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

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  • #46
    Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    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?
    The game, as it is played between the lines, in the real world, with stats as his BYLINE, not stats as the entire frame of reference (go watch some games live and learn about the actual game of baseball in vivo!! Imagine that...)

    People like Ed Tarbusz...the converse of the ultimate intellectual indolence prevailing on the internet, especially this forum....as per the usual over the years here.....yet another crackerjack fan/"Netizen" looking at/drooling over naked numbers without understanding them, and drawing all of one's conclusions from them, entirely devoid- or divested of- everything that went into the creation of those naked numbers.

    This is one of THE classic "numbers slave" versus "Ed Tarbusz type" digression, transgression, and dissension...
    Last edited by csh19792001; 02-15-2012, 09:10 PM.

    Comment


    • #47
      Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
      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.
      Thank you, bluesky.

      A contingent here says, "let's just blindly look at the numbers!" Rickey Henderson had the same number of triples as many guys with HALF his career AB's not because he was a completely self indulgent and lazy stat monger, but because it was "the parks" that resulted in his completely pathetic triples numbers, and pretty pathetic doubles rates by comparison, to boot.

      Let's reduce the entirety of baseball history and shrinkwrap it into a few Excel Spreadsheets. Treat our entire perspective (and study of) baseball history as, de facto, a video game. Remove every bit of humanity from it.

      What would be the harm in that?
      Last edited by csh19792001; 02-15-2012, 09:14 PM.

      Comment


      • #48
        Previous thread on this topic

        On triples:

        "If you hit a line drive or a flyball how is your speed going to help you beat out a throw at first base? Rickey Henderson wasn't some Mark McLemore type player who beats the ball into the ground and then sprints to first. Rickey was a patient hitter who took walks and hit well.

        Triples are largely dependant on era, stadium layout, and the type of hitter one is. Rickey Henderson was a right handed hitter playing in an era not conducive to triples. As a right handed hitter his natural side was left field. He simply wasn't going to be sending many balls rattling down the right field side.

        Lance Johnson led the league in triples year after year for awhile. He batted from the left side.
        Willie Wilson led the league several times, he was a switch hitter who had over 2/3 of his triple batting from the left side.
        Gary Templeton was a switch hitter who led the league several times and again he hit 2/3 of his triples from the left side.
        Jose Reyes is a switch hitter who has hit about 85% of his triples from the left side.
        Leading the league in triples is mostly done by left handed hitters not right handed hitters.

        Secondly I think you are confusing what a triple means today with what a triple meant in Cobb's day. A triple in Cobb's day was largely based on power and stadium. The fields were huge and the outfielders tended to play shallow. If you could knock one over their heads or crush one by them you had a triple or an inside the park homer. The people hitting the triples back then were not the Willie Wilson type hitters but the sluggers.

        Stealing home is not really that common anymore. Again it is an era thing. In Cobb's day we have a lot more attempts and this theft then we do nowadays.

        As for doubles I fail to see why being fast would make you lead the league in doubles. It can certainly help you stretch singles into doubles but why would it make you lead the league in doubles? Generally the top names in the leaderboards for doubles are not speedy little runners who stretch singles into doubles but line drive and power hitters who knock the ball to the wall.

        Right handed batter playing in a modern era who takes walks and has pop is not going to lead the league in triples. Leading the league in triples is a left handed man's prize.

        There have been 269 triples leaders, out of that there has been only less then a third of the names being of right handed hitters. That isn't a fluke.
        Of the 71 different names for the RH who led the league only 13 of them were able to do it more then once. Of the 118 names that were not RH 37 of them did it more then once. 18% of the RH names did multiple times while 31% of the LH did it multiple times.

        Pete Rose leads the world in hits yet he never led the league in triples and he only managed to lead the league in singles 3 times. Yet many people think of him as a great baserunner. So here is a guy that fits your example and yet he didn't do it. Heck, here is a guy who is probably better then your example and he didn't do it.

        Or how about Derek Jeter? Lots of non-home run hits yet no league leading years in triples or doubles and only has two years leading the league in singles.

        So here are two guys who are either average baserunners or better and yet neither one led the league in triples.

        I don't get this. Because he had a lot of AB's (which is false incidentally)suddenly he should be banging out triples? Never mind that he is a right handed hitter and isn't a super speedy guy?
        By the way for all this talk about all of Rickey's hits or AB you guys seem to fail to realize that A)Rickey only finised on the leaderboard for AB's once in his entire life, B)took a lot of walks, and C)usually missed at least 10% of his teams games each season.

        From 1979 to 2003 there were 61 names atop the leaderboard. Of those 61 names a right handed player was the name atop the standings 14 times. So in Rickey's day it was even less likely for a RH hitter to be atop the leaderboard then normal.

        By the way when Molitor got his 13 triples to tie for lead league he had 665 AB. When Ryne Sandberg got 19 to tie for the lead league he had 636 AB. When Dawson led the league, well, he never did, but when he was hitting triples he was getting over 600 AB. When Yount did it he had 578 AB and 621 AB. Rickey went over 600 once and only went over 500 8 other times in his 25 seasons. That generally happens when you walk a lot and miss a good chunk of games every year.

        The 4 names you mention have one other thing in common besides hitting those triples and that is not wanting to take a walk.

        the greatest baserunnners of all time should probably realize what they can and cannot do. There is an extremely small amount of doubles that can be stretched into triples. If you don't have the speed for it and the location of the hit is not right no amount of hustle or skill is going to stretch that double into a triple. By the way guess which side of the plate both Brady and Barry hit from. How do raw triple totals indicate how often a player stretched a double into a triple? What if 50 of Rickey's triples are stretched doubles? What if they are all stretched doubles?

        I just did a quick study. I looked at the AL (quickly filters out most P) from 1979 to 2003 and in that time the average LH hitter had 30% more triples then the average RH hitter. The difference stays about the same if you setup an AB filter to get more of the regulars and less of the handful of at bats players.

        A 30% bonus or penalty is pretty darn huge.

        But they didn't have far less opportunities. Dawson consistently got more AB in season then Rickey did, same goes for Ryne. Secondly Stade Olympique where Andre got 3 of his 4 top finishes favored triples whereas the Coliseum and Yankee Stadium did not favor triples.

        Sure it might mean they are better baserunners or it could mean Rickey was better at it. We have yet to prove that raw triple totals mean anything yet. I'm still don't see why a triple should be chalked up to baserunning skill. Where you hit the ball and how fast you are plays a much much greater part in getting a triple then baserunning skill.


        If you match up Ryne and Rickey's career then Ryne for his career averaged 1 more triple per 500 AB's then Rickey. Andre Dawson gets about 2 more triples per 500 AB. That isn't a whole lot of difference. Can you say that Dawson's edge is because of baserunning and not hitting? Can you say that Rickey doesn't have more baserunning triples then Ryne? Can you prove that Andre's edge is because of his skill and not his stadium?

        Other great baserunners of the modern era didn't have Rickey's skillset.
        If Rickey played in Ty's era he would have many more triples, if Ty played in Rickey's era he would have many less triples.

        Willie Wilson and Rickey Henderson are two different types of hitters. Rickey has more in common with the Giambi types then to the Willie Wilson type as far as hitting goes. Rickey had a postage stamp size strikezone and he wouldn't go out of it for nothing. Willie Wilson would swing at anything just to make contact, whereas Rickey would only swing at a ball in his zone. Consequently Willie got the dribblers while Rickey got the homers, a few more doubles, and the walks.

        No matter what Rickey does he will never be as fast as Willie Wilson. He can be quicker and I believe he was but he will never equal Willie's speed. Getting to third on a hit is about 95% hit location and speed. Neither is a baserunning skill.

        If someone wants to say Willie or Dykstra or Samuel was faster then Rickey you will get no argument out of me. Rickey wasn't an elite speedy guy, but looking at triples doesn't prove or disprove that he had lots or not a lot of baserunning skill.

        From an article in the NYT about the value of taking an extra base.

        "If we expand our search to 1950, we find a career top five of Rickey Henderson (+147 runs), Tim Raines (+116), Willie Wilson (+116), Luis Aparicio (+87) and Davey Lopes (+81). The worst ever, not surprisingly, is dominated by catchers, with Jorge Posada (-32 runs) and Bob Boone (-31) leading the way"



        "

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Ubiquitous View Post
          Excellent post. I was wondering ever so briefly myself about the right versus left issue. Glad you looked at it, because I wouldn't have done it justice. I missed all the rest .


          I wanted to do something to look at the 'hustle aspect' and compare that to the overall run creation issue.


          1) I compared Musial's career stats to 3 guys who we all might regard as on the short list of the slowest runners ever: Frank Howard, Ernie Lombardi, and Harmon Killebrew.

          My method was to look at the distribution of doubles, triples and homers as a % of total hits.

          Musial was 20.0%, 4.9% and 13.1% (total 38.0% extra base hits)

          The other 3 were 14.4%, 1.5%, 20.3% (total 36.2% extra base hits)

          Using the slower group, what amount of 'extra' doubles and triples did Musial have over what the 'slower' group's distribution?

          Answer: +203 doubles, +123 triples.


          2) I then looked at the years 1943-44, 46-49 for Musial, and the rest of the Cards.

          Musial was 21.0%, 7.7%, 10.7%
          Rest was 17.0%, 3.5%, 5.8%

          Using the remaining Cards as a group, what amount of 'extra' doubles and triples did Musial have?

          Answer: 50 doubles and 54 triples.

          This was only a portion of his career. He had 23.7% more doubles in those years than he would have had he been like the rest of the Cards. He had 122.7% more triples in those years than he would have had he been like the rest of the Cards. So extrapolating to his whole career, we get:

          Doubles +139 doubles and +97 triples.


          So, overall at best case, Musial hustled out an extra 203 doubles and 123 triples. In other words, he added 326 bases through his baserunning. Those ARE impressive numbers. I can support the idea that Stan was not just a great hitter, but was able to accomplish a lot by taking extra bases when he could.

          How does this compare to making it to 2nd 1,080 times and to 3rd 322 times from stealing? It doesn't.

          Unless one simply decides that stealing bases is not part of baserunning, then the prolific base stealer always will outperform the hustling, intelligent baserunning that occurs once one hits the ball.

          Excluding basestealing from baserunning, is like excluding flyouts from a pitcher's ERA, or assists from a shortstop to second base in range factor. It's an arbitrary decision to evaluate one aspect of a skillset that baseball players have.

          From a baseball standpoint, offensive production is benefitted the same from taking an extra base on a single as from taking an extra base on a steal. To say one is 'better' or one doesn't count, is not only contradicted by the facts (run creation formulae for example), but the manner in which teams organize their offensive schemes.
          Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-17-2012, 05:23 PM.
          "It's better to look good, than be good."

          Comment


          • #50
            Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
            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.
            I was interested in this padding issue:

            Henederson

            1) 25.6% of his SB were in the first inning. 46.2% were in the first 3 innings. Not sure how that's showing padding. What it shows is he's trying to upset the other team and get his team in the game ASAP. (OP ED.)

            2) Of his totals:

            33.7% when ahead
            37.0% when tied
            29.3% when behind.

            Don't see a pattern. See below:

            3) of the totals:

            60% were when the team was within 1 run.
            76% were when the team was within 2 runs.
            6% were when the teams was ahead or behind by 4 or more runs.

            Don't see any evidence of padding. I honestly did not think it was this obvious, but he apparently ran when it was going to help the team catch up or to extend a small lead.
            Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-17-2012, 05:21 PM.
            "It's better to look good, than be good."

            Comment


            • #51
              On padding:

              "Let us say for the sake of argument that Rickey Henderson did in fact run when it didn't matter. Let us also say that he did this more then usual when compared to other base stealers. So after assuming all that do you know what I would say? I would say "so what?".

              Rickey Henderson has an almost 500 stolen base lead on the next closest guy. So Rickey Henderson padded his stats by 50 or 100 stolen bases, hell I'll give you 200 useless bases. That is still 300 more bases then the next guy. Let's put things into perspective here guys. It is like quibbling over 20 cents inside Fort Knox.

              Here is the league numbers, Rickey's, and Willie Wilson's for the years 1979 to 1995.

              For some reason I am missing 14 steal attempts for Rickey and 3 for Willie.

              Code:
              League			Rickey			Wilson	
              Diff	Times	Lge%	Diff	times	%	Diff	Times	%
              13	3	0.0%	13	0	0.0%	13	0	0.0%
              12	4	0.0%	12	2	0.1%	12	1	0.1%
              11	3	0.0%	11	1	0.1%	11	0	0.0%
              10	14	0.0%	10	1	0.1%	10	1	0.1%
              9	16	0.0%	9	3	0.2%	9	1	0.1%
              8	43	0.1%	8	3	0.2%	8	1	0.1%
              7	105	0.3%	7	8	0.6%	7	4	0.6%
              6	346	1.0%	6	15	1.1%	6	10	1.4%
              5	1054	2.9%	5	46	3.3%	5	19	2.6%
              4	2523	7.0%	4	91	6.5%	4	53	7.4%
              3	3923	10.9%	3	164	11.7%	3	89	12.4%
              2	5996	16.7%	2	223	15.9%	2	111	15.4%
              1	9952	27.6%	1	328	23.4%	1	170	23.6%
              0	12030	33.4%	0	515	36.8%	0	259	36.0%
              Here is what happened in Rickey's teams games beside him. Meaning this is only Oakland or NY games from 1979 to 1992 but do not include Rickey. So it could be Rickey's team or the opposing team. Rickey's % is at the far right.
              Code:
              Diff	Times	%	Rickey's
              12	0	0.0%	0.2%
              11	1	0.0%	
              10	2	0.1%	0.1%
              9	0	0.0%	0.2%
              8	5	0.1%	0.2%
              7	12	0.3%	0.5%
              6	29	0.7%	0.9%
              5	111	2.8%	3.0%
              4	285	7.2%	6.1%
              3	453	11.4%	11.8%
              2	700	17.6%	16.2%
              1	1085	27.3%	22.7%
              0	1293	32.5%	38.1%
              Okay I looked at Rickey's 1985 season. He had 80 steals and 10 CS.

              He attempted steals with run difference being:

              5 runs: 6
              4 runs: 4
              3 runs: 10
              2 runs: 12
              1 run: 22
              0 runs: 36

              Okay I did a quick check of Rickey's steals from 1979 to 1992 here is that chart:

              Code:
              Diff	Times	%
              12	2	0.2%
              10	1	0.1%
              9	3	0.2%
              8	3	0.2%
              7	7	0.5%
              6	12	0.9%
              5	38	3.0%
              4	78	6.1%
              3	151	11.8%
              2	208	16.2%
              1	291	22.7%
              0	488	38.1%
              I looked at everything above 5 runs and all of those events were with Rickey's team trailing. Which makes sense since if he did in fact try to steal in situations in which his team was winning it would probably be scored defensive indifference."

              Comment


              • #52
                I don't have the type of global data from above, but I thought I'd drop in some comps with other modern runners on the Henderson "padding" issue.

                Here are some stats for 7 other prolific base stealers. I didn't do any from the 60's or prior because a) I can't do everyone and b) I can't adjust for possible changes in strategies:

                the stats are % of steals when teams is within +2 runs and the % of steals when the team is either 4+ runs ahead or 4+ runs down:

                Willie Wilson 74.4-5.4
                Barry Bonds 74.5-8.0
                Henderson 76.2-6.2
                V Coleman 77.7-6.1
                Tim Raines 78.7-4.7
                Brett Butler 78.7-4.7

                Notice anything? Looks to me like Henderson runs like everyone else. These aren't hand picked. They are random from commonly known runners. This IS how people run. 75% of the steals when within +2 runs, and virtually zilch when it's 4+ runs. Isn't this how we want runners to run?

                Here is the 7th guy, who many of you will have guessed already DOES look different:

                Joe Morgan 86.5-1.6

                Wow. No matter where you look, he does things just a bit better, just a bit more when it counts than anyone else. If he would have stolen another 400 bases, now that would be a debate! But Joe had his limits too. His SB % is really high, but he also did not run as much. I can't evaluate whether he ran less on better pitchers/catchers or what.

                Regardless, I think (IMO), the padding issue is just not supported. Henderson runs like everyone else. Just more prolifically, just more determined to put his body at risk to gain an extra edge or opportunity for his team.
                Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-18-2012, 12:02 PM.
                "It's better to look good, than be good."

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by bluesky5 View Post
                  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.
                  Henderson had 66 triples and stole 3rd base 322 times. That puts him on third 388 times.

                  Henderson had 510 doubles and stole 2nd base 1,080 times. That's putting himself on 2nd 1,590 times.

                  Barring Cobb, (whose exact stats we don't have) who was probabaly better at getting to 3rd and not quite as good at getting to second, Henderson has no equal or anyone who remotely comes close. The two stand alone far out of sight from whoever is #3 in using their running skills to put themselves in a position to score runs for their team.

                  BEING on third from a stretching a double into a triple and BEING on third from a double and a steal are the SAME. BEING on second from a stretching a single into a double and BEING on second from a walk / single and a steal are the SAME.

                  I'm absolutely unable to tell the difference between those two on how that affects anything.



                  Musial has already being stated as being a smart, hustling runner. Heck, I all but proved that, since he out did his own team mates comfortably in both doubles and triples, although arguably he was not a fast runner.

                  For the sake of argument, let's assume that every double Musial hit (all 725) were really singles that he legged into doubles. Let's assume that every triple he hit was a double he legged into a triple. That's categorically false of course, but let's just assume it.

                  That's +725 +177 = 902 EXTRA bases Musial added to his team. Add his Career 29 stolen bases.

                  Assume Henderson never legged out an extra base for his doubles or triples. Zero. Ever.

                  Thus under the most extreme, most fallacious, most ridiculous sort of reasoning, Henderson still has Musial beat 1,406 to 931 = 475 MORE bases from running. 51% more bases!

                  Under the real conditions, where Musial likely only had 200 doubles and 100 triples as stretched hits, Henderson has almost 5x as many extra running bases.
                  Last edited by drstrangelove; 02-18-2012, 09:18 AM.
                  "It's better to look good, than be good."

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by drstrangelove View Post
                    I'm absolutely unable to tell the difference between those two on how that affects anything.
                    Of course not! That's because you and your crony here look at raw numbers and draw all your conclusions from them.

                    Henderson was the consummate modern free agency athlete. The Manny Ramirez of the generation prior. A total moron.... basically illiterate...and the ULTIMATE showboating clown....a jackass who didn't really care much about anything but his own stats.... (i.e., unless it involved his OWN SB totals). The fact that guys like Lloyd Moseby, Brady Anderson, and dozens of others with half his AB's and the same number of triples... who played in his timeframe, in his league, with probably a fraction of his speed, OUT RAN him, and, ispo facto, were better baserunners, overall, than he was. Unless one is dumb enough to have never played competitive baseball, AND/OR never actually watched it, and don't get what "hustle" is.

                    That the slow RH catcher ON HIS OWN TEAM (Mike Friggin Heath!) outran and outhustled him....well, that says it all.

                    Bottom line? "Guess you had to be there", as they say.
                    Last edited by csh19792001; 02-17-2012, 07:42 PM.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                      Of course not! That's because you and your crony here look at raw numbers and draw all your conclusions from them.

                      Henderson was the consummate modern free agency athlete. The Manny Ramirez of the generation prior. A total moron.... basically illiterate...and the ULTIMATE showboating clown....a jackass who didn't really care much about anything but his own stats.... (i.e., unless it involved his OWN SB totals). The fact that guys like Lloyd Moseby, Brady Anderson, and dozens of others with half his AB's and the same number of triples... who played in his timeframe, in his league, with probably a fraction of his speed, OUT RAN him, and, ispo facto, were better baserunners, overall, than he was. Unless one is dumb enough to have never played competitive baseball, AND/OR never actually watched it, and don't get what "hustle" is.

                      That the slow RH catcher ON HIS OWN TEAM (Mike Friggin Heath!) outran and outhustled him....well, that says it all.

                      Bottom line? "Guess you had to be there", as they say.
                      Soooooooo...tell us how you REALLY feel about Rickey Henderson, Chris?
                      Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                        Soooooooo...tell us how you REALLY feel about Rickey Henderson, Chris?
                        What are your thoughts about Manny, Adam?

                        I'll never forget his last stint with the Dodgers, walking half speed to first base on a ground ball, walking back to the dugout half-(blanked) after a called third strike (that wasn't a strike). Or his 400 foot singles. Another trademark of his.

                        Reminded me and most of the people I watch baseball with of "The Rickey" himself!
                        Last edited by csh19792001; 02-17-2012, 08:44 PM.

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                          What are your thoughts about Manny, Adam?

                          I'll never forget his last stint with the Dodgers, walking half speed to first base on a ground ball, walking back to the dugout half-(blanked) after a called third strike (that wasn't a strike). Or his 400 foot singles. Another trademark of his.

                          Reminded me and most of the people I watch baseball with of "The Rickey" himself!
                          Many could rake with the best of them but the other parts of his game were sorely lacking. I will never understand how major leaguers can spend so much time practicing their hitting but many of them don't work on their fielding and base running? Is there any reason that someone like Manny can't at least be average fielder if they really spent the hours practicing? I remember him in Cleveland playing right field and he had a pretty good arm back in those days.
                          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
                            Many could rake with the best of them but the other parts of his game were sorely lacking. I will never understand how major leaguers can spend so much time practicing their hitting but many of them don't work on their fielding and base running? Is there any reason that someone like Manny can't at least be average fielder if they really spent the hours practicing? I remember him in Cleveland playing right field and he had a pretty good arm back in those days.
                            Manny Ramirez was, without a doubt, the worst defensive player I ever saw who played for the Indians. He was also one of the worst baserunners that I ever saw.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by EdTarbusz View Post
                              Manny Ramirez was, without a doubt, the worst defensive player I ever saw who played for the Indians. He was also one of the worst baserunners that I ever saw.
                              And the biggest (blanking) bum I ever saw play... among those considered superstars...or even close to superstar level, for that matter. Manny is and was THE epitome of everything despicable and disgusting in the most entitled of today's self-indulgent, horrendously entitled superstar athletes.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                                And the biggest (blanking) bum I ever saw play... among those considered superstars...or even close to superstar level, for that matter. Manny is and was THE epitome of everything despicable and disgusting in the most entitled of today's self-indulgent, horrendously entitled superstar athletes.
                                I couldn't agree more, Manny was everything that's wrong with baseball in one convenient, easy to hate package. When he came back from his first suspension in LA, and called a press conference, and sat up there with dark sunglasses on, gloating and saying "it's showtime", I just wanted to puke.

                                And Ed T. is spot on as to his defense and baserunning skills. He obviously saw him play more than I did, but it seemed to me his philosophy of baserunning was "run until you get thrown out".
                                Shalom, y'all!
                                What's the rumpus?

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