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Friday, February 08, 2013

Darowski: Beyond ERA+: Why Rick Reuschel Had Hall of Fame Value

No, it ain’t Eating Record Amounts+, dopey…for the IFOCE HOF isn’t even completed yet.

According to WAR and the Hall of Stats, Rick Reuschel was a top 100 player. That was—and still is—a revelation. When I create lists of the best players outside of the Hall, I still hesitate a bit before listing Reuschel’s name. So, what gives?

...So, here are some reasons why Rick Reuschel is better than we seem to think…

  1- Part of it is unexplainable. Reuschel’s raw numbers are actually nearly Hall-worthy. He had a .528 winning percentage and 114 ERA+. Nolan Ryan had a .526 winning percentage and an ERA+ of 112 (I understand Ryan pitched longer, but still… this is a little surprising).
  2- He played for some pretty terrible teams. His teams combined for a winning percentage of .463. This doesn’t lead to a lot of wins, awards, or publicity.
  3- He didn’t give up a lot of unearned runs. He was right at the league average. Considering the defense he played in front of, you’d think he would have given up more. If looking at things in terms of runs allowed rather than earned runs allowed, Reuschel would look much better.
  4- He played in front of some horrendous defenses. Phil Niekro must sympathize with him. If you think about how bad his defenses were and how many unearned runs they must have led to, you realize that the actual number of unearned runs Reuschel allowed was probably unbelievably low. He helped this by not walking many players and not allowing many home runs. Those are easy ways to be beaten and Reuschel didn’t let his opponents do it.

I don’t think I’ve ever publicly said “Rick Reuschel should be in the Hall of Fame.” I was still uncomfortable with why his WAR-based numbers looked so good. But now I know. And I think I’m ready to say it.

Rick Reuschel should be in the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t flashy. He wasn’t famous. But he provided more value than the average Hall of Famer. That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Repoz Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:55 PM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics

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   1. bjhanke Posted: February 09, 2013 at 08:40 AM (#4366009)
If he provided more value than the AVERAGE Hall of Famer, then he's a no-brainer. Debate over Reuschel has always (at least, those debates I'm aware of) centered on whether he was over the entry level, which is a lot lower than the average. So, did you mean average or entry level? - Brock Hanke
   2. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 09, 2013 at 09:09 AM (#4366013)
If he provided more value than the AVERAGE Hall of Famer, then he's a no-brainer. Debate over Reuschel has always (at least, those debates I'm aware of) centered on whether he was over the entry level, which is a lot lower than the average. So, did you mean average or entry level? - Brock Hanke


Well, here's one argument. There are 58 starting pitchers in the HOF. Just going by WAR, #29 is Stan Coveleski with 60.7. Reuschel has 64.6 which ties him with Amos Rusie at #23, just a hair below Carl Hubbell and just a hair above Jim Palmer.
   3. BDC Posted: February 09, 2013 at 10:59 AM (#4366045)
Reuschel is a case where it's pretty clear that none of us watching him at the time thought he was remotely a Hall of Famer. He did get listed on several Cy Young ballots in 1977 and again in '87, so his work was appreciated, but there were a lot of obvious HOFers pitching in the late 1970s, and Reuschel was never thought of in their class.

There aren't a whole lot of comparable pitching careers. Here's a list of comps centered on Reuschel in terms of Starts and ERA+, but it has to take in a broad range to get to 15 pitchers. Reuschel is low on his own list in terms of both Wins and IP, but very high in WAR: clearly because WAR must judge that his offensive and defensive support was not brilliant (and that his ability to prevent home runs in Wrigley Field was more valuable than it looked; I think we can go along with that).

It really seems counterintuitive for Reuschel to have more WAR than Jim Palmer, or to have quite a lot more than Jim Bunning. Those guys were big stars, respected as hard-nosed competitors. Reuschel was not; he was one of the fat-but-athletic pitchers (Reuschel was a pretty good hitter, and well-regarded as a fielder, too). He's in the HOM, and one can see why; but it's a judgment that most of his face-value scoreboard stats are illusions. Persuading the HOF of that looks futile, unless a century passes and Reuschel is someday voted in à la Vic Willis or somebody like that.

Player             WAR  GS ERA+     IP   W
Eddie Plank       82.0 529  122 4495.2 326
Mike Mussina      78.1 536  123 3562.2 270
Rick Reuschel     64.6 529  114 3548.1 214
Jim Palmer        63.2 521  125 3948.0 268
Jim Bunning       56.7 519  115 3760.1 224
Andy Pettitte     54.5 491  117 3130.2 245
Eppa Rixey        53.4 554  115 4494.2 266
Jerry Koosman     53.1 527  110 3839.1 222
Jack Powell       51.3 516  106 4389.0 245
Red Ruffing       48.6 538  109 4344.0 273
Dennis Martinez   45.1 562  106 3999.2 245
Burleigh Grimes   44.2 497  108 4180.0 270
Mickey Lolich     43.7 496  104 3638.1 217
Bob Friend        42.1 497  107 3611.0 197
Jack Morris       39.3 527  105 3824.0 254 


Studded with HOFers, for sure. And Jack Morris!

   4. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:27 AM (#4366060)
Fun fact: according to WAR, the 1974 Cubs were the worst fielding team of all-time. The. Worst.
   5. fra paolo Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4366065)
Just going by WAR

Reuschel...very high in WAR

It really seems counterintuitive for Reuschel to have more WAR than...

This says it all, really. A HoF case based on WAR isn't good enough. At the moment, WAR is a starting point for discussion, but not conclusive evidence. The attitude of the electorate will certainly change over time, but I'm expecting my daughters to be married off before that happens (the youngest is 11).

is low on his own list in terms of both Wins and IP,

And while this doesn't say it all, it says a lot. Counting stats are still given great importance. And that's the argument that WAR needs to engage with. Why is it a better indicator than counting stats?

according to WAR, the 1974 Cubs were the worst fielding team of all-time.

What's even more scary is that in my opinion TotalZone makes good fielders look worse, and bad fielders look better.
   6. DL from MN Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4366066)
Just Reuschel versus Palmer on that list - you would think that 11 points of ERA+ and 400 innings would put Palmer clearly above Reuschel. The difference is nearly all defensive adjustment. Palmer pitched in front of great defenses and relied on them quite a bit (there is strong evidence he pitched to his defense). Reuschel pitched in front of awful defenses quite often and had more value with the bat.

From a statline perspective Mussina and Palmer would seem to have more in common than Reuschel and Palmer. Reuschel and Bunning are pretty comparable though and I have no problem honoring both of them.
   7. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:51 AM (#4366073)
Reuschel was basically Phil Niekro with about 200 fewer starts -- and thus about 100 fewer victories. About half of Reuschel's career 64 WAR came from 1976-80 (he had nearly 30 WAR in those five years, including 9.2 in '77)...but all he had to show for that period was a ho-hum 77-62 record and a solid but unspectacular 122 ERA+.

If Reuschel had won 250, or the Cubs actually managed to win something (yes, he was on the '84 team, but he didn't contribute much), he's probably be a solid HOF candidate. (Hell, if he led the Cubs to a World Championship or two, he'd be a freakin' god in Chicago. Ernie who?) But he didn't, and they didn't, and 214 career wins with an ERA+ of 114 ain't sniffing Cooperstown, WAR or no WAR.
   8. TJ Posted: February 09, 2013 at 12:34 PM (#4366089)
In my ebook on the Hall of Fame, I created something I call the "WAR Portfolio", which combines both career and dominance scores. As pointed out, Reuschel scores very well in WAR in comparison to the middle tier of HOF starting pitchers, both in career total and seasonal WARs of 5+ or 3+. Where he falls short of HOF standards are in the dominance scores, which are the things HOF voters have always noticed. In my system, Reuschel is a borderline middle tier HOF pitcher- a lot better than the bottom tier, but if you feel HOF pitchers should be both effective and dominant and wanted to keep him out on the basis of not dominating his league throughout his career, I can see that (Kevin Brown falls into the same category). Personally, I would vote for him, and it's guys like Rick Reuschel who should be the tough HOF votes, not Jack Morris.

   9. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 09, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4366093)
I do remember at the time that my dad thought Reuschel was pitching on the wrong side of town, which was the highest form of praise from him.

As far as the HOF is concerned, it comes down to this: are we to honor the guys who actually were the best, or the guys who were considered to be the best. Reuschel is a 'yes' if it's the former, a 'no' if it's the latter. WAR I think overrates him a little, but not all that much and not enough to put him over the 'out' line. The folks in 1970s could believe Catfish Hunter was a better pitcher all they wanted, he wasn't.

Most oddly for a guy who would go in as a Cub, he pitched in two World Series. He caught a bad break in that when he finally got liberated from the Cubs and went to the Yankees, his shoulder went almost immediately. If you're old enough to remember him from his Giant days, he was a different pitcher after that than he was before (sort of like Tanana only not as dramatic).
   10. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 09, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4366107)
(sort of like Tanana only not as dramatic).

Reuschel has something else in common w/ Frank Tanana - they both allowed homers to both Barry Bonds & Hank Aaron. They are the only pitchers who can say that.

That is my all-time favorite baseball trivia question/answer.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 09, 2013 at 02:30 PM (#4366111)
As far as the HOF is concerned, it comes down to this: are we to honor the guys who actually were the best, or the guys who were considered to be the best. Reuschel is a 'yes' if it's the former, a 'no' if it's the latter.
Can someone lay out the evidence for the weakness of the Cubs defense in the 1970s?

I realize obviously that they rate poorly in TZ. Do they rate equally poorly in other defensive statistics? (They rate poorly in defensive efficiency. How bad are their DefEffs once a Wrigley park effect is figured?)

Are there other secondary signs of bad defense? Pitchers moving from Chicago and giving up many fewer runs? I don't see any pronounced tendency, though obviously this would only be weak evidence if it existed. Were the 1970s Cubs a defensive laughingstock among fans at the time?
   12. BDC Posted: February 09, 2013 at 02:45 PM (#4366114)
Were the 1970s Cubs a defensive laughingstock among fans at the time?

When Reuschel came up ('72-'73) they were still largely the Durocher Cubs, long in the tooth but respected as veterans who didn't make mistakes. Later in his tenure, guys like Bill Madlock and Bill Buckner did have pretty bad defensive reputations, as, obviously, did Dave Kingman: yes, I'll venture to say that Kingman was a defensive laughingstock. But Manny Trillo had a wonderful reputation (deservedly, by my "naked eye") and so did Ivan DeJesus. Perhaps the largest discrepancy between reputation and metrics is Rick Monday. He was considered a pretty decent centerfielder, but the metrics now say he was Godawful as a Cub. Either that's an illusion, or Monday got bad and slow very young, and was dining out on his Oakland reputation. If Reuschel was pitching in front of a terrible centerfielder who at the time was reckoned a good one, that's another big prima facie problem for his HOF case.
   13. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 09, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4366132)
So, Reuschel wasn't quite as good as Andy Pettitte; longer career, but not by a lot, and the were roughly as durable in-season given their eras--maybe Pettitte gets more credit for pitching a higher percentage of expected starts per season. I don't see Pettitte as a HOFer and he's a good comp for RR. 400 fewer innings, but a 117 v. a 114 OPS+. Pettitte was an extremely solid postseason pitcher while Reuschel was historically awful, and got worse the deeper in the postseason he went. It sounds like RR's entire case depends on WAR's interpretation of defense. That's not very convincing.

I had forgotten Reuschel took most of three years off in the middle of his career while they re-attached his arm.
   14. Bruce Markusen Posted: February 09, 2013 at 03:56 PM (#4366147)
One of the reasons Reuschel had such a good career was his ability to adapt. Earlier in his career, he was more of a power pitcher, relying on a good fastball. As he lost velocity, he really refined his sinker, which became his out-pitch. I loved his no-windup delivery, too.
   15. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 09, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4366166)
Pitchers moving from Chicago and giving up many fewer runs?

Steve Stone is an obvious one. Mike Krukow to some extent. Willie Hernandez's career took off after he left. Same with Donnie Moore. Dennis Lamp to some extent. BBRef WAR has his defensive support at -0.18. That would change his ERA+ to about 119.
   16. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 09, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4366168)
Steve Stone is an obvious one. Mike Krukow to some extent. Willie Hernandez's career took off after he left. Same with Donnie Moore. Dennis Lamp to some extent. BBRef WAR has his defensive support at -0.18. That would change his ERA+ to about 119.


Ray Burris too. ERA with the Cubs was 4.27. After leaving the Cubs he spent the next 5 years with the Mets and Expos where his ERA's were 3.94 and 3.79. Bill Bonham ERA of 4.08 with the Cubs, 3.73 with the Reds.

edit: Burt Hooten too. And Geoff Zahn. Zahn played with 4 teams in his career. ERAs of 3.64, 3.90, 2.16, and 5.20. Guess which one was with the Cubs.
   17. SoSH U at work Posted: February 09, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4366175)
Ray Burris too. ERA with the Cubs was 4.27. After leaving the Cubs he spent the next 5 years with the Mets and Expos where his ERA's were 3.94 and 3.79.


But most of this is already reflected in ERA+. Burris' ERA+ with the Cubs was the same as it was with Montreal and better than his time in New York. And I'm not really seeing a pronounced effect in those other guys listed.

Stone's time in Balt. stands out from his stints on either side of Chicago, and looks quite flukey. But as for the rest, you'd be hard-pressed to look at those guys and think "wow, they must have had lousy defense with Chicago." Moore was worse for three straight years after leaving Chicago, Krukow had a one-year post Cubs bump that looks more like the product of a career-low homer output, and while Lamp's immediate before and after seasons are dramatic (and he gave up a metric shitton of hits his last year on the Northside), they're not consistent with the other years around them.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2013 at 05:54 PM (#4366192)
Check out the defense on the 80-81 Cubs sometime. Check out the defensive stats of Jerry Martin and Jerry Morales. Contemplate the mystery of Morales's MLB career. Then weep for Cub pitchers and those of us who watched those sorry teams.
   19. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4366196)
But most of this is already reflected in ERA+. Burris' ERA+ with the Cubs was the same as it was with Montreal and better than his time in New York. And I'm not really seeing a pronounced effect in those other guys listed.


I made a speadsheet and plugged in all the guys listed, their runs allowed and innings with the Cubs, and their runs allowed and innings for the 5 years after leaving the Cubs. For Cubs careers, 5598 innings, 2869 runs, 4.61 RA. Post Cubs, 6338 innings, 2860 runs, 4.06 RA. 740 more innings, 9 fewer runs allowed. Some of that of course is park factor. How much is beyond my skills to determine.
   20. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4366202)
Contemplate the mystery of Morales's MLB career.


As a kid, I always liked Jerry Morales. Maybe it was that one year he hit .330 in the first half and played in his only ASG. Of course he then hit about a buck 90 the rest of the year as the Cubs fell out of the race, so there's that.
   21. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:27 PM (#4366207)
The folks in 1970s could believe Catfish Hunter was a better pitcher all they wanted, he wasn't.

There is something very odd about the way WAR is treating Hunter.

1971 273.3 IP, 113 ERA+ is only 2.4 WAR
1973 256.1 IP, 107 ERA+ is only 1.5 WAR

Compare to Reuschel.

1974 240 IP 89 ERA+ is 3.4 WAR
1975 230 IP, 102 ERA+ is 3.0 WAR
1976 260 IP, 111 ERA+ is 4.5 WAR

That doesn't pass the smell test to me.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:29 PM (#4366210)
On the 74 Cubs ... I suppose not a laughingstock but, yes, that was a bad team. Andre Thornton could hit and had the glove to prove it. Vic Harris was an embarrassment -- a reasonably large piece of the Jenkins trade (Madlock was the big one), the bat and glove were both horrible. If I recall the Cubs considered a move to CF. I just mentioned Morales -- -13 dWAR in 5000 PA, he was never a good fielder. Madlock was never considered good, Billy Williams was on his last legs and playing a good chunk of 1B for nearly the first time in his career.

I can't necessarily say that Kessinger was really THAT bad by that point but he was a guy who even in his prime had to rely on that jump-throw thing from the hole so it wouldn't have taken much loss of range to make him pretty terrible. I can't say Monday was Griffey bad. And then a lot of that putrid-ness comes from truly awful defensive numbers from truly awful bench players -- I mean I don't remember Dave Rosello well enough to say he was historically awful defensively but I remember he was useless. And his defensive stats that year are consistent with his career -- -45 in just 1000 PA. Matt Alexander was a career pinch-runner and nobody found a use for him in the field. Did Ron Dunn really put up -7 Rfield in 80 PA ... I don't remember him at all.

I can't guarantee that was the worst defensive team of all-time but they were a legitimately terrible defensive team. Note how much of it is due to 2B -- Harris, Rosello, Dunn, Sperring combined for -38 runs (some of that at SS/3B). This was the beginning of the dark days of the Cubs' complete inability to develop position players. Also, most of that team was brought back for 75 and were consistently but not historically awful at -83 runs. B-R doesn't even like 75 Trillo and he still saves them about 25 runs.

It's possible there's something off in the OF measures -- I mean those guys were bad but I don't remember them being Griffey bad. But that could be bad memory. Also the Cubs, for a long time, concentrated on building a team for Wrigley. They were bad at that even because they were the Cubs but that did mean they didn't go for speedsters in the OF because Wrigley was small. When those guys went on the road, especially on Astroturf, things did look pretty laughable. I don't know if there are H/R splits on defense but the mid-70s Cubs in St. Louis, Montreal, etc. did look pretty terrible by my memory.

   23. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4366211)
He's in the HOM, and one can see why

Sure ... because it was an exceptionally weak ballot and they have a rule that the top vote-getters are inducted. Reuschel's HoM support was quite meager.

As to "average" HoFer ... that includes all the awful VC picks. The writers have made some mysterious starting pitcher picks (e.g. Hunter) and they have treated many good starters in a dismissive manner (i.e. not even making 5%) but Reuschel would have been borderline for the BBWAA in the best of non-Hunter circumstances. Guys like Sutton, Niekro, Perry and Jenkins weren't exactly shoo-ins, Bunning didn't make it, guys like Tiant, Lolich, Kaat, John never really came close. Their standards might be too high (Hunter and Morris aside) but it's hard to argue that Reuschel surpassed their standards.

   24. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:41 PM (#4366217)
How bad are their DefEffs once a Wrigley park effect is figured?

Taking '74 only: the NL had a leaguewide BABIP of .282. The Cubs allowed a .297 BABIP... on the road. That figure would have been the second-worst in the league. Their home BABIP allowed of .318 put them over the top, of course, and opposing hitters also reached on errors 116 times, the highest total in the league, which also factors into DefEff.
   25. zenbitz Posted: February 09, 2013 at 06:47 PM (#4366219)
But what does this have to do with Fr... Oh.
   26. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:00 PM (#4366222)
The '74 Cubs had the worst DefEff in the league by 9 points, 30 points below average.

In '75, the Cubs had no H/R BABIP split, .309 in Wrigley and .310 on the road. (To be fair, you'd probably expect teams to have a home field advantage in BABIP; the league split was 5 points lower at home.) Their BABIP allowed was once again highest in the league, this time by 11 points, but at least they only allowed the third-most ROE in the league. They still had the worst DefEff in the league by 12 points, 27 points below average.

'76, again no H/R split, .294/.296 (league split of 5 points again). Highest BABIP in the league once more, but not by nearly as wide a margin; their DefEff was not the worst in the league this year, although it was right there with the bottom feeders (.692, beating out the three teams tied at .691), and 12 points below average.

'77, the H/R split goes the other way, .293/.304; this reflects a leaguewide shift (13-point split) which makes me curious. Anyway, their defense seems to have moved into the realm of the merely quite bad - 9th out of 12, 12 points below league average, but also 9 points out of last. (There was some serious defensive stratification in the NL in '77; the bottom 4 teams all had DefEff between .677 and .686, and the other 8 were all between .700 and .711.)

Going back to '73, the split was .301/.291, with a league split of 7 points the other direction. Worst DefEff in the league by 6 points, below average by 17.

So there are a couple of years in which there's a good-sized Wrigley effect, but even accounting for that, probably the best you can do for the Cubs' defenses is to pull them roughly even with the Nate Colbert Padres in a tie for worst in the league. And there are a couple of years in which the Wrigley effect is pretty undetectable, and they're still the worst.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:20 PM (#4366229)
That doesn't pass the smell test to me.

MASSIVE difference in defense. In 71, Hunter is getting .28 R/9 from his defense and in 73 it's a massive .51! That's Orioles-esque. Those three Reuschel years you mentioned were the pit of the Cubs defense. That 74 team was (by b-r) worth -.8 R/9 -- that's even more than bizarro O's. 75 was -.5 and 76 was -.25.

So you are talking anywhere from half to 1.3 runs per 9 difference due to defense.

Reuschel posted that 89 ERA+ in 74. Give him those .8 runs back and he's up to a 110 ERA+. Give him the average of those two Hunter years (+.4) and he's up to 124.

By b-r's estimation, an average pitcher against an average offense, half the time in Wrigley, all the time in front of the Cubs defense would have given up an average of 5.4 runs per 9. Reuschel gave up just 4.9 r/9. For Hunter 73, b-r estimates that average at 3.59 runs per 9 while Hunter was giving up 3.69. Compared to average pitchers, Reuschel was .6 4/9 better than Hunter who, by b-r's estimate, was actually below average.

So I'm not sure what smells funny. Those A's teams were very good defensively, those Cubs teams were awful. Hunter in 73 was a bit above-average while pitching in front of a very good defense so it's not hard to believe that after adjusting for defensive quality that he would be below average. Obviously the estimates of how good and how awful have error in them so maybe the gap wasn't as big as estimated (or maybe it was bigger). And of course WAR makes no attempt to determine if the Cubs defense played better/worse for Reuschel or A's for Hunter.

For what it's worth, that 74 Cubs team gave up 129 unearned runs, 42 more than the average team. That Cub team gave up 5.1 r/9 in a league that gave up 4.15. They gave up a 308 BABIP in a league where it was 282 (no idea what Wrigley's effect on BABIP is but I wouldn't imagine it's very big, it mostly inflates HR ... I guess the small foul ground helps BABIP). Reuschel's BABIP was 313 so he may have actually gotten even less defensive support. For comparison, 2012 NL BABIP was 300 and the Rox were the worst at 321 and the worst non-Coors team was the Cards at 316.

Obviously we can quibble around the edges but I don't see anything very smelly here. Hunter got above-average results pitching in front of a very good defense; Reuschel got below-average results pitching in front of a truly awful defense.

EDIT: My 1/4 full 2-liter bottle of Pepsi Max to Eric J. Sorry about the backwash.
   28. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4366230)
By way of comparison, here are the A's from '71 to '75, Hunter's best years:

'71: Best DER in the league, even beating out the AL champion, Weaver-managed Orioles by a point, and league average by 16. Allowed a higher BABIP at home than on the road by 3 points; league split is 6 in the other direction.

'72: They fall behind (way behind) the Orioles, but hang in second, 14 points above average. The park effect at least runs how you'd expect this year, a 24-point split compared to a league difference of 13.

'73: Second in the league to Baltimore again, but 25 points above average (which unsurprisingly drops a good deal with the addition of the DH). Park split was 24 points again; the league split this year was 0.

'74: One point behind the O's, 13 above average. Park split of 12 points, league split of 3.

'75: Five points behind the Birds, 23 above average. Park split of 6, league split of 4.
   29. The District Attorney Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4366235)
Yeah, this kind of reminds me of the Andruw Jones discussion. Sure, Andruw may not have really put Willie Mays' glovework to shame, and Reuschel may not have really pitched in front of the very dirt-worst defenses ever. But how far can you push a "those stats can't match the reality" argument, when everyone does indeed seem to have subjectively observed that Andruw was a great fielder and that the Cubs' defenses stunk?

In both cases, the player is far enough into the stratosphere that determining whether he was literally the most exceptional shouldn't be necessary for most purposes. All we'll normally need is the reality that has already been subjectively acknowledged. Andruw is one of the all-time greatest defensive CF, and Reuschel is one of the all-time greatest (i.e., HOF) pitchers.
   30. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4366236)
Taking the numbers in 26 and 28 to make a rough park adjustment, I get a Wrigley effect inflating a team's BABIP by 5 points, and a Coliseum effect deflating it by 4 (after accounting for the fact that the teams only play half of their games at home). Adjusting the qualities of their respective defenses by that amount, I'm coming up with Reuschel allowing 57 extra hits from '73 to '77 (including 20 in '74 alone), and Hunter allowing 65 fewer from '71 to '75. That's, what, a 60-run difference between the two of them? Somewhere in that range, at least.
   31. bobm Posted: February 09, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4366237)
Same list as above, but with pitching WAA, not re-sorted
Player            Pitching WAA
Eddie Plank       47
Mike Mussina      49 
Rick Reuschel     38
Jim Palmer        33
Jim Bunning       29
Andy Pettitte     30
Eppa Rixey        22
Jerry Koosman     24
Jack Powell       18
Red Ruffing       15
Dennis Martinez   15
Burleigh Grimes   14
Mickey Lolich     17
Bob Friend        12
Jack Morris       10 

Add: Jim Hunter 6
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: February 09, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4366248)

All we'll normally need is the reality that has already been subjectively acknowledged. Andruw is one of the all-time greatest defensive CF, and Reuschel is one of the all-time greatest (i.e., HOF) pitchers.


But that hasn't been subjectively established about Reuschel. The thing that pulls him into the HoF discussion is the idea that he was playing before the dreadfulest of defenses. Remove some of that massive boost away and he's on the outside looking in (even if he's still better than the mistakes like Hunter).


   33. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 09, 2013 at 08:13 PM (#4366252)
OK, a step further (oh, and let's also correct for the fact that Hunter was a Yankee in '75 rather than an A). Assuming (dubiously) that hit type saved runs in the same proportion as hit type allowed (for example, roughly 20% of Hunter's hits allowed on balls in play in '71 were doubles, so we'll assume that 20% of the extra hits the defense prevented for him were doubles as well), and using the linear weights values here, I get Hunter with 28 extra runs prevented by his defenses (on a corrected 49 extra hits), and Reuschel with 31 extra runs allowed by his. That moves Hunter's ERA over this span from 2.65 to 2.82, and Reuschel's from 3.45 to 3.22. By ERA+, Reuschel climbs from 115 to 123; Hunter drops from 127 to 119. (Hunter still has extra innings. On the other hand, I wouldn't consider this a particularly complete defensive adjustment; there are things other than DER, like double plays and throwing by catchers and outfielders.)
   34. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 09, 2013 at 10:19 PM (#4366301)

But that hasn't been subjectively established about Reuschel. The thing that pulls him into the HoF discussion is the idea that he was playing before the dreadfulest of defenses. Remove some of that massive boost away and he's on the outside looking in (even if he's still better than the mistakes like Hunter).


Reuschel and Jones are in the same boat. They need to the full extent of their "credit" to be HoFers. If Andruw Jones was 'just" the best CF ever (not miles ahead) and if Reuschel just pitched in front of bad defenses (instead of some of the worst ever) they're both in the HoVG.
   35. The District Attorney Posted: February 09, 2013 at 10:37 PM (#4366312)
If Andruw Jones was 'just" the best CF ever (not miles ahead) and if Reuschel just pitched in front of bad defenses (instead of some of the worst ever) they're both in the HoVG.
With Andruw, I was limiting myself to discussing his defense, not his HOF case in general. We don't need to buy that he was a much better fielder than Mays to accept that he was one of the best defensive CF, is my analogy.

It doesn't seem accurate that Reuschel needs every bit of his WAR-awarded defensive credit to deserve the HOF when WAR is currently ranking him above no-brainers like Jim Palmer and Bob Feller.
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 09, 2013 at 10:48 PM (#4366322)
With Andruw, I was limiting myself to discussing his defense, not his HOF case in general. We don't need to buy that he was a much better fielder than Mays to accept that he was one of the best defensive CF, is my analogy.

I accept that he was one of the best ever. WAR is giving him credit for quite a bit more than that; a ten year average that equals the best single seasons put up by other elite CFs.

It doesn't seem accurate that Reuschel needs every bit of his WAR-awarded defensive credit to deserve the HOF when WAR is currently ranking him above no-brainers like Jim Palmer and Bob Feller.

He's only ahead of Feller if you give zero war credit and ignor Feller dominance completely.

But if you knock Reuschel down into the high 50's WAR, I'd guess no one would be touting him as a deserving HoFer. He's Tommy John w/o the wins.

   37. Matt Welch Posted: February 09, 2013 at 10:56 PM (#4366329)
This is a very good thread. Walt Davis, I did not know you had the Cubs background!

Take it for what it is (as Axl taught us), but the two smartest defenses I've ever seen were the early-'70s A's and the early-'80s Angels. The former, unlike the latter, were in their physical primes. And I would guess that the early-'70s Orioles were smarter, but I didn't see them that much.
   38. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:08 PM (#4366332)
Rick Reuschel was one of my favorite pitchers when he was with the Giants. I may have told this story before, but it's too good to not retell in a Reuschel thread.

He and I bore a pretty strong resemblance. I had a copy of Reuschel's SI cover at home. Someone saw it and asked if I had gotten that at the mall, at one of those places that make fake magazine covers with your picture on it. She didn't believe it wasn't me.

The fact I was married to her at the time....
   39. Kiko Sakata Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4366335)
Steve Stone is an obvious one.


Steve Stone's ERA+ improved when he left the city of Chicago, but his ERA+ in Chicago went 95-92-97-94-91-87. Only the 92-97-94 were with the Cubs; his numbers before and after for the White Sox look pretty comparable.
   40. adarowski Posted: February 09, 2013 at 11:45 PM (#4366340)
The defense is a huge deal, but for me the eye-opener was the unearned runs. I mean, the defense was 70 runs. That's going to be, what, 10 WAR over his career? Let's with an average defense (which throws out even the eyeball test), he'd still be a 55 WAR pitcher. That should generate more discussion that it has, no?
   41. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:27 AM (#4366352)
Remove some of that massive boost away and he's on the outside looking in


No, remove the boost and look at just his ERA+ and innings numbers and he's comparable to Jim Bunning. If we want to see pitchers recognized at a rate commensurate to their contribution they're both in. I'm fine with Pettitte being elected too.
   42. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4366357)
No, remove the boost and look at just his ERA+ and innings numbers and he's comparable to Jim Bunning. If we want to see pitchers recognized at a rate commensurate to their contribution they're both in. I'm fine with Pettitte being elected too.


Looking at just IP and ERA+ and he looks more comparable to Luis Tiant, who's not in and not a real strong candidate at the moment. And Pettitte isn't universally regarded as a HoFer (though he's not a good real comp with Rick, for a variety of reasons). Guys with those innings and that ERA+ aren't clear cut HoFers, particularly ones that are relatively peakless like Reuschel was (1977 excepted).

I'm not saying a Rick Reuschel in the Hall would be a mistake, particularly with the defensive credit. But a Rick Reuschel without it is somewhere around the borderline, and he's got none of the other markers that likely lead to election.
   43. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:02 AM (#4366376)
Reuschel allowing 57 extra hits from '73 to '77 (including 20 in '74 alone), and Hunter allowing 65 fewer from '71 to '75. That's, what, a 60-run difference between the two of them?

I think you're understating because you don't seem to have accounted for the value of the extra outs. Relative to an out, an IP hit is worth about .8 runs (.5 for the hit - -.3 for the out).

Just quick eyeballing puts the Cubs defense from 73 to 77 at about -.4/9 according to BR and Reuschel around 242 IP per year (for rounding purposes) works out to an average of 11 runs per year or about 55 over the 5 years. Hunter's defenses average about a +.3/9. In Reuschel's innings that would have been worth about 8 runs per year or 40 over 5. So total difference on the order of 95. Of course Hunter pitched a lot more innings in those years which shows up in Rrep and another 10 or so runs saved.

By the way, I don't think Reuschel is deserving of the HoF or at least I need more convincing. But he was better than Hunter much less Morris. And Snapper (and SoSH U) slightly overstates things with this:

But if you knock Reuschel down into the high 50's WAR, I'd guess no one would be touting him as a deserving HoFer. He's Tommy John w/o the wins.

But the defensive knock for Reuschel's career is just .18 per 9. He played in front of a number of good defenses after he left the Cubs. So all he's getting from his "defensive boost" is 70 runs, call it 7 wins. So that's the absolute lowest you can get him down to. Include IP and he's the spitting image of Drysdale and Marichal. He's much better than John unless you have no love of peak whatsoever. He's also similar to Tiant, Cone, Bunning (and Eckersley) and Bunning came close and made it via VC. Alas, Cone and Marichal also are given "credit" for pitching in front of bad defenses so Reuschel is going to gain back 2-5 wins if you adjust them in the same manner.

Reuschel is given credit for 38 WAA. The fully reduced Reuschel is still 31 wins above average. Palmer is 33, Sutton is 23, Tiant is 35, Cone is 36, Marichal is 30, Drysdale is 29, John is 22 and Bunning is 29. Even fully reduced Reuschel is right there with Palmer, Marichal, Drysdale and Bunning and well ahead of Sutton. Fully credited Reuschel leads that pack in WAA (with Smoltz at 38 too). And I think everybody except Tiant is in the HoM.

And that's the WORST you can make him (in WAR terms) by assuming he pitched in front of average defenses. Assume they were at least below average overall and he's going to gain back 3-4 wins which makes him John Smoltz and Don Sutton (also Tiant) in total WAR and Tiant/Cone in WAA.

As I said earlier, he's on the borderline of the BBWAA selections ... but so were Sutton and Drysdale. Yes, you can make a reasonable case that he was no more screwed over than Tiant, Cone and Bunning. But he was way better than Tommy John.

Anyway, in the end, defense matters. I assume everybody here believes this. I assume everybody here believes that pitching in front of good defenses will lower the ERA and increase the win total. Everybody here should agree that the 70s Cub defenses were terrible even if you doubt they could be that terrible. And I'm going to assume that nobody here has more reliable defensive numbers than b-r.

   44. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: February 10, 2013 at 05:16 AM (#4366385)
If Andruw Jones was 'just" the best CF ever (not miles ahead) and if Reuschel just pitched in front of bad defenses (instead of some of the worst ever) they're both in the HoVG.


If Andruw was the best CF ever to play, better than Willie, better than DiMaggio, that and 434 home runs punches his ticket to Cooperstown, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think it's particularly close, either.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:45 AM (#4366396)
First, I'd like to second Matt Welch and say this has been a pretty great thread. Thanks for the all excellent answers to my question above (especially to Walt and Eric J) - I'm growing convinced that the Cubs really were terrible and Reuschel really was kinda great.

I accept that [Andruw Jones] was one of the best ever. WAR is giving him credit for quite a bit more than that; a ten year average that equals the best single seasons put up by other elite CFs.
This is partly an artifact of WAR's defensive methodology. For seasons for which there is no or less granular PBP defensive data, Total Zone regresses more significantly to the mean. For the entire spread of defensive numbers in the 1950s and 1960s, there is less variance than among defensive numbers in the 1990s and 2000s.

Andruw Jones, then, rates as head and shoulders above all defensive center fielders from the PBP era. Guys like Mays and Speaker may well have been just as good - they almost certainly were, if they weren't better - but the regression to the mean in TZ hides that. They rate as roughly as dominant within their eras as Jones does within his. My preferred fix to this problem is not to cut 50% off Jones' defensive ratings, but to add 50% or more to the defensive ratings of players from the pre-PBB era considered to have been the best fielders of all time.
   46. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4366409)
BTW - Cone is in the Hall of Merit and Tiant is pretty consistently in the top 10 not elected.
   47. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4366412)
BTW - Cone is in the Hall of Merit and Tiant is pretty consistently in the top 10 not elected.


And Cone and Reuschel are the very definition of the HoM borderline, elected in an "Oh, crap we've got to elect three more guys and the obviously deserving ones are in" year (that may not be the technical name for it). If the HoM electorate, who presumably had access to some of this information about Reuschel's dreadful defense, were barely persuaded of his enshrinement bona fides, I'm sticking with the idea that without such a boost he's otherwise on the wrong side of the HoF bubble.

   48. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4366414)
I think you're understating because you don't seem to have accounted for the value of the extra outs. Relative to an out, an IP hit is worth about .8 runs (.5 for the hit - -.3 for the out).

Good call. Hunter also loses 16.1 IP over the 5 years due to outs being turned into hits, and Reuschel gains 19. Accounting for that and the difference in run values, I get Hunter '71-'75 at 1455.1 IP, 2.95 ERA (114 ERA+), with Reuschel '73-'77 at 1242.2 IP, 3.05 ERA (130 ERA+). Hunter has 42 extra innings per year, but I'm still comfortable calling that a decent-sized advantage to Reuschel.

Edit: Technically, I think these adjustments should be made to RA rather than ERA, since a lot of the Cubs' bad defense shows up in errors. The resulting adjustment would probably be a little less extreme. But B-R doesn't have RA+ numbers available.
   49. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4366423)
For the sake of comparison, here's how my half-baked defensive adjustment compares to B-R's:

Reuschel (BR): -.28, -.84, -.51, -.25, -.27
Reuschel (ME): -.32, -.73, -.62, -.20, -.19

Hunter (BR): +.28, +.32, +.51, +.24, +.24
Hunter (ME): +.32, +.26, +.60, +.25, +.09

Pretty comparable. B-R's adjustment is maybe a bit larger in both cases.
   50. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:23 AM (#4366425)
Lamp's immediate before and after seasons are dramatic (and he gave up a metric shitton of hits his last year on the Northside)


And that wouldn't have anything to do with an outfield manned by Dave Kingman, Jerry Martin, Mike Vail, Scot Thompson, Bill Buckner, Larry Biitner, and Cliff Johnson? Good lord, has any team had so many natural born 1B and DH patrolling their outfield? Those guys combined for 3400 of the team's 4400 outfield defensive innings.

edit: Jerry Martin was a perfectly adequate, even good defensive corner outfielder. But he was a disaster in CF. In Philly early in his career, playing mostly left and right, he compiled +22 Rfield. In KC and NY late in his career, playing mostly RF, he compiled +6. Inbetween, 2 years on the Cubs and one on the Giants, playing almost exclusively CF, he rang up a -41.
   51. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4366430)

And that wouldn't have anything to do with an outfield manned by Dave Kingman, Jerry Martin, Mike Vail, Scot Thompson, Bill Buckner, Larry Biitner, and Cliff Johnson? Good lord, has any team had so many natural born 1B and DH patrolling their outfield? Those guys combined for 3400 of the team's 4400 outfield defensive innings.


It's certainly a strong possibility, which is the very reason I included the fact about his hit total in my post. But that year looks like a performance outlier in terms of his days on the northside.
   52. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4366438)
But that year looks like a performance outlier in terms of his days on the northside.


Well, it's also an outlier in terms of UER. That year he allowed only 6, but the previous 2 years he allowed 14 and 18. So while his RA in 1980 is still the worst of the three, it's not quite so dramatic compared to ERA.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4366448)
No, remove the boost and look at just his ERA+ and innings numbers and he's comparable to Jim Bunning. If we want to see pitchers recognized at a rate commensurate to their contribution they're both in. I'm fine with Pettitte being elected too.

I can get on board with that. I thought the general consensus around here was that guys like Pettitte shouldn't be in, and Bunning would be a mistake.

But if we're going to lower the SP bar (which we should) then Reuschel fits in comfortably with the Pettitte, Stieb, Cone, Tommy John crew.

Edit: interesting that Reuschel's ERA is not that much higher than his FIP for his career (3.37 vs. 3.22). '74 is a huge outlier (4.30 vs. 3.33) and '75 a big one (3.73 vs. 3.16), but the rest of his career is unremarkable.
   54. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4366453)
Edit: interesting that Reuschel's ERA is not that much higher than his FIP for his career (3.37 vs. 3.22). '74 is a huge outlier (4.30 vs. 3.33) and '75 a big one (3.73 vs. 3.16), but the rest of his career is unremarkable.

That may be more of a reflection on the unreliability of FIP as a predictive tool in past decades due to the smaller number of Three True Outcomes at-bats than anything else...but I suppose that would even out over the entirety of a career and it might be a more useful tool for whole careers (though I have no idea).
   55. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM (#4366457)
I thought the general consensus around here was that guys like Pettitte shouldn't be in, and Bunning would be a mistake.

Huh? Bunning is already in.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4366458)
Huh? Bunning is already in.

I know bad phrasing. I meant "would be considered a mistake".
   57. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4366460)
If Andruw was the best CF ever to play, better than Willie, better than DiMaggio, that and 434 home runs punches his ticket to Cooperstown, as far as I'm concerned. I don't think it's particularly close, either.

OK, but that's not a sabermetric case.

I could just as easily say Pettitte has 245 wins, with a .633 W% (>100 more wins than losses), that punches his ticket to Cooperstown, and I don't think it's particularly close.

There is no logical standard where Jones is a slam dunk HoFer and Pettitte an afterthought.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:15 PM (#4366461)

Well, it's also an outlier in terms of UER. That year he allowed only 6, but the previous 2 years he allowed 14 and 18. So while his RA in 1980 is still the worst of the three, it's not quite so dramatic compared to ERA.


He also had some high UER rates in seasons outside Chi-N.

All I'm saying is the Dennis Lamp improved case is built entirely on two seasons, his final year on the Northside and the next year on the South Side. But the two seasons surrounding them (his last two with the Cubs, first two with the White Sox) look pretty equal in terms of results, with a slight edge to his NL days. As evidence of systemic underperformance due to defense*, it's pretty weak. And yet, it's still stronger than the other guys mentioned.

* Now, I'm not claiming the defense in Wrigley wasn't woeful, only that you really can't divine it from any of the examples listed. There just isn't enough there.

   59. BDC Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:20 PM (#4366463)
it was an exceptionally weak ballot and they have a rule that the top vote-getters are inducted

Fair enough, though isn't the rationale of the HOM still that their algorithm produces a Hall of the size of the current HOF, but with the "mistakes" replaced by the most deserving candidates? Or has the HOM itself made "mistakes" because of a flaw in their balloting structure? I'm really not sure what the consensus is on that question. There are a few HOMers who are my idea of non-immortals (Pierce, Stieb, Saberhagen, Reuschel, Freehan, Randolph), but I've been reckoning that the HOF itself is so large that the "right" mix would include a fair swath of such players, and that the HOM voters have tended to make the correct decisions in ranking them.

I guess another way of seeing it is that the larger a Hall, the larger the grey area at its threshold, as you move the line for induction "leftwards" along the tail of the all-time talent distribution. There are simply way more arguably similar players to Randolph or Reuschel than there are arguably similar ones to Barry Bonds or Walter Johnson.
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:23 PM (#4366464)
There is no logical standard where Jones is a slam dunk HoFer and Pettitte an afterthought.
For a peak/prime voter who doesn't give a large amount of postseason credit, Pettitte is an afterthought. He had only three seasons in his career (1996, 1997, and 2005) where he was among the 20 best pitchers in MLB. He was a durable, mildly average starter outside of those three seasons.

Andruw Jones, if you believe he was one of the two or three best defensive CF of all time, had a run of seven or eight seasons where he was a worthy All-Star and borderline MVP candidate. Pettitte, again, has only the three.

For a career voter, sure, Pettitte is reasonably worthy and in line with Jones. And I'm skeptical of the extent of Jones' defensive excellence, so I wouldn't put him in right now. But Andruw Jones and Andy Pettitte do not have HoF cases which bear any resemblance to each other, and there are lots of logical standards which can differentiate them with no trouble at all.
   61. The District Attorney Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:24 PM (#4366465)
Guys like Mays and Speaker may well have been just as good [defensively as Andruw] - they almost certainly were, if they weren't better - but the regression to the mean in TZ hides that. They rate as roughly as dominant within their eras as Jones does within his.
BTW, we need to standard deviation-ize everything. It's leading to all sorts of problems.
   62. Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4366466)
There is no logical standard where Jones is a slam dunk HoFer and Pettitte an afterthought.

How about a heavily peak/dominance-based case? I know I have some peaky tendencies, so it can't be *too* not-logical (haha). Just a cursory look: Pettitte only has three years over 4 WAR, while Jones has eight (you raise it up to 5 WAR and it's three and six, 6 WAR and two and five) and Jones has the WAA advantage 36.1 to 29.5. I'm not saying that this would nearly fulfill the standard of "slam dunk vs. afterthought", but if you're really into big years and don't think that the alternative is particularly relevant (and I know I stray dangerously close to this area), I could definitely see how Jones would rank well above Pettitte in your calculation, perhaps with one over the line and one behind.

Frankly, I would want to look at it a lot more closely, but on face, it would seem that that kind of case *could* be made.

EDIT: It looks like Matt got to it well before me. Take a beverage.
   63. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:26 PM (#4366467)
I assume everybody here believes that pitching in front of good defenses will lower the ERA and increase the win total.

Not enough to drag a guy with 214 wins with an ERA+ of 114 (and no rings) into Cooperstown. That's just not how it works.

Sometimes people just aren't lucky. Deal with it.
   64. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM (#4366473)
Fair enough, though isn't the rationale of the HOM still that their algorithm produces a Hall of the size of the current HOF, but with the "mistakes" replaced by the most deserving candidates? Or has the HOM itself made "mistakes" because of a flaw in their balloting structure?


I'd say the HoM made mistakes by fixing its size to the actual Hall, because that fix was only for a specific point in time. From there, you'd have to either grow larger than the current Hall* to keep your membership floor fairly consistent, or start keeping out players better than the bottom tier guys already elected.

In either case, you end up with questionable HoMers like Randolph, Stieb and Saberhagen.

* Or get lucky that the Hall began electing many more people, which obviously ain't happening.

   65. epoc Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:45 PM (#4366479)
Edit: interesting that Reuschel's ERA is not that much higher than his FIP for his career (3.37 vs. 3.22). '74 is a huge outlier (4.30 vs. 3.33) and '75 a big one (3.73 vs. 3.16), but the rest of his career is unremarkable.


A difference of .15 runs per 9 over the course of a 3500 IP career seems rather remarkable to me. That's about 59 runs or 6 full wins, and changes a 114 ERA+ into a 119 FIP+. It's also the 27th highest such difference in history among pitchers with at least 2500 innings (of which there have been 242).
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4366486)
How about a heavily peak/dominance-based case? I know I have some peaky tendencies, so it can't be *too* not-logical (haha). Just a cursory look: Pettitte only has three years over 4 WAR, while Jones has eight (you raise it up to 5 WAR and it's three and six, 6 WAR and two and five) and Jones has the WAA advantage 36.1 to 29.5.

That's the same argument as the defense. Jones' peak is based on otherworldly defensive credit.

I also don't understand peak arguments unless a guy's career is cut short by war or injury or segregation, something beyond his control. To me you shouldn't get cut slack b/c you became fat and terrible at age 31.

Edit: Of course the biggest problem Jones has is he's not better than Jim Edmonds or Kenny Lofton.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:54 PM (#4366488)

A difference of .15 runs per 9 over the course of a 3500 IP career seems rather remarkable to me. That's about 59 runs or 6 full wins, and changes a 114 ERA+ into a 119 FIP+. It's also the 27th highest such difference in history among pitchers with at least 2500 innings (of which there have been 242).


Pettitte's difference is .12 runs per 9 in 3130 IP. Not really very different from Reuschel.

In any case, 27th doesn't speak to pitching in front of historically bad D for his career. Bad? Sure, but Pettitte pitched in front of some really crappy Yankee defense also.
   68. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4366490)
That's the same argument as the defense. Jones' peak is based on otherworldly defensive credit.
Yes.

I don't agree with the position, but it's perfectly logical to be a peak/prime voter who believes Jones was legitimately that great. It's also entirely logical as a peak/prime voter to dismiss Pettitte without a second thought. That position I agree with.

Pettitte just wasn't good enough, even with the full helping of WAR defensive credit, to deserve a second look from a peak/prime voter.
   69. epoc Posted: February 10, 2013 at 01:25 PM (#4366507)
Pettitte's difference is .12 runs per 9 in 3130 IP. Not really very different from Reuschel.


It's a difference of two full wins. Of course terms like "very" and "remarkable" are completely subjective, but six full wins difference seems remarkable to me. Four wins difference is only like 67% as remarkable. But I'm not really comparing Reuschel to Pettitte, just noting that Reuschel's ERA-FIP supports the story that BB-Ref's WAR is telling. Indeed, BB-Ref has Reuschel tied for 32nd all-time in pitcher WAR, with only Halladay and Sabathia likely to pass him anytime soon, while Fangraphs has him at 33rd all-time, with only Halladay, Sabathia, and Pettitte threatening. So it seems to me like any attempt to isolate pitching from defense is going to leave us with the conclusion that Reuschel was an all-time great pitcher and easily HOF-worthy (to the extent that such worthiness is established by rigorous statistical evaluations of value, which is debatable). So the argument isn't whether or not he pitched in front of historically bad defenses, but rather whether or not we want to isolate pitching from defense in the first place.
   70. Howie Menckel Posted: February 10, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4366509)

"isn't the rationale of the HOM still that their algorithm produces a Hall of the size of the current HOF, but with the "mistakes" replaced by the most deserving candidates?"

yes, that's how I've always taken it, and I've voted in every single election.

I understand the criticisms, too. But the level of support when elected, the amount of support in previous years if not elected, and maybe most importantly the rankings by position all serve to make it clear which are the weakest choices - if that is important to any particular person.

Each position of 20-25 choices has about 3 to 6 guys who are near or at the bottom of almost all ballots. It's pretty clear, without too much effort, which ones are the "placeholders" to replace the mstakes.

If we only elected players with X level of support, we'd still have a number of players who are "barely in" - and some observers who reasonably seek to see which players those are.

   71. zenbitz Posted: February 10, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4366510)
I just want to point out that Reuschel and A. Jones are not strictly comparable. It's vastly easier to establish a GLOBAL defensive parameter (helps Reuschel) than it is to partition OF chances between LF/CF/RF.

Essentially all you have to do is estimate the probability on GB and FB BIPs to be converted to outs by an average pitcher and defense (possibly replacement level instead).

Fangraphs is extremely useful for this (even if you thing their overall pWAR is wrong)

Palmer has 97.7 RA/9 WAR but loses 27 on BIP and 15.3 on LOB total WAR: 54.6
Reuschel has 70 RA/9 WAR but gains 10 of BIP and loses 7 on LOB. total WAR: 73.4

If I am not mistaken - the main difference between fWAR and bWAR for pitchers is that fWAR throws up it's hands on the partitioning of defense between pitcher and defense, and bWAR tries to split the difference.

I like to think of fWAR as the "upper bound of defensive effects" (strong DIPS) and RA/9 WAR as the "lower bound of defensive effects). Probably a ROT estimate would be to take the geometric mean between fWAR and RA/9 WAR.

I am not sure if bWAR regresses out LOB issues- but I think it's good to have it in front of you to make that judgement yourself.

Palmer, by the way is 6th all time (since 1901) in LOB-wins and 3rd in BIP-wins (number 1 in combined FDP wins)
Catfish is 4th in BIP wins... despite the short career.

Nolan Ryan is the only HOFer near the bottom (3rd) of FDPwins with -19.9 (-30 LOB-wins! 1st all time of course). Don Sutton is 2nd with -17.


Other the Reuschel, Jim Kaat, Tommy John, and Bob Friend (most underrated pitcher of all time?) are the only dudes with >60fWAR and <-10 BIP-WAR.

Wouldn't put Friend in the HOF though. Nor Jim Kaat. Reuschel seems clearly superior. I think Tommy John is very marginal but he did invent that surgery.
   72. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 10, 2013 at 01:37 PM (#4366511)
I used to have a book called "Chicago Cubs," a history of the franchise, which had an article about this game, in which Reuschel threw a 12-hit shutout. When they asked Reuschel how he managed to throw a shutout despite allowing 12 hits, he responded, "Damn good defense." In fact, that was the title of the article: "Damn Good Defense."

That was in front of the 1974 Cubs.
   73. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 01:39 PM (#4366512)
I am not sure if bWAR regresses out LOB issues- but I think it's good to have it in front of you to make that judgement yourself.
They do not. bWAR does account for relief support, but a pitcher gives up three hits in a row for two runs, that's on him.

So I use fWAR-LOB for the lower bound of defensive effects.

These are tiny quibbles, it's a very good post.
   74. bobm Posted: February 10, 2013 at 02:06 PM (#4366529)
[72] 1974 NL, sorted by team DER:

                                   
Tm       R/G DefEff    Ch    E   DP
ATL     3.45   .720  6377  132  161
LAD     3.46   .720  6313  157  122
CIN     3.87   .714  6268  134  151
HOU     3.90   .709  6340  113  161
MON     4.08   .706  6363  153  157
STL     3.99   .706  6346  147  192
PIT     4.06   .705  6414  162  154
SFG     4.46   .703  6318  175  153
LgAvg   4.15   .702  6344  154  153
PHI     4.33   .697  6288  148  168
NYM     3.99   .694  6365  158  150
SDP     5.12   .681  6267  170  126
CHC     5.10   .672  6473  199  141

   75. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: February 10, 2013 at 02:59 PM (#4366555)
Tom - that's a great find. Thanks
   76. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 10, 2013 at 03:12 PM (#4366557)
This is the book, part of a series called Baseball's Great Teams [sic]. It may still be in my parents' attic, for all I know.
   77. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 03:20 PM (#4366561)
I don't agree with the position, but it's perfectly logical to be a peak/prime voter who believes Jones was legitimately that great. It's also entirely logical as a peak/prime voter to dismiss Pettitte without a second thought. That position I agree with.

Peak/prime voting confuses me. It seems nobody really votes on peak/prime, otherwise why not support Charlie Keller? He clearly had "Hall of Fame talent") 152 career OPS+, 40.6 WAR in only 4604 PA. Without the war, he likely puts up 50 WAR in 8 seasons.

Even if you give Jones full defensive credit and Keller no war credit, 40 WAR in 4600 PA (with war credit probably 50 WAR in 5600 PAs) seems more like a peak HoFer to me than 58 in 7150 PA (ignoring Jones collapse period).
   78. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 03:30 PM (#4366565)
It seems nobody really votes on peak/prime, otherwise why not support Charlie Keller?
1) Charlie Keller is in the Hall of Merit. With a relatively generous evaluation the 42/43 American League and fair war credit, Keller seems like a similar enough case to Jones.

2) It seems like nobody really votes on peak/prime, otherwise why not support Charlie Keller Sandy Koufax or Dizzy Dean?
   79. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 03:54 PM (#4366574)
I used to have a book called "Chicago Cubs," a history of the franchise, which had an article about this game, in which Reuschel threw a 12-hit shutout. When they asked Reuschel how he managed to throw a shutout despite allowing 12 hits, he responded, "Damn good defense." In fact, that was the title of the article: "Damn Good Defense."


Funny because I would categorize that as a bad defensive game.

Reuschel pitched well -- he allowed no walks or homers while striking out 7. (Granted he got extra opportunities to strike out hitters due to the 12 hits allowed.) But I thought that was one of the points of DIPS, that 12 hits in 9 innings on balls in play just seems unlucky.

The lucky part was that they led to no runs. But I don't know how a defense can be said to have been good in a game that it allowed 12 hits. Was the defense so good that it allowed no runs, and yet such a good defense couldn't prevent 12 hits allowed? What was it, Clutch Defense?

9 of the hits allowed were singles; 3 doubles, FWIW.
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:03 PM (#4366578)
FWIW, when b-r "neutralizes" Reuschel, he loses something off of his numbers:

Actual: 214-191, 3.37 ERA
Neutral: 208-172, 3.62 ERA

----

Also, not really related but Sean F has these fun notes buried in the explanation on neutralization:

Aaron with the 2000 Rockies has 1030 career home runs, and with the 1968 Dodgers has 653 home runs.

Cobb has a .436 career average playing for the Rockies.

Pedro with the 1968 Dodgers has a career ERA of 1.75 and with the 2000 Rockies a career ERA of 3.98.

   81. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4366594)
questionable HoMers like Randolph, Stieb and Saberhagen


No worse than Ken Boyer and Billy Pierce from an earlier era. I actually think the Hall of Merit bar for pitchers is too high.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4366616)
2) It seems like nobody really votes on peak/prime, otherwise why not support Charlie Keller Sandy Koufax or Dizzy Dean?

So two guys in 80 years? Maybe 3 with Kiner.
   83. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:37 PM (#4366619)
It's relatively rare for a player to be Hall of Fame quality for long enough to make a true peak/prime argument, but not be even competent long enough to have a true career argument.

However, all players have different weightings of peak / prime / career. Andy Pettitte is nearly all career, so if you are looking for peak/prime, you're not going to find much that's appealing about Pettitte.
   84. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4366631)
Al Rosen is probably the most severe "peak" guy. Among the ten best players in the game over a five year stretch, and thanks to being blocked on the front end and injuries on the back, essentially nothing otherwise.

As to the question as to how big the Hall "should be," about the only way to even begin to answer that kind of question is to try and figure out where the frequency of players of that quality jumps up a bunch, and just above that is the border. Easier said than done though.

No matter where the HOM puts it, it could only change from Willie Randolph being a questionable pick to Charlie Gehringer being a questionable pick. There isn't any level where the issue goes away.
   85. DL from MN Posted: February 10, 2013 at 04:54 PM (#4366632)
Other peak/prime electees include Dobie Moore and Hughie Jennings. Several people have voted for Al Rosen and Ed Williamson and we see votes for Dean too.
   86. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4366639)
But I don't know how a defense can be said to have been good in a game that it allowed 12 hits.


It's really not that hard. A dozen hard hit balls that no defense could been expected to prevent, and the defense makes a couple of decent plays in the field to prevent more/keep runs off the board. Maybe not likely, but it's not like you need some super keen imagination to envision the possibility.

Most hits are, in fact, hits against everyone. They happen independent of the opponent's defensive prowess.

No worse than Ken Boyer and Billy Pierce from an earlier era.


I didn't say the questionable HoMers were limited to a single era. In fact, the structure makes it easier for an iffy guy earlier in the game's history.
   87. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: February 10, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4366659)
Most hits are, in fact, hits against everyone. They happen independent of the opponent's defensive prowess.

However when you go down that rabbit hole, you don't actually have to stop at the defense. Much the same can be said about pitchers too. Great pitches wind up as hits, meatballs get popped up. There is no bright line where an obvious cutoff in evaluating player contributions starts on any given play other than the end of the previous play. Theoretically you can end the pitching contribution to the play as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. The same ball leaving the same hand in the same way can result in a whole bunch of different game results.
   88. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4366675)
However when you go down that rabbit hole, you don't actually have to stop at the defense. Much the same can be said about pitchers too. Great pitches wind up as hits, meatballs get popped up. There is no bright line where an obvious cutoff in evaluating player contributions starts on any given play other than the end of the previous play. Theoretically you can end the pitching contribution to the play as soon as the ball leaves the pitcher's hand. The same ball leaving the same hand in the same way can result in a whole bunch of different game results.


I don't see the need to go down that rabbit hole to address the question Ray asked: Can a team have played good defense if it allowed 12 hits? The undeniable answer is "yes.'

Most hits that happen in a baseball game are hits that would have happened against any defense. The question of whether, in an alternate universe, that ball laced to the corner was actually popped up is an interesting thought exercise, but really beyond the scope of evaluating how well a defense played.
   89. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4366683)
I don't see the need to go down that rabbit hole to address the question Ray asked: Can a team have played good defense if it allowed 12 hits? The undeniable answer is "yes.'


Well, you're making the "can" in my initial comment do a lot of heavy lifting. I'd rather rephrase and talk about what giving up 12 hits suggests as to how well a defense played. (Particularly when from all indications the pitcher otherwise pitched well.) That is really more what I was getting at.

And to me it suggests a poor defensive performance, not a good one.
   90. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 06:21 PM (#4366711)
Well, you're making the "can" in my initial comment do a lot of heavy lifting. I'd rather rephrase and talk about what giving up 12 hits suggests as to how well a defense played. (Particularly when from all indications the pitcher otherwise pitched well.) That is really more what I was getting at.

And to me it suggests a poor defensive performance, not a good one.


I was just quoting you. You said "I don't know how a defense can be said to have been good in a game that it allowed 12 hits." If you didn't want it to do such heavy lifting, you shouldn't have piled so much weight on its shoulders. (-:

Generally speaking, I think 12 hits allowed suggests a team probably gave up a few hits that it otherwise might have turned into outs (how the pitcher otherwise threw wouldn't really factor into it for me).

Of course, that isn't all you'd want to look at to determine how well a defense played. Errors/PBs/WPs. DPs. CS/SB. Other outs on the bases.

In the game in question, the Cubs had no errors and turned two DPs. There weren't any runners put out on the bases. But a lot of the Pirates' hits were of the ground ball variety, the very kind that are most susceptible to swing between the hit to out category depending on the capabilities of the infielders.

So, just looking at the play by play, and given this team's reputation, my guess about this particular game is that Reuschel was being slightly charitable to his defenders. But that's just a guess. It's not hard to imagine the Cubs did in fact play a rare nice game behind him.
   91. Walt Davis Posted: February 10, 2013 at 06:33 PM (#4366718)
Fair enough, though isn't the rationale of the HOM still that their algorithm produces a Hall of the size of the current HOF, but with the "mistakes" replaced by the most deserving candidates? Or has the HOM itself made "mistakes" because of a flaw in their balloting structure?

As another poster noted, if there was a "mistake" it was in setting the size to equal the current HoF. Thanks to the VC, there are a lot of "replaceable" HoFers. Not including Negro Leaguers, etc. (because they don't show up in PI), there are about 60 starters in the HoF. Reuschel, Stieb, etc. are in that group. But when I see names like that all it does is remind how many lousy VC selections there have actually been rather than "yes, we statheads have done a better job."

Also by inducting the top vote getters without also at least including some floor minimum vote is just asking for an embarrassing induction that could be easily avoided by specifying a floor minimum. People whine about the HoF not having any living inductees. Well, if not for the glorious onslaught this season, the top vote getter among the backlog is Vic Willis. You don't get to a living backlogger until Tiant (he's still alive right?) at #12 overall. (Keeping people on the ballot forever is probably also a mistake. Willis has been on the ballot for nearly 100 "years". I think the HoM has fairly and fully adjudicated his case at this point.

On peak/prime: I don't see what's so hard about it. It's not about "giving credit for getting fat", it's about rewarding _greatness_. You've basically got 4 types of HoFers:

super-duper: great for 20 years
super: great for 7-10 years then good decline
peak: great for 7-10 years then little or nothing
career: very good for 20 years

The first two groups put up big counting stats and WAR numbers and nobody seriously debates their worthiness. The latter two groups often end up with similar career WAR totals or the "career" guys end up ahead ... but the "peak" guys were genuinely great for a while. So, which would you prefer, a guy who was great for 10 years or one who was never great? Of course you could simplify by just tossing out the last two groups.

To say there are few peak/prime HoF candidates is a bit disingenuous. As noted, a big reason for this is because players that are stars at 30 rarely collapse so completely as to see their careers end. Even if their production falls sharply, teams will keep giving them chances for several years and they may hit some milestone numbers. But when they are selected for the HoF, they are being selected because of that run of greatness. A debate has always been there of whether the BBWAA used milestones or not -- i.e. high peak but no milestone and you don't get in; high peak with milestone and you do. I do think it's pretty clear that the BBWAA rewards career length but that doesn't mean they should.

As an example, Ernie Banks. Was he a peak candidate or a career candidate? He got to 500 HR a major milestone. But Mathews and Killebrew both got there too and had to wait a few years for induction.

Ernie Banks sailed in because from 1955 to 1961, he was one of the greatest players baseball had ever seen, arguably the greatest SS since Wagner (esp since the BBWAA ignored Vaughan). He compiled 49 WAR in those 7 years and won 2 MVPs plus a 3rd and a 4th, 7 AS teams, 1 GG.

Outside of that time he did very little. He had one average season before that run and, after injury and the move to 1B, he put up just 10 WAR in 8.5 full seasons of PAs.

The Cubs let him hang on long enough to get to 500 HR (he'd have had 1500 RBI in almost any case) so, who knows, maybe the BBWAA did do it on career grounds. But probably not because everybody still refers to him as a SS and nobody talks about Banks's great seasons at 1B. He's in the HoF because of that amazing 7-year peak. If the voters needed those extra 9 years of below-average 1B to vote Banks into the HoF ... well, then they were idiots.

In essence, a "peak" voter is one who emphasizes "greatness" more than "value" in making HoF selections. Pettitte was never great so he has to compile a LOT of value to make up for that -- say Don Sutton. I don't think that Reuschel was ever great (he has no black ink of note) and I'm not sure he compiled quite enough value for me to put him in my HoF. Dave Stieb did have an impressive run and maybe was great enough despite a lower WAR total than either of those guys. (I'm very mean to pitchers I have to admit, they've got to be in the super category or be Koufax ... which ain't right but so it goes.)

As to Andruw Jones: the argument (well blunt statement) in 44 is just fine in the abstract. That argument is the same as the Ozzie Smith argument. Smith was the greatest defensive SS of all-time so, as long as he wasn't a total embarrassment with the bat, then he's an HoFer. Smith was an average or slightly better hitter for a SS so he's in.

IF Jones is the greatest defensive CF of all-time and was a decent hitter for a CF ... well, all those HR is enough value that he was a decent hitter as a CF (you could also cite OPS+). The problem with this argument, even putting aside the Rfield squabbling, is whether he was the greatest defensive CF for long enough. Ozzie was ridiculously good for about 15 years, Andruw for just 11. Also CF is not as key a position as SS so we can rightly demand a stronger offensive showing even from a defensively great CF.

So to go for Andruw you've got a "peak great defense" argument which is about as weak a borderline HoF argument as you can come up with.

   92. Ray (RDP) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4366728)
I was just quoting you. You said "I don't know how a defense can be said to have been good in a game that it allowed 12 hits." If you didn't want it to do such heavy lifting, you shouldn't have piled so much weight on its shoulders. (-:


I wrote it, yes, and I subscribe to the general rule that if something was not clear it's the fault of the person who wrote it.

I also think a little common sense should intrude on the reader every now and then, to maybe not take something so literal.

I mean, "can" Mila Kunis read this thread and decide that she wants to dump Ashton Kutcher for me? Yes. Is it bloodly likely? No.
   93. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:10 PM (#4366733)
I mean, "can" Mila Kunis read this thread and decide that she wants to dump Ashton Kutcher for me? Yes. Is it bloodly likely? No.


And I'd say you're seriously overstating the unlikelihood of a team playing good defense in a 12-hit shutout. Is it the default assumption? No. But just as you want to credit Reuschel for otherwise throwing well, you'd have to assume that the defense made some plays (double plays, outs converted on the bases) to keep that many runners on base from scoring. Hits allowed is just one measure of defense, and one that may or may not have much to do with the defense itself.

   94. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:13 PM (#4366735)
Thank you to everyone for this informative thread.
   95. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4366747)
setting aside my personal view of the cubs from that era everything about that '74 cubs smacks of a poor defense

hits allowed--led the league
double plays turned--3 worst in the league
errors charged--led league (and it wasn't close)
stolen bases allowed-second most
passed balls--second most
wild pitches--third most

third base double plays to errors: 25:33 which is awful

and then from my sometimes unreliable memory i would tell you that they stunk.

i don't know how you consider all of this and everything others has posted and then point to rick being nice in a quote and say that maybe the defense wasn't bad. it was sh8t. and bad smelling sh8t. ripe, sitting in the sun, hog sh8t.

and let me tell ya', that's some bad smelling sh8t
   96. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:38 PM (#4366751)
I mean, "can" Mila Kunis read this thread and decide that she wants to dump Ashton Kutcher for me? Yes. Is it bloodly likely? No.

No offense Ray, but being an upgrade over Ashton Kutcher is nothing to boast about.
   97. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 07:40 PM (#4366752)
i don't know how you consider all of this and everything others has posted and then point to rick being nice in a quote and say that maybe the defense wasn't bad. it was sh8t. and bad smelling sh8t. ripe, sitting in the sun, hog sh8t.


And I don't know how you got this ####### far down the thread without realizing what the conversation is about.

We're talking on the individual game level here. And yes, I'm sure the ripe-ass, sitting-in-the-sun #### ass 1974 Cubs defense played some good defensive games from time to time. Whether this one qualifies is really beyond any of our ability to ferret out without looking at the footage. Moreover, Ray and I were talking less about this specific 12-hit shutout and more about what 12 hits allowed says about a defensive effort.

But unless you remember the specifics of this particular game, get bent.
   98. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:10 PM (#4366761)
post 97

i didn't realize folks were dissecting a single game

and my comment wasn't directed at anyone in particular

but if you feel better for lashing out unnecessarily have at it
   99. SoSH U at work Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:17 PM (#4366764)
i didn't realize folks were dissecting a single game

and my comment wasn't directed at anyone in particular


I was the only one taking up that particular line of argument, so there was no one else the "you" could be referring to.

And if you don't like getting lashed at, don't post crap like 95.

   100. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: February 10, 2013 at 08:30 PM (#4366769)
post 99

last time. i wasn't posting at anyone in particular. that's a fact. i obvious misinterpreted the direction of thread

i only respond given the obvious misunderstanding

if you are adamant about being upset then there is nothing else i can do
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