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Monday, June 15, 2009

Mantle v. DiMaggio

My previous post about my all time Yankee team provoked private messages insisting that Joe DiMaggio was a better player than Mickey Mantle. Here is my response in brief.

Mantle walked a lot, DiMaggio did not. Mantle struck out a lot, DiMaggio did not.

I don't think we can measure fear by walks, nor team play by strike outs or lack of them. They had very different attributes as batters.

If you just glance at their batting stats, the Mick has WAY more black ink. Mick lead AL in OPS+ in his first full season, 1952, NINE times total. Joe lead once. Career OPS+: Mantle 172 (6th best), DiMaggio 155 (22nd best).

For those of you still hung up on BA, check the first two tabs:

Percent above AL BA by season: Between the two, Mick has two of the top three spots, six of the top ten. Joe's .325 career BA is really not an advantage over Mick's .298.

AL BA during seasons played by Mantle and DiMaggio, NOT weighted by player AB:
DiMaggio - .269
Mantle - .251

It's amazing how even in 2009 people still simply jump to Joe's .325 BA as proof of his superiority. Joe has a slight advantage over Mickey in percent above AL BA: 21% to 19%, NOT weighted by AB per season, which would be more accurate but probably not much different.

Two tabs have the same comparison on slugging average, Joe's claim to fame relative to Mick. Same story as BA: Joe's Slugging lead of .579 to .557 evaporates. Mick takes the first three seasons and splits the first ten with Joe. Joe's highest slugging percentage above AL is 65%. Mick exceeds that with 78%, 74%, 74%.

AL Slugging during seasons played by Mantle and DiMaggio, NOT weighted by player AB:
DiMaggio - .391
Mantle - .377

Joe has a slight advantage in percent above AL Slugging: 32.42% to 32.21%. Basically dead even.

I'm not much on fielding stats but contrary to Joltin' Joe's rep here are some of his error totals: 1937 - 17, 1938 - 15, 1948 - 13. Hardly someone who never made fielding mistakes.

For his career Joe had 30 SB, 9 CS. That's for his CAREER! No steal attempts in his final two seasons. NONE!

It wasn't until 10-15 years ago that I realized that Mantle was clearly better than Joe D. That's how much even a lifetime Mickey Mantle fan had been brain washed.
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WS homers:

Mantle 18 in 273 PA; most WS homers
DiMaggio 8 in 220 PA; tied for 7th with Bill Skowron (141 PA) and Frank Robinson (106 PA).
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Walkoff homers:
Mick 12 (2 with the team behind)
Joe D. 4 (all with the score tied).
Plus, Mantle hit a walkoff homer in game 3, 1964 WS.

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