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  • Originally posted by csh19792001
    And how can the incredible pressure and distraction Cobb inflicted on opposing pitchers/infielders be quantified?

    It can't, so it goes totally uncredited statistically. This is a huge quandary in and of itself when ranking players, and just one reason it's impossible to affix an exact number of wins/runs/etc. onto an individual player.
    Yes it can. Stealing bases isn't magic. Everything that happens because of stealing can be measured. If stealing bases or the threat of stealing bases is a bonus to a team it will show up in the stats. If having a known base stealer on the bases distracts a pitcher and defense it will show up in the stats. The positives and the negatives of that player and his actions can be measured.

    I believe it was Tom Tippett who did a study and find that on average a base stealer does not help but hinders batters at the plate due to the need to protect the runner by swinging. Is that a blanket statement that applies to all base stealers? Of course not.

    In another discussion somebody brought up the same thing about Lou Brock and how his mere presence on the base paths distracted his opponents and help his fellow batters. Well I looked into it and didn't see anything that would back up that anecdotal claim.

    Ty Cobb ran around the bases, Ty Cobb pissed people off, Ty Cobb slid hard. Did that help him at times? Yep, did it cost him at times? Yep.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
      Ty Cobb ran around the bases, Ty Cobb pissed people off, Ty Cobb slid hard. Did that help him at times? Yep, did it cost him at times? Yep.
      Cobb was one of the only runners I've read about whose purpose on the bags wasn't confined to merely moving closer to scoring. Bill Lange/Jackie Robinson were the other two.

      Cobb's purpose was to wage war. He intended to change the emotional climate of the other team. He constantly took leads which he shouldn't have, just to taunt the pitcher, get in his face. And he could always read when the pitcher was coming to 1st, and get back.

      No one else shared his philosophy. Few to none ever trash-talked like he did. Insulted them. It would have been a total shock if others like Carey, Wagner, Collins, Aparicio, Brock, or Wills had insulted the pitcher or catcher.

      Even cocky Rickey never dared to cross the line like Cobb. He intended to shock the other infielders. When his team had a big lead, he'd go down, get into run-downs, all the while insulting the other side. When his side had a big lead, he'd not care if he was caught. Sometimes, he'd be safe, and then dash on to third. Just to traumatize them. And engage in another run-down.

      Out of his 54 successful steals of home, 23 came when he was the lead runner of double steals, and 6 came as triple steals.

      Some of his opponents really believed he was mentally unstable, so brazen where his flashing attacks. If he were to be unleashed on today's players, he'd fill the ballparks to see his stuff.

      Most of you are going, "They stop him today with ease." They should have done that back then. No one else had his combination of skills to get away with it back then.
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 01-02-2006, 09:32 PM.

      Comment


      • MAJOR problem here Ubiquitus...you are talking only about STEALING bases...what about going from first to third...first to home on a double (or a single in Cobb's case on many occasions...what getting exra bases that DON't show up as steals?

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        • Originally posted by SABR Matt
          MAJOR problem here Ubiquitus...you are talking only about STEALING bases...what about going from first to third...first to home on a double (or a single in Cobb's case on many occasions...what getting exra bases that DON't show up as steals?
          Matt,

          That is the one biggest area where TC gets shorted on his work. The failure of BB to docment taking the extra bases is tragic. And in TC's case, it is even worse. Many go from 1st to 3rd, he did it on infield outs. By 1912, the Detroit writers were lamenting the lack of documentation. Said he'd lost hundreds of bases advanced, that only he could have gotten.

          http://baseball-fever.com/showpost.p...14&postcount=9

          Comment


          • What about going first to third? Why wouldn't that show up in the stats? For starters by taking the extra base the linear weight value of offensive events would be changed. Run scoring rates would change and so on. Then for more modern times we could bypass all of that and simply look at PBP data.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
              What about going first to third? Why wouldn't that show up in the stats? For starters by taking the extra base the linear weight value of offensive events would be changed. Run scoring rates would change and so on. Then for more modern times we could bypass all of that and simply look at PBP data.
              How are we going to properly credit Ty for the countless errors he provoked. He not only caused countless errors, often throwing errors, but advanced countless bases because of it.

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              • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                Yes it can. Stealing bases isn't magic. Everything that happens because of stealing can be measured. If stealing bases or the threat of stealing bases is a bonus to a team it will show up in the stats. If having a known base stealer on the bases distracts a pitcher and defense it will show up in the stats. The positives and the negatives of that player and his actions can be measured.
                Ubiq, baserunning is a hell of a lot more than basestealing. You know this, and if you've read everything that's been published to date on Ty Cobb, you realize that he took disruption and demoralization of opponents on the basepaths to new heights.

                How exactly are you going to quantify (and divy out credit) to Cobb when he stands on first base (or any base), yelling over at the pitcher and down to the second baseman, constantly harassing and goading them, rattling them, unnerving them. Cobb was famous for his constant psychological warfare, and the consequences of that don't fit nicely into some quaint little sabermetricians' formula.

                Cobb slides in hard and breaks up a play, causing a key error that may end up deciding the game. Is he credited the benefit of the out not happening (and all of the positive offensive events that now have a chance to transpire? No, not whatsoever.

                He breaks up a double play going in with spikes up, and the infielder is lucky to even get him at second. Some other non agressive runner slides away, and the double play ensues (frequently ending the inning). Does Cobb get credit for that?

                Another thing he was famous for..
                Cobb watches the baseman's eyes to see where the throw is coming in behind him, and either blocks the ball of deflects it away- bases are advanced and runs often score. Again, Cobb gets no credit for it.

                Contrast this with some leadfooted slugger who draws a walk and stands completely inert on first base, requiring someone else to move him along. Not a threat to anyone, he draws no attention, and as a result so the pitcher, catcher, and infielders can first relax and concentrate solely on getting the batter out. A vital part of a baseball game (particularly the deadball game) and it goes uncredited.

                The people who saw Ty Cobb play hundreds (if not thousands) of times were fully cognizant of this, and gave him his just credit for his accomplishments- and these are just a few examples of the stuff that doesn't show up in stats looking back 80 years in retrospect.

                And as others have already pointed out, Cobb get NO CREDIT WHATSOEVER for the hundred upon hundreds of bases he advanced, the bases he advanced others with his legendary place hitting ability (i.e., moving a runner over by taking a ball to the right side), or for any of the errors he caused. We don't have PBP data for that era, and as the greatest baserunner of them all, nobody gets screwed more than him.

                Here's some reading you might really enjoy. Quite edifying on the subject of Ty, and a lot of I'm talking about specifically:

                The Ty Cobb Scrapbook: An Illustrated Chronology of Significant Dates in the 24-Year Career of the Fabled Georgia Peach (Mark Okkonen)

                Comment


                • Again though for everybody these things do not go uncredited. Ty Cobb advancing a base and not getting out increases his teams chances of scoring, which translates into his team scoring more runs, which translates into his team winnning more games. Whereas a leadfoot as some would say would do the reverse of this. Can we isolate Ty Cobb achievements and his alone? No we cannot but that does not mean it is impossible to do. The info is out there and has been shown on retrosheet (they have some of the 1911 game logs and PBP) that it is possible if one is dedicated enough to amass and to study. Does that mean we will ever know his exact amount of contribution? No, we will never know that for anybody for anything, but we can get a very good idea of that value.

                  Baserunning, basestealing, arm strength, pressure, all of that is being looked at right now. There are studies out there right now looking at players that cause errors because of their speed and aggressiveness. There are studies out there looking at the aggressiveness of taking the extra base and its value. I recall a BP study looking at Ichiro and the value he added by taking an extra base compared to others. Its out there and it is definitely possible, all that is needed is a knowledge of databases and time.

                  For instance we can look at a baserunner see how many times their was a fielding error on his actions compared that to league compare that teammates, compare that to fellow baserunners facing this defense. We can look at a teams run scoring rate when player X is on the basepaths, compare that to league, to teammates, to history. We can look at run values of offensive events when he is on the basepaths, so on and so on.

                  Again this isn't mystical innvisible stuff. I said this once before to Commish, I don't care if the pitcher soils his pants and the second basemen drops dead of a heart attack because they are so scared of the runner, if all of that doesn't translate into runs and wins. And as it turns out a lot of this stuff while certainly fun to watch and talk about doesn't translate into a lot of runs and wins. That doesn't mean it has no value.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by [email protected]
                    How are we going to properly credit Ty for the countless errors he provoked. He not only caused countless errors, often throwing errors, but advanced countless bases because of it.

                    Well if what he did was unusual then it would show up in team stats. You could compare error rates when teams faced Cobbs teams to when they faced the rest of the league. When Cobb was playing the game vs when he was out for whatever reason. On top of that you could look at metrics and see if Cobbs team are creating more runs then expected. Like for example Runs created or SLOB. Both work becuase they spit out a number that resembles actual runs they do this by looking at the conventional stuff. Walks, HBP, Hits, and Total Bases. So if a team had a player like Cobb who apparently was the king of "phantom" extra bases then when we computed his teams RC it should spit out less runs then actually happened due to it missing a lot of key info. Is it perfect? No of course not but it would be one avenue one could take to start to measure his impact on a game.

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                    • An excerpt from my Masterpiece Career file.

                      Ty Cobb's routine style of play was so hyper-aggressive that it defies credibility. On 3 different occasions, he stole 2nd, third & home, before the batter at the plate had finished his at-bat. And once on 3 pitches! Now that's, "In your face!!"

                      He routinely scored from second on infield outs. He routinely went from 1st to 3rd on infield outs. Once he scored from 1st on an infield out.

                      He often scored from 1st on outfield singles. With him on 1st base, the pitcher became a thrower, helping the batter by his antics. Ty recognized no unwritten "gentleman's" rules. He'd do anything to throw you off your game. In spades.

                      Mixing perfected mechanical ability with brains, his was the most versatile batting attack on record. Other dangerous hitters, such as Ruth, Williams or Bonds could be disposed of by walking them. Easy remedy.

                      But Cobb was too dangerous to put first. That was prelude to a pitchers nightmare scenario. Because once on base, with Cobb trash-talking & dancing off 1st, the bedeviled pitcher became a thrower. The hitter following Cobb had a much easier life than he deserved, courtesy of Cobb. Countless times, the way it would work, is that Ty, dancing and prancing off of 1st base, taking a long lead, would cause pitch outs, putting the pitcher in the hole, setting the batter up for the grooved cripple.

                      So once again, as in the taking of extra bases, we have Cobb contributions to winning that cannot be quantified or documented by Mr. Sabermetrician. But will they admit that their formulas, those numerical systems by which they rank & rate ballplayers' places in history, have huge gaping holes in them? Their stock brush-off? Statistically insignificant!!

                      The enfeebled intransience of those whose systems are utterly incapable of assigning value to events. How can a stat guy assign a value to a disruptive baserunner, who routinely helps put a pitcher into the hole? He can't.

                      If Ty scores from second on an infield out or an outfield fly, will he receive official credit for his 2 bases. No. Why not? Taken Extra Bases
                      are the Huge Item where Ty is shorted by ALL stat systems.

                      If Ty is the lead runner of a successful triple steal, he gets credit for 1 SB, but in reality, 2 other men get credit for a SB, which Ty did the work for. Is Ty given credit for allowing 2 others to advance a base? No. He shouldn't be, but he did do the work that allowed others to advance.

                      It is such a shame that so many of Ty Cobb's contributions to the winning of ball games cannot by virtue of their nature, be quantified so that he receives credit officially. The taking of extra bases, distracting the pitcher from the hitter , were only two of Cobb's amazing skills, which go unaccredited by today's sabermetricians. Another skill was simply modeling for his team mates what the winning attitude should be. Many stars such as Eddie Collins, George Sisler, Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane, and Rogers Hornsby freely admitted they modeled their own play, in all ways, on Ty Cobb's play. His controlled intensity of concentration was an inspiration to Hornsby, Cochrane, Al Simmons and countless others.

                      One more skill, unaccredited, yet phenomenally vital. Could Ruth, Mantle or Hornsby teach their team mates to fulfill their hitting potential. Ty could. Ty did. With Ty on your team, you automatically optimized your teams hitting potential. Mr. Sabermetrician? Are you listening? Not ALL contributions to winning ball games can be documented into your numbers.

                      Bill Burgess

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                        Well if what he did was unusual then it would show up in team stats. You could compare error rates when teams faced Cobbs teams to when they faced the rest of the league. When Cobb was playing the game vs when he was out for whatever reason. On top of that you could look at metrics and see if Cobbs team are creating more runs then expected. Like for example Runs created or SLOB. Both work becuase they spit out a number that resembles actual runs they do this by looking at the conventional stuff. Walks, HBP, Hits, and Total Bases. So if a team had a player like Cobb who apparently was the king of "phantom" extra bases then when we computed his teams RC it should spit out less runs then actually happened due to it missing a lot of key info. Is it perfect? No of course not but it would be one avenue one could take to start to measure his impact on a game.
                        If I knew how to do all the stuff you're talking about, I would have done it years ago. I hope someone like Matt Souders is reading this and getting ready to gear up.

                        Comment


                        • On the matter of Cobb's teams outproducing their expected runs (by the used linear weights runs created estimators), I don't believe there was a systematic bias...but it's been a while since Randy and I looked at that. I wonder if Randy (TKD) still has the records from our tests on my dynamic linear weights and team RS estimates.

                          Comment


                          • Coincedentally enough over on retrosheet I found a research paper on a stat called bases advanced average. The writer says that it can predict wins at about a 96% clip throughout PBP history. It basically does what I was talking about. Through PBP data he tracks how many bases a hitter advanced, how many bases runners advanced, plus how many outs hitters and runners had and divides total bases advanced but total opps. Also he post a link to another site that is doing similar stuff.


                            Here is his leaderboard per PBP data years.

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by SABR Matt
                              On the matter of Cobb's teams outproducing their expected runs (by the used linear weights runs created estimators), I don't believe there was a systematic bias...but it's been a while since Randy and I looked at that. I wonder if Randy (TKD) still has the records from our tests on my dynamic linear weights and team RS estimates.

                              Again though what I said was that if one is using a metric that does not consider things outside of walk, hit, total base, and HBP. Obivously if you are tracking DP, CS, SB, SF, ROE, bases advanced, and so forth then one should not expect a bias. If one is ignoring these things then a bias should be seen when a team excels in what is ignored. If that is what it excels at has value.

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Ubiquitous
                                Coincedentally enough over on retrosheet I found a research paper on a stat called bases advanced average. The writer says that it can predict wins at about a 96% clip throughout PBP history. It basically does what I was talking about. Through PBP data he tracks how many bases a hitter advanced, how many bases runners advanced, plus how many outs hitters and runners had and divides total bases advanced but total opps. Also he post a link to another site that is doing similar stuff.


                                Here is his leaderboard per PBP data years.
                                Great article, Ubiq-
                                This is very interesting (actually, I've seen it before) but I still don't understand the terminology here.

                                How do they define "bases advanced by a runner", "base advance opportunities", for that matter, how do they calculate the total opportunities? Does total opportunities include hitting? That really confounds things, if so.

                                Here's where this gets odd- they credit eric davis with 91 "bases advanced as a baserunner" in 1986- the most of any player in recorded history.

                                1. Are stolen bases counted in this total? They must be- subtracting his home runs (wherein obviously no baserunning is involved) Davis was on the basepaths 155 times that year.

                                How could Davis have advanced 91 bases (in the sense that we're discussing Cobb's uncredited advancement of bases) out of 155 times on base? The Cobbian things I'm discussing includes not only scoring from second a deep fly or going 1st-3rd on a single, but tagging and going to third on a deep fly to right, or tagging from first and going to second on a deep fly...but still...91 times in 155 times of base?

                                Also, is scoring from second on a single counted as a "base advanced as a baserunner"? It really shouldn't; it happens much more often than not and anyone with passable speed should be able to do it fairly routinely. (In fact, in Mantle's bio I read that one of the reasons he retired after 68' was that he felt like he couldn't do the basic things like score from second on a single).

                                And, unfortunately, if that's the case and the stolen bases are double counted (subsumed under the "bases advanced as a baserunner" category), it pretty much negates the pertinence of the article to this conversation- stolen bases are already documented and credited.

                                Obviously (for example), guys are going to advance (at least) two bases if they're on first and a double is hit. What would actually be telling is how often a guy SCORED from first on a double versus the league average.

                                Looking at bases advanced the way this author is going about would seem, first, to be dependent as much on position in the lineup and the strength of the lineup around you... what I mean is, a guy hitting in front of a slugger is going to advance a hell of a lot more than a #8 hitter in the national league.

                                Ergo, bases a player advances in the sense the author seems to be discussing them is going to be based a great deal on the hitters behind him and to a lesser, extent, the hitting environment, right?

                                Like the confounds inherent in RBI's, no?

                                Comment

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