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westofyou
06-11-2005, 06:33 PM
I posted this on redlegnation last month, as Casey rumors circulate I thought it might be good to bring it back up over here.

http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols2/greatest.a.hero.jpg

Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else.

Sean Casey Reds first baseman is not a power hitter or a patient man willing to take a walk, but a man who can hit .305 with 45 doubles, while driving in and scoring 90 runs.

Or so the story goes, Casey has actually had 40 doubles three times and 100 RBI's and 90 runs scored twice. His highest home runs total was 25 in 1999 and his 24 last year was his second highest in 6 seasons.

If you're a Reds fan then all this sounds like a broken record to you most likely.

But really... how familiar is the batting average first sacker with no speed and little power in Cincinnati Reds history?

Below is a table that ranks Runs Created vs. The league numbers of the 1b position for the original 8 National League

The Avg, BB, SLG and BPA (Bases per Plate Appearance) are all vs. the league average as well.

RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG BB SLG BPA
1 Cardinals 1.44 6.18 4.73 .020 1395 .064 .062
2 Giants 1.00 5.73 4.74 .013 653 .052 .049
3 Dodgers 0.68 5.42 4.75 .010 649 .036 .033
4 Cubs 0.55 5.28 4.73 .011 320 .026 .024
5 Reds 0.49 5.22 4.73 .013 -353 .036 .023
6 Phillies 0.37 5.09 4.73 .005 744 .016 .013
7 Pirates 0.32 5.06 4.74 -.002 742 .023 .023
8 Braves 0.15 4.89 4.74 .004 140 .013 .006
The above shows me that historically overall the Reds 1b have all been fairly pedestrian. The Reds rank 5th in RC/27 vs the league, but 2nd in Batting average. The Slugging percentage is a distant third and the Reds 1b are the only team to have below average walk totals, an incredible 493 behind the 7th place team.

Who are these first sackers that come to Cincinnati, refusing to take a walk, hitting for average and are they leaving a suit that only fit Ralph Hinckley?

Here are the top 12 Reds 1st basemen ranked by Plate Appearances

PLATE APPEARANCES PA AVG OBA SLG OPS G
1 Ted Kluszewski 5404 .302 .357 .512 .869 1339 1950's
2 Frank McCormick 5202 .301 .350 .437 .788 1228 1940's
3 Dan Driessen 4570 .267 .364 .421 .785 1228 1980's
4 Tony Perez 4247 .276 .343 .458 .801 1156 1970's
5 Sean Casey 3891 .304 .371 .469 .840 938 2000's
6 Hal Morris 3762 .305 .362 .444 .807 1049 1990's
7 Doc Hoblitzell 3577 .283 .339 .388 .727 850 1900's
8 Jake Daubert 3523 .301 .352 .409 .761 801 1910's - END
9 Lee May 3065 .275 .322 .491 .813 756 1960's - END
10 Gordy Coleman 2587 .271 .322 .447 .769 767 1960's - Begining
11 Jake Beckley 2340 .326 .373 .434 .807 530 1910's - Begining

100 years before Sean Casey showed up from the Indian organization the Reds signed newly released Jake Beckley, a slightly cross-eyed 1st baseman who made a name for himself in Pittsburgh (Sean Casey is from Pittsburgh!!) Beckley had produced a robust .300/.359/.442/.801 in a hitters era. Since he played at Pittsburgh and later Cincinnati I would be remiss in noting that in all of baseball history Jake is 4th in 3b all time with 243. (http://redlegnation.com/archives/2005/04/20/aarrrghhh-pirates/)

After Beckley faded into the sunset, a few years passed before the position was seized by Dick Hoblizell (Doc due to his Dental Degree) his 850 games as a Red left an offensive imprint of .283/.339/.388/.727, a typical deadball era line, Hoblitzell was well known for his fielding in an era that the bunt was prominent it was important for the corner men to be adapt at working the bunt and the ensuing plays it generally created. He was slick gloveman who lost his batting skills during the 1914 season.

For five more seasons the suit sat in the corner (most likely hiding from Hal Chase)

The next man to find the suit was Former Brooklyn great Jake Daubert.

A former batting champ and a lifetime .300 hitter Daubert was known for his superb bunting skills and once had 6 sacrifices in a doubleheader, he bunted so much that in the list of top ten sac bunts by a 1b is basically the property of Daubert.


SACRIFICES YEAR SAC
T1 Jake Daubert 1915 39
T1 Jake Daubert 1919 39
3 Stuffy McInnis 1923 37
4 Jake Daubert 1916 35
5 Doc Johnston 1915 34
T6 Jake Daubert 1921 33
T6 Jake Daubert 1914 33
T8 Jake Daubert 1910 31
T8 Jake Daubert 1922 31
T8 John Hummel 1909 31
That second one is the Reds first NL and WC season, the 4th one is the Dodgers 1916 NL Championship season; it's probably one of the safest held records out there in a sport saturated with records.

Daubert manned the Reds 1st base position until he was 40, it was after he left that the Reds had their hardest time filling the position.

Between 1925-1936 three Reds 1st baseman managed to get at least 1300 at bats, however none played above average baseball and all were on the down slope of careers that knew much better days. They were (starting in 1925), Wally Pipp (sans headache), George Kelly and Jim Bottomley, all three OPS'd below league average and were out of the game shortly after leaving the Reds. The depression era Reds were a poor team and their recycled lineup of used to be's highlighted that daily and nightly.

In 1938 Frank McCormick arrived for good, perhaps the suit fit him the best so far.

If Sean Casey has a Reds doppelganger then McCormick is the man in that mirror. The 1940 MVP and NL hit leader from 1938-1940 McCormick was the most popular player as far as the fans in Cincinnati were concerned and was amongst the first inducted in the Reds Hall of Fame in 1958.

A batting average driven player McCormick rarely walked and struck even less. His first 3000 at bats as a Red compared with Casey’s (3488 ab's) are eerily similar

.303/.348/.444/.792 - McCormick
.270/.337/.383/.720 - League
.304/.370/.468/.839 - Casey
.270/.343/.436/.779 - League
Another fair comparison can be found in Frank’s habit of grounding into double plays.

Top fifteen Reds 1b in GIDP
GIDP YEAR GIDP SO BB AVG EBH PA
T1 Frank McCormick 1940 23 26 52 .309 66 676
T1 Frank McCormick 1939 23 16 40 .332 63 688
3 Frank McCormick 1941 22 13 40 .269 53 653
T4 Frank McCormick 1945 20 22 56 .276 43 644
T4 Ted Kluszewski 1950 20 28 33 .307 62 572
T4 Lee May 1968 20 100 34 .290 55 602
T7 Lee May 1970 19 125 38 .253 70 649
T7 Sean Casey 2003 19 58 51 .291 36 629
T7 Frank McCormick 1944 19 17 57 .305 60 645
10 Frank Robinson 1960 18 67 82 .297 70 562
11 Tony Perez 1974 17 112 61 .265 58 667
T12 Frank Robinson 1959 16 93 69 .311 71 626
T12 Sean Casey 2001 16 63 43 .310 53 588
T12 Hal Morris 1994 16 62 34 .335 44 483
T12 Sean Casey 2004 16 36 46 .324 70 633
T12 Ted Kluszewski 1951 16 33 35 .259 50 644
T12 Sean Casey 2000 16 80 52 .315 55 545
Later in his career when he was a well-liked Red and team leader, McCormick's power numbers waned and his batting average became the barometer to his game. He finished his career in Boston on their 1948 NL championship team.

In the fifties Ted Klusewski showed up, a massive man with power <em>and</em> batting average skills came to town. Klu is the Reds greatest offensive 1st baseman. Listed behind Beckley (who played half his games in the 1890's) Klusewski was a masher in an era of mashers. No suit could fit that man and he sliced the sleeves off the ones he was issued by the club.

After Ted left town with his battered back, Gordy Coleman showed up to try on the suit and managed to play 1st in the manner that it has always been handled, low walks, low strikeouts and occasional grace in the field.

The only problem is was that Gordy Coleman wasn't a .300 hitter like his predecessors and by the age of 31 he was out of the game; he must have lost the instruction manual to the suit earlier than most

After Gordy left the most successful era in the Reds history began.

It was during this era that the Reds had 1st basemen that were nothing like the standard 1st baseman that had played on the West Side since Vine Street was flush with German Beer Halls and nickle steins.

Of course I'm talking about the Big Red Machine and Lee May and Tony Perez.

I won't bore you with the usual details but I will point out the following, both may and Perez are in the top ten of Reds 1st baseman in RC/27 vs. the league.


RUNS CREATED/GAME DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE AVG OBA SLG BPA
1 Jake Beckley 1.74 7.13 5.39 .044 .033 .079 .058
2 Ted Kluszewski 1.70 6.73 5.03 .034 .016 .100 .076
3 Tony Perez 1.04 5.44 4.40 .015 .013 .074 .055
4 Dan Driessen 0.97 5.47 4.50 .001 .033 .031 .057
5 Sean Casey 0.97 6.27 5.30 .034 .027 .033 .014
6 Hal Morris 0.88 5.74 4.86 .037 .027 .033 .013
7 Lee May 0.88 5.19 4.31 .015 -.004 .108 .075
8 Frank McCormick 0.74 5.46 4.71 .031 .013 .058 .026
9 Gordy Coleman 0.39 4.96 4.56 .007 -.006 .045 .029
10 Doc Hoblitzell 0.35 4.84 4.49 .017 .003 .032 .017
11 Jake Daubert 0.13 4.92 4.79 .014 .010 .017 .007
They are also the only 2 who struck out more then the league average and only Perez walked more than league average (barely)

STRIKEOUTS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE SLG
1 Tony Perez 195 727 532 .074
2 Lee May 171 596 425 .108
3 Dan Driessen -3 540 543 .031
4 John Reilly -12 120 132 .103
5 Hal Morris -89 467 556 .033
6 Doc Hoblitzell -95 156 251 .032
7 Jake Daubert -95 126 221 .017
8 Sean Casey -193 417 610 .033
9 Ted Kluszewski -218 292 510 .100
10 Frank McCormick -251 149 400 .058

WALKS DIFF PLAYER LEAGUE SLG
1 Dan Driessen 224 606 382 .031
2 Tony Perez 22 390 368 .074
3 Sean Casey -9 339 348 .033
4 Jake Daubert -15 230 245 .017
5 Hal Morris -16 304 320 .033
6 Jake Beckley -29 230 259 .079
7 Doc Hoblitzell -57 249 306 .032
8 Lee May -85 178 263 .108
9 Ted Kluszewski -87 406 493 .100
10 Frank McCormick -111 339 450 .058
After Perez left the Reds 1st baseman with the best secondary skills slid into the position and is best remembered as the man who replaced "Doggie."

Driessen was like many prior Red 1st sackers, he hit for average and didn't strike more than most, but the man could take a walk like no other Reds 1st baseman and even today he leads all Reds 1st baseman in walks by a wide margin. (200)

The Reds acquired Hal Morris in 1990 and fitting into the suit (though somewhat baggy) he fulfilled his duty and he finished his career at .304/.361/.433/.794.

As sure the oroboros bites its tale this piece comes to an end with the swap of Dave Burba for Pittsburgh native Sean Casey in the spring of 1997. A bat on the ball player, Casey doesn't live by power or strike out (or walk much)

It's my guess that in the eyes of the owners that the suit fits still.

But it could get tight sooner than later.

Food for thought.

The Reds and Braves are the only teams of the orginal 8 National League teams to NOT have a 1st baseman who ever averaged 2 runs better than the league in his career.

Big Klu
06-11-2005, 07:05 PM
Excellent article! Have you written similar articles for each of the other positions?

westofyou
06-11-2005, 07:44 PM
Thanks, so far just this one, and the above.

http://www.redszone.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35502