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Monday, November 17, 2014

Lisa Saxon, the Woman Who Helped Change Sports Writing Forever

The meeting was brief, and the message was simple: “Lisa, from here on in, you’re not fighting alone. To get to you, Reggie’s gonna have to come through us. We’re tired of watching it.”

“And at the ballpark that night, Reggie tried to come after me, screaming [about the story]. And sure enough, here comes Hendrick and Candelaria, tall and imposing. ‘To get to her, you’re gonna have to go through us.’ Reggie got so mad. He took his fist and banged it into the wall. And that’s why he had a hurt hand for the playoffs that year.”

Some six years later, when she returned to Anaheim to do a story on Mark McGwire and visit her friend, A’s pitcher Bobby Welch, Jackson was there—and immediately yelled for Lisa’s attention, apparently ready to make amends. Something was awry, Saxon told Welch, because it was the first time Jackson hadn’t referred to her as “#####.” Jackson immediately queried Saxon, wondering if there was a problem between them.

“Well you have to be more specific, Reggie,” she said. “Was there a problem when you cursed at me, yelled at me, told me I looked like a man, told me to have the team bus run over me, when you mocked my clothes, asked me to sleep with you when I repeatedly told you to leave me alone, when you undressed in front of me?”

Jackson pleaded ignorance: “Reggie doesn’t do those things,” he said in his usual third-person dialect. “Reggie never did those things. But if he did, Reggie apologizes.”

Reggie Jackson channeling Rickey Henderson.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2014 at 04:02 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, females in baseball, reggie jackson, sportswriting

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   1. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: November 17, 2014 at 07:32 PM (#4844769)
Great story, although I was slightly disappointed in the way the excerpted anecdote wound up. Saxon doesn't understand why Jackson wants to apologize to her, and then is reminded:

"I turned on my heels and went back into the clubhouse and I said, 'Hey Reggie, I finally figured out why you wanted to talk to me. The answer is: Yes, I have a Hall of Fame vote. And no, you're not getting it. I hope this clears up everything for you. Thank you, and have a great day.' Everyone started laughing; and then I explained to Bobby, there's a citizenship component [for the Hall of Fame]. And the way Reggie's conducted himself is not aligned with the principles spelled out there. I can't vote for him ... and we've never spoken since."



I mean, I'm not sure I could vote someone into the Hall of Fame who'd been a complete ####### to me as a human being, but I like to think I'd be objective enough to do it.
   2. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2014 at 07:53 PM (#4844776)

"Some six years later, when she returned to Anaheim to do a story on Mark McGwire and visit her friend, A’s pitcher Bobby Welch.."

if they met on business, then it's not fair to Saxon to describe Welch as her "friend." Unless that's what she considered him, which would be a different problem.
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 17, 2014 at 07:54 PM (#4844777)
What a terrific article, and after reading it, I'd give her a pass on not voting for Jackson, though I'm glad she didn't get to cast the deciding vote.

Here's her account of her first meeting with Vin Scully:

While the Reggie saga marked perhaps Saxon's most trying relationship, her baseball reporting career saw far more subdued, and sublime, exchanges, too.

Like the sage words she received from Dodgers legend Vin Scully on the team's bus after a 1984 night game in Cincinnati (when she still wrote under her maiden name, Nehus). It began with a simple query from Scully:

"May I ask you, what is your goal, what you really want to do, if you could do anything?"

"I told him, 'You know, Vin, I want to be like Gordie Verrell,'" she said, recalling Gordon Verrell, the legendary Dodgers beat writer.

"Well, I'm sorry to hear that, Lisa," Scully said. "Because if you're spending your life trying to be Gordie Verrell, you'll never be as good at Gordie Verrell as Gordie Verrell is. The correct answer is: 'I'm going to be the best Lisa I can be.'"

Vin continued: "When I go around and hear people trying to mimic my radio style, at first it's flattering. But then I realized, they're doing themselves a disservice by preventing themselves from finding their own style, being their best. And maybe they could've been even better than me.

"Never, ever compare yourself to anyone, Lisa. You are so unique and what you're doing is so incredible, don't compare yourself to someone else. Just be the best Lisa you can be, and then one day, maybe someone will say, 'I want to be like Lisa Nehus.' And then, you'll tell them my story.'"
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2014 at 09:20 PM (#4844818)

I understand that Jackson's awful conduct led her to withhold her vote. She's human.

I also consider it a mistake, and the "citizenship" issue is a neat rationalization. I hope she realizes that some day. Having that vote is not about YOU.
   5. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: November 17, 2014 at 09:41 PM (#4844830)
“Well you have to be more specific, Reggie,” she said. “Was there a problem when you cursed at me, yelled at me, told me I looked like a man, told me to have the team bus run over me, when you mocked my clothes, asked me to sleep with you when I repeatedly told you to leave me alone, when you undressed in front of me?”


Geez. First he tries to kill the queen, now this.
   6. Der-K's emotional investment is way up Posted: November 17, 2014 at 10:08 PM (#4844833)
Good article.
   7. Morty Causa Posted: November 17, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4844835)
Too bad she wasn't the one to whom Earl Weaver said, ""I like you. You're pretty good. You're not just another pecker checker."
   8. asinwreck Posted: November 17, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4844838)
"Reggie wasn't happy unless he was making someone else miserable," she recalled.

A family member (who had the misfortune of having the dealership where she bought her car purchased by Jackson a month later and renamed REGGIE JACKSON CHEVROLET) would agree it was true. His stewardship of that business was on a par with his Angels-era defense, and it went under about a year after he bought it.
   9. cardsfanboy Posted: November 17, 2014 at 10:58 PM (#4844846)
1. Excellent article.
2. I understand her point about not voting for Reggie, but she comes of less by not voting for him. But I can understand it. And the degree of crap she had to go through is much worse than some other people who didn't vote for Kevin Brown because he's a dick or whoever else is out there.
3. The real reason I read the article, is that I'm a huge fan of George Hendrick and it's great to see him portrayed in a good light. (Mind you, I never read the article that turned him into Silent George, so everything I've actually read about him has been limited but positive. Glad to see at least some more confirmation of that)

   10. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2014 at 11:26 PM (#4844854)
"I understand her point about not voting for Reggie, but she comes off less by not voting for him. But I can understand it. And the degree of crap she had to go through is much worse than some other people who didn't vote for Kevin Brown because he's a dick or whoever else is out there."

Agreed, and she lost an opportunity to - ironically - "be the better man" by voting for Reggie anyway. She let him drag her down toward his level, and that's something you just don't want to do. Voting for Reggie anyway could have been more satisfying than I guess she will ever know. That's a shame.

   11. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: November 17, 2014 at 11:42 PM (#4844861)
I figured the Woman Who Changed Sports Writing Forever was that chick who interviewed Zeke Mowatt.
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: November 17, 2014 at 11:53 PM (#4844865)

That was a very good reporter, and that was awful. She has had a much better career since then than that d$%^ has had.
   13. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM (#4844869)
That was a very good reporter, and that was awful. She has had a much better career since then than that d$%^ has had.


And, interestingly enough considering the other element of this thread, she never votes for anyone for the Hall of Fame.

   14. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4844873)
Agreed, and she lost an opportunity to - ironically - "be the better man" by voting for Reggie anyway. She let him drag her down toward his level, and that's something you just don't want to do. Voting for Reggie anyway could have been more satisfying than I guess she will ever know. That's a shame.


And yet, I still sort of understand why someone who was told that she should be run over by the team bus and was generally treated like crap would just not vote for the guy. I would also hope that I could rise above that crap, but I can't say for certain that I would be able to (I generally like to take the high road, but I'm also learning that getting your hands dirty from time to time is a good thing).
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:18 AM (#4844878)

yeah, I'm not killing her over it. I wish she chose differently, but as I said, we're all human. I just say that if you walk into the privilege of voting without feeling as if it's all you and not you're just a voting representative, that clouds your judgment more. That's where I see the mistake, really.
   16. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:21 AM (#4844879)
yeah, I'm not killing her over it. I wish she chose differently, but as I said, we're all human. I just say that if you walk into the privilege of voting without feeling as if it's all you and not you're just a voting representative, that clouds your judgment more. That's where I see the mistake, really.


Totally agree with you. Not going to kill her over it, but sure as heck don't agree with her.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:43 AM (#4844884)
there's a citizenship component [for the Hall of Fame].


"Reggie thinks he could name the three branches of U.S. government and tell you who the Vice-President is."
   18. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: November 18, 2014 at 01:17 AM (#4844890)
So many writers use stupid rationalizations to vote or not vote for someone, I think she did the right thing. He was trying to get a unanimous vote, which he did not deserve.
   19. AndrewJ Posted: November 18, 2014 at 05:58 AM (#4844908)
That was a very interesting moment in sportswriting history. Red Smith was against the idea of women reporters in clubhouses, while the reactionary and sexist Dick Young, who pioneered the concept of sportswriters doing pre- and post-game clubhouse interviews, defended the female reporters. Roger Angell devoted an essay to the topic in Late Innings.
   20. TJ Posted: November 18, 2014 at 08:18 AM (#4844928)
I see a number of primates saying she was right to not vote for Jackson for "citizenship" reasons. Yes, Jackson was an ass, no doubt about it. I can see why people say his behavior toward her crossed the line. My questions are, where do you think the line is when a player's behavior toward a BBWAA voter merits withholding a HOF vote, and is that line different for a male voter than a female voter?
   21. BDC Posted: November 18, 2014 at 08:20 AM (#4844929)
To the extent that people think less of Cap Anson, Ty Cobb, or Kenesaw Mountain Landis as racists in their workplace, they should think less of Reggie Jackson for being a sexist in his workplace. Most people are still OK with Anson, Cobb, and Landis in the Hall of Fame, and with Jackson too, but it's not entirely an individual grievance to invoke character clause on him.
   22. Jim Wisinski Posted: November 18, 2014 at 09:24 AM (#4844959)
We see 30 worse rationales for voting or not voting for someone every single HOF election.
   23. Traderdave Posted: November 18, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4844971)
Over the years I heard many folks says that Hendrick was/is a true gentlemen, this story confirms that again.

   24. villageidiom Posted: November 18, 2014 at 09:59 AM (#4844980)
I mean, I'm not sure I could vote someone into the Hall of Fame who'd been a complete ####### to me as a human being, but I like to think I'd be objective enough to do it.
Would you have voted for him, had you had a vote at the time, and had witnessed firsthand how he treated her?
   25. Traderdave Posted: November 18, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4844989)
Would you have voted for him, had you had a vote at the time, and had witnessed firsthand how he treated her?


I'd have waited a few years before voting for him. It surprises me to say that, as I usually can't stand the voters who play that act ("he's not a first ballot guy so I'm holding off"). If he's worthy, vote him in, period.

But everything has an exception and that kind of titanic assholery would call for one. If that makes me imperfect, well, I am.

   26. TR_Sullivan Posted: November 18, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4845047)
First time I interviewed Reggie Jackson 1-on-1, he took my notebook and threw it in a locker. Actually it is the only time I interviewed Jackson
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 18, 2014 at 11:37 AM (#4845059)

First time I interviewed Reggie Jackson 1-on-1, he took my notebook and threw it in a locker. Actually it is the only time I interviewed Jackson


And it seems you should have considered yourself lucky.
   28. Rants Mulliniks Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM (#4845091)
#3 - I don't wish I was Vin Scully, but I can't say I'd be disappointed if my grandfather had been more like that gem of a human being.
   29. The District Attorney Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4845098)
Yeah, I think Reggie represents the last gasp of the "protect the players" era of sportswriter.¹ These days, A-Rod is basically villainized not for actually mistreating others, but for desperately wanting the world to love him. Reggie had that same desperation, probably even more so than A-Rod, plus he treated people like crap. So I don't think he'd get the "that's Reggie being Reggie" treatment now that he got then. He'd be hugely unpopular.

¹ Non-Jeter division.
   30. TJ Posted: November 18, 2014 at 12:34 PM (#4845099)
Vin Scully's advice- Don't try to be the next me, strive to be the best you that you can be.

I wouldn't try to be like Vin Scully the announcer. I do strive to be like Vin Scully the human being...
   31. Hal Chase School of Professionalism Posted: November 18, 2014 at 01:19 PM (#4845148)
I think I'm far more offended that she's hitting cross-handed in the photo in TFA than I am at the idea that she would withhold a HOF vote from an a**hole.
   32. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2014 at 04:39 PM (#4845406)
I see a number of primates saying she was right to not vote for Jackson for "citizenship" reasons. Yes, Jackson was an ass, no doubt about it. I can see why people say his behavior toward her crossed the line. My questions are, where do you think the line is when a player's behavior toward a BBWAA voter merits withholding a HOF vote, and is that line different for a male voter than a female voter?


Really? I saw one primate say she did the right thing(post 18) not voting for Jackson, everyone else says that they would like to think they could have still voted for him or some degree of that, just that they understood her point of view and accepted her actions, that doesn't mean they are saying she was right, most of the posts were in the vein she could have proven herself the better person by voting for him etc.


Would you have voted for him, had you had a vote at the time, and had witnessed firsthand how he treated her?


I think there is a difference in having actions directed towards you, and being a witness. I guess if you are one of the writers keeping peders out of the hall, then Jackson's attitude could be equally(if not more) justifiable in not earning a vote. If you are just doing your job, I'm not really sure the citizenship clause is strong enough reason to keep a true hofer out, and being a witness isn't really the same thing as being a victim. I can justify a victim holding a grudge, and going beyond the call of the ballot , but a witness is a stretching it(for me at least).


   33. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4845410)
I think I'm far more offended that she's hitting cross-handed in the photo in TFA than I am at the idea that she would withhold a HOF vote from an a**hole


Maybe she learned from Hank Aaron prior to his major league days. :)
   34. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: November 18, 2014 at 05:58 PM (#4845445)
Bobby Knight, ######## extraordinaire, AND a sure fire HOF/great basketball coach. I can't imagine withholding a vote against Knight. I wonder where he ranks in comparison to Reggie in the ####### index.
   35. ajnrules Posted: November 18, 2014 at 06:21 PM (#4845458)
Lisa Saxon: invoking the character clause before it was trendy
   36. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 18, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4845466)
If you are just doing your job, I'm not really sure the citizenship clause is strong enough reason to keep a true hofer out, and being a witness isn't really the same thing as being a victim. I can justify a victim holding a grudge, and going beyond the call of the ballot , but a witness is a stretching it(for me at least).


Really? I think a fellow scribe who saw firsthand repeated, terrible treatment of another person would be justified in invoking the character criteria come voting time, even if that conduct was not directed at him. In fact, it would be slightly more honorable to do it response to the treatment of someone else. Of course, the more honorable course of action would be doing something to stop the shitty treatment while it was going on.

   37. Bourbon Samurai stays in the fight Posted: November 18, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4845468)
I am 100 percent ok with her not voting for Jackson, although I would hope she might consider a bit more if the outcome was at all in doubt.
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4845470)
I think it would be honorable to do so, but I don't think it would be right. It's a big grey area, and I think that the integrity of the vote should matter more than personal honor. I don't think being an a-hole at all eliminates a person from the character clause of the hof ballot. No matter how big of an a-hole. Sure a felon probably does eliminate a candidate, but just being an a-hole in the locker room? I don't see it, and think that I'm pretty sure every big leaguer on the planet in the past 50+ years has done enough community service/charity work to eliminate what negativity goes on in the locker room.

Just to reiterate, I Agree with post 37.
   39. GordonShumway Posted: November 18, 2014 at 07:37 PM (#4845481)
Reggie Jackson, a gem of a player, complete garbage as a human being. Anything that causes him to suffer or lose human happiness (so long as there's no collateral damage) is fine by me.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2014 at 08:29 PM (#4845494)
As I noted earlier, her mistake was in making her vote about her.

She's supposed to be an expert who can help figure out who are the best baseball players of all time, so that fans who go to Cooperstown can reminisce about the most deserving players (and enjoy lots of lore about the game's past as well).

She had an understandable emotional reaction to his douchiness, and she decided it would make her feel better to exact this revenge of sorts. The fans had nothing to do with her decision, alas.

I'm still not sure I've explained well enough how disappointing this is. Opportunity lost.
   41. Accent Shallow lives every week like Shark Week Posted: November 18, 2014 at 09:44 PM (#4845517)
The Reggie Jackson HoF subthread made me look up his percentage, which was 93.62% per (here).

Seems a little higher than I would have guessed, to be honest. Not that I don't think Reggie was a great player; he obviously was. Just given his deficiencies and his character issues (this article is the first of heard of this particular despicable behavior), I would have guessed something like 82%.
   42. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM (#4845523)
Seems a little higher than I would have guessed, to be honest. Not that I don't think Reggie was a great player; he obviously was. Just given his deficiencies and his character issues (this article is the first of heard of this particular despicable behavior), I would have guessed something like 82%


I'm an NL fan so I didn't get to see Reggie play, but I was growing up when he was around, and everything I remember about him, was how overrated he was. He was a great player, and appeared on the Jeffersons(where Wheezy gave him a tip because players don't make much money.... I believe this was right after he signed a 'gargantua' deal for a million dollars) but the press in the NL was that he was overrated. (I'm fairly certain that has probably everything to do with his strikeout total) That is from the NL perspective... I wouldn't be surprised at the number of people who don't vote for a particular player, often times rest in which league they are from.
   43. GregD Posted: November 18, 2014 at 11:28 PM (#4845550)
The other unfair criticism of him was his batting average. As a ball player I think he would be more respected now by the public. As a person, less.
   44. Howie Menckel Posted: November 18, 2014 at 11:35 PM (#4845554)

I was 12 when this SI "Superduperstar" cover - back when this launched you onto the national stage - came out 40 years ago.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SPORTS-ILLUSTRATED-SUPER-DUPER-STAR-REGGIE-JACKSON-/160625164606

   45. cardsfanboy Posted: November 18, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4845556)
The other unfair criticism of him was his batting average. As a ball player I think he would be more respected now by the public. As a person, less.



And that is the thing, there have been roughly two perfect position players in baseball Willie Mays or Ty Cobb(forgetting his personality flaws)(with apologies to Mantle who's career was probably a tad too short) and neither of them got 100%....Reggie isn't either one of them....the fact that he thought he had a remote chance at 100% is silly and I don't really think he did, I think he just wanted as high of a percentage as possible.
   46. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 19, 2014 at 07:50 AM (#4845587)
And that is the thing, there have been roughly two perfect position players in baseball Willie Mays or Ty Cobb(forgetting his personality flaws)(with apologies to Mantle who's career was probably a tad too short) and neither of them got 100%

What do you mean by "perfect position players"? And how is 18 years too short a career?

And if you're forgetting Cobb's personality flaws and judging him strictly on his merits as a player, wouldn't Barry Bonds be considered even more "perfect" than Cobb? Not to mention Honus Wagner.

I don't mean to argue. I'm just trying to figure out exactly what you meant by "perfect".
   47. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 19, 2014 at 09:17 AM (#4845599)

Bobby Knight, ######## extraordinaire, AND a sure fire HOF/great basketball coach. I can't imagine withholding a vote against Knight. I wonder where he ranks in comparison to Reggie in the ####### index.

There's a difference between being an ####### and committing sexual harrassment and intimidation in an effort to keep women out of sportswriting. #21 has it right. I think I would probably still vote for Reggie, but knowing these stories I would be understanding of anyone who felt differently, provided they took a consistent position with regard to other players.
   48. GregD Posted: November 19, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4845614)
What do you mean by "perfect position players"?
I assume he means people who grade as above average at everything. For Bonds, I assume the only knock is his arm. But you are right that Honus and Joe Morgan would also be strong candidates for perfect players.

What's also interesting is that many of the very greatest players had flaws paired with unimaginable strengths
   49. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4845625)
What do you mean by "perfect position players"?

I assume he means people who grade as above average at everything. For Bonds, I assume the only knock is his arm. But you are right that Honus and Joe Morgan would also be strong candidates for perfect players.


Bonds had 173 outfield assists over his career. Would that be indicative of a weak arm? Or is the "weak arm" judgment based almost entirely on that one infamous ending to the 1992 NLCS?

And I never heard that Morgan had that great an arm, at least not compared to someone like Robinson Cano.

What's also interesting is that many of the very greatest players had flaws paired with unimaginable strengths.

Yeah, truly "perfect" 5 tool players are rare as hen's teeth. Wagner, Mays, Aaron, and I'd include Bonds and Trout. Mantle's arm strength wasn't all that great.
   50. Russ Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4845630)
What's also interesting is that many of the very greatest players had flaws paired with unimaginable strengths


You will always achieve a greater value in one dimension if you're not trying to maximize that dimension under the constraint that you're also maximizing another direction. So this is basically what you would expect... finding someone who is the best at even most things would be extremely rare.
   51. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4845634)
Bonds had 173 outfield assists over his career. Would that be indicative of a weak arm?


It doesn't tell us what you think it does. In a perfectly operating baseball world,* just about every outfielder would average the same number of assists per opportunity.** Teams would run less frequently against the guys with the strongest arms, and more often against the guys with the weakest arms, resulting in similar assist totals for each. Bonds assist total, by itself, does not provide much information about the total strength of his arm.

* It's not perfectly operating, so the strongest arms do tend to stack up the most. But it is fairly functional.

** The strongest arms would also gain a slight edge over their weaker-limbed companions through the very rare forceout, where the baserunners aren't making decisions.

   52. GregQ Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4845666)
I remember the Dave Kingman rat gift well and the sports writers in SF were very hard on him, if I remember correctly. I know that in later years Glenn Dickey used to bring it up often as an example of athletes terrible behavior and it is often mentioned today by others. I wonder if Jackson got a pass from the press due to his superstar status while Kingman, never a star, was at the end of his career? At the time it happened I knew a number of other kids that fully expected the A's to resign him the next year.
   53. Ron J2 Posted: November 19, 2014 at 10:57 AM (#4845668)
#49 Outfield assists have relatively little to do with arm strength -- particularly left field. Beyond the outfield assists, in his defensive prime he was the left fielder least run on. But that too has relatively little to do with his arm strength.

That said, I can point you to any number of scouting reports that mention his arm. For instance, here's Jim Rooker on Bonds' defense after his rookie season: "Bonds can make center field look small. He plays extremely shallow yet goes back on the ball so well that very few get over his head and remain in the park. He goes to the gap on either side equally well and takes advantage of his speed. Bonds is so smooth that he often appears to glide to the ball, making difficult catches seem routine.

His defensive weakness is a no-better-than-average arm. Oddly enough, it appears as though he doesn't even like to throw and often gets the ball caught up in the glove when he might have a chance to throw out a runner. He will not take aggressive chances to throw out advancing runners."

As he aged that, "no-better-than-average arm" slipped. As weaknesses go (particularly since we're talking about slipping to a 4 on a 1-10 scale) it's the one I'd choose for my best player.
   54. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 19, 2014 at 12:07 PM (#4845724)
Bonds had 173 outfield assists over his career. Would that be indicative of a weak arm?

It doesn't tell us what you think it does.


I didn't think that it necessarily indicated a great arm, since obviously assists can be accumulated by weak armed outfielders whom runners take lots of chances on. But other than that aforementioned NLCS ending, I'd never heard that Bonds's arm was anything other than above average. OYOH I never follow the National League all that much, especially the NLW with its 10:00 starting times, and I'm perfectly willing to accept any consensus that Bonds's arm strength wasn't all that great.

So that narrows the all-above average 5 tool player list down to Wagner, Mays, Aaron, and Trout. I hope nobody comes on and punctures my thoughts about Trout's arm, since I'd like to have at least one 5 tool hero who's younger than I am. (smile)

   55. GordonShumway Posted: November 19, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4845748)
No love for the centaur? Whatever other flaws he has or had, lack of tools was not one of them.
   56. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: November 19, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4845817)
No love for the centaur? Whatever other flaws he has or had, lack of tools was not one of them.

Thanks for reminding me. I've tried my best to forget he's even still alive. Where is Gil McDougald when we need him?

But if you count archery, he's got 6 tools and not just 5. So yeah, you gotta put him in that select circle, even if you have to hire a stable boy to clean up after him.
   57. Rob_Wood Posted: November 19, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4845876)
It is well-known that Bonds' pure arm strength was below average. Early in his career he more than made up for it by getting to balls quickly and his quick-release accurate throws (so, in total, he was an above-average left fielder, among the best in the league). As he aged, he got to balls less quickly but he still typically made fairly quick-release and accurate throws (in mid-career I'd say he became a slightly above average left fielder). Near the end of his career, he was fairly slow to balls, his release was average, and his accuracy became slightly below average (so he became a below-average left fielder).

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