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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Davey Lopes

Eligible in 1993.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:19 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:22 PM (#2277533)
A really good player who started his MLB career when he was 27, can anyone fashion a HoM case for him?
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2277560)
Bill James has him as the #23 2B of all-time, which sounds good, but he's behind Chuck Knoblauch and Dick McAuliffe. OTOH he's ahead of Johnny Evers, Red Schoendienst and Bill Mazeroski. His numbers could not be more comparable to McAuliffe's BTW. They are nowhere as good as Evers' so that's a matter of the timeline. #25ish seems about right, and that's probably not quite good enough. Cey is clearly if narrowly better.
   3. DavidFoss Posted: January 10, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2277606)
A really good player who started his MLB career when he was 27, can anyone fashion a HoM case for him?

Three years in AAA. Is there a story behind that? Late Bloomer or Blocked. The Dodgers had Lee Lacy & Jim Lefebvre at 2B. He'd make a good "prospect retro" for John Sickels (if he wasn't too old for that type of thing).
   4. JPWF13 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2277716)
Three years in AAA. Is there a story behind that?


late bloomer- #s were really not all that impressive for the PCL.
   5. Jose Canusee Posted: January 10, 2007 at 07:54 PM (#2277780)
My only recollection of him playing was an inside-the-park HR he hit with the A's. Retrosheet places it as 6/18/84 vs. KC. Willie Wilson was the CF, seems I remember him trying to shoestring it in the gap and missing, and the other OF crossing behind him but neither diving for it.
   6. DavidFoss Posted: January 10, 2007 at 09:51 PM (#2277884)
late bloomer- #s were really not all that impressive for the PCL.

Even early-1970s-PCL and for-a-middle-infielder?

Not really disagreeing, just double-checking.
   7. Guapo Posted: January 10, 2007 at 10:03 PM (#2277896)
You've gotta love a guy who goes 47 for 51 as a basestealer at age 40.
   8. Kyle S Posted: January 10, 2007 at 10:11 PM (#2277901)
just going by the #s, he looks to have been a tremendous baserunner. can anyone here confirm?
   9. DavidFoss Posted: January 10, 2007 at 10:33 PM (#2277933)
From baseballlibrary.com

One of the most effective thieves in a basestealing era, Lopes stole five in a game on August 24, 1974 to tie a 70-year-old NL record and in 1975 he set a since-broken ML record with 38 consecutive successful steals. He was the league leader in 1975 (77) and 1976 (63), and he stole five in the 1981 LCS and added four more in the World Series. He set the NLCS career record of nine, and his ten in the WS ranks third. He stole 47 bases at age thirty-nine and 25 at forty. His career total of 557 stolen bases ranked 10th all-time as the 1980s ended.


Yup... looks like an excellent baserunner to me. :-)
   10. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:01 PM (#2277960)
My first memory of Lopes was a 1987 (88?) Topps card of the top ten SB leaders with his picture on it. What puzzled me was that Lopes was not in the top ten.
   11. OCF Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:12 PM (#2277968)
Even early-1970s-PCL and for-a-middle-infielder?

But what position was he actually playing? Didn't he come up as an outfielder? When did he convert?
   12. JPWF13 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:18 PM (#2277971)
Even early-1970s-PCL and for-a-middle-infielder?


Spokane 1970 Lopes hit .262 and slugged .382 (don't have OBP available)
teammates:
Bobby Valentine .340/.522 (remember- batting average NOT OBP)
Pacoriek: .326/.528
Buckner: .335/.434
Garvey: .319/.535
Stinson: .298/.441
Hutton: .323/490
Russell: .363/.498
Von Joshua: .358/.528
Lopes was the oldest regular- Valentine and Buckner were only 20. (I've read that prior to his injuries Valentine was the most highly regarded of ALL the Dodgers late 60s early 70s prospects- the #s don't say he wasn't)
WOW for a AAA team that is LOADED- and Lopes was both the weakest hitter and the oldest- a bad combo
Two years later in Albuquerque he hit .317/.476 at age 27
he was outhit by:
Ron Cey, Pacoriek, Von Joshua, Larry Hisle (!), and possibly Steve yeager

Never knew the Dodgers had Hisle- he'd flamed out his second year in Phillie...

I'm not looking up the PCL as a whole- but his numbers were never very impressive compared to other Dodger farm hands- including catchers and other middle infielders- given the statistical hit most Dodgers took coming from the PCL to Chavez Ravine what Lopes was able to do seems stunning. As a rough guess his MLEs must have said something like .230-.310-.310... and he put up a 106 OPS+ in the MLB
   13. JPWF13 Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:20 PM (#2277973)
But what position was he actually playing? Didn't he come up as an outfielder? When did he convert?


I know Russell came up as an OF, I think he was converted after Valentine was injured
   14. DavidFoss Posted: January 10, 2007 at 11:21 PM (#2277976)
OK... thanks.
   15. Paul Wendt Posted: January 11, 2007 at 03:31 AM (#2278134)
The Dodgers had Lee Lacy & Jim Lefebvre at 2B.

NL 1969 Rookie-of-the-Year Ted Sizemore.
   16. OCF Posted: January 11, 2007 at 07:46 AM (#2278242)
Sizemore was traded to the Cardinals before the 1971 season. (Sizemore went on to be the #2 hitter taking the abuse attendant to Brock's SB record chase in 1974.) That leaves two full years before Lopes takes over as the regular 2B, which makes David Foss's comment about Lacy and Lebebvre essentially correct. Lopes played occasional games in the OF throughout most of his career - mostly CF. I'm pretty sure he started as an outfielder, at least in the low minors. Yes, Russell was converted from CF to SS, but I think Lopes followed a similar path. The only question I had is when that conversion took place?
   17. tjm1 Posted: January 11, 2007 at 04:19 PM (#2278441)
The interesting thing about his late bloomer status is that he also used a baseball age. Baseball-reference has his correct age, but while he was playing, and set the record for most steals by a 40-year old, it was first thought he did this in his age 41 season, with 25. Only later was it realized he'd turned 40 the year before, making it all more impressive. Probably the best career of any 28-year rookie since the color barrier was broken- even Ichiro debuted at 27. Matusi may pass him, I suppose.
   18. Cblau Posted: January 12, 2007 at 04:27 AM (#2279073)
As I wrote in the 1993 discussion thread:
Actually, Lopes was an OF in the minors (so was Bill Russell.) He didn't start playing second until sometime in 1971 it seems (played about 1/2 his games there.)
   19. tjm1 Posted: January 13, 2007 at 02:07 AM (#2279816)
Was the Garvey-Lopes-Russell-Cey infield the best one ever without a HOFer in it?
   20. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: January 13, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2279994)
Chambliss-Randolph-Dent-Nettles?

I think that one is closer than you'd think, though not as good. I'm partial though. I'd take Randolph and Nettles over Lopes and Cey. Dent-Russell a wash at their peaks (that's optomistic I realize and I haven't looked at the numbers).

Garvey over Chambliss kind of seals it. But if you include catcher (isn't that part of the infield?), Munson gives the Yankees a huge edge over Yeager/Ferguson.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: January 13, 2007 at 02:49 PM (#2280006)
Kluzewski-Temple-McMillan-Hoak?

Skowron-Richardson-Kubek-C. Boyer?

McCormick-Frey-Meyers-Werber?

Trosky-Hale-Lary-Keltner?

Judge-Haris-Peckinpaugh-Bluege?

Chase-Doyle-Fletcher-Zimmerman?/Daubert-Rath-Kopf-Groh?

Burns-Young-Bush-Vitt?

Would depend a lot on whether you're talking peak-prime-or career. Nobody stayed together as long as Cey & Company, as everybody knows.
   22. BDC Posted: January 13, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2280010)
Maybe one of the Will Clark / Robby Thompson infields in San Francisco. Early on Kevin Mitchell played some third, later on Matt Williams. Jose Uribe is the weak link at shortstop ...
   23. Paul Wendt Posted: January 14, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2280230)
OCF
Sizemore was traded to the Cardinals before the 1971 season. (Sizemore went on to be the #2 hitter taking the abuse attendant to Brock's SB record chase in 1974.) That leaves two full years before Lopes takes over as the regular 2B, which makes David Foss's comment about Lacy and Lebebvre essentially correct.

Cblau
Actually, Lopes was an OF in the minors (so was Bill Russell.) He didn't start playing second until sometime in 1971 it seems (played about 1/2 his games there.)

Yes, Lee Lacy was a second baseman.

Lopes was already the oldest player on his minor league team in 1970 (JPWF13 #12). I wonder whether he expressed interest in converting to 2B after the Sizemore trade. Maybe he realized that no one would much longer be blocked by Jim Lefebvre.
   24. tjm1 Posted: January 16, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2280903)
The Chambliss et al Yankees - I agree that Randolph was better than Lopes, and Nettles better than Cey, but they're awfully close in both cases, with the Dodger having the better career OPS+ in each case (partly because of shorter careers). Still, on defense in each case I'd give it to the Yankee. But Russell was better than Bucky Dent, especially since Dent had his best years with the White Sox. And Garvey was notably better than Chambliss, even though Garvey is overrated. Assuming of course that catchers don't count for this discussion.

The mid-90's Red Sox are another good one - Vaughn + Valentin + others, with less continuity. Naehring when he was healthy, Garciaparra, when he came up, and weakest links like Luis Alicea and Jeff Frye, who were good OBP guys who played 2B well. I'm assuming that Garciaparra is no longer a likely future HOFer, with his move to 1B and the gradual deterioration of his hitting skills. But even the 1995 edition of the Red Sox, with Vaughn's MVP year, Valentin having a better year than Vaughn, and Naehring not far behind - was probably better than any edition of the Cey/Garvey Dodger gang. 1976,78,79 were all close, but I think the 1995 Red Sox were better than any of them, and probably without any players who will even stay on the HOF ballot for a second year. Actually, Vaughn's probably the only one who will even get on the ballot.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 16, 2007 at 03:40 PM (#2281103)
Rose-Oester-Larkin-Bell (kind of cheating, Rose and Larkin were part timers by 1986, the only year together).

Evans-Whitaker-Trammell-HoJo

Merkle-Doyle-Fletcher/Bridwell-Devlin

Chance-Evers-Tinker-Steinfeldt (Sorry, wrong Hall....)
   26. tjm1 Posted: January 16, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2281171)
Larkin will be a HOFer.

By the time the Tigers picked up Evans, HoJo was gone. The Evans era Tigers had Darnell Coles and Tom Brookens as 3B's. The HoJo era had Dave Bergman at 1B.

The 1990 Tigers are a contender, though, I think - Fielder, Phillips, Trammell, and Whitaker. Fielder's 50 HR season, with the other guys having decent years by their own standards, and with Travis Fryman as the reserve.
   27. yest Posted: January 18, 2007 at 06:23 AM (#2282333)
Dahlgren, Gordon, Crosetti ,Rolfe
   28. tjm1 Posted: January 18, 2007 at 12:55 PM (#2282421)
Crosetti was washed up by that point, and Dahlgren was never very good. The Yankees of that era were carried by a great catcher, and all-time great outfield, and a superb pitching staff. The reason that the 1939 Yankees won "only" 106 games was the weakness of Dahlgren and Crosetti. I think I'm still going with the 1990 Tigers and 1995 Red Sox.
   29. tjm1 Posted: January 18, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2282490)
The 1952 Indians look like a contender, as well, based on a bit of research. Ray Boone in a career year, plus three "might-have-beens." Luke Easter who was one of the tweeners who got a late start in organized ball because of the race barrier, but not so late that he's thought of as a Negro-Leaguer. And maybe he was just shy of the mark on playing ability anyways. Bobby Avila, who spent too much time in Mexico, but in his prime was a HOF caliber player, or just short of it. And Al Rosen, who was clearly a HOF caliber player, but had injury problems that curtailed his career. There are surprisingly few infields I can find with two star-caliber performances and all players with an OPS over 100.
   30. Paul Wendt Posted: January 18, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2282703)
Rose-Oester-Larkin-Bell (kind of cheating, Rose and Larkin were part timers by 1986, the only year together).

What kind of cheating? Paradigm-case textbook right down the old greasetrap cheating.
By the way, Boston SABR had another good program Monday.


Dahlgren, Gordon, Crosetti ,Rolfe

Surely some Gehrig infield was better?

What about the Greenberg-Gehringer Tigers? Are they famous only for playing time?


In this discussion, Cey-Russell-Lopes-Garvey garner some attention, get some credit, for their relatively high minimum. Russell was a very good fourth-best infielder. And Russell or Ferguson or Yeager was a very good fifth-best infielder if you count the five positions around the basepaths. Especially if you permit the selection of a short peak for Ferguson/Yeager, as some discussants do. (But people have justly nodded to the best of the Munson Yankees.) Both the Dodgers and the Yankees of Cey and Nettles were strong over a period of several years, which counts in some versions of the discussion.

The White Stockings had some good infields in the 1880s, Boston in the 1890s.
   31. OCF Posted: January 18, 2007 at 09:19 PM (#2282706)
Surely some Gehrig infield was better?

What about the Greenberg-Gehringer Tigers?


The object of the exercise was "without a Hall of Famer". The "kind of cheating" I took to be a reference to Rose.

For "withouth a HoMer" I think Tinker/Evers/Chance is hard to touch.
   32. tjm1 Posted: January 18, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2282709)
Paul - the subtopic here was whether the Lopes et al. Dodgers infields were the best ever without an elected or highly likely to be elected Hall of Famer . So of course the Gehrig infields with the Yanks and the Greenberg-Gehringer Tigers are out. I suppose this sort of discussion requires either a high minimum player (if one talks about the sustained excellence of the infield) or a short peak player (if one talks about the single season best infield without a HOFer).

If we can include HOFers, teams like the great Tigers teams, the Big Red Machine, the 2002 Yankees and last year's Yankees (if you cheat and count Giambi as a 1B and not a DH) enter the mix.
   33. Mike Webber Posted: January 18, 2007 at 09:53 PM (#2282728)
The 1975 or 1976 A's might be in the discussion:
SS Campaneris
3b Bando
2b Phil Garner
1b Joe Rudi or Gene Tenace

Career totals 280+283+195+(173 or 231)= 939 or 989

Chambliss, Randolph, Nettles, Dent = 221+312+321+116 = 970

The 1990 Tigers had the best single season according to Win Shares without a Hall of Famer (Assuming Bagwell or Biggio eventually make it in).
Fielder 29
Whitaker 19
Tony Phillips 22
Trammell 29

And the 2001 A's -
38 Giambi
18 Menechino
26 Chavez
25 Tejada

Which is more than the Tigers above but I'd say Tejada or Chavez eventually have a pretty good shot. Of course I would have said the same thing about Trammel and Whitaker at one time.
   34. tjm1 Posted: January 18, 2007 at 11:06 PM (#2282757)
Giambi will be an interesting HOF case, too. He's apparently the only one who really came clean at the BALCO trials, and has made a resurgence the past few years. It will be interesting to see how the writers evaluate that, since the numbers are likely to be there.
   35. Dizzypaco Posted: January 18, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2282762)
Tejada has a shot, but unless Chavez takes a major turn for the better, I don't see him as having almost any shot at all. What's his case?

Giambi might also be more borderline than you think on numbers alone. He is a mediocre defensive firstbaseman who very well may finish with less than 500 homeruns, playing in a era where lots of players are putting up better career numbers. Great peak, but overlapping with players like Bonds and McGwire who were putting up even better ones.
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: January 19, 2007 at 05:43 AM (#2282916)
Thanks, I missed that. Yes, I thought people were talking about the 1970s Dodgers and Yankees as maybe the best infields (or maybe the best weakest-link-in-the infield) of all time.

Chance-Evers-Tinker-Steinfeldt (Sorry, wrong Hall....)
Now I understand the paren comment

I thought it was cheating to count Rose & Larkin, 61 and 36 games at 1B and SS, and I still do. Perez and Concepcion were in the mix but Esasky and Stillwell led in games played.
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 19, 2007 at 03:17 PM (#2282985)
Giambi might also be more borderline than you think on numbers alone. He is a mediocre defensive firstbaseman who very well may finish with less than 500 homeruns, playing in a era where lots of players are putting up better career numbers. Great peak, but overlapping with players like Bonds and McGwire who were putting up even better ones.

I think Giambi's already over the "in" line, but that's just my opinion, and I'm likely in a distinct minority. I go with WS, and it suggests that he's got plenty of MVP and All-Star type seasons; he had a long span (four overlapping three-year periods) as the best player in his league and at his position in his league (as I calculate it); his career WS total has already edged into the lower HOF realm and will only become more HOF like over time; his peak, prime, career are each either well within the Hall's standards for 1Bs or very, very close to them. By all this in my way of looking he ranks well above the lowest tier of HOF 1Bs (Chance, Bottomley, and Kelly), above mid-low/borderline guys like Perez, Sisler, Cepeda, and Beckley (in other words, he's above the borderline as I define it, which already means 'in'), but he's also got a better case, in my estimation, than just-over-the-line guys like the aforementioned McGwire, Palmeiro, and Terry whom I have slightly above the borderline (without any adjustment for PEDs). In fact, Giambi is nipping at the heels of a war-credit-boosted Hank Greenberg and has an outside shot of catching Harm Killebrew, which would put him near the middle of the HOF 1B pack.

Granted everyone's mileage may vary due to PED questions as well as due to the flaws inherent in my own system (which tends to give lots of weight to a player's best seasons by multiply counting seasons in different categories---such as MVP and A.S. type seasons, best-in-league/position-over-time, etc), and using an uberstat besides WS will produce different, and probably radically different result. But Giambi's done well enough in this system, which mimics the widely accepted Keltner questions and which is, therefore, highly era/context specific, that I don't feel the result is so improbable as to be preposterous. But I doubt the majority will agree with that assessment.

I thought it was cheating to count Rose & Larkin, 61 and 36 games at 1B and SS, and I still do. Perez and Concepcion were in the mix but Esasky and Stillwell led in games played.

That's what I was talking about, well, and the little word play on the Rose scandal/ineligible thing, but mostly the former.
   38. Juan V Posted: March 02, 2007 at 02:34 AM (#2305610)
I dug him up for consideration in my new system... and WOW! A 106 OPS+ second baseman, slightly OBP-heavy and with all the baserunning goodness, just with that my spreadsheet thinks he's worthy of serious ballot consideration. Before I take the plunge, I want to know why the uberstats disagree (240 WS, adjusted to 243ish for the strike years; 76.3 WARP3). I don't get it.
   39. Chris Cobb Posted: March 02, 2007 at 03:12 AM (#2305627)
One big factor is below average defense at second base. Win shares grades him out as a C (the B-/C+ line marks average in the system), and WARP has him -53 FRAA for his career, and sees him as pretty consistently below average.

A second big factor is career length. He's just over 1800 games. If he had a career length of 2200 or 2300 games at the same rates, he'd be getting consideration, but with his career length, he would have to have a peak candidate case.

To have a peak candidate case, he would either have to either hit even better or field well.

A fine ballplayer, but he really is a bit short in several different respects, which, taken together, prevent him from being a serious candidate.
   40. Juan V Posted: March 02, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2305632)
Yeah, I thought so. I guess having contemporary accounts would help. He did win one Gold Glove, but we know how those are handed out ;-)

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