Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Paul O’Neill, Jose Canseco, Devon White and Eric Davis

All of thse outfielders are eligible in 2007.

Paul O’Neill

Jose Canseco

Devon White

Eric Davis

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2007 at 08:20 PM | 69 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: October 21, 2007 at 08:26 PM (#2586471)
None of them will make the HoM, IMO, though Canseco and Davis may get some support from peak voters.
   2. sunnyday2 Posted: October 21, 2007 at 08:34 PM (#2586488)
As a peak voter...no. Eric Davis got the shaft in the MVP voting one year, though, but I can't remember what year it was.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: October 21, 2007 at 09:16 PM (#2586542)
Jose's closest, but a near miss -- if his 132 OPS+ was 138 he'd be in for me.
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:07 PM (#2586644)
Davis was a really exciting player, the ultimate fast-twitch-muscle guy. He wasn't stacked, he just seemed to have been able to make those muscles move all at once and with violence. But he just couldn't stay in the lineup.

I think he was a SS in high school, IIRC.

Devon White hardly belongs with the other three in this thread.

O'Neill is, what?, the Dixie Walker of his generation (sans the ugly racial stuff).

Canseco is the big question mark. He was clearly blackballed by MLB at the end, but that said, he missed so danged much time that it doesn't matter. Injuries just killed his chances.
   5. rawagman Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:11 PM (#2586649)
I`m not sure I could say that Canseco was unfairly blackballed in the game. In his time with the Jays he really seemed like a poor charicature of what Jason Giambi is today. So one dimensional, he can be completely nullified.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:17 PM (#2586658)
Canseco had hit the point where he couldn't even stay healthy as a DH, but complained whenever he didn't play. Given that he still expected to be paid well, and given that most other teams either had better DH options available or didn't want to deal with all the fun stuff that Canseco brought with him, I can't really see him being blackballed.

Also, I can't see the problem with Devon White being mentioned in this group. He was a long-career player who hit at a league average level, was a high percentage basestealer, and probably the best defensive centerfielder of his time. The man could run down anything. I'm not advocating him for the HoM, but it should be recognized that he brought a lot of things to the table.
   7. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: October 21, 2007 at 11:25 PM (#2586670)
Paul O'Neill is probably my favorite ballplayer. I actually cried during 9th inning of 2001 WS Game 5. Did you know his sister is Molly O'Neill, famous food writer? That he's related to Mark Twain?

Just a cool dude, and a superb all-around player during his time with the Yanks. He and David Ortiz are the proofs that bad coaching can really screw a player up.
   8. AJMcCringleberry Posted: October 22, 2007 at 12:20 AM (#2586772)
My rankings:

O'Neill
Canseco

...

Davis

White
   9. OCF Posted: October 22, 2007 at 12:32 AM (#2586819)
Davis is definitely one of the names to reckon with (along with Gwynn, Raines, Jack Clark, Murphy, Strawberry, and Ozzie Smith) in the ever-complicated 1987 NL MVP mix (as in, once you dismiss Dawson, who next). Tremendous base stealer with a fantastic success rate. Could play CF, had power, patient hitter - who could as for anything more? Well, you could ask that he stay in the lineup. As for Dr. Chaleeko's first comment ("fast twitch"): Davis had possibly the lowest held hands I've ever seen in a batting stance. That he could get the bat to the plate from there continues to amaze me.
   10. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2587718)
Davis had possibly the lowest held hands I've ever seen in a batting stance. That he could get the bat to the plate from there continues to amaze me.

100% agreed. It's his signature at the plate.

Among Davis' many injures was one I never quite understood. He missed time in 1990, I think it was, with a lacerated kidney that was hurt on a dive for a line drive (IIRC). I don't quite get how you can lacerate a kidney, but it sure sounds like it hurts.
   11. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2588249)
Eric Davis was always one of my favorite players. His career looked done in 1994 after hitting .183 at age 32 for Detroit, after a few miserably disappointing years in LA. He was out all of 1995 (injury? Japan? Brief retirement? I can't recall) Then came back in 1996 to hit .287/.394/.523 with 26 homers and 70 walks (2nd best of his career) in just 415 at bats for the Reds.

Then I believe he got colon cancer, missed some time, then bounced back again in 1998 to hit .327/.388/.582 with 28 homers in 452 at bats for Baltimore at age 36.

Devon White was a lot of fun to watch. I believe until Jim Edmonds came along, Devon White was known for having the greatest catch of the ESPN era.

Paul O'Neill for Roberto Kelly. Funny thing was, I thought the Reds totally ripped the Yankees off. Kelly seemed athletic while O'Neill seemed like the kind of guy that would have an awful decline.

Jose Canseco. Ugh. I can't believe I had a poster of that jackass in my room as a kid.
   12. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 22, 2007 at 03:59 AM (#2588354)
He missed time in 1990, I think it was, with a lacerated kidney that was hurt on a dive for a line drive (IIRC). I don't quite get how you can lacerate a kidney, but it sure sounds like it hurts.


The lacerated kidney came during game four (the final game of the sweep) of the 1990 World Series in Oakland. Davis was in hospital for a couple of weeks afterward, and there was a huge controversy when Marge Schott refused to pay for his flight home.

Davis' defining moment came in his first at bat of that series, when his homer off Dave Stewart staked the Reds to a 2-0 lead. I remember seeing the faces of the Oakland players after Davis' homer - their confidence was severely shaken, and I think that hit set the stage for the Reds' sweep.

I wouldn't advocate him as an HOM-worthy player, but at his peak, when he was healthy, he was a great player - power, speed, defense. Unfortunately, although he had a respectably long career, his time at the top was over in a flash...
   13. sunnyday2 Posted: October 22, 2007 at 04:15 AM (#2588415)
1. Ozzie
2. Raines
3. Davis
4. Strawberry
5. J. Clark
6. Murphy
7. Wallach
8. Gwynn
9. Schmidt
10. Dawson or HoJo or Samuel

There, hope that clears it up.
   14. OCF Posted: October 22, 2007 at 05:10 AM (#2588472)
7. Wallach
8. Gwynn


Really? Wallach ahead of Gwynn? Gwynn had a rather Raines-like year that year; my contemporary opinion put him at the top. Of couse, a whole bunch of the credit for Wallach's RBI total has to go to Raines himself.

But my point was that Davis was definitely in the mix, and you agree with that.

Also: that's three South L.A. players in your top 4 (and Eddie Murray was still in the AL at the time) - and another from Long Beach in the top 10.
   15. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 05:42 AM (#2588487)
There were a bunch of nice seasons in the '87 NL, but I have Gwynn as the leader by a large margin. Jack Clark led the league in OPS+, but he missed a bunch of time and played first base poorly. Gwynn and Strawberry were similarly valuable hitters, but Gwynn blew Strawberry away on the basepaths (20 more SB with the same CS, and a gigantic 6.4 non-SB baserunning runs) and on defense (about a win above average for Gwynn, league average for Strawberry). It adds up to an extremely impressive 8.9 WARP2. Ozzie is second at 7.8, Murphy 7.7 (due to nice fielding), Davis 7.5 (in limited time), Strawberry 7.3, and Schmidt and Raines (who also missed some time) 7.
   16. OCF Posted: October 22, 2007 at 06:07 AM (#2588501)
Raines (who also missed some time)

HoM question: is that missing time worth "extra credit" with some voters, like the "blacklist credit" some granted to Charley Jones? This is a labor-management issue, not an injury. And given the rulings that followed to the effect that the colluding owners were in the wrong, it's pretty hard to blame Raines for it.
   17. The District Attorney Posted: October 22, 2007 at 06:10 AM (#2588504)
I would think so... and I would think Raines wouldn't need it anyway! :)
   18. Squash Posted: October 22, 2007 at 07:02 AM (#2588510)
Davis' defining moment came in his first at bat of that series, when his homer off Dave Stewart staked the Reds to a 2-0 lead. I remember seeing the faces of the Oakland players after Davis' homer - their confidence was severely shaken, and I think that hit set the stage for the Reds' sweep.

I generally don't go for that kind of stuff, but in this case I completely agree. After Rijo struck Rickey out looking to start the series and then Davis hit the homer, I immediately thought to myself "we're going to lose" and I think a lot of other people, some of whom were on the team, did as well.

I remember Devon White as being very good for a long time - looking at him on BBRef he wasn't nearly the hitter I remember him to be.

I'm not a voter but you've got to give it to O'Neill for career and Davis and Canseco battle it out for peak, though O'Neill has the one single awesome year. I wonder what Davis's career numbers would have looked like if he could have stayed healthy. Canseco is his own story and truly deserves his reputation as a horrible fielder, though 40-40 in the 80s was pretty insane in the membrane.
   19. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: October 22, 2007 at 09:10 AM (#2588519)
Going by Dale Stephenson's old fielding runs on RSB (the UZR of its time), Devo was +156 in fielding runs from 1988 through 1992. The linear weights batting runs Sean has at BB-Ref have him at -34 runs for those years, so he's still +122. I can't figure out a way to link to the specific post, but he was +170 defensively through 1994 (starting with '88); his offense moves to -32 for the 88-94 period, so he's at +138 total. As best as I can tell, the last fielding runs we have on him was through 1996, where he ended up +169 total (not sure if that's career or 88+); he gets around 3 runs on offense there, so +140 total, if I did that math right (it was in my head and it's 2 AM, but it should be within a couple). His career linear weight batting runs are -39; BPro has him at ... +11? Dunno what that's about.

Eric Davis came out as a negative defender by Stephenon's numbers, at least from 1988-1992, which only covers 1988, 1989, and 1991. He was at -21 over that period; BB-Ref has his offense at +61 offensively: that's +50. Devo in those three years was +94 with the glove and -9 offensively, completely trumping Davis' numbers.

Of course, that's only a few random years for Davis, dunno how he would have been when younger. And maybe the fielding runs were wrong -- they may have been affected by some of the same biases that affect the PBP defensive metrics today, as they were determined in a similar fashion. But White had tremendous defense by both statistics and popular acclamation, and it's quite possible that he's getting short shrift from those who focus too much on his offensive numbers.

In addition, this post just made Paul O'Neill whine.
   20. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: October 22, 2007 at 09:12 AM (#2588520)
Err, Davis is +40 total in those three years, not 50, it was a typo, and somehow you can't edit posts here like you can at other parts of the site ...

And now O'Neill's flat-out crying.
   21. The Bones McCoy of THT Posted: October 22, 2007 at 09:22 AM (#2588521)
Devon White hardly belongs with the other three in this thread.


With that bat--I agree. However Devo was the greatest fly-chaser I ever saw and my dad he was better than Willie Mays in that regard.

I'm talking strictly about the 'goin' out and gettin' it' phase of fielding. He had a rag arm and below average bat but if he didn't get to a fly ball then nobody was. Amazing speed, amazing anticipation, amazing reads, amazing routes, even the catch off Dave Justice in the 1992 World Series didn't look like he was taxed. He just glided to the wall, jumped, caught, wheeled and threw.

Geez I miss him. He was one of Cito Gaston's greatest managing jobs. He had the reputation of being a high-maintenance player with the Angels but Gaston understood Devo's strengths and let him run with them and the Jays benefited big time. He was a pretty smart base runner and thief as well.

You'd be hard pressed to convince the pitchers on the 1991-93 Blue Jays that the team would have been better off with a bigger bat in CF--the man was magic.

It's one of the things that is so difficult to quantify: The effect a player has on his teammates. I wrote about this almost three years ago:

I think a good chunk of the intangibles on this club resided in these two players: Pat Borders and Devon White, and their positive effect on the pitching staff's performance. We still struggle to quantify defense. We could talk UZR, range factor, and any number of other stats to measure these players defense and it might not tell us as much as we’d like. Regardless, their play had a positive effect on the pitchers.

When we look at Pat Borders, the numbers tell us that he was a below average hitter -- even for his position. Borders wasn’t notable for throwing out base runners, but his greatest talent lay in blocking pitches in the dirt. The Jays of those years had pitchers with filthy stuff that frequently ended up in the dirt: Jack Morris’, Dave Stewart’s and Tom Henke’s forkballs/split fingered fastballs; Duane Ward’s and Juan Guzman’s sliders being the most common. In a one-run game with a man on third, how confident are you as a pitcher to throw your nastiest breaking stuff if you worry deep down inside that it might get past the catcher?

Granted, we keep track of passed balls/wild pitches but each PB/WP is unique and doesn’t tell us much unless we’ve observed it. We don’t keep track of pitches that the catcher did corral. Borders’ ability to keep the ball in front of him gave the Jays’ best pitchers [either] the confidence to throw their dirtiest pitches or [a ball getting past the catcher] wasn’t a factor that entered into the pitchers’ minds (due to confidence in Borders) enabling them to concentrate on the hitter and making their pitches. We can’t track it, but I doubt that there’s a major league pitcher that denies its existence and importance.

Devon White, like Borders, had significant holes in his game. White was an average offensive player, had a mediocre throwing arm, didn’t walk much, and struck out far too often.

He was a ball hawk extraordinaire. He was overlooked in a historical sense for his defense (or it seemed to me anyway) because he rarely had the spectacular defensive play -- the 1992 World Series catch off David Justice notwithstanding. His read off the bat was excellent, his first step was almost always in the right direction, and he never looked like he was rushing to the ball. A flyball between left center and right center was pretty much a guaranteed out. If a ball got past Devo, it was generally assumed that it wasn’t catchable -- he was that good. I’m pretty sure the pitching staff of the 1992-93 Jays couldn’t tell you what White’s UZR, zone rating, fielding percentage or putouts were, but they knew this: if you could get the hitter to hit the ball in the air to the outfield, there was an excellent chance Devo would be there jogging easily to the ball, glove on shoulder, to gather it in.

Why do some pitchers nibble and why do some pitchers challenge hitters? Some of it is based on raw stuff, some of it might be based on confidence in their abilities, but a lot of it has to do with what he feels will happen to the ball should the hitter make contact. Just because a fielder has good defensive stats doesn’t necessarily mean that the pitcher has confidence in him. Do we think of Jeff Kent and David Eckstein as superlative defenders? UZR was pretty kind to them this year, but if you were to poll pitchers who they wanted in the keystone behind them, I’d be shocked if their names appeared high on the list.

The pitching staffs of the 1992 and 1993 Jays were made better by Borders and White because (a) they were relaxed enough to break off their nastiest stuff and (b) unworried about contact because of the players behind them. We can’t measure it, but it’s real, so maybe this is one way of accounting for an “intangible.”


My point? I don't really have one; as I said, he's neither HOF or HoM. Nevertheless, while both Devo and Borders will eventually be known simply by their stats, those of us who had the privilege of watching them know that they did a lot of things for their teams that doesn't show up in that stat line.

I guess my point is: I'm really, really glad they were Blue Jays in 1991-93.

Best Regards

John
   22. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: October 22, 2007 at 01:33 PM (#2588579)
HoM question: is that missing time worth "extra credit" with some voters, like the "blacklist credit" some granted to Charley Jones? This is a labor-management issue, not an injury. And given the rulings that followed to the effect that the colluding owners were in the wrong, it's pretty hard to blame Raines for it.

Yes, he'll get ex-cred from me on that one.
   23. sunnyday2 Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:18 PM (#2588623)
I'm one of those old fashioned guys who needs to get back to the basics. Re 1987

Ozzie .303/.392/.383/105 in 158 games/33 WS. Scored a career high 104 runs, as a bonus 43 SB with 9 CS. Decent glove. Best player on league champion team (95 wins). A HoMer at the peak of his game. #2 in BBWAA voting, the only question is whether he was #1. Certainly top 3.

Raines .330/.429/.526/148/34 WS in just 139 games (see discussion above re. missed time). Still, led league with 123 runs. 50 SB, 5 CS. Obvious MVP on 91 win team. A HoMer at the peak of his game. #6 in BBWAA voting, way too low.

Davis .293/.399/.593/152/30 WS in just 129 games though, unlike Raines, his missed time was just plain old injuries. Scored 120 runs. 50 SB, 6 CS. Probably the MVP as of September 1 but the Reds (and Davis) faded down the stretch and in fact Davis faded for, oh, the rest of his career after this. #8 in BBWAA voting, too low.

Murphy .295/.417/.580/154/29 WS in 159 games. 115 BB including a league high 29 IBB, and why not. Arguably better than in his MVP years but the Braves only won 69 games. But clearly not as good as Davis. #10, too low.

Strawberry .284/.398/.583/165/30 WS in 154 games. A "future HoFer" at the peak of his game ('87-'88). Mets won 92 games but were thought to have underachieved. #5, about right.

Jack Clark .286/.459/.597/174/33 WS in just 131 games. Led the league in BB, OBA, SA and OPS+ but his missed time came in September. Clearly better than Straw, probably better than Davis though as noted above he was a lousy defender. Clearly the MVP on a per game basis, but Davis' and Raines' defensive value make it a close call. #3.

Wallach .298/.343/.514/121/28 WS in 153 games. Decent glove. Not a serious candidate for the #1 MVP slot but a nice year. The SA is 18 points higher than Nettles ever had. Led the league with 42 2B. #4, which is way too high.

Gwynn .370/.447/.511/160/29 WS in 157 games. The year he became Tony Gwynn, really. And 56 SB, 12 CS. When he quit really running the bases, those big BA's became a lot less valuable. A future HoMer at the peak of his game. Led the league in BA and hits and walked a career high 82 times, 26 of them IBB and why not. Like Murphy, better protection in the batting order cannot have hurt. Padres won 65 games, which may have constrained his WS. To me, Raines and Clark were clearly more valuable on a per game basis, but.... #7. I dunno, that could be too low, it could be about right.

Dawson. I had him 9th but only, probably, because the BBWAA had him #1. Doesn't really matter whether I slot him correctly or whether he was top 10 or not. Just shouldn't have been a factor in any way, shape or form.

Schmidt .293/.388/.548/141/26 WS in 147 games. Actually his humbers looked about like they always had, except his walks were down to 83, the lowest since that .196 year in 1973. A decent year, or a very good decline type year, still a top 10 type year just 1.5 years from the end. #13, which is probably about right or a tad low.

For me, I guess I end up with Ozzie because all of the bats look too much alike. I can't decide which of them was the best, whereas Ozzie was clearly the best of the gloves and his team finished first. I have changed my mind from above, though, in that among the bats, if pressed, I would probably take Raines, Clark and Gwynn ahead of Davis and Murphy. And you could argue Gwynn because he played more games. But there's still Ozzie. If I were a GM I would want Ozzie, then Raines or Clark.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:24 PM (#2588636)
"I don't quite get how you can lacerate a kidney, but it sure sounds like it hurts."

I think the impact pushed his organs up inside the chest cavity, and he cut it against the edge of a rib.

Yeah, that'll sting a little.
   25. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2588644)
sunnyday: Gwynn had 10 points more OPS+ than Raines. Gwynn played in 18 more games than Raines. They had the same value on the basepaths and in the field (I have Gwynn as a tiny bit better defensively). Yet you have Raines #2 and Gwynn #7?
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:50 PM (#2588675)
PS. As an incentive to take up the MVP Project after the HoM, how's about we start with '87?

What were Raines and Gwynn's park factors?
   27. AROM Posted: October 22, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2588684)
Davis was a really exciting player, the ultimate fast-twitch-muscle guy. He wasn't stacked, he just seemed to have been able to make those muscles move all at once and with violence. But he just couldn't stay in the lineup.


For those too young to have seen a young Davis play, watch BJ Upton. When BJ straight stole home against the Angels this year it reminded me of the first time I ever saw Davis, when he was playing a minor league game against the Louisville Redbirds.

Davis in 1995 did not play baseball. Call it an injury-related retirement. The year off gave him a chance to heal, and he felt like trying baseball again in 1996. Everyone was skeptical (probably the same "what are they thinking" jokes that people made about Sammy Sosa returning to the Rangers), he took a very low paying one year contract.

If Davis had tried to play in 1995, knowing him he would have tried to get in the lineup before he was 100%, and probably hurt himself worse. All while idiot media types and call-in fans would yap about Davis faking his injuries every time he was not in the lineup.

One of my favorite quotes from Eric Davis's book, praising his manager Pete Rose:

"He was like Yoda to me"
   28. AROM Posted: October 22, 2007 at 03:05 PM (#2588692)
As an incentive to take up the MVP Project after the HoM, how's about we start with '87?


Dawson didn't win the award for his counting stats. He won because during collusion, he offered the Cubs a blank contract, asked them to fill in the amount. They filled in 500,000, a substantial paycut for Dawson, and to their surprise, he took it. It situation was a middle finger raised to the owners and was a big part of the ultimate failure of collusion.

The counting stats helped, I don't think Dawson would have won it by hitting .265-30-95 with all those other big numbers people put up, but the 49 homers were a reasonable excuse to give him an award that the writers wanted to give him.
   29. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 05:21 PM (#2588903)
Not hard to look up, sunnyday! San Diego 96, Montreal 103.
   30. sunnyday2 Posted: October 22, 2007 at 05:43 PM (#2588949)
Not hard at all ;-) That helps explain the + part of OPS+, I guess.

Initially (#13) I looked at some uber-stats. Looking at some of the "real" numbers certainly makes Gwynn's year look a lot better. There were a bunch of great years that year...in the NL. In the AL Trammell was pretty much it, wasn't he? I mean, what are the odds the BBWAA could do that bad in BOTH MVP votes in the same year?

Trammell 28-105-.343 and he was a SS
Bell 47-134-.308 not actually a bad year, I always remembered that the PLAYERS also picked Bell as the MVP that year
Molitor 16-75-.353 led league in runs and 2B
Dwight Evans 34-123-.305 better than Mattingly
McGwire 49-116-.289 in his rookie season
Joyner! 34-117-.285 another 20 years like this and maybe he woulda been the best 1B of all-time, or of the decade whichever came first

BBWAA

1. Bell
2. Trammell
3. Puckett
4. Dw. Evans
5. Molitor
6. McGwire
7. Mattingly
8. Key
9. Boggs
10. Gaetti
11. Reardon
12. Da. Evans
13. D. Alexander--not Dale
14. Henke
15. Joyner

WS has it Trammell 35, Boggs 32, McGwire 30. Molitor and Puckett 29. Bell was tied for 8th at 26. WS also had Clemens as the best pitcher 28-23 over Key, though Viola was in between with 24 and Sabes also had 23.

I would allow that Bell was probably a worthy #2 compared to Dawson who was probably not a worthy top 10. Still Bell over Trammell is almost as bad as Dawson over (take your pick).
   31. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: October 22, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2588995)
Trammell had an insane year in '87 and definitely deserved it, but Boggs's 24-HR year was good enough to win an MVP in the vaast majority of seasons.
   32. jimd Posted: October 23, 2007 at 12:12 AM (#2589715)
Best player in baseball 1987
(based on an older version of WARP1 and WARP2)
(note: adjusts for DH and AL/NL league quality)

AL:
12.6 Clemens
11.7 Boggs
11.1 Trammell
10.3 Viola
10.3 Saberhagen
9.6 Key
9.3 Morris

NL:
11.1 Davis
10.9 Gwynn
10.7 Murphy
9.7 Raines
9.4 Schmidt
9.4 Smith
9.3 Hershiser
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2007 at 02:47 AM (#2589836)
Where the heck is Jack Clark?
   34. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:15 AM (#2589910)
1987 BaseRuns, unadjusted for park

D. Murphy 130
D. Strawberry 124
J. Clark 123
T. Gwynn 123
T. Raines 121
E. Davis 114
O. Smith 108
T. Wallach 101
A. Dawson 101
M. Schmidt 100

(these are just some players listed as MVP candidates above, there may be others among the actual leaders)
   35. OCF Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:20 AM (#2589913)
Do BaseRuns include defensive measures? Otherwise, why is Ozzie up there with the big hitters? Sure, a .390 OPB with great baserunning has tremendous value, but his non-slugging limited his offense to something short of the big hitters listed here.
   36. OCF Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:49 AM (#2589920)
About Paul O'Neill:

Another example of a late bloomer. Not quite as dramatic as Jose Cruz, perhaps but his performance in his 30's could just as easily be the declining years of a truly great player than what it actually is: the best years of O'Neill.

Joe Morgan famously dismissed the 1998 Yankees by asking how many of them could have started for the "Big Red Machine" Reds. Of course, if you truly evaluate that ...

The '75-'76 Reds throw standard position-by-position comparisons for a big loop, for two reasons. One is that for a great team, they didn't have great pitching. They had a great offense that carried nothing-special pitching. The '98 Yankees were very good on both offense and defense. The other issue is that the Reds had a starting lineup cast in concrete - no divided positions, no people in and out of the lineup. That's unusual, even for great teams. But just look at the position-by-position lineup anyway:

C: Johnny Bench vs. Jorge Posada
1b: Tony Perez vs. Tino Martinez
2b: Joe Morgan vs. Chuck Knoblauch
3b: Pete Rose vs. Scott Brosius
SS: Dave Concepcion vs. Derek Jeter
LF: George Foster vs. Chad Curtis/Tim Raines/Daryl Strawberry/Shane Spencer/Homer Bush
CF: Cesar Geronimo vs. Bernie Williams
RF: Ken Griffey vs. Paul O'Neill
DH and bench: Dan Driessen vs. same people as the LF list

Now, some of those are wipeouts (Morgan over anyone in the world, Williams over Geronimo) and some are possibly interesting arguments (Tony and Tino; Rose and Brosius; Foster and the fractured LF/DH gang.) But I am convinced that O'Neill would kick Griffey's butt.
   37. DavidFoss Posted: October 23, 2007 at 06:56 AM (#2589938)
Rose and Foster win their battles despite the fact that Rose's peak was before 75-76 and Foster's was after. They were good enough in those two years to beat Brosius and the LF/DH group.

I would take O'Neill as well. Griffey had a monster 1976, but O'Neill has the edge in peak, career and nearby seasons (unfair to take the "best of" 75-76 for the BRM player).
   38. AROM Posted: October 23, 2007 at 01:38 PM (#2590036)
Not quite as dramatic as Jose Cruz, perhaps but his performance in his 30's could just as easily be the declining years of a truly great player than what it actually is: the best years of O'Neill.


For some reason that made me think of Ruben Sierra. His career through age 25 could be the beginning years before a HOF peak, and his post 35 career is pretty good, could be the declining years of a once great player. Too bad he didn't do much from 26-35. A donut of a career.
   39. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 23, 2007 at 02:06 PM (#2590073)
He'll never make it, but what could have been...

Through age 29, he was every bit the hitter of Tony Canigliaro, Frank Howard, or Kevin Mitchell. With Gold Glove defense (3 of 'em) and 200 more steals than any of them. The closest comp would be Larry Walker, who had the defense, but still had half the SBs.
   40. OCF Posted: October 23, 2007 at 02:11 PM (#2590082)
Too bad he didn't do much from 26-35. A donut of a career.

We're talking about Lonnie Smith?
   41. The District Attorney Posted: October 23, 2007 at 02:15 PM (#2590089)
A donut of a career.
We're talking about Lonnie Smith?
Gwynn had many donuts in his career; maybe the poster clicked the wrong thread.
   42. Mike Green Posted: October 23, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2590138)
The other aspect of Eric Davis was his Gathright-like jumping ability. I don't know how many homers Gathright brought back in 2007, but Davis apparently brought back ten one season. I have often wondered whether his early susceptibility to injury was a harbinger of the cancer which later afflicted him.

I have doubts about whether the '98 O'Neill would have kicked Griffey's butt, but I'll say this, any player who goes 22-3 in stolen base attempts at age 38 without possessing great natural speed has my admiration. How many players set their career high in stolen bases at that age anyway?
   43. AROM Posted: October 23, 2007 at 03:04 PM (#2590148)
but Davis apparently brought back ten one season.


I take a backseat to nobody in my admiration and awe of Eric Davis's ability, but I think that's an exaggeration. In the last 4 years combined according to John Dewan's stat of the day, Torii Hunter has saved 8 homers to lead MLB.

The year in question most likely was 1987, I think the total might have been 3 or 4.
   44. Mike Green Posted: October 23, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2590161)
I said "apparently" because that was what announcers were saying at the end of the year. I am pretty sure that the total was more than 3 or 4- Hunter 2004-07 is a very pale imitation of Davis at his peak.
   45. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: October 23, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2590175)
Riverfront did have a very short OF wall, I want to say it was only 8 feet (which I imagine had some impact on it's very high HR factors). That made it a lot easier for Davis - maybe that makes the 10 number realistic?
   46. Mike Green Posted: October 23, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2590188)
The Riverfront fences were indeed 8 feet high from 1984 on, according to ballparks.com.
   47. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:14 PM (#2590301)
I went through Retrosheet's game logs for the 1987 Reds and they only showed 3 home runs stolen for Eric Davis (at least, that's how many were in bold). All 3 were at Riverfront, on 5/22, then while battling Jack Clark for the league homerun lead, Davis stole homeruns from him on back-to-back days, 6/2 and 6/3.

I was 14 in 1987. Eric Davis was the reason I became a huge baseball fan. For the first 1/3 of the season, Davis may have been the best baseball player ever. He was the NL player of the month for both April and May. He hit 19 homeruns by the end of May, which was at least the NL and maybe the major league record at the time. He hit 12 homeruns in May, including 3 grand slams. He had a 3 homerun game on May 3rd, and followed that up with a 3 sb game the next day. He hit his 20th homerun of the season on June 5, giving him a 20-20 season after only 53 games! It seemed like he could catch anything hit to centerfield, including balls well over the wall. His leaping ability was remarkable. I can still seem him jumping at the wall and getting high enough that he was able to get his shoulders above the wall, turn his back toward home plate and reach behind the wall for the catch. The only thing he couldn't do was stay healthy.
   48. AROM Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2590321)
For the first 1/3 of the season, Davis may have been the best baseball player ever


I agree.
   49. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2007 at 05:46 PM (#2590352)
What were his numbers as of, say, June 2-3, or so? That's a claim that needs some back-up.

(Signed, Barry Bonds)
   50. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: October 23, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2590428)
sunnyday2, Eric's numbers were better on June 3 than they were after June 6 (the Reds' 54th game). Oh, and Barry, you were a pretty good leadoff man with around 700 career pa's at the end of May 1987. Only in your own mind were you the best ever (at that time). :-)
   51. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 23, 2007 at 09:57 PM (#2590795)
Dear Barry Bonds:

After the game of June 5th, I had an OPS of 1.168, had 21 SB (with only 2 CS), and was playing Gold Glove winning CF. Yes, you hit better than that at times, but by then you were stealing that many bases in an entire season, and you never defended like that. To imply you ever approached doing all three at once, well, your head isn't big just because of the steroids.

Love,

Eric the Red.
   52. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2007 at 10:32 PM (#2590827)
Dear Eric

You imply that the value equation is Eric 3 Barry 1, but value is not the sum of the tools. In 2001 my OPS for the entire season was 1.368. That covers a lot of glove and a lot of SB. I am willing to allow as to how you were the NL MVP in '87 as of June 5, however, and a lot better than 8th best for the full season.

My Friend,

Barry
   53. AROM Posted: October 23, 2007 at 11:36 PM (#2590866)
Eric did it without steroids.
   54. sunnyday2 Posted: October 23, 2007 at 11:45 PM (#2590871)
Well, that settles it then. Best player ever.
   55. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 24, 2007 at 12:33 AM (#2590910)
Do BaseRuns include defensive measures? Otherwise, why is Ozzie up there with the big hitters?

No, it's offense only. But it attempts to measure how players have value within their teams' offense. For example, the usual RC models will overvalue late-era Barry Bonds. They combine all his walks and HR together, when in real life he could never hit a HR with himself on base. BsR attempts to model how many runs a team would score if you took that player completely out of the offense, and compares it to how many they scored with him in it. In his '88 Abstract, Bill James talked about the paradox of how Kevin McReynolds created more runs in a conventional offense than Vince Coleman (I think), but a lineup full of Vince Colemans (+ Jack Clark) would score a lot, because they're always on base.

Also, BsR underestimates the '87 Cardinals offense. I think it comes closer than other RC models, but it's still shy by almost 8% of what they actually scored, which is about the biggest gap I've seen in my brief time playing around with BsR. Part of that may be hitting w/ RISP, part of it may be baserunning, but I don't attempt to calculate an individual adjustment for each player. So the way I calculate it, I get Ozzie creating about 101 runs, and then I credit him (and Clark, and every other Cardinal) for the difference in actual run scoring, lifting Ozzie to 108.
   56. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 24, 2007 at 12:43 AM (#2590914)
And B-R.com, which uses the complex version of James's RC, shows Smith w/ 102 RC in 1987, so the 108 isn't crazy. I have noted that those RC #s are almost always higher than my BsR #s (which shows BsR is really finding a lot of value in how Smith fit in the St. Louis offense). I'm not sure if that's because RC combines the big HR and BB numbers for the top hitters (who are usually the ones I'm checking), or because RC tends to overestimate run scoring for everyone. As I said, when there are notable gaps between estimated and actual runs scored for a team, I adjust the individuals on that team.
   57. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 24, 2007 at 12:58 AM (#2590924)
Well, that settles it then. Best player ever.

What?!? As best we know, he's only tied for the record for "fewest steroids used", along with Tony Eusebio, Todd Frohwirth and several thousand others. Let's not use that as our sole criterion. There's also the little matter of RINGZZ.
   58. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: October 24, 2007 at 01:00 AM (#2590926)
I'd just like to add that I always thought that O'Neill's defense was quite good. He didn't look fast, but he breoke to the ball well, took good routes, and his long arms helped him snare some balls. He looked a bit clunky at times--he was not a graceful runner--but he made the plays and had a plus plus arm. FWIW.
   59. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 24, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2590936)
"quite good"? Hmm. I'd call his defense solid. Well, perhaps it was quite good early in his Yankee career...time fades these memories. As well, he had a good arm, perhaps even very good early in his Yankee days, but not "plus plus."

And he was the worst slider ever. I'm shocked he didn't break his ankle every season.
   60. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: October 24, 2007 at 01:15 AM (#2590941)
Yes, I'm saying he was beyond solid defensively if solid means less than very good. He was at least very good, if not excellent. Maybe even great.
   61. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: October 24, 2007 at 01:17 AM (#2590944)
O'Neill had very good defensive numbers by zone rating.

I always thought he looked terrible, but the numbers don't back me up at all.
   62. sunnyday2 Posted: October 24, 2007 at 02:03 AM (#2590983)
I like this thread and the McGwire one. It's fun getting some drive-by posts.

Claude/Crispix can be forgiven for not realizing I was being sarcastic. Most HoM regulars know that. I agree with Claude/Crisp.
   63. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: October 24, 2007 at 11:31 AM (#2591140)
Dialing: Dial's OF Defense Discussion

I just remembered this.

I would doubt even hardcore baseball fans like us would have guessed these two as the top fielders. What makes it worse is the overall leader. As this cannot be guessed, I’ll just tell you: Paul “Rumpelstiltskin” O’Neill. Not a typo; not a calculation error. I am stunned at his finish.

...

O’Neill was good nearly every season and had a couple of monster seasons - coinciding with Yankee Championships. His defense in 1998 certainly contributed to those 125 wins. Wow, O’Neill’s total is amzaingly high.

There is the outfield for the last twenty years: Anderson, White and O’Neill. Dye, Erstad and White all won a Gold Glove. White won seven, and he looks like he deserved them.
   64. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 24, 2007 at 01:05 PM (#2591217)
I like this thread and the McGwire one. It's fun getting some drive-by posts.


Hey, it's Eric Davis. The guy was ugly as sin, looked like he was chewing ~10 lb. of tobacco at once, but was a complete joy to watch in every phase of the game.

And as a further "what could have been", Bonds, through his first 3595 PA, had 142 HRs, 212 SB/64 CS, and a 137 OPS+; Davis's numbers (through 3281 PA) were 177, 247/37, and 137. Of course, because of injuries, it took Davis through his age 29 season while Bonds put up those numbers through age 26. But man, I loved watching the guy.
   65. Rob_Wood Posted: October 24, 2007 at 07:24 PM (#2591750)
Regarding Eric Davis's speed, I think I remember seeing him score from first on a wild pickoff throw at Candlestick park. Watching him round the bases was quite a sight.
   66. AROM Posted: October 24, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2591800)
They combine all his walks and HR together, when in real life he could never hit a HR with himself on base.


Actually, in 2004 Bonds scored on his own homer after drawing a walk 3 times. Don't ask me how, its supposed to be impossible, but when you walk 232 times... :-)

I remember Davis tagging up and moving from 2nd to 3rd on a popup to 1st. Not any 1B, but Keith Hernandez who had a great arm. Keith wasn't asleep on the play either, he suspected Davis was going and turned around to make the throw as soon as he caught it, but Eric was just too fast.

That's one of two of my favorite Davis baserunning stories. The other is him stealing home, he broke for the plate as soon as the catcher tossed the ball back to the pitcher.
   67. sunnyday2 Posted: October 24, 2007 at 09:26 PM (#2591987)
If the catcher was Dave Engle, it doesn't count ;-)
   68. AROM Posted: October 24, 2007 at 11:19 PM (#2592078)
Most likely Tom Nieto, Orlando Sanchez was the backup and Dennis Werth caught two games for that team.
   69. Sparkles Peterson Posted: October 30, 2007 at 11:55 PM (#2600741)
As well, he had a good arm, perhaps even very good early in his Yankee days, but not "plus plus."


He had a plus plus leg when his arm failed him.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
HowardMegdal
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 0.8146 seconds
49 querie(s) executed