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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Mickey Mantle: data on 28 missing games

Click the title of this post to view the data.

These games are missing from baseball-reference.com.

I have added this data to that I retrieved and organized in a database that I will use to publish what I hope will be new insights into the career of Mickey Mantle.

baseball-reference.com shows Mickey with 8 home runs with the bases loaded.  I found another in the retrosheet data, which is pretty interesting.

Mickey had last played on July 1, 1953 so he must have been hurt when on Monday, July 06, 1953 in game one of a doubleheader in the 6th inning Mickey hit a pinch hit grand slam home run off Athletics southpaw Frank Fanovich in Philadelphia: PH for Noren batting 1st; stayed in playing CF.  Mickey later singled in the 8th off Marion Fricano.  Yanks were ahead 5-4 when Mickey broke open the game.  Yanks won 10-5.  Mickey did not play in game two but played the next day and went 1 for five in a loss.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Four Yankee Managers ranked: Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Joe Torre.

Click title to view.

The analysis is of Miller Huggins, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre using two versions of the Bill James Pythagorean equation for estimating team wins based on runs scored and runs allowed.  It does not consider run distribution per game.

For the regular season one of the four is clearly number one and another clearly number four.  Try to name them before you read it.

Pythagorean Variable Exponent AL/NL 1903-2010 by Year.

Click title to view data and graphs.

Differences between expected and actual wins based on variable exponent (VX): = ((rs + ra)/g)^.285.  rs = runs scored.  ra = runs allowed.  g = games.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sudden increase in home runs by an individual: obsession unique to MLB.

Some suspect batters of using performance enhancing stuff if the batter has a sudden increase in home runs.  This seems to be interpreted as going from a previous high of about 25 to 40.

Here are some batters with such increases.

Babe Ruth: 11, 29 (new record), 54 (new record 1920) in consecutive seasons.

Rogers Hornsby: 21, 42 (1922).

Ken Williams: 24, 39 (1922 at age 32).

Cy Williams: 26, 41 (1923 at age 35).

Lou Gehrig: 27, 47 (1927).

Chuck Klein: 11, 43 (1929) first full season.

Joe DiMaggio: 29, 46 (1937) in his first two seasons.

Johnny Mize: 28, 43 (1940).

Ralph Kiner: 23, 51 (1946) in his first two seasons.

Eddie Mathews: 25, 47 (1953) in his first two seasons.

Ted Kluszewski: 25, 40 (1953).  Then 49, 47.

Willie Mays: 20, 41, 51 (1955) in his first three full seasons.

Ernie Banks: 19, 44 (1955) in his first two full seasons.

Mickey Mantle: 27, 37, 52 (1956) in consecutive seasons.

Hank Aaron: 26, 44 (1957).

Rocky Colavito: 25, 41 (1958).

Harmon Killebrew: 5, 42 (1959) first full season.

Roger Maris: 28, 39, 61 (new record 1961).

Orlando Cepeda: 27, 46 (1961).

Willie McCovey: 20, 44 (1963).

Carl Yastrzemski: 20, 44 (1967 Red Sox).

Rico Petrocelli: 18, 40 (1969 Red Sox).

Reggie Jackson: 29, 47 (1969) in first two full seasons.

Johnny Bench: 26, 45 (1969).

Davey Johnson: 18, 40 (1973 Braves).

Darrell Evans: 19, 41 (1973 Braves).

George Foster: 29, 52 (1977).

Kevin Mitchell: 22, 47 (1989).

Cecil Fielder: 14, 51 (1990) first full season.

Some above are career home run leaders.  Some are not.  All reached 40 in at least one season.   That's enough to demonstrate that there are many examples not in the steroid era, roughly 1990 to the present.  That does not mean that these players should be above suspicion.  See:


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.

I heard Duke Snider in later years refer to something he called red juice as some performance enhancer that was available when he played. Aaron has admitted to trying something late in his career.

Noticeably absent are the three poster boys for performance enhancing success:

Barry Bonds: 16, 25, 24, 19, 33, 25, 34, 46 ... 49, 73.

Mark McGwire: 49, 32, 33, 39, 22, 42, 9, 9, 39, 52, 58, 70, 65, 32, 29.

Sammy Sosa: 15, 10, 8, 33, 25, 36, 40, 36, 66, 63, 50, 64, 49, 40, 35, 14, 21.

Both Bonds and Sosa had gradual increases to 40.  McGwire started out by challenging the record in 1987, his rookie season; McGwire had 33 home runs in his first 80 games in 1987.

Do I think that Bonds, McGwire and Sosa used performance enhancing stuff?  Of course.  I also think that Nolan Ryan used performance enhancing stuff, too.  And Roger Clemens.  And many other pitchers.  Please read this post:


Steroids are only an issue for home runs.

The NFL record for points scored in a season was broken in 2006 after standing since 1960 when Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers scored 176 points ... Does anyone think that Paul Hornung was using steroids? Maybe, but probably not. Does anyone think that the guy who broke his record in 2006 was using steroids? Almost definitely? Where is the outrage?

In case it is not obvious, let me drive home the point.  Hornung set that record one year before Maris set the home record and Hornung's record was broken in 2006 by LaDainian Tomlinson, eight years after the Maris record was broken by McGwire.  Nobody and I mean nobody got worked up about steroids in the NFL.  Why all the concern about MLB and specifically about home runs?  It's completely irrational.

70 home runs offends people like Bob Costas as cartoonish as he stated again yesterday on MLB network pontificating about the Hall of Fame voting?  How about 5,000 yards passing?  In 2011:
Brees 5,476
Brady 5,235
Stafford: 5,038
Eli Manning 4,933

Mathew freakin' Stafford threw for 5,038 yards!  Bob Costas, is that cartoonish enough for you?  Two guys broke Dan Marino's 1984 record of 5,084.  Four of the top six occurred in 2011.

And what is more cartoonish among the major team sports than Babe Ruth breaking his own home record by increasing it from 29 to 54?!  That's 86% more!  McGwire increased the Maris record by only 14.7%.

But people like Bob Costas are still brooding over MLB records set ten and thirteen years ago.  Yeah, I know, baseball is special, the national pastime, blah, blah blah.  That's because people like Bob Costas still can't bring themselves to call it MLB and not baseball.  Do they refer to the NFL as football?  Of course not.

Baseball fans, writers, media, MLB corporate executives etc., grow the heck up!  Stop this ridiculous obsession.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yankee Hall of Fame CF

Should Bernie Williams become the fourth?

Williams 125 (229) tied with Rick Monday (1,491 games in CF) and Earl Combs.

Williams OPS:
regular season: .858
playoffs: .850

Same is good.

Monday OPS:
regular season: .804
playoffs: .628

Combs OPS:
regular season: .859
World Series: .894

Earl Combs, the first Yankee Hall of Fame CF who is sometimes disparaged relative to Bernie Williams, was on four WS winners, same as Williams.  Combs batted better in WS.  Williams about the same, which is good.

How about the other two Yankee Hall of Fame CF?

Joe DiMaggio: OPS+ 155, tied at 21 with Willie Mays.  Nine WS winners.
regular season: .977
World Series: .760

Mickey Mantle: OPS+ 172, 6th.  Next CF: Ty Cobb 168, #10.  Seven WS winners.
regular season: .977
World Series: .908

Mantle batted slightly less in his 12 WS but DiMaggio batted much worse in his 10 WS.

Williams batted worst in WS, MLB finals.
ALDS: .865
ALCS: .962
WS: .677

Combs, DiMaggio and Mantle played only in the WS, the true World Series, against the best team in the other league.  Williams batted much worse in the WS, though not as bad as DiMaggio.

Williams: (858 - 677) / 677 = .267 (27% better in regular season)
DiMaggio: (977 - 760) / 760 = .2855 (29% better in regular season)

Williams supposed good performance in the playoffs is over-rated.
Photo of Bernie Williams
When Bernie Williams was playing did I think I was watching a Hall of Fame player?  No.  I would not vote for Williams.  As I have written previously, had Williams played left field he would not be considered a Hall of Fame player.  If the Yankees had a true CF who could hit a little, Williams would have been moved to LF and the Yanks would have won those same four WS and maybe one or two more.  Bernie Williams was in the right place at the right time.  He certainly was not Mantle or DiMaggio and may exceed Combs mainly because Combs had a short career and is a marginal HoFer himself.

Combs 6,507
DiMaggio 7,671
Mantle 9,909
Williams 9,053.

Among the CF in the last 20 years I would vote for Ken Griffey, Jr. (OPS+ 135 #108) and Jim Edmonds (OPS+ 131 #154), both of whom were true CF and much better fielders than Williams who often needed to stop for directions on the bases.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Baseball is not symmetrical. Why?

When I was a kid I thought that the batter would run to the nearest base: lefty to first and righty to third.  Makes sense. Otherwise, baseball would be lopsided, asymmetrical.  My kiddie brain did not like that and assumed that the rules would be fair.

Add this to the illogic of baseball.  Baseball absurdities are so ingrained and baseball fans so unimaginative in their thinking that such thoughts never cross their minds.  Why do some batters have such a big advantage?  Lefties start about two steps closer to the first base than righties.  How is that a level playing field, the one that steroid zealots are constantly babbling about?

There were/are three basic ways to fix this:

1. The batter runs to the nearest base.  What to do about base runners?  Switch their relative position before each batter.  Oh, wait, that would slow down the game.  Yeah right, like anyone would notice.  No, of course, it would not slow down anything except the decay of baseball minds.

2. Only have righty batters.  Why did baseball allow lefty batting in the first place.  Seriously, does anyone know?  Has anyone ever thought about it?  Anyone?  Thought?

3. Move first base back when lefties bat.

Oh, wait, it's part of baseball's charm, the last refuge of the unimaginative baseball mind.  You know, like the non-uniform playing areas in which one fly ball can travel 50% farther than another and the longer is an out and the shorter is a home run.  And compound that with modern smart baseball thought classifying home runs as non-random events, beyond the control of the pitcher in computing fielding dependent averages.

Charming.  Like lefty batters.

Paul Molitor and the steroid zealots.

Paul Molitor:

Led AL in hits at ages 34, 36, 39.  For three different teams.  At 34 he became DH for good.  I wonder if he's the oldest to lead in hits for the first time.  And for three teams.  Did DH help that much or was it some magic elixir?

Hall of Fame voting is a hot topic now and the usual junk is being babbled about steroids.  Add this to the mix.