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Ty Cobb discussion

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  • Bill,

    I'm working on a hybrid metric in my mind that I hope will allow for differences between eras but be simple to understand. It is purely offensive so it has no bearing on PCA or my Hall of Fame index but I release it pretty soon. Read this: I have no idea how everything will turn out so this is not a, "if Babe Ruth isn't first then there's something wrong" kind of metric.
    I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


    • Scott,

      I'm working on a hybrid metric in my mind that I hope will allow for differences between eras but be simple to understand.

      Well, we're always open and waiting for the Holy Grail. So don't go shy when the time is right for you to bring it out. OK?

      Good buddy,


      • RuthMayBond,

        Thanks for all the great analysis on my Ty Cobb Thread. This thread is the easy way to communicate with me.



        • Hey, seem to be the resident Ty Cobb expert around these parts, so I have a quick question:

          What kind of dog was Cobb's hunting dog, Ol' Bob? In his bio, Cobb refers to his dog as a "bench-legged hunting hound," which leads me to believe Ol' Bob was a Basset Hound, which at one time were called the "Virginia bench-legged beagle."

          I'm a Basset hound afficianado -- I have two Bassets myself -- so I was just curious if I share this with the Georgia Peach. Thanks in advance for any info you might provide....
          "Hey Mr. McGraw! Can I pitch to-day?"


          • Victory Faust,

            Thank you for your kind words. I am a Ty Cobb advocate, researcher/historian. As evidenced in my Ty Cobb thread.

            But I do not know about his hunting dogs, even though he prized them a lot. He liked to hunt lots of things, but how anyone can derive satisfaction by squatting down in marshy bogs to ambush little duckies at dawn is something I cannot fathom. Why hunt things which cannot defend themselves properly?

            Bill Burgess
            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-08-2005, 06:09 PM.


            • Originally posted by [email protected]
              but how anyone can derive satisfaction by squatting down in marshy bogs to ambush little duckies at dawn is something I cannot fathom. Why hunt things which can defend themselves properly?

              Bill Burgess
              Why is Claude Luecker coming to mind?
              Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
              Good traders: MadHatter(2), BoofBonser26, StormSurge


              • Jeffrey,

                A mind is a terrible thing to waste. But I am enjoying your GG work. Thanks for that, and let's not concern ourselves with a jerk like Claude. Let's respect the dead.



                • Originally posted by 538280
                  Bill, have you ever heard of a runs created formula? Try it with Ruth and Cobb. It goes like this: Hits plus walks times total bases, divided by at bats plus walks. You may say that it doesn't include various elements, but it works on about 95% of teams. It isn't perfect, it is usually a few runs off, but very close. See who created more runs for their team, Ruth or Cobb, although neither one is as good as Oscar Charleston, the best player ever.
                  Hi 538-

                  I just addressed ithe issue right here (directly, actually- I did a study on it). Unfortunately, RC does not account for team or era, both of which are critical to production.

                  Ruth's runs created are inflated by the great run producing teams he was on, and in the run happy era he did his offensive damage in. In comparison to Cobb, he has a significant advantage (and Ty was usually on average-above average offensive teams, even without him in the lineup). In comparison to someone on average or below average offensive teams over a career, Ruth's advantage is enormus.

                  In any case, Oscar Charleston almost certainly contributed more than either in relative terms- but then, how great were his teammates, on average? And more importantly, considering his production, how strong was the league he was dominating in, which drew from a talent pool roughly 10-15% the size of the big leagues pool?? (I looked at the African-American U.S. Census data from 1900-present, decade by decade, to compare it to the white American population to get an idea of talent pools).

                  Equally as important, how credible/reliable are the statistics we do have, which change consistently after each wave of revision (and also vary a great deal depending on which source you use)? Tragically, Oscar was relegated to play out his career in a series of loosely organized "leagues" that could be likened to barnstorming- sqads were often put together haphazardly (players would even jump teams a great deal), and the schedules were highly variable. The point is that even if we did have accurate and reliable data, I doubt we'd be able to glean from it that Charleston was playing in a league that even approached the competitive quality of the Major Leagues. Odds of that are pretty slim, considering how slipshod/remiss everything was, with the talent being drawn from a pool roughly 1/10th the size.

                  Now, Oscar Charleston might very well have been the best there ever was, bar none. But one must rely solely on what contemporaries had to say about him, in the absence of valid and reliable evidence of any kind. One must also assume that the leagues he played in were at least roughly equal in strength to the major leagues, if you are going to compare their statistics on par (and ipso facto, call him the greatest player ever).


                  • Bill,

                    So far this is the data I have for ARV for the centerfielders I have researched

                    Mickey Mantle.........410
                    Willie Mays..............373
                    Ty Cobb.................372
                    Tris Speaker............358

                    I don't have those adjusted for park factors yet. I have that data, but I have to go season by season.

                    If anyone has that data over the course of full careers feel free to send me a link. It will make life a lot easier.
                    I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


                    • Scott,

                      I am not too comfortable with high-powered stats, but what is your method of adjusting for deadball/liveball. Did you index against league ave., or some other methodology?

                      And did you include running?



                      • Bill,

                        The formula looks like this

                        (BA + SEC /2) / (LG BA + LG SEC /2) * .262

                        Secondary average has stolen bases and caught stealing in it. Like I said, I did not separate ballpark effects yet, so Cobb could very well be past Mays when it is all said and done.
                        I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


                        • Catcher,

                          And also please remember - for the years there are caught stealing records, Cobb was at best a 70% successful stealer - very good, but not great. If you feel that a 70% successful base stealer is as valuable as a league best pitcher, God bless you. As for me, I'll take the pitcher every time.

                          (Bill - First off, I don't rate a runner based on their CS%. False barometer. Sure it's fine for everyone else, but not a supreme tactical/strategic genius. I have written about this so often!. Cobb was not stat crazed about such stats. When he team was way ahead, he went nuts, for a reason! His purpose was the next game, to give them irrational fears. And it worked, over and over. Even his CS were so wild and crazed that the teams were unnerved, couldn't settle down, and forced errors time and again.

                          We have no documented Extra Bases Taken, but the literature is pock-marked with Cobb winning games single-handed. So I take the 70% figure and throw it out the window! It's irrelevant. And we don't have figures for Cobb's good years from 1906-13. We have them for his old man years.)

                          And yes, this is comparing apples and oranges. But I'm simply pointing out that taking ONLY the secondary skill into consideration, Ruth was a great pitcher, and would have likely continued to be one, had he not also been an incredible hitter so he was removed from the mound. Ruth would have been a great pitcher even if he couldn't have hit a lick, and would probably have stuck around for 15 or so years as a pitcher. If Cobb couldn't have hit, would he have stuck around 15 years as simply a runner? Sorry, I don't believe that for a minute.

                          (Bill - Whoa here!! You're using the exact, precise argument which Fever has disallowed me from making to win the Ty/Babe debate. When I try to present the case of how Ty might have done in the live ball, on the Yankees, in his prime, EVERYONE goes, "NO WAY, Bill. Didn't happen. No hypotheticals qualify to overturn what DID happen."

                          So, when your present the hypothetical case of what Babe might have accomplished had he remained on the mound, what can I say? Yeah, it might have happened, if he could have avoided injury, that might very well have happened.

                          But, what we must compare, is their 2nd skills. Babe's pitching, with Ty's running. We have what Babe did, but we still lack the missing data on his CS, and his Taken Extra Bases.

                          Ty ran everyday, 1907-19, world class.
                          Babe pitched every 4th day, 1915-17, and part-time, 1918-19. Excellent, but not the best ever.

                          Ty helped his team every day, from 1907-19, and contributed to almost all of their winning games.

                          Babe helped his team every 4th day, from 1915-17, and some after that. Just how you can believe that Babe helped his teams more is just so unfounded as to make me scratch my head. Where's the case? I can't see your invisible case. Lack of volume alone undermines its credence.

                          Under normal circumstances, I would agree that running isn't that impactful. But in TC's case, it was anything but "normal". We talking 54 steals of home!!
                          We're talking 1st to 3rd on routine infield grounders! Not normal!! Things that virtually should have been possible, actually happened!! And won games!)

                          BTW Bill, you have already convinced most individuals on this site of Cobb's greatness, including me. I knew he was great, but he has moved up on my charts from probably out of the top 10 to third or fourth, depending on how I rank Wagner. You have accomplished so much regarding Cobb already, why drag him into a Mays vs Ruth forum?

                          (Bill - That is why we're here. Outside the top 10! Oh dear. Had no idea it was that bad. And still not outranking Honus? Lew, what are you seeing that I can't. Broad as Hans' skill set was, Ty's were even wider/deeper.

                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 11-14-2006, 09:46 AM.


                          • Four Tool,

                            When we're talking greatest player ever, and both are amnong the best at one set of skills and one is a hall of famer for an unrelated set of skills, the one with the more diverse skills should get the nod.

                            "But I'll bet I haven't convinced you yet, have I?" He quoted, grinnin.

                            And I will give the nod to Babe's pitching, just as soon as it is more valuable than Ty's running. I only give it to Rebel due to length of time, and quality.

                            If Babe had pitched a career, then there would be no arguing that his pitching had more value than ANYONE'S running. If Babe had Urban Shocker's or Ted Lyons career, no contest.

                            But we can't award 3.5 seasons of pitching every 4th day, with unique, one-of-a-kind, unprecedented, unrivaled, unparallelled running. And we still can't determinine how good Ty ran, without his Taking Extra Bases, or CS records.

                            A large chunk of the case is missing in action, and likely always will be. And that impairs my ability to conduct the case!

                            Old buddy,
                            Unrepentant, Unforgiven, UnSaved Old Man


                            • Jim,

                              Come on now. You know this isn't true.

                              Billy Hamilton made it because he had a .344 BA, drew tons of walks, and scored more than a run a game.
                              Max Carey made it for his defense.
                              Luis Aparicio made it for his defense.
                              Lou Brock made it because he had 3000 hits.
                              None of those guys would have made the Hall without these atributes. Baserunning was a plus, but certainly not the "reason."

                              Huey! I spit on your evidence, Counselor. To the shredder with it!

                              Without their running, none of the above players would have made it to the Hall. All made it on the strength of their SB, especially Lou Brock. He was dreadful defensively and a marginal hitter at best. How he got to .300 is a miracle, and his BA sucks.

                              Brock: Career BA. .293 is 1.10 Relative BA, 1.03 Relative onbase, 1.05 Relative SLG., and 109 career OPS. Not Hall worthy, without them SB.

                              Carey was a good % runner, and a terrific glove, but glove without cletes, never the Hall would make.

                              Little Lewey was a very terrific glove also, but his SB made his rep. Without those he's just another Marty Marion. Who never made the Pearly Gates.

                              Sliding Billy probably would have made it, but the SBs sealed a done deal.

                              You callin' their SBs icing? I think not, Councelor. Punched their tickets at them Pearly Gates, called Coopstown, I's hears tell.

                              Bill Burgess
                              Last edited by Bill Burgess; 06-09-2005, 11:11 AM.


                              • Scott,

                                Honestly, it looks great to me. Greek, but great. Keep us posted as to your results. OK?



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