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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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   201. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 02:28 AM (#1909235)
Thanks for the insightful and detailed analysis, OnWI.
   202. Tiboreau Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:31 AM (#1909369)
"If Sandy Koufax isn't worthy of the Hall of Merit, then I'm a lug nut."

Good ol' Harvey. If Dick Allen's ever elected to the HoM, imagine the riot!
   203. Paul Wendt Posted: March 21, 2006 at 05:38 AM (#1909790)
Brent
When I talk about peak I'm talking about how good a player was during his best 3 or 4 seasons.
. . .
But I find it very frustrating to think I'm talking about peak and have others keep bringing up issues that relate to prime or career value.


Someone who thinks that any two successive years constitute a "point of time" for the purpose of establishing a player quality constitute a peak would be frustrated by the recurring shifts of ground to "3 or 4 seasons" not to mention that eon Bill James has made conventional (ok, i'll mention it, 5 years).

And so on.
One thousand batters is enough to demonstrate a pitcher's quality, someone might say . . .
   204. OnWI Posted: March 21, 2006 at 09:06 AM (#1910145)
Johnny boy:

I volunteer something when I think it provides a new angle. But the Koufax has been looked at with greater intensity then the hair club for men goofs trolling through the Jordan Capri website.

All I can say is that by both the stat book and anecdotal evidence it seems from 1961-1966 the Dodgers were the fave to win the NL as long as Koufax could wake up each morning and pitch.

And he was the "quiet hero" type. And meant it. So he had women AND men getting all silly for different reasons.

Guy buried the needle on "Cool Factor".

Does that count?

Later,

H3
   205. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 02:17 PM (#1910249)
I volunteer something when I think it provides a new angle. But the Koufax has been looked at with greater intensity then the hair club for men goofs trolling through the Jordan Capri website.

Have these other "researchers" examined the park he was playing in during the 1960s (there was a big difference between his home and away ERA)? Have they examined the bigger parks that came into the leagues during the same era? Have they examined the strike zone adjustment that occurred after '61 which "mysteriously" lowered ERA overnight? Have they examined the fact that pitchers were also able to throw more IP during this time because of the reduced offense?

I seriously doubt it to all of the above questions.

Basically, many fans of that era have had their perception of Koufax's greatness shaped by his environment. Not that he was as great as Sandy was at his peak, but a fan of the '90s proclaiming Larry Walker's greatness based on his stats without putting them into context would be just as incorrect.

My grandfather used to tell me about all about the great hitting giants of the 1920s and 1930s. But when I explained to him what was helping to create those numbers, he was surprised and slowly accepted my answer. Hell, until the early 1980s, I accepted all of the stats throughout baseball history at face value!

Look, Koufax was a great pitcher and a nice guy. He just wasn't as dominating as some claim. That's still not bad.
   206. Howie Menckel Posted: March 21, 2006 at 02:51 PM (#1910280)
Question: "Guy buried the needle on "Cool Factor." Does that count?"

Answer: No.
And this from a guy who voted him 2nd.

Walker/Coors Field/hitting era is a nice complement to Koufax/DodgerStadium/pitching era, actually.

Yet few modern fans are uninformed enough not to know what huge discrepancies Rockies batter have had.

People in the early 1960s did not make the psychological adjustment to the incredible deflation of offense, particularly in certain parks. If Koufax's ERA was below 2.00, well, then he must be better than anyone who ever pitched with an ERA above 2!

Ironically, it was 1968 - when the entire American League hit .230, the Yankees' team batting average was .214, and Yaz won a batting title at .301 - that finally woke up some people (the NL hit .243, but with a .300 OBP to .297 OBP for the AL).

But by then, Koufax - fortuitously, as it turns out, in this one respect - already was gone for a couple of years.
So few fans made the connection of nonexistent offense and his stats.
   207. OnWI Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:09 PM (#1910294)
J-Mo:

Dude, Pop is a quant guy from way back. I can't speak to any specific reasearch he may have done on his own, but I know he reads everything under the sun devoted to the analysis of baseball from Earnshaw Cook, to James, to BP, and of course the work you guys do.

So I'm just spitballing here but I'm guessing he knows of what you speak.

Old-timer still says the guy rocks. But I will pass on your comments and encourage him to speak for himself.

Are you absolutely SURE you aren't just taking the opposing view for sh*t's sake?

I don't see this being a case where the Emperor has no clothes.

Later,

H3
   208. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:20 PM (#1910310)
Dude, Pop is a quant guy from way back. I can't speak to any specific reasearch he may have done on his own, but I know he reads everything under the sun devoted to the analysis of baseball from Earnshaw Cook, to James, to BP, and of course the work you guys do.

Well, that's far more than my grandfather ever did. Sounds like he's pretty hip

Are you absolutely SURE you aren't just taking the opposing view for sh*t's sake?

Nope. I take the project too seriously just to be contrary for the sake of being contrary.

I don't see this being a case where the Emperor has no clothes.

I think it's more like the Emperor is wearing a nice suit instead of the tuxedo he thinks he has on. ;-)

BTW, do you go by OnWI or H3?
   209. DavidFoss Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:36 PM (#1910333)
Are you absolutely SURE you aren't just taking the opposing view for sh*t's sake?

I don't see this being a case where the Emperor has no clothes.


Are you sure you've read the whole thread? Everyone agrees that he was great from 1963-66, just not that -- sorry to pick on the new guy -- "His peak was almost unmatched in the history of the game". Stretches like that have happened every decade or two. Now, its been difficult for posters here to try and downgrade the number of exclamation points after Koufax's peak without getting reactions like yours above. *Yes*, he was a great player, but not quite as great as previously thought and his career was very short. That's the sole source of the reservations here.

In the end, he was not anywhere close to not being inducted. His non-unanimity might offend some people, but I think its good that we took a hard look at the guy and haven't turned him into a precedent for future short career guys.
   210. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:47 PM (#1910353)
In the end, he was not anywhere close to not being inducted. His non-unanimity might offend some people, but I think its good that we took a hard look at the guy and haven't turned him into a precedent for future short career guys.

I think that was the thing that was bothering me, David. I totally understand voters who value peak more than others to place Koufax high on their ballots. What disturbed me, though, was the idea that he was a no-brainer candidate. A no-brainer, IMO, is a guy who has a great peak and career. Koufax wasn't that.

Good ol' Harvey. If Dick Allen's ever elected to the HoM, imagine the riot!

Is OnWI's grandfather Harveys Wallbangers? If that's the case, he definitely isn't an old fogie. However, I agree that Dick Allen in the HoM wont go down to well with him. :-)
   211. OnWI Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:51 PM (#1910356)
J-Murph:

I thought you knew. Pop goes by the handle of Harvey's Wallbangers. He is on hiatus taking care of my grandmother who took ill a few months back.

I shoot him an e-mail every so often to keep him in the loop about what is going on around here. I think with Gran perking up he is gearing toward an Opening Day return.

But anyway, just wanted to clear that up.

And like I wrote earlier, I never saw the guy pitch. But knowing Pop and his passion for both the game and being objective if he says the guy stands tall I gotta support that view.

Appreciate the feedback.

Later,

H3
   212. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#1910367)
In a low-scoring environment, it's easier to throw shutouts, and shutouts really move that ERA+.

The high ERA+'s of the 1990's happened not because of the high-run environment, but in spite of it. They were enabled by a different cause - the sharp reduction in IP per game and per season for top starting pitchers.


OCF, I agree with you. And I think somewhere along the line the group has had the discussion before that in low-run environments it's mathematically easier to post a lower ERA+ in part because there are fewer integers/intervals to choose land on leading to the league-average performance and each of them is more valuable.
   213. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 03:57 PM (#1910368)
I thought you knew. Pop goes by the handle of Harvey's Wallbangers. He is on hiatus taking care of my grandmother who took ill a few months back.

I'm glad that you cleared that up. Your grandfather is a good guy who I greatly respect and who is very knowledgeable about the game and about other things. Fortunately, I think I agree with him more than not. :-)

Sorry to hear about your grandmother, but I'm glad that she is doing better and that Harvey will be back soon.
   214. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 04:01 PM (#1910372)
OCF, I agree with you. And I think somewhere along the line the group has had the discussion before that in low-run environments it's mathematically easier to post a lower ERA+ in part because there are fewer integers/intervals to choose land on leading to the league-average performance and each of them is more valuable.

I should point out that, as I have explained in the past, since I compare each player to his peers, the effect taking place is under control, regardless of who is right about this subject.
   215. OnWI Posted: March 21, 2006 at 04:35 PM (#1910428)
So Dick Allen is on Pop's sh*t list? Didn't know. I know he has said the guy could really hit. And that folks look at his stat line and get stiff but don't look at the whole picture. So is it Allen who Pop rails on or folks who think Allen belongs in the Hall of Fame?

He has gone off on Sheffield for trashing Milwaukee publicly. What REALLY gets him hot is that Sheffield (according to Pop) branded Yount and Molitor as racist. He gets to fever pitch the spit is flying. Bring your raingear!

The guy who REALLY drives Pop nuts is Pete Rose. Just eviscerates the guy. Pop insists Rose has been a con artist and fraud from Day One.

Later,

H3
   216. dan b Posted: March 21, 2006 at 05:18 PM (#1910491)
The guy who REALLY drives Pop nuts is Pete Rose. Just eviscerates the guy. Pop insists Rose has been a con artist and fraud from Day One.

Pop and I are of like mind on this one.
   217. Dizzypaco Posted: March 21, 2006 at 05:20 PM (#1910502)
John,

I have watched this thread, but not really entered into it. I think you (and most others) are dead wrong about Koufax. I think his prime is as good as anyone who has ever lived (although not any better than Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove). I think he is an absolute no brainer for the Hall of Merit, and I'm glad he was elected.

There are many things that can reasonably be argued in this exercize. Whether Jake Beckley deserves to be in the Hall, or Bobby Doerr, or any of a number of Negro Leaguers. Some I disagree with, some I agree, but I certainly see the other side. Koufax is different - I do not believe that there can be any reasonable doubt that Koufax deserved it.

As has been explained, but ignored by most, Koufax was a good deal better than his ERA suggests (or ERA+), given context. Bill James did the work on this 20 years ago, and still people pretend it doesn't exist. There is nothing about pitching in Dodger Stadium in the 1960's that can explain his won-loss records.
   218. DavidFoss Posted: March 21, 2006 at 05:32 PM (#1910530)
As has been explained, but ignored by most, Koufax was a good deal better than his ERA suggests (or ERA+), given context. Bill James did the work on this 20 years ago, and still people pretend it doesn't exist. There is nothing about pitching in Dodger Stadium in the 1960's that can explain his won-loss records.

Read the thread. The high WPct's are indeed explained by those ERA+'s. (Page 1, #99 and Page 2 #5)
   219. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 21, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#1910610)
Read the thread. The high WPct's are indeed explained by those ERA+'s. (Page 1, #99 and Page 2 #5)

Thanks, David. That saved me time looking for it. :-)

There are many things that can reasonably be argued in this exercize. Whether Jake Beckley deserves to be in the Hall, or Bobby Doerr, or any of a number of Negro Leaguers. Some I disagree with, some I agree, but I certainly see the other side. Koufax is different - I do not believe that there can be any reasonable doubt that Koufax deserved it.

Your absolutely right, Paco. My twenty-something years trying to grapple with his greatness was a waste of time. I should have rubber stamped the opinions of the majority when I cast my ballot, because 50,0000 Koufax Fans Can't Be Wrong!*

* posted with good cheer, not anger. :-)
   220. Brent Posted: March 22, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#1911679)
Paul Wendt wrote:

Someone who thinks that any two successive years constitute a "point of time" for the purpose of establishing a player quality constitute a peak would be frustrated by the recurring shifts of ground to "3 or 4 seasons" not to mention that eon Bill James has made conventional (ok, i'll mention it, 5 years).

And so on.
One thousand batters is enough to demonstrate a pitcher's quality, someone might say . . .



I'm pretty flexible when it comes to how many years to look at in determining a player's peak, keeping in mind that a lot of things vary from year to year and can make a pitcher's record erratic (run support, bullpen support, batting average on balls in play,...). If all the peripheral stats, expecially the one's that are independent of defense (SO, BB, HR) align with the pitcher's overall record, however, then I'm willing to judge a pitcher's quality based on just a season or two of data. For example, based on 1911-12, Smokey Joe Wood was clearly a top-quality pitcher for a short while. On the other hand, Chesbro (1904) and Ellsworth (1963) each just had a lucky year.
   221. Gaelan Posted: March 22, 2006 at 09:36 AM (#1911820)
This discussion is astonishing.

As I said before even if you adjust everything against Koufax you still end up with one of the greatest peak pitchers of all time. If you expand the notion of peak to its utmost bounds (250 starts) and use a method that disadvantages pitchers from the sixties (comparing to an average peer) Koufax still comes in as one of the top 20 peak (prime, whatever) pitchers of all time. These are facts that can't really be disputed.

Now if you want to say that peak performance isn't enough or that top 20 is not really that great well then I don't really have an argument with you. Those are value judgements which will vary from person to person.

But the notion that Koufax wasn't one of the greatest pitchers ever during his prime is pure, unadultered, falsehood.
   222. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: March 22, 2006 at 10:20 AM (#1911833)
Who has disagreed with you Gaelan (it's possible I missed it)?

No one (that I remember) has said that Koufax didn't have a great peak.

No one has said he wasn't one of the greatest pitchers ever at his peak.

What we have said is that Koufax probably wasn't the single greatest pitcher ever at his peak - pick your duration 1-year, 2-years, 3-years, 5-years; whatever.

What some of us have said is that his hitting was so historicaly God-awful, even for a pitcher, that it knocks his overall peak value down just a little bit.
   223. Howie Menckel Posted: March 22, 2006 at 01:46 PM (#1911877)
"As has been explained, but ignored by most, Koufax was a good deal better than his ERA suggests (or ERA+), given context."

I find that there are compelling cases both for and against the argument that it is easier to post a great ERA+ in a low-scoring era.
I am skeptical of anyone, including you, who does not acknowledge the weight of both sides. From there, you can pick a preference if you like. But sounds like you're the one who is ignoring the alternatives.
And once again, this from a guy who had Koufax No. 2 last year.
   224. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2006 at 02:00 PM (#1911884)
No one (that I remember) has said that Koufax didn't have a great peak.

No one has said he wasn't one of the greatest pitchers ever at his peak.


Not me, Joe.

If I posted any of that, I would appreciate someone showing me where.
   225. Gaelan Posted: March 22, 2006 at 03:13 PM (#1911928)
I'm talking about comments like this:

People in the early 1960s did not make the psychological adjustment to the incredible deflation of offense, particularly in certain parks. If Koufax's ERA was below 2.00, well, then he must be better than anyone who ever pitched with an ERA above 2!

Ironically, it was 1968 - when the entire American League hit .230, the Yankees' team batting average was .214, and Yaz won a batting title at .301 - that finally woke up some people (the NL hit .243, but with a .300 OBP to .297 OBP for the AL).

But by then, Koufax - fortuitously, as it turns out, in this one respect - already was gone for a couple of years.
So few fans made the connection of nonexistent offense and his stats.


When you adjust for era Koufax is still lights out. Though I have to admit that in rereading the thread they were was less hyperbole than I remembered.

I find that there are compelling cases both for and against the argument that it is easier to post a great ERA+ in a low-scoring era.
I am skeptical of anyone, including you, who does not acknowledge the weight of both sides. From there, you can pick a preference if you like. But sounds like you're the one who is ignoring the alternatives.
And once again, this from a guy who had Koufax No. 2 last year.


My point was that if you do the adjustment and assume no advantage either way, Koufax still looks great. I think its pretty clear that it is harder to be better than average on the more extreme portion of a non-linear curve but I don't think the case for Koufax relies upon that kind fo reasoning.

But still taking era adjustments as neutral here is the average of the best 7 consecutive seasons (using Davenport's translated statistics) of three no brainer out of their mind great pitchers and Koufax. See if you can pick out which one is Koufax.

Player A: 244 IP, 2.48 ERA,
Player B: 234 IP, 2.15 ERA
Player C: 256 IP, 2.41 ERA
Player D: 269 IP, 2.43 ERA
   226. Gaelan Posted: March 22, 2006 at 03:31 PM (#1911948)
I now realize that the Davenport translations probably have a timeline adjustment because the only deadball pitchers I could find in the same ballpark as the guys above was Walter Johnson. Nonetheless the point still holds since that doesn't affect the guys I chose very much.
   227. jingoist Posted: March 22, 2006 at 05:16 PM (#1912092)
Why are we still debating Koufax's greatness?
The voters have spoken; he's an HoMer!
is he the greatest of all-time? I wouldn't say so.
is he one of the greatest of all-time? I'd say of course; didn't the vast majority of HoM voters say the same thing?

So, lets get on with re-analyzing Pierce, Waddell, Joss, Walters, etc.

Great job guys; you are making us lurker/posters proud!
   228. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: March 22, 2006 at 06:03 PM (#1912150)
What jingoist said. :-)
   229. dan b Posted: March 22, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#1912232)
is he one of the greatest of all-time? I'd say of course; didn't the vast majority of HoM voters say the same thing?

With only 18 "elect me" votes against a weak backlog, the majority didn't say he was one of the greatest of all-time, they said he was borderline. That decision we made will remain a lightning rod of criticism by lurkers for the duration of our project.
   230. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 22, 2006 at 07:00 PM (#1912246)
With only 18 "elect me" votes against a weak backlog, the majority didn't say he was one of the greatest of all-time, they said he was borderline. That decision we made will remain a lightning rod of criticism by lurkers for the duration of our project.

They'd have to actually look at the results and make that determination for it to be a problem. Wouldn't most people just be interested in who's in and who's out?
   231. KJOK Posted: March 22, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#1912589)
Why are we still debating Koufax's greatness?
The voters have spoken; he's an HoMer!
is he the greatest of all-time? I wouldn't say so.
is he one of the greatest of all-time? I'd say of course; didn't the vast majority of HoM voters say the same thing?

So, lets get on with re-analyzing Pierce, Waddell, Joss, Walters, etc.


It's important going forward, because voters who have used Win Shares, WARP, etc. to justify past votes almost totally threw those measurements out the window in voting for Koufax, as he did not do well in either metric.
   232. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: March 22, 2006 at 11:18 PM (#1912751)
Not this voter! I used WS before Koufax, on Koufax, and will after Koufax. Had him just off the ballot and very close to the end of the queue of HOMable pitchers, but in all the same.

In fact, if Koufax had not been elected last year, I'd likely have formed part of what's been called a candidate's "hidden support" (I think by DanG???). The ones who as the backlog moves up the ballot end up boosting a candidate with down-ballot support by suddenly having them move up far enough to hop onto the ballot, overcoming the off-the-ballot "penalty."
   233. Michael Bass Posted: March 22, 2006 at 11:33 PM (#1912767)
Actually, I'm almost a pure WARP voter, but Koufax did well (not great, but well) in my system. He got a moderate boost for his postseason performance to get to around 10 (give or take a couple slots, I forget where he ended up) on my ballot. I worked (and will continue to work) to make sure I give boosts for postseason performance for all those meritorious, not just those like Koufax and Rivera who have (deserved) fame for them. He'd have been around 18-20 pre-postseason boost, and got about 8-10 slots out of the very mild postseason bonus, because my ballot sees about everyone from 5-25 as packed tight.
   234. Brent Posted: March 23, 2006 at 05:06 AM (#1913148)
It's important going forward, because voters who have used Win Shares, WARP, etc. to justify past votes almost totally threw those measurements out the window in voting for Koufax, as he did not do well in either metric.

I respectfully disagree. My peak/prime-oriented system uses elements of both metrics, and Koufax did quite well. According to win shares, Koufax had three seasons that were among the best of the 1960s:

Best seasons by starting pitchers, 1960-69, according to win shares:

Rank WS Pitcher (Season)
1. 36 Gibson (68)
2. 35 Koufax (66)
3T. 33 Gibson (69)
3T. 33 Koufax (65)
3T. 33 Marichal (66)
3T. 33 McLain (68)
7T. 32 Chance (64)
7T. 32 Ellsworth (63)
7T. 32 Koufax (63)
7T. 32 Seaver (69)
11T. 30 Bunning (66)
11T. 30 Marichal (65)

Koufax also had two more seasons among the league leaders in WS. In 1961 he was tied for 3rd among NL starting pitchers, and in 1964 he was tied for 4th.

Although I didn't do a similar ranking under WARP, my impression is that the results would be fairly similar, though perhaps slightly lower--WARP seems to charge a larger penalty for his hitting.
   235. Howie Menckel Posted: March 23, 2006 at 12:25 PM (#1913404)
Well, we're getting closer to the same page, Gaelan, although my concerns about Koufax's context remain. As you can tell, I was one of those who had him No. 2, but mainly because it was a weak year. Others who had him No. 2 likely had him a "strong 2."

He was indeed outstanding for that unfortunately brief stretch, regardless of context. Part of the problem is that almost all of the pitchers who had similarly outstanding stretches have SO much more career than Koufax. Even if one prefers the Koufax peak, it can't be by a huge margin. And then the bonus portion of the other pitchers' careers makes it seem a bit absurd to rank Koufax ahead of any of the all-time greats.
Reasonable minds can differ, but that view is almost unanimous here, I think.
   236. Jimmy Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:55 AM (#4532248)
i dont understand all this negativity towards koufax ?

he is the best pitcher that i ever got to see.

and being that i liked the giants, i rooted against the dodgers.

but dang, i actually felt sorry for the hitters trying to hit him.

he did not have a long career, because of his injury.

but there is no question in my mind that i would pick koufax at his prime over anyone else that i have seen BY A LONG WAY.

he was elected to the hall of fame in his first year of eligibility, with the highest amount of votes from that year.
   237. alilisd Posted: September 01, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4532454)
Well, Jimmy, you answered your own question, in part, when you noted he had a short career. In fact, it was very short for someone when it comes to talking about all time greats. The other part of the answer, imo, is savvy baseball fans now realize a part of his greatness was due to the time and place he was pitching in.
   238. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: September 01, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4532577)
but there is no question in my mind that i would pick koufax at his prime over anyone else that i have seen BY A LONG WAY.


Never watched Pedro, I guess.
   239. Jimmy Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4532667)
pedro who ? i only followed sports in the 60s and 70s.

hi alilisd,

i have no intention of ever voting in a hall of merit, so i dont know the rules.

but for me, i look at talent and longevity. so someone who had 4 perfect games in 1 month, and fell apart does not get a look from me.

but someone as good as koufax, and did it for 6 years - that is way long enough to consider him a great, GREAT TALENT, in my book.

i dont want to get into the pete rose things again, but for me, he is just the opposite. he played a long, long time. but i would never vote for him for the hall of fame, because i dont think he crossed the superstar talent line, for me.

and i might say that for most accomplishments, 6 years may not be enough for me, either.

but gosh, i saw koufax pitch. hitters, even good ones, could look inept against him. there was no one else in his echelon. he stood at the top pedestal all by himself. i would probably put 20 or more pitchers one step below him.

he had about the best fastball going. and then to top it off, he had about the best curveball going.

since i wanted the dodgers to lose, i would often not even watch the game when sandy koufax was pitching, cuz i figured it was a hopeless cause. trying to get hits off him, much less runs, seemed like an impossible task.

and when somebody did luck out a hit, then he struck out the next 2 guys.

if he had pitched for a hitting team, like the tigers or yankees - i dont even want to guess how good his win-loss percentage would be.

but the lack of dodger hitting at that time was almost a running joke in baseball. but along with koufax, they had drysdale, claude osteen, johnny podres, ron perranoski.

and as the old saying goes, good pitching beats good hitting most of the time.

at the time, an annual magazine from street and smith was considered the baseball bible. and i still recall them having koufax on the cover in one of the years.

and it showed him pitching - gosh his arm was so contorted, that it was the first time that i realized the ridiculous amount of pressure pitchers place on their arms to throw all those various pitches. it is a wonder that any pitcher lasts very long !!!

of course nowadays, they probably have a lot better medical procedures to help out with injuries, and stuff.
   240. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4532674)
pedro who ? i only followed sports in the 60s and 70s.


In that case, and I say that with all due respect to the elderly, go away.
   241. Jimmy Posted: September 01, 2013 at 10:55 PM (#4532681)
In that case, and I say that with all due respect to the elderly, go away.


you have a lot of growing up to do. btw, this thread is about sandy koufax, someone older than me.

i dont make comments about anyone that i havent seen.

   242. Jimmy Posted: September 01, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4532687)
regarding time, that is a non-issue for me. there is no good way to compare ballplayers of different eras, cuz too many variables are different.

and as far as place, that might be somewhat important in many cases.

however, most of you already know what i think of stats. i dont make opinions based upon them.

opinions i have about players are based upon watching them.

i was a tremendous sports enthusiast as a kid, both playing and watching. i knew what players could do and what they couldnt, etc.

now much of that i dont recall any more, cuz sports no longer has any importance to me.

but much of it still stays, especially with some guys.

i am talking about the sorts of swings and the sorts of contact the hitters would make. if you dont hit the ball, it doesnt make much difference whether you play in a hitters park, or a pitchers park.

and when koufax was pitching, you seldom got the feeling that the hitters were ever gonna hit the dang thing. no other pitcher was like that.

while there were many good pitchers, koufax is the only one who crosses the "amazing" line, for me.

just like rodriguez throwing to third base - that double crossed the amazing line for me. if you never saw him throw, there is nothing that i can say to describe it. it is just something that one has to see.

i searched youtube for him, but as of yet, i cant find any video of him throwing the ball.
   243. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 01, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4532693)
and when koufax was pitching, you seldom got the feeling that the hitters were ever gonna hit the dang thing. no other pitcher was like that.


Of course there were. You admitted you never saw Pedro. How can you know this? Maddux, Clemens, Johnson, Seaver, Carlton.
   244. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: September 01, 2013 at 11:46 PM (#4532700)
If you don't know who "Pedro" refers to, you are not qualified to weigh in on who the greatest pitchers were.
   245. OCF Posted: September 01, 2013 at 11:56 PM (#4532703)
but the lack of dodger hitting at that time was almost a running joke in baseball.

The Dodgers were generally a better than league average offensive team. The notion that they were offensively inept is an illusion based on a misunderstanding of park factors.

Some ballparks suppress run scoring all by themselves, and some enhance run scoring. This can be quantified and adjusted for. At the time in question, the Dodgers would play half of their games in Dodger stadium and then another half of the games in 7 other ballparks - playing the same teams. And consistently, the Dodgers plus those other teams would score about 15% to 20% fewer runs in Dodger stadium than in those other cities. This is the same teams - it's a perfectly fair comparison. This gets translated to a "park factor", which in the case of Dodger Stadium for the years in question was consistently in the 91-93 range. This is saying that a batter playing for the Dodgers would create 91% to 93% percent of the runs he would had he been playing in a hypothetical league average park.

Let's take the four years 1963 through 1967. (We are talking about Koufax after all.) In those four years, the league averaged 647 runs per team per seasons. The Dodgers averaged 617 runs per season. Over the same four seasons, Cincinnati averaged 706 runs per season. The Reds scored 90 runs per year, 360 runs over four years, more than the Dodgers. So the Reds were much better hitters than the Dodgers? No, they weren't. (Well, they were in 1965, but that's just one of the four seasons.) You can use the park factors for the Dodgers (92, 93, 93, 91) and use the park factors for the Reds (103, 103, 107, 110) (*) to correct both teams to how those offenses should have performed in a neutral or league average park. And the Dodgers come to 669 runs per season, which is 20 or so runs better than the league average of 647. And once you deflate the Crosley Field excesses out of Cincinnati's numbers, you get 668 runs per season. So (at least as a four year average), the Reds and the Dodgers were nearly equal as offensive teams, both slightly better than league average. To be specific: the Dodgers were right at league average in offense in 64-65-66 and a fair amount better in 1963. The Reds had a big year in 1965, were fairly near league average in 63-64, and were below average in 1965.

But then the very same park effect that caused you to refer to a slightly better than league average offense as a "running joke" also applied to the other teams when Koufax was pitching. And that's just something we have to cope with in evaluating Koufax.

Jimmy: what you've stumbled on in the Hall of Merit is a group of people dedicated to going wherever the evidence leads us. You have to check your emotional attachments or fanboy instincts at the door in order to participate fairly in these discussions. I was a fan of Lou Brock when I was growing up. I tried, here, to make as good a case for Brock as I could, but I couldn't go beyond where the evidence lead me. I'm not going to rehash what the evidence says about Koufax - after all this is a 200+ post thread with plenty of that in view. We did elect him to the Hall of Merit, fairly easily, so we recognize that he was a great pitcher. We do not recognize that he was the greatest pitcher who ever lived.
   246. Jimmy Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:21 AM (#4532708)
thanks for the nice post.

i dont make any recognition about the "greatest who ever lived", though.

simply, cuz i didnt see them. we are discussing baseball thru our own eyes, and what we have seen.

i am pretty sure that if we went back to 1900 and sat in the stands watching a game, there would be so many things different about it - things that we never would have imagined.

we really have to watch the players play, and understand the situation, as it is.

let me give you an example about tennis, a sport that i actually played, and can specifically talk about differences.

when i was in high school, everyone still used wooden tennis rackets. jimmy connors was about the first person to start using an aluminum one. i think it was the wilson T2000.

anyways, i got an aluminum one in junior college. there was a marginal difference, but not much.

back then, the only sweet spot of the tennis racket was right in the middle. anywhere else was similar to the result one would get if he hit a baseball on the non-sweet part of the bat.

and the head of those tennis rackets was much smaller than today. so in order to get the fullest result from your racket, you had a real small area to hit in, as compared to today.

now, i had not hit a tennis ball with a tennis racket for some 20 years. but when a friend learned that i had played, he asked me to hit some with him, so he could practice. i was playing paddle tennis at the time, so i was at least hitting a tennis ball.

anyways, i hit the ball that day with a racket of today's technology. gosh, there is absolutely no comparison. the racket face has nearly twice the area, and the whole face is a sweet spot.

no matter where you hit the ball today, it has more control and power by a long ways than the absolute sweet spot of a wooden racket.

there is absolutely no way to compare tennis players of that sort of different era. it is like a totally new game, requiring different sorts of skills, and the best strategies to use also change a lot.

this occurs with all sports.

but i am not using fanboy or emotional attachments. as i said, i was rooting against koufax.

my opinion of him come from watching hitters at bat against him, versus hitters at bat against everyone else.

"fanboy instincts" as you might call it do not come from me based upon whether i like the player, or whether i am rooting for him. they come from watching the player do what he is doing, and comparing that to what the other players are doing.

watching kaline and stanley in the field, watching rodriguez throw from third, watching mccovey at the plate, seeing koufax pitch are 5 things that i recall at the moment, that stood out in a way that sort of crossed the amazing line, for me.

as i stated in the kaline thread, what was so amazing about stanley was his radar ability to be where the ball was - simply does not show up in any stats.

there is so much more to a game that simply can not be encapsulated by stats. but they sure affect the wins and losses !!
   247. OCF Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:37 AM (#4532711)
as i stated in the kaline thread, what was so amazing about stanley was his radar ability to be where the ball was - simply does not show up in any stats.

That's not true. It does show up in the statistics. For an outfielder, superior defensive positioning, fly ball judgment, and speed will result in more putouts. Evaluative defensive statistics for older players start with "range factor", which is a count of how many balls per game the player turned into outs. That's all subject to many illusions, so many adjustments need to be made. (For more recent players, there are play-by-play states based on more detailed direct observation.)

there is so much more to a game that simply can not be encapsulated by stats. but they sure affect the wins and losses !!

Here's the thing: even if you think you are making evaluations based on what you saw, your opinions have already been tremendously influenced by statistics. Let's say I ask you a question. Who was the better hitter, Rico Carty or Rocky Colavito? You were an AL fan in the mid-60's, you saw both of them. But any answer you try to give is inevitably going to be influence by their statistics, or at least what you think you remember as their statistics, and your evaluation may be colored by what you think of such statistics as BA or RBI.
   248. Jimmy Posted: September 02, 2013 at 01:10 AM (#4532716)
first, let me say that i will buy your stats, in regards to adjusting for the parks. mostly because they involve a huge picture of all teams, not just some individual stats of players.

second, good to know that the stanley thing does at least partly show up. however, if i am hitting against the tigers, i am gonna try to hit to left field where willie horton is - LOL. not to kaline or stanley.

so in your example, the better stanley is perceived to be, might just as well show up in lower number of putouts. this is just another example of how individual stats have too darn many possible built-in errors.

third, i guess i wont be able to convince you about me not being influenced by stats. colavito played with the tigers in the early 60s. and i recall carty, by name.

but i have no real memory of these players, to give you an opinion. like i said, a lot of that is gone. in fact, many opinions come from my memory of the opinions i had when i did have that sort of factual information.

for example, lets say you ask me if i thought a particular girl was cute from 30 years ago. i will most likely be able to tell you how cute i thought she was - but i may not even be able to tell you what she looked like. you may even need to show me a picture to make sure that i am not getting her name mixed up with someone else. however, my recall of how cute i thought she was would be extremely accurate, once i can identify the person that you are speaking about. i hope that makes some sort of sense to you. i now look at some of these pics, and very often no longer think so and so was that cute - but i still recall that i fell head over heels for her at the time.

i seem to recall just the certain things that stand furthest out in my mind.

and i will certainly be honest with you in telling you that i dont remember something any more, if i dont.

but i certainly recall how little it seemed that the hitters had to make hits off koufax.

btw, do you recall rodriguez ? when we got him in trade, i knew he was a decent ballplayer - at least i felt many steps up from don wert. which he did end up being. but i do not think i was aware of his arm until i saw him play with the tigers.
   249. Sunday silence Posted: September 02, 2013 at 01:20 AM (#4532717)
Jimmy is just giving us his observations from his time and place. Observations are valuable, but a total analysis requires lots of things: it requires collating data, it requires analyzing data, and you still have other insights that might not show up in the data.

It's useless to tear down people just because they havent seen Pedro. Jimmy said as much, that he has no interest in sports these days. He's just saying Koufax was the best he saw, he wasnt saying he was the best all time because he doesnt think such a thing exists.

I think observations are very important and having a guy like Jimmy around is useful too. There's lots of stuff that happened in the 60s that I would like to know more about and it's hard to google it or just doesnt exist. so these guys are useful.

ANd it should be obvious that observations are very limited thing. You cant tell a .330 hitter from a .300 hitter by seeing a few at bats. Even more importantly, there are tons of questions I have from '68 or '72 Tigers that Jimmy just doesnt recall. You cant just take peoples word for stuff like total hits or HRs or whatever..


So I guess for us, we will have to learn that baseball is not just for stat heads, it is for guys like Jimmy too, and for young people and whatever perspective these people may bring.

For Jimmy, if he continues to read this and try to understand what we are saying, he will come to understand why peoples opinions of Koufax are a little bit all over the place. I think you will gain more appreciation of baseball if you try to understand what we are saying.

Resume normal bickering.
   250. Jimmy Posted: September 02, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4532819)
here is an example for ya.

i root for the hitters on my team. i root against everyone else.

did i know that harmon killebrew and frank howard hit a lot of towering home runs ? yes.

was i worried about them ? no. cuz they were not hard to get out.

some hitters fall apart once they have 2 strikes against them. some will swing at bad pitcthes, etc.

so i will interject jimmy's frustration factor. this is defined to be how frustrating does the opposing hitter make me ?

does he sit there and foul off 3 strikes, when we already have 2 strikes on him, forcing the pitcher to yet again throw another strike. cuz you know the pitcher is apt to make a mistake at some point, if you force him to throw too many times at the same guy.

is this batter apt to tear the cover off the ball ? or is he more apt to swing and miss, or perhaps slap it somewhere and do a little bit of damage ?

all the very good hitters have a high jimmy frustration factor.

and it doesnt come from knowing how many home runs the batter gets. it comes from WATCHING the guy swing the bat, and understanding the amount of risk that batter has to do damage to ya.

the orioles were the tiger's menace. and frank robinson was extremely hard to get out, for example. yaz was another one who was hard to get out. i was not too disappointed when either of those 2 guys walked.
   251. alilisd Posted: September 02, 2013 at 02:57 PM (#4532884)
And here, again, is why personal observations and memory don't work very well, Jimmy. Killebrew was not easy to get out. Killebrew regularly was among the league leaders in OBP. In other words, he was very difficult to get out.
   252. Jimmy Posted: September 02, 2013 at 08:05 PM (#4533063)
well, when i was into the game, i knew who could hit who, simply by watching them.

the killer was never the worry at the plate that the really good hitters were. but i wont belabor the point about one player.

i just cant take anyone seriously when he starts trying to compare killebrew to mccovey, as if they are somehow close.

i think there are a lot of close matchups, hitting wise.

kaline and yaz come to mind - very close

mantle, mays, aaron, frank robinson, mccovey are a step above.

however, i did not get to see these hitters hit in the 50s. or at least i was not old enough to appreciate them. i think yaz and mccovey each came up late enough that i at least recall them early on. but i think the others were all stars with good years behind them by the time i became aware of them. so i might have missed some peak years. but that would only make them appear better to me than they already do.

even though i dont follow sports any more (because of ridiculous salaries and general attitudes), i still enjoy talking about sports of old.

i happened to run into this rating system of basketball players, using some theory from a physicist. what absolute rubbish. it had bill russell as only the 109th best player. it was so far off on the values of many of the players, that all i can say is stick to physics !!

elvin hayes is 25, bill walton 37, bob lanier is 49, kareem is 53, willis reed is 75, wes unseld is 77, nate thurmond is 78, walt bellamy is 88, wilt chamberlain is 98, and now bill russell has jumped 10 places to 99. the big men of my time.

no one who saw these men play would rank them like that. we can argue about my memory being faulty about killebrew, but it aint so faulty that i dont know that these basketball rankings are absolute rubbish !!

http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/ratings.cgi

   253. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 02, 2013 at 09:04 PM (#4533073)
i just cant take anyone seriously when he starts trying to compare killebrew to mccovey, as if they are somehow close.


Well, I don't know what to say to that. Their career stats are about as close as any 2 players can be. It's hard to think of any other 2 long term players who were closer.

Killebrew hit .256/.376/.509. McCovey .270/.374/.515. Killebrew walked 1559 times, struck out 1699. McCovey walked 1345, struck out 1550. McCovey hit for a little better average, Killebrew made up for it with a little more power and a little more selectivity. Neither player was particularly "clutch", in that their career splits in clutch situations was little different than their overall stats.

Killebrew batted only .241 against the Tigers, worse than against any other team, so maybe that colors your perspective, but:

a) he made up for it with more walks and power, so that his OBP and SLP were right at his career norms. SLP actually higher, which means an even higher ISO.

b) even if he hit poorly against the Tigers, that only means he hit even better against the other teams. And that's the problem with "I don't care what the stats say, I know what I saw." Did you see Killebrew play against the Red Sox much? He hit .285/.396/.543 against them. I daresay a Red Sox fan might have a different interpretation.

   254. The District Attorney Posted: September 02, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4533074)
i happened to run into this rating system of basketball players, using some theory from a physicist. what absolute rubbish. it had bill russell as only the 109th best player. it was so far off on the values of many of the players, that all i can say is stick to physics !!

elvin hayes is 25, bill walton 37, bob lanier is 49, kareem is 53, willis reed is 75, wes unseld is 77, nate thurmond is 78, walt bellamy is 88, wilt chamberlain is 98, and now bill russell has jumped 10 places to 99. the big men of my time.

no one who saw these men play would rank them like that. we can argue about my memory being faulty about killebrew, but it aint so faulty that i dont know that these basketball rankings are absolute rubbish !!

http://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/ratings.cgi
Yeah, about that. As the page says right up top, in bold and italic letters:
Note: These ratings are generated using voting results from fans.
How it works (you can try it yourself) is that you're given a pair of two players and asked to say which one was better. What the physicist did is to come up with the way to summarize all of those various fan vote "wins" and "losses" into one number for each player, in a sophisticated way (for instance, it helps a player's rating more if someone chooses him over a player who is already highly ranked.) The physicist was a chess player, so this was originally a way to rank chess players.

I bet that Celtics fans started downvoting Lakers and then Lakers fans retaliated, or the other way around. Baseball has similar shenanigans going on. I would point out that Derek Jeter is ranked lower than Torii Hunter, but you don't know who either of those people are, so don't worry about it. Anyway, that's what it is, the users of the site voting.
   255. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: September 02, 2013 at 09:11 PM (#4533077)
Should I be the one to say it? Those basketball rankings aren't based on a theory by a physicist, but on votes from visitors to basketball-reference.com. Voters can rank players wherever they want based on whatever criteria they want. It's more of a popularity contest than anything else.
   256. OCF Posted: September 02, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4533079)
Killebrew hit .256/.376/.509. McCovey .270/.374/.515.

In the neutralizer portion of bb-ref, Killebrew comes out as .262/.383/.519 and McCovey as .281/.388/.537, in a very similar number of career PA. That's OPS+ 147 for McCovey and 143 for Killebrew. For a variety of little reasons, added together, McCovey leads Killebrew in WAR 71.6 to 60.4. I would interpret that as McCovey probably being better over the course of his career, but it's close enough that I'd be cautious about asserting that as an absolute certainty. In our HoM positional ranking election, McCovey came in 9th and Killebrew - who was classified as 1B for the purposes of the exercise - came in 13th. (McGwire was one of the ones in between.) 21 out of 22 HoM voters ranked McCovey ahead of Killebrew, but that means that one didn't. So yes, they were close.

Jimmy: I've tried to interact with you in good faith, but you have proven to be utterly impervious to evidence, and utterly impervious to anything other than your own opinions. Since you don't even like sports any more, I suggest that you stop posting here. In any case, I'm done replying to you.
   257. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4533130)
thanks for the input on those basketball citings. from your comments, i guess there exists one for baseball, as well ?

if it is more about popularity, then i can see why new players had a big edge.

i had already disregarded it, but at least i understand now why it is useless.

ocf,

thanks for your replies. if you dont want to reply any more, that is certainly your right. however, i have put forth good arguments to your stats. for example, when you told me that stanley's ability to get to the ball would raise his putouts, i countered with an equally likely that people would avoid him and kaline, especially when they could hit to horton, who was a weak fielder - certainly below average.

the point is that stats do not win games. have you ever wondered how people and players figured out who was better, when there were no such thing as stats ? wonder no more - they got their opinions by watching and or playing with them.

when i was following sports (baseball, football or basketball), there were players who could play like superstars when they were way ahead. like hitting home runs when you are winning 10-0. and couldnt do diddly when the score was tied.

but every time i hear people backing up their opinions with stats, i tend to turn them off. it is hard for me to believe that many of these stat-busters actually played sports in their lives. if they did, they would know that it is a poor way to make conclusions about most things.

and these are team sports. if we are trying to ascertain who the better players were, or most valuable players were, one needs to have a good understanding of the game, and a good understanding of the players in question (i.e. they actually had to see them play).

i followed basketball players just as much as i followed baseball players. lets take 2 of the best guards of my time, walt frazier and jerry west. both were absolutely tremendous. they were both tremendous on offense and defense.

now i havent looked, but i assume that jerry west scored quite a few more points in his career than did walt frazier. every dang one of you would make the conclusion that jerry west was a better shooter or better scorer, and show me what i suspect would be quite a bit of difference in actual points scored.

however, you would all be absolutely incorrect. and the reason is because you did not see them play. now before i tell you why you would be incorrect, is there anyone there who would like to volunteer the answer ? i would truly like to know if even one of you can tell me why that conclusion is horribly wrong.
   258. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:59 AM (#4533133)
but every time i hear people backing up their opinions with stats, i tend to turn them off.


That's weird. That's how I respond when someone backs up their opinions with forty-year-old memories of a sport they haven't followed for decades.
   259. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:24 AM (#4533138)
in other words, you dont know ..
   260. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:39 AM (#4533142)
in other words, you dont know ..


About basketball? Never said I did. I'm not sure why you're trying so hard to have an argument about basketball, frankly.
   261. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4533143)
because i am trying to demonstrate to you guys how horrible stats are to make conclusions about sports.

i could sit here all day, and give you real life examples.

btw, the fact that i havent followed sports for a long time is actually an advantage for me, in remembering about the old times - cuz it is the only thing i have to remember.

in fact, i was talking today to someone a few years older than me, but who has continued to follow sports thru his whole life.

he was amazed at how many things i could recall that he said had totally left him.

but as i am having conversations with you guys, i know there is a lot that i cant recall.

however, there is a real answer to this question that someone who was there, and had at least an average amount of understanding, could answer.

you will never get it by looking at stats.
   262. Monty Predicts a Padres-Mariners WS in 2016 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:15 AM (#4533146)
You are an unpleasant person with the special kind of arrogance that comes from not knowing what you're talking about.

I'm done interacting with you.
   263. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:30 AM (#4533149)
as i said, you dont know the answer ..

   264. PreservedFish Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:04 AM (#4533150)
What a cute argument. It's been like a decade since I've seen one of these efforts to convince someone that statistics are in any way meaningful.
   265. Loren F. Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:18 AM (#4533151)

Jimmy - Thank you for contributing to this discussion. I am interested in your take on Frazier vs. West. And some folks here get impatient. However, I think we'd benefit if you asked genuine, open questions. We could use a little more humility around here. But please understand that most of us on this site believe that an understanding of the numbers ENHANCES the watching of baseball. And enhances our memories of baseball.

For example, there was a designated hitter named Edgar Martinez who played for the Seattle Mariners for many years who was a wonderful hitter. As a Yankees fan, it seemed Edgar just killed the Yankees all the time, every year. But when I think of him as a Yankee-killer, I think of some specific games or series. And these few distinctive memories could be coloring my overall perception of Edgar. Well, I looked at the statistics and what do you know? Of the 13 AL teams he played against regularly, he did particularly well hitting against the Yankees -- the Indians and the Twins were the only teams against whom he had a higher One Base Percentage plus Slugging Average (OPS). So I am vindicated in remembering him as a Yankee-killer. I find that application of statistics useful.

In addition, statistics can help bring the past to life. How good were the great Negro League players? There are anecdotes and stories, of course, but some of those may be inaccurate or embellished. Statistical analysis has been used to estimate what the NeL player's "major league equivalent" stats. These are rough estimates, and there's still a lot we don't know; for one thing, we don't have complete play-by-play data for Negro League games. Still, this work has been very illuminating. I suspect that over the next generation, much of it will enter the mainstream and someone like Josh Gibson will benefit from even greater appreciation.

No one on this site is trying to tell anyone else how to enjoy baseball. You can watch games while ignoring all numbers (even the score!) if you desire. But please understand that the philosophy of this web site is to see value in numbers and facts, and to interrogate even the facts that we thought we all agreed upon. You're not going to convince anyone here that statistics in general are bad. At best, we might identify statistical measures that are flawed and need correcting.
   266. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:45 AM (#4533154)
hi loren,

thank you for the nice reply. this is gonna be long - i thought i would warn you.

in the early part of west's career, elgin baylor was the go-to guy, their best player. but jerry scored a lot of points, as well. dick barnett was the 3rd guy who helped. elgin's knees shortened his career. but in later years, gail goodrich would help out with the scoring. and wilt did some scoring when he came over, but he also tried to become more of a defensive center, like russell had been. but the bottom line is that the lakers had 2-3 guys that had to do all the scoring.

the first time i really followed the knicks was when they lost to boston in the eastern finals. i think this was russell's last year ? but walt frazier was unstoppable. and they came very close to beating the celts. so up to that point in his career, the knicks may have depended a great deal on frazier to score. i really dont recall just what other knicks were on the team.

but soon after, the knick's lineup would be a list of all-stars. willis reed was their center. he was a good scorer from the inside, and was a deadly outside shooter at about 15 feet. cazzie russell was a good outside shooter. jerry lucas and dave debuscherre were very accurate from long distances (no 3 point yet), and could also score from inside. phil jackson was a big guy who could shoot. they had dick barnett and earl the pearl monroe. gosh, they had so many guys who could score, that no one person was gonna have that many points.

HOWEVER, when the game was close with a last shot to go, the whole stadium knew that mr. walt frazier was taking that shot. and he seldom missed.

in ranking the 2 players in shooting ability, i say toss a coin. they were absolutely tremendous in every way. and both were clutch shooters to the nth degree.

defensively, west was great. frazier was a little bit better.

i deliberately did not add oscar robertson to the equation, cuz he was a different type of player. west and frazier were extremely similar types of players.

anyways, the answer was that the lakers needed west to score more than the knicks needed frazier to score.

there is no way to know that, without actually being there, watching the games, and having some understanding of basketball.

bill russell was the most valuable basketball player that ever stepped on the court. so much of what he did, never showed up on the stats. they only won games for the celts. for example, when russell rebounded, he had already thrown the outlet pass to half court before he landed on the ground. there would have been no celtic fast break without russell. but on the stats, it would appear as 1 rebound, the same as all other centers - who would merely hand the ball to the dribbling guard.

when russell blocked a shot, it invariably went backwards into the hands of one of his teammates. other centers blocked the ball out of bounds, giving their opposition another chance at the ball. in both cases, the stats show 1 blocked shot. but the results were dramatically different.

russell's tremendous leaping ability intimidated the other shooters, such that they were not as effective. he simply could get to places that no one else could, making the opposing shooters work harder, and have more doubts. that shows up nowhere on the stats. take a look at some old russell pictures. you will see him spread eagled like a bird while in the air. he didnt just jump up, he could fly across.

stats simply can lead to many wrong conclusions. this is why i say nothing about players that i have not seen. i wasnt there to see them, to understand the game as it was then, etc.
   267. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: September 03, 2013 at 07:56 AM (#4533159)
when i was following sports (baseball, football or basketball), there were players who could play like superstars when they were way ahead. like hitting home runs when you are winning 10-0. and couldnt do diddly when the score was tied.


And guess what, there are stats for that too. And over the course of a career, these things in the vast majority of cases even out.

Killebrew overall: .256/.376/.509
with the score tied: .259/.385/.501
with his team winning or losing by 5+: .240/.348/.499

Not a whole lot of difference, except that he walked a little more with the score tied, and a little less in blowouts, which is what one would expect from a power hitter. You're careful with him when one swing could lose the game, and you let him hit when he couldn't fatally hurt you.

And you'll find no player who had a long career performed in the simplistic way you describe above. It just doesn't happen. Not at the MLB level, and certainly not someone who had the talent to play for over 20 years. And THAT is another big problem with the "Don't give me stats, I know what I saw." Maybe you did see guys choke in close games a few times and thus it colors your perception. The problem is, it's usually either small sample size or selection bias. You remember a guy strike out with the score tied in the 9th a few times and forget the half dozen times he homered in the first to give his team the lead.

Observation is important, but it can't be the only thing, simply because human beings aren't capable of processing, storing, and recalling so much information, and it is impossible to see every player in every situation. As I said earlier, you probably didn't see Killebrew hit against the Red Sox very often. Well, he destroyed them, and if you were a red Sox fan instead of a Tigers fan, your recollection would be comletely different.

   268. Loren F. Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:24 AM (#4533164)
One last point, Jimmy: I agree that looking at only the stats, without any other information or context, is not useful. So do the folks at this site. For example, we would never wonder why Lou Brock didn't have more RBI -- we know it was largely because he hit lead off. Some of our discussions here entail baseball books, history, biographies, reminiscence, etc. Stats are one more tool that can add context.

   269. BDC Posted: September 03, 2013 at 10:06 AM (#4533221)
No one on this site is trying to tell anyone else how to enjoy baseball

Unless you're eating garlic fries. That, sir, is a very wrong way to enjoy baseball :)

   270. Ron J2 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4533223)
#267 It's a slight oversimplification. I've checked pretty much any definition of clutch and found a couple of players who meet whatever definition I'm checking.

Thing is that the effects are pretty weak. Comfortably within method error.
   271. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4533254)
And here, again, is why personal observations and memory don't work very well, Jimmy. Killebrew was not easy to get out. Killebrew regularly was among the league leaders in OBP. In other words, he was very difficult to get out.

You're right, of course, but I think a lot of this comes from seeing players like Killebrew when they went into prolonged slumps, when (trust me on this one) they looked so bad that you could hardly believe they ever got out of Chattanooga. High strikeout sluggers with low BA often produce this sort of negative reaction, and even when the overall BA is fairly high it doesn't always take the heat off.

Jimmy mentions Killebrew. To his name I'd add Mike Schmidt, Alex Rodriguez and the early years of Mickey Mantle. Three of the greatest players who ever stepped on a field, but when they went into a funk, they could pile up the strikeouts so quickly it could make your head spin. Combine that with the insanely high level of expectations for players like that, based on salary and raw talent, and you get this sort of schizophrenic reaction.

Much as I try to block it, I'm not immune from this sort of reading myself. To this day, I'd still rather have George Brett than Mike Schmidt on my personal all-time team, as opposed to the team I'd put down on paper. Not that I don't recognize Schmidt's overall superiority, but with Brett you were much more certain you'd be seeing "George Brett" on any given day, and much less likely that some pitcher could tie him up on a particular pitch for an entire game.

And while Cal Ripken is probably second only to Wagner on the all-time SS list, any Oriole fan who saw Ripken during those years when he was subscribing to the Batting Stance Of The Day Club would be wary about trusting him at the plate unless he was in one of his infrequent hot streaks. I don't think I've ever seen a hitter as good as that look so helpless at the plate for so many prolonged stretches of time.
   272. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4533258)
okay loren,

i liked your observation about brock. it shows that you are using stats, instead of allowing stats to use you.

i will agree that stats can tell you something, if you are already familiar with the situation.

for example, i could look up walt frazier's stats. and if it showed that in his early career, he was scoring a lot more points, then i would pretty much know that he did not have the same quality of teammates as he would later have.

until the series with the celts, i cant recall having ever seen him before. he was underneath my radar. which at least makes me think that the knicks had not been that good a team.

cuz he was absolutely amazing in that series. scoring from everywhere.

nice talking to all of you.

with regards to killebrew - i could be underestimating him. i will admit that he wasnt someone i followed. whenever i did see him, he never gave me much of a jimmy frustration factor. but it would be true that i would have seen him play more against the tigers than anyone else.

addition : i forgot about dollar bill bradley. the knicks had so many players that there is probably someone else i inadvertently left off the list !!!
   273. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 03, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4533310)
however, if i am hitting against the tigers, i am gonna try to hit to left field where willie horton is - LOL. not to kaline or stanley.


And the number of batters who can effectively do that against MLB pitching can be counted on your fingers-
Tony Gwynn could do it, I'm not sure of any batter since him who could.

   274. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: September 03, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4533380)
mmy mentions Killebrew. To his name I'd add Mike Schmidt, Alex Rodriguez and the early years of Mickey Mantle. Three of the greatest players who ever stepped on a field, but when they went into a funk, they could pile up the strikeouts so quickly it could make your head spin. Combine that with the insanely high level of expectations for players like that, based on salary and raw talent, and you get this sort of schizophrenic reaction.


Bryce Harper sure has a tendency to do this so far.

Hopefully a sign of future greatness!
   275. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4533395)
Fortunately for Harper, the Nats fans are more forgiving than Phillies' fans were of Schmidt, and Yankee fans are / were of A-Rod and the early Mickey Mantle.
   276. OCF Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:07 PM (#4533401)
And the number of batters who can effectively do that against MLB pitching can be counted on your fingers-
Tony Gwynn could do it, I'm not sure of any batter since him who could.


And what would happen to a team with a good CF and a bad LF? The LF would hug the line, and the CF would cheat a little towards left center to handle balls on that side. (I vividly remember a positioning like that from a 70's game I went to in the Astrodome. That was Bob Watson playing left field line and Cesar Cedeno covering the rest of the territory.) The CF would catch more flies than ever, including some where he's ranging pretty far into left center. That would show up in the CF's favor in a crude range factor based system; it could be a little confounding in a modern PBP metric. And there are numerous adjustments you'd make to the range factor system.
   277. tfbg9 Posted: September 03, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4533405)
Jimmy:

Phil Jackson was a pretty good rotation type player. He was OK at foul shooting, and was a tough defender.
But he couldn't shoot for sh1t.

Clyde was awesome. He deserved every bit of his clutch reputation. He wasn't all that similar in "game" to West, IMHO.
   278. AROM Posted: September 03, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4533437)
because i am trying to demonstrate to you guys how horrible stats are to make conclusions about sports.


Pretty terrible example, to pick on a fan voting aggregator and conclude that it's results make stats useless. No stat ranking could be devised to put Elvin Hayes ahead of Kareem or Wilt.

If you haven't watched the game in 40 years, and argue that players cannot be compared across eras (no Koufax vs. Lefty Grove), then we're down to this: Koufax was a bit better than Bob Gibson.
   279. alilisd Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4533507)
Observation is important, but it can't be the only thing, simply because human beings aren't capable of processing, storing, and recalling so much information, and it is impossible to see every player in every situation.


And this is the giant hole in Jimmy's argument, which tends to make me agree with whomever it was who suggested "Jimmy" is trolling. He claims to be a Tigers fan and saw them play often, so presumably he lived in Detroit, yet he claims to be a Giants fan and to have seen McCovey and Koufax enough to judge them, as seeing them is the only way to judge. Yet if he lived in Detroit in the 60's, there's simply no way he saw enough of either of them to judge anything. Games were not that widely televised, there were no online sources to see games and no highlight show would offer enough detail by which to judge a player's worth.

What say you, Jimmy? How often did you see Koufax pitch, when and where?
   280. alilisd Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4533512)
You're right, of course, but I think a lot of this comes from seeing players like Killebrew when they went into prolonged slumps, when (trust me on this one) they looked so bad that you could hardly believe they ever got out of Chattanooga. High strikeout sluggers with low BA often produce this sort of negative reaction, and even when the overall BA is fairly high it doesn't always take the heat off.


I do believe you and I also see this sort of reaction. I figure that's where Jimmy is comig from, if he's legit, but thought I would try to point out the flaw in his position.
   281. alilisd Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4533540)
then we're down to this: Koufax was a bit better than Bob Gibson.


Wait, what? Koufax's best seasons ERA+/IP:

190/323
186/223
160/335.2
159/311
143/184.1
122/255.2

Gibson's best seasos ERA+/IP

258/304.2
164/314
151/233.2
148/280.1
139/278
133/294

I substituted Gibson's 1970 for his 1961 because, although his 1961 ERA+ was 3 points higher, he threw 83 more innings n 1970. It seems an even split in the top three seasons: one clearly better for Gibson, one clearly better for Koufax and one basically even. However, in the next three seasons Gibson has two which are clearly better while Koufax has one. Call it even, or the slightest of edges for Gibson, but I don't see putting Koufax ahead even when just looking at peak, but peak is all Koufax has. What about seasons beyond these six? Koufax has only four other seasons where he threw at least 100 IP, and none of those was over 175, with all of them being between 106 and 93 ERA+. Gibson has the aforemetioned 1961 season plus seven others where he pitched at least 175 innings with ERA+ between 136 and 94. In fact, Gibson has four seasons which are as good as the last one on Koufax's list above, both in terms of IP and ERA+. How do you see Koufax as a bit better than Gibson?
   282. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: September 03, 2013 at 04:46 PM (#4533541)
whenever i did see him, he never gave me much of a jimmy frustration factor.

I tried to look up the adjusted JFF leaders on Baseball-Reference, but the site must be buggy.
   283. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 03, 2013 at 05:03 PM (#4533554)
No stat ranking could be devised to put Elvin Hayes ahead of Kareem or Wilt.

Hayes edged Kareem by about 2 minutes in MPG, and he massacred both of them in the number of times he quoted the Bible. That's all I got.

---------------------------------------------

And this is the giant hole in Jimmy's argument, which tends to make me agree with whomever it was who suggested "Jimmy" is trolling. He claims to be a Tigers fan and saw them play often, so presumably he lived in Detroit, yet he claims to be a Giants fan and to have seen McCovey and Koufax enough to judge them, as seeing them is the only way to judge. Yet if he lived in Detroit in the 60's, there's simply no way he saw enough of either of them to judge anything. Games were not that widely televised, there were no online sources to see games and no highlight show would offer enough detail by which to judge a player's worth.

A Tigers' fan living in Detroit would have (or at least could have) seen Koufax start 8 postseason games**, plus 4 All-Star games and a small handful of nationally televised Dodgers' games where Koufax happened to be pitching, for a likely total of about 20 to 25 games over the course of Koufax's entire career. Whether 20 to 25 games qualifies as "often enough" is kind of subjective, but one thing you can say for sure is that if you only remember him from his 7 World Series starts you might well think he was the greatest pitcher of all time, better even than Gibson. That's the advantage and disadvantage of a certain type of focused memory.

**Counting the 1962 special NL playoffs
   284. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 07:43 PM (#4533642)
i cant recall for sure, but i think it would have made good sense for both kaline and stanley to shift over some, to help with horton.

when horton first came up, he was the worst outfielder i had ever seen, for a pro.

i just closed my eyes, and waited for the announcer to say something !!

but i will give him some credit - he became much better after a few years. not great, by any means. and probably still below average.

but passable. he wasnt gonna make any great plays. but he would catch the balls that were catchable.

   285. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 07:56 PM (#4533646)
hi arom,

i can just tell you my opinion of the pitchers in "my era"

koufax was at the highest pedestal, all by himself.

i had then said that there were 20 or so pitchers at a level below.

i would like to change that just a bit.

i would place marichal on the next pedestal below koufax, all alone.

i actually figured we would beat the dodgers and koufax if we had marichal on our side. they may have a slight edge in pitching, but we had double the edge in batting.

below him i would put gibson, seaver, lolich, whitey ford, jim palmer, sam mcdowell, and quite a few others, and not necessarily in any particular order.

i know it would be neat to be able to compare koufax versus grove, etc. but i dont think we have any reliable way to do so.

i think the most accurate way of judging sports players would be to hear what people are saying about them at the time that the players are playing. fans, players, coaches, etc. one thing is that statements could more easily be refuted or agreed, etc.

all that is gone from us now, about walter johnson. i have stats i can look at, and possibly some baseball books that mention stuff. but it is ancient history for most everyone.

another thing that i tend to differ with i think most of you - is that when i think of how good a player is, i am thinking of his peak. this is how good he could play. the longevity is just a measure of how long he could do something.

so i am much more of a peak person than a longevity person. and of course koufax pitched in the years that i followed closely. so it is no surprise that he is high on my list.
   286. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:04 PM (#4533652)
i actually live in the los angeles area.

they had games every weekend, and several during the week. i would get to see a tiger game close to once a week.

much more during 68, when they were winning the pennant and mclain was chasing the record.

i saw tons of dodger giant games.

and would watch the giants any time they were on.

i wasnt a dodger fan, so i did not particularly watch them all the time. but i did see them quite abit. koufax was so good, few people could even mount good swings against him. i cant think of anyone that would have a higher jimmy frustration number than koufax. in fact, i would say that the borg might be right - resistance was futile !!

please, lets knock it off about the trolling - that is utterly ridiculous. that should be obvious by the knowledge i am showing about some of this stuff.

when i dont know or dont recall, i have no problem saying so.
   287. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4533660)
i would have seen way over a hundred tiger games during my watching period.

the stuff i remember the best is the stuff that was more important to me, or for some reason stood out as more amazing, more significant, etc.

and i do have better recall when i got older. so the last half of the 60s probably has better recall than the first half, as a general rule.
   288. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4533661)
i could look up walt frazier's stats. and if it showed that in his early career, he was scoring a lot more points, then i would pretty much know that he did not have the same quality of teammates as he would later have.

And if it didn't show that (as it doesn't), what's the new theory?
   289. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:24 PM (#4533673)
i can recall names of tigers early on. but i dont have too much recall about seeing them - just very hazy recall.

players like frank lary, jim bunning, rocky colavito, harvey kuenn, don demeter, billy bruton - all considered pretty good players at the time of playing. but i have little visual recall.

but players like kaline, cash, horton, northrup, freehan, mcauliffe, lolich, rodriguez, brinkman - i have good visual recall.

or at least if you showed me a clip from back then, i would remember.

if you showed me a clip of colavito - i am not sure i would remember him if i saw him.
   290. Jimmy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:28 PM (#4533676)
there would be no new theory. btw, i see that it was frazier's second year. so he did not have much of a past nba that i did not know about.

i became a knick and frazier fan the next year, as both russ and sam retired that same year.

i do have lots of happy sports memories when i was a kid.
   291. Howie Menckel Posted: September 03, 2013 at 08:58 PM (#4533702)

"i would place marichal on the next pedestal below koufax, all alone."

I won't be the one to tell you how much of the perception of Marichal as the elite SP and Gaylord Perry as the innings-eater had to do with the uncanny amount of run support the Giants gave Marichal and didn't give Perry, year after year.

I saw both pitch, and as a kid I used to do a lefty version of Marichal's leg kick when I pitched. Perry, not so elegant.

But unless you want to give Marichal credit for his leg kicks inspiring the offense....
   292. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: September 03, 2013 at 09:54 PM (#4533756)
So here's the question I have about this whole thing. Jimmy, if you haven't followed sports in a long time, and you don't like stats...how did you come to find and start posting on this site?
   293. AROM Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:39 PM (#4533815)
So here's the question I have about this whole thing. Jimmy, if you haven't followed sports in a long time, and you don't like stats...how did you come to find and start posting on this site?


My theory is that he was caught in an iceberg, fully preserved, and just recently has been thawed out.
   294. AROM Posted: September 03, 2013 at 11:41 PM (#4533819)
But unless you want to give Marichal credit for his leg kicks inspiring the offense....


They didn't change balls as often, perhaps the baseballs were still soggy from all the crap Gaylord loaded onto them.
   295. Rob_Wood Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:15 AM (#4533840)
Yes, there is more than a hint of Rip Van Winkle about Jimmy.
   296. Jimmy Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:35 AM (#4533849)
hi biff,

i cant say that i recall what brought me to this site.

but i think i was doing a search on mccovey or some sort of baseball issue ?

can you tell me what my first post on this site was ?

but to be honest, i see this site as baseball think factory - that does not even slightly imply stats, to me.

when i saw threads about various players, i dont even remotely think of somehow using stats as the dominating answer.
   297. Jimmy Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:48 AM (#4533854)
i forget these names until someone mentions it.

i had completely forgotten about marichal.

but both the perrys were good, as well - my memory has gaylord being better than jim - but jim was good.

these pitchers are ones that when you looked at the sports page listings of who was playing who, they always listed the 2 starting pitchers.

and when any of these guys was starting, ya kinda figured okay they would win today - unless they were pitching against another pitcher in the group.

btw, i do have a curiosity about a stat, now that the subject was brought up ?

can you tell me the win loss records by year, if possible, between head to head meetings of koufax and marichal ?

my memory tells me that marichal won quite a few of them ? but because i thought koufax was so good, maybe winning just 1 out of 3 might have seemed like a moral victory !!

he not only had a leg kick, but he would turn his body ? did he not actually have his back to the batter ? i dont recall exactly, but it was very unusual.

but when one examined it, i think the batter had less time to react and less time to see the ball ? sorta like the serve in tennis, which you may or may not be aware. but the lower the toss, the harder it is for the returner to pick up on the ball.

so i came to see it as an advantage, until a runner was on first.

gosh, so many specifics are gone. but i recall that the leg kick irritated me some - which would mean that at least some of the time, he did so with the guy on first. i just felt that it gave the runner more time to steal ?

however, something tells me that he also had a very shortened version of that delivery that he would also use ?

i no longer recall many of the specifics about marichal and roseboro incident, but i do recall it being about the biggest baseball fracas of the decade !!

i know i saw the situation many times, but i dont think i saw the original event - just clips of it on tv, after the fact.
   298. Jimmy Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:56 AM (#4533861)
hi arom,

yea, i guess that iceberg did just thaw out a while back !!

seriously, every once in awhile something triggers old-time sports for me - and i enjoy talking about them.

i dont know how many hundreds of baseball games i watched in my life - maybe even close to 1000 - so my opinions of players all stems from that.

i will know whether or not i can tell you what my conclusion was based on said watching, but i cant give you specific details.

because of mclain's record in 1968, it is probably commonly believed by at least many non-tiger fans that mclain was better than lolich that year.

on this i want to be absolutely clear. there was never a time that mclain was anywhere near the pitcher than lolich was. and you would never hear a tiger player say any different.

mclain's stats were pretty good that year, if i recall. but i am one gazillion percent positively absolutely sure that lolich was by far our ace pitcher.

so if stats say otherwise, then that is another time where they are absolutely incorrect - you can take that to the bank and deposit it as the safest investment you will ever make.
   299. DanG Posted: September 04, 2013 at 01:18 AM (#4533872)
Most years 10+ pitching WAR, pitchers debuting 1950-63

Rk                 Yrs From   To   Age
1      Wilbur Wood   2 1971 1972 29
-30
2       Bob Gibson   2 1968 1969 32
-33 H
3     Sandy Koufax   2 1963 1966 27
-30 H
4    Gaylord Perry   1 1972 1972 33
-33 H
5    Juan Marichal   1 1965 1965 27
-27 H
6   Dick Ellsworth   1 1963 1963 23
-23 


Most years 7+ pitching WAR, pitchers debuting 1950-63

Rk                Yrs From   To   Age
1   Gaylord Perry   4 1970 1974 31
-35 H
2      Bob Gibson   4 1968 1972 32
-36 H
3   Juan Marichal   4 1963 1969 25
-31 H
4    Sandy Koufax   4 1963 1966 27
-30 H
5     Wilbur Wood   3 1971 1973 29
-31
6     Jim Bunning   3 1965 1967 33
-35 H 



Most years 5+ pitching WAR, pitchers debuting 1950-63

Rk                Yrs From   To   Age
1   Gaylord Perry  11 1964 1976 25
-37 H
2      Bob Gibson   8 1962 1972 26
-36 H
3   Juan Marichal   6 1963 1969 25
-31 H
4    Don Drysdale   6 1957 1964 20
-27 H
5     Jim Bunning   6 1957 1967 25
-35 H
6     Wilbur Wood   5 1968 1974 26
-32
7    Sandy Koufax   5 1961 1966 25
-30 H
8      Bob Friend   5 1955 1963 24
-32 


   300. alilisd Posted: September 04, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4534129)
A Tigers' fan living in Detroit would have (or at least could have) seen Koufax start 8 postseason games


Ah, that would explain a lot. Thanks.
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