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Wednesday, December 04, 2019

The Hall of Fame Case for Don Mattingly

In a change of pace, some comments on the commitee:

Nothing would surprise me after Harold Baines got in last year. Which, as I argued last year, was in no small part a function of Tony La Russa, Jerry Reinsdorf and Pat Gillick being on the committee. Each of those three employed and, quite apparently, admired Baines during his career.

Do we have anything like this year? Let’s look at the Committee:

George Brett;
Rod Carew;
Dennis Eckersley;
Eddie Murray;
Ozzie Smith;
Robin Yount;
Sandy Alderson;
Dave Dombrowski;
David Glass;
Walt Jocketty;
Doug Melvin;
Terry Ryan;
Bill Center;
Steve Hirdt;
Jack O’Connell; and
Tracy Ringolsby

Not that I expect cronyism as a matter of course, but unless I’m missing a connection here I can’t see any of those guys stumping for any of the individual candidates on this year’s ballot like La Russa quite clearly stumped for Baines.

For those interested, a consideration of Don Mattingly- for those not interested, there are only three of these to go…..

 

QLE Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:04 PM | 78 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: don mattingly, hall of fame

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:19 PM (#5905771)
Jack finished 3rd in my Rotisserie League's inaugural season of 1984. he's good people - now is THAT GUY who calls you to let you know that you've just been elected to the HALL OF FAME. he covered the 1986 Mets, which was not a bad gig at all.
   2. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:22 PM (#5905772)
Don’t let it be forgotten that Don Mattingly was once regarded as a consensus future Hall of Famer:
Between 1984 and 1989 he posted a batting line of .327/.372/.530 batting line and averaged 27 homers — back when 27 homers meant something — and 114 RBIs. That slugging percentage was the best in baseball over that span, as was his extra base hit total (428) and RBI total. He was the American League batting champ in 1984 and was the MVP in 1985.
They didn’t call him Donnie Baseball for nuthin’. Alas, his back betrayed him.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: December 04, 2019 at 10:45 PM (#5905780)
Played like a clear Hall of Famer for 3-4 years. I'm a would-be peak voter, happy to give extra credit for his awards and prominence, and so am sympathetic to his case, but it's still way too light.
   4. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: December 04, 2019 at 11:15 PM (#5905785)
His ‘84 Topps card has a fringe peak chance...
   5. BABiP_Roberts Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:44 AM (#5905811)
Can anyone explain why David Glass gets a vote? Are we sure he knows anything about baseball? Also isn't he out of baseball now that the Royals have been sold?
   6. Rally Posted: December 05, 2019 at 08:08 AM (#5905813)
If he had more years like that, he'd be a HOFer. His great years are not that much different from the peaks of someone who is only considered a career candidate - Eddie Murray.

Mattingly's 1984-86 OPS+: 156-156-161

Murray had 3 straight years of 156, and followed that up with a 157.

Just saying as a peak candidate, he's no Koufax where the heights he reached overcome the lack of a long career. He's Eddie without the steady.
   7. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: December 05, 2019 at 08:44 AM (#5905818)
Totally agree with [6], though Mattingly loomed larger then since AVG/RBI were king. His 145 RBIs in 1985 was an eye-popping baseball card stat and easily the most of the decade.
   8. Random Transaction Generator Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:15 AM (#5905827)
Don Mattingly is a curse!

The facts:

1981 - New York Yankees go to the World Series for the 33rd time
1982-1995 - Don Mattingly plays for the New York Yankees, during which time the Yankees never go to the World Series (the longest drought in franchise history since becoming the "Yankees"). He retires at the end of 1995.
1996-2003 - New York Yankees go to 6 World Series in this time span.
2004-2007 - Don Mattingly joins the New York Yankees as a hitting coach, during which time they never go to the World Series (despite winning their division 3 times in that span).
2008 - Don Mattingly leaves the Yankees organization. The very next season, the Yankees go back to the World Series.
2008-2015 - Don Mattingly joins the Los Angeles Dodgers (first as hitting coach, then manager), during which the Dodgers never go to the World Series (despite winning their division 5 times in that span).
October 2015 - Don Mattingly leaves the Dodgers organization
2017-2018 - Los Angeles Dodgers go to the World Series
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5905829)
HoVG, not HoF. Classic "what might have been" injury case.
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5905836)
don't let anyone on the vets committee buy into the narrative of "let's induct all 3 Yankees captains at once" and carry Mattingly and Munson in with Jeter. think of the national security implications if all those NYY fans are gathered in one place this summer.....
   11. Ithaca2323 Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:41 AM (#5905837)
#6 is dead on.

Mattingly just wasn't as good a hitter as he was portrayed to be during his era. The power was good, not great. He almost never walked (~40 non IBB a season). The RBI totals were very good, but the guy had Rickey Henderson hitting in front of him for most of his prime, so it'd be stunning if he *wasn't* driving in 110 runs a season.

My favorite player growing up, and a shoo-in had he stayed healthy, largely because I think he would have accrued 3,000 hits, and probably 600 doubles. But, as Snapper says, he's a HOVG guy.
   12. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:49 AM (#5905844)
100% ballplayer, 0% bullshit.




J/k, he comes up well short of HoF quality.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5905848)
My favorite player growing up,

Ditto, and still my favorite player of all time.

Also, a great aesthetic player. High average, low walk, moderate HR, high doubles, high RBI is the absolute best "shape" for a great offensive player. Add in the slick fielding, and just a super fun player.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:27 AM (#5905853)
It's a little hard to see because the 1994 strike limited his counting numbers, but Mattingly was one of those hitters who took more walks as he got older. His career high in OBP came not in his much-ballyhooed prime but in 1994, his-next-to-last season.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5905861)
tremendous guy to deal with.
near the end of his career, he was to "go-to guy" in the Yankees clubhouse, which is a key role because of the amount of media who need to fill space with stories before games even start. if you don't have such a guy, lots of players are liable to be prevailed upon who are in no mood for chitchat.

so Mattingly would graciously hold court hours before every game, taking on all comers because he knew that his analysis of anything baseball-related carried plenty of weight. not controversial - but not so defensive that he offered nothing but pablum #coughcough

   16. The Good Face Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:30 AM (#5905882)
Also, a great aesthetic player. High average, low walk, moderate HR, high doubles, high RBI is the absolute best "shape" for a great offensive player. Add in the slick fielding, and just a super fun player.


Excellent point. Mattingly didn't walk and he didn't strike out; he made contact and hit the ball HARD. Just a fun guy to watch. Shame he was essentially done as a star player at 27.
   17. Lassus Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5905904)
Is his HOVG ranking higher than David Wright's? In my head, without actually looking, they seem comparable. With David ranking higher, which I fully admit is biased.
   18. . Posted: December 05, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5905911)
Basically what Fish said in 4 and snapper in 13. I especially like snapper's final sentence in 13 which is dead spot-on. Better Mattingly than the walk compilers like Grich and Dewey Evans and Lou and all the rest. Mattingly's athletic feats are simply superior to the walk compilers, as sensible people realize. That's ultimately what posterity should be rewarding, and for the most part still is.

To broaden the point out, it's just creepy and weird that the saber devotees continue to insist that the walk is something no one realized the value of until their brightness finally shined the light on a fallen world. "Walk's as good as a hit" has been a staple of little league coaching and positive bench jockeying/encouragement for at least 45 years and it wouldn't surprise me if ten-year-olds and their coach-fathers were saying it on little league sandlots in 1923.
   19. The Duke Posted: December 05, 2019 at 01:13 PM (#5905953)
I would say there are going to be 4-5 strong votes for Simmons and Whitaker on that committee And I think Mattingly might do well with this group
   20. fhomess Posted: December 05, 2019 at 02:24 PM (#5905980)
I was a HUGE Mattingly fan as a kid. Still have something like 300+ of his baseball cards. I hunted down all the weird cards I could find, too. Nothing saddened me more than his back issues. I would have loved to see him elected for the career he should have had, but he didn't have it, so I'm firmly out on him.

Also, a great aesthetic player. High average, low walk, moderate HR, high doubles, high RBI is the absolute best "shape" for a great offensive player. Add in the slick fielding, and just a super fun player.

I loved Mattingly's quiet stance, his mustache and cleft chin bespoke a seriousness in the box. He was all concentration and confidence. I feel like we don't have as many fun, unique batting stances anymore, but maybe part of it is that we just don't pay attention to that like we used to. Rickey, Julio Franco, Bagwell, Sheffield... Ichiro is a more recent one that sticks with me.

All that said, I can't stand Mattingly the manager.
   21. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5905981)
his mustache and cleft chin bespoke a seriousness in the box
Yeah, unlike all of those frivolous clean-shaven hitters with their silly uncleft chins...?
   22. gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant Posted: December 05, 2019 at 02:32 PM (#5905984)
Nothing saddened me more than his back issues.


Was he a particularly inept collector of periodicals, then?
   23. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: December 05, 2019 at 02:58 PM (#5905993)
Huh...

So we ARE selling jeans here afterall!
   24. Ithaca2323 Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:12 PM (#5905998)
Basically what Fish said in 4 and snapper in 13. I especially like snapper's final sentence in 13 which is dead spot-on. Better Mattingly than the walk compilers like Grich and Dewey Evans and Lou and all the rest. Mattingly's athletic feats are simply superior to the walk compilers, as sensible people realize. That's ultimately what posterity should be rewarding, and for the most part still is.


I think this is a bit of an unfair characterization of those three player, but Evans in particular. He hit for more power than Mattingly. He had as many 30 HR seasons, and more seasons with a .500+ slugging percentage (despite the significantly lower average), and a higher HR %. And his RBI totals were pretty solid too, albeit without the monster 145 (but again, put prime Rickey on base in front of someone, and that's what happens). They were all also particularly good defenders, and Whitaker a good baserunner as well
   25. Rally Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5906001)
I think this is a bit of an unfair characterization of those three player, but Evans in particular.


Unfair, but consider the source. As far as athletic feats go, turning double plays like Grich or Whitaker, or throwing a strike to third base from the RF corner like Dewey are up on my list. Not that I'm criticizing Mattingly here, while first base is less demanding than other positions, Mattingly was an amazingly player in his own right, even playing a bit of third base as a lefty. Is he the last guy to do that?

None of the mentioned players were exactly Ed Yost, players whose walk totals were the main thing anyone noticed about them. But they walked a bit more often than the player singledot is comparing them to, so they must be denigrated.
   26. caspian88 Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:26 PM (#5906003)
Damn those players for oafishly getting on base, instead of grounding to third and getting thrown out by two steps like Don Mattingly and Steve Garvey, who were Real Men and not nerds.
   27. Rally Posted: December 05, 2019 at 03:31 PM (#5906007)
To answer my question:

Gerardo Parra played third base just this year. Kind of a joke though. He took the mound at the end of a blowout loss and couldn't get anyone out. So they moved 2B Dozier to the mound, Parra to third, and Rendon to second. After one play, Parra and Rendon switched spots.

In 2017, Anthony Rizzo played an inning at third. In 1986 Mattingly played 18 innings at third, and impressively recorded 11 assists.
   28. Qufini Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5906031)
For those interested, a consideration of Don Mattingly- for those not interested, there are only three of these to go…..
I've been enjoying these. Well written, well reasoned. We sometimes throw "Hall of Very Good" around as an insult but these articles are a reminder that all of these players had very good careers, even if some of them don't merit Hall of Fame induction.
   29. Lassus Posted: December 05, 2019 at 04:27 PM (#5906038)
Two 14-year careers:

WAR
Wright 50.4 - Mattingly 42.42

AB
Wright 5998 - Mattingly 7003

H
Wright 1777 - Mattingly 2153

HR
Wright 242 - Mattingly 222

BA
Wright .296 - Mattingly .307

R
Wright 949 - Mattingly 1007

RBI
Wright 970 - Mattingly 1099

SB
Wright 196 - Mattingly 14

BB
Wright 762 - Mattingly 588

OBP
Wright .376 - Mattingly .358

SLG
Wright .491 - Mattingly .471

OPS
Wright .867 - Mattingly .830

OPS+
Wright 133 - Mattingly 127


I find the similar batters to be weird, with Mattingly's seemingly way better than Wright's, given the above. I probably just don't do this enough.

EDIT: Yeah, I think I'm judging this wrong, going on names and narratives rather than numbers.

WRIGHT:

Similar Batters
Ken Caminiti (908.7)
Ryan Zimmerman (904.6)
Hanley Ramirez (902.1)
Andrew McCutchen (901.4)
Mike Lowell (896.6)
Matt Kemp (889.3)
Evan Longoria (889.2)
Travis Fryman (879.0)
Hunter Pence (878.3)
Dante Bichette (877.4)


MATTINGLY:

Cecil Cooper (933.3)
Wally Joyner (907.2)
Hal McRae (895.3)
Kirby Puckett (891.0) *
Will Clark (879.3)
Adrian Gonzalez (878.3)
Magglio Ordonez (877.6)
Jeff Conine (875.2)
Tony Oliva (867.3)
Keith Hernandez (861.6)

   30. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5906066)

I think Topps started including BB on the back of baseball cards in 1981. Not sure what year they started including OBP but it was after 1981. Also pretty sure that the daily box scores didn't used to include BB (for hitters, at least). Not sure when that changed.

The idea that people have always appropriately valued walks is simply not true -- it was difficult even to find out how many times a guy had walked, let alone value it appropriately.
   31. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:16 PM (#5906074)
The idea that people have always appropriately valued walks is simply not true

well that depends what you mean by "people"--Alan Roth, Branch Rickey, and Earl Weaver certainly did; most other people--not so much
   32. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:23 PM (#5906076)
The idea that people have always appropriately valued walks is simply not true
I played in a fantasy league in the early 2000s that used points scoring. I got into a big battle with the commissioner about the relative point values of the various stats, the most ridiculous being that a pitcher win was +10 while a loss was -5, meaning basically a pitcher's entire outing rested on whether he got the W. We also argued over walks, with him taking the position that it took no skill on the part of the batter to "just stand there while the pitcher throws four bad pitches."

I didn't stay in that league very long.
   33. Itchy Row Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5906078)
I remember talking to a Yankee fan during the 1988-1989 school year about whether Mattingly had already done enough to make the Hall. The Yankee fan said he had done enough, while I said he needed more. We agreed we'd never know, since it was silly to think he wouldn't be one of the best players in baseball for another decade after that.
   34. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 05, 2019 at 05:36 PM (#5906080)
One of these days I'm going to buy a wax box of 1984 Donruss on eBay and open it, just to see if I can have the thrill of pulling a Mattingly.
   35. Howie Menckel Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:34 PM (#5906143)
just to see if I can have the thrill of pulling a Mattingly.

is that what the kids are calling it these days?
   36. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 05, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5906146)
Statis Pro Baseball taught me the value of walks almost 40 years ago. I had the 1981 version of the game, using the 1980 stats. Willie Randolph (.294 BA) and Rickey Henderson ( .303) were far better leadoff hitters than Al Bumbry (.318), Willie Wilson (.326) and Miguel Dilone (.341)
   37. Mefisto Posted: December 06, 2019 at 08:55 AM (#5906165)
John McGraw was very aware of the value of walks. His teams regularly finished near the top of the league, and he himself drew lots of them as a player.
   38. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5906191)
The idea that people have always appropriately valued walks is simply not true -- it was difficult even to find out how many times a guy had walked, let alone value it appropriately.


It wasn't really difficult at all, or else Stratomatic and Statis Pro and the game publishers never would have been able to publish cards with accurate walks. How do we know Babe Ruth walked 150 times in 1920 unless someone in 1920 was keeping track?

The MacMillan encyclopedia, the league's red and green books, etc, had the walk data. On a realish-time basis, the Sporting News and various newspapers who published team stats did. They obviously weren't totally real-time because none of the stats were.

The cool Sunday long lists didn't have walks, but then again they didn't have doubles, triples, stolen bases, or sacrifice flies either. Their philosophy was pretty clearly that the fundamental unit of accounting in baseball was the run -- thus they had runs and RBIs. That fact is as true today as it was then, notwithstanding all the revisionist efforts to browbeat people into properly "recognizing" the "value" of Dwight Evans's walks.

The revisionist beef isn't really that people didn't recognize the value of a walk; it's that they didn't care enough about walks as opposed to actually hitting and as I've explained, there was a perfectly reasonable and even admirable reason why that was the case. And they've never put forward any argument with any heft as to why people shouldn't actually care about what they care about. Why should we admire Bobby Grich's walks and not Don Mattingly's ability to actually hit? Forget about "value," that's just tautological and has nothing to do with why people admire things they admire. Any actual argument?

Properly considered, walks are really just an accident of the rules in a similar vein to tennis double faults. The games can't go on forever, so at bats have to be limited if the pitcher can't get the ball over the plate, so that nine innings can be completed in a reasonable time for the paying audience. If you had unlimited time, you could just wait until the batter actually put the ball in play -- and that would be a better game. Because of that accident and that reality, walks happen to have "value," but so what? There's no real athletic accomplishment there, anymore than there is in "drawing" double faults.
   39. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:30 AM (#5906203)
Strat-o-Matic has always capitalized walks on their cards in the same exact type size and font as hits, making it clear as early as 1978 how valuable a guy like Willie Randolph was. I picked him early on in my league of 14-and-15-year-friends and never looked back. 1 fielder at a prime position, AA stealer, got on base all the time, fantastic player.

There was never any mystery about this. The relentless insistence that there was is just weird and bizarre. I guess Bill James started it primarily because it gave him a niche, and it took off from there, but it was never actually true.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5906206)
Because of that accident and that reality, walks happen to have "value," but so what? There's no real athletic accomplishment there, anymore than there is in "drawing" double faults.


I'm more sympathetic to your argument that most people here, SBB, but you are overplaying your hand here significantly. The quoted here is a nonsense argument, an embarrassingly bad argument, to be honest.
   41. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5906209)
I'm more sympathetic to your argument that most people here, SBB, but you are overplaying your hand here significantly. This is a nonsense argument.


The idea that it's a much more admirable and real and tangible athletic accomplishment to get a hit off a major league pitcher than to get a walk off one isn't nonsense in the least. Come on, now. It's ok to actually agree with something this obvious. Really, it is. You aren't going to lose your anti-me or anti-"troll" cred by simply agreeing with the obvious.

Not only is it obvious, but it explains everything that apparently befuddles the revisionists. The causal arrows go in the other direction. The newspapers and the like BITD didn't obsess about walks because of what I'm explaining. People weren't "missing" anything; they were consciously downplaying it relative to more accomplished and cooler things. Why would they waste the valuable and scarce real estate in the newspapers on something as mundane as walks?
   42. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5906221)
Yeah, I understand that part of the argument, and as I said I'm sympathetic to it. But the part I quoted in #40 argues that there's no "real athletic accomplishment" behind, say, the extra 900 walks that Tony Phillips had over Garret Anderson in the same number of PAs. That it's the same as being on the lucky receiving end of double faults in tennis. Come on, that's garbage.
   43. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5906229)
Yeah, I understand that part of the argument, and as I said I'm sympathetic to it. But the part I quoted in #40 argues that there's no "real athletic accomplishment" behind, say, the extra 900 walks that Tony Phillips had over Garret Anderson in the same number of PAs. That it's the same as being on the lucky receiving end of double faults in tennis. Come on, that's garbage.


Ok, then the double fault thing is just an exaggerated analogy to make the point.

Where's the athletic accomplishment in the extra 900 walks? I'm not going to suggest that there's literally zero, but it's trivial compared to the ability to hit the ball successfully.
   44. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5906230)
Plate discipline and pitch recognition is a skill. Everyone knows this.
   45. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:20 AM (#5906231)
Lots of skills aren't athletic accomplishments, even assuming that it is a skill which "everyone" manifestly does not "know." "Plate discipline" isn't even really a definable term. You can be highly undisciplined yet still manage to tick pitches foul with your bat.

"Bird recognition" is a skill too, but it's not an athletic accomplishment.

And even if we assume for the sake of argument those things were athletic accomplishments, they're still trivial ones compared to successfully hitting the ball in play.

   46. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5906236)
"Bird recognition" is a skill too, but it's not an athletic accomplishment.


I think your overall point about whether or not some feats deserve more recognition and acclaim than others - whether or not they match perfectly to a rigorous accounting of value - is an interesting one. I happily give Ichiro more HOF points because the shape of his accomplishments was more interesting and memorable than that of other competing 60 WAR guys.

But with the quote above, you're again being ridiculous. This comment doesn't really deserve a good faith response. Recognizing the spin and likely path of a ball has somewhat more in common with the court vision of a Jordan or Gretzky than it does with bird recognition.
   47. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5906242)
This comment doesn't really deserve a good faith response.


I can't really be the judge of that, but it's entirely true. Put the ol' thinking cap on and you'll realize that there's no material difference between being able to recognize at distance a prothonotary warbler or a curveball.

Baseball is kind of unique here in that it has one of these valuable events that doesn't really involve any kind of athletic accomplishment. I'd guess the closest analogue in any other sport is maybe the free throw (?), but that takes way more athleticism than drawing a walk. There isn't even any bodily movement involved in taking a pitch and drawing a walk.
   48. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 11:36 AM (#5906244)
Recognizing the spin and likely path of a ball has somewhat more in common with the court vision of a Jordan or Gretzky than it does with bird recognition.


I'd quibble with this one a bit, but the more important thing to note is that it's the things that Jordan and Gretzky do in response to what they see that makes them great, and those responses are far more athletic than simply standing there. If Jordan or Gretzky had great court or rink vision and just stood there with the ball or the puck, then we'd have our analogue.

Fancying up the act of standing there and watching a pitch with terms like "plate discipline" and "pitch recognition" doesn't change the fact that the player ultimately just stands there and watches.
   49. Panik on the streets of Flushing! (Trout! Trout!) Posted: December 06, 2019 at 12:50 PM (#5906277)
Fancying up the act of standing there and watching a pitch with terms like "plate discipline" and "pitch recognition" doesn't change the fact that the player ultimately just stands there and watches.


Except the player "standing there and watching" has to be ready to react quickly to possibly not stand there and watch if the pitch is a strike. It does not require running real fast or any sort of brute strength, but baseball is unique in that regard. The skill set hitting a baseball demands is not really predicated on footspeed or strength. Precision and skill and muscle memory are far more important, and deciding which pitches to swing at goes a long way to maximizing those skills. But as PF said...

This comment doesn't really deserve a good faith response.
   50. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:00 PM (#5906278)
Except the player "standing there and watching" has to be ready to react quickly to possibly not stand there and watch if the pitch is a strike.


So? Ultimately they make no movement of any kind, much less any athletic movement. Police academies have shooting contests with depictions of cops and bad guys coming out from behind buildings (*); it doesn't take any athletic talent to not shoot when you notice that it's a cop and not a bad guy.

(There's really no need for scare quotes around standing there and watching, since that's exactly what a player who takes a pitch does.)

The skill set hitting a baseball demands is not really predicated on footspeed or strength. Precision and skill and muscle memory are far more important, and deciding which pitches to swing at goes a long way to maximizing those skills.


Right, but this has nothing to do with drawing a walk. Drawing a walk is an accident of the rules, as I've explained. Your observation about hitting would be exactly the same if there was no such thing as a walk.

his comment doesn't really deserve a good faith response.


This really isn't an argument.

(*) See, e.g., Magnum Force.
   51. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5906282)
This really isn't an argument.


Not supposed to be.
   52. Kiko Sakata Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:26 PM (#5906283)
The cool Sunday long lists didn't have walks, but then again they didn't have doubles, triples, stolen bases, or sacrifice flies either. Their philosophy was pretty clearly that the fundamental unit of accounting in baseball was the run -- thus they had runs and RBIs. That fact is as true today as it was then, notwithstanding all the revisionist efforts to browbeat people into properly "recognizing" the "value" of Dwight Evans's walks.


Well, then, how about we "recognize" the "value" of Dwight Evans scoring 100+ runs in a season four times plus 96 one season and 84 in 108 games in 1981. Or Evans driving in 100+ runs three times, plus seasons of 97 and 96 along with a league-leading 85 in 108 games in 1981? Or the fact that Evans is 79th in career runs scored and 82nd in career RBI according to Baseball-Reference? Nobody is really arguing that Dwight Evans is a Hall-of-Famer because of his walks. The argument actually is much closer to saying that Dwight Evans is a Hall-of-Famer because he scored (and drove in) a lot of runs and if you step back and ask "How did a career .272 hitter score so many runs?", the answer is, "Well, he walked a lot, so his career on-base percentage was .370".
   53. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5906286)
Ultimately they make no movement of any kind, much less any athletic movement.


They absolutely do. Fouling off unhitable strikes, in order to get a better pitch to hit or eventually trot to first base is an athletic skill required of all players who draw a lot of walks. Nobody makes a career out of standing at the plate with his bat on his shoulder waiting for the pitcher to screw up.

You would experience a lot less rancor if you didn't characterize what you are arguing against in a cartoonishly exaggerated fashion . But then I suspect creating rancor is usually your goal.
   54. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5906291)
Well, then, how about we "recognize" the "value" of Dwight Evans scoring 100+ runs in a season four times plus 96 one season and 84 in 108 games in 1981. Or Evans driving in 100+ runs three times, plus seasons of 97 and 96 along with a league-leading 85 in 108 games in 1981? Or the fact that Evans is 79th in career runs scored and 82nd in career RBI according to Baseball-Reference?


No issue with that in the least. One might have thought from hanging out here that RBIs and even runs scored were the stuff of fools, so your argument will likely be from other quarters than here. (I suppose also that perhaps you should be warned that once you start talking about a guy being 82nd in career RBI being worthy, you should note that Harold Baines is 34th on that very same list.)

Nobody is really arguing that Dwight Evans is a Hall-of-Famer because of his walks.


Not outright explicitly, but unavoidably by pointing to the WAR charts. All the "overlooked" guys were purportedly "overlooked" purportedly because they compiled a lot of walks -- which WAR recognizes, but voters allegedly don't.

Fouling off unhitable strikes, in order to get a better pitch to hit or eventually trot to first base is an athletic skill required of all players who draw a lot of walks.


I doubt it's an athletic skill at all, but in any event, it happens on only a small fraction of pitches that lead to walks.

But if we're at the point where people are justifying the walk fetish by arguing the "athleticism" inherent to foul tipping a baseball, I'll consider my efforts here at least a qualified success.
   55. Ithaca2323 Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5906295)
Their philosophy was pretty clearly that the fundamental unit of accounting in baseball was the run -- thus they had runs and RBIs. That fact is as true today as it was then, notwithstanding all the revisionist efforts to browbeat people into properly "recognizing" the "value" of Dwight Evans's walks.


I'm sorry, but I don't get this argument. Do walks not contribute to runs being scored?
   56. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5906296)
I'm sorry, but I don't get this argument. Do walks not contribute to runs being scored?


They do, but why would anyone bother with publishing a component of the important thing, rather than just the important thing itself?(*) Even the five/six column cool-ass Sunday longlist showed up-to-date runs scored.

(*) Assuming as we should, limited shelf space.
   57. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5906298)
Why does everyone keep answering this idiot?? Ignore him
   58. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5906299)
You would experience a lot less rancor if you didn't characterize what you are arguing against in a cartoonishly exaggerated fashion . But then I suspect creating rancor is usually your goal.


As opposed to, say, "FIRE JOE MORGAN!!"? Or the formerly-weekly Two Days Hate against Murray Chass? No rancor there? No exaggeration, cartoonish and otherwise?

Hmm ... ok, then.
   59. Zonk WARRIORS ALONE! Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:55 PM (#5906300)
I don't understand why people who want "athletic accomplishment" and "aesthetic beauty" end up here... talking baseball.

Is Track and Field Think Factory offline?
   60. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 06, 2019 at 03:24 PM (#5906336)
58. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 01:52 PM (#5906299)
[ Ignored Comment ]
You guys are suckers.
   61. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 03:28 PM (#5906340)
But then you miss the "LOL pitch recognition = stamp collecting" comments.
   62. . Posted: December 06, 2019 at 03:56 PM (#5906356)
But then you miss the "LOL pitch recognition = stamp collecting" comments.


Bird recognition, not stamp collecting.
   63. PreservedFish Posted: December 06, 2019 at 04:07 PM (#5906359)
I decided to try my hand at some cartoonish exaggeration.
   64. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 05:47 PM (#5906386)
The guy that derides "oafball" is now deriding players who are better at getting walks.

What do you want?
   65. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 06, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5906394)
The guy that derides "oafball" is now deriding players who are better at getting walks.

What do you want?


And championing the HOF cause of a good but not great hitter who could not run nor field in another thread.
   66. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 06:33 PM (#5906401)

I think Topps started including BB on the back of baseball cards in 1981.


I thought it was before that. I distinctly recall being in elementary school in the mid 70s and we were puzzling over what the term "BB" meant on the back of a baseball card. I suppose it could have been one of those Hostess cards or some other but hmm... Are you sure?
   67. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 06, 2019 at 06:44 PM (#5906404)
I distinctly recall being in elementary school in the mid 70s and we were puzzling over what the term "BB" meant on the back of a baseball card. I suppose it could have been one of those Hostess cards or some other but hmm... Are you sure?


Here is a 1978 Reggie Jackson card. No walks on the back.
   68. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 06, 2019 at 06:46 PM (#5906405)
Here is a 1982 one with walks.
   69. QLE Posted: December 06, 2019 at 08:26 PM (#5906410)
I've also checked for other sets- neither Hostess nor Kellogg's (the two major non-Topps national sets of the mid-to-late 1970s) did not include batter walks.
   70. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 08:49 PM (#5906413)
The 1978 card seems to have less columns than I recall. I am thinking more like the 1972 cards or before cards.
   71. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 08:55 PM (#5906414)
The 1978 card seems to have less columns than I recall. I am thinking more like the 1972 cards or before cards.

EDIT: I guess you're right I looked at the Topps from 68-72 none of them shows BBs.
   72. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5906415)
Its the ARCO 8x10" photos that they gave away at the gas station!

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Pittsburgh-Pirates-1971-Bill-Mazeroski-8-x-10-Photo-ARCO-Oil-Gas-Station-Promo/192876089132?hash=item2ce84f8f2c:g:UMoAAOSwIylZxSde:sc:USPSFirstClass!20850!US!-1

That Mazeroski one could have been the exact one we were looking at cause it was 1971-72 school year we were having this discussion.
   73. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: December 06, 2019 at 09:08 PM (#5906419)
Its the ARCO 8x10" photos that they gave away at the gas station!


Cool. I was just about to post that the first card I looked at was a 1971 Ron Santo, and it also did not have walks. I then decided to go later in the decade with Reggie!
   74. Sunday silence Posted: December 06, 2019 at 10:35 PM (#5906448)
The ARCO cards were great the photos were excellent. We would hang them on the walls.
   75. . Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5906494)
Not entirely sure what this trip through memory lane is supposed to show about walks -- I mean, it's utterly delusional to imagine that no one knew how many times guys walked -- but checking ebay quickly, there's an original 1969 set of SOM cards for sale and batter walks are on there.

The 1969 SOM cards had walks but not RBIs, so there goes that silly ahistorical trope, too.
   76. . Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:36 AM (#5906496)
Link

Original set of 1962 SOM cards. AB, H, 2B, 3B, HR, AVG, WALKS, Ks. No RBIs, no stolen bases.
   77. . Posted: December 07, 2019 at 10:52 AM (#5906504)
I have the 1983 SF Giants 100th anniversary team yearbook -- a top notch item. Walks included in the stats. John J. Summers, Jr. walked 22 times in 65 games for Coos Bay in 1971, and right there for everyone to see are the hefty walk totals for Darrell Wayne Evans that now, 36 years later, a bunch of people say should get him in the Hall of Fame.
   78. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: December 07, 2019 at 04:10 PM (#5906611)
The idea that people have always appropriately valued walks is simply not true

well that depends what you mean by "people"--Alan Roth, Branch Rickey, and Earl Weaver certainly did; most other people--not so much

Over 60 years ago, there was a simple rule of thumb on Little League teams: If you could hit, then you were encouraged to hit. If you couldn't hit, then yes, "a walk is as good as a hit" was drummed into your ears. We had one particularly sorryassed hitter who couldn't hit the broad side of the proverbial barn, and his favorite cliche was "I solved him for a walk."

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