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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Schoenfield: Hall of Famers without their home parks?

Home was not home
Your room was home
A corner was home
The place they weren’t, that was home

We now know you

Jim Rice
When Jim Rice hit the Hall of Fame ballot after his 16-year career with the Red Sox, the debates got ugly. Rice was feared, argued his supporters; Rice was overrated, a beneficiary of Fenway Park, argued his detractors. During most of Rice’s career in Boston, Fenway was a terrific hitter’s park, the traditional Fenway of “no lead is safe” lore. Overall, Rice hit .320 with 208 home runs at Fenway but .277 with 174 home runs on the road. In his 1978 MVP season, Rice hit .361/.416/.690 with 28 home runs at home and .269/.325/.512 with 18 home runs on the road. The debates lasted until Rice’s 15th and final year on the ballot when he made it in.

Sandy Koufax
Through 1961, Koufax was 54-53 in his career with a 3.94 ERA, a talented but erratic left-hander. Suddenly, in 1962, he put it all together, and over his final five seasons in the majors went 111-34 with a 1.95 ERA, leading the NL in ERA all five seasons. Koufax’s control did improve dramatically, but something else happened in 1962: The Dodgers moved out of the L.A. Coliseum and into Dodger Stadium. In 1961, Koufax had a 2.77 ERA on the road … but 4.22 at home. In 1960, he had 3.00 ERA on the road … but 5.27 at home. In 1962, Koufax had a 3.53 ERA on the road … but 1.75 at home. In 1963, he was 2.31 on the road … and 1.38 at home. He had always been pretty good on the road, but the difference was he became unhittable at Dodger Stadium.

Nolan Ryan
Before finishing his legendary career with the Rangers, Ryan spent eight seasons with the Angels and nine with the Astros; that’s 17 years in parks that heavily favored pitchers. Check out his career home/road splits, including his days with the Mets and Rangers: 189-136, 2.77 ERA at home; 135-156, 3.73 ERA on the road. Yes, Ryan had a career road record 21 games under .500.

Repoz Posted: April 20, 2013 at 06:54 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hof, sabermetrics

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   1. bjhanke Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:07 AM (#4420235)
Koufax is really not like the other two. It's true that, in 1962, Sandy got control of the strike zone, losing about 1/3 of his walks per season. And his ERA home/road splits went wild. But, if you check his won/lost splits, you find that he won just about as often on the road as at home in the 1960s. What happened was the the Dodgers' offense varied just as wildly home vs. road as Sandy's ERA did. The quote cites Nolan Ryan's won/lost splits, and they do make a case against Ryan. But Koufax, whose won/lost splits are not in the quote, really isn't the same thing. He was the same pitcher on the road as at home; the ballpark just made his ERAs look much better. He was getting the same results when the runs were tallied up. He deserves every bit of his reputation. - Brock Hanke
   2. BDC Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4420242)
The obvious point not really made in TFA is that if a park exaggerates one guy's stats, it exaggerates those of his teammates and opponents in that park as well. So sure, Koufax was unhittable in Dodger Stadium, but so were Bob Veale (to pick almost at random: 2.25 in 17 starts) and lots of other visiting pitchers. So Koufax wasn't some sort of fluke, he was just better than the other guys, and it manifested itself as weirdly-extreme-looking stats. He was also pretty damn good on the road, but his stats don't look quite as weird there.

Most of the time it would work that way in HOF cases. Where it works against a candidate is if he was actually bad on the road, not when he was good at home. Was Jim Rice bad on the road? His Away sOPS+ for his peak (1977-79) were 146, 145, 126 (as opposed to crazy Home sOPS+ of 179, 200, 204). Obviously he too was damn good on the road in 1977 and '78, very good but not great in '79, and then we confront the same problem we do when eyeballing his whole career in general: there isn't anything really great about it except for that peak. I'm not sure he's in the HOF due to park illusions; I think he's in there because The Big Peak produced Teh Big Fear :)

EDIT: Half-Coke to Brock on the Koufax thing :)
   3. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM (#4420255)
With Koufax, the only real case against him is his short career, because no matter how you adjust his numbers, he still towers over a very good field of his contemporaries** during his 1962-66 peak: three Cy Youngs when there was just one of those being awarded for both leagues; five NL ERA titles; a 111-34 W-L record; three strikeout crowns and four times the leader in K/9; two 1sts and two 2nds in his K/BB ratio; three times most shutouts; two 1sts and one 2nd in complete games; two 1sts & one 3rd in innings pitched; two 1sts, one 2nd & one 3rd in ERA+; four 1sts and one 3rd in WPA; and so on. And this in spite of the fact that in 1962 he was sidelined and / or ineffective due to injury for the second half of the season.

**Marichal, Spahn, Gibson, Drysdale, Perry, and Bunning, just to name the Hall of Famers
   4. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM (#4420262)
[3] Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1962 to 1966, (requiring At least 60% games started and At least 1000 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest Adjusted ERA+


                                                                                          
Rk              Player ERA+     IP   Age   G  GS  CG   W  L W-L%  BB   SO  ERA          Tm
1         Sandy Koufax  167 1377.0 26-30 181 176 100 111 34 .766 316 1444 1.95         LAD
2        Juan Marichal  143 1455.2 24-28 187 182 107 111 46 .707 285 1069 2.50         SFG
3          Jim Maloney  132 1061.2 22-26 151 146  51  83 41 .669 437 1044 2.79         CIN
4          Whitey Ford  130 1089.0 33-37 174 155  41  76 39 .661 256  726 2.74         NYY
5           Bob Gibson  130 1355.0 26-30 181 170  86  93 58 .616 458 1152 2.95         STL
6          Dean Chance  124 1218.1 21-25 218 164  48  74 64 .536 457  846 2.77     LAA-CAL
7          Jim Bunning  123 1395.2 30-34 203 189  62  88 54 .620 306 1119 2.97     DET-PHI
8         Don Drysdale  119 1533.0 25-29 209 205  88  98 70 .583 314 1107 2.75         LAD
9          Chris Short  118 1130.0 24-28 216 149  56  75 51 .595 333  846 2.97         PHI
10            Jim Kaat  118 1259.1 23-27 192 179  62  88 59 .599 291  808 3.14         MIN
11      Camilo Pascual  114 1032.1 28-32 149 146  57  73 41 .640 331  773 3.27         MIN
12       Larry Jackson  114 1337.1 31-35 190 184  67  83 76 .522 295  656 3.30 STL-CHC-TOT
13       Claude Osteen  114 1147.0 22-26 184 165  45  64 69 .481 314  600 3.14     WSA-LAD
14          Bob Friend  113 1123.1 31-35 181 163  48  62 72 .463 219  542 3.16     PIT-TOT
15         Milt Pappas  108 1104.2 23-27 173 166  48  69 46 .600 283  667 3.36     BAL-CIN
16         Ken Johnson  104 1086.0 29-33 174 163  38  59 67 .468 234  699 3.36 HOU-TOT-ATL
17      Dick Ellsworth  102 1247.2 22-26 185 177  58  67 85 .441 331  720 3.65         CHC
18        Mudcat Grant  102 1126.1 26-30 179 161  51  68 57 .544 339  617 3.57 CLE-TOT-MIN
19        Turk Farrell  101 1003.1 28-32 174 132  41  52 64 .448 205  684 3.41         HOU
20   Bill Monbouquette  101 1067.1 25-29 173 155  43  65 63 .508 209  618 3.82     BOS-DET
21         Earl Wilson  100 1099.0 27-31 175 166  36  65 61 .516 440  790 3.80     BOS-TOT
22      Tony Cloninger   95 1035.2 21-25 182 143  50  74 50 .597 426  721 3.74     MLN-ATL
23          Al Jackson   94 1109.2 26-30 186 159  52  53 88 .376 328  582 3.88     NYM-STL
   5. cardsfanboy Posted: April 20, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4420369)
That Rice comment looks way out of line. I don't really think the argument against Rice was his stats are propped up by his home park, but that his stats just aren't good enough, even with the propping up of the homepark.

I don't think I can recall anyone saying Rice only looks good because of his splits. (mind you I have seen people point out his splits, to show that he isn't even as good as his relatively poor numbers for the hall indicate, but that is to a lesser degree)
   6. Walt Davis Posted: April 20, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4420660)
I didn't click through but Santo is one of the most extreme you'll find: 296/383/522 at home, 257/342/406 on the road. The road numbers are barely above average, maybe a 110 OPS+ if we took Wrigley out of it.
   7. Elvis Posted: April 20, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4420666)
The other big change in 1962 for Koufax was expansion. In his big finish, he went 31-4 against the Mets and Astros. He had a 1.90 ERA against HOU and a 1.44 ERA against NYM
   8. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:35 PM (#4420825)
Largest Positive Difference OPStot - OPSaway among top 300 players by away PA

          Player  OPSa  OPSt   t-a
     Bobby Doerr 0.716 0.823 0.107
     Todd Helton 0.864 0.964 0.100
    Larry Walker 0.865 0.965 0.100
       Ron Santo 0.747 0.826 0.079
      Wade Boggs 0.781 0.858 0.077
   Kirby Puckett 0.761 0.837 0.076
     Jimmie Foxx 0.966 1.038 0.072
    Tris Speaker 0.877 0.949 0.072
        Jim Rice 0.789 0.854 0.065
    Paul Konerko 0.793 0.858 0.065
       Fred Lynn 0.780 0.845 0.065
    George Scott 0.704 0.767 0.063
Carl Yastrzemski 0.779 0.841 0.062
   Ryne Sandberg 0.738 0.795 0.057
     Ernie Banks 0.773 0.830 0.057
   Michael Young 0.736 0.791 0.055
Andres Galarraga 0.791 0.846 0.055
    Bobby Murcer 0.748 0.802 0.054
    Dick Bartell 0.693 0.746 0.053
   Greg Luzinski 0.787 0.840 0.053
   George Sisler 0.800 0.852 0.052
     Moises Alou 0.834 0.885 0.051
     Dale Murphy 0.764 0.815 0.051
      Joe Cronin 0.807 0.858 0.051
     Joe Medwick 0.817 0.867 0.050
   9. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4420832)
Largest Negative Difference OPStot - OPSaway among top 300 players by away PA

          Player  OPSa  OPSt    t-a
  Brady Anderson 0.830 0.787 -0.043
     Mike Piazza 0.960 0.922 -0.038
    Joe DiMaggio 1.015 0.977 -0.038
    Willie Davis 0.758 0.723 -0.035
       Joe Kuhel 0.791 0.764 -0.027
   Eddie Mathews 0.911 0.885 -0.026
      Joe Adcock 0.848 0.822 -0.026
   Adrian Beltre 0.831 0.807 -0.024
      Lou Gehrig 1.102 1.080 -0.022
    Mike Cameron 0.804 0.782 -0.022
      Don Baylor 0.797 0.777 -0.020
       Joe Torre 0.837 0.817 -0.020
Rickey Henderson 0.836 0.820 -0.016
      Cal Ripken 0.803 0.788 -0.015
      Eddie Yost 0.781 0.766 -0.015
   Tony Phillips 0.778 0.763 -0.015
   Dave Winfield 0.841 0.827 -0.014
  Reggie Jackson 0.860 0.846 -0.014
    Goose Goslin 0.901 0.887 -0.014
   Bobby Bonilla 0.843 0.829 -0.014
     Boog Powell 0.836 0.822 -0.014
     Ted Simmons 0.798 0.785 -0.013
    Wally Joyner 0.815 0.802 -0.013
       Steve Sax 0.704 0.692 -0.012
   Luis Gonzalez 0.856 0.845 -0.011
   10. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:47 PM (#4420837)
Median Difference OPStot - OPSaway among top 300 players by away PA

      Player  OPSa  OPSt   t-a
  Tony Perez 0.788 0.804 0.016
Steve Garvey 0.759 0.775 0.016
  Chet Lemon 0.781 0.797 0.016
Johnny Bench 0.801 0.817 0.016


0.001 or less Magnitude of Difference OPStot - OPSaway among top 300 players by away PA

          Player  OPSa  OPSt    t-a
   Jason Kendall 0.743 0.744  0.001
    Jose Canseco 0.866 0.867  0.001
     Bobby Grich 0.793 0.794  0.001
     Brian Giles 0.901 0.902  0.001
  Rocky Colavito 0.847 0.848  0.001
Frankie Crosetti 0.694 0.695  0.001

    Omar Vizquel 0.688 0.688  0
 Bernie Williams 0.858 0.858  0
    Roy McMillan 0.635 0.635  0
 Benito Santiago 0.722 0.722  0

    Fred McGriff 0.887 0.886 -0.001
    Ruben Sierra 0.766 0.765 -0.001
    Ossie Bluege 0.708 0.707 -0.001
   Matt Williams 0.806 0.805 -0.001
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: April 20, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4420844)

"The other big change in 1962 for Koufax was expansion. In his big finish, he went 31-4 against the Mets and Astros. He had a 1.90 ERA against HOU and a 1.44 ERA against NYM"

had not thought about that, really

a fair data point

   12. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM (#4420852)
Jack Morris may have pitched to the score, but apparently not to the venue; his ERA home and away were identical.

Zero or Positive Difference ERAtot - ERAaway among top 300 players by away IP
            Player ERAa ERAt  t-a
       Syl Johnson 3.81 4.07 0.26
    Lindy McDaniel 3.24 3.46 0.22
        Jim Clancy 4.04 4.23 0.19
       Joe Nuxhall 3.71 3.88 0.17
        Dave Stieb 3.28 3.44 0.16
       Jim Lonborg 3.70 3.86 0.16
        Bob Gibson 2.76 2.91 0.15
   Carlos Zambrano 3.51 3.66 0.15
       Phil Niekro 3.20 3.35 0.15
        Bob Purkey 3.65 3.79 0.14
      Jeff Fassero 3.99 4.11 0.12
      Howie Pollet 3.40 3.51 0.11
       Jim Bunning 3.17 3.27 0.10
       Burt Hooton 3.28 3.38 0.10
        Andy Benes 3.87 3.97 0.10
   John Candelaria 3.23 3.33 0.10
      John Burkett 4.21 4.31 0.10
     Pedro Astacio 4.57 4.67 0.10
         Jimmy Key 3.42 3.51 0.09
  Dennis Eckersley 3.42 3.50 0.08
     Larry Jackson 3.32 3.40 0.08
Fritz Ostermueller 3.92 4.00 0.08
          Jim Kaat 3.38 3.45 0.07
       Lee Meadows 3.36 3.43 0.07
     Bartolo Colon 3.98 4.05 0.07
      Mudcat Grant 3.57 3.63 0.06
       Hal Carlson 3.92 3.97 0.05
     Mickey Lolich 3.39 3.44 0.05
       Dizzy Trout 3.21 3.26 0.05
          Bob Rush 3.60 3.65 0.05
     Mark Langston 3.93 3.97 0.04
       Earl Wilson 3.65 3.69 0.04
       Lefty Grove 3.03 3.06 0.03
     Urban Shocker 3.01 3.04 0.03
        Tom Seaver 2.83 2.86 0.03
     Virgil Trucks 3.35 3.38 0.03
     Freddy Garcia 4.14 4.15 0.01
     Rick Reuschel 3.36 3.37 0.01
        Curt Davis 3.40 3.41 0.01
    Fergie Jenkins 3.33 3.34 0.01
          Ron Reed 3.45 3.46 0.01
       Jack Morris 3.90 3.90 0
      Curt Simmons 3.54 3.54 0
        Jimmy Ring 4.15 4.15 0
          Ken Hill 4.06 4.06 0

   13. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4420859)
Largest Negative Difference ERAtot - ERAaway among top 300 players by away IP

         Player ERAa ERAt   t-a
      Ed Brandt 4.65 3.87 -0.78
  Larry Dierker 4.04 3.31 -0.73
   Larry Benton 4.75 4.03 -0.72
      Bob Smith 4.65 3.95 -0.70
    Red Ruffing 4.49 3.80 -0.69
 Catfish Hunter 3.92 3.26 -0.66
      Vida Blue 3.91 3.27 -0.64
    Bobo Newsom 4.61 3.98 -0.63
Danny MacFayden 4.55 3.95 -0.60
    Kevin Brown 3.86 3.27 -0.59
    Bump Hadley 4.83 4.24 -0.59
   Kevin Tapani 4.93 4.35 -0.58
   Pete Donohue 4.45 3.88 -0.57
      Red Lucas 4.29 3.72 -0.57
 Fritz Peterson 3.85 3.30 -0.55
     Nolan Ryan 3.73 3.19 -0.54
   Dave Stewart 4.49 3.95 -0.54
    Bob Knepper 4.22 3.68 -0.54
    Lefty Gomez 3.87 3.34 -0.53
   Mike Hampton 4.59 4.06 -0.53
     Dock Ellis 3.99 3.46 -0.53
    Jon Matlack 3.71 3.18 -0.53
   Chuck Finley 4.37 3.85 -0.52
 Walter Johnson 3.18 2.66 -0.52
     Don Sutton 3.77 3.26 -0.51
      Bob Welch 3.98 3.47 -0.51
 Woody Williams 4.70 4.19 -0.51
   14. bobm Posted: April 20, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4420871)
Koufax, career:

                     
Split  ERA     IP
 Home 2.48 1158.0
 Away 3.04 1166.1


Koufax, 1962-1966

Split  ERA     IP
 Home 1.37  715.1
 Away 2.57  661.2
Total 1.95 1377.0


   15. BDC Posted: April 21, 2013 at 09:19 AM (#4420977)
31-4 against the Mets and Astros. He had a 1.90 ERA against HOU and a 1.44 ERA against NYM

a fair data point


It is a fair point. Though, again, the Astros were playing .400 ball in those years and the Mets around .350; combined they were playing .115 ball against Koufax. Even in such an extreme context, he was outperforming everybody else by quite a bit.
   16. AROM Posted: April 21, 2013 at 10:46 AM (#4421021)
That Rice comment looks way out of line. I don't really think the argument against Rice was his stats are propped up by his home park, but that his stats just aren't good enough, even with the propping up of the homepark.

I don't think I can recall anyone saying Rice only looks good because of his splits. (mind you I have seen people point out his splits, to show that he isn't even as good as his relatively poor numbers for the hall indicate, but that is to a lesser degree)


Yeah, splits are just one of many issues for Rice. He simply wasn't as good as some contemporaries who didn't make the hall, and had too short a career to make it on career value.

For Ryan, the W-L splits don't seem very relevant to me. The ERA split is legitimate, showing that his parks helped run prevention (though keep in mind that even with average parks, pitchers will tend to pitch better at home.) Ryan's opponents had the same advantages he had during his home games. For Ryan, his case doesn't come down to rate anyway. For his first 3 years as an Angel he had a very good 122 ERA+, but that would not come anywhere near to recent years by Kershaw/ Verlander/etc. His value was taking the ball every 4th day, usually the complete game, no matter if his pitch counts climbed into the mid 200 level. That and lasting for 27 seasons.

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