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Monday, June 26, 2006

Orlando Cepeda

Eligible in 1980.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:50 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 03:58 AM (#2076009)
How many professional baseball fathers and sons have better combined stats than the Cepedas?
   2. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:28 PM (#2076422)
Well, there's those Bonds guys....
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:36 PM (#2076435)
Well, there's those Bonds guys....

The Griffey clan was pretty good, too.
   4. OCF Posted: June 26, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2076456)
MVP by acclamation in 1967. It was a very fine year, and he was certainly an MVP candidate. "By acclamation" is a little harder to see - there were certainly other legitamate candidates. A couple of factors on his side in the MVP race: the Cardinals broke open a close race and ran away with the pennant after Gibson broke his leg. The MVP voters look for a story to tell, and in particular needed a story to explain how the Cards won it without Gibson. "Lesser pitchers like Briles and Hughes stepped forward" isn't that exciting a story (although they did vote the 29-year-old Hughes as ROY.) The other factor is that it was a comeback year for Cepeda, far better than was expected of him after battling injuries. (Nomar in '06?)

Fine a hitter as he was, the man could be a menace on the basepaths. I bring you this game, from May 30, 1967, St. Louis at Cincinatti. Hughes was pitching a perfect game through 7 innings and holding a 1-0 lead. Hughes probably shouldn't have come back after and hour-long rain delay in the 6th, but hey, the man was pitching a perfecto, what are you going to do? Here's the finish:

REDS 8TH: Perez tripled to center; RUIZ RAN FOR PEREZ; Johnson
struck out; Pinson doubled to left [Ruiz scored]; Edwards was
walked intentionally; Cardenas singled to left [Pinson scored,
Edwards to third, Cardenas out at second (left to second to
first)]; Maloney made an out to center; 2 R, 3 H, 0 E, 1 LOB.
Cardinals 1, Reds 2.

CARDINALS 9TH: RUIZ STAYED IN GAME (PLAYING 3B); Cepeda singled
to center; McCarver singled to right [Cepeda to third];
NOTTEBART REPLACED MALONEY (PITCHING); Gagliano hit into a
triple play (shortstop to second to first to catcher) [Cepeda
out at home, McCarver out at second]; 0 R, 2 H, 0 E, 0 LOB.
Cardinals 1, Reds 2.

Try to picture the baserunning from Cepeda needed to make that happen!
   5. Jose Canusee Posted: June 26, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#2076534)
Try to picture the baserunning from Cepeda needed to make that happen!

My picture is from Oct 26, 2004:
CARDINALS 3RD: Suppan singled to third; Renteria doubled to
right [Suppan to third]; Walker hit into a double play (second
to first) [Suppan out at home (first to third)]; Suppan
started down the line and then stopped; 3B coach Oquendo yelled
to go and Suppan started again but then stopped and tried to get
back to 3B; Pujols grounded out (third to first); 0 R, 2 H,
0 E, 1 LOB. Red Sox 1, Cardinals 0.
   6. jimd Posted: June 26, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#2076759)
MVP by acclamation in 1967.

Best seasons of 1967 by Win Shares:
NL: 38 Santo 35 Clemente 34 Cepeda 34 Aaron 30 Brock 30 McCarver
AL: 42 Yaz 38 Killebrew 30 Freehan 30 Kaline 30 FRobinson

Best seasons of 1967 by WARP:
NL: 13.5 Santo 11.7 Clemente 11.5 Aaron 9.7 Cepeda 9.7 Phillips
AL: 12.4 Yaz 11.6 Killebrew 11.5 BRobinson 10.1 Blair 9.8 Kaline
   7. OCF Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:20 PM (#2076970)
The Cardinals outperformed their Pythag by only 4 games (101 instead of 87), but yet Win Shares is clearly giving a substantial boost there to Cepeda and Brock and McCarver compared to WARP.

Adolpho Phillips, huh? (WARP) I will say that his 1967 season would fit nicely into Bobby Bonds's career.
   8. OCF Posted: June 26, 2006 at 11:22 PM (#2076975)
That's 101 instead of 97.
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:16 AM (#2077113)
Well, the Cardinals did win 101 games and the NL pennant with Javier, Maxvill, Shannon and Maris in their lineup and no bench whatsoever. Curt Flood was good. And the pitching was good. But still, there was a bit of dead wood in that batting lineup, so if Cepeda and Brock get a bump, maybe that's a strength of WS and not a problem.
   10. DavidFoss Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:24 AM (#2077126)
How many professional baseball fathers and sons have better combined stats than the Cepedas?

Orlando certainly rocketed off to a fast start before the injury. 222 HR by age 26 is still good for 8th all time. I imagine pitchers of that era would see the nickname "Baby Bull" and then shudder to think of how strong "daddy" was. :-)
   11. OCF Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:34 AM (#2077140)
...and no bench whatsoever.

I have to admit that the strategy of pinch hitting for Maxvill every time he came up late in the game with the team behind would have been more convincing with better pinch hitters. Bobby Tolan was a passable 4th outfielder, if you give him a bonus for being young and promising. (And with the ancient Maris and the fragile Flood, they needed a lot of 4th outfield.) But Alex Johnson, OPS+68? When the only thing Johnson was supposed to be able to do was hit? Sending either Spiezio or Gagliano up to bat for Maxvill wasn't much of a prize - at least Maxvill, for all his ridiculous lack of power, did draw a walk once in a while. (Well, some of those were the IBB's for being the #8 hitter - a strategy I've always detested.)
   12. OCF Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2077143)
If you were pitching to Cepeda ... you did not want to throw the man a curve ball. That was his reputation, that he killed breaking stuff.
   13. Buzzards Bay Posted: June 27, 2006 at 01:36 AM (#2077146)
tough one
   14. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 02:46 AM (#2077286)
Actually, O, I understand that Alex Johnson had one other very special talent.

(When he said "mother," he reportedly had just used half his vocabulary.)
   15. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:10 AM (#2077369)
I believe that WARP would 'adjust' not only for overachieving one's pythag like WS, but also for how many runs a team 'should' have scored based on its individual players instead of what it did score. Does anyone know the '67 Cardinals third order WPCT?

This may be another reason why so many Cardinals had big seasons. Not only did they outplay their RS/RA but they also scored more runs/allowed fewer runs than woudldbe expected of them with those personal stats because of lineup contruction, clutch hitting, etc.
   16. jimd Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:46 PM (#2077740)
OTOH, sometimes it's just differences in how park effects are calculated.
   17. jimd Posted: June 27, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2077753)
I just checked the WARP page for the 67 Cards.

They are credited with 91.7 WARP-1 while winning 101 games. This was an efficient, over-performing team (like the Beaneaters or the Tinker-Evers-Chance Cubs) so Win Shares will give more team credit than WARP. One would have to check adjoining years to determine if it was typical of the team (as it was of Duffy's Boston teams) or a one-shot deal.
   18. OCF Posted: June 27, 2006 at 06:09 PM (#2077773)
Cardinal batting order, 1967-68:

Vs. RHP:
1. Brock LF [L]
2. Flood CF [R]
3. Maris RF [L]
4. Cepeda 1B [R]
5. McCarver C [L]
6. Shannon 3B [R]
7. Javier 2B [R]
8. Maxvill SS [R]
9. P

Vs. LHP:
1. Brock LF [L]
2. Javier 2B [R]
3. Flood CF [R]
4. Cepeda 1B [R]
5. Shannon 3B [R]
6. McCarver C [L]
7. Maris or other RF
8. Maxvill SS [R]
9. P

Maris wasn't exactly platooned, but he needed rest and that rest was more likely to happen against LHP. Brock and Cepeda were the workhorses who played the most games. What's interesting is the platoon shuffle of the order, among the same batters. My memory is less clear on what the order would have been with either Flood or Javier out of the lineup, which happened fairly often. There's an implication that Javier must have had a substantial platoon split, but in those days, no one seemed to have the platoon stats, so I still don't know.

Hmm... that's what retrosheet is for, right? Splits for Javier:

1967, vs. RHP: .255/.292/.380
1967, vs. LHP: .325/.352/.445
1968, vs. RHP: .241/.278/.316
1968, vs. LHP: .277/.303/.372

Shannon was an OF-to-3B conversion experiment. He came up as a corner outfielder, and didn't really hit enough for that. A long time ago in one of the mid-80's Abstracts, Bill James tried to survey how often such conversions "worked" and counted Shannon as one of the successes. Let's just say that defensively he reminded no one of Brooks Robinson, and he still didn't really hit like a corner outfielder. His career was truncated by kidney disease.
   19. OCF Posted: June 27, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#2077789)
To get back to Cepeda, it's rather famous that the Giants came up with both Cepeda and McCovey at about the same time, and had trouble deciding what to do with them. Of the two, Cepeda was the faster, and for that reason, more suited to playing the outfield. Steve Treder has written some articles on those Giants teams relatively recently. (In THT?) One point I recall him making: that Cepeda flat-out refused to play the outfield, leading the Giants to sometimes put the slow McCovey out there. The Giants eventually traded Cepeda at a point at which his value was down, coming off a year in which he'd had just 34 AB.
   20. sunnyday2 Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:44 PM (#2077863)
Love those Cardinal lineups. Seems that today managers are afraid to move guys around in the order for fear of screwing up their routine or something like that.
   21. Steve Treder Posted: June 27, 2006 at 07:59 PM (#2077876)
Steve Treder has written some articles on those Giants teams relatively recently. (In THT?) One point I recall him making: that Cepeda flat-out refused to play the outfield, leading the Giants to sometimes put the slow McCovey out there.

Cepeda's pouting over being asked to do what was best for the team prompted that noted genius Alvin Dark to play McCovey in LF and Cepeda at 1B as more or less the standard alignment from 1962-64. Argh.

Here's the THT piece; a much more extended version of this was published in Nine.
   22. OCF Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#2079055)
A few selected players. Not park-adusted, era-adjusted, or anything. Used rounded-off "baseball age" which is an advantage for late summer or fall birthdays like Rodriguez or Cepeda.

Home runs through age 22:

115 Ott
112 Mathews
106 Rodriguez
87 Griffey
86 Foxx
86 Cepeda
71 Pujols
66 Aaron

Through age 23:

153 Ott
153 Mathews
148 Rodriguez
132 Griffey
132 Cepeda
116 Foxx
114 Pujols
110 Aaron

Through age 24:

190 Mathews
189 Rodriguez
176 Ott
174 Foxx
172 Griffey
167 Cepeda
160 Pujols
140 Aaron
   23. DavidFoss Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:34 AM (#2079087)
You've got 10 extra HR for Cepeda on each list by mistake. Here are the full lists from bb-ref:

Home runs through age 22:

115 Ott
112 Mathews
106 Rodriguez
104 Conigliaro
98 FRobinson
91 Horner
91 TWilliams
87 Bench
87 Griffey
86 Foxx
...
76 Cepeda
...
71 Pujols
...
66 Aaron

Home runs through age 23:

153 Ott
153 Mathews
148 Rodriguez
134 FRobinson
132 Griffey
127 TWilliams
122 Cepeda
121 JGonzalez
121 Mantle
116 Foxx
116 AJones
...
114 Pujols
...
110 Aaron

Home runs through age 24:

190 Mathews
189 Rodriguez
176 Ott
174 Foxx
173 Mantle
172 Griffey
165 FRobinson
160 Pujols
157 Cepeda
154 Bench
...
140 Aaron


Cepeda also holds 8th place at ages 25 & 26 (right up until the injury).
   24. OCF Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:38 AM (#2079089)
Aagh - I was going from a print source. Fine print, bifocals - not a good combination. 24 HR in 1960, not 34.
   25. KJOK Posted: June 28, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2079096)
The MVP voters look for a story to tell, and in particular needed a story to explain how the Cards won it without Gibson. "Lesser pitchers like Briles and Hughes stepped forward" isn't that exciting a story (although they did vote the 29-year-old Hughes as ROY.) The other factor is that it was a comeback year for Cepeda, far better than was expected of him after battling injuries. (Nomar in '06?)

Don't forget he also had the cool nickname thing going (Cha-Cha) AND the "We are Family" thing (the El Birdos).
   26. rawagman Posted: July 04, 2006 at 08:48 AM (#2086856)
Cepeda had great range numbers at 1B - can anyone shed some light on the tendencies of the Giants pitching staff in his time there?

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