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Rogers Hornsby vs. Honus Wagner

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  • #46
    Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
    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
    Aaron at 20? lets attempt to be serious at least. If this is a legitimate opinion EH, then Aaron just got my vote as the most underrated player. Joe Jackson? Hornsby at #4 is also the highest I have seen, and apparently you aren't giving him any discredit for being barely adequate in other facets of the game beyond hitting. Also to be considered is the park he played in...Sportsman's was one of the best hitting parks in either league.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by baseballPAP View Post
      Aaron at 20? lets attempt to be serious at least. If this is a legitimate opinion EH, then Aaron just got my vote as the most underrated player. Joe Jackson? Hornsby at #4 is also the highest I have seen, and apparently you aren't giving him any discredit for being barely adequate in other facets of the game beyond hitting. Also to be considered is the park he played in...Sportsman's was one of the best hitting parks in either league.
      Have you missed the Hornsby thread? I suggest you look into it.

      http://baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=56377
      Last edited by Westlake; 02-09-2008, 05:46 PM.
      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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      • #48
        Originally posted by yanks0714 View Post
        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.
        Because hitters then went more for "style" points, I find it hard to evaluate their skill and especially their baserunning; that and the leagues IMO were pretty weak, I don't know how much to dock for that. Who was the better hitter: Nap Lajoie or Frank Thomas? OPS+ sees them as similar.

        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.
        I tend to value peak performances, and Mickey did all the other things that I like in baseball players too (take walks, hit for power, perform well in the post season but that's a seperate issue and I ONLY use post season performances in cases of a tie breaker) I personally find it hard to rank Mays in the top five, I in no way see him better than Ruth, Williams, or Wagner. I can see an argument for him over Cobb, but I disagree with it, and I find Speaker to be a comparable player. So when I see Mays ranked second commonly, I feel that he is overrated.
        "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

        "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

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        • #49
          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.
          Cobb a better hitter than Hornsby, I'm willing to consider this, so if anyone wants to convince me I'm willing to listen but here are my reasons:

          Hornsby had four seasons with an OPS+ over 200, Cobb only had three, Hornsby had the higher career OPS+ too. As to your second point, what you said
          "he probably used some performance enhancing drugs so he could do a better job on his report...i hear they make you gain weight" - Dr. Zizmor

          "I thought it was interesting and yes a conversation piece. Next time I post a similar story I will close with the question "So, do you think either of them have used steroids?" so that I can make the topic truly relevant to discussions about today's game." - Eric Davis

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqul1GyK7-g

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
            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
            That's a pretty strong list, Jim. Darn strong. I don't think anyone can quibble too vigorously with it. Reminds me of my own, with a teensy tweaking here and there.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by ChrisLDuncan View Post
              Cobb a better hitter than Hornsby, I'm willing to consider this, so if anyone wants to convince me I'm willing to listen but here are my reasons:

              Hornsby had four seasons with an OPS+ over 200, Cobb only had three, Hornsby had the higher career OPS+ too. As to your second point, what you said
              I already made my case earlier in a different thread, the Cobb/Hornsby: Hitting Only thread. If you want to, you can respond there.

              http://www.baseball-fever.com/showpo...&postcount=150

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Westlake View Post
                Have you missed the Hornsby thread? I suggest you look into it.

                http://baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=56377
                I don't generally get into the threads about a single player, unless it is someone I hold an interest in. Lets just say 13 pages of posts is a little more than I'm willing to read at this time, although I did vote in the poll (including erroneously clicking BOTH Hornsby IS and ISN'T my #1 at 2B(he is) ).

                I have seen some items regarding him that put the tiniest of creases in his armor.....

                Some have looked at his raw fielding numbers and proclaimed him a good to great SS in his early days. He fielded for an extreme groundball pitching staff in STL, and was actually a little below average when this is taken into account. He was never a good SS, nor was he a good 3Bman(even though it was probably his best position career-wise). As a 2Bman, he would be straight middle of the road.

                His speed...proposed to have been an incredibly fast athlete in general, this translated poorly on the baseball field, never stealing more than 17 bases and with a poor %. He hit a decent # of triples, but again, not anything overly impressive so as to jump out at you.

                I stand corrected on the issue of Sportsman's Park...it was actually a tough HR park for righties when Rogers was there, something like 90% of average.

                As I have said earlier, I have Hornsby #13 all time. The difference in players at that level is slight, and his peripherals are enough to bump him out of the top 10. He's still my #1 2Bman (I have Collins next at #19). I value an all around player, but supreme skill is still going to outweigh being really good everywhere...hence my pick of Ruth #1 over Mays and Cobb and Wagner. Cobb with Mays' glove would be my number 1....but Tyrus wasn't all that worried about his defense

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by baseballPAP View Post
                  Aaron at 20? lets attempt to be serious at least. If this is a legitimate opinion EH, then Aaron just got my vote as the most underrated player. Joe Jackson? Hornsby at #4 is also the highest I have seen, and apparently you aren't giving him any discredit for being barely adequate in other facets of the game beyond hitting. Also to be considered is the park he played in...Sportsman's was one of the best hitting parks in either league.
                  Well, yeah, it's entirely serious. Joe Jackson was probably one of the three or four most inately talented people to ever play baseball, and that really counts for a lot with me. There's few players ever who were better than Jackson at his best.

                  Hornsby wasn't "barely adequate" at other facets of the game beyond hitting. David Ortiz is "barely adequate" at other facets of the game; Hornsby was a competent fielder and a good baserunner. And a competent fielder at 2B gets more credit from me than the greatest defensive CF ever. I can't stress enough that the ability to stick Hornsby's bat at 2B is one of the greatest strengths any player has ever had... he was a god of hitting, at the level of Ruth and Williams and Gehrig, and having that plus the ability to slot at a skill position puts him way over anybody's top.

                  As for Hank Aaron... Aaron was a very good player forever, but he was never really a great player. His OBP topped .400 three times, never over .410. He hit as high as .330 once, never hit as many as 50 homers, more than 130 RBI once, 130 R never. He was a good base stealer, but only topped 30 once. He was an ok fielder, but nothing special, at an off-skill position. The list of players with more impressive seasons than that are legion.

                  I'll put it this way: If Hank Aaron had retired after 1966, with career averages of .317/.375/.564, 442 HR, 1406 R, and 1432 RBI, would he be a consensus top 10 player? If not, then I don't think he can really be considered one now, because I don't give players all that much credit at the top of these charts for hanging on... even if you're hanging on at a high level, if you're not getting better (and in the non-Bonds realm, players tend not to get better from their mid 30's on), you're not really moving up my charts, because I rank you on how great you were, not how long you were great.
                  "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

                  Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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                  • #54
                    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.
                    So what? Only a couple people here- or anywhere else in the educated baseball world- would make the claim that Rogers Hornsby was a greater baseball player than Honus Wagner. Most people have Wagner in their top 3-4 here, nobody has Hornsby that high.

                    More importantly, I've never heard anyone opine Hornsby was the greatest player in history, and I seriously doubt anyone ever will forward that claim. What about Wagner? Bill found about 35 contemporaries- including three of the greatest baseball minds in history- that opined for Wagner as the greatest ever. And to boot, most of these people saw Hornsby at his best, too.

                    John Joseph McGraw
                    William Joseph (Bill) Klem
                    Branch Rickey
                    Miller James Huggins
                    Edward Grant Barrow
                    Samuel Earl Crawford
                    John Henry Gruber
                    Henry Louis (Lou) Gehrig
                    William Boyd (Deacon) McKechnie
                    James Thomas (Jimmy) Burke
                    William J. (Bill) McGoogan, Jr.
                    Fred Clifford Clarke
                    Orval Overall
                    John Joseph Evers
                    Max George Carey
                    Samuel James (Jimmy) Sheckard
                    Michael Joseph Kelley
                    Albert Fielding Lang
                    Thomas William Leach
                    George Lange (Highpockets) Kelly
                    Charles Benjamin (Babe) Adams
                    Robert Mathew (Bobby) Byrne
                    Edd J. Roush
                    William Jeremiah (Billy) Murray
                    Henry Clement (Heinie) Peitz
                    Ralph Stuart Davis
                    Bernhard (Barney) Dreyfuss
                    Mrs. Florence (Wolf) Dreyfuss
                    James J. (Jim) Long
                    Braven Dyer
                    Craig Wright
                    George Leonard Moreland
                    John Kinley Tener
                    Irwin Martin Howe
                    Robert D. Emslie

                    Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                    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.
                    Except that it isn't massive at all. It might look that way after a cursory analysis looking a few onmibus numbers like OPS+, and leaving it at that, though. I'd point you to my post above on relative averages, first. Second, look at the excerpt in the Bill James New Abstract on Sam Crawford's stats, transposed onto a 20's-30's run environment. You'll be singing a much different tune afterwards.

                    Did you know that Exposition Park- where Wagner played until 1909- was 400 feet down the lines and 450 to center? Wagner played the rest of his career at Forbes field, which was 362 down the LF line, 462 to center, and 376 down the LF.

                    And he endured all of this with the deadball. So homers were impossible to hit, and without the threat of the HR, sluggers like Honus didn't garner all of the walks that, say, Rogers Hornsby did playing in the 20's, with the liveball (and balls were constantly replaced, never black and used all game), no trick pitches, in a much smaller park. Hornsby only had to endure deadball conditions for a few years, and it sure as hell wasn't at Forbes Field.

                    Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                    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.
                    Harry Heilmann? Please. Plus, Heilmann was a bad fielder at a weak position, and could focus nearly all of his time on hitting.

                    As Adam said, Wagner would be much more like Lou Gehrig than Harry Heilmann playing from 1915-37. Add that to the fact that he was a SS, and the comparison is moot.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by ElHalo View Post
                      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.
                      Some more facts to consider, EH, and more pitfalls surrounding using a few numbers and assuming they equally measure player skill and value across eras (frequently not the case!)

                      Originally posted by AstrosFan View Post
                      Let's say we compare Wagner and Mays. We adjust everything to a 1951 NL contest in terms of what percentage of their hits are doubles, triples, and home runs. What kind of power numbers would Wagner be posting?

                      The way I have it, Wagner would have a relative ISO of about 191, Mays about 196. Wagner would hit about 502 home runs, with a high of about 59 in 1908. This does not account for how Wagner's park played as a home run park.

                      The changes in the game do enable higher ISOs for the best sluggers in the modern game. No matter who you look at, no one in the deadball era will have a relative ISO of 220. Indeed, you'd be hard pressed to find someone in the modern game with that kind of relative ISO. It is entirely a product of Greenberg being ahead of his time, in terms of hitting home runs.
                      It was simply harder for deadball sluggers to separate themselves as much as those of later eras, due to the HR being almost entirely out of the equation.

                      Christ, half of Wagner's homers were inside-the-park, and he had to work for them. His teammate of 15 years, Tommy Leach hit 63 homers in his career- 48 were inside the park. This is still the all time record for the National League, 100 years later.

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                      • #56
                        roger's top 10 years DWARF Honus's top 10 years

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by blackout805 View Post
                          roger's top 10 years DWARF Honus's top 10 years
                          Are you going to actually add some actual evidence or just post unsupported assertions? Honus' 1908 season is match for any of Rogers best seasons.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                            Are you going to actually add some actual evidence or just post unsupported assertions? Honus' 1908 season is match for any of Rogers best seasons.
                            I honestly don't see how you can say that. Look at Hornsby's 1924 season. Beats out pretty much everything from Wagner's 1908 season, except stolen bases.
                            Lou Gehrig is the Truest Yankee of them all!

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by blackout805 View Post
                              roger's top 10 years DWARF Honus's top 10 years
                              How do you figure?


                              Originally posted by White Knight View Post
                              I honestly don't see how you can say that. Look at Hornsby's 1924 season. Beats out pretty much everything from Wagner's 1908 season, except stolen bases.
                              In an era of more inflated offense. I'll grant Hornsby a slight lead at the plate, but it's not like he dominates Wagner. He also didn't play defense as well, and second isn't as difficult a position as shortstop.

                              So Wagner was almost as good a hitter, a significantly better baserunner and significantly better fielder at a more valuable position. I honestly don't see how you honestly can't see how he could say that.
                              Last edited by philkid3; 02-12-2008, 12:43 AM.
                              Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

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                              • #60
                                Did a quick analysis. Here's a list of their top 10 seasons combined in EqA:

                                1. .382 Hornsby 1924
                                2. .375 Hornsby 1928
                                3. .374 Hornsby 1925
                                4. .360 Hornsby 1922
                                5. .357 Wagner 1908
                                6. .351 Hornsby 1921
                                7. .350 Wagner 1900
                                8. .349 Hornsby 1929
                                9. .347 Hornsby 1923
                                10. .345 Hornsby 1927
                                11. .344 Hornsby 1920
                                12. .343 Wagner 1904
                                13. .337 Hornsby 1931
                                14. .339 Wagner 1907
                                15. .333 Wagner 1905
                                16. .333 Wagner 1909
                                17. .330 Wagner 1906
                                18. .329 Wagner 1901
                                19. .318 Wagner 1911
                                20. .317 Wagner 1903


                                Now, clearly Hornsby wins this hear agument. How much playing in the live-ball era helped him we'll ignore for the moment and pretend the adjustment is perfect. Even though he's the clear leader, it seems saying Hornsby's best 10 seasons "DWARF" Wagner's is a little bit too much. Wagner does place in the top 7 twice.

                                Furthermore, this is just offense. Hornsby has the clear lead on offense over their best ten years, but he doesn't quite dwarf Wagner. Yes, if this argument was just about offense, Hornsby would win, but it's not just about offense. Wagner holds the obvious lead in positional value, defense and base running, and does so rather dominantly.

                                So, with all of that considered, it seems like even a bold-faced lie to say Hornsby's ten best year's "DWARF" Wagner's ten best.
                                Hey, this is my public apology for suddenly disappearing and missing out on any projects I may have neglected.

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