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Sunday, May 28, 2006

Maury Wills

Eligible in 1978.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2006 at 06:56 PM | 80 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2006 at 07:13 PM (#2041239)
Any MLE credit for him?
   2. Chris Fluit Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:49 AM (#2042023)
I have a feeling I'm going to like Maury Wills a lot more than the rest of the electorate.

I know that post-Moneyball, there's been a widespread devaluing of stolen bases. But I don't think we can apply strict Moneyball type of thinking to earlier generations. Even if stolen bases aren't as valuable as earlier generations thought they were, it strikes me as unfair to hold people to standards that didn't come into being until after they were done playing.

However, I do think that the stolen base is a vital part of the game. The game isn't about getting hits. Or about drawing walks. It's about scoring runs. Hits and walks may help a team achieve that goal of scoring runs, but so do stolen bases. A stolen base gets a player closer to home. A player who has stolen second has a better chance of being driven home. He has gotten his team closer to achieving the goal of scoring a run. Now I know that there's a downside to trying to steal a base. You can't score a run if you get thrown out. And you've reduced your team's ability to score a run by making an out. But you can't drive a guy in from second if you draw a walk. You can't drive a guy in from third on a walk unless the bases are loaded. There are times in a game when a walk doesn't help your team as much as a hit. And there are times in a game when attempting to steal a base is a sound strategy based on risk and reward.

I know I'm pushing a boulder uphill by trying to argue the merits of stolen bases against walks. But I guess I would challenge the rest of the electorate to look at stolen bases in a different light. For every stolen base, upgrade one of a player's singles to a double. After all, that's similar to what the player has done. He's reached second base, but he's done so with a single and a steal instead of a double. Of course, you should also take the negative into account. For every caught stealing, take a hit away. Again, that's what the player has done.

What does Maury Wills look like with 1926 hits and 763 doubles instead of 2134 hits and 177 doubles?

Or add his stolen bases (minus his caught stealing) to his total bases. What does Maury Wills look like with 2891 total bases?

He's still not a top of the ballot guy. He's still not in the category of Clemente or Wilhelm. But maybe he doesn't look quite so bad against some of the backlog.

That's just my two cents.
   3. Steve Treder Posted: May 29, 2006 at 06:45 AM (#2042051)
For every stolen base, upgrade one of a player's singles to a double. After all, that's similar to what the player has done.

When stolen bases start advancing every other baserunner at least two bases, then that will become similar to what the player has done.
   4. danup Posted: May 29, 2006 at 06:46 AM (#2042053)
He's not advancing near as many runners on these phantom doubles, is he?
   5. OCF Posted: May 29, 2006 at 06:53 AM (#2042055)
I grew up with Lou Brock and I do value the stolen base. But we can start with the fact that Vince Coleman isn't going to be taken seriously as an HoM candidate, and he wasn't taken seriously as an MVP candidate - and Coleman at his best was as effective an offensive player as Wills. (Yes, I know there's a difference between a SS and a LF.) Wills's 1962 MVP is quite an artifact. Note that Tommy Davis, with his 150+ RBI, wasn't even one of the the three best outfielders in the league that year. For that, and to ask who really deserved the MVP, check the usual suspects: Mays, Aaron, and Robinson.
   6. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2006 at 11:29 AM (#2042104)
>But I don't think we can apply strict Moneyball type of thinking to earlier generations.

Like almost any topic under the sun, this one has been debated. Not just moneyball, but whether it is fair to apply modern statistical analysis to players from other eras. Think Willard Brown. He was probably trained to swing the bat, not stand there and coax a walk. So how do we evaluate his performance.

The biggest case I remember was whether it is fair to evaluate earlier pitchers by ERA since the stat was not invented until the 1910s or so.

Personally I don't buy any of this. I believe in evaluated players from any time and place according to all of the tools we have available. Either they created runs and wins or they didn't. Ignorance of the law is no defense.

But if you want to upgrade 1B + SB to a 2B, don't forget Bert Campaneris. My ratings right now have Campy, then Fregosi, then Luis, then Wills among upcoming SSs, but none of them is going to be top 50, probably not top 75. Freehan and Bando are vastly better "gloves," assuming 3B is a "glove."
   7. rawagman Posted: May 29, 2006 at 11:40 AM (#2042113)
If I have the time, I would like to bring up the discussion this week, of how much of a "glove" position 3B really is.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: May 29, 2006 at 01:43 PM (#2042167)
One of the big problems with SBs is the pitiful correlation between them and winning ballgames, which is kind of the point.
This was staggering stuff back in those mid-1980s Bill James Abstracts. He'd find correlations in damn near everything, except stolen bases. You could win pennants going station to station, and come in last running like the wind - often. With the other stats, it's rare to win without racking up positives.

Wills' SB PCT has to be factored in; same will be true of all the new speedsters, now that we have an era where all of the CS is accurate (unlike the previous SB heights).

As for Maury, we're talking about a guy who topped 100 OPS+ once in his whole career, and who got on base at a .330 clip in a .323 environment.
   9. Paul Wendt Posted: May 29, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#2042212)
Chris Fluit Posted: May 29, 2006 at 01:49 AM (#2042023)
I have a feeling I'm going to like Maury Wills a lot more than the rest of the electorate.
. . .
However, I do think that the stolen base is a vital part of the game. The game isn't about getting hits. Or about drawing walks. It's about scoring runs.
. . .
I know I'm pushing a boulder uphill by trying to argue the merits of stolen bases against walks. But I guess I would challenge the rest of the electorate to look at stolen bases in a different light.


We have the data to examine the particular record of Maury Wills stealing, both safe and caught. There is no need to use universal linear weights but no good reason to punt them for Maury Wills alone --or for all 1962-1966 Dodgers, or for everyone in the big strike zone era-- without a particular study.
   10. Repoz Posted: May 29, 2006 at 04:20 PM (#2042258)
Neyer has a nifty slag chapter on Wills the manager...in his latest book.

Which, I'm sure, could only help his HoM chances.
   11. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 29, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2042280)
In 1962, in the midst of an extremely tight pennant race, Maury Willis stole 55 bases in the last 61 games. He was caught 6 times in that stretch.

Supposedly someone (David Smith?) did a study looking at specifically when he ran, arguing that his basestealing's strategic occurances helped the Dodgers more than one would think based on the raw numbers.

Then again, that off-season Leo Durocher kvetched that Willis's attempt at Cobb's old record for SB in a season caused Gilliam to take many hittable pitches, but that might just be Durocher acting grouchy. In his autobio, he gave himself credit for their play - saying he countermanded Alston's moves and the team played more wide-open, until the last week of the season when Alston ordered him to cease-and-desist. Durocher claimed the team immediately puckered up and collapsed. Willis stopped stealing in that collapse, so if Durocher's he was the one giving Willis all those signals in the first place. I doubt he's right, but it does call into question his criticism of the stealing. He's just looking out for himself and blaming Alston either way.
   12. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: May 29, 2006 at 04:50 PM (#2042283)
As for Maury, we're talking about a guy who topped 100 OPS+ once in his whole career, and who got on base at a .330 clip in a .323 environment.

.323 was the league average in his career. That's only a .323 environment if Dodger Stadium has no effect.
   13. Steve Treder Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:08 PM (#2042292)
.323 was the league average in his career. That's only a .323 environment if Dodger Stadium has no effect.

No, that .323 figure is park-adjusted. It takes Dodger Stadium into consideration.
   14. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: May 29, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2042335)
In 1962, in the midst of an extremely tight pennant race, Maury Willis stole 55 bases in the last 61 games. He was caught 6 times in that stretch.

Supposedly someone (David Smith?) did a study looking at specifically when he ran, arguing that his basestealing's strategic occurances helped the Dodgers more than one would think based on the raw numbers.


Given my memory of that season, I'd say likely a lot more, but the only way to measure this would be to look at the play-by-play of each game and see when each stolen base took place, what the game situation was, and whether or not it had any real effect on a Dodger win. My hazy recollection is of quite a few games where Wills parlayed a single or a walk into a cheap, game-winning run.

None of this makes him a HOFer, of course, or even means that he deserved the 1962 MVP. But I think that the reason he got that MVP was that the writers witnessed many of those specific games that I'm referring to. That, and the sheer novelty of that many stolen bases in a season. Nobody then thought that Cobb's record would ever be approached, let alone broken. And the last game of the NL playoff, when Wills got 4 hits and stole a key base or two in a game (and pennant) blown by the Dodgers' bullpen, was lilkely the freshest memory of all at the time of the MVP vote.
   15. TomH Posted: May 29, 2006 at 06:26 PM (#2042422)
Bill James (and maybe others) have pointed out that Wills may have had an easier time posting incredible (104 SB 13 CS in '62) stealing feats in his day than if he had played in the 1910s or 1980s; in 1960, no one was running, so more catchers with poor arms had MLB jobs, as opposed to the Brad Ausmusses of the 1990s (or the Y Molinas of 2006?).

Also, when someone runs as often as Wills in 62 (or V Coleman in his prime), I doubt we'll find much game-situation-selectivity in his attempts. He was going much of the time when he was on first and 2nd was empty.
   16. Chris Fluit Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:20 PM (#2042502)
Re: Steve Treder and danup's comments in post #3 and 4: You're right. The straight conversion single + sb = double was a bit simplistic. I made a few shortcuts for the sake of brevity.

Re: OCF's comments in #5: I probably won't like Vince Coleman near as much as Maury Wills. I like the steals but Wills still needs the positional bonus I give to glove positions to get onto my ballot.

Also, I don't give any extra weight to Maury Wills for winning the 1962 MVP. I do give him credit for the outstanding season, but I give the same amount of credit to other players with oustanding seasons. When I evaluate players, I don't differentiate all that much between the guy who won the MVP and the guy who came in second or third. However, I have noticed that other voters can sometimes punish players that they consider unworthy MVPs. I think this happened to Roger Maris, who won MVPs in 1960 and '61 by narrow margins. In the case of Maris, I don't consider an outfielder with only a two-year peak as a viable candidate for the HoM. But it did seem as if other voters didn't want to give him credit for even a two-year peak because they didn't consider him the "real" MVP. I wouldn't want to see Wills treated the same way. Give the proper credit to outstanding players like Aaron, Mays and Robinson but don't penalize Wills for having won an award that others may have deserved more. Whether or not he was the most deserving MVP candidate in 1962, Wills still had an outstanding season.

Re: Howie Menckel's post #8: I appreciate Bill James' work in this area and that he failed to find a correlation between stealing bases and winning games. As an active player recently noted, despite all of their team speed, he'd still rather play against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays than the New York Yankees. So no, stealing bases isn't as valuable as hitting home runs or doubles. But in context, they can be as valuable as a walk. And I do think that there are aspects of stolen bases and speed that are difficult to quantify. Speed does put pressure on the pitching and defense. Throwing over to first doesn't get calculated into the pitch count, but it does wear a pitcher down. Forcing a pitcher to pitch from the stretch instead of the wind-up can affect his mechanics and help out whichever of your teammates is batting. And speedsters get on base in ways that aren't credited to them: beating out double plays so that they're on base via fielder's choice or forcing defenders to hurry so that they're on base via error. It isn't a coincidence that a current speedster like Willy Taveras reached base on error more often that any other player.

I admit that speed, and stolen bases in particular, have been overvalued by previous generations. And we shouldn't be swayed by that, either positively or negatively. We should give speed its proper value, not as much as some people might like, but also not overreacting or overcompensating. We shouldn't make the equal and opposite mistake of undervaluing stolen bases.

And to everybody else: don't get too excited. I may be making the case for Maury Wills (and steals specialists in general) but I'm not making the case that Wills should be #1, or even #2 or 3. Right now, I have him just ahead of Ken Boyer, which would put him 13th on my ballot. I don't think that's entirely unreasonable.
   17. ronw Posted: May 29, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2042528)
What does Maury Wills look like with 1926 hits and 763 doubles instead of 2134 hits and 177 doubles?

A bit weird. Because of walks, let's try it by 1/2, so Wills has 2030 hits and 470 doubles in 8304 PA. This quick and dirty era adjustment makes him look a little like . . .

Joe Sewell (2226 H, 436 doubles in 8329 PA) When you factor in fielding and on base percentage, Wills is clearly behind Sewell in my opinion.
   18. Chris Fluit Posted: May 29, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2042571)
Thanks, Ron. The 1/2 conversion is probably more reasonable.
   19. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 29, 2006 at 09:40 PM (#2042619)
Chris:

The stolen base was out of favor as an offensive weapon long before Moneyball was even an in Michael Lewis' brain. It's a high risk tactic with minimal return, no more no less.

And when folks have to explain it in excruciating detail that includes making several grand leaps of faith because some elements mentioned cannot be quantified I think the item in question has to be considered suspect.

The stolen base has its place in a context where runs are hard to come by. Or when the players tasked to run can steal bases with TREMENDOUS effectiveness (Joe Morgan). Otherwise, the DOWNSIDE of stolen bases are rallies cut short, injury risks, and long-term negative effects on the overall health of the player.

As for Wills himself, he was an *sshole who could run fast and not embarrass himself at shortstop. Pardon me, but WHOOPDEF*CKINDO.

Saw him play. Wasn't impressed then. Ain't now. Never will be.

And I would like to write that Maury would appreciate the effort you are making. But again, he's a jerk so not bloody likely.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#2043192)
And I would like to write that Maury would appreciate the effort you are making. But again, he's a jerk so not bloody likely.

:-D
   21. Brent Posted: May 30, 2006 at 11:28 AM (#2043673)
I just realized that I probably had the minor league record for Will in the box of old Dodgers stuff I kept as a kid. This is from the 1964 Dodgers Yearbook:

Year Club         G  AB    R    H  2B 3B HR RBI SB   Avg
1951 Hornell    123 461   94  129  16  6  4  51 54  .280
1952 Hornell    125 533
10816034  4  4  58 54.300
1953 Pueblo      18  63   17   18   2  0  0   8  8  .286
1953 Miami       93 343   71   98  16  5  6  31 20  .286
1954 Pueblo     145 552   89  154  17 10  6  53 28  .279
1955 Fort Worth 123 326   44   66  11  0  7  39 12  .202
1956 Pueblo     134 540  110  163  33  8 10  54 34
.302
1957 Seattle    147 491   67  131  23  6  0  33 21  .267
1958 Spokane    144 534   69  135  20  7  2  37 25  .253
1959 Spokane     48 192   42   60   6  3  1  18 25  .313 

I don't see a strong case for minor league credit here.
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 30, 2006 at 06:08 PM (#2043957)
The only way I can see Wills's SB having extra value is if he did most of his stealing in Dodger Stadium. Given that particuarl run environment, he may have been able to leverage the steal better than in other parks or other eras. I'm guessing there's some kind of way to adjust the value of a steal using pythaganpat or something like it, but I don't necessarily know how to do it.
   23. SKoufax Posted: May 31, 2006 at 06:35 AM (#2045268)
Maury Wills's value was in the intimidation of the other team.(opposing teams used their ground crews to try and slow him down)They worried more about Wills than they did Tommy Davis or Frank Howard.His true value was to his era in which he played and the Dodger team that he played for.Opposing teams trying to stop him,left a lot of talent free to wreak havoc(how many fastballs did Willie,Tommy,and Frank see because of him?)Some things can't be measured by statistics alone.
   24. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2006 at 12:03 PM (#2045304)
They worried more about Wills than they did Tommy Davis or Frank Howard.

Some people worry more about paying for their cable and beer than their mortgage, too. ;-)
   25. karlmagnus Posted: May 31, 2006 at 12:13 PM (#2045306)
Big Frank has a decent case for the HOM, actually -- slightly better than Kiner and Wilson (who are both at the edge of my ballot), because he had a longer career. Somewhat undervalued in memory, because his best years wrere for the awful late 60s Senators.
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: May 31, 2006 at 12:56 PM (#2045320)
karl:

Hondo fought the enlarged strike zone and being a super-sized guy. He played in one of the toughest hitters parks around for the beginning of his career. He really wasn't meant to play the outfield.

Eventually he found a more comfy home and went ape willies with the bat. Frank Howard, like Joe Adcock, would have hit another 100 or so homers in different times or places.

For those who consider that estimate to be hyperbole stop for a moment and check out the context in which Frank played. Then put Howard in Wrigley Field in the 60's. Or Crosley Field. Or Fenway Park. Or Tiger Stadium.

Put Frank Howard in just a neutral park of the 90's and he's at 500 and climbing. Easily......
   27. karlmagnus Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:00 PM (#2045321)
By today's standards, RFK Stadium, where Hondo had his best years, is also an extreme pitchers' park (from all the stories, very little changed from the 60s.)
   28. Howie Menckel Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:14 PM (#2045326)
Wills makes as good a case as anyone for extra credit re speed - low-run league environment, his park, his pitchers, his relative uniqueness, etc.

That said, you could give a 20-pt OPS+ bonus to every single Wills season - an extraordinary bonus - and he still wouldn't sniff most ballots.
I'm convinced he was more valuable than traditional stats suggest - but those stats suggest that he shouldn't even have his own thread!
   29. sunnyday2 Posted: May 31, 2006 at 01:47 PM (#2045344)
A no-threader.
   30. SKoufax Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:09 AM (#2048125)
TO Mr.Murphy, I don't think those cable tv and beer buyers could match Will's 2000 hits, a NL MVP,and 3 World Series rings.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 11:49 AM (#2048148)
Well, if we elect everybody that is better than beery couch potatoes, that would be a large hall indeed.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 02, 2006 at 03:32 PM (#2048281)
TO Mr.Murphy, I don't think those cable tv and beer buyers could match Will's 2000 hits, a NL MVP,and 3 World Series rings.

I wasn't trying to slight Wills, who I'm probably more favorably inclined to have on my ballot than most here (though I haven't figured out yet whether or not he will be). My point was that, offensively, I would have worried more about Howard and Davis in '62 than Maury, that's all.
   33. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 02, 2006 at 04:36 PM (#2048339)
Hey, I'm a beery couch potato---knock it off!!!
   34. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:01 PM (#2048530)
Doc, why didn't you say so.

Prelim

15. Doc Chaleeko--(new)--beery couch potato
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#2048533)
On a ballot when I'm only three years old. Wooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks for the rainy-day chuckle, Marc!
   36. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:48 PM (#2048563)
And, at three years old, already a beery couch potato. Or, ouch potato.
   37. sunnyday2 Posted: June 02, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2048565)
And what do you mean, rainy? It's beee-yooo-tiful here!
   38. SKoufax Posted: June 04, 2006 at 09:35 AM (#2050469)
To Mr. Murphy,That is the whole point of the discussion teams should have been "worrying" for lack of a better term,about Howard and Davis,but they were more concerned about Wills and his running, With the Pitching staff the Dodgers had 1 or 2 runs could be fatal,and the fear that Wills would turn a walk into a triple was very intimidating to the rest of the NL.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2006 at 12:00 PM (#2050474)
I'm not saying that they shouldn't have been scared of Wills, SKoufax. Maury definitely helped the Dodgers that season. I only think that he wouldn't have been at the top of my Dodger worry list that year.

BTW, the name is John. ;-)
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2006 at 12:34 PM (#2050476)
Going over the numbers, I can see a case for a tie between Wills and Howard in '62 as offensive players (since Hondo missed a few games that season). But Davis is clearly the #1 offensive force that season for the Dodgers, IMO.
   41. schuey Posted: June 04, 2006 at 02:15 PM (#2050493)
I wouldn't put Wills in HOF or HOM. But I grew up in this era and everybody thought he was a star. His team did win 4 pennants and 3 world series even though the Giants had far more talent available (except at the front office/manager). Wills was a good enough (or Walter Alston was stupid enough) to play SS at age 39 for a team that finished 1 game out of first. How many SS of that era, or any era, are good enough to do that?
   42. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2006 at 03:07 PM (#2050505)
I wouldn't put Wills in HOF or HOM. But I grew up in this era and everybody thought he was a star.

He was definitely a star and deserves serious scrutiny for the HOM. But he wasn't a superstar, which I believe you would agree with.

Wills was a good enough (or Walter Alston was stupid enough) to play SS at age 39 for a team that finished 1 game out of first. How many SS of that era, or any era, are good enough to do that?

Not many, schuey. He wasn't bad the prior year, so it was understandable that Alston started him in '72 (until Wills' age finally caught up to him).

Should Wills have been platooned at the very least in '72? Yeah, that would have made more sense in retrospect, but Alston (deservedly) has the HOF plaque and I don't. :-)
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2006 at 05:45 PM (#2050645)
1956 Pueblo 134 540 110 163 33 8 10 54 34* .302
1957 Seattle 147 491 67 131 23 6 0 33 21 .267
1958 Spokane 144 534 69 135 20 7 2 37 25 .253
1959 Spokane 48 192 42 60 6 3 1 18 25 .313


First of all, thank you very much for the numbers, Brent!

Secondly, does anyone here know if Wills played in extreme pitchers parks during the late '50's in the MiL?
   44. DavidFoss Posted: June 04, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2050762)
Secondly, does anyone here know if Wills played in extreme pitchers parks during the late '50's in the MiL?

In the PCL? I can't say for sure, but I doubt it. Baseballlibrary.com says:

Maury Wills was an undistinguished minor league shortstop: scrawny, a poor fielder, and an erratic hitter. He began his pro career in 1951 and probably played every position during his time in the minor leagues; he pitched twice and also caught. The Dodgers loaned him to the Tigers, and he was given back. Even the Topps baseball card company wouldn't sign him to a contract, on the advice of their scout and the Dodgers' scouts. But Wills became the first player Topps passed on to make the majors (and since then, they sign everybody, just to play it safe).


I'm hoping for a bb-ref-style minor league website someday. I understand that's a lot of work that someone else has to do, but a guy can dream. :-)

The Dodgers had several future MLBers in their farm system around this time. WDavis, TDavis, FHoward, RFairly were all probably milb-teammates of Wills at some point so we could compare hitting numbers with anyone that has their minor league numbers.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 04, 2006 at 10:04 PM (#2051404)
I'm hoping for a bb-ref-style minor league website someday. I understand that's a lot of work that someone else has to do, but a guy can dream. :-)

But guys can dream, you mean. :-)

The Dodgers had several future MLBers in their farm system around this time. WDavis, TDavis, FHoward, RFairly were all probably milb-teammates of Wills at some point so we could compare hitting numbers with anyone that has their minor league numbers.

That would certainly help, David.
   46. SKoufax Posted: June 05, 2006 at 05:07 AM (#2051571)
Wills was going nowhere in the minors until Bobby Bragan converted him to a switch hitter. Statistics are like bikinis they show a lot but not everything, Wills's true value was his effect on the other teams thinking,in particular the other teams pitching staff. A lot of throws to firstbase and a lot of fastballs to hitters when he was on base had to diminish the effectiveness of any pitcher.
   47. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 05, 2006 at 05:34 AM (#2051583)
A lot of throws to firstbase and a lot of fastballs to hitters when he was on base had to diminish the effectiveness of any pitcher.

How about "a lot of throws to first base and a runner constantly moving around had to diminish the effectiveness of any hitter"?
   48. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 05, 2006 at 06:00 AM (#2051590)
As you should since you didn't repeat it, you added to the point.
   49. SKoufax Posted: June 05, 2006 at 08:45 AM (#2051612)
AJM, Jim Gilliam hit behind Wills and had very good years when Wills was running the most,1962 and 1965,all i am saying is that for the era and the team he played for,he changed the way the game was played and should be remembered for that.
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 05, 2006 at 10:50 AM (#2051619)
Statistics are like bikinis they show a lot but not everything, Wills's true value was his effect on the other teams thinking,in particular the other teams pitching staff. A lot of throws to firstbase and a lot of fastballs to hitters when he was on base had to diminish the effectiveness of any pitcher.

This was pointed out and acknowledged by everyone during this period, and it's why he got the MVP over Davis and Mays. Wills's 1962 season was one of those flukish ones whose value was far more understood and appreciated by eyewitnesses than it could ever be by just the summary found in a record book.

This isn't to say that he deserved the MVP that year, and he's certainly no HOMer in any case, but the idea that his negative effect on Gilliam may have outweighed the negative effect he had on pitchers' effectiveness, and the positive effect of all those SB's, is one of those arguments that couldn't possibly have been made by anyone who was actually watching the games that year.
   51. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2006 at 12:07 PM (#2051629)
Jim Gilliam had lots of good years before Maury Wills ever put on a major league uniform. Jim Gilliam played on many winning teams and did whatever anyone asked of him. Jim Gilliam could give a hoot who was batting in front, back, or aside of him in the lineup.

Since some around here are going to continue to bleat about the "unrecognized" greatness of Maury Wills I thought it appropriate to mention a truly fine player on the same team at the same time who DID do many different things on the baseball field well, who WAS a great teammate, and who DIDN'T disgrace himself, his team or his family with dreadful behavior.

But then I only watched both of these guys play their entire careers so what do I know?
   52. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 05, 2006 at 12:33 PM (#2051642)
Harvey, I watched both of them their entire careers, too, at least during the postseason and whenever else the Dodgers happened to be on TV. You're right about Gilliam, of course, but the fact that Wills was a first class jerk shouldn't detract from the contributions he made to the Dodgers during his prime, and especially in 1962. 104 steals, 31 of which were in September and October, aren't diminished by whatever he may have snorted many years later. As I said, it doesn't make him a HOFer, or a HOMer, but it is important to recognize that not all contributions are easy to spot on paper, which was SKoufax's point.
   53. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2006 at 12:51 PM (#2051651)
Andy:

I read the posts and understood them the first time. And Zoilo Versailles was a heckuva player for a few years too. As have been about 264 other guys in the last fifty years.

Wills was so awesome in 1962 the Dodgers finished second. WOW!

I am so impressed by that accomplishment. How many teams can claim they finished second? Wait, it happens every year? And guys having good years for the second place teams don't have their "unseen, unrecognized, unrealized spectacular skills" broken down to help the poor and unwashed baseball public TRULY appreciate their second placedness? How can that be?

Once, just friggin' once, I would like to see one of these 'campaigns' be for somebody who was worth a tinker's d*mn. Why the folks around here have to hitch their wagons to so many godd*mn losers I have no earthly clue.

If it ain't a pity party for Pete Rose it's a complete revisionist history a.k.a. Dick Allen. Or folks just want to ignore the elephant in the room with someone like Blyleven.

Are social misfits the cause celebre for this locale? I am sorry that Pete and Dick and Bert wanted to follow their own paths through most of their careers. I am sorry that what these guys thought was BEST for them wasn't what baseball thought was best for baseball. I am sorry that they all realized well into their careers that maybe they had made some poor decisions. I am sorry that they will have to live with the ramifications for the rest of their lives.

But you know, we all get choices. And to quote from the knight in the third Indiana Jones movie, "He chose.......poorly."

Pete was a schmuck. Dick was a schmuck. Bert was a schmuck. Wills was a schmuck.

So found a "Schmuck Hall of Fame", elect them all, have a fabulous induction ceremony, and let me have some PEACE. For the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY LET ME HAVE SOME PEACE.

The noise, the noise, I cannot stand all this noise............................
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: June 05, 2006 at 12:59 PM (#2051654)
>Why the folks around here have to hitch their wagons to so many godd*mn losers I have no earthly clue.

Say what?
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 05, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2051670)
Harvey,

So found a "Schmuck Hall of Fame", elect them all, have a fabulous induction ceremony, and let me have some PEACE. For the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY LET ME HAVE SOME PEACE.

The noise, the noise, I cannot stand all this noise............................


The perfect answer to an argument that was never made.

To quote the immortal Bart Simpson, none of us really expected this....
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: June 05, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2051721)
the Topps baseball card company wouldn't sign him to a contract, on the advice of their scout and the Dodgers' scouts. But Wills became the first player Topps passed on to make the majors (and since then, they sign everybody, just to play it safe).

Does this mean he is in the Collectibles Hall of Fame?
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2006 at 03:13 PM (#2051747)
sunny/Andy:

I have grown weary of these specious arguments on behalf of players be it for the Hall of Fame, Hall of Merit, or membership in the Kiwanis.

I understand if I am perceived as raving. Fine. But my sensors go on high alert when someone touts Wills as having HELPED Jim Gilliam have a good year in 1965 (when he batted all of 372 times.) Which is akin to folks declaring that Bert Blyleven never gave up on his team (sure, ask the 1980 Pirates or the Indians after that). That Dick Allen was versatile defensively (yeah-just like Killibrew, give me break). It is just the latest in a cavalcade of partial facts, never were truths, and trumped up nonsense that simply goes by unchecked.

Guilty as charged of lumping together a series of incidents into one tirade.

As Popeye likes to say, "I'va takes all I can take and can't takes no more."
   58. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2006 at 03:22 PM (#2051755)
When Jim Gilliam batted all of 372 times..........
   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 05, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2051779)
Harvey,

In this entire thread I haven't seen one post which actually stated that Wills should be in the HOF or the HOM, let alone the highest of all honors, the Kiwanis Club. I know that I haven't.

But I haven't checked on the BPOE or the IOOF, though, and there may be someone trying to sneak Wills into one of those---you can never tell.
   60. DavidFoss Posted: June 05, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2051935)
I can't tell if Harvey is pro-Wills or against him. I thought he was pro-Wills, but now Andy has me confused.
   61. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 05, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2051946)
I don't think that Harvey thinks that Maury is Kiwanisworthy.
   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 05, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2051953)
David:

From my post 19:

As for Wills himself, he was an *sshole who could run fast and not embarrass himself at shortstop. Pardon me, but WHOOPDEF*CKINDO.

Saw him play. Wasn't impressed then. Ain't now. Never will be.

And I would like to write that Maury would appreciate the effort you are making. But again, he's a jerk so not bloody likely.
   63. DavidFoss Posted: June 05, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2051997)
OK. Fair enough. I remember someone saying that (post 19) above, but post #55 through me completely with the Gilliam/DAllen/Blyleven tangents.

I think there was an initial worry that Wills would hurt the guy batting after him, while a couple of Gilliam datapoints show that Gilliam was unaffected. I don't think anyone claimed that Wills *helped* Gilliam... just that the "he hurt the guy batting after him" argument can't be used against him.

Allen and Blyleven are big "stats" guys who had problems with intangibles -- the opposite of Wills. Complaining about Allen & Blyleven totally threw me. :-)

Whenever a player gets a thread, its a chance for fans to post anecdotes, its a chance for analysis to be done. Saying something positive in these threads does not necessarily imply that he'll be inducted, or that he'll even get many votes. And vice-versa when something negative is said.

Chill out man. :)
   64. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2006 at 04:34 PM (#2053402)
Whenever a player gets a thread, its a chance for fans to post anecdotes, its a chance for analysis to be done. Saying something positive in these threads does not necessarily imply that he'll be inducted, or that he'll even get many votes. And vice-versa when something negative is said.

Perfectly stated, David.

Besides, even scum like a Manson or Bundy get a fair trial before they get life or the death penalty, you know. ;-) *

* No, I don't really think Wills is anywhere near that level of moral crapitude.
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 06, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#2053405)
or that he'll even get many votes.

How many thread have Joe or I created for a candidate that a player received nada votes? Quite a few of them.
   66. AJMcCringleberry Posted: June 07, 2006 at 01:13 AM (#2054538)
No, I don't really think Wills is anywhere near that level of moral crapitude.

Of course not, that level is reserved for Yankees.
   67. Ardo Posted: June 07, 2006 at 05:09 PM (#2055235)
Harvey's comments are revealing: as we vote on more players we ourselves have seen play, people will have strong negative reactions to certain players. Not all baseball memories are warm, fuzzy ones.

As for Wills? Look at Bancroft's 1921 and Rizzuto's 1950 (both starting SS's on the World Champs) first. He had tremendous impact on a well-remembered pennant race; so did Doyle Alexander, who's probably T-599 with Wills on the all-time list.

I rank the eligible shortstops Sewell--Maranville-Rizzuto-Bancroft-(Moore)--Stephens-(Lundy)-Long-Bartell-Wills.
   68. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 08, 2006 at 05:27 PM (#2056261)
Harvey's comments are revealing: as we vote on more players we ourselves have seen play, people will have strong negative reactions to certain players. Not all baseball memories are warm, fuzzy ones.

Wait till Charlie Hustler comes on the scene here...
   69. JPWF13 Posted: June 08, 2006 at 06:57 PM (#2056345)
I wouldn't put Wills in HOF or HOM. But I grew up in this era and everybody thought he was a star.

I grew up right after that era, and my recollection was that Wills was one of those players that people talked about like this: "gee when he was playing I thought he was a star, but now... bleah".

You know like Kirk Gibson (actually a better player than Wills) I read and heard scads about how he was a superstar, and even read aricles after his first [fake] retirement about how he was a likely HOFer (yes some columnists did say that, probably the same ones who claimed Fernando Valenzuela was a first ballot HOFer the day he retired).

A few years later Gibson is remembered for that HOME RUN, and for bveing a good player, but no one will admit ever regarding him as being a dominating great player.
   70. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#2056357)
That HOME RUN and the worst OF throwing arm I ever saw.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2056361)
And one of the ugliest, blockiest swings in of the era.
   72. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2006 at 08:24 PM (#2056441)
Well, but the swing got the job done now and again. The arm never ever did.
   73. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 08, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#2056509)
Gibson had the ugliest swing; Rich Gedman had an ugly take on the Hriniak follow through in which he ended up with his eyes hidden behind the crook of his left (trailing) elbow as his legs tried to start trucking toward first as if through mud.

Winfield was pretty ugly from the other side of the plate, though I enjoyed his swing for all its little quirks. It reminded me of one of those toy gizmos where a ball is falling through pipes and rolling down ramps, which causes a lever to rise, which causes another ball to release, which rolls into a tube into some water, which displaces enough water to make a platform rise....etc etc etc. That was Winfield's swing to me. All these moving parts, one at a time, hitch by hitch, ratcheting up the power, then finally releasing the bathead to plunge through the zone...only to miss, causing Winfield to spin in the batters box and fall down on his patookus.

Winfield had some mechanical genius, Gibson just did it ugly*.

*Though I always appreciated his assiduous lack of grooming.
   74. sunnyday2 Posted: June 08, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2056519)
My best memory of Gibson is not THAT home run but the Twins running wild on the bases on anything hit into LF during the '87 playoff. I was so sure that Gibson was through by then and of course he was except for THAT home run. And don't tell me about his '88 season. MVP my ass. He wasn't top 25.
   75. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 09, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#2057088)
But what about Gibson getting all riled up over the Jesse Orosco eyeblack-in-the-hat incident!!!! That's real leadership....
   76. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: June 09, 2006 at 02:49 AM (#2057221)
Gibson had the ugliest swing

No, the ugliest swing in history, at least for a HOFer, belonged to Cal Ripken. In fact, take your choice of any one of 50 different swings he came up with during 50 different slumps. If he hadn't had such terrific bat speed he might have wound up with a lifetime average of about .200.
   77. yest Posted: June 09, 2006 at 05:41 AM (#2057398)
Gibson had the ugliest swing
I always hated Reggie's over swing
   78. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 09, 2006 at 11:21 AM (#2057434)
Gehrig supposedly had a swing like a "rusty gate."

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