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Friday, January 22, 2021

Hall of Famer Henry “Hank” Aaron dies at 86.

Hall of Famer and one-time home run king Atlanta Braves legend Henry Louis “Hank” Aaron passed away this morning at the age of 86, CBS46 has learned. He leaves behind an indelible legacy on and off the baseball diamond.

...

It was the 1974 season that saw Aaron smash his way into the national consciousness. On April 8, 1974 Hammerin’ Hank, as he was known, crushed a 1-0 pitch from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Al Downing over the left field wall at Fulton County Stadium and broke Babe Ruth’s long-time home run record of 714 home runs in a career.


—and we’ve lost another one.

Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 22, 2021 at 10:39 AM | 152 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: braves, hank aaron

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   101. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 22, 2021 at 08:41 PM (#6001320)
For those older than me (I just turned 47, and was two months old when Aaron hit #715), what was the point where people generally started saying, "Holy crap, this guy might actually pass Ruth!".

Several people have already answered that question (at the end of 1971), but what I remember even more distinctly about Aaron is that with the exception of Ted Williams, as early as 1957 opposing managers and players were already calling him the best "pure hitter" in the Majors. At that point he was all of 23.
   102. Rob_Wood Posted: January 22, 2021 at 09:12 PM (#6001321)
I remember seeing an interview with Ted Williams who when asked about Aaron commented how unorthodox it was for a great hitter to hit off his front foot.
   103. The Duke Posted: January 22, 2021 at 09:18 PM (#6001323)
It’s fun to take a walk through Aaron’s baseball reference page. It’s shocking dominance for such a long time.

I remember exactly where I was when he hit 715. It’s one of those moments like apollo 11 or the fall of the Berlin Wall that’s just seared in my memory.
   104. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 22, 2021 at 09:30 PM (#6001325)
It’s fun to take a walk through Aaron’s baseball reference page
Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth are tied... in runs scored. Both finished with exactly 2,174 (T-4 all time behind Henderson, Bonds, and Cobb).

Aaron scored more than 100 runs in 13 consecutive seasons, from 1955 to 1967. A staggering display of transcendent skill, durability, and consistency.
   105. Howie Menckel Posted: January 22, 2021 at 09:50 PM (#6001328)
was feeling melancholy watching the Aaron coverage on MLB Network when a light bulb went on, basically - I got to experience the home run chase and all of its excitement and cultural undertones.

for those of you under age 55 or so, you are the ones who got cheated.

I can't stress enough how much I hope y'all will research more on Hank when you can.
but if you only have 1 hour, spend it on the 2010 interview with Bob Costas that has been airing on MLB Network. it's phenomenal.
   106. Sweatpants Posted: January 22, 2021 at 10:32 PM (#6001332)
Something feels wrong about trying to sum up a career (and life) like his with a pithy comment, but:

- The headline calling him a "Hall of Famer" somehow feels like it isn't doing him justice. Obviously that's the ultimate honor, but he was even bigger than that.

- One of the more depressing occurrences during my time as a baseball fan was Barry Bonds' march to 756. What should have been a joyous and exciting time for the sport was generally downbeat, as outside of San Francisco the public did not really want to celebrate it. Aaron famously had some pushback during his chase as well, but if there's anything positive to take from the whole thing it's that some thirty years later he was universally acclaimed as the worthy home run king, and even someone who broke the game the way Bonds did was considered unfit to succeed him.
   107. Jack Sommers Posted: January 22, 2021 at 10:37 PM (#6001334)
what's wrong with page 2 of this thread ?
   108. Walt Davis Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:12 PM (#6001337)
Please don't take this the wrong way ... Aaron's massive lead in TB over Bonds is due to not counting BBs as total bases. Aaron tops Bonds by just under 900 TB but Bonds has over 1,150 more BB. Ruth (by about 600) and Musial (by 200) also have more BB but not nearly enough to close the gap.

A single is worth more than a BB but a XB isn't really.** Aaron of course has over 800 more hits (nearly all singles) which, if memoary of xRuns and similar is right, comes out to about the same value as 1200 BB. Then you get into things like PAs and outs and era -- Aaron had a bit over 1300 more PA but 1800 more outs which of course is a testament to how amazing Bonds was, not some knock on Aaron. I assume that's the main reason why Rbat gives Bonds such a big edge.

** If I recall IBB are worth less than regular BB and about 1/3 of Bonds' edge in BB is due to IBB.
   109. frannyzoo Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:15 PM (#6001338)
I've spent much of the day trying to find the game at BBREF and the Gene Elston call, but before the Rangers were stolen from D.C., I was a nightly listener to Elston calling Astros baseball. Game in question Hammerin' Hank broke his bat while hitting a home run (don't recall if it was at the Astrodome or Fulton County, but believe it was in Houston). The noticeable rise in Elston's almost always unemotional call sticks with me to this day.

Funniest part of the memory is that I was really pissed at the time, Astros fan and all.
   110. SoSH U at work Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:17 PM (#6001339)
Attention BTF: Walt Davis will be playing the role of Ray in tonight’s thread.
   111. Howie Menckel Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:32 PM (#6001341)
Vin Scully on the radio call, April 8, 1974:

"And once again, a standing ovation for Henry Aaron. [Scully stops talking for 11 seconds, letting the crowd noise fill the void]

"So the confrontation for the second time. Aaron walked in the second inning. He means the tying run at the plate now. We'll see what Downing does. Al at the belt, delivers, and he's low, ball one. [crowd boos]

"And that just adds to the pressure. The crowding booing. Downing has to ignore the sound effects and stay a professional and pitch his game.

"One ball and no strikes. Aaron waiting. The outfield deep and straightaway.

"Fastball. There's a high drive into deep left-center field. Buckner goes back to the fence. It is ... gone!

[Scully stops talking for 1 minutes and 45 seconds, letting the crowd noise and the booming fireworks tell the story.]

"What a marvelous moment for baseball. What a marvelous moment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia. What a marvelous moment for the country and the world. A black man is getting a standing ovation in the deep South for breaking a record of an all-time baseball idol.

"And it is a great moment for all of us, and particularly Henry Aaron, who was met at home plate, not only by every member of the Braves, but by his father and mother. He threw his arms around his father, and as he left the home plate area, his mother came running across the grass, threw her arms around his neck, kissed him for all she was worth.

"As Aaron circled the bases, the Dodgers on the infield shook his hand. And that was a memorable moment.

"Aaron is being mobbed by photographers. He's holding his right hand high in the air, and for the first time in a long time, that poker face of Aaron's shows the tremendous strain and relief of what it must've been like to live with for the past several months.

"It is over. At 10 minutes after nine in Atlanta, Georgia, Henry Aaron has eclipsed the mark set by Babe Ruth. You could not, I guess, get two more opposite men. The Babe: big and garrulous and oh-so-socialable. And oh-so-immense in all of his appetites. And then, the quiet lad out of Mobile, Alabama: slender and stayed slender throughout his career.

"And so it was a memorable moment before the game. And now what a sweet moment it is here in the middle of the game.

"So Henry and the Babe, the two greatest home-run hitters that have ever lived. And it's a marvelous, wonderful, enjoyable moment here in Atlanta. We're so happy, too, that it could be seen all over the United States, that it will be duly reported all around the world. And I'm sure films of it will be seen around the world, and you can hear Georgia around the world."
   112. The Honorable Ardo Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:49 PM (#6001344)
Tom House famously caught #715 on the fly in the Braves' bullpen. He tweeted this today:

When I finally got to him, I handed him the ball and said, "Here it is Hammer."

I'd never seen him cry before.
   113. Howie Menckel Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:10 AM (#6001346)
Aaron said that he rarely hit LF HR into the stands in that stadium.

and that, given his famously circuitous route around the bases, House seemed to be waiting for him when he reached home plate.
   114. Jose Canusee Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:10 AM (#6001347)
Re: "when did people think he had a chance to catch Ruth"? I first watched baseball in 1969, after he was held to 29 HR in the Year of the Pitcher. Seemed like every day the Atlanta Constitution sports page had the list of top career HR hitters down to Aaron even when he didn't hit one.
#54: We moved wast in '70 and I also saw him and the Braves come into town a bit before you during Sept 73.. Looks like he had 706 at the time, he managed a hard liner foul that might have been in the seats of Marichal, then rested game 2. https://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1973/B09021SFN1973.htm
He famously hit 40 HR that year to get within one of the Babe but until I just looked at Retrosheet, I didn't realize what a strong second half he had; he hit .301 for the year but was under .250 at the All-Star break.
   115. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:32 AM (#6001348)
Every time I see the footage of 715 I’m shocked anew at the laxity/failure of ballpark security, and thankful that the guys who chased him around the bases turned out to be well-wishers...because man, that could have gone horribly the other way.
   116. Ron J Posted: January 23, 2021 at 03:29 AM (#6001349)
#115 I don't have the quote handy but I do recall that Aaron said he was really nervous about those guys on the field.
   117. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 23, 2021 at 08:10 AM (#6001350)
I was watching a bunch of old Aaron interviews yesterday and in one of them he said he had an armed bodyguard during the HR chase, and those guys who ran on the field were very lucky they didn’t get shot.
   118. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 23, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6001351)
Here’s an article about Aaron meeting those two fans again in 2010.
   119. LargeBill Posted: January 23, 2021 at 08:52 AM (#6001354)
62. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: January 22, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6001254)
What a player. He's been retired for 35 years, and is still top-5 in Runs, Hits, RBI, HR, and Total Bases. You can't even call him a compiler though, because of the extraordinarily long period of production discussed above.


There's nothing wrong with being a compiler, if what you're compiling are positive baseball stats. With that in mind, Aaron might be the greatest compiler in the history of the game and that's meant as a compliment.
   120. AndrewJ Posted: January 23, 2021 at 10:33 AM (#6001355)
Every time I see the footage of 715 I’m shocked anew at the laxity/failure of ballpark security, and thankful that the guys who chased him around the bases turned out to be well-wishers...because man, that could have gone horribly the other way.

A few innings after Aaron's 714th in Cincinnati, a streaker ran across the field at Riverfront Stadium. Ballpark security pre-1980 was a different animal.
   121. alilisd Posted: January 23, 2021 at 10:37 AM (#6001356)
Mefisto Posted: January 22, 2021 at 07:47 PM (#6001316)
Hornsby had nowhere near the career length of either Aaron or Mays.


I went by years played to make sure I got the decline phase, but probably should have used PAs.


Gotcha. I was thinking maybe you took Aaron and Mays down to around 9K PA's. Regardless, no one is going to catch Hornsby on OPS+, he was just too phenomenal
   122. alilisd Posted: January 23, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6001357)
H U at work Posted: January 22, 2021 at 11:17 PM (#6001339)
Attention BTF: Walt Davis will be playing the role of Ray in tonight’s thread.


I'm glad someone said it ;-)
   123. depletion Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:06 PM (#6001360)
3771 hits. Ahead of Stan the Man, behind Rose and Cobb. Come up when you're 20, get 200 hits a year for 18 years. Not good enough.
   124. depletion Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:08 PM (#6001361)
Howie and Honorable Ardo: great posts.
   125. Mayor Blomberg Posted: January 23, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6001362)
Jerry Brewer, exemplary sportswriter, on an exemplary man.
   126. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 23, 2021 at 02:11 PM (#6001371)
Every time I see the footage of 715 I’m shocked anew at the laxity/failure of ballpark security,


You could see hundreds of fans spilling onto the field at the end of the 1977 World Series at Yankee Stadium, and after Game 7 of 1979 a friend of mine went out onto the field at Memorial Stadium and ran around the bases, thereby losing his ride back to Washington. Of course since the Orioles had lost the Series, he didn't have much company.

Ballpark security pre-1980 was a different animal.

That was the dividing year. After the Phillies clinched the Series at the Vet, you could see a mob on the field, but when you saw an aerial view, you realized it was all players and coaches surrounded by photographers, police, and other security forces. The fans were all trapped in the stands.
   127. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 23, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6001374)
Jerry Brewer, exemplary sportswriter, on an exemplary man.

I read that column this morning. Brewer is one of the best.

Thomas Boswell also had a very good piece about Aaron on the same page as Brewer's.
   128. Perry Posted: January 23, 2021 at 04:26 PM (#6001383)
I remember seeing an interview with Ted Williams who when asked about Aaron commented how unorthodox it was for a great hitter to hit off his front foot.


There's a piece in one of Tom Boswell's collections about the Charlie Lau style of hitting that caught on in the 70s and 80s. Bos pointed out that Aaron had always hit that way.
   129. gef, talking mongoose & suburban housewife Posted: January 23, 2021 at 04:28 PM (#6001384)
RIP, Bad Henry.

Copying & editing this from an email I just sent to the (former?) Primate who broke the news to me yesterday morning --

Shortly before the 1974 season, after reading about all the racist hate mail he was being subjected to, in typical kidlike fashion I typed up a little letter that consisted only some something like "Hit No. 715" followed by probably dozens if not hundreds of exclamation points. A while later I received an Atlanta Braves envelope with a signed Aaron photo. I *hope* I still have it somewhere; I'm almost positive I've laid eyes on it while living here.

Pretty sure that was the last time I wrote to a sports figure, probably by at least a year.

I was watching TV when he broke Ruth's record. For someone who never watched a lot of sports, I've been lucky enough to see probably the 3 most celebrated HRs (non-steroid era) of my lifetime after Mazeroski's (when I'd been 1 for not quite month) -- Aaron's, Fisk's in Game 6 & Kirk Gibson's against Oakland in the Series.

By coincidence, I'd been reading Joe Posnanski's profile of Dick Allen just a day or so before Aaron's passing, & either he or someone responding to his article, either on The Athletic or BTF, mentioned Aaron's lack of fondness for "Hank." Even so, that's how he signed his autographs. Probably involved a little less effort, which might've mattered if you signed as often as I'm sure he did, both then & later.

Until I sold my sports card collection for *sob* $85 to a collectibles store shortly after we arrived, dead broke, in Phoenix in 8/81, I had his 1956 Topps. Also those of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays & Ernie Banks, along with much lesser lights like Elmer Valo & Vic Power. *sigh* Even in typical worn condition, I suspect the superstars' early cards would go for a pretty penny these days. Oh, well -- easy come, easy go.

(I'd gotten them, & for that matter pretty much all my cards from before the late '60s, from a family of 3 brothers who between them had been collecting since those days. The youngest, Jerry, & I were good friends from going to school together, & even after the family moved to the college town about 17 miles east, I'd sometimes stay nights over there.

(Horribly, the summer after 9th grade he was killed when the car he was riding in during a bad storm on the way from some church event [the parents, at least, were devout Assembly of God members -- a denomination beside which the Pentecostals are the equivalent of high-church Episcopalians, pretty much] crashed while trying to cross a bridge that had been washed out. Looking back, Jerry had to have been the first friend I ever lost. The next-oldest brother, a couple or 3 years his senior, wound up losing an eye & having to have plastic surgery on that side of his face. I remember talking to him a couple of years later while mowing a yard near the family's old home on U.S. 82 & learning that he was involved in what struck me at the time as some fairly far-out version of Christianity ... though as a Southern Baptist kid it probably didn't take too much to strike me as "far-out.")


   130. AndrewJ Posted: January 23, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6001385)
[1980] was the dividing year. After the Phillies clinched the Series at the Vet, you could see a mob on the field, but when you saw an aerial view, you realized it was all players and coaches surrounded by photographers, police, and other security forces. The fans were all trapped in the stands.

The bad publicity of Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey in 1979 was probably also a catalyst, but yeah, I had the 1980 World Series in mind. The cops of horseback along the warning track prevented a flood of Phils fans from swarming the field, and the security move got a lot of positive press. As I recall, the last prominent postgame fan mob scene (and if there's one after this, kindly correct me) was when the Mets clinched the 1986 NL East at Shea.
   131. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 23, 2021 at 05:40 PM (#6001393)
Andrew J, I think you're right about 1986, which I missed at the time because I watched the game in Brookline, in a house full of Red Sox fans who had no interest in watching the celebrations.

Until I sold my sports card collection for *sob* $85 to a collectibles store shortly after we arrived, dead broke, in Phoenix in 8/81, I had his 1956 Topps. Also those of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays & Ernie Banks, along with much lesser lights like Elmer Valo & Vic Power. *sigh* Even in typical worn condition, I suspect the superstars' early cards would go for a pretty penny these days. Oh, well -- easy come, easy go.

gef, don't feel too bad. At one point in the mid-1970's I traded my rookie cards of Aaron, Clemente, Banks, Koufax, Kaline and Killebrew, along with the 1954 bookend cards (#1/#250, both Ted Williams), in return for the first 17 years of SPORT magazine. I got lots of pleasure out of reading the magazines, but since those cards had barely been breathed on it probably wasn't the smartest financial decision.
   132. Eric L Posted: January 23, 2021 at 05:45 PM (#6001394)
I got to dance around second base when the Padres closed out the Cubs in 84 and when the Mets closed out the Braves in 69. I wouldn’t do it again but do not regret the memories.
   133. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: January 23, 2021 at 08:29 PM (#6001406)
   134. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: January 24, 2021 at 12:46 AM (#6001430)
The 1986 Mets clinch the NL East division title.


Just your standard Mets fan immolation ceremony.
   135. reech Posted: January 24, 2021 at 01:53 AM (#6001432)
Proud to say that I was one of the "sod clods" at the Mets '86 East Clincher.

Me and my two buddies actually jumped from the loge behind home plate onto the top of the netting and jumped off the netting onto the field.

Also got mentioned in an article in Newsday as we had smuggled in a bottle of champagne and popped the cork right before the last (Chico Walker if I remember) Cub out.

I still have a zip-lock bag of dirt that I grabbed that wonderful evening.
   136. Howie Menckel Posted: January 24, 2021 at 02:06 AM (#6001435)
I sat in the loge section right behind home plate for Game 7 of the 1986 WS at Shea, and for as much as I remember of that night, whether fans got onto the field or not is not in my memory banks.

the result was glorious, and my buddy and I were among the last 1,000 people to leave - ignoring the polite cajoling of the Shea ushers who at the time demanded a $1 ransom for "wiping" your seat with a dirty rag before you sat down.

the later player pandemonium at the pitcher's mound - beyond the initial scrum - came after many fans had left.

at the time, it was about as happily drained as I had ever felt - well, at a sporting event, anyway.

an hour after the last out, the Shea parking lot was still awash in glory. a surreal scene, really.

was in the building for the last Mets title, the last 2 Giants titles, the last Devils title, the last 2 Knicks and 2 Nets Finals, the last Rangers Final, and the last 2 Jets conference title games.

#ForrestGump

part of me used to revel in that, in an odd way. but now - screw it, sports gods.

start erasing my lists!
   137. yest Posted: January 24, 2021 at 04:02 PM (#6001482)
"Aaron hit .362/.431.647 with 7 HR (14 BB 12 K) in 130 PA against SANDY FRIGGIN KOUFAX!
"
There is pre sandy koufax and the sandy koufax.
Sandy koufax was not a good pitcher during half his career, Aaron was Aaron koufax entire career
   138. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 24, 2021 at 04:16 PM (#6001486)
"Aaron hit .362/.431.647 with 7 HR (14 BB 12 K) in 130 PA against SANDY FRIGGIN KOUFAX!
"
There is pre sandy koufax and the sandy koufax.
Sandy koufax was not a good pitcher during half his career, Aaron was Aaron koufax entire career


OK, but over 2/3 of Koufax's career innings came in the "half" of his career that he was great. For instance, spot-checking Koufax's first two years, Aaron had only 4 PA against him (and went 0/3 with a walk).
   139. yest Posted: January 24, 2021 at 04:36 PM (#6001488)
OK, but over 2/3 of Koufax's career innings came in the "half" of his career that he was great. For instance, spot-checking Koufax's first two years, Aaron had only 4 PA against him (and went 0/3 with a walk).


All I said is the numbers could be skewed, not they are.
They still can be, where do you get pitcher hitter breakdowns
   140. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: January 24, 2021 at 04:37 PM (#6001489)
All right, looking at this a bit further, Aaron did get a bit of a head start on early Koufax. If my manual data entry is correct (dubious), Aaron vs. Koufax from '55 through '60 was 49 PA of .463/.551/.951, including 5 HR and 2 3B. One of every 7 plate appearances was a hit of three or more bases. (He also reached on error twice; if those counted as hits his BA would be over .500.)

That being said, this would still give you 81 PA of excellent hitting from '61 to '66 against one of the best pitchers in the world.
   141. yest Posted: January 24, 2021 at 04:42 PM (#6001490)
In 65 koufax had only 82 plate appearances against the Braves, 178 against the cardinals.
   142. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 24, 2021 at 05:41 PM (#6001496)
   143. Mefisto Posted: January 24, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6001499)
Dave, we need a subscription for that link which I don't have.
   144. yest Posted: January 24, 2021 at 10:54 PM (#6001520)
In 64 aaron had 8 pas against koufax, no hits or walks
In 65 had hit and a walk in 10 pas
Aaron was avg to great in the other seasons with more pas

   145. TomH Posted: January 25, 2021 at 08:31 AM (#6001541)
A few numbers on Aaron and Mays. Most people when asked might assess them about even as hitters, Aaron with a small edge, Mays a big advantage in fielding. WAR would agree.

Aaron's advantage in RBI is eye-popping: Almost 400! (2297 to 1903) So what gives?
If you take out RBI-on-HR (self driven in), Aaron drove in 24% more runners. Wow.

I count 14% of that as more RBI opps; career PA minus BB and HBP.
I count 3% of it as more baserunners per PA. Aaron batted 4th with more men on the pond than Mays' situations.
That leaves about 6% that Aaron was better per opp. Some of that is he was very good in clutch situations; SLG over .570 (better than career ALG .555) with RISP, and over .600 with both 2nd and 3rd occupied.

In spite of this, bb-ref shows Mays actually passes Aaron in Win Probability Added (offense only), even though Aaron is ahead in simple Batting Runs.

--
One more item on this, which I find surprising. Willie Mays became a full time player in 1954, after his service in Korea. In each of the next 8 years, he scored 100 or more runs. NO ONE else on the Giants scored 100 runs in that period. In fact, as far as I can tell, Mays NEVER had a player who hit in front of him score 100 runs in any season. The Giants never had a great table setter. They came up with other RBI men later (McCovey, Cepeda), but failed in having effective #1 and #2 hitters. Maybe Mays should have hit 2nd after 1960, likely scoring even more runs than he did.
   146. Mefisto Posted: January 25, 2021 at 08:56 AM (#6001545)
Most people when asked might assess them about even as hitters, Aaron with a small edge


I think it's odd that people would say that, given that Mays had a higher career OPS+.

Willie Mays became a full time player in 1954, after his service in Korea. In each of the next 8 years, he scored 100 or more runs. NO ONE else on the Giants scored 100 runs in that period. In fact, as far as I can tell, Mays NEVER had a player who hit in front of him score 100 runs in any season. The Giants never had a great table setter. They came up with other RBI men later (McCovey, Cepeda), but failed in having effective #1 and #2 hitters. Maybe Mays should have hit 2nd after 1960, likely scoring even more runs than he did.


The Giants in those years had peculiar ideas about top of the order hitters. They often had Chuck Hiller (career OBP .299) and sometimes even Hal Lanier (!) in the top 2 spots. As I look back on it, I'm pretty sure that's why those teams failed to win more than 1 pennant.

   147. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: January 25, 2021 at 09:08 AM (#6001547)
The 1961 Yankees won 109 games and scored 827 runs (2nd in the AL) with the #1 and #2 spots in the lineup putting up a .293 and .283 ob% respectively. I guess it doesn't much matter what your 1 and 2 hitters do when the 3 and 4 combine for 115 hr. :-)
   148. Howie Menckel Posted: January 25, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6001548)
from 1961-66, Yankees leadoff man Bobby Richardson:

Outs Made - 1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 5th
OPS+ - 67, 101, 76, 73, 74, 79

after the 1966 season, Richardson, like Sandy Koufax, retired at age 30 - apparently exhausted from all those trips to the dugout (actually I believe he went into the ministry).
   149. Rally Posted: January 25, 2021 at 10:07 AM (#6001561)
I think it's odd that people would say that, given that Mays had a higher career OPS+.


Mays had a slightly better SLG and was 10 points better on OBP. Looks like on net Aaron played in tougher parks, so his OPS+ is only 1 point less than Mays. Aaron wins the counting stats (including batting runs) because he had 1400 more PA than Mays.
   150. Mefisto Posted: January 25, 2021 at 10:15 AM (#6001562)
Yeah, Mays missed time to military service at 21-22 which accounts for most of those PAs. At BBREF I summed the seasons for both players from age 23 on in order to avoid that issue. You'd be hard pressed to find 2 more identical hitters than Aaron and Mays. The only real difference between them is that Mays played CF.
   151. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 25, 2021 at 10:55 AM (#6001568)
Until I sold my sports card collection for *sob* $85 to a collectibles store shortly after we arrived, dead broke, in Phoenix in 8/81, I had his 1956 Topps. Also those of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays & Ernie Banks, along with much lesser lights like Elmer Valo & Vic Power. *sigh* Even in typical worn condition, I suspect the superstars' early cards would go for a pretty penny these days. Oh, well -- easy come, easy go.
Eh, don't beat yourself up too much. Condition is everything these days, and standards have gotten ultra strict. With typical "1950s kid" wear (but no creases or major problems), you could get maybe a couple hundred bucks each for the Aaron and Mays, less for the Banks, and a bit more, maybe $300 or so, for the Robinson. Now, if you had 1954 Topps, that would be a different story.
   152. Ron J Posted: January 25, 2021 at 11:04 AM (#6001571)
#146 The Giants around then forced me to think logically about lineup construction. It was easiest on the 1969 Giants which had one monster (McCovey) and only one other guy with real power (Bonds) and a few guys who were actually pretty good at not making outs.

Took me a while to convince myself but I eventually came to the conclusion that the guys you wanted to bat in front of McCovey were Hunt, Dietz and Mays (even in an off year) with Bonds batting 5th.

In fairness Lanier most frequently batted 8th or 7th. And was a bad enough hitter that he didn't get many IBBs when batting 8th.

1963-1967 (Note in particular the 1965 splits)

#1 Hitters for Giants:

1963 .256/.319/.342
1964 .256/.309/.332
1965 .215/.278/.266
1966 .249/.275/.347
1967 .278/.315/.337

#2 hitters for Giants :

1963 .230/.265/.357
1964 .244/.285/.324
1965 .237/.267/.327
1966 .230/.283/.371
1967 .229/.298/.369
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