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— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Monday, November 27, 2006

Jerry Koosman

Eligible in 1991.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:29 PM | 48 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 27, 2006 at 02:32 PM (#2246391)
Another Grandma fan-favorite, he was a fine, fine pitcher, but unfortunately wont come close to my ballot.
   2. Sam M. Posted: November 27, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#2246420)
Did Jerry Koosman have the greatest rookie season any pitcher has had since the ROY award was created without winning the award? In 1968, Kooz had 19 wins, was 4th in the NL in ERA, had 7 shutouts (3rd), a 145 ERA+ (3rd), in 263.2 IP. He was an All-Star, and finished 13th in the MVP voting . . . But only the runner-up for ROY because of Johnny Bench.

Oswalt was pretty good in 2001 (runner-up to Pujols), but in only 141 IP, so it doesn't compare.

Jim Nash (1966) was outstanding (12-1, 2.06 ERA, 165 ERA+), but also in limited innings (127). He was runner-up to Kooz's future teammate, Tommie Agee.

Wally Bunker (1964) has a decent case (19-5, 2.69 ERA, 133 ERA+, 214 IP, 12th in MVP voting). He was runner-up for ROY to Tony Oliva, receiving only one vote.

Then there's Harvey Haddix in 1953, who lost out to Jim Gilliam. Haddix was 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA. He tossed 253 innings (good for 3rd in the league), led the league in shutouts (6), was 3rd in CGS (19), and finished with a 139 ERA+.

And what about Gene Bearden in 1948? How does a guy go 20-7, lead the league with a 2.43 ERA (ERA+: 167), finish 8th in the MVP voting, and NOT win ROY? Well, Alvin Dark won it. He somehow finished 3rd in the MVP voting with .322/.353/.433. Go figure.
   3. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 27, 2006 at 04:02 PM (#2246442)
And what about Gene Bearden in 1948? How does a guy go 20-7, lead the league with a 2.43 ERA (ERA+: 167), finish 8th in the MVP voting, and NOT win ROY? Well, Alvin Dark won it. He somehow finished 3rd in the MVP voting with .322/.353/.433. Go figure.


Not so hard to figure. Boston won its first NL pennant in 34 years, Dark was the offensive sparkplug for that team, and with the Red Sox also in the thick of things you had the possibility of a "streetcar series", which was a huge story line in the days when it seemed as though New York owned the WS. Bearden wasn't a large part of the Indians' story line until the postseason; that was mostly Boudreau, Gordon, and Feller (with Lemon and Bearden in supporting roles).

Gilliam's win in 1953 was also partially due to a bigger story; in this case, he pushed Jackie Robinson off 2B to 3B and the OF, and the team didn't miss a beat.

-- MWE
   4. BDC Posted: November 27, 2006 at 04:19 PM (#2246458)
As a fan of the Cubs and then the Phillies, I grew up loathing Jerry Koosman, a feeling I had to hold in check when he fetched up with the 1984 Phillies, of all teams, and had a really good year for them. His career pattern is sort of Carlton Lite: a left-hander who mixes very strong years with very lousy ones ...
   5. DavidFoss Posted: November 27, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2246477)
a left-hander who mixes very strong years with very lousy ones ...

1976-79 is an interesting mix of seasons for Koosman. Using modern metrics like ERA+, the progression doesn't looks inconsistent but *that* out of the ordinary (122,108,94,130) but the won-loss records are positively Jekyll & Hyde (21-10, 8-20, 3-15, 20-13).

Turns out the Twins made a good call giving up only Greg Field and a PTBNL to get him and he had a mini-renaissance with them for a couple of years. Unfortunately the PTBNL turned out to be Jesse Orosco.
   6. JPWF13 Posted: November 27, 2006 at 04:40 PM (#2246483)
but the won-loss records are positively Jekyll & Hyde (21-10, 8-20, 3-15, 20-13).


run support, run support, run support
seriously- he had some ugly run support numbers some of those years.
   7. DavidFoss Posted: November 27, 2006 at 05:15 PM (#2246508)
run support, run support, run support

Understood. I think our memories of players from this era are a bit colored by the stats we remember tracking at the time. An interesting challenge for us as it often feels like we're revising history by converting viewpoints. It feels more objective analyzing guys like Sherry Magee with sabermetrics than guys from the 1970s.

I believe Koosman's career features prominently in the amusing book "The Worst Baseball Pitchers of All Time: Bad Luck, Bad Arms, Bad Teams, and Just Plain Bad" by Kaufman and Kaufman. He won the "Skunk Stearns Award" for worst pitcher of the year in 1977 & 1978 and then I think he won the "Sold His Soul to The Devil" award for his subsequent comeback.

Of course, with a sabermetric viewpoint, the career shifts of Koosman and other "Sold His Sould to the Devil" award winners (Ruffing, Pasqual) don't look quite so stark.
   8. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 27, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#2246526)
As with any case where a player seems to spring fully-formed from the forehead of the Minors, it's interesting to check out the MiLB numbers...Koos doesn't deserve credit, but he was a terrific prospect
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:01 PM (#2246541)
Is he Katt Lite?
   10. Sam M. Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#2246548)
Koos doesn't deserve credit, but he was a terrific prospect

The Mets developed more pitching talent that went on to greatness in the mid-1960s than pretty much any organization ever has at one time. If only they'd known what to do with it, and made the right choices with the rest of the talent on hand.

I mean, Koosman WAS a terrific prospect. And went on to a 200+ win career of near-HOF quality. And he was only the third best pitching prospect to zip through the minors on his way to Shea between 1965-1968, behind Messrs. Seaver and Ryan. And it's not just that they had prospects; it's that they all panned out into greatness. And yet the Mets still didn't dominate the late 60s and early 70s, as they could have if they'd made the right personnel decisions.

Developing great talent is a heck of a path to glory, but it's no guarantee.
   11. Steve Treder Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#2246551)
And yet the Mets still didn't dominate the late 60s and early 70s, as they could have if they'd made the right personnel decisions.

Not just Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman, but also Jim Bibby and Jon Matlack. And Amos Otis and Ken Singleton, of course.

Just whether all that talent was enough for the Mets to "dominate" is a good question, though. I have them on my list as one of teams for a "virtual" exercise THT piece.
   12. Sam M. Posted: November 27, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2246559)
Not just Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman, but also Jim Bibby and Jon Matlack. And Amos Otis and Ken Singleton, of course.

Well, I was referring only to pitching, which leaves out Otis and Singleton, of course. But I think it should have been enough to dominate. The issue they faced was that they were overloaded with starting pitchers and outfielders (or seemed to be as the 1969 World Series ended), and didn't really have the infielders of the future they needed. And they made the wrong choices in dealing off Ryan, Otis, and Singleton. Those "wrong choices" took two forms: one in what they got in return, which history has amply recorded.

The other is a little harder to judge them harshly for, because who among us would have done differently in their place? But with the benefit of hindsight . . . they'd have been a lot better off trading Agee and Jones and replacing them with Singleton and Otis. Oh, what they could have gotten for Agee and Jones coming off the 1969 season! Can you imagine the team the Mets could have built for the 1970s?

Oy.
   13. Steve Treder Posted: November 27, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#2246583)
But with the benefit of hindsight . . . they'd have been a lot better off trading Agee and Jones and replacing them with Singleton and Otis.

Sure, but why assume that they had to trade anyone? Otis and Singleton could have been phased in. Otis could have taken the roster spot they devoted to Ron Swoboda and then to Don Hahn, and gradually taken over as Agee's replacement when Agee began to be bothered by chronic injuries in '71-'72. Singleton could have been phased in as the right fielder in '70 and '71 as the Mets were doing with him before they traded him.

It's certainly true that the Mets could have used help at third base, but expending one of their blue chip in Otis to deal with it wasn't necessary. Foy was talented, but his fielding was poor, and he'd already gained a reputation for flakiness in Boston. Hell, the Mets were already tinkering with Otis at 3B, and they could have pursued that further.
   14. DCW3 Posted: November 27, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2246639)
Did Jerry Koosman have the greatest rookie season any pitcher has had since the ROY award was created without winning the award?

Mark Eichhorn in 1986 has a pretty good case. A 246 ERA+ in 157 relief innings. It's arguably the greatest relief season of all time, and if not for Clemens, he probably would've deserved the Cy Young. He finished a distant third in ROY voting behind Jose Canseco (an LF with a .240 average and a 115 OPS+) and Wally Joyner (a 1B with a 119 OPS+), failing to garner even a single first-place vote.
   15. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: November 27, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2246659)
Koosman may not have been HoM worthy, but he can take solace in the fact that there are precious few LHSP's with a more expensive rookie card.
   16. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 27, 2006 at 08:54 PM (#2246667)
Not just Seaver, Ryan, and Koosman, but also Jim Bibby and Jon Matlack. And Amos Otis and Ken Singleton, of course.

And Tug McGraw. That wealth of pitching talent makes the 2006 Tigers look like paupers.
   17. Mike Emeigh Posted: November 27, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#2246696)
Re - Otis for Foy:

The Mets had apparently thought about trading Otis before, but were reluctant to do so as long as there were questions about Tommy Agee. After the trade, Met GM Johnny Murphy said as much (quoted by Joe Durso in the NYT article about the trade):

"Agee proved himself...So we finally felt secure enough to trade Otis."


To be fair, Agee was just 27, coming off a season that was similar to his rookie season and a starring role in the WS, while Otis's audition at 3B had gone poorly. The Mets did need a 3B, and
Foy, in 1969, had put behind him many of the concerns that his sojourn in Boston had raised. His power production was disappointing, true, but the Mets weren't really looking for that from him; they envisioned him as the #2 hitter behind Agee, and he had demonstrated a pretty good eye in KC, drawing 84 walks and posting a .354 OBP while stealing 37 bases in 52 tries, and played some middle infield and CF in addition to 3B. Foy wasn't some overweight slug at that point, but a good athlete, and he also had the virtue of being a local (Bronx).

None of this means that it was a good deal, or even a deal that the Mets had to make. It seems pretty clear from the comments that Murphy and others made that the Mets knew what they were giving up, to some extent, in Otis. Two years earlier, I doubt they'd have made the deal. But I think that winning the WS put them on the hot seat to an extent they had not been - having succeeded unexpectedly with a flawed team in some respects, the expectation was now that they'd do it again, and with a clear hole at 3B to fill, it would have been harder to justify *not* making a deal to fill it. They wound up making one that wasn't completely unreasonable based on the relative status of the players at the time, but one that looked really bad very quickly by the end of April, when Hodges benched Foy for the first (but not the last) time.

-- MWE
   18. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: November 27, 2006 at 09:42 PM (#2246706)
Hey Steve, here's another virtual team suggestion for you: A Pedro-era Red Sox team that kept Roger Clemens (yeah, if they had him they might not have traded for Pedro, but you can't have too much pitching) and Jamie Moyer (Darren Bragg did not play a decisive role).
   19. Steve Treder Posted: November 27, 2006 at 10:08 PM (#2246737)
Mike, I agree with your general characterization of the Mets' reasoning in making the trade. I come down harder that it was a poor choice on their part, however. You're right that their motivation was essentially that "winning the WS put them on the hot seat to an extent they had not been - having succeeded unexpectedly with a flawed team in some respects, the expectation was now that they'd do it again, and with a clear hole at 3B to fill, it would have been harder to justify *not* making a deal to fill it."

A better GM than Johnny Murphy would have dealt with the justification of not making a deal, if that's what they ended up doing, rather than just doing what the writers expected.

And how exactly is it that "Otis's audition at 3B had gone poorly"? He played a grand total of 3 games there in 1969. He'd never been given a serious trial there at the big league level.
   20. Steve Treder Posted: November 27, 2006 at 10:10 PM (#2246739)
Hey Steve, here's another virtual team suggestion for you: A Pedro-era Red Sox team that kept Roger Clemens (yeah, if they had him they might not have traded for Pedro, but you can't have too much pitching) and Jamie Moyer (Darren Bragg did not play a decisive role).

Interesting idea ... it's now on the list.
   21. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 27, 2006 at 11:13 PM (#2246796)
Steve,

For that matter how about Fred McGriff, Willie McGee, Mike Morgan, Jay Buhner, et al staying with the early-mid 80s Yankees?
   22. Jose Canusee Posted: November 28, 2006 at 12:59 AM (#2246888)
Maybe you're joking but Mike Morgan was an A's draftee before going on his world tour.
   23. depletion Posted: November 28, 2006 at 01:48 AM (#2246924)
You know a writer is a total *hole when he puts Jerry Koosman in a book of bad pitchers. Game 2 of the 1969 WS alone takes Koos out of that book. In case you forgot, Seaver had lost game 1 in Baltimore, 4-1. Koos holds the O's hitless for the first 6 innings on the way to a 2-1 win. Stones of Hercules.
   24. Roadblock Jones Posted: November 28, 2006 at 01:50 AM (#2246926)
And how exactly is it that "Otis's audition at 3B had gone poorly"? He played a grand total of 3 games there in 1969. He'd never been given a serious trial there at the big league level.

Not entirely accurate. They gave it a real shot during '69 Spring Training but Otis was quite unhappy with that and apparently went about it without enthusiasm.

From a New York Times article from spring of 69:

What gives you the most trouble playing third base? he was asked.

"Everything," he replied matter-of-factly.

What bothers you most playing third base today?

"Richie Allen," he explained.

What are you doing best at third base?

"Whistling."


That could not have played well with Hodges. The Mets also that spring reportedly rejected giving him up in a trade for Joe Torre (probably not a 1-for-1 deal, but it obviously showed commitment on their part to making something of Otis. He was frequently referred to as "untouchable" at that time).

Foy I think was just the wrong target... as Fregosi would later be for Ryan.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: November 28, 2006 at 02:01 AM (#2246936)
That could not have played well with Hodges.

No doubt. But the fact that Otis was a smart-alecky 22-year-old kid isn't sufficient reason for the team to make decisions on where to play him and whether to keep him or trade him.

Again, if the team is being driven by that manner of silliness, and/or the silliness of filling a hole because they won the WS (the implication being that if they'd finished in second they could afford to be less impatient), then they're being pushed around by circumstances instead of asserting their will. One rarely sees the best-run organizations making major decisions with long-range implications that way.

Of course if Foy had done well it would have been much less of an issue, and to be fair no one anticipated Foy falling off the cliff the way he would. But that said, Foy would have to have been an all-time great third baseman to add the value that Otis would add for the Royals, as I pointed out in a recent THT piece (that I've shared here before, apologies for the redundancy):

He was a bit fragile, but beyond that Otis was, as old Royals' fan Bill James loved to observe, a plus player in every department.

So just how good would Joe Foy have had to turn out to be in order to make the Mets' Otis-for-Foy trade come out even? Let's not even consider Bob Johnson, the other guy the Mets included in the deal, whom the Royals were able to turn around and convert into Freddie Patek. Let's ignore that part and just consider how well Foy would have had to play to be the equal of Otis.

Foy was just 26 when the Mets acquired him, and certainly they anticipated he would plug their third base hole for years to come. Otis, playing center field for the Royals, would earn between 17 and 29 Win Shares every season from 1970 through 1979, an average of 23.7 per year. How typical is it for a third baseman to have a run like that?

Graig Nettles was the best third baseman over the complete decade of the 1970s. Over the seasons 1970 through '79—the best 10-year run of Nettles' career—he never had a year with as many as 29 Win Shares, and earned an average of 22.2. Ron Cey, another terrific third baseman of the period, also never had a 29-Win Share season, and earned an average of 22.1 per year over his best 10 seasons.

Ken Boyer, the outstanding all-around third baseman for the Cardinals of the '50s and '60s, a seven-time All-Star and an MVP winner, earned 23.1 in his best 10 years. Bob Elliott, another power-hitting MVP winner, comes in at 23.0. Pie Traynor, the line-drive-hitting defensive wizard of the 1920s, puts up a 22.5. Jimmy Collins, the Hall of Famer generally regarded as the first great modern third baseman, clocks in at 23.0.

There have been, of course, a few third basemen who've put up better decade-long Win Share totals than Otis did as a center fielder. But the point is you have to get into the truly all-time elite to find them: Eddie Mathews (32.6), Ron Santo (27.5), Mike Schmidt (33.0), George Brett (27.0), and Wade Boggs (28.6). (Brooks Robinson comes in only slightly ahead of Otis, at 23.9.) That's a telling measure of how remarkably well Otis did, and what kind of a tall order Foy faced to match it.
   26. Roadblock Jones Posted: November 28, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#2246954)
Not arguing for trading Otis, just the notion that the Mets hadn't made an effort to fit him in. Sure they could have kept trying at third, or made room in right field. Or they could have gambled on Torre in 69, who still had several good years left. Your work above obviously shows finding a 3rd-base match wouldn't have been easy but that wasn't obvious then.
   27. Steve Treder Posted: November 28, 2006 at 02:55 AM (#2246978)
the Mets hadn't made an effort to fit him in

Entirely agreed. They didn't give him a serious chance.

finding a 3rd-base match wouldn't have been easy but that wasn't obvious then

Certainly it wasn't, and hindsight is always 20-20. And of course Otis might have flamed out and both he and Foy would be pretty much forgotten today.

But I think we're also quick to assign the "Mets had a hole at 3B" assumption when it didn't really apply in 1969 either. At that point, the Mets had been a crappy team for 7 years, and a very good team for 1, but third base had been the least of their worries: Charley Smith wasn't terrible in 1964-65; Ken Boyer was pretty good in '66, and Ed Charles had contributed an excellent year in '68. Certainly they had issues in '69 with the rookie Wayne Garrett and the quickly-fading Charles, but the notion that third base was a perennial Shea Stadium hole was only something we've since come to perceive.

Garrett was a rookie in 1969, after all, and his hitting would dramatically improve in 1970. He'd never become a substantial hitter, but all in all he wasn't bad; had the Mets shown the discipline to just put Garrett at 3B and leave him there through the early 1970s, he might have become a pretty damn good player. But instead they constantly fretted that Garrett wasn't good enough, always seeking his replacement, sort of convincing themselves that they had a problem at 3B, that the press was quick to seize and hold.
   28. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 28, 2006 at 02:59 PM (#2247262)
Jose, you're right about Morgan, my bad.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: November 28, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#2247300)
Apparently the Mets had a pretty checkered career in the trading market. But researching Jim Wynn and Cesar Cedeno made me realize how bad the Astros were. They make the Mets look pretty shrewd. Following are young guys who came up with the Astros. Somebody else got more value of most of them. Not that all of these guys became good MLers, but what a commitment to youth!

1963--Rusty Staub 19 yr old 1B, John Bateman 20 C, Jim Wynn 21 OF, Brock Davis 19 OF, Joe Morgan 19 2B, Jerry Grote 20 C, John Paciorek 18 OF, Sonny Jackson 18 SS, Chris Zachary 19 P, Jay Dahl 17 P, Danny Coombs 21 P

1964--Ivan Murrell 19 OF, Larry Dierker 17 P

1965--Norm Miller 19 OF

1966--Nate Colbert 20 PH, Brock Davis 22 OF, Don wilson 21 P

1967--Doug Rader 22 3B, Hal King 23 C, Bob Watson 21 OF

1968--Hector Torres 22 SS, Byron Browne 25 OF, John Mayberry 18 1B, Danny Walton 20 OF; but after all of this, their first time in last place. Morgan is hurt, not yet traded away; and Staub is still here. Wilson, Dierker and Giusti are still the nuculus of a good young rotation. Rader, R. Davis, N. Miller, Bateman, Watson, Murrell, Colbert still here. But Grote and Jackson are gone and others to follow.

1969--The Mets are amazin' but, hey, the 'Stros get to .500. Cesar Geronimo 21 CF is the new face along with 21 year old P Tom Griffin, Scipio Spinks and Bob Watkins. Still a good young lineup.

1970--Now it's Watson, Morgan, Menke, Rader, J. Alou, Cedeno (the new face at age 19), Wynn and Johnny Edwards in the everyday lineup, with only Edwards over 30. Mayberry, Miller, Geronimo, Torres still on the bench. Dierker, billingham, Wilson, Lemaster in the rotation, only Lemaster over 30. Fred Gladding, the top reliever, is 34. Still a great young lineup. Score only 30 fewer runs than the division champ Reds, but ERA is 4.23 vs. Reds' 3.69.

1971--Reds and 'Stros tie for 4th in the division with 79 wins. And you could argue they're headed in different directions ('Stros up!?), except that the Reds are now younger. The Reds score 1 more run but Houston has better ERA 3.13 to 3.35. New faces in Houston: Randy Metzger 23 SS, Derrell Thomas 20 PH, J.R. Richard 21 P.

1972--Cincinnati with Morgan and Menke win 95, the 'Stros with Lee May and Tommy Helms win 84 and finish second, their best season ever. The 'Stros score 1 more run but the Reds have the better ERA by more than .50. Jerry Reuss 23 P is the new face.

1973--The Big Red Machine wins 99, the 'Stros fall to 4th with 82 wins and they are now one of the oldest teams in the NL. By 1975 the Astros are in last place in the division. All those years of great, great young players all came essentially to nothing. End of story.
   30. Roadblock Jones Posted: November 28, 2006 at 04:49 PM (#2247393)
Entirely agreed. They didn't give him a serious chance.

Well, kind of. What I'm saying is that they were, if anything, too serious.

The Mets were big believers in Otis. They had him at a tryout at Shea as an amateur, and though the Red Sox signed him, the Mets drafted him back the first chance they got. As recently as spring of 69 they refused to include him in a trade for Joe Torre. They had a good environment for him with two other Mobile teammates.

They sent him to winter instructional league following 68 to work in the infield and tried to put him at third base exclusively during spring training of 69. In their best-case scenario they'd have broke him in as an everyday 3Bman in 69 with Charles to back him up.

Instead, Wayne Garrett (who as you said they never believed much in and who in '69 was especially green) got the minutes that might have gone to Otis. They may have decided Otis was incapable of playing third, or, given Hodges' low tolerance for insubordination, experienced some nuclear incident between them. But either way it didn't work out.

Now if you think that point came too soon, I might agree but I don't think that indicates they hadn't been serious about giving Otis a shot at third base. Forgive the expression but Hodges was as serious as a heart attack.
   31. Steve Treder Posted: November 28, 2006 at 05:33 PM (#2247453)
Now if you think that point came too soon, I might agree but I don't think that indicates they hadn't been serious about giving Otis a shot at third base.

I think that point came too soon. And I don't think that 33 games in the minors, one off-season of instructional ball and one spring training, and subsequently 3 games in the majors constitutes a particularly serious trial at third base. The Giants' project with Dave Kingman at 3B seems like a full-fledged commitment by comparison.

I fully agree that the driving factor behind their loss of confidence in Otis was very likely driven by Hodges, as it seems quite apparent that Hodges and Otis didn't get along. I think Hodges was an outstanding manager, but he wasn't perfect, and this is one case that he flubbed pretty badly.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: November 28, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2247456)
I still have my 1968 Ryan-Koosman rookie card - and it looks about like you'd expect it to look almost 40 years after a 6-yr-old kid bought it. I used to fold those two-rookie cards in half, for some reason, among other sins against that card.
   33. OCF Posted: November 29, 2006 at 08:05 AM (#2248251)
RA+ equivalent record 233-193, for 168 Eq.FWP. That's a neighborhood from which it's possible to get elected (Ferrell, Drysdale), and possible to get passed over (Shocker, Quinn, Warnecke). Best equivalent seasons (non-consecutive): 19-8, 19-11, 19-11, 18-11, 17-11. Lived through an age of 300 IP/season pitchers without himself ever coming anywhere close to 300 IP.
   34. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: November 29, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2248352)
Does anyone know the origin of his last name? Is it Finnish (the double o), or is it an Ellis-Island type mistake on a German umlauted o?
   35. sunnyday2 Posted: November 29, 2006 at 03:50 PM (#2248367)
Otis was always known as an exceptionally prickly personality. Not a lot this side of Dick Allen, other than everybody managed to keep it mostly in the clubhouse and out of the papers. But he seriously high maintenance.
   36. Steve Treder Posted: November 29, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#2248380)
Does anyone know the origin of his last name? Is it Finnish (the double o), or is it an Ellis-Island type mistake on a German umlauted o?

I don't know the linguistic derivation of his name, but I've always understood Koosman to be Jewish. Perhaps I'm wrong about that.
   37. sunnyday2 Posted: November 29, 2006 at 04:30 PM (#2248400)
Sounds like it coulda been Dutch as well...probably Van Kuysman or something like that.
   38. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: November 29, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2248406)
I don't know the linguistic derivation of his name, but I've always understood Koosman to be Jewish. Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

I'm 99.9% sure that he's not Jewish.
   39. DavidFoss Posted: November 29, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2248407)
Koosman was born in Appleton, MN which is in the far western edge of the state. I would have guessed it wouldn't have guessed there would be much ethnic diversity there (i. e. mainly northern european christians) but looking at the demographics at wikipedia shows its much more diverse than I would have guessed. That shows my city-born biases of the out-state places I suppose. My parents are from the boonies, I could ask them if that name rings a bell.
   40. Raoul Duke Posted: December 01, 2006 at 01:33 AM (#2248693)
Stupid question, maybe - Does anyone else get the feel from his career stats that he needed a season or two to get used to the lowered pitcher's mound? I can't go stats/higher math with some of the peeps on this forum :-> but I notice weird stuff from time to time . . .
   41. BDC Posted: December 01, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#2248705)
Koosman is not listed at jewishmajorleaguers.org, and it's hard to think they would have overlooked him ...
   42. DavidFoss Posted: December 01, 2006 at 02:32 AM (#2248731)
Does anyone else get the feel from his career stats that he needed a season or two to get used to the lowered pitcher's mound?

His best year was 1969 -- the first year of the lower mound.

He had some nagging injuries from 1970-71 and 1972 was just a bad year as he was demoted to the bullpen a couple of times due to ineffectiveness. He was much better in 1973 and was durable and often quite effective (with healthy K-rates) after that, but he never returned to 1968-69 form.
   43. Steve Treder Posted: December 01, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2249139)
Huh. I wonder where I got the idea that he was Jewish. Could well be that I'm confusing him with somebody else.

The wisdom part of getting older is great. The mental incompetence part is what sucks.
   44. Raoul Duke Posted: December 03, 2006 at 03:33 AM (#2250353)
My bad on the mound year; read the date wrong.

Oh well, another brilliant theorem destroyed by facts :->
   45. Howie Menckel Posted: December 03, 2006 at 03:47 AM (#2250363)
I watched almost every game Koosman ever pitched for the Mets, and the Jewish thing never came up. Definitely not on that one.
Funny, even given the 'man' at the end, that idea never even entered my mind.

Are you from the NY area, Steve? If so, you know that naturally every guy with the slightest 'hope' of being Jewish is debated ad infinitum in the NY media.
There were some good stories written this fall about how amazed Shawn Green was at the reception he's gotten in NY.
A caller also called WFAN in September only half-kiddingly asking if it was OK for him to buy his 8-yr-old son a Green jersey. The caller and his son are Jewish and die-hard Yankees fans, but the kid was fired up at the idea of a Jewish ballplayer that he could imagine someday becoming.

And of course Ron "first DH" Bloomberg has a book out this year....
   46. rico vanian Posted: December 03, 2006 at 05:20 AM (#2250417)
When David Cone joined the Mets in 1987, there was alot of excitement among Jewish Mets fans that he was a "member of the tribe". That is, until it became known that he was not Jewish and that his name was not spelled Cohen.

The 69 Mets had Art Shamsky, who was Jewish; as well as Koosman, Al Weis, and Ed Kranepool...who were all at some point mistakenly considered Jewish.
   47. Steve Treder Posted: December 03, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#2250822)
Are you from the NY area, Steve? If so, you know that naturally every guy with the slightest 'hope' of being Jewish is debated ad infinitum in the NY media.

No, I'm an SF Bay Area guy. Not nearly such a large Jewish community out here. Although I do recall that when the A's had Mike Epstein and Ken Holtzman in 1972, there was some minor fuss made of it.

I suspect you're correct that the idea of Koosman being Jewish got implanted in my cranium somehow through reading about speculation, or hope, that he was. In an earlier era, John McGraw was constantly trying to discover/develop a Jewish star, figuring that would yield a box office bonanza.
   48. JPWF13 Posted: December 04, 2006 at 04:40 AM (#2251047)
When David Cone joined the Mets in 1987, there was alot of excitement among Jewish Mets fans that he was a "member of the tribe". That is, until it became known that he was not Jewish and that his name was not spelled Cohen.


Even recently, in 2005 there was rampant speculation that Mike Jacobs might be Jewish

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