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Ty Cobb discussion

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  • #16
    Boy...when you answer a answer it! Very interesting reading Bill...I'll stand by PCA's conclusion that Cobb was in fact the 7th most valuable player of all time...but I recognize that I'm in the minority there.


    • #17
      --Matt, I have him 4th (Mays, Ruth, Wagner). Who are the 6 you have ahead?


      • #18
        I know he's making changes to his system, but this is one of his posts from MLB Center where Cobb was 10th.

        MOV = Marginal Offensive Value
        MPV = Marginal Pitching Value
        MDV = Marginal Defensive Value
        TMV = Total Marginal Value = the sum of the first three componants
        PlayerID  	MOV	MPV	MDV	TMV
        ruthba01 	7866	504	867	9237
        bondsba01	6495	0	901	7396
        mayswi01	5905	0	1283	7188
        mantlmi01	6324	0	801	7125
        willite01  	6390	1	699	7090
        henderi01	5641	0	1439	7080
        musiast01	5828	0	1247	7075
        aaronha01	5999	0	889	6888
        speaktr01	4797	-1	1949	6745
        cobbty01	5590	1	1090	6681


        • #19
          --Well, I don't agree with that but can at least sorta kinda see all but Henderson. I've often wondered (but never come up with a yes to) whether Speaker defensive advantage over Cobb could make up Cobb's offensive advantage over Speaker. However, even if it could Cobb also has a big baserunning edge. For several of the others it depends how strong a timeline you feel is appropriate.


          • #20
            First, to clear things up, Cobb went about 190 at his peak (the 175 listing is somewhat misleading, as is Ruth's "215" listing; the baseball encyclopeida always had a penchant for listing oldtimers as lighter than their actual weight). Over Ty's last few years in the bigs he weighed a bit over 200.

            As to the two so called "HR" hitters to rival Ruth in the early 20's (Williams and Williams)... Ken Williams played in St. Louis- have you seen Hornsby and Sisler's splits from that park? Hornsby hit over .475 there two years in a row in the mid 20's, and his power splits were miles apart. The data we do have on George Sisler show that he garnered a huge advantage from his park, also.

            Cy Williams played in the Baker Bowl- see Gavvy Cravath's splits if you have any doubts as to what that park did to power numbers- Cravath had more than a couple years where he hit ALL of his HR's at home. I believe Cravath hit something like 82 of his 119 career homers at home (even with more at bats on the road, of course)- perhaps the figure is higher- I don't have the new Abstract handy.

            (To answer your question)- Cobb hit 5 homeruns in 2 games (may 5-6, 1925)- the first game he had three homeruns and went 6-6, setting the record for total bases in one game (he is STILL the only American Leaguer to go 6-6 with three home runs in a game). The next day he tacked on two more homers, setting the record for total bases in two games, also. It should also be noted that Cobb hit two doubles off the top of the wall in St. Louis during this frenzy, meaning he was not far from 7 homeruns in two games (and 4 in a single game).

            As to the speed/power issue, does it really matter if he legged them out or not? A triple is a triple- Honus Wagner was a big, powerful guy also, and played in the biggest parks in baseball. Are we going to say he wasn't a great power hittter because he played in two huge parks and had a ton of doubles and triples (getting robbed of MANY homeruns in the process, as did Cobb)? Exposition Park had 400 foot lines and was 450 to center (and this is with the DEAD ball). Navin Field was 470 to center and 390 down the right field line. The best players acclimate to conditions; whether done with brute force or speed a triple is three bases for your team- and power was defined (and carried out) differently then in comparison to today. Even with the liveball, (which wasn't nearly as live as it is today, nor were the bats nearly as hard), I can't imagine it would be very profitable for a lefthander to swing from the heels with a 390 right field LINE and a 470 CF wall.

            As to not making a massive change in how he swung the bat- after more than a decade of domination, and 2000 games of playing inside baseball, I wouldn't have expected Cobb to overhaul his entire thinking and playing style because one guy was hitting ridiculous numbers of homeruns for the Yankees. Should he be blamed for not completely changing his style later on, as a player manager in a poor home run park in his late 30's? Perhaps. He did lead in OPS+ in 1925, as a 38 year old player-manager having already played 2600+ tool and nail games in the bigs.
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-08-2005, 03:46 PM.


            • #21
              --A triple is a triple when you are comparing Cobb to his deadball peers. I think pretty much all of us already agree he was the best hitter of his era anyway. The question on whether his power numbers came from his legs or from his bat only becomes relevant if we are trying to project him into the modern game.
              --Of course Cobb dominated much longer than Ross Barnes, but most of us discount Barnes because so much of his value came from a game condition that ceased to exist 130 years ago. If a large part of Cobb's value was limited to playing conditions which ceased to exist 85 years ago that would be damaging to his argument as the best of all time.
              --I think if this is true it is only margnally true. That is to say I think Cobb would have been a great player under any conditons. However, it isn't unreasonable to suggest he would have been less great had his prime come in the live ball era (that without even considering level of competition).


              • #22
                Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                However, it isn't unreasonable to suggest he would have been less great had his prime come in the live ball era (that without even considering level of competition).
                I also believe that the level of superiority of all pre-1947 stars would have flattened out with respect to the league, had they played post-1947, due to improved competition.

                But tell me why must a player with all the skills been less great if they had been born into the liveball era. Seems that if you're great when conditions are at their worst for offense, they you would only improve with a better ball, ballpark, less trick pitches, fresh balls, better equipment, larger market, etc.

                How do you get the reversed result? What can't I see?

                Bill Burgess
                Last edited by Bill Burgess; 12-12-2008, 09:22 AM.


                • #23
                  --Bill, I actually didn't reach that conclusion. I was merely speculating on the question HWR raised and what it might mean to Cobb's place amoung the all time greats. I have always believed Cobb would have been a great power hitter had he been born later. However, its possible he wouldn't have been and if he couldn't hit for HR power in the modern fashion that would exclude him for consideration for best of all time.


                  • #24
                    I accept that the question of Cobb's power in the modern era is open to honest speculation. I have always avoided the temptation to suggest that TC would have been a great HR hitter.

                    I have always put forth the likely scenario that Cobb would have not been a great HR hitter, but a very good one, to avoid being presumptious. I have suggested that he'd continue to hit around 150% of league BA, (in his time, he hit 150-158%), about 160% in SLG. and that he hit between 35-40 HRs, and come in between 3rd-5th in HRs, as he did in his own era.

                    I think that would qualify quite nicely for best ever.
                    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-17-2008, 12:53 PM.


                    • #25
                      You guys rely on OPS+ way too much

                      OPS was invented for the sole purpose of powering Babe Ruth to be the say all end all of Baseball.

                      OPS is a great stat for a ONE TOOL player, problem is, baseball is (was is more likely) too complicated to be measured by one stat

                      SLG is heightened by HRs, which obliterate anything, Sam Crawford was a premier power hitter, but because his park was huge, he hit triples instead of HRs and is effected greater then a guy like Tris Speaker who hit moderate HRs and alot of doubles

                      OBP is a side effect of HRs, because you are pitched around much more often (or were) if you could hit it out of the park...Tony Gwynn is a great example of when Glavine said the only way to beat Gwynn was to throw it in the K zone and hope your fielders get it. Why pitch around him? And how is it Gwynn's fault for not working a count and getting walks when P's threw him strikes? Cobb was the same way, he'd bunt on 1st strike, he'd slap it opposite field with 2 K's, if a guy won't take a walk then you just throw it and hope your defense gets it...that's what happened to Cobb after his greatest season, walks just meant you put Cobb on 1st and he'd steal 2nd maybe 3rd and if you were having a bad day home. That['s why Ichiro gets attacked, that's why Jackie Robinson was pitched to...because to beat Ruth, you'd walk him...and he'd become weak on the basepaths

                      So to say Cobb wasn't the best just because he could not do one thing really well (hit HRs) and the game changed to phase out triples by moving in the fences (check out the fence movement during the 20's at

                      Cobb had all 5 tools, fielding, running , contact, power and arm (although his arm faded after 1917). His power came in Gap form and not HR form, but power is power

                      Ruth had ONE, his average was right on line with good players during the 20's, heck even Lefty O'Doul hit better then Ruth in the 20's and many players who lasted 8 years in the 20's had a career average of .310 or better

                      If Ruth played in Mays or Aaron's era he'd hit around .280-.290 and in Cobb's era he'd be Gavvy Gravath, Harry Lumley or Frank Schulte

                      So to summarize, Cobb's main decline came from $$$. Owners saw the flock that Ruth created and started to push the fences in, because fans wanted to see HRs, Ruth outhomered teams for a very short time, then Hornsby, Williams, Gerihg,Klein, Foxx were right behind him. Cobb dominated his era for 15 years and still led the league in batting 20 years after, in a new period that obviously was geared away from his strengths...that is something Ruth would never be able to do
                      Last edited by Imapotato; 05-07-2005, 10:39 PM.


                      • #26
                        --Potato, I don't remember OPS+ being mentioned in this thread except as the only thing Cobb led in after 1919. Where did the "you guys rely too much on OPS+" come from?


                        • #27
                          Many many changes since then.

                          Six players ahead of Cobb now:

                          Babe Ruth (364 Wins)
                          Willie Mays (298 Wins)
                          Ted Williams (296 Wins)
                          Hank Aaron (295.3 Wins)
                          Barry Bonds (294.7 Wins)
                          Stan Musial (286 Wins)
                          Ty Cobb (278 Wins)


                          • #28

                            Babe Ruth (364 Wins)
                            Willie Mays (298 Wins)
                            Ted Williams (296 Wins)
                            Hank Aaron (295.3 Wins)
                            Barry Bonds (294.7 Wins)
                            Stan Musial (286 Wins)
                            Ty Cobb (278 Wins)

                            I consider Babe & Willie to be credible selections, Ted, Hank and Stan to not be particularly close to credible selections. Barry borderline credible. Needs several more years at present level.

                            But I also accept that your're being as gut honest as you know how to be in your evaluations, and have invested tons of time and your soul in your work.

                            Even the best of good buds can disagree on the essential, important stuff, right? All the rest of us do.



                            • #29
                              I just want to see how some BP metrics that I use rank the players Matt used.

                              Batting Runs Above Replacement/162
                              Babe Ruth (102)
                              Ted Williams (97)
                              Barry Bonds (97)
                              Stan Musial (75)
                              Willie Mays (74)
                              Hank Aaron (73)
                              Ty Cobb (71)

                              Fielding Runs Above Replacement/162
                              Willie Mays (28)
                              Ty Cobb (21)
                              Barry Bonds (20)
                              Hank Aaron (16)
                              Stan Musial (16)
                              Babe Ruth (14)
                              Ted Williams (13)

                              Total Runs Above Replacement/162
                              Barry Bonds (117)
                              Babe Ruth (116)
                              Ted Williams (111)
                              Willie Mays (102)
                              Ty Cobb (92)
                              Stan Musials (91)
                              Hank Aaron (90)

                              Wins Above Replacement-3/162
                              Babe Ruth (14.4) -- This is where his pitching is credited.
                              Barry Bonds (12.6)
                              Ted Williams (12.0)
                              Willie Mays (11.3)
                              Ty Cobb (10.3)
                              Stan Musials (10.0)
                              Hank Aaron (9.8)


                              • #30
                                That fielding metric is at least IMHO overrating Cobb defensively...but that's open to debate so I won't push that.

                                But at least you can see that ranking Cobb seventh isn't so far fetched in comparison to other advanced sabermetrics.


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