By In Stuff


OK, so I have a new JoePhrase. I call it a “Marilyn Munster.” Do you remember how in The Munsters, everyone thought Marilyn was drab or plain looking, even though she was gorgeous, because she didn’t look like the rest of the Munster family? Marilyn, of course, was cast to look like Marilyn Monroe, and Beverly Owen — later Pat Priest — mostly pulled it off. But, the joke was that in this environment, looking like Marilyn Monroe makes someone hideous. The joke never got old.

And so, I nominate the phrase “Marilyn Munster” as a fact that seems blindingly obvious to you but it sure feels like everyone else in the entire world sees it exactly the other way.

My Marilyn Munster this postseason is Justin Verlander. I know that writing these words will confirm to many that I despise Verlander, that I’m out to get him, that I’ve always been out to get him, that I will stop at nothing in my plan to discredit the player and the man. I can’t help it. Thursday night it happened again. I woke up this morning to this headline:

“Justin Verlander Delivers Superhuman Effort in Game 5 of ALCS.”

That’s Fox Sports. Superhuman. And this one from Detroit Free Press.

“Tigers Fans Knew Justin Verlander Did All He Could.”

All he could. The Detroit News?

“Justin Verlander, Tigers Show True Grit.”

Justin Verlander threw 133 pitches — the most he has ever thrown in a game — and, quite remarkably, the last one was clocked at 100 mph. That was, in fact, superhuman. Unfortunately, the last one was also thrown with one out in the eighth inning and it was smacked for a two-run homer. That meant that Verlander allowed four runs in 7 1/3 innings.

He wasn’t himself. I really thought that was obvious. I’ve thought it’s been obvious the whole postseason. His ERA this postseason is 5.31. His 25-to-10 strikeout to walk is way down from the season. His WHIP for his wonderful 2011 season was .920 — an amazing thing, less than a walk/hit per inning. For the postseason it’s about 1.4. He has had two of his starts interrupted by rain, which is a shame, but he wasn’t especially pitching well in either of those starts (he allowed a run in one inning in New York, allowed three runs in four innings the other time out). In his other two starts, he pitched 8 innings and 7 1/3 innings and allowed four runs. In the history of the postseason, starters who allow exactly four runs are 53-247 — and about half of those wins are pitchers who threw complete games. Two of the other 29 wins, though, are Justin Verlander’s.

Was Verlander gritty on Thursday? I guess as times goes on, I’m beginning to lose contact with what that word means. He gave up eight hits — five of them extra base hits. He almost gave up a three-run homer to Adrian Beltre — the ball sliced just foul. He also walked three, threw a wild pitch and seemed high in the strike zone all day. He came out to start the eighth inning, which I suppose fits the term gritty since he’d already thrown a ridiculous number of pitches. But he only managed one out in the inning, and he gave up that last pitch home run.

At one point I heard one of the announcers say he was pitching without his best stuff. And, within five minutes, the same announcer talked about how he threw a pitch 101 mph.

And this is what drives me nuts about Verlander. It isn’t about him. It’s about me. Am I just not seeing it? Is everyone else right about Marilyn Munster? Am I going cynical and cold … turning into exactly the sort of sportswriter I never wanted to become? When a Brilliant Reader warned me to get ready for more Verlander Is Awesomeness Personified narrative, I posted Verlander’s postseason 5.31 ERA on Twitter (Lord knows, Fox didn’t mention it) and one of my favorites in the business, the New York Times Tyler Kepner, countered with this:

“True but you’ve gotta consider the circumstances. Thin bullpen today. LDS Game 3 and this game, allowed 2 runs late w/big lead.”

Um, OK, one at a time. Thin bullpen today? Is this what Justin Verlander has become? A bullpen saver? The guy might be the league MVP. Joe Buck continuously calls him “the best pitcher in the world,” as if that’s his official title. He was pitching on full rest, at home, in a must-win game. I would think the thin bullpen would be the last thing on anyone’s mind. He’s Justin Bleepin’ Verlander. The Tigers shouldn’t even NEED a bullpen.

As for the big lead thing, well, in Game 3 of the League Division Series, he gave up two runs in the seventh inning to TIE THE GAME. That’s not exactly a big lead. As for Thursday night, it’s true, the Tigers did have a five-run lead when he gave up those final two runs. But this gets to that pitching-to-the-score nonsense that people go to whenever they’ve run out of points they can prove. And those final two runs allowed were hardly irrelevant. That cut the margin to three, and the Rangers actually sent the winning run to the plate in the ninth inning. Giving up runs, any time, is not a good thing for a pitcher.

So now you ask what unreasonable thing I want from Justin Verlander? I want him to throw a shutout. I want him to throw eight innings, give up two hits and one run and strike out 14. I want him to pitch the way Chris Carpenter pitched with the series on the line, or for that matter the way Roy Halladay pitched. I want him to dominate, the way he dominated much of the season, the way he’s capable of dominating. I’m ready to celebrate him, I really am. If he comes into the seventh game of this series, and throws three overpowering shutout innings and sends the Tigers to the World Series, I PROMISE I will write a Justin Verlander is awesome post. If the Tigers go to the World Series and he throws a shutout or pitches some kind of amazing game, I PROMISE I will write a Justin Verlander is awesome post. I’m ready to do it. I’d LOVE to do it.

In the meantime, can everyone else just admit that Verlander has been kind of ordinary so far in this postseason — as ordinary as a thrilling pitcher with a 100-mph fastball and ridiculously great secondary pitches can be — and not turn unremarkable efforts into moon landings?* Please? I just want to believe I’m not going crazy.

*Which reminds me: In the National League Championship Series, with the score tied 2-2, Milwaukee Mark Kotsay hit a ground ball to the right side, which moved Nyjer Morgan from second to third with only one out. This is the sort of hitting that inside baseball people LOVE. Give yourself up for the sake of the team. Sacrifice your batting average for the greater good. All that. And, believe it or not, I’m actually good with that. I mean, right, I think productive outs are wildly overrated as run creators, but I do think they’re good for team togetherness. Everybody likes them, a player who makes an out gets all sorts of high-fives, it’s a cool part of baseball. Kotsay got the appropriate kudos from his teammates for his benevolent out, and he could feel he played a small role in things when Ryan Braun followed with an RBI single that gave the Brewers the lead.

In reality, I suspect Kotsay’s actual role in the run was VERY small. Morgan would have scored from second on Braun’s single — I’m about 98.3% sure of that. But that’s OK. It doesn’t really matter who gets the credit in such things.

EXCEPT, a few innings later the TV announcers were talking about such things — and they decided that Kotsay was the hero of the story. Right. They were STILL talking about it. I don’t know exactly how long they celebrated Kotsay’s ground ball, but I would estimate it was roughly 493 minutes. If you were just trying to learn baseball, you would honestly believe that games are won and lost by making outs to the right side of the infield. And I think that’s because there are many people who desperately want that to be true, who desperately want to believe that you do win baseball games — not by scoring and preventing runs — but by sacrificing yourself for the greater good, by playing your small role that no one will notice, by doing things that don’t show up in the box score.

Trouble is: That’s really not baseball. No. The best performances in baseball, alas, almost without exception do show up in the box score. Three outs, productive or not, end innings. If you want a sport where many of the best players sacrifice themselves for the greater good and do so without being noticed, yeah, you might want to turn to football. It’s really true there.

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81 Responses to Superhuman

  1. Brian says:

    Regarding your Kotsay thought at the end, I think it’s a disservice to the younger audience who are maybe just learning the game when the announcers focus a lot of time on stuff like that. If I was a newer fan to baseball and I was watching these LCS games, my baseball IQ might be influenced by what Joe Buck and Tim McCarver say on the broadcast, so my fear is that these two jokers are creating a new breed of fans who will spend a good portion of their lives thinking that what Mark Kotsay did last night was just as good as what Ryan Braun did. And that just makes me sad.

  2. Ryan Eades says:

    You are not crazy. People dole out superlatives these days like Tic-Tacs.

    Not just media though. I see it all the time in social media. I can’t tell you the number of times I read a Facebook post that says something like, “Headed home from an incredible weekend at the beach with the family!”

    While I could be wrong, I’d bet 9.5/10 of those people did not have an “incredible” weekend.

    Unless you define “incredible” as stressing about beating traffic on Friday, kids whining not wanting to eat their breakfast, getting sand all through the house, being too old to stay awake beyond two glasses of wine after kids go to bed, sneaking in a Sunday morning beach visit with packing up and a long drive home looming over you.

    Yet we feel the need to advertise our activities with superlative descriptors. I guess it sounds better than “Heading home from a perfectly typical weekend at the beach with equal parts stress and relaxation mixed with a little disappointment that nothing truly incredible happened.”

    Truth is, most of the events in our daily lives are like a No. 4 starter – serviceable. That of course is what makes the thrill of a true superlative event so special. Maybe we should start a superlative police with fines of public shame for egregious usage?

    That way when I want to update my Facebook status after something truly incredible I can state clearly that I’m “Heading home from the beach after dominating the weekend like Chris Carpenter in Game 5 of the NLDS” and everyone will know think “WOW, that’s a great weekend!”

  3. Grulg says:

    It’s just a narrative gone overboard, is all. I remember back to ’86, the great Clemens vs. Gooden matchup in Game two-neither got the decision, Gooden was nuked outta there in 4 or so. Sox won it 9-3 and should have had 3-4 more. But Scully and co. couldn’t just leave it alone. It happens.

  4. Ryan Eades says:

    Oh, and the measuring stick for a “superhuman” performance by a pitcher is clearly Game 7 1991 World Series – Jack Morris vs. John Smoltz who both threw complete games as the Twins won 1-0 in 10 innings.

    As most know, neither was a one-hit post season wonder. Smoltz career in 25 postseason series, 15-4 record and a 2.67 earned run average. Morris was 7-1 with a 2.60 E.R.A.


  5. Mark says:

    Yahoo sports put one of their “give one word to describe” posts on Facebook about the game. I noted that while I didn’t see the game, I did read the boxscore — so the word that came to mind for me was “mediocre”.

    Commenters seemed pretty equally split between “let’s skip the rest of the series & put him directly into the Hall of Fame” and “meh”.

  6. Nick says:

    Thank you for bringing up the Kotsay thing. It drove me nuts. If it was a tie game in the 9th, you know what, I can get behind it. But this was a close game, in the 5th, between two incredible offenses. Every game in the series had one inning in which a team scored 4 or more. One run wasn’t as important as the possibility of scoring a bunch of runs. You know what the announcers DIDN’T mention? That yesterday was a full moon, and Randy Wolf is nearly unbeatable on full moons. He does hit more batters (in fact, he is the active leader in hit batters within one day of a full moon), but he also gains the ability to throw his 65 MPH curve for strikes, and nobody’s got a chance against that. This factor meant much more than whatever Kotsay did, and yet it went unmentioned. When will these announcers get a clue?

  7. David says:

    You’re 100% right, Joe. Verlander had a great season. Not in the top 1% of all time, maybe in the top 5% (especially if we’re talking post-WWII). Great season. The playoffs are a small sample-size, true. But still, he hasn’t REALLY pitched well since August (which was 2 months ago, at this point), but Grulg above is exactly right – it’s narrative which has spun out of control. The announcers so DESPERATELY need the narrrative they made up in the regular season to be true, they’ll believe it in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Oh well. That’s why we have people like you – the ombudsman to sports groupthink.

  8. Josh says:

    Totally right about Kotsay. Totally.

    I’m pretty sure that TV announcers value hitting behind the runner for an out over, say, doubles.

  9. Clashfan says:

    Nick–well played, sir. Well played.

  10. I saw verducci’s column about 20 minutes ago, was about to email you to ask your thoughts and figured I’d check your blog to first, and this was exactly what I had in mind

  11. Edward says:

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  12. This isn’t a new thing. Verlander’s been getting this praise all year. I have become exceptionally hostile toward the accolades he gets — many of which are deserved — as a result of the hyperbole in support of him.

    I am prejudiced, because I’ve seen him pitch this year. I flew to Detroit to see a Tigers game before trekking to Toronto and was lucky, I managed to see Verlander pitch against the Mets. What I saw was just…pedestrian. He managed to get good-looking numbers, but also exemplified why his FIP was little better than most of the other elite starters in the AL. For the game, he gave up 7 hits, 2 walks, and allowed 1 earned run. And he was the story on ESPN (and everywhere else) after the game. But he wasn’t the awe-inspiring must-see pitcher I’d heard about. He threw hard, he got guys out, but it was his defense that won the game. The Mets ran themselves into a double play, Reyes got caught stealing thanks to a great throw from Avila, the Mets had a runner get gunned down at the plate (though he sure looked safe from my seat, I’ve not seen the replay.) Verlander, for the game, should have been charged with 3 earned runs — he earned the runs, his defense kept them from being scored with fantastic plays.

    It’s one start, it’s not enough to judge a pitcher, but against a mediocre team (without David Wright), it made me really skeptical of the Verlander magic everyone else was seeing.

    Barring another stroke of magnificent fortune, he should regress next year in a big way — he’s giving up as many line drives as ever, but so far as I can tell, he is also somehow the only pitcher on the Tigers staff whose ERA is lower than his FIP (and substantially so). He’s a great pitcher, but if I had to pick the best pitcher in the game, I’m not sure he’s in the top 3 in the NL East. Even after a lousy start from Cliff Lee in the NLDS, I’d have at least two Phillies ahead of him on my list.

  13. Edward says:

    Let’s look at the game:

    Top 1 – Verlander gives up a leadoff double, Elvis Andrus grounds out to second to move the runner to third (EXACTLY like the Mark Kotsay play in the Mil-STL game), a sac fly, and another double before getting out of the inning.

    Top 5 – After the Tigers score in the bottom of the 4th to take a 2-1 lead, the Rangers get it right back and have the lead run on 3rd with one out before Verlander gets out of the jam.

    Top 6 – Rangers load the bases with one out before Kinsler hits a broken-bat grounder right at Inge, who steps on third and throws to first for the double play to end the inning with no runs allowed.

    Top 8 – Verlander has thrown 120+ pitches, gets the first out, gives up a single and then decided to challenge Texas’ best hitter on an 0-2 pitch with a 5-run lead. If ever there’s a perfect situation to try that, this is it. Cruz hits the home run to cut Detroit’s lead from 7-2 to 7-4, taking Verlander’s quality start off the board.

    If Verlander had thrown the pitch a little more toward the outside of the plate, Cruz flies out to center, and then Verlander is pulled with a 7.2 IP 2 run line, what would the story be? Or if Leyland had put in Coke at the start of the 8th, leaving Verlander’s line at 7 IP and 2 runs? Does one ultimately meaningless home run that takes away the quality start change the narrative that much? Joe has forcefully talked about the stat that the team leading in the 9th wins 95% of the time, going back at least 50 years. Cruz’ home run made the game a little more interesting (along with Coke giving up a run with two outs in the 9th), but it didn’t really change the game that Verlander pitched.

    If you want to say that Verlander pitched a mediocre game, talk about the jams he got in and out of in the 5th and 6th and the 51 pitches he had to throw to get through those two innings. Don’t focus the argument on a home run in the 8th.

  14. David says:

    You’re making this into a narrative of your own, Joe. If you’re going to expend all these calories debunking the Verlander coverage, please don’t make excuses for your boy Zack Greinke tonight if he is merely effective.

  15. erik says:

    How do you know Braun would have hit a single with Morgan on second? I’m not saying it would have gone differently if Kotsay had hit a liner to short. But you can’t say things would have continued the way they did, either. That the pitches would have come to the plate in the same order, that Braun would have taken the same hack, or that he wouldn’t have hit a slow roller back to the mound. It’s a logical fallacy. I’m not a big fan of productive outs, either, but it drives me nuts when announcers, fans or writers point out how “big that missed extra point from the first quarter is now” when a team loses by one. If the team makes the PAT, maybe they lose by two touchdowns. If Kotsay lines out, maybe Braun hits a 2-run jack, maybe he strikes out. That’s the real mathematical reality. We’ll never know what would have happened, only what did. Thanks again, Joe. Good stuff.

  16. KHAZAD says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  17. Scoops says:

    Grulg hit it dead on. The narrative coming in to the game was, “Only a great performance from Justin Verlander can save the Tigers season”.

    It turned out that a decent performance from Justin Verlander (and stuff happening that he had no control over, like his own team scoring runs) was enough to win the game. It’s a massive, media driven logical fallacy.

    If Verlander is excellent, the Tigers will win.
    The Tigers won.
    Therefore, Verlander was excellent.

    So, no Joe, you aren’t overly cynical. You’re ahead of several of your peers in intelligence and understanding though.

  18. KHAZAD says:

    Brian had it right at the top. The rest of the media take their cues from Buck and Mccarver, and their view of the game.

    I was a fan of Jack Buck, but Joe Buck is a jackwagon. He says things in EVERY game I watch that he announces that make me want to to turn down the sound. Mccarver has actually gotten worse since arguing that a leadoff walk was preferable to a lead off home run (from the offensive perspective) several years ago.

    I am not saying they are the only announcers to go overboard in trying to create a narrative for the game, but with all the announcers working today, many of them with fabulous voices and a few with brilliant insights into the game, it is a travesty to have these two guys announcing the post season.

  19. Edward says:

    Apropos of nothing, let’s look at the starting pitching so far in the ALCS:

    Game 1: Verlander 4 IP, 3 R; Wilson 4.2 IP, 2 R (rain shortened the starters for this game)
    Game 2: Scherzer 6 IP, 3 R; Holland 2.2 IP, 3 R
    Game 3: Fister 7.1 IP, 2 R; Lewis 5.2 IP, 4 R
    Game 4: Porcello 6.2 IP, 3 R (2ER); Harrison 5 IP, 2 R
    Game 5: Verlander 7.2 IP, 4 R; Wilson 6 IP, 6 R

    So far the Tigers’ starters are averaging 6.1 IP and 3 R, whereas the Rangers’ starters are averaging 4.2 IP and 3.4 R.

    This underscores even more how good the Rangers’ bullpen has been in this series.

  20. ethegolfman says:

    A note on “Marilyn”. The Munsters was a comedic take on a serious Twilight Zone episode (which I believe sourced other material) where which pondered the objectiveness of beauty with humans with pig-like features calling a gorgeous woman ugly. Another comedic take on it was on SNL with Pam anderson being the gorgeous woman and Will Farrell being a pig-like Dr saying “What, ar you crazy? She’s HOT!”

    As for Kotsay, I have this theory that fans overvalue traits they feel they could achieve. So hustle, heads-up plays & hitting behind the runner are seen subjectively as something they can do. Just a thought

  21. Scoops says:

    I’d also note, Joe, that you hit a lot of the critical thinking points (and critical thinking is not cynicism). The writers you highlighted were picking facts to fit their story. The picked the parts that sound great, and left out the ones that don’t.

    The threw 133 pitches! More than he ever has before! (In 7 1/3 innings. 133 pitches in 7 1/3 innings probably isn’t great.)

    His last pitch hit 100mph! (And then it landed in the outfield seats. Giving up home runs probably isn’t great.)

    He pitched himself out of several tight spots! (He pitched himself /into/ several tight spots.)

    Great things do happen in sports, and I know you appreciate them Joe. I’ve seen you write about them, and heard them discussed on the Poscast. The things is: Great moments just happen. Maybe you can predict them, sometimes. You can’t make them happen though.

    I have hockey on the brain at the moment, and three things spring immediately to mind: Paul Henderson in 1972, USA in 1980 and Sidney Crosby in 2010.

    Or think of Kirk Gibson or Joe Carter or Aaron Boone. These are all great moments. They just aren’t manufactured like Verlander’s “great” pitching performance.

  22. dannyjk says:

    It’s a shame that the main stream media has to seize on theme for every big sporting event instead of letting the game play out. MNF is almost unwatchable at this point.

  23. Scoops hit it right on the head. The media had a story they were prepared to tell and regardless of what happened they were going to tell one of two stories: Verlander is God or Verlander implodes.

    I was rolling my eyes last night watching ESPN salivate over whether Verlander would pitch in game 7. This was overlaying a Leyland press conference in which the manager was pretty insistent that Scherzer and Fister would continue to be the outstanding pitchers they’ve been this postseason. And the Baseball Tonight crowd ignored this and went on surmising whether or not Verlander would pitch again.

    But the truth is, Scherzer and Fister have been more dominant this postseason for the Tigers and they’re getting the shaft as far as national press coverage goes.

  24. Vanilla Blue says:

    Joe, I think you are mostly correct about Verlander. If we’re going to talk about overwhelming and probably incorrect narratives, though, it’s only fair to point out that for all the love you’ve given Zack Grienke, he’s been a completely average pitcher for the past two years. If Grienke pitches well tonight, the narrative will be “Grienke shows he’s a true ace!” That’ll be just as incorrect as “Verlander dominates again!”

  25. Edward says:

    Scoops, Verlander has always had a propensity to throw a lot of pitches. It’s been his Achilles heel so far in his career. Even this year, when generally it’s seemed like he’s been more economical game-to-game, he still led the league in pitches thrown by a huge margin. This is just part of his modis operandi.

  26. Mark Daniel says:

    I think it’s ridiculous that Verlander’s performance last night was considered “superhuman”. On the other hand, I don’t have a problem with it being called gritty or gutsy. Those two terms are not synonymous with “excellent” or “stellar” or “dominating”. All it means is that Verlander showed toughness or fortitude. I think he did, especially considering Leyland made it public that Valverde and the other guy were not available out of the pen last night. So he knew he was going to be in the game until he couldn’t go any further. There was really no other option. 6IP was not going to cut it. So, he pitched until he could no longer do it, throwing more pitches than he’d ever thrown in his career. Maybe media types are calling Verlander’s poor starts “gritty” too often this postseason, but in this case, the descriptor was accurate.

    Also, Verlander’s start last night lasted 7.1 innings, which is the 2nd longest start of any AL pitcher in the postseason (tied with Fister’s start). The longest start in the AL playoffs was 8 innings. By Verlander.

    Verlander’s performance last night was not superhuman, nor was it one for the ages (though we may have to ask Detroit fans in 20 or 30 years to be sure). But I’d say it was gutsy.

  27. John Turner says:

    I think the reasonable Tigers fans — the ones who’ve been watching all along — know that Verlander is grinding through these starts. At his best, pitching looks so damn easy for him it seems unfair. At his worst, it reminds me of that line from Swingers, where he’s got these “big fuckin’ teeth” and “big fuckin’ claws” but can’t kill the bunny. Like you, we’re waiting for some bunny blood.

    Until then, he’s still the guy I trust second behind Fister (who’s been a better pitcher since his arrival than JV).

  28. Tampa Mike says:

    I agree about Verlander in the postseason. I think he has been a fantastic pitcher who has been very pedestrian this postseason, but that doesn’t work with the media narrative. They just want to call him fantastic. Just like they do with Jeter, Brett Favre, Tim Tebow, etc. The unconditional love fest is what drives me to despise them.

  29. Grulg says:

    Who can forget that episode of the Munsters co-starring Leo Durocher? Where they scouted out Herman Munster and found him to be basically a scarier version of Frank Howard. Pretty funny one, actually….

  30. daveyhead says:

    Joe, this is the most unbelievable column you have ever written! No, it is the most unbelievable piece of writing EVER, going back to the Dead Sea Scrolls!

    Two other things:

    Why wouldn’t Kotsay have not been trying to get a BASE HIT to right field, instead of just giving up a precious out to move a guy from 1) scoring position to 2) scoring position?

    And I grew up in an era when Juan Marichal pitched 30 COMPLETE GAMES and went like 26-5, and LOST the Cy Young Award (albeit to Bob Gibson) so all of the breathless hyperbole for just about any pitcher is lost on me.

  31. Grulg says:

    Annnnnnnnnnnd getting back to the main topic at hand–Joe Buck is lousy, and McCarver lost it ages ago. I basically hit the mute button whenever they come on in the post season. ZZZZZZZZ. Cliches abound here. Where’s Harry Carey when you need him?

  32. nightflyblog says:

    With all this grit and heart everywhere, are we absolutely sure that David Eckstein didn’t start for the Tigers last night?

  33. Jason says:

    The Yankees and Rangers were 2 of the 3 top-scoring teams in baseball this year and Verlander wasn’t particularly dominant against them in the regular season either (21 IP, 20 K’s, 1.19 WHIP, 3.86 ERA).

    As for Kotsay, I think the celebration of his ground out was as much for how he did it (that swing wasn’t pretty) as for the result.

  34. Jack says:

    If the Munsters had been 10 years later, Herman could have found work as a DH.

    Durocher also got to see Mr. Ed hit an inside-the-park homer off Sandy Koufax.

  35. Dinky says:

    Ryan Eades, I call shenanigans.

    Jack Morris’s career postseason record is not a superb 7-1 with a 2.60 ERA. It’s a pretty good 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA. Take away that one ten inning shutout and he’s 6-4 with an extremely ordinary 4.26 ERA, so calling him a one hit wonder is pretty reasonable. Whatever data source you are using must be the same one Jon Heyman uses. Morris does not compare as a postseason pitcher with Bert Blyleven (5-1 with a 2.47 ERA), Curt Schilling (11-2, 2.23) or John Smoltz, who you cited correctly. Heck, you could even argue Greg Maddux and his 3.27 postseason ERA (more than half a run a game better in twice as many innings) was better, though of course Maddux was only 11-14. Morris ate innings, averaging just over 7 innings per start at his 3.80 ERA, but as Joe cited above, pitchers who allow 4 runs in the post season have a dreadful record all time; Morris’s 7-4 is a definite outlier (prorate 3.80 for 9 innings per game and that’s an average of well over 4 runs for Morris’s team). Morris just happened to pitch for offensive teams that scored enough runs to make him a winner even though he gave up an average of 4 runs per postseason start.

    It’s nonsense like this that keeps Morris alive as a HOF candidate. It was one game. One great game, but still just one game. Career ERA+ of 105 only gets you into the HOF as a manager in my book. Even maligned HOF pitchers like Don Drysdale (121) and Don Sutton (108) managed better ERA+, and Sutton also has 324 wins (70 more), 3574 strikeouts (almost 1100 more), and 5282 innings (over 1400 more).

    Morris was a slightly above average inning eating starting pitcher who didn’t pitch well enough to make it into the HOF as a quality pitcher or long enough to make in into the HOF as a longevity pitcher, but did have perhaps the second best post season game (not career) of any pitcher. Don Larsen, the only pitcher who clearly had a better postseason game (you can’t beat perfect, right?) isn’t in the HOF either. One game isn’t enough.

  36. Thank YOU! I keep thinking about the “narrative” post when i’m listening to these guys and have to chuckle when Buck says he’s the “best pitcher in MLB” I wonder what would have happened if Verlander met Doc in the WS, what would he say then? Or did he just forget all about it? People are taking me to task on other sites saying “What you mean he’s not the best pitcher ever?”
    +1 on the ground outs, i always thought “does a guy seriously go up there planning on grounding out to the right side?” and if he does why am i going to give him a high-five? You grounded out dude!
    And the bunting, we have learned that it is pretty useless but managers insist on doing it, screwing up and then trying to swing with 2 strikes and getting out….and the announcers just looooove to talk bunting strategy, which reminds me, please bring back Terry Francona!!! Or give me a SAP with just game audio.
    While we’re at it can we give the Silver Slugger to JV as well?

  37. Dinky says:

    Joe, I am with you. Verlander’s season was only MVP worthy because of W-L. If Weaver had tossed one shutout inning in the last canceled start, Verlander would not even have won the AL ERA crown. But Verlander played for a high offense team (fourth in the majors and AL in runs this season) and a Cy Young worthy season plus high offense makes a pitcher look like an MVP even if he isn’t. I’d pick Cabrera (OPS+ 181) over Verlander (ERA+ 170) for MVP: basically the same OPS+ as Bautista (decimal places favor Bats), same Runs Created, and Cabrera did it for a playoff team while also leading the league in OBP (the most important stat) and games played (doing the best also doing it the longest).

    It’s not surprising what Verlander is doing in the postseason. In the regular season, against the three teams with a better offense than Detroit (Yankees, Red Sox, and Rangers) Verlander was 1-1 with two no decisions in five games, and the Tigers were 1-4 in those 5 starts. Add in the other two AL teams with winning records (Angels and Rays) and he was 2-1 with a 6 runs allowed ND in four more starts. Not exactly MVP stuff. But against all the weaker teams….

  38. Glenn says:

    Joe – the “Marilyn Munster” phrase has been in use for 40 years. It describes my wife for goodness sake.

  39. Nate says:

    I’m going off the Kotsay point. I’m a Brewer fan and did not get to watch the Tigers game so I am familiar with that situation.

    What I think is happening is that the announcers know that the viewers are not stupid. They know that when the audience sees an RBI double in the gap, it’s a good play. The viewers know that when Hairston beats the throw at the plate that it’s an incredible play. But the general audience is going to miss the Kotsay play. And I think that’s why they spent so much time talking about it. It’s not that they value the play more than Braun’s single, it’s that they want to point out to the casual viewer that there is an aspect of the game they might be missing. And maybe if they watch close enough, they can catch a few hidden parts that make the game that much more fun to watch. Do they go overboard on it? Sure. But if they talked about Braun’s single for 3 innings, it would get tiring too.

  40. Sandy says:

    It’s no secret that tv commentators are expected by their employers to heighten the moment. Circus barkers used to do this work. So we gather round the set to witness “the greatest show on earth” and to listen to advertisers hawk merchandise between innings.

  41. stephen says:

    I think the real question in re: Verlander–and I’m surprised that no one even in the comments has mentioned this (or maybe they have; I kinda skimmed them)–is why in the living eff was he even still pitching in the 8th inning? It was 7-2 and he’d already thrown 120 pitches! And you need him as fresh as possible for at least a relief appearance in Game 7! They could have even taken him out in the 7th, when they were up 6-2.

    If you can’t count on your bullpen to not give up 5 runs in two innings, then why not just throw a CG every game regardless of pitch count? It’s insane to me, unless they decided before the game that Under No Circumstances would JV even pitch an inning in Game 7 because it might damage him, in which case: doesn’t throwing 135 pitches v. ~115 (if they’d taken him out in the 7th) damage him? I just don’t understand that managerial move and less understand that there seems to be zero backlash against Jim Leyland today.

  42. @ Dinky…Thank You!! I’ve been stewing about Ryan Eades’ misrepresentation of Morris’ postseason numbers all day and wondering why nobody was calling him out on it. (For some reason I can’t post comments at work because my browser doesn’t recognize that I’m signed in).

    @Khazad…To be fair to McCarver (who is terrible) I don’t think he was actually arguing that a leadoff walk was better than a leadoff homerun. I think he was expressing his surprise (at length) that a leadoff homerun leads to more multirun innings than a leadoff walk. Which is also stupid, of course. That’s what I remember reading on FJM, anyway.

    @ David…No need to threaten Joe not to make excuses for Greinke. The last thing I recall Joe writing about Greinke (don’t know if it was here or on Twitter) is that he was surprised how poorly Greinke has pitched this postseason.

    @erik…of course we have no way to know if Braun still would have singled. But that doesn’t invalidate the argument that Kotsay did little or nothing to contribute to the run scoring. The best way I can explain that is a hypothetical: suppose Kotsay had struck out and then Braun had homered. It would be absurd to give Kotsay any type of credit for contributing to the runs scored. And yet if Kotsay had done something different maybe Braun wouldn’t have homered. Giving Kotsay credit for three innings for a groundout that did nothing to contribute to the actual run scored is less absurd than giving him credit for striking out in front of a homer, but only by a little.

    @VanillaBlue…It’s far from clear that Greinke has been “completely average.” By old world stats he went 16-6 this year. More importantly, he led MLB in xFIP which some people consider to be the best indicator of how a pitchers has actually pitched. Led. MLB. His xFIP was 2.56. Second was Cliff Lee at 2.68.

  43. erik says:

    I know. “I’m not a big fan of productive outs, either”, as I said. I give Kotsay no credit. I just think that Joe’s assertion that “Morgan would have scored from second” on a single that we can’t predict isn’t useful. That’s all. I don’t defend the sacrifice or the announcers. Merely frustrated that we all waste time predicting what “would have happened.”

  44. Michael says:

    @erik – I think the phrase you’re looking for is “the fallacy of the predetermined outcome”.

  45. mg says:

    Somebody’s got to step up and play ombudsman at times like these. Thank you.

    The best LCS Game Score through last night is a 62 from Randy Wolf, and I admit I was hoping to find a post on LCS hitting under the ‘Superhuman’ headline. Something about Andrus or Pujols or Braun or all of the above and more. I can almost hear Mel Allen saying “How about that!” under a highlight of Pujols’s consecutive extra base hits or Delmon Young completing the cycle.

  46. rokirovka says:

    @stephen: I believe Leyland announced before the game that his best two relievers, Benoit and Valverde, were not available for Game 5 due to heavy use in the previous games. So he wanted to push Verlander as far as he could. Not saying it was right, but that was the reason he left him in so long.

    To reinforce the point of Joe’s post, the real story of the game was DETROIT SCORED 7 RUNS. Raburn, Cabrera, Martinez and Young went 6 for 13 plus 2 walks for Cabrera, the four of them produced 6 runs, and they went single-double-triple-homer in order in the 6th. And they did it against C.J. Wilson.

    You don’t need an MVP or Cy Young or even a league average pitching performance to win a game when you score 7 RUNS. Even a replacement level pitching performance should be enough to win. Verlander and Coke combined to give Detroit somewhere between a league average and replacement level performance, so they won.

  47. Vanilla Blue says:

    @TheAngryYoungMan: Greinke’s ERA+ in 2010 was 100. This year it was 102. That is a measure of how he actually pitched over the past two years–and it was decidedly average. xFIP is a predictive tool that correlates with *future* ERA, but it is not a measure of how well he “really” pitched this year.

  48. halphasian says:

    Dinky, thanks for pointing out the mistake in Ryan’s posting of Jack Morris’ postseason numbers. I knew when I first saw those numbers that they had to be wrong. Maybe Ryan didn’t count his year in Toronto?

    I should also point out a minor mistake in your post. ERA is already prorated for 9 innings. Jack Morris had a 3.80 ERA, which meant he gave up 3.8 earned runs every 9 innings — this would not lead to an average of “well over 4 runs” per 9-inning game, but to exactly 3.8 (earned) runs.

  49. @Vanilla Blue…I think you misunderstand both xFIP and ERA+.

    ERA+ is useful, but all it really does is display a pitcher’s ERA relative to the league and adjusting for ballpark. A great tool, but it’s still based on ERA. As such it has one of the same failings as ERA which is that it does not take into account defense. One of the reasons that Greinke’s ERA+ was not impressive this year (I said nothing about 2010) was because his defense was terrible. Terrible in this sense doesn’t mean errors. It means lots of balls that average defenders would catch went for hits against Milwaukee. (So if Greinke pitched against the exact same lineups in the exact same ballparks but with better defenders behind him, both his ERA and ERA+ would have been lower because fewer of the balls in play against him would have resulted in hits).

    Which brings us to xFIP. Yes, it has predictive value, but it’s predictive value lies in the fact that it absolutely IS (or attempts to be) a measure of how a pitcher has actually pitched. It strips out luck and defense. So if a pitcher posts an ERA that is not in line with his xFIP, you can expect his results to be closer to his xFIP in the future.

    Many people would argue (I’m not necessarily making this argument) that Greinke’s better xFIP this year indicates that when you strip out luck, defense and ballpark, Greinke fundamentally pitched better this year than Verlander, Lee and Halladay (and everyone else in MLB).

  50. @halphasian…good point about ERA. I was so happy that someone called out Ryan Eades I didn’t even notice that horrendous error by Dinky.

    @Dinky…since you were alert enough to call shenanigans on Ryan I’m going to give you credit for just having a brain fart in your eagerness to debunk the Morris Myth. I’m not going to believe that you actually didn’t know what ERA represented.

  51. Vanilla Blue says:

    @TheAngryYoungMan: agree about the limitations ERA+, although I’d argue that two seasons worth of an average ERA+ with different teams (and in different leagues) is still an accurate representation of Greinke’s performance. But I think you are overstating the role of xFIP. When you adjust for “luck, defense, and ballpark”, you are no longer discussing what actually happened on the field. xFIP is a great predictive tool, no doubt about it, but it is stretching logic (and regression analysis) to claim that it is a better measure of actual results on the field on a season-by-season basis.

  52. E says:

    No. Your pique is not directed at Verlander. Its the exaggeration leading to the misrepresentation of his performances. And its not about you either.

    It is about lazy and thoughtless word usage trivializing real life accomplishments. Its a form of infantile and ovine-like grandiosity. Randomly applying adjectives meant for serious events to trivialities merely for the sake of attention-seeking is annoying and reflects piss-poorly on the speaker/writer.

    Verlander just happens to be the flavor of the day for the hyperventilating sheep who can never seem to cram too much hyperbole into their broadcasts and writings.

  53. Dr. FeelNice says:


    Randy WOLF- full moon- coincidence? Probably not.

  54. NMark W says:

    This sports media narrative crap goes hand in hand with general news reporting and it drives me insane. Some breathless reporter standing outside of a building where the POTUS (either party, but with Obama it has been particularly overdone) is about to give an important speech. “This is definitely one of the most important speeches of his presidency, blah, blah….Hell, you’d think that every word spoken was coming down from on high.

    I thought that Terry Francona was excellent when he filled in so brilliantly for McCarver earlier this post-season. Some of his insights were just natural thoughts coming from an engaged manager as he watched a ballgame. It was fascinating to digest. “Look at how the batter just adjusted his feet” , “The pitcher should be doing such and such because of the shadows in play this inning” and so on. Now McCarver is back and we are all being treated like dummies from hell. I think Joe Buck found Francona fascinating too. He called the game differently than when Tim is next to him in the booth. Joe gets comfortably lazy when Tim “the old shoe” is trying to persuade viewers/listeners that baseball is a rather interesting game and here’s why….Bleh!

  55. JHitts says:

    I don’t think I ever thought you were “out to get” Justin Verlander. I’m a HUGE Tigers fan and even I have seen that he hasn’t quite been himself this postseason.

    But you know what? I don’t even care. He pitched well. Not great. Not awesome. Not super-humanly. Just well. Well enough to get the Tigers back to Texas. I mean, Christ, if he had only gone five innings and been lifted for, say, Daniel Schlareth or Brad Benny (I shudder at the thought), we wouldn’t even be having this discussion now.

    Everyone knows that Detroit’s middle relief is pretty awful. So, sure, maybe you WANT him to throw a complete game shutout like Carp in game 5 of the LDS. Well, shit! So did everyone in Detroit! But it didn’t work out that way. He threw for 7 1/3 innings, got the Tigers in a position to NOT have to use those awful middle relievers and gave them a chance to win.

    Yes, the offense scored seven runs. I understand if they hadn’t hit those solo homers, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now.

    But Verlander did the bare minimum to get them to the win. I suppose that’s “gritty,” considering he didn’t have his best stuff. But “gritty” doesn’t mean “good.” I think people are confusing those two terms.

  56. Mark says:

    Actually Dinky, there is one player who is in the Hall of Fame for one game…hell, one at bat.

    Bill Mazeroski

    Without that series winning homerun he does not come within 9 miles of the Hall of Fame.

  57. Another thing that I could do without in today’s network coverage of professional sports are those nonsensical songs that the networks play before each Sunday and Monday night NFL telecast. You know, the ones that are performed each week by some formerly prominent often-country-biased musical act that lamely reference the combatant teams, announcers, and so forth and sort of seem like they were all recorded several months ago rather than in the days leading up the big game. Apparently, there must have been a presidential order made a decade or more ago which mandates that such a song be played before each night NFL telecast, else the Super Bowl champions won’t be invited to the White House. Man, what I wouldn’t give to see those songs disappear.

  58. spencersteel says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. spencersteel says:

    I believe the real struggle here is reconciling exciting with effective. Joe alluded to just that with a Michael Vick tweet last Sunday. For most of 2011, Verlander was both, and any suggestion to the contrary is flatly silly. That said, let the record reflect that July 31 was the last start in which Verlander was TRULY dominant. That was the start in which he embarrassed the Angels and in which Jered Weaver lost his mind. Neyer suggested – and I think it’s reasonable to conclude – that Verlander is simply a bit worn down after 271+ IP, easily a career-high. Verlander’s 132nd pitch was 101 MPH, and his 133rd was 100, despite the fact that it was almost hit into the Detroit River. That’s crazy stuff and tends to excite the senses more than an 86 MPH sinker on the outside corner. It also causes a lot of broadcasters, journalists, and fans to confuse unusual with excellent. Fans I understand, but for the people who are paid to report on what happens I’d prefer a more detached analysis than the silly narratives with which they often take off and run. If the best I can expect is Buck and McCarver genuflecting over Verlander, or Ron Darling talking about how the Brewers aren’t making plays in the postseason as they did all the regular year (when even a cursory inquiry reveals one of the very worst defensive teams in quite a while), then my enjoyment of the game is diminished just a bit, and frankly that sucks.

  60. Andreas says:

    Watching Justin Verlander get`s me thinking of a phrase pitchers made comparing a certain pitch to sex, in George Will`s book – Men at work.

    – When it`s good it`s terrific, and when it`s bad, it`s still pretty good.

    Justin Verlanders stuff is pretty good even on a bad day.

    If you expect shut out`s, no no`s and perfectos every time he takes the mound, turn off your TV, and read up on something useful like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

  61. @VanillaBlue…”When you adjust for “luck, defense, and ballpark”, you are no longer discussing what actually happened on the field.”

    Exactly. xFIP is definitely not a measure of what actually happened on the field. But the whole point of xFIP is that what happens on the field is not necessarily indicative of how the pitcher has pitched, because so much of what happens is completely out of the pitcher’s control.

    If Pitcher A gives up 100 ground balls to the ss area of the field, and 98 of them get fielded because his SS is Elvis Andrus, then he gets traded at the all-star break and he gives up 100 ground balls to ss and only 80 of them get fielded because now his SS is Yuniesky Betancourt, that’s 18 more baserunners and likely a higher ERA even though the pitcher has done the exact same thing. Pitcher A has no control over whether his SS is Andrus or Yuni but it has a big impact on his ERA. It has no impact on his FIP or xFIP though, which is why many people consider it a better measure of how the pitcher actually pitched. (Because whether his ss is good at catching the ball or not has nothing to do with the pitcher).

  62. sanford says:

    I disagree with you a little bit on Kotsay moving the runner to third. You don’t know that Morgan will get a hit. If there were no outs in the situation and Braun gets moved to third, at least a fly ball will score Braun. But better that Kotsay get a hit and keep the inning going.

  63. Gary says:

    A point of clarification needs to be made about Kotsay and his “productive out.” As a high school coach I do teach kids about the value of hitting behind the runner, but this is NOT the same as teaching them to “give themselves up” or to “sacrifice your batting average” (which seems a curious complaint from Joe considering his abhorrence of the batting average). It is not even to promote “team togetherness.”

    The goal, as always, is for the batter to get a hit. Ideally he will single (or double or homer) and the runner will score from second. But if an out is made, then at least the runner has the opportunity to move to third, where he can score in a variety of ways.

    Although I seldom use the sacrifice bunt, I also teach the kids that this is not a give up out. I want them to place the bunt if possible, and bust their butts to first base. The goal is for them to beat out the bunt for a hit, or to force a hurried throw, or in any case, put pressure on the defense.

    I agree, though, that the announcers blow these types of situations way out of proportion. Obviously, Braun’s single was far more important. But Kotsay’s ground out to second was far more valuable than if he had grounded out to third or short.

  64. Irishjohn says:

    I quite like the “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills” approach. I feel that way on a regular basis.

  65. Irishjohn says:

    I became a lot more interested in baseball in the last couple of years, and a lot more literate regarding how the game actually works. I must say, the announcing has been problematic for me. I’m considering watching the Rangers tonight with the TV muted and ESPN Radio turned up, to see if they’re any better.

    I think the Tigers have been exciting, and as a Rangers fan they have my heart in my mouth. But there’s a lot of garbage being talked too.

  66. Ed says:

    As far as announcers, Joe Buck and McCarver are on my last nerve. They. Never. Stop. Talking.

  67. Mark Daniel says:

    Here’s my problem with the media – how did they not let us know how freaking good the Texas Rangers are? We heard tons about how dominant the Yankees were, how good the Rays pitching staff was, and how Justin Verlander could carry a team to a WS title on his back all by his lonesome. But we didn’t hear much about the Rangers, at least nothing with any detail. We heard cute stories about quirky Ron Washington. We were treated to comments like, “Texas tries to make it two World Series appearances in a row.”
    But that’s it. Watching this Tigers-Rangers series, especially tonight now that Nelson Cruz just launched his SIXTH home run of the series to make the score 15-4, it’s apparent that this team is just dominant. Up and down the lineup they have mashers. Their bullpen appears nearly unhittable. But we (or, I should say, “I”) haven’t heard much of anything about them.
    I know in Texas and maybe in AL West cities they know about the Rangers, but I gotta say I was unaware of how good they were. I think either I have to pay attention more, or the media has to. Or both.

  68. adam says:

    @Mark Daniel,

    It’s because they’re BLACK OPS.

  69. HomeRow says:

    Verlander has a 5.57 ERA in 42 IP in the postseason spread over 2 years. Small sample size but that is just terrible. Maybe he just wears down at the end of the year?

  70. gbewing says:

    Before the playoffs I actually thought there was a reasonable chance Verlander would show fatigue. His last 2 starts he was nudging toward 130 pitches and the last start was needless as the game meant nothing so I wonder why Leyland did use it as tune up pull him at 80-90 but he pushed him to 125+-I get that when you are fighting for a spot or title but this game was nothing.

  71. @gbewing…You can argue whether it was worth it push Verlander so hard, but it is flat wrong to say the same “meant nothing.” The Tigers and Rangers were fighting for the #2 seed in the playoffs right down to the last night of the season.

    The #2 seed meant not playing the Yankees in the 1st round and also meant home field advantage in the second round if the other could upset the Yankees in the first round.

  72. NMark W says:

    @ Mark Daniel: No national sports media type paid any attention to the Texas Rangers this regular season since Opening Day when Josh Hamilton was injured. Then, the NBA Mavs caught fire in May-June, it got HOT in Texas, the state caught fire and the NFL lockout ended. MLB fans were fed the usual NYY and BoSox crap all year like most all other recent years and any other teams playing well had to be “surprises” before they would get much coverage. The Pirates probably received more national coverage in July than the Rangers – it’s truly a sad time for good journalism in our lives. Well, except for Joe’s stuff.

  73. James says:

    @IrishJohn: I’ve been listening to the losing team’s radio broadcast. All of these playoff teams are quite good, and its insightful to hear from the broadcasters who’ve watched 162+ games talk about what’s happening with perspective.

  74. blovy8 says:

    This could be a really interesting World Series for turning the conventional wisdom about the importance of starting pitching on it’s head. I expect Buck and McCarver to overreact to Carpenter or Wilson throwing 5 1/3 innings and giving up only 3 runs against these offenses, by saying how impressive it was that they held them to that.

  75. Edward says:

    HomeRow: Verlander’s first postseason year was 2006; he was a rookie. This year he set a career high in IP, so you could make a case that he was worn down.

  76. Dinky says:

    Mark, Mazeroski is on a very short list of the best defensive second basemen in history. Nine times he led the NL in 2B range factor/g, and had four more top 5 finishes. Ten times he led the league in rf/9 innings. Three times he led the NL in fielding percentage. He is first all time in career Total Zone runs as 2B. Ten straight seasons he had a gold glove, made the All-Star team, or both. His total post season OPS was .944, so he had a lot more than just one famous World Series at bat. Maz is in the HOF because of his career. That game helped, but he deserves to be there even without it.

    Sabermetrics still does not have what I consider good numbers for gauging defensive excellence and comparing it to offensive excellence. But I think Maz is a defensive HOFer (along with Ozzie).

  77. erik says:

    (Thanks, Michael)

  78. Hal says:

    Clearly the ‘narrative’ for this World Series, at least to this point, is “La Russa, the Master Tactician”. It doesn’t matter that the players are actually performing, it matters that TLR has put them in the proper spots…

  79. A bit of a late read for me, but I am glad you mentioned the Carpenter v. Halladay game 5. I am a Cardinals fan, but I have to say that Halladay’s effort was one of the most masterful performances I have ever witnessed. Carpenter was more dominant, but the Phillies just weren’t hitting. I think a lot of pitchers could have dominated them. Halladay was in so many jams and managed to get out of them. At the end of the day, you would of thought that Halladay pitched a bad game. He still pitched 8 innings and gave up one 1 (in the 1st inning). He is absolutely the best pitcher in the world, and as far as I am concerned nobody is even close (Verlander, Lincecum, Lee, CC, etc.). The guy has thrown some of the gutsiest postseason efforts ever the last couple of years. Halladay will never be voted MVP, but day-in-and-day-out the guy pitches masterfully. That is the only way to describe his abilities – masterful. Always love the Halladay posts so please find a reason to write about him. Maybe a Maddux conneciton, heh?

  80. Mark says:

    Yeah Dink, Mazeroski was a great fielding second baseman. So was Frank White. You think Frank is going to the Hall of Fame anytime soon?

    Bobby Grich was a great second baseman also (not quite as good as Maz, but very close)and of course he hit better than most outfielders. He was on the ballot what, one year? Two?

    I don’t see it. I can’t think of a second baseman in the Hall that was not an excellent hitter, except for Maz.

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