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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jim Perry

Eligible in 1981.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2006 at 07:40 PM | 67 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 09, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2093119)
Not that it matters for his candidacy, but was Jim bald like his brother? I don't remember any pictures of him without his hat.
   2. DavidFoss Posted: July 09, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#2093351)
I can't seem to find any pictures of him with his hat off either. Is he bald now?

Jim looked like he performed best as a swingman pitcher. He had a couple good-to-great years as a pure starter (including a CYA), but would wear out after a couple seasons in that role.
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: July 09, 2006 at 10:31 PM (#2093407)
I don't remember him being bald while playing.

I was gonna say the opposite--could Jim Perry have had a better career if the Twins had just given him the damn ball and let him pitch it? And if he couldn't go 40 starts a year, well, then, let him start 34. I think the Twins missed the boat with this guy the first 5 years he was with them.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: July 10, 2006 at 01:28 AM (#2093627)
Not exactly a key HOM point, but I don't remember him balding as quickly as Gaylord, either.
   5. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:26 AM (#2093847)
Fun fact: He didn't have especially noteworth run support in 1970 when he went 24-12 with an ERA+ of 122. His RSI was actually 105.

Career RSI: 99.19 and he gains one win in adjusted W/L. He won 11 more games than he should've based on his real life run support and actual RA/9IP. Going by the RSD stuff I mentioned in the Osteen thread, he's the biggest overachiever I know of from 1960-79 in terms of W/L.

Jim looked like he performed best as a swingman pitcher.

Disagree entirely. I consider him to be Exhibit A in the argument that Sam Mele was a dunderfuck extraordinare. He led the AL in wins early in his career, and did it again in 1970, but he spent most of the 1960s jumping in and out of the rotation. Mind you, his ERAs were consistently better as a starter (naturally the year the Twins moved him into the rotation full-time his relief ERA was better). Normally, reliever ERAs across all baseball are better than starter ERAs, making Perry's difference that much more interesting. The decision to stick him in the bullpen likely cost the Twins the pennant in 1967.
   6. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2093852)
I wonder what Perry (either one, for that matter) would think if he stumbled across this thread.
   7. OCF Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:36 AM (#2093859)
RA+ equivalent record 196-169. IP/decision of 8.45 which is low. Single best year (1969) at equivalent 19-10; no other years particularly close to that (including 17-14 in 1970). Good pitcher but we're talking about the likes of Simmons or Friend, not of an HOM candidate.

Gaylord was better, of course. (Equivalent 337-258.) We'll get to him when it's his turn.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2006 at 12:47 PM (#2093970)
<i>I wonder what Perry (either one, for that matter) would think if he stumbled across this thread.<i>

:-D
   9. DL from MN Posted: July 10, 2006 at 02:21 PM (#2094049)
I think Jim Perry may be the most deserving candidate for the Twins HoF but he's not a good candidate for the HoM.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 10, 2006 at 02:27 PM (#2094054)
if he stumbled across this thread

Something tells me that their children or their children's chidren would be more likely to come across us. (Not to throw huge blanket statements out there about old people, old baseball players, or old farmers....)
   11. karlmagnus Posted: July 10, 2006 at 02:49 PM (#2094077)
Gaylord likes to surf the Internet, but the spit gets all over the keyboard and messes it up, so his family don't let him much :-))
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: July 10, 2006 at 03:05 PM (#2094095)
Nice, karlmagnus. :-)
   13. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#2094162)
Mind you, his ERAs were consistently better as a starter (naturally the year the Twins moved him into the rotation full-time his relief ERA was better). Normally, reliever ERAs across all baseball are better than starter ERAs, making Perry's difference that much more interesting.

No. Perry's career ERA as a starter was 3.46, as a reliever 3.31. That difference (9.6%) is extremely typical of the difference noted in all pitchers, as elaborated here.

I do agree that the Twins generally wasted Perry as a swingman, but OTOH, he provided great value in the role, and they generally had lots of other good starters as well.
   14. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 04:13 PM (#2094165)
Perry's career ERA as a starter was 3.46, as a reliever 3.31. That difference (9.6%) is extremely typical of the difference noted in all pitchers

D'oh! That difference is of course 4.4%, not 9.6%. It's lower than the typical difference, but still a better ERA as a reliever than as a starter.
   15. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2094247)
I consider him to be Exhibit A in the argument that Sam Mele was a dunderfuck extraordinare. He led the AL in wins early in his career, and did it again in 1970, but he spent most of the 1960s jumping in and out of the rotation. Mind you, his ERAs were consistently better as a starter (naturally the year the Twins moved him into the rotation full-time his relief ERA was better). Normally, reliever ERAs across all baseball are better than starter ERAs

No.

Yes. With the Twins from 1963-9 (his years as swingman) his ERA as a starter was 2.83, and as a reliever was 3.03. Looking only at the Mele years (1963-7) and he posted a 2.93 ERA as a starter, and a 3.27 ERA in relief. In '68 and '69 he finally started to perform better as a reliever, so they quit using him in that capacity. (Not that were wrong to make him a full-time starter mind you, but I just find that somewhat funny).
   16. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 05:51 PM (#2094274)
With the Twins from 1963-9 (his years as swingman) his ERA as a starter was 2.83, and as a reliever was 3.03. Looking only at the Mele years (1963-7) and he posted a 2.93 ERA as a starter, and a 3.27 ERA in relief. In '68 and '69 he finally started to perform better as a reliever, so they quit using him in that capacity.

Your flexible use of endpoints is impressive, Chris! ;-)

I do think you're engaging in a bit of benefit-of-hindsight. Look at it from Mele's perspective: he acquires Perry in early 1963. Perry had at that point:

- Done very well in the swingman role as a rookie in 1959
- Done very well as full-time starter in 1960
- Then slumped badly as a full-time starter in 1961
- Then been not so hot again in '62, and lost his full-time starter status

So it didn't seem unreasonable to deploy Perry as a swingman in '63, especially considering that the Twins had 3 good starters ahead of him (Pascual, Kaat, and Stigman).

And Perry was no great shakes for the Twins as a starter in '63 anyway (3.61 ERA). Mele then used him as pretty much a full-time reliever in 1964 (an underutilization, I would agree, but once again the Twins weren't hurting for starters). Perry then revitalizes his career in 1965 with a terrific year as a swingman: is it all that shocking that Mele would continue to use him in that role for the next couple of years?

Remember that when Billy Martin finally moved Perry back into the full-time rotation in 1969, it was because Jim Merritt had been traded away AND Dean Chance had come down with a sore arm, so the team had a vacancy in the rotation they hadn't had for the past few years. And Perry did far better as a 33-year-old starter that year than anyone anticipated, probably including Martin.

Yes, in retrospect the Twins probably would have been better off just starting Perry all along. But I think the case you're making is overstated, and benefits from huge hindsight.
   17. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2094303)
Your flexible use of endpoints is impressive, Chris! ;-)

?

I started out talking about his days with the Twins, and then continued to talk about his days with the Twins. How am I being "flexible" by consistently talking about the same period of his career throughout the thread?

Mele then used him as pretty much a full-time reliever in 1964 (an underutilization, I would agree, but once again the Twins weren't hurting for starters).

I looked up the '64 Twins once, and IIRC, they had serious problems in midseason with their rotation as the back end of their rotation crapped out. To be fair, Perry did stink up the joint in his only start that year.

The fun really begins in 1965. Perry began the year in the bullpen again. Pitched good, and got a crack at the rotation again. Now he pitched even better. Thus, at the end of the year, Mele put him back in the bullpen.

In '66 he again begins in the 'pen. Aside from 2 spot starts, he's there until mid-June. He pitches good in the bullpen as usual, and once again he gets a shot at the rotation. Yet again he pitches better as a starter.
On the year, his ERA as a starter (25 GSs) was 2.43, far lower than his reliever ERA (3.95). He would've been the 2nd best starter on the team.

So naturally he began 1967 in the bullpen. By the time Mele's fired in early June, Perry has had exactly one start. On July 4th, he had his second start. He finally got some starts in late in the year. This year his starter ERA was only a half-point better than his reliever ERA. The Twins lose the pennant by one game.
   18. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 06:32 PM (#2094318)
I started out talking about his days with the Twins, and then continued to talk about his days with the Twins. How am I being "flexible" by consistently talking about the same period of his career throughout the thread?

I'm just tweaking you, Chris. It's just that the focus only on a few of his seasons ignores those in which he pitched well in relief, sometimes quite a bit better than as a starter: 1959, 1960, 1968, and 1969.

Since his overall career ERA was better as a reliever than as a starter, there's no reason to conclude that Perry exhibited a particular skill that made him better as a starter than as a reliever. The sample sizes of his stints in either role are quite small in several of these seasons, anyway.

I don't find all that much to fault Mele for here. Who is it he should have bumped from the rotation to make room for Perry in the 1964-67 period, anyway?
   19. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2094349)
I don't find all that much to fault Mele for here. Who is it he should have bumped from the rotation to make room for Perry in the 1964-67 period, anyway?

He was in the rotation, but got taken out. He was in it full-time for almost 3 months in the second half of 1965. He pitched fantastic, with an ERA under 2.50 as a starter. You didn't have to bump someone out of the rotation to make room for him. He was bumped to make room for someone else, Check, that, they just started other guys on reduced rest. They kicked him out of the rotation and had Jim Kaat start on September 30 and October 3.

In 1966 the Twins began the year with a four man rotation of Mudcat Grant, Jim Kaat, Camilio Pascual, and Dave Boswell. Perry was a better bet at that point in time than either Pascual or Boswell. I can understand wanting to break Boswell in as he was a young kid full of talent, but Perry had pitched significantly better than Boswell in '65, and the Twins were in a position to win it all in '66 so that's an important considertion. Also, while Perry had better numbers as a starter than reliver, Boswell had better numbers as a reliever. I should note Perry wore down at the end of the year in '65, but so did Boswell. No such future-promise defense can be made for Pascual. He ERA+ was slightly above average in '65 while he averaged less than 6 innings a start and missed part of the year. Sentimentality is the only reason to start him over Perry in '66, but that's what happened. Eventually Perry did get put in the rotation, and pitched far better than he had as a starter. This time he didn't wear down at all. He allowed 1 run in 16+ IP in his last two starts.

He outpitched Grant, Boswell, and Pascual in '66 (I'll give Kaat the edge over Perry because of his huge advantage in IP). In 1967, Boswell and Grant began the year in the rotation. Perry in the 'pen. Instead of putting Perry in the rotation as the fourth man in the four-man staff, they traded Jimmie Hall and Don Mincher for Dean Chance. A great pitcher in '64, Chance was coming off of two middling sore-armed years. I can't for the life of me believe it was a good utilization of resources to trade those players for Chance to fill a non-existant gap. Even with the Chance trade, either Grant or Boswell should've been in the 'pen instead of Perry.
   20. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2094376)
They kicked him out of the rotation and had Jim Kaat start on September 30 and October 3.

Well, I don't know, but this sure looks to me as though Perry might have gotten ill or hurt. He'd been in the rotation and doing very well, as you say, from early July through late September. Then he pitches a 2/3 of an inning outing in relief on the 22nd, then six days later makes a 4-inning, ineffective losing start, then pitches 2 innings in relief on the final day of the regular season (the same day that Kaat started and also pitched just 2 innings, clearly just as a WS tune-up). Then Perry didn't pitch at all until the 5th game of the WS 8 days later, and overall pitches just 2 games and 4 innings of mop-up relief in the 7-game WS.

I can't for the life of me believe it was a good utilization of resources to trade those players for Chance to fill a non-existant gap.

Whether or not it was a wise trade, it wasn't Mele's fault that it was made. His job was to deploy the roster he was given.

Even with the Chance trade, either Grant or Boswell should've been in the 'pen instead of Perry.

Well, perhaps, though Grant was just two years past a 21-win season.

Overall, I think you're just overstating the degree to which Perry was underutilized. I agree they pretty much wasted him at the back end of the bullpen in 1964, but in '65 he was 4th on the team in starts (behind only Kaat, Grant, and Pascual, all three of whom were rightly ahead of him in the pecking order at that point), and he was 3rd on the team in IP. In '66, he was 3rd on the team in both starts and IP, behind Kaat and Grant.

In '67, in retrospect you're right that they should have given Perry more of the starts that went to Grant, but again, no one knew in advance that Grant would crap out. And putting Kaat, Chance, Boswell, and Merritt ahead of Perry in the pecking order was hardly a crazy idea, in both '67 and '68.

We now know that Perry would win 20 games in both 1969 and 1970. Nobody knew that before 1969, and I assure you no one was predicting he would.
   21. sunnyday2 Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:14 PM (#2094393)
Pascual was hurt in '65 and never recovered, but they didn't know that at the time. So when he came back late in the year, well, of course, he was gonna get back in the rotation.
   22. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:29 PM (#2094409)
And putting Kaat, Chance, Boswell, and Merritt ahead of Perry in the pecking order was hardly a crazy idea, in both '67 and '68.

It's hardly a good idea.

We now know that Perry would win 20 games in both 1969 and 1970. Nobody knew that before 1969, and I assure you no one was predicting he would.

Forget what he would do. They could have looked at what he had done. And he had been pitching better as a starter than half the guys in their starting rotation at the outset of 1966 and 1967.

And Grant was never that great. His big 21-win campaign came largely from terrific run support. He should definately have been pulled from the rotation by Opening Day 1967. Not doing so was either Mele making decision based on reputation rather than production, or Mele hesitating in the face of criticism. Neither are good defenses. Such decision making hardly makes Mele unique among managers, but there's a world of difference between saying he did it the way others would and saying he made good moves. Two-thirds of managers end their careers with losing records.
   23. DavidFoss Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2094418)
Not doing so was either Mele making decision based on reputation rather than production, or Mele hesitating in the face of criticism.

Well baseballlibrary has an interesting quote on Mele's opinion of Perry:

A tall, trim righthander, Perry overcame several seasons in Twins manager Sam Mele's doghouse, as well as the rap that he was "too nice" to win consistently in the ML, and in 1970 won the AL Cy Young Award with a 24-12 record.


There have been a number of essays criticizing the Twins talent management in the 1960s. Bill James in his book of managers and Armour/Levitt in Paths To Glory to name two. There was mention of Perry's usage costing the Twins the pennant in 1967. That may be true, but there is a litany of other things that cost the Twins the pennant in 1967 as well. It must have been a tough offseason for Twins fans.
   24. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#2094423)
They could have looked at what he had done. And he had been pitching better as a starter than half the guys in their starting rotation at the outset of 1966 and 1967.

Coming into 1966, Perry had made 20 starts over the previous 2 seasons. In the three seasons prior to that, he'd made 87 starts, and posted ERA+ figures of 84, 94, and 95. It wasn't an unreasonable decision to conclude that this 30-year-old pitcher would do a mediocre job as a regular starter. And he'd also done his best pitching when being spotted into a half-season's worth of starts in '65. I'd say the preponderance of the evidence supports the call that Mele made at the outset of 1966.

And coming into 1967, Grant had put up ERA+ figures of 98, 98, 108, and 111 in 229, 228, 270, and 249 innings: a strong, dependable workhorse. Mele was supposed to know as of Opening Day 1967 that it was time to pull him from the rotation?

No way, Chris. Perry and Grant had both been regular starters, and it was Grant who'd done demonstrably better in the role. Meanwhile, Perry had done the best pitching of his career when being deployed in the lower-workload swingman role. Mele's choices in this regard were entirely defensible; he may have been a poor manager in other ways, but not in the choices he made here.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#2094426)
They could have looked at what he had done. And he had been pitching better as a starter than half the guys in their starting rotation at the outset of 1966 and 1967.

Coming into 1966, Perry had made 20 starts over the previous 2 seasons. In the three seasons prior to that, he'd made 87 starts, and posted ERA+ figures of 84, 94, and 95. It wasn't an unreasonable decision to conclude that this 30-year-old pitcher would do a mediocre job as a regular starter. And he'd also done his best pitching when being spotted into a half-season's worth of starts in '65. I'd say the preponderance of the evidence supports the call that Mele made at the outset of 1966.

And coming into 1967, Grant had put up ERA+ figures of 98, 98, 108, and 111 in 229, 228, 270, and 249 innings: a strong, dependable workhorse. Mele was supposed to know as of Opening Day 1967 that it was time to pull him from the rotation?

No way, Chris. Perry and Grant had both been regular starters, and it was Grant who'd done demonstrably better in the role. Meanwhile, Perry had done the best pitching of his career when being deployed in the lower-workload swingman role. Mele's choices in this regard were entirely defensible; he may have been a poor manager in other ways, but not in the choices he made here.
   26. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2094432)
There was mention of Perry's usage costing the Twins the pennant in 1967. That may be true, but there is a litany of other things that cost the Twins the pennant in 1967 as well.

Most definitely. Giving the cataclysmically slumping Zoilo Versalles 626 plate appearances in which he made, count 'em, 489 outs was chief among them. Giving the obviously-no-good-any-more Rich Rollins 374 PAs was another. Giving Jerry Zimmerman 267 PAs with an OPS+ of 26(!) is yet another; indeed failing to address the season-long oozing sore behind the plate was perhaps the biggest blunder of them all.

Pinning the close '67 second-place finish on the fact that Jim Perry was only fifth on the team in IPs really misses the bigger issues.
   27. fra paolo Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2094437)
I think Dag Nabbit (Chris) is on to something here. There's no reason, looking at statistics, to keep Perry out of the rotation after 1965. I was fiddling with some Pythagenpat calculations (which I'm not sure are right):

Pitcher     Pyathagenpat Win Pct.
Perry        .772
Boswell      .572
Pascual      .589

Of course, we know that managers and GMs make all sorts of decisions taking into account things other than statistics, but refusing to use a good pitcher where he could be most effective simply because he was not a mean headhunter borders on stupidity.
   28. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:10 PM (#2094441)
Post #25 only makes sense if: 1) you're a proponent of the 3-man rotation, or 2) you forgot Pascual and Chance were never on the team at the same time. (The Twins dealt him to Washington 24 hours after getting what was left of the 1964 CYA Winner).

Coming into 1966, Perry had made 20 starts over the previous 2 seasons.

Well, that's an intereting way of looking at it. 1 start in 1964, and 19 in 1965. And he'd pitched pretty well in '65. And it wasn't just an issue of Grant vs. Perry. Toss in Pascual and Boswell as well. Three well end up in the starting rotation

And coming into 1967, Grant had put up ERA+ figures of 98, 98, 108, and 111 in 229, 228, 270, and 249 innings: a strong, dependable workhorse. Mele was supposed to know as of Opening Day 1967 that it was time to pull him from the rotation?

Nice argument - if the Twins are forced to go with a 3 man staff. The Twins had four though - Jim Kaat, Mudcat Grant, Dean Chance, and Dave Boswell. Pascual was in Washington. There's room for Perry & Grant in the rotation so presenting as an either/or question between the two misreads the situation. Dave Boswell was the man on the bubble. As much potential as he had, when you're in Win Now mode, do you really dump the guy with the fantastic ERA in 'pen? Sam Mele did.

No way, Chris. Perry and Grant had both been regular starters, and it was Grant who'd done demonstrably better in the role.

When? Not in recent seasons. And in '66, Perry had been going strong up until the end of the year. Again, Grant was not the fourth starter. Dave Boswell was.

Fun fact: in 1966, not only did Jim Perry pitch enough innings in his starts to qualify for the ERA title exluding his reliever innings, but his starter ERA would've tied him for the second best ERA in the league.

As it was, he was "only" the fourth best ERA in baseball. And he began '67 in the bullpen.

Mele's choices in this regard were entirely defensible; he may have been a poor manager in other ways, but not in the choices he made here.

A man ends the year with the fourth best ERA in baseball, and begins the next year below Dave Boswell on the depth chart . . . that's defensible?
   29. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:15 PM (#2094448)
There's no reason, looking at statistics, to keep Perry out of the rotation after 1965.

Of course there was, so long as you look at full-career statistics, or at least several years' worth. The case you can make for Perry to be higher on the depth chart than he was at the beginning of 1966 is based entirely on 1965 statistics, which is great because it's the most recent data, but also suspect because it's a small sample size.

Camilo Pascual had been one of the elite pitchers in baseball from 1959 through 1964. It's nothing but hindsight to say the Twins should have put him behind Perry at the outset of 1966, based on Pascual' '65 performance alone.

And both Boswell and Merritt were extraordinarily impressive, promising young talents, for whom it would have been crazy not to give a full shot. Meanwhile, Perry was a 30-year-old journeyman, who'd had one good year as as starter, and three not-good ones, and he'd done his best work in his two seasons as a swingman (1959 and 1965).
   30. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2094457)
That was a poorly written post. Sorry I didn't proofread it.

Pinning the close '67 second-place finish on the fact that Jim Perry was only fifth on the team in IPs

Gag. Well, . . that's one way of putting it. He only had 11 starts that year. He's over 90 IP behind #4 on the team in innings.

Rich Rollins wasn't good in '67, but he had the 6th best OPS+ for an AL starting third basemen that year. The handling of Perry did hurt them more.

Then there's the whole issue of how Cesar Tovar was used. How the hell do you play in 164 games and get listed as a backup at b-ref? I'm a firm believer players do better when they have clearly defined roles, and the Twins were terrible at that (but this is starting to bleed into my comment on the Killebrew thread). They should've stuck him somewhere. Preferably SS, where Versialles hit 7 points under RAY OYLER. Beginning with the second game of a 5/28 DH, Versailles hit .171 the rest of the way. With no power. No walks. And no stolen bases.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:24 PM (#2094458)
This was a long time ago and I don't really remember what Twins fans thought at the time. Certainly we thought the Twins coulda-shoulda won the pennant.

And the pitching was fine, really. Other than the totally insane pitching of the Chicago White Sox, the Twins had the best ERA in the league. And they were 3rd in the league in runs scored, just 12 behind the Tigers and about 50 behind Boston. It is hindsight to notice Grant's 14 starts. Everybody else on the staff clicked very nicely.

Certainly we knew that Versalles hit .200, and it was an empty .200 at that. And there was no offense at catcher but, hey, they caught a damn good pitching staff and maybe they contributed to that.

Cesar Tovar was the Twins' new star--he played CF in place of lefty Ted Uhlaender against lefties and played 3B in place of right-hander Rich Rollins against righties. It's easy enough to bash Rollins but the Twins had nobody else. The bench included Sandy Valdespino (.165), Rich Reese (.248 with 4 HR) plus old broken-down catchers. The other 3B were Jackie Hernandez (.143) and Ron Clark (.167).

Apparently Calvin put all his bench bucks into a nice, deep pitching staff and that part worked out.

But the fact is that the Red Sox pythag was better and they deserved to win, however much luck was involved in sweeping the final 2 game series from the Twins to win the pennant by 1 game. What we (Twins fans) often forget is the Tigers tied for 2nd too.

Twins fans of the era would say the Twins shoulda won more than one AL pennant but so would fans of the Tigers. Still the Twins did win the West in the first year of divisional play (1969) with 97 wins, 6 more than in '67 (but 5 fewer than '65). That team led the AL in runs scored and was second in ERA. Then against a great Orioles team, the Twins got swept, but the game scores were 4-3 in 12 innings, 1-0 in 11 innings and then 11-2 in Minnesota. Perry and Boswell gave up 5 runs in 18.2 innings and Perranoski gave up the game winning hit in both games in Ballimer. Tony Oliva had 5 of the Twins 17 hits, he hit .385 but nobody else hit over .200 except Graig Nettles (1 for 1 as a PH).

The 1970 team won 98 games but got clobbered by the O's 10-6, 11-3, 6-1 (Oliva hit .500 this time and Killebrew hit 2 HR but the O's hit 6 and 7 2Bs). Perry lost game 1 with a 13.50 ERA.
   32. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#2094473)
(The Twins dealt him to Washington 24 hours after getting what was left of the 1964 CYA Winner).

What was left of the 1964 CYA was the guy who did this for the Twins:

1967: 3rd in wins, 1st in IP, 1st in CG, 9th in ERA, 5th in ERA+, 8th in WHIP, 3rd in SO, 13th in MVP voting.

1968: 8th in wins, 2nd in IP, 6th in CG, 9th in ERA+, 4th in WHIP, 4th in SO.

Characterizing Chance as somehow over the hill at this point is completely wrong. He was still among the very best pitchers in the league, a tremendous workhorse with great effectiveness.

The Twins had four though - Jim Kaat, Mudcat Grant, Dean Chance, and Dave Boswell.

For all of whom a very sound case can be made to be put ahead of Perry in the pecking order.

When? Not in recent seasons.

Yes, in recent seasons. The very most recent, in fact: in 1966, Grant had an ERA+ of 111 in 249 innings, 7th in the league in IP. In 1965 Grant was 3rd in the league in IP, and had an ERA+ of 108. That's damn good starting pitching, a better sustained run of it than Perry had ever managed, by a long shot.

You seem to be entirely focused on rate stats and not factoring workload into it. Indeed it's entirely reasonable to imagine that Mele felt the reason he was coaxing such nice rate stats out of Perry was entirely because he had come up with a usage pattern that suited him.

Again, Grant was not the fourth starter. Dave Boswell was.

And a very fine young pitcher, rightly regarded as one of the blue chip young talents in all of MLB.

A man ends the year with the fourth best ERA in baseball, and begins the next year below Dave Boswell on the depth chart . . . that's defensible?

Very much so. ERA is not the sole metric of pitching effectiveness, nor should the future performance of a 31-year-old pitcher with a 5.96 K/9 be projected in the same manner as that of a 22-year-old with 9.19 K/9.
   33. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:47 PM (#2094484)
He only had 11 starts that year. He's over 90 IP behind #4 on the team in innings.

And he's also 35 IP ahead of #6 on the team in innings.

He was the fifth-most heavily used pitcher on that staff. That's a completely accurate statement.

Rich Rollins wasn't good in '67, but he had the 6th best OPS+ for an AL starting third basemen that year.

In a 10-team league, that ain't good for sure. And Rollins was never going to be in the lineup for his glove.

The handling of Perry did hurt them more.

No chance. Rollins was taking at-bats away from Rich Reese and Ted Uhlaender, decent young hitters and damn fine fielders. The only guys with more IPs on the staff than Perry had ERA+ marks of 127, 114, 137, and 106; Perry's was 114. And your notion that Mele should have been able to predict ahead of time that Grant would implode in 1967 is silly, and at any rate Perry pitched 35 more innings than Grant.
   34. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#2094495)
And the pitching was fine, really. Other than the totally insane pitching of the Chicago White Sox, the Twins had the best ERA in the league. And they were 3rd in the league in runs scored, just 12 behind the Tigers and about 50 behind Boston. It is hindsight to notice Grant's 14 starts. Everybody else on the staff clicked very nicely.

Agreed.

It's easy enough to bash Rollins but the Twins had nobody else.

Not true. There were two obvious alternatives:

1) Play Tovar at 3B full-time and Uhlaender in CF full-time.

or

2) Start Reese at 1B and move Killebrew back to 3B (which is what they finally did in 1968-71).

But the fact is that the Red Sox pythag was better and they deserved to win

Quite possibly. Every team has several things they could have and should have done better. But few teams have strengths as huge as the '67 Twins (Killebrew, Oliva, Allison, Carew, outstanding pitching) alongside gaping holes (SS and C especially). Probably just finding a shortstop who could field a ground ball and hit .230, and/or a catcher who could catch a pitch and do the same, would have been enough to get the Twins over the hump.
   35. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:00 PM (#2094501)
Characterizing Chance as somehow over the hill at this point is completely wrong. He was still among the very best pitchers in the league, a tremendous workhorse with great effectiveness.

Referring to him as what-was-left-of was a cheap shot, and I take it back. But he wasn't among the very best pitchers in the league, and he didn't pitch with great effectiveness after 1964. Has a little above average prior to coming to Minnesota. He'd gone 27-27 with ERA+s a little over 100.

You seem to be entirely focused on rate stats and not factoring workload into it.

Aarrghh!! He didn't get the innings because he Mele didn't give them to him. Therefore we shouldn't think was as good because he didn't have the innings. Therefore Mele was right. Oy. That's circular logic. At the very least it's elliptical. ;)

I know workload factors in. And when Perry was given a larger workload, he responded and pitched better than he had in relief. So he never got more.

Indeed it's entirely reasonable to imagine that Mele felt the reason he was coaxing such nice rate stats out of Perry was entirely because he had come up with a usage pattern that suited him.

If this was true what would we expect to see? Well, for starters, we'd expect to see Perry falling apart in late 1966. Didn't happen. We'd expect to see Perry falter when he finally got a chance to start for an entire season. Didn't happen. Hey, maybe Mele really did feel that the reason he was coaxing such nice rate stats out of Perry was entirely because he had come up with a usage pattern that suited him. I don't really care what Mele felt. I care about if his feelings were right or not. Doesn't look that way.

The quote from #23 is interesting, too. I wonder how much input Mele had in the deal to get Dean Chance. I know the GM's job is separate from the manager's job, but often the manager can weigh in, and the more prominent the manager, the more pull he usually has. Mele had just taken the team to the Series 14 months earlier.

In 1965 Grant was 3rd in the league in IP, and had an ERA+ of 108. That's damn good starting pitching, a better sustained run of it than Perry had ever managed, by a long shot.

That's because Sam Mele kept refusing to give him a sustained run!
   36. fra paolo Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:06 PM (#2094505)
Here's some Pythagenpat figures for starts that I'm more confident in:

pitcher     season     Wpct
Grant        1964       .590
Pascual      1964       .553

Perry        1965       .661
Grant        1965       .600
Pascual      1965       .588
Boswell      1965       .572

Perry        1966       .627
Grant        1966       .557
Boswell      1966       .556
Pascual      1966       .439

I've left Perry out of the 1964 stats since he only had one start, and Grant's figures only cover his time with the Twins.

The gap between Perry and the rest is quite substantial. By 1967, Perry should have been in the rotation. Having so many options is a luxury all managers might desire, but Boswell could have gone to the pen on the Earl Weaver principle, and maybe they could have traded one of Pascual or Grant for something helpful.
   37. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2094506)
And your notion that Mele should have been able to predict ahead of time that Grant would implode in 1967 is silly

Uh-huh. Make up something, pretend I said it, and deride it. Thanks. I said he outpitched Grant prior to 1967.
   38. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#2094513)
But he wasn't among the very best pitchers in the league, and he didn't pitch with great effectiveness after 1964.

Oh, come on. In 1967, Dean Chance was:

- 1st in the league in complete games and innings pitched
- 3rd in the league in wins and strikeouts
- 5th in the league in ERA+
- 8th in the league in WHIP

There is simply no way such a performance can accurately be described as anything other than among the very best in the league, and greatly effective. And he was almost as good again in '68.

In 1969 he hurt his arm, and never really recovered. But in 1967-68 Chance was a terrific pitcher, one of the very best around.

He didn't get the innings because he Mele didn't give them to him.

Whether Mele's choice was stupid or wise, it was the choice he made. And thus to speculate that Perry would have been a top starter in 1964-68 is just that; speculation. What he was was a top-flight swingman. Meanwhile Grant actually was a top-flight starter in both 1965 and 1966, and not too bad in 1963 and 1964. And further meanwhile Perry had pitched less than well as a starter in 1961, 1962, and 1963 -- it was his sustained lack of effectiveness in the starter role that got him pulled from the full-season rotation in the first place.

Well, for starters, we'd expect to see Perry falling apart in late 1966. Didn't happen. We'd expect to see Perry falter when he finally got a chance to start for an entire season.

Well, in 1966 Perry's workload was 184 innings, significantly lower than that of a full-time starter's of that era. Mele might well have surmised that Perry was as effective as he was, and didn't break down late in the season, precisely because his season-long workload had been properly modulated.

I don't really care what Mele felt. I care about if his feelings were right or not. Doesn't look that way.

In retrospect, knowing what we now know happened in 1969-70, it doesn't look that way. But to hold Mele accountable for things he couldn't possibly have known isn't fair or reasonable. Based on what Mele did know, his actions in this regard were entirely defensible.

I know the GM's job is separate from the manager's job, but often the manager can weigh in, and the more prominent the manager, the more pull he usually has. Mele had just taken the team to the Series 14 months earlier.

And would get fired less than 2 months into the next season, despite the fact that Chance was doing great. I don't think there's much evidence for Mele as being in a very strong position, or having that much influence.
   39. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#2094521)
And your notion that Mele should have been able to predict ahead of time that Grant would implode in 1967 is silly


Uh-huh. Make up something, pretend I said it, and deride it. Thanks. I said he outpitched Grant prior to 1967.

Chris, post #22:

And Grant was never that great. His big 21-win campaign came largely from terrific run support. He should definately have been pulled from the rotation by Opening Day 1967.

Don't think I made that one up there, Chris.
   40. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:25 PM (#2094527)
The gap between Perry and the rest is quite substantial.

Well, sure, so long as one chooses to ignore all the stats prior to 1965.

And looking forward into 1967, it was entirely reasonable to presume that Boswell, a strikeout pitcher in his early 20s, would likely improve, while Perry, a control artist in his early 30s, would likely decline.

Just because we know what happened after the fact doesn't mean managers could have reasonably predicted it.
   41. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:30 PM (#2094532)
Re: Chance

We're just talking past each other on the years here. I'm looking at him from the POV of the trade to Minnesota. Prior to that he had been a workhorse for two year, but nothing fantastic.

He did pick it up in Minnesota. I think you're double counting him by calling him both a great workhorse and saying he pitched with great effectiveness. His quality came from his quantity, his effectiveness in and of itself wasn't fantastic. In 1967 he had a season like Don Sutton had a career. I don't mean that as an insult toward him, but again the greatness is a byproduct of his durability more than anything else. His ERA+ was fifth? Wow, a 127 seems low for fifth best. He looks like an upgraded version of Jon Lieber.
   42. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:36 PM (#2094538)
I think you're double counting him by calling him both a great workhorse and saying he pitched with great effectiveness. His quality came from his quantity, his effectiveness in and of itself wasn't fantastic.

I don't know ... a 10-team league, say 4 primary starters per team, that's 40 starters in the league. The guy who's fifth-best among them in ERA+, eighth-best in WHIP, and fourth-best in SO-to-BB ratio is pretty damn effective.
   43. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:39 PM (#2094542)
Chris, post #22:

And Grant was never that great. His big 21-win campaign came largely from terrific run support. He should definately have been pulled from the rotation by Opening Day 1967.

Don't think I made that one up there, Chris.


I sure didn't say he'd implode. I rather clearly say that he was never that great. I didn't think he should be pulled because he was about to get worse, but because Perry was already better. Difference in intepretation here.
   44. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:43 PM (#2094546)
I don't think there's much evidence for Mele as being in a very strong position, or having that much influence.

Proquesting it ... . can't tell, but it was a difficult off-season. The club dumps Sain and Jim Kaat wrote an open letter to the fans protesting it. Pascual demanded a trade because he didn't like how Mele used him.

Totally random note - the Cubs tried to trade Billy Williams to the O's for a Curt Blefary, Mike Epstein, and either Gene Brabender or Tom Phoebus. The O's weren't interested enough in Williams to pull the trigger, though. Man, as if those 1969-71 O's didn't win enough games. . . .
   45. fra paolo Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:45 PM (#2094549)
season    Wpct
  1959     .660
  1960     .540
  1961     .493
  1962     .506
  1963     .569

1959-1962 was with Cleveland. He didn't make a lot of starts in 1959. His first season with Minnesota was 1963, and I left out 1964 because he only made one start.

I don't think it's as clear-cut as you are saying, Steve. Perry had two relatively bad years with Cleveland, otherwise he stands comparison with his rivals for a rotation spot.
   46. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 10:58 PM (#2094551)
I didn't think he should be pulled because he was about to get worse, but because Perry was already better. Difference in intepretation here.

Well, okay.

But here's the thing. You've got a pitcher who puts up these numbers:

Age, Starts, IP, ERA+
26, 23, 150, 91
27, 32, 229, 98
28, 32, 228, 98
29, 39, 270, 108
30, 35, 249, 111

What you're saying is that this guy's manager is supposed to "definitely" pull him from the rotation by Opening Day of the next season. Even though there's nothing there that suggests imminent decline, and the guy has done his best work under his heaviest workloads.

And the guy who his manager should, as of Opening Day, replace him with in the rotation is this guy:

Age, Starts, IP, ERA+
26, 27, 194, 94
27, 25, 179, 95
28, 1, 65, 104
29, 19, 168, 135
30, 25, 184, 142

Even though he hasn't pitched as many as 200 innings within the past 5 seasons, and has done his best work when being deployed as a swingman.

I don't think there's any way in the world we should say this manager should "definitely" pull the first guy and replace him with the second. I think the far more rational thing for this manager to do is keep the first guy in the rotation, where he's been such a steady horse, and keep deploying the second guy as his utility-pitcher swingman, the role in which he's done the best pitching of his entire career.
   47. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 11:01 PM (#2094555)
The O's weren't interested enough in Williams to pull the trigger, though. Man, as if those 1969-71 O's didn't win enough games. . . .

Sure, but terrific as Williams was, if the O's make that deal then they can't trade Blefary for Cuellar, Epstein for Richert, or Phoebus for Dobson ...
   48. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 11:08 PM (#2094561)
Perry had two relatively bad years with Cleveland, otherwise he stands comparison with his rivals for a rotation spot.

Well, but he doesn't stand comparison with Pascual, who until he got hurt was one of the stud aces in all of baseball, and until mid-1966 it wasn't obvious he wouldn't regain that form.

And he doesn't stand comparison with Kaat, who was one of the best workhorse southpaws in the game.

And he really doesn't stand up to Grant, who heading into 1967 had put together a string of very solid workhorse seasons that Perry had never achieved.

And he certainly doesn't stand up to Chance, who beat out Koufax for the MLB CYA in 1964, and remained one of the game's better aces as late as 1968.

And it isn't at all clear that he should have edged out Jim Merritt or Dave Boswell, two of the most outstanding young talents in the game in 1966-67.

And Perry, meanwhile, had responded with the best sustained run of pitching in his career while being deployed in the fill-in swingman role.

It strikes me that all of the evidence suggests that the Twins' deployment of Perry was sensible and productive.
   49. fra paolo Posted: July 10, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#2094580)
Steve, it's easy to make a litany like that, but it's not really an argument. Bringing up Grant's workhorse seasons doesn't do justice to Perry, since he is getting these IPs at the expense of Perry, in a decision we are all questioning.

And Perry's 1963 ERA+ off BB-ref masks a good starting ERA dragged down by a bad relief ERA.
   50. fra paolo Posted: July 10, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#2094582)
Actually, "all' is an overstatement in my last post.
   51. Steve Treder Posted: July 10, 2006 at 11:48 PM (#2094598)
Bringing up Grant's workhorse seasons doesn't do justice to Perry, since he is getting these IPs at the expense of Perry, in a decision we are all questioning.

But Grant's actual achievement of successful workhorse seasons was the best possible reason to NOT pull him from the Twins' rotation. He was doing just fine. So that means he isn't the guy it would have made sense for the Twins to replace with Perry, at any time before mid-1967.

Which means if it isn't Grant, who is it going to be? And the entire list of choices is comprised of Pascual (1966), Kaat, Chance (1967), Merritt, and Boswell. And the case for not putting Perry ahead of any of them at the beginning of 1966 or 1967 is a sound one.

Moreover, I keep bringing this up, but no one seems to acknowledge its obvious relevance to Mele's reasoning: Perry had already been given a huge opportunity as a regular rotation starter in 1960-63, and not done well after 1960, and it was for that reason that he was initially pulled from the regular rotation. So it isn't as though he had never gotten a chance: he had, and been outpitched by others.

So, you're saying Mele and the Twins should have:

- Given Perry another opportunity at something he'd already not done well at, despite the fact that they had lots of alternatives

Despite the fact that:

- Perry was doing the best pitching of his life in the more modulated, lighter-workload role they had place him into

Because:

- They should have known that he would attain a level of great success as a full-time starter at the ages of 33-34 that he hadn't attained when given the opportunity at ages 24, 25, 26, and 27.

Not buying it. You can criticize the Twins for a lot of things in that period (and I certainly do), but this just isn't one of them.
   52. fra paolo Posted: July 11, 2006 at 12:38 AM (#2094678)
But Grant's actual achievement of successful workhorse seasons was the best possible reason to NOT pull him from the Twins' rotation. He was doing just fine...Which means if it isn't Grant, who is it going to be? And the entire list of choices is comprised of Pascual (1966), Kaat, Chance (1967), Merritt, and Boswell.

Perry had already been given a huge opportunity as a regular rotation starter in 1960-63, and not done well after 1960,


Perry had .500 Pythangenpat seasons in 1961 and 1962 (ie, league average), and once he got to the Twins in 1963 he once again did well as a starter, especially in 1965 and 1966. But Mele preferred to use him as a swingman instead of moving him into the rotation where he could gamble on getting the maximal return Perry was already displaying, relative to Mele's other rotation choices.

And the debate here is whether Mele made the best possible use of his resources after 1965, which you yourself indicated here:

I do agree that the Twins generally wasted Perry as a swingman,

The point is whether the information was there for Mele to see and draw conclusions from. He either didn't look for it or ignored it, because possibly he didn't see Perry as having the attitude he wanted in a starter. In retrospect he may have hurt his team, as you say here:

Yes, in retrospect the Twins probably would have been better off just starting Perry all along.

Management is about asking questions of how to improve the production of the managed. Mele appears to have failed either to ask the right questions or to draw the correct conclusions from the information he had. Were his choices defensible? Yes. Were they the best choices? Maybe not. Can we fault him for missing out? After 1965, I think so.
   53. Steve Treder Posted: July 11, 2006 at 01:40 AM (#2094816)
once he got to the Twins in 1963 he once again did well as a starter

No, he didn't. His ERA as a starter with the Twins in '63 was 3.61, in a league/park environment which had an aggregate ERA of 3.63; that's the definition of league-average. Moreover, his ERA probably overrates how well he was actually pitching: his K rate was distressingly poor (65 in 168 IP for Minnesota, far below league average), pushing his BB/K ration to very close to 1:1. That was not good at all in 1963.

You can't just look at ERA or ERA+. Perry didn't pitch well as a starter for the Twins until 1965, and that was the first time he'd really done well as a starter since way back in 1960.

He either didn't look for it or ignored it, because possibly he didn't see Perry as having the attitude he wanted in a starter.

Or maybe he did look for it, but here's what he found:

- Perry had a history of not doing particularly well as a full-time starter

and

- Perry had demonstrated the best pitching of his career when deployed as a part-time starter/swingman

Were his choices defensible? Yes.

Agreed.

Were they the best choices? Maybe not.

Agreed. But that's "maybe," not clearly or obviously.

Can we fault him for missing out? After 1965, I think so.

Disagree. I think to do so is to apply an unrealistically, unreasonably high standard for management decision-making. I think what is obvious is that without Perry's surprising performance in 1969-70, we wouldn't be having this discussion, and without the benefit of this historical knowledge that wasn't available to Mele, nobody here would be second-guessing him in the least.
   54. fra paolo Posted: July 11, 2006 at 09:07 AM (#2095116)
You can't just look at ERA or ERA+. Perry didn't pitch well as a starter for the Twins until 1965, and that was the first time he'd really done well as a starter since way back in 1960.

I looked at the effect of Perry's ERA in the context of the Twins' offense in a 1963-6 run environment. Perry was likely to win games at a rate over .550, even in 1963, which was as good as any of Mele's other options, and at a rate over .600, the best of all, in 1965. You were the one who kept quoting ERA or ERA+. Of course, maybe Mele could have run Rocky Biddle out there and gotten a win rate over .550, but one cannot dispute that in 1965 Perry performed better than all of his rivals for the job, during a stint in the rotation over several months.

I think what is obvious is that without Perry's surprising performance in 1969-70, we wouldn't be having this discussion,

No. We are having this discussion because when you look at Perry's <u>actual performance</u> as a starter before 1969, especially during his late 1965 stint, there is a clear level of effectiveness. This is no different to the kind of debate like the one on the recent Petagine thread. There are players who perform well enough at a part-time or minor-league level to earn them the right to a shot at something more. Perry showed signs he deserved a second chance as a starter. Mele and his GM chose to play it safe. They made a mistake. It may have cost them a pennant.

But that's "maybe,"

Yes, but 'maybe' because it wasn't tried, not because we don't know about Perry's potential effectiveness as a starter, even as early as the 1965 off-season.

I don't think I'm being unduly harsh in criticizing Mele. I've frequently read arguments of similar tone directed toward McClellan at Antietam or the French in 1940, well-known cases of misusing available military resources. Managers like to boss us managed around, and frequently appear to hold us to a higher standard than the one they set themselves, so when they miss out, we're entitled to hold them to account.
   55. sunnyday2 Posted: July 11, 2006 at 11:42 AM (#2095131)
Having launched this discussion up in #3...

I don't think there can be any question that Jim Perry had the ability to have a greater career if the Twins had optimized his utilization.

Whether the Twins would have been better off is a different question. The Levitt/Armour book pretty much puts the question to rest--the Twins management in fact minimized the team's success in a lot of its decisions, Don Mincher being a vastly better example than Jim Perry. In fact, the Twins put together some good, deep pitching staffs while failing to assemble a decent bench (except Mincher) for the most part.

But if the Twins could have won more games in the '60s, so could the Tigers, e.g. And the Orioles, after their break-out in '66, didn't exactly optimize in '67 and '68.

The '60s are a fascinating time to relive, in any event, and it's probably because of the clarity of one single pennant winner based on 162 games (at least through 1968).
   56. Steve Treder Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:28 PM (#2095342)
Perry was likely to win games at a rate over .550, even in 1963, which was as good as any of Mele's other options

I'm highly skeptical about the efficacy of the methodology that derives this conclusion.

Here's the comparison of Perry's 1963 Minnesota component stats, against the entire league's pitchers, and against the Twins' staff minus Perry:

League, Twins - Perry, Perry
H/9: 8.42, 8.13, 8.95
HR/9: 0.92, 1.02, 0.91
BB/9: 3.11, 2.83, 3.05
SO/9: 5.71, 6.17, 4.38
WHIP: 1.28, 1.22, 1.33

Perry was about league-average in home run and walk prevention, but significantly worse than league-average in hit prevention and strikeouts, and slightly worse in WHIP. He was slightly better than his Twin teammates in home run prevention, but significantly worse than them in every other regard. His very low strikeout rate stands out.

The Twins overall in 1963 achieved a winning percentage of .565. In games in which Perry didn't get the decision they went .573. Based on all this, there's no way to conclude Perry was "as good as any of Mele's other options." The Twins would have been better off in 1963 if Lee Stange or Dwight Siebler got more innings at Perry's expense, and they'd have been vastly better off with the guy they traded straight-up to get Perry: Jack Kralick.

Perry didn't perform well for the Twins in 1963; he was a league-average pitcher at best, and below-average compared with his Minnesota teammates.

He did turn things around in a big way in 1965, but once again: the evidence Mele had to work with in the spring of 1966 was several years of average-at-best performance from Perry as a starter, and one season of terrific performance from his as a swingman. To fault him for concluding that the best way to use Perry going forward would be as a swingman instead of as a full-time starter is ludicrous.

when you look at Perry's actual performance as a starter before 1969, especially during his late 1965 stint, there is a clear level of effectiveness.

Yes, there is: always when getting between 11 and 25 starts a year, and working a total of between 131 and 184 innings a year. It was a completely rational conclusion that Perry did his best work under the moderate workload of a swingman.

I don't think I'm being unduly harsh in criticizing Mele.

I do. We have the benefit of knowing what would happen in 1969. Mele didn't. If Perry had gotten hit by a bus in the winter of 1968-69, Mele/Ermer's usage of him from 1965-68 would almost certainly be seen by us today as extraordinarily sagacious: as recognizing just the right mode in which a previously unimpressive journeyman would thrive.
   57. Steve Treder Posted: July 11, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#2095347)
the Twins management in fact minimized the team's success in a lot of its decisions, Don Mincher being a vastly better example than Jim Perry. In fact, the Twins put together some good, deep pitching staffs while failing to assemble a decent bench (except Mincher) for the most part.

Absolutely right. There are a lot of oversights and lapses in judgment that it's completely valid to hold Twins' management accountable for. Perry isn't one of them.
   58. fra paolo Posted: July 11, 2006 at 10:57 PM (#2095807)
I'm highly skeptical about the efficacy of the methodology that derives this conclusion.

I can't help it if you are too lazy to google some information about it. It simply establishes an Offensive winning percentage based on the runs allowed and scored by a pitcher and his team, adjusted by the run environment. I've found it to be an excellent yardstick for measuring pitchers' value relative to pitchers and players in a given season.

Season    H/9             HR/9            BB/9            K/9
1959      7,46 (8,93)     0,36 (0,88)     3,20 (3,20)     3,64 (4,77)
1960      9,00 (8,84)     1,22 (0,91)     3,12 (3,39)     4,12 (4,76)
1961      9,58 (8,87)     1,13 (0,96)     3,50 (3,49)     3,46 (5,12)
1962     10,03 (8,89)     0,98 (1,01)     2,73 (3,31)     3,45 (5,16)
1963      8,96 (8,52)     0,96 (0,96)     2,82 (2,93)     3,38 (5,54)
1964      8,40 (8,00)     0,96 (0,90)     3,17 (3,65)     7,58 (6,82)
1965      7,69 (8,24)     0,88 (0,88)     2,45 (3,11)     4,63 (5,78)
1966      6,97 (8,12)     0,79 (0,87)     2,59 (2,98)     5,86 (5,81)

All these figures relate only to starts, except the 1964 one, which includes both starts and relief appearances. The figures in parentheses are league averages for starters, except in the case of 1964, when it is relievers. (Note that in 1964 he is actually a worse pitcher than league average for h/9 and hr/9, and only really benefits as a reliever in k/9.) The move to Minnesota in 1963 had an obvious immediate impact.

Now, as we saw above, Pascual fell off a Pythagenpat cliff in 1966. Perry through 1966 was putting up a better Pythagenpat than any other alternative already on the Twins' roster. So what do they do in the 1966-7 off-season? They trade for Dean Chance, instead of using the in-house alternative who has shown since he arrived with the Twins a steady improvement. This includes a run in 1965 when he starts through the hot months of July and August, every fifth day or so, and puts up some of the best starting peripherals of his career. In 1965 he wasn't used as a swingman, getting a start here and there. He was in the rotation for half a season. If Mele was thinking he was getting the best results from Perry as a swingman, then he doesn't even understand how he himself had used him in 1965.

The signs were there for those with eyes to see, and the nerve to take a gamble.
   59. Steve Treder Posted: July 12, 2006 at 02:35 AM (#2096246)
It simply establishes an Offensive winning percentage based on the runs allowed and scored by a pitcher and his team, adjusted by the run environment.

Well, then it's too simple. Actual runs allowed and scored aren't the full picture, whether adjusted by the run environment or not, especially in the context of what should be expected going forward. I await a sensible presentation of how it was that Perry was anything other than an average-at-best pitcher in 1963.

The signs were there for those with eyes to see, and the nerve to take a gamble.

Oh, please. You think your analysis, whatever value it adds, was there for Mele's eyes to see?

It's just silly to hold Mele accountable for anything other than what was at his disposal. We should judge his performance on the basis of the information available to him, and nothing else.
   60. fra paolo Posted: July 12, 2006 at 06:33 PM (#2096922)
It's just silly to hold Mele accountable for anything other than what was at his disposal.

I'm not showing you any data that wasn't available to Mele. I have not once used post-1966 numbers to condemn Mele's inability to detect the potential of Jim Perry as a rotation starter. Nor do I just supply one-year snapshots before pontificating about what was on Mele's mind, in the absence of any real evidence of what was on his mind. In fact, I'm probably closer to your initial position, Steve, than you have subsequently become through your tenacious defence of Mele's reputation. Let's remind ourselves what that was:

I do agree that the Twins generally wasted Perry as a swingman, but...they generally had lots of other good starters as well.
   61. Steve Treder Posted: July 12, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2097004)
I do agree that the Twins generally wasted Perry as a swingman, but...they generally had lots of other good starters as well.


Right, but the fact that in retrospect it's clear that Perry could have handled the full-time starter role through the mid-60s, and likely thrived in it, is a different thing from saying Mele should have known this, and thus deserves criticism for it. Because it wasn't clear at the time.

And the fact that the Twins had lots of other good alternatives as starters, and had a strong starting staff every year through the period, is obviously also quite relevant. The cost to the Twins of underutilizing Perry wasn't huge; there were several other things they did in those years that were far more clearly mistakes and cost them far more dearly.

In 1965 he wasn't used as a swingman, getting a start here and there. He was in the rotation for half a season. If Mele was thinking he was getting the best results from Perry as a swingman, then he doesn't even understand how he himself had used him in 1965.

I meant to comment on this last night but forgot ... you're defining "swingman" far more narrowly than is commonly done. Rarely is it the case that a guy generally considered a swingman only makes spot starts on a regularly recurring basis through a given season. The more common pattern is, like Perry's, to be in the rotation for some segment or segments of the season, but not for the full season, usually in response to the health/effectiveness/availability of the other starters on the staff.

Perry's 1965 pattern isn't very different from that of other seasons from the period of guys commonly recognized as swingmen: Bob Bolin, Ron Herbel, Lee Stange, etc.
   62. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: July 13, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#2097210)
Looking it up, the Indians had both Jim Perry and Mudcat Grant. They traded Perry to the Twins straigt up for Jack Kralick, and flipped Grant for Lee Strange and George Banks.

Kralik had exactly one good year before turning into a ball of gunk. Banks had 26 ABs total with the Indians. Strange did alright with one great year for Cleveland before being packaged with an even better pitcher (Don McMahon) to Boston for the rotting corpse of Dick Radatz.

So over the course of the 1960s the Indians turned Grant, Perry (and McMahon) into . . . squat. Now there's a franchise with problems.
   63. jingoist Posted: July 13, 2006 at 01:54 AM (#2097228)
Gentlemen, gentlemen; this discusssion borders on being pedantic.
Lets face it, the Twinkies blew it during a decade when they could have won lots more titles.
But then again team chemistry and having Calvin Griffith as team owner probably played a larger role than just pure analysis of the players stats.
   64. Steve Treder Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:31 AM (#2097275)
So over the course of the 1960s the Indians turned Grant, Perry (and McMahon) into . . . squat.

Not to mention Tommy John and Tommie Agee for one good year and then the quick decline of Rocky Colavito.
   65. sunnyday2 Posted: July 13, 2006 at 03:55 AM (#2097286)
Calvin regularly fleeced the Indians.
   66. fra paolo Posted: July 13, 2006 at 09:26 PM (#2097963)
Perry's 1965 pattern isn't very different from that of other seasons from the period

It is, however, very different from his usage pattern in 1963-4. In 1963, he is used much as you describe. In 1964 he is almost exclusively a reliever. In 1965, he is used as a reliever the first half of the season and almost exclusively as a starter in the second. In 1966 he is at first used as you describe, then spends the last two months of the season in the rotation; and is again very effective, bringing his ERA down from 2.90 to 2.54.

the fact that in retrospect it's clear that Perry could have handled the full-time starter role through the mid-60s...is a different thing from saying Mele should have known this.... Because it wasn't clear at the time.

Of course, this is where we differ. Perry's stats as a starter with the Twins show someone getting better, and he certainly seems effective as a rotation starter when used that way for extended periods. I think it is clear that Perry deserved a chance at joining the rotation as a full-timer, if there was an opening for him. The fact that a couple of chances did arise, yet Perry still kept being sent back to the bullpen, shows to me that someone missed an opportunity. (Not trading for Dean Chance still would have left them with Kaat, Grant, Boswell, Merritt plus Perry as rotation candidates. Maybe they felt more comfortable with the extra man, and the opportunity to have Chance fell into their lap.) Whether this cost them a pennant in 1967, I wouldn't like to argue. Whether Mele is a d--------k would depend on more than his roster choices concerning a single player.
   67. Paul Wendt Posted: July 16, 2006 at 01:57 PM (#2100616)
The quote from #23 is interesting, too. I wonder how much input Mele had in the deal to get Dean Chance. I know the GM's job is separate from the manager's job, but often the manager can weigh in, and the more prominent the manager, the more pull he usually has. Mele had just taken the team to the Series 14 months earlier.

I just realized why I confuse Sam Mele and Mayo Smith, Mayo Smith and Sam Mele.
I probably thought Hank Bauer would have his job forever but that was a mistake of childhood.

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