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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Cybermetrics: Why Didn’t The Writers Vote Johnny Mize Into The Hall Of Fame?

Being that he saw his whole career…I once asked Madden the same exact thing.

He got in, via the Veterans Committee, in 1981. So it might seem a little late and silly to complain about it.

But he never he even got 50% of the vote from the writers (he topped out at 43.6% of the vote in 1971 and he got 41.3% in 1973, his last year of eligibility). If we went strictly by WAR, it seems like he should definitely be in. Even now, about 50 years from when he first became eligible, he is 55th in career WAR among position players with 70.2. He had 8 top 5 finishes and one first place. He was in the top 5 each year from 1937-40.

So he had very high career value and peak value. In Win Shares, he also had 8 top 5 finishes among position players, including 3 first places finishes. He was 104th through 2001 in career Win Shares (338) including pitchers. He also missed 3 seasons due to WW II. Bill James ranked him as the 6th best 1B man in the 2nd Historical Abstract.

...In his first year of eligibility, 1960, he got only 16.7% of the vote. Click here to see the voting that year at Baseball Reference. Twelve guys got more votes than he did that year and he had more WAR than all of them. He beat 8 of them buy 20 or more WAR. Edd Roush, Sam Rice and Eppa Rixy all got over 50% of the vote that year, a level Mize never achieved. None of them had even 52 WAR (Mize had 70.2). All but one of the 12 got in before Mize (except Lazzeri). Most were by the Veterans Committee. So they too, did not give Mize the credit he deserved.

I think the writers, and to a lesser extent the Veterans Committee, did a poor job in evaluating Mize. I hope the writers have been, and are getting, better. But when I see the voting for guys like Raines and Bagwell, not to mention Lou Whitaker being gone after just one year on the ballot, I am not sure.

Repoz Posted: December 28, 2011 at 08:53 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, hall of fame, history, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Something Other Posted: December 28, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#4024596)
That is pretty odd. Mize had a HOF career without war credit. That's a helluva player. He had enough black ink that that shouldn't have scared off voters. Led the NL in HRs four times, in RBIs three times, 100 RBIs eight times; Mize even won a batting title to go with tremendous power. 10 All Star games. 2 2nd place and 1 3rd place MVP finishes and scattered MVP votes in 10 other seasons, so he wasn't being ignored during his career. What Mize was good at he was really, really good at, and was recognized for it, so it's not the case that he was one of those guys without a defining skill.

Can anyone explain it?
   2. JJ1986 Posted: December 28, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4024599)
Steroids, obviously.
   3. Something Other Posted: December 28, 2011 at 09:58 PM (#4024606)
That's pretty funny.

Was he a dick? Was he the Dick Allen, the Albert Belle of his day? Did he run kids down while on horseback? Did he have an erroneous reputation as a bad fielder, the kind of thing that knocked Ted Simmons off the ballot?
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: December 28, 2011 at 10:06 PM (#4024618)
Mize was not Gehrig, or Foxx, or even Greenberg, who had a somewhat similar career - memories of those 1Bs was fresh to many voters in 1960. I imagine that's part of it.

Plus Mize only had 847 total AB in his last four seasons, so by the time his name came up, it had been 12 years since his last big season, 1948.

He was one of the best hitters in the game for six years, then disappeared for three years of WW II, then had three more monster years, then part-time.

And none of that justifies him having to wait so long.
   5. Zonk Begs Your Pardon, Mr Blago Posted: December 28, 2011 at 10:08 PM (#4024625)
He was the 'Big Cat' before Galllarrrraggga - for his smooth fielding - so I think his defensive prowess was appreciated.

I suspected Mize was overlooked for a couple of reasons --

First - he played on some really, really great teams. Medwick and Slaughter in St Louis (among others), then the great Yankee teams in the early 50s. Even his years with the NY Giants overlapped with (I think) a season or two of Ott and Lombardi (though I think both were near the end). Beyond a couple of seasons when Ott/Lombardi were sunsetting in NY (at which point he was off to war), it's hard to pick a point when one could definitively say that he was clearly the best player on his own team.

Second - while I don't think he was necessarily known as a malcontent - I do know he had a fair number of complaints about playing time both ends of his NY stay... someone else would have to speak to whether it went beyond that.
   6. Dale Sams Posted: December 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#4024628)
I dunno...Vlad G. may be looking at a similar path. Considered something of a shoo-in now, but with a clogged ballot for years to come, at some point a lot of people will say "Why did we think he was a HOFer?
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: December 28, 2011 at 10:38 PM (#4024657)
fleshing out Post 5

1B predecessor Ripper Collins was a stud in 1934 and 1935, with 128 and 122 RBI and leading the NL in OPS and SLG in 1934. Collins was 9th in OPS in NL in 1936, but started only 58 games because rookie Mize (who got the other 97 starts) was even better.
(The only other player to appear at 1B that year for the Cardinals was... future Dodgers manager Walter Alston, who whiffed in his only career MLB AB and made an error on one of his two fielding chances in the final game of the season).

Medwick's peak was 1935-39, so he got a slight head start on The Big Cat. Mize was a better player than Slaughter in 1940-41, but Slaughter was good. Mize went to the Giants in 1942, where the older Ott out-OPSd him 165-161.

Mize was by far the Giants' best player when he returned in 1946 (Ott, 37, went 5 for 68 that year for a .074 AVG. wow.), but missed the latter part of the season and was in only 101 G.
Mize again is the Giants' best hitter in 1947 (though C Walker Cooper went .305-35-122. yes, please!) and 1948, though Sid Gordon was right there with him in '48.

That was it for full-time duty.
I wonder if the solid part-time/pinch-hitting work for the Yankees hurt his cause? He mainly pinch-hit in 1952 and 1953, starting a total of only 36 games.

Was there a previous Hall of Famer who was a Manny Mota-type for 2+ seasons?
   8. Devin has a deep burning passion for fuzzy socks Posted: December 28, 2011 at 10:57 PM (#4024672)
I suspect part of Mize's problem was the 1947 Giants, who set the record for most HRs in a single season, and came in 4th place. We've all seen how much writers like to complain about guys who hit a lot of home runs but don't do anything else (whether or not that's true), and I think that team was seen as the epitome of that. And I suspect (but don't know) that when people thought of Mize, they thought of that team.

And he was on the ballot in the 60s, when the speed game was at its most popular, and big slow guys tended to be looked down upon. Ralph Kiner, who wasn't as good as Mize, but probably had a superficially better case (more total HRs and leading the league 7 straight times) took 15 years to get elected.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: December 28, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#4024688)
Although there are extra reasons for some guys, the voters have never been too kind to sluggers with short careers.

Greenberg -- 9 "real" elections
Mize -- not elected
Kiner -- under 5% in 60 and 62 -- strange election stuff during that early 60s era but inducted in his last year of eligibility I think
Allen -- not elected, other baggage
McGwire -- doomed, other baggage

You might even argue that Edgar and JuanGone are examples.

If you look at <=8500 PA and >=300 HR, you get 65 players, most obviously not HoFers by any stretch. But the HoFers in that group are Berra, Snider (11 ballots), DiMaggio, Mize (not elected), Klein (not elected), Kiner (15 years) and Greenberg (9 ballots). Piazza is also here and will likely make it. In this group by OPS+, Pujols leads the way at 170, Mac at 162, Mize and Greenberg at 158, Allen at 156. Lance Berkman is #8 at 146 and I don't think he's a "hit by a bus" kind of candidate.

There are several guys with reasonable (and mostly failing IMO) "borderline" cases -- Belle, Howard, Walker (not really a slugger type though), Cash, J Clark, R Smith (see Walker), Edmonds (see Walker), Andruw (see gold gloves), Ortiz. Edgar misses this list only because he had 8672 PA but his 147 OPS+ puts him only 1 point ahead of Berkman (in 1100 more PA). In some ways, Edgar has done better than you might think -- at least he's started out more like Greenberg than Allen.

Historically speaking, career length has always been a big deal for HoF voters. You want to make the HoF with under 8500 (9000?) PA while not playing C or CF -- you have to DESTROY the ball. Without roids, McGwire would have sailed in but then he also had almost 600 HR and "saved baseball" so he was the pinnacle of short-career sluggers.

But none of them had an easy time of it so Mize is not unusual in that way. Seems like they decided he was no Greenberg (who was below 50% until jumping 24 points in 55 and another 23 in 56). (Again, different rules in that he was getting good vote totals 2 years after retirement)

In essence, for hitters, there is really only a couple of truly pure peak cases voted in -- Kiner and Greenberg -- and they both took a good while. Lots of other guys are in because of great peaks but they still hung on for those 2-4 more seasons (e.g. Banks).

Also although I have no idea if this is true, part of it may be that they were still trying to figure out how to give war credit. I think DiMaggio was the first war guy to get elected and that happened in 55, the year of Greenberg's first big bump. I can imagine there'd been some guys giving war credit and other guys not until Joe D was "officially" eligible when they all decided it was a great idea. Doesn't really explain Mize though.
   10. Cyril Morong Posted: December 28, 2011 at 11:17 PM (#4024693)
Maybe it is a case of all of the things people are mentioning here adding up. I think he compares pretty well to Greenberg, yet Greeberg saw his % jump from 38.5% to 62.5% after 5 straight years under 40%. Then it jumped to 85% the next year (although it looks like there were alot of big names that he was up against in those years). Mize, as I mentioned, was not up against anyone really great in his first year. It looks like the writers did not hold a vote in 1961. He somehow fell to 20th in 1962 (only 8.8%). Jackie Robinson and Feller made it in that year on their first ballot, but it still seems like alot of lesser players were getting more votes. Then in 1963 it looks like only the Veterans committee voted. In 1966, Marty Marion, Lou Boudreau and Pee Wee Reese all got more votes than Mize.
   11. Don Malcolm Posted: December 28, 2011 at 11:22 PM (#4024697)
What's more curious is how Mize drops off the ballot in 1974, when it should have been his 12th year of eligibility. 1974 was also Kiner's 12th year of eligibility, and he was still on the ballot, moving up toward being elected the next year, due to some proselytizing by writers and the fact that he was still highly visible as a broadcaster for the Mets.

Were they counting years differently or something? There were gaps in the voting in the 60s, no odd years until '67, but surely they wouldn't count that against someone...would they? Kiner and Mize both became eligible in 1960, so there shouldn't be any difference in their length of eligibility.
   12. Cyril Morong Posted: December 28, 2011 at 11:24 PM (#4024700)
Walt

I was taking a long to time to write my comment so I missed yours. Seems to make sense. But the voters seemed to like Kiner alot more, voting him in and in overlap years Kiner usually got more votes. Mize beat Kiner in MVP shares 2.46 to 1.31.

Cy
   13. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 28, 2011 at 11:36 PM (#4024712)
Can anyone explain it?


My guess:

1: He played his prime years in the late 30s early 40s NL- The NL deadened its ball after 1931, the AL did not- basically the Al/NL offensive split was like that between the IL and the PCL- Mize was as good a hitter as Greenberg- but Greenberg had better looking raw numbers, years like .328-36-170 and .337-40-183 and .315-58-146 and .340-41-150, so a "traditionalist" would certainly conclude that Greenberg was a distinctly superior hitter- even though their raw career totals are very close.

2: WWII, voters really didn't give WWII credit, they may have talked about it, but almost certainly none acted on it- at least not the way the HOM does, those 2 kissing years cost Mize 400 homers and 1500 ribbies

3; Greenberg- as Bill James noted his election in 1956 was heavily criticized at the time- and it came just after Mize's retirement and right before his voting eligibility- and Mize was a comparable player who was regarded (mistakenly IMHO) as inferior.

4: Duke Snider- by 1960 had passed Mize in career HR, the Duke waited 16 years after retirement to get in- and he ended up with 50 more homers

5: By 1970 Mize was down to 19th in career homers, behind guys like Colavito, Hodges and Kiner and a couple active players close behind (Kiner got in in 1975- and that set off a spate of angry MSM articles about the watering down of the hall)

Mize was hit by a double whammy- he was both underrated and lost time to WII that hurt his counting stats.
   14. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:08 AM (#4024731)
Two other factors:
The voting of the 1950s and 1960s was genuinely funky. It isn't even fully coherent within its era, let alone as an extrapolative tool for today.

And Ralph Kiner's rise had something to do with his staying in the public eye as the Mets' announcer.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:18 AM (#4024739)
Mize missed THREE years - 1943-45. He could have been 450 HR/1600 RBI, given that he was a stud in 1942 and didn't skip a beat upon his return in 1946.
   16. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:33 AM (#4024748)
Cousin to Babe Ruth's wife.
   17. AndrewJ Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:38 AM (#4024751)
Maybe Mize splitting his career among three clubs worked against him -- especially since the Cardinals won three straight pennants after trading him in '41, and the Giants traded him in '49 and won the pennant in '51. And the Yankees continued to win for years after Mize retired.

Another HOF head-scratcher: Goose Goslin, who amazingly never got more than 13.5% of the BBWAA vote.
   18. bobm Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:52 AM (#4024761)
Mize's bio from bioproj.sabr.org seems to indicate that his fielding was not universally highly regarded:

The 18-year-old returned to Greensboro in 1931, batting .337. He was promoted to Elmira in the New York-Penn League in 1932. That year, after consulting with Elmira manager Clay Hopper, Branch Rickey decided the slow-footed Mize should switch to first base. It was evident early on that Mize, with his ambling pace and limited range, would never be a defensive star. And yet, he always claimed that he earned his famous nickname, The Big Cat, because of his fielding. The man supposedly responsible was Cardinals infielder Joe Orengo.

“One day the infielders were having a pretty bad time and were making some bad throws to me at first base,” Mize said late in his career. “After digging a few out of the dirt, Joe Orengo called over to me, ‘Atta boy, John, you look like a big cat.’ Some of the writers overheard the remark and asked Joe about it later. The nickname has stuck with me ever since.”

Other observers, like St. Louis sportswriting legend Bob Broeg and Buddy Blattner, maintained that it was sort of a derisive nickname that described the way Mize stalked around the bag. Either way, once Rickey moved the 19-year-old Mize to first base, that would remain his regular post in the field for the rest of his career. ...

And he led the National League first basemen in fielding percentage. Mize actually led his league in this category four times, and led in assists and putouts twice each. Then again, he also led in errors twice and finished second in that dubious category three times. “He was a big, lumbering guy, and some ground balls got by him, sure, but if he could reach it, if he ever got his hand on the ball, he held it,” Don Gutteridge said.
   19. Cyril Morong Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:54 AM (#4024763)
Goslin might be a bigger surprise than Mize given that he never got more than 13.5%. Right now he is 92nd in WAR for position players. He also was 3-2-2-7-4 from 1924-28, so pretty good peak value. Maybe the writers missed some of his value. He hit 156 of his HRs on the road. Maybe his park hurt him
   20. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:21 AM (#4024775)
Greenberg- as Bill James noted his election in 1956 was heavily criticized at the time


Actually, it wasn't Greenberg's election that was criticized, but the process by which he was elected. Greenberg had more votes in 1955 than any candidate who was not elected and it was anticipated that he'd be elected in 1956 all along.

What happened in 1956 is that, for the first time, the ballot was sent to the electorate without a summary of the previous year's voting (in which Greenberg finished fifth and Joe Cronin sixth, behind the four players who were elected). The explanation that the BBWAA gave was that the voters had become lazy, voting for the leading returnees from the prior year's ballot, and that they wanted the electorate to give a fresh review to all of the eligibles. The upshot was that, without the previous year's vote readily available, 130 different players received votes, including many who were not eligible under the rules - and while Greenberg and Cronin were elected anyway, no one else got close, and only Red Ruffing among the others got over 50%. The outcry against that result was not aimed at Greenberg or Cronin, but at the number of *other* players who got votes, whether eligible or not.

-- MWE
   21. OCF Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4024776)
I think he compares pretty well to Greenberg,

For us over at the Hall of Merit - sure. We did position-by-position ranking votes, and here's the first base list:

1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. Anson
4. Mize
5. Brouthers
6. Connor
7. Greenberg
8. Murray
9. McCovey
10. Leonard
11. McGwire
12. Killebrew
13. (Joe) Start
14. (Will) Clark
15. (Mule) Suttles
16. Hernandez
17. Sisler
18. Terry
19. Beckley

One issue in evaluating Mize versus Greenberg: understanding that their offensive environments were different.
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#4024778)
Well, so much for that Frankie Frisch and New York media bias when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Mize spent his first three seasons under Frisch and his last nine seasons in New York, and getting five straight rings in the bargain.

I think he didn't get in via the BBWAA for three related reasons: He wasn't seen as a superstar; the voters in his early eligibility years were quirky, to say the least; and his best years were in parks that were tailor-made for left handed power hitters.

Fun fact: On June 16, 1953, Mize got his 2000th hit on a 5th inning pinch single, in a game that saw the Browns beat the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. Nothing all that special about that, except that going into the game....

The Yankees had won 18 straight, the last 14 on the road as they swept the entire western half of the league

The Browns had lost 14 straight, all at home, as they were swept by the entire eastern half of the league

And Whitey Ford had yet to lose a game as a starter in his entire career, having gone 16 and 0 in 22 starts since he came up from the minors in 1950. Satchel Paige got the save, and in his only appearance that game against Mickey Mantle, he got him to strike out on a fouled bunt.

You have to wonder what sort of odds you could have gotten on the Browns prior to that game from a New York bookie. I didn't learn the score until I got to school the next morning, and I almost offered to bet my lunch that it was a lie, a false friend's cruel idea of a joke.
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:23 AM (#4024779)
Mize also didn't get along very well with Leo Durocher, and took some public potshots at him when Mize was a Giants' coach in 1955. Durocher was a writers' favorite, and that probably didn't help Mize with the electorate either.

-- MWE
   24. Morty Causa Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:43 AM (#4024785)
Mize and Greenberg are quite comparable. Very much the same sort of player. Both should have gone in as soon as possible. As for the different HOF voting support, Hank probably benefited because he stayed in the game after his playing days were over as a high-profile executive. Plus he led the league in home runs and RBIs in his penultimate season, had a good but lesser season the very next year and didn't hang around. Whereas Mize drug the conclusion of his career out more.
   25. Cyril Morong Posted: December 29, 2011 at 02:07 AM (#4024799)
Here are Mize's AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS both home and road:

Home: .320/.406/.598/1.004
Road: .305/.389/.527/.916

Now Greenberg

Home: .338/.440/.681/1.121
Road: .289/.382/.529/.912

Looks very comparable in road games. They both had a career OPS+ of 158. Mize had about 1300 more PAs.

Here are Mize/Greenberg by best 5 seasons in OPS+ (400 PA)

186/171
178/171
176/170
176/169
172/166

Mize had 10 seasons with an OPS+ of 150 or higher. Greenberg had 7. (400 PAs)
   26. Cblau Posted: December 29, 2011 at 03:12 AM (#4024846)
I'd say he was the Tim Raines of his time; overshadowed by a superior player at the same position (or seemingly superior, given Greenberg's offensive context) and spending several years as a part-timer, leaving a bad image in the voters' minds.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#4024882)
Kiner had the "leading the league in HR 7 straight years" thing going for him ... also his first 7 years. So he may also be an example of be great early rather than later if you can only choose one.

These guys really are ridiculously close. Age 24-27 OPS+:

Mize 172
Kiner 169
Greenberg 167
Allen 165
Piazza 164
Klein 161
   28. bjhanke Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:16 PM (#4024959)
Two other factors involving Mize: Voters were confused at the time because his career had so many different ballpark influences that it was hard to figure out (at the tine) just what exactly he had.

Also, it took the voters a LONG time to realize that the Lou Gehrig type of first baseman was here to stay and that the George Sisler type was no longer needed to field a bunch of dead ball era bunts. All the guys like Greenberg and Mize were delayed over that. - Brock Hanke
   29. Something Other Posted: December 29, 2011 at 12:39 PM (#4024964)
Thanks for the enlightenment, all. Great thread.
   30. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:24 PM (#4024979)
Fun and meaningless trivia: 4 players have led their league in doubles, triples and homers (not in the same year, of course) Three of them are all-time immortals: Cobb, Hornsby ,and Gehrig. Mize is the fourth
   31. Cyril Morong Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:35 PM (#4024982)
Pasta

I did not know that. Thanks.

Cy
   32. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 01:45 PM (#4024984)
Pasta

I did not know that. Thanks.

Cy


oh--and I left out: also led in BA
   33. Zonk Begs Your Pardon, Mr Blago Posted: December 29, 2011 at 02:16 PM (#4024991)
Mize is really the bizarro Jack Morris from a timing perspective (not at all to put them on the same level of performance) -- whereas Morris was fortunate to debut and play his prime while the previous generation's best (Seaver, Carlton) weren't anything near what they once were, the next generation (Clemens, Maddux) were just getting started and took a few years to figure it out -- Mize just had the misfortune of debuting early enough that a number of stars were still star-like, while a couple of inner circle players would show up rather shortly after he did.

Add that to WWII taking out three near-prime seasons - and I think Mize probably has to win the worst timing 'award' (non-first half of the 20th century AA division).
   34. Booey Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#4025111)
For us over at the Hall of Merit - sure. We did position-by-position ranking votes, and here's the first base list:

1. Gehrig
2. Foxx
3. Anson
4. Mize
5. Brouthers
6. Connor
7. Greenberg
8. Murray
9. McCovey
10. Leonard
11. McGwire
12. Killebrew
13. (Joe) Start
14. (Will) Clark
15. (Mule) Suttles
16. Hernandez
17. Sisler
18. Terry
19. Beckley



Was this list done a few years back and only included HOF eligible players? Cuz it looks pretty outdated without Bagwell, Thomas, Thome, Palmeiro, and Pujols, at least. And I'd put McGriff, Helton, Olerud, and probably a few others ahead of Sisler and Terry too.
   35. Something Other Posted: December 29, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#4025112)
With war credit Mize gets up around 90 WAR. That's crazy.

I dunno...Vlad G. may be looking at a similar path. Considered something of a shoo-in now, but with a clogged ballot for years to come, at some point a lot of people will say "Why did we think he was a HOFer?
I don't see Vlad being anything close to a shoo-in. He came up not long ago in a long thread so I won't belabor the points made there, but what has he got for the mainstream voter than fifty other candidates don't have, other than being lovable and having a nice batting average (despite which he never won a title)? He doesn't have a short career for a HOFer (would the kind person who calculated the average PAs for a HOFer also be kind enough to mention whether that was for all position players, or just BBWAA elected position players?), but it feels short (leave me alone), and his last four years have been good to ordinary, which won't help. He doesn't have any big numbers, and other than the MVP award, not a whole lot of black ink. A very good peak, but not a great one, not a Mizian peak, for instance.

Short of hanging around for another 51 home runs my guess is Guerrero gets hurt by the influx of terrific candidates and never really nibbles free admission.
   36. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#4025134)
This thread has caused me to add Mize* to the Wagner, Musial pantheon of inner circle greats who are under appreciated. I am sure there are more.

* I think he was there before actually, but I focus less on the history of baseball than I used to and I think I forgot about him.
   37. Cyril Morong Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#4025156)
Mize is the only batter to hit 50+ HRs in a season and have more HRs than strikeouts. He hit 51 in 1947 with 42 Ks
   38. Something Other Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#4025166)
@36: likewise. Mize was an animal. Five year peak of 172 OPS+. Ten year peak of 168 (I wonder where that ranks all-time?), and that's giving him no credit AT ALL for taking three years off and kicking the Nazis' asses for them.

Amazing career.

edit: a quick look at BBRef indicates Mize nips Mays and Aaron on 10 year peak, and is just behind Pujols. Ted Williams is, of course, ridiculous. Teddy doesn't have a 10 year stretch where he's worse than any of those guys' best 10. Never mind the 10 year stretch, it's likely that you can pick the ten worst years of Williams' career and come out better than the best 10 year peak of Aaron, Mays, or Mize. Madness!
   39. OCF Posted: December 29, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#4025186)
Was this list done a few years back and only included HOF eligible players? Cuz it looks pretty outdated without Bagwell, Thomas, Thome, Palmeiro, and Pujols, at least. And I'd put McGriff, Helton, Olerud, and probably a few others ahead of Sisler and Terry too.

This list was done a few years back and included only players elected to the HoM. Since then, the only first baseman added are Bagwell and Palmiero. Bagwell would obviously finish quite high on the list. Palmiero would be somewhere behind Murray, but Murray was who he was most often compared to. While I admit that there are good arguments for putting McGriff and Olerud ahead of at least some of Sisler, Terry, or Beckley, we can't do that because McGriff and Olerud haven't been elected to the HoM. On the 2012 ballot (just finished last night), Palmeiro was elected, Ben Taylor was 14th, McGriff was 20th, Frank Chance was 26th, Tony Perez was 29th, and Olerud was 39th. Thomas, Thome, Pujols, and Helton are not eligible yet.

We also did this before we elected Edgar Martinez; there's no consensus about which positional list he should be on. And there's argument about the placement of Stan Musial, with some opinions that he should be on the 1B list, although we actually ranked him as a LF.

-----

One guide to Bitter Mouse's asterisk: when the public voted on the "All-Century Team" in 1999, which players did the "panel of experts" have to add to balance out the popular vote? The experts added Honus Wagner, Stan Musial, Warren Spahn, Christy Mathewson, and Lefty Grove. (And I'll argue that even the experts screwed up by putting Mathewson ahead of Alexander.) At the very least I would think that Grove should also get Bitter Mouse's asterisk.

Bitter Mouse should also take a look at Eddie Collins and Arky Vaughan.
   40. Something Other Posted: December 29, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#4025224)
@39: I'm not a Bitter Mouse, but your post caused me to look at old Cocky's BBRef page. He was a monster. Jeff Kent, except he had Kent's 5 year peak for his entire career, which was 2500 PAs longer than Kent's career. I consider Kent just over the line. Just, but clearly over, particularly given the Hall hasn't done quite right by 2Bmen. That's how much better Collins was than a minimally qualified Hall of Famer. You can have the same kind of fun with Alomar; Collins was a much, much better hitter, a better fielder, and he did it three full seasons longer than Alomar. Or, Alomar's best 5 year peak is only a hair better than Collins' five year--what should we call it--trough? Not bad for a guy whose best power season included 3 HRs.
   41. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 29, 2011 at 06:49 PM (#4025238)
Fun and meaningless trivia: 4 players have led their league in doubles, triples and homers (not in the same year, of course) Three of them are all-time immortals: Cobb, Hornsby ,and Gehrig. Mize is the fourth.


That makes me appreciate Stan Musial's 1948 season even more. He led the league in doubles and triples, and fell just one home run short of Mize and Kiner. He led the league in BA and RBI, so that one home run cost him the triple crown. But leading the league in home runs, doubles, and triples the same season? That would be mega impressive.
   42. Cyril Morong Posted: December 29, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#4025293)
Tip O'Neil led in all three


http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o'neiti01.shtml
   43. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 29, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#4025307)
Well, so much for that Frankie Frisch and New York media bias when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Mize spent his first three seasons under Frisch and his last nine seasons in New York, and getting five straight rings in the bargain.
Uh, nobody says that there's "Frisch media bias"; the Frisch argument is that Frisch got his friends into the HOF via the VC.
   44. Morty Causa Posted: December 29, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#4025385)
Never mind the 10 year stretch, it's likely that you can pick the ten worst years of Williams' career and come out better than the best 10 year peak of Aaron, Mays, or Mize. Madness!


And he, too, may have lost his best years to helping kicking the Nazis' ass, then the commies (as well as a couple of significant injuries to overcome). Harder than beating the Nazis or the Red menace, though, was that he had to keep Ted Williams in some sort of containment.
   45. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 30, 2011 at 06:40 PM (#4025878)
December 11, 1941: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the New York Giants for Bill Lohrman, Johnny McCarthy, Ken O'Dea and $50,000.

Anybody know why the Cards were so anxious to dump Mize right after Pearl Harbor?
Mediocre SP and a couple of subs, plus $50K - maybe the ownership needed money, I don't know.
   46. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 30, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#4025896)
That makes me appreciate Stan Musial's 1948 season even more. He led the league in doubles and triples, and fell just one home run short of Mize and Kiner. He led the league in BA and RBI, so that one home run cost him the triple crown. But leading the league in home runs, doubles, and triples the same season? That would be mega impressive.

I know one thing: If I'd been the surgeon who took out The Man's appendix after the 1947 season, I would've put my name and Stan's picture up on billboards all over St. Louis.
   47. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 30, 2011 at 07:42 PM (#4025914)
I know one thing: If I'd been the surgeon who took out The Man's appendix after the 1947 season, I would've put my name and Stan's picture up on billboards all over St. Louis.


Can't do that unless Stan agreed.
   48. Downtown Bookie Posted: December 30, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#4025943)
I know one thing: If I'd been the surgeon who took out The Man's appendix after the 1947 season, I would've put my name and Stan's picture up on billboards all over St. Louis.

Can't do that unless Stan agreed.


Well then, how about a billboard with the Doc's name and a picture of the appendix?

DB
   49. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: December 30, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#4025953)
Anybody know why the Cards were so anxious to dump Mize right after Pearl Harbor?
Mediocre SP and a couple of subs, plus $50K - maybe the ownership needed money, I don't know


Wikipedia says:
At the end of the 1941 season, however, he was traded to the New York Giants by Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey, who famously believed in trading players before their skills began to decline.


hmmm, the year before Rickey had traded Medwick away for this:
June 12, 1940: Traded by the St. Louis Cardinals with Curt Davis to the Brooklyn Dodgers for Carl Doyle, Bert Haas, Ernie Koy, Sam Nahem and $125,000.

I suspect STL was having a firesale- they didn't get more talent for Mize than they had for Medwick, and received even less $... I wonder what Mize's salary was

I will say this- the Cards absolutely dominated the WWII years

I also found this:

There was already buzz in September that the Cardinals were looking to trade Johnny Mize. According to one columnist, "[Branch] Rickey gets rid of while the gettin's good. Mize gets $20,000 a year and [Cardinals owner] Samuel Breadon does not go in for robust salaries. Not when he has a Ray Sanders to take Mize's place."


Sanders was no Mize, but he did play well during the war years...
   50. just plain joe Posted: December 30, 2011 at 09:29 PM (#4025975)
Anybody know why the Cards were so anxious to dump Mize right after Pearl Harbor?
Mediocre SP and a couple of subs, plus $50K - maybe the ownership needed money, I don't know.


Branch Rickey was famous/notorious for trading players while they still had value. The fact that he participated in the Cardinals' profits and derived a substantial portion of his personal income in that manner I'm sure had nothing to do with it. The Cardinals may or may not have needed the money, for all of their on field success in the late twenties and the thirties they never drew particularly well at the gate, something that was exacerbated by the effects of the depression. In any case in the days immediately after Pearl Harbor no one knew for sure if MLB would even be allowed to continue, in 1918 the regular season was terminated early by governmental decree. No doubt Rickey felt that offloading the contract of an expensive star onto a competitor was a wise thing to do, especially given that the Cardinals' farm system had replacement(s) ready to take over, at one quarter the cost.
   51. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 30, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#4025984)
I will say this- the Cards absolutely dominated the WWII years

No doubt Rickey felt that offloading the contract of an expensive star onto a competitor was a wise thing to do, especially given that the Cardinals' farm system had replacement(s) ready to take over, at one quarter the cost.

Good points both.
The Mahatma might've been focused on the mazuma, but it certainly didn't seem to hurt the Cards over the next few years.

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