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  • Originally posted by WJackman

    The biggest loss suffered by a Red Sox hitter who was a Navy fighter pilot was Jake Jones, a legit power-hitter who debuted for the White Sox before going into the service. Yes, politics put Williams in harm's way in the Korean War, but the same politics likely kept him out of danger in WW II. Jones, though, saw extensive combat in the Pacific flying fighters off of the second USS Yorktown, and was a highly decorated ace with seven ariel victories to his credit. He also brought back a severe case of PTSD from the war and basically lost his baseball career.

    .
    Saying that Ted Williams was out of danger in WWII is a little disingenous. It's true that Williams did not see combat in WWII, but he graduated near the top of his flight school class and spent much of the war serving as an instructor pilot. This was a risky job and the risk of becoming a casualty was high. Politics of the day did not keep Williams chained to a desk or perpetually playing ball during the war.

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    • The point is that Ted Williams, the WW II serviceman, was no different than the other 15 million American servicemen who were also in uniform. He was nothing special and not a hero. He would, were he here, be the first man to tell you that. He was a hero as a baseball player, a man who did his part as a veteran, and, sad to say, a dysfunctional parent. Hold him on a pedestal as the greatest hitter (top two or three, anyway) but there was nothing outstanding about the rest of his life.

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      • Originally posted by Old Mike
        The point is that Ted Williams, the WW II serviceman, was no different than the other 15 million American servicemen who were also in uniform. He was nothing special and not a hero. He would, were he here, be the first man to tell you that. He was a hero as a baseball player, a man who did his part as a veteran, and, sad to say, a dysfunctional parent. Hold him on a pedestal as the greatest hitter (top two or three, anyway) but there was nothing outstanding about the rest of his life.
        I bet he could beat you fishing
        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

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        • I would not be one to cast any doubt on Mr. Feller as I consider him a spokeman for his generation. STILL, there is nothing extraordinary in the WW II service of Feller, Williams or Greenberg that distinguishes them from MILLIONS of others.

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          • Originally posted by jalbright
            If you're talking peak, I can certainly see that point of view. Thing is, Charleston had a much longer career (typical for OF/1B versus a catcher), so if you put career length into the mix, it's hard not to go for Oscar over Josh.

            Jim Albright
            I tend to be a guy who favoris a peak over a long career (unless your talking about a situation like Nomar Garciapara vs Pete Rose or something), so I guess we agree to disagree.

            Either way, both could've/would've/should've been .300/40-50 home run guys in the majors

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            • Originally posted by Old Mike
              I would not be one to cast any doubt on Mr. Feller as I consider him a spokeman for his generation. STILL, there is nothing extraordinary in the WW II service of Feller, Williams or Greenberg that distinguishes them from MILLIONS of others.
              While it is indeed a slap in the face to the millions in service during to war to say what the ballplayers did was special, they do deserve credit for not taking the easy way out, as many celebrities enlisted did. No, they are not heroes for that specifically, but they didn't see fit to hide behind who they were, which is at least honorable.
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              • obviously many ballplayers and other celebs had a relatively easy chores in the service but for the most part it was not of there own choosing - it was a military policy to exploit their talent for whatever purpose the brass seemed fit

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                • Originally posted by bkmckenna
                  obviously many ballplayers and other celebs had a relatively easy chores in the service but for the most part it was not of there own choosing - it was a military policy to exploit their talent for whatever purpose the brass seemed fit
                  Right, but some, such as Clark Gable or Jimmy Stewart, who retired as a Brigadier General, I believe, in the Air Force didn't want to be held aside for their talent.
                  Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
                  Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
                  Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
                  Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
                  Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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                  • Originally posted by blackout805
                    I don't know, a Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig hitter playing at the catcher position is (slightly) better to me than a stronger, left-handed Willie Mays.
                    Well, first, I wouldn't compare Lou Gehrig to Babe Ruth... not by a mile. And second, while I do think Gibson was Gehrig's equal, I sure don't think he was Ruth's. If he HAD been the equal of Babe Ruth, and played what is arguably the most important defensive position on the field, then of course I would put him ahead of Mays, unless he'd been a Lombardi on defense. But I don't agree with any of those premises. I do, however, put him in my top 10 or 12 players ever, at least on a par with Gehrig.

                    The "stronger, left-handed Willie Mays" I'm referring to is not Josh Gibson. It's CF Oscar Charleston.

                    BHN

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                    • Originally posted by BaseballHistoryNut
                      Well, first, I wouldn't compare Lou Gehrig to Babe Ruth... not by a mile. And second, while I do think Gibson was Gehrig's equal, I sure don't think he was Ruth's. If he HAD been the equal of Babe Ruth, and played what is arguably the most important defensive position on the field, then of course I would put him ahead of Mays, unless he'd been a Lombardi on defense. But I don't agree with any of those premises. I do, however, put him in my top 10 or 12 players ever, at least on a par with Gehrig.
                      Josh was called the Black Babe, which is why I threw Babe in there, but I think Gibson was probably more similar to Lou Gehrig as a hitter.

                      The "stronger, left-handed Willie Mays" I'm referring to is not Josh Gibson. It's CF Oscar Charleston.

                      BHN
                      I didn't refer to Gibson as Willie Mays either

                      I said I'd prefer Gibson (a Gehrig-esqe type of hitter at the catcher spot) over Charleston (a Mays with even more power, LH)

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                      • Oh, my misread. And we obviously disagree. I have Mays far ahead of Gehrig, as in no contest. Gehrig doesn't make my Top 10 players, but he might make my #10 MLB player (with Charleston and Gibson, definitely in that order, removed).

                        It is my opinion that Gehrig, to a greater degree than statistics can ever show, benefited enormously from having Babe Ruth bat in front of him... as well as from having those other guys in front of Ruth. Even in Ruth's last two years with the Yankees, his OBP's were very respectable. There's no system I know of which adequately can reflect how much that helped him. And, of course, then there was DiMaggio.

                        On the other hand, I'm always telling people who bash Lefty Grove's w-l records that they can't take away his NINE e.r.a. titles in 17 years, with 4 after his 35th b-day in Fenway. (All of which is true.) Well, Gehrig won a Triple Crown, and while Ruth came close to that a couple of times, Mays never did, and even with some big adjustments for the eras in which they played, their respective OBP's and slugging percentages might put Gehrig way ahead of Mays. It's debatable whether that gap can be closed, I realize, by: (1) the difference between a spectacularly great CF and a poor, clumsy first baseman (poor, but not terrible by any means); and (2) a great baserunner (not just base stealer) and a lousy one.

                        On the other hand, Mays played many of his years in an atrocious run environment, while Gehrig played in the greatest ones and, for a tragic and macabre reason, "avoided" the decline phase of his career.

                        I have Mays and Cobb in a wrestling match for #2 all-time, with an asterisk saying it's impossible to rate Charleston with precision. It does NOT escape me that I may be unfair to Gehrig. On the other hand, even the biggest Gehrig fan must accept the fact an awful lot of those RBI's were ones which even a mediocre hitter would have gotten, in that heavenly situation (Earle Combs' excellent OBP, BABE RUTH in front of Gehrig, 344 to RF, etc.).

                        Gehrig is one of the relatively few greats with whom I remain open to the possibility I have him seriously underrated. But I don't think so.

                        BHN

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                        • Gibson being a catcher is just so intriguing. How to measure that is impossible, but I am just so intrigued.

                          Since Ruth began as a catcher at St. Mary's, I am also tantalized with how much value he would have had if he had remained there. I wonder how much value he would have sacrificed if he had caught.

                          I feel he would have had a shortened career, and maybe 15% of his value off his stats, but overall, would have raised his total value more than 15%, especially if he was great defensively at it. He would have had the gun to cut off the running game. He was built a little like Hartnett / Campanella/ Mackey.

                          Am I out of my mind?

                          Bill Burgess
                          Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-31-2006, 08:21 PM.

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                          • Originally posted by [email protected]
                            Gibson being a catcher is just so intriguing. How to measure that is impossible, but I am just so intrigued.

                            Since Ruth began as a catcher at St. Mary's, I am also tantalized with how much value he would have had if he had remained there. I wonder how much value he would have sacrificed if he had caught.

                            I feel he would have had a shortened career, and maybe 15% of his value off his stats, but overall, would have raised his total value more than 15%, especially if he was great defensively at it. He would have had the gun to cut off the running game. He was built a little like Hartnett/Campanella/Mackey.

                            Am I out of my mind?

                            Bill Burgess
                            Interesting Bill. We know that Ruth was able to pitch and play everyday in the field with much success. Granted, over time it wore him out to the point where him and Barrow locked horns, but just catching and playing everyday I think would be something he would have thrived in. With his personality, and his lack of attention span, I think catching would have suited him very nicely. Skills wise, there wouldn't have been a problem. I need to think about this some more, this was just a fast-twitch response. The notion of him remaining a catcher, even though left handed, has always intrigued me.
                            Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-31-2006, 08:23 PM.

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                            • http://books.google.com/books?vid=IS...bVFj71W-ZalY3s


                              You see, nobody is debating the official records since these are known for quite a longtime, so no: no stats are debunked here

                              Comment


                              • those stats certainly don't make Charleston look like the black Babe Ruth

                                however, I bet those are still missing plenty of games

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