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Monday, October 09, 2006

Bobby Murcer

Eligible in 1988.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:23 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:29 PM (#2204951)
For obvious reasons, when I think of Murcer, I think of Bonds. Barry's father was better, though he never had the season that Bobby Ray had in 1971.

Military credit?
   2. Jose Canusee Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2204957)
Maybe Steve Treder would have this book, but I only remember a book with reminiscences of early SF players. Murcer got interviewed and all his section said was something like "I was never a Giant."
   3. Steve Treder Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2204968)
Yeah, the book is titled "SF Giants" or something like that, and it's a very nice series of interviews with former and current Giants players (as of 1979).

You're right, all Murcer says is, "I was never a Giant."
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2204973)
Murcer got interviewed and all his section said was something like "I was never a Giant."

I'm surprised he dissed SF, since he performed well there (though admittedly not as well as his first stint with the Yanks).
   5. Steve Treder Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2204978)
I'm not sure he intended it as a diss to SF, although it's so curt you can't tell exactly what he means.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:03 PM (#2204985)
I'm not sure he intended it as a diss to SF, although it's so curt you can't tell exactly what he means.

You might be right, Steve, though I'm skeptical. Did he have problems with the media and/or fans back then?
   7. Guapo Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2204989)
I don't know that he was trying to diss SF, but Murcer was an unhappy camper with the Giants. He was bummed about being traded by the Yankees, and also hated playing in Candlestick.
   8. Steve Treder Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#2204990)
Did he have problems with the media and/or fans back then?

No, he was popular with the fans and media. Perhaps he didn't get along with Giants' management. At any rate he did possess a dry, sarcastic sense of humor, and it's certainly possible he just didn't feel like talking to this author when he was called (the author was just a small-time, self-published kind of guy, not a "real" sportswriter), and just blew him off with a wry dismissal.
   9. Boogie Nights Powell Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2205004)
Blowing off S.F. may had to do with Murcer being extremely hurt and totally pissed off that he had been traded from the Yankees. I don't think it was anything personal against San Fran.
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#2205015)
BTW, as exciting a player he was, he's the opposite as an announcer. Bor-ing!
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 09, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#2205033)
At any rate, what about the player? Well, WS sees Murcer as the best player in the AL for a brief stretch in the 1970s. As you all know, I like to use three-year periods and percentages of the MVP's total as my measuring stick of dominance. By this admittedly high standard, Murcer was the best AL player during the periods 1970-1972 and 1971-1973. From 1969-1971, he was in a small clump of players who were within 5% of the best player (Bando). Murcer is the best AL CF by the same method for 1970-1972 and 1971-1973 and he's the best NL RF in 1973-1975 and 1974-1976. (I do allow for league switching and for CFs to move to a corner in my system---but not for vise verse.) Then he declines pretty quickly.

Murcer lacks the career goods to be a really heady candidate, especially as a RF, but he's got a very good peak. I don't know that it would be completely unreasonable for someone to have him on a ballot depending on their peak/career orientation.
   12. DavidFoss Posted: October 09, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2205110)
Murcer is the best AL CF by the same method for 1970-1972 and 1971-1973 and he's the best NL RF in 1973-1975 and 1974-1976. (I do allow for league switching and for CFs to move to a corner in my system---but not for vise verse.) Then he declines pretty quickly.

Anyone know what happened to him? That decline was pretty quick.
   13. Repoz Posted: October 09, 2006 at 10:17 PM (#2205133)
Early on ,Murcer's lame nickname was "The Boy Wonder"...of course, he man who put lard in dullard, Frank Messer used this at times.

Most nights Messer would go home after Yankee games, have a sensible dinner, shove his misdirected toes into make-believe leather sandals and wonder how Big Eye Art ever got so popular.
   14. Cblau Posted: October 09, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2205141)
Don't remember that one. His actual early nickname, at least among teammates, was "Lemon". Of course, later it was "Black Cloud." As for military credit, I wouldn't think so. Although I like to think he would have developed earlier and had two more peak years, the fact is he matured a lot in the army, and gained a lot of strength. He might not have been as good without that stint.

Anyway, he's clearly a no-brainer, first ballot PHOMer.
   15. Daryn Posted: October 09, 2006 at 10:59 PM (#2205153)
I like to use three-year periods and percentages of the MVP's total as my measuring stick of dominance. Murcer was the best AL player during the periods 1970-1972 and 1971-1973.


Setting aside the limited value of this tool in determining who was the best player for a three year period, don't Dick Allen, Joe Rudi, Boog Powell and Tony Oliva finish ahead of him from 1970-1972 (and a couple of others beat him out in 71 to 73, including Bando and Blue)? Is Jeff Burroughs the Number 2 player in the Al from 72-74? Is David Ortiz the best player in the AL between 2003 and 2005, or does Vladdy squeak ahead?

And why, oh why, would you use MVP shares as anything more than a peripheral factor -- particularly as stats savvy a voter as you are? Of course, ignore this post if by "measuring stick of dominance" you meant "fun little tool that I don't actually base my votes on".
   16. Daryn Posted: October 09, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2205155)
As may be apparent from my post above, Murcer doesn't do anything for me. Two superlative seasons and a relatively short career.
   17. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 09, 2006 at 11:05 PM (#2205158)
As may be apparent from my post above, Murcer doesn't do anything for me.

Could have fooled me. :-)
   18. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:12 AM (#2205256)
Setting aside the limited value of this tool in determining who was the best player for a three year period, don't Dick Allen, Joe Rudi, Boog Powell and Tony Oliva finish ahead of him from 1970-1972 (and a couple of others beat him out in 71 to 73, including Bando and Blue)? Is Jeff Burroughs the Number 2 player in the Al from 72-74?

Murcer's monster 1971-72 does put him at the top of the AL between 1970-72 and 1971-73 with most metrics. RCAA goes to Murcer for both periods (trailing BiWilliams & Aaron by a small margin in 1970-72 and Stargell for a large margin in 1971-73. Win Shares goes to Murcer. You might find one that doesn't agree, but I believe most of them will pick Murcer for these two periods.

(The best Burroughs does in RCAA is 5th from 73-75, far behind Carew, ReJackson and Mayberry.)

Murcer's two-year peak compares very well with the 2-year peaks of guys like DSnider and KGriffeyJr. (arguably a bit better).

Of course, it fun to point that out in these threads, but even peak voters need more than two years to induct a guy. His post-1973 OPS+ is a measley 113 which sinks his career numbers down to 124 in just 7700 PA with a position shift putting the plurality of his defensive games in RF instead of CF. I respect the greatness of his peak, but its just not long enough to make up for the sub-par career numbers.

An interesting comparison is Hugh Duffy. Duffy's got the big year. His career numbers sunk down to 122 in 7800 PA with a position shift putting the plurality of his defensive games in LF/RF instead of CF. Both played about ~1650 games in the OF. Duffy gets the nod because of season-length adjustments, but that's about it offensively. How much better was Duffy with the glove?

Now, I've never been a Duffy fan, so its not an endorsement, but its an interesting comparison (at least by my current cursory glance).
   19. DavidFoss Posted: October 10, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2205275)
Oops... I'm posting too much today! I spent much of the day at the auto mechanics computer lounge waiting for my car to get fixed. The HOM helped me pass the time researching stuff today, but my error rate has been a bit high in the May & Tiant threads. That is, triple-check me today. :-)

My Duffy/Murcer comparison looks decent at first glance, but Duffy beats Murcer in career WS 295-277. Almost all of that is defense, but again that's *before* any season-length adjustment are applied.

Still, this certainly doesn't make me change my mind about not voting for Duffy.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 03:56 AM (#2205366)
Murcer did have a great great peak. Similar player in terms of career shape and total value (not so much style) is Fred Lynn, as I remember them both.

OPS+

Lynn 129/178-53-48-37-32-31-30-30-29-20-18-13-0 in 13 yrs and 7250 AB+BB (560/yr)
Murcer 124/185-71-35-27-22-20-18-16-8-6-6-3 in 12 yrs and 7340 AB+BB (610/yr)

OK, Freddy was better, though it is a hell of a thing to realize that Murcer's 2 best seasons are better than Fred's 1975 and 1979. That is saying something.

Win Shares

17. CF: Lynn 280/34-33-27/131/23.0
17. RF: Murcer 277/38-36-27/146/23.5

Wow.
   21. Repoz Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:17 AM (#2205381)
Don't remember that one.

Cliff...The Daily News used the "Boy Wonder" headline a number of times (I still have my trusty Yankee newspaper scrapebooks...collecting dust next to my Little Lord picture sleeve collection ) and Messer picked up on it for a while.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 10, 2006 at 02:00 PM (#2205521)
And why, oh why, would you use MVP shares as anything more than a peripheral factor -- particularly as stats savvy a voter as you are? Of course, ignore this post if by "measuring stick of dominance" you meant "fun little tool that I don't actually base my votes on".

Daryn,

Not using actual MVP voting shares, but rather percentage of top position player's WS. If it came across as MVP shares in the voted-on-award sense, then the fault is totally mine.

Here's how I figure it:

1) Find top position player's WS for year n, n-1, n-2. In shorthand I call this the "MVP"

2) Find WS for player in question for year n, n-1, n-2.

3) Divided player's WS into MVP's WS for each season:

player,n player,n-1 player,n-2
-------- ------------ --------------
MVP,n MPV,n-1 MVP,n-2

4) Average the three percentages to find a three-year MVP percentage. That's the number in question.

For Murcer, then...

1) AL MVPs in 1970 (Yaz), 1971 (Murcer), 1972 (Allen) garnered 36, 38, and 40 WS.

2) Murcer got 27, 38, 36 WS.

3) His running MVP pcts are .75, 1.00, .90.

4) His three-year MVP pct is .88

His three-year MVP pct in 1973 is .89 after netting 25 of the leader's total 32 WS in 1973.

The other players mentioned had these MVP pcts in 1970-1972, 1971-1973.
Dick Allen .76, .73
Joe Rudi .49, .51
Boog Powell .60, .45
Tony Oliva .49, .35
Jeff Burroughs .04, .28.

The big idea for me is this: three years is the smallest possible length of time that seems possible for describing a player as the best in his league. Year one is the breakout. Year two is the show-me year. Year three is where you establish some claim on long-term dominance. Meanwhile, in a given league the distribution of value can change year to year. So using a running average smooths that out nicely.

Anyway, to flesh this out.

In 1970-1972 Murcer was the best, only Roy White was within 10 percent of him.
In 1971-1973 Murcer was the best, with only Reggie J within 10 percent of him.
In 1972-1974 Murcer fell off a bit. Reggie was the best, Grich was within 5% of Jackson, and Carew fell within 10%.

Once Murcer went to the NL, Morgan was so dominant that no player, including Murcer had any kind of chance until 1978, by which time Murcer had pretty much tapered out.
   23. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#2205524)
Cliff...The Daily News used the "Boy Wonder" headline a number of times (I still have my trusty Yankee newspaper scrapebooks

The thought of Murcer in Robin's old costume makes me want to vomit.
   24. Daryn Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:25 PM (#2205668)
Not using actual MVP voting shares, but rather percentage of top position player's WS. If it came across as MVP shares in the voted-on-award sense, then the fault is totally mine.

No, doctor, I misread. I read "percentage of the MVP's total" as MVP award shares, but that is not what you said. Percentage of the best position player's Win Shares is a nice tool. My apologies.
   25. JPWF13 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2205681)
I basically missed Murcer's peak
I never really saw him play until 1974- at which point I founf two things to be quite odd

1: He was regarded as a star- he seemed to me to be a decent player, but star???
2: He was regarded as a disppointment by the same people who thought he was a star...

In my (young & feeble) mind Bobby Bonds was a *star* how on earth could someone trade him straight up for Murcer???

What I know now is- Murcer had a terrific 2 year peak- just before I became aware of him- he had been a star, and his off year in 1974 aside it would have been reasonable for someone to think then in 1974 that he still had some star caliber years left.

Murcer was a disappointment because he wasn't Mickey Mantle [the Mick of course got a lot of grief early on because he wasn't Joe D- but that mostly wore off because he was as it turns out as good or better than Joe D- not that the old timers would ever admit it]

Murcer and Bonds were traded for eachother because they had disappointed their respective teams- Bobby Bonds turned out to not be Willie Mays- and both had subpar years in 1974.

Murcer's career ended up looking a lot like Dusty Baker's- but Dusty never had that peak. I had always regarded Baker as being a better player- looking back now I think I was wrong about that.

Hall of very good....
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:21 PM (#2205779)
My apologies.

No problem, Daryn!
   27. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#2205782)
basically missed Murcer's peak
I never really saw him play until 1974- at which point I founf two things to be quite odd

1: He was regarded as a star- he seemed to me to be a decent player, but star???
2: He was regarded as a disppointment by the same people who thought he was a star...


very astute, young man

what happened to Bobby was the New York "all-or-nothing" effect

Murcer was touted as carrying on the CF tradition of Mantle/DiMag and was teated (in NY) not as a star, but a superstar. Then one day (in 1974) it's as if all of NY woke up and realized he WASN'T a superstar (just a very good player), and turned on him

it was something to behold--he went from being the best player on the team to the main thing wrong with the team ("how dare you not be as good as we said you were")

and he suffered the ultimate indignity of being moved out of CF to let Elliott Maddox play there
   28. JPWF13 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 06:54 PM (#2205800)
and he suffered the ultimate indignity of being moved out of CF to let Elliott Maddox play there


ouch, but then again, as I said I really didn't see him play until 1974, by the time he was on the Giants it was pretty inconceivable to me that he'd once been a CFer...

one thing I note looking at his BBREF card- from 69-73 he hit 26, 23, 25, 33 and 22 homers- in 1976 he hit 23 in the NL
that doesn't seem like a lot today, but 3 of those years had him among the leaders in Homers.

It's widely believed taht teh ball git juiced up a bit in 1977 when MLB went to a different manufacturer- and a lot of guys' power number went up (not when compared to today, but when compared to 1963-1976)- Murcer's didn't. Not only was his peak short, but it was poorly timed...
   29. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2205825)
it was something to behold--he went from being the best player on the team to the main thing wrong with the team ("how dare you not be as good as we said you were")

I hope we never go back to the hagiography that passed as reporting from before our times, but sometimes I have to wonder about that when I think about the excesses of the "chipmunks" from the Seventies onward.
   30. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:35 PM (#2205833)
I hope we never go back to the hagiography that passed as reporting from before our times

whaddya mean, "our"

but sometimes I have to wonder about that when I think about the excesses of the "chipmunks" from the Seventies onward.

I agree--knee-jerk ripping of your team's players is as mindless as knee-jerk praise (someone should 'splain this to that, ummm.. "coward" in Chicago)
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 10, 2006 at 07:37 PM (#2205837)
whaddya mean, "our"

Well, there are some exceptions... :-D
   32. baudib Posted: October 10, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2205876)
Murcer fits in along this family:

Averill-Doby-R. Smith-Lynn-B. Williams-Edmonds

Maybe Duke Snider should be in this group as well. These guys share a large number of characteristics. Most of them started out well but they came up when they were 23 or older, not 19-20 like Mays/Mantle/Griffey. They're pretty much a B+/A- in every skill besides basestealing. they all have brief periods where they appear to be the best or close to the best players in the league, but fade fairly quickly.
   33. Daryn Posted: October 10, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#2205884)
A. Averill-Doby-R. Smith-Lynn-B. Williams-Edmonds
Q. What is the definition of the bubble outfielder candidate?
   34. JPWF13 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2205973)
Averill-Doby-R. Smith-Lynn-B. Williams-Edmonds

Maybe Duke Snider should be in this group as well. These guys share a large number of characteristics. Most of them started out well but they came up when they were 23 or older, not 19-20 like Mays/Mantle/Griffey.


I think Averill got stuck in the PCL for awhile after he was "ready", and Doby may have lost a season or two to the colorline-

with respect to the general observation- I think there are a lot of guys who come up (for good) at 23/24- look like possible HOFers at their peaks 27-29 and then fade quickly. One stathead site actually has a general rule - late to arrive early to leave-

oddly many non-statheads believe the reverse is true- that the "older" guys who spend more time in the minors "learning" their craft last longer once they get to the MLB... (It's similar to the widespread belief among baseball men and casual fans that finesse/control pitchers last longer than power pitchers- the idea seems intuitively correct to THEM so they reject any contrary evidence out of hand)
   35. sunnyday2 Posted: October 10, 2006 at 10:15 PM (#2206011)
Snider is above that group, maybe in a group pretty much all his own between the inner circle CFers and the next group. Maybe Slidin' Billy is in that group and maybe Ken Griffey Jr. Other than that, there's nobody who stands out from "the rest of the HoF CFers."

Averill and Doby are clearly in the next group with a few other guys--Roush, maybe Puckett (maybe not).

Reggie, Freddy, Bernie, Edmonds, to me at least, are another group a little below that one.--i.e. 4th tier. But we know that the HoF has A, B, C and D members. Maybe these guys are D definition HoMers? Maybe not. Averill, Doby and Roush more clearly are in.

Here is one cut at BJ's list. (The numbers are James' ranking, the categories are mine. The players in parentheses are obviously guys who played a fair amount of CF but are rated elsewhere by James.)

Definition A/Inner Circle

1. Mays
2. Cobb
3. Mantle
4. Speaker
(4. Rickey Henderson)
5. DiMag

Definition B

6. Snider
(7. Simmons)
7. Griffey
9. Hamilton

Definition C

11. Doby
14. Averill
15. Roush
(19. Dawson--RF)
38. Browning
40. Gore
53. Hines--his timeline is a little steep

Definition D--borderline, some are maybe not even Definition D but HoVG; in fact maybe most of them are below the in/out line

8. Puckett
10. Wynn
12. Murphy
13. Berger
16. Ashburn
17. Lynn
(17. Murcer--RF)
18. Pinson
19. Wilson
20. Duffy
(20. R. Smith--RF)
23. Carey--already PHoM, the only Definition D player so honored
28. GVH
   36. OCF Posted: October 16, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#2212812)
Murcer replaced Mantle in CF. Murcer was similar in size to Mantle (both are listed as 5'11'', with Mantle shown as a little heavier, not that I ever believe listed weights). Both Murcer and Mantle played SS when they were young. Murcer was even from Oklahoma.

That was one comparison he never had a chance to escape from.

I've got a great 2-year peak for him in 1971-72, but overall, there's not enough in the package to move him over Duffy and Van Haltren for me, or to bring him up into Wynn's neighborhood. Probably not in my top 30.

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