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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mike Schmidt

Eligible in 1995.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:12 PM | 112 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:16 PM (#2295646)
My favorite non-Met player that I actually saw play, I used to get annoyed when some would tout Brooks Robinson as the greatest all-around third baseman even up to the time that Schmitty retired. Are there people out there who still believe this?
   2. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2295648)
Borderline. .267, lots of strikeouts, clogged up the bases with all those walks, and was a one-dimensional slugger.




;)
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:32 PM (#2295662)
Heh. :-)
   4. Juan V Posted: February 11, 2007 at 08:40 PM (#2295673)
If only he put the ball in play more often...
   5. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:20 PM (#2295706)
With apologies to Mathews, Brett, and Boggs, I don't think there's any doubt that Schmidt is the obvious choice for the best 3B ever. People often forget what a good athlete he was. He had decent speed for a 6' 2" 200+ guy: 59 career triples, 174 steals (though a 65% rate). Didn't ground into a ton of dPs, but then again, the strikeouts help that....

Powerful: 8 home run titles. 10 top every year from 1974-1987, except for 1978, when he hit "just" 21.

Durable: played 150+ games 10 times, plus 102 games in 1981 out of team's 107 games. Three other years of 145+ games, plus one season of 130+ games.

Sneaky fast: 59 career triples are 9th out of the 17 guys who have hit 500 homers since WW2; His 174 steals are 8th among the same 17 500-homer guys; His GIDP rate per BIP (as AB-K-HR) is the lowest of any righty hitter among the 500-homer guys post-WW2, trailing only Bonds, Mantle, and Griffey (whom he is in a near tie with), and tied with Reggie.

Discriminating pitch selection: 3 number ones in OBP with 8 other top-ten OBP finishes; 16th all time in walks with four number-one season finishes and top-ten every year 1974-1987.

Excellent Fielder: Gold Glove 1976-1986, except 1985; FRAA1 sees double digit totals all sesons 1974-1987 (except 1982 and 1985), with a total of 183 FRAA, and with two 20 FRAA years, plus five of 15 or better.

The Whole Enchilada (or Cheesesteak as it were): 147 career OPS+, 44th all time, leading league 1980-1984 plus 1986, and top-ten 1974-1987 except 1978; .314 EQA career, with nine seasons of .320 or higher; 11 seasons of 10+ WARP1, plus a 9.9 and two 7.5+ years, for a total of 157.4; 467 career WS, 481 if adjusted for the strike, including 9 30+ seasons and 4 25+ seasons---WS sees him as the best 3B in the NL for every three-year period running 1974-1976 through 1986-1988, and it see him as the best position player in the NL for every three-year period 1978-1980 through 1982-1984, plus as within 5% of the leader 1976-1978 and within 10% 1984-1985.

So add it all up and he'll probably start out as 16th on my ballot.
   6. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:37 PM (#2295717)
So add it all up and he'll probably start out as 16th on my ballot.

Liar. :-)

With yest on board in regard to giving him a first-place spot on his ballot, Schmidt looks like he has a great shot to be our next unanimous pick.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:40 PM (#2295718)
With apologies to Mathews, Brett, and Boggs, I don't think there's any doubt that Schmidt is the obvious choice for the best 3B ever.

Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

Mike Schmidt was the first superstar I ever saw retire. I think it was just a few months into the 1988 season and he was hitting under .200. I had just become a baseball fan, but I remembered him from Campbell's soup commercials but I didn't recognize that he was a great player or anything. It wasn't til I grew up a bit that I realized how great he was.
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:43 PM (#2295721)
Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

That honor goes to The Flying Dutchman.
   9. Chris Fluit Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:46 PM (#2295722)
I don't know, "Alex Gordon's #1 Fan"- Honus Wagner at SS and Rogers Hornsby at 2B don't have a lot of challengers either.
   10. Mark Donelson Posted: February 11, 2007 at 09:49 PM (#2295723)
There's some dispute on Hornsby, I'd say (Collins, Morgan). Not saying I agree with it, but I've heard some.
   11. DCW3 Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:09 PM (#2295726)
Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

There's not much dispute for now, but assuming A-Rod stays at 3B, he's almost certain to end up with a more valuable career than Schmidt.
   12. cardsfanboy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:16 PM (#2295729)
but is Arod going to be considered a third baseman or shortstop? I mean Ernie Banks is considered a shortstop.
   13. DCW3 Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:20 PM (#2295732)
Well, I'd classify Banks as a first baseman. But, yeah, players like that are hard to rate, so A-Rod still might not end up thought of as a better 3B than Schmidt.
   14. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:20 PM (#2295733)
I'd imagine that Babe Ruth is probably not often challenged as best RF, but I don't know if that true or not.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:23 PM (#2295734)
but is Arod going to be considered a third baseman or shortstop? I mean Ernie Banks is considered a shortstop.

A-Rod most likely will be grouped with the shortstops.
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:28 PM (#2295736)
Well, I'd classify Banks as a first baseman.

If Banks have had to rely on his first base years for the HOF, he would have had no chance. IOW, the shortstop years are his calling card (and why he is classified as such in the HOF and HoM).
   17. DCW3 Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:37 PM (#2295743)
If Banks have had to rely on his first base years for the HOF, he would have had no chance. IOW, the shortstop years are his calling card (and why he is classified as such in the HOF and HoM).

Yes, the overwhelming majority of his career value is as an SS, but I personally would still classify players at the position where they played the most games. Like I said, there's no good answer for players like that, and in the end, it doesn't really matter anyway.
   18. Steve Treder Posted: February 11, 2007 at 10:54 PM (#2295750)
I'd imagine that Babe Ruth is probably not often challenged as best RF

Given that Ruth played almost exactly as many games in LF as in RF, he's a difficult one to peg to a single position as well.
   19. DCW3 Posted: February 11, 2007 at 11:35 PM (#2295766)
I personally would still classify players at the position where they played the most games.

And, speaking as a Cardinal fan, one benefit of this approach is that you get to talk about Stan Musial as the best first baseman of all time.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 11, 2007 at 11:53 PM (#2295769)
And, speaking as a Cardinal fan, one benefit of this approach is that you get to talk about Stan Musial as the best first baseman of all time.

:-)
   21. tjm1 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 12:08 AM (#2295772)
Anyone wonder if Schmidt might have been a shortstop if he'd come along a little later? He played there in college, and filled in there at various points in his career, and if there hadn't been such a bias against big shortstops in the 1970's, he might have stuck there in the big leagues, instead of getting moved to 3B.

And might an average defensive shortstop who hit like Schmidt been the best player of all time?
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 12:12 AM (#2295773)
But then there'd have been no room for Steve Jeltz!
   23. DCW3 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2295775)
And might an average defensive shortstop who hit like Schmidt been the best player of all time?

Well, Honus Wagner was an above-average defensive shortstop who was an even better hitter than Schmidt, relative to his era.
   24. BDC Posted: February 12, 2007 at 12:36 AM (#2295777)
Anyone wonder if Schmidt might have been a shortstop if he'd come along a little later?

In an ideal world, Schmidt might well have stayed at SS; on the mid-1970s Phillies, though, it would not have made any sense to move Larry Bowa.
   25. AndrewJ Posted: February 12, 2007 at 01:54 AM (#2295802)
Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

No, but Schmitty was regarded as the greatest third baseman ever while he was still active, which hasn't frequently happened in the last 40-50 years.

Schmidt came into his own in the early 1980s, just as Bill James, Pete Palmer et al. gained national exposure, and I think Schmidt was one of the first all-time greats whose reputation was enhanced by sabermetrics. The Hidden Game of Baseball was published in 1984 and had Schmidt in the top 20 players listed by linear weights. That took a lot of 1980s fans by surprise, who had just focused on his relatively low BA and high K rates.
   26. OCF Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:45 AM (#2295823)
The comment I had stored up but I wasn't on line when the thread opened (so the speculation about SS isn't a response to anyone above):

For offense alone, in my system Schmidt winds up a little behind Eddie Mathews. In particular, while Schmidt has a particularly steady prime, Mathews has the best top years. Of course, there's a large defensive difference between Mathews and Schmidt.

Schmidt played 24 games - some of them undoubtedly partial games - at SS. When Schmidt, 22 years old in 1972, had a cup of coffee in the majors, the Phillies had a 26-year old Larry Bowa well established at SS and a 25-year-old Don Money at 3B. Money had two bad years in a row in 1971-72, but he had come up as a fine player, and would be a fine player for many years to come. In the 1972-73 off-season, the Phillies traded away Money, clearing a path for Schmidt to take over as the regular 3B. (Cesar Tovar - an indirect part of the take from trading Money - played some 3B in 1973, probably because the management was getting a bit itchy about Schmidt's .196 BA.)

Here's a wild "what if" to contemplate: what if the Phillies management had come to the same conclusion about Schmidt that the Orioles came to a few years later about Ripken - that he could actually play SS? And what if they had traded away Bowa and kept Money?

bb-ref has splits! Schmidt had 611 PA - about a season's worth, albeit in only 138 games - in Wrigley Field. In those 611 PA, he went .307/.396/.653, with 118 runs, 50 HR (!) and 124 RBI. Only 18 of his 77 BB were IBB, to which you have to say, "Why so few? Would you pitch to MJS in Wrigley?" His really memorable Wrigley games aren't hard to find,
   27. Sam M. Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:49 AM (#2295840)
Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

Actually, I think he is. Every other candidate for this honor -- Wagner, Hornsby, Ruth -- runs into the "pre-Jackie Robinson" objection, or the "timeline" objection. Schmidt faces neither of these. There are really no legitimate "buts . . . " when it comes to Schmidt regarding the quality of the competition he faced. And no bogus ones either, if you think those objections are bogus when it comes to Wagner, for instance. The point is not whether the disputes are legit; the point is there are disputes based on the era in which those guys played, leaving Schmidt as the least disputed best at his position.
   28. TerpNats Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:03 AM (#2295846)
Mike Schmidt was the first superstar I ever saw retire. I think it was just a few months into the 1988 season and he was hitting under .200.


Actually, it was 1989, late May to be precise.

Schmidt played 24 games - some of them undoubtedly partial games - at SS.


One of those partial games was the April '87 game in Pittsburgh where he hit his 500th HR (a three-run shot to rally the Phillies from a deficit in the ninth). Schmidt played shortstop in the bottom of the ninth as the Phils held on, but I don't believe he had any chances.

I had seen Schmidt play occasionally during his career, but really began appreciating him when I moved to Philadelphia in 1986 (his last MVP season). One of the smartest players I ever saw, not just as a hitter, but as a fielder and baserunner.
   29. OCF Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:36 AM (#2295855)
If you use games as the denominator, he has extremely low range factors as a SS - that's what makes me think that it's predominantly partial games, and we'd have to have it in innings even to get an unreliable small sample.
   30. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:44 AM (#2295867)
In case you're truly interested in that unreliable small sample, Schmidt played 94.7 innings at SS.
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 02:52 PM (#2295941)
the April '87 game in Pittsburgh where he hit his 500th HR

Three oddball things I really remember about Schmidt's career.
1) Harry Kalas's 500th HR call, featuring Schmdit's full name: Michael Jack Schmidt.
2) Schmidt had some kind of dispute going on either with the media or with the team or with the fans, and he one day wore a big, silly wig and fake glasses to the ballpark...in the Ansonian tradition, I guess. I think it was around 1985ish.
3) I recently saw video of a commercial he did for wrangler jeans where he fields, hits, runs and slides in denim, with his uniform shirt tucked in. Kind of surreal to watch 20 years later.
   32. The Wilpons Must Go (Tom D) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2295946)
I used to get annoyed when some would tout Brooks Robinson as the greatest all-around third baseman even up to the time that Schmitty retired. Are there people out there who still believe this?

When I was a kid in the 1970's, the top guy was Pie Traynor.
   33. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:19 PM (#2295959)
Schmidt may be the first player we will vote on that I really remember watching AND that I can remember seeing live. He was a favorite player for a year or so when I was like five, before I became a Don Mattingly fan. There is still a big poster on the door of my room in my parents house of him. However, it is old and has a girl from high school's phone number on it...
   34. JPWF13 Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:21 PM (#2295963)
When I was a kid in the 1970's, the top guy was Pie Traynor.


When I was a kid in the 1970s the old farts said Traynor was the best ever, the young farts said it was Robinson and a few mavericks said Eddie Matthews...


but really began appreciating him when I moved to Philadelphia in 1986 (his last MVP season). One of the smartest players I ever saw, not just as a hitter, but as a fielder and baserunner.


Most Phillie fans I know thought just the opposite- they were wrong of course.
   35. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:28 PM (#2295971)
Most Phillie fans I know thought just the opposite- they were wrong of course.

Which is funny to read because Phillie sportsphans (and teams and media) are widely known throughout the sporting landscape for their wisdom, their considered and thoughtful approaches to evaluating players on their city's teams, and for supporting the contributions of their best players with the appropriate mix of encouraging applause and temperate editorializing.
   36. Thirty-two Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2295982)
Did Schmidt invent the technique of charging soft grounders and playing them bare-handed? Of heard that from at least two different people. He certainly seemed to do it more than anyone else I've ever seen. The astroturf probably aided this, as he got a better bounce.

Whenever anyone ranks the best players ever, all positions, Schmidt usually ends up as the 1st 3B, somewhere between 20 and 30. I think every other position has someone rated higher. Is that just a case of "somebody's got to be last", or is it possible that 3B defense is undervalued? I don't have much to go on there besides the fact that in all my personal playing experience, the best baseball player (not necessarily the best athlete) played third.
   37. Thirty-two Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:44 PM (#2295984)
That's supposed to be "I've heard that from at least two different people"
   38. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:51 PM (#2295985)
Is that just a case of "somebody's got to be last", or is it possible that 3B defense is undervalued?

Partly it depends on what you mean by "undervalued". I think you can make an argument that 3B is the toughest position to play - the ball gets on you fastest and you have the longest throws to make - but SS and 2B (and probably at least CF in the outfield) are more "valuable" just because they get so many more chances. I've played around in the past with comparing relative difficulties of defensive positions by looking at how the players perform when they play more than one position, and guys who play multiple infield positions tend to be better at 2B than at 3B and comparable at 3B and SS.
   39. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:52 PM (#2295986)
Did Schmidt invent the technique of charging soft grounders and playing them bare-handed? Of heard that from at least two different people. He certainly seemed to do it more than anyone else I've ever seen. The astroturf probably aided this, as he got a better bounce.

He was certainly the best that I ever saw handle that play.
   40. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2295992)
Is that just a case of "somebody's got to be last", or is it possible that 3B defense is undervalued?

Mid-spectrum guys (2B-3B) often get short shrift when these lists are made. Part of it is because the "best ever guys" are good at everything and tend to bunch up at CF, SS or P. Part of it is the restriction that you have to be right handed. And part of it is the nature of being in the middle of the spectrum... fewer guys come up there and stay there. You have guys who started as SS and shifted and you have other guys who came up as 3B and shifted to 1B or LF.

I don't have much to go on there besides the fact that in all my personal playing experience, the best baseball player (not necessarily the best athlete) played third.

What level of playing experience do you have? My recollection of lower amateur leagues was that it was much more difficult to find a guy who could make the throw all the way across the infield. Is that too low a level? :-)
   41. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2295993)
When I was a kid in the 1970s the old farts said Traynor was the best ever, the young farts said it was Robinson and a few mavericks said Eddie Matthews...

That also about sums it up for me, though Robinson was the name I heard more often during the Eighties.
   42. TomH Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:11 PM (#2296001)
The best two dozen ballplayers ever, in order, with active players rated tentatively, especially those with, um, questions concerning their supplementary enhancements:
Ruth Wagner Bonds Mays Johnson
Williams Aaron Gibson Musial Cobb
Mantle Clemens Charleston Grove <u>Mike Schmidt</u>
Morgan Gehrig Young Speaker Collins
Hornsby Maddux Seaver Alexander

Schmitty or Wagner as the most obvious choice of best-at-position. Wagner probably is most obvious, unless you really believe in Pop Lloyd. Josh Gibson to me might be even further ahead at his position, but this isn't "obvious" to most people, so I'll let it go....
   43. Thirty-two Posted: February 12, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2296018)
DavidFoss,

I never played high school ball, but I played sandlot with guys who did. It was just my experience that the guys with high baseball IQ's tended to play third. They knew where the throw from the outfield was supposed to go, for instance. I readily admit that it's nothing to go on, I was just making an observation.

Actually I guess the main requirement was a willingness to take the occasional line drive to the gut.
   44. TerpNats Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2296034)
the April '87 game in Pittsburgh where he hit his 500th HR

Three oddball things I really remember about Schmidt's career.
1) Harry Kalas's 500th HR call, featuring Schmidt's full name: Michael Jack Schmidt.


I recall listening to that game while driving around Center City (it was the night after Julius Erving scored his 30,000th point, BTW) and have heard Harry's call of it many times...it went out so quickly -- a line drive to left -- that Harry couldn't go into his normal "outta here" phrase, nor did he try to tack it on. (I shudder to think how John Sterling would've handled it.) No matter, though, it was a great call, particularly considering that it also would win the game for the Phils.
   45. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2296049)
(I shudder to think how John Sterling would've handled it.)

Mmmmnnit is high. Mmmmnnnit is far. Mmmmmnnnit is gone! Schmaschingly Schmidty!

Or something like that....
   46. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:19 PM (#2296051)
Were most of Schmidt's homers of the line drive sort, or did he tend to hit moonballs?
   47. Adam B. Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:30 PM (#2296062)
I remember mostly line drives.

Re: 2) Schmidt had some kind of dispute going on either with the media or with the team or with the fans, and he one day wore a big, silly wig and fake glasses to the ballpark...in the Ansonian tradition, I guess. I think it was around 1985ish.

He had given some interviews where he called the fans "a mob scene", etc., and he had been getting booed pretty regularly. So he came out with the wig and sunglasses one game, and that ended everything.

The thing about Philadelphia fans is that they don't appreciate greatness as much as they appreciate the appearance of effort. That's why Iverson and Dykstra were loved here, but not Schmidt or Rolen, who made their jobs look easy.
   48. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2296076)
Were most of Schmidt's homers of the line drive sort, or did he tend to hit moonballs?

Line drives. Very scary line drives.

He wasn't a particular pull hitter. He hit a lot of his homers to dead center, and quite a few to right center as well. They tended to get out in a very big hurry.
   49. Thirty-two Posted: February 12, 2007 at 05:47 PM (#2296077)
The thing about Philadelphia fans is that they don't appreciate greatness as much as they appreciate the appearance of effort.


And yet Erving, who made everything look effortless, might be the most univerally beloved Philly athlete of my lifetime (I never saw Ashburn play).

I think the booing of Schmidt became a tradition of sorts for some fans. Not that it started out that way. But eventually it just became a thing you did at the ballpark, and was done at least half in jest. I would equate it to the Cubs fans throwing back homeruns. It does define Philly sports fans in many other parts of the country, though, along with the Santa thing. I had to explain it to many people in Pittsburgh when I was in school there.
   50. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2296169)
Were most of Schmidt's homers of the line drive sort, or did he tend to hit moonballs?

In terms of home run stroke, Schmidt was Gehrig, while Luzinski was Ruth. The Bull hit the shots that made you strain your neck, not Michael Jack.
   51. philphan Posted: February 12, 2007 at 08:39 PM (#2296230)
Here I am, I lurk all of the time, I hardly ever post, but I decide to jump into this thread because of my love for Schmidty, and what happens? I mess up my (rather long) post and it vanishes into the ether. (Or whatever these electrons float in.)

To reiterate:

I became a fanatical Phillies fan in about 1968. The downside of this was that I suffered a lot--Joe Lis, Roger Freed, Pete Koegel, Darrell Brandon, Mike Compton....it's a pretty appalling list of "players". But the upside was that I got to see and root for the great Michael Jack (and yeah, I seem to recall Harry and Richie calling him that a fair amount) from the day of his arrival (.196 season and everything).

About the SS thing: My mind is as clouded as you would expect a 50+ guy's to be, but I believe I read at the time that the Phils moved Schmidt from SS to 3B in the minors because they were concerned about the long-term effects of knee surgery that he had had in high school (football injury????), so they wanted him to play a position that did not demand a lot of lateral movement.

But he had quite a lot of lateral movement as a 3B (not to mention his charging and short-hopping balls, which was mentioned above). I have often thought that at least part of Bowa's defensive reputation was made by having Schmidty to his right; Bo just knew that it was safe to shift a couple of steps to his left, because Schmidt could play so far off the line.

Back to lurk (I mean work!). MJS was the greatest.

p.s. When did Phillie fans develop this thing about Ks? Clearly, Burrell is far from the first Phils hitter to be excessively booed for striking out--it happened to Schmidt a lot also.
   52. Jose Canusee Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2296280)
18. Steve Treder Posted: February 11, 2007 at 05:54 PM (#2295750)

I'd imagine that Babe Ruth is probably not often challenged as best RF

Given that Ruth played almost exactly as many games in LF as in RF, he's a difficult one to peg to a single position as well.


Did Ruth do the usual full move to LF with age, or did they keep him in RF at home because of the smaller area?
   53. DavidFoss Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:47 PM (#2296288)
Did Ruth do the usual full move to LF with age, or did they keep him in RF at home because of the smaller area?

Ruth and Meusel swapped back and forth LF/RF throughout the 20s. We're developping quite a tangent here, but anyone know the story there? LF in Yankee Stadium was indeed cavernous.
   54. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 12, 2007 at 09:50 PM (#2296290)
Ruth and Meusel swapped back and forth LF/RF throughout the 20s.

I think Ruth would play the area where the sun wasn't shining in his eyes.
   55. Ron Johnson Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:21 PM (#2296322)
Ruth and Meusel swapped back and forth LF/RF throughout the 20s. We're developping quite a tangent here, but anyone know the story there? LF in Yankee Stadium was indeed cavernous.


Meusel had the best OF arm in the game. He was moved to take advantage of it.

Looking at the world series record, in 1926 Meusel played RF in two of the three road games and in 1928 he played RF in both road games.
   56. Steve Treder Posted: February 12, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2296326)
I think Ruth would play the area where the sun wasn't shining in his eyes.

Yes. LF in Yankee Stadium was a horrific sun field (and remember all the games were afternoon games), as well as being an enormous ground to cover. So the routine became that Ruth played RF in home games, as well as in some road parks with tough LFs (likely Washington), and LF on the road.
   57. Adam B. Posted: February 12, 2007 at 11:34 PM (#2296387)
Burrell isn't booed for strikeouts per se; it's the called third strike strikeouts in particular.
   58. Paul Wendt Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:18 AM (#2296552)
No, but Schmitty was regarded as the greatest third baseman ever while he was still active,

Willie Mays, Johnny Bench, and Barry Bonds have been haled some. I suspect that Bench was more often haled "all-time best at his position" than Schmidt, when active.

My sense is that only Ruth and Gehrig from more than 50 years ago remain hands down consensus selections.
   59. Paul Wendt Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:28 AM (#2296563)
(Sorry, my quotation was from Andrew Siegel #25 --the end of the thread as I wrote.)
Schmitty was regarded as the greatest third baseman ever while he was still active, which hasn't frequently happened in the last 40-50 years.

So I meant, we have Mays Bench and Bonds in the last 50 years.


Here's a wild "what if" to contemplate: what if the Phillies management had come to the same conclusion about Schmidt that the Orioles came to a few years later about Ripken - that he could actually play SS? And what if they had traded away Bowa and kept Money?

What if Phillies mgmt came to the same conclusion about Schmidt as it did a few years later about Sandberg! --eg, threw him in with Denny Doyle in a trade for Rennie Stennett?
   60. Paul Wendt Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:47 AM (#2296588)
the drug scandals might be known for ruining one of the strongest clubs in baseball history --the Pittsburg Pirates with say 8 divisions and three World Series in a decade.

Re #35, we at the Hall of Merit can take pride in the maturation of droll Eric Chalek, for we have played a part, as the always patient sometimes appreciative never derogatory audience for the developing artist . . .

EC #46
Were most of Schmidt's homers of the line drive sort, or did he tend to hit moonballs?

What they said. Line drives. The striking contrast between Schmidt's and Luzinski's clouts was a talking point, and an imagination point if you know what I mean.

Re the wig & glasses:
2) Schmidt had some kind of dispute going on either with the media or with the team or with the fans, and he one day wore a big, silly wig and fake glasses to the ballpark...in the Ansonian tradition, I guess. I think it was around 1985ish.

He had given some interviews where he called the fans "a mob scene", etc., and he had been getting booed pretty regularly. So he came out with the wig and sunglasses one game, and that ended everything.


It is a reasonably big event in his recent book. Evidently it made up for some of "everything" that happened before the episode of the month, too.
   61. baudib Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:34 AM (#2296704)



but really began appreciating him when I moved to Philadelphia in 1986 (his last MVP season). One of the smartest players I ever saw, not just as a hitter, but as a fielder and baserunner.



Most Phillie fans I know thought just the opposite- they were wrong of course.


This is utterly false. Schmidt was voted the greatest Phillie ever in 1983 by a pretty wide margin, pretty heady accomplishment for a player in mid-career. Of course, you'd have to go back 90 years to find real competition (Delahanty or Hamilton), but no one in Philadelphia ever disputed his talent or value.
   62. EricC Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:36 AM (#2296705)
With apologies to Mathews, Brett, and Boggs, I don't think there's any doubt that Schmidt is the obvious choice for the best 3B ever.

I have Mathews first and Schmidt second.
   63. baudib Posted: February 13, 2007 at 11:41 AM (#2296706)
BTW, check out the extrapolations on Schmidt's 1981 season, a truly overlooked great season because he lost 1/3 of the season and it was one of the lowest-scoring seasons in the NL during his career.
   64. GregD Posted: February 13, 2007 at 12:37 PM (#2296713)
Willie Mays, Johnny Bench, and Barry Bonds have been haled some. I suspect that Bench was more often haled "all-time best at his position" than Schmidt, when active.


I think that's right. In my memory (I'm 35), Johnny Bench is the player most often referred to in his career as the greatest ever at his position. Not likely to become the greatest ever (A-Rod.) Bonds didn't get referred to that way in the mass media until the late career explosion, but Bench was being discussed as the greatest catcher ever at least as early as the mid-1970s and from what slightly older people have told me, quite often by 1972.

It's interesting that Berra's legacy has reasserted itself. I think one of the things that made Bench seem in person to be so wonderful was that he was such a beautiful athlete behind the plate. On his stats, it is at least a debate, and quite possibly Berra has the edge. As the memory of Bench fades, so does his edge.

I remember around 1981 or 1983 hearing for the first time that Schmidt might be the best. At the time the discussion was Traynor. My sense as a preteen was that people felt like he needed the 500 HRs to claim the spot (which is absurd in retrospect, of course.)

Going back, I'd guess that people started talking about Williams as the greatest left fielder ever pretty quickly, but that Mays was slower to develop as the greatest center fielder ever. That Mantle kid across the river was pretty tough himself.

I have Mathews first and Schmidt second.


Really? Is there an adjustment for Mathews' park effect that really helps him? Or does your analysis show people have misread Schmidt's defense? They seem like essentially similar players (with different career arcs) and so are easy to compare, and Schmidt looks to me to have a small but real advantage.
   65. Dizzypaco Posted: February 13, 2007 at 01:36 PM (#2296735)
In the 70's, Schmidt was considered very good, but hardly an all time great. That changed in the 80's, and I clearly remember Schmidt being considered the greatest ever by many people by the mid 80's. Bench was the opposite - he started his career very strong, and so he quickly moved to the top of the list, and then faded as his career did.

There are some arguments that you can reasonably make - for example, I could see an argument that, at his prime, George Brett was better than Schmidt. I don't know that I'd agree with it, but I could definitely see the argument. I don't think you can make a reasonable argument that Eddie Mathews was better than Schmidt. A system which shows Mathews was better than Schmidt tells you far more about the system than it does abot the relative merits of the players. Not only was Schmidt clearly better defensively, he was pretty clearly better offensively as well. Schmidt led the league several times in almost every important statistical category, and when he didn't lead the league, he came close. He was, simply put, the best hitter in the league for a long time. Eddie Matthews almost never led the league in anything, including park adjusted numbers. Matthews was a terrific hitter, but he didn't come close to dominating his league like Schmidt did.
   66. Thirty-two Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:25 PM (#2296783)
Two more quick memories:

Around '76 or '77 there was a rumored trade that would have sent Schmidt to the Orioles for Doug Decinces. I was all for it (I was about 10), because Decinces had the higher BA, and, I suspect, because Decinces didn't have that ridiculous afro.

After the '84 season, there was a widely reported trade (I heard it in Pittsburgh) that would have sent him to the Dodgers for a couple of people, mainly Mike Marshall. My memory is that this trade was cancelled at the last possible moment (maybe even after the last possible moment), largely due to the negative reaction in Philly.
   67. tjm1 Posted: February 13, 2007 at 03:30 PM (#2296787)
Well, Honus Wagner was an above-average defensive shortstop who was an even better hitter than Schmidt, relative to his era.


Yes - although Wagner and Schmidt relative to their eras, e.g. by OPS+, are very close. It doesn't take much of an era adjustment to say Schmidt was a better hitter than Wagner.

Oddly, Wagner wasn't a full-time shortstop until his late 20's. Does anyone know why this was?
   68. OCF Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2296834)
In my system, I have Wagner as a much, much better hitter than Schmidt - which is not intended as a knock on Schmidt. Wagner and George Davis had parallel journeys, both starting as outfielders and both winding up at SS. At one point I speculated that it might have been better to keep a frachise hitter out of the infield for his own safety during the brutal '90's - but I don't think that's really the explanation in either case. In Wagner's case, he was a big guy - not tall, but muscular, a little funny looking, almost always the strongest guy on the field. He didn't look like a shortstop, and it may have been a little difficult for baseball men to imagine him in that role until he was actually doing it. And he remains a remarakable "late bloomer" story, with his peak value towering over what he was in his early-to-mid 20's.
   69. Steve Treder Posted: February 13, 2007 at 04:55 PM (#2296859)
Oddly, Wagner wasn't a full-time shortstop until his late 20's. Does anyone know why this was?

As OCF says, Wagner didn't look the part of a shortstop. His size in modern equivalence would be like 6'1", 230, with an enormous chest and arms. No one today would look at a young athlete like that and think "shorstop!", so it really isn't surprising that no one did in the 1890s either.

Yet Wagner played through his mid-20s as an exceptionally adept supersub OF-1B-3B guy, and finally in 1901, when Wagner was 27, his manager Fred Clarke said, what the hell, and gave him a shot at SS. Clarke deserves immense credit for having a vision that practically no one else would have had, in any era, and thus creating probably the greatest SS in history.

That said, Wagner's late move to SS, as well as his non-SS physical characteristics, have always made me doubt that he was great defensively there. My suspicion is he was pretty good, but it was the combination of good SS defense with his stupendous bat that made him such a force.
   70. Mike Green Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2296866)
I guess Fred Clarke was the Earl Weaver of his day.
   71. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2296871)
Steve Treder, Michael Humphreys' Defensive Regression Analysis agrees with you--it says that Wagner was definitely notably above average but not spectacular. I believe from that era it likes Art Fletcher the best.
   72. TomH Posted: February 13, 2007 at 05:17 PM (#2296875)
OPS+ misses Wagner's speed, which was HUGE in the 1905 game. OWP shows Wagner to be comfortably ahead. Of course, you could argue league strength to make them equal (as hitters only).
   73. jingoist Posted: February 13, 2007 at 06:48 PM (#2296935)
I read somewhere, I think it was in Larry Ritter's Glory of Their Times the ballplayer discussing Wagner said something like, "he was our best 1B-man, our best OF, our best 3B-Man; he was our best fielder, by far". Fred moved him around based upon the quality of the other guys on the team as fielders and settled on him at SS when Leach went to third.
   74. JPWF13 Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:22 PM (#2297723)
It's interesting that Berra's legacy has reasserted itself.


Actually I'm pretty sure that just prior to Bench's emergence the man seen as the best C ever was likely Bill Dickey (who while playing was somewhat overshadowed- at least early in his career- by Micey Cochrane)

The idea that Berra mght be the best C of all time started to gain currency after Bench's late career fade

Berra did spectacularly well in MVP voting year after year- he was clearly seen as the best active C while he was playing- but baseball and the baseball media had a particularly bad case of "the old timers were better" during the 1950s/60s (Sportwriters and older players always think the playesr of their youth were better- and since players like Dickey and Cochrane and even Hartnett were able to put up "better" batting averages during their era- naturally they were seen as being superior to Berra)

Bench's career totals are very comparable to Berra's- including the rate stats- but for some reason people seemed to think Bench's #s should have ended up better than they did- I think some thought he'd make a run at 500 HR and 2000 RBI- HELLO he's a catcher, he's 200+lb and he's squatting up and down 100+ games a year- not going to happen.

Every now and then he'd throw in a stinker of an offensive season- by his standards- he was always a better than averge hitting catcher, but that occasional .235 hitting season starting people wondering- how can he be the best of ll time he just hit .234...

Somewhat higher peak than Berra (not really consecutive seasons- but he was a catcher- cut some slack) berra was more consistent- who was the best of all time? Personally I think Bench's Dee (which was OUTSTANDING early in his career) gives him the edge. (Of course if Piazza was a league average defensive catcher he'd be the best of all time)
   75. Dizzypaco Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:43 PM (#2297736)
In 1985, Bill James released the first Historical Abstract. One of the most memorable essays focused on Berra- James had Berra either first or second all-time, at least in terms of career. Prior to reading this, I never heard anyone suggest Berra was the greatest all-time. After the Historical Abstract came out, I seem to remember others taking notice of Berra as well.

Based on the MVP voting, you can make a case that not only did the voters see him as the best active catcher in the early 50's, they saw him as the best player in the league during this time.
   76. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2297741)
> baseball media had a particularly bad case of "the old timers were better" during the
> 1950s/60s

Which is understandable since they were comparing to raw stats from the 20s and 30s. Nobody was hitting .400 and nobody was Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Ted Williams or Stan Musial. What they didn't pick up on were the effects of integration and the higher overall level of play which are much subtler things to notice and easier in hindsight.
   77. OCF Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:49 PM (#2297746)
JPWF13: Catcher is an interesting case. If you restrict yourself to MLB, then every one of the top candidates is a "yes, but" case, with the "but" possibly having to do with the wear and tear of the position - careers that are too short (most of them) or with too much year-to-year variation (Bench, as you mentioned). Cochrane, Hartnett, Campanella, Bench - a player with their exact offensive statistics who played LF would probably fall short of HoM election. Bresnahan, who has pretty good offensive statistics, has fallen short of election in part because he accumulated some of those stats as an outfielder.

And it's interesting for a different reason: if you don't restrict yourself to MLB, it's the position at which it's most likely that the answer comes from the outside in the person of Josh Gibson. The fact that Bill James said that Oscar Charleston deserves to be in the conversation with Willie Mays doesn't make it that close to a mainstream opinion, but the view of Gibson does have fairly wide currency.
   78. DL from MN Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:53 PM (#2297748)
Thinking about that a little more, there was a distinct racist reason to downgrade the 50s and 60s players and state the "old timers were better" along with all the impressions made during formative years.
   79. JPWF13 Posted: February 14, 2007 at 06:57 PM (#2297752)
And it's interesting for a different reason: if you don't restrict yourself to MLB, it's the position at which it's most likely that the answer comes from the outside in the person of Josh Gibson.


I have only the slightest idea of where to place Gibson- he was by apparent unanimous agreement the best catcher in the History of the negro leagues and in the running for absolute best overall- given what we know of Negro Leaguers who played against MLB competition- he was a great player- was he better than Berra/Bench? Their equal? I really don't know, and I;'m not sure that anyone else "knows" either.
   80. DavidFoss Posted: February 14, 2007 at 07:52 PM (#2297804)
We did MLE's for Gibson. Check his thread. They were ridiculously high. Hornsby, Ruth, Williams high. There may be career-length issues that would drop him down to the Gehrig/Foxx level offensively, but toss in the fact that hit like that and played *catcher* and he jumps into the innermost of circles.

If you believe his MLE's (and the same MLE system seemed quite reasonable for many of his contemporaries), then he's easily the best catcher ever. Of course there's always some uncertainty when you looking at stuff like MLE's, but there is at least some rigor to the method.
   81. DavidFoss Posted: February 14, 2007 at 08:20 PM (#2297835)
You will agree though, David, that MLEs for negro league players are a lot more tenuous than for minor leaguers?

We went over this stuff 50 years ago in the HOM. The NeL's were mature leagues with their own context filled with players at their peak (and not on some developmental curve).

You are encouraged to read the Gibson thread and compare Gibson's MLE's to those of Monte Irvin, Buck Leonard, Jud Wilson, Mules Suttles, et al. They show how far Gibson stood out above them offensively.

I'm really sorry, I don't want this to turn into the Jim Rice thread. :-) I added a caveat about them being MLE's. From an HOM perspective, its pretty easy to make the argument that he's the best catcher ever. Outside of our discussion threads, then I'm sure there are many ways that you could argue differently.
   82. Dizzypaco Posted: February 14, 2007 at 08:23 PM (#2297836)
If you believe his MLE's (and the same MLE system seemed quite reasonable for many of his contemporaries), then he's easily the best catcher ever. Of course there's always some uncertainty when you looking at stuff like MLE's, but there is at least some rigor to the method.

There is good reason to think that Gibson was the greatest ever, regardless of whether you accept his MLE's. There seems to be agreement that Gibson was either the best African-American player or one of the best African-American players of his time. It seems a reasonable assumption that there was no dramatic increase in talent level among African-Americans following integration, meaning that the top African American ballplayers of the 20s through 40s would not be all that different than the top African American ballplayers of the 50s and 60s. This puts Gibson head and shoulders above any catcher that has played major league baseball.

Personally, I have never had as much confidence in the Negro League MLE's as others, and it is a big factor that has prevented me from voting in the HOM. But I don't need to accept the MLE's to accept Gibson's greatness.
   83. DavidFoss Posted: February 14, 2007 at 08:33 PM (#2297849)
Personally, I have never had as much confidence in the Negro League MLE's as others, and it is a big factor that has prevented me from voting in the HOM. But I don't need to accept the MLE's to accept Gibson's greatness.

Fair enough. Indeed, they were heavily debated amongst HOM-ers at the time and there was a fair amount of disagreement amongst a lot of smart people about them. Our system was set up so that MLB-ers and NeL-ers were put into the same candidate pool for vote. So, we had to be able to make direct value comparisons between guys like Medwick and Suttles so that we could rank them appropriately on our ballots. The MLE's proved to be a great way to help do that.

The thing that stood out in my memory about the Gibson discussion was how unfriendly Griffith Stadium was for hitters... especially for homers.
   84. EricC Posted: February 14, 2007 at 08:49 PM (#2297863)
Really? Is there an adjustment for Mathews' park effect that really helps him? Or does your analysis show people have misread Schmidt's defense? They seem like essentially similar players (with different career arcs) and so are easy to compare, and Schmidt looks to me to have a small but real advantage.

Greg- Using Win Shares, Schmidt has ~481 strike-corrected WS and Mathews 450, in careers of comparable length. It would appear that Schmidt should have a 5 to 10 percent advantage. One factor that will not show up in WS totals is the effect of expansion on the quality of play, which, in my analysis, makes Mathews' achievement slightly greater than Schmidt's. (I note that WARP shows about a 15 percent advantage to Schmidt, presumably because of its different treatment of defense, but I don't use it in my analysis.)
   85. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: February 14, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2297873)
(who while playing was somewhat overshadowed- at least early in his career- by Micey Cochrane)

Was Micey modeled on Black Mike for an old Warner Bros. cartoon? ;-)
   86. OCF Posted: February 14, 2007 at 09:25 PM (#2297891)
I have Mathews ahead of Schmidt offensively, but by a small enough margin that I'm willing to believe that Schmidt's defense more than makes up for it.
   87. Dizzypaco Posted: February 14, 2007 at 09:41 PM (#2297903)
I've said it before, but I don't think there was any way Mathews was really better than Schmidt offensively, or even equally good. Schmidt was hands down the best offensive player of his era - period. He led the league year after year in the most important statistical categories, and when he didn't finish first, he finished second or third.

Mathews was, well, not the best hitter of his era. In fact, he almost never led the league in anything important. He was very good, but he was never as good as a bunch of other guys he played against.

I also don't buy for a second that it was easier to put up those numbers in the 70s and 80s than it was in the 50s and 60s. If it was so easy, why did Schmidt dominate the league every year? There was far more competitive balance when Schmidt played than when Mathews played.

If you really believe that Mathews was better offensively than Schmidt, you must also believe there were many, many hitters playing in the 50s and 60s that were better than absolutely anybody playing in the 70s and 80s. And therefore, we should elect lots and lots of guys who played in the 50s and 60s, and very few who played in the decades after.
   88. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 01:48 AM (#2298068)
Is he the least disputed best overall at his position in history?

There's not much dispute for now, but assuming A-Rod stays at 3B, he's almost certain to end up with a more valuable career than Schmidt.


Mike Schmidt.....13.4, 12.5, 12.1, 11.5, 11.3...(60.8)...161.3
Alex Rodriguez...14.6, 14.3, 14.1, 13.3, 13.0...(69.3)...130.1

Yea, I think you're right. That A-Rod is doing OK, although his 2006 season way way below par, only 7.4 WARP
   89. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:06 AM (#2298075)
The thing about Philadelphia fans is that they don't appreciate greatness as much as they appreciate the appearance of effort. That's why Iverson and Dykstra were loved here, but not Schmidt or Rolen, who made their jobs look easy.

More recently they have been in love with Abreau and Burrell.
   90. jingoist Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:20 AM (#2298079)
If Honus had played 3rd base all his career how do you guys think he would rank against Schmidt and Matthews?
   91. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:25 AM (#2298080)
With apologies to Mathews, Brett, and Boggs, I don't think there's any doubt that Schmidt is the obvious choice for the best 3B ever.

I have Mathews first and Schmidt second.


Mike Schmidt.....13.4, 12.5, 12.1, 11.5, 11.3...(60.8)...161.3
Alex Rodriguez...14.6, 14.3, 14.1, 13.3, 13.0...(69.3)...130.1
Wade Boggs.......13.1, 12.6, 12.3, 12.1, 11.7...(61.8)...149.7
Eddie Mathews....12.9, 11.6, 11.3, 11.1, 10.7...(57.6)...141.2
George Brett.....12.8, 11.6, 11.4, 10.0, 9.3...(55.1)...138.7

Schmidt and Boggs were both significantly better than Mathews in best single season, best peak period, and career wins.
   92. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:36 AM (#2298084)
In my system, I have Wagner as a much, much better hitter than Schmidt - which is not intended as a knock on Schmidt.

Honus Wagner.....15.0, 12.2, 12.2, 12.1, 12.0...(63.5)...194.6
WARP1............18.1, 16.0, 15.2, 15.0, 14.9...(79.2)...238.1

Mike Schmidt.....13.4, 12.5, 12.1, 11.5, 11.3...(60.8)...161.3

This gives Schmidt the benefit of the time-line adjustment, however doesn't reflect the much inferior league that Wagner played in (no black players, no players from outside a much smaller USA).
   93. OCF Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:45 AM (#2298087)
If Honus had played 3rd base all his career how do you guys think he would rank against Schmidt and Matthews?

Depends on whether you timeline. If you do it "flat", taking each league's average value as meaning the same thing, then Honus blows them both away. Both Schmidt and Mathews had some nice years, but they never had a Wagner 1908 year. And the Dutchman lasted into his 40's as a very good player.

If you reduce my offensive system to a single number - and there some nonlinearities here, some extra credit for truly monstrous years - then among the people I've rated so far, the top is Babe Ruth at 701. The top ten:

Ruth 701
Cobb 577
Williams 548 (but plausible military-time credit could push him up to about 750)
Mantle 490
Gehrig 475
Musial 460
Aaron 448
Mays 440
Wagner 431
Speaker 419

I have Mathews as #20 at 289 and Schmidt #23 at 255, with the people between them being McCovey and Reggie Jackson.

Now, if you start timelining, or if you start introducing all the things Dizzypaco talks about in #89, then the list could potentially scramble around quite a bit. But as a partial answer to this line:

If you really believe that Mathews was better offensively than Schmidt, you must also believe there were many, many hitters playing in the 50s and 60s that were better than absolutely anybody playing in the 70s and 80s.

I'll say that this has Joe Morgan - a 70's-centered player, not peaking at the same time as Schmidt but with an overlapping career - in #19 at 297. Besides Mathews and McCovey, the only "50's-60's" players offensively ahead of that group are Mantle, Aaron, Mays, and Robinson, although the long careers of the "40's-50's" players Williams and Musial overlap into the picture. Is that "many, many"?

I'll also say that since defense counts too, and neither McCovey nor Jackson could have played 3B at all, never mind an excellent 3B, then I would, overall, rank Schmidt far ahead of them.
   94. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:51 AM (#2298088)
There is good reason to think that Gibson was the greatest ever, regardless of whether you accept his MLE's. There seems to be agreement that Gibson was either the best African-American player or one of the best African-American players of his time. It seems a reasonable assumption that there was no dramatic increase in talent level among African-Americans following integration, meaning that the top African American ballplayers of the 20s through 40s would not be all that different than the top African American ballplayers of the 50s and 60s. This puts Gibson head and shoulders above any catcher that has played major league baseball.

Actually, I don't think that there is any good reason to think that Gibson is not the best catcher ever. What is in doubt is how much better than Bench/Berra/I-Rod he would be.
   95. kwarren Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:13 AM (#2298094)
FWIW here is Bill James summation of Josh Gibson in his Historical Baseball Abstract

"Probably the greatest catcher in baseball history, and probably the greatest right-handed power hitter. Bill Veeck said that Gibson was the greatest hitter he ever saw. So did countless other Negro League participants and observers.

Gibson was strong in all the parts of his body - short, powerful arms, huge wrists, mssive, round shoulders. He was a disciplined hitter with enormous self-confidence. He could pick up a curve the moment it left the pitcher's hand, could hit it 500 feet if he could reach it or let it go by if he couldn't. His defensive skills were good; he was quick, had soft hands, and could throw. His career was not exceptionally long, but I believe that he would have hit over 500 homeruns had he played in the majors - 150 more than any other catcher."
   96. sunnyday2 Posted: February 15, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2298096)
>I'm not arguing one way or the other. I'm merely calling into question the reliability of MLEs for negro league players. The statistics available for them are spotty and the number of players that came into the majors was a trickle, a few players a year. And some of those had interveing years in the minors, which complicates things.

>I don't remember the thread. Do you have a link?

Calling into question the reliability of MLEs is arguing one way, BTW. Check out the threads before arguing about them.

Go to the Hall of Merit home page, click on Important Links and everything is there.
   97. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 15, 2007 at 04:45 AM (#2298114)
Were most of Schmidt's homers of the line drive sort, or did he tend to hit moonballs?

I remember mostly line drives.

Line drives. Very scary line drives.

What they said. Line drives.


The home run from this game is still one of the five or so hardest hit balls I've ever seen in person. The box score says "Home Run (CF)," which I assume is the normal abbreviation for "Home Run That Collided with the Back Concrete Wall Behind the Veterans Stadium Fence Barely 2 Seconds After Being Hit and Almost Ricocheted Back Onto the Field."
   98. jingoist Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:28 AM (#2298123)
I've always wanted to say "Bump"!
   99. jingoist Posted: February 15, 2007 at 05:28 AM (#2298124)
I've always wanted to say "Bump"!
   100. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: February 15, 2007 at 02:09 PM (#2298184)
And now you've said it again!
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