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  • Ed,

    He once refused to pitch a WS game, because it was on a Saturday, his Sabbath.

    Actually, it was because it was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Not because it was Sabbath. I think you knew that but were maybe typing too fast.

    Ever hear of THAT before?

    Yes, Hank Greenberg. Still very admirable...sort of...except that Koufax wasn't really observant. He didn't go to services that day, like he should have (see below), didn't marry a Jewish girl, never practiced the religion..... I guess it's STILL admirable that he didn't pitch...but....

    Hoo-boy, am I going to piss some people off right now.

    Put it this way. When my Jewish mother and my Jewish father don't go to work on Yom Kippur and instead attend services that day, it kind of strikes me that neither of them can read Hebrew, never attend services on any other day, don't keep Kosher, don't know jack squat about the teachings of the Torah and sure as heck don't follow most of them.... yet they observe Yom Kippur, because that's the "last call!" day for Jews to get written into the Book of Life by God for the coming year. And they'd like to be in the Book of Life for another year. I'd like them to, too, as I most surely do like them alive. But it all seems a bit, may I say, self-serving in the eyes of this atheist. It's hard to take such "religious" behavior seriously. Someone who really practices and keeps the faith all the time, that's different, to me, than someone who blows off 99.99% of his Jewish duties but selfishly hops back on board the bandwagon for fear he won't get a life-extension. Seems disingenuous to me.

    But whatever. This has nothing to do with pitching. And maybe Sandy had other reasons besides literally believing he was getting a life extension. Maybe he thought he was standing up for .... something (that he didn't really believe in, but whatever...... I do believe in freedom of religion, so fine, let him do what he wants and observe what he selectively chooses to observe.)

    I haven't, and I'll bet there were other Jews who pitched in WS and would not have dreamed of refusing to pitch. Sandy was a wonderful, unique kind of person, and his heart was worth a pitch or two. At least that's how I like to remember him. He was my hero.

    Sandy was also seen eating ham (which isn't kosher) in the hotel room while "observing" Yom Kippur.

    I'm sorry to put this so bluntly, but.....his heart isn't worth anything to me. How do I quantify his heart, how do I weigh it against Pedro's heart? Pedro does nice things too. Pedro built a church in his hometown with the first check he received for playing baseball. Because he promised God that if God got him into baseball, he'd use the money to spread God's word. Now Pedro's building another church. Actually, I think it's his third church he's building now. Pedro's entitled to his religious practices same as Sandy's entitled to his own (mighty selective) religious practices. Neither mean very much to me, but if it makes them happy, I say, then let' em be happy. But I'm not factoring them into any pitching evaluation.

    Ed's 2 commandments: 1) Keep thy religion to thyself. 2)Play Ball!

    (Bill - OK. I'm on unknown territory here. I'm not Jewish, but for some reason, a lot of my friends are. Strangely. Don't know how to account for it.

    It seems to me, that Judaism, like Christianity/Islam has fragmented into many small group fragments. And like political parties, run the gamut from leftist, liberal reform denominations to rightist conservative ones. Difference seems to be, how either liberally/strictly does one interpret their scriptures.

    All my pals are Jewish in blood only. Don't practice the religious part since childhood, when they were made to.

    Is it possible that Sandy Koufax, who was such a private man, who guarded his privacy jealously, was a very liberal, Reform Jew, who felt little need of a group support system.

    OK. He didn't eat Kosher, or marry a Jewish woman or attend services, but what if he felt some nebulous, vague belief, implanted as a child that the Jewish religion was the one true religion, and he didn't want to insult his culture publicly. So he abstained on Yom Kipper from pitching. I doubt if it was 100% PR. I think something in him responded to a belief that it would have been very wrong of him to flat-out flaunt that injunction. So, to that extent, I give him some credit.

    I read he got HUGE props in Brooklyn for not pitching. Frankly, I had forgotten about Yom Kipper. It was a long time ago, but I guess something like that is hard to forget if you're Jewish. I'm not an atheist, I'm a member of ECKANKAR. But most of my Libertarian pals are atheist. Probably due to a bandwagon effect due to Ann Ryand, the who who wrote "Atlas Shrugged". Didn't read it.

    Bill Burgess
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 03-15-2007, 07:42 AM.


    • That ain't how it works. God's not "fooled" into "writing someone into His Book of Life for one year
      Last edited by Bill Burgess; 10-01-2005, 03:37 PM.
      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,

        No, I don't have any other CS undiscovered seasons. But if I come across any, I'll be sure to post them here. BTW - The other Ty Cobb Thread is a non-posting thread. I've gotten it down to 8 pages, and intend on keeping it pared down.

        I do that by consolidating posts that have similar themes/purposes. Cool of me, huh? Well, at least I think so.

        Could you go back and delete your last post, and just leave, "Deleted post". I always have to have a moderator remove them. That's how determined I am to keep the bloat squeezed out.

        Also, could you please consolidate all of your recent postings there, on evaluations of my guys. I love the content, but can't spare the space.



        • To everyone interested-
          I just finished Richard Bak's brand new book "Peach"- the release was timed to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of Ty's debut in the Big Leagues. It contains a wealth of new, previously recondite information.

          Here's a link if anyone would like to peruse:

          For those of you who are SABR members- there is also a well researched article about Ty's steals of home in the latest installment of The National Pastime.

          Bill- If you want me to move this somewhere else, please let me know- I'm not sure where you let people post.


          • Yeah...I read the article you mention...fairly impressive research although I think Bill could just as easily have written it.


            • Chris,

              Thanks for the great info. I'll be on the lookout for Richard's new book. I'm sure I'll add it to my collection of other Ty books.

              No, no. This thread is where I intended for all of us to do our Ty musings, fights, rolling/gaughing, etc.

              I hope Ty Cobb discussions is where we can discuss to our little heart's content. I'm am keeping Ty Cobb Thread a non-posting thread, in order that it not balloon with chit-chat bloat. It took me a while to transfer all that 34 pages of info to my new thread. So, I appreciate everybody NOT posting on the Ty Cobb Thread, but use instead the Ty Cobb Discussion.

              By the way, Ty Cobb Thread is only about 2 pages on Ty, and 6 pages of, "The Best of Bill Burgess". It's all my other historical stuff. You all might really want to quickly peruse it. It has a wealth of great baseball history. Like a mini-course. My ego is showing here, so I'll desist for now.



              • Chris,

                I noticed when looking over the link you so graciously provided that there is another Ty book out, by Dan Holmes. Look at the place where it says, "People who bought this book, also bought . . ."

                Thanks for your kind words Matt. I'd just like to remind everyone that more good books are in the pipeline.

                Both Opie Otterstad & Charles Alexander are coming out with bios on Tris Speaker.

                Rick Huhn, who just came out with the first book on George Sisler, is working on a bio on Eddie Collins.

                Gene Two-Fingered Carney is working on a book detailing the cover-up to the Black Sox scandal, which will be the most comprehensive book ever on the subject.

                Another guy is working on a book on Connie Mack. Has been on it for years now, and the last time I spoke with him he was only up to 1925! He's going year by year.

                Wesley Frick is also working on a book on Ty Cobb. Should be a good one. Wesley is the curator of the Ty Cobb Museum. Good man. Has his own website online. As does Gene Carney.

                Just keeping you guys in the loop. Them funs times a-comin'!

                Bill Burgess


                • This is a great time to be a baseball fan...a lot of valuable information is being unlocked by the power of technology to unearth our history.


                  • All my Historical Files are now enshrined on a website and can be viewed.

                    Included are all my Ty Cobb Memorial Collection files,

                    as well as my other, assorted, general baseball files,

                    and my own, personal Website-in-the-making, Reference & Research. It's a vast, sports/entertainment database, and its called here, Biographical Sketches. Well worth a glance.

                    The email address is:

                    Many here already have these files, but for those who don't, it's a good one.

                    Bill Burgess


                    • Adam,

                      You asked which were TC's best seasons. Hard to put them in exact order. But just for you, I tried to come up with the following.
                      Relative BA----------Relative SLG.-----------OPS


                      • Adam,

                        I put this little thing together just for you. I especially like the last part, comparing the Relative Slg. ave. of Ty/Honus. When's the last time you saw stuff this revealing?

                        Ty's Decline Phase: Longevity Case:

                        You're hitting where it hurts, in TC's decline phase, but that's alright. Yes, Mr. Cobb was dominant up to 1919, due to the ball favored his particular speed/brains type style. But while he couldn't dominate after 1919, he continued to be one of the top 3-5 players in the league, after Ruth, Sisler, Heilmann.

                        Let me see if I can cobble an argument together in his defense. What is throwing you off-track Adam, is that you're obviously looking at Ty's page in the record book and seeing no bold-faced black numbers jumping at you after the age of 32. But what that book doesn't show is 2nds or 3rds, which would be relevant to the discussion. If you could see those 2nds and 3rds, which show he did keep pace somewhat with the league in '21, '22 and 25, you might have seen the numbers below.

                        1921----2nd (BA, OBP, TPR), 3rd (SLG), 4th (SB, T), 5th (R), 7th (EBH), 8th (H, TB), 9th (D, HR, RBI)
                        1922-----2nd (H, BA, OBP, D, T), 4th (TPR), 6th (SLG, RBI, EBH), 7th (R),
                        1923-----6th (D), 8th (BA, H), 9th (OBP, R)
                        1924-----2nd (R), 3rd (BA, H), 4th (TB, SB), 5th (W), 7th (T), 8th (TB, D), 9th (OBP)
                        1925-----2nd (OBP), 3rd (SLG), 4th (BA), 5th (TPR), 7th (T, EBH), 8th (RBI)
                        1926-----6th (BA)
                        1927-----3rd (SB), 5th (BA, OBP), 6th (R), 10th (RBI)
                        1928-----6th (BA)

                        Other stats:
                        Times on base: 9th in '21, 3rd in '22, 8th in '23, 2nd in '24, 6th in '27. Baseball Reference gives many other exotic stats which are less sexy so I don't feel like posting stuff like OPS, adj. OPS, Runs Created, Power/Speed Number, At Bat per SO.

                        So, even without league-leading black ink, he did hobble around with top 5 grey ink. He had had a debilitating injury in 1920, resulting from an OF collison, and missed a huge number of games in 1920.

                        He was made manager of his team in 1921, and we know from his interviews that that was where the lion's share of his attention went. He also benched himself quite often to play his other OFers, Veach, Manush, Wingo, Fothergill, and Flagstad. He saw his future in managing, and he had also lost around 2 steps getting down to 1st.

                        So those are the valid reasons he couldn't dominate the league anymore.
                        1. He had aged and slowed down.
                        2. The game wasn't designed to favor his type style anymore.
                        3. He was focusing on managing.
                        4. He was giving himself less playing time to develope his young talent. (Something Rose would have done well to emulate.)
                        5. He was still one of the top 5 premier players in the league, though not the intimidating dominator of yesteryear.
                        Ty's Grey Ink after 30:

                        1920 - 04 points
                        1921 - 21
                        1922 - 22
                        1923 - 12
                        1924 - 19
                        1925 - 12
                        1926 - 04
                        1927 - 13
                        1928 - 28
                        200 Grey Ink points (almost half of his career "grey ink" total.)
                        Batting Ave.

                        OnBase Ave.

                        SLG. AVE.
                        Ty's MVP's Post-1920, According to Mathew Sounder's PCA stat system:
                        1920 - 24 (Ruth)
                        1921 - 6 (Ruth)
                        1922 - 5 (K. Williams)
                        1923 - 14 (Ruth)
                        1924 - 7 (Ruth)
                        1925 - 5 (Simmons)
                        1926 - 66 (Ruth)
                        1927 - 13 (Gehrig)
                        How Ty/Honus did before/after the age of 30:
                         Relative Slg. Ave.
                        1906--1.18--age 19
                        1911--1.64-----------1898--1.16--age 24
                        ------------------------------------Decline phase, age 30
                        ---------------------1917--0.86 - 74 games
                        Bill Burgess


                        • Just got an email from the daughter of Earl Whitehill, after she saw my files on Thought you might find it interesting.
                          Happened to come across The Baseball Guru and comments made by former teammates re: Ty Cobb.

                          The late Earl Whitehill (pitcher) way my Father and, although I was not born during Dad's days with the Tigers while Cobb was manager, I remember as a teenager and several times thereafter, Dad being asked who he would name as the best allround ball player. Dad would evnvariably name Ty Cobb for his playing years. When he was asked about Cobb's management ability his response was that Cobb was a pretty fair manager. (Coming from Dad, that was a compliment.) His big problem was that he expected everyone to know what he knew and to be as capable showing it as he was.

                          During Dad's rookie years with Detroit, Cobb sent signals from the outfield in to the catcher who relayed to the pitcher. During one game Dad refused a signal several times. This action brought Cobb in from the outfield, kicking dirt and saying some not-very-nice words to Dad. After a few minutes Cobb returned to the outfield, Dad pitched to the batter and got him out. The game continued for a few more innings when the same type of incident happened once again with a different batter. In Cobb came, around the mound he went, kicking dirt, etc. And again, Cobb returned to the outfield and Dad continued to pitch, again getting the batter out. Cobb did not speak to my Father for many many years.

                          Even with an experience such as this, Dad always respected Cobb's ability. I know the feeling was mutual as Ty Cobb himself told me so when he invited my Mother and me to join him in his box during, if memory serves me, the All Star game in Los Angeles in 1960 (?). He said, "Earl was not only a good pitcher, he was a real man. He had to be to stand up to me the way he did. And what's more, he proved himself right. I like that."

                          Those are words I've never forgotten.

                          Thanks for some interesting reading from many names I heard growing up and from many I had the pleasure of knowing from the day I was born.

                          Earlinda Whitehill Barriga


                          • Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules
                            Given Cobb's abilities I think he could have adjusted. If Cy Williams cound hit 41 HRs as a 35 year old in 1923, I don't see why Cobb couldn't adjust also.
                            Cy Williams played at the "Baker Bowl." Right center was only 300, and right was only 279.


                            • Originally posted by Imapotato
                              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.

                              because to beat Ruth, you'd walk him...and he'd become weak on the basepaths

                              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

                              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

                              1. OPS being "invented" had nothing to do with Ruth. It was "invented" in hopes of more accurately measuring a players overall hitting ability. The fact that Ruth leads in OPS should tell you something.

                              2. Ruth was far from a ONE TOOL player. Perhaps you should stop watching that horrible John Goodman movie, and do some research. Ruth wasn't exceptionally fast, yet smart and very capable on the basepaths. By no means a slouch. Defensively he possessed great intincts, played aggressively, and had an accurate cannon.

                              3. That "if Ruth played in Mays or Aaron's era" comment is laughable. Would this only affect Ruth and not the league as a whole? Why would it only affect the games greatest hitter ever? A hitter who hit .342 lifetime, and leads all time slugging by over .050 points.

                              4. Ruth didn't outhomer entire teams for a short time. The entire league in '20 and '27. Also, 87 times throughout his entire career he outhomered an entire team. How is that "a short time?"

                              5. Had Ruth not been the best lefty in the league early in his career, he most certainly would NOT have been Gavy Cravath, or whoever else you mentioned. Him pitching hindered his hitting development. Do you forget that teammates would cut his bats in half because he wanted more BP? Had he came in as a young outfielder (190 pounds), his hitting would have developed much sooner and he would have done just fine. He hit .300 or better 4 times before becoming a full time outfielder. And that is with his focus being split, and not getting into a comfortable rythym at the plate. So how all of a sudden would he become a .280 hitter if he :started hitting more sooner, and had only hitting to focus on? Whatever you do, get the picture of a fat Ruth out of your head. That notion in no way, exemplifies the kind of player he was throughout the majority of his career.


                              • Originally posted by csh19792001

                                So Ruth has an (at least) an automatic 15% boost because of the hit happy era he played through, and largely due to the fact that he had a guy averaging 150 RBI per year hitting behind him (to drive him in, and as lineup protection) for 10 years.
                                Gehrig didn't bat behind Ruth until '27, before then it was Meusel. Ruth had stated that he began to see better pitches than usual once Gehrig started belting dingers. However he was doing pretty well for himself before Gehrig, and even with Gehrig hitting behind him, he averaged 123 walks a year from '27 to '32.


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