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Mike Piazza vs Josh Gibson

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  • #16
    Originally posted by chicagowhitesox1173 View Post
    Derek Jeter wasn't compared to Ozzie Smith for defense either.
    When you've become a perennial winner like Jeter has, he automatically gets put in the no-context discussion.
    Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
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    • #17
      Piazza was a stunning hitter, but I've spent my whole life being told stories of Gibson's exploits. If 10% of them are true, he's absolutely one of the top five hitters in Negro League history. Is Piazza better than all but 4 post-integration hitters that would have played in the Negro Leagues otherwise? I say no way.

      No, we don't know for sure. But logic says either his exploits were totally apocraphyl- and if so, why him over anyone else?- or he's one of the top hitters in the game's history, which Piazza is not.
      Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

      1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
        Piazza was a stunning hitter, but I've spent my whole life being told stories of Gibson's exploits. If 10% of them are true, he's absolutely one of the top five hitters in Negro League history. Is Piazza better than all but 4 post-integration hitters that would have played in the Negro Leagues otherwise? I say no way.
        That's an unfair standard to hold Piazza to. You are assuming that the top top five Negro Leaguer hitters were as good as the top 4 post integration hitters. That is certainly not true. Plus Piazza is being compared to a much larger group of hitters across many more decades than Gibson is. That is also unfair to Piazza.

        No, we don't know for sure. But logic says either his exploits were totally apocraphyl- and if so, why him over anyone else?- or he's one of the top hitters in the game's history, which Piazza is not.
        The question is how does one "translate" Gibson's mythic exploits into a reasonable major league performance? What would Gibson have hit in the majors? One could argue that Piazza was the greatest hitter of his generation depending how much one docks Barry Bonds for PED use. Putting aside Bonds for now from 1993-2005 who was a better hitter than Piazza? Frank Thomas and ummm...who else? Even placing Bonds and Thomas ahead of Piazza as hitters you have Piazza behind an all-time great and a hitter often referred as the "right-handed Ted Williams" in his prime.

        The disadvantage that Pizza is facing is that he is not fighting against Gibson's statistical performance but Gibson's mythic legend. I made this point years ago in comparing Gibson home run totals to Sadaharu Oh's home run totals.

        Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
        Bill and I have had this discussion before.

        I think part of reason Negro Leaguers get more love here at BBF is because they played a long time ago and are seen as "old school". There is very little in terms of film, photos, and people still alive who saw them play. Mostly, we have these old grainy black and white photos of these great Negro League ballplayers. Because of this we can imprint on them our our image of what kind of ballplayer they were. We can simply imagine Josh Gibson hitting a ball out of Yankee Stadium (even though there is no evidence for this HR ever being hit) and infer from that that Gibson could have hit 50-60 HRs in the majors had he had an opportunity to play in the major leagues. But we can't do that with Sadaharu Oh. He's too recent, he's too modern, too "human" for us to imagine him hitting lots of HRs in the majors. We see Negro Leaguers as "black and white" and we see Sadaharu Oh in "color".
        I believe the same applies to Mike Piazza even more so. He's a modern player, recently retired. We all watched him play. We saw his strengths and his weaknesses as a ball player. Because of cable TV and the Internet it is impossible for a modern player to establish a mythic status. If Piazza had the same career back in the 1920's or 1930's he would be hailed as a legendary baseball figure today. We'd have little film of him, lots of flowery written prose, lots of grainy black and white photos, and lots of tales of Piazza's ginormous home run blasts. Piazza may have been the "Italian Babe Ruth".
        Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 10-01-2013, 01:39 PM.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
          You are assuming that the top top five Negro Leaguer hitters were as good as the top 4 post integration hitters. That is certainly not true.
          Why would it not be true? Did black hitters get better post-integration? I get the whole comparing apples and oranges thing, but I will never accept that we have to rate the best Negro League hitters below the best MLB hitters because we don't know for sure. Once integration happened, you don't have to separate them because they can be compared head-to-head. There are plenty of great white hitters and plenty of great black hitters. Was that not always the case? And if Gibson was one of the very best Negro League hitters, he was one of the very best hitters of his era. Earlier up-thread Piazza is compared to Johnny Mize. Well, I suspect Gibson was a better hitter than Mize. So where does that leave us?
          Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

          1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Captain Cold Nose View Post
            When you've become a perennial winner like Jeter has, he automatically gets put in the no-context discussion.
            How is it no-context? Someone said that managers who saw Gibson play said about him. I was just pointing out that managers can be wrong.
            My top 10 players:

            1. Babe Ruth
            2. Barry Bonds
            3. Ty Cobb
            4. Ted Williams
            5. Willie Mays
            6. Alex Rodriguez
            7. Hank Aaron
            8. Honus Wagner
            9. Lou Gehrig
            10. Mickey Mantle

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            • #21
              Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
              Why would it not be true? Did black hitters get better post-integration? I get the whole comparing apples and oranges thing, but I will never accept that we have to rate the best Negro League hitters below the best MLB hitters because we don't know for sure. Once integration happened, you don't have to separate them because they can be compared head-to-head. There are plenty of great white hitters and plenty of great black hitters. Was that not always the case? And if Gibson was one of the very best Negro League hitters, he was one of the very best hitters of his era. Earlier up-thread Piazza is compared to Johnny Mize. Well, I suspect Gibson was a better hitter than Mize. So where does that leave us?
              That's precisely the reason. We don't have to rate them below the major league greats. But you also cannot assert that the Negro Leaguers would have hit just as well or better than Hall of Famers. Can you say with accuracy how well Gibson would have hit in the majors? Would he have hit like Ruth? Foxx? Gehrig? Greenberg? Mize? Kiner? Why do you "suspect' that Gibson was a better hitter than Johnny Mize? Before Mize went to serve in WW II he had a career line of .331/.413/.588, 170 OPS+ through age 29. Could Gibson have matched this? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Mize was a great hitter, one whose greatness has been mostly forgotten.
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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              • #22
                Originally posted by GiambiJuice View Post
                How is it no-context? Someone said that managers who saw Gibson play said about him. I was just pointing out that managers can be wrong.
                I agree with you. Without context, people would just look at Jeter's five gold gloves and think he was one of the finest defensive shortstops of all time. Why not? Managers seemed to think so.
                Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                  you also cannot assert that the Negro Leaguers would have hit just as well or better than Hall of Famers.
                  Again, this is what I'm just not getting. Why can I not assert that? Black hitters post-integration did, why wouldn't black hitters pre-integration?

                  What I do accept is, that through the lens of history, we can't know for sure which ones they are. Hal Chase is a good example of a pre-integration player that was rated as highly as anybody, who has gone down in everyone's estimation. But we have the benefits of a certain amount of stats to look at to confirm it. We don't have this advantage for Negro League players. Perhaps Mule Suttles is the one better than Mize. Perhaps if Bill Dickey had been black and played in the Negro Leagues we'd be asking this question about him rather than Gibson. But I base my opinion on this:

                  1) I can name ten pre-integration MLB hitters better than Piazza.
                  2) If there are ten Pre-integration MLB hitters better than Piazza, chances are there are 5 Negro League hitters better than Piazza.
                  3) Gibson is likely one of the 5 best Negro League hitters ever.

                  As I said on an earlier thread, if all we can do is guess, why not guess in a way that's inclusive rather than in a way that perpetuates an exclusion?
                  Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

                  1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by toomanyhatz View Post
                    Again, this is what I'm just not getting. Why can I not assert that? Black hitters post-integration did, why wouldn't black hitters pre-integration?

                    What I do accept is, that through the lens of history, we can't know for sure which ones they are. Hal Chase is a good example of a pre-integration player that was rated as highly as anybody, who has gone down in everyone's estimation. But we have the benefits of a certain amount of stats to look at to confirm it. We don't have this advantage for Negro League players. Perhaps Mule Suttles is the one better than Mize. Perhaps if Bill Dickey had been black and played in the Negro Leagues we'd be asking this question about him rather than Gibson. But I base my opinion on this:

                    1) I can name ten pre-integration MLB hitters better than Piazza.
                    2) If there are ten Pre-integration MLB hitters better than Piazza, chances are there are 5 Negro League hitters better than Piazza.
                    3) Gibson is likely one of the 5 best Negro League hitters ever.

                    As I said on an earlier thread, if all we can do is guess, why not guess in a way that's inclusive rather than in a way that perpetuates an exclusion?
                    It is better to err on the side of caution IMO. Again the question goes down to how well Gibson would have hit in the majors? This is an unanswerable question. It's been my observation that the Negro Leaguers usually get "translated" into the best possible major league scenarios. We know how Piazza hit in the majors. Piazza, compared to all the other great catchers in major league history, is far ahead of of them in terms of hitting. I accept that Gibson was a wondrous hitter. But where along the pantheon of great hitters does he belong? IMO he's closer to Johnny Mize/Mike Piazza than he is to Babe Ruth. But I have no way to prove that.

                    In Piazza's best season he hit .362/.431/.638, 185 OPS+. I've seen people post that Gibson would have dwarfed that season if he played in the majors. I'm sorry but that is nonsense. I can imagine Gibson matching or perhaps even hitting slightly better, but dwarf it? I don't think so.
                    Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 10-01-2013, 01:41 PM.
                    Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      In the late 40's and early 50's baseball got some of the greatest players of all time. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella etc. From what i've heard Josh Gibson was considered better than these guys so I have a hard time believing Piazza was a better player.

                      Gibson is ranked pretty high on lists here where Piazza is probably top 60. It's kinda surprising that Piazza has more votes so far.
                      "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                      "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

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                      • #26
                        In the late 40's and early 50's baseball got some of the greatest players of all time. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella etc. From what i've heard Josh Gibson was considered better than these guys so I have a hard time believing Piazza was a better player.

                        Gibson is ranked pretty high on lists here where Piazza is probably top 60. It's kinda surprising that Piazza has more votes so far.
                        "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                        "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by chicagowhitesox1173 View Post
                          In the late 40's and early 50's baseball got some of the greatest players of all time. Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella etc. From what i've heard Josh Gibson was considered better than these guys so I have a hard time believing Piazza was a better player.
                          Who said this? Who considered Gibson better than Willie Mays and Hank Aaron? I can't think of one person who has said this. My poll question is who is the greater hitter, not the better player.
                          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                            Who said this? Who considered Gibson better than Willie Mays and Hank Aaron? I can't think of one person who has said this. My poll question is who is the greater hitter, not the better player.
                            He just had a reputation of being as good if not better than Mays and Aaron. Even the Bill Burgess list of greatest hitters has Gibson ranked 15th and Piazza 29th.
                            "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

                            "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                              It is better to err on the side of caution IMO.
                              Well, this is where I suspect we'll always disagree. It is better to err on the side of inclusivity in my opinion, but I also think that's the more logical stance. If you mean to tell me that there probably are 5 Negro League hitters better than Piazza but that we have no way of knowing whether Gibson is the proper choice, I might even agree with you. But if you mean to tell me there aren't 5 NL hitters on that level, that defies logic to me. At every single position, where the greatest MLB players are ranked, generally 2 out of the top 5 are black (the exception is pitcher, the reasons for which might be a good subject for a thread which maybe I'll start). I don't see how it's possible that African American players' abilities took a giant leap some time in the early 50s. More likely there are Negro League players the equal of MLB greats.
                              Found in a fortune cookie On Thursday, August 18th, 2005: "Hard words break no bones, Kind words butter no parsnips."

                              1955 1959 1963 1965 1981 1988 2017?

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Cowtipper View Post
                                Can't really compare a guy who spent much of his career playing exhibition and amateur quality games, whose argument is based largely on anecdotal and apocryphal evidence, in leagues that might not have even touched the quality of our minor leagues, with a guy who spent his career in the established, well-known highest level of baseball in the entire world.
                                Agreed with this.

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