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Al Kaline vs. Al Simmons

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  • Al Kaline vs. Al Simmons

    Ooooo I like this one.

  • #2
    Al Kaline was before my time. I want to ask Tiger fans what made Kaline "special"? I look at his career stats and they are very, very good, yet none of his individual seasons are huge IMO. Yet from age 20-32 he made 13 All-Star teams, won 10 Gold Gloves, and had two 2nd place MVP finishes, one 3rd, one 5th place finish, two 6th place finishes, and one 7th place finish. All this is very impressive. This sugests to me that Kaline was highly regarded in his prime. How was he viewed in his prime? Was he viewed as a superstar or lesser star?
    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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    • #3
      These two were before my time too (most of the people discussed in the history section are).

      A couple comparisons:
      OPS+: Simmons 133, Kaline 134
      WAR: Simmons 64.3 in 20 years, Kaline 87.4 in 22 years.
      Seasons of 5+ WAR: Simmons 5 (with 1 4.9), Kaline 10
      OWN%: Simmons .700, Kaline .688
      “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

      "Fill in any figure you want for that boy (Mantle). Whatever the figure, it's a deal." - Branch Rickey

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      • #4
        To the best of my recollection, in the AL there was Mantle, then at the next level there was Kaline, then everyone else. This from mid to late 50s and early 60s.

        See G Walker's post below for early Kaline as well. A ballplayer's ballplayer expresses it very well.
        Last edited by Jackaroo Dave; 10-15-2012, 09:53 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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        • #5
          I remember the last 2/3 of Kaline's career, and the best way I can express it is to say that he was what you would get if you took Stan Musial, dropped his offense by about ten percent, and turned him into a superb rightfielder. Kaline did everything well - not a black ink guy, but a top ten in almost every offensive category. He also had the same kind of mystique that Ripken and Jeter and Gwynn have, where it's hard to find any player who doesn't hold him in awe.
          Kaline's also has the reputation of doing things the right way. I don't think I ever saw him throw to the wrong base, or rainbow the cutoff man, or get caught in a rundown. I'm sure all of the above must have happened at some point, but there are lots of players that seem to do all three every week.

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          • #6
            Kaline always strikes me as a right handed Yaz, cross the board great talent without any one huge standout 'thing' to get a hook on. Simmons was like that too, tremendous player who's not a Sabr pet for whatever reason. He's my pick between the 2 but close.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TomBodet View Post
              who's not a Sabr pet
              Mainly because he didn't walk much, normally 40 times a season. He also didn't age well and was a poor percentage base stealer.

              Having said that, you're right that Simmons was a tremendous player who is probably deserving of his place as a top 100 player.
              Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

              Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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              • #8
                I gave this one to Al Kaline, mainly due to longevity and era. For 10 year peak value, Simmons is slightly better. But Kaline wins comfortably for a whole career.

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                • #9
                  Simmons was a five-tool player in his own right. I usually go with someone like that, but Kaline gets the edge in hitting, era, and defense. A player like him playing for the 1930/1940s Tigers would perform tremendously. His run production would be insane. His pure hitting skills woud've won him more batting titles. Alas, the 1950s/1960s forced him to swing in a larger strike zone while dealing with more specialized pitches like the slider, forkball, and reintroduction of the spitter. Plus, relief pitching was on the rise
                  "Allen Sutton Sothoron pitched his initials off today."--1920s article

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TomBodet View Post
                    Kaline always strikes me as a right handed Yaz, cross the board great talent without any one huge standout 'thing' to get a hook on. Simmons was like that too, tremendous player who's not a Sabr pet for whatever reason. He's my pick between the 2 but close.
                    Yaz and Kaline were kind of opposite in a way, because Yaz had few HUGE seasons, and a lot of OK ones, while kaline had no huge seasons, but a LOT of very good ones. kaline strikes me more as a Winfield/Murray type, in that he was steady for a long time, and probably does not get in the hall without the 3000 hits.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jackaroo Dave View Post
                      To the best of my recollection, in the AL there was Mantle, then at the next level there was Kaline, then everyone else. This from mid to late 50s and early 60s.

                      See G Walker's post below for early Kaline as well. A ballplayer's ballplayer expresses it very well.
                      True. It appears that there was a dearth of top level talent around during this era in the AL (Mantle was arguably the ALs best player every healthy season from 1954-1964). Kaline was probably seen as a star because he could bat .300 with decent power and good fielding. In some eras he would be just another guy.

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                      • #12
                        Simmons was a better hitter, and Kaline was better in the field and lasted longer. It does say a lot that Kaline played about 600 more games, and yet Simmons has nearly as many hits, much more RBI, and close to the same amount of total bases. The hitting difference is too great to ignore.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by willshad View Post
                          Simmons was a better hitter, and Kaline was better in the field and lasted longer. It does say a lot that Kaline played about 600 more games, and yet Simmons has nearly as many hits, much more RBI, and close to the same amount of total bases. The hitting difference is too great to ignore.
                          You can't ignore the offensive context and make a valid comparison. Simmons' AIR was 113, meaning he played in parks and leagues that scored 13% more runs than historical norms. OTOH, Kaline's AIR was 98, below historical norms.

                          Simmons and Kaline neutralized to an average offensive setting shows this:

                          .313/.358/.501 in 9676 PA - Simmons' career (career totals 2802 hits, 293 HR)
                          .307/.389/.502 in 10343 PA - Kaline 1955-72 (career totals 3143 hits, 413 HR)
                          Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice.

                          Comprehensive Reform for the Veterans Committee -- Fixing the Hall continued.

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                          • #14
                            With regards to how Kaline was viewed, he garnered lots of respect while playing. From the mid-50s through the early- mid-60s he almost always was considered to be the second best player in the AL behind Mantle. His overall game and his "textbook" play was widely admired.

                            Kaline became a star at a very early age, winning a batting title at age 20. He played at a pretty consistently high level for quite a few years, but as mentioned, his stats in most of the 60s were depressed due to the environment. He was an excellent defensive RFer- very different than Clemente but just about as good. Even though Kaline had some injuries and other health issues, he was able to stay in the lineup quite a bit through most of his career, which allowed him to compile quite a few counting stats. Someone mentioned that he probably wouldn't have made the HOF without 3000 hits- I disagree completely. Kaline was very highly regarded throughout his career.

                            Simmons probably burned brighter than Kaline. His best seasons, even adjusting for context, were better. But, he declined significantly after 10 or 11 years. He became a pretty ordinary player thereafter, and the memory of his greatness probably started to fade a little with time. I keep thinking he suffered some kind of significant injury after going to Chicago, but I may be mistaken. Also, he really played only 16 full seasons in the Majors, plus pieces of 4 other seasons.

                            Kaline gets my vote in a pretty close one, but for 7 or 8 years Simmons was a star of very high magnitude, and at his best probably was above Kaline.

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                            • #15
                              Al Simmons had a 5 year peak that was pretty insane, even for the 1930s.

                              from 1927-1931, he averaged 49 doubles 15 triples, 32 HRs and 171 RBI per 162 games played while hitting .375 and slugging .641. The only thing that prevented him from having Gehrig type of numbers during that stretch was his extremely low walk totals and his durability. This guy was extremely fragile. Kaline wins fairly easily due to being very good for so much longer.

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