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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Albert Belle

Eligible in 2006.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2007 at 10:57 PM | 87 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 29, 2007 at 10:59 PM (#2550372)
The Nineties version of Ralph Kiner as a player.
   2. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:34 PM (#2550443)
Assuming I was a HoM voter, I think Belle would place pretty highly on my ballot. He did no favors to his chances with the real Hall by being a colossal jerk (or at least coming off as one). Gotta love that 1995, though. 52 doubles, 50 homers, throw in a triple, and you've got 103 extra-base hits in 143 games.
   3. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:43 PM (#2550461)
"real hall"?
   4. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: September 29, 2007 at 11:49 PM (#2550472)
Okay, the "other" Hall. :-)
   5. Juan V Posted: September 30, 2007 at 12:26 AM (#2550538)
I hate it when players like Albert Belle walk into my PHoM...
   6. Chris Cobb Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:01 AM (#2550620)
Not quite Kineresque career. Belle had three monster years to Kiner's five, and the difference may well be large enough to leave Belle out of the HoM and Kiner in. My initial analysis suggests that Belle will fall short of my ballot.
   7. Mark Donelson Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:18 AM (#2550639)
Yeah, I was expecting more, actually. He'll probably still make my ballot, but just barely (and perhaps not). Clearly inferior to Clark, which certainly wasn't my impression at the time.
   8. CraigK Posted: September 30, 2007 at 01:21 AM (#2550642)
I'm sick of players like Chris Truby and Albert Belle getting HoM pages.
   9. OCF Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2551450)
See my post #12 on the Will Clark thread.

When I did an all-star team of the 1990's for my own amusement, I did pick Belle as my third outfielder. (Bonds and Griffey were obvious; I was willing to mix and swap LF and RF). The other candidates included Sosa, J. Gonzalez, Gwynn, Henderson, and a couple of others.

However, this is really an arbitrary endpoints thing, of Belle being such a perfect fit to that decade. Pulling back and looking at the career as a whole, I don't see enough to put him on my ballot.

I don't even have 1995 as Belle's best year - it's a 50 on my table. The best year, the 72, is 1998. (More playing time, higher BA, fewer GDP.) But none of Belle's years match what Will Clark was doing in 1988 and 1989, once you correct for the large difference in offensive context.
   10. OCF Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2551653)
I always thought that the HoF cases for Belle and Puckett deserved to be examined together. Both had solid peak/prime cases, both had their careers suddenly truncated in their mid 30's by chronic disease, so neither had a real decline phase. Their career length is similar. But in the mainstream media, everything Puckett did was seen through a warm and fuzzy glow. Hence when his HoF case came up, I think a significant number of writers went ahead and projected him to the 3000 hits that hid didn't stay around to get. Belle, on the other hand, got no breaks and no projections from anyone, since his relationships with the media were characterized by the sort of hostility commemorated in the running joke that post #8 refers to.
   11. OCF Posted: September 30, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2551656)
I should add that I don't support either Puckett or Belle.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 30, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2551709)
I should add that I don't support either Puckett or Belle.


Same here.
   13. sunnyday2 Posted: October 01, 2007 at 12:34 AM (#2552391)
Speaking as a peak voter, right now I'm leaning toward Belle at #2.
   14. rdfc Posted: October 13, 2007 at 06:41 PM (#2574637)
Is there anyone who (here) would support Puckett over Belle?
   15. rawagman Posted: October 13, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2574671)
Me
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 13, 2007 at 08:36 PM (#2574694)
I think Belle = Kiner.
   17. TomH Posted: October 15, 2007 at 03:38 PM (#2577060)
I'd support Kirby over Albert aka Joey.

if you use win shares, Puckett leads in career totals 281 to 245, and his rate is almost as good.

WARP3? Kirby has 96 in 12 years, versus Belle's 89 in 10.

Overall, their numbers are close.

But it really comes down to this: If I put a guy in my HoM, it means I think he would help my team over his career, be it peaky or flat. Albert would cause enuf heartaches that I would be selling him for pennies on the dollar at some point, or leting him fly off to free agency. Which helps some other team win pennants, but not MY team. I know, not many of us view the HoM from the GM-perspective like I do. But I do. Belle ain't gonna sniff my ballot.
   18. sunnyday2 Posted: October 15, 2007 at 03:53 PM (#2577086)
So let me get this straight? The problem with Belle is that he would help some other team win a pennant? You just need to view the HoM from the perspective of THAT GM.
   19. Howie Menckel Posted: October 15, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2577289)
adj OPS+ game, descending

Kiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
Belle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09

ok, that's pretty close, lol

Both were quite durable, too

Belle's top 10s in adj OPS+: 1 2 2 7 8
Kiner's top 10s in adj OPS+: 1 1 1 4 4 7

small edge to Kiner

career:
Kiner 149 OPS+ in 6256 PA
Belle 143 OPS+ in 6673 PA

take away Belle's 259 "not ready for prime time" PA in 1989-90, and it's even closer to a dead heat

Belle had 4 1.000+ OPS+s
Kiner had 3, plus a .998

ok, who wants to decide who was the "worser" fielder of the two? recall that Belle was mainly a DH only in 1992, just before his peak
   20. Daryn Posted: October 15, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2577327)
I echo the Kiner equals Belle sentiment.

I just checked my 1961 ballot and found out that I have the two in almost the same spot actually (10th v. 11th) and notionally (just behind my longtime career candidates -- Addie Joss is an exception on my ballot).
   21. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 15, 2007 at 08:00 PM (#2577399)
As I posted on another thread, they're identical through 7 years but Kiner has slightly more career than Belle thanks to the seasons at the very beginning and tail end of his career if you value them at all. Plus a smidge of war credit. Kiner is rrright under my borderline and Belle one small group down from that.
   22. Howie Menckel Posted: October 15, 2007 at 09:34 PM (#2577504)
450+ PA, adj OPS+s
RaKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
AlBelle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09
FHoward 177 70 70 53 49 46 44 37 27 07

Howard was just short of 500 PA in 3 of these years, unlike the others.
But he had 2065 PA in his 3-year peak, nearly 700 per year.

He makes up ground in years 5-9, interestingly enough.

RKiner 149 OPS+ in 6256 PA
ABelle 143 OPS+ in 6673 PA
Howard 142 OPS+ in 7353 PA

Funny thing, I can picture this comp tempting some Belle-backers to put Howard on the ballot, too - and some Belle fence-sitters to bounce him off because of this comp.

C'est le vie.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: October 15, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2577507)
this should look better:

450+ PA, adj OPS+s
RalKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
AlbeBelle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09
FHoward 177 70 70 53 49 46 44 37 27 07
   24. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 16, 2007 at 01:26 PM (#2579170)
Here's a fun little item I wrote to a friend a couple years ago in which Belle is a tangential topic:

Hank Aaron’s career is so monumental in size and scope that you could create two players from him and both could be Hall of Famers. Halve him up virtually any way you like, and you’ll still get two short-career Hall of Famers. Here’s a worst-case scenario, a split where his eleven best and twelve worst seasons are grouped together:

_ _ _ _ G ___AB __ R __H _ HR __AVG _SLG OPS_WS
---------------------------------------------------
BEST __ 1698 6623 1211 2100 414 .317 .580 165  384
WORST _ 1600 5741 _963 1671 341 .291 .525 143  259 


The Best career is obviously a Hall of Famer. The Worst career is pretty damned close, a dead ringer for Albert Belle, who himself sits just outside the circle. So to answer the question of how good was Hank Aaron, he’s all the production of a no-brainer Hall of Famer plus Albert Belle’s career rolled into one.


Anyway, kind of fun, so I thought I'd share.
   25. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2579470)
Albert would cause enuf heartaches that I would be selling him for pennies on the dollar at some point, or leting him fly off to free agency. Which helps some other team win pennants, but not MY team. I know, not many of us view the HoM from the GM-perspective like I do. But I do. Belle ain't gonna sniff my ballot.


LOL Tom, I think Albert's teams were all pretty good. I don't think he was every considered a 'clubhouse cancer'. The media didn't like him much, but he never hurt his team. He flew off to free agency because Cleveland couldn't afford to pay.
   26. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 04:41 PM (#2579472)
Tom - I would also add that I think you are treading a constitutional tightrope with your position in post 16.
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2579474)
post 17, whoops.

Where is the proof that Belle's attitude cost his team any harm?
   28. TomH Posted: October 16, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2579615)
well, if I am, it's the same tightrope I've been on since Dick Allen became eligible :)

Is there 'proof' Dick Allen hurt his clubs? No, but there is lots of evidence, tho of course reaonsable people interpret differently.

I may not have the evidence (quotes, articles, players who didn't wish to be on his team)handy for Belle re: whether he was a clubhouse cancer or not, so yes I'm going more off memory.

I do have Buster Olney's 'Last night of the Yankee Dynasty' quote:

The Indians billed him $10,000 a year for the damage he caused in clubhouses on the road and at home, and tolerated his behavior only because he was an awesome slugger... Few escaped his anger: on some days he would destroy the postgame buffet...launching plates into the shower... after one poor at-bat against Boston, he retreated to the visitor's clubhouse and took a bat to teammate Kenny Lofton's boombox. Belle preferred to have the clubhouse cold, below 60 degrees, and when one chilly teammate turned up the heat, Belle walked over, turned down the thermostat, and smashed it with his bat. His nickname, thereafter, was "Mr. Freeze."

From baseballlibrary.com, here is a quote from Bobby Cox leading up to the draft - "If you pick Belle in any round, you're fired."

Maybe I'm overdoing it, but look, we're in the free-agent era. Free agents decide where to play based on money, pennant possibilities, money, wanna-be-near-home, money, who their teammates and managers are, and maybe even money. Is it possible that Albert Belle would hurt a team 'cause other stars may just flinch a bit about playing with him? Um, yes? Isn't Barry Bonds' value in 2008 somewhat lessened by the gritting of teeth a team has to do if it deems to take him on? Do you think if the Cardinals were considering Bonds but they asked Mr. Pujols and if he said "I will absolutely quit if he comes here" that MIGHT be a factor? Yes, this is all hypothetical. But there are players who hurt their teams in a corporate sense by "does not play well with others". If you don't want to take that into account, OK, but to seems to me the goal is winning games, and we oughta consider whatever we can toward that goal.

Did Belle's teams win a lot? The Indians sure did. Of course, they kept winning when he left, and the White Sox did not improve, despite his big bat. Nor did the Orioles when he went there.

Maybe I AM overdoing it. So, have at it, prove me wrong! Let's have more discussion on it, instead of getting his WAR/WS down to the 3rd decimal point....
   29. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 16, 2007 at 07:26 PM (#2579709)
So why is it that some people smash up the buffet and it's called "fiery" and some people smash up the buffet and it's called "bad teammate?" I wasn't there, and I cringe when presented with any information by Buster Olney. But more generally, while I think Belle was a big jerk, what I don't know is how the interpretation of Olney (or any other writer) of Belle is affected by
-Olney's relationship with Belle
-Olney's relationships with the people he interviewed about Belle
-Belle's relationships with the people Olney interviewed about Belle
-The actual proximity to events those interviewees had to the incidents in the story.

I haven't read the book, so I can't say much more, but these are questions that I tend to ask about every character-driven interpretation of players I see and that can be also asked of the hero-worship of David Eckstein, for example.

Let's have more discussion on it, instead of getting his WAR/WS down to the 3rd decimal point....

If you can't demonstrate the effect, we can't measure it. If we can't measure it, then we're all just guessing. If we're all just guessing, can some guesses be more reasonable than others? I think so. In Belle's cases the extremes of reasonability appear to me to be
-He didn't cost his teams any wins
vs.
-He cost his teams some fraction of wins.

BELLE VS. ALLEN
Are Belle and Allen reasonable points of comparison?

Belle was durable until the hip problem (by which time his bad behavior was well established), so his bad behavior didn't cost the team in the way that Dick Allen did (by getting tossed off the team and not contributing or by having a mysterious injury due to his being drunk---Allen's hand). Belle WAS suspended for 8 games for corking, but (a) that's not the same as what TomH is talking about (after all so did gooder citizens like Nettles, Cash, and Sosa), and if you recollect the story about it, his teammates attempted to steal back the offending bat before it could be x-rayed, so that he wouldn't miss any games! I guess they liked winning more than Albert. The Indians, that I'm aware of, didn't seem to have big factions in the clubhouse due to Belle (a charge leveled vociferously at Allen).

I think Allen is a strawman here. Albert Belle and Rogers Hornsby are a more appropraite comparison: the same nasty, surly guy who could hit and was indifferent on defense. But I don't think that Belle and Allen are particularly analagous in the least other than being perceived as difficult cases and as being guys whom some people could have seen play---since I'm not even sure Harvey's was alive for Rajah. Rajah moved around a lot because he was a valuable pain in the butt. Just like Belle, only the mechanism was different.

As always, the evidence about the impact of character is mixed at best. It's a rabbit hole, and if you're docking a guy for it, give it a number and let's discuss. I'm going to be very, very skeptical if you tell me that Belle should be docked more than a few runs, not even a win, a year. I can handle a run here or there against the team on his tab, but more than that seems unreasonable given the lack of clarity about the impact of Belle's negativity or any player's attitude on his team's performance.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 16, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2579772)
since I'm not even sure Harvey's was alive for Rajah.


I believe he was in diapers at the tail end of Rogers' career.
   31. bond1 Posted: October 16, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2579809)
Albert was a recovering alcoholic who channeled his need for booze into aggression. I'm sure when he was dissed for the 1995 MVP when he hit 50 doubled and 50 homers in a strike shortened season, he got even more pissed. Did anyone catch Tim McCarver in last nights Bosox Clevelend game telling the story of how Albert Belle taught Manny to practice hitting by setting the pitching machine to throw hard sliders low and away because that was the hardest pitch to hit?
   32. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 09:10 PM (#2579850)
"Do you think if the Cardinals were considering Bonds but they asked Mr. Pujols and if he said "I will absolutely quit if he comes here" that MIGHT be a factor?"


If it is a factor, it would hurt Al Pujols in my evaluation, not Joey Belle.

:-)
   33. OCF Posted: October 16, 2007 at 09:30 PM (#2579870)
Albert was a recovering alcoholic who channeled his need for booze into aggression.

I once heard the theory that he wasn't an alcoholic at all - that he was someone with an assortment of behavioral problems, including anger management, who once checked into an alcohol rehab clinic because he could live with that label better than with other possible labels. Supposedly the clinic didn't really know what to do with him since he wasn't really an alcoholic. What he may have learned wasn't exactly anger management, but it some kind of channeling that turned out to be beneficial to his career.

Question: when did he change from Joey to Albert? Was it before his first good season in 1991? Somehow I think that's part of the channeling and manipulated self-image.

I just looked at the roster of the 1995 Indians - what a fabulous collection of HoMers, HoMers-to-be, HoVGers, and guys with amazingly long careers. Eddie Murray was on that team (as a fading 40 year old part-time DH); we've already elected him. We've had separate discussion threads for Hershiser, Belle, and Dennis Martinez, and did we also have a Tony Pena thread? The rest of the starting lineup (besides Bell and Murray): Sandy Alomar (still active this year), Julio Franco (still active this year!), Carlos Baerga (had the early 20's of a possible HoMer but regressed), Jim Thome (still active, source of much recent HoF debate), Omar Vizquel (ditto), Kenny Lofton (last night's hero), and Manny Ramirez (!). Younger reserves included Jeromy Burnitz, Brian GIles, and Jeff Kent.
   34. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 09:33 PM (#2579878)
That team was loaded OCF. That 1995 is arguably the best team of my lifetime (as a baseball fan that would be 1980-present). They were right there with the 1998 Yankees and 2001 Mariners.

In 1996, I didn't think there was any chance the Yankees would go to the WS, because of the Indians. I was ecstatic when Baltimore knocked them off.

The 1997 team, the worst of the 3 was the one that went to extra innings of Game 7, kind of like the St. Louis teams of 2004-2006, except, of course, that they didn't pull out the win. Interesting parallel at least.
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 16, 2007 at 09:58 PM (#2579916)
Is it possible that Albert Belle would hurt a team 'cause other stars may just flinch a bit about playing with him? Um, yes? Isn't Barry Bonds' value in 2008 somewhat lessened by the gritting of teeth a team has to do if it deems to take him on?


You mean like Roger Clemens deciding to show up when he feels like it in June, not making it to games where he isn't scheduled to pitch, things like that?
   36. OCF Posted: October 16, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2579927)
I realize that the bb-ref page I was looking at was the 1996 team rather than 1995 - minor correction. The high in raw runs scored was in 1999, well after Belle left. 1999 was the year in which Manny had 165 RBI. Manny normally batted 4th behind Lofton (.405 OBP), Vizquel (.397) and Alomar (.422); he was in turn followed by Thome (LHB, .277/.426/.540) to convince you that the IBB to Manny wouldn't be a good plan. That was a sweet spot for a cleanup hitter.
   37. Howie Menckel Posted: October 17, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2580402)
450+ PA, adj OPS+s
RalpKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
AlbeBelle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09
FHoward 177 70 70 53 49 46 44 37 27 07
WilClark 175 60 53 52 50 45 40 28 27 26 25 24 21 18 06

Howard was just short of 500 PA in 3 of these years, unlike the others.
But he had 2065 PA in his 3-year peak, nearly 700 per year.

He makes up ground in years 5-9, interestingly enough.

RKiner 149 OPS+ in 6256 PA
ABelle 143 OPS+ in 6673 PA
Howard 142 OPS+ in 7353 PA
WClark 138 OPS+ in 8283 PA

Granting that Clark is a fielding asset and the others aren't, that makes him the best.

But I'm not thrilled to have to make this guy No. 1 on my ballot.
Cepeda, Cash, and other 1Bs hit like this in about that many PAs, it seems.

I think it's fair to be open to whether anyone sees unnnoticed wrinkles here, because he doesn't seem like a slam dunk.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: October 17, 2007 at 02:47 AM (#2580662)
wow, another HR my Manny tonight

just for fun

450+ PA, adj OPS+s
MaRamirez 190 85 74 68 62 60 56 52 48 46 45 43 29 24
RalpKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
AlbeBelle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09
FHoward 177 70 70 53 49 46 44 37 27 07
WilClark 175 60 53 52 50 45 40 28 27 26 25 24 21 18 06


whew

Ramirez 155 OPS+ in 8352 PA
RKiner 149 OPS+ in 6256 PA
ABelle 143 OPS+ in 6673 PA
Howard 142 OPS+ in 7353 PA
WClark 138 OPS+ in 8283 PA

and he's 35 years old.
   39. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 17, 2007 at 02:57 AM (#2580685)
Albert was a recovering alcoholic who channeled his need for booze into aggression.

I don't want to, as they say, take Albert's inventory. But since the topic has come up I'll say this: an alcoholic who isn't drinking but isn't in recovery, might well be a very angry person or at least one with great difficulty dealing appropriately with hard feelings. It's hard to look at a guy who reputedly overturns buffets and hammers on thermostats and stuff as doing much of a very good job channeling his feelings...they are coming out gangbusters all over the joint. Including into Fernando Vina's face. I'm not questioning Belle's recovery (I know nothing more about it than that he got treatment), but rather questioning whether the channeling theory holds water. I'm not so sure it does.

Which brings up an interesting question, actually. Theoretical, really, but it comes back to TomH's point. Alcoholism has been described in some circles as a combination of a physical allergy to alcohol (which may cause alcoholics to metabolize it differently than non-alcoholics) and a compulsive disorder: triggered by one, perpetuated by the other, and leading to emotional issues.* If this is an accurate description, then alcoholism is not a failing of moral character (or of being a bad apple) but simply an illness, just like cancer, SLAP tears, or depression. Perhaps most like the latter of the three. In which case, we might ask: what role does a team have in getting a player help for this illness?

-If the player had a chronic back problem, the team would find a therapeutic treatment to minimize the issue. When teams don't deal appropriately with injuries (for instance the Red Sox in the Arthur Pappas years), they carry much of the blame for a player's inability to perform up to expectations.

-If a team fails to provide mental-health services for athletes who suffer from depression or anxiety (for example), and the player doesn't perform up to expectation, how much do we blame the team? Shoudn't we blame the team as much as we do for for handling a chronic anatomical injury poorly? This is the classic question around Alex Johnson, a claim that, IIRC, he took to arbitration and won on (arguing that he should have been put on the disabled list due to chronic depression).

-If a player is an alcoholic (which is described as an illness as noted above), does the team bear some responsibility if it fails to help the player get help and sustain a recovery? Just as it would get blame for not dealing with depression/anxiety? Just as it would for not dealing with the hypoethical back problem?

-Furthermore, if alcoholism is an illness, how do we approach the quesiton of what a player's behavior does to his teams' chances? Is his behavior 100% his responsibility? How about when the team knows he's an alcoholic?

The tricky part to me is that alcoholics have to acknowledge their own problem before a treatment can be particularly successful, so if the alcoholic player isn't cooperative (perhaps due to the illness), then how are we supposed to make a character judgment about him? I don't know, but it's an interesting, if likely unsolveable riddle.

*This from the always 100% trustworthy wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholism):

Medical Definitions
The Journal of the American Medical Association defines alcoholism as "a primary, chronic disease characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking." [1]

The DSM-IV (the standard for diagnosis in psychiatry and psychology) defines alcohol abuse as repeated use despite recurrent adverse consequences.[2] ; further defining alcohol dependence as alcohol abuse combined with tolerance, withdrawal, and an uncontrollable drive to drink.[2] (See DSM diagnosis below.)

According to the APA Dictionary of Psychology, alcoholism is the popular term for alcohol dependence.[2] Note that there is debate whether dependence in this use is physical (characterised by withdrawal), psychological (based on reinforcement), or both.
   40. JPWF13 Posted: October 17, 2007 at 03:20 AM (#2580734)
hew

Ramirez 155 OPS+ in 8352 PA
RKiner 149 OPS+ in 6256 PA
ABelle 143 OPS+ in 6673 PA
Howard 142 OPS+ in 7353 PA
WClark 138 OPS+ in 8283 PA

and he's 35 years old.


Thomas: 157 in 9785 PAs
Thome 149 in 8427 PAs
Vlad 148 in 6848 PAs
AROD 148 in 8482 PAs (and he's only 32 since July)
Giambi 148 in 7211 PAs
Chipper 144 in 8143 PAs
Piazza 143 in 7745 PAs
Helton 142 in 6755 PAs
Delgado 139 in 7859 PAs
Giles 139 in 6929 PAs
Griffey 139 in 10167 Pas

Tell me again how Kiner got in? (well he was a lot better than Lloyd Waner 99 in 8326 PAs...)
   41. sunnyday2 Posted: October 17, 2007 at 04:33 AM (#2580810)
>Tell me again how Kiner got in?

And Keller, while you're at it. I mean, they're frick and frack.

But, seriously, there just weren't the numbers of players with those kind of numbers back then. So if you could OPS+ 140 or more, you were in much scarcer company.
   42. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 17, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2580833)
There are twice the teams now too . . .
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 17, 2007 at 12:07 PM (#2580880)
And Keller, while you're at it. I mean, they're frick and frack.


With WWII credit, Keller is comfortably above Kiner, IMO.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: October 17, 2007 at 12:45 PM (#2580904)
450+ PA, adj OPS+s
RalpKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16
AlbeBelle 192 78 71 57 45 39 34 23 16 09
FHoward 177 70 70 53 49 46 44 37 27 07
ChKeller 168 (65) 63 62 (60) 59 44 41

That's giving Keller a 165 and a 160 for 1944-45 (he was 168 in 1943 and 159 in 1946).
Kiner would wins years 1-2-3 (by this specific measure), Keller years 4-8. Not a lot else to either career.
   45. jimd Posted: October 17, 2007 at 06:37 PM (#2581440)
Are people adjusting Belle's numbers for the strike and for the DH?
My DH adjustement is a 6% boost in BWS (no change in FWS).

Win Shares (top 6 seasons)

44 37 34 28 25 25 Will Clark
40 36 35 32 29 26 Albert Belle (adjusted)
37 24 30 31 27 24 Albert Belle (unadjusted)

It makes a difference. Clark still has a better top-3 but Belle has a better top-5 (non-consecutive).
   46. sunnyday2 Posted: October 17, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2581652)
My numbers for Belle are adjusted for '94 and '95.
   47. Paul Wendt Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:15 AM (#2581995)
20. Daryn Posted: October 15, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2577327)
I echo the Kiner equals Belle sentiment.

I just checked my 1961 ballot and found out that I have the two in almost the same spot actually (10th v. 11th) and notionally (just behind my longtime career candidates -- Addie Joss is an exception on my ballot).


21. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 15, 2007 at 04:00 PM (#2577399)
As I posted on another thread, they're identical through 7 years but Kiner has slightly more career than Belle thanks to the seasons at the very beginning and tail end of his career if you value them at all. Plus a smidge of war credit. Kiner is rrright under my borderline and Belle one small group down from that.

Kiner was elected without much ado.
Do "Kiner voters" see Kiner and Belle as comparable candidates? That is the question. DL has answered yes. (Even if he didn't support Kiner for the HOM, my interpretation is reasonable. Anyone who reaps 10th-11th place support from 2/3 of the electorate is in, nowadays in on the first ballot.)
   48. Howie Menckel Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:48 AM (#2582011)
I'm middlin' as usual, but Belle probably on my ballot, as Kiner was.
Hondo also sometimes makes it, but I sense him as even worse defensively.
Still evaluating.
   49. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 02:06 PM (#2582193)
Do "Kiner voters" see Kiner and Belle as comparable candidates?

Didn't support Kiner, don't support Belle.
   50. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2007 at 03:21 PM (#2582283)
Supported both and, yes, I see Belle as very similar to Kiner. Keller, Flick and Rosen are the other sims in terms of short careers and big bats.

Belle 10 prime seasons 144 OPS+ 257 adjWS (1994-1995 adjusted to 162)
Kiner 10 prime seasons 148 OPS+ 255 adjWS (adjusted to 162)
Flick 10 prime seasons 149 OPS+ 316 adjWS (ditto)
Keller 9 prime seasons 152 OPS+ 308 adj WS (including 1944 and full 1945 and 1 yr MiL credit and 1943 discount)
Rosen 7 prime years 138 OPS+ 194 adj WS

Rosen at 138 was probably more meritorious per season, and frankly if Keller gets a MiL year (that's Minor League, military would be Mil, subtle difference), then Rosen probably ought to get some MiL credit as well. He earned 30 adjWS in his rookie year with a 146 OPS+. True, he got a trial and went 9 for 35, but it would seem that if he had just been handed the job, like say Mike Schmidt, he would have done well over the course of a full year, certainly by 1949 if not in 1947 or 1948. Everybody knows he was stuck behind Keltner, and he knew it himself, that he probably had to hit .400 in order to make the team. Pressure.

Think about it. Keller comes in as a rookie and goes 144 (OPS+), Rosen goes 146. Rosen got 35 AB worth of a trial previously and so we say, no, he wasn't ready. If Keller had gotten 35 AB and hit .200, would you say he wasn't ready? When you look at what was the *same* about Rosen's and Keller's record (both were fully developed, star caliber players as rookies), there's little reason to think Keller should get MiL credit and Rosen not, IMO.

Then, were Keller and Flick really better than Belle and Kiner? I'd say Keller, yes, by the skin of his teeth. Flick, no. It was simply easier to amass 300 WS in those days. So I've got them:

1. Keller
2. Beller/Kiner/Kiner/Belle, can't decide
4. Rosen
5. Flick

Of course we probably wouldn't elect Flick from today's backlog either.
   51. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2582326)
sunny, I'd like to see Rosen's actual minor league records before giving any credit. He was 9 for 58 in his trials, not 9-for-35, big difference.
   52. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:13 PM (#2582372)
sunnyday, you consider Rosen's last two seasons to be prime years? He was below average for his position in those seasons, no?
   53. Dizzypaco Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2582394)
The Kiner/Belle/Keller/Rosen/Flick comparison is an interesting one. Obviously, none of them are going in based on either career or defensive value (primarily), so the extent to which they dominated their leagues offensively is a prime consideration. Just focusing on OPS+, I looked at the placement of each among league leaders in their best years. Kiner led the league in OPS+ three times, finished fourth twice, and seventh once, so his line reads 111447. Belle was 12278, Keller was 12446, Flick was 12233371010, and Rosen 1334.

This confirmed something I have believed all along - that Kiner was slightly more dominant offensively in his league and time than was Belle or Keller (the only year Keller was able to lead the league was a war year). The three #1 finishes, and five times in the top four are primary reasons why he is more highly regarded than the others by many. I have to say, I was impressed by Flick by the way.
   54. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2582400)
Also, I'd *definitely* have voted for Flick. I have him right between a bunch of no-doubters--Heilmann, Santo, Doby, Simmons...

Flick had ten full MLB seasons. Three of them were good enough to win an MVP award in a typical year (1900, 1901, 1906). Three more were good enough to finish in the top 3-4 of an MVP vote in a typical year (1904, 1905, 1907). Two more were good enough to start an All-Star game in a typical year (1898 and 1903). One was good enough to make an All-Star team as a reserve in a typical year (1899). And one was merely above average (1902). That is a phenomenally high peak and prime--the 44th best decade of play (non-consecutive, although Flick's happened to be consecutive) by a MLB position player since 1893. His 10 years are better than Raines's, Banks's, Yaz's, Santo's, Burkett's, Simmons's, Jackie Robinson's...just behind Frank Thomas's and George Brett's. I would think he would go in easily on any first ballot. Flick had *twice* as many great years as Belle, Kiner, and Rosen. He's just not in the same class. (Keller just depends on war and MLE credit, of course).
   55. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2007 at 04:56 PM (#2582427)
For my purposes I define prime as 100 games and ?100 OPS+. It is perhaps not the same definition of prime as others may use, but it is the heart of any career, of any HoF/HoM case. I don't like to limit it to peak for obvious reasons. The other years matter. But I do like to cut out sub-par years becuase it skews the rate. IOW if Player A is 10 prime years and 5 non-prime, and Player B is 10 prime years and 0 non-prime, my sense is you rate them based on how good they were for those 10 years, rather than based on the 5 non-prime years either way (by either way I mean some would say they make Player A better than Player B [more career value], and others would say they make him worse [lower rate]. I say it all depends on those 10 years).

The prime floats, however, it's not always 10 years. It might be 7 or 9 or 11 or 13 or whatever. But I like to compare prime to prime. If it's a dead-heat, fine, then the extra years, even if they're non-prime (sub-prime), they probably go to that player's advantage even if they reduce the rates. But it's rarely a dead heat.

My baseline philosophical belief is that you can't be very good long enough to become great. If you're very good for a long time, you're very good for a long time. You're still not great. You have to BE great, not become great. All of my various measures try to reflect that belief. Disregarding the sub-prime years is not to say they don't have value, but that they don't make one Meritorious with a capital M.
   56. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2582443)
I don't disagree with any of that, sunnyday. (Gasp!) I know this is a thread about Belle, but I *am* interested in what you have to say about Flick. He seems quite clearly above those other names to me.

Also, I hope that you do factor in length of prime! You're right that the prime can be 7 years or 13, but if the prime rates are equal, a 13-year prime is nearly twice as valuable as a 7-year one! That's obviously Flick's main advantage over Belle, Kiner, and Rosen.
   57. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 05:15 PM (#2582451)
Dizzy - Kiner played in an 8 team league, Belle played in a 14-team league with a DH (extra good hitters, not sure if any ranked ahead of him any of those years).

It's not exactly apples to apples to look at league rank.
   58. Kyle S Posted: October 18, 2007 at 05:56 PM (#2582511)
Joe D - as an HOM outsider, this comment is from left field and might be completely irrelevant/already debated to death, but...

Kiner did play in an 8-team league, but didn't those eight teams have all (well at least half of) the best baseball players around? I guess integration hurts that argument a lot. Still, if today half the teams in MLB were contracted and both the NL and AL went to 8 teams each, being the "league leader" in HRs or whatever would count just as much in that world as it does today - the people who would be excluded from the league would be the more marginal players who wouldn't compete for the HR crown. So does the 8 team league thing just mean that he didn't compete against negro leaguers/Japanese players?
   59. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2582551)
Yes, prime is not just a rate, it's rate X length. Belle was +11 WS per year vs. the median at his position and that's important to know, but it's also important to know that that number is derived from +110 WS/10. He was 110 WS better than the position median over 10 years. Will Clark was +7.5 for 13 years = 98. Ken Singleton was +7 for 13 = 91. So the longer primes don't necessarily translate to more value for this measure. I'm sure that the very high baseline (median, as opposed to replacement or FAT) has a lot to do with that. It is a measure that was constructed because it plays to my peak/prime bias so well ;-) But still, yes, I look at the cume as well as the rate.

I voted for Flick and right now all I looked at was his prime in sort of the macro. His 10 years at 149 given strength of competition doesn't look any different than Belle or Kiner to me now, but that is at 10,000 feet.
   60. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:08 PM (#2582602)
Kyle S,

You raise a very interesting point. I think the answer is that because MLB draws from a much wider pool nowadays (and, indeed, the world's human population is, itself, larger than even 25-50 years ago), even if you lopped off half the teams, today's players might still be better than those in the 8-team leagues of yore as a whole. This might be additionally true in that baseball itself has a more aggressive and well-refined talent-identification-and-acquisition process than ever before. So the top 16 x 25 players in 1950 seem likely to me to be overall of less homogeneous quality and likely of lesser quality even without the issues of racial and ethnic apartheid.

Of course, it's hard to say now that baseball is doing an optimal job of attracting the world's best athletes when it ignores more than half the potential athletes in the world just because they have breasts. I don't think it's zany to say, however, that it does a very fine job with what it chooses to work with.
   61. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2582609)
Eric, you think a woman could hold an MLB job? Have any ever tried?
   62. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:17 PM (#2582619)
Still, the median player at a given position would appear to be weaker than in the past. That might just be a function of the math and not entirely reflective of the quality of the pool, I don't know. I mean a WS is a WS regardless of how good the competition. If you wanted to award WS for NCAA play, you could. It wouldn't mean it was as good as the MLs. But anyway, it seems that the gap between the stars and the median is wider than it was in the 8 team league. You didn't see starting players getting 3 WS in those days like you do today.
   63. Kyle S Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:23 PM (#2582623)
Eric,

At the same time, baseball attracts a lower percentage of American talent than it did in the 40s and 50s because of the rising prominence of basketball and football. Michael Vick or Allen Iverson may well have become excellent baseball players had they grown up 40 years ago.

Absent that, though, let's say there are twice as many players who were as good or better than the "HOF minimum talent cutoff" line, however we define that, from the 40s/50s. Should the HOF induct twice as many players from current decades as from those past? Or should the bar simply be set at a higher level?

My prediction as to what the actual HOF will do (as opposed to what the HOM will do - I don't follow it that closely :) is indeed raise the bar such that in general, an HOFer from this era will be a better player than an HOFer from years past.
   64. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2582633)
Eric, you think a woman could hold an MLB job? Have any ever tried?

a) baseball is not a contact sport
b) baseball relies on eye-hand coordination, reflexes, and quick, darting movements more than raw explosive muscular power
c) height and weight are not as relevant in baseball as they are in other sports where gender differences of this sort are a hindrance

Indeed, baseball would be the team sport most suited to gender integration due to the lack of contact.

The fact is women (in the US) are shuttled into softball or other sanctioned gender-segregated alternatives to the guy sports once they reach puberty, often before that. Ask yourself: is it inconceivable that the best woman baseball player would be better than a male replacement level player? Or an average player? Gnats like Eckstein and Pedroia are successful in baseball without being big men. Roy Oswalt is a probable Hall of Famer and he's 6'0" when Danny Devito does the measuring. Imagine a woman like Mia Hamm or Cheryl Swoops, or Jenny Finch: lithe, not short, willing to get their uniform dirty and kick ass.

Yes, it's hard to imagine a woman looking like Albert Belle, but is it hard to imagine a woman adopting a Boggs/Ichiro/L. Castillo type of batting approach? Is it weird to think that perhaps a woman could pitch well? Ila Borders got to the Northern League as a lefty hurler. I don't know whether women have difficulty throwing as hard as men, but if the best woman pitcher is akin in style (if not quality) to Maddux, Glavine, John, or Kaat instead of Randy Johnson, Clemens, or Pedro or Sabathia, who cares as long as they are effective? If the best woman pitcher is an average pitcher, that woman has a ton of value to baseball team whose second or third starter is someone like Jimmy Haynes.

What I don't know is whether having breasts inhibits the ability to throw very hard overhand (since I don't have breasts), but why then couldn't women develop as sidearmers? I think it would be nice to have more diversity in modern pitching motions, myself.

Listen, I think gays will be welcomed in clubhouses before female athletes, because, frankly, gays are almost assuredly already in clubhouses. This is a matter of demography, not matter what you think the percentage of gays in America is. It's just a matter of time before some very popular, active baseball player gets the stones to come out. Women will be the final group to cross the pro sports barrier, and in many ways will find it the most difficult of any group and in many ways the least.
   65. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 07:41 PM (#2582643)
My prediction as to what the actual HOF will do (as opposed to what the HOM will do - I don't follow it that closely :) is indeed raise the bar such that in general, an HOFer from this era will be a better player than an HOFer from years past.

Which is what's happened in recent years, of course.

At the same time, baseball attracts a lower percentage of American talent than it did in the 40s and 50s because of the rising prominence of basketball and football. Michael Vick or Allen Iverson may well have become excellent baseball players had they grown up 40 years ago.

This is probably more than offset by the number of Domincan, VZ, and Puerto Rican players in the game now (and even trickling of Cubans), not to mention the Japanese plus the Taiwanese and Koreans beginning to enter the game bit by bit. The Aussie influx seems to have slowed way down though.
   66. TomH Posted: October 18, 2007 at 08:17 PM (#2582735)
probably don't need to star ta long thread about this, but I can't resist:

Eric's post 64 brings up good points, but in the end it only means females are CLOSER to males in the sport of baseball than most other sports. But lookat similar sports (tries to think of closest.. table tennis? golf?), and look at how females have performed so far (Borders, Silver Bullets), and it's clear that no female will compete at a major league level, and I'm a strong EEO backer. I used to think a kunckleball pitcher could be the ticket, but even Phil Niekro couldn't coach coach that angle successfully when he tireed with the women's team. Yes, stereotypes, culture etc has limited the pool, but even if it changes... Nope. Women's tennis has not produced a single top 500 men's player in two generations, and MLB will not either. IMHO.
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: October 18, 2007 at 08:31 PM (#2582784)
Kyle,

I would guess that the talent pool as a whole is 2X today what it was in 1949, the year I was born, just to pick a number. You've got blacks and you've got Latin America and you've got Japan. OTOH you've got more boys and young men going into other sports. (I could give counter-arguments to all of these points, of course, but I think without knowing that there is probably a largely talent pool today.)

What we do know is that there are more players in the MLs, and considering there are about 2X as many teams as 50 years ago then maybe the talent pool *in the MLs* (which is not the same thing as the talent pool, generally), but maybe the talent in the MLs is of approximately equal ability before and after. This is an assumption but it is not a stupid one,I don't think.

Some people say that if there are 2X as many teams, 2X as many players and 2X as many Win Shares out there, then we should elect 2X as many HoMies. I don't believe that. To me the prime unit of measurement here is not 32 teams, it is 1 pennant or, well, 2 pennants and one World Championship, which is the same as it has always been. In order to help your team to win that 1 pennant available each year in each league you still have to be among the X best players in the league. The lower 50 percentile of players who wouldn't be in an 8 team league today, well, sure, they haev more impact on a pennant race than players in AAA used to have when there really was an 8 team league. But they are not the guys who win pennants. So you're really talking about a landscape that is the same as it always was.

So we have 2X as big a talent pool generally and 2X as many players in the MLs and the same 1X as many "winners."

The key pointy is that it doesn't follow that there are 2X "great" players who meet minimum HoM standards of ability, and it wouldn't really matter if there were. The talent pool probably follows the general population to some extent, it's just a numbers game. Great players, I mean REALLY great players, occur more randomly. So I don't think we know that there are 2X as many "great" players.

That may depend on your attitude toward training and nutrition and money--all the things that motivate and/or enable those players with the genetic potential to do so, to optimize their talent and to become great players. It has been said that Dan Brouthers couldn't make it to AAA today. But that is a comment on training and nutrition and coaching, IMO, not on athletic ability. And to me, it is inconceivable that we can "be fair to all eras" if we give individual players credit for the advances that our society as a whole has made in those areas. IOW we assume that if he had lived 100 years later, Dan Brouthers would have all of that to the same degree as Eddie Murray or Don Mattingly, and if Murray or Mattingly had played 100 years earlier, they would have lacked those advantages. So IOW we level the playing field on those factors.

So after you do that--level the playing field--then I don't think we know that there are more great players than there were 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, etc. If you don't equalize for the cultural factors of training and nutrition and the like then, sure, there are more players with great ability. But if you follow that logic then you would have to say that Brouthers and Billy Hamilton and John Clarkson and Bid McPhee don't belong in the HoF or the HoM. And if you do that then someday 200 years from now you would have to say that Ernie Banks and Ozzie Smith no longer belong, because by then the physical abilities will so far surpass those of today. I don't want to go there.
   68. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 08:35 PM (#2582791)
TomH,

Seems like you and I agree to enjoy disagreeing!

A big reason for the disparity in mens/womens sports is a cultural one. Title IX is, what, 40 years old? Women played ball in hoop skirts within the last 100 years. Women's sports have made a very fast rise in the past fifty years. In 1950 or 1960 would it have seemed like that a WNBA could have lasted very long? Or that women's soccer would be popular enough that Mia Hamm was a household name? Or that women would serve in the military in meaningful combat capacities? There are more and better role models for female athletics, indicating that there is some kind of change occuring.

If women are brought into the sporting fold, fully, expectations are raised for their performance, and they are given the time, training, and cultural support, they will succeed as best the differences in phsyiology will allow them. [Incidentally, it would be interesting to know whether or not over the past 100 years whether the average man and woman have enjoyed the physiological fruit of nutrition and health research equally, or whether the growth of the average man outstrips that of hte average woman, or vice versa.]

Will women ever be Pujolsian? I doubt it, and that's the anatomical issue. But the fact that female pro golfers are even beginning now to start the process of moving the barriers and are getting closer and closer to the performance levels of male golfers should tell us something positive about the direction female sports are going in relative to mens.

But again, let's get back to an important point:

Eric's post 64 brings up good points, but in the end it only means females are CLOSER to males in the sport of baseball than most other sports.

Let's say this is true. Let's say that the best female ballplayers will be roughly as good as the average male MLB athlete. Then these women could have a lot of value and could raise the level of play by displacing worse players. So it's really a question of how close, relatively, a female player could get to a male. I think it's premature to say not close enough to be a regular given how little time and seroiusness women have been given in the sporting life of most countries.
   69. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 18, 2007 at 08:41 PM (#2582799)
The standard deviation between the best and worst batters is about the same it was 50-60 years ago, despite many more players in the majors. If the talent pool was really diluted, the spread between the best and worst hitters would be much higher, but it's not.

If MLB cut back down to 16 teams again, the gap would be much, much lower than any other era.
   70. TomH Posted: October 18, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2582821)
Could be Eric. Maybe I'm all wet, but in math terms I see it

avg female baseball-goodness-coefficient (BGC): 40 (assuming we throw off all cultural restrictions for a generation)
std dev of females BGC: 10

avg male BGC: 60
std dev male BGC: 12

MLB is made up of mostly 4- sigma players, who have BGCs of 102 to 114; more 102s than 114s! Occasionally a high 90s guy slips in from the minors.

Your 3-sigma female (BGC = 70) is BETTER than the avg male. MUCH better. She is better than MOST males. Your 4-sigma female (80) is better than 95% of all males. The 5-sigma female, 1 in 5 million, (EGC = 90), could make the minor leagues. A 6-sigma female could make the majors. Barely. One in a billion.

OK, I confess, I rigged the math. But draw a couple o' cute bell curves, and my thesis seems to play out.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 18, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2582857)
Could be Eric. Maybe I'm all wet, but in math terms I see it

Nah, I'm probably all wet.

But maybe 200 years from now it'll be different, which seems to me about the time that sports would desegregate along gender lines.

Of course there probably won't be a U.S. or an MLB by then (at least as we know them), so maybe the point is moot?
   72. jimd Posted: October 18, 2007 at 11:05 PM (#2582989)
Indeed, baseball would be the team sport most suited to gender integration due to the lack of contact.

The wife and I had a conversation somewhat related to this some 15-20 years ago. The first female on an American major league pro sports team (on merit, no publicity stunts), what position would she play? After some debate, we both agreed: <drum roll> NHL goalie. It's the position which minimizes the male strength advantage the most; just about pure reflexes. Since that time, there have been some women that have played goalie in the minors, though to my knowledge none have yet made the NHL. (I haven't paid much attention to hockey the last 15 years or so, but I think I might have heard about it if a woman played in an NHL game.)
   73. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2007 at 05:09 AM (#2584014)
Bill James made an interesting point back in one of the old Abstracts - the gist of it was that the talent pool develops based on the number of jobs and not vice-versa (maybe I'm exaggerating the point he actually made, not sure).

He said that if the majors suddenly expanded to 60 teams, baseball could probably get back to the established pre-expansion level in about 10 years. I think it'd take longer, only because at the time he thought typical expansion washed out in 3-4 years and I think it's more like 6-9 years. But I don't think it'd take anything like 30 years.

I don't remember the reasons he gave, but he did say that 1 million people is more than enough to start with to come up with 25 major league quality baseball players. He talked about how vast a number 1 million people is, far more than anyone could know in a lifetime, far more than most comprehend.

Another reason the talent pool develops to the number of jobs (and not vice-versa) I think, is that assuming the average salary didn't change, the need for more talent, will in effect produce more talent.

If there are more jobs available, well it doesn't become a much of a longshot to get one of those jobs, so people don't give up on it as quickly. The teams will pay more to convince guys from other sports to play. Heck, maybe they'd start actively recruiting in Europe, turning some pro-soccer and hockey and basketball players to baseball as kids by establishing academies, etc..

So in essence, within reason, the size of the talent pool is determined by the number of jobs. I don't think you can go very far wrong allocating Hall of Fame slots based on the number of teams. If there are twice as many teams, there are quite likely twice as many deserving Hall of Famers.
   74. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 19, 2007 at 05:13 AM (#2584018)
As far as the female thing goes - the things that would hurt them most are throwing (throws like a girl is a stereotype based in truth) and speed. Even slow major leaguers are decent runners compared to the typical population (Ernie Lombardi excepted). 90 feet is a long way if you haven't run it in awhile.

Marion Jones was a full 10% slower than top males. I don't think that speed gap could be overcome, since I can't see it being possible for a woman fast enough to get down the line in an acceptable though slow time to also have enough power to offset her lack of speed.
   75. sunnyday2 Posted: October 19, 2007 at 12:57 PM (#2584119)
Re. NHL goalie. Maybe. But I don't think it's pure reflexes. Goalies seem to be taking more and more hits and getting more involved in the physical stuff lately. I don't mean cheap shots, I mean guys in the crease, crashing for rebounds and the like.

How about kicker. Seems that women are ahead at kicker of where they're at at goalie.

And some people might argue that race cars are a major American team sport--race care driver?

In baseball, pitcher is the only real possibility in the foreseeable future, don't you think?
   76. sunnyday2 Posted: October 19, 2007 at 01:02 PM (#2584126)
I think there are different meanings of the term talent pool. If you have 32 ML teams with a gross population of 10 million, or 32 ML teams and 100 million, at one level you're going to have different talent pools defined as physically abled males age 20-40 or some such.

In another sense, sure, maybe it's the same--i.e the same sized talent pool whether the gross population is 10 million or 100 million--if you define the talent pool as talent that is in the pipeline.

Which of the two meanings is more decisive insofar as it affects quality of play? It's some of each, sure, and it depends on how much of a difference there really is in gross population. If it's 10 to 1 that different than if it's 2 to 1. But I think that in the real world the difference in gross population is more decisive than the number that are "in the pipeline." In fact I could argue that within reason you're better off having fewer players in the pipeline if that means you can provide more intensive instruction to those fewer players.
   77. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 19, 2007 at 01:44 PM (#2584180)
Marion Jones was a full 10% slower than top males. I don't think that speed gap could be overcome, since I can't see it being possible for a woman fast enough to get down the line in an acceptable though slow time to also have enough power to offset her lack of speed.

So an interesting question: is Marion Jones faster relative to men than her historical female-track-star peers were? Dave Johnson, if you're out there, chime in. Are women gaining on men more quickly than men are improving their times?

I emailed seperately with TomH last night about this very thing, but progress tends to result from two things:
-higher expectations
-piggybacking

When someone is given a higher expectation and the support to meet it, they often surprise us. This initial breakthrough is then compounded because the knowledge of how to meet the expectation is passed along, the model is put forth, and others follow and do better yet than the initial breaker-through. This is the story of all human endeavor. But after a while, the piggybacks get more and more marginal, smaller and smaller in scope. Male athletic piggybacks are pretty small in baseball at this point, female progress is essentially at step one. If as a people we supported female baseball players equally to male baseball players, it would be interesting to see how many generations it would take until the best women would be good enough to be an average regular in MLB. Maybe never, but I feel like that's pessimistic.

Anyway, another aspect is the financial motivation. Look, it's been just a few decades not only since T-IX, but since women began regularly appearing in board rooms and as CEOs...not just as teachers, nurses, and secretaries. A big motivation for all people in a capitalized society is financial betterment. If women start to get closer and closer to men, they will sniff the money, and they will push for it. I'd imagine that's part of why Wei and Sorenstam are interested in trying to make mens' cuts: because the purse money is really big. Maybe not reason #1, but it's there.
   78. JPWF13 Posted: October 19, 2007 at 02:07 PM (#2584206)
In baseball, pitcher is the only real possibility in the foreseeable future, don't you think?


Basically, there are women who can throw as hard as MLB pitchers with poor fastballs* (ie: 85 or so). Now you are much less likely to be an effective MLB pitcher if you throw 85 rather than 95, but t can be done, and there are women who throw that hard, so it's conceivable that some could also have the command and movement to be reasonably effective MLB pitchers.


* Women's fast pitch softball- the pitcher is 35-40 feet from home- so an 85mph underhand pitch is basically unhittable (which is why the best women's pitchers rack up an absurd # of shutouts, and also why the pitcher should be moved back at least 10 feet or so...) The same pitch from 60ft would be batting practice to most MLBers...
   79. Kyle S Posted: October 19, 2007 at 02:14 PM (#2584213)
FYI, Manon Rheaume played two pre-season games in goal with the Tampa Bay Lightning about 15 years ago. She played regular-season games with the highest minor league affiliate of the Lightning, which at that time was the Atlanta Knights.

Wiki
   80. Kyle S Posted: October 19, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2584217)
effed up the link. try this one: link
   81. zonk Posted: October 19, 2007 at 02:19 PM (#2584219)
The fact is women (in the US) are shuttled into softball or other sanctioned gender-segregated alternatives to the guy sports once they reach puberty, often before that. Ask yourself: is it inconceivable that the best woman baseball player would be better than a male replacement level player? Or an average player?

I'm fairly certain I'll see a woman pitch in the majors in my lifetime...

My senior year in HS - our baseball team (ranked #18 in the state at the time) played a "just for fun, non-sanctioned" game against our HS women's softball team (also ranked). The softball team's pitcher was quite good - recruited a little bit to play div 1, but ended up going to a division II college. We played softball -- but still, she mowed through our lineup. We won 1-0 when she had a bout of wildness in the middle innings, walking 2 and hitting a batter between a drag bunt single (mine - I'm either proud to say or sheepish to admit ;-).

Just for kicks after throwing 6 innings - she tossed a few from the regulation 60'6" baseball mound. After getting her bearings and adjusting a bit, she still threw a few nice pitches by a few hitters.

I'm convinced that if the right girl in the right situation (say... rural local without a softball option) decided she wanted to pitch in the majors, it could be done.

Apologies for interrupting the Belle discussion, but just wanted to toss in my anecedotal 2 cents on the off-topic topic.
   82. AROM Posted: October 19, 2007 at 02:33 PM (#2584237)
Of course, it's hard to say now that baseball is doing an optimal job of attracting the world's best athletes when it ignores more than half the potential athletes in the world just because they have breasts.


Billy Beane did sign Brant Colamarino, but he didn't pan out.
   83. jimd Posted: October 19, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2584605)
FYI, Manon Rheaume

I couldn't remember her name, but I do remember her from back then. Thanks for the link.

Re. NHL goalie. Maybe. But I don't think it's pure reflexes. Goalies seem to be taking more and more hits and getting more involved in the physical stuff lately. I don't mean cheap shots, I mean guys in the crease, crashing for rebounds and the like.

Frankly, I haven't watched a game in years, only a few since Neely retired, and no complete game since Bourque hung em up. I do see fragments because it's on tv during my bowling night, so I'll agree the goalie takes more physical abuse now when compared to then (probably due to the goal cages that come loose when somebody breathes on them).

How about kicker. Seems that women are ahead at kicker of where they're at at goalie.

Leg strength, how big a factor?

And some people might argue that race cars are a major American team sport--race care driver?

If racing is a team sport, then why can't women be part of the pit teams (if they aren't already). Otherwise, I'd say that women should be further ahead here than in golf, physically. The cultural aspect may be the problem here (less interest in cars in general). Danika is already there, and was allegedly contemplating a switch to NASCAR (or so I vaguely remember reading).

In baseball, pitcher is the only real possibility in the foreseeable future, don't you think?

Agreed.
   84. rawagman Posted: October 19, 2007 at 08:51 PM (#2584632)
A former D1 female softball player played 2B against me in the Israeli mens' League I was part of. She only played in a few games, but was good enough for that level (we had a few former and a few future D1 players in the league as well).
   85. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 20, 2007 at 05:20 PM (#2585025)
Obviously not a team sport, but there is a women who qualified for the mens pro bowlers tour. She didn't do much though.
   86. Paul Wendt Posted: October 21, 2007 at 03:59 AM (#2586070)
Apologies for interrupting the Belle discussion, but just wanted to toss in my anecedotal 2 cents on the off-topic topic.

Belle? Who is she?
   87. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 21, 2007 at 01:12 PM (#2586154)
You know I hate it when like Alberta Belle....

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