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Monday, May 28, 2007

Rich Gossage

Eligible in 2000.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:22 PM | 71 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:25 PM (#2381150)
The Goose was easily the most intimidating pitcher of my childhood.
   2. rawagman Posted: May 28, 2007 at 12:46 PM (#2381160)
How great was the Goose?
Many people say that the relief pitcher role is highly fungible. Take a look at bullpens around the game today. Focus on the closers. How many closers are out there now who have managed to remain effective for more than 4 years?
Hoffman, Rivera, Wagner, I suppose Isringhausen. Arguments could be made for the Wickmans and the T. Joneses of the worlds - some may even cite Benitez.
The rest are flashes in the pan - a few good years and a whole lot of nothing.
It may not be "difficult" in the MLB sense of the term, to close effectively for a few years. But a sustained career of closer brilliance is a rare and wonderful thing.
   3. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: May 28, 2007 at 01:06 PM (#2381166)
How many closers are out there now who have managed to remain effective for more than 4 years?
Hoffman, Rivera, Wagner, I suppose Isringhausen. Arguments could be made for the Wickmans and the T. Joneses of the worlds - some may even cite Benitez.
Rodriguez, Nathan. Francisco Cordero hasn't had an ERA+ below 125 in a full season since '00. Go back a few years, to...say...2003, and you've got Hoffman, Rivera, Wagner, Gagne, Foulke, Guardado, Percival, arguably Urbina and Kim.

None of which is intended to diminish what a great career Gossage had, of course.
   4. rawagman Posted: May 28, 2007 at 01:33 PM (#2381175)
That's my point - F. Cordero lost his job with Texas due to a horrid half-season. Going back to only 2003 wouldn't mean much - it is 4 years. Gagne had 2 phenomenal years, and then missed two years. Percival had a 7(?) year run. Guardado had even less. Nathan is going on year 5 now, IIRC. Urbina and Kim had no real runs of which to speak.
I will take the time to run through each closer in the majors right now and how long they've held a legit closer job.
   5. rawagman Posted: May 28, 2007 at 02:27 PM (#2381199)
OK: I've prepared a rough study in closers and career as closer length.
I was quite liberal in counting seasons as closer season. I am not taking into account usage pattern - remember - Gossage was a multiple inning closer - to a man, today's closers are 1 inning guys.
Rich Gossage - 11 years as a front line closer
Orioles - Chris Ray - 2nd year
Red Sox - Jonathan Papelbon - 2nd year
Yankees - Mariano Rivera - 11th year
Devil Rays - Al Reyes - 1st year
Blue Jays - B.J. Ryan - 2 years (injured) Jeremy Accardo - 1st year
White Sox - Bobby Jenks - 2nd full season
Indians - Joe Borowski - 3rd year (non-consecutive)
Tigers - Todd Jones - 10th year (non-consecutive)
Royals - Joakim SOria - 1st year
Twins - Joe Nathan - 4th year
Angels - Francisco Rodriguez - 3rd year
Athletics - Huston Street - 3rd year
Mariners - J.J. Putz - 2nd year
Rangers - Eric gagne- 3 years/ Akinori Otsuka- 2nd year
Braves - Bob Wickman - 9th year
Marlins - currently in flux
Mets - Billy Wagner - 10th full year
Phillies - Brett Myers- 1st year/ Tom Gordon - 4th year (non-consecutive)
Nationals - Chad Cordero - 4th year
CUbs - Ryan Dempster - 3rd year
Reds - Dave Weathers - 3rd year (being very generous)
Astros - Dan Wheeler - 1st year/Brad Lidge - 3 years
Brewers - Fransisco Cordero - 5th year
Pirates - Solomon Torres - 1st year
Cardinals - Jason Isringhausen - 8th year
Diamondbacks - Jose Valverde - 3rd year (being generous)
Rockies - Brian Fuentes - 3rd year
Dodgers - Takashi Saito - 2nd year
Padres - Trevor Hoffman - 13th year (not counting one year missed to injuries)
Giants - Armando Benitez - 10th year

Only Hoffman has him beat looking at strict season numbers. But - again - we have to look at effectiveness and leverage and usage as well.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: May 28, 2007 at 06:34 PM (#2381349)
The Goose was easily the most intimidating pitcher of my childhood.

Not Quis? Or Flamethrowin' Bob McClure? ; )
   7. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 28, 2007 at 06:54 PM (#2381364)
Not Quis? Or Flamethrowin' Bob McClure? ; )


Heh.

I think of them more from my late teen years, anyway.
   8. Paul Wendt Posted: May 28, 2007 at 08:58 PM (#2381480)
And I think of them as twenties!
I recall Gossage as a White Sox, Pirate and Yankee but he played only one year in Pittsburgh.

Gossage (his one season in the starting rotation) and Terry Forster put up poor seasons in '76; brought Richie Zisk and debutante Silvio Martinez in a trade. Maybe one of the first "impending free agency" trades, for Gossage, Forster, and Zisk were all granted free agency after '77; none signed to stay on.
   9. Suff Posted: May 29, 2007 at 01:31 PM (#2382365)
I always thought it was funny that the '76 White Sox had both Gossage and Terry Forster in their rotation with Dave Hamilton closing games. Was it a case of Paul Richards just thinking that their best pitchers should start? It doesn't look like they had much in the way of alternatives.
   10. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2007 at 03:09 PM (#2382471)
Speaking as a peak voter, I think Gossage had the greatest peak ever by a reliever. That makes him a shoo-in for my PHoM. Starting in 1975 and throwing out his ill-fated year as a starter (1976):

Year SV-BS IP WHIP OOB W-L ERA ERA+

1975 26-5 141.2 1.20 .306 9-8 1.84 211
1977 26-10 133 .95 .250 11-9 2.01 246
1978 27-10 134.1 1.09 .277 10-11 2.62 181
1979 18-3 58.1 1.16 .291 5-3 2.62 156
1980 33-4 99 1.12 .285 6-2 2.27 173
1981 20-3 46.2 .77 .215 3-2 0.77 464
1982 30-9 93 .98 .259 4-5 2.23 179
1983 22-13 87.1 1.23 .298 13-5 2.27 172
1984 25-11 102.1 1.09 .275 10-6 2.90 123
1985 26-6 79 1.03 5-3 .269 5-3 1.82 194

10 years 253-74 974.2 1.06 .272* 2.27* 180*
* these are medians

BTW he averaged 50 games per year (504 total) so his IP per appearance is 1.93. Not a contemporary closer's routine, well, ever. In his final 2 years (of this peak) in SD he threw 62 games and 102 IP and then 50 and 79. There was only one year where he threw less than 1.5 IP per game, that being 1981 at about 1.46, and look what he did with the lighter work load. OBA was .141. But there are a few BS but there are also 76 wins and 54 losses.

I woulda thought BTW that he woulda hit a few guys but in total only 47 in 1809 IP, one every 38 IP. But early he hit 23 in his first 585 IP, one every 25 IP. Gibson hit about twice as many guys in about twice as many IP, so maybe that's a lot, I don't know. I bet it hurt.

Bottom line, a 1.06 WHIP and ~180 ERA+ for 10 years and almost 1000 IP. I'm gonna poke around and see how that compares to some of the other top line guys.
   11. Urban Faber Posted: May 29, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2382475)
I always thought it was funny that the '76 White Sox had both Gossage and Terry Forster in their rotation with Dave Hamilton closing games. Was it a case of Paul Richards just thinking that their best pitchers should start?

Yes, that was Richards' idea. Gossage didn't like it too much, as I recall; he did make the All-Star team in '76 but mostly because they had to take somebody from the White Sox.

I seem to remember Forster being ahead of Gossage in the bullpen brigade until '75. Then of course they were traded together to Pittsburgh, and then both ended up in the '78 Series on different teams.
   12. Bunny Vincennes Posted: May 29, 2007 at 03:42 PM (#2382499)
I recall Gossage as a White Sox, Pirate and Yankee but he played only one year in Pittsburgh.

He also played for the Cubs for a couple of seasons in the '80s.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 29, 2007 at 04:08 PM (#2382530)
This may be true of a lot of relief pitchers, but I've always thought it a bit ironic that while Gossage was IMO second only to Wilhelm among currently HOF-eligible relievers, his three most remembered highlight moments were when he gave up titanic upper deck home runs: To Brett in the 1980 ALCS; again to Brett in the 1983 Pine Tar game; and to Gibson in the 1984 World Series.

I used to love both Gossage and Fingers, if for no other reason than to hear Jon Miller's self-parodic melodramatic voice when he'd announce that "the moustachioed" Goose Gossage or "the moustachioed" Rollie Fingers were coming in from the bullpen. Whenever I'd hear that Miller announcement, I'd always picture Gossage or Fingers striding past the mound, sashaying up to the owner's box, grabbing the owner's granddaughter, tying her up on the trolley tracks, forcing someone who knew how to read and write to send out a ransom note, and then striking out the side after threatening to throw the ump into the spittoon by the side of the rubber. They don't make relievers like that anymore.
   14. Paul Wendt Posted: May 29, 2007 at 04:40 PM (#2382567)
9. Suff Posted: May 29, 2007 at 09:31 AM (#2382365)
I always thought it was funny that the '76 White Sox had both Gossage and Terry Forster in their rotation with Dave Hamilton closing games. Was it a case of Paul Richards just thinking that their best pitchers should start? It doesn't look like they had much in the way of alternatives.


In '75 they lost 50 innings and some quality with Wilbur Wood (down to 294ip at 95) and they lost another 250 innings in '76.

Paul Richards is famous for his knuckleball pitchers. Certainly he knew they are different. But maybe the success with Wood contributed to the experiment when it came to replace him.

At Casey's around the corner, now closed, they said that Wilbur Wood used to come in and belly up to the bar for a pint of Guinness.


They don't make relievers like that anymore.

But the norms are wider for relief pitchers.
   15. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:16 PM (#2382727)
Whenever I'd hear that Miller announcement, I'd always picture Gossage or Fingers striding past the mound, sashaying up to the owner's box, grabbing the owner's granddaughter, tying her up on the trolley tracks, forcing someone who knew how to read and write to send out a ransom note, and then striking out the side after threatening to throw the ump into the spittoon by the side of the rubber. They don't make relievers like that anymore.


Fingers did have a Snidely Whiplash 'stache.
   16. sunnyday2 Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:27 PM (#2382746)
Quisenberry

I suppose Quiz is not everybody's idea of the standard against which HoM relievers are measured but his peak is not bad either.

Year SV-BS IP WHIP OOB W-L ERA ERA+

1980 33-3 128.1 1.22 .302 12-7 3.09 132
1981 18-4 62.1 1.19 .301 1-4 208
1982 35-9 136.2 1.01 .266 9-7 2.57 159
1983 45-8 139 .93 .243 5-3 1.94 211
1984 44-9 129.1 1.03 .264 6-3 2.64 153
1985 37-12 129 1.22 8-9 .301 2.37 175

6 years 212-45 724.2 1.09* .283* 41-33 2.47* 167*

Gossage

Year SV-BS IP WHIP OOB W-L ERA ERA+

10 years 253-74 974.2 1.06 .272* 2.27* 180*
* these are medians

What this shows is just how damn good Gossage was--better for 10 years than one of the other most dominant relievers of my lifetime was for 6.

Interesting, though, that Quiz went 12-7 in 1980, then won 1 game in 1981. That is not an artifact of a short season, but obviously of a different usage pattern. Goose's decisions had similarly fallen off the table in 1979.
   17. Daryn Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:42 PM (#2382757)
Speaking as a peak voter, I think Gossage had the greatest peak ever by a reliever. That makes him a shoo-in for my PHoM.

That's really a ten year prime, and Rivera crushes it. On 5 year peak, Eckersley is in the same ballpark as both of them.

Top 5 Consecutive ERA+

Gossage
246
180
156
173
465

Eckersley

160
237
606
130
196

Rivera Part One

242
235
234
245
178

191

Rivera Part Two

160
265
231
323
243
   18. Dizzypaco Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:49 PM (#2382761)
That's really a ten year prime, and Rivera crushes it. On 5 year peak, Eckersley is in the same ballpark as both of them.

Rivera crushes it only if you ignore innings pitched. Given the number of innings he was pitching in his prime, I agree with those who believe that Gossage may have the greatest peak of any reliever in history.
   19. Daryn Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:50 PM (#2382763)
And the oft-forgotten Billy Wagner with his 182 career ERA+ is not too shabby.
   20. Daryn Posted: May 29, 2007 at 07:52 PM (#2382765)
Rivera crushes it only if you ignore innings pitched. Given the number of innings he was pitching in his prime, I agree with those who believe that Gossage may have the greatest peak of any reliever in history.

That's true. I think that is why Gossage easily has the best prime. I think the peak goes to Rivera, especially if you count peak by innings pitched rather than seasons.
   21. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 30, 2007 at 01:44 AM (#2383604)
As Joe Buck would say, "Slammalamma . . . Ding-dong!" for me.

I actually have Goose ahead of Rivera at this point, assuming no further contributions from Rivera.

Rivera would need to turn in a 2007 that was as good as his 2006 and then another half season in 2008 that's just as valuable to catch Goose. Through 2006 I still have Rivera a smidge behind Fingers.

Goose is still just barely short of Wilhelm for the greatest reliever ever in my system. His peak is by far the greatest, IMO, it isn't close or debatable.

His 1977 is one of the greatest 10-20 seasons of any eligible pitcher, let alone relievers. It's the second greatest reliever season ever, behind only Hiller's 1973.

His 2nd best season is the best '#2' season of any eligible reliever. His 3rd best season is tied for the 2nd best '#3' season of any eligible reliever. His 4th and 5th best are the best '#4' and '#5' seasons.

His record is truly amazing for a reliever. He should go in just as easily as Wilhelm did.
   22. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 30, 2007 at 01:59 AM (#2383714)
Gossage vs. Rivera, adjusting for leverage, inherited runners, team defense, bullpen support (for their few starts), ballpark, schedule length, league quality (relative to the NL, and for expansion). Average DRA = 4.50.

Gossage                    Rivera
YR    WAR  DRA DRA
+   tIP  YR  WAR  DRA DRA+   tIP
72    0.2 5.15  87   74.3 
|
73    0.0 8.21  55   29.0 |
74    0.1 5.33  84   75.0 |
75    7.7 2.15 209  198.7 |
76    2.2 4.55  99  204.3 |
77   10.6 1.90 236  251.7 |95  0.0 5.52  81   74.0
78    6.1 2.76 163  193.7 
|96  6.1 1.58 285  134.7
79    2.9 2.88 156   94.7 
|97  5.7 1.92 235  138.3
80    5.5 2.42 186  154.0 
|98  4.5 1.69 267  102.7
81    4.7 1.03 438   91.7 
|99  4.8 1.73 261  110.7
82    6.5 2.00 225  161.0 
|00  3.9 2.90 155  131.0
83    3.2 3.87 116  173.0 
|01  6.7 2.14 210  174.0
84    3.2 3.76 120  161.3 
|02  2.2 3.44 131   91.3
85    5.6 2.87 157  183.0 
|03  4.3 2.30 196  116.0
86    0.0 6.15  73  123.0 
|04  6.2 1.63 277  138.3
87    1.8 3.87 116   97.0 
|05  6.0 1.60 281  133.3
88    0.0 6.22  72   60.3 
|06  5.1 2.13 211  130.3
89    0.6 4.50 100   49.3 
|
90         DNP            |
91    0.5 4.51 100   43.7 |
92    0.7 3.83 118   34.3 |
93    0.1 5.40  83   67.0 |
94    1.2 3.15 143   46.0 |
TOT  63.4 3.44 131 2566.0     55.6 2.24 201 1474.7 


I think they are just two completely different pitchers, very tough to compare. I'll still take Goose, but Rivera is gaining on him.
   23. TomH Posted: May 30, 2007 at 05:06 PM (#2384524)
Using Joe's system, if you took Goose's 75 and 77-85 (prime) and compared them to Rivera's 96-06 (prime so far), you get

pitcher .tIP ..DRA
Goose!! 1664 2.60
Mariano 1400 2.07
diff........ 264 5.62

Still different, but not nearly AS different.
   24. Jose Canusee Posted: May 30, 2007 at 05:09 PM (#2384536)
One of the few pitchers who played for both the A's and Giants, apart from Vida Blue and all the guys he was traded for, and now Alan Embree.
   25. TomH Posted: May 30, 2007 at 05:22 PM (#2384560)
Trying to compare Goose with Tiant and Stieb:

1. relievers have an ERA advantage; how to adjust?
2. relievers leverage their innings, but should we just multiply this leverage times IP to get 'effective IP', since it's a manager's decision of who to close and who to use merely as set-up?

My thoughts:
A. add a fudge to reliever ERA to account for 1. above. For Goose-like relievrs, who were often more than 1 IP per appearance, I'll use about .40
B. closers are assigned thier spots by their performance. Yes, someitmes they have a bad year and deserve to be yanked into some other spot, but if ANYONE 'deserved' to get leverage IP, a guy like Goose with his consistently great prime did! So, I have no problem with giving Gossage the equivalent of 70&#xis;h more IP when figuring his value.

Pretend the BP 'tranlasted stats' were the all-knowing Truth. Prented we discard poor years at beginning and end of career.
pitch years trans IP trans ERA
Stieb 79-91 ..2901. ... 3.81
Tiant 64-79 ..3036. ... 3.68
Goose75-93 .1633. ... 3.22

Now, let's take Goose's closer prime (75 and 77-85) an dseparate it from his other career:

pitch years trans IP trans ERA
Stieb 79-91 ..2901. ... 3.81
Tiant 64-79 ..3036. ... 3.68
Goosecloser ..982. ... 2.58
Goose other ..651. ... 3.63

and then adjust his stats by the reliever advantage (.40), and by leveraging his innings (* 1.70) during his closer prime.

pitch years trans IP trans ERA
Stieb 79-91 ..2901. ... 3.81
Tiant 64-79 ..3036. ... 3.68
Goosecloser .1669. ... 2.98
Goose other ..651. ... 4.03
Goose total .2320. ... 3.27

IF BP trans stats were Truth, and if I were looking for career value, I'd take Goose, clearly.

But that's not the important take-away; I'm really just trying out a method.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: May 30, 2007 at 05:41 PM (#2384590)
>>Speaking as a peak voter, I think Gossage had the greatest peak ever by a reliever. That makes him a shoo-in for my PHoM.

>That's really a ten year prime, and Rivera crushes it. On 5 year peak, Eckersley is in the same ballpark as both of them.

I never evaluate a player until he is retired, so my comment re. Goose means, the greatest peak ever by a relief pitcher who is now retired.

OTOH call it a 10 year prime if you like, like I said, he was better for 10 years than most relievers were for their 5. Or if Eck was just as good for 5, he wasn't for 10, peak/prime/whatever it is.
   27. Mike Green Posted: May 30, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2384599)
Joe,

If you have Goose anywhere near Rivera, it means that you're doing something wrong. The key is probably post-season work. Rivera pitched less than Gossage in his prime during the regular season , in part because Torre rightly saved him for the post-season with spectacular results. The other piece is that you have to adjust reliever statistics to reflect the average increased performance of relievers (as compared with starters)described in Steve Treder's articles in THT last year. Once you do that, Gossage's post-85 seasons are essentially of no assistance to his case.


Here's my look at Goosage (http://www.battersbox.ca/article.php?story=20070202215628445).
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 06:11 PM (#2384614)
Rivera pitched less than Gossage in his prime during the regular season , in part because Torre rightly saved him for the post-season with spectacular results.


Rivera pitched less than Gossage because all closers today pitch less than the firemen of thirty years ago.
   29. Michael Bass Posted: May 30, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2384675)
Agreed that Gossage pitched more than Rivera because of usage patterns, but I would strongly maintain that considering Rivera without considering the post-season is beyond silly, and this is going to be a growing problem as we start getting to 90s players with significantly more postseason games and spots than before.

Rivera has about 1.75 seasons of post-season innings, under (obviously) the highest possible stress with a microscopic ERA. Even if you think we should ignore this because of disparity of postseason opportunity (and I would maintain that with a record as long as Rivera's, that's entirely missing the point of the very real and huge value he provided), surely we should acknowledge that that many extra high-stress innings is a potentially career shortening event.
   30. sunnyday2 Posted: May 30, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2384701)
What is needed is to consider post-season play by all players. To give XC to one player who played well in the post-season while pretending nobody else ever did, that's a problem.

Then there's the other problem, which is that players today have so many more opportunities, as Michael says. Giving XC for post-season has about the same effect as a big honking timeline.

I'm not sayin' I know what the answer is, but anybody who considers modern post-season play without thinking of the disparities, which Michael again mentions, is not being fair to all eras.
   31. Mike Green Posted: May 30, 2007 at 07:30 PM (#2384702)
That's part of it too, John, but Rivera has had significantly different usage in the playoffs as compared with the regular season. He regularly came in during the eighth inning in the playoffs, but would very infrequently do so during the regular season. The Yankees were pretty much a lock for a playoff berth over most of Rivera's career, and this informed Torre's use of him.

Incidentally, Rivera has thrown over 10% of his total innings in the playoffs. If one is comparing him with Gossage, those innings (and Gossage's playoff innings) ought to be "super-leveraged", as they all have season leverage.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 07:48 PM (#2384735)
Agreed that Gossage pitched more than Rivera because of usage patterns, but I would strongly maintain that considering Rivera without considering the post-season is beyond silly, and this is going to be a growing problem as we start getting to 90s players with significantly more postseason games and spots than before.


Are you posting this to someone else, Michael? I never stated we should ignore the postseason.
   33. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 08:41 PM (#2384806)
Incidentally, Rivera has thrown over 10% of his total innings in the playoffs. If one is comparing him with Gossage, those innings (and Gossage's playoff innings) ought to be "super-leveraged", as they all have season leverage.


A problem that I noted in the past is, since relief pitchers (especially the closers of today) pitch far less innings than their starting counterparts, adding in postseason results without some downward adjustment can artificially increase the weight of their combined numbers much more than a starter or a position player.

Rivera has pitched 12% of his career in the postseason, while Whitey Ford (no division game for him) is only at 5%. Yogi Berra had only 3% of his AB in the postseason.
   34. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: May 30, 2007 at 08:50 PM (#2384822)
John, I'm confused - is that a demerit to Rivera? Sure he obviously had more opportunities, but he's been damn near unhittable in that 12% - doesn't that count?
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 30, 2007 at 08:54 PM (#2384827)
John, I'm confused - is that a demerit to Rivera? Sure he obviously had more opportunities, but he's been damn near unhittable in that 12% - doesn't that count?


Obviously, I wouldn't demerit the quality of his work. My concern is the sheer weight of his postseason numbers compared to his regular season stats. I'm just afraid that we will be overrating his performance compared to other great players.
   36. Chris Fluit Posted: May 30, 2007 at 09:35 PM (#2384860)
24. Jose Canusee Posted: May 30, 2007 at 01:09 PM (#2384536)
One of the few pitchers who played for both the A's and Giants, apart from Vida Blue and all the guys he was traded for, and now Alan Embree.

There's also this Barry guy. Zeppo, Zero, Zemo something like that.
   37. Willie Mays Hayes Posted: May 30, 2007 at 09:36 PM (#2384861)
Obviously, I wouldn't demerit the quality of his work. My concern is the sheer weight of his postseason numbers compared to his regular season stats. I'm just afraid that we will be overrating his performance compared to other great players.


You may be right, but in the end I think it's water under the bridge. Mo seems like a lock if you evaluate him against his contemporaries, which we probably need to do with the post-Gossage relievers. It'll be an interesting discussion 6-10 years from now, thats for sure.
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: May 31, 2007 at 12:01 AM (#2385079)
"Rivera pitched less than Gossage in his prime during the regular season , in part because Torre rightly saved him for the post-season with spectacular results."

Torre has hardly met a reliever that he ever "saved" for anything (see Quantrill, Gordon, Proctor, etc).
Rivera was saved only by the 'toe the line' lockstep that Torre obeyed, like everyone else, for closers in the regular season. Torre wasn't saving him for anything.

That said, Torre's usage of Rivera in the postseason was spectacular. He's a lousy manager in some ways, but that was probably THE biggest key to why the Yankees won those titles in the late 1990s, and he deserves full credit for it.

I have no problem with giving Rivera full credit for his postseason exploits. I agree that if you're a career-oriented voter, giving big counting-stat credit for postseason across eras can be problematic and even unfair. But I don't see how Rivera can't get acknowledged for his postseason brilliance.

On the other hand, I seriously doubt he could have done what Gossage did at his peak.
   39. Michael Bass Posted: May 31, 2007 at 12:23 AM (#2385148)

Are you posting this to someone else, Michael? I never stated we should ignore the postseason.


Sorry, didn't mean to put that on you. :) Was responding in part to your post, but then veered into more general stuff.

I do believe there have been some statements to the effect that because it's impossible to balance those who had many postseason opportunities to those who had none or few, that we ought to toss the whole thing out to be fair to everyone, but I have no recollection of you ever saying so.

At any rate, I would honestly say that the way to balance it is to discredit (slightly) the regular season as we get into the mid 90s. Just like the NBA and NHL regular seasons mean less with over half the league getting in, the MLB regular season is simply less important than it once was. I'd honestly argue when talking about the NBA HOF, that at least 1/3 of any discussion of a player who had an extensive postseason career (as almost every serious HOF candidate does) should be about the playoffs. MLB isn't there yet, but for a player like Rivera or Jeter (or the many Braves who spent half their career in the postseason), postseason performance simply means more than it used to, and thus regular season performance necessarily means less.
   40. Kiko Sakata Posted: May 31, 2007 at 12:42 AM (#2385205)
surely we should acknowledge that that many extra high-stress innings is a potentially career shortening event

I think this is an important point for modern pitchers. For some modern pitchers, if you start adding postseason innings, all of a sudden their innings pitched become much larger than you might realize. For example, in 2001, Curt Schilling threw over 300 innings counting the postseason. Bill James noted that John Smoltz won 29 games (and 291 IP) in 1996 (although that included the All-Star game). Overall, Smoltz has pitched 207 postseason innings in his career, Andy Pettite has 212, etc. For pitchers especially, that may well be taking regular-season innings away from other seasons and/or the end of their careers (e.g., Schilling's 2004 postseason probably seriously hurt his 2005 regular season, but is that a tradeoff that any sane Red Sox fan would NOT make?).
   41. TomH Posted: May 31, 2007 at 01:10 AM (#2385296)
(whoops, put this in the Morris thread by mistake...)

right on, Miachael B, post 39!

a pennant is still a pennant. More post-season doesn't mean more credit - it means REDISTRIBUTING the credit - for Rivera, his regular season IPs mean a little less, but his October does mean some. For the Ernie Bankses of the world, be they 1940 or 2005 versions, they get 100% of their credit for thier Apr-Sep work.
   42. OCF Posted: May 31, 2007 at 05:48 AM (#2385719)
A quote from the son of OCF. I'm not at all sure I agree with his analysis, but I'll pass it along anyway.

I've noticed that the Gossage thread at the HOM has had quite a few mentions of Mariano Rivera and his postseason performance. Here are the numbers, and some context for interpretation:

Raw numbers: 73 G, 112.7 IP, 70 H, 12 R, 10 ER, 15 BB, 87 K, 2 HR, 8-1 W/L, 34 saves. RA 0.96 in 124 team games. The Yankees and their opponents combined for 4.40 R/G.

Multiplied by 1.8 est. leverage: 203 IP, 126 H, 22 R, 18 ER, 27 BB, 157 K, 4 HR, RA 0.96.

For comparison, Maddux 1994: 202 IP, 150 H, 44 R, 35 ER, 31 BB, 156 K. 4 HR, RA 1.96.

That's 114 team games for Maddux, with 4.62 league runs per game in the 1994 NL. The difference in run environments goes away if you adjust for the quality of postseason competition- the offenses the Yankees faced were probably 10% better than average. Rivera's R/ER numbers are depressed somewhat by frequently coming in mid-inning, while almost always finishing his innings; that adjustment cuts into his advantage over Maddux, but doesn't eliminate it.

That's how good Rivera has been in the postseason- better than Greg Maddux in 1994.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2385883)
a pennant is still a pennant. More post-season doesn't mean more credit - it means REDISTRIBUTING the credit - for Rivera, his regular season IPs mean a little less, but his October does mean some. For the Ernie Bankses of the world, be they 1940 or 2005 versions, they get 100% of their credit for thier Apr-Sep work.


Hmmm...that's an intriguing and workable solution to my problem.
   44. TomH Posted: May 31, 2007 at 07:56 PM (#2386408)
Does anyone have Fingers equal to or better than Goose? What analysis would show this?

If not, Gossage seems to have a clear path to Meritoriousness.
   45. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: May 31, 2007 at 08:28 PM (#2386454)
Does anyone have Fingers equal to or better than Goose? What analysis would show this?


Faulty analysis, Tom? :-)
   46. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: May 31, 2007 at 11:37 PM (#2386629)
Tom, IMO, the question is, 'how close is Goose to Wilhelm?' (answer: very); as opposed to, 'is Fingers equal to Goose?' (answer: clearly no, but he's fairly close, and over the in/out line for me).
   47. TomH Posted: May 31, 2007 at 11:52 PM (#2386653)
I don't have Goose all THAT close to Hoyt, partly because I 'reliver adjust' Gossage's ERA more than Wilhelm's (more IP per appearance, different time/usage); and of course mostly because the diff between a 146* and 126 career ERA+.

*yes, I know, unearned runs make it smaller.
   48. Guapo Posted: June 01, 2007 at 12:06 AM (#2386693)
Most intimidating pitcher in baseball, since I became a fan:

1981-1983 Rich Gossage (my first baseball memory is Gossage nearly killing Ron Cey)
1984-1985 Dwight Gooden
1986-1988 Roger Clemens
1989-1991 Rob Dibble
1992-2002 Randy Johnson
2003 Eric Gagne
2004 Johan Santana
2005 Brad Lidge, briefly
2006 Probably Johan Santana again. Maybe Papelbon?

Tough leaving Pedro off this list, but I always thought of Randy Johnson as more intimidating. I don't think of Mariano as that intimidating (he doesn't get a ridiculous amount of k's), more just unhittable.
   49. Paul Wendt Posted: June 01, 2007 at 12:19 AM (#2386733)
> They don't make relievers like that anymore.

But the norms are wider for relief pitchers.


Rob Dibble.
and John Rocker.
Those are two guys I was thinking of, but their names slipped my mind.
A relief pitcher can still be crazy-intimidating, or just crazy. That they are not so commonly mustachioed today is superficial. By the way, rather than Rich Gossage, Al Hrabosky the Mad Hungarian may be the prime example from a decade earlier, of facial hair as an important part of the relief pitcher's schtick, supposedly intimidating schtick.
   50. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 01, 2007 at 12:27 AM (#2386754)
Tom, I have them extremely close. Close enough that if the leverage estimate for Wilhelm pre-1960 overstates him at all, Gossage would move ahead (.942 - .930 Pennants Added, using 1876-1996 as the baseline).

I actually get Gossage's DRA+ at 131 and Wilhelm's at 130. It's not just the unearned runs that favor Goose. Goose was leveraged higher (1.5-1.4) and his defenses weren't as good. Wilhelm moves ahead on career because he's got 2906 tIP to Gossage's 2566. But Goose had such an amazing peak that he nearly closes the gap in Pennants Added anyway.
   51. Howie Menckel Posted: June 01, 2007 at 01:17 AM (#2386864)
What do people think on No. 1 - Ryan or Gossage?
   52. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 01, 2007 at 01:38 AM (#2386922)
What do people think on No. 1 - Ryan or Gossage?


I'm leaning toward Gossage at this time, Howie.
   53. sunnyday2 Posted: June 01, 2007 at 04:23 AM (#2387040)
The real question right now for a peak voter re. relievers is of couse Gossage vs. Fingers, since they're both eligible and Fingers is a bona fide.

Year SV-BS IP WHIP OOB W-L ERA ERA+
* these are medians

Gossage
10 years 253-74 974.2 1.06 .272* 76-54 2.27* 180*

Quisenberry
6 years 212-45 724.2 1.09* .283* 41-33 2.47* 167*

Fingers
8 years 194-64 987.2 1.10 .278* 68-70 2.57* 124*

Fingers really has no comparable peak, he really is a prime candidate.

1971 17-3 129.1 .96 .266 4-6 2.99 112
1972 21-5 111.1 1.05 .271 11-9 2.51 114
1973 22-5 126.2 1.15 .288 7-8 1.91 185
1974 18-7 119 1.13 .282 9-5 2.65 126
1975 24-8 126.2 1.01 .274 10-6 2.98 122
1976 20-14 134.2 1.17 .304 13-11 2.47 136
1977 35-11 132.1 1.20 .298 8-9 2.99 118
1978 37-10 107.1 1.06 .265 6-13 2.52 132

1979 ERA+ 78

1981 28-6 78 .87 .235 6-3 1.04 330--showing that '81 came outside of his peak period.

Gossage is easily better than Fingers as a peak/prime candidate.
   54. Paul Wendt Posted: June 01, 2007 at 06:06 PM (#2387382)
Rollie,
You are converting 80% of save opportunities only in 1971-73. Over the next five seasons 134-50, less than 75%. I suppose the saves opportunities were more challenging than 21st century average. Were they so challenging that I should be impressed?
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 03, 2007 at 05:47 AM (#2390222)
I am impressed Paul. At a minimum I'd compare him to others from the 70s. He just buries his competition in terms of runs prevented, innings, longevity combined. I would think those saves had to be much tougher.
   56. Paul Wendt Posted: June 03, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2390294)
I welcomed his election to Cooperstown and he was my favorite relief pitcher. But only because I was for his team in three World Series. Was a relief pitcher anyone's favorite player? I'm sure he wasn't in my top ten.
   57. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 04, 2007 at 03:34 AM (#2391570)
Dave Righetti and Willie Randolph were my favorite Yankees throughout my childhood.
   58. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 04, 2007 at 03:37 AM (#2391589)
Although, Righetti was a starting pitcher in 1981 when he became my favorite player, so maybe that doesn't count.

Rivera has been my favorite Yankee since early 1996, before he became Mariano-RiveraTM.

I remembered the 4th of July game in 1995 where he pitched the gem against the White Sox. That put him on the radar. When he was pitching really well early in 1996 he became my favorite player on the team. I'm still annoyed that he didn't win the Cy Young Award that year :-)
   59. Cblau Posted: June 14, 2007 at 02:15 AM (#2403409)
There's an interesting article on relief pitchers in this year's Baseball Research Journal written by Gabriel Schecter. He compares success in converting save opportunities in different situations by Fingers, Gossage, Sutter, Smith, Eckersley, Hoffman, and Rivera. Fingers is the guy who really looks good in these figures. When entering a game with the winning or tying run on base, he was successful (ignoring holds) 63% of the time compared to 59% for Gossage and Rivera. (Fingers had 161 such opportunities while Rivera had 49.) Hoffman actually has the best success ratio, 36 to 13, although apparently in most of he entered the game with 2 outs.

When entering the game before the 8th inning, Fingers had 75 saves in 125 opportunities (60%), compared to 52 out of 88 (59%) for Gossage, and 1 out of 4 for Rivera. Fingers also has the best figure for saves when entering in the 8th inning at 82% while Gossage was at 77%, Smith at 76% (but with 201 opportunities) while Hoffman was at 84% (but only 63 opportunities) and Rivera at 79%.

Where Rivera really shines is in the easy save opportunities. When starting the 9th inning with a 2 or 3 run lead, he's converted 196 out of 201. For comparison, Gossage had 30 saves in 33 chances in that situation, Fingers 28 in 30.

Fingers in fact tops Gossage when entering with the winning or tying run on base, with the tying run at bat, and with the tying run on deck. Of course, this is just one aspect of relief pitching, and shouldn't be the only basis of evaluation. But it is worth looking at.
   60. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 16, 2007 at 01:15 PM (#2405975)
Any Japanese credit for the 1990 season for Goose?
   61. Howie Menckel Posted: June 16, 2007 at 01:47 PM (#2405986)
Thanks, cblau.
It seems like however one looks more closely at Fingers, his stock improves.

I think some younger voters may KNOW that guys like Gossage and especially Fingers often pitched multiple innings and/or entered with runners in scoring position.
I'm just not sure they all completely take that into account when voting.

The last sentence is eye-popping:
"When entering a game with the winning or tying run on base, [Fingers] was successful (ignoring holds) 63% of the time compared to 59% for Gossage and Rivera. (Fingers had 161 such opportunities while Rivera had 49.)"
   62. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2007 at 02:01 PM (#2405989)
It seems like however one looks more closely at Fingers, his stock improves.

I think some younger voters may KNOW that guys like Gossage and especially Fingers often pitched multiple innings and/or entered with runners in scoring position.
I'm just not sure they all completely take that into account when voting.


I'm glad that Cblau posted those winning / tying run on base numbers, because they illustrate why many of us who followed the A's closely in the Mustachio Era considered Fingers one of the sina qua non members of those championship teams. Whether he's "better" than either Gossage or Rivera is one of those debates that will never end, but the bottom line to me is that they're all no-brainer HOMers.
   63. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 16, 2007 at 02:09 PM (#2405993)
Here's the one that got me:

Where Rivera really shines is in the easy save opportunities. When starting the 9th inning with a 2 or 3 run lead, he's converted 196 out of 201. For comparison, Gossage had 30 saves in 33 chances in that situation, Fingers 28 in 30.

Wow. And yet, Closers' leverage a good dose higher than Aces' leverage.
   64. sunnyday2 Posted: June 16, 2007 at 03:10 PM (#2406014)
Are you saying Mariano is human? Sacrilege! I think we should waive the 5 year rule and elect him now.
   65. Paul Wendt Posted: June 16, 2007 at 03:10 PM (#2406015)
many of us who followed the A's closely in the Mustachio Era considered Fingers one of the sina qua non members of those championship teams.

True. If not for sabermetrics I wouldn't know that Gene Tenace was the number two guy on that team.
;-)
Pitchers, catchers, scouts, defense. One way or another they typically beat the NL champs 3-2.
   66. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: June 16, 2007 at 05:02 PM (#2406066)
Goose's Japan numbers:

23 games, going 2-3 with 8 saves and a 4.40 ERA.

Full line is here, but I'll lay it in beneath too for ease:

japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1874

Yr    Tm  G CG GF GS W L T SV  BF  AB INN  H HR SH SF BB IBB HBP Ks WP BK RA ER ERA
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1990 FDH 20  0 20  0 2 3 0  8 196 172  47 43  5  6  3 15  2   0  40  2  0 24 23 4.40 


League totals from http://www.japanbaseballdaily.com/pennantrace1990PL.html

Team  G   IP     W   L  T  SV  SP   BF   CG SO   H   HR   K    BB HBP  WP BK   R    ER ERA  WHIP
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sei 130 1160.1  81  45  4  33  49  4889  46 10 1068 138  872  423  28  27  1  487  449 3.48 1.28
Orx 130 1160.0  69  57  4  18  34  5019  36  5 1189 157  814  401  43  45  5  619  554 4.30 1.37
Kin 130 1166.0  67  60  3  19  37  5085  44  3 1171 140  825  499  30  40  3  638  562 4.34 1.43
Nip 130 1158.1  66  63  1  15  36  4905  41  9 1055 137  811  452  33  32  2  542  473 3.68 1.30
Lot 130 1150.0  57  71  2  22  44  5011  28  6 1149 137  835  498  42  68  6  622  539 4.22 1.43
Dai 130 1144.0  41  85  4  13  25  5123  28  3 1257 196  745  533  36  29  3  757  707 5.56 1.56
================================================================================================
TOT 780 6938.2 381 381 18 120 225 30032 223 36 6889 905 4902 2806 212 241 20 3665 3284 4.26 1.40 


Gossage is above the league in ERA but below in WHIP. He's more than a K/9 above the league. More than a half run below the league in bb/9. Below the league in H/9. .20 HR/9 below the league. I have a feeling that either there's some weird park thing or something related to team quality going on here.
   67. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: June 17, 2007 at 05:34 AM (#2406803)
"Wow. And yet, Closers' leverage a good dose higher than Aces' leverage."


No one questions the leverage of the modern day closer. The problem is that the old guys threw so many more innings, that the minor difference in leverage (1.8 career for Rivera/Sutter, 1.7 Lee Smith, 1.6 Fingers, 1.5 Gossage (which includes those lean years at the end)) doesn't make up for the relative lack of innings.

In Rivera's cases, he's so much more effective, that he 'catches up' - although I still have him a hair behind Fingers for his career. But everyone is impressed with guady ERA+, not nearly as impressed with Fingers throwing 75% more tIP. (2568 vs. 1474). In the end though, it had similar value.

And Fingers was pretty good in October too . . .
   68. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: June 17, 2007 at 05:48 AM (#2406806)
You guys don't care about this and rightfully s,ut does open cmpaigning for the HOF hurt candidates? Gossage was on Boston radio last week. I've been meaning to hear it, but apparently he was advocating for his own HOF spot. Iunderstand Blyleven ill do the soame on occasion. HOF advocacy is someting that I really don't care about, but these guys are worthier than some contempos that are recent inductees or have come close.
   69. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: June 17, 2007 at 05:56 AM (#2406810)
Crap, apparently you cannot edit in the blogs. What I was trying to say was that you guys avoid the bull$%#@ politics about the HOF. But I was wondering if Goose and Bert were hurting their own cause. I do hear a Bert for HOF cry on the radio from time to time, but I wonder how many are radioo guys without BWAA votes and how many are voters. Some actually recognize his K #s and K/BB #s. He's ;ikely better than Catfish.
   70. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: June 17, 2007 at 01:51 PM (#2406880)
But I was wondering if Goose and Bert were hurting their own cause.


Probably so, EWK. It shouldn't be that way if all of the members were doing jobs correctly, of course, but I can understand an elector being turned off with the whining.
   71. Paul Wendt Posted: June 17, 2007 at 03:13 PM (#2406927)
I'm not sure there is much politics involved regarding recent mlb players. Rollie Hemond is campaigning for Gossage and I suspect he has some influence. I doubt Gossage has any. (I haven't heard him. I guess he simply lacks the perspective to see, first, he is going in rather easily; second, in electing Sutter, the writers are not ranking him above Gossage.)

The only one I have heard in a radio interview about his status in Cooperstown is Al Oliver, about ten years ago. He is in another class, because his case isn't very good "on paper", more like Pappas than Gossage. On the other hand, he didn't even get renominated and I think he felt hurt or insulted by that. And his career ended unhappily, from aging rather well, expecting to get 3000 hits, to journeyman and gone. He suspected collusion.

For Blyleven, maybe Santo and Grich, I wonder whether it hurts their chances if the writers, maybe members & honorees, feel that the nerds are campaigning. Some may bristle at getting instruction from nerds.

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