Sunday, July 27, 2014

His Column on Who's 'Best' is Like a Pile of No. 2

Years ago, I offered up my hypothesis of how The CHB prepares a column: He listens to talk radio for four or five hours, writes down the best lines, then builds a piece around that, with the central position to be 1) whatever is opposite of what the group-think is or 2) to hone in on (and attempt to bully) anyone who might possibly know more about sports than he does (which, of course, could be just about everyone).

And in today's piece, Shank confirms my observation. He writes: "If you were driving your car and somebody flipped on the radio and you heard people debating the merits of Carl Yastrzemski and David Ortiz, regarding their relative contributions to the Red Sox, how would you feel?"

Now, understand that the question was posed to Yaz himself. But also understand that this is exactly the conversation (if we can call the perpetually hyperventilating Tony Massarotti capable of such a thing) that took place on Felger and Mazz last week. So thank you, CHB, for being so transparent and predictable.

As for the answer, The CHB just as predictably gets it all wrong. Yaz had a lifetime OPS+ of 130 and a lifetime WAR of 78.2. A terrific leftfielder the earlier part of his career, he was actually five games worse than replacement level from 1969 on. Big Papi's career OPS+ is 139. But as to who is/was the better player? There's no question. Ortiz's career offensive WAR (47.2) is one-third offset by a negative defensive WAR of -18.6. Papi is roughly the same player as Jim Rice. This if it's a race between Papi and Yaz, it's Yaz, hands down. But if we are to include all previous Red Sox players, Jimmie Foxx and Manny Ramirez would come take the No. 2 and 3 slots, with the stunningly underrated Wade Boggs in the mix for the top five as well. A wiser columnist would have known this.


Anonymous said...

. . . you missed one, number one, pilgrim.

Anonymous said...

uh, you missed the big one, numero uno, pilgrim.

mike_b1 said...

No we didn't. The column was about who is No. 2. Everyone recognizes Ted Williams is No. 1.

mike_b1 said...

As a followup, Shank was on Gresh and Zo (which for today was Gresh and Tang) this afternoon pushing hard (I don't like the imagery that conveys) for Yaz over Ortiz.

Per The CHB, Yaz's eight (eight!) at-bats in the final two games of the 1967 regular season are more significant than anything Ortiz ever did. (I guess Shank doesn't remember Yaz popping out with the tying run on third in the 1978 playoff game, or flying out to end the 1975 World Series. Ah, memories.

The CHB also (again) decried the use of PEDs in baseball, suggesting Jeff Bagwell must have been a user since he hit so few homers in the minor leagues.

Consider this though: Yaz has stated that he didn't start hitting homeruns until he learned to pull the ball, which was a few years into his career. So why doesn't Bagwell get the same benefit of the doubt?

No. of years in majors before first 20+ HR season: five (age 25)

No. of years in majors before first 20+ HR season: three (age 25)