151 thoughts on “Threading”

  1. Mac,

    Awesome!

    FWIW, I said he was an instructor because that’s what Dave at THT told me when I emailed asking about what had happened to Carlos.

  2. check this out….i made my guess, then i started doing some research. i thought that it could have been rafael ramirez, but it wasnt. however, i did find something interesting about him. on mlb.com, they still have rafael as an active player, even though he hasnt been on anyone’s roster since ’92. is this guy still pulling a julio, and still playing in japan or someone’s minor league system? probably just an error, but still..interesting.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/historical/mlb_player_locator_results.jsp?playerLocator=ramirez

    also, mlb says mattingly is a well-deserved candidate for the hall of fame. what horse shit! if he wasnt a yankee, this wouldnt even be debatable. murph can’t get a shout out from mlb for hall consideration, but mattingly can? ridiculous. here are mattingly’s good, but not hall of fame material stats.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/historical/individual_stats_player.jsp?c_id=mlb&playerID=118443

    plus, the guy played the easiest position on the diamond, so no one can say he’s an “all-around” candidate.

  3. Mattingly was a superior defensive first baseman, but he wasn’t near Keith Hernandez. The two have similar hit totals, and Mattingly hit more homers, but Hernandez’s OBP was 26 points higher. How can Mattingly be a Hall of Famer if Hernandez isn’t?

    Mattingly’s most-similar hitter is Cecil Cooper, and they’re really very similar indeed, and Cooper had more hits and homers. Nobody wants to put Cecil in the Hall.

  4. I wouldn’t put Donnie Baseball into the Hall either, but, interestingly, Mattingly’s lifetime numbers are similar to Kirby Puckett’s.

  5. That’s essentially Mattingly’s whole argument. It’s fallacious.

    Leaving aside that he’s much more similar to Cooper, and to Wally Joyner, Mattingly’s career stats are slighly worse than Puckett’s. Most importantly, Kirby was a center fielder.

    And, of course, Kirby’s career was ended, suddenly, by an injury. I don’t know how much stock you give that. And Puckett was playing some of the best ball of his career. His OBP in his last season matched his career high, and his slugging percentages in his last two seasons were the best he’d had since he was 28.

    Puckett versus Murphy is a more suitable comparison, one I’ve written but never published. I’ll polish it up sometime.

  6. Puckett probably shouldn’t be in the hall either though right? (zero research done to support this contention). I thought he got in for being such a “good guy” during his career and winning two World Series titles.

    Side quiz:

    Besides Mattingly and Sax, which other MLB players were on the team in Homer at the Bat?

    Don’t look it up.

  7. Mike Scoscia, Ozzie Smith, Wade Boggs, Ken Griffey Jr. (“It’s like there’s a party in my mouth, and everyone’s invited!”), Jose Canseco, Darryl Strawberry (“But Coach, I hit 9 homeruns today!”).

    Way too easy.

  8. Stu left out Clemens. Unfortunately, Pie Traynor wasn’t available.

    Puckett should be in the Hall. Even if his career had started to decline, he would have had Hall of Fame numbers.

    Most of the players Puckett was similar to when he was forcibly retired aren’t Hall of Famers… but they’re mostly corner outfielders and first basemen. (Al Oliver, first on the list, was a “center fielder” but not really, and played more than half his games at other positions.) A good center fielder who hits like an all-star left fielder sounds like a Hall of Famer to me.

  9. Yes, sneaky, Mac. Spahn never played in Atlanta—that threw me.

    I put Puckett in because he had more “HoF seasons” than Mattingly. The eye injury probably did rob him of more, but I think he just slides into Cooperstown regardless.

    Mattingly’s lifetime numbers are also weighted by a few monster years in the mid/late 1980s. (His peak was pretty high.) But by 1990, his back problems had killed his power—he had a bit of a Musial-like corkscrew stance.

    I saw Mattingly play a lot between 1990-95, his downturn years. And the loudest cheer I’ve ever heard at Yankee Stadium was when he hit a HR in Game 2 of the ALDS vs. Seattle (the other Jim Leyritz game).

    Can’t really say anything bad about him, except that he’s not a Hall of Famer.

  10. He would have had hall of fame numbers, or he does have hall of fame numbers? (I’m still not researching)

    Even if the guy was on track for the hall, if he didn’t the numbers to support it because a freak injury/condition derailed his career I don’t think it’s right to impute those ungenerated future stats to his candidacy.

    (I hate Kirby Puckett)

  11. Puckett has and doesn’t have Hall of Fame numbers. He registers at 155 on the Hall of Fame Monitor, which is very high; every eligible player ahead of him is in except Mark McGwire. The guys right behind him are all in — Eddie Murray, Sam Thompson, and Lou Brock. He made ten All-Star teams. His year-by-year stats are all of Hall of Fame caliber.

    He “isn’t” because his counting stats are low for a Hall of Fame outfielder — 2304 hits, 202 homers. He isn’t in the top 100 all-time of anything. He obviously would be if Martinez hadn’t beaned him. Just one more season probably would have put him in the top 100 in hits, and he had a good shot at 3000/300 if he’d played his career out.

  12. If you giving Puckett the injury exception, would afford Belle the same?

    Puckett had more hits, Belle more power. Higher OBP. Defensive adjustments might make them pretty similar.

  13. Basically… there’s no established system for picking Hall of Famers, but a sort of collection of standards has developed over the years, and it actually works well most of the time. There are hard cases like Puckett or Murphy that the system doesn’t deal well with. In Puckett’s case, the voters decided that he was a Hall of Famer who was missing not the Hall of Fame portion of his career, but the ordinary player portion, so they put him in. I agree with this; I just wish they realized that Murphy was in a similar situation.

  14. Thanks Mac, I’m not sure what I’d do with that then. Basically, not letting him in would amount to penalizing him for not being a baseball player long enough, and nothing more. That is different from penalizing a player for not being a hall of fame worthy player for long enough (Murphy’s obstacle).

  15. So Murphy then is being penalized for having a longer ordinary player portion of his career than most HoF’ers despite also having a worthy hall of fame portion of his career?

  16. I think Belle should be in, though he actually is missing a couple of prime seasons, unlike Puckett. The problem with Belle isn’t his numbers, it’s that he was a divisive jerk.

    The three greatest players to come out of LSU are Albert Belle, Joe Adcock, and Alvin Dark. All three could be in the Hall of Fame, with better luck. All three were divisive jerks. This doesn’t really mean anything, I just thought I’d point it out.

  17. Murphy is being punished because he didn’t have an ordinary player portion of his career. He was a great player, then he was a bad player. He was basically never average except for 1981 and 1988.

  18. Belle also has a cheating scandal on his resume. People tend to discount HoF credentials based on circumstantial evidence pointing toward a player obtaining an unnatural advantage.

  19. Interesting that being a bad player hurts the HoF chances more than not being capable of playing at all.

    I understand it though.

  20. “FWIW, I said he was an instructor because that’s what Dave at THT told me when I emailed asking about what had happened to Carlos.”

    I’ll have to talk to Dave, huh?
    Like I said, no biggie…

    Carlos

  21. All three could be in the Hall of Fame, with better luck.

    Well, better numbers wouldn’t hurt either. Adcock’s numbers aren’t anything special for a power-hitting first baseman, and Dark has a nice but unspectacular playing career. Add that to his managerial record, and you could put him in there, but even if Adcock and Dark were as nice as Dale Murphy, I’d have trouble finding room for them.

    Belle, on the other hand, is a different story. I think the case is better for him than it is for Dick Allen, and that’s a legitimate brawl in some corners.

  22. So corked bat is ok for the HoF but steroids might keep Hall worthy players out? Questionable in my opinion.

  23. That was the point, wasn’t it? When Puckett retired, he was considered a very nice person ( The dirty laundry hadn’t been aired yet ), while Belle was the Barry Bonds of the 90s in terms of media vendettas.
    About prime seasons, he had 8-9 to Puckett’s 10. But his peak as it was much much higher.

    And frankly if he doesn’t get screwed over by MVP voters, I think he gets in. Being a divisive jerk didn’t effect the voting for lot of players.

  24. And talking of people getting screwed over in MVP votes in the last 15-20 years. Belle/Bonds top the list, and keeping them company is Piazza! Now you can understand the first 2, but how Piazza never won a MVP is beyond me.
    And if recent trends carry on, Pujols is going to join them.

  25. “Better luck” in these cases not meaning the voting.

    Adcock’s numbers aren’t special because he was only getting 450 ABs a year. Per AB, he outhomered Hank Aaron during the seasons they were teammates, but he spent most of his career being platooned. I also have a piece on Adcock I will eventually finish, but I have no doubts that he would have hit 450 homers if he’d just played regularly.

    Dark was certainly a Hall of Fame talent, but his career didn’t get going until he was 26 and was essentially over at 33. He was also a Hall of Fame-caliber manager, but he was a jerk (and probably a racist) which kept him from lasting very long anywhere and finished him at 55.

    If Belle hadn’t hurt his hip, he would have put up the sort of numbers nobody could ignore, and they’d have to put him in eventually. As it is, they can say he hit “only” 330-odd homers.

  26. No, I actually think they should get into the Hall of Fame unless the fact that they cheated is conclusively proven.

    Belle’s bat was never proven to be corked, neither has Roger Clemens ever admitted to using steroids or tested positive for steroids. Likewise Barry Bonds though he may have admitted to unknowingly using them. Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox were actually acquitted of the charges stemming from the Black Sox scandal. At least Jackson signed a confession at one point, as sketchy as it was. Likewise Pete Rose, though Rose’s transgressions don’t even have anything to do with his baseball playing ability, and he’d probably be elected to the Hall if made eligible.

    I think a baseball player’s playing career should determine hall of fame eligibility. Unless they’re caught breaking rules that relate to on field performance, or get banned from the game, I think they should be in if the numbers dictate.

  27. “Also, Carlos, feel free to stay around here! Stu’s a big fan, and so am I. What are your thoughts on Charlie Morton? Is he for real?”

    Appreciate that. This hurts to say, but I can’t comment on Morton. Plus, I haven’t seen Morton pitch yet. I’ve only seen his stats.

    My apologies….
    Carlos

  28. Carlos,

    Great to have you around. This is a basically well informed and interesting crowd.

    I will offer another question if you have time or can take a whack at it. A lot of banter has gone around here the last few days about “getting Prior and hiring Leo Mazzone as a consultant”. My thought was hire Mike Marshall as a consultant and get Prior. I know Marshall has thrown many abrasive barbs at many MLB people (maybe you, but not that I know of) but when you know his background and read his stuff, he seems like a tormented genius.

    What about Dr. Mike?

  29. When I’ve Googled myself, I’ve often come up with a late, distant cousin of mine, Les Tremayne.

    He was an actor & well-known radio voice in the 1940s. He also starred in some B-grade horror films like “The Conquerer Worm” and “The Slime People.”

  30. Justin—I didn’t Google myself. THT has a list if referral pages that tells me where my articles have been linked to, so that’s how I know. That doesn’t mean I haven’t Googled myself….LOL, who hasn’t?

    Cliff– Dr. Mike did take a shot at me once (that’s when I knw I had arrived…hehe) and disagree quite a bit with many of his teachings and techniques. That said, he does have good ideas, some which I have tried to implement within the framework of what I teach/try myself. If I’m thought of as being “out there”, then Dr.Mike is WAY out there. I don’t see anyone accepting Dr. Mike’s stuff, much less someone like Prior.

  31. Mac,

    As an “old fart”, I look forward to your piece on Adcock. I hadn’t heard negatives about him before, could you elaborate about the “divisive jerk” comment a little?

  32. i’ve given up on the HOf arguments. i guess they should just rename it the Hall of Pretty Damn good players. i grew up withe Mays, Mantle, Aaron types who were no-brainers for the hall. but pee wee reese, phil rizzuto??? give me a break. the absolute worst was tony perez. good player, yes. great player, no way. the guy was never even the best player on any team he played for. not to mention, he never led the leauge in ANYTHING(except errors for a thirdbaseman one year.) we need to get past the idea that somebody has to be inducted every year because the hall should be reserved for the best of the best.

  33. Eddie Matthews wasn’t the best player on his team either; Hank Aaron was. There are plenty of examples like that.

    And if you’re comparing Tony Perez to Joe Morgan & Johnny Bench, that’s kinda tough. They are 2 of the best position players of all time.

  34. ok, point taken………..how about richie ashburn? if he wasnt a super-popular announcer in philly, he wou;dnever have gotten a sniff of the hall.

  35. and now that you mention it, how many teams have had more than one HOF’er in theier prime? i really dont know, but i can only think of a few.

  36. Ashburn was a terrific player who unfortunately was just the third-best NL centerfielder of his time.

    Look, the Hall of Fame’s standards now are in fact the highest they’ve ever been. Well, since the first three or four years, when they had tons of obvious picks. The Veterans’ Committee voted in some players who weren’t as good as, say, Ron Gant. There are a couple of Hall of Famers who probably weren’t as good as Jeff Blauser.

    That hasn’t been the case in the last few decades. But even in the seventies… The year when Willie Mays was elected by the writers, Hack Wilson — who seriously wasn’t much better than Gant, RBI record or no — was elected by the VC. The year Aaron (and Frank Robinson) went in, the Veterans put Travis Jackson in. Jackson’s most-similar player is Carlos Baerga, and to be honest he wasn’t as good as Baerga. When Mantle went in, the Veterans elected Jim Bottomley, who had two or three years of Hall of Fame numbers but most of the time was just a good player.

    Just look at the list by years. The Babe Ruth standard hasn’t been in place since World War II. It can’t be, because the Hall of Fame is in the business of getting people to visit the Hall of Fame, and a lot of that is induction weekend. Every time they’ve tried to cut down on the number of people getting in, there’s been a reaction.

  37. As for multiple inner-circle Hall of Famers… The Yankees had Ruth and Gehrig, Gehrig and DiMaggio, DiMaggio and Berra, Berra and Mantle. The Reds, of course, had Bench and Morgan, plus Rose, who would obviously be in if he hadn’t gambled. The Braves also had Spahn when they had Aaron and Mathews, then had Aaron and Niekro. The Dodgers had Campanella and Jackie. The Black Sox had Eddie Collins and Joe Jackson, who again would be if if he’d been honest, and Eddie Cicotte, who likely would have won 300 games if he had been. That’s just off the top of my head.

  38. and now the G.D. Yankees have jeter and A-Rod…….thx for the research( or did you just know it?), but thats really just a handfull of teams that had multiple players like that (in their prime) but your response in # 57 just makes my point. its all phoney crap that slaps a serious fan in the face. its all about the money and SOMEBODY is going to get in every year, deserving or not. as for ashburn, at least he was a centerfielder who managed good batting averages while hitting leadoff without ever scoring a huge number of runs or driving n anybody. i understand that the phillies sucked, but do you really think those are hall of fame numbers? please dont get me started on rod carew.

  39. Ashburn’s numbers (2574 hits, 1322 runs scored) are certainly Hall of Fame numbers for a good center fielder. He was a leadoff man, so of course he wasn’t going to drive in a bunch of runs. He had no power, and that limited his value, but there are 25 or 30 HOFers, easy, who were worse, probably more.

  40. ahhhh…………the ol’ i m not the worst defense……..hard to argue that one. check out vada pinson’s numbers. he was a comtempory of ashburn and was easily twice the player.

  41. If I’d grown up in the early to mid ’60s, I’m pretty sure I’d have been a Giants fan. Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Marichal.

  42. You were the one acting like Ashburn was the lowest of the low. I was just pointing out that he wasn’t.

    Pinson was very good, but his career OBP was .327, while Ashburn’s was .396. Some of that’s the era, but not most of it — the league OBP was ten points higher during Ashburn’s career.

    Pinson could be a Hall of Famer, but he wasn’t as good of a player as Ashburn over the course of his career. He was essentially hanging around after he turned “26”. Ashburn was still a fine player at the end of his career, leading the NL in OBP when he got hurt in ’62.

  43. I’ve always thought Vada Pinson had one of the oddest careers I’ve ever seen. This is an oversimplification, but I think of him as someone who was a surefire HOFer at age 20, then got five percent worse every year for the next 15 years, until he could no longer play at all.

  44. That’s why I put “26” in quotes. He was two years older than his listed age. Also, that’s just about when the neo-Dead Ball Era reached his climax — when he was turning 28. He was on the decline at the same time the pitchers were taking over the game, which makes his actual decline look worst than it is.

    (I just looked the age thing up in the New Historical Abstract. James ranks Ashburn as the 16th-best centerfielder of all time, Pinson 18th.)

  45. i really have nothing against ashburn except i’m a lifelong braves fan, therefore i hate the phillies and every other national league team that spent my lietime pounding on the braves………..hes just one of my scapegoats when i get pissed off thinking about the HOF. and since my in-laws live just outside philly. i was exposed to his broadcasting on the radio which made me really appreciate skip and pete………..phil rizzuto arguements any one?

  46. Ashburn had 2000+ hits and a lot fo walks. He was always near the top of the OBP leaderboard. And supposedly, his defence was very good. He lead the league in putouts for a number of eyars. Andruw beat his single season put out record.

  47. #67……pinson had his best season a24 and nearly duplicated it at 26………maybe some guys just burn out early. i dunno, ask andrew.

  48. BTW, according to James there are three centerfielders better than Ashburn who are not in the Hall of Fame, and all of them played for the Braves. Jimmy Wynn played for them for one year; Dale Murphy and Wally Berger were essentially career Braves.

  49. lol……………..very cool link although the lyrics were better that the actual song. there was a story that when fred hutchinsonn was managing the reds, he didnt talk to pinson because he assumed pinson didnt speak english. finally he had to say something to him and vada said i guess i speak english as good as anybody around here…….i’m glad i got a little discussion going here tonight. when i was a kid i knew from my baseball cards(which were my main source of information) that vada was a helluva player and i knew for sure that he had the coolest name in sports.

  50. When I lived in Athens, I used to work at the Navy School with a guy from Cincinnati, who grew up a Reds fans in the late-50s/early-60s. We talked a lotta baseball & he swore up and down that Vada Pinson was the most underrated player in his lifetime.

    He never claimed that Pinson was a HoFer, but said that he and Curt Flood were the best defensive CFs he ever saw. I’d always mention Paul Blair & he’d scoff.

    Of course, I was working with him through the whole Pete Rose scandal and, well, he kinda lost his mind & any/all judgement about that topic.

    Good guy, though, and, I gotta say that it’s always great to spend long, boring hours at work with a genuine baseball fan.

  51. As far as future Hall of Famers go, I’m very interested to see how Tim Hudson does over the next 10 years. For that matter, McCann too. Both have a long, long way to go, but have HOF potential.

  52. Wynn will never make the Hall, of course, but he was a much, much better player than his batting average and hit totals would suggest. He was never going to hit for a super-high average, but he walked a ton and had a lot of power; the latter was depressed by the time and place where he played. According to the “neutralize stats” function on Baseball-Reference, Wynn lost 17 points of batting average and 29 points of slugging (and 28 career homers) to his context.

  53. Darryl Strawberry (”But Coach, I hit 9 homeruns today!”).

    Also, Bobby Cox apparently played Mr. Burns in that episode.

  54. I have a question for you…ESPN keeps doing this best college football players of all time thing. Bo Jackson has already been named and Herschel Walker was #3

    what two players could possibly be ranked ahead of these guys?

  55. Broadway Joe, maybe? It would be stupid, but he’s white and old and could therefore qualify as a “surprise” pick.

    Also, Bill Simmons’s wife, who just had a baby, just wrote one of the best descriptions of ESPN I’ve ever read:

    For the first two months of the season, I was pregnant and angry and feeling like one of those bouncy castles they have at kids’ birthday parties. Then I passed a nine-pound human being out of my body. Then I didn’t sleep for the next seven weeks and had to feed that same baby for 24 hours a day except for the 13.2 minutes per day he doesn’t eat. I have probably seen a total of six minutes of football and never turn on ESPN because I’m always afraid someone yelling is going to make one of my kids cry.

  56. alex
    just read that article- laughed when i saw that about espn. The football shows are just Merril Hoge and Ron Jaworski trying to out yell each other.

  57. Thanks for posting that, spike. I hadn’t known he’d been battling leukemia. If that’s the case, at least his suffering’s over. My heart goes out to his family.

    In other news, the Astros won the Darin Erstad sweepstakes, getting the former University of Nebraska football player for a cool $1 million — also known as the exact same amount of money Mark Prior will get. Smart work there, Tim Purpura. Darin Erstad will join Miguel Tejada and Jose Valverde on the new-look Houston Astros, who will really give the Pittsburgh Pirates a run for their money.

  58. AAR,

    Oh no, it is not Purpura, but the proven genius, Mr. Ed Wade.

    I guess the hire of Ed Wade at Houston really brings home the affirmative action argument. That is, “Can any of us be as bad as him?”

  59. Rest in peace, Jim.

    Honestly, I just had this big grin on my face when I found out that Erstad signed with the Astros. That’s hilarious.

  60. Teams with 2+ HOFers in their primes at the same time.

    LA Dodgers – Koufax and Drysdale
    Baltimore – The Robinsons
    Oakland A’s – Jackson and Fingers
    ’86 Mets – Gooden and Strawberry (HoF talent wrecked by drugs)
    Expos – Raines and Dawson

  61. Raines also played with that Walker character who might get a vote or two. Also, Walker played with that pitcher Pedro whatshisname that was ok too.

  62. Seat Painter,

    You ran into the 3’s there. Early 1970’s A’s you have to add Catfish Hunter.

    Also, Jim Palmer made it to HOF, didn’t he?

    Other three’s (besides 70’s Reds) 50’s Braves noted above in thread (Aaron, Mathews, Spahn).

    But most blessed of all, 90’s Braves with 4, count em. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Chipper.

  63. Maybe not their absolute primes, but Andruw was an everyday player for 6 and a half seasons while the other 4 guys were punching the card at the office. I’d say that’s overlap.

  64. Spike (no longer in United Arab Emirates)

    No, I thought too quick. Andruw will almost certainly make it. I think that his prime concided with Maddux and Glavine at least as much as Gehrig and DiMaggio or DiMaggio and Berra. Andruw’s “fielding” prime was while the pitchers were in Atlanta (98 99). His hitting prime is more like 2004 2005 2006.

    Probably, without the way steroids or small parks or expansion (or all of the preceding) have altered the view of power numbers, Javy Lopez also had a HOF career (even assuming the latest comeback comes to nothing). Big negative on him also is the whole “no catch Maddux thing”.

  65. When you think about it in terms of the Braves having fielded teams with 5 HoF’ers, we are pretty lucky as fans to have enjoyed that.

  66. if the jury is still out on chipper being a HOFer, i’d say andrew had best whip himself back into shape and have a couple more monster seasons.

  67. Lopez in the HOF? Decent question. I think Posada and Piazza are better among his contemporaries, so that will f up his Keltner, and his stats are weak compared to HOFers generally, but I don’t know how he compares to HOF catchers specifically. Obviously, the inner circle guys that leap to mind (Berra, Bench, Campanella, Dickey) kill him in the rate stats, but I don’t know how to do positional adjustments for the AVERAGE hof catcher.

  68. Actually, Ivan is a pretty good comp for Javy. He has some pretty gaudy rate stats from playing in Arlington, but his OPS+ is even with Lopez, and their counting stats aren’t that far off, comsdiring Rodriguez ~3000(!!!) AB advantage. Christ, I had no idea Rod was that durable, and started so young.

  69. Unless you think that steroids regenerate knee cartilage — in which case, there are some people from the AMA who would like you to explain how — steroids have nothing to do with Rodriguez’s extraordinary durability. He was supposed to run out of gas ten years ago. His 1996-1999 (146 games caught, 143, 139, 141) would destroy an ordinary mortal.

  70. I wasn’t bringing up his durability, more an observation of his time in Texas with Juan and Raffy.

  71. Believing my own eyes, which I like to do, I-Rod was certainly I-Roid at the end of his Texas tenure & for his only year in Miami.

    Forgetting that for a minute, he was also an amazing defensive catcher, unlike any of his HoF-candidate contemporaries.

    And if Mike Piazza does make the HoF, he’ll be the worst defensive catcher ever enshrined.

    Whenever Mets fans try to apologize for his defense (“Oh, he wasn’t that bad—and he hustled!“), I always point to Game 6 of the ’99 NLCS and ask, “When was the last time a team in a win-or-die post-season game took out their best offensive player because his defense was killing them?

  72. UBubba, Piazza really isn’t that bad of a catcher, or wasn’t that bad. He can’t throw, but he calls a good game and blocks the plate well. And even if he was as bad as his reputation, he’d still be loads better than Ernie Lombardi.

  73. I dunno, Mac. I saw him play a lot & not being able to throw is as a much bigger liability than not blocking the plate, IMO.

    I mean, how often does a cather have to throw to a base? How often does he have to block the plate?

    And, yeah, he really couldn’t throw.

  74. 119,

    Obviously Jim didn’t get as good of a deal at the Crossroads as Robert Johnson. The paymaster came back early.

  75. Piazza has thrown out 23.2% of baserunners in his career. The average is probably about 30 percent — I haven’t checked, but I’d guess that’s about right. That might be an extra 100, 150 stolen bases. That’s not nothing, of course. But he was a good “fielder”, rarely committed (non-throwing) errors. After his early years in LA, he rarely was charged with passed balls — his average with the Mets was five or six a year. He was pretty agile, and I’d rather have a guy who’s good at getting loose balls than one who throws well.

    Breaking out the ol’ Win Shares, James rates Piazza a C+ (through 2000). I’d give him a C-.

  76. ububba, I’m glad you beat me to posting the Leyritz news. I almost certainly would have posted something off-color.

  77. And if you hit like Piazza, of course, that makes up for a lot.

    This from a Yankee-fan pal o’ mine: “All I can say is, whatever prison team Leyritz winds up playing for will be happy to have him in October.”

    Of course, my favorite October Leyritz moment came when he was with the Padres & Maddux hit him in the neck.

  78. On the Leyritz thing, the only thing more ironic about his DUI killing to us would have been if say he had actually rammed his car into one carrying Eric Gregg or Kent Hrbek. (yes, I’m aware Gregg has gone to that big pizza place in the sky already).

    That whole statement is completely inappropriate, but let me also add….couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    I suppose in comparison to LaRussa, at least “Hateable face” LaRussa didn’t kill anyone.

  79. Piazza was always getting crap for his inability to throw out runners. If that keeps him out of the HOF then shame on the voters. The guy is/was a hell of a ballplayer. I’d take him over his contemporaries any day.

  80. Darryl Kile? You can’t prove it wasn’t LaRussa. In this day and age an allegation is all we need apparently to assume guilt, so I hereby make that allegation.

  81. Johnny,
    I never said that Piazza’s defense should keep him out of the HoF. If anything keeps him out of Cooperstown, it would be steroids. Otherwise, he’ll get in easily.

    And I’d take I-Rod over Piazza, but that’s just me & the team I’d wanna assemble.

  82. ububba, Sorry, I wasn’t insinuating that you said Piazza wasn’t a hofer. I’ve read that on some sports pages by ‘knowledgeable journalists’. Crazy. If I had a bone to pick it would be the emphasis everyone pays on throwing out baserunners as THE measure of a catchers defensive worth.

  83. If there was a single measure, it would have to be passed balls (blocking ability). McCann, by the way, would never be a HOFer if this was THE measure of a catcher’s defensive worth – he is horrible at it.

  84. Not to say McCann would be a HOFer anyway, I just wanted to bring up his defensive shortcomings. =)

  85. Ed Wade is like the guy in your fantasy league that has no shot at winning, but still cares enough about his team to work the waiver wire. The only problem is he keeps adding and dropping the same garbage players a week too late.

  86. The NL Central bylaws must require one complemently incompetent General Manager. Wade replaces Littlefield.

  87. Agreed – Littlefield is a dolt but Ed Wade is like a SOBER Jim Bowden – and that’s a bad thing. I think Bowden has an edge over Wade since he is drunk all the time.

  88. Interesting news last night on ESPN. NCAA is looking into the purchase of McFadden’s new car. How awesome would it be if they slapped Arkansas with a massive probation? I wonder how quick Petrino qould try to get out of town then? I’m sure most Falcons fans would love it…

  89. i’ll be surprised if arkansas gets slapped with anything major. McFadden is gonna get paid one way or the other, though he should’ve gotten the car after the bowl game.

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