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Love the sentiment and conclusions. One quibble with the last claim:
He said "among second basemen and shortstops."
Player Rfield PA OPS+ WAR/pos CS PosGeorge Davis 140 8310 124 77.7 *654/379Bobby Grich 81 8220 125 71.0 83 *46/3H5DYogi Berra 31 8359 125 59.3 26 *2H79/35Kiki Cuyler 14 8100 125 46.7 27 987/HBob Elliott -4 8205 124 50.7 2 *59/H7864Edd Roush -6 8155 126 45.6 92 *8/7H394Cesar Cedeno -14 8133 123 52.6 179 *8397H/5Hal McRae -16 8059 123 27.8 78 *D7H/9854Ellis Burks -32 8177 126 49.5 84 *89D7HJim Bottomley -73 8354 125 35.5 15 *3H/4Bobby Bonilla -121 8257 124 30.2 57 597H3/D81
Player Rfield PA OPS WAR/pos SB PosBobby Grich 81 8220 .794 71.0 104 *46/3H5DWally Joyner 54 8115 .802 35.7 60 *3H/DRon Cey 19 8344 .799 53.2 24 *5/HD3Buddy Myer -1 8190 .795 47.0 157 *465H/79Joe Sewell -4 8333 .804 53.7 74 *65/H4Cesar Cedeno -14 8133 .790 52.6 550 *8397H/5Willie Horton -18 8052 .789 26.5 20 *7D9H/5Pie Traynor -32 8297 .797 36.3 158 *5/6H3Ken Griffey -68 8049 .790 34.5 200 97H83/DGary Matthews -94 8189 .802 30.2 183 *79H/D
Thing is, he was a superstar in Baltimore -- 4 Gold Gloves, 3 All-Star games, 3 years MVP votes, widely acknowledged as the 2nd-best 2Bman in the game. But his rep never recovered all the way from that injury-triggered 1977 faceplant, and the overall notion that the free-spending Angels of 1977-86 failed to live up to their potential.
Grich is to be compared to other second basemen and shortstops, mostly and predominantly to those of his time.
Consider that in 1981, when he became the first 2Bman to lead his league in home runs and slugging since Rogers Hornsby, Grich started more than half his games batting 6th or lower.
WAR's overrating people like Grich and Sweet Lou
I haven't seen that many polite, shy, neo-Nazi, stone cold killers on TV.
Right, but he was tied for the team lead in OPS+ in 1979, and #3 in 1980. The fact that Ed Ott hit in front of Bobby Grich more than 20 times in 1981 speaks volumes about Jim Fregosi's basic clue about how to deploy Grich offensively.
Grich and Lou get a big WAR bump because they walked a lot. Nothing wrong with walking, but when you're talking about the guys who should be immortalized in Cooperstown, the last ones you should look to are the ones whose WAR is bumped way up because they walked a lot. You can't walk your way off the island and you shouldn't be able to walk your way into Cooperstown absent some really great skill or narrative. (And the converse is true -- Ichiro doesn't walk much so his OBPs don't look great, but he's a fantastic hitter and should go into Cooperstown on the first ballot.)
when you're talking about the guys who should be immortalized in Cooperstown, the last ones you should look to are the ones whose WAR is bumped way up because they walked a lot
Pathetic trolling, or astonishing stupidity?
Eddie Gaedal and I could draw a walk in a major league game.
OK, Mantle was snark: though his WAR truly is massively pumped up by walks. But take them away, and he still has 500 HR: though take away his plate discipline, and does he get 500 HR?
Which Hall of Famers would one exclude?
Well put. Eddie Gaedal and I could draw a walk in a major league game. That walk might provide value to my team, but it isn't the same caliber of skill as getting a hit off a major league pitcher.
The hardest cases might be a few guys like Joe Morgan. Morgan hit .271. He hit 268 home runs. He was no Bobby Knoop at second base. If there was every anyone pumped into the inner-circle by walks, it would be Morgan. I reckon you'd consign him to an outer circle, which is fine.
Alomar, at least during the time he was in Toronto, also was widely viewed (falsely) as an extraordinary fielder
If you're taking away a lot of the walks, you're also taking away a lot of the steals and runs, not to mention some actual wins that Morgan contributed to his teams. Walks do not exist in a vacuum.
I don't think it's either, just a personal opinion of aesthetics.
One can hold this opinion without arguing that it makes Tony Gwynn better than Tim Raines. Just to such an observer, he'd rather watch Gwynn slap a first pitch single than watch Raines work the count for a few minutes before taking ball 4.
WAR's overrating people like Grich and Sweet Lou, who I'm totally in the tank for (formative years Tiger) but who isn't a HOFer. Both were underrated as players, but not to the extent WAR says they were underrated.
One more point about walks. unless you are willing to own the position that players should routinely swing at pitches out of the strike zone, both when they are ahead on the count or on the first pitch, you can't really say anything about their walk rate.
Grich and Lou get a big WAR bump because they walked a lot
And I don't know how you get Ichiro into the HOF without some species of the argument I've proffered.
(Not saying a better contact rate would have made Jim Thome or anyone else a more effective player. I don't think it would have. Just noting that there's more to walking than simply not swinging at balls).
No. It's the propensity to demonstrate athletic and baseball skill on a baseball field. The harder the skill, the more we rightly celebrate world-class exhibition of that skill.
The harder the skill, the more we rightly celebrate world-class exhibition of that skill.
Earlier SBB mentioned Eddie Gaedel - If you're that short then walking is pretty easy.
I think that the crouching 3' 7" Gaedel's walk rate would be much higher than that,
So of the skills people like Barry Bonds and Mickey Mantle demonstrated on a baseball field, the one most worthy of celebration -- the one that really separates them as baseball players and athletes -- was their ability to draw walks?
And the most notable thing about seasons for the ages like Joe Morgan's 1976 was the fact that he drew a lot of walks?
No one believes this. There's no reason in persisting in the belief that anyone does.
I think Gaedel doesn't walk more than 25 percent of the time in a non-surprise setting. The plate's still 18 inches wide, and his effective zone is going to be at least 8 inches high. I think most pitchers can hit that 3 out of 7 tries.
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