Latest round from James…with a Mike Webber sighting.
I recently read another quote from an old time ball player going on about how players today don’t have good fundamentals. Suppose this were true rather than just belly-aching. How would you measure when the peak of good fundamental play happened? I think a list similar to the one you came up with list of what you need to be thought of as a major league, would make it possible to measure this. Related question, because not striking out has steadily decreased in importance throughout the history of baseball could every grumpy old ballplayer actually be correct – at least with batting fundamentals? If you aren’t aware that the value of contact is decreasing you could easily be fooled into thinking that what was bad fundamentals a generation ago is now a winning strategy.
Asked by: Mike Webber
It is difficult, but may not be impossible, to measure the quality of play in a league. When you make a subset of that, and try to measure the quality of play is some nebulous, ill-defined area.. . .I’m sayin’ it’s impossible. Once a year, we should declare something impossible so that we don’t have to worry about it any more.
Nate Silver created an interesting table before the HOF results were announced based on the NYTimes (incomplete) survey of BBWAA voters. It breaks down support for the candidates among voters who selected Bonds compared to those who did not support Bonds. 97% of Bonds supporters also supported Clemens, while 0% of those who did not support Bonds voted for Clemens. This confirms the obvious pools of voters will not vote for candidates linked to PEDs (no one who did not vote for Bonds voted for McGwire, Sosa, or Palmeiro, and fewer voted for Bagwell and Piazza). I found it surprising that no voter took your position: Bonds not worthy, but Clemens should be in. Do you think that the writers will take a more nuanced view over time reflecting the lack of evidence on Clemens compared to Bonds? To paraphrase that former Cabinet member acquitted of corruption, how can Clemens get his reputation back?
Well, first, I DON’T feel that Bonds is not worthy. I merely think it is better, for Bonds and for the Hall of Fame, to allow a little time to pass before he is honored. Bonds’ sullied his good name and damaged the game by dishonest and disreputable actions—not to the extent that his accomplishments should never be acknowledged, but it just seems to me obviously better not to rush it. Give it a little time to heal.
On the other question, I’m not optimistic that Clemens’ reputation can ever be restored. There is, I would point out, absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Tris Speaker participated in fixing a game at the end of the 1919 season—but people continue to write that he must have been guilty, since an allegation was made against him. That was 90-some years ago.
Allegations were made against Cobb AND Speaker; there is some evidence that Cobb was guilty. But the letters produced by the accuser make no reference to Speaker, and no reference to any unnamed person who could conceivably have been Speaker. It’s relatively obvious that Dutch Leonard merely included Speaker in the allegations because he was angry at Speaker and wanted to hurt him. But people still believe that Speaker MUST have been guilty. We have a great capacity to believe the worst about our neighbor.
Posted: January 17, 2013 at 06:21 AM | 17 comment(s)
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