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Monday, January 30, 2006

Duke Snider

Eligible in 1970.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: January 30, 2006 at 05:46 AM | 65 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 06, 2006 at 04:11 AM (#1851536)
Great baseball name. His perm from the seventies should never have been attempted, owever.

His career? Pretty damn great, if you ask me.
   2. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 06, 2006 at 05:18 AM (#1851634)
Looks like an easy #1 in 1970 for me.
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: February 06, 2006 at 05:53 AM (#1851674)
Yes, an easy #1.

At one time considered the equal of Mantle and Mays.

Maybe not inner circle, but very close.
   4. DavidFoss Posted: February 06, 2006 at 08:10 AM (#1851836)
At one time considered the equal of Mantle and Mays.

And its easy to see why.

Here is an OPS per year table of the three. An asterisk denotes that the player did not reach 500 PA.

Yr   W     M     D
49   
*     *     123
50   
*     *     140
51   120   117   118
52   102
*  162   136
53   
*     143   166
54   175   158   172
55   176   181   170 


Judging on performance alone, its really tough to pick between these guys. Willie had been in the service for almost two years, but had certainly established himself afterwards. The key difference here is age. At 28 years old, Duke was peaking and at 24 and 23, Willie and Mickey had their best years ahead of them.

The table continues:

Yr   W     M     D
56   146   210   156
57   173   223   142
58   165   188   127
*
59   155   150   140*
60   160   164   144*
61   160   206   136*
62   166   196   148*
63   175   196*  113*
64   172   177    75


Even if injuries didn't slow him down after the move from Brooklyn, it would have been hard for him to keep up with the inner-circle legends, Willie & Mick.
   5. karlmagnus Posted: February 06, 2006 at 03:26 PM (#1851920)
Snider's my #3, shorter career than Beckley or Welch. Easy HOMer, but overrated by being bracketed with Willie and Mickey.
   6. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 06, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#1852037)
I don't think he is overrated by beign bracketed with Willie and Mickey, probalby underrated. I even read someone in one of the HOF threads over on the newsblog say that Snider was a borderline guy. He has a monster four years and a nice prime as well.

I do want to say that though karl gets some flack I do respect that he tells us ahead of time that he will be ranking *fill-in name of top level HOMer here* below Jake Beckley. I have been pretty surprised by the number of people that have had Berra at #3 this year.

And for as much as I dislike Beckley (as a player of course) I like Mickey Welch even less. Oh well.
   7. DavidFoss Posted: February 06, 2006 at 05:26 PM (#1852051)
He has a monster four years and a nice prime as well.

This at CF, too. Put him at a corner and there *might* be a case of him being borderline, but in CF I think he's a shoo-in.

What's the word on Snider's fielding?
   8. Mike Webber Posted: February 06, 2006 at 05:37 PM (#1852065)
Snider's my #3, shorter career than Beckley or Welch.

karl, I can always count on you to make me laugh,

and without hitting any touchy political or racial subjects like Chris Rock!

Thanks Karl
   9. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 06, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#1852157)
Looks like an easy #1 in 1970 for me.

Ditto.

#6 CFer of all time...?
   10. DavidFoss Posted: February 06, 2006 at 08:01 PM (#1852247)
#6 CFer of all time...?

Snider, Griffey & Hamilton are in a tight battle for #6, in my opinion.
   11. Mark Donelson Posted: February 06, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#1852296)
I suppose it's a matter of when you became aware of the guy, but to me Snider's numbers make him vastly underrated. He's not the equal by any means of Willie and Mickey, but he's a lot closer than I had thought he was.

And, yeah, easy #1 in 1970 for me as well.
   12. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 06, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#1852329)
Snider may be the #6 CFer in ML history, but he certainly wasn't better than Charleston.
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 06, 2006 at 09:24 PM (#1852349)
I think someone many elections ago also said that Torriente and Snider had very similar value. Don't know if one exceeds the other very much.
   14. Daryn Posted: February 07, 2006 at 05:30 AM (#1852992)
I have to say I'll have Snider 4th, but two ahead of Beckley. I like that 5 year peak -- it is very impressive. But I have Bell at 2, and I beliwve he would have had at least 1000 more hits than Snider with better defense and speed (granted, he is spotting the Duke a lot of power). I'll be interested to see where careerists rank Snider. Peak voters, I would imagine, would have to have him as an easy #1.
   15. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 07, 2006 at 06:23 AM (#1853042)
He does have some 368 career WS (schedule adjsuted) so it isn't like he didn't have career value. I guess he trails somewhat in games played and hits, but he also haad 407 HR, can you even do that in a short career in the 1950's (as opposed to our current era)?

Daryn,

Who do you have at #3? Welch, Bell, ...
   16. DavidFoss Posted: February 07, 2006 at 09:17 AM (#1853187)
He does have some 368 career WS (schedule adjsuted)

Why are we adjusting him to 162 when he has a whopping 24 of his 352 WS at that length and we have a big backlog of mostly-154 guys we're comparing him to?

he also haad 407 HR, can you even do that in a short career in the 1950's (as opposed to our current era)?

Everyone ahead of him on the all-time HR list as of 1969 got to 407 HR in fewer plate appearances than Snider except for Ott and Musial... including several 1950s guys (Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Mathews, Banks).
   17. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 07, 2006 at 04:57 PM (#1853355)
Daryn,

I have schedule adjusted to 162 games for everyone, I did so about a year ago real time in anticipation for the years we would be electing guys who played in 162 game seasons. I had a lot of time on my hands then.

Also, my point was that with 407 HR, Snider didnt' have a short career. He isn't Charlie Keller, he isn't Ralph Kiner, he isn't Hughie Jennings. I did not mean to imply that 407 HR was something that would qualify him as a HOMer. And didn't he retire in the top 10 in HR's? Again, not sure how you can do that with a short career.
   18. Daryn Posted: February 07, 2006 at 05:04 PM (#1853364)
Jsch,

I have Wynn at 3. Thinking about it overnight I am grappling with the philosophical question of whether a top 10 all-time CF necessarily should rank ahead of two pitchers that I don't have in my top 30 all time for pitchers. Snider could end up at #2, behind Bell, causing Bell to leapfrog Welch.

My problem with Snider is this -- 352 WS would generally top this ballot. But when I look at his career stats I don't see how they add up to 352. That 5 year peak looks great -- but 171 WS? That's enormous. I may put him on top, but his traditional stats outside of that 5 year peak somehow trouble me.
   19. Paul Wendt Posted: February 07, 2006 at 11:07 PM (#1853929)
>I am grappling with the philosophical question of whether a top 10 all-time CF necessarily should rank ahead of two pitchers that I don't have in my top 30 all time for pitchers.
<

Philosophically, no, you shouldn't rank the #10 centerfielder there necessarily. That leaves the open question whether you should rank Snider there actually.

--
Whether he seems over- or underrated to you must depend partly on how long you have been paying attention. If 25 years rather than 50, you don't recall anyone rating him particularly high, except the NYC crowd that writes books about the 1950s as the golden age, and you may have missed even that.

In Total Baseball 1 (1989), he is in a tie #178-180 with Chuck Klein and Cy Young's sidekick Nig Cuppy, just surpassed by Andre Dawson-thru-1988. Zero out the small negatives in 1947-48 and 1963-64 (-3.4), without doing the same for others, and he is only #130. Zero out also the significant negative for fielding 1949-1962 (about -6), again without doing the same for others, and he is only about #90, with Eddie Murray-thru-1988. Take out all the pitchers and he is only #122 (or #93 and #61 with the other one or two biased corrections).

<u>TPR rank 1876-1988, 1989 edition</u>
2. Cobb
5. Mays
7. Speaker

28. DiMaggio

63. Reggie Smith
71. Jim Wynn
89. Roy Thomas
96. Ashburn
96. Browning
103. Carey
117. Hamilton
121. Dawson (regular RF)
122. Duke Snider
124. Al Simmons
129. Cedeno
150. Fred Lynn (active CF)

It's pretty clear that early sabrmetrics moved him outside any inner circle, if that was still necessary.

Did he do some platooning by pitcher or by ballpark, or was he simply injured in the 1960s? I recall reading that he was well-suited to his home in Brooklyn, poorly suited in Los Angeles.
   20. DavidFoss Posted: February 07, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#1853945)
Did he do some platooning by pitcher or by ballpark, or was he simply injured in the 1960s? I recall reading that he was well-suited to his home in Brooklyn, poorly suited in Los Angeles.

Yeah. He was a lefty power hitter. Ebbetts had a porch in right while the Coliseum had a cavern.

Retrosheet is showing that he was strongly platooned from 60-62 & 64 with hardly any AB against LHP's in those seasons. The 63 Mets allowed him 44 AB against LHP's -- so certainly platooned, but not to the same extent (likely that the woeful Mets didn't have many options).

As for 1958 & 1959, I am not entirely sure if he was platooned, injured or perhaps both. 1959 was probably his best season outside of Brooklyn (140 OPS+ and 435 PA).
   21. DavidFoss Posted: February 07, 2006 at 11:24 PM (#1853951)
As far as the low 1989-TPR is concerned, I'm a little bit puzzled.

Bill James' Win Shares letter grade is A- which was better than I was expected. He was no Mays or Ashburn, but evidently a solid glove. Did fielding runs give that much of a boost to the glove-men CF types?
   22. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 07, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#1853966)
I may put him on top, but his traditional stats outside of that 5 year peak somehow trouble me.

Pre 1953: .293/.356/.497, 2555 ABs, 109 HR, 418 RBI, 413 RS (and 55/74 in stolen bases).
Post 1957: .275/.370/.482, 1844 ABs, 91 HR, 330 RBI, 265 RS

To me that looks pretty good for a centerfielder.

Here's his '53-'57:

.311/.407/.618, 2762 ABs, 207 HR, 585 RBI, 581 RS
   23. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 07, 2006 at 11:58 PM (#1854002)
David,

WS grades are for all OFers, not just CFers (you probably know this but just restating). By eyeballing guys A- seems to be about average for a CFer if not a little below. Anyone worth their salt defensively was at least an A while guys Mays, Ashburn, Flood, the DiMaggios, etc. were A+'s. I must say that I don't like this system defensively as it makes all CFers look like good defensively players. I would think that an A- in CF is equal to a B or B- at another position if not a little lower.
   24. DavidFoss Posted: February 08, 2006 at 12:45 AM (#1854048)
OK, thanks... I figured there was some inflation for CF's. I just didn't realize it was that much.

At any rate, he certainly doesn't look like he was a liability in the field.
   25. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 08, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#1854141)
In his prime, certainly not
   26. Howie Menckel Posted: February 08, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#1854197)
Snider vs Kiner, OPS+s as regular, minimum 100 OPS+

Snider 172 70 66 56 42 40 40 36 23 18 13
RKiner 184 84 73 56 46 40 32 21 17 16

(I gave Kiner a 390 PA season at 116 - and Snider a 435 PA season at 140 and a 415 PA season at 113, but not a 365 PA season at 127, which sort of balances out).

Kiner peaks better, Snider holds his own in lesser prime, and Snider has a slower fade.

Obviously, Snider gets a fielding bonus and Kiner gets fielding demerits. I hadn't realized that Snider would need some CF credit to get to the top of my ballot, but he does.
For those who love Snider, maybe a little love for Kiner? I'm just not convinced that playing well in CF is worth as much of a bonus as being a decent catcher, a good-fielding SS, or a great-fielding 2B or 3B.

Now, I'll have Snider several notches ahead of Kiner - maybe 1 vs 8, roughly - but realize that Kiner was a bigger banger than a lot of highly-regarded hitters like this...
   27. Paul Wendt Posted: February 08, 2006 at 05:12 PM (#1854644)
As far as the low 1989-TPR is concerned, I'm a little bit puzzled.

Bill James' Win Shares letter grade is A- which was better than I was expected. He was no Mays or Ashburn, but evidently a solid glove. Did fielding runs give that much of a boost to the glove-men CF types?


jimd has answered for Win Shares.

Fielding Runs 1989 was and I suppose the 2006 edition is biased by home ballpark (eg, centerfield dimensions), nature of pitching staff (eg, fly ball frequency), discretionary plays (who catches the balls that two or three are able to catch?), and quality of team defense (every extra out turned by Ozzie Smith is one fewer for his teammates). In the Win Shares book, Bill James touches on all four points (harps on the latter?) in regard to earlier measures of defense, such as his assessment of Ashburn and Granny Hamner or the Palmer/FR assessment of Lajoie.

But the rather modest sabrmetric evaluation of Snider, certainly a downward revision of the reputation he garnered in his salad days, was not simply a matter of Fielding Runs. My adjustment of TPR, one-sided in Snider's favor, is supposed to show that.
   28. Paul Wendt Posted: February 08, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#1854671)
<u>Adjusted Batting Runs, rank 1876-1988, 1989 edition</u>
3. Cobb
9. Mays
10. Speaker
24. DiMaggio
37. Hamilton
42. Snider
[45. Eddie Murray thru 1988]
46. Browning
52. Simmons
58. Reggie Smith
76. Hack Wilson
82. Averill
89. Lynn
89. Wynn
93. Doby
96. Van Haltren

<u>Adjusted Batting Wins, rank 1876-1988, 1989 edition</u>
3. Cobb
7. Mays (low-scoring 60s)
10. Speaker
29. DiMaggio (hi)
42. Snider
47. Hamilton (hi)
51. Smith (low-scoring 60s/70s)
61. Simmons (hi)
64. Browning (hi)
81. Wilson (hi)
83. Wynn (low-scoring 60s/70s)
89. Lynn
94. Averill (hi)
96. Doby

Snider ranks higher than I expected to see, but in no one's inner circle (#39-46 Billy Williams, Anson (short-season bias), Greenberg, Snider, Rose, Winfield-to-1988, Cash, Murray-to-1988). He must lose in the final analysis on positional adustment.
   29. DavidFoss Posted: February 08, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#1854704)
Thanks Paul. A much more reasonable list.

Comparing the TPR and ABW lists, it appears that Total Baseball likes Pete Browning's defense better than Snider's which explains Snider's low ranking in TPR.
   30. jingoist Posted: February 08, 2006 at 06:25 PM (#1854742)
Where does Ashburn show up on the TPR rankings?
The electorate swept Richie into the HoM, perhaps justly so.
As someone who watched both guys play I can testify that Ritchie never scared pitchers like Duke did. Of course there's more to getting elected than altering opposing teams strategies but I think previous posts that showed the Duke's 1953-1957 peak pretty much makes the case for a dominant CFer. Snider could have easily won MVP awards in 53 and 55 when Campy won the award.
Duke Snider might not be everyone's #1 but he certainly shouldn't be any lower than a 4 or 5 on this years ballot.
   31. jimd Posted: February 08, 2006 at 08:30 PM (#1854918)
Ritchie never scared pitchers like Duke did.

He wouldn't. But the Duke didn't catch flies or cut off gappers like Whitey did, neither.

The value of both sides have to be assessed. Not just measure the offense and then assume that the D can't mean enough to change the result.
   32. sunnyday2 Posted: February 08, 2006 at 09:12 PM (#1854991)
Well, unfortunately we won't assess Ashburn much. Didn't then, won't now.

Snider is #1 on my ballot and nobody else is close. Not even Minnie Minoso ;-)
   33. jingoist Posted: February 09, 2006 at 12:12 AM (#1855256)
jimd;
My comparison of the Duke to Whitey was not meant to slight Ashburn, but you must admit Richie was swept into the HoM without much discussion or analysis.

In my post above I even state that there's more to wining an HoM election than just altering the opponents defensive strategy....I was tipping my hat to the unmentioned acknowledgement of Richie's fielding skills.
However, Duke Snider wasn't exactly a stinker in CF as I recall.

Giving Richie his due; he wasn't a "no-brainer" like Musial or Berra.

That said, I think Duke Snider is at least the equal of, if not more of a "no-brainer" than Whitey; but again that's just my opinion.

Two great CF's; each used different skills to be successful.

As a kid during the 50's we saw it as Willie, Mickey and the Duke as the big 3 in CF.
And no, I'm not a New Yorker either; I grew up in Pittsburgh and Stan the Man was my favorite player for most of the 50's; then Clemente from about 1960 on.
So put Richie in; (you have already). But please don't short-change Duke Snider (or Roberto when his time comes) 'cause these guys were "the real deal".
   34. jimd Posted: February 09, 2006 at 04:31 AM (#1855620)
Giving Richie his due; he wasn't a "no-brainer" like Musial or Berra.

I have no illusions about the overall esteem in which the general electorate regards Ashburn. We have 133 HOMers at the moment, and on average he probably rates 133rd (maybe a little higher if people were being cautious in his first ballot year).
   35. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 10, 2006 at 04:20 AM (#1857103)
I will be shocked if Snider doesn't get significantly more support for this group than Ashburn did. I think most of us agree Snider was the better player, just because we are bringing up some of the negatives doesn't mean that we don't appreciate what he did, or that we think Ashburn was better.

Ashburn was discussed pretty thoroughly IIRC. Sure he snuck in during a weak year, but we still debated him. I would have liked to have seen him wait a few years, just to make sure we got it right, but it's not like he wasn't discussed.
   36. sunnyday2 Posted: February 10, 2006 at 01:30 PM (#1857307)
Is Ashburn better than Joe Sewell?
   37. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 10, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#1857451)
It is a weird question but I would say yes. He has seven seasons of at least 27 WS, a handful more between 20-27 and a better peak than Sewell. Even if you take somehting off for WS overrating CFers, I believe that Ashburn was better.

Then again, I am not a fan of Joe Sewell and was one of the crew that lobbied against him after his near election in the 30's. In terms of WS, I don't see him as clearly better than Dave Bancroft, Herman Long, or Joe Tinker. However, He is better when you look outside WS. Bancroft is the only other of that group I really consider any more, mainly because he was so good defensively. I keep wondering if we aren't underrating him because WS doesn't adjust for the importance of defense in his day.
   38. andrew siegel Posted: February 10, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#1857494)
Snider is an interesting candidate. If you think that WS accurately captures his performance, he is an easy choice, clearly in the top half of the HoM. But it is possible without making an obviously incorrect observation to reason him out of the HoM, perhaps even far out. He has about 355 WS with a very big/peak prime (2 seasons over 35 WS, 4 over 30, 7 over 25). But . . .

(1) WS tends to overrate not special CF vs. corner OF.
(2) WS tends to overrate players on good teams.
(3) WS has a very low baseline, so players rack up career value for seasons either before or after they were of any real use to major league teams.
(4) WS has no league adjustment, so players playing during wars or other demographic absences get a boost.

If you credit all of those arguments and take a discount that is at the upper boundary of what is plausible, you can get Snider down to somewhere around 280 WS with only 5 seasons over 25 WS. On that profile, he is very borderline.

To be clear, I am not arguing for such huge adjustments, just making the point that it is possible to reason Snider out of the HoM. His is the flipside case of Phil Rizzuto, who is clearly out based on the best guess of WS and WARP but who can be reasoned in w/o/ making an obviously incorrect assumption.

Perhaps the best definition of a no-brainer or an inner circle guy is someone who is clearly qualified for the HoM even if you make every conceivable assumption against them. By that definition, Snider--like other very deserving HoMers such as Amos Rusie, Harry Heilmann, Ed Walsh, and Louis Santop--doesn't quite measure up.

Of course, none of this impacts on his placement on my ballot, where he is a strong #1.
   39. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 10, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#1857568)
The one problem I have with the 'WS overrates players on good teams' theory is that WS is tied to wins. In order to tie players to actual wins you will have this 'weakness' in your system. Good teams get to 100 by beating teams that are not as good as them, it is the nature of the beast. While I understand how WS will underrate Bob Johnson a little and overrate most every Yankee from 1921-1964, you have to accept that if you want to look at a stat that ties to actual wins. Good teams beat bad teams, that is why they have the records they do have.
   40. sunnyday2 Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#1857791)
As has been pionted out, HR and BA and OBA and OPS and OPS+ and every other stat known to mankind reflects unbalanced schedules.
   41. Chris Cobb Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#1857803)
OPS+ and every other stat known to mankind reflects unbalanced schedules

OPS+ is adjusted for the differing levels of competition faced by different teams in a league because a team doesn't play itself. WARP's stats are also similarly adjusted.
   42. KJOK Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#1857814)
Is Ashburn better than Joe Sewell?

I have Snider and Ashburn both behind Sewell:

RCAP
Sewell - 346
Snider - 334

FIELDING
Sewell - VG
Snider - Ave

Would add up to estimated 50-100 Runs to RCAP in Sewell's favor.

POW
Sewell - 35
Snider - 23

WARP1
Sewell - 103
Snider - 103

PA's
Sewell - 8330
Snider - 8227
   43. DavidFoss Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:25 PM (#1857816)
OPS+ is adjusted for the differing levels of competition faced by different teams in a league because a team doesn't play itself.

Yup, check out the differences between BPF and PPF for some of the all-time great teams. A five point swing is extremely common.
   44. KJOK Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:31 PM (#1857825)
OPS+ is adjusted for the differing levels of competition faced by different teams in a league because a team doesn't play itself. WARP's stats are also similarly adjusted.

BUT, OPS+ is NOT adjusted for unbalanced schedules, or differing competition. BPF and PPF ONLY adjust for not facing one's own team AND not playing in one's own park as a road park.

It DOESN'T adjust for Arizona playing in Coors 10 times a year vs. some teams playing there only 5 times, or for the Cardinals facing the Reds pitching staff 19 times, etc.
   45. DavidFoss Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#1857844)
BUT, OPS+ is NOT adjusted for unbalanced schedules

True, I stand corrected on that point. We don't hit this point until divisional play seasons (1969-on) start popping up on candidates' resumes. I suppose that is just around the corner.
   46. jimd Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#1857863)
As has been pionted out, HR and BA and OBA and OPS and OPS+ and every other stat known to mankind reflects unbalanced schedules.

All the raw stats are biased in one way or another. That's why sabrmetricians invent park factors, etc, in an attempt to remove the biases.

Wins is a raw stat and it is biased too. The bias is correctable, though James chose to not do it.
   47. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 10, 2006 at 08:58 PM (#1857878)
I would posit that while wins (on a team basis, not a pitcher W-L record basis) are biased, they are the name of the game.

I am not sure it is too important to adjust WS for quality of the team (though I think it shold only be adjsuted for quality of a team's pitchign staff and defense, not the entire team). Some other stats do this and you can get a look at stats that adjust for everything and stats that adjust for nothing and make your decision.
   48. Mike Green Posted: February 10, 2006 at 09:36 PM (#1857939)
Bill James pointed out in the original Historical Abstract, I think, that the Dodgers of the mid-50s were loaded with right-handed hitters with Snider the only left-handed bat. Opponents would try to avoid starting left-handed pitchers because da Bums would rough them up pretty good. James provided records for the top NL lefties of the time, Spahn and Antonelli, against Brooklyn. This situation would have helped Snider quite a bit.

His most comparable player is probably Larry Walker, who was an almost exact match as a hitter (and has similar context questions) and played right-field much better than Snider played center, and was faster on the basepaths. Strange that both have Expo connections.
   49. jimd Posted: February 10, 2006 at 11:19 PM (#1858076)
I would posit that while wins ... are biased, they are the name of the game.

I am not sure it is too important to adjust WS for quality of the team


Then why bother adjusting for park?

We adjust for things to get a clearer picture. This is one of the many quirks of WS that blur the image more than it needs to be.
   50. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 11, 2006 at 12:51 AM (#1858174)
"It DOESN'T adjust for Arizona playing in Coors 10 times a year vs. some teams playing there only 5 times, or for the Cardinals facing the Reds pitching staff 19 times, etc. "

The D-Backs also play just as many games at Pac Bell and Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals play as many games against the Astros' insane pitching staff as they do against the Reds awful one. Any effect unadjusted for is extremely minor - you aren't really missing much if you just skip it. Especially for all of the extra work it would be to figure out.
   51. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 11, 2006 at 12:52 AM (#1858176)
I actually have Larry Walker similar to Chuck Klein Mike. Both played in just crazy parks, both had the one monster year. Both were in and out of the lineup. Similar career length. I think they are pretty much dead ringers.
   52. KJOK Posted: February 11, 2006 at 01:53 AM (#1858214)
The D-Backs also play just as many games at Pac Bell and Dodger Stadium. The Cardinals play as many games against the Astros' insane pitching staff as they do against the Reds awful one. Any effect unadjusted for is extremely minor - you aren't really missing much if you just skip it. Especially for all of the extra work it would be to figure out.

For MLB, this is GENERALLY true, but not always. As David Foss pointed out, just adjusting for your OWN team can sometimes result in a considerable difference.

However, for the Negro Leagues, this is 100% false. Teams played 50 home games and 20 road, or 60 road games and ZERO home, and might play 14 games against a terrible team and none against the best team, etc., etc. Adjusting for these factors causes much different results than if no adjusting was done.
   53. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 11, 2006 at 02:51 AM (#1858276)
Agreed on the Negro Leagues, I was only discussing MLB.

I also agree that adjusting for your own team can make a big difference. I think adjusting for unbalanced schedule is extremely minimal and not worth the effort. It's splitting hairs, not anything like the adjustment from park factors or adjusting for not facing your own hitters or pitchers. Too many things cancel each other out.
   54. jimd Posted: February 14, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#1860819)
I think adjusting for unbalanced schedule is extremely minimal and not worth the effort.

Usually true, but there is a random element involved here. Someday, there will be a division with all good hitter's parks or all good pitcher's parks, and it will become necessary. More likely, someday there will be a division with all good hitter's teams, or all good pitching/fielding teams, and it will become necessary. Randomness will keep this from happening often (though the parks example, once created, will persist for awhile).
   55. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 14, 2006 at 02:42 PM (#1861219)
Someday, there will be a division with all good hitter's parks or all good pitcher's parks

And it will be called the 2005 National League East....
   56. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 14, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#1861542)
Huh? The Bank isnt' a pitcher's park in the least.
   57. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 14, 2006 at 06:38 PM (#1861555)
if you play for the philz, then the rest of your division is pitcher's parks.

Wait, a sec, bb-ref reveals that The Ted played as a hitter's park last year, though in years past it's often been neutral or pitcher-friendly.
   58. Paul Wendt Posted: February 15, 2006 at 05:47 PM (#1862919)
I think adjusting for unbalanced schedule is extremely minimal and not worth the effort.

Suppose we accept that regarding all the differences among games played (G), games played to a decision (W+L), and games scheduled (sched). Not worth the effort for general statistical analysis or for assessment of player careers. Leave it to statistories of particular seasons such as 1981.

Adjustment for the simply unbalanced scheduled used during 25 seasons of "(two)-divisional play" is not much effort and it is extremely minimal, we may confidently say in advance, only for AL 1979-1993. Then the simple imbalance was 13 & 12 games scheduled between intra- and inter-division opponents. The 18 & 12 imbalance is analytically convenient (for back of the envelope and home brew spreadsheet calculations) and more fundamental adjustment wouldn't be difficult given the setup (computer, data, program, knowhow) for calculating Palmer/TB park factors --or James/STATS win shares.

--
Someday, there will be a division with all good hitter's parks or all good pitcher's parks.

We "should" know the greatest interdivision difference in ballparks experienced in the past.

But team quality is also a source of bias under discussion.

In 1994, the first year with three necessarily small divisions, and divisions newly defined by geography alone, the ten of 14 AL teams in East and Central divisions finished 1st to 10th despite the disadvantage of playing more games against each other; the four West teams finished at the bottom despite the advantage of playing more games against each other.

At times during the 25 NL and 10 AL league-seasons with significantly unbalanced two-division schedules(*), one division was much stronger than the other.

Given the unbalanced schedules, great differences in team strength, whether at bat or in the field, contribute to "win bias" and (smaller in magnitude) bias in TB park factors.

(*) Beside 18:12 for 33 league-seasons, the imbalance in AL 1977-1978 was 16:9+ Although the schedule imbalance was then greatest in fifty 1969-1993 seasons, its effect was moderated in 1977 by the weak midwestern trio {Milwaukee Detroit Cleveland}. All three improved remarkably so that the six teams beside Toronto all finished above .500 except one Cleveland season 79-81.

The difference in strength in NL 1973 is famous, with all six East teams below .500 late in the season and the winner only 82-79 at the end, but I'm sure that the fame is misplaced for the purpose at hand. The actual W-L difference between NL divisions was greater in some other seasons (I bet).
   59. Paul Wendt Posted: February 15, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#1862991)
jingost asked about Ashburn by TPR.

For 1876-1988 (Total Baseball 1) centerfielders broadly defined, see
#19. Total Player Rating
#28. Batting Runs and Wins, adjusted

--
Mike Green noted that Snider is the Bill James illustration for player platoon advantage as a team effect. Opponents use extra righty or lefty pitchers against ones team because the team is unbalanced. On the other side of the coin, if Spahn or Antonelli doesn't pitch much against the mighty and righty Dodgers, then a modest disadvantage is distributed among his righty teammates. (It is an advantage for Spahn or Antonelli, but that is direct rather than a team effect.)


<u>Observations on Player Schedules</u>

Dick Thompson explained to SABR-L several years ago now that a pitcher's personal schedule may be biased. He used Lefty Grove at his peak and the quality of opposing teams for illustration. I think we know that the magnitude is relatively high for pitchers at the other end of the major-league talent range and relatively high in the 154-game era. The same point may be made about a pitcher's personal schedule of ballparks or catchers or batting qualities of opposing teams. In assessment of the greatest, it certainly belongs in serious work on seasons, maybe not on careers.

The battery concept, pitcher and catcher as a unit, supports a type of personal schedule, important in analysis of catcher defense at least, probably some pitchers too. (Even today. Eg, difference between Mirabelli and Varitek at bat considered as a cost of using Wakefield on the mound.)

Simple platooning by batting hand is the most famous type of personal schedule, maybe the most important. Sabermetrics has mainly ignored this, I think, becasue human interest in great players is a driving force of sabermetrics and great players are not platooned long for long. From memory, I think of Graig Nettles and Darrell Evans late in their careers. Others have mentioned Duke Snider and Charlie Keller. I guess that this will continue to be a minor theme in the HOM forum.
   60. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 16, 2006 at 09:38 AM (#1864149)
"Suppose we accept that regarding all the differences among games played (G), games played to a decision (W+L), and games scheduled (sched). Not worth the effort for general statistical analysis or for assessment of player careers. Leave it to statistories of particular seasons such as 1981."

That wouldn't make any sense Paul. Those differences are much bigger. If you are using WS, you have to use decisions, because that is all WS counts. Even 154 to 162 G is a 5% difference. I doubt you are going to find that kind of difference because a team played a couple of extra games in one stadium vs. another. And the work involved in figuring it out for all of history is gigantic, for the minimal value. For the 154 -> 162 game thing, you are talking about adding a column of "=A3/154*162" or something to spreadsheet. Or in my spreadsheet "=A3/TeamGames!A3/*162".

For WARP you should use Games and not decisions, but it's the same thing. And the differences, especially pre-1900 can be huge.

But aside for certain rare instances (which we can then go ahead and adjust for) it just isn't worth the trouble to adjust for the unbalanced schedule.
   61. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 16, 2006 at 09:43 AM (#1864155)
I mean we're talking distinctions that might make a difference of 2 or 3 total games in a season in the W-L column for an entire team. The difference between playing the hardest and easiest schedule in the game is usually no more than a 5 game swing (+/- 2-3 games either way).

Divide that by 9 position players, 5 starters, a bullpen and a bench and you are talking maybe a single WS difference, again for playing the easiest vs. the toughest schedule. It's just not worth the effort.
   62. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 16, 2006 at 09:45 AM (#1864160)
I will buy it on pitcher's personal schedules, which is something RSI tackled. I don't mean just the run-support aspects, but what Chris did with finding opponent WPct and the like. That was worth the effort, because there the distinctions can be huge, especially with just 30-40 data points in a single season.

That is something that bumped Bucky Walters on my ballot, and will also bump Billy Pierce and Whitey Ford.
   63. Paul Wendt Posted: February 16, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#1864663)
quoting myself twice

"Suppose we accept that regarding all the differences among games played (G), games played to a decision (W+L), and games scheduled (sched). Not worth the effort for general statistical analysis or for assessment of player careers. Leave it to statistories of particular seasons such as 1981."

The subject is unbalanced schedules, not the huge difference for the win- or run-denominated measures between seasons that are shorter for all teams and seasons that are longer for all teams.

Who cares that one team lost 20 home games and another lost 30 in during the 1981 midseason strike, or that one lost 50 games and another lost 45? or that the 1995 Dodgers missed series against all of the strong teams in the East and Central divisions when the schedule was rewritten to makes space for spring training with MLBPA members? It certainly has a place in statistory of those particular seasons.

"The 18 & 12 imbalance is analytically convenient (for back of the envelope and home brew spreadsheet calculations) and more fundamental adjustment wouldn't be difficult given the setup (computer, data, program, knowhow) for calculating Palmer/TB park factors --or James/STATS win shares."

The 18:12 schedule imbalance is a cinch compared to some of what is incorporated in that sabermetrics. Of course, you and I can't do it easily and accurately.

Joe Dimino:
I mean we're talking distinctions that might make a difference of 2 or 3 total games in a season in the W-L column for an entire team.

I doubt that win bias can be so high in modern times, normally. 2-3 games is the expecation when a good team plays four more games than a bad one. Or a team with robust home-field advantage moves 20 local games to distant cities because the local roof falls in.
   64. jimd Posted: February 16, 2006 at 08:07 PM (#1864706)
I mean we're talking distinctions that might make a difference of 2 or 3 total games in a season in the W-L column for an entire team.

I assume that you're talking about the typical worst case for a random year. That means that these effects are in the 3-4% range, about half the magnitude of average worst-case park factors. For most teams, most years, park factors aren't worth calculating either. We do it anyway just in case it makes a difference for a year. But more importantly, because small but consistent biases will add up over a career. A one win-share error is no big deal in a season; repeated in the same direction each year and the career number is biased 10-20 WS. And that's a lot.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: February 16, 2006 at 08:47 PM (#1864761)
I should have mentioned 1961, too, as a special modern seasons. The NL played 154 games and the AL played 162. That is a bigger difference, on average, than the differences among teams in 1981.

Of course, league-quality adjustments may be viewed as one kind of adjustment for unbalanced schedules.

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