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D-Joe Morgan Chat Day II
2004-06-09 13:03
by Mike Carminati

Mitch Cumstein (Chicago, IL): Fred Mcgriffs career numbers destroy Tony Perez's numbers, yet Mcgriff is not considered to be a viable HOF candidate. Mcgriff played a majority of his career in a pitcher's era. Why is Tony Perez in the HOF and Mcgriff is not even considered?

Well, first of all I don't like to compare across eras. I'm trying to figure out where the pitchers era is for McGriff. Perez played in a pitchers ear. But it's not just about numbers, it's about consistency and championships. I'm a big McGriff fan and think he's a great player. But if I had to choose between the two, obviously for selfish reasons, I would pick Perez. It's a difficult question because it's just so hard to compare numbers across eras. A great example .. Mays is the best player I saw. I think his average was around 25-30 HRs and over 100 RBI .. a couple years ago there were 30 OFs with better numbers than Mays. None of them were a better player than Mays.

The question is, do you think Jose Canseco is better than Paul Molitor? That is a similar situation.

[Mike: Who? What? Where? Brain freeze! Ooh, that one hurt! Take a deep breath now.

OK, what do Canseco and Molitor have to do with anything? Molitor had a 20-year career, collected 3000 hits, and 500 stolen bases. He wasn't really a power hitter. Canseco palyed 17 injury-plagued seasons and was mostly a hired home run hitter over the last half of that career. Yeah, they were both mostly DHs over the latter part of their careers, but they were in no way similar hitters.

Why not say that Cal Ripken and Ozzie Smith were similar players because the both played short? McGriff and Perez both earned their pay as power-hitting first basemen.

Perez played in a pitchers ear? Boy, it must have been really confining in there.

Mays career average was not 25-30 HRs, but 36 per year. Good guess though. Maybe you were thinking of a truly comparable player to Mays like Paul Blair—he played center, too.

I'll let the following question argue the case for McGriff before I finish Joe off with a powerful paralyzing
perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.]

redrum: Hi Joe...the fact that McGriff led his league in hrs with the low totals of 35 and 36 indicates he was hitting in a pitchers era for at least part of his prime.

Tony Perez played when Gibson had a 1.10 ERA and they had to lower the mound because pitchers had such an edge. I'm not really arguing your point, it's just hard to compare anymore.

[Mike: No, it really isn't. McGriff's career park-adjusted OPS is 34% better than the league average. Perez's is 22% better.

In 1968 when Gibson has a 1.12 ERA, Perez hit 18 homers, drove in 92 runs, batted .282/.338/.430 , and had an OPS (.769) that was 25% better than average. He never lead the league in any major offensive category. And he was basically an average first baseman after age 31.

McGriff has lead his league in OPS and park-adjusted OPS once, home runs twice, and games once. He was in the top ten in MVP voting six times. And he scores about the same as an average Hall-of-Famer in Bill James Hall tests. McGriff had an OPS at least 40% better than the park-adjusted league average nine times; Perez accomplished that just four times. All but one of McGriff's "Similar Batters" who are eligible for the Hall are in (5). Just two of Perez's similar batters are in the Hall (and all ten are eligible).

Perez was a very good player, but the only reasons that he is in the Hall are that he played for the Big Red Machine and that he was Latin.]
Ron (Cincinnati, OH): Joe shouldn't people be looking at how many runs people drove in, especially in close situations. Tony Perez gets the win in that book anyday.

I think a great player has to score runs and drive runs in. I believe it is far tougher to drive in a run than to score a run. That's my opinion. An RBI man is very valuable. Again, you have to compare players against their own peers these days. Just look at how many more runs are scored these days.

[Mike: Sheez, I thought Ron from Cincinnati would be a bit more objective.

Tony Perez averaged 96 RBI per year (projected to 162 games), and McGriff averaged 103. Of course, we have no way of knowing how many were in "close situations", but that's so nebulous as to be meaningless. Joe will also say those numbers are padded by the era (or ear) even though McGriff played six seasons before the offensive onslaught of the Nineties (1993 to around 2001).]

Jason (Dallas, TX): Joe, really enjoy your chat sessions. I saw you at the Rangers Sunday night game when they swept the Sox at home. What a game, with the Ranger's fans chanting "sweep", what a change in a year. What do you think about this 180 change in the Rangers. Do you think they will be in the playoffs come September. Thanks. Jason

First of all, I've said in this chat and in my columns that there aren't any great teams any more. Every team has weaknesses. That brings us parity. You've seen teams like the Angels go from last to first so it is possible. I'm never surprised when a team jumps from the bottom to the top. The key will be how they handle the hot weather during these summer months. Buck has done a great job with that team and all the players have responded well so far. I'm happy for them but not surprised.

[Mike: There aren't any great teams anymore? Nope, I've never heard you say that. I'm joking of course.

What does that have to do with the Rangers turnaround? And the Rangers haven't jumped from the bottom to the top. They're in third place and are being helped by a dismal Mariners team.

Look, the Rangers do have a number of young players who are developing at the same time. But they were never that bad a team. They happened to be last because they were in a tough division with just four teams. The Rangers never were worse than 71-91. They never approached the 2003 Tigers for wretchedness.]

Bobby (LI, NY): Do you see the Mets being buyers or sellers once the trading deadline approaches. Thanks

I think they will always be buyers. They can't afford to just sell. They've done that the last couple years. They are going to have to start building a team and moving forward. Adding just a couple guys could make a big difference.

[Mike: They'll always be buyers but they've been sellers the last couple of years? Makes sense to me.

So building a team boils done to acquiring potential free agents just before the trade deadline?]


I think Boston is a great, old ballpark. But with all the new innovations that have been built in to make them more fan friendly, yes, they do need a new park. Fans deserve to be more comfortable at the park.. more parking, restrooms, better seats, etc. Fans are paying a lot of money to go to these game. I do like the new parks because they are just so fan friendly. The only thing I don't like about the new parks is how small they are.

[Mike: Aah, stop shouting!

Joe, Boston is a city not a ballpark. The only reason that the Red Sox need a new stadium is to capture the revenue that they lose to the restaurants, bars, shops, vendors, etc. in the surrounding area and on Mass Ave. If they need a parking lot, they're in a warehousing district. Tear down a warehouse and put a parking lot.

As far as more seats, isn't Fenway the model for the new stadium with fewer seats and more character?

Oh, and thanks to Joe for the parting it-was-better-in-my-day-ism by complaining that they new parks are too small thereby creating higher home run totals. How far down the left-field line does he think it is in Fenway?]

steve (NYC): Joe, do you really think Jr Griffey was a better player than Bonds in the 90's? Yes, Bonds has stepped it up this century, but his numbers was astonishing then too. He's not on the All Century team because he's a lousy interview.

Yes, I do.

If you look at their performances, Griffey was a little more complete player. He played CF which is a more demanding player. If you look past the 90s, you give the edge to Bonds. But look at where Griffey was in the 90s and what he meant to the game, you have to give him the edge in that era.

Remember, he is the only active player, other than Clemens, on the all-Century team. So I"m not the only one that feels that way!

[Mike: Right, there are a lot of rubes in the world, Joe. That's who you want to emulate, the average fan, the lowest common denominator? Well, way to go. You've achieved it.

By the way, Bonds registered an OPS that on average was 79% better than the park-adjusted league average in the Nineties. Griffey's was "just" 50% better. Bonds averaged 35 Win Shares for the decade; Griffey, 26. Griffey did have a slight edge in Fidleing Win Shares (4.0 to 2.4 per year), but that just makes Batting Win Share difference even greater (Bonds 32.6 to 22.2).

OK, I know Joe doesn't buy this mumbo jumbo. How about the fact that Bonds won three MVP awards to Griffey's one for the decade?]

Dave from Lowell MA: The stats guys seem to dismiss the value of the stolen base, but after watching the Angels and the aggressive way they run the bases, I still think they are a weapon, and potentially it has a greater impact in the post-season. Your thoughts?

By the way, if I owned a team, I would love to have Frank Robinson as a manager ..

Stats people just don't know the game. They use numnbers to dictate situations. Stats don't take into consideration the threat of a stolen base .. when Rickey Henderson was on base, right away the starting pitching gets jumpy, his rhythem changes and he can be thrown off his game. I've seen the impact the SB can have and it's very real. More guys are striking out and hitting into DPs because the threat of the SB isn't there. The Marlins were base stealers when they won, the Angels did it and won and when the Yankees were winning, they were running and manufacturing runs.

[Mike: By the way, if I owned a team, I would have them wear lavender uniforms. Did I mention I'm not wearing any pants? Joe, you're creeping me out a bit.

Anyway, ah yes, stat guys. What stat guy, Bill the Stat Guy?

I love how Joe disparages things he doesn't understand. People who have a faculty for statistics cannot possibly know the game. That's how Joe can "know" that Griffey was better than Bonds in the '90s.

Actually, stats can "take into consideration the threat of a stolen base". They has been extensive study into this and the results are that the stolen base usually isn’t worth the threat of getting caught.

More guys are striking out and hitting into DPs because the threat of the SB isn't there.Actually, they ratio of grounded-into-a-double-play to at-bats has been consistently in the 2.1% to 2.3% range over the last 30 years. There are more GIDPs overall because there are more games and more at-bats. Oh, and maybe strikeouts have gone up as the power game became a bigger part of the sport.

By the way, how motivational is it to have a strike-him-out-tag-him-out double play? Or a man caught stealing second followed by a double to the gap or a homer? But what do I know—I'm a stat guy.

The stolen base can be used effectively. Henderson has stolen more bases than anyone (1406), but he also has an 80% success rate. The Marlins led the NL in stolen bases (177) and caught stealing (73) in 2002 and finished fourth. They did the same in 2003 (150 SB, 74 CS) and won the World Series. However, their success rate has not been great: 71% in 2002 and 67% in 2003.

Terry from Dubuque, IA: Joe, don't you think the bunt is way underutilized in Major League baseball?

I'm not sure if it is underutilized because I don't see all the games. But looking at stats, there are probably only a few teams that use it effectively. Everyone is waiting for the HR. Nobody wants to give up an out anymore. I do see statistically that many teams do underutilize it. It should be part of every team's aresenal. Teams that do not bunt in the regular season will try to do it in the postseason and have trouble.

[Mike: "Looking at the stats"? Joe, what are you, a stat guy all of a sudden?

So teams should bunt more because on the off chance that they get to the post season, they'll be able to bunt then?

Do you think bunts might be down in the AL due to the DH? It's down to 0.6% of all plate appearances in the AL. In the NL, bunts per plate appearance went down, from 1.13% in 1977 to 1.10% in 2003. Big deal!]

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