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Paul Konerko is crushing it at age 35

Posted by Andy on August 26, 2011

Paul Konerko is putting together yet another great season, following his career-best 2010 at age 34 with a season nearly every bit as good at age 35.

During the steroids era, we became accustomed to guys putting up huge numbers at age 35. However, one of the nice things about OPS+ is that it normalizes to league strength and scoring, so an OPS+ of 150 is impressive regardless of era.

Konerko has now put up 2 straight seasons (where he qualified for the batting title) with an OPS+ of at least 150. There are not so many players to have done that in their age 34 and 35 seasons:

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Paul Konerko 2 2010 2011 34-35 Ind. Seasons
2 Larry Walker 2 2001 2002 34-35 Ind. Seasons
3 Mark McGwire 2 1998 1999 34-35 Ind. Seasons
4 Edgar Martinez 2 1997 1998 34-35 Ind. Seasons
5 Frank Robinson 2 1970 1971 34-35 Ind. Seasons
6 Hank Aaron 2 1968 1969 34-35 Ind. Seasons
7 Johnny Mize 2 1947 1948 34-35 Ind. Seasons
8 Babe Ruth 2 1929 1930 34-35 Ind. Seasons
9 Jack Fournier 2 1924 1925 34-35 Ind. Seasons
10 Tris Speaker 2 1922 1923 34-35 Ind. Seasons
11 Ty Cobb 2 1921 1922 34-35 Ind. Seasons
12 Nap Lajoie 2 1909 1910 34-35 Ind. Seasons
13 Honus Wagner 2 1908 1909 34-35 Ind. Seasons
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/26/2011.

That's a damn impressive group he joins including not only mostly Hall of Famers, but some inner-circle HOFers at that.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 26th, 2011 at 9:59 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

60 Responses to “Paul Konerko is crushing it at age 35”

  1. Too bad.. he has never even been close to being regarded as the best hitter in baseball. A very good player but not the HOF, regardless of company ;) (I know not your intent)

  2. Konerko is third in total home runs over the last few years with 67, behind only Bautista (91) and Pujols (73). He is 4-5 years older than the other two, so quite impressive.

  3. What's remarkable is that his previous career high OPS+ was 136. All the other guys on the list had 150+ seasons when they were younger and were just extending their peaks. Even the famously late-blooming Fournier had a big MLB season at age 25.

  4. Suspiciously absent? Barry Bonds - only 434 PA's in 1999 and ineligible for the batting title.

    Years ago, Bill James suggested Konerko's defense at 3B was adequate enough to justify living with him there..... Possible H-O-F'er if he would have stayed at 3B?

  5. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Andy, OPS + is definitely a decent "leveler" - but sometimes it can falter.
    For instance, you point out that the 'Steroid Era' can be compared to other eras due to OPS+, but that is only true if we assume everyone was doing it. If only 1/2 or 2/3 of the players were "on" the juice, then their numbers are still skewed, not as much, but still.
    Also, I'm beginning to think park factors are becoming obsolete. The Yankees #'s are more a product of the money that buys the players, not what the players can do in 'that' park. Also, now that the unbalanced schedule is in use, teams like the Red Sox, who are equally potent offensively, play at Yankee Stadium more.
    As the disparagy between leagues widens, and as the Royals host the Twins, I think the lack of HRs in those games, is not due to Park factors, but to crummy teams. Hence, skewed OPS+ totals.
    Also, although I agree with you we are seeing the offensive's downward trend, I don't think we can say the PED era is behind us just yet.
    I'm sure, somewhere, there are guys circumventing the system or new drugs are being developed or guys are just combining luck with stupidity, but that same desire and competitiveness that lead to the 96-08 drug culture, is still there.
    It seems pretty obvious that Lance Armstrong was able to 'get away' with it with the whole of europe breathing down his neck. So there has to be a few bad apples left.

  6. Having seen in person Konerko's attempts to play third when he first came to the Sox, I can confidently say that on this ocassion, Bill James didn't know what he was talking about.

  7. Andy, piggybacking on your idea of impressive acheivements across eras, I can't help but notice the nice representation througout baseball history of seasons on your list. Many decades represented, with a slight concentration in the twenties.

  8. Wow, Duke, I'm surprised you deigned to comment on another one of my "ignorant" posts.

  9. Interesting when you look a little more closely at Paul Konerko's career that this season and last represent his best, at least in terms of OPS+. He has never had seasons above 150 OPS until now.

    Konerko is back to producing at his 2004-6 pace in terms of the raw statistics, but those former numbers were swallowed up by the offensive tide of the times. That leaves him with similar counting stats to his previous peak but much better relative to the rest of the league.

    I wonder how many of the other members of Andy's list had the best OPS+ seasons of their career at age 34 and 35?

  10. at least statistically his brief period at third base looked average. I assume the Sox saw a reason to move him away from there. But that's a tough position to fake it in the bigs. It's not like he was Ryan Braun bad over there.

  11. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Konerko is third in total home runs over the last few years with 67, behind only Bautista (91) and Pujols (73)

    Mark Teixeira has 68.

    Duke/5, can you expand on your park factor thoughts? I think you may be misinterpreting them, but it's just as likely I'm misinterpreting you.

  12. @11
    Right on about Teixeira, JT. Thirty three and thirty five usually add up to 68. Thanks.

  13. @5
    Duke, had a similar question mark in my mind about the middle three paragraphs of your post.

    Are you saying if you put the Yankees' lineup in Dodger stadium for a full season, against (hypothetically) the same pitching, they would hit just as many home runs?

  14. @5 -- Park factors are most assuredly NOT becoming obsolete. For instance, the Padres have a .631 OPS at home this season, but a .689 OPS on the road. That's nearly a 60 point difference. Their home OPS against is .660 versus .720 while away. As for the Yankees, their pitchers have allowed 28 more home runs at home than on the road, in only 300 more PA. The Twins play in a park which saps LH power. As such, their big LH hitters (Mauer, Morneau, Thome, and Kubel) have combined for nine home runs at Target Field this season; six of those nine are from Thome. Conversely, the Diamondbacks play in one of the most hitter-friendly stadiums. They have a .771 OPS at home and .683 on the road. Their home OPS is 88 points better than on the road! So yeah, I'd say that park effects still matter.

  15. Andy, good post.

    Konerko is quite unusual in having 2 seasons of this caliber, at this age, considering his prior career.

    I believe he would be just the 3rd hitter since 1893 who:
    -- had 2 qualifying seasons of 140+ OPS+ at age 34+, and
    -- had no such seasons before age 34.

    The others: Hank Sauer and Tommy Henrich.

    Sauer, of course, didn't become a starter until age 31. Henrich, like Konerko, had many seasons as a regular before age 34, but simply raised his offensive game in late career.

    There are only 15 other players who had even 1 season of 140+ OPS+ from age 34 after no such years before:
    Luke Appling
    Jake Beckley
    Don Buford
    Jake Daubert
    Luke Easter
    Bobby Estalella
    Ron Fairly
    Mike Grady
    George Harper
    Elston Howard
    Al Oliver
    Tom Paciorek
    Jimmy Ryan
    Phil Weintraub
    Lou Whitaker

    For Mike Grady (as for Henrich and maybe one or two others), it was just a matter of reaching the qualifying threshold at the later age when he hadn't done so in his earlier 140+ seasons.

  16. @9
    Actually clicking on the careers to do the legwork to answer the last question, no one else had their two best OPS+ careers at age 34 and 35, although Lajoie and Wagner had ONE of their two best at those ages.

    The age of Andy's list members in their last season is shown below:

    Walker 38, McGwire 37, Martinez 41, Robinson 40, Aaron 42, Mize 40, Ruth 40, Fournier 37, Speaker 40, Cobb 41, Lajoie 41, Wagner 43

    That's an average of smack on 40.0 years of age. It is partly a measure of the elite company Konerko is in, I believe.

    However, to have good OPS+ years at ages 34 and 35 might be an indicator of career longevity, based on others on the list.

    Paul Konerko's BA and OBP have gone up for four straight years as he ages, albeit this year's and last are virtually the same.

    If he plays until age 40 and maintains reasonable power, 500 HR is certainly within reach.

  17. @15
    "Konerko is quite unusual in having 2 seasons of this caliber, at this age, considering his prior career."

    John, exactly my point in #9, but you have provided context to show how rare career spikes in OPS+ are at Konerko's age. To boot, you lowered the bar to 140. Thanks for the work.

    It's almost as if he has found a second wind last year and this (no dirty insinuations intended). Or, like vintage wine, he just gets better with .........

  18. It's too bad the Dodgers traded Konerko in 1998. I would have loved it if he could have spent most of his career here in L.A.

  19. Reminiscent of the Steroid Era, reaching peak performance so late in one's career.

  20. Andy,

    I get that you're frustrated at the people who post idiocies around here, but you should try to take each post for what it's worth. I haven't seen Duke's other posts (frankly, I hardly ever read the byline of posts), but Duke's post here wasn't bad. Maybe inaccurate in terms of his conception of park factor, but not rude.

    (And note that I said "people who post idiocies", not "idiots".)

  21. John, your comments are duly noted. My sarcasm directed toward Duke was in reference to a comment he posted on another thread calling me ignorant and then proceeding to make a series of incorrect assumptions about my thoughts. The fact that he didn't come back later and apologize or at least clarify sticks a bit in my craw. I find his comment on this thread to be entirely reasonable.

  22. I hadn' t heard of "the famously late-blooming Fournier " before so it was worth it just to find out about him. Brooklyn dropped him when he was still an above avg hitter (at 1b, where there were probably other options) and he had another pretty decent year at 37 with the Braves, who also didn't re-sign him. I thought maybe his body was wearing down or he thought he was too old for a young man's game but I see he spent another full year at Newark with decent offensive stats before hanging them up. Seems like some MLB club could have used him as a part timer/PH that year or even the year after, unless he just didn't get along with some players or managers.

  23. konerko will be one of those guys that gets in the hall when he's 80 via the vets committee. he has the star player for one team for 15 years thing going for him. those guys rarely fail to make it, no matter how borderline people might think the numbers are. if he wants to play it safe he needs to get in the booth though.

  24. I have always wondered what Konerko is like as a person. If he weren't very nice, he could have a great nickname--Jerko Konerko.

  25. Gdc- It's also worth noting that the reason that he was "late blooming" (and I'm sure DavidRF is aware of this) was because Charles Comiskey was an idiot who replace Fournier with Chick Gandil, who in spite of some respectable batting averages was a terrible hitter and one of the ringleaders in fixing the 1919 World Series to boot. Meanwhile Fournier spent what are normally some of a players prime seasons (age 27 thru age 29) knocking the crap out of PCL pitching. The Yankees also gave him a pass in spite of significantly outperforming Wally Pipp in a brief trial with them.

  26. Richard Chester Says:

    @15

    Luke Easter did not step up to the plate until he was 34 years and 7 days old.

  27. Traded in 1998 for Jeff Shaw a fair relief pitcher.

  28. Off topic, but an interesting note from yesterday's wild Yankee game. In the game, Jeter went 3-6 but managed to leave 9 men on base. I was hoping someone here would be able to tell me if anyone else has ever made exactly 3 outs in a game which resulted in 9 LOB.

  29. The last few years, Konerko has been able to lower both his strikeout rate and his rate of hitting into double plays. See my blog post on this

    http://cybermetric.blogspot.com/2011/07/what-is-konerko-doing-differently-his.html

    He also has tended to hit very poorly in May over his career. Not this year. See my post

    http://cybermetric.blogspot.com/2011/06/may-hitting-about-as-bad-as-april.html

    He seemed to overcome this with a .902 OPS in May this year.

    It might be interesting to see all of the guys 34+ who had back to back seasons of 150 or higher OPS+, not just 34-35. Konerko also still has time to slip below 150 (I sure hope not)

  30. It is also interesting that he has lowered is GDP rate as he got older and he has never been very fast and we would expect him to just get slower. He must have figured out some way to avoid hitting ground balls with runners on base and less than two outs while also striking out less

  31. Not on-topic, but certainly germaine to current (to the minute) events:
    AJ Burnett for Carlos Zambrano
    This trade has to happen.

  32. John Autin Says:

    It's not just Konerko's OPS+ numbers -- i.e., adjusted for context -- that are up over the past 2 years. His raw OPS of .964 for 2010-11 is better than any previous year, and .112 above the average of his previous 11 full seasons. (That's not even counting his 2 partial years before he hit his stride.)

    Two years is certainly not enough to conclude anything. But just for fun, I'll formulate 2 contrary hypotheses centered on PED use:

    (1) The evidence suggests that during the "PED era," pitchers were using at a rate similar to that of hitters. The PED-based explanation of the 15-year offensive explosion has to assume that hitters got more benefit from PED use than did pitchers, on average. But if Konerko had always been clean, and he was hitting against a lot of drug-powered pitchers then, and now most of the pitchers are clean, then (ignoring aging patterns) it's logical that his raw numbers would be up.

    (2) The "dark side" hypothesis -- Konerko himself might be using something. I'm not suggesting that he is, and I have no reason at all to think that he is. But the possibility can't be ignored.

    P.S. to Cyril @29 -- I don't see a narrative in Konerko's K rates that fits his production pattern. First, his K rate went up significantly starting in 2004, but that coincided with a rise in performance. From 1999-2003, per 162 games, he averaged 78 Ks and 28 HRs, with an .829 OPS. From 2004-07, per 162G, he averaged 111 Ks and 39 HRs, with an .893 OPS.

    Second, exactly where is the drop in K rate? Sure, he whiffed just 80 times in 2008, but he played 122 G that year, for a rate of 106 Ks per 162 G. And his combined average for 2008-11 is 105 Ks per 162 G -- not significantly different from the previous period.

    Third, his 2010 career year (new highs in BA, OBP and SLG) came with a career-high 110 Ks (or 120 Ks per 162 G).

  33. Voomo, the scary thing is that even though Zambrano is a crazy guy with a crazy contract, he's still twice as valuable as Burnett right now.

    At this moment, after tonight's debacle, I honestly think that Burnett has zero trade value -- you couldn't get anything for him even if you paid his whole contract.

  34. #32

    I meant in recent years he has had a downward trend in both strikeout rate (K/(PA - IBB) and GDP rate (from this site). The table below shows the numbers. They are year, age K rate and GDP rate

    1998 ** 22 ** 0.167 ** 0.20
    1999 ** 23 ** 0.121 ** 0.18
    2000 ** 24 ** 0.123 ** 0.17
    2001 ** 25 ** 0.138 ** 0.17
    2002 ** 26 ** 0.115 ** 0.16
    2003 ** 27 ** 0.102 ** 0.28
    2004 ** 28 ** 0.168 ** 0.19
    2005 ** 29 ** 0.167 ** 0.08
    2006 ** 30 ** 0.163 ** 0.16
    2007 ** 31 ** 0.163 ** 0.18
    2008 ** 32 ** 0.157 ** 0.17
    2009 ** 33 ** 0.144 ** 0.12
    2010 ** 34 ** 0.176 ** 0.11
    2011 ** 35 ** 0.146 ** 0.10

    If we start with 2004, the K rate has generally been falling (except for last year) and the GDP rate has been falling (except for 2005). The big point to me is that both are on a downward trend for a guy who should be getting slower. If you try to avoid striking out, you will make more contact, hitting into more DPs. So it must be hard to get both of those to go down together. Given that he is getting older, it would be noteworthy if he simply kept his GDP rate constant while striking out less frequently.

    I also think K's per (PA -IBB) is a better measure than K's per game. Again, the whole issue here is what has been happening in his "older years" much more than for his whole career

  35. Huge White Sox / Konerko fan here. He has been a great player to have on the team all these years.

    More of an oddity than these last 2 seasons are his '03 & '08 seasons - when he should have been in his prime.

  36. Cyril -- Your measure of K rate is certainly better than mine.

    I still don't see how the data make the point you want to make, that a decline in K rate has contributed to his improved performance.

    You didn't address my observations -- (a) that Konerko's first career surge began in 2004, exactly the same year that his K rate went up, and (b) his best season coincides with his highest K rate.

  37. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Andy,
    I did remark hastily and harshly in your other post. Like I said, the issue is personal to me. Maybe I read your phrasing out of context, but I felt you, as many, many people do, were blaming the victim of a suicide for the impact of his death and its affect on his family. That's my opinion. But, frankly, either way - right or wrong, none of us should be speculating in a public forum about why or how things unfolded when the guy's not even in the ground. Who knows, maybe his son reads this, and reads (not yours, but other's) comments that his dad was weak and didn't want to face adversity.
    I didn't apologize because, I feel you can take an opinion, whether harsh or rude or deserved or undeserved or misunderstood - and handle it. I've seen you call people ignorant on this site. Are you in a higher position than me? Do your opinions have the special distinction of always being right, therefore you can use the word ignorant without an apology. And use it when it is about #'s, not the reasons behind a man's death.

    To John, Neal, Twisto and others about my PARK EFFECTS comment.
    What I meant, and I very well could be wrong, I was not stating a fact but sort of asking a question or raising a premise, is - Since the Yankees consistently have one of the best line-ups and the Royals consistently have one of the poorest, doesn't that make Yankee Stadium seem more hitting friendly, not based on dimensions, but based on having the money to field a third baseman making more than the entire Royals team. I then took it a step further and said the unbalanced schedule, which puts the Red Sox, who are equal to the Yanks in money and power, at Yankee more than the Royals, also distort the real effect of Yankee Stadium? I think every AL East team is better than Kansas City.
    I guess more succinctly, better hitters have more at bats at Yankee stadium than at where ever the Royals play.

  38. Joe Garrison Says:

    The Dodgers were very high on him when he came up. He never got it going in LA, and was dealt away. His loss is very hard for some Dodger fans to take.

  39. #36

    I am not saying that his declining K rate caused him to hit better (like a better OPS+). I just think it is interesting that in the last few years, his K rate has fallen (except for last year) while his GDP rate has fallen. I would expect both of those to rise as a guy gets older (although I have not really looked at the data). In fact, the league GDP rate is 11% and Konerko is below that! A slow righthanded power hitter who also strikes out less than the league average (17.8%). And he is 35. Maybe whatever he did to raise his OPS+ is causing all of this. But to raise your OPS+ it helps to hit the ball harder, which could lead to more DPs.

    His GB/FB ratio this year is .58, below his career rate of .64 (as were 2009-10). The league average this year is .8

  40. @33,
    John, you're too smart. Try to think like you're running a franchise that hasn't won a title in over a hundred years. They can be told:
    'yeah, AJ is Electric. Just needs a change of scenery. Great PR move to get rid of that Z-flavored clubhouse cancer. Here, we'll throw in a month of Kei Igawa just out of generosity.'

  41. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Since the Yankees consistently have one of the best line-ups and the Royals consistently have one of the poorest, doesn't that make Yankee Stadium seem more hitting friendly

    No, not necessarily. Park factors are not based on the number of runs scored there, but the number of runs scored there compared to the number of runs the same team (and their opponents) scores on the road. The Yankees score a lot of runs at home, but they also score on the road. The Royals (who are actually a decent offensive team this year) may have historically scored few runs at home, but they also did that on the road.

  42. #39, Cyril -- No matter how I slice it, I can't agree with your premise of a declining K rate for Konerko. The decline trend from 2004 through 2008 is trivial -- using your numbers, from .168 to .157 is a total drop of 7%, done gradually over 5 seasons. And using the groupings most generous to your theory, Konerko's 2009-11 K rate is 5% less than his 2004-08 rate.

    As to the DP question, I would guess that it's largely explained by 2 things -- his increased flyball ratio, which you mentioned, and somewhat fewer DP opportunities, as Ozzie doesn't believe in putting high-OBP guys in the #1-2 spots.

  43. "Kei Igawa, too? I'm sold!"

    Only problem, Voomo -- I was channeling Jim Hendry there, and he's out of the picture.

  44. Johnny Twisto Says:

    JA/42, the DP rate is based on the number of DP opportunities. If no one's on base, there's no opportunity.

    But I agree with you on the K rate. It's pretty hard to argue it's going down when last season was the highest of his career.

  45. Biased White sox fan here. Two winters ago, I remember watching EPSN one morning. The scant baseball news consisted of "fantasy player rankings", in which it had the catagory "Top firstbasemen in decline", Paul Konerko was #1 on the list. He's had two great seasons since.

    If he gets 450 career homeruns, he'll make the HOF, in my opinion.

  46. John Autin Says:

    JT, yeah, I missed that Cyril was already talking about GDP rate, not raw totals. My goof.

    Terry, I like Konerko and hope he keeps going strong for years. But there's no recent historical basis for him to make the HOF with less than 500 HRs. Just for one example ... Fred McGriff has everything over Konerko, including a sizable edge in OPS+ and in counting stats, plus outstanding postseason performance -- but he finished with 498 HRs and has gotten no HOF love so far.

  47. Nah DOF, your rationalization makes no sense. Andy was NOTsayin g anything wrong, you took things out of context-saw his remarks as nothing like they were due to your own emotional reactions-& should take full responsibility. That he can "handle: it is a sad elision of reality-whether your ideas are right, wrong, crackpot, nasty or not is the question-God is in the details.

    If Andy called someone ignorant accurately, that may be utterly justified, restrained & not abusive, just factual. I would use it only to point out severe ill will & structural bias like prejudice. But whether he was right or wrong to use the word who knows when, it is lame to bring it up here. It has nothing to do with how you tore Andy a new one in complete-ignorance is a fair word, of both the content & intent of what he wrote, thoughtfully & kindly.

    You transparently owe him an unalloyed apology.

  48. Duke @37, I disagree with most of what you wrote there (and frankly find most of it hyperbolic) but I do appreciate you taking the time to explain your feelings. I have no desire to alienate my readers so at least understanding where things went awry is helpful.

  49. It is amazing to see him continue to crush it. I'll admit last year as a Sox fan I was skeptical of his 5+ WAR because he was going into his contract year. I was thinking this year could result in a 105+ OPS type of season. Granted, probably not enough to catch the Tigers, but that's not the fault of him, CQ, or Alexei Ramirez in terms of the lineup.

  50. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    Andy and Mike Felber;

    This is Andy's post, in its entirety that I responded to:

    "I am only just hearing that the cause of Flanagan's death was suicide."

    "For the record, I never said I was sorry for him--I said for his family, friends, and the Orioles organization and fans."

    It was the first time on the thread that anyone had cited the cause of death, it was also coming from the poster himself - so for all intents and purposes it was NEWS.
    Then, this is how I read it - Andy puts it on the record to remind people that his wording never stated he felt sorrow for Mike, and there was an inference that all his sorrow went to the people around him, with an insinuation that they were in anguish caused by the incident that was caused by a selfish act.

    I have a problem with that. Putting it on the record that he never said he was sorry for a man who just passed. Who cares that your not sorry? What record? Why point something out that shows an insensitivity to death, and yes, it is insensitive to put it on the record you are not sorry for the deceased.
    I read Andy and his poster's for their baseball insight, not for their opinions on morals and ethics.
    Mike, I'm pretty sure that I'm the only one who decides if I owe someone an apology. Thanks for your unalloyed opinion on the issue and your decision to impose your ethics on me, while your chivalry defending the obviously superior Andy, inspires me.

    Andy at 48, thank you for level headed response.

  51. There certainly was an inference although I suspect you meant to say implication. I didn't specifically address my feelings about Flanagan because I knew it would be a hot-button topic. When the conversation went there I ultimately shared my thoughts that I have a deep sympathy for most people who commit suicide. I hesitated to say it because I knew many would object. Little did inexpect to get flogged by an opposing viewpoint for NOT saying it. The odd thing here is I think you and I fundametly strongly agree on suicide and depression issues.

  52. As a White Sox fan for many years, I can tell you why Konerko doesn't have a thing to do with PEDs. He is probably as smart a hitter as there is in baseball. He doesn't waste an at-bat and almost never wastes a pitch. He looks to hit the ball to the right side with men on base, simply seeking to move the runners up and hopefully score one or two of them. He looks to hit a flyball with a man on third and less than two out. When no one is on or if he is well ahead in the count he looks for a specific pitch and, if he gets it, he will crush it. He just splits the plate in half or fourths and only swings at the area he has pre-selected when he has the count in his favor. Therefore he is succeeding because he has learned the art of hitting and driving in runners. With men on base he just looks to get the ball driven over the infield or at least to the opposite field.

    As long as he has the reflexes to pull a fastball into the left field stands, which may be for another couple of years, he'll be a force. Once he has to begin to cheat to get that fastball, he'll become a sub-.250 hitter and his power will degrade and then that will be the end. The Cell is friendly to power hitters so I predict two more years of good production...not because of drugs...because he is smart enough to have become an expert hitter.

  53. Also, a very smart hitter deliberately attempts to avoid hitting into the double play by going to right field and not overswinging. If you have played baseball you know that a right-handed hitter who overswings will very often hit a groundball to short. This is a typical scenario for a double play, 6-4-3. This is another symptom of a smart hitter who is intentional with each at bat.

    Defensively Konerko is an expert at fielding throws from infielders and doubtless saves many errors for the other infielders. His range is not much and his arm is not that great, so he would have been an increasingly poor third sacker who would have had to move to first base anyway. Remember Tony Perez played third for awhile before the Reds traded Lee May away and moved him across the diamond. Konerko is roughly as good a hitter as Perez and possibly even better. But TP played on an epic team, played forever and had a reputation for being a clutch hitter. In fact he was just a guy who came up with many baserunners on board for him to knock in. He was a fine clubhouse leader but I have to say Perez has as much business being in the Hall as does Jim Rice, which is to say NOT. The Reds are my other favorite team so I loved Perez but not sure he really belongs in the Hall.

    I know this much, if I can have the career of Rice for my team or that of Konerko I would definitely take Konerko instead of the vastly overrated Rice.

  54. Well I could see that DOF-it seems you were responding to only the 1st comment of many comments from Andy, yes harshly, & at least I can see how you could be offended, & Andy seemed to indicate only in that single post a lack of compassion that just does not represent how he feels. Though "imposing" an ethic would be demanding, say, that you are covered by some rule that limits your basic freedom. What we all are doing here is debating.

    On this issue of sensitiviity & understanding of suicidal folks apparently neither of you are superior

  55. John Autin Says:

    Without taking any sides, I'd like to harp on a favorite theme: It is really easy for the intended tone of a written post to be misconstrued, especially on emotional subjects. We sometimes take for granted all the nuance that is conveyed in speech that is often lost when the same words are simply written out.

    Having both given and taken offense many a time in this fashion, I hope I don't sound like an armchair therapist by saying that, before taking umbrage at written words, it's a good idea to ask, "It sounds like you meant X; did you really mean X?"

  56. JA-

    In that spirit, one of the community norms we try to emphasize at work is to assume positive intent. Before jumping down someone's throat, assume they meant the best by what they said/did and then address the issue. It makes a world of difference. Of course, it's hard as hell to do.

  57. John Autin Says:

    BSK, that is a good practice -- and I'm one of those who needs to be reminded of it.

  58. Timothy P. Says:

    Am I in the twilight zone?

  59. JA-

    I think we all do. It is something I literally need to vocalize to myself, out loud, to have any chance of adhering to it. But I do think, if we all strove to do it at least half the time, things would be a wee bit better.

  60. Very Good Advice from John Austin & BSK. Just re-reading my own last post without knowing my real intent, I could assume I was dissing Andy & DOF, when what I referred to was subtle, & would require a careful reading & realizing a connection. I took a sarcastic statement by DOF, & meant to use it as a springboard to say both guys were very good on the issue.