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  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Was Murcer better at anything?
    He was a fair bit better at not making outs.
    Demented and sad, but social, right?

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue in the Face View Post
    He was a fair bit better at not making outs.
    Correct. Murcer walked a fair amount. Dawson hardly ever walked, and his OBP suffered.
    I wouldn't put Murcer ahead of Dawson, but it's a closer call than would be indicated by Dawson's HOF status.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasputin View Post
    Correct. Murcer walked a fair amount. Dawson hardly ever walked, and his OBP suffered.
    I wouldn't put Murcer ahead of Dawson, but it's a closer call than would be indicated by Dawson's HOF status.
    Well, it's a whole lot more than just HOF status.
    If a player can be gauged by the five standard criteria (maybe Bill James includes toenail length, who knows?) of
    hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing and running, the two players were close in the first, and
    Dawson was significantly better in the other four.

    I'd be amazed if you could find one major league scout who would prefer Murcer.

  4. #24

    murcer vs. dawson

    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Ah, Bill James and statistics.
    All I can tell you is that anyone who saw Bobby Murcer and Andre Dawson play in person dozens of times as I did would fall down laughing at the notion that Murcer was the better player. Just preposterous.

    Let's see: Dawson had a marginally better batting average, .279 vs .277; 438 home runs vs. 252 for Murcer; 1591 rbi vs. 1043 for Murcer; 157 assists vs. 119 for Murcer (guys gave up running against Dawson or it would've been a wider gap);
    Dawson stole 314 bases, was successful 74% of the time; Murcer stole 127, successful 63% of the time. Dawson won five Gold Gloves, Murcer two.
    Dawson is in the Hall of Fame. To my knowledge, Murcer was never close.

    Sure, Murcer had to fight the Micky Mantle aura thing, no disputing that. But ANY serious baseball observer who watched those guys over the years would take Dawson over Murcer every day of the week.
    Dawson had more power, much better footspeed, was a better fielder with a better arm.
    Was Murcer better at anything?
    This is a pretty good illustration of the kind of old baseball thinking that Billy Beane was able to exploit at Oakland before most of baseball caught up with him. Yeah, that idiot Bill James likes Murcer over Dawson. Why -- Dawson had a better batting average, more home runs and more RBIs.

    What did Murcer do better? Well, he got on base better. His OBP of .357 was significantly better than Dawson's .323 (which, to be honest, is pretty anemic). Every modern sabremetician will tell you that OBP is the single most important offensive stat -- not the only important stat, but the one that most directly relates to runs scored. Dawson's OPS was slightly better .806 to .802, BUT -- and it's a big BUT -- that was somewhat related to the era and the ballparks that he played in (not sure Montreal was a great offensive park, but Wrigley is -- Dawson's OPS jumped 32 points in Chicago). In terms of OPS-plus, Murcer at 124 was significantly better than Dawson's 119. That means that for his career, Murcer was a 24 percent better than average hitter ... Dawson was 19 percent better.

    It would take quite a defensive gap to make up for that disparity and while I think Dawson was a better defensive player, I don't think the gap was that large. Dawson did have a slightly greater range factor ... but the comparisons of range factors with their leagues shows that Murcer's margin was almost exactly the same as Dawson. I think that's skewed somewhat because early in his career, Dawson had some great range factors ... but later (when his knees went) he was consistently below the league average. Dawson did have a great arm, but quoting raw assist totals is misleading since Murcer played games at SS -- in terms of OF assists per game, Murcer had .076 assists per game, Dawson had .067 assists per game. And there is no evidence I see that "people stopped running on him" -- Dawson had three double figure assist seasons early in his career, one right in the middle, and four more in the mid-to-late 1980s.

    If you are going to quote gold gloves won, great ... but then I hope you will agree with me that means the Derek Jeter is the finest defensive shortstop of his gneration. No AL shortstop of his era won as many gold gloves!

    Again, the Murcer vs. Dawson comparison illustrates the insight we get with the newer stats -- the Bill James stats. You can sneer all you want, but most modern analyst, while disputing certain particulars, pay homage to James and his numbers.

    And when you say "ANY" serious observer would take Dawson over Murcer, then you have to exclude Bill James, who did take Murcer over Dawson ... and I think qualifies as a more serious observer than you or I.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    This is a pretty good illustration of the kind of old baseball thinking that Billy Beane was able to exploit at Oakland before most of baseball caught up with him. Yeah, that idiot Bill James likes Murcer over Dawson. Why -- Dawson had a better batting average, more home runs and more RBIs.

    What did Murcer do better? Well, he got on base better. His OBP of .357 was significantly better than Dawson's .323 (which, to be honest, is pretty anemic). Every modern sabremetician will tell you that OBP is the single most important offensive stat -- not the only important stat, but the one that most directly relates to runs scored. Dawson's OPS was slightly better .806 to .802, BUT -- and it's a big BUT -- that was somewhat related to the era and the ballparks that he played in (not sure Montreal was a great offensive park, but Wrigley is -- Dawson's OPS jumped 32 points in Chicago). In terms of OPS-plus, Murcer at 124 was significantly better than Dawson's 119. That means that for his career, Murcer was a 24 percent better than average hitter ... Dawson was 19 percent better.

    It would take quite a defensive gap to make up for that disparity and while I think Dawson was a better defensive player, I don't think the gap was that large. Dawson did have a slightly greater range factor ... but the comparisons of range factors with their leagues shows that Murcer's margin was almost exactly the same as Dawson. I think that's skewed somewhat because early in his career, Dawson had some great range factors ... but later (when his knees went) he was consistently below the league average. Dawson did have a great arm, but quoting raw assist totals is misleading since Murcer played games at SS -- in terms of OF assists per game, Murcer had .076 assists per game, Dawson had .067 assists per game. And there is no evidence I see that "people stopped running on him" -- Dawson had three double figure assist seasons early in his career, one right in the middle, and four more in the mid-to-late 1980s.

    If you are going to quote gold gloves won, great ... but then I hope you will agree with me that means the Derek Jeter is the finest defensive shortstop of his gneration. No AL shortstop of his era won as many gold gloves!

    Again, the Murcer vs. Dawson comparison illustrates the insight we get with the newer stats -- the Bill James stats. You can sneer all you want, but most modern analyst, while disputing certain particulars, pay homage to James and his numbers.

    And when you say "ANY" serious observer would take Dawson over Murcer, then you have to exclude Bill James, who did take Murcer over Dawson ... and I think qualifies as a more serious observer than you or I.
    Again, did you actually watch Dawson play? Outside of OBS, can you say Murcer was a had more power? No. More speed? No. And if you'd seen him play as much as I did (and I saw both a whole lot) you'd
    know defensively there was no comparison. Vast difference.

    Denigrate conventional stats all you want, but you seem to be hanging your Murcer hat on some very thin analysis. (and I have no idea what Derek Jeter has to do with it).

    Bill James has a lot to say. Some good, some not so good. But there's no world in which Bobby Murcer was a better ballplayer than Andre Dawson.

    You provide precisely one (1) area in which Murcer was superior, on base percentage. Fine. That's it? No other areas? Anything else? Nope, I didn't think so.
    Last edited by budwom; 05-01-2012 at 12:46 PM.

  6. #26

    those so blind ...

    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Again, did you actually watch Dawson play? Outside of OBS, can you say Murcer was a had more power? No. More speed? No. And if you'd seen him play as much as I did (and I saw both a whole lot) you'd
    know defensively there was no comparison. Vast difference.

    Denigrate conventional stats all you want, but you seem to be hanging your Murcer hat on some very thin analysis. (and I have no idea what Derek Jeter has to do with it).

    Bill James has a lot to say. Some good, some not so good. But there's no world in which Bobby Murcer was a better ballplayer than Andre Dawson.

    You provide precisely one (1) area in which Murcer was superior, on base percentage. Fine. That's it? No other areas? Anything else? Nope, I didn't think so.
    Yes, I saw Dawson play. I saw Murcer play. And I know Bill James saw both of them play.

    I don't mean to be cruel, but you sound like one of those old scouts in Moneyball -- "I saw him play and he LOOKs like a better player."

    Please read my post again ... yes, Murcer was superior to Dawson in one area -- the single most important offensive number there is. Was Dawson really a better player in every other area or was that an illusion created by when and where he played? Again, the numbers show that Murcer was a more effective ballplayer compared to his copntrmporaries than Dawson. That's not to denigrate Dawson -- James does rank him as the 19th best rightfielder in baseball history. That's pretty good.

    But the numbers -- not our untrained eye -- show that Murcer was (slightly) better.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olympic Fan View Post
    Yes, I saw Dawson play. I saw Murcer play. And I know Bill James saw both of them play.

    I don't mean to be cruel, but you sound like one of those old scouts in Moneyball -- "I saw him play and he LOOKs like a better player."

    Please read my post again ... yes, Murcer was superior to Dawson in one area -- the single most important offensive number there is. Was Dawson really a better player in every other area or was that an illusion created by when and where he played? Again, the numbers show that Murcer was a more effective ballplayer compared to his copntrmporaries than Dawson. That's not to denigrate Dawson -- James does rank him as the 19th best rightfielder in baseball history. That's pretty good.

    But the numbers -- not our untrained eye -- show that Murcer was (slightly) better.
    Not to be cruel, but you sound like a guy who can muster no facts whatsoever other than some Bill James idolatry.

    Sure, James did a decent job of showing a number of sclerotic GMs that they were assessing talent in the wrong way. But in comparing Murcer's career to Dawson's, a lot of other people have weighed in.

    The BBWA writers, dozens of them, chose Dawson for the Hall of Fame. Murcer wasn't close. But of course these guys who actually watch the games can't be right, only Bill James
    can be right. It sounds like you take a dim view of your own profession.

    Players and managers vote on Gold Gloves, and they found Dawson to be superior, but they too must be wrong, because Bill James says so.

    Opposing pitchers issued far more intentional walks to Dawson , but add them to your list of know-nothings because Bill James and his calculator somehow say so.

    Other than your Bill James Prayer Mat, you seem to have absolutely nothing which backs up this ludicrous opinion.

    And if, as your say "the numbers show Murcer was (slightly) better", don't you think SOME of that would be reflected in the real numbers which show nothing of the sort?
    OBP, that's your only number. Other than that, you have nothing.
    Last edited by budwom; 05-01-2012 at 03:38 PM.

  8. #28
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    "Real" numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Not to be cruel, but you sound like a guy who can muster no facts whatsoever other than some Bill James idolatry.

    Sure, James did a decent job of showing a number of sclerotic GMs that they were assessing talent in the wrong way. But in comparing Murcer's career to Dawson's, a lot of other people have weighed in.

    The BBWA writers, dozens of them, chose Dawson for the Hall of Fame. Murcer wasn't close. But of course these guys who actually watch the games can't be right, only Bill James
    can be right. It sounds like you take a dim view of your own profession.

    Players and managers vote on Gold Gloves, and they found Dawson to be superior, but they too must be wrong, because Bill James says so.

    Opposing pitchers issued far more intentional walks to Dawson , but add them to your list of know-nothings because Bill James and his calculator somehow say so.

    Other than your Bill James Prayer Mat, you seem to have absolutely nothing which backs up this ludicrous opinion.

    And if, as your say "the numbers show Murcer was (slightly) better", don't you think SOME of that would be reflected in the real numbers which show nothing of the sort?
    OBP, that's your only number. Other than that, you have nothing.
    The numbers that Bill James touts are "real" even if they are harder to grasp than BA, HR, and RBI. Are you seriously contending that we should ignore, for example, the very real factors that tend to mask the statistical comparison here? (I'm referring to comparisons across eras--in Murcer's day, fewer runs were scored in general--and comparing ballparks--as has been pointed out, Wrigley Field, for example, was a hitter's ballpark, and Yankee Stadium back in the day, contrary to popular belief, was actually a pitcher's park).

    Re: the HOF issue, the writers in the respective eras were just as ignorant of the sabermetric issues as you seem to be, and their voting reflects it. Not to mention, of course, that unlike Dawson, Murcer wasn't saddled with the status of being the Next Mickey Mantle. Call it a Bill James Prayer Mat if you like, but this stuff is here to stay.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasputin View Post
    The numbers that Bill James touts are "real" even if they are harder to grasp than BA, HR, and RBI. Are you seriously contending that we should ignore, for example, the very real factors that tend to mask the statistical comparison here? (I'm referring to comparisons across eras--in Murcer's day, fewer runs were scored in general--and comparing ballparks--as has been pointed out, Wrigley Field, for example, was a hitter's ballpark, and Yankee Stadium back in the day, contrary to popular belief, was actually a pitcher's park).

    Re: the HOF issue, the writers in the respective eras were just as ignorant of the sabermetric issues as you seem to be, and their voting reflects it. Not to mention, of course, that unlike Dawson, Murcer wasn't saddled with the status of being the Next Mickey Mantle. Call it a Bill James Prayer Mat if you like, but this stuff is here to stay.
    Seriously, you're arguing about the players' respective eras ("In Murcer's day'), evidently oblivious to the fact their careers overlapped by eight years? Really? It's not like we're
    comparing Rabbit Maranville with Luis Aparicio. Maybe you're thinking of Johnny Mercer, THAT was a different era.

    And as far as calling Yankee Stadium a pitcher's park, well, it all depends. Not so much if you happened to be a lefthanded hitter, like Murcer. All of 296 feet down the line in right field until sometime 1976 or so when it ballooned to all of 310 feet.
    Decently tough in the power alleys and center field, for sure, but it was designed to benefit Babe Ruth, and explains why a guy such as Roger Maris could hit over 60 home runs (not that they count any more). More than a few cheap home runs
    as anyone who watched games there can attest (not that watching games matters any more).

    There's no doubt James has added new levels of understanding to baseball statistics, but not even a wizard can make Bobby Murcer a better ballplayer than Andre Dawson unless you insist that only James knows what he's talking about
    and no one else does, which is pretty inane.
    Last edited by budwom; 05-01-2012 at 05:20 PM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    Seriously, you're arguing about the players' respective eras ("In Murcer's day'), evidently oblivious to the fact their careers overlapped by eight years? Really? It's not like we're
    comparing Rabbit Maranville with Luis Aparicio. Maybe you're thinking of Johnny Mercer, THAT was a different era.

    And as far as calling Yankee Stadium a pitcher's park, well, it all depends. Not so much if you happened to be a lefthanded hitter, like Murcer. All of 296 feet down the line in right field until sometime 1976 or so when it ballooned to all of 310 feet.
    Decently tough in the power alleys and center field, for sure, but it was designed to benefit Babe Ruth, and explains why a guy such as Roger Maris could hit over 60 home runs (not that they count any more). More than a few cheap home runs
    as anyone who watched games there can attest (not that watching games matters any more).

    There's no doubt James has added new levels of understanding to baseball statistics, but not even a wizard can make Bobby Murcer a better ballplayer than Andre Dawson unless you insist that only James knows what he's talking about
    and no one else does, which is pretty inane.
    Overlapped by 8 years? You're counting Murcer's 1981, 1982, and 1983 seasons here, in which he had a total of 309 plate appearances? And Dawson's 92-plate-appearance 1976 season? There are four seasons of overlap, 1977 to 1980. Murcer's years from '69 (when he started playing full-time) through '76 are a lot different from Dawson's between 1981 and '93.

    Of course Yankee Stadium was designed to benefit left-handed power hitters, and I'm sure Murcer's HR totals were helped by balls pulled toward the RF corner. That's not the whole ballpark, and his numbers on balls hit in the power alleys would have been tamped down severely by the park. And Murcer also played several seasons with Candlestick Park as his home park, which is not a hitter's paradise; and I think Murcer's 1974 season with the Yankees, they played their home games at Shea, which was a nightmare for hitters. (Murcer did also have a couple of seasons as a Cub.)

    And I'm not insisting that Murcer was a better ballplayer than Dawson. I'm saying that it's a closer call than you think. (And I'm trying to do so without using words like "inane" and "oblivious.")

  11. #31
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    OK, fair enough.

    I just feel compelled to stand up for a truly superb baseball player whom I had the honor to watch several hundred times (in arguably one of the worst baseball parks in the history of Major League baseball).
    I remain firmly of the opinion that comparing him to Bobby M. does not due him justice.

  12. #32

    northern exposure

    Interesting coincidence ... I was given the complete Northern Exposure DVDs for Chrismas and I've gradually been working my way through the episodes.

    Today, soon after my last posting in this thread, I watched the Emmy Award winning episode "Seoul Mates" from Season Three. It's a Christmas show and Dr. Joel Fleishman was telling Maggie O'Connell that Hannakah was a better holiday than Christmas ... the only time he ever felt jealousy for a Christian friend was when his buddy Billy got "an autographed Bobby Murcer glove" as a present one year.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    OK, fair enough.

    I just feel compelled to stand up for a truly superb baseball player whom I had the honor to watch several hundred times (in arguably one of the worst baseball parks in the history of Major League baseball).
    I remain firmly of the opinion that comparing him to Bobby M. does not due him justice.
    So I guess you're not ready to agree with the assessment that Roy White was better than Jim Rice, either.

  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by budwom View Post
    OK, fair enough.

    I just feel compelled to stand up for a truly superb baseball player whom I had the honor to watch several hundred times (in arguably one of the worst baseball parks in the history of Major League baseball).
    I remain firmly of the opinion that comparing him to Bobby M. does not due him justice.
    Well, I'm with you about the crappy ballpark (assuming you're talking about Olympic Stadium in Montreal). I haven't been there several hundred times, but I have attended a handful of games there. It was dank, strangely lighted, just eerie. With the roof on you felt like you were at the bottom of a huge orange toilet bowl.


    Dawson, Cromartie and Valentine had the best collective outfield arms I ever saw.

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by rasputin View Post
    Well, I'm with you about the crappy ballpark (assuming you're talking about Olympic Stadium in Montreal). I haven't been there several hundred times, but I have attended a handful of games there. It was dank, strangely lighted, just eerie. With the roof on you felt like you were at the bottom of a huge orange toilet bowl.


    Dawson, Cromartie and Valentine had the best collective outfield arms I ever saw.
    Crappy ballpark? Thought he was talking about Wrigley. (no smiley faces here. It's a dump.)

    Went to one game at the big O, in the last year the Expos were there. Tim Raines night, who was a better player than all three guys you mentioned, other than not being able to throw.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by DU82 View Post
    Crappy ballpark? Thought he was talking about Wrigley. (no smiley faces here. It's a dump.)

    Went to one game at the big O, in the last year the Expos were there. Tim Raines night, who was a better player than all three guys you mentioned, other than not being able to throw.
    Montreal paid about a billion dollars, literally, for that dump. Saddled the taxpayers with debt for years and years...famous political cartoon based on Mayor Drapeau's statement that "The Olympics can no more run a deficit
    than a man can have a baby." In the cartoon he was pregnant, of course. They paid an amazing $250 million to a French architect for the wonderful closeable roof....I believe it literally worked 2-3 times before they
    had to close it permanently.....so yes, it stank inside, and Montrealers, who very much enjoy outdoor time during the brief summer, found themselves cooped up. The old Jarry Parc was a bandbox, but lots of fun...they should've stayed
    there, even had a swimming pool just beyond the right field fence where large lefties like McCovey would plunk homers, scattering the swimmers.

    But the worst thing about Olympic Stadium for the players was the first generation (if that) turf....it was literally like concrete with a wafer thin outdoor carpet on it, unlike some of the advanced versions. Just wrecked Dawson's knees, he said it was
    a major reason why he left, just had to get on grass for a change.

    The Expos also sported a number of exciting black players, back when Afro Americans constituted something like 28% of all players...now that's down to 8% or so, which is sad, because they had lineups
    with guys like Raines (sadly, he began sliding head first fairly early in his career in order to not break the coke vial in his back pocket), Rodney Scott, Dawson, Valentine, etc. Those guys could really run, put great
    pressure on defenses (not to get into a discussion on the relative merits of running and SBs...) ...nothing better than watching the Expos with a few beers and then joining the lads downtown
    for ribs at the Bar B Barn....and Bill Lee's stay in Montreal was eventful and had many fun moments...he still pitches in a senior league near where I live....very enjoyable guy.

    The Expos played in relative anonymity in Montreal, but they had some fantastic teams in the late 1970s, and the best team in baseball in 1984 before the strike that led, years later, to their demise.

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DU82 View Post
    So I guess you're not ready to agree with the assessment that Roy White was better than Jim Rice, either.

    I have no opinion on those two, did not like either particularly....you? (I would say, though, that Rice was (IMO) not as good as his conventional numbers might indicate...)

  18. #38
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    Your summary is about what I think. And the reverse for White. Underrated because of the teams he played on earlier in his career, and the difference between old Yankee Stadium and Fenway for hitters.

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DU82 View Post
    Your summary is about what I think. And the reverse for White. Underrated because of the teams he played on earlier in his career, and the difference between old Yankee Stadium and Fenway for hitters.
    Agreed. I think intangibles can also be very important in ranking players, stuff that doesn't show up in anyone's metrics. White always seemed like a good and quiet citizen, Rice could be pretty ornery and disruptive.
    The Sox have had their share of combustible but dangerous hitters, Manny sure comes to mind.

  20. #40

    Tim Raines

    Quote Originally Posted by DU82 View Post
    Tim Raines night, who was a better player than all three guys you mentioned, other than not being able to throw.
    And to bring out my Bill James prayer mat, the guru would agree with you -- he rates Raines the eighth best LFer (and second-best leadoff man) of all times).

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