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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Keidel: Goose Is Loose, And Needs A Muzzle On Mariano’s HOF Creds

The Goose Steps Out…Again.

As the tornadic talk continues over the baseball Hall of Fame vote, Goose Gossage is making the rounds about his past, present, and potential colleagues in Cooperstown.

And, as always, he’s trotting out the regurgitated mantras regarding relief pitching. When someone’s preamble is, “Nothing against Mariano,” you know they are about to trivialize Mariano.

Well, nothing against you, Goose, but it’s time to be quiet. And unlike Rivera, who will garner at least 95 percent of the vote in his first ballot, it took you nine years to find your way to Cooperstown.

When asked by ESPN if Rivera would be the first player ever voted unanimously into the Hall of Fame, Goose bristled, asserting that anyone charged with pitching “just” one inning to bag a save should not be so universally regarded. The logic is that Gossage faced more pressure during his years in the majors.

As always, Gossage referred to himself, Rollie Fingers, and Bruce Sutter as the progenitors of the real save, meaning more than three batters.

“We inherited runners,” is Goose’s template retort to Mariano, whom Gossage refers to as a wonderful human being and a fine pitcher. Just not as fine as Gossage, it seems.

...But as the mustache faded to white, his views feel equally old. As someone who waited so long for induction, you’d like to think Gossage would be more grateful and circumspect. Instead, it feels like envy, if not full-blown player hating.

Maybe he doesn’t like that Mo has usurped him as the greatest closer in Yankees history. Maybe he doesn’t like the money Mo made. Maybe Gossage should just be quiet and enjoy the millions that making the Hall of Fame will put in his pocket.

There’s no shame in falling short of Mariano Rivera. Everyone does.

Especially Goose Gossage.

Repoz Posted: January 09, 2014 at 02:17 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. hardrain Posted: January 09, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4634726)
It may be time for Goose to meet Dennis Rodman
   2. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 09, 2014 at 02:50 PM (#4634735)
To paraphrase Earl Weaver, Goose Goosage is lucky he's in the f**king Hall of Fame for Christ sake.
   3. BDC Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:05 PM (#4634765)
lucky he's in the f**king Hall of Fame for Christ sake

He was released by the Chicago Cubs. He was released by the ******* ******* Daiei Hawks.
   4. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4634772)
The last few years of his career, Gossage was teammates with Canseco, McGwire, Palmeiro, and A-Rod. Nothing against Gossage, but Goose Gossage caused steroids.
   5. Transmission Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4634782)
There's only one person whose stature will be diminished in a Goose/Mariano comparison, and it ain't Mariano.
   6. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4634784)
I think it a proper, glorious and time honored tradition for elders to know the world is going to hell-in-a-handbasket, kids today are a pale shadow of what they were back in the day, and to feel free to make sure their lawn remains free of those self same shadow kids.

When you are old you get to be a crank (I am really looking forward to it) and double when you are in the Hall of Fame.

Not that I lend any credence to what he says though, because that would be nuts.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4634802)
I will say this. At his best (say 10 year peak) Gossage was better than Rivera. He averaged close to 100 IP per season, instead of 75, at an equivalent level of effectiveness.

What makes Rivera greater, is that he sustained the effectiveness for 18 years, instead of just 10.
   8. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:32 PM (#4634813)
When I was a kid and an old person kept you off his lawn, you stayed off his lawn. Old people nowadays are for ####.
   9. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4634823)
Back when their HOF merits were being argued, it was common to compare Gossage and Sutter by subtracting Sutter's IP and ER from Gossage's numbers, for an extremely rough display of what extra value Gossage provided -- 767.1 IP and 277 ER, good for a 3.25 ERA. So Gossage was (roughly) Sutter plus 767 innings of average-ish relief pitching.

The same for Mariano and Gossage:

Gossage 1809.1 IP 605 ER
Rivera 1283.2 IP 315 ER
Difference 525.2 IP 290 ER (4.97 ERA)

This is a list of players since integration whose career totals come within 25 IP and 10 ER of that difference:

Rk              Player  WAR    IP  ER GS  ERA ERA+
1         Hideki Irabu  3.3 514.0 294 80 5.15   89
2    Armando Galarraga  3.0 542.0 288 91 4.78   91
3         John Doherty  2.7 521.1 282 61 4.87   92
4         Jose Jimenez  2.6 521.1 285 38 4.92  100
5          Gary Glover  1.4 516.2 289 47 5.03   90
6        Kirk Saarloos  1.3 509.0 284 73 5.02   88
7           Jeff Juden  0.3 533.0 285 76 4.81   89
8        John Montague 
-0.9 546.2 289 17 4.76   86
9    Brandon Duckworth 
-2.4 511.0 300 84 5.28   79
10           Dick Pole 
-2.4 531.0 298 77 5.05   79 


So by this crude measure, Gossage is basically Rivera plus 525 innings of somewhat above replacement pitching. Gossage plus Kirk Saarloos, or Gossage plus the Fat ##### Toad.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:47 PM (#4634841)
Gossage 1809.1 IP 605 ER
Rivera 1283.2 IP 315 ER
Difference 525.2 IP 290 ER (4.97 ERA)


This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.
   11. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4634849)
This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.

I'm with you. It seems too pat for some reason. Anyway, Gossage has a big mouth but there's no denying he had a more demanding usage pattern than Rivera. Being charitable to the BBWAA let's say they understand this so BOTH Gossage and Rivera get into the Hall. Problem solved, Goose!
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4634850)
When asked by ESPN if Rivera would be the first player ever voted unanimously into the Hall of Fame, Goose bristled, asserting that anyone charged with pitching “just” one inning to bag a save should not be so universally regarded. The logic is that Gossage faced more pressure during his years in the majors.

As always, Gossage referred to himself, Rollie Fingers, and Bruce Sutter as the progenitors of the real save, meaning more than three batters.

“We inherited runners,” is Goose’s template retort to Mariano, whom Gossage refers to as a wonderful human being and a fine pitcher. Just not as fine as Gossage, it seems.


Goose is obviously correct here. His job was significantly harder than Rivera's, who like all modern closers was pampered, although perhaps a little moreso for Rivera since the Yankees often had the luxury of resting him so that he would be ready for the playoffs.
   13. hardrain Posted: January 09, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4634854)
So Goose has officially taken over Bob Feller's role as Baseball's Cranky Old Man.
   14. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4634869)
Funnily enough, BB-Ref has Mo's biggest WAR season coming when he was still a middle reliever. Just for fun, comparing their top 10 WAR seasons, Mo, then Goose:

5.0 8.2
4.3 6.0
4.2 4.5
4.0 3.5
3.9 3.5
3.7 3.2
3.6 2.9
3.5 2.5
3.5 2.3
3.3 1.8

So, do you like your peak, or do you like your long-term excellence when it comes to your immortals?

edit: Just a couple of notes--Gossage's best season came in Chicago and his one year as a starter was the 2.9 season. Not bad, but no great shakes, either. Still, the ChiSox should have kept him in the pen!
   15. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:05 PM (#4634877)
This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.

It ignores context -- the best performance is often concentrated in a few seasons, increasing its value from a pennants added perspective -- and it doesn't give enough credit to average performance, which is pretty valuable. Bruce Sutter plus 767 averagish innings is very different from Bruce Sutter, as Sutter's and Gossage's WAR reflects.
   16. Danny Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4634882)
What did Gossage actually say? There don't seem to be any real quotes from him in the article.
   17. john_halfz Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4634920)
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:35 PM (#4634929)
His job was significantly harder than Rivera's, who like all modern closers was pampered, although perhaps a little moreso for Rivera since the Yankees often had the luxury of resting him so that he would be ready for the playoffs.

One of the things that set Rivera apart from other closers (besides giving up fewer runs over a much longer period) is that in his prime he was less pampered than other closers of his era - more saves of more than 1 inning & pitching 3 days in a row or 4 out of 5 if needed. Sure he'd be rested if the Yankees clinched early, but he was worked pretty hard (by recent standards) until then.
   19. silhouetted by the sea Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4634931)
Weren't there plenty of starting pitchers saying the same thing about Goose going into the Hall of Fame?
   20. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4634932)
This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.


In part, because it doesn't account for the differences in scoring levels between Goose's and Mariano's time.
   21. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:40 PM (#4634943)
What makes Rivera greater, is that he sustained the effectiveness for 18 years, instead of just 10.


The amazing thing about Rivera is that he had a "bad" year as a rookie in 1995, and then he not only never had another bad year (ignoring 2012 when he didn't play), he never had an ERA+ below 144, once he became a closer he was the top 10 in saves EVERY SINGLE SEASON, save 2012.

Stunning consistency right? Not actually, if you [put his ERA+s on a line graph, you will see normal ups and downs- up and down from Mo's median/average- it's just that Mo's average was so much better than anyone else's. For instance he was terrible in 2007, ERA was 0.94 runs above his career average, ERA+ was 61 point off his career mark, 1.6 h/9 more than his career average. That's significant variability, and yet in 2007 he had 30 saves and an ERA of 3.15- a bad year for him was a good year for your average closer
   22. BDC Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4634946)
Hey, any analysis that concludes that Guy A is Guy B plus Dick Pole is fine with me.
   23. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4634952)
(ignoring 2012 when he didn't play)
You don't even have to ignore it. In his 8.1 innings, he pitched the same as he did in his 60-80 IP years.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4634954)
One of the things that set Rivera apart from other closers (besides giving up fewer runs over a much longer period) is that in his prime he was less pampered than other closers of his era - more saves of more than 1 inning & pitching 3 days in a row or 4 out of 5 if needed. Sure he'd be rested if the Yankees clinched early, but he was worked pretty hard (by recent standards) until then.


He was worked harder on the basis you cite. But he was given very light treatment throughout most seasons as far as days off and number of days in a row, etc.
   25. Bob Tufts Posted: January 09, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4634971)
Jose Jimenez


Insert Bill Dana joke here.....

Sigh. At this time I will admit that I have more than cordial relationships with Gossage and Murray Chass.
   26. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4634978)
Since 1995, Mo has held opponents to an OPS+ of 45 or lower 10 times (60+ ip), no one else has done it more than 6 times (Nathan), then Wagner 4 times and Pedro 4 times...

and ok this is stunning, in 2000 Pedro pitched 217 innings and held opposing batters to this batting line:.167/.213/.259


   27. The District Attorney Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:29 PM (#4635021)
This might be the bridge too far that finally turns the press against Goose. Bob Costas' main argument against Ken Gurnick's "no steroid era players" ballot was "that would mean you couldn't vote for Mariano Rivera!"
   28. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:33 PM (#4635025)
"that would mean you couldn't vote for Mariano Rivera!"

Oh, the horror!
   29. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: January 09, 2014 at 05:52 PM (#4635067)
Gossage 1809.1 IP 605 ER
Rivera 1283.2 IP 315 ER
Difference 525.2 IP 290 ER (4.97 ERA)

So by this crude measure, Gossage is basically Rivera plus 525 innings of somewhat above replacement pitching. Gossage plus Kirk Saarloos, or Gossage plus the Fat ##### Toad.
Add in their postseason stats, and now Gossage is Mariano plus 416 innings of 6.25 ERA.
   30. Moeball Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:17 PM (#4635103)
I have a friend from Panama who is eagerly anticipating the summer of 2019 when fellow countryman Mariano is expected to be getting inducted into the HOF. I don't think you can book hotels in Cooperstown 5 years in advance, can you?

The real question is this - When Mariano makes his speech, will cousin Ruben be allowed to be in attendance? If so, they better lock up the museum or Ruben might try to take stuff from Babe Ruth's locker...
   31. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:19 PM (#4635106)
Sigh. At this time I will admit that I have more than cordial relationships with Gossage and Murray Chass.

Don't be embarrassed. The Goose can say what he wants. He's The Goose!
   32. Moeball Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4635109)
Add in their postseason stats, and now Gossage is Mariano plus 416 innings of 6.25 ERA.


Bad, but still not down to MRL (Moeball Replacement Level). You have to get a lot worse than this for me to be a better replacement option!
   33. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 09, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4635117)
This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.

In part, because it doesn't account for the differences in scoring levels between Goose's and Mariano's time.

In larger part because it doesn't account for the difference in the way pitchers pace themselves across appearances of different lengths. No one would dare say "Justin Verlander is Mariano Rivera plus 488.1 IP of 6.56 ERA!" The same principle applies to multi-inning relievers, just to a lesser degree.
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:00 PM (#4635142)

"This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why."

also, modern closers get the books closed when they screw up before the screwup is over.
so if Mo comes in to a 2-1 game in the 9th and allows two singles and a double and he loses 3-2, he walks off the mound with a runner on 2nd and nobody out - but neither that runner nor others can score.

now, Rivera rarely had such innings.

but look at the converse: Gossage enters with 2 outs in the 7th of a tie game.
he gets the last out to leave the bases loaded, but in the 8th he allows two singles and a double and two runs to score. he doesn't get to leave the runner stranded forever on 2nd - the game continues, and with or without Gossage, that run is likely to score.

that's only one other reason why these games are a bit disingenuous - I like Lance's as well.
   35. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:10 PM (#4635152)
It's hard to believe Goose Gossage was teammates with Alex Rodriguez. He seems like a contemporary of Catfish Hunter, or Jim Palmer at the latest.
   36. TubaOnFire Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4635176)
Obligatory
http://www.theonion.com/articles/in-my-day-ballplayers-were-for-####,10792/
   37. TubaOnFire Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:36 PM (#4635178)
Double post - ugh. Sorry.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: January 09, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4635193)
but look at the converse: Gossage enters with 2 outs in the 7th of a tie game.
he gets the last out to leave the bases loaded, but in the 8th he allows two singles and a double and two runs to score. he doesn't get to leave the runner stranded forever on 2nd - the game continues, and with or without Gossage, that run is likely to score.


Only on the road.

On the other hand, if he comes in a 2-1 game and gives up a hit and a homer, Mo doesn't get another chance to get another valuable out without allowing a run, which is the likely outcome in that situation (and most 2-out situations where the winning run scores).

IOW, it's probably close to a wash.
   39. Jay Z Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:19 PM (#4635336)
According to Baseball-Reference, the number of high leverage PAs for relievers:

Gossage - 3168
Wilhelm - 3049
Fingers - 2921
Rivera - 2567
Sutter - 2316

For sake of comparison:
Maddux - 3449
Glavine - 3434

Gossage was also better in high leverage situations than in medium or low leverage. The other four relievers all did worse in high leverage (relative to their average performance.) Maddux and Glavine were also worse than their average in high leverage. Most pitchers do worse than their average in high leverage. I had to look up about 20 different HOF starting pitchers before I found one relatively better than Gossage (Jim Palmer.)

Based on this Gossage may be a little underrated. Regardless of this, Mariano Rivera remains a massively overrated baseball player.
   40. Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:33 PM (#4635340)
Most pitchers do worse than their average in high leverage. I had to look up about 20 different HOF starting pitchers before I found one relatively better than Gossage (Jim Palmer.)

I imagine this is because starting pitchers typically face high-leverage situations late in games, when they're apt to be at their worst.
   41. Banta Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:36 PM (#4635344)
Onion: In My Day

Reposting the link from 36.

I know it gets posted in threads here somewhat frequently, but if you're like me, and haven't actually reread the article in over ten years, I suggest doing so. It's aged very well.
   42. susan mullen Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:41 PM (#4635349)
Gossage has been attacking and lying about Rivera since at least 2006 yet the Yankees continued to invite him to events where he profits off the Yankee name and is provided a national platform to make sick and even contradictory statements about one of the team's most valuable players. Gossage admits he had it easier than today's pitchers: "Gossage's strong opinions have not been limited to his own career. He thinks there ought to be some method of denoting in baseball's history books that offense increased in the 1990s and 2000s, partly because of smaller ballparks, tightly wrapped baseballs and a shrinking strike zone."...Kevin Baker covers all of Gossage's points quite well in his 10/31/11 guest piece at Baseball Prospectus, "Silly Goose: Mariano Rivera and the Myth of the Seven-Out Save." As to the 'pampering' lie, among facts normally left out are that Rivera's 141 post season innings are the equivalent of 2 additional years of relief pitching sandwiched into his regular season years but never counted with regular season stats. This work was done against the toughest competition, under the greatest pressure while others were resting on the couch preparing to pad the next year's regular season stats. Twice he worked into November. His post season ERA is .70. Gossage's is 2.87. In April 2012 Dusty Baker said, "A lot of times, people don't understand mentally and physically how you have to overextend when you go to the playoffs and World Series,'' Baker said. "You're still pitching while everybody else is home resting. That's a lot more. And you have less time to recover for next year. You have a shorter winter. "Winning takes its toll, big time. There's nothing better than that, but it takes its toll.''...This defamatory behavior continues because the Yankees allow it.
   43. Howie Menckel Posted: January 09, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4635350)

Jim Palmer shows up in lots of intriguing stats, including never having allowed a grand slam and "coincidentally" tossing at-em balls instead of Ks while blessed with among the best defensive set of teammates in history. Maybe he wasn't just a pretty face?

   44. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 09, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4635379)
This defamatory behavior continues because the Yankees allow it.


Welcome to crazy town.
   45. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 10, 2014 at 12:32 AM (#4635417)
...This defamatory behavior continues because the Yankees allow it.

Having a higher regard for your own achievements than those of someone who (in the view of many) surpassed you, isn't defamation. The idea that the Yankees should stop inviting people to Old Timers Day or Spring Training because they say something mildly controversial is pretty over the top.
   46. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:04 AM (#4635430)
Goose is stone nuts on the issue of Rivera, but since I remember that it was Goose who got Yaz to hit that final feeble popup with the AL East on the line, he can flame Ruth and Dimaggio for all I care. I'm infinitely more interested in what a player does than in what he says.
   47. Walt Davis Posted: January 10, 2014 at 01:52 AM (#4635444)
So by this crude measure, Gossage is basically Rivera plus 525 innings of somewhat above replacement pitching. Gossage plus Kirk Saarloos, or Gossage plus the Fat ##### Toad.

So what you're saying is that Gossage was greater than or equal to Rivera. (Irabu had 3.4 WAR)

Add in their postseason stats, and now Gossage is Mariano plus 416 innings of 6.25 ERA.

See, now this is better -- this at least suggests that Gossage might have been a slightly worse pitcher than Mo.

This type of analysis has always seemed sketchy to me, but I've never been able to articulate why.

I think it depends what you use it for. When it's used in the sense of "X has better career counting stats but that's only because they hung on for 400 innings of replacement-level pitching" or even "average pitching" then it seems OK to me.

But in the above -- I can easily interpret as I just did. So, in the equal number of innings, Gossage was every bit as good as Rivera. Then as a broken-down pitcher, Gossage pitched like a broken-down pitcher. How does that make Gossage worse?

Let's track down those innings. A lot of Goose's crap time came early. From ages 20-22 he threw 219 innings at 73 ERA+ (120 ER). He also spent one year as a meh starter -- another 224 IP and 95 ER. Cherry-picking, at ages 34, 36 and 41 he threw 156 innings with 77 ER. That is almost exactly 600 IP and 292 runs -- the Irabu years.

Of course Mo wasn't even in the majors at 20-22. In fact he didn't arrive until he was 25 when the Yanks tried him as a starter and he was terrible, even worse than Gossage's age-24 as a starter.

So while Mo was in the minors or struggling in a half-season in the majors, Gossage threw 717 ML innings at a 110 ERA+. More impressively, in that time, he had what I assume are two of the greatest relief seasons ever -- 142 IP of 212 ERA+ and 133 IP of 244. That's the equivalent of nearly 4 Mo seasons. And his gmLI in those years was 2.4 and 2.2, higher than any values Mo ever had. In short, nobody in their right mind would take a Mo season over those two. That first year, the WAR (which includes the LI factor) was 8.2 ... for a reliever!

Gossage was never that great again although the 1981 strike year was getting there (only 46 IP but a 485 ERA+). Starting at 26, Mo starts to catch up some but Gossage is still pitching more innings.

This technique probably works much better in reverse. For Morris to catch up to, say, Jenkins, he would have had to pitch an extra 676 innings and given up just 12 runs, an ERA of 0.16 -- in other words, Morris would have had to pitch nearly as well as Mariano Rivera! For Rivera to catch Jenkins, he'd have had to pitch an extra 3,216 innings and given up just 1,354 earned runs, an ERA of 3.79 -- i.e. roughly Mike Mussina (3500 IP, 3.68 ERA). But remember, the guy with a career close to Mussina plus Rivera pales in comparison to the career of Rivera cuz nobody could possibly do what Rivera has done. :-)

(I know, scoring context matters. I'm just having fun.)

With pitchers though I'd say too much is built into the assumption. Gossage's usage was much different than Rivera's. Somebody noted Rivera pitched 75 innings a year -- well, not really, he reached that threshold only 6 times, once by 2/3 of an inning and, other than his first year as a set-up guy, never topped 80. Gossage's in-season usage blows Rivera's out of the water.

So who knows what that does to a pitcher's arm? Nobody but we do know that nobody has been able to withstand the sort of usage Gossage had, including Gossage. Meanwhile Rivera came up 6 innings short of Lee Smith's career total. Anyway, no question, what Gossage did at ages 23 and 25 is way better than anything Mo accomplished.

People like to say nobody's done what Rivera's done in terms of being able to withstand his workload but it's not really true. Todd Jones just finished off 16 years of about 60-70 IP a year. Franco pitched for 21 years, 0 career starts, 1245 IP. Doug Jones had 16 years and over 1100 IP, Hoffman made it 18 years with slightly lower usage than Mo. Joe Nathan got started too late but he just finished his age 38 season with a 297 ERA+ and, since becoming a full-time reliever at the age of 27, has a 196 career ERA+ at about 60 innings a year. (Rivera still wins that comp but it's just not that hard.) Who knows how long he'll last but Kimbrel is blowing Mo out of the water. Kimbrel already has two seasons better (by ERA+) than Mo's best. Over the last 4 years, Eric O'Flaherty (aka Mr. Rolaids!) has a better ERA+ than Mo's career average.

Obviously Mo's mix of quality and quantity (of seasons) will be rare. But then we're only just now entering the era when a pitcher will be allowed to be a short reliever for his entire career, possibly starting as early as 22-23 (Kimbrel, K-Rod at 21). From 21-25, when Mo was mostly in the minors, K-Rod threw 378 IP of a 185 ERA+. His arm fell off but from ages 23-26, Soria threw 255 IP of 218, with three seasons over 200. (Possibly teams will decide that asking young kids to totally air it out 60 times a year is a bad idea and we'll go back to failed starters becoming relievers in their late 20s.)

It's foolish to bet on pitchers staying healthy but I suspect Mo-type seasons will become pretty commonplace and that 1 or 2 of this generation of relievers will survive and make Mo's career look substantially less rare. None of them match Mo but we've already seen Wagner, Nathan and Papelbon (264 IP, 271 ERA+ in 264 IP from 25-28, still has a career 184 ERA+) plus the kids mentioned above keep up or even outpace him over a few seasons.

100% relief, min 50 IP, ERA+ >= 200
2000: 3
2001: 4
2002: 11
2003: 16 (wow)
2004: 12 (Benitez!)
2005: 9
2006: 13
2007: 15
2008: 13
2009: 11
2010: 13
2011: 12
2012: 6 (surprise!)
2013: 13

So pretty stable, not increasing. Rivera had 8 in this span, Nathan 6, a few more with 3.

Anyway, given I didn't support Gossage (or any reliever) for the Hall I don't find "probably a little better than Gossage overall, better than Hoffman, more durable than Wagner, barring a miracle better than Nathan and surely Kimbrel won't last" to be a particularly persuasive HoF case. Mo is possibly the only guy whose postseason accomplishments really make me take notice though.

Just out of curiosity, playing our game, Kimbrel needs 1000 IP and 239 IP to match Rivera's reliever career (age 26 on), an ERA of 2.15. To match his ERA+, he needs a ERA+ of "only" 218 from here on out (1.80 ERA). OK, that seems unlikely. :-)
   48. The District Attorney Posted: January 10, 2014 at 02:55 AM (#4635450)
given I didn't support Gossage (or any reliever) for the Hall
Walt, you don't think that Mariano's career (including postseason, as you mention) puts him on a level with a marginal HOF SP? Not the no-brainers as conventional wisdom would have it, but the "maybe/maybe not" level like a Bret Saberhagen, Billy Pierce, etc.? That's where WAR has him (not even including postseason), and I think it rings true.

Just to refresh everyone's memory -- and WAR is not gospel and I know many question its treatment of relievers in particular, but again, the results at least make sense to me -- WAR ranks the all-time relievers as Mariano 56.5, Wilhelm 50, Goose 41.9, John Hiller 31.4, Lee Smith 29.5, seven other guys 25 or above. So although I wouldn't particularly lobby for Goose, I have no problem with him being in the HOF -- he is a cut above all but two other relivers in history. I think it's foolish to go any lower than that on the reliever list, though; the pyramid flattens out very rapidly.
   49. SoSH U at work Posted: January 10, 2014 at 03:02 AM (#4635452)
Just to refresh everyone's memory -- and WAR is not gospel and I know many question its treatment of relievers in particular, but again, the results at least make sense to me -- WAR ranks the all-time relievers as Mariano 56.5, Wilhelm 50, Goose 41.9, John Hiller 31.4, Lee Smith 29.5, seven other guys 25 or above. So although I wouldn't particularly lobby for Goose, I have no problem with him being in the HOF -- he is a cut above all but two other relivers in history. I think it's foolish to go any lower than that on the reliever list, though; the pyramid flattens out very rapidly.


That list suggest you go no lower than Wilhelm, and even he's a stretch.

   50. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: January 10, 2014 at 04:21 AM (#4635462)
In part, because it doesn't account for the differences in scoring levels between Goose's and Mariano's time.

If you go by bref's neutralized pitching stats, the difference is 413 runs in 485 extra innings. Good for a shiny 7.66 RA (6.83 ERA, if you want to go by earned runs only). I am gonna go ahead and guess that that is below replacement level.
   51. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: January 10, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4635480)
#39 is interesting. Gossage was a traditional "fireman", though, so I shouldn't be surprised. I feel like The Goose gets dismissed a little too easily here because he comes across as grumpy and ungracious but he was a hell of a pitcher.

#42 ?!

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