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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Baseball Analysts: Perry: Bert and Warren: A Comparison Worth Making

Warren and Bert and pray for…..a damn Bert Commission!

Without correcting for run support, Spahn quite famously has a comfortable advantage in winning percentage; however, if you recalibrate for Blyleven’s generally lousy lineup compatriots, he actually outdoes Spahn in such a neutral context. At this juncture two points bear repeating: Blyleven is the equal of Spahn—the board-certified, inner-circle Hall of Famer—in terms of park- and league-adjusted ERA, and he bests him in winning percentage once league-average run support is ascribed to both hurlers. Why there’s any sort of debate over Blyleven’s Cooperstown bona fides is truly a mystery.

Repoz Posted: December 14, 2005 at 02:47 PM | 97 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hall of fame

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   1. Kyle S Posted: December 14, 2005 at 03:02 PM (#1776737)
The next column will be about how Bert Blyleven, when adjusted for era, compares favorably with Walter Johnson. The final one will compute that if he had been born in 1867, he would have had more wins than Cy Young.
   2. jmac66 Posted: December 14, 2005 at 03:27 PM (#1776791)
what's the record for most Blyleven-for-the-HOF threads in one voting period?
   3. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 14, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1776880)
That was a terrible, absolutely absymal article. I support putting Blyleven in the HoF, but after reading that article part of me hopes it doesn't happen just to bug Perry.

I like sabermetrics the most when it's willing to question and challenge its assumptions that have built up over the last quarter century. I think it's better anaylsis when it doesn't pretend to be some sort of Omnipotent Pure Truth. Perry's so overwhelmingly smugly arrogant that he's as far away from that as humanly possible. Sabermetric conventional wisdom may as well have been carried down from Mt. Sinai by Bill James on two tablets, and anyone who disagrees with it or is ignorant of it are to be mocked and derided. And even then, Bill James recently wrote an article talking about how just because we can't prove some things exist (like clutch hitting or clutch pitching) that doesn't mean that they don't exist.

His tone hear is so obnoxious it's unreadable. It's like someone whose metric of choice ran over his dog with a truck. And then backed up and ran over it again. Repeatedly.

This swill is also bad analysis. Stating that Blyleven's W/L record is entirely attributable to his run support is flat out not true. Several years ago - back in the free site days - one of the guys at prospectus looked at this and noticed that Blyleven didn't win as many games as he should've. Someone (I believe David Jones) looked at how several pitchers in the 1970s did in 1-run games, and found, with one exception, that they didn't do especially bad or good. The exception was Blyleven, who did exceptionally bad in those games. And finally, having done the RSI myself, I can tell you that his lack of run support in no way entirely explains his W/L record. It explains a little over half of his shortfall in wins.

If you want to say the remaining shortfall was due to Blyleven's getting tight in close games, or his inability to pitch to the score, or bad bullpen support, or a fluke of luck, or due to the alignment of the planets - OK, fine. But you need to present some evidence for your position. This schmuck just falsely asserts that any non-run support shortfall exists, and has no evidence to back it up. Meanwhile, as he makes his statistically unsound assertions, he preens and gloats over those who don't use appropriate methods of statistical anaylsis. Blunderful.

One other issue - who exactly was Perry's intended audience when he sat down to right this dreck? He has such haughty disdain for anyone who has any interest in traditional stats such as wins or anything like that the only people who could read this and be swayed would be statheads -- and last time I checked their already on board the Blyleven Bandwagon. There's nothing else here designed to appeal to a person who uses traditional metrics, or even someone open minded. If a person came to this article with a belief that maybe - just maybe - wins and losses aren't entirely an exact result of pythag'ing RA & RS, and that there is a potential for pitchers to perform better or worse in tight ballgames - there's nothing here to convince that person otherwise. It's not even so much asserted as it is just assumed that such an opinion is wrong.

An article convincing people who are already convinced of something doesn't seem to have a heckuva lotta purpose. Even if it was an attempt to preach to the choir, it was a disaster. I'm one choirmember who'd like to see satan rise up and smite the reverand after that sermon. And you can preach to the choir without mocking those who aren't in it. Normally I'd let it slide if the writer doesn't seem to have an audience in mind, but Perry's done some freelance professional writer, IIRC, so it's inexcusable of him to do that.

It's a big pile of poo.
   4. The District Attorney Posted: December 14, 2005 at 04:44 PM (#1776933)
I have no real problem with the logic or tone of it. I agree it would be stronger if it addressed the "pitching to the score" criticism, but I don't think omitting that makes the article useless. One article doesn't have to encompass the entirety of a subject in order to make a worthwhile point.

It's ok, but it probably is preaching to the choir. Trying to prove that someone should be in the Hall by showing they're NOT as good as someone else is not a methodology most casual observers would find compelling, IMO. Yeah, I know the logic is that Spahn is an inner-circle guy, so if Blyleven can even be compared to him, he's at least an outer-circle guy... I guess it makes sense, but it sounds better in the abstract than it actually reads, when you see a bunch of comparisons and the guy you're advocating for loses most of them.
   5. Rich Lederer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 04:50 PM (#1776950)
This "pitching to the score" stuff is a big pile of poo, as you would call it. Or at least using it against someone like Blyleven. Bert won 15 games by a 1-0 score. He ranks third on the all-time list behind . . . Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson.
   6. The District Attorney Posted: December 14, 2005 at 04:52 PM (#1776962)
He also downplays the fact that Spahn fought in a war. Even if we buy all the assumptions of his analysis, Blyleven is 40 "run-support-neutral wins" behind Spahn. Spahn served in the war 1943-45; those were early years of his career, so let's give him 10 wins a year. If one guy is 70 wins ahead of another guy, are they really comparable to each other? Even if your ultimate point acknowledges that Blyleven is worse, that's still a really huge discrepancy, 70 wins.
   7. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 14, 2005 at 05:06 PM (#1777010)
This "pitching to the score" stuff is a big pile of poo, as you would call it. Or at least using it against someone like Blyleven. Bert won 15 games by a 1-0 score. He ranks third on the all-time list behind . . . Walter Johnson and Christy Mathewson.

Let me clarify -- my main point isn't to argue that pitching to the score exists. My main problem rests with atatements like this:

Without correcting for run support, Spahn quite famously has a comfortable advantage in winning percentage; however, if you recalibrate for Blyleven's generally lousy lineup compatriots, he actually outdoes Spahn in such a neutral context.

Fun fact: if you compare Blyleven's real life W/L record - call him Real Bert - with a hypothetical model of his career based on his actual run support and actual runs allowed (Hypoethical Bert), Real Bert doesn't come off looking too well. Real Bert's down at .537, and Hypo Bert's around .550.

Chalking up the entire difference in Blyleven's W/L and ERA+ to run suppport just doesn't work. It's rotten anaylsis, and as mentioned earlier, this sort of anaylsis has been done repeatedly on Blyleven. And when you combine bad statistical anaylsis with a belief that those who engage in bad statistical anylsis ought to be put out to pasture with trilobites, well . . . . I really don't think much of any such analysis.

The case for Blyleven's strong enough that I think he deserves entry even with his unexplained shortfall in wins, but to pretend that run suppot does explain it is just wrong.
   8. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 14, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1777040)
Dayn Perry's article is far more cogent than Rob Neyer's halfhearted attempt. I don't know whether Neyer didn't want to bother doing the research, was on a word limit, or simply didn't think actual facts were necessary. But my compliments to Mr. Perry for providing an interesting lens through which to view Blyleven.

As some of you may know, I witnessed almost all of Warren Spahn's career. In turn I did see Bert Blyleven pitch from beginning to end.

First, an interesting item about Warren Spahn is that he actually LED the National League in strikeouts FOUR times. And that was four STRAIGHT times. Yes, he was pitching a ton of innings so his strikeout rate wasn't among the tops in the league. But it wasn't average either. And even after injury took away his good fastball he managed to finish second in the league in strikeouts at age 38.

Second, Warren got those wins not JUST because the Braves scored runs for him. It was because he was on the d*mn mound from beginning to end. Look at the record. Spahn finished in the top 3 in innings pitched 14(!) times. And he did it 13 straight years from 1947-1959. Blyleven was certainly an innings eater in some years but not like THIS. And don't give me that crap about eras. Spahn was pitching the latter half of his career in de-segregated baseball with tremendous talent concentration due to lack of expansion. Warren Spahn won more games because he POSITIONED himself to win the game.

And finally, Spahn wasn't a jerk. I really am at a loss as to why folks just completely set aside that for much of his career Bert was a jack*ss.

Lest anyone not know:

5. Voting — Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Bert complained. He whined. He mocked managers, teammates, and his club's leadership.

Blyleven forced trades three different times. And not under pleasant circumstances.

So y'all can write that "this stuff doesn't matter", "the writers are stupid", and poor old Bert is getting a raw deal.

But if you were some hot sh*t in your field the first 20 years of your career and spent your free moments ridiculing peers what kind of response would you expect if in your later years you needed a hand with a project? Do you honestly expect people to NOT let past memories of slights, insults, and snide remarks to NOT impact their decision-making as to whether to help you or not?

Bert was a Hall of Famer quality pitcher on some days. I think the voters have forgotten that. And to some extent that is Blyleven's fault.
   9. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 05:20 PM (#1777042)
My problem with the article is the reliance on stats like K/9, BB/9 and H/9. These stats are great if you're trying to predict the future. They're useless if you're looking back on what actually happened.

It doesn't matter if a pitcher gives up 12 hits per game and only strikes out the other pitcher, if he won 300 with a decent ERA, he's HOF worthy. The name of the game is winning, and as a pitcher, you do that by keeping runs off the board, not by striking out the most guys, or walking the fewest.

When you look back at a pitchers career, you should focus on what he did to help his team win or lose, not the components that may or may not have had anything to do with it.
   10. villainx Posted: December 14, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1777124)
What did Bert do to deserve this much love, do so many sports writers feel for the miscarriage of justice in the HoF that they have to lick his balls this much? Or is it the other way around, has Bert been on his knees much recently?

I'm just asking. I can't believe Bert were all these writers favorite players.
   11. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 05:57 PM (#1777125)
Second, Warren got those wins not JUST because the Braves scored runs for him. It was because he was on the d*mn mound from beginning to end.

From 1947 through 1963 (when he had very few games/year in relief), Spahn pitched in 648 games (starting 592) and received a decision in 553 of them (85.3%). I don't know how many decisions Spahn had in those 56 games in relief, although he had 23 saves in that period, so we know there were at least that many NDs. At worst, therefore, he received a decision in around 88% of his starts during those years.

Blyleven, who made only seven relief appearances in his entire career (with two decisions in those games), pitched in 692 games and received a decision in 537 of them (78.4%). If you just go through 1986, the last year that Blyleven completed a significant percentage of his starts, however, he pitched in 511 games (505 starts) and received a decision in 426 of them (83.4%).

A lot of the time when Blyleven left early (especially during his Pittsburgh days), he was on the hook for a loss. I did an analysis a while back of his 20 no-decisions in 1979, and came to this conclusion:

Although Blyleven did tend to receive less run support in his starts than his teammates (receiving less-than-expected run support in 23 of 37 starts in 1979), poor run support was a hindrance in only about a third of his no-decisions; the rest of it was generally Blyleven's own inability to hold the opposition down. Looking at his pattern of runs allowed, my best estimate of his likely won-lost record, had the Pirates scored for him as they did for his teammates, would be about 14-11.


-- MWE
   12. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:09 PM (#1777150)
Mike:

Any comment on my "Bert as a teammate" passages?

You seem to be one of the few folks over the age of 15 who has not suffered long-term memory loss or opens a book once in a while.

So I would like to know if I am misrepresenting the perception of Blyleven before his second tour with the Twins.

HW
   13. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:10 PM (#1777151)
Looking at his pattern of runs allowed, my best estimate of his likely won-lost record, had the Pirates scored for him as they did for his teammates, would be about 14-11.

I did the same thing and it's impossible to disagree. And it's worth noting that that year he went 12-5. That was an atypical year for him, though, in that he didn't pitch very well in the regular season.
   14. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:13 PM (#1777155)
The only thing I recall about Blyleven's personality was that he was crude. I don't recall that he was traded for personality reasons, but that may just be my poor recall--I was an avid TSN reader at the time, so you'd think it would've been in there.
   15. John DiFool2 Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1777165)
I will note that the war years may have _saved_ wear and tear on Spahn's arm,
thus allowing him to pitch into his mid 40's...
   16. villageidiom Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:19 PM (#1777166)
I second #3.
   17. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:20 PM (#1777170)
So I would like to know if I am misrepresenting the perception of Blyleven before his second tour with the Twins.


I'm too young to remember the Blyleven from the 70's, but the fact that he was traded three times while he was an excellent pitcher seems to support your conclusion.
   18. JPWF13 Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:21 PM (#1777173)
He also downplays the fact that Spahn fought in a war. Even if we buy all the assumptions of his analysis, Blyleven is 40 "run-support-neutral wins" behind Spahn. Spahn served in the war 1943-45; those were early years of his career, so let's give him 10 wins a year.

If you subscribe to the theory that pitchers are most vulnerable to overuse early in their careers (early 20s) then Spahn's longevity (in part) might be attributable to being shut down as a pitcher for a couple years early on.
   19. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:27 PM (#1777176)
So I would like to know if I am misrepresenting the perception of Blyleven before his second tour with the Twins.

Not at all. There is no question that Blyleven wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh long before he was actually traded after 1980, and the Pirates were as glad to get rid of him as he was to go.

The Minnesota-to-Texas deal several years earlier was a combination of Blyleven's prickly personality and Calvin Griffith's antagonism to free agency, in almost equal parts. It's likely that Blyleven would have been traded anyway - as soon as it became clear there was going to be free agency, the rumors were flying - but the personality conflicts expedited matters.

-- MWE
   20. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:27 PM (#1777178)
Post 15:

It's possible. But Feller got a break and the Indians still managed to "break him".

What isn't appreciated about Spahn is that he was very aware of conditioning. Those uniforms don't flatter the figure but Warren was always in excellent shape. Which might also help explain why he was such a good fielder/hitter even in his later years.

By the way, Spahn had a sharp tongue himself which at times could irritate teammates. But Spahn was typically just trying to be funny while Bert was griping.

Dr. Memory:

Bert didn't necessarily get traded BECAUSE of his personality. Bert was traded at least twice because he told the team they better trade him or he would make their lives a living h*ll. He threatened to retire if the Pirates didn't trade him. And he forced the trade from Cleveland by holding his breath and turning blue. (a bit of hyperbole)

I think the Indians trade situation gets forgotten because later on Bert claimed he just wanted to be with a winner and the Indians did s*ck like a Hoover on high at the time.

Nevertheless, it's not really the behavior you expect or want from a guy who is your "Ace".

Not that Clemens hasn't done the same thing in his career.

Or has everyone forgotten the exit from Toronto???
   21. BDC Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:28 PM (#1777180)
Spahn, though he saw more combat than most ballplayers, also played a lot of baseball for military teams, as did almost every pro ballplayer who served. See this US Army webpage on Spahn.
   22. Repoz Posted: December 14, 2005 at 06:28 PM (#1777181)
From 1947 through 1963 (when he had very few games/year in relief), Spahn pitched in 648 games (starting 592) and received a decision in 553 of them (85.3%). I don't know how many decisions Spahn had in those 56 games in relief

Mike... In relief Spahn was a lopsided 5-17 in those years.

1947-0-0
1948-0-0
1949-no relief app.
1950-0-1
1951-0-3
1952-0-1
1953-0-0
1954-1-1
1955-0-3
1956-0-0
1957-1-0
1958-0-0
1959-0-3
1960-2-2
1961-1-3
   23. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 07:04 PM (#1777225)
As Harvey notes, Blyleven did walk out on the Pirates, threatening to retire if he weren't traded. What's noteworthy is that he did it during the season.

On April 29, 1980, Blyleven took a 4-2 lead into the sixth inning of a game against Montreal. That lead evaporated, as singles by Tony Bernazard and Ellis Valentine, an infield out, and a single by Gary Carter yielded two runs. When Blyleven walked Warren Cromartie following the Carter single, Chuck Tanner had seen enough, and waved in Enrique Romo. Blyleven, who was 0-2 in four previous starts despite pitching well in all of them, rebelled about being removed from a close game yet again. The walkout lasted nearly two weeks, and Blyleven came back on May 11 when it became obvious that he wasn't going to be traded back to the American League. In his first start after coming back to the team, Tanner left him in to go the distance in a 5-0 loss to San Francisco, letting him bat in the sixth with a runner on, no one out and the Bucs trailing 2-0. A couple of weeks later, Tanner left Blyleven in a game against the Mets to absorb an eight-run second inning outburst, not removing him until six runs were already across the plate with a couple more runners on. That was, almost certainly, Tanner's way of responding to Blyleven's act, since after that he more or less reverted to his prior approach to handling Blyleven.

-- MWE
   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 14, 2005 at 07:31 PM (#1777278)
Mike:

Thanks for the info in post 23 - I wasn't aware of that, and I've been an avid baseball fan since the early 1970s. My primary recollection of Blyleven's personality during his career was that he was crude, a practical joker who probably held the world's record for hot footing his teammates, but I didn't realize that he'd pulled stunts such as the one you describe. I do feel that Blyleven is HOF worthy, but such incidents help me to understand why he's received such lackadaisical suport from the voters.
   25. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 14, 2005 at 07:35 PM (#1777285)
Harvey,

Without denigrating Spahn's career, life or character in any way, and fully acknowledging his inner circle HOF qualifications, what do you make of Spahn's non-appearances against the Dodgers for the better part of a decade, just when they were his team's biggest rival? He barely made a start against them in the 1950's, both at home and on the road.

I understand the stated reason for it (all those righthanded power hitters), but I can't think of too many other star pitchers who were handled this way. Lefty Grove's name was brought up once against the Yankees, but that's about it.

Some pitchers, such as Whitey Ford, were actually pitched quite a bit more against their key rivals, while Casey let the Kuckses and the Sturdivants fatten up on the A's and the Nats.

What's your take on this?
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 14, 2005 at 07:43 PM (#1777294)
Mike:

Thanks for the confirmation that despite my wife's claims otherwise I am not going completely daft.

And THIS situation more than any other is what bothers me about the evaluation "methods" being used by some in this forum.

Repeatedly I have read posts where the writer simply ignores entire aspects of a player's career. If it's Albert Belle folks are touting his WARP3 or peak Win Shares. If it's Bert Blyleven it's what he MIGHT have won in a more perfect world.

Meanwhile, I suggest folks look beyond the sterile numbers and folks tell me it either doesn't matter or that stuff is all anecdote anyway so why bother.

And my muted response is WHAT???!!!!!!

If someone presents themselves as being an analyst doesn't that title denote an interest in ALL AVAILABLE DATA?

Folks here routinely chide, deride, and act snide toward members of the popular press who "cherry pick" information to support an argument.

That "framing" of the discussion is intellectual dishonesty, plain and simple.

Fine. I'm "lecturing". But somebody tell me how anyone can come to this website, claim to be interested in the "whole truth" as it pertains to baseball, and then omit or ignore information that is inconvenient?

It speaks poorly to this informal collection of souls that we are unable to practice what we "preach".

And no, this rant ISN'T over.........................
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:04 PM (#1777325)
If it's Bert Blyleven it's what he MIGHT have won in a more perfect world.

What's most important is to avoid the malapropism that pitchers (or any individual players) "win". Individuals don't win, teams do. Pitchers get people out. Yes, the connection between teams winning and pitchers doing their jobs is a complex one, and it may not work the same way for all pitchers, but if you're using wins as a starting point you're going to get lost.

If someone presents themselves as being an analyst doesn't that title denote an interest in ALL AVAILABLE DATA?

Not necessarily. There are irrelevant data, and mirky data.

I don't reject the notion that Blyleven had some personal tendencies that led him to "lose" (quotes intentional) games than another pitcher would have won under the same circumstances, but knowing what I do about the business of pitchers and winning and losing, I am highly suspicious of it, to the point of not taking it very seriously. Out of order brings up some good points (I'm a Blyleven supporter, but come on -- Spahn?), but I disagree that the onus of proof is on my side. While I understand that it was not entirely a matter of run support, I'm not at all prepared to reject the null hypothesis that it was something else.

Nevertheless, it's not really the behavior you expect or want from a guy who is your "Ace".

Not that Clemens hasn't done the same thing in his career.


Clemens and a lot of other people. I don't disagree with you entirely, but it's very difficult for us to fully understand these situations from the outside.
   28. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:11 PM (#1777342)
Harvey, I mentioned this in yesterdays Blyleven thread, but I'm Dialing myself here:

I seem to recall one game where Bert was upset wtih an umpires call and proceeded to serve up fat pitches to the opponent, gave up some back to back homers until his manager pulled him. I found the game on retrosheet once, but I was looking on ProQuest and retrosheet last night and couldn't find the game. Unless it was another pitcher, I think that I'm losing my mind.
   29. Harold can be a fun sponge Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:22 PM (#1777361)

From 1947 through 1963 (when he had very few games/year in relief), Spahn pitched in 648 games (starting 592) and received a decision in 553 of them (85.3%). I don't know how many decisions Spahn had in those 56 games in relief, although he had 23 saves in that period, so we know there were at least that many NDs. At worst, therefore, he received a decision in around 88% of his starts during those years.

Blyleven, who made only seven relief appearances in his entire career (with two decisions in those games), pitched in 692 games and received a decision in 537 of them (78.4%). If you just go through 1986, the last year that Blyleven completed a significant percentage of his starts, however, he pitched in 511 games (505 starts) and received a decision in 426 of them (83.4%).


I have Spahn as 337-194 in 592 starts from '47-'63 (with a decision in 90% of his starts). I have Blyleven with 535 starts through '86, going 228-195 (79%). This comes from parsing retrosheet game logs, not year-by-year lines.
   30. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:27 PM (#1777371)
I think it's all too easy to lose the historical perspective when evaluating players primarily on their numbers - which is why it's important to go back and LOOK at the contemporary record when evaluating a player who doesn't seem to be getting his due, or who seems to be getting more than he deserves.

If you want to make the argument that Blyleven belongs in the HOF, it seems to me that you have to address - and counter - the reasons why people aren't voting for him. It is clear that Blyleven was perceived - by his actions - as someone who put his personal goals ahead of the team's goals, and as someone who came up small when the team needed him to come up big. The second perception may be unfair, but I don't think it's entirely without foundation. To compare Blyleven to other players with similar totals (without considering the other performance factors), or to put him in some hypothetical world where he actually gets run support, misses the point of the arguments being advanced against him, IMO.

-- MWE
   31. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:28 PM (#1777376)
the thing about blyleven is that even with his 'faults' he is clearly a deserving hall of famer. I don't advocate allen and probably not even belle, but that is because both are borderline to begin with. Blyleven isn't borderline, period. In response to rexracer about what blyleven did to deserve this much love, it's because to many people it's painfully obvious that he is a hall of famer.

We aren't talking about borderline guys who make it by accumulating some counting stat that the hof feels is important(see 3000 hits, 300 wins) This is a guy that isn't going into the hof because he played relatively under the radar. When you have people campaigning for guys like rice, mattingly and morris, and then you see that nobody at all is giving it up to the guy that actually helps raise the bar, it is a tad frustrating.


Blyleven is not borderline hof, he is dead middle of the pack.
   32. Backlasher Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:42 PM (#1777412)
I don't reject the notion that Blyleven had some personal tendencies that led him to "lose" (quotes intentional) games than another pitcher would have won under the same circumstances, but knowing what I do about the business of pitchers and winning and losing, I am highly suspicious of it, to the point of not taking it very seriously. Out of order brings up some good points (I'm a Blyleven supporter, but come on -- Spahn?), but I disagree that the onus of proof is on my side. While I understand that it was not entirely a matter of run support, I'm not at all prepared to reject the null hypothesis that it was something else.


Well Emeigh ranted, so now its my turn.

There is no NULL hypothesis. This isn't how things work. The stats aren't the truth; they are evidence. So is all the information that Harveys has listed. And all that evidence is balanced to reach a conclusion. There is no: It is X until somebody proves beyond a shadow of a doubt its something else.

That is just rhetorical nonsense.

But if you want to set up some NULL hypothesis, it is:

"No player is deserving of a HoF vote, until his merit for the HoF is proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

How about that one. Because anybody can play the rhetorical part of the game.

But while there aren't null hypothesis, there are presumptions. Blyleven doesn't benefit from most of the presumptions, like multiple Cy Young Award winner, 300 game winner, etc.

But one side doesn't need to prove that Blyleven would have one X games if not for a deficiency. In fact, its the other side that needs to be coming forward with some reasonable data that suggests, Blyleven should have won Y games, but didn't because of items external to his control. Its that side that is failing to make its presentation. They keep throwing out pieces of statisitcs as evidence, and when using the very same statistics, they actually diminish Blyleven's candidacy.

But this cognitive phenomena just amazes me. Somebody sees a standard for scientific publication, or somebody else sees a standard for criminal liability. Then they adopt that standard to apply for all decisions that are made in life.

This "null hypothesis" idea is something you learned in school. It is not the default or normal way people arrive at conclusions, and its application is pretty limited.

There are limited circumstances where we say, I'll believe this until proven otherwise. In fact, us regular folks call that close-mindedness. We usually refer to open-mindedness as taking the entirety of information and forming a conclusion based on all of the information.
   33. Rich Lederer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 08:48 PM (#1777423)
If you want to make the argument that Blyleven belongs in the HOF, it seems to me that you have to address - and counter - the reasons why people aren't voting for him. It is clear that Blyleven was perceived - by his actions - as someone who put his personal goals ahead of the team's goals, and as someone who came up small when the team needed him to come up big.

No, that isn't necessary because it is all poppycock. Explain how a pitcher who wants the ball every fourth day and who consistently pitched in the neighborhood of 300 innings throughout the first ten years of his career can be "someone who put his personal goals ahead of the team's goals." Is that a bad thing? If Blyleven was someone who didn't want to take the ball, I could understand this line of thinking. But we're talking about a guy who wanted to pitch and who did indeed help his teams win two World Series, which is the ultimate goal. No?
   34. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:00 PM (#1777451)
This "null hypothesis" idea is something you learned in school. It is not the default or normal way people arrive at conclusions, and its application is pretty limited.

There are limited circumstances where we say, I'll believe this until proven otherwise.


Well, fine, I'm being loose with the phrase "null hypothesis" (although not quite as loose as you make out). What I mean is better stated in your second sentence.

What I support is not muddling up the discussion with the flawed concept of pitchers winning and losing baseball games. I don't deny the possibility that he had flaws that caused his teams to win less often given all other factors, and in fact, do recall some of the criticisms cited here. I also recall him throwing some very tough games. How it all came out in the wash I consider to be unknowable, and I consider ANY claims one way or the other in need of support which is unlikely to come.
   35. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:02 PM (#1777454)
This article is everything that is wrong with statistical analysis.
   36. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:04 PM (#1777458)
back, the reason that people are bringing out the 'hypothetical' stats is because there are still people that are using a team stat like wins, as a reason to judge an individual player for that same stat. I sometimes wish that they would have given every player in the game the win or loss so that the absurdity of judging one person for that particular stat would be laughed at. "I mean obviously graig nettles was better than mike schmidt, just look at their w/l percentage".

the fact is that other than harveys comments, I've never seen an argument to not vote for blyleven. And to be fair, Harveys argument is more about not including Blyleven in the same sentence as Spahn(which I agree with, this article didn't do one thing to convince me that they are comparable players at all)


What I would like to see, which this series is going out of its way to avoid for some reason, is how Blyleven stacks up to all the hall of fame starting pitchers. Come up with a baseline using traditional stats, games, wins/losses, era, era+, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, k/bb ratio, k/9ratio among others, and see how he compares to an average hof. Of course this undermines the short career guys like Koufax, so then look at maybe five year peaks, include a few non-hof, and even include the current five that are playing(clemens, maddux, pedro, randy and glavine)

This series is trying to avoid the lowest common denominator argument, but I think Blyleven would do just fine in the 'average' hall of famer comment(and don't use hofstandards and other garbage like that)
   37. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:07 PM (#1777465)
Does anyone know how to calculate BP's Flake stat for Blyleven? I just got done taking a look at Blyleven's stretch drive performance in 1970, his rookie year. It was pretty flaky, he'd pitch a complete game shutout and then go 2 innings in his next start. I wonder if this happened all year or throughout his career?
   38. philly Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:15 PM (#1777480)
Rich,

In all of the articles that you've written about Blyleven have you ever refernced the 1980 walkout that Mike Emiegh wrote about in post #23?

I've read a lot of articles discussing Blyleven's HoF candicay and I had never heard that he quit on his team for a couple weeks.

I don't see how you can give him credt for "wanting the ball" without also at least discussing the 1980 incident.
   39. BDC Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:26 PM (#1777500)
A walkout seems petulant or worse now, and would have seemed treacherous in the early 1960s. But in 1980, a few years after McNally/Messersmith and the year before everyone walked out for two months, the context was a little different.

That's not to excuse or justify Blyleven. But I think that the voters are not fixated on his misdemeanors, but are mainly unimpressed by the .534 career winning percentage. I am not much impressed with it myself. And I am not the more impressed by looking at Blyleven in a funhouse mirror and watching him turn into Warren Spahn :)
   40. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:35 PM (#1777521)
Explain how a pitcher who wants the ball every fourth day and who consistently pitched in the neighborhood of 300 innings throughout the first ten years of his career can be "someone who put his personal goals ahead of the team's goals." Is that a bad thing?


Blyleven, in 1980, made no secret of his desire to pitch complete games when he jumped the club in late April - that was the nub of his objection to Chuck Tanner's methods, and it appeared in the articles about his departure from the team. The flash point for Blyleven's departure from the team, as I noted above, was a game in which he did NOT pitch particularly well, and in which he had just blown a lead. Almost any manager would - under those circumstances - have pulled Blyleven from the game, because Blyleven wasn't pitching well enough to be left in the game.

Go back and look at 1979. In his 20 no-decisions, Blyleven left with a lead only twice, departing with a deficit nine times and in tie games nine other times (including a couple of cases where the Pirates tied the game as he was leaving for a pinch-hitter). In most of them Blyleven was staying in the game until the late innings - and when he was pulled before then, it was generally because he was pitching poorly. There are only three games, among those 20 NDs, where Tanner *might* have considered leaving Blyleven in the game instead of taking him out:

5/31: At home against the Cubs, Blyleven left for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 2-2 tie.

6/10: Blyleven had a 2-1 lead at Three Rivers entering the top of the sixth against the Giants, but Bill Madlock's leadoff triple and Darrell Evans's single quickly tied the game, and after an additional single by John Tamargo, Romo came into the game.

9/19: In the first game of a doubleheader at Veterans Stadium, Blyleven allowed single runs in the first and third, and departed for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth, trailing 2-1.

In all of the other cases, it was either the 7th inning or later, or Blyleven wasn't pitching especially well.

So to the extent that Blyleven's stated desire to pitch complete games regardless of how well he was pitching at the time conflicted with the team's goal to win as many games as possible regardless of who actually won them, then yes, I'd say it was a bad thing.

-- MWE
   41. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1777530)
Has anyone ever seen an article from anyone explaining why they wouldn't vote for Blyleven? I mean other than the usually silly stuff that says "he didn't look like a hof'er, and you should know a hof'er is pitching just by looking at him"
   42. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 14, 2005 at 09:38 PM (#1777531)
In all of the other cases, it was either the 7th inning or later, or Blyleven wasn't pitching especially well.


... and I should add here that, in the NL, starting pitchers have to expect to be removed under either of those circumstances.

-- MWE
   43. Dag Nabbit at ExactlyAsOld.com Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1777572)
I don't reject the notion that Blyleven had some personal tendencies that led him to "lose" (quotes intentional) games than another pitcher would have won under the same circumstances, but knowing what I do about the business of pitchers and winning and losing, I am highly suspicious of it, to the point of not taking it very seriously. Out of order brings up some good points (I'm a Blyleven supporter, but come on -- Spahn?), but I disagree that the onus of proof is on my side. While I understand that it was not entirely a matter of run support, I'm not at all prepared to reject the null hypothesis that it was something else.

Personally, I'm an agnostic on the issue. I have no idea if it's luck or something to be held against the pitcher, or some lurking factor that needs to be explained. My own guess is that it's a combo of all of them and that you need to determine it on a case-by-case basis with each pitcher.

I don't mind so much someone thinking it's just luck. What does raise my hackles is someone just assuming/declaring it MUST be luck and therefore disregarded or that it must be the pitcher doesn't know how to win and therefore all other information should be disregarded.
   44. The District Attorney Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:00 PM (#1777571)
Has anyone ever seen an article from anyone explaining why they wouldn't vote for Blyleven? I mean other than the usually silly stuff that says "he didn't look like a hof'er, and you should know a hof'er is pitching just by looking at him"
That's not a "silly" argument, though; well, the way it's phrased makes it sound like the person is closed-minded and jumps to conclusions, so it may sound silly, but if you give it the benefit of the doubt, it isn't. What that boils down to, once you translate it from sportswriterese, is an argument that he didn't have enough peak value. The players who "weren't dominant" or "just never seemed like a HOFer" are the players who didn't have exceptional peaks, on the all-time scale.

It would be a perfectly self-consistent definition of a HOFer to say that he must have peak value above some certain amount, and it would be just as legitimate as any other criteria -- there is no real definition, after all. The problem, though, is that no one actually DOES use that as their only criteria. So there are several 300-game winners in there with no more peak value than Blyleven. There are several 275-game winners in there with no more peak value than Blyleven. There are several 250-game winners in there with no more peak value than Blyleven. Once you've endorsed most or all of those elections, THAT's when it becomes inconsistent to say that Blyleven and his 287 wins should not be in. So virtually every writer in reality is being inconsistent, but if there does happen to be one who thinks most of those previous elections were also wrong, then I can't argue with that guy.

Blyleven, Kaat and John should all be in, but I don't really buy the idea that Blyleven is worlds better than the other two. They're all clearly above the already-established line and they should all be in, but they share a lot of the same weaknesses to their candidacies and guys like them have almost always had to wait a loooooooooooong time to get in, and, y'know, that's fine.
   45. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:10 PM (#1777591)
So to the extent that Blyleven's stated desire to pitch complete games regardless of how well he was pitching at the time conflicted with the team's goal to win as many games as possible regardless of who actually won them, then yes, I'd say it was a bad thing.

I would too. Of course, the deleterious effects of this would be apparent not only in his W/L record, but in his rate statistics as well.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:13 PM (#1777596)
The reason why I think it is silly, is because it relies too much on the press at the time. I have never seen an article that says Blyleven doesn't belong in the hof, and here is why, which used evidence for it's argument.(hard evidence I mean)

Most common argument is that the writer will talk about how when the 70's were going on how nobody talked about Blyleven, or how he didn't have all star games etc. Which is basically focusing on the "fame" part of the hof. If that is the criteria then many more Yankees, Dodgers and even Cubs(now the Braves) should be in the hof. I just find it silly to think that a guy should go in because of the perception spouted by writers at the time.

I have to disagree, Blyleven is clearly above Kaat and John(although I would give John added 'off field' recognition if I had a vote) I don't really think it's that close. John and Kaat are 'borderline' hof'ers, who would get in by focusing on the lowest common denominator argument, Blyleven you don't need that argument.
   47. Backlasher Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:35 PM (#1777635)
This is a guy that isn't going into the hof because he played relatively under the radar.


You are correct in your data, but your conclusion is backwards. Blyleven was under the radar because of how he was playing.

Blyleven is exactly the case you say he is not. He is likely deserving of the HoF merely because of his longevity. He played 23 years, with the vast majority being above average. He also had some high above average seasons, and that type of career may be deserving of enshrinement.

He also has some negatives that detract away. But this isn't Sandy Koufax; it isn't someone who had this amazing burst followed by an untimely end. This is precisely someone who is building their case because of longevity.
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:36 PM (#1777637)
cardsfanboy:

Well, to turn that around nobody received more good press than Don Mattingly. And Donny Baseball isn't destined for Cooperstown any time soon. Nor is Keith Hernandez.

So I do think the voters can sift the wheat from the chaff.

Again, I think too many here have a "false" perception of Bert created by ESPN and Berman's inane nickname. Blyleven did not become anywhere NEAR congenial until his second stint with the Twins.

While I do NOT believe his acidic nature is the sole reason he hasn't reached the Hall I DO believe some writers actually remember what they saw AND HEARD from Bert's teammates in the 70's.

The guy could be a jack*ss. He didn't hide it. Didn't care who knew it. Bert figured that by taking his turn every day and doing his best it shouldn't matter that every so often he was a pr*ck.

Maybe he figured wrong............
   49. Backlasher Posted: December 14, 2005 at 10:40 PM (#1777645)
No, that isn't necessary because it is all poppycock.


And as someone said, that is everything that is wrong with sabermetrics today.

You have reached the determination that Blyleven belongs in the HoF. As a result, you feel like he is entitled to the HoF until someone proves you wrong.

You have the situation backwards. You have to argue your way into the HoF. If you have reached some milestone, you may get a presumption, but Blyleven has no such presumptions.

He has a very good case, but there are negative arguments that you must overcome if you want to convince voters to vote for Blyleven.

And I know its voge to burden shift, but that is the burden. You must convince the BBWAA to vote for Blyleven if you want him in the HoF. And it appears they have legitimate questions. You aren't going to convince them by ignoring those questions.
   50. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 11:12 PM (#1777696)
Harvey....If that is the case, then I'm fine with it. But I keep asking for anyone to show me an argument that a 'voter' made that says here is why bert doesn't belong in the hall that is a strong argument. I can see arguments like you propose really hurting guys like Belle or Allen, but it's hard to see how it's detrimental enough to Blyleven to bring him down to the level where he doesn't belong in the hof.

I'm serious the only arguments I have ever seen for keeping Bert out is
1. his win total(which is a team stat, and everyone has gone over how wrong it is to judge a player that way..whether you agree with neutral wins or any of that other garbage is irrelevant, the fact is that people are still using a team stat to determine individual value of a player)
2.The perception of the time that he wasn't a hall of famer, and the problem with that is that it's probably a wrong perception. First off his teams mostly sucked. Second he was considered by many of his peers to have a 'hall-of-fame' curveball.

Beyond that, other than you bringing up some good points, I have not heard a mainstream writer/voter give a reason that isn't "poppycock" about why Bert doesn't belong. I understand that the writers don't have to give reasons, but I figure with the way Bert has been gaining ground, that you would find articles about how come Bert, Santo, Belle, Whittaker(would have been nice) Trammel or any of the relievers don't belong. I've seen them on Belle, and the relievers, just figured I would see some coherent ones on Blyleven.

As to backlash, you are right There has been a preponderance of evidence, both traditional, and statistically inclined that touts Blyleven for the hof. Nobody has given a solid reason not to put him into the hof. We aren't talking, about lowest common denominator, this is a guy that in comparisons to the other hof'ers, would look right at home, once you start examining the meaningful numbers. (I know I'll get blasted for the arrogance of using the phrase meaningful, but it's the truth)
   51. cardsfanboy Posted: December 14, 2005 at 11:13 PM (#1777698)

And I know its voge to burden shift, but that is the burden. You must convince the BBWAA to vote for Blyleven if you want him in the HoF. And it appears they have legitimate questions. You aren't going to convince them by ignoring those questions.


oops, missed this comment. What questions? that is what I have been asking for two years, what possible reason do they have for keeping Bert out of the hof?
   52. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 11:21 PM (#1777704)
And I know its voge to burden shift, but that is the burden. You must convince the BBWAA to vote for Blyleven if you want him in the HoF. And it appears they have legitimate questions. You aren't going to convince them by ignoring those questions.


I agree with this. You are presented with the following arguments against Blyleven:

1. Put personal goals above team goals.
2. Choked in the clutch.
3. Had a small peak.

Now, you can either argue that these perceptions aren't true, you can argue that they're irrelevant, or you can argue that the weight of the positive evidence outweighs.

For example, I believe Blyleven belongs in the Hall of Fame. My criteria is similarity to other pitchers already enshrined. My contentions:

1. HOF starting pitchers pitch a lot of innings. Blyleven ranks 13th in career innings. 17 of the top 20 are in the HOF or will be (Clemens).

2. HOF starting pitchers are dominant. Good measures of dominance are strikeouts and shutouts. Blyleven ranks 9th in career shutouts. 19 of the top 20 are in the HOF. Blyleven is the only one who isn't. Blyleven ranks 5th in career strikeouts. 16 of the top 20 are in the HOF or will be (Clemens, Johnson, Maddux, Martinez).

3. HOF starting pitchers win a lot of games. Blyleven ranks 25th in career wins. 25 of the top 30 are in the HOF or will be (Clemens, Maddux, Glavine).


Now, someone on the other side might agree with my criteria, but make the case that other things are more important. Their contentions:

1. HOF starting pitchers are team players. Blyleven got in fights with teammates and management all the time. He was traded 4 times during the productive part of his career even though he was a very good pitcher. He also walked out on his team in 1980.

2. HOF starting pitchers come up big for their team when they really need him. Blyleven did not. (I don't have the evidence for this, but it seems to be a perception and someone could do the research).

3. HOF starting pitchers have excellent peak seasons. Blyleven did not. He only won 20 games once (and he still lost 15 that season), he did not win a Cy Young award and he only appeared on two All-Star teams. In addition, on the two World Series teams he played on, he wasn't even the best starting pitcher.


Now, in order for me to win my case, I have to address each of these points and show how these perceptions aren't true, that they're irrelevant, or that the weight of the positive evidence outweighs.

I'll do that in another post.
   53. Rich Lederer Posted: December 14, 2005 at 11:49 PM (#1777739)
What I would like to see, which this series is going out of its way to avoid for some reason, is how Blyleven stacks up to all the hall of fame starting pitchers. Come up with a baseline using traditional stats, games, wins/losses, era, era+, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, k/bb ratio, k/9ratio among others, and see how he compares to an average hof.

This series did not go "out of its way" to avoid any such thing.

From my article on Monday, The Hall of Fame Case for Bert Blyleven:

Bert's stats, in fact, are indistinguishable from the eight most similar pitchers who have already been given their day in upstate New York:

Don Sutton (914) *
Gaylord Perry (909) *
Fergie Jenkins (890) *
Robin Roberts (876) *
Tom Seaver (864) *
Early Wynn (844) *
Phil Niekro (844) *
Steve Carlton (840) *

* - Signifies Hall of Famer
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

                 IP     H    ER    BB    SO   HR   ERA   ERA+
Blyleven       4970  4632  1830  1322  3701  430  3.31   118  
Group Average  4974  4541  1800  1429  3263  434  3.26   115


Your question -- and many, many more -- have all been answered. The problem is that there are too many people who like to argue -- who like to be contrarian for contrarian's sake -- rather than read, do the research and analysis, etc.

***

In all of the articles that you've written about Blyleven have you ever refernced the 1980 walkout that Mike Emiegh wrote about in post #23?

Yes, I have addressed this issue in my column Bert Blyleven: Up Close and Personal:

Blyleven was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the 1978 season, and he helped lead the Bucs to a World Series victory over the Baltimore Orioles in 1979. Although Bert won two games in the postseason -- including a "do-or-die situation" in Game Five of the World Series -- he became disenchanted with the fact that he was only allowed to complete four games that year (after never having fewer than 11 in any full season) while setting a record with 20 no-decisions.

"Chuck Tanner and I did not see eye-to-eye. My only beef with him ever was 'why do I have to wait five to six days to pitch if I'm only pitching five to six innings?' What you're doing is taking away about 50 extra innings."

Blyleven threatened to retire on April 30, 1980 unless he was traded. After being placed on the disqualified list, Bert agreed to rejoin the Pirates on May 13. Although he allowed more than three runs only twice in his first ten starts, his record stood at 0-4 when he shut out the New York Mets on the last day in May. He failed to win 10 games for the first time in his career and was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in a six-player transaction in December 1980.

"To me, baseball was always supposed to be fun. In 1980 I wasn't having fun. I didn't leave on the best of terms. It was a frustrating experience."

***

I think that the voters are not fixated on his misdemeanors, but are mainly unimpressed by the .534 career winning percentage

Seems as if 98.8% of the voters deemed Ryan's .526 W-L % just fine.
   54. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:06 AM (#1777764)
Seems as if 98.8% of the voters deemed Ryan's .526 W-L % just fine.

Bringing up Ryan won't convert anyone. They're unimpressed by .534 because he doesn't also have 5000 Ks, 300 Ws, 200 Ks at age 44, 8 top ten CY finishes, and 8 All-Star selections.
   55. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:11 AM (#1777772)
Bringing up Ryan won't convert anyone. They're unimpressed by .534 because he doesn't also have 5000 Ks, 300 Ws, 200 Ks at age 44, 8 top ten CY finishes, and 8 All-Star selections.


Don't forget the no-nos.
   56. Rich Lederer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:14 AM (#1777776)
They're unimpressed by .534 because he doesn't also have 5000 Ks, 300 Ws, 200 Ks at age 44, 8 top ten CY finishes, and 8 All-Star selections.

I think I understand the circular logic now. They're not impressed with Blyleven's 287 wins (17th since 1900), 3701 strikeouts (5th all-time), and 60 shutouts (9th all-time) because he has a career W-L record of .534.

And they are "unimpressed by .534 because he doesn't also have 5000 Ks, 300 Ws, 200 Ks at age 44, 8 top ten CY finishes, and 8 All-Star selections."

Wow, that is some deep thinking on the subject.
   57. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:16 AM (#1777777)
Yes, I have addressed this issue in my column Bert Blyleven: Up Close and Personal:


This is excellent writing Rich. Thanks.
   58. The District Attorney Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:25 AM (#1777782)
I think I understand the circular logic now.
It's not at all difficult to understand, nor is it circular. A .534 W-L pct% is below the Hall of Fame standard. This is as true for Nolan Ryan as it is for anyone else. However, the popular perception is that Ryan did things to overcome that admitted disadvantage to his candidacy, while Blyleven did not. I feel ridiculous having to explain this to someone to be honest, but you claim not to understand it, so there it is.
   59. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:31 AM (#1777784)
I think I understand the circular logic now. They're not impressed with Blyleven's 287 wins (17th since 1900), 3701 strikeouts (5th all-time), and 60 shutouts (9th all-time) because he has a career W-L record of .534.

And they are "unimpressed by .534 because he doesn't also have 5000 Ks, 300 Ws, 200 Ks at age 44, 8 top ten CY finishes, and 8 All-Star selections."

Wow, that is some deep thinking on the subject.


I don't think it's a particularly cogent argument, but I think you're shorting it a bit here.

Nolan Ryan's career W/L record (specifically, his 292 losses (third all time)) and walks (far and way most all time) were brought up critically when his Hall of Fame election was discussed. However, he also did a number of things that no one had ever done before, or even come close -- the strikeouts, the no-hitters, and the longevity of his career -- so he was elected in spite of these things. Ryan's win percentage was a knock against him, but in the eyes of the BBWAA he had done things to make up for it. Blyleven doesn't have those dramatic accomplishments.
   60. Rich Lederer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:31 AM (#1777786)
the popular perception is that Ryan did things to overcome that admitted disadvantage to his candidacy, while Blyleven did not

What part of this sentence do you not understand?

"Since 1900, Bert Blyleven ranks 5th in career strikeouts, 8th in shutouts, and 17th in wins."

Nolan Ryan is the only pitcher in the history of baseball who ranks higher in all three categories. Having to explain this point and holding Blyleven to the standards set forth by Ryan is what is ridiculous.
   61. Rich Lederer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:36 AM (#1777789)
This is excellent writing Rich. Thanks.

You're welcome. Thank you for the nice comments.
   62. The District Attorney Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:38 AM (#1777791)
What part of this sentence do you not understand?
The part where your attitude is condescending and counterproductive. What the hell are you getting mad at me for; I think the guy should be in. I personally could care less about 2,000-strikeout discrepancies, Cy Youngs, All-Star Games or no-hitters, as long as the career adds up. Writers do care about those things. I don't think they're, like, insane to think that way, either, though I disagree.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:43 AM (#1777798)
Rich, my point was instead of focusing on the guys that were similar to him that are in the hall of fame, was to look at all pitchers in the hall of fame(at least starters) make a baseline from there and show that Bert in that comparison is better than the average hof'er.


I think that when people see that he isn't a lower tiered hof'er, he is a middle of the road hof'er then they may support his candicy more.
   64. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:53 AM (#1777812)
There has been a preponderance of evidence, both traditional, and statistically inclined that touts Blyleven for the hof.


No, there has not been or he would have already been enshrined. Your arguments have not convinced the only jury that matters. Its highly unlikely that becoming frustrated when you make the same argument over and over again, will not produce any greater success.

You apparently have been convinced by the evidence or a subset of the evidence. That is pretty meaningless.

I have not heard a mainstream writer/voter give a reason that isn't "poppycock" about why Bert doesn't belong. I understand that the writers don't have to give reasons, but I figure with the way Bert has been gaining ground, that you would find articles about how come Bert, Santo, Belle, Whittaker(would have been nice) Trammel or any of the relievers don't belong. I've seen them on Belle, and the relievers, just figured I would see some coherent ones on Blyleven.


Then you have not been looking because you will see many writers who list their reasons for not inducting him. The problem is they aren't making those arguments in this forum where a bunch of fanboys are calling them idiots.

If they say "not a team player" or point to his perception, they don't give you a treatise. That is for two reasons. First, they don't have the space. Second, its near impossible and serves no purpose to try to convince fanboys otherwise. I'm curious, did you ever see him play? how old where you when he played? Because from what I've seen people that did see him play understand the rationale even if they would vote otherwise. Its the people who didn't see him play that get militant about this.

Seems as if 98.8% of the voters deemed Ryan's .526 W-L % just fine.


I can't believe you still don't get it. Until you understand why people vote the way they do, you have no hope of ever influencing their vote. Do you think people are going to read Neyer's pithy little Farmer's Museum piece, and Perry's sportswriter piece and be shamed into changing their opinion.

Do you not know why voters voted for Ryan and Sutton. Do you not know what distinguishes Perry from Blyleven. Its real nice to show how people are similar, but its also a good talent to know how they are different. That's why everyone is laughing at the Spahn comparison.

If you just deal with the stats, Blyleven would be very close, but probably in on most ballots. However, perception, awards, leadership and character count. And its looking like Bert gets no pluses for these and maybe some minuses as well. You have to address these. And the worst way to address these is saying, "That's stupid. All that matters is third order RSI (particularly if you designer stat really shows Blyleven to be worse than perceived)." Its really bad when that is an express criteria of enshrinement.
   65. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 12:59 AM (#1777823)
Having to explain this point and holding Blyleven to the standards set forth by Ryan is what is ridiculous.


LOL. Ryan isn't a standard. I'll type it again, slowly. Ryan has overcome what would be an otherwise non-HoF career, but accomplishing very unique things.

Just a few minutes ago, you claimed Blyleven was indistinguishable from a list of HoF. People have and do make any distinguishments between these players. If you can't, it doesn't help people taking you seriously. You have to come up with a nouveau stat to even make them look similar.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:07 AM (#1777830)
I'm sorry back, but your comments are basically "well since the mainstream thinks it is this way, then that is the way it must be, and they must be right because that is the way the voting goes" of course your comments took 8 paragraphs more to say that, but that is the heart of the matter of your 'point'.

I have looked for peoples reasoning who do the voting, and the extent of the reason has been weak, in my opinion. I don't think anyone has ever said that one stat or one point of view is the evidence for Blylevens candicy. They have refuted the arguments which are put forth against Blylevens candicy.


The traditional stats alone say he is borderline, that much is certain, You know as well as I do, as well as Rich and as well as even Peter Gammons, that if Blyleven got those extra 13 wins, we wouldn't be having this argument/discussion at all. He would already be in. The main reason he isn't in, is because of the lowest common denominator arguments. Where some writers are saying, if Blyleven is a hofer, then kaat and john and maybe a couple of others also deserve enshrinement. Rich among others have tried to explain that he wouldn't be a weak enshrinement, in fact that he belongs.

they have pointed out statistically why he belongs, they have pointed to his performance in the post season to show that he was a strong pitcher when the team needed him there, They have acknowledged his personality flaws, they have done a great job of showing how he stacks up with traditioinal numbers, they have attacked the argument about his winning percentage, they have quoted major league players at the time who have commented on Bert. They have attacked why Bert did so poorly in the cy young voting, and all star selections.

meanwhile the people opposing him resort to "he didn't feel like a hof'er" as one of the only two arguments against.
   67. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:15 AM (#1777845)
I'm sorry back, but your comments are basically "well since the mainstream thinks it is this way, then that is the way it must be, and they must be right because that is the way the voting goes"


I take it then my guess was right. You never saw him play.

And I'm sorry to disillusion you, but you have no say in the HoF. I have no idea what the "mainstream" is, but I know what the BBWAA voted. They even keep stats on it.

but that is the heart of the matter of your 'point'.


No, that is the problem. People are explaining it to you in detail, and you either refuse or don't have the ability to understand. So, you will "boil everything down" to something you do understand. its been explained with silly statspeak like "peak" its been explained with human words like perception. Its been explained with popular opinion. There aren't many more ways to articulate to you why something is happening, and what would need to be done to effect an alternate outcome.

Do you think its an illusion and Blyleven is in the HoF. Or do you think because no one has convinced you otherwise, Blyleven must be elected?
   68. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:24 AM (#1777854)
And I'm sorry to disillusion you, but you have no say in the HoF. I have no idea what the "mainstream" is, but I know what the BBWAA voted.

They're not done yet, and each year he gets more votes.

I don't really care whether Blyleven is elected to the Hall of Fame or not, because I think Hall of Fame election is bogus. But I also think that if Don Sutton belongs in the Hall of Fame, and I see no reason to think he doesn't, then Bert Blyleven does too, and he does so easily.

Your arrogant dismissal of his career as second fiddle just doesn't ring true. He had his flaws, but he was seen as a top pitcher and go-to guy consistently, and for a very, very long time.
   69. Rich Lederer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:36 AM (#1777865)
Just a few minutes ago, you claimed Blyleven was indistinguishable from a list of HoF. People have and do make any distinguishments between these players. If you can't, it doesn't help people taking you seriously. You have to come up with a nouveau stat to even make them look similar.

I wrote that "Bert's stats, in fact, are indistinguishable from the eight most similar pitchers who have already been given their day in upstate New York" with the operative word being *stats*. I didn't and don't need a "nouveau stat to even make them look similar." I made them look one and the same using stats on the back of a baseball card.

But I'm not going to continue to partake in a discussion in which someone just likes to hear themselves talk (read: lecture).

Good night.

P.S. - We'll soon see if my arguments have convinced any writers to see the light and vote for Blyleven.
   70. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:46 AM (#1777876)
I'll be interested to see what Bill James has to say in the THT book. I just glanced at the NBJHA and he had Blyleven ranked 39th on the all-time pitching list; sandwiched between Carl Mays and Wes Ferrell. Sutton was 33rd.

FWIW, I think Blyleven should be in and I'll even thow out a non-stathead reason for the argument. I think career wins matter to some extent (yes I realize that wins and losses are a team effort, but a pitcher won't accrue a high total of them if he's a schmoe), but the boundary for HOF membership isn't a round number like 300. It's in the 260s somewhere.
   71. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 02:32 AM (#1777935)
But I'm not going to continue to partake in a discussion in which someone just likes to hear themselves talk (read: lecture).


LOL. I don't make it a Holiday tradition to call people idiots for not voting Blyleven in the Hall. I've already sad it would not be a travesty if he was in. I find it highly amusing that you have a notion that you are taking the high road.

They're not done yet, and each year he gets more votes.


I said that in the other thread. As the voting population gets younger, they are less likely to vote from their perceptions and more based on stats alone.

sandwiched between Carl Mays and Wes Ferrell


Niether of which are in the HoF. I guess Bill James just likes being contrarian and is unwilling to do the work to read and analyze. What a piker.
   72. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2005 at 03:10 AM (#1777963)
"Chuck Tanner and I did not see eye-to-eye. My only beef with him ever was 'why do I have to wait five to six days to pitch if I'm only pitching five to six innings?' What you're doing is taking away about 50 extra innings."


Blyleven pitched for Tanner for three years. During those three years, Blyleven made a total of 103 starts, and he allowed fewer than three runs in 53 of those starts. Tanner lifted him a grand total of seven times before the seventh inning in those efforts. On nine separate occasions in that same time frame, Tanner left Blyelven in games beyond the sixth inning despite his having given up more than four runs. Both before and after the walkout, Tanner tended to give Blyleven *more* leeway than he gave his other starters - as would be expected of any staff ace. For Blyleven to put this spin on it is, quite frankly, ridiculous - especially given the quality of the bullpen the Bucs had in those years.

-- MWE
   73. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2005 at 03:28 AM (#1777984)
Amplifying on my last comment a bit:

Tanner didn't set out to keep Blyleven, or any other starter, on a short leash. When Blyleven pitched well, he stayed out there. When Blyleven didn't pitch well, Tanner usually got someone else out there. Tanner's job wasn't to maximize Blyleven's opportunities for wins and innings, but to maximize his team's opportunities for wins, and if that meant taking Blyleven out of a game before Blyleven was ready to come out of the game, that's what he did. Given the bullpen options available to the Pirates, that's what any competent manager would have done, and should have done.

-- MWE
   74. SABRJoe Posted: December 15, 2005 at 03:41 AM (#1778003)
I guess Bill James just likes being contrarian and is unwilling to do the work to read and analyze. What a piker.

I think Bill James would reply to this with:

"Dear Jackass,"
   75. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 05:03 AM (#1778056)
Question: How long has MLB taken one representative from each team for the All Star Game?

Because if Bert was unfairly given the reputation of only being "above average" merely because he excelled for sh1tty teams, shouldn't he have a slew of AS apperances.

If he were a Diamond among trash (to quote Emmitt), he should be disproportionately high in AS apperances.
   76. cardsfanboy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 05:09 AM (#1778061)
Back, when blyleven gets in, are you going to support his inclusion? I'm serious, you really seem to be arguing, that the voters have made their decisions, it's the right decision, the fact that you can't see that means you are using tunnel vision. My guess is that if Bert makes it you do a flip flop and claim the voters are right??

I really don't understand your point..oops from my point of view you aren't making a point you are saying the same garbage you always say "you stat guys are so full of yourself, you are wrong, until of course you get proven right, in which case you were right but for the wrong reasons".
   77. cardsfanboy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 05:18 AM (#1778077)
well back, considering that berts team featured Rod Carew, Willie Stargel, dave parker, kirby puckett, it's not surprising that he wasn't the one to make it to the all-star game.

the year his team only sent one representative it was always one of those four guys.
   78. Repoz Posted: December 15, 2005 at 05:56 AM (#1778126)
Blyleven's record at All-Star breaks...

1970-3-2
1971-7-11
1972-9-12
1973-12-9 All-Star
1974-10-10
1975-7-4
1976-6-11
1977-8-9
1978-9-5
1979-7-3
1980-2-7
1981-7-4
1982-2-2 Injured
1983-5-8
1984-7-3
1985-8-9 All-Star
1986-8-8
1987-8-6
1988-7-7
1989-8-2
1990-7-5
1992-3-2


150-139 (.519) before the All-Star Game and 137-111 (.552) after.

I wonder if Jack Morris was this good during "clutch time".
   79. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 15, 2005 at 11:40 AM (#1778239)
MWE already covered this so no reason to be redundant other than to state that Blyleven's "explanation" is not representative of the circumstances AT THE TIME. But the more I write the more it seems to me that I am trashing Blyleven as a person which is NOT my intent. All I want is a holistic representation of a player's career. And for all of his positives B.B. also had some flaws.

By the way, let's say Bert Blyleven is elected to the Hall of Fame. Two questions:

1. Which player will become the cause of the sect of baseball folks who need someone to use as a prop to criticize baseball writers and the Baseball Hall of Fame?

2. Will he send Rich flowers?
   80. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 01:02 PM (#1778258)
Which player will become the cause of the sect of baseball folks who need someone to use as a prop to criticize baseball writers and the Baseball Hall of Fame?


Goossage ;)? It won't be Rice.
   81. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 02:01 PM (#1778287)
Most common argument is that the writer will talk about how when the 70's were going on how nobody talked about Blyleven, or how he didn't have all star games etc. Which is basically focusing on the "fame" part of the hof.

If they are referencing "fame" as we know it today, then they are wrong. The word was synonymous with "merit" throughout the centuries. It's only fairly recently that the definition has morphed into "celebrity".
   82. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 02:54 PM (#1778335)
Wow, that is some deep thinking on the subject.

Who ever said that the sportswriters were doing deep thinking? If you don't want to understand how they think in even the least little bit, then you are forever preaching only to the choir.

Nolan Ryan is the only pitcher in the history of baseball who ranks higher in all three categories. Having to explain this point and holding Blyleven to the standards set forth by Ryan is what is ridiculous.

Or maybe today's dumb ol' sportwriters understand that merely having more strikeouts than Walter Johnson does not make you more of a strikeout pitcher than Walter Johnson.

This really isn't all that difficult. Bert Blyleven's only real qualifications for the Hall seem to be his fine lifetime ERA+ and longevity. His ERA+ is not a factor and never will be. That longevity didn't result in gaudy counting stats. He wasn't perceived as a very good pitcher when he was pitching (I was there, he wasn't). He's never getting in.
   83. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 03:01 PM (#1778351)
I think career wins matter to some extent (yes I realize that wins and losses are a team effort, but a pitcher won't accrue a high total of them if he's a schmoe), but the boundary for HOF membership isn't a round number like 300. It's in the 260s somewhere.

Actually, it would seem to be between 298 and 300 inclusive, as Bobby Mathews is not in (297 victories) and Early Wynn is (300).
   84. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 04:21 PM (#1778507)
He's never getting in.

He'll get in, but he may have to wait fifty years.
   85. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 15, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1778516)
He wasn't perceived as a very good pitcher when he was pitching (I was there, he wasn't).

I was also there, and I think this is an overstatement. I think he *was* perceived as a very good pitcher - just not one of the best pitchers in the game. And he was also perceived as someone who was definitely a pain to have around, and (to some extent) not worth the problems he caused.

-- MWE
   86. John (You Can Call Me Grandma) Murphy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 04:29 PM (#1778519)
Actually, it would seem to be between 298 and 300 inclusive, as Bobby Mathews is not in (297 victories) and Early Wynn is (300).

1) Mathews won a lot of games in a league that is not deemed official (which I disagree with, BTW).

2) I doubt many writers have even heard of Mathews. :-)

FWIW, Mathews was good, but wasn't really a great pitcher.
   87. Dr. Nick Posted: December 15, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1778529)
Actually, it would seem to be between 298 and 300 inclusive, as Bobby Mathews is not in (297 victories)

Bobby Mathews played in the National Association. Those wins weren't ever included in his total wins until Total Baseball (and even then I think the initial TBs counted career NA stats in a separate line from career stats). Prior to 10 years ago or so you'd be hard pressed to find a source that listed him with more than 166 (his post-NA) or so wins. And almost all of those came in the AA, as he couldn't hack it in the 1870s NL. He retired 50 years before the Hall of Fame opened and died 40 years before the first ballot. Holding him up as some sort of standard for in/out line with wins is highly questionable to put it mildly.
   88. Backlasher Posted: December 15, 2005 at 04:42 PM (#1778538)
Back, when blyleven gets in, are you going to support his inclusion?


As I said in another thread, I will not think it would be a travesty if he should be elected.

I really don't understand your point


of course you don't, you prove time and time again that your ability to understand is limited. Ergo:

you are saying the same garbage you always say "you stat guys are so full of yourself, you are wrong, until of course you get proven right, in which case you were right but for the wrong reasons
".

You see that is the problem. You have such a small and finite understanding, and you frequently demonstrate that. In this thread, you take articles by sportswriters and reduce it, you take my statements and reduce it. I have multiple times stated my position on Blyleven, but you can only have these limited modes:

Good things said about Blyleven = Smart guy.
Bad things said about Blyleven = garbage.
Stats arguments = Truth.
Other evidence = Unprovable garbage.

If the BBWAA votes Blyleven in, they vote him in. That is all that it means. There is no piece of evidence that will change based on that occurence. His third order RSI will be the same. His incidents with Tanner will be the same. It just means that jury weighed those issues differently. It does not mean every other panel of BBWAA was wrong, and you were right. It just means this panel voted him in.

But I don't think you can even come close to grasping this concept. You believe there is some universal truth. That Blyleven IS A HALL OF FAMER, and that the sportswriters are too dumb to see that this is true. By definition, he is not a Hall of Famer.

And as for my usual BAR BAR BAR BLOG BLOG BLOG.

You are semi-right. I am engaging in the usual pattern which is both frustrating and amusing. I see a bunch of people like you and Lederer making silly over-the-top, bad statements. I clearly state a position, and politely show the folly of your ways. I watch as you post things with weirder and weirder thought processes, and label all opposing opinions as "poppycock" or "idiot" I watch people who cannot differentiate Nolan Ryan from Bert Blyleven, yet feel the strength of their argument is based on their intellectual superiority. I laugh at this behavior and show the errors of your reasoning.

And then I watch when someone like you changes that to: Oh he's one of those anti-Blyleven guys. Or Lederer, who runs an annual Blyleven campaign designed to insult people into voting for Bert, claim that people only want to lecture.

And I watch both of you ignore every opposing argument to Blyleven's induction. And it amuses me to know end. It does disturb me though that you usually walk out of this able to proclaim a point of view on others that doesn't exist.
   89. VoiceOfUnreason Posted: December 15, 2005 at 05:46 PM (#1778622)
Go back and look at 1979. In his 20 no-decisions, Blyleven left with a lead only twice, departing with a deficit nine times and in tie games nine other times (including a couple of cases where the Pirates tied the game as he was leaving for a pinch-hitter).


Two questions: what would be normal? what would be normal for this period (1979 or thereabouts)?
   90. Loren F. Posted: December 15, 2005 at 06:14 PM (#1778682)
FWIW, I believe Blyleven is deserving, by a narrow margin, of the Hall of Fame. But comparing him to Spahn based on a large set of assumptions (and they really are "assumptions", not "adjustments") doesn't help his cause.
   91. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 15, 2005 at 06:54 PM (#1778762)
i've entered a bizarro world where BL is the voice of rational discussion and reason.
   92. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 15, 2005 at 07:41 PM (#1778879)
If the BBWAA votes Blyleven in, they vote him in. That is all that it means. There is no piece of evidence that will change based on that occurence. His third order RSI will be the same. His incidents with Tanner will be the same. It just means that jury weighed those issues differently. It does not mean every other panel of BBWAA was wrong, and you were right. It just means this panel voted him in.

Whether Blyleven deserves to be in the Hall of Fame is a matter of opinion, with no right or wrong answer. But come on, the BBWAA deserves all the ridicule it gets here and then some. It's like a figure skating competition, only the judges are either asleep or drunk.
   93. 185/456(GGC) Posted: December 15, 2005 at 07:56 PM (#1778919)
I think that the BBWAA does a good job in the main. Sure, they may not all be unbiased toward certain players, but usually the bizarre votes cancel each other out. It's a system like the ones touted in Surowiecki's The Wisdom of the Crowds. Now the VC or the Football HOF committee, OTOH, use a method that isn't as good.
   94. tonywagner Posted: December 15, 2005 at 09:08 PM (#1779104)
Rich Lederer
Post #53:
[Eight most statistically-comparable HOFers to Blyleven:]
Don Sutton (914) *
Gaylord Perry (909) *
Fergie Jenkins (890) *
Robin Roberts (876) *
Tom Seaver (864) *
Early Wynn (844) *
Phil Niekro (844) *
Steve Carlton (840) *

* - Signifies Hall of Famer
Source: Baseball-Reference.com

IP H ER BB SO HR ERA ERA+
Blyleven 4970 4632 1830 1322 3701 430 3.31 118
Group Average 4974 4541 1800 1429 3263 434 3.26 115


Backlasher
Post # 65:
Just a few minutes ago, you claimed Blyleven was indistinguishable from a list of HoF. People have and do make any distinguishments between these players. If you can't, it doesn't help people taking you seriously. You have to come up with a nouveau stat to even make them look similar.

Rich Lederer
Post #69:
I wrote that "Bert's stats, in fact, are indistinguishable from the eight most similar pitchers who have already been given their day in upstate New York" with the operative word being *stats*. I didn't and don't need a "nouveau stat to even make them look similar." I made them look one and the same using stats on the back of a baseball card.

Backlasher has yet to address his "nouveau stat" point or Lederer's response. ERA+ aside, I'm very eager to hear how IP, H, ER, BB, SO, HR, and ERA are "nouveau stats"...
   95. The Balls of Summer Posted: December 15, 2005 at 10:48 PM (#1779271)
I think that the BBWAA does a good job in the main. Sure, they may not all be unbiased toward certain players, but usually the bizarre votes cancel each other out.


I agree with this. If anything, the BBWAA errs on the side of small hall rather than large hall. Which is nice, because once you elect someone, they're in forever.
   96. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 15, 2005 at 11:02 PM (#1779298)
I think that the BBWAA does a good job in the main. Sure, they may not all be unbiased toward certain players, but usually the bizarre votes cancel each other out.

I agree with this. If anything, the BBWAA errs on the side of small hall rather than large hall. Which is nice, because once you elect someone, they're in forever.


Well, voting for the Hall of Fame is only part of what they do, and most cases are clear-cut. However, they manage to muddy even this up with their first ballot/later ballot nonsense, turning it into a show of caprice and power.
   97. yest Posted: December 20, 2005 at 08:26 PM (#1786835)
Question: How long has MLB taken one representative from each team for the All Star Game?

Because if Bert was unfairly given the reputation of only being "above average" merely because he excelled for sh1tty teams, shouldn't he have a slew of AS apperances.

If he were a Diamond among trash (to quote Emmitt), he should be disproportionately high in AS apperances.


that would make sense but all star apperancesrarly due
Robin Yount 3 all star games and those were when the Brewers were good


Bobby Mathews played in the National Association. Those wins weren't ever included in his total wins until Total Baseball (and even then I think the initial TBs counted career NA stats in a separate line from career stats). Prior to 10 years ago or so you'd be hard pressed to find a source that listed him with more than 166 (his post-NA) or so wins.

Pud Galvins Hall of fame plaque includes his NA stats

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