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  • Hartnett vs Cochrane

    From what I've gathered, Mickey Cochrane was considered to be the best catcher in the AL during the 1920s/30's, while Gabby Hartnett was likewise considered to be the best in the NL during that same time frame. I would just like to know who you consider to be better overall.

    -Cochrane has the higher career BA and OBP
    -Hartnett has the higher SLG + longer career

    Defense: ???
    34
    Mickey Cochrane
    88.24%
    30
    Gabby Hartnett
    11.76%
    4
    "Age is a question of mind over matter--if you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
    -Satchel Paige

  • #2
    Defense would be about even. Both were considered to be the best defensive catchers in their respective leagues.

    This is a close one. Both have distinct advantages. Hartnett lasted longer. Cochrane was better per game and had a better peak. Cochrane was a better OBP guy, Hartnett was a better slugger. It's really close. What makes the difference for me is two things:

    1.They played at a time when the AL was significantly higher in quality than the NL. This favors Cochrane.

    2.Cochrane was known to be one of the best intangible players in the game, and he was a player manager his last few years. This has been known to adversely effect a player's performance. I think this can be way overblown, especially if the player in an awful manager (Hornsby), but Cochrane was supposed to be a good manager so I give him some credit. Hartnett was a player manager, but he was far more manager than player. He mostly was retired and just served mostly as a backup catcher. It was past the point where it really matters to me whether his offense was depleted because he was past his prime by then anyway.

    These factors tip the scale to Mickey IMO.
    Last edited by 538280; 02-26-2006, 05:59 PM.

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    • #3
      I'd say that Mickey was just slightly better than Gabby in both defense & offense. But for me, the real ice breaker was the winning of the pennant for Detroit in his very first year there, 1934.

      Just arriving from Philly in the Motor City, they lost to the Gashouse Gang in the World Series, but came back the next year and copped the WS title. Iron Mike was their player/manager. And it was his fire which sparked them.

      Bill Burgess
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 02-27-2006, 06:52 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        --I voted Cochrane, but its very close. Cochrane had a more concentrated peak and that is important to me. Hartnett had as many big years, but they are scattered all over his career without much year to year consistentcy.
        --Both were terrific defensive catchers and hit for good average. Hartnett had more power, but Cochrane was better at getting on base (and a better runner once in got there). Both were team leaders and won pennants as player-managers (Mickey a fiery, intense type and Gabby more of an easy going type -so which offered more here depends on your team). Hartnett lasted longer, but Cochrane was in the better league. Either could rank as high as 3rd amoung MLB catchers and neither could be reasonably ranked out of the top 10 (without LQ adjustments they are both top 5).

        Comment


        • #5
          Gabby Hartnett was noted for his strong throwing arm which was usally rated only behind Rick Ferrell's during the 1930s. Cochrane's throwing arm was not comparable to either Ferrell or Hartnett. Rick Ferrell, not Cochrane, was considered the top AL defensive catcher of the 1930s. Hitting, or course is another story. Ferrell's defensive reputation has taken a hit from revisionist historians because of his fielding stats decline related to his handling of the knuckleballing Senators' staff. In the late 30s however, Ferrell was held in high esteem for his wilingness to place his repuation on the line in order to facilitate Dutch Leonard's -- and later the other's --knuckleball; something, opined a number of baseball men in the know --Leonard, Niggeling, Clark Griffith -- that most other major league catchers were unwilling to do.

          Comment


          • #6
            --He didn't really have much choice did he? Those guys were going to be throwing the knuckler regardless of who was behind the plate. Cochrane may not have had an elite arm, but he had a very good one. Throwing arm was of reduced importance for these guys anyway since base stealing was out of fashion.

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            • #7
              Hey, didn't Hartnett catch a ball dropped from the Washington Monument? Or was that someone else?
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                Mickey's arm has taken an unfair hit. Due to the Athletic's pitchers' not holding their runners on base well, they made it appear that Mickey could not throw out runners. That was what happened in the WS, with Pepper Martin.

                No one could throw out Martin, if the pitchers were holding him close to the bag. I think Mickey had as good an arm as Gabby.

                Bill

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                • #9
                  Cochrane did not arrive in the majors as a polished catcher and Connie Mack immediately had to split up the "Grove-Cochrane" battery because Grove couldn't find the plate and Cochrane was too green behind the dish to provide any direction. Cy Perkins took over handling Grove and Mack hired Kid Gleason to work with Grove on finding the plate; with good results, but I don't have to tell anyone that.

                  Cochrane, through hard work, turned himself into a very good defensive catcher. He never, however, had the reputation of having a strong arm, and that reputation took a big hit after the Cards ran over him in the '31 Series, though to be favorable to Mickey, none of the A's big three aces were noted for holding on baserunners. Cochrane's rep took such a wack that despite his best offensive season in 1932 he failed to get a single MVP vote, though both Ferrell and Dickey did.

                  Mack said that Cochrane was such an initially poor defender that he almost moved himself to the outfield. Cochrane, more noted as a football player in college, said he was placed behind the plate because that was where it was deemed he could do the least harm to the team.

                  Mack also platooned Mickey and much of his Athletics' career and Mickey followed that pattern when he took over as Detroit skipper; IE he virtually never faced lefty pitchers throughout his career.

                  Ferrell had ability to put the kaboosh on the knuckler in 1938. Griffith, Bucky Harris and Ferrell were the main brain trust behind establishing/introducing the knuckler into the majors. Leonard failed in his early stint in the bigs and said that was partially due to not having a catcher willing to work with him. After formulating the plan to go with the pitch, Griffith set the whole Washington franchise on floater fashion. Catchers in the minors were trained to handle them. When WW II claimed some of the younger Senators' catchers, Griffith went out and reacquired Ferrell. Nobody involved in this process -- which by the way revolutioned the game (think Paul Richards who was Leonard's minor league catcher and Wilhelm's major league manager, and Wilhelm himself, who started to throw the pitch after following Leonard's career) -- ever underestimated Ferrell's role in the process.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To me this is another no-brainer; Cochrane.
                    1968 and 1984, the greatest ever.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tigerfan1974
                      To me this is another no-brainer; Cochrane.
                      Let's see
                      Cochrane 128 OPS+, 6206 PA, 88.6 WARP3, 275 Winshares
                      Hartnett 126 OPS+, 7297! PA, 110.1 WARP3, 325 Winshares

                      Defensively
                      Cochrane 104 adjusted production rate, 377 adjusted fielding runs above replacement, 52 adjusted fielding runs above average, 2x Assist king

                      Hartnett 106 adjusted production rate, 507 adjusted fielding runs above replacement, 102 adjusted fielding runs above average, 6x Assist king

                      Of course you're not biased and the injury did prevent Cochrane from having more of a decline period. It may be a "no-brainer" but for which side?
                      Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                      Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                        Hey, didn't Hartnett catch a ball dropped from the Washington Monument? Or was that someone else?
                        That was Gabby Street.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by leecemark
                          --I voted Cochrane, but its very close. Cochrane had a more concentrated peak and that is important to me. Hartnett had as many big years, but they are scattered all over his career without much year to year consistentcy.
                          --Both were terrific defensive catchers and hit for good average. Hartnett had more power, but Cochrane was better at getting on base (and a better runner once in got there). Both were team leaders and won pennants as player-managers (Mickey a fiery, intense type and Gabby more of an easy going type -so which offered more here depends on your team). Hartnett lasted longer, but Cochrane was in the better league. Either could rank as high as 3rd amoung MLB catchers and neither could be reasonably ranked out of the top 10 (without LQ adjustments they are both top 5).
                          I've always understood that Gabby Hartnett was not an easy-going type manager and he actually replaced an easy-going manager, Charlie Grimm, during the Cubs pennant winning season of 1938 when Cubs mamnagement thought the team needed a kick in the ass. Dick Bartell for one is on record that whille Gabby was a great player, he was not a very manager.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by wamby
                            That was Gabby Street.
                            I also have Hartnett doing it on April Fools (which would explain a lot) of 1930 but from a Goodyear blimp 550' above ground
                            Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
                            Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RuthMayBond
                              Let's see
                              Cochrane 128 OPS+, 6206 PA, 88.6 WARP3, 275 Winshares
                              Hartnett 126 OPS+, 7297! PA, 110.1 WARP3, 325 Winshares

                              Defensively
                              Cochrane 104 adjusted production rate, 377 adjusted fielding runs above replacement, 52 adjusted fielding runs above average, 2x Assist king

                              Hartnett 106 adjusted production rate, 507 adjusted fielding runs above replacement, 102 adjusted fielding runs above average, 6x Assist king

                              Of course you're not biased and the injury did prevent Cochrane from having more of a decline period. It may be a "no-brainer" but for which side?
                              RMB, this is a serious question so please do not take offense.
                              First, what are OPS+, WARP3 and Winshares?
                              Where does one get/calculate that info?
                              Why do some of the individuals in BBF use/quote them so much as 'scripture', for lack of a better analogy?

                              If you ask the everyday baseball fan, like myself, who knows the history of the game and loves it for all it is, not just the man on the street who goes to the game to get away from the boss or to take a son, Mickey Cochrane is the better player. His name has better recognition, Why?
                              It does not go by any stats, real or calculated/adjusted. Cochrane has better name recognition because he was the better player and has a better reputation.

                              I would think getting so lost in stats all the time would detract from enjoyment of the game. But that is just me. I don't need stats to tell me A is better than B. baseball history/lore and/or my experience tells me that.

                              It is all just subjective opinion anyway, isn't it??
                              1968 and 1984, the greatest ever.

                              Comment

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