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Monday, November 12, 2007

Chuck Knoblauch

Eligible in 2008.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:18 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2611887)
He wont make the HoM, but he was a great player for a couple of seasons.
   2. OCF Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:58 AM (#2611901)
After the 1999 season, I put together a "team of the decade" bit for some friends. I was using raw stats, and RC calculations off of that - I didn't really have defensive metrics or park factors. And although I ultimately ranked both Biggio and Alomar ahead of him, I did take him seriously. From the stuff I did at the time, stats from 1990 through 1999:

Biggio: 1515 games, .297/.386/.441, 6.51 RC/G
Alomar: 1421 games, .308/.382/.424, 6.49 RC/G
Knoblauch 1313 games, .298/.388/.424, 6.29 RC/G

I should revisit all of those numbers, with proper park factors, and league offense level corrections - including issues involving the DH (important for comparing AL player Knoblauch with two NL players.) And consider more fully the question of defensive value. And, of course, a decade is a matter of arbitrary endpoints. (By the way, that 1515 games played in the 90's for Biggio leads all major leaguers. Of the people I took seriously for the all-decade team, Ripken was second with 1475 games, Bonds third with 1434, Alomar fourth, and Griffey fifth with 1408.) Knoblauch's value did drop precipitously when he couldn't play 2B any more.

I did decide that the best player of the decade who was an infielder and had that general offensive shape was Barry Larkin - the best SLG of the bunch, the best basestealer, and he played SS. Knoblauch was the worst - the worst baserunner, the least defensive value - but he belonged in the conversation. And I cheated my way out of deciding between Biggio and Alomar by moving Biggio to 3B.
   3. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2611923)
Alomar was AL from '91 on.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:06 AM (#2611934)
Biggio: 1515 games, .297/.386/.441, 6.51 RC/G
Alomar: 1421 games, .308/.382/.424, 6.49 RC/G
Knoblauch 1313 games, .298/.388/.424, 6.29 RC/G


That's a pretty good crop of second baseman. Is there an era that can rival that?
   5. OCF Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:59 AM (#2611960)
Well, Collins and Hornsby overlap by quite a bit, and in the first two years of Hornsby's career, Lajoie was still active. Gehringer/Gordon/Doerr? Whitaker/Sandberg and both at least overlap with Morgan?
   6. baudib Posted: November 12, 2007 at 07:29 AM (#2611974)
What exactly happened to Knoblauch? It wasn't all the move out of the Metrodome. Did New York just give him the yips? Hard to imagine; he was so impressive in the World Series as a rookie.
   7. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 12, 2007 at 09:06 AM (#2612005)
What exactly happened to Knoblauch?

The rumors I heard in NYC was that Knoblauch was very close to his father, and had a great deal of difficulty dealing with his death (1999).
   8. DL from MN Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2612113)
Knoblauch should be a no-brainer LOCK for the Twins HoF (they just inducted Gaetti) but I think the circumstances of his departure will overshadow the number of great seasons he put up as a Twin. All people here remember about Knoblauch is he didn't want to lose in Minnesota during the last few good years of his career. For some reason that merits boos and thrown objects from the locals.

I think there may have been a divorce in addition to the loss of his father.
   9. BDC Posted: November 12, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2612128)
What exactly happened to Knoblauch?

My guess would be that as a hitter he peaked at 27, was a decent hitter for a few years after that, and was pretty much washed up by his thirties. He had two very good years for the Yankees after he arrived in the Bronx, really making that 1998-99 bunch into a very great team -- not that he was a great player anymore, but that he could get on base at a Crosetti-like clip, and middle infielders who can do that are thin on the ground.

The throwing yips were something else, obviously, a total mental block, and indeed might have had something to do with family problems, but not with playing in New York per se.
   10. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:22 PM (#2612192)
Knoblauch's 1999 is the best season by a Yankee's second baseman in probably 30 years.
   11. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2612195)
Seriously, as great as the 1998 Yankees were, watching Knoblauch/Jeter bat 1-2 in 1999 was almost unfair.
   12. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2612197)
One more thing about Knoblauch: he hit two incredibly clutch World Series homers with the Yanks.
   13. OCF Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:34 PM (#2612205)
The all-decade team revisited, using my current tools. The following represents offense only and the years 1990-1999 only. And then, just for the heck of it, I added in Doyle, 1910-1919 only.

Alomar 56 56 44 42 25 24 20 11  8  4
Biggio 81 68 51 45 41 39 34 29 17  3
Knblch 59 42 35 26 24 18 10  9 
-5
Doyle  59 48 44 34 30 25 20 18 15 12 


Wow - Biggio stands out a lot further than I thought he would. Of course, both Alomar and Biggio have contributions from outside this decade; Knoblauch not so much.
   14. Loren F. Posted: November 12, 2007 at 05:57 PM (#2612237)
Knoblauch's 1999 is the best season by a Yankee's second baseman in probably 30 years.

Chuck was very good in 1999 and that year would certainly be in the conversation about "best Yankee 2B season in 30 years" along with Willie Randolph's 1985, for instance. But even before he developed the throwing yip, Knobby's fielding wasn't what it had been, and he didn't have the speedy turf to help boost his singles and doubles output. I think Soriano in 2002 (much more power, offsetting poorer fielding) and Cano in 2007 (great fielding and slightly better power, offsetting inferior OBP) were both a shade better than Chuck's 1999.

As a Yankees fan, I recall people being impressed with his patience and the number of pitches he seemed to in every PA (if someone else has those numbers, I'd love to see them). But there was always some disappointment that the team didn't get 1995-96 Knoblauch. Of course, that was an unsustainable peak, but Chuck was SO good those years -- higher WARP3 than any two seasons that, say, David Justice produced. It's really too bad he had to move off 2B, but then it's generally not a position that engenders long careers (barring exceptions like Joe Morgan).
   15. The District Attorney Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:29 PM (#2612276)
Left Fielder Chuck Knoblauch cured the throwing yips, but it was just a sad sight to see. He had very, very little value out there, and I seem to remember Bill James sarcastically ridiculing the Royals' acquisition of him in 2002, which was certainly justified by the completely pathetic 210/284/300 he would proceed to put up. I wonder how different history would have been if the Yanks had moved Soriano out to LF in 2001 instead of Knoblauch...
   16. aleskel Posted: November 12, 2007 at 06:40 PM (#2612300)
As a Yankees fan, I recall people being impressed with his patience and the number of pitches he seemed to in every PA (if someone else has those numbers, I'd love to see them).

agreed - he was one of the peskiest hitters I've ever seen. Never mind his terrific eye and contact abilities, but he was so short and had such a hunched-over stance, I would argue he had the smallest strike zone in the game.
   17. sotapop Posted: November 12, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2612449)
not to mention one of the coolest moments in WS history -- essentially saving Morris' game 7 shutout (and the entire series) with the bluff play at 2B.
   18. hbp4me Posted: December 03, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2632320)
Played hard and was loved by most, he got into it with Tom Kelly, an envoy of The Way To Play, and soon lost the ability to make the second-easiest throw in the game.

Save your stat macros, apostles of James. The Baseball Gods even things out.

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