Men of a Certain Age (Bracket)

February 20, 2016
I’m working on my next big project, coming up soon, which I think will be a blast (at least I hope the membership agrees).  In the meantime, though, I had a fairly brief (at least for me) article that I wanted to post.
 
Much has been written about the topic of age in baseball.  How players age, figuring out the prime, etc.  I was interested in taking a look at players and their value in and across various age brackets, which led to this.
 
I like to use different sites for different information and different data pulls.  Certainly, Baseball-reference.com is a terrific resource, probably the one I consult more than anything else.  I also am very fond of Seamheads.com (with "the Baseball Gauge") for many different studies, as they have some terrific and interesting tools.  In this case, I used Fangraphs.com as they have a really nice filtering tool that lets you download data by various criteria, one of which is by age range, and it was a good fit for what I was looking for.  So, in this study, the WAR metric being leveraged is fWAR rather than rWAR, which is what I normally use, but I think either one would yield fairly similar results. 
 
I’m using fWAR in total, so I’m looking at overall value by age brackets, rather than isolating offense or defense or anything else.  In this particular study, I was interested in position players/hitting/defense rather than pitchers.  I think I’ll look at them another time.
 
I started by downloading player data into 4 different age brackets/quadrants, and we’ll label them (kind of) like the stages of the "Product Life Cycle" (which are technically Introduction/Growth/Maturity/Decline, but they’re similar):
 
  1. Age 24 or below ( "Emerging")
  2. Age 25-29 ("Prime")
  3. Age 30-34 ("Mature")
  4. Age 35 or older ("Decline")
 
For starters, let’s look at some basic data.  How much does each age bracket represent in terms of player value?  Here’s how the data looks by various groups, starting with all players in the data, and then filtering from there.
 
% of Career Value by Age Quadrant by Various Categories
Category
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
All Players in Data
16%
49%
29%
7%
Players with 3,000+ PA
16%
47%
30%
7%
Players with 5,000+ PA
17%
43%
31%
9%
Hall of Fame Players
20%
38%
30%
13%
Players with Value in all 4 Quadrants
15%
41%
34%
10%
 
"Players with Value in all 4 Quadrants" really means that, in order to be included in that particular slice, the player had to have some data in each of the 4 age quadrants.  For example, Sam Rice debuted in his age 25 season, so he had no registered value (either negative or positive) in the "24 or less" bracket, so he’s excluded from that category.  By the same token, Ron Santo’s last season was at age 34, so he had no value in the 35+ bracket, so he’s not included in that category either.
 
So, looking at this implies that, for the overall population of players, almost 50% of the collective value is achieved in the "Prime" years of 25-29.  It also implies that, the longer a player plays, and the better he is, the less of his total value appears in the "prime" bracket, and the more appears in others.  Again, I think that makes intuitive sense….. longer and better careers seem consistent with having a higher-than-normal % of your total value achieved both in the early and the late stages of your career.  Good players tend to emerge quicker, and tend to stay around longer.  That seems to be consistent.
 
Below is another table, looking at % of total career value by level of fWAR across the 4 age quadrants. 
 
% of Career Value by Age Quadrant and fWAR Group 
 
 
Career fWAR
 
 
# Players
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Zero or Less
9,812
32%
49%
16%
3%
> 0 through 10
4,870
19%
60%
20%
2%
> 10 through 20
658
16%
57%
25%
2%
> 20 through 30
357
16%
51%
29%
4%
> 30 through 40
196
16%
45%
32%
7%
> 40 through 50
131
16%
44%
31%
9%
> 50 through 60
61
16%
40%
34%
10%
> 60 through 70
64
18%
38%
32%
12%
> 70 through 80
22
21%
38%
29%
11%
> 80
36
21%
33%
28%
18%
Totals
16,207
16%
49%
29%
7%
 
 
The overwhelming majority of players are in the first 2 groups (about 60% achieve 0 or negative fWAR, and about 30% end up between zero and 10).  Again, this implies that the players that accumulate a lot of value tend to realize a higher-than-normal percent of their career value both when emerging and when declining.  Again, this probably isn’t earth-shattering to you, as you would expect better players to both get started early with their careers AND last longer.  Players that aren’t as good cram more of their value into the 25-29 age bracket because, by and large, a lot of them never make it past that age. 
 
Among the highest performers (those with fWARs higher than 80), a whopping 18% of their value is achieved during age 35 and later, and 21% is achieved in the 24 and under bracket.
 
Here’s a look at those with more than 80 career fWAR and their % of total value by bracket.  Again, these players tended to have high percentage of value achieved outside of the prime, which is part of what made them achieve such great career totals. (I excluded Albert Pujols from this table, even though they’re above that threshold, since they’re still active and building their 35+ total):
 
Name
Career fWAR
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Babe Ruth
168.5
10.9%
36.3%
27.9%
25.0%
Barry Bonds
164.4
12.9%
26.6%
22.9%
37.7%
Willie Mays
149.9
16.1%
27.3%
33.2%
23.3%
Ty Cobb
149.4
31.6%
26.2%
22.5%
19.7%
Honus Wagner
138.1
3.5%
26.3%
36.5%
33.7%
Hank Aaron
136.3
20.8%
29.9%
26.1%
23.3%
Tris Speaker
130.5
23.1%
30.7%
24.8%
21.5%
Ted Williams
130.4
27.9%
23.5%
18.3%
30.2%
Rogers Hornsby
130.3
27.4%
40.1%
27.2%
5.3%
Stan Musial
126.8
20.0%
31.6%
29.1%
19.2%
Eddie Collins
120.5
23.3%
34.3%
21.6%
20.8%
Lou Gehrig
116.4
19.9%
37.6%
38.4%
4.0%
Mickey Mantle
112.4
36.6%
39.2%
18.3%
5.9%
Mel Ott
110.5
34.9%
34.7%
22.4%
8.1%
Mike Schmidt
106.5
10.9%
36.1%
35.7%
17.4%
Rickey Henderson
106.3
25.0%
30.2%
30.8%
14.0%
Frank Robinson
104.0
26.9%
30.4%
28.6%
14.1%
Nap Lajoie
102.2
13.2%
34.1%
31.7%
21.0%
Jimmie Foxx
101.8
36.7%
37.2%
25.6%
0.4%
Joe Morgan
98.8
13.1%
31.0%
36.8%
19.1%
Eddie Mathews
96.1
33.4%
37.7%
27.1%
1.9%
Carl Yastrzemski
94.8
16.6%
37.8%
25.5%
20.1%
Cal Ripken
92.5
30.1%
29.6%
28.8%
11.6%
Cap Anson
91.2
14.7%
18.3%
24.1%
42.9%
Al Kaline
88.8
36.4%
28.2%
23.8%
11.7%
Wade Boggs
88.3
4.4%
44.3%
31.4%
19.9%
Roger Connor
86.2
10.6%
34.5%
31.3%
23.7%
George Brett
84.7
23.5%
36.5%
26.4%
13.6%
Chipper Jones
84.6
11.1%
35.6%
25.9%
27.4%
George Davis
84.6
27.4%
29.3%
28.5%
14.8%
Joe DiMaggio
83.1
34.5%
28.6%
26.6%
10.2%
Roberto Clemente
80.6
9.9%
28.4%
42.8%
18.9%
Pete Rose
80.2
9.9%
30.3%
36.0%
23.8%
Jeff Bagwell
80.1
11.0%
41.8%
38.1%
9.1%
 
So, who tended to have "normal" age patterns?  I decided to focus on players that achieved at least 3,000 PA.  Again, here’s the overall spread for that group:
 
Category
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
3,000+ PA
16%
47%
30%
7%
 
Using a simple comparison formula (finding the absolute value difference between a player’s figure in each bracket vs. the overall figure, and then adding them up), these players came up as most closely matching the overall, normal spread:
 
Name
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Matt Williams
17.0%
48.2%
30.8%
4.0%
Nellie Fox
16.6%
46.2%
33.0%
4.2%
Carlos Beltran
15.5%
43.9%
30.8%
9.9%
Bobby Abreu
12.0%
49.5%
30.6%
7.9%
Jerry Hairston
12.9%
51.1%
28.8%
7.2%
Tim Wallach
12.5%
49.2%
32.2%
6.1%
Jimmy Rollins
11.6%
50.1%
30.2%
8.1%
Jack Glasscock
13.6%
44.7%
33.7%
8.0%
Al Simmons
19.0%
48.8%
26.4%
5.8%
Frank Baker
18.3%
49.8%
26.6%
5.3%
 
Beltran is still active, so his final spreads will probably change some.  There are certainly some good players on here, including 3 Hall of Famers (Fox, Simmons, Baker), and Beltran may make it someday too.
 
Who had some unusual spreads?  Below is a list of players (minimum 3,000 PA’s and 10.0 fWAR) that had the largest % of their career value achieved in the 24 or less age bracket:
 
Name
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Whitey Lockman
97.5%
18.5%
-16.0%
0.0%
Bobby Tolan
96.6%
18.5%
-15.1%
0.0%
Curt Blefary
89.3%
10.7%
0.0%
0.0%
Johnny Hodapp
85.4%
14.6%
0.0%
0.0%
Earl Williams
85.2%
14.8%
0.0%
0.0%
Ruben Sierra
84.9%
26.6%
-14.4%
2.9%
Carlos Baerga
84.0%
19.9%
-1.3%
-2.6%
Vic Saier
83.3%
16.7%
0.0%
0.0%
Tony Conigliaro
81.5%
22.7%
-4.2%
0.0%
Fred Carroll
80.4%
19.6%
0.0%
0.0%
 
Note that, because fWAR can be negative, some players had "negative value" in certain brackets. 
 
Whitey Lockman was an interesting player.  He hit .341 as an 18-year old in 1945 in about 150 plate appearances, then went in the military, came back and by age 21 was a full-time player for the Giants, first in the outfield, then at 1B, consistently hitting in the .280-.300 range.  But, he trailed off pretty significantly after his mid-20’s.
 
Bobby Tolan was an exciting young player for the Reds, who acquired him (and Wayne Granger) from the Cardinals in exchange for an aging Vada Pinson.  He was one of my early favorites when I was a young fan, had a couple of really good years in ’69 and ’70, but he injured his Achilles tendon playing basketball and missed all of ’71.  Even though he came back in ’72 with a good comeback season, he was never quite the same after that.
 
Johnny Hodapp was a good, young 2B/3B for the Indians in the late 20’s/early 30’s, had some good years, but essentially fell off a cliff after 25.
 
Some of these others are probably no surprise to you.  Ruben Sierra and Tony Conigliaro were players that many felt were destined for the Hall of Fame based on how they started their careers at early ages, but Sierra, who was the runner-up in the ’89 MVP voting as a 23-year old, stopped developing after his early promise, and Conigliaro, of course, had one of the most famous career-altering injuries in ’67 when he was hit in the face by a Jack Hamilton pitch.
 
You may already know this, but Conigliaro is still prominent among the career-to-date leaders in HR’s at  various early ages.
 
Through age 19:  1st with 24 (Bryce Harper had 22)
Through age 20: 2nd with 56 (Mel Ott is #1 with 61)
Through age 21: 2nd with 84 (Ott is #1 with 86)
Through age 22: 4th with 104 (Ott leads with 115, followed by Eddie Mathews (112) and A-Rod (106).  The age 22 season was the one in which Conigliaro was injured, and he only played 95 games that year
 
After that, he disappears….but those lists of early age HR leaders is overwhelmingly represented by Hall of Famers: Ott, Mathews, Foxx, Frank Robinson, Griffey Jr., Mantle, Kaline, Ted Williams…they all appear on several of those age leaders, as do players like A-Rod, Trout and Harper.
 
Most of the players on that first table had career fWARs in the 10-20 range.  If we upped the minimum requirement to fWARs of 20 or more, we’d get this group instead:
 
Name
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Fred Carroll
80.4%
19.6%
0.0%
0.0%
Freddie Lindstrom
77.0%
23.9%
-1.0%
0.0%
Buddy Lewis
72.9%
24.0%
3.1%
0.0%
Dick Hoblitzel
63.1%
36.9%
0.0%
0.0%
Jim Ray Hart
60.5%
37.0%
2.5%
0.0%
Garry Templeton
60.4%
31.0%
13.1%
-4.5%
Stuffy McInnis
60.1%
29.0%
11.2%
-0.3%
Cecil Travis
58.8%
43.7%
-2.5%
0.0%
Vada Pinson
57.5%
33.0%
9.9%
-0.4%
Pete Reiser
56.6%
34.4%
9.0%
0.0%
 
Again, several names that you would expect to find.  Vada Pinson, although he ended up playing for a long time, famously had his best seasons at early ages.  Pistol Pete Reiser, of course, blazed across the sky in the early ‘40’s, and was MVP runner-up in ’41 as a 22-year old, leading the league in runs, triples, batting average, slugging, OPS, OPS+, total bases, and HBP.   There are many who swear he was the most exciting player they had ever seen.  But, he lost 3 years to military service, and he had a long streak of significant injuries that derailed his career.  And, of course, Garry Templeton was a very exciting player to watch at a very young age – the 200 hit seasons, hitting over .300, leading the league in triples 3 straight years, the speed.  But, of course, his career unraveled from there, and he’s probably more well known now as being traded (along with others) to San Diego in the deal that netted the Cardinals Ozzie Smith.
 
You may have also noticed that both Buddy Lewis and Cecil Travis, who played together side-by-side in the Senators’ infield for many years, are on this list.  They were both highlighted in Bill’s famous "Memorial" article in the New Historical Baseball Abstract that identified players who were most likely affected by World War II.  Lewis lost his age 25-27 years, and Travis lost his age 28-30 seasons.  Neither player was the same after returning from service.
 
How about on the flip side?  Which players achieved a high percentage as "mature" players?  Again, same stipulations on 3,000 PA’s and fWAR of 10 or more:
 
Name
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Joe Start
0.0%
3.5%
25.9%
70.6%
George Harper
-3.7%
-3.7%
50.5%
56.9%
Jim Eisenreich
4.4%
-10.5%
53.5%
52.6%
Jamey Carroll
0.0%
0.0%
47.7%
52.3%
Hank Sauer
0.4%
2.8%
45.4%
51.4%
J.T. Snow
0.8%
17.1%
31.0%
51.2%
Jimmy Austin
0.0%
5.1%
44.9%
50.0%
Gregg Zaun
5.2%
12.1%
34.5%
48.3%
Randy Velarde
-0.4%
17.8%
35.6%
47.1%
Lee Lacy
6.5%
8.1%
40.3%
45.2%
 
So, we have Fred Carroll in the "young" group, and Jamey Carroll in the "old" group.  Nice symmetry…..
 
Again, some of these might not surprise you.  Most of you are probably very familiar with the story of Hank Sauer, who really didn’t get much of a shot until after 30, and turned in an MVP season at age 35.  Sauer hit 281 of his 288 HR’s from age 31 or after, which is the 10th highest total ever.
 
Lee Lacy had a really interesting career.  He was mostly a utility-type player for the Dodgers (plus a pit stop in Atlanta) for most of his early career, and then went to Pittsburgh.  Through age 31, his career high in stolen bases was 7.  Beginning with his age 32 season, he proceeded to steal 18, 24, 40, 31, and 21.  I really don’t know what got into him.
 
A lot of those guys have career fWARs in the 10-20 range.  If you upped the minimum requirement to fWARs of 20 or more, you’d get this group instead:
 
Name
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Joe Start
0.0%
3.5%
25.9%
70.6%
Hank Sauer
0.4%
2.8%
45.4%
51.4%
Randy Velarde
-0.4%
17.8%
35.6%
47.1%
Mickey Vernon
5.8%
24.2%
25.1%
44.9%
Sam Rice
0.0%
18.1%
38.0%
43.9%
Chief Zimmer
-2.3%
15.7%
43.5%
43.1%
Cap Anson
14.7%
18.3%
24.1%
42.9%
Luke Appling
-1.4%
28.5%
30.8%
42.1%
Andres Galarraga
-0.6%
39.2%
19.4%
42.0%
Dummy Hoy
0.0%
36.4%
21.7%
41.9%
 
Joe Start dates all the way back to 1871, which is as far back as the data goes, but he was already 28 by then.  Still, he managed to play pretty regularly through age 43, and was certainly a good player, and his inclusion on this list might be a little deceptive, since he really didn’t have an opportunity to generate any value before age 28.
 
3 Hall of Famers (Rice, Anson, and Appling) are present on this list.
 
Finally, I just wanted to take a look at which players had the most even distribution of value over their careers, a perfectly even distribution being 25% in each of the 4 quadrants.  Here are the ones who came the closest:
 
Name
Career FWAR
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Ellis Burks
44.6
24.7%
21.7%
30.3%
23.3%
Hank Aaron
136.3
20.8%
29.9%
26.1%
23.3%
Chili Davis
37.9
20.8%
30.1%
24.3%
24.8%
Tris Speaker
130.5
23.1%
30.7%
24.8%
21.5%
Ty Cobb
149.4
31.6%
26.2%
22.5%
19.7%
Ted Williams
130.4
27.9%
23.5%
18.3%
30.2%
Bill Dahlen
77.6
21.4%
31.2%
28.7%
18.7%
Stan Musial
126.8
20.0%
31.6%
29.1%
19.2%
Fred Clarke
72.8
17.6%
31.0%
28.6%
22.8%
Eddie Collins
120.5
23.3%
34.3%
21.6%
20.8%
 
Again, you see mostly Hall of Famers (and not just any garden variety Hall of Famers, but mostly slam dunk, cream of the crop Hall of Famers) dominating this list.  Burks, Davis, and Dahlen are the only ones not in.  And, who knows….Dahlen may get there someday, too.
 
One other name caught my attention, and he just missed making the top 10 table above.  He was #12.
 
Name
Career FWAR
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Dwight Evans
65.1
18.7%
28.0%
33.3%
20.0%
 
Really?  Dwight Evans?  I would have sworn that he would have had a lot more of his value represented in the upper age ranges.  That was certainly the perception.  And, in one sense, he does skew that way….he has 53% of his career value coming at age 30 or later, which is more than the overall average of 36%.....but nowhere near the leaders.  There are about 400 players with 3000+ career PA’s, that had a higher % of their value realized at age 30 or later than Evans.
 
I think what happened in his case is that, specifically, he had his more impressive hitting seasons in his 30’s, but, at the same time was he was achieving that, his defensive value started to slide.  So, I think it’s fair to say that he morphed from an outstanding defensive player with decent offensive skills in his 20’s into a more dangerous hitter (but lesser defensive player) in his 30’s, so that his overall value as a player was actually fairly steady over time.
 
By the way….who had the highest percentage of their value during age 30 or later?  It’s this guy, who had one of the more unusual and interesting careers ever, with over 100% of his career value coming at ages 30 and higher:
 
Name
 Career FWAR
Emerging
 
24 or less
Prime
 
25-29
Mature
 
30-34
Decline
 
35+
Lefty O'Doul
           27.1
-0.4%
-1.5%
62.4%
39.5%
 
I understand it’s a very popular restaurant too…..
 
Final observations
 
Hall of Famers with the highest % of their career value coming at age 30 or after:
 
Name
% of Career Value Age 30 and Later
Luke Appling
73%
Ozzie Smith
71%
Honus Wagner
70%
Phil Rizzuto
70%
Willie Stargell
69%
 
Ozzie’s key was that he became a much better hitter in his older years, while still retaining much of his defensive ability.  And part of Rizzuto’s situation is that he did lose 3 years in his 20’s to military service. 
 
Also interesting to note that 4 of the 5 players listed above were primarily shortstops.
 
Hall of Famers with the highest % of their career value before 30:
 
Name
% of Career Value Before Age 30
George Sisler
90%
Ken Griffey Jr.
88%
Arky Vaughan
87%
Joe Medwick
85%
Chuck Klein
84%
 
Let me tell you, as a Reds fan, I can certainly attest to (and feel the pain of) the Griffey Jr. inclusion on here.  Seattle got all the fun years, where as we, after all the excitement of actually obtaining Junior, who grew up and played high school ball in Cincinnati,  basically got 2 decent years and 7 years of frustration and time spent on the disabled list.  It’s a sobering thought that, in the years after the trade, Mike Cameron (who was included in the trade to Seattle) was a much more valuable player than Griffey was…and it’s really not even close.
 
As an aside….I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the Seattle record breaking 116 win season in 2001 was achieved after Griffey Jr., A-Rod, and Randy Johnson departed (Johnson a couple of years earlier, of course).  They lost 3 mega-stars in a pretty brief time…..but still put together an amazing season.
 
There’s lots more that could be looked at, but that’s what I got for now.  If there are any other segments or players that you’re curious about, post a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

Thanks,
Dan 
 
 

COMMENTS (9 Comments, most recent shown first)

MarisFan61
In that case: That may well be why Dwight Evans shows as he does on this here -- and it would be highly misleading.
3:16 PM Feb 21st
 
DMBBHF
MarisFan,

Sorry....I don't know if fWAR includes consideration of 'being run on' and 'not being run on in the metric.
1:17 PM Feb 21st
 
tigerlily
Wow! I'll echo Maris. This is a small project? It looks like it only requires a data base of anyone who had an actual major league career. Anyway, very interesting article Dan, and I'm looking forward to your large project.
10:31 AM Feb 21st
 
OldBackstop
Ah, I see, thanks Dan.
8:40 AM Feb 21st
 
MarisFan61
Since you're answering, and didn't address this:

Does "fWAR" include consideration of 'being run on' and 'not being run on' (for outfielders), or just simpler stuff like assists?
1:06 AM Feb 21st
 
DMBBHF
OBS:

Thanks for the comment. I should have been clearer in what I was saying about Tony C. I didn't mean to imply that he "disappeared" from the Majors.....I meant to state that he disappeared from appearing on the "Most Career Home Runs Through Age 'X' " lists.

He was among the career-to-date HR leaders through age 19, 20, 21, and 22....but after that season, he dropped off those leaderboards on bb-ref (which list the top 10 through each age) and wasn't able to get back on them again because others had passed him by.

As you said, he had a couple of nice seasons after the injury.....but I was referring more to his running career totals through each age, and the fact that he dropped off those "leaderboards" once he had the injury.

Thanks,
Dan
9:44 PM Feb 20th
 
OldBackstop
Hi Dan, nice article. One thing on this quote:

"The age 22 season was the one in which Conigliaro was injured, and he only played 95 games that year. After that, he disappears…."

Coniligiaro had many of his best counting stats in his Age 25 season, with a career record in 36 home runs and 116 ribbies, 23 more than his Age 22.

He came back after four years off for a cup of coffee in his Age 30 season, 57 ABs, so maybe that is skewing the numbers a bit.
9:10 PM Feb 20th
 
Gfletch
Dan, this was enjoyable for me, in the first place just for its own sake, but secondly because I just finished posting an article on my own vanity press type website on the same general subject (aging patterns, years of prime production, etc.). I also have another article there that touches on Seattle’s 116 win season and how they achieved so little with their three great players and achieved so much (that year) without them.

You can see the first article at southtowersports.weebly.com/it-was-the-best-of-times.html

And the second article at southtowersports.weebly.com/the-least-from-the-most-from-the-least.html

Anyway, leaving my shameless self promotion out of it, one of the things I did was to confirm the findings of Bill James’ article “Looking For The Prime” in the 1982 Abstract…but the interesting thing is that you can come to the same conclusion just by assessing playing time (as represented by either Plate Appearances or Innings Pitched) at each age.

Looking forward to your next article; as you say, there is a ton of stuff you can do by studying performance and age statistics.

5:46 PM Feb 20th
 
MarisFan61
This is "brief"?
(Not a complaint, just an observation!) :-)
I guess the upcoming one will be a tome!

Yes, seemingly surprising about Dwight Evans, but makes sense.
But....does it fully?
I have a doubt -- and it's a doubt that has what I think is a sound basis, although I only thought of it after the fact, when your bottom-line result made me have to think about what could be a fly in the ointment.

I think a big part of the reason his defensive value goes down so much -- I should say appears to go down so much -- is that as he went along, runners stopped running on him. It seems 'obvious' to me that a guy like Dewey gets run on less as he gets toward and beyond mid-career, and that it suppresses his assists numbers. BTW please nobody think of checking on this by looking at his yearly assists numbers; that will hardly address it. You'd need to look at his "was run on" totals.

If the metric you used takes account of "was and wasn't run on," forget everything I just said. :-)


Seems fitting that this was started by a guy named Joe Start.

P.S. Many of Bill's phraseologies stick in my mind, and I imagine they do for many of the rest of us. Immediately when I saw you saying (about Reiser) "blazed across the sky," I thought of a time Bill said that (or something very similar; I think it was exact) -- in his old piece about "Stan and Freddy." I googled the phrase to see if other instances of it come up, and gadzooks.....

It's from Goethe. :-)
12:44 PM Feb 20th
 
 
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