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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mike Marshall

Eligible in 1987.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2006 at 10:38 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 01, 2006 at 10:41 PM (#2194025)
In my day, relief pitchers could pitch 200+ innings a season...and they'd like it!
   2. DavidFoss Posted: October 01, 2006 at 11:35 PM (#2194053)
In my day, relief pitchers could pitch 200+ innings a season...and they'd like it!

He certainly got a lot of accolades for that fine 1974 season. It would be curious to see how much value leverage analysis adds for hims that year. 200 IP seasons with 141 ERA+ are quite valuable for a starter. For a reliever, its wow!

Still, that year wiped him out. Tack on 12 playoff innings in 7 of the Dodgers 9 playoff games and it was a long season.

The next year, he had two separate month-long DL stints and set the NL record for relief losses. In 1976, the Dodgers traded him to the Braves. In 1977, both the Braves and Rangers gave up on him after brief trials. In spring of 1978, he went unsigned. The Twins (and his old manager Gene Mauch) took a shot on him in May of 1978, and he was back to his old self effectivenesswise.
   3. Chris Cobb Posted: October 01, 2006 at 11:47 PM (#2194060)
Marshall was not especially highly leveraged in 1974 (guess you can't be _that_ highly leveragd if you throw 200+ innings), so his leverage basically puts his usage in line with the top starters. According to BP, his leverage index was 1.38, making his 208.3 IP the equivalent of 287.3 IP at average leverage.

He was probably the second best pitcher in the NL that year, as Phil Niekro threw 302.3 IP at a 159 ERA+, but Marshall's Cy Young Award was by no means undeserved.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: October 02, 2006 at 01:38 AM (#2194109)
For those too young to remember Marshall's magical season, hit the bb-ref page and try to digest it.
This is one of the most unusual, if not THE most unusual, pitching seasons in baseball history.
And man, did it pay off.

Might not have been good for the longterm, although this kinesiologist was a willing participant, but think how good your team can be in one season when you have a great relief pitching pitching constantly.
   5. CraigK Posted: October 02, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2194120)
What pitches did he throw?

To show up in 200+ innings and 100+ games, it had to be slow stuff...

(And yes, I know of his page.)
   6. OCF Posted: October 02, 2006 at 01:59 AM (#2194136)
He was known for being one of the few right-handers to make extensive use of a screwball.
   7. OCF Posted: October 02, 2006 at 03:12 AM (#2194178)
A pretty good hitter: .196/.266/.218, OPS+ 37. Of course, since relief pitchers bat far less than starting pitchers do, this has almost no impact.

Appears as an important character in Ball Four. (Yes, "SEP" on a 1969 line in bbref means Seattle Pilots.) One of the things discussed there: as a RHP, pivoting to his right to throw to second base rather than the other way. You see quite a few pitchers do this these days. Did anyone do it before Marshall?
   8. Chris Fluit Posted: October 02, 2006 at 03:11 PM (#2194475)
I'll admit that it's hard for me to get past the "yes"/"no" mindset when it comes to relievers. So while I don't have much trouble ranking relievers against each other, I do have some difficulty ranking them against players from other positions.

My own difficulties aside, I'm just not sure that Marshall has enough great seasons to be worthy of the Hall of Merit. He certainly has a great 3-year peak from 1972 to 1974. And he has a great non-consecutive 5-year peak when you add in 1978 and 1979. But he doesn't have much more than that. His ERA was above the league ERA in-between his high points (in '76 and '77) and during his bookend years ('71 and '80). As somebody who looks at prime and career as well as peak, Marshall doesn't seem to have enough good years to warrant lengthy consideration.
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: October 02, 2006 at 03:45 PM (#2194510)
Mike Marshall reminds me that one thing the Minnesota Twins have always done well is to have a damn good closer, well, almost always.

1961 Ray Moore 14 saves, 3.70
1962 Moore 9, 4.71, then Frank Sullivan acquired (2nd half season only) 5, 3.27
1963 (Won't You Come Home) Bill Dailey 21, 1.98
1964 Al Worthington (mid-season acquisition) 14, 1.38
1965 Worthington 21, 2.14
1966 Worthington 16, 2.47
1967 Worthington 16, 2.84
1968 Worthington 18*, 2.72 (* led league)
1969 Ron Perranoski 31*, 2.10

1970 Perranoski 34*, 2.43
1971 Tom Hall 9, 3.32 (Perranoski traded after 5 saves, 6.70)
1972 Granger (R, 19, 3.00) and LaRoche (L, 10, 2.84)
1973 Ray Corbin 14, 3.04
1974 Bill Campbell 19, 2.63
1975 Tom Burgmeier 11, 3.08
1976 Campbell 20, 3.00 (17-5 W-L)
1977 Tom Johnson 15, 3.12
1978 Mike Marshall 21, 2.45
1979 Marshall 32*, 2.64 (plus 10 wins)

1980 Doug Corbett 23, 1.99
1981 Corbett 17, 2.56
1982 Ron Davis 22, 4.43
1983 Davis 30, 3.34
1984 Davis 29, 3.44
1985 Davis 25, 3.48
1986 Keith Atherton 10, 3.75 (first half only, then George Frazier 6, 4.39)
1987 Jeff Reardon 31, 4.48
1988 Reardon 42, 2.47
1989 Reardon 31, 4.07

1990 Rick Aguilera 32, 2.76
1991 Aguilera 42, 2.35

That's all for now, but you get the idea.
   10. DavidFoss Posted: October 02, 2006 at 04:33 PM (#2194549)
Yipes! I know people who still have nightmares about Ron Davis! That 1984 ERA should read 4.55. I remember being happy the Twins acquired him because he was an excellent setup man for Gossage with the Yankees, but YUCK!!!

I suppose its something about the leverage of the situation, but blown saves are especially painful to a fans' memories. A closer really has to have a high Save-% and an ERA+ of (pulling a number out of nowhere) 130 or so before they can even be considered decent. The bar really is higher for closers' rate stats.

Even Reardon was inconsistent. Memories of closing game 7 have wiped the bad memories away, but he had some horrible months in 1987, blew game 3 of the ALCS and was mediocre in 1989 as well. He was great in 1988 though and he had the advantage of being *much* better than Ron Davis!!! :-)
   11. Jose Canusee Posted: October 02, 2006 at 06:00 PM (#2194620)
Off the Marshall track but more on #9 was the interesting career of Tom Burgmeier. I remember him as an effective multi-inning lefty reliever for some of the weak late-Finley A's. Curious that he pitched his 1st 11 years (1968-78) with only 4 sub-4 ERA years. Then starting in 1979 he knocks off 6 consecutive sub 3 ERA years and leaves the game. Was there a career-ending injury, or just evidence that the economics of the game then didn't encourage people to hang on until they convince 30 teams they can't cut it anymore?
   12. sunnyday2 Posted: October 02, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#2194621)
At least one Twin broadcaster (don't remember which) picked Reardon as the Twins' MVP in '87. The logic was that painful old thing about how the Twins had improved so much of '88 and Reardon was the only new guy in the mix, so therefore it was all his doing. Ouch.

Yes, Ron Davis is pretty generally regarded as the worst Twin ever, which is unfair and reflects the scrutiny that closers live under. His numbers at a glance above) are not that terrible even if 1984 is 4.55 and not 3.44 (perhaps I had mis-positioned my hand on the keyboard?). OTOH it probably reflects on the Twins' indecision at that time in their history that he lasted 4 years. That was when Pohlad was new and he had lots of holes to plug. The Twins historically have been more aggressive than that in upgrading the closer slot whenever needed. I mean, they dumped Al Worthington after a pretty fair 1968, though that obviously was Calvin. But then Pohlad and company dumped Reardon after a pretty decent 3 year run, too.

Is Nathan the Twins' best closer ever? It speaks to their attention to that slot that the correct answer is no, not yet. It is still Aggie, IMO, with Worthington still #2. Nathan may now be #3, but OTOH his 3 year peak now is probably the best peak, though you could make a case for Bill Campbell. He didn't close in ' 75 between closing in '74 and '76 but he had a very good year. I think they made him the set-up because he was so good they wanted the flexibility to use him in the best spots. What a concept. I'll never forget one 2 inning save he earned in probably '76. I think he threw about 25 pitchers, about 20 strikes, and just mowed guys down. One of the dominating pitching performances I've ever seen, though only 2 innings worth. And if you would accept a 2 year peak, well, then there's Mike Marshall.
   13. KJOK Posted: October 02, 2006 at 10:26 PM (#2194940)
What pitches did he throw?

To show up in 200+ innings and 100+ games, it had to be slow stuff...


He threw lots of different stuff - screwball, curveball, fastball, slider (IIRC), change up, etc.

One of his (many) interesting theories was to throw a random pattern of pitches, regardless of count or score, instead of the standard "try to outguess the hitter" method, or standard "start with first-pitch fastball, then breaking pitches, throw fastballs when behind, etc." method.
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: October 03, 2006 at 01:29 AM (#2195052)
Mike Marshall reminds me that one thing the Minnesota Twins have always done well is to have a damn good closer, well, almost always.

Hinting at some truth about the nature of the position, Perranoski 69-70 and Marshall 78-79 bookend eight consecutive changes
--with only Campbell appearing twice. And between Worthington '68 and Davis '82, nine "closers" in thirteen seasons, or ten if I count two for the split 1972.
   15. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 03, 2006 at 02:22 AM (#2195088)
One of his (many) interesting theories was to throw a random pattern of pitches, regardless of count or score, instead of the standard "try to outguess the hitter" method, or standard "start with first-pitch fastball, then breaking pitches, throw fastballs when behind, etc." method.

Two things here.
1) Game theory strikes again!
2) This is pretty much the David Wells' pattern too, I think.

You've got to have good enough command to do it, though. Otherwise, you pitch in fear of a hanger dropping into some masher's happy house. You'd think that this in combination with a solid scouting report would pretty much make hitters putty in just about any good pitcher's hand. I suspect that many others with a varied and well-controled repertoire have done this (maybe a Warren Spahn or a Ted Lyons/Eppa Rixey type?), though it's hard to know since it's easily confused with the old "curve in the fastball count" descriptions of hitters being kept off stride.
   16. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 03, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#2195261)
1) Game theory strikes again!

I played a lot of baseball in my younger days
One day the diamonds were all gone
   17. Juan V Posted: October 03, 2006 at 08:32 PM (#2196268)
I donĀ“t know if this has been alrady discussed, but here it goes.

I have been thinking... I believe that, for the DH era, ERA+ is underrating NL relievers with respect to their AL counterparts. A good part of the ERA difference between leagues is the DH (effectively creating a talent gap among the hitters they face), as we know, but in "relief innings" the pitcher is often (if not always) pinch hit for, thus reducing the talent gap among the hitters faced.
   18. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#2200087)
Ran Mike Marshall through my wringer so to speak.

Eligible relievers, I get him at #6 on career Pennants Added, way ahead of #7 (Perranoski).

1. Wilhelm    .853
2. Miller     .594
3. McDaniel   .566
4. Hiller     .524
5. Face       .504
6. Marshall   .481
7. Perranoski .393 


Peak is another story - he shines there.

First, his 3-year consecutive peak (1972-74, 20.5 WAR) is essentially tied with Hiller (20.4) and Radatz (20.7) for the best among eligibles.

Marshall was more consistent over the 3 years, Radatz and Hiller had a bigger 'best' year.

Marshall's 1973 (7.7) was actually better than his 1974 (6.6), when you take into account leverage and inherited runners. He had 179 IP in '73 and a much better 'rate' than in 1974 (similar leverage).

He also has the best 3rd (tied with Wilhelm), 4th and 5th best seasons of any eligible reliever. He's a great 'prime' candidate as eligible relievers go, probably the best out there. Two or three more seasons that were at his top 5 level and he'd be a very serious candidate in my opinion.

He's the top peak reliever candidate so far, IMO, unless you strictly focus on a 2-year peak (which seems silly to me), and even then he's only behind Radatz and Miller.
   19. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2200104)
Just for fun, starters with similar Pennants Added numbers to Marshall:

Ed Reulbach .485, LHP Dutch Leonard (with 1918 credit) .485, Noodles Hahn .484, Bill Dineen .481, Pink Hawley .477, Mort Cooper .474 (with 1944-45 credit), Tex Hughson .473, Dean Chance .472, Bill Sherdel .471.

Marshall was definitely a little better than I realized.
   20. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 03:13 AM (#2200260)
I'm going to run through a few more relievers, basically everyone who was retired through 1986, plus Sutter, who had no value after 1986. I'll also throw in Quisenberry and Gossage, but I won't quote anything they did after 1986, in the interest of fairness . . . hopefully I can get this done tonight. I think it's finally time to knock out the 1970s and early 80s closer crew to get a guage for how they compare to Wilhelm.
   21. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 03:23 AM (#2200284)
The guys in queue are:

Rawly Eastwick
Sparky Lyle
Tug McGraw
Rollie Fingers
Terry Forster
Jim Kern
Bruce Sutter
Dan Quisenberry
Goose Gossage
Tom Burgmeier
Ron Reed
Gary Lavelle
Gene Garber
Bill Campbell
Kent Tekulve
Bob Stanley

Not sure how many I'll knock off tonight. I'll probaby post the updated results on the old relievers thread to make it easier to find later.

If I'm missing anyone, let me know know . . . not ready for guys like Reardon, Lee Smith, etc. just yet.
   22. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 04:28 AM (#2200312)
Real quick, just wanted to mention that I'm now on board with Rollie Fingers in the Hall of Fame . . .

He scores at .757 Pennants Added. That puts him around Waite Hoyt, Bucky Walters and Rube Waddell in my system.

So while he may come up just a bit shy when directly compared to starters, if you are of the camp that 'at least a handful of relief aces' should make it, he belongs. I could see how he'd do better in a yes/no vote than in a ranking vote like ours, but I still think he belongs.

He's 33 runs above average on inherited runners prevented, which is the highest I've found. His career LI is 1.60.

His peak was great too, his high was 9.3 WAR (1981 - I adjust for the strike) followed by 6.4 in 1978, 5.9 in 1977, 5.5 in 1976.

Funny that he got famous with the A's, but his best years were in San Diego and Milwaukee. Between 1975 and 1982 he rattled off 5 years between 4.5 and 6.4, plus the 9.3 season - which is the 2nd best relief season I've found (behind Hiller's 1973). His peaks are 1976-78 and 1980-82.

He also is tied with Stu Miller for the 3rd best career DRA (my equivalent for RA/9) among relievers, behind only Hiller and Wilhelm, and he's behind only Wilhelm and McDaniel (barely) in translated innings.

Tug McGraw was at .566 PA (with 3 years above 6 WAR) which has him tied with Lindy McDaniel, Sparky Lyle at .383 (between Perranoski and Don McMahon) . . . more to follow . . .
   23. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 07:17 AM (#2200351)
Quisenberry/Sutter - very interesting comparison.

Neither started an inning in their careers, and Sutter threw 1042 innings, Quisenberry 1043.3.

Quisenberry was TERRIBLE with inherited runners, -28 for his career. That blows my mind, considering his control and groundball tendencies. But it is what it is. Sutter was pretty good, +12.

Both had equally good defenses behind them, getting a .07 DRA adjustment.

The NL was stronger than the AL during their careers, so Sutter gets a .02 bonus on his DRA, while Quisenberry gets docked .09.

But even with that (inherited runners, weaker league, etc.), Quisenberry was still 'better', career DRA 3.41 to Sutter's 3.46. If you remove leverage entirely, Sutter was better, 3.45 to 3.58, but Quisenberry was leveraged much higher in his good seasons, which improves his overall career mark (since my version of DRA is weighted for leverage).

But Sutter had 37 more decisions and 56 more saves . . . that's pretty amazing considering they threw the same number of innings and Quisenberry only pitched in 13 more games.

That's what shows up in the LI - Sutter's career LI is a mind-blowing 1.80, the highest I've found so far for a relief ace. Quisenberry's was only 1.33.

And that my friends is the major difference between the two. Sutter scores at .603 Pennants Added, Quisenberry only .453 (Quisenberry only has .020 PA after 1986, so I'm just including it all).

Removing leverage, their peaks are the same:

Sutter      4.74.63.72.82.82.5
Quisenberry 4.7
3.83.63.63.42.3 


But adding leverage back in, we get:

Sutter      8.47.67.15.34.54.0
Quisenberry 6.9
5.65.25.15.03.4 


So if you are going for value, Sutter is your man. If you are more interested in ability, they are as equal as you can get.

I can't endorse either for election, though Sutter is closer than I realized - a smidge ahead of Stu Miller. Miller actually has .8 more WAR, but Sutter slides ahead in PA on the basis of a better peak.
   24. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 08:05 AM (#2200362)
Finally the Goose, only through 1986 for purposes of this discussion.

He's a smidge behind Wilhelm at this point. .853 to .792. He was terrible in 1986 essentially a zero season, but if he can have just one more year like 1985, or two more like 1983 and 1984, he'll move ahead of Wilhelm as the greatest reliever of all-time. His 1985 pushed him past Fingers.

His career leverage at this point is 1.66, his translated IP are at 2167.7 and his DRA of 3.22 is by far the greatest ever for a reliever (through 1986) that I've calced.

His 1977 is the second best reliever season I've found, 10.7 WAR (Hiller 1973 12.0, Fingers 1981 9.3 are #1 and #3). I've got it as the 9th best season by anyone that I've calced, including starters.

He's easily the best peak reliever we've seen. His 1977 is the 2nd best season by any reliever so far. His 1975 is better than anyone else's 2nd best season. His 1982 is better than all but Sutter's 3rd best year, and tied with McGraw's 3rd best year. His 4th and 5th best seasons are the highest I've found, by a significant margin.

Gossage's top 3 consecutive are equal with Radatz, Marshall and Hiller (all between 20.4 and 20.7) - but the thing is, for Goose, his 3-year peak includes 1976, his starter season, which was only 2.2. That's how good he was in 1975 and 1977. If you use 1975, 77-78 for his 3-year reliever peak he's at 24.7 and blows the other 3 out of the water.

Goose's best 5 seasons are easily the highest, the list:

Gossage  36.6
Sutter   33.1
Fingers  32.3
Marshall 30.5
Miller   29.8
Hiller   29.5
Wilhelm  29.2
McGraw   28.5 


He's as slammalamma ding-dong of a Hall of Famer (or HoMer) as Hoyt Wilhelm was, IMO, he's the greatest reliever of all-time, even if he hasn't quite caught Wilhelm yet.
   25. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 08:10 AM (#2200363)
BTW, one note on Quisenberry/Sutter - Quisenberry's leverage of 1.3 is more in line with the other aces I've seen who are generally 1.3 or 1.4 for their careers.

Sutter, Fingers and Gossage are the exceptions so far, not the rule. The only others with LI's over 1.4 are Johnny Murphy (1.7), Joe Page (1.7) and Bob Grim (1.5).
   26. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2006 at 01:12 PM (#2200400)
Worth noting that Win Shares sees very different things than Joe's numbers do. And I don't trust WS for relievers much at all. It sees Fingers as like Minoso, good for a long time, but never superb in the way that Joe describes. Gossage is somewhat better. But Quis and Sutter come out superbly, especially Quis who is the best pitcher by WS in the American league in the period 1983-1985. That's best pitcher, not relief pitcher. He barely edges out Stieb.

Anyway, this is just to sound an early warning that if you're a WS voter, you may wish to switch to some other whole-value stat for relievers. I think it's leverage apparatus may not be sensitive enough to make the kind of distinctions we're looking to make. Though I suspect Joe D would perhaps have a strong sense of this than I can communicate.
   27. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 06, 2006 at 01:42 PM (#2200425)
One thing I should have added on Quisenberry, his 'terrible' inherited runner performance is entirely outside of his 1980-85 prime.

-6.7 in 1979, -5.4 in 1986, -12.9 in 1987 and -7.6 in 1988.

From 1980-85, he was +9.0, -1.6, -1.0, -1.4, -0.1, +.9.

********

The difference between Gossage and Sutter is equivalent to the difference between Marichal/Coveleski and Vaughn/Pollet/Orth/Pasqual. That's how big of a mistake it was for the Hall of Fame to take Sutter before Gossage.

********

As for the WS comment from Dr. C . . . Quis was very, very good in his prime . . . DRAs of 2.81, 3.39, 3.15, 2.45, 2.99, 3.15. That's a helluva pitcher. His equivalent IP are 181, 139, 184, 196, 180, 190. But it wouldn't surprise me if WS considered his leverage higher.

He turns in 17.3 WAR in his 1983-85 peak. I can't imagine that's high enough to be the best in the league, but the 1980s (before Clemens) were an era that lacked a great pitcher. James even mentioned in one of the Abstracts that while Stieb or Soto (I can't remember) was the best pitcher in the game, the number 50 guy was closer to Stieb/Soto than Stieb/Soto was to 1966 Koufax.

As for Sutter he comes out superbly in my system also. His 1977 is certainly a Cy Young candidate season (I haven't run enough pitchers from that season to know for sure though), as is his 1979 and 1984. I've got him as the #4 relief ace, ahead of Stu Miller and behind only Wilhelm, Gossage and Fingers - though he's way behind them, which is kind of why I'm comfortable with saying those 3 belong.

Fingers gets a huge boost from the inherited runners, and WS isn't going to pick that up. That probably lowers his career DRA by .25. His best year was a strike year, raw WS isn't going to give proper credit for that.

WS leverage is based mostly on saves, and Quisenberry was breaking saves records, but Fingers and Gossage were being leveraged higher.

Gossage's 1977 was 1.84 and 252 translated IP. That's just insane good, legendary good. His 1975 was a 2.15 in 199 IP. His 1981 even adjusting for the strike was only 92 IP, but a 1.08 DRA. Goose's 1985 was even better than Quisenberry's.
   28. Cabbage Posted: October 06, 2006 at 04:15 PM (#2200547)
Quick lurker question:

would having a high inning reliever like Marshall allow you to drop another pitcher off the roster and let you add another platoon? In my favorite theoretical roster, there is a reliever who can suck up a huge number of innings and let you safely drop down to 10 pitchers. An extra roster spot would give me another platoon at a weaker position (I'd also have a manager who didn't want a 4th utility infielder...)

Is that an extra value you should attribute to Marshall? Or is it simply too hypothetical?
   29. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: October 06, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2200563)
One of his (many) interesting theories was to throw a random pattern of pitches, regardless of count or score, instead of the standard "try to outguess the hitter" method, or standard "start with first-pitch fastball, then breaking pitches, throw fastballs when behind, etc." method.

Two things here.
1) Game theory strikes again!
2) This is pretty much the David Wells' pattern too, I think.

You've got to have good enough command to do it, though. Otherwise, you pitch in fear of a hanger dropping into some masher's happy house. You'd think that this in combination with a solid scouting report would pretty much make hitters putty in just about any good pitcher's hand. I suspect that many others with a varied and well-controled repertoire have done this (maybe a Warren Spahn or a Ted Lyons/Eppa Rixey type?), though it's hard to know since it's easily confused with the old "curve in the fastball count" descriptions of hitters being kept off stride.


This is the first I heard about this and I found it interesting. I wish that I knew more about how pitchers select pitches.
   30. OCF Posted: October 06, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#2200651)
Cabbage:

Once upon a time teams carrying 10 pitchers, or even 9, was standard, and no one commented on it. But through the 60's there were still lots of complete games, and a substantial share of the other innings were carried by swingmen who both started and relieved.

Now, taking a quick look specifically at the 1974 Dodgers on bb-ref (you'd have to look at Retrosheet to be sure about some of this stuff):

Starting with the position players - that team has something else going on, in that 3/4 of the infield (1B, SS, 3B) was basically never out of the lineup, which would cut down on the need to carry reserve infielders. And their #1 reserve (Joe Ferguson) was a positional oddity: a C/OF. That freed them up to do creative things with the position players. Looking at the players with more than 40 games, who were presumably there all year: they carried three reserve infielders anyway, Auerbach, McMullen, and Lacy (who could only get playing time at 2B because Cey and Russell never sat down). They had two reserve OF (Tom Paciorek and Von Joshua, and Lacy could have played OF if they'd needed him), and a pure PH (Manny Mota). The only LH bat they had coming off the bench was Joshua, and he had a terrible year (OPS+ 68). As the RH PH, Mota, was no prize that year (OPS+ 85).

That's 7 reserve position players there most of the time, which leaves room for 10 pitchers.

Alston was using a 4-man, or 4-day rotation for a good portion of the year, riding Sutton and Messersmith as hard as he could. Those two got 40 and 39 starts, with Doug Rau getting 35 starts; the remaining starts were partitioned among John, Downing, and Zahn. They got 33 complete games, which was a little below league average but not unusual. But Marshall soaked up the lion's share of the relief innings. Only 9 pitchers appeared in 5 or more games: the 6 starters or part-starters, Marshall, Hough, and Brewer - and Brewer only had 39 innings in 24 games.

So there were only 24 players who either pitched in 5 games or who had more than 20 at bats. What it really looks like is that Alston ran the operation a man short - or maybe he had somone on the bench all year who really didn't play. (Maybe that was Gail Hopkins: 3rd catcher, 15 games, 18 AB). And the three reserve infielders (Auerbach, McMullen, and Lacy) were starved for playing time as it was.

It's fairly obvious what they could have and maybe should have done: acquire a LH pinch-hitting specialist to complement Mota. But that didn't happen.
   31. OCF Posted: October 06, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2200680)
I would add that the 1974 Dodger season is a marker for another of our candidates: a pennant-winning team, and the 32-year-old Jimmy Wynn was probably their best player.
   32. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 06, 2006 at 08:10 PM (#2200838)
a reliever who can suck up a huge number of innings and let you safely drop down to 10 pitchers.

better yet, a four-man pen with a long man and a triad of guys who can all go two innings apiece on any given day. Then you get all the benefits of the Earl-Weaver bench.

I've often thought the perfect ten-man bullpen could look like this:

Closer who can got 1+ innings
Setup who can go two innings
Superman who can go three effective innings
Lefty 1-2 inning guy.
Rookie long man.

What you end up doing is alternating the Closer/Setup guy and the Superman. Superman goes three innings twice a week, while Closer and Setup are tandemed twice or thrice a week. Lefty can be used as needed to face particularly leftysome lineups but is effective enough to pitch to righties without getting torched and so doesn't have to be shuttled in and out of situations, which can disrupt your bullpen. And you get to break in a good prospect in long relief. In a perfect world, you've got an effective four-man rotation and you have room for one more setup guy who can go 2 innings at a shot, thereby relieving the need to have any starter get really stretched out.

But our world ain't perfect.
   33. OCF Posted: October 06, 2006 at 10:29 PM (#2201138)
(Referring to Dr. Chaleeko's #32)

That isn't what the '74 Dodgers did, of course. Sutton was averaging 7 innings per start and Messersmith 7 and a half. It looks like the typical pattern was that the started went as long as he could, or until they needed to pinch hit for him, then Marshall came into the game. The garbage innings, or the starter-pulled-early innings went to Hough, mostly. It looks like the greater part of the inning that Downing and Zahn pitched came in their starts, and they mostly didn't use Brewer at all. Marshall's leverage is limited by the fact that all late-inning situations - ahead, behind, tied, you name it - belonged to him.

Put it another way: the Dodgers played 162 games. 33 of those were complete games by the starters; that leaves 129 other games. Marshall appeared in 106 of those games. There were only 103 relief apperances by any other Dodger pitchers.
   34. sydhe Posted: October 07, 2006 at 04:09 AM (#2201857)
Marshall not only has the major league record for appearances in a season, he holds that record in each league. I wonder how many people hold the same record in both leagues?
   35. Paul Wendt Posted: October 08, 2006 at 03:02 AM (#2203439)
JoeDimino
Marshall was more consistent over the 3 years, Radatz and Hiller had a bigger 'best' year.

In Pete Palmer's system, which includes a simple estimate of leverage based on decisions, Radatz 1962-1964 is in a three-way tie with himself. You can't get more consistent than that. (I'm not sure why Palmer gets so many floating point integers, 26.0, but 26-26-26 is impressive enough in an integer rating.)

of Gossage, He's easily the best peak reliever we've seen.

and good enough in his eight and tenth best seasons that his prime looks more impressive than his peak (to me without benefit of JoeD's leverage and inherited data)

OCF
of Los ANgeles 1974, Alston ran the operation a man short - or maybe he had somone on the bench all year who really didn't play. (Maybe that was Gail Hopkins: 3rd catcher, 15 games, 18 AB).

I am leery of estimating roster time from atbats and games. so errorprone

I would add that the 1974 Dodger season is a marker for another of our candidates: a pennant-winning team, and the 32-year-old Jimmy Wynn was probably their best player.

It was Reggie Smith's first year in St Louis and his only 100 RBI season.

The garbage innings, or the starter-pulled-early innings went to Hough, mostly.

Joe, How low does the leverage rating go in full seasons, say 50 innings, presumably at the beginnings and ends of the careers of your elite relief pitchers?
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: October 08, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2203758)
Hopkins wasn't recalled from AAA until the All-Star break. That's about the time that Rhoden debuted, and Rex Hudson pitched his only game that month. It appears likely that Shanahan didn't come up until September - same as 1973 - and same probably goes for Solomon.

So you have a team that basically goes with the same 9 pitchers all year.
There were seasons where the roster limit was 24, not 25, but I think those came a little later. Other years, I believe, teams had an option to carry either number.

Does anyone else remember that?
   37. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 08, 2006 at 05:00 PM (#2203823)
i think the 24-man roster was part of the 1981 CBA, wasn't it?
   38. Cblau Posted: October 08, 2006 at 10:55 PM (#2204094)
The 1977 CBA established a 24-man minimum, along with the 25-man maximum. The conspiracy among owners to carry only 24 players didn't start until 1986, IIRC.
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: October 09, 2006 at 12:06 AM (#2204171)
Ok, so who was the Dodgers' mystery 25th man?
The only scrub hitter who was not age 20-22 (and presunably would be kept in the minots if never playing) was future manager Charlie Manuel.
He went 1 for 3 in 1974 and 2 for 15 in 1975 without ever appearing in the field. He also was acquired before the 1974 season and not released until after the end of the 1975 season.

Almost reminds me of Roger LaFrancois, who I unofficially cite as the last man to hit .400 while an active player all season (3rd string Red Sox X went 4-10 for the season, debuted May 27 and ended Oct 3 in his only season).
Like Ted Williams, he elected to put his .400 average on the line, and he went 2 for 5!
   40. TomH Posted: October 09, 2006 at 02:28 AM (#2204345)
I wonder how many people hold the same record in both leagues?

Jose Lima has the Highest seasonal ERA in both leagues :)
   41. DavidFoss Posted: October 09, 2006 at 04:33 AM (#2204437)
Jose Lima has the Highest seasonal ERA in both leagues :)

Since WWII. I believe Les Sweetland and Jack Knott have posted higher numbers in the 30s.

Not to take anything away from Lima. Its pretty darn impressive that two leagues have let him rack up enough innings with that high of an ERA.
   42. Richard Posted: October 09, 2006 at 05:26 AM (#2204475)
I wonder how many people hold the same record in both leagues?

Bill James says in the NBJHA that Bill Buckner a record in both leagues (I think assists in putouts at 1st base), and that Nolan Ryan holds or has held "a number" of records in both leagues. He also mentions Marshall's feat and a dual record held by one other player, but I can't remember who off the top of mt head...
   43. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 09, 2006 at 12:59 PM (#2204533)
Morgana's got to have both league's smoochie records!

If I had a kid who was like ten, (s)he'd never believe that spectators could not only get on the field, but get all the way to a player AND then kiss them. It was a different time in the pre-Monica-Seles, Pre-9/11, pre Tom-Gamboa-stabbing days.
   44. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 09, 2006 at 07:46 PM (#2204967)
Been out of the loop the last couple of days . . .

"Joe, How low does the leverage rating go in full seasons, say 50 innings, presumably at the beginnings and ends of the careers of your elite relief pitchers?"


Tekulve 1975 56 rIP, 1.08 LI; 1989 52 rIP, .66 LI
Campbell 1973 47.3 rIP, .90 LI; 1986 55.7 rIP, 1.45 LI
Garber 1973 99 rIP, 1.25 LI; 1987 83.7 rIP 1.74 LI
Lavelle 1975 82.3 rIP, 1.33 LI; 1985 72.7 rIP 1.79 LI
Reed 1976 107 rIP, 1.45 LI; 1984 73 rIP, 1.25 LI
Burgmeier 1968 67.3 rIP, .75 LI; 1983 96 rIP, 1.21 LI
Gossage 1972 77 rIP, .92 LI; 1994 47.3 rIP, .70 LI
Quisenberry 1979 40 rIP, 1.34 LI; 1989 78.3 rIP, .84 LI
Sutter 1976 83.3 rIP, 1.42 LI; 1988 45.3 rIP, 1.62 LI
Kern 1976 105.7 rIP, 1.64 LI; 1982 97.7 rIP, 1.18 LI
Forster 1971 37.7 rIP, 1.06 LI; 1986 41 rIP, 1.49 LI
Fingers 1969 74.3 rIP, 1.57 LI; 1985 55.3 rIP, 1.81 LI
McGraw 1965 41.7 rIP, .31 LI; 1984 38 rIP, .71 LI
Lyle 1967 43.3 rIP, 1.31 LI; 1982 48.7 rIP, 1.27 LI
Eastwick 1975 90 rIP, 1.37 LI; 1981 43.3 rIP, .97 LI
Marshall 1967 59 rIP, .97 LI; 1981 31 rIP, 1.29 LI
Knowles 1966 100.3 rIP, 1.25 LI; 1979 48.7 rIP, 1.26 LI
Giusti 1965 55.3 rIP, 1.33 LI; 1977 85.7 rIP, 1.11 LI
Carroll 1966 137.3 rIP, 1.05 LI; 1977 101.3 rIP, 1.12 LI
Brewer 1961 35 rIP, .55 LI; 1975 67.7 rIP, 1.01 LI
Granger 1968 44 rIP, .92 LI; 1976 32 rIP, 1.00 LI
Aker 1965 51.3 rIP, .92 LI; 1974 58 rIP, .77 LI
   45. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 18, 2006 at 04:05 AM (#2216193)
I found another pretty good one, Bob Stanley. Won't be eligible until 1995, but he fits in right between Quisenberry and Perranoski. I never realized he was that good. His 1983 was only surpassed by 11 relievers I've calced so far (some did it multiple times). Funny thing is that a lot of people think Quis was the most valuable reliever in 1983, when he set the saves record and all, but Stanley comes out as more valuable.

Quis was better per inning (2.45 to 2.90 when accounting for inherited runners, parks, etc.), but Stanley threw 6 more innings and was leveraged MUCH more effectively.
   46. Paul Wendt Posted: December 22, 2009 at 01:01 AM (#3419089)
There has been some discussion of Mike Marshall in "2011 Ballot Discussion".

No one is considering a vote for Marshall in 2011 afaik. He is topical chiefly because Mike Emeigh is working on relief pitchers using Retrosheet data and Marshall's heaviest workloads are the heaviest all-time, so he is one natural and compelling focal point. That thread opened soon after the 2010 election and it has been used for general discussion this month.

Look up^. It appears that Marshall's own thread was the venue for general discussion of relief pitchers a few years ago.
--

The following items are from "2011 Ballot Discussion". I have cut their quotations of each other. I hope it works.

Regarding JWPF13's reference #124 to "paying him$", visit Dr. Mike Marshall's Pitching Coach Services. Marshall studied kinesiology at Michigan State while he was a major league relief pitcher, a dual career featured by Sports Illustrated. He earned the PhD in Exercise Physiology 1978.

--
99. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 04, 2009 at 09:13 PM (#3404006)
... prior to about 1995 ... relief roles other than the end-of-game reliever weren't that stratified. You didn't start seeing true setup men until about 1990 (Mike Jackson and Duane Ward). The teams that had multiple-reliever bullpens, like the A's, Phillies and Pirates of the 70s, did so much mixing and matching that you can't really tell who was doing what other than the closer. Before the 90s, you pretty much had the closer and then everyone else, and anyone else in the pen could and did pitch in any role.


105. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 06, 2009 at 09:26 PM (#3405182)

> Mike, roughly when did the 'fireman' emerge as a bullpen feature?

By 1960 the fireman was well-established. Before about 1955, with the exception of the teams that Branch Rickey directly affected (Dodgers, Pirates, Cardinals) and Casey Stengel, there weren't that many teams who used them. Stengel's success in the AL, and Brooklyn's in the NL, drove the fireman model from what I can tell.

> And when did the Fireman Era end? Who was The Last Fireman?

The Fireman Era ended over the 15-year period between 1975 and 1990. That was an era of rapid role changes in reliever usage. Lee Smith, mentioned in #104, was probably the last career reliever who could have been said to be used as a fireman.

> Isn't the distinguishing characteristic of the modern era that relievers are brought in at the start of innings?

Yes. That and reducing the number of innings that you expect any reliever to pitch in any one game, so that you can have any reliever available at any time. It has become rare for a reliever to pitch more than two innings in a game, absent extra innings.

> I'm sure that's one of them, but the bigger would be that roles are defined by the inning in which you pitch, rather than by how much "trouble" there is.

Well, that how we perceive it. But the determination that it was better to have a fresh arm to start an inning came first - then the assignment of those arms to specific innings came later.


108. DL from MN Posted: December 07, 2009 at 10:12 AM (#3405464)
When I think of a "fireman" reliever I think of someone like Mike Marshall or Gossage - best reliever brought in for 1+ innings. A LOOGY is brought in strictly for platoon advantage and dumped shortly thereafter. Fireman evolved into "setup reliever" but he's now the 2nd or 3rd best reliever. The best guy got moved to the closer role.


111. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 07, 2009 at 02:30 PM (#3405865)
I think the real eye-opener was what happened to Mike Marshall after his 106-appearance season in 1974. Marshall went on the DL in May of the following season after being hammered for nine runs in two innings by the Pirates, and while he pitched reasonably well when he came back he wound up 9-14 overall with eight blown saves in 21 opportunities. That convinced some people that ace relievers couldn't continually be asked to handle every tight late-inning situation. Sutter added some additional fuel to that fire, but the trend toward fewer innings, especially when trailing or tied, for the ace reliever had already begun by that point.


113. Howie Menckel Posted: December 07, 2009 at 07:36 PM (#3406104)
And of course the more amazing figure was the 208.3 IP and 15 W - ALL in relief.

That must seem impossible to you youngsters under 40.
:)

In 1973-74, his combined numbers were 29-23 with 52 SV, 198 G (all in relief) and 387.1 IP, with a 2.53 ERA.

The 1974 IP total was 29th in the league, behind 28 SPs, and 3rd on the Dodgers.

Interesting that this was the same franchise that had just used up Koufax 7-8 years earlier (of course, both reached the postseason).


124. JPWF13 Posted: December 21, 2009 at 02:35 PM (#3418794)
What is fascinating to me is how Mike Marshall argues that he could handle certain workloads because he knew/knows stuff about pitching mechanics that no one else does (and he won't tell you unless you pay him$)- but in reality Marshall COULD NOT handle those workloads (not for long any way).

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