The All-Time Boston Red Sox Team, By Season

by JohnBowen

The Red Sox are one of the most storied franchises in the game and are looking to add to their two titles already in this young century. With that in mind, I present the best seasons in Red Sox history by position…for now:

Starting Lineup

Catcher: Carlton Fisk, 1977

Carlton Fisk is remembered most for the ball he waved fair in game 6 of the 1975 World Series – a perfect conclusion to arguably the greatest game of all-time. Interestingly enough, Fisk only played 79 games in the Red Sox pennant-winning season; two years later, in the midst of a tight pennant race, Fisk came through for his team by playing in 152 games at catcher and hitting .315/.402/.521 with 26 homers and 102 RBI.

1st Base: Jimmie Foxx, 1938

After being sold off as part of Connie Mack’s second payroll shedding, Foxx adapted well to his new home at Fenway. He won his third MVP, and his first with the Sox in 1938, leading the league with an incredible 175 RBI and winning the slash stat triple crown at .349/.462/.704. The next year, he got to hit in the same lineup as a youngster named Ted Williams.

2nd Base: Bobby Doerr, 1948

This was a tough one; in the old-school corner, you have Bobby Doerr, hall-of-famer and captain of the Red Sox; in the modern corner, Dustin Pedroia, who came off a rookie-of-the-year and World Championship performance to win the league MVP award. Doerr held the advantage in on-base, slugging, OPS+ and got the nod from me.

3rd Base: Wade Boggs, 1987

Winner of five batting titles in six years in the 1980’s, Wade Boggs added an anomalous power stroke in 1987 (though so did the rest of the league). Boggs led the league in batting and on-base percentage while putting up a career best 24 homeruns and 173 OPS+. He cranked 40 doubles for the third consecutive year – a streak that would ultimately extend to seven – and began a streak of six consecutive years in which he would lead the league in intentional walks. At the conclusion of this season, only Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and Joe Jackson would have a higher career batting average than Boggs.

Shortstop: Nomar Garciaparra, 2000

It’s incredible that the 2000 Boston Red Sox only won 85 games; Pedro Martinez had arguably the greatest season ever by a pitcher (more on that in a bit) and Nomar Garciaparra put up the highest batting average by a shortstop since Luke Appling in 1936. Nomah won his second consecutive batting title at .372 (he hit .357 the previous season) and tacked on 51 doubles and 21 dingers to finish ninth in the MVP voting.

Leftfield: Carl Yastrzemski, 1967

The Splendid Splinter will get his place in a second, but for now, let’s focus on the last triple crown in Major League history. Carl Yastrzemski put it all together in 1967, leading the league with a .326 average, 44 homers, and 121 RBI to go along with league bests in on-base percentage (.418), slugging percentage (.622), and OPS+ (193). But to fully appreciate Yaz’s season, you have to look at his September. With three teams within two games of Boston on September 1st, the Boston leftfielder went on an absolute tear, hitting .417 for the month with nine homers, 26 RBI, and a 1.265 OPS. Even with his efforts, Boston was tied for the division lead with Minnesota on the last day of the season – when Boston and Minnesota squared off. Yaz went 4-4 with a double and two RBI to secure the pennant and his only MVP trophy.

Centerfield: Tris Speaker, 1912

The last of the 19th century centerfielders, Tris Speaker played an unusually shallow centerfield which allowed him to generate an exceptionally high number of outfield assists; in 1912, he tied a career high with 35. He wasn’t too shabby with the bat either, leading the league with a .464 on-base percentage, 10 homeruns, and 53 doubles while also stealing 52 bases.

Rightfield: George Herman Ruth, 1919

George Ruth had spent some time as a pitcher in the mid-1910’s, but after leading the league with 11 homeruns in just 95 games in 1918, the Red Sox made him a full-time outfielder in 1919 with just 15 starts. Ruth set a Major League record with 29 homeruns (most recently tied by Rickie Weeks, among others) while topping the league with a .456 on-base percentage, .657 slugging percentage, 219 OPS+ and 114 RBI. The Red Sox kept him in the outfield and never traded him anywhere; or something like that.

Designated Hitter: Ted Williams, 1941

Ted Williams would have loved the idea of a DH when he played; the greatest hitter who ever lived was a specialist in the craft. In 1941, he became the last player to ever hit .400, going 6-8 on the season’s last day to finish at .406. In addition, he set the all-time record for on-base percentage at .552, still the American League mark. His 234 OPS+ mark that season has not since been matched; at least not by a non-perjurer.

Batting Order

Speaker (L)

Boggs (L)

Williams (L)

Foxx (R)

Ruth (L)

Yastrzemski (L)

Garciaparra (R)

Fisk (R)

Doerr (R)

Starting Rotation

RHP – Pedro Martinez, 2000

This is, in my opinion, the greatest season ever by a pitcher. In the middle of the steroid era, pitching at on of the most hitter-friendly parks in the game, Pedro Martinez led the league with a microscopic 1.74 ERA over 217 innings. That came out to a 291 ERA+, which is the highest of all-time. To put that season in perspective, he had a better ERA in his losses (2.44) than any pitcher in baseball had period. He won the ERA title by two full runs over second place. He also broke a 118 year old record for lowest WHIP in a season at 0.737 and put up a K/BB ratio of 8.875 – at the time, a record for a non-strike season.

RHP – Roger Clemens, 1990

In the Red Sox pennant winning season of 1986, Roger Clemens won both the league MVP and Cy Young, going 24-4. In my opinion, however, he was even more dominant in 1990, going 21-6 with a 1.93 ERA (translates to a 213 ERA+) and a league-best four shutouts. He was delayed in his hunt for a third Cy Young award (for a year) by the voters’ then-worship of the almighty win, as Bob Welch had gone 27-6 for the hard-hitting A’s.

RHP – Smokey Joe Wood, 1912

In 1912, Smokey Joe Wood made 38 starts and completed 35 of them, with 10 shutouts and a league-best 34 wins. His 1.91 ERA and 1.014 WHIP both ranked second in the league to flamethrower Walter Johnson, as did his 258 strikeouts.

LHP – Lefty Grove, 1936

The only starting pitcher higher than Lefty Grove on the all-time ERA+ list is Pedro Martinez; Grove was an absolutely dominating force in the hitter-friendly 1930’s. He started with the Philadelphia A’s but came to Boston as part of Connie Mack’s firesale (where Jimmie Foxx would later join him). Grove won his 7th (of 9) ERA titles, posting a 190 ERA+ over 253.1 innings and a league best 1.192 WHIP – his fifth such title.

RHP – Cy Young, 1903

This rotation has a combined ten Cy Young awards; to think that the pitcher for whom the award was named stands as the number 5 starter! Cy Young was at his most dominant when he transferred to the newly formed American League in 1901, but I’m going to give him recognition for 1903, when the league had strengthened significantly. The righty still went 28-9 with a 2.08 ERA while leading the league with 34 complete games, 7 shutouts, and 341.2 innings pitched. When October rolled around, Young won two games to lead his Boston Americans to a 5-3 victory in the first World Series over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Bench

C – Jason Varitek, 2004: Captain of the Red Sox during World Series run.

1B – David Ortiz, 2006: hey, he once threw out Jeff Suppan from 1st!

2B – Dustin Pedroia, 2008: MVP led the league in runs, hits, and doubles.

3B/SS – Rico Petrocelli, 1969: Only AL shortstop in history besides A-Rod with 40 HR in a season.

OF – Jim Rice, 1978: Only player in baseball with 400 total bases between 1960 and 1996.

OF – Fred Lynn, 1979: Won slash-stat triple crown at .333/.423/.637

Bullpen

Closer: Jonathon Papelbon, 2006: Maintained ERA under 1 in rookie season.

Setup: Bill Cambell, 1977: Won first twoRolaids Relief Man Awards with Twins and Sox

Fireman: Dick Radatz, 1964: 16 wins and 29 saves for the 72-win Red Sox.

LHP: Tom Burgmeier, 1980: 213 ERA+ in 99 innings; fifth in league with 24 saves

RHP: Keith Foulke, 2004: 1 run in 14 innings during magical 2004 World Series run

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158 Responses to “The All-Time Boston Red Sox Team, By Season”

  1. Bob Says:

    For some reason I thought 1912 was Speaker’s best year.

  2. Bob Says:

    Actually, I think you meant 1912.

  3. JohnBowen Says:

    I did, thanks Bob.

  4. Cameron Says:

    It took me a moment to think of who beat Pedro’s K/BB record. Then I remembered, Cliff Lee last year. 185 K/18 BB, a 10.28 ratio.

  5. JohnBowen Says:

    Also, Curt Schilling delivered a 9.58 ratio in 2002.

    Of course, the NL gets to pitch against the pitcher.

  6. Raul Says:

    Is there any truth to the rumor that the Yankees and Red Sox considered trading Joe DiMaggio for Ted Williams?

    I think the rumor was that the opposing ballparks were better suited for each player.

  7. Raul Says:

    Cliff Lee throws A LOT of balls.

    I’ve never, in my entire life, seen a pitcher get 4 inches off the corner for more strikes than Cliff Lee.

    Even Greg Maddux didn’t get as many calls as Lee got last year.

  8. JohnBowen Says:

    Raul,

    That was indeed on the table; it didn’t go through, because the Red Sox wanted the Yankees to “chip in” their LF to replace Williams.

    That LF was a young Yogi Berra (Bill Dickey was still the catcher.

    However, I believe the deal was proposed toward the end of Dimaggio’s career.

  9. Raul Says:

    Really dude?

    You include David Ortiz in this list but Manny doesn’t even make the bench?

  10. JohnBowen Says:

    Ortiz was the #2 1B/DH type guy. Manny didn’t have a season with Boston that matched what Jim Rice or Fred Lynn did in their best years, so he didn’t make the cut. I’ve only got 25 guys…

  11. Raul Says:

    Sure…

    Statistically, I suppose.

    But you can’t come up with any situation ever, no matter what the season, where you’d rather have Jim Rice at the plate instead of Manny Ramirez.

  12. Raul Says:

    BTW,

    Damn that Red Sox all-time team might be the best we’ve seen on this website.

  13. Raul Says:

    Today,

    Chuck Norris is 71 years old.

  14. JohnBowen Says:

    Sure. Well, maybe. I never saw Rice play.

    But that’s not the name of the game.

  15. Steve W Says:

    That first Dutch Leonard had a nice year in 1914.

  16. Hartvig Says:

    I’ve got to agree with Raul. I think these guys could take anyone. There may be a few teams that can match the offense but combined with the pitching- I think this is the best roster ever.

  17. Mike Felber Says:

    Hmm, I wonder if this team would be #1. Partly it depends not just on the names, but how good their best seasons were. And what kind of adjustment you feel is appropriate based upon era played: the same performance early in the century would not be quite as dominant later. I would love to see all the teams play each other, Yankees, Braves, So-over 162 games. Then weight the results based upon average years you are using. Kerrrryyyy-wanna do all our work for us? :-)

    Ted Williams did not have the highest non-Bonds OPS +. besides Fred Dunlop in 1884, which I don’t blame anyone for not counting due to the era & 101 games-Ruth had 3 seasons that bested Williams, topping out at 255 in ‘20.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/onbase_plus_slugging_plus_season.shtml

  18. Raul Says:

    Dude, I wouldn’t want to pitch to Ted Williams…….ever.

    Are you kidding?

    I’m a Yankees fan and even I think this is one of the scariest line-ups and rotations ever.

  19. Raul Says:

    Carlton Fisk hits 8th or 9th and the sucker slugged .521!

  20. Cameron Says:

    Rotation’s better, but the All-Time Yankees team might just be a smidge better offensively.

    1 – Rickey Henderson (1985), LF
    2 – Joe DiMaggio (1937), CF
    3 – Babe Ruth (1921), RF
    4 – Mickey Mantle (1956), DH
    5 – Lou Gehrig (1927), 1B
    6 – Alex Rodriguez (2007), 3B
    7 – Tony Lazzeri (1929), 2B
    8 – Yogi Berra (1956), C
    9 – Derek Jeter (1999), SS

    Tough call, but I’d say advantage Yankees there.

  21. Raul Says:

    I looked up Jimmy Foxx’s career and wondered why you didn’t use his 1932 season, only to realize he wasn’t a member of the Boston Red Sox at the time.

    Foxx’s 1932 season ranks 17th all-time in terms of OPS — behind only Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig and Mark McGwire.

    (A number of guys are listed more than once — including 5 of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire’s steroid years).

  22. Raul Says:

    I have to say — holy crap @ A-Rod’s 2007. That was really a hell of a year.

  23. Raul Says:

    I will never, ever get over this.

    In 1920, Babe Ruth hit 58 homers and drove in 169 RBI.
    He hit .376/.532/.847.

    He slugged .847.
    He slugged .847!!

    HE SLUGGED 8 FUCKING FORTY SEVEN!!!!

    99 of his 172 hits (58%) that year were extra bases. Do people have any f*cking idea how insane that is?

  24. Raul Says:

    He drove in 137 RBI. My mistake. Not sure what I was looking at.

  25. Cameron Says:

    And A-Rod bats 6th on that team. Williams may be good, but look at the 4-6 spots covering the respective teams.

    Boston
    -
    Foxx – .349/.462/.704
    Ruth – .322/.456/.657
    Yaz – .326/.418/.622

    New York
    -
    Mantle – .353./.464/.705
    Gehrig – .373/.474/.765
    A-Rod – .314/.422/.645

    Plus Williams never had as good a season as Babe’s ‘21. That lineup core is shit-inducing scary.

  26. Cameron Says:

    I saw Barry Bonds slug .863, but yeah, I know how insane that is.

  27. Raul Says:

    Bond was a piece of shit juicer tho. Yeah, I deduct credit for that.
    Fuck what Hossrex thinks.

  28. Cameron Says:

    I know it wasn’t clean, but at the same time I know how crazy an 800+ slugging percentage looks like on the field.

  29. Hartvig Says:

    Cameron @ 24 Don’t underestimate Ruth’s 1919 season.. In context, those numbers are every bit as impressive as Gehrig’s
    1927 numbers, maybe more so. First, it was only a 140 game season because of WWI. Second, he was still a STARTING PITCHER (15 starts, again in a 140 game season). And third, he led the league in EVERYTHING in spite of playing against still in their primes Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Collins, a pre-injury George Sisler, Joe Jackson, Harry Heilmann. That 0.657 slugging percentage doesn’t look that great until you realize he out slugged the #2 guy by 0.127 (almost 25%) and out homered the #2 guy 28 to 10. You can also make the same argument for Yaz’s 1967 season. If you take fielding position out of the equation, his batting numbers are actually superior to ARod’s in 2007.

    It’s very, very close and Fenway is a better hitters park but I still think it’s a photo finish. And what’s truly freakin’ amazing is that on almost any other team, Babe Ruth’s 1916 season cracks the pitching rotation.

    I just love this shit.

  30. Cameron Says:

    Oh, I understand that Ruth was still a great hitter in 1919, Ruth with those rates neutralized and replaced with modern counting stats, his HR total would probably be the 30-40 range and he’s still a monster hitter.

    As a group though, I say the bulk part of the New York lineup fares better and the whole thing might be stronger.

    Also, there may have been a better season than Babe Ruth’s 1921. …Babe Ruth’s 1920.

  31. Jim Says:

    Dan Shaughnessy has a nice profile on Ryan Westmoreland at Boston.com this morning, including quotes from Ryan.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2011/03/11/homer_of_the_brave/?page=full

    Amazing how far the kid has come, but he has a long way to go. He’s been taking live BP and will get into games soon, but his body is still not in sync.

  32. Raul Says:

    I was just wondering…

    If you took these all-time teams and made them as they were in….say 1930…when you didn’t really have exclusive closers and set-up men, how many pitchers would actually make the all-time bench?

    Pretty sure Keith Foulke wouldn’t.
    Mariano Rivera might not even make the Yankees bench.

    I’m just saying…

  33. Mike Felber Says:

    It is remarkable how good the Sox are here compared to their historical record. They seem to be the odds on favorite, the most likely reason they MAY not be is if pure heat from the past is less effetcive today, since the average guy throws harder.

    I think we should switch Boggs & Yaz in the batting order. Yaz had unreal longevity, but normally not as good as Boggs-except at his very peak. He lead the league in OBP in ‘67, had a better year offensively, & the value of batting more often is significant for a team. In simulations Kerry has run, the best hitter & power guys do very well in this slot.

    Without era adjustments, just running teams against each other, hard to see anyone beating the Sox over a season.

  34. Chuck Says:

    “the most likely reason they MAY not be is if pure heat from the past is less effetcive today, since the average guy throws harder.”

    Why would that have anything to do with things?

  35. John Says:

    Well, Raul,

    Are you asking if I took the best pure pitchers and put them in there?

    Cuz then you’re right…Keith Foulke doesn’t make this team.

    Mo still makes the Yankees though.

  36. Chuck Says:

    I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975.

    “Mo still makes the Yankees though.”

    The Yankees’ franchise has been around for over 110 years.

    No way on a list of the ten best pitching seasons can you put on a guy with 70 innings.

    Just sayin.

    Same with the Red Sox.

    Keith Foulke?

    David Ortiz had the second best season EVER for a Sox first baseman (not named Jimmie Foxx)?

    Um, no.

    Still, a great team and I wouldn’t want to play them.

  37. Cameron Says:

    ‘75, that was Lynn’s MVP season, right?

  38. John Says:

    Um, yes. He hit 54 hr, had a 1.000+ ops and basically just dominated. wasn’t really a 1b, but whatever. Who was better?

    As far as Mo? He throws 70 innings of guaranteed near-perfection every year.

  39. John Says:

    Yes Cameron. But his 1979 was way better. Probably shouldve been MVP.

  40. Cameron Says:

    First base isn’t really a historical strong point for Boston, I could see Ortiz in there easy.

  41. Bob Says:

    Mo Vaughn 1995 and Nick Esasky 1989 are about it for the non-Foxx category

  42. Cameron Says:

    I’d take Ortiz’s ‘05 over any of Mo’s seasons. For some reason, I never was too big on Mo Vaughn. …And Mo Vaughn being big ain’t hard to do.

  43. Bob Says:

    Ortiz is a DH in my book.

  44. Cameron Says:

    Ortiz’s fat ass got thrown out tryng to run for a double on a ball that hit the far centerfield wall in Fenway. You know how slow you have to be to get thrown out by a ball that went that far?

  45. Hartvig Says:

    I might go with Youkilis’ 2009 season myself. Much better glove plus he can play 3rd base as well. Vaughn in ‘95 could still move a bit so he wasn’t a bad defender… yet. By the end of his career, he made Prince Fielder look like a gymnast. There isn’t much besides what’s already been mentioned. Boomer Scott in ‘67, Dick “Dr. Strangeglove” Stuart in ‘63, Walt Dropo in ‘50. Pete Runnels had a few good years at the end of the ’50’s but he played more (and was more valuable at) 2nd base. Yaz had a few good seasons at first but is already accounted for. A few mediocre years from guys like Bill Buckner and Stuffy McInnis. There was a guy on the Series winning teams of ‘15 & ‘16 named Dick Hoblitzell who was pretty decent in ‘15. But there are a bunch of guys like Dick Gernert and Norm Zauchin and Harry Agganis and Jake Jones and Ed Morgan and Bill Sweeney and Phil Todt and Moose Grimshaw mixed in there too. First base has never been a real strong point for the Red Sox except for a few short stretches. Catcher seems to be the same story. About half of the time they were not only playing guys who weren’t All-Stars but were down right bad.

    I had also forgotten about Joe Cronin and was kind of surprised he didn’t make it until I took another looks at Rico’s ‘69 season. That was probably one of the 10 best seasons ever by a shortstop to that point (and Honus Wagner had at least half of ‘em).

  46. Cameron Says:

    You think Boston would have a more well-rounded choice of positions to be strong at. Outside of Fisk, their catching crop is thin, same with first. The outfield is more often than not fucking stacked though. Maybe it’s just a prevalent bit of thought in Beantown.

    Also, in 110 seasons, Boston’s only fielded 37 losing teams. not bad.

  47. Bob Says:

    Rich Gedman was serviceable. But Fisk set the bar so high. How many teams are “loaded” at that position. Not many.

  48. Cameron Says:

    Outside of the Yankees, hard to think of one. Maybe the Reds?

  49. Chuck Says:

    Cam..I was at the Royals game today.

    Alex Gordon is a beast.

  50. Hartvig Says:

    Yankees- Berra, Dickey, Monson, Elston Howard, Wally Schang
    Detroit- Mickey Cochran, Bill Freehan, Lance Parrish
    Dodgers Piazza, Campanella, Roseboro

    those are just ones that pop into my head

    Reds would have Bench, Lombardi, Willard Hershberger for a couple of years before he offed himself…

    Giants had a bunch of decent catchers prior to WWII like Chief Meyers, Oil Smith, Frank Snyder, Shanty Hogan,Harry Danning, Gus Mancuso & again in the 60’s with Ed Bailey & Tom Haller & the 80’s with Bob Brenly. No big studs but some long stretches of better than average players.

  51. Cameron Says:

    Yeah Chuck, Gordon was a top draft pick for a reason (wish I could say the same of Hochevar). When he’s on his game, he’s truly a monster, but he just got so fucked around I wonder if he can still be salvaged. Even if he’s a late bloomer, I’ll still take Gordon going at his ceiling. He can compete for an OF spot with guys like Eibner (who I hope can stay in CF).

  52. Cameron Says:

    Oh, and the newest member of the Class A Hagerstown Suns is Bryce Harper.

    He knew he was gonna get sent down eventually, but he wanted to stay in the big league camp as long as possible so he could learn from the coaches and play against ML level talent. Management said he’d benefit more from playing every day instead of coming off the bench.

    In this case, I agree with Riggleman.

  53. Chuck Says:

    I know it was only one game, but Gordon was the best player on the field.

    His only out was a warning track fly ball..his HR was an absolute bomb into a 15 mph wind, he had two hits off lefties, and looked like he’s playing LF his whole life.

    I got 20 bucks says Harper doesn’t hit .270 for the season.

  54. Cameron Says:

    Gordon took to LF pretty well in Omaha and he seems more comfortable there than at third base. I think it’s something he said. When he was at third, he had to worry so much about his defense there and making sure his game was complete. In left, he can shut his brain off and focus on hitting.

    Considering I say Harper profiles as Adam Dunn with a glove, I’m with you on that one.

  55. Cameron Says:

    And it may have just been “one game”, but I could see Gordon being the best guy on this field many times this season. …His only real competition for the first couple of months is Billy Butler (who’ll win that competition often, Butler’s great) and Moose once June or so rolls around (but as a rookie…). Gordon’s a huge bounceback candidate.

  56. Cameron Says:

    And I know it’s not really baseball news, but the CBA negotations in the NFL have become so contentious that a lockout has officially been announced.

    Keep in mind that our CBA is up for negotiation next year and players and owners aren’t the best of friends. Not jumping to conclusions, but… Be wary.

  57. Raul Says:

    Brandon Wood’s struggles continue.

    If this is going to happen for him, it’s simply not going to be in Anaheim.

  58. Cameron Says:

    If he keeps this up, it won’t be in Salt Lake.

  59. Raul Says:

    Read that Casey McGehee went deep today for the Brewers. 4 homers this spring for him.

    Bautista is pretty hot for Toronto too. Wanna see if he keeps it up this year.

  60. Cameron Says:

    I only think Bautsita will be about at 70% compared to last year, but he’s a good piece to hang on to. I hope McGehee does well, he seems to be a real key in these Brewers teams.

  61. Raul Says:

    Dontrelle Willis sprained his ankle while backing up home plate.
    He tripped over a bat.

  62. Cameron Says:

    …Fuck it, this phrase is just about worn out but who cares?

    Dontrelle Willis, you fucking suck.

  63. Lefty33 Says:

    “Keep in mind that our CBA is up for negotiation next year and players and owners aren’t the best of friends. Not jumping to conclusions, but… Be wary.”

    Labor issues under Bud since ‘94 have been nil and if the MLBPA and the owners have any brains and really want to endear themselves to sportfans they’ll look at what’s going on in the NFL and what’s likely to happen in the NBA and continue with the labor peace that’s existed over the last 16 years.

    IMHO, the chance of any strike or lockout in MLB are zero.

  64. Mike Felber Says:

    Surprised you picked Lynn over Speaker Chuck. usually you very strongly credit the old timers. Lynn’s ‘79 was stronger. But to have any of his years better than Speaker’s best, you would have give a very large era adjustment-& you tend to say the old guys, at least the best of them, were as good or better in absolute terms. Speaker played all but one game, Lynn missed some, Speaker was the more dominant hitter, & you say Lynn ws his equal in SB or defense.

    What I meant about heat is that the average pitcher can throw significantly harder today than early in the 20th Century. Look at my “cravatar”-I love The Big Train dearly. But I must admit that today he would not be as dominant, & put Chapman back 80 years & he would be somewhat more successful.

  65. Mike Felber Says:

    I meant to type that you cannot say that Lynn was Speaker’s equal with base running or the glove. ‘12 was Speaker’s best year. There is no way that Lynn’s best ever approached Speaker’s. The 11.0 WAR B-R assigns seems just about perfect.

    Unless you claim that in absolute terms, baseball play quality, particularly pitching, was not just a little or somewhat better, but dramatically better in the ’70’s than the teens. But if it is that great a difference, then very few of the greatest players ever seasons, before WW2 at least, would make this list.

  66. Jim Says:

    At this time there doesn’t appear to be much animosity between the players and owners that would put the season at risk. Each side has things they want, the owners want hard slotting of draftee bonuses an the players want revenue sharing money spent on player acquisition. Contraction could be an issue, but that seems to be something that is talked more about in the press and on line than from the owners.

  67. Cameron Says:

    “Contraction could be an issue, but that seems to be something that is talked more about in the press and on line than from the owners.”

    Well, y’know, aside from John Henry’s camp. New York also gets mentioned as a proponent of contraction.

    If the Pohlads are one of these owners pushing for contraction, the irony would bee too damn funny.

  68. Chuck Says:

    “What I meant about heat is that the average pitcher can throw significantly harder today than early in the 20th Century.”

    Without radar readings, that comment cannot be proven.

    Here’s the thing, Mike. This has been mentioned here before, but obviously needs to be again. I understand when you bounce back and forth between various sites there’s sometimes a brain fart to where conversations took place.

    Everyone in the major leagues can hit a fastball.

    Velocity is irrelevant.

    If velocity DID mean something, then Aroldis Chapman would be the Reds’ #1 starter and not a seventh inning reliever.

    There are more hard throwers today than 60 years ago because there are more pitchers.

    Doesn’t mean there are more pitchers who are better, or who are more “unhittable”.

  69. Chuck Says:

    “Lynn’s ‘79 was stronger.”

    Whatever. Pick one.

  70. Mike Felber Says:

    I would not pick Lynn’s better ‘79 at all, since he never approached Speaker in peak value. Lynn was very good at his best, but he never had a year that approached an outlier, one of the very best in history season. Which he would have needed to do to approach the best of a legend like Speaker, who played virtually every game in his best year & was clearly superior in every significant measure.

    I did not have any brain fart Chuck. My memory is excellent, & i recall your specific opinion about hitting ML fastballs. I am also only occasionally positing here & B-R.com, & do not believe I have ever confused what was said where-I have chosen to introduce or refer to arguments mentioned elsewhere at time.

    Absolutely we cannot prove that the average FB is thrown harder today. It is just overwhelmingly likely to be true. Even if it was JUST that there are so many more potential players today due to increase in the US population, integration, & Int’l players, that would mean that the average MLB fastball would be greater. And while I have written at length about how this, like hitting a ball hard, is largely a natural ability & can only be improved to a certain degree, + how the extreme outliers like Ruth could very plausibly top everyone in absolute terms, surely something like modern training with weights & mechanics makes SOME impact.

    Nobody believes that velocity does not mean a lot. Your Chapman example shows it does not mean nearly everything. Can Chapman throw well for 6 or so innings? And what are his overall skills? Likely if he did not throw so fast he would not be in the big leagues.

    Location, movement, pitch selection, & more means more than pure heat. But all other things being equal, a guy who throws 100 compared to 90, or even a 5 MPH gap, is an advantage. there is no absolute for MLB: guys can hit anything theoretically, it is how difficult what component or combination of factors is to hit.

    The average FB today is thrown around 90, & higher for the absolute top end for each guy, right? Do you really think that in Feller’s time the average guy could throw at least 90 MPH? I say a Feller COULD have been amongst the very fastest ever. But one reason he stood out is that for decades few players were even in the ballpark of a Johnson, Wood, Grove, Feller…Then you got a few more around the 60’s, like Sandy, McDowell, Duren…But many more today. Just looking at the Negro leagues, (which likely did not have the same % of potential great athletes because the rewards were lower than MLB & life much harder), there was Redding, Williams, & Paige & who else that threw comparable heat & were lost to MLB.

    Does anyone else on this site think that the average pitcher or player today is not significantly better today than 1900, 1930, or, to a lesser extent, 1960? That the massive changes in who is playing & training drawn now from all over the world has had NO impact on the absolute mean quality of athletes in any & every sport? I think the best you will find on this & most any sports site Chuck, with occasional exceptions from curmudgeons, is that if they old timers had the same training & opportunities they could be about as good.

    Even that would not account for all the Mays/Aaron/Bonds/Ichiros/let alone Latin players who make up a huge % of baseball today, & logically must bring up even the mean potential talent to BE developed through training.

  71. Cameron Says:

    Personally, I think modern players are better on average compared to the old guys. Look at all the players that got inducted for about the first 20-30 years of the Hall of Fame’s existence. In an honest election, without a biased VC and other voters, the Hall would lose a veritable fuckton of members.

  72. Chuck Says:

    “I would not pick Lynn’s better ‘79 at all, since he never approached Speaker in peak value.”

    So what?!

    We’re talking one year here, not his whole career.

  73. Cameron Says:

    Um… When did this evolve into a Lynn vs. Speaker argument? Speaker wins hands-down, but that’s not the point. Wasn’t the original question why Lynn in ‘75 got picked over Lynn in ‘79?

  74. Mike Felber Says:

    So what? Clearly when I mention peak value, I am talking about what we were discussing here, a single year. In either a single year or any combination of years of peak value, Speaker blows Lynn away.

    No Cameron, that is & was the point. The original question was what I addressed in response to Chuck’s statement starting post #35: “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975.”

    It would be a rare bird who would find Lynn’s best year as good as Speaker’s. I”ll bet nobody else on this site, & it is highly unlikely that anyone would EVER say so unless they had a very different belief system than Chuck’s: they would need to argue that the quality of play has improved so dramatically since 1912 that even though Speaker was much better than Lynn by any sane measure of productivity, Lynn’s performance would be better if they both played in the same neutral background environment.

    But such an interlocutor would then need to exclude from these all time great teams virtually all or all of the greatest seasons from that era, & likely the early part of the live ball era, like Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Wagner, & all the great early & dead ball era pitchers.

    Since I know Chuck is more towards the other direction, believing that the old timers even back to that era were comparable to today’s players, both the average player & the star, I was shocked that he would site any year of Lynn’s as better than The Gray Eagle. Not because I too went gray early!

  75. Chuck Says:

    Mike, care to explain how you got this;

    “I was shocked that he would site any year of Lynn’s as better than The Gray Eagle.”

    from this;

    “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975.”

  76. John Says:

    Well. Fred Lynn’s 1975 season was a season of Lynn’s.

    And you wanted to replace Speaker’s season with Lynn’s 1975.

    Amimissingsomething?

  77. Chuck Says:

    “Amimissingsomething?”

    LOL

  78. John Says:

    ya know. besidesaspacebarkey

  79. Mike Felber Says:

    I do not see where the confusion is Chuck. Is it not what seems so obvious to me: that you were removing Speaker’s ‘12 season from the all time best Red Sox team & replacing him/his ‘12 with Fred Lynn’s ‘75 campaign to full the CF position?

    Clearly the uncompleted clause “…as better than the Gray Eagle” can logically denote, especially considering that I just EXPLAINED the context, “as better than Speaker in ‘12″. Or “as better than Speaker’s best season”.

    No way to get around it: you made a radical & wholly unsupportable substitutions of Lynn’s (well, not quite best) year for the best year of Speaker’s. That is, well, how can I put this gently…

    Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? ;-)

  80. Chuck Says:

    “I do not see where the confusion is Chuck.”

    Probably WHY you’re confused, no?

  81. Mike Felber Says:

    Nah, I got you dead to rights here. What I meant-& I did not think I needed to be so literal here, but I am a parsing the details Mo’fo myself, so that is fine-is that it was obvious I meant to compare Speaker & Lynn’s best seasons. I had already clarified that when it should have been clear that this is what I meant by “peak” value. All the context points to the fact that my words both intended to say, & by any reasonable standard successfully communicated, a single best year match up.

    but Chuck: I urge you to CONFESS! It is good for your soul…Though clearly entitled to any opinion, upon reflection, can you say you made a *no, why, noooooo—-> mistake? No great sin, but c’mon: you transparently have been looking hard to find a non-existent discrepancy in the clarity of my claim.

    And have ostentatiously avoided ANY supporting argument how Lynn had any year as good as Speaker’s best. Please tell us why you believe this, or just say, eh, I was overenthusiastic in rating Lynn’s best year. “Cause he would have had to have a historically great year, not just at best an average MVP quality one, to have a better year than Speaker’s best.

    This is all in good fun. And yet I ask for reasons why you consider Lynn a veritable Immortal in his best season.

  82. Raul Says:

    I don’t have a problem with Speaker’s 1912 season.
    His 52 stolen bases stand out, but so do his 28 Caught Stealing.

    That said, if you’re talking about a guy leading off, I’d give the nod to Speaker.

    Lynn was damned good in 1975. His 1979 was better — offensively. I have no idea about defense.

    I have to disagree with Mike about peak value. Who cares about peak value when you’re talking about one season?

    Steve Finley was a better player and outfielder than Brady Anderson, but is there really any Finley season better than Anderson’s 1996? No.

  83. Cameron Says:

    I know it’s hard to quantify defensive accomplishments… But 35 defensive assists? Most outfielders are lucky to get 8 or 9, and that’s with a good arm.

  84. John Says:

    “His 52 stolen bases stand out, but so do his 28 Caught Stealing.
    That said, if you’re talking about a guy leading off, I’d give the nod to Speaker.”

    Me too…but not for the stolen bases. If anything, he was a net-negative when it came to stealing bases. But he also had 53 doubles so he was ending up in scoring position a lot anyway.

    With regard to Speaker’s defense…

    In the context of the era he played, he was one of, if not the best defensive outfielder of his time, maybe ever.

    But I’m not sure how well his style would work in an era when there were a lot more people who could hit deep drives than there were in 1912. When Speaker got outfield assists, they were often on force plays to second base! He played that shallow in the outfield that he regularly threw out guys trying to advance one base on a single. If he pulls that crap today, hell, he would surrender inside-the-park homeruns to Prince Fielder (actually, that’s happened…twice).

  85. John Says:

    Also, has anyone been watching MLB Network’s 30 for 30? They ripped my lists off!

  86. Raul Says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about outfielders playing shallow.

    I know some pitchers tell outfielders that if they give up a long shot, it’s the pitcher’s fault, but it’s not about fault. It’s about making the play and putting your team in the best position.

    I have confidence in some players playing shallow and running back to make the play. But it becomes a lot harder on balls hit to the gaps.

  87. Raul Says:

    I haven’t.

    I’ve watched 2 of ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentaries though.

    The Two Escobars – about Pablo Escobar and Colombian soccer star Andres Escobar.
    The Best Player There Never Was – about Marcus Dupree.

  88. John Says:

    I could see Youkilis’s 08 or 09 being better than Ortiz’s 06 when you consider the whole player.

  89. John Says:

    “I’m not sure how I feel about outfielders playing shallow.”

    Shallow’s a relative term; I love a CF whose good enough that he can play in and still fly back to the warning track to make a catch – and make it look easy.

    That’s why I’m so big on Mike Cameron.

    Speaker played stupid shallow though. Like, 30 feet behind second base. It probably made sense when there were 4 players in the league with warning track power (and one of them was Speaker). But in today’s game, I think he’d get slaughtered.

  90. Cameron Says:

    John, I know this is stretching it, but you’re putting Foxx in the field. That backup 1st basemen won’t be starting the field much if at all and you just need bench pop. I think 54 homer power off the bench is something I’d take over Youk’s bat.

    Also, I found out that both Frank White and Rick Sutcliffe live in the same town as I do. Never see them around town though…

  91. Raul Says:

    Sutcliffe seems like a nice guy. He says some dumb things now and then, but I think mostly it’s because he tries to say something positive about everybody.

  92. John Says:

    I wonder if the 1986 Sox would’ve enjoyed having Youkilis on the bench…

    Though they’d be idiots to start Buckner over him in any event.

  93. Chuck Says:

    “Nah, I got you dead to rights here.”

    No, as usual, you got nothing.

    Zip. Zero. Nada.

    “but Chuck: I urge you to CONFESS! It is good for your soul…Though clearly entitled to any opinion, upon reflection, can you say you made a *no, why, noooooo—-> mistake?”

    What mistake?

    Again, for clarity..all I said was…

    “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975.”

    Isn’t it not true that all your mouthing off is based on YOUR assumption of what you THINK I meant?

    “And have ostentatiously avoided ANY supporting argument how Lynn had any year as good as Speaker’s best.”

    No, I haven’t.

    I made a suggestion is all. Which DOES NOT require support.

    If I had said to replace Speaker with Lynn and included “because Lynn kicks his ass”, then I would be under some obligation to offer support.

    But since I made a generic statement, it’s not necessary.

    Give it a rest, Mike.

    You’re making assumptions and accusations based on some personal agenda for whatever reason.

    Find another target.

    You’re starting to piss me off.

  94. John Says:

    haha.

    Maybe you’re taking this a tad seriously you two?

  95. Raul Says:

    Players born today, March 14:

    Kirby Puckett
    Kevin Brown
    Butch Wynegar
    Bobby Jenks

    It’s worth mentioning that Kirby Puckett’s most similar batter on Baseball-Reference.com is Don Mattingly.

    It’s hard for me to accept anyone making the case that Puckett belongs in the HOF but Mattingly does not. I just don’t buy it.

  96. Chuck Says:

    Don’t make up stuff or make assumptions just to goad me into a pissing contest.

    That was Shaun’s MO, also.

    You want clarity on something I said, fine, then ask.

    But don’t spend any time writing two paragraphs of assumptions just so you can prove how smart you are.

    It won’t change anything.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass about Tris Speaker’s WAR or Fred Lynn’s peak value.

    Which if you’ve been paying attention here for the last two years is common knowledge.

  97. Bob Says:

    The Padres returned George Kontos to the Yankees and the Yankees returned Daniel Turpin to the Red Sox.

  98. Jim Says:

    @Raul #81 My memory of Fred Lynn with the Sox was that defensively Lynn was a very good.

  99. John Says:

    Raul,

    - Puckett played a harder position.
    - Puckett led two teams to WS victories.
    - Puckett was good for his entire career; in his last two seasons, he put up an OPS+ of 130 and averaged 140 RBI per 162 games (but they were strike seasons…)
    - Mattingly was less than average for the last 6 years of his 12 year career.

    You can, however, make an argument that Mattingly deserved the 1984 and 1986 MVP awards (definitely should’ve won in ‘84). Coupled with his 1985 award (which I would have given to either George Brett or Rickey Henderson but still) that would’ve made him a 3-time MVP award winner (in a row), and 3 MVP’s puts you in a pretty elite category.

  100. Raul Says:

    The positional argument doesn’t fly with me.
    Mattingly was arguably the best/top 3 defensive first basemen of his time.

    At worst, it’s a wash.

    Team accomplishments mean nothing for HOF.

    As for him leading his team to two WS, the leaders in your favorite stat, WAR, list the team leaders for those teams as Kevin Tapani and Frank Viola.

    The best hitter on the 1987 team was Kent Hrbek and Shane Mack on the 1991 team.

    Mattingly wasn’t below average for the tail end of his career, but he wasn’t the “old” Mattingly.

    As such, despite his injuries, Mattingly still played more games, hit more homers, had more RBI, had more doubles, posted a higher OPS+ and struck out less than half as many times as Puckett.

    Admittedly, the numbers are close. But the difference, to me, isn’t enough to suggest Puckett should get 82% of the vote, while Mattingly scrapes around with 10%.

  101. Raul Says:

    Don Mattingly starts his career hot, cools off and nobody remembers his greatness.

    Meanwhile, Jeff Kent is a scrub on a team of nobodies in New York, finishes his career hitting well in front of the greatest offensive force since Willie Mays and he’s almost guaranteed the Hall of Fame.

    What a joke.

  102. John Says:

    “Mattingly wasn’t below average for the tail end of his career, but he wasn’t the “old” Mattingly.”

    From 1990-1995, he had a 104 OPS+. That’s below average for a first baseman. His WAR translates to 1.1/year (the average starter is supposedly 2.0).

    “Mattingly was arguably the best/top 3 defensive first basemen of his time.”

    Defense from a 1B doesn’t get someone into the HOF.

    “Meanwhile, Jeff Kent is a scrub on a team of nobodies in New York, finishes his career hitting well in front of the greatest offensive force since Willie Mays and he’s almost guaranteed the Hall of Fame.”

    Jeff Kent shouldn’t get anywhere near Cooperstown.

  103. Raul Says:

    “Jeff Kent shouldn’t get anywhere near Cooperstown.”

    Neither should Puckett if Mattingly isn’t deserving.

    “Defense from a 1B doesn’t get someone into the HOF.”

    Actually it does. You know why? Because without it, you have a DH. How many of them are getting into the HOF? Zero.

  104. Mike Felber Says:

    There is zero for you to be upset about Chuck. Your assumption that I am trying to get into anything more than a good natured exchange is an unwarranted assumption, I have never been like that, & do not show that attitude above either. I also know how you feel about WAR, but that does not mean that the pint is not relevant. And it is only one of many: by any measure, Speaker’s best year blows Lynn’s away. You do care about peak value, just not measured by WAR. Lynn’s peak was very good. Not historically great by any fair standard.

    You are not a “target”., which unfairly implies that you are being picked on or ill treated. You have done this many times to others, you will never see me do this to anyone, ever. One guy is Shaun: he was not always rational, but never deserved abuse. YOU choose to disagree, sometimes continually, with others, sometimes me. That in itself does not show you are being at all “pissy”. If Hoss was here (where is he), he would write less delicately that you are getting all “butthurt” when someone just differs (politely) from your ideas.

    You do not NEED to provide support for a suggestion. But when you continually try to find something confusing about my clear comment about comparing their best single years, & (which is what this forum is all about) continually ask you to support that suggestion, it SEEMS like you are avoiding a question that is just a basic thing we do here:

    Kick around opinions for fun, & provide some rationale for them. I asked for clarity, & that includes being able to ask you why you believe something. A final unsupportable assumption about me: that I write just to show smarts! (sic). I like to debate, & welcome other views, like to play with language a bit, & get the best out of others.

    Now I am glad I did not use my earlier idea: something about that anyone who thinks that Lynn’s best year was better than Speaker’s should be institutionalized! Given your sensitivities, you would have taken it seriously & felt somehow victimized.

  105. Chuck Says:

    ” I asked for clarity, & that includes being able to ask you why you believe something.”

    You’re full of shit.

    Go back and read your comments again.

    You NEVER asked a question.

  106. Mike Felber Says:

    To me, Kent is about borderline for the Hall. It is true his peak value is exaggerated by context, but he still was very good for some years over a good length career. Whether he is deserving may hinge on what you think of his defense, but a good hitting 1/2 way decent 2b man is of significant value.

    Puckett I do not think quite did it long enough, nor had an Allen-like peak to compensate. He & Kent were excellent in the P.S., yet nobody can be credited with time they could not play due to injury. Thus Mattingly is not deserving. But given the positional differences, Puckett is at least close.

  107. Raul Says:

    Bullshit.

    People are credited with games they didn’t play all the time.
    World War 2…

  108. Chuck Says:

    “yet nobody can be credited with time they could not play”

    Josh Gibson, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige…..

  109. John Says:

    Puckett woke up one morning, still one of the best CFers in the world, except blind. Don Mattingly was hurting his team in the lineup. Big difference.

  110. John Says:

    Paige wouldve been an all-time great in MLB throwing with his left hand.

  111. Raul Says:

    Yet almost all of Mattingly’s numbers are better than Puckett…

    Ok John…

  112. Mike Felber Says:

    Full of it? That implies I am lying. I reread my comments. To be literal:

    I said that I have the right to ask why you believe something. Now it is true that I never directly asked before my last post, “why do you believe Lynn;s best year is better than Speaker’s best year”. But all my posts from my 1st reaction in #63 are fairly beggin’ for that response! If I say things (addressed to you) like how could anyone make your argument, Speaker is better in all important aspects of the game, describe some details of the years in question, say virtually nobody who does not believe that the quality of play has improved dramatically would agree with you (& specify that you are closer to on the opposite end of that ideological spectrum)…

    If you need a formal invitation, yes Sir: Chuck, I would be curious to know why you would pick any Lynn year as superior to Speaker’s in ‘12.

    To address Raul, then John: I have said many times that when I am referring to peak value HERE I not only mean over any # of years you choose to select, (consecutively or cherry picking), but also their respective best individual seasons.

    While apparently you need a lesser success rate on SB in a dead ball era, I admit that Speaker’s SB were likely a SLIGHT negative. But Lynn was 10/5 in ‘75, just break even, & 2 for 2 in his BETTER year, ‘79. Little difference there.

    Even if there was a significant difference, it would have to be huge, approaching Raines or Henderson in their prines at least, to add enough value for Lynn to create as much TOTAL value as Speaker did overall. More GP (all but 1, Lynn missed 15 & 17). Better OPS +. A small factor, but Speaker was better in more PS games (an 8 game WS).

    Now defense. By all reports Speaker was amongst the best ever, & Lynn very good. To be fair, Lynn does have one of those years with as good of a defensive WAR as Speaker’s 12- in less games. So at best you could make that a wash. But the bat favors Speaker. He led the league in more categories in ‘16: but that only reflects what a great player around him did in each year.

    It is vastly unfair to hold Speaker’s CF playing style against him. It was the most effective thing a man with his speed & ball hawking ability could have done in the dead ball era. There is every reason to believe he would adjust his style in a later era-as it was, playing until 40, overwhelmingly in CF, he was an aboive average fielder in the live ball era, AL version!

    It would be as irrational as giving Speaker much credit for his much lower K rate. That does add value, but was largely a product of good strategy for the era.

    Just like you could not hold it against him for “only” hitting 10 HRs in ‘12, leading the league. Nor blame Lynn if he could not play a super shallow CF, or execute the same “small ball” strategy that he likely would have if he was playing in the early 20th Century.

    The main difference besides GP: Speaker had a better OPS +, even the OBP before guys could draw nearly as many walks due to a tremendously lower HR threat. So considering all this: would anyone favor any of Lynn’s best years over Speaker’s for ANY spot in the line up?

    I am of course assuming that we are not making adjustments downward based upon (presumed quality of play by) era, that makes it prohibitively difficult for at least the vast majority of the pre-WW2 era players to make any of these all time best team lists. But nobody has even argued to do this thus far.

  113. Chuck Says:

    “Paige wouldve been an all-time great in MLB throwing with his left hand”

    Ok John….

  114. Chuck Says:

    “That implies I am lying.”

    If the shoe fits…

  115. John Says:

    They’re also better than Ozzie Smith’s. What’s your point?

    Kirby Puckett is a top-10 all-time CF.

    Mattingly is maybe top 30 at first. Maybe.

  116. Cameron Says:

    Keeping that pace for 12 years… Honestly, I think he’d make the Hall as is with just the 12 years. Given another 3 years, he’d have been a virtual lock for 3,000 hits and he’d be a shoo-in for the hall. Personally, I don’t think Puckett needed any compiling to be there.

  117. Cameron Says:

    ““Mattingly was arguably the best/top 3 defensive first basemen of his time.”

    Defense from a 1B doesn’t get someone into the HOF.”

    Ask Keith Hernandez how much 1B defense matters for your Cooperstown ballot.

  118. Chuck Says:

    Most of the “bad” HOF selections were VC selections.

    For the most part, the BBWAA has done a pretty good job, although they’ve certainly had their share of boneheaded elections.

    Kirby Puckett is one of them.

  119. Cameron Says:

    If he had another 3-4 years and made it to 3,000 hits (and increased all his other stats the same), would you still think he was a bad choice?

  120. Chuck Says:

    No.

  121. John Says:

    Chuck’s HOF would have Willie Mays, Mike Stanton, and maybe Mickey Mantle.

  122. Mike Felber Says:

    Raul & Chuck are correct. I meant no credit due for games they could not play due to injury, could not physically play or play decently. As I have always said & almost all here agree with me, that is entirely distinct from games one could not play due to being barred due to discrimination, or games serving the country during War time. This is a fair distinction not just due to being ethically satisfying, but that the latter guys WERE still great players, but did not have the opportunity to create the value on the field, through no fault of their own.

    I was unclear on what I meant by “could not play”.

  123. Cameron Says:

    Given the fact that Puckett put those numbers up over just 12 years, I’ll let Puckett slide. He’s one of the true greats and just in on pure ability, I’m not ashamed to say he’d be on my ballot.

  124. Chuck Says:

    You do realize a player has to be active ten years to be eligible, right, John?

  125. Cameron Says:

    I dunno Chuck, your man-crush on Stanton is big enough to let that slide. :P

  126. Mike Felber Says:

    If you believe that I am lying, then you are way to cynical in general. We can consider each other wrong or deluded about something, but you have no cause to believe I have ever lied about anything here.

    Nor do I think that you have. Being a stubborn & not admitting something that you either know or strongly suspect is true…Different animal.

  127. Chuck Says:

    ” urge you to CONFESS! It is good for your soul…Though clearly entitled to any opinion, upon reflection, can you say you made a *no, why, noooooo—-> mistake? No great sin, but c’mon: you transparently have been looking hard to find a non-existent discrepancy in the clarity of my claim.”

    Time to practice what you preach, Michael.

  128. Mike Felber Says:

    I gotta agree with Chuck on Puckett. I don’t know that he is saying that the counting stats themselves would make Puckett worthy_I would not-but if he produced at his average level for 3-4 years, he would have enough good years along with adequate peak value, however you want to measure it, to warrant the Hall.

    I am perfectly willing to believe that B-R.coms defensive metrics, which have him as a marginal NEGATIVE over his whol career, are significantly off. But I do not see him as “one of the true greats” overall. Started at 24, 1st good hitting year at 26, done (through no fault of his own, but also means no declining years) at 35. To be a “true great” as opposed to a very good player, even a very good CF would need to post better than a 124 OPS, top 2 years 152 & 141. Especially over a short career.

  129. Mike Felber Says:

    Sure Chuck. What do you believe I need to confess? I have said i was wrong on a number of occasions, most recently about the trivial issue that I was unclear what I meant by guys who could not play (though we all agree on the substance of that matter). Yet there is nothing above, or Speaker/Lynn related, for me to “admit”.

  130. Chuck Says:

    “I am perfectly willing to believe that B-R.coms defensive metrics, which have him as a marginal NEGATIVE over his whol career, are significantly off.”

    LOL.

    All you need to prove that is look at the comparisons between Hernandez and Mattingly.

  131. Chuck Says:

    “What do you believe I need to confess?”

    That’s what I figured.

  132. Mike Felber Says:

    Yet if there is anything for me to admit you would & should volunteer it Chuck, since you brought it up.

    The defensive metrics are screwed up in many cases. I know you have strong feelings on Mat. vs. Hern. I am also not so sure that you are dead on in your comparison of them. But I really do not know clearly either way. One thing to consider is even 1st baseman can look better than they are statistically when their range is limited.

  133. Mike Felber Says:

    I meant look better statistically than they actually are due to them not losing credit for the balls that they cannot get to.

  134. Chuck Says:

    And for the record, Mike, my “suggestion” of Lynn’s 1975 season was his winning MVP/ROY.

    Since I don’t acknowledge Ichiro in ‘01, it’s one of just two times in history where that happened.

    It deserves recognition.

    When I hear “Tris Speaker” I don’t think Red Sox, I think Indians. He’s in the HOF as an Indian.

    My suggestion had nothing to do with Speaker. John could have picked Rick friggin’ Miller as his CF, either way, the suggestion would have been offered for the same reason.

    It has nothing to do with believing Fred Lynn to be better than Tris Speaker.

    That was never suggested or implied.

    And I’m getting pretty fucking tired of having to explain every goddamn comment I make.

  135. Chuck Says:

    “Yet if there is anything for me to admit you would & should volunteer it Chuck, since you brought it up.”

    You REALLY don’t know??!!?

    That you were wrong in “assuming” what I meant when suggesting Lynn?

  136. Cameron Says:

    Ah…

    Well Chuck, these get picked off best seasons, so you (unwittingly) invited people to think you said Lynn was better than Speaker. He’s not. But thanks for the clarification.

    Um… Shit, what team is left for John to do? I’d say the Nats, but unless you count the Expos, there’s not a whole lot there. Besides, the only Nats that’d be there are Soraino’s 40-40 year and Ryan Zimmerman (unless Tim Wallach had a really good year I’m not aware of).

    Not sure if these have been done yet, but which one of these have been covered?

    Seattle
    Arizona
    Colorado
    Florida

  137. John Says:

    Chuck,

    Since you don’t acknowledge Ichiro’s 01 (weird, because you always say Japanese ball is like AA), Lynn’s season is the only MVP/ROY season. His buddy Jim Rice finished third in the voting.

    And Speaker is an Indian (he also made that list) but people pop up all over the place the way I do it. Hornsby is the starter on for diffetent teams! And look at my Marlins team: Pudge, Delgado, Alou as a sub…all 1 year merceneries.

    Cameron,

    I still have to do the Rays, Browns, Senators (I’ll probably just make one combined team), White Sox, Rangers, Milwaukee Braves, KC A’s (father’s day present for my dad), Brewers, Nats, ny giants, brooklyn dodgers, Rockies, Padres, dbacks, and of course, Seattle Pilots (JK?). I think I’ll repost the old ones that went up before the sie revision and subsequent abduction Of Adam

  138. Cameron Says:

    The All-Time Seattle Pilots, the ‘69 team?

  139. Cameron Says:

    Uh-oh…

    It’s not the fact that Bailey has elbow discomfort (that got him pulled from a game)… But James Andrews? Guys see Andrews because he’s the best orthopedic surgeon in the game, ESPECIALLY when it comes to TJ work. This does not bode well.

    Maybe he and Adam Wainwright can do rehab together.

  140. Cameron Says:

    >> man, links hate me recently.

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110314&content_id=16949366&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  141. John Says:

    Beane has stocked that bullpen to withstand the loss of Bailey. Still, it would hurt.

    There’s actually a compelling reason to include the Seattle Pilots; doing so would give me 40 teams (current 30 plus expos, 2x A’s, 2 x Braves, b. Dodgers, ny giants, senators, browns, and pilots). If I simulated these teams against each other (or had Kerry tackle that !), 40 teams would make for a nice easy season.

  142. Cameron Says:

    It’s stocked, but losing an arm like Bailey’s takes ti from elite to just good. Not exactly the sheer hamstringing that Minnesota got this season in bullpen loss, but ouch.

  143. Mike Felber Says:

    I leave it to anyone & everyone here to judge Chuck: how on earth could anyone possibly know you meant that Lynn deserved the ‘75 MVP? There was no context before your comment about that, & you said nothing to indicate anything remotely like this. You said:

    “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975″.

    Then 98 posts later, & tons of times when you could have said you meant this, we hear that is what you meant. Tired of explaining everything? Man, nobody could have ANY chance of knowing what you meant there, it seems so absurd that anyone could be forgiven for thinking you are messing with them.

    Yet you say nothing about this unreadable concept, regardless of how many times politely challenged. And somehow only YOU are a bit enraged. O–>kaaay.

    You may think of him as an Indian, but that is irrelevant to the discussion. Even if he did not spend his 1st 9 years in Boston, you must know the question in this long running feature of best teams ever is: what player for that team had the best year in each position? Would not matter if he played 1 year there, though ‘12 was his best ever.

    Anyway, something perhaps a fun video personality parody:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/10303#comments

  144. Raul Says:

    Mike,

    I would use Speaker’s 1912, but I think you’re making too big a deal out of Chuck’s preference to use Lynn’s 1975.

    Sometimes guys aren’t always going to go with a list of the best stats in these all-time teams.

    This is a hypothetical team. Frankly, I can sort of understand why a person would choose Lynn. Nobody alive has seen Speaker play. If you have some numbers that are similar, but you’ve actually seen one of the guys play…where would you lean?

    Not everything needs to be defended all the time.

    I’m just saying…

  145. Mike Felber Says:

    You have progressed yourself from a bit of an anger management…side, to usually judicious & restrained, so I am taking your words seriously Raul. It is true not everything needs to be belabored. But 1) It is fun, 2) the main deal was that there was a claim undefended, then baseless questions about what I meant when it was ultra clear I was comparing one season, then finally an utterly inexplicable re-routing to a new claim of intent revolving around an MVP/ROY claim.

    If I was a really anal retentive bastard, I would point out that absolutely a bunch still alive must have seen Speaker play, his last year was ‘28, an 8 year old who saw him would be “only” mid 90’s now! ;-)

    When considering GP, the adjusted batting #s & total game, it does not look close. Though I am kidding when I imply that a Lynn-picker need be clinically insane. Though I do not think it is fair to go with a guy, or favor him at all, just because you saw him play. We have very good historical records, & if you are impressed by seeing a great season, that emotional effect should not translate to picking the guy you are attached to. I would lean towards the clearly better season.

    The exception remains: if we feel the quality of play has improved so dramatically that we must pick almost nobody or nobody from early in the century. But that would be Special Pleading, since it is implied that we are picking these seasons based on good they are RELATIVE to their peers.

  146. Mike Felber Says:

    Oops, this pedant must amend things to say that some Speaker-seers are clearly a MAX of early 90’s: that hypothetical 8 year old who saw his last year is around 90. And he was still excellent in the mid ’20’s. Seeing him in ‘12: that would be a very rare thing for someone alive today. But he was great for many more years.

  147. Chuck Says:

    “then finally an utterly inexplicable re-routing to a new claim of intent revolving around an MVP/ROY claim.”

    It wasn’t a new claim, or even inexplicable.

    See, if you had asked first instead of acting like a pompous blowhard (normal for you anyway, just sayin’), then all this would have been avoided.

    You’re the first to jump down someone’s throat when they make a mistake, but you’re the last to admit your own.

    “Your assumption that I am trying to get into anything more than a good natured exchange is an unwarranted assumption, I have never been like that, & do not show that attitude above either.”

    Yes, Mike, you do.

  148. Chuck Says:

    Happy Birthday, Pags, wherever you are.

  149. JohnBowen Says:

    I’ve seen Curtis Granderson play plenty of ball. But I think Ty Cobb should probably edge him for the starting CF job in Detroit.

  150. Chuck Says:

    If you pick Speaker for Cleveland over Rick Manning, I’m going to be pissed. :)

    When Dennis Eckersley was with Cleveland, unbeknownst to him his wife was having an affair with Manning.

    When Eck was traded to Boston, his wife said she wasn’t going and stayed in Cleveland.

  151. JohnBowen Says:

    Rick Manning?

    I have a baseball card of him with the Brewers. Fleer ‘87.

    Weird that we traded Stormin’ Gormon to get him, but neither were very good after the trade.

  152. JohnBowen Says:

    Holy crap.

    Rick Manning was one of the innovators behind the cheesehead?!?!

    Nevermind, this guy is starting!

  153. Mike Felber Says:

    Show me anything I ever said that is not good natured Chuck. Saying something makes no sense or is absurd can be affirmed on its own merits, but does not show any hostile intent. Nor have I felt any. this is similar to above when you implied, without cause or evidence, “if the shoes fits…” that I had lied.

    Me disagreeing strongly & politely is not “pompous blowhard” territory. But I have seen you honestly think that, or accuse me of just trying to look smart (assuming the worst again), when I say anything where the structure or words are at all complex. (muttering parody of internal dialogue: “He must be showin’ off again, damn college (45 Y.O.) kid…”

    I have given you EXAMPLES of my admitting mistakes. Though overwhelmingly they are a matter of clarity of expression, like what i meant by “no credit for games guys cannot play”.

    There was NOTHING I could have known to ask! Anyone here will tell you: when you wrote “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975″. There was NO possible indication there, or from any discussion before or afterords, that you could have meant ANYTHING else there. Or anywhere previously, OR later when I challenged you nicely on what clearly indicated you chose Lynn’s year as better than Speaker’s ‘12. Which is the only TOPIC of this thread.

    Thus there was nothing to ask you, & it was up to you to suggest this out of the blue MVP/ROY notion. Mostly anyone else, certainly you, would have called “bullshit” on you even INTENDING this as your suggestion, when your only stated “suggestion” had been, again:

    “I remove Speaker and replace him with Fred Lynn’s 1975″.

    Tell ya what. Ask Raul. He overwhelmingly agrees with you/you with him on matters of baseball opinion, & clearly respects your judgment overall. See if even he says there is any way that there was any ambiguity in your above statement, thus if there was anything I could possibly have been expected to ask your meaning about.

    Oh, & check this too: both of us note & call folks when we think they make a mistake. Unless someone is disrespectful, which I have not been, WHY should either of us correcting a factual matter, or expressing a different opinion, be called “jumping down their throat”?

  154. brautigan Says:

    Chuck: You have been harsh on Mike. Are those 86 degree days getting to your skull? I’ll trade you, the rain here in Portland is just about to get to me….I should be the one writing nasty screeds because this weather is just bad. And then the radiation ought to be settling in soon from Japan…….

  155. John Says:

    Never has so much been written about so little.

  156. Mike Felber Says:

    That is a great line, perfectly placed. Hat’s off to John (& Roy Harper).

  157. Chuck Says:

    “Chuck: You have been harsh on Mike”

    I disagree, but thanks for chiming in.

  158. brautigan Says:

    :)

    Usually I’m a peace maker, but I thought I’d throw some crap on top of the pile.

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