On Monday, I unveiled Part One of an advanced study. Workingly titled “Cool or Lame? Estimating the Relative Appreciation of Baseball Players,” or something like that, the study sprung from a simple impulse: the craving to know just to whom, in the history of this sport I love, I ought to pledge my fanhood. Although it was a selfish impulse, I have thought, too, of the children. Just as our teenaged selves realized, in the course of our primitive sociopolitical maneuverings, that it might behoove us to spurn (say) Coldplay* in favor of some more exclusive taste, today’s youth surely seek that privileged knowledge that will empower them to transcend their Jeter-jerseyed milieux. Herein, then, I attempt not only to secure that knowledge, but to quantify the sh*t out of it.
Part One of the study debuted to a thundering clamor of controversy, as no fewer than fourteen comments were volleyed in response, raising such nuanced and articulate concerns as (to paraphrase): “But how do you control for era, i.e. for the effect of contemporary media on celebrity?” And “Linear regression? What kind of candy-ass math is this?” And “What kind of asshole calls Jackie Robinson the second-lamest player of all time?” Unfortunately, keen readers, owing to the current climate of institutional support, radical changes to my methodology are not feasible at this time. Instead, I can only offer here a set of supplementary findings that may at least circumvent some of the objections above.
* Until Coldplay should become romantically significant, of course.
Table 1: Most Underappreciated Hitters of the Past 20 Years*
* I.e., with careers ending after 1991.
Table 2: Most Underappreciated Pitchers of the Past 20 Years
So there it is. Brian Giles and Chuck Finley are irrefutably Cool. They are valuable. They are intriguing. They are attractive (Giles, in fact, 76.8% so). They share a tragic weakness for exotically beautiful, abusive women who accuse them of PED usage. Clearly they are both morally upright men of baseball who have been not only underappreciated, but repeatedly and unjustly victimized, throughout the course of their estimable careers. I expect to see posters of Brian Giles and Chuck Finley proliferating on the walls of America, wherever coolness still abides.
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