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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bill James Mailbag - 11/23/12 - 11/29/12

I think I did do this in Strat-O-Matic and .850 is about what happened.

To look at the question of how All-star teams would perform I used Teams-on-Paper estimates for the starting lineups in the 1980-84 all-star games. (using the first four starting pitchers who appeared and the last reliever for the staff). League average scores are around 200 with the best teams ever at slightly over 300. The all-star teams scores ranged from 271 to 357 and the predicted won-lost based on these scores were 96-66 to 122-40. The average number of projected wins was 110.5 (standard deviation 7.62) , a .682 W-L percentage.

Thanks.   I think you’re getting close to the reasons for my skepticism about teams playing .850 baseball.  

It may be that you could make Strat-o-Matic cards after the season, pick the best card at each position, and THAT team would play .850 baseball.   But this is because the season is not long enough to grind all of the randomness out of the statistics; therefore, some players in each season appear to be better than they are.   There are a handful of players in the league who are legitimate .310 hitters; one of those hits .340, one of them hits .330.   If you pick and choose after the fact, you can make an .850 team—but choosing real players before the fact, the best players would not play at that level.

Hey, Bill, I’m reading “Popular Crime” and I was comparing/contrasting the proposition of the economic class strife of the early 20th Century as it would have applied to baseball at the time. I suppose that same economic stress would have contributed to the Black Sox scandal during the 1919 World Series and would be a major reason gambling on baseball was such a concern during that time?

Absolutely, yes.  The Betting Scandals of that era are very directly connected to the tension between rich and poor that was dividing the country in that time.     The only reason I didn’t make that point in the book was that I chose to write that book with no reference to baseball—even to the point of repeatedly scouring the manuscript for phrases like “out in left field” or “made a big hit” that might be taken as baseball references.

Bill, Sad news today with the announcement of Marvin Miller`s death. In your opinion, where`s his place in MLB history ? It certainly is a shame that he doesn`t yet have a spot at Cooperstown…

And has told his friends in no uncertain terms that if the Hall of Fame tries to elect him postumously, they are to be told “No, thanks.”   Some people are bigger than their awards.   Babe Ruth doesn’t need to be in the Hall of Fame; the Hall of Fame needs to honor Babe Ruth to make the Hall of Fame look bigger.   To me, Marvin’s on that level.   He is too big for it to be relevant whether the Hall of Fame likes him or not…

I knew Marvin fairly well, knew his late wife as well.  We have close friends in common, and when I got to New York I would often have lunch or dinner with Marvin and Allen Barra.

The District Attorney Posted: November 29, 2012 at 12:27 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: bill james, crime, hall of fame, history, marvin miller, sabermetrics

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   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4312483)
along with bill's kind remarks about marvin miller his last response was tremendous

i have used a paraphrase of that line myself so always enjoy seeing it elsewhere
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4312501)
And has told his friends in no uncertain terms that if the Hall of Fame tries to elect him postumously, they are to be told “No, thanks.”

If true, this raises an interesting question: Does Marvin Miller (or his estate) have a choice in the matter? Does the HoF need permission to honor someone with enshrinement?

   3. zonk Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4312507)
If true, this raises an interesting question: Does Marvin Miller (or his estate) have a choice in the matter? Does the HoF need permission to honor someone with enshrinement?


I don't think so - I have a vague recollection that after Santo's penultimate living miss, he asked to be removed from the ballot the next year (and missed again, before the posthumous selection).

   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:49 PM (#4312563)
The embarrassment comes if nobody is willing to give a speech on Miller's behalf although I suppose they must have to handle this occasionally for 19th c players, etc.

On the first point, I once dominated a fantasy league to an awesome extent (luck and possibly being the only guy who fully understood the scoring system it was using). I loaded everybody's teams into DM, turned off injuries and let 'er rip for a few seasons. I'm pretty sure I made it to 140 wins once and many in the 130s and must have averaged in the 120s.

It was a very silly league that fell apart quickly. Keeper league with, I think, 10 teams, universal players, "sabermetric" scoring. My staff was something like Pedro, Brown, Mussina and two other good starters; I had Delgado and Sheffield and maybe Nomar when he was Nomar (or maybe Chipper and Tejada ... something very silly). I recall picking up a young Lance Berkman because nobody else wanted him. That sort of thing.
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4312582)
If true, this raises an interesting question: Does Marvin Miller (or his estate) have a choice in the matter? Does the HoF need permission to honor someone with enshrinement?

This will be an issue when Rose gets voted in posthumously.
   6. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: November 29, 2012 at 03:59 PM (#4312633)
It's fascinating to me after all these years, that there's enough variance in baseball that an All-Star team might go only 96-66.
   7. Bhaakon Posted: November 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM (#4312721)

It's fascinating to me after all these years, that there's enough variance in baseball that an All-Star team might go only 96-66.


I wonder if the analysis accounts for just about every regular team losing one or more of its best players.
   8. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 30, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4313492)
If true, this raises an interesting question: Does Marvin Miller (or his estate) have a choice in the matter? Does the HoF need permission to honor someone with enshrinement?


Only if they make concessions to the Players' Union in return.
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:07 PM (#4313523)
The embarrassment comes if nobody is willing to give a speech on Miller's behalf although I suppose they must have to handle this occasionally for 19th c players, etc.


Why would you think that's a possibility? Lots of players have been speaking in the past few days about their admiration for Miller.
   10. KronicFatigue Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4313532)
Some things to consider when building a dream team

1) as #7 points out, other teams would be losing their best players
2) There has to be a mental/physical fatigue of playing a team that you KNOW is better than you in every possible aspect. Pitchers having to always face the best hitters up and down the lineup would be grueling.
3) Roster construction - You wouldn't necessarily want 25 allstars. You might consider getting a pure glove defensive replacement for later innings. Things of that nature.
4) A dream team would be managed differently. It would be easier to pull a starter who looks to be "off" that day b/c all your middle relievers would be aces who can give you 6 innings. Platoons / pinch hitting, etc etc.
4.5) Lots of rest for players. Players wouldn't have to play banged up. Their substitutes would be almost equally awesome.

I think 130 wins is definitely doable.
   11. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: November 30, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4313562)
I've built stacked teams in OOTP that aren't as good as an All-Star team, but have a 1990s Braves kind of rotation and a 2000s Yankees kind of offense, and they consistently won 115-125 games a year. Based on that, I'd expect a true All-Star team (intuitively) to win around 120-130. There's not that much value your bench or the bottom of your bullpen can contribute, really.
   12. Ron J2 Posted: November 30, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4313596)
Chris Dial says he used to get ~120 wins out of the 1975 Reds. I can sort of see it. If you're playing with inning restrictions you use Nolan and Gullett for the good teams insofar as you can arrange it, and you've got a really good bullpen plus good pinch-hitters. On other words, a really good team with an unusually good bench. With easy to identify surrender pitchers for the low leverage innings (Carrol and Kirby)

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