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Pop quiz … and a few game notes from Saturday, June 18

Posted by John Autin on June 19, 2011

Pop quiz: Jon Lester allowed 2 runs in the 1st inning tonight on 2 HRs, but only 1 of the runs was earned. Why? How? Imaginary prizes for the first correct answer and the most creative one....

-- Lester allowed 3 HRs in a game for the 2nd time this year. He had not given up 3 HRs in any of his 129 previous starts, including the postseason. He has already allowed as many HRs (14) as he did all of last season.

-- Mike Pelfrey threw his first complete game in 58 starts. His only 2 previous CGs came in consecutive starts in August 2008.

-- Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco extended his scoreless streak to 21 innings before allowing Pittsburgh's lone run in the 7th, and improved his record to 7-3. Grady Sizemore tripled, doubled and scored twice; he's batting just .243 but slugging .500, with 24 of his 37 hits for extra bases. Sizemore has 16 doubles and just 13 singles; no player with more than 30 hits has ever finished with more doubles than singles. Sizemore has been striking out far more often than in any prior year, 32% of his ABs; his previous career rate was 22% of ABs.

  • Cleveland has won 2 in a row for the first time since May 31-June 1, and reclaimed sole possession of 1st place in the AL Central.

-- Behind Scott Baker's 10 strikeouts, Minnesota became the first team to win four 1-0 games this year. In the 20 seasons from 1990-2009, no team had more than five 1-0 wins in a season; in 2010, the Padres, Phillies and Dodgers had 6 each.

  • The Padres tonight became the first team with three 1-0 losses. (And by the way, Anthony Rizzo went 0 for 2, so he still has his unusual career cycle.) Tim Stauffer had his 3rd straight high-quality game, allowing 1 run in 7 IP with no walks; he did not allow a run in his 2 previous starts, covering 15 innings. Stauffer is just 1-1 in the 3 games, as the Pads scored a total of 2 runs.

-- Jose Bautista's latest "homerless streak" reached 5 games -- during which he is 6 for 18 with 4 RBI and a .455 OBP, and the Blue Jays are 4-1. They got back over .500 tonight behind a strong start from Brandon Morrow (no runs in 6.1 IP, 1 walk, 6 Ks) and a HR and a double from backup catcher Jose Molina. The Jays have 30 XBH by their catchers; only Arizona (34) has more. Before tonight, Toronto was the only team with just 1 shutout win this year.

-- Congratulations to Seattle's Dustin Ackley, who got his first big-league hit Friday and his first HR tonight. Ackley, the #2 overall pick in 2009, was hitting .303 with a .421 OBP at AAA in his 2nd pro season. Actually, .303 in the PCL isn't so great this year; there's at least a dozen regulars hitting over .350 out there, and 67 hitters with at least 100 PAs and a BA higher than Ackley's. On the other hand, Ackley had 55 walks against 38 strikeouts, so he has some kind of an idea up there.

-- The madness of W-L records: Phil Coke lost in Colorado tonight and fell to 1-7 on the season. Teammate Max Scherzer is 9-2. Who has pitched better? It's pretty much even, but Coke has a better ERA, 3.97 to 4.32. The difference -- of course -- is run support: 6.27 R/G for Scherzer, about 3.5 for Coke.

-- And finally, the things you find when you start out looking for other things ... Noticing that young Alex Cobb got his 2nd win tonight for Tampa, I wondered if any other player named Cobb had ever won a game in the majors. So I searched on "Cobb" and clicked on the first one I didn't know, Joe Cobb. Scanning his bio data to see if he was a pitcher, I didn't see a position listed, so I scrolled down.

  • Turns out that Joe Cobb played in just 1 game, in 1918, with Detroit, didn't play the field, came to bat one time, and drew a walk. He's one of about 30 modern players who walked in their only appearance. I don't know the story behind that incident, but after disappearing from the organized baseball stats for 3 years, Joe Cobb resurfaced as one of the better hitters on the juggernaut Baltimore Orioles of the International League from 1923-25, helping them extend their run of league titles to 7 straight. (He did get a little assistance from the likes of Lefty Grove, who went 53-16 in 1923-24, and Rube Parnham, who was 33-7 in 1923.)

Where was I? Oh, right -- it turns out that there was a pitcher named George Cobb who went 10-37 in 1892 for the NL Orioles, his only year in the majors. There was another pitcher, Herb Cobb, who got into 1 game with the Browns in 1929 but didn't get a decision; he allowed 4 runs in one inning, including a 3-run HR by pitcher Earl Whitehill.

69 Responses to “Pop quiz … and a few game notes from Saturday, June 18”

  1. Robbie Says:

    The home run by Rickie Weeks came immediately after Adrian Gonzalez was charged with an error after he failed to catch a popup in foul ground. Therefore the home run hit by Weeks counts as an unearned run.

  2. Michael Holloway Says:

    Dropped foul pop error by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez?

  3. John Autin Says:

    Winners, winners, everywhere!

    But what is the phrase commonly associated with that type of error? "X was charged with an error for ____."

  4. Dave latowski Says:

    E3 dropped flyball would have been the third out of the inning, none on, fly ball in foul ground

  5. Doug Says:

    Ty Cobb also pitched in 3 games, finishing two of the game.

    The one game in the game-searchable era is from 1925 and Cobb is credited with a save in the box score. He closed out an 11-6 game, retiring 3 hitters in succession before the game was called after 8 innings, possibly due to darkness since it was October 4th and the second game of a doubleheader.

    I guess it's possible he would qualify for a save if the bases were loaded when he came in. Or, perhaps more likely, it reflects an earlier save definition.

  6. John Autin Says:

    @5, Doug -- As a Tigers fan (not to mention a B-R addict), I'm shocked that I didn't know that Tyrus R. ever pitched.

    As for his save -- I do believe that the saves credited retroactively for games that lack play-by-play data were awarded on a looser definition, perhaps as loose as just finishing a win.

  7. John Autin Says:

    @4, Dave Latowski -- Actually, the dropped foul fly would have been the 1st out, not the 3rd out. The run is unearned simply because that batter should have been out. If any other runs had scored with 2 out, they would also have been unearned, but there were no 2-out runs.

  8. oneblankspace Says:

    Two 1-0 wins for the Twins in 3 games...and 3 1-0 decisions in 9 or 10 games going back to a 1-0 loss last week.

  9. Rich Says:

    For some reason, the PBP on makes no mention whatsoever of Adrian's error. Not very helpful!

  10. Bip Says:

    I was about to say that I kind of disagree with the rules about unearned runs, and that, for example, the run from the homerun-hitter crossing the plate should never be unearned, but that seems like a situation where it makes sense that it's an unearned run. But for situations where there are two outs and an error occurred, I think that at the very least, a pitcher should get charged with 1 earned run if he gives up a home run.

  11. Timmy p Says:

    Johnny Damon became just the 11th player all-time to have 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 homers, and 2,500 hits.
    All of the other players accomplishing the feat - George Brett, Lou Gehrig, Goose Goslin, Rogers Hornsby, Willie Mays, Paul Molitor, Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Al Simmons and Robin Yount - are in baseball's Hall of Fame.

  12. BSK Says:

    In terms of most creative answer, I would have to imagine some sort of Canseco-esque, ball-of-head play. Does that actually count as a HR? Does it count as an error? Suppose it hit his glove instead of his head (as I believe happened this year or last)? How does that get scored? Hard to imagine it is an ER against the pitcher, given that the ball would have been short of the fence and contacted a fielder. At the same time, hard to imagine it being anything other than a HR given that it went over the fence.

  13. BSK Says:

    Here is the game in question. Canseco was not given an error. I'm assuming this is because the ball hit his head and not his glove (which seems to be the general rule for assigning errors). Seems sort of unfair to the pitcher; even if you presume the ball wouldn't have been caught, it should have been a double or, at most, a triple. In that particular game, it looks like Martinez would have scored anyway if the rest of the inning played out as it did, but still...

  14. BSK Says:

    Here is the game from earlier this year:

    Raburn had the ball go off his glove well short of the wall and ricocheted Olivo's fly ball over the fence. No error was given and a HR was credited to Olivo.

    Here is the video:

  15. kenh Says:

    Gonzalez' error would have been the third out of the inning. Therefore, all runs scored after this are unearned. Am I right?

  16. Jeff Says:

    Weeks should have been out on the dropped popup. So when the run he scored on the homer run was unearned.

  17. John Autin Says:

    @10, Bip -- I used to share your view that a home run should always be an earned run (except the specific scenario in yesterday's game). But I've reversed field after learning more about the effects of throwing extra pitches in an inning.

    The "HR-is-always-earned" view rests on the premise that all subsequent events would have gone exactly the same if not for the error -- which is also the premise for the concept of unearned runs. It's not a strong premise in general, but it would be hard to differentiate "earned/unearned" runs any other way.

    But the "unearned run" definition does not follow that premise all the way to its logical conclusion; it does not treat events that happened after what would have been the 3rd out as constituting the start of a new inning, and thus possibly creating earned runs. And that policy, I think, is a tacit acknowledgment that a pitcher tends to be less effective the more pitches he must throw in an inning.

    Sorry for the long-winded explanation, but that's why I no longer agree that almost all HRs should count as earned runs.

  18. John Autin Says:

    @10, Timmy P -- Hey there! True statements. But how much cherry-picking can we tolerate in a HOF argument? What is the logical basis for the particular thresholds used there -- 2,500 hits, 500 doubles, 100 triples, 200 HRs -- except to paint Damon as a HOFer?

    Has Johnny Damon ever had a great year? His high WAR mark is 6.6, in 2000; in no other year has he reached 5 Wins Above Replacement. He's been an average defender with a weak arm. He's been a consistently good offensive player, but his high mark for OPS+ is 118, and his career 105 OPS+ is way below the norm for HOF outfielders.

    I think Damon's only realistic path to the Hall is getting 3,000 hits, and even then I think he's only 50-50.

    And I think it would be an utter disgrace if Damon were to make the Hall while Tim Raines is still waiting.

  19. John Autin Says:

    (Whoops, that's @11, Timmy P....)

  20. Dvd Avins Says:

    @3 "...prolonging the At Bat."

  21. redsock Says:

    Gonzalez's error was on the second pitch of the inning and would have been the first out, as noted above. (Very hard for the 2nd pitch of an inning to be the final out.)

    Lester had a rough first couple of minutes last night:

    Pitch #1 - Ball 1 to Weeks
    Pitch #2 - Strike 1 to Weeks; dropped foul pop (E3)
    Pitch #3 - Weeks home run
    Pitch #4 - Hart home run
    Pitch #5 - Braun double

  22. John Autin Says:

    @20, Dvd Avins -- You've said the magic words! George Fenneman will be along shortly with your hundred dollars.

  23. carter Says:

    ok, the batter reaches on an error. on the second home run the hitterpasses the runner, is called out so only one run scores.

  24. Timmy p Says:

    @18 Well I dunno, I haven't seen WAR and/or OPS+ on too many HoF plaques. Damon is not done yet, and those stats I mention are copied and pasted from an AP article. Let's also not forget he will have over 400 career SB. 600 doubles and triples looks pretty good along with being on 2 WS winning teams. Raines fewer hits, fewer doubles, fewer homers, lots more stolen bases. Raines is a fine player but I would not hold that against JD. Unfortunately for Damon he lost a great deal of money in the Stanford scheme not too long ago. Because of that I think you will see him play as long as possible to help recoup those loses, and I think he'll play hard despite his age.

  25. Timmy p Says:

    Also wanted to mention that if Damon plays just one more year after this he will probably crack the top 25 in career runs scored. I never follow runs scored myself, but others have argued it's importance. Looking at the top 30 in career runs scored I see 26 HoF'ers, Jeter, Biggio, and 2 steroid users.

  26. Bip Says:


    How many more are on that list if you remove the 100 triples requirement? What if you remove that requirement and increase the homerun requirement to 275 (75 HRs yield the same number of total bases as 100 triples)? Pointing out that you don't see OPS on HoF plaques is just appealing to tradition; it doesn't change the fact that slugging percentage is far more useful than listing an arbitrary number of doubles and triples.


    I see. I wonder if there's data on that and how it would even be meaningfully interpreted.

  27. Timmy p Says:

    @26 Those numbers were not my numbers, they were pulled from an AP story word for word. "Pointing out that you don't see OPS on HoF plaques is just appealing to tradition". Not sure what to make of that statement. Can't get my arms around what is written in bronze in the HoF not appealing to tradition. I didn't write those plaques, I'm just reading them and don't see WAR. Hard to believe JD's consistent play could be warped by the aberrational years of players having a "career" year. And that's what stats that measure league average and arrive at a ratio for a given player do.

  28. DoubleDiamond Says:

    This is the perfect time to bring up a "what-if" question I've had for several years.

    Suppose a pitcher has a 27-up, 27-down game, which would normally be called a "perfect game". However, during one of the at-bats, a fielder drops a foul pop-up for an error. Unlike the situation in yesterday's game, though, this at-bat ends with the batter being out (and not on stretching a hit into an extra base).

    Would this still be considered to be a perfect game even though one of the fielders on the winning pitcher's team was charged with an error?

    In fact, I wasn't even sure until fairly recently if an error even got charged on the dropped foul pop-up unless the batter reached base successfully. But apparently it's charged regardless of the outcome of the at-bat.

    To repeat/rephase the question:

    Can a pitcher still get credit for a perfect game if, during one of the at-bats, a player on his team dropped a foul pop-up that prolonged an at-bat, even though the batter did not reach base safely?

  29. Richard Chester Says:


    A perfect game is defined as a game in which the pitcher goes a minimum of 9 innings and no batter reaches base. Therefore a dropped foul does not take away the perfect game. A perfect game is defined as a pitching performance, not a team defensive performance.

  30. Timmy p Says:

    @28 No hits, walks, HBP, and no runners on base is a perfect game. 27 up and 27 down is not always a perfect game because a runner can reach and then be out on a double play, or stolen base attempt. Errors that do not allow baserunners, do not cost a pitcher a perfect game. You can pitch a no hitter and lose, but you can not lose a perfect game.

  31. Neil L. Says:

    Double, I have no idea of the answer to your question.

    But it is an awesome question. My gut feel is the pitcher should still be awarded a perfect game.

    After all, the pitcher cannot be responsible for a dropped foul ball unless he was the defensive player fielder playing it.

  32. nesnhab Says:

    I'm with you John Autin, you have given the best explanation ever on why the unearned runs rule is so illogical. It is like the plot of any time travel movie, the holes become obvious as soon as you really think about it.

  33. redsock Says:

    @30 - "27 up and 27 down is not always a perfect game because a runner can reach and then be out on a double play, or stolen base attempt."

    If someone reached base, then it can't be 27 up/27 down.
    It may be 27 batters faced, however.

  34. Neil L. Says:

    John Autin, has "pop quiz" replaced "Mystery Theater"?

    I still want to solve the "Who Am I?". 🙂

  35. Chuck Says:

    "Can a pitcher still get credit for a perfect game if, during one of the at-bats, a player on his team dropped a foul pop-up that prolonged an at-bat, even though the batter did not reach base safely?"

    Of course.

    How is this even a question?

  36. Neil L. Says:

    Chuck, easy now. It is not all that obvious that an error can be charged without a BIP or a PA by the batter.

  37. Timmy p Says:

    More on Damon, and I find this one interesting since JA thinks Damon has to get to 3000 hits and then is only 50/50 getting in and he very well could be right. Wade Boggs has 4064 total bases to Damon's 4019, and Boggs played about 100 more games than Damon (so far). Now Boggs had 2 careers, the first one with lots of blank ink, and very important blank ink. His second career beginning in his last year in Boston until he retired is very average at best. Damon didn't lead the league in much, triples once, SB once, and runs once. But, I like JD's numbers compared to Boggs. Boggs finished with 3010 hits and was a first ballot HoF'er. I don't think you should punish JD for playing his game.

  38. John Autin Says:

    @23, Carter -- Congratulations! You are the winner in the "most creative explanation" category. (By default, yes, but the fact that no one showed up to challenge you takes nothing away from your performance!)

    Your statuette, alas, will be awarded in the non-televised portion of our presentation....

  39. John Autin Says:

    @ Johnny Damon -- It doesn't matter what they put on the plaque; the HOF can't just be about the "counting stats." Or should we put Harold Baines in, too? After all, Baines had far more hits, total bases, and times on base than Damon, and he had a higher BA, OBP and SLG.

    If we adhere to any "magic numbers" for the Hall, eventually we will be faced with a player whom not one single person ever considered a "Hall of Famer," but he somehow hung around long enough to reach one of those magic numbers. Maybe Damon isn't that guy, for you, and he gets your HOF support. Maybe Omar Vizquel isn't that guy. But if you live by HOF magic numbers, one day you will be forced to either abandon your position, or support someone like Edgar Renteria for the Hall.

  40. J. B. Rainsberger Says:

    @38, @23, I thought of the same thing, but if I hit a ball out of the park with you on base, then pass you on the bases, I don't get credit for a HR, do I? I imagine I get credit for a hit based on the number of bases I safely touched.

  41. Shping Says:

    I agree that #23 deserves the creativity award. But i think #40 is also right. In the famous 1959 Haddix almost-perfect game that he lost in 13th (?), Adcock's game-winning HR became a 1b or 2b when he passed Aaron(?) on the bases.

  42. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Thanks to everyone who responded to my question. And in fact, in mid-post, I decided to change the 27-up, 27-down terminology, but didn't go back to where I had already used it, because of the way that batters can reach base but eventually be out without a replacement runner. (For instance, a fielder's choice produces a replacement runner - the batter who hit into that fielder's choice.) I was especially thinking of a situation in which a batter is out trying to stretch a single into a double, etc., but being caught stealing, picked off, or erased in a double (or triple) play also came to mind for me there.

  43. Johnny Twisto Says:

    A batter out stretching a single to a double is an interesting twist. That's counted as a hit, of course. But the batter was never really on base, and the pitcher would still face only 27 batters. Not a perfect game but a close imitation. And what if that "hit" came on a tough misplay by an outfielder. Controversy ensues.

  44. Shping Says:

    I've enjopyed some great questions (esp. #28) and info in this thread. A couple more:

    If an error is made with two outs, are any subsequent runs that inning always treated as unearned, or are there any exceptions? And am i correct in thinking that passed balls can "create" unearned runs but that runs scored on wild pitches are earned?

    Could anyone tell me how many times in history there has been a perfect game ruined by an error, and only an error (or several errors), with no hits or walks?

  45. Dvd Avins Says:

    Any runs scored after the third out should have occurred is counted as an Unearned Run against the team, but if a pitcher comes in after the error occurs (I'm not sure whether the pitching change has to be after the inning should have ended) and the new pitcher let's a batter on base who later scores, it's counted as an Earned Run against the new pitcher. So (to the dismay of sabermetric database managers) the total Earned/Unearned Runs for a team's pitchers do not always add up to the Earned/Unearned Runs for the team.

  46. Dvd Avins Says:

    And yes, Wild Pitchers count as part of pitching, and so do not make a run Unearned. Both Passed Balls and pitchers' errors are classified as fielding, and so can make a run Unearned.

  47. John Autin Says:

    @40, J.B. Rainsberger -- You get a statuette, but no red carpet walk. Creativity demands that we bend the rules sometimes, even the official scoring rules! 🙂

  48. John Autin Says:

    @44, Shping, re: perfect game spoiled by error:

    I can only give you the 4 times since 1919 that a pitcher has had a CG of at least 8 innings, while allowing no one to reach safely, but with an error:

    Jonathan Sanchez, 2009:

    Terry Mulholland, 1990:

    Jerry Reuss, 1980:

    Dick Bosman, 1974:

    (Special mention to Bosman, who committed the error himself.)

  49. Shping Says:

    Thanks John (and Dvd), incl. the Bosman note.

    Should we add Galarraga to the list with an error on Joyce? 🙂

  50. Shping Says:

    If John or anyone else could please indulge me one more time:

    What about perfect games ruined by HBP only? (Or any other freak occurrences such as dropped third strike, catcher interference, etc. The above four games all seem to involve "common" errors). I don't recall ever hearing about any of these situations, but maybe...?

    (Of course, the most famous freak occurence would be the Ruth/Shore "no-hitter" in 1917, but i'm thinking of games not ruined by walks or common errors)

  51. Richard Chester Says:


    On July 4, 1908 Hooks Wiltse of the Giants retired the first 26 batters and then hit George McQuillan with a pitch.

  52. John Autin Says:

    @50, Shping -- Besides the near-perfect games I listed @48, here are the other no-hitters since 1919 that also featured no walks, but at least one runner reached via HBP; some of them also had a baserunner via error. I can't say for sure if this means there were no near-perfect games that were spoiled by a catcher's interference or something -- actually, though, catcher's interference would be scored as an error.

    Kevin Brown, 1997 (HBP):

    Bob Forsch, 1983 (HBP + error):
    (his 2nd career no-hitter)

    Bill Singer, 1970 (HBP + error):
    (First HBP of Oscar Gamble's career, and his only HBP that year in 305 PAs. The error was by Singer on a ground ball; he made another error on a pickoff throw.)

    Joe Horlen, 1967 (HBP + error):
    (Only White Sox no-hitter between 1957 & 1986. Error was committed by 5-time Gold Glover Ken Boyer, playing 1B in the twilight of his career.)

    Lew Burdette, 1960 (HBP):
    (Burdette faced the minimum; Tony Gonzalez, the batter he hit, was erased on a DP. I think I just read a story about the Burdette-Gonzalez HBP in We Would Have Played for Nothing, but it escapes me at the moment.)

  53. John Autin Says:

    @51, Richard -- Good find on the Hookster. I'll add that Wiltse had to go 10 innings to get his no-hitter.

    Shping, here are a couple of sites that might provide further accounts of near-perfect games, including those before 1919:

  54. John Autin Says:

    @12-14, BSK -- Belated Honorable Mention for referencing the Canseco play and posting the Raburn video. (Man, nothing is going right for Raburn this year!)

  55. Doug Says:


    The error in the Forsch game was the ultimate homer call to preserve the no-hitter. It was a rocket shot to the left of the 3rd baseman that just ticked off his glove when he reached for it as the ball whizzed by.

    About that same time (early 80s), there was a similar sort of homer call in a game involving the Angels (the picture in my mind is of Reggie Jackson storming out of the dugout to vent his disgust at the call in he direction of the official scorer). Anyway, it was late innings, the Angels were being no-hit and they had just hit a blooper into short right-field that the right-fielder had charged as hard as he could to try to make a shoe-string catch, but had failed. As in the Forsch game, the hometown official scorer inexplicably ruled the play an error. In the end, it didn't matter as the Angels did eventually break up the no-hit bid.

  56. Doug Says:


    Evidently, if was Forsch's first no-hitter that featured the error I described. The error was in the 8th inning. This is the game.

    The error in his second no-hitter was in the second inning by the second baseman, so the call could not have been influenced by no-hit considerations.

  57. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @37/ Timmy P Says: "... Wade Boggs has 4064 total bases to Damon's 4019, and Boggs played about 100 more games than Damon (so far)... "

    Timmy, you have not mentioned that Boggs made nearly 300 less outs over his carerer than Damon (6566 to 6890). Boggs was simply a better offensive player than Damon - his career was better, and his peak performance (1983-1991) was MUCH better. Reducing the discussion to career milestones, such as 3000 hits, greatly flattens out those differences.

    Damon is not (yet) a serious HOF candidate for a simple reason - there are just far too many other players more qualified than him that are _not_ in the HOF. From last Friday's discussion in the post: “{100+ Career “Runs” From Fielding}”, we collectively listed quite a few, including:

    Dick Allen
    Jeff Bagwell
    Darrell Evans
    Dwight Evans
    Wes Ferrell
    Bobby Grich
    Stan Hack
    Tommy John
    Barry Larkin
    Sherry Magee
    Dale Murphy
    Tim Raines
    Edgar Martinez
    Reggie Smith
    Louie Tiant
    Ron Santo
    Allan Trammell
    Larry Walker
    Lou Whitaker

    I've added a few more potential HOFer's to the above list.

    Johnny Damon has been a very good player over most of his long career, with many highlights, but he is just not a HOFer right now.

  58. Timmy p Says:

    Lawrence the hall is not for milestones, nor for waiting your turn. You can't have it both ways. I disagree with you on many of those players except Ron Santo.

  59. Chuck Says:

    Lawrence @#57

    I agree with Timmy in regards to your list with the exception of his reference to Ron Santo.

    All of the players on the list were very good players, but if I had a HOF vote, I can't see more than four, five tops being worthy.

    And even of those that are and who may eventually get in, they are all bottom tier players.

    There are no "all-timers" on the list.

  60. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @58/@59 - Well, we'll have "agree to disagree", as I do about everything you two stated (except Santo belonging in the HOF):

    -the HOF IS about milestones and nice round numbers, though not in absolutes. These milestones are a shorthand to the BBWAA voters for "had a career good enough to be HOF-worthy".

    We on this particular blog argue that should NOT be so, but in practice, of course, everyone with 500HR, 3000 hits, and 300 Wins is in (except for off-field reasons). The only HOFer who falls into this category, and I wouldn't put in the HOF, is Lou Brock. He's more the "exception that proves the rule".

    -"bottom tier players" - Barry Larkin got 62% of the vote last year, and will probably be elected next year - I don't know anyone who would call him a "bottom tier" HOF candidate. He's often considered one of the Top-10 shortstops ever. Speaking of that:

    - Jeff Bagwell is considered a Top-10 all-time at 1B, if not Top-5
    -Bobby Grich and Lou Whitaker are considered Top-dozen at second base
    -Stan Hack is considered Top-10 at third base

    Ratings based on BJNHA and consensus. None of the players I just mentioned above are bottom tier players, to call them no more qualified than Johnny Damon for the HOF is ridiculous. Just about every player I mentioned above in #57 had a better peak than Damon, often much better. The lack of a peak is what makes Damon's HOF case harder to argue.

    -HOF candidates DO "wait their turn", even if they are fully qualified. That's how the HOF works. Carlton Fisk did not get his first year in 1999, because Brett, Ryan, and Yount were on the ballot. He did get elected in 2000, when the best new candidates were Gossage and Jack Morris.

  61. Doug Says:


    Lawrence, I would add Fred McGriff to your list.

  62. Chuck Says:

    "Jeff Bagwell is considered a Top-10 all-time at 1B, if not Top-5"

    Not by anyone who knows what they're talking about.

  63. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I'll try to name 10 1Bmen better than Bagwell.


    I don't necessarily agree with that list, but I think one could make the argument for those guys.

    However, I infer from Chuck's comment he doesn't think Bagwell is close to the top 10. I think one would have to make some pretty convoluted arguments to find another 10 guys to put ahead of Bagpipes. The guy crushed the Astrodome, for crying out loud.

  64. John Autin Says:

    @62 -- Chuck, I don't get it -- particularly the vehemence of your position. I infer that either you don't believe in advanced metrics, or you don't know how Bagwell compares to other first basemen in that regard. But here are a few relevant top-10 lists:

    Wins Above Replacement by 1B
    118.4 -- Lou Gehrig
    99.5 -- Cap Anson
    94.1 -- Jimmie Foxx
    87.2 -- Roger Connor
    86.0 -- Albert Pujols
    83.7 -- Dan Brouthers
    79.9 -- Jeff Bagwell
    70.2 -- Johnny Mize
    66.7 -- Eddie Murray
    66.0 -- Rafael Palmeiro

    OPS+ by 1B (min. 5,000 PAs):
    178 -- Lou Gehrig
    171 -- Albert Pujols
    170 -- Dan Brouthers
    163 -- Jimmie Foxx
    162 -- Mark McGwire
    158 -- Johnny Mize
    158 -- Hank Greenberg
    153 -- Roger Connor
    149 -- Jeff Bagwell
    147 -- Willie McCovey

    But if you don't like metrics, I assume you like counting stats:

    Runs by 1B:
    1999 -- Cap Anson
    1888 -- Lou Gehrig
    1751 -- Jimmie Foxx
    1663 -- Rafael Palmeiro
    1627 -- Eddie Murray
    1620 -- Roger Connor
    1602 -- Jake Beckley
    1523 -- Dan Brouthers
    1517 -- Jeff Bagwell
    1349 -- Fred McGriff

    RBI by 1B:
    2075 -- Cap Anson
    1995 -- Lou Gehrig
    1922 -- Jimmie Foxx
    1917 -- Eddie Murray
    1835 -- Rafael Palmeiro
    1652 -- Tony Perez
    1578 -- Jake Beckley
    1555 -- Willie McCovey
    1550 -- Fred McGriff
    1529 -- Jeff Bagwell

    But maybe you just like on-base percentage?

    OBP by 1B (min. 5,000 PAs):
    .447 -- Lou Gehrig
    .428 -- Jimmie Foxx
    .423 -- Todd Helton
    .423 -- Albert Pujols
    .423 -- Dan Brouthers
    .412 -- Hank Greenberg
    .408 -- Jeff Bagwell
    .404 -- Jason Giambi
    .402 -- Lu Blue
    .398 -- John Olerud

    I don't know, Chuck -- what do you like?

  65. Chuck Says:

    "I infer that either you don't believe in advanced metrics..,"

    I don't.

    "..or you don't know how Bagwell compares to other first basemen in that regard. "

    I do.

  66. John Autin Says:

    @65 -- Pithy as your reply may be, it leaves unclear whether you noted the rankings in more traditional stats of Runs, RBI and OBP that I also posted.

    More importantly, it leaves completely unexplained why you think Bagwell doesn't belong among the top 10 first basemen of all time.

    Since this is the 2nd time on this thread that you've basically posted that opinion without any backup, one might wonder whether your opinion is anything more than a feeling.

  67. Chuck Says:

    My opinion doesn't require backup, John, no more so than would yours.

    For the most part, HOF discussions are futile because none of us have a vote.

    Whether I change your mind or you mine, what difference would it make?

    Jeff Bagwell is currently not a HOFer if only because he hasn't been elected, and until he is, there's nothing anyone can say to change that fact.

    And considering he juiced, it's all going to be irrelevant anyway.

  68. Yahoo Says:

    Great post

  69. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Whether I change your mind or you mine, what difference would it make?

    Then what is the point of any of this discussion? None of us are affecting anything. Why talk about the games, they already happened. You've made it clear you're not really interested in conversation which makes me wonder why you spend time here.