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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Renck: Larry Walker, Barry Bonds not worthy of Hall of Fame vote ... yet

That leaves my ballot in alphabetical order: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Edgar Martinez, Jack Morris, Mike Piazza, Tim Raines, Curt Schilling and Alan Trammell.

There are others who are deserving, players whom history might look on more kindly through a wider lens. These are my eight. It was enough. This time.

 

Perry Posted: January 03, 2013 at 01:53 PM | 61 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:02 PM (#4338088)
Walker's omission has nothing to do with PEDs. He just didn't play enough or care enough. His statistics come up slightly short, and his absence from games by choice, not injury (like missing nearly a week one season to prepare for lasik surgery), was an annual issue.


Wow, I've never heard that knock on Walker - that he didn't care enough? His injuries do hurt his case quite a bit though.
   2. attaboy Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:03 PM (#4338090)
As a person who watched and marveled at Larry Walker's ability, I was shocked to read that, in this writer's mind, Larry Walker didn't care enough to play as often as he could. To me, this is more damning then someone who took steroids. It is hard to imagine that there isn't more going on here, this person covered the Rockies and now is calling out Walker for his lack of passion for the game. The first I am hearing of this, although, as a life long NYer, I probably missed a lot of Montreal and Colorado press.

Coke to RR
   3. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:05 PM (#4338094)
Actually a pretty reasonable article, though how he can be so reasonable and then include Morris...
   4. JJ1986 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:14 PM (#4338101)
Actually a pretty reasonable article, though how he can be so reasonable and then include Morris...


TR Sullivan, another reasonable guy, also included Morris. Ignoring everything else (opening day starts, Game 7), I think there's the feeling that there must have been a HoF-caliber starter who debuted between 1970 and 1984, and Morris, right now, is the only eligible guy. If Stieb were on the ballot instead, I think he'd get decent support.
   5. Rants Mulliniks Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4338126)
I'd never heard anything like that about Walker either, and it does seem odd that he woudl behave that way given his first love was hockey.

The injuries are all that stood between him and the HOF though. He missed well over 500 games, only had one season of 150, and only 4 with more than 138. Other than his cup o' coffee first season (56 PA) the lowest OPS+ he ever had was 110. An HOF-calibre hitter who threw in excellent defense and baserunning to boot.
   6. stanmvp48 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:33 PM (#4338127)
You have to read this guy everyday to realize what a total idiot he is. He once said that this year's Rockie players "bare" no resemblance to the 2007 team. He once had somebody taking an 8 pitch walk which included 5 foul balls. On and on. I wish I had saved them all
Then condemning a player for not caring enough when you don't care enough to proof read your own illiterate excrement.


   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:53 PM (#4338141)
You have to read this guy everyday to realize what a total idiot he is.


If he's a total idiot, why do you read him every day?
   8. stanmvp48 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4338148)
Good question: I guess I get perverse pleasure in catching grammatical errors and other atrocities. Watching American journalism go totally down the crapper.
   9. RJ in TO Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4338157)
If Stieb were on the ballot instead, I think he'd get decent support.

He was on an earlier ballot, and got virtually no support. 176 wins and no Cy Youngs will do that to a pitcher. As good as he was, there's just not enough bulk there for most voters, as that back injury caused by that collision at 1B (which led to changing his motion, which led to tendonitis) robbed him of the decline phase of his career.
   10. Matthew E Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:18 PM (#4338171)
As good as he was, there's just not enough bulk there for most voters, as that back injury caused by that collision at 1B (which led to changing his motion, which led to tendonitis) robbed him of the decline phase of his career.
And the team he played on robbed him of a lot of perceived success at the start of his career.
   11. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4338178)
You have to read this guy everyday to realize what a total idiot he is.

If he's a total idiot, why do you read him every day?


To realize how much of a total idiot he is.

Kind of like watching The Dukes of Hazzard just to see how corny it was, or Three's Company to see what the misunderstanding would be.

I mean, with The Dukes of Hazzard, you knew Boss Hogg was going to scheme with some criminals who then were going to double cross him leaving the Duke Boys to bail the town out by driving really fast in a red car with a racist symbol on its roof -- you just didn't know which actors would play the criminals.
   12. cmd600 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:31 PM (#4338194)
If Walker was really asking for days off just because, and not something like his body needing a day off, then how was this not a huge story, at least reported before today? He thought Walker, who had legitimate injury problems should have played through some more nicks and bruises than he actually did. Perfectly reasonable, as is leaving him off the ballot for missing so much time. But I don't like throwing out now, five years after his retirement, in a position that Walker doesn't really have much of a chance to respond to, that he didn't care enough? Bush league.
   13. Perry Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:35 PM (#4338201)
Editing snafus aside, Renck's actually a pretty thoughtful guy, a hard-working beat reporter and not a bad writer, IMO. I'm not sure he's totally on board with new stats but he's not dismissive either. I still remember when the Rox traded Vinny Castilla and Dante Bichette and acquired Jeff Cirillo in the 1999-2000 off-season, Dan O'Dowd cited OPS in defending the deals and Renck quoted him with approval, one of the earlier mentions of OPS I'd seen in the mainstream press.

I certainly wouldn't call him an idiot, far from it in fact. I've found his stuff well worth reading during the 14 years I've been in CO.
   14. RJ in TO Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4338203)
And the team he played on robbed him of a lot of perceived success at the start of his career.

That certainly didn't help - an ERA+ of 135 through his age 27 season in 1654 innings, but only a 95-80 record.
   15. zonk Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:36 PM (#4338204)
Setting aside the PED aspect of this ballot -

I will always and gladly trade a Morris vote for a Trammell + Raines vote
   16. AROM Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4338216)
He thought Walker, who had legitimate injury problems should have played through some more nicks and bruises than he actually did.


I instinctively do not trust writers who would make such an accusation against a ballplayer. Makes me think of Eric Davis and the crap some writers said about him. The same guy who once crashed into a wall and ended up in a hospital with a lacerated kidney. And who, when undergoing chemotherapy, showed up to the ballpark in Baltimore and had one of his best seasons.

There might be some cases of lazy ballplayers who don't show up when they should. But when I read things like this, my default assumption is that the player was hurt and the writer is an a$$.
   17. stanmvp48 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:47 PM (#4338222)
Thoughtful? Using the phrase "culture of the clubhouse" in 97 straight articles, or so it seemed. Inserting the word "epicenter" as often as possible, and incorrectly, in an attempt to look intelligent. Or quoting the philosopher George Santayana but referring to him as Carlos Santana.

Also Perry I never had the impression he looked at any stats other than BA, HR and RBI.
   18. The District Attorney Posted: January 03, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4338224)
quoting the philosopher George Santayana but referring to him as Carlos Santana
THAT IS GREAT.
   19. Matthew E Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:01 PM (#4338239)
Those who ignore the lessons of the past are doomed never to change their evil ways.
   20. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:02 PM (#4338243)
Baseball Prospectus in their annual player writeups for their book of course consistently hit the theme that Walker was oft-injured. But their conclusion was simply that he was injury prone; they didn't ascribe any lack of dedication or willingness to play through injuries to him.

I again cite them, as I often do, because they provide an easy historical and contemporaneous record to consult as to what people might have been thinking at the time.

There were two comments which came close to addressing his will to play in some form. I'm not making any judgment here, just presenting info. Take it for what its worth:

2000:
Mister Consistent. Chalk up another great year for the right fielder, who hit .379 with 37 home runs in only 127 games. Walker again had injury problems and also missed some time after his best friend was killed in a motorcycle accident. He had surgery after the season to smooth out the cartilage in his troublesome left knee and is expected to be ready for spring training.


2001:
It doesn’t look like keeping Larry Walker healthy for a full season is in the cards. He doesn’t hurt himself doing stupid things on the field; he’s just fragile, and accepting that isn’t easy. His elbow was a problem all year, but Walker was desperate to avoid being shut down. He’s under contract for five more years, which ought to get him well over 400 home runs if he doesn’t burn out. Will he be the first guy to suffer in Hall of Fame voting because of Coors Field?
   21. AROM Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:11 PM (#4338250)
Will he be the first guy to suffer in Hall of Fame voting because of Coors Field?


Here's the thing, most voters know just enough about park effects to know that Larry Walker should not really rank as a hitter somewhere between Stan Musial and Mell Ott (as raw OPS suggests). But they don't know how to quantify it and refuse to accept that any sabermetric site could possibly shed any light on the issue. So if they rate him around Chipper Jones or Reggie Jackson (as OPS+ suggests), it's just by dumb luck. They might just as easily write off all his offensive contributions as just another Bichette or Castilla.
   22. Perry Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4338252)
Or quoting the philosopher George Santayana but referring to him as Carlos Santana.


Wow, really? Must have missed that one. Sounds like he may have been a victim of a rogue autocomplete.

You obviously read him more closely than I do, you've compiled quite a dossier there. Maybe my bar for beat writers is just too low. Or maybe Renck only looks relatively good in the context of goofballs like Jim Armstrong and Mark Kiszla.
   23. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:16 PM (#4338256)
They might just as easily write off all his offensive contributions as just another Bichette or Castilla.


That was the struggle BP noted in their 1998 comment:

Walker posted great numbers, with a higher road OPS than he achieved at Coors. He stole 33 bases with an excellent success rate. He won a Gold Glove. Some believe Coors is unfair, that we downgrade players like Bichette “because they play at Coors.” But Larry Walker is who really gets hurt, because he had a truly remarkable season, and too many morons think it was just a little bit better than what Dante Bichette has accomplished.
   24. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4338258)
I mean, with The Dukes of Hazzard, you knew Boss Hogg was going to scheme with some criminals who then were going to double cross him leaving the Duke Boys to bail the town out by driving really fast in a red car with a racist symbol on its roof -- you just didn't know which actors would play the criminals.


The General Lee was orange.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4338259)

I instinctively do not trust writers who would make such an accusation against a ballplayer. Makes me think of Eric Davis and the crap some writers said about him. The same guy who once crashed into a wall and ended up in a hospital with a lacerated kidney. And who, when undergoing chemotherapy, showed up to the ballpark in Baltimore and had one of his best seasons.
.


And of course, the best way for players to recover quicker from injuries to be "gamers" is to take steroids, which the writers don't like either!
   26. stanmvp48 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4338260)
They do have some goofballs. Woody Paige is a total joke of course. Armstrong, incidentally was bounced couple of years ago for gambling.
   27. Perry Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4338264)
Regarding Walker, here's an excerpt from a profile on scout.com before the 2005 season:

Nagged by injuries and a reported lack of desire to play the game and desire for excellence has recently hurt Walker's reputation.


And a Sports Illustrated profile in 2001:

Sometimes his effort is invisible to the expert's eye as well, and the resulting impression is that Walker is indifferent to the game, as if he'd rather be playing hockey. (He would, but that's beside the point.) "He plays his ass off," says Rockies manager Buddy Bell. "The problem I have is that...when he runs the bases he looks like he's not trying." That's the other knock on him, if it's a knock. "He does make things look easy," says Helton. Too easy. Walker recognizes it too. "I've watched myself play on tape," he admits, "and even I think I'm not trying."

Walker exaggerates this impression in about a hundred, entirely unnecessary, ways. His teammates might be pounding their fists into their gloves, acting intense and competitive, and Walker is chatting with the fans in the outfield bleachers. He's sorry they have to watch a sport as slow as baseball, and he's trying to help them pass the time. Everything he does seems casual, at times to the point of comedy, at others to the point of, well, you have to scratch your head.

Like the stories that he rarely takes batting practice, preferring to hang out in the clubhouse and sort his teammates' mail....



   28. baudib Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:20 PM (#4338265)
I saw all of Walker's career, though from afar, and my perception of him was he was a very hard-nosed player who hustled and sacrificed his body. Am I totally wrong? Sort of like he were Kirk Gibson with Chuck Klein's batting stats and Jesse Barfield's throwing arm. He seems like a Hall of Famer to me.

   29. Ron J2 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4338269)
#21 Worth noting that in his MVP season he hit .346 with 29 HR on the road. His road stats were constantly cited by his supporters. Basically his supporters used the "double his road stats" approach.

If he'd put up the same overall numbers with a more traditional Colorado home/road split he'd have been precisely as valuable but wouldn't have won the MVP (because as you say, in general the voters have never really known what to do about Colorado stats)
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4338273)
Thoughtful? Using the phrase "culture of the clubhouse" in 97 straight articles, or so it seemed. Inserting the word "epicenter" as often as possible, and incorrectly, in an attempt to look intelligent. Or quoting the philosopher George Santayana but referring to him as Carlos Santana.

If that Santayana / Santana conflation is really true, that's a pretty high level of multiple stupidity. I can understand wanting to read him just to see what he'll come up with next.
   31. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:27 PM (#4338274)

Wow, really? Must have missed that one. Sounds like he may have been a victim of a rogue autocomplete.


You know, the Denver Post laid off all its copy editors a while back. People make mistakes, especially when there's no one double-checking what they write. Sometimes people as smart as AROM misspell "Mel Ott"; it doesn't make them dumb.
   32. dlf Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:31 PM (#4338279)
#19 above is Primey worthy.

....

The criticism of Walker's 'desire' seems very reminiscent of what folks wrote about other great players on bad teams. Someone like Rod Carew would constantly hear that he would rather duck a tough lefty and protect his own numbers than be a team player. Alex Rodriguez or Barry Bonds can't have an off playoff without it being said that they are chokers without adequate testicular fortitude. Ted Williams was probably the king of this kind of reporting. If you are a great player on a club that doesn't win, it must be some shortcoming in your character.
   33. Esoteric Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:32 PM (#4338280)
Thoughtful? Using the phrase "culture of the clubhouse" in 97 straight articles, or so it seemed. Inserting the word "epicenter" as often as possible, and incorrectly, in an attempt to look intelligent. Or quoting the philosopher George Santayana but referring to him as Carlos Santana.
Okay, but my question here is where is his editor? It should be the copy-editor's responsibility to fix simple spelling/usage mistakes.

For example, the spelling mistakes? That doesn't tell me ANYTHING about a person's intelligence, provided they're also writing coherent, grammatically sound sentences. Proust couldn't spell. The vast majority of us rely on spell-check. (I'm an exception, and I say it not as a boast but as an admission; it gets me into trouble because, while I never make spelling errors, I do commit typos on a regular basis.) I cringe when people conflate homonyms like "bear" and "bare" or -- and this one really frosts my toast -- "lose" and "loose" (WHY? HOW IS IT THAT THESE TWO ARE ALWAYS CONFUSED??), but I realize it's not a conclusive judgment on their intellect.

As for George Santayana/Carlos Santana...it doesn't smell right to me. Again, an editor would/should have caught that. And even if not, the conflation of two similar-sounding names? Particularly when George Santayana isn't exactly popularly known for anything but that one quote? Meh, I'm probably one of the biggest academic snoots on Primer, but this isn't crucifixion-level stuff, IMO.

EDIT:
You know, the Denver Post laid off all its copy editors a while back.
Ah, well that answers my first question.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:34 PM (#4338282)
Those who ignore the lessons of the past are doomed never to change their evil ways.

Baby.

And Mike Crudale.

Put me as a ditto to AROM, adding JR Richard, JD Drew and George Hendrick to the list (off the top of my head).

Yes, Walker missed time ... and played great when he played. In the end, he ended up with 8030 PA. That's about 400 more than McGwire and about 600 less than Edgar -- not a big deal. That Walker's were spread out over parts of 17 seasons vs 16 for Mac and 18 for Edgar seems completely immaterial as well. All three of them are short career HoF candidates.

Anyway, I will never understand how anybody can vote Edgar over Walker. Edgar was the better hitter but Walker was an excellent defender (for a RF) and a good baserunner. Edgar was also fragile, especially early in his career but also often managing to miss 15-20 games a year even as a DH (only a bit of that was inter-league). The oWAR gap for Edgar is just 3.5 wins and of course he has that extra season's worth of PAs. It's hardly a stretch to think that Walker made up more than 3.5 wins on defense.

EDIT: I should add the WAA which is really the most telling ... it's 48 for Walker to 38 for Edgar. I'll grant you I'm not sure what's going on. Edgar's 8600 PA somehow translate to 68 more replacement runs than Walker's 8000 PA. WAR seems to be assuming that the AL was the superior league throughout their entire careers. For example, Edgar gets credit for 22 Rrep for 678 PA in 1997 while Walker gets credit for only 18 Rrep for 664 PA in 1997. Any comment Chone?

EDIT2: If it is league differences, I'd prefer a separate WAR column for "Rlg" or something. League quality differences and the HoF is not an easy topic.
   35. Rickey! In a van on 95 south... Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4338292)
If Larry Walker wasn't trying, that's why he isn't an inner circle HOF'er with Ruth and Williams, Mantle and Bonds. Apparently a vaguely interested Walker was good enough to be real-life, medium-sized Hall of Fame good.
   36. cmd600 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4338294)
Will he be the first guy to suffer in Hall of Fame voting because of Coors Field


Hurt, but in a different way, I am under the impression that Galarraga never made a second ballot because of Coors. I was having an email discussion with Heyman, when he let it slip that he, and he knew some others, who thought that Galarraga was too dependent on the field. Of course, this was in the middle of a discussion on how Fenway propped up Rice's numbers. Somehow Heyman understood what Coors did for Galarraga but not what Fenway did for Rice.
   37. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:48 PM (#4338301)
Somehow Heyman understood what Coors did for Galarraga but not what Fenway did for Rice.


I think that's part of the point. For a long time writers didn't understand park effects. Then when Coors presented a stark example of the issue to them, they proved they still didn't understand park effects by simply separating Coors from every other park instead of realizing that every other park needs to be adjusted as well using similar methodology. So they over-compensated for Coors by concluding that the presence of Coors made every performance that looked great simply a mirage. Thus, there was no way, in their minds, to actually put up a great performance in Coors. But Walker showed what a great hitter truly could do in the park.
   38. JJ1986 Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4338308)
So they over-compensated for Coors by concluding that the presence of Coors made every performance that looked great simply a mirage. Thus, there was no way, in their minds, to actually put up a great performance in Coors.


Not the writers who voted for the 1995 or 1997 NL MVP.
   39. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4338309)
This is a tangent, but in one of the Walker comments BP notes a Bill James study that concluded that a team's performance in one-run games isn't merely a fluke, in that it is often repeated from year to year for certain teams, leading to a conclusion that potentially the problem is the coaching staff, and, in particular, the baserunning coach and thus the team's baserunning in the form of costly baserunning outs.

I thought the general consensus was that a team's bullpen is likely most responsible for performance in one-run games, to the extent it is more than fluke; I hadn't heard this baserunning theory before. Anyone? Here's the BP comment:

...Despite all of the injuries, Walker is still the best baserunner in the league. One of Dave Collins’s duties will be baserunning coach, a job he held with the Brewers last year when Milwaukee ran themselves into more costly baserunning outs than any other team. Most studies conclude that luck determines a team’s record in one-run games and that luck tends to even out over time. But when Bill James studied the issue, he found that there seems to be a persistent tendency of certain teams to play poorly in one-run games. In 2001, the Brewers had the major league’s second-worst record in one-run games, an ignominious distinction they earned again last year. If a team continues to lose so many of these games from one year to the next, isn’t it fair to think there might be a fundamental problem with the coaching staff? And how many of the Brewers’ one-run losses last year can we hang on Collins? Does Walker need to shield Uribe from him?
   40. JustDan Posted: January 03, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4338310)
From the Rocky Mountain SABR blog in 2008:

Yesterday he quoted the “philosopher” Carlos Santana as saying that “faith is believing things you cannot see”; presumably meaning the philospher George Santayana, who actually did say something like that.
   41. AROM Posted: January 03, 2013 at 06:06 PM (#4338318)
WAR seems to be assuming that the AL was the superior league throughout their entire careers. For example, Edgar gets credit for 22 Rrep for 678 PA in 1997 while Walker gets credit for only 18 Rrep for 664 PA in 1997. Any comment Chone?


AL was superior for their entire careers. I based those numbers not on head to head interleague records (which would only be available for late 90's on) but by the performance of players who played in both leagues.
   42. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4338470)
So the AL has been the superior league for 20+ straight years?
   43. Walt Davis Posted: January 03, 2013 at 10:57 PM (#4338547)
Regardless of whether that's correct or not, I'd still argue:

a) there should be a separate league quality adjustment factor rather than putting it into Rrep

and/or

b) league differences should be captured in WAA somehow

Basically, by WAR, in any season in which both Walker and Martinez produced (hypothetically) 52 runs above replacement (which is not league-specific) in 650 PA, Walker gets credit for 34 RAA above an 18 RAR league average while Edgar gets credit for only 30 RAA above a 22 RAR league average. They both end up generating the same total WAR (assuming the same run-win conversion) but Walker looks much better by WAA when it seems to me he shouldn't and Edgar looks like he has a lot more playing time when in fact he doesn't.

I guess it's an "or" ...

Edgar: 30 RAA (vs. AL avg) + 2 Rlg + 20 Rrep = 52 RAR
Walker: 34 RAA (vs. NL avg) - 2 Rlg + 20 Rrep = 52 RAR

or, more simply:

Edgar: 32 RAA (vs. ML avg) + 20 Rrep = 52 RAR
Walker: 32 RAA (vs. ML avg) + 20 Rrep = 52 RAR

The latter seems simpler to me. Putting league differences into Rrep (the quantity measure) is just taking them out of RAA (the quality measure) when you're trying to reflect the quality difference between the leagues.

Obviously any of the three can be interpreted correctly but I think I find "Edgar was worse relative to his league but his playing time was worth more" to be the worst of the three. The interpretation of my first alternative is "Edgar was worse relative to league but he was in the tougher league and they had equal playing time" ... more descriptive but WAA still differs.* The interpretation of the third is the delightfully simple "these guys were equally good".

It occurs to me that it might be necessary to always show Rlg to the first decimal, otherwise it's all 0s, 1s, 2s (and neg), which would be mildly annoying or confusing. Also, it wasn't clear, but Rlg is a mix of league differences and playing time -- i.e. a half-season would get Edgar 1 Rlg and 10 Rrep. So I can see some appeal to putting Rlg into Rrep for that reason.

* I guess there is the issue of whether these are "real" wins we're estimating or theoretical wins. Two equal players, the one in the tougher league produces fewer wins for his team. But teams in the AL win as many games in a season as teams in the NL (prior to interleague). To restore the equality, you're saying (give or take) that a replacement level team in the AL would win 49 games while in the NL they would win 55 games. Seems a convoluted way to me. Anyway the "these quys were equally good" approach does lose that equal guys in unequal leagues will produce a different number of wins. So I'll propose Rlg as the compromise.

So, in a sense, WAA is capturing "real" wins (equal player in the worse league means Walker's team should win more games than Edgar's, all else equal) while WAR is capturing theoretical wins (wins over a replacement level player in an historically neutral context). I think we clearly don't want to shift WAR to "real" wins as that would only confuse matters more. The "simple" alternative is essentially shifting WAA to theoretical wins as well. At this point, the three component model is becoming a bit of a Frankenstein I must say -- real wins, a real to theoretical adjustment and theoretical wins.
   44. stanmvp48 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4338769)
#40. That was my post on the RMSABR site. Thanks for finding it. I can't find it in the Post Archives but I am fairly certain I reported it correctly. Also note I quoted Renck as saying the Rockies had "scolded" the Giants 14-5, presumably meaning scalded and presumably the result of the absence of copy editors (in 08?).

In any case, if you can't hire editors you should expect your writers to edit themselves and most of his howlers would be obvious on one rereading "When Dexter Fowler gets up a head of steam; he glides around the bases, chewing up ground which hasn't been seen since the days of Larry Walker".

Unfortunately when he should be self-editing he is tweeting or twittering or some such nonsense. This is what I meant by American Journalism going down the crapper. One day I expect to open a newspaper and read computer abbreviations.
   45. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:06 PM (#4339098)
#27's quote from Sports Illustrated is what I remember the knock on Walker being - he made everything look effortless, which sometimes led to the perception that the effort level wasn't 100%.
I also think players who seem miss large chunks of time every year - for different injuries - are susceptible to the criticism that are dogging it, or taking time off for injuries other guys play through.
Put those together, and I can see why a sportswriter could decide he "doesn't care enough." Unfair, but I get it.

Another thing I remember being said about Walker. I am pretty certain it was Bill James, but could have been Baseball Prospectus, it was in a player comment. Would have been around the time of when he moved to Montreal to Colorado. That he couldn't remember someone who had so many different component skills as Walker, but displayed them in different years. By 97, he was a dominant all around player. But in 90-91, he was a solid player with a gun for an arm. In 93, he was a very successful base stealer and a gold glover. In 94, he hit 44 doubles. In 95, he hit 36 homers, good for second in the league.
   46. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4339106)
quote from Sports Illustrated is what I remember the knock on Walker being - he made everything look effortless, which sometimes led to the perception that the effort level wasn't 100%.


This is a common misperception about Canadians.
   47. Ron J2 Posted: January 04, 2013 at 03:59 PM (#4339158)
#46 Given Walker's age he probably remembers Frank Mahovlich. He had a rep for not caring/not playing hard. He just made the game look effortless.
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4339162)
#46 Given Walker's age he probably remembers Frank Mahovlich. He had a rep for not caring/not playing hard. He just made the game look effortless.


Manny and Cano are two modern-day players that come to mind.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a redass like Kevin Youkilis gets extra credit from people for no good reason.
   49. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:28 PM (#4339196)
Put those together, and I can see why a sportswriter could decide he "doesn't care enough." Unfair, but I get it.


Ordinarily, I'd agree with you, but Renck did make a specific reference to something that appears to be Walker not caring enough, him taking a week off to prepare for Lasik surgery. If that's true, it's pretty lame. And we have another such instance mentioned in this thread, with Walker missing time after a friend died in a motorcycle accident. (I can see missing a game for the funeral, but this sounds like it was more than that.)

Presuming all that is true (and I have no reason to doubt it), I think it's fair to say that Walker missed games through his own volition that other players wouldn't have.
   50. puck Posted: January 04, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4339209)
If he's a total idiot, why do you read him every day?

He's the main beat writer, and seems to put a lot of work into it.

But with the double duty these guys now need to pull, he seems like the lead analyst at the paper, too. To me, that's the stuff not worth spending time on. He remains convinced Bichette got jobbed in the 1995 MVP vote.

His stuff on Walker is concerning given his strengths as the beat reporter. OTOH, he seems to toe the team's line on character issues way too much. Not that I think he's toeing a party line on Walker, but I don't trust him as a judge of character or clubhouse issues.

Edit: and good points in #49. I wasn't in town for Walker's career, but it is disappointing to hear these things about him.
   51. Moeball Posted: January 04, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4339349)
Apparently a vaguely interested Walker was good enough to be real-life, medium-sized Hall of Fame good.


Imagine how good Joe Jackson must have been, batting .375, hitting a HR and driving in 6 runs in the 1919 World Series while simultaneously actively trying to lose games.

the knock on Walker being - he made everything look effortless, which sometimes led to the perception that the effort level wasn't 100%.


Did Joe DiMaggio ever get this kind of stuff? I've read about how his "long, loping strides" made both baserunning and covering a lot of ground in Yankee Stadium look "effortless", but I've never read that he was actually criticized by the press for being perceived as "lackadaisical". Whereas Ted Williams heard that kind of stuff from the Boston press all the time (perhaps deserving it sometimes, but I wonder how much of the commentary at the time was due to the player himself and how much was due to differences between Boston and NY press).

I think that's part of the point. For a long time writers didn't understand park effects. Then when Coors presented a stark example of the issue to them, they proved they still didn't understand park effects by simply separating Coors from every other park instead of realizing that every other park needs to be adjusted as well using similar methodology. So they over-compensated for Coors by concluding that the presence of Coors made every performance that looked great simply a mirage. Thus, there was no way, in their minds, to actually put up a great performance in Coors.


Actually, Ray, I've seen just the opposite reactions from some writers and especially casual fans (and what else are most writers but casual fans?). I've been at Padres games against the Rockies in years past where Colorado fans were raving about Galarraga, or Helton, or Walker - whoever was winning batting titles at the time - and when I tried to point out how much they were being helped out by their home park, the response was "well, Ted Williams had help from Fenway, too". Which is true to an extent, but the thing they couldn't understand was the degree to which playing in Denver helps a batter. There have been several years where Coors Field altered scoring so much that Fenway Park or Wrigley Field even in a year when the wind blows out a lot look like the Astrodome by comparison.

And I 100% guarantee that most writers - and fans, for that matter - still don't understand park effects to this day. A lot of the Miguel Cabrera supporters on this very website in recent months - generally fairly knowledgeable baseball fans - couldn't understand how park effects could make Trout's hitting numbers alone approximate Miggy's value offensively - without even having to take baserunning and fielding into consideration which would give Trout a huge edge. Anaheim being a pitcher's park is not some new sudden one-year variation, it has played that way for the last decade. Similarly, Comerica favors hitters pretty consistently. You have to take those things into consideration if you want to accurately measure value, and many fans - and almost 100% of all BBWAA members - don't have a clue about how to do that.

   52. base ball chick Posted: January 04, 2013 at 07:46 PM (#4339351)
i don't believe for one second that larry walker didn't always give his best effort AND, like adam everett, he DID make it look easy. even when he was old and hurt he was a SMART baserunner and one of the 3 best i've seen in my lifetime of NL watching. he was a SMART basestealer, too. he was a GREAT fielder with a dead accurate arm and he didn't miss the effing cutoff man neither. all around just really great player - better than andre dawson, and more deserving than edgar martinez who was just a glorified pinch hitter.

and so he took a week off when his BEST FRIEND died? well, if that ain't a worthless weakass wimpy p*ssy thing to do i don't know what is. real men don't need more than 24 hours to deal with someone they love dying in some horrible crash.

12 - 14 hall of famers on one ballot and no electees - what horsepoopoo
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2013 at 07:54 PM (#4339354)
And I 100% guarantee that most writers - and fans, for that matter - still don't understand park effects to this day. A lot of the Miguel Cabrera supporters on this very website in recent months - generally fairly knowledgeable baseball fans - couldn't understand how park effects could make Trout's hitting numbers alone approximate Miggy's value offensively - without even having to take baserunning and fielding into consideration which would give Trout a huge edge. Anaheim being a pitcher's park is not some new sudden one-year variation, it has played that way for the last decade.


The problem is Tiger park going from one of the better pitchers park in baseball to one of the better hitters parks (even with the fence brought in) is a little extreme. On top of that, there is something screwy going on in the AL west in which two or three of the best pitchers parks in the league reside there. On top of that, Anaheim went from a neutral(98-100 park factor to a very good pitchers park 92 the last two years) Did the addition of Yankee stadium make that much of a difference?




   54. Moeball Posted: January 04, 2013 at 08:58 PM (#4339378)
On top of that, there is something screwy going on in the AL west in which two or three of the best pitchers parks in the league reside there.

Actually, is there something in the weather patterns happening here? Coastal winds or humidity, being at sea level, something like that? It now seems like the entire West Coast (San Diego, LA, Anaheim, Oakland, SF, Seattle) consists of nothing but extreme pitcher's parks.
   55. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:13 PM (#4339386)
I think there's the feeling that there must have been a HoF-caliber starter who debuted between 1970 and 1984, and Morris, right now, is the only eligible guy.


This is actually a pretty good argument IMO, even if it required pruning of superior players to get there.
   56. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4339398)
Actually, is there something in the weather patterns happening here? Coastal winds or humidity, being at sea level, something like that? It now seems like the entire West Coast (San Diego, LA, Anaheim, Oakland, SF, Seattle) consists of nothing but extreme pitcher's parks


Some people have mentioned that as a possibility. I do not know, but I don't take park factors 100% accurate over the last couple of years, especially in regards to the west coast teams.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:48 PM (#4339403)
I think there's the feeling that there must have been a HoF-caliber starter who debuted between 1970 and 1984, and Morris, right now, is the only eligible guy.


This is actually a pretty good argument IMO, even if it required pruning of superior players to get there.


It's about the only argument that is decent for Morris.
   58. Howie Menckel Posted: January 04, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4339406)

A lot of newspaper bloggers don't have any editors these days. Not to defend Santayana-style errors, but that's how the world works now.

   59. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 04, 2013 at 11:19 PM (#4339442)
the knock on Walker being - he made everything look effortless, which sometimes led to the perception that the effort level wasn't 100%.


Did Joe DiMaggio ever get this kind of stuff? I've read about how his "long, loping strides" made both baserunning and covering a lot of ground in Yankee Stadium look "effortless",

Perhaps Dimaggio was considered to be America's first black centerfielder.

And I 100% guarantee that most writers - and fans, for that matter - still don't understand park effects to this day.

To that you can add the number of people who cite overall park effects in asymmetrical ballparks without factoring in the different effects for right handed and left handed batters, or for pull hitters and all-field hitters. How can anyone possibly equate the park effects in the first Yankee Stadium for Joe Dimaggio and Yogi Berra?
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: January 05, 2013 at 12:45 AM (#4339461)
To that you can add the number of people who cite overall park effects in asymmetrical ballparks without factoring in the different effects for right handed and left handed batters, or for pull hitters and all-field hitters. How can anyone possibly equate the park effects in the first Yankee Stadium for Joe Dimaggio and Yogi Berra?


As far as value is concerned, it doesn't matter whether the park is beneficial to lefties or righties. The only reason to bother learning that type of stuff, is if you are acquiring a player for your park, but for evaluating the players value, it doesn't matter in the slightest.
   61. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 05, 2013 at 01:23 AM (#4339481)
To that you can add the number of people who cite overall park effects in asymmetrical ballparks without factoring in the different effects for right handed and left handed batters, or for pull hitters and all-field hitters.


Who cares? Value is value is value. A RH hitter with a 140 OPS+ playing half his games in Yankee Stadium might be more talented than a LH hitter with a 140 OPS+ playing half his games in Yankee Stadium, but each is helping his team score runs just as much as the other.

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