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  #51  
Old 07-11-2018, 12:59 PM
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I was just pointing out that Clemente was better than Jackie over those same years. WAR severely penalizes Clemente as a RF and in my opinion gives an undeserved bonus to 2B. There is no doubt that Jackie was a great player. He should have won 2 or 3 MVP awards, but it is a real stretch to put him in the top 2 or 3 at 2B. Claiming he missed "prime" years is something we don't know. Clemente's prime was age 29 to 36. I would have Clemente top 3 RF with Ruth and Aaron and Ruth played almost as many games in LF as RF.
I'm pretty sure we know Jackie missed prime years.
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  #52  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:10 PM
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I was just pointing out that Clemente was better than Jackie over those same years. WAR severely penalizes Clemente as a RF and in my opinion gives an undeserved bonus to 2B. There is no doubt that Jackie was a great player. He should have won 2 or 3 MVP awards, but it is a real stretch to put him in the top 2 or 3 at 2B. Claiming he missed "prime" years is something we don't know. Clemente's prime was age 29 to 36. I would have Clemente top 3 RF with Ruth and Aaron and Ruth played almost as many games in LF as RF.
Name all the 2b better than Jackie.
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  #53  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:47 PM
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I'd list him either 3rd or 4th. I would put Morgan and Collins 1-2 in some order, then Hornsby and Jackie in some order 3-4. That's pretty lofty company for a guy that got started so late.
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  #54  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:47 PM
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Name all the 2b better than Jackie.

Rogers Hornsby & Joe Morgan definitely

and maybe...

Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Roberto Alomar & Ryne Sandberg
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  #55  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:49 PM
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I'm Rajah, Jackie, Morgan, Collins, but either way it's hardly a "real stretch" to put him in the top 2 or 3.
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  #56  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:52 PM
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Rogers Hornsby & Joe Morgan definitely

and maybe...

Eddie Collins, Charlie Gehringer, Roberto Alomar & Ryne Sandberg
again obviously it's a matter than can be debated, but saying it's a stretch to put him in the top two or 3 means, to me, that you think he's WAY outside that rarified air. If we're debating where he falls in the top 5 it's hardly a stretch to say he's 2 or 3.
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  #57  
Old 07-11-2018, 01:53 PM
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Name all the 2b better than Jackie.
Even if we use Jackie's top 5 seasons of WAR, 42.2, these 4 players had more WAR in their 5 best seasons.

1. Rogers Hornsby 53.6 (49.2 best 5 consecutive seasons, 98.1 WAR over 10 consecutive seasons)
2. Joe Morgan 47.8 (5 consecutive seasons)
3. Eddie Collins 47.7 (career WAR 124)
4. Nap Lajoie 44.8 (career WAR 107.4)

If you use OPS+
1. Rogers Hornsby 175
2. Nap Lajoie 150
3. Eddie Collins 141
4. Joe Morgan 132
4. Jackie Robinson 132
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  #58  
Old 07-11-2018, 02:08 PM
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Hornsby was easily the best hitter, but he was not a great defensive player, nor did he run the bases like the others. Also, from all accounts, Hornsby was not a tremendous leader or team player. Morgan, Collins, and Robinson all had that "it" factor. They were winners.
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  #59  
Old 07-11-2018, 02:10 PM
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If you see the guy as a top 5 all time 2B then why would you suggest he wouldn't have had a significantly better career if he started it before 28?
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  #60  
Old 07-11-2018, 03:42 PM
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If you see the guy as a top 5 all time 2B then why would you suggest he wouldn't have had a significantly better career if he started it before 28?
The reality is that he likely missed two to three years of playing time as he was in the military for several years during WW2 until he was unjustly court martialed and discharged at the end of 1944.
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  #61  
Old 07-11-2018, 03:58 PM
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Clemente’s movie will undoubtedly be titled “21”.

As a sequel so to speak of “42”, will it be half as good or half as long?
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  #62  
Old 07-11-2018, 04:15 PM
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It is an interesting argument. It all really depends on how you define inner circle. Clemente would have a very good augment for the all time national league all star team, starting along side Mays and Aaron, especially if you move Musial to first and depending on your opinion and stand on Barry Bonds. Does that make him inner circle? OTOH, he probably would not be in the top 10 outfielder of all time if viewed objectively, though in the neighborhood. So far as Kaline goes, he was more spectacular though perhaps not quite as consistent. He started slowly and Kaline started fast which might account for the difference. He has a much larger persona than many players who are arguably statically better than he.
I would take Frank Robinson and possibly Ott over Clemente due to much more power.
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  #63  
Old 07-11-2018, 04:51 PM
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A great big thanks for everyone taking the time to post their opinions. I am old enough to have seen and did see plenty of Mantle still in his prime in the very early '60's, along with Mays, Aaron, Koufax, Clemente and living in the Detroit area, a great deal of Kaline, who was a legend here, status wise at that time. With regard to one post above, Kaline is pretty well-remembered for his part in the '68 World Series. Tigers' manager Mayo Smith, knowing he needed a bit more to take on the very tough '68 Cardinals, moved Mickey Stanley from center field to shortstop (thereby relegating the excellent fielding, but no-hit Ray Oyler--.171 BA--to the bench) in order to get the aging Kaline's bat in the lineup (Northrup and Horton were in right and left, and both had excellent years) for his first and only World Series after he had been injured for the better part of the season. And Al did us proud, quite proud, hitting .379, and leading the Tigers in a World Series where the Bengals came back to win from a 3 games to one deficit.

I personally had both Kaline and Clemente in the middle tier of HOF'ers performance-wise, as objectively as I could ascertain them to be. But I have to admit that the preceding posts confirm my much more recent observations that Clemente has indeed become a legendary icon in the sport, and that metamorphisis isn't done yet!

The movie should be tremendous, and I also hope they title it, "21."

Thanks guys,

Larry

Last edited by ls7plus; 07-11-2018 at 04:55 PM.
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  #64  
Old 07-11-2018, 05:31 PM
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again obviously it's a matter than can be debated, but saying it's a stretch to put him in the top two or 3 means, to me, that you think he's WAY outside that rarified air. If we're debating where he falls in the top 5 it's hardly a stretch to say he's 2 or 3.
He is 17th in WAR, he is 13th in JAWS, 5th in WAR7 and 5th (or tied for 4th) in OPS+. It is a stretch to project him as higher than 5th if he had a full career when his prime was lower than the other 4. I have him above every player with a lower peak and every player who was a worse hitter, regardless of any other factors. I don't see how you can put him in the top 2 or 3 with great players like Hornsby, Lajoie, Collins and Morgan at the position. All 5 are in the rarified air of all time greats in my opinion. As a person, Jackie stands above all of them.
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  #65  
Old 07-11-2018, 05:43 PM
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At the risk of sounding blasphemous I tend to discount pre-war players when having such debates. They didn't play night games, less travel, faced less specialized pitching, they were smaller, largely less athletic, and did not have to compete against others who were barred simply because of the color of their skin.

Today's baseball players are bigger, stronger, and faster. I think baseball today is better than it ever has been. Don't get me wrong, I love Clemente, and Hank Aaron. Nonetheless, If I was building a team today and could pick any player in baseball history I would take Mike Trout over both of them any day of the week.
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  #66  
Old 07-11-2018, 09:21 PM
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I would take Frank Robinson and possibly Ott over Clemente due to much more power.

The Orioles took Robinson in 1971 and didn't do them enough good head to head against Clemente in 1971!
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  #67  
Old 07-11-2018, 09:27 PM
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A great big thanks for everyone taking the time to post their opinions. I am old enough to have seen and did see plenty of Mantle still in his prime in the very early '60's, along with Mays, Aaron, Koufax, Clemente and living in the Detroit area, a great deal of Kaline, who was a legend here, status wise at that time. With regard to one post above, Kaline is pretty well-remembered for his part in the '68 World Series. Tigers' manager Mayo Smith, knowing he needed a bit more to take on the very tough '68 Cardinals, moved Mickey Stanley from center field to shortstop (thereby relegating the excellent fielding, but no-hit Ray Oyler--.171 BA--to the bench) in order to get the aging Kaline's bat in the lineup (Northrup and Horton were in right and left, and both had excellent years) for his first and only World Series after he had been injured for the better part of the season. And Al did us proud, quite proud, hitting .379, and leading the Tigers in a World Series where the Bengals came back to win from a 3 games to one deficit.

I personally had both Kaline and Clemente in the middle tier of HOF'ers performance-wise, as objectively as I could ascertain them to be. But I have to admit that the preceding posts confirm my much more recent observations that Clemente has indeed become a legendary icon in the sport, and that metamorphisis isn't done yet!

The movie should be tremendous, and I also hope they title it, "21."

Thanks guys,

Larry
Great post, Larry. And Go Tigers!
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  #68  
Old 07-11-2018, 09:48 PM
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A poor man’s Andruw Jones. That’s all, a poor man’s Andruw Jones.
Thanks for the tip. I am buying Andruw anywhere and everywhere

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  #69  
Old 07-11-2018, 10:05 PM
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At the risk of sounding blasphemous I tend to discount pre-war players when having such debates. They didn't play night games, less travel, faced less specialized pitching, they were smaller, largely less athletic, and did not have to compete against others who were barred simply because of the color of their skin.

Today's baseball players are bigger, stronger, and faster. I think baseball today is better than it ever has been. Don't get me wrong, I love Clemente, and Hank Aaron. Nonetheless, If I was building a team today and could pick any player in baseball history I would take Mike Trout over both of them any day of the week.
I disagree rather strongly but will not get too into that but I have absolutely no faith in the players of today being able to put up with anything the pre-war players had to deal with as far as playing conditions, travel by bus, pay, spit-balls, scuffed baseballs, getting cut when they struck out as much as they do today, etc, etc (in other words I believe the best of the past would excel more in today’s game than today’s guys would having to go back in time and play the old style)

Bigger and stronger are largely overrated in my opinion, otherwise we wouldn’t see players like Jose Altuve, Jean Segura and Dee Gordon being as good as they are.
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Old 07-11-2018, 10:19 PM
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I always have a problem when people talk about the physical differences between players of now and then. Evolution doesn't take place in 100 years. So the players of yesteryear would have all the same training and nutrition advantages as today's players, why on earth would they be worse? Now baseball wasn't a global game back then so the player pool is massively expanded, but I think that affects the elite far less than it does the average. Of course there are almost 3x as many jobs on MLB rosters than there was prewar which does eat up a portion of the available increased talent pool.
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  #71  
Old 07-11-2018, 11:25 PM
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Rhys I disagree with you but respect your knowledge and opinion. Like I said, my opinion wouldn't be popular. That's alright, and it's what makes these discussions interesting. By the way Dee Gordon, and Segura wouldn't be permitted on the field during that time.

Evolution in sport does happen rapidly. Jesse Owens in1936 ran a 9.4 100yd Dash (World Record). A scant thirty nine years later Houston McTear sets the HIGH SCHOOL 100yd dash record set at 9.3.

I get the romance of the good old days but disagree that those players could compete at the same level today. However I do agree that the best players of any generation could play at any point in time. Nonetheless, their numbers wouldn't be the same facing today's players. Thier numbers were bolstered by comparatively less talented overall competition.

I am 5'5" on a good day and love Jose Altuve. However, size does matter. Jimmy Foxx was considered so large they called him the Beast and Double X. As the legend goes he was trapped not scouted. Mr. Foxx was 6ft 190 lbs. Today the average middle infielder is that size. How many pitchers sat at 90+ mph in Ruth and Cobb's day? Today the average fastball is 93 MPH. Today pitchers regularily light up the gun at 100 mph. Players do strike way too much today but the pitching does have some effect on those punchout totals.

As I said, I too am a dyed in the wool romantic. Why else would I collect this silly stuff? However, I am also a realist. A model T will never compete with a Ferrari, and a Sopwith Camel will never compete with an F-18. You can have Tris Speaker. I'll take Trout. You can have Honus Wagner I'll take Manny Machado. You can have Christy Mathewson I'll take Clayton Kershaw. These discussions are why I love baseball. No one argues for Bob Cousey over Stephen Curry or George Mikan over Labron. No one compares Johnny Unitas to Steve Brady. However in baseball we do exactly that.
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Last edited by 71buc; 07-11-2018 at 11:45 PM. Reason: an inability to spell
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  #72  
Old 07-12-2018, 12:27 AM
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If I am putting together a greatest team from the 1960s. I don’t have Roberto in my starting outfield. Mantle, Mays and Aaron.
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  #73  
Old 07-12-2018, 12:28 AM
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Evolution in sport does happen rapidly. Jesse Owens in1936 ran a 9.4 100yd Dash (World Record). A scant thirty nine years later Houston McTear sets the HIGH SCHOOL 100yd dash record set at 9.3.
Humans as a species have not evolved in 100 years. Our environment (Nutritition, training, etc) has.
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  #74  
Old 07-12-2018, 01:26 AM
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Imho, one must remember that while the international talent pool of players has greatly increased, we are losing a large number of elite talent to the NBA, NFL, NHL and soccer. I also personally agree that the players of yesteryear, given the advantages of nutrition, training, etc. that current players enjoy, could certainly compete quite well today, even at an elite level. Pitching wise, the slider was the big development and detriment to hitting between the early 40's and today, when it came into widespread use after WWII. Interestingly, when it did, Ted Williams' walks went up into the stratosphere: 156 in 1946, and 162 in his second triple crown year in 1947 (giving him an OBP of .499!!!) because with his 20-10 eyesight and reflexes, he could detect the spin (a small circle is seen at the center of the spinning slider), gauge where that pitch would end up, and take it for a ball. Joe DiMaggio, on the other hand, according to Ted in his book, "My Turn at Bat," had trouble with the slider, and his post WWI stats seem to largely verify this conclusion.

And I believe the poster above is entirely correct regarding human evolution or the lack of same over the last hundred years. I often faced off against one of the best pitchers I had ever seen (he lived just a few houses away) in games of "strikeout" in the late '60's, and played with him on many summer league teams (they were good teams, with 8 guys going on to play in college), and he was F-A-S-T for any era, clocked just a year or so later in college at 94 mph. He was 5'9" and 170-175 pounds, and never worked out! Just think what he would have been with modern training methods--97 or 98 mph almost certainly.

I personally think that those who say Walter Johnson threw about 90 mph are absolutely nuts--human anatomy and coordination haven't changed since then, and if the neighbor/teammate I's talking about could hit 94 mph in the late '60's, Walter was dead solid certain to have thrown significantly faster than that. Walter had greater size and strength in general and his notoriously long arms would have given him greater leverage. Nolan Ryan was clocked at 102 mph in the '70's in the 9th inning, likely after having thrown 200 pitches. Jay Jaffe, in his recent book, "The Cooperstown Casebook," states at p 361 that Bob Feller was timed at 107.9 mph in 1946 (his 348 K year) in a test using two photoelectric cells. Even allowing for some reasonable margin for error given the methodology, I think we can rest well-assured that Rapid Robert was easily over 100 mph on his good days with his fastest pitches. IMHO--and it is just that--my personal opinon--most if not all of the greats of yesteryear would be among the elite of the elite today, given their adaptation to better training methods and so on.

Thanks again Gentlemen, for a most lively and interesting discussion. And yes, I think Jackie ranks well up with the all time greats at second, especially with (by recollection only) a .409 OBP. What a tremendous table-setter for Snider and Hodges! Hornsby is the highest ever for a right-handed hitter, just 24 points higher, .433. Jackie's performance would indeed have been even better had he been given his chance earlier, rather than 28. Both he and Roberto are to be truly treasured (and Kaline too, as he is in and around Detroit).

Highest regards,

Larry

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  #75  
Old 07-12-2018, 05:19 AM
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Evolution in sport does happen rapidly. Jesse Owens in1936 ran a 9.4 100yd Dash (World Record). A scant thirty nine years later Houston McTear sets the HIGH SCHOOL 100yd dash record set at 9.3.
Yes when Olympic Bronze Medalist Andre De Grasse ran in the same conditions and same equiptment as Jesse Owens his time was 11 seconds

https://www.flotrack.org/articles/50...e-owens-spikes

I think Cobb, Ruth, Wagner etc. would do fine in today's game.
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  #76  
Old 07-12-2018, 08:00 AM
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I have always thought the best of the best and maybe even just the average major leaguer was far more talented in the dead ball era than they are today. So many more people played baseball in the dead ball era. Every single boy in every single town, and you had to be better than all of them. Now you only have to be better than the kids who decide to play baseball, which the news tells you is a smaller and smaller pool every year.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:39 AM
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He had a 10 year career that only started when he was 28....For traditionalists he won ROY ...
A total nit, as I appreciate what you are saying in general, but it could be easily argued that this may 'soften' the ROY award since I believe 28 is close to a player's peak year. At least more so than 21-23-ish.
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  #78  
Old 07-12-2018, 08:43 AM
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Evolution in sport does happen rapidly. Jesse Owens in1936 ran a 9.4 100yd Dash (World Record). A scant thirty nine years later Houston McTear sets the HIGH SCHOOL 100yd dash record set at 9.3.
That is a poor example. You are completely ignoring the advances in technology. Lighter shoes with better spikes, aerodynamic suits, better starting blocks and faster tracks.

Owens actually set that record in 1935 at the Big 10 championships during a 45 minute span in which he set or tied 4 world records. One of those records was a long jump of 26 8 1/4. That random jump would have placed him 6th against a field of modern athletes concentrating on one event, using modern equipment and modern training methods at the 2016 Olympics. Athletes aren't that different.

In Baseball, the greatest players run chronologically from Wagner and Cobb through the guys who debuted in the 50s. In the NFL, the greatest players start after that, from Unitas and Brown through today with Brady and Manning. In the NBA, the greatest players start after that, starting with Russell and Chamberlain through Jordan and to today with LeBron James (Durant, Curry, etc.).
I don't think it is a matter of today's Baseball players being better or worse athletes. I see it as Baseball going from the #1 sport to #3 and the best athletes choosing other sports. If Jackie Robinson graduated from UCLA this year, would he choose to play Baseball? In my opinion, no.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:50 AM
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As for Owens, it's not only a matter of technology changing, it's quantum differences in training sophistication and focus. I don't think Owens had a Bobby Kersee or similar type planning 6 hours of his day all devoted to squeezing out that last bit of speed.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:52 AM
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Nonetheless, If I was building a team today and could pick any player in baseball history I would take Mike Trout over both of them any day of the week.
Yeah, and drop Alexander or Caesar into WWII (with their lack of knowledge and experience in the advancement of tools and tactics) and see how they would do.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:11 AM
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Interesting thread. I can see this from three different perspectives.

As a collector, my main observation is that Clemente items command a premium from the so-called "deceased player" effect. No, he isn't going to sell for the same as Ruth and Cobb items, but there's still a healthy arbitrage to be had.

As a stats guy, I'd say 40th all-time in career WAR feels right - I could probably move him to the top 30 if certain normalizing adjustments were made.

As a baseball fan from Pittsburgh, I wouldn't rank him higher than Ruth, Cobb, etc., but I do own his jersey, wear it to each game and see that jersey's appearance on the rise. In Pirates history, he is clearly second after Honus, but benefits in "mindshare" from a recency effect. There is also a primacy effect - He wasn't the first Latin American MLB player, but he was the first Latin American player to be inducted into Cooperstown.
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Old 07-12-2018, 09:19 AM
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  #83  
Old 07-12-2018, 10:01 AM
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I have always thought the best of the best and maybe even just the average major leaguer was far more talented in the dead ball era than they are today. So many more people played baseball in the dead ball era. Every single boy in every single town, and you had to be better than all of them. Now you only have to be better than the kids who decide to play baseball, which the news tells you is a smaller and smaller pool every year.
But: (1) overall population I would assume has increased by a factor greater than baseball expansion; and (2) blacks and international players now part of talent pool.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:12 AM
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Peter, I'm looking at Bill James' 2002 book now; he has Clemente ranked 74th on his list of the 100 greatest players of all-time. To be fair, eight of the guys on the list ahead of Clemente either never played in the Major Leagues, or played when their career was in its twilight. I take an issue with that. I have no doubt these guys were tremendous players, but unless it's Josh Gibson or Satchel Paige, guys who absolutely dominated the Negro Leagues, I don't think these other guys belong on the list ahead of Clemente, who proved himself day day in, day out for eighteen seasons. I think Roberto's ranking, and Robin Yount's, are both a bit low (Yount he had at 55). There's some personal bias, as they're my favorite two players of all-time, but I can make a compelling case for their being a few slots higher. Now, of course, both players have been knocked down some by the players that have come into their own since 2002.

The comments that Clemente wouldn't have gotten to 3,500 hits are rubbish. Clemente had a few nagging injuries that kept him from playing a full 1972 season, but towards the end of the year, he was close to full strength. From the start of September to the end of the year, Clemente played in 27 of the Pirates' 32 games, hitting .333, slashing .379/.511/.890. He was preparing to come back for spring training in 1973 when his plane crashed.

Clemente's game was built to play past 40. While the big power hitters often lose a step late in their careers, Roberto was getting better. His last four seasons-1969 to 1972, age 34 to 37, he hit a combined .339 with a 153 OPS+ (.345 in 1969, .352 in 1970, .341 in 1971 and .312 in 1972). He played in 480 games combined. Look at his 162 game averages for this period-103 runs scored, 209 hits, 31 doubles, 13 triples, 19 home runs, 101 RBI, and a slash line of .387/.521/.908. And BBR has his WAR for 480 games at 25.0. He averaged 8.3 WAR per 162 games played.

Does that sound like a guy that is about ready to hang 'em up? The Pirates were 98-57 in 1972. Clemente was raking the last month of the season, and had every motivation to come back, and keep playing beyond 1973. Willie Stargell was NL MVP runner up in '73. Richie Zisk was a star on the rise-between 1973 and 1976, before being traded, Zisk hit .302 as a Pirate with a 138 OPS +. Al Oliver would hit .305 between 1972 and 1977 for the Pirates, with a 124 OPS +. Dave Parker was a rookie in '73, and by '75 he would lead the NL in slugging. What kind of lineup would the Pirates have had with Zisk, Oliver, Clemente, Stargell and Parker as the top five in the order?
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:12 AM
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All this WARing and JAWing misses the essence. Clemente isn't a top tier card collecting favorite because of his stats alone, he is at the pinnacle because of the other factors that make his story so compelling and that make people want to have his cards. Clemente was a great ballplayer, but he was an even greater human being. You can fling stats at each other like monkeys slinging poo but it won't change the reality on the ground, which is that if you had a son who said Al Kaline is his role model, you'd say that's nice but if he said Roberto Clemente was his role model you'd be a very proud papa.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:24 AM
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Who said Roberto wouldn't have made it to 3500? The responses were to the suggestion he would have ended up as the all time hit leader.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:41 AM
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But: (1) overall population I would assume has increased by a factor greater than baseball expansion; and (2) blacks and international players now part of talent pool.
Overall population has expanded but participation in baseball is way down. There's no way you'll ever convince me more, or even an equal amount, of people play baseball in 2018 as did in 1918. Baseball was the only major sport. Now there are 4 major sports.

Black and international players were always part of the pool of people who played baseball. International players probably play more baseball than Americans now, which means their talent has elevated itself the same way America's talent would have had to in the dead ball era.

In addition, African American participation in the sport, or lack thereof, has been a trending topic in recent years.

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Old 07-12-2018, 11:50 AM
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Population has increased 3x in the past 100 years. That offsets a lot of declining participation in baseball in terms of the talent pool. Plus we are now drawing on huge numbers of international players who, even if eligible, were not similarly epresented in 1918 or for decades afterwards. And of course none of the black players back then were in the majors.

Personally I think the peak of talent may have been the 50s and 60s, with the influx of black and Latino players and while baseball was still the dominant sport even if others were making inroads. Also pre-expansion.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:19 PM
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Great is great, no matter what era. In 1964, Bob Hayes ran an anchor leg in the Olympics that is still considered by many to be the fastest 100 meters ever run by a human. He did that on a crappy track with 1964 shoes, not the fancy stuff of today. If Bob Hayes were 22 years old now, he would have even BETTER stats than he did in the NFL of his time.

So, when we disparage the old guys, let us keep in mind that they did what they did under completely different conditions. Are they as well conditioned and did they eat as well as today's athletes? Of course not. But, today's American athletes don't have to work a job in the off season. They didn't grow up without electricity. They didn't have to plow fields without a tractor. Why do you think the Latin American baseball players come here and kick butt? Because they grew up with nothing and worked their tails off to get here. Mariano Rivera grew up poor in Panama and helped his dad fishing for sardines. He didn't get any kind of special training or conditioning or diet. He just worked hard to get to the majors. Once he got there, that's when he got better conditions. Don't you think players of the 1920's would do the same if they were playing today?

As far as the Clemente issue, he was a grade A player, and a grade A+ human being. Card collectors are giving him a bigger value on the A+ part. I'm just fine with that.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:22 PM
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After Mantle, I would put Clemente second in terms of popularity. Hard to believe he would be ahead of Aaron and Mays, but I truly think he is. Also hard to believe that players like Frank Robinson and Eddie Mathews are just a notch above commons, with the exception of their rookie cards. Clemente seems to be trending up and I think it will stay that way, at least for a while.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:37 PM
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Baseball was the only major sport. Now there are 4 major sports.
I think it's safe to say that at least boxing was in the same class as baseball back then. And at least from anecdotal evidence, a career in baseball was rarely encouraged by parents at the time. In today's world, kids that show an early aptitude for any sport can get put in special leagues, etc. at a young age because their parents push them in that direction.
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Old 07-12-2018, 12:37 PM
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Who said Roberto wouldn't have made it to 3500? The responses were to the suggestion he would have ended up as the all time hit leader.
You're right, Peter. I misread the comment. I saw it as north to 3,500 hits when it said north of 3,500 hits. I retract my statement.

I don't think there's any way Clemente got close to Cobb. Though he was still an elite player, the years of running and sliding, crashing into walls, making diving plays, etc had started to take a toll. Roberto was still in ridiculous shape though, and with the outfield depth Pittsburgh had, I think he'd have stayed fresh throughout the season. He was still going to be good for 125 games a year, and could play at a high level (.310 + AVG, elite defense. The arm was still pristine). But he wasn't going to get the 200 hits a season that used to be his norm in his prime. Just not enough at bats. But it's not a stretch to see him getting another 500 hits, and raising his career average north of .320.

He also was a good bet to crack the top ten all-time in triples. If my memory serves me correctly, nobody who started their career after WW II has more triples than Clemente's 166. He had a real shot at going over 200.

I'm guessing Roberto would have played another three or four years. I have to assume his overall game does decline some, but there's no reason why he couldn't have been worth 5 WAR a season. Even if he only plays to age 40, 15 WAR puts him right next to Mantle.
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Old 07-12-2018, 01:00 PM
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All this WARing and JAWing misses the essence. Clemente isn't a top tier card collecting favorite because of his stats alone, he is at the pinnacle because of the other factors that make his story so compelling and that make people want to have his cards. Clemente was a great ballplayer, but he was an even greater human being. You can fling stats at each other like monkeys slinging poo but it won't change the reality on the ground, which is that if you had a son who said Al Kaline is his role model, you'd say that's nice but if he said Roberto Clemente was his role model you'd be a very proud papa.
Absolutely, Adam. It's just fun for me, as such a huge Clemente fan, to wonder about what might have been.

I think Clemente's enduring popularity, in baseball circles and within our hobby, is due to a number of factors. Yes, there's the ultimate sacrifice he made in trying to help those earthquake victims in Managua. That was the kind of man Roberto Clemente was. But, I have always chosen to focus on how he lived, and not how he died. He was a man that the Latino community could look to with pride. He was taunted for being both a black man and Hispanic, and his speech was mocked by reporters. Yet he held his head high, and was outspoken for his people. When he won the World Series MVP, he addressed his followers in Spanish on national television. And on the field, he was one of the most exciting men to ever play the game.

Wagner may be the greatest shortstop to ever play the game, but there's absolutely no question that nearly half a century after his death, Roberto Clemente is still the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:55 PM
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I saw him play two of the 1971 WS games in Baltimore. As I recall he lit up the place and my Dad, who grew up on DiMaggio and then early Mantle, was very impressed with him.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:19 PM
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All this WARing and JAWing misses the essence. Clemente isn't a top tier card collecting favorite because of his stats alone, he is at the pinnacle because of the other factors that make his story so compelling and that make people want to have his cards. Clemente was a great ballplayer, but he was an even greater human being. You can fling stats at each other like monkeys slinging poo but it won't change the reality on the ground, which is that if you had a son who said Al Kaline is his role model, you'd say that's nice but if he said Roberto Clemente was his role model you'd be a very proud papa.
Well said
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:58 PM
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Of course there is no way to know the answer, but would Clemente's cards carry the same values if he had played another 2-3 years, then retired to his home in Puerto Rico and wasn't really visible in the mainland US for the rest of his life? There are dozens of solid Latin American players that go home and do great things in their communities that we never hear about. Clemente might have been one of those.
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:17 PM
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Assuming he would have still been playing, a 1974 and 1975 Topps Clemente card probably would have been a blazer.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:22 PM
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I thought about other players whose hobby stature/card values seem to be somewhat disproportionate to their numbers/playing accomplishments. I came up with Maris, Clemente and Jeter as the top three, I guess some would include Jackie. Who else?
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:41 PM
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I thought about other players whose hobby stature/card values seem to be somewhat disproportionate to their numbers/playing accomplishments. I came up with Maris, Clemente and Jeter as the top three, I guess some would include Jackie. Who else?
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:09 PM
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Moe Berg would be an obvious one. I even think Thurman Munson's cards are more expensive than they should be.
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