|a||Scoop's take on the outfielders: hell, you can't go
wrong with the third team on the poll. They were all
great. Let me take it by position, because centerfield is
the only contentious area. I'm going into extreme detail,
so skip to the nudes if you aren't a baseball fan.
The battle for the best centerfielder of all-time is actually a tight one. If you look at it per at bat over a lifetime, it's a good battle among Mays, Mantle, Griffey, Cobb, and DiMaggio: Here are the key stats:
Name OBP Slug Griffey .380 .569 Mays .383 .557 Mantle .420 .557 DiMaggio .398 .579 Cobb .423 .513
Cobb's stats are better than they appear, since his best years occured in the deadball era. DiMaggio was better in the pre-war years, but lost three good years and his youth to the Big One. Mays' lifetime stats are polluted by the fact that he hung on too long. He finished his career with 8 consecutive sub-.300 seasons, and the last few were quite sad. Mantle was, of course, hampered by injuries throughout his career. I think it is possible to argue that Mantle at his best was the best of the five. Here are the key stats for their single best year:
Name OBP Slug Griffey .402 .674 Mays .411 .667 Mantle .463 .705 DiMaggio .443 .671 Cobb .459 .621
See where it is going here? At the very peak of his powers, The Mick emerges from the pack. Mays, Griffey and Cobb are about even. DiMag is a rung higher, and Mick is yet another rung higher. In his best year, he got on base more often than Cobb, and he hit the ball as far as anyone ever has. (Mick was a normal size, 5'11, 195. McGwire may be as strong or stronger, but he has to be measured on a truck scale.) Also, the Mickster in his youth was the fastest guy in baseball from home to first when he was batting lefthanded. But I have no bone to pick with you if you voted for Mays, as so many guys did. Mays pretty much did the same things, and he did them longer. But if you are looking for who was the best at the moment in time when he was youngest and strongest, Mantle was probably the man.
I have to point out here that some recent statistical analysis is bringing the argument back in Cobb's favor. In the latest SABR publication, an analyst named D'Aniello evaluates the offensive value of each season within the context in which it appeared. (Obviously hitting .350 in slow pitch softball is less valuable than hitting .350 in the majors.) His researches led him to conclude that the best offensive season of all time was not a battle between Ruth's 1920 and Ruth's 1921, as previously assumed, but was actually Cobb's 1909. At a glance, that wasn't even one of Cobb's best years (.377), but it was spectacular in the context of the 1909 offensive levels. So if you voted for Cobb over the other four above, no problem. Your ground is solid. I believe I'd take Mickey, but any of the five are fine.
In left and right, there ain't no argument. I got Williams and Ruth on my team, and if you want anybody different, you just decided to lose a helluva lotta games when we pay our imaginary season. No subtlety involved here, no tricky debates like the ones involving the centerfielders. There simply aren't any other sane choices. If you aren't familiar with Babe Ruth, here's who he was: he hit homers as frequently as Mark McGwire, had batting averages higher than Tony Gwynn, and was as good a left handed pitcher as Randy Johnson. Ruth's LIFTIME slugging and OBP are as good as the best single season achieved by any of the centerfielders.
You think Ruth was just a big fat slow guy? In his prime, in 1921, he hit 16 triples and stole 17 bases! He did a few other things that year as well. Like 44 doubles, 59 homers, 177 runs scored, 171 RBI, .378 batting, and .846 slugging. Oh, yeah, and 144 walks in his spare time. Oh, and just screwing around, he was also 2-0 as a pitcher. When he took pitching seriously, he did this, for example: 23-12 with a 1.75 ERA. Ruth's lifetime hitting stats, impressive as they are, are minus almost five years of his youth which he "wasted" as the best lefthanded pitcher in the AL, and the last guy to bring the Red Sox a World championship, when he pitched a shutout in the 1918 opener, and seven more shutout innings to start game four. (In the 1916 World Series, all he could do was throw a 14 inning complete game in which he held the opposition scoreless for the last 13 of those innings!).
How good was Williams? Remember DiMaggio's revered and hallowed streak? Well if you take Joe D's batting performance during the streak and multiply it out for the entire season, he still wouldn't have had as good a season as Williams had that same year. Read that sentence again. Let me reword it. DiMaggio was a great player. And DiMaggio, in his magic streak, at the peak of his legendary skills and in the ultimate groove, wasn't as good a hitter as Williams was every day. That's how good Teddy Ballgame was. Better than anyone. Well, better than anyone human. Ruth was obviously from Krypton. I guess you probably also know that Williams also lost nearly five years from his statistics because of the various arnmed conflicts in the forties and fifties. Sadly for baseball, he was as good an aviator as he was a hitter.
Other miscellaneous notes:
Clemente was a great player, but he wasn't even the best overall rightfielder in his own era in his own league. There was this other guy named Aaron. Clemente had a hard time making the all-star team as a starter in the early 60's. Mays and Aaron were perennials, and other guys like Frank Robinson and Tommy Davis also picked up a start or two in hot years. (Not to mention Cepeda during his brief outfielding career.). I don't know exactly how to measure it, but Clemente probably had the strongest throwing arm of any outfielder who ever played.
The best player you never heard of is Leon "Goose" Goslin. Why? Think of him as the opposite of Larry Walker. You know how Walker seems to be Babe Ruth every year until you remind yourself that he hits .450 at Coors and .290 on the road? Well, Goslin had the anti-Coors to deal with, cavernous Griffith Stadium. I could bore you with this stuff for hours, but here's my favorite home/road stat for Goslin. In 1926 he hit 17 homers on the road and none at home. Not one! From 1921 to 1925 the left field line required a 424 feet homer over an 11 foor fence. In right center there was a strange jut built around some houses, and the deepest part was 457 feet with a 31 foot fence. You could see the tall backyard trees from home plate. Ruth once hit one over that fence and into the trees, but Mantle went him one better. Batting right-handed off Chuck Stobbs, Mantle slugged one over the billboard/clock area in left on April 17, 1953, a blow which was measured at 565 feet. But anyway, poor Goslin really got reamed by that place. Fortunately, his contemporaries knew how good he really was, and he is in the Hall of Fame.
Of course, the greatest of them all was my dad, Danny "Suits" Sparrow, at least if you believe his stories. Here's a link to some of them. Probably his best year was the year in the minors when he hit .998, and his only out resulted from being traded to the opposing team after apparently hitting a monstrous homer. They told him while he was trotting to first, and he was forced to run out to the outfield, make his patented vertical leap, and steal away his own homer.
Baseball fans like to ask - will anyone hit .400 again? I used to say "probably not". I now say, "Yes, undoubtedly. If a truly great hitter ever finds himself on the Colorado Rockies". Larry Walker was a lifetime .280 hitter before he arrived in Colorado, and he is still a .280 hitter on the road (.286 last year, with 11 homers), but overall he has hit .366, .363, and .379 the past three years. Why? Well, for example, last year at Coors he hit .461 with 26 homers and 70 RBI's in only 232 at bats. This is not meant to deprecate Walker, who is still a terrific ballplayer, but to suggest that if a big time hitter plays his prime in Coors, we will see another .400 season. Even Hornsby's .424 might be within reach. For example, last year Derek Jeter hit .369 on the road. Imagine what he might have done playing his home games at Coors. Jeff Bagwell hit 30 homers on the road last year, Sosa 30, McGwire 28. Imagine what kind of season any of them might have with all home games at Coors. (Bagwell should hire me at salary time. You should see his road stats side-by-side with Walker's!!) Geez, I sure get wordy when baseball is the subject!
|The Gist and Lawdog|
|One Fish, Two Fish|
|FR doesn't always get his own box because he often sends in one at a time (although he rarely misses a day). Since his collages are so expert, I'm glad he sent in three today, his complete set of Eva Henger in "Die Diva". (hardcore)|
|Yesterday: no page three
(Sunday). The substitute is Sacha from October 9. (#1 ,
The WhyScans Bonus today is a really good bonus. More new paparazzi pictures of Liz Hurley in the British press. As I've said before, if I were a paparazzo, I'd make Hurley my whole career. Unfortunately, the pics also include Hugh Grant, looking even doofier than his usual high doofiness standard. Small pics. I suppose we'll be seeing better ones in a few days. The first two are topless. The third is topless with nothing visible. The last two are bikini shots.
|El Kabong||Senor Kabong, on an insomniac whim, scanned the 1989 Penthouse calendar!||HTE||HTE 2000 has three non-nudes of Astrid, an 18 year old selected in a model search conducted by M! msagazine.|