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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

FanGraphs: Laurila: Q&A: Ron Fairly on Dodger vs. Giants

Great stuff…including…

David Laurila: You had a productive a career that looks even better after accounting for era and park factors. Were you underrated?

Ron Fairly: I think everybody feels that maybe they weren’t appreciated as much as they [should have been] for the contributions they made to ball clubs. I think it goes without saying. A lot of players feel that way.

I think my numbers would certainly be better today. I played in an era — the 1960s — that might have been the most difficult in which to make your living, as a hitter, of any in the history of the game of baseball. I played in Dodger Stadium, which was a big ballpark where the ball didn’t carry very well. It doesn’t take many [lost] hits during the course of a season for your average to drop a little bit, and you weren’t going to have as many home runs or RBIs there.

DL: Sandy Koufax put up his numbers in that same environment. While he was obviously a great pitcher, was he maybe a little overrated?

RF: No. Sandy was an exception. There were games that Sandy did not win because we did not score any runs for him. I know there was one stretch — just to give you an idea about Dodger Stadium — that the magic number was three. If you scored three runs or more, you won 62 percent of your games

...Dodger Stadium was a tough ballpark in which to score runs. Yes, it helped our pitching staffs, but take a look at what Sandy did in some of the other ballparks. Dodger Stadium didn’t have too much to do with the performance of Sandy. He was fabulous.

(Mad rush to run 1962 - 1966 H/A numbers)


Repoz Posted: August 03, 2011 at 01:32 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, sabermetrics

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   1. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3891684)
Dodger Stadium was one magical stadium, evidently.
   2. The_Ex Posted: August 03, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3891704)
I liked this quote about Bob Gibson:

I remember one particular night that I got a base hit my first time up. An inning or two later he got to first base and I said, “Hi Bob, how are you tonight?” His response was, “You sure have a lot to say. Why don’t you shut up.” That was Bob.
   3. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:07 PM (#3891725)
He's got a few good stories, actually. Ted Williams, as usual, comes across as a man who knows something about hitting.

edit: Also, you have to wonder what the hell the Giants were thinking hiring him to do color. That was a disaster. Tell us another Dodger story, Mr. Fairly!

edit edit: Also, Fairly has one of my favorite baseball quotes. He tells a story of being the DH for the Jays in their inaugural season and taking an o-fer and, as he was going back to the dugout one of the nascent Jays fans loudly exclaimed, "Designated what?"
   4. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3891764)
This is a good interview.
I'll always think of Ron Fairly as one of the Topps "small-type" guys - him, Lolich and Kranepool.
   5. Bob Evans Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3891833)
I never heard Sandy Koufax called "muscular" before. And I certainly wouldn't've thought of him as being more muscular than Drysdale.
   6. phredbird Posted: August 03, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3891852)
I never heard Sandy Koufax called "muscular" before. And I certainly wouldn't've thought of him as being more muscular than Drysdale.

sandy koufax was built. jane leavy mentions this more than once in her book. he's over 75 yrs old now. i saw him a year or two ago when he sat with joe torre and tj simers at the nokia theater in L.A. for an informal interview. clayton kershaw was in the audience, and they brought him up to pose with sandy. koufax was taller and just as broad. then they compared hand sizes. koufax's hands were several inches longer than kershaw's. clayton kershaw is no midget.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3892004)
If you scored three runs or more, you won 62 percent of your game

I hate to tell you this Ron, but if you score 3 or more runs in the 2011 NL, you win 70% of your games. In 2000, the height of sillyball, it was still 65%.

It is left as an exercise for the reader to find the answer for Dodger Stadium in its heyday ... mainly cuz I can't figure out how to do that.
   8. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3892019)
If you scored three runs or more, you won 62 percent of your game

According to Bill James, when Koufax was pitching, it was more like 92%. He has an article in the BJHBA looking at what Drysdale and Koufax did with various levels of run support in 1963/64, and reports that when given three or more runs to work with, Koufax was 35-3.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:08 PM (#3892022)
Maybe he meant, "if you only scored 3 runs, you won 62% of your games." That makes more sense.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: August 03, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3892047)
I should add that Ron Fairly is the Ron Santo of the Canada Baseball HoF.
   11. Bob Evans Posted: August 03, 2011 at 11:45 PM (#3892220)
Interesting, phredbird. (JFTR, I wasn't doubting it so much as saying, when you hear about Koufax, you don't hear about his physique, you hear about teh awesome.)

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