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Monday, June 18, 2007

Kirby Puckett

Eligible in 2001.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:54 AM | 146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:00 AM (#2407754)
I'll suspect Kirby will go into the HoM as fast as Bill Terry did "decades" ago, except Puckett was a better player than Memphis Bill.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:24 AM (#2407771)
Similar to Mattingly...a close call, at least for a peak voter. I know WS doesn't really love him up too much, but he was a guy who made a difference. Among all-time Twins, only Killebrew was more valuable. I'd take Puck over Carew. Probably on ballot, probably PHoM.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:30 AM (#2407778)
I know WS doesn't really love him up too much


281 WS in only 12 years? That sounds like love to me.
   4. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: June 18, 2007 at 09:28 AM (#2407830)
Rest in peace, Kirby, but I don't see you as anything resembling electable...what exactly is the case for him?
   5. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 11:26 AM (#2407838)
If you wanna talk pennants added, in the real world the score was Kirby 2.
   6. BDC Posted: June 18, 2007 at 11:32 AM (#2407841)
what exactly is the case for him?

He was a Gold Glove center fielder who hit like Rod Carew. Puckett is kind of the anti-Blyleven. In order to evaluate him you have to do a lot of deflating: maybe he didn't deserve the Gloves, in context his offensive value wasn't as good as Carew's, his career was cut short, &c. But if your Hall is large enough, Puckett is certainly in; there is a lot to like on the surface, and it isn't all illusory. Are there a dozen clearly better careers in CF?
   7. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 18, 2007 at 01:56 PM (#2407915)
I'll suspect Kirby will go into the HoM as fast as Bill Terry did "decades" ago, except Puckett was a better player than Memphis Bill.

I see him lower on the CF totem pole than Terry. More like Mattingly, fittingly enough. Which isn't good news for Kirby on my ballot.

Some cross-generational guys Kirby could be reasonably compared to:
Rich Ashburn
Jimmy Wynn
Edd Roush
Earl Averill
Hugh Duffy
Hack Wilson
Dale Murphy (peak in CF)

I'm sure there's more of them to add.

Is he better than some of these guys? Or as good? Or not as good?
   8. DavidFoss Posted: June 18, 2007 at 02:32 PM (#2407954)
maybe he didn't deserve the Gloves

Like all players who put on weight as they get older, people forget how fast Puckett was when he was younger. Those putout totals in the 1980s are very high. How good of a defender was he? (I grew up in MN, so I may not be objective here).

Puckett's candidacy depends entirely on how much of a CF-boost to give him. As a corner he's nowhere near qualified, but in the post-Mays era good CF careers are hard to find.
   9. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 18, 2007 at 02:43 PM (#2407970)
Not to be jerky about this and needlessly insert drama into a discussion of many people's favorite player, but if any player other than Brian Downing represented an opportunity for retrospective steroids speculation, it must be Puckett.

Like all players who put on weight as they get older, people forget how fast Puckett was when he was younger.

Indeed! Puckett's vault from virtually no HR to 30 was amazing and nearly unprecedented. His body became bulkier too. Look at his 1985 Topps Rookie card, then look at some subsequent cards or photos, he does look very different. Whether it's weight, muscle mass, or both is unclear, of course, but he would have been the very sort of player that in today's game drew a great deal of PED speculation simply for his incredible surge in power and the total transformation of his game.

I don't mean to suggest he did them, I have no idea, but merely to say that he's a glaring candidate for anyone who engages in this speculation.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: June 18, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2407983)
Now that I have a minute:

I understand the case against Kirby, I just don't buy it. He's just a guy who did everything well. But wait! He did some things great.

I know you're all sick of my Reputation Monitor, it's just a toy. I did it 10-15 years ago just to explain and predict HoF voting. I only use it now to develop a consideration set, not for real evaluation beyond that. But here ya go.

CF

Above 200 is a "sure" HoFer (19 out of 20 as a percent)

1. Cobb 418
2. Mays 411
3. Speaker 376
4. Mantle 368
5. DiMaggio 328
6. Snider 249
7. Puckett 211

175 to 200 is a "likely" HoFer (more than half but some VCs)

8. Dawson 196
9. Hamilton 195
10. Browning 187--the formula doesn't work very well for the 19C

11. Hines 186
12. Roush 184
13. Carey 176
14. Wilson 176
15. Gore 175

150 to 175 is a "possible" HoFer (less than half and mostly VC)

16. Doby 173
17. Duffy 170
18. Murphy 168
19. Averill 168
20. Ashburn 162

21. Berger 155
22. Lynn 154--and the formula doesn't work very well for the "moderns" who haven't yet (and may never) get a real shot at the "back door"

His only even "rough" "modern" comps are Snider and Dawson, to DavidFoss' point. Good CFers are hard to come by. And to answer the good doctor's question, Kirby was better than all of them. He did all the things BobDernier says he did and as I've already said twice, you can't argue he didn't have an impact on the ground. Yes, all of that just gets him into the consideration set but once there, you'll see that he hit a little more than Duffy, Dawson, Murphy, to name some immediate competition, and to me Ashburn would be the only guy who played CF any better though Duffy will have his advocates.

If your team was playing for a pennant or a world championship and had to win four games, let's say, I can't imagine you'd want another eligible CF at his peak out there unless it's Fred Lynn (to name another candidate but with an even shorter career). So, no, he didn't dominate the field in any one area, but he was as good as most of them on most measures. He doesn't have the obvious weakness that each of them has. That makes him the best available CF with the possible exception of the really big bomber, Pete Browning.
   11. DavidFoss Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2407989)
>Like all players who put on weight as they get older, people forget how fast Puckett was when he was younger.

Indeed! Puckett's vault from virtually no HR to 30 was amazing and nearly unprecedented.


Oh man, I just wanted to talk about his fielding! :-) Any objective people want to look at the high PO totals from the 1980s? That's 5 of 6 1980s seasons with very high putout totals. Are those numbers for real? Was he the best fielding CF of his era?
   12. DavidFoss Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:09 PM (#2407992)
Indeed! Puckett's vault from virtually no HR to 30 was amazing and nearly unprecedented.

The story in Twins Lore is that Kirby always hit the ball very hard, but he hit the ball straight into the ground. He got a lot of very high bouncers off the dirt in front of home plate that he legged out for easy infield singles. Then in the offseason before the 1986 season, Tony Oliva taught him to drive the ball in the air rather than straight into the ground. The power surge that resulted was indeed instant, he had 11 homers in the first 24 games that season. That's how the story goes.

His body became bulkier too.

But he was so round, and so much of his weight was in his thighs, and the weight gain continued after he retired. Looks like a guy who had a natural propensity to carry more weight... like Tony Gwynn. Pure speculation on my part, but its pure speculation on the other side too... and the other side has the burden of proof there.
   13. Paul Wendt Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2408002)
I know WS doesn't really love him up too much

On the other hand, Bill James loves him, ranking him centerfielder #8 thru 2001. (and Mattingly, first baseman #12)
Win shares?
I may be wrong about the facts but Puckett and Mattingly are two of the players I had in mind last night, writing re Dave Winfield.
"Win Shares rehabilitated the sabermetric fielding reputations of many players who had been diminished by low range factors, and it scuttled a few reps built on good and great range factors. Dave Winfield is one diminished by range factor and not rehabilitated by win shares. . . I don't find that now, NBJHBA is probably the wrong book."
Numerous realignments with observer reputation, where range factor burst balloons, may be presented as one validation of the new approach to measuring defense, in the first "half" of the Win Shares book.

For Kirby Puckett of the 1980s (his twenties), no rehab was necessary, but range factor marked him as someone who no longer deserved the Gold Gloves in the '90s and maybe should have been moved to the corner at 30. Win Shares endorsed the number of Gold Gloves (6) and the last two ('91-92).
   14. yest Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2408011)
Some cross-generational guys Kirby could be reasonably compared to:
Rich Ashburn
Jimmy Wynn


Kirby great hitter (avg) couldn't walk a lick
Jimmy Wynn great walker couldn't hit (avg) a lick
   15. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: June 18, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2408012)
If your team was playing for a pennant or a world championship and had to win four games, let's say, I can't imagine you'd want another eligible CF at his peak out there unless it's Fred Lynn (to name another candidate but with an even shorter career).

Wally Berger's another possibility. I haven't really looked at Puckett yet, though.
   16. Juan V Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2408034)
Ranks below Dale Murphy over here, and the difference is significant. I'll look into it later.
   17. Paul Wendt Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:38 PM (#2408069)
There was a lot of publicity for Puckett in 1988, with a run at the batting championship and the sudden thought that he rather than Wade Boggs might be the best hitter or the guy who would get 256 hits in a season. Thereafter he was one of the half dozen players who is called "maybe the best player in baseball" when no one wants to acknowledge that it might be a Rickey Henderson or a Barry Bonds. When he was wined and dined in Boston as a free agent --1992/93, I infer from his salaries-- he was still "maybe the best player in baseball" which was silly.

He was a bally-hooed "clutch hitter" with a high batting average and low walk rate, the kind we loved to hate (we who had read a Bill James Abstract by 1988). But his 1988 season was a caricature of himself. I'm actually surprised, visiting bb-ref now, to see how much he did walk and how few runs he batted in, typically 40 and 90.
And Wade Boggs was a caricature of himself! With 128 runs and 125 walks he broke his personal records by 19 and 20.

Beside the few who were paying attention to walks, disciples of Bill James who believed the best hitter must be Boggs or Raines or the new and improved Tony Gwynn, the Minnesota Miracle must have alerted millions to pay attention to Kirby Puckett in 1988. He showed excellent timing in his career year.

All these factors make him "overrated" and

--
The popular choice or CF would be Dale Murphy.
By 1995 there is Jim Edmonds, at least.
I might take Rickey Henderson, batting first and fielding center.

Dawson is in center 1977-83, and in Montreal so no one cares about him. And he isn't eligibleyet. During our innings, he is Puckett with triples and steals.
Dale Murphy 80-86, Rickey Henderson 85-86, Puckett 84-93.
Dwayne Murphy 79-87. Puckett blossomed as he declined in all respects incl playing time. Was there a mid-1986 injury?

--
For the 1970s, Bill James named Dave Winfield the best player who never won an MVP award.
1980s Eddie Murray, 1990s Tony Gwynn.
Puckett showed bad timing for decadal gewgaws but he wasn't good enough for this one anyway.
   18. Paul Wendt Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2408071)
All these factors make him "overrated" and
once you know someone is overrated, say no more :-)
   19. Juan V Posted: June 18, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2408075)
That 1988 was the only time he hit at a peak-Murphy level. He has more career value under my sistem, mostly because he lasted longer as a centerfielder. But the difference in peaks is big.
   20. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 18, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2408108)
More like Mattingly, fittingly enough.

I know a Yankees fan who makes this comparison when arguing that Mattingly should make the HOF. I try to tell him that while their hitting stats might be equal there's a difference between CF and 1B. He doesn't want to listen.

Also, Puckett is probably better at handling a chainsaw.

Anyway, I have Puckett behind Murphy (6th on my last ballot), he's closer to Cedeno who I had 17th.
   21. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 18, 2007 at 05:26 PM (#2408112)
I know a Yankees fan who makes this comparison when arguing that Mattingly should make the HOF. I try to tell him that while their hitting stats might be equal there's a difference between CF and 1B. He doesn't want to listen.


I knew someone almost 20 years ago who would always state that Mattingly was the best player in MLB because 1B was the toughest position. Not Deadball Era 1B baseball, but 1989 1B baseball.

After that, there was no reason to debate who was the best any further. Nothing I or anyone would have said would have changed his mind one iota.
   22. Juan V Posted: June 18, 2007 at 05:29 PM (#2408115)
Yeah, I spend my time in Yankee boards, and the "if Puckett, then Mattingly" case is popular. At least, I have convinced some of them to change that argument to "if Puckett, then Bernie"
   23. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 18, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2408138)
Some knucklehead put this big long post about Puckett over on the Winfield thread. Geez, some people....



Eric Chalek (Dr. Chaleeko) Posted: June 18, 2007 at 01:42 PM (#2408121)

Similar to the Reputation Monitor, I have a Win Shares-based system that answers the Keltner questions. It has its blind spots, but I think it's pretty close on Puckett. Here's what it suggests, remember, it's Win Shares based, so everything is answered in those terms. If you use WARP, OPS+/ERA+, another metric, or some other way of constructing a ballot, your results may vary considerably.

1. Could Puckett have ever been considered the best player in his league (for a period of three or more years).

My system suggests that Puckett was very close to the AL's best player for the period 1987-1989 (within 5% of the league's best as my system reckons it). However, there is no such period where he is the best and no other period where he is that close again. (Disclaimer: It's possible that over a longer horizon he could have been the best, but I have limited myself to three-year windows---that's an improvement that would be good for my system some day.)

2. Could Puckett have ever been considered the best player in his league at his position (for a period of three or more years)?

My system suggests that Puckett was the best CF in the AL from 1986-1988 and again from 1989-1991. In addition, he is the runner-up in 1985-1987 (to Rickey), 1987-1989 (to Yount), 1988-1990 (to Yount), and 1990-1992 (to Griffey Jr.).

In addition, in 1992-1994, my system sees him as the best RF in the AL (I allow for CFs to count their time in CF toward RF but not vise versa).

This is a clear strength for Puckett, and a longer horizon would probably show him a little better, though, again, I haven't researched it that way.

3. How often did he have All-Star type seasons?

All the time. Virtually every year he was a regular he was among the top 3-4 finishers at his position. Big props here.

4. How many MVP type seasons did he have?

Several. Puckett was never the Win Shares MVP, but he finished among the top 8 finishers (equivalent to top 5 in an 8-team league) six times:
1986: 7th
1987: 4th
1988: 2nd
1989: 7th
1992: 3rd
1994: 5th

This record is very good. Not great in a Mickey Mantle kind of way, but outstanding nonetheless.

5. Is his career Win Shares total (adjusted) for schedule) comparable to other players at his position in the HOM?

Puckett's 293 career Win Shares put him behind the following HOMers(whom I adjust for schedule and occasionally for QoP (for WW2 and for the early and late AA), and there's some credit for WW2 or MiL play at times, but this accounting doesn't include NgL credit at this juncture.
Cobb 767
Mays 684
Speaker 671
Mantle 586
Dimaggio 503
Hines 491
Hamiton 388
Carey 373
Gore 369
Snider 368
Ashburn 342
Roush 332
Wynn 305
Averill 294
(Puckett 293)
Doby 282

With NgL credit, Charleston, Stearnes, Doby, Oms, Hill, Torriente, and Brown jump ahead too.

Puckett doesn't fair too well in this accouting, particularly when there are several careers ahead of his that are not yet enshrined:
Ryan 353
GVH 338
Pinson 325
W Davis 323
F Jones 320
Oliver 311
Butler 308
Cedeno 300
Murphy 299
C Davis 294
[Puckett 293]
Otis 292
Hoy 285
Browning 284
Thmas 284
Milan 284
Griffin 283
Lynn 282

As always, your adjustments probably vary.

6. Does Puckett meet the HOM's standards?

He just misses. Measured against 3, 5, 10, 15, and career intervals, he falls a wee bit short. He's OK on the 3 and 5, at level average on the 10, then falls away somewhat on the longer measures (as we know he would).

7. Was he able to play past his prime?

Not exactly. This question is a bit fuzzy for a guy like Puckett since his career was shortened by injury/disease. But I also don't give Addie Joss death credit, so in reality Puckett was unable to continue playing at a top level due to a serious injury, just like Don Mattingly. Puckett's was a quicker and more severe injury.

8. If Puckett was a team's best player, how likely would that team be to win a pennant?

My system suggests that teams with players like Puckett as their Win Shares leaderswin about 15-20% of all pennants. This is better than Beckley, for instance, but about as good as Ashburn, Berger, F Jones, Wynn, Browning, Averill, Roush, Doby, or Hack Wilson. Dale Murphy's a smidge better, not much. The fact that his actual teams won two World Series is a seperate matter from what I'm actually trying to point out here.

So without doing any kind of contextualizing, rationalizing, or anything, the big picture ranking puts Puckett below the line. He's not far off though. Roush and Duffy are the line for me, with Ryan, Bell, Averill, Browning very close and Wynn, Carey coming in just below them. Then Puckett, Ashburn, Berger, Murphy with F Jones, and Wilson trailing.

Puckett's case seems to be built around the core theme of his being the best CF in the AL for a while. That's not an awful claim either! He has some other markers, so he's not a Concepcion-type of better-than-the-chaff candidate. But for me he ends up in a big, twisted knot of similarly medium-career prime-oriented CFs with the only distinguishing factor among them being when they played and exactly how much CF they played. Yet, he's far enough back (according to this system) that unless I'm really missing the boat on some things (and as you can see in the disclaimers on questions one and two that MAY be true), he's far enough back that I'm not overly concerned that I'm standing on the empty pier with my bags by my sides.

But that's just my system, it's not one else's, and I'd hate to call it definitive.
   24. Dizzypaco Posted: June 18, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2408140)
Its interesting to me to discuss Puckett, Winfield, and Mattingly in the same day, because they so clearly represent three types of careers to me. One way to think about top-level players is to use the following categories: Players who were terrific for two or three years, but were otherwise relatively ordinary; players who had five to seven great years (Mattingly, Dale Murphy, perhaps someone like George Foster), but were otherwise ordinary players; players who were in the 9 to 11 year range (Puckett, Sandberg, maybe Jim Palmer); and those that are in the 13 to 15 or more (Winfield, etc.) The latter category is clearly in, the first two are largely out, and the middle is somewhere in between, but I like the cases of the 9 to 11 year players.

I don't agree with the "If Puckett then Mattingly" arguments, because the period of time at which they played at a high level are quite different, six years as compared to 10. Bernie is a more interesting comparison.
   25. Mark Donelson Posted: June 18, 2007 at 07:39 PM (#2408221)
Oddly enough, the guy Puckett ends up looking a lot like in my system is GVH. That's before adjusting for the DH, but even after that, I've got Kirby clearly, if slightly, behind Dale Murphy and Berger and Ashburn, and well behind Wynn and Averill.

That puts me pretty much with Dr. Chaleeko (I always find him good company), perhaps even a bit less sanguine about Puckett. Unless someone removes large blinders from my eyes, he won't be close to my ballot, though he's probably within my top 50.

Are there a dozen clearly better careers in CF?

Well, I think so. Besides the completely unarguable five (Cobb/Mantle/Speaker/Mays/DiMaggio), six if you include Charleston, I'd add Gore, Torriente, Snider, Billy Hamilton, Doby, Roush, Averill, and Wynn. Plus half of Robin Yount. And probably Willard Brown.

The ones I think are also better, but perhaps aren't "clearly" better, would include Oms, Dale Murphy, Ashburn, Hugh Duffy, and maybe Berger. And half of Tommy Leach.

So yeah, I'd leave Puckett out. In fact, I mostly likely will. :)
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 18, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2408271)
That puts me pretty much with Dr. Chaleeko (I always find him good company)

Well, buddy, that's you and me who think I'm good company. Even Mrs. Dr. Chaleeko won't admit to it in public. ; )
   27. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: June 19, 2007 at 01:07 AM (#2408704)
Unless someone removes large blinders from my eyes...


No pun intended, of course.
   28. Mark Donelson Posted: June 19, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2408792)
No pun intended, of course.

Oops, yeah. Sorry about that...yeesh.
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: June 19, 2007 at 01:52 AM (#2408848)
>Puckett's case seems to be built around the core theme of his being the best CF in the AL for a while.

I dunno. I think his case is as follows.

>8. If Puckett was a team's best player, how likely would that team be to win a pennant?

Likely, schmikely. A team that sucked horribly before Kirby and sucked almost as horribly after Kirby won 2 of 'em and 2 world championships, too, and they did it with a bare minimum of a supporting cast. Without Kirby the Twins would still have sucked in '87 and '91.

That's the context. Then you can look at the actual numbers just to make sure you're not dreaming and, no, you're not. He was that good.

And since the numbers for defense don't mean much: For you younger folks, maybe you've seen Torii Hunter in CF. Kirby did everything Torii has ever done. IOW Torii catches the ball about as well as Kirby did. But Kirby had a hugely better arm.
   30. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 19, 2007 at 02:34 AM (#2408947)
Well, if you want to pick a fight.... ; )

Likely, schmikely. A team that sucked horribly before Kirby and sucked almost as horribly after Kirby won 2 of 'em and 2 world championships, too, and they did it with a bare minimum of a supporting cast. Without Kirby the Twins would still have sucked in '87 and '91.

I got to call you on this one. In 1987, his team was BARELY over .500 and won a flukey 2006 Cardsesque World Series---except that he's no Pujols. His contribution as the best guy on a flukey team doesn't ring all that true to my eyes, certainly less so than the good fortune to be in the worst division in the game and have a worse record than several of the AL East runner ups yet make it into October. He got the flag, great! but it wasn't like adding Babe Ruth to the team. Moreover the team's ascent was not just him, but also Hrbek, Gaetti, and Viola's emergence and growth into stars of varying brightness, plus the acquisitions of Blyleven, Reardon, and Berenguer in trades and FA deals that solidified weaknesses and gave them the one-two punch of doom in the rotation (perfect for a short series, not as helpful over a full year).

That's the context. Then you can look at the actual numbers just to make sure you're not dreaming and, no, you're not. He was that good.

What's "that good" mean? Good enough to be the best player on an 87 win team? That's not unimpressive, but it sure doesn't sound like a surefire reason to vote for the guy.

Anyway, the bigger picture is that in general a player like him leads teams, historically, to 20% of pennants. Ain't a put down, just what's happened for the last 100 years. That he ended up as part of two WS winners is certainly a feather in his cap, but there's plenty of players like him (Wynn and Murphy for instance) who had similar careers or seasons that didn't result in playoff appearances and who played for teams at various points in their careers with similar talent levels as the Twins of 1987 and 1991.

Besides, we all know it was Don Baylor who gave the '87 Twins their veteran presence and their swagger! : )
   31. Mark Donelson Posted: June 19, 2007 at 03:27 AM (#2409016)
Likewise, I think the '91 pennant had a lot more to do with great pitching from Morris/Tapani/Erickson/Aguilera (or a big year from Chili Davis, if you want to concentrate on offense) than with Puckett's 119 OPS+...

Don't get me wrong--Puckett was excellent that year and most years, but to say the Twins had nothing but him is kind of absurd.
   32. Chris Cobb Posted: June 21, 2007 at 05:02 AM (#2411702)
I’ve started work on Puckett. The sticky point for me is his career being ended by injury, so that he lacks a true decline phase. Since my system takes some account of career value, Puckett suffers a bit for not have a few seasons of, say, 10, 7, and 4 win shares at the end of his career as most players do while they are in decline. Players who sustain the capacity to play in the majors during a long decline should get credit for it, but should Puckett be docked because he doesn’t have one at all? That’s a question I wrestle with in deciding how strictly to follow my system. So in Puckett’s case, I’ve started looking at him in comparison to his close comps purely in terms of a twelve-year consecutive prime, which is the entirely of Puckett’s career. This makes for a surprisingly good platform for comparison, since Dale Murphy, Bobby Bonds, and Jimmy Wynn all have exactly twelve consecutive seasons as ok-to-great players and very little value outside those twelve years. Here’s how they compare by a variety of WARP measures: seasonal EQA2 (I use this mostly to level out the DH factor), strike-adjusted games played over the twelve seasons, BP adjusted-games played totals for centerfield and for corner outfield positions, FRAA and FRAR (WARP1).

Player  Wynn   Bonds  Murphy Puckett
Years   65
-76  68-79  80-91  84-95
EQA2s   .344   .316   .328   .319 
        .327   .310   .323   .317
        .321   .309   .319   .307
        .319   .307   .312   .307
        .317   .305   .309   .307
        .316   .303   .295   .304
        .309   .300   .284   .304
        .309   .296   .271   .295
        .284   .291   .270   .295
        .281   .289   .268   .292
        .275   .289   .266   .260
        .236   .287   .253   .244
------------------------------------
AdjG  1723   1724   1896   1846
------------------------------------
G CF    1068    205.1 1010.9 1381.2
------------------------------------
G R/LF   557.8 1380   775.1   267.4
------------------------------------
FRAA      14     47    16      48
FRAR     251    233   286     288 


Looked at this way, Wynn’s offensive advantage is quite evident, and it goes some way to explain why Wynn is in and Bonds and Murphy are not close to election at present. These data do not suggest to me that Puckett is superior to Wynn: the offensive gap between them is large and in Wynn’s favor, the defensive gap in Puckett’s favor is smaller. Puckett was more durable by about 10 games a year, but Wynn was quite durable in most seasons, too.

Puckett does compare very well by these measures to Murphy and Bonds the elder. For career, Kirby and Bonds senior are damn near equal offensively: Puckett’s peak is slightly higher, but Bonds never had a bad year, and Kirby had a couple. Puckett is ahead on durability and defense, though I think Bonds could have been more valuable defensively if he had played the first half of his career for a team that didn’t have Willie Mays and Garry Maddox lined up to play centerfield. Moving farther into contextual elements, Bonds showed he could shine _anywhere_, while Puckett has the baggydome question mark. On the other hand, Puckett has the team leader intangibles that Bonds manifestly lacks. Overall, on the basis of this data I’d take Puckett over Bonds for defense – I think if Bonds had played more center, he’d have a defensive profile about like Wynn’s and Murphy’s, which are a notch below Puckett’s.

Puckett’s edge over Murphy is clearer, though still not large. Murphy leads on offensive peak, but the back half of Puckett’s prime is so much stronger than Murphy’s that it more than compensates, I think, for Murphy’s top years outpacing Puckett’s. Murphy also has a small durability edge, which is impressive given that Puckett was highly durable himself: Murphy averaged 158 games a year for 12 years, Puckett 154, and most of the lag comes from Puckett's rookie season, in which he played only 128 games. Puckett has the defensive edge, though, with his superior play making up for Murphy’s extra time on the field, and I would expect the same effect on offense.

Wynn was between Leach and Maranville on my ballot when he was elected. They now rank at 7 and 9, respectively, so 8 to 10 would be the absolute highest that Puckett could rank by this comparative analysis. Bonds is looking to be 14th this year, so by this analysis Puckett would land very slightly above him, probably closer to 14 than to 8.
   33. OCF Posted: June 21, 2007 at 03:49 PM (#2411986)
And here's a chart for a few CF, truncated to the best 12 years (not necessarily consecutive) for each:

Puckett     48 46 39 34 33 33 28 27 15  9 -5-13
Wynn        76 58 57 56 52 48 39 34 19 15  7  6
Murphy      58 55 55 52 48 37 20 10  8  5  3  1
Cedeno      61 55 49 36 35 30 28 14 13 12  9  8
Murcer      82 68 33 32 28 26 20 15 15 12  8  6
Berger      71 55 38 37 34 31 29 24 23  8  2
Van Haltren 48 45 40 38 37 35 34 24 24 22 22 16 


Wynn does stand out from that crowd, and I think we chose correctly when we elected him. But Puckett does not stand out. He has better in-season durability than most, but that also means he made a lot of outs. Let's ask the question this way: what, exactly, is Puckett's advantage over Cesar Cedeno (besides their not-always-correct behavior towards women and that they were probably both older than they claimed to be)?
   34. JPWF13 Posted: June 21, 2007 at 10:40 PM (#2412522)
and that they were probably both older than they claimed to be)?


I always thought that Cedeno's career arc was consistent with him being older than advertised- then I looked closely-

his speed #s, SB/Cs etc seem to indicate that he was as old as he was supposed to be- he went into apparent premature decline because his ability to drive the ball/hit for power is what cratered in his mid 20s
   35. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 01, 2007 at 06:03 AM (#2425017)
The funny thing about OCF's comment about Puckett being older than he claimed (which I don't recall ever hearing before) is that I was just going to ask if there was any argument that Kirby was held back at all. Not getting up to the majors until 24 is not unprecedented, but for someone of this era who's a serious candidate (and not a relief pitcher), it sticks out, especially because he was a good player right off the bat. Here's all the people in my consideration set who didn't play in MLB until 24 or older (obviously leaving out Negro Leaguers):

24 - Bancroft, Berger, Henke, F. Jones, Leonard, Pratt, Puckett, Veach
25 - Avila, C. Jones, S. Rice
26 - E. Howard, Johnson, Quisenberry
27 - Cravath

I don't want to oversell this, because some guys were just getting cameo appearences until they were 24 or 25 (Cey, Concepcion and Guerrero are 3 I noticed), and it could be nothing more than Cheapo Cal Griffith not wanting to call him up until Kirby was ready to go. But it did stick out to my eyes.
   36. Paul Wendt Posted: July 01, 2007 at 02:38 PM (#2425108)
How commonly have future professional stars played four years in college?
From U Texas in 1984 Clemens debuted in May at age 21.9 (what, the day after college world series?), Schiraldi in September at age 22.2. From Arizona State U a generation earlier, Rick Monday debuted September 1966 at age 20.9, Reggie in June 1967 at age 21.1.

Limiting myself to surnames A-B in the Arizona State list provided by baseball-reference (SABR Collegiate Cmte data),
4years
Gary Allenson, Chris Bando
3years
Jamie Allen, Eddie Bane, Alan Bannister, Floyd Bannister, Willie Bloomquist, Barry Bonds, Ryan Bradley
2years
Sal Bando, Chris Beasley, Mike Benjamin, Hubie Brooks
1year
Doug Baker, Marty Barrett, Randy Bobb

Hmm,
1964-65 Bando
1965 Monday
1966 Jackson
not much teammate action there

Of course this isn't the way to answer the general question.
   37. DL from MN Posted: July 02, 2007 at 02:42 PM (#2426305)
2 years in the minors after attending a small college isn't exactly being "held back". He skipped low A and AA entirely going from short season ball to A+ to AAA. Kirby certainly had the talent all along but he needed some coaching to refine his game. Add to that everyone thought he was 23 when he came up until the HoF revealed otherwise. I'd say he actually rocketed through the Twins system.
   38. Paul Wendt Posted: July 02, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2426415)
(See yest and JTM in 2001 Ballot.)

Puckett was never a household name, merely a baseball star admired-to-revered by lots of people who followed by baseball even a little. OJ was one of the people Americans would have mentioned for World's Greatest Athlete, like Muhammed Ali. Wilt Chamberlain, Joe Namath, and Pete Rose also achieved the household name part. OJ may have been part of the Olympic broadcast team, as a track expert, while he was active in football.

Handsome and glib, he was also wholesome like The Carpenters. Ali was handsome and glib; none of the four named was wholesome like the Carpenters. (Maybe Sugar Ray Leonard a decade later? And some of the women who won gold medals in figure skating.)

In the TV advertisement he runs through the airport in a suit, hurdling obstacles like baggage carts, and the little old lady cries "Go, OJ, Go!". OJ was the black celebrity hero for "everyone", even white LOLs. I didn't see the Towering Inferno but I saw TV advertisements for it, advertisements based on OJ's mass appeal.

Maybe Kirby Puckett was all that, but it was only in Minnesota.
   39. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 06:00 PM (#2426423)
Don't get me wrong--Puckett was excellent that year and most years, but to say the Twins had nothing but him is kind of absurd.

That's not what the Keltner test question asks, though--not whether he was the team's ONLY good player, but whether, if he was the best player on the team, that team could win a pennant. (I'm not sure there's ever been a pennant winning team that only had one good player.)

I'm not sold on Puckett's HOF or HOM candidacy, but I think the answer to that particular question is "yes"(almost by definition, as he was clearly the best player on the '87 Twins [weak pennant winner though they were], and arguably the best on the '91 team [it's not clear-cut, but I'd say his defensive value offsets Davis's advantage in OPS+; Shane Mack has an argument too, as well as one of the pitchers]).
   40. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2426429)
To continue the thought, doesn't the question ask whether in a TYPICAL year, a team could win the pennant with Player X as its best player? In addition to '87 and '91, I think it's clear that a team with Puckett as its best player in '86, '88,' 89 and '92 COULD have won a pennant, though the Twins didn't. (IOW, he was "pennant-winning team's best player" quality player in those years, even though his team doesn't win--which is an argument that the answer to that Keltner question is "yes.")
   41. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 06:09 PM (#2426432)
And I apologize for the grammatical disaster that is the parenthetical portion of post 40. (What happened to the "edit post" feature, anyway?)
   42. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 02, 2007 at 06:33 PM (#2426451)
r-sh: are you assuming that '87 is a typical year? Or representative of one?
   43. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2426491)
r-sh: are you assuming that '87 is a typical year? Or representative of one?

I'm not "assuming" anything. Seems to me the factual record's pretty clear that Puckett performed at a similar (high) level in '86 (140 OPS+), '87 (132), '88 (152), '89 (131)and '92 (138) ('91 was not one of his better seasons, but he was still arguably the best player on the team). So, yeah--Puckett's offense in '87 was actually not a particularly good season by the standards of his '86-'92 peak, so I'm comfortable saying that was, at worst, a "typical" year for him during that period.

I think it's clear that Puckett had a sustained peak during which time, in a typical year, he was good enough to be the best player on a pennant-winning team, regardless of whether his team actually won the pennant in a given year.
   44. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 07:33 PM (#2426494)
And if you're saying '87 was "atypical" because the Twins won the pennant after only 85 regular-season wins, I'd respond that if Puckett were on the '87 Tigers, who won 98 games, he would've probably been the second best player on the team (after Trammell).
   45. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 07:34 PM (#2426495)
And he might've been better than any player on the '87 Blue Jays, who probably *should've* won the division that year.
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: July 02, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2426504)
I believe Eric understands Keltner correctly. The reference point is intended to be a "typical" pennant race, not merely a typical season for the player. Investigating how often teams with best players of such quality have won pennants, or championships, or have qualified for the playoffs is just right.

Is it a shock that a team of 1987 Minnesota Twins quality would win a pennant? Yes. They were outscored by 20 runs. They were only fifth in the league by wins and it was a bad fifth: four behind number four New York, despite enjoying the soft schedule provided by Western Division membership. And they didn't win only 85 because they were coasting, for Kansas City won 83. That was a historically bad pennant winner, or champion.
   47. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 02, 2007 at 08:03 PM (#2426514)
I'm saying that using the 1987 Twins as an example of anything typical regarding pennant winners is squishy. Just as using the 2006 Cards as an example of anything typical would be. By definition, extreme teams (like the 1906 Cubs or 2001 Ms or 1998 Yanks or these Twins and Cards) aren't particularly helpful in identifying what the tendencies of all other pennant-winning teams might be.

The key, to my mind, isn't Puckett's team's performance (that is, won the ring or not). That result stands on its own; it's something that happened. But in comparing hundreds of players, the more valuable question is this:

What percentage of pennant winners were led by a guy with a typical Puckett season? Or to put it another way, what percentage of pennant winners would Kirby Puckett be the best position player on?

The answer is something like 20% depending on how you define a typical Puckett year (I just take his fifth-best season for convenience). I also separate pitchers and position players.

20% is a great number, not many guys can claim that. The best seasons of most of the players in the Encyclopedia would lead 0% of pennant winners or a very small percentage.

There are other ways you could look at this question that might be equally instructive. I have a sliding scale bsaed on a single assessment. You could instead assess every season for its pennant-winningness and add it all up. Or you could use a different sample to figure a guy's "typical" season. But the key idea to me is that you take the guy out of the Ring-Count Context and put him into a context where all players can be assessed equally with no regard for how well constructed their real-life teams were, how lucky the teams might have been pythagwise, how weak their division was, etc....
   48. Mark Donelson Posted: July 02, 2007 at 08:09 PM (#2426517)
That's not what the Keltner test question asks, though

I wasn't responding to the Keltner test with the statement you quoted, though--I was responding to Sunnyday's post 29:

Without Kirby the Twins would still have sucked in '87 and '91.
   49. Spahn Insane Posted: July 02, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2426526)
Well, the '87 Twins probably *would've* sucked without Puckett--as has been pointed out several times, they weren't that good even with him (not so with the '91 team, of course). I concur that the '87 AL West was not a "typical" pennant race; however, I think there's ample evidence that Puckett was good enough at his peak to be the best player on a more "typical" pennnant-winning (say, 90-95 game winning) team, which is the point of the Keltner question on that issue.
   50. DavidFoss Posted: July 02, 2007 at 09:00 PM (#2426545)
despite enjoying the soft schedule provided by Western Division membership

Just to clarify. In the "balanced schedule" years in the AL (1977-93), teams played teams in the *other* division more times (84) than they played teams within their own division (78).
   51. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 02, 2007 at 10:36 PM (#2426617)
I think there's ample evidence that Puckett was good enough at his peak to be the best player on a more "typical" pennnant-winning (say, 90-95 game winning) team, which is the point of the Keltner question on that issue.

Might be true. I don't measure it that way.
-Puckett's fifth best season (adjusted for strikes and stuff) was 27 Win Shares (which is my measuring stick
-Of the 302 pennant-winning teams I looked at (every pennant winner since 1903 plus division winners), a player with 27 Win Shares would have led 20.9% of them.

But let's say that you took Puckett's very best season? That's 32 WS in 1988. How many pennant-winners would that lead? 50%. So it's fair to say that AT HIS BEST Puckett would be the kind of player who led 50% of pennant winners.

But the trouble with that is, Al Rosen has two seasons better than that. In fact his 44 adj WS in 1953 would have led 95.4% of pennant winners. But is that a fair representation of Al Rosen? I don't think so, because much of his story is about being unable to maintain that amazing pace. Rosen's 5th-best season is 26 WS, one fewer than Puckett. He would have led 15.9% of all pennant-winning teams. That's a fairer way to look at Rosen, I think.

For that matter, taking the best seasons of borderline HOMers Jimmy Wynn (36 WS, which would lead 73.2% of teams) or Harry Heilmann (37 WS, 79.1%) show the same thing. Wynn's fifth-best year was 28 WS (26.2%) and Heilmann's 29 (33.4%). Actually an interesting outcome of this is that each additional WS of value on the leader's total appears to adds about 5% more pennant winners. Like this:

WS # tms &#xpe;nwins
------------------
35   16   65.9%
34   17   60.6%
33   15   55.0%
32   25   50.0%
31   12   41.7%
30   13   37.7%
29   22   33.4%
28   16   26.2%
27   15   20.9%
26   19   15.9


There's a sweet spot between 32 and 31 WS, though it's probably just small sample stuff. But once you get to 36-37 WS, the jumps get a little bigger before topping out near 40 WS

WS # tms &#xpe;nwins
------------------
41    9    92.4%
40    5    89.4%
39    8    87.7%
38   18    85.1%
37   18    79.1%
36   22    73.2%
35   16    65.9


Anyway, very small numbers of teams, of course, but if you bin them, it's a little more helpful.

So if you look at the matter as an historical question and you ask "what happened" to a bunch of teams, not just the WS winning teams, I just don't see any reason to believe that Puckett has much more value in this regard than I'm giving him. He could have more, sure, because it's not hard to imagine a more robust measurement than I have come up with (for instance, sampling at other times in a career, or sampling every year in a career), but this is essentially a shorthand that gets you pretty far along to the answer. But I don't see MUCH more value on this question for Puckett.
   52. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: July 03, 2007 at 01:48 PM (#2427583)
Just to clarify something, I hadn't looked up Puckett's minor league record or draft history when I posted #35 - all I was going on was his debut age. I probably should have looked it up before spouting off, but what fun is that?

And what's the highest adjusted WS on a non-pennant winning team? Wagner's 1908 or Ruth's 1920 or one of Bonds' years?
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 03, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2427702)
Wagner.
   54. Mark Donelson Posted: July 06, 2007 at 04:11 PM (#2431020)
Well, the '87 Twins probably *would've* sucked without Puckett--as has been pointed out several times, they weren't that good even with him (not so with the '91 team, of course).

Agreed, but that's not really the point I took Sunny to be making, which was:

'87 Twins/'91 Twins with Kirby: WS champs!
'87 Twins/'91 Twins w/o Kirby: Teh Suck!

In other words, if you grant that the '87 Twins were actually borderline-mediocre even with Puckett, you then can't turn around and say Kirby was a magic player who catapulted a horrible team into greatness all by his lonesome. He wasn't, and he didn't.

Though it does make one wonder: If the Yankees had won two WS between 1984 and 1994, and he had hit a big home run in one of them, would Mattingly be in the HOF now?
   55. jimd Posted: July 09, 2007 at 11:00 PM (#2435089)
Just to clarify. In the "balanced schedule" years in the AL (1977-93),

To further clarify. The "balanced schedule" years actually began in 1979. Each team would play all other teams 12 games (12x13 = 156), and then one additional game with each division opponent was added to get to 162 games.

In 1977 and 1978 the AL had an "imbalanced schedule" somewhat like the previous one. The old AL schedule of 1969-1976 was the same as the NL schedule, 18 games with each division opponent, and 12 with each opponent in the other division (18x5 + 12x6 = 162). The 1977-78 schedule was 15 and 10, instead of 18 and 12 (15x6 + 10x7 = 160); the extra two games were also played outside the division, so it had the same "imbalance" as before (90 games inside the division, 72 outside).
   56. DavidFoss Posted: July 09, 2007 at 11:28 PM (#2435109)
Thanks for the reclarification. I had assumed the shift came with expansion, but I guess they tried something else in 1977-78.

The original point still stands, though. It wasn't easier to rack up win totals in the ALWest in the mid-1980s. The 84 Royals and 87 Twins didn't have an easier schedule than the Tigers did.
   57. Paul Wendt Posted: July 10, 2007 at 03:52 AM (#2435371)
They tried to keep the ratio (18:12 = 15:10) about the same, but it didn't fit with the traditions of equal home and home series, typically-3-game series, and repeat visits. 13:12 was practically a return to those traditions: two series at each home park, commonly 4-3-3-3 or 3-3-3-3 numbers of games.

I overlooked that return to a balanced schedule in #46.
They were only fifth in the league by wins and it was a bad fifth: four behind number four New York, despite enjoying the soft schedule provided by Western Division membership. And they didn't win only 85 because they were coasting, for Kansas City won 83.

Playing 13 games each with generally weak Western teams and 12 each with generally strong Eastern teams doesn't add up to significantly soft.
   58. jimd Posted: July 10, 2007 at 09:29 PM (#2436067)
it didn't fit with the traditions of equal home and home series, typically-3-game series,

The schedules those two years were ugly. Lots of little 2-game series against the teams outside the division.
   59. Paul Wendt Posted: July 12, 2007 at 03:53 AM (#2438005)
> it didn't fit with the traditions of equal home and home series, typically-3-game series,

The schedules those two years were ugly. Lots of little 2-game series against the teams outside the division.


Able to retain only one or two priorities, they didn't choose the right one(s) -- 3 and 4-game series, two per week, the second ending on Sunday. They might have retained all that simply by playing an odd number of series between teams --5 series within division rivals and 3 series with other-division teams. That's 51 series, precisely right to complete the season in 6 months, 26 weeks, 51 series with an All-Star break. That is 153 games if every series is 3 games, easy to fill out to 162 with 9. If two teams will play 10 games, make it 3-3 in one park and 4 in the other; vice versa next year. If 16 games, 3-3-3 and 4-3.
   60. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:45 AM (#2462608)
Cross-posting from the Brett Butler thread:

The support for Puckett is baffling to me--despite getting a bonus for playing in low-stdev leagues, I see him with two excellent years (high All-Star/weak MVP candidate) in '88 and '92, two more All-Star type seasons in '86 and '89, and then little more than filler. He was a great CF his rookie year, and an above-average one as a sophomore, but basically average after that (Chris Dial's Zone Rating numbers make Puckett look rather bad in the field; FRAA and FWS are slightly positive). He didn't do anything particularly remarkable on the basepaths. His hitting was far from spectacular for an outfielder. His career was short. What is there to like about this guy?

For that matter, what makes Pucket so much better than Andy Van Slyke? He has about 130 games and 5 points of OPS+ on Van Slyke, but Van Slyke is OBP-heavier, hit into literally half as many double plays, and was an excellent basestealer, while Puckett's SB/CS actually hurt the Twins. For defensive reputation, Puckett had six Gold Gloves, Van Slyke 5; BP FRAA says both were 50-60 runs above average for their careers. Both had their biggest years in 1988 and 1992, and they were of similar value. Puckett and Van Slyke seem absolutely indistinguishable to me. Can someone enlighten me?

Of modern outfielders, Reggie Smith (200 more games than Puckett, 13 more OPS+ points than Puckett) seems *vastly* superior. So do guys I don't support like Bobby Bonds (70 more games and 6 more OPS+ points than Puckett, with much better baserunning and fewer DP's), Fred Lynn (200 more games and 6 more OPS+ points, although he didn't play CF), and Chet Lemon (200 more games than Puckett, 3 fewer OPS+ points but WAY better defense, full career in CF).
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: July 31, 2007 at 12:34 PM (#2462694)
Well, I have Puckett in the 5-8 range, and only because I note that I think his D was good for a number of years.
If I look again and agree that he really only added a lot with his D in two seasons, that will cost him some ballot spots. He's veryclose to a bunch of people.
   62. DL from MN Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2462744)
I agree with Dan R, though I will say Puckett beats Hugh Duffy who is also in the top 10. I think Dawson is a LOT too high also. Too many marginal OF high in the backlog, not enough marginal infielders (esp 3B).
   63. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:25 PM (#2462774)
Howie--Andy Van Slyke's D was also good for a number of years. How are you distinguishing between the two?
   64. DavidFoss Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:21 PM (#2462841)
Andy Van Slyke's D was also good for a number of years. How are you distinguishing between the two?

I'm not sure I follow all the math here. "130 games" doesn't tell the whole story here. I think Van Slyke was as a sub for part of his career. Maybe not a large part, but enough to make a game count comparsion unfair. Puckett has 2700 extra innings in CF and only 200 fewer innings at the corners. That's 275 extra defensive games. Puckett also has 1350 extra plate appearances. That's two seasons, not one.
   65. OCF Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2462852)
Van Slyke was mostly platooned in St. Louis, and he played RF there (McGee in CF). Only for the Pirates did he start playing every day and move to CF.
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2462894)
And he was still awful against lefties in PIT.
   67. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:33 PM (#2462927)
OK, then I'll spell it out. 1994 and 1995 are straight-line adjusted. The two players' carer shape is virtually identical, so comparing career totals should suffice as a proxy for peak and prime as well. I'm happy to show the derivation of the above average numbers if you like, but they don't vary much from what BP BRAA1 and FRAA1 would tell you after adjusting for the DH, so I doubt that will be necessary.

Puckett: 30.8 batting wins above average (after adjusting for the DH), -0.9 double play wins above average, 1.7 baserunning wins above average (EqBR loves him), 1.7 fielding wins above average, total 33.3 wins above average.

Van Slyke: 22.6 batting wins above average, 2.0 double play wins above average, 4.6 baserunning wins above average, 2.1 fielding wins above average, total 31.3 wins above average.

Advantage on total wins above average: Puckett by 2.0.

Puckett had 1381 adjusted games in CF, 268 adjusted games at the corners, and 65 adjusted games at DH. In 1994, Puckett played 92 adjusted games at RF and 10 at DH, which need to be adjusted for season length to 131 and 14, and in 1995 he played 101 adjusted games at RF and 23 at DH, which need to be adjusted to 114 and 26. Adding the differences to his ledger, Puckett has 1381 adjusted games in CF, 268+131+114-92-101 = 320 adjusted games at the corners, and 65+14+26-10-23 = 72 adjusted games at DH.

Van Slyke had 1060 adjusted games in CF, 291 adjusted games at the corners, 50 adjusted games at third base, 55 adjusted games at first base, and 37 adjusted games as a pinch-hitter. In 1994, Van Slyke played adjusted 99 games at CF and 6 at PH, which need to be adjusted for season length to 141 and 9, and in 1995 he played 72 adjusted games at CF, 1 at the corners, and 7 at PH, which need to be adjusted to 81, 1, and 8. Adding the differences to his ledger, Van Slyke has 1060+141+81-99-72 = 1111 adjusted games in CF, 291 adjusted games at the corners, 50 adjusted games at third base, 55 adjusted games at first base, and 37+9+8-6-7 = 41 adjusted games at PH. CF and 3B tend to run about equal in replacement level, so let's credit those 3B games as CF games, giving Van Slyke 1166 adjusted games in CF, 291 at the corners, 55 at first, and 41 as a PH.

Thus, 1166 adjusted games at CF, 291 at the corners, and 41 as DH/PH, cancel out, leaving Puckett with an advantage of 1381-1166 = 215 adjusted games in CF, 320-291 = 29 adjusted games at the corners, and 72-41 = 31 adjusted games at DH/PH, while Van Slyke has an advantage of 55 adjusted games at first base. My replacement level study shows CF rep level around 1.3 wins below average per 162 games in the late 1980s/early 90s, corner OF around 0.8, first base around 0.3, and DH at 0. So, add 215*1.3/162 = 1.7 wins to Puckett for the difference between what a CF hitting and fielding at the league average and a replacement CF would have done in those 215 games, 29*.8/162 = 0.1 wins to Puckett for the difference between what a corner OF hitting and fielding at the league average and a replacement corner OF would have done in those 29 games, and 55*.3/162 = 0.1 wins to Van Slyke for the difference between what a 1B hitting and fielding at the league average and a replacement 1B would have done in those 55 games. Advantage: 1.7 wins to Puckett.

So, in total, I concede the point: Kirby Puckett was 3.7 wins better over his career than Andy Van Slyke, with the exact same career shape. Now comes the question: Is Andy Van Slyke plus 3.7 wins anyone's definition of a serious HoM candidate?
   68. DavidFoss Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2462958)
with the exact same career shape

You are comparing to average everywhere and Puckett's career is 15-20% longer (condensed into one fewer calendar season -- part time play/in-season durability matters for some).

Now comes the question: Is Andy Van Slyke plus 3.7 wins anyone's definition of a serious HoM candidate?

But you've dropped 15-20% of career length before making the comparison. I'm not saying Puckett isn't a borderline candidate -- he is. Career length is a big issue with Puckett. But, if you drop the career length of *any* borderline candidate by 15-20% then they will fall off the radar.
   69. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:51 PM (#2463027)
DavidFoss, I most certainly am *not* comparing to average everywhere! I'm only comparing to average in the first batch of numbers, where I find that Puckett had 2.0 more wins above average over his career than Van Slyke.

Then in the second batch of numbers, I credit Puckett for the fact that he played more games than Van Slyke did, precisely as you say I should. Since all value *above* average is accounted for, I simply have to add on the value *below* average but above replacement level that both players provided to their teams. This value is equal for the 1,166 adjusted games in CF, 291 adjusted games at corner OF, and 41 adjusted games at DH/PH that they both played, so that cancels out. For the 215 games in CF that Puckett played and Van Slyke did not, an average player would have been 1.7 wins better than a replacement CF; for the 29 games at the corners that Puckett played and Van Slyke did not, an average player would have been 0.1 wins better than a replacement corner OF; and for the 55 games at 1B that Van Slyke played and Puckett did not, an average player would have been 0.1 wins better than a replacement 1B.

Thus, Puckett is 2.0 wins better above average, and a further 1.7 wins better as a result of spreading out that value above average over more games, for a total of 3.7 wins better. Why do you think I am only comparing to average?
   70. DavidFoss Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2463123)
Advantage on total wins above average: Puckett by 2.0.

DanR, I saw the line above. I didn't read the fielding details carefully enough. Sorry about the confusion.

My point about career lengths still stands, though. Taking 15-20% of career length from a short-career borderline guy will result in a strawman-comp. Try it with any other short-career backloggers. Try it with short-career HOM-ers. Heck, try it with Steib.

The borderline is a crowded place. Finding superior eligibles is a better argument than inferior ones. Stick with the Reggie Smith angle. :-)
   71. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2463147)
OK, but no one is taking any percentage of career length away from anyone here. That said...

Vote for Reggie Smith!
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: August 01, 2007 at 10:25 PM (#2466045)
Have to take a shot at my old buddy, Doc.

Doc, you wanna talk squishy? Look up squishy on Wikipedia and they mention the Keltner Test.

I mean, if Kirby Puckett were the best player on his team, could they win? They did win.

Did anybody ask that question about Willie Randolph? Take Don Mattingly off that team and, well, aside from the fact that Ramdolph is still not the best player on the team, I mean, you're talking last place, man!
   73. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: August 01, 2007 at 10:43 PM (#2466074)
Fred Lynn (200 more games and 6 more OPS+ points, although he didn't play CF)

Um ...
   74. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:09 PM (#2466103)
Doc, you wanna talk squishy? Look up squishy on Wikipedia and they mention the Keltner Test.

Back at you: check out the discussion of Ellie Howard on the ballot discussion thread. ; )
   75. Mark Donelson Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:35 PM (#2466149)
I mean, if Kirby Puckett were the best player on his team, could they win? They did win.

But, again, he wasn't the best player on his team in '91 (close, but basically in a pack with half the team). As for '87, put the Twins in the AL East that year and they finish fifth and win nothing. So I remain unimpressed by the "but he won two World Championships with nothing but his bat, his glove, two sticks of chewing gum, and a roll of dental floss" argument.

I suppose if you reduce the question to "If he were the best player on his team, could they sneak into the playoffs in a weak division, then go on a homefield-enhanced two-series tear?" you have something, though. ;)
   76. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 01, 2007 at 11:49 PM (#2466186)
Oh right. He did play CF, between Rice and Evans. Well, there you go. D'oh.
   77. sunnyday2 Posted: August 02, 2007 at 12:20 AM (#2466290)
Mark, well, that was my point. The Keltner Test is a really squishy way to think about meritoriousnessossity. "They did win" answers the Keltner Test question so it that was really the key question, you'd be done. I was being satirical ;-) But seriously, if you're gonna ask that question about Kirby and find him wanting, then how do you justify Willie Randolph? Again, making the same point, though I of course do not support Willie Randolph. I just couldn't let that stand as if it were the final word on Kirby.
   78. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 02, 2007 at 12:51 AM (#2466440)
Sunny,

Again, I don't answer Keltner that way. If I did, then Ernie Banks would get a zero for it. So would your buddy Mr. Mattingly. And Luke Appling.
   79. DanG Posted: August 02, 2007 at 01:23 PM (#2467264)
if Kirby Puckett were the best player on his team, could they win?

In practice, if you adopt a precise definition of this it becomes unsquishy, even useful. I'm thinking of restating the question something like this:

Did [player name], in his best [number of years] seasons average more than [the median leader from all division winners since 1969][your favorite metric]?

For a concrete example of this, you could ask:

Did [Kirby Puckett], in his best [five] seasons average more than [28? - I dont know][win shares]?
or
Did [Kirby Puckett], in his best [five] seasons average more than [9.0? - I dont know][WARP3]?

The [number of years] and [your favorite metric] are a matter of preference and are main reasons why we rate players so differently.

Another difference is that many people give a bonus for doing it in consecutive seasons, but that's totally wrong, IMO. Value is value.
   80. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 02, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2467970)
That's essentially my way of doing it, DanG. I just have a range of values rather than a single threashold.
   81. sunnyday2 Posted: August 02, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2468195)
Well, again, my point was to ask: How does Willie Randolph do on this? It seems like Kirby Puckett is the only player anybody has looked at on this question.
   82. DavidFoss Posted: August 02, 2007 at 09:22 PM (#2468342)
Well, again, my point was to ask: How does Willie Randolph do on this? It seems like Kirby Puckett is the only player anybody has looked at on this question.

Kelly was routinely doing Keltner tests for a number of borderline candidates for a while. I don't think he did Randolph, though.

Plus, if I recall, Kirby does well on this portion of the Keltner test. His teams' success and his status as the best CF-er in baseball for a while were points in his favor. The knock on Kirby is career length and whether is peak was high enough to support it.

Randolph is a long-career, high-OBP middle infielder with some in-season durability issues while Puckett is a shorter-career, high-AVG CF with pop with solid in-season durability. I understand that Randolph was borderline-in recently while Puckett was passed over, but its hard to make a direct comparison between the two.

Plus, Randolph has five ALEast flags, four AL pennants and two WS Rings. Randolph and Nettles were the only regulars on all five of those teams. The winning stopped when Mattingly showed up. ;-)

I'm not a big fan of these "intangibles" types of arguments, anyways, but I'm always a bit perplexed when people try to apply them to Mattingly. Sure its not his fault the team didn't keep enjoying its 1976-81 success, but people try to credit him as if they did.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: August 02, 2007 at 09:48 PM (#2468402)
Hmmm.. I think I ranted there a bit... you guys knew most of that stuff already. :-)
   84. Mark Donelson Posted: August 02, 2007 at 10:34 PM (#2468451)
Again, making the same point, though I of course do not support Willie Randolph.

Neither do I, so I feel wonderfully consistent! (For once.)
   85. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 03, 2007 at 02:13 AM (#2468647)
Sunny,

In my way of figuring, Willie does worse than Kirby. He does as well as Beckley, Whitaker, Fox, and Brett Butler. Kirby is a bit better. He does as well as Sisler, Roush, Averill, and Sandberg.

However, most CF candidates do as well or better than Puckett, while the bar is a set a bit lower at second. In my system Willie gets a "1" and Kirby gets a "3" in this category (out of ten). Here's HOM and borderline 2Bs and their scores.

2B
--
10: Collins, Hornsby, Barnes
9: N/A
8: Morgan
7: Lajoie
6: (Biggio)
5: N/A
4: Gehringer, (Alomar)
3: Carew, Grich, Sandberg, Jackie, H. Richardson
2: Frisch, Herman, Doyle, (Kent), Avila, Gordon
1: RANDOLPH, McPhee, Whitaker, Fox, Childs, Gilliam, Scales, Doerr, M. Williams, Frey, Knoblauch, Schoendienst, Stanky, Ritchey, Lazzeri, and many others.

CF
--
10: Mays, Mantle, Cobb
9: Speaker
8: Stearnes, Charleston
7: Hamilton, Hines
6: DiMaggio, Torriente, Gore
5: Hill
4: (Griffey), Oms, Snider, Duffy, Murphy, Poles, R. Thomas
3: PUCKETT, Doby, Roush, Averill, Browning, Wynn, Ashburn, F Jones, Berger, H Wilson, (Edmonds), GVH
2: Ryan, Bell, Carey, (Bernie), Cedeno, Otis, Spence, (A. Jones), D. DiMaggio, Beaumont
1: Butler, (Lofton), W. Davis, Hoy, Grissom, Lynn, C. Davis, Pinson, Paskert, (Beltran), L. Waner, (Lankford), Oliver, T. Brown, E. Davis, and many others,

Randolph has 19 guys ahead of him, including active players.

Puckett has 19 guys ahead of him, including active players. Coincidence, I swear.

But which demonstrates my point: Randolph and Puckett in my system end up grading out as very similar candidates relative to their positions. This is just one example, but the fact is that CF generally score better in my system than do 2Bs because they tend to have longer careers in general, and because they tend to hit more and I use WS, which some say rewards hitting too much relative to fielding.

Whether you feel that positional balance is a desireable goal, or that it's cool to have extra players at certain positions will color your view of this information. Randolph is the 23rd ranked 2B in my system, while Puckett is tied for 24th among CFs, though their absolute scores in my system are 21 for Randolph and 28 for Puck, and I do not offer positional bonus to MIs as some do, at least not a numeric one. I may by default since I tend to prefer some positional balance.

Anyway circling back to your main question. In absolutes, Puckett bests Randolph, but relative to position, they perform about the same. This would be true in my system if Puckett earned his WS in NY and Willie in Minnehaha. Or either of them for any other teams than their own.
   86. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: August 03, 2007 at 02:30 AM (#2468668)
Eric, did you not vote for Whitaker?
   87. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: August 03, 2007 at 01:00 PM (#2468950)
I did. He had several other markers in my system that Randolph lacked, however.
   88. sunnyday2 Posted: August 21, 2007 at 11:28 AM (#2493220)
Granting that MVP voting has been, er, eccentric...still, we've had some conversation lately about what candidate's contemporaries thought of them. Following is the number of times various backloggers have been in the top 10 in MVP voting.

1. Kirby Puckett 7 times--6th 3rd 3rd 7th 7th 2nd 7th
2 (tie). Dave Parker 6--3 3 1 10 2 5
Jim Rice 6--3 4 1 5 4 3
Pie Traynor 6--8 7 6 7 7 8
5. Vern Stephens 6*--4 9 3 6 4 8
6 (tie). Lou Brock 5--10 7 6 6 2
Steve Garvey 5--1 7 6 2 6
Bruce Sutter 5--7 7 8 5 6
9. Rabbit Maranville 4--3 2 7 10**

*includes 2X during WWII so IOW his 6 are discounted
**no MVP award through much of his career

10 (tie). 4 each--Dizzy Dean, Travis Jackson, Heinie Manush, Vic Wertz, Rocky Colavito, Maury Wills, Tony Oliva, Tony Perez, Greg Luzinski, Cecil Cooper, George Foster, Jack Clark, Dan Quisenberry, Andre Dawson, Don Mattingly, Pedro Guerrero, Dennis Eckersley

Also: Dixie Walker 5*, Frank McCormick 4*, Bob Elliott 4*

Since I'm looking at the current backlog, I only researched up to 2000. As of 2000, the active leaders were Frank Thomas with 8, Piazza and Griffey Jr. with 7, Rickey with 6, and Bagwell, Boggs and Belle with 5. That puts Puckett in some pretty exclusive territory.
   89. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2007 at 03:39 AM (#2537151)
Pick your metaphor: Hunker down. Batten down the hatches. The mob is at the gates. Gentlemen, the Hall of Merit is under assault. A motley crew of rabblerousers has assembled, armed with a daunting arsenal of available elect-me votes, seeking to harbor an interloper--and a rather plump one at that--in our midst. We are armed with nothing but facts and figures to fend off their advance. Nonetheless, the force of truth gives us courage, and by the grace of God we shall defend our sanctuary, ensuring that this Hall will remain Meritorious for all eternity. Kirby Puckett rests with the angels, and probably doesn't want to be disturbed by us anyways. Because après lui, le déluge.


I know I'm not the highest-consensus voter around here, but Puckett seems to me to be *so* inferior to *so* many candidates who haven't gotten a sniff from us that I wonder whether a substantial portion of our electorate simply has the 1991 World Series on repeat play while they vote. Let's just compare Puckett to the other modern eligible center fielders from the 70s and 80s: Dawson, Murphy, Butler, Otis, Lemon, Lynn, and Cedeño. (I'm keeping Reggie Smith and Bobby Bonds out of the discussion since they accumulated much of their peak value as corner outfielders). I believe *all* of them--*every last one* is superior to Puckett.

Let's take a look here. The following numbers are all standard deviation-adjusted (not that that makes that much of a difference--late-70s AL OF and late Butler get clipped a bit, but all of that favors Puckett). SFrac is the percentage of the season played (compared to a player with league average PA/G in 162 games). BWAA is batting wins above average, BRWA is baserunning wins above average, FWAA is fielding wins above average, Replc is wins above average a replacement player at the same position would have accumulated in the same playing time, and WARP is the first three minus the fourth (wins above replacement). Note that Rep is 0.6 wins lower in the AL than in the NL to account for the DH. 1972, 1981, 1994, and 1995 are adjusted to 162 games. aTTL (where included) is career totals excluding sub-replacement seasons. Sorry for the goofy formatting, but the PRE tag doesn't seem to be able to handle consecutive whitespaces anymore.

Puckett

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1984 00.85 
-1.7 -0.1 +2.6 -1.80 +2.5
1985 01.09 
-0.7 +0.1 +0.9 -2.20 +2.5
1986 01.05 
+3.1 +0.0 -0.6 -2.10 +4.6
1987 00.97 
+2.4 +0.0 -0.4 -1.80 +3.8
1988 01.02 
+4.5 +0.2 +0.6 -1.80 +6.9
1989 01.01 
+2.2 +0.1 +0.3 -1.70 +4.4
1990 00.90 
+1.2 +0.3 +0.0 -1.60 +3.1
1991 00.95 
+1.1 +0.5 +0.1 -1.70 +3.4
1992 01.02 
+3.1 +0.4 +0.6 -1.80 +6.0
1993 00.99 
+1.5 +0.2 -1.0 -1.90 +2.6
1994 00.98 
+2.3 +0.2 -0.6 -1.70 +3.5
1995 00.97 
+2.6 +0.2 -0.8 -1.70 +3.5
TOTL 11.80 21.6 
+2.1 +1.7 -21.8 46.8 


3-year peak: 17.5
7-year prime: 32.7
Career: 46.8

Dawson

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1976 00.13 
-0.3 +0.0 +0.1 -0.20 +0.0
1977 00.82 
+1.8 +0.0 +0.5 -1.00 +3.4
1978 00.98 
+1.1 +0.3 +0.7 -1.30 +3.4
1979 01.00 
+1.4 +0.3 +0.2 -1.50 +3.4
1980 00.94 
+3.4 +0.3 +0.7 -1.40 +5.8
1981 00.99 
+5.0 +0.7 +1.4 -1.40 +8.6
1982 00.97 
+3.2 +0.5 +0.8 -1.40 +5.9
1983 01.03 
+4.7 +0.2 -0.5 -1.50 +5.9
1984 00.86 
+0.7 +0.0 +0.6 -0.70 +2.0
1985 00.84 
+1.5 -0.4 +0.0 -0.70 +1.8
1986 00.80 
+1.8 +0.1 -0.1 -0.80 +2.5
1987 00.97 
+2.6 -0.1 -0.1 -1.00 +3.4
1988 00.95 
+3.4 +0.0 -0.2 -1.00 +4.2
1989 00.68 
+0.6 -0.2 +0.4 -0.80 +1.6
1990 00.86 
+3.1 +0.4 -0.6 -1.00 +3.8
1991 00.89 
+1.5 -0.3 +0.0 -1.00 +2.2
1992 00.86 
+1.4 +0.0 +0.5 -1.00 +2.9
1993 00.72 
-1.1 +0.1 +0.0 -0.00 -1.1
1994 00.62 
-1.9 -0.1 +0.0 -0.00 -2.0
1995 00.40 
-0.1 +0.0 -1.0 -0.40 -0.7
1996 00.09 
+0.0 +0.0 -0.2 -0.10 -0.1
TOTL 16.40 33.8 
+1.8 +3.2 -18.2 56.9
aTTL 14.57 36.9 
+1.8 +4.4 -17.7 60.8 


3-year peak: 20.4
7-year prime: 37.6
Career: 60.8

Murphy

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1976 00.11 
+0.0 +0.0 -0.1 -0.20 +0.2
1977 00.11 
+0.0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.20 +0.0
1978 00.87 
-1.3 -0.1 -0.2 -0.30 -1.4
1979 00.63 
+1.0 +0.0 -0.9 -0.30 +0.6
1980 00.93 
+3.3 -0.2 +1.3 -1.40 +5.8
1981 00.93 
+0.3 +0.1 -0.2 -1.30 +1.5
1982 01.03 
+4.3 +0.4 +0.3 -1.50 +6.5
1983 01.02 
+4.8 +0.5 +0.1 -1.50 +6.9
1984 01.02 
+4.4 +0.2 +0.7 -1.50 +6.8
1985 01.05 
+5.2 +0.5 -0.7 -1.50 +6.5
1986 01.02 
+2.2 -0.1 -0.7 -1.40 +2.8
1987 01.02 
+5.4 +0.2 +1.1 -1.00 +7.7
1988 01.00 
-0.2 +0.0 -0.4 -1.10 +0.5
1989 00.96 
-0.5 +0.0 -0.7 -1.10 -0.2
1990 00.93 
-0.4 -0.1 -0.5 -1.10 +0.0
1991 00.89 
+0.3 +0.1 +0.0 -1.00 +1.4
1992 00.09 
-0.7 +0.0 -0.2 -0.10 -0.9
TOTL 13.61 28.1 
+1.4 -1.3 -16.5 44.5
aTTL 10.65 31.0 
+1.7 +0.5 -13.7 47.0 


3-year peak: 21.4
7-year prime: 43.0
Career: 47.0

Butler

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1981 00.32 
+0.1 +0.3 +0.0 -0.20 +0.6
1982 00.39 
-1.5 +0.4 -0.3 -0.60 -0.9
1983 00.90 
+0.8 -0.4 +1.1 -0.70 +2.1
1984 01.02 
+0.5 +0.2 -0.2 -2.10 +2.7
1985 00.97 
+2.0 +0.1 +0.2 -2.00 +4.3
1986 00.97 
+0.8 +0.4 +0.1 -1.90 +3.2
1987 00.89 
+2.1 +0.2 +0.6 -1.70 +4.5
1988 01.00 
+4.2 +0.3 +0.4 -1.10 +6.1
1989 00.98 
+1.4 +0.2 +0.7 -1.10 +3.4
1990 01.07 
+3.7 +0.5 +0.1 -1.20 +5.4
1991 01.08 
+2.9 -0.4 +1.1 -1.30 +4.9
1992 00.97 
+4.3 -0.3 -0.3 -1.20 +4.9
1993 01.03 
+2.1 -0.1 +0.4 -1.30 +3.8
1994 01.01 
+4.2 +0.7 -0.4 -1.40 +5.8
1995 00.96 
+1.4 +0.4 -0.2 -1.40 +3.1
1996 00.21 
-0.3 +0.1 +0.2 -0.30 +0.4
1997 00.56 
+0.3 -0.4 -0.2 -0.90 +0.6
TOTL 14.33 29.0 
+2.2 +3.3 -20.4 54.9
aTTL 13.94 30.5 
+1.8 +3.6 -19.8 55.8 


3-year peak: 17.3
7-year prime: 35.9
Career: 55.8

Otis

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1967 00.10 
-0.2 -0.2 -0.1 -0.10 -0.4
1969 00.15 
-1.0 +0.0 +0.0 -0.10 -0.7
1970 01.02 
+2.2 +0.9 +0.3 -1.10 +4.4
1971 00.91 
+2.4 +0.9 +1.4 -1.00 +5.8
1972 00.95 
+3.3 -0.1 +0.2 -1.10 +4.6
1973 00.95 
+2.6 +0.3 -0.1 -1.80 +4.5
1974 00.92 
+1.3 +0.5 +0.7 -1.70 +4.3
1975 00.80 
+0.4 +0.5 +0.3 -1.40 +2.6
1976 00.98 
+2.1 +0.5 -0.5 -1.70 +3.8
1977 00.82 
+0.7 +0.5 +0.0 -1.50 +2.7
1978 00.84 
+3.4 +0.3 +0.8 -1.60 +6.1
1979 00.96 
+1.7 +0.7 +0.4 -2.00 +4.7
1980 00.65 
-0.1 +0.6 +0.6 -1.30 +2.4
1981 00.93 
+1.3 +0.1 +0.4 -1.90 +3.7
1982 00.76 
+0.3 +0.3 +0.0 -1.60 +2.1
1983 00.56 
-1.0 -0.2 -0.1 -1.20 -0.1
1984 00.16 
-1.1 +0.0 +0.1 -0.10 -0.9
TOTL 12.46 18.3 
+5.6 +4.4 -21.2 49.6
aTTL 11.49 21.6 
+6.0 +4.5 -19.7 51.7 


3-year peak: 16.6
7-year prime: 34.4
Career: 51.7

Lemon

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1976 00.73 
-0.8 +0.2 +0.5 -1.30 +1.2
1977 00.92 
+1.5 +0.4 +1.0 -1.70 +4.6
1978 00.61 
+2.1 -0.4 +1.1 -1.20 +4.0
1979 00.93 
+2.7 -0.3 +0.9 -1.90 +5.3
1980 00.88 
+2.2 +0.1 +0.4 -1.80 +4.5
1981 00.85 
+3.8 -0.6 +0.2 -1.70 +5.2
1982 00.74 
+1.4 +0.1 +0.3 -1.00 +2.8
1983 00.83 
+1.9 -0.6 +1.4 -1.70 +4.4
1984 00.83 
+2.2 -0.1 +1.2 -1.80 +5.1
1985 00.84 
+1.1 -0.2 +0.9 -1.70 +3.5
1986 00.66 
-0.4 +0.3 +0.6 -1.30 +1.8
1987 00.80 
+2.1 +0.3 +0.2 -1.50 +4.1
1988 00.86 
+1.2 +0.2 +0.3 -1.40 +3.2
1989 00.69 
-0.4 +0.2 -0.9 -1.20 +0.1
1990 00.55 
+0.6 +0.3 +0.5 -1.00 +2.2
TOTL 11.72 21.2 
-0.1 +8.6 -22.2 52.0 


3-year peak: 15.6
7-year prime: 33.2
Career: 52.0

Lynn

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1974 00.08 
+0.9 -0.1 +0.0 -0.10 +0.9
1975 00.89 
+4.1 -0.1 +0.5 -1.60 +6.1
1976 00.84 
+2.1 -0.1 +0.3 -1.50 +3.8
1977 00.82 
-0.2 +0.1 +0.5 -1.50 +1.9
1978 00.93 
+2.4 -0.2 -0.2 -1.80 +3.9
1979 00.92 
+5.1 +0.2 +0.8 -1.90 +8.0
1980 00.70 
+1.7 +0.4 +0.7 -1.40 +4.2
1981 00.67 
-0.8 -0.1 -0.2 -1.40 +0.2
1982 00.79 
+3.1 +0.1 +0.3 -1.60 +5.1 
1983 00.73 
+1.9 -0.1 -0.7 -1.50 +2.6
1984 00.87 
+2.1 +0.3 -0.2 -1.20 +3.4
1985 00.75 
+1.5 +0.1 -0.8 -1.50 +2.3
1986 00.67 
+2.0 +0.1 -1.0 -1.30 +2.3
1987 00.64 
+0.7 -0.3 -0.4 -1.20 +1.3
1988 00.64 
+1.1 +0.0 -0.4 -1.10 +1.7
1989 00.60 
+0.3 -0.1 -0.4 -1.10 +0.9
1990 00.33 
+0.0 -0.3 -0.2 -0.40 +0.0
TOTL 11.87 28.0 
-0.1 -1.4 -22.1 48.6 


3-year peak: 19.2
7-year prime: 34.5
Career: 48.6

Cedeño

Year SFrac BWAA BRWA FWAA Replc WARP
1970 00.54 
+0.9 +0.2 -0.3 -0.60 +1.4
1971 00.96 
+0.2 +0.2 -0.4 -1.10 +1.0
1972 00.96 
+5.4 +0.3 +0.3 -1.10 +7.2
1973 00.85 
+3.8 +0.7 +0.3 -1.10 +4.9
1974 01.00 
+2.8 +0.5 +0.8 -1.30 +5.4
1975 00.84 
+2.8 +0.6 -0.8 -1.00 +3.5
1976 00.94 
+3.7 +0.5 -0.5 -1.10 +4.8
1977 00.87 
+2.2 +0.8 +0.5 -1.10 +4.6
1978 00.31 
+0.9 +0.5 +0.3 -0.40 +2.1
1979 00.81 
+0.9 -0.1 +0.9 -0.30 +2.0
1980 00.84 
+3.9 +0.2 -0.4 -1.20 +4.9
1981 00.75 
+0.8 -0.4 +0.4 -0.30 +1.1
1982 00.80 
+1.0 -0.2 -0.6 -1.20 +1.4
1983 00.55 
-0.3 +0.0 +0.3 -0.40 +0.4
1984 00.60 
+0.3 +0.2 +0.0 -0.50 +1.1
1985 00.48 
+0.9 -0.3 +0.2 -0.10 +1.0
1986 00.13 
-0.2 +0.0 -0.2 -0.10 -0.4
TOTL 12.23 30.0 
+3.7 +0.8 -12.9 47.4
aTTL 12.10 30.2 
+3.7 +1.0 -12.8 47.8 


3-year peak: 18.5
7-year prime: 36.3
Career: 47.8

OK, let's evaluate this group. There really aren't many era or positional concerns to address, since these guys all played the same position in the same time period, roughly.

Ranked by top 3 seasons (peak), we have:

1. Murphy 2. Dawson 3. Lynn 4. Cedeño 5. Puckett 6. Butler 7. Otis 8. Lemon

Ranked by top 7 seasons (prime), we have:

1. Murphy 2. Dawson 3. Cedeño 4. Butler 5. Lynn 6. Otis 7. Lemon 8. Puckett

Ranked by career, we have:

1. Dawson 2. Butler 3. Lemon 4. Otis 5. Lynn 6. Cedeño 7. Murphy 8. Puckett

Dawson clearly seems to me to be the pick of this litter, holding a substantial lead in career value and finishing second in both peak and prime. The pure peak/prime voter would choose Murphy. But there is *absolutely no way* I can see that confronted with these eight options, you would choose Puckett. He's fifth in peak and dead last in prime and career. To be blunt: What on earth is there to like about this guy?

Puckett voters, can you please reveal why you prefer him to Cesar Cedeño, not to mention Dawson and Murphy?
   90. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2007 at 03:45 AM (#2537178)
sorry, that 1973 should be listed at 5.9 for Cedeño, not 4.9.
   91. Lassus Posted: September 22, 2007 at 03:55 AM (#2537221)
Though it does make one wonder: If the Yankees had won two WS between 1984 and 1994, and he had hit a big home run in one of them, would Mattingly be in the HOF now?


How did I know it was going to come back to this?

;-)
   92. Mark Donelson Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:14 AM (#2537371)
How did I know it was going to come back to this?

Well, I don't think either of them should be in...
   93. sunnyday2 Posted: September 22, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2537544)
You know, maybe this is Pete Browning's year after all, now that all the negative campaigning has found a new target.
   94. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2007 at 04:51 PM (#2537560)
As a Browning supporter, this is all a devious ploy of mine...

That said, sunnyday, I hope you don't mind my taking you to task here. You have Puckett as your #2 backlogger. You describe yourself as a peak/prime Win Shares voter. Let's compare Puckett to his leading (rough) contemporary in CF, Dale Murphy, by Win Shares (straight-line adjusting strike seasons for now, which favors Puckett because WS loves his good-not-great 1994 for some reason). Again, stupid formatting is necessary to avoid consecutive whitespaces.

Players Top1 Top2 Top3 Tp4 Tp5 Tp6 Tp7 Tp8
Puckett 31.5 62.8 92.0 121 148 175 197 219
DMurphy 32.5 64.3 95.9 127 156 184 206 221 


Hrm, who has the better peak and prime?

Top 1: Murphy.
Top 2: Murphy.
Top 3: Murphy.
Top 4: Murphy.
Top 5: Murphy.
Top 6: Murphy.
Top 7: Murphy.
Top 8: Murphy.

Kirby Puckett's rank on sunnyday's 2004 ballot: 3.
Dale Murphy's rank on sunnyday's 2004 ballot: n/a.

Care to clarify?
   95. Paul Wendt Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2537568)
SFrac is the percentage of the season played (compared to a player with league average PA/G in 162 games).

Is that point of reference the simple average over 14 teams * 9 batting positions (prorated to 162). In other words, prorate all team batting records to 162 team games; sum plate appearances; divide by 14*9.

At SFrac=1.09 Puckett 1985 is first among player-seasons tabulated here. Puckett 1985-86 and Butler 1990-91 are the leaders at 1.05 and above. They did it by playing many games and batting high in the order with little or no help from team offense.
   96. Paul Wendt Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:11 PM (#2537574)
test, consistently using one line for tags and text, six lines of composition
"pre"  and "/pre"  in   square brackets 

"pre"  and "/pre"  between angle  brackets

"code" and "/code" in   square brackets 

"code" and "/code" between angle brackets
end test
   97. Paul Wendt Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2537579)
Repeat the fourth test case with multiple space characters
"code" and "/code" between angle brackets

Year SFraction BWAA BRWA FWAA  Replace  WARP
1984   .85  
-1.7 -0.1  2.6   -1.80 2.5
1985  1.09  
-0.7  0.1  0.9   -2.20 2.5 
   98. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:18 PM (#2537582)
Paul, that is indeed my method for calculating SFrac.
   99. Paul Wendt Posted: September 22, 2007 at 05:23 PM (#2537588)
There the tried and true "pre" and "/pre" in square brackets retain the alignment within the numerical columns but lose that of numerals with labels --by displaying only some multiple spaces.

They say software is continuously improving at an increasing rate.
   100. TomH Posted: September 22, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2537637)
re: post 94 - need to adjust WS for the DH!!
add 5.5% to Puckett, and he beats Murphy every .. single .. matchup .. years 1 to 8
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

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