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Old 06-11-2012, 11:08 PM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
41,261 posts, read 18,629,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
But if 5,000 people flip coins, there will be an outlier who will get ten heads. A larger number of MLB players has a larger chance of a single season being an outlier.
They might if they were coins with but two variables involved, heads or tails. Your example would explain why with a large enough database, we would find one or more players batting 1.000. The conditions of a coin toss are unvarying, the conditions under which ML has been played have been continuously altered from decade to decade.

The principle which you are trying to disprove may be expressed as....It is easier to be the tallest person among four other people, than it is to be the tallest person among nine other people.

Are you understanding that this is what you are trying to deny?
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:30 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
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I think there's a few possibilities,

A). Increased scrutiny over hitting .400...i.e. Brett at .390 and Gwynn at .394 in the shortened 94 season.

I think from 1900-1940, there wasn't as much interest in it. Guys were probably more relaxed. Plus, home runs became more popular after WWII (i.e. mickey mantle, mays, etc).

B). More dedication to the game, because there was less money involved? I think I read something about Ted Williams, he didn't go to dark movie theaters because it would hurt his eyesight? How many guys would do that today?

C). The game wasn't as structured as today, so you get these outlier statistics. I.e. in pitching, Cy Youngs win number. Walter Johnsons shutouts? Who's going to top that?

I think its similar with some of these batting numbers....who's going to hit .424 like Rogers Hornsby once did?

The pitching wasn't as sophisticated. How many guys would have hit .400 if closers were brought in? Pitching has gotten much more specialized. If todays starters pitched as many innings as the old guys did....probably more guys hitting close to .400.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,389,506 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
I think there's a few possibilities,

A). Increased scrutiny over hitting .400...i.e. Brett at .390 and Gwynn at .394 in the shortened 94 season.

I think from 1900-1940, there wasn't as much interest in it. Guys were probably more relaxed. Plus, home runs became more popular after WWII (i.e. mickey mantle, mays, etc).

B). More dedication to the game, because there was less money involved? I think I read something about Ted Williams, he didn't go to dark movie theaters because it would hurt his eyesight? How many guys would do that today?

C). The game wasn't as structured as today, so you get these outlier statistics. I.e. in pitching, Cy Youngs win number. Walter Johnsons shutouts? Who's going to top that?

I think its similar with some of these batting numbers....who's going to hit .424 like Rogers Hornsby once did?

The pitching wasn't as sophisticated. How many guys would have hit .400 if closers were brought in? Pitching has gotten much more specialized. If todays starters pitched as many innings as the old guys did....probably more guys hitting close to .400.
But every batter, in almost every game, gets at least one pop at a middle reliever, whose name isn't even familiar to most fans. Before 1940, most teams only carried about ten pitchers on the active roster, whereas now they carry about 12 or 13, so we are deeper into the talent pool among pitchers.

I think Grandstander came the closest, with better fielding. The gloves worn by fielders today give them a couple more feet of effective defensive patrol radius in which they can snag the ball and retire a batter. If a potential .400 hitter has ten hits taken away by diving catches or stops, through larger and more secure gloves, those ten hits will reduce .400 to .380. And, in fact, will reduce the league BA from .270 to .260.

I haven't seen a study of it, but of 20 BIP outs in a game, I would be surprised of there aren't at at least one and an average of two that would not have been made by fielders wearing pre-1940 gloves. That could reduce league-wide BA by as much as 20 or 30 points today.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:42 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I think Grandstander came the closest, with better fielding. The gloves worn by fielders today give them a couple more feet of effective defensive patrol radius in which they can snag the ball and retire a batter. If a potential .400 hitter has ten hits taken away by diving catches or stops, through larger and more secure gloves, those ten hits will reduce .400 to .380. And, in fact, will reduce the league BA from .270 to .260.

.
It isn't just the gloves, but defenders are far more acrobatic than in the past. I have an old video cassette series which has about 90 minutes of game highlights from the 1930's, '40's and '50's. I wish I was able to show them here because I think everyone will be struck by the absense of attempts at diving stops and catches. Players did not leave their feet nearly as often as they do today. I suspect that this was so because there were not very many around who were capable of popping back up and still having the time to get the throw to a base.

The reason that the Mays catch in the '54 WS became so famous was that at the time, Mays was the only player capable of making a play like that. Since then I have been watching highlights of guys like Devon White, Andruw Jones and Gary Pettis, who made that sort of play once or twice a month...to the point where you expected them to make the play...to the point where if they failed to make it, it was considered an error.

On the older tapes you do not see bare handed grab and throws, you do not see players flipping the ball out of their gloves to a teammate...you don't see anyone who looks like they are anywhere near the level of an Ozzie Smith.

Also enhancing defense has been the improved playing surfaces. Today you would never see something like the conditions which prevailed at Forbes Field where the batting cage was actually left parked in front of the centerfield wall throughout the game..and this wasn't some quaint practice ended in the 1920's, the cage was still there in the 1960's. Today there are no more sprinkler holes to trip up a player like the way Mantle got hurt in 1951.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:17 AM
 
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You have a legitimate point. But I think the reason players did not leave their feet much in earlier eras was because they knew that it was very difficult to catch a ball one-handed, and saw little advantage in leaving their feet only to knock it down.

Gloves before about 1930 didn't even have lacing connecting the fingers or the thumb. The glove was merely the shape of the hand, and offered no advantage except to cushion the impact of the ball on the palm of the hand. It did little to improve the chances of the ball staying in the hand once caught, and the bare hand was always brought into play to assure the catch. As late as 1950, videos of outfielders always showed them catching the ball with two hands, unless an extreme reach was necessary.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CowanStern View Post
You have a legitimate point. But I think the reason players did not leave their feet much in earlier eras was because they knew that it was very difficult to catch a ball one-handed, and saw little advantage in leaving their feet only to knock it down.

.
Earlier I wrote that infielders didn't dive for balls because they knew that they could not get up in time to make a useful throw. You have advanced the idea that they didn't do it because they knew their gloves were inadequate.

Thinking about it, I suspect that we are both wrong and that it was a matter of inability to reach such balls, not conclusions about what would happen if they did. It struck me that there certainly is value in knocking down a ball and keeping it in the infield rather than allowing it to go through. Baserunners will not advance as far on balls which are kept in the infield even if there is no play to make on anyone. If they could have stopped those balls, they would have stopped those balls.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:13 AM
 
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1) Smaller ballparks. Less area for fielders to cover, therefore smaller gaps to hit the ball into.
2) Relief pitching. Teams no longer expect a pitcher to go through the whole game, and there fore the starters through harder for few innings, and then relievers come in an through hard too. Tougher pitching throughout the game makes it harder to hit. This also means that a hitter will need to know the tendencies of 100's of difference pitchers a season instead of dozens.
3) Road trips. Back in the day, Eastern teams would stay in their general geographic area for longer stints, and make one or two trips to the west coast a season, and those trips stayed out there longer. This allows player to get acclimated to time zones, weather, etc.
4) Chicks dig the long ball. (Correct) Home runs where made very glamorous for a long time, and decreased the interest that the sports best athletes had in hitting for average.


primarily 1 and 2
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:38 AM
 
833 posts, read 1,474,567 times
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Many posters already touched on my reasoning.

#1-------in the Ted Williams era pitchers were expected to pitch a complete game unless they were really off.

( Spahn and Sain and a day of rain )

#2-------yes, fielding.

I recall watching the 1966 World Series and seeing Willie Davis rob Boog Powell of a homerun.
That really stuck in my mind.

Years after getting out of the service and returning home to Minnesota, I got to see Kirby Puckett make those identical catches on a regular basis.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
I think Grandstander came the closest, with better fielding. The gloves worn by fielders today give them a couple more feet of effective defensive patrol radius in which they can snag the ball and retire a batter. If a potential .400 hitter has ten hits taken away by diving catches or stops, through larger and more secure gloves, those ten hits will reduce .400 to .380. And, in fact, will reduce the league BA from .270 to .260.

I would submit that the fielders are likely better athletes overall as well. Just as in football, you now have guys who used to be linebackers or smallish defensive linemen, playing wide receiver, and running 4.3 40 yard dashes.

Modern training and nutritional science has produced stronger and faster athletes, thats a fact. So besides them having noticeably better equipment, they are also able to get to balls faster, and throw them further and faster.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,186,505 times
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This is kind of a tangent, but how would you explain the number of triples by players from 1900 to 1940?

Sam Crawford is the all time leader with 309. Ty Cobb 297. The top 18 guys all played before 1945.

The only modern players are Stan Musial, Clemente (only 2 in the top 50). Lou Brock at 63, Brett at 70.

If you look at the single season triples record, its all old timers from about 1890 to 1925.

The configuration of the ball parks back then probably allowed for more hits. Maybe players knew the parks better. They had more familiarity with where to hit the ball.

-Another possibility is players were smaller then. They weren't behemoths like McGwire or Bonds. Look how long it took Brock and Ricky Henderson to catch Ty Cobbs stolen base mark.

Honus Wagner stole 700 bases, can you picture your average shortstop doing that today? I think some of the .400 hitters then were genuinely fast. Like combining Vince Coleman with Tony Gwynn?
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