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  1. #1126

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee Tripper View Post
    Koufax also threw a LOT more innings.

    How good whould Pedro have been if he had to complete all (most of) his games and do it in a 4 man rotation?
    This is an important point.

    I have seen the statistics and they make the case for Pedro's effectiveness over that of Koufax. I don't add to this that Pedro did it in the steroid era, because I don't think baseball players, as opposed to basketball and football players, are necessarily better now than then, and I have no idea who did and did not use steroids. A lot of pitchers did, and there is no reason to think one way or the other on Pedro.

    So Pedro has the claim to a higher effectiveness ranking. But, there is no way anyone can convince me that Pedro was a more dominant pitcher in his best games than was Koufax, and I watched some of Pedro's best, including the Chili Davis game. Perhaps this is because Pedro was somewhat less of a power pitcher, as good as his fastball was. I also never thought Greg Maddux was dominant, just very, very effective. The statistics may say that Pedro and Maddux were more effective, better pitchers over the course of five or ten seasons. But in a big game, in which I knew the pitcher was going to be at his peak, I would take Koufax over either. I also would take Randy Johnson at his peak performance level over Pedro, by the way. And of course Bob Gibson and Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens and probably a few others I have watched.

  2. #1127

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    You don't think that baseball players improved from the 60s to the 90s? Unlike every other athletic endeavor? Sorry, you're wrong.

    So you're just talking about velocity then? Anyone who thinks that Nolan Ryan was better than Pedro at pitching doesn't understand how baseball works.

  3. #1128

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    This is an important point.

    I don't think baseball players, as opposed to basketball and football players, are necessarily better now than then, .
    I'd like to hear your rationale for this because I couldn't disagree more. There's so many factors to list, outside of steroids.
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  4. #1129

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    lol, comparing a 70's pitcher to pedro. serious?
    always reasonable

  5. #1130

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by RenoHightower View Post

    So you're just talking about velocity then? Anyone who thinks that Nolan Ryan was better than Pedro at pitching doesn't understand how baseball works.
    Well, I am tempted to send back an insult in response to your condescension.

    Instead I will simply point out that even a casual fan understands how "baseball works." We all understand that the point is to win and that all the statistics you cite are relevant to a pitcher's contribution to that goal. Based on those statistics, which any casual fan can read on baseball reference, Pedro contributed more than Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax to the goal of baseball teams. Therefore, he had a better career than Ryan and Koufax, and during his peak was at least equal to, and probably better than even Koufax during his peak years.

    I never said that Nolan Ryan had a better career, or was over all a better pitcher, than Pedro. I did not even say that about Koufax.

    What I said was that Ryan and Koufax in their best games were more dominating than was Pedro in his best games. I also said I therefore would want to have Koufax and Ryan and some others over the last half century pitch in a big game if I knew they were going to have their best stuff, which as a knowledgeable baseball fan who knows more than statistics, you know includes more than velocity. It takes more than velocity to throw multiple no-hitters.

    No-hitters are not a good way to evaluate a pitcher's career. But they do say something about the ability to dominate a line-up when you are at the top of your game, which is what I thought people were interested in who asked the original question about Koufax.

  6. #1131

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NerfBall55 View Post
    I'd like to hear your rationale for this because I couldn't disagree more. There's so many factors to list, outside of steroids.
    I understand that both pitchers and hitters have better training and coaching now. I was assuming that we could exempt from that. I assume Pedro had better training and coaching than did Koufax, just like the hitters Pedro faced.

    I would be interested in what other factors you refer to. I know the international talent pool has increased. But the national talent pool has contracted, in large part because of the emergence of basketball and football and other sports. Baseball is not played much in most urban areas now. It once garnered every great athlete who showed promise in the game. However, I may be wrong about the national contraction being greater than the international expansion and maybe I got carried away and was wrong about the overall statement about baseball talent today.

    Ultimately, I think it is difficult to make inter-generational comparisons. All we can really do is determine how well a player performed against the other players in his time. So I will just stand by my statement that while Pedro had a better career, Koufax at his best was more dominant against the players he faced.

  7. #1132
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Pedro was awesome.

    What he did those peak years in Boston statistically was flat out ridiculous.

    Wish I was older and could have appreciated it more as a baseball fan.

  8. #1133

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    I understand that both pitchers and hitters have better training and coaching now. I was assuming that we could exempt from that. I assume Pedro had better training and coaching than did Koufax, just like the hitters Pedro faced.

    I would be interested in what other factors you refer to. I know the international talent pool has increased. But the national talent pool has contracted, in large part because of the emergence of basketball and football and other sports. Baseball is not played much in most urban areas now. It once garnered every great athlete who showed promise in the game. However, I may be wrong about the national contraction being greater than the international expansion and maybe I got carried away and was wrong about the overall statement about baseball talent today.

    Ultimately, I think it is difficult to make inter-generational comparisons. All we can really do is determine how well a player performed against the other players in his time. So I will just stand by my statement that while Pedro had a better career, Koufax at his best was more dominant against the players he faced.
    Well, I don't think you can discount diet and training since they're important factors that make better baseball players. Bigger/stronger/faster means a ton in terms of athletic talent. Training every day in specialized sports complexes does too. If you're stating that if you could take elite talent of old and give them all the benefits that athletes enljoy today and they'd be comparable, that's not the argument I was responding to.

    But to try, I think the way bullpens are handled has made the hitters today more skilled. I think there's a difference in being elite having to face numerous pitchers each with unique specialties than getting 5 PAs against a pitcher who didn't have it that day. The game is faster on the whole.
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  9. #1134
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by RenoHightower View Post
    You don't think that baseball players improved from the 60s to the 90s? Unlike every other athletic endeavor? Sorry, you're wrong.

    So you're just talking about velocity then? Anyone who thinks that Nolan Ryan was better than Pedro at pitching doesn't understand how baseball works.
    I think people tend to be hesitant to say that a modern player has outdone a legend. And this takes nothing away from the legends. They will always be legends of the game. But every player, including the great Ruth can be eclipsed. Bonds could have done it had his legacy not been tainted. He came as close as anyone. Some say Mays is the greatest ever. Someone will eclipse him. Williams, Mantle, DiMaggio.... all these guys will forever be notched in baseball lore however it doesn't mean they will forever be on top. I know eras are hard to compare. But when it comes down to raw statistics and the formulas we have now to really break that stuff down we actually can.

    Again, just because someone is your childhood hero or legend does not mean nostalgia should take away from your view on modern players. How did Mickey get into everyone's mind as such an unbeatable legend? He had to beat someone. When he was playing he was modern. Same with anyone you can name. They had to beat a previous legend.

    I hate when it's considered impossible to topple these guys from their throwns. It does not take away from anything they did, but records can and will be broken.
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  10. #1135

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by NerfBall55 View Post
    Well, I don't think you can discount diet and training since they're important factors that make better baseball players. Bigger/stronger/faster means a ton in terms of athletic talent. Training every day in specialized sports complexes does too. If you're stating that if you could take elite talent of old and give them all the benefits that athletes enljoy today and they'd be comparable, that's not the argument I was responding to.

    But to try, I think the way bullpens are handled has made the hitters today more skilled. I think there's a difference in being elite having to face numerous pitchers each with unique specialties than getting 5 PAs against a pitcher who didn't have it that day. The game is faster on the whole.
    Yeah, I was saying what you state in the first paragraph. I think you have to control for these things to make inter-generational comparisons. Of course, guys like Mantle and Ruth might not have behaved anyway!

    Your second paragraph makes an interesting point. It assumes that because relief pitchers make pitching better, the hitters have to adjust and become better. Could be.

    I don't know that the game is faster, however. Do players run faster than Vince Coleman or Willie Wilson? Do they have better times to first than did Mantle? And are HRs being hit farther than Mantle hit them? Or Dave Kingman, for that matter? I don't know that the metrics have taken a jump.

    One way the game is slower is that pitchers and hitters take longer to complete at-bats, and the game time is longer!

  11. #1136

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Back then rookies could come out the gate and be highly effective.

    Today, even well seasoned college prospects usually take years to make it to the MLB level. In fact, you can filter for players 21 and younger on baseball-reference and see players prior to 1970 dominate the list.

    The level of competition is really night and day. The MLB teams back then would probably struggle to beat good college teams today.

  12. #1137
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by grizy View Post
    Back then rookies could come out the gate and be highly effective.

    Today, even well seasoned college prospects usually take years to make it to the MLB level. In fact, you can filter for players 21 and younger on baseball-reference and see players prior to 1970 dominate the list.

    The level of competition is really night and day. The MLB teams back then would probably struggle to beat good college teams today.

  13. #1138

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by grizy View Post
    Back then rookies could come out the gate and be highly effective.

    Today, even well seasoned college prospects usually take years to make it to the MLB level. In fact, you can filter for players 21 and younger on baseball-reference and see players prior to 1970 dominate the list.

    The level of competition is really night and day. The MLB teams back then would probably struggle to beat good college teams today.

  14. #1139

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by grizy View Post
    Back then rookies could come out the gate and be highly effective.

    Today, even well seasoned college prospects usually take years to make it to the MLB level. In fact, you can filter for players 21 and younger on baseball-reference and see players prior to 1970 dominate the list.

    The level of competition is really night and day. The MLB teams back then would probably struggle to beat good college teams today.
    Setting aside current guys like Harper and Trout, why is this? Is it that new pitches have been developed? Better coaching, training, and techniques?

    And is there some date when things changed, or is it a gradual trend? If the latter, Pedro is himself an old timer who has already been eclipsed by many of the best pitchers in the game today.

    In any event, even if the difference is as great as you say, I still do not accept that the reason is that the athletes are inherently better today. If a great player then were given, and took, all the training and coaching and techniques that are offered today, he would be great today.

  15. #1140

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Im pretty sure Koufax or Gibson would make college hitters look like infants.

  16. #1141

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    Setting aside current guys like Harper and Trout, why is this? Is it that new pitches have been developed? Better coaching, training, and techniques?

    And is there some date when things changed, or is it a gradual trend? If the latter, Pedro is himself an old timer who has already been eclipsed by many of the best pitchers in the game today.

    In any event, even if the difference is as great as you say, I still do not accept that the reason is that the athletes are inherently better today. If a great player then were given, and took, all the training and coaching and techniques that are offered today, he would be great today.
    There is a lot more money in professional sports in general. That means much much larger pool of players trained from earlier and earlier ages. Baseball's not quite at the soccer stage of signing teenagers to professional contracts but it's getting there.

  17. #1142

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    If that is your explanation, then I am more skeptical of your typically over broad and over confident pronouncement.

    When Mickey and Yogi and Willie and Hank et al. were kids, baseball attracted just about every good young athlete in America. It was the premier sport that they all wanted to play, rural and urban, and all ethnic groups. They did not need the promise of money to induce them to play non-stop as kids.

    Today, by contrast, urban kids generally focus on basketball, rural kids on football, and suburban kids are groomed for a range of sports, including lacrosse which is increasingly attracting suburban athletes away from baseball in the spring season. A low percentage of the best American athletes choose baseball.

    Perhaps international expansion and population expansion compensates to enlarge the pool. But there are also more teams now, which dilutes the talent.

  18. #1143
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    Perhaps international expansion and population expansion compensates to enlarge the pool. But there are also more teams now, which dilutes the talent.
    The US Population in 1960 was ~180M with 16 teams in MLB and little foreign talent.
    The US Population in 2012 is ~313M with 30 team in MLB and a lot of foreign talent.

    Population growth has been close to team growth but when you factor in the latin american and asian expansions of the talent pool, it is a lot bigger pool to draw from.
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  19. #1144

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Yankee Tripper View Post
    The US Population in 1960 was ~180M with 16 teams in MLB and little foreign talent.
    The US Population in 2012 is ~313M with 30 team in MLB and a lot of foreign talent.

    Population growth has been close to team growth but when you factor in the latin american and asian expansions of the talent pool, it is a lot bigger pool to draw from.
    The average MLB player also only made about 20k, which translates to maybe 100k today. That's pretty good living but not something most people would plan their lives around. It's not even something people would give up a corporate career for. There were a lot fewer mommies and daddies back in the 60s sending their kids to expensive academies trying to groom their children into professional athletes.

    That has a lot of implications on the player pool and quality of training from an early age.

    I am not saying generational talents like Koufax would not have risen to the top anyway. I am saying their more pedestrian contemporaries might not have risen to MLB at all or could have been better with better training. This isn't really unique to baseball... think about your job. There are the geniuses who you just "wow, how did he know that" and there are the talented guys that make you go "man, if I got to train him earlier, he could be even better." And then there are the guys "man, he'd be pretty good at this job but he's making more money doing whatever he's doing."

  20. #1145
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    But there are also more teams now, which dilutes the talent.
    I disagree.

    Your statement may have been true a decade ago, but now there are so many kids coming up every single year, making pitchers and batters look ridiculous and there are a bunch that are ready to follow. I think the conditioning, especially early on, the right programs, and kids growing up around MLB with their dad's being players just keeps producing better and better classes of players. Each year. So what you said was true when baseball expanded last, but I think now there may be too few jobs. Which is fine, keeps the level of competition at it's peak.

    Plus, what also needs to be remembered is back when legends were being legends they weren't doing it against African Americans, Latinos or Japanese players. Or many of them anyway depending on the legend you are talking about. Now the entire world is a pool of talent to draw from. Except women. Screw them.
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  21. #1146
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by rajah View Post
    In any event, even if the difference is as great as you say, I still do not accept that the reason is that the athletes are inherently better today. If a great player then were given, and took, all the training and coaching and techniques that are offered today, he would be great today.
    That's a big if. And you are right. What could Mantle have been if he took care of himself? Ruth, could he have been better? Those are big ifs. I think if you plucked a team from an older era and put them up against a current team as they were they'd have quite a bit more trouble being as awesome as they were.

    We'd probably see half the guys get tossed because of how they played the game anyway and how much there is a need to police actions on the field now.
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  22. #1147

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman23 View Post
    I disagree.

    Your statement may have been true a decade ago, but now there are so many kids coming up every single year, making pitchers and batters look ridiculous and there are a bunch that are ready to follow. I think the conditioning, especially early on, the right programs, and kids growing up around MLB with their dad's being players just keeps producing better and better classes of players. Each year. So what you said was true when baseball expanded last, but I think now there may be too few jobs. Which is fine, keeps the level of competition at it's peak.

    Plus, what also needs to be remembered is back when legends were being legends they weren't doing it against African Americans, Latinos or Japanese players. Or many of them anyway depending on the legend you are talking about. Now the entire world is a pool of talent to draw from. Except women. Screw them.
    It's all relative. 50 to 100 years from now, the same will be said about this era's athlete.... bigger, better and faster. And imagine if those legends had access to cheater drugs, the numbers they'd put up.

  23. #1148
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    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Benefactor View Post
    It's all relative. 50 to 100 years from now, the same will be said about this era's athlete.... bigger, better and faster. And imagine if those legends had access to cheater drugs, the numbers they'd put up.
    Completely agree. Then people 50 years form now will be saying how no one can be better than Pujols or Votto or Braun or Cano and some punk will be claiming that the best player then is eclipsing them.
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  24. #1149

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitman23 View Post
    I disagree.

    Your statement may have been true a decade ago, but now there are so many kids coming up every single year, making pitchers and batters look ridiculous and there are a bunch that are ready to follow. . . .

    Plus, what also needs to be remembered is back when legends were being legends they weren't doing it against African Americans, Latinos or Japanese players. Or many of them anyway depending on the legend you are talking about. Now the entire world is a pool of talent to draw from. . . .
    I was not talking about a "legend". I also never said, nor did anyone else in this thread, that players from some golden age could never be eclipsed. I don't think that. I was comparing two particular humans, Sandy Koufax and Pedro Martinez, and arguing that Koufax was more dominant at the top of his game than was Pedro. Some alleged that it was ridiculous to compare a Sandy to Pedro because baseball players are so much better today. One said ML teams then could not beat good college teams today. I expressed skepticism.

    1) Sandy pitched in the NL which had many African American stars at the time, though no Dominicans, as I recall. When Willie and Hank and Frank Robinson et al. were young, most African American athletes looked to baseball first. A very low percentage do today.

    2) If the change has come greatly in the last decade, it missed the prime of Pedro, who never pitched as dominant a game, imo, as the one Matt Cain pitched this very month. Perhaps people here ought not to worry about missing Pedro either, and just watch Cain and his peers.

    3) No one seems to acknowledge my point about how far baseball has fallen in America as a youth sport. Perhaps the reason that the sons of ex-ball players seem to be so successful so often has something to do with other kids not concentrating on the game. You can't just compare population expansion with ML expansion without considering the rise of other sports and the sharp change in American culture.

    As I acknowledged above, international expansion probably more than compensates for the decline of baseball in America, but its not as clear as some would make it. And there have been variations in international contributions from different countries over the past several decades. Witness, for instance, the decline in Puerto Rican players.

    4) I also acknowledged the conditioning and training point. I think when comparing players from different eras as natural athletes, it is only fair to exempt from this. I also expressed curiosity, however, about why athletes are not hitting longer home runs or having lower times to first base than did guys like Mantle as long as sixty years ago. Perhaps it is the average strength and speed of the current player that has benefited from the conditioning and training.

  25. #1150

    Re: 2012 General Yankee Comments Thread

    If we're just gonna compare peak-peak years...

    Let's just take Koufax's best years... in different categories.

    WHIP: 1965, 0.855 (335.2 IPS)
    SO/9: 1965, 10.2
    SO/BB: 1965, 5.38
    ERA+: 1966, 190 (323 IPs)

    Pedro, in 2000 at age 28 (217 IPs)
    WHIP: 0.737
    SO/9: 11.8
    SO/BB: 8.88
    ERA+: 291

    The only thing Koufax's peak years have on Pedro's peak years is a lot more IPs. In terms of domination, Pedro dominated AL East hitters (as opposed to NL hitters, with pitchers and all) more than Koufax did.

    As for MLB vs. college teams comment. Tons and tons of bad teams back then whereas the top college baseball programs in the country today are essentially feeder teams for the MLB draft. Stanford for example had 7 players drafted this year alone.

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