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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pendergast: A Statistical Look Back At The Freak Show That Was MLB 2001

Everybody must get stoned…

However, if you think steroids are a problem now in the wake of Biogenesis, let’s take a trip down the statistical flashback highway to 2001.

If Braun stands out as freaky in 2013 with a couple big 40-ish home run seasons and an OPS near 1.000, then you’d be able to plunk him down in 2001 and he would blend into the tapestry of that testosterone soaked season with hardly an issue.

Because when it comes to freaks, the 2001 season is the Star Wars cantina scenes of Major League Baseball seasons, and quite frankly Ryan Braun’s 41 home run career high would barely be a Jawa sitting in the corner at Mos Eisley space station. (And that, my friends, was the dorkiest sentence ever typed in a sports post.)

All you have to do is look at the MVP balloting for that season, and it’s frankly a little embarrassing that we weren’t all hip to just how juiced up this game was back then.

1. The top nine vote getters in the National League, all hitters, averaged 49 home runs and 133 runs batted in. For decades, one guy hitting 50 home runs was a big deal. But by 2001, nine guys in one league were averaging nearly that many. By comparison, the top nine NL vote getters in 2012 averaged 29 home runs and 100 runs batted in.

2. Of the top ten hitters in the 2001 NL MVP balloting, five of them had what wound up being their career highs in home runs that season (Bonds, who set the all time record with 73, Luis Gonzalez 57, Shawn Green 49, Todd Helton 49, and Rich Aurilia 37). And I mean not only up to that point, but in the end, these were their career highs. Two others had their second best seasons of their careers (Sammy Sosa 64, Chipper Jones 38).

3. Um, Rich Aurilia hit 37 home runs. RICH ####### AURILIA. This should have been ten times the red flag that Barry Bonds 73 home runs and size 12 1/2 lid were.

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:18 PM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, live ball era, steroids

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   1. Moe Greene Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4502994)
Ah, yes. This reminds me of the good ol' days of BBTF, when every other thread posted was tied directly or indirectly to PED's.

Welcome back, old BBTF. I missed you.
   2. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4503000)
Um, Rich Aurilia hit 37 home runs. RICH ####### AURILIA


Was Aurilia ever outed as a PED-user?
   3. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4503003)
Welcome back, old BBTF. I missed you.


It's a trap.
   4. villageidiom Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4503008)
Ah, yes. This reminds me of the good ol' days of BBTF, when every other thread posted was tied directly or indirectly to PED's.
Is that even legal?
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4503010)
Welcome back, old BBTF.

Be old, BBTF!
   6. DKDC Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4503011)
You’re risking a district attorney’s life!
   7. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: July 24, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4503012)
All you have to do is look at the MVP balloting for that season, and it’s frankly a little embarrassing that we weren’t all hip to just how juiced up this game was back then.


The BALCO stuff came to light in 2003. Bonds won his 4th straight MVP award the following season. The voters may not have cared enough about it, or felt like they needed to wait for more evidence to emerge, but there is no way that they were "not hip to it".
   8. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:00 PM (#4503017)
Trying to get my timeline right. Caminiti admitted his use in 2002, Canseco in 2005. Plenty of others made their admissions after that. So I can see an argument that voters were not hip to it in 2001.

I just bring up the 2004 MVP ballot to dispute that had they known more in 2001, they would have voted differently.
   9. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:01 PM (#4503019)
What are the other explanations for all the home runs back then? I'm sure it's been discussed around here plenty (and maybe I'm just being lazy and not looking), but is the general belief really that players were taking some magic pill that equaled home runs, but have since stopped?
   10. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4503020)
Harold Baines's .131/.202/.143 line that year means he's the greatest American hero.
   11. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:06 PM (#4503024)
I thought it believed that the baseball changed in composition also, but I could be wrong. And I hate it when posters like Crosseyed and Painless and Albert Belle forget commonly known facts!
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:09 PM (#4503026)
Harold Baines's .131/.202/.143 line that year means he's the greatest American hero.


Craig Grebeck and his .049/.093/.073 line think Baines was obviously juiced.
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:11 PM (#4503027)
1. The top nine vote getters in the National League, all hitters, averaged 49 home runs and 133 runs batted in. For decades, one guy hitting 50 home runs was a big deal. But by 2001, nine guys in one league were averaging nearly that many. By comparison, the top nine NL vote getters in 2012 averaged 29 home runs and 100 runs batted in.



I wanted to list the top 9 vote getter in the 1930 NL, but there was no vote that year...

but the top 9 in RBI in the 1930 NL (only 8 teams) averaged 138 ribbies

obviously there were juicers back then too.
   14. The District Attorney Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:15 PM (#4503030)
The BALCO stuff came to light in 2003. Bonds won his 4th straight MVP award the following season. The voters may not have cared enough about it, or felt like they needed to wait for more evidence to emerge, but there is no way that they were "not hip to it".
If people ever start basing their MVP votes on PED suspicions, I honestly don't know what I'll do.

Craig Grebeck and his .049/.093/.073 line think Baines was obviously juiced.
GREBECK IS NOT YOUR SAVIOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   15. villageidiom Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:19 PM (#4503036)
Um, Rich Aurilia hit 37 home runs. RICH ####### AURILIA

first of all rich aurilia is on great player look at 2001 and 2006 and 2005 with Griffey Junior. so in three seasons became on the a-list of players and rich is in demand now, now he is shooting pigeons with barry bonds. and he also worked with ichiro on the mariners which was great by the way. and brian giles in san diego. so he worked with alot of great players. and was great in the minors with port charlotte. and louisville with austin kearns. and rich was the best thing in the stadium and the critics agree. so rich is a way better player then austin kearns. im responding to the post from alex about at least austin kearns got some credit under his belt but rich is hotter and a better player and he is getting alot more glory then austin. so please did you see austins last team with juan pierre called the marlins. need i say more the team sucked as hell and even the critics said the worst team of the century. it only made 800k in attendance now thats sad.
   16. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:21 PM (#4503038)
What are the other explanations for all the home runs back then? I'm sure it's been discussed around here plenty (and maybe I'm just being lazy and not looking), but is the general belief really that players were taking some magic pill that equaled home runs, but have since stopped?

I believe they started calling higher strikes more frequently, which is also partially responsible for the booming K rates.
   17. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:23 PM (#4503039)
Craig Grebeck and his .049/.093/.073 line think Baines was obviously juiced.


How come in baseball it's "Juiced", while in cycling, the term of choice is "doping"?
   18. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:24 PM (#4503041)
How come in baseball it's "Juiced", while in cycling, the term of choice is "doping"?

Because Craig Grebeck.
   19. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4503043)
There was almost zero conversation on BPrimer about steroid use in 2001. Steroids didn't start to dominate the conversations for about a year or two after that. In 2001 you were much more likely to have a long heated argument about whether or not Pete Rose bet on baseball than you were about steroids in baseball.
   20. just plain joe Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4503044)
How come in baseball it's "Juiced", while in cycling, the term of choice is "doping"?


Because most baseball writers are familiar with the term "juiced" because many of them are drinkers and the concept is one they can get next to. These same writers think that the term "doping" refers to recreational type drug use and anyone who would do that is a combination anti-Christ/communist.
   21. dave h Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:30 PM (#4503047)
vi, how much of that could you do off the top of your head?
   22. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4503051)
How come in baseball it's "Juiced", while in cycling, the term of choice is "doping"?


Blood doping is a different and very specific thing. Basically, you are adding extra red blood cells, to boost the amount of oxygen you're blood stream can carry to your cells, thereby boosting your aerobic capacity and endurance. Extreme endurance is really important for riding a bicycle up a mountain, but not for baseball.

And then in cycling all PED stuff is often called doping, because that's what came to prominence first, just like all PED use in baseball is often called steroids.

Also, from TFA:

I know his numbers were more inflated by Coors Field than by steroids (mostly because he got hurt way too much to be a qualified roid head), but Larry Walker's season of .350/.449/.662 with 38 home runs and 123 RBI being good enough to garner one tenth place vote is just stupid.


I'm mostly a PED agnostic, so it's crap like this that gets me the most aggravated. How do we know Larry Walker wasn't a juicer? Maybe he got hurt so much because his body couldn't handle the freakish muscle growth. Maybe he took steroids to aid his injury recovery, and without roids would have never have come back from his knee injury in 1988. The injuries could point either way, or no way at all, and there's no way for we here in the peanut gallery to have a clue.
   23. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:45 PM (#4503058)
First, steroids = home runs.

Then, steroids = faster, better injury recovery and better endurance.

Also, cycling (endurance sport).

Yet virtually no one points the finger at the NBA, whose players require endurance and quick recovery.
   24. Juan Uribe Marching and Chowder Society Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4503061)
(mostly because he got hurt way too much to be a qualified roid head)


The burden of proof in the Court of Public Opinion must be quite low.
   25. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4503062)
I've been saying Michael Jordan was a roider for years now.
   26. Moeball Posted: July 24, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4503070)
Oh, c'mon, everybody just looks at the NL like it's the only freak show in town!

25 posts and no mention of Bret Boone or A-Rod or Miguel Tejada? Of course, middle infielders are supposed to average 40 HRs and 130 RBIs, right?

What's a roider got to do to get noticed around here?
   27. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: July 24, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4503089)
2004 was the year that a bunch of Carolina Panthers were busted for steroids including the frickin' punter. And this was after the NFL used to crow about how great their steroid policy was.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4503090)
How do we know Larry Walker wasn't a juicer?

He's Canadian.
   29. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: July 24, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4503112)
George Brett was a rhoider.
   30. Hank G. Posted: July 24, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4503115)
How do we know that it wasn't the ball that was juiced (that actually accounted for the rise in home runs. Obviously, a lot of players were using chemical enhancement back then)?

MLB could have then deadened the ball slightly to make people think that their drug policy was working.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4503142)
On-contact:

2012 AL: 325/523, 24.3 contact per HR
2001 AL: 328/526, 25.4 contact per HR

It's the strikeouts.
   32. Srul Itza Posted: July 24, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4503148)
There was almost zero conversation on BPrimer about steroid use in 2001. Steroids didn't start to dominate the conversations for about a year or two after that.


I don't think that is accurate. In 2001 when Barry first went nuts is when people first started posting about steroids -- and things got very, very nasty, because this was BEFORE Balco, and there was no real smoking gun. So the people who claimed steroids were involved got flamed, big time, by a lot of other people, and the conversation was far from civil.
   33. Ineverinhaled Posted: July 24, 2013 at 06:49 PM (#4503157)
How do we know that it wasn't the ball that was juiced (that actually accounted for the rise in home runs. Obviously, a lot of players were using chemical enhancement back then)?


I'm sure they were. MLB (Bud Selig) needed to put butts in the seats after the 1994 labor strike. Juiced players + juiced baseballs = more homeruns...it became a freak show. MLB and Bud then did a 180 turn after Barry's head balooned and he destroyed the sacred homerun crown.
   34. Damon Rutherford Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4503165)
On-contact:

2012 AL: 325/523, 24.3 contact per HR
2001 AL: 328/526, 25.4 contact per HR

It's the strikeouts.


Thank you! Though I suspect most fans/writers/blowhards will ignore any data that suggest illegal/banned PEDs are not as PE as presumed, especially given the legal/permitted resources available.
   35. villageidiom Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:07 PM (#4503168)
vi, how much of that could you do off the top of your head?
Zero. I did an embarrassing amount of research.

I am the biggest idiot ever.
   36. Greg K Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4503173)
How do we know Larry Walker wasn't a juicer?

He's Canadian.

That just means he got his goods from Ben Johnson.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:18 PM (#4503177)
That just means he got his goods from Ben Johnson.

More likely Tim Horton's
   38. Greg K Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:21 PM (#4503178)
More likely Tim Horton's

My brother once got into trouble going into the US because of his "Hands of my Tim's" t-shirt. We were never able to piece together what the border guard thought the shirt meant, but he was not buying that it referred to coffee.
   39. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:51 PM (#4503195)
MLB could have then deadened the ball slightly to make people think that their drug policy was working.

I'm not a conspiracy freak but I totally believe this. It's, it's, so Seligean.
   40. Mefisto Posted: July 24, 2013 at 07:55 PM (#4503199)
I don't think that is accurate. In 2001 when Barry first went nuts is when people first started posting about steroids -- and things got very, very nasty, because this was BEFORE Balco, and there was no real smoking gun. So the people who claimed steroids were involved got flamed, big time, by a lot of other people, and the conversation was far from civil.


That's my memory too. I think that the archives from that period were lost, though.
   41. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 24, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4503213)
I am the biggest idiot ever.


And Mike Crudale.
   42. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: July 24, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4503256)
"On-contact:

2012 AL: 325/523, 24.3 contact per HR
2001 AL: 328/526, 25.4 contact per HR

It's the strikeouts."

Has there been a change in the NL? That's where all the really crazy numbers happened.
   43. Dan Evensen Posted: July 24, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4503259)
#32 and #40, my memory is the same. You might be able to find something on the Internet Wayback Machine if you really want to see proof.

I miss the "Pitch to Bonds?" pieces you'd see here during the 2002 postseason.
   44. cardsfanboy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 09:14 PM (#4503274)
The top nine vote getters in the National League, all hitters, averaged 49 home runs and 133 runs batted in. For decades, one guy hitting 50 home runs was a big deal. But by 2001, nine guys in one league were averaging nearly that many. By comparison, the top nine NL vote getters in 2012 averaged 29 home runs and 100 runs batted in.


There were 16 teams in 2001 in the NL. In 1961 there were 10 teams in the AL. I figure 6 players in 1961 is equivalent to 9 players in 2001.

Top 6 hr hitters in 1961 in the AL, averaged 49 hrs(48.666), 134 rbi.... I don't see a difference. (Heck there were 6 players in the 1961 AL with over 40 hr, in 2001 NL there were 7) (to be fair though the drop after that in 1961 was much bigger and drastic than the 2001 NL)
   45. Copronymus Posted: July 24, 2013 at 09:17 PM (#4503278)
You’re risking a district attorney’s life!


And now Ron Silver's dead and Olivia Wilde is sort of a movie star.
   46. Walt Davis Posted: July 24, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4503293)
C'mon AROM, I'm doing this with no more than the Windows calulator, pull out your database! :-)

I usually comp AL since then you don't have to worry (much) about a pitcher hitting effect (and probably more PH) doing god knows what in any given year but ... also the Coors and the humidor effects.

NL 2012: 327/516, 27.9 contact per HR
NL 2001: 328/534, 23.8 contact per HR

So some difference in power but a raw difference of nearly 500 HR which is a lot. But the overall numbers aren't particularly out of whack with the AL. (Presumably the number of on-contact ABs by pitchers is small enough to not make a big difference ... especially since this doesn't include sac bunts either.)
   47. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4503309)
In regards to steroid talk, show me the money.
   48. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 09:50 PM (#4503328)
Here is a link from 2001 about Bonds that has no mention of steroids.

In 2001 we simply did not talk about steroids. It wasn't on our radar at that point in time.
   49. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: July 24, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4503432)
Here is a link from 2001 about Bonds that has no mention of steroids.


But, John Brattain sightings. RIP.
   50. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: July 24, 2013 at 10:54 PM (#4503434)
Is that VI post a Terri or whatever her name was post? The girl who loved Colin Farrell?
   51. Srul Itza Posted: July 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4503443)
Here is a link from 2001 about Bonds that has no mention of steroids.

In 2001 we simply did not talk about steroids. It wasn't on our radar at that point in time.


It wasn't "All Steroids, All the Time", but that was the start.
   52. Srul Itza Posted: July 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4503444)
Is that VI post a Terri or whatever her name was post? The girl who loved Colin Farrell?



tina
   53. McCoy Posted: July 24, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4503472)
It wasn't "All Steroids, All the Time", but that was the start.

As in what, one person mentioned it one time? In 2001 we barely talked about steroids. Steroids as a big topic at BP didn't happen until about 2003 or so.
   54. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 24, 2013 at 11:44 PM (#4503488)
As in what, one person mentioned it one time? In 2001 we barely talked about steroids. Steroids as a big topic at BP didn't happen until about 2003 or so.

as I showed in a post several years ago, by counting the number of times the word "steroids"occurred in discussions on RSB, it started to go up in 2003 and peaked (a Roger Maris type peak) in 2005

NO ONE GAVE ASHIT ABOUT STEROIDS WHILE BONDS WAS SETTING THE SINGLE SEASON RECORD!!!

it was only well after that, when he was threatening Hank, that people started to care

(any claims to the contrary are revisionist history)
   55. Barnaby Jones Posted: July 25, 2013 at 05:27 AM (#4503540)
On-contact:

2012 AL: 325/523, 24.3 contact per HR
2001 AL: 328/526, 25.4 contact per HR

It's the strikeouts.


That's pretty neat.
   56. SandyRiver Posted: July 25, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4503601)
Another 2001 statistical oddity: Four batter reached 100 EBH, Bonds, Sosa, Helton, Gonzales. Only 11 other such seasons have been recorded, and never more than two in the same season. In the 57-year period 1938 thru 1994, there was just one.
   57. AROM, Instagram Gangsta Posted: July 25, 2013 at 09:51 AM (#4503619)
C'mon AROM, I'm doing this with no more than the Windows calulator, pull out your database! :-)


Gotta get one that fits on an iphone. That's where I read 99% of my BBTF. Having kids means a lot less time for sitting at a computer running queries while posting.
   58. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: July 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4503635)
NO ONE GAVE ASHIT ABOUT STEROIDS WHILE BONDS WAS SETTING THE SINGLE SEASON RECORD!!!

it was only well after that, when he was threatening Hank, that people started to care

(any claims to the contrary are revisionist history)


Is it also "revisionist history" to point out that the BALCO revelations came along in the meantime?
   59. SoSH U at work Posted: July 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4503639)
Is it also "revisionist history" to point out that the BALCO revelations came along in the meantime?


And Caminiti, Juiced and the Congressional hearings.

Barry Bonds became the face of steroids, there's no question about that. And the fervor of PEDs in baseball probably peaked with his pursuit of Hank. But, as Kiko has demonstrated, he really wasn't a driving force in the story.

   60. bjhanke Posted: July 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4503640)
I can assure you that St. Louis fans in general were VERY aware of steroids by 1999. The wild extrapolations that came out of one then-legal Androstednione sighting put us all on alert that SOMETHING was going on that wasn't limited to McGwire or Andro. I, personally, have always figured that MLB players had been experimenting with steroids since the mid-1970s, when they were the talk of bodybuilding. I had no idea that MLB people thought that this was hot breaking news in 1998. - Brock Hanke (who has done both creatine and andro, with little effect, if any)
   61. dave h Posted: July 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4503642)
Zero. I did an embarrassing amount of research.

I am the biggest idiot ever.


Well worth the time! It really takes a lot to make that post - you have to have tina's post for the original form, but then also to come up with the replacements is a significant undertaking. Lots of great details.
   62. TomH Posted: July 25, 2013 at 11:12 AM (#4503698)
You could play with sillyball numbers all day.

NL MVP vote, 2000
The (non-playoff) Astros had Moises Alou and Richard Hidalgo both receive total of 2 MVP points. Alou hit .355, OPS over 1000, drove in 114. Hidalgo went .314, 44, 122.

The LOWEST OPS of any batter who received MVP consideraiton was Andruw Jones, barely over 900.

The (non-playof) Marlins had Antonio Alfonseca receive 1 MVP point. He pitched 70 innings, allowed 82 hits, a 2-1 KO-to-walk ratio, ERA over 4.

   63. Baldrick Posted: July 25, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4503724)
The really big fights of 2001/2002 were the Backlasher, pre-Moneyball Moneyball fights, and so forth.

I'm sure there were steroid conversations, but the real development of that stuff was definitely in 2003.
   64. SoSH U at work Posted: July 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4503735)
The really big fights of 2001/2002 were the Backlasher, pre-Moneyball Moneyball fights, and so forth.


The topic I remember dominating conversation in 01-02 was the labor negotiations (Economically Illiterate #######, anyone).
   65. McCoy Posted: July 25, 2013 at 12:33 PM (#4503787)
In 2001 BPrimer was in its infancy. Posters were amazed if a single thread got more than 50 posts. Nothing really dominated BPrimer in 2001 because BPrimer just didn't get a lot of traffic. In January of 2003 we got the PETCO thread and Primer was never the same after that.
   66. Ron J2 Posted: July 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4503810)
I though I'd check year by year in case Walt's hypothesis (that it's the Ks) is kind of a case of (purely accidental -- Walt's clearly working from the author's premise) multiple endpoint.

Went back to 1988. Have only finished the AL -- my preference for the same reason Walt gave. Also eliminated pitcher's hitting.

BAOC = Hits/ (At Bats + Sac flies - strikeouts)
ISOC = (Total bases - hits) / (At Bats + Sac flies - strikeouts)
HRR = (At Bats + Sac flies - strikeouts) / Home runs

YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1988 .285 .306 .155 34.4
1989 .288 .307 .145 38.1
1990 .287 .307 .152 36.1
1991 .288 .309 .160 33.5
1992 .285 .305 .148 37.0 


YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1993 .294 .316 .168 31.5 


Something of a bridge year

YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1994  .299 .326 .193 26.0
1995  .298 .324 .188 26.8
1996  .304 .333 .202 24.0
1997  .302 .329 .192 25.9
1998  .302 .329 .195 25.8
1999  .302 .331 .199 24.6
2000  .303 .332 .202 24.2
2001  .297 .324 .196 25.6
2002  .292 .319 .195 26.0
2003  .294 .321 .193 26.0
2004  .300 .328 .198 24.9
2005  .296 .322 .189 26.7
2006  .305 .332 .196 25.5
2007  .305 .330 .186 28.5
2008  .302 .327 .186 28.1
2009  .300 .329 .199 24.7
2010  .296 .320 .181 28.4
2011  .294 .320 .186 27.5
2012  .293 .322 .197 24.5
2013  .296 .324 .192 25.6
AVE   .299 .326 .193 26.0 


AVE is the average 1994-2013

Standard deviation is .004 for BABIP and BAOC, .006 ISOC and 1.4 for HRR

Note that this pretty much supports Walt's hypothesis. At least for the AL, the primary thing driving changes in offensive rates from 1994 on is strikeouts.

   67. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: July 25, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4503933)
In 2001 BPrimer was in its infancy. Posters were amazed if a single thread got more than 50 posts. Nothing really dominated BPrimer in 2001 because BPrimer just didn't get a lot of traffic. In January of 2003 we got the PETCO thread and Primer was never the same after that.

I think that Giambi-Mabry was the turning point for threads. Giambi-Mabry was Ruth (sea change in the way things work) while PETCO was Aaron (ended up with the record).

Point still stands, though, since Giambi-Mabry was in May, 2002.
   68. McCoy Posted: July 25, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4503940)
The Mabry trade really crystallized the Billy Beane debate on Primer and made the next year or so a debate about what would later be called Moneyball. The PETCO thread was the thread that blew open the doors for all the off topic threads to come afterwards.
   69. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: July 25, 2013 at 03:28 PM (#4504030)
Sure, for off topic that makes sense. But Primer threads were never more than 50 posts before Giambi-Mabry. That one changed the dynamic.
   70. Bitter Mouse Posted: July 25, 2013 at 03:51 PM (#4504078)
PETCO was Aaron (ended up with the record)


The original NBA OT thread is (I believe) the longest the site has seen and it was forced closed just due to size. It was so large it was impacting the servers trying to deal with it (according to what I heard).

That said I have no idea regarding relative history of threads and BBTF. My memory doesn't work that way at all.
   71. McCoy Posted: July 25, 2013 at 03:57 PM (#4504085)
Sure, for off topic that makes sense. But Primer threads were never more than 50 posts before Giambi-Mabry. That one changed the dynamic.

I think for the most part threads weren't long after Mabry either nor PETCO. Registration and Bush Wars, DIP wars, and the Moneyball wars was what created the long threads or to boil it down to its most purest form, Retardo, Backlasher, Kevin, Dial, and David were what made long threads possible.
   72. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4504134)
I think that Giambi-Mabry was the turning point for threads. Giambi-Mabry was Ruth (sea change in the way things work) while PETCO was Aaron (ended up with the record).


For the Neyer boarder ex-pats. re:Your stupidity
   73. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4504195)
For the Neyer boarder ex-pats. re:Your stupidity
Oh good Lord. I forgot about that thread.
   74. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 25, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4504203)
Oh good Lord. I forgot about that thread.


That's unpossible!
   75. Srul Itza Posted: July 25, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4504213)
Are there many of us still here?
   76. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2013 at 05:59 PM (#4504220)
Note that this pretty much supports Walt's hypothesis. At least for the AL, the primary thing driving changes in offensive rates from 1994 on is strikeouts.

Change in BABIP seems to be another; that shouldn't be affected by strikeouts, right? An additional 12 points of BABIP (in your sample) is 3x the standard deviation.

I think the cause underlies strikeouts even further. It's harder swings. That leads both to higher K rate and to higher line drive (LD) rate. Higher LD rate leads to higher BABIP.
   77. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2013 at 06:03 PM (#4504229)
#66: Wow, even more stable than I expected. Obviously it was a different world before 94. (For the record, I did not adjust for sac flies in my numbers.)

Having kids means a lot less time for sitting at a computer running queries while posting.

You should have your kids taken away then!
   78. villageidiom Posted: July 25, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4504234)
Are there many of us still here?
You, me, Misirlou (as ducksnort), Shredder, cardsfanboy... Wait, why not check Wiki Gonzalez?
   79. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 25, 2013 at 06:32 PM (#4504249)
You, me, Misirlou (as ducksnort), Shredder, cardsfanboy... Wait, why not check Wiki Gonzalez?


I'm a refugee, though I was more of an "and the rest" type character over there.

   80. smileyy Posted: July 25, 2013 at 06:36 PM (#4504252)
I read the Neyer boards, and posted occasionally, but I don't think I was famous.
   81. Walt Davis Posted: July 25, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4504347)
Change in BABIP seems to be another; that shouldn't be affected by strikeouts, right? An additional 12 points of BABIP (in your sample) is 3x the standard deviation.

Huh? Are you referring to pre-94 and post-94? Anyway, yes, big changes there. But Ron was referencing 94 on. Or are you noting the difference in BABIP between high and low years in that period ... possibly something going on but not out of line enough I don't think to suspect so.

I think the cause underlies strikeouts even further. It's harder swings. That leads both to higher K rate and to higher line drive (LD) rate. Higher LD rate leads to higher BABIP.

Again there's no doubt batters swing harder from 94 on -- it's weird that the demarcation is so clear. I'm not sure why harder swings would lead to more LD though. Harder swings should be wilder swings and less likely to make solid contact even when making contact. Possibly any change in LD rate is a function of more flyballs (or rather much less "get the bat on it and put it on the ground" philosophy).

Or, any jump in LD% is a drop in the denominator -- more selective batters should hit about as many line drives but have fewer BIP. (i.e. the hacker will mostly kill the meatballs too, the difference is that they are less likely to wait for the meatball pitch).

I don't mean to suggest that "the only difference is the strikeouts." I mean to suggest that if you want to explain offensive changes over the last nearly 10 years, about the only thing you need to explain is why strikeouts have gone up. It's even possible that is due to getting roids out of the game -- in order to have the same success on-contact, the roidless have to swing even harder and/or be even more selective. Or it's just the strike zone got bigger (although that should result in lower walk rates and I don't think we're seeing big changes there). Or batters need to swing even harder to crush a deadened ball.

   82. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 25, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4504395)
You, me, Misirlou (as ducksnort), Shredder, cardsfanboy... Wait, why not check Wiki Gonzalez?


There's also Scoriano Flitcraft, who was mrslapmeat. Whether it's Mr. Slapmeat or Mrs. Lapmeat is up to the reader.

edit: and bunyon of course. didn't mean to leave him out, but he was mentioned in the wiki link. Slappy not so much.
   83. Ron J2 Posted: July 26, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4504600)
#77 And here's the NL. Not quite as clearly, "It's the strikeouts"

The NL Home run rate peaks in the 2001 season -- which happen to be the year featured in the article. Home run rates since 2005 look more like the late 90s in the NL.

Some pretty important park issues in play though. The humidor was introduced in 2002 for instance. Worth digging further I think.

YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1988 .283 .300 .140 41.3
1989 .281 .299 .147 38.8
1990 .290 .310 .156 35.0
1991 .285 .305 .152 36.6
1992 .289 .306 .144 41.8 


YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1993 .294 .316 .168 31.5 


YEAR BABIP BAOC ISOC HRR
1994 .304 .328 .186 28.3
1995 .303 .327 .182 28.3
1996 .301 .326 .184 27.5
1997 .304 .329 .187 27.9
1998 .301 .327 .189 27.0
1999 .304 .333 .203 24.2
2000 .301 .331 .210 23.2
2001 .299 .329 .210 23.2
2002 .296 .323 .191 26.6
2003 .298 .325 .196 25.7
2004 .298 .327 .203 24.4
2005 .299 .325 .193 26.8
2006 .302 .331 .206 24.6
2007 .304 .331 .198 26.1
2008 .301 .328 .195 26.4
2009 .302 .328 .193 27.4
2010 .302 .327 .188 27.8
2011 .303 .327 .182 29.3
2012 .303 .329 .193 27.3
2013 .299 .324 .184 28.3
AVE  .301 .328 .194 26.5
STDV .002 .003 .009 1.8 
   84. Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey) Posted: July 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4504621)
For the Neyer boarder ex-pats. re:Your stupidity


I don't remember this one, but, can never forget the "Steak is worse for you than steroids" thread. Good times.
   85. Jay Z Posted: July 27, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4505428)
I don't mean to suggest that "the only difference is the strikeouts." I mean to suggest that if you want to explain offensive changes over the last nearly 10 years, about the only thing you need to explain is why strikeouts have gone up. It's even possible that is due to getting roids out of the game -- in order to have the same success on-contact, the roidless have to swing even harder and/or be even more selective. Or it's just the strike zone got bigger (although that should result in lower walk rates and I don't think we're seeing big changes there). Or batters need to swing even harder to crush a deadened ball.


The problem with the strikeouts narrative is it doesn't track to what happened to the top players. Sosa and McGwire struck out as much or more than today's power hitters. The difference between 1998 McGwire and what came before is that everything was up. Strikeouts were up, walks were up, power was up, batting average was up. So looking at the top players I can't really say that nobody hits 60 HR any more because everyone strikes out too much. That clearly isn't happening.
   86. bfan Posted: July 27, 2013 at 05:56 PM (#4505470)
Watching these 1-0; 2-0; 2-1 games today makes me miss the freak show of 2001. There is nothing like watching a 5' 9" lifetime .640 OPS hitter flail helplessly at a 95 mph fast-ball with runners in scoring position, because he is fast. I understand I am in the minority, but there is nothing exciting to me about little left-handed batters ground the ball to the left side of the infield and hope they have hit it softly/weakly enough to beat the throw to 1B. If i want to watch that, I will turn on college women's softball. I miss Garry Sheffield; hit it hard, and play the OF with adventure.

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