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Monday, June 26, 2006

Al Kaline

Eligible in 1980.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:23 AM | 117 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:29 AM (#2075912)
Mr. Tiger? Heeeeeeeeeee's great!
   2. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:33 AM (#2076126)
Were his parents chemists? :)
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:58 AM (#2076192)
The Quiet Man, and like most quiet men, underrated by history to probably the same degree as Stan the Man. Probably #1 on my ballot.

How about those Tigers BTW? Kaline, Cash; Freehan coming up; I was shocked to see that the Tigers have retired Willie Horton's number; Dick McAuliffe was a damn fine player, too, until the mound just got too high. Was it James who wrote that the Tigers probably coulda/shoulda won several pennants with this nucleus but just didn't put it together except in 1968. Otherwise their pitching was weak until most of these position players were past their prime.

Cash looks now like a guy who coulda been more like Yaz or, well, Kaline, if not for the booze. I like Frank Howard a lot and I think Cash comes out just short of Howard. Can't see him on my ballot, but I'm surprised at how well he rates. He was never really regarded as a star after 1961, the focus in Detroit was always somewhere else. Maybe the writers knew that he couldn't be relied upon but since they didn't write that sorta thing in those days, so then they just didn't write anything.

1968: Tigers led the AL in runs with a mere 671 but hit 185 HR. Horton was the big man with 35, Freehan and Cash hit 25, Kaline only played in 102 games at age 33 and hit 10, but with a respectable .287 BA. Cash hit .263 but only played 127 games and had 63 RBI. Other than McLain, Freehan coulda been MVP in 1968--only 1 fewer RBI than Horton and 5 more runs scored. Played 155 games, caught 138 times, filled in at 1B 21 times.

Hard to believe Kaline's year in 1968. Does anybody know if he was injured? My main source does not indicate that he was. He had been injured in both 1966 and 1967, maybe they just thought he was fragile and needed a lot of rest, or maybe they just had a very deep roster of 1B-OF and gave everybody over the age of 30 (meaning Cash and Kaline) a bit of rest. This team was built for the DH

1968 10-53-.287 in 102 games, age 33, 11-for-29, 2 HR, 8 RBI in World Series
1969 21-69-.272 in 131 games
1970 16-71-.278 in 131 games
1971 15-54-.294 in 133 games
1972 10-32-.313 in 106 games (injured), 5-for-19 in ALCS, took A's to 5 games and lost the 5th 2-1

Not much of a workload in the declining years but 16-for-48 (.333), 3 HR, 9 RBI, 9 runs scored in 12 post-season games.

As late as 1973 they still had all the same 1B and OF--Cash, Kaline, Northrup, Stanley and Horton--but brought in Gates Brown to DH 119 times. Kaline played 91 games at age 38, with no apparent injury issues. (10-45-.255 versus Brown's 12-50-.236 in 67 extra ABs.) All the 30 year olds got lots of rest--Cash played 121 games, McAuliffe 106, Northrup 119, Horton 111, Freehan 110, Frank Howard DH'd 76 times and played in 85 games altogether at age 36. This was a very old team but just absolutely stacked at the corners. They ended up more than 100 runs short of the better offenses and almost a half an earned run behind the second best staff (the Orioles were so good it would be unfair to even compare the Tigers to the Orioles).

Ironically in 1974 at age 39 Kaline did become the full-time DH and played 147 games, more than he had played in almost a decade. Cash was the same age and played 53 games (149 AB). In 1975 both were gone and the Tigers won 57 games. They had held on to too many old players for way too long.
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 12:06 PM (#2076194)
Were his parents chemists? :)

I actually thought about some type of alkaline pun, but decided against it. Glad someone brought it up, though. :-)
   5. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 12:32 PM (#2076198)
I actually thought about some type of alkaline pun, but decided against it. Glad someone brought it up, though. :-)

Just your basic ballplayer.
   6. Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: June 26, 2006 at 12:36 PM (#2076200)
/de-lurk

Just your basic ballplayer.

pHffft.

/re-lurk
   7. Al Peterson Posted: June 26, 2006 at 12:41 PM (#2076202)
Hard to believe Kaline's year in 1968. Does anybody know if he was injured?

Marc, the info below is taken from thebaseballpage.com on Al Kaline's aches and pains

Injuries and Explanation for Missed Playing Time

Fractured his cheekbone in June of 1959, missing nearly three weeks... Broke his collarbone while making a game-saving catch in Yankee Stadium on May 26, 1962. The injury kept him out of the lineup for two months. At the time of the injury, Kaline was leading the league in homers and RBI, and batting .345... Was shelved in September of 1963 with a nagging knee injury, and shut his season down. The injury had occurred in May, after he collidded with the outfield fence in Los Angeles. When he finally succumbed to the injury in September, Kaline was in the thick of a batting race with Carl Yastrzemski. He eventually finished second, nine points back... Suffered a rib injury in an attempt to make a diving catch on August 19, 1965, and missed 18 games... Underwent surgery on his left foot in October of 1965. The foot had been hampering him for more than two years. A bone disease in childhood had deformed Kaline's left foot, leaving him with constant nagging pain... In a game in June of 1967, Kaline struck out against Sam McDowell of the Indians. When he returned to the dugout, Kaline angrily slammed his bat into the rack and broke his thumb. He missed 26 games with the injury... In 1968, Kaline offered an explanation for his frequent battles with injury and need for more rest: "My fielding never suffers when I play doubleheaders, it's my hitting. My arms become heavy and I can't swing the bat." ... Early in his career, when he was a skinny outfielder just off the highs chool baseball team, Kaline was described most often as "speedy" and "quick." When he was younger he was very fast and a strong baserunner. As he grew older, his foot problems robbed him of much of his natural speed.

Oh, and from baseballlibrary.com

May 25, 1968: Detroit OF Al Kaline is hit by the A's Lew Krausse's pitch and suffers a broken arm. He will be out until June 30th. The Tigers win, 2–1, behind Denny McLain, who scores the game's first run in the 8th. The A's run in the 9th is unearned.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:41 PM (#2076445)
I actually thought about some type of alkaline pun, but decided against it. Glad someone brought it up, though.

I once saw a little cartoon of Kaline vs a battery. The alkaline battery got 399 volts. Al Kaline got 399 jolts.

I was young, my sense of humor was not well refined....
   9. thok Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2076549)
I actually thought about some type of alkaline pun, but decided against it. Glad someone brought it up, though. :-)

Just your basic ballplayer.


However, he does clearly pass the litmus test for being in the HOM though.</lurk>
   10. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#2076616)
However, he does clearly pass the litmus test for being in the HOM though

That's no lye!

*groan*

Its a good thing he was such a great ballplayer that I only occasionally think of the chemistry puns when I see his name. Seriously, for those of us in chemistry, its like those corny word problems from algebra class involving Eileen Dover and her brother Ben. No one would actually believe that the Kaline family would really name their kid Al. I suppose it would have been worse if his name was Kane instead.
   11. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2076629)
OK. I feel responsible for hijacking this thread, so I must bring it back to baseball here.

Kaline is certainly qualified. Very steady ballplayer with five 150 OPS+ seasons. Some in-season durability issues plus the lack of a total jaw-dropping performance plus the weaker league is keeping him out of the inner circle. Quite a good fielder, played some CF and was also good enough in RF to shift Colavito and his cannon arm to LF when they were teammates.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2076632)
This thread is starting to become corrosive.
   13. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:03 PM (#2076649)
Quite a good fielder, played some CF and was also good enough in RF to shift Colavito and his cannon arm to LF when they were teammates.

Yes, I've always found this interesting. Colavito was nothing special at all defensively, but he had one asset: a howitzer. It would seem to make perfect sense to have had him play RF for the Tigers, in order to take advantage of the one thing Colavito brought to the party defensively. Kaline was going to be great in either RF or LF.

That the Tigers didn't do this represents either a poor decision on their part, or a reflection of the fact that Kaline's arm was nearly as good as Colavito's. Which would make it one hell of a good arm.
   14. rawagman Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:21 PM (#2076678)
Kaline is obviously still vastly underrated - he is trailing Santo in posts by a whopping 56-13.
Shameful.
   15. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2076722)
Kaline is obviously still vastly underrated - he is trailing Santo in posts by a whopping 56-13.
Shameful.


Often less posts just means less controversial.
   16. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:45 PM (#2076725)
Here are some of the lesser known tidbits from wikipedia:

-- Youngest player ever to win a major-league batting title, at 20 years; Ty Cobb was one day older.
-- Played 242 consecutive games without an error.
-- Became the second player to hit two homeruns in one inning; the first was Joe DiMaggio.
-- The only player to both never spend time in the minors and spend his entire career with the same team.

Was Kaline a 'bonus baby'?
   17. Buddha Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2076727)
Kaline's arm was extraordinary. I would be really surprised to find out that Colavito, or almost anyone, had a better arm. Combined with his superior defense abilities, Kaline could have played anywhere.

I've always heard him compared to Clemente. He's Clemente without the flash and the death story.

And I'm in no way trying to make light of Clemente's death, but just saying it's a possibility as to why Clemente is always mentioned as being such an amazing player and Kaline is not (in other circles not as blessed with the knowledge we have here on our beloved baseballthinkfactory...)
   18. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:57 PM (#2076742)
Kaline is obviously still vastly underrated - he is trailing Santo in posts by a whopping 56-13.
Shameful.


Often less posts just means less controversial.


Kaline posts not counting this one - 16
kaline posts not concerning chemistry jokes - 9

Santo posts - 59
Santo posts not concerning Adolfo Philips, Horace Stoneham, Leo Durocher, 1997 Mariners, or the late 40's AL - 27

Santo still ahead.
   19. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 08:57 PM (#2076743)
Was Kaline a 'bonus baby'?

Yes. Never played an inning in the minors.
   20. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2076751)
The only player to both never spend time in the minors and spend his entire career with the same team.


Did Yount play in the minors?
   21. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:03 PM (#2076756)
Never mind. Baseball cube says he played in the NY-P league as a 17 year old.

How about Koufax? BBC has no minor league stats for him.
   22. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:03 PM (#2076757)
I've always heard him compared to Clemente. He's Clemente without the flash and the death story.

And I'm in no way trying to make light of Clemente's death, but just saying it's a possibility as to why Clemente is always mentioned as being such an amazing player and Kaline is not (in other circles not as blessed with the knowledge we have here on our beloved baseballthinkfactory...)


It isn't just Clemente's tragic, heroic death. It's also the shape of their careers: Clemente spent several years being not very good, then became good, then in his 30s became great. The memory of his best years was very fresh in everyone's mind when he died.

Kaline made the mistake of having his best year at age 20. Never quite matching that sensational performance, there was a slight sense of underachievement about him through his career: people kept expecting him to bust out with a .330, 40-homer season, and when he didn't, his terrific years weren't appreciated for how terrific they were (outside of Detroit, that is).

Also, Kaline's brittleness, which limited him to generally 135-145 games a year, often kept his seasonal counting stats below thresholds such as 30 HRs, 100 RBIs, 200 hits. Kaline was better than his stat line looked to the casual fan, while Clemente was quite ofen not quite as good.
   23. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2076761)
How about Koufax? BBC has no minor league stats for him.

Bonus Baby. You guys really need to read up on this stuff! :-)
   24. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:16 PM (#2076779)
Bonus Baby. You guys really need to read up on this stuff! :-)

I KNOW what the bonus baby rule was. I'm disputing the Wiki claim that Kaline was the only player to never play in the minors and play his entire career for one team. Aparently Koufax is another one.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:32 PM (#2076810)
I KNOW what the bonus baby rule was. I'm disputing the Wiki claim that Kaline was the only player to never play in the minors and play his entire career for one team. Aparently Koufax is another one.

Oops. Sorry. Banks would be another. Also Ott.
   26. Tim D Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:37 PM (#2076818)
Kaline got hurt in 68, and pretty much every other year. He was still one of the best players of his era. Nice corner OF arms when Detroit had him and Colavito both in the early 60s.

Kaline was a line drive hitter. About 75% of the HRs he hit seemed to be liners just over the fence into the lower deck in LF, esp in Tiger Stadium. He was like watching a training film everywhere on the diamond. Evidently (before my time) he got a lot of heat in the late 50sdue to not living up to expectations. I saw a Sport magazine article once on "Detroit's Brooding Superstar" which is anathema to the Kaline of later years. He was pretty much universally loved after a great year in 61 and coming back from a busted collarbone to have another great year in 62.
   27. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:51 PM (#2076836)
Oops. Sorry. Banks would be another. Also Ott.

NP

The NeL might be considered a minor league. Ott's a good one.

Should one of us edit the Wiki?
   28. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:09 PM (#2076892)
I fixed the wiki -- and added a "bonus baby" note to his page.

Maybe Ott too early to "count" as not having played in the minors and maybe Koufax was dq-ed by the Dodgers moving to LA?
   29. Steve Treder Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2076908)
Maybe Ott too early to "count" as not having played in the minors

Why? Then as now, the vast majority of players played in the minors before playing in the majors. And much more than now, most players played in the minors after playing in the majors.

maybe Koufax was dq-ed by the Dodgers moving to LA?

Shouldn't matter. Same franchise the whole time.
   30. DavidFoss Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2076914)
I agree with you Steve (as I did change the page), but I'm just trying to rationalize how the comment ended up there in the first place. Often its stuff like that is used to "help" a player attain a unique bit of trivia like that.
   31. jimd Posted: June 26, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2076933)
To me, he's Zack Wheat or Goose Goslin, but a little bit better and a little bit longer.

IOW, non-controversial outfield HOMer, but not inner circle.
   32. Ardo Posted: June 27, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2077762)
I'm a Detroiter born in 1984. Can anyone who watched Kaline play give a description of what he looked like in right field and at the plate?

My generation knows Kaline only as an announcer, high roller, country clubber, and "Big Mythical Hero of Tigers past".
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:47 PM (#2077867)
To me, Kaline was basically Yaz only just a tich not quite as good. Generally the same strengths in roughly equivalent doses. Did everything pretty well and looked reasonably graceful doing it. Not muscle-bound.
   34. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2077870)
Can anyone who watched Kaline play give a description of what he looked like in right field and at the plate?

I only saw him when he was past his peak, and only a few times at that. But FWIW, nothing in particular about him stood out: he was decent-sized, but not especially big; he ran OK, but he wasn't fast. He moved smoothly, confidently, without haste; he was graceful without being flashy in any way. He was one of those (rare) guys who won't blow you away with any particular skill, but he could simply do everything very well.
   35. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2077872)
Hey, the guy was born in 1984: how's he going to know what Yaz looked like? :-)

A modern guy who might be of the same style would be (at his peak) Bernie Williams: doesn't awe you with anything, but simply does everything calmly and well, and quietly kicks your ass.
   36. karlmagnus Posted: June 27, 2006 at 08:38 PM (#2077904)
Bernie in style, but almost Manny Ramirez in presence and hitting ability. He was always the guy you worried about, even as late as '72, when I saw him.
   37. DL from MN Posted: June 27, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2077988)
If I remember correctly there is quite a bit on Kaline in _Five Seasons_
   38. jimd Posted: June 27, 2006 at 11:17 PM (#2078054)
To me, Kaline was basically Yaz only just a tich not quite as good

To me, the biggest difference was durability. And the peak.

Throw out Kaline's 30 game tryout in 1953. Yaz then played two more seasons than Kaline, 23-21, but played 500 more games. Kaline never played more than 153, more than 150 only three times. Yaz played 160 or more 5 times, 150+ eleven times. Playing at the same level of performance, this gives the team roughly 0.5 WARP or 1-2 Win Shares extra each season, assuming say 10 extra games per year.

And the peak: 1967, 1968, and 1970. Three seasons at 170+ OPS+. Kaline has one such season, 1967. And here again the durability is present. Yaz missed seven games total in those three season (5 in '68, 1 each the other two years), leveraging his peak value with playing time. Kaline missed 32 games in 1967, which diminishes the impact.
   39. sunnyday2 Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:01 AM (#2079059)
jimd, I don't disagree. I was talking about how Kaline looked out there on the field (when he was out there).

Bernie Williams doesn't strike me as similar to Kaline other than, yes, he didn't blow you away. But for the style, I'd say more of a Paul O'Neill. Maybe a little bit of Ken Griffey, Jr. Even Barry before the bulk.
   40. OCF Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:06 AM (#2079062)
I ran Kaline through my basic offensive system and he come out in the same neighborhood as Harry Heilmann and Paul Waner. The system is fairly friendly to players who don't play every game - it loves Frank Chance - so that's good for Kaline. But he's still got quite a long career. Waner seems like a pretty good comp.
   41. KJOK Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:03 AM (#2079102)
I'm a Detroiter born in 1984. Can anyone who watched Kaline play give a description of what he looked like in right field and at the plate?

In the field, I would say Larry Walker would be a very close comp.

At the plate, maybe a RH version of John Olerud?
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 28, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2079295)
I never saw Kaline play, but the kind of player he was is the kind I associate with Dwight Evans...only Kaline was a much better player. Anyway, a pretty smooth, athletic corner outfielder with a great arm, batted righty, walked, homered, and occasionally hit for high averages.

Does that seem reasonable to anyone who saw both of them?

I suspect that Sherry Magee and maybe Paul Waner (except for the RHB thing) were cut from this cloth too, but I'm not sure of it. Maybe Indian Bob as well.
   43. Mark Donelson Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:00 PM (#2079299)
There have been a lot of comparisons between Clemente and Kaline over the last few elections, for obvious reasons. I kind of agree they're very close, though I feel Kaline was perhaps slightly better...but that only gets Kaline to the middle of my ballot (I realize that it puts him at the very top of nearly everyone else's).

Dr. Chaleeko, as I recall you were a fellow minor dissenter on Clemente. What's your take on Kaline, I'm curious?
   44. Steve Treder Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2079311)
I never saw Kaline play, but the kind of player he was is the kind I associate with Dwight Evans...only Kaline was a much better player. Anyway, a pretty smooth, athletic corner outfielder with a great arm, batted righty, walked, homered, and occasionally hit for high averages.

Does that seem reasonable to anyone who saw both of them?


Yeah, that's a good call. Kaline was better, as you say, but the same general combination of attributes, and the same manner of quiet, smooth, efficient delivery.

Kaline simply didn't have a weakness. The only knock on him, and it isn't a minor one, was his injury-proneness.
   45. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:28 PM (#2079332)
Mark,

To be honest, I haven't look very specifically at how Kaline will rank quite yet. By way of comparison to Clemente, among all-time RFs I have him five or six slots higher than Roberto. The peak is pretty much the same, but at the bulk end of their careers, Kaline has several seasons of approximately average regular-player type value. Clemente has fewer such years---and I don't do death credit. All said, they are very similar players overall.

I've changed my ballot composition technique a little since the Clemente election---being that far from consenus will do that to a guy---so I may have Kaline higher than I would have had him were I voting in the same mode as before.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2079366)
Miser:

Robin Yount did play 60 odd games in the minors before Del Crandall decided he was the team's best option to play shortstop. One of the more underrated intelligent decisions by any major league manager ever. That the Brewers were bad certainly helped but I am pretty certain you can count on one hand the number of managers who would look at an 18 year old kid whose only asset was otherwordly athleticism and say "yeah, that's my shortstop".

Al Kaline as Yaz? Bite your tongue. The folks in Red Sox Nation under 50 might get in a tizzy but Carl was a selfish oaf. That he later evolved into somebody's idea of a veteran leader is a tribute to context as he was surrounded by players even more self-absorbed.

Al Kaline of the late 50's and early 60's was a grand player. Al was very similar to Paul Molitor at the plate. No wasted motion. Just waiting. Waiting. Waiting. And then WHOOSH through the hitting zone with his bat. A quick check of the strikeout to walks will show that Al had a pretty good idea of what was worth swinging at.

Did Tiger Stadium help him? Yes in that a good many of those line drives to left went out over the fence. But the guy could hit anywhere. And Kaline was incredibly well respected as a guy you didn't want to see up when it really counted. He led the leauge in IBB several years and I recall reading that his highest monthly lifetime average was in September. And I would believe that to be true. Kaline was one of those guys who really did seem to have the ability to "get a little extra" when needed. His World Series and All-Star numbers also support that perception.

And the defense! No flopping. No cutesy catch routine. Just incredibly efficiency at getting to the balls that needed to be caught. And an arm that could rival anyone's until an injury zapped some of the juice.

Al Kaline did a number of things to help you win. And when the team moved him around the field Al did it with nary a comment. He subordinated what was possibly best for "him" to what was best for the team.

I look at his "comps" on BB-Ref, and it's silly that Baines is listed as his top comp. At peak health Harold wasn't close to Kaline as a player.

For a "modern" player I would suggest folks think of Bobby Abreu. Abreu doesn't look all that impressive day to day and then you look at the end of the season and go "holy cr*p". That was Al.
   47. Steve Treder Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:10 PM (#2079377)
He led the leauge in IBB several years

Actually only twice (1959 and 1963), and was second in 1955.

I recall reading that his highest monthly lifetime average was in September. And I would believe that to be true.

Retrosheet has splits from 1957 onward. Kaline's highest BA month? September (.310). Well, actually it was higher in one month: October (.346 in 16 games). September also was his full-month career-best for OBP and SLG.

I look at his "comps" on BB-Ref, and it's silly that Baines is listed as his top comp. At peak health Harold wasn't close to Kaline as a player.

Sure, but Harvey, those comps only look at raw stats, and don't take league context into consideration. Kaline's career OPS+ was 134 to Baines's 120.

Abreu's a good comp in that all-around better-than-he-looks-at-first-glance thing. Again, the only issue you can ding Kaline for is brittleness.
   48. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#2079407)
Kaline Home and Away

Home: .301/.384/.507/196 homers
AWay: .288/.368/.453/144 homers

Worth noting: Seven more games at home; only eight more doubles at home despite 52 more homers at home; 8 fewer triples at home.
   49. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:29 PM (#2079414)
Steve:

Well, my point about the IBB is that for a guy NOT hitting 40 odd homers it's somewhat demonstrative of how he was perceived by the opposition. And it wasn't like Kaline was surrounded by stiffs in his career either. If they walked Al they would likely face another "real" hitter. In 1963 Kaline was typically followed by either Cash or Colavito.

They don't adjust for context? I thought that was possible now. Anyway, folks should look at the lack of a "900" level score and appreciate how unique Al was as a player. Which I think folks here do. Which is a very good thing.
   50. DavidFoss Posted: June 28, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2079422)
They don't adjust for context? I thought that was possible now.

Nope. Weighted towards traditional stats as well. Bill James invented the metric for his HOF book and he wanted to mimic BBWAA voting behavior.
   51. sunnyday2 Posted: June 28, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2079501)
>Al Kaline as Yaz? Bite your tongue.... Carl was a selfish oaf.

Boy did I ever provide a straight line or what?
   52. jingoist Posted: June 29, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2080446)
Steve Treader; I believe you and I engaged in a brief discussion of Clemente and Kaline some years back in a non-HoM chat.
Your assessments then rang clear with authenticity and solid rationale, as they continue to do so today.
Roberto was a gifted athlete who learned to become a great ballplayer after his first five years in the league. Like Kaline he got a very early start in MLB; unlike Kaline he wasn't particularly great as a hitter or fielder during his age 20-24 years.
But his strong pride drove him to greatness; he strove to improve all facets of his game so that when he got to the big stage in 1971 at age 36 he carried the entire show on his shoulders.

I grew up in Pittsburgh and saw Roberto his entire career (I was 9 when he broke into the league). Many a night Bob Prince and Jim Woods swept this budding bball fan into the magical world of MLB under the lights of ballparks across america via KDKA radio broadcasts.

I got to see Al after his peak in the mid-60's and you could tell he was one cool, classy ballplayer. He had more power in his stroke; he was a more natural slugger than Clemente.

I am happy to say I got to see them both play; I enjoyed their contributions to the game and am very happy to see them enshrined in both the HoF and HoM.
   53. Ardo Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:25 AM (#2080646)
A big "Thank-You" to all the posters who shared their playing memories of Kaline with me!
   54. Howie Menckel Posted: July 04, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2086898)
Some OFs and 1Bs, adj OPS+, 100 or better, about 435+ PA for 154 G or 460+ for 162 G (see notes)
AlKaline 176 62 62 52 45 44 43 40 39 34 30 28 17 08 06
Clemente 170 68 51 49 48 46 45 45 35 35 21 15 05
DuSnider 172 70 66 56 42 40 40 36 23 18
MMinoso 155 51 49 40 36 35 33 31 21 16 13 08
BJohnson 174 55 47 41 43 35 34 30 29 29 27 25 25
RalKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17
FHoward 177 77 70 53 46 44 37 28 27 11
NorCash 201 50 48 42 36 35 34 29 28 28 26 20
OCepeda 165 64 57 48 35 34 33 31 29 25 17 10 06

Years 9 thru 12 are what separate Kaline from the field, offensively (well, better peak and no war issues put him past Indian Bob). It even keeps Kaline up there with Clemente. I don't know which of those two I'd rate higher. Both were better than Snider, a middlin' HOMer.

Notes: I gave Snider a 435 PA season at 140. I gave Minoso one 108 bonus for Negro League play. I gave Howard a 128 listing to balance the not-listed 459 PA at 149 and a 487 PA at 107. I gave Cash a 142 at 458 PA and a 126 at 452 PA, but not a 141 at 428 PA or a 126 at 420 PA. Kaline had a 2nd 152 in 452 PA in 1962, not listed here. I did give him a 143 in 474 PA in 1965. I gave Clemente a 148 as a compromise for not listing a 158 in 455 PA in 1970 or a 138 in 413 PA in 1972.
   55. DanG Posted: July 04, 2006 at 06:51 PM (#2087111)
This issue may have been addressed in detail in the "adjusting for League Quality" thread. But, since it's pertinent here, and Howie's analysis seems to ignore it: wasn't the NL a stronger league than the AL for at least 25 years (mid 50's through late 70's)? Wasn't the difference quite significant for some of that stretch? Like, enough to see Clemente as clearly better than Kaline, despite the directly measurable similarities?

Again, if this has been discussed, please point me to the relevant analysis.
   56. Brent Posted: July 04, 2006 at 07:02 PM (#2087133)
Both were better than Snider, a middlin' HOMer

But Snider was a centerfielder.
   57. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 05, 2006 at 04:05 AM (#2087719)
I don't know which of those two I'd rate higher. Both were better than Snider, a middlin' HOMer.


After the titanic group of Mays-Cobb-Mantle-Speaker-DiMaggio, he's the best CF, how on earth is he "middling?"
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: July 05, 2006 at 04:32 AM (#2087733)
Fair comments, all.

The 'middlin' HOMer' refers to general OF offensive context.

I'm not convinced that Snider's CF defense was substantially better than the corner defense of Clemente or Kaline. I don't think every CF deserves a big bonus over every corner OF.

I am more swayed, however, by the league quality issue. If Clemente met Kaline on a ballot, that would seal it right there...
   59. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 05, 2006 at 04:49 AM (#2087737)
I agree that Clemente and Kaline may very well be just as good as Snider. I was just confused by the "middling" comment, which you cleared up anyway. :-)
   60. Sean Gilman Posted: July 05, 2006 at 06:54 AM (#2087765)
AlKaline 176 62 62 52 45 44 43 40 39 34 30 28 17 08 06
Clemente 170 68 51 49 48 46 45 45 35 35 21 15 05
DuSnider 172 70 66 56 42 40 40 36 23 18
MMinoso 155 51 49 40 36 35 33 31 21 16 13 08
BJohnson 174 55 47 41 43 35 34 30 29 29 27 25 25
RalKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17
FHoward 177 77 70 53 46 44 37 28 27 11
NorCash 201 50 48 42 36 35 34 29 28 28 26 20
OCepeda 165 64 57 48 35 34 33 31 29 25 17 10 06

PBrowning 222 90 77 77 73 69 63 54 38 32

I used BP's translated stats to try to get the PAs to meet Howie's requirements. But that last year, the 132 in 1892, BP has at 429 translated PAs while baseball-reference has 1892 with 436 actual PA. I don't know what to make of that.

No AA discount has been applied, of course. But I wonder how big it'd have to be to get those numbers down to, say, Orlando Cepeda's. . . .
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: July 05, 2006 at 01:13 PM (#2087811)
Browning's league-leading 169 OPS+ in the 1890 PL came at age 29.

Duffy had a 123 at age 23 in that 1890 PL.
Others in that league and year:
Beckley had a 152 at age 22.
Jimmy Ryan had a 131 at age 27.
Brouthers had a 139 at age 32.
Connor had a 156 at age 32.
George Gore had a 139 at age 33.
Harry Stovey had a 127 at age 33.
HRichardson had a 127 at age 35.
O'Rourke had a 137 at age 39.
   62. yest Posted: July 09, 2006 at 08:23 AM (#2092572)
The only player to both never spend time in the minors and spend his entire career with the same team.

didn't Mantle also never play in the minors
   63. rawagman Posted: July 09, 2006 at 12:36 PM (#2092586)
OPS+ isn't everything, is it?
   64. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 09, 2006 at 01:01 PM (#2092602)
Mantle was sent back down to the Minors in 1951
   65. rawagman Posted: July 09, 2006 at 01:34 PM (#2092612)
and his Daddy came and brow-beat back into shape. The whelp.
   66. Howie Menckel Posted: July 09, 2006 at 02:39 PM (#2092633)
"OPS+ isn't everything, is it?"

No.
Neither are Win Shares, WARP1, WARP3, or many other johnny-come-latelys.

I'd say OPS+ addresses hitting value more competently than other systems address overall value.
Now, you still have to make fielding, playing-time, and other adjustments after looking at OPS+, but at least you've got a pretty good real-world initial step.

If many of the others are way off on fielding, for instance - and I think some of them are - then starting with their values as an end point is hopeless.
   67. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: July 09, 2006 at 02:41 PM (#2092634)
Maybe we should elect Mantle Daddy into the HOM if/when we get to executives and other such things. I mean he did give the Yankees, what, 130 wins by brow beating the whelp?
   68. rawagman Posted: July 09, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#2092645)
with you 100%, Howie
   69. sunnyday2 Posted: July 09, 2006 at 03:38 PM (#2092655)
Ditto
   70. DavidFoss Posted: July 09, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2092683)
Mantle was sent back down to the Minors in 1951

Mantle had also played in the minors before 1951.
   71. baudib Posted: July 09, 2006 at 05:48 PM (#2092791)
The advantages that Kaline supposedly has over Clemente are, I believe, greatly exaggerated. Kaline's biggest edge is really in power, he outhomered Clemente 399-240. But a large portion of that is simply a function of parks. Kaline had a significantly longer career; he outhomered Clementes 226-101 at home but only 173-139 on the road. WARP3 has Kaline with a 10 win edge lifetime; Kaline played about three seasons more than Clementes. There's probably not much difference there.
   72. Sean Gilman Posted: July 09, 2006 at 09:55 PM (#2093360)
with you 100%, Howie

indeed.
   73. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2006 at 01:00 AM (#2093606)
The advantages that Kaline supposedly has over Clemente are, I believe, greatly exaggerated. Kaline's biggest edge is really in power, he outhomered Clemente 399-240. But a large portion of that is simply a function of parks. Kaline had a significantly longer career; he outhomered Clementes 226-101 at home but only 173-139 on the road.

Kaline certainly played in the better hitters park, but it's not like Clementer played in a pitchers park, either. Forbes Field was basically a neutral park.

The other thing that Kaline was far superior than Clememte was walking, which is why Mr. Tiger's OBP was significantly higher than Clemente's.

Kaline played about three seasons more than Clementes. There's probably not much difference there.

Well, that three seasons is another big difference. ;-)

At their peaks? Yeah, there's not that much difference between the two.
   74. DavidFoss Posted: July 10, 2006 at 01:51 AM (#2093652)
Adjusted for context

Player (AVG+/OBP+/SLG+/OPS+)
AK-114/113/122/134
RC-121/110/120/130

Kaline was more take-and-rake, but Clemente's high BA and triples almost make up the difference in OBP and SLG. Slight edge to Al in both.

With league-quality, in-season-durabililty, career shape, fielding and postseason, it would have been a tight race between the two of them if they were on the same ballot. Both got elected too quickly for that.
   75. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 10, 2006 at 03:44 AM (#2093789)
Al Kaline as Yaz? Bite your tongue. The folks in Red Sox Nation under 50 might get in a tizzy but Carl was a selfish oaf. That he later evolved into somebody's idea of a veteran leader is a tribute to context as he was surrounded by players even more self-absorbed.

Truer words were never posted.

"Twenty-five players, twenty-five cabs" was the catchphrase which summarized the YazSox era perfectly.
   76. Jimmy Posted: August 28, 2013 at 11:36 PM (#4530120)
kaline was my favorite player. and i saw him play countless times. as a hitter, he had an almost perfect stance and swing. how a coach would teach someone to do. not that that is important, as many good hitters have looked awkward. but someone wanted to know how he looked. he was definitely a good clutch hitter.

defensively though, no one was as good. he owned right field, like no one i ever saw. he knew how every inch of that field, and how the ball would bounce, etc. as far as his arm, i would want him to be throwing out a runner more than anyone.

he had a very strong arm. but there were probably a few players with stronger arms. but he had something that was more important. he had an accurate arm. when kaline threw to the plate, you already knew what was gonna happen. most of his balls would one-hop right into the catcher's glove.

these types of throws were much easier for the catcher to deal with, and then get in position to tag the runner. the catcher can play the ball, instead of the ball playing the catcher. he was known as mr. consistency.

i think i might take 10 players of his time as better hitters. but no one in his time was as good defensively as a right fielder as kaline. as far as speed, kaline was pretty darn fast.

his base running was excellent. not necessarily steals. i dont think they wanted to risk kaline getting hurt, just to steal a base. but the main radar used for smart base running is how often a player made it from first to third on a single. a good base runner will do this almost all the time, unless we are talking about an infield hit. but one simply has to know how much of a lead one can take, and when to know to start running, cuz the ball is gonna drop.
   77. DL from MN Posted: August 29, 2013 at 06:16 PM (#4530814)
no one in his time was as good defensively as a right fielder as kaline


Roberto Clemente was pretty damn good. Why do you think Kaline is undoubtedly better than Clemente?
   78. BDC Posted: August 29, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4530840)
Maybe an AL fan never got to see Clemente? Growing up an NL fan, I never saw Kaline except on TV.

I'm just glad I clicked on this thread and Al Kaline was still alive.
   79. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:06 AM (#4531110)
hi dl,

to be very honest, clemente was never considered as good as kaline during that time.

from what i have read about clemente as a man, he is exceptional. so is kaline.

but his early death, and his greatness as a person have helped to elevate his baseball talent.

that is not to say that clemente wasnt good. he was very good.

he did have a rocket arm. but it wasnt as accurate as kaline's arm.

kaline was almost a magician in the field.

they were both very good. but if you gave kaline a score of 100, then i would give clemente a score of 90. which is still pretty dang good.

i think kaline was a better hitter, and a better fielder.

but i do consider clemente good enough to be called a superstar - meaning he was a team-maker.

so i think highly of him as a player.

did you actually get to see the 2 play ? or are you merely looking at stats, and reading articles, etc. ?

i will say that the two make an interesting comparison, in that they were similar sorts of hitters. kaline hit more homers, but he was still basically a line-drive type of hitter, just like clemente was.

he did not hit long fly balls that went into the upper decks when hit well, like mantle or killebrew or some of those types of hitters.

and they were also tremendously good defensively. in fact, i dont know if i would consider anyone else besides kaline to be better than clemente as a defensive right fielder.

the best defensive center fielder i ever got to see play was the man that fielded right next to kaline. his name was mickey stanley. and you probably never even heard of him. but he was an absolute marvel in center, and a heckuva lot better than mays (as a fielder). he was only a so-so scrappy sort of hitter.

stanley would make diving catches every once in a great while. but what made him so good was that he was very fast, and had an almost immediate instinctive knowledge of where the ball was gonna be. so unless one has good baseball knowledge, they could go to a game, and see nothing great about stanley. he was simply there catching what might look like somewhat routine balls. routine balls to stanley, that is. any ball hit to center was caught by stanley, cuz he was always right there to catch it. you would have to watch him for awhile. but at some point, one would begin to ask the question, "how come that guy is always standing there, ready to catch the ball ?"

if the cards had had stanley in 68, they may have won the series. cuz stanley would never have misjudged the fly ball that northrup hit that basically gave the tigers the win in that 7th game, like curt flood did.

this is just a perfect example of where stats are meaningless. one has to actually watch the players, understand the game well enough, to appreciate what some of the players are actually doing.

one of the biggest compliments you can give to somebody doing anything is telling him how easy it looks to do. watching stanley play center field - made me think that i could do it - that is of course until i made a fool of myself and actually tried to do it !!!!
   80. DanG Posted: August 30, 2013 at 08:35 AM (#4531147)
The eyes don't lie, eh?
   81. WahooSam Posted: August 30, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4531161)
I always thought that Kaline was Sam Crawford born 50 years later
   82. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4531364)
i would be shocked if stanley ever made the hall of fame.

while pete rose probably will, at some point.

yet given the choice between those 2 players, i would take stanley in a heartbeat.

a magician in center field is simply way more important to a team, than a singles hitter that plays left field and first base.

when you have that sort of fielder in center, he can help out a lot with a weaker fielder on both sides of him. especially in left, where the weakest fielder is usually placed.

and that was no exception at detroit. as good a hitter as willie horton was, his fielding was just as bad.

i remember when horton first came up. i had to close my eyes, and hope that the announcer said it was an out. he was absolutely terrible !!
   83. AROM Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4531418)
a magician in center field is simply way more important to a team, than a singles hitter that plays left field and first base.


That's a terrible misrepresentation of Pete Rose. We're not talking about Juan Pierre vs. Mike Cameron here. Rose at his best was a .330 hitting, .400 OBP, 150 OPS+ guy playing everyday and leading the league in runs scored. Who was a good defensive left fielder and versatile enough to play second or third. He wasn't anything special defensively there, but that versatility meant his team could get another big bat (George Foster) into the lineup.

True he played past his the time he lost value, but Pete was still at least a very good player for nearly 20 years.

Stanley was at best a league average hitter. I didn't see him play but I'll take your word for the defense. He did win 4 gold gloves. The speed, however great it may have been, does not show up in the baserunning numbers. His career high in steals was 10 and he once led the league in GIDP with 22. Lasted as a regular for 6 years. Not even remotely close.

   84. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4531436)
i dont want to quote stats with you, but stanley had more power than rose did.

the main reason that stanley did not have the playing time is that he played with the best hitting outfield in the majors - kaline, northrup, and horton.

but he got a lot of playing time in some years, due to injuries. and he would always come in the later innings for defense, horton leaving the line-up, and northrup moving to left.

but here are some interesting tidbits about stanley. he played 15 years, all with the tigers. there are only about 50 players of all time who had over 5,000 at bats with less than a .250 career average. stanley ended up at .248

however, the years in which stanley had better averages are also the years he got to play more. i think if he had started all his life, he would have had a higher batting average.

if you did not follow the tigers you may not know or not remember, but stanley was such a good athlete, that 2 weeks before the 68 series, mayo smith put him as a regular at short, with the idea that he was gonna play the series at short.

while stanley did a lot of infield practice, he never had played short or any other infield position that i know about. so imagine a player starting the world series at what may be the hardest position to play, and never having played it.

the reason smith did this was that our regular shortstop, ray oyler - had to be the worst hitter that baseball has ever seen. he was worse than most of the pitchers.

and stanley batted second in the series. they did not put him in 8th or 9th position. mcauliffe lead off, stanley second, followed by kaline, cash, horton, northrup, and bill freehan. these were all very good hitters, and stanley was still placed second. don wert, our third baseman, batted 8th - he was not very good at hitting.

i do not consider pete rose to have hall of fame talent, by any means. if he had played short, center, or catcher, i would regard him more highly in terms of value to a ball club.

but i would much prefer to have a big powerful .260 hitter in left field than to have rose, which means i would have a ton of players to choose from.
   85. OCF Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4531451)
if the cards had had stanley in 68, they may have won the series. cuz stanley would never have misjudged the fly ball that northrup hit that basically gave the tigers the win in that 7th game, like curt flood did.

Was Stanley a human being? I would be very, very cautious about making a statement to the effect that any human being would never have made such-and-such a mistake.

And I'll go further than that. Curt Flood was, over the course of his career, a better defensive CF than Mickey Stanley. Curt Flood was a far better defensive CF than Stanley.

I'm not arguing that Stanley wasn't good. But defense is particularly hard to judge by anecdote alone, and the ability to add up statistical totals over a large number of games is particularly valuable for judging defense. Both Stanley and Flood played before the era of PBP defensive metrics, which fuzzes up the statistical approach somewhat. But the statistics that have been collected do mean something.

In the dWAR stat kept by bb-ref, Stanley is shown as having a nice little defensive peak in '66-'67-'68 with yearly dWAR totals of 0.8, 1.0, and 1.0. His defensive stats fall off outside of those three years. Flood has both a much broader defensive peak and a much higher defensive peak. Flood is shown as having dWAR years of 2.6, 1.8, 1.6, 1.5, 1.4, and 1.2, all of them higher than any of Stanley's years. (Flood never had a particularly good arm and his arm may have been a problem in '67-'68 - but arm is only a rather small part of what a CF does.) Yes, Flood made a catastrophic defensive mistake in the seventh game of a World Series - but that one mistake does not negate a career of defensive excellence.

Of course, Flood usually wasn't the best defensive CF in his own league. He did happen to share a league with a certain Giant player, and said Giant could also do a little hitting ...

Neither Flood nor Stanley makes a plausible Hall of Fame candidate, because neither one had enough bat. Everything a player does matters; you can't say, "oh, he was a defensive wizard" and excuse not being able to hit. Ozzie Smith belongs in the Hall of Fame (and Hall of Merit) while Mark Belanger doesn't - mostly because Smith was a much better offensive player than Belanger. With that said, Flood's .293/.342/.389 (OPS+ 100) hitting (in a longer career) bests Stanley's .248/.298/.377 (OPS+ 90). (Despite their speed, neither one was an effective base stealer.)
   86. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:47 PM (#4531459)
regarding speed - speed in center field does not always equate to stealing bases. willie davis was faster than maury wills in a foot race, by probably quite a bit.

but wills was a base stealing genius.

the other thing about the tigers is that their hitting was so good, they were not a base stealing team. when you have a lot of good hitting, trying to steal is not usually a good tactic, most of the time.

it is not like the dodgers, who would get a walk from wills, steal second, a ground out to third, and a fly ball so he could tag up. and win 1-0, cus koufax was pitching.

in fact, i recall one time when a reporter told drysdale (very outspoken) that koufax just pitched a no-hitter. drysdale, who often complained openly about the lack of his team being able to hit, said "did he win or lose ?"
   87. The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4531479)
Neither Flood nor Stanley makes a plausible Hall of Fame candidate, because neither one had enough bat.
You mean neither one makes a plausible Hall of Merit candidate. Flood is a plausible HOF candidate, if you highly value that off-the-field thing that he got involved in ;-)

I can totally buy that Stanley would have blossomed a little more if he had come up with a team that didn't have such a crowded outfield, and if he had played more regularly. I think that type of thing happens a lot. (Maybe he should have been a shortstop all along? ;-) But, although that's an interesting note about the history of the player, I don't think it's something we can factor in when we figure out his value. The very reason we can give credit for wartime service or non-MLB performance is because the player at some point got the opportunity to show us how good he could be at his best. If he never got the chance to show us that, then we'd basically just be making stuff up. Stanley had a fine career anyway, no doubt underrated not just because of Tiger outfield crowding, but because of the absurd pitcher's era.

And by the way, whether they were alive at the time or not, this is definitely a group of people who were already quite well aware that Mickey Stanley played shortstop in the 1968 World Series :-)
   88. AROM Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4531520)
And by the way, whether they were alive at the time or not, this is definitely a group of people who were already quite well aware that Mickey Stanley played shortstop in the 1968 World Series :-)


Yup. Born in 1970, but that is not news to me. Stanley was a fine player.

But he's no where close to Pete Rose. To even entertain that notion you'd have to be both the biggest Stanley fanboy and have a blinding hate for Rose.

to say nothing of OBP, Stanley did not actually have more power than Rose, at their peaks. They were about even Stanley's run as a regular was from ages 25-30, when he averaged 15 homers in 586 AB per 162 games. Also 20 doubles and 6 triples.

Age 25-30 also happens to be when Pete hit for the most power, and he hit 15 homers in 661 AB per 162, but with 37 doubles and 8 triples.
   89. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 03:48 PM (#4531552)
jimmy can you comment on some of the other aspects of these Tiger teams? I was young and dont recall many details and this team is obviously one you know:

How did Mayo Smith eventually come to manage them? Dressen had a heart attack and then Swift got cancer. So they had a third base coach take over. How did they arrive at Smith? Was Dressen no longer in the running? What happened to Swift?

Why was Macauliffe suspended in '68?

Bouton says his players claimed Mayo Smith was a dumb manager. Do you have any feel for his ingame tactics? I think he left Lolich into hit for himself when they were down by what 2 runs in game 5? What was behind that decision? I would really like to know what people thought of that at the time.

thanks.

Was Stanley a human being? I would be very, very cautious about making a statement to the effect that any human being would never have made such-and-such a mistake.


I get your pt. and thats the first thing I thought but in fairness,I think JImmy is saying something else.

I think what Jimmy is saying is that Stanley almost never made an error like that. He went entire seasons without an error. I dont think Ive ever seen the ball that Flood dropped or how hard it was but it seems from what I read that Stanley virtually never had a drop. You might also want to comment on that error that FLood made because I have very faint recollection of that series. Other than Jose FEliciano I guess.
   90. Ron J2 Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4531558)
#88 One of my first exchanges with Gary Huckabay was on the subject of Pete Rose versus Tony Phillips. Gary genuinely would rather have had Phillips.
   91. OCF Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4531571)
He went entire seasons without an error.

The fact that Curt Flood had a more than season-long errorless game streak in progress was a big story for Harry Carey in broadcasting the Cardinals in 1967.
   92. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 06:20 PM (#4531628)
now seen the Curt Flood play. He stumbed on his way backwards and probably lost a couple of strides. It would have been very difficult even if he hadnt stumbled the ball falls a good way behind him.
   93. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4531705)
hi sunday,

i dont recall how smith became mgr, but he used to drive me and my dad crazy with his stupid ass decisions.

i am very analytical, and even as a young boy, i helped my dad in devising game plans when he coached me as a kid.

i was pretty darn good at knowing what sort of strategies had the best possible outcomes. and mayo smith was totally blinded to that.

here is the wiki about mcauliffe On August 22, 1968, McAuliffe was involved in a brawl with White Sox pitcher Tommy John.[2][16] After one pitch barely missed McAuliffe’s head, and another was thrown behind him, McAuliffe charged the mound, drove his knee into John’s shoulder and separated it.[2] John was out for the season, and McAuliffe was suspended for five games.[2] Interviewed 30 years later, McAuliffe was still convinced John was throwing at his head: "The first pitch at me was right at my head, and I mean right at my head. The catcher never laid any leather on it, and it hit the backstop. The next pitch, he spun me down, threw it behind me.”

i dont recall specifically leaving lolich in in game 5 while they were 2 runs down. however, i probably would have agreed with them doing that. mclain got so much attention that year because of his 31 wins, but he was NEVER the pitcher that lolich was. not even in 68. lolich was better. and you can quote me all the stats you want. real tigers know that lolich was better. however, the tigers often left lolich in, because he was such a good pitcher, and was a workhorse. he would get better as the game went along. if you were gonna get runs off him, you better do it early. and pitching was always the tiger's problem. so they left lolich in a lot, cuz he was a great pitcher, and they had great hitting.

the only smart thing i can ever recall smith doing was starting lolich in game 7. cuz all of us tigers knew that mclain was not gonna beat gibson on mclain's very best day. lolich only had 2 days rest. but he was simply the only pitcher that could rival gibson. he was good enough that i would not have traded him to get gibson. he was a premier pitcher.

with regard to the flood play, he stumbled at the time he knew he had misjudged the ball, and needed to make a quick turn back. if he had not stumbled, he may have been able to still get to the ball. but he would have had to make a very good catch.

and what i was saying about stanley is that he would have run to the ball, caught it, and it would have looked like a somewhat routine type of catch. i think the players knew how good stanley was. but i dont think typical baseball fans had even the slightest clue.

and unless you are a tiger fan, you probably dont even know much about stanley. but without hesitation, he would by far be the man i would want out in center for defense. he was better than mays by a good deal. but like i said, stanley made everything look so easy.

btw, they did try to use stanley again at short the following year. but that did not work out. he would have ended up as a decent shortstop defensively, and then be a so-so hitter. his value to a ball club was his wizardry out in center.

some people just have unique talents at certain things. stanley just knew where to run to the ball, such that one would think he was just standing there waiting to catch it. it took me awhile to realize just how good he was, because of that.
   94. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4531709)
to those of you so keen on stats, can they tell me who had the best arm as a third baseman in baseball ?
   95. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 09:52 PM (#4531725)
also Lolich was a very good hitter, but I still think they should have pinch hit there.

Do you have any thoughts on the 72 ALCS? For one thing why did Billy put Tony Taylor at 2b for game 2 and all the rest ofthe series? Game 2 is on youtube (but not the Campaneris bat throw) and Gowdy says that Taylor is in a platoon arrangement but Odom throws right and Taylor bats right. He put McAuliffe at SS for gam 2 et al. Going back over the last month of the season, Brinkman started every game at SS. Taylor played some 2b, mostly it was McAuliffe and he never played SS. So I guess Billy was trying to do the same thing they did in 68 with Oyler but here McAuliffe did not even get practice during reg season.

Well I dunno, maybe Brinkman was injured. Any ideas?

Also why the hell was Lolich pitching his 11th inning in game 1 of that series, with Tiger carrying a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the 11th; Lolich pitching his 11th straight inning. I guess he was really good but...?


Also what do you recall Northrup as a baserunner? He gets thrown out in 2nd inn. of game 2 and look totally awkward. He's looking back at the catcher and he's grabbing his helmet! I kid you not. Was he any good at that?
   96. DL from MN Posted: August 30, 2013 at 11:27 PM (#4531755)
Saying Mickey Stanley was a better CF than Mays "by a good deal" makes you sound like a total fanboy. There have been better defenders than Mays but nobody was better "by a good deal".
   97. Jimmy Posted: August 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM (#4531784)
hi sunday,

you are stretching my memory on this stuff. i had to look up mcauliffe. and i only slightly recall it. i am pretty sure that that particular game was not on tv. and if i recall, the suspension was not gonna hurt us to any great degree. mcauliffe was not a hothead. but i dont recall tommy john being a mean pitcher ? i am sure that mcauliffe thought he was being thrown at. and i am sure that the players probably knew one way or the other. but i have no clue about it.

i dont recall lolich being a great hitter. the main reason they would leave him in was for his pitching ability.

sorry, i dont recall any of those specifics regarding brinkman and mcauliffe at short. i cant tell you that the best trade the tigers ever made was trading mclain to the senators for brinkman at short, rodriguez at 3rd, and joe coleman who worked out well as our 2nd pitcher. my dad and i were jumping up and down the minute we heard that. instead of oyler and wert, we now had brinkman and rodriguez. they were very good defensively and had some offensive punch as well.

again, i have no recall of the particular game about lolich in the 11th. but he was just a workhorse. as i said, he got better as the game went on. i had so much confidence that we would win whenever we had lolich on the mound.

i dont recall anything about northrup, as a base runner. both he and kaline were fairly fast. horton was slow. i dont think the tigers were ever a base stealing team. they hit their way. when i was a real little kid, they had frank lary and jim bunning, as 2 pretty good pitchers. and then of course, mickey lolich. but they never had deep pitching.

when they made that trade with the senators is probably when they had their best team. their old guys still had a few years left in them. and they now had one of the best 3rd, short in the business, as compared to one of the worst.

but by then, the orioles had 4 pitchers, anyone of who could have been a star on any other team. and that was just too much for the tigers to overcome. if i recall, dave mcnally, jim palmer, mike cuellar, and i cant recall the 4th. but they were just awfully good.
   98. Jimmy Posted: August 31, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4531787)
hi dl,

i understand your position. i probably would think the same, in your shoes. this is why i say one has to see these players play. stats are extremely misleading.

the following applies to any good fielder, but i will be specific and talk about kaline, cuz i saw him play so much. and he was my favorite.

every once in a great while i would see kaline pegged with an error. at least at the time, if you got your glove on the ball, and did not catch it, it was an error, unless you were diving headlong or something.

but the bottom line is that these very good fielders were making plays on balls that none of the other guys would have ever gotten to.

getting back to stanley, one simply had to see him play. his ability was not at all immediately evident.

one would watch dozens of games and just hear the comment ball hit to center, caught by stanley.

at some point, one says "boy, that stanley sure catches lots of balls. i'll have to pay more attention to him"

dozens more games, and it begins to hit on you - "boy, that stanley is always wherever the ball is".

dozens more games and the thought hits - "does this guy have some sort of special ability ? it doesnt seem likely that all this can simply be a coincidence"

dozens more games and finally with almost disbelief - "gosh, this stanley really is that good. he has "baseball radar" in his blood".

no stat will ever tell you this. i know i cant convince you of this. the only way that you would know and believe this to be true is if you actually SAW HIM PLAY.

i simply never saw anybody like him, with that sort of ability.

he made some circus catches once in awhile. and i do know that he was considered to be the best athlete on the team. but i dont say that he was the best ever at catching balls. i am sure there were dozens of other fielders who were equally athletic, and equally good at making spectacular catches, etc.

what set stanley apart is his ability to know where to go. i wish more people could have seen him play, and enjoy that sort of talent.
   99. Jimmy Posted: August 31, 2013 at 03:29 AM (#4531798)
of all the individual talents i saw in the 3 big sports of baseball, football, and basketball - the number one most amazing talent was watching aurelio rodriguez throw the ball at third base.

it was such a thrill for me to watch his throws. he was so much better than the rest of 3rd basemen, that it was almost unbelievable.

when you are at the top level of something, you dont expect one person to be that much better.

i hope some of you got to see him play defense. in one motion, he would pick up a bunt, and throw to first. you could hardly see the ball on tv, it went so fast.

http://blog.detroitathletic.com/2011/04/15/aurelio-rodriguez-the-detroit-tiger-with-the-golden-arm/
   100. Sunday silence Posted: August 31, 2013 at 04:46 AM (#4531802)
Actally Lolich was not a good hitter. He was lifetime .110 w/ little walks or power. In game 5 Detroit is down by a run in bottom of the 7th with one out. They are down 3 games to 1 so this is almost the end. And he sends Lolich up there. That seems pretty strange to me.

Northrup's career sb/cs was 39/38 so he was not much on the basepaths that I can see. THe only season that stands out is '67 where he is 7/1 the rest are just bleh.

Stanley hurt his arm the first day of training camp in 1969 and he said it never really came back. If he was better than Mays in CF then he should have been the regular CF, if you do the math, you can make up a whole lot on defense there by getting to balls others cant. That is if you can cover more ground than Willie Mays. Which also calls into question why you rely on coaches to evaluate talent,as you have maintained. They were obviously missing out if Stanley was really that good. But maybe his arm was limiting him at this pt. they do say he had very good arm prior to this.
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