Another point is that Lou's era was very high offensive era, much higher than in Schmidt's time. His numbers are a bit inflated.
      Plus Lou was an average 1B (please don't romanticize Gehrig as a great 1B; he was not). Schmidt is an all-time defensive 3B. Since 3B is a more valued defensive position than is 1B Schmidt gets a huge boost here.

      As for ARod, I don't generally rank active players particularly when they still have quite a bit of their career ahead of them.

      Yankees Fan Since 1957

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      • #33
        Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan View Post
        Since a few of you had questions, here's my explanations:


        Cobb Amazing hitter, great peak, but dead ballers are hard to rank
        Mays Second most complete player, but IMO slightly overrated
        Why are dead ballers so hard to rank. Personally I find the current hitters due to the inflated offense and the high offensive era of the late 20's - 30's more difficult to rank. Cobb was an amazing hitter, period.

        I have to ask why you think Willie Mays is overrated? Mickey Mantle was my idol. All the arguments in the 50s and 60s when they were playing into their retirements were who was better: Mantle or Mays. Since I prefer Career over Peak I have to go with Willie. Peak is Mickey but overall it's Mays.

        Yankees Fan Since 1957

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        • #34
          Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan View Post
          Hornsby over Cobb is because Hornsby was a better hitter than CObb, and I feel that his offense from second base outweighs Cobb's career value.
          Hornsby was, "a better hitter than Cobb"! Whew! I can see an argument but I suspect you may well be in the minority opinion on this. Plus, Bill Burgess is going to have something to say about that comment.

          IF you were to say "I prefer Hornsby over Cobb because he played a more critical defensive position than did Ty' that might be valid. But a flat statement like yours is very arguable.

          Yankees Fan Since 1957

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          • #35
            Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan View Post
            Since a few of you had questions, here's my explanations:


            Ruth obvi
            Bonds I tend to take what he did at pretty much face value
            Wagner IMO, the most complete player ever.
            Mantle Perhaps the greatest peak ever.
            Williams Second greatest hitter ever, if he didn't go to war, you guys would be considereding fifth low
            Hornsby Top ten or so hitter IMO, played second base at a C+/B- level from what I'd guess
            Cobb Amazing hitter, great peak, but dead ballers are hard to rank
            Speaker Greatest defensive CF ever, 158 OPS+ over a long career.
            Mays Second most complete player, but IMO slightly overrated
            Gehrig Third greatest hitter IMO, so that gets him top ten
            Most of us have the same 10 guys in our Top 10's. You and I have 8 out of 10 for our Top 10's, Chris.

            I know this is all for fun, but still, whenever Ty Cobb misses someone's Top 5, I have less fun than I should be having. Rogers was most emphatically NOT a better hitter than Ty was. Why?

            Simple. Rogers had the equivalent of 7 whole seasons less at-bats, so his Slugging ave. superficially appears better. But even so, it's only a point or two better than Cobb's rel. slug. ave.! Add the fact that Ty ran rings around him, winning many games by that alone . . . And Ty was a better CFer than Rogers was a 2Bman. True, 2B is a more critical, valuable position, but that is deceptive.

            Mantle/Williams are the only 2 guys we disagree on. I have Bonds/John Lloyd in my Top 10.

            Good list, Chris. We just disagree on a couple of our details.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by White Knight View Post
              IMO, you rank Schmidt far too high. No way he was better than Gehrig, or even Boggs or A-Rod IMO.
              I'm about as big a fan of Bogg's as it gets (or so I thought). I tend to rank him higher than most, but there is no way he is better than Schmidt.

              Boggs has a 130 career OPS+

              Schmidt has a 147 career OPS+

              hmm...edge to Schmidt.

              And they played almost the same amount of time as well.

              Each played 18 seasons with just over 2400 games, so neither one of them is missing a decline phase.

              I mean Schmidt has a 17 point advantage over Boggs.

              Of course the two of them were distinctly different hitters, Bogg's hitting for high average, and Schmidt a power hitter. Though both of them were great at taking walks (Schmidt - 1507; Boggs - 1412; though Schmidt lead in BB's 4 times, compared to only twice for Boggs).

              Schmidt was the premier hitter of his day. He lead his league in HR, 8 times over his career!!! Only Babe Ruth did so more times than him!

              And peak wise, Schmidt wins out as well. He lead in OPS+, Batting Runs and Batting wins 6 times...compared to Boggs who lead in OPS+ only once, Batting Runs twice, and Batting Wins three times. Though Boggs did lead in OWP 4 times, to Schmidt's 3 times. So no, Bogg's was no slouch with the bat.

              Honestly, Bogg's 1987 season (where he mysteriously hit 24 HR), is one of my personal favorites. He won the batting title (.363), OBP title (.461), and Slugged .588, and ended the season with a 173 OPS+!!!

              But Schmidt can counter that season with his 1980 and 1981 seasons (171 and 199 OPS+ respectively).

              And then we get to defense. Boggs was not known for his defense in the first half of his career, though when he started to lose some with his bat, he did become a better defensive player.

              But that is nothing next to the sure-handed Schmidt, who won 10 GG's over his 18 year career (including 9 in a row, and 10 out of 11 seasons).

              So Schmidt was better at hitting, and defense...oh and he was a better baserunner as well!

              So how one can say Boggs was better is beyond me. But to each their own

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              • #37
                Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan View Post
                13th? Eww, wyhy is Mantle only 9th and Williams 7th? How is Aaron better than Ted?
                9th and 7th for Mantle and Williams seems pretty reasonable... any higher would certainly be too high. My top 15 or so would go:

                1. Ruth
                2. Cobb
                3. Mays
                4. Hornsby
                5. Gehrig
                6. Wagner
                7. Speaker
                8. Williams
                9. Mantle
                10. Joe Jackson
                11. Lajoie
                12. Musial
                13. Foxx
                14. Gibson
                15. DiMaggio
                16. Berra
                17. Bench
                18. Collins
                19. Rodriguez
                20. Aaron
                "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by yanks0714 View Post
                  Hornsby was, "a better hitter than Cobb"! Whew! I can see an argument but I suspect you may well be in the minority opinion on this. Plus, Bill Burgess is going to have something to say about that comment.

                  IF you were to say "I prefer Hornsby over Cobb because he played a more critical defensive position than did Ty' that might be valid. But a flat statement like yours is very arguable.
                  Bill Burgess would of course disagree, but Hornsby was a FAR better hitter than Cobb. Even considering the relative differences in their eras (which wasn't really that huge a time span difference; Cobb was only nine years older than Hornsby, and Hornsby only had two real seasons after Cobb retired), Hornsby was a VASTLY superior slugger. Yes, Cobb led his league in SLG 8 times, only one fewer than Hornsby, but Hornsby did it a lot more convincingly. Hornsby led his league in slugging from 1921 to 1925 by over 100 points every year, and other than 1921 led by at least 139 points every year. Cobb only had two seasons where his lead was as much as 40 points, and the highest was 86 points. Hornsby was also much better at drawing walks. Just a better hitter all around than Cobb, and it's really not particularly close.

                  I think Ruth, Williams, and Gehrig were better hitters than Hornsby. I don't think anybody else is particularly close.
                  "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                  Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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                  • #39
                    As far as career value I will vote for Wagner. Hornsby was a better hitter. But Wagner sustained his greatness for a longer period of time and was a great defensive player.

                    By all accounts Hornsby was a good defender for the first half of his career but Wagner wins that side.

                    Wagner was a better base stealer but I don't necessarily think he was a better base runner. Hornsby was one of the fastest players of his time. He just didn't steal a lot of bases. He had a lot of inside the park homers and triples.
                    "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

                    Rogers Hornsby, 1961

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                    • #40
                      I agree that Hornsby was the superior hitter (than Wagner AND Cobb).

                      Wagner is definately much better on the defensive side, but Hornsby was no slouch either. As Eric said, he was very good in the first half of his career. Much better than most give him credit for. Was said to turn double plays better than any second bagger in the league. However, Wagner was an all-world defensive player by most accounts.

                      I do think Wagner was a better baserunner. Even though he may not have been much more superior to Hornsby outside of base-stealing -- his success in that area definately puts him over the top IMO. Another area Hornsby is usually slighted in where he shouldn't be though. One of the fastest and most athletic ballplayers around in that era.
                      Originally posted by Domenic
                      The Yankees should see if Yogi Berra can still get behind the plate - he has ten World Series rings... he must be worth forty or fifty million a season.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                        I ask myself, could Wagner have hit .400 in the 1920s? I think he could have. He had seasons on .381 and .363 and a bunch of other .350+ seasons. The gap between Hornsby and Wagner as hitters is small.
                        I'm surprised anyone voted for Hornsby here. Even in light of all the appreciation I've gained of him courtesy of JRB and Bench5, this one isn't even close. Wagner was a perfect player. Only a few in history can make this claim. How many players were great at every facet of the game? Mays, Speaker and for a shorter duration Dimaggio and Mantle. That's just off the top of my head.

                        Certainly Wagner could have hit .400. And he could have done so playing SS and a great fielder to boot, which is frightening, frankly!! If Luke Appling could hit .388 in the 30's AL, Wagner certainly could have.

                        In fact, had Wagner played his prime in Hornsby's park and era, he would have probably flirted with .400 several times.

                        Including park adjustments Wagner outhit the league by the following totals:
                        1900: 97 points
                        1904: 88 points
                        1905: 88 points
                        1907: 96 points
                        1908: 107 points

                        Park adjusted batting averages for Hornsby's 1921-30:
                        .294
                        .290
                        .287
                        .303
                        .292
                        .290
                        .284
                        .304
                        .313

                        I don't have James' Abstract in front of me, but somebody could pull up the career totals for Sam Crawford playing in the era of Hornsby. The same analysis could be run for Honus Wagner, as he and Crawford played almost identical years in very similar offensive contexts.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                          Bill Burgess would of course disagree, but Hornsby was a FAR better hitter than Cobb. Even considering the relative differences in their eras (which wasn't really that huge a time span difference; Cobb was only nine years older than Hornsby, and Hornsby only had two real seasons after Cobb retired), Hornsby was a VASTLY superior slugger. Yes, Cobb led his league in SLG 8 times, only one fewer than Hornsby, but Hornsby did it a lot more convincingly. Hornsby led his league in slugging from 1921 to 1925 by over 100 points every year, and other than 1921 led by at least 139 points every year. Cobb only had two seasons where his lead was as much as 40 points, and the highest was 86 points. Hornsby was also much better at drawing walks. Just a better hitter all around than Cobb, and it's really not particularly close.

                          I think Ruth, Williams, and Gehrig were better hitters than Hornsby. I don't think anybody else is particularly close.
                          I do indeed disagree, but in order not to hi-jack this great thread, I will conduct my disagreement here-
                          http://baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=58363&page=6
                          -- where it should be done. The Cobb/Hornsby: Hitting only thread. I ask all Cobb/Hornsby: Hitting Only posts to be conducted here. Please?
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-16-2008, 05:17 PM.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                            Bill Burgess would of course disagree, but Hornsby was a FAR better hitter than Cobb. Even considering the relative differences in their eras (which wasn't really that huge a time span difference; Cobb was only nine years older than Hornsby, and Hornsby only had two real seasons after Cobb retired), Hornsby was a VASTLY superior slugger. Yes, Cobb led his league in SLG 8 times, only one fewer than Hornsby, but Hornsby did it a lot more convincingly.
                            Not going to hijack this thread either. My response has moved to Hornsby vs. Cobb, hitting only.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                              I'm surprised anyone voted for Hornsby here. Even in light of all the appreciation I've gained of him courtesy of JRB and Bench5, this one isn't even close. Wagner was a perfect player. Only a few in history can make this claim. How many players were great at every facet of the game? Mays, Speaker and for a shorter duration Dimaggio and Mantle. That's just off the top of my head.
                              Yeah, he was a perfect player in that he was great at all facets of the game. So were Speaker and Mantle... and Babe Ruth wasn't, but most people have Ruth rated higher than them.

                              Wagner has a huge edge on Hornsby in defense, and a big one in baserunning. But the hitting edge Hornsby has on Wagner is massive. Honus was certainly a great hitter, but I don't think he has an enormous edge on contemporaries like Elmer Flick and Gavvy Cravath. Move Honus 20 years forward in time -- which would just about put him in Hornsby's time frame -- and I think he's basically the exact same hitter as Harry Heilmann. Now, Heilmann was a fantastic hitter... but he wasn't close to Hornsby. There's not enough defense and baserunning in the world to make up that difference.
                              "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                              Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                                Yeah, he was a perfect player in that he was great at all facets of the game. So were Speaker and Mantle... and Babe Ruth wasn't, but most people have Ruth rated higher than them.

                                Wagner has a huge edge on Hornsby in defense, and a big one in baserunning. But the hitting edge Hornsby has on Wagner is massive. Honus was certainly a great hitter, but I don't think he has an enormous edge on contemporaries like Elmer Flick and Gavvy Cravath. Move Honus 20 years forward in time -- which would just about put him in Hornsby's time frame -- and I think he's basically the exact same hitter as Harry Heilmann. Now, Heilmann was a fantastic hitter... but he wasn't close to Hornsby. There's not enough defense and baserunning in the world to make up that difference.
                                Move Honus 20 years forward and he's more Lou Gehrig than Harry Heilman. Honus was a powerfully built man similar to Lou Gehrig. He showed tremendous power at times (I mentioned a 450 ft HR in 1903 in a previous post). I have no doubt given his physical attributes and his hitting ability he would be right there with Hornsby. Perhaps Honus does not hit .424 but I can easily see Honus hitting .380-.400 in the 1920s with tremendous power. Ed Barrow, as quoted in Fred Lieb's book, Baseball As I have Known It (page 45), said this about Honus' HR potential in the 1920s:

                                Barrow blamed Wagner’s failure to hit more home runs (101) on the dead ball used during Wagner’s entire twenty-one year career. “If Wagner had batted against the lively ball he would have fifty home runs almost every year.”
                                Now I'm sure Barrow didn't literally mean Honus would have hit 50 HRs EVERY year but it's obvious to Barrow that Honus had big time power and would have hit a tremendous amount of HRs in the Live Ball Era.
                                Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 02-09-2008, 04:36 PM.
                                Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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