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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Olbermann: BUNNING DECONSTRUCTED

Not in the way you would expect…

One of the more intriguing measures of a pitcher is his record in the heat of pennant races. Don Drysdale, measured against the Dodgers’ chief rivals in each season of the ‘60s, was only about a .500 pitcher. Juan Marichal pitched closer to .600 ball against the key teams in the Giants’ various pennant pursuits.

Another measure paints a very odd picture of Bunning the pitcher. He just wasn’t that good down the stretch.

...Again, you can’t pin any of these pennant race collapses entirely on Bunning. In ‘64 the Phillies would never have been in the position to fold had he not dominated the league until the middle of September. In ‘68 a lot more went wrong with Pittsburgh than just Bunning. And in ‘69 he pitched some fine games in LA that the Dodgers could not win for him.

But it is odd that not once in four pennant sprints did he finish strongly.

Repoz Posted: March 03, 2010 at 01:39 PM | 38 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, history, phillies, pirates, tigers

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. sunnyday2 Posted: March 03, 2010 at 01:51 PM (#3471547)
Wow, did I expect something different.

But then again, not finishing strongly might be a theme that Bunning is not done with.
   2. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:02 PM (#3471550)
You know, when you get right down to it, nobody really finishes strongly.
   3. TomH Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3471552)
Chuck Norris can even beat his old self
   4. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3471554)
You know, when you get right down to it, nobody really finishes strongly.

Were you expecting Ted Williams to hit two homers in his final at bat?
   5. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:15 PM (#3471556)
I wasn't talking about baseball.
   6. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:41 PM (#3471569)
But then again, not finishing strongly might be a theme that Bunning is not done with.


So he's finishing strongly at not finishing strongly.
   7. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:47 PM (#3471573)
You know, when you get right down to it, nobody really finishes strongly.

Lord Nelson didn't do too badly for himself at the end.
   8. A triple short of the cycle Posted: March 03, 2010 at 02:54 PM (#3471577)
Suicide bombing - now that's finishing strongly.
   9. depletion Posted: March 03, 2010 at 03:19 PM (#3471589)
So in 1964, you mean Bunning pitched poorly in 5 starts over a 2 week period? Gee I can't imagine why that might be. Did it possibly have something to do with rest?
Olbermann is a jerk.
   10. Van Lingle Mungo Jerry Posted: March 03, 2010 at 03:22 PM (#3471593)
All things end badly. Otherwise, they wouldn't end.
   11. My Grate Friend, Peason Posted: March 03, 2010 at 03:37 PM (#3471601)
All things end badly. Otherwise, they wouldn't end.


What about Ray Bradbury's "The Last Night of the World?"
   12. Cowboy Popup Posted: March 03, 2010 at 03:48 PM (#3471606)
Bunning always seemed to be at best a marginal HOFer to me, am I missing something? He stacks up pretty poorly against guys who are considered borderline, like Moose and Kevin Brown. He has some extra innings, but eyeballing it, he looks noticeably worse than those guys.
   13. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: March 03, 2010 at 03:51 PM (#3471609)
Olbermann is a jerk.


And Jim Bunning is a senile old ass. News at 11.
   14. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: March 03, 2010 at 04:35 PM (#3471651)
I vowed when I started this blog last year to keep politics out of this

...but then I realized it was politics that took me from being a mid-level sportscaster to Darling of the Left, so why the heck not?
   15. Danny Posted: March 03, 2010 at 04:41 PM (#3471661)
Bunning always seemed to be at best a marginal HOFer to me, am I missing something? He stacks up pretty poorly against guys who are considered borderline, like Moose and Kevin Brown. He has some extra innings, but eyeballing it, he looks noticeably worse than those guys.


He has very little value outside of his prime, but that 1957-1967 run was pretty damn good in terms of durability and effectiveness: 2955 IP, 184-127, 126 ERA+. Averaging 270 IP a year for 11 years is pretty great, even in that era. Only Drysdale threw more innings over that period.
   16. Kiko Sakata Posted: March 03, 2010 at 04:45 PM (#3471668)
Bunning always seemed to be at best a marginal HOFer to me, am I missing something?


Not really. Somebody has to be on the margins of the Hall-of-Fame. He wasn't elected by the BBWAA in 15 tries (coming tantalizingly close in his 12th try before being crowded out by the best of the 1960s-70s guys). He probably makes a pretty decent borderline. He's better than all of the obvious mistakes (your Rube Marquards, Jesse Haines, and Catfish Hunters) so that he's not really one of them himself, but you'd probably do reasonably well using him as your standard: if a guy's better than Jim Bunning, he's a HOFer; if a guy's worse than Bunning, he's not.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 03, 2010 at 04:50 PM (#3471675)
...but then I realized it was politics that took me from being a mid-level sportscaster to Darling of the Left, so why the heck not?


Which would make a lot more sense as a comment if Olbermann had said one word about Bunning's politics in the column, apart from the explanation about why he'd delayed posting the item. Which he didn't.

Reading comprehension is your friend, RMc.
   18. RJ in TO Posted: March 03, 2010 at 05:14 PM (#3471694)
Bunning always seemed to be at best a marginal HOFer to me, am I missing something? He stacks up pretty poorly against guys who are considered borderline, like Moose and Kevin Brown. He has some extra innings, but eyeballing it, he looks noticeably worse than those guys.


There's a reason he was a VC selection. If he weren't marginal, the BBWAA would have almost certainly selected him.
   19. Accent Shallow opens his curtains at 7 AM Posted: March 03, 2010 at 05:31 PM (#3471714)
What about Ray Bradbury's "The Last Night of the World?"


As far as apocalypse, I prefer "The Nine Billion Names of God", although you can do worse than Bradbury.
   20. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: March 03, 2010 at 05:35 PM (#3471717)
Which would make a lot more sense as a comment if Olbermann had said one word about Bunning's politics in the column, apart from the explanation about why he'd delayed posting the item. Which he didn't.

Doesn't have to. Olby's audience knows damn well that Bunning is a Republican; if he was a Democrat, the article doesn't get written.

Insight should be your friend, Vlad, but it's not.
   21. bookbook Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:02 PM (#3471743)
I'm pretty darn sure the Republicans don't want to claim him as one of their own. Even by today's right wing standards, he's nuts.
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3471746)
Doesn't have to. Olby's audience knows damn well that Bunning is a Republican; if he was a Democrat, the article doesn't get written.


I've looked at this three or four times now, and I still can't see any way that it

a) addresses the point from my earlier post (i.e. that you were wrong about Olbermann making snide, partisan remarks about Bunning-the-senator in his article - which you were).
or
b) makes sense in and of itself.

Olbermann's blog is a general-interest baseball blog hosted through MLB.com. I somehow doubt that every last one of the people visiting MLB.com is a Democrat (nice though that would be), or for that matter interested enough in politics to know that Bunning is a Republican Senator from Kentucky (much less the details around his actions last week). And even if that were true, and Olbermann's audience consisted solely of baseball-loving news-savvy hyper-partisans, why would he refrain from overtly injecting politics into the discussion? Isn't that the kind of thing that the aforementioned left-wing partisans would enjoy, generating more traffic (and more ad revenue)?

To the limited extent that you are correct (which is pretty limited indeed), it's possible that if Bunning were a Democrat, he wouldn't have taken the stand that he did on unemployment, and thus his name wouldn't have been in the news, and thus Olbermann wouldn't have noticed his name in the news last week, and thus Olbermann wouldn't have been interested enough in Bunning to think about and look at his playing career, and thus Olbermann wouldn't have written the piece. But that's a pretty slender reed for you to crawl out on.
   23. JPWF13 Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:15 PM (#3471759)
I've looked at this three or four times now, and I still can't see any way that it


let's say that Bunning was a leftwing Senator in the news for some reason lately, yes Olbermnan may write and article- but IO doubt it's the one he wrote, he'd probably mention his uncanny knack for winning exactly 19 games, his Father's Day no no and how Bill James called him the hard luck pitcher of the decade, and he'd mention that 1957-1967 run...
   24. JPWF13 Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:22 PM (#3471771)
I'm pretty darn sure the Republicans don't want to claim him as one of their own. Even by today's right wing standards, he's nuts.


and not nuts in the funny/humorous or even "nice" (eccentric) way, he's a mean vicious cranky old bastard- I think some pollster should poll the people who voted for him- did they EVER see him in person/ on TV? giving an interview?

He's the cranky old relative everyone has, everyone dislikes and no one respects (except those who have been thoroughly drilled in the "respect your elders meme"- even most people who share his political views find him intolerable
   25. Swoboda is freedom Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:27 PM (#3471781)
You know, when you get right down to it, nobody really finishes strongly.

Pheidippides finished strongly, ran a marathon.
   26. Dandy Little Glove Man Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3471799)
Here's an interesting fact about Jim Bunning I just noticed on his B-Ref page:

Bunning had 7 seasons in which he finished top-10 in Adjusted ERA+, coming in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th once each.
   27. Styles P. Deadball Posted: March 03, 2010 at 06:41 PM (#3471802)
Tex Cobb's death in Uncommon Valor: Finishing Strongly.
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 03, 2010 at 08:01 PM (#3471902)
IO doubt it's the one he wrote, he'd probably mention his uncanny knack for winning exactly 19 games, his Father's Day no no and how Bill James called him the hard luck pitcher of the decade, and he'd mention that 1957-1967 run...


That's probably what you think he'd write. There's no evidence that he actually would, though.
   29. GregD Posted: March 03, 2010 at 08:17 PM (#3471912)
and not nuts in the funny/humorous or even "nice" (eccentric) way, he's a mean vicious cranky old bastard- I think some pollster should poll the people who voted for him- did they EVER see him in person/ on TV? giving an interview?
Well, people on both sides tend to vote for their party's candidate, and Kentucky is a pretty solid Republican state. He behaved bizarrely during the campaign, refusing to debate in person, reading off of prewritten remarks during his televised debate, giving a few Stockdale "why am I here" moments, claiming that WMDs had been found in Iraq because Sean Hannity said so, calling his opponent Saddam Hussein's forgotten brother (he's Italian and had a mustache) and so on. It was quite close, which is a revelation in and of itself. Plenty of Reps and Rep-leaning indies did vote against Bunning, but not enough. But--and I say this as a Kentucky native--it's not really a problem to be solved. Bunning does represent Kentucky and Kentuckians.
   30. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 03, 2010 at 08:37 PM (#3471931)
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: March 03, 2010 at 08:48 PM (#3471940)
calling his opponent Saddam Hussein's forgotten brother (he's Italian and had a mustache)


Close. It was one of Saddam's sons.

He's been on the insane side for awhile, but now he's insane and vengeful.
   32. Lassus Posted: March 03, 2010 at 08:55 PM (#3471947)
As far as apocalypse, I prefer "The Nine Billion Names of God", although you can do worse than Bradbury.

This is like saying you can do worse than Walter Johnson.
   33. JPWF13 Posted: March 03, 2010 at 09:14 PM (#3471967)
Bunning does represent Kentucky and Kentuckians.


I don't think I've ever insulted a group of Americans as viciously as you just did, but then again they did vote for him....

I mean, he's like America's version of this guy:
Vlad Zhirinovsky
   34. Swedish Chef Posted: March 03, 2010 at 09:21 PM (#3471978)
The Book of Revelation is epic, apocalyptic science fiction. But it is a disappointment; in part because it is far too derivative of Phil K Dick, even if it manages to capture some of the same druggish vibe; but mostly because of the silly Deus Ex Machina ending.
   35. Accent Shallow opens his curtains at 7 AM Posted: March 03, 2010 at 09:24 PM (#3471982)
This is like saying you can do worse than Walter Johnson.

Well, you can. I'm a huge Bradbury fan, although that story is not one of my particular favorites.
   36. rr Posted: March 03, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3472002)
   37. rr Posted: March 03, 2010 at 09:33 PM (#3472003)
Bunning does represent Kentucky and Kentuckians


My entire family, save for my mom and dad, lives there, and I spent my early years there. I can't speak for all people with Kentucky roots, but in my case, I would say I am probably as dumb as Bunning is but I'm way nicer.
   38. AndrewJ Posted: March 04, 2010 at 12:51 AM (#3472149)
Bill James in the NBJHBA rates Bunning as the 30th best pitcher of all time, but can't refrain from pointing out Bunning's prickliness: "Bunning wants you to respect him, but (...) he doesn't seem to care whether you like him or don't. His nickname, as a player, was 'lizard.' He comes off as very cold, very arrogant. (...)(M)any of Bunning's teammates did not like him."

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