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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sandy Koufax

Eligible in 1972.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:05 PM | 337 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:16 PM (#1884380)
If there is a player we need to check our emotions when constructing our ballots, Koufax may be #1 on the list.
   2. The Original SJ Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:19 PM (#1884384)
Ooooh, I have been waiting to see how this one would turn out forever.
   3. karlmagnus Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:33 PM (#1884394)
Hopelessly overrated. Not as good as Joss. About #17, just below Rube Waddell. No emotion involved.
   4. Daryn Posted: March 05, 2006 at 10:50 PM (#1884412)
I'll have him pretty close to where karl will have him - I have Waddell at 11 and Joss at 13. I have made my views clear on him in previous threads, but I think if he weren't Sandy Koufax, he'd be treated much more like Dean and Joss have been by this electorate.

There have been two superstars about whom I have disagreed with the electorate most -- Greenberg and Koufax -- if my parents were reading this, gay ga zinta hate, they'd think it was a shanda.
   5. andrew siegel Posted: March 05, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#1884469)
It's actually not as simple as peak vs. career. If you measure peak by one, two, three, or four years, he's among the top 5 post-war pitchers. (I have him number 1 on three-year peak, and close on two and four years peaks.) But if you measure peak by top 5 seasons, he slides down into the bottom of the top 10 by most measures (not counting post-season) and if you go to 6 or 7 years, eight or ten guys pass him per year. Since I use 7-year peak/prime as my non-career measure, Koufax would be fairly far off ballot.

Except, there are 2 further issues to deal with:

(1) His unmatched post-season record.
and (2) The abysmal way in which he was used pre-1962, squandering at minimum some very useful shoulder seasons.

I'm going to have to look at those issues very carefully. For now, my best guesstimate is that they bring him close to the ballot but not onto it.
   6. Chris Cobb Posted: March 06, 2006 at 12:06 AM (#1884480)
Here's how Koufax looks to me and my "weight peak and career equally" system.

Of the short-career, high-peak pitchers, Koufax is among the best. By my system, he has the highest peak rate of any pitcher for whom I have a rate calculated except for Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson (Among pre-1970 pitchers, the only three for whom I haven't calculated rate who might conceivably have a higher one than Koufax are Lefty Grove, Pete Alexander, or Carl Hubbell).

I have him a little bit ahead of Rube Waddell and a long way ahead of Joss and Dean. He threw a lot more innings relative to his time than Joss did, and he was considerably more effective per-inning than Dean. Waddell is pretty close to Koufax on both measures, but slightly behind on each, and he has the unearned runs issue. Waddell will be around 18-20 in my ranking, so Koufax will be somewhere on the bottom third of my ballot, I think. I'm going to have to think about him vs. Jose Mendez, who is on the top half of my ballot, but Mendez had a longer peak and more career overall, which I think keeps him ahead of Koufax, who leads him only slightly in peak rate.

I don't know that we'll elect Koufax immediately (though his arriving in an elect-three year makes it more likely) and I'm not sure we should, by I think he ultimately belongs. He meets the Hughie Jennings criterion of definitely being among the top 5 players in baseball during his 5-year peak, and, like Jennings, he has an argument for being the best (though the primes of Mays and Aaron top him) during his peak. Even though he has little outside those five years, that's enough.
   7. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2006 at 12:49 AM (#1884519)
While I have yet to run the numbers it will take an upset for me not to have him at #2, let alone an elect-me position. He is far superior to Joss and Dean. Koufax threw many more translated inning than Joss and his ERA is nearly as impressive. He peak is much better than Dean's as well and Dean was on my ballot last year. I will probably have Dean at #15 again, Koufax at #2 and Joss is somewhere in the 40's or 50's, I forget where exactly. You need to put an awful lot of emphasis on ERA+ to like Joss, and this is coming from a peak voter.

Koufax is the Hughie Jennings of pitchers, except that he played in an era (post WWII) where pithers don't have very impressive WS totals, so that needs to be adjusted for. And while it took a long time for Jennings to get elected the backlog isnt' as strong now as it was in 1960. I believe that my top returnee (Cupid Childs) as around #6 or #7 that year, he was #2 last year. IN other words, I think that Koufax has to be one of the favorites for induction this year, so long as others see his peak as impressive as I do. Most Jennings supporters should be impressed.
   8. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2006 at 01:14 AM (#1884549)
I did just run Koufax through my system and unless some new information comes up he will be #2. His peak resembles that of Bob Feller, though eh has less career adn fewer shoulder seasons. Still, that is enough to vault him to the top of my backlog, which as I have mentioned above is weaker than it has ever been. However, I do want to say that I was really surprised by how freakin' good Robin Roberts was! I think that had he retired one year earlier, there would be some competition between he and Spahn for the top spot this year. Six WS Cy Youngs, and 16 seasons above 12 WS or 4 WARP3. Oy Vei!
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:02 AM (#1884632)
Well, I've just gone over Roberts and Koufax: Roberts is an easy #1, while Koufax wont make my ballot. I wont be upset if and when Sandy makes the HoM, though, because he does have that impressive peak.

Can we at least agree that ESPN's assertion that Koufax was the #1 pitcher of the 20th century was pure silliness? :-)
   10. jingoist Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:25 AM (#1884666)
Do HoM voters deduct points for pitchers who are beyond useless with a bat?

I notice great fielders get dinged for poor hitting and great hitters get dinged for poor fielding. Shouldn't that be true for pitchers who do nothing to help their team win when it's their turn to bat?

I find Koufax's career a conundrum; so great for such a short period then he quits just as he hits his peak year.
I was overseas in the Navy when he quit after 1966.
Does anyone here know the reason; was he hurt?
   11. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:32 AM (#1884672)
Well I do know that Bob Lemon and Wes Ferrel were elected in part because of their hitting ability and Bucky Walters seperates himself on my ballot in part because of his hitting ability. In fact Koufax's lack of offensive production is probably one reason why his uberstat numbers look a little disappointing.

So I guess the answer to your question is yes.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:33 AM (#1884673)
Do HoM voters deduct points for pitchers who are beyond useless with a bat?

I don't, jingoist. However, he gets barely any credit from me for his offense.
   13. The Original SJ Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:39 AM (#1884687)
Does anyone here know the reason; was he hurt?

His arm was going to fall off. In fact, he knew he was done in September, so her told Alston to use him as much as he needed too. His eyar would have looked a little better had that not occured.

Koufax was also the first pitcher to ice his arm after a game
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:59 AM (#1884712)
I don't always think much of wikipedia entries, but this one works. In part:

"The 1965 season started off badly for Koufax. On March 31, the morning after pitching a full game during spring training, Koufax awoke to find that his entire left arm was black and blue from hemorrhaging...... To get himself through games, Koufax resorted to cortisone shots in the elbow, Empirin with codeine for the pain (which he took every night and sometimes during the fifth inning), and Butazolidin for inflammation. He would also apply Capsolin ointment (called "atomic balm" by baseball players) before each game and then soak his arm in a tub of ice. The trainers would leave three beers in the tub; when Koufax had finished them, he would take his arm out."

Remember, he then pitched AGAIN in 1966, after going thru that.
   15. Brent Posted: March 06, 2006 at 03:02 AM (#1884714)
I was overseas in the Navy when he quit after 1966.
Does anyone here know the reason; was he hurt?


Arthritic elbow - apparently he was told that if he continued pitching he would risk crippling his arm. At least from 1964-onward he was pitching in great pain.

Koufax was a childhood hero, so it's tough for me to "check our emotions." I've always been a peak-oriented voter and have given players credit for post-season success, so Koufax figures to do well. On the other hand, my experience with this project has helped me gain a larger historical perspective, and I have become slightly more career-oriented over time. Koufax had a truly amazing peak, one of the best in the history of the sport. On the other hand, he didn't do much outside of 1961-66. Right now it looks like he'll be # 4 on my ballot.

A few other random comments:
- His pitching environments were extreme. Ebbetts Field and especially the LA Coliseum (with its 250' left field line) were awful for him, while Dodger Stadium was one of the best pitchers parks ever. Part of his improvement in 1961-62 was real, but a big part was just moving to a much better environment.
- His early career is yet another example of the stupidity of the bonus baby rules that were in effect at the time, which didn't allow him to be sent to the minors. An inexperienced pitcher (according to his autobiography, when he signed he hadn't yet pitched 20 games in his life), he had a great fast ball and curve but needed an opportunity to pitch regularly to learn the strike zone. But the Dodgers were afraid to use him, so he mostly sat on the bench.
- His 1966 autobiography (ghost written by Ed Linn) is one of the best written baseball autobiographies around. (Actually, Ed Linn seems to have ghost written most of the best baseball autobiographies.) There's a particularly good chapter about the changes he made in spring training of 1961 that helped him change from a "thrower" to a "pitcher." (Koufax spends about 5 pages discussing what he learned from Allan Roth, the Dodger team statistician--the first team statistician in baseball, and a predecessor of the modern sabermetrician.) If you can pick it up at your library or on Ebay, I recommend the book.
   16. Brent Posted: March 06, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#1884777)
On my ballots, I often cite statistics for pitchers over their primes. Here they are for Waddell, Joss, and Koufax. By innings-pitched “norm,” I am referring to the average IP of each season’s fifth-highest ranking pitcher in IP (which I posted long ago on the pitchers thread).

Over 5 seasons (1902-06) Waddell averaged 22-14, 2.3 wins above team, 317 IP (norm for 1902-06 AL was 331 IP), 140 DERA+, 269 SO, 84 BB.

Over 7 seasons (1902-03, 05-09) Joss averaged 20-12, 3.9 wins above team, 290 IP (norm for 1902-09 AL was 324 IP), 121 DERA+, 113 SO, 45 BB.

Over 6 seasons (1961-66) Koufax averaged 22-8, 5.4 wins above team, 272 IP (norm for 1961-66 NL was 276 IP), 144 DERA+, 286 SO, 69 BB.

While all three pitchers had strong pitching primes, I am confident in ranking Koufax well ahead of Waddell and Joss.
   17. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2006 at 05:09 AM (#1884851)
Odd that all three were under the league average in IP, how is that calculated? Certainly it isn't IP by an average starter, since many starters would pitch only half a season or so.

Still Koufax is comfortably ahead of all three. How do Dean and Walters (our other two peak friendly pitching candidates) look in that analysis Brent?
   18. Chris Cobb Posted: March 06, 2006 at 05:29 AM (#1884889)
jschmeagol asked:

Odd that all three were under the league average in IP, how is that calculated? Certainly it isn't IP by an average starter, since many starters would pitch only half a season or so.

Brent's post says:

By innings-pitched “norm,” I am referring to the average IP of each season’s fifth-highest ranking pitcher in IP.

If you are interested in the # of innings an actual average starter would throw, here are the numbers that I have from adding up the IP for all full-time SP in the league each year:

AL 02-06 for Waddell: 285.3 IP

AL 02-03, 05-09 for Joss: 273.7 IP

NL 61-66 for Koufax: 214 IP

My study suggests that the top pitchers in IP were farther outliers from the mean in the 1960s than in the 1900s. However, it should be noted that my study is attempting to trace the usage of full-time starting pitchers, and the usage patterns of the aughts suggest that teams were using only 3 full-time starters, so average IP is based off of the top 3 pitchers per team. In the 1960s, the numbers are based on the top 4 pitchers per team. If 4 pitchers were used for the aughts, those numbers would drop, though I doubt they would fall as low as 250 IP.
   19. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 05:46 AM (#1884910)
Koufax was a childhood hero, so it's tough for me to "check our emotions."

Understandable, Brent. I'll be that way when Seaver is eligible. :-)
   20. Chris Cobb Posted: March 06, 2006 at 05:48 AM (#1884914)
I'd add that, in terms of durability + excellence, although we are comparing Koufax to Waddell because both are eligible, I think that another useful comp for Koufax is Ed Walsh.

Ed Walsh, 1907-12, averaged 373 IP/season, in a league in which the average SP threw 259 IP/season
His DERA+ was 136

Sandy Koufax, 1961-66, averaged 272 IP/season in a league in which the average SP threw 214 IP/season
His DERA+ was 144

Walsh's durability is definitely more impressive, and his quality was none too shabby, but you can see why Waddell's peak, in context, did not reach the upper bound of pitching performance for his time. Koufax's did.

(Christy Mathewson, 1907-12, btw, averaged 302.7 IP/season, with a DERA+ of 139. A league-avg. SP threw 264 IP/season in those years. That's a pretty close match for Waddell's performance, over one more season. And he has another 4 seasons at about that level elsewhere in his career. But that's what makes him an all time great . . . )
   21. Tonight's special is maggot-infested carcass Posted: March 06, 2006 at 05:59 AM (#1884928)
I was overseas in the Navy when he quit after 1966.
Does anyone here know the reason; was he hurt?


And have you stayed overseas without ever reading about baseball for 40 years until you made that post?

You've really never had any idea all this time why he retired so young?
   22. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 06, 2006 at 06:17 AM (#1884952)
I'll be that way when Seaver is eligible.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you won't need to play the "childhood hero" card to rank Seaver #1.

As for Koufax, he won't be anywhere near my ballot. I haven't looked at it yet but he'll probably be between Waddell and Dean, in other words in the 35-60 range.
   23. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: March 06, 2006 at 06:20 AM (#1884956)
How much attention will the HoM pay to pennant race performances and World Series performances?

Koufax pitched 57 IP in the postseason and had an ERA of 0.95. That ain't bad.

I once read somewhere (I think something dealing with Bill James when Win Shares came out) that he had the biggest impact on pennant races of any pitcher while he was in his prime. Let's look:

1961 - Dodgers lose to the Reds by 4 games. On AUgust 25 with the Dodgers beginning the day 3 1/2 down, he pitched a complete game victory allowing 2 runs on 5 hits in Cincinnati. However, 10 days earlier, he got his butt kicked by them.

1962 - Injured during almost all the pennant race. Came back to pitch in the finale series against the Dodgers and lost.

1963 - Dodgers beat the Cards by 6 games. Koufax wins four of his five starts with an ERA of 0.96. This included a late September game where he tossed a complete game shutuot against them. The day began with St Louis 2 games back. It was part of a sweep that ended a serious St Louis threat. A month earlier he'd tossed 12 innings in a no-decision. He allowed 1 run and the Dodgers won in 16.

1964 - five teams finish within five games of first, but the Dodgers finish 80-82.

1965 - Dodgers edge out the Giants by 2, Pirates by 7, & Reds by 8. Only one second half start against the Giants, and he pitched poorly and lost. Against Pitt on 9/1 he pitched a great game, but lost in the 11th inning. Two weeks earlier he'd tossed a 10-inning CG SHO victory over Pitt, striking out 12 along the way. A month before he'd beaten Pitt with a CG 5-hitter, 2-runs, and 10 K's. He had a late-September start against the Reds. They were out of the race by that time, but it was a CG SHO with 13 K's. One guy made it to second base.

1966 - similar tight jam pennant race. Giants game and a half back. Pitt 3 games back. Philly 8 back. Against SF, allowed 2 runs in 7 innings before being pulled for a pinch hitter. No decision as the Dodgers lost in extra innings. Less than two weeks earlier he'd tossed a CG SHO against them. Those were his only late season starts against them. Pitt was 2 1/2 back on 9/16 when he faced off against them. CG victory - 1 run allowed. He tossed 7 innings of 1 run allowed ball against them in August. As for Philly, his last NL start was against them - a CG W (10 K's, 2 ER), but of course they were out of it by then. It was his second start against them since they'd fallen out. He'd held them to one run in the other game. Really though, the Phillies were never in it. They played good late to creep within 8 games.

I guess what I heard about his impact on pennant races was overrated. Still pretty good overall though. And his WS stuff was fantastic.

I can't believe some find Joss preferable to him.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2006 at 01:39 PM (#1885280)
Walsh is a good comparison.
Those who are on the skeptical side may want to look at Lemon. If Koufax beats him and if you gave Lemon a vote....
   25. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 01:52 PM (#1885292)
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you won't need to play the "childhood hero" card to rank Seaver #1.

lol

Probably not, AJM. :-)
   26. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#1885302)
Those who are on the skeptical side may want to look at Lemon. If Koufax beats him and if you gave Lemon a vote....

I have Koufax clearly ahead of Lemon, but I wasn't too keen on Bob, either.

I can't believe some find Joss preferable to him.

I don't understand it either, Chris. Koufax definitely stood out more among his peers than Joss ever did.
   27. TomH Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#1885310)
Bill James made an extensive comparison of Koufax's (and Drysdale's) W-L records based on run sport. I think it was in his HoF book, either Politics of Glory or Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame (depending in which version you get). I will attempt to resurrect the info later this week, but feel free to beat me to it if you wish. The crux was that Sandy posted a better W-L record than you would expect in his prime, given his ERA and the runs he had to work with. Which, considering how good his ERAs were, is quite an accomplishment.
   28. karlmagnus Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:16 PM (#1885315)
Koufax had a career ERA+ of 131, Joss of 142. He stood out among his peers because he was playing in an extreme pitchers park. We underrate Frank Howard and whichever of the Davises was actually any good because of that park, too.

Joss's ERA+ is thre tenth best in history. His "prime" which Brent was comparing to Koufax's ia 7 years against Koufax's 5, which makes a huge difference. Same number of IP, 11 higher ERA+, it's not close. Joss was a better hitter, too, FWIW.

There's a case for saying Drysdale was better than Koufax; if they're both on my ballot simultanously they'll be close. He's THAT overrated.
   29. karlmagnus Posted: March 06, 2006 at 02:20 PM (#1885319)
Incidentally, while you guys go misty eyed about Koufax, Big Frank Howard was the first HOM-candidate ballplayer I saw live. The 1971 Washington Senators, when I first came across here. Now THERE was a team! :-)
   30. Daryn Posted: March 06, 2006 at 03:16 PM (#1885354)
I can't believe some find Joss preferable to him.

I can't believe anyone voted for Hughie Jennings. ;)

Joss was great for 8.5 seasons. Koufax had six such seasons. I may have Koufax ahead of Joss, but I may not. Koufax is a test for the question, what would you do if Albert Pujols retired after an MVP type 2006? He wouldn't make my ballot. Clearly, he would make the ballot of peak-first or peak only voters. To me, Joss is Albert Belle to Koufax's Pujols (roughly -- I like Belle a little better than all of them -- he had 9 great seasons).
   31. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 06, 2006 at 03:23 PM (#1885360)
I don't think that Koufax is terribly likely to make my ballot in the 1972 election, but I do rank him among the pitchers I'd put in the HOM. For me he's in the second half of those pitchers, but he's among them nonetheless.
   32. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 03:25 PM (#1885362)
Joss's ERA+ is thre tenth best in history. His "prime" which Brent was comparing to Koufax's ia 7 years against Koufax's 5, which makes a huge difference. Same number of IP, 11 higher ERA+, it's not close. Joss was a better hitter, too, FWIW.

Compare their black and gray ink, karlmagnus. How does Joss go ahead of Koufax? The only way he can is if you think pitchers were better 100 years ago, which would put you squarely into a tiny minority here.

I'll give you the hitting comparison, though. Koufax was horrible.

But since both pitchers wont be on my ballot in '72, this debate is academic for me. :-)
   33. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: March 06, 2006 at 03:51 PM (#1885393)
I guess what I heard about his impact on pennant races was overrated.

I think you're overlooking context.

(Background) 9/29/66: a complete game 2-1 win over the Cardinals, striking out 13.

10/2/66 (the Phillies game you wrote about): last day of the season, Dodgers need a win or Giants loss to clinch, but the Giants don't cooperate and the Dodgers lose the 1st game of a doubleheader at Philly. So Koufax goes out for the 2nd game, and on 2 days rest, throws another complete game win, 6-3, 10 Ks.

His last 8 starts in '66 he was 6-1 and the Dodgers won by 1-1/2 games. That's impact. (and frustration -- Giants fan here)
   34. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 06, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#1885431)
That Joss had teh same amount of innings pitched in his five year peak as Koufax, I would argue that to be a large point in Sandy's favor since pitchers threw fewer innings per season. You have to put an awful lot of faith in ERA+ to have Joss ahead, that is all I can see. In terms of overall value per season Joss wasn't as good as Dean, Waddell, or Walters (let alone Lemon, Ferrell, or Vance) because he didnt' throw enough per year for his era. I am a peak voter who doesn't have Joss in his top 50.
   35. DavidFoss Posted: March 06, 2006 at 04:45 PM (#1885439)
His last 8 starts in '66 he was 6-1 and the Dodgers won by 1-1/2 games. That's impact. (and frustration -- Giants fan here)

Yeah, September was his best month in 1966. (This is more of a head-scratching response to post #16).
   36. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 06, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#1885734)
John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 05, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#1884380)
If there is a player we need to check our emotions when constructing our ballots, Koufax may be #1 on the list.


Actually, the fact that there's even a question over whether Sandy Koufax belongs is why I've never been inclined to become a HOM voter. I do enjoy reading the threads, through...
   37. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 07:45 PM (#1885773)
Actually, the fact that there's even a question over whether Sandy Koufax belongs is why I've never been inclined to become a HOM voter.

So I take it you're a peak guy? That's fine, but others here value peak, prime, career, and various combinations of the other three. All perfectly acceptable as far as I am concerned, but none that can be quantified as superior to the others, IMO.

Again, I wont be upset if Koufax makes it, but I would scratch my head if he got more votes than Roberts.
   38. Michael Bass Posted: March 06, 2006 at 07:52 PM (#1885780)
I am prepared to give Koufax a mild postseason bonus, even if it was just a handful of starts, because they were so outstanding.

While doing so, are there any other candidates on the radar I should be looking at for post-season bonuses?
   39. OCF Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:08 PM (#1885810)
are there any other candidates on the radar I should be looking at for post-season bonuses?

Lou Brock. Whitey Ford.

Someone like Mantle is so riduculously qualified that it doesn't matter. I would add that with Mantle, we have a rather large sample (230 AB) and what we have - .257/.374/.535 - looks sort of like Mickey Mantle translated into a good pitching/high competition environment.

But Brock's .391/.424/.655 with 14-2 basestealing in 21 games should catch your attention.
   40. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#1885838)
That Mazeroski guy had a key hit here and there in the 1960 series.

Orel Hershiser's 1988 postseason was pretty spectacular.

Mariano Rivera's done pretty well, and so has that Jeter fellow.

Pepper Martin? Lenny Dykstra? Bernie? David Justice?

Reggie. Molitor and Rickey have pretty good October numbers.

Smoltz, Gibson, Lolich, Fingers, Schilling might be good ones for that kind of credit.
   41. Michael Bass Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:27 PM (#1885839)
YEah, Brock and Ford (borderline types) are the kind I'm looking for here.

What about guys already ballt eligible? Anyone getting votes currently who might be a candidate?
   42. DavidFoss Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:37 PM (#1885851)
Dizzy Dean had a nice 1934 series. Game 7 was a laugher, but it was still a shutout on one day rest.
   43. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:38 PM (#1885854)
I think anybody who played during the post-season deserves some form of credit for it. How much to dole out is the fum part. :-)
   44. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:41 PM (#1885858)
That also includes Negro Leaguers.
   45. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 06, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#1885867)
John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 01:45 PM (#1885773)
So I take it you're a peak guy? That's fine, but others here value peak, prime, career, and various combinations of the other three. All perfectly acceptable as far as I am concerned, but none that can be quantified as superior to the others, IMO.

Again, I wont be upset if Koufax makes it, but I would scratch my head if he got more votes than Roberts.


Yes, all things considered, I'd rate peak performance as the most important, although certainly I respect all three.

The problem with Koufax is that the HOM is, as I understand it, designed to identify the greatest players. And much of what made Koufax great doesn't show up statistically in looking at career numbers. The reasons are obvious - he was mediocre in his early career (when he should have been in the minors were it not for the bonus baby rule), and his career was over at 30. I also can't deny the fact that his home park greatly influenced his numbers at his peak. But on the other hand, what he accomplished on the field was quite real. It translated into wins for the Dodgers - a .766 winning percentage over five years, in which his team won three pennants, is not a park illusion. Those are real wins, which translated into real pennants.

But more than that (and I don't want to make anyone think that I don't deeply respect sabermetrics; I certainly do), Koufax's greatness, probably more than any other player in baseball history, is tied in with peripheral things. During his peak, he was the most famous player in baseball (even more than Mantle or Mays). He was a gentleman, and if any athlete can qualify as a role model, he would be the one. His reputation, both as an athlete and as a person, among his fellow players was exceptional. Whether you believe in clutch performance or not (and while I don't as an indicator of future performance, I do believe in looking at past performance), Koufax was extraordinary under pressure. The 0.95 World Series ERA is one indicator; Bill James, in the BJHBA, looks at Don Drysdale's record in close games in 1963-64, and looks at Koufax's also, while he was at it. What he found was that in games where the Dodgers scored 1, 2, or 3 runs, Koufax went 18-4. He was 9-0 when the Dodgers scored three runs; 6-3, when they scored two runs; and given one run, Koufax was 3-1. That's amazing...

There's also the human factor, that Koufax could pitch at such a high level while in excruciating pain.

Yet as I understand it (correct me if I'm wrong), these factors (except for post-season performance) can't be considered by HOM voters. Yes, I'd agree that there are several pitchers in baseball history who were greater, because they combined high peak performance with long careers. But to deny that Koufax was a great player seems absurd to me.
   46. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#1885886)
The problem with Koufax is that the HOM is, as I understand it, designed to identify the greatest players.

Reminds me of what I used to say when I voted for Jake Beckley. I'll let others vote for the greatest players, I'll vote for the greatest careers.

Is the purpose is to vote for the greatest players, Koufax deserves a slot on one's ballot. Probably a high slot. Maybe even #1 over Roberts.

Anyone have his best 5 year prime (in terms of win shares) handy? IIRC, he had the best 5 year stretch of any liveball pitcher ever. I might be thinking of Lefty Grove though.

This is not to slight vortex, as I largely agree with his post, but that line got me thinking.
   47. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:04 PM (#1885887)
Addendum:

I also meant to mention Koufax's three unamimous Cy Young awards in four years, at a time when there was one award given out for both leagues. This indicates how highly the media, in addition to other players, and the fans, valued him when he was active.

And to answer your question, no if I had a HOM vote, I would not place him higher than Robin Roberts on my ballot. But Koufax would be right behind him...
   48. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:06 PM (#1885890)
Another thing I'm wondering -- all the talk here's comparing Koufax to Waddell & Dean mostly. How's he compare to Hughie Jennings? There's another peak monster with little career.

Frankly, if I had to start a team with either Ee-yah or Koufax, I'd probably go with Koufax. My general belief has always been that there's nothing quite as dominant as a dominating starting pitcher. Especially one with 300+ IP in his best years.
   49. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:19 PM (#1885902)
But to deny that Koufax was a great player seems absurd to me.

I don't think that anyone has said Koufax wasn't great. Just as no one has suggested that Dizzy Dean, Joe Wood, and others weren't great at their peak. And most of the electorate seems in agreement that he was better than them.

Now, not to be contentious, but I think it would be absurd to include the human factor for Koufax but not to recognize it in every other player. To use the most extreme examples I can think of... Sure Sandy pitched in constant pain, but Jim Abbott (a Sullivan Award winner) lived and pitched without a hand. I think Jim Abbott's got wayyyyyyyy more human factor on Koufax than vise versa. Every single Negro League player has more human factor because they lived under a vicious double standard that denied them the same rights as white players and subjected them to a career full of the psychic frustration emanating from "What if?" and also subjected their careers to a maddening level of instability and dog-eat-dog.

What about the human element of Bob Feller and Ted Williams and many, many other combat veterans? They returned to the states after seeing the most awful, horrific conditions of the human race. Some nearly died themselves, doubtless they saw severed limbs, scorched bodies, and eyes gouged by shrapnel; or in some cases they may have (like my father in law) heard men screaming and tapping the wall next to them as they drowned because a quarter of the blasted hold of their ship was taking on water and had to be closed off. One player (either Myer or Frey) quit the game after he returned, perhaps due in some part to that psychic pain.

We can't know how the pain of killing and being nearly killed effected anyone's play, and there are dozens of cases of players who played with pain, like Pete Browning. I don't believe I'd care to trivialize the pain and humanity of one person over that of another, and that's why I don't care to venture outside a player's record of achievement.

Will I vote for Sandy? I don't know yet; if so, he'll be near the bottom of my ballot. But he'll get the same treatment every other pitcher/player gets.
   50. Daryn Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:21 PM (#1885905)
Actually, the fact that there's even a question over whether Sandy Koufax belongs is why I've never been inclined to become a HOM voter.

I'm pleased that the HoM voters have not succumbed to this pressure -- that an outsider might look at the final product of the HoM and say that if it doesn't include Sandy it must be messed up/valueless. He will still probably get in, but it doesn't appear that fear of ourselves being judged is affecting the voting.

Yet as I understand it (correct me if I'm wrong), these factors (except for post-season performance) can't be considered by HOM voters. Yes, I'd agree that there are several pitchers in baseball history who were greater, because they combined high peak performance with long careers. But to deny that Koufax was a great player seems absurd to me.

You are incorrect. All of what you discussed involves on field performance (except that he was a gentleman and famous). All of that (on field performance of him and his team, post season included) is eligible to be considered and is considered. No one denies that Koufax's 5 year peak (or 6 year peak) is historically great. The question is whether that is enough of a career to make him one of the top 220 players of all time.

To answer Chris, I have him way ahead of Hughie Jennings, but still at the bottom or just off my ballot.

Vortex, would you put Albert Pujols in the Hall of Fame if he had one more great season and then 4 seasons in which he got 1 at bat in each?
   51. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 06, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#1885937)
And to answer your question, no if I had a HOM vote, I would not place him higher than Robin Roberts on my ballot. But Koufax would be right behind him...

Based on peak criteria, that's a totally defensible position.

Dr. Chaleeko, (out of order), and Daryn had great responses to your post, so I wont add much more.

But to deny that Koufax was a great player seems absurd to me.

I don't think that anyone has said Koufax wasn't great.


I know it wasn't me, either.
   52. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 07, 2006 at 12:19 AM (#1886147)
To answer the questionthat Daryn has posed a few times about Pujols...

I don't have his numbers in front of me but the feelign I get is that he has posted a number of 30-35 WS seasons. So assuming that he has been that good adn he is that good in 2006 then YES I would vote him into my PHOM if he only had 1 AB in each of the next four years. He would have six MVP level seasons which is much better than half of the guys we have elected (and most of them arent' bad selections).
   53. DL from MN Posted: March 07, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#1886165)
Sandy's got a vote on my ballot... right behind Tommy Bridges at #14. The time he spent learning at the major league level is probably dragging him down but it does figure into his value.
   54. Evan Posted: March 07, 2006 at 12:36 AM (#1886169)
This is exactly the reason I don't vote in HOM elections - I know I can't (and won't) separate how I feel about a player like Sandy Koufax from what his statistics say about him.

I think you have to give extra credit to a pitcher who has a place in the "if you had only 1 game that needed to be played, who would you pick to play in it" argument (of course, the answer now is almost certainly Pedro, but Sandy has a place in the discussion). While it is a peak argument, the fact that of all the peaks in the history of baseball, Sandy's is one of the 2 or 3 (or 5) highest of all time seems to me to be worth something extra. The fact that it didn't last as long as some slightly lesser peaks doesn't diminish the magnitude of the accomplishment.
   55. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 07, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#1886178)
What Chris Cobb said in #7 . . . especially this:

"I have him a little bit ahead of Rube Waddell and a long way ahead of Joss and Dean. He threw a lot more innings relative to his time than Joss did, and he was considerably more effective per-inning than Dean. Waddell is pretty close to Koufax on both measures, but slightly behind on each, and he has the unearned runs issue."

I also agree with the part about Hughie Jennings, with Koufax being similar (but better, IMO).

I also agree with Chris that Koufax is closer to Walsh than Waddell.

Jennings went in fairly easily ahead of Mackey and Griffith 443-371-350 (Medwick, Averill, Ruffing and Ferrell were between Jennings and Mackey). Others on that ballot that are still not HoMers include Sisler, Bell, Van Haltren, Beckley, Childs and many more.

So if Jennings ranked over all of those guys, I'd need a really good explanation if Koufax doesn't.

Howie makes a great point with Lemon - I'd be curious to hear the rationale for ranking Lemon over Koufax. Lemon also rated consistently ahead of the group mentioned - as in every time on the ballot.

As for the human factor . . . I would be willing to say that Sandy should get pretty much a max score on the 'bullsh!t dump' portion of any system. He should get all tie-breakers and benefit of the doubt. Not for the fame, but because that record with 3 runs or less support is incredible, as were his post-season performances.

I'll have him somewhere between #2 and #9 most likely, and I'm generally thought of as a career voter, but I do like guys like Kiner and Charley Jones with shorter careers, but huge impacts.

But comparing him to our backlog, and looking at Lemon and Jennings, and how they did against our backlog, I'll be shocked (and curious as to the explanation) if Koufax isn't elected in his first try.
   56. TomH Posted: March 07, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#1886183)
Koufax vs other peak pitchers

RSAA over a 6yr period, which fortuitously happens to be a good measure for all 3 of these guys' careers:
Koufax. 211 (61-66)
Waddell 208 (00-05)
Dean... 186 (32-37)
But this does not account for differences in eras. Compared to other contemps, Koufax was 1st in RSAA, by a good margin, and 96 runs above the 5th place finisher who had 115. Waddell was 2nd in his prime, 61 above 5th place. Dean was 3rd in his prime, 21 above 5th. No contest.

Koufax was also first in wins and WPCT. Dean was 1st and 6th, Waddell 5th and nowhere. Again, no contest.

Other Sandy notes:
Koufax career W-L in 1-run games: 51-28.
   57. Cblau Posted: March 07, 2006 at 04:40 AM (#1886434)
Regarding Koufax' supposedly amazing record when the Dodgers scored 1-3 runs, here's what I posted on SABR-L in May 2002.

A few years ago on SABR-L (March 1999), there was a discussion of Sandy Koufax' won-loss records. In particular his record in the 1963 and 1964 seasons. Bill James, in the first edition of his Historical Abstract, broke down Koufax' record according to the number of runs scored by the Dodgers, as follows:

Runs W-L
5+ 18-1
4 8-2
3 9-0
2 6-3
1 3-1
0 0-3

Certain SABR members offered these seemingly amazing figures as proof of Koufax' "clutch" ability. But his expected won-loss record for those two seasons, 44-10, was only 1 win better than predicted by Mr. James' "Pythagorean" method, which takes into account the total runs scored and allowed in those games. I wondered what a pitcher's expected record would be, given that he allowed an average of 1.97 runs per nine innings, for each number of runs his team scored. Thanks to Retrosheet (especially Tom Ruane), sufficient data exist for games since 1920 to find the answer to that question.

The first thing I discovered was that there were very few pitchers who allowed that few runs. I eventually identified seventeen pitcher/seasons (none by Koufax) that combined for a run allowed average of 1.96. These pitchers made a collective 386 starts. Ignoring the two tie games, their collective record by runs scored was as follows:

Runs W-L %
5 + 130-5 .963
4 42-6 .875
3 47-11 .810
2 38-20 .655
1 28-31 .475
0 0-26 .000

Note that, in most cases, the record used was actually the team's won-loss record in the pitcher's starts. The equivalent figures for all of Koufax' 1963 and 1964 starts were:

Runs W-L
5 + 25-2
4 8-2
3 10-0
2 9-4
1 3-2
0 0-3

Comparing Koufax' record to those of the other pitchers, I found that he won 2 games more than expected. Without checking formally, I believe this difference could easily result from luck, and that this doesn't support the notion that his record indicates he was a "clutch" pitcher.

I also examined how well Koufax was served by the Dodger's relievers in those two seasons. The answer is pretty well. Relief pitchers threw 92 innings in Koufax' starts, and allowed just 25 runs. Also, he left a total of 24 runners on base when he was knocked off the mound and only six of them scored. While they did blow four save opportunities, there were seven games which the Dodgers were losing when Koufax was pulled in which they rallied
and Koufax got no decision.

My conclusion from this research is that Koufax basically won just as often as should be expected, given the number of runs he allowed and the run support he got from his teammates. The one or two extra wins over the course of the 1963 and 1964 seasons were the result of luck, effective relief pitching, and some rallies by the Dodgers' hitters. The reason that his won-loss record was outstanding wasn't that he was a clutch pitcher; it was that he allowed very few runs.
   58. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 07, 2006 at 04:47 AM (#1886449)
Anyone have his best 5 year prime (in terms of win shares) handy? IIRC, he had the best 5 year stretch of any liveball pitcher ever.

His best 5 year stretch is 139 WS. Grove had 167 and Roberts had 153. A handfull of other guys also had more than Sandy.
   59. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: March 07, 2006 at 05:41 AM (#1886503)
I don't have Sandy above Jennings. Jennings acutally beat Koufax in five year peak in both WARP1 and WS. Still, I am going to have Koufax at #2 and I do think the two are comparable.
   60. Jim Sp Posted: March 07, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#1886943)
ok, I'll admit it. The way I tuned the "peak friendliness" of my pitcher rating system is...

bumping the parameter until Koufax was on the good side of the borderline.

I bet I'm not the only one.
   61. jingoist Posted: March 07, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#1887007)
I wonder why a significant portion of the electorate is pushing Sandy into elect me positions on their ballots while the electorate as a whole has by and large rejected the "Koufax of hitting", Hack Wilson.

Great peak, short prime and for a few years Wilson's accomplishments were incandescent, just like Koufax, yet Wilson languishes near the bottom of the ballot?

Just curious.....
   62. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: March 07, 2006 at 07:54 PM (#1887117)
Well, if you could have one player, would it be Koufax or Dobie Moore? Remember, Moore's career-ending injury was more easily preventable. :)
   63. Chris Cobb Posted: March 07, 2006 at 09:00 PM (#1887284)
ok, I'll admit it. The way I tuned the "peak friendliness" of my pitcher rating system is...

bumping the parameter until Koufax was on the good side of the borderline.


That's a defensible process, as long as one gives other pitchers equivalent credit, of course -- we have to have some benchmark for our standards.

For the record, my system was not calibrated that way. I have passed on "peak" pitchers Waddell, Joss, Gomez, and Dean (though Waddell is getting close to my ballot again), and I was long curious as to whether I would be passing on Koufax as well. Putting him through the same system, he comes out much better.

Great peak, short prime and for a few years Wilson's accomplishments were incandescent,

"Incandescent" is a little vague, but Wilson's peak, in context, is not as strong as Koufax's.

Let me try to put the matter in perspective this way.

Wilson was among the top 5 position players in baseball twice in his five year peak.

Comparing Koufax to position players, he was among the top 5 position players in baseball thrice during his five year peak.

Now consider than in win shares, an average position player earns 20 win shares in a 162-game season. An average pitcher, throwing the innings of an average starting rotation pitcher in the 1960s, earns 12 win shares. So starting with an 8-win share handicap, Koufax still earns as many win shares as the top position players in his league. His achievement above average is considerably more meritorious than Wilson's.

Both Koufax and Wilson are overrated by conventional stats because they performed in favorable conditions, but behind Koufax's conventional stats is a peak that is still the best of its time. Behind Wilson's conventional stats is a peak that, while excellent, is overshadowed by those of a number of contemporaries.
   64. Chris Cobb Posted: March 07, 2006 at 09:01 PM (#1887293)
ok, I'll admit it. The way I tuned the "peak friendliness" of my pitcher rating system is...

bumping the parameter until Koufax was on the good side of the borderline.


That's a defensible process, as long as one gives other pitchers equivalent credit, of course -- we have to have some benchmark for our standards.

For the record, my system was not calibrated that way. I have passed on "peak" pitchers Waddell, Joss, Gomez, and Dean (though Waddell is getting close to my ballot again), and I was long curious as to whether I would be passing on Koufax as well. Putting him through the same system, he comes out much better.

Great peak, short prime and for a few years Wilson's accomplishments were incandescent,

"Incandescent" is a little vague, but Wilson's peak, in context, is not as strong as Koufax's.

Let me try to put the matter in perspective this way.

Wilson was among the top 5 position players in baseball by Win Shares twice in his five year peak.

Comparing Koufax to position players, he was among the top 5 position players in baseball by Win Shares thrice during his five year peak.

Now consider than in win shares, an average position player earns 20 win shares in a 162-game season. An average pitcher, throwing the innings of an average starting rotation pitcher in the 1960s, earns 12 win shares. So starting with an 8-win share handicap, Koufax still earns as many win shares as the top position players in his league. His achievement above average is considerably more meritorious than Wilson's.

Both Koufax and Wilson are overrated by conventional stats because they performed in favorable conditions, but behind Koufax's conventional stats is a peak that is still the best of its time. Behind Wilson's conventional stats is a peak that, while excellent, is overshadowed by those of a number of contemporaries.
   65. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 07, 2006 at 09:34 PM (#1887359)
Just scrolling through my notes on pitchers looking for Koufaxian flameouts. The following pitchers all:
-hurled around a dozen years (or fewer, or longer so long as the extra years were 0 or 1 WS years)
-had three years above 25 adjWS (adjusted for context in my system)
-had six seasons or fewer above 15 adjWS
-had no more than 8 seasons over 10 adjWS.

1870s: Tommy Bond
1890s: Silver King, Bill Hutchison
1920s: Nip Winters
1930s: Dizzy Dean
1940s: Johnny Sain, Hilton Smith
1950s: Frank Lary
1960s: Sandy Koufax

The toughest part of it is, of course, the three years at 25 or more adjWS. Closest also-rans are Jim Whitney and Sudden Sam McDowell who miss by one Win Share.

Those using raw WS will get different results, and mine are not guaranteed.
   66. jimd Posted: March 07, 2006 at 11:14 PM (#1887600)
(adjusted for context in my system)
...
Closest also-rans are Jim Whitney


Does your context adjustment adjust BWS and PWS separately?
   67. jimd Posted: March 07, 2006 at 11:29 PM (#1887639)
Game I 1963 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers   IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Koufax W(1-0)          9     6   2   2   3  15   1

World Series Game Played on Wednesday, October 2, 1963 (D) at Yankee Stadium

YANKEES 1ST: Kubek struck out; Richardson struck out; Tresh was called out on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 0, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 2ND: Mantle was called out on strikes; Maris struck out; Howard popped to catcher in foul territory; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 4, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 3RD: Pepitone struck out; Boyer grounded out (pitcher to second to first); Ford popped to third in foul territory; 0 R, 0
H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 4TH: Kubek struck out; Richardson struck out; Tresh was called out on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 5TH: Mantle struck out; Maris popped to catcher in foul territory; Howard singled to right; Pepitone singled to right [Howard to second]; Boyer singled to second [Howard to third, Pepitone to second]; LOPEZ BATTED FOR FORD; Lopez struck out; 0 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 6TH: Kubek grounded out (third to first); Richardson walked; Tresh walked [Richardson to second]; Mantle popped to second; Maris popped to shortstop; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 7TH: FAIRLY REPLACED HOWARD (PLAYING RF); Howard struck out; Pepitone popped to catcher in foul territory; Boyer popped to shortstop; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 8TH: LINZ BATTED FOR WILLIAMS; Linz struck out; Kubek singled to shortstop; Richardson struck out; Tresh homered [Kubek scored]; Mantle walked; Maris grounded out (second to first); 2 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 2.

YANKEES 9TH: Howard lined to second; Pepitone singled to right; Boyer made an out to center; BRIGHT BATTED FOR HAMILTON; Bright struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 2.
   68. jimd Posted: March 07, 2006 at 11:30 PM (#1887644)
Game I 1963 World Series
Los Angeles Dodgers   IP     H   R  ER  BB  SO  HR
Koufax W(1-0)          9     6   2   2   3  15   1

World Series Game Played on Wednesday, October 2, 1963 (D) at Yankee Stadium

YANKEES 1ST: Kubek struck out; Richardson struck out; Tresh was called out on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 0, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 2ND: Mantle was called out on strikes; Maris struck out; Howard popped to catcher in foul territory; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 4, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 3RD: Pepitone struck out; Boyer grounded out (pitcher to second to first); Ford popped to third in foul territory; 0 R, 0
H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 4TH: Kubek struck out; Richardson struck out; Tresh was called out on strikes; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 5TH: Mantle struck out; Maris popped to catcher in foul territory; Howard singled to right; Pepitone singled to right [Howard to second]; Boyer singled to second [Howard to third, Pepitone to second]; LOPEZ BATTED FOR FORD; Lopez struck out; 0 R, 3 H, 0 E, 3 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 6TH: Kubek grounded out (third to first); Richardson walked; Tresh walked [Richardson to second]; Mantle popped to second; Maris popped to shortstop; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 7TH: FAIRLY REPLACED HOWARD (PLAYING RF); Howard struck out; Pepitone popped to catcher in foul territory; Boyer popped to shortstop; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 0.

YANKEES 8TH: LINZ BATTED FOR WILLIAMS; Linz struck out; Kubek singled to shortstop; Richardson struck out; Tresh homered [Kubek scored]; Mantle walked; Maris grounded out (second to first); 2 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 2.

YANKEES 9TH: Howard lined to second; Pepitone singled to right; Boyer made an out to center; BRIGHT BATTED FOR HAMILTON; Bright struck out; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Dodgers 5, Yankees 2.

Play by play courtesy of www.retrosheet.org
   69. jimd Posted: March 07, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#1887655)
Apologies for the long double post.
   70. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:14 AM (#1887751)
jimd,

No different adjustments for batters and pitchers except for the Caruthers/Ward kinds. I figure the extra innings they throw also result in extra ABs. Also most pitchers don't hit enough to matter.
   71. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:17 AM (#1887761)
Jayzoos,

That was an incomprehnsible response, sorry. What I meant to say was that BWS presumably rise and fall with INN, due to fewer or more opportunities. Since we're talking about the whole man, I don't see much need for messing around with the hitting/pitching split. Besides which pitchers don't generally hit enoug to make a difference, and if they do, more power to 'em!
   72. jimd Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:27 AM (#1887774)
No different adjustments for batters and pitchers except for the Caruthers/Ward kinds.

I asked because Whitney is the "other Caruthers".
   73. jimd Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:32 AM (#1887781)
Also because early 1880's BWS are solid, while PWS are full of air. Some people just cut an 1880's pitcher's total WS in half, which does Whitney an injustice because he has a signficant amount of real batting value.
   74. jimd Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:35 AM (#1887784)
Also because I was probably Grasshopper Jim's best friend during the first two decades of this project. ;-)
   75. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 08, 2006 at 12:45 AM (#1887798)
I probably did do Whitney then. I did all those guys (Hecker and Stivetts and the like) in one big swoop. So yes, he's probably been adjusted for his hitting. The system I use is an effort to reconcile the trouble with 1800s and early 1900s (and late 1900s) usage patterns. It's not perfect, but it works well enough I guess. Can't find anything that appeals to me any more than it does.
   76. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 08, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#1887889)
That start is sick jim, thanks for posting it. He made them look like a little league team. Even the HR is entirely defensible - it's 5-0, throw a strike and if he hits it out, move on to the next guy. That's just insane. The 15 K are one thing, but all the pop-ups are what make it look so incredible.
   77. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: March 08, 2006 at 03:16 AM (#1887930)
YANKEES 9TH: Howard lined to second; Pepitone singled to right; Boyer made an out to center; BRIGHT BATTED FOR HAMILTON; Bright struck out;

The only putout recorded by the OF all night long. Only two balls made it out of infield on the fly. The homer, obviously, was the other. It wasn't until the 15th batter that anyone even managed to get the ball out of the infield at all. Heck, even one of the singles was an infield single.

15 K's & 7 popups. Not bad.
   78. jimd Posted: March 08, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#1887949)
It wasn't until the 15th batter that anyone even managed to get the ball out of the infield at all.

That was Howard's hit to end the perfect game. Before that, Koufax faced 14 batters, had 10K's, and 4 FOUL pops. Only one fair ball, a grounder deflected by the pitcher to 2b.

That was the first World Series game I ever watched. (On TV, natch, I was 10; Koufax was my idol after that. Why couldn't the Red Sox get pitchers like that?)
   79. jimd Posted: March 08, 2006 at 04:04 AM (#1887954)
I take that back. That game was on Wednesday. My first WS game was game 4 on Sunday when the Dodgers completed the sweep behind Koufax. I remember watching it with my father.

Game IV 1963 World Series

Los Angeles Dodgers IP H R ER BB SO HR
Koufax W(2-0) 9 6 1 1 0 8 1

World Series Game Played on Sunday, October 6, 1963 (D) at Dodger Stadium

YANKEES 1ST: Kubek struck out; Richardson popped to catcher in foul territory; Tresh struck out; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 0.

YANKEES 2ND: Mantle made an out to right; Howard made an out to center; Lopez flied to center; 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 0.

YANKEES 3RD: Pepitone struck out; Boyer struck out; Ford grounded out (first to pitcher); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 0.

YANKEES 4TH: Kubek grounded out (pitcher to first); Richardson doubled to center; Tresh popped to catcher in foul territory; Mantle grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 0.

YANKEES 5TH: Howard singled to center; Lopez made an out to right; Pepitone struck out; Boyer forced Howard (shortstop to second); 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 0.

YANKEES 6TH: Ford popped to catcher in foul territory; Kubek grounded out (pitcher to first); Richardson grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 0 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 0, Dodgers 1.

YANKEES 7TH: Tresh popped to first in foul territory; Mantle homered; Howard singled; Lopez popped to first in foul territory; Pepitone grounded out (first unassisted); 1 R, 2 H, 0 E, 1 LOB. Yankees 1, Dodgers 1.

YANKEES 8TH: FAIRLY REPLACED HOWARD (PLAYING RF); Boyer struck out; LINZ BATTED FOR FORD; Linz singled to left; Kubek grounded into a double play (second to first) [Linz out at second]; 0 R, 1 H, 0 E, 0 LOB. Yankees 1, Dodgers 2.

YANKEES 9TH: Richardson singled to center; Tresh was called out on strikes; Mantle was called out on strikes; Howard reached on a fielder's choice [Richardson to second (error by Tracewski; assist by Wills)]; Lopez grounded out (shortstop to first); 0 R, 1 H, 1 E, 2 LOB. Yankees 1, Dodgers 2.

Play by play courtesy of www.retrosheet.org

Not quite as dominant in LA as he'd been in the Stadium. Mantle touched him for a game-tying homer but the team got him the lead back and he finished up the sweep.
   80. TomH Posted: March 08, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#1888301)
I'm all for giving Sandy bonus credit for his WS play, but at this point I expect the few Joss supporters to chime in reminding us of his perfect game in late Sept in a truly great pennant race.
   81. Trevor P. Posted: March 09, 2006 at 01:35 AM (#1889756)
While seeing how Koufax stacked up against his competitors from 1963-66, I stumbled across a season that matches up against any that Koufax posted - Dean Chance's 1964. 200 ERA+, third in strikeouts, and led the league in innings pitched.

Funny that both Chance and Koufax were done by the time they were thirty. What happened with Chance?
   82. Paul Wendt Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:02 AM (#1889957)
Can we at least agree that ESPN's assertion that Koufax was the #1 pitcher of the 20th century was pure silliness? :-)

I suppose we can all agree. Nolan Ryan had about twice as many no-hitters, wins, strikeouts.


His 1966 autobiography (ghost written by Ed Linn) is one of the best written baseball autobiographies around. (Actually, Ed Linn seems to have ghost written most of the best baseball autobiographies.)

Which ones did Linn ghost?
How do you know?
Both questions are serious. If Linn is regularly named on the title page or in "card catalogs" the general question remains, how do we know what ghosts write?


karlmagnus in reply to Brent #17:
Joss's ERA+ is the tenth best in history. His "prime" which Brent was comparing to Koufax's ia 7 years against Koufax's 5, which makes a huge difference. Same number of IP, 11 higher ERA+, it's not close. Joss was a better hitter, too, FWIW.

ERA+ vs DERA+
Wow.

charlemagne continued in #30
Incidentally, while you guys go misty eyed about Koufax, Big Frank Howard was the first HOM-candidate ballplayer I saw live. The 1971 Washington Senators, when I first came across here. Now THERE was a team! :-)

a diplomatic post or IMF?

10/2/66 (the Phillies game you wrote about): last day of the season, Dodgers need a win or Giants loss to clinch, but the Giants don't cooperate and the Dodgers lose the 1st game of a doubleheader at Philly. So Koufax goes out for the 2nd game, and on 2 days rest, throws another complete game win, 6-3, 10 Ks.

Was this a CBS game of the week? With a shot of Willie Mays watching on TV in the Giants dugout (couldn't be), a tear in his eye? I remember that. '65 was my first season. '66 i was an interested Orioles fan, spoiled in year two. I recall no preference whatever re whom we would play in the Series, pure disinterest (with my favorite Cardinals out of contention that year).

--
I recall watching the Koufax press conference, including how young he looked to me. But no detail such as whether he would never play golf if he pitched in 1967. It occurs to me that a tape may be available.
   83. Brent Posted: March 09, 2006 at 06:38 AM (#1890088)
Which ones did Linn ghost?
How do you know?
Both questions are serious. If Linn is regularly named on the title page or in "card catalogs" the general question remains, how do we know what ghosts write?


I guess I misused the term "ghost." Linn received credit for the Koufax autobiography (as in "Koufax by Sandy Koufax with Ed Linn." He also received credit for Veeck as in Wreck and for Durocher's Nice Guys Finish Last.
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2006 at 07:15 AM (#1890121)
I suppose we can all agree. Nolan Ryan had about twice as many no-hitters, wins, strikeouts.

:-)

BTW, Ryan was the #2 ranked pitcher behind Koufax (though Nolan didn't get his own episode) for ESPN's Sports Century program at the turn-of-the-millenium. Another joke selection. Did they forget names like Johnson, Grove, Seaver, Clemens, Maddux, etc.?
   85. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 09, 2006 at 08:02 AM (#1890146)
Ryan was the #2 ranked pitcher behind Koufax (though Nolan didn't get his own episode) for ESPN's Sports Century program at the turn-of-the-millenium. Another joke selection.

The whole list was a joke, a friggin horse made the list for crying out loud!
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2006 at 08:20 AM (#1890153)
The whole list was a joke, a friggin horse made the list for crying out loud!

It's probably the time, but am I missing something here?
   87. AJMcCringleberry Posted: March 09, 2006 at 08:33 AM (#1890156)
I was just pointing out that the ESPN Sports Century thing wasn't just ridiculous with the baseball portion. The top 100 athletes list had Secretariat on it. I probably should have been clearer.
   88. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 09, 2006 at 08:56 AM (#1890160)
Believe it or not, I followed that series pretty fervently . . . here's the full list, I kept track on a page in my planner and never pulled it out . . .

1. Michael Jordan
2. Babe Ruth
3. Mohammed Ali
4. Jim Brown
5. Wayne Gretzky
6. Jesse Owens
7. Jim Thorpe
8. Willie Mays
9. Jack Nicklaus
10. Babe Didrickson
11. Joe Louis
12. Carl Lewis
13. Wilt Chamberlain
14. Hank Aaron
15. Jackie Robinson
16. Ted Williams
17. Magic Johnson
18. Bill Russell
19. Martina Navratolova
20. Ty Cobb
21. Gordie Howe
22. Joe DiMaggio
23. Jackie Joyner-Kersee
24. Sugar Ray Robinson
25. Joe Montana
26. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
27. Jerry Rice
28. Red Grange
29. Arnold Palmer
30. Larry Bird
31. Bobby Orr
32. Johnny Unitas
33. Mark Spitz
34. Lou Gehrig
35. Secrateriat
36. Oscar Robertson
37. Mickey Mantle
38. Ben Hogan
39. Walter Payton
40. Lawrence Taylor
41. Wilma Rudolph
42. Sandy Koufax
43. Julius Erving
44. Bobby Jones
45. Bill Tilden
46. Eric Heiden
47. Edwin Moses
48. Pete Sampras
49. OJ Simpson
50. Chris Evert

Overall I didn't think it was that bad of a list. I mean a bunch of mainstream writers came up with this for baseball:

1. Ruth
2. Mays
3. Aaron
4. Robinson (they considered other things than just play, obviously)
5. Williams
6. Cobb
7. DiMaggio
8. Gehrig
9. Mantle
10. Koufax

I've seen worse lists. Sure they missed Walter Johnson and Honus Wagner, it happens. They didn't have any Negro Leaguers either - one of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson or Oscar Charleston would have been a nice addition, instead of say, OJ Simpson? Wow.

But overall, I think they did a pretty decent job. I mean Bill Tilden? That's a nice catch. So was Edwin Moses, etc.. They did a decent job with the NBA guys I think too.
   89. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 09, 2006 at 08:59 AM (#1890161)
Oh yeah - they got Magic and Kareem over Bird. That was sweet - as someone who grew up a Laker fan, and whose best friend is a Celtics fan, I loved that one - and use it against him in arguments to this day! Of course I bailed on my Lakerfandom when Kobe/Shaq came along, I hated them both, but that's for another day.
   90. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2006 at 09:00 AM (#1890163)
I was just pointing out that the ESPN Sports Century thing wasn't just ridiculous with the baseball portion. The top 100 athletes list had Secretariat on it. I probably should have been clearer.

lol

When you posted that a horse made the list, I was picturing Mr. Ed at the keyboard typing in his choices. Now you know why I was confused. :-D

I remember Secretariat on the list. That actually bothered me less than the slighting of Johnson, Grove, or Clemens (pick whichever great you think is the best hurler).

Now I will get some sleep. :-)
   91. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 09, 2006 at 09:00 AM (#1890164)
And Chamberlain over Russell too, though that's before my time. I use that one on his dad though.
   92. Arrieta, Gentile Arrieta Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:11 PM (#1890280)
Was this a CBS game of the week? With a shot of Willie Mays watching on TV in the Giants dugout (couldn't be), a tear in his eye?

Not the '66 game -- it was a Sunday and the 2nd game of a doubleheader.

Looking at Retrosheet, the last Saturday of '65 appears to be it. Giants & Dodgers both home for day games, Giants 2 games back, 2 to play. Giants beat the Reds 3-2 (Mays singles home the first run, scores the second). Dodgers beat the Braves 3-1 to clinch. Koufax (here he is again) complete game 4-hitter, 13 Ks, and even has an RBI on a bases-loaded walk.

Maybe there were camera crews at both games -- Wasn't the game of the week on NBC?
   93. TomH Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:16 PM (#1890292)
could someone post RSI ##s for Koufax's 1962-66 prime/peak? I'd like to see how his ERA+ (great) matches up with his W-L record (seemingly even greater).
   94. DavidFoss Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:23 PM (#1890299)
I remember Secretariat on the list.

Ever seen footage of the 1973 Belmont? Unreal. I'm not really that much into horse racing and it still gave me goosebumps.

Anyhow, back to baseball. :-)
   95. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:51 PM (#1890346)
Per Chris J'S data, here's the season-by-season RSIs for Koufax and per bb-ref his OPS+:

YEAR   RSI    OPS+
------------------
1955    73    -100
1956    78    
11
1957    89    
-100
1958    97    
26
1959   117    
20
1960    91    
21
1961    99    
38
1962   117    
33
1963   121    
39
1964    96    
30
1965   107      29
1966   112    
37
==================
career 104.8  26 
   96. Paul Wendt Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#1890349)
Looking at Retrosheet, the last Saturday of '65 appears to be it.
. . .
Maybe there were camera crews at both games -- Wasn't the game of the week on NBC?


Thanks. My memory is unreliable yet indelible. That was my second pennant race, after Twins-Orioles (ending a week earlier).


I remember Secretariat on the list.
Ever seen footage of the 1973 Belmont?


Yes, didn't everyone watch it on live TV?

Garry Trudeau spoke at my sister's college graduation a few years later. Vietnam, Watergate, inflation, Agnew.
He quoted a co-ed from Yale (of course), speaking for her generation,
"Secretariat restored our faith in human nature."
   97. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: March 09, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#1890357)
Believe it or not, I followed that series pretty fervently

I got them all on tape. Overall, I don't think it was that bad, except that fame outweighted talent (Palmer the #2 golfer? C'mon!) There was also some presentism (most obvious with the golfers, but far more obvious in their 10 greatest sporting events of all time, which was a joke). They screwed over Jim Thorpe, too. He deserved far better than he got.

I thought their best episodes were on Bobby Jones & Lawerence Taylor.
   98. DavidFoss Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:01 PM (#1890365)
season-by-season RSIs for Koufax

Here are Season-by-season ERA-Plus-Pythag WPct for Koufax as compared to his actual WPct. (with Dodger hitting prowess tossed in for good measure)

ERA+  PyWPct    AcWPct   LA-OPS+
124    .606      .581      96     
143    .672      .667     112
161    .722      .833     106
187    .778      .792      95
160    .719      .765      93
190    .783      .750     101 
   99. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:05 PM (#1890374)
Overall, I don't think it was that bad, except that fame outweighted talent (Palmer the #2 golfer? C'mon!)

But at least he was a dominant player with a long career, unlike Koufax or Ryan.
   100. TomH Posted: March 09, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#1890438)
Thanks guys!
Dr C's data indicate Sandy not only was superb, but his mates hit especially well from 62-66 when he pitched. DavidF's table shows the Dodgers (via Koufax' W-L record) winning about 1 more game per season than 'expected' over his supreme last 4 years.

All in all, I won't give him the big bonus clutch I had been considering. I can see a small bonus tho.
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