Comments on: Intentional walk rates This and that about baseball stats. Tue, 16 Jul 2013 17:01:55 +0000 hourly 1 By: John Autin Fri, 31 Dec 2010 21:55:20 +0000 @28, Kds re: Banks & "potent bat" -- You make a good point. "Potent" is a bit of a wiggle word, like "dangerous"; what does it really mean? Bottom line, Banks from 1966-69 (his 4 full-time years under Durocher) had a 106 OPS+, which (as you say) was below average for a NL 1B in that period. Now, it was a pretty strong period for NL 1Bs -- McCovey, Dick Allen (sometime 1B), Rusty Staub (ditto), Cepeda, Joe Torre, Lee May, etc. And in 3 of those 4 years, Banks hit at least 23 HRs, with a high of 32. But you're right that Banks wasn't a "championship-caliber" 1B.

By: kds Fri, 31 Dec 2010 20:47:45 +0000 Re: Durocher Cubs. Giving Banks credit for a "potent bat" is very dubious for 1967-71. He is at best an average hitter overall, hardly good for a 1B.

By: Wine Curmudgeon Fri, 31 Dec 2010 13:27:43 +0000 @John Autin --

Isn't it amazing how almost any discussion about baseball can be turned into an analysis of perhaps the most star-crossed team ever, the 1967-73 Cubs? You make an excellent point about Santo, by the way, as well as Durocher. Though, to be fair, I don't think the Lip thought he was mailing it in. He was managing the way he always did (though you are correct to blame him for what happened). Davey Williams, with a .284 OBP, and Whitey Lockman, with a .318 OBP, were the primary leadoff men for Durocher's 1954 World Series champion Giants. Not coincidentally, only Willie Mays had more than 86 RBI for that team.

By: John Autin Fri, 31 Dec 2010 06:08:20 +0000 (Back on topic:)

In #24, I should have added that the '67 Cubs led the NL with 33 IBBs to their #8 hitters, almost twice what the other 9 teams averaged. They had drawn just 10 the year before. An increase of 23 IBBs in a 10-team, 162-game league would increase the league IBB/G by 0.014, which is roughly 10% of the spike on the graph. That's a lot of impact for one player, but there's still big chunk of that spike to be accounted for.

By: John Autin Fri, 31 Dec 2010 05:56:39 +0000 (Followup to #24)

When, exactly, did Leo Durocher start mailing it in as Cubs manager? Day 1?

As noted above, the 1967 Cubs got virtually nothing from their leadoff men, mostly Don Kessinger. And yet, in '68, Leo the Lip wrote in Kessinger for 154 games in the leadoff spot, even though the overmatched SS did just as poorly as the year before -- a .276 OBP, 1 HR, 61 runs, 9 CS against 9 SB.

In a roundabout way, I think that Cubs managers (especially Durocher) are a big reason that Ron Santo is not in the Hall of Fame. Santo had "just" four seasons with that magical round number of 100+ RBI. But he had four other very potent seasons in which he finished just shy of 100 RBI while batting cleanup: 1963 (25 HR & 99 RBI), and 1966-68 (30 & 94; 31 & 98; and 26 & 98). Now here are the combined OBPs of the Cubs' #1 & #2 hitters in those years:
-- 1963: .314
-- 1966: .312
-- 1967: .291
-- 1968: .298

I don't care how traditional it was at the time to put (non-)hitters like Kessinger at the top of the order; it's still a brutal failure on the part of the manager. And to a lot of convention HOF voters -- the ones who have kept Santo out for so long -- his credentials would probably look a lot stronger with eight 100-RBI seasons.

Durocher was the Cubs' manager from 1966 until midway through the '72 season. His W-L record with the club looks pretty good, on the surface, given their previous history. But this is a club that had Billy Williams and Ron Santo in their prime, a still-potent Ernie Banks for most of that time, another HOFer in Fergie Jenkins, a young Ken Holtzman, and some complementary talent -- and accomplished nothing. Just once did they win more than 87 games.

It sure looks like Durocher was living off his reputation.

By: John Autin Fri, 31 Dec 2010 05:11:49 +0000 @5, Andy -- The unusual thing about Adolpho Phillips in 1967 was a #8 hitter who hit 17 HRs, 7 triples and slugged .458. The average NL #8 hitter slugged .299 that year, and the other 9 teams combined got just 35 HRs from their #8 hitters.

Why the heck was Phillips batting 8th? If there is a rational answer, it probably died with Leo Durocher. The year before, Phillips had hit 16 HRs and slugged .452, mostly as a leadoff man. But in '67, with Don Kessinger taking over the primary leadoff duties, the spot became a black hole; they got no HRs, a .278 OBP and just 70 runs from Kessinger, Paul Popovich & co., while Phillips and other #8 hitters combined for 80 runs. That disparity must be some kind of a record. The #8 spot also had more runs and RBI than either the #6 or #7 spot.

Furthermore, Phillips in '67 was hot early and did the bulk of his damage in the first half -- yet Durocher never did move him out of the #8 hole.

The Cubs' lineup might have seemed to be working fine, since they led the NL in R/G. But that was just a Wrigley Field illusion; their team OPS+ was virtually league average, as the fine years by Phillips and (as usual) Billy Williams & Ron Santo were submarined by Kessinger & an unproductive bench.

By: Charles Saeger Thu, 30 Dec 2010 20:15:42 +0000 The Dodgers. These guys taught their managers down in the minors to be loose with the free pass, and that influence is obviously greater in the NL, and probably above and beyond just having the team there to drive up the numbers. The gap narrowed between when Alston turned against the free pass in 1968 and the DL in 1973.

By: dukeofflatbush Thu, 30 Dec 2010 01:30:17 +0000 @ Tmc

You are right, when Templeton came up, he showed tons of promise, hitting .305 over 700+ games with St Louis. He was projected to be a future 5 tool # 3 hitter. He had two 200 H seasons in his first 3 full years, great speed, led the league in triples 3 times, but was considered by most to be an uncoachable problem with an attitude bigger than his paycheck. Even with his speed and hitting ability, he walked only 93 times in 713 during his St Louis tenure and despite his speed he was 63% successful in SB.
He then was traded to San Diego for Ozzie Smith in '81. In San Diego he became the #8 man. During 84-86 he walked 115 times, 68 of which were intentional (leading the league twice).
In the '80s, only 20 IBB were issued in a season 23 times, 3 of which went to Templeton, the only player with 3.
Only Dale Murphy and Mike Schmidt had more IBBs in the '80s than Templeton. And I think we all know, he is not in their company.

By: Tmckelv Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:12:05 +0000 @17,

I have to look at Gary templeton's splits, but was he an 8th hitter? I know he had 200 hits at least once (1979 had 100 from each side of the plate).

I do agree with the assertion that a team would be better off (over the long run) pitching to the 8th hitter and having the 9th leading off the next inning.

By: Tmckelv Wed, 29 Dec 2010 22:07:30 +0000 it is amazing that the AL never led the NL in any year (55-72). You would think it would have happened by "mistake" at least once.