Comments on: Bob Feller This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Autin Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:15:36 +0000 Oops, bad typo in my 4th paragraph:
"... you want to know how many items are in the span...."

(Guess I should stick to numbers!)

By: John Autin Thu, 23 Dec 2010 20:13:06 +0000 @102-103, Mr.baseballcard -- Nice story.

I'd be impressed with any 9-year-old who could correctly answer Feller's math question on the spot, even if it didn't have the extra complication of no WS in 1904.

For a lot of people, that type of question is harder than it should be. Even if there were no WS gap year to grapple with, I think most adults would get it wrong, because they'd work it this way: "1954 was the 50th WS. 1954 minus 50 is [pause] 1904. So the first WS was played in 1904."

I often have to explain to someone that, if you have a span of enumerated items and you want to know how items are in the span, inclusive, you have to subtract the numbers and then add 1.

Or to put it another way: Show the average person a list of things numbered 1 to 10, they know immediately that there are 10 things, because they instinctively grasp the concept of counting from 1; they don't have to do "10 minus 1, plus 1." But show them a list numbered 10 to 20, and most will think there 10 things in that list, too.

Sadly, this is the same majority who insist that we mark our centuries starting with a year that ends in "-00".

P.S. Far from divorcing your wife for the crack about Feller not winning 300 games, I'm pretty sure you should buy her something for knowing that (a) 300 wins is a meaningful number and (b) Feller didn't get there.

By: MikeD Tue, 21 Dec 2010 06:53:55 +0000 @103, Nice story!

I also just got around to watching the Mike Wallace interview with Bob Feller in 1957, linked above. Wow, interesting on a few levels. Unrelated to baseball, amazing how they integrated Philip Morris and smoking into the entire interview. Funny yet uncomfortable at the same time. Feller seemed a but uneasy with the interview format, continually arching his eyebrow. Also interesting to hear how far ahead he was of most players on eliminating the reserve clause. Mike Wallace almost made it sound like Feller was crazy for supporting such a silly notion!

By: mr.baseballcard Mon, 20 Dec 2010 22:15:39 +0000 Later that afternoon, we left the Museum and walked to get some ice cream around the corner in a little trailer near the ball field in town. Bob Feller and his wife were there having some ice cream and while my wife got me my ice cream I walkedup to Mr. Feller, introduced myself as a fan. He started to shoo me away when I blurted out that I loved how he had publicly took a stance against allowing Pete Rose in the HoF, and I admired him for that and agreed with his point of view. He simply said thank you, and walked away.
In the evening, we left the HofF when it closed @ 8:00 pm, and wanted to get some dinner. Problem was that Cooperstown is a small town and the restaurants on Main Street were all closed by 8:00 pm. We ran to a pizza/Italian place right across the street and the woman at the door explained that although the place was open, the kitchen was closed and she couldn't let us sit down. Hungry and disappointed, we turned to leave when out of nowhere a booming voice called out, "Hey, whatever the woman's name was, let them stay and tell, whatever the cook's name was, to get some food for these nice young people. This young man agrees with me. It was Bob Feller who was just finishing dinner with his wife. We got to sit down and had one of the more memorable dinners in my life talking with Mr. and Mrs. Feller. When told the story of how she had summoned her husband earlier in the day, Mrs. Feller told my wife "but to me he is just Robert, not a Hall of Famer".
Wonderful couple.

By: mr.baseballcard Mon, 20 Dec 2010 22:06:25 +0000 Wanted to share some memories I had of Bob Feller from the summer of 2001, when I visited Cooperstown (small plug here for the GREAT posts about the HoF from Steve Lombardi.)

1) Left the HoF for lunch and walking down the main street of town, saw that a card shop near the museum had Bob Feller signing autographs for $25. I have a phillosophical problem paying for autographs, but liked Feller from his years on the HoF Board and stopped to watch.
- My wife asked why we were stopping and when I explained that we were watching Bob Feller, she replied "but he didn't win 300 games, couldn'thave been that good" - No I did not seek divorce on the spot.
- Watched and loved how he interacted with a small 9 year old boy getting a baseball autographed. Asked if he was good in math and when the kid said yes, Feller took out a picture of himself from the 1954 WS and told the kid that he played in the 50th WS ever played in 1954. Then explained that 1 year the WS wasn't played. Therefore, when was the first WS played? The poor kid couldn't answer and BF handed him the unpaid for autographed picture and told hiim if he could solve the math lesson after lunch, he would give him a second autographed pic.
- At this point, about 20 people (all male except for my wife) were standing around and in awe of Bob Feller, hanging on his every word. At this point his 80ish year old wife came up, snapped her fingers and said so all could hear, "Robert, lunch is ready. Come home now!" Without a word, Bob Feller who had fought bravely in WWII and faced Joe D + Teddy Ballgame, turned and followed his wife down the main street of Cooperstown.

By: John Autin Mon, 20 Dec 2010 18:36:15 +0000 @99, GD wrote:
"BTW: [Feller] and the other major leaguers made $$$ barnstorming against Negro league teams, they didn't do it for any other reason."

Probably true. But everything's relative in this regard, no? Within the context of that time, isn't there merit to letting the profit motive outweigh any (possible) prejudice?

Plenty of other stars through the years could have made money the same way Feller did. But some of them wouldn't even consider playing against blacks.

I think that if every white person in 1946 America had been willing to interact with black people for purely commercial motives, but with a civil and professional attitude, regardless of their actual beliefs, life in America would have been a hundred times better for blacks than it actually was at that time. Actions speak louder....

By: DavidRF Mon, 20 Dec 2010 15:52:52 +0000 @99
I don't think Bob said that. It was one of his fellow barnstormers.

The Negro League stars were just as good (if not better) and therefore the Negro League All Star teams were just as good (if not better) but I think the point the other poster was trying to make was that the overall leagues themselves were at a slightly lower level. That's most likely true. Any time you are drawing from 10% of the population instead of 80+%, then depth issues enter in at some point.

They've done MLE's for Negro Leaguers at the Hall of Merit and there although there was a small discount applied to their raw numbers, many NeL-ers still had incredibly impressive MLE's.

By: GD Mon, 20 Dec 2010 13:03:56 +0000 "They weren't ready, weren't polished..." Careful Bob, your bias is showing. Look at the won - loss record between the barnstorming all star teams. Look at 16 of the next 20 NL MVP's.

Rube Foster came up with tons of innovations copied by John McGraw and Branch Rickey. Ken Burns does a good job outling much of this,. Check it out.

It must be ludicrous to today's generation to hear old people say the players in the Negro Leagues were inferior. The Major league records before 1947 should be the one's in question.

BTW: He and the other major leaguers made $$$ barnstorming against Negro league teams, they didn't do it for any other reason.

By: John Autin Mon, 20 Dec 2010 01:13:36 +0000 @97, DavidRF -- Sad news about Cavarretta. I just read that he was the last living player who had played against Babe Ruth (in '35, when Ruth was a Brave in his final season). Ruth homered in the last game that they faced each other.

Thought I'd throw out a few quick Cavaretta facts garnered from B-R:

-- His 20 seasons with the Cubs is the most in club history. (Banks and Hartnett played 19 each.)

-- He got his first hit in his first start, at the age of 18 -- a HR in a 1-0 win.

-- He hit the last World Series HR by a Cub, in game 1 of the '45 WS, providing the final run in their 9-0 rout of the Tigers. He also had the next-to-last WS hit in club history, an 8th-inning single in game 7. (SS Roy Hughes got their last WS hit.) Cavaretta, who was the NL MVP that year, had a terrific Series, hitting .423 with a .500 OBP, 7 runs and 5 RBI.

-- He still holds almost all the 18-and-under season batting records, from his 1935 season. OK, he's one of just two 18-year-olds who ever qualified for the batting title (joining Johnny Lush, 1904). But Cavaretta had a decent season, with a 93 OPS, 85 runs and 82 RBI for the NL pennant winners.

By: DavidRF Sun, 19 Dec 2010 19:54:17 +0000 Phil Cavarretta has just died. Fitting that him and Feller died in the same week as they were both notable teenage stars of the mid-1930s. Cavarretta dominates the age 18 leaderboards:

Cavarretta didn't have a career anywhere near as great as Feller's but it was a long career and he did win an MVP during the war.

And Oracle of Baseball fans know him as the guy who started his career as a teammate with Charlie Grimm (who played with Lajoie) and ended his career across town as a teammate of Minnie Minoso (who played with Harold Baines). So he shows up on those lists all the time.