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Monday, December 31, 2012

Posnanski: Give Them Their Due

Let’s begin by celebrating 15 players who I predict are making their one and only appearance on the [Hall of Fame] ballot.

I was always strangely fascinated by the fact that Jeff Conine was a world-class racquetball player. That’s how he was always described, too, as “world class.” Conine was a good big-league player who hit as high as .319, hit as many as 26 homers, drove in 105 RBIs one year, but it was this world-class racquetball thing that blew my mind. As good a baseball player as he was, it seemed a waste to me that he wasn’t able to take his place as one of the world’s elite racquetball players.

Since he stopped playing baseball, Conine has apparently begun competing in triathlons and Ironman competitions. He’s really an extraordinary athlete.

I will always remember fondly how Roberto Hernandez handled failure… He would be sitting and waiting by his locker when the reporters came in. He’d have a cup of beer by his stool. And he would be ready to answer every question. No, I didn’t have it tonight. Yes, I take the blame for this loss. No, I don’t think we will let it carry over. Yes, I feel like I let my teammates down. Then, he would wait until all the questions were answered, take his beer, and prepare his mind for tomorrow. It was the best attitude I ever came across in sports.

What’s interesting about [Mike] Stanton is that he pitched forever as a lefty specialist and he really wasn’t all that good against left-handed hitters. I mean he was only slightly better against lefties than righties… Stanton was actually quite miserable in his one-out appearances. He went 6-18 with an 11.70 ERA, gave up 159 hits in 77 2/3 innings. It is true that when the games are split up 1/3 of an inning at a time, it’s kind of hard to determine what is good or bad. I will point out that his 11.70 ERA is the highest for any pitcher with 125 or more one-out appearances.

But, hey, he made a living… He cashed more than $30 million in big league checks, which sure as heck isn’t bad for a 13th round draft pick who started one big league game in his career.

How does this guy:
.292/.355/.407, 44 stolen bases, 5 homers, 84 runs scored, 63 Ks, brilliant centerfield defense

Become this guy:
.264/..336/.525, 8 stolen bases, 34 homers, 103 RBIs, 94 Ks and, yes, brilliant centerfield defense.

Steve Finley was a shape-shifter… The three years Finley stole more than 25 bases, he hit 5, 8 and 10 home runs. The six years he hit 25-plus homers, he never stole more than 22 bases and only once did he steal more than 16.  He was one kind of player. Then, suddenly, he was another kind of player.

One way Finley was a pioneer: He was one of the first to shift to the harder (and, perhaps, easier to shatter) maple bats.

The District Attorney Posted: December 31, 2012 at 03:47 PM | 80 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: aaron sele, hall of fame, jeff cirillo, jeff conine, joe posnanski, jose mesa, mike stanton, reggie sanders, roberto hernandez, rondell white, royce clayton, ryan klesko, sandy alomar jr., shawn green, steve finley, todd walker, woody williams

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:38 PM (#4335568)
Steve Finley was a shape-shifter… The three years Finley stole more than 25 bases, he hit 5, 8 and 10 home runs. The six years he hit 25-plus homers, he never stole more than 22 bases and only once did he steal more than 16. He was one kind of player. Then, suddenly, he was another kind of player.


I can't pinpoint why, but Finley's OPS+ wasn't actually better in his good seasons in his 30s -- with all the home runs and extra walks -- than it was at ages 26 and 27. Except for age 31 (136 OPS+).

Some combination of park effects, increased offensive era I would imagine. It's strange, though.

Finley did change the shape of his offense in his 30s, like Dwight Evans and Luis Gonzalez to name two, but unlike those two he didn't actually get much better offensively in his 30s.

One of my favorite players, anyway.
   2. dlf Posted: December 31, 2012 at 05:47 PM (#4335575)
I really like the way Pos uses the ballot as an excuse to write a short, positive note about each players' career. I dislike how so much of the discussion has turned to a simple yes / no question on whether a particular player belongs and reducing that to WAR, OPS, ERA+ or whatever. I enjoy remembering Ryan Klesko or Mike Stanton regardless of whether the career of either is even a fraction as good as it would take to be deserving of the HOF. Pos does this really well. And while the writting can be somewhat spotty at times, I also really enjoy the SABR bio-project and think Mark Armour and his team is doing great work reminding me of players' history, mannerisms, and the ways they impacted the game or our watching enjoyment.
   3. escabeche Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4335583)
I'm worried about Lofton being one and out. I haven't seen him mentioned on a single ballot yet.
   4. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4335585)
Royce Clayton was also Jim Morris's first MLB batter faced, and first K.
   5. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4335588)
Roberto Hernandez, aka Kool-Aid.

This guy was awesome for the Mets. He was just nails for them in 2005 and he did well when they re-acquired him in 2006. Fond memories of him.
   6. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:25 PM (#4335592)
Roberto Hernandez is the answer to my favorite baseball trivia question: What major league player with at least 1000 games played has highest lifetime batting average?

Hernandez was 1-for-2 in 1010 games for a .500 average.
   7. GregD Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4335601)
Great, sweet article, what Pos does best. The Hernandez description is my favorite. When I was seven, my dad said his favorite player, improbably, was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar because he had seen over the years Kareem make a number of really awful plays. Missed dunks or times he inexplicably fell down, and yet he ran down the court after those plays with the same expression as when he had just made one of his beautiful skyhooks. The Hernandez description reminds me of that way of defining how a man (or really an adult) should try to process his successes and his failures.
   8. GregD Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:45 PM (#4335603)
I do think he's a little tough in his ranking of guys who played a long time. He calls Sandy Alomar "roughly" the 100th best catcher in baseball history, but Sandy is 49th all-time in games caught, almost 300 games ahead of Jody Davis at #100. Given how hard it is to find a catcher, I would give a lot of weight to playing time. I would guess Sandy as top 50-60 ever.

Similarly with Royce Clayton, whom he calls maybe top 100 maybe top 150 in shortstops. But Royce Clayton is 16th all time in games played at short stop. Surely he isn't #16 or even #32 all-time, but having a guy you can send out there has a big value at shortstop even if you'd prefer that he could hit better.
   9. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:47 PM (#4335605)
Nice to see a write-up for Steve Finley, who I had the chance to watch while he played at Southern Illinois. Go Salukis!
   10. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 31, 2012 at 06:59 PM (#4335610)
Roberto Hernandez is the answer to my favorite baseball trivia question: What major league player with at least 1000 games played has highest lifetime batting average?

Hernandez was 1-for-2 in 1010 games for a .500 average.


Aha! Brilliant.

Esteban Yan's 3.500 OPS in 472 games is pretty impressive too. (2-for-2, 1 home run)
   11. RJ in TO Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:03 PM (#4335612)
Royce Clayton was also Jim Morris's first MLB batter faced, and first K.

Royce Clayton, when he was briefly with the Jays, also had the worst walk-up music in history.
   12. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:09 PM (#4335615)
Indeed, 'tis quite the mystery how Steve Finley (and Luis Gonzalez) spiked their home run totals in the mid to late 90s.

How quaint.
   13. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4335618)
Royce Clayton was also Jim Morris's first MLB batter faced, and first K.

Royce Clayton, when he was briefly with the Jays, also had the worst walk-up music in history.


Royce Clayton is married to a British sprinter who ran for GB in the 2000 Olympics, so I always rooted for him because of that.
   14. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:24 PM (#4335624)
Indeed, 'tis quite the mystery how Steve Finley (and Luis Gonzalez) spiked their home run totals in the mid to late 90s.

How quaint.


Dwight Evans spiked his home run totals in the 80s.

Was he on steroids too?
   15. asinwreck Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:32 PM (#4335627)
He's right about Hernandez. Back in 1994, the White Sox (who were battling the Indians for first place before we knew there wouldn't be a postseason) had managed a one-run lead in the 12th inning against the Royals. Hernandez came in, promptly gave up a couple of hits and then served up a meatball to Bob Hamelin. It was so ugly, I felt bad for him, but the interview at his locker went pretty much the way Posnanski describes.

The Sox did shake it off, leading the Indians when the lockout came. Hernandez would be a dependable closer for the Sox until the White Flag trade, and he was dominant in 1996. Not a Hall of Famer, but a fine pitcher.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4335628)
Dwight Evans spiked his home run totals in the 80s.

Was he on steroids too?


Evans is not really comparable. His HR totals in his late 20's were suppressed by injury.

If we look at HR/162 G's in age increments (using B-Ref) we get:

Dwight Evans - age 21-25 18HR/162, 26-30 27/162, 31-35 31/162, 36+ 19/162
Steve Finley - 21-25 4/162 (small sample), 26-30 10/162, 31-35 30/162, 36+ 21/162
Luis Gonzalez - 21-25 15/162, 26-30 17/162, 31-35 35/162, 36+ 19/162

Evans moved forward incrementally after his peak, Finley and Gonzalez exploded.
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:39 PM (#4335629)
Dwight Evans spiked his home run totals in the 80s.

Was he on steroids too?


Must have been. It's the most reasonable argument I've heard why he's not in the HOF and Jim Rice is.

But seriously, if Dewey Evans HR path (peak of 24 before 30, 34 after 30), looks similar to Finley (11, 36) or Gonzalez (15, 57(!)) you need to have your eyes checked. Evans is normal bulking up with age, the others are bulking up through chemistry.
   18. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 31, 2012 at 07:57 PM (#4335635)
Finley was also one of the first guys to get seriously into core strengthening using light weights and those 2+ foot diameter swiss balls. He, supposedly, never used big weights, never more than 20 lb dumbells. Not the way steroid users go about things. It might not fit one's predisposition to immediately try to cram things into the "Aha! Steroids!" template but there it is.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: December 31, 2012 at 08:13 PM (#4335640)
Also Steve Finley never really bulked up that much. He was still pretty lithe when he was jacking the ball out of the park. And he was still a strong defensive centerfielder when he was 39, arguably even into his 40s, which is really impressive.
   20. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:10 PM (#4335682)
Didn't Finley and Gonzalez start to hit for real power after Creatine became popular?

Creatine supplements are athletic aids used to increase high-intensity athletic performance. Researchers have known of the use of creatine as an energy source by skeletal muscles since the beginning of the 20th century. They were popularized as a performance-enhancing supplement in 1992.


Do guys ever suspected of steroids say'no, it was Creatine'? You'd think they would, whether they took it or not.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:21 PM (#4335686)

"Roberto Hernandez is the answer to my favorite baseball trivia question: What major league player with at least 1000 games played has highest lifetime batting average?"

Who was the last player to bat .400 or better in a season while spending an entire season as an active player on a 25-man roster? No injury issue here - but Ted Williams is not the answer, either...


   22. Srul Itza Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:35 PM (#4335692)
Dwight Evans spiked his home run totals in the 80s.

Was he on steroids too?


Ah, but there's a difference. Finley did not just spike his home run totals -- "Steve Finley was a shape-shifter"

Now, unless we're dealing with changelings or skrulls, I think we know exactly what he meant.

wink-wink, nudge-nudge, saynomore, knowwhatI mean.
   23. jobu Posted: December 31, 2012 at 10:59 PM (#4335704)
Do guys ever suspected of steroids say'no, it was Creatine'? You'd think they would, whether they took it or not.

Finley's one-time teammate Brady Anderson was a major creatine user. According to him.
   24. Walt Davis Posted: December 31, 2012 at 11:28 PM (#4335712)
Indeed, 'tis quite the mystery how Steve Finley (and Luis Gonzalez) spiked their home run totals in the mid to late 90s.

Maybe he had a chat with Dwayne Murphy.

Do guys ever suspected of steroids say'no, it was Creatine'?

When the McGwire andro thing broke, Sosa said he didn't use andro but did use creatine. I'd pretty much assume every hitter was using creatine -- still legal right?

   25. Barnaby Jones Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4335724)
In his first 2500 PA, Roberto Clemente averaged 5 HR per 162 G. But at the ages of 31 and 32, he was in the top 10 in the league in homers. Could the answer be more clear?

Ben Oglivie through age 29: 18 HR per 162. Ages 30-33: 35, going as high as 41. Too obvious.
   26. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:26 AM (#4335736)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, (requiring year_max=2007 and year_min<=1998), sorted by greatest Games Played

                                                                                                                           
Rk              Player    G   To From From   To   Age    PA   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS        Pos                              Tm
1          Barry Bonds 2986 2007 1986 1986 2007 21-42 12606 .298 .444 .607 1.051     *78/D9                         PIT-SFG
2         Craig Biggio 2850 2007 1988 1988 2007 22-41 12504 .281 .363 .433  .796   *4287/D9                             HOU
3         Steve Finley 2583 2007 1989 1989 2007 24-42 10460 .271 .332 .442  .775    *89/7D1 BAL-HOU-SDP-ARI-TOT-LAA-SFG-COL
4         Julio Franco 2527 2007 1982 1982 2007 23-48  9731 .298 .365 .417  .782   643D/579 PHI-CLE-TEX-CHW-TOT-TBD-ATL-NYM
5           Sammy Sosa 2354 2007 1989 1989 2007 20-38  9896 .273 .344 .534  .878     *98D/7             TOT-CHW-CHC-BAL-TEX
6        Royce Clayton 2108 2007 1991 1991 2007 21-37  8164 .258 .312 .367  .679      *6/5D SFG-STL-TEX-CHW-MIL-COL-ARI-TOT
7         Kenny Lofton 2103 2007 1991 1991 2007 24-40  9235 .299 .372 .423  .794     *8/7D9     HOU-ATL-CLE-TOT-NYY-PHI-LAD
8          Jeff Conine 2024 2007 1990 1990 2007 24-41  7782 .285 .347 .443  .789     379/D5                 KCR-FLA-BAL-TOT
9          Shawn Green 1951 2007 1993 1993 2007 20-34  7963 .283 .355 .494  .850    *93/87D             TOR-LAD-ARI-TOT-NYM
10         Mike Piazza 1912 2007 1992 1992 2007 23-38  7745 .308 .377 .545  .922      *2D/3             LAD-TOT-NYM-SDP-OAK
11      Reggie Sanders 1777 2007 1991 1991 2007 23-39  7043 .267 .343 .487  .830     *978/D CIN-SDP-ATL-ARI-SFG-PIT-STL-KCR
12         Ryan Klesko 1736 2007 1992 1992 2007 21-36  6523 .279 .370 .500  .870      73/9D                     ATL-SDP-SFG
13       Jose Valentin 1678 2007 1992 1992 2007 22-37  6317 .243 .321 .448  .769 *654/78D93                 MIL-CHW-LAD-NYM
14        Jeff Cirillo 1617 2007 1994 1994 2007 24-37  6136 .296 .366 .430  .796  *5/34D671             COL-SEA-SDP-MIL-TOT
15       Rondell White 1474 2007 1993 1993 2007 21-35  5852 .284 .336 .462  .799       *78D         MON-TOT-CHC-NYY-DET-MIN
16         Neifi Perez 1403 2007 1996 1996 2007 23-34  5510 .267 .297 .375  .672    *64/52D         COL-TOT-KCR-SFG-CHC-DET
17        Sandy Alomar 1377 2007 1988 1988 2007 22-41  4865 .273 .309 .406  .716      *2/D3         SDP-CLE-CHW-TOT-TEX-NYM
18          John Mabry 1322 2007 1994 1994 2007 23-36  3765 .263 .322 .405  .727   3975/D81             TOT-SEA-STL-CHC-COL
19        Tony Batista 1309 2007 1996 1996 2007 22-33  4959 .251 .299 .453  .752    *56/4D3 OAK-ARI-TOT-TOR-BAL-MON-MIN-WSN
20         Todd Walker 1288 2007 1996 1996 2007 23-34  5055 .289 .348 .435  .783   *4/53D76         MIN-TOT-CIN-BOS-CHC-OAK
21       Scott Spiezio 1274 2007 1996 1996 2007 23-34  4413 .255 .329 .419  .747   345/D791                 OAK-ANA-SEA-STL
22    Juan Encarnacion 1259 2007 1997 1997 2007 21-31  5095 .270 .317 .441  .758     *987/D                 DET-TOT-FLA-STL
23     Mike Lieberthal 1212 2007 1994 1994 2007 22-35  4695 .274 .337 .446  .783       *2/D                         PHI-LAD
24    Orlando Palmeiro 1206 2007 1995 1995 2007 26-38  2706 .274 .351 .350  .701      798/D                 CAL-ANA-STL-HOU
25        Mike Stanton 1178 2007 1989 1989 2007 22-40    26 .333 .360 .375  .735         *1             ATL-TOT-NYY-NYM-CIN
Rk              Player    G   To From From   To   Age    PA   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS        Pos                              Tm
26      Preston Wilson 1108 2007 1998 1998 2007 23-32  4436 .264 .329 .468  .797      *87/9                 TOT-FLA-COL-STL
27           Jose Mesa 1023 2007 1987 1987 2007 21-41     4 .000 .333 .000  .333         *1     BAL-TOT-CLE-SEA-PHI-PIT-COL
28   Roberto Hernandez 1010 2007 1991 1991 2007 26-42     2 .500 .500 .500 1.000         *1     CHW-TOT-TBD-KCR-ATL-PHI-NYM
29       Damian Miller  989 2007 1997 1997 2007 27-37  3558 .262 .329 .411  .740     *2/D39             MIN-ARI-CHC-OAK-MIL
30       Desi Relaford  939 2007 1996 1996 2007 22-33  3347 .243 .319 .347  .666  645/798D1     PHI-TOT-NYM-SEA-KCR-COL-TEX
31          Mike Myers  883 2007 1995 1995 2007 26-38     2 .000 .000 .000  .000         *1     TOT-DET-MIL-COL-ARI-BOS-NYY
32         Ricky Ledee  855 2007 1998 1998 2007 24-33  2307 .243 .325 .412  .737      798/D         NYY-TOT-TEX-PHI-LAD-NYM
33         Robert Fick  846 2007 1998 1998 2007 24-33  2658 .258 .328 .405  .732    392/D75             DET-ATL-TOT-SDP-WSN
34         Bob Wickman  835 2007 1992 1992 2007 23-38     2 .000 .000 .000  .000         *1                 NYY-MIL-TOT-CLE
35         Steve Kline  796 2007 1997 1997 2007 24-34    18 .143 .143 .214  .357         *1             TOT-MON-STL-BAL-SFG
36      Kelly Stinnett  734 2007 1994 1994 2007 24-37  2290 .234 .313 .379  .692       *2/D     NYM-MIL-ARI-CIN-TOT-KCR-STL
37        Olmedo Saenz  733 2007 1994 1994 2007 23-36  1893 .263 .340 .465  .805        35D                     CHW-OAK-LAD
38       Mark Bellhorn  731 2007 1997 1997 2007 22-32  2491 .230 .341 .394  .735  45/36D987         OAK-CHC-TOT-BOS-SDP-CIN
39       Roger Clemens  709 2007 1984 1984 2007 21-44   213 .173 .236 .207  .443         *1                 BOS-TOR-NYY-HOU
40       Rheal Cormier  683 2007 1991 1991 2007 24-40   228 .188 .212 .219  .431         *1         STL-BOS-MON-PHI-TOT-CIN
41         David Wells  660 2007 1987 1987 2007 24-44   200 .129 .148 .140  .289         *1 TOR-DET-BAL-CHW-NYY-SDP-BOS-TOT
42     Hector Carrasco  647 2007 1994 1994 2007 24-37    28 .038 .038 .038  .077         *1         CIN-TOT-MIN-BAL-WSN-LAA
43          Rick White  615 2007 1994 1994 2007 25-38    46 .093 .114 .116  .230         *1             TBD-TOT-NYM-CLE-PIT
44   Antonio Alfonseca  592 2007 1997 1997 2007 25-35    15 .143 .143 .143  .286         *1             FLA-CHC-ATL-TEX-PHI
45      Curt Schilling  571 2007 1988 1988 2007 21-40   901 .151 .178 .171  .348         *1         BAL-HOU-PHI-TOT-ARI-BOS
46      Doug Mirabelli  566 2007 1996 1996 2007 25-36  1655 .231 .317 .407  .724      *2/D3                     SFG-TOT-BOS
47          Paul Shuey  476 2007 1994 1994 2007 23-36     7 .143 .143 .143  .286         *1                 CLE-TOT-LAD-BAL
48      Woody Williams  443 2007 1993 1993 2007 26-40   617 .194 .222 .267  .489         *1             TOR-SDP-TOT-STL-HOU
49    Alberto Castillo  418 2007 1995 1995 2007 25-37  1173 .220 .293 .297  .590       *2/D NYM-STL-TOR-NYY-SFG-KCR-TOT-BAL
50       Donnie Sadler  418 2007 1998 1998 2007 23-32   861 .202 .262 .284  .546   4/65879D                 BOS-TOT-TEX-ARI
Rk              Player    G   To From From   To   Age    PA   BA  OBP  SLG   OPS        Pos                              Tm
51        Jay Witasick  405 2007 1996 1996 2007 23-34    45 .071 .093 .071  .164         *1             KCR-TOT-SFG-SDP-OAK
52          Aaron Sele  404 2007 1993 1993 2007 23-37    73 .155 .197 .190  .386         *1         BOS-TEX-SEA-ANA-LAD-NYM
53          Tom Martin  376 2007 1997 1997 2007 27-37    13 .000 .000 .000  .000         *1 HOU-CLE-NYM-TBD-LAD-TOT-ATL-COL
54         John Wasdin  328 2007 1995 1995 2007 22-34    21 .158 .200 .211  .411         *1         OAK-BOS-TOT-TOR-TEX-PIT
55           Dee Brown  271 2007 1998 1998 2007 20-29   874 .233 .280 .333  .613     *7/D98                         KCR-OAK
56       Todd Williams  227 2007 1995 1995 2007 24-36     4 .250 .250 .250  .500         *1             LAD-CIN-SEA-NYY-BAL
57        Jaret Wright  227 2007 1997 1997 2007 21-31    92 .141 .171 .205  .376         *1             CLE-TOT-ATL-NYY-BAL
58   Orlando Hernandez  220 2007 1998 1998 2007 32-41   132 .155 .162 .198  .361         *1                 NYY-CHW-TOT-NYM
59        John Thomson  216 2007 1997 1997 2007 23-33   381 .198 .225 .223  .448         *1             COL-TOT-TEX-ATL-KCR
60        Dan Serafini  105 2007 1996 1996 2007 22-33    51 .070 .130 .070  .200         *1             MIN-CHC-TOT-CIN-COL
61       Tim Harikkala   73 2007 1995 1995 2007 23-35     5 .250 .250 .250  .500        /*1                 SEA-BOS-COL-OAK
   27. lonestarball Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:17 AM (#4335753)
I do think he's a little tough in his ranking of guys who played a long time. He calls Sandy Alomar "roughly" the 100th best catcher in baseball history, but Sandy is 49th all-time in games caught, almost 300 games ahead of Jody Davis at #100. Given how hard it is to find a catcher, I would give a lot of weight to playing time. I would guess Sandy as top 50-60 ever.


fwiw, Alomar is 126th in bWAR among catchers, 128th in JAWS. He caught a lot of games because he was in the league until he was 41, but in his last ten years (spanning 635 games), he had a bWAR of 0.5.

By putting Alomar at 50-60 because of games played, you are giving him a boost for hanging around as a replacement level player.

Also, as Poz notes in his piece, Alomar was basically a part-time player his whole career. He had four seasons where he appeared in at least 100 games. That's it.
   28. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:03 AM (#4335758)
#1/Ray

I wonder how much of the difference in slugging percentage was due to the changing era and different ballparks. Finley started his career in Baltimore playing in Memorial Stadium, which was a slight pitcher's park at the time. He then spent four seasons playing in the Astrodome. His home runs actually might have spiked a bit in 1994 if the strike hadn't happened. In 417 PA, he hit 11 home runs, which was a new career high. Finley smacked a homer once every 93 at-bats prior to 1994. That season, he hit a homer every 33 at-bats. From 1995-98, Finley played for San Diego. As a Padre, he hit a home run every 29 at-bats. Of course, then he played for Arizona, and his AB/HR ratio took another leap forward. From 1999-2004, he knocked a home run every 19 at-bats (includes one-third of a season in Los Angeles).

His walk rates were always decent, so the biggest difference is definitely the home runs. I wonder if the combination of a changing era and team changes explain the rather similar OPS+ numbers of young Finley and old Finley.
   29. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:09 AM (#4335761)
I'm worried about Lofton being one and out. I haven't seen him mentioned on a single ballot yet.


I do not think that Lofton is one of the ten best players on the ballot. However, I do think he might be a deserving Hall of Famer, especially if we can trust his defensive numbers. (And I really want to trust his defensive numbers. He always looked really good.) He's the type of player that I would like to take a few years to evaluate. If we have more confidence in defensive metrics in five years, then I would have no problem voting for him. Taking this into consideration, would a voter be justified in leaving someone like Biggio off his ballot in favor of Lofton? The hope would be that you help to bump Lofton above five percent and pray that he stays on the ballot despite the coming bottleneck. I'd hate to stiff Biggio (or someone else), but he's clearly going to receive at least five percent and go into the Hall at some point.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:24 AM (#4335765)
Taking this into consideration, would a voter be justified in leaving someone like Biggio off his ballot in favor of Lofton?


I don't think it makes a lot of sense to leave a better player off in favor of a worse one, but I suppose the rules don't prohibit it.

To my mind, you pick your 10 best candidates, and submit your ballot. It seems wrong to leave Biggio without a chair when the music stops when you know Biggio is more qualified.
   31. tshipman Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:28 AM (#4335766)
Taking this into consideration, would a voter be justified in leaving someone like Biggio off his ballot in favor of Lofton? The hope would be that you help to bump Lofton above five percent and pray that he stays on the ballot despite the coming bottleneck. I'd hate to stiff Biggio (or someone else), but he's clearly going to receive at least five percent and go into the Hall at some point.


The flaw in this argument is that no one makes it into the HoF if they start off needing one more vote to avoid being taken off the ballot.
   32. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:48 AM (#4335769)
To my mind, you pick your 10 best candidates, and submit your ballot. It seems wrong to leave Biggio without a chair when the music stops when you know Biggio is more qualified.


I agree, but the writers have made such a mess of the situation that there are more than a dozen deserving candidates on the ballot this year. Someone, such as Kenny Lofton, could very well drop off the ballot despite being of borderline Hall of Fame quality. I guess the circumstances are so disorganized that someone is probably going to get screwed. Any attempt to prevent this outcome is probably worse than the outcome itself. Maybe we will look back on Lofton like we look back on Whitaker falling off the ballot after one vote.
   33. Graham & the 15-win "ARod Vortex of suck" Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:49 AM (#4335770)
The flaw in this argument is that no one makes it into the HoF if they start off needing one more vote to avoid being taken off the ballot.


That's true. I think some hopelessly naive, "what if?" part of me would like to see Kenny Lofton get the consideration he deserves. I need to stop caring about the Hall of Fame.
   34. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:50 AM (#4335791)
fun read

as to woody williams i will have a hard time not believing williams wasn't throwing a spitball while with the cards. the guy would get two strikes and then throw a pitch that just burrowed into the ground after years of being 'just a guy'.

i also find it amusing that williams hit more guys in far fewer innings with the cards.

throw inside more. throw a spitter. that's a classic formula that nobody in 21st century would recognize. everything old is new again at some point.
   35. Colin Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:32 AM (#4335828)
Ryan Klesko is one of my favorite players ever. Big, likable lug of a player, loved the follow-through on his home run swing, even enjoyed his adventures in the outfield. Surprisingly good baserunner. I hated it when the Braves traded him.
   36. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:54 AM (#4335833)
Woody Williams is one of the ten best pitchers to get a win against all 30 teams.

Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, Mulholland, Schilling, Moyer, Randy Johnson, Zito, Javier Vazquez, and incredibly, Vicente Padilla are the others mentioned in that link. Derek Lowe did it this year when he beat the Red Sox [twice!]. Did anyone else complete the thirtyfecta this year?
   37. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:12 PM (#4335846)
fwiw, Alomar is 126th in bWAR among catchers, 128th in JAWS. He caught a lot of games because he was in the league until he was 41, but in his last ten years (spanning 635 games), he had a bWAR of 0.5.

By putting Alomar at 50-60 because of games played, you are giving him a boost for hanging around as a replacement level player.

Also, as Poz notes in his piece, Alomar was basically a part-time player his whole career. He had four seasons where he appeared in at least 100 games. That's it.
I did not look up the bWARs so I appreciate this, and I'm not surprised that Pos is working within the ranges the stats would predict. (That's a compliment to him not snark.)

And at first base or left field, I'd have no problem heavily discounting a long-term player who was barely above replacement for 10 years.

But--this is an honest question, I don't know--are the replacement levels reliable for catcher and shortstop? Those are awfully hard positions to fill, especially catcher, and there are always people out there on rosters who are truly awful. I would guess--but I could easily be wrong--that having a catcher who's reliably not awful on your roster is actually pretty valuable, and I would guess that there aren't that many catchers in baseball history. Counting a catcher's season as 120 games catching, Alomar is two seasons ahead in games played of the #92 catcher in games player.

Baseball ref lists 306 players with negative WAR last year, 95 with -0.5 WAR or worse, and 41 with WARs at -1.0 or worse. Eight of those 41 played some shortstop, 4 played some catcher. Some of the people who played shortstop also played several other positions.

   38. escabeche Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:25 PM (#4335854)
That's true. I think some hopelessly naive, "what if?" part of me would like to see Kenny Lofton get the consideration he deserves.


Right, that's a good summation of my view too. I don't think Lofton is so good that the HoF would be compromised without him. And I don't think he's clearly one of the top 10 this year (though I think there's a case.) But he was a great player and I want there to be a real, sustained conversation about his case for the HoF, and I think that's just not going to happen.
   39. Greg K Posted: January 01, 2013 at 12:41 PM (#4335861)
One of way of looking at it is, I have Sandy Alomar as 82nd among all-time retired catchers with at least 3500 PA. Including active catchers I'd guess that would push him near 100.

80 Bo Diaz
81 Ivey Wingo
82 Sandy Alomar
83 Mike Heath
84 Al Lopez

To take a sample from the mid 50s

53 John Roseboro
54 Earl Battey
55 Paul LoDuca
56 Clay Dalrymple
57 Ernie Whitt

I'm pretty amatuer at evaluating players, so this isn't meant to prove anything. But more of a thought excerise...which group is more fitting for Alomar to belong to?
   40. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:08 PM (#4335880)
That's helpful, Greg U(K). And Lopez in the 80s illustrates the problem of taking games played too seriously even for catchers!
   41. Greg K Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:16 PM (#4335885)
I will add that I find the discussion of where Sandy Alomar belongs on the all-time list is a far more fun discussion to me than whether so-and-so belongs in the Hall of Fame. In part because it involves comparing all sorts of players from the past we might otherwise forget about, and also because it involves a discussion of how exactly we evaluate players, (and that there is no definite answer - when you get out of the top 20 or so the distinctions between players are so miniscule).
   42. GregD Posted: January 01, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4335890)
I will add that I find the discussion of where Sandy Alomar belongs on the all-time list is a far more fun discussion to me than whether so-and-so belongs in the Hall of Fame. In part because it involves comparing all sorts of players from the past we might otherwise forget about, and also because it involves a discussion of how exactly we evaluate players, (and that there is no definite answer - when you get out of the top 20 or so the distinctions between players are so miniscule).
I agree. The HOF is a binary discussion and one with arbitrary endpoints, the worst kind, and it's hard to learn more (though I've learned from the Lofton and Lou Whitaker discussions over the years.)

But figuring out whether someone like Sandy is more like Mike Heath or Ernie Whitt is a much-more open-ended question
   43. OCF Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:22 PM (#4335939)
One of my contributions to this sort of thinking in the Hall of Merit was to insist that we have a thread for Ray Lankford, even though I knew that Lankford would draw no votes for the HoM itself. But I never did get into figuring whether he'd be 50th or 80th or what among historical CF.
   44. escabeche Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4335947)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, (requiring year_max=2007 and year_min<=1998), sorted by greatest Games Played


How far down the list do you have to go before you get to somebody besides Biggio who played for only one team?
   45. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:35 PM (#4335952)
I hated it when the Braves traded him.

Sent with Bret Boone to the Padres in the Braves steroid purge trade of 1999. Worked out terribly of course. Reggie Sanders was terrible, Wally Joyner was toasty, Quilvio Veras was Quilvio Veras. The late Klesko years when he got off the juice and was basically half of his former self (Pudge style) were memorable.
   46. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4335971)
[44]

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, (requiring year_max=2007, year_min<=1998 and franch_count=1), sorted by smallest franch_count

                                                                                                                                                                
Rk             Player   To From From   To   Age    G    PA    AB    R    H  2B 3B  HR  RBI   BB IBB   SO HBP  SH SF GDP  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos  Tm
1    Craig Biggio   1 2007 1988 1988 2007 22-41 2850 12504 10876 1844 3060 668 55 291 1175 1160  68 1753 285 101 81 150 414 124 .281 .363 .433 .796 *4287/D9 HOU


Seasons/Careers found: 1.
   47. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4335986)
I spent a while figuring out what Bobm is doing here. First I thought it was saying Biggio is the only player who spent the years 1998 to 2007 with a single team, which doesn't sound right. Then I thought it was saying Biggio is the only player who spent the years 1988 to 2007 with a single team, which, yeah, that's obvious. Finally realized it's all the players whose career ENDED in 2007, and started in 1998 or earlier.

So to rephrase for those like me, the point is that Biggio is the only one-team player eligible for the HOF this year.

Also it looks like there will be no such players (who retired in 2008) eligible for the HOF next year.
   48. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:09 PM (#4335992)
Only newly eligible, yes.
   49. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4336000)
Yes. Single team players with even somewhat long careers are quite rare.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, (requiring year_max<=2009, WAR_bat>=5, franch_count=1 and year_max>=1975)

                                                                                         
Rk                  Player   To WAR/pos From   To   Age    G    PA        Pos          Tm
1         Craig Biggio   1 2007    62.1 1988 2007 22-41 2850 12504   *4287/D9         HOU
2           Tim Salmon   1 2006    37.1 1992 2006 23-37 1672  7039     *9D/78 CAL-ANA-LAA
3      Bernie Williams   1 2006    45.9 1991 2006 22-37 2076  9053     *8D/97         NYY
4         Jeff Bagwell   1 2005    76.7 1991 2005 23-37 2150  9431      *3/D9         HOU
5      Bobby Higginson   1 2005    20.2 1995 2005 24-34 1362  5664      79/D8         DET
6         Barry Larkin   1 2004    67.1 1986 2004 22-40 2180  9057      *6/4D         CIN
7       Edgar Martinez   1 2004    64.4 1987 2004 24-41 2055  8674      *D5/3         SEA
8        Marvin Benard   1 2003     7.3 1995 2003 24-32  891  2945     *897/D         SFG
9          Rusty Greer   1 2002    20.5 1994 2002 25-33 1027  4420    *79/8D3         TEX
10          Tony Gwynn   1 2001    65.3 1982 2001 22-41 2440 10232     *98/7D         SDP
11          Cal Ripken   1 2001    90.9 1981 2001 20-40 3001 12883      *65/D         BAL
12      Gary Disarcina   1 2000     9.3 1989 2000 21-32 1086  4032      *6/45     CAL-ANA
13        Dave Nilsson   1 1999     9.0 1992 1999 22-29  837  3153     23D9/7         MIL
14        Chris Hoiles   1 1998    22.1 1989 1998 24-33  894  3339     *2/D35         BAL
15        Tom Pagnozzi   1 1998     6.6 1987 1998 24-35  927  3142      *2/35         STL
16       Ron Karkovice   1 1997    13.3 1986 1997 22-33  939  2948     *2/D79         CHW
17        Tim Naehring   1 1997    11.6 1990 1997 23-30  547  2162   *5/46D37         BOS
18      Mike Greenwell   1 1996    23.7 1985 1996 21-32 1269  5166    *7/D982         BOS
19      Robby Thompson   1 1996    31.7 1986 1996 24-34 1304  5235       *4/6         SFG
20       Alan Trammell   1 1996    67.1 1977 1996 19-38 2293  9376   *6/D5478         DET
21       Don Mattingly   1 1995    39.8 1982 1995 21-34 1785  7722  *3/D97584         NYY
22       Kirby Puckett   1 1995    48.2 1984 1995 24-35 1783  7831  *89/D7456         MIN
23        Lou Whitaker   1 1995    71.4 1977 1995 20-38 2390  9967       *4/D         DET
24          Kent Hrbek   1 1994    35.7 1981 1994 21-34 1747  7137      *3D/5         MIN
25   Lance Blankenship   1 1993     6.1 1988 1993 24-29  461  1292  4/7985D36         OAK
Rk                  Player   To WAR/pos From   To   Age    G    PA        Pos          Tm
26        George Brett   1 1993    84.0 1973 1993 20-40 2707 11625   *5D3/796         KCR
27         Robin Yount   1 1993    72.4 1974 1993 18-37 2856 12249    *68D/73         MIL
28         Jim Gantner   1 1992    19.6 1976 1992 23-39 1801  6787   *45/D631         MIL
29       Mike Scioscia   1 1992    24.0 1980 1992 21-33 1441  5057         *2         LAD
30          Ron Oester   1 1990     8.8 1978 1990 22-34 1276  4666      *4/65         CIN
31         Frank White   1 1990    31.1 1973 1990 22-39 2324  8468    *46/5D9         KCR
32      Bruce Benedict   1 1989     6.1 1978 1989 22-33  982  3295         *2         ATL
33        Tim Flannery   1 1989     8.1 1979 1989 21-31  972  2838      *45/6         SDP
34            Jim Rice   1 1989    44.3 1974 1989 21-36 2089  9058     *7D/98         BOS
35        Mike Schmidt   1 1989   103.0 1972 1989 22-39 2404 10062     *53/64         PHI
36     Dave Concepcion   1 1988    36.5 1970 1988 22-40 2488  9641   *645/381         CIN
37        Bill Russell   1 1986    28.6 1969 1986 20-37 2181  8021   *69/8745         LAD
38          Rich Dauer   1 1985    12.4 1976 1985 23-32 1140  4218     *45/D3         BAL
39        John Castino   1 1984    14.2 1979 1984 24-29  666  2578   *54/67D8         MIN
40          Ron Hodges   1 1984     5.7 1973 1984 24-35  666  1683         *2         NYM
41        Johnny Bench   1 1983    72.3 1967 1983 19-35 2158  8674   *253/798         CIN
42    Carl Yastrzemski   1 1983    90.1 1961 1983 21-43 3308 13992   *73D8/59         BOS
43     Willie Stargell   1 1982    54.2 1962 1982 22-42 2360  9027     *73/98         PIT
44      Thurman Munson   1 1979    43.3 1969 1979 22-32 1423  5905   *2/D9375         NYY
45           Roy White   1 1979    43.0 1965 1979 21-35 1881  7735  *7D/89534         NYY
46      Mickey Stanley   1 1978    14.3 1964 1978 21-35 1517  5477 *8/39675D4         DET
47     Brooks Robinson   1 1977    72.7 1955 1977 18-40 2896 11782      *5/46         BAL
48        Bill Freehan   1 1976    41.3 1961 1976 19-34 1774  6900    *23/D79         DET
49          Tony Oliva   1 1976    39.7 1962 1976 23-37 1676  6880    *9D/874         MIN
50     Rico Petrocelli   1 1976    35.7 1963 1976 20-33 1553  6171     65/D43         BOS
Rk                  Player   To WAR/pos From   To   Age    G    PA        Pos          Tm
51         Gates Brown   1 1975     9.2 1963 1975 24-36 1051  2545      7D/93         DET
52          Bob Gibson   1 1975     7.8 1959 1975 23-39  597  1489         *1         STL


   50. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4336003)
Y'see, it takes an objective analysis of the data to come up with a full list like that, because the powers of human memory only stretch so far. No human could possibly have come up with both Tim Naehring and John Castino.
   51. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:24 PM (#4336010)
Less than half of the single team pitchers with 5 career WAR did not make it 10 seasons.

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2012, (requiring WAR_pitch>=5, year_max<=2009 and year_max>=1975)

                                                                                                  
Rk                  Player  WAR   To From   To   Age   G  GS   W   L W-L%  SV     IP  ERA ERA+  Tm
1         Brandon Webb   1 31.5 2009 2003 2009 24-30 199 198  87  62 .584   0 1319.2 3.27  142 ARI
2           Noah Lowry   1  8.6 2007 2003 2007 22-26 106 100  40  31 .563   0  618.1 4.03  109 SFG
3           Mark Prior   1 15.0 2006 2002 2006 21-25 106 106  42  29 .592   0  657.0 3.51  124 CHC
4           Brad Radke   1 42.6 2006 1995 2006 22-33 378 377 148 139 .516   0 2451.0 4.22  113 MIN
5       Jeff Zimmerman   1  7.2 2001 1999 2001 26-28 196   0  17  12 .586  32  228.2 3.27  151 TEX
6    Francisco Cordova   1 13.3 2000 1996 2000 24-28 166 112  42  47 .472  12  753.2 3.96  112 PIT
7          Jose Rosado   1  9.4 2000 1996 2000 21-25 125 112  37  45 .451   1  720.1 4.27  113 KCR
8         Mike Sirotka   1  8.9 2000 1995 2000 24-29 125 111  45  42 .517   0  710.1 4.31  111 CHW
9         Roger Pavlik   1  9.6 1998 1992 1998 24-30 131 125  47  39 .547   1  743.0 4.58  103 TEX
10         Bill Wegman   1 16.2 1995 1985 1995 22-32 262 216  81  90 .474   2 1482.2 4.16  102 MIL
11       Teddy Higuera   1 28.9 1994 1985 1994 27-36 213 205  94  64 .595   0 1380.0 3.61  117 MIL
12        Randy Tomlin   1  5.3 1994 1990 1994 24-28 106  94  30  31 .492   0  580.1 3.43  107 PIT
13     Mark Williamson   1  5.5 1994 1987 1994 27-34 365  15  46  35 .568  21  689.2 3.86  108 BAL
14      Allan Anderson   1  7.6 1991 1986 1991 22-27 148 128  49  54 .476   0  818.2 4.11  102 MIN
15      Scott Garrelts   1  8.7 1991 1982 1991 20-29 352  89  69  53 .566  48  959.1 3.29  108 SFG
16         Mike Norris   1  7.1 1990 1975 1990 20-35 201 157  58  59 .496   0 1124.1 3.89   96 OAK
17         Bob Stanley   1 21.6 1989 1977 1989 22-34 637  85 115  97 .542 132 1707.0 3.64  118 BOS
18          Ron Guidry   1 45.4 1988 1975 1988 24-37 368 323 170  91 .651   4 2392.0 3.29  119 NYY
19      Scott McGregor   1 17.7 1988 1976 1988 22-34 356 309 138 108 .561   5 2140.2 3.99   98 BAL
20          Mario Soto   1 24.6 1988 1977 1988 20-31 297 224 100  92 .521   4 1730.1 3.47  108 CIN
21      Dennis Leonard   1 23.3 1986 1974 1986 23-35 312 302 144 106 .576   1 2187.0 3.70  107 KCR
22         Britt Burns   1 16.8 1985 1978 1985 19-26 193 161  70  60 .538   3 1094.1 3.66  111 CHW
23           Rick Camp   1 12.3 1985 1976 1985 23-32 414  65  56  49 .533  57  942.1 3.37  115 ATL
24           Luis Leal   1  9.5 1985 1980 1985 23-28 165 151  51  58 .468   1  946.0 4.14  103 TOR
25       Steve McCatty   1  8.1 1985 1977 1985 23-31 221 161  63  63 .500   5 1188.1 3.99   95 OAK
Rk                  Player  WAR   To From   To   Age   G  GS   W   L W-L%  SV     IP  ERA ERA+  Tm
26        Steve Rogers   1 42.2 1985 1973 1985 23-35 399 393 158 152 .510   2 2837.2 3.17  116 MON
27          Jim Palmer   1 63.2 1984 1965 1984 19-38 558 521 268 152 .638   4 3948.0 2.86  125 BAL
28     Paul Splittorff   1 19.5 1984 1970 1984 23-37 429 392 166 143 .537   1 2554.2 3.81  101 KCR
29     Albert Williams   1  5.7 1984 1980 1984 26-30 120  97  35  38 .479   2  642.2 4.24   99 MIN
30   Larry Christenson   1  7.6 1983 1973 1983 19-29 243 220  83  71 .539   4 1402.2 3.79   99 PHI
31        Jerry Garvin   1  6.5 1982 1977 1982 21-26 196  65  20  41 .328   8  606.0 4.43   94 TOR
32   Francisco Barrios   1  7.6 1981 1974 1981 21-28 129 102  38  38 .500   3  718.0 4.15   95 CHW
33         Steve Busby   1 15.1 1980 1972 1980 22-30 167 150  70  54 .565   0 1060.2 3.72  105 KCR
34        Mark Fidrych   1 10.8 1980 1976 1980 21-25  58  56  29  19 .604   0  412.1 3.10  126 DET
35         John Hiller   1 29.6 1980 1965 1980 22-37 545  43  87  76 .534 125 1242.0 2.83  134 DET
36        J.R. Richard   1 19.9 1980 1971 1980 21-30 238 221 107  71 .601   0 1606.0 3.15  108 HOU
37         Bob Apodaca   1  5.0 1977 1973 1977 23-27 184  11  16  25 .390  26  361.1 2.86  123 NYM
38        Bart Johnson   1  8.2 1977 1969 1977 19-27 185  97  43  51 .457  17  809.1 3.94   96 CHW
39           Bob Moose   1  6.1 1976 1967 1976 19-28 289 160  76  71 .517  19 1303.2 3.50   99 PIT
40          Bob Gibson   1 77.5 1975 1959 1975 23-39 528 482 251 174 .591   6 3884.1 2.91  127 STL
   52. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4336019)
That list is amazing. Since Bob Stanley in 1989, the only pitcher who has retired as a well-known one-team man is Brad Radke. Everyone else had their careers cut short by injury and most of them joined other teams before being deemed fully unable to pitch. (e.g. Sirotka traded to Toronto, Teddy Higuera with the 1995 Padres)
   53. zachtoma Posted: January 01, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4336095)
Sent with Bret Boone to the Padres in the Braves steroid purge trade of 1999. Worked out terribly of course. Reggie Sanders was terrible, Wally Joyner was toasty, Quilvio Veras was Quilvio Veras. The late Klesko years when he got off the juice and was basically half of his former self (Pudge style) were memorable.


What's the basis for calling this the "steroid purge" trade? And didn't the Braves pick up Ken f'n Caminiti just a couple years later?
   54. Swoboda is freedom Posted: January 01, 2013 at 05:49 PM (#4336208)
Royce Clayton, when he was briefly with the Jays, also had the worst walk-up music in history.

What was it? He should have used Car Wash, by Rose Royce.
   55. bobm Posted: January 01, 2013 at 06:31 PM (#4336254)
Royce Clayton has taken his talents to the walkup music industry now. From LinkedIn:


Royce Clayton

Ceo at Balltunes
Greater Los Angeles Area
Entertainment [...]

BACKGROUND

SUMMARY

Balltunes looks to become the industry leader in bridging the gap between sports and entertainment. Through our unique positioning and license with MLBPA, Major League Baseball Player's Association. We create new content via a music platform to generate and expand brand awareness and growth for both the player and artist.

Our business philosophy is to bring real interaction with athletes and celebrities in rich media experiences that will drive continued revenue growth and expansion opportunities.

Specialties: Branding and Marketing

EXPERIENCE

Ceo

Balltunes

February 2010 – Present (3 years)In charge of Balltunes player relations and recruitment for all MLB players.

CEO

Global Genius

March 2007 – November 2009 (2 years 9 months)

Partner

M&M Clayton

January 2006 – April 2008 (2 years 4 months)

EDUCATION

Cal State Northridge

1989 – 1991

St. Bernard's High School, signed letter of intent to attend USC

1988 – 1988
   56. Walt Davis Posted: January 01, 2013 at 06:46 PM (#4336269)
Ben Oglivie through age 29: 18 HR per 162. Ages 30-33: 35, going as high as 41. Too obvious.

Well, if there was one team I'd throw baseless random roid early adopter accusations at, those Brewers teams make a good target -- Deer, Thomas, Oglivie, Hisle, Molitor (druggie!). Plus the Brewers are known league-switchers.

Less than half of the single team pitchers with 5 career WAR did not make it 10 seasons.

c'mon Bob, folks are still hung over. :-)

   57. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:22 PM (#4336314)
Great article.

The main thing I remember about Ryan Klesko is that he had the worst facial hair of all time.
   58. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4336341)

What's the basis for calling this the "steroid purge" trade? And didn't the Braves pick up Ken f'n Caminiti just a couple years later?


Because it was, and yes they did. That also worked out terribly. The Braves struggled for years with what to do about juicing players beginning with the spring when Ron Gant showed up looking like a superhero.

   59. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 01, 2013 at 07:50 PM (#4336350)
Are you referring to the Wisp Manchu, the Wedge Beard, the Neck Wedge Beard, the Landing Strip, or the Scraggle Fuzz? Oh, wait. It must be this.
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4336395)
Because it was, and yes they did.


Any relevant material to back this up? I find it hard to believe that any successful team in the 90's purged roiders out of the organization. I find that to be naive beyond belief(makes believing in the tooth fairy or trickle down economics positively sane in comparison)
   61. Mike Webber Posted: January 01, 2013 at 08:54 PM (#4336417)
I thought the Alomar ranking was low too, but when I looked at his BB Ref page I saw this,

Year Age Games
1990 24 132
1991 25 51
1992 26 89
1993 27 64
1994 28 80
1995 29 66
1996 30 127 


He just wasn't that durable during what should have been his prime. He missed what, 250 games there, if he had averaged 120 per season from age 25 thru 29.
   62. phatj Posted: January 01, 2013 at 10:36 PM (#4336547)
My enduring memory of Ryan Klesko was once or twice when he visited Philadelphia in his latter years with the Padres, the photo they showed on the jumbotron at Citizens Bank Park had him squinting with one eye, so me and my buddy dubbed him "Pirate Klesko".
   63. MM1f Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:12 PM (#4336563)
He just wasn't that durable during what should have been his prime. He missed what, 250 games there, if he had averaged 120 per season from age 25 thru 29.


And yet, despite all those games missed in his 20s, Alomar Jr still managed to rank 49th in games caught all time.
   64. PreservedFish Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:14 PM (#4336565)
Ryan Klesko walked into the retail store where I was working in San Diego. He is huge. He was also extremely well manicured - wore high quality clothes that were cut perfectly for him. He really looked like a star. I had the same experience a few years later when I saw Kenny G in an antiques store in Berkeley. Kenny G looked like a star too.
   65. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:17 PM (#4336566)
Are you referring to the Wisp Manchu, the Wedge Beard, the Neck Wedge Beard, the Landing Strip, or the Scraggle Fuzz? Oh, wait. It must be this.


Man, he had some terrible beard range. I can't find a picture of his worst offender, the weird thin cut line full beard.
   66. Moeball Posted: January 01, 2013 at 11:22 PM (#4336570)
When Finley and Caminiti came to the Padres from the Astros (Kevin Towers' best deal as Padres GM that I can think of), I just assumed at the time that the dual power surges in 1996 was just an effect of getting out of the Astrodome. Looking back on it knowing what I know now, hmm?

Finley was known for doing a lot of reps with lighter weights (working on building endurance) rather than working with heavier weights for strength-building. He was also big into yoga, stretching, flexibility-focused workouts, too.

Ryan Klesko is one of my favorite players ever. Big, likable lug of a player, loved the follow-through on his home run swing, even enjoyed his adventures in the outfield. Surprisingly good baserunner. I hated it when the Braves traded him.


Colin - Mark Kotsay used to tell an amusing story from about circa 2001 or so - when he and Klesko were both on the Padres. According to Kotsay, one game he was batting behind Klesko in the lineup, so he was in the on-deck circle while Klesko was batting. Klesko hit this monster HR and just stood there at home plate admiring the flight path of his rocket launch. Kotsay looked at the ball flying out, looked at Klesko preening and then looked out at the mound where the pitcher was glaring at Klesko and really getting steamed. Kotsay started screaming at Klesko to get moving around the bases - as Kotsay put it "The longer you wait, you <bleep>, the worse it's gonna be for me!" Klesko finally started making his slow trot around the bases. Sure enough, as soon as Kotsay stood in to hit, he got plunked on the first pitch!

I haven't looked up play-by-plays to see if there are any games where a)Klesko homered, b)Kotsay was batting behind him and c)Kotsay was HBP immediately after Klesko homered - so I can't at the moment verify the date this supposedly happened - but it's a funny story nevertheless!
   67. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:01 AM (#4336588)
I like how Gibby shows up as the only pitcher on #49.
   68. thetailor Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:23 AM (#4336597)
Jeff Cirillo: One of 100 best third basemen ever, certainly, maybe one of 50 best


.... say what?! I can understand that some of these guys rank much better than you might otherwise things (e.g. Shawn Green as a Top 50 RF I can get behind) but my initial reaction to this is to think that Cirillo in or near the Top 50 is crazy talk.

Any of you have a list you'd like to share that would show Cirillo's place? He had 112 career HR, an OPS+ of 102 and only 1600 games. I don't recall his defense being noteworthy either.
   69. thetailor Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:28 AM (#4336600)
Also a little strange that he'd call Woody Williams one of the Top 250 starting pitchers of all time but Aaron Sele as only one of the Top 400.

Williams, 132-116, 103 ERA+, 2216 IP, one all star game, no Cy Young votes ever
Sele, 148-112, 100 ERA+, 2153 IP, 2 all star games, one top 5 Cy Young finish

Great, great work by Posnanski as always.
   70. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4336608)
Any of you have a list you'd like to share that would show Cirillo's place? He had 112 career HR, an OPS+ of 102 and only 1600 games. I don't recall his defense being noteworthy either.

B-R gives Cirillo 32 WAR, with five seasons between 4 and 6; that's almost certainly top-100 at least, and could conceivably be top-50. B-R does like his defense a lot, with a career mark of +85, and individual seasons of +20, +18, +18, +9, +9, +7. I have no particular reason to believe or disbelieve those numbers, but they did come while he played for three different teams.
   71. The District Attorney Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4336612)
To take the quickest-slash-crudest reasonable summary measurement, Cirillo is 44th in career WAR among players with 50% or more of games at 3B. As mentioned, WAR likes his defense; he is 73rd among that group in WAR batting runs.

Re: Alomar Jr.: Obviously All-Star selections are not a perfect metric, but the guy did make the team six times between 1990 and 1998, despite playing for Cleveland and having no particular national profile. I don't remember any of his selections being controversial (not that a Sandy Alomar Jr. All-Star controversy would necessarily be seared in my memory.) It seems to me that for a player to be consistently judged among the very best in his league for nine years and yet arguably not even top 100 overall all-time, that would have to be one hell of an extended weak positional run for the entire league. I guess it's possible, but it sounds unlikely.
   72. PreservedFish Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:50 AM (#4336618)
This article is what I most remember about Aaron Sele.
   73. bobm Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:13 AM (#4336627)
Colin - Mark Kotsay used to tell an amusing story from about circa 2001 or so - when he and Klesko were both on the Padres. According to Kotsay, one game he was batting behind Klesko in the lineup, so he was in the on-deck circle while Klesko was batting. Klesko hit this monster HR and just stood there at home plate admiring the flight path of his rocket launch. Kotsay looked at the ball flying out, looked at Klesko preening and then looked out at the mound where the pitcher was glaring at Klesko and really getting steamed. Kotsay started screaming at Klesko to get moving around the bases - as Kotsay put it "The longer you wait, you <bleep>, the worse it's gonna be for me!" Klesko finally started making his slow trot around the bases. Sure enough, as soon as Kotsay stood in to hit, he got plunked on the first pitch!

I haven't looked up play-by-plays to see if there are any games where a)Klesko homered, b)Kotsay was batting behind him and c)Kotsay was HBP immediately after Klesko homered - so I can't at the moment verify the date this supposedly happened - but it's a funny story nevertheless!


I cannot find it.

Start with the Kotsay HBP for common years on SDP:

From B-R:

Mark Kotsay: 6 Hit By Pitches in 2001-2003

                                                                                                                                                   
Cr#   Yr# Gm#       Date  Tm Opp        Pitcher     Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt)Sequence RBI  WPA RE24   LI                          Play Description
2       1   1 2001-06-07 SDP SFG Ryan Vogelsong ahead 2-6  t6 ---   0           4(1-2)   0 0.01 0.38  .25                              Hit By Pitch
3       2   1 2001-06-25 SDP COL   Shawn Chacon  tied 0-0  t3 12-   1           2(1-0)   0 0.06 0.67 2.03 Hit By Pitch Jarvis to 3B Henderson to 2B


                                                                                                                                    
Cr#   Yr# Gm#       Date  Tm Opp       Pitcher      Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt)Sequence RBI  WPA RE24   LI           Play Description
4       1   1 2002-07-07 SDP COL Brian Fuentes  ahead 0-4  t8 1-3   0           1(0-0)   0 0.00 0.50  .10 Hit By Pitch Jimenez to 2B
5       2   1 2002-08-11 SDP CIN    Gabe White   down 7-4  t8 -2-   0           1(0-0)   0 0.06 0.37 1.55               Hit By Pitch
6       3   1 2002-08-27 SDP HOU   Nelson Cruz ahead 6-11  t8 ---   2           7(2-2)   0 0.00 0.13  .03               Hit By Pitch


                                                                                                                                                
Cr#   Yr# Gm#       Date  Tm Opp      Pitcher    Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt)Sequence RBI  WPA RE24   LI                          Play Description
7       1   1 2003-04-06 SDP LAD Odalis Perez down 3-2  b7 12-   1           1(0-0)   0 0.12 0.66 4.20 Hit By Pitch Buchanan to 3B Loretta to 2B


Check Klesko HR - only 4 matches possible, in 2002:

                                                                                                                                                                      
Cr#   Yr# Gm#       Date  Tm Opp       Pitcher     Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt)Sequence RBI  WPA RE24   LI                                              Play Description
211    16   1 2002-07-07 SDP COL  Shawn Chacon ahead 0-1  t3 ---   0           5(3-1)   1 0.10 1.00  .89                                  Home Run (Fly Ball to CF-RF)
212    17   2 2002-07-07 SDP COL  Denny Neagle ahead 0-3  t7 ---   0           3(1-1)   1 0.05 1.00  .41                                           Home Run (Fly Ball)
216    21   1 2002-08-11 SDP CIN Brian Moehler  tied 0-0  t1 --3   1           3(1-1)   2 0.12 1.32 1.32                            Home Run (Fly Ball) Vazquez Scores
219    24   1 2002-08-27 SDP HOU   Nelson Cruz ahead 4-7  t7 123   1           8(3-2)   4 0.06 2.68  .96 Home Run (Fly Ball) Kingsale Scores Matos Scores Nevin Scores



Check the lineups:

7/7/02:

                     
Batting              
  Ramon Vazquez  2B    
DAngelo Jimenez  3B  
    Mark Kotsay  CF      
    Ryan Klesko  1B      
       Ron Gant  LF         
    Trent Hubbard  LF    
 Bubba Trammell  RF   
        Steve Reed  P        
    Trevor Hoffman  P    
     Deivi Cruz  SS       
   Wiki Gonzalez  C     
    Oliver Perez  P      
    Brian Lawrence  P    
        Mike Holtz  P        
    Gene Kingsale  RF    


Kotsay and then Klesko get hit by pitch back-to-back in the 8th after Klesko's HR in the 7th.

8/11/02:

                        
Batting                 
 Ramon Vazquez  2B       
         Trevor Hoffman  P       
         Trent Hubbard  PH       
    Brandon Villafuerte  P  
  Mark Kotsay  CF         
           Kevin Walker  P         
          Julius Matos  2B        
   Ryan Klesko  1B         
    Phil Nevin  3B          
      Ron Gant  LF            
    Deivi Cruz  SS          
Bubba Trammell  RF      
    Tom Lampkin  C          
    Bobby Jones  P          
        Brian Buchanan  PH      
         Jason Kershner  P       
           Jeremy Fikac  P         
             Mike Holtz  P           
              Tom Davey  P            
      Gene Kingsale  PH-CF 


Kotsay HBP in top of the 8th, Klesko HR in t1.

                        
Batting                 
   Mark Kotsay  CF         
  Julius Matos  2B        
      Brandon Villafuerte  P  
    Phil Nevin  3B          
   Ryan Klesko  1B         
      Ron Gant  LF            
         Jonathan Johnson  P     
           Ramon Vazquez  2B       
Bubba Trammell  RF      
        Trent Hubbard  PR-LF    
    Deivi Cruz  SS          
  Wiki Gonzalez  C        
     Mike Bynum  P           
             Jeremy Fikac  P         
        Gene Kingsale  PH-RF


Kotsay HBP in top of the 8th, Klesko GS-HR in t7.

   74. Greg K Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:40 AM (#4336641)
Any of you have a list you'd like to share that would show Cirillo's place? He had 112 career HR, an OPS+ of 102 and only 1600 games. I don't recall his defense being noteworthy either.

Among retired 3B I have

33 Carney Lansford
34 Bill Madlock
35 Jeff Cirillo
36 Ken Caminiti
37 Ken McMullen

Among active 3B Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Eric Chavez, Ryan Zimmerman, and Aramis Ramirez are probably better. So let's say 45th.

For what it's worth Bill James has Cirillo 80th at 3B in his Historical Abstract. I believe those rankings were done in 2000. Cirillo only had one good season left.

EDIT: the noteworth defence is probably the sticking point. B-Ref has him as one of the better 3B of his generation (+85) fangraphs agrees (+100), and UZR has him at 13.3 runs above average per 150 games.
   75. Red Menace Posted: January 02, 2013 at 01:54 AM (#4336644)
Balltunes looks to become the industry leader in bridging the gap between sports and entertainment.


Entertainment 720! We've got Royce Clayton hitting batting practice!
   76. thetailor Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:21 PM (#4336840)
Among retired 3B I have

33 Carney Lansford
34 Bill Madlock
35 Jeff Cirillo
36 Ken Caminiti
37 Ken McMullen

Among active 3B Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, Adrian Beltre, David Wright, Evan Longoria, Eric Chavez, Ryan Zimmerman, and Aramis Ramirez are probably better. So let's say 45th.


Thanks guys. I guess that part of it might just be that the recent crop of third basemen have been so good historically that it has thrown off my perception of what the all-time list might look like. Jeff Cirillo was always a neat little player -- I remember picking him up when he went to Colorado and getting a sneaky good fantasy season out of him -- but I never thought of him a historically significant. The horrendous early end in Seattle probably contributed to that too. But I suppose if the defense was good, and he hit around league average for his career. He felt like Joe Randa.
   77. Greg K Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4336860)
As an AL fan I hardly ever saw Cirillo play, I don't recall thinking of him as a great defensive 3B, but the numbers seem to suggest that. I was pretty shocked to see him ranked so high (I always thought of him as on the borderline of being a starter...good enough to start on a poor team, but would be on the bench on a contender). Cirillo is a good example of the fun of re-evaluating the careers of the non-Hall of Famers. There are some good players in there I'd otherwise forget. I still get the sense that 45th all-time is a bit high...but I wouldn't have guessed top 100 when he was playing.

The dude also hit a ton of doubles - 1996 to 2000 he hit 211 doubles.

In the same years Mannt Ramirez hit 188.
Pujols best run was 2001-2005 where he hit 227.
2008-2012 Migue Cabrera hit 203.
1995-1999 Edgar Martinez hit 220.
   78. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:55 PM (#4336892)

Entertainment 720! We've got Royce Clayton hitting batting practice!


RDF
   79. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 02, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4336893)
I remember Cirillo having a pretty good defensive reputation.

On Lofton, he was one of my favorite players, and I'm glad to see him getting some consideration. He was never a 'feels like a HOFer'; although he had some great seasons, he only received MVP votes four times. Lofton's profile is raised by playing on a bunch of winning teams (11 postseasons in 17 seasons)-
   80. shoewizard Posted: January 02, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4337196)
Reggie Sanders is one of the nicest people I had the pleasure to meet while working in baseball and it's no suprise to see Pos had a similar experience.

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