Cleaning Out the Attic

December 27, 2012
 
Here are a few old half-articles and musings that I haven’t gotten around to posting….doing a cleaning out of the attic before the year ends. Feel free to get comfortable….this is going to take a while.
 
*              *              *
 
So, Miguel Cabrera won the American League MVP in overwhelming fashion, getting 22 of the 28 first-place votes. Mike Trout got the other eight first place votes.
 
The general consensus is that Cabrera’s win is a triumph of traditional numbers over advanced metrics. Somehow, the twenty-two people who voted for Miguel Cabrera represent ‘old school’ baseball, while the six people who voted for Trout are the new vanguard of saber-writers.
 
This interpretation of the old clashing with the new, while entertaining, does not hold up to scrutiny. It’s not accurate. Cabrera’s MVP isn’t the old guard winning one against the new guard.
 
 Consider a few actually old MVP votes:
 
In 1934, Lou Gehrig won a Triple Crown. The MVP was awarded to Mickey Cochrane, the catcher/manager for the pennant-winning Athletics. Gehrig finished behind Cochrane and Charlie Gehringer, and a couple pitchers:
 
Year
Name
HR
RBI
BA
1934
Mickey Cochrane
2
76
.320
1934
Charlie Gehringer
11
127
.356
1934
Lou Gehrig
49
165
.363
 
In 1941, Ted Williams hit .406. Joe DiMaggio, with lesser batting numbers, won the MVP.
 
Year
Name
HR
RBI
BA
1941
Joe DiMaggio
30
125
.357
1941
Ted Williams
37
120
.406
 
In 1942, Ted Williams won the Triple Crown. Joe Gordon, with lesser batting numbers, won the MVP.
 
Year
Name
HR
RBI
BA
1942
Joe Gordon
18
103
.322
1942
Ted Williams
36
137
.356
 
In 1947, Ted Williams won another Triple Crown. Again, Joe DiMaggio won the MVP.
 
Year
Name
HR
RBI
BA
1947
Joe DiMaggio
20
97
.315
1947
Ted Williams
32
114
.343
 
Leaving out the question of how ‘right’ these awards are, what I would ask you to consider is what, exactly, led informed voters to pick Cochrane and Gehringer over Gehrig? What led voters to favor Gordon and DiMaggio (twice) over two Triple Crowns and once over the last .400 season in baseball history?
 
A significant part is team success. All of those players who won the above MVP’s played on pennant-winning teams. This is a significant factor.
 
Part of it…a small part….but part of it was animosity. Writers just didn’t like Ted Williams. He lost some votes for being prickly. 
 
And part of it…part of the reason that DiMaggio and Gordon and Cochrane won against Ted Williams was because the writers and fans of that era considered a number of elements beyond the Triple Crown batting lines.
 
Ted was the better hitter, but DiMaggio was considered a great defensive centerfielder. Williams, by all accounts, was indifferent to fielding. The same is true on the speed front: DiMaggio is always being described as a good base runner. Again, no one thought much of Williams’ speed.
 
Park factors…we think of park factors as something new, a new consideration. And while it’s true that statistics that adjust for park effects are knew, fans and writers of the 1940’s knew about them. There were countless articles about how difficult it was for DiMaggio, a right-handed hitter, to hit in Yankee Stadium, and there were articles that considered how well Ted Williams, a left-handed hitter, could’ve hit in a park that wasn’t Fenway. There was a much-rumored trade of the two players, so that each could take advantage of the park that better suited the side of the plate they hit from.
 
In voting for Cochrane over Gehrig, it is likely that voters took into account that Cochrane simultaneously caught and managed the Athletics. In voting for Joe Gordon over Williams, there is a good chance that voters considered how much harder it is to play second base than it is to play leftfield.
 
The old voters considered team success, and weighted it very heavily in their ballots. But…they also considered a player in total; they looked past Triple Crown numbers and made a number of extremely bold selections.

It is likely that those voters made mistakes. I am not convinced that, say, Cochrane was more valuable than Lou Gehrig, even considering position and management. I am not convinced, too, that Joe DiMaggio really was more valuable than Ted Williams.
 
But…the suggestion that old voters favored Triple Crown statistics doesn’t hold up: a lot of MVP’s to a lot of surprising players. Their choices reflect a strong impulse to look beyond the traditional categories of homeruns, RBI’s, and batting average. They gave weight to winning; they also gave weight to the relative difficulty of a position, and to how a player did on defense, on the base paths, and in the clubhouse.
 
The selection of Miguel Cabrera as the 2012 MVP is something altogether different from a vote reflexive of the ‘old school’ of baseball writers. It is a selection that reflects a strong tendency towards reduction; towards a game understood through a narrow lens. It demonstrates, too, a stubborn reluctance to examine a complicated question broadly, entertaining multiple possibilities. It is a selection that is timid: there is nothing difficulty in selecting the player who leads the league in the three ‘big’ statistics.
 
Old writers, asked to bestow an honor, took the task seriously, examined the question broadly, and made selections that were frequently unexpected. A typical MVP vote in the early years would have multiple players getting votes, reflecting multiple ways of understanding what the term ‘most valuable’ meant.
 
Whatever this vote was, it was emphatically not the triumph of any ‘old school.’ The old school didn’t blindly give out MVP’s on the basis of three statistics. 
 
*              *              *
 
The most disappointing aspect of the MVP vote wasn’t that Mike Trout was robbed the MVP. It was that Robinson Cano, the brilliant second baseman who kept the Yankees ahead of the streaking Baltimore Orioles by hitting .617 over the last nine games of the season, got no votes for second-place.
 
If the voters who voted for Mike Trout were so convinced by advanced metrics, if they were so sold on WAR, why didn’t they put Cano ahead of Cabrera? If the voters for Trout supported him on the basis of secondary considerations like defense and base running and position scarcity, then how come none of them put Robinson Cano, too, ahead of Cabrera?
 
And if the voters who voted for Cabrera were so convinced that winning - actually reaching the playoffs - was a significant enough factor to push Cabrera past Trout, then how come Cano didn’t benefit from the Yankees reaching the playoffs? If home runs and RBI’s are really meaningful statistics, why didn’t Cano get votes ahead of Trout? And if playing the full season is important – if Trout lost points for spending April in AAA – how come Cano doesn’t get credit for his 161 games played?
 
The worst part wasn’t the unpleasant push towards ‘sides’; it was that neither group showed any particularly consistency with their respective conclusions.
 
*              *              *
 
We’re going to announce the entrants into the BJOL Hall of Fame / Basement of Superlatives a few days before New Years. We’re going ahead of the BBWAA announcement because a) I’ll be on holiday when the BBWAA announces their results, and b) I’m sure I’ll have something to say about their vote, which I’ll want to get to when I come back. Cast your votes here.
 
We’re allowing write-ins….whichever player receives the most write-in votes gets on next year’s ballot. Right now Lou Whittaker is leading the pack, with Will Clark and Keith Hernandez getting lots of attention. Pete Rose is getting some votes: he’d be a really interesting candidate for our alternative group.
 
I spent a long while wondering who to vote for. I like Whitaker or Grich, who are both deserving candidates, and who both were snubbed by the BBWAA. For a long time I thought I’d go with Reggie Smith, who hasn’t gotten a write-in vote yet.

But the heart won out. I’m casting my write-in for old #24, Dewey Evans. My favorite player.
 
*              *              *
 
Speaking of Lou Whittaker….as all of you know, Whitaker and Alan Trammell had parallel careers in Detroit. I wondered what they’d look like if you took whichever player had the better season and made a career out of it. Here’s Alou Whittammell:
 
Year
Whittammell
R
H
2B
HR
RBI
SB
BB
BA
bWAR
Extras
1977
Whitaker
5
138
1
0
2
2
4
.250
-0.2
1978
Whitaker
71
121
12
3
58
7
61
.285
3.5
ROY
1979
Whitaker
75
111
14
3
42
20
78
.286
4.3
1980
Trammell
107
168
21
9
65
12
69
.300
4.6
AS, MVP-20, GG
1981
Trammell
52
101
15
2
31
10
49
.258
3.6
MVP-21, GG
1982
Whitaker
76
160
22
15
65
11
48
.286
5.2
1983
Whitaker
94
206
40
12
72
17
67
.320
6.5
AS, MVP-8, GG, SS
1984
Trammell
85
174
34
14
69
19
60
.314
6.5
AS, MVP-9, GG
1985
Whitaker
102
170
29
21
73
6
80
.279
4.4
AS, GG, SS
1986
Trammell
107
159
33
21
75
25
59
.277
6.1
1987
Trammell
109
205
34
28
105
21
60
.343
8.0
AS, MVP-2, SS
1988
Trammell
73
145
24
15
69
7
46
.311
5.8
AS. MVP-7, SS
1989
Whitaker
77
128
21
28
85
6
89
.251
5.0
1990
Trammell
71
170
37
14
89
12
68
.304
6.5
AS, MVP-19, SS
1991
Whitaker
94
131
26
23
78
4
90
.279
6.6
1992
Whitaker
77
126
26
19
71
6
81
.278
4.5
1993
Trammell
72
111
32
9
67
3
78
.290
4.0
1994
Whitaker
67
97
21
12
43
2
41
.301
2.4
1995
Whitaker
36
73
14
14
44
4
31
.293
1.3
1996
Trammell
16
45
2
1
16
6
10
.233
-1.1
Car.
Totals
1466
2739
458
263
1219
200
1169
.303
87.5
 
Sweet Alou makes seven All-Star teams, and wins five Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. He received MVP votes in seven seasons, and his career WAR of 87.5 ranks 42nd all-time, between Wade Kaline and Al Boggs.
 
*              *              *
 
Chone Figgins was designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners recently, after consecutive seasons with batting averages just south of the Mendoza line. It is likely that the Mariners will have to eat the $9 million that remains on his salary, which isn’t nothing but it isn’t Alex Rodriguez either.
 
The Mariners signed Figgins as a free agent in 2010, when he was coming off a good year as the third-baseman for the Angels, where he hit .298, drew a league-leading 101 walks, and stole 42 bases. And while Figgins finished a respectable 10th in the AL MVP vote, rWAR suggests he was better than that: his 7.5 tally figures as the fourth best in the American League, behind Greinke, Zobrist, and Joe Mauer.
 
This season, set against the rest of Figgins’ career, is fairly unique. Figgins was really, really good in 2009, and he wasn’t really good any other year.
 
Chone Figgins posted a WAR of 7.5 in 2009, which is tied as the 317th best season of all-time, according to baseball-reference’s WAR statistic. Barry Bonds’ 2000 season (49 HR, 188 walks) tallied a 7.5 WAR. So did Ichiro’s 2001 ROY/MVP season (242 hits, 56 stolen bases, batting title). There’s an Ernie Banks HR-crown year at 7.5, a Rod Carew batting title year. Posting a 7.5 WAR means that you’re pretty good.
 
Figgins’ second-best season was 2005, when he posted an rWAR of 3.7. That is less than half the total of his best season. An equivalent would be Mike Trout never getting a rWAR higher than 5.0 over the rest of his career.
 
And...Figgins’ career rWAR is 19.2, which means that 39% of his value as a baseball player was collected in 2009.
 
I’ve always rooted for Figgins. At his best, he was Brett Butler-lite: a leadoff hitter who had little power, but drew walks and ran well and played decent defense at important positions. He was fun to watch.
 
In honor of his release, here are the seven Chone-iest players in baseball history: the seven players who
 
a) had one great season (rWAR above 7.0),
b) never came within half that value in any other season, and
c) tallied at least 25% of their career value in that season.
 
I’ll rank them in order of the percentage that their big season has when set against their career rWAR.
 
*              *              *
 
Shifting gears just a second: here’s one factoid that lends credibility to Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as a reliable statistic:
 
According to baseball-reference.com, a position player has posted a WAR totals of 10.0 or better forty-seven times in baseball history. Some players have multiple 10.0+ seasons...guys like Ruth and Bonds and Mantle and Mays. Twenty players have crossed the Trout Line (and yes, I’m calling it the ‘Trout Line’....if Mario Mendoza gets a line, so does Mike Trout.)
 
Forty-seven seasons, twenty position players. Here’s a list of those players, in rough order of appearance:
 
Ty Cobb
Honus Wagner
Eddie Collins
Babe Ruth
Lou Gehrig
Rogers Hornsby
Jimmie Foxx
Ted Williams
Stan Musial
Lou Boudreau
Mickey Mantle
Willie Mays
Carl Yastrzemski
Joe Morgan
Robin Yount
Barry Bonds
Alex Rodriguez
Sammy Sosa
Mike Trout
 
Or: a bunch of inner-circle Hall-of-Famers, a few pretty clear Hall-of-Famers, and Mike Trout.
 
What’s interesting about this list is that there are no flukes on it. There is no one on this list that is really surprising. There’s no name where you think ‘how’d that guy make it?’ Sammy Sosa is probably the worst player on the list...Sosa isn’t a great player, but he hit 609 career homeruns and had three years of 60+ homeruns.
 
Lou Boudreau is probably the second-worst player; during his big year he hit .355 as a shortstop. He walked 98 times in 676 plate appearances, and struck out just nine times. Nine. He also managed the Indians, who won the World Series.
 
*              *              *
 
The Chone-iest Players in Baseball History
 
#7 Terry Turner
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
1906
9.2
4.1
34.7
26.5%
 
Turner, a middle infielder for Cleveland at the turn of the century, was a little like Chone Figgins as a player: a good defensive player who shifted between shortstop and second base, but also played 270 games at third and three dozen stints in the outfield. He was fast and versatile, and had a long major league career (seventeen seasons).
 
#6 Rico Petrocelli
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
1969
9.5
4.7
35.7
26.6%
 
Petrocelli, another multi-position star (SS, 3B) who is sort of the precursor to Nomar Garciaparra, had a 1969 season that was decidedly out of his career norms. After hitting 12 HR and walking 31 times in 1968, Rico hit 40 HR and walked 98 times in 1969, finishing seventh in the AL MVP vote. He led the league in WAR that year.
 
1969 was the year that the pitching mound was lowered, and runs scored in the American League went from 3.41 per game to 4.09. The next guy on our list also had his big year in 1969...
 
#5 Al Rosen
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
1969
9.8
4.7
35.7
27.5%
 
Rosen was born in the same town where my father grew up: Spartanburg, South Carolina. My grandfather was a newspaper editor there.
 
Rosen didn’t stick in the majors until he was twenty-six, when he led the AL in HR, walked 100 times. He later claimed two RBI titles and another HR crown, pacing the NL with 43 bombs in 1953. He retired after his Age-32 season, because a) his body was beaten up, and b) he got into a fight with Cleveland GM Hank Greenberg. Rosen isn’t a Hall-of-Famer and unless you add his contributions as an exceptional GM, there isn’t much of a case that he should be. But Rosen certainly played at a HOF-level for the entirety of his career. His OPS+ of 137 is tied for 91st all-time, alongside Jack and Will Clark, Pedro Guerrero, Chuck Klein, and Reggie Smith.
 
#4 Mike Greenwell
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
1988
7.3
3.4
23.7
30.8%
 
Mike Greenwell, like Petrocelli, was a lifer with the Red Sox. He was part of a crest of young and talented players who came up to the big leagues in the late 1980’s, who were supposed to give the Sox a dynasty-team for a stretch. The other luminaries were Ellis Burks (pretty good), Jody Reed (maybe the best defensive 2B I’ve seen), Sam Horn, Todd Benzinger, and Brady Anderson. It didn’t happen, but Gator had one memorable year, finishing second to Canseco in the MVP race.
 
Greenwell’s first four years in the majors parallel the first four years of Don Mattingly’s career: high batting averages, good power, no speed. Greenwell had better on-base averages than Mattingly, and a better OPS+. Both players looked, for a while, like budding Hall-of-Famers, and both went through steep declines. Greenwell had a lifetime batting average of .303
 
#3 Chone Figgins
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
2009
7.5
3.7
19.2
39.1%
 
Chone Figgins: the third-Choneiest player in history.
 
#2 Marcus Giles
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
2003
7.7
3.7
15.5
49.7%
 
The Giles brothers (Marcus and Brian) are perhaps the most underrated ‘brothers’ in baseball history. Brian Giles has a career OPS+ of 136, which is Marcus’ single-season best, but Marcus was the better defensive player, and the faster of the two brothers. Injuries took their toll on Marcus’ career, but at his best he was an Ian Kinsler-lite: a bit less power, but a useful middle infielder when he was healthy.
 
#1 Zoilo Versallas
 
Year
WAR
Next Best Season
Career WAR
% of Career WAR Accumulated in Season
1965
7.1
2.4
10.4
68.3%
 
Of course.
 
Zoilo, continuing on a point I’ve hammered home, is another counter-point to the notion that old-time baseball writers cared about Triple Crown statistics. Zoilo hit 19 homers, drove in 77, and batted .273. His teammate on the Twins, Tony Oliva, hit 16 homers, drove in 98, and hit .321. Zoilo received 19 of the 20 first-place vote in the 1965 MVP vote.
 
Viewed through our modern, sabermetric lenses, the 1965 AL MVP vote is astonishing in how much it reflects what most of us who advocated for Mike Trout as the 2012 MVP hoped sportswriters would do: consider the full contributions of a player to their team.
 
This is not a sabermetric argument, mind you...it just happens that the math-minded folks at baseball-reference and fangraphs and sbnation are the ones who are currently arguing for a broad view of the game. Meanwhile, the writers of the printed page increasingly argue a viewpoint that is increasingly narrow. They suggest that this connects them to the journalists of the past, the ‘old-school.’ It does not.
 
 
*              *              *
 
On the subject of the Hall-of-Fame: Dale Murphy’s sons have taken to campaigning for their father’s indication into the Hall-of-Fame. I support this: Dale Murphy was one of the iconic players of my youth, and I think the Hall of Fame would be a richer place with him in it. He seems like a really nice guy.
 
That said, Murphy’s son Chad could stand a lesson in civility. From his open letter:
 
Next, I really want to dive into his sabermetrics, starting with his JAWS, WAR, and WAR7, and then moving on to his JPOS, WPA, OPS, and-last but certainly not least-the all-important holy quadrinity of VORP, GORP, SCHLORP, and THUNDERCORK.
Oh wait, no I don't.
Stand down, statistics nerds.
 
(Snip)
 
To be fair, I'll grant the nerds this: In most cases things like "integrity" and "character" and "sportsmanship" are mighty difficult to quantify. I get that.
 
While I love funny acronyms as much as the next guy, it’s frustrating to come across another case where someone takes a cheap shot at sabermetric ‘nerds.’ This is tired stuff: I don’t care if Chad isn’t interested in WAR, but I really wish he’d have the decency to not classify anyone who is interested in sabermetrics as a ‘nerd.’ Surely, a graduate student in organizational behavior can make an objective case without resorting to name-calling.
 
But the wider point I’d like to make is this: he’s picking the wrong group to fight against. The ‘nerds’ that he doesn’t want to engage with are the people who are most on his side. We’ve run a parallel HOF vote for four years: in all four years, his father has fared better with our (nerd) voters than with the BBWAA voters:
 
Year
BBWAA
BJOL
2009
11.5%
17%
2010
11.7%
27%
2011
12.6%
15%
2012
14.5%
15%
 
I like Dale Murphy: I wrote an article supporting his candidacy, and I would absolutely vote for him for the Hall-of-Fame. If this year’s ballot was less crowded, I’d vote for him.
 
What Chad Murphy should realize is that the case he makes for his father is a case that sabermetric-minded fans are more apt to listen to, not less. He is operating under the assumption that anyone interested in sabermetrics is a number-punching nerds who don’t actually watch baseball. This is emphatically not true: I watch too much baseball, and lovedwatching his father play baseball.
 
And, in thinking about the Hall of Fame, I consider all of the intangibles that Chad Murphy mentions: leadership, being drug-free at a time when baseball had a drug problem, being a humanitarian. And I consider the intangibles about his play: that he was a talented defensive player at a difficult defensive position, that he ran well, that his peak was exceptional, and fairly long. I buy the case that Chad Murphy is making: I support Dale Murphy’s candidacy.
 
Dale Murphy isn’t in the Hall of Fame, and he isn’t going to get elected. The reason he hasn’t gotten elected isn’t because the nerds are operating at the highest levels of the BBWAA voters. It isn’t because Dale Murphy has a low WAR, or not enough Win Shares. Those aren’t the stats that are hurting him.
 
The reason Dale Murphy isn’t in the Hall of Fame is because he hit 398 homeruns, instead of 400 or 500. He’s not in Hall because he has a .265 career batting average, instead of .285 or .305. Those are the stats that are keeping him out.

If Chad Murphy thinks thoseare the stats that we care about, maybe he should try to stop calling names, and start reading sites like this one or fangraphs. At the very least, he should recognize that the group he singled out to insult – those of us who, for instance, overwhelmingly supported a multi-skilled centerfielder over a power-hitting corner infielder in the 2012 AL MVP vote - is a group more inclined to support his father, not less.
 
When Chad Murphy  reduced me to a tired cliché, when he categorizes the audience I write for as ‘nerds’, well…it makes me less interested in supporting his very talented, and very decent, father.
 
*              *              *
 
This year’s BJOL HOF/BOS vote was hard, even though the voters have had the foresight to elect the likes of Alan Trammell, Tim Raines, Mark McGwire, Jeff Bagwell, and Edgar Martinez BEFORE our current onslaught of all-time greats.
 
I’ll use all ten of my votes.
 
-I’m voting for Clemens and Bonds, because they are two of the fifteen best players in baseball history.
 
-I’m voting for Biggio and Piazza. Neither of them are the best at their position, but they’re both firmly in the top-ten of all-time at 2B and catcher, respectively.
 
-I’m voting for Schilling, who easily crosses the pitcher’s bar for me. I’m surprised that there’s such debate about his candidacy, but I’m confident that G38 will get in eventually. I’m casting a vote, too, for Kevin Brown, who has comparable numbers. Trying to be consistent.
 
-Along the same lines as Brown, I’m voting for Raffy: the career accomplishments are too much to overlook.
 
-I’m voting for Larry Walker and Andre Dawson, who seem like good parallels: both players could field the position, run, and hit. Dawson gets a deserved hit from sabermetric-types for his low on-base percentage, and he takes an undeserved hit for the atrocious 1987 MVP vote. Walker gets dinged for playing in Coors, but he was a helluva player.
 
Which leaves one vote. I’ve supported Dale Murphy, Bernie Williams, and Fred McGriff in the past, and I’ll likely do so in the future. This is a crowded ballot, and there isn’t a lot of room to spare. I’m sad to see that Olerud’s brief moment of recognition is fading, and I’ll probably end up voting for Sammy Sosa in the future. The same is true for Kenny Lofton.
 
But….I’m casting a sentimental vote for Julio Franco, who is likely to fall off the ballot this year. Maybe Franco isn’t a Hall-of-Famer, but he was a joy to watch, and his career was remarkable. As this will likely be the only time I can vote for him, I’m doing it. My ballot:
 
Bonds
Clemens
Biggio
Piazza
Raffy
Schilling
K. Brown
Larry Walker
Dawson
Julio Franco
 
Write-in: Dwight Evans
 
*              *              *
 
This’ll be my last column of the year, this or a quick one about BJOL HOF results. Closing things out, I’d like to say one last thank you to Mike Trout, whose 2012 season was the most exciting season I’ve ever gotten the chance to watch. I think everyone has their favorite years: I remember Nomar’s rookie year, Ortiz’s clutch hits in 2004. Pedro in 1999-2003 is as good a pitcher as I’m likely to see.
 
But Trout was something special. In a year when the team I root for wasn’t easy to watch, it was a pleasure to switch to the West Coast games. I’m not old enough to have seen Mantle or Mays, and I only watched the likes of Rickey and Nolan Ryan late in their careers. In the years I’ve watched baseball, Mike Trout in 2012 was as dynamic a baseball player as I’ve ever seen. His excitement was contagious: I’ll be rooting for him in 2013.
 
Dave Fleming is a writer living in Wellington, New Zealand. He welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions here and at dfleming1986@yahoo.com.
 
 

COMMENTS (10 Comments, most recent shown first)

joeashp
Hi Dave - I noticed that your examples were all from the 30s and 40s. I would suggest that this is an "older old school", or an "even older school" that stressed team success, playing shortstop or catcher, etc., and that generation was replaced by the pre-sabermetric "Stat Guys" who stressed RBIs, etc., with the last 5-10 years seeing the rise of the sabermetric voters, with Lincecum and King Felix winning the Cy Young the best examples. I do see this vote as, in part, an anti-sabermetric vote - I live in the New York area, and sports guys who have always been anti-sabermetric were heavily pro- Cabrera, "no matter what WAR or Win Shares or any of that stuff says". So, I do think that it is an old school vote, contrary to the recent trend and more like the votes of 10-30 years ago. There are more than 2 eras I think.
10:26 PM Jan 20th
 
DaveFleming
Ah....I missed it....the NL thing. Ugh.
6:46 PM Jan 10th
 
jdrb
Dave-- if you recall that Rosen never played in the NL, you'll get Snark's humor.
6:11 PM Dec 30th
 
DaveFleming
Whaddya talkin' about?

Rosen had two HR crowns (1950, 1953), and two RBI crowns ('52, '53). He led in slugging percentage once, total bases twice, runs scored once, hit-by-pitches once....he's got lots of black ink.
2:26 AM Dec 28th
 
chiefsnark
Good set of snippets, but I don't think Al Rosen ever led the NL in anything. Still ranks as the great Jewish third baseman.
10:25 PM Dec 27th
 
ventboys
Dave, just asking; what is it about Mike Trout that you dislike so much? Your irrational hatred of the poor kid is off-putting.

I tried to guess some of the seven Figginses (Naaaassssstee Figginses….), but I only got Versailles right. I had Pistol Pete, Joe Wood and Dickie Thon; Thon’s 1982 was too good, and the others just missed. I though about Rosen, but I thought he’d had a better second fiddle season. I also had a coupla guys who didn’t come anywhere near. Nice stuff, as always.

9:25 PM Dec 27th
 
craigjolley
Chad Murphy's letter is about low-level politics, not baseball or decency. Chad's logic: your friends are your enemies' enemies. The nerd bashing is meant to appeal to the old-liners who might consider voting for Murphy presumably as a blow against us upstart nerds. It's clear Dale Murphy won't make it this year, but when he re-emerges in a few years on the old-timer ballot the first thing they'll look at is his final year of regular eligibility votes. I suspect Murphy's son is not stupid, just hopes to win eventually.
2:46 PM Dec 27th
 
BrianFleming
Yep, you're going to pull for Mike Trout again this year because you drafted him very early in your fantasy baseball league last season and will have him as a keeper for your team this season. Congratulations on your foresight in drafting him so early, you were right about his talents.

Too bad he couldn't have gotten you one more run that last week of the playoffs.... :)
12:20 PM Dec 27th
 
MWeddell
Also, Al Rosen's big season occurred in 1953, not 1969.
8:53 AM Dec 27th
 
MWeddell
A small nitpick: Mickey Cochrane played and managed for the Tigers, starting in 1934.
8:37 AM Dec 27th
 
 
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