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Learning to Walk II
2005-06-30 21:43
by Mike Carminati

Sheez, I go away for a few days—to Venice thanks, or rather "grazie", to a surprise trip planned by my fabulous wife—and the standings go all kaflooey, not to be overly technical. The O's, and their makeshift staff, finally get overtaken by a member of the Yankee-Red Sox fascist regime, this time by the Sox. My Phils, and I use the term lightly, meanwhile go from nipping at the heals of the division-leading Nats to a half-game out of last, albeit in a very tight division. And the locals suddenly started to notice that Jim Thome's contract may not have been such a good long-term investment, especially when the term is getting longer all the time. Eric Gregg, the former umpire and current "Metro", and I use the term loosely, reporter, is starting to call for the start of the Ryan Howard era. To quote the Bard, "Oopha!?!"

What else did I miss while I searched for the best Venetian "Pizze" while attempting to find a public "water closet" for less than half (or rather 0,50) Euro? My interview with Promohthree, in which John Carroll attempts to make me sound halfways intelligent, was posted. Good luck there. And my fluff posts to fill in the site during my absence drew some fire. And, of course, Leon is getting laaaaaaarger!

Some weren't convince that Rickey Henderson and Mark McGwire, among the all-time walk leaders, learned to elicit a base on balls more consistently late in their careers. Yes, they talk walk-drawing to new levels late in their careers, but it's not like they were Alfonso Soriano early on in their careers either. I guess my choice of titles based on the worst pun possible—witness "Learning to Walk"—is not necessarily the most effective means. Yes, they did not "learn" how to walk, but my main criterion was how much an established player had upped his walk ratio from his previous career ratio.

Now, if we are talking about just those players who were sub-par at drawing a walk and became at least better than average, here are the new all-time Learning to Walkers:

NameYrBB Above Exp PreBB Above ExpDiff
Reggie Smith1977-1.48%7.98%.095
Clay Dalrymple1962-2.52%6.39%.089
Richie Ashburn1954-0.17%8.54%.087
Danny O'Connell1956-2.85%5.23%.081
Joe Sommer1887-3.41%4.11%.075
Rocky Colavito1961-0.80%6.67%.075
George Selkirk1936-1.25%6.06%.073
Ron Santo1964-1.56%5.54%.071
Toby Harrah1975-0.12%6.76%.069
Johnny Evers1908-0.67%6.20%.069
Dick Siebert1944-3.55%3.31%.069
Kevin McReynolds1992-0.37%6.27%.066
Dick Gernert1953-1.07%5.57%.066
Bobby Bonilla1991-2.09%4.47%.066
Al Kaline1955-5.55%0.99%.065
Gary Matthews1981-0.59%5.95%.065
Sam West1939-1.91%4.62%.065
Jim Fregosi1964-2.39%4.13%.065
Vance Law1985-0.31%6.20%.065
Sherry Magee1910-0.63%5.88%.065
Cy Williams1916-2.52%3.94%.065
Fred Pfeffer1891-1.65%4.82%.065
Sal Bando1969-0.57%5.89%.065
Omar Moreno1978-1.48%4.98%.065
Tommy McCarthy1892-1.90%4.54%.064
Claude Cooper1915-1.94%4.48%.064
Jesse Barfield1989-0.90%5.49%.064

That may be more befitting of the title. However, it leads me to a new idea. Can players learn how to walk after making it to the majors, and does it positively affect their careers (Sammy Sosa comes to mind)? More on that after I get over my jetlag.

2005-07-01 14:10:27
1.   Cliff Corcoran
Mike, you (and your readers interested in this topic) might be interested in something I wrote for my old BRB back when I thought Chili Davis might become the Yankee hitting coach and Soriano might become one of his pupils:

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