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Monday, December 11, 2017

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 12-11-2017

Bismarck Tribune, December 11, 1917

Who is the hardest hitter in baseball today? The question conjures the names of Gavvy Cravath, Luderus, Cy Williams, Wally Pipp, Bob Veach, Joe Jackson and other kinds in extra base land.
Eight out of 10 pitchers when asked whom they considered the longest hitter, declared without much hesitation in favor of Babe Ruth.

“A bunt with that fellow is a double,” one of them said. “Every time he is up there I wonder how many boards he will knock off the fence.”
Even if Babe could not pitch, many clubs would be glad to keep him on the payroll as a pinch hitter.

Nah, man, that’s just crazy. Pitchers can’t hit.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2017 at 09:50 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2017 at 09:54 AM (#5589929)
A good pitching staff on today's Birthday Team, but not much in the infield.

If you were so inclined, you could get more WAR into the starting lineup by moving Derek Bell to third base and playing Thomas Howard in center. But if you remember what Derek Bell was like as a third baseman, you'd know what an awful idea that would be. Also, truth be told, I like Andy Tracy and I'm the guy making the lineups.

C: Art Wilson (14.39 WAR)
1B: Jay Bell (36.9 WAR)
2B: Johnny O'Brien (0.06 WAR)
3B/Punter: Andy Tracy (-0.51 WAR)
SS: Rob Andrews (0.95 WAR)
LF: Lee Maye (15.7 WAR)
CF: Derek Bell (12.94 WAR)
RF: Bill Nicholson (41.79 WAR)

SP: Old Hoss Radbourn (76.01 WAR)
SP: Fred Toney (25.12 WAR)
SP: Hal Brown (17.82 WAR)
SP: Slim Harriss (13.82 WAR)
SP: Joe Blanton (11.6 WAR)
RP: Mike Henneman (13.21 WAR)

Johnny's Twin Brother: Eddie O'Brien (-1.9 WAR)
   2. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:03 AM (#5589940)
I was tempted to do this in the VC HoF announcement thread, but didn't want to bog it down, so let's try it here.

Morris and Trammell got in at the same time. Most BTFers will agree with Trammell's selection and disagree with Morris's, but the reaction seems to be varied. So, a question for the BTF populace (or at least the part of it that visits the Dugout):

Are you:
a) more happy about Trammell's induction than you are upset about Morris's
b) more upset about Morris's induction than you are happy about Trammell's
c) happy about both
d) upset about both
e) other; I guess someone could theoretically be happy about Morris and upset about Trammell?

My immediate reaction was (a). I had basically assumed that Morris would get in via the VC eventually, and was very pleased to see Trammell make it on his first VC try as well. And it's not like there aren't plenty of errors of commission in the Hall already; I can easily just group Morris with them, and be happy about an error of omission being corrected.
   3. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:17 AM (#5589945)
I guess I'm in category A, but a bit in category E: I'm mostly over the Hall of Fame. It's speeding towards irrelevancy for me, and the only interest I have left is that of being happy for people like Trammell who are getting long-overdue public recognition.

That's the only joy in it for me anymore - that of being happy for people who are inducted. Otherwise, it's a cool museum with some plaques.
   4. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:24 AM (#5589950)

I have fond enough memories of Jack Morris (Twins fan, so yeah), that even though he doesn't deserve to be in the Hall I am mostly OK with him being there.
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:31 AM (#5589958)
Happy about both, I guess. I tend to be big Hall for players, and I don't think that induction is supposed to be determined wholly by numbers.
   6. Rally Posted: December 11, 2017 at 10:46 AM (#5589981)
a) more happy about Trammell's induction than you are upset about Morris's
   7. Batman Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:02 AM (#5590008)
c- happy for both. I wouldn't have voted for him, but Morris isn't an embarrassment as a player or (as far as I know) as a person. The 1984 Tigers were the best team when I was nine, the first year I played Little League and the first year I pretty much understood everything that happened on the field, so I guess I have a soft spot for them.
   8. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:09 AM (#5590025)
A. If the price of getting Trammell in is inducting Morris, then that's okay.
   9. WKRP in Cincinnatus Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:14 AM (#5590038)
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:20 AM (#5590051)
e) other; I guess someone could theoretically be happy about Morris and upset about Trammell?
That's not the only "other" possibility.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:27 AM (#5590062)
That's not the only "other" possibility.

Sure, hence it being "other" and not just "happy about Morris and upset about Trammell."
   12. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:36 AM (#5590076)
A, but not by much if the election of Morris suddenly opens a viable candidacy for any long-time starter with an ERA under 3.90.
   13. Mr Dashwood Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:58 AM (#5590106)
I think I fall into (e). I'm neither happy nor upset by Morris' election, and I'm happy for Trammell's.

Or is that (a)?
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: December 11, 2017 at 12:06 PM (#5590114)
Very much A. I expected Morris would go in the very first time he appeared before a Vets Committee, but I didn't think Trammell would go in right away. I also didn't think Simmons would get so close, so I'm very encouraged that this particular group of Vets voters could put in the right people, provided the nominating committee gives them good ones.

   15. Mike Webber Posted: December 11, 2017 at 12:25 PM (#5590135)
A for me. I knew Morris was inevitable, so I'm happy for Trammell.
   16. BDC Posted: December 11, 2017 at 12:46 PM (#5590155)
a) more happy about Trammell's induction than you are upset about Morris's

Definitely. Jack Morris was a darn good pitcher, and I can easily "asterisk" him to remind me that he wasn't as good as most pitchers in the Hall of Fame. In fact the category HOF/not-HOM takes care of that.

Meanwhile, Trammell had a career quite comparable to Sandberg, Alomar, Larkin – your basic HOF middle infielders of recent memory. He definitely belongs and I am very happy to see him move over from the HOM/not-HOF category.
   17. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: December 11, 2017 at 02:51 PM (#5590292)
E? Happy about Trammell, don’t really care about Morris one way or the other. There are plenty of mistakes in the hall of fame, one more won’t really hurt anything.
   18. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 11, 2017 at 03:57 PM (#5590371)
"A". I wouldn't have voted for Morris but I'm far more happy that Trammell made it than upset about Morris.

The linked article is really interesting. I know that observers were impressed with Ruth’s hitting while he was a pitcher, but there’s a difference between being impressed with it, and calling him the hardest hitter in baseball, period. People today regard, say, Madison Bumgarner as a slugger for a pitcher, but I don’t think anyone thinks he hits the ball harder than Stanton or Judge.

The article also states that Ruth plans to “remain in the big leagues long after his effectiveness on the mound has faded on the strength of his hitting.”

I’m wondering what the earliest printed reference is to Ruth staying in the game solely as a hitter? How early was it realized that he was not only “a good hitter for a pitcher”, but a great hitter as compared to anyone?
   19. TDF, trained monkey Posted: December 11, 2017 at 04:49 PM (#5590398)
I don't know why, but comments like this really grind me:
What is expected is Cabrera will rebound from his career-worst season in 2017 and show the same kind of talent that has made him regarded as a Top 5 right-handed hitter of all-time.
No, he isn't. He's a top-6 RH hitter of his generation:

Cabrera: .317/.395/.553 in 9530 PA.
Frank Thomas: .301/.419/.555 in 10075 PA. Thru age-34: .314/.432/.568
Albert Pujols: .305/.386/.561 in 11188 PA. .317/.403/.588 thru 34.
Manny Ramirez: .312/.411/.585 in 9774 PA. .314/.411/.600 thru 34.
Alex Rodriguez: .295/.380/.550 in 12207 PA. .303/.387/.571 thru 34.
Jeff Bagwell: .297/.408/.540 in 9431 PA. .302/.414/.551 thru 34.

But ever? Aaron (.305/.374/.555 in 13941 PA), Mays (.302/.384/.557 in 12496 PA), and FRob (.294/.384/.537 in 11742) put up numbers as good or better, over many more PA (that includes a decline period for each), in a tougher hitting environment. Honus Wagner played before the liveball era but adjusted for context hit better over a longer period; Jimmie Foxx was also a better hitter from pre-WWII.

In the long run being "top-5 ever" isn't that different from "top-10" or "top-12", but why lie or just ignore history? I understand pimping for the local guy, but the facts are right in front of them.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2017 at 07:53 PM (#5590491)
Put me down as A. (1) as with many, I knew Morris was going in, I'm pleasantly surprised they put Trammell in so easily (I suffered through many Santo non-elections) and even more surprised they got Simmons close (although I think there are better candidates they are ignoring). Also (2) I don't have anything against Morris, it's his supporters that annoy me. OK, stuff he says (that gets linked here) annoys me too but that makes him no more/less great a player. It's not his fault he's not quite deserving of the HoF.

I was thinking of a tougher question for me. Putting old-timers and Negro Leaguers to the side (since I don't really know enough about either to properly evaluate) ... From a "representative/deserved" viewpoint, would I prefer the HoF that had just the BBWAA selections or the one with both the BBWAA and the VC selections. Certainly the BBWAA has put in a few that I think did not deserve it and has missed on some I think did deserve it. The VC has cleaned up a few of their mistakes (good) but put in a whole lot of people I don't think belong. I can't decide if I'm more "upset" about the unworthy than I would be if the worthy additions weren't there. This may change when Bonds/Clemens are officially done.

If I got to re-run HoF history, I would have some form of VC -- more likely a panel of genuine experts -- but it would probably meet only every 5-10 years. I'd rely on my main voters (who might not be the BBWAA although they've generally done fine) and use the "VC" to add in the deserving guys they missed. I might limit a player to just 1-2 shots via the VC. I'm not sure how this "VC" would work exactly in terms of voting but there's no intention to limit the number they might induct, their job is to induct all of the ones the BBWAA "should" have inducted (and none where the BBWAA made the right choice).

We think of them as being stingy but the VC has elected 5 players in the last 10 years -- Deacon White, Santo, Gordon and now Trammell and Morris. Although I think Santo, Trammell and probably Gordon (and probably White but outside my expertise/interest) were oversights, that is too many VC inductions for my taste. The BBWAA is not making mistakes every other year. (Solved by Santo, Gordon and White having been inducted by my expert panel long before they were inducted by the actual VCs.)

I also think it's strange, counterproductive or maybe just looks bad to keep assessing somebody like White (or maybe even Gordon) again and again and again. Barring my expert panel, I'd probably still have one single induction to put in everybody deserving whose career was (nearly all) pre-expansion -- similar to the big, final (?) induction of the Negro Leaguers a few years back. VCs can then concentrate on the last 50+ years -- that's plenty to work on.

Of course under this model, there'd probably be more years when nobody was inducted and the HoF would fire me and put together a new process.

   21. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: December 11, 2017 at 11:21 PM (#5590549)
So I don't know if it's just the general level of chill in the dugout crowd, but that was a more universally optimistic set of responses than I was expecting from this question. (The actual HoF announcement thread still had a bunch of Morris-related grumpiness in it; I was expecting at least a couple of B's to show up.)

Which is good! It's generally better to be pleased than annoyed.

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