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Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Bill James: The Triple Crown “Thing”

I had a question in “Hey, Bill” asking why Ted Williams did not win the MVP Award after he won the Triple Crown in 1942 and 1946.  When you think about it, this question implies not merely that Williams had led the league in Home Runs, RBI and batting Average, but also that

(a)  There was a recognition that this had happened, and

(b)  There was an importance attached to it.

But is that true?  I really don’t think that it is.  Was “winning the triple crown” even a “thing” in 1942?  Did everybody KNOW that Williams had “won the Triple Crown?”  Did anybody know?  Did anybody care?  In the MVP debates in the newspapers, did anybody reference the fact that Williams had won some sort of “Triple Crown?”

It is my impression that the concept of a baseball Triple Crown was more or less invented by the New York press in 1956 in order to add luster to Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season.  I could be wrong about this; that’s why I am asking for your input.  I don’t doubt that somebody somewhere had said, before 1956, that leading the league in Home Runs, RBI and Batting Average constituted a “Triple Crown”; I am sure they must have.  That’s not what I am asking.  I am asking whether it was a generally accepted, generally understood “thing”?  Was it part of the normal vocabulary of a baseball fan?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 04, 2022 at 11:16 PM | 96 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: triple crown

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   1. Moeball Posted: May 05, 2022 at 02:07 AM (#6075294)
Just a few notes:

1) That should be 1942 and 1947 as Ted's Triple Crown years, not 1946. Ironically, in 1946 Ted finished 2nd in the TC categories but won the MVP as the Sox finally beat out the Yankees for the pennant.

2) The 1947 MVP results particularly irked Ted as he finished only 1 point behind Joe D. in the balloting despite having a far superior season. Then Ted found out the 2 Boston writers supposedly left him completely off the ballot when even just a couple of 10th place votes worth 1 point apiece would have put him over the top. According to Ted, he wouldn't even have minded if those specific writers were picking Joe over him. But to basically say they didn't think Williams was even in the top 10 players in the league was preposterous. Unfortunately, this was typical of Ted's relationship with the media at the time. It was really really bad.

3) Ted just missed a 3rd Triple Crown in 1949, leading the league in HRs, tying for the lead in RBIs and just missing the batting avg title by a fraction of a point. More on the writers: they did award the MVP to Ted in 1949, but some made the claim that unless you lead the league outright in a category, it didn't count towards the TC. Some said tying for the league lead in RBIs wasn't enough. This kind of talk came up again in 1967 when some writers didn't want to acknowledge Yaz winning the TC because he "only tied" with Killebrew for the league lead with 44 HRs.

4) BTW other 1949 trivia - everyone knows about DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak in 1941. Not nearly as many know about Ted's phenomenal streak in 1949 of consecutive games reaching base via a hit or walk. I believe it reached 86, more than half a season's worth in a row!
   2. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:48 AM (#6075295)
Yaz didn't. Leading means being ahead of everyone else, not tied. (Sorry Ducky Joe.) Who led in unassisted triple plays last year? I guess me. And you.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 07:22 AM (#6075296)
But is that true? I really don’t think that it is. Was “winning the triple crown” even a “thing” in 1942? Did everybody KNOW that Williams had “won the Triple Crown?” Did anybody know? Did anybody care? In the MVP debates in the newspapers, did anybody reference the fact that Williams had won some sort of “Triple Crown?”

It is my impression that the concept of a baseball Triple Crown was more or less invented by the New York press in 1956 in order to add luster to Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season. I could be wrong about this; that’s why I am asking for your input. I don’t doubt that somebody somewhere had said, before 1956, that leading the league in Home Runs, RBI and Batting Average constituted a “Triple Crown”; I am sure they must have. That’s not what I am asking. I am asking whether it was a generally accepted, generally understood “thing”? Was it part of the normal vocabulary of a baseball fan?


I'd never thought of that before. Even in Washington I certainly remember the Big Deal that was made out of Mantle's Triple Crown year, which was magnified by stories of his numerous tape measure homers. But as for Williams' earlier TCs, I was simply too young to remember them. I remember being at a minor league game in Roanoke and one of the trivia quizzes the PA announcer gave was about TC winners, but that was in 1973, well after Mantle, Frank Robinson and Yaz.
   4. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:22 AM (#6075303)
My favorite thing about the 1941 MVP race: someone gave a first-place vote to Thornton Lee. And hey - he had a helluva year in 1941. but better than Williams's .406 batting average or DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak?
   5. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:26 AM (#6075304)
Just did a quick look at the plaques for guys inducted before '56 and none of them mention the Triple Crown. Actually, it jumps out at me how minimalist the plaques were. Seems like a lot less wording on them.

Growing up I always had a thing for the Triple Crown (Sox fan, Yaz fan, imagine that). Seeing Cabrera do it remains one of my greatest thrills.
   6. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:57 AM (#6075310)
My favorite thing about the 1941 MVP race: someone gave a first-place vote to Thornton Lee. And hey - he had a helluva year in 1941. but better than Williams's .406 batting average or DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak?


Huh, I can honestly say I don't think I've ever heard of him before. Looking at the numbers you can come up with a defense of the pick. Incidentally Dixie Walker finished 10th despite receiving a first place vote in the NL. I'd be surprised if anyone has finished lower than that with a first place vote.
   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:15 AM (#6075312)
Yaz didn't. Leading means being ahead of everyone else, not tied. (Sorry Ducky Joe.) Who led in unassisted triple plays last year? I guess me. And you.

Who led the AL in HR in 1967?
   8. sanny manguillen Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:17 AM (#6075314)
If "Triple Crown" had a long history, it would have to change meaning at some point. In 1910 or so, if the term was used it would mean something like runs, stolen bases, batting average.
   9. Rally Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:23 AM (#6075316)
The point where it meant leading the league in batting, homers, and RBI would have to have been after 1920. But it was around when Gehrig won it in the 30s, according to some of the comments on James’ site.
   10. Icebox Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:48 AM (#6075318)
The Boston Globe of November 28, 1947, has the complete voting breakdown. It shows that Williams received votes from 23 of the 24 voters, while DiMaggio was on only 21 of the ballots. Lou Boudreau, who came in third, was the only man named on all ballots. Also in that day's paper, a column by Harold Kaese about the voting concludes with "But then, Boston fans should remember that DiMaggio is a truly great ballplayer, that he is a high-class fellow, and that he is ever so nice to baseball writers. Then we'll never lose our tempers about Williams finishing second - and by one measly little point."
   11. Howie Menckel Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:48 AM (#6075319)
Huh, I can honestly say I don't think I've ever heard of him before.

that "To Kill A Mockingbird" was a good read, though !
   12. PeteF3 Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:57 AM (#6075322)
A quick run at newspapers.com shows that the triple crown/"batting 'triple'" was being actively talked about in 1942 and that Williams has a strong chance to lead the league in homers, RBI, and average, and it seems to be an established term in 1949. That said, there are far more hits from 1940-1949 that refer to horse racing than baseball (especially with Citation winning it that decade).

It doesn't appear to have been a term in the 1930s, though I can't tell if there was specific mention of Gehrig leading the league in all 3 categories.
   13. Booey Posted: May 05, 2022 at 10:03 AM (#6075323)
Just did a quick look at the plaques for guys inducted before '56 and none of them mention the Triple Crown. Actually, it jumps out at me how minimalist the plaques were. Seems like a lot less wording on them.


Yeah, the old plaques are terrible. Whether it's hits (Cobb), batting average (Speaker), or homers (Ruth), lots of them list just a single statistic. GC Alexander's plaque doesn't list ANY stats. Many of them just basically say, "He had lots of records," or something that amounts to "He was great. Trust us, bro." ("The greatest ____ of his era", etc).

As for the Triple Crown, it's not just the guys who were elected before '56; none of Williams', Mantle's, or Frank Robinson's plaques mention the Triple Crown either (Robinson's mentions that he led the league in all 3 categories - plus a few others - that season, but doesn't use the words "Triple Crown"). Nor was it retroactively mentioned on Joe Medwick's (elected 1968) or Chuck Klein's (elected 1980) plaques, who were VC choices enshrined well after the TC was an established thing. Yaz's plaque is actually the one only that specifically mentions the Triple Crown (and I'm sure Cabrera's will).
   14. Icebox Posted: May 05, 2022 at 10:12 AM (#6075328)
The September 25, 1941, edition of the Sporting News has a Lousiville Slugger ad with a cartoon stating "Ted's Louisville Slugger swings close to a Triple Crown in 41". Below that text is a drawing of Chuck Klein, Foxx and Gehrig standing on pedestals with three crowns balanced atop each player's head. The remaining text goes into some detail explaining what the triple crown (lower case in this usage) is. It states that the triple crown has only been achieved three times in "recent seasons", which may be the justification for omitting Hornsby.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 10:27 AM (#6075334)
Here's The front page of The Sporting News from November 20, 1941, the issue in which the official batting statistics were released that certified Williams' .406. It's a glorious sight for fans of Teddy Ballgame, along with an announcement of free cartons of cigarettes for members of the U. S. Armed Forces.
   16. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: May 05, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6075338)
13 - I kind of like the old style plaques. There's something fun about the "He was great, trust us bro" approach.
   17. OsunaSakata Posted: May 05, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6075347)
I'm too young to have seen Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial play. I can look at the stats and see and Williams and Musial were better. Why did contemporary accounts think Dimaggio was better? While Dimaggio may have been nicer to reporters than Williams, Musial seems to have been nicer to everybody.
   18. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: May 05, 2022 at 01:10 PM (#6075349)
Seeing Cabrera do it remains one of my greatest thrills.


It just made me angry because it took an MVP away from Mike Trout who, at that point, hadn't yet won one. And I don't care that he's since won multiple (including one he might not have deserved himself) - the focus on the Triple Crown, which is otherwise a really cool thing, stole Trout's thunder.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: May 05, 2022 at 01:10 PM (#6075350)
Why did contemporary accounts think Dimaggio was better?


I think it was mainly because (a) DiMaggio was a great defensive center fielder as opposed to a lousy defensive left fielder, and (b) DiMaggio's team won the pennant every year.
   20. Rally Posted: May 05, 2022 at 01:27 PM (#6075352)
If you were looking at the players in say, 1948, you’d see Joe was a 33 year old CF hitting 320/39/155. Ted, 29, hit 369/25/127. Musial, 27, hit 376/39/131. You can trade off some numbers here and there, make allowances for defense, and make an argument for any of them. What you definitely didn’t know was that Joe would have his last great year at 35, and retire a year later, while the other 2 would keep on racking up numbers into their early 40s.

Looking at their peak years with today’s stats, Stan and Ted appear to be greater than Joe, but not by a huge amount. It’s possible that Joe was their equal, if ball tracking defensive metrics had been around at the time and were able to precisely quantify his defensive edge. Longevity though is what puts them way up on Joe in the career rankings, and you’d never know that until it happened.
   21. Booey Posted: May 05, 2022 at 01:46 PM (#6075355)
#16 - All I can say is that if Christy Mathewson's plaque can end with "Matty was master of them all", then Joe Mauer's plaque better end with "Well played, Mauer" or they may as well burn the whole place down.
   22. Itchy Row Posted: May 05, 2022 at 02:01 PM (#6075357)
Williams got MVP votes every year he played except 1952, when he had 12 PA in six games (but did hit .400). He even got a vote in 1953, when he hit .407 in 37 games.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 03:15 PM (#6075372)
I'm too young to have seen Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and Stan Musial play. I can look at the stats and see and Williams and Musial were better. Why did contemporary accounts think Dimaggio was better? While Dimaggio may have been nicer to reporters than Williams, Musial seems to have been nicer to everybody.

Back then writers (and ballplayers themselves) paid more attention to all-around skills, as opposed to WAR, than they do today. Dimaggio was considered the consummate 5 tool player, while Williams was considered an unworldly hitter but one-dimensional overall.

In retrospect longevity also plays more of a role in player evaluation today, but on a WAR/162 game basis, there wasn't that much difference. Williams averaged 8.6 WAR to Dimaggio's 7.4 and Musial's 6.9. The much bigger difference lay in the career values rather than their average yearly production.

EDIT: coke to Rally.
   24. BDC Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:19 PM (#6075392)
The only one of the three I saw play was Musial – in an Old-Timer's Game :) But having become a big childhood baseball fan just a few years after Musial retired, and while Williams was a manager not all that long-retired himself, I will report from the late 1960s that Williams and Musial were considered gigantic baseball stars. (Partly that longevity effect Rally and Error mention.)

DiMaggio was voted Greatest Living Player and all that, and of course featured in several songs, but the edge he had on the others in the popular imagination was … well, on the order of the edge that Mays had over Aaron among active players. There was a reason for the edge but it did not work to disparage the guys with the slightly "lesser" reputation.

   25. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6075397)
In retrospect longevity also plays more of a role in player evaluation today, but on a WAR/162 game basis, there wasn't that much difference. Williams averaged 8.6 WAR to Dimaggio's 7.4 and Musial's 6.9. The much bigger difference lay in the career values rather than their average yearly production.


This misses the mark a bit for me.

Of all the components that go into value, hitting is the one that makes the biggest difference, and Williams was a significantly better hitter than DiMaggio. The rate stats are massively in his favor. Per 650 PAs, Williams was worth 70 rBat to DiMaggio's 44.

DiMaggio chips away in baserunning, fielding, and positional value, but that's just on the periphery for a lot of people. And even the fielding wasn't really a massive disparity until the final three seasons of Williams' career.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6075401)
This misses the mark a bit for me.

Of all the components that go into value, hitting is the one that makes the biggest difference, and Williams was a significantly better hitter than DiMaggio. The rate stats are massively in his favor. Per 650 PAs, Williams was worth 70 rBat to DiMaggio's 44.


You also have to account for the fact that DiMaggio was singularly hurt by his park, and Williams helped. DiMaggio's tOPS+ splits are 93/108, Williams' 106/94. Everyone was aware that being a RH power hitter in Yankee Stadium suppressed DiMaggio's stats. That's why there was talk of the alleged DiMaggio-Williams trade.

Plus DiMaggio won 9 World Series to Williams O.
   27. villageidiom Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6075402)
The only one of the three I saw play was Musial – in an Old-Timer's Game :)
Cross another one off the bucket list.
   28. villageidiom Posted: May 05, 2022 at 04:54 PM (#6075404)
Plus DiMaggio won 9 World Series to Williams O.
"Clay Bellinger was better than Ted Williams."

- snapper, probably
   29. John Northey Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6075406)
I think #1 for DiMaggio was being seen as the best player on the best team. If your team wins, you must be a winner goes the thinking (which is why pitcher wins was the #1 stat for such a long, long time). It is only recently that pitchers and hitters on losing teams could be seen as valuable (although it blows my mind that the first MVP winner on a last place team was Andre Dawson due to his RBI's and HR and story (giving the Cubs a blank contract saying 'put in whatever you think is right, as I want to play for you' when one would think it would've been a guy who was actually, you know, having a great year - Dawson had 6 years better than that one by WAR, one was nearly double the value but that year he came in 21st for MVP votes, the top 5 that year were all a full WAR behind Dawson, although his teammate Gary Carter had an even better year and led in WAR but came in 12th for MVP votes).
   30. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:11 PM (#6075409)
DiMaggio did play in a park that showcased his defensive ability. Catches of long fly balls near the Yankee Stadium monuments or in ‘Death Valley’ in left center probably made an impression on those who saw or heard about it. DiMaggio had some 400+ putout seasons when he was sufficiently healthy to play enough games, and that benchmark probably also made an impression on those inclined to value that era’s defensive statistics.
   31. villageidiom Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:41 PM (#6075414)
Excluding Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium:

Williams .330/.464/.625/1.089
DiMaggio .334/.405/.611/1.016

Weighting rate stats by Williams' PAs by park:

Williams .344/.481/.634/1.115
DiMaggio .331/.404/.601/1.005

Weighting rate stats by DiMaggio's PAs by park:

Williams .325/.481/.595/1.076
DiMaggio .325/.398/.579/0.977

In the latter, Williams drops the 184 PA he had at Memorial Stadium (870 OPS, 94 park factor) and the 210 PA at KC Muni (1186 OPS, 100 PF), as DiMaggio played in neither.

NONE OF THE ABOVE CONTEMPLATES DEFENSE OF COURSE, where DiMaggio was far better. But in all cases you have Williams with about 100 points of OBP and a slight advantage in SLG over DiMaggio.
   32. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:52 PM (#6075417)
NONE OF THE ABOVE CONTEMPLATES DEFENSE OF COURSE, where DiMaggio was far better. But in all cases you have Williams with about 100 points of OBP and a slight advantage in SLG over DiMaggio.

Right, but the park adjustments narrow the difference significantly. I don't think it's crazy to say you'd rather have the very good defensive CF with 1.000 OPS than the mediocre LF with 1.100. If observers thought DiMaggio was elite in CF, it's even more compelling.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 05, 2022 at 05:53 PM (#6075418)
"Clay Bellinger was better than Ted Williams."

- snapper, probably


Seriously, you think the fact that DiMaggio's team beat Williams' every year, and often won the Championship didn't color perceptions at the time?
   34. Howie Menckel Posted: May 05, 2022 at 06:30 PM (#6075420)
it blows my mind that the first MVP winner on a last place team was Andre Dawson

I think Ernie Banks, the MVP in 1958 and 1959 for a pair of 5th-place teams, opened that door.
Dawson's team finished 6th.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: May 05, 2022 at 07:44 PM (#6075435)
Why did contemporary accounts think Dimaggio was better?

Long, long before my time but he was basically Derek Jeter ("handsome", "elegant") with Hank Aaron's bat. He married (completely unknown but still) starlet Dorothy Arnold in 1939. If he'd been bad with the press, that celebrity might have worked against him winning awards; but the press generally love a celeb who pretends to like them. And still famous enough after his career to marry Marilyn Monroe and date Lee Meriweather and still have his dating history available on the web 70 years later.

Joe D 21-27: 339/403/607, 159 OPS+, 50 WAR, 36 WAA
Trout 21-27: 305/426/590, 180 OPS+, 61 WAR, 47 WAA

So once you dig into the fancy numbers, he's not as good as Trout but still an off the charts player mixed with celebrity. Add 5 rings in those years and he's the "best player on the best team." Those votes with Williams were basically a popular, famous Trout vs Miggy ... and if the Triple Crown wasn't a super big deal at the time, it's not that hard to see a vote for Joe D. Given the stats available at the time, I suspect I'd have voted for him over Williams given I always like all-around players.
   36. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:23 PM (#6075439)
The only one of the three I saw play was Musial – in an Old-Timer's Game :)

Dimaggio retired just a few months before I started seriously following baseball, and I only got to see Musial in a couple of All-Star games (1956, 1962/1st game), but I saw Williams many times, the most memorable being this game in Washington, just after he returned from Korea. It was only his 14th game back, but he hit his 5th home run, and at the end of the day he was hitting .480.

One game I could've seen him in but missed has always haunted me: Opening Day in 1960, where he became only the 4th player in Griffith Stadium history to clear the mammoth CF wall. It accounted for the Red Sox's only run in a 10-1 loss to Camilo Pascual, who 4 years earlier had given up not one, but two similar home runs on Opening Day, to Mickey Mantle. That game I didn't miss.
   37. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:42 PM (#6075441)
Joe D 21-27: 339/403/607, 159 OPS+, 50 WAR, 36 WAA
Trout 21-27: 305/426/590, 180 OPS+, 61 WAR, 47 WAA


Trout's 1st 8 full years, ages 20-27: 1159 Games, 178 OPS+, 9.1 WAR / 650 AB
Williams' 1st 8 full years, ages 20-30: 1184 Games, 195 OPS+, 8.7 WAR / 650 AB

Williams is the better hitter, but Trout was the better all-around player---up to that point in their careers.

For the rest of Williams' career, ages 31-41: 1108 Games, 185 OPS+, 7.4 WAR / 650 PA, 50.3 WAR.

Let's see if Trout can match that. Here's what he's done since 2018: 284 Games, 184 OPS+, 8.1 WAR / 650 AB, but only 13.4 WAR total. Obviously the key to Trout going forward will be his ability to stay on the field.
   38. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 05, 2022 at 08:47 PM (#6075442)
Seriously, you think the fact that DiMaggio's team beat Williams' every year, and often won the Championship didn't color perceptions at the time?
DiMaggio’s arrival coincided with the Yankees then unprecedented 4 consecutive World Series wins (breaking a 3-year drought). Perhaps MVP voters gave Joe too much credit for that, but it’s easy to see how that would color perceptions.
   39. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 05, 2022 at 09:52 PM (#6075446)
Especially since prior to Joe's arrival the Yankees had been in a three year runnerup funk. Their fans were getting restless.
   40. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 06, 2022 at 06:34 AM (#6075487)
Going purely from memory, Brian Kenny had a chapter in his book "Ahead of the Curve" where he advocated for DiMaggio's 1941 MVP over Williams. I remember him arguing on behalf of DiMaggio's aggressive style of play made him a team leader that pushed his teammates and overall team to success they wouldn't otherwise have had in ways that don't simply show up in the stat line. It was an interesting chapter, in part because Kenney and his book were by and large very pro-sabermetics and analytics, but here intentionaly and self-consciously he went away from the numbers.
   41. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 06, 2022 at 06:35 AM (#6075488)
DiMaggio’s arrival coincided with the Yankees then unprecedented 4 consecutive World Series wins (breaking a 3-year drought). Perhaps MVP voters gave Joe too much credit for that, but it’s easy to see how that would color perceptions.

He was Jeter to Teddy Ballgame's A-Rod, and this was decades before Bill James.


Basically, that's why writers preferred DiMaggio. (Now the question should they is another one altogether....)
   42. Rally Posted: May 06, 2022 at 07:22 AM (#6075489)
"Clay Bellinger was better than Ted Williams."


Without his strikeout on 4-6-2022, there’s no way the 2002 Angels could have done what they did. True winner.
   43. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 06, 2022 at 08:21 AM (#6075491)
You also have to account for the fact that DiMaggio was singularly hurt by his park, and Williams helped. DiMaggio's tOPS+ splits are 93/108, Williams' 106/94. Everyone was aware that being a RH power hitter in Yankee Stadium suppressed DiMaggio's stats. That's why there was talk of the alleged DiMaggio-Williams trade.


I think this is absolutely valid...but that it sort of answers a different couple of questions

--Who was the more innately talented player?
--If we had two players like DiMaggio and Williams who were 25, and we were thinking of trading for one and paying him a lot of money, who would be the better investment?

I also think it lends itself to the rabbit hole of how Williams and DiMaggio would have approached hitting differently had their home parks been different. Maybe their whole approach at the plate changes, and with it the results. And what's the carryover between that approach at home to road games?

There's just a lot we'll never be able to fully account for.
   44. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 08:44 AM (#6075494)
Both Dimaggio and Williams had batting traits that impacted their numbers, though more so in Dimaggio's case.

If both of them had been more like Aaron Judge, and been willing (or able) to adjust their swings to go to the opposite field more often, Williams could've lessened the impact of the Boudreau shift, while Dimaggio wouldn't have been so negatively impacted by the contours of Yankee Stadium.
   45. BDC Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:28 AM (#6075516)
DiMaggio's aggressive style of play made him a team leader that pushed his teammates and overall team to success they wouldn't otherwise have had in ways that don't simply show up in the stat line

I've heard anecdotes about Joe DiMaggio, to the effect that after a win, he was happy to go out for a drink with his teammates, but after a loss, he disliked and disapproved of any recreation; he preferred to brood till the next game. Whereas Ted Williams does not seem to have displayed that kind of affect, win or lose he'd talk about guns or fishing afterwards and tomorrow's another day.

(A) this may not be true and (B) though the comparison implicitly favors DiMaggio, over a 154-game season the Williams approach might be very mentally healthy. I know the Yankees won a lot more pennants, but the Red Sox did very well in Ted Williams' prime, too, no matter what their postgame rituals.
   46. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:25 PM (#6075524)
I remember him arguing on behalf of DiMaggio's aggressive style of play made him a team leader that pushed his teammates and overall team to success they wouldn't otherwise have had in ways that don't simply show up in the stat line. It was an interesting chapter, in part because Kenney and his book were by and large very pro-sabermetics and analytics, but here intentionaly and self-consciously he went away from the numbers.
…and that type of stuff is just as much BS when Brian Kenney says it as anyone else.
   47. GregD Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:28 PM (#6075525)
I thought it was pretty well established that DiMaggio was basically only engaged with players who became his sycophants and otherwise spent his time building up absurd grudges against his other teammates.

There are certainly stories of other players holding him up as a model player and being in awe of him, and I can imagine their fear of his disapproval. But it’s hard for me to fathom him as team leader
   48. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:44 PM (#6075529)
Dimaggio had few real friends among his teammates, but he led by example and with selective reminders, some of them sotto voce:

This day lingers: It’s fiery hot, and Berra decides he can use a day off. Berra never asked for actual days off. When he was young, he asked to sit out the second game of a doubleheader. He heard Joe DiMaggio say to someone: “Berra’s too (bleepin’) young to be taking games off.” Berra’s face reddened, and his hero’s words echoed in his ear. In Berra’s career, he would catch both ends of a doubleheader 117 times.
   49. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6075531)
Dimaggio had few real friends among his teammates, but he led by example and with selective reminders, some of them sotto voce:

DiMaggio was huge #######, he just wasn't an ####### to the press, so he got by with his rep intact.
   50. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 06, 2022 at 12:51 PM (#6075532)
That kind of “leadership” probably ended up hurting the team. Also, that’s not leadership, that’s passive aggressive grumbling.
   51. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:00 PM (#6075534)
That kind of “leadership” probably ended up hurting the team. Also, that’s not leadership, that’s passive aggressive grumbling.

I think it's well established by now that DiMaggio wasn't a leader, he was an aloof son-of-a-#####, afraid to expose to the world that he wasn't very bright. His teammates were in awe of him as a player, but I don't think any of them liked him.

   52. Rally Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:04 PM (#6075535)
Sure sounds bad, and unpleasant to be around. But DiMaggio couldn’t have hurt the team all that much.
   53. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:08 PM (#6075536)
That kind of “leadership” probably ended up hurting the team.

Well, I suppose that if Dimaggio had just been more cuddly the Yankees could have won 13 championships in his 13 year career, and not just a measly 9. You never know.

Also, that’s not leadership, that’s passive aggressive grumbling.

There's no one style of leadership, and there are plenty of Dimaggio's teammates who looked up to his example. Yogi apparently took his "passive aggressive grumbling" to heart.

Half the Yankees roster hated Casey Stengel, but that didn't affect their competitive fury.

Now if Dimaggio had chosen to keep playing and stringing out his career in pursuit of counting stats, that could well have worn off his aura. But he had the sense to know when he couldn't be "Joe Dimaggio" any more, and accordingly hung it up. If only certain other superstars (Albert Pujols, Yaz, etc.) had that much sense.
   54. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:15 PM (#6075538)
Sure sounds bad, and unpleasant to be around. But DiMaggio couldn’t have hurt the team all that much.
Depends on your definition of “that much,” sure, but the extra wear and tear on a catcher isn’t usually a good thing. I’d be curious to see if Berra tended to wear down at the end of the year.
   55. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:36 PM (#6075542)
Sure sounds bad, and unpleasant to be around. But DiMaggio couldn’t have hurt the team all that much.

Sure, but I doubt he helped them either, beyond his on field contributions.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 01:39 PM (#6075544)
I’d be curious to see if Berra tended to wear down at the end of the year.

FTR Berra's numbers uniformly improved in the second half of his career. Pardon the formatting, but you can get the idea.

First or Second Half

Determined by All-Star Break Share & Export

I Split G GS PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+
1st Half 1070 953 4215 3808 574 1032 166 27 176 692 15 23 350 203 .271 .335 .467 .802 1780 82 27 5 25 54 56 .248 93
2nd Half 1050 935 4144 3746 603 1118 155 22 182 738 15 10 350 213 .299 .361 .497 .858 1863 63 25 4 19 41 46 .278 107

P.S. His World Series numbers were roughly comparable to his regular season stats.
   57. Ron J Posted: May 06, 2022 at 02:29 PM (#6075553)
#17 Best player of pennant winner was the model a lot of voters used.

And the earliest comment I can find about team record and MVP voting was in reference to Hornsby. Almost word for word, "how can a player be valuable to a 6th place team?"
   58. Ron J Posted: May 06, 2022 at 02:37 PM (#6075555)
#31 Also does not adjust for the difference in the Yankee and Red Sox pitching staffs. Nor does it consider that Williams had 2288 PAs from age 37 on and that dragged his stats down. (yeah still .333/.465/.608 but ... well Teddy Ballgame was really good and this is below his standards) and DiMaggio played in a higher offensive context.

Yes, DiMaggio was uniquely hurt by death valley. He's still not within miles of Williams as a hitter.
   59. Ron J Posted: May 06, 2022 at 02:43 PM (#6075556)
(Reformat of Berra's splits)
I Split    G   GS   PA  AB   R   H    2B 3B  HR RBI SB CS  BB  SO  BA   OBP  SLG  OPS  TB  GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+
1st Half 1070 953 4215 3808 574 1032 166 27 176 692 15 23 350 203 .271 .335 .467 .802 1780  82 27   5 25  54 56  .248   93
2nd Half 1050 935 4144 3746 603 1118 155 22 182 738 15 10 350 213 .299 .361 .497 .858 1863  63 25   4 19  41 46  .278  107 
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 06, 2022 at 02:45 PM (#6075557)
Yes, DiMaggio was uniquely hurt by death valley. He's still not within miles of Williams as a hitter.

I don't think anyone claims he was. What people have said is that if his defensive rep was correct, it's easily to see how someone might have preferred a super offensive player who played a great CF, to a super-duper offensive player who played a mediocre LF.
   61. gehrig97 Posted: May 06, 2022 at 03:01 PM (#6075559)
From "Baseball's Most Baffling MVP Ballots":

The concept of the “Triple Crown” in baseball didn’t exist prior to the 1940s. No mention of the feat was made when Nap Lajoie accomplished the trick in 1901; the newspapers of the day paid much more attention to Cobb’s batting title and base-running exploits than they did his league-leading home runs and RBI in 1909;(i) Hornsby’s two Triple Crowns were but background noise to his.400 averages.

In 1933, two players hit their way to the mythical title, with Jimmy Foxx and Chuck Klein dominating their respective leagues. Again, no mention of a “Triple Crown.” The Associated Press acknowledges that AL MVP Foxx did some collateral damage along with his 48 home runs:

“Decisive factors in favor of Foxx [as MVP] were that, in addition to retaining the home run crown, he led all American League hitters with an unofficial mark of .356 and topped the clouters of both big leagues in runs batted in, with 159.” – Associated Press, Oct. 12, 1933

With Gehrig’s 1934 masterpiece, the as-yet-unnamed Triple Crown had now been accomplished eight times in 33 years, or about as rare as a U.S. presidential election or the Olympics. Still nary a mention of the term.

Joe Medwick made it nine times in 36 years with his 1937 campaign. In reporting his superb season (for which he was awarded the NL MVP), the press listed his accomplishments in order of importance. As always, the batting title came first:

“Medwick, in addition to winning the batting title, also led the league in other departments. He had the most runs, 111; most hits, 237; most two-baggers, 57; most runs batted in, 154; and tied Mel Ott of the Giants for home run honors, each getting 31.” – United Press, Nov. 10, 1937

All of this is to say that the notion of a player leading the league in average, home runs, and RBI just wasn’t thought of as a singular accomplishment. It wasn’t until 1941 that the phrase “Triple Crown” (as it applied in baseball; the term had been in use for years in horse racing) seems to have first surfaced in the major media of the day:

“Poker-faced Joe DiMaggio, the greatest player, excluding pitchers, in the present era of baseball, has reached his goal of a new all-time major league record for hitting in 45 consecutive games, and now can try shooting for another prize – the “Triple Crown of batting.” This bauble is the three-way championship in percentage hitting, home runs and runs batted in and is one of the most elusive batting honors in the game.” – Associated Press, July 3, 1941

DiMaggio, of course, didn’t capture the “Triple Crown of batting” – but Ted Williams accomplished the feat in 1942 and 1947. Coverage of Williams’ seasons focused more on his league-leading batting averages, all-around hitting dominance, and lack of support in the MVP vote. The term “Triple Crown” was rarely employed.

Al Rosen’s 1953 bid seems to be the tipping point for the term’s use. With the Indians’ pennant hopes dashed by mid-August, the lead storyline out of Cleveland was Rosen’s pursuit of the mythical title:

“Cleveland’s vanishing Indians rate as the biggest flop in the American League but Al Rosen, their chief hatchet man, is heading for the Triple Crown as well as the circuit’s Most Valuable Player Award.” – Associated Press, Aug. 25, 1953

It appears the annual tradition of premature Triple Crown speculation began in earnest in 1956, with Mickey Mantle’s then-nascent “pursuit” of the achievement:

“It may be a little too early to predict that Mickey Mantle will win the Triple Crown in the American League. But at the rate he’s going, who is going to beat him?” – Associated Press, May 7, 1952

Since then, of course, a version of the Mantle story has been written ad nauseum, appearing every time a player gets off to an early season hot streak, or hovers near the top of the leaderboards in all three categories.(iii) The reliable and routine coverage of the chase (and, from 1967 until Cabrera’s 2012 season, the reliable and inevitable failure of the player attempting to lead the league in all three categories) served only to build the Triple Crown into the stuff of legend.

Contemporary statistical analysis has dulled some of the luster of the achievement, but it still rates as one of the most unique and exclusive hitting accomplishments available a player.


(i) RBI didn’t become an official statistic until 1920, so all Triple Crowns prior to then have been recognized retroactively.

(ii) When Gehrig died in 1941, a full-page obituary ran on the front page of just about every newspaper in America. If the phrase “Triple Crown” was used, it remains lost to history.

(iii) Mantle, of course, did capture the Triple Crown in 1956. But he’s obviously an exception to the rule, which states “predicting a triple crown in early May is ridiculous, but let’s do it anyway.”
   62. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 06, 2022 at 03:26 PM (#6075562)
Unfortunately, this was typical of Ted's relationship with the media at the time. It was really really bad.


More like "psychotic". Dave Egan, a writer for the Boston Record, ripped him so harshly (and so regularly) you'd think Ted personally tortured and killed Egan's entire family. Here's an example.

EDIT: Italics are stuck again, fellas.
   63. Rally Posted: May 06, 2022 at 05:36 PM (#6075576)
If only certain other superstars (Albert Pujols, Yaz, etc.) had that much sense.


Not remotely comparable. Yaz was a damn good player his last 2 years. Above average offense, high obp, His 82-83 seasons don’t look very different than his 71-72 seasons. If you mean he should have stopped when he was no longer great, he would have had to retire after 1970. And miss out on 13 years of being merely good.
   64. Ron J Posted: May 06, 2022 at 06:43 PM (#6075587)
Fixed the footnoting. i inside square bracket will always be parsed as html code.
   65. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 09:58 PM (#6075613)
If only certain other superstars (Albert Pujols, Yaz, etc.) had that much sense.

Not remotely comparable. Yaz was a damn good player his last 2 years. Above average offense, high obp, His 82-83 seasons don’t look very different than his 71-72 seasons. If you mean he should have stopped when he was no longer great, he would have had to retire after 1970. And miss out on 13 years of being merely good.


I was comparing Yaz's decision (and even more, Pujols') to Dimaggio, who hung it up at 36 after a 2.9 WAR season (1.1 WAR better than anything Yaz put up after 1977) because he was no longer the "Joe Dimaggio" his fans had known. He knew it himself even more than they did, and understandably didn't want to embarrass himself.

You call Yaz's later years "merely good", but from 1978 to his final year in 1983 he averaged all of 1.1 WAR a season, less than 20% of what he'd averaged before that. YMMV, but after 37 he was shadow of his old self.

(And what do you mean that "His 82-83 seasons don’t look very different than his 71-72 seasons"? In 1971-72 his WAR were 4.0 and 2.7. In 1982-83 they were 1.3 and -0.2.)
   66. Rally Posted: May 06, 2022 at 10:25 PM (#6075616)
I was looking at offense. The WAR is a difference between a DH and a gold glove outfielder. I’ll post his slash lines in random order. Without looking, who can tell which came from the 42-43 year old, and which from the 31-32 year old?

264/357/391
266/359/408
275/358/431
254/381/392
   67. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6075622)
I was aware of Yaz's 1982-83 offensive numbers, and for a DH they're mediocre. With all the money the Red Sox had, surely they could've acquired a better DH than him for a lot less money. If he'd still had defensive value, that would've shown up in his WAR, as it did in 1971-72.
   68. SoSH U at work Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:38 PM (#6075624)
I was comparing Yaz's decision (and even more, Pujols') to Dimaggio, who hung it up at 36 after a 2.9 WAR season (1.1 WAR better than anything Yaz put up after 1977) because he was no longer the "Joe Dimaggio" his fans had known. He knew it himself even more than they did, and understandably didn't want to embarrass himself.


Give me a Rickey plying his trade in the indy leagues until they pull the damn jersey off his back instead of some uptight jackwad who doesn't want to ruin his legacy any day.
   69. baxter Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:40 PM (#6075626)
62 Wow, that's a heck of a column. The guy's going off to a war and to disparage him the writer calls him out for a necktie? That's odd.
   70. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 06, 2022 at 11:53 PM (#6075630)
Give me a Rickey plying his trade in the indy leagues until they pull the damn jersey off his back instead of some uptight jackwad who doesn't want to ruin his legacy any day.

Personally as a Yankees fan I'm glad that Dimaggio retired when he did, and that Yaz stuck around to take his victory laps instead of making room for a younger player who would've put up more than 1.1 WAR a season.

And much as we all love Rickey, would you want him playing on your favorite MLB team at 63? Or at 48?
   71. Rally Posted: May 07, 2022 at 05:24 PM (#6075686)
When Yaz did retire, the Red Sox were able to upgrade at DH. Mike Easler was a natural for the position, and had a great year for them in 84. He wasn’t free though, they traded John Tudor to get him. So looking back, I’m glad Yaz didn’t decide to hang around another year.
   72. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 07, 2022 at 05:39 PM (#6075692)
I've heard anecdotes about Joe DiMaggio, to the effect that after a win, he was happy to go out for a drink with his teammates, but after a loss, he disliked and disapproved of any recreation; he preferred to brood till the next game. Whereas Ted Williams does not seem to have displayed that kind of affect, win or lose he'd talk about guns or fishing afterwards and tomorrow's another day.

(A) this may not be true and (B) though the comparison implicitly favors DiMaggio, over a 154-game season the Williams approach might be very mentally healthy. I know the Yankees won a lot more pennants, but the Red Sox did very well in Ted Williams' prime, too, no matter what their postgame rituals.


Really, I think this makes DiMaggio sound like a ####### baby, and Ted like a professional.
   73. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 07, 2022 at 11:37 PM (#6075728)
When Dimaggio and Williams were both in their primes and competing in tight pennant races that lasted well into September or even October---a period that in reality only went from 1948 to 1951---the common saying about the Red Sox was "25 players, 25 cabs". It was also commonly known that in most cases Williams' post-game moods had more to do with his personal performance than whether the Red Sox won or lost. Willams' attitude might have been "mentally healthy" for Williams, but in terms of keeping focused on winning it might not have been the best approach.

OTOH much of the tone in the Yankees' clubhouse depended more on McCarthy and Stengel than it did on Dimaggio or any of the other players. One of McCarthy's first acts as a manager was to kick over a card table, have it chopped into pieces, and left there as a message that from that day on only baseball was to be the topic of conversation in the clubhouse. That may have been acting like a prick, but during his entire managerial reign the Yankees were universally cited as having the most "professional" attitude toward the game of any of the then-16 teams. Players who couldn't go along with the program quickly found themselves traded to also-rans, much like Green Bay Packers players who couldn't handle Vince Lombardi.

I think everyone would agree that Williams was a far more intelligent and thoughtful human being than Dimaggio,** although his relationships with women were barely better than Joe's, but I'm not sure how much his superior intelligence and charm translated into any sort of team leadership qualities. Maybe the Red Sox would've been better off if Williams had occasionally used his stature to light a fire under a few asses, like Dimaggio did with Berra.

** My Turn at Bat, Ted's memoir, is infinitely more interesting to read than Dimaggio's bland Lucky to Be a Yankee. Part of the difference probably reflected the tenor of the times (MTAB came out in 1969, 23 years after LTBAY), but I think more of it just reflected their different personalities.
   74. BDC Posted: May 08, 2022 at 10:16 AM (#6075762)
Except … the Red Sox 1946-51 (to go back & include their 104-win pennant season) were very successful. They lost pennants in '48 and '49 by the barest of margins. If Ted Williams or any of the other 24 were not focused on winning, they were winning anyway. Considering that era a failure falls into the fallacy of only looking at the last game or two of a season – akin to "that golfer is clearly a choker because he lost the tournament by one stroke on Sunday." I tend to think that the Yankees' greater longterm success was based on having a lot more good players.

But of course the converse is also true. Joe DiMaggio may have been an unpleasant human being, but it is impossible to claim that that hurt the Yankees any.
   75. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 08, 2022 at 11:41 AM (#6075768)
BDC,

I didn't claim that the Red Sox were a failure between 1948** and 1951, but it's still interesting to note that in every one of those years except 1948 (which followed an easy NY pennant) the Sox were the overwhelming pre-season pennant favorites. They weren't exactly a "failure", but they were definitely considered to be prime underperformers. Visions of Charlie Brown kicking Lucy's football come to mind.

** I left out 1946-47 because both of those races were lopsided, and my point was about nailbiters.
   76. Zach Posted: May 09, 2022 at 06:50 PM (#6075946)
I think it's well established by now that DiMaggio wasn't a leader, he was an aloof son-of-a-#####, afraid to expose to the world that he wasn't very bright. His teammates were in awe of him as a player, but I don't think any of them liked him.

DiMaggio was the victim of a (very well written!) hit-piece biography, though.

Fun exercise: go through that book and note the actual events Cramer is using to hang the "aloof son-of-a-#####" label on DiMaggio.

Never has "Bit of a loner. Doesn't talk much. Great player, though." come across so badly.
   77. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 10:33 PM (#6075997)
some other stuff that hasnt been mentioned:


Joe was not just a loner, he was very much detached from most humans. Didnt Vince say he hadn't spoken to JOe in ten years? I read that somewhere on the net. The SABR bio on Vince alludes to that "..the brothers sometimes went years without speaking more than a few words to each other.." Based on that and other stories, it seems Joe was very extreme on the end of the personable scale.

Its also interesting the contrast with their press relations which is also well known. But no one mentioned how respected as a manager Ted was. I know he didn't get good clubs and could be tough to deal with. But random guys like Wayne Comer would say how great Ted was and how he got so much out of him as a player. So There's kind of a double edge to Ted, but I guess most of you already know that. To me it seems like Ted had many idiosyncracies, but he was real human being at the end. Even if you didnt like his politics or his crusty manner or whatever.



   78. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 09, 2022 at 10:38 PM (#6075999)
I don't think it's crazy to say you'd rather have the very good defensive CF with 1.000 OPS than the mediocre LF with 1.100.


if you were to give Ted 32 doubles and Joe 32 singles (about .50 slug) that would be about 9.5 runs.

ANd say 32 more walks, another 9.5 runs. That's 19 runs difference offensively.

I thought you were insisting that OF defenders couldn't gain more than 10 runs vs average?
   79. Ron J Posted: May 09, 2022 at 10:59 PM (#6076005)
#77 You might want to ask Toby Harrah and the other members of the underminers about Williams.

Denny McLain hated Williams, which all things considered is kind of a character reference.

Williams had the reputation at the time of being a terrible manager of pitchers. To rephrase an old joke, the only thing he knew about pitching is that he could hit it. And the specific complaint I recall is that he tried to remake everybody as the type of pitchers he had the most trouble with (Christ knows what that meant. I think it was nibbling at the edge of the strike zone. Tough way to make a living)
   80. Ron J Posted: May 09, 2022 at 11:03 PM (#6076007)
#78 That's within the position. Snapper absolutely accepts that the CF start from a higher base than LF and that you have to adjust for that. And his complaints are more about the players graded beyond +/- 20 runs.
   81. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2022 at 07:30 AM (#6076032)
I'd like to see a comparison of the square footage covered by Williams in the smallest LF territory in the Majors, and the square footage covered by Dimaggio in MLB's largest CF territory. Williams also had Dom Dimaggio covering part of what would normally be a LFers bailiwick. Once you master the hardly impossible task of reading the Green Monster, LF in Fenway is the easiest OF position in baseball.
   82. BDC Posted: May 10, 2022 at 09:48 AM (#6076038)
Meanwhile, everybody liked Stan Musial … except Joe Garagiola. They had a falling-out over a bowling alley that they co-owned, or something like that.
   83. SoSH U at work Posted: May 10, 2022 at 10:05 AM (#6076044)
Meanwhile, everybody liked Stan Musial … except Joe Garagiola.


And Murray Chass, unless he's pro-racist, Mr. President.
   84. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2022 at 11:12 AM (#6076050)
Garagiola wasn't exactly the most down-to-Earth guy himself. His jovial facade was about as real as a typical gladhanding politician, and if there was ever a Get Off My Lawn archetype, he was it.
   85. Mefisto Posted: May 10, 2022 at 12:50 PM (#6076068)
the square footage covered by Dimaggio in MLB's largest CF territory


Second largest (Polo Grounds).
   86. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2022 at 03:16 PM (#6076092)
Second largest (Polo Grounds)

Yeah, you're right. Mays had even more room to cover than Dimaggio. The biggest difference was in right-center, where the Polo Grounds walls veered further from home plate even faster than they did at the original Yankee Stadium. But if you click on that second link and hover over the 1938 version (which is where Dimaggio played for most of his career), you'll see that the difference isn't quite as big as it appears in the default (1928) year.
   87. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 10, 2022 at 08:40 PM (#6076140)
OTOH much of the tone in the Yankees' clubhouse depended more on McCarthy and Stengel than it did on Dimaggio or any of the other players. One of McCarthy's first acts as a manager was to kick over a card table, have it chopped into pieces, and left there as a message that from that day on only baseball was to be the topic of conversation in the clubhouse.


I once read in some article, in reference to NFL coaches and this sort of thing that, "pool tables come and pool tables go."

It's an easy, visible thing to do. If you win after taking the table out, it's because you're more focused. If you win after putting it in, it's because you're more relaxed.

It's just narrative spinning nonsense.
   88. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2022 at 09:14 PM (#6076147)
Except that McCarthy never reinstated the card tables, and the interim managers between Huggins and McCarthy (Art Fletcher and Bob Shawkey) were known for not having the respect of the players. McCarthy never had that problem.
   89. Ithaca2323 Posted: May 10, 2022 at 09:47 PM (#6076154)
Right.

The pool tables come and go based on the new coach doing whatever the old (less successful at the time) coaches did.

The interim guys had card tables. McCarthy didn’t. That gets used as the rationale for the success.

It’s no different than the Red Sox taking shots of alcohol in the 2004 ALCS, and that being good, because they were loose and relaxed. But the 2011 guys with the chicken and beer were just unfocused. It’s an easy narrative to attach after the results come in

   90. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2022 at 10:54 PM (#6076167)
The Yankees of Mickey's day were notorious for parties and fights and such. Didn't Bouton make fun of this whole line of thinking?

“But Marvin,” I said, “the way I remember it, we would stay out all night and then beat you guys, anyway. I remember having a pretty good time at a Johnny Grant party and then pitching a two-hitter against you.”
   91. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2022 at 10:56 PM (#6076170)

Williams had the reputation at the time of being a terrible manager of pitchers.



Is that what it was? I knew Williams was sort of divisive among players on what kind of coach he was. But I thought recently his reputation has been gaining.
   92. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 10, 2022 at 11:41 PM (#6076189)
Right.

The pool tables come and go based on the new coach doing whatever the old (less successful at the time) coaches did.

The interim guys had card tables. McCarthy didn’t. That gets used as the rationale for the success.


Obviously it wasn't just McCarthy's clubhouse discipline that produced all those lopsided pennants. But it set the tone for a professionalism that stood in contrast to most of the Yankees' opponents.

---------

The Yankees of Mickey's day were notorious for parties and fights and such. Didn't Bouton make fun of this whole line of thinking?

“But Marvin,” I said, “the way I remember it, we would stay out all night and then beat you guys, anyway. I remember having a pretty good time at a Johnny Grant party and then pitching a two-hitter against you.”


McCarthy enforced discipline in the clubhouse. So did Stengel. In both cases the Yankees hired detectives to enforce curfews on the road,** but in neither case did they monitor the players' normal activities once they left the park.

** And in both cases they traded players whom they considered disruptive, Billy Martin being a prime example.
   93. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 10, 2022 at 11:51 PM (#6076191)
yeah I knew you were gonna mention Martin. But wasnt he really marginal at that pt? There's no way they were going to trade Mantle. Isnt that the pt?
   94. vortex of dissipation Posted: May 11, 2022 at 01:48 AM (#6076213)
My impression of Williams as a manager is that he wasn't a good handler of pitchers, but if you were a hitter and took his batting advice to heart, he'd do everything he could to help you. Several players hit better under Williams that they did anyone else - Mike Epstein for example. And Eddie Brinkman - Brinkman hit .266 and .262 under Williams, and never hit higher than .237 for anyone else. Brinkman hit .264 with Williams as manager, and .214 for the rest of his career.
   95. Ron J Posted: May 11, 2022 at 07:43 AM (#6076224)
#94 I've looked at this. Any number of players had short term success under Williams. Can't think of anybody who sustained the new level.

I mean I'd settle. A manager who can get career years out of even one or two hitters a year (and Williams' record is better than that) is very valuable.

And he could get results with a variety of hitters because while he stressed plate discipline it was always in service of getting a pitch you could hit hard.

He had opinions on the technical side -- couldn't stand the Charlie Lau approach (I believe the quote was "set the science of hitting back 30 years" or something equally diplomatic) but he wasn't trying to turn out mechanically similar players.

   96. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 11, 2022 at 10:30 AM (#6076244)
yeah I knew you were gonna mention Martin. But wasnt he really marginal at that pt? There's no way they were going to trade Mantle. Isnt that the pt?

Obviously they weren't going to trade either Mantle or Ford (Martin's other drinking buddy), but while Martin had started slowly in 1957, he was still only 29 and had been a key member of 3 pennant winning teams, as well as playing big roles in 3 World Series wins. But Weiss hated him for being a bad influence on his two stars, and when the Copacabana night club brawl came along to provide the excuse,** Martin was speedily dispatched to Kansas City.

** Even though a loudmouth racist customer had started the incident by heckling Sammy Davis, Jr., and Hank Bauer, not Martin, was reportedly the one who punched him and broken his jaw.

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