BaseballReference.com oddities

10,875 Views | 109 Replies | Last: 3 mo ago by Fat Bib Fortuna
W
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AG
okay, here's another fun one for the WARriors out there.

WAR hates another 1970's star...the Cobra...Dave Parker.

Parker only has a career WAR of 40.1

despite having a borderline Hall of Fame resume that includes:

-- 1978 NL MVP
-- 7-time all-star
-- 2-time batting champ
-- 3 gold gloves
-- all-star game MVP
-- NL MVP runner-up in 1985
-- 3rd place MVP finishes in 1975 & 1977
-- 2,700 career hits
-- .290 career BA
W
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and let's talk about defense...

Parker's career outfield fielding % is .965

in 1977 he committed 15 errors in the outfield and fielded at a .965 percentage.

but he gunned down 26 baserunners from right field...and won the gold glove.

----
in 1979 Parker fielded at a .960 clip in the outfield...and still won the gold glove.

he had one of the all-time "cannon" arms
94chem
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W said:

and let's talk about defense...

Parker's career outfield fielding % is .965

in 1977 he committed 15 errors in the outfield and fielded at a .965 percentage.

but he gunned down 26 baserunners from right field...and won the gold glove.

----
in 1979 Parker fielded at a .960 clip in the outfield...and still won the gold glove.

he had one of the all-time "cannon" arms


Must be some rule about old, fat right fielders who could throw, and have to hide in the AL at the end of their careers because they can still mash but can't tie their own shoes.
Harry Dunne
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Dave Parker got me on Phil Garner...he was an all-star in 1981 despite a -0.4 WAR, a .636 OPS and 12 errors at 2b in only 87 games (shortened season).
Fat Bib Fortuna
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I've never understood WAR and can't take it seriously. Numbers are numbers. One of my favorite things about baseball is that I can look at a guy's numbers from 1935 or 1975 or 2015 and know if he had a good season or not.

More trivia

In 1911 Shoeless Joe Jackson hit .408 and finished second in the AL batting race by 11 points to Ty Cobb, who hit .419. This was still the dead ball era, but Cobb scored 148 runs, recorded 248 hits (third-most ever), 47 doubles, 24 triples, 127 RBI, and 83 steals.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1911-standard-batting.shtml

AggieEP
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I don't mind WAR, it's obviously not a perfect stat just like none of them are, but it brings together several pieces of information into one neat number that gives us a "rough" idea about who the best players are each year.

I do think that the current version of WAR weighs park factor/effects a bit too heavily, but again, it's trying to find a way to fairly compare a player who plays 81 games at Coors Field and one who plays 81 games in Detroit. The craziest example was last year when Lance Lynn and Mike Minor were up there in WAR with Gerritt Cole and Justin Verlander who were each having historically good seasons.

My theory here would be that Ranger's pitching has been so BAD over the history of the ballpark and the offenses really pretty good during the same stretch that the park factor numbers at RBiA were a bit overstated. It was obviously a great hitters park, but I don't think it was much more of a paradise than Minute Maid is with the short right field dimensions and of course the Crawford boxes in left and both Minor and Lynn got huge bumps to their WAR for pitching at RBiA.

Just look at the Yankee Stadium numbers the past few years. Despite nothing changing about the stadium, it went from the 6th best offensive park in 2018 to the 2nd worst in 2019. In my mind, park factor should be a relatively stable number. If the park can oscillate that much in a one year span that seems to speak more to the quality of players on the team than the park having an actual effect. The 2017 season had Minute Maid as the hardest park to score in, but then suddenly by 2019 it was the 7th easiest to score in. Again, doesn't make much sense for that much of a discrepancy without physical changes to the park.

All of this to say... my go to stats are OPS and WHIP. Do you get on base and do you hit the ball hard and do you prevent the other guys from getting on base. If you look at those leader boards each year you're usually looking at your Cy Young and MVP candidates.
agsalaska
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Quote:

All of this to say... my go to stats are OPS and WHIP. Do you get on base and do you hit the ball hard and do you prevent the other guys from getting on base. If you look at those leader boards each year you're usually looking at your Cy Young and MVP candidates.
My go to stats or very 80s baseball card driven. I grew up looking at batting averages and OBP. Still the first stats I look at when I open a players page. But OPS and WHIP are probably three and four but carry as much wait for me.

I do think that they are the least flawed. I understand when I see a player from TEX 98 or COL 2002 that they will have a hitting edge on an Astro from the 80s. I dont need an adjusted number, but I do get why the do it.
ChipFTAC01
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I have a buddy who will periodically text me and another friend crazy stats, quite often about insane feats that Gwynn or Greg Maddox our up. Here is a great summary

https://www.mlb.com/news/19-facts-about-the-career-of-tony-gwynn-c177069734

I think my favorite is about Gwynn AND Greg Maddux.

Quote:

Gwynn faced Greg Maddux 107 times in his career -- more than any other pitcher. He batted .415/.476/.521 against the four-time Cy Young Award winner and Hall of Famer. That's easily the highest average against Maddux for any player with at least 70 plate appearances.

agsalaska
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AG
That is insane.
agsalaska
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AG


The 1982 St Louis Cardinals. I was 5, so I dont remember it, but I remember the teams after it. And Ozzie Smith was one of my favorites when I was little and cool enough he is one of my 9 year old son's favorites too. Youtube kicks ass.

George Hendrick of all people led the team in homers with 19. He was a good player. Darryl Porter hit 12. And that is it.

They hit OK but they stole 200 bases. Seven of the nine starters had at least ten including Ozzie, Willie McGhee, Lonnie Smith, Ken Oberkelff, They could run. Keith Hernandez was their first baseman and he had a huge season. OPB of .397.

Their starting five pitchers started 143 games and pitched in probably every game. At least 160. And the highest ERA recorded was Steve Mura at 4.05. He pitched in 35 games starting 30 and ate up 184 innings and thru seven complete games. That would be worth 15 million today.

They beat the Brewers in Game six and seven at Busch Stadium in the World Series.




I also learned that Lonnie Smith played in five world series with four different teams from both leagues. I did not know that.
W
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the 82 Cardinals hit a sweet spot in the national league.

the 4 teams that dominated the NL from 1974 to 1981 --- Dodgers, Reds, Phillies, Pirates --- finally got old and taken apart by free agency.

so the window opened for the Cardinals, Braves, and Padres to make the postseason 82 to 84; and then the Cardinals and Mets super-teams took over 85 to 88
W
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also...Busch Stadium had mammoth dimensions. 385 to the power alleys and 414 to straight away centerfield. It was made for stolen bases and triples.

eventually the fences were moved closer --- in the 90's I believe
hawk1689
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The only person to ever lead the league in batting average, walks, home runs, RBI's, and runs scored is Ted Williams. He led all of baseball in 1942 and then the AL in 1947. He didn't win the MVP in either season.
AgRyan04
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Love this thread. Fascinating stuff.

Here are two that I always thought were interesting

David Justice played in the postseason every year for 12 consecutive seasons from 1991-2002 - on four different teams.....except '96 - his Braves made the playoffs but he had season ending shoulder injury that prevented him from making an appearance.

Jeff Bagwell and Frank Thomas both born on May 27, 1968 and both went on to win the 1994 AL & NL MVP awards.
bhuff111
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Didn't he dislocate his shoulder swinging and missing?
Fat Bib Fortuna
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Willie Mays started his career at age 17 with the Birmingham Barons of the Negro Leagues in 1948.

He played 81 games for the Giants' Rochester affiliation in 1950 at age 19 and hit .353 in 81 games.

He moved up to Triple AAA Minneapolis for 1951 at age 20. He played the first 35 games of the season there, hitting .477 (!) and slugging .799.

Mays played 75% of the 1951 season and about 20% of the 1952 season before missing the rest of that campaig and all of 1953 to fight in the Korean War.

He returned in 1954, which is the year Hank Aaron debuted at age 20. From 1951-1971, Mays led Aaron in career homers and seemed the far more likely candidate to break Ruth's record. At the end of the 1965 season, Mays was at 505 and Aaron at 398. Even after 1968, it was till 587-510 Mays. But Aaron put up huge power numbers in his mid to late 30s, and the tale of the tape went like this:

After 1969 600-554 Mays
After 1970 628-592 Mays
After 1971 646-639 Mays
After 1972 683-554 Aaron
After 1973 713-660 Aaron (Mays' last season).



McInnis
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This is a great thread. My favorite Babe Ruth pitching story is about him throwing a combined perfect game with Ernie Shore. Ruth accounted for zero outs, Shore for 27. Ruth started and got tossed after walking the first batter.

I followed baseball pretty closely in the 80s and I don't remember the skinny version of Tony Gwynn either. In George Will's book "Men at Work" there is a section on Gwynn. Will discussed hitter's fear of being hit by pitches and some really good hitters had to work to overcome that fear. Gwynn said he never thought about it. His reflexes were so good he had 100% confidence that he could always get out of the way.
hawk1689
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If he walked the first batter, how was it a perfect game?
AggieEP
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So, not a perfect game, but I looked it up and found this article

https://www.mlb.com/cut4/ernie-shore-threw-quasi-perfect-game-after-babe-ruth-ejection/c-132245176

Discussing it and this Boston Globe article from 1917

https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/1917/06/24/ernie-shore-relives-babe-ruth-throws-perfect-game/LLgGY3ikJmhEo32tmETRFO/story.html

So while it's not a perfect game, it was recorded as such at the time. McInnis left out the best parts of the story, namely that the Babe brawled with the umpire punching him in the side of the head after getting ejected and the last out of the game was recorded when a member of the opposing team tried to bunt for a hit with 2 outs in the ninth of a no hit bid... somewhere Ben Davis is smiling and Curt Schilling is pissed.

For some real fun you guys should read the Boston Globe article, the use of language is so different than how we describe today's game.

Curtain Raider, Portsider, Whitewash Brush, Endeavor to Annex Second... lol these terms are hilarious.

"Ayres then went along in good shape until the seventh, when Walker opened by crashing a double against the fence in left, moving to third when Scotty sacrificed and tallying when Agnew larrupped one down to the left field corner for two hassocks."
07ag
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https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o'neipa01.shtml

Bats: Left Throws: Left Kicks: Left
McInnis
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The other part I left out is that the batter that Ruth walked was then picked off 1st base by Shore. It's a shame he isn't credited with a perfect game.

Seeing some of the names mentioned here really makes me wish for a baseball time machine. Two scenarios I would love to see:

Juan Soto doing his stare-down dance against Bob Gibson.

A team trying to use the shift against Tony Gwynn.
AgRyan04
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Great memory....I had to look it up and you are correct!
Fat Bib Fortuna
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Not to open the YouTube can of worms, but here's slightly-fat Tony Gwynn with an inside-the-park grand slam vs. the Dodgers in 1997.



Here's thin Gwynn putting the dagger in the Cubs in the '84 NLCS with a double that ate up Sandberg. If you watch closely you see Gwynn never stops sprinting and ends up at third on what would have been a single for most guys. If you're too young or don't remember this series, it's about as Cub as Cub could be. Back then the NLCS was best of 5 and the Cubs won the first game 13-0 and the second game 4-2. Padres won the next two to tie the series (Game 4 on a Steve Garvey HR in the bottom of the ninth).

Game 5 Cubs are 3-0 through 5 innings, give up 2 in the bottom of the sixth . Padres have one out and a guy on second in the 7th - meaning the Cubs are 8 outs from the World Series when Leon Durham boots one at first to allow a run and the Padres tack on 3 more to win 6-3.


Fat Bib Fortuna
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hawk1689 said:

The only person to ever lead the league in batting average, walks, home runs, RBI's, and runs scored is Ted Williams. He led all of baseball in 1942 and then the AL in 1947. He didn't win the MVP in either season.
I thought you guys would dig this. A few years ago I did a long series of feature articles for a large company that runs multiple high-end senior living communities all across the country. They had me contact some of their residents, talk to them about what they did during their active years and how they ended up picking the community they now live in. Since the communities are really high-end there are countless just amazing stories. This guy's is about Ted Williams.

Richard Rogers was an energetic 13-year-old who scored tickets to a Boston Red Sox game on July 25,1941. He had no idea of knowing it would be his last "real" baseball season for a few years. Pearl Harbor, the sneak attack that would see most current Major League Baseball players drafted, was still four months away. The Sox were in third place, a few games above .500 but already 15 games behind those damned New York Yankees.

Nevertheless, it was a glorious day to be at Fenway Park. Lefty Grove was on the hill, and although his career was winding down, the future Hall of Famer would end up winning his 300th game that day, as the Sox beat the Cleveland Indians 12-6. Although he didn't know it at the time, Rogers was seeing one of the greatest collections of talent to ever take the field together: Five of the Red Sox starting nine would wind up in the Hall of Fame, along with Cleveland's Lou Boudreau.
Rogers' love affair with the Red Sox runs deep. He lived in Boston for 55 years and worked for 47 years for Woolworth's, one of the original pioneers of the five-and-dime concept stores.
He started off as an employee and soon became the manager of one in Boston. Since the retail store also started offering a lunch counter, Rogers began getting familiar with legions of Bostonians as they walked their way to work, including the greatest Red Sox player of them all.
"One day the door opens and Ted Williams comes in," Rogers remembers. "He came a couple of times to my store and would just sit down for lunch or a cup of coffee. He was very nice, had a very charming personality."
For those unfamiliar with baseball, having Williams at your lunch counter would be a bit like if you loved rock'n'roll and Elvis Presley swiveled his hips into your shop one day. Despite missing close to five complete seasons due to military service in World War II and the Korean War, Williams is generally regarded as the greatest hitter of all-time.
Now 88, Rogers' love of the Sox has never abated. He still holds season tickets at Fenway.
"I have a season ticket contract with the Red Sox," Rogers says. "This is my 51st year coming up and I already have the schedule for 2018. There's only nine people who have had tickets as long as me. I've got a set of four in the front row on the third-base side."
Baseball and business and family defined Rogers' early years. But eventually he and his wife moved to Pennsylvania to be closer to family. His wife got sick and passed away in 2009 after the couple had spent 60 years together. Their family swelled to two children, then six grandchildren, and a great-grandson is expected to arrive this June.
When his own health started to decline, Rogers and his family decided that an assisted living facility would be the best choice, and about 15 months ago he made the move to Rittenhouse Village at Muhlenberg.
"It's been great. I just came back from a lunch of chicken breast and California vegetables and mashed potatoes," Rogers says. "I have a close friend who lives across the hall and I've made friends with a lot of the residents."
He's done more than that.
Last year, Rogers began considering what happens to residents who aren't able to write their own holiday cards to loved ones due to their physical conditions. He started gathering names and addresses of his fellow residents' loved ones. And then he started addressing notes, letters, and Christmas cards to those relatives. He wrote 183 Christmas cards in all, earning a write-up in the local newspaper.
"I just like doing things for those who can't. I still have the capacity to do so, so that's what I'm going to do."


hawk1689
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AG
Ted Williams' numbers are incredible as is, but most people don't take into account his military service when reviewing against the all time greats. Ted sacrificed three years of his prime to serve in WWII. He had already won the triple crown, batted .406, and was a three time all star before he was drafted. He essentially lost the '52 and '53 seasons to Korea as well. He almost certainly would have hit 600 home runs and might to this day hold records for walks, RBI's, and perhaps runs scored.

Bob Feller is another guy who missed three whole years of his prime as well as almost the entirety of the '45 season as well. Considering that he won 20 games the three years prior and 20 the next two, it's not unreasonable to assume he would have reached the 300 win plateau.
astros4545
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AggieEP said:

And since we are doing oddities here, Gwynn was only hit by 24 pitches in his whole career. For context Biggio (an all time great at getting plunked, had 4 individual seasons with more than that)

Gwynn somehow had 5 seasons where he wasn't hit a single time. And perhaps what makes this more amazing, is he famously used an incredibly short 31 inch bat, so it's not like he could stand really far from the plate like Mike Piazza and Michael Young (two others with really low HBP counts)

My only conclusion would be to link his lack of getting hit to the same cat like reflexes that made him a great hitter. He could recognize the ball quickly and simply moved out of the way if it was coming at him.


Reddick hasn't been HBP in 3,000 PA, since 2014

I wonder how many catchers INT he has during that time

agsalaska
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AG
So lately I have been going back and looking up games that I know I attended and reading the box scores.

For reference I am 43, grew up in DFW, lived in Houston 2000-2006.

One of my favorite pitchers ever was Dontrell Willis. Willis came along at a great time in baseball when we were finally starting to see major expansion in nationally televised games. And of course the Marlins were really good early in his career.

That dude could pitch. They don't make them like that anymore. And of course he also had a legendary collapse that he never recovered from, but I bet the World Series ring and $40 mil make him comfortable with all of that today.

Anyway, I saw him pitch against Houston from behind home plate in 2004. 5-2 Marlins victory. CG, six hits, two walks, one strikeout, 91 pitches. One of the hits was an Adam Everett of all people HR in the first inning.

I remember walking away from that game thinking I had watched a master. Dude threw 91 pitches with 34 plate appearances for the Stros.
agsalaska
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AG
Also, and I hate the new NL DH, Willis had 447 PAs in his career. Batted .244 with 9 HR and 39RBIs.

His Slugging was terrible because he was one of the slowest players in the league. But that bat would still make money today.
AggieEP
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I blame select ball for why we have a DH in the NL now, used to be the best player on your team pitched and played shortstop/center field. Little leagues had innings limits and participation rules so kids got to keep batting even if they were great pitchers. Now, once a kid is identified with a good arm, he's a pitcher all the way, he gets DHed for in many leagues and doesn't play demanding positions on his off day to keep the arm fresh.

On the positive side, I've never seen MLB so full of electric arms, on the downside, a lot of these guys look like they don't even know how to hold a bat. You can count me in the not wanting a DH on the NL camp on principle, bit on reality, pitcher hitting has gotten so atrocious that it does detract from the game.
RodTidwell
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Joe Sewell, 1920-1933, struck out only 114 times in 7132 at bats. Given the era he played it's understandable because they just were not accepted back then but still its amazing. I read on is Wiki that according to his obituary he used one bat his entire playing career.
JJxvi
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07ag said:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o'neipa01.shtml

Bats: Left Throws: Left Kicks: Left
https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/a/abbotji01.shtml
ChipFTAC01
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AG
I can't tell if that's hilarious or terrible. I think hilarious and not knowing Jim Abbott I hope he does as well.
agsalaska
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AG
Baseballreference link



[url=https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/p/profaju01.shtml][/url]How about Jurickson Profar.

Profar won the LLSW and played in it twice.
He was a minor league All Star and Played in the Majors, including the Wild Card game, at 19 years old. He homered in his first at bat. But he was 25 when he finally had a full Major League Season.

This year was his third full season. I watched him probably ten or twelve times and now that he is older and he has grown up physically he is starting to put some good seasons together. He also played all three OF positions, 2b, and 1b.

He is a good player and only 27.
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agsalaska
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third coast.. said:

I loved willis as well.

The pitcher that I was so hyped about when I was younger was todd van poppel. My cousin was huuuuuge on him and so I was all in too. That dude completely melted down too if I remember correctly.
Thats why I LOVE baseballreference.com.

So I remember being high on him too, I think because of a futures baseball card. He went to Martin High school too.

He has the most uninteresting page ever. Van Poppel. How does a guy with a 5.58 career ERA pitch in 359 games? Doesn't that seem really high for that much work? 900+ innings. I guess when they moved him to the bullpen he had a couple of good seasons that extended his career. But dang.
 
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