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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Red Sox: you live by the wall, you die by the wall.

Tampa Rays park left field corner:

Was the wall always much closer and much lower than just a few feet further into fair territory or was that done to make Red Sox fans suffer more?  Evan Longoria's wining hit was really a double, not a homer.  That configuration is a joke, maybe intended to have hypocritical Red Sox fans complain.  You live by the wall, you die by the wall.

Dead Sox


Dread Sox

Red Flops

Ah, the smell of napalm in the morning.  (See Apocalypse Now)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ted Williams: did he sulk in his tent in 1956, too?

I have documented how Ted Williams quit at the end of two seasons: 1951 and 1960.  See:

Ted Williams in 1951 Red Sox games 142-150 ... and abandoning his team.  THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2011

I just noticed that he may have also done this in 1956.

At the end of the 1956 season the 37 year old Williams had very little to play for.  The Yankees had clinched the pennant and Williams had blown his late season BA lead over the 24 year old Yankee phenom Mickey Mantle who was limping towards the triple crown, which Williams had accomplished the two most recent times.  This must have galled Williams, especially since his Red Sox played the Yankees in six of the final eight games of 1956 and Williams blew his BA lead mostly against the Yankees.

Mantle must have been injured because manager Casey Stengel had Mickey PH in six of the final seven Yankee games, including two of the the last three at Yankee Stadium against Boston.   When Mantle reached base as a PH Stengel would remove him for a pinch runner even though Mantle was the fastest man in MLB.

Friday September 21, 1956 Williams BA entering the series in Boston was .355, Mantle's .350.  In those three games against the Yankees Williams went:
2 for 4 .356
0 for 4 .353
0 for 3 .350

3 for 5 .352
2 for 3 .354
1 for 1 .356

After two games against Washington Williams was still at .350 heading to New York for the final three games series.  Mantle PH three times in Baltimore: BB, 0 for 2, .354.

Friday September 28, 1956 (Yankees won 7-2):
Williams 0 for 3: .348 (2 GDP)
Mantle 1 for 4 (HR 52): .353

Saturday September 29, 1956 (Red Sox won 7-5 in 13 innings):
Williams 1 for 6: .345 (GDP.  After Williams grounded into a force play in the 12th, Faye Throneberry replaced Ted Williams playing LF batting 3rd in the 13th.)
Mantle: .353 (PH bases loaded BB for game tieing RBI in 8th)

Sunday September 30, 1956  (Red Sox won 7-4 in 10 innings)::
Williams BB with bases loaded, no out first inning; Gene Stephens pinch runs for Ted Williams: .345
Mantle 0 for 1: .353 (Mantle pinch hits for Jim Coates in 9th; ground out, game tieing RBI.)

Mantle had one RBI in each of his last three games.  He needed them.  Al Kaline of Detroit had two RBI in each of his final two games to finish with 128, second to Mantle's 130.  Mantle led by 20 in HR: 52 to Vic Wertz 32.  If anything Mantle needed to play to ensure that he would lead AL in RBI in order to win his triple crown.

Why did Williams leave after only one plate appearance?  Did he think he could still catch Mantle if he went 4 for 4 and Mantle 0 for 4?  When Mantle was not in the starting lineup another 0 for 1 would not drop Mantle's BA below .353.

Had Williams gone 4 for 4: 142 / 404 = 0.351485149

If Mantle had merely gone 0 for 2: 188 / 535 = 0.351401869

Williams would have beaten Mantle.  Did Williams leave the final game in the first inning because his BB combined with Mantle's absence from the starting lineup meant that Williams could not catch Mantle?

If so, what does that say about Ted Williams?

Williams had highest AL BA in 1941, 1942 (triple crown), 1947 (triple crown), 1948.  Williams had career highs 43 HR and 159 RBI in 1949 but lost by the slimmest margin of anyone winning 2 of 3 triple crown categories.  George Kell of Detroit led AL in BA over Williams by .05%:

.000155693649 difference

Williams knew how those decimal points worked.

Williams was injured in 1950 and played only 89 games.  In 1951 Williams .318 BA was a distant fourth to Philadelphia As Ferris Fain's .344.  Williams missed most of 1952 and 1953 with his second stint of military service.  In 1954 Williams played in only 117 games with 386 AB and AL leading 136 BB.  In 1955 Williams played in only 98 games as twenty year old Al Kaline led AL in BA with .340.  The qualifying standard from 1945-1956 was:

"2.6 at bats per team game ... from 1951-1954 a player could lead if they still led after the necessary number of hitless at bats were added to their at bat total"

For Boston in 1954 that meant 2.6*154=400.4.  Williams had 14 fewer AB to qualify.  Adding those 14 AB would have given Williams this: 133/400=.3325.  Bobby Avila of Cleveland had .341 BA; Williams .345.

So in 1956 Williams barely qualified with his 400 AB.  Note: Williams also had 102 BB.

With his Red Sox not competitive after 1951 what else did Ted Williams have to play for except leading AL in BA, the gold standard in those days.  Losing to the Mercurial Mantle who resorted to bunting to break a slump only made matters worse.

Ted Williams exacted revenge the very next season.  In 1957 Mantle had his second consecutive aberrant BA with a career best .365 but that was a distant second to the .388 posted by Williams at age 38.  In 1957 Williams had 420 AB, 119 BB, 546 PA.  The new qualifying standard was:

"3.1 plate appearances per team game"  For Boston that was 3.1*154=477.4.  Williams 546 PA far exceeded the requirement.

Williams led AL in BA for the final time in 1958 with .328 beating teammate Pete Runnels .322.  Mantle dropped back to his norm with .304: 7th in AL.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Defensive stats.

I generally do not trust defensive stats for individuals.

In 2011 there's been a lot of noise about Brett Gardner of the Yankees being the best defensive LF in AL.  So what?  The Yanks moved their best CF to LF to make room for Curtis Granderson.  Does that suddenly add substantial brownie points to Gardner's overall rating because the Yankees are under utilizing his skills?

This also applies to Hall of Fame credentials.  How much higher would Al Kaline have been rated had he played CF, which he did for 400 games when Detroit also had Rocky Colavito, instead of RF where he played because of his great arm?  Same with Ichiro Suzuki today.

How much less would Duke Snider have been rated had he played LF instead of that small CF in Ebbets Field?  Would Snider have been elected to the HoF?  I doubt it.

Would current Yankee fans suggest that Bernie Williams is a borderline Hofer had Williams played LF instead of CF?  Not even close.  Williams won a Gold Glove only after Ken Griffey, Jr. and Jim Edmonds moved to the NL, not because Williams suddenly improved a lot.

I never met Met fan who knew what he was talking about.

Met batters 2011 HR/AB:

Home: 45/2548 = .01766

Road: 58/2812 = .0206

With all the whining it's surprising that the home run rate for Met batters is not that different on the road than it is at home in Citi Field.  Let's see how Met pitchers are doing in 2011:

Home: 54/2631 = .0205

Road: 87/2704 = .0321

It looks like the Met pitchers benefited more than the Met batters suffered.  So shouldn't Met fans want to keep the dimensions of Citi Field as they are?  And isn't that the Met heritage, old Shea Stadium providing an advantage to Met pitchers like Tom Seaver?

As I've long said: I never met  Met fan who knew what he was talking about ... or a Boston fan of any sport.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Is Jeter juiced?

This is a fundamentally unfair question, one which has not been asked much since the steroid hysteria died down 2-3 years ago.  However, the improvement in the performance of Yankee icon Derek Jeter forces one to address it.

See my post: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2010

Yankees beware: Jeter's production is likely to decline.

See data for Jeter for full seasons 2008, 2009, 2010 and for 2011 both before and after Jeter's return from Florida following his rehab from injury.  Jeter's improvement is inexplicable.
A-Rod's cousin
Did Jeter run into A-Rod's cousin, the one who provided A-Rod with performance enhancing stuff a few years ago?

I looked at:
BA: batting average
OBP: on base percentage
SLG: slugging average

Jeter's percentage improvements in 253 PA (plate appearances) after returning compared with 293 PA before:

BA            OBP           SLG        OPS
29.89%    20.23%    42.14%    30.98%

Here are his actual 2011 numbers:
age BA            OBP           SLG        OPS
36  0.260    0.324    0.324    0.649
37 0.338    0.3895   0.461    0.850
dif 0.0777 0.0656 0.137    0.201

Jeter's OPS his three previous seasons:
2008 .771
2009 .871
2010 .649

Jeter's 2010 OPS is exactly the same as his 2011 before Jeter left the Yankees to rehab: .649, the lowest of his career.

What the heck happened in Florida and don't tell me Jeter adjusted his batting swing?

The sample size is approaching a half season so the question is legitimate.  For his career Jeter does tend to improve in the second half: OPS .820/.846.  For the last three seasons:
2008 .764/.778
2009 .908/.836
2010 .790/.633

Jeter snapped out of a slump that had lasted through the second half of 2010 and the first half of 2011, from which Jeter exploded after turning 37.  How often does that happen without an extra boost?

Jeter has cleared .900 OPS twice:
1999 .989
2006 .900

His 2011 post injury OPS is .850 through 9/10/11.  In only six of Jeter's 16 full seasons did Jeter have OPS greater than .850.

What the heck?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gehrig didn't always bat 4th.

In 1929 the Yankees pioneered the regular wearing of numbers on baseball uniforms.  Numbers were assigned by position in the batting order.  In 1927 Lou Gehrig for the first time in his career had batted 4th in every game.  Babe Ruth batted 3rd in every game.  In 1928 Gehrig batted 4th in 132 games, 3rd in 22 games.  Ruth batted 3rd in 132 games, 4th in 22.  They switched for games 123-144.

It's not clear why Yankee manager Miller Huggins switched them.  Here are their numbers before and after the switch:

.333 .473 .737 1.211 Ruth
.377 .468 .641 1.109 Gehrig

.322 .462 .704 1.166 Ruth
.370 .464 .630 1.094 Gehrig

Both seemed to have done slightly worse during the switch.

For the 1929 season they were assigned their famous numbers: Ruth 3, Gehrig 4.  The Yankees must have assumed that those numbers would represent their positions in the batting order.  However, that plan changed quickly.  In 1929 Lou Gehrig started the lowest percentage of his games batting 4th in his career and his highest percentage batting 3rd.  Gehrig also had his second highest percentage batting 6th (14% in 1925).

3rd             4th         5th           6th
50.00% 22.73% 14.94% 12.34%

See Gehrig's batting order data.

On May 11, 1929 (Yankee game 18) Lou Gehrig was batting:

.388 .481 .731  1.212

Gehrig batted 4th in Yankee games 1-27 when Gehrig's numbers were down.  For game 28 Huggins again switched Gehrig and Ruth: Gehrig batted 3rd, Ruth 4th.

.333 .443 .656   1.100 Gehrig
.302 .407 .563   .970 Ruth

Again not clear why Huggins made the switch except to merely shake things up.

This continued through game 37 when Ruth stopped playing until game 55.  Gehrig remained 3rd for games 28-74 when he and Ruth switched for two games.  Games 77-106 Gehrig was 3rd, Ruth always 4th when in the lineup.  Babe played 135 games in 1929, Gehrig all 154.

Gehrig was 5th in games 107-114, 118-129, 146-148.  Gehrig batted 6th in games 115-117, 130-145.  For the final games of the season Gehrig batted 4th: 149-154.  In the 133 games that he started Ruth batted 3rd in 66, 4th in 67.

Miller Huggins died September 25, 1929 in New York, NY.  He was 51.  Art Fletcher managed the final 11 (6-5) games (144-154) of the 1929 season.

Saturday, September 21, 1929, Yankee Stadium I Fletcher managed his first Yankee game.  He had managed the Philadelphia Phillies 1923-1926, finishing 8,7,6,8.  Fletcher kept Gehrig 6th (0 for 4, RBI).  Yanks defeated the White Sox 8-5.

Sunday, September 22, 1929, Yankee Stadium I Yanks played a doubleheader against the White Sox.  In game one Fletcher batted Gehrig 6th (0 for 2, 2 BB); Yanks lost 7-4.  In game two Fletcher moved Gehrig up to 5th (0 for 3, BB); Yanks won 3-1.

Two more games batting 5th, then the final 6 games batting 4th after game 148 when Gehrig went 3 for 4, BB, 4 RBI in 11-10 win in Boston raising his BA to .298.  Gehrig had dropped as low as .294 in game 146 his first game batting higher than 6th since game 129.

Gehrig's stats 1928-1930:

.374 .467 .648  1.115
.300 .431 .584  1.015
.379 .473 .721 1.194

In 1929 Huggins moved Gehrig in the Yankee batting order for the most basic of reasons: he wasn't hitting enough.

The 1929 Yankees finished second in AL, 18 games behind the Philadelphia As who defeated the Chicago Cubs in the WS 4-1.  The Cubs were managed by Joe McCarthy (1926-1930) who later managed the Yankees 1931-1946.

In 1930 the Yankees had Bob Shawkey their former pitching ace manage the team.  The Yanks finished third 16 games behind the Philadelphia As who again won WS, this time over St. Louis.  Shawkey continued Huggins policy of moving Gehrig in the batting order.  Gehrig's percent of games batting:

3rd   4th    5th
3.25% 41.56%  55.19%

When he took over in 1931 Joe McCarthy batted Gehrig 4th almost exclusively from 1931 through 1937.   In 1936 Joe DiMaggio had batted 3rd in all 138 games he played and in 1937 DiMaggio batted 3rd in 144 starts and 4th in 6.  In 1938 DiMaggio batted 4th in 116 games and 3rd in 29.  In 1938 Gehrig batted 4th in only 41 (26%) games and 5th in 103 (66%) games.  The young slugger DiMaggio had supplanted Gehrig.

FOUR hour wait to start night game.

I just learned that the Yankees played last night.  It never occurred to me since it was raining hard all day, evening and night.  I turned on the next morning replay.  It was raining hard in the first inning, which began at 11:08PM.  I assumed that this was a new low for MLB but the Yankee announcers said that the four hour plus delay was only the second longest in MLB history, the longest being five hours plus in 1999.  NY Times reports that the Yankee game ended at 2:15AM.  Yanks have an afternoon game scheduled today at 1:05PM.  Should be scintillating entertainment.

No need to belabor the obscenity of this.  All fans who had bought tickets should receive a refund.  Those who attended first pitch should get some bonus and/or their heads examined.  Corporations will abuse people to the extent that people let them.

The players did nothing to speed things along.  Batters still stepped out of the box after each pitch as they had been coached to do.  Pitchers still jerked around between each pitch as they had been coached to do.  This is what has passed for coaching in recent decades.

Baseball is dying and doesn't know it.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Doubleheaders completed in less than four hours.

I found a couple of doubleheaders (2 for the price of 1) at YS in 1937: game 1 about 2 hours, game 2 (7 innings) 1:20.  Including time between games they were over in less time than those Yankee - Red Sox games last week.

Gehrig’s Iron Man Streak: four, not one, tainted games