About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Career Weighted OPS Percent Difference Regular v. WS: 343 players.

See previous post for 83 Hall of Fame players: Reggie Jackson first, Dave Winfield last.  Messrs. October and May.  Among the larger group they remained almost in their same positions: Jackson third, Winfield second to last.

Click link to see all 343 players.

Top 25:

First Last OPS%Dif
Carlos Ruiz 48.75%
Hideki Matsui 37.38%
Reggie Jackson 33.46%
Bobby Brown 31.71%
Pepper Martin 31.61%
Jayson Werth 30.58%
Lou Brock 29.59%
Rick Dempsey 27.19%
Pat Borders 27.13%
Lenny Dykstra 26.99%
Paul Molitor 26.31%
Chase Utley 25.38%
Hank Gowdy 24.22%
Dave Henderson 23.33%
Billy Martin 22.71%
Johnny Lindell 22.34%
Steve Yeager 21.21%
Edgar Renteria 20.12%
Julian Javier 17.09%
Hal McRae 15.74%
Tim McCarver 15.54%
Marquis Grissom 15.36%
Lou Gehrig 14.41%
Thurman Munson 14.34%
Dwight Evans 14.19%

Bottom 25:

First Last OPS%Dif
Mule Haas -29.73%
Mariano Duncan -29.85%
Ripper Collins -29.94%
Craig Counsell -29.97%
Bris Lord -30.23%
Kent Hrbek -30.91%
Jeff Blauser -31.05%
Taylor Douthit -31.31%
Rick Monday -31.46%
Andy Carey -31.69%
Glenn Wright -33.15%
Orlando Cepeda -33.42%
Jim Bottomley -34.08%
Germany Schaefer -34.34%
Willie Mays -34.35%
Rogers Hornsby -35.64%
Joe Boley -35.71%
Earl Smith -36.23%
Matty Alou -37.57%
Dave Bancroft -37.90%
Johnny Hopp -38.39%
Cecil Cooper -38.54%
Wes Covington -38.78%
Chick Hafey -41.70%
Dave Winfield -43.82%
Marv Owen -56.99%

Seven Hall of Fame players in the bottom 25, including Winfield.  The biggest names are Mays, Hornsby and Cepeda.  Among the top 25 there are four Hall of Famers: Jackson, Brock, Molitor, Gehrig.

Other notables:

29. Rickey Henderson 13.25%
38. Bobby Richardson 10.87%
43. Carl Yastrzemski 9.44%
54. Roberto Clemente 7.83%
66. Kirby Puckett 5.70%
71. Hank Aaron 5.14%
79. Babe Ruth 3.17%
81. Hank Greenberg 2.88%
99. Jimmie Foxx 0.10%
105. Yogi Berra -0.68%
110. Duke Snider -1.71%
130. Derek Jeter  -4.05%
131. Willie Stargell -4.06%
138. Pee Wee Reese -5.42%
140. Pete Rose -6.03%
141. Frank Robinson -6.08%
142. Bud Harrelson -6.17%
143. Brooks Robinson -6.18%
153. Phil Rizzuto -7.70%
179. Carl Furillo -10.16%
180. Red Rolfe -10.64%
181. Tommy Henrich -10.67%
182. George Brett -10.74%
183. Willie Wilson -10.83%
184. Elston Howard -10.85%
185. Whitey Ford -10.96%
186. Mickey Mantle -11.17%
187. Albert Pujols -11.24%
191. Eddie Mathews -11.47%
201. Tris Speaker -12.93%
210. Joe Morgan -13.75%
221. Honus Wagner -15.26%
244. Jackie Robinson -17.78%
249. Roy Campanella -18.23%
264. Joe DiMaggio -20.61%
273. Ty Cobb -21.66%
285. Stan Musial -23.53%
293. Eddie Murray -24.60%
329. Orlando Cepeda -33.42%
330. Jim Bottomley -34.08%
331. Germany Schaefer -34.34%
332. Willie Mays -34.35%
333. Rogers Hornsby -35.64%
342. Dave Winfield -43.82%
343. Marv Owen -56.99%

I had to look up number one, Carlos Ruiz.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Career Weighted OPS Percent Difference Regular v. WS: 83 HoF.

Click link to see data.  Career data is weighted by plate appearances (PA) per WS to career WS PA.

OPS Percent Difference: OPS - OPSws / OPS.  Result: higher or lower OPS in WS than regular season

83 Hall of Fame players, minimum 2 World Series, 40 plate appearances.

1. Reggie Jackson 33.5% higher OPS in WS than regular season.  Mr. October.

83. Dave Winfield -43.8% lower OPS in WS than regular season.  Mr. May.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Mickey Mantle in the World Series. And Ruth, Gehrig, ... Richardson.

See the two previous posts:

Joe DiMaggio sucked in the World Series

I thought I'd look at another player who was similar.  There is only one, DiMaggio's successor in center field: Mickey Mantle.  Those two and teammate Yogi Berra played in the most World Series (WS) and each won the league Most Valuable Players (MVP) award three times.  They played in this number of WS:
DiMaggio 10
Mantle 12
Berra 14.

But Yogi had no black ink signifying leading the league in a batting category.  Anyway, I decided to just examine Mantle in taking the many small sample sizes that are a four to seven game WS and seeing if there are patterns that have meaning.

Here are the percentage differences between Mantle's On Base plus Slugging (OPS) regular season v. WS: reg-WS/WS.  It is for WS in which the player had at least 15 plate appearances (PA).  It is followed by the player's rank among his teammates.  Mantle had at least 15 PA in only nine of his twelve WS.

1952 13.71% 3 of 8; 2 HR
1953 -14.03% 6 of 8; 2 HR.

1956 -10.55% 5 of 8; 3 HR.
1957 -39.44% 8 of 8 loss
1958 -3.34% 4 of 7; 2 HR.
1960 38.54% 3 of 8 loss; 3 HR.

1962 -69.14% 8 of 8
1963 -54.47% 6 of 6 loss
1964 24.14% 3 of 8 loss; 3 HR, including a walk off.

Like DiMaggio, Mantle is usually in negative territory.  He has a positive number in only three of nine WS.  DiMaggio was positive in 2 of 10.  They both have low ranks among their teammates.  DiMaggio's two best: second and third; Mantle's third twice.  In Mantle's nine WS the Yankees were 5-4.  In the three WS in which Mantle did not have 15 PA: 2-1.

One major difference is the number of WS elimination games that each faced.  DiMaggio faced only two.  Mantle 14.  Click this link to see the details.

From the previous post:

Yanks lost the 1942 WS to St. Louis 4-1.  In the final game DiMaggio got his third WS RBI at Yankee Stadium.  DiMaggio was 1 for 4.  In the fourth DiMaggio singled in a run putting the Yanks ahead 2-1.  St. Louis tied in the 6th and scored two in the 9th to win 4-2.

The other was game seven Monday, October 6, 1947 at Yankee Stadium, attendance: 71,548.  Yanks beat Brooklyn 5-2.  DiMaggio batted cleanup: 0 for 3 plus a walk leading off the fifth with the Yanks up 3-2; he did not score.  With the Yanks up 4-2 DiMaggio made the final out in the sixth leaving two runners on base.

Mantle played in 14 of the 16 WS elimination games the Yankees had during his career.

.308 .096 .450 22 .423 .873

Five homers in 52 AB: first two games and last three.  Games 6 & 7 1952, game four 1963, games 6 & 7 1964.  That covers 12 years.

Yanks won both games 6 & 7 in Ebbets Field in 1952.  Yanks lost game four in 1963; Mantle homered off Sandy Koufax in the seventh to give the Yankees their only tie of the WS; Dodgers won 2-1.  In 1964 Roger Maris and Mantle homered back to back in the sixth inning of game 6 to put the Yanks up 3-2; Yanks won 8-3.  In game 7 Mantle hit a three run homer off Bob Gibson in the sixth to cut the Cardinals lead in half: 6-3; Cardinals won 7-5.

In game 7 1956, Mantle's triple crown season, Mickey was 1 for 4 with three SO; Yanks won 9-0 so no one noticed.  In game 7 1960: 3 for 5; Yanks lost 10-9 to Pittsburgh.

Maybe I'm being too tough on these great players.  Maybe it's unreasonable to expect them to keep up their regular season performances against much better pitching.  Except, their Yankee predecessor super stars had even higher regular season numbers and excelled in the WS ... yes, in an earlier era, which might have enabled them to dominate more easily.

Babe Ruth:
1921 -38.24% 6 of 8 lost
1922 -67.98% 8 of 8 lost
1923 24.66% 1 of 8 won; 3 HR.
1926 19.54% 1 of 8; 3 HR game 4; 4 HR; CS last out game 7.
1927 -1.37% 2 of 7 sweep
1928 85.01% 2 of 4; 3 HR game 4; sweep.
1932 8.35% 6 of 8; 2 HR; called shot; sweep.

Lou Gehrig:
1926 -7.02% 6 of 8 lost
1927 -8.14% 3 of 7 sweep
1928 131.8% 1 of 4 4 HR; sweep.
1932 64.56% 1 of 8; 3 HR; sweep.
1936 -19.75% 7 of 8; 2 HR; won.
1937 -1.45% 4 of 8 won
1938 -27.17% 6 of 7 sweep

Player   OPS    OPS+    WS OPS
Ruth   1.195   209    1.211 (includes 12 Red Sox PA)
Gehrig   1.080    179    1.208
DiMaggio  .977   155    .760
Mantle    .977    172    .908

Doesn't look good for Joe D., especially considering his ZERO WS HR and four RBI at Yankee Stadium.

Both Ruth and Mantle were the SO kings of their eras, leading the league five times each.  Ruth finished with 1,330 and Mantle with 1,710 SO.  Babe Ruth held the career SO record from 1928 to 1963 when Mantle passed him.  Mantle was passed in 1982 by Reggie Jackson who leads with 2,597 through 2012.

DiMaggio had 369 career SO and 361 HR, truly amazing.  However, in the WS: 23 SO, 8 HR.  And in the WS DiMaggio had a much higher SO rate compared to his regular season v. his teammates. See previous post.  Mantle had these relative SO numbers compared to his WS teammates:

Year    teammates    Mantle

1951 -14.42% 8.50%
1952 -17.34% 46.58%
1953 -40.91% -41.43%

1955 -30.03% -6.19%
1956 -31.37% -10.84%
1957 -9.53% 200.63%
1958 -7.86% 38.73%

1960 1.43% -34.11%
1961 0.05% -34.63%
1962 -7.82% 3.45%
1963 -48.17% -44.19%
1964 -22.04% -34.19%
Year    teammates    Mantle

Mantle did better than his teammates in 8 of 12 WS; DiMaggio in 3 of 10.

Percent BB/PA regular    WS:
Mantle 17.5%    15.8%
DiMaggio 8.6%    10.3%

Mantle's walk rate went down in the WS, DiMaggio's up but Mantle's was still about 50% higher.

Finally, a quick look at a normal player, not a star.

Saturday, March 10, 2012
Clutch hitting on planet earth. Oh, and please explain Bobby Richardson.

Bobby Richardson and clutch performance
October 24, 2008

I have long cited Bobby Richardson's World Series performances in 1960 and 1964 as anecdotal evidence that, like all of us, athletes can raise their game and perform well above their normal level in clutch situations such as the World Series...

Bobby was a classic good field, no hit player...  Bobby played full time in five consecutive WS from 1960 through 1964. Three of those WS went seven games: 1960, 1962, 1964. In the first and last Bobby had mega WS. He set WS records in both: most RBI (12) in 1960 and most hits (13) in 1964. Bobby also set the record for most RBI in a game: six in game three, 1960.

So, in forty percent of Bobby's WS he had mega performances...

For a player to achieve his regular season numbers in the WS is good since the opposition has better pitching than that faced in the regular season and the pitching is not diluted by the regular season schedule, which in those seasons included many doubleheaders.

If we arbitrarily broke up Bobby's regular season games into seven game chunks starting on opening day, what are the chances that forty percent of them would result in mega performances? And that another twenty percent would be very good? That forty percent would be sub par would not seem unusual.

Was it just chance that Bobby Richardson would perform so far above his norm in such a high percentage of his opportunities? What are the chances?  Unless Bobby was clutch.

Bobby Richardson:
1960 45% 2 of 8; set RBI records.
1961 21.5% 2 of 7
1962 -36.3% 6 of 8 (Mantle 8)
1963 -7.3% 1 of 6 (Mantle 6)
1964 24.7% 2 of 8; set hits record.

Among his Yankee teammates in those five WS Bobby's ranks were 2,2,6,1,2.  My common sense tells me that Richardson exceeded his ability in the World Series more than Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle.  That's all you can ask of a player.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Joe DiMaggio sucked in the World Series, part 2.

See previous post, which compared a player's On Base Plus Slugging (OPS): regular season v. World Series (WS) with the percentage difference.  Here are those WS percentages for Joe DiMaggio plus DiMaggio's rank among his Yankee teammates with at least 15 plate appearances (PA) in that WS (click link to see annual data):

1936 -9.61% 5 of 8
1937 -40.29% 7 of 8
1938 -18.82% 5 of 7
1939 -26.59% 3 of 6
1941 -48.64% 8 of 8
1942 -20.82% 6 of 7; Yankees lost.
1947 -7.69% 6 of 8
1949 -53.87% 4 of 5; all five Yankees had negative percentages.
1950 10.68% 2 of 7
1951 1.14% 4 of 8

DiMaggio was the slugger who did not strike out (SO).  Prior to his final season in 1951 he had more home runs than strike outs.  DiMaggio finished fifth in career HR, same position as Alex Rogriguez.  In that final season DiMaggio had 12 home runs and 36 SO.  That was the indication that he was through.  But DiMaggio did SO much more in 9 of the 10 WS.  Maybe the National League pitchers were striking out all the Yankees more.  They were but not that much more.  Below are the percentage differences between the regular season and the WS for DiMaggio's teammates and for DiMaggio.  In 7 of the 10 WS DiMaggio's teammates did better, usually much better.  Click link to see data.

Year teammates DiMaggio
1936 -33.83% -46.94%
1937 -4.34% -56.31%
1938 -1.06% -47.41%
1939 -34.57% -30.74%
1941 3.44% -77.17%
1942 -17.20% 23.93%
1947 -30.34% -22.10%
1949 -29.78% -76.18%
1950 -1.38% -18.29%
1951 -0.95% -50.12%
Year teammates DiMaggio

DiMaggio struck out at least once in each of those ten WS.  This from a guy who had 13 SO in 541 AB, once every 41.6 AB, in 1941, the season of his 56 game hitting streak.  In the 1941 WS DiMaggio was -77% while his teammates were plus 3.4%.

Finally, what about DiMaggio having only four WS RBI in Yankee Stadium in 90 AB?  retrosheet.org has WS splits.  DiMaggio had 2 RBI in 8 AB in 1937.  Yanks beat Giants 4 games to 1.  Remember, all eight of DiMaggio's WS HR were on the road.

DiMaggio got both those 1937 RBI in game one, Yanks beating Giants 8-1.  DiMaggio was 2 for 4.  In the bottom of the sixth DiMaggio got a two run single off Carl Hubbell to put the Yanks ahead 2-1; they scored seven runs that inning.  Little did DiMaggio know but that was half his WS career total at home.

Yanks lost the 1942 WS to St. Louis 4-1.  In the final game DiMaggio got his third WS RBI at Yankee Stadium.  DiMaggio was 1 for 4.  In the fourth DiMaggio singled in a run putting the Yanks ahead 2-1.  St. Louis tied in the 6th and scored two in the 9th to win 4-2.

DiMaggio's fourth and final WS home RBI was in the fourth and final game of the 1950 WS sweep of the Philadelphia Philles.  DiMaggio was 2 for 3; one run, one RBI; single, double, HBP.  In the first Yogi Berra singled in the first run and DiMaggio doubled to right to drive in Berra.  Yanks scored three in the 6th, Philles two in the 9th.  Yanks won 5-2.

In 80% of his ten WS Joe DiMaggio generally performed below his regular season performance that season.  He was especially bad at home in Yankee Stadium.  The Yankees won 9 of those 10 WS.  If DiMaggio had played the last 13 seasons and under achieved that way how would Yankee fans have reacted?  Something like the way they treated Alex Rodriguez, when they booed their all time third baseman?

Oh that's different you say.  DiMaggio was always a Yankee.  Rodriguez used steroids when he played three seasons in Texas before joining the Yankees.  Rodriguez makes all that money that he is not earning.

DiMaggio was booed in his early seasons when he held out for more money, more than was being paid to Lou Gehrig.  In his final three seasons DiMaggio was paid $100,000, top dollar back then.  DiMaggio may have earned it in 1950 when he led the league in slugging average.  In 1949 he was injured much of the time and 1951 was way below par for Joe DiMaggio, which is why he retired even though the Yankees wanted to pay him $100,000 in 1952.  DiMaggio knew he was through.

Booing your own players is never good, especially when the players are trying their best.  I think the 2012 Yankees tried their best and worked hard preparing and playing.  Alex Rodriguez is an all time great and an all time Yankee.  Rodriguez prepares and plays as hard as anyone, even at age 37.  He deserves better from Yankee fans and from Yankee ownership and management.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joe DiMaggio sucked in the World Series.

In the regular season Joe DiMaggio struck out every 18.59 At Bats (AB).  In the World Series (WS): every 9 at home, every 8.38 on the road.

In 90 AB at home Joe DiMaggio had only four RBI.  FOUR.  That's one fewer than the number on his back.

All eight of Joe DiMaggio's (WS) Home Runs (HR) were hit on the road.  Here are the home/road splits for the three other Yankee greats:

Mantle 5/13
Ruth 4/11 Including one in the Polo Grounds in 1921 WS.
Gehrig 4/6.

So none of the big four hit more HR in their home parks.  Babe Ruth hit all of his WS HR for the Yankees, none for the Red Sox.

Eight of top ten in WS At Bats (AB) are Yankees (with Plate Appearances (PA)):
1. Yogi Berra 259 295
2. Mickey Mantle 230 273
3. Joe DiMaggio 199 220
4. Frankie Frisch 197 216
5. Gil McDougald 190 215
6. Hank Bauer 188 199
7. Phil Rizzuto 183 219
8. Elston Howard 171 189 Some with Boston.
9. Pee Wee Reese 169 191
10. Derek Jeter 156 173

DiMaggio is number three with 199 AB.

Top ten in WS HR with PA:
1. Mickey Mantle 18 273
2. Babe Ruth 15 167
3. Yogi Berra 12 295
4. Duke Snider 11 149
5. Lou Gehrig 10 150
  Reggie Jackson 10 116
7. Joe DiMaggio 8 220
  Bill Skowron 8 141
  Frank Robinson 8 106
10. Gil McDougald 7 215
  Hank Bauer 7 199
  Goose Goslin 7 143
  Chase Utley 7 49

Let's put some of this together.

Top Yankees WS HR, AB (click link to see detailed data):
Mickey Mantle 18 230
Babe Ruth 15 118 Excludes 11 WS AB with Boston.
Yogi Berra 12 259 Includes regular season data with Mets.
Lou Gehrig 10 119
Joe DiMaggio 8 199
Bill Skowron 8 133 Includes 1963 WS as Dodger against Yankees (HR in Yankee Stadium).
Gil McDougald 7 190
Hank Bauer 7 188 Includes regular season data with KC.

Only DiMaggio and Berra had a better HR rate (AB/HR) in the regular season than in WS and Yogi's was almost even, about 21.5 to 21.  DiMaggio was 25 to 19, a significant difference.

Click this link.  There are several tabs with data comparing a player's On Base Plus Slugging (OPS): regular season v. WS with the percentage difference.  Here are those WS percentages for Joe DiMaggio:

1936 -9.61%
1937 -40.29%
1938 -18.82%
1939 -26.59%
1941 -48.64%
1942 -20.82% Yankees lost.
1947 -7.69%
1949 -53.87%
1950 10.68%
1951 1.14%

We don't hear much about this because the Yankees won nine of those ten WS.  Yogi Berra is considered a clutch player because of his batting in his later WS but Yogi sucked in his first five.  Yankee outfielder Hank Bauer, who holds the WS hitting streak record at 17, had a WS career similar to Berra's.  Jackie Robinson lost all but one WS and his numbers sucked:

1947 -16.7%
1949 -36%
1952 -23%
1953 -18%
1955 -17.5% Dodgers won.
1956 .09%

The only thing more shocking than DiMaggio's poor WS performance is that hardly anyone knows just how bad he was.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yankees OPS: regular v. post season through 2012. Sacrificing wins for dollars?

Manager Joe Girardi replaced Rodriguez with Chavez?  Minus 12% with minus 32%?

    regular                   post     dif Dif/Reg
Derek Jeter 0.829 0.838 0.009 1.09%
Curtis Granderson.834 0.791 -0.043 -5.16%
Raul Ibanez 0.810       0.743       -0.067         -8.27%
Alex Rodriguez 0.945 0.833 -0.112 -11.85%
Russell Martin 0.751 0.623 -0.128 -17.04%
Robinson Cano 0.854 0.686 -0.168 -19.67%
Mark Teixeira 0.896 0.662 -0.234 -26.12%
Nick Swisher 0.828 0.589 -0.239 -28.86%
Eric Chavez 0.818 0.555 -0.263 -32.15%

These numbers are for each player's entire career through the entire 2012 Major Baseball League tournament.  Obviously, Rodriguez was not the worst offender, not by a long shot; he ranks fourth of nine and his post season OPS is second only to Jeter's.  Did Yankee GM Brian Cashman consider this when he was assembling this team?

The public humiliation of Alex Rodriguez appears to have been motivated not by baseball but by money.  Yankee ownership and management down to Girardi jeopardized the team's opportunity to advance in the 2012 tournament in order to influence Rodriguez to agree to leave the Yankees after this season so that the team can reduce its exposure to the new luxury tax that his big contract would incur.  In other words the Yankees would rather lose games now than pay money later.

If the league wasn't already a disgrace it might investigate this but there is no chance of that happening.

OPS: reg v. post through 2011 research.

Click link to see.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Small ball for small minds.

From SABR bio of Earle Combs:

When (Earle) Combs did report to the Yankees, Miller Huggins sat him down and had a long talk with him. At Louisville he had been called "The Mail Carrier" because of his base stealing and speed. Huggins, however, told Combs not to worry about stealing bases but as a leadoff man to
wait out the pitcher, get on base any way he could, and let the big guns in the lineup, like Ruth, drive him in. Huggins ended the talk with "Up here we will call you the Waiter." Combs, sensing that Huggins knew what he was talking about, put aside his ego, carried out his skipper's orders, and served the team well in his new situation. Because of the Yankees' great sluggers, Combs never stole more than sixteen bases in a season.

I guess Earl Weaver wasn't the first manager whose favorite play was the three run homer.  Yeah, I know they don't have Babe Ruth but the 2012 Yankees hit 245 home runs.  The 1924 Yankees hit just 98 home runs (Ruth 46, Bob Meusel 12) but their Hall of Fame manager wanted his new leadoff batter to avoid making outs on the bases.  Even the 1927 Yankees hit only 158.

By the way the best base stealer on the 2012 Yankees was Alex Rodriguez: 13 SB, 1 CS.  How come nobody mentioned that when they were yapping about playing Brett Gardner so that the Yankees could steal some bases in the tournament?

World Series research.

Click link to see research I did November, 2008.

St. Louis won in seven in 2011.

Home Rules Advantage: Melky's Revenge.

Sunday, August 19, 2012
Melky Cabrera: should his stats be purged and his team's wins vacated?

Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games by the Major Baseball League (MBL) ... To purge the stats of an athlete in a team sport such as baseball presents many more complex issues all of which would need to be ignored by those who mindlessly advocate such action...  what will be the cry if the season ends with the banned Melky Cabrera having the highest batting average in the National Conference?  You can bet that the hypocrites and zealots will advocate that Melky somehow be stripped of this distinction...

But wait, there's more in Wonderland.  What about the record of Melky's team?  Without Melky the Giants would probably have won fewer games.  Shouldn't the Giants wins with Melky playing be vacated the way the NCAA does with rules violations in football?  And shouldn't the Giants be banned from the MBL tournament for a couple of seasons?  ...

Last but not least: Melky was MVP in the 2012 All Star game, which though an exhibition, carries the weight of designating which conference champion receives home field advantage in game seven of the finals of the MBL tournament.  Shouldn't that result also be vacated and home field advantage awarded to the American Conference?

What a tangled web.  I'll be rooting for Melky to have the highest batting average in his conference just to see the hypocrites and zealots squirm.


This morning I read that the American Conference (AC) tournament winners, the Detroit Tigers, plan to use Designated Hitter (DH) Delmon Young in left field in the opening game of the MBL finals in the National Conference (NC) home park, either in St. Louis or in San Francisco.

It hit me all over again.  In the finals the team with the home field advantage (actually only in a game seven) also has the home RULES advantage.  Geez, what a joke.  The Major BUSH League will look even more ridiculous than usual this season if the league championship comes to that absurd ultimate conclusion.

Melky's team, the San Francisco Giants, the one that refuses to activate Melky even though his suspension has been served, will get an advantage that it clearly does not deserve.

I guess it's too late to ban the Giants but at least MBL commissioner Bud Selig should have the basic common sense and decency to deprive the Giants of home rules advantage in a seventh and deciding game in the MBL finals.  If Melky was guilty then so was Melky's team, which should not be rewarded for Melky's transgression.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

OPS regular v. playoff: under-performing stars.

regular playoff dif Dif/Reg
Mays 0.941 0.660 0.281 29.86%
DiMaggio  0.977 0.760 0.217 22.21%
Rodriguez 0.945 0.833 0.112 11.85%

Friday, October 19, 2012

Aging Super Star.

The aging super star had an injury plagued sub-par regular season.  His post season performances over many years have consistently been far below his regular season accomplishments.

He is striking out more than usual.  In the seven game post season series what should his manager do with him:
- bench
- drop lower in the lineup
- pinch hit?

What to do about Alex Rodriguez?  No, what to do about Joe DiMaggio in 1951?

Prior to 1951 DiMaggio had more career home runs than strike outs.  In 1951: 12 HR, 36 SO.  DiMaggio's batting average (BA) equaled the league BA with pitchers batting.  It was Joe D's final season.

During the regular season in games that he started, DiMaggio batted fourth in 108 and fifth in five games.  Yankee manager Casey Stengel did not humiliate DiMaggio by dropping him too low.

In the 1951 World Series the Yankees played the New York Giants.  DiMaggio had hit well in the 1950 WS: .308 BA, .471 OBP, .615 SLG; one double, one HR.  But that was unusual for DiMaggio.  His career WS numbers including 1951 v. regular season:

BA .271/.325
OBP .338/.398
SLG .422/.579
OPS .760/.977

Ouch.  And all 8 of his WS HR were on the road.  Why don't we hear more about this?  Because the Yankees won 9 of the 10 WS in which DiMaggio played.

In 1951 DiMaggio's numbers:
first half: 206 PA, .806 OPS
second half: 276 PA, .772 OPS

July .748
August .738
September .787

DiMaggio had one and only one hit in each of his final seven 1951 regular season games in 29 AB: six singles and a home run.  The fading DiMaggio was on a seven game hitting streak.

Stengel had dropped DiMaggio from fourth to fifth for five consecutive games: Sept. 16 through 20.  The first two were crucial in the pennant race against first place Cleveland.  Joe went 4 for 19: 2 singles, double, triple.

Top of the order Sept. 16:

Yanks beat Cleveland 22 game winner Bob Feller 5-1 at the Stadium before 68,760 to pull ahead of Cleveland.  The next day same top five as the Yanks beat another Hall of Fame Cleveland pitcher, Bob Lemon 2-1.

Against White Sox lefty Billy Pierce the Yanks lost 7-1; Cleveland beat Boston:

Yanks beat White Sox 5-3; Cleveland beat Boston:

Yanks beat White Sox 5-4; Cleveland did not play:

DiMaggio returned to the cleanup spot for the remainder of his career.  Next game:

Yanks beat Red Sox 5-1 at Fenway Park; Cleveland lost to Detroit:

1951 WS:

Thursday, October 4, 1951, Yankee Stadium Attendance: 65,673
Giants beat Yankees 5-1
DiMaggio 0 for 4

Friday, October 5, 1951, Yankee Stadium Attendance: 66,018
Yankees beat Giants 3-1
Mantle (injured; out for WS)
DiMaggio 0 for 3; SO; GDP

Saturday, October 6, 1951, Polo Grounds Attendance: 52,035
Giants beat Yankees 6-2, lead WS 2-1
DiMaggio 0 for 4; SO

Yanks are down 2-1 in games, on the road and cleanup batter DiMaggio is hitless (0 for 11) with two SO.  Remember, in 1941 DiMaggio had 13 SO for the entire season.  If Stengel was going to bench his unproductive super star it would have been for the next game.

Monday, October 8, 1951, Polo Grounds Attendance: 49,010
Yankees beat Giants 6-2; WS tied 2-2
DiMaggio 2 for 5; 2 SO; Run, 2 RBI, HR
Yanks led 2-1 in 5th when DiMaggio hits 2 run HR off 23 game winner Sal Maglie.

Tuesday, October 9, 1951, Polo Grounds Attendance: 47,530
Yankees beat Giants 13-1, lead WS 3-2
DiMaggio 3 for 5; Run, 3 RBI, 2B

Wednesday, October 10, 1951, Yankee Stadium Attendance: 61,711
Yankees beat Giants 4-3 to win WS 4-2
DiMaggio 1 for 2; Run, 2 IW, 2B

First inning DiMaggio IW to load bases; McDougald SF; 1-0 Yanks.
Sixth  inning DiMaggio IW with one out, Berra on second; Yanks score three, lead 4-1.

Eighth inning DiMaggio leads off with double off new pitcher 23 game winner Larry Jansen.

Casey Stengel had every reason to bench his aging super star after game two and certainly after game three but he chose to stick with DiMaggio.  Why?  Maybe Stengel believed in DiMaggio.  Maybe Stengel was concerned about the press, Yankee management, the fans, Yankee players.  Who knows? Stengel and DiMaggio were not close. If anything Stengel resented DiMaggio and his dominant position on the Yankees.  Maybe Stengel was even a little intimidated.

Ironically, future all time great Mickey Mantle, a rookie, may have helped to save DiMaggio.  Mantle was injured in game two on a fly hit by fellow rookie Willie Mays that was caught by DiMaggio.  It limited Stengel's options, maybe just long enough for DiMaggio to start hitting in games 4,5,6.

Naked City: eight million ideas about the Yankees.

From 1958 through 1963 there was a TV crime show about New York called "Naked City".  At the conclusion the viewer would hear the narrator say: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

Today there are eight million ideas about the Yankees.  What went wrong.  What could have been done.  What to do for next season.  I'm already pretty sick of what I've heard and won't provide idea number eight million and one.

We behave oddly under pressure.  We fans succumb to tournament pressure as if someone were actually interested in how we react.  We panic.  We blame.  We look for scapegoats.  We look for conspiracies.  We look for treachery.  We interpret mistakes and imperfections as character flaws.  We turn on the players we had cheered all through the regular season.  We look for temporary replacements during the tournament and for permanent ones after.  It gets pretty ugly.

We New Yorkers think we're more knowledgeable than fans in other cities, more sophisticated, but we're not.  We're just as bad.  Remember that jerk in Chicago who was ridiculed for interfering with a Cub outfielder trying to catch a foul fly in a playoff game?  Since then I've seen Yankee fans at the Stadium do that and similarly stupid things that would hurt the Yankees.

The Yankees did not score much in the four game sweep against Detroit.  Here are generic explanations:
1. All batters failed to try enough.
2. All batters slumped.
3. All batters choked.
4. Detroit pitching was too good for them.

Being fairly rational, I'm going with the Detroit pitching being too good.  That seems far more plausible than any of the other possibilities.  As such, I'm not that upset with the Yankees.  I'm very disappointed and I was in a pretty good funk last night and into this morning but I'm pretty much over it and thinking pretty rationally now.  I'm not looking to get rid of many if not most of the players I rooted for during the 162 game regular season.

I realize that rosters change and that the team must try to improve but this group won 95 games, most in the American Conference, and the pitching was outstanding in the tournament so the team's main problem is that so many of the players are old and their performance will naturally deteriorate.

The natural inclination is to try to get younger and more athletic.  I'm all for that.  Bring in Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.  However, if the Yankees do not have players like that in the farm system then more difficult decisions need to be made.

I remember the 1962 and 1963 World Series.  In 1962 Mickey Mantle was in his prime but he hit very poorly against the San Francisco Giants; batting average (BA) .125, including 1 for 3 in game seven.  Through the first six games Mantle was 2 (single, double) for 22: .090.  Should Yankee manager Ralph Houk have benched The Mick in game seven?  Dropped him lower in the lineup?  Pinch hit for Mantle during the game?  Yanks won game seven 1-0.  Ralph Terry pitched a complete game.

How about 1963 when the Yankees lost four straight against the Los Angeles Dodgers, never having a lead?  As the series progressed should Houk have used subs Phil Linz, Harry Bright and Jack Reed?  The Dodgers used four pitchers; the one reliever retired only two batters, the three starters retired all the rest.

These seem like odd questions even now and would have seemed alien 49-50 years ago.  Generally, a manager needs to go with the players who got him there.  If the manager does not support his regular players or, worse shows panic, that manager is in danger of losing his clubhouse, if not immediately then in the following season.

These are the times that try men's souls.

Alex Rodriguez broke his hand ... three months ago! (2012)

Alex Rodriguez suffered a broken hand Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at Safeco Field in Seattle.  Felix Hernandez hit Rodriguez with a pitched ball in the eighth inning.  Rodriguez did not play again until September 3 in Tampa.  After returning his strike out rate increased dramatically.

From July 17 through July 21 Rodriguez played five games with zero strike outs in 19 at bats (AB).  The 28 games that Rodriguez played in September/October resulted in his lowest monthly OPS in 2012 (.710) and second worst strike out rate.

April/March 22 82 16 5.125
May 27 102 24 4.25
June 26 95 30 3.16666666666667
July 19 73 14 5.21428571428571
Sept/Oct 28 111 32 3.46875

So how come hardly anyone even mentioned this much less emphasized it in explaining why Rodriguez was striking out so much in the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament?  In particular Yankee general manager Brian Cashman simply tried to justify the Yankee position in benching Rodriguez against Detroit by stating that the increase in strike outs stretched back into the regular season.  Yeah, all the way back to September 3 and after Rodriguez suffered a BROKEN HAND!

What the heck?  Do people hate Rodriguez so much that they would ignore a BROKEN HAND?  It appears that they would rather jump to the conclusion that Rodriguez was choking ... again.  They would rather believe that his playful flirting with a good looking woman fan was further proof that he is not a team player.  On that suppose Rodriguez had communicated with a kid and not a woman?  Let's make it a kid with some affliction.  Would that be perceived as improper?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alex Rodriguez: reachable milestones in 2013 worth $$$?

Alex Rodriguez can easily reach these milestones in 2013:

- 2,000 RBI: needs 50
- 3,000 Hits: needs 99.

More difficult but possible would be 2,000 runs; Rodriguez needs 102, which he has not achieved since 2008.

These are huge accomplishments.  Most teams would relish having a player reach even one of these.  To have a player reach two in the same season would be special.  Three would be extra special.  Plus, Rodriguez is 53 home runs short of 700.  The career record (762 by Barry Bonds), which once seemed inevitable, now seems unreachable for Rodriguez but 700 should still be possible and another huge accomplishment.  And after that: chasing Babe Ruth at 714.

Rodriguez could reach both 2,000 runs and 700 home runs in 2014.  That would give his team two consecutive seasons in which it could milk special individual accomplishments for additional revenue.  If he falls short on home runs then it simply slips to 2015.

Only Hank Aaron has achieved all four milestones.  Rodriguez could put his name right after Aaron.

So how stupid would it be for the Yankees to send Rodriguez to another team?  Rodriguez is due these salaries:
2013: $28 million
2014: $25 million
2015: $21 million
2016: $20 million
2017: $20 million.

Big bucks but could the Yankees still make money with those extra revenue generators that such events would generate?  Beats me but somebody including a very high Yankee decision maker should make darn sure to find out.

Yankees humiliate A-Rod. Now what?

Why denigrate your product?  Alex Rodriguez is not an employee, he's the product.  Ticket takers are employees, not ball players.

Without getting too much into the soap opera aspect this reeks of GM Brian Cashman telling Yankee President Randy Levine and the male Steinbrenner kids: I told you so (concerning A-Rod's big contract).

The Yankees have inflicted all three humiliations mentioned here previously, none of which were inflicted on Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays:
- benching
- dropped in the batting order
- pinch hit for.

Alex Rodriguez pinch hit for: worse than benching.  Thursday, October 11, 2012

For another team to take damaged goods and a huge contract the Yankees would have to pay maybe 75% of that contract to have Alex Rodriguez reach these milestones with another team:
- 2,000 runs
- 2,000 RBI
- 3,000 Hits
- 700 home runs.

Is that good business?

Whatever his faults, real or imagined, Rodriguez plays and practices hard with an unmatched diligence.  And he's endured his public humiliation with grace and dignity.

But wait.  The season is not actually over.  A-Rod could still perform and rescue his team.  Would that make for a happy ending?  Maybe for some.  But is this any way to treat another human being or to judge him?  Given his standing in his profession, Alex Rodriguez is being treated much worse than his peers, past and present all time great baseball players.

Finally, where are his Yankee teammates, including missing captain Derek Jeter?  Have any of them expressed concern with manager Joe Girardi who would never have done this without backing and probably encouragement from Cashman?  Who has gone to Girardi and said: Are you crazy?  Rodriguez has got to play!

None that we know of, and that says something about both them and Rodriguez, which is not positive.

 Too bad.  I really liked this Yankee team ... a week ago.  Now they're descending into the realm of the Mets and Red Sox.  This is getting ugly.  And the Yankees, from top to bottom, and their fans have only themselves to blame.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ted Williams was dropped to sixth in the batting order.

Thursday, October 11, 2012
Alex Rodriguez pinch hit for: worse than benching.

There was plenty on the line but neither Stengel nor Berra humiliated his aging star despite the fact that neither had a long or close relationship with the star.

The easiest for a manager is to bench the aging super star.  There's always the pretext that the star needs rest.  Next, though difficult, is to drop him in the batting order and even that is seldom done.  By far the most difficult because it is the most humiliating for the star is to pinch hit for him, especially in a big spot.

Ted Williams, who would turn 41 August 30, was dropped from third in the Boston lineup to sixth on of all days July 4, 1959.  Williams had served stateside in the U.S. military during World War II and was called into active service again for combat under John Glenn in the Marines in the Korean conflict in 1952-1953.

Williams had led the American league in batting average (BA) in 1957 and 1958 but he was hitting only .201 when he was dropped to 6th.

Pinky Higgins managed Boston to a record of 31-42 when he was replaced by Rudy York for one game and then by Billy Jurges (44-36) who was the first of three Boston managers in 1960 going 15-27 before being replaced by Del Baker (2-5) and Pinky Higgins (48-57).  The last game Higgins managed in 1959 was Thursday, July 2, 1959 in Griffith Stadium in Washington, DC.  Boston lost 6-3 to the Senators whose record was 35-39.  It was the fifth consecutive loss for Boston.  Here is the Boston lineup in that game:

Marty Keough CF
Pete Runnels 2B
Ted Williams LF 0 for 4 .206
Vic Wertz 1B
Jackie Jensen RF
Frank Malzone 3B
Pete Daley C
Don Buddin SS
Frank Sullivan P

Bill Fischer, a righthander, pitched eight innings for Washington.  Fischer was immortalized in the 11th inning of a night game Wednesday, May 22, 1963 at Yankee Stadium for a titanic walk off home run he gave up to Mickey Mantle; the ball hit the edge of the roof in right field.

The next Boston game was Friday, July 3, 1959 in Memorial Stadium Baltimore: attendance: 13,997.  York was managing.  Baltimore (40-36) won 6-1.  Except for the pitcher the Boston lineup remained the same.  Williams went 0 for 3 dropping to .201.  He had one walk, one strike out and an RBI.

Jurges managed his first game in the majors the next day Saturday, July 4, 1959; attendance: 10,628.  Jurges played 1,816 games mostly at short, all in the National League 1931-1947; .258 BA.  Baltimore beat Boston 11-5.  Righthander Milt Pappas pitched a complete game for Baltimore.  Here is the Boston lineup:

Don Buddin SS
Pete Runnels 2B
Marty Keough CF
Jackie Jensen RF
Vic Wertz 1B
Ted Williams LF 2 for 3 .211
Frank Malzone 3B
Sammy White C
Ted Wills P

The last game Williams batted sixth was Monday, July 27, 1959 at Cleveland Stadium; attendance: 12,716.  Boston won 4-0.  Lefty Herb Score pitched the first five innings for Cleveland and took the loss.  Williams batted sixth in all 17 games that he started during that stretch.  His BA improved from .201 to .240.  He finished the season at .254.  Here is the lineup in game 17:

Don Buddin SS
Pete Runnels 2B
Jim Busby CF
Dick Gernert 1B (righy against lefty pitcher)
Jackie Jensen RF
Ted Williams LF 0 for 1 .240
Frank Malzone 3B
Sammy White C
Jerry Casale P

Note the cleanup hitter.  Gernert played 835 games for Boston 1952-1959: 101 HR, 377 RBI, .252 BA.  He then played for four other teams.

Thursday, July 30, 1959 at Cleveland Stadium (attendance: 10,244) Williams batted cleanup.  Cleveland won 4-3.  Boston was 43-57.  Righty Mudcat Grant pitched the first eight innings for Cleveland.  Here is the lineup in Williams first game out of purgatory:

Pumpsie Green 2B
Pete Runnels 1B
Gary Geiger CF
Ted Williams LF 1 for 4 .239
Jackie Jensen RF
Frank Malzone 3B
Sammy White C
Jim Mahoney SS
Tom Brewer P

Maybe manager Jurges was just shaking up the lineup.  Boston seemed to have a thing for batting its CF third, all while Williams batted sixth: Marty Keough, Jim Busby, Gary Geiger.  For the rest of the 1959 season Williams batted third or fourth when he started.

Was Billy Jurges simply trying to win games?  Was he sending a message?  To Williams?  To the entire team?  Boston was the only team that Jurges managed, the third of three managers in 1959 and the first of three in 1960.  Pinky Higgins would start as manager in 1959 and finish as manager in 1960.  The Boston Red Sox were a mess.  Maybe the humiliation that Ted Williams suffered in 1959 was simply collateral damage.  Maybe Williams was part of the problem.

The dropping of Williams in the lineup is the closest thing I've found to what has happened to Alex Rodruguez in the 2012 Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament.  See the link to my post about Rodriguez at the top.