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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 09:25 PM | 489 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:00 PM (#2296743)
t would be helpful for you if you looked at how few IBB's were issued to the Rockies hitters when Coors was at the height of the launching pad era

Sure. Todd Helton has been consistently among the league leaders in IBB for years, and has a lot more than anyone active who's his age or younger. It's a relative thing, certainly, but I think that was the only claim. Relative to the rest of the launching-pad Rockies, Helton was the fearsome guy. Relative to the rest of his Red Sox, Jim Rice, not so much.

I think that's a reasonable rejoinder to the theme that Rice was terribly "feared." If fear just means knowledge that a guy can hit the ball 450 feet, a lot of IBB leaders are not "fearsome" The AL leaders in the 70s and 80s included Rod Carew, Eddie Murray, George Brett, and Wade Boggs: guys who could get their bat on the ball and were patient enough to sit on a pitch they could hit; you didn't want to mess with them. Jim Rice was, by contrast, a guy you could get to chase a bad pitch. He wasn't going to walk a whole lot on his own account, and people were reluctant to put him on base and pitch to Carl Yastrzemski. Rice was a very good hitter, but it's not like he was Roy Hobbs or anything.
   102. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2296755)
Jim Rice was, by contrast, a guy you could get to chase a bad pitch.

Uh-huh. That why he led was among the leaders in almost every category you can name for three straight years. I'm curious, why do you think so many pitchers in the late 70's decided to throw Jim Rice so many fat pitches when they could have easily gotten him to chase a bad pitch?

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.

Carl Yastremski often batted after Rice. Carl Yastremski is a Hall of Famer. Now that wasn't so enormous, was it?

I'm not one of those people who thinks that Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame/Merit, and I do think he's overrated by the mainstream press, but, as is often the case on BTF, people are so about tearing down an overrated player that he becomes underrated.

Just so its clear, mainstream writers who are advocating the case of Jim Rice do not think he had a particularly short career. They think of his career as being about the same length as Jim Palmer - a dozen years or so of all star or near all star performance. I disagree with them about the quality of his play during the 80's, but it is what they are saying.
   103. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2296766)
among the leaders in almost every category you can name for three straight years

Including, um, strikeouts? My point was not that Rice had some huge hole in his swing. He was a very fine hitter, he was not Juan Uribe out there. But he was in the Juan Gonzalez family of hitters: high average, high power, less patience. It's a kind of game-theory exercise that develops between pitchers and such guys. He's a less patient hitter, maybe I can nibble at the corners, sometimes I miss, uh-oh. With Wade Boggs or Frank Thomas, you figure aw heck, he'll murder a strike but won't even flinch at a pitch an inch off the plate, so I am going to be careful as hell. (By lack of patience I don't mean a moral failure; it can be, as Kevin points out, a confidence, often reinforced but sometimes undermined, that the hitter can do as much with a ball as with a strike.)

Carl Yastremski is a Hall of Famer

Carl Yastrzemski was a 38-year-old guy hitting .270 with 18-20 home runs. If he could still protect Jim Rice, it simply tends to show -- doesn't prove anything, mind you, just tends to show -- that Rice wasn't historically terrifying.
   104. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:48 PM (#2296767)
For starters, I don't believe Rice belongs in the HOF/HOM, for the obvious reasons. At the same time, the idea of Rice being "the most feared hitter" was a common theme during his heydey (though I'm not sure I'd say "in baseball" as much as "in the American League," those days being more league-centric than today's game). Don't really know if it came from the pitchers or was projected on the pitchers by the broadcasters/writers, but it was there.

Moreover, I'm not sure the idea was "the fear of production" but a general sense of intimidation from Jim Ed. Rice had a surly reputation, unlike Brett, Carew, Jackson. He was phenomenally strong and he had a tendency to hit the ball really hard (though not necessarily as effectively as Carew or as frequently hard as Brett). All of these could produce a sense of fear (say of being decapitated on a line drive up the middle) beyond his actual output.

A modern parallel could be Sheffield. Sure, he's not as good as some active hitters (but better than Rice), but his personality, combined with how damn fast the ball flies off his bat, could have produced a similar "most feared" reputation. I'm kind of surprised it hasn't.
   105. BDC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:55 PM (#2296771)
this promotion of IBB's as being even remotely germane to the discussion is silly

Agreed, actually, but it's no sillier than the invocation of "fear." Looking back over the thread, now, it doesn't seem that the word "fear" ever really got out of its scare-quotes; nobody really played the F-card as a serious argument, maybe not even rawagman way back in #17, certainly not JPWF13 in #28, which provoked most of the intervention. We are mostly on the same page here ...
   106. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2296776)
Late into the topic, I know, but during Rice's time, except for 1978, I can't imagine any batter being more feared than George Brett: Excellent power, high average, very low strikeout rate (1 every 3 games), and a repeated propensity to rise to the occasion in big games. I can't think of any AL batter in the past 30 or 40 years that combined all of those factors to the extent that Brett did. Brett wasn't like many high strikeout hitters who, feared as they may be, could be pitched to. Brett didn't just hit a pitcher's "mistake," he hit their best pitches, which is why I always thought of him as the batter I always hated to see coming up against the Yanks in a tight spot. I suspect that Goose Gossage might agree with me....
   107. JC in DC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2296779)
I agree, Andy. I can't think of anyone at that time who scared me like Brett did.
   108. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:31 PM (#2296789)
I also agree that the fear discussion is a little silly, given that a) no one can agree what that means, and b) its probably different for everyone, based in part on what that player did against your favorite team. As a Met fan in the mid 80's, no one scared me more than Jack Clark. It wasn't close.

However, I do think most would agree that Jim Rice was considered one of the best hitters in the late '70's - possibly the best hitter in the league (Parker and Foster might have been similarly viewed, but they were in the NL. The notion that George Brett was the best/most feared/whatever hitter in the American League didn't really catch hold among most people until 1980, following a terrific '79 season. If you were a fan of a team in the American League West, it might have been a little sooner, but outside of that, I don't remember much talk of Brett as the best hitter until he started chasing .400.
   109. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2296795)
Brett's ability to turn on Gossage's hardest stuff was shocking. He would hit towering shots down the line on a 97 fastball, as though he wee hitting a mistake pitch or something.

In the words of the immortal Grady Seasons, he was like a nightmare that kept getting worse for Yankee fans. Who couldn't remember these games, all in Yankee Stadium:

1976 ACLS, game 5 (of 5): Hits 3-run game tying homer in 8th. Upper deck, of course. Forces Chambliss to rescue the pennant.

1978 ALCS, game 3: Hits 3 home runs in a 6-5 loss, trumped only by Munson's 8th inning game winner.

1980 ALCS, game 3: Crushes a Gossage heater into the upper deck, two batters after the Goose had been called in to protect a 7th inning lead. Game, set, and match to KC.

1983 The Pine Tar game. Nuf sed.
   110. JC in DC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2296799)
However, I do think most would agree that Jim Rice was considered one of the best hitters in the late '70's - possibly the best hitter in the league (Parker and Foster might have been similarly viewed, but they were in the NL. The notion that George Brett was the best/most feared/whatever hitter in the American League didn't really catch hold among most people until 1980, following a terrific '79 season. If you were a fan of a team in the American League West, it might have been a little sooner, but outside of that, I don't remember much talk of Brett as the best hitter until he started chasing .400.


I really disagree with this. I won't speak for Andy, but I thought Brett was scary at least a season or two before his .390 year. The most common vision I have of Brett is him gliding into 2nd after another crushing hit. I agree w/the guy earlier who said w/the Sox it wasn't Rice so much as the whole team. I never really "feared" Rice, and I don't really remember the Yankees fearing him, either. I do, however, recall w/nausea Hawk Harrelson's stupid commentary.
   111. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2296804)
From 1977 to 1979, George Brett's average year was 18 homers, 86 rbis, and a .306 average. Rice averaged 41 homers, 128 rbis, and a .320 average. Keep in mind that virtually no one was aware of park factors back then, and the triple crown stats were the most important numbers for most people. Once again, if you were an Angels fan, you might have feared Brett the most, but it would have been really weird for someone to think Brett was a better hitter than Rice prior to 1980.
   112. John Lowenstein Apathy Club Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:52 PM (#2296805)
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)


Very interesting, Ron, thanks. #2 on this list hammers home the fact that managers generally use IBBs suboptimally. For the most part, IBBs are given with first base open and runners on base; but ISO is almost meaningless to score runners on base that aren't on first. A single will score at least 80% more of such runners anyway. What should matter much more is the batter's batting average; a hit will score the runners already on base whether it's a home run or a single, and unless the pitcher or Ray Oyler is on deck I find it hard to imagine a situation where the batter is more likely to score on a home run than after an intentional walk.
   113. OCF Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:16 PM (#2296826)
As a Met fan in the mid 80's, no one scared me more than Jack Clark. It wasn't close.

Somewhere in there I was proposing this (as an adjunct to MVP voting): take a bunch of pitchers from the league in question, wire them up to a polygraph, show them slides of various batters, in ready-to-swing position, with the pitchers taken from a pitcher's perspective. Have these guys say, "I'm not afraid of him" and measure the galvanic skin response, etc.

Lurking behind the proposal: my money was on Jack Clark.
   114. DavidFoss Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:18 PM (#2296828)
I also agree that the fear discussion is a little silly, given that a) no one can agree what that means, and b) its probably different for everyone, based in part on what that player did against your favorite team.

I had one of the early complaints about the "fear" description. It is something that is brought up quite a bit with Rice's candidacy and my feeling is that its often brought up as a rebuttal to what the standard analysis of his career is saying. I thought that's why this thread has spent so much time on this issue... to see if there is something in his career that the numbers do not catch. Because just looking at the numbers, there's little debate that he's HOVG.

I don't think anyone can deny that Rice was one of MLB's very best hitters between 1977-1979. What people are saying above is that there is nothing *historically* great about that run. Its not as good as McCovey 1968-70, Stargell 1971-73, Kiner 1949-51, Medwick 1935-37... as well as many many trios of seasons by the inner-circle guys (Mantle, Williams, Bonds, Schmidt, etc, etc)... And its probably not as good as Ken Singleton's contemporaneous 1977-79. So, great as his peak, yes... but not historically great. That's the only point there.

Lastly, there is a tendency to beat down the "overrated" guys so much that they become underrated, but Jim Rice is sitting up at 63.5% of the BBWAA vote so there is very good reason Rice opponents to remain vigilant.
   115. Repoz Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:28 PM (#2296835)
From Petrocelli to Esasky...Jim Rice's dizzy display of DP victims.

86—DEvans 
57—W
Boggs 
47—F
Lynn 
21—C
Yaz 
16—J
Remy 
16—B
Buckner 
12—M
Greenwell 
 7—C
Fisk 
 7—R
Burleson 
 4—E
Burks 
 3—T
Benzinger 
 3—J
Dwyer 
 3—D
Stapleton 
 2—C
Cooper 
 2—C
Lansford 
 2—T
Perez 
 2—G
Hancock 
 2—J
Reed 
 1—R
Petrocelli 
   R
Miller 
   J
Brohamer 
   S
Dilliard 
   D
Doyle 
   F
Duffy 
   D
Coleman 
   M
Easler 
   Psycho Lyons 
   D
Baylor 
   P
Dodson 
   M
Barrett 
   E
Romero 
   S
Horn 
   N
Esasky 


Well...at least Dave Coleman makes some kind of list.

ouch.
   116. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:44 PM (#2296842)
I had one of the early complaints about the "fear" description. It is something that is brought up quite a bit with Rice's candidacy and my feeling is that its often brought up as a rebuttal to what the standard analysis of his career is saying. I thought that's why this thread has spent so much time on this issue... to see if there is something in his career that the numbers do not catch. Because just looking at the numbers, there's little debate that he's HOVG.

I don't think anyone can deny that Rice was one of MLB's very best hitters between 1977-1979. What people are saying above is that there is nothing *historically* great about that run. Its not as good as McCovey 1968-70, Stargell 1971-73, Kiner 1949-51, Medwick 1935-37... as well as many many trios of seasons by the inner-circle guys (Mantle, Williams, Bonds, Schmidt, etc, etc)... And its probably not as good as Ken Singleton's contemporaneous 1977-79. So, great as his peak, yes... but not historically great. That's the only point there.

Lastly, there is a tendency to beat down the "overrated" guys so much that they become underrated, but Jim Rice is sitting up at 63.5% of the BBWAA vote so there is very good reason Rice opponents to remain vigilant.


This perfectly sums up my perspective.
   117. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2296844)
Lastly, there is a tendency to beat down the "overrated" guys so much that they become underrated, but Jim Rice is sitting up at 63.5% of the BBWAA vote so there is very good reason Rice opponents to remain vigilant.

Well, first, we're not talking to the BBWAA here, we're talking with each other, so I can't see why we can't honestly evaluate guys, which I don't think always happens. And second, when someone makes an overly strong case why someone should or should not belong in the HOM or HOF, I think it does more harm than good. My reactions to the overstated cases for Beckley for the HOM, and Blyleven for the HOF led me initially in the opposite direction. Both were very good players whose cases were overstated IMO.

Virtually no one in BTF thinks Rice was historically great in the late 70's, yet people keep trying to dispel this notion for some reason. What the Rice defenders are saying is that he was one of the best two or three hitters in the late '70s, and I think you have to bend over backwards to try to show that he wasn't.
   118. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2296846)
It is something that is brought up quite a bit with Rice's candidacy and my feeling is that its often brought up as a rebuttal to what the standard analysis of his career is saying.


Just to be clear, I don't think anyone on this thread has actually supported Rice's candidacy for the HOF/HOM (The BBWAA is another matter). His level of support here seems to top out at ambivalence. No one has used the fear factor as an argument for his candidacy, only noting their recollection of him that way.
   119. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:53 PM (#2296852)
So is this the longest HOM thread on a player who may never get a vote for the Hall of Merit?
   120. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2296857)
From Petrocelli to Esasky...Jim Rice's dizzy display of DP victims.

For the record, Jim Rice takes a lot of grief for GIDP, but Ken Singleton grounded into more double plays per opportunity than Rice did in the late 70s.
   121. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:03 PM (#2296865)
What the Rice defenders are saying is that he was one of the best two or three hitters in the late '70s

To be more accurate, that he was one of the best two or three hitters in the precise 3-year span of 1977-79. Which is wonderful, but on its own it falls only a mile or two short of a HOF/HOM case. And it's the centerpiece of Rice's case.
   122. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:10 PM (#2296870)
The notion that George Brett was the best/most feared/whatever hitter in the American League didn't really catch hold among most people until 1980, following a terrific '79 season. If you were a fan of a team in the American League West, it might have been a little sooner, but outside of that, I don't remember much talk of Brett as the best hitter until he started chasing .400.

I won't speak for Andy, but I thought Brett was scary at least a season or two before his .390 year. The most common vision I have of Brett is him gliding into 2nd after another crushing hit. I agree w/the guy earlier who said w/the Sox it wasn't Rice so much as the whole team. I never really "feared" Rice, and I don't really remember the Yankees fearing him, either.


The part about the Red Sox team being feared is true---they had a brutal collection of hitters in the late 70's---and this may have caused Rice to get a bit lost in the shuffle. But while his numbers may have been better than Brett during this time, this misses the point that I raised earlier about Brett's low strikeout rate and his propensity to come up best in the most high pressure situations. And of course the most high pressure situations that Brett faced weren't against the Angels, but in the postseason, where he performed superbly in 7 out of 9 series, an almost unparalleled rate in the modern era. This is where his reputation began, in the LCS's of 1976-77-78, not in the 1980 season.

None of this has anything to do with park factors, or who was hitting around him, or whether he was the "best" hitter in baseball in the late 70's, or whether or not Rice belongs in the HOM or the HOF. It has only to do with the narrow topic of "whom would you most dread to face with the game---or the season---on the line?" And for that, no question, for almost his entire career in the AL it would have been Brett. He proved it way too many times for me to think otherwise.
   123. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:28 PM (#2296884)
And for that, no question, for almost his entire career in the AL it would have been Brett. He proved it way too many times for me to think otherwise.

So, in other words, George Brett in the 70's was viewed similar to how Derek Jeter is viewed today (good hitter for average, reputation for being great in the clutch, doesn't strike out much, performs well in the post season, not a lot of power), whereas Rice was viewed similar to how ARod or Pujols is viewed today (great power numbers, best around offensive numbers in the game). We all know that many people would rather face ARod with the game on the line than Jeter, so I suppose its possible that you'd have rather faced Rice back then.

Before anyone goes crazy, I'm not saying Rice was as good as ARod or Pujols is now. But from a perception standpoint, I stand behind the analogies.
   124. andrew siegel Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:32 PM (#2296889)
The idea that a below-average LF playing 144 games with a .285 EQA (or if you prefer traditional stats 22 HR, 19 GIDP, and a .350 OBP) finished 3rd in the MVP voting does little more than establish the low replacement level of a mid-1970s sportswriter.
   125. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2296892)
Koufax was a step above Rice in his peak

A step?

I don't know why you keep insisting on disparaging him way beyond what need be.

I'm not. I'm insisting on describing him accurately: a terrific hitter for a few years, but never clearly the best hitter in baseball, and never an historically great hitter.

Rice finished 3rd in the MVP vote as a rookie in 1975

With an OPS+ of 128. Tenth best in the league was 139. Rice was a good hitter that year, but nothing close to great.

4th in '83

With an OPS+ of 141, which was the fourth best in Rice's career, but just sixth best in the AL that year.

and 3rd in '86.

With an OPS+ of 137, tied for fifth best in the league.

Don't you think they are sort of relevant?

They're quite relevant. They stand as clear evidence that even in Rice's best years outside of 1977-79, he was nothing more than a very good hitter. And OPS+, of course, shows Rice in his best light, given that it doesn't include baserunning, GIDPs, or defense.

These are just the facts. He was a very fine ballplayer, I'd take him on my team in a heartbeat. But there is just no basis to take him seriously as anything close to an all-time great, worthy of serious HOF/HOM consideration.
   126. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:02 PM (#2296902)
Don't you think they are sort of relevant?

They're quite relevant. They stand as clear evidence that even in Rice's best years outside of 1977-79, he was nothing more than a very good hitter. And OPS+, of course, shows Rice in his best light, given that it doesn't include baserunning, GIDPs, or defense.


You're missing the point. Earlier, you claimed,

To be more accurate, that he was one of the best two or three hitters in the precise 3-year span of 1977-79. Which is wonderful, but on its own it falls only a mile or two short of a HOF/HOM case. And it's the centerpiece of Rice's case.

I've read a lot of writers who support Rice's case for the HOF. None of these writers restrict their case to a three year period. Virtually all of them talk of his hitting over a 12 year period, not three. And this is consistent with how sportswriters viewed him when he was active. His MVP votes in 75 and 83 and 86 show that he was perceived to a be an all star for a relatively long period of time, not just three years in the late 70's.

So you don't think he was that great in most of those years. That's great. I agree with you. And I'm sure Kevin does and everyone else on BTF as well. But while his HOF case may not be great, it is based on a lot more than a three year period.
   127. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:15 PM (#2296909)
Rice finished 3rd in the MVP vote as a rookie in 1975, 4th in '83 and 3rd in '86. Why are you leaving those seasons out? Don't you think they are sort of relevant?

The idea that a below-average LF playing 144 games with a .285 EQA (or if you prefer traditional stats 22 HR, 19 GIDP, and a .350 OBP) finished 3rd in the MVP voting does little more than establish the low replacement level of a mid-1970s sportswriter.

Alternatively, it could be indicative of the low replacement level of a certain BTF poster.


Come on. He wasn't attacking Rice's 1986 season, in which he was legitimately among the best hitters in the league several years after his peak, or his 1983, when he was 2nd in the league in SLG. He was talking about 1975, when I think that you would agree Rice should not have been involved in the MVP discussion. Rice was the beneficiary of a huge halo effect from the success of Fred Lynn and the accomplishments of the Red Sox as a team. He had an impressive rookie year, but it was nowhere near MVP-caliber, and he only achieved 100+ RBI as a result of hitting after Yaz and Lynn. With RISP, Rice batted 291/328/451, in contrast to his later years in which he was generally better with RISP than with the bases empty. In or out of context, Rice's 1975 was not an exceptional season.
   128. OCF Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:43 PM (#2296930)
Something like 5 out of the last 64 posts on this thread have been made by regular Hall of Merit voters. Perhaps not coincidentally, the level of decorum and respect is not up to the usual HoM standards. The history of this project suggests that this is not the way to persuade the voters of anything.
   129. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:43 PM (#2296931)
...never an historically great hitter...

I think this illustrates the semantic nature of all this disagreement over Rice among people who actually seem to largely agree about him. 400 total bases has been done a total of 29 times by a total of 18 players. It had not been done for 18 seasons before 1978, and would not be done for 18 more years after Rice did it. Rice was not a historcially great hitter, but he still managed to do some historic things.
   130. Srul Itza Posted: February 13, 2007 at 07:57 PM (#2296943)
You're not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

Getting a little testy there, kevin. Take a breath.

The history of this project suggests that this is not the way to persuade the voters of anything.

The history of the posters suggest that they are not trying to persuade anyone of anything.

And what is this whole brouhaha about? A broadcaster's throwaway line -- "One of the most feared hitters in the league".

And the excuse for the vitriol? Because someday the Hall of Fame may make another "mistake" and elect Jim Rice. Ho-hum. The Hall of Fame's mistakes of commission and omission were part of what inspired this whole project in the first place. If the Hall of Fame was perfect, you guys wouldn't need a Hall of Merit. So who cares if they make yet one more mistake? It simply validates you purpose here.

Some of you many choose to rend your garments and don sackcloth and ashes on that ingnominous day when Rice or Dawson or whatever cause-du-jour is elected. I figure, on a cosmic scale, the great joy of the inductee and his friends, family and supporters will sufficiently outweigh it, that I will somehow be able to get out of bed that morning.
   131. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 13, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2296956)
And for that, no question, for almost his entire career in the AL it would have been Brett. He proved it way too many times for me to think otherwise.

So, in other words, George Brett in the 70's was viewed similar to how Derek Jeter is viewed today (good hitter for average, reputation for being great in the clutch, doesn't strike out much, performs well in the post season, not a lot of power),


A bit analogous, perhaps, but more in perception than in fact. Brett had quite a bit more power (.487 SA to .463, and he played in a more pitcher-friendly era), was a better overall hitter (135 to 123 OPS+), and was more consistently great in the postseason. And where do you get the idea that Jeter doesn't strike out much? Jeter has averaged 115 strikeouts over 162 games. Brett averaged 54.

whereas Rice was viewed similar to how ARod or Pujols is viewed today (great power numbers, best around offensive numbers in the game). We all know that many people would rather face ARod with the game on the line than Jeter, so I suppose its possible that you'd have rather faced Rice back then.

Three best consecutive OPS+ years:

Jim Rice, 1977-79: 148, 158, 154 (average 155)

Albert Pujols, 2003-05: 189, 175, 167 (average 177)

ARod, 2000-02: 167, 164, 152 (average 161)

Which overstates the case for Rice, since he never got over 137 outside of those three years, whereas Pujols and ARod have had other individual years where they matched their best three year stretch.

Before anyone goes crazy, I'm not saying Rice was as good as ARod or Pujols is now. But from a perception standpoint, I stand behind the analogies.

And I think that Rice was a great hitter for a brief period. But even granting your qualification, that's a pretty strained analogy, at least when it gets out of the world of hype and into the world of reality. Jeter is no George Brett and Rice is no Pujols or ARod, at least outside the minds of possibly Mike Lupica or Mike and the Mad Dog.
   132. andrew siegel Posted: February 13, 2007 at 08:18 PM (#2296959)
If we can't use the various tools at our disposal (modern holistic stats, more basic sabermetric-oriented stats, traditional stats, subjective contemporary accounts, etc.) to evaluate past seasons, then this project and the Hall of Fame's project (and many others like them) are--by definition--impossible.

If we can have such a conversation, then I think it is as close to an objective fact as possible that Jim Rice's 1975 season was nowhere near being one of the three best seasons in the American League that year.

That's all I was trying to say.
   133. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 08:29 PM (#2296967)
Which overstates the case for Rice, since he never got over 137 outside of those three years, whereas Pujols and ARod have had other individual years where they matched their best three year stretch.

You completely missed the point of the analogy. Someone claimed Brett was more feared than Rice in the late 70's. I thought this was very bizarre given that Brett's stats (the stats everyone paid attention to in the late 70's) were not nearly as good as Rice's. It wasn't close. It was, in fact, very similar to the difference in stats between Jeter and ARod.

To cite park effects or OPS+ when talking about perceptions of opposing pitchers, managers, sportswriters, etc. in the 1970s is silly because no one was aware of those things then. If Brett was as feared as Rice in the late 1970's, it wasn't because they were aware of advanced sabremetrics. Its because they viewed Brett in the same way they view Jeter today.
   134. andrew siegel Posted: February 13, 2007 at 08:38 PM (#2296976)
Kevin--

Let me turn this around on you--what is the evidence that Jim Rice had a particularly good season in 197?. The fact that he finished 3rd in the MVP vote? Ok, that counts for something. But, it can't count for everything unless you want to grant infallibility to a group of 24 sportswriters. So, give me some piece of data--preferably a number (traditional or sabermetric), but alternatively a quote from a knowledgable source or some other bit of subjective evidence--that works to establish the case that the MVP voters were right. I haven't seen one.

As I read it, Rice looked like a hitter, came up in a year where the Red Sox exceeded expectations, came up with Lynn, got lots of press coverage, was better (though not particularly good) in the most visible stats than in the hidden ones, and got overrated. Happens all the time.
   135. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 08:55 PM (#2296988)
Since I'm playing the role of a Rice defender, I might as well throw one other fact out there. Its been said by many anti-Rice people that while he might have been a pretty good hitter for three years, those are the only years that can be used in building a HOF case.

From 1982 to 1986, well after the three year period in question, there were seven American Leaguers who averaged 100 runs created per year. In order: Murray, Boggs, Ripken, Rice, Evans, Yount, and Winfield. Five hall of famers and two Red Sox.

From 1977 to 1986 (a 10 year period) there were three American league players who averaged 100 runs created per year - in order, Rice, Eddie Murray, and George Brett. Rice had more runs created than either of the other two Hall of Famers who were both in their primes and known to be great hitters.

I know all about park adjustments, and defense, and I don't think Rice was as good as these other guys. Nor would I vote for him for either Hall. But Rice's raw offensive numbers were nearly as good as almost anyone in baseball over a relatively long period of time. Its just not true that his entire case was built in a three year period, and its not nearly as crazy as people on BTF make it out to be to think he was.
   136. Srul Itza Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:01 PM (#2296990)
The big sluggers are always the ones referred to as the "feared" hitters. Other guys may get labelled "clutch" or "scrappy" or "tough outs", but the sportswriters generally reserve the term "fear" for the guy who is most likely to send the ball a long way.

For the period 76-79, Rice was 2d, 1st, 1st and 2d in slugging, 4th, 1st, 1st and 2d in home runs, and in 77-79 was 3d, ist and 2d in RBI. This gets you noticed by media, and by the opposed teams. It builds a rep that lasts.

So if they were going to say anyone was "feared", it would be Rice. He was the slugger du jour for the second half of the 70's. For all that, he was just not that big a story, because (a) the Boston team was loaded with hitting stars during that period and (b) there were other competing story lines, including the Big Red Machine and the revival of the Yankees.

The fact that his first year on the ballot, he got less than 30% of the vote: The guys voting who were closest to his career, by and large, were not overly impressed.

The fact that he has built his vote up to 65% in the 12 years he has been on the ballot is a testament to his supporters, and to how good those early years were. He may yet make it into the Hall.
   137. DL from MN Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:10 PM (#2297000)
I know Rice's offensive stats deserve a downward adjustment due to Fenway. Do his defensive stats deserve a boost upward or was he a really poor defender helped by the small LF? What are his splits offensively and defensively?
   138. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:14 PM (#2297003)
"The fact that his first year on the ballot, he got less than 30% of the vote: The guys voting who were closest to his career, by and large, were not overly impressed."


One point of information - almost everyone starts low in vote totals and then works their way up.

Starting at X% and going doesn't mean the voters closest to Y player's career weren't as impressed as the ones that came later. It just shows the bias against initial candidates that aren't no brainers.
   139. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 09:53 PM (#2297030)
400 total bases has been done a total of 29 times by a total of 18 players. It had not been done for 18 seasons before 1978, and would not be done for 18 more years after Rice did it. Rice was not a historcially great hitter, but he still managed to do some historic things.

The 406 total bases Rice accumulated in 1978 was a terrific achievement, rather clearly the single best accomplishment of his career.

But let's keep just how extraordinary an achievement it was in perspective. His total of 406 was all of 18 total bases more (4.6%) than another player had achieved the season before (in 57 fewer plate appearances), and 18 total bases more than a third player would achieve eight years later. It was the highest total within its period, but not by a huge amount.

Rice's career-best 46 homers was 6 fewer than a different player had hit the season before, and 2 fewer than a third player would hit the following year. His career-best 139 RBIs was 10 fewer than a different player had driven in the season before, and the same amount that would be driven in by a third player the next year. His career-best 213 hits was 26 fewer than a different player had achieved the season before, and 17 fewere than a third player would achieve two seasons later.

Rice's career-best 150 runs created was 8 fewer than a different player had achieved the season before, and 5 fewer than a third player would achieve eight years later.

In short, the only conceivable case that Rice was "an historically great hitter" is based entirely on his surpassing of the 400-total-base threshhold, and even that doesn't really stand out very far against the total base figures of contemporaries. Nothing else he did was even the best within his immediate period, and all we're considering here are counting stats, with no park-factor context at all.

To come to the conclusion that Rice was "an historically great hitter" requires one to bend down and sideways, #### one's head just so, squint fiercely, and see just one detail from one narrow angle.
   140. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:19 PM (#2297069)
To come to the conclusion that Rice was "an historically great hitter" requires one to bend down and sideways, #### one's head just so, squint fiercely, and see just one detail from one narrow angle.


Steve, who has come to this conclusion? Some of his biggest defenders (Dizzy, Ignoratio) have specifically stated he IS NOT A HISTORICALLY GREAT HITTER, and Kevin acknowledges he falls short of the HOF/HOM). No one comes a mile or two within such a declaration, so I'm not sure who you're arguing with.
   141. Bad Fish Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:31 PM (#2297078)
The distain for Rice on BTF is evangelical in its advocacy. Rice did have an historical run from 77-79. He created 420 runs over that period, second place in the AL is around 320 runs. He averaged, what 385 TB over that time frame - easily 30% more productive than the next most productive AL hitter...that is a historically productive run. If you are using a metric that denies that, your measuring stick has bias. Additionally his bonafides for the HOF are legit. He exceeds black ink, grey ink, and HOF monitor, and is close on HOF standard, 4 of his comparables are in the HOF and most of the others are considered bubble players. I can understand a reasonable argument that determines he isn't worthy, but to deconstruct his career to turn him into Roy White is intellectually dishonest.
   142. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:41 PM (#2297086)
I'm not sure who you're arguing with

Ignoratio's post #166 was a specific retort to my assertion that Rice wasn't an historically great hitter. His response was that the 400-total-bases thing was an historically significant achievement -- how exactly one separates achievements from their achievers isn't made clear. At any rate the 400-total-bases threshhold, while impressive, is more a triviality than a landmark.
   143. DavidFoss Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:46 PM (#2297093)
Steve, who has come to this conclusion? Some of his biggest defenders (Dizzy, Ignoratio) have specifically stated he IS NOT A HISTORICALLY GREAT HITTER, and Kevin acknowledges he falls short of the HOF/HOM). No one comes a mile or two within such a declaration, so I'm not sure who you're arguing with.

Actually this is a pretty bizarre discussion all around -- the highlight for me was when one poster quoted his own post in an apparent rebuttal.

Strawmans are going up left and right. Bad faith is being assumed. I think there is poster history here that I'm missing out on. People are denying that Rice was historically great and then later pointing out how historically great he is. Bizarre falsehoods ("OPS ignores context") are being stated and I don't want to point them out because I'm afraid it will somehow be misinterpreted. I like at least understand both sides of an issue (peak/career, trad/sabr, etc) even if I don't agree with them, but I don't understand most of this debate at all.

I've been spoiled by HOM debates for the past 75 "years". :-)
   144. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:48 PM (#2297099)
actually, it's quite difficult to hit homers in Fenway for a righthanded hitter

Home/away HRs while playing for the Red Sox:

Jim Rice 208/174
Dwight Evans 203/182
Carlton Fisk 90/72
Butch Hobson 48/46
George Scott 88/62
Tony Conigliaro 87/75
Dick Stuart 43/32
Rico Petrocelli 134/76
   145. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 13, 2007 at 10:52 PM (#2297101)
OK, so does anyone think that Jim Rice should be a HOMer?
   146. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:07 PM (#2297113)
Ignoratio's post #166 was a specific retort to my assertion that Rice wasn't an historically great hitter. His response was that the 400-total-bases thing was an historically significant achievement -- how exactly one separates achievements from their achievers isn't made clear. At any rate the 400-total-bases threshhold, while impressive, is more a triviality than a landmark.


Ignoratio said this:

Rice was not a historcially great hitter, but he still managed to do some historic things. Which seems imminently reasonable.

Dale Long, Mark Whitten and Roger Maris had historically significant hitting achievements. Does that make them historically great hitters?

OK, so does anyone think that Jim Rice should be a HOMer


No one has actually advanced the idea, no.
   147. tjm1 Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:12 PM (#2297118)
Rice made his reputation in the Triple Crown Stats era. In that era, and under those standards, he was a dominant force, possibly the best player in baseball over several years.

When you take into account the double plays, the park effects of Fenway in the 1970's before the new press box went up, his mediocre walk rate and his marginal defense, it becomes clear that he was very good, but the type of player who needs a long career in order to be a HOMer. Other than from 1977-1979, he was never the best player on his team. Starting in about 1980, Evans played better than Rice almost every season, as did whoever was playing third base, and usually at least one other every day player. And really, in 1977, Fisk was probably better than Rice, while in 1979, Lynn was. 1978 is really the only season where you can say, unequivocally, that Rice was the best player on his own team, much less in baseball. Yes, some of the guys he was behind were legitimately great players, but they weren't all HOFers, and Rice is a short peak guy, so he needs to be held to a higher standard on just how good that peak was.
   148. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:16 PM (#2297120)
Dale Long, Mark Whitten and Roger Maris had historically significant hitting achievements. Does that make them historically great hitters?

Of course it doesn't, but that isn't how I interpret what was meant. "Some historic things" implies more than just a great day or week or fluke season.

No one has actually advanced the idea, no.

saltyjohnson in #185 would seem to be on that track! :-)
   149. Guapo Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:23 PM (#2297127)
If anyone out there has their copy of the 1985 Baseball Abstract, you should dust it off and read Bill James' comment on Jim Rice. It's eerily relevant to this discussion.

I'm tempted to type the whole damn thing in myself, but it's long.
   150. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:24 PM (#2297129)
You have to normalize for typical home/road splits

Feel free to do so. What do you think the typical home/road HR split is?

then you have to normalize for road hitting environments

If those road hitting environments were typically either pitchers' parks or parks that favored LHBs, then that would mean they were more difficult environments for RHBs to hit home runs than Fenway. Which would mean, by definition, that Fenway was not a difficult HR environment for RHBs.

Park factors are relative measures. Strictly and entirely.
   151. kwarren Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:34 PM (#2297136)
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.


NEWS FLASH

There are 29 major laague baseball teams outside of New England. Rice would certainly be a reasonable candidate for the Red Sox Hall of Fame, but anything more than that.....I don't think so
   152. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:38 PM (#2297142)
Not if it was easier for lefties to hit homers in their parks, or to hit homers in Fenway.

Whether it was or not has nothing to do with how easy or difficult a HR park Fenway was for RHBs. Nothing. The only relevant question is the degree to which playing half his games in Fenway impacts the HR total of a RHB.
   153. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:46 PM (#2297147)
I would guess around 10-15%.

In fact, here's what it was on a major league basis:

1975 - 1.0%
1976 + 0.2%
1977 - 3.0%
1978 + 5.1%
1979 + 4.7%
1980 - 3.0%
1981 - 1.7%
1982 - 4.8%
1983 - 2.6%
1984 - 0.7%
1985 - 5.3%
1986 - 0.01%
1987 - 0.01%
1988 + 1.5%
   154. Ron Johnson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2297155)
Starting at X% and going doesn't mean the voters closest to Y player's career weren't as impressed as the ones that came later. It just shows the bias against initial candidates that aren't no brainers.


Just to amplify the point, take a look at Eddie Mathews' initial support. (Not that there should have been any question about Mathews. IMO the single most puzzling vote the history of the HOF.)
   155. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:05 AM (#2297159)
Where did you get those numbers?

From Retrosheet, which is a resource I heartily recommend.

I didn't distinguish between RHBs and LHBs. This is the overall MLB total. The splits of those several Red Sox RHBs I listed earlier are extraordinarily different from this.
   156. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:06 AM (#2297160)
"Some historic things" implies more than just a great day or week or fluke season.

Yes it does. However, it does not imply "many" historic things. Nor does it imply an historic career. Especially considering that it was immediately preceded by the statement, "Rice was not a historically great hitter." So I'm really not sure just what it is you're on about. What's the minimum number of historic things that I'm required to list before I'm allowed to use the word "some" to imprecisely describe the quantity?

As for your deconstruction of the achievement of 400 total bases, my point was simply that round numbers that are rarely achieved get noticed and celebrated. Unless you disagree with that premise, then we really don't have an argument, do we? Rice led the American League in total bases three straight years. No one else has ever done this (six have done it in the National League, but none since Henry Aaron from 1959-1961). Now that's certainly not an argument for all-time greatness, and it's easy to make too much of it, but it is historic nonetheless.

But what the hell, this is one strange thread. I posted once, and somehow almost immediately qualified as "among Rice's biggest defenders." It's not every day that Red Sox fans leap to my defense.
   157. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:17 AM (#2297163)
I posted once, and somehow almost immediately qualified as "among Rice's biggest defenders."


It felt strange writing it. Which just illustrates the point that no one on this thread is really advocating Rice's candidacy for the HOM.
   158. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:19 AM (#2297165)
round numbers that are rarely achieved get noticed and celebrated. Unless you disagree with that premise, then we really don't have an argument, do we?

No disagreement with that premise. My point is just that the round-number thing is purely arbitrary. If Rice had had 399 total bases, he wouldn't have had in any meaningful sense a less terrific season, but nobody would have noticed.
   159. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:36 AM (#2297170)
actually, it's quite difficult to hit homers in Fenway for a righthanded hitter

Home/away HRs while playing for the Red Sox:

Jim Rice 208/174
Dwight Evans 203/182
Carlton Fisk 90/72
Butch Hobson 48/46
George Scott 88/62
Tony Conigliaro 87/75
Dick Stuart 43/32
Rico Petrocelli 134/76

That table means nothing, Steve.

You have to normalize for typical home/road splits, then you have to normalize for road hitting environments. Most of the parks in the American League through the years were either pitcher's parks like Municipal Stadium and RFK, or favored lefties, like Tiger Stadium and Yankee Stadium.


What do you think the typical home/road HR split is?

I would guess around 10-15%.

In fact, here's what it was on a major league basis:

1975 - 1.0%
1976 + 0.2%
1977 - 3.0%
1978 + 5.1%
1979 + 4.7%
1980 - 3.0%
1981 - 1.7%
1982 - 4.8%
1983 - 2.6%
1984 - 0.7%
1985 - 5.3%
1986 - 0.01%
1987 - 0.01%
1988 + 1.5%

Where did you get those numbers? I assume you distinguished between lefties anbd righties, since that is what we are talking about?


Good stuff. Never give up. Never give an inch.
   160. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2297174)
it's quite difficult to hit homers in Fenway for a righthanded hitter. For all of the righthanded power they have had, Rice is the only righthanded hitter the Sox have had who has led the league in homers more than once. And he did it 3 times.


With a huge boost from Fenway for 2 of them.

Rice's home/road HR totals in his three league leading years:

27/12
28/18
16/23
   161. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:49 AM (#2297178)
My point is just that the round-number thing is purely arbitrary.

Agreed. Thought I already had, but it must have been eaten.
   162. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:51 AM (#2297181)
NEWS FLASH

There are 29 major laague baseball teams outside of New England. Rice would certainly be a reasonable candidate for the Red Sox Hall of Fame, but anything more than that.....I don't think so


I went to about 150 games at Fenway between 1976 and 1979. None of those games were scrimmages, so I have a bit of knowledge about most of the players of that era. If we want to play a simulated game using offensive numbers of any one player in that era vs any other player, I will take Jim Rice and you can have whoever you want...Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Larry Hisle, Gorman Thomas, Fred Lynn, Ben Oglivie, Amos Otis, Lou Piniella, Leflore, Singleton, Lezcano, Munson, Randolph, Hargrove, DeCinces, Andre Thornton, Baylor, Bonds, Murray, Nettles, Yaz, Sadhuhara Oh...my team would beat your team regularly. ANd you can have the National League guys, too. Parker, Winfield,Foster, Clark, Rose, Luzinski, Smith, Stargell, Kingman. Anyone else. Rice was better during those 4 years.

Keep him out of the HOM. It changes nothing.
   163. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 14, 2007 at 12:57 AM (#2297189)
Miserlou, it would be nice if you actually had something meaningful to add to the discussion, instead of being content to limp in, being Treder's toady.


Oh, I did yesterday in the Roy White thing. I gave up when you kept quoting raw numbers and team wins.
   164. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:11 AM (#2297198)
If we want to play a simulated game using offensive numbers of any one player in that era vs any other player, I will take Jim Rice and you can have whoever you want...Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Larry Hisle, Gorman Thomas, Fred Lynn, Ben Oglivie, Amos Otis, Lou Piniella, Leflore, Singleton, Lezcano, Munson, Randolph, Hargrove, DeCinces, Andre Thornton, Baylor, Bonds, Murray, Nettles, Yaz, Sadhuhara Oh...my team would beat your team regularly. ANd you can have the National League guys, too. Parker, Winfield,Foster, Clark, Rose, Luzinski, Smith, Stargell, Kingman. Anyone else. Rice was better during those 4 years.

If we use incorporate park effects -- you know, as in reality -- I'll take one of the guys who had a better OPS+ than Rice in 1976-79, such as Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Ken Singleton, or Dave Parker.

My team would beat your team regularly.
   165. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2297208)
I'm trying to stick to power hitters who played around the time of Rice

You mean like these guys?

Jim Rice 208/174
Dwight Evans 203/182
Carlton Fisk 90/72
Butch Hobson 48/46
George Scott 88/62
Tony Conigliaro 87/75
Dick Stuart 43/32
Rico Petrocelli 134/76

The only one who wasn't a Red Sox teammate of Rice's was Stuart.

So let's exclude him, and the total home/road split of these guys is 858/687, or + 24.9%.

Meanwhile, this:

Yaz 237-215
Lynn (with Red Sox) 69-55
Vaughn (with Red Sox) 118-112
Carbo (with Red Sox) 31-14
Greenwell 64-66

Adds up to 519/462, or 12.3%.

Yet:

I don't see much difference.

Right, it's only twice as big.

Never mind the fact that the differential Fenway impact on LHBs vs. RHBs home run rates isn't the issue anyway.
   166. DavidFoss Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:24 AM (#2297209)
RDF. Good luck with your defense, Steve. Your pitchers would sue you mid-season for non-support.

What does RDF mean?

Didn't Rice DH 250+ games in those seasons? What kind of a crazy discussion is this?!? No rebuttal so you change the subject?

Singleton was a marginally better offensive player during these years. Baltimore was a tough place to hit. Its no knock against Rice. Singleton was a great hitter.
   167. Mark Donelson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2297211)
Didn't Rice DH 250+ games in those seasons? What kind of a crazy discussion is this?!? No rebuttal so you change the subject?

Welcome to another episode of Arguing with Kevin.

I'll take one of the guys who had a better OPS+ than Rice in 1976-79, such as Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew, Ken Singleton, or Dave Parker.

Me too. Not Hargrove or Leflore, though. Joe's right there.
   168. BDC Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:30 AM (#2297212)
What does RDF mean? [...] What kind of a crazy discussion is this?!? No rebuttal so you change the subject?

I have this feeling that some of the HOM voters are like the patrons of a public library that a bunch of corner-bar regulars have mistaken for their local.
   169. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2297213)
Good luck with your defense, Steve. Your pitchers would sue you mid-season for non-support.

Well, I thought the whole thing was offensive numbers only.

But OK, let's incorporate defense, and baserunning, the whole enchilada. Let's choose a metric that takes all that stuff into accout ... how about Win Shares?

Rice 107

Singleton 120
Parker 124
Schmidt 124
Brett 118
   170. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:31 AM (#2297214)
RDF
   171. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2297221)
How about wins, period?

Please explain in what universe a team full of 1976-79 Jim Rices would produce more wins than a team of 1976-79 Ken Singletons, Dave Parkers, Mike Schmidts, or George Bretts.
   172. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2297222)
Kevin, let's not get carried away. Rice did one thing well in the field, and that was come in on line drives. Anything over his head away from Fenway was an adventure. But he came in on balls pretty good, and he had a decent arm...not great, but decent.

For the 4 years I was talking about, I would take Rice over all 4 of Steve's choices. Only Parker comes close, IMO. Reggie hit 88 HR's from 77-79 at Yankee Stadium, while Rice hit 124 at Fenway. A lefty at the Stadium vs a right at Fenway...isn't that comparable? I'll take Rice.

Singleton? Please. He hit 74 HR's during those 3 years. 50 less than Rice. Park factor or no, that's a huge difference.

Carew was the MVP in 77 and Rice was the MVP in 78. Looking at "runs created", Carew's MVP year was 8 runs better than Rice's MVP year. If you look at the two other non MVP years between 77-79, Rice was always in the 140's...Carew had 103 runs created in 78.

I would take Rice.
   173. Mark Donelson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:40 AM (#2297225)
Um, you're comparing Rice, Singleton, and Reggie solely on HRs?
   174. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2297228)
I would take Rice over all 4 of Steve's choices.

You would lose.

Park factor or no, that's a huge difference.

Not big enough to overcome the park factor.

You can't say "park factor or no." Park effects are reality. Real games are played in real parks that have significant impact on raw numbers. Any use of raw numbers that doesn't account for the park effects that have sculpted them is a retreat from reality.

I would take Rice.

You would lose.
   175. DavidFoss Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:45 AM (#2297229)
Singleton? Please. He hit 74 HR's during those 3 years. 50 less than Rice. Park factor or no, that's a huge difference.

150 more walks, 300 fewer outs. An all-Singleton team would score more runs in a neutral setting. (Again nothing against Rice.)
   176. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:49 AM (#2297231)
Um, you're comparing Rice, Singleton, and Reggie solely on HRs?

He neglected to mention that his simulated game was home run derby. Sorry, I couldn't resist ;).
   177. Mark Donelson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:51 AM (#2297234)
Mark, I'm going to say this once and once only. Unless you have something meaningful or constructive to say, please just shut up.

Just emulating you, my friend. And no. Guess you'll have to say it again.
   178. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2297235)
Brett and Schmidt, no. Parker and Singleton, yes.

Huh? Which is which?

Whichever two you think a team full of Rices would beat, please explain how.
   179. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:58 AM (#2297245)
Steve, Singleton was a brutal defender and baserunner. Just brutal.

Yep, he was. I watched him lots and lots of times as well, you know.

But we have sophisticated metrics at our disposal that take into account defense and baserunning, and playing time. They aren't perfect, but they're a whole lot more reliable than our memories and our anecdotes.

Win Shares has Singleton as a significantly better player than Rice over 1976-79, at 120-107. So does WARP, at 33.7 to 28.0.
   180. Guapo Posted: February 14, 2007 at 01:58 AM (#2297247)
TABLE

PLAYER RINGZ
Reggie Jackson 5
Roy White 2
Dave Parker 2
Chicken Stanley 2
Ken SIngleton 1
Mike Schmidt 1
George Brett 1
Jim Rice 0
   181. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2297251)
Any use of raw numbers that doesn't account for the park effects that have sculpted them is a retreat from reality.

and

Um, you're comparing Rice, Singleton, and Reggie solely on HRs?

Fenway is a hitters park for both righties and lefties. Yankee Stadium is a left handed hitters park. Rice's combined OPS for the 4 years was 581, Reggie's was 590. 2 points per year difference.

Games played...550 for Reggie, 631 for Rice. Both were primarily OF's, except for 1977, when Yaz played 140 games in left.

Based on that, Rice was more valuable than Reggie during those 4 years.

My curfew has arrived.
   182. Mark Donelson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2297252)
Actually, come to think of it, that comment was constructive: I was explaining to DavidFoss that something he found amazing was in fact fairly commonplace.

But the point of that was simply that it's pointless to bother arguing with you (which is why I in fact wasn't arguing with you). Flame wars with you are even more pointless (aren't they always, with anyone?), though, so I'm done.
   183. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2297258)
*OPS+, not OPS.
   184. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:10 AM (#2297264)
I think Rice would beat the Parkers and the Singletons based on fundamentals.

Well, while Rice is laying down bunts and hitting the cutoff man and all such -- the traits he was so famous for -- Parker and Singleton would be generating more, you know, runs. Based on the best information any of us has, Parker and Singleton were both better run producers than Rice from 1976 through 1979.

And if we factor in fielding and baserunning, the most comprehensive tools we have at our disposal say that Singleton's offensive advantage over Rice is so enormous that he wins anyway, despite being a lousy fielder and baserunner. And Parker, being a decent baserunner and fielder, enjoys an even bigger advantage (124-107 in Win Shares, 35.7-28.0 in WARP).
   185. Mark Donelson Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2297269)
Sigh. You don't do things by halves, do you?

I would have said my comment was merely a bit snarky, whereas your response was the one that went ballistic. But tone is a tricky thing in this medium, I admit. I apologize for the ad hominem, which I really only meant as a mild needling. (I realize that our past run-ins probably are coloring this somewhat on both sides.) After you came back at me, I responded in kind, for which I also apologize.

But I note that my comment and your response did distract from the point DavidFoss was making in the first place. Forget I ever said anything--can you go back to that?

Didn't Rice DH 250+ games in those seasons? What kind of a crazy discussion is this?!? No rebuttal so you change the subject?

Didn't Rice DH a lot of games in those seasons? Or was that later?
   186. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:21 AM (#2297272)
If you're in a "lineup filled with one guy" argument and you want to factor in defense, the answer becomes kind of unknowable doesn't it? None of us have any idea who would pitch, catch or play middle infield more effectively among Rice, Singleton, Parker, Brett and Schmidt.

That being said, I can't say I've ever figured out why people engage in the "lineup of 9 _____s" argument anyway. Doesn't it ultimately boil down to who's a better player X 9?
   187. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:55 AM (#2297304)
Doesn't it ultimately boil down to who's a better player X 9?

Yes.
   188. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 02:58 AM (#2297306)
Steve, take a gander sometime at the number of runs that Singleton scored. He was worse than an albatross on the bases. Getting on is fine but you have to be able to move from point A to point B in order to score.

kevin, there are a multitude of more sophisticated, more insightful metrics of a given player's run production performance than the number of runs he scored. You do know this. Why not employ them in comparing these players?
   189. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:09 AM (#2297310)
How about wins, period?

From '76-'79, Singleton's team won 7 more games than Rice's team did. I'm too lazy to add up the numbers for Parker, Schmidt, and Brett, but I'd be surprised if their teams didn't also win more (they definitely all had more playoff appearances).
   190. Misirlou is on hiding to nowhere Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:17 AM (#2297317)
From '76-'79, Singleton's team won 7 more games than Rice's team did. I'm too lazy to add up the numbers for Parker, Schmidt, and Brett, but I'd be surprised if their teams didn't also win more (they definitely all had more playoff appearances).


Royals 369
Orioles 377
Phillies 376
Pirates 374
Red Sox 370
   191. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:22 AM (#2297321)
By the way, I think I might have been the first non-HOMer to post in this thread. In which case, I want to offer my sincerest apologies for what this has turned into, on behalf of all of mainstream BTF.
   192. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:34 AM (#2297331)
By the way, I think I might have been the first non-HOMer to post in this thread.

You're a HoMer? When did we induct you?!!

;-)

In which case, I want to offer my sincerest apologies for what this has turned into, on behalf of all of mainstream BTF.

No need to apologize, Kiko. We don't want to discourage other viewpoints, so always feel free to post something on one of the threads.

I do wish some of the discourse had been a little more positive and cordial, however. But it's not like I have a perfect track record in that department, either. :-)
   193. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:43 AM (#2297338)
I have this feeling that some of the HOM voters are like the patrons of a public library that a bunch of corner-bar regulars have mistaken for their local.

I think most of us have had barroom debates about a number of different things, so it's not like we're choirboys. :-) But we do try to take this seriously so we can lend the HoM some level of credibility beyond our analysis. Throwing out expletives and being disrespectful to one another isn't going to help us achieve that.
   194. Daryn Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2297344)
OK, so does anyone think that Jim Rice should be a HOMer?

He's very close for me. He won't be on my ballot in 1995, but he will be shortly. I take a different view than most on those who take advantage of their home park. I adjust them compared to their teammates, and do not ignore how the park has inflated their stats, but I don't normalize everything as if they all played in neutral parks.

282 WinShares for a corner outfielder is pathetic for a career voter like me, but that 75-79 is pretty great, and he throws in two or three more great seasons in his decline phase.

The guys we have left in the backlog are almost all debatable HoMers. All would fit nicely in the HoVG. Some will be elected and I like Rice a lot more than I like Trouppe, Wynn and Keller.
   195. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: February 14, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2297346)
Royals 369
Orioles 377
Phillies 376
Pirates 374
Red Sox 370


Apropos of nothing, that's shockingly close from top to bottom for five previously selected teams during a four-year period.
   196. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 04:21 AM (#2297361)
You mean that measures a player's ability to score runs? Where? I haven't seen them yet.

Don't deflect the question. Answer it.
   197. Bad Fish Posted: February 14, 2007 at 05:15 AM (#2297394)
FWIW here are all the times someone has averaged 380 TB's for three consecutive seasons. It cherry-picks a little bit, and I may have missed a few examples, but it illustrates the point about rice's 77-79, and with the exception of Musial, and maybe Puljols all the others came about during big offensive era's and a lot of these are the cream of an inner circle guy's career.

musial 48-'50 380.7
puljols 03-'05 381
ruth 27-'29 381.7
ruth 26-'28 381.7
helton 99-'01 382
arod 01-'03 382
hornsby 20-'22 385.7
rice 77-'79 385.7
foxx 32-'34 397.7
sosa 98-'00 398.7
klein 29-'31 399
gehrig 27-'29 399.7
gehrig 30-'32 399.7
sosa 99-'01 401.7
klein 30-'32 404
   198. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 05:27 AM (#2297400)
I was making a point that Singleton more than nullifies his advantage of getting on base more by his brutal baserunning.

With what factual evidence? Objective metrics clearly demonstrate that your point is faulty.

All OBP is not equivalent.

Of course it isn't. But sophisticated metrics at our disposal weigh it. I repeat the question:
More insightful metrics of a given player's run production performance than the number of runs he scored. Why not employ them in comparing these players?

Here's a stat for you to chew on. If you divide runs scored by hits+BB+HBP-HR, you get an interesting result. Singleton scores 29.4% of the time he gets on base, Rice 44.5%. That's 50% more often. I think you will agree that that's a major difference in favor of Rice being able to haul his ass over homeplate much better than Singleton.

No, I won't. That stat is complete crap, and old crap at that. Have you read basic sabermetrics?

Another. Not one of Singleton's top ten most similars is a HoFer. 4 of Rice's are. Even on an age basis, Rice is compared to people like Billy Williams and Dick Allen. singleton is compared to people like Steve Kemp and Dusty Baker. I think you will agree the former players are better than the latter.

No, I won't. Do you understand the basis upon which "top ten similars" is formulated?
   199. Steve Treder Posted: February 14, 2007 at 05:54 AM (#2297409)
You are going to have to do a little better than that.

No. You are going to have to a little bit better than failing to acknowledge the fundamental foundations of essential offensive production metrics such as Runs Created and Linear Weights. The objections you raise are simply silly.
   200. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:21 AM (#2297416)
Here's a stat for you to chew on. If you divide runs scored by hits+BB+HBP-HR, you get an interesting result. Singleton scores 29.4% of the time he gets on base, Rice 44.5%. That's 50% more often. I think you will agree that that's a major difference in favor of Rice being able to haul his ass over homeplate much better than Singleton.

Was it park? I doubt Fenway has a 50% advantage over Municipal Stadium.


I presume that you would rather do (R-HR)/(H+BB+HBP-HR). The method you describe would add one to the numerator for a home run and zero to the denominator, which would falsely place guys like Mark McGwire among the best baserunners in the game. Using the equation from the first sentence to judge efficiency of runs scored while on the basepaths, Singleton scores 24.1% of the time he gets on base, Rice 30.9%.

Certainly baserunning ability is not the only component that factors into the percentage of runs scored. A player's position in the lineup, the tendencies of the individuals hitting behind him, and the run environment all play a role. This year Baseball Prospectus had Victor Martinez as the worst baserunner in the league, and he scored 27.6% of the time. Bengie Molina, the 10th worst baserunner in the league, scored on 19.7% of his opportunities. It appears to be very difficult to form useful conclusions about baserunning from this statistic, especially if the contextual factors have not been more thoroughly analyzed.
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