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  1. #1
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    Baseball Survivor

    This illustrates why basing one's analyses mainly on statistics is fallacious.

    Respected members of SABR voted this past year on the greatest player of all time. 100 players were nominated and the voters would elminate all but one, who was the survivor.

    Mickey Mantle finished 8th, while Joe DiMaggio finished 25th. Nothing more has to be said.

    http://www.concentric.net/~Jkubatko/...vor/index.html

    The Top 25

    1. Babe Ruth
    2. Honus Wagner
    3. Barry Bonds
    4. Willie Mays
    5. Ted Williams
    6. Ty Cobb
    7. Walter Johnson
    8. Mickey Mantle
    9. Hank Aaron
    10. Stan Musial
    11. Lefty Grove
    12. Lou Gehrig
    13. Rogers Hornsby
    14. Roger Clemens
    15. Cy Young
    16. Tris Speaker
    17. Mike Schmidt
    18. Eddie Collins
    19. Pete Alexander
    20. Greg Maddux
    21. Nap Lajoie
    22. Frank Robinson
    23. Christy Mathewson
    24. Jimmie Foxx
    25. Joe DiMaggio

    Ruth Voted Ultimate Survivor
    By Justin Kubatko

    To the surprise of no one, Babe Ruth has been voted baseball's ultimate survivor, the best player in the history of Major League Baseball.

    Ruth outlasted Honus Wagner in a clash of baseball titans. While Wagner's achievements impressed the jury, in the end Ruth's offensive dominance as well as his pitching ability proved to be too much to overcome.

    While our final choice may have been obvious to many, it was the journey rather than the final destination that proved to be most enjoyable to all involved. Bill James may have put it best in the original Historical Baseball Abstract when he wrote:

    "The problem is that if one does not wish to assert some particular point, but one wishes only to identify the greatest player who ever lived, one is drawn almost unavoidably to the conclusion that it was George Ruth."
    What does the future hold for the Baseball Survivor project? In the near future, three members will make a poster presentation at the 2002 SABR National Convention in Boston. This will be followed by a much-needed break. As for what we will do after that, only time will tell.

  2. #2
    High five! Looie #19's Avatar
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    Re: Baseball Survivor

    Originally posted by LouGehrig
    This illustrates why basing one's analyses mainly on statistics is fallacious.
    How does that illustrate it? Because of your opinion?

  3. #3
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    Do you know about SABR?

  4. #4
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    Lou, are you saying that because of Mantle's and DiMaggio's standings in the poll, that this is somehow faulty? If not, then what are you trying to say?

  5. #5
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    I'm a bit confused as well..
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  6. #6
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    What I am trying to say without leading is that SABR is an organization that uses statistics, usually "creative" statistics, to make its points.

    I am inferring, and inferences can be wrong (but one can infer that they can be correct), that many of those who eliminated the players based their decisions, to a great extent (whatever a "great extent" means) on statistics.

    Simply put, when Mike Schmidt and Mickey Mantle are rated ahead of Joe DiMaggio, and Roger Clemens is rated ahead of Christy Mathewson, I question the ratings. I do not think I am alone. At least, I hope I am not alone.

  7. #7
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    LG, same here. I would put F. Robinson, Tris Speaker, Jimmie Fox and JoeD much higher, from what I've seen them ranked before.

    I also think that Bonds doesn't get ahead of his godfather, neither offensively nor defensively. Mays just did it all; Bonds seems more like a "towering shot" machine.

    Clemens is excellent, but he goes in the same category IMO as Seaver, Gibson, Koufax, Ryan. Having him only behind Walter Johnson, but ahead of Young, Mathewson and others seems a shame.

  8. #8
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    No question. One can prefer Mays to Mantle or Mantle to Mays, but my opinion is that both are better than Bonds.

    Even if one were to rate Bonds as a better batter, which I do not, Mays and Mantle were better outfielders, better baserunners, better base stealers, and they had the "team intangibles," such as leadership and being part of a team, to a greater degree than did Bonds.

  9. #9
    It's really, really hard to make some of these decisions. Mickey Mantle for about 7-8 years was the best player who ever lived. He was so much better than Joe. D's best years it's hardly worth discussing. Unfortunately, injuries and a self-destructive life-style cut short his productive years and in total, the careers of Mantle and D'Maggio are roughly similiar, or at least much closer than a #8 and a #25 rating would indicate. So what would you rather have, seven years of Mantle at his best or the entire span on Joe's career? It's very, very hard. It's akin to counting angels on the heads of pins.
    Barry Bonds is in his own category. It's a category with a question mark. If he's doing what he's doing without use of performance enhancers, then he is truly one of the great and by great I mean top five players of all time. But I have my doubts.
    I have a hell of a lot less trouble about pitchers. All the pitchers before Jackie Robinson have much harder task of proving to me they are as good as the pitchers of our era. Lefty Grove didn't have to face an angry, armored, juiced up Barry Bonds in a ballpark a mile up in Denver with a baseball as tight and hard as a tone. To include any pitcher before the advent of the hardball, such as Cy Young or Mathewson is a joke, it's an entirely different sport. It's much harder pitching in this era than it was in yesteryear. Yet here we got Lefty Grove and Walter Johnson rated ahead of Clemens. And when all's said and done, Rocket might now even be in the same class as Pedro, health willing.

  10. #10
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    LouGehrig, I'm far from a historian of the '50s and '60s NY teams, but from what I gather, Mays and Mantle were some of the best out there and certain proved that. Because I started watching baseball in the early '70s, I managed to see a little of Mays, and from what I remember, Bonds wasn't in that league defensively. While he can certainly be counted on to get that dramatic HR, I wasn't sure he was the total package.

    I'm not too aware of Mantle defensively, so perhaps someone more informed may chime in, but to think that Bonds would've made "The Catch", then turned around and threw perfectly home to prevent a run from scoring, I just can't imagine him doing this.

    I guess a lot of this would be to hype up the newer players, such as when Cal's streak made him the "Greatest Moment" before the WS Gm 4.

    BTW, from that list, when I see no Bench or Berra, I'm wondering which nut job made it out???

  11. #11
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    Mays was a "natural" outfielder. He reacted instinctively BEFORE the crack of the bat, since he could SEE the bat and ball make contact before he could hear the contact.

    Mantle was NOT a natural outfielder. His instincts as a fielder were not as good as Mays'. Mantle learned to play the outfield, since he certainly could not play shortstop. Mantle's speed and guts allowed him to catch balls that few, except Mays and Piersall, could ever hope to reach.

    Mantle became an excellent defensive outfielder. I remember in discussions with Giants fans about their defensive abilities, the Giants fans always brought up the fact that ONCE Mantle misjudged a line drive that was going to be slightly over his head. Mays NEVER misjudged a ball. Mantle misjudged a ball ONCE. Mays, therefore, was better defensively. And he was.

    Mantle was so good, the papers made a big deal about it because neither Mays nor Mantle would misjudge fly balls, and they NEVER dropped them. If they got a glove on them, they caught them. And I am talking from watching almost every game Mantle played from the 1950s (from 1951-1957 we only got the Yankees home games and the Giants home games. When Willie moved to SF, we got almost EVERY Yankees game) to the middle 1960s, and seeing or reading about Mays.

    Mantle's arm was about as good as Mays' until Red Schoendient accidently fell onto Mantle's right shoulder on a pick off play in the 1957 WS. Mantle's arm was never the same, and an often forgotten fact is that Mantle could NOT raise his right arm as well as before the injury. That made him prone to the high fastball when he batted left handed, since his right shoulder was the lead shoulder and it affected his swing.

    I often wonder how well he would have done if the injury, from which he never fully recovered, had not occurred. As an indication, Mantle had batted .365 in 1957 and only .304, .285, and .275 the next three seasons.

  12. #12
    R-I-P, Mr. Nelson Mandela Jersey Yankee's Avatar
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    LG, very intersting. You sure do know your stuff.

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    Thank you.

  14. #14
    Originally posted by LouGehrig
    Mays was a "natural" outfielder. He reacted instinctively BEFORE the crack of the bat, since he could SEE the bat and ball make contact before he could hear the contact.

    Mantle was NOT a natural outfielder. His instincts as a fielder were not as good as Mays'. Mantle learned to play the outfield, since he certainly could not play shortstop. Mantle's speed and guts allowed him to catch balls that few, except Mays and Piersall, could ever hope to reach.

    Mantle became an excellent defensive outfielder. I remember in discussions with Giants fans about their defensive abilities, the Giants fans always brought up the fact that ONCE Mantle misjudged a line drive that was going to be slightly over his head. Mays NEVER misjudged a ball. Mantle misjudged a ball ONCE. Mays, therefore, was better defensively. And he was.

    Mantle was so good, the papers made a big deal about it because neither Mays nor Mantle would misjudge fly balls, and they NEVER dropped them. If they got a glove on them, they caught them. And I am talking from watching almost every game Mantle played from the 1950s (from 1951-1957 we only got the Yankees home games and the Giants home games. When Willie moved to SF, we got almost EVERY Yankees game) to the middle 1960s, and seeing or reading about Mays.

    Mantle's arm was about as good as Mays' until Red Schoendient accidently fell onto Mantle's right shoulder on a pick off play in the 1957 WS. Mantle's arm was never the same, and an often forgotten fact is that Mantle could NOT raise his right arm as well as before the injury. That made him prone to the high fastball when he batted left handed, since his right shoulder was the lead shoulder and it affected his swing.

    I often wonder how well he would have done if the injury, from which he never fully recovered, had not occurred. As an indication, Mantle had batted .365 in 1957 and only .304, .285, and .275 the next three seasons.
    Yeah, but while Willie was a great defensive centerfielder and Mickey a mere step or two behind, DiMaggio was best of all time. But the question is which DiMaggio? This discussion prompted me to break out the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract to look at centerfielders (Willie is rated one, followed by Ty Cobb and Mickey, then Tris Speaker and Joe DiMaggio at five) Reading the comments on Joe, I was struck by this quote, from Bill Deane, "How can he (Joe DiMaggio) be the greatest center fielder of all time, if he's the third best center fielder in his family?"
    And it's a good question because while Dom and Vince weren't nearly as good with the bat, they were all first class with the glove. Vince won three gold gloves, Joe won two, and Dom won three. Joe finished in the top three in eigth of eleven seasons, Dom finished in the top three in nine seasons and Vince in six seasons. There were several seasons when the DiMaggios when 1-2 in the AL voting. And remember this was an era when sportswriters actually took their voting on this stuff seriously and wouldn't award Ozzie Smith a gold glove on rep alone. Amazing.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by Jersey Yankee
    LG, very intersting. You sure do know your stuff.
    you got that right. some great info in here.
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  16. #16
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    Originally posted by Jersey Yankee
    LG, very intersting. You sure do know your stuff.
    Ditto. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!
    Let's Go Yankees!

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