Monday, July 28, 2008

Base Hits: 7/28/2008

OK, the Orioles finally broke their Sunday losing streak. Big deal.

A win is a win but they lost 5 straight coming into Sunday including three straight against Toronto. Toronto! The one AL East team that we are actually better than! Owww, quit it!

Nice to see a win but they are becoming few and far between. Excuse me if I don't celebrate.


On a positive note, Ben at Oriole Central has a great interview with none other than Brian Roberts! Nice job Ben!


You know you have a problem when you get your dander up about writers maligning a Baltimore Oriole from 110 years ago.

Chris Jaffe has written a two-part series where he rates the BBWA on their Hall of Fame selections and omissions for The Hardball Times. He had a problem with old-timey Oriole RF Wille Keeler:

That just leaves one man—Willie Keeler. He's way the hell back, behind (among others) Rusty Staub, Rocky Colavito, Elmer Flick, King Kelly and Sam Rice. Keeler was the sort of man who did one thing really well (hit singles), and that was about it. That's exactly the kind of guy who is normally overrated.

Keeler's a real oddity because he's the only 19th century position player they voted in. That makes his pick especially damning. If you're only going to put in one hitter from the 1890s, you damn well better get it right. They skipped over Ed Delahanty, Billy Hamilton, Hugh Duffy, Jesse Burkett and George Davis for him.

Going by runs created, Keeler was the 17th-best batter of the 1890s. Shortstop Bill Dahlen was 16th best. Wanna adjust for his not playing in 1890-1? Fine—he's still clearly not the best, yet he's the only one in. I'm more tolerant of their omissions from the Paleolithic Era, which is why a sin of commission from that time period is so bad. He's the only problem in right, though.

This is what it has come down to. Willie Keeler is overrated. Pardon me while I bang my head into the keyboard. vqwefop l;qw ecl;qwjk

I am a baseball stat nerd. But I am also a baseball nerd in general. You have to combine the nerdiness to understand Keeler as a player.

(Let me just say that I enjoy Chris Jaffe's writing immensely, I'm just going to strenuously differ with him on this point.)

First, let's look at the assertion that Keeler was the 17th best player in Runs Created during the 1890's. That's cherry-picking the numbers. Keller played well into the next decade. you are judged by your career not an arbitrary span of ten years (of which you did not even play in two of them...).

So using Jaffe's choice of stat, the leaders in Runs Created from 1890-1910 are here. Here's the top five:

Jesse Burkett 1566
Ed Delahanty 1520
Honus Wagner 1416
Willie Keeler 1378
Nap Lajoie 1351

Now, I'm sure that most of you aren't that familiar with turn of the century baseball stars but that is damn fine company for Keeler. 4th in baseball over a 20 year span is nothing to sneeze at.

You have to remember that Keeler played before the Deadball Era officially began. The ball was really dead in the 1890's. Keeler hit a lot of singles but that's what most of the best players did during this period in baseball. And he was a slap hitter and hit leadoff. You don't ask Tony Gwynn to jack homers!

The rest of the argument revolves around the writers not voting in Ed Delahanty. Very true that Delahanty was (and is) overlooked but that's hardly Keeler's fault.

Add to this that Keeler was considered the greatest rightfielder of his time and I think it's clear that Keeler is solidly deserving of the Hall of Fame. I mean, really.


Roch Kubatko is leaving the Baltimore Sun according to his blog. I guess details will be forthcoming but he will be greatly missed and will leave a gaping hole in the Oriole blogosphere.


Matt Wieters is coming. Not today, not tomorrow but soon. .333/.419/.519 at Bowie. Get to Bowie and see him so you can say "I was there when..."

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