Much like a 1960 Studebaker Lark popping up from a creek…these Bill James bits are always surprises.
How the hell are Joe Tinker and Lloyd Waner in the Hall of Fame?
Well, I think Tinker probably deserves to be in the Hall and should be in the Hall. Tinker, in my view, was certainly a better-qualified Hall of Famer than many others (George Kelly, Fred Lindstrom, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines.) Waner is more difficult. There is a story that we used to hear, that when Waner was on the Hall of Fame ballot the researchers mixed up his stats with those of his brothers, and presented his brother’s stats as his. This was 1967; there were no modern Encyclopedias, and it was very difficult to get a complete stat profile for any player. A modern fan has almost no way of understanding how LITTLE information we had about retired players, before the Macmillan Encyclopedia was published in 1969.
Bill, you wrote in an early Abstract that no one can learn to hit at the major league level. Do you stll believe that?
Not in quite such absolute terms. I think there have been a few players (almost all of them shortstops). . .a few players in my lifetime who reached the majors, because of their defensive skill, while their hitting ability was still at a very primitive level. (Omar Vizquel, Elvis Andrus, a couple of other guys that I can’t recall right now. Iglesias may be one.) I think in general that hitting ability is essentially mature, in most players, by the age of 22 or 23, and that the improvements that come after that are usually modest. But I wouldn’t put it in absolute terms.
Bill, do you still like the current wildcard system?
Very much. I like it more now than I did when it was just an idea. The flaw in it, I think, is that there are too many days off, which minimizes the disadvantage of the Wild Card winners by allowing them to rest their pitchers and bring them back in the Division Series. But I like the system.
Posted: October 08, 2013 at 04:32 AM | 79 comment(s)
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