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Monday, June 02, 2008

Batters Box: What’s Left is Right in Boston

Here’s a challenge ... can you name the greatese single Franchise Position in baseball history? Isn’t it Left Field, Boston Red Sox?

Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski you know about. Before them came Duffy Lewis—who would have made a bushel of All-Star Games had there been such a thing back then—and after them came Jim Rice, Mike Greenwell and now Manny Ramirez, the latter who is also headed to the HOF.

Um ... wow. I don’t think even NYY 1B—Gehrig, Skowron, Chambliss, Mattingly—comes close to that. Does anyone else come close?

Paul D(uda) Posted: June 02, 2008 at 05:53 PM | 42 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, red sox, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. whoisalhedges Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:33 PM (#2803120)
That might well be the best, but there are other interesting anomalies:

Athletics 1B: Davis, Foxx, McGwire
Pirates SS: Wagner, Vaughan... um, Jay Bell?
Yankees CF: Combs, DiMaggio, Mantle, Williams
Indians CF: Speaker, Averill, Doby
Yankees RF: Ruth, Henrich, Selkirk, Reggie!, Winfield
   2. rsmith51 Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:36 PM (#2803124)
Might as well add Murcer in CF for Yanks and Henderson played CF for 2 years for the Yanks.

I would add Maris to the Yankees RF.

I would probably go with the Yanks CF, but the Red Sox LF is right behind them. The difference is greater if you include defense.
   3. rsmith51 Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:39 PM (#2803126)
Also interesting is that LF is where the Red Sox hide their worst defensive player. Sounds about right.
   4. The Essex Snead Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:45 PM (#2803132)
Also interesting is that LF is where the Red Sox hide their worst defensive player.

How interesting can it really be when most teams hide their worst defensive player in LF?
   5. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:45 PM (#2803133)
Giants first baseman have also been pretty good - Roger Connor, Fred Merkle, George Kelly (no, he shouldn't be in the HoF, but he was fine player), Bill Terry, Johnny Mize, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Will Clark.
   6. SoSH U at work Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:48 PM (#2803138)
Might as well add Murcer in CF for Yanks and Henderson played CF for 2 years for the Yanks.

I would probably go with the Yanks CF, but the Red Sox LF is right behind them. The difference is greater if you include defense.


By total number of players, yes.

What separates the Red Sox (if indeed they are at the top) is the total number of seasons these guys put in at the position. Toss out a couple of war years and the period between Greenwell and Manny, and those are the only five regular leftfielders the Red Sox have had since 1939.
   7. OCF Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:54 PM (#2803145)
Take a look at St. Louis first base. Mize, a surprisingly large chunk of Musial, the best part of Hernandez, bits and pieces of Cepeda, Allen, and Jack Clark, some lesser but still very good players like Bottomley, and now Pujols. It's an impressive line.
   8. Halofan Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:55 PM (#2803148)
This exercise is biased in favor of pre-expansion teams.
   9. TVerik. Old Java Rodney. Posted: June 02, 2008 at 06:58 PM (#2803150)
No Troy O'Leary love?
   10. Jon T. Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:07 PM (#2803166)
Didn't the Hardball Times do this recently by looking at Win Shares by position? I believe Yankee CF came in first.
   11. Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:08 PM (#2803168)
How about Diamondback ace? The Diamondbacks have had at least one pitcher qualify for the ERA title and post an ERA+ of at least 126 every year of their existence.

98- Daal, 146 ERA+.
99- RJ, 186.
00- RJ, 181.
01- RJ, 188.
02- RJ, 197.
03- Webb, 165.
04- RJ, 177.
05- Webb, 126.
06- Webb, 152.
07- Webb, 156.
   12. whoisalhedges Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:09 PM (#2803174)
Also interesting is that LF is where the Red Sox hide their worst defensive player. Sounds about right.

Yaz was pretty good....
   13. Russ Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:13 PM (#2803180)
How about Diamondback ace?


I think Dodger ace takes these guys behind the woodshed.
   14. Kiko Sakata Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:27 PM (#2803202)
Probably the best position not mentioned so far is Yankee catchers: Schang, Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson, Posada. A few gaps there, but a lot of quality guys.
   15. SandyRiver Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:28 PM (#2803203)
Also interesting is that LF is where the Red Sox hide their worst defensive player. Sounds about right.

Yaz was pretty good....


"Worst" is especially incorrect during the two years when Dick Stuart played at Boston.
   16. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:42 PM (#2803223)
For the White Sox, it's probably DH: Luzinski, Baines, Thomas, Thome
   17. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:43 PM (#2803224)
If you're a fan of quantity over quality, it's hard to top the list of New York Mets third basemen.
   18. kthejoker Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:49 PM (#2803228)
Astros 1b has a lot of collective talent: Berkman, Bagwell, Glenn Davis, Cesar Cedeno, Bob Watson, Lee May, a young Rusty Staub.
   19. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 02, 2008 at 07:56 PM (#2803234)
Since the Phils 1B would have to be Kruk or Howard in 500-ish games, I would think that position is among the weaker of all time. Don Hurst is probably third. They did piss away Dolph Camilli but not a lot of other quality for any extended length of time.
   20. salvomania Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:07 PM (#2803244)
pretty nice century-plus talent at 1b, St. Louis, National League:

1880s, Charles Comiskey (HoF);
1890s, Roger Connor (HoF);
19aughts, Jake Beckley (HoF);
1910s, Ed Konetchy (career OPS+ of 122 in over 2000 games);
early 1920s, Jack Fournier (career OPS+ of 142 in over 1530 games);
1920s, Jim Bottomley (HoF);
1930s, Ripper Collins (career OPS+ of 126 in over 1000 games);
1940s, Johnny Mize (HoF);
1950s, Stan Musial (HoF);
1960s, Bill White (5-time all star, 7 gold gloves, career OPS+ of 116 in over 1500 games);
1960s, Orlando Cepeda (HoF)
early 1970s, Joe Torre (career OPS+ of 128 in over 2000 games)
1970s, Keith Hernandez (career OPS+ of 128 in over 2000 games)
1980s, Jack Clark (career OPS+ of 137 in almost 2000 games)
early 1990s, Pedro Guerrero (career OPS+ of 137 in over 1500 games)
late 1990s, Mark McGwire
2000s, Albert Pujols
   21. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:23 PM (#2803258)
Take a look at St. Louis first base. Mize, a surprisingly large chunk of Musial, the best part of Hernandez, bits and pieces of Cepeda, Allen, and Jack Clark, some lesser but still very good players like Bottomley, and now Pujols. It's an impressive line.


plus McGwire
   22. OCF Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:25 PM (#2803260)
Plus McGwire. That's what I get for not stopping a minute before I post.
   23. cardsfanboy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:37 PM (#2803268)
yep, Cardinals first base is the first thing that popped into my mind, think it's funny that the writer tries to put a new york first base team out there. Not even remotely close.

But post 10 pointed it out, I'm pretty sure the Hardball Times did this article/research.
   24. rsmith51 Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:50 PM (#2803274)
On defense Yaz >> Rice, Williams, Manny

I was just pointing out that the Yankees stud players are at a defensive position, while most other teams put them at a less important defensive position(DH, 1B, LF, RF). Of course that might explain the number of world series championships, too. I think someone said it, but C is also pretty solid for the Yanks.
   25. Dizzypaco Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:54 PM (#2803276)
yep, Cardinals first base is the first thing that popped into my mind, think it's funny that the writer tries to put a new york first base team out there. Not even remotely close.

Except that you can't really claim a new york bias, given that New York Centerfield is probably the best. New York 1st base is just weird - its not really been one of the Yankee's better positions, other than Gehrig.
   26. phredbird Posted: June 02, 2008 at 08:55 PM (#2803279)
how about cardinals SS?
rabbit maranville, leo durocher, marty marion, dick groat, dal maxvill, ozzie smith, edgar renteria and ... um ... royce clayton?
:-)
   27. Iwakuma Chameleon (jonathan) Posted: June 02, 2008 at 09:06 PM (#2803284)
That might well be the best, but there are other interesting anomalies:

Athletics 1B: Davis, Foxx, McGwire


And Giambi, too.


I don't think the A's have anything to match STL 1B or BOS LF, but A's Ace Reliever probably tops other teams: Fingers, Eckersley, Street, short, solid stints from a lot of others (Isringhausen, Foulke...). Though now that I think about it, the Yankees, with Gossage and Rivera and Wetteland, probably win out there too.
   28. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 02, 2008 at 09:15 PM (#2803291)
How interesting can it really be when most teams hide their worst defensive player in LF?


I thought that was 1B. I'd rather have a bad 1B than a bad LF.
   29. cardsfanboy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 09:48 PM (#2803309)
I wasn't really claiming bias, just thinking it was funny when you just have to look at the past 10 years and have a good template of what team had the best firstbaseman and then kinda wondering "who was there before McGwire?"
.
The a's probably win relief ace, not sure that the Yankees beat the Cardinals in that regard though (Sutter, Smith, Worrell, Isringhausen, Hrabosky--two top 5 cy young appearances) although having Rivera alone probably equals any two relief ace. Of course relief ace is relatively a new concept and will probably be filled with two-five year players.
   30. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: June 02, 2008 at 09:54 PM (#2803314)
Murphy/Page/McDaniel/Lyle/Gossage/Righetti/Rivera and even some good years in the 60s from guys like Arroyo, Hamilton and Reniff . . . I'd say the Yankees bury anyone but the A's at relief ace - and considering I'd take Gossage over Fingers and Rivera over Eck, I'd say they are comfortably ahead of them too. We even gave them Jay Howell and we're still ahead :-)
   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:06 PM (#2803326)
Ryne Duren and Johnny Sain too...
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:12 PM (#2803332)
I was sort of pushing with the Cardinals comment about relief ace, but I didn't realize how good Hrabosky was for the Cardinals, and of course Gossages best year was with Pittsburgh. Overall Gossage as a Yankee was better than Al as a Cardinal, but I probably take Al's best Cardinal year ahead of Gossages best Yankee year. Although the 30+ ip advantage that Gossage enjoys probably eliminates the era+. I would have loved to have seen what type of numbers Gossage could have put up in a full season in 1981 though. Of course I then would take Gossages second best year, third best, fourth best and fifth best year ahead of Als only other good year. Still I think it's impressive that Hrabosky actually put up a season on par with Gossage, never really looked at that until now.


Of course I'm a tremendous Rivera fan, and don't think anyone, including Gossage, is comparable to him in the role as relief ace. (of course I'm adjusting for eras, but the sustained excellence from Rivera is almost unheard of for his role)
   33. 44magnum Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:23 PM (#2803336)
Reds relief aces have to be considered. Clay Carroll, Franco, Myers (1 year), Dibble, Brantley, Shaw, Williamson. Eastwick, Graves, Tom Hume were also decent. Lee Smith, Reardon, Tekulve all pitched for Reds towards end of careers. Reds drafted but dealt away/exp draft Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Russell, Jeff Montgomery.

Cubs have had some great RF's.
   34. Answer Guy. Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:23 PM (#2803337)
I thought that was 1B. I'd rather have a bad 1B than a bad LF.


In most parks, yes. In Fenway, if you learn to play the caroms off the wall, it matters much less how much range or what kind arm the LF has than it does in most parks. Manny from what I can tell misreads too many balls and has limited range, which combine make him a poor defensive OF despite knowing the wall reasonably well and having a decent arm.
   35. bibigon Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:37 PM (#2803342)
I think Dodger ace takes these guys behind the woodshed.


If we're doing pitchers, then how about Red Sox ace?

Pedro, Clemens, Cy Young and Lefty Grove are a pretty solid group.
   36. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:44 PM (#2803345)
Pedro, Clemens, Cy Young and Lefty Grove are a pretty solid group.


Plus Babe Ruth...
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:45 PM (#2803346)
Pedro, Clemens, Cy Young and Lefty Grove are a pretty solid group


not going to put Babe Ruth on that list?
   38. AndrewJ Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:50 PM (#2803349)
The Cards are also pretty strong in left field (Hafey/Medwick/Musial/Brock). And I wouldn't rule out Phillies pitching, either (Alexander/Roberts/Bunning/Carlton).
   39. AndrewJ Posted: June 02, 2008 at 10:54 PM (#2803351)
Orioles shortstops, with Aparicio, Belanger, Ripken and Tejada, aren't too shabby. And if you include Brownies, you have Vern Stephens and Bobby Wallace, too.
   40. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: June 02, 2008 at 11:30 PM (#2803372)
Astros 1b has a lot of collective talent...


Second base isn't too shabby either... Joe Morgan, Bill Doran, Craig Biggio, Jeff Kent, etc...
   41. AndrewJ Posted: June 02, 2008 at 11:43 PM (#2803384)
Pirates SS: Wagner, Vaughan... um, Jay Bell?


Also Dick Groat, one of the few two-sport stars who was actually great at both sports.




As for bullpens, how about the A's? Grove, Rommel, Fingers, Eckersley...
   42. SandyRiver Posted: June 03, 2008 at 12:57 AM (#2803465)
Reds relief aces have to be considered. Clay Carroll, Franco, Myers (1 year), Dibble, Brantley, Shaw, Williamson. Eastwick, Graves, Tom Hume were also decent. Lee Smith, Reardon, Tekulve all pitched for Reds towards end of careers. Reds drafted but dealt away/exp draft Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Russell, Jeff Montgomery

Couple good years from Jim Brosnan, too, including the pennant-winner in 1961.

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