Comments on: Jim Thome is having a historic season for a 39-year-old http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122 This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.6 By: The Thominator « Knuckleballs http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-48798 Mon, 13 Sep 2010 21:00:26 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-48798 [...] 2010:  The Twins sign him near the end of January to a 1-year, 1.5 million dollar contract.  Good decision.  Thome has hit 23 home runs in 98 games as the Twins’ DH.  Doing it at age 39 is very rare. [...]

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By: David in Toledo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-48456 Sun, 12 Sep 2010 13:33:52 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-48456 Thome's 12th inning home run wins a game for the Twins (in Cleveland) on 9/11. Going on in style.

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By: David in Toledo http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46910 Thu, 09 Sep 2010 01:04:46 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46910 I heard former Indian Vern Fuller lament that Cleveland didn't sign Thome and Omar Vizquel to give them a last hurrah in the city where they had played the most. As it turns out, 2010 may not be the final inning for either of them.

Vizquel now has approximately 270 win shares. While that is far behind Bill Dahlen (386), Derek Jeter (368), Barry Larkin (344), and Alan Trammell (313), and also trails Bert Campaneris (283), 270 is more than five shortstops in the Hall (including Phil Rizzuto, who lost 3 prime years to WWII). In Vizquel's favor, however, are his fielding percentage, his flair and general good-guy image, and the fact that he has played 107 more games at shortstop than anyone else. (Except for Ivan Rodriguez and Graig Nettles, every player who ranks 1 and 2 in games played/position is in the Hall.) He merits consideration (as did Jake Beckley, for at least one of the same reasons). And what utility infielder ever did more at age 43?

Thome's win shares now total 374. For comparison, Jeff Bagwell 379, Frank Thomas 406, Rafael Palmeiro 401, Harmon Killebrew 369, Fred McGriff 349, Tony Perez 348, Albert Pujols 337, Mark McGwire 333, Johnny Mize 332 and WWII, Jake Beckley 326, Orlando Cepeda 310. I'd like to see a full-time DH get to 400 before being able to have a Hall presumption work in his favor. For a first baseman, 370 seems enough to merit that status (that is, we have to prove why you don't deserve entry, as may well be the case with Palmeiro). Thome is a hybrid, and I'm about ready to give him my presumption, particularly since he's going out in style.

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By: Jacob http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46906 Thu, 09 Sep 2010 00:59:14 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46906 Im glad Thome went to Minnesota. seems like a better fit than NYY would have been..

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By: Andy http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46748 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 17:09:48 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46748 Or if he had to face all the opposing pitchers.

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By: Johnny Twisto http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46747 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 17:06:41 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46747 baseball has always found a place in the field for a guy with a 4-digit OPS.

Let's not forget that Thome is playing only part-time this season, which I have no doubt has contributed to his excellent hitting. I do not expect that he would hit as well if he had to also play the field. The rest is beneficial.

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By: tim http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46625 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 12:07:51 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46625 Back in the off season, I was hoping the Yankees would sign Thome, but instead they signed injury-prone Nick Johnson, who got injured. The Yankees probably wish they signed Thome now too.

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By: Mike Felber http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46592 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 07:16:21 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46592 Pete Rose hit & played below average his last 9 years. The small exception is a decent year when he turned 40 in '81-he had a 119 OPS +, the other years were all double digit/below average OPS +.

I have no idea if Thome took steroids. But I do not know of players using them before Canseco introduced them to some. Until past the middle of the '80's, who took 'roids or HgH? They, & bulking up in general, was not a part of baseball culture, the value of each was not recognized.

And the expanded face 9+ internal organ growth) stigmata is associated with Human Growth Hormones, not steroids. Though understand that naturally some have a jaw &/or chin structure that overlaps with the distortions created by HgH. I severely doubt Jay Leno has ever taken HgH.

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By: Lou http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46563 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 04:31:05 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46563 The steroid word has not been mentioned so far on this page.

Hard to not say the 'steroid' word when you talk about Jim Thome's career, or any hitter of that era, or any hitter dating back to the mid seventies for that matter. George Foster for example, sings out 'steroids', that early kind that made your face look like Martina Navratilova's (or all those East German female runners in the Olympics of the 70's).

Still what Jim is doing at 39 seems solid and not necessarily steroid- or HGH-induced.

See Reggie Jackson, who had a pretty good year at 39.

Pete Rose hit well past 40 but he was reved on amphetamines most of the time, most of his career. Charlie Hustle.

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By: BSK http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/8122/comment-page-1#comment-46546 Wed, 08 Sep 2010 02:33:23 +0000 http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/?p=8122#comment-46546 John-

Good points all around. Different searches and lists will tell us different things. My guess is the point of a list like this is it shows us what other folks are in the "club" that the current hitter is in. This list is the "39+/170+" club. As you point how, it is hard to know how "impressive" that is without more context, and the exclusiveness of that club alone is not enough to demonstrate the value of the accomplishment. I'm sure with enough criteria, just about any individual player could find himself in a club of his own.

Andy's list essentially answered the question of, "Who was obscenely productive/efficient at age 39 or older?" Your proposal would answer the question of, "Who got a lot of playing time at age 39 or older?" Obviously, but looking at other criteria in each list, we can learn more than JUST the answer to that question. And whenever we starting making cut-off points, we risk being arbitrary.

I think the only problem arises is when a list purports to tell us something that it doesn't actually tell us or can't tell us. Sometimes that is accidental, which will happen. But too often we see stats manipulated in that way deliberately. I have no reason to believe Andy was doing the latter in this case, and my hunch is he was simply showing us guys who've done what Thome is currently doing, no more, no less. It was not an end-all, be-all assessment of his season... just one way to look about it and think about it.

I think the BEST Thome-related search would have to have something to do with guys who jump/spin around on their heels when swinging. Thome has one of the goofier swings that proved effective in the long term in recent memory.

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