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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Posnanski: The 100 Greatest Baseball Players Ever

Ritter/Honig in on #1!

1. Every player is eligible. So, pre-1900 players, Negro Leagues players, legendary talents who never made it to the Majors, Japanese players, everybody is eligible.

2. I rank the players entirely on their play on the field (and whatever other subtle and helpful baseball qualities I could glean out of their careers)...

3. I rank the players using my own judgments — it wouldn’t be fun any other way…

Well, as Marty DeBergi says, enough of my yapping. The 100 greatest baseball players ever coming at you all month long. Let’s start the arguments with No. 100.

Number 100: Curt Schilling

The District Attorney Posted: December 03, 2013 at 06:06 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: curt schilling, history, joe posnanski

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   1. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4609955)
Schilling at his best was about as effective as any pitcher in history. As a Yankee fan, I'd rather face Pedro.
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 03, 2013 at 07:29 PM (#4609969)
Great, you look to see the list and you get an abridged version of Arabian Nights instead. I guess we'll get to Babe Ruth or Barry Bonds somewhere around March 13th.
   3. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4609994)
#1, did Schilling ever throw a 1 hit 17 strikeout game against the yankees like Pedro did in 1999? There's revisionist history now because of how 2003 and 2004 Pedro performed against the yankees after they'd seen him something like 30 times. He threw a ton of good innings against them before that, some of them spectacular like that game late in 1999 or the ALCS game against them that year in which an injured Pedro only throwing 90 mph handcuffed them while the Sox were destroying Roger Clemens. Hell, I attended a game in July 2004 at Fenway that Schilling started against the yankees and lost without pitching particularly well.
   4. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:20 PM (#4610000)
If you're a lefthanded hitter, then Hell is a place where you have to face Randy Johnson, over and over, forever.

It's not exactly a day in the Magic Kingdom if you're a righthanded hitter either, come to think of it.
   5. Morty Causa Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4610015)
Yeah, but you have a better chance of dodging the bullet (literally) if you're a righthander.
   6. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:36 PM (#4610016)
Yeah, but you have a better chance of dodging the bullet (literally) if you're a righthander.
Less chance if you have wings instead of hands.
   7. Greg K Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:38 PM (#4610018)
If he ever completes this, I would totally purchase it in book form. Like a modern day Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract. Except the top 100 players is a bit boring...it was after 25-30 at each position that James' lists became interesting to me.
   8. gehrig97 Posted: December 03, 2013 at 08:41 PM (#4610022)
Spoiler alert: It's Babe Ruth.
   9. Publius Publicola Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4610032)
If a player never played in the majors, and Poznanski had never seen him play, then how the hell is Poznanski going to able to rate him with any degree of accuracy?
   10. Greg K Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:10 PM (#4610033)
If a player never played in the majors, and Poznanski had never seen him play, then how the hell is Poznanski going to able to rate him with any degree of accuracy?

I'm not sure accuracy is the point, so much as its an excuse for him to write about 100 great players. Which I'm all for, since it gives me an excuse to read Posnanski writing about 100 players.
   11. Publius Publicola Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:12 PM (#4610034)
So just like his bios then? 80% BS?
   12. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 03, 2013 at 09:38 PM (#4610056)
#1, did Schilling ever throw a 1 hit 17 strikeout game against the yankees like Pedro did in 1999? There's revisionist history now because of how 2003 and 2004 Pedro performed against the yankees after they'd seen him something like 30 times. He threw a ton of good innings against them before that, some of them spectacular like that game late in 1999 or the ALCS game against them that year in which an injured Pedro only throwing 90 mph handcuffed them while the Sox were destroying Roger Clemens. Hell, I attended a game in July 2004 at Fenway that Schilling started against the yankees and lost without pitching particularly well.


I actually thought about that game before posting, but here's the thing, it was a regular season game so it didn't have the immediacy. Even with that game he was 11-11 vs. the Yankees. They pretty much owned him in the post season other then that one game you mention. Even with that game his post season ERA against them is around 5.00.
   13. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 03, 2013 at 10:24 PM (#4610108)
What's this? 1999 postseason Pedro who had 5 hits, 23 strikeouts, and no runs in 17 innings while injuring his back was better than 2003-2004 postseason Pedro? That's a pretty wild theory; I'm gonna have to see some evidence.
   14. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:42 AM (#4610227)
I'm going to really enjoy this series. I can't wait to see where Josh Gibson, Satchel Page, and Sadaharu Oh rank.
   15. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:01 AM (#4610254)
I actually thought about that game before posting, but here's the thing, it was a regular season game so it didn't have the immediacy. Even with that game he was 11-11 vs. the Yankees. They pretty much owned him in the post season other then that one game you mention. Even with that game his post season ERA against them is around 5.00.

Schilling was 7-8 with a 4.71 ERA against the Yankees during the regular season. Pedro was 11-11 with a 3.20 ERA against them in the regular season. That's unfair to Schilling because he made most of his starts against them in the regular after his prime.

Schilling's ERA was 3.16 against the Yankees in the postseason and Pedro's was 5.08. That's unfair to Pedro because he made only one (arguably 3, depends on whether you think 2003 includes his prime) of his seven starts against them while he was in his prime whereas Schilling made all his starts against them in the postseason while he was in his prime.

Pedro at his peak was a significantly better pitcher than Schilling was at his peak. Doesn't matter the opposition.
   16. Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:13 AM (#4610257)
Schilling's career is pretty remarkable in that his best work came after the age of the 30. He only had one season with an ERA+ over 100 in more than 200 innings in before his age-30 season. Schilling was neither consistently durable or effective until his thirties.
   17. Ulysses S. Fairsmith Posted: December 04, 2013 at 06:59 AM (#4610277)
Doesn't that mean that he did steroids? Or is Schilling one of the players we have arbitrarily determined to be clean?
   18. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 09:40 AM (#4610292)
Pitchers doing their best work in their 30s is far from unheard of.
   19. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: December 04, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4610300)
Schilling's career is pretty remarkable in that his best work came after the age of the 30


Eh, I guess. But it's hardly unique. Randy Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Steve Carlotn (though not as pronounced as the previous 3), Bob Gibson, Cliff Lee, Kenny Rogers, Kevin Brown...

edit: 2/5 of a coke to Zeth.
   20. Greg K Posted: December 04, 2013 at 09:54 AM (#4610302)
Steve Carlotn (though not as pronounced as the previous 3),

I don't think it's pronounced that way at all.
   21. SoCalDemon Posted: December 04, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4610359)
Re 18: I don't think Lefty belongs on that list at all. He went 111-39 with a 2.90 ERA for Baltimore from ages 20-24, and was not able to play in the major leagues for reasons outside of his control (major league teams certainly wanted him), then had an off-year in his first major league season (still 98 ERA+, not horrible); who knows why but I imagine soemthing similar to Yu Darvish where it takes a while to realize he is good enough to jsut go after major league hitters (BB/9 drop from 6 to 3.5 between his first and second years, and his control just keeps improving from there), then wins ERA titles his second year at 26, and again at 29...yes, his ERA+ went from 149 from ages 26-29 (damn, Lefty was good), to 162 from 30-39 (really really F-ing good), but I don't think he belongs in this discussion.
   22. AROM Posted: December 04, 2013 at 11:37 AM (#4610368)
I'm not sure accuracy is the point, so much as its an excuse for him to write about 100 great players. Which I'm all for, since it gives me an excuse to read Posnanski writing about 100 players.


Accuracy is something you just can't get with something like this. Not just in considering Josh Gibson and Sadaharu Oh, but even comparing pitchers in dramatically different playing conditions like Walter Johnson vs. Tom Seaver. Forget about accuracy, what we get is Poz's best estimate. And hopefully some interesting writing.

   23. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4610425)
I don't think Lefty belongs on that list at all. He went 111-39 with a 2.90 ERA for Baltimore from ages 20-24, and was not able to play in the major leagues for reasons outside of his control (major league teams certainly wanted him), then had an off-year in his first major league season (still 98 ERA+, not horrible)

I hadn't realized 1925 was Lefty Grove's only losing season, in the majors or the minors.
He went 10-12 - losses included three games he'd entered in relief to protect a tie, and the first game of a July 4 doubleheader against the Yankees where he started & went the distance, finally surrendering a run with two outs in the 15th inning to lose 1-0. Different times, man.
   24. shoewizard Posted: December 04, 2013 at 12:51 PM (#4610452)
#1, did Schilling ever throw a 1 hit 17 strikeout game against the yankees like Pedro did in 1999?


No, but he did it against the 2002 Brewers

Does that count ?
   25. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2013 at 01:41 PM (#4610501)
Accuracy is something you just can't get with something like this. Not just in considering Josh Gibson and Sadaharu Oh, but even comparing pitchers in dramatically different playing conditions like Walter Johnson vs. Tom Seaver. Forget about accuracy, what we get is Poz's best estimate. And hopefully some interesting writing.

That "interesting writing" thing will be tough given how many times this exercise has been done. My Top 100 has some names other people probably wouldn't include but I don't think that those differences are particularly "interesting". Unless he can make an argument for someone no one has heard of -- or Mike Trout -- this seems redundant.
   26. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4610516)
I'm a sucker for any Top 100 list, but having to wait 100 days to see the whole thing is majorly stupid. The very least he could have done is to get it down to 10 a day over a 10 day period.
   27. Greg K Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4610517)
That "interesting writing" thing will be tough given how many times this exercise has been done. My Top 100 has some names other people probably wouldn't include but I don't think that those differences are particularly "interesting". Unless he can make an argument for someone no one has heard of -- or Mike Trout -- this seems redundant.

I guess it depends on the writing. Will the comments be justifications for where the player ranks? Or will it be stories from Buck O'Neill and ruminations on being an Indians fan in the 70s? (Though I suppose that last one will be difficult to tie into any of the 100 greatest players of all time).

I go to Poz for the way he captures being a fan, and the love of baseball he brings to his writing. If that's what he does in this project then that will be plenty interesting to me.
   28. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:29 PM (#4610548)
I'm a sucker for any Top 100 list, but having to wait 100 days to see the whole thing is majorly stupid. The very least he could have done is to get it down to 10 a day over a 10 day period.

Well we do know about Whitaker, Santo and Bell now so it's only 96 more days!
I go to Poz for the way he captures being a fan, and the love of baseball he brings to his writing. If that's what he does in this project then that will be plenty interesting to me.

What do you think so far after 4 of these?
   29. Morty Causa Posted: December 04, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4610552)
26:

You're right. It isn't a way of doing something like this that is conducive to attracting viewers. Now, if someone can get Roger Angell to do something like this before it's too late, that might be interested. (Angell doesn't even have his own blog, though, so I doubt it.)
   30. AROM Posted: December 04, 2013 at 03:43 PM (#4610653)
I don't think Lefty belongs on that list at all. He went 111-39 with a 2.90 ERA for Baltimore from ages 20-24, and was not able to play in the major leagues for reasons outside of his control (major league teams certainly wanted him), then had an off-year in his first major league season (still 98 ERA+, not horrible)


I don't think 1925 was an off year for Grove, but an adjustment year. In his big years with the Orioles, he was unhittable, pitching a ton of games, and winning a ton of games. But he was also walking about 150 minor league batters per year. His first year with the A's he finds out that major leaguers are a lot tougher to pitch to if you aren't throwing strikes, and walks 131 in 197 innings against 116 strikeouts.

It didn't take him long to adjust, he got his walks down to 101 (in 258 innings) in 1926, led the league in ERA, and never walked 100 in a season again. I see him as similar to other all time great lefties Randy & Sandy - it took a little while for them to harness their overpowering stuff.
   31. Perry Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:17 PM (#4610688)
Spoiler alert: It's Babe Ruth.


Or Duane Kuiper.
   32. Greg K Posted: December 04, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4610717)
What do you think so far after 4 of these?

Only seen the Bell and Schilling ones, they were pretty fun. His write up on Cool Papa Bell was a bit thin...but I'm sure he's got plenty of other Negro League players coming to fill out that area.

I have to admit to a bit of narcissism as I'm compiling my annual operation of a similar sort of...career retrospective/personal memories of significant retirees.* Kind of hooked on that stuff. And second Morty, I'd love to read a project like this undertaken by Angell. I think James mentions in the Historical Abstract that in part he wanted to record the little physical idiosyncrasies of the players before they are lost to history. Will people 50 years from now remember how Cameron Maybin ran the bases, or that Gregg Zaun threw his bat every 6.7 at bats? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

*This year's class is almost done, from Bobby Abreu to Esteban Yan...though I'm going in reverse order of quality, so Yan was first, and I actually haven't got to the top 6 of Damon, Abreu, Vlad, Thome, Rolen, and Chipper). 55 players in all.
   33. Greg K Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:04 PM (#4610719)
Just to further update, read his entry on Santo. Exactly what I'm looking for! Had never heard that story about the plane crash.
   34. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili(Teddy F. Ballgame) Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:15 PM (#4610723)
I'm not sure Cool Papa Bell belongs in the HOF, let alone on a list of the top 100 players of all time. The Hall of Merit guys can correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Bell one of the most overhyped figures in Negro League history?
   35. zonk Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4610729)
Since it came up in the another thread - let me recommend the Whitaker entry.... it's a very, very good discussion of WAR for a WAR skeptic, I think - and Whitaker is the perfect for foil for just such a discussion.
   36. AROM Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:35 PM (#4610735)
http://www.baseball-reference.com/nlb/player.cgi?id=bell--001coo

Here's his record, incomplete as it is. A regular player for 20 years, high average, not much power, great speed. Looks average in the walk department though I'm not sure what the league average was. If you rate his defense highly then he's a deserving HOFer, similar to Kenny Lofton without the late start. Lofton may be one and done, but without hoops he might have started 4 years earlier and finished with 3000 hits and 80 WAR.

That's probably the best case interpretation for Cool Papa, and definitely a top 100 guy. Worst case would be that he was Lloyd Waner, who should not be in the hall. Waner hit 316/353/393 in a hitter's league and played average CF defense for 18 years as in the same time period. Bell hit 316/363/420 - not sure what the league context was.
   37. Steve Treder Posted: December 04, 2013 at 05:39 PM (#4610739)
Just to further update, read his entry on Santo. Exactly what I'm looking for! Had never heard that story about the plane crash.

That's a brilliant example. I was a kid in the 1960s, and I'm extremely familiar with the story of Ken Hubbs and how he died in a plane crash. But it's half a century later now, and pretty much no one knows who Ken Hubbs was at all, much less that he died in a plane crash. Pos is writing exactly the sort of piece here that serves to include details like that, which have nothing to do with "analysis" but everything to do with the appreciation of ballplayers as human beings.
   38. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:30 PM (#4610806)
"Pedro at his peak was a significantly better pitcher than Schilling was at his peak. Doesn't matter the opposition."


Nice strawman. I never stated that Schilling was better then Pedro, I merely said that as a Yankee fan, I had less confidence in beating Schilling then I did Pedro. Maybe it was a postseason thing, specifically the 2001 WS where the Yankees were clearly overmatched by Schilling.The bottom line is, when the marbles were on the table, the Yankees always found a way to get to Pedro, Schilling not so much.
   39. Baldrick Posted: December 04, 2013 at 07:43 PM (#4610813)
Nice strawman. I never stated that Schilling was better then Pedro, I merely said that as a Yankee fan, I had less confidence in beating Schilling then I did Pedro.

So your claim is that the response is unfair because it presumes you are trying to be rational?
   40. Guapo Posted: December 05, 2013 at 01:04 PM (#4611153)
One thing that strikes me as interesting in a top 100 list is you probably want to maintain some positional balance... I'd think you'd want around 25-30 pitchers leaving around 70-75 position players.

If you wanted exact balance you could have 9 representatives of each position (giving you 72 position players) and 28 pitchers. That sounds about right. But it seems likely that you'll have more outfielders and shortstops and probably less, say, third basemen and maybe catchers.

As Poz notes, Whitaker is 6th all-time in WAR among second basemen. Hornsby, Collins, Morgan, Lajoie, and Gehringer are all ahead of him- I don't think anyone would disagree that Whitaker is behind that group. (Alomar has less WAR, but Poz says in the article he has him ranked higher in the top 100.)

Personally, I would have Grich, Sandberg, Alomar, Biggio, Frisch and J. Robinson ahead of Whitaker as well. It would be tough to justify putting him in the top 100 based on him being the 12th best second baseman. Some of those guys must be off the list, but tough to figure out who.
   41. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 05, 2013 at 01:18 PM (#4611170)
So your claim is that the response is unfair because it presumes you are trying to be rational?

Since when are fan feelings rational? I was always pretty confident when Dave Stewart faced Roger Clemens, but I hate when the A's face Ervin Santana.
   42. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4615437)
Link to the articles

96: Ichiro Suzuki
95: Mariano Rivera
94: Paul Waner
93: Craig Biggio
92: Old Hoss Radbourn
91: Robin Roberts
90: Mark McGwire
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 10, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4615449)
96: Ichiro Suzuki
95: Mariano Rivera


So Pos is just trolling Ray at this point isn't he?
   44. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4615459)
I love the notion that the Waners were nicknamed Poison because of some guy's Brooklyn accent saying "Big Person" and "Little Person." That's too good a fact to check. I also really liked the piece on Robin Roberts too, and I think Rivera's piece does a good job recognizing the difficulty in judging Mo's greatness. These have been pretty great so far. I can't wait to see how many foreign and negro league players end up in the list.
   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 10, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4615463)
I never stated that Schilling was better then Pedro, I merely said that as a Yankee fan, I had less confidence in beating Schilling then I did Pedro. Maybe it was a postseason thing, specifically the 2001 WS where the Yankees were clearly overmatched by Schilling.The bottom line is, when the marbles were on the table, the Yankees always found a way to get to Pedro, Schilling not so much.

If we all stay still and hold our breaths, you can hear a forgotten Alfonso Soriano softly weeping.
   46. tfbg9 Posted: December 10, 2013 at 06:52 PM (#4615513)
The bottom line is, when the marbles were on the table, the Yankees always found a way to get to Pedro, Schilling not so much.


Eh, ya take away one huge Grady brain fart, and one Jeter cheezbo, two out, super dinky oppo 3 run double*, and it looks a lot better for Pedro.

*although Jetes got a million of these infuriating hits, so mabey it wasn't _that_ lucky.
   47. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 10, 2013 at 09:55 PM (#4615606)
The series was worth it, for me, just because of this piece: http://joeposnanski.com/joeblogs/no-89-bullet-rogan/

I didn't know Bullet Rogan from Adam before this, and I'm grateful for Posnanski highlighting him for me.
   48. Morty Causa Posted: December 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM (#4615622)
Pettite pitched a full season of post-season innings, and even though the competition was much steeper in the post-season, he essentially had the same effect in post-season as in regular season. That's very impressive.

But Schilling, in about a half-season's worth of post-season play, was discernibly better against that creme dala creme competition.

Pedro...well, he certainly can't be said to have pitched bad in the post-season, but he didn't pitch as well as in regular season, much less better.
   49. Greg K Posted: December 10, 2013 at 11:04 PM (#4615657)
I remember Pedro in the 2009 playoffs, where he actually did alright even though he had nothing left. Until Game Six of the World Series where he really had nothing left. I recall being absolutely astounded that he got through the first inning without a run. He looked like he was literally throwing 78-80 mph.
   50. The District Attorney Posted: December 18, 2013 at 01:22 PM (#4620188)
89: Bullet Joe Rogan
88: Tim Raines
87: Nolan Ryan
86: Miguel Cabrera
85: Barry Larkin
84: Frankie Frisch
83: Gaylord Perry
82: Roberto Alomar
81: Joe Jackson
80: Johnny Mize
   51. dlf Posted: December 18, 2013 at 01:38 PM (#4620197)
I'm really enjoying this series. I think the NeL write-ups were great at putting a little more color (no pun intended) into what little I knew about the individuals. I also found the quasi-insider's view of Larkin to be very informative.
   52. BDC Posted: December 18, 2013 at 01:44 PM (#4620207)
when the marbles were on the table, the Yankees always found a way to get to Pedro

I still remember Pedro's start in the 1999 ALCS as being one of the most remarkable postseason outings ever. (Hadn't the Yankees won 12 straight postseason games at that point?) It's overshadowed by three things: it was the only game the Sox won in that series, they scored a bunch of runs for Pedro that day, and he had had a more remarkable outing a few days before against Cleveland. But it does prevent one from saying "always."
   53. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: December 18, 2013 at 01:59 PM (#4620217)
Pettite pitched a full season of post-season innings, and even though the competition was much steeper in the post-season, he essentially had the same effect in post-season as in regular season. That's very impressive.

But Schilling, in about a half-season's worth of post-season play, was discernibly better against that creme dala creme competition.

Pedro...well, he certainly can't be said to have pitched bad in the post-season, but he didn't pitch as well as in regular season, much less better.
Pedro pitched better than Pettitte and Schilling in the regular season so the bar would be higher. In postseason:

Schilling -- 133 IP, 2.23 ERA
Pedro -- 96 IP, 3.46 ERA
Pettitte -- 276 IP 3.81 ERA

The order should probably be Schilling, Pedro, Pettitte for postseason quality, but Pettitte > Pedro for postseason value.
   54. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 18, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4620359)

Since when are fan feelings rational? I was always pretty confident when Dave Stewart faced Roger Clemens, but I hate when the A's face Ervin Santana.


Thank you good sir. That's a good analogy regarding to what I was referring when stating that as a Yankee fan I had more confidence in beating Pedro then Schilling. Whether or not it was rational isn't really germane. Although Schilling was closer to Pedro then Stew was to Rocket, but when it came to the big games, it was Stewart who rose to the occasion. He's the guy who sportswriters claim Jack Morris was.
   55. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: December 18, 2013 at 05:24 PM (#4620394)
I always thought that Stewart was one of the best big game pitchers, but I hadn't realized just how true that was. His regular season ERA was 3.95 and his postseason ERA was 2.77. He pitched in 11 postseason series, and if you throw out his 0.2 inning appearance in the 1981 NLDS he had only one series with an ERA over 3.14, and in the other eight his highest ERA was 2.81. He was also 9-1 against Clemens in head-to-head matchups, beginning that streak with a game in Fenway when the last place A's were facing the first place Red Sox, when Clemens had been 14 and 1.
   56. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 18, 2013 at 05:38 PM (#4620410)
Yep, the guy turned into Bob Gibson during the post-season. He was a competitor and really had the scowl thing going. He always looked pissed.
   57. AROM Posted: December 18, 2013 at 05:58 PM (#4620431)
Playing whiffleball in the backyard with my brother, we used to pick teams and go through lineups. For every AB, we had to bat left or right based on the batter, and imitate their stances. You also had to copy the pitcher's motion, etc. If it was NL and the pitcher's turn came up, we had to turn the bat around and try to hit with the handle.

Anyway, I could generally hit my little brother pretty well, but if he picked Dave Stewart, and gave me the Stewart death stare, I was an automatic out.
   58. Mickey Henry Mays Posted: December 18, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4620487)
Those were the days. In stickball I was always Bonds, that would be Daddy Bonds and my buddy was Jim Rice when batting and of course El Tiante when pitching. He was a big Boston fan, I was a Yankee fan so I was really excited when we got Bonds for Murcer. I loved Murcer, but after hitting 10 HR in 1974 at Shea I soured. Bonds just missed 40/40 in 1973 and even though he had an off year in '74 I thought the Yankees made a good deal.
So it had to be the summer of 1975 and when my turn to bat came-up I'd announce "for the Yankees it'll be Bonds, Bonds, and Bonds in that order". That didn't last long, since Bonds was gone the following year.
The '76 team was great and all, but they didn't have that big game changing banger that you like to emulate. Of course that changed in '77 and for the first time in his career, Reggie became a right handed hitter.
   59. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 18, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4620510)
of course El Tiante when pitching.


Funniest baseball dream I ever had: I was a rookie, and for some reason we were training in the Astrodome. Tiant's pitching...ball one...strike one...then suddenly the balls start coming from everywhere. Tiant's not just facing center field on the windup - he's throwing while he's looking that way. And every pitch is either a strike low and away or half an inch from my chin. I'm finally just cowering, then look up and see my entire team in the dugout,laughing at me.
   60. Morty Causa Posted: December 18, 2013 at 08:52 PM (#4620517)
I always thought that Stewart was one of the best big game pitchers, but I hadn't realized just how true that was. His regular season ERA was 3.95 and his postseason ERA was 2.77. He pitched in 11 postseason series, and if you throw out his 0.2 inning appearance in the 1981 NLDS he had only one series with an ERA over 3.14, and in the other eight his highest ERA was 2.81. He was also 9-1 against Clemens in head-to-head matchups, beginning that streak with a game in Fenway when the last place A's were facing the first place Red Sox, when Clemens had been 14 and 1.

To the extent these type of anomalies have statistical validity, the question that should crop up is why couldn't he do it all the time? What was his problem? Why was he better against better opposition than the average in a season or seasons? And, finally: Does that then really redound to the man's credit?
   61. Greg K Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4620535)
Playing whiffleball in the backyard with my brother, we used to pick teams and go through lineups. For every AB, we had to bat left or right based on the batter, and imitate their stances. You also had to copy the pitcher's motion, etc. If it was NL and the pitcher's turn came up, we had to turn the bat around and try to hit with the handle.

Anyway, I could generally hit my little brother pretty well, but if he picked Dave Stewart, and gave me the Stewart death stare, I was an automatic out.

Heh, it sounds like you and I had the same childhood.

Except it was Tom Henke that was our killer. If you were playing Henke you were obligated to throw it as hard as you possibly could. Neither of us could hit him.
   62. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:19 PM (#4620536)
Cyclone Joe Williams makes it 4 NeL players out of 22 so far. I assume we're going to get Oscar Charleston, Satchel Paige, and Josh Gibson, but I wonder if any other negro leaguers will make it. Buck Leonard, maybe? John Henry Lloyd? And I'm really interested to see which NPB players get in besides Sadaharu Oh.
   63. Greg K Posted: December 18, 2013 at 09:44 PM (#4620553)
Ichiro got in too, though I suppose you mean exclusively NPB players.

A lot of 2B so far. Sandberg, Alomar, Frisch, Biggio, Whitaker...ok so maybe not a lot, but 5 out of 16 position players.

Just like to add that the first few (which I liked) actually undersold the quality of the project as a whole. I'm absolutely loving these...the personal recollections about Larkin, the entry on Mize...I have a friend who's just getting into baseball and baseball history. The other day he said, "so Nolan Ryan has to be the best pitcher ever right?". Poz writes an excellent response to that.

[edited to add one]
   64. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: December 22, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4622620)
Buck Leonard is #76, so now we've got 5 NeL players out of 26.

And yeah, these have been very, very good. I've really loved this series so far. Everyone should be reading them.
   65. The District Attorney Posted: December 29, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4625735)
79: Smokey Joe Williams
78: Ryne Sandberg
77: Ozzie Smith
76: Buck Leonard
75: Tony Gwynn, Sr.
74: Hank Greenberg
73: Arky Vaughan
72: Willie McCovey
71: Monte Irvin
70: Duke Snider
   66. gehrig97 Posted: December 29, 2013 at 04:29 PM (#4625809)
Pox is doing wonderful work here. This could easily have been packaged as a book--and a damn good one at that. As a writer, I'm humbled by the quality and sheer quantity of his work.
   67. McCoy Posted: December 29, 2013 at 04:34 PM (#4625812)
As a kid I loved Ryne Sandberg and thought he was one of the greatest players of all time but I'm having a hard time believing he is one of the 100 greatest players of all time.
   68. The District Attorney Posted: January 20, 2014 at 12:16 PM (#4642590)
69: Sadaharu Oh
68: Bert Blyleven
67: Harmon Killebrew
66: Roy Campanella
65: Kid Nichols
64: Eddie Murray
63: Charlie Gehringer
62: Robin Yount
61 (tie): Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell
60: Brooks Robinson

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