Comments on: Sergio Romo’s streak of 9 perfect innings This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: Phil Haberkorn in Indiana Mon, 08 Aug 2011 15:42:20 +0000 Me Culpa.
You're all right, I got it all wrong.
I have just had a revelation, an epiphany.
Mr. Romo and the others on the list posted above have accomplished something far BEYOND a perfect game.
They had to face challenges a starting pitcher never has to face.
They ONLY get to pitch one inning at a time.
Then they have to leave the ballpark and go home.
Maybe take a nap.
Eat a full dinner.
Go out to a movie.
Get a full night's rest.
Eat a full breakfast.
AND they have to be at the ballpark IN TIME FOR THE NEXT GAME.

By: Phil Haberkorn in Indiana Mon, 08 Aug 2011 14:50:28 +0000 It's time to close out this exchange about Mariano Rivera.
Most people are just missing my point.
The Phil Regan comparison wasn't the best to select, I admit, but I still stand by my argument.
This thread is about something Mr. Romo did, not what Mr. Rivera did.
Sportswriters disdained relievers for a long time, because they "only" pitched part-time. Phil Regan was taken for granted. Hall of Fame was not a consideration, because relief pitchers weren't even on the radar in the minds of the sportswriters when it came to voting for HOF.
Sportswriters now worship the specialist closer, the one-inning type of guy, and those guys are now breaking records that were set by guys who were at least as deserving, if not more so, than the record-setters we're watching now. Mariano Rivera is idolized, and it's taken for granted that he'll make the Hall of Fame.
The way the managers use their relievers now is a lot different, you can't blame Mariano Rivera for that.

Phil Regan wasn't a dominant relief pitcher his entire career, but neither was Dennis Eckersley. The sportswriters just fell in love with Eck's relief work, and bingo - Hall of Fame!
The sportswriters only made fun of Phil Regan - "The Vulture."
Dennis Eckersley wasn't even a dominant starter, it was his relief work that got him elected to the HOF.
Phil Regan, same thing, except he was dominant for a much shorter period of time, but he did it long enough that under today's mentalities, he would have received the Dennis Eckersley treatment.
Lee Smith WAS a dominant relief pitcher throughout his career, whether working multiple innings or just closing out the 9th.
Sandy Koufax was not a great pitcher except for the last 5-6 years of his career.
Lee Smith was a great pitcher from start to finish of his career.

Back to Mr. Romo's streak. An accomplishment of note, yes. My objection is equating it with a "perfect game," because the two are completely different achievements. And Mr. Romo still has a long way to go to catch Jim Barr, Bobby Jenks, and Mark Buehrle, whether they're starters or relievers, more than 40 consecutive batters retired is more appropriately compared to Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak than a perfect game.

By: Johnny Twisto Sun, 07 Aug 2011 00:27:20 +0000 The all-time saves record seems to be the barometer for assuming relievers into the HOF.

As you said, Smith hasn't made it, so perhaps there's more to it than that. Reardon held it briefly, and he didn't get a sniff.

FWIW, Smith had 169 multi-inning saves and Rivera has had 116. A sizable difference, and even bigger when compared to total saves, but they're not in completely different ballparks.

During his prime closing seasons (1982-1995), Lee Smith had 167 multi-inning saves. Next best was 140, three others had more than 100. During Rivera's closing seasons (1997-now), he has had 113 multi-inning saves, more than twice as many as anyone else.

By: NoChanceforPettitte Sat, 06 Aug 2011 22:23:13 +0000 @83
I'm saying that our current appreciation of setup men MAY be where our appreciation of closers was 30 years ago. As of now there really hasn't been a pure setup man who has excelled for 15+ seasons.

Right now, clubs groom pitchers as relievers (some of those pitchers have immense/insane talent)... They do this because relievers have become a critical cog in a team's success. Clubs are not grooming pinch hitters as an FYI (hopefully ending the apples to oranges points from before). With this, past conceptions no longer hold true: that a reliever was the 9th or 10th best pitcher on a team.

Mariano Rivera is not a closer because he was a failed starter (he was a successful minor league starter). He was a closer because he was a great pitcher and great pitchers stay in the big leagues a long time.

Mike Adams (over the past few years) and Aroldis Chapman (over the past several weeks) are not setup men because they are failed starters or failed closers, they are setup men (and two who are performing exceptionally) because they are great pitchers and every team wants great pitchers.

When and if a bona fide setup man pitches extraordinarily consistent over an extended period of time (and yes, pressure situation, IRS, etc. will be rightly combed through) then closers will, too, be looked at differently. Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman will be seen as pitchers who independent of saves excelled for a very long time and are deserved of a place in the HOF. Just as Blyleven was looked at as an exceptional pitcher independent of his wins and on and on and on.

Pitchers like John Franco and Lee Smith will still be seen as having good save totals, but not being really exceptional pitchers over a long period of time. If Adams puts together another 10+ years of seasons like he has the past 3 (which will be difficult given his age), then the good, but not HOF careers of Smith, Franco, et al. will be cemented further.

Rivera will still be seen, and correctly seen as an incredible and extraordinary pitcher who happened to be a closer.

This whole thing started with Sergio Romo's streak.

Is it as impressive as throwing a perfect game against the '61 Yankees? Definitely no.

Is it as impressive as throwing a perfect game against the '62 Mets or '03 Tigers?
Some would say no, but neither of those teams had players the ilk of Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, Ryan Braun (twice), Jay Bruce and Justin Upton (all of whom Romo had to retire in his streak of 9.2+ perfect innings).

By: Neil L. Sat, 06 Aug 2011 20:09:34 +0000 @82
NoChanceforPettitte, I think I followed everything you posted, and agreed with it, down to the last paragraph.

Are you saying our current appreciation of hold/setup men is where our appreciation of closers was 30 years ago, pre-Rivera, or that if we reverse position on the value of hold/setup men in the future then we are just blowing smoke now about whether one-inning closers are worth their salt?

(Did I really write that confusing a question? Sorry.)

By: NoChanceforPettitte Sat, 06 Aug 2011 19:25:56 +0000 @79
There's definitely no personal attack here. Assuming there is a grain of validity, it has to be proven out because in this case it flies in the face of nearly all accepted thought.

Derek Jeter's fielding is an example of when this works. A whole group of people suggested that his gold gloves, highlight reel defense were not truly indicative of his fielding prowess. With this in mind, cogent arguments were created that 3 of the 4 points in my post above were deemed incorrect. This took movement and essentially reversed convention.

Bert Blyleven is another example of convention being over-turned.

Felix Hernandez's Cy Young is another such example (that Wins do not make the best pitcher in the league).

If you state something that seems absurd, you either back it up or expect and accept that you will be met with sarcasm or rebuke. If Phil were to reverse conventional opinion and prove or closely prove his statements to be true, then who's to say that he wouldn't fulfill his lifelong dream to chart pitches for Dave Duncan?

If you remove 'saves' from the equation, is Rivera still a great pitcher? Is he still worthy of a place in the Hall of Fame?

If Mike Adams (as an example) continues to excel in the role of set up man, putting together the insanely good numbers he has over the past few seasons, would the role and importance of the set up man be redefined? And if it was, there would be a half hundred people saying, "How can a guy that doesn't start AND doesn't close be considered great?" And that argument would render the argument that closers aren't valuable moot.

By: Neil L. Sat, 06 Aug 2011 18:44:30 +0000 @80
To try and clarify what I meant by my last paragraph, what closer do we currently see in the game as Mariano's successor, particularly in terms of career saves?

By: Neil L. Sat, 06 Aug 2011 18:40:41 +0000 @76 @78
NoChanceforPettitte, let's try to leave some of the emotion and the personal attack aspect out of the discussion.

At risk of putting words in someone's mouth, there is a grain of validity in Phil's position. In a nutshell, I think he's saying modern closer usage puts them in a position to succeed and magnifies their accomplishments in our minds because they get to make the last outs of the game. So our view of their greatness, whether we are HOF voters or common fans, is out of proportion to their actual statistics.

I think Johnny T., if I'm reading him correctly in #73, is hinting at that. Point taken by all parties.

Phil, what you may be undervaluing, is the difficulty of accomplishing what Rivera has done, year in and year out, for such a sustained peiod of time and with such consistency. For every closer close to Rivera or Lee Smith in value, there must a hundred BJ Ryan's. Point taken by all.

The only other thought I have to add is that it may be a number of years into the future before we see comparable closers similar enough to Rivera with which to compare HOF credentials, assuming current closer usage continues.

By: NoChanceforPettitte Sat, 06 Aug 2011 18:04:59 +0000 Previous post should've read @76.

By: NoChanceforPettitte Sat, 06 Aug 2011 18:03:22 +0000 @77
You may want to spend some time looking at Rivera's page. If the consistency (and the consistent greatness) doesn't stand out then you're bringing a personal bias (whatever it is: love of Lee Smith, hatred of Panamanians, etc.) that is irrelevant to the discussion.

The big deal about Mariano Rivera is simple:
1. Incredible pitcher, pitching for...
2. ...the best team (by wins, championships, etc) of his time who...
3. ...contemporary players, managers, writers and executives acknowledge as the best closer year in and year out who's...
4. ...legacy is overwhelmingly backed up by his statistics

You have not put out a cogent argument that the overwhelming evidence for Rivera being an HOFer. I would suggest trying the following:

"Mariano Rivera is over-rated because..." and then systematically break down contemporary viewpoints, statistical back up, and team performance. Maybe you'll end up with something worthwhile and end up working for Billy Bean someday.