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Monday, May 18, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-18-2020

Rock Island Argus, May 18, 1920:

Gambling’s grip on the major American sports is being loosened by a general pressure on the wrist.

War on the baseball gamblers is working up a good sized casualty list and moans are being heard from several of the big race tracks where the shots of stewards are finding a mark.

Following a policy adopted during the winter when tales of the “fixed” world series were being passed around, the major league club owners are enlisting the aid of city police and private detectives against the professional grand stand gamblers.

Sounds like a good plan. I imagine that by the end of the 1920 season, nobody will even be thinking about allegations of a fixed 1919 Series.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 18, 2020 at 10:34 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history

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   1. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 18, 2020 at 10:35 AM (#5951605)
Deep starting pitching? Check.
Infield defense? Check.
Hall of Fame slugger? Check.
Dominant relief ace? Check.
Leadoff guy with OBP chops and speed? Check.
Colossal strike zone? Check.

This is a pretty darn good Birthday Team.

C: Jim Sundberg (40.5 WAR)
1B: Tim O'Rourke (5.5 WAR)
2B: Marcus Giles (16.7 WAR)
3B: Brooks Robinson (78.4 WAR)
SS: Felix Martinez (0.9 WAR)
LF: Eric Young Sr. (18.8 WAR)
CF: Gil Coan (2.1 WAR)
RF: Reggie Jackson (74.0 WAR)

SP: Babe Adams (52.5 WAR)
SP: Erik Hanson (22.1 WAR)
SP: Jack Sanford (18.6 WAR)
SP: Cy Barger (5.7 WAR)
SP: Nelson Figueroa (2.7 WAR)
RP: Joakim Soria (18.2 WAR)
RP: Rich Garces (4.7 WAR)

General Manager: Jim Bowden
Minor leaguer, on Italy's 2006 WBC roster, not a song by Us3: Todd Incantalupo
Umpire: Eric Gregg
   2. The Mighty Quintana Posted: May 18, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5951656)
Yes, all that...and El Guapo!!
   3. salvomania Posted: May 18, 2020 at 01:58 PM (#5951707)
C: Jim Sundberg (40.5 WAR)

Funny how you never heard---or hear---about Sundberg being a HoFer, as one does with Yadier Molina.

When he retired, after the 1989 season, Sundberg was 2nd all-time in games at catcher (behind Bob Boone). When he was first eligible for the Hall, in 1995, Sundberg was named on ONE ballot out of 460.

Career bWAR: Sundberg 41.5, Molina 41.1
Career WAA: Sundberg 17.6, Nolina 16.4
Career dWAR: Sundberg 25.3, Molina 25.0
Seasons with 3+ bWAR: Sundberg 8, Molina 6
Consecutive seasons w 100+ games started at C: Sundberg 13*, Molina 15 (I gave Sundberg credit for 100 GS in the strike season of '81; he started 97 of the Rangers' 105 games)
Gold Gloves: Sundberg 6, Molina 9
Career CS%: Sundberg 41%, Molina 40%
Postseason: Sundberg-starter for 1 WS champ, career .684 postseason OPS; Molina-starter for 2 WS champs, career .683 postseason OPS
Career OPS+: Sundberg 90, Molina 98
Seasons as starter w OPS+ of at least 100: Sundberg 5, Molina 7
All Star selections: Sundberg 3, Molina 9
Seasons receiving MVP votes: Sundberg 2, Molina 5

Their careers are superficially very similar (although Molina still has a couple decline-phase years left, and has fared much better in subjective metrics like MVP votes and All Star selections), yet Molina is a player who many consider a HoFer.

Comparing the two show that either Sundberg was vastly underappreciated, or, more likely, Molina's reputation outshines his performance. Although I guess I'm not accounting for so-called intangibles.
   4. Itchy Row Posted: May 18, 2020 at 02:21 PM (#5951712)
Sundberg had 97 starts at C with three games left in 1981, but he didn't catch in any of them. He played left in two of their last three games and took the last day off.

Bob Johnson, who's apparently a nephew of Ernie Banks, started those last three.
   5. Jaack Posted: May 18, 2020 at 02:30 PM (#5951715)
Sundberg made my HoM ballot last year, and I think he and Molina are pretty similar (I'll probably vote for Molina when he becomes eligible). So obviously I'm going to lean towards Sundberg being unappriciated.

I don't buy into a lot of the Yadi Molina, pitcher whisperer stuff, but there is a lot of value in being a ++defensive catcher who is durable and doesn't give away much with the bat.
   6. salvomania Posted: May 18, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5951735)
but there is a lot of value in being a ++defensive catcher who is durable and doesn't give away much with the bat.

In Sundberg's case, 41.5 bWAR worth of value.
   7. Jaack Posted: May 18, 2020 at 03:23 PM (#5951747)
Which doesn't incorporate all aspects of catcher defense, specifically framing.

Fangraphs doesn't having framing data for Sundberg, but they do have it for most of Molina's career - 146.3 runs since 2008. I know a lot of people are skeptical about big framing numbers, but it's very reasonible that a long time catcher, particularly a strong defender, could have produced 7-8 wins of defensive value that we just don't have data for.
   8. VCar Posted: May 18, 2020 at 04:18 PM (#5951779)
I started following ball in 76, so I was familiar with most of Sundberg's career. And it's true that no one though of him as a HOF-caliber player back then. He was always regarded as one of the 3-5 best defensive catchers playing at that time and 'hit well for a catcher'. Most teams that had him were very happy with him, probably because pitching coaches liked the way he handled a staff. But he didn;t do things that wound up in box-scores or the limited statistics used at the time.
   9. Mike Webber Posted: May 19, 2020 at 10:58 AM (#5951971)
It seems that Molina's best argument is that he is the best catcher of his time. Posey, Mauer, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin might think it's a flimsy argument, but I think that's his hook.

Sundberg though, he's nobody's pick for the best catcher of his generation. Bench, Carter, Fisk and Ted Simmons all played at basically the same time as Sundberg. Plus there's four more guys with basically the same WAR, Gene Tenace, Thurman Munson, Darrell Porter and Lance Parrish.

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