a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The 200 Greatest Major League Baseball Players Ever 2011 Ed. #140-131

The previous ten is here.



140. Juan Marichal RHP WAR+WARP=125.7
1960-75
Giants
ERA+ 123
MVPQ 1965 (19.6) 1966 (20.6)

-Marichal had two additional seasons within two tenths of an MVPQuality season (combined 16 WAR+WARP); Marchical's '65-6 is the best two year run for any 20th century player on the list thusfar.  Marichal is the third greatest SFG of all time; the list for which is here.

139. Red Ruffing RHP 126.1
1924-47
Red Sox/Yankees
ERA+ 110
MVPQ none, Best Season 1932 (13.6), 

-The adjusted ERA disparity is a clue that you'd subjectively place Ruffing behind Marichal, it took Ruffing a half dozen more seasons to hit his WAR/WARP total.  

 138. Dick Allen 3B/1B 126.1
1963-77
Phillies
OPS+ 156
Adjusted BA/OPB/SLG  .312/.402/.617
MVPQ - 1964 (19.2), 1966 (16.5), 1972 (18.8 with White Sox)

-Look at the slashline!  That is a Shoeless Joe Jackson bat, he and Jackson the only men on the list so far who went 3/4/6., and also the only two men thusfar with adjusted OPS over 150.  The two best bats on the list so far - Joe Jackson and Dick Allen.  Has there been a good Richie Allen book?   In the context of black athletes of the time looked upon more favorably historically - but framed as malcontents or agitators at the time, there certainly could be a revision of Allen's career.  

137. Bill Dickey C 126.3
1928-46
Yankees
OPS+ 127
.300/.365/.510
MVPQ none, Best season 1937 (15.7)

-Catchers, as mentioned before, don't get the bump from WAR that is ideal, factor that into your subjective consideration.  There's no evidence that Dickey was anything but average defensively, it's catching with his bat for 17 years that gets him here.

136. Amos Rusie RHP 126.8
1889-01
Giants
ERA+ 129
-Note both that WAR overrates the 19th century ballplayers, but also that Rusie's value was earned in ten seasons.   

135. Pee Wee Reese SS 127.2
1940-58
Dodgers
OPS+ 98
.275/.368/.399
MVPQ none, Best season 1949 (13.2)
-Reese had a slightly below average bat, that's what the sub 100 adjusted OPS indicates - but that shows the value of 16 seasons at shortstop with an average major league bat - Reese wasn't Ozzie Smith with the glove either, he was just an average big league bat, with an average shortstop glove, able to play 2000+ games at short, and that buys him this spot on the list of the greatest players who ever lived.  

134. Keith Hernandez 1B 127.2
1974-90
Cardinals/Mets
OPS+ 128
.309/.400/.487
MVPQ none, Best season 1979 (14.8)

-A slightly better John Olerud sounds like damning with faint praise, until you realize how underappreciated Olerud was.  A plus glove, a really good bat, just missing that 3/4/5 slashline - and this is where Hernandez properly rests. 

133. Jackie Robinson 2B 127.2
1947-56
Dodgers
OPS+ 131
.312/.408/.507
MVPQ 1949 (19.7), 1951 (21.7), 1952 (17.6), 

-Note that Robinson and Reese had exactly the same career value, to the tenth of a point, which is superfun even for a Giants fan.  Robinson's the first middle of the diamond fielder with the 3/4/5 slashline; so far on the list, here are those elite bats by position:

1B Will Clark
2B Jackie Robinson
3B Dick Allen
LF Joe Jackson
RF Elmer Flick

We'll see if we can get 3 more before the list is up.  The most important bump you should give Robinson subjectively isn't based on external "look how much he had to overcome" factors, but instead on the shortness of his career - this value was earned in ten seasons, as he didn't break in until age 28.  Where would you rank Robinson on a subjective list? Top 40, probably.  

132. Monte Ward SS/2B/RHP 127.3
1878-94
Giants
OPS+ 92
ERA+ 119
.280/.325/.389

-Like Bob Caruthers its the combination of the pitching value and the bat, more within reach to the 19th century ballplayer (and Babe Ruth) that sticks Ward on the list.  Subjectively, they're fun to look at, but a little overvalued.

131. Don Sutton RHP 127.4
1966-88
Dodgers
ERA+ 108
MVPQ none, Best season 1972 (11), 

-It's only 18 seasons, as he didn't pitch from '83-7, but were you to be looking for someone to really, really drop down the list given a lack of superior peak, it's Sutton - a not too far above average adjusted ERA and not a single season even close to MVPQ, you would not rank Sutton subjectively, in the same class with many of the pitchers we've already seen on the list.

70 down.  130 left.  I'll be back next week.