Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Hall of Merit > Discussion
Hall of Merit
— A Look at Baseball's All-Time Best

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Willie McCovey

Eligible in 1986.

John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 06:07 PM | 155 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Related News:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
   1. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2179551)
It's not a stretch to say he's a future HoMer.

(crowd groans) :-)
   2. Daryn Posted: September 17, 2006 at 06:16 PM (#2179562)
But will he be the only Big Mac we elect?
   3. rawagman Posted: September 17, 2006 at 06:36 PM (#2179594)
Who'd you have in mind, Daryn?
   4. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:07 PM (#2179641)
Officer Big Mac? When is he eligible?
   5. rawagman Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2179650)
John - I guess McCovey is the only one worthy of a thread this 'year'?
   6. Guapo Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2179652)
   7. rawagman Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:14 PM (#2179655)
spoke too soon
   8. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:29 PM (#2179680)
spoke too soon

Yes, you did.

I was wondering if someone was going to point that out while I was eating my lunch. :-)
   9. sunnyday2 Posted: September 17, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2179739)
I'm still not sure McCovey isn't the only one "worthy" of his own thread.

In present company, a possible #1 ;-)
   10. rawagman Posted: September 17, 2006 at 08:09 PM (#2179763)
I was looking at his closest comps on baseball-reference, as I like doing.
In his prime years, he comped very closely to Fred McGriff (he was pretty good).
He got older and no one could really compare to him. He was highly effective (career OPS+ 148) in 9686 PA's.
Below average glove and ink totals which were only "very good" keep him away from inner circle.
I'd eyeball him as a shade above Harmon Killebrew.
   11. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 17, 2006 at 09:08 PM (#2179823)
McCovey was really slow, though, I recently read that his knees were arthritic by his mid 30s.
   12. Daryn Posted: September 17, 2006 at 09:25 PM (#2179842)
ryan,

Mcgwire in a few years. I'll be voting for him. I don't think many others will.
   13. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 17, 2006 at 09:43 PM (#2179864)
In my mind, McGriff, McCovey, Killebrew, and McGwire are pretty much all the same guy. Tall, slow, and very, very powerful firstbasemen. McGriff and McCovey get the gracefulness points, but Killebrew and McGwire get the big forearms points.

However, I suspect that in terms of value patterns, McGriff and Killebrew fall into a pairing as do McCovey and McGwire. FM and HK both had long careers, didn't miss too much time, and put together a bunch of good seasons, few of which really stand out from one another (in fairness to HK, he had better seasons in general, though there's a little DH bias in the early and later portions of McGriff's career). Meanwhile McCovey and McGwire both seem to have had troubles with injuries and (relative) ineffectiveness during long portions of their careers. But they both have soaring peaks.

You might wonder about three other guys: Murray, Palmeiro, and Perez. I don't think Murray was as slow as these guys and his effective career seems a little bit longer. Palmeiro was more athletic than any of this group and probably a much better fielder than any. He also had speed during much of his career. Perez, however, confuses me a bit. He doesn't have the extended run of real peak/prime seasons, but his peak's a little nicer than McGriff's. Plus he was supposedly a decent third baseman (moved because they needed to put Rose somewhere not due to inability, though I'm not looking at any numbers to back that up). He's probably the bridge between McGriff and the other three, but I'm not quite sure.

Anyway, just noodling.
   14. vortex of dissipation Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:01 PM (#2179874)
Perez, however, confuses me a bit. He doesn't have the extended run of real peak/prime seasons, but his peak's a little nicer than McGriff's. Plus he was supposedly a decent third baseman (moved because they needed to put Rose somewhere not due to inability, though I'm not looking at any numbers to back that up).

Perez moved back to 1b in 1972, after the Reds traded Lee May to Houston in the Joe Morgan deal. Denis Menke also came over from Houston, and when Perez went to first, Menke took over at third. Rose didn't move to third until part-way into the 1975 season, replacing John Vukovich, and opening up a spot for George Foster in left.

Perez was the Reds' regular third baseman from 1967 to 1971, with May at first all of those years except 1967, when Deron Johnson played first. In 1971, May played 143 games at first, and Perez 44; Perez played 148 games at third and Woody Woodward 63. This suggests to me that at times, Woodward was inserted for defensive purposes at third and Perez moved to first, with May being taken out of the game.

Perez came up as a first baseman (He played that position exclusively in the majors from 1964-66), before being moved to third.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:14 PM (#2179890)
Willie had a 2nd, a 3rd, and 4th, and a 5th in NL slugging pct in 1963-67 - and then ramped up to lead the NL in 1968, 1969, AND 1970. And over .900 in OPS in all of those seasons, and over 1.000 twice. Sweet.

Then the knees began to go, and only once more does he clear 500 PA in a season. I can't think of another player who looked as creaky as he did for so long, yet still dangerous - like a rattlesnake with its tail run over. Maybe you can get past him, but make a mistake and he'll bite - and bite hard.

Interesting prime/career combo - looking at full seasons, it's a prime argument, but with all those 300-495 PA seasons, he winds up with a career argument with almost 10,000 PA.
And guess what - he's by far the class of the bunch under either argument.

As a kid, I was in awe of that massive front shoulder as you watched him bat. It seemed like he'd hit a HR every time.....
   16. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#2179896)
Interesting prime/career combo - looking at full seasons, it's a prime argument, but with all those 300-495 PA seasons, he winds up with a career argument with almost 10,000 PA.
And guess what - he's by far the class of the bunch under either argument.


He's easily #1 on my ballot in '86. No extensive analysis was needed.
   17. DavidFoss Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:34 PM (#2179904)
In my mind, McGriff, McCovey, Killebrew, and McGwire are pretty much all the same guy. Tall, slow, and very, very powerful firstbasemen.

Killebrew was a bit short for this group at 'only' 5'11". When Bill James first wrote about similarity scores, he wrote a bit about the Killebrew/McCovey pairing and how they showed up high on each others comp lists. He mentioned that these two didn't look at all like each other on the playing field. Similar results at the plate though. They both got their MVP's in the same year as well. (1969)
   18. DavidFoss Posted: September 17, 2006 at 10:39 PM (#2179906)
Willie is one of the great all-time mid-season call-ups. He made his debut fairly late in the season (July 30th). He went 4-4 with 2 3B's off of Robin Roberts (boxscore). He ended up packing enough value in just 219 PA to win the ROY unanimously.
   19. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:27 PM (#2179931)
Willie is one of the great all-time mid-season call-ups.

He's no Gregg Jeffries.... ; )
   20. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:45 PM (#2179942)
He's no Gregg Jeffries.... ; )

Possibly true, though not even one of Jeffries' patented tantrums will get him his own plaque in Cooperstown like Stretch. :-)
   21. OCF Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:45 PM (#2179943)
Willie is one of the great all-time mid-season call-ups. ... He ended up packing enough value in just 219 PA to win the ROY unanimously.

Willie McCovey: 52 games, 219 PA, 187 OPS+, and as mentioned above, unanimous Rookie of the Year.

Frank Thomas: 60 games, 240 PA, 177 OPS+. Did not draw a single vote for Rookie of the year

Part of the explanation: a greater fraction of Willie's value was in SLG, a greater fraction of Frank's value was in OBP, and OBP has always been less visible. But not a single vote??
   22. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 17, 2006 at 11:51 PM (#2179948)
Part of the explanation: a greater fraction of Willie's value was in SLG, a greater fraction of Frank's value was in OBP, and OBP has always been less visible. But not a single vote??

Alex Cole over Thomas? Okay, Cole was in CF, but...
   23. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:16 AM (#2179969)
As for McCovey's HoM case:

My offensive system ranks him 4th among (post-1890) first basemen so far - behind Gehrig, Foxx, and Mize, but that assumes substantial WWII credit for Mize. Without that correction, McCovey would be ahead of Mize. I have him ahead of Allen, Killebrew, and Greenberg.

McCovey's 1969 season is a great one. In my system, I've got its offensive value as 98 - very, very close to the 100 I have for Norm Cash's 1961. And the rest of Cash's career doesn't bear any resemblence to the rest of McCovey's career.

We do understand that the standards for first basemen seem to be getting stiffer. We've seen the career of Perez (What - he hasn't retired yet? Well, why hasn't he?) We've (probably?) seen the prime of Murray. And you've got your Garvey here and your Hernandez there, and lots of teams seem to have a Cecil Cooper or Alvin Davis or Glenn Davis. But McCovey still stands out as special.

He'll be #1 on my ballot, and it won't be close.
   24. andrew siegel Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:47 AM (#2180001)
I have him the #9 1B of All-Time, behind Gehrig, Foxx, Connor, Brouthers, Anson, Mize, Bagwell, and (barely) Murray. The rest of the top 15 are Leonard, Thomas, McGwire, Greenberg, Killebrew, Allen, and Suttles.
   25. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 12:56 AM (#2180011)
I joined the HoM project after Connor, Brouthers, and Anson has all been elected, and I never calculated anything for them. Take the post-1986-eligible cases out of andrew siegel's post, and it looks like I basically agree with him.
   26. sunnyday2 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 01:15 AM (#2180033)
All-Time Career Win Shares 1B

1. Gehrig 489
2. Murray 437
3. Foxx 435
4. McCovey 408--not bad

5. Might be Frank Thomas "The Big Hurt" at 382 as of yesterday, though I'm not fully up to date on where McGwire and Bagwell and Raffy ended up. Anson is at 381 and Killebrew 371.

Active Leaders

1. Thomas
2. Thome 305--just shy of Cepeda, Hernandez, Cash
3. Giambi 282--just ahead of Terry and Garvey
4. Delgado 266--ahead of Hodges, Mattingly, Bottomley; one shy of Greenberg
5. Helton 233--about even with Watson, Fournier, Adcock, Sievers and Hrbek
6. Pujols 215--already ahead of Kluszewski, one short of George Scott, exactly even with Lee May
7. Conine 188 = 2 more than Mo Vaughan and Andre Thornton
8. Berkman 181--between Driessen and Skowron
9. Snow 170 = Gus Suhr
10. D. Lee 156 = John Kruk

Great group. I mean, imagine Killebrew, Cepeda, Garvey, Hodges, Watson, Kluszewski, Mo Vaughan, Skowron, Suhr and Kruk all in the MLs at one time. That's basically what you've got. And as recently as last year you also had Jeff Bagwell (aka Johnny Mize) active as well.
   27. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: September 18, 2006 at 01:43 AM (#2180078)
Am I the only one who had no idea that McCovey had a .378 EqA in 1969? Wow. That's better than anything Musial, Aaron, Cobb, Mays, DiMaggio, or Gehrig ever did, just to name a few.
   28. Chris Cobb Posted: September 18, 2006 at 01:58 AM (#2180111)
I have McCovey at #7 all-time among first basemen through the 1985 season. The top 6 are Gehrig, Anson, Fox, Connor, Mize, and Brouthers. After McCovey come Greenberg, Killebrew, Leonard, Allen, and Suttles.

He'll be an easy #1 on my 1986 ballot.
   29. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2180121)
Boy that's a typo that just leaps out and grabs the eye! Of course Chris meant to say double-X.

And yes, Le Samourai, it was that kind of season (although in my system Aaron had one almost as good.)
   30. Mark Shirk (jsch) Posted: September 18, 2006 at 02:44 AM (#2180193)
Looking at Sunny's list, I think that Giambi will be in interesting case. He should make it over 300 and probably closer to 330-350 (is 2006 counted?) and he has some very nice peak seasons, including a few 38 WS seasons. That woudl give him a nice peak and decent career numbers (though not necessarily length). Of course there is also the whole steroid thing. I guess the same could be said of Thome as well, without the steroid thing.

BTW, I don't want to get into a steroid conversation, I just wanted to comment that Giambi is closer than I thought.
   31. sunnyday2 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#2180312)
j, the WS for active players is through yesterday.

Part of my point has been (see the Freehan thread for active catchers, the Brock thread for active LF, and the Sewell thread for active SS along with above), part of the point has been that there are a ton of apparent HoMers active today. More than we can elect. Meaning the standards are going nowhere but up, at least superficially.
   32. Chris Cobb Posted: September 18, 2006 at 04:31 AM (#2180366)
part of the point has been that there are a ton of apparent HoMers active today. More than we can elect.

Well, that depends on how many we schedule ourselves to elect. I'm not convinced that at 3 electees a year, with an occasional 4, we won't be able to keep up with the arrival of new meritorious players while occasionally dipping in to the backlog. According to the current schedule, by 2020 we will be alternating 3 and 4 electees per year, a 75% increase over the 2 per year to which we are currently accustomed.

It wouldn't be too difficult to build a projected list of new eligibles through 2015 (players retired after 2009) would it? A preview of the new eligibles for our first 8 real-time elections would give us some idea of whether standards are going to rise or not.
   33. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 18, 2006 at 01:11 PM (#2180449)
Giambi is closer than I thought.

I've been watching him pretty closely, and I think he's very nearly cracked my top twenty 1Bs. His peak is legitimately huge, and it's in the DH league so maybe a bit watered down. With a good 2006, Thome is closing in on the top 20-25, with Delgado probably in the 30 range and Helton still well back.

That's not talking about Albert, who I think is pretty nearly ready to bank. Seriously, after this year, he could probably have one at-bat each of the next three-four yearse and still make it, the peak is THAT good.


It wouldn't be too difficult to build a projected list of new eligibles through 2015 (players retired after 2009) would it? A preview of the new eligibles for our first 8 real-time elections would give us some idea of whether standards are going to rise or not.

The HOF actually lists these guys out on its site as "future eligibles" or something like that.

Here's their list----
2007: Harold Baines, Derek Bell, Dante Bichette, Bobby Bonilla, Jeff Brantley, Jay Buhner, Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, Eric Davis, Tony Fernandez, Tony Gwynn, Darryl Hamilton, Pete Harnisch, Charlie Hayes, Glenallen Hill, Ken Hill, Stan Javier, Wally Joyner, Ramon Martinez, Mark McGwire, Paul O’Neill, Gregg Olson, Cal Ripken Jr., Bret Saberhagen, Jeff Shaw, Kevin Tapani, Devon White, Bobby Witt

2008: Shawon Dunston, Travis Fryman, David Justice, Mike Morgan, Tim Raines, Randy Velarde

2009: Mark Grace, Rickey Henderson, Dean Palmer, Dan Plesac, Matt Williams

2010: Andres Galarraga, Edgar Martinez, Robin Ventura

Depending on who makes a comeback and who doesn't....

2011: Jeff Bagwell, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Al Leiter, Tino Martinez, Raul Mondesi, Jose Offerman, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Troy Percival, Benito Santiago, Sammy Sosa, Ugueth Urbina, Larry Walker
   34. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 18, 2006 at 01:16 PM (#2180453)
YOu know that 2011 class is a toughie for the BBWAA. Lots of weird cases that play toward and against their historical biases and the issues of the day.

Bagwell's a NB and Sosa isn't quite NB status, but he's pretty well qualified. Then there's the Palmeiro question.... But bubbling beneath is Kevin Brown who was really fantastic, then a few guys who merit serious attention if they aren't ultimately going to be HOFs: Franco, Gonzalez, Olerud. And finally the curious case of Larry "Coors Field" Walker. That's a rough ballot. I suspect we'll see Bagwell and Sosa and that's it. Unless there's some serious roid evidence against Sosa by then, in which case it could be only Bagwell.
   35. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2006 at 02:15 PM (#2180492)
Unless there's some serious roid evidence against Sosa by then, in which case it could be only Bagwell.

Is Bagwell a lock for the HOF? I hope he is, but I'm not so sure, Eric.
   36. Juan V Posted: September 18, 2006 at 03:54 PM (#2180583)
Sure, McCovey probably benefits a bit from the clearing of the backlog, but he´s an easy #1 here too. It seems the question is: Who will go with him?
   37. TomH Posted: September 18, 2006 at 04:10 PM (#2180597)
depends on who goes in this evening :)
   38. alilisd Posted: September 18, 2006 at 06:45 PM (#2180782)
Pardon the interruption, but could someone comment on the ranking of Greenberg behind McCovey? It seems to be consistent among several people, but it isn't apparent to me why. I understand Greenberg's career was shorter (but I think y'all give war credit, which would be 4.5 seasons in his prime); however, his peak was higher. Perhaps I'm not viewing his peak in the proper context or I'm overrating the amount of war credit he might receive?
   39. rico vanian Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:04 PM (#2180798)
the only ones I see going in (some might take a couple of years...)
2007: Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr., Mark McGwire ( I think he gets in by 2010)

2008: Tim Raines ( should be a very interesting case- )

2009: Rickey Henderson

2010: Edgar Martinez (another interesting case if they let a pure DH in),

2011: Jeff Bagwell, Sammy Sosa
   40. DavidFoss Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:11 PM (#2180804)
Willie vs Hank (the 1B version)

Top seven seasons by OPS+ (500 PA)

WM-211-182-175-165-161-160-154
HG
-172-170-170-169-163-156-155 


McCovey's 1968-70 peak really was a monster. When you adjust for Candlestick-late-sixties versus Tiger Stadium of the 30s, its better than anything that Greenberg did (especially the top two). It appears that McCovey has a small edge in peak here (Greenberg really holds his own in years 3-7).

After that, its a question of all the war credit for Greenberg versus all the partial seasons for McCovey. McCovey's 1959 (219PA), 1962(261PA), 1971(402PA), 1973(495PA) & 1974(442) seasons all top 150 OPS+ despite reaching 500 PA (just barely in a couple of cases). How to compare those is tough.

And after *that* McCovey has a bit of a career edge due to the remaining filler. McCovey's 1977 season matches up nicely with Greenberg's year in Pittsburgh. After that, I think its just Greenberg's rookie season versus a number of filler years for McCovey.

The war credit for Greenberg certainly makes the comparison tougher. Since he flew into the HOM with relatively little resistance, I don't think we stressed too much about exactly how much extra credit to give him. That does come into play when creating these types of all-time rankings though.
   41. DavidFoss Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:13 PM (#2180805)
<strike>despite reaching </strike>
despite not reaching

I'm prone to these types of typos but I hate it when the word I forget to type is 'not'. :-)
   42. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:21 PM (#2180811)
As a brief reminder, Willie's career was somewhat delayed because of Orlando Cepeda's abject refusal to play left field. Steve Treder could go into more detail, but Cepeda was approached about moving to left to accomodate McCovey and refused. Even before the knee problems Willie wasn't particularly mobile so playing the outfield was not a core competency. So "Stretch" was playing out of position until the age of 27, played a fair amount of time in a pitcher's era, and in a fairly tough hitters parks (though "fair" to sluggers). Yet despite these impediments cranked 500 plus homers and was regarded as one of the most feared hitters of his day.

To this long-time baseball fan I put Willie's 1969 season up there with Dick Allen's 1972 and Pedro Guerrero's 1985 as "forgotten" great seasons. Willie's season was the best. But each is largely forgotten to history. In today's climate the output just doesn't jump out at the reader.

But they were mighty fine seasons. I think James is pretty accurate when he stated that given health and today's ballparks Willie would go nuts with the bat.
   43. sunnyday2 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:22 PM (#2180812)
If you're asking about the WS numbers in #26, those are just Bill James' raw WS with no adjustments. WWII credit doesn't get Greenberg into McCovey territory however, nor I think does his peak though I don't have the numbers here. But that's Bill James. I have no idea if HoMie voters generally would pick McCovey or Greenberg. I'm not entirely sure which I would pick. HoM voting doesn't require such a comparison.
   44. Mike Webber Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2180822)
Could Greenberg have had 141 Win Shares in his missing war years? Sure. Still though, assuming 4.5 straight MVP type seasons is a leap of faith. I'd guess that most see it as very close, Bill James has them 8 and 9 on his 1b list.

I'm not sure you could really definitively say Greenberg's peak was higher. That looks about like a dead heat to me.

Plus Greenberg has the Duke Snider thing, 3rd best player at his position for most of his career.

Greenberg beats Mac on the rate catagories, OWP, OPS+, because Willie hung around until he was 42, if they both retired at 36 McCovey would be ahead.

It seems paper thin in difference if you are comfortable giving Greenberg fairly large amounts of War Credit.

Player:  McCovey, Willie
Year of Birth:   1938
Year        Hit  Field  Pitch     Sum    WS
1959      11.31   0.81   0.00    12.12   12
1960      10.91   0.59   0.00    11.50   12
1961      11.20   1.75   0.00    12.95   13
1962      10.87   1.09   0.00    11.96   12
1963      27.33   1.84   0.00    29.18   29
1964       9.42   1.15   0.00    10.56   11
1965      26.55   2.07   0.00    28.63   29
1966      32.40   1.34   0.00    33.75   34
1967      22.42   1.64   0.00    24.06   24
1968      32.17   1.48   0.00    33.66   34
1969      37.30   2.05   0.00    39.35   39
1970      31.45   2.05   0.00    33.50   33
1971      15.26   0.21   0.00    15.47   16
1972       6.65   0.46   0.00     7.12    7
1973      21.26   0.84   0.00    22.10   22
1974      24.15   1.23   0.00    25.38   25
1975      14.50   1.72   0.00    16.21   16
1976       3.29   0.75   0.00     4.04    4
1977      14.68   1.06   0.00    15.74   16
1978       6.19   1.36   0.00     7.55    8
1979       9.01   1.14   0.00    10.15   10
1980       1.08   0.45   0.00     1.53    2
Totals   379.41  27.11   0.00   406.52  408

Player:  Greenberg, Hank
Year of Birth:   1911
Year        Hit  Field  Pitch     Sum    WS
1930       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1931       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1932       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1933      12.07   1.93   0.00    14.00   14
1934      28.74   2.36   0.00    31.11   31
1935      31.20   2.68   0.00    33.88   34
1936       2.56   0.18   0.00     2.74    3
1937      30.30   2.98   0.00    33.28   33
1938      30.57   2.97   0.00    33.54   34
1939      21.37   2.32   0.00    23.68   24
1940      27.15   3.68   0.00    30.83   31
1941       2.14   0.22   0.00     2.36    2
1942       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1943       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1944       0.00   0.00   0.00     0.00    0
1945      14.68   1.77   0.00    16.45   16
1946      26.74   3.82   0.00    30.56   31
1947      13.02   1.23   0.00    14.25   14
Totals   240.55  26.13   0.00   266.68  267
   45. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:42 PM (#2180842)
To this long-time baseball fan I put Willie's 1969 season up there with Dick Allen's 1972 and Pedro Guerrero's 1985 as "forgotten" great seasons. Willie's season was the best.

I haven't worked up Guerrero yet - as good as he was in 1985, I doubt that that season will quite measure up against those others. In my context-modified RCAA system, I have Allen 1972 as a "90", McCovey 1969 as a "98" and Cash, 1961 as a "100" - but then Cash was in the weaker league. McCovey's 1968 and 1970 seasons, at 79 and 75, aren't exactly cheap, either. I have Greenberg's best three seasons as 77, 76, and 65 - so yes, McCovey has the bigger peak.
   46. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 18, 2006 at 07:49 PM (#2180848)
OCF:

Well, I did write that Willie's season was clearly the best of the three.

Pedro's 1985 season will always stick with me. By chance I saw him play multiple times in person, and he was flat out amazing. Just crushed ball after ball. His June that year was a big story at the time. If I remember correctly he hit something like 15 homers that month. He was on TWIB highlights every weekend.

Not much with the glove but the guy could hit.......
   47. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2180883)
McCovey's '69 did occur in an expansion year, where strange things do happen. I'm not so sure he was as good as his 211 OPS+ suggests. Nevertheless, it was an outstanding season.
   48. alilisd Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:18 PM (#2180890)
Many thanks for posting replies to my question. I tend to flash past OPS+ too quickly and I'm not familiar enough with WS. McCovey looks much stronger when reviewing those metrics. Still, jschmeagol posted the following in Greenberg's thread, which is sort of what I was thinking (without having realized yet how I had overlooked McCovey's achievements).

jschmeagol Posted: May 29, 2005 at 12:51 PM (#1369795)

"For those giving war credit, I am giving hank Greenberg 124 WS for 1941-1945. This adds 12 WS to his 1945 total, and an average of 28 over the other four years. I am breaking those years down 31,29,27,25. This takes him from 267 to 391 career WS, and brings his peak and prime closer to Foxx and Gehrig."

Since Greenberg had gone 33, 34, 24, 31 and 31 in the years surrounding the war years, I think having four of his five war season in the 20's is probably a bit too low, but perhaps reasonable since there is a possibility of injury (as was discussed in the Greenberg thread).

Agreed, McCovey's 1968-1970 OPS+ outstrip Greenberg, but it's purely an offensive metric. In WS terms it's 34, 39, 33 or 106, while Greenberg's 1935, 1937-1938 are 34, 33, 34 or 101. Seems like a very small edge in peak, if peak is only the three top years, but Greenberg has three other seasons of 31 WS even without war credit while McCovey's next three best seasons are 34, 29, 25.

But I don't want to sound like an argumentative jerk, and I shouldn't draw any more attention away from what should be a focus on the great career of Willie McCovey, so I'm going to go back to lurking now. But, again, thank you for the insight and replies, and thanks to all of you contributing to this project. It is a very enjoyable series of threads to read and very educational as well!
   49. DavidFoss Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:38 PM (#2180909)
I shouldn't draw any more attention away from what should be a focus on the great career of Willie McCovey

Comparing to guys like Greenberg is actually one of the best ways to demonstrate how great McCovey was.
   50. karlmagnus Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:40 PM (#2180912)
Greenberg's a very helpful comparison; I had him #8 in 1953 so feel more justified in my intention to have McCovey #4 (after Beckley-Welch-Waddell) in 1986. If I'm a loony, I am at least a consistent loony.

1969 was the year we got 4 new teams, so more dilutive than all the expansion years when we got 2. Also, it was the year the pitching mound was lowered, so presumably a hitting star like McCovey benefited from a lot of discombobulated terrified pitchers. I think that 211's a bit overstated therefore, and his in-season durability was pretty poor, making his overall career no more than middling in terms of PA.
   51. Chris Cobb Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:43 PM (#2180914)
re Greenberg v. McCovey:

I'd agree that it is quite close, and there are good reasons to favor Greenberg. The two are close enough, in fact, that who you rate higher depends on the metric you use. Win shares favors McCovey, I think, while WARP shows Greenberg as having many more great seasons than McCovey did. But then, WARP sees Greenberg's superior defense as being worth 20 wins over McCovey's for their careers, and I have a hard time accepting that conclusion. But Greenberg was surely the better defensive player, but McCovey played against better competition (even with expansion) because of integration. . . One can go back and forth.
   52. Al Peterson Posted: September 18, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2180923)
Two things that stick out in my mind about McCovey.

1. Intentional walks - didn't Bonds break the IBB record held by Stretch? He was feared in late 60s and early 70s.

2. Grand Slams - his total of 18 is still tied for 4th all-time. He was deadly when you had nowhere to put him. Maybe not a Pat Tabler-like automatic with the bases juiced but still not shabby :)
   53. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:02 PM (#2180933)
1969 was the year we got 4 new teams, so more dilutive than all the expansion years when we got 2. Also, it was the year the pitching mound was lowered,

Karl, an interesting question about the 1969 expansion. I initially thought it a moot point as compared to all other expansions because only two of the teams came into his league, but in rereading, I think there's some reason to wonder about it since the total talent pool was depeleted at once instead of incrementally over a couple seasons (a la 1961-1962). He posted OPS+s around 180 in the surrounding seasons, so the effect, could appear to be as much as 15%. I'm not sure that's a reasonable reading since he was obviously on peak in this time (in spite of generalized aging patterns).

This OPS+ peak is then fortifed by numerous surrounding full and near-full seasons in the 150-160 range. Dude could hit.
   54. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:05 PM (#2180934)
Al:

1. Correct.

Terrified pitchers was a phrase used earlier and completely accurate in nature. "Ball Four" specifically has a moment where Bouton and fellow pitchers are watching McCovey take batting practice making what Bouton describes as "small animal noises".
   55. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:09 PM (#2180939)
Question because I'm too lazy too look it up myself: Who else had peak seasons in 1969? The collection of peak seasons in '61 is well-known (Maris, Cash, Gentile), but that's the only one that gets talked about.
   56. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:20 PM (#2180947)
Devin:

In then NL not so much. Jimmy Wynn. Rico Carty. Pete Rose. Cleon Jones. Maybe Lee May.

In the AL you had Killibrew, Reggie Jackson, Boog Powell, Rico Petrocelli, Frank Howard, Sal Bando and Mike Epstein.

Mike Epstein? 30 homers in 1969.
   57. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2180950)
Devin:

Assuming you were just talking about hitters of course.

Aaron had a fine year in 1969. But not his "greatest". Still one heckuva a season for an old feller.........
   58. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:23 PM (#2180952)
I do remember (I believe) that McCovey, Jackson, and Killebrew were all on pace to hit at least 60 homers by the All-Star break. I'm not sure about Frank Howard.
   59. DCW3 Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:29 PM (#2180960)
I don't know if this is anything more than a fluke, but there was a number of really huge pitching performances in the NL in 1969. There were ten pitchers in the league with at least a 140 ERA+. Compare that to 1970, when Tom Seaver was the only pitcher in the majors to crack 140, and he was only at 142.
   60. karlmagnus Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:38 PM (#2180970)
Presumably some pitchers were less affected by the mound change, or figured it out quicker, and were then able to feast off the Seattle Pilots lineup and such to produce a better r
   61. Mike Webber Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:44 PM (#2180974)
Win Shares in expansion seasons in the 1960's just FYI

1961
48    Mantle, Mickey
42    Cash, Norm
36    Maris, Roger
35    Aaron, Hank
34    Robinson, Frank
34    Mays, Willie
33    Mathews, Eddie
33    Colavito, Rocky
32    Pinson, Vada
32    Gentile, Jim
29    Cepeda, Orlando
29    Kaline, Al
29    Howard, Elston

25    Spahn, Warren
23    Arroyo, Luis
22    Ford, Whitey
22    Lary, Frank
22    O'Toole, Jim
20    Koufax, Sandy
20    Mossi, Don
20    Jay, Joey

1962

41    Robinson, Frank
41    Mays, Willie
36    Davis, Tommy
34    Aaron, Hank
33    Mantle, Mickey
32    Wills, Maury
no other hitters above 27

26    Purkey, Bob
24    Drysdale, Don
23    Pascual, Camilo
23    Spahn, Warren
22    Kaat, Jim
22    Aguirre, Hank
21    Gibson, Bob
21    Bunning, Jim
21    Radatz, Dick
21    Terry, Ralph
21    Friend, Bob


1969

41    Jackson, Reggie
39    McCovey, Willie
38    Aaron, Hank
37    Rose, Pete
37    Petrocelli, Rico
36    Wynn, Jimmy
36    Bando, Sal
34    Killebrew, Harmon
34    Howard, Frank
32    Robinson, Frank
31    Perez, Tony
31    Bonds, Bobby
30    Jones, Cleon

33    Gibson, Bob
32    Seaver, Tom
29    Marichal, Juan
29    McLain, Denny
28    Niekro, Phil
28    Hands, Bill
26    Osteen, Claude
26    Perry, Gaylord
26    Stottlemyre, Mel
26    Singer, Bill
25    Jenkins, Fergie
25    Koosman, Jerry
25    Dierker, Larry

   62. OCF Posted: September 18, 2006 at 09:50 PM (#2180978)
Pedro's 1985 season will always stick with me. ... His June that year was a big story at the time.

Indeed it was. I remember.

Not much with the glove but the guy could hit.......

The man could hit.

I searched my computer and dredged up a note I wrote to some friends of mine that was a reaction to a Ross Newhan column in the L. A. Times in 2000 in which he picked an all-time "all Los Angeles" team. From his choices, his eligibles were Dodgers since the move west and Angels since the team began. I had some fun picking apart his column - but perhaps his most egregious omission was forgetting that Pedro Guerrero existed. Now, it is somewhat problematical what position to place Guerrero at. For the Dodgers he "fielded" some combination of third base and outfield.

My exercise was to pick up a team from the people Newhan left out and see if I could come up with a better team. For that, I called Guererro a first basemen, even though that's not actually where he played in LA.
   63. KJOK Posted: September 18, 2006 at 11:15 PM (#2181040)
I'd normally post some analysis of some type here, but I think McCovey is a "no brainer' if we're still allowed to use that. McCovey brings back some interesting recollections personally for me, as I had saw several "firsts" with McCovey as a visiting player:

1. First time I saw an intentional walk issued in person
2. First time I saw a 2nd deck HR in person (not many of those in old Busch)
3. First time I saw "the shift" employed in person

were all with McCovey at the plate.
   64. KJOK Posted: September 18, 2006 at 11:16 PM (#2181043)
<strike>had </strike>saw - Uhg, I do know how to write properly...
   65. alilisd Posted: September 19, 2006 at 03:08 PM (#2181909)
Thanks David. I hadn't thought of it in that way, but realizing how well McCovey stacks up against someone like Greenberg is a good way to recognize what a great player he was.
   66. sunnyday2 Posted: September 19, 2006 at 05:50 PM (#2182047)
Oh, I thought it was a good way to recognize what a great player Greenberg was!
   67. Jose Canusee Posted: September 19, 2006 at 10:14 PM (#2182266)
#55-56
Harvey, if you think Carty had a peak in 69 you are missing his big 70, which if not for 69 might be on the fluke-meter (he seemed to be one year ahead of his old teammate Joe Torre in peak). He might have had the weakest glove of any MLB from San Pedro de Macoris.
#18
As for impressive debuts, I did see one hyped youngster make his debut almost as well as Big Mac’s
and would be the following year’s AL ROY. Lined out to opposite field, walk, double in the gap, double in the other gap, pulled double down the line. In fact, I would have imagined this tall, slow LH hitter might have been a future Big Mac, though he was an OF. Another fan suggested he might become one of the all-time greats, but I was being cautious by suggesting he might be “only” as good as teammate Giambi. He did ok for a few years but was “only” worth Johnny Damon and Cory Lidle (plus minor leaguer Mark Ellis) in a trade...do you remember him without checking the boxscore?
#11
Without any real knowledge of his lack of speed, I remember cracking up with my brother pretending to be baseball announcers and saying something like:
"(high pitch)It's in the gap, Bonds scores, Fuentes crosses the plate, here comes Mays, here comes the throw, he scores! (slow and low pitch) Mc Covey ... rounding ... first..."
He didn't have a lot (353) of doubles for a 500 HR man from that era but he did have more than Killebrew.
   68. Jimmy Posted: August 28, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4530044)
first, one can not compare players of different eras. they did not play under the same circumstances.

second, stats are extremely misleading.

third, i see a lot of people making statements, such that statistics appear to be a big part of their decision making.

fourth, the only possible way one has of comparing 2 players of the same era is IF THEY ACTUALLY WERE OLD ENOUGH TO SEE THEM PLAY.

fifth, i realize that killebrew played mostly in the al, while mccovey played mostly in the nl.

sixth, but if you asked 100 pitchers who pitched at that time, i dont think you would even find one pitcher who thought killebrew was as good a hitter as mccovey.

seventh, mccovey was THE MOST FEARED HITTER IN BASEBALL. he was extremely hard to get out in clutch situations. no one compares in hard hit balls. it has been said that the reason mccovey could hit so hard, is that he could accelerate his bat faster than anyone else.

eighth, mccovey helped may's career a great deal. they could not pitch around mays, with mccovey hitting next. and mccovey was pitched around a lot. intentionally walked a lot. he got nowhere near the good amount of pitches as mays did.

ninth, his hitting ability was extremely unusual. most players would never be able to hit at all, with mccovey's style. at the time, the national league had a low strike zone, in comparison to the american league. and mccovey had this huge upper cut. boy, one would think he was golfing. he would strike at balls at his ankles, and hit home runs off them. the only low ball that a pitcher could throw that mccovey couldnt hit was one in the dirt.

tenth, his career got stalled a lot, due to the cepeda fiasco at first. but he went into left field for three years, and never whined about it.

eleventh, at the time, the shift was put on him. not since ted williams had this been done.

twelfth, mccovey was not a good runner, i agree. but there was another reason why he may not have had as many doubles. his balls were hit so hard, that they almost got to the fielders instantaneously (assuming the ball did not find a gap, and roll past the fielders).

thirteenth, like i said, you had to be there at the time, and watching these players.
   69. DL from MN Posted: August 29, 2013 at 06:14 PM (#4530810)
one can not compare players of different eras


Well, you convinced me. Let's just scrap the whole project. Shut 'er down boys.
   70. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 29, 2013 at 06:50 PM (#4530848)
first, one can not compare players of different eras. they did not play under the same circumstances.

The first sentence is false, the 2nd is true, but it's the awareness of that fact that allows you to make a reasonable comparison

second, stats are extremely misleading
Some can be, especially traditional stats like batting average and ribbies

third, i see a lot of people making statements, such that statistics appear to be a big part of their decision making.

yes?

fourth, the only possible way one has of comparing 2 players of the same era is IF THEY ACTUALLY WERE OLD ENOUGH TO SEE THEM PLAY.

False/Wrong in the extreme
fifth, i realize that killebrew played mostly in the al, while mccovey played mostly in the nl.

yes?
sixth, but if you asked 100 pitchers who pitched at that time, i dont think you would even find one pitcher who thought killebrew was as good a hitter as mccovey.

Hyperbole much? Also, come one, pick 100 pitchers you are bound to find some guys who had no problem getting McCovey out but who were clobbered by killer.
seventh, mccovey was THE MOST FEARED HITTER IN BASEBALL. he was extremely hard to get out in clutch situations. no one compares in hard hit balls. it has been said that the reason mccovey could hit so hard, is that he could accelerate his bat faster than anyone else.

Teh FEAR! Seriously, he did have IBB numbers that Jim Rice didn't :-)
   71. Eric L Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4530852)
Hmmmm.... I love the smell of troll in the morning.
   72. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4530853)
Does Killebrew have his own cove? I THOUGHT NOT.
   73. BDC Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:08 PM (#4530855)
Just to add a few refutations:

the only possible way one has of comparing 2 players of the same era is IF THEY ACTUALLY WERE OLD ENOUGH TO SEE THEM PLAY

Honus Wagner was a better hitter than Bill Bergen. Right? And I'm not old enough to know anyone who saw them play.

mccovey helped may's career a great deal

Can you point to Mays's career and show how it changed in any way attributable to McCovey once McCovey showed up? Not only are there bunches of other teammates and factors involved, but Willie Mays was a kind of consistently successful ballplayer. I don't look at his career line and say, well, things were certainly headed off a cliff for Mays, oops there's McCovey arriving, dang, Mays gets a lot better after that. I don't think anyone can argue that.
   74. The District Attorney Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4530856)
Was Killebrew mentioned in "Peanuts"? I'M NOT SURE, BUT MCCOVEY WAS!

   75. BDC Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4530857)
love the smell of troll

Well, yeah, but I always think of the children who might be reading this and figuring that BBTF had conceded the last word to nonsense :)
   76. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4530863)
love the smell of troll

I don't think he's a troll, I think he believes what he posted, somehow stumbled accross this, it interested him and he wanted to post something
   77. Eric L Posted: August 29, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4530874)
Fair point Johnny, put points 3 & 4 are stretching that point.
   78. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:58 AM (#4531091)
THE MOST FEARED HITTER IN BASEBALL. he was extremely hard to get out in clutch situations. no one compares in hard hit balls. it has been said that bla bla


this is exactly the kind of sh!t people come up with when they dont have command of numbers, or facts or anything to suppor their position. No one knows who the most feared hitter is because such a concept only appears in the posters mind. No one goes around thinking "I fear a lot of things, but McCOvey I fear the most."

I mean do you go around in your life deciding what you are most afraid of. Maybe you do, I dont know. I sure dont.
   79. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 03:38 AM (#4531105)
points 3 and 4 are actually 2 of the most important points.

one can not talk about how good a player is, if they havent seen them play.

the 60s and some of the 70s i have actually seen, and a lot of it.

the only way i know that ruth or williams was good is by reading about them. it is not the same. some players go down in history as being better than they were. others go down as not being as good as they were. i am not saying that you cant read about someone and get some sort of idea as to the quality of player. but there is a large room for error.

i want to gag every time i see people putting pete rose up there as one of the all-time greats. he had nowhere near that sort of talent. nor was he ever considered a superstar in his playing days. but then you actually had to be around at the time, to actually know this.

superstars are people who make a team. mantle to the yankees, kaline to the tigers, yaz to the red sox, frank robinson to the orioles, hank aaron to the braves, mays and mccovey to the giants, etc. and of course tons of pitchers. pete rose to the reds ? dont make me laugh. the three big non-pitchers from the reds were bench, morgan and perez. not only were they tremendous hitters, they played catcher, 2nd and 3rd - so their defense was more important than left field, first base, and some second base during the start of his career. they talk about him passing ty cobb's mark with the most hits in baseball. he also had the most outs. cuz he had the most at bats, by far. now those stats are very useful if we want to look at longevity. i might even put him first. he had a stocky body, and lasted longer than anyone else. but he did not have superstar talent.

and most of these opinions are based on stats from people who have not seen the ballplayers play.

killebrew simply was not as good as mccovey. nor was he close.

if you really want to know how good a hitter was, the absolute best way of doing so is to get the opinions of the pitchers who had to pitch against them.

and you can bet your boots that pitchers know which batters they are afraid of, and which batters they have confidence in.

there is one pitcher that mccovey could not hit at all - if any of you guys actually know what you are talking about, and have seen these players play, you should be able to tell me who this pitcher is.

and to sunday silence, you are an example of what i am talking about. looking at numbers to make decisions about stuff you dont know anything about. i havent followed sports since the 70s, and you wont find me making any statements about ballplayers that i have not seen.

i know about mays and mccovey cuz the giants were my 2nd favorite team, after the tigers. when mccovey became a regular, they never pitched around mays, cuz mccovey was next up. i dont recall with any sort of certainty what occurred when cepeda and mays played, without mccovey.

but it makes a big difference who hits behind you, in determining what sorts of pitches one is gonna get. intentionally walking mccovey was almost a joke at the time - cuz it happened so much. he was an exceptionally dangerous hitter. someone you have a lot of confidence in, if he is hitting for your team.

as far as me being a troll, that is a laugh.

i dont have anything against killebrew. he hit a lot of homers. but he was much easier to get out than mccovey.
   80. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 03:50 AM (#4531106)
doesnt no. 1 contradict no. 4?
   81. Sunday silence Posted: August 30, 2013 at 03:57 AM (#4531108)
and most of these opinions are based on stats from people who have not seen the ballplayers play.


How would you know, how old people here are, who we've seen, or how we study the game? Tell me how many posters here do you know anything about? Or take myself, you regard me as some sort of problem. Do you have any idea how old I am? or which of those players I've seen or not seen?
   82. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:16 AM (#4531113)
1 and 4 are not at all contradictory.

1 states that you cant compare 2 players from different eras. too much has changed. but you could still be old enough to have seen both players play.

4 states that in order to compare 2 players from the same era, you would have to see them play.

i can read all about what an outstanding pitcher walter johnson was. but he was way before my time.

if we could actually go back in time, and sit in the stands and watch a baseball game from that era, we would almost certainly feel like we were almost watching a different sport than watching it today.

i can only make statements about what you say, based upon what you say. so far, your opinions seem to be based mostly on stats. and that really tells me that you dont know what you are talking about. someone who really understand a sport, and has seen the players play - is not gonna sit there and quote stats to me. he is gonna give me actual live accountings of the players, their abilities, what they did, etc.

and as i said, if any of you have any sort of real knowledge about mccovey, you should be able to readily tell me which pitcher mccovey could not hit at all.

give me that answer, and i will at least consider you having enough knowledge that it is worthwhile having a discussion about him with you.

anyone who followed mccovey could give me that answer.
   83. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:27 AM (#4531114)
and i will ask you another question.

along with the pitcher that mccovey could not hit, there was another pitcher that mccovey owned.

name him.

both of these pitchers were top of the line. and any sort of mccovey fan from that era who actually saw him play, could immediately answer these 2 questions.

i dont have to quote stats to you about the things that i say. cuz i actually saw them. i saw these players play. i know which ones were feared as hitters, and which ones were not.

which hitters a fan was worried about their team having to face, etc.
   84. Greg K Posted: August 30, 2013 at 04:47 AM (#4531116)
I'd guess you're referring to Drysdale and Koufax, highest and lowest OPS against among HOF pitchers in McCovey's career. OK, technically Spahn held him to a slightly lower OPS (.427 to .414), and he was 0 for 13 against Gaylord Perry...but small sample size and all.
   85. BDC Posted: August 30, 2013 at 09:11 AM (#4531168)
I did see McCovey; never saw Killebrew except on TV (being an NL fan in those days), but I followed the Twins on paper and television because my great-uncle was a scout for them, and I felt a vicarious connection; I probably studied Killebrew's boxscores more closely than McCovey's. From just actually seeing him play, well, sure, McCovey was a very powerful hitter. So was Willie Stargell, and so was Orlando Cepeda, all of the same general category of ballplayer that I saw in my youth.

From seeing them, I would tell you to be careful when you pitched to them; I'm not sure I could arrive at a finer distinction. To rank them more exactly than that, well, I do have to resort to the statistics. I don't see how else you'd do it. I am trying seriously to answer your point, Jimmy: when you've got 4 or 5 active guys who hit cleanup with a lot of power, all of them stars and MVPs, to rank them by eyesight is not a very accurate measure.
   86. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4531323)
yes, koufax and drysdale. mccovey could not hit him. of course, not many people could. but for as good a hitter as mccovey was, he would look almost inept against koufax. whereas, with drysdale, he absolutely ripped the ball on him.

funny thing was that mays was just the opposite. he did reasonably well against koufax, but could not hit drysdale.

with mccovey and koufax, i think it was partly a lefty, lefty thing. with mays and drysdale, i think it was partly due to mays being scared. drysdale was a dirty pitcher, and threw at you. he also had that sidearm delivery on a tall frame, so for a right handed batter, it must have been fairly intimidating.

koufax was so good that he did not need to use intimidation. he was the only pitcher that made me actually feel sorry for the batters. he had an astonishing fastball. but then his curve ball was just as astonishing. that simply wasnt fair !!

   87. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 11:47 AM (#4531331)
thanks bdc,

stargell and cepeda were both very good. and were at least in the same class with mccovey.

killebrew was not in that same class.

and i would agree with you that there is no way that either one of us could "prove" who was the best or most dangerous hitter.

that we would need to leave up to the pitchers that pitched to them.

killebrew was better than frank howard, but similar sorts of hitters. either they hit a towering home run, or they got out.

they did not possess that same sort of fear factor as the really good hitters in baseball. i think i could probably name close to 30 of them. but players like mantle, mays, mccovey, cepeda, stargell, frank robinson, hank aaron, yaz, bench, perez, etc.

those were hitters that opposing fans like myself would cringe when our teams had to pitch to them.
   88. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4531340)
gosh, i left out kaline !! if i wanted to rack my brains, i could come up with quite a few more, but i think you get the picture.
   89. Greg K Posted: August 30, 2013 at 11:57 AM (#4531349)
Hall of Fame pitchers that seemed to give Mays problems (and his slash line against them)

Bob Gibson (who I recall reading was a bit of an intimidator himself) .196/.315/.304
Jim Bunning - .213/.255/.348
Steve Carlton - .177/.307/.323

Tom Seaver shut him down too, but A) in only 26 plate appearances, and B) I assume that was towards the end of Mays' career.

Mays actually hit for a higher OPS off of Drysdale than Koufax, though he did alright against both of them considering they were fairly good pitchers
vs. Koufax - .278/.426/.536 with 5 homers in 122 PA
vs. Drysdale - .330/.374/.604 with 13 homers in 243 PA.

Drysdale's actually the Hall of Fame pitcher Mays hit for the highest average against, highest OBP, highest slugging, and most hits. He hit more homers off of Warren Spahn in a similar number of PA.

Is it possible Drysdale had his number early in his career, which sort of fostered a narrative of him being intimidated by him, and then later turned it around and walloped some?

EDIT: Actually the opposite I see. Mays demolished Drysdale from 1956-1964, then in 1965-1966 he hit very poorly against him.
   90. Greg K Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4531362)
Whoops, edit disappeared.

It actually turns out Mays really destroyed Drysdale every year from 1956-1964, then struggled against him in 1965-1966.

EDIT: Bah! Now edit re-appears.

Well if we've achieved nothing else today, we've at least proved that I need some help operating my computer device.
   91. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4531382)
nor was he [Pete Rose] ever considered a superstar in his playing days. but then you actually had to be around at the time, to actually know this.

If you think Pete Rose wasn't considered a superstar, you need to work on your "had to be around at the time" standard. Does "the first million-dollar singles hitter" ring any bells? Those dozen or so Sports Illustrated covers? The common speculation that he might become the first player to be unanimously voted into Cooperstown?

Today, following the gambling damage to his persona and with more sophisticated statistical deconstruction, you're not going to get much pushback to the premise that Rose was overrated. But the fact that he was overrated is further evidence that he was considered a superstar.
   92. The District Attorney Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:31 PM (#4531393)
Yeah, Rose was like Jeter... you heard so often about how great he was, both as a player and as a human being, that you got absolutely sick of it. That's one of the more baffling statements I've encountered lately.

Which, I think, also illustrates the value of objective analysis. You think Rose wasn't considered a superstar, but I think he was. You thought McCovey was an exceptionally fearsome hitter, but a guy from Minneapolis who saw Killebrew clobber 500 homers probably thinks the Killer was even more fearsome, and a guy from Milwaukee probably thinks it was Aaron. So, now what? How do we resolve that? Either we just have to end it there with a "we just disagree"/"you can't compare players" conclusion, or we have to come up with some criteria that we can both agree on to determine how good a player is. Which, since this isn't gymnastics and the results of games are determined by something objective (runs), should certainly be possible.
   93. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: August 30, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4531414)
or was he [Pete Rose] ever considered a superstar in his playing days


He absolutely was, to a sickening degree

BUT, what people tend not to realize now, is that for much of the 70s he was not THE STAR of the Big Red Machine- that was Bench-
now of course the MSM and fans think it was Rose, staheads think Morgan, but at the time it was Bench who as THE MAN
   94. Jimmy Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:33 PM (#4531446)
i was born in 54, so i dont have visual memories of most ball played in the 50s, which is why i dont comment on that.

when i watched mays and drysdale, mays could not hit him. perhaps drysdale did not start throwing at mays until later ?

and yes gibson would also throw at you. he was a mean pitcher - probably equal to drysdale. i dont like those sort of players. to me, it is a sign that they can not rely on their talent.

nothing else can be accomplished regarding how good mccovey was, so i will just thank you for your time, and end the discussion here, from my angle - unless you have specific questions for me.

as i said, the really accurate way of determining how good a hitter is, is to ask the pitchers that pitched to him.
   95. alilisd Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:43 PM (#4531452)
i want to gag every time i see people putting pete rose up there as one of the all-time greats. he had nowhere near that sort of talent. nor was he ever considered a superstar in his playing days. but then you actually had to be around at the time, to actually know this.


Hm, Rose was a ROY and an MVP, as well as finishing 2nd in MVP voting another time, and a WS MVP. Perenial All Star, 3 batting titles, 2 Gold Gloves, led the league in runs scored four times, hits seven times, doubles five times. Seems pretty talented to me. By the way, Perez played more 1B than 3B for the Reds and Rose played very nearly as many games at 2B (625) and at 3B (613) as Perez played at 3B 3B for the Reds (760). Rose didn't become a 1B until he moved to the Phillies. He was far better and more valuable in the field than Perez ever was, he was also a better, though different, hitter. But maybe you didn't see him play enough to realize this.
   96. alilisd Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:55 PM (#4531467)
killebrew was better than frank howard, but similar sorts of hitters. either they hit a towering home run, or they got out.


Um, yes Killebrew was better than Frank Howard. How do you come to the conclusion Killebrew either hit a HR or made an out though when he led the league in BB four times and had over 100 BB in three other seasons when he didn't lead the leauge? I mean the guy was in the top 10 in his league for OBP 9 times, the top five 5 times and even led the league once. Sure he had a fairly low BA often times and a low BA for a HOF, but he was not a guy who made a lot of outs.
   97. Steve Treder Posted: August 30, 2013 at 01:56 PM (#4531470)
BUT, what people tend not to realize now, is that for much of the 70s he was not THE STAR of the Big Red Machine- that was Bench-
now of course the MSM and fans think it was Rose, staheads think Morgan, but at the time it was Bench who as THE MAN


I disagree. Bench and then Morgan were understood to be better players, each winning two MVPs to Rose's one. But Rose was just a massive star, a much more prominent general-media figure than either Bench or Morgan. Baseball experts didn't overrate Rose (they rightly perceived him as one hell of a terrific player), but he was a mainstream pro sports superstar to a degree unsurpassed by just about any other baseball player at the time.
   98. alilisd Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4531474)
as i said, the really accurate way of determining how good a hitter is, is to ask the pitchers that pitched to him.


This doesn't seem like a very good idea though since Drysdale will, presumably, tell us Mays wasn't very good while Koufax will tell us he was great. Apparently Drysdale will tell us McCovey was great, but Koufax will tell us he sucked. I'm not liking your methodology at all.
   99. Ron J2 Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:09 PM (#4531481)
You actually had to be around at the time, to actually know this.


I was around. And I know you're just flat wrong. Rose was a big star.
   100. OCF Posted: August 30, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4531484)
Flip.
Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam S
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Syndicate

Page rendered in 1.1693 seconds
49 querie(s) executed