FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. The scary part? He might have been the third best CF in town at the time (although don’t tell my grandparents that).

    Comment by AaronJ — February 28, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

  2. good post, except Ed Delahanty was immortalized in song . . .

    Comment by jessef — February 28, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  3. There was no might, he was the 3rd best CF in NY in the 50’s, but that’s no knock on him because those other 2 guys might have been the best 2 in history.

    Comment by The_Beard — February 28, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  4. Twice:

    Comment by Sam — February 28, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  5. Did Snyder get injured or something? Because he seems to have just dropped off a cliff after being incredible.

    Comment by MrKnowNothing — February 28, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  6. The quibble I have is that your list of players seems to be “people whose best four-year stretch was comparable or superior to Snider’s,” not strictly “people whose best four-year stretch was comparable to Snider’s.” You know better than to bias the reader’s impression by including players like Ruth to whom Duke at his peak was clearly not comparable.

    Comment by Austin — February 28, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

  7. He wrecked his knee, and had an enormously primitive (by today’s standards) surgery that didn’t do much to fix it. He said that the last six years of his career he was pretty much holding on for the money.

    Comment by uh, yeah — February 28, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  8. Duke led Baseball in HRs, RBIs and slugging % for the 1950s….think Pujols..!

    Not Mantle or Mays can equal his stats for those 10 yrs…then his knee went…

    Comment by coloblue — February 28, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

  9. Excellent perspective. I think longevity often dominates the HOF discussion when really it’s the peak performances that result in pennants and other franchise defining moments. Your mention of Koufax and Pedro vs. Nolan Ryan is right on point.

    Comment by john — February 28, 2011 @ 6:00 pm

  10. Mays missed about 3 seasons of his prime serving in the Korean War.

    Comment by James — February 28, 2011 @ 6:34 pm

  11. My bad… about 2 seasons (1952 and 1953)…

    Comment by James — February 28, 2011 @ 6:47 pm

  12. To say that Mays was “serving in the Korean War” is a mis-statement. He happened to serve while the Korean War was going on, but Mays spent most of his time in the army playing baseball at Fort Eustis, Va. Mays missed about 266 games due to military service.

    Comment by David Carter — February 28, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  13. It might be a Texas thing, but Nolan Ryan’s name comes up an awful lot in greatest pitcher of all time discussions… Not the best of examples, IMHO.

    Comment by Daniel — February 28, 2011 @ 7:13 pm

  14. You were wrong about Mays’s length of army service, but right to focus on 3 years. Mays came up to the majors after the beginning of the 1951 season and missed the first 29 games of the season, then he was drafted in 1952 and missed the last 117 games of the 1952 season. He also missed the entire 1950 season, while playing in the minors. When added up, the entire time that Mays missed from 1950 to the end of 1953 was equal to 3 seasons. In short, Snider played in 353 more games in the 1950s than Mays did, and 172 more games than Mantle. If you do the math, Mays hit a HR once every 4.26 games in the 50s, whlie Snider only hit a HR once every 4.35 games – advantage Mays. Although Snider did end up with a better RBI rate per game than Mays, one every 1.35 games vs. one every 1.5 games. Of course, championing the use of the RBI stat on FG is just not seemly.

    To say that Snider hit more HRs and RBI than Mays and Mantle (Mantle also missed the entire 1950 season and only got called up to the majors for the last 100 games of the 1951 season) is just a ridiculous comparison. It’s like saying that Snider could outrun Mays and Mantle in a 100 yard dash – as long as Snider was allowed to start 30 yards ahead of Mays and 15 yards ahead of Mantle.

    Comment by darryl0 — February 28, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  15. IMO, it was wholly disingenuous to write the sentence, “Willie Mays had a stretch like this.”

    You were referring to the fact that Snider had one 4 year stretch in his career where he “accumulated a ridiculous +35.8 WAR”.

    Look at Mays’s career stats. Beginning with the 1954 season (in which he turned 23 in May) Mays went on a 13 year run in which he accumulated more than, or equal to, Snider’s peak 35.8 WAR accumulation in every succeeding 4 year period. Here are Mays’s successive 4-year WAR numbers beginning with the 1954 season and ending after the 1963 season (the 4 year accumulation takes him through to the end of the 1966 season):


    So, you can see that you can pick any 4 year period over a 13 year stretch during Mays’s peak and he beats Snider’s single peak 4 year accumulation every time, except for one period where they tied at 35.8. To say that Mays had a stretch “like” Snider’s just doesn’t hold water. Not to mention that Mays put up a great 6.4 WAR season in 1971, at the age of 40.

    Comment by darryl0 — February 28, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  16. He also moved out of Ebbet’s Field into the LA Coliseum, with its huge rightfield.

    Comment by John DiFool — February 28, 2011 @ 8:54 pm

  17. Ryan’s name comes up in G.O.A.T discussions…the problem is that he isn’t anywhere close to being the G.O.A.T and frankly doesn’t belong anywhere near the discussion. So yeah Daniel it must be a Texas thing. He’s not even in the same stratosphere as guys like Gibson, Seaver, Palmer, Pedro, Unit, Clemens, Maddux and many others. And that’s just covering the guys who pitched from 1970 going forward. Feller? Koufax? Dave’s comparison wasn’t good, it was perfect as John alluded to.

    Comment by boxx — February 28, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

  18. Yeah, it’s a pretty terrible example, especially considering Ryan is the one of two post-Dead Ball Era pitchers with 3000+ IP and a sub-3.00 FIP (the other being Bob Gibson).

    Comment by Ben — February 28, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

  19. From 1972-1992 Nolan Ryan only once posted a FIP above 3.22 (a 3.67 in 1975). That time is a span of over 4,800 innings pitched by Ryan. He might get a lot of flak some places for 292 career losses, but FanGraphs shouldn’t be one of them.

    Comment by Phils Goodman — February 28, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

  20. Sniders peak years were when the talent pool was relatively diluted due to WWII (many young men killed or crippled) and the Korean War, and while the color barrier had been broken, there were a number of teams that resisted and they had relatively few players of color.

    For example, in 1954/55 which were his best seasons, there were 7% African Americans and 5% Latinos, or about 12% players of African descent. This is only 1/3 of todays total (34%). The number jumped to 20% by 1959 which was the first year every team was integrated. Willy Mays for example only matched or exceeded his OPS+ in 1954/1955 ate age 23/24 one time, suggesting MLB’s talent pool was weaker than later years.

    Obviously, the park change hurt Sniders numbers starting from 1958, but even adjusted for park, the decline was significant.

    Comment by pft — February 28, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

  21. Look at Pedro’s 99 season! Yes, I knew he had an insane year (12 war, 13 k/9. 1.5 bb/9, 0.4 hr/9, 23-4 W-L, 2.07 era, 243 era+ [and 290 the next year]). I did not realize how unlucky he was; his baip was .329, the highest of his career until that point. His FIP was 1.39. Good sweet lord. He should have won 30.

    Comment by Eric B — March 1, 2011 @ 3:46 am

  22. darryl0, he didn’t say he led Mantle and Mays for HRs and RBIs in the 50’s. He said he led all of baseball. Did the war impact things for a lot of players? Of course it did. It doesn’t change that Snider led the majors in those counting stats for the decade.

    Your outrage might make some sense if he said Snider had more power than the other NY CF’s, or was a better player. But he didn’t. If you would have actually read what he wrote, you could have saved yourself that little diatribe. But I’m sure you feel good about yourself.

    Comment by dnc — March 1, 2011 @ 3:49 am

  23. Sorry to use the comments section for an unrelated question – but when are the Zips projections going to be released for download on the site? Thanks.

    Comment by Kevin Ebert — March 1, 2011 @ 10:17 am

  24. Ryan was obviously a wonderful pitcher, and is an inner circle Hall of Famer, but I think the point in the article still stands. In Koufax and Martinez’s five year peaks they never had a FIP higher then Ryan’s career best (2.28). So while Ryan had longevity, and was an elite player for 20+ years, Martinez and Koufax and short spans of better then elite production.

    Comment by JayT — March 1, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

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