Did Ty Cobb really have 9 consecutive AL batting titles? : One strange, humorous tale of the 1910 AL batting race.
posted by jojomfd1 to baseball at 10:35 PM - 56 comments
I am a sucker for the old baseball stories and stuff like this. I hope the old man sees this and throws his 2 cents in also. I thought it was pretty interesting, I wonder if they have ever had to break the batting title race down like that, or even at all, since then.
posted by jojomfd1 at 10:39 PM on June 06
Good story. The quote from Lajoie at the end is terrific. Thanks for the link, jojo.
posted by 86 at 08:08 AM on June 07
Wonderful stuff. Old baseball lore is great,especially when well told.
posted by sickleguy at 08:34 AM on June 07
Agreed. Pretty incredible that Lajoie managed to bunt six times for six hits. You would think their opponents would catch on eventually.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 09:52 AM on June 07
They did catch on: they did it on purpose, but an MLB site isn't going to give you that part of the story. The Tigers players disliked Cobb so much they tried to throw the batting title to Lajoie. Rhode Island, represent!
posted by yerfatma at 09:57 AM on June 07
The Tigers players disliked Cobb so much they tried to throw the batting title to Lajoie. Ty Cobb's teammate not only disliked him but most everyone involved in the game at the time, did as well. Ty was a great, great player but from everything written about him, he was a grade A assclown. He deserved to be in the Hall of Fame for what he was able to accomplish in his career but he still wasn't a nice person. Sort of like the 'Ron Artest of his day' but more detested.
posted by BornIcon at 10:46 AM on June 07
We all know what a horse's ass Cobb was, but it was extremely interesting to watch him at the plate. I wasn't around in 1910 but my father and grandfather and Red Adair use to talk about this situation sometimes at great lengths. Then when it was reported by the Sporting News of the error on Cobb's two hits all hell broke out at home and in and around the baseball world. Bowie Kuhn was a complete and total gutless wonder because he didn't do anything to correct a error, because according to him it wasn't in the best interests of baseball or Cobb. Errors in calculations should be corrected no matter what the cost to the former players/managers/owners etc.... The players almost to a man in both leagues disliked or downright hated Cobb. His attitude in general sucked, he didn't like or trust anyone and doubtless of his abilities to play baseball wasn't a very happy person. I have always thought that he was very jealous of Ruth and others not just the Yankees but other players on the different teams. Lajoie was a tremendous hitter and a pretty good fielder. He and Cobb were very different types of hitters. But the biggest difference to my mind is Nap Lajoie, who also hit .400 in his career, was a gentleman and was fun to watch play the game. He really liked playing baseball and having fun at the same time. I saw both players play and they were very different and really hard to compare except their batting averages. Lajoie got old real fast if I remember it right but the man could play with any of them today or yesterday. Kuhn should have corrected the error regardless of what it did to Cobb 9 consecutive titles...My dad use to say that Bowie Kuhn was a Judge Landis want to be. He did a lot for baseball and some of it was good and some not so good. As to your question about breaking down the title like that, remember Alex Johnson of the Angels, it went down to the last day of the season and last abat when he singled to beat Yaz for the title. Here is a little bit of information about Johnson, he was a very interesting character to say the least, one season on the first day of Spring training in Palm Springs he got to the park and started to take batting practice against the pitching machine. He moved up to the 45 foot mark and was hitting line drives all over the place against the machine pitching 90+. No question that he could hit the living daylights out of the old horsehide. He was a very strange person and had all kinds of trouble talking to anyone very within himself and didn't like all the spotlight I think. Cobb's autobiography shows somewhat of a different side to him but if you can get to some of the comments from the players of his day including teammates your eyes will open as to why he was respected as a hitter but thought of as a real son of a bitch. I wrote a letter to him in the early 60's and asked him what he thought of baseball and never received an answer but Red Adair use to tell me that he was just a mean nasty hard individual and wasn't worth even thinking about because the only thing he care about was himself and his records and accomplishments. I would never take anything away from Cobb as a baseball player because he was one of the best at putting the ball into play but Nap Lajoie was still one of the best in his career...
posted by The Old Man at 11:11 AM on June 07
I knew you were going to be hooking us up with a great story Old Man. You my friend, are a poet when you talk about the players from the past and the way the game was played. Thanks
posted by BornIcon at 11:47 AM on June 07
my father and grandfather and Red Adair use to talk about this situation sometimes at great lengths I'm picturing this around a flaming oil derrick and I like it.
posted by yerfatma at 11:57 AM on June 07
Thank you very much Old Man, I posted this in hopes of getting some more from you also. You sure didn't disappoint as usual. I could read those stories all day long.
posted by jojomfd1 at 12:19 PM on June 07
Bowie Kuhn was a complete and total gutless wonder because he didn't do anything to correct a error, because according to him it wasn't in the best interests of baseball or Cobb. Old Man, I also enjoy your stories, but I am going to have to disagree with you on this point. What Kuhn did was exact a bit of "baseball justice" in refusing to acknowledge the Cobb error. Remember, there was nothing terribly honorable in Lajoie's accumulation of hits on the last day of the season. He was done an awful lot of favors, and the manager and coach of the Browns both eventually lost their jobs over it. The behavior of the Browns was not that far off from that of the 1919 Black Sox -- only their motivations were different. The Black Sox were acquitted by the Grand Jury but they still fell by the hand of the commissioner. Likewise, Lajoie was acquitted (rightfully so) of wrong-doing, but it would not have been just to hand him the batting title under any circumstances after that performance. Granted, Cobb's ducking out at the end of the season was no great show of bravery, but whatever it demonstrated with regard to Cobb's personal integrity it certainly didn't damage the integrity of the game the way the Browns did. In my opinion, Kuhn did the right thing -- Cobb deserves that batting title. Of course, nobody really owns these records, and whoever chooses to keep them may do so as they choose. MLB and the Baseball Hall of Fame both take their stats from the Elias Sports Bureau, which evidently hasn't corrected Cobb's hit total and gives him the title (I don't have the book in front of me, so I can't confirm that both organizations don't diverge from Elias on this point). Baseball-Reference has taken the hits and the title away from Cobb. "Total Baseball," the encyclopedia of baseball statistics, chooses to take the hits away from Cobb, but acknowledge that he still holds the title, ranking his .383 ahead of Lajoie's .384, which has to be mighty confusing if you don't know the backstory -- they don't footnote it or anything.
posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 01:32 PM on June 07
If they footnoted it, how would we lord our important knowledge over the Great Unwashed Masses?
posted by yerfatma at 01:44 PM on June 07
I'm just wondering how Cobb hit so well with that split grip that I read he employed. I couldn't even split wood that way. Old Man?
posted by THX-1138 at 01:56 PM on June 07
Wow, I've never heard that story b4. I wonder how Sporting News came about those errors. I mean 70 years is a long time w/out anyone noticing. You would think the mistake would have been caught sooner, considering Cobbs unpopularity. Does anyone know if Sporting News investigated Lajoie's records to see if he had any mistakes? I wonder how that all came about in the first place? It also funny to see the lengths someone would go for a batting title and a new car, but of course cars werent a dime a dozen back then. Cobb must have been pretty hated for coach from a different team to try and sabotage him.
posted by dezznutz at 01:52 AM on June 08
grew up thinking cobb was the greatest. nothing in the articles changed my mind. nice interesting stories.
posted by olderoamer at 11:06 AM on June 08
I was good friends in high school with the son of the Sporting News historian mentioned in that article. For several weeks after the article ran in the Sporting News, their dinners were interrupted by sportswriters from around the country wanting to interview him. He also did some research for Charley Finley when he was battling with Bowie Kuhn in his attempt to keep control of the Oakland A's. Finley never did pay him for his effort (didn't get it in writing.)
posted by Beldar at 11:38 AM on June 08
Crafty, Nap was a angel compared to Cobb. Besides his ability to hit the baseball, bar none, with the exception of Shoeless Joe the next best hitter righthanded was Hornsby and left Williams. Hornsby was pure hitting ability with some power added in. Sweetest swing without any question was Ted Williams but Hornsby was unbelieveable from that right side. I don't really think Nap hated Cobb although most of the other players wouldn't have anything to do with him, but Cobb just didn't want to or need to get along with anyone including his own teammates. Some of them hated him worst that playing with him. Cobb sitting out the last day didn't work for him to win the title, he didn't have the highest batting average, so Landis should get an big E for blowing the call. Jocko Conlon once said that the greatest eye for hitting he ever saw was Ted Williams but Cobb and Hornsby weren't very far behind. Ty Cobb is a legend in the south, Georgia, but any of the people who knew him , knew exactly what he was. He had no respect for the game, the players, umpires, managers or commissioners and treated them all with the same disrepect that he treated everyone. Batting average wise Cobb will rank 1 but not by much and believe me when I tell you some of his hits were a lot cheaper than the ones Lajoie was credited for that day. My grandfather and father use to tell me that in his 50's and 60's Cobb still could hit the ball, but let me tell you a true story of Ted Williams when he told over the Senators managing in the late 60's. His first day on the job he gave a hitting lessons in the batting cage at the Big A of Angels. I believe he was 55 or 56 somewhere along that age group. He was in the batting cage explaining to everyone listening,both the Angel and Senator players the act of hitting for percentages, he instructed the pitcher to pitch it here or there up and down and then for the next 35-40 minutes hit line drives all over the place including some real long homeruns. I was in the stands with my father and grandfather listening to all they were saying and watching this 56 year old hit the ball with such an easy swing it was unbelieveable. The players from both teams just listened to him talk and hit the living hell of the ball. It is something I have and will remember forever. He told the pitcher to pitch it over this part of the plate and then hit it over the left field fence by at least 25 feet. After the game he stood around the dugout and talked to the people for over 45 minutes about baseball and fishing. I have always considered myself a lucky individual because I am one of the few living that can said they got to fish with Ted Williams off the San Diego coast one summer day. We all know what kind of a baseball player he was but to my mind he was even a better fisherman...
posted by The Old Man at 04:07 PM on June 08
posted by jojomfd1 at 05:22 PM on June 08
Old man, I have to tell you something. My great grandfather hit me pop flies on his 92nd birthday when I was 11. Reading what you write makes me think of him, and I really appreciate that. He told baseball stories, and taught me to play the game. Thank you for your contributions.
posted by hawkguy at 05:36 PM on June 08
Old Man,I would like to thank you for reminding me of a time that this game was just that...a game.That it was something that was as close to pure as you could get from a sport. My father was never a huge baseball fan but would tell me about the great Ted Williams as if he were a legand larger than life. As a devoted White Sox fan I always wanted to learn more about Shoeless Joe,and as I got older and learned more about him from gradparents and old news reels,it seemed like such a waste of a surefire great career. Now I know there will always be debate about his role in the Black Sox scandal,but from what I have heard and read he might have just had the purest swing this side of Williams. Old Man i'm sure I can speak for everyone here when I say it would be a honor to read anymore stories you would be willing to pass on.
posted by jda at 10:39 PM on June 08
jda, Your father was right on the nose in regards to Williams. He was and will forever be larger than life as long as person remember who and what he did during his career and even into retirement. Judge Landis, who is my opinion was a total horse's behind, ruin Shoeless Joe Jackson's career "for the good of baseball bla bla bla. I remember seeing him play late into the 20's and 30's under different names in games around the south. My grandfather use to talk about him with my father well into his 80's and 90's about what he could do on a baseball diamond. He could hit with the best, great arm, wonderful fielder, ran the bases like a deer and looked so natural out on the field that he made it seem effordless. Dad said that even as he got older and played less he made it look so easy and natural that playing in sand lot games etc..was enjoyable to just sit in the stands and watch him play. I have seen a lot of players hitters whatever but the only difference with Jackson was it looked like it was just so natural for him like breathing and walking. Babe wasn't quite as serious as Joe, but when he came to the plate you knew that he would get good wood on the baseball. His lifetime batting averages proves that I think somewhere around .362. Just think a career high of .362 is right up there, but to average that for your entire career is something dreams are made of...Nobody had the fan appeal of the Babe. When he arrived anywhere you could feel the electricity in the air. Bigger than life, hell he was bigger than the president of the United States than, when he came up to bat everybody stopped what they were doing and watched what was going to happen at the plate. He was funny also kind of sad in a way because everyone wanted a piece of him in those glory days and there just wasn't enough time in the day to accomodate everyone but Babe did try. God, he wasn't a without his faults and we all know about them. But Babe, George Herman Ruth, had a heart as big as Gold and one of the things he loved the best was the kids. When he would go barn storming in the off seasons coming to outwater towns around the country he would open the gates and bring the kids in to watch them play and get them hotdogs and cokes and just smile until the day was done. When they came up with the word IDOL it should have spelled it George Herman Ruth because to us kids and most of the parents of the day he was just that bigger than life, loveable, laughable, silly, funny and did something to all of us that is lacking in todays players with a few exceptions the Angels Vildimar comes to mind....Just think if a player in todays game came to the stadium and opened up the gates for the kids waiting outside trying to see and treated them to hotdogs and cokes what would be said..Like Ted Williams, Babe would take baseball for hours with the kids and parents when he had time especially during his barnstorming days. I am going to say something here that a lot of people will disagree with but what the hell being old allows me to just say what I feel sometimes. The new players of todays' game are spoiled, fat cats, lazy, cheap, greedy and the only reason they are playing with a few exceptions, are for the MONEY. No Player is worth 25million dollars a year. I am well aware of the other side of this coin, the owners have been making millions and millions of dollars for years and the players deserve their equal share. I am the first person to agree with that, make what you can for as long as you can. But besides Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan I haven't seen a player worth that kind of money put fans in the seats like these two did duriing their playing careers. Everytime Sandy pitched the stadiums were packed with people and media. Dodger Stadium never didn't have a sellout when he pitched and it was the same with Ryan. There is no way anyone can justify 25 million a year or whatever. If Babe were playing today then if you look at the stats and the people coming to watch 162 games complete sellouts average spending is about 50/person @ 45000 = 2.25 mil per game 162 works out about 350million per year. If you say he deserves 10 percent of it that is 35 million ayear and at that it is stlll low. Numbers say it all and I know I am being totality out in left field here. Ok enough fantasyland. My grandfather went to the Black Sox scandal hearings and to listen to him they was a lot of unanswered questions involving a lot of things about that whole situation. Most of the fans didn't really give a damn and some of the players were wrongly involved. Red Adair told me years later that most of the major league players thought that Jackson got screwed but the biggest hurt was to baseball in the fact that they lost Jackson as a player. He should have been a first ballot hall of famer. They started with 5 when it should have been 9 or 10. I was told by one of the people who write in here that I should do an article or column. If I can figure out how to do one there are a few stories I have about all the players I was lucky enough to see during the 20's 30's 40's50's60's and early 70's.
posted by The Old Man at 11:09 AM on June 09
Old Man,I stand in awe of your knowledge.It's nice to hear stories if the legands of the game from a fans view instead of someone who is paid to "hype" the players up. As far as your view of players being overpaid,Ihave had this arguement many times over and firmly agree with you.What I would like to know is how many really play for the love of the game and how many play for the love of the contract. Don't get me wrong,I do believe that if your good at something you do as "work" you should be paid accordingly but some of these contracts are beyond overpaid. You ever wonder what it would be like if teachers were paid like this? But I digress. Again anytime you would like to pop in and tell of times of when players really earned that paycheck I would welcome the knowledge.As far as you starting a column or article,sign me up if it happens!
posted by jda at 08:11 PM on June 09
Bigger than life, hell he was bigger than the president of the United States... I remember reading somewhere the story that some reporter mentioned that Babe Ruth made more money per year than the President. When the reporter asked the Babe if he deserved it, the reply was something to the effect, "Hell, I had a better year."
posted by Howard_T at 09:42 PM on June 09
The new players of todays' game are spoiled, fat cats, lazy, cheap, greedy and the only reason they are playing with a few exceptions, are for the MONEY. No Player is worth 25million dollars a year. "...baseball is no longer a sport, but a business..." -- New York Times, 1891 Old Man, are the players of today really that much different from the players of days gone by in that regard? Both teams in the 1918 World Series threatened to stop playing if they weren't given more money until Ban Johnson reminded them of how bad that would make them look to the fans in light of the fact that Americans were losing their lives in the War (especially considering that injured vets were in attendance at the games). Ruth was the highest paid player of his era, but he still threatened to hold out for more money several times. Major League baseball has always been a money-making venture, and the almighty dollar has always been a front-and-center incentive. It seems to me that, if anything, the high salaries of today prevent outside influences from corrupting the game like in 1919. And looking at the revenue the Yankees generate (for example) is it really fair to say that the players on the field don't deserve the share they get? I would say that baseball is much better today than in the old days. Setting aside the Ruths and Cobbs, overall the players of today are better conditioned and better skilled than they were back then, and I would rather have to worry that the players might be cheating to play better rather than tanking like they did in 1919 (and many other times if there's truth to any of the many whispers).
posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 05:29 PM on June 10
I remember reading somewhere the story that some reporter mentioned that Babe Ruth made more money per year than the President. When the reporter asked the Babe if he deserved it, the reply was something to the effect, "Hell, I had a better year." There was a movie in 1992 starring John Goodman called "Babe" where Goodman portrayed George Herman Ruth. It wasn't a great movie but it was pretty decent and that statement where he says he had a better year than the president was actually in the movie. People say that that movie was pretty damn close to how the Babe really was so I'm sure that the writers did their research.
posted by BornIcon at 08:18 AM on June 11
The new players of todays' game are spoiled, fat cats, lazy, cheap, greedy and the only reason they are playing with a few exceptions, are for the MONEY. What The Crafty Sousepaw said times 10. I respect your opinion Old Man, and I enjoy your stories. But I don't think your comparison of today's players with those of the past is based on any kind of reality. greedy The money is there, more today than in the past. The players are the product. No players, no product. Why shouldn't they get their share? Yes, on one hand it seems ridiculous to be paid 10 million to hit a ball. On the other hand, very few people can do what a major league hitter/pitcher can do. It's supply and demand. Bottom line, if the owners weren't making money the players wouldn't be making the money they do. play for the money I honestly don't see how you can watch Derek Jeter play, or kevin youkilis, and claim they're only playing for the money. I'd give anything to have the talent to play at the major league level. I love the game. But I'd also want to be paid my fair share. Does that make me greedy? No. Does that mean I'm only playing for the money? No. That's a great story about Ruth buying cokes and hot dogs for the kids. There are just as many examples of players giving back to kids today. Wakefield has been nominated many times by the Red Sox for the Roberto Clemente Award, presented to the player who best reflects the spirit of giving back to the community. Since 1998, Wakefield has partnered with the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Boston to bring patients to Fenway Park to share time with him and on the field. He has also hosted an annual celebrity golf tournament for 15 years. Wakefield has also been active with New England's Pitching in for Kids organization, the Space Coast Early Intervention Center in Melbourne, Florida, and the Touch 'Em All Foundation founded by Garth Brooks. I pick Wakefield simply because I'm familiar with his work. And it should be noted that he hasn't even won the award. And today's players aren't above having a little fun, much like Ruth. Quality of play? Baseball players are in better shape today, work out year round, and watch video constantly. I have little doubt that the baseball I'm watching today (except for the red sox 8th inning yesterday) is of higher quality than that in the 20s, 30s, etc. The very fact that african-american players are allowed to play today when they were not during Ruth's time (not to mention asian, latino, etc) makes today's game better. Nostalgia is great. But it's not always accurate. You said: Every time Sandy pitched the stadiums were packed with people and media. Dodger Stadium never didn't have a sellout when he pitched... Dodger Stadium holds 56,000. Picking out three random games Koufax started during 1965 (when he was an established star) shows these attendance numbers: game 1: 20,888 game 2: 24,703 game 3: 20,963 Not only not sellouts, but all less than half full in his own stadium. His amazing perfect game during the same year? Perfect game: 29,139 Barely more than half full. It should also be noted that in 1966 both Koufax and Drysdale threatened to hold out for more money and were among the first players to use an agent for negotiations. Were they greedy? Playing only for money? Is the game different today than it was 50 years ago? Of course. And I'm sure there are aspects of the game that were better back then, and some better today. Times change. But to make sweeping statements like yours, especially your condemnation of today's players as a group, doesn't hold water with me. And if you truly believe players today are "spoiled, fat cats, lazy, cheap, greedy and the only reason they are playing with a few exceptions, are for the MONEY" I wonder why you even watch the game. I certainly wouldn't eat at a restaurant where I thought the waiters were rude and the food overpriced and disgusting.
posted by justgary at 02:37 PM on June 11
Oh man, thanks.
posted by yerfatma at 03:57 PM on June 11
Well put gary.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:16 PM on June 11
Yeah, but gary, what about the kids on the lawn?
posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:05 AM on June 12
Gary, Sandy and Don were only asking for a fair salary of 150,000 per year apiece. Hardly being greedy or playing for the money. Sandy only played one more year because of his phyical problems with his elbow and we all know about Don. At the time that would have made them the highest paid pitchers. The O'Malleys were making millions from their agreement with the city of Los Angeles about the stadium. A sweeping statement maybe, but in fact, it is right on the money so to speak. 25 million a year and most of todays players are playing for the money look at all the players salaries , yes, there are some exceptions to that a few maybe playing because they love the game but that is very very few. Spoiled cats,cheap, greedy on a whole that seems to be the nor here. There are some players that really give back a lot to the community but generally the majority isn't into it as much as they are. Times change, granted, but the game is still the same with a few minor exceptions. Todays' game is watered down talent compared to the 60's and 70's. After all the expansions 40% or more of the players wouldn't be playing 30 years ago. Drugs and other things have made players get better, overcome injuries and allow themselves to compete at a higher level. You wonder why I watch, because sometimes and only in a few games do the players play like they should or have in the past. Look at the players today sitting around inthe dugouts during the games, you would be surprised at watching them picking there noses, not really getting into the game. Money runs the game that is a bottom line statement, but the owners are the ones that really started all this being greedy and cheap and they are the ones that let the players become fat cats as you put it. I don't think that K Rod is worth 25 million and anyone one that doesn't know anything about baseball or talent. But he got so I say go for it. Get it while you can. But that still doesn't make him worth that kind of money. Somebody said this morning on the radio that what made baseball's high salaries was the gambling,Television & Radio and the peoples' demand for something to bet on. That maybe partly truth to a point but what has happened due to all the high salaries etc..is that the real baseball game has been taken away from the average fan who can't afford 25.00 a game for a ticket or 5.00 a beer and 7.00 for a hotdog or 4.00 for a coke. How many of us can afford for a family of 4 250.00 a game to go to baseball? My condemnation of the players of todays' baseball stands because these players are not as talented generally as the old timers, don't or won't or can't play under conditions that the old timers played. The old timers had to run trains long distances between games, no airplanes, had some of the worst conditions to play in on the field and the game was harder because the pitchers were allowed to do anything to the ball. There are few today that could have played years ago but most couldn't or wouldn't. Maybe I am being a little too hard on them. Some of these kids can just plain play baseball not ands if or buts. But when a TV announcer says hitting 250 is a good hitter than I am really sorry what a line of bull____...........The greatest homerun hitter of any era, George Herman Ruth, batted .342 lifetime batting average and has the highest lifetime slugging percentage and the highest homerun average per at bats and to try and tell me that .250 is a good hitter be serious.
posted by The Old Man at 12:06 PM on June 12
Gary, Sandy and Don were only asking for a fair salary of 150,000 per year apiece. Which would be about $3 million a year nowadays. Except the Dodgers revenues were much smaller back then, so they were asking for a rather big slice of Fair Pie. I'm sorry, but I can't make it through the rest because we've all heard it before. The game was better Back Then (less watered down in spite of the fact the players just about only came from North America and black integration into the leagues (especially the AL) was still far from complete) and now players are all greedy and don't care about the game. Shut it off.
posted by yerfatma at 12:40 PM on June 12
The old timers had to run trains long distances between games... The longest trip in the American League before expansion was Boston to St. Louis. It was seldom made as a straight trip, but rather was part of a swing through Chicago and perhaps Cleveland or Detroit. These are all overnight rides. The National League was similar prior to the move of the Dodgers and the Giants. The schedule was only 154 games then, there were fewer night games, and with double-headers being the rule rather than the exception, there was time for a day off when a long trip was in order. Old Man, I don't know if you have traveled by air lately, but by the time you get through with airport security, flight delays, slow baggage handling, etc, you will spend a good part of one day on even a short flight. Even with charters, it's not a lot of fun. We've had the discussion in the past, but it is not possible to compare eras in baseball. There are too many differences between then and now. The tale of Ty Cobb and his batting titles was a good read and very interesting, but it certainly didn't deserve the "Things were so much better back then" discussion. I echo Yerfatma; Shut it off.
posted by Howard_T at 10:15 PM on June 12
yerfatma, Dodger Stadium up until the add on was 54,912 or there abouts now it is around 56000 and change...A big slice hardly when you consider Dodger Stadium land aka chevaz revine was given to the O'Malleys by the city of Los Angeles. What do you think the price of that stadium property is worth today 100 or 200 million if it was built on...We are not comparing the salaries of yesterday to today because it still doesn't show what the owners were making then. Remember the OMalleys gave Andy Messersmith 300,000 dollars as the first free high priced agent. And that wasn't that long after Koufax and Drysdale held out. Who was worth more Koufax & Drysdale or Messersmith, that is a no brainer. Howard T , you trying going on a old time train for hours getting there sometimes late checking into not the best hotels or eating the best food and then playing a game until sometimes terrible conditions. If Babe and Lou and all the others had had the equipment and playing conditions of today and could go from place to place by plane in 1/8th the time I certainly believe some of the numbers they put up would have been higher and in some cases even out of reach.. It is a lot easlier for the players today than 40 years ago and there is some discussions that have taken place comparing eras in baseball. Some are fair some are not. But bottom line is and always will be stats:runs,hits,errors,pitching so on and so forth. You have to still hit a pitched ball with a bat for an average then without the help of any drugs/steroids medical assistance. You can still watch old films of the "old days" 1960's ha ha ha just watch the way they played. Wills, Mays, Aaron, Mathews, Davis, Bonds(the legal one) a joke, McCovey,Kingman, Gilliam, Mantle, Maris, Howard, Kaline, Cash, just look at the names and now look at some of the role players today batting 250 or less and getting millions. Shutting it off doesn't do it if you can't back the facts. I have seen almost 90 years of baseball players come and go and very few of the ones we have playing today would last in the majors even 30 years ago much less 50 or more. My grandkids want me to write an article comparing the 27 Yankees to the greater teams of the last 10 years. Ok I will but let me tell you folks now stats wise there isn't even any kind of comparison that can be made.......
posted by The Old Man at 05:24 PM on June 13
Remember the OMalleys gave Andy Messersmith 300,000 dollars as the first free high priced agent. Wrong. The Atlanta Braves signed Messersmith for $1,000,000 over three years. He was a Los Angeles Dodger when he finished out his contract and was granted free agent status. For someone who wants others to check and confirm facts, perhaps you ought to follow your own advice. And that wasn't that long after Koufax and Drysdale held out. Who was worth more Koufax & Drysdale or Messersmith, that is a no brainer. Koufax and Drysdale held out prior to the 1966 season. Messersmith signed his first free agent contract prior to the 1976 season. A decade apart. That is a significant length of time in baseball terms. Owners don't tend to spend money they don't have. Wealthy people don't get to be wealthy by giving money away. The revenues must have justified the offer. .....going on an old time train for hours getting there sometimes late.... Until the late '50's the Major Leagues did not exist further west than St. Louis. Yes, planes are obviously faster than trains, but there are also specialized relief pitchers, far more extensive scouting, and other factors that make it more difficult for present day players to hit for as high an average, drive in as many runs, etc. Many times in ''the old days'' a hitter would see a pitcher 4 times in a game, the pitcher being tired, and the hitter would have seen all his pitches by then. Now, hitters are lucky if they get to see the same pitcher three times in a game, before the rested, specialized reliever comes in to the game.
posted by tommytrump at 06:16 PM on June 13
Cash, just look at the names and now look at some of the role players today batting 250 or less and getting millions. Why is that a bad thing? What would you prefer? A big slice hardly when you consider Dodger Stadium land aka chevaz revine was given to the O'Malleys by the city of Los Angeles. What do you think the price of that stadium property is worth today 100 or 200 million if it was built on I'm having trouble seeing the point here. Ticket sales aren't that significant a portion of revenues compared to local and national TV deals. And the land under Dodger Stadium seems irrelevant: who would they sell it to? How would that profit them?
posted by yerfatma at 07:33 PM on June 13
And the land under Dodger Stadium seems irrelevant: who would they sell it to? How would that profit them? It's not the land under the stadium, yerfatma, it's the land around the stadium. The Dodgers own approximately 300 acres in Chavez Ravine including the land the stadium sits on. The land was pretty much given to the O'Malley's for moving the Brooklyn Dodgers to the west coast. There has been a great deal of talk in the past few years about that land being sold for condominiums and shopping.
posted by tommytrump at 08:05 PM on June 13
posted by yerfatma at 08:29 PM on June 13
Wills, Mays, Aaron, Mathews, Davis, Bonds(the legal one) a joke, McCovey,Kingman, Gilliam, Mantle, Maris, Howard, Kaline, Cash, just look at the names and now look at some of the role players today batting 250 or less and getting millions. Kingman? Seriously, you're longing for the days of Dave Kingman? Old Man, a recurring theme in your arguments seems to be that if I give you the first 80 years of the 20th Century and you give me the last 10 years, you will be able to name more great players than I can. That's a shrugging exercise. You don't get to make a league of Cobb, Ruth, Williams, Mays, Mantle and Aaron and ask why the league today isn't that deep in talent. The travel argument isn't a very good one either. Yankee apologists have been saying that the team's last loss, in Chicago against the White Sox, was due to their getting into town at 5:00am that Monday morning after travelling all night. And that's just a trip from Boston to Chicago. Teams take redeye flights all the time. I've never been on a plane with a team travelling, but my guess is they don't have separate quarters for players. Or beds, for that matter. By the way, Dave Kingman made a million dollars in 1985 and hit .238, two points higher than his career average. I can't stress enough how much you should drop him out of your argument. There's a few other guys on your list, too, who didn't hit as much above .250 as you would like to remember.
posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:05 AM on June 14
/pines for Greg Luzinski
posted by yerfatma at 06:20 AM on June 14
If you think the league has any type of depth today then you are not watching the same MLB games I am. I am longing for Kingman but he was a whole lot better than 85% of the players today. He wasn't a hall of famer, granted, but he play fairly strong baseball of a number of years. It was just a name out of the back of my mind. I would certainly hope, I can name more names being the fact I am most likely 70 years older than you. He did make a million in 85 and didn't deliver. Roger Maris hit under 300 for his career but for those 4-5 years hit the heck out of the ball playing with Mantle. Don't believe anything you read from the Yankees' press and to blame getting in late that is a real round of boloney to blame something for your team losing. Teams take redeyes because it is cheaper than going earlier and now in MLB I don't think there is a team with a team plane the way the Dodgers use to have one with the O'Malleys. Depending on the traveling team determines size of airplane. To fly from Boston to Chicago takes about an hour or so but it is still faster than going by train and the trains of today are far comfortable than even 40 years ago much less 60. I am not making a league of the good old boys of the Past aka Ruth etc..if you really want to see the talent difference between now and then look at the complete stats for a coupleof the teams 27 Yankees team batting average was .307 hell's bell's Ruth hit .356 60hr,417tb,158rs and had 171 rbi's. Lou hit .373 with 47,447,149 and 175rbi. Lazzeri .309,Combs.356. Then take the yankees of 98 or the year that they won it all. Trust me don't compare with 27 or even the 26 or 27 yankee stats. The Dodgers had team stats in 55 that allowed them to take the NL and Series but no were even close in stats. The teams in the 60's Dodgers, Reds, Cardinals, Yankees had great teams and in some cases very good bench secondary players. I am not so blind that I can't see the difference between then and now players but the blinding truth of all this is that the complete teams overall then and now are very very different because of the talent leve then had. I haven't seen a player in todays' game with the exception of Vildi from the Angels that has the kind of talent and mental approach that the players had to the game even 30 years ago. Talent yes, Bond, Vildi, Jeter, A-Rod, and a number of others Griffey comes to mind but lacking in most is the mental discripline to go at it day in and day out. As to why the league is less talented today there could be a number of reasons. Foremost is a lot of the better players or going to other sports like football and basketball. Play less games and get more money. Yes, there goes that old line again, MONEY, still comes to bottomline its the money that may determine were you want to play. In the early 50's you didn't have any other choices to really play but baseball. NFL was not what it is now. And the NBA was just starting to arrive so to speak. There were a lot of basketball players that ended up in MLB because of the money one that really to mind are Frank Howard allamerican from Ohio State who signed with the Dodgers opting not to go to the NBA. Reid played baseball and basketball so did Dave Debuss. I don't really know all the stats, but according to Sporting News and other papers the better black players aren't playing baseball anymore for whatever reason. The most intense player I ever saw play was Jackie Robinson, when he played baseball a UCLA and football and track he was complete out of this world so to speak. He never gave up and could have made it in either the NFL if he really whated to or had he had a mind set golf. But that is getting away from the idea of comparing older and now teams. Still the statistics show that more talent teamwise on the older teams even as far back as the early 80's then now...From my prespective looking over all the data and memory I have come to that analysis. This is a disagreement between lots of people particularly my son and grandsons but that what it is all about. If I am rambling on I am sorry crafty but sometimes I really get going after everyone here starts putting in their two cents worth and my kids and grandkids start telling me I am living in the past, which I am not because that is gone forever but memories are memories and mind is extremely good particularly for my age.. Thanks for listening old man
posted by The Old Man at 11:48 AM on June 14
I am longing for Kingman but he was a whole lot better than 85% of the players today. This sentence actually made me yelp. Then I read that Derek Jeter doesn't have mental discipline and my head exploded. No need to apologize for your ramblings, Old Man. I am glad that you are enjoying your memories as much as you are. I think it's a shame you aren't enjoying today's game as much as you should be. I'm older than you think I am -- I remember well seeing the players of the '70s and '80s. I've also had the privilege of seeing a lot of baseball film going way back. If you can't see the real merit in players like Jeter, Pujols, Ortiz, Ichiro, Figgins, Vernon Wells, Reyes and Wright, Hafner and Sizemore, Uggla and Ramirez, Utley and Howard, Fielder and Weeks, Oswalt, Peavy, Santana, Halladay, Webb, King Felix, Matsuzaka, Haren, Rivera, Hoffman, Wagner, Papelbon... all I can do is guess you've taken up fishing with Jeff Kent. You're right, no team now is as good as the '27 Yankees. People have been saying that every year for 80 years. I don't understand how that makes today's game inferior to any other era. And to close, Dave Kingman was a terrible ballplayer.
posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 01:04 PM on June 14
I have to get my foot out of my mouth on this one. Dave Kingman isn't the player I am trying to talk about. Wrong school wrong team Kingman went to USC and this player, I am trying to remember his name, went to Ohio State after Howard and was also a basketball all american. Yes, Kingman wasn't even a good journeyman player, he hit a few homers but basicly struck out a lot. The other one played at the end of his career with the Angels, tall, black, played in the outfield and later on first base a few times. The hitters of today are facing day in and day out far inferior pitchers than the players of yesterday. Figgins, not enough as good as Wills, the others let us look at them in 15 years. Jeter is a extremely good player in a real hard town to play. Has the numbers but I still wouldn't put him in the top 3 Shortstops. He is more of an athelic than some of the older players, but I sit here thinking watching him and remember, Hornsby,Wagner, Traynor and his fielding is as good as theirs but his hitting during the conditions they had to play with and against whom they had to bat again I don't really feel he is in that class. Maybe I am wrong but 365ba against pitchers that did anything to the ball and it was dirty, dark most of the time, compared to now with over the last 10 years and multi expansion and talent drain doesn't show me anything to chance my mind. Hoffman is a good old boy will keep pitching until he dies on the mound just like the old guys. Crafty, help me I can't remember his name...driving me crazy. Rivera would be interesting pitching against even Aaron, Mathews, Howard and the like they loved fastball pitchers and according to my father Hank had some of the fastest wrists he had seen since Babe. And the first time rivera would have pitch his big fast one to Mickey the ball still would be traveling.Kent is just like anyone of the players of greatness over the last 70 years. Nose to the grind taking no shit from anyone and expecting the same of his teammates...I like that about Utley and Ichiro. Purjols has shown some great numbers in his first 5 years but there have been some questions about his upper body strength increase and when he is bad he is just that can't hit it out of the infield. Against the Angels last week during the first two games quality pitching he looked like a little leaguer trying to figure out how to hit a major league curve and ml fastball up and in. Damn, thought I had the name it is Dave something I think. There are a lot of major leaguers today that could make it in the 60-80's and even earlier but the percentage of those isn't near what it was during those eras. The other day I was watching a minor league game here in Southern California, one of Angels teams, and I saw a pitcher pitching on the sidelines with the coaches during the game. A tall left hander with blond hair and god he had a fastball that I could even see until it was almost in the catchers mitt. But he didn't know where the ball was going up or down high or low. Couldn't get his name but one of the guys with a radar gun was talking about the pitches registering over 101 more than 6 or 7 times in a row but his pitches were totality uncontrolable. That is what it was like in the 50's when some of the pitchers started to come on the major league scene. I do enjoy the game today because I get to see more of them everyday than years ago. Ah, the new age of television and disk TV..
posted by The Old Man at 03:37 PM on June 14
Dave Kingman isn't the player I am trying to talk about. Dave Winfield?
posted by justgary at 03:47 PM on June 14
Rivera would be interesting pitching against even Aaron, Mathews, Howard and the like they loved fastball pitchers and according to my father Hank had some of the fastest wrists he had seen since Babe. And the first time rivera would have pitch his big fast one to Mickey the ball still would be traveling. Unlikely, unless they had seen a cut fastball before. Speed wouldn't be the perfect answer.
posted by yerfatma at 04:51 PM on June 14
Dave Kingman isn't the player I am trying to talk about. Dave Winfield? Winfield went to U. of Minnesota. T.O.M.'s player went to Ohio St.
posted by tommytrump at 06:21 PM on June 14
Winfield went to U. of Minnesota. T.O.M.'s player went to Ohio St. Well, yeah, I know. Certainly if he can be wrong about the name he can be wrong about the school. Tall, black, good baseball player, good basketball player, played with angels at the end of career. Winfield matches all. Can't be that many choices.
posted by justgary at 07:29 PM on June 14
Gary, Sandy and Don were only asking for a fair salary of 150,000 per year apiece. Hardly being greedy or playing for the money. You're comparing money from 1965 to 2007, and that doesn't work. You also seem hung up on 25 million as a salary. Here's the top salaries. The average salary in 2007 is 2.9 million. So let's start there and not 25 million. Yerfatma said that 150,000 translated to about 3 million today. So already 150,000 is a little more than average today. Now add in the fact that the dodgers, and baseball in general, have much more money rolling in today than it had in the 60s (compare the value of the dodgers today and now) and asking for 150,000 wasn't asking for peanuts. If Koufax was playing today he'd be making the same million dollar salary that you find greedy. If the money wasn't there, the players wouldn't be making the money they are. So who do you think should get the money? If not the players, if not the actual product, if not the guys we pay money to see, who should be getting the money? The owners? Here's the thing. Players earning a lot of money, even if you believe they don't deserve it, doesn't necessarily mean they're playing the game for the money. It doesn't mean they don't love the game, or wouldn't play for less if economics demanded it. As The Crafty Sousepaw's quote from 1891 shows there's always been claims of the game becoming less pure and more money driven. Imagine what those in 1891 would say about Koufax making 150,000 for throwing a ball. That maybe partly truth to a point but what has happened due to all the high salaries etc..is that the real baseball game has been taken away from the average fan who can't afford 25.00 a game for a ticket or 5.00 a beer and 7.00 for a hotdog or 4.00 for a coke. How many of us can afford for a family of 4 250.00 a game to go to baseball? Sounds good, but not true: A study of tickets prices and salaries in the Baseball Prospectus' new book "Baseball between the numbers: Why Everything You Know about the Game is Wrong," found there was little correlation between ticket prices and player salaries from the start of free agency in 1977 through the end of the 1980s, even as average salaries soared roughly 500 percent, adjusted for inflation. Ticket prices were little changed over the same period in constant dollars. You said: After all the expansions 40% or more of the players wouldn't be playing 30 years ago. Here's where you really lose me (I remember 30 years ago, give me todays game). I won't again go over the reasons why I believe it be a ridiculous statement. You've heard them and simply repeat the stats of a collection of stars from the past 90 years. And the bottom line is no one knows. Unless we can digg up the 27 yankees it's all guess work. Comparing stats from now to 80 years ago doesn't prove anything. It's all opinion, and while I respect that you've seen a lot of baseball, I think your opinion on player talent and their reasons for playing are colored by rose tinted glasses. I'm not immune to that. I miss NBA basketball from the 80s, but I'm sure my memory of those games are a little biased, much like your memory of koufax pitching to sold out stadiums when in reality they were less than half full. Besides, if you want to use stats we're currently watching one of the best pitchers in history (Clemens), the future home run king (Bonds...if you claim steroids, well, Arod will eventually own that record), and the greatest closer in history (Rivera). A lot of people here enjoy your stories Old Man. There nothing wrong with missing the past, or preferring it. But I hope you've got the "new players of todays' game are spoiled, fat cats, lazy, cheap, greedy and the only reason they are playing with a few exceptions, are for the MONEY" speech out of your system. You're entitled to it, and we're now aware of it. But we're here, for the most part, because we enjoy sports. Telling us that what we watch and discuss sucks is a little offensive and would grow old quickly. Enjoy your memories. I love hearing about baseball history. I own more books on baseball's past than I care to count. But I also love the baseball of today, better prepared players, in better shape, and from all over the world. I can appreciate both. I think if mantle would have faced Rivera in the ninth instead of a washed up or exhausted starter more often than not Mantle would have been eaten alive. But we'll never know.
posted by justgary at 07:37 PM on June 14
Winfield went to U. of Minnesota. T.O.M.'s player went to Ohio St. Well, yeah, I know. Certainly if he can be wrong about the name he can be wrong about the school. Tall, black, good baseball player, good basketball player, played with angels at the end of career. Winfield matches all. Can't be that many choices. True enough Gary. I wikipediaded (is that a word?) Ohio State basketball players and I couldn't find anyone who even remotely fit the description. I think it is Winfield. Oh, and......Winfield wants noise!!!!
posted by tommytrump at 07:44 PM on June 14
thank you tommy I have been raking my brain all afternoon trying to remember Dave Winfield. Ohio State, Minnesota same difference unless you go to those schools. I guess it is the same thing as calling UCLA SC. thank you again. Gary they are in better shape, bigger, sometimes faster, sometimes stronger but that doesn't make them better. I am not repeating anything I have heard from the past because I am the past I have seen since the middle 20's starting with the 1924 Yankees and Phillies. In 1927 I watched the Babe and Lou take the Yankees on a journal that players only dream about. I appreicate any and all baseball players past or present because I know what it has taken them to get there. I missed the 1940's until 46-47 because I was in the WWII and didn't get back until late in 46. But my father saved me all the sports pages from that I had missed. I have more than memories. Pictures I have of almost everyone you can think of starting with the 24 Yankees. I don't go by the numbers you read in some statistics reviews. TV Radio sponsorships have all contributed to the high salaries and the players should get a high share. Some of my sons friends have played in the major leagues in the 60-70's and also some played in the NBA and NFL. I have had very long discussions about what we are talking about and from what they are all saying money is a extremely large determining factor in what sport they play and for how long. Salaries, pensions, insurance are a very big incentive especially in today's market. Gary I don't need any books to show me what the players are like then or now.
posted by The Old Man at 12:44 AM on June 15
Even Koufax or Ryan wasn't worth 25 mill a year. If you think any player today is worth that kind of money than by your type of comparison Babe Ruth would have been making what 50 mil a year in today inflated market. I know better than you what the valve of money was worth in the 20-60's. And all the reports, story lines, articles are not going to change the fact that today's fans can't afford to buy season tickets anymore unless they are uppr middle class. In 1948 I think my father paid like 2.50 cents for tickets to the Yankees, something like 1.75 for general admission and look at todays prices and you will be floored. Parking at Dodger Stadium was 2.00 a game and it worked out to be like 60-70 for season parking. The real point I am trying to make here is that the players of 20 or more years ago never got salaries that were in line with what the newer players are making today. Even at a ml/average compared with them it isn't even close...I have said before the players should get as much as they can for as long as they can before retiring from baseball. They deserve every penny. But Gary, a million a year buys a whole hell of a lot more now then 24000 in 1960's. I know that for a fact. My father during the second world war was working in the defense industry and making about 8500 a year in the forties, that was a lot but he had 6 kids, a father and mother and three brothers to feed and keep a roof over their heads, please don't tell me that that was living as high off the hog as todays players at a million a year.From my prespective the players are over paid but they deserve it more than the owners who get nothing but richer every year.
posted by The Old Man at 12:25 PM on June 15
Even Koufax or Ryan wasn't worth 25 mill a year. If you think any player today is worth that kind of money than by your type of comparison Babe Ruth would have been making what 50 mil a year in today inflated market. Please don't make nonsensical statements. Players are "worth" whatever people will pay to see them. There is no yardstick hanging in Heaven that determines player value. If we take your statement at face value, all the additional money goes to ownership. Are the owners "worth" $25 million dollars? Are they worth $250 million dollars?
posted by yerfatma at 12:35 PM on June 15
I understand what the old man is trying to say. And that is the real problem here to begin with. The owners were the ones making millions and millions of dollars for years before any of that big money started to go to the players. O keep reading in some of the statements money isn't a bottomline valve. Why do people pay these huge amounts of money to see games is beyond me. You could stay at home and watch most of it on the television and not come near paying what the fans do attending games in person. Someone said Jack Nickolson pays over half a million for his courtside seats. It proves a point that the people who have the money will just about pay anything to go to the games, but the only yardstick per say that determines what a player is "worth" is the what will the owners pay for them or to have them play for them. I do agree there is nobody worth the kind of money that is being paid out in baseball. It is a never ending cycle of expanding payroll to keep up with the owners that are willing to pay these types of salaries. This whole situation just makes absolutely no sense. What about minor league baseball the general admission is still around 5.00 a game and in some incidents the games are just as exciting as the major leaguers...
posted by ucla512 at 03:53 PM on June 15
I understand what the old man is trying to say. Maybe because you're the same person?
posted by justgary at 03:59 PM on June 15
Interesting. Interesting indeed.
posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 03:24 PM on June 16
No Gary, I am his oldest son. Sometimes my day goes crazy on this computer. He is very aware of what is happening around him but sometimes he just gets extremely upset at times that he reads and hears and decides to finally after everything his has been involved in and starts to write his remarks and loses his train of thought. So please excuse him sometimes. I have been reading some of his comments and he hasn't even started to tell some of the stories that all my brothers and sisters got to hear growing up. He and my grandfather and greatgrandfather use to talk and get into some discussions that lasted hours and days and in some cases are still going on between he and I and my younger brothers. Thank you. And if you really want to hear a story ask him about the umpires. He and my grandfather where very close friends with most of major league umpires up until he couldn't attend many games anymore. Jocko Conlon was my grandfathers' very close friend as was Emit Ashford. ucla512
posted by The Old Man at 04:40 PM on June 16
I understand what the old man is trying to say. And that is the real problem here to begin with. That doesn't really say anything. You haven't said what the problem is. Are you saying other professions should be paid more? My mother was a nurse. I think she should have been paid much more than she was. Sadly, there were thousands of other nurses that could do her same job. Are you saying your jealous of their salaries? I am too. But neither one of those are a problem. And as I've already pointed out, salaries have little to do with ticket prices. So what is the problem? No Gary, I am his oldest son. Both The Old Man and ucla512 have the exact same writing styles and the exact same content and ideas. Both of your comments on sportsfilter are indistinguishable from each other. After all the expansions 40% or more of the players wouldn't be playing 30 years ago. -The Old Man It would seem that about 40% of the players today would not be considered good enough to play 20 years ago. -ucla512 20 years ago 40% of the players now wouldn't have made the NBA. -ucla512 Both of you are stuck on 40%, in all sports. Strange. And the stories are starting to run together. Someone's grandfather use to play with babe ruth, someone had an hour talk with jackie robinson, someone was friends with "most" of the umpires. They could all be true, but then we have this: No Gary, I am his oldest son. -ucla512 MY FATHER HAD SEASON TICKETS TO THE LA ANGELS FROM 1960 UNTIL HE DIED IN 1980 -ucla512 So you'll have to forgive me if I have my doubts about the validity of your comments. I can only speak for myself, others may take you on face value, but i simply don't believe you. If I'm just off my rocker here, I apologize, but please do not screw with the community.
posted by justgary at 11:25 PM on June 27
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