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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Wade Boggs

Eligible in 2005.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 08, 2007 at 07:35 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 08, 2007 at 07:40 PM (#2516762)
I can't see how the Chicken Man is not a unanimous selection in '05, since he clearly had the best combination of peak, prime and career of any candidate in the next election. Is there anybody out there picking somebody over him?
   2. OCF Posted: September 08, 2007 at 11:06 PM (#2516890)
Item: because of his relatively poor (non-SB) baserunning, his offensive value is less than that suggested by his OPS+ or other similar measures.

That should lower him from #1 to #1.
   3. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 08, 2007 at 11:49 PM (#2516923)
That should lower him from #1 to #1.


Exactly. Whatever minuses you can attach to his name, they will only make a small dent on him.

You can also make the argument that Boggs is the greatest AL third baseman, since Brett played a lot of 1B/DH.
   4. TomH Posted: September 09, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2517022)
well, you could, but then you could argue that Aaron is the greaest RFer, since Ruth played a lot of LF :)
   5. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2007 at 01:08 AM (#2517032)
I didn't say it was a great argument, Tom. :-)

But he most likely did have the most value ever for an AL third baseman.
   6. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: September 09, 2007 at 02:31 AM (#2517081)
Well, for now.
   7. yest Posted: September 09, 2007 at 03:04 AM (#2517093)
<iItem: because of his relatively poor (non-SB) baserunning, his offensive value is less than that suggested by his OPS+ or other similar measures.

That should lower him from #1 to #1.<i>

I think if early Boggs would have had early Gwynn's running abilty he would have been in the running for greatest player ever

(remember he missed many singles by a step or two)
   8. Chris Cobb Posted: September 09, 2007 at 03:25 AM (#2517103)
I have Boggs at about #55 all time among players eligible for the HoM in 2005. He's the #4 thirdbaseman, a little bit behind George Brett, a little more behind Eddie Matthews, and a lot behind Mike Schmidt.

As to additional footspeed: if it was enough to get him to the majors four years earlier and enabled him to play centerfield and steal bases, then, yeah, he could have been a lot like Ty Cobb. But I think that would have taken more footspeed than Tony Gwynn had, even early in his career.
   9. ronw Posted: September 09, 2007 at 06:41 AM (#2517159)
OK, I shall be the first to say:

LORD PALMERSTON!
   10. DCW3 Posted: September 09, 2007 at 06:48 AM (#2517162)
PITT THE ELDER!!!
   11. ronw Posted: September 09, 2007 at 06:50 AM (#2517163)
LORD PALMERSTON!!!

That's it, Boggs, you asked for it! (punch)
   12. ronw Posted: September 09, 2007 at 07:12 AM (#2517172)
   13. sunnyday2 Posted: September 09, 2007 at 12:55 PM (#2517207)
>(remember he missed many singles by a step or two)

A step or two at 1B is the equivalent of, oh, a country mile.

And can we quantify this, please?

And how many more singles would it have taken for Wade Boggs to be the greatest player ever? Is 500 too many? Maybe a thousand?
   14. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2007 at 01:06 PM (#2517210)
I do remember Boggs trying to increase his speed by taking special instruction for his problem during the late Eighties and early Nineties, so it must have bothered him quite a bit.
   15. yest Posted: September 09, 2007 at 02:54 PM (#2517244)
And how many more singles would it have taken for Wade Boggs to be the greatest player ever? Is 500 too many? Maybe a thousand?

give him 500 more singles for his career and he hits 382/460/497
give him 1000 more singles for his career and he hits 437/507/552


1. he could have streched more singles into doubles and doubles into triples
2. his times on base would have had much more value
3. he might might have made the majors early
   16. GregD Posted: September 09, 2007 at 03:20 PM (#2517266)
Boggs could have had Carl Lewis' running ability and not been in sniffing distance of Babe Ruth. How many singles did Boggs really lose because of his speed? Truly? I'd think 10 would be generous. You're talking about what? Hard-hit balls to third or deep short that the fielder knocks down, then spins to throw him out. How many of those does a player hit? Four or five a month? How many of those are so close that a 10% increase in footspeed would make the difference? I don't know the answer but I'd bet it's much closer to 10 over the course of a career than 500.

Boggs' speed probably cost him some doubles and some stolen bases and some runs scored, but even a player like Rickey Henderson gets his singles the old-fashioned way, by hitting the ball to the outfield.
   17. sunnyday2 Posted: September 09, 2007 at 03:26 PM (#2517270)
With 500 more singles his OPS (taking yest's numbers at face value) is 957.

With 1000, its 1059.

Babe Ruth 1164
Ted Williams 1116
Lou Gehrig 1079

Give Wade Boggs 1000 singles and of course some people would look at a .437 BA and say, yeah, greatest ever. If you happen to like OPS, nah. All of which of course begs the question GregD addresses which is how reasonable it is to think in terms of 1000 singles--what sort of superhuman skill are we talking about here?

My point was just to say that even with 1000 singles Boggs still wouldn't be the best ever. But if pigs could fly just think of the potential there.
   18. Paul Wendt Posted: September 09, 2007 at 03:29 PM (#2517272)
I do remember reading Bill James say that Boggs was exceptionally quick out of the box and fast enough to first base, only a slow runner on the bases. Maybe in the 1988 BJ Abstract, debating whether Boggs was the best player in baseball.

Even if BJ was blowing hot air, I can't believe that the speed of Hans Lobert (faster than Cobb and a third baseman) would generate 500 singles for his career. Even in the 1990s, presumably at his slowest, 50 singles in a season seems too many to me.
   19. Guapo Posted: September 09, 2007 at 04:15 PM (#2517297)
Of course, it won't affect his HOM status at all, but if you're debating Boggs' status among the all-time greats, you have to discuss minor league credit. He spent two full years at AA and two full years at AAA, then another half year in 1982 riding the Red Sox bench, before they decided to give him a full-time job at age 25, whereupon he promptly hit .361 with a .930 OPS. I think he was probably ready for the bigs a little before that.
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 09, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2517304)
I think he was probably ready for the bigs a little before that.


Wasn't he a victim of park effects?
   21. Repoz Posted: September 09, 2007 at 04:42 PM (#2517311)
I think he was probably ready for the bigs a little before that

Yeah...Ralph Houk strikes again!

and puts him in the 5-6 hole mostly.
   22. DavidFoss Posted: September 09, 2007 at 06:24 PM (#2517429)
Wasn't he a victim of park effects?

Maybe, but he still consistently hit over .300 in both AA and AAA and perennially led his teams in batting average. Could have been the lack of power and other "tools" (speed/glove)...

Hard to put myself in early-80s-GM think. Any Sox fans remember following Bristol and Pawtucket from 1978-81?
   23. OCF Posted: September 09, 2007 at 06:39 PM (#2517482)
I see the speculation yest started as pointless: his home-to-first speed is a part of who he was as a hitter, and that's the part we already have well-measured. My comment in #2 was directed to his baserunning after he got on base, and it's not just speed - it's also instincts and boldness. He did score plenty of runs, of course, but the number of runs is not all that impressive for the number of times he was on base and the lineups he was in. So I nudge him down a little (keeping him clearly behind Brett for me), while I give upward nudges to the likes of Paul Molitor and (eventually) Tim Raines. (The example I've presented several times: Boggs and Raines had the same number of outs in their careers and the same number of R+RBI, despite Boggs's superiority in batting statistics.)
   24. thok Posted: September 09, 2007 at 08:11 PM (#2517682)
@Sunnyday's 17: Of course, OPS undervalues on base percentage, and Boggs+1000 singles would have the most OBP heavy stat line of those 4. He's clearly better than Gehrig even before doing positional adjustments, IMHO. Ruth and Williams both have him beat though (the 100 or more points of slugging makes up for the 20-30 points of OBP, and Ruth also has the pitching career).
   25. David Concepcion de la Desviacion Estandar (Dan R) Posted: September 09, 2007 at 08:25 PM (#2517708)
EqBR has Boggs at 19.5 non-SB baserunning runs below average for his career, and Raines at +45.2, so a six-win gap between them for non-SB baserunning overall.
   26. Loren F. Posted: September 09, 2007 at 10:22 PM (#2517805)
If Boggs had the foot speed of The Flash, he could also spin himself so fast that he'd lower the air pressure in ballparks, making it easier for many of his fly balls to become home runs. Oh, and he'd be able to circle the earth in like a minute.

On a serious note, I thought Boggs's minor-league career had been discussed elsewhere, and people thought it would be fair to give him 1-2 seasons of MLE credit.
   27. Guapo Posted: September 09, 2007 at 11:09 PM (#2517827)
Conveniently, Bill James has Boggs' MLEs for 1980 and 1981 in the 1985 Abstract (in the article in which he introduces MLEs).

Not so conveniently, I don't know how to make statistical lines line up when I post. Maybe someone can fix this for me.

1980- Pawtucket
G- 129
AB- 423
R- 54
H- 133
2b- 22
3b- 0
HR- 1
RBI- 48
BB- 66
SO- 26
Avg.- .314

1981- Pawtucket
G- 137
AB- 504
R- 71
H- 173
2B- 42
3B- 3
HR- 5
RBI- 63
BB- 91
SO- 42
Avg.- .343

He notes that "When you expand Boggs' offense to a 9-run-a-game context, and then adjust for the fact that he is to play in Fenway Park. . .Boggs projects to do better in the majors than he did in the minors, as in fact he has."
   28. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 10, 2007 at 12:59 AM (#2517905)
If Boggs had the foot speed of The Flash, he could also spin himself so fast that he'd lower the air pressure in ballparks, making it easier for many of his fly balls to become home runs. Oh, and he'd be able to circle the earth in like a minute.


True, but do you realize how much chicken he would have to consume to make up for all of those lost calories?
   29. plim Posted: September 10, 2007 at 01:20 PM (#2518090)
you know, growing up and watching wade boggs play, i was convinced that he took the first two pitches for strikes and then started his at bat. as a kid, it used to infuriate me, until i realized that he would end up with a single, double, or walk just about every time. boggs first introduced me to the phrase "2 strike hitter" which, to this day, hasn't really been repeated (at least for me), for any other hitter.

now of course, i look at his career split with 2 strikes and i'm sad to see that he was "only" a .261/.338/.335 hitter with 2 strikes. i say "only" because i don't know what league average is for 2 strikes (maybe it's .200/.250/.300)

was i duped by sean mcdonnough and bob montgomery all those years? =)
   30. GregD Posted: September 10, 2007 at 02:28 PM (#2518170)
Bob Montgomery was the first serious adult man I ever met who wore open-toed sandals in public. This was 94-95; I taught his daughter. I guess he was ahead of the times. Before then, it looked to me like only college kids and derelicts though a grown man could wear sandals to public events. Bob M broke that barrier for me, and I've always been grateful.
   31. DL from MN Posted: September 10, 2007 at 03:07 PM (#2518204)
No Morganna references yet?

I'm really interested in the MLE's, not for the ballot but for placement in my all-time list.
   32. TomH Posted: September 10, 2007 at 03:32 PM (#2518229)
I know we're into real hyptheticals here, but I'll chime in .....

With 1000 more singles his OPS (taking yest's numbers at face value) is 1059.
Babe Ruth 1164
Ted Williams 1116
Lou Gehrig 1079
Give Wade Boggs 1000 singles and of course some people would look at a .437 BA and say, yeah, greatest ever. If you happen to like OPS, nah.
My point was just to say that even with 1000 singles Boggs still wouldn't be the best ever


Give Boggs 1000 singles and his lifetime OPS+ is 184. Higher than some guy namd Bonds. Still below Ruth and Teddy, but if you weight the OBA portion higher than the SLG, you coud argue he would have been the best offensive machine ever, and of course a 3Bman has more defensive value than a corner OFer. So yes, I'd say super-1000-extra-singles-Wade would be my #1 player. I mean, having 4 years in a row hitting bewteen .450 and .500 with 100 walks a year is, um, kinda ridikalus.

But having said all of that, his poor baserunning levaes him CLEARLY behind the top 3 third sackers in my book.
   33. DCW3 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:38 AM (#2519515)
boggs first introduced me to the phrase "2 strike hitter" which, to this day, hasn't really been repeated (at least for me), for any other hitter.

That label gets applied to Eckstein fairly often.
   34. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 11, 2007 at 11:02 AM (#2519532)
No Morganna references yet?


Don't you mean Margo, DL?
   35. DL from MN Posted: September 11, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2519682)
Yep, drawing from memory instead of Wiki will lead to those mixups.
   36. Mike Green Posted: September 11, 2007 at 04:29 PM (#2519839)
If Margo's middle name was Ann, you'd have the anagram anyways...The Doors' version of Willie Dixon's "Back Door Man" always comes to mind with Boggs for the lyric, "I eat more chicken than any man ever seen".

In the days before pbp stats were widely available, I remember that Boggs had a year where he apparently did not pop up once. Playing in Fenway helped with that, of course.
   37. yest Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:32 PM (#2520172)
In the days before pbp stats were widely available, I remember that Boggs had a year where he apparently did not pop up once. Playing in Fenway helped with that, of course.
I seem to remember them discusing his pop up stats on cheers once
   38. JPWF13 Posted: September 11, 2007 at 07:38 PM (#2520180)
He notes that "When you expand Boggs' offense to a 9-run-a-game context, and then adjust for the fact that he is to play in Fenway Park. . .Boggs projects to do better in the majors than he did in the minors, as in fact he has."


That's become fairly common after 1993/94- in the MLB today you have a 10 run environment (or more) in many parks, whereas many minor leaguers are playing in an 8 run environment.
   39. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 11, 2007 at 08:38 PM (#2520274)
Two quick notes:

I do remember reading Bill James say that Boggs was exceptionally quick out of the box and fast enough to first base, only a slow runner on the bases. Maybe in the 1988 BJ Abstract, debating whether Boggs was the best player in baseball.

I remember seeing this more than once, and not in the BJ Abstract. He was supposedly the fastest player to first in the AL since his stroke took him in that directoin to begin with.

Second, my first-ever exposure to a SABR publication was way back in the late 1980s. I was in a mall bookstore and I picked up a magazine-like item whose name I don't recall, but which in retrospect had to have been the BRJ or something of the sort. In it was an article titled something like Wade Boggs' Hidden .400 Season, which reported that Boggs had batted .400 over a 162-game stretch from like June to June of two years, probably 1986-1987 or 1987-1988. Don't remember which. Actually, looking at bb-ref, it musta been June 1985 through May 1986. Wow, here's the monthlies: .376, .388, .398, .394, .306, .471. Hmmm, simple average of .389, so maybe not. Another possibility is August 1986-July 1987: .353, .398, .275, .388, .485, .324... that's .370. Anyway, it was in the article, but I don't exactly remember which years it was.

I didn't see another SABR pub until 15 years later.
   40. Slapinions Posted: September 13, 2007 at 01:55 PM (#2522898)
Just because I was bored at work I tried looking up the article Eric mentioned above. It's possible it was 'Wade Boggs Hidden .400 Season' by Chaz Scoggins, published in the Baseball Research Journal in 1991.
   41. DavidFoss Posted: September 13, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2522929)
That's become fairly common after 1993/94- in the MLB today you have a 10 run environment (or more) in many parks, whereas many minor leaguers are playing in an 8 run environment.

A major exception is the PCL. I'm so happy my team moved its AAA-affiliate from the PCL to the IL.
   42. Paul Wendt Posted: September 13, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2523049)
30. GregD Posted: September 10, 2007 at 10:28 AM (#2518170)
Bob Montgomery was the first serious adult man I ever met who wore open-toed sandals in public. This was 94-95; I taught his daughter. I guess he was ahead of the times. Before then, it looked to me like only college kids and derelicts though a grown man could wear sandals to public events. Bob M broke that barrier for me, and I've always been grateful.

He dressed up as guest speaker for the SABR Boston chapter meeting November 2005. Not a dinner event or venue: morning and afternoon at a Friends Meeting House, Bob M arriving for his address only.


36. Mike Green
In the days before pbp stats were widely available, I remember that Boggs had a year where he apparently did not pop up once. Playing in Fenway helped with that, of course.

Chuck Waseleski, the Maniacal One, maybe got his start with Boggs as a batter, classifying every pitch. IIRC it was Peter Gammons in the 1980s who first included tidbits from Waseleski in his weekly Baseball Notes column.
Google "Chuck Waseleski" and find more than you need.


40. Slapinions Posted: September 13, 2007 at 09:55 AM (#2522898)
Just because I was bored at work I tried looking up the article Eric mentioned above. It's possible it was 'Wade Boggs Hidden .400 Season' by Chaz Scoggins, published in the Baseball Research Journal in 1991.

You shouldn't apologize for that here, maybe somewhere else.

Chaz Scoggins also addressed the Boston chapter in the last two years. He dressed casually and stayed for the event. A local SABR member who does not otherwise attend chapter meetings, he probably received no honorarium. For perhaps 30 years he has covered baseball for the Lowell Sun(?) and served as official scorer at Fenway Park, and he is one past president of the BBWAA.
   43. DCA Posted: September 14, 2007 at 02:56 PM (#2524054)
In the days before pbp stats were widely available, I remember that Boggs had a year where he apparently did not pop up once. Playing in Fenway helped with that, of course.

I seem to remember that being in Rod Carew's hitting book, which my dad gave me while I was little league. I think Carew said he made it into September before he popped up ... so maybe it was a "hidden" no-pop-up season.
   44. John DiFool2 Posted: September 16, 2007 at 03:34 PM (#2527011)
boggs first introduced me to the phrase "2 strike hitter" which, to this day, hasn't really been repeated (at least for me), for any other hitter.


Pedroia is hitting .261 with 2 strikes this year.
   45. Cblau Posted: September 30, 2007 at 02:42 AM (#2550716)
Career ERA+ of 121, which is a little low for the HOM, given his low innings total.
   46. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 30, 2007 at 05:29 PM (#2551199)
Answer: Delino Deshields and Todd Greene

Question: Who did Wade Boggs strike out?
   47. OCF Posted: September 30, 2007 at 05:39 PM (#2551246)
He threw a knuckleball, right?

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