FIRE JOE MORGAN: A Bridge Too Far

FIRE JOE MORGAN

Where Bad Sports Journalism Came To Die

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Monday, August 18, 2008

 

A Bridge Too Far

Kurt Streeter has an article in the LA Times today about Maury Wills, and his newfound peace after committing to a life of sobriety. It's very nice and optimistic, and Wills seems like a good guy who's overcome a lot.

But then he screws it all up, Streeter does, with shizznit like this:

The fact that Maury Wills is not a Hall of Famer, the fact his greatness is not honored as it should be by the Dodgers, makes a mockery of baseball justice.

Oops.

Wills, career: .281/.330/.331. That's a hefty 88 OPS+. He did steal 586 bases, which is good for 19th all-time. He was caught 208 times. Of course, Rock Raines stole 808, was only caught 146 times, and had a 123 career OPS+, and nobody in the world, for some reason, thinks he deserves to be in the HOF. Vince Coleman stole 752 bases and had an 83 OPS+. Campy was 649-199 with an 89 OPS+. Getting the picture?

Maybe you want to go back and tone down the "mockery of baseball justice" rhetoric a little?

No?

Peruse the record books.

On it.

Wills, you will see, walked from the game with oneleagueMVP award,

Yes, he did, in 1962. And even for the always-fucked-up MVP voting, this was one fucked-up vote. Here. Look at what happened. Look at Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, and Hank Aaron's numbers. Try to argue that that Wills should have won because he had 104 steals, even if he also had a league-average OPS+. League average. (Hell, look at Frank Howard, Tommy Davis, and Stan Musial's stats. WTF?)

"But Ken," you're probably saying, "Wills was a SS. That is an important defensive position." To which I say, "Shut up, you stupid stat geek. Go play with your mom in your mom's basement where you and your mom both live because you're a geek and you have no friends except your mom because you live in her basement! Booooooooo-ya!" Then I high-five my buddy Weebs, who also hates stat geeks, and then I point out that Willie Mays was an exceptionally good CF whose EqA was like 50 points higher and that, FWIW, BP's FRAA has Wills at -7 in 1962.

three World Series rings,

This guy has four. Point: nobody. Also, I wouldn't hype his postseason success too much, since Wills went .244/.289/.282 (!) in 78 postseason AB.

586 stolen bases

Covered that.

and a .281 batting average,

Yet another thing he has in common with Al Bumbry and Pat Tabler.

all garnered after he came to the majors as a 27-year-old rookie.

Make some comparisons.

On it.

Wills stacks up well against many infielders already perched in Cooperstown. Ernie Banks and Rod Carew never made it to the World Series.

Oh my Godding God. Ernie Banks hit more than twice as many HR as a 24 year-old SS in 1954 (44) than Wills did in his entire career (20). Rod Carew had 3000 hits and a career .393 OBP. And you're saying that Wills "stacks up well" against them because they never made the World Series?

You do know baseball isn't like tennis, right? There are pitchers and OF and catchers and third basemen and stuff. You know that, right? And you remember when free agency began? Yes? So you realize that, for example, Ernie Banks never had the opportunity to go anywhere else, really, to try to get a ring? That he was entirely at the mercy of the quality of his team?

Did you think about any of this?

Pee Wee Reese and Luis Aparicio never won an MVP.

Great. Pick two extremely borderline HOFers and point out that they weren't good enough to win an award that is often given to the wrong person. Strong argument.

Ozzie Smith not only had a lesser batting average and fewer stolen bases than Wills, he went without an MVP award and won just a single World Series title.

I know I've said this before. I will say it again. This is one of the dumbest things I have ever read. Yes, he did steal fewer bases than Wills -- 6 fewer. He had 580. You're hanging your hat on six fewer stolen bases?! Well, that's a mighty rickety hat rack, friend, because he was also caught 60 fewer times. As for BA, well, you know how I feel about BA. Ozzie had an 87 OPS+, so 1 lower than Wills.

To sum up:

6 fewer steals
60 fewer caught stealings
1 fewer MVP, though he finished 2nd in 1987
2 fewer single-handedly-won World Series titles, because baseball is a game where individuals can win World Series titles, as I understand it

Oh -- also, Ozzie Smith was, for all intents and purposes, the greatest defensive SS the game has ever seen.

Moreover, few great players put their stamp on baseball as Wills did.

ao;ifga;vrba'rhafgoinv';rpewofvllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

[six days later]

Sorry. I had a massive stroke and passed out on my keyboard.

Defend this.

Dodgers fans of the heady 1960s can still recall the chant that rang through Chavez Ravine when little No. 30 led off first base, ready for another steal.

"Go, Go, Go, Go!"

Never heard that before. I guess I'm ignorant, since Maury Wills put his stamp on baseball like no other player. More than Babe Ruth, or Hank Aaron, or Rickey Henderson, or Jackie Robinson, or Bob Gibson, or Yogi Berra, or Cal Ripken, or Barry Bonds, or Pedro Martinez, or Steve Carlton, or Mariano Rivudsfjindskkkkkkkkkklllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

[11 days later]

My doctor has advised me to cease this line of discussion.

Labels: ,


posted by Ken Tremendous  # 3:11 PM
Comments:
H/T to Dwight and Eric, who simultaneously emailed about this "article."
 
Anthony points out that Sojo might actually have 5 rings, not 4, as he played for the '93 Jays. He didn't have a PS AB that year, but I'm guessing they gave rings to everyone on the roster? Maybe?
 
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