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15 Most Recent Questions

(Sorry -- my Hall of Famers count for 1950 was wrong.)
Asked by: MarisFan61

Answered: 5/28/2020
 OK.  I always thought Bevo LeBourveau was a Hall of Famer, too.  

 

Just a comment on your answer to evanecurb: in my experience, third base is the easiest to evaluate by traditional statistics if you don't count steals as traditional statistics, followed by shortstop and second base. First base is a problem for the reason you stated; the outfielders are somewhere in between due to park effects and the fact that much of what outfielders do is containing someone else's mistake instead of making outs themselves.
Asked by: CharlesSaeger

Answered: 5/28/2020
 Thanks. 

 

Hi Bill, hope you're doing well and you and yours are healthy. I fell down a YouTube hole on Old Timer's games, and I wonder, when did these stop? I'm 38 and can't remember any of them happening in my day, but from what I've seen/read, they were a regular thing and attracted the big names. Any idea why they stopped, and when?
Asked by: dburba

Answered: 5/28/2020
 No.  The last one that I remember attending was in Washington DC sometime maybe about 2006--that is, after the Expos had moved to Washington, but in RFK, before the new stadium was built.  I remember attending one in KC in the late 1990s; they played maybe 3 innings and nobody could get the ball out of the infield, and then in the one in Washington the old-timers hit like 8 home runs. . . maybe it wasn't eight, but they hit a bunch of them.  I knew immediately that they were using phony baseballs with a super-lively core, a superball kind of core.  
 
The economics of the game partly changed it.  The KC game had Freddy Patek, the late Bob Oliver, Ted Abernathy I think.  The Washington DC one had Billy Williams, Dick Allen. . . I don't know who all.   At the time those guys played, athletes were still paid on a human scale.   Once athletes were paid $100,000 a game or $200,000 a game, they weren't as likely to come back and play an exhibition game for $250.  
 
And exhibition ideas just die; they just get stale and wither away.   Athletes used to have "field days" at the game, where they would race and having throwing competitions, and there used to be sideline entertainers like Max Patkin.  There used to be "Ladies Day" at the park, and the Royals for years would do "Halter Top Day", which was like "Really Sexy Ladies Day."   I remember there was a Bat Giveaway that was popular; kids actually got a free baseball bat.  The last time I attended one of those the "bats" turned out to be like 12 inches long and maybe 10 ounces.  But I would guess that the old-timers games would still have some life left in them, if anybody wanted to do it.  

 

I am not sure I’ve seen the expression ‘fortunate order’ before.  Google offers no help.  I have a vague idea where you are going, but can you elaborate on what you mean?
Asked by: 3for3

Answered: 5/28/2020
 No.  I thought there was an established phrase for what I was trying to say but couldn't find it, so I just put those words together. 

 

In response to MarisFan61 comment: I am sure I’m not 100% correct on the 575 total players, but I’m probably 90% correct. I realized that there could have been some names that were listed on two teams because of a trade. They could have been counted twice when it should have been counted as one person, but I couldn’t go through and do that.  
 
The hall of famers I counted were: Johnny Mize, Phil Rizzuto, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, George Kell, Hal Newhouser, Bobby Doerr, Ted Williams, Joe Gordon, Larry Doby, Lou Boudreau, Bob Lemon, Early Wynn, Bob Feller, Nellie Fox, Luke Appling, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella, Monte Irvin, Warren Spahn, Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst, Enos Slaughter, Ralph Kiner.  
 
Of course, this doesn’t include HOF managers and executives who were there in 1950.  
 
Asked by: jerpol

Answered: 5/28/2020
 Are you trying to tell me that Snuffy Stirnweiss is not in the Hall of Fame?   How about Eddie Kazak?   Putsy Caballero?  
 
I can confirm that you didn't miss any active players.  I checked my own file.   Thanks.  

 

I have been watching replays of the Nats playoff games.  I'm a Nats fan so I'm glad they won, but it sure seemed like they dodged a lot of bullets by stranding a host of opponent baserunners in many of the games.  There were many situations where a hit by the opponent at the right time would have changed the game and, indeed, the series.  
 
My question, is stranding base runners another example of "clutch hitting", which happens but is not really a skill?  
Asked by: Marc Schneider

Answered: 5/27/2020
 Not necessarily.  Batting is reaction.  Pitching is planned.   There can be "fortunate order" effects which are meaningless for batters but meaningful for pitchers. 

 

Hey Bill,  
 
Which defensive positions do you believe are most accurately evaluated by traditional fielding stats: errors, assists, putouts, double plays, and range factor?  To be clear, I’m asking which postions’ best defenders are most accurately identified by these stats?
Asked by: evanecurb

Answered: 5/27/2020
 Interesting question.   Well, we can say that first base is the most poorly described by the traditional fielding stats.   At catcher, you can actually do a really good job of figuring out who the best defensive catchers are if you stretch it to include stolen bases allowed and caught stealing and also allow yourself to use things like the won-lost record of the team and the ERA. . . .you can do it, but probably not within your guidelines.
 
Third base might be the spot where it works best.   I don't know.   Just an off-the-top-of-the-head response.  

 

Besides other possible issues about what Jerpol said/asked, as you might have suspected he understated the number of eventual Hall of Fame players who played in 1950. He said 29; I easily counted up to 37, and that may possibly be an undercount too.
Asked by: MarisFan61

Answered: 5/27/2020
 I have NO concept of what you are talking about.   

 

Hey Bill--You're on Twitter a lot, so maybe I should ask this there, but what responsibility, if any, do social media platforms have to correct or delete incorrect information, particularly from public officials? Yes, I'm talking about the Trump mail-in voting and Scarborough tweets in particular. Is it anything goes? Thanks.
Asked by: Mark

Answered: 5/27/2020
 It is my responsibility to correct your question.  I am not on Twitter "a lot".  

 

In the 1960s the Pirates’ yearbooks listed players who hit homers over the right field roof in Forbes Field.  Babe Ruth was the first.  It was his last one; he hit two earlier.  Wikipedia confirmed my recollection.  I recall Willie Stargell doing it multiple times.  Wiki says 7 of the 18 homers going over the roof were hit by Stargell.  He hit the longest homer to right field that I ever saw in Connie Mack Stadium, going over at least one building.  Stargell was the first to hit 3 homers in Dodger Stadium, just missing a fourth.  What would he have accomplished in the Baker Bowl?
Asked by: LesLein

Answered: 5/26/2020
 He might be in the Hall of Fame.  

 

Regarding Babe Ruth clearing the roof at Forbes Field, I wasn’t there, either, but can report that it was an accepted fact in the section on Forbes Field in the Pirates’ yearbooks at the time.) I grew up near Pittsburgh and saw half a dozen games at Forbes field as a child.) It was certainly possible to clear the right field roof, as Willie Stargell did it a few times, but they were prodigious blasts. I think Stargell’s three were the only ones outside of Ruth.
Asked by: DanaKing

Answered: 5/26/2020
 Thanks.  I think the most impressive blast I ever saw was David Ortiz in spring training, 2003 or 2004, at City of Palms Park in Ft. Myers.   AFTER it cleared the foul poll, I started counting.  I counted four before it dropped from the sky.  There were a row of cars there, outside the park.  It cleared the row of cars.  Nobody reacted to it at all except me, because there was no context to frame it.  If it had had a 60-foot ball to clear, people would have got it.   But it was just moving against the sky, nothing around it.   I still think about it.  

 

This stems from a comment that I posted on a YouTube video about potential hall of fame selections among current players. I said that in any year throughout baseball, weather it is 1920 or 1980, only about 10% of players who were playing in that season are in the HOF according to a book I have (one of yours). I looked at the book again, and it said 10% of major league at-bats were by a hall of famer. I decided to go through on old baseball encyclopedia that I have and do it that other way that I described. I chose 1950, because that is right at the mid-point of the 20th century. I counted 575 players who played during that season, and 29 are in the HOF. That came out to 5.04% of players who played during that season being in the HOF.  
The only other names I saw that I remember anyone ever talking about possibly being worthy of selection in any type of way, and who still are not in, were Gil Hodges, Marty Marion, and Allie Reynolds.  
My point was it's very exclusive. What do you think?
Asked by: jerpol

Answered: 5/26/2020
 Is that actually a question? 

 

Hey, Bill!  Today (5/25) is the date on which Babe Ruth hit his last three home runs in 1935 at Forbes Field.  Do you know if it's really true that his last home run actually cleared the right-center field roof, or is that just a myth?  Supposedly Guy Bush (the pitcher off whom the home run was hit) had been telling his Pirate teammates that Babe could hit one that far, only to have them ridicule the idea.
Asked by: Davidg32

Answered: 5/25/2020
 No, I don' t know.  I was very young at the time. 
 
Guy Bush - HottyToddy.com

 

Re: baserunning value of speed. Jarrod Dyson according to Fangraphs has career +52.4 runs on 2618 PA, or +14 runs per 700 PA. His 250 SB, 44 CS contributes just over half of that. That leaves us with about +6 runs for baserunning on batted balls.  
 
He gets on 1B or 2B (via single, double, walk, hit batter) 230 times / 700 PA.  He gets to use his baserunning skill when the next batter hits singles or doubles for most part, which happens about 20% of time.  Though sometimes he's still on base for the batter after that.  So, let's say 25% of 230 times he's on base, he gets to use his baserunning skill.  
 
Whatever average rate is for taking extra base (let's say it's 40% of the time, though it's obviously different if you are on first or second and if it's a single or double), a speedster like Dyson would be +10% on top of that (so 50% in this illustration).  
 
And so, Dyson will take an extra base 0.10 x 230 = +23 bases.  Each base is worth roughly 0.25 runs.  And so, 23 x 0.25 = +6 runs.
Asked by: tangotiger

Answered: 5/25/2020
Thanks.  

 

djmedinah wrote:  
 
"...asking you about the Marquis de Condorcet: his "Jury Theorem" held that a majority vote should directly translate into policy..."  
 
I believe that was first (and most clearly articulated) by Mickey Spillane.
Asked by: Gfletch

Answered: 5/24/2020
 Thanks.  In general I think that the state (city, county) should do what the public wants done, but there are serious limitations to that.  The public may want to do one thing now and something different two weeks from now, Public policy needs consistency and commitment to get anything done.  And. .. crime stories will give pause.   Many times the public becomes completely convinced of the guilt of someone against whom there is actually not evidence at all.  There has to be enough space between intention and action to allow the passions to cool, and reason to take over.  
 
 
This is the 99th consecutive day on which I have responded to a "Hey, Bill", and this is the day on which I am ahead of schedule for the year.   At the start of the year I had a goal to answer "Hey, Bills" on 300 days during the year, which is 82%.   But as of January 26 I had only done this on four days (out of 26), which is 15.4%, so then I had to answer questions on 296 out of 340 remaining days, which is 87.1%.  I missed on January 31 and I missed on February 14, but since then I have done this on 99 consecutive days, which brings me up to 82.1% for the year, so for the rest of the year I only have to do 81.9%.  So now I can take a day off if I need to.   

 

 
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