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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mickey Mantle: home/road, lefty/righty by team. Asymmetry on steroids.

Mickey Mantle during his 18 seasons (1951-1968) played his home games in one ball park: Yankee Stadium, which remained unchanged, except for a new scoreboard being put at the back of the bleachers in right center, at a distance that even The Mick approached only once.  Stan Musial may be the only player to have played all his home games in an unchanged park and whose number of home games exceed Mantle's total.

On the road Mantle played in these parks in all of his 18 seasons, two of which had consistent distances to the outfield walls:
- Fenway Park in Boston
- Comisky Park in Chicago power alleys changed:
1949 375
1954 382
1955 365
1956 375
1959 365
1968 375
- Municipal Stadium in Cleveland power alleys changed:
1949 385
1954 380
1965 400
1967 390
1968 395
- Briggs/Tiger Stadium in Detroit

The Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1955, then to Oakland in 1968.

The St. Louis Brown morphed into the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

In 1961 the Washington Senators morphed into the Minnesota Twins.

In 1961 the old American League added two teams, expanding beyond its original eight for the first time: the Los Angeles Angels and the new Washington Senators.

Let's look at how Mantle's lefty/righty numbers break down in the four those road parks.  Click this link to view detailed data in tab "Road by Team".  Also, this link with summary data.

OppBR throws BA OBP  SLG  OPS
BOS  L 0.326 0.439 0.663 1.102
BOS  R 0.306 0.428 0.585 1.013

CHW L 0.326 0.420 0.577 0.998
CHW R 0.261 0.415 0.472 0.887

CLE  L 0.359 0.481 0.550 1.031
CLE  R 0.239 0.371 0.480 0.851

DET  L 0.373 0.466 0.627 1.093
DET  R 0.278 0.385 0.533 0.919

Mantle hit better in all four stats in all four parks against lefty pitchers.  Here are the differences (versus lefties (vL) minus versus righties (vR)):
Team BA OBP  SLG  OPS
BOS       0.020 0.011 0.078 0.089
CHW    0.065 0.005 0.105 0.111
CLE      0.120 0.110 0.070 0.180
DET     0.095 0.081 0.094 0.174

Detroit was the only park in which his AB/HR (lower is better) was better against righty pitchers: 14.36 against lefties, 13.33 against righties.  Detailed HR data below.

So how did The Mick do against these same teams in Yankee Stadium lefty/righty?
T: Throws Left or Right
Team T BA OBP  SLG    OPS
BOS   L  0.336 0.466 0.477 0.943
BOS   R  0.284 0.439 0.579 1.018

CHW L 0.292 0.365 0.498 0.863
CHW R 0.304 0.406 0.658 1.065

CLE  L 0.320 0.447 0.595 1.042
CLE  R 0.264 0.415 0.463 0.879

DET  L 0.320 0.401 0.539 0.941
DET  R 0.261 0.401 0.498 0.900

In Yankee Stadium the numbers (versus lefties (vL) minus versus righties (vR)) are quite different (negative means better vR):
Team     BA OBP  SLG    OPS
BOS  0.052 0.027 -0.102 -0.075
CHW -0.012 -0.041 -0.16 -0.202
CLE      0.056 0.032 0.132 0.163
DET  0.059 0.000 0.041 0.041

Mantle against righty pitchers is much more formidable in Yankee Stadium.  On the road he's better against lefties across the board.

At Bats/Home Runs; lower is better:
T: Throws Left or Right
Team  T      Road Home R-H
BOS   L 13.57 26.75 -13.18
BOS   R 14.00 12.41 1.59
CHW L 16.21 23.00 -6.79
CHW R 20.13 10.29 9.84
CLE  L 21.83 13.91 7.92
CLE  R 13.97 19.78 -5.81
DET  L 14.36 26.78 -12.42
DET  R 13.33 14.95 -1.62

I can't explain the Cleveland home run numbers.The other three teams show results that are what one would expect given the grossly asymmetrical dimensions of Yankee Stadium from 1951 through 1968:
right field line: 296 three foot high railing
right: 344 three foot high railing
right center: 407
center: 461 (473 to left of dead center)
left center: 457
left: 402 three foot high railing
left field line: 301 three foot high railing

In the old Yankee Stadium a batter could hit a 300 foot home run and a 460 foot out.  The out could be more than 50 percent longer than the home run.  For some, maybe most, baseball fans that's pretty much OK, as long as the player does use steroids.  Steroid use would undermine the integrity of the game.

Ah, the eternal charm of asymmetrical, non cookie cutter ball parks, the delight of the non-thinking old fart fan everywhere.  Asymmetry on steroids.

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