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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Goose Gossage thinks Mariano Rivera is a great guy, but greatest of all time?

But, but…Mariano Rivera (1219.2) is less than 2 innings behind Babe Ruth (1221.1) for *943rd* place on the All-Time Innings Pitched List! #context

“I think that these guys are so dominant in that one-inning role that they’ve forgotten what we used to do,” the former Yankees closer said. “It takes three guys to do what we used to do.”

Gossage, a Yankees spring training instructor, added: “Believe me, I do not want to take anything away from this guy, this guy is right up there. But had we been used like that, hard telling what [our] statistics would be. They’d be right there. We were dominant in that role for three innings.”

Gossage, who accrued 310 career saves with a 3.01 ERA over 22 seasons, had 193 saves of at least four outs to Rivera’s 116. There’s an even bigger gap in six-out saves—125 for Gossage and 11 for Rivera, none since 2006 (Rivera had two six-out saves in the 2009 postseason).

“I believe had Mo been used like us, he might have 350 saves,” Gossage said. “You just wouldn’t have had the numbers. The workload was amazing.”

Gossage’s point, again made repeatedly, wasn’t to disparage Rivera, whom he continually praised. It was to put the roles of relievers over the years in context.

“I would throw out the challenge of, do what we did and we’ll compare apples to apples, and I believe today is the way they should be used,” Gossage said. “I’m not taking anything away from Mo . . . We know we could have finished the ninth, Sutter, Rollie Fingers, myself. Could they have withstood that workload? I guarantee the numbers wouldn’t be what the numbers are. It’s impossible statistically to do it.”

Repoz Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4385442)
Sick of this dude's mouth, and there's no way of knowing whether any one specific pre-1990s reliever would have been as good a one-inning closer as Rivera, but yes, surely the general point is correct.
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4385444)
Who infected Hall of Fame members with the virus that causes them to believe that their opinions are validated by the possession of a plaque for their on the field performance?

Please induct a known steroid user into the HOF so Gossage stays home.









   3. BDC Posted: March 10, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4385448)
Indeed, he has a certain (if insufferable) point.

We were dominant in that role for three innings

Gossage's relief appearances of three or more innings:

1972 13
1973 3
1974 12
1975 13
1976 0 (started that year)
1977 13
1978 16
1979 4
1980 6
1981 1
1982 4
1983 5
1984 4
1985 0
1986 3
1987 1
1988 0
1989 3
1990 0 (missed season)
1991 0
1992 0
1993 3
1994 2

Gossage was very good in 3+ inning stints with the White Sox (1972-75), though often, as in 1974, they'd lose most of the games he pitched in; the Sox would bring him into a hopeless situation and leave him in (the new DH rule meant they never had to pinch-hit when behind, of course). He was great for Pittsburgh in 1977 and the Yankees in 1978 in 3-inning stints. And after that, he didn't do it much any more. Most of the rest of his 3-inning appearances were games that unexpectedly went to extra innings, or pure mop-up duty later in his career. Though it's a hell of an impressive feat to be able to keep notching such appearances in his 40s.

Perhaps a better way to put it would be "I was dominant in that role for {a couple of years} for three innings and then my role changed again, thereby allowing me to extend my career for a very long time and get to the Hall of Fame," which brings him closer to the merely-robotic orbit of Rivera. Again, as the DA says, Gossage does have a certain point.

EDIT: And it's fair to note that Gossage pitched parts of a third inning on many more occasions; he has quite a few 2.1 and 2.2 appearances, which he's probably rounding up mentally to three, and that's cool.
   4. Repoz Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:08 AM (#4385451)
   5. phineas Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4385453)
1990 0 (missed season)

You are kidding, right? He got lit up in the NPB.
Japanese fans couldn't get their head around the fact that the first NPB player voted in was Gossage.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:20 AM (#4385455)
Obnoxious timing, but perfectly correct on the merits.
   7. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4385456)
Aren't Rivera's far better numbers a sign that he is being used a lot better than Gossage was? Gossage should be saying that if he were used like Rivera he might have 2000 saves or whatever, not that if Rivera had been abused he'd be finished by now.
   8. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:26 AM (#4385458)
You are kidding, right? He got lit up in the NPB.
Japanese fans couldn't get their head around the fact that the first NPB player voted in was Gossage.


One of the prized possesions of my baseball card collection is a japanese Gossage card.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4385469)
Aren't Rivera's far better numbers a sign that he is being used a lot better than Gossage was? Gossage should be saying that if he were used like Rivera he might have 2000 saves or whatever, not that if Rivera had been abused he'd be finished by now.

He basically says that:

“I would throw out the challenge of, do what we did and we’ll compare apples to apples, and I believe today is the way they should be used,” Gossage said. “I’m not taking anything away from Mo . . . We know we could have finished the ninth, Sutter, Rollie Fingers, myself.
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4385474)

"Aren't Rivera's far better numbers a sign that he is being used a lot better than Gossage was?"

My speculation would be that somewhere in the middle would be optimal for the Yankees. The actual usage is optimal for Rivera's personal stats.

Torre's wise extra usage of Rivera in the postseason suggests that Rivera was capable of more.
But maybe a better counter-argument is that they always used Rivera just enough to reach the postseason, saving as much fuel as possible to enable extended postseason use. I think the Yankees would have won a few extra regular season games at optimal usage - but why take a chance?
   11. McCoy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4385480)
Who infected Hall of Fame members with the virus that causes them to believe that their opinions are validated by the possession of a plaque for their on the field performance?

It isn't the ballplayers that are infected but the people who keep sticking a tape recorder in front of the ballplayer's mouth that are the ones infected.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: March 10, 2013 at 11:56 AM (#4385484)
Who infected Hall of Fame members with the virus that causes them to believe that their opinions are validated by the possession of a plaque for their on the field performance?
To be fair, Gossage was an insufferable gasbag long before he was a Hall of Famer.
   13. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4385532)
In 1924, Firpo Marberry led the league in saves, including saves of 4, 5.2, and 6.1 innings. Fourteen relief appearences went 3 innings or longer.
Just one of his 36 relief appearances was exactly 1 inning, and that was with the team down a run (Walter Johnson was lifted for a PH). 30 of 36 were longer than 1 inning.
A key late-season series against the Yankees found Marberry in 3 of the 4 games - and he had two saves and a win in those.
Over the last month, he pitched every other day, winning four and saving six, as the Senators took the pennant by two games.
Marberry also had 14 starts (93.1 innings) as a starter that year.

THAT IS WHEN MEN WERE MEN, GOOSE GOSSAGE.
   14. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:29 PM (#4385537)
In 1924, Firpo Marberry led the league in saves, including saves of 4, 5.2, and 6.1 innings.

How the heck does the 6.1 IP save work? Looking up the game, the starter (Tom Zachary) was given the win despite being pulled after 2.2.
   15. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:34 PM (#4385542)
Who infected Hall of Fame members with the virus that causes them to believe that their opinions are validated by the possession of a plaque for their on the field performance?

Probably the same disease that affects movie stars, rock musicians, owners of fast food chains, and countless other people who seriously overestimate their own knowledge outside their particular field of expertise. And anyway, as long as we respond we're all his accomplices.

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

He was great for Pittsburgh in 1977 and the Yankees in 1978 in 3-inning stints. And after that, he didn't do it much any more.

That's probably because Ron Davis came up and posted his three best years from 1979 through 1981. That took a lot of innings away from Goose.

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

In 1924, Firpo Marberry led the league in saves, including saves of 4, 5.2, and 6.1 innings.
Just one of his 36 relief appearances was exactly 1 inning, and that was with the team down a run (Walter Johnson was lifted for a PH). 30 of 36 were longer than 1 inning.
A key late-season series against the Yankees found Marberry in 3 of the 4 games - and he had two saves and a win in those.
Over the last month, he pitched every other day, winning four and saving six, as the Senators took the pennant by two games.
Marberry also had 14 starts (93.1 innings) as a starter that year.


Not to throw cold water on that admittedly impressive performance, but for the entire 1924 season, there were exactly eight (8) home runs hit in Griffith Stadium.
   16. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:35 PM (#4385543)
Obnoxious timing, but perfectly correct on the merits.


In a world where "perfectly correct" doesn't preclude just makin' #### up, sure.
   17. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4385547)
Not to throw cold water on that admittedly impressive performance, but for the entire 1924 season, there were exactly eight (8) home runs hit in Griffith Stadium.


Good thing for him, it wasn't 'til 1925 that people figured out how to score without hitting a home run and road games were invented in 1929.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4385549)
In a world where "perfectly correct" doesn't preclude just makin' #### up, sure.

What, you don't think it's much easier for a RP to succeed pitching mostly in one-inning increments, 60-70 IP per year, rather than pitching up to three innings at a time, 100 IP per year?

Everything we've seen in the evolution of RP usage and performance over the last four decades supports the idea that relievers are much better when they pitch shorter outings, and fewer innings.
   19. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:48 PM (#4385557)
What, you don't think it's much easier for a RP to succeed pitching mostly in one-inning increments, 60-70 IP per year, rather than pitching up to three innings at a time, 100 IP per year?


No, it certainly is. And if Goose had regularly done what he claims to have regularly done, he'd have a point.
   20. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4385565)
In the abstract there's a legitimate quantity/quality argument regarding usage patterns, but Goose/Mo isn't the case to make it with. Goose pitched more, and there is credit due for it, but to get from Rivera's career to Gossage's (without granting credit for run environment, even) he'd have to pitch 589.2 innings and give up 346 runs (5.28 RA). The "extra" wasn't very valuable.
   21. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 10, 2013 at 01:58 PM (#4385566)
Not to throw cold water on that admittedly impressive performance, but for the entire 1924 season, there were exactly eight (8) home runs hit in Griffith Stadium.

Good thing for him, it wasn't 'til 1925 that people figured out how to score without hitting a home run and road games were invented in 1929.


The point is that without the threat of the long ball on practically every pitch, pitching was a lot less stressful. There are reasons that pitchers in earlier eras pitched a lot more innings than they do today, and that was one of them. Statistics like that taken out of context are virtually meaningless.

And BTW while Griffith Stadium was indeed an extreme case, there were still only 48 home runs hit in the Nats' road games in 1924, for a combined total of 56. Compare that to the 125 home runs hit in Yankees' games in 1978, or the 242 home runs hit in 2004, roughly the midpoint of Rivera's career. Trying to compare Marberry's feat to Gossage's or Rivera's is like trying to compare George Mikan's era in the NBA to the NBA of Bird and Dr. J or the NBA of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
   22. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4385577)
The point is that without the threat of the long ball on practically every pitch, pitching was a lot less stressful. There are reasons that pitchers in earlier eras pitched a lot more innings than they do today, and that was one of them. Statistics like that taken out of context are virtually meaningless.

And BTW while Griffith Stadium was indeed an extreme case, there were still only 48 home runs hit in the Nats' road games in 1924, for a combined total of 56. Compare that to the 125 home runs hit in Yankees' games in 1978, or the 242 home runs hit in 2004, roughly the midpoint of Rivera's career. Trying to compare Marberry's feat to Gossage's or Rivera's is like trying to compare George Mikan's era in the NBA to the NBA of Bird and Dr. J or the NBA of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.


I don't disagree with any of that, but I think you're overselling the home run angle. There were more runs being scored in 1924 than in 1980 or 2002. Marberry wasn't just lobbing it up there without risk - Goose Goslin managed 129 RBI's hitting under the exact conditions Marberry pitched in.
   23. ecwcat Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:41 PM (#4385590)
Mo > Goose
   24. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4385592)
Fair enough, Goose, sometimes the kids actually shouldn't be on your lawn.
   25. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:48 PM (#4385598)
Obnoxious timing, but perfectly correct on the merits.


Bullshit. Goose had a tremendous run in the 70s, often doing the kind of thing he talks about. This made up a very small part of his career. The majority of his career was spent as your typical relief pitcher, throwing one inning at a time and not doing it nearly as effectively as Rivera did it.

He's not the worst of the undeserving relievers in the Hall, but at least Fingers and Sutter have the decency to keep their traps shut.
   26. mrmacro Posted: March 10, 2013 at 02:56 PM (#4385601)
Goose Gossage, career ERA in 9th inning: 1.90 (583 IP)
Mariano Rivera, career ERA in 9th inning: 2.01 (880 IP)

Goose Gossage, career ERA in extra innings: 2.08 (199 IP)
Mariano Rivera, career ERA in extra innings: 2.98 (93 IP)

Goose Gossage, OPS against in tie games: .598 (2000 PA)
Mariano Rivera, OPS against in tie games: .657 (834 PA)

Not era adjusted, and Gossage is of course an ass. But the blithe dismissal of his abilities, largely by people I would guess were too young to see him play, undersells how dominant he could be.
   27. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4385607)
I don't disagree with any of that, but I think you're overselling the home run angle. There were more runs being scored in 1924 than in 1980 or 2002. Marberry wasn't just lobbing it up there without risk - Goose Goslin managed 129 RBI's hitting under the exact conditions Marberry pitched in.

It's kind of a chicken and egg thing, at least IMO. The home run threat in 1924 was relatively trivial once you got past Babe Ruth. Therefore tired pitchers couldn't get lit up as quickly as they can today. Therefore tired pitchers didn't get yanked as quickly as they do now. Therefore tired pitchers got left in longer, and suffered more by the death of a thousand singles than they would today. Therefore more runs were scored.

But "more runs were scored" taken alone somewhat decontextualizes the environmental difference between Marberry and his modern sucessors. Those extra runs were scored against inferior pitching, inferior not just because of the talent pool factor, but inferior due to all the added fatigue caused by the pitching strategies. Which means that the actual talent required to produce those "more runs" is exaggerated. Which means that those numbers aren't necessarily quite what they might appear to be at first glance.

And in Marberry's case, it's truly apples and oranges, since he wasn't really a reliever in any modern sense, but rather a hybrid who started 14 games, completed 6, finished 31, and saved 15 over 195 innings. He was more like an earlier version of the 1951 Allie Reynolds** than either Goose or Mo.

Also, his season was more impressive for its unusual nature than for any outstanding effectiveness. His 132 ERA+ is nothing to sneeze at, but it's hardly comparable to Goose's 181 in 1978, or to anything that Mo's put up until last year's injury.

**In 1951 Reynolds had 26 starts, 16 CG, finished 11 games, and saved 7 over 221 innings, with 2 no-hitters, a league-leading 7 shutouts, and a 126 ERA+. ERA+ aside, that was a season for Gossage to contemplate.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:16 PM (#4385611)
Not era adjusted, and Gossage is of course an ass. But the blithe dismissal of his abilities, largely by people I would guess were too young to see him play, undersells how dominant he could be.


He was clearly dominant at his peak. And with the innings on top of the performance, it was truly a Hall of Fame worthy peak. He just didn't surround it with enough to warrant his place in the Hall. And yes, I was there for pretty much all of it. You can tease the numbers any way you want, but you're still left with a legitimately failed starter who threw only 1800 innings of 127 ERA+. Damn impressive, but not worthy of enshrinement.
   29. Mayor Blomberg Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4385613)
Innings pitched, ages 26-42

Gossage 1091.2
Rivera 1152.2
   30. silhouetted by the sea Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:27 PM (#4385618)
Gossage does have a point here, but in making it he is getting into the whole concept of adjusting to era. I doubt he would react well to being told that Mariano was better because his ERA+ was 206 and Gossage's was 126.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4385627)
You can tease the numbers any way you want, but you're still left with a legitimately failed starter who threw only 1800 innings of 127 ERA+.

That's the wrong way to look at it.

Gossage had a 10-year peak (1975-85, excluding '76 when he started) as a multi-inning closer, where he pitched 1000 IP, at ~100 IP per year, and an ERA+ of ~185 (BRef doesn't let me easily extract his one year as a SP).

That's as good as Rivera's peak. Maybe better b/c of the extra IP each season.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 03:58 PM (#4385630)
Gossage had a 10-year peak (1975-85, excluding '76 when he started) as a multi-inning closer, where he pitched 1000 IP, at ~100 IP per year, and an ERA+ of ~185 (BRef doesn't let me easily extract his one year as a SP).


Or, he had a 3-year peak (1975-1978, excluding '76 when he started) as a major multi-inning closer, where he pitched 408 innings, or 136 IP per year, with an ERA+ of something ungodly. Then he had 7 years of 80 innings per season - about the same as Rivera when you factor in the extra IP that Mo was throwing in the playoffs every year. Goose had 21 innings of postseason work in that 10-year frame. He was still throwing more multiple-inning stints than Mo, of course, but not the way he had been during his peak).

75-78 Goose was probably the greatest run any reliever has ever posted, accounting for both IP and run prevention. The rest of the time he was Mike Timlin.

Now, Goose's peak on top of Mike Timlin's career may be your idea of a Hall of Famer. For me, and WAR, it's a guy who adds up to a player who was slightly less valuable than Jim Rice.

The mythical Goose, the one was notching 3-inning saves for 20-plus years - that guy's a Hall of Famer.

   33. bjhanke Posted: March 10, 2013 at 04:14 PM (#4385639)
My thought about this is as follows: 1) At the time (seasons before 1990) MLB was going through the process of being an adolescent in terms of figuring out how much of what kind of work produced the most profit. Work 'em until they fall apart, and then assume that it was the workload that had collapsed them. Back in the 1880s, MLB went through the exact same thing, trying to figure out how may IP an ace starter could handle, rather than giving all of the starters 600+ innings to work with. Gossage was in a group (I tend to call them the "Mike Marshall" club, because Mike put up a very good verbal fight), but Mike's so-scientific kinesiology only worked for a couple of years.

2) As in most such situations, what you get is overreation. Managers start using their best relievers only to close out one, sometimes two IP. This is less work than they can handle. In the early 20th century, this was going on. Pitcher rosters went from two guys one of whom was your right fielder when the other one was pitching. It took managers a while to figure out that your ace pitcher could start more innings in a season that they had pencilled them in for. So, for a period I call the Sweet Spot (roughly 1893 - 1919) the name of the usage patter that DOES work.

3) In terms of Mo, the situation as a bit different. Established closers, pitching only one inning at a time, don't really need more than one high-quality major league pitch . But, if the closer ended up in a tie game and had to continue in to the extra innings, that one pitch would to begin to be exposed as the opposing lineup got a chance to see the man twice in a row. So, we really don't know if Mo could have developed into a Mike Marshall type, because we don't know how many OTHER MLB-quality pitches Marshall had, and we don't know how long it would take to train a second pitch into Mo. That's one driver I've heard about a lot regarding bullpen usage. Don't let the opposing lineup see your super-one-pitch closer twice in a game. Todd Worrell, a pitcher of this time, demonstrates the effect. Worrell was buried in the Cardinals' minor league system because he kept getting killed the second time the opposing lineup saw him. Whitey Herzog found out about this, and ordered the AAA manager to convert Worrell to a closer. Todd had one big pitch and then some stuff you wouldn't really want to put on a resume. Closing was perfect for him. The opposing lineup never got to realize any benefit from having seen Worrell earlier in the game. - Brock Hanke
   34. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 10, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4385641)
Japanese fans couldn't get their head around the fact that the first NPB player voted in was Gossage.


Actually, the first NPB player to be elected to the HoF was Larry Doby (although he was elected by the VC).
   35. BDC Posted: March 10, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4385658)
Don't let the opposing lineup see your super-one-pitch closer twice in a game

This is a very interesting point – among other things, suggesting that it's not lack of stamina that puts some guys into one-inning roles, but lack of a repertoire of pitches.
   36. PreservedFish Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:07 PM (#4385673)
Established closers, pitching only one inning at a time, don't really need more than one high-quality major league pitch . But, if the closer ended up in a tie game and had to continue in to the extra innings, that one pitch would to begin to be exposed as the opposing lineup got a chance to see the man twice in a row.


There has to be something to this - it checks out with the conventional wisdom - but the way it's laid out here must be too simplistic. How much benefit is there to seeing the one pitch a few times 20-30 minutes ago, and why is it so much greater than having seen the pitch a few times 24 hours ago, or dozens of times over the course of several years? If you're talking about a one-pitch pitcher, then there is no scouting or learning being done here in your first time facing Pitcher X today. It's just quickly evaporating muscle memory.

Do one-pitch closers perform worse during long ABs than other pitchers do? If the above is true then it would stand to reason.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4385677)
193 saves of at least four outs to Rivera’s 116.

Not sure that's the right way to look at that. That's nearly 2/3 of Gossage's saves vs less than 20% of Rivera's saves. Gossage got a save in fewer than half the games he finished while Rivera has gotten a save in more than 2/3 of the games he's finished. I don't know where length of outing is kept but compare them on the number of 4+ out (or whatever) appearances (limiting it to Gossage's time as the fireman/closer if you want). Still, even in his post-amazing-peak period, Gossage was averaging about 1.5 IP per appearance and was pitching longer outings than Mo.

I don't know exactly how all these are defined but Gossage has about 30% more BF in high leverage situations than Rivera which is consistent with their IP differences. Gossage's tOPS+ in those situations is 90, Rivera's is 116. The lines in that scenario is 218/299/307 for Gossage and 227/279/317 for Rivera -- given era and OBP, Mo's performance looks better here. Still, Mo has really dominated in medicum and low leverage situations while Gossage performed a little worse (looks to be mostly BABIP). Mo has about half his BF in high leverage while it's only about 40% for Gossage -- a reasonable number of Gossage's innings were kinda wasted.

My personal guess is that Gossage would have been ridiculously dominant if given Mo's usage pattern. Seasons like Gagne's 2002 would have been pretty common for him.
   38. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4385678)
Or, he had a 3-year peak (1975-1978, excluding '76 when he started) as a major multi-inning closer, where he pitched 408 innings, or 136 IP per year, with an ERA+ of something ungodly. Then he had 7 years of 80 innings per season

That's not accurate. He may have averaged 80 IP, but that includes an injury shortened '79, and strike shortened '81 seasons.

He threw 99 IP in '80, 93 in '82, 87 in '83, and 102 in '84.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4385684)
Another factoid:

Rivera has had to face a batter for the 2nd time (as a RP) only 66 times in his (regular season) career. Gossage did that 659 times. He faced batters for the third time 97 times.

Although it probably all comes out in the wash from a percentage standpoint, one of the differences between the 1.5-2 inning relief outing and the 1-inning one is that, in the longer outing, you're very likely to face the opposing team's best hitters. Mo comes in to pitch the 9th and only the 9th most of the time, no matter where in the lineup it is. Mo gets knocked around (by Mo standards) by 3-4 hitters -- tOPS+ over 155 but Gossage got knocked around a bit (tOPS+ around 115) from 2 through 7 pretty much. But, as luck or design would have it, Mo's PAs are weighted towards the bottom of the lineup -- he's averaged about 475 PA vs 1-4 and about 550 vs 5-9. Gossage has a slight tilt towards the bottom but it's on the order of 2-3%, not 15%.
   40. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4385692)
That's not accurate. He may have averaged 80 IP, but that includes an injury shortened '79, and strike shortened '81 seasons.

He threw 99 IP in '80, 93 in '82, 87 in '83, and 102 in '84.


I'd be willing to grant you the strike-shortened campaign, but no sale on the injury-shortened one. That's part of the deal. And as for the strike year, it looks like he was probably injured when the strike hit in '81, so I'm not sure how many innings he lost out on. Regardless, if you account for the games lost, he wasn't on pace for one of his monster seasons (or even his mid-monster years).

If Mo has a healthy campaign this year, Goose will have about 160 more relief innings than him (including postseason, which should be the included, since Torre's usage of Mo was in part dictated by the postseason the Yankees were inevitably a part of) at much, much weaker run prevention levels. You want to chalk that up to all those multi-inning stints that were part true/part muth, be my guest. But I think that's doing a whole lot more heavy lifting than it can reasonably carry. (FWIW, Rivera was better in the postseason when he averaged more IP/G than he did in the regular season).

   41. JRVJ Posted: March 10, 2013 at 06:30 PM (#4385761)
10, I think this point is being lost in all this silly banter back and forth the last few days. We have plenty of evidence that Joe Torre knew that Mariano could pitch in a slightly more traditional reliever role (2 or even 2+ innings), but he CHOSE to only deploy him that way in the post-season.

The fact is that Mariano, in the post-season, was very successful in 2 or 2+ inning stints, against better teams, which gives us proof (not speculation, but proof, of his abilities). Now one may consider that the sample size of those 2 or 2+ inning stints is to small, but at some point, but I disagree.

As to comments up thread about Mariano having only one pitch. That's not true. He had, depending on how you count them, 3 pitches as of 1997 (cutter, 2-seamer and 4-seamer), and he did have a slider when young which he toyed with but never really developed once he became a reliever. The fact of the matter is that we have no idea how the post-cutter Mariano would have done as a starter, but (and this is a point that I have not seen made), I think that one of Mariano's inate strenghts is his tremendous ability to compartmentalize when he had a bad pitching experience. That ability is much more easily exploitable as a reliever/closer than a starter, and that's part of the reason why (as a human being/android/cyborg) Mariano did so well as a reliever/closer.
   42. Bug Selig Posted: March 10, 2013 at 07:34 PM (#4385864)
But the blithe dismissal of his abilities, largely by people I would guess were too young to see him play, undersells how dominant he could be.


I'm not sure anybody is dismissing his abilities. He was the dominant reliever of my formative years (which doesn't make him better than the dominant reliever of my adult years so far). Dismissive of his dismissiveness, yes. Dismissive of his memory, perhaps. Dismissive of the imagined regularity of his one-man bullpen exploits, absolutely.

Saying someone isn't better than Mariano Rivera is not an insult.
   43. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4385904)
Saying someone isn't better than Mariano Rivera is not an insult.


But all league average starters are more valuable, right? Have we discussed this yet? Did I miss it?
   44. jyjjy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:32 PM (#4385912)
Mo's PAs are weighted towards the bottom of the lineup --he's averaged about 475 PA vs 1-4 and about 550 vs 5-9.

Um, you have 4 lineup spots in one group and 5 in the other. Those numbers say his opponents have been tilted towards the top of the line-up, as you would expect unless he was never brought in before the 9th(or the manager has no clue what he is doing.)
   45. jyjjy Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4385916)
But all league average starters are more valuable, right? Have we discussed this yet? Did I miss it?

Look for the two other Rivera retirement threads to get in on the action. A tad in the Chapman thread.


   46. SoSH U at work Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4385917)

Um, you have 4 lineup spots in one group and 5 in the other. Those numbers say his opponents have been tilted towards the top of the line-up, as you would expect unless he was never brought in before the 9th(or the manager has no clue what he is doing.)


No, he's saying spots 1, 2, 3 and 4 averaged 475 PA against Mo, while spots 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 averaged 550 against him.

(I thought the same thing at first).

   47. Moeball Posted: March 10, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4385918)
All this talk comparing regular season performances kind of misses the point, doesn't it?

If Mariano Rivera had the saves record overall but not much postseason icing to go on the cake, would he be such an "automatic" HOFer in most people's minds? That didn't work out too well for Lee Smith and it won't necessarily work for Trevor Hoffman, either.

The real crux of Rivera's reputation of "best ever" IS his postseason record, which is positively unreal.

Gossage pitched 31 postseason innings in his career in which he allowed 10 runs, including 3 HRs. Overall that's pretty good, although for some reason he was ineffective in the LCS (both AL and NL), where his career totals are 6 runs allowed in 11 innings. Outside of the LCS, he only allowed 4 runs in 25 innings, which is outstanding.

Mariano Rivera's career postseason record is basically taking Gossage's and adding another 110 innings in which he gave up only 3 additional runs (only 1 of which was earned). Oh, and that's 110 additional innings in which Rivera gave up -1 additional HRs compared to Gossage despite pitching during the HR-happy sillyball era compared to Gossage pitching in an environment where it was much more difficult to hit HRs. In the context of time when each pitched, Rivera's accomplishments are exponentially more impressive than Gossage's.

Of course, my animosity towards Gossage has absolutely nothing to do with the 43 baseball cards of his that I was stuck with when he was a disaster for the Chisox before he became an effective closer. Seemed every time I bought a pack of cards there was ol' Rich Gossage with his 7.43 era in 1973 staring up at me. I couldn't even give those away.

Or, as a Padres fan, watching him pitch batting practice to the Cubs and Tigers in the '84 postseason (ERA over 8.0), after hearing the media tell me a million times all season long about what a great "clutch" pitcher he was and how he would especially be of value in the postseason and help lead the team to the promised land of championships. But I'm not bitter.
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4385937)
i am a big fan of gossage

but rivera has been better

but not a 'lot' better

but better
   49. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:31 PM (#4385949)
But all league average starters are more valuable, right? Have we discussed this yet? Did I miss it?


Look for the two other Rivera retirement threads to get in on the action. A tad in the Chapman thread.


Uh mate, you might want to turn your sarcasm meter on....
   50. bobm Posted: March 10, 2013 at 09:58 PM (#4385963)
Rich Gossage: 6007 Plate Appearances Allowed in Career-1994, during innings 7-end
Mariano Rivera: 4537 Plate Appearances Allowed in Career-2012, during innings 7-end

OrderPos  RG   MR
     1st 637  482
     2nd 633  454
     3rd 667  439
     4th 692  464
     5th 695  513
     6th 693  545
     7th 665  553
     8th 672  568
     9th 653  519

Outs   RG   MR 
   0 1838 1429
   1 2062 1530
   2 2107 1578
  <2 3900 2959

Leverage   RG   MR
    ?1.5 2861 2382
    <0.7 2010 1237
  .7-1.5 1136  918

RelScore   RG   MR
    +4..  705  711
      +3  430  743
      +2  797  965
      +1 1094 1038
    Tied 1529  765
      -1  433  155
      -2  297   71
      -3  197   34
    -4..  525   55
    
    Ahd. 3026 3457
   Tied  1529  765
    Beh. 1452  315
   51. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:03 AM (#4386036)
No, he's saying spots 1, 2, 3 and 4 averaged 475 PA against Mo, while spots 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 averaged 550 against him.

yeah, that was a hard one to phrase correctly. #50 is showing slightly different numbers ... maybe it's the pre-7th innings ones.

Note I assume it's just part of the standard distribution of 9th inning PAs that guys in the 5-9 spots are more likely to come up. Clearly Rivera pitches pretty any any 9th inning with a 1-3 run lead regardless of who's due up. As to usage beyond 1 inning in the regular season, that only happens under fairly desperate circumstances and there's a good chance the reason the situation is dire is because the 2/3/4 hitters have just gotten on base.

That's probably my #1 gripe about the closer model. I suspect 1-inning relievers are here to stay, it's certainly quite effective. But if Trout/whoever/Pujols/Hamilton are due up in the 8th and I've got a 1-run lead, I want my best reliever in there even if it means he's not available to pitch the 9th.

   52. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:34 AM (#4386040)
Note I assume it's just part of the standard distribution of 9th inning PAs that guys in the 5-9 spots are more likely to come up.

All of MLB: 15511 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2012, during 9th Inning

OrderPos    PA
     6th  1884
     7th  1857
     5th  1811
     8th  1790
     9th  1692
     4th  1689
     3rd  1607
     1st  1603
     2nd  1578
   53. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 01:43 AM (#4386043)
All of MLB: 5052 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2012, during 9th Inning and up 1 runs, up 2 runs or up 3 runs

OrderPos    PA
     7th   644
     6th   634
     8th   588
     5th   585
     9th   542
     4th   530
     1st   527
     2nd   511
     3rd   491
   54. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 02:02 AM (#4386044)
2012 Sv Rk            Player SV  2012 PA 1st-4th 5th-9th
         1       Jim Johnson 51      269     37%     63%
         2   Fernando Rodney 48      282     37%     63%
         3       Jason Motte 42      279     40%     60%
         4    Rafael Soriano 42      279     42%     58%
         5     Craig Kimbrel 42      231     45%     55%
         6       Chris Perez 39      242     45%     55%
         7 Jonathan Papelbon 38      284     35%     65%
         8   Aroldis Chapman 38      276     45%     55%
         9        Joe Nathan 37      257     42%     58%
        10     Joel Hanrahan 36      254     41%     59%
   55. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 02:07 AM (#4386046)
But if Trout/whoever/Pujols/Hamilton are due up in the 8th and I've got a 1-run lead, I want my best reliever in there even if it means he's not available to pitch the 9th.

All of MLB: 20550 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2012, during 8th Inning

OrderPos   PA
     3rd 2464
     2nd 2441
     4th 2388
     1st 2350
     5th 2285
     9th 2189
     6th 2174
     7th 2147
     8th 2112


All of MLB: 5460 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2012, during 8th Inning and up 3 runs, up 2 runs or up 1 runs

OrderPos  PA
     3rd 743
     2nd 726
     4th 668
     1st 666
     9th 587
     5th 570
     8th 511
     6th 496
     7th 493
   56. Walt Davis Posted: March 11, 2013 at 03:42 AM (#4386053)
I was really confused until I realized those lists were sorted by PA not batting order position!

Rivera career is about 40% which looks pretty average.

Since bobm clearly has nothing better to do, I'd guess that distribution was a bit different in the sillyball era when we were seeing more PA/game. But I suppose even a 30 point difference in OBP amounts to 1 extra PA per game on average so that probably only moves everybody around a max of one slot.
   57. Long Time Listener, First Time Caller Posted: March 11, 2013 at 06:03 AM (#4386059)
Regardless of the arguments one can spin in favor of Rivera or in favor of Gossage (both of which are not without their merit, though I suppose I fall on the side of "if a guy can pitch three innings it is better than a guy pitching one inning, assuming no loss of effectiveness"), only one of them is talking about how the style of baseball they were involved with due to an accident of his birth is inherently superior to the style of baseball the other was involved with due to an accident of his birth. Thus only one of those players is a windbag. And what's worse--one who has shown himself to be a windbag on this topic and a number of other topics (most of which have to do with how being born when he was born makes him somehow holier and more virtuous than those born later).

And regardless of how many reporters are begging him to be a windbag, it still takes a windbag to take those reporters up on their "hey windbag, please be a windbag" offer.
   58. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:50 AM (#4386158)
Since bobm clearly has nothing better to do, I'd guess that distribution was a bit different in the sillyball era when we were seeing more PA/game.

All of MLB: 15634 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2002, during 9th Inning
OrderPos   PA
     7th 1782
     8th 1776
     9th 1759
     4th 1741
     6th 1738
     5th 1734
     2nd 1720
     3rd 1706
     1st 1678


All of MLB: 5102 Plate Appearances Allowed in 2002, during 9th Inning and up 3 runs, up 2 runs or up 1 runs

OrderPos  PA
     7th 603
     8th 595
     9th 582
     6th 576
     5th 561
     4th 558
     1st 545
     3rd 541
     2nd 541
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4386162)
bobm

i appreciate the various outputs you generate in different threads.

thanks
   60. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4386163)
All of MLB: 11963 Plate Appearances Allowed in 1972, during 9th Inning

OrderPos   PA
     7th 1466
     6th 1439
     5th 1393
     8th 1391
     4th 1309
     9th 1290
     3rd 1263
     1st 1225
     2nd 1187


All of MLB: 4237 Plate Appearances Allowed in 1972, during 9th Inning and up 3 runs, up 2 runs or up 1 runs

OrderPos  PA
     5th 522
     7th 518
     6th 515
     8th 475
     4th 474
     3rd 454
     9th 453
     1st 419
     2nd 407
   61. bobm Posted: March 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4386172)
[59] - You're welcome, Harveys.

I was inspired in this thread by Walt Davis's insight about the almost inherent nature of the sub-optimal use of the closer in the 9th inning:

Note I assume it's just part of the standard distribution of 9th inning PAs that guys in the 5-9 spots are more likely to come up. ... That's probably my #1 gripe about the closer model.
   62. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: March 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4386210)
THAT IS WHEN MEN WERE MEN, GOOSE GOSSAGE.



"You, sir, are no Firpo Marberry!"

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