Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Saturday, May 05, 2001

In Willie’s time, he was No. 1

There are a series of articles about Willie Mays on ESPN. Here’s my favorite, written by my favorite columnist, Rob Neyer.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 05, 2001 at 03:27 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags:

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 06, 2001 at 12:18 AM (#67397)
Rob Neyer has written some excellent articles this week. This one on Mays, along with his recent piece on Barry Bonds and hitters who have struggled in the post-season, have really been terrific and insightful. Well done, Rob.

Of all the players I've had a chance to see play from the late sixties to the current day, Mays was simply the best. He simply had no flaw in his game--offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths--and was the rare kind of offensive player that could have batted anywhere in the lineup--leadoff, third, cleanup, fifth, whatever--and done an exceptional job.

Although Mays was both a feared power hitter and a brilliant center fielder, I guess I remember him most for the dynamic way that he ran the bases. Once he reached base, he always shed his helmet and wore the soft cap, which he usually ran out from underneath while going first to third or running out an extra-base hit. I just wish I was a little older when I had seen him play, so that I could have appreciated his stylish enthusiasm even more.
   2. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 06, 2001 at 12:18 AM (#68183)
Rob Neyer has written some excellent articles this week. This one on Mays, along with his recent piece on Barry Bonds and hitters who have struggled in the post-season, have really been terrific and insightful. Well done, Rob.

Of all the players I've had a chance to see play from the late sixties to the current day, Mays was simply the best. He simply had no flaw in his game--offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths--and was the rare kind of offensive player that could have batted anywhere in the lineup--leadoff, third, cleanup, fifth, whatever--and done an exceptional job.

Although Mays was both a feared power hitter and a brilliant center fielder, I guess I remember him most for the dynamic way that he ran the bases. Once he reached base, he always shed his helmet and wore the soft cap, which he usually ran out from underneath while going first to third or running out an extra-base hit. I just wish I was a little older when I had seen him play, so that I could have appreciated his stylish enthusiasm even more.
   3. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 06, 2001 at 12:18 AM (#68457)
Rob Neyer has written some excellent articles this week. This one on Mays, along with his recent piece on Barry Bonds and hitters who have struggled in the post-season, have really been terrific and insightful. Well done, Rob.

Of all the players I've had a chance to see play from the late sixties to the current day, Mays was simply the best. He simply had no flaw in his game--offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths--and was the rare kind of offensive player that could have batted anywhere in the lineup--leadoff, third, cleanup, fifth, whatever--and done an exceptional job.

Although Mays was both a feared power hitter and a brilliant center fielder, I guess I remember him most for the dynamic way that he ran the bases. Once he reached base, he always shed his helmet and wore the soft cap, which he usually ran out from underneath while going first to third or running out an extra-base hit. I just wish I was a little older when I had seen him play, so that I could have appreciated his stylish enthusiasm even more.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 07, 2001 at 08:11 PM (#67401)
Another well-done article by Neyer that I failed to mention previously was the one he wrote about the newfangled pitching machine that is now being used. I haven't seen any other reference to this pitching machine anywhere else on the internet, or in print sources, for that matter. Based on the article, I would hope that most other major league teams would have one of these machines in use within the next couple of seasons.
   5. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 07, 2001 at 08:11 PM (#68187)
Another well-done article by Neyer that I failed to mention previously was the one he wrote about the newfangled pitching machine that is now being used. I haven't seen any other reference to this pitching machine anywhere else on the internet, or in print sources, for that matter. Based on the article, I would hope that most other major league teams would have one of these machines in use within the next couple of seasons.
   6. Bruce Markusen Posted: May 07, 2001 at 08:11 PM (#68461)
Another well-done article by Neyer that I failed to mention previously was the one he wrote about the newfangled pitching machine that is now being used. I haven't seen any other reference to this pitching machine anywhere else on the internet, or in print sources, for that matter. Based on the article, I would hope that most other major league teams would have one of these machines in use within the next couple of seasons.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2001 at 12:38 PM (#67403)
Dean, everything you write is true, but it's Apples v. Oranges. Nobody back then ever said Dimaggio (or Musial) was a better HITTER than T. Ballgame (who could?), only a better overall PLAYER. And they were right. The distinction seems to elude some people.

As for Mays' lower walk totals, might this not have a little to do with who was following him in the lineup, at least in New York? As for the white ump/ black player theory, why doesn't someone just ask Mays? It may be true, but it is also true that many players (Williams; Frank Thomas) simply value walks more than other players, and also have a very strict standard as to what kind of pitch they should swing at. Mays may simply have been more of a free swinger than Mantle.

As for whether Mays or Mantle was considered the better overall player back then, I think if you look back you'd find the consensus on this shifted back and forth several times--Mays in 1954, Mantle in 1956, Mays in 1959, Mantle in 1961, Mays in 1965. Since then, I would say the statheads have pretty much clinched the argument that Mantle was better at his peak, but since that peak was so much shorter than Mays' (and Aaron's, who had the longest peak of them all), Mays' career value is rated higher. As James says. (It's like quoting the Bible, isn't it?)
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2001 at 12:38 PM (#68189)
Dean, everything you write is true, but it's Apples v. Oranges. Nobody back then ever said Dimaggio (or Musial) was a better HITTER than T. Ballgame (who could?), only a better overall PLAYER. And they were right. The distinction seems to elude some people.

As for Mays' lower walk totals, might this not have a little to do with who was following him in the lineup, at least in New York? As for the white ump/ black player theory, why doesn't someone just ask Mays? It may be true, but it is also true that many players (Williams; Frank Thomas) simply value walks more than other players, and also have a very strict standard as to what kind of pitch they should swing at. Mays may simply have been more of a free swinger than Mantle.

As for whether Mays or Mantle was considered the better overall player back then, I think if you look back you'd find the consensus on this shifted back and forth several times--Mays in 1954, Mantle in 1956, Mays in 1959, Mantle in 1961, Mays in 1965. Since then, I would say the statheads have pretty much clinched the argument that Mantle was better at his peak, but since that peak was so much shorter than Mays' (and Aaron's, who had the longest peak of them all), Mays' career value is rated higher. As James says. (It's like quoting the Bible, isn't it?)
   9. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 08, 2001 at 12:38 PM (#68463)
Dean, everything you write is true, but it's Apples v. Oranges. Nobody back then ever said Dimaggio (or Musial) was a better HITTER than T. Ballgame (who could?), only a better overall PLAYER. And they were right. The distinction seems to elude some people.

As for Mays' lower walk totals, might this not have a little to do with who was following him in the lineup, at least in New York? As for the white ump/ black player theory, why doesn't someone just ask Mays? It may be true, but it is also true that many players (Williams; Frank Thomas) simply value walks more than other players, and also have a very strict standard as to what kind of pitch they should swing at. Mays may simply have been more of a free swinger than Mantle.

As for whether Mays or Mantle was considered the better overall player back then, I think if you look back you'd find the consensus on this shifted back and forth several times--Mays in 1954, Mantle in 1956, Mays in 1959, Mantle in 1961, Mays in 1965. Since then, I would say the statheads have pretty much clinched the argument that Mantle was better at his peak, but since that peak was so much shorter than Mays' (and Aaron's, who had the longest peak of them all), Mays' career value is rated higher. As James says. (It's like quoting the Bible, isn't it?)

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Ray (RDP)
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogYankees reject A-Rod's mea culpa meeting request - NY Daily News
(65 - 1:32pm, Jan 25)
Last: Kurt

NewsblogTed Lilly Charged With Felony Insurance Fraud
(22 - 1:32pm, Jan 25)
Last: Voros McCracken of Pinkus

NewsblogESPN: Ichiro Close To Deal With Marlins
(56 - 1:31pm, Jan 25)
Last: homerwannabee

NewsblogMariners notebook: Zduriencik says `no favorite right now’ in spring shortstop battle between Miller and Taylor | Mariners Insider - The News Tribune
(1 - 1:29pm, Jan 25)
Last: Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck"

NewsblogOT - Politics January 2015 - Mario Cuomo, New York Governor and Minor League Ballplayer, Dies at 82
(3631 - 1:29pm, Jan 25)
Last: greenback calls it soccer

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - January 2015
(1410 - 1:28pm, Jan 25)
Last: Norcan

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(11594 - 1:25pm, Jan 25)
Last: Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(366 - 1:14pm, Jan 25)
Last: Chokeland Bill

NewsblogErnie Banks, Hopeful Mr. Cub, Dies at 83; His Mantra Was ‘Let’s Play 2’
(79 - 12:49pm, Jan 25)
Last: jingoist

NewsblogSunday Notes: Adam Everett on D, Norris’ Notoriety, Boggs & Beer, more
(3 - 12:33pm, Jan 25)
Last: theboyqueen

NewsblogOT: Soccer January 2015
(294 - 11:57am, Jan 25)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogSeitzer encouraged by workouts with Upton
(2 - 11:44am, Jan 25)
Last: Hal Chase School of Professionalism

NewsblogRed Sox notebook: Following surgery, Mike Napoli feels refreshed and ready - Sports - The Boston Globe
(7 - 11:10am, Jan 25)
Last: bobm

NewsblogSean Doolittle has a “slight” rotator cuff tear, won’t be ready for Opening Day | HardballTalk
(9 - 11:10am, Jan 25)
Last: Dock Ellis on Acid

NewsblogWith Max Scherzer out of the way, who are top contenders to sign James Shields? | FOX Sports
(4 - 11:04am, Jan 25)
Last: 6 - 4 - 3

Page rendered in 0.2382 seconds
47 querie(s) executed