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Monday, June 02, 2014

Appel: Derek Jeter: Channeling Mickey Mantle’s Farewell Season |

Jeter: Final Season OPS+ 86
Mantle: Final Season OPS+ 143

Watching Derek Jeter’s final season unfold brings both joy and sadness for this lifelong Yankee observer and one-time club employee. The joy is in celebrating the 20 years of memories, and the sadness is, of course, that it is coming to a close.

I am taken back to 1968, which was Mickey Mantle’s final season. There are similarities, and there are differences. The big difference was that no one knew for sure, including Mickey, that it would be his final season. He did not retire until spring training of 1969. So there were no ceremonies staged by opposing clubs, no grand sendoffs from fans.

...Also, with the retirement of Jeter goes a remarkable era that we can call “the end of Yankee hating.”

Certainly dating back to the Joe McCarthy years (which ran from 1931 to 1946), the efficient and seemingly cold-hearted way in which the Yankees went about winning their championships made a lot of fans hate their success and, well, everything about them. They called it arrogance. They said it was about having the most money. They hated Mel Allen’s voice on the air because it usually represented another Yankee win.

But with the arrival of Joe Torre in 1996, and with the debuts of players like Jeter, Rivera, and Bernie Williams, it wasn’t quite so easy to “hate” this franchise. Fans could still root against them (and for their own teams), but it wasn’t easy to “hate” the Torre/Joe Girardi teams. Even Boston fans came to admire and like Jeter and Rivera especially, because of the way they played the game—with professionalism and respect. I suspect that Jeter’s regular-season finale this year—if he’s healthy—will be a celebration of his 20 seasons. And it will come in Fenway Park, of all places, on September 28.

It is the same place where Mantle, unbeknownst to the fans, had his last time at-bat. Yup, the same date—September 28.

Like Jeter, Mantle was admired and respected wherever he went. He was the most popular player of his era. But crowds were smaller then; marketing was almost non-existent. There was no farewell tour, and if there had been one, there would have been no farewell T-shirts, no farewell sweatshirts, no farewell iPhones capturing every pitch.

It was a different time, but in many ways, Derek and Mick had much in common.

Repoz Posted: June 02, 2014 at 12:59 PM | 60 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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   1. Barnaby Jones Posted: June 02, 2014 at 01:30 PM (#4717411)
But with the arrival of Joe Torre in 1996, and with the debuts of players like Jeter, Rivera, and Bernie Williams, it wasn’t quite so easy to “hate” this franchise.


Die in a fire.
   2. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4717432)
Go back to Iran.
   3. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 01:52 PM (#4717440)
But with the arrival of Joe Torre in 1996, and with the debuts of players like Jeter, Rivera, and Bernie Williams, it wasn’t quite so easy to “hate” this franchise.


Bern Baby Bern had been on the team for half a decade by the time the sainted Torre got there.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: June 02, 2014 at 01:53 PM (#4717443)
Also, with the retirement of Jeter goes a remarkable era that we can call “the end of Yankee hating.”

Guess again.
   5. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 02, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4717446)
If you couldn't find a reason to hate the Jeter-era Yankees you weren't trying very hard. Paul O'Neill. Clemens. Pettite the serial liar. Nessus the Centaur. Various Steinbrenners. Late Bernie, when he was the noodle-armed malcontent. Lesser guys like Jeff Nelson, Joba, and Shelly Duncan. Chad Curtis for chrissake.
   6. AROM Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:05 PM (#4717458)
This guy must live in the Bronx and never read anything from anywhere else if he thinks Yankee hating ever ended. Sure, some Yankees are grudgingly respected, but it was just last year when Ryan Dempster committed an anti-Centaur hate crime.

It is the same place where Mantle, unbeknownst to the fans, had his last time at-bat. Yup, the same date—September 28.


If the season ended with the order of standings we have today, Jeter's last scheduled game would be in Anaheim playing for the wild card.
   7. AROM Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4717462)
Reading my previous post, Anti-Centaur Hate Crime would make a great name for a band, trivia team, or internet handle.
   8. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4717463)
I think the lowest ebb of Yankee hating in my lifetime was probably 1990 when weird feelings of pity mixed with the hate. Other than that, it's been all hate all the time.
   9. ursus arctos Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:19 PM (#4717474)
You hadn't been born when they were sharing Shea with the Mets, right?

That was really quite sad.
   10. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:24 PM (#4717479)
You hadn't been born when they were sharing Shea with the Mets, right?

I think I was alive but not old enough to know what a "Met" was. Graig Nettles has a chapter about that in his autobiography, though. Not a fun season, evidently. He claims Mets fans would go to the game just to heckle them. Spending money and time to heckle is some kind of hatred!
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4717485)
I think I was alive but not old enough to know what a "Met" was. Graig Nettles has a chapter about that in his autobiography, though. Not a fun season, evidently. He claims Mets fans would go to the game just to heckle them. Spending money and time to heckle is some kind of hatred!

You just prompted me to look at Nettles BRef page. man that guy is under-rated.

390 HR from a 3B with excellent defense. The Veterans committee should be working on electing him before Torre and Cox.
   12. Batman Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:29 PM (#4717486)
Bern Baby Bern had been on the team for half a decade by the time the sainted Torre got there.
But until then he'd always played the game the wrong way.
   13. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4717490)
But with the arrival of Joe Torre in 1996, and with the debuts of players like Jeter, Rivera, and Bernie Williams, it wasn’t quite so easy to “hate” this franchise.

How easily people around here forget the spate of articles from 1996 and even 1998 that said exactly that, and they weren't all coming from Yankees fans or New York writers. It wasn't really until the signing of Clemens touched off the era of superstar free agent gluttony that the old level of Yankee hatred resumed its normal pace.
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:35 PM (#4717491)
It's not fair, but what kills Nettles is his batting average and lack of 100 RBI seasons. 3rd baseman always get compared to outfielders when it comes to offensive stats for reasons I don't quite understand. Any way, from what I remember his low batting average, especially compared to Brett or Madlock, made him seem like less of a star and he didn't have the huge HR #'s of Schmidt to make up for it. Definitely an underrated player.
   15. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4717494)
Even Boston fans came to admire and like Jeter and Rivera especially
Rivera yes, Jeter no. (Edit: I would put Bernie above Jeter there actually.)

"Respect" I would give him I suppose. But his reaction to the Huckaby incident mars that a bit too.
   16. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 02:48 PM (#4717500)
I think I was alive but not old enough to know what a "Met" was. Graig Nettles has a chapter about that in his autobiography, though. Not a fun season, evidently.

I was living in Washington Heights then, and it was a pain in the ass --Yankee was 5-10 minutes away by subway (or 20 minutes walking, if you wanted to take your life in your hands). But Shea--jeez--depending on the time of day, it could take 2 hours to get there A-->D-->E or F--> 7. Plus Shea was a UAB**

**ugly-ass ballpark
   17. Karl from NY Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4717515)
It wasn't really until the signing of Clemens touched off the era of superstar free agent gluttony that the old level of Yankee hatred resumed its normal pace.

This wasn't even exactly a signing, it was Clemens forcing a trade from Toronto as per a particular contract provision. Yes the Yankees shoveled a lucrative contract extension at him of course. But every Yankee fan to this day swears the acquisition of Clemens was perfectly legit as they did trade David Wells for him. (Never mind that they simply re-signed Wells himself too two years later.)
   18. Lassus Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4717549)
Plus Shea was a ugly-ass ballpark

That I miss terribly. It was better than Speer Stadium is.
   19. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:53 PM (#4717552)
But every Yankee fan to this day swears the acquisition of Clemens was perfectly legit as they did trade David Wells for him.


Well yeah, that's how trades work. You give up players and get different players.

(Never mind that they simply re-signed Wells himself too two years later.)


Well yeah, that's how free-agency works. Money can be exchanged for a player's services, *even if a player has previously played for that team and been traded away*.
   20. SandyRiver Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4717559)
Plus Shea was a UAB**


You didn't like that eyeball-bleaching color scheme for the different levels? Or the upper deck being closer to the 707s departing LaGuardia than to the playing field?

I think most Yankee fans (and Denny McLain) knew 1968 was the end when McLain threw up the meatballs so Mick could pass Foxx.
   21. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4717560)
Money can be exchanged for a player's services, *even if a player has previously played for that team and been traded away*.


You're just making that up.
   22. Mark Armour Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4717561)
I have been a Red Sox fan for 45 years. Oddly, I did not dislike the late 1970s Yankees. I despised the Torre teams though. Sure, Torre was OK, and Rivera, and Jeter. But I think the worm turned for me when the media told me that I should love them, and that I needed to especially root for them this year because of of someone's relative was heroically battling cancer. The post-9/11 nonsense kind of did me in.
   23. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4717569)
It wasn't really until the signing of Clemens touched off the era of superstar free agent gluttony that the old level of Yankee hatred resumed its normal pace.

This wasn't even exactly a signing, it was Clemens forcing a trade from Toronto as per a particular contract provision. Yes the Yankees shoveled a lucrative contract extension at him of course. But every Yankee fan to this day swears the acquisition of Clemens was perfectly legit as they did trade David Wells for him. (Never mind that they simply re-signed Wells himself too two years later.)


Regardless of how the Clemens trade/signing/power move/betrayal was viewed, the point is that this pre-1999 offseason event was what got the old fashioned Yankee hatred back on its normal track. It wasn't running on nearly that level between 1996 and 1998.
   24. alilisd Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:08 PM (#4717577)
Like Jeter, Mantle was admired and respected wherever he went. He was the most popular player of his era.


Isn't this revisionist? I thought Mantle wasn't even universally loved by Yankees fans, many of whom saw him as a poor facsimile of DiMaggio who struck out too much.
   25. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:12 PM (#4717582)
Regardless of how the Clemens trade/signing/power move/betrayal was viewed, the point is that this pre-1999 offseason event was what got the old fashioned Yankee hatred back on its normal track. It wasn't running on nearly that level between 1996 and 1998.


Any softening of Yankee hate, at any time, for any reason, is a national embarrassment. There is no cuddly Yankee era, no epoch when the Yankees elicited a tinge of warm feelings by anyone with a soul. Thus it always was, and thus it will always be.

A Red Sox for 40-plus years, though one who grew up in the NY Metropolitan area (which undoubtedly forged my Yankee hate into its diamond-quality hardness).

   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:14 PM (#4717589)
But every Yankee fan to this day swears the acquisition of Clemens was perfectly legit as they did trade David Wells for him.

The Yankees also gave up Graeme Lloyd & Homer Bush, two semi-beloved Heroes of '98!
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4717607)
Like Jeter, Mantle was admired and respected wherever he went. He was the most popular player of his era.


Isn't this revisionist? I thought Mantle wasn't even universally loved by Yankees fans, many of whom saw him as a poor facsimile of DiMaggio who struck out too much.

You're partly right, but from 1961 on Mantle more or less took over the Dimaggio role among that segment of Yankee fandom, while Mantle's former role was assumed by Roger Maris.

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

Regardless of how the Clemens trade/signing/power move/betrayal was viewed, the point is that this pre-1999 offseason event was what got the old fashioned Yankee hatred back on its normal track. It wasn't running on nearly that level between 1996 and 1998.

Any softening of Yankee hate, at any time, for any reason, is a national embarrassment. There is no cuddly Yankee era, no epoch when the Yankees elicited a tinge of warm feelings by anyone with a soul. Thus it always was, and thus it will always be.


See, now that's an honest answer that I can respect, but during those first three Torre years there were more than a few backsliders within your ranks.

A Red Sox for 40-plus years, though one who grew up in the NY Metropolitan area (which undoubtedly forged my Yankee hate into its diamond-quality hardness).

I only wish I had a sports villain like that that I could focus all my energy against. The Atlanta Braves are about the only team I really despise, but it's hard to work up too much hatred against a team that's won but one lowly championship in 48 years, in spite of all their opportunities. I have to go back to the Russell era Celtics to remember any similar combination of fear and loathing, and even that faded quickly after Russell's retirement.
   28. Mark Armour Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4717608)
Isn't this revisionist? I thought Mantle wasn't even universally loved by Yankees fans, many of whom saw him as a poor facsimile of DiMaggio who struck out too much.


Mantle was admired by Yankee fans and bar owners. The dichotomy got particularly embarrassing late in life, when the Mick finally realized how much horrific damage he had done to other people -- wife, children, friends -- and begged everyone to understand how unheroic a life he had led. The reaction of the Costas/Christal sycophants? "Oh my God, what a hero!"

   29. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: June 02, 2014 at 04:48 PM (#4717622)
Jeter: Final Season OPS+ 86
Mantle: Final Season OPS+ 143

Just noticed this:

In BBRef's database, Mantle has the highest OPS+ of any player with 9700+ PA and 50% of his games at CF. Jeter has the highest OPS+ of any player with 9700+ PA and 50% of his games at SS (Wagner had 9640 PA). Mantle's last season was 26 points off of his career OPS+. Jeter's season so far is 27 points off of his career OPS+.

So, yeah, Jeter's season is sort of Mantle's last season translated to SS.

   30. I Am Not a Number Posted: June 02, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4717638)
Another thread celebrates Harry Caray's 288-day streak. It feels like there is a similar streak in effect for Jeter where one writer after another worships unabashedly at the altar of Number 2, Derek Jeter, Number 2. This is already beyond tiresome and we have two thirds of the season to go.
   31. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4717651)
Another thread celebrates Harry Caray's 288-day streak. It feels like there is a similar streak in effect for Jeter where one writer after another worships unabashedly at the altar of Number 2, Derek Jeter, Number 2. This is already beyond tiresome and we have two thirds of the season to go.

I agree, and BTW, who keeps posting these endless Jeter articles? I forget his name.
   32. alilisd Posted: June 02, 2014 at 06:47 PM (#4717700)
You're partly right, but from 1961 on Mantle more or less took over the Dimaggio role among that segment of Yankee fandom, while Mantle's former role was assumed by Roger Maris.


Thanks!
   33. alilisd Posted: June 02, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4717701)
Mantle was admired by Yankee fans and bar owners.


He was an interesting character!
   34. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 02, 2014 at 08:17 PM (#4717744)
Even Boston fans came to admire and like Jeter and Rivera especially, because of the way they played the game—with professionalism and respect.


No, wrong. They earned respect because they were good at baseball. No other reasons whatsoever factor into it.
   35. Morty Causa Posted: June 02, 2014 at 08:59 PM (#4717762)
Mantle was loved throughout his career by most fans, even most Yankee fans. By about 1960-61, it was universal, encompassing most all fans, players, and management. Sure, there was a contingent of old farts who booed him at home early in his career, and that might have had something to do with residual DiMaggio fanboyism, but, really, that's overblown. The booing also had something to do with what some saw early in his career as not fulfilling his military duty during the Korean War, which has been discussed already here. But he was certainly respected, and even idolized, by other players, especially by about 1960-61. To paraphrase Bill James, what's not to like and admire: he played brilliantly, often in great pain. Even negative images of him, like in Ball Four, clearly acknowledge that there was something special about him, a charisma, and a magnetism that served as a source point for team cohesion.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 09:15 PM (#4717774)
Mantle was loved throughout his career by most fans, even most Yankee fans. By about 1960-61, it was universal, encompassing most all fans, players, and management. Sure, there was a contingent of old farts who booed him at home early in his career, and that might have had something to do with residual DiMaggio fanboyism, but, really, that's overblown.

Morty, trust me, it wasn't only a small contingent. He was treated exactly like A-Rod was in Yankee Stadium before the steroids revelations: Wild cheering when he was hot, and cascades of boos when he was cold, and often they'd switch from cheers to boos and back to cheers several times within the course of a single game. It was always "what have you done for us lately?" until 1961.

And his draft status had nothing to do with it. It was the just the streakiness and the strikeouts. Mantle's problem with the fans was simple: He was too spectacularly great way too soon, and because of that he faced an insanely overinflated set of expectations.

You're right about the other players, though. His teammates loved him and everyone respected him. Christ, every player in baseball knew about the way he had to get taped up from crotch to toe before every game, and that he knew he was always just one false step from being a semi-permanent cripple. He was the ultimate gamer, even if it took many Yankee fans about a decade to appreciate it without backsliding after two straight strikeouts.
   37. Morty Causa Posted: June 02, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4717792)
I'll defer to you, since you were there, while my impressions are strictly through the media, living as I did about 1200 miles away. Still, they are my impressions from watching games on TV and from reading countless accounts as a rabid fan of his (he was my second favorite player of the time, maybe of all time).
   38. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 02, 2014 at 10:27 PM (#4717814)
St. Nick nails it. The scenario that you describe is exactly what I've been told by Yankee fans who lived through that era.
   39. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 02, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4717824)
It's interesting that it comes full circle from JoeD to Jeter--both were:
1) exceedingly excellent ballplayers, and
2) overrated by the media (or press) at the time
I pity the next Yankee shortshop
   40. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 02, 2014 at 11:10 PM (#4717847)
It's interesting that it comes full circle from JoeD to Jeter--both were:
1) exceedingly excellent ballplayers, and
2) overrated by the media (or press) at the time


Well, Dimaggio was "overrated" only in the sense that he was spoken of in nearly Ruthian terms, but when you adjust for the ridiculous Death Valley disadvantage** you can begin to appreciate that he's as underrated by the current generation of fans as he was overrated by the press of his own generation.

**Which isn't taken into account by OPS+, which for whatever reason doesn't factor in wildly asymmetrical playing fields like the original Yankee Stadium.

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

St. Nick nails it. The scenario that you describe is exactly what I've been told by Yankee fans who lived through that era.

I saw it firsthand in 1960, when I went to a solid bloc of six consecutive Yankees games from July 31st through August 3rd, including two doubleheaders. I distinctly remember the boos that poured down on Mantle in one of those games when Jim Bunning struck him out three straight times, and then again when he came up in the ninth with a chance to tie the game and grounded out feebly to the second baseman. He had 40 homers that year and a 162 OPS+, but he also hit .275 and led the league with 125 strikeouts. That gave the boo birds a lot of opportunities to stretch their lungs, however unfairly and absurdly. It was mostly those strikeouts that prompted the negative comparisons to Dimaggio, who only whiffed an almost unimaginable 369 times over his entire 13 year career. Mantle passed that mark by his 23rd birthday.
   41. rufus was here Posted: June 03, 2014 at 07:15 AM (#4717882)
Became a rabid baseball fan in the 1960s.

To me the most fascinating thing about Mantle is that when he retired, he was widely viewed as so past his prime that he barely contributed.

Today we realize he was still a very productive player, and almost certainly the best player on those crappy Yankee teams.

Big difference from Jeter, who really is pretty mediocre right now.
   42. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:17 AM (#4717887)
Became a rabid baseball fan in the 1960s.

To me the most fascinating thing about Mantle is that when he retired, he was widely viewed as so past his prime that he barely contributed.


That's kind of the bookend to the way he was judged earlier in his career. In the beginning he was compared to Dimaggio, and at the end he was being compared to his own peak performances. Add the hitting environment of 1968 and you had the perfect storm for misevaluation---a misevaluation that Mantle himself shared.

But you can still make too much of Mantle's OPS+ numbers, since a lot of that was in walks, which were of marginal use when he didn't have any teammates who could drive him in. On a better hitting team his value would have been much more apparent.
   43. Jeltzandini Posted: June 03, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4717902)
He was also charged with 15 errors in 1968, almost twice as much as in any other year in his career. That would certainly have added to the impression that he was done. BBRef is also hard on his defense that year. -2.3 dWAR at 1B.

FWIW, if you turn the McLain HR into a K, he loses 10 OPS points.
   44. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4717906)
Wagner had 9640 PA)


Maybe from 1901 on...

He had 11748 total
   45. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4717930)
Sure, there was a contingent of old farts who booed him at home early in his career, and that might have had something to do with residual DiMaggio fanboyism, but, really, that's overblown.


My father and my uncles all looked down on Mantle as an overrated bum who struck out too much, and that was in the 70s when his career was over. My cousins (who were mostly 10-20 years older than me, had grown up watching Mantle and almost literally worshipped him.

I of course was a young ignorant pipsqueak whose favorite player as Dave Kingman so both sets rightfully looked down on me and my baseball opinion.

There were of course people even then in pre-Bill James times, who argued that a strikeout was just another out, but there was nonetheless an intense anti-K sentiment among many fans and writers, who just did not see a K as another out, it was far worse than another type of out, and such belief was held by some with religious fervor. What was really odd to me was that that the very same people who most vocally disdained hitters who struck out too much- thought that pitcher Ks were meaningless, that pitchers who tried for Ks were bad, that good pitchers learned to pitch to contact and relied upon their fielders- and yes the inherent contradiction would be pointed out to them, and their response would be total bafflement (To this day I'm still baffled by their response, all I really have is that for some fans the "right" way to play is literally revealed wisdom in a religious sense, pointing out contradictions in their baseball beliefs is like pointing out textual contradictions in the Bible to Christian fundamentalists)
   46. TDF, situational idiot Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4717935)
In BBRef's database, Mantle has the highest OPS+ of any player with 9700+ PA and 50% of his games at CF. Jeter has the highest OPS+ of any player with 9700+ PA and 50% of his games at SS (Wagner had 9640 PA). Mantle's last season was 26 points off of his career OPS+. Jeter's season so far is 27 points off of his career OPS+.
Also, I believe Mantle had a secretary named Jeter and Jeter has a secretary named Mantle.
   47. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4717941)
Also, I believe Mantle had ###### a secretary named Jeter and Jeter has ###### a secretary named Mantle.
   48. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:51 AM (#4717943)
There were of course people even then in pre-Bill James times, who argued that a strikeout was just another out, but there was nonetheless an intense anti-K sentiment among many fans and writers, who just did not see a K as another out, it was far worse than another type of out, and such belief was held by some with religious fervor. What was really odd to me was that that the very same people who most vocally disdained hitters who struck out too much- thought that pitcher Ks were meaningless, that pitchers who tried for Ks were bad, that good pitchers learned to pitch to contact and relied upon their fielders- and yes the inherent contradiction would be pointed out to them, and their response would be total bafflement.

I almost never run into that sort of fan back in Mantle's day. Most fans back then looked up to the big strikeout pitchers like Feller and Koufax, and looked down on hitters who struck out in big batches. Not that they didn't cheer those same hitters when they started hitting home runs, but if there was any prevailing "contradiction", it was more that than the one you mentioned. Pitchers were mainly admired, however, for their won-lost records and ERA (in that order), and whether they achieved them by strikeouts or cunning was pretty much secondary. A Koufax may have been more of a gate draw than (say) a Whitey Ford, but the relative degree with which they were admired was directly related to their won-lost records and ERAs.

   49. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 03, 2014 at 10:53 AM (#4717946)
Also, I believe Mantle had ###### a secretary named Jeter and Jeter has ###### a secretary named Mantle.

But once again The Mick rates the adjusted edge, since he was often forced to #### Mizz Jeter on one leg.
   50. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4717949)
To this day I'm still baffled by their response, all I really have is that for some fans the "right" way to play is literally revealed wisdom in a religious sense, pointing out contradictions in their baseball beliefs is like pointing out textual contradictions in the Bible to Christian fundamentalists


I don't think so. There are a couple of factors at work here that explain it.

First, when you start playing baseball, striking out (or, more accurately, not putting the ball in play) is, in fact, the worst possible outcome. At the lowest levels, putting the ball in play generally leads to a batter reaching base. That rate steadily drops throughout a player's life, but even into high school there's still greater value to putting the ball in play vs. striking out. Losing that "put the ball in play" mindset* is simply difficult for some to shake.

Second, if you take the outcomes out of it and focus on the process, striking out is the ultimate failure from an attempt standpoint. When you swing the bat, your goal is to hit the ball. Hitting it really hard is the ideal - the opposite of that is missing it completely. It's kind of natural then to assume this is the worst outcome, even if it's not for the big league hitter (particularly if those swings and misses are simply the unfortunate byproduct of a cut that generates significant power when contact is made).

As for the contradiction, that's just the reverse of the contradiction we now accept - strikeouts not so bad for batters, very good for pitchers.

* And, of course, if you were to fix the act (an at bat that ends with a swing and miss vs. one that ends with a ball in play), rather than the outcome (strikeout vs. other kind of out), there is still value to the ball in play.
   51. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4717952)

Mantle was admired by Yankee fans and bar owners. The dichotomy got particularly embarrassing late in life, when the Mick finally realized how much horrific damage he had done to other people -- wife, children, friends -- and begged everyone to understand how unheroic a life he had led. The reaction of the Costas/Christal sycophants? "Oh my God, what a hero!"


Only the true Messiah denies his divinity.
   52. Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:28 AM (#4717980)
All this Derek Jeter talk overlooks one important fact: he's the all-time leader in WAR among players whose first and last names contain only one vowel.
   53. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4717984)
You just prompted me to look at Nettles BRef page. man that guy is under-rated.
390 HR from a 3B with excellent defense. The Veterans committee should be working on electing him before Torre and Cox.


I'd love to see the Veterans Committee go back to having mgrs, executives, and umpires on a separate ballot. Nettles belongs on the Expansion Era Vet Comm ballot but the Historical Overview Committee that devises the ballot is using up the ballot spots on guys who did well in BBWAA voting but, looking at their stats under advanced metrics have weak cases. Nettles' career bbref WAR & WAA are 68.0 & 32.8. There have been two Exp Era ballots & both times he has been overlooked. The most recent ballot had Garvey (WAR & WAA of 37.7 & 6.6), Parker (39.9 & 6.3), Concepcion (39.8 & 8.0). Compare that to Nettles' totals along with Grich (70.9 WAR, 43.4) Dwight Evans (66.9, 32.8), & Hernandez (60.0, 31.6).

Historical Overview Committee, meet advanced metrics. Advanced metrics, meet The Historical Overview Committee
   54. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4717985)
All this Derek Jeter talk overlooks one important fact: he's the all-time leader in WAR among players whose first and last names contain only one vowel.


Sometimes Ty Cobb is.
   55. Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:33 AM (#4717992)
Interestingly, #2 among position players was also a Yankee shortstop with "e" as the only vowel in his name. He had 7 of them, though.

Sometimes Ty Cobb is.

Well done.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:36 AM (#4717993)
Interestingly, #2 among position players was also a Yankee shortstop with "e" as the only vowel in his name. He had 7 of them, though.

Pee Wee Reese was a Yankee?
   57. Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:48 AM (#4718008)
I'll show myself out.
   58. jayjay Posted: June 03, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4718099)
If the season ended with the order of standings we have today, Jeter's last scheduled game would be in Anaheim playing for the wild card.

Just like Mickey.
   59. dr. scott Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4718202)
What was really odd to me was that that the very same people who most vocally disdained hitters who struck out too much- thought that pitcher Ks were meaningless, that pitchers who tried for Ks were bad, that good pitchers learned to pitch to contact and relied upon their fielders- and yes the inherent contradiction would be pointed out to them, and their response would be total bafflement


Its simple.... Strikeouts are fascist. And both are to blame.
   60. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4718244)
He was also charged with 15 errors in 1968, almost twice as much as in any other year in his career. That would certainly have added to the impression that he was done. BBRef is also hard on his defense that year. -2.3 dWAR at 1B.

People really need to stop using dWAR for this, which now contains the positional adjustment for 1B. His rfield aw -10. Which is still quite bad, but basically on par with the numbers he was putting up in the OF since he turned 30.

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