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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Happy Birthday, Mariano

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Nov 29, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post


Today marks the 39th birthday of Mariano Rivera. Here is my question for you: Has anybody in any sport ever done their specific job better than he has?

I think saves are overrated and “the closer” would often be more valuable in the seventh or eighth inning. But Rivera has no control over that. He is sent out to get three outs in the ninth inning and if he doesn’t dominate the opposition, it’s a surprise.

Look at his career splits on Baseball Reference.com. They’re staggering. No matter what situation, Rivera gets the job done.

In 10 or 20 years, when there is a better perspective of what the Yankees accomplished from 1996-2007, it will be Rivera who stands alone as the most valuable player of that period. How many starting pitchers do you think were able to pitch confidently knowing that Mariano was behind them? How many times did the hitters know in a tight game that one run was all they needed? You can’t statistically measure what a lock-down reliever means to an entire team, or how much easier it makes the life of a manager.

Meanwhile Rivera has been a good teammate, a friend of young pitchers and unfailingly polite and accountable to those around the team, including the media.

I remember a game a few years ago when Mo blew a save (it happens on occasion) and he could not stick around to talk to us because he had to attend to a family matter. He sought out the writers the next day to apologize. That’s the kind of man he is. Believe me when I tell you, that is not a common occurrence.

So happy birthday, Mo. Here’s hoping Enter Sandman plays on April 16 when the new Stadium opens. Right after CC Sabathia goes a strong eight innings, right?

 
 

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77 Responses to “Happy Birthday, Mariano”

  1. Stacey November 29th, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    right!
    happy birthday mo!

  2. JoeT 28 in 10.... KEEP PHIL FRANCHISE!! November 29th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    As long as those strong 8 innings are in pinstripes and not for the Indians again lol

    Happy Birthday Mo!!

  3. CB November 29th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Sorry didn’t see the new thread…

    “I believe that Ted Williams was overrated (521 home runs and only 64 vs left hand pitching. The lowest ration in mlb history of players that have hit 300 or more home runs). It was Ted (mighty against righties) Williams.”

    This is a great example of cherry picking some combination of statistics to make a cheap point. Only people who don’t understand statistics try to make rhetorical points like that.

    How about this:

    Career leaders in OPS+:

    1.Babe Ruth+* 207L

    2.Ted Williams+* 191L

    3.Barry Bonds* 182L
    4.Lou Gehrig+* 179L
    5.Rogers Hornsby+ 175R
    6.Mickey Mantle+# 172B

    Ted Williams was mind bogglingly good. So good that it’s almost impossible for us to understand how good he was as the vast majority of us have never ever seen a hitter perform at close to this level of brilliance.

    In the history of the game there was Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and then everyone else.

    People want to talk about Manny? His career OPS+ – 155. He’s nowhere in the same universe as Williams.

    It is true that Williams hit for less power against left handed pitchers.

    But that just a relative criticism. He still had an .880 career OPS against left handed pitchers. That’s fantastic.

    And the difference between his power left handed and right handed didn’t have that much of an impact on his game. There just weren’t very many left handed pitcher back then as it was an era in which the situational left handed reliever didn’t exist.

    Only 23% of Williams plate appearances came against left handers – that’s correct – less than a quarter of his plate appearances were against left handed pitchers.

    Compare that to Barry Bonds – 33% of his at bats came against left handed pitchers.

    Left handed batters from Williams era tended not to see very many left handed pitchers so they just had less exposure and practice to hitting lefties. So naturally there was more pronounced split.

    Does anyone seriously think that if Williams were playing today and had more exposure to left handed pitching he wouldn’t have had much of a split at all?

    After Williams, the finest left handed hitter of his era was Stan Musial (career OPS+ 163 – amazing yet not even close to Williams).

    Go look at Musial’s splits. He also had a decrease in power against lefties that was similar to Williams.

    It’s likely an issue of the era more than it is of the player.

    And the overall point is – if 77% of your plate appearances come against right handers, your stats against lefties just aren’t nearly as important.

    Williams was phenomenal. We’ve never seen a hitter even close to his brilliance. The nearest is Pujols and even he isn’t close to Williams.

    Ted Williams is underrated. Severely so. He gave up three prime years of his career to go fight in WW II where he was considered to be a brilliant air man. He then gave up two more prime years of his career to serve in Korea.

    He could have joined the military services baseball team. That’s what they wanted him to do.

    Instead he insisted on going back into combat and flying missions.

    He missed 5 major years of his career. If he had not had to serve in the military his numbers would be much, much better than they are now. Think about that. Not a little better – much better. And that includes breaking Ruth’s home run record.

    He hit over .400. Had multiple 1.200 OPS seasons. He won the triple crown – twice. He put up an OPS of over 1.000 every year of his career until he turned 40.

    And he was overrated?

  4. Doreen November 29th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    CB -

    Just finished reading “The Summer of ’42.” Lots of Ted Williams in that book. I learned so much about him. You’ve talked about the stats; in terms of dedication to his craft and belief in his own abilities, I don’t know many who would have exceeded Williams.
    pat –
    If you are there –
    Yes, indeed we were in Disney World this week. Alas, we were not at the Magic Kingdom the same day as Johnny and Family, if in fact that photo was from this week. I can tell by the color of the sky in the photo. The only non-blue sky day was Tuesday, and we were at the Disney Hollywood Studios park. (It rained that morning, just a little.)

    Had I known JD was going to be there, I would have begged – BEGGED – my husband to switch our itinerary so we could do a Damon watch! (However, we were with a group of 21, so I probably would have been at risk of a total mutiny against me!)

    Finally – Happy Birthday, Mariano! Another player in a class by himself.

  5. Tucson Ken November 29th, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I’ve been a die hard Yankee fan since the days of Mantle,Ford, Berra, etal, & by far, Mo is the greatest Yankee I’ve ever seen. There will never be another like him, & total class as well. Happy B-Day Mo!

  6. george November 29th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    insightful post on Mariano. he’s been putting on quite a show for a long time now.

    the last few years, for example – you’d often have a game against the Carmine Hose where Ortiz and Manny have murdered the Yank pitchers – who mostly would not or could not challenge them on the inside part of the plate. If the Yanks did get these guys out, it seemed it would always take 9-10 pitches.

    Then The Sandman would enter and often not only mostly get these guys out, but do it in a few pitches, as though Mariano were of a different species.

  7. Brandon (TEIX IS NOT WORTH IT, GET CC !)..."Don't trade Robi !" November 29th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Stupid Plaxico spoiled my Saturday/Sunday :x

    Happy B-day Mo!!! Atleast this day is great for the fact it created you 39 yrs. ago. seriously bless you w/o you and only you there is no dynasty.

  8. LathamJoe November 29th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    CB:
    I agree, Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters of all time..and he missed nearly 5 seasons because he served his Country in two separate conflicts.
    Also, I would rank Lou Gehrig right up there with Ruth and The Splinter.

    Happy Birthday Mo! The greatest closer of all time, I’ve admired him since his initial post season performances against Seattle in 1995.
    And you bet he’s the “Poster child” for the Yankee Dynasty between 1996-2000. No other Closer could have come close to his Post Season Magic.

  9. CB November 29th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    “You’ve talked about the stats; in terms of dedication to his craft and belief in his own abilities, I don’t know many who would have exceeded Williams.”

    One of the things that I’ve always found amazing about Williams was his intensity and dedication to whatever he did.

    How many of us can possibly relate to being the best in the world at anything?

    Williams was clearly the best hitter in the world while he played.

    But Williams was also considered by many to be the world’s finest fly fisherman.

    Now you might want to nay say fly fishing – but to be the best in the world at anything is impressive.

    Williams was the best in the world at not one activity – but two.

    And on top of that Williams flew wing for Jon Glenn. And Glenn said Williams was one of the best natural pilots he’d ever seen.

    John McCain has told this story several times about Williams and Glenn. Williams got hit while flying and his plane caught fire. Instead of ejecting however Williams managed to land the plane wheels up while it was on fire.

    McCain asked him why he didn’t just eject. And Williams said that there was a metal bar over the canopy – Williams was taller than the vast majority of fighter pilots so the cockpits weren’t exactly designed for someone of his height.

    Williams didn’t eject because he was concerned that if he had ejected he would have broken both of his knees and never played baseball again.

    Just amazing. I can’t believe some one would actually call him overrated.

    191 career OPS+. Just phenomenal.

  10. CB November 29th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    “You’ve talked about the stats; in terms of dedication to his craft and belief in his own abilities, I don’t know many who would have exceeded Williams.”

    Doreen,

    One of the things that I’ve always found amazing about Williams was his intensity and dedication to whatever he did.

    How many of us can possibly relate to being the best in the world at anything?

    Williams was clearly the best hitter in the world while he played.

    But Williams was also considered by many to be the world’s finest fly fisherman.

    Now you might want to nay say fly fishing – but to be the best in the world at anything is impressive.

    Williams was the best in the world at not one activity – but two.

    And on top of that Williams flew wing for Jon Glenn. And Glenn said Williams was one of the best natural pilots he’d ever seen.

    John McCain has told this story several times about Williams and Glenn. Williams got hit while flying and his plane caught fire. Instead of ejecting however Williams managed to land the plane wheels up while it was on fire.

    McCain asked him why he didn’t just eject. And Williams said that there was a metal bar over the canopy – Williams was taller than the vast majority of fighter pilots so the cockpits weren’t exactly designed for someone of his height.

    Williams didn’t eject because he was concerned that if he had ejected he would have broken both of his knees and never played baseball again.

    Just amazing. I can’t believe some one would actually call him overrated.

    191 career OPS+. Just phenomenal.

  11. Luis Lopez November 29th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    wow am a hardcore yankee fan and guess what guys?

    today is my birthday too

    this is crazy lol

    guys feel free to add me on my music myspace
    to wish me a happy birthday from true yankee fans :D

    http://www.myspace.com/gordomillones

  12. jimmy1138 November 29th, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    “Has anybody in any sport ever done their specific job better than he has?”

    Don Bradham?

    “No matter what situation, Rivera gets the job done.”

    Well, with the exception of a world series game 7…

  13. BBFan November 29th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Mo was the MVP of the dynasty years, though Jeter got most of the accolades. Next I would place Bernie and Paul ahead of Jeter in thier importance to the dynasty.

  14. Kevin November 29th, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Rivera clearly is the best closer of all time. His consistency is amazing and he’s never done anything to embarrass the Yankees. The Hall of Fame and his number retiring are, hopefully, many years in the future. He’s irreplaceable.

  15. i am the walrus November 29th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    “Stupid Plaxico spoiled my Saturday/Sunday :x

    I don’t think his actions exactly made his day either.

  16. Greg C November 29th, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo!

    Here’s some new pics of the new stadium: http://slidingintohome.blogspo.....pdate.html

  17. Mark in Tampa November 29th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    CB,

    To add to that, hitters of the past didn’t try to swing for the fences against every pitcher. Instead, against a tough lefty, they would look to go the other way for a single or a double. The hitters of today take a home run swing every time, have more homers vs. lefties, way more K’s, and a lower BA and OBP.

    I think you would also find that Ted Williams and others had less HRs with 2 strikes. Again, the hitters of today keep swinging from the heels; in the past, they would shorten their swing, widen their stance, and make more consistent contact. My favorite stat of all time-Joe DiMaggio career-361 home runs, 369 strikeouts.

  18. LathamJoe November 29th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    “PLAXICO BURRESS ACCIDENTALLY SHOOTS SELF IN LEG”
    Doesn’t surprise me at all. It was just a matter of time before this “head case” would do something really stupid. The worst mistake Giants management could have done was give this slacker at 3-year contract.
    “Million Dollar Talent….Ten Cent Head”!

  19. LathamJoe November 29th, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    Feliz Cumpleaños, Luis!

  20. Ariel November 29th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I have been a diehard Yankee fan since 1947. I dislike the Red Sox, and always have, though I do respect those players who are deserving. In that context, I view Ted Williams as the greatest hitter of all time, with no one even close.

    His work ethic in preparing for a game as a batsman was without equal. Were he playing in this day and age, he would take complete advantage of technology, and probably would be challenging, if not surpassing, his accomplishments of 1941.

  21. BBB November 29th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Here’s hoping indeed, Pete. Well-said.

    Happy birthday to the G.O.A.T!!!

  22. BBB November 29th, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    And Plaxico is so damn dumb. What a waste of talent. I don’t know why he would do it knowing full well the Giants aren’t afraid to get rid of malcontents ala Shockey.

  23. CB November 29th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    “You’ve talked about the stats; in terms of dedication to his craft and belief in his own abilities, I don’t know many who would have exceeded Williams.”

    One of the things that I’ve always found amazing about Williams was his intensity and dedication to whatever he did.

    How many of us can possibly relate to being the best in the world at anything?

    Williams was clearly the best hitter in the world while he played.

    But Williams was also considered by many to be the world’s finest fly fisherman.

    Now you might want to nay say fly fishing – but to be the best in the world at anything is impressive.

    Williams was the best in the world at not one activity – but two.

    And on top of that Williams flew wing for Jon Glenn. And Glenn said Williams was one of the best natural pilots he’d ever seen.

    John McCain has told this story several times about Williams and Glenn. Williams got hit while flying and his plane caught fire. Instead of ejecting however Williams managed to land the plane wheels up while it was on fire.

    McCain asked him why he didn’t just eject. And Williams said that there was a metal bar over the canopy – Williams was taller than the vast majority of fighter pilots so the cockpits weren’t exactly designed for someone of his height.

    Williams didn’t eject from the plane because he was concerned that if he had ejected he would have broken both of his knees and never played baseball again.

    Just amazing. I can’t believe some one would actually call him overrated.

    191 OPS+. Phenomenal.

  24. hiscross November 29th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Happy BB Mo. I have seen him pitch a number of times and he always amazing to watch. His delivery is always the same, picture perfect. Mo and Paul O lead the team in the 90′s. I do think Joe over used him. It cost us the 2001 WS and the 2004 ALCS. By far Ted Williams will always be the games finest hitter. If he played for the Yankees (and rumor has it he and Joe Di almost made that happen), he would have hit over 800 HRS, even giving our great nation 5 years fighting evil (Joe Di did his time as well). I would love to see Mo close out our 27 WS in 2009.

  25. Ariel November 29th, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Peter Gammon’s post of today on his ESPN blog regarding that “lazy and despicable sot” (http://insider.espn.go.com/esp.....mons_peter):

    “3. How can Scott Boras ask for more than two years for Manny Ramirez?
    That’s what Manny wanted when he wanted out of his Boston contract, and while one might wonder about Ramirez’s losing interest, the fact is that he is in better shape now than he was when he signed with the Red Sox. His work at Athletes’ Performance Institute last winter was legendary (API was closed for the week between Christmas and New Year’s and he got a key to get in and do his work), and right now he’s at the API/Dr. James Andrews facility in Gulf Breeze, Fla. “The work Manny did for his core and his agility completely changed him,” says former North Carolina coach Mike Roberts, who oversees much of the baseball-related operations for API. “It is amazing what he’s done for his body.”

    One of Manny’s best baseball friends says he believes he will stay focused, especially if he could get to a place like Anaheim. “Right now he’s really obsessed with 600 homers (Ramirez has 527), and when he gets to 600, he may get obsessed with 700.”

    Nice little rivalry with Alex Rodriguez (553 homers) to see if they can make a run at Barry Bonds’ 762.”

    Reach your own conclusions as to whether Manny can “withstand the rigors” of being the everyday DH for 3 years (through age 39). Gammons, as an unabashed Red Sox advocate, is of course reporting this so the Yankees can be “stuck” with an underproductive, past his prime performer.

  26. MoBoy(aka McLovin) November 29th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Pete:

    Pete don’t make a post like this and say MO is the best at what he does yet you put him behind Jeter who is overrated and Joba who barely pitched a full year in that top 20 Yankees post you made before.

    How you flip-flop your post is amazing.

  27. Bobby November 29th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    42 forever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Eddie November 29th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Peter,

    Right on with Mariano. The Saves stat is overrated, look at guys like K-Rod and Hoffman who only come in the 9th inning and get three outs…meanwhile Mariano even at his advanced age comes in and gets 4-5 out saves…compare Mariano’s season this past season to K-rod’s “historic” season and there really was no comparison. Mo had 1.40 ERA and an insane WHIP of 0.66. Meanwhile K-Rod had a 2.24 ERA and a WHIP of 1.29 (almost double that of Mo). Even Lidge didn’t have as good a season 1.95 ERA, 1.23 WHIP…and I’m fairly all of K-Rod’s or Lidge’s saves were 3 outs and I think Mo had 5 4+ out saves this past year. As an aside, I wish they would have a separate stat for 4+ saves…it would show event more the greatness of Mo.

  29. EricNS November 29th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo!!!

  30. Fran November 29th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Happy Birthday Mariano. Without Mariano there probably would not have been a Yankee dynasty from 1996- 2000.
    Hope Mo is fully recovered from his surgery and comes back as good as he usually is.

  31. pete's typewriter November 29th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Yankees open their season against the Angels?? Why else would CC be there?

  32. dave November 29th, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    “I believe that Ted Williams was overrated”

    Among the dumbest statements ever written on the internet.

  33. Patrick November 29th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Hey CB, that was a great post about Ted Williams. One day a few months ago I was surfing the net and for whatever reason I pulled up Ted Williams’ page on baseball-reference. I knew next to nothing about the guy except that he was a great hitter. After looking at his stats (and noticing the several missed seasons for military service) I realized just how incredible he was. Then I pulled up Babe Ruth’s stat page and it was a struggle for me to say who was the better hitter. They were both AMAZING. I never realized how freaking good Ted Williams was.

    Imagine if the Yankees and Sox had pulled off that trade – Dimaggio for Williams. Ted Williams in Yankee Stadium? Holy crap.

  34. Mark Alan November 29th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Happy 39th, Mo!

    And thanks for the lecture regarding Teddy Baseball, CB. I think the most important stat, though, is that they froze his head.

    Seriously, I take your point. He was a giant, and as such, he’d be near impossible to overrate.

  35. yankee21 November 29th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo.

    Mo is a class act, and one of the greatest players ever to to don the pinstripes.

  36. RhapsodyInBlue November 29th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    I believe the internet is overated.

  37. CB November 29th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    “in the past, they would shorten their swing, widen their stance, and make more consistent contact. ”

    Mark,

    Very astute point. We have limited data on Williams and Musial’s splits, but what you described is exactly what one sees in the data available on their performance.

    For both Williams and Musial while their power numbers decreased against left handed pitchers – their on base percentage didn’t decrease nearly as much.

    That suggests that it was a systematic difference in their approach against left handed hitters.

    The Dimaggio stat on HR vs. K’s is remarkable and also somewhat misleading.

    One can only imagine the number of 420 ft outs Dimaggio made as a right handed batter hitting at the old stadium.

    If we were able to look at the ratio of 415 ft fly balls he hit (balls which would have been HR in nearly all parks now and many parks back then) to K’s the ratio would be astronomical.

    Dimaggio’s power to K rate was phenomenal.

  38. RhapsodyInBlue November 29th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    Roast Turkey, mashed potatoes (no lumps), stuffing, cranberry sauce, covered in gravy is over rated.

  39. CB November 29th, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    “for whatever reason I pulled up Ted Williams’ page on baseball-reference.”

    Patrick,

    I take a look at William’s baseball reference page quite often just for the fun of it.

    There’s always something both new and amazing to find there.

    Who would believe that in a year in which a guy bats .406, that his batting average might not be the most impressive part of his performance.

    Williams had a .553 OBP that year. Imagine that – a guy who is on base well over half the time.

    He hit .400 and his OBP was still .150 points above that.

    And its not as if he was hitting singles to get to .406. His slg % that year was .735.

    How do you have a 1.286 OPS?

  40. Kathleen November 29th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve been a die hard Yankee fan since the days of Mantle,Ford, Berra, etal, & by far, Mo is the greatest Yankee I’ve ever seen. There will never be another like him, & total class as well. Happy B-Day Mo!…
    Tucson Ken
    *******************
    I too have been a Yankees fan for a very long time and watched the Yankees greats. I totally agree with you. There will never be another Mo. He is the best, and he personifies what it means to be a Yankee.
    Happy Birthday, Mo!

  41. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Did anyone see what I posted in the last thread? TW’s splits on BR.com are only from 1956 on. I highly doubt that Ted Williams didn’t hit a homer vs. lefties between ’39-’55.

  42. Mark in Tampa November 29th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    CB,

    I was going to mention how many HRs Joe D. must have lost, but there is no real way to calculate that. Also, it is unfortunate in the history books that Joe D gets overlooked so much. In today’s game, 361 Hrs is nothing. However, add 3 war years at an estimated 32 Hrs per year, and then estimate(conservatively) 5 Hrs lost to Death Valley every year over 13 seasons, and DiMaggio is at 522 HRs. That is much more fitting as to his actual abilities.

  43. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    “How do you have a 1.286 OPS?”

    By being Ted Williams or Barry Bonds.

  44. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    “I was going to mention how many HRs Joe D. must have lost, but there is no real way to calculate that. Also, it is unfortunate in the history books that Joe D gets overlooked so much. In today’s game, 361 Hrs is nothing. However, add 3 war years at an estimated 32 Hrs per year, and then estimate(conservatively) 5 Hrs lost to Death Valley every year over 13 seasons, and DiMaggio is at 522 HRs. That is much more fitting as to his actual abilities.”

    I think it’d be interesting to put Williams in Yankee Stadium for a career and Joe D in Fenway for a career. That would be something.

  45. A-Fraud.. November 29th, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MO!!!!

    Go have a wonderful dinner at your steak-house!!!

  46. Yankee Trader November 29th, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    If we don’t get the free agent starters we’re interested in, are there any relief pitchers, who were former starters, and/or have the repertoire to be starters and give the Yankees 5-6 strong innings before turning the game over to our fairly strong bullpen? JJ. Putz? Kerry Wood? Others?

    Also, could Brad Penny be worth a shot, as a come-back player ala Cliff Lee?

    Why no interest by the Yankees in 32 yo lefty Randy Wolf, who has regained arm strength and pitched well down the stretch for the Astros?

    No to Manny-is a DH Head case- could not patrol left or right field in Yankee stadium, and definitely not worth the aggravation. Bet my GM stock that the Yankees don’t sign him!

    We need three starting pitchers- potential #1 and a #4 and #5, with Wang as #2, and Joba as #3.

  47. Yankee Trader November 29th, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo! Now call CC and tell him to “Come on Down!”

  48. CB November 29th, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    “TW’s splits on BR.com are only from 1956 on. I highly doubt that Ted Williams didn’t hit a homer vs. lefties between ‘39-’55.”

    Squints,

    This is correct. We don’t have any data on splits earlier than the 1950′s on baseballref. So no numbers on splits are available for Ruth, Gehrig, Hornsby, etc.

    That’s why I focused on rate stats rather than counting stats.

    I was using the available data as a proxy for proportion of left handed pitchers Williams had faced in his career.

    But your point stands – the original post of the guy who said he only hit 64 home runs against lefties very well could be wrong.

    I can’t verify that one way or the other. And outside of that, the rate stat argument is much more important than any counting stat argument with reference to his power.

    Mark in Tampa’s post from before illustrates why that is very well.

  49. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    “That’s why I focused on rate stats rather than counting stats.”

    His rate stats are freaking mind-boggling.

    “I was using the available data as a proxy for proportion of left handed pitchers Williams had faced in his career.

    But your point stands – the original post of the guy who said he only hit 64 home runs against lefties very well could be wrong.”

    Is there anywhere that has pre 56 splits?

  50. Mark in Tampa November 29th, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    “I think it’d be interesting to put Williams in Yankee Stadium for a career and Joe D in Fenway for a career. That would be something.”

    Somebody recently mentioned that to Yogi. Yogi said that Joe D would have hit less HRs because he hit so many line drives. He probably would have had unreal double numbers and batting averages, though.

    I wonder if Ted Williams would have been as great at Yankee Stadium. In my non-scientific opinion, YS has hurt as many lefties as helped. So many of them(Giambi) become so pull conscious that it hurts their approach. Sure, they may have more Hrs, but as a hitter overall, tend to deteriorate if they try to yank everything out to right. I am sure as great a hitter as Williams was, he could handle it easily, but you never know.

    Conversely, I feel that Fenway has helped lefties because they stay on the ball longer because they are not afraid to hit it to left. Wade Boggs, of course, made a hall of fame career out of that. Ortiz is also much better for having the left field approach on pitches he can’t easily turn on.

  51. CB November 29th, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    “By being Ted Williams or Barry Bonds.”

    Please don’t compare Williams to Bonds. It’s just not appropriate.

    Williams OPS+ was also a full 9 points higher than Bonds.

    I don’t know if pre ’50′s splits are readily available from anywhere.

    Perhaps they are as a commercial product. But i haven’t seen them.

    Box scores from earlier decades have been lost as I understand it. But I’m not sure if there is a more comprehensive source of data out there.

  52. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    “Box scores from earlier decades have been lost as I understand it. But I’m not sure if there is a more comprehensive source of data out there.”

    About 10 years ago, my grandparents were taking out some paneling in their house and pulled out some tile-like things that had box scores from the ’20s glued to them. It was pretty damn cool.

  53. CB November 29th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    “I wonder if Ted Williams would have been as great at Yankee Stadium. In my non-scientific opinion,”

    Mark,

    Take a look at the available numbers on Williams home vs. road production.

    The numbers may surprise you. Very little difference.

    I always figured Williams would have to have been much better at home. But that’s just not the case. His numbers are nothing like what we often see with other Boston hitters who do much better at Fenway (e.g. Dustin Pedroia…)

    Surprisingly, Williams slugging percentage was higher on the road than at home. His batting average was a little lower on the road.

    That’s not the entirety of his career but the numbers we have say a lot about him as a hitter and how playing at Fenway may not have been much of a factor.

  54. alvaro espinoza's hipster frames November 29th, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    “Has anybody in any sport ever done their specific job better than he has?”

    jim brown? bill russell? tony hawk? bobby fischer? the japanese kid that eats all those hot dogs?

  55. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 3:41 pm

    ““I wonder if Ted Williams would have been as great at Yankee Stadium. In my non-scientific opinion”

    I remember I wanted to investigate it by using each others’ splits from playing in Fenway/the Stadium and extrapolating them, but alas, lack of splits did me in.

  56. mel November 29th, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Happy Birthday, Mo. Hope you come back better than ever.

    ____________________________

    Jason Elam’s been pretty good in his role as well.

  57. Mark in Tampa November 29th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    CB,

    You are probably right, but playing at YS as your home field, and playing there 7-10 games per year is a huge factor. Chances are that Williams would have been phenomenal at YS, but, as I said, you never know.

    He was one of the first, or maybe the first, that a shift was employed against. Maybe that means that he thought “Green Monster be damned, I’ll hit where I want to”, and didn’t use left field all that much. If so, he was always pull conscious and YS may not have affected him at all, except for even greater power numbers.

  58. pat November 29th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Doreen

    Hope you had fun. Just thought it strange that you were in Disney and Pete got a random picture.

    I guess sometimes things can really be coincidences and not conspiracy theories.

    Bonus points to you for reading through multiple days of comments to even see what I wrote. :smile:

  59. Fred Mertz November 29th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I think Mo is terribly overrated. I can’t think of a single clutch hit he’s had in his entire career. Lifetime OPS+ of -100 and hitless in all 3 of his postseason ABs. And those were ALL in the World Series. Sure, his ERA is good, but tough to get too excited about a guy with no career postseason extra base hits.

  60. Squints November 29th, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    “I think Mo is terribly overrated. I can’t think of a single clutch hit he’s had in his entire career. Lifetime OPS+ of -100 and hitless in all 3 of his postseason ABs. And those were ALL in the World Series. Sure, his ERA is good, but tough to get too excited about a guy with no career postseason extra base hits.”

    He he…

  61. Vrsce November 29th, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    I never saw Ted Williams play, however, when he comes back, will he be a Red Sox?

    Ted Williams was decapitated by surgeons at the cryonics company where his body is suspended in liquid nitrogen, and several samples of his DNA are missing, Sports Illustrated reported

  62. pat November 29th, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    OT: Giants statement on Plaxico

    “We are aware of the fact that Plaxico was involved in an apparent accidental shooting last night. We have been in contact with Plaxico since shortly after the incident. Plaxico suffered a wound to his right thigh. Obviously, our primary concern is for Plaxico’s health and well-being, and given the circumstances, we are relieved to say he was released from a New York City hospital at approximately 2 p.m. today. We have been in touch with NFL Security on this matter. At this point, we are attempting to gather all the facts surrounding this incident. This incident could become a matter for law enforcement officials, and because of that, we have no comment on any of the details.”

  63. ANSKY November 29th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Any comparison between Ted Williams and Barry Bonds is ridiculous. Its like comparing apples & water buffalo.

    If Ted Williams had had the help of BALCO like Barry Bonds did, he would have been scarier than Bonds when Bonds hit 73HR and he might have hit .400 a few times. His career may have lasted longer too. And w/BALCO instead of WWII, in about 6 years we might have been talking about A-Rod chasing Ted Williams not Barry Bonds.

    But I have a strong hunch that Williams wouldn’t have been the kind of guy to have gotten on the ‘roid bandwagon.

    Bonds was already a serious talent pre-BALCO, no doubt about it. w/o BALCO, he probably could have hit as many career HR as Williams ended up hitting. He just wasn’t the kind of player to set career & season HR records until he started looking like a body builder. He would have stolen more bases than Williams, that’s without question, but he would not have hit for a 400 average.

    But I have a strong hunch that Bonds, on the other hand …

  64. ANSKY November 29th, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    “I think Mo is terribly overrated. I can’t think of a single clutch hit he’s had in his entire career. Lifetime OPS+ of -100 and hitless in all 3 of his postseason ABs. And those were ALL in the World Series. Sure, his ERA is good, but tough to get too excited about a guy with no career postseason extra base hits.”

    Nice one …

    Maybe it’s just a secret that Mo can bunt reeeeallly good.

    My money’s down that he’s a better bunter than Giambi was at least.

  65. Vrsce November 29th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    ANSKY

    Maybe when Barry gives up the ghost they can decapitate him and store that huge melon alongside Ted’s. Then when the technology is perfected, we will know the truth, as long as they don’t put Ted’s head on Barry’s body and vice versa

  66. ANSKY November 29th, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Vrsce

    I think we already know the truth …

  67. bru November 29th, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    the yankees are crazy for considering upping the cc offer to 6/150.

    these huge contracts never ever work.

    it will hurt our ability to add debth.

    we would be better off trading for 2 young pitchers like greinke or two similar two him.

    if not stay with what we have until we are able to make the right move.

    we need more than sabathia.the mets got santanna & it did nothing,the phillies won with one great pitcher & a bunch of scrubs.

  68. Travis November 29th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Only a fool would believe that Ted Williams is overrated. If anything, we can’t even understanding his greatness. And, yes, I am a Yankees’ fan.

  69. S.A.- CC Watch 2008: Making some Yankee fans go bonkers November 29th, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo!

  70. RER - 98 November 29th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Mariano’s cool demeanor on the mound is by itself a weapon. He takes care of business, shakes his catcher’s hand and takes his place in the congratulatory high five line.

    http://www.windowslive.com/con.....are_112007

  71. RER - 98 November 29th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    *** EDIT ***

    http://www.windowslive.com/con.....are_112007

  72. RonH November 29th, 2008 at 6:37 pm

    Happy Birthday Mo! Hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed the last 13+ years … and looking forward to more.

  73. RER - 98 November 29th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Yes Mo . . . I finally got it right

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRYDetbwegs

  74. Kyle November 29th, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    Mo’s a great guy. I totally randomly saw him in the Tampa airport before last year’s spring training (2007). I, like a silly tourist, went up to him and humbly asked for his autograph. He was clearly annoyed, but he obliged, and we talked for about 5 minutes about how his nephew from Panama was coming up to visit him. Then his cousin walked up and he might have been the cutest kid ever. Mo was so nice to him, and so nice to me.

    Happy Birthday Mariano!

  75. Danny from Brooklyn November 29th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Here’s hoping Enter Sandman plays on April 16 when the new Stadium opens. Right after CC Sabathia goes a strong eight innings, right?

    Here’s hoping that prediction comes true! Happy birthday Mo

  76. islesfan November 29th, 2008 at 9:21 pm

    Is Mariano a first ballot Hall of Famer and if he is, what percentage of votes do you think he’ll get?

  77. lil' m November 30th, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Mariano: So great that we actually take him for granted. So automatic that we’re shocked on those rare occasions when he doesn’t come through. So consistent that he’s been at the top of his game for coming up on 13 seasons. So tough that he had one of his greatest seasons while needing shoulder surgery. So dominating — still — that hitters know what’s coming and they still can’t hit him. K-Rod, Papelbon, Lidge, Nathan are all excellent. But Mo is otherworldly. Until the day he retires, Yankee fans will not fully appreciate just how huge an advantage it was to have Mariano nailing down games year in and year out.


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