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  • Originally posted by willshad View Post
    Thats exactly what i was trying to say. I think that Aaron and Mays would not put up 157 OPS+ career wise in the 1990s. Just about the only guys who did that were the steroid guys.
    What's interesting--to me anyway--is that Aaron played through three of the biggest changes in league run averages and improved in each of them, whichever direction they went. (One more change, 1969-1970, didn't quite make the cut, and Aaron's ops+ did fall in that interval.)

    From 1962 to 1963, league era dropped two thirds of a run, from 4.48 to 3.81. Aaron's ops+ went from 170 to 179.

    From 1968 to 1969, league era rose by .62 runs, from 3.43 to 4.05. Aaron's ops+ went from 153 to 177.

    From 1970 to 1971, league era fell again by about the same amount, from 4.52 to 3.91, and Aaron's ops+ rose again, from 149 to 194.

    1. Each of these changes was greater than the historic "introduction of the lively ball" in 1920, when major league era rose from 3.87 to 4.36, a mere .49 jump.

    2. It strains credulity to claim that these rapid successive changes in both directions were due to changes in league hitting quality. By and large these were the same guys before and after the change.

    3. On the basis of this scanty evidence, whether Aaron is in a context more or less conducive to hitting plays no role in his ability to dominate his lesser contemporaries: neither one helps nor hinders.

    1962
    Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 10-26-2012, 04:14 PM.
    Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
      One point I've made several before is that though we can never know what past stars could have done in other eras we do have a similar real-life scenario. That being Japanese players coming over to MLB. You have these Japanese players coming over to MLB where the average player is larger and stronger, and pitchers generally throw harder. And all of the Japanese players stats decline in the major leagues. To me this sheds great over on how older stars may have fared in more recent eras. I look at someone like Hideki Matsui. He hit for great power in the NPB. I was in Japan in the summer of 2002 and I saw Matsui play in on TV a few times. I saw him hit a home run that was just a monster blast. He hit 50 HRs that year. So when he came over to the Yankees I was looking forward to see how he would do. I was very disappointed that he only hit 16 HRs in his first season with the Yankees. But in his second season he hit 31 HRs and I thought that Matsui had made adjustments and that he was going to hit for ever more power. I truly believed he was going to have a few 40-45 HR seasons in the majors. But it never happened. His 31 HRs in 2004 was his major league career high. This is why I have generally a rather low view as to how older stars would have done in more recent, integrated eras. Granted, Matsui is just one player but it sheds light in my mind. I'm a huge Sadaharu Oh fan and I want to believe had he played in the majors instead of the NPB he would hit lots of home runs as well, over 500 HRs for sure. But my gut tells me Oh may have had difficulty reaching even 350-400 career HRs in the majors.
      First of all, being 'bigger and stronger' and throwing harder really has nothing to do with being a great baseball player. If Greg Maddux or Pedro Martinez was a deadball era pitcher, and was dominant, you would say 'well if he played in modern times, with bigger and stronger players, then he would never cut it. Actually, both guys were totally dominant in the modern era.

      Second of all, what about the guys back then that were as big as modern players? Why would Gehrig not hit as well as Pujols, if he is just as big, even without modern training? There's no reason to believe he would not be just as good, if not better. The parks were actually bigger then, not smaller like the Japanese parks. Ruth and Gehrig, who are the size of modern players, would likely hit MORE home runs playing now...not less.

      Third of all, the modern game is not a totally separate entity than the old time game. baseball is a linear progression, and if the players were getting so much better so much faster, then the older players would be driven out of the game earlier and earlier. Seems to me that old time players generally declined in their 30s, and were done in their early 40s at the latest, same as modern players (not counting steroid guys). Would Jamie Moyer be able to pitch effectively well into his 40s (even better than he did in his early 20s) if the leagues back then were minor league compared to now? Makes no sense to me. If the league quality were improving as rapidly as most people on here claim, then it would have had to improve a lot in a 20 year span...but the evidence for this simply is not there.

      If anything, your analogy shows how negro league stars would have fared in MLB. They may have been great in their league, but MLB is a totally different animal. A lot of them surely would have been disappointments.
      Last edited by willshad; 10-26-2012, 05:20 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by willshad View Post
        First of all, being 'bigger and stronger' and throwing harder really has nothing to do with being a great baseball player.
        How many 5'5"-5'6" majors leaguers are there today? Size does count for something. That is why scouts look at players bodies and try to project. And that is why scouts look for hard throwers. The old addage is "you can't teach velocity". There are certainly small players and pitchers that don't throw hard that are great players but they are the exception, not the norm.

        If Greg Maddux or Pedro Martinez was a deadball era pitcher, and was dominant, you would say 'well if he played in modern times, with bigger and stronger players, then he would never cut it. Actually, both guys were totally dominant in the modern era.
        These two are unique pitchers and are not remotely not common. How many Pedro Martinez's have there been in the part 40-50 years? Martinez threw VERY hard and had incredible control. But his last great season was at a age 32. Tim Licecum is similar to Martinez in size. He's only 29 and some people think his days an elite starting pitcher are already over. Barry Zito has replaced Lincecum in the postseason starting rotation. Maddux had pinpoint command and control, didn't walk anybody, and rarely gave up home runs.

        Second of all, what about the guys back then that were as big as modern players? Why would Gehrig not hit as well as Pujols, if he is just as big, even without modern training? There's no reason to believe he would not be just as good, if not better.
        It would depend on how we timeline Gehrig. If you you just picked up Lou from 1930 and dropped him into today's game I strongly believe his stats would drop quite a bit just like Hideki Matsui's stats dropped. He certainly wouldn't be slugging over .700 today. Now if you took Lou at age 17-18 and have him enter pro baseball today that would be different. He would be playing under modern conditions of the game and honing his baseball skills in within the condtions of the modern game. I think he would be very good even great today. How good, I have no idea. But his stats would be totally different than what he did in the 1930's. Perhaps he hits as well as Pujols or even better. That is not impossible. But this view that the old time stars could come to the present and utterly dominate doesn't make sense to me.

        Third of all, the modern game is not a totally separate entity than the old time game. baseball is a linear progression, and if the players were getting so much better so much faster, then the older players would be driven out of the game earlier and earlier.
        I'm not sure what you are trying to say here but that is not my argument.

        If anything, your analogy shows how negro league stars would have fared in MLB. They may have been great in their league, but MLB is a totally different animal. A lot of them surely would have been disappointments.
        Ok. That's what I said before. One key for Roy Campanella's success in the majors was his age IMO. He entered the majors still in his develop phase as a ballplayer.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Jackaroo Dave
          The process of selecting players is not mechanistic, as in my simplifying model, and if the process really were random--a monkey throwing darts at a list of names--then your point would be correct. However, this is not the case.

          I think you--and Sultan--are confusing random processes with stochastic ones, those involving probability. A great deal of effort and expense goes into selecting amateur players, especially in comparison to the way it used to be. The notion that it's nothing but a crapshoot can really be sustained only by selected anecdote and parti pris. Or so I believe. If player selection prior to minor league development is random, then systematic evidence would be all over the map. Please point it out.

          This is a multi billion dollar industry, and to believe that its primary acquisitions of assets are random is, frankly, incorrect. The value of a draft choice can be seen in its use as compensation and in trades. In his second baseball abstract, Bill James shows the difference between the performance of first- and tenth- round draft picks from 1965 to 1988. It's what you'd expect from a situation where probability plays a part--not at all what you'd expect from a random selection process.

          To see a superstar signed as the result of an almost random process, take a look at Lefty Gomez's path to the majors in the biography "Lefty" by his daughter. Or any number of player accounts in "The Glory of their Times."
          OK, so it is not totally random, nor is it anywhere near an exact science. That really does not change my view..that the odds of the player being great are the same no matter where he comes from. At any given time, there are probably as many potentially great players in the minors as there are in japan, or anywhere else. What difference does it make where you are getting them from?

          Comment


          • Originally posted by willshad View Post
            OK, so it is not totally random, nor is it anywhere near an exact science. That really does not change my view..that the odds of the player being great are the same no matter where he comes from. At any given time, there are probably as many potentially great players in the minors as there are in japan, or anywhere else. What difference does it make where you are getting them from?
            It doesn't make any difference where. It makes a difference how many are available. There will be more potentially great players in the minors if those players are drawn from a larger pool than from a smaller pool of equal quality, because the preference in drawing will tend to favor the better players, and there will be more of them.
            Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

            Comment


            • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
              This is one discrete/micro example...and probably incidental. Rickey didn't even emphasize/study OBP and its impact until the 1950's. Ever go through game log by game log over years as part of a research project? I have. It was runs, hits, AB's and put outs for decades. And that's it. BA was all that people cared on offense, wins on the pitching side. Very myopic in light of what we've learned in the many decades since.
              This was in response to my suggestion that OB% and the value of the walk were largely discounted, as stated here was incorrect. I named as an example, Max Bishop "Camera Eye" who held such a critical position as 2B during the early A's mini-dynasty in to 1920s. The above response suggests I may have been cherry-picking.

              OK, I'll shake that cherry tree, starting with Billy Hamilton, whom I mention ONLY because the end of his career jutted into the 1900 and after period. He does make for an ideal model of on-bas% and BB value ... before we transitioned into the modern era [1901 on].

              After that, largely discounting guys NOTED for power, here are a few more ... getting us only through WW II: Shotton, R. Thomas, Tenney, J. Barrett, Bresnehan, Huggins, Bassler, E. Collins, aforementioned Bishop, Myer, Appling, Hartsell, Slagel, Hahn, Bush, Bescher, Graney, Saier, Carey, Clift, Cullenbine, Lake, Camilli, Hack, Yost, Joost and Fain. Yeah, fans and coaches were blind to the significance of OB% and BBs. That kinda scratches the surface.

              :And many could get by- and be highly successful- with basically two pitches (three if you count a change up). Couldn't happen now. The game and studying of pitchers and pitching has developed exponentially.
              This allegedly settled my hash on the number of pitches old-timers mastered [thus the relative weak challenge to hitters]. I would argue this is the product of watching too many Hollywood movies featuring the great dramatic moment between the slugger and the flamethrower.

              I had pointed out that, in addition to very legal pitches: the fast ball, the curve, the drop [sinker, fork, now aka split-fingered fastball], change-up, inshoot [same movement as screwball], and the out-drop [thrown soft = big sinking curve; thrown hard = today's "revolutionary" slider] ... yes, in addition to all that, there were pitchers and teqammates with sharpened belt buckles; there was spit; there was Vaseline; there was slippery elm; and there were a variety of substances that, applied to the ball, allegedly made it "shine." Not often mentioned was the palm ball, which, properly held and thrown, couls be delivered with the exact motion of a fastball, only be much, much, slower on release.

              As for the study of pitchers "gowing exponentially," I suggest leaving exponents in the math lab in the PC Excel spreadsheets. We have developed pitchers who are worhorses after 5 innings, specialists who MAY be superb for 3-5 out [no more, please]. The mere passage of time should not be presumed to result in progress.

              : Right. Totally non scientific, anecdotal, and far less understanding involved. Intuition versus science.
              This purportedly read "Case Closed," to my citation of the pitches on the menu between 1901 and roughly 1929 [after which the spitter was outlawed]. The others, the legal ones remained in play [as did some of the shady tactics] thereafter.

              The science vs. intuition comment was prompted by the "use it or lose it" approach to pitching. Of course, the comment itself betrays all the science of forensic debate in ASSUMING that "use it or lose it" is an argument for overuse and excessive demand on pitchers' arms. No, indeed, the use it or lose it attitude essentially observed each pitchers repertoire with regard to exhibited stamina; but throwing was seen as a means of keeping muscles, kinetics, delivery, follow through toned and loose through USE, not abuse.

              There never was, to my knowledge, a presumed pitch count limitation on a healthy pitcher on a MLB roster. Indeed, there were such limitations with a pitcher coming back off the injured/disabled list. Lifting of weights and any forms of "bulking" exercises were forbidden. No, they did not have their heads in the sand

              ... except in one area: Pitchers were often RELEGATED to the bullpen before WW II [in many farnchises, not all], signifying banishment for failed performances where one might earn his way back into the starting rotation. Clubs with that mindset were never in the post season, just results for stupid attitudes.

              However, a reliever was often perceived as an extended "change up" from the starter; and having made the MLB roster was expected to pitch in relief, for as long as he was effective. When the relief role was seen as having value in itself, the specialization was "relief pitcher." Two, three innings were not perceived as an onerous burden. However, relievers going such numbers of innings were not waved into 80 or more games/season, either.



              [

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              • Originally posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
                Bishop had an obvious skill that stuck out all over him. Now you explain why Mr. Mack let Doc ".340 OBA" Cramer lead the league in at bats three years running. Fair is fair ;-)

                (OK, he did have a .373 OBA in is last year with the A's. It was after Mack dumped him that he got really awful.)
                JD: I cannot crawl into Mr. Mack's head; but Doc Cramer was a slap hitter who made lots of contact, could bunt lasted 20 years in MLB, was fleet of foot [CF], and compiled a career BA of .299 [including his years of decline.

                My guess is that Mack, seeing Cramer's gift for contact and basepath speed, figured he'd get on often enough; and, in subsequent at-bats, would move runners up/along.

                Comparing Bishop to Cramer is apples and oranges. Bishop exempliefied OB% and the just desserts that talent was given 80, 90, years ago, arguments here to the contrary notwithstanding.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                  The viable professional baseball pool? Apparently that "pool" isn't very deep in America. Just look across the league. And that is my point. Sure the population has increased but there are many, many, many, many factors that put a serious dent into that simplistic theory and draw American kids away from even being potential candidates. The best of the best don't end up in the majors, just like back then, but for different reasons.

                  The video and working out and smoking/drinking has nothing to do with this... but since you brought it up....I would venture to say that many more kids percentage wise today, are not only drinking and smoking, but doing other drugs at an early age, compared to back then.
                  The whole idea that old time players abused their bodies, did not train properly etc, and that the modern players are 'supermen' is so overblown. It appears to me that players still decline at roughly the same age, still get injured just as often, and end their careers at about the same age. About the only 'advancement' that I've noticed is steroids. Babe Ruth, who 'abused' his body as much as anyone, was still putting up all time great seasons into his late 30s. ..let's see any modern 'superman' player do that, without steroids. If anything, I think the modern athlete is pampered, and paid so much money that they lose their desire to excel. I've said this before. If your job told you were guaranteed 20 million a year for the next 10 years, no matter how you perform, would you really be motivated to do your best?
                  Last edited by willshad; 10-26-2012, 11:21 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Where did Rogers Hornsby go? Let me see if I have this right.

                    Players like Hornsby or any player who played X number of years ago, can’t be any good because their league was full of white guys, who lived in the east, who drank and smoked and didn’t really care?

                    Players like Hornsby or any player who played X number of years ago, can’t be any good compared to the superhuman players of today because of historic human growth, nutrition, training, and dedication of today’s players?

                    There is no possibility of great talent ever being produced X number of years ago, because the players were genetically inferior and they played against inferior talent. Therefore any player who dominated back then, must be dismissed as something less?

                    Players today don’t abuse their bodies and are totally dedicated?

                    The only logical progression to such theories is that 50 years from now Babe Ruth will looked at as Tom Thumb. Albert Pujols will be laughed at as nothing more than the equivalent of Wee Man on the TV show “Jackass.” We can watch the 8 ft Giants hit 130 mph fastballs for 600 ft HRs. The talent pool will be increased by the influx of aliens, who have won 5 of the last 6 Most Valuable Something awards
                    This week's Giant

                    #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                      Is this a reply to an earlier post, missing the point.
                      Hi Joe,
                      The point is that there were parks built before 1950 which obviated home runs...almost completely. Ruth and Gehrig's records are proof.

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by leecemark
                        --This is not true. Minor league baseball paid even worse then than it does now and many potential players choose to get a real job instead of, of perhaps after a year or two of, chossing baseball.
                        Not discounting the validity/veracity of the rest of your post, but have you looked at the salaries of the PCL of 75-100 years ago? How about the Mexican Contingent which stole several of our best players- coming back from WWII.

                        MLB was certainly NOT always the most well compensated professional baseball league available during the 20th Century.

                        Your supposition suggesting as such- forgive me- demonstrates absolute historical myopia and ignorance.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                          Hi Joe,
                          The point is that there were parks built before 1950 which obviated home runs...almost completely. Ruth and Gehrig's records are proof.
                          OK, got that, not an easy park in Cleveland.
                          320 down the lines but in deepest right and left center 435 and 470 CF.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by csh19792001 View Post
                            Not discounting the validity/veracity of the rest of your post, but have you looked at the salaries of the PCL of 75-100 years ago? How about the Mexican Contingent which stole several of our best players- coming back from WWII.

                            MLB was certainly NOT always the most well compensated professional baseball league available during the 20th Century.

                            Your supposition suggesting as such- forgive me- demonstrates absolute historical myopia and ignorance.
                            --You are forgiven. However, the Mexican League's raid was a very brief episode and not an ongoing option. Also, so far as I know (feel free to enlighten me) they targeted proven players not young talent. The PCL did pay salaries close to - and in a few cases better than - the major leagues in their heyday. At its peak it was something close to a 3rd major league, signing most of the best talent in the western US. In fact the PCL was one of the reason the majors did not always have the best available talent. It was generally not a place for young players to start out though. Most players worked their way up to the PCL though less well paying leagues.

                            Comment


                            • Using the incursions of the Mexican League and the idyllic and baseball-friendly atmosphere of the PCL to deny the fact that MLB was the best compensated professional baseball league in the 20th Century is ludicrous, cherry picks to deny a given, and compounded by the arrogant challenge to a dissenter's "historical myopia and ignorance" is a real treat to read. [More hysterical than historical].

                              Yes, many PCL players loved the sun, the glamor, the night life and the "stardom;" but not too many played at home to all of those perks. Moreover, the big bucks were out there for "stars" of various ages and MLB exposure [many starred for 10, 15, 20 seasons or more in the PCL who had washed out or sputtered in MLB].

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by JR Hart
                                Thanks
                                sometimes the only way to demonstate absurdity is to be absurd yourself.

                                I'm amazed at how posters here can take theories and formulas and make them into absolutes. I love a good baseball discussion, but we really don't know how good Rogers Hornsby would be today. We do know that he was dominant player of his time. There may not be a right-handed as good as Horrnby for 500 more years for all we know. Just because a player had a career 90 years ago, doesn't make him something less. It's a silly exercise to try to prove otherwise
                                I pretty much agree with this, but I don't know anyone here who takes "theories and formulas and tries to make them into absolutes." Except maybe . . . oh never mind.

                                I remember watching a clip of Jack Johnson fighting some white guy. They were stalking around, stiff-legged, shoulders squared, fists up like a poster from the 1890s. It was kind of comical. Then for an instant there was this blur where Johnson's fists and forearms had been, and the white guy was sitting down, very surprised. I'd seen a fair amount of boxing, but never anything like that.

                                So I'm agnostic when it comes to comparisons between players from different eras. I've almost never seen anyone change his mind, and I see many discussions degenerate into utterly pointless bickering or fatuous rhetoric. For goodness sake, it doesn't really matter whether Cabrera is better than Trout, much less whether he's better than Hornsby. You might as well argue how Roy Hobbs or Alibi Ike would do against today's pitchers.

                                League quality is higher overall, though. There's not getting around that.
                                Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 10-28-2012, 02:46 PM.
                                Indeed the first step toward finding out is to acknowledge you do not satisfactorily know already; so that no blight can so surely arrest all intellectual growth as the blight of cocksureness.--CS Peirce

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