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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tom Seaver

Eligible in 1992.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:05 PM | 109 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2257352)
My favorite player of all-time, my favorite baseball card of his is the '77 one.

As an announcer, he's a real old fogie. Nobody made any errors and mistakes in his day, which differs greatly from my own recollections. :-)

Oh yeah, greatest pitcher of his generation and probably between Grove and Clemens.
   2. OCF Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2257358)
RA+ Pythpat: 330-201 (compare Spahn at 340-242). Top equivalent years include 24-8 (1971) and 23-9 (1973). Inner circle, #1 on my ballot.
   3. Sam M. Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:23 PM (#2257368)
Oh yeah, greatest pitcher of his generation and probably between Grove and Clemens.

As I posit on his B-Ref page, I believe he is the greatest pitcher in National League history. Afficiandos of Mathewson and Alexander might differ, but once you adjust for era I believe Seaver's the one. At least he was until Maddux came along to muddy the waters . . . .
   4. Michael Bass Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2257388)
I would take Alexander and Maddux for sure over Seaver (and I'm a Met fan); Gibson would be in the discussion as well. I could be forgetting someone else.

Seaver was certainly great, but he fell off a cliff after age 30. He was occassionally good after that, but never great.
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:46 PM (#2257397)
Seaver was certainly great, but he fell off a cliff after age 30. He was occassionally good after that, but never great.

He still had a few great seasons during that time, though not like the really great ones prior to '75. As I mentioned last week, he deserved the Cy Young in '81 over Valenzuela.

As I posit on his B-Ref page, I believe he is the greatest pitcher in National League history. Afficiandos of Mathewson and Alexander might differ, but once you adjust for era I believe Seaver's the one. At least he was until Maddux came along to muddy the waters . . . .

That's certainly arguable and I do lean in that direction, Sam.
   6. Chris Cobb Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:53 PM (#2257405)
"Falling off a cliff after age 30" is a _bit_ of an exaggeration. His prime runs solidly through his age 33 season, and after that he was still a generally an above-average pitcher, except for a bad year in 1982.

His career shape is quite similar to Mathewson's, actually, except that Christy really did fall off a cliff after age 32.

I agree, though, that Alexander and Maddux go ahead of Seaver among NL pitchers. I'd put Seaver ahead of Spahn, Mathewson, and Gibson, though.
   7. bunyon Posted: December 10, 2006 at 11:56 PM (#2257408)
So, I'm not a HOM voter, but I'd like to suggest that he be elected. I'm willing to twist arms.
   8. Michael Bass Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:03 AM (#2257417)
I can see the argument with him and Fernando in '81; WS has Seaver edging out it, WARP likes Fernando quite a bit better. I personally would argue for Carlton, who had more innings and a better ERA+ than Seaver.

I forgot one other NL pitcher I'd take over Seaver, in Spahn.
   9. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:05 AM (#2257418)
His career shape is quite similar to Mathewson's, actually, except that Christy really did fall off a cliff after age 32.

If Seaver had been using a scroogie, he probably would have, too.

So, I'm not a HOM voter, but I'd like to suggest that he be elected. I'm willing to twist arms.

I'm pretty sure he will win election at some point. ;-)
   10. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:08 AM (#2257424)
I forgot one other NL pitcher I'd take over Seaver, in Spahn.

Spahnie didn't have Seaver's peak and he wouldn't have pitched as many innings during Seaver's time. With that said, it's close.
   11. Michael Bass Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:18 AM (#2257433)
Spahnie didn't have Seaver's peak and he wouldn't have pitched as many innings during Seaver's time.

This is true (that if you adjust both their IP to context, Seaver was more impressive), but due to the higher workload of the day, Spahn's career/prime length is even more impressive to me than it is on first glance. Effective careers of his length and quality simply didn't happen then.
   12. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:21 AM (#2257435)
Effective careers of his length and quality simply didn't happen then.

I do agree with that and have cautioned about overrating the career IP of Seventies pitchers on numerous occasions.
   13. Astro-Bonilla Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:54 AM (#2257457)
The only debate with Seaver is whether or not he was the best pitcher of all-time (I don't think he is, but I don't think I can prove he isn't either).
   14. rico vanian Posted: December 11, 2006 at 02:09 AM (#2257500)
Not even the best pitcher of the last half century. I would go for Clemens.
   15. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 02:32 AM (#2257522)
Not even the best pitcher of the last half century. I would go for Clemens.

Sadly (because of how I feel about Clemens), I have to concur. Around 95-96, when it looked like Clemens' might be fading, it appeared that his challenge to Seaver's stature would fall well short. But the last decade (166 wins later . . . .) has erased that brief illusion: Clemens' career has outshone and outlasted Seaver's. Which pains me no end to acknowledge.

When Seaver retired, you could make a reasonable argument for him as the finest pitcher of all time -- depending on your timeline adjustments. Now, I don't think it's a plausible argument any more. Greatest National Leaguer of all time? That's still a reasonable position.
   16. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 02:50 AM (#2257534)
Sam, how does Seaver rate against Maddux?

Ah, objectively, you'd have to say Maddux. What's truly amazing about Maddux is that I believe this era is form-fitted for dominant pitchers of a certain type. The fact that it is a power hitter's, high strikeout era, makes it absolutely perfect for a Clemens/Pedro (in his prime) type guy. Those pitchers are extremly well-suited to take advantage of the free swingers who are so prevalent, and they don't get hurt as much as their contemporaries by the high offense.

But Maddux doesn't fit the profile of the pitcher who should be relatively helped by this era. Seaver would have; he'd have been better today, relative to the average pitcher, than he was in his own time. But Maddux's greatness is despite not being well-adapted to his time. At least not in obvious ways. That's quite a thing.

The case against Maddux is based on the value of his peak seasons. Since he wasn't pitching as many innings as Seaver in his best years, were they as valuable? Much as I'd like to buy that case, I think it only goes so far. I think it keeps Seaver in the discussion, but once we close the book on Maddux's career, I suspect he will have to go to # 1.
   17. OCF Posted: December 11, 2006 at 03:00 AM (#2257540)
Although it can possibly be argued that Maddux was unusually well-suited to take advantage of one of the conditions of his era: the horizontal strike zone. Or rather that he did take advantage of that as well as or better than any other pitcher.

Maddux also bears the burden of having the 1994-95 strike fall right at the very peak of his career.
   18. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 03:13 AM (#2257552)
This is how much I loved Tom Seaver. I vowed I would never set foot inside Yankee Stadium, a pledge I kept until 1985. I was in law school at the time, working for a NYC law firm for the summer. What finally got me there was the opportunity to see Tom Terrific win his 300th game against the Yankees, pitching for the White Sox. I was at a Mets' game earlier that week, and watched the scoreboard as Seaver got # 299 (IIRC, it was against Boston, but I may be misremembering that). When I got home, I ordered tickets for Seaver's start five days later.

Tom Seaver got me to go to Yankee Stadium. And along with 50,000+ others, we all (well, by the end, anyway) rooted against the Yankees. What a day.
   19. Srul Itza At Home Posted: December 11, 2006 at 03:42 AM (#2257570)
Holy Cow, Sam, were you there too?
   20. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#2257576)
Holy Cow, Sam, were you there too?

Still have the scorebook, my ticket stub (Section 521, Row D, Seat 9), and several articles about the game. The ticket was (get this) $9.75. August 4, 1985.
   21. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: December 11, 2006 at 03:59 AM (#2257585)
I would take Alexander and Maddux for sure over Seaver (and I'm a Met fan); Gibson would be in the discussion as well. I could be forgetting someone else.


I'd take Maddux for sure, not sure about Alexander, and even though I'm a Cardinal fan, I take Seaver over Gibson. Gibson was a lot like Seaver, except that Seaver beats him in longevity; he tacks on a lot of solid extra years that Gibson didn't have. Peak and prime, they're pretty damn similar.
   22. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:00 AM (#2257586)
I was at a Mets' game earlier that week, and watched the scoreboard as Seaver got # 299 (IIRC, it was against Boston, but I may be misremembering that).

BTW, I checked Retrosheet. It was, indeed, Boston. On July 30th, 1985, Seaver beat Oil Can Boyd, 7-5 in 10 innings, for his 299th win. He went 9 innings, giving up four runs (3 earned). The White Sox got three in the top of the 10th to break a 4-4 tie, and held on to win.
   23. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:36 AM (#2257619)
For the heck of it.

+----+------+------+------+------+------+------+
Yr Sea. | Gib. | Mad. | Cle. | Ale. | Mat. |
+----+------+------+------+------+------+------+
01 130  131  110  138  139  132  |
02 119  123  110  121  133  105  |
03 109  110  102  115  123  104  |
04 101  101  102  114  119  102  |
05 |  99  100  101  113  114  102  |
06 |  93  |  97  100  111  108  |  94  |
07 |  89  |  89  |  99  108  |  89  |  94  |
08 |  88  |  86  |  94  108  |  88  |  90  |
09 |  87  |  76  |  92  101  |  86  |  88  |
10 |  86  |  74  |  74  |  98  |  76  |  80  |
11 |  83  |  62  |  72  |  89  |  67  |  73  |
12 |  77  |  53  |  71  |  87  |  63  |  52  |
13 |  76  |  47  |  71  |  82  |  61  |  46  |
14 |  63  |  45  |  69  |  77  |  60  |  27  |
15 |  55  |  23  |  68  |  73  |  56  |   2  |
16 |  49  |  11  |  68  |  70  |  44  |  -2  |
17 |  48  |   5  |  63  |  61  |  40  |  -4  |
18 |  47  | ---- |  63  |  57  |  25  | ---- |
19 |  33  | ---- |  52  |  55  |   8  | ---- |
20 |   2  | ---- |  16  |  50  |  -2  | ---- |
21 | ---- | ---- |   5  |  47  | ---- | ---- |
22 | ---- | ---- | ---- |  38  | ---- | ---- |
23 | ---- | ---- | ---- |  35  | ---- | ---- |
+----+------+------+------+------+------+------+
T. | 1544 1233 1602 1948 1497 1185 |
+----+------+------+------+------+------+------+ 
   24. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#2257625)
Oh, yeah, it helps to label...that's PRAR.
   25. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:48 AM (#2257629)
Funny. Above it was noted that guys like Pedro and Clemens were well suited for their era. I think the same could be said for Maddux, however. Clemens for one and Pedro, sort of, tend to throw a pretty conventional game. They have excellent fastballs, with movement and pace, and they throw a variety of secondary pitches, mostly good to great. They overpower guys but can also pull the string or induce weak contact. Classic power pitching.

Maddux's game is strangely suited to these free swinging times too. And in a funny way, Mariano Rivera is a harder throwing version of him. Both Maddux and Rivera have fluid, easy-going motions, they both rely very heavily on the cutter to move in and out on hitters, using late movement to saw guys off and induce weak contact. Both are mercilessly efficient in the number of pitches they use to devour hitters. And both seem to be pretty nice, quiet, unassuming guys too. Anyway, in this time when everyone's looking fastball and swinging from the heels, these two succeed by a similar logic that that Clemens and Pedro: they plan to take advantage of the holes in the batting strategy of the day, meeting hitters on their own terms and letting them swing as hard as they want, knowing that hardly anyone will make good contact. I mean when a Maddux throws 90 pitchs in a CG, you can't say he's not challenging hitters or coming right after them. Two sides of the same coin, yet totally different.

It would be interesting to know how Maddux would have fared in the deadball era, whether his pitches would have been as effective against a league of highly skilled place hitters in the Tony Gwynn/Wade Boggs mold---guys who wait on the ball more and go the other way a lot. Maddux is compared a lot to Mathewson, so maybe he wouldn't have problems.
   26. Chris Cobb Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#2257632)
Brief supplement, career totals and top 5 only:

Carlton, 1447 -- 155, 120, 96, 95, 95
Grove, 1448 -- 126, 124, 124, 120, 114
Niekro, 1502 -- 118, 116, 104, 104, 103
Perry, 1505 -- 143. 115. 113. 105. 100
Spahn, 1629 -- 119, 117, 116. 112. 111
Young, 1795 -- 125, 122, 115, 115, 114
Johnson. 1930 -- 154, 144, 132, 130, 126
   27. OCF Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:58 AM (#2257639)
In the context of what we actually need to know to vote in 1992: that chart does not have any of Tiant, Walters, Grimes, Dean, Kaat, Bridges, Willis, or any other eligible pitcher on it. But we knew that already. (It also confirms what I have been sayaing using different methodology about the relative order of Alexander and Mathewson.) I have to assume that Maddux had his top end blunted on that chart by the '94-'95 strike. Clemens pitched through that strike as well, and Seaver through 1981, but neither seems to have lost as much as Maddux.
   28. The District Attorney Posted: December 11, 2006 at 05:14 AM (#2257651)
The only blemish on the '86 World Series is that Seaver was hurt. Can you imagine?? That would have been an all-time memorable moment in Mets history, almost regardless of what happened in the game.
   29. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 11, 2006 at 05:34 AM (#2257667)
Random factoid:

I almost figured out a new stat: RSD (Run Support Distribution) which looks at not only the level of run support (adjusted for park and league) a pitcher gets across a season but also how it's distributed on a game-by-game basis. A big flaw with RSI is that if Pitcher A receives 20, 0, 0, and 0 runs in offensive support in four games, and Pitcher B gets 5, 5, 5, and 5, they supposedly have the same offensive support.

My point? I did a lot of RSDing for 1960s and 1970s pitchers and one of the biggest differences in a single season's RSD was Tom Seaver's 1977 campaign. His teams almost never scored 0-2 runs for him and (from memory) they literally never scored more than 8 runs for him. League average runs per game was about 4.40 that year and in a full season's worth of start most pitchers will have a couple games more than twice league average --- especially if they're always getting some offensive support. I think it was the biggest upward swing moving from RSI to RSD that I came across. (Biggest downward swing was Jim Kaat's 1977, where the Phillies flat out never scored 3-4 runs for him in a game. Weird).

And the best NL pitcher of all-time was Jake Beckley. (I kid! I kid!)
   30. Grumbledook Posted: December 11, 2006 at 12:41 PM (#2257755)
While a pitcher's win-loss record is generally acknowledged to be something that the pitcher has little control over, it is perhaps noteworthy that Seaver did not have a losing season until 1982, and that includes years playing for some Mets teams with anemic offenses.
   31. Grumbledook Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:09 PM (#2257834)
It was also a point of contention with Reds fans that in spite of the Reds having had the best overall record in 1981, they didn't qualify for the playoffs because of MLB's crazy split-season idea, and that Tom Seaver (14-2, 2.54 ERA, 1.40 ERA+) didn't win the CYA:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CIN/1981.shtml
   32. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:18 PM (#2257841)
Can't blame the voters for their CYA vote. Seaver had a very modest edge in ERA+, but Valenzuela threw 15% more innings. Valenzuela also had a terrific K-rate while Seaver had a terrible one. Heck, Valenzuela had more shutouts than Seaver had complete games. And it may be meaningless over the course of a season, but it's damn hard not to be impressed by a kid who begins the year by allowing 2 ER in his first 7 starts, all complete games, for an ERA of 0.29 thirty games into the year.
   33. sunnyday2 Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2257854)
My old Reputation Monitor, which is more like HoF Standards than a real, objective measure. But a score of 200 or more virtually guarantees (or, rather, describes) HoF membership for position players, but it only takes 150 for a pitcher. I haven't yet rated (I don't rate) any active pitchers or position players.

Best Pitchers Ever (>200)

Walter Johnson 349
Cy Young 319
Pete Alexander 290
Christy Mathewson 280
Lefty Grove 278

Tom Seaver 253
Warren Spahn 252
Kid Nichols 251
Steve Carlton 242
Albert Spalding 238

Ed Walsh 220
Jim Palmer 219
Bob Feller 215
Bob Gibson 213
John Clarkson 208

Whitey Ford 206
Sandy Koufax 205
Carl Hubbell 203
3Finger Brown 202

There are no eligible pitchers with 200 points who are not in the HoF.

There are 23 pitchers at 150-199. 21 of them are in the HoF. Only Bob Caruthers and Tommy Bond are >150 and not in the HoF.

There are unfortunately 19 pitchers <150 who are in the HoF including 5 who are <100 which is the epitome of a HoF mistake with a capital MISTAKE: Hoyt, Bender, Pennock, Haines and Marquard. There are probably 200 pitchers who are just as good as these 19 (>Marquard's 57 but <150) who are not. Some of them are Walters, Blyleven, Cicotte, Stieb, Ferrell, Warneke, Shocker, Bridges, Mays, Marris, Saberhagen, Newcombe, Kaat, Guidry, Tiant, Luque, John and Pierce, and there are lots more.

But anyway, Seaver is right up there. Add Clemens and Maddux to the list, and then adjust a little bit for the different era, and Seaver probably drops to #7. If you held a gun to my head I would probably go: Johnson, Young, Clemens, Alex, Maddux, Grove, Seaver, Matty, Spahn, Nichols.
   34. HowardMegdal Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:48 PM (#2257863)
"His career shape is quite similar to Mathewson's, actually, except that Christy really did fall off a cliff after age 32."

You're thinking of Ed Delahanty.
   35. bunyon Posted: December 11, 2006 at 04:55 PM (#2257874)
Geez, Sam, you're like Forrest Gump.* Were you there in the gloaming? Did you pine tar Brett's bat?

* In the sense of being at many historic events. Not in the brain power sense.
   36. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2257951)
Geez, Sam, you're like Forrest Gump.* Were you there in the gloaming? Did you pine tar Brett's bat?

I guess a Fred Merkle joke here would be wildly inappropriate?

Seriously, my three encounters with history were Game 6 of the '86 WS, Seaver's 300th, and Game 4 of the '88 NLCS, when #### Mike Scioscia hit the two-run homer off Doc Gooden to tie the game, changing the entire course of that series and leading to Hershiser's famous relief appearance in the bottom of the 12th.

Seaver, by the way, holds the record for highest percentage of the vote for any HOFer in history (98.84%).
   37. HowardMegdal Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2257962)
I saw Don Carman pitch a one-hitter, though it took me 15 years to realize it.
   38. Jim Sp Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:49 PM (#2257971)
Interesting that Randy Johnson isn't getting mentioned in the lists of great pitchers--seems to me he's right up there with Seaver et. al.
   39. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:52 PM (#2257974)
Speaking of being at Phillies events, in 1998 I attended a Phils game where a triple play occured. I was so busy yucking it up with my pals and trying to woo an attractive blonde in our group that I missed it....
   40. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2257983)
Interesting that Randy Johnson isn't getting mentioned in the lists of great pitchers--seems to me he's right up there with Seaver et. al.

Certainly, Jim. He should be higher than Koufax, for example.
   41. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 11, 2006 at 06:59 PM (#2257985)
Wait, my bad, it was Saturday, May 15, 1999. TP: Arias-Jordan. I'm pretty sure it was a 6-4-4, if you know what I mean: liner to Arias, flips to Jordan at second who tags the runner from first and the offending base. No PBP at retrosheet, however, so I can't confirm.

And, no, I didn't end up getting a date with the blonde...but you knew that, right?
   42. HowardMegdal Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:01 PM (#2257989)
"And, no, I didn't end up getting a date with the blonde...but you knew that, right?"

Sure. From Retrosheet.
   43. Daryn Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:10 PM (#2257998)
Seaver, by the way, holds the record for highest percentage of the vote for any HOFer in history (98.84%).

Which will likely be broken this year by Ripken.
   44. Daryn Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2258012)
Interesting that Randy Johnson isn't getting mentioned in the lists of great pitchers--seems to me he's right up there with Seaver et. al.

I agree -- he's a top 10 all-timer for me. Maybe 10th, but still, in the conversation.
   45. Sam M. Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2258015)
Which will likely be broken this year by Ripken.

Hmmmmm . . . . Not so sure about that. Seaver got 425 out of 430 votes. I would not be at all surprised if there are more than five voters out there unconvinced of Ripken's merits as a first-ballot HOFer. Relatively low batting average, some late criticism of him for "hanging on" to the streak when it was argued it was actually hurting the Orioles . . . . voters can be stupider than we give them "credit" for. Ripken is a threat, no doubt, but so were Ryan and Brett in 1999, and they fell just short (98.79 and 98.19%). If Mays and Aaron didn't get over 98.84%, I'm not going to assume anyone will. We'll see about Junior.
   46. TomH Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:32 PM (#2258024)
from the Sinins BB encyc, Runs Saved above average from 1933 to 1993:

# pitcher....... RSAA
1 Tom Seaver 404
2 Bob Gibson 350
3 Bert Blyleven 344
4 Roger Clemens 336
5 Phil Niekro 322
6 Whitey Ford 321
7 Warren Spahn 319
8 Gaylord Perry 317
   47. bunyon Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2258026)
I think Ripken will get higher than Seaver this year. I understand your points, Sam, but I think Ripken will get some "anti-PED" vote. He was seen as a noble player who embodied all that was good in the game. I don't agree with this view, but I think there will be some folks for whom not voting for McGwire won't be enough - they'll want to affirm this noble man.

Of course, your point that rounding up 5 idiots out of this bunch probably isn't tough.
   48. Daryn Posted: December 11, 2006 at 07:38 PM (#2258033)
I wouldn't assume it either, but if I had to bet at even odds, I'd think Ripken is the perfect storm of a candidate who would beat Seaver. Beating Ryan and Brett would easily be explicable. Beating Mays and Aaron could only be based on racism, as they both have everything Ripken has and more. It wouldn't surprise me if a handful of voters 30 years ago held race against those two, particularly Aaron who beat the great white Ruth's record.
   49. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 11, 2006 at 08:11 PM (#2258063)
Well, if Ripken breaks Seaver's record, I hope it's unanimous. No, I don't think he was that good (meaning that he wasn't in the same class as Aaron, Mays, Ruth, Wagner, etc.), but I just would like to see this stupidity stop over ridiculously qualified first-year candidates such as Ripken being left off a ballot by some goofball writer because of "tradition."
   50. baudib Posted: December 11, 2006 at 08:26 PM (#2258070)
It wouldn't surprise me if a handful of voters 30 years ago held race against those two, particularly Aaron who beat the great white Ruth's record.


I think you're way off base here. Have you ever heard of a single incident of a writer from the 50s, 60s or 70s saying anything remotely negative about Aaron or Mays? There are voters who didn't vote for Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial and Joe DiMaggio.

Whenever a serious threat for unanimous vote comes up, a couple of voters give some idiosyncratic reason for not voting. A common one used to be that they didn't want someone to get 100 percent of the vote because they didn't want the vote to be perceived as an endorsement of that player as the greatest ever.
   51. Daryn Posted: December 11, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2258090)
Have you ever heard of a single incident of a writer from the 50s, 60s or 70s saying anything remotely negative about Aaron or Mays?

No, I was just speculating. I would imagine if there were a handful of writers who left these two off their ballots due to race they wouldn't be too vocal about it.

I do know that there is/was a significant minority of the US population that is/was racist, and it seems unlikely that sportswriters are immune from that racism.
   52. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 11, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#2258196)
Sure. From Retrosheet.

Wow, they really catch everything! Look what I found in the game log....

Fifth inning, one on, two outs.

Dr. Chaleeko: Schilling's great, huh?

Blonde: Yeah, Schilling's my favorite.

1-0.

Dr. Chaleeko: He's got awesome control, I mean he just pounds the zone, you know? Gives up some taters, but never with anyone on.

Blonde: What?

1-1.

Dr. Chaleeko: Taters, they call homers that, you know, uh, in the bigs. I mean big leagues.

Blonde: What do you mean?

Chaleeko called for balk. Runner to second.

Dr. Chaleeko: Hey, um, do you, look I think I'm.... You want a nacho?

Blonde: Huh?

1-2

Dr. Chaleeko: A nacho, do you want one?

Blonde: I've got my own, dude.

Foul ball, left side. 1-2.

Dr. Chaleeko: I've got a few hots left if you want them, I see you've finished yours already.

Blonde: Cool, thanks!

2-2.

Blonde: There's two strikes, do you think Schilling will strike him out?

Dr. Chaleeko: Totally! He's got him right where he wants him.

Blonde: He did it, nice call!

3-2.

Dr. Chaleeko: I'm sure this isn't the only guy that'll strike out tonight.

Blonde: Me neither.

Dr. Chaleeko: ----

Strike three, Chaleeko caught looking.
   53. AndrewJ Posted: December 12, 2006 at 12:16 AM (#2258250)
Speaking of being at Phillies events, in 1998 I attended a Phils game where a triple play occured. I was so busy yucking it up with my pals and trying to woo an attractive blonde in our group that I missed it....

I was at a Phils game in 1995 where a) a player (Gregg Jeffries) hit for the cycle while b) the starting pitcher (Jeff Juden) hit a grand-slam home run. That's gotta be the only game in MLB with a GS homer by a pitcher and someone else hitting for the cycle...
   54. BDC Posted: December 12, 2006 at 01:07 AM (#2258300)
I kinda doubt that race was a factor in non-votes for Mays or Aaron. It's most likely residual crankiness from older writers about how these younger players just don't measure up. What did Aaron and Mays hit, lifetime? .305 and .302? And they belong in the same Hall as Al Simmons and Harry Heilmann? You must be joking.
   55. AndrewJ Posted: December 12, 2006 at 01:20 AM (#2258315)
Have you ever heard of a single incident of a writer from the 50s, 60s or 70s saying anything remotely negative about Aaron or Mays?

Around the time of Willie's 40th birthday in 1971, SF baseball reporter Glenn Dickey wrote a scathing column about Mays' malingering and surly attitude towards much of the press (Dickey reprinted the piece in his mid-70s book THE JOCK EMPIRE), which apparently caused a lot of Bay Area attention...
   56. DavidFoss Posted: December 12, 2006 at 01:41 AM (#2258329)
In 1979, Willie Mays was actually banned from baseball by Bowie Kuhn because he took a job as a greeter at a casino. Later, Mickey Mantle took a similar job and was similarly banned. It wasn't until 1985 that Peter Ueberroth reinstated the two.

This was after Mays' HOF induction, though.
   57. jimd Posted: December 12, 2006 at 02:14 AM (#2258352)
It's most likely residual crankiness from older writers about how these younger players just don't measure up.

I think it's a tradition. Ruth, Cobb, and Wagner weren't unanimous, and if they weren't, then who are these new guys that they should be. Maybe the BBWAA has a secret drawing; short straws take the heat for not voting the no-brainer.
   58. AndrewJ Posted: December 12, 2006 at 02:48 AM (#2258377)
In 1979, Willie Mays was actually banned from baseball by Bowie Kuhn because he took a job as a greeter at a casino. Later, Mickey Mantle took a similar job and was similarly banned. It wasn't until 1985 that Peter Ueberroth reinstated the two.

Willie and The Mick were banned from holding jobs in MLB (spring training coaches, etc.) while under the employ of casinos. They were never barred from showing up on Old Timers Days or anything like that; there was never a push to take down their HOF plaques.
   59. Rob_Wood Posted: December 13, 2006 at 08:00 AM (#2259794)
In ranking the all-time best pitchers, like many who have studied the issue extensively I have Clemens, WJohnson,
Grove, Young, and Alexander in the tip top tier. Alexander is almost assuredly fifth, but reasonable people can
disagree about the ranking of the top 4 (mine is given above).

Vying for top 10 honors are two other distinct groups. The Moderns (who along with Clemens form the greatest
quartet in history): RJohnson, PMartinez, and Maddux. The second group is an amalgam of pre-moderns:
Feller, Mathewson, Spahn, Seaver, and Nichols. Depending upon how you view the current era of pitching,
you'll probably interweave these two secondary groups in some manner.

According to this view, there is little doubt that Pete Alexander was the greatest National League pitcher ever.
Seaver, Maddux, Mathewson, and Spahn vie for 2nd greatest NL hurler. I'd vote for Maddux.
   60. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 16, 2006 at 10:13 PM (#2263336)
I get Seaver very, very high. I have him as the #6 pitcher eligible, behind only Johnson, Young, Alexander, Spahn and Grove.

That's with no WWII credit for Spahn, Grove gets some credit for 1922-24 or they'd be in a dead heat. Seaver edges even a very well war credited Feller, and he passed Mathewson in 1984. I was surprised at how well he pitched from 1983-86.

Giving Seaver full credit for 1981 helps him too, I have that as his 5th best season.

I get his career DRA+ at 127 (same as his ERA+) over 4805.7 translated IP. He was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher too.

I've got him as very similar to Spahn, check out this for top 5 seasons:

Spahn 9.6, 9.3, 8.1, 7.5, 7.5
Seaver 9.5, 9.4, 8.4, 7.7, 7.1
   61. Mongo Posted: December 17, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2263809)
I was at a Phils game in 1995 where a) a player (Gregg Jeffries) hit for the cycle while b) the starting pitcher (Jeff Juden) hit a grand-slam home run. That's gotta be the only game in MLB with a GS homer by a pitcher and someone else hitting for the cycle...


The most memorable game I saw in person was as a youngster during a vacation trip to Chicago, Cubs vs Expos. In the second or third inning, I got Gary Carter's (among others) signature on my scoresheet, but then later in the game he bunted for a single and took second on a throwing error... then took third on a second error on the play... then came home on a third error on the same play.

Despite the fact that this happened in Wrigley Field, the entire ballpark was on their feet cheering (or maybe screaming) by the time he crossed home plate.

Sadly, that scorecard (the only one Carter signed that day, as far as I know) went missing decades ago.

Bill
   62. sunnyday2 Posted: December 17, 2006 at 11:12 PM (#2263925)
Well, I saw Jack Kralick's no-hitter and I saw the Twins bomb Sandy Koufax in game 2 in 1965. And I saw Bill Campbell throw something like 23 strikes in 25 pitches one time, the most dominating pitching I ever saw. And I saw Tom Kelly win the platoon advantage more times than I can remember.
   63. BDC Posted: December 17, 2006 at 11:52 PM (#2263941)
You know, I've been to hundreds of baseball games without ever seeing anything of even mild historical interest. I have seen some great pitching matchups: Seaver vs. Carlton, Gooden vs. Carlton, Clemens vs. Ryan, all of which turned out to be terrific ballgames, but I can't say any of them included anything astounding.

The Seaver-Carlton game I saw, given that this is the Seaver thread, after all, was Opening Day 1974, a fabulous game that Mike Schmidt won with a home run off Tug McGraw. Seaver, unusually, struck out Tommy Hutton in that game. I hated Seaver warmly but he was the greatest pitcher I ever saw ...
   64. Chris Fluit Posted: December 18, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2263994)
I saw the game in which Randy Johnson set the record for the most strikeouts by a relief pitcher. The previous night's game had been canceled due to lightning. A bolt had struck a light tower at the end of the first inning so the game was postponed. The game was rescheduled the next day as part of a double-header. The decision was also made to include the first inning from the night before and start the game with the second. So Randy Johnson came in "in relief" and proceeded to throw 8 innings, striking out 17 for one of the greatest "relief" appearances of all-time. The San Diego batters were so helpless against Johnson that several of them, including Phil Nevin, literally fell on their butts after swinging and missing. That was a good game to be at (and it happened to be my birthday, too!).
   65. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 18, 2006 at 01:47 AM (#2263996)
I was at the game Rusty Staub set the pinch-hit record for most RBI in 1983 (the last game of the season, BTW, and it won the game).
   66. Cblau Posted: December 18, 2006 at 02:20 AM (#2264017)
Mongo,
That was this game: July 30, 1975. Third inning. The Retrosheet account is different than what you wrote, but the Chicago Tribune story confirms a second error by Pete LaCock.
   67. rawagman Posted: December 18, 2006 at 06:51 AM (#2264157)
I'll save my greatest game ever seen memoirs for when Nolan Ryan becomes eligible.
   68. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 18, 2006 at 03:06 PM (#2264211)
I'll save my greatest game ever seen memoirs for when Nolan Ryan becomes eligible.

Ooh, ooh, I hope it was the Robin Ventura noogie game!
   69. Mongo Posted: December 18, 2006 at 11:25 PM (#2264528)
Mongo,
That was this game: July 30, 1975. Third inning. The Retrosheet account is different than what you wrote, but the Chicago Tribune story confirms a second error by Pete LaCock.


Memory is a tricky thing -- this play happened over 30 years ago, and I was 12 years old at the time. I am sure that the Tribune account is more accurate than my memory (however vivid my memory of it is), the difference being in our respective scoring of the play. It is clear, though that the Retrosheet version is incorrect (Carter bunted to third? Wow, he was a lot faster than I remembered!). I am not knocking Project Retrosheet. I have great respect for what they are doing, it is probably the most important baseball research project going. However, it is carried out by humans, and a very few errors are inevitable.

Combining what you said about the Tribune account with my memory, I come up with the following sequence of events:

Bases empty, Carter drags a bunt down the third base line, trying for a hit.

Third baseman Matlock fields the ball and throws to first baseman LaCock.

LaCock fails to catch the ball, allowing Carter to advance to second. (error # 1)

Nobody is covering second base! (my error # 2 -- hey, I was 12 years old at the time) Carter rounds second looking at third.

LaCock finally throws to Matlock at third, Matlock fails to catch the ball. (my error # 3, Tribune's error # 2)

While Matlock chases down the ball, Carter rounds third and heads for home.

Matlock eventually picks up the ball and throws it home, too late and off target. Carter scores.

Bill
   70. Daryn Posted: December 18, 2006 at 11:37 PM (#2264539)
Mongo,

"Carter singled to third" just means he was credited with a single on a ball he hit towards the thirdbasman, as you described. Retrosheet just seems to be missing the Lacock error -- it just has him advancing three bases on a Madlock error. He must have been credited with two bases for the Madlock throwing error and one base for the Lacock throwing error.
   71. Daryn Posted: December 18, 2006 at 11:39 PM (#2264540)
I'll save my greatest game ever seen memoirs for when Nolan Ryan becomes eligible.

Ooh, ooh, I hope it was the Robin Ventura noogie game!


No, Ryan's from Toronto -- odds are it is the no-hitter that ended with Alomar flailing wildly at what appeared to be a 100 MPH fastball.
   72. BDC Posted: December 18, 2006 at 11:47 PM (#2264543)
odds are it is the no-hitter that ended with Alomar flailing wildly at what appeared to be a 100 MPH fastball

Except that game was in Arlington. I had made a note to go to that game, drove past the stadium on the way home from work as they were warming up, and completely forgot to go in. Didn't even listen to it on the radio.

I did listen to Kenny Rogers's perfect game on the radio ... till the fourth inning, when I figured Kenny could hold that lead, and turned it off and went to bed.
   73. JPWF13 Posted: December 19, 2006 at 12:31 AM (#2264560)
You know, I've been to hundreds of baseball games without ever seeing anything of even mild historical interest. I have seen some great pitching matchups


I was at the George Brett Pine Tar Game- but left early because our driver wanted to beat the crowd.
   74. Chris Fluit Posted: December 19, 2006 at 12:46 AM (#2264566)
I watched the David Cone perfect game on TV but I didn't realize he was throwing a perfect game until it was actually in the ninth and everybody was cheering like crazy because I was watching it in French (the Yankees were playing the Expos).
   75. Mark Donelson Posted: December 19, 2006 at 12:59 AM (#2264575)
I've been pretty lucky, having attended both the Buckner game and Dwight Gooden's no-hitter for the Yanks. Game 5 of the '01 ALDS was fun, too, though nothing particularly historic happened in that one.

There's nothing quite like being at a no-hitter, I have to say.
   76. yest Posted: December 19, 2006 at 01:49 AM (#2264609)
I was at game 4 of the 2001 WS (I also predicted 3 times to those sitting next to me that the player up would hit a HR. Tino in the 9th, Brosius in the 9th, and Jeter in the 10th)

2 out of 3 aint bad (Brosius hit a bomb foul in to the left field stands)
   77. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: December 19, 2006 at 10:51 AM (#2264855)
Bob Dernier - I have a very similar story for the Wells perfecto vs. the Twins.

Was in Hoboken boozing with friends Saturday night. Decided to go to the game Sunday (I was living in Chatham, NJ at the time), I was there Tuesday night, when Wells retired the last 15(?) Royals. We also went that Saturday, which is where the boozing started.

Then as I was leaving I figured I was kind of tired, and I really shouldn't piss away any more money. So I went home and watched it on TV.

I'm still kicking myself about it.
   78. JPWF13 Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:29 PM (#2265098)
I watched the David Cone perfect game on TV


I saw the first 4 innings of that game- was bored and changed the channel- I was aware he hadn't given up a hit yet- but it NEVER ocuured to me that at that point in his career, with eth stuff he had left- that he;d get a no-hitter.

I also saw Dwight Gooden's no hitter with the Mets on TV- only it technically wasn't a no-hitter because Ray Knight's obvious error was ruled a hit.

It was around the 5/6 inning- perfect game in progress- he was mowing down everyone- I don't think more than 1 ball was hit out of the infield. What I remember was a slow grounder (don't remmeber who was batting) to third- and the camera followed the ball- agonizingly slow- and I started talking to teh TV- "knght, come on, WTF" finally teh camera panned up as it seemed like the ball couldn't roll any slower- Knight was not only not charging the ball- he hadn't moved an inch- he was staring at the gdam ball- one slow hop, two slow hops- it finally REACHED him (he never moved- I swear)

Finally he seem to wake up- he snatched up the ball- began to throw and stopped- it was futile the batter was already at first- Knight looked bewildered- he had obviously zoned out.

Basehit, said one of the announcers- bullshit I yelled at the TV- the official scorer said hit- and that was it- only hit in the game- none of the Met announcers said a word, none said, gee maybe if Knight had charged the ball- gee maybe if Knight had WALKED forward to meet the ball half way-

I read Newday the next day- nothing, just that Gooden had a great game and that the only hit was an infield single- no one questioned Knight. It was bizarre, really bizarre, was I seeing things? Remembering things wrong? Years later I was at a party in Law School, talking baseball- Gooden came up- I mentioned Gooden's one hitter years earlier- and before I mentioned Knight- someone else butted in- "Can't believ they didn't give Knight an error"- then someone else- "he just stood there staring at the GDamn ball".

I wasn't crazy afterall- but why did the announcers and sportwriters deliberately ignore Knight's role in costing Gooden a no-hitter?

Because the mid 80s mediots loved Knight theysaw him as a ballplayer's ballplayer, that's why. If HoJo had played that day and failed to make that play (this was 85 or 86)- they would have crucified him and driven him out of town.
   79. JPWF13 Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2265116)
Beating a of dead horse, from baseball library.com:

? September 7, 1984: Dwight Gooden pitches a one-hitter and strikes out 11 in a 10?0 rout of the Cubs. The only hit is Keith Moreland's slow roller in the 5th inning, which 3B Ray Knight fields but can't get out of his glove. Gooden's 11 strikeouts give him 236 for the season, breaking the National League rookie record set by Grover Alexander in 1911. For Gooden, he will win another nine straight over the Cubs, lose, then win 12 straight.
   80. Dizzypaco Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:47 PM (#2265117)
If HoJo had played that day and failed to make that play (this was 85 or 86)- they would have crucified him and driven him out of town.

It was September, 1984, against the Cubs. HoJo wasn't on the team.
   81. Dizzypaco Posted: December 19, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#2265120)
By the way, Ray Knight wasn't particularly loved by the New York media until 1986 - I don't even think he was particulary liked. I really doubt it was ruled as a hit because of Knight. In general, when a player fails to record an out on a slow roller to third, they don't charge an error.
   82. Howie Menckel Posted: December 19, 2006 at 07:34 PM (#2265148)
Right, I can't ever remember a play of the type you describe being called an error. The bizarre part would havve been if he HAD been charged with one.
I can't tell if you are serious about some sort of "media plot." I will assume you are not serious.
   83. JPWF13 Posted: December 19, 2006 at 07:50 PM (#2265158)
I can't tell if you are serious about some sort of "media plot." I will assume you are not serious.


I'm giving my mental impressions and memory
Apparently this game show up in other blogs too- but others' memories differ from mine
- some insist Kinight bobbled the ball (he didn't)
- some insist his throw was late (he never threw)

My memory told me the game was in 1985 or 86- but the record sez it was late 1984- his rookie season- so you are all right HoJo couldn't have played that game.

With respect to this type of play never being called an error- I've never seen quite this play at the MLB level period- you have to watch it to understand- Knight simply froze (to use one of David Cone's saying for doing something mindlessly boneheaded- he vaporlocked)
Moreland was not a fast runner- it was an easy play- he did not have to charge the ball, grab it one handed and make an off balance throw- he could easily have come forward 4 or 5 steps- gloved the ball, set and throw. At best Knight misjudged how hard the ball was hit- thought it would reached him a lot more quickly than it did- but still...

Also some blogs report that Maury Allen was the official scorer- he was questioned about the play- by John McEnroe (when Allen was supposed to interview McEnroe)- allegedly Allen admitted that Knight should have made the play easily- BUT since he didn't actually make an "error"- drop, bobble or throw the ball away- it couldn't be an "error". [Which if true- it's certainly believable that scorers score games that way- it shows the uselessness of errors as defensive stats).
   84. JPWF13 Posted: December 19, 2006 at 07:53 PM (#2265160)
I can't tell if you are serious about some sort of "media plot." I will assume you are not serious.


Not a "plot" per se- but I'm sure you've noticed the tendency of newspaper writers to omit mention of egreious umpiring calls in the next days' papers? {Whereas they are more than willing to jump all over refs in Basketball and football..) Unless a blown umping call leads to mayhem and ejections (or involves a home run- or a game 7 deciding game)- there's usually nothing. Nwspaper columnists are starting to mention umpiring more now- but in the 80s? Except for the Pine Tar Game and the Royals/Cards World Series- nothing
   85. yest Posted: December 19, 2006 at 11:56 PM (#2265321)
[Which if true- it's certainly believable that scorers score games that way- it shows the uselessness of errors as defensive stats).

this would also effect the offensive stats to lesser degree (due to being spread around) because the player who got a hit on this should have got a reached base on error
   86. ronw Posted: December 20, 2006 at 02:15 AM (#2265408)
I can't tell if you are serious about some sort of "media plot."

That's because as a member of the media, you're in on it, Howie. Nice use of quotes to divert us from the truth.

Also, as a media conspirator, I'm pretty sure you know someone who was on the grassy knoll in Dallas.

It's time you acquired a noble profession, like Daryn, andrew siegel, Jeff M, and I have. Oh wait, we're lawyers. Never mind.
   87. Cblau Posted: December 20, 2006 at 03:51 AM (#2265461)
The rule book clearly states that if a batter reaches base due to slow fielding rather than a misplay, it is to be scored a hit.
Rule 10.13
   88. JPWF13 Posted: December 20, 2006 at 04:16 AM (#2265478)
NOTE (1) Slow handling of the ball which does not involve mechanical misplay shall not be construed as an error.


It was a bit more than "slow handling" - more like complete failure to handle.
   89. JPWF13 Posted: December 20, 2006 at 04:21 AM (#2265484)
OK, I'll concede this argument on a technicality- ie: a really stupid rule- but I still maintain the play that Knight didn't make was one that shoudl have been made BY KNIGHT (not Brooks Robinson or Scott Rolen) using ordinary effort- and was therefore an error no matter what the rule book says.
   90. Paul Wendt Posted: December 21, 2006 at 03:21 AM (#2266138)
The case against Maddux is based on the value of his peak seasons. Since he wasn't pitching as many innings as Seaver in his best years, were they as valuable?

A fair point, although it bears against Seaver in favor of Alexander.

Maddux did lead the league in innings five years running, with second in 1990 and 1996 as bookends. Baseball-reference says that he won both the Cy Young Award and TSN Pitcher of the Year fouryears running, which must be some kind of mistake.

I am shocked to see that he led the league in starts so recently as 2005. (So I haven't been paying attention, I admit it.) I wonder whether people will someday call 2003-2006-? "hanging on".

--
When the Red Sox acquired Seaver in 1986, I anticipated that he would beat the Mets in the World Series. I called it!

If Schiraldi and Seaver are available, Schiraldi gets the call, . . .
but after Seaver's win in Game Four, it might not go back to NewYork
   91. Howie Menckel Posted: December 21, 2006 at 03:39 PM (#2266330)
It took a little digging, but two versions.
I hope this puts your mind at ease...

AP
Gooden, in pitching his second shutout, did not allow a hit until Keith Moreland beat out an infield single to lead off the fifth inning. Moreland hit a slow bouncer down the line to third baseman Ray Knight, who fielded the ball cleanly but didn't make a throw.

NY TIMES (Murray Chass)
The hit came at the start of the fifth inning when Moreland sent a 1-2 curveball slowly toward third. ''I was playing back and off the line,'' Ray Knight, the third baseman, explained. ''Nobody had been pulling Doc, and Moreland goes the other way and he doesn't run well. I came in at such a sharp angle, I had to catch the ball and throw it all at once. But I never got the ball out of my hand. My momentum was carrying me toward their dugout and there was no way I could throw the ball. I didn't even realize that was their first hit. I was concentrating so hard.''
   92. JPWF13 Posted: December 21, 2006 at 09:46 PM (#2266659)
I came in at such a sharp angle, I had to catch the ball and throw it all at once. But I never got the ball out of my hand. My momentum was carrying me toward their dugout and there was no way I could throw the ball. I didn't even realize that was their first hit. I was concentrating so hard.'


There was no momentum, he wasn't moving, he didn't come in- maybe one step at the end.
   93. Howie Menckel Posted: December 21, 2006 at 10:07 PM (#2266682)
JPFW, no offense, but you don't remember who hit it, you had the year wrong, you now concede that it's not a rule-book error, yet you wanted it to be an error "no matter what the rule book says" - and now we're supposed to believe that Knight was lying and that the people in the press box covered for him because.....

There are a lot of places on the 'net where people can just tell stories for entertainment value, and that's fine. But this site tends to be more literal, as you can now see.
   94. Sam M. Posted: December 21, 2006 at 10:38 PM (#2266708)
Just to put my two cents worth in: I remember the play (I even remember when it happened!) quite well. And I remember distinctly my thought at the time: #### Knight, a reasonable facsimile of a third baseman makes that damn play, but they never call that an error. There goes the phenom's bid . . . .

The only thing I do recall briefly wondering was whether the old "the first hit should be clean" effect might come into play, but it was so clear to me that this was a prototypical "H" that even that wasn't going to swing it Doc's way. It was exactly the kind of defense we think of as the kind we expect a GOOD defensive player to make; indeed, the kind that almost defines the plays that are NOT errors, but which separate out the bad from the good defensive players even though they don't show up in traditional defensive stats. The fact that we now have stats that show who is, and who isn't, making those plays is one reason why defensive analysis is light years better than it was in 1984.
   95. JPWF13 Posted: December 21, 2006 at 11:11 PM (#2266734)
and now we're supposed to believe that Knight was lying and that the people in the press box covered for him because.....


because you should believe me in all things....

ok my serious response?
I couldn't care less whether you feel that telling stories for the sake of entertainment value should be banned from this site or not.
I freely admitted that I dind't remember the exact date, hitter etc. What I absolutely remember was Knight freezing, staring at the ball, waking up at the last minute, start to get into throwing position, pulling his hand out of his glove and stopping- with a look of confusion on his face as he looked towards first. I don't believe Knight was lying, he remembers attempting to make the play- as he should have tried to make it- as maybe he was making it in his mind when he froze- the look of confusion I clearly remember on his face could be his confusion at wondering how on earth Moreland had reached first already.

How's that for an entertaining story?
   96. bunyon Posted: December 21, 2006 at 11:43 PM (#2266752)
I am shocked to see that he led the league in starts so recently as 2005. (So I haven't been paying attention, I admit it.) I wonder whether people will someday call 2003-2006-? "hanging on".

Is this serious? In those years he had an ERA+ of 107 with an average IP/season of 216.5. He made 138 starts in those four seasons. If he hadn't been a candidate for best pitcher ever*, you'd be calling that great production. Hanging on, indeed.


* He isn't, but in that discussion, he comes up.
   97. JPWF13 Posted: December 21, 2006 at 11:59 PM (#2266761)
Is this serious? In those years he had an ERA+ of 107 with an average IP/season of 216.5. He made 138 starts in those four seasons. If he hadn't been a candidate for best pitcher ever*, you'd be calling that great production. Hanging on, indeed.


What's funny is a few years ago someone called Suppan a poor man's Greg Maddux*- Suppan's peak looks eerily like Maddux's "hanging on" period.

* Before Suppan, Dave Mlicki had that title
   98. Howie Menckel Posted: December 22, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2267213)
Well, the Gooden story was entertaining, alright. As long as you don't mind getting challenges that you wouldn't receive elsewhere, it's all good!
   99. TomH Posted: December 22, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2267294)
I know, we're getting further off topic, but while we're on Ray Knight....

He gets the 86 Series MVP award (drove in 5 runs, not great, but he banged a crucial game 7 HR, and they had to give it to somebody), but really he was in a position to be a Merkle-type goat (or at least on par with little Giambi and Tejeda and Lonnie Smith) for a baserunning laziness play.

We all have seen the famous game 6-ending Buckner error, where Knight scores the winning run. If you ever get to see a camera shot that shows Knight from the beginning, he was clearly JOGGING to third on the slow roller, and only picked up steam when Billy missed it. What if Buckner had tipped the ball a little, Knight had tried to score, and was tossed out at home? There was no reason not to be running full steam on that play. Sloppy and lazy, but he was a hero instead of a villain.
   100. TomH Posted: December 22, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#2267295)
oh, and Knight earlier had booted a ball, leading to an unearned run that caused the game to go into extra innings
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