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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Jim Palmer on Mark Belanger and Omar Vizquel: The Hardball Times

“In 1969, the great Charley Lau became the Orioles’ hitting coach. He insisted that Belanger take extra batting practice all the time. He cut his strikeouts in half from ‘68, he hit .287, the highest mark of his career. Sometimes I think if Lau hadn’t taken that extra $5,000 to go to Kansas City after the season ended, maybe Blade hits enough to be in the Hall of Fame.”

djordan Posted: November 16, 2017 at 08:39 AM | 123 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: omar vizquel

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   101. SoSH U at work Posted: November 19, 2017 at 04:07 PM (#5578577)
A year here, a year there would be one thing but I'm pretty sure the AL has won nearly every year since interleague began and that's not luck, scheduling, etc.


The first 8-9 years were pretty even, with the NL having a better record about half the time. It didn't turn until 2005, and the AL has held the edge since then.
   102. cardsfanboy Posted: November 20, 2017 at 08:19 PM (#5579120)
At least now we have one direct measure in inter-league record which the AL has been dominating (this year was pretty close). A year here, a year there would be one thing but I'm pretty sure the AL has won nearly every year since interleague began and that's not luck, scheduling, etc.


I'm still not sold on the AL dominance, it's still really just a smattering of random games thrown in there, and I do think that the AL has an inherent advantage when it comes to interleague play because of their dh setup. Something that wouldn't be an advantage if the teams played 162 games with those rosters, but a three game spread here or there plays into that advantage.

I don't have a problem accepting that the AL was slightly superior during 2005-2015 or so, but I think the interleague records over state the difference.


As far as the 50's goes, your post pushed a lot of possible ways to look at it, and I agree with that post, sure the NL was getting a larger amount of the great black players, but it wasn't like they were filling the rest of the roster up with decent black players, and of course the AL was getting some pretty good white players.... The AL was getting elite white players instead of elite black players (Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, vs Willie Mays and Hank Aaron etc.) but does that equal out? I don't know, but elite black players probably costs less at the time of acquisition, so the AL was throwing a monetary advantage away, but without interleague play etc...how much that matter is hard to say...

I'm in the camp that the disparity between the leagues was probably the greatest from early 50's to late 50's, but after that the advantage was miniscule, but clearly favored the NL.
   103. SoSH U at work Posted: November 20, 2017 at 10:50 PM (#5579196)
I'm still not sold on the AL dominance, it's still really just a smattering of random games thrown in there, and I do think that the AL has an inherent advantage when it comes to interleague play because of their dh setup.


An advantage that didn't materialize during the first nine years of interleague play.

No matter how much you want to believe it, the DH is not a competitive advantage.
   104. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 21, 2017 at 07:39 AM (#5579241)
As far as the 50's goes, your post pushed a lot of possible ways to look at it, and I agree with that post, sure the NL was getting a larger amount of the great black players, but it wasn't like they were filling the rest of the roster up with decent black players, and of course the AL was getting some pretty good white players.... The AL was getting elite white players instead of elite black players (Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, vs Willie Mays and Hank Aaron etc.) but does that equal out?

Not even close. "Elite players" is a loosely defined term, but if by that you mean no-brainer HoFers, the NL of the 50's had just as many elite white players as the AL did.

The AL's truly elite players of the 50's in their primes consisted of Williams, Mantle, Berra, Kaline and Ford. The NL could counter that with Musial, Snider, Mathews, Spahn, and Roberts.

Start adding the black superstar players and it's like Godzilla vs Bambi. The AL had nobody to counter Jackie and Frank Robinson, Campanella, Mays, Aaron, or Banks. It was a rhetorical stretch when SPORT magazine had an article entitled "Is the AL a Minor League?" in the wake of the 1954 season, but by that point the league differential was obvious to everyone.

Go into the first half of the 60's and the gap widens even more, with black HoFers such as Gibson, McCovey, Clemente, and with black stars dominating the NL while the AL lagged even further behind. The first black AL homegrown HoFers were Reggie Jackson, who didn't come up until 1967 and didn't have his breakout year until 1969, and Rod Carew, also a 1967 rookie. The AL didn't really start catching up to the NL until sometime in the 70's, but even then the NL was winning the All-Star games with often lopsided margins. The great Orioles teams of 1969-71 won 318 games, but lost 2 of the 3 World Series. Throw in the perennially lopsided Spring training results** and you'd have to be blind not to acknowledge what was going on.

** Which were roughly equivalent to the AL's recent dominance of interleague play, only with the NL doing the dominating.
   105. Rally Posted: November 21, 2017 at 09:49 AM (#5579281)
No matter how much you want to believe it, the DH is not a competitive advantage.


It really is impossible for the DH itself to be an advantage unless you have one team using it in the same game where the other is not. You could say the AL has the advantage because they seek out a good hitter for the spot, while the NL team plays a scrub bench player there for 10 games a year. But if payrolls were equal, then the NL team would be stronger elsewhere, either lineup or pitching staff, because they don't have to spend money on a DH.

The first black AL homegrown HoFers were Reggie Jackson, who didn't come up until 1967 and didn't have his breakout year until 1969, and Rod Carew, also a 1967 rookie.
What about Larry Doby? Not disputing that the NL had a ridiculous advantage due to integration.
   106. Howie Menckel Posted: November 21, 2017 at 09:53 AM (#5579285)
Minnie Minoso was Cuban, so I guess not "homegrown"
   107. SoSH U at work Posted: November 21, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5579291)
It really is impossible for the DH itself to be an advantage unless you have one team using it in the same game where the other is not. You could say the AL has the advantage because they seek out a good hitter for the spot, while the NL team plays a scrub bench player there for 10 games a year. But if payrolls were equal, then the NL team would be stronger elsewhere, either lineup or pitching staff, because they don't have to spend money on a DH.


Yep, though many will continue to insist otherwise.
   108. Booey Posted: November 21, 2017 at 10:49 AM (#5579324)
What about Larry Doby? Not disputing that the NL had a ridiculous advantage due to integration.


Minnie Minoso was Cuban, so I guess not "homegrown"


Not to speak for Andy, but in his first paragraph in #104 he used "no-brainer HOFers" as the criteria. I don't think either Doby or Minoso qualifies as that. Both are borderline.
   109. cardsfanboy Posted: November 21, 2017 at 10:59 AM (#5579339)
An advantage that didn't materialize during the first nine years of interleague play.

No matter how much you want to believe it, the DH is not a competitive advantage.


I will continue to disagree with you on that. The DH for a three game series is a competitive advantage for the team that has the DH all season long. The first nine years, is just evidence that the NL was probably superior then, assuming I was one of those people that actually believed interleague record is a good proxy for quality of league. (I don't believe that at all, and think world series record and all star game record is equally as stupid as a piece of evidence on quality of leagues)

With the expanding bullpens, NL teams don't generally have a bat first hitter any more, going with more and more utility guys who can do a lot of things okay, but nothing great. And in a three game series without the DH, the AL teams have a bat first guy on the bench available or more they will have a better bat available somewhere down the lineup. This wouldn't be an advantage over a 162 game series, but in a three game season, I truly believe the roster construction of the AL gives the AL an advantage.
   110. djordan Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5579343)
Be interesting to see if expanded bullpens lead to more NL post-season contenders scooping available bat-first guys every Aug 31st. Someone of Jay Bruce's caliber could be on a different team every September.
   111. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5579353)
Start adding the black superstar players and it's like Godzilla vs Bambi. The AL had nobody to counter Jackie and Frank Robinson, Campanella, Mays, Aaron, or Banks. It was a rhetorical stretch when SPORT magazine had an article entitled "Is the AL a Minor League?" in the wake of the 1954 season, but by that point the league differential was obvious to everyone.

Go into the first half of the 60's and the gap widens even more, with black HoFers such as Gibson, McCovey, Clemente, and with black stars dominating the NL while the AL lagged even further behind. The first black AL homegrown HoFers were Reggie Jackson, who didn't come up until 1967 and didn't have his breakout year until 1969, and Rod Carew, also a 1967 rookie. The AL didn't really start catching up to the NL until sometime in the 70's, but even then the NL was winning the All-Star games with often lopsided margins. The great Orioles teams of 1969-71 won 318 games, but lost 2 of the 3 World Series. Throw in the perennially lopsided Spring training results** and you'd have to be blind not to acknowledge what was going on.

I should probably already know this, but a quick Googling isn't turning up anything:

Are there any causal explanations as to why the NL was so much quicker and more effective at integrating than the AL (aside from explanations for individual teams like Boston)? Or is it just that the teams that built the better scouting infrastructures, etc. more quickly to sign and develop black players happened to be in the NL?
   112. Rally Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:17 AM (#5579354)
Not to speak for Andy, but in his first paragraph in #104 he used "no-brainer HOFers" as the criteria. I don't think either Doby or Minoso qualifies as that. Both are borderline.


In the latter paragraph he just said "home grown", not no-brainer. Minoso might have been every bit as good as Doby, but the HOF didn't put him in so I didn't bring him up. Perhaps Andy didn't include Doby because he played at the highest professional level of another league and didn't have a full MLB season until he was 24, while Reggie played his first professional game after being drafted by an American League team. Not really sure what his definition of home grown is.
   113. Rusty Priske Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:21 AM (#5579357)
I can't imagine Vizquel getting in. If he WERE to get in we would have a Hall of Fame that includes Omar Vizquel but NOT Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens (or any of the 15-20 qualified players that are easily more qualified than Omar Vizquel).

That would be ridiculous.
   114. Rally Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:24 AM (#5579359)
Are there any causal explanations as to why the NL was so much quicker and more effective at integrating than the AL (aside from explanations for individual teams like Boston)? Or is it just that the teams that built the better scouting infrastructures, etc. more quickly to sign and develop black players happened to be in the NL?


The Dodgers were the pioneers so by that alone the NL had a head start, and that's 12.5% of the league right there. I assume the Giants followed quickly because they were directly competing for both pennants and fans in NYC with the Dodgers. The Yankees were in the other league and had so dominated the market for white talent that they probably felt no pressure.

Beyond that I think it just comes down to who ran the teams.
   115. Booey Posted: November 21, 2017 at 11:45 AM (#5579376)
I can't imagine Vizquel getting in. If he WERE to get in we would have a Hall of Fame that includes Omar Vizquel but NOT Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens (or any of the 15-20 qualified players that are easily more qualified than Omar Vizquel).

That would be ridiculous.


Yep, but next year we're going to have a HOF that includes Trevor Hoffman but not Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, Curt Schilling, Mike Mussina, etc.

That's equally ridiculous.
   116. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2017 at 12:24 PM (#5579417)
I will continue to disagree with you on that. The DH for a three game series is a competitive advantage for the team that has the DH all season long. The first nine years, is just evidence that the NL was probably superior then, assuming I was one of those people that actually believed interleague record is a good proxy for quality of league. (I don't believe that at all, and think world series record and all star game record is equally as stupid as a piece of evidence on quality of leagues)

With the expanding bullpens, NL teams don't generally have a bat first hitter any more, going with more and more utility guys who can do a lot of things okay, but nothing great. And in a three game series without the DH, the AL teams have a bat first guy on the bench available or more they will have a better bat available somewhere down the lineup. This wouldn't be an advantage over a 162 game series, but in a three game season, I truly believe the roster construction of the AL gives the AL an advantage.


This is only true because the NL teams run lower payrolls, and assemble worse overall teams.

If they assigned the resources AL teams spent on DH to the rest of their roster, there would be no advantage. If the average DH is worth 2 WAR, and is replaced on the NL team by a 0.5 WAR bench player, that would mean that the other 24 players on the NL team have to be 1.5 WAR better than the other 24 AL players.
   117. cardsfanboy Posted: November 21, 2017 at 12:58 PM (#5579479)

This is only true because the NL teams run lower payrolls, and assemble worse overall teams.


And that is a piece of evidence I will accept on the disparity between the leagues.

If they assigned the resources AL teams spent on DH to the rest of their roster, there would be no advantage. If the average DH is worth 2 WAR, and is replaced on the NL team by a 0.5 WAR bench player, that would mean that the other 24 players on the NL team have to be 1.5 WAR better than the other 24 AL players.


There would be no advantage over the course of a 162 game season, but in any short series, bench depth is less important than the first guy off the bench. Taking someone like Ortiz and making him a first baseman for a couple of games in a non-DH series is going to ultimately leave a starting quality bat on the bench, while an NL team, will end up being forced to put a utility guy in the role of the hitter that they have decided to make a DH. In the cases where the AL team doesn't play their dh at all, they now have a high quality bat sitting on the bench.
   118. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2017 at 01:21 PM (#5579492)
There would be no advantage over the course of a 162 game season, but in any short series, bench depth is less important than the first guy off the bench.

Why are you assuming the extra quality is in bench depth? I'd say it almost certainly isn't. The NL team wouldn't take the $10M (made up number) they save on the DH and allocate it to a bunch of expensive bench guys. They'll upgrade a starting player, or starting pitcher.
   119. Rally Posted: November 21, 2017 at 02:03 PM (#5579542)
There would be no advantage over the course of a 162 game season, but in any short series, bench depth is less important than the first guy off the bench.


This is not a 3 game series to play on or go home. It's a 3 game subset of that 162 game season. It is likely less important than the average regular season game, because with interleague you are not playing someone you are trying to beat for the division, you aren't even playing against someone who is competing with you in the wild card race. A 3 game, mid-season, interleague series is exactly the point where bench depth comes most into play.
   120. Buck Coats Posted: November 21, 2017 at 02:19 PM (#5579559)
Taking someone like Ortiz and making him a first baseman for a couple of games in a non-DH series is going to ultimately leave a starting quality bat on the bench, while an NL team, will end up being forced to put a utility guy in the role of the hitter that they have decided to make a DH. In the cases where the AL team doesn't play their dh at all, they now have a high quality bat sitting on the bench.


Right, but isn't this an argument that the AL team IS stronger? Of two teams are of equal quality on their first 24 players, but for the 25th man the AL team has David Ortiz and the NL team has a utility player, well that means the AL team is a better team.

I also don't see why this disparity would show up in a 3-game series but not a 162-game season. These aren't playoff games, they're not being managed like a short series, they're being managed like game 87 of 162. Teams are using their bench depth as much as they would in any other game (played under those AL or NL rules)

EDIT: as Rally just said
   121. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 21, 2017 at 02:24 PM (#5579563)

Right, but isn't this an argument that the AL team IS stronger? Of two teams are of equal quality on their first 24 players, but for the 25th man the AL team has David Ortiz and the NL team has a utility player, well that means the AL team is a better team.


Exactly. If the NL teams is spending as much, and is as good at amassing talent, the fact that the AL Team has $15M, 3-4 WAR DH should mean the NL team has a $15M/3-4WAR advantage over the other 24 guys.
   122. DanG Posted: November 21, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5579665)
Speaking of Vizquel, here is a comparison of Omar and four shortstops the BBWAA has rejected in recent decades: Alan Trammell, Bert Campaneris, Dave Concepcion and Tony Fernandez.

This chart shows:
--their 12 best seasons per bWAR
--their rank among these five in bWAR for each of those
--the total of those 12 seasons
--their career bWAR (ignoring negative years at the tail end of the career)
--their "bulk" bWAR, the total added in years other than their 12 best
--the average of their 12 best bWAR seasons
--a weighted average of their 12 best bWAR seasons

Yr =     Omar Rk  Tram Rk  Bert Rk  Dave Rk  Tony Rk
=       6.0 (3)  8.2 (1)  6.6 (2)  5.5 (4)  5.1 (5)
=       4.0 (5)  6.7 (1)  5.8 (2)  4.9 (3)  4.9 (3)
=       3.5 (5)  6.7 (1)  5.4 (2)  4.4 (4)  4.5 (3)
=       3.5 (5)  6.3 (1)  5.3 (2)  3.9 (4)  4.4 (3)
=       3.3 (5)  6.0 (1)  4.6 (2)  3.7 (4)  4.3 (3)
=       3.3 (5)  6.0 (1)  4.5 (2)  3.7 (4)  3.9 (3)
=       3.0 (5)  4.8 (1)  4.3 (2)  3.7 (3)  3.3 (4)
=       2.9 (4)  4.3 (1)  3.7 (2)  2.8 (5)  3.3 (3)
=       2.8 (4)  4.2 (1)  3.6 (2)  2.8 (4)  2.8 (4)
10 =      2.6 (3)  3.8 (1)  3.3 (2)  1.7 (5)  2.2 (4)
11 =      2.1 (3)  3.7 (1)  3.1 (2)  1.3 (5)  2.1 (3)
12 =      2.0 (2)  3.3 (1)  1.8 (3)  1.1 (5)  1.5 (4)
12-tot 39.0 (564.0 (152.0 (239.5 (442.3 (3)
career 46.0 (371.5 (153.0 (240.4 (545.3 (4)
bulk =    7.0 (2)  7.5 (1)  1.0 (4)  0.9 (5)  3.0 (3)
12-ave =  3.3 (4)  5.3 (1)  4.3 (2)  3.3 (4)  3.5 (3)
12-wgt =  3.7 (5)  6.0 (1)  4.9 (2)  3.9 (4)  4.0 (3
   123. Rally Posted: November 21, 2017 at 04:32 PM (#5579704)
That Omar is being considered just highlights the travesty of Trammell not being in. Omar was probably a better fielder, but it's close. Trammell was very good. On a per season level it's Vizquel +7, Trammell +5. Omar last longer and was more durable, but that's a pretty small gap compared to the massive difference in their bats.
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