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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Jim Rice

Eligible in 1995.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:25 PM | 489 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:27 PM (#2295656)
kwarren's favorite candidate! ;-)
   2. Richard Gadsden Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:10 PM (#2295727)
Has this been linked from SoSH yet?
   3. sunnyday2 Posted: February 11, 2007 at 11:15 PM (#2295759)
I don't expect him to make my ballot, but I think he'll rank ahead of Dave Concepcion.
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 11, 2007 at 11:56 PM (#2295770)
Same neighborhood as Concepcion for me, but just a little lower.

Comps I get for him are Veach, R. White, Tom York, and Cruz Sr. That's HOVG material for me. Other comps may include Foster and Klein.

The case for him has to be a peak/prime case based on the monster late-1970s years. But that case is seriously hampered when park effects are considered (some years 110 or higher). As mentioned somewhere else, the average PF for Rice was around 107. When you start adjusting for his context, that peak/prime case slips away, and he doesn't have the career totals and career value that a LFer needs for election.

A peak/prime case for Rice will necessarily be making the assumption that Rice was or was very close to the best position player in the AL and surely the best LF during his salad years. In a WS-based scenario, I don't see the former as true. I measure players in three-year intervals, the smallest block of time in which I believe a player can establish a case as the league's best. I compare their WS to the overall league leader for three consecutive years, then average the result. The bigger picture is that in a period, say 1955-1957, one can use this information to say that "by 1957 so-and-so had a legitimate claim to being the best player in his league." OK, in short, in no three-year interval was Rice the best player in the AL. Nor did he fall within 5% or even 10% of the leader in any year. I do show him as twice being the best LF in the AL using the same method---1978-1980, 1983-1985---and one time being within 5% of the leader (1984-1986). But that's hardly the stuff of a powerful HOM or HOF case. Here's the five other most similarly credentialed guys in my system:

Cecil Cooper
Bill White
Ron Hunt
Sam Mertes
KiKi Cuyler

None has any claim on best in the league, they all have the same claim on best at their position.

OK, but what else could comprise a peak candidacy? MVP and All-Star type seasons. WS suggests that Rice had six All-Star type seasons (1977, 1978, 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986). It suggests he had several MVP type seasons: 1977, 1978*, 1979, 1986 (*is WS MVP). Some HOF/HOMers have fewer or more of each, but my system says that the following candidates are very comparable (6 A-S years with 4 to 6 MVP type seasons):

Pedro Guerrero
Arlie Latham
Edd Roush
Jimmy Ryan
Dale Murphy
Cesar Cedeno
Fred Clarke
KiKi Cuyler

Not a bad group, a little borderline, though. But notice that this group doesn't suggest an historic peak either. Murphy, Guerrero, and Cedeno might, in fact, have peak tendencies, but none of them has the gigantic peak to suggest electability. And, in fact, only one of these guys is currently a HOMer, though Roush has very strong backlog support.

While other systems will surely vary, this WS-based one thinks that an argument for Rice that is peak or prime based will ultimatley fall short. The park effects cut into him too much to sustain the illusion that he was more than a HOVG level player. And any career-based argument will also fall short, because his career was too brief for him to be a serious career-based candidate.
   5. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2295800)
OK, in short, in no three-year interval was Rice the best player in the AL.

I don't think Jim Rice belongs in either the HOF or HOM, but I'm just curious, who were/was the best player(s) in the AL from, say, 1977 - 1980?
   6. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2295801)
who were/was the best player(s) in the AL from, say, 1977 - 1980?

Without actually looking, my guess would be Brett for most of this period?
   7. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:56 AM (#2295803)
Without actually looking, my guess would be Brett for most of this period?

I knew I was forgetting about somebody obvious. Thanks.
   8. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2295808)
I don't think Jim Rice belongs in either the HOF or HOM, but I'm just curious, who were/was the best player(s) in the AL from, say, 1977 - 1980?


By WARP, Brett is way ahead of Rice for those years. A few others who are only slightly ahead:

Rod Carew
Fred Lynn
Willie Randolph
Bobby Grich (despite missing most of 1977, he still out WARPs Rice 30.5-28.1)
Darrell Porter

I'm sure there are others.
   9. Darren Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:17 AM (#2295810)
OK, in short, in no three-year interval was Rice the best player in the AL.

Odd standard. I don't know why a guy's peak has to be considered consecutive years. If you want to figure out why people thought of player X as great, then that might be a good thing to look at. 'Oh, see, he was really good for 3-4 years in a row, so that's why people think he's so great.' But if we're looking back and honestly trying to evaluate how good he was, I don't see why a peak cannot consist of nonconsecutive years.

Also, having to be THE best player during your peak seems like a tough standard that many HOFers wouldn't meet.

Something else to consider about Rice: he gets knocked as a Fenway creation, but he had extremely good power to right-center early on, then actually adapted his game to his home park. I looked at the splits and it was amazing. In his first couple years, he's at something +70 points of OPS at home, then it doubles thereafter.
   10. Darren Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:18 AM (#2295811)
Does anyone have any idea how WARP treats LF in Fenway?
   11. a bebop a rebop Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2295816)
Also, having to be THE best player during your peak seems like a tough standard that many HOFers wouldn't meet.

Seems like it (or something near it) should be the standard for players whose Hall of Fame case is their peak value, as opposed to their longevity.
   12. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2295820)
I don't think Jim Rice belongs in either the HOF or HOM, but I'm just curious, who were/was the best player(s) in the AL from, say, 1977 - 1980?

Singleton?
   13. AJMcCringleberry Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:43 AM (#2295821)
Oh, I'm not meaning to say that Singleton was the best player during that period, just that he might have been better than Rice.
   14. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:05 AM (#2295827)
I don't know why a guy's peak has to be considered consecutive years.


James used two measures for peak in the NBJHA; three best seasons (don't have to be consecutive) and five best consecutive seasons. He doesn't explain his rationale, but I'm sure that the HOMers have discussed this somewhere. BPro had a method called Pennants Added that intrigued me. It was based oone the concept of increasing returns for WARP, but I'm not sure if they use it anymore.

That '75 Red Sox team had a lot of talent. Too bad they never got a chance to win a ring.
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:09 AM (#2295830)
Also, having to be THE best player during your peak seems like a tough standard that many HOFers wouldn't meet.

Seems like it (or something near it) should be the standard for players whose Hall of Fame case is their peak value, as opposed to their longevity.


It's just one of several things I use in my system to judge the candidacy of a guy, but it seems crucially important to Rice's candidacy. But it is tough, in fact, and James mentions that it is the toughest of the Keltner questions, and so I pay it a lot of mind.

In my WS-based, Keltner-based system, using the criteria I noted above, here's the guys who come out on top in the three year blocks during Rice's prime years:

1976-1978: Rod Carew---within 5% George Brett and Ken Singleton
1977-1979: Singleton---within 10% Jim Rice
1978-1980: Brett---within 10% Singleton
1979-1981: Brett---within 10% Rickey Henderson, Eddie Murray, Cecil Cooper, Singleton
1980-1982: Henderson---within 10% Robin Yount
1981-1983: Yount---within 5% Henderson; withing 10% Murray

Among LFs only, below, but one note in full disclosure. Rice was a full-time DH in 1977, and for my purposes, that means I don't count him as qualifying for consideration in LF until the 1978-1980 block: my rule, you gotta play at the position in question all three years with two exceptions---I do allow for migration between LF and RF and one-way migration from CF to the corners.

1978-1980: Jim Rice
1979-1981: Rickey Henderson---within 5% Dave Winfield; within 10% Willie Wilson
1980-1982: Henderson
1981-1983: Henderson

Given the nature of the position restrictions I include, you may think I'm underrating Rice among his LF peers, and that's a reasonable criticism. On the other hand, you got to have some rules, or you can just about go nuts trying to figure every exception. I prefer to forgo the psychosis, but your mileage may vary.

The inclusion of those two seasons after the DH year would, at most, make Rice even with White in my rankings instead of having him slightly behind Roy, so it's not as though that's the silver bullet that will send him into HOM/HOF glory. In addition, the fact that Rice would need those years so badly points up the thorny fact that his prime didn't last that long. He ran up OPS+ of 148-158-154 from 1977-1979 (ages 24-26), but thereafter had only three years over a 130 OPS+, and none above 141. For a slugging LF who is a peak/prime guy, that's good but not glittering. Orlando Cepeda's pretty comparable in this regard, with his best OPS+s happening by age 26 then occasional goodnes thereafter, and Cepeda isn't getting much support here.
   16. rawagman Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:43 AM (#2295880)
Jim Rice is a very tough theoretical candidate for me, in that it makes me consider my merit theory and how, and indeed, if, it should be any different from my ideal Hall of Fame.
To wit, I support Jim Rice's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. I do beleive that the HoF should have a good fame aspect to it. Jim Rice certainly sticks out as a quite famous ballplayer of the late 70's to mid 80's. Undeniably, he was feared by pitchers. A chunk of that is because he was so effective in his home ballpark. I, for one, would not demerit a player for outplaying himself at home (excepting obvious OPS+ limitations, of course). I beleive that to be an unreasonable penalty. OTOH, I would bump up the odd player who was hindered by playing in a horrid park.
Furthermore, Jim Rice, while I don't think I've ever seen him play live, and have no real memories of his play on TV, plays a very special role in my baseball shaped heart. Growing up, my first wooden bat was a Jim Rice model Louisville Slugger. The majority of my school friends did not live within walking distance of my house, so most (non-winter) school afternoons would fine me in my frontyard, self pitching with my Rice bat. These joyful, solitary hours helped me develop a somewhat decent sense of hand-eye coordination that made up for my otherwise gangly, four-eyed frame, ultimately helping me not suck at any sport, bearing in mind that I would never be much good.
Today, around 20 years after those meditative North York afternoons, my teammates in the Tel Aviv squad of the Israeli Men's Baseball League know that I can be counted on to not swing at too many bad pitches and to make contact almost every single time I swing at a pitch.
Thank you, Jim Rice.
   17. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:11 PM (#2295953)
Darren,

You are correct that Rice was able to adapt his game to his home park and that he deserves some credit for that. This is why a good many of us only use the PF and not component park factors or road numbers when doing PF translations. That said, Fenway was the Coors field of Rice's heyday and while he was able to take advantage of that, it still has to be adjusted for run scoring environment.

Rice will not be in my Top 50. I agree with James that Roy White was a similar, or even better, player in value terms and I have Roy outside my top 60 (where I stop ranking players). I think that Rice (and Dawson) would be HUGE mistakes by the BBWAA.
   18. Danny Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2295965)
I see Rice as being similar to Sammy Sosa, but without the 2001 season. I think slugging corner OFs not especially known for their defense should at least rank in the top 100 of OPS+ to be HOM/HOF material.
   19. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:33 PM (#2295979)
Undeniably, he was feared by pitchers.

Not to pick on your specifically, because TONS of people say this, but this is possibly my least favorite pro-Rice argument. Are we giving him bonus points for the scowl? If he was really "feared" they wouldn't have thrown him strikes.
   20. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:36 PM (#2295981)
Are we giving him bonus points for the scowl?

If Rice's scowl gets in, it'll be Dave Stewart's next.... ; )
   21. Juan V Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:12 PM (#2296004)
One of the first baseball items I got, which helped cement my interest, was the Sporting News yearbook for 1992, which I still have. In there, they had an article evaluating the Hall of Fame credentials of active and recently-retired players, including Rice. And he didn't do to well in their (admittedly limited) sample. Surely, his reputation with the media could have been a factor, but based on that, I always roll my eyes when I read "Jim Rice should be in Cooperstown, he was the most feared hitter for a decade!"
   22. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2296039)
White played in the late 60's and early 70's in lower scoring leagues. White also played in Yankee Stadium, a pitcher's park at the time, while Rice played in the league's best hitter's park. That their counting numbers are different doesn't surprise me in the least, one should be able to make those adjustments when comparing the two.

And of course OPS+ has many, many problems (one reason why I don't wiegh it too heavily in my system. It favors slugging over OBP, which would favor Rice. It doesn't take baserunning into account, nor does it take GIDP into account, favoring Rice.

Eqa, which adjsuts for these things, has a much different take.

Top ten seasons Rice/White (adjusted for season, i.e. WARP1)

White .325
White .317
Rice .314
White .313
Rice .311
White .310
Rice .306
White .306
Rice .300
Rice .299

It 5-5, but White has a much superior peak.

As for fielding, isn't putouts per game and 'has a stronger arm', usually the same thing? That seems like double counting. Bp gives Jim Rice a -5 FRAA as a LF and only 45 games outside of LF, White has 85 FRAA and 207 games outside of LF. Rice has about 300 more games a PH/DH. Now you can take FRAA with a grain of salt, but I am not sure one could look at this and say that Rice was the better player. I see them even at best and neither is a HOM candidate.

By the way, WARP3 likes RIce's one seaosn peak better and it gives him more career value. But I think that White peak value (over best 3,4,5 seasons evens that out. It's a matter of taste, but Bill James wasn't exaggerating.
   23. Danny Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:12 PM (#2296042)
Top 10 OPS+ seasons, Rice and White

Sure, but if you look at a stat that takes SB/CS into account and more properly weights OBP and SLG, like EQA, you get:
[code]
1971  White  .325
1970  White  .317
1978  Rice   .314
1972  White  .313
1979  Rice   .311
1977  Rice   .306
1968  White  .306
1983  Rice   .300
1986  Rice   .299
1976  White  .294 


And then if you adjust for GIDP...
   24. Danny Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2296046)
too slow...

Does EQA take GIDP into account? I thought it did, but then I looked at this.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:24 PM (#2296056)
I don't necessarily support Albert Belle for the Hall or the HOM, but I have the sneaking suspicion that Belle is the player that a lot of Rice's supporters think that Rice is.
   26. JPWF13 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:02 PM (#2296088)
To wit, I support Jim Rice's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. I do beleive that the HoF should have a good fame aspect to it. Jim Rice certainly sticks out as a quite famous ballplayer of the late 70's to mid 80's. Undeniably, he was feared by pitchers.



I don't think there is a greater disconnect between how a player was regarded while playing and how he's regarded now than Jim Rice (not including player's whose misbehavior has affected their perception)- not just among stathead- but among all fans/media.

If you go back and read newpaper and magazine articles mentioning Rice in the late 70s, or watch old Broadcasts- Network/game of the week/Sox opponents broadcasts- you would assume that he'd be a first ballot HOFer- he's seems to be gaining but he's not in yet.

He was a demi-god, the most feared, the concensus best hitter in baseball, all that's left now is an echo- everynow and then you hear from a lone fan or mediot who STILL thinks that, but mostly what you get is a writer pointing out that Rice "used to be regarded as..." - implyimg that the writer no longer thinks that (non-stathead writers I mean).

With regard to teh general media- I think there was a vague anticipation that Rice would end up with 3000 hits, 500 homers, close to or over 2000 rbis. BTFers may not care much for avg-hr-rbi, but the mainstream still does- and Rice's career marks fell far short of what the mainstream thought he'd accumulate- ironically the degree to which the mainstream overworshipped him during his prime may be hurting him now with those very same people.

Personally, I really find it hard to know what to make of his "candidacy"
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2296098)
JP brings up an interesting dichotomy in that for a moment Rice was quite highly regarded. But just as he quickly gained that rep he lost it. By 1982 Rice was not even the most feared hitter on his own team as Dwight Evans had taken on that mantle. And when Rice had a pretty good year in '83 Wade Boggs was ALL THE TALK around the Red Sox.

I know Brewer pitchers RESPECTED Rice after 1980 but they no longer feared him. The book was simple. Keep it away and he will get himself out. Rice really began going to right field in 1986 which is why you see the uptick in average without corresponding power. But soon after AL pitchers compensated and that was all she wrote.
   28. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2296108)
He was a demi-god, the most feared, the concensus best hitter in baseball

I followed baseball through the 1970s and 1980s as closely as anyone you'll find, and this sure as hell isn't how I remember it. Certainly, Rice earned huge accolades in 1977-79. But he wasn't earning any more accolades (at least in the national media, outside of Boston) than Dave Parker, or George Foster, or George Brett, or Mike Schmidt, or perhaps even Rod Carew as "the consensus best hitter in baseball." He was one of them, yes, but this notion that his reputation towered above all others just isn't factual.

And in 1979 his teammate Fred Lynn had what everyone recognized as a better year with the bat. And beginning in 1980, Rice's production dropped off significantly, and the theme of the national media was, "What's wrong with Jim Rice?" (As well as, "What's wrong with George Foster?")
   29. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2296112)
When they keep score, they don't assign the win to the team with the best WARP. They assign the win to the team that scored the most runs.

Well, you have to score more runs to win a game in Fenway in the late 70s than you do to win a game at Yankee stadium in the early 70s. That's why the counting stats don't line up.

That said, I'm in the Roy-White-used-to-prove-a-point camp. Singleton on the other hand. Singleton owned Rice, peak, career, whatever.
   30. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:47 PM (#2296128)
I followed baseball through the 1970s and 1980s as closely as anyone you'll find, and this sure as hell isn't how I remember it. Certainly, Rice earned huge accolades in 1977-79. But he wasn't earning any more accolades (at least in the national media, outside of Boston) than Dave Parker, or George Foster, or George Brett, or Mike Schmidt, or perhaps even Rod Carew as "the consensus best hitter in baseball." He was one of them, yes, but this notion that his reputation towered above all others just isn't factual.

I tend to agree with you, Steve. Yes, Rice's reputation was huge, but it wasn't Ruthian during that era.

BTW, I should point out that my first baseball glove was a Jim Rice model, so it's not as if I'm biased against him. :-)
   31. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:50 PM (#2296133)
I realize that reputation is a pretty subjective thing but my impression is that, in the late seventies, Rice was on the short list of most impressive hitters in baseball. That his career didn't quite pan out to what everybody thought it was going to be doesn't change the fact that, for a while there, his rep was right at the top.

If Rice has sustained his offensive excellence well into the Eighties, he would have been a legitimate HOFer. But things just didn't work out that way for him.
   32. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2296141)
The hitting environment in Fenway during the time Rice played there was on average about 8-9% better than at Yankee Stadium. Since only half the games are played at home, that means Rice had about a 4.5% advantage. But he scored 9% more runs/AB. So, in order to give credit to White on the stolen bases, you would have to see that translate into more runs scored. But that just isn't there.

Where are you getting your numbers? BPF's for Fenway in Rice's era were generally between 105 and 112. BPF's in Yankee stadium were 96-99 for White. Those factors include adjustments for road games. Then take into effect the early 70s were quite a bit lower in scoring than the late 70s and you have a bb-ref "AIR" number of 102 for Rice and 88 for White. That's a 14% difference in offensive context (again road games included).

I don't want to get too deep into this debate because I think Singleton makes a better high-walk-in-a-pitchers-park comparison to Rice because Rice out-OPS+'s White by 7 points. As you say, you have to factor in GIDP or 'OBP-heaviness' which introduces a grey area in the comparison. Still, the context difference between White & Rice is quite large.
   33. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2296146)
The hitting environment in Fenway during the time Rice played there was on average about 8-9% better than at Yankee Stadium. Since only half the games are played at home, that means Rice had about a 4.5% advantage. But he scored 9% more runs/AB.


During Rice's peak 1977-1979, the Sox played in a 4.7 runs per game environment. The Sox scored 859, 796, and 841 runs. During White's peak 1970-1972, the Yankees played in a 3.7 runs per game environment. The Yankees scored 680, 648, and 557 (586 adjusted to a full season). That's considerably more than a 4.5% difference.
   34. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 06:57 PM (#2296148)
Aaron himself announced that his HR record was in danger after seeing Rice hit. That's a pretty bold statement.

It sure is. It also turned out to be egregiously incorrect.

in the late seventies, Rice was on the short list of most impressive hitters in baseball.

In the late seventies, Rice was one of the most impressive hitters in baseball.

So was Roy Sievers in the late fifties. Chuck Klein in the early thirties. Cecil Fielder in the early nineties.

And so on. Such an achievement is fine, but in and of itself it doesn't make for a HOF/HOM case.
   35. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2296161)
You're being dishonest with the numbers, David. You're taking the lowest factor of White era and comparing it to the highest factor of the Rice era.

No I am not. Check bb-ref's AIR numbers. I used the career total for both to come up with the 14%. (and park factors already contain road game adjustment so they shouldn't be cut in half as you did above).

And the early 70s was lower scoring than the later 70s. The low scoring of the early 70s is what caused the AL to adopt the DH. Also, one of the reasons why people remember Rice's peak seasons more than Bobby Murcer's or Dick Allen's is that they coincided with the rise in offense that the league was seeing at the time. That further compounded with Fenway park made them appear extra good.
   36. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2296171)
I would guess the average was around 108 for the Red Sox and 98-99 for the Yankees so I rounded it off to 9%.


And then cut it in half for some unknown reason.

Surely you acknowledge the difference in run scoring in the years 1968-1972 (White's peak) and any 5 year period of Rice's career. In 1968, Roy White scored 89 and drove in 62, rather pedestrian numbers compared to Rice. But that represents 28% of the Yankee runs, a better ratio than Rice in 1977 when he drove in 114 and scored 104. From 1970-1972 (White's peak), he drove in or scored 27% of the Yankee runs. From 1977-1979, Rice drove in or scored 29% of the Red Sox runs. Rice's 225 R + RBI advantage for those three years are almost exclusively a result of context. Rice's better production during that time did not lead to significantly more wins for his team.
   37. andrew siegel Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2296180)
I am dumbfounded by Rice's defenders. I was born in 1971 and grew up a Yankees fan. I thought Jim Rice was one of the best players in baseball when I was a kid. I was wrong. On every metric--advanced or otherwise--he falls way short when you adjust for context. He had only five seasons that even count as HoM chits. There are so many guys between him and my ballot I don't know where to start. None of the following sluggers are in my top 70 and they are all ahead of Rice: Tiernan, Fournier, Herman, Camili, Boog Powell. Among contemporary OF's, he's behind not only the obvious and probable electees and the serious candidates like Singleton, Bonds, and Reggie SM=mith, but also non-candidates like Roy White, Jose Cruz, and probably Bobby Murcer. Yankee fans of my generation have no problem with the fact that the damn good players of the teams of our youth aren't Hall of Famers (see Guidry, Nettles, Munson), why do Red Sox fans whine so much every time anyone points out the facts about Jim Rice? He is borderline for the Hall of Very Good.
   38. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:55 PM (#2296188)
But the numbers indicate that Rice was better at moving around the bases. So that leaves defense. But the numbers don't support White there either, once you make adjustments for fielding environment.

I just wanted to put the White-Rice comparison to the test to see how much starch is in it.

I took their career totals, and figured the RC (using the 2002 RC, without the RISPing). I eyeballed their bb-ref PFs and applied a 107 to Rice's career and a 97 to White's. This could be too much or too little for each, I eyeballed it and took a cue from Kevin's 8-9% comment. BB-ref PFs are said to not require halving because the home-away split is already accounted for. So I applied it directly to the RC. Then I used the SBE to find out how many RC/G their leagues were producing, batters only, no pitchers. Then I adjusted each of them into a 4.50 R/G environment. For Rice this meant a jump from 4.44 RC/G to 4.5, for White it meant a jump from 4.07 RC/G to 4.50.

Once I had their park and league adjusted career RC, I used the translation technique from the NHBA in the Willie Davis comment to translate their component stats as well:

RICE
               PA  AVG  OBP  SLG  RC
ACTUAL       9058 .298 .352 .502 1359
CONVERTED    8953 .290 .343 .488 1282 


WHITE
               PA  AVG  OBP  SLG  RC
ACTUAL       7735 .271 .360 .404 1013 
CONVERTED    7962 .290 .379 .432 1159 


Finally, I wanted to know what these meant framed in the context of a 150 game season. Here's each guy's career expressed in 150 game notation:

PA   AVG  OBP  SLG  RC
RICE          643 .290 .343 .488  92
WHITE         635 .290 .379 .432  92 


As hitters, they do it a little differently but achieve very similar results. Rice's career was longer and he was more durable. On the other hand, if White is a consistently better fielder than Rice, and because White played 400 fewer games at DH than Rice, Roy could make up ground quite quickly. So I don't think it's too wild to see Rice and White as comparable players.
   39. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:06 PM (#2296199)
I just think it's taken too far when, in the effort to disparage his candidacy, he is made out to be some kind of average player, when he was actually quite good. He had an impressive peak and he won an MVP award. If he had been able to extend his peak out another 2 or 3 years, I think that would have been enough to get him over the hump. But he wasn't able to do that and that's why he's almost there but not quite.

Indeed, sometimes the SABR crowd comes down too harshly on those who are "overrated" because of high-average/low-walks or park or triple-crown stats. Just ask Pie Traynor. :-) A whole generation of fans has grown up quite OBP savvy and park savvy as well (thanks to Colorado), so in the future I think we'll see less of this. Its the fact that Rice still ranks too high on the BBWAA ballots that people continue to hammer down the case against him.

He was indeed a fine player. Anyone "thread-worthy" had a solid career. He was a great one for a few years, just not long enough (or great enough for the length of his peak). Still, hanging around the HOM, we know that the number of guys who would be in if they extended their peak out another 2-3 years is not short! Many examples have been given in this thread.
   40. Ron Johnson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:11 PM (#2296206)
Kevin you simply can't compare counter stats without adjusting for league context, teammates and batting order position. Rice played in a far higher offensive context than White did. Switch them around and Rice's runs and rbis would drop profoundly and White's would rise.

To be specific, Rice's teams averaged 20% more runs per game ( 4.88 ) than White's ( 4.07 )

Anticipatng: Yes, most of it is league context. After park adjustment a league average position player would have been expected to hit .251/.320/.372 for the Yankees when White played while a league average player would have been expected to hit .270/.336/.406

In other words, the adjustment to rate stats is 14.6%.

But runs and rbi are partially a function of teammates and require further adjustments.

Now because Rice played more he'd still have scored more runs. But not more runs per PA,
and certainly not more runs per time on base.

If WARP is supposed to actually mean something, then why do White's counting stats pale in comparison?


Playing time and offensive context. If EQA didn't do a good job of converting offensive stats into team runs scored we wouldn't use them.

RBI are almost totally a function of opportunity (most simply represented by at bats with runners on base) and power (most simply represented by SLG, though breaking things down to ISO and BA and weighting ISO more works a little better)

You'd expect a guy with Rice's raw numbers and opportunities to have driven in about 1,447
runs. He ended up with 1451.

White by contrast would have been expected to have about 742 career rbi. He ended up with 758.

Rice had 45% more AB with runners on. That's a big part of his rbi advantage. (Around 9% of the remainder of Rice's advantage is park and league offensive context). Of course that also is a factor in Rice's extra DPs (I regard any method that includes raw DPs with no adjustment for DP opportunities as broken)

The formula for estimating RBI is ABROB * (SLG*1.09 - BA*.66) (works OK for any given season. Standard error's around 8 rbi in full-time play. Tends to work very well at the career level because the biggest source of error is an unusual distribution of baserunners and that tends to even out over time)

ABROB is at bats with runners on base and that minus sign is not a typo. That is to say that given equal opportunities and SLG, the guy with the lower BA will tend to drive in more runs.

I don't have anything that models runs scoring, but the same considerations apply. Rice scored more because he played more, played in a higher offensive context and played with better offensive players.

Factor everything out, and I think I'd rather have Rice simply for the increased playing time.
No matter how you look at it, he's well above replacement leel after all.

Not that being arguably better than Roy White is much of a HOF or HOM case. In fact I see the fact that you can have a sensible discussion of their relative merits as being a case that Rice is not a HOFer or HOMer.

Charlie Keller and Frank Howard are the important comps to my mind.
   41. JPWF13 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2296207)
Certainly, Rice earned huge accolades in 1977-79. But he wasn't earning any more accolades (at least in the national media, outside of Boston) than Dave Parker, or George Foster, or George Brett, or Mike Schmidt, or perhaps even Rod Carew as "the consensus best hitter in baseball."


Given that at least one yahoo announced that Dave Parker was the best player of all time- I might give you that one, but I remember being baffled at the time that Rice was so much more highly regarded than Foster, who I being an NL fan thought better (I remember multiple writers and announcers declare AT THE TIME that Rice's 1978 was thr most dominant offensive season since the 1950s- and I'd yell at the TV- Hello, George Foster 50 Homers!). Rice was certainly (AT THE TIME) more highly regarded than Schmidt (an obviously superior player) and until 1980 he was more highly regarded than Brett.

But then again you may have been reading and watching different stuff than me at the time.
   42. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2296210)
Charlie Keller and Frank Howard are the important comps to my mind.

Really? I think both of these guys are significantly better than Rice on peak, which is the main argument for the cases of all three.
   43. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:21 PM (#2296211)
(I should of course add that I give Keller war credit.)
   44. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:28 PM (#2296216)
I want to say that I am not denigrating Rice as some sort of average player. Roy White was a very fine player, Jim Rice is right behind him. Neither, however, are anywhere close to my ballot. And even if Rice was slightly better I think the comparison shows that Rice is not HOF/HOM material. I also agree with David, that ken Singleton has it over both of them. Singleton is somewhere around #35 for me, Whire and Rice are too far down to be ranked.

Ron,

Maybe I am misunderstanding your post, but Charlie Keller is not a comp in any way for Rice. With war and MiL credit, I have him with 7 MVP level season and two more all-star seasons. But then again, Charlier Keller is more well thought of in these parts than elsewhere in the baseball world.
   45. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:28 PM (#2296217)
Given that at least one yahoo announced that Dave Parker was the best player of all time

I vividly remember an SI cover from the era--probably 1978--that had Parker and Rice on it, standing back to back, with Parker looking back at Rice with a superior-looking smile on his face, and Rice looking kind of perturbed. I remember my eight-year-old self wondering how they got Rice to pose for it... I took these things very seriously back then. :)

Here it is...I love the Internet. I guess Rice was supposed to be making his case in the photo (pulling his pants up? weird), but even now I'd have to say Parker gets the best of the photo. Looks like it was '79.

http://dynamic.si.cnn.com/si_online/covers/issues/1979/0409.html

Anyway, this would seem fairly decent anecdotal evidence that Rice was pretty highly thought of at the time. I think by a year or two later Brett had taken over, though, as consensus "best hitter."
   46. Dizzypaco Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2296220)
I remember the 400 total bases being a huge deal to the national media in 1978, not to mention the 213 hits. He did it in a year when a lot of the media were focusing on the NY-Boston pennant race which added to the attention he was getting. 200 hits were a really big deal back then - its one of the things that made people think Garvey and Rose were superstars.

Despite the perception of his peak, its my guess that if Rice performed in the '80s similar to Foster or Parker, he wouldn't have been considered for the HOF. Its the combination of a perception of a strong peak in the late 70's with perceived all-star play throughout much of the 80s that led to the HOF debate.
   47. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:30 PM (#2296221)
I want to say that I am not denigrating Rice as some sort of average player. Roy White was a very fine player, Jim Rice is right behind him. Neither, however, are anywhere close to my ballot. And even if Rice was slightly better I think the comparison shows that Rice is not HOF/HOM material. I also agree with David, that ken Singleton has it over both of them. Singleton is somewhere around #35 for me, Whire and Rice are too far down to be ranked.

Not too surprising that I agree with Mark, especially on hitters, but once again, I can't disagree with any of this. I have these three players ranked almost precisely the same way.
   48. Ron Johnson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:35 PM (#2296225)
Charlie Keller and Frank Howard are the important comps to my mind.

Really? I think both of these guys are significantly better than Rice on peak, which is the main argument for the cases of all three.


That was my intended point. IOW Ron needs an editor and we're in violent agreement about Keller and Howard's peak compared to Rice.
   49. sunnyday2 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:36 PM (#2296226)
The fact that Rice hit for power AND average was pretty unique at the time. That had become pretty much unheard of then. It's easy today to gloss that over but between the '60s and '90s it just DIDN'T happen.
   50. Mark Donelson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:48 PM (#2296242)
The fact that Rice hit for power AND average was pretty unique at the time.

A good point--all the guys I remember being thought of as superstars in the period had this combination (Rice, Parker for a while, Brett, etc.), whereas the guys who weren't thought of as highly as they should have been (Schmidt comes to mind once again) didn't.
   51. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:02 PM (#2296246)
The fact that Rice hit for power AND average was pretty unique at the time. That had become pretty much unheard of then. It's easy today to gloss that over but between the '60s and '90s it just DIDN'T happen.

I understand that you may be exaggerating to make a point. But, yes, even though the '70s wasn't a heavy-hitting decade, it actually did happen.

Seasons of .300+ BA and 30+ HRs in the 1970s:

1970 Carl Yastrzemski, Billy Williams, Tony Perez, Jim Hickman, Orlando Cepeda
1971 Hank Aaron
1972 Dick Allen, Billy Williams
1973 Hank Aaron
1974 Dick Allen
1975 Greg Luzinski
1977 George Foster, Greg Luzinski, Reggie Smith, Jim Rice
1978 Dave Parker, Jim Rice
1979 Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dave Winfield, George Foster, Larry Parrish
   52. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:11 PM (#2296251)
Steve:

I think the larger point is that Rice was one of the few who did it consisently. Note his three years running versus the sporadic achievement of others.

Of course, I like the list since it includes Hank who was a lot older then the rest of these whippersnappers.

And Jim Hickman? Larry Parrish?
   53. Chris Cobb Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:18 PM (#2296256)
1970s non-HoM corner outfielders, in order

Bobby Bonds
--My In-Out Line--
Reggie Smith
Ken Singleton
Dave Parker
Jose Cruz
George Foster
Jim Rice
Roy White
   54. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:22 PM (#2296260)
I think the larger point is that Rice was one of the few who did it consisently. Note his three years running versus the sporadic achievement of others.

Granted, he did it 3 times. But several other guys did it twice: Williams, Aaron, Allen, Luzinski, and Foster. The notion being presented here seems to be that Rice's stats stood out head and shoulders over everyone else's at the time, when in fact they just didn't. He was widely recognized as among the elite hitters in the game, and rightly so, but that was the extent of it. The idea that he inspired some kind of special awe is revisionist history.

And Jim Hickman? Larry Parrish?

The fact that such a couple of relative obscurities achieved that stat pairing in that era is a further indicator that it was hardly some sort of stunning landmark.
   55. OCF Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:42 PM (#2296281)
I differ with Chris Cobb's list in #64 mostly by having Bonds lower - I have Smith, Singleton, Bonds, in that order, in my top 30, with none of them in the top 15. I agree with the general premise that Rice is down there, somewhere, mixed in with several others. He won't be in my top 30 and there's no chance he'll make my ballot.
   56. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:07 PM (#2296309)
kevin:

I believe the game you have in mind is August 29, 1977. According to retrosheet everything you describe is there as far as output. Must have been one fun game to watch.

According to the game log Rice struck out in his final at bat. Maybe he hit a long foul ball in that last at bat?
   57. Mike Green Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:08 PM (#2296313)
Jim Rice's 20s were consistent with a great career, but his fall was fast. One cannot talk about his early 30s without addressing the effect of all those DPs. In truth, he was an average player at that point.
   58. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2296318)
I think all of us are saying that, at the time, he WAS viewed as AMONGST THE BEST HITTERS.

JPWF13, post #28: "He was a demi-god, the most feared, the concensus best hitter in baseball"

and

sunnyday2, post #60: "The fact that Rice hit for power AND average was pretty unique at the time."

Seem to suggest quite a bit more than that.
   59. JPWF13 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM (#2296335)
And Jim Hickman? Larry Parrish?

The fact that such a couple of relative obscurities achieved that stat pairing in that era is a further indicator that it was hardly some sort of stunning landmark.


Larry Parrish: My local paper printed league wide stats every Sunday, Larry Parrish was LParrish, then Lance Parrish was LParrish, to avoid confusion they switched one to LaParrish (I think it was Larry...) Eventually one was LaParrish and the other LarParrish. In the early 80s just eyeballing their statlines (as given in the Sunday paper- AB, Avg, Hr-rbi-sb) in midseason really gave littl;e clue who it was...

With respect to post 70 my clear recollection was that for 2-3 years Jim Rice was the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball. Not necessarily the best all around player.

The idea that he inspired some kind of special awe is revisionist history.

No it's not. The idea that he didn't is
   60. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:34 PM (#2296337)
So he WAS pretty unique.

Well, yeah. But in the next breath, sunnyday said, "That had become pretty much unheard of then. It's easy today to gloss that over but between the '60s and '90s it just DIDN'T happen."

Which is clearly not true.

Foster's 52 HRs and 149 RBIs in 1977 (accompanied by a .320 BA, of course) were significantly further out of the era norm than Rice's stats, as was Carew's .388 BA in '77. Rice was "pretty unique," but then so is most every star in every era.
   61. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2296344)
With respect to post 70 my clear recollection was that for 2-3 years Jim Rice was the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball.

Well, I guess we'll just have to accept one another's differing clear recollections.

It is interesting that "the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball" never led the league in intentional walks, nor did he come close to doing so. And within his 1977-79 apex of fame and accomplishment, two other hitters (Foster and Kingman) had seasons with more HRs, one (Foster) had a season with more RBIs, and three (Foster, Kingman, and Fred Lynn) had seasons with a higher slugging average.

I have no doubt that some sportswriter or broadcaster someplace called Rice that, but it was by no means a widely-shared pronouncement, nor was it based on basic evidence.
   62. BDC Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:49 PM (#2296353)
I was a National League fan in 1978-79. I was afraid of Bob Horner.
   63. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2296357)
I can't believe nobody's made a "like White on Rice" remark yet.
   64. JPWF13 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:58 PM (#2296360)
And within his 1977-79 apex of fame and accomplishment, two other hitters (Foster and Kingman) had seasons with more HRs, one (Foster) had a season with more RBIs, and three (Foster, Kingman, and Fred Lynn) had seasons with a higher slugging average.


and the percentage of mainstream writers/announcers who paid attention to slugging percentage was... 5%???
You sometimes seem to forget the infatuation folks had with AVG-HR-RBI back then

any way, I may have been unduly affected by the Yankee Announcers (who definately held Rice in awe- one game I remember listening to an ongoing - all 9 innings- discussion of Rice allegedly having broken his bat on a check swing and how far Rice allegedly hit a golf ball...)

- but you may have noticed that the pro-Rice bloggers on other sites also frequently make the claim that Rice was the most feared hitter during the late 70s
   65. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 11:22 PM (#2296377)
and how far Rice allegedly hit a golf ball...)

Wow, I hadn't thought about this in years, but yes I remember hearing the wPIX announcers say this at some time in the 1980s.
   66. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2296382)
and the percentage of mainstream writers/announcers who paid attention to slugging percentage was... 5%???
You sometimes seem to forget the infatuation folks had with AVG-HR-RBI back then


Well, I was there too, you know. The in-season stats in The Sporting News included SLG, and the annual Baseball Guide included a table of SLG qualifiers since forever.

I have the SF Giants media guide for 1966; that is, the guide the team provided to writers and broadcasters including all the statistical and biographical tidbits on Giants players for them to make use of. And that publication makes significant mention of Mays's having led the league in SLG in both 1964 and 1965, and the fact that his .645 mark in '65 had nearly matched his career-bests set back in 1954-55.

When Willie McCovey led the league in SLG three years's straight, in 1968-69-70, the newspapers and broadcasters often made mention of it. (As they also did, ahem, point out that McCovey was setting world records for intentional walks.)

Babe Ruth's 1920 all-time record of .857 was often presented as one of those "records that will never be broken."

Both the MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia, originally issued in 1969, and the Neft-Cohen-Deutsch Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball, first issued in 1974, included SLG as one of their standard stats.

I think too often nowdays all baseball history prior to about 1990, or at least prior to Bill James's publication of his Abstracts in the 1980s, is portrayed as some sort of Dark Ages in which no one perceived of anything with any degree of nuance or insight. It just wasn't that way. And slugging percentage was hardly an undiscovered stat.
   67. DavidFoss Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:36 AM (#2296415)
and how far Rice allegedly hit a golf ball...)

This does bring up a fantasy of mine. Long "baseball distances" are usually not long "golf distances". A 140 yard shot to dead center is almost always a home run and a 110 yard shot is almost always a home run down the line. I'd love to bring a five-iron to an empty ballpark, tee up at home plate and smash golf balls deep into the outfield seats.
   68. Repoz Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:37 AM (#2296417)
For no reason...

Jim Rice banged into 16 DP's in 1979...all with Fred Lynn as the front end.
   69. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:51 AM (#2296426)
1978 was remarkable not only because of the numbers (as they compared to everyone else's...the 406 TB, the 46-139, the 15 triples), but because Rice carried the Red Sox during the collapse of August and September.

Since kevin mentions a game he remembers from that era, I'll point out a game where Rice hit 2 HR's, one off Jim Palmer,and another off Joe Kerrigan, at Fenway. In the 1st inning he hit another ball that missed clearing the LF wall by a foot or 2 and ended up being a single, and was robbed by I believe Ken Singleton, who reached into the bullpen to save a HR in the 4th. All this while the rest of the Red Sox team was doing very little. His HR's came later in the game, and the second was the game winner.

Rice had the kind of year Yaz had in '67. Rice led the league in 11 categories, according to BBref, while Yaz led the league in 13. Yaz had 11 IBB's to Rice's 7, but Yaz was more of a one man show all year in 67, while Rice had lots of help through July of 78.


Whether he qualifies for your HOM, I'll leave to you, but my recollection was that when Rice stepped to the plate in big situations during the period from 77-79, the atmosphere at Fenway was about the same as it is when Ortiz or Manny come to the plate in big situations now. He was The Man. Were we wrong about that in hindsight? Of course not. He was the best. He was the one you wanted at the plate if you needed a big hit that year.
   70. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:54 AM (#2296429)
the atmosphere at Fenway was about the same as it is when Ortiz or Manny come to the plate in big situations now.

"BIG PAPI STRIKES AGAIN!!!!"

Sorry, that just popped out.
   71. DavidFoss Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:57 AM (#2296430)
If you used a golf club, my guess is it would be about 90% farther, as the baseball would probably snap the shaft of the club upon contact.

:-)

If you bring out the driver, then 600 ft shouldn't be too difficult for most sunday golfers. Probably 700-800 feet for those that play regularly and have a decent handicap. Of course, the pros would hit it 900-100 feet (assuming they find a spot where the stadium is low enough).

I wasn't going to go to that extreme. :-) Five irons to the upper deck would be enough amusement for me. :-)
   72. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2296431)
Mays never led in IBB's either, nor did he come close to doing so.

Nor do I recall presenting Mays as "the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball."

However, he DID lead the league in homers 3 times, RBI's twice, triples once and total bases 4 times.

Meanwhile, Foster was leading the league in homers twice, RBIs three times, and total bases twice. Schmidt was leading the league in homers eight times, RBIs four times, and total bases three times (and intentional walks twice). And Reggie Jackson was leading the league in homers three times, RBIs once, and intentional walks twice.

How is it that we're supposed to define "feared hitter"? Because this or that sportswriter or broadcaster said so? Are we supposed to imagine they never applied such a characterization to Foster or Schmidt or Jackson or anyone else? Jim Rice, and only Jim Rice, ever was granted such an utterance, because he emanated mind-bending powers that transcended mere actual performance?

I don't think intentional walks is a very good measure of a player's ability with the stick.

It isn't a perfect metric, by any means, but one would think that a player understood to be the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball would collect his share. And yet we have this:

Career high in IBBs:

Barry Bonds 120
Willie McCovey 45
Ryan Howard 37
Sammy Sosa 37
John Olerud 33
Ted Williams 33
Vlad Guerrero 32
Kevin Mitchell 32
George Brett 31
Frank Howard 29
Dale Murphy 29
Frank Thomas 29
Ernie Banks 28
Mark McGwire 28
Albert Pujols 28
Manny Ramirez 28
Jeff Bagwell 27
Miguel Cabrera 27
Will Clark 27
Roberto Clemente 27
Fred McGriff 26
Stan Musial 26
Duke Snider 26
Jim Thome 26
Ken Griffey Jr. 25
Ted Kluszewski 25
Eddie Murray 25
Mike Schmidt 25
Ted Simmons 25
Willie Stargell 25
Dave Parker 24
Dave Winfield 24
Hank Aaron 23
Johnny Bench 23
Orlando Cepeda 23
Chipper Jones 23
Harmon Killebrew 23
Mickey Mantle 23
David Ortiz 23
Frank Robinson 23
Mo Vaughn 23
Harold Baines 22
Lance Berkman 22
Shawn Green 22
Todd Helton 22
Rafael Palmeiro 22

Reggie Jackson 20


George Foster 16






Jim Rice 10


Opposing pitchers and managers chose an oddly indirect manner in which to express their cowering fear of Jim Rice, seems to me.
   73. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2296432)
My guess is you can hit a golfball about 40% farther than you can hit a baseball, using a baseball bat.

You would be wrong. You can hit a golf ball approximately 100% further with an aluminum baseball bat than you can with a driver.

I hit a golf ball about 450 yards with a bat in 1978. It was in South Boston, at the field near the rotary down the road from Columbia Circle. We had just gotten to the field and I found a golf ball near one of the benches, so I tossed it in the air and took a nice easy swing with an aluminum bat, and the ball just jumped off of it. It went not only out of the park, but across Day Blvd, over a parking lot, and onto Malibu Beach. I was thankful it was early in the morning, because the beach was empty.
   74. DavidFoss Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:01 AM (#2296436)
Very cool. You are living the dream, man.
   75. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:05 AM (#2296442)
To make the comparison, I hit my driver 200-220 yds, tops. Rice was said to have hit his driver routinely over 350 yds. I hear they once measured one of his drives at 400 yds. He was very strong. He could have hit a golf ball a lot farther with a bat.
   76. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:05 AM (#2296443)
Through my late teens and early twenties, a group of buddies and me regularly played pickup hardball on weekends on a school field that abutted a golf course/driving range, and so of course stray golf balls found their way into our midst. One of our favorite post-game activities was to fungo those golf balls with a bat. Whoooeee.
   77. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:06 AM (#2296445)
One of our favorite post-game activities was to fungo those golf balls with a bat. Whoooeee.

So, am I exaggerating?
   78. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2296453)
Very cool. You are living the dream, man.

I was in total shock. I expected the ball to land in the outfield somewhere, but it just took off and kept going. When I saw it headed for the parking lot I got nervous.
   79. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:12 AM (#2296454)
So, am I exaggerating?

I don't know. We were using wooden bats, not aluminum. And it's hard to compare, but I'm pretty confident in saying I've hit golf balls farther with a driver than I did with a wooden bat.

Like you, my best drives go about 200 yards. That's 600 feet, a hell of a long way. I don't think I hit a golf ball that far with a bat, but I do know I hit a few of those golf balls farther than I ever hit a baseball, which was probably about 350-375 feet.
   80. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:14 AM (#2296458)
Well, I used a wooden bat.

400 ft is not very long with any type of bat or golf club. I have a persimmon driver in the basement that I haven't used in 15 years, and that thing will launch a golf ball almost as far as the modern titanium driver, in the right hands. Not mine, of course, but still.
   81. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:16 AM (#2296460)
I'm not saying that you didn't hit it far, kevin, I'm saying that you may have underestimated the distance. Or, maybe the difference between wood and aluminum is more than I think it is.
   82. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:19 AM (#2296463)
It was 500 ft from where I hit the ball to Day Blvd. It was easily another 100 yds to the beach from there, probably a little more. I will downgrade my estimate to 325 yds. Keep me going on this. In a little while, I'll be down to 400 ft.
   83. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:22 AM (#2296464)
Persimmon. Love that wood. Did you know that persimmon is related to the Ebony family?

I did not. But I still have the driver, 3, 5 and 7 woods. I still carry the 3 and 5 woods in my bag.
   84. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:28 AM (#2296471)
It was a very light aluminum bat. Plus, I'm not able to get my hands into a golf swing with a driver like I can with my short irons. I release them way early, and I can't correct this. So, yes, that is why I don't hit my driver that far. I hit it very straight most of the time, though, so it makes up for a lot of the distance I lose. The golf ball I hit with the bat was all wrists, and all timing. And I hit the sweet spot on the bat.
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:41 AM (#2296478)
And I hit the sweet spot on the bat.

I think the sweet spot on a bat is generally larger than on a driver, particularly older persimmon drivers...like the Marty Turgol signature 1960s models I could never quite hit right.
   86. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:43 AM (#2296480)
It is interesting that "the single MOST FEARED HITTER(tm) in baseball" never led the league in intentional walks, nor did he come close to doing so.



Not surprising. The intentional walk is very much frowned upon in Fenway.


Rice's rank among his teammates in IBB:

1975 - 3
1976 - T6
1977 - 1
1978 - 3
1979 - T3
1980 - T4
1981 - T2
1982 - 1
1983 - 2
1984 - T2
1985 - T2
1986 - 5

The Sox during Rice's career never had a big IBB guy, that is true. Rice was rarely the guy most pitched around.
   87. kwarren Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2296482)
I don't necessarily support Albert Belle for the Hall or the HOM, but I have the sneaking suspicion that Belle is the player that a lot of Rice's supporters think that Rice is.

Based on peak performance Belle has an excellent case for HOF or HOM consideration. His 5th best season is better than Rice's best.

Albert Belle....13.7, 12.3, 11.4, 11.3, 10.5...(59.2)....90.0
Dwight Evans....11.9, 10.6, 9.3, 9.3, 7.8....(48.9)...119.1
Andre Dawson....10.7, 9.1, 9.1, 8.0, 7.9....(44.8)...109.5
Jimmy Wynn......11.0, 10.8, 10.0, 10.0, 9.2....(51.0)....93.4
Dale Murphy.....11.5, 10.3, 10.2, 9.8, 9.3....(51.1)....91.6
Ken Singleton...11.1, 10.4, 9.6, 9.2, 9.1....(49.4)....91.0
Bobby Bonds.....10.2, 9.3, 9.2, 9.0, 8.9....(47.6)....93.2
Rusty Staub.....10.0, 8.7, 7.9, 7.1, 6.8....(40.5)...102.7
Jose Cruz.......10.5, 9.5, 7.9, 7.6, 7.2....(42.7)....96.0
Jim Rice........10.4, 9.4, 9.1, 8.2, 7.4....(44.5)....89.2
Fred Lynn.......11.1, 9.2, 8.1, 6.8, 6.7....(45.9)....87.5
Cesar Cedeno....11.1, 9.1, 9.0, 8.4, 7.3....(44.9)....88.5
Jose Canseco....12.5, 9.4, 8.6, 6.9, 6.6....(44.0)....87.8
Dave Parker.....10.3, 8.8, 8.6, 8.5, 7.9....(44.1)....86.3
Reggie Smith.....9.7, 8.9, 7.3, 6.8, 6.4....(39.1)....91.4

Rice has almost identical credentials as Lynn and Cedeno. Are they going in.
   88. Super Creepy Derek Lowe (GGC) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2296484)
One of our favorite post-game activities was to fungo those golf balls with a bat. Whoooeee.


We used to do that, too, on the other side of the country.

any way, I may have been unduly affected by the Yankee Announcers (who definately held Rice in awe- one game I remember listening to an ongoing - all 9 innings- discussion of Rice allegedly having broken his bat on a check swing and how far Rice allegedly hit a golf ball...)


I was reading TSN. The story that I read says that Hawk Harrelson said that Rice could drive the ball 450 yards. (Anyone remember what Rice did on the Superstars? Is that info on the web somewhere?) WRT to the check swing, Zimmer said that it took place in Detroit and he was coaching 3rd. Most likely it was in '75. If it took place in 1976, it took place in May between the 17th and 19th.
   89. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 02:33 AM (#2296517)
Based on peak performance Belle has an excellent case for HOF or HOM consideration. His 5th best season is better than Rice's best.

Right. I think that most Rice supporters see Rice as a guy with a relatively short career, where he packed tons and tons of value into his best years, just as WS and WARP both show Belle doing. Instead Rice is a very good player with a relatively short career who put a lot of value into three years, scattered some value around outside that, but didn't really pack his prime full of value in the way Belle did.

Proponents of Ralph Kiner and Charlie Keller have the same argument to make: short career but just jammed full of value. It doesn't work for Rice UNLESS you ignore the park effects, concentrate only on old-school counting stats, and ignore the value-based profile of a HOM LF. I personally have Belle just on the outside, but he's dang close for me, literally, one more prime season or so away. I'm not keen on rice, of course, Keller is just below Belle, and Kiner's a little below them. And I'm not even a career voter!
   90. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 13, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2296537)
The usual reason for intentionally walking someone is to set up the double play. That is totally contextual, not something that has much to do with the ability of the hitter.


Tell that to Barry Bonds.

OK, Rice is no Bonds. Is he a Sammy Sosa? Sosa team IBB rank starting in 1995:

1
T3
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
T4 (2004)

OK, that may be era dependent.

Is he George Brett?

Starting in 1975:

T3
6
1
T3
1
1
2
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
1

Rod Carew?

Starting in 1972:

2
2
2
1
1
1
1
3
2
1
4
2


OK, he's neither Rod Carew nor george Brett. I think we agree on that. Is he Ken Singleton?

Starting in 1973:

1
1
1
3
1
T2
1
T7
2
T6
1
   91. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:26 AM (#2296562)
The usual reason for intentionally walking someone is to set up the double play. That is totally contextual, not something that has much to do with the ability of the hitter

Um, no. Otherwise #8 hitters in non-DH leagues wouldn't be intentionally walked with two out, which happens a lot. One of the big IBB seasons of all time was Adolfo Phillips for the 1967 Cubs, for instance: 29 intentional walks, all of them while batting 8th, 16 of them with two outs. Or take the immortal Spike Owen, 1989 Expos, 25 intentional walks, all of them batting 8th, twenty of them with two outs. That's National League baseball.

And it highlights the basic principle of the intentional walk. If a hitter is hugely better than the guy hitting behind him, he will draw his share of intentional walks. This is a situation where "protection" is quite a real factor. Barry Bonds 2001-04 would draw a lot of IBBs even if Mike Schmidt was hitting behind him. But Larry Walker, 2001-02, even though he had superb seasons, did not draw many IBBs. Coors Field? No, because Todd Helton had 36 intentional walks in those two years to Walker's 12, well up on the leaderboard. Helton was hitting behind Walker, that's all. In 2003, Walker dropped behind Helton and Preston Wilson, and drew 14 intentional walks that year alone.
   92. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:29 AM (#2296566)
And may I say, I have been waiting my whole life for B-Ref PI. I seriously could die happy tomorrow.
   93. Srul Itza Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:36 AM (#2296573)
Whether a guy gets intentionally walked depends a lot on who is hitting behind him in the order. The difference has to be fairly significant.


In the NL a lot of crappy hitters get IBBs. The reason they do so is that they are so crappy they are batted 8th, but the pitcher, batting 9th, is beyond crappy, and all the way into putrid.

As I read BB-REF lineups, from 77-79, you had Yaz batting behind him most of the time. Given Yaz's own rep of being a clutch guy, you just aren't going to put somebody on base too often to get to Yaz.

IBBs also depend on the situation. If you have a runner on first, you just don't see anyone IBBing a guy, except during the Barry Ridiculous years. Why do you think Rice hit into all those DPs? Some of it was him, but some of it was a lot of guys on first base.

I remember Rice's heyday. I lived in Cambridge 73-77, and in NYC 77-86. Rice had a big rep. But nothing like guys like Barry, Big Mac, Sammy, or Prince Albert have had in recent years. Not even the same as Big Papi.

Maybe my memory is fading, but I really think that the rep was more spread out on those Boston teams, especially the years when you had Lynn, Rice, Fisk and Yaz, and it seemed like a team of stars. Rice may have been the big bat in the line up, but he was not a one man band, except the end of that 78 season -- and really, his story then got swallowed up by the Yankees' comeback and the Boston swoon, the one-game play off, and BF Dent.

Rice was clearly a star, and there was a time when people expected him to keep on slugging and just skate into the Hall. But he was pretty much used up by the end of his age 33 season, and took a hard dive off the cliff.
   94. Ron Johnson Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2296574)
I know I've mentioned this before, but I've attempted to model IBBs.

Best I could do was an adjusted r squared of .44 (correlation of .67). In other words Kevin is at least partially correct. As best I can tell, at least half of all IBBs are a function of game situations. (For one thing, the bulk of non-Bonds IBBs come when the team is behind. I suppose I could look at IBBs issued when the team is leading)

To the extent that you can explain IBBs with stats, here's what appears to matter:

1. On deck hitter's BA (the lower the more likely an IBB)
2. Batter's ISO
3. On deck hitter's walk rate (IBBs removed -- again, the lower the more likely the IBB)
4. Batter's walk rate (IBBs removed)

Both the hitter's BA and especially the ISO of the on-deck hitter are insignificant in explaining IBBs (surprising to me given how many IBBs Boggs got). Of course perceived difference in ability between the batter and on-deck hitter matters profoundly, but I'm having some difficulty in modeling how managers measure it.

(Which partially explains Rice's low IBB total. We've noted how Rice's counter stats are boosted by having good teammates. Also applies to IBBs)

Then there's the whole question of using the stats for the year in question -- more or less what we're talking about. Rep matters -- particularly early in the season. (There are also hot hand IBBs, and those look to be a real pain to model)
   95. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:51 AM (#2296590)
Is he Ken Singleton?

Starting in 1973:

1
1
1
3
1
T2
1
T7
2
T6
1


The last of those kind of reinforces Kevin's point. In 1983, Ken Singleton led the American League in intentional walks with 19. The 1983 Orioles had the top two finishers in the MVP vote that year - Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray and a left-field platoon that batted .295/.368/.525 (that's a higher OPS than MVP Ripken and a higher SLG than both Ripken and Murray).

The '83 Orioles lineup went 6 deep (they got a .243/.312/.344 from the 7-hole and worse numbers from 8 & 9) and Ken Singleton had the good fortune of batting 6th for that team. On any given day, he was probably the 4th-most feared batter in the Orioles lineup.
   96. Misirlou was a Buddhist prodigy Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:08 AM (#2296606)
The last of those kind of reinforces Kevin's point. In 1983, Ken Singleton led the American League in intentional walks with 19. The 1983 Orioles had the top two finishers in the MVP vote that year - Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray and a left-field platoon that batted .295/.368/.525 (that's a higher OPS than MVP Ripken and a higher SLG than both Ripken and Murray).

The '83 Orioles lineup went 6 deep (they got a .243/.312/.344 from the 7-hole and worse numbers from 8 & 9) and Ken Singleton had the good fortune of batting 6th for that team. On any given day, he was probably the 4th-most feared batter in the Orioles lineup.


Sure, but that's only 1 time in 6 that Singleton led his team in IBB's. What about the other 5 (or 3 times more than Rice)?

I know Rice was feared. Perhaps he was the most feared player on the Red Sox despite his low IBB totals. That does not make him a HOM'er nor a HOF'er.

I'm sorry I have contributed to the pollution of a HOM thread. I'm not a voter, not am I qualified to be one, and I usually stay out of the discussion. I can't believe a HOM thread has devolved into RBI's, team wins, and IBB's, but there you go. With Rice it was probably inevetable.
   97. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:14 AM (#2296612)
Sure, but that's only 1 time in 6 that Singleton led his team in IBB's. What about the other 5 (or 3 times more than Rice)?

Hey, I grew up an Orioles fan of the late '70s / early '80s (you couldn't tell from my intimate knowledge of the '83 O's). Obviously, I think Singleton was far better than Jim Rice and should already be in the Hall of Merit. It was an excuse to talk about my favorite team ever. Sorry.
   98. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:15 AM (#2296613)
Situational exigencies have a large influence on IBBs, of course. The context of batting order, lineup "protection," ballpark, run environment, culture and fashion, etc. etc., all play a part.

But, just as obviously, so does the degree to which the batter in question is "feared" as a likely producer, so much so that the certainty of his reaching first base is preferred to the possibility of his making an out.

And it remains the case that there are, presented in just a partial list in #88, literally dozens of middle-of-the-order hitters, many of them Rice's contemporaries, who had at least one season (most more than that) of at least twice as many IBBs than Rice received in his most frequently-IBBed season.

It would take an enormous effort to explain the context of all of that, and plausibly retain the notion that Rice was, through his prime, an unusually, remarkably "feared" presence. The far simpler and more likely explanation would seem to be that however some in the media might have depicted Rice, his actual opponents understood him for what he was: a dangerous hitter, but one who could be pitched to, and not a hitter consuming exceptionally careful treatment.
   99. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:16 AM (#2296614)
there's the whole question of using the stats for the year in question -- more or less what we're talking about. Rep matters -- particularly early in the season

Absolutely, and again the Rockies of recent years are an example. Preston Wilson had that huge RBI year in '03, while Todd Helton, hitting ahead of him, was third in the league in IBB. Seems nuts, except who was Preston Wilson compared to Todd Helton? Similarly, in '03, Jay Payton started to hit behind Walker halfway through the season; Walker was still getting intentional walks, and Payton had his best RBI year. The perception of who's hugely better than who else is a big part of it.

Game situation clearly matters, because you aren't likely to walk anyone leading off and/or with bases empty, except Barry Bonds in 2004. I don't know what this says about Jim Rice, to be honest, except that he probably didn't find himself in IBB situations on account of the guys on base in front of him any more or less than any other top hitter. He may well have been better "protected" than other guys to some extent, and by greater teammates ...
   100. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:18 AM (#2296617)
I can't believe a HOM thread has devolved into RBI's, team wins, and IBB's

What, God forbid anybody should talk about baseball? :-D
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