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Greatest Baserunner of All Time? A completely new take...

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  • #31
    Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
    I think Dunn tries to hustle, but he can't get out of his own way. And it's hard to hustle while you're striking out.
    I think most of the other white guys listed as non-hustlers are big slow guys. I've seen Pat Burrell hustle many times. He just is slow to react to balls in the field and is slow on the basepaths. I have a clear memory of Burrell hustling as he stretched out a double into a triple in Arizona one time.
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

    Comment


    • #32
      Just doodling with numbers and weightings for speed, along with some Baseball-Reference and other data on baserunning values, I made an attempt to quantify top baserunners in terms of total bases and bases converted to runs value.

      This is no treatise. It was an enjoyable exercise. I tried to apply values equitably across the period 1901 to the present. I may have penalized some of the older guys ... not too much, I believe.

      Player .........................Runs

      Henderson...................315
      V. Coleman..................252
      Brock..........................215
      Raines........................211
      W. Wilson...................190
      Cobb..........................168
      Lofton........................157
      Campaneris.................145
      Lopes........................132
      Ho. Wagner.................130
      C. Crawford................123
      Pierre.........................122
      Wills...........................121
      Grissom......................115
      Aparicio......................111
      Moreno......................111
      Ba. Bonds...................110
      Mays.........................105
      J. Rollins.....................104
      M. Carey....................101
      Otis...........................101
      E. Collins....................100
      LeFlore.......................100

      Guys with incomplete careers, abbreviated careers, and one outstanding cup of coffee who just excelled [and each seems to qualify as a baserunner with "smarts" include]:

      Dave Roberts
      Ichiro Suzuki
      Ross Youngs
      Jackie Robinson
      Jacoby Ellsbury
      Sam Jethroe [the cup of coffee] ... segregation and age

      Comment


      • #33
        Last summer, I read the recent biography on Willie Mays, which runs nearly 600 pages. It was one of the most thoroughly researched bios I've ever read on a baseball player, and one of the impressive matters which I noticed as I read was how often the author was able to tell a Mays story from specific games over his career. Several of these stories involved baserunning and his exploits on basepaths to use his speed early in his career. A typical story would involve a close game, where a potentially decisive run might score on a Mays hit and Mays would attempt to take an extra base at the expense of a rundown. It appeared to onlookers that Mays would deliberately take undue risk in the name of enticing a lead runner to attempt to score by drawing a throw. This happened often enough that it came to mind as I read this thread. He trusted his quick reflexes, and would sacrifice himself for the sake of the team like no one else at the time, and maybe since. I'm not sure any of that could be quantified, but sometimes anecdotal evidence will swing the balance when the numbers decide the matter.
        Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

        A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill.

        Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by SavoyBG View Post
          I think you are falling victim to the "white guys are hustlers" and "black guys are lazy" syndrome here. You picked out three white guys as your examples of great hustling baserunners and then say that the black guy, Henderson, dogged it.

          Usually when a player is described as "scrappy, with a lot of heart" it's a white guy like Phil Garner or David Eckstein or Craig Counsell.

          Usually when a player is described as selfish or dogging it, it's a black guy like Henderson, Barry Bonds, or Dick Allen.


          Let's also not forget who has 'blue collar work ethics' versus who has an 'instinct' for what to do.

          Wow, I thought I was lame for noticing these types of 'hidden' meanings, and you both pointed out two that I have heard often and completely ignored. Just wow and thx!
          "It's better to look good, than be good."

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
            I consider baserunning separate than base stealing.

            By that definition, Henderson was not the best baserunner in history, and not even close. In fact he didn't even run the bases nearly as hard as he could have; he mostly ran to pad his own SB stats, which he cared about more than anything else. If you doubt that, read what he's said about his baseunning totals....proclaiming himself as "The Greatest Ever" when he passed Brock, or his giant "1406" medallion necklace he wears in public to this day.

            Code:
            LEADERS
            1979-2003
            
            PLATE APPEARANCES               PA     
            1    Rickey Henderson          13346  
            2    Cal Ripken                12883   
            3    Paul Molitor              11604   
            4    Eddie Murray              11461   
            5    Harold Baines             11092   
            6    Rafael Palmeiro           10973   
            7    Barry Bonds               10967   
            8    Wade Boggs                10740   
            9    Tim Raines                10359   
            10   Tony Gwynn                10232   
            11   Roberto Alomar            10210   
            12   Ozzie Smith               10110   
            13   Fred McGriff              10093   
            14   Chili Davis                9996   
            15   Craig Biggio               9990   
            16   Gary Gaetti                9817   
            17   Brett Butler               9545   
            18   Andre Dawson               9451   
            19   Robin Yount                9380   
            20   Lou Whitaker               9363 
            
            DOUBLES                         2B     
            1    Cal Ripken                  603   
            2    Paul Molitor                579   
            3    Wade Boggs                  578   
            T4   Rafael Palmeiro             543   
            T4   Tony Gwynn                  543   
            6    Barry Bonds                 536   
            7    Craig Biggio                517   
            8    Mark Grace                  511   
            9    Rickey Henderson            510   
            10   Eddie Murray                499   
            11   Roberto Alomar              498   
            12   George Brett                496   
            13   Edgar Martinez              492   
            14   Harold Baines               488   
            15   John Olerud                 473   
            16   Robin Yount                 465   
            17   Jeff Bagwell                455   
            18   Paul O'Neill                451   
            19   Andre Dawson                449   
            20   Andres Galarraga            444  
            
            TRIPLES                         3B     
            1    Willie Wilson               145   
            2    Brett Butler                131   
            3    Lance Johnson               117   
            4    Tim Raines                  113   
            5    Paul Molitor                110   
            6    Steve Finley                108   
            7    Robin Yount                 103   
            8    Juan Samuel                 102   
            9    Willie McGee                 94   
            10   Tony Fernandez               92   
            11   Andy Van Slyke               91   
            12   Vince Coleman                89   
            13   Kenny Lofton                 86   
            14   Tony Gwynn                   85   
            15   George Brett                 84   
            16   Andre Dawson                 80   
            T17  Roberto Alomar               78   
            T17  Alfredo Griffin              78   
            19   Ryne Sandberg                76   
            T20  Delino DeShields             74   
            T20  Barry Bonds                  74   
            T22  Barry Larkin                 73   
            T22  Garry Templeton              73   
            24   Dave Martinez                72   
            T25  Mookie Wilson                71   
            T25  Devon White                  71   
            T27  Omar Moreno                  70   
            T27  Luis Polonia                 70   
            T29  Jose Offerman                69   
            T29  Ozzie Guillen                69   
            31   Johnny Damon                 68   
            T32  Jay Bell                     67   
            T32  Brady Anderson               67   
            T34  Rickey Henderson             66  [/B] 
            T34  Lloyd Moseby                 66
            From 1979-2003, the "greatest baserunner of all time" hit as many triples as guys with HALF his PA's or less. Guys like Jose Offerman, Brady Anderson and Lloyd Moseby? Seriously? That's flat out pathetic. Sadly, the Rickey usually didn't go all out unless it padded his totals, and his double and triple totals prove it. You have guys like Brett Butler, Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount, who had nowhere near the raw speed but hustled on HELL of a lot more and were much better baserunners than Rickey Henderson ever was.
            Not to debate the point, but your point would be the same if Henderson had stolen 3,000 bases. You seem to suggest that you can only be the best if you are among the best in every aspect of baserunning. Being incredibly superior in getting on base 4,500 times and stealing second/third 1,400 times is trumped by not getting an extra 30 triples or 100 doubles. I don't follow that logic.

            Musial I'm sure had far MORE doubles and triples and far FEWER walks and stolen bases. You, I think, would conclude that Musial was a better baserunner. This turns logic on it's head. Musial was a far superior hitter. Once the ball had left the bat, he got as far as his average foot speed would take him. Henderson, was a bonafied hall of famer, who never would have seen the hall had he not taken a batting style to get on base and to use his talents to steal base after base. Simply hitting the ball, in his best season, he was not as good as Musial in Musial's best 10.
            Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-14-2012, 02:05 PM.
            "It's better to look good, than be good."

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by SavoyBG View Post
              I think you are falling victim to the "white guys are hustlers" and "black guys are lazy" syndrome here. You picked out three white guys as your examples of great hustling baserunners and then say that the black guy, Henderson, dogged it.

              Usually when a player is described as "scrappy, with a lot of heart" it's a white guy like Phil Garner or David Eckstein or Craig Counsell.

              Usually when a player is described as selfish or dogging it, it's a black guy like Henderson, Barry Bonds, or Dick Allen.
              It's funny how the racist reads race into every statement, and tries to label others (when they clearly should be looking in the mirror). I could have mentioned Willie Wilson, Lance Johnson, and Tim Raines from that list. I watched Molitor and Butler, and they ran the bases better and hustled more than Henderson. Earlier in the thread I mentioned Ichiro- for all his INCREDIBLE speed and SB's- is NOT a great baserunner, and this shows up in his extra bases taken % and his very low number of triples. Does that have anything to do with him being non Caucasian also, right?

              I brought up three guys who ACTUALLY hustled, and ran the bases hard. That shows up in their triples total, for one.

              And as far as your BS about walks, use triples per career AB instead of per PA. The Rickey is still pathetic because he didn't really hustle on the basepaths, unless it involved padding his SB totals. Period.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
                If a black guy doesn't want to be accused of not hustling then he should become a black guy who does hustle.
                Atta boy!

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by drstrangelove View Post
                  You seem to suggest that you can only be the best if you are among the best in every aspect of baserunning. I don't follow that logic.
                  No, my point is that baserunning is FAR MORE than base stealing. And its also more important over the course of a career, because everyone runs the bases almost every game, but base stealing is not a constant, every game. Take a guy like Brett Butler, who was constantly running, hustled his ass off down the line beating out bunts, infield hits, and reaching on error. He had 109 infield hits in 1992!! Yet, Butler only attempted a stolen base 19% of the time, but was on base over 3,000 times. Base running is integral, but has gone almost totally uncredited directly until very recently.

                  Originally posted by drstrangelove View Post
                  Musial I'm sure had far MORE doubles and triples and far FEWER walks and stolen bases. You, I think, would conclude that Musial was a better baserunner.

                  Musial hustled a hell of a lot more than Henderson. He ran harder, turned doubles into triples, and singles into doubles. Read what Broeg and Stanton wrote about his speed and adroitness at taking the extra base in their respective biographical works on The Donora Greyhound. Henderson had much more what the scouts would call "warning track power" in comparison to a guy like Musial. This should have led to MORE doubles and triples per AB versus a guy with a ton of home runs, not LESS (often FAR less, when compared to most of his contemporaries).

                  And the other thing to consider is that Rickey- esp. in his early days- was allowed to run whenever he wanted to. Martin allowed it. Rickey also played in an era of the resurgence of stolen base. In both leagues. Guys were stealing 80-100+ a year, when in Musial's prime, people were leading the league with maybe 20-40 steals...

                  I have absolutely no doubt Mantle was faster and others from different eras much better baserunner than Rickey Henderson, but all most do is focus on the stolen base totals.

                  We have to look much deeper at the entire picture to have an honest and comprehensive conversation about baserunning.
                  Last edited by csh19792001; 02-14-2012, 07:07 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by SavoyBG View Post
                    Rickey was too busy drawing walks way more often than Offerman, Anderson and Moseby, plus he played in bad parks for triples (Oakland, Yankee Stadium) for most of his career.
                    "Too busy drawing walks". Fine, forget all the walks, then.

                    So, "the parks" are the reason why he has the same number of career triples as Jose Offerman (who had HALF the career AB's as Rickey)....Brady Anderson (little over half)...and Lloyd Moseby (little over HALF his career AB's).

                    Yeah, it was definately "the parks", and NOT Rickey's tremendous lack of hustle (and/or inability) to stretch doubles into triples.
                    Last edited by csh19792001; 02-14-2012, 07:07 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                      It's funny how the racist reads race into every statement, and tries to label others (when they clearly should be looking in the mirror).
                      He responded to this specific quote and post:

                      "I You have guys like Brett Butler, Paul Molitor, and Robin Yount, who had nowhere near the raw speed but hustled on HELL of a lot more and were much better baserunners than Rickey Henderson ever was."

                      He may not have, read every single other word you've written. So, look again, and read this one post in isolation. Does his response have merit?

                      You could have argued it was out of context, and that you've also named many others as paragons, irrespective of race. But you did not.

                      Now, how you can shamefaced call him a racist for seeing something in that post, well, that I leave to you.
                      To accuse someone else of what you are defending, seems, more avoidance than anything.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Posted 1/10/2008 on a previous "greatest baserunner" thread.

                        "ipitch" nails it, per his usual

                        Originally posted by ipitch View Post
                        I can't vote for a guy (Rickey) that never hustled out of the box. The catcher on his own team (Mike Heath) had more triples than Rickey two years in a row, in fewer ABs!

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by HDH:

                          Vince Coleman was certainly special. He would beat out a grounder then, on base, everyone was sure he was going to steal. He would lean back toward 1B to help avoid being thrown out by the pitcher then take off to 2B. After stealing 2B, he was off to 3B. He scored so many runs in innings the Cards had no hits, just a couple of groundouts or fly outs and scored from 1B on routine singles because he was off with the pitch. Others I remember were Willie Wilson and Kirk Gibson.

                          Pete Rose was smart. He would take a base on any situation and then distract the fielders in order for his teammates to take that extra base or score. How many TV shotss do you see Pete Rose on base waiving to his teamamtes to take that extra base? All of them! Rose was exceptional.

                          Jackie Robinson was fast and daring. He was a running back in college and big for a baseball player. He intimidated defenders because he wasn't afraid to crash violently into unsuspecting or suspecting baseman waiting to tag him.

                          Ty Cobb is a legend and has to be considered the greatest base runner. He is documented for making outs on the base when it might not be as important just to set up the fielder into making an error on the next time Cobb was on base. Every run mattered in Cobb's time and he wanted his team to be the one who scored it, one way or another. He was possesed. All players round a bag wide whentaking multiple bases. Not Cobb. I read that he had a tecnique where he would push off the bag with his inner foot, pivoting straight toward the next bag in order to avoid rounding the bag. What most people don't know is that most of the famous photos are intended show this detail.

                          My opinion is that Billy Hamilton is the greatest base runner. The objective is to score runs and Hamilton is one of three players (Harry Stovey, George Gore) to score more runs than games played. His SB total is aided by the rules of the time but, he's sure to be among all time leaders regardless. Billy Hamilton established the prototype for a leadoff hitter forever with his ability to get on base, disrupt the defense, and score runs.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                            No, my point is that baserunning is FAR MORE than base stealing. And its also more important over the course of a career, because everyone runs the bases almost every game, but base stealing is not a constant, every game. Take a guy like Brett Butler, who was constantly running, hustled his ass off down the line beating out bunts, infield hits, and reaching on error. He had 109 infield hits in 1992!! Yet, Butler only attempted a stolen base 19% of the time, but was on base over 3,000 times. Base running is integral, but has gone almost totally uncredited directly until very recently.
                            Henderson has 162 runs created from just stealing bases. If he "hustled" (your opinon) to get 200 more doubles and 35 more triples, he would have added a whopping 27 runs created to the total. Not bad. But one could say the same thing about every hitter. Did Mays hustle? Did Ruth? Williams? Hornsby? Mantle? Schmidt?

                            Again, my point is that his runs created from baserunning are being ignored because you want to punish him for not doing more.

                            Taking an extra base on a double 50 times in a career is no different than stealing third base 50 times. It's not 10x more important. It's the same. Henderson reached third and second more than any other player in history based based upon his baserunning. Taking an extra base is the same whether it's from stealing or stretching a hit. Unless you can show how one better than the other....


                            Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                            Musial hustled a hell of a lot more than Henderson. He ran harder, turned doubles into triples, and singles into doubles. Read what Broeg and Stanton wrote about his speed and adroitness at taking the extra base in their respective biographical works on The Donora Greyhound. Henderson had much more what the scouts would call "warning track power" in comparison to a guy like Musial. This should have led to MORE doubles and triples per AB versus a guy with a ton of home runs, not LESS (often FAR less, when compared to most of his contemporaries).

                            And the other thing to consider is that Rickey- esp. in his early days- was allowed to run whenever he wanted to. Martin allowed it. Rickey also played in an era of the resurgence of stolen base. In both leagues. Guys were stealing 80-100+ a year, when in Musial's prime, people were leading the league with maybe 20-40 steals...

                            I have absolutely no doubt Mantle was faster and others from different eras much better baserunner than Rickey Henderson, but all most do is focus on the stolen base totals.

                            We have to look much deeper at the entire picture to have an honest and comprehensive conversation about baserunning.
                            I'm lost. Musial in the years we have records, from ages 30-34 stole 20 bases and was caught stealing 27 times. If he wasn't slow, then he was stupid. I know for a fact tho that he was far from stupid. But to get to the meat of it, who cares if a slow guy revs his arms up a lot and huffs and puffs around the bases. I don;t care if someone LOOKS like they hustle. LOOKS don't score runs.

                            If you want to think that a smart baserunner who was thrown out 57% of the time got triples and double because he huffed and puffed as opposed to hitting screaming liners 430 feet to the wall, then so be it.
                            "It's better to look good, than be good."

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by drstrangelove View Post
                              Henderson has 162 runs created from just stealing bases. If he "hustled" (your opinon) to get 200 more doubles and 35 more triples, he would have added a whopping 27 runs created to the total. Not bad. But one could say the same thing about every hitter. Did Mays hustle? Did Ruth? Williams? Hornsby? Mantle? Schmidt?

                              Again, my point is that his runs created from baserunning are being ignored because you want to punish him for not doing more.

                              Taking an extra base on a double 50 times in a career is no different than stealing third base 50 times. It's not 10x more important. It's the same. Henderson reached third and second more than any other player in history based based upon his baserunning. Taking an extra base is the same whether it's from stealing or stretching a hit. Unless you can show how one better than the other....
                              Because if you hustle out a triple and the batter hits a fly ball to the OF you can score. If you leg out a double and the batter hits a sharp liner or grounder up the middle you can score. C'mon man.
                              "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


                              • #45
                                Is it a numbers guy thing that getting on base is of paramount importance but taking an extra base is no great shakes? Especially if it puts the runner in scoring position and takes away the chance for a double play?

                                Comment

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