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Ted Williams vs. Left-handed Pitchers

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  • And then hits a 100 more based on known bad pitchers.

    If Babe Ruth had to play his career with a dead ball and against trick pitches he too would have less homers.

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    • Players from earlier eras were facing lefties more and doing better than modern players because teams were largely using lefties wrong in an earlier eras. They really didn't understand the platoon effect all that well or utilize it all that well. If you scan the box scores you will see several instances of opposing teams bringing in a lefty against the Red Sox only to pull that reliever for a rightie when Ted was up to bat. Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe Jackson and racked up PA against lefties that in the modern they wouldn't have been able to rack up. Not because a modern team would sit Babe or Ty but because a modern wouldn't have that lefty starting or wouldn't have that lefty go 9 innings or throw 140 pitches.

      If some league wants to throw lefty starters at Ted and the Red Sox at a 40% rate those lefty starters were going to get crushed against those Red Sox and while Ted might get hit with a "penalty" in the first through 3rd innings he would then being getting a bonus in later innings as a gassed and shell shocked lefty is throwing up there meatball after meatball and getting pounded.

      Retrosheet has a good amount of PBP data for Ruth from 1921 and on. It would be an interesting study to see how he did vs lefties by times faced. I might have some time in early September to take a look and a study like that sounds intriguing. I might see what I can do.

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      • Realized that BRef might have some of this data so I looked at there first available year for Ruth which was 1925. He probably had about 190 PA against lefties that year and BRef had 171 of those PA. So here is his numbers vs lefties based on at which point in the game he saw them.

        Code:
         
        Outs 1B 2B HR BB HBP BA OBP SLG OPS
        1st PA 33 10 5 1 0.233 0.327 0.233 0.559
        2nd PA 26 6 1 2 9 0.257 0.409 0.457 0.866
        3rd PA 23 5 1 5 7 0.324 0.439 0.794 1.233
        4th PA 19 2 1 3 4 1 0.240 0.367 0.640 1.007
        5th/6th 4 2 1 0.429 0.429 0.857 1.286
        Last edited by Ubiquitous; 08-27-2018, 07:55 AM.

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        • Ted Williams vs. noted LHP
          LH Pitcher AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SA OPS
          Whitey Ford 45 17 3 0 1 13 4 .378 .508 .511 1.019
          Lefty Gomez 27 13 2 0 2 5 1 .481 .563 .778 1.341
          Eddie Lopat 84 26 7 0 2 19 10 .310 .448 .464 .912
          Don Mossi 40 13 4 0 1 8 7 .325 .429 .500 .929
          Hal Newhouser 96 25 0 2 3 23 7 .260 .403 .396 .799
          Billy Pierce 93 24 4 2 2 34 14 .258 .457 .409 .866
          Marius Russo 41 17 1 1 2 1 5 .415 .429 .634 1.063

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          • Okay, so if I had Ted Williams on my team and he had a career .344 with 521 HR and an OPS of 1.116 and I know that the next four starting pitchers for the next four games are LHP who he has batted .311 with 63 HR in 1708 at-bats and his OPS was .928, I think I am still going to start Williams in LF... I doubt I have a right-handed hitter on my team to put into LF that would do a better job. Maybe, I am wrong but .311 against LHP? And OPS of .928?

            Now if the argument is that he was not as great a hitter because his numbers against LHP was significantly lower, well, then he hit .354 with 458 HR with an OPS of 1.168 against RHP. To me, he still is one of the greatest hitters of all-time. Where would I rank him, I would have to sit down and compare all the great hitters to decide that but if he were on my team, it would be tough to platoon him or pinch-hit for him against a LHP. Maybe I would use Hornsby to PH for him but he is probably already in the game at 2B.

            It is just my thoughts. His numbers vs. LHP do not change my mind about how great a hitter he was.

            Excellent subject, I enjoy everyone's input and analysis. Glad I found BFF... love it.

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            • Sultan_1895-1948 pheasant

              We have over 90% of Babe Ruth's PA vs lefties (complete) now via Retrosheet. He DESTROYS Ted Williams. Both in overall terms and in terms of the platoon split vs LHP.

              Ruth (2,640 PA vs LHP): .317/.448/.654 with 191 HR

              Williams (2,020 PA vs LHP): .311/.435/.493 with 63 HR
              Last edited by Floyd Gondolli; 09-02-2018, 08:54 PM.

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              • Originally posted by SWCBaseball View Post
                I doubt I have a right-handed hitter on my team to put into LF that would do a better job. Maybe, I am wrong but .311 against LHP? And OPS of .928?
                There are (at least) 22 RHH with a higher OPS against LHP than Ted Williams (min 2,000 PA). I say "at least" because the PBP data is either non existent or highly incomplete for old timers like Lajoie, Wagner, Delahanty, etc.

                (In other words...the best RHH of the first 50 years of MLB.)

                Screenshot_20180902-220204_Chrome.jpg
                Last edited by Floyd Gondolli; 09-03-2018, 05:02 AM.

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                • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post

                  That is a valid point..of course had he played ball in those years he might have broke a wrist, who knows.

                  Another vailid point, is that if he had to hit in old Fenway, versus more left handed pitching, with dead ball agaist trick pitches...his numbers would suffer. Hell, leave everything the same and ONLY change Fenway back to old dimensions he loses about 50 career home HR based on known landing points.
                  Sultan_1895-1948

                  Probably more than 50.

                  From 1912-1919 the Red Sox hit 67 home runs at Fenway Park. And most of those were inside the park jobs which Williams never hit because he 1. Was slow as molasses and 2. Didn't run the bases aggressively. In fact his baserunning stats are a joke even compared to and OLD Babe Ruth (1925-1935).

                  From 1912-1919 they Red Sox hit 194 home runs on the road. 194 vs 67. No small difference.

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                  • Thanks for the information. I really like it. I did not know I was arguing anything but was only stating a general opinion. But I do love the information.... Because of your post, I wondered how Williams contemporary Stan Musial did against LHP so I looked him up and he was better against LHP than Williams was as well. Musial in 3908 ab, had 157 HR, .316/.394/.528 against LHP.

                    No argument about Ruth but I tend to put him in my line-up as a RF since he played the most games there, 1132 to 1050.

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                    • Originally posted by Floyd Gondolli View Post

                      Sultan_1895-1948

                      Probably more than 50.

                      From 1912-1919 the Red Sox hit 67 home runs at Fenway Park. And most of those were inside the park jobs which Williams never hit because he 1. Was slow as molasses and 2. Didn't run the bases aggressively. In fact his baserunning stats are a joke even compared to and OLD Babe Ruth (1925-1935).

                      From 1912-1919 they Red Sox hit 194 home runs on the road. 194 vs 67. No small difference.
                      Ted Williams was born in 1918. I don't think those are the reasons why he never hit those home runs.

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                      • Originally posted by pedrosrotatorcuff View Post

                        Ted Williams was born in 1918. I don't think those are the reasons why he never hit those home runs.
                        What does his year of birth have to do with it? Regarding inside the park homers you need dimensions conducive for them, and a runner not only with some speed, but the aggressive mindset to keep it in third gear between 2nd and 3rd and make the final turn home. Ballgame wore cement boots broheem.
                        "By common consent, Ruth was the hardest hitter of history; a fine fielder, if not a finished one; an inspired base runner, seeming to do the right thing without thinking. He had the most perfect co-ordination of any human animal I ever knew." - Hugh Fullerton, 1936 (Chicago sports writer, 1893-1930's)

                        ROY / ERA+ Title / Cy Young / WS MVP / HR Title / Gold Glove / Comeback POY / BA Title / MVP / All Star / HOF

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
                          What does his year of birth have to do with it?
                          FROM 1912-1919 the Red Sox hit 67 home runs at Fenway Park. And most of those were inside the park jobs which Williams never hit
                          Williams was not even ALIVE for 7 of those 8 years. That's why he "could never hit them".

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                          • Originally posted by leecemark View Post
                            Hitch, I followed the link to the article and it said "based on his career totals his stats were better in virtually every category for the missing years". Without seeing any numbers I would have assumed Williams, like virtually every other LHB, didn't do as well against LHP. He was still pretty damn good against them though. I think modern LHB might be expected to do a little better against LHP than old timers for this reason - There are alot of left handed pitchers in the majors today who don't belong there. Everyone knows that LHP have an advantage over LHB, but bad lefties aren't really a better option than good righties when you've got a tough left handed batter to retire. The new conventional "wisdom" that you need a couple lefties in the pen as specialists goes against all logic. Sorry to have diverged from your topic, just a pet peeve of mine.
                            I would disagree with the above assertion that, today, "there are a lot of left-handed pitchers in the majors today who don't belong there." In this modern sabermetric era, I think the ability to find and identify talented left-handed pitchers is actually GREATER than it was in the past. The left-handed specialists of today (something that didn't exist in the past) are particularly adept at retiring LHBs, often coming in to pitch to a single LHB in a critical situation.

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