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Bill there is a lot of talk about punting lately. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall wants to replace kickoffs at the start of each half and after every score with the kicking team facing a 4th and 15 situation where they would have the option of going for it or punting. I don't think it is much easier to make a 4th and 15 than recovering an onside kick. Do you like this idea?
Asked by: Steve9753

Answered: 1/12/2019
 Not at first blush.   I mean. . .4th and 15 at the start of a half, what would be the point in not kicking?  It sounds like a convoluted rule that would have no impact at all.  


Bill, would you vote for Roy Halladay into the Hall of Fame?  
Asked by: Steve9753

Answered: 1/12/2019
 I think he is qualified.  I haven't studied it enough to know whether he is one of the top 10 on the ballot. 
Who all is in this group. . . .Ken Hubbs, Thurman Munson, Roy Halladay, Len Koenecke.   Broader it to include train accidents you've got Snuffy Stirnweiss and .. .I think it was Wild Bill Donovan, about 1922.   If it wasn't Donovan it was one of his teammates.  


.....I went and did fuller data anyway -- comparing the Orioles' opposition during the part of the season that they had Machado, i.e. in their first 97 games, with their opposition the rest of the way. In terms of opposing teams' end-of-season W-L records, the Orioles' average opposing team in the first portion averaged 84.3 wins; in the latter portion, 87.3 wins. (P) So, the Orioles' similar record during the portion without Machado was against stronger average opposition, and as I noted before, a higher proportion of their series were against the best teams. The reason I went and checked all this was that I likewise had the impression that they were better during that latter portion, but of course I know not necessarily to trust that.
Asked by: MarisFan61

Answered: 1/12/2019
 Well, from my standpoint, I just made a calculation error, recorded something wrong; don't know what it was.   I shouldn't try to minimize that by citing extraneous data.  


Maybe not so fast on taking it back about the Orioles 'with' and 'after' Machado! Yes, their 'after' record was just negligibly better, but, it looks like their similar 'after' record was against better average opposition. As usual I didn't do the most detailed breakdown, but, here's what I did: I looked at how many series they played against each team in each portion of the season, in terms of how the teams ranked according to their end-of-season W-L record. In the 'after' period there was a higher proportion of games against the best teams. (P) In that latter period, 13 of their 21 series were against teams that wound up with at least 89 wins. (The reason I did '13' series was, I started at the top and went down to where I'd cover at least half of the total series, and since there were 3 series against the last team, that made 13.) For the earlier period, to cover a similar fraction of the series you need to go down to teams around .500. (I'll do fuller data if anyone wants.)
Asked by: MarisFan61

Answered: 1/12/2019
 cont. ..


Regarding steveperry9's question on Charley Smith....I wasn't involved in those early Gallery of Renown (GOR) simulations, so some of the other more senior BJOL members can chime in with additional info as well since mine may not cover everything, but Charley Smith was one of the early baseball pioneers that GOR creator Bob Gregory was fond of touting in those early elections.  Smith had a very brief career in the National Association (1871), so his baseball reference page doesn't look like much, but Smith was a significant player prior to that, when he starred on the Atlantic Base Ball Club of Brooklyn, which is recognized as baseball's first champion and its first dynasty during the 1850's and 1860's.  Bob wrote his "case" for Smith in the Gallery of Renown archives that BJOL member ventboys maintains in Bob's memory.   The Smith case can be found at https://bobgregoryarchive.wordpress.com/2016/09/06/1893-bobs-case-for-charley-smith/    Thanks, Dan
Asked by: DMBBHF

Answered: 1/12/2019
 Thank you.  


I was looking at the AL East of 1974 and the MVP voting that year,  and one name really stands out--there in 8th place,  you find Elliott Maddox.  What's up with that?  He had a good year for the Yanks, sure,  hit .303,  scored a few runs,  must have been a good OF,  but I'm really curious...What were they seeing there?  Carew is right above him at 7 in the voting and Grich is at 9th (should be higher)--just what did Maddox do that year that was so 'valueable'?
Asked by: Manushfan

Answered: 1/12/2019
 No idea.   A .395 on base percentage is pretty good, and I would guess it is not unusual for a player with 5.4 WAR to finish in the top 10 in MVP voting.   An 8th-place finish. . .that could just be one or two voters that liked him.  


The reason I asked you to watch the 1934 Yanks-A's excerpt --  
1. It is exceptional  
2. In one of the Gold Mine books, you recounted watching an original broadcast from the 1974 World Series, and listed several fascinating observations (e.g. Dick Green anchoring a double play "without being in the same zip code as second base").  As a collector of these old treasures, it's great to see sabermetricians making use of the historical artifacts, the contemporaneous game accounts that remain.  
Asked by: garywmaloney

Answered: 1/12/2019


In response to the earlier query about Charley Smith, he was one of the best players of the pre-league era, so there are no easily accessible stats.  He was a third baseman for the Brooklyn Atlantics through the 1860s, but retired after 1871.  You can find a good short bio in the book Base Ball Founders by Googling "charley smith was born in brooklyn" in quotes. The late Gallery of Renown founder Bob Gregory was a big 19th-century baseball enthusiast and helped to curate some of those early selections, though the voters didn't always follow him.  If you've spent time reading 1860s newspapers, Smith will seem like a very reasonable selection.  He was a big deal at the time.
Asked by: rstattler1

Answered: 1/12/2019


RE: The April 24, 1934 video of the game between the Yankees and A's. One note of many: the catchers don't squat. They bend their knees but it's more like a half squat. My question for Bill is when did catchers start squatting for real? Also, only two umpires. Thanks.
Asked by: RanBricker

Answered: 1/12/2019
 My understanding is that SOME catchers began to use what we might call a full squat in the 1920s, but that it didn't become universal until the 1940s.   A 10-year-old can squat easily, but if you don't do it regularly and try to start when you're 25, 30. ..not so easy.   A generation of kids had to grow up doing that before it became universal.  


Bill, the Orioles played .289 baseball before trading Machado and .292 baseball after trading him, with similar run scored/allowed ratios. That's an interesting definition of playing "much better."
Asked by: CharlesSaeger

Answered: 1/11/2019
 Yeah, you're right.  I made a data error somewhere.   My apologies. 


Can anyone ( Bill ? Daniel ? )  tell me who is the Charley Smith elected in the 1894 Hall Of Renown election article ?  I can find next to nothing about him .  
Thank you
Asked by: steveperry9

Answered: 1/11/2019
 . . . .


Not a question, just a word of thanks for the new stat section. Don't worry, I will continue buying the Handbook every year.
Asked by: steve161

Answered: 1/11/2019


There’s a lot of discussion in the media about Kyler Murray. As the 9th pick in baseball, he got a bit over 4 million dollar signing bonus. If he is drafted even in the middle of the 1st round in football, the guaranteed money dwarfs that.  
It’s true that the top-end baseball contracts are better long-term, mostly because they’re guaranteed, but the probability of flaming out in the minors is a significant risk. Quarterbacks in the NFL are paid exorbitantly due to the shortage of quality. If I were him in this scenario I’d push for the NFL, assuming they can get over his height. (Listed at 5’10", but they suspect he’s actually 5’8").  
Am I missing something?
Asked by: Christopher

Answered: 1/11/2019
 Maybe he can take Bubba Starling with him?  


Hi Bill  
I was wondering if you believe the recent confession involving the JonBenet Ramsey case?  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6555009/Pedophile-Gary-Oliva-confesses-killing-JonBen-t-Ramsey-accident.html  
The supposed killer says other men were involved.  Does this make sense to you?  Thanks!  
Asked by: zachtruitt

Answered: 1/11/2019
 Yeah, I was thinking of posting a short note about that.   
I doubt that it is him, for several reasons.   
1)  Oliva's DNA should be in the national data bank of DNA of criminals, and DNA was found on JonBenet's underwear that is believed to be the killer's.   The police should have compared the two before now. 
Nothing certain; there could be a 10% chance that Oliva's DNA has somehow not been entered into the system, a 20-25% chance that the DNA on the underpants is unrelated, and a 20-30% chance that no comparison has been done because it has just slipped through the cracks.   Still. . .seems unlikely. 
2) Oliva's handwriting does not match the ransom note.  I read that it doesn't match, but I checked it myself.   It does not match.   Somebody else would have had to write the note. 
3)  Oliva's account sounds like a child molester's fantasy.   "If I had only paid attention we would have a family now and be living on a private island."   It's a sick fantasy.   Probably the whole thing is a fantasy.  
I had not caught the fact that other people were supposedly involved.   I guess it is possible.   Doesn't seem likely.   A third party claims that Oliva called him on the data after the crime and said that he had killed a little girl, and that third party claims that he reported this to the Boulder Police department.   If that claim is documented, then the likelihood of Oliva being involved goes way up.     But you know, it's been 20 years.   People get confused about timelines.   Unless it is documented, you have to assume it didn't happen that way.   


I don't know if this has been publicized -- but shockingly high-quality sound film has just been posted from an April 24, 1934 game between the Yankees and Athletics. We're talking TV-quality viewing.  
Bill, if you have time to spin through this -- anything that really sticks out, keenly observed?
Asked by: garywmaloney

Answered: 1/11/2019
 First I have heard about it. 


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