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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bill Madlock

Eligible in 1993.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:22 PM | 45 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2277539)
I was reminded again that Madlock only received 4% of the vote when he was eligible to the HOF in '93. Not that I think he's a worthy and he wont be on my HoM ballot, but still...
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:46 PM (#2277559)
Bill James has Madlock as the #48 3B, which is damn faint praise. There is not a single 3B with more career WS that rates behind him, and there were 19 3B rated ahead of him with fewer career WS (9 had less than 200, Madlock had 244). His numbers are just a bit better than Harlond Clift, whom James rates at #38, and a bit better than Carney Lansford, who comes in at #39. Madlock appears to have lost out big in the bullshirt dump. I wonder why?
   3. Suff Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2277667)
James wrote his Madlock's ranking that he was a selfish player who sat out games in order to win batting titles. I think this was the primary reason for his lower ranking than what his Win Shares would have placed him.

But Madlock played on multiple division-winners, wasn't particularly poor defensively (to my knowledge), and won multiple batting titles. George Kell is not a good HOM/HOF standard, but Madlock compares well with him, I think. He basically did what Pete Rose did for half as long.

He's not a HOFer, but it would have been nice to see him stay on the ballot for a couple of years so people could discuss it.
   4. Chris Cobb Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:38 PM (#2277692)
But Madlock played on multiple division-winners, wasn't particularly poor defensively (to my knowledge), and won multiple batting titles. George Kell is not a good HOM/HOF standard, but Madlock compares well with him, I think. He basically did what Pete Rose did for half as long.

WARP and win shares agree that Madlock was well below average defensively. I have fond memories of Madlock because his arrival in Pittsburgh in 1979 cemented the core that went on to win the World Series that year, and he was a very good player until he stopped being able to hit for average. He was viewed as an excellent hitter, as I recall, but he was not viewed as anything special defensively. Of course, we had been used to Richie Hebner at third, so Madlock was an upgrade in comparison to Hebner.

To say that he did what Rose did but for half as long overstates his merits. He didn't have Rose's patience. In his prime, Rose was walking 60-90 times a year (once over 100). Madlock never broke 60 in a season. Rose was also much more durable, where Madlock missed a lot of games, even if he wasn't sitting them out to win batting titles as James claims. Rose was arguably better defensively, although probably not at third base when he played there, but he started at the position at 34.

They were similar types of players: high average hitters with some pop who had enough defensive ability to play a little second base and to play at third. But Rose was somewhat better in several ways, and when you add them all up, he was a lot better, even season by season, than Bill Madlock.
   5. JPWF13 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2277703)
I wonder why?


James is/was not shy about letting his personal opinions about a person's worth/personality interfere in his rankings.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2277742)
I agree that George Kell is a very strong comp for Bill Madlock. In fact I place them in a group of players who are kind of similar:

THIRD BASEMEN WHO HIT FOR AVERAGE, HAVE MEDIUM-LENGTH CAREERS, AND DON'T WALK TERRIBLY MUCH
Bill Madlock
Pie Traynor
George Kell
Carney Lansford
Ray Dandridge
Judy Johnson
Kevin Seitzer
Fred Lindstrom
Jeff Cirrillo
Buddy Lewis
   7. Boots Day Posted: January 10, 2007 at 08:51 PM (#2277836)
James wrote his Madlock's ranking that he was a selfish player who sat out games in order to win batting titles. I think this was the primary reason for his lower ranking than what his Win Shares would have placed him.

I thought that was a rather unfortunate comment. In the Abstract days, James would have taken an idea like that -- an unnamed sportswriter said he could predict that days Madlock would be out of the lineup with a bad hammy by looking at who was scheduled to pitch that day -- and actually checked the names of the pitchers who started on days Madlock missed. That's exactly what he did back then, checking out claims by sportswriters and other baseball figures to see if they jibed with reality.

By the time of the Historical Abstract, James was simply printing those claims without doing much research on them. Maybe Madlock was really ducking certain pitchers. But I don't know, and I strongly suspect Bill James doesn't know either.
   8. Cabbage Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:10 PM (#2277849)
Anyone know the story behind the Cubs sending him to the Giants? Was it simply the Cubs being the Cubs? (I don't understand why they'd make that trade) or was there something else going on?
   9. Urban Faber Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2277857)
I think he made some comments at the time that were not well received by the Cubs' front office. Maybe it had some financial reasons as well, though I would guess Murcer was making more $$ at that point.

People always mention Santo as the last good 3B the Cubs had but even though Madlock was only there three years, he was pretty good too. His last game with the Cubs, he went 4 for 4 to pass Griffey and win the batting title - a much bigger deal at that time than it is now.
   10. BDC Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:33 PM (#2277867)
actually checked the names of the pitchers who started on days Madlock missed

Heck, you can check it rather quickly now using the miracle of B-Ref. In 1983, for instance, through August, Madlock was rested against the likes of Mike Torrez (twice), Steve Trout (twice), Mike LaCoss, Bill Laskey, Dick Ruthven, Fergie Jenkins (the 1983 Fergie, though), Mike Krukow, Charlie Puleo, Alejandro Pena, Mario Soto, and Jeff Russell.

The pitcher he faced most often was Fred Breining. Next-most was Steve Rogers, who owned him that year (.154). Then Charles Hudson, Jerry Reuss, Bill Gullickson, Dave LaPoint, John Denny, Joe Niekro, Joaquin Andujar, Bob Knepper, Craig McMurtry, Bryn Smith, and Steve Carlton.

I don't see a strong pattern there. Soto and Pena were among the top right-handers in the league, and Madlock sat against them (the Pirates had Richie Hebner to fill in). But Rogers, Gullickson, and McMurtry were also among the top right-handers that year; Denny won the Cy Young Award. It was not the case that Madlock sat against the ace pitchers of the clubs that Pittsburgh was trying to beat; quite the contrary.

Madlock missed much of the month of September, and maybe he was doing that to preserve the batting title. But he didn't win it by much (two points over Lonnie Smith), and at the start of September there were a bunch of guys in the .315-.320 range; it wasn't like Madlock had racked up a .360 and was sitting on the numbers.
   11. JPWF13 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:45 PM (#2277875)
Madlock missed much of the month of September, and maybe he was doing that to preserve the batting title.


He sat out the last game- he had a 3 point lead- Lonnie Smith went 2-4 to gain a point- Smith needed to go 4-4 or 5-5- so Madlock could have decided it'd be safer to sit it out (and he wouldn;t be the first batting title winner to do that)

In 1976 he came from behind and went 4-4 in game 162 to snatch the title from Griffey Sr.
He had a one point lead over Griffey after 154 games when Madlock missed 5 straight games- when he came back for the last 3 games of the season Griffey had the lead.
   12. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:38 PM (#2277995)
I like to look at Bill Madlock through the prism of Darrell Evans. Of course, as all right-thinking baseball fans know, Darrell Evans is criminally underrated and a should-be Hall of Famer, while Bill Madlock is a joke, a guy whose only positive was his batting average.

Madlock had a higher career OBP than Evans, .365 to .361, and a higher career slugging percentage, .442 to .431, but sophisticated fans know that's all because of park effects. Madlock had the higher career OPS+, 123 to 119, but of course, that's misleading because Evans had the much longer career, despite the fact that they played an almost identical number of games at third base, 1442 to 1440 (advantage Evans).

For two years, Darrell Evans and Bill Madlock were teammates, on the 1977-78 Giants. They were both third basemen by trade, so the Giants tried Evans in leftfield, where he was dreadful. That clearly wasn't going to work, so in 1978 they tried Madlock at second base, where he wasn't very good, but he didn't embarrass himself, and at least they could get both bats into the lineup. No one disputes that Evans was the better fielder at third, but I have a hard time believing that Madlock didn't provide more value to the Giants those two seasons. Oh, and Madlock posted a higher OBP and a higher SP both years, playing the same park as Evans.

What makes Darrell Evans the better player is the Ken Phelpsish coda to his career, the five years he spent as a 1B/DH. Until he moved off third base permanently, he had exactly one season with an OPS+ over 121 (Madlock had seven). I'm not here to argue that Madlock was a better player than Evans, though I think he was a better third baseman. I'm just saying that Madlock is about as underrated as Evans is overrated.
   13. Suff Posted: January 11, 2007 at 02:39 AM (#2278106)
Darrell Evans is criminally underrated and a should-be Hall of Famer, while Bill Madlock is a joke, a guy whose only positive was his batting average.

I come not to praise Bill Madlock, but to bury him...
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2007 at 03:16 AM (#2278128)
Did Ray Dandridge and Judy Johnson hit for average?



WARP and win shares agree that Madlock was well below average defensively. I have fond memories of Madlock because his arrival in Pittsburgh in 1979 cemented the core that went on to win the World Series that year, and he was a very good player until he stopped being able to hit for average. He was viewed as an excellent hitter, as I recall, but he was not viewed as anything special defensively.

Reading first in Wilmington & Philadelphia newspapers, then Boston, I thought he was as good a hitter as Rose for a few years and poor defensively.

Of course, we had been used to Richie Hebner at third, so Madlock was an upgrade in comparison to Hebner.

Didn't Hebner play third with a shovel?
I always liked Hebner, on the Pirates and the Phillies, but only because Sports Illustrated said he was a gravedigger in the offseason.


In the Abstract days, James would have taken an idea like that -- an unnamed sportswriter said he could predict that days Madlock would be out of the lineup with a bad hammy by looking at who was scheduled to pitch that day -- and actually checked the names of the pitchers who started on days Madlock missed. That's exactly what he did back then, checking out claims by sportswriters and other baseball figures to see if they jibed with reality.

By the time of the Historical Abstract, James was simply printing those claims without doing much research on them.


The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract was published in 1985, three years after the Abstract began commercial distribution (is that the term, Eric Chalek?).
   15. BDC Posted: January 11, 2007 at 03:23 AM (#2278131)
He sat out the last game- he had a 3 point lead- Lonnie Smith went 2-4 to gain a point- Smith needed to go 4-4 or 5-5- so Madlock could have decided it'd be safer to sit it out (and he wouldn;t be the first batting title winner to do that)

Well, sure. You're hurt, your team is eliminated, it's one game, and the starting pitcher you're ducking is Charles Hudson, or Charlie, as they called him when he was a rookie, having a decent year but not exactly Tom Seaver, either. For this, I would blame Madlock, not.
   16. DCW3 Posted: January 11, 2007 at 08:05 AM (#2278248)
No one disputes that Evans was the better fielder at third, but I have a hard time believing that Madlock didn't provide more value to the Giants those two seasons.

BPro actually has Madlock at 5 FRAA during his season at second base in 1978. I trust FRAA pretty much not at all, but if he was even average defensively, he should have been a top MVP candidate that year.
   17. LSR Posted: January 11, 2007 at 09:38 AM (#2278275)
Anyone know the story behind the Cubs sending him to the Giants? Was it simply the Cubs being the Cubs? (I don't understand why they'd make that trade) or was there something else going on?


Madlock was 25 years old and had just come off two consecutive batting titles - which as pointed out early was considered a really big deal in those days. With only 3 full seasons under his belt he probably had the highest career BA among active players at the time (anybody know where you could check that?). Surprise, surprise, he wanted a big raise for the next season.

IIRC, the Cubs made all sorts of noise about how he was still young and - while promising - was not yet a proven star. Young players didn't get paid that kind of money. So they turned around and traded him for "proven star" Bobby Murcer - who, 5 years older than Madlock, was already on the downslope and was also making considerably more than Madlock had asked for ...

Strangely enough, the Cubs did get it right when they traded Rick Monday - their only other offensive asset - during the same off season. Monday had had a career year at age 30 in 1976 with 32 HRs (mostly from the leadoff spot, IIRC). In return for Monday they got Bill Buckner who was a less effective version of Madlock in the batter's box for several years, and Ivan DeJesus who played a decent shortstop for 5 years until being traded to Philadelphia for Larry Bowa and a prospect named Ryne Sandberg. Meanwhile Monday was a very popular player in Dodger Stadium (because of the flag burning incident, not because of his play. btw, he saved the flag as a Cub, not a Dodger), but he was basically a platoon/bench player for the last 8 years of his career.
   18. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 11, 2007 at 04:23 PM (#2278448)
Paul,

Dandridge absolutely was a BA guy in his context. His Hall plaque notes his "line drive" hitting, and his Mexican numbers, for instance, show high AVGs (which is my way of saying that I don't have the SOG numbers handy). IIRC from SOG his AVG in the NgLs was over .300, and Judy's was in the .290s.
   19. Boots Day Posted: January 11, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2278472)
By the time of the Historical Abstract, James was simply printing those claims without doing much research on them.

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract was published in 1985, three years after the Abstract began commercial distribution


My mistake. The Madlock claim is from the New Historical Abstract, published in 2001, thirteen years after James published the last annual Abstract.
   20. Catfish326 Posted: January 11, 2007 at 04:54 PM (#2278476)
"Mad Dog" was a damn good hitter. What he hit with the Cubs was huge for that era. He was an elite hitter at that time; he and Carew were of a similar mode, during Madlock's Cubs years. In 1975, Madlock mashed at a .354 clip, while the rest of his team hit .250; over 104 points difference. MADLOCK SIMPLY COULD HIT. It is strange that the Cubs dealt him after those three huge years.
   21. Catfish326 Posted: January 11, 2007 at 05:19 PM (#2278499)
Looking at Mad Dog's career, I was surprised he didn't even make the all-star team in 1974 and 1976, when he had really good years with the Cubs. There was some talent at the hot corner in those days. In 1974, Cey and Schmidt played 3B for the NL. In 1975, Cey and Madlock played for the NL (Mad Dog shared the MVP for the game). In 1975, Rose shifted to 3B, but in the 1975 all-star game he played OF. I believe this was the case because on the all-star ballot in 1975, Rose was still listed as an outfielder. In 1976 (another batting title year for Mad Dog), at 3B the NL all-star roster included Cey, Rose, AND Schmidt . . . and no Madlock. Much talent there, but I think that Madlock has been overlooked for years.
   22. Boots Day Posted: January 11, 2007 at 05:38 PM (#2278519)
In 1975, Rose shifted to 3B, but in the 1975 all-star game he played OF. I believe this was the case because on the all-star ballot in 1975, Rose was still listed as an outfielder.

Rose opened the 1975 season as the Reds' leftfielder, but shifted to third on May 3rd (thank you, BB-ref) in order to get George Foster's bat in the lineup.
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:05 PM (#2278541)
Just a quick little something about Madlock. I was really surprised to see his OPS+ was 123. Much higher than I ever realized. Granted that OPS+ underrates walks, but here's an interesting little chart.

PA diff is how many more PAs each guy has over Mad Dog. The last column is a back-of-the-envelope estimate of the OPS Madlock would have needed in those PAs to match each guy.

NAME PA OPS+ PA DIFF MATCH OPS+
--------------------------------------
Madlock 7372 123 ---- ---
Evans 10737 119 3365 109
Nettles 10226 110 2854 78
Bando 8288 119 916 92
Cey 8344 121 972 102
Boyer 8268 116 896 54
   24. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2278543)
Why the Cubs dealt Bill Madlock:

History of Violence.

In the minor leagues Madlock was suspended for an entire season for starting a brawl with an opposing team after being almost hit in the head by a pitch. Despite being 1971 and the primitive nature of the media I heard about this throwdown as it was a major melee. Madlock was accused of swinging his bat though he was later cleared of that charge by the league president.

Madlcok was hit by Jim Barr with a pitch in Candlestick Park and went beserk again triggering a huge brawl.

Madlock called out his pitching staff for "not protecting him" and reportedly a shoving match took place in the Cubs clubhouse some time in 1976 over the comments in the press. Madlock and two unidentified Cubs pitchers had to be separated.

Rep for malingering

From the very beginning of his career Madlock was accused of jaking it when a tough pitcher came to town. Now I have not sifted through the box scores but it is odd for a guy who hit like Madlock to receive as much negative press as he did almost from Day One. To my recollection there was no Mark Grace equivalent in the Cubs clubhouse feeding the press guys stories. It was just understood that if it was after August 1st and a good right-hander was on the mound Madlock would come up with a bad hamstring or some such.

Phil Wrigley after the Cubs trade Madlock: "When these players are impossible to deal with, I'd rather let somebody else have them."

While it is easy to assume the Cubs were "dumb" please note that Madlock moved around pretty regularly. Rangers, Cubs, Giants, Pirates, Dodgers, Tigers. While some of these were the result of being picked up for a pennant drive the general rule is that before serious free agency a good player just didn't wander around to this degree.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:07 PM (#2278544)
Forgot the tags....

NAME       PA OPSPA DIFF MATCH OPS+
--------------------------------------
Madlock  7372 123    ----     ---
Evans   10737 119    3365     109
Nettles 10226 110    2854      78
Bando    8288 119     916      92
Cey      8344 121     972     102 
Boyer    8268 116     896      54 
   26. BDC Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:36 PM (#2278590)
It was just understood that if it was after August 1st and a good right-hander was on the mound Madlock would come up with a bad hamstring or some such

Again, the actual evidence for this is not all that conclusive. Madlock missed quite a few games in 1975 and 1976, for instance, but they tended to come in consecutive stretches where he missed good and bad pitchers alike. That, or second games of double-headers with Mickey Lolich pitching (as on 3 June and 4 July 1976), not exactly the mark of a malingerer.

In September of '76, though, Madlock did start ten straight games and then sat during a start by Steve Carlton. He started another five in a row and then sat for a start by Tom Seaver (and for several subsequent games). Maybe those events were the start of the bad rep. Oddly enough, Madlock hit Carlton (.385) and Seaver (.429) very well that year, and hit over .300 against both of them for his career. He faced Carlton more than any other pitcher, with Steve Rogers second; Phil Niekro and Don Sutton are also in his top ten PAs-against for his career; Seaver is 11th. Madlock did not hit Niekro (.260) or Sutton (.272) well, at least for a guy who hit .305 lifetime. It sure doesn't look like he was ducking them.
   27. Catfish326 Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2278597)
Fans and media always punish the "bad boys".

Here are more details on Madlock's white heat:

On August 22, 1971, while with Pittsfield of the Eastern League, Madlock was suspended for the entire season for his involvement in a brawl. It all started when Madlock was nearly beaned in the head by pitcher Bob Cluck. An enraged Madlock broke from the restraint of home plate umpire Ken Kaiser and charged the mound, setting off a war. White Sox scout Deacon Jones, who was in the stands, said, "It was the best fight I've seen in my many years in baseball." The Pittsfield police had to come onto the field to restore order, arresting one player. Several witnesses claimed that Madlock had swung a bat and hit a Waterbury player in the arm. Later, the league shortened his suspension, League President Roy Jackson stating: "As I reconstruct the picture, there was no actual swinging of the bat over his head, but there was some swishing of it back and forth. I want to be fair about it. Madlock served a 14-day suspension and has paid a $75 fine. Madlock said, "That's a reasonable penalty. I feel that he has learned his lesson."

August 1975: Madlock was fined by the National League office for his argument with umpire Art Williams on a close play at first base in which Madlock was called out. Madlock was ejected by both Williams and home plate umpire Bruce Froemming, who overheard the Madlock's profanity-dripping tirade.

On May 1, 1976, Madlock was part of a fight between the Cubs and the Giants in Candlestick Park. It was all precipitated by brushback pitches. When Madlock was hit by Jim Barr, the ultimate fight broke out, hilighted by a matchup between Gary Matthews and Chicago's George Mitterwald. Madlock was fined $500 for charging the mound and throwing punches.

August 1976: Madlock criticized the Cubs' pitching staff for not "protecting him." After being plunked nine times by pitches to lead the NL to that point, Mad Dog challenged Cubs' pitchers to get some payback.

Why was Mad Dog traded? In January 1977, 82-year old owner Phil Wrigley said: "When these players are impossible to deal with, I'd rather let somebody else have them." Madlock was unhappy with the team's contract offer (reportedly over $100,000) and according to the Cubs, uncooperative. "My bags are packed. If the Cubs don't think I'm worth it, fine. They can send me on. I'd be stupid to sign for $105,000 or $110,000."

July 3, 1977, ump Art Williams called Madlock out on a pitch, which caused Madlock to drop to his knees, hand his bat to the umpire and proclaim: "You take this and try to hit that pitch." Madlock was ejected.

March 1978: Madlock and Giants' ace John Montefusco got into a clubhouse fight. Madlock interrupted Montefusco as he was being interviewed and soon fists were flying. After the fight, Madlock ripped his teammate: "I've heard and read where Montefusco has said this team is a team of losers."

April 1979, Madlock got into a feud with Giants ownership. On June 26 he helped instigate an ugly brawl between the Giants and Braves. Madlock was brushed back by a pitch and after popping up on a later delivery; he elbowed Atlanta pitcher Bo McLaughlin while running to first. A full-scale brawl followed, with Madlock jabbing punches at McLaughlin and Braves' pitcher Larry McWilliams as well. The incident was later called the "final straw" that sent Madlock to Pittsburgh in a trade two days later.

April, 1980, Madlock hollered at a Pirates' farmhand pitcher (Jess Zaske) to "throw harder!" during batting practice prior to an exhibition game against the Twins. Several Pirates players, including Dave Parker, standing around the cage yelled at Zaske to "Hit him!" Zaske came inside with his next pitch, skimming Madlock's left arm. Madlock walked to the mound and punched Zaske. Asked why he had thrown at Madlock, Zaske said "They told me to."

On May 1, 1980, Madlock got into his most infamous situation. After home plate umpire Gerry Crawford rung him up on a called strike three, Madlock let him have it. When a teammate handed him his glove, Madlock continued to argue with Crawford face-to-face. During the argument he took his glove and shoved it into the face of the startled umpire. He was immediately ejected and fined. The National League suspended him indefinitely, eventually deciding on 15 days and a $5,000 fine, one of the biggest punishments in history. The furor over his indiscretion was lost on Mad Dog: "If I had wanted to hurt him, I would have." Madlock lost far more than the $5,000 fine. His 15 days of unemployment cost him more than $27,000.

August 1980: Madlock came under attack by the Chicago Cubs after he rolled hard into second base, taking out rookie infielder Steve Macko and putting him on the disabled list. Madlock: "I was just being aggressive."

After the strike in 1981, Madlock criticized the scheduling of exhibition games during a training period. "We're better off just working out. I can't get up playing an American League club, not even in spring training."

In March of 1986 Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth exonerated Madlock as part of the "Pittsburgh Drug Trials." Madlock's name had been wrongly associated with that scandal, which netted several Pirates' and opposing players for using and selling illegal substances in MLB clubhouses in the early 1980s. Madlock held bitter feelings over the issue, especially toward former teammate Dave Parker, who had told the court that Madlock had given him amphetamines in their Pirates' days. Said Madlock, "It hurt to think that a guy you've known for 10, 12 years, someone you think is your friend, would lie for no apparent reason. I haven't talked to him since — and I don't know if I ever will — so I don't know his reason." Ueberroth and MLB's position was that Madlock had been wrongly accused. "Bill Madlock's reputation on and off the field is above reproach," the commishioner said. Parker shot back at his former teammate: "...Three or four other individuals had already mentioned his (Madlock's) name. When they asked me on the stand, I wasn't about to perjure myself for a borderline friend..."

September 1987: Now with Detroit, Madlock injured Blue Jays' infielder Tony Fernandez with a hard slide in a big game in the division race. Within a few days of the incident, Madlock was receiving death threats in his Toronto hotel room. "It's nothing. I've been in scrapes before, and this ain't even close."

In February 1989, more than a year after his final major league game, Madlock was attempting a comeback. But, he became discouraged. He said, "I'm not stupid enough to believe I can start out at the top, but you don't have to go to college and get a Ph.D. to be a manager. We (blacks) can play for them, but we can't manage them. We can hit home runs and chase the ball, run it down, but when the black player is getting ready to retire, all they say is, 'See you later.'"

In August of 1991 Madlock's name was cleared in charges of income tax evasion. It was revealed that his former agent had swindled the IRS and was solely responsible for the shady dealing for which Madlock's name had been dragged into the headlines for a few years.

Madlock suffered some embarrassing episodes after his playing days were through. Twice he was arrested for writing bad checks, once as he was leaving a plane taking him back from an old-timers' event at the All-Star game in 1995. He also failed to appear several times for court hearings and bench warrants were issued for his arrest.
   28. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2278608)
Bob:

As I wrote, Madlock had that rep literally from the very beginning of his career. Not living in or around Chicago I cannot attest to all the dynamics of Bill's time with the Cubs.

But as a baseball fan with a lot of informal contacts in baseball Madlock's rep was not flattering. Everyone agreed he could hit. Beyond that......

And it wasn't like his rep suddenly improved moving to the Giants or Pirates.
   29. Boots Day Posted: January 11, 2007 at 06:58 PM (#2278627)
Granted that OPS+ underrates walks,

It does? I understand that OPS+ underrates OBP, but why does it underrate walks in particular?

Madlock, by the way, had the most OBP-heavy OPS+ of all the players on your chart, so if it underrates anyone, it's Mad Dog.
   30. Boots Day Posted: January 11, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2278632)
August 1980: Madlock came under attack by the Chicago Cubs after he rolled hard into second base, taking out rookie infielder Steve Macko and putting him on the disabled list. Madlock: "I was just being aggressive."

For a while, this incident was thought to be the cause of the swollen testicles that Macko began suffering from. It was later found to be testicular cancer, which would kill him in 1981.

In February 1989, more than a year after his final major league game, Madlock was attempting a comeback. But, he became discouraged. He said, "I'm not stupid enough to believe I can start out at the top, but you don't have to go to college and get a Ph.D. to be a manager. We (blacks) can play for them, but we can't manage them.

Madlock did eventually manage the independent Newark Bears. For a time, he was Rickey's manager.
   31. BDC Posted: January 11, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2278658)
as a baseball fan with a lot of informal contacts in baseball Madlock's rep was not flattering

And I am not defending him, just checking the evidence that he ducked strong pitchers -- evidence that turns out to be thin at best ...
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 11, 2007 at 07:35 PM (#2278679)
Boots,

I meant OBP, my apologies.
   33. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 12, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2279109)
I agree with boots - if anything I think OPS+ might overrate walks, while underrating OBP.

Let's see . . .

You've got a guy who is 200-for-600 with 50 walks. Let's say he has 300 TB.

That gives him a line of .333/.385/.500. OPS+ .885

Now we give him 5 walks or 5 singles - how does that affect OPS?

5-BB: Now he's .333/.389/.500, OPS+ .889

5-1B: Now he's .339/.389/.504, OPS+ .893

Is a single 2x as valuable as a walk? Using XRuns a single is .47 of a run and a walk is .33 of a run.

So maybe walks are underrated in OPS+?

I know Robert Dudek did something awhile back on something called a modified slugging percentage, that used proper weights for each event instead of the 1/2/3/4 that SLG uses. I'd bet something like that could tell us exactly what is over and underrated in OPS.

That would actually be good to know, because we are splitting hairs on some of these guys. It would be nice to know if 2B/3B/HR are overstated, 1B are understated etc.. I know we have things like EQA to tell us, but we all use OPS+ a lot, so it'd be nice to have a check on what's overrated in it.

Anybody feel like figuring it out, or pointing me to someone that has?
   34. Brent Posted: January 12, 2007 at 07:12 AM (#2279146)
Here's a formula I put together to correct for the incorrect relative weighting of OBP and SLG in OPS+. However, it doesn't correct the weights of the component elements within SLG.
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: January 14, 2007 at 03:11 AM (#2280243)
On May 1, 1976, Madlock was part of a fight between the Cubs and the Giants in Candlestick Park. It was all precipitated by brushback pitches. When Madlock was hit by Jim Barr, the ultimate fight broke out, hilighted by a matchup between Gary Matthews and Chicago's George Mitterwald. Madlock was fined $500 for charging the mound and throwing punches.

So he was moved to the Giants!

Madlock was 25 years old and had just come off two consecutive batting titles - which as pointed out early was considered a really big deal in those days. With only 3 full seasons under his belt he probably had the highest career BA among active players at the time (anybody know where you could check that?). Surprise, surprise, he wanted a big raise for the next season.

From the distance of AL fandom, he was maybe the new Carew.
   36. Mike Webber Posted: January 14, 2007 at 04:12 AM (#2280257)
With only 3 full seasons under his belt he probably had the highest career BA among active players at the time (anybody know where you could check that?).

Parsed from the SBE
Minimum 1500 PAs
AVERAGE                         AVG    
1    Bill Madlock               .337   
2    Rod Carew                  .328   
3    Ralph Garr                 .315   
4    Pete Rose                  .311   
5    Rico Carty                 .308   
6    George Brett               .306   
7    Hank Aaron                 .306   
8    Tony Oliva                 .304   
9    Manny Sanguillen           .303   
10   Mike Hargrove              .302   
11   Bob Watson                 .301   
12   Steve Garvey               .301   
13   Richie Zisk                .299 

Who is the bigger surpise? Richie Zisk or Manny Sanguillen
   37. jingoist Posted: January 14, 2007 at 04:39 AM (#2280266)
So...when I go over to bbref and look at Madlocks stats, what career shape am I seeing?
His peak looks like years 1 thru 4, but then he has another nice little bump in years 9-11.
Would it be fair to say those entire 11 years were his prime?
Just asking 'cause I'm not sure what I see is what I think I see.
   38. bbfan Posted: August 29, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2503807)
Madlock was a great hitter to watch. He had a beautiful short swing. What was great about him was that the Steve Carlton would blank the Pirates on 4 hits and Madlock would have 3 of them. He could hit the best of the best. Not quite a HOF career, but if you could put a swing in the HOF, his would be there.
   39. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 29, 2007 at 10:04 PM (#2503825)
July 3, 1977, ump Art Williams called Madlock out on a pitch, which caused Madlock to drop to his knees, hand his bat to the umpire and proclaim: "You take this and try to hit that pitch."

This is hilarious.

I wasn't aware of Madlock's troubles (I was pretty young when he was in the last stretch of his career, all I knew was the batting average). Thanks for the lists above.
   40. Paul Wendt Posted: August 30, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2504613)
37. jingoist Posted: January 13, 2007 at 11:39 PM (#2280266)
So...when I go over to bbref and look at Madlocks stats, what career shape am I seeing?
His peak looks like years 1 thru 4, but then he has another nice little bump in years 9-11.
Would it be fair to say those entire 11 years were his prime?
Just asking 'cause I'm not sure what I see is what I think I see.


11-year prime: September '73 plus 1974-83.
He played 90% of team games only twice, about 85% twice, about 80% five times. And he didn't decline into 80% play, only a little better than 80% in his first five full seasons (122-142 games, mean 132).
   41. DanG Posted: August 30, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2504678)
With only 3 full seasons under his belt he probably had the highest career BA among active players at the time (anybody know where you could check that?).

Parsed from the SBE
Minimum 1500 PAs

AVERAGE AVG
1 Bill Madlock .337
2 Rod Carew .328
3 Ralph Garr .315
- Ken Griffey .314
4 Pete Rose .311
5 Rico Carty .308
6 George Brett .306
7 Hank Aaron .305
8 Tony Oliva .304
- Dave Parker .304
9 Manny Sanguillen .303
10 Mike Hargrove .302
- Manny Mota .302
11 Bob Watson .301
12 Steve Garvey .301
13 Richie Zisk .299

I get the above additions from my lookup.
   42. BDC Posted: August 30, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2504697)
What was great about him was that the Steve Carlton would blank the Pirates on 4 hits and Madlock would have 3 of them

Not to drizzle all over your post, bbfan, but that never happened :) The closest was on 11 September 1981, when Carlton and Jerry Reed combined to shut out the Pirates on seven hits; Madlock had two of the four against Carlton.

Madlock hit .311 against Carlton -- better than most people hit Carlton, of course, but not in the top 20 guys in hitting against him. And since Madlock hit .305 lifetime, Carlton was not one of his particular punching bags at all.
   43. McLovin Posted: August 31, 2007 at 03:58 AM (#2505761)
What was great about him was that the Steve Carlton would blank the Pirates on 4 hits and Madlock would have 3 of them.

Carlton threw 6 shutouts against the Pirates in his career, but none when Madlock was there.

On 9/11/81 he gave up 4 hits and 0 runs over 7 IP; Madlock had 2 of the hits. That's the closet I can find to a game like you describe. Carlton made 19 starts against Pitt while Madlock was there, with 4 complete games. In three of those he gave up 3 runs; in the other only 1 run but 9 hits. Madlock was only 3-15 in those complete games.

However, Madlock did hit Carlton well overall, .311/.351/.484 in 131 PA. Carlton is the pitcher against whom Madlock had the most PA and the most RBI. Carlton faced 8 batters more than Madlock, but Madlock had the 2nd most hits off him.
   44. McLovin Posted: August 31, 2007 at 04:00 AM (#2505763)
That's really bizarre...Bob Dernier posted that 12 hours ago, but I didn't see it until just now. I took a while to finish my post but not quite that long. Hmmm....sorry.
   45. McLovin Posted: August 31, 2007 at 04:01 AM (#2505764)
Maybe I'll go ruin bbfan's other Pittsburgh memories, unless Bob has beaten me there, too.

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