Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Those 1973 Atlanta Braves: was there something in the water?

At age 30, Baltimore second baseman Davey Johnson joined the Atlanta Braves and hit 43 home runs. His previous high had been 18 at age 28.

Everyone assumed this was due to Johnson playing his home games in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, which was supposed to be conducive to home run hitting. However, Johnson hit 26 at home and 17 on the road. 17 is only one fewer than Johnson's previous high for a season. Why did Johnson have such a big power surge?

Teammate Darrell Evans played his first 7 seasons with Atlanta. In 1972 at age 25, Evans hit 19 home runs. In 1973 Evans hit 41 home runs: 24 home, 17 road. Very similar to Johnson. Unlike Johnson who faded quickly, Evans did hit 40 homers 12 years later at age 38. His next highest were: 34 at age 40 with Detroit, 30 at age 36 with San Fransisco.

Use this link to view details about Hank Aaron's home runs including graphs.

The great Hank Aaron hit 40 homers in 1973 in only 392 at bats at age 39. 1973 was Aaron's personal best in AB/HR: 9.8. Second best: age 37, 10.5 AB per HR. Aaron entered the 1973 season with 713 career home runs, one short of Babe Ruth's record. Aaron hit his career high for a single season at age 37, the same as Barry Bonds, in 1971 with 47 in only 495 at bats.

Aaron's best seasons for home runs:
1971 age 37: 47
1962 age 28: 45
1957 age 23: 44
1963 age 29: 44
1966 age 32: 44
1969 age 35: 44

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR:
1973 age 39: 9.8
1971 age 37: 10.5
1969 age 35: 12.4
1962 age 28: 13.155
1972 age 38: 13.205
1970 age 36: 13.6

Aaron's best seasons home runs at home:
1971 age 37: 31
1973 age 39: 24
1967 age 33: 23
1970 age 36: 23

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR at home:
1971 age 37: 7.84
1973 age 39: 8.66
1970 age 36: 10.96
1972 age 38: 11.6

Aaron's best seasons home runs on road:
1962 age 28: 27
1957 age 23: 26
1963 age 29: 25
1966 age 32: 23
1969 age 35: 23

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR on road:

1962 age 28: 11.33
1973 age 39: 11.5
1957 age 23: 11.96
1969 age 35: 12.2

Aaron's total HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 398 7,080 17.789
ATL 335 4,548 13.576
MIL 22 736 33.454

Aaron's home HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 185 3,390 18.324
ATL 190 2,226 11.716
MIL 10 352 35.2

Aaron's road HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 213 3,690 17.324
ATL 145 2,322 16.014
MIL 12 384 32

Clearly Aaron benefited from playing his home games in Atlanta from 1966 through 1974. In 7 of those 9 seasons his AB/HR was better at home and in the other two seasons the road advantage was very small.

Just as clearly Aaron if not actually improving with age certainly performed very well late in his career.

Nolan Ryan: more on possible steroid use.

Roger Clemens has been indicted and arraigned for lieing under oath about using steroids or human growth hormones. His role model was Nolan Ryan.  See my post:



Tiger Stadium 1990
Chuck Andersen derivative work
via Wikimedia Commons

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009

MLB should allow performance enhancing stuff.

Plus, pitchers have been shown to be as inclined to use banned stuff as batters. No one seems concerned about strike out records. Roger Clemens (4,672) and Randy Johnson (4,819) have been implicated. Their career strike out records are exceeded only by Nolan Ryan's unreachable total of 5,714. How come no one challenges Nolan Ryan? He played long enough to have used steroids. His longevity is suspicious. Jose Canseco has admitted using steriods during his MVP season of 1988. Ryan played from 1966 through 1993 (age 46). Ryan and Canseco were even teammates in Texas for 22 games in 1992 and for 60 games in 1993. Ryan's final seasons leading the league in strike outs were at the ages of 40, 41, 42, 43. His previous age as league strike out leader was 32. Ryan went seven years without being strike out king until he recovered the touch in 1987 at age 40. Ryan pitched a record seven no hitters at these ages: 26, 26, 27, 28, 34, 43, 44. This anecdotal evidence is completely ignored. Did Nolan Ryan use banned and/or illegal stuff to enhance his performance? I have no idea but I find it odd that the steroid zealots have such narrow vision.

300 SO, sorted by age. 20 of 33 under age 30. Only three guys over age 31: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling. Ryan was 42!

Ryan last had 10 SO per 9 innings in 1978 at age 31 in AL. Then at 40 in NL Ryan had his career high: 11.5! 270 SO in 211 innings. Second best in Ryan's career: 11.3 at age 42 with 301 SO ... in the AL with a DH!

And after all these years I'm the only one who has noticed?

Rk Player SO SO/9 Year Age ▾ Tm
1 Nolan Ryan 301 11.32 1989 42 TEX
2 Randy Johnson 334 11.56 2002 38 ARI
3 Randy Johnson 372 13.41 2001 37 ARI
4 Randy Johnson 347 12.56 2000 36 ARI
5 Curt Schilling 316 10.97 2002 35 ARI
6 Randy Johnson 364 12.06 1999 35 ARI
7 Randy Johnson 329 12.12 1998 34 TOT
8 Curt Schilling 300 10.05 1998 31 PHI
9 Mike Scott 306 10.00 1986 31 HOU
10 Curt Schilling 319 11.29 1997 30 PHI
11 Mickey Lolich 308 7.37 1971 30 DET
12 Nolan Ryan 341 10.26 1977 30 CAL
13 Sandy Koufax 317 8.83 1966 30 LAD
14 Randy Johnson 308 10.86 1993 29 SEA
15 Sandy Koufax 382 10.24 1965 29 LAD
16 Nolan Ryan 327 10.35 1976 29 CAL
17 J.R. Richard 313 9.64 1979 29 HOU
18 J.R. Richard 303 9.90 1978 28 HOU
19 Nolan Ryan 367 9.93 1974 27 CAL
20 Rube Waddell 349 8.20 1904 27 PHA
21 Steve Carlton 310 8.06 1972 27 PHI
22 Sam McDowell 304 8.97 1970 27 CLE
23 Bob Feller 348 8.43 1946 27 CLE
24 Sandy Koufax 306 8.86 1963 27 LAD
25 Pedro Martinez 313 13.20 1999 27 BOS
26 Nolan Ryan 383 10.57 1973 26 CAL
27 Rube Waddell 302 8.39 1903 26 PHA
28 Pedro Martinez 305 11.37 1997 25 MON
29 Nolan Ryan 329 10.43 1972 25 CAL
30 Walter Johnson 303 7.39 1912 24 WSH
31 Walter Johnson 313 7.61 1910 22 WSH
32 Sam McDowell 325 10.71 1965 22 CLE
33 Vida Blue 301 8.68 1971 21 OAK

Nolan Ryan, power pitcher into his 40s. Did he use steroids?  Saturday, August 9, 2014

Nolan Ryan, Tom House and steroids.  Monday, August 11, 2014

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stats: how about checking the stuff that's easy to check?

The Yankees played Detroit recently. Yankee announcer Michael Kay mentioned for the umpteenths time that current Tiger, former Yankee Johnny Damon had only 7 homers because he now played his home games in Detroit, not in Yankee Stadium.

An obvious reaction: even if all 7 homers had been hit on the road, doubling his total to 14 still left Damon with a home run slump. I did not bother to check until I started reading today's NY Times article about the possible return of Damon to Boston, where Damon played immediately before his Yankee seasons. I knew his home run production would again be brought up, so I checked. It took about a minute.

Damon has 6 home runs at home in Detroit and one on the road - in Tampa.

Now how difficult would it have been for Michael Kay or one of the other Yankee announcers, all former ball players, to have checked that before or even during the games? I am amazed that the baseball announcers still rely on stats boys to feed them this type of stuff. They should have a computer running during games and they should look up stuff as it pops into their heads. It's not as if the game is so fast paced that they don't have the time: between pitches, between innings, during meetings, during arguments, during pitching changes etc.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Speed limit for pitchers.

Pitchers are not allowed to throw a pitch more than 90 miles per hour.

And get rid of that stupid mound. Talk about leveling the playing field.

Currently tall pitchers have an advantage because they can release the ball closer to home plate. I've already suggested forcing the pitchers to release the ball from within a pitchers box but that rule has not been enacted.

Limiting the speed of the pitch has advantages:

- pitchers cannot rely on over powering batters
- pitchers may be more likely to throw more strikes
- arm trouble may be reduced.

It's not the number of pitches that injure a pitcher's arm, it's the type of pitches. Limiting speed may help. The catcher makes 150 throws a game and rarely suffers an arm injury. Whitey Ford (1950-1967) is the only Hall of Fame pitcher since 1946 under six feet tall: 70 inches, i.e., 5'10". Recently retired Randy Johnson is 6'10". Johnson probably released the ball at least a foot closer to the batter than Ford, increasing the speed of his fastball as it crossed the plate.

One of the rationals for banning performance enhancing stuff is to protect the player from himself. Limiting pitch speed does just that. Plus, how is it fair to a pitcher like Ford? Isn't that another issue with steroid zealots?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hand covers for base runners.

1. Bags. Padded. No need to have fingers and thumbs exposed when runners slide hands first, which they should not.

2. Wear BLACK bags! Geez! I saw Derek Jeter slide hands first into second base today and even on the slow mo HD replay it was difficult to tell whether he was safe, in part, because his gloves were the same color as the bag. How much imagination and brains does it take to figure out that you want to help the umpires who are increasingly exposed as merely guessing on many, if not most, calls.

Monday, August 2, 2010

MLB integrity: trades during the season.

Saturday, July 31, 2010, the annual MLB orgy ended. That was the trading deadline. Trading players during the season is possibly the thing that undermines the integrity of MLB more than anything, maybe even more than the non-uniform playing areas. Nah, not more than that but it's pretty bad.

So instead of reveling in it MLB fans should come to their senses and oppose it. Will they? Nah.

See previous post on this last year:

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/07/trades-during-season-should-not-be.html

THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2009

Trades during the season should not be allowed.