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Friday, April 29, 2011

Miller: Ex-Angel Grich is a no-brainer Hall of Famer

Plus Murray Chass and Jay Jaffe in the same article (snaps snappy Chu-Bop bubble causing throbbing brain vein gristlization)!

While no single statistic can tell you everything about a player, WAR comes closest. And, according to the WAR model published by Baseball-Reference.com, Bobby Grich—worth 67.6 wins in his career—is the third-best position player ever who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but isn’t in it. Among the more than 100 position players who are in the Hall of Fame, Grich would rank 39th, ahead of such uncontroversial Hall of Famers as Willie McCovey (65.1), Ozzie Smith (64.6), Roberto Alomar (63.5) and Dave Winfield (59.7).

By a competing Wins Above Replacement model published by the influential website Baseball Prospectus, Grich does just as well, according to Jay Jaffe, who has written extensively about Hall of Fame standards for the site. He ranks players on a combination of career value and peak performance—to avoid overrating so-called “compilers” who simply hang around—and says Grich is the sixth-best second baseman of all-time. There are 20 second basemen in the Hall of Fame.

For players who were kicked off the ballot after just one year, Jaffe says, “Grich is about as egregious as it gets.”

So why wasn’t he appreciated in his time? He never reached 2,000 hits. He hit for a low batting average. He rarely led the league in any offensive categories. He didn’t play on any great teams. And, perhaps most significantly, he played at the wrong time.

Repoz Posted: April 29, 2011 at 09:39 AM | 54 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, hall of fame, history, orioles, sabermetrics

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   1. Hack Wilson Posted: April 29, 2011 at 12:05 PM (#3812872)
Ex-Angel Grich is a no-brainer


He wouldn't be the first no-brainer to make the Hall, Yastrzemski is in.


“He’s an All Star from the neck down.”
—White Sox manager Eddie Stanky on Carl Yastrzemski in early 1967.
   2. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: April 29, 2011 at 12:13 PM (#3812877)
He had a great batting stance. Like a guy hiding in a doorway ready to take out the next person walking by.
   3. pinball1973 Posted: April 29, 2011 at 01:27 PM (#3812908)
Of course Grinch is actually a need-a-brainer: the no-brainers that actually make up the majority of votes needed are fixated on boyish, or perhaps infantile, obsessions with simply good/very good players like Sutter (I liked him a lot and he's in, but... why?) or Morris (not as good an argument as, say, Maris, and not anywhere near the player Raines or Trammell was).

Thank cheeses I don't care more than to send the occasional raspberry their way!
   4. whoisalhedges Posted: April 29, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3812913)
He didn’t play on any great teams.

I seem to remember a stint on a little team called the "Baltimore Orioles" from 1970-76. As a full-timer starting in '72. Sure, he peaked in Anaheim, but I'd have to say that yes, he played on some great teams.
   5. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 29, 2011 at 02:01 PM (#3812930)
Grich = Palmeiro

Both have a decent career case, and quite an underwhelming peak. And Grich's best season (7.3 WAR) is propped up by 2.9 dWAR, his never been close to that again (next best defensive seasons 1.8; 1.6; 1.0). And defensive numbrs from back then aren't exactly trustworthy.

As a guy who likes his peak peaky, I say no to both Grich and Palmeiro.
   6. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 29, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3812936)
I seem to remember a stint on a little team called the "Baltimore Orioles" from 1970-76. As a full-timer starting in '72. Sure, he peaked in Anaheim, but I'd have to say that yes, he played on some great teams.

A couple of those Angels teams were really good. The 82 team had Lynn, Jackson and Carew and was definitely one of baseball's glamor teams. Unfortunately for Grich, those 3 guys were much bigger "stars" than he was. Chase Utley is having a very similar career, though I think Grich will end up having a stronger HOF case than Utley.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: April 29, 2011 at 02:52 PM (#3812967)
Grich could still be inducted by the Veterans Committee, but that committee has been very stingy when it comes to post-war players.


While this has been true, it wasn't really a hindrance to Grich (was he was ever eligible for rejection by Joe Morgan's Super Friends?), and should be less of an issue going forward, with the new structure of the committee increasing the odds for Vet's picks. The problem is getting him on the damn ballot.

With Bert soon to be ensconced in C-town, a campaign to build support for Grich to simply appear on the next Vet's Committee ballot for players of his time period (and, ultimately, election) would be a nice idea for some ambitious Lederer wannabe (or, to be fair, Ray wannabe).
   8. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3812989)
I'm probably missing something obvious but does Grich have a "record" with his 0 for 5 in post-season series? That seems like a high number of series to play in without ever being on the winning side.
   9. whoisalhedges Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3813003)
Grich = Palmeiro

Both have a decent career case, and quite an underwhelming peak. And Grich's best season (7.3 WAR) is propped up by 2.9 dWAR, his never been close to that again (next best defensive seasons 1.8; 1.6; 1.0). And defensive numbrs from back then aren't exactly trustworthy.

As a guy who likes his peak peaky, I say no to both Grich and Palmeiro.

Well, pretty much nobody's been close to that again....

1 defensive WAR is a pretty damn good season with the leather. Sure, the older numbers may be iffier, but it's still safe to say he was good. Plus, I think 125 OPS+ from a 2B is (especially 30 years ago) a lot more valuable from an outstanding 2B than 132 is from a good 1B. Only one more career WAR (by BBREF) than Raffy, but in 8200 vs. 12000 PA. ALMOST A 4,000 PLATE APPEARANCE DIFFERENCE.

Yeah, Grich has it over Palmeiro in spades.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:31 PM (#3813010)
I'm probably missing something obvious but does Grich have a "record" with his 0 for 5 in post-season series? That seems like a high number of series to play in without ever being on the winning side.


Tim Hudson is at 0-6, though he still has a chance to get off the schneid. Don't know if anyone "tops" that.
   11. Ron J Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3813017)
#5 His peak is hurt a bit by having such a great strike year. Yeah, he probably wouldn't have sustained a 164 OPS+ over a full season, but he had 100 games at that level banked.

For what it's worth, Dale Stephenson has Grich with the 12th best peak of any 2B. He's #2 in peak offensive wins above average among the non-HOFers (behind Kent) and #1 in non-peak offensive wins above average among the non-HOFers. (Yes, ahead of Whitaker in both areas by batting wins. They're close and Whitaker did it longer, which matters). Throw in the fact that he was a fine defensive player and ...

Well I can come up with a HOF definition that doesn't include Grich, but he makes a mighty tough HOF line.
   12. whoisalhedges Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:41 PM (#3813023)
Well I can come up with a HOF definition that doesn't include Grich, but he makes a mighty tough HOF line.

This.

While the "so-and-so is in the Hall, and Grich was better than him" argument holds no water; make the case that Grich is better than half the HOFers, and that's an argument.
   13. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: April 29, 2011 at 03:50 PM (#3813033)
And Grich's best season (7.3 WAR) is propped up by 2.9 dWAR, his never been close to that again (next best defensive seasons 1.8; 1.6; 1.0).

Of course, he also has seasons of 6.7, 6.7, 6.0, and 5.9 (in a strike year), which may not be a great peak, but it's at least a very good one.
   14. John DiFool2 Posted: April 29, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3813075)
He wouldn't be the first no-brainer to make the Hall, Yastrzemski is in.


At the risk of a mighty whoosh, why pick on Yaz? He was universally regarded as one of
the most intelligent players of the last half-century. Wouldn't Rube Waddell or Rabbit
Maranville be a better choice for your little joke?
   15. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: April 29, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3813094)
At the risk of a mighty whoosh, why pick on Yaz? He was universally regarded as one of
the most intelligent players of the last half-century. Wouldn't Rube Waddell or Rabbit
Maranville be a better choice for your little joke?


I think he was just looking to work that Eddie Stanky quote in. Yaz is an interesting case, though. The stuff I've read about him when he was young and at his peak make him seem like a loafing jackass which is a complete 180 from the late 70's, early 80's when my first impression of him was the beloved, wise gramps figure of the Red Sox.
   16. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: April 29, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3813098)
Rabbit Maranville was dumb? I always saw him as a fairly sharp type.
   17. BDC Posted: April 29, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3813113)
Maranville was an inveterate practical joker. As was Yastrzemski, for that matter. They were both very "baseball smart," very alert players – at least that's my memory of Yaz and the rep on Maranville.


Here are 20 comps for Grich, centered on him in terms of PA and OPS+ but ranked by WAR Fielding Runs:

Player          Rfield   PA OPS+
Scott Rolen        141 7984  124
Bobby Grich         83 8220  125
Bobby Bonds         47 8090  129
Yogi Berra          27 8364  125
Ron Cey             19 8344  121
Cecil Cooper        16 7939  121
Kiki Cuyler         14 8098  125
Paul ONeill          8 8329  120
Bob Elliott         
-1 8190  124
Heinie Manush       
-1 8416  121
Edd Roush           
-6 8156  127
Cesar Cedeno       
-14 8133  123
Hal McRae          
-16 8058  122
Willie Horton      
-18 8052  120
Jim Wynn           
-25 8010  128
Fred Lynn          
-27 7923  129
Ellis Burks        
-33 8176  126
Shawn Green        
-34 7962  120
Jim Bottomley      
-73 8355  124
Bobby Bonilla     
-121 8255  124 


IOW pretty much exactly the range where a really good glove at a key position should make one a HOFer, but where a 1B or a corner OF is a "mistake." The problem is that the voters treated Grich like a 1B or corner OF.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: April 29, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3813122)
It's crazy that .260/13/57 can win you an OPS+ of 130. He had a lot of walks. Grich's first 5 years were all like that.
   19. Hombre Brotani Posted: April 29, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3813132)
A couple of those Angels teams were really good. The 82 team had Lynn, Jackson and Carew and was definitely one of baseball's glamor teams.
The first time I really, really got emotionally attached to. I was sure they were going to win it, then they took the series lead against the Brewers... The Angels broke my heart that, and then they broke it for another 20 years or so. Been mostly good times since, though.

Grich was awesome. I always thought that if a few more guys on those teams played with the same intensity he did, they'd win the division every year.
   20. Rally Posted: April 29, 2011 at 05:39 PM (#3813183)
It's crazy that .260/13/57 can win you an OPS+ of 130. He had a lot of walks. Grich's first 5 years were all like that.


Walks and the league hitting 258/328/379. Using BB-ref's stat neutralizer, I put Bobby in the AL of 2000, playing for the Orioles. That 1975 season converts to .312-16-76, with a .452 OBP. The 2000 year was extreme, even for the steroids era. Using a more typical season from the 1993-2010 range, such as 2003 and some of his peak years are:

1974: 306/23/105, .426 OBP
1979: 311/33/117, 383 OBP/569 SLG
1981: 336/39/116, 413 OBP, 599 SLG

Add that to gold glove defense at second, and Bobby's peak would look a lot better to HOF voters.
   21. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 29, 2011 at 05:44 PM (#3813189)
It's crazy that .260/13/57 can win you an OPS+ of 130. He had a lot of walks. Grich's first 5 years were all like that.


.260/.389/.399, very low offensive context, .251/.320/.369, run his 1975 through BBREF's neutralizer and you get .293-15-67 with 95 runs scored- switch to 2000 AL context and you get .318-17-80 with 114 runs scored.

The very best offensive context he played in was 1977- and he lost that year to injury...

some other years where OPS+ looks totally out of line with a player's avg-hr-rbi:

.237-18-54 (142)
.224-16-61 (134)
.233-15-61 (133)
.248-18-58 (133)
.256-20-56 (129)
   22. Cyril Morong Posted: April 29, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3813208)
The only AL player with more WAR from 1973-6 than Grich (26.2) was Reggie Jackson (26.3). In a 10 year period, Grich had top 5 finishes in the AL in WAR. From 1972-76 he was 5-2-1-4-6.

Grich actually beats Jackson 32.0-31.8 in WAR in the AL over the years 1972-76.

Looks like good peak value. My guess is that many Hall of Famers don't have even that much peak value but that would require looking at all of them
   23. Cyril Morong Posted: April 29, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3813214)
I meant he had 5 top 5 finishes from 1972-81. Also, 7 top 10 finishes
   24. Hack Wilson Posted: April 29, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3813227)
I think he was just looking to work that Eddie Stanky quote in.


Wow, you got me. I loved Stanky and, I assumed at the time, that Stanky was trying to get under Yas' skin. I doubt if it worked.
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: April 29, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3813275)
Well I can come up with a HOF definition that doesn't include Grich, but he makes a mighty tough HOF line.

This.

While the "so-and-so is in the Hall, and Grich was better than him" argument holds no water; make the case that Grich is better than half the HOFers, and that's an argument


I've been playing around with trying to argue(since I love to do that) for or against players for the hall of fame, and one of the standards I've come up with is if the hof has 18 people at a position in, and the guy I'm arguing for/against is arguably ranked number 9 at that position, then that is a very strong argument for the player(note: this isn't ranked against all hofers, but all retired players) I'm working to extend that argument out to a peak/prime argument also(although I'm a career guy personally) drawback about peak/prime argument is determining the number of years to base it upon(although I'm thinking if you could make any case for 4,5,6 or 7 years then it's probably good enough)
   26. OCF Posted: April 29, 2011 at 07:02 PM (#3813293)
hall of fame, and one of the standards I've come up with is if the hof has 18 people at a position in, and the guy I'm arguing for/against is arguably ranked number 9 at that position,

The Hall of Merit has 21 second basemen. When we did a relative ranking vote among those 21, Grich came in seventh. The only ones ahead of him were Collins, Hornsby, Morgan, Lajoie, Gehringer, and Robinson. Although to be fair, 7th through 11th was a pretty tight pack among Grich, Carew, Sandberg, Frisch, and Ross Barnes. (I personally had Grich 8th on my ballot, with Carew 7th. Note that Carew was being ranked as a baseball player - his non-2B time counted for the purpose of this vote.)
   27. cardsfanboy Posted: April 29, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3813331)
I rank Carew as a second baseman also, when I think of Carew I think second base, same with shortstop and Ernie Banks.

Intuitively I was thinking Grich was around the area you mentioned.
   28. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: April 29, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#3813364)
Of course, he also has seasons of 6.7, 6.7, 6.0, and 5.9 (in a strike year), which may not be a great peak, but it's at least a very good one.

Which is pretty comparable to Raffy: 7.4, 6.2, 6.0 and 5.5.
   29. Cyril Morong Posted: April 29, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#3813367)
Here is how Grich compares to six other second basemen who are in the Hall. He had more top 5 finishes in WAR than all of them and only one had as much WAR in his best consecutive 3 seasons.

Top 5 finishes in WAR
Grich-5 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.7)
Alomar-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.6)
Sandberg-4 (best consecutive 3 seasons-20.7)
Lazzeri-2 (best consecutive 3 seasons-18.3)
Doerr-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-14.6)
Fox-4 (best consecutive 3 seasons-16.9)
Herman-3 (best consecutive 3 seasons-19.1)
   30. jingoist Posted: April 29, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#3813374)
Remind me, Where does the HoM rank Musial, at 1B or OF?
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: April 29, 2011 at 08:27 PM (#3813379)
Musial is ranked in one of the outfield spots(I think they separated them into three outfield spots, personally I probably just do corner and center)
   32. OCF Posted: April 29, 2011 at 08:48 PM (#3813402)
We put Musial on the LF ballot. With 22 voters, he drew 22 votes for 2nd place. Williams was unanimous first, Musial was unanimous 2nd, and from 3rd down, it wasn't unanimous. We conducted this ballot after electing Raines to the HoM but before electing Rickey Henderson. Raines was 5th (behind Delahanty and Yastrzemski). Although not actually voted on, it's clear that Henderson would have been third, with Delahanty, Yaz, Raines, et al moving down one.

personally I probably just do corner and center

Yeah, that's the way I usually think, but I didn't make the policy in this case. Any attempt to splice the LF ranking list with the RF ranking list would reveal that the RF list was stronger overall. That RF list started out Ruth, Aaron, Ott, F. Robinson, P. Waner, Rose, Crawford, R. Jackson, Kaline, Clemente. Gwynn was 11th on the RF list, and he's about level with Raines, who was 5th on the LF list.

Of course, Henderson and the not-yet-eligible Bonds do tend to tip it at least partly back into balance.
   33. Rally Posted: April 29, 2011 at 09:22 PM (#3813442)
"I rank Carew as a second baseman also, when I think of Carew I think second base, same with shortstop and Ernie Banks.

Intuitively I was thinking Grich was around the area you mentioned."

I think of Carew as a 1b, mainly because I only saw him play there. But that's just a personal thing, if I had either seen his whole career or never watched him play I can see he fits best as a 2b. I don't know if the Angels would have considered moving him back to second in different circumstances. It might make sense, value wise, to have Carew as a below average fielding 2b instead of a good fielding 1b. But with Grich there, no chance.
   34. Ron J Posted: April 29, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3813456)
Carew is one of the hardest to rank if you're going to do it by position. Use any reasonable definition of peak/prime and it centers around the point where he's moved from second to first. His very best years are probably the early years at first, but his overall play at first very clearly isn't at a HOF level and his play at second is very good but isn't very long and has no decline phase.
   35. jingoist Posted: April 29, 2011 at 09:49 PM (#3813463)
As I recall Stan had as many AB as a 1-Baseman as he did as an outfielder, that's why I asked.
Of course, the young, vibrant MVP Musial was an OF; the older yet still monumentally gifted Musial was the 1-Baseman. When I think back to the Musial I remember, and that happens about 1956 or 57 he was a 1-baseman. My father quickly corrected my view of Stan as the best 1-baseman in the NL at the time by saying, "you ought to have seen him when he played LF every day".

My assumption is that this pretty much holds true for Ernie Banks.
The young, athletic Banks was the MVP as a SS; the older Banks became Jake Beckley for the remainder of his career.

I became an Orioles fan when the Senators left for Texas. I went to many a game when Grich was playing.
But the fans never warmed to him like they did Boog, or the Robinsons or Cakes.
They never treated him like they did Doug DeCinces when he replaced Brooks, but they never embraced Grich. Maybe it was because they had so many stars on the team already, Bobby fell through the cracks.

Anyway he did get his just deserts in California and yes, he was one of the very best 2-basemen I ever saw play.
He and Belanger were certainly the equal of Maz and Groat or Alley as a DP combo
   36. Ron J Posted: April 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3813479)
#36 Dale Stephenson lists Musial as a RF in his peak lists. In his best 5 offensive seasons he played more RF than any other position.
   37. OCF Posted: April 29, 2011 at 10:26 PM (#3813482)
Musial's games played by position:

1B: 1016
LF: 929
RF: 784
CF: 331

Which adds up to more games than he played, because of partial games at various outfield positions, but it's 1890 games in the outfield. And it's not the usual simple story of a young outfielder converted to 1b as he grew older and slower - it's stranger than that. His ages in seasons when he played the plurality of his games at 1B: 25, 26, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38. As a declining-usage player in his 40's, he was entirely an outfielder. In some of the years of his career, there's room to criticize his managers for not playing him at a more valuable position.

That makes Musial a big challenge when it comes to attaching him to a position. He had more more games at 1B than at LF, his #2 position - but he had nearly twice as many games in the outfield than at 1B. He's got value earned everywhere, including an early MVP year at 1B.

Banks is a SS because he accumulated more value at SS than at 1B, even with more games at 1B. That is not a close call. Call Yount a SS for the same reason. Probably, in the long run, call ARod a SS. Carew as a 2B is the same argument, although (for the reasons Ron J mentions), it's not overwhelming.

As for evaluating Grich: how much do you trust historical defensive statistics? By some statistical measures, the 3/4 of an infield represented by Robinson, Belanger, and Grich in Baltimore dominated those statistics in an unprecedented way. Is that all for real - or what?
   38. Walt Davis Posted: April 30, 2011 at 03:20 AM (#3813778)
Or you treat them sensibly. :-)

Banks's value as a SS was accumulated during the years he was (primarily) a SS. He stopped accumulating value as a SS after that. The HoM somehow likes to pretend that Yount was a better SS than Ernie Banks because Yount was a more valuable CF than Banks was a 1B.

WAR at SS:

Banks 55.7 in 5205 PA
Yount 48.7 in 6621 PA

That's not close. There's no justification for considering Yount a better SS than Banks.

I don't know why folks find this so bloody hard. You've got peak/prime value at a position (Banks is very high and well ahead of Yount). You've got career value at a position -- which in the case of Banks and Yount is the same as their prime value and they start to fall behind the guys who stayed at SS (e.g. Larkin). You want to put together a SS list, you balance (to your taste) their place on the prime list and their place on the career list. But you don't count their time spent at 1B or CF because, y'know, they weren't shortstops.

If you want to rank overall careers, then feel free to rank Yount ahead of Banks. But Banks has a better peak/prime as a SS and a better career as a SS than Yount -- Yount was a worse SS.

Carew is not hard to deal with -- he spent about half his career at 2B (40 WAR in 4948 PA) and half at 1B (39 WAR in 5600 PA). Neither of those are going to look good on the prime list at each position and certainly not on the career list. Depending on how you want to define "peak/prime" Sandberg had somewhere between 35 WAR, 42 WAR or 45 WAR; he has about 60 career WAR as a 2B.

Just because you want to think of Carew as one of the great 2B, he simply wasn't because he didn't stay at the position very long. He's one of the great players (79 WAR, 17 more than Sandberg) but he's not very high on the 2B list or the 1B list. So what? Why is that a problem?

Now Musial -- yeah, he's annoying, especially if you're gonna split LF and RF (and I'm fine with lumping those in with DH and 1B really) and more annoying because he bounced around throughout his career. But that's pretty rare and not worth being stupid everywhere else. Roughly Musial was one of the better/best 1B 1000 games, one of the best LF for 1000 games and one of the best RF for 1000 games. Accept that's not enough to rank him near the top of any of those position-specific lists.

This sticking people who played multiple positions at one position is done purely for convenience and to avoid morons saying things like "you idiots don't have Musial in the top 10 at any position". The answer to the latter is, of course, "well, sorry moron, but Musial split his career roughly equally among three positions -- not our fault."
   39. Santanaland Diaries Posted: April 30, 2011 at 03:45 AM (#3813786)
I don't know why folks find this so bloody hard. You've got peak/prime value at a position (Banks is very high and well ahead of Yount). You've got career value at a position -- which in the case of Banks and Yount is the same as their prime value and they start to fall behind the guys who stayed at SS (e.g. Larkin). You want to put together a SS list, you balance (to your taste) their place on the prime list and their place on the career list. But you don't count their time spent at 1B or CF because, y'know, they weren't shortstops.


Eh, I think the way the HOM does it is perfectly reasonable. In what order would you put the players who were primarily SS? It might not be the question that you're most interested in Walt, but it's perfectly logically coherent.

OTOH, it would be interesting to see a list done on the basis that Walt proposes. I think you'd get a much sharper line between the peak/prime and career voters if you were limited to time spent at a position.
   40. Something Other Posted: May 01, 2011 at 01:39 AM (#3814325)
This sticking people who played multiple positions at one position is done purely for convenience and to avoid morons saying things like "you idiots don't have Musial in the top 10 at any position". The answer to the latter is, of course, "well, sorry moron, but Musial split his career roughly equally among three positions -- not our fault."
If you're going to call people morons take it to a Mets thread.
   41. Spencer Benedict Posted: May 01, 2011 at 02:12 AM (#3814341)
What people forget about a guy like Grich is that when he came up there were second basemen who hit three home runs and batted .265 who were playing in the All-Star game.
   42. Howie Menckel Posted: May 01, 2011 at 02:26 AM (#3814349)
"The HoM somehow likes to pretend that Yount was a better SS than Ernie Banks because Yount was a more valuable CF than Banks was a 1B."

Can you provide a link for this?

I do know that the HOM found that Yount had a better career than Banks, among players whose greatest value was at SS, because Yount was a more valuable CF than Banks was a 1B thus offsetting Banks' brilliant peak as an SS. But that's different from what you typed.
   43. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: May 01, 2011 at 02:27 AM (#3814350)
What people forget about a guy like Grich is that when he came up there were second basemen who hit three home runs and batted .265 who were playing in the All-Star game.

Hmm.

Grich's first year as a starter was 1973
ASG starting second basemen: Joe Morgan and Rod Carew. Also playing that day were Davey Johnson (in his big year) and Cookie Rojas. One of those four fit your description, Rojas.

1974:
Morgan and Carew again started. Also playing were Grich and Dave Cash, who hit .300 w/ no power that year.

1975:
Morgan and Carew started again. Cash was the only other one to play. His 1975 was just like his 1974.

I think you're overstating things.
   44. Matt Welch Posted: May 01, 2011 at 03:08 AM (#3814354)
His peak is hurt a bit by having such a great strike year.

He actually had another great strike year in 1972, a 5.8 WAR Grich season in a 154-game schedule during which he didn't crack the starting lineup till around mid-May.
   45. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: May 01, 2011 at 03:37 AM (#3814359)
Musial innings played:

OF: 59.1%
1B: 40.9%
LF: 34.3%
RF: 17.4%
CF: 7.3%

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/musiast01.shtml
   46. BWV 1129 Posted: May 01, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3814588)
A couple of random things --

-- I have this spreadsheet somewhere, but if you look at the park-adjusted league average OPS for 2B in the Hall, and toss in Grich, there are only a couple of guys who have a lower offensive context than he does. He played in pitchers' parks in a relative pitchers' era.

-- It's also worth remembering that he was a SS playing 2B. The only reason he was at 2B was because Mark Belanger was at SS. When the Angels got him, they put him at SS. And then he had a weird off-field injury, Rance Mulliniks came up and they tried to make him work at short, and Grich moved back to the keystone. Despite all this, all reports are that Grich was superb on the double play. So you've got a 2B with the range of a SS and great skill on the double play putting up an OPS+ of 125.
   47. Rally Posted: May 01, 2011 at 07:04 PM (#3814637)
I do agree with the sentiment that Grich is not a no-brainer. To fully appreciate his career you need to understand the relative worth of batting average and OBP, park effects, different levels of league offense, and defensive value. It does take some work to grok all this.

Alternatively, I think Bobby would be in if traditional baseball men were never allowed to look at stats, especially not allowing stats to change their perception of a player after he stops playing. He was highly regarded during his playing days, the free agent prize when the Angels signed him.
   48. Jay Z Posted: May 01, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#3814669)
The first time I really, really got emotionally attached to. I was sure they were going to win it, then they took the series lead against the Brewers... The Angels broke my heart that, and then they broke it for another 20 years or so. Been mostly good times since, though.

Grich was awesome. I always thought that if a few more guys on those teams played with the same intensity he did, they'd win the division every year.


I'm a Brewers fan, so I'm glad he did it, but Mauch's handling of his pitching staff in that series was as bad as I've ever seen.

Mauch, being Mauch, decides to pitch his "best pitchers" on three days rest in Games 4 and 5, despite the fact that his "best pitchers" weren't any better than his other starters. John was getting long in the tooth, and Kison was Bruce Kison, who could pitch well at times but was never a guy you were going to be able to depend on. So Mike Witt doesn't start, and Ken Forsch doesn't pitch at all.

Given that the Angels bullpen was not so good, with Luis Sanchez and Andy Hassler the only decent pitchers, you'd think that Witt or Forsch might have helped the late relief. Especially Forsch, who had a career in relief with the Astros. But Witt is used for 3+ innings in relief in Game 3, which probably knocked him out of Game 4 and Game 5. Forsch, of course, is not used at all. So when Kisson predicitably goes out with a blister after 5 innings in Game 5, Mauch has to try to get through the last 4 innings with Sanchez and Hassler, which is obviously not that great a situation. Choice #3 in the bullpen would have been Steve Renko, whom I'm sure the Brewers would have been happy to see. Then Mauch botches his one strategic decision by leaving Sanchez in to face Cooper and give up the game winning hit, then bringing in Hassler for the very next batter. All of this in a DH league with a set lineup where all he really had to worry about was managing the pitching staff.

As a Brewer fan, all I can say to Gene Mauch is - Thank you VERY much!
   49. BWV 1129 Posted: May 01, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3814728)
I wish I could find this, but I could swear that I once saw a Gammons thing where Mauch had predicted before the series that it would come down to Sanchez vs. Cooper and Cooper would fly to left/line to third or something like that. Has anyone seen this, or was it in a dream?
   50. Something Other Posted: May 01, 2011 at 11:44 PM (#3814842)
So you've got a 2B with the range of a SS and great skill on the double play putting up an OPS+ of 125.
And who, after 2000 games (a hell of a lot for a 2bman), is still a decent defender with a good bat for the position. Anyone know why Grich called it a career when he could still play?
   51. Flynn Posted: May 02, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#3814866)
Grich's back was acting up big time, IIRC.
   52. Jay Z Posted: May 02, 2011 at 03:08 AM (#3815002)
I wish I could find this, but I could swear that I once saw a Gammons thing where Mauch had predicted before the series that it would come down to Sanchez vs. Cooper and Cooper would fly to left/line to third or something like that. Has anyone seen this, or was it in a dream?


I don't know if that ever happened. I did look at the history of Hassler and Sanchez against Cooper. At the time Cooper was 7 for 31 against Hassler with 1 double and no other extra base hits, while Cooper was 1 for 2 with a walk against Sanchez. Lifetime it was 7 for 33 against Hassler and 2 of 7 against Sanchez.

Hassler also had a long history of better splits versus lefties than righties, whereas Sanchez had no noticable split.

Hassler pitched against the Brewers 5 times that year. Every time he was brought in, he was brought in to face a left handed batter. Three times it was Cooper. In Game 3 of the LCS, Hassler was brought in to face Cooper. He struck him out.

On April 5th, 1983, the Angels were leading the Brewers 3-2 in the 9th inning with 2 on and 2 out. Cecil Cooper was at the plate. Luis Sanchez was on the mound. The Angels' manager (John McNamara now) brought in Hassler, who retired Cooper to win the game.

Why would you not use Hassler against Coooper, then bring him in to face Simmons, where he didn't have a platoon advantage and who he didn't pitch particularly well against, though he did strike him out in this case. Now Sanchez gave up an opposite field single, he didn't give up a grand slam, but why would you do things completely different in a final game as you've done them all season? Mauch had no excuse for what he did - he either played a hunch and was wrong, or choked.
   53. Baldrick Posted: May 02, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#3815622)
I'd just like to cite this conversation as a great counterpoint to the argument that the HOF ruins discussions of players. That argument claims that we only ever discuss in/out and never focus on the broader picture.

This thread would not exist without the hook of the HOF to get us talking. But it's been tremendously enlightening. I've always known of Grich in a vague sense, but he was just a little bit before my time. So never really got any sense of the texture of his career. I'm now far more enlightened. Thanks, all.
   54. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 02, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3815669)
I think you're overstating things.


Or maybe you're being a bit too literal. Cookie Rojas (.261, 3 HR) and Glenn Beckert (.270, 3) both played in the 1972 ASG. Felix Milan and Rojas both played in 1971. Sandy Alomar (.251, 2) and Glenn Beckert (.288, 3) both played in 1970. Grich came up (and that was the claim, came up) in 1970.

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