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View Full Version : O'Neill, Daniels, Larkin, Jones & Stillwell: Past Thoughts and Observations?



mdccclxix
07-20-2010, 07:33 PM
Hello,

I picked off this idea from the ORG during a post where Rojo pointed out that many thought O'Neill, Daniels, Larkin, Jones & Stillwell were all going to work out. Or, at least, at the time there were opinions favoring each player strongly.

That got me wondering, what was your impression of those players at the time?

To start, in retrospect, for me, I have trouble fully understanding 2 things:

1) How was it clear that Stillwell was inferior to Larkin?

Stillwell - #2 overall pick in 1983 - rose quickly (perhaps rushed) through the minors and at 20 was hitting .264 in AAA Denver. In 1987 he OPS'd .690 in Cincinnati, then was traded to KC where he reached his pinnacle - the 1988 ASG. From there his career faded, never showing any offensive promise.

Larkin - #4 overall pick in 1985 out of U of M - batted .329 and slugged .525 in AAA in 1986, then by 1987 he was OPSing .678 with Cincinnati. About the same as Stillwell to that point. Larkin appears to have had better speed. The rest, of course, is Reds history.

I'm guessing this was a no-brainer, just watch the two play and you'd be able to see the superior athlete, but for someone who only has stats now to go from, it's interesting to see how "close" it may have been. Any stories about the two playing together during that 1987 season? What was the talk? Was there tension? Why did Stillwell make the ASG in '88 anyway?

Down the road, perhaps a similar scenario may come about between Alonso and Grandal, two similar players drafted two years apart with similar skills at the plate...

2) What happened to Kal Daniels?

I hear some things off hand about his hustle, desire, mentality, but I don't hear enough about his ability. He was a pretty good hitter, and some years that was putting it lightly.

Picked 7th overall in 1982, he smoked through the minors, hitting .310 and slugging .507, and ended up in Cincinnati in 1986 at 22. In half a year in 1986 he put up 2.1 WAR. In 1987 - 4.3 WAR. In 1988 - 5.1 WAR.

In 1989 he looks to have been injured, then traded to LA for a Tim Leary rental and Mariano Duncan, who's minors #'s were not impressive. I know Duncan was a key player in 1990's Championship team, but what couldn't Daniels have done that year? Was this a smart trade?

In 1990, Daniels was a 4.8 WAR player. Then, at 27 and 28, almost inexplicably, he hit the skids and retired. Wha? He must have been Albert Belle's cousin if the end was welcomed so quickly by all parties. Strange.

What were your opinions at the time of Daniels?

__________________________________________________ ___


Other than that, Tracy Jones was a bust, eh? Plain as day? That's what I thought.

Thoughts on O'Neill? His career arc in the minors was measured and slow, kind of like Votto, but how frustrating was he early on? He never hit for much average as a Red.

At the time, I was learning how to read with 1986 Topps series cards, I think I had every one of these Reds players, so I'd love to hear from those who were following the Reds what impressions this batch of prospects left them. Perhaps we can gleen some sage wisdom for our current situation, another gaggle of prospects. Thanks in advance.

dougdirt
07-20-2010, 08:52 PM
The idea that Stillwell was in the same class as Larkin was a joke. I laugh everytime I hear it brought up.

Larkin hit .311/.361/.462 in the minor leagues.

Stillwell hit .275/.373/.352 in the minor leagues (not counting his days later on in the minors).

Essentially Larkin was everything that you wanted Stillwell to become one day. Why it was a tough decision still confuses me.

As for Stillwell and the 88 AS Game. His first half was pretty strong, as he hit .261/.337/.428 before falling off a cliff in the second half.

mdccclxix
07-20-2010, 10:24 PM
The idea that Stillwell was in the same class as Larkin was a joke. I laugh everytime I hear it brought up.

Larkin hit .311/.361/.462 in the minor leagues.

Stillwell hit .275/.373/.352 in the minor leagues (not counting his days later on in the minors).

Essentially Larkin was everything that you wanted Stillwell to become one day. Why it was a tough decision still confuses me.

As for Stillwell and the 88 AS Game. His first half was pretty strong, as he hit .261/.337/.428 before falling off a cliff in the second half.

So it was patently obvious. That's what I suspected, but to hear the tales of caution, you'd think the Reds simply lucked out not trading Larkin instead of Stillwell.

mth123
07-20-2010, 10:39 PM
When these guys were coming up, the prototypical SS was the guy with the smooth glide over in front of the ball, the weak stick and sure hands. An athletic stud like Larkin with power and speed just wasn't supposed to be capable of handling SS on a daily basis and many didn't thnk he could stay there.

The Reds asked Larkin to move to 2B and he publicly rejected the idea and made no secret that he was unhappy about it. He claimed that he was a SS and wasn't moving to accomodate anyone. At first he was considered kind of selfish for it, but he went out and showed everyone why he shouldn't be the one to move. Stillwell was dealt and Larkin ushered in a new era at SS that was quickly overshadowed by the Jeter, Nomar, A-Rod trio. Larkin is a Hall of Famer, IMO, who really was one of the first in a changed profile for the position and people who couldn't see it coming (which was a majority as I recall) were the ones touting Stillwell.

Benihana
07-20-2010, 11:32 PM
The idea that Stillwell was in the same class as Larkin was a joke. I laugh everytime I hear it brought up.

Larkin hit .311/.361/.462 in the minor leagues.

Stillwell hit .275/.373/.352 in the minor leagues (not counting his days later on in the minors).

Essentially Larkin was everything that you wanted Stillwell to become one day. Why it was a tough decision still confuses me.

As for Stillwell and the 88 AS Game. His first half was pretty strong, as he hit .261/.337/.428 before falling off a cliff in the second half.

And I laugh every time I hear you say that. If you weren't old enough to live it at the time, I wouldn't call it a joke.

Is Chris Heisey vs. Drew Stubbs a joke? Because the difference between them is pretty damn similar to Larkin and Stillwell in the late 1980s.

VR
07-21-2010, 12:06 AM
Kurt Stillwell crushed more balls to the warning track than any other Reds player I have witnessed. Had he not fallen in love w/ the long ball and honed a line drive stroke (like Barry) he may have had a more productive career.

Kal Daniels was a pleasure to watch hit, pure pure pure. He appeared to have the sam interest and drive for baseball that I do for having my fingernails removed with pliers. I think that is one player that walked away from a crazy amount of money, because he had talent.

Tracy Jones was on the other side of the spectrum. Effort, determination, work ethic, desire. Just a little thin on talent.

I was never a huge fan of Paul Oneil.....he was by far the least talented of Davis/ Daniels/ ONeil....

dougdirt
07-21-2010, 12:10 AM
And I laugh every time I hear you say that. If you weren't old enough to live it at the time, I wouldn't call it a joke.

Is Chris Heisey vs. Drew Stubbs a joke? Because the difference between them is pretty damn similar to Larkin and Stillwell in the late 1980s.

Heisey/Stubbs isn't close to this comparison. Larkin/Stillwell went 2nd and 4th overall in the draft. Both had the 'upside' that scouts liked. Heisey simply doesn't have that upside that the scouts are going to fall in love with. Stubbs does.

As for me not being able to remember it, it doesn't change anything. The scouting reports haven't changed because of time on the two players. They are what they were. The numbers haven't changed either. Both were viewed to have immense upsides. One guy was playing to it in the minor leagues. One guy was showing flashes of it at times. Never should have been a debate. I didn't need to be there for it to know any of that. Odds are that hardly anyone outside of scouts even knew the numbers at the time, they knew what Marty and Joe told them on the radio. Being around at the time wasn't all that important to the issue.

Johnny Footstool
07-21-2010, 12:14 AM
I've heard that the Reds wanted O'Neill to be a power hitter, and they kept tinkering with his swing to try to generate more lift. The Yankees got ahold of him and told him to quit trying so hard and go with a swing that felt comfortable, and he blossomed into a fearsome hitter.

Scrap Irony
07-21-2010, 12:23 AM
What scouting reports, doug?

This was pre-internet and, unless you have an "in" in Cincinnati no one has been privy to, most of those were destroyed long ago.

As to numbers, sure, Larkin's the better player, but Stillwell was extremely young for all levels and played SS like a demon-- or at least that's what was being told to Red fans at that time.

Larkin, meanwhile, was much larger, with an odd desire to only play SS and not 2B (thereby getting rid of an aging Ronny Oester), meaning he wasn't a "team player". (There were rumblings of an attitude, and, in Cincinnati, that was difficult to deal with, especially for a young black man.)

As a kid, I wanted both to play, with Larkin moving to 2B to make the best defensive middle infield in the game. I also really liked Davis and Jones (hustle!), but struggled to like O'Neill (flighty and angry, he'd vaporlock in crucial at-bats, seemingly every night) or Daniels (great talent, lousy work ethic).

Of course, I thought ED was going to re-write the record books, too, as a Willy Mays-like CF god. I thought he'd eventually steal 100 bases in a season and perhaps hit 50 homers in either that or another season as well. And play GG CF. For a decade.

Sigh.

At least Larkin worked out.

Benihana
07-21-2010, 12:23 AM
Heisey/Stubbs isn't close to this comparison.

You're right. The spread between Heisey and Stubbs' performance in the majors and minors is GREATER than the spread between Larkin and Stillwell's prior to the trade.


Larkin/Stillwell went 2nd and 4th overall in the draft. Both had the 'upside' that scouts liked. Heisey simply doesn't have that upside that the scouts are going to fall in love with. Stubbs does.

Again, more reason why Larkin/Stillwell was a closer call than Heisey/Stubbs. Well, except for the fact that Heisey has outperformed Stubbs by MORE than Larkin outperformed Stillwell.


As for me not being able to remember it, it doesn't change anything. The scouting reports haven't changed because of time on the two players. They are what they were. The numbers haven't changed either. Both were viewed to have immense upsides. One guy was playing to it in the minor leagues. One guy was showing flashes of it at times. Never should have been a debate. I didn't need to be there for it to know any of that. Odds are that hardly anyone outside of scouts even knew the numbers at the time, they knew what Marty and Joe told them on the radio. Being around at the time wasn't all that important to the issue.

Here are the FACTS Doug, like 'em or not:

(Numbers are AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS respectively)



Major Leagues
Heisey 278 369 542 911
Stubbs 257 323 433 756
DIFFERENCE 21 46 109 155
EDGE Heisey Heisey Heisey Heisey

Larkin 255 313 380 690
Stubbs 249 313 325 640
DIFFERENCE 6 0 55 50
EDGE Larkin None Larkin Larkin

Minor Leagues
Heisey 296 367 459 826
Stubbs 269 364 401 765
DIFFERENCE 27 3 58 61
EDGE Heisey Heisey Heisey Heisey

Larkin 311 361 462 823
Stillwell 275 373 352 725
DIFFERENCE 36 -12 110 98
EDGE Larkin Stillwell Larkin Larkin


Or put another way, comparatively speaking:



Major Leagues
Heisey Larkin
over over
Stubbs Stillwell
21 AVG 6
46 OBP 0
109 SLG 55
155 OPS 50

Minor Leagues
Heisey Larkin
over over
Stubbs Stillwell
27 AVG 36
3 OBP -12
58 SLG 110
61 OPS 98



Couple all of this in with the fact that Stillwell, unlike Heisey, was a top draft pick and was drooled over by scouts AND played very similar if not better defense than Larkin AND a year younger. Then please tell me how the comparison was "a joke" whereas Heisey vs. Stubbs isn't.

I was born and raised in the same neighborhood, played for the same little league franchise, and went to the same college as Barry Larkin- not to mention followed and cheered for him his entire career in a Reds uniform. But to say that he was the easy choice over Kurt Stillwell in the mid to late 1980s is just not being historically honest or accurate.

dougdirt
07-21-2010, 01:07 AM
Here are the FACTS Doug, like 'em or not:

(Numbers are AVG, OBP, SLG, and OPS respectively)



Major Leagues
Heisey 278 369 542 911
Stubbs 257 323 433 756
DIFFERENCE 21 46 109 155
EDGE Heisey Heisey Heisey Heisey

Heisey has less than 75 at bats in the majors, so a numerical comparison of their major league numbers is about meaningless. Even still, he can hit. I won't argue that. I like him. Here is what isn't shown there though:
Glove - Stubbs
Speed - Stubbs
Arm - Stubbs

The major difference is that Heisey/Stubbs doesn't possess the issue where one player was performing exactly like what we would have hoped the other would one day be. Heisey has hit better in the majors in a limited sample where his at bats can be cherry picked to his favor (though coming off the bench is certainly hard.... but lets be honest, Heisey is not a .900 OPS MLB bat over a full season). Now, while I could listen to an argument that Heisey is the hitter that we all want Stubbs to be one day (though I think Stubbs has more power), Heisey will never be the defender that Stubbs is or the threat on the bases. Larkin was already doing everything that Stillwell supporters was hoping he would do one day. All of it. He hit for average, he got on base at a good rate, he hit for power, he stole bases and he was a very good defensive shortstop. That is why the comparison isn't close to the same.

Benihana
07-21-2010, 01:22 AM
Heisey has less than 75 at bats in the majors, so a numerical comparison of their major league numbers is about meaningless. Even still, he can hit. I won't argue that. I like him. Here is what isn't shown there though:
Glove - Stubbs
Speed - Stubbs
Arm - Stubbs

The major difference is that Heisey/Stubbs doesn't possess the issue where one player was performing exactly like what we would have hoped the other would one day be. Heisey has hit better in the majors in a limited sample where his at bats can be cherry picked to his favor (though coming off the bench is certainly hard.... but lets be honest, Heisey is not a .900 OPS MLB bat over a full season). Now, while I could listen to an argument that Heisey is the hitter that we all want Stubbs to be one day (though I think Stubbs has more power), Heisey will never be the defender that Stubbs is or the threat on the bases. Larkin was already doing everything that Stillwell supporters was hoping he would do one day. All of it. He hit for average, he got on base at a good rate, he hit for power, he stole bases and he was a very good defensive shortstop. That is why the comparison isn't close to the same.

Yep, Kurt Stillwell was clearly a bust who had no hope when we traded him...at age 22. Stillwell had played two years in the majors at an age that most modern day players would still be in rookie league. Not to mention, he was named to the All-Star team a month after his 23rd birthday.

You talk about scouting reports? Well here is a quote to chew on, especially for someone who in hindsight (although he was too young to remember) calls the dilemma of trading Stillwell a joke/no-brainer/laughable:


"Our top priority this winter has been to solidify that very key shortstop position. With the acquisition of Stillwell, we believe we have done that. He is regarded as one of the finest young shortstops in baseball and we believe he gives us long-term stability at a very vital position."

That was said a couple months after the trade by none other than John Schuerholz, a guy that has some fairly decent scouting experience.

Scrap Irony
07-21-2010, 01:22 AM
Larkin had major problems throwing the ball his first few years, doug. IIRC, he had almost 30 errors early in his career in one season. And that's on Astroturf for at least half his games.

Defensively, Larkin worked to be a great defensive player, but he certainly wasn't one at the outset of his major league career. At all.

Stillwell, meanwhile, was well above average at the position, with great range and a cannon for an arm. Of the two, Stillwell (like Stubbs, ironically) was the best glove man and it wasn't close.

Stillwell had obp and D. Larkin had "attitude" issues and a great bat. (Similar to Daniels.)

Hindsight says Cincinnati chose correctly, but, as many who were around will attest, it was a very difficult choice.

Benihana
07-21-2010, 01:30 AM
Larkin had major problems throwing the ball his first few years, doug. IIRC, he had almost 30 errors early in his career in one season. And that's on Astroturf for at least half his games.

Defensively, Larkin worked to be a great defensive player, but he certainly wasn't one at the outset of his major league career. At all.

Stillwell, meanwhile, was well above average at the position, with great range and a cannon for an arm. Of the two, Stillwell (like Stubbs, ironically) was the best glove man and it wasn't close.

Stillwell had obp and D. Larkin had "attitude" issues and a great bat. (Similar to Daniels.)

Hindsight says Cincinnati chose correctly, but, as many who were around will attest, it was a very difficult choice.

Exactly. And for what it's worth, I've heard that it's debatable as to whether it was even a conscious choice by the Reds. I've heard reports that the Reds were fine to give up either, especially if the Royals would sub Mark Gubizca for Danny Jackson. The Royals, from what I remember, preferred Stillwell. That coupled with the fact that Larkin was a local product was the real determining factor in who stayed and who went, at least according to what I've heard- It was that close.

Even after DJ won 23 games in his first year with the Reds, John Schuerholz said:


'Well, Stillwell is a guy who made the All-Star team at shortstop. I'd make that trade again tomorrow. I said when we made it that Danny would win 20 with the Reds.''

But please Doug, continue to deride the situation. It clearly wasn't close at all. You remember it, right?

Benihana
07-21-2010, 02:11 AM
Hello,

I picked off this idea from the ORG during a post where Rojo pointed out that many thought O'Neill, Daniels, Larkin, Jones & Stillwell were all going to work out. Or, at least, at the time there were opinions favoring each player strongly.

That got me wondering, what was your impression of those players at the time?

To start, in retrospect, for me, I have trouble fully understanding 2 things:

1) How was it clear that Stillwell was inferior to Larkin?

Stillwell - #2 overall pick in 1983 - rose quickly (perhaps rushed) through the minors and at 20 was hitting .264 in AAA Denver. In 1987 he OPS'd .690 in Cincinnati, then was traded to KC where he reached his pinnacle - the 1988 ASG. From there his career faded, never showing any offensive promise.

Larkin - #4 overall pick in 1985 out of U of M - batted .329 and slugged .525 in AAA in 1986, then by 1987 he was OPSing .678 with Cincinnati. About the same as Stillwell to that point. Larkin appears to have had better speed. The rest, of course, is Reds history.

I'm guessing this was a no-brainer, just watch the two play and you'd be able to see the superior athlete, but for someone who only has stats now to go from, it's interesting to see how "close" it may have been. Any stories about the two playing together during that 1987 season? What was the talk? Was there tension? Why did Stillwell make the ASG in '88 anyway?

Down the road, perhaps a similar scenario may come about between Alonso and Grandal, two similar players drafted two years apart with similar skills at the plate...

FWIW, I think that Grandal and Mesoraco, not Alonso, might be the better comparison for what could happen here. Two players drafted in the first round at the same premium position a couple of years apart- the first from HS and the more recent out of college, making the two players roughly the same age.


2) What happened to Kal Daniels?

I hear some things off hand about his hustle, desire, mentality, but I don't hear enough about his ability. He was a pretty good hitter, and some years that was putting it lightly.

Picked 7th overall in 1982, he smoked through the minors, hitting .310 and slugging .507, and ended up in Cincinnati in 1986 at 22. In half a year in 1986 he put up 2.1 WAR. In 1987 - 4.3 WAR. In 1988 - 5.1 WAR.

In 1989 he looks to have been injured, then traded to LA for a Tim Leary rental and Mariano Duncan, who's minors #'s were not impressive. I know Duncan was a key player in 1990's Championship team, but what couldn't Daniels have done that year? Was this a smart trade?

In 1990, Daniels was a 4.8 WAR player. Then, at 27 and 28, almost inexplicably, he hit the skids and retired. Wha? He must have been Albert Belle's cousin if the end was welcomed so quickly by all parties. Strange.

What were your opinions at the time of Daniels?

__________________________________________________ ___


As a kid, I loved Kal Daniels, although I was always weary of his terrible temper/attitude problems. He was almost like a mean-spirited Jay Bruce, being a highly-touted corner OF that tore through the minors and into a starting role in Cincy at age 22. Hopefully Bruce won't go out the same way ol' Kalvoski did. FWIW, I don't think that he will.



Other than that, Tracy Jones was a bust, eh? Plain as day? That's what I thought.

Thoughts on O'Neill? His career arc in the minors was measured and slow, kind of like Votto, but how frustrating was he early on? He never hit for much average as a Red.

At the time, I was learning how to read with 1986 Topps series cards, I think I had every one of these Reds players, so I'd love to hear from those who were following the Reds what impressions this batch of prospects left them. Perhaps we can gleen some sage wisdom for our current situation, another gaggle of prospects. Thanks in advance.

Also loved Tracy Jones, even more than "Jethro" O'Neill. I didn't mind the Roberto Kelly trade (I thought the original R.Kelly had a lot of potential), but was sad when Jones faded out. Jones was similar to Jonny Gomes, if for no other reason than I remember hearing he was a good guy to have on your team in case a brawl ever broke out.

Obviously none of these guys held a candle to good ol' #44- my childhood idol. The day they traded ED for Tim Belcher and John Wetteland was one of the more traumatic days of my Reds fandom. I still have his game jersey hanging up in my childhood bedroom.

TRF
07-21-2010, 09:16 AM
Heisey has hit better in the majors in a limited sample where his at bats can be cherry picked to his favor (though coming off the bench is certainly hard.... but lets be honest, Heisey is not a .900 OPS MLB bat over a full season)

I agree with doug on how the two (Larkin/Stillwell) were perceived. I was living in Cincinnati and the debates between my grandfather and his radio (yelling at Marty) often were about the two of them.

But as for Heisey, I think you are wrong, just as you were wrong about Votto when you had such ardent support for Alonso. You said then that Votto wasn't a .950 OPS bat, more like an .850-.900. You pulled out his BABIP, a stat you actually cherrypick like you do LD% when you want to make a point. IN YOUR OPINION Heisey isn't a .900 OPS bat. I say he is until he proves he isn't. Now I don't think it should be him or Stubbs in CF, I think it should be Stubbs in CF, Heisey in LF. But if it had to be one or the other in CF, and one traded ala Larkin/Stilwell, I'd take Heisey. Stubbs MIGHT have more power upside, but Heisey is at minimum an .800 OPS bat. IMO, that's his floor. Stubbs Floor is a .680 OPS. A floor isn't something you dip to for a week or so. Its sustained performance. We saw a lot of .680 out of Stubbs. I think his sustained level is likely .780-.800, a ceiling of .850-.880. Yeah you'll see stretches higher than that.

Initial draft position means jack to me, but i see its relevance in this argument. Stillwell had perceived skills that were pertinent to the era. Larkin at the time was the outlier.

In the case of Heisey/Stubbs, it's performance vs tools. Stubbs may have more tools, but it isn't clear he knows how to use all of them. Heisey on the other hand may have fewer tools, but he's also got better control over them.

but enough of this diversion. I remember yelling at my radio when Daniels got traded. He was my favorite hitter on that team, just a beast with the bat.

Cooper
07-21-2010, 09:26 AM
IIRC, Stilwell started out hot and and that added more fuel to the fire.

Also, the argument was a product of the times. There wasn't the internet to do any real good research -the Sporting News and the USA Today were the only places you could get up to date MAJOR League averages- let alone minor league averages.

It's easy to say it wasn't even a difficult decision -but the Reds brass, at the time, struggled with which way to go. Let's also factor race into the issue.

As for the other guys, Kal Daniels could hit falling out of bed- but it looked like he fielded the same way. I always thought Reds LF's had a hard time fielding in that stadium because LF was the sun field. Fans, at the time, got on Foster, Daniels, Dunn (LF is sun field in new park too), Gomes...they are in LF for a reason. Daniels also had terrible knees and over time that caught up with him. He should been a DH, but never really got a chance to do that.

O'Neil was a perfectionist who never needed a manager to ride him, but IMO, Lou handled him poorly. He tried to make him something he wasn't -he was a slasher when it comes to hitting and Lou and the brass wanted him to be a strict pull hitter who hit with power. That didn't work out too well and it was good to see the Yankees,of all teams, be able to let him be.

Jones was a freak of nature- a poor man's Pete Reiser. He would run through a wall a week and then have to sit for 3. I beleive he could have been a lefty masher, but the guy got hurt every other week. They put him at 1st base to try to get him in the lineup. He got hurt the 1st time he played it. I saw a game where he played LF and he ran into the wall so hard you could hear it all the way up to the bleachers above home plate. We all loved that he played football as a baseball player, but he really wasn't a smart player. Smart players live to play another day. The guy was strong and fast and I believe the injuries caught up with him.

What was clear was how much the Reds loved to draft guys who could run. If you couldn't run -you didn't play. Every guy they brought up (save a catcher or 2) could flat out run. Daniels, Davis, Jones, Larkin, O'neil, Sabo, Harris, Milner, Redus, Roomes, Hatcher, Householder, Duncan. The exception was a guy who couldn't run -and if he couldn't he better hit a ton. This to was a product of the times. When most of the these guys were drafted -the stolen base was considered a viable weapon. They ran fast and played really hard. When they hit it was fun to watch cause they flew.

It takes an awful lot for things to come together to make a winning team and make one that lasts.

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 09:36 AM
Thoughts on O'Neill? His career arc in the minors was measured and slow, kind of like Votto, but how frustrating was he early on? He never hit for much average as a Red.

He was a solid player with Cincy but wasn't anything out of the ordinary. The trade for Roberto Kelly has become legend, especially in NY, where the Reds look like they got ripped off. But I don't think that anyone would be able to convince me that his numbers weren't chemically enhanced once he arrived on the East Coast.

Just like Boston got the short end of public perception of the Bagwell deal, there was more to this trade than meets the eye. He gets traded to NY at the age of 30 and then goes on to have his top 6 offensive seasons, a few by a huge margin, for a team who had an inordinate amt of PED usage. Highly questionable, to say the least.

I loved Daniels and Larkin. Daniels was an unbelievable hitter, but both he and Larkin couldn't get on the field every day. Jones I could have lived without and I wished Stillwell lived up to the hype but it just wasn't there.

membengal
07-21-2010, 09:49 AM
Man, I fully disagree with the "not out of the ordinary" take on O'Neill. He was a line driver hitter with good command of the strike zone and played a phenomenal defensive right field. I was 16-20 during the years talked about here and living in Columbus, so I have a pretty good handle on what the debates were.

In an ideal world, it would have been Daniels/Davis/O'Neill in the OF with Larkin at SS and multiple World Series titles. Jones got WAY more love with the fanbase than you would expect because of the Rosales factor (white guy who hustled). In fairness to Jones, he had some pop in his bat, but I echo Cooper, he was not a smart player.

Essentially, Daniels ran himself out of town with not near enough consistent effort and health. But geez, could he hit. Never seen anything quite like Kal Daniels on one of his tears.

O'Neill, as has been documented by others, was woefully and unfortunately ridden by Pinella to the point of distraction. The Reds really wanted him to get to 30 HR a year, and that wasn't his game. A real shame, because teams shouldn't throw away the kind of talent that O'Neill had as lightly as the Reds did. .320 averages with 15-25 HR power and that defense in RF? Yes please. For an example of O'Neill's gun in RF, look to, I think, Game 2 of the NLDS against the Pirates, he had a throw from deep RF to 3b to cut down a disbelieving Bobby Bonilla that will remain etched on my mind forever. Once saw him take a homerun away from Willy McGee going over the wall. O'Neill's problem was that he was quiet, and I think the fans mistook his quietness and never really warmed up to him. Goodness knows Lou didn't. I consider Lou's mishandling of O'Neill the greatest failure of his tenure in Cincy.

As for Larkin/Stillwell, I remember being firmly in Larkin's camp for SS. Stillwell was nice and all, but Larkin, man, he was something NEW. The Reds may have had a hard time deciding, but I was smitten early with Larkin...

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 10:29 AM
Man, I fully disagree with the "not out of the ordinary" take on O'Neill. He was a line driver hitter with good command of the strike zone and played a phenomenal defensive right field. I was 16-20 during the years talked about here and living in Columbus, so I have a pretty good handle on what the debates were.

In an ideal world, it would have been Daniels/Davis/O'Neill in the OF with Larkin at SS and multiple World Series titles. Jones got WAY more love with the fanbase than you would expect because of the Rosales factor (white guy who hustled). In fairness to Jones, he had some pop in his bat, but I echo Cooper, he was not a smart player.

Essentially, Daniels ran himself out of town with not near enough consistent effort and health. But geez, could he hit. Never seen anything quite like Kal Daniels on one of his tears.

O'Neill, as has been documented by others, was woefully and unfortunately ridden by Pinella to the point of distraction. The Reds really wanted him to get to 30 HR a year, and that wasn't his game. A real shame, because teams shouldn't throw away the kind of talent that O'Neill had as lightly as the Reds did. .320 averages with 15-25 HR power and that defense in RF? Yes please. For an example of O'Neill's gun in RF, look to, I think, Game 2 of the NLDS against the Pirates, he had a throw from deep RF to 3b to cut down a disbelieving Bobby Bonilla that will remain etched on my mind forever. Once saw him take a homerun away from Willy McGee going over the wall. O'Neill's problem was that he was quiet, and I think the fans mistook his quietness and never really warmed up to him. Goodness knows Lou didn't. I consider Lou's mishandling of O'Neill the greatest failure of his tenure in Cincy.

As for Larkin/Stillwell, I remember being firmly in Larkin's camp for SS. Stillwell was nice and all, but Larkin, man, he was something NEW. The Reds may have had a hard time deciding, but I was smitten early with Larkin...

Offensively he was nothing out of the ordinary in Cincy, and I don't think anyone could have predicted O'Neill becoming a .320 and 15-25 HR guy when he was consistently hitting 60-70 points lower than that throughout his 20s.

I know the popular belief was that Pinella rode him and wanted him to become a 30 HR guy, which was detrimental to his production, but I'm not a buyer of that story.

redsmetz
07-21-2010, 10:44 AM
When these guys were coming up, the prototypical SS was the guy with the smooth glide over in front of the ball, the weak stick and sure hands. An athletic stud like Larkin with power and speed just wasn't supposed to be capable of handling SS on a daily basis and many didn't thnk he could stay there.

The Reds asked Larkin to move to 2B and he publicly rejected the idea and made no secret that he was unhappy about it. He claimed that he was a SS and wasn't moving to accomodate anyone. At first he was considered kind of selfish for it, but he went out and showed everyone why he shouldn't be the one to move. Stillwell was dealt and Larkin ushered in a new era at SS that was quickly overshadowed by the Jeter, Nomar, A-Rod trio. Larkin is a Hall of Famer, IMO, who really was one of the first in a changed profile for the position and people who couldn't see it coming (which was a majority as I recall) were the ones touting Stillwell.

I think you're hitting the nail on the head. And Larkin was at the vanguard of that transition followed by the more powerful shortstops such as Ripken, Jeter and Rodriguez among others. But at the time, Stillwell was considered a sure fire shortstop in the mold that was Ozzie & Davey and those before them. I imagine one could write a book about the change in the shortstop position.

Likewise, Stillwell (with Ted Power) was not traded for small change. That trade brought Danny Jackson over from KC.

membengal
07-21-2010, 11:07 AM
You can not buy it all you want, edabbs, but from following the team through those years, that's what happened.

One source:

http://www.observer.com/node/44700


By 1987, he was challenging an aging Dave Parker for the

right-field job. By 1990, he was a regular-hitting .270, knocking in 80 runs or

so. But by 1992, his average had shrunk to .245.

Lou Piniella, then the Reds manager, had been pressuring Mr.

O'Neill to pull the ball and hit for more power. Knowing that was not his game,

he fought Mr. Piniella and the result was "The Trade"-November 1992, Paul

O'Neill to the Yankees for Joe Deberry and Roberto Kelly.

In 1993, his first year for the Yankees, Mr. O'Neill hit

.311. In the strike-shortened year of 1994, he hit .360. Now he was a member of

a team and a city that soon came to love him.

The bad blood carried over to O'Neill's Yankees days and Piniella's Mariners days. The Yankees thought O'Neill was thrown at by the Mariners at Lou's request and at least one near brawl resulted in the 90s.

A compendium of some of the articles from that time, including Piniella calling O'Neill a "crybaby":

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-72812217.html

And, a more detailed one from the NY Times in 1996 following a brawl and containing the "crybaby" quotes. Read that and try telling me that Piniella didn't have issues with O'Neill. And given what O'Neill became when he wasn't with a manager who was being a jackwagon, I do consider this one of the Reds' greater player development failures in the last 20 years:

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/30/sports/piniella-takes-advantage-of-another-chance-to-taunt-the-yanks-o-neill.html

A choice Piniella quote from that article:


''Now I was tough on Paul when I had him in Cincinnati,'' Piniella said. ''I was trying to make him a man. He cries all the time. Outside of that, I got no problems with Paul.''

membengal
07-21-2010, 11:24 AM
And more from the "Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty"

http://books.google.com/books?id=hDPKj2aaIIgC&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=Paul+O'Neill+Lou+Piniella&source=bl&ots=_a3kpIpx7l&sig=VF2A3RS2ioQo_DaJLn-P0W2mBBk&hl=en&ei=0RBHTKDHIoOclgfk1PnHBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CBkQ6AEwATge#v=onepage&q=Paul%20O'Neill%20Lou%20Piniella&f=false

I can't copy from that google book link, but follow it and you get as complete a picture as you might need.

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 11:26 AM
You can not buy it all you want, edabbs, but from following the team through those years, that's what happened.

One source:

http://www.observer.com/node/44700



The bad blood carried over to O'Neill's Yankees days and Piniella's Mariners days. The Yankees thought O'Neill was thrown at by the Mariners at Lou's request and at least one near brawl resulted in the 90s.

A compendium of some of the articles from that time, including Piniella calling O'Neill a "crybaby":

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-72812217.html

And, a more detailed one from the NY Times in 1996 following a brawl and containing the "crybaby" quotes. Read that and try telling me that Piniella didn't have issues with O'Neill. And given what O'Neill became when he wasn't with a manager who was being a jackwagon, I do consider this one of the Reds' greater player development failures in the last 20 years:

http://www.nytimes.com/1996/08/30/sports/piniella-takes-advantage-of-another-chance-to-taunt-the-yanks-o-neill.html

A choice Piniella quote from that article:

Maybe he did have issues with him. But I don't think that Pinella was worth 200-300 points on O'Neill's OPS. All that is missing from the classic PED caase study is a failed test. After seeing what we have seen over the past 15-20 years, I'm not sure how this isn't viewed as a probable case.

membengal
07-21-2010, 11:26 AM
Read the link to the Olney book that I put up in the second post...

ETA: I always thought this was one prime example of the "human element" when it comes to baseball. A manager who understood just how hard O'Neill was on himself and didn't handle him like Piniella did was exactly what O'Neill needed. And, yes, in this case, it was worth two to three hundred points of OPS.

membengal
07-21-2010, 11:31 AM
On a fun note, this thread is already on the 4th page of a google search of "Paul O'Neill Lou Piniella"...

krm1580
07-21-2010, 11:38 AM
My observation was that time frame, for my money was the most productive stretch in Reds history as far as producing high ceiling talent. I think about what if with those guys all the time. What if Davis and Larkin were healthy their whole careers? What if Kal Daniels put in some effort? What if they left Paul O'Neil alone and let him be what he was?

They were all great athletes, they were all good hitters, they were all great defenders. (Except daniels who could have been). People get excited about the young talent on the Reds now, look at 1987 Reds top 2. Davis was only 25 Daniels was 23.

G AB R H 2B 3 HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Daniels 108 368 73 123 24 1 26 64 26 8 60 62 .334 . 429 .617 1046
Davis 129 474 120 139 23 4 37 100 50 6 84 134 .293 .399 .593 992

You figure you also had Larkin, O'Neil and Jones were all coming up around the same time and they looked to be loaded. Of course the achillies heal then as it was for a lot of years since then was PITCHING. While the farm system was wildly productive during the mid-late 80 they never developed much in the way of starting pitching. Lots of names lots of bust.s

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 11:39 AM
Read the link to the Olney book that I put up in the second post...

ETA: I always thought this was one prime example of the "human element" when it comes to baseball. A manager who understood just how hard O'Neill was on himself and didn't handle him like Piniella did was exactly what O'Neill needed. And, yes, in this case, it was worth two to three hundred points of OPS.

I don't doubt that there was an effect, but knowing what we know now I don't think we can pretend like the circumstancial evidence isn't staring us in the face.

By the way, I thought this was interesting.


Duquette, in an e-mail response to a query about Clemens, called the future Hall of Famer "a determined, durable, terrifically talented pitcher who has long been one of the best at what he does."

In addressing Clemens' departure, Duquette wrote, "During the last part of Roger's tenure with the Sox, I got the feeling that the intense pressure of being the most high-profile player for so many years in the boiling cauldron that is baseball in Boston was weighing heavily on Roger and he wanted to move along."

Not so, said Clemens, who stated that he would have preferred to remain in Boston but that Duquette made his decision to leave easy.

"It's no different than one corporation asking you to work for them, saying we want you, and the other corporation lets you go," Clemens said. "It's pretty easy. If [the Red Sox] had gotten anywhere close in the ballpark it would have been an easy decision [to stay]."

Perhaps what damns Duquette's "twilight" evaluation the most -- and seems wholly at odds with Clemens' work ethic throughout his career -- is Duquette's insinuation that Clemens was not in proper shape.

"For a number of reasons -- such as his health and conditioning, poor run support and minimal support from the bullpen -- his record and performance had slipped in his last few years with the Red Sox," Duquette wrote.

He added that Clemens "completely re-dedicated himself to his career, got himself in great shape and had two terrific years for the Blue Jays."


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/inside_game/tom_verducci/news/2003/05/27/insider/

You never know what is true and what isn't. Maybe the Yankees were pumping guys full of PEDs and wanted other teams to believe that they were just smarter than the rest. The Yankees of the 1990s were full of proven users and I think we'd be naive to think that the ones outed were the only ones.

dougdirt
07-21-2010, 11:40 AM
Yep, Kurt Stillwell was clearly a bust who had no hope when we traded him...at age 22. Stillwell had played two years in the majors at an age that most modern day players would still be in rookie league. Not to mention, he was named to the All-Star team a month after his 23rd birthday.

You talk about scouting reports? Well here is a quote to chew on, especially for someone who in hindsight (although he was too young to remember) calls the dilemma of trading Stillwell a joke/no-brainer/laughable:

That was said a couple months after the trade by none other than John Schuerholz, a guy that has some fairly decent scouting experience.
Man, you totally made stuff up there didn't you? Where did I ever say he was a bust or anything close to it? In this thread I said he had glowing scouting reports and some good parts to his game. What I also said is that he was hoped to be everything Larkin already was at the time. Nothing about that says Stillwell was a bust (and if you have read enough of my thoughts on Stubbs or Mesoraco you would know how much I hate that term for players who are still playing). It says that Larkin was better.

dougdirt
07-21-2010, 11:49 AM
Larkin had major problems throwing the ball his first few years, doug. IIRC, he had almost 30 errors early in his career in one season. And that's on Astroturf for at least half his games.

Defensively, Larkin worked to be a great defensive player, but he certainly wasn't one at the outset of his major league career. At all.

Stillwell, meanwhile, was well above average at the position, with great range and a cannon for an arm. Of the two, Stillwell (like Stubbs, ironically) was the best glove man and it wasn't close.


Between 1986 and 1987, in 110 games started and 131 games played, Stillwell had 34 errors and a .937 fielding percentage at shortstop. He had another 5 errors between 2B/3B in 1987.

Between 1986 and 1987 Barry Larkin starteed 148 games and had 23 errors and a .968 fielding percentage.

membengal
07-21-2010, 11:50 AM
I guess I have always been loathe to point to a performance spike SOLELY and say, "Hey! PEDs!"

In fact, in O'Neill's case, he did NOT start hitting 40 HRs a year in NY, but rather was allowed to finally be the hitter he always wanted to be (perhaps the hitter that his body needed to be). For a big guy, he was a line-drive hitter who liked to use all fields. That's what he did in NY, to that organization's credit, they allowed him to be who he was as a player. His top HR year was in 1991 with 28 (that was with the Reds). In NY, he settled into being an 18-25 HR a year guy. Who was finally allowed to hit for average and use all fields. Probably why his doubles spiked and one of the drivers for his higher OPS'. As did his taking far more walks.

I always wish that had happened in Cincy...

O'Neill's career stats page from baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o'neipa01.shtml

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 12:02 PM
I guess I have always been loathe to point to a performance spike SOLELY and say, "Hey! PEDs!"

In fact, in O'Neill's case, he did NOT start hitting 40 HRs a year in NY, but rather was allowed to finally be the hitter he always wanted to be (perhaps the hitter that his body needed to be). For a big guy, he was a line-drive hitter who liked to use all fields. That's what he did in NY, to that organization's credit, they allowed him to be who he was as a player. His top HR year was in 1991 with 28 (that was with the Reds). In NY, he settled into being an 18-25 HR a year guy. Who was finally allowed to hit for average and use all fields. Probably why his doubles spiked and one of the drivers for his higher OPS'. As did his taking far more walks.

I always wish that had happened in Cincy...

O'Neill's career stats page from baseballreference.com:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/o/o'neipa01.shtml

Anything is possible, I guess, but I don't think my opinion is due solely a spike in performance. It has to do with the magnitude of the spike (never hitting over .276, then ages 30-35 hitting from .300 to .359), the fact that he went to a place where it is proven that steroids were a huge part of the culture (IIRC, the Yankees have had the most proven user players), and the fact that the spike coincided with his arrival in NY and in his 30s.

I'm just very skepitcal of situations like this in the 90s. The Reds got blasted for that trade when not many people knew what was going on behidn the scenes, just like Boston did with Bagwell. Pretty unfair.

membengal
07-21-2010, 12:21 PM
I guess the easier explanation for me is what we know, that O'Neill and Piniella were oil and water and that O'Neill responded to a change of manager and scenery as opposed to ascribing things to O'Neill that no one has ever accused him of.

GIDP
07-21-2010, 12:29 PM
I wouldnt be surprised if it came out O'Neil was juiced. Not many players would surprise me but he would surprise me less than some others.

TRF
07-21-2010, 12:55 PM
Actually, it would shock me. He went from a decent hitter's park to one designed for LH's. His HR total's didn't spike though, in fact his best HR year was 1991, with the Reds. The only significant change was in his BA, which fueled a higher OBP & SLG. Basically, he hit more singles.

GIDP
07-21-2010, 01:03 PM
Actually, it would shock me. He went from a decent hitter's park to one designed for LH's. His HR total's didn't spike though, in fact his best HR year was 1991, with the Reds. The only significant change was in his BA, which fueled a higher OBP & SLG. Basically, he hit more singles.

I wouldnt be surprised if he was using them in Cincinnati. He did start hitting a ton of doubles in NY. He hit over 30 once in Cincy (36) and only hit under 35 3 times in his 9 years in NY. He probably didnt but if it was to come out I would probably look back and say "you know what it does make sense"

Also its total speculation on my part, I've never seen anything on the subject.

membengal
07-21-2010, 01:44 PM
Actually, it would shock me. He went from a decent hitter's park to one designed for LH's. His HR total's didn't spike though, in fact his best HR year was 1991, with the Reds. The only significant change was in his BA, which fueled a higher OBP & SLG. Basically, he hit more singles.

Yup. A few more doubles too. But, mostly, he was allowed to be who he wanted to be in NY as a hitter. And the Yankees benefited.

TRF
07-21-2010, 03:16 PM
I wouldnt be surprised if he was using them in Cincinnati. He did start hitting a ton of doubles in NY. He hit over 30 once in Cincy (36) and only hit under 35 3 times in his 9 years in NY. He probably didnt but if it was to come out I would probably look back and say "you know what it does make sense"

Also its total speculation on my part, I've never seen anything on the subject.

It really doesn't. With some players, sure, but not him. His body didn't bulk up, his head didn't grow three sizes. But more importantly, he didn't see a Palmeiro like spike in his HR totals. A guy using PEDs, if he suddenly started hitting 30 points higher, will see his HR's increase. his didn't.

Not a PED user. Sabo? probably.

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 03:34 PM
It really doesn't. With some players, sure, but not him. His body didn't bulk up, his head didn't grow three sizes. But more importantly, he didn't see a Palmeiro like spike in his HR totals. A guy using PEDs, if he suddenly started hitting 30 points higher, will see his HR's increase. his didn't.

Not a PED user. Sabo? probably.

There are plenty of users who don't spike in HRs. Not sure that is proof positive.

Here are some interesting excerpts from a Baseball Digest article in 2001. Not proof of anything, but additional smoke maybe.


From the beginning of his professional career, O'Neill said, he realized the benefits of weight lifting.

"When I came up with Cincinnati, I was so skinny," said O'Neill, who was about 185 pounds then, compared with his current listed weight of 215. "I was looking around at what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be in the game. The difference between (everybody else) and me was that they were so much stronger. So I tried all I could to lift and become strong."




O'Neill, who also uses performance enhancers such as creatine, said, "I haven't put on a lot of fat. I put on some strength. I found out over the years what exercises helped more than others."






http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCI/is_6_60/ai_74090335/

membengal
07-21-2010, 03:43 PM
edabbs, serious question:

Is it really so hard to believe the scores of sourced material on O'Neill/Piniella and instead try and generate another reason for the Reds failing to fully develop O'Neill? Even to the point of besmirching his reputation?

I am kinda puzzled by your doggedness on this. There has never been any suggestion, anywhere, from anyone, that O'Neill was a PED type. Nothing anecdotal, nothing circumstantial, nothing empirical. Nothing that I am aware of. What is the point of trying to sully his reputation (which this kind of allegation, even on a message board, does)? Is it because the Reds front office never makes mistakes?

I don't get it.

ETA: Did you look at his career stats? Basically, he hit more singles, a few more doubles, and drew more walks in NY. Which speaks to the approach he was finally allowed to have as a hitter. I just don't see a PED smoking gun anywhere, of any type in those numbers. Not when we have reams of material about how tough it was for him to be what he needed to be in Cincy...

Double ETA: I have always been decidedly uncomfortable blatantly accusing individuals of PEDs in the absence of tests or other actual evidence other than numbers. Just doesn't seem right to me. To the extent that is where this conversation is being steered, I will step out.

TRF
07-21-2010, 03:51 PM
i give up.

PED user. obviously. I mean 22 year old kids almost never gain weight by working out.

As for the creatine, big deal. it wasn't a banned substance then, wasn't banned for years in baseball. He's never had his name leaked in any investigation, it's never been rumored he was a PED user, and there is a TON of evidence that shows the shift to a different park, one designed for LH's to HIT HR's IN, didn't increase his HR total.

So what was his PED? fish oil? did he slow down time for better pitch recognition? magic beans?

obviously a PED user.

edabbs, no offense, but dumbest assertion ever on this board. completely without merit. it's muckraking posting.

_Sir_Charles_
07-21-2010, 04:20 PM
What scouting reports, doug?

This was pre-internet and, unless you have an "in" in Cincinnati no one has been privy to, most of those were destroyed long ago.

As to numbers, sure, Larkin's the better player, but Stillwell was extremely young for all levels and played SS like a demon-- or at least that's what was being told to Red fans at that time.

Larkin, meanwhile, was much larger, with an odd desire to only play SS and not 2B (thereby getting rid of an aging Ronny Oester), meaning he wasn't a "team player". (There were rumblings of an attitude, and, in Cincinnati, that was difficult to deal with, especially for a young black man.)

As a kid, I wanted both to play, with Larkin moving to 2B to make the best defensive middle infield in the game. I also really liked Davis and Jones (hustle!), but struggled to like O'Neill (flighty and angry, he'd vaporlock in crucial at-bats, seemingly every night) or Daniels (great talent, lousy work ethic).

Of course, I thought ED was going to re-write the record books, too, as a Willy Mays-like CF god. I thought he'd eventually steal 100 bases in a season and perhaps hit 50 homers in either that or another season as well. And play GG CF. For a decade.

Sigh.

At least Larkin worked out.

Well, you and I are on the same page. The only thing different was the fact that I simply didn't follow the minors back then, so I was going by what Marty said. But once they reached the bigs...I was right there with you.

BTW...what ever happened to Kal? Did he just decide to hang them up?

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 04:21 PM
Ignoring the load of circumstantial evidence doesn't make it not true. Here's another creatine and baseball article that has one common theme throughout. See if you can guess what most of these names have in common.


Then there is creatine (pronounced KREE uh teen), a nutritional and body building supplement, used by more than 100 big leaguers who lift weights. Caminiti leaves this alone; he was taking a scheduled week off from the product many in the body-building industry tout as the safe, all-natural, legal alternative to steroids.


The 255-pound McGwire, whose frequent injuries led to criticism that he had bulked up too much, is widely regarded as the strongest man in the majors. McGwire says it's hard to say how much weightlifting has improved his power over the years; he hit 49 home runs as a rookie in 1987, long before he became a year-round lifter in '91 and began using products by Champion Nutrition, including Power Creatine, three years ago.


Lee Haney, the eight-time Mr. Olympia who retired in 1991 and now trains athletes in Atlanta, says he has recommended creatine to many of his clients, including boxer Evander Holyfield and Gary Sheffield of the Florida Marlins.


Mackie Shilstone, the sports performance and nutrition expert whose clients include the San Francisco Giants, prescribes it as part of his official training regimen. Teams such as the A's and Cardinals order creatine in bulk. In addition to McGwire, Anderson, Piazza, Sheffield and Caminiti, its advocates include Giambi, Jose Canseco, Eric Karros and Ryan Klesko.


The Orioles' Anderson says he's taken creatine for five years. "The thing is, you can take creatine and protein supplements and have the perfect diet, but none of that matters if you don't train hard. There's really no magic to this. You have to lift heavy and you have to lift hard and you have to be consistent. Your body only improves slowly over time. But if you make tiny improvements, after time you'll have a big improvement."

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/bbw/2001-04-04/2001-04-04-archive-pumped.htm

I think we may be able to say with some confidence that there was some sort of relation between creatine and illegal PED usage in baseball, if this article is accurate. It's a virtual who's who of users.

I'm not on a witch hunt or anything like that, but this is fairly relevant to the discussion since we are talking about the potential mismanagement, eventual trade and giving up on a guy who bloomed later than many other players. The same conversation has been had for years about the Sox trade of Bagwell.

And saying this is the dumbest assertion ever on this board is a little bit over the top. You may not agree, which is fine because this is my opinion based upon my observations. But to not see any sort of potential for this being true would easily top my assertion for that title.

Roy Tucker
07-21-2010, 04:22 PM
I'll chime on the "you had to be there" on the Stilwell-Larkin choce. I think retro-fitting modern day stats against the choice makes it more clear as to what Larkin could be, but in the days of Sporting News BA-HR-RBI stats, no Internet, and gee-whiz press, it appeared to be a toss-up. And yes, I'll admit to being a Stilwell fan.

I thought when O'Neill went to the Yankees, he was going to get chewed up by the NY press. I thought if he he was too tightly wrapped for Cincinnati, then he'd get killed by the NY writers and just implode.

I kept thinking that Daniels was going to come around and hated that he went to LA.

Obviously, I'm wrong about a lot of things.

westofyou
07-21-2010, 04:25 PM
I'll chime on the "you had to be there" on the Stilwell-Larkin choce. I think retro-fitting modern day stats against the choice makes it more clear as to what Larkin could be, but in the days of Sporting News BA-HR-RBI stats, no Internet, and gee-whiz press, it appeared to be a toss-up. And yes, I'll admit to being a Stilwell fan.

I thought when O'Neill went to the Yankees, he was going to get chewed up by the NY press. I thought if he he was too tightly wrapped for Cincinnati, then he'd get killed by the NY writers and just implode.

I kept thinking that Daniels was going to come around and hated that he went to LA.

Obviously, I'm wrong about a lot of things.

Stillwell was also a legacy, he grew up around the game, listen to all the accolades heaped on players who have that going for them these days, back then it had even more cache... can anyone say Dale Berra?

TRF
07-21-2010, 04:32 PM
Ignoring the load of circumstantial evidence doesn't make it not true. Here's another creatine and baseball article that has one common theme throughout. See if you can guess what most of these names have in common.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/bbw/2001-04-04/2001-04-04-archive-pumped.htm

I think we may be able to say with some confidence that there was some sort of relation between creatine and illegal PED usage in baseball, if this article is accurate. It's a virtual who's who of users.

I'm not on a witch hunt or anything like that, but this is fairly relevant to the discussion since we are talking about the potential mismanagement, eventual trade and giving up on a guy who bloomed later than many other players. The same conversation has been had for years about the Sox trade of Bagwell.

And saying this is the dumbest assertion ever on this board is a little bit over the top. You may not agree, which is fine because this is my opinion based upon my observations. But to not see any sort of potential for this being true would easily top my assertion for that title.

Brady Anderson out of nowhere hit 50 HR's that's a spike in performance that screams aberration. O'Neill benefited from a few more singles and doubles in a park designed for LH's. He benefited from coaches that wanted him to be what he was as a hitter. And there is far more evidence of that, than a silly PED argument that has ZERO foundation.

He took creatine. who cares?

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 04:52 PM
Brady Anderson out of nowhere hit 50 HR's that's a spike in performance that screams aberration. O'Neill benefited from a few more singles and doubles in a park designed for LH's. He benefited from coaches that wanted him to be what he was as a hitter. And there is far more evidence of that, than a silly PED argument that has ZERO foundation.

He took creatine. who cares?

His top 8 BA seasons came in NY. His top 7 OBP seasons also, as well as his top 5 SLG seasons.

And he only played in NY while in his 30s.

I'm not sure that we are only talking about a "few more singles and doubles" here. I know it's popular to think that it was Cincy's fault that he didn't blossom in Ohio, but that thought process also came to be before we really knew what was going on in baseball.

dougdirt
07-21-2010, 04:57 PM
His top 8 BA seasons came in NY. His top 7 OBP seasons also, as well as his top 5 SLG seasons.

And he only played in NY while in his 30s.

I'm not sure that we are only talking about a "few more singles and doubles" here. I know it's popular to think that it was Cincy's fault that he didn't blossom in Ohio, but that thought process also came to be before we really knew what was going on in baseball.

A few more singles and doubles are going to boost AVG, OBP and SLG.

edabbs44
07-21-2010, 05:02 PM
A few more singles and doubles are going to boost AVG, OBP and SLG.

I realize that.

westofyou
07-21-2010, 05:06 PM
I realize that.

Also as long as you're learning the game... the bases are 90 feet apart and the shoes those guys wear are called "spikes"

GIDP
07-21-2010, 05:07 PM
Sounds like a game I played in school called MatBall.

mdccclxix
07-21-2010, 06:26 PM
Another good comparison to Larkin-Stillwell (and I liked the Mez-Grandal comp Benihana offered in place of my Yonder-Grandal comp), might be Bailey vs Leake. Both first rounders. Bailey, the HS kid with all the tools, a bit rushed. Leake the polished college kid that everyone sees perform at a terrific level instantly.

If Bailey could bring back a Danny Jackson type impact player, I think everyone would be happy at this point.

As for Kal Daniels - here is his legacy, per quotes from this thread:


Kal Daniels was a pleasure to watch hit, pure pure pure. He appeared to have the sam interest and drive for baseball that I do for having my fingernails removed with pliers. I think that is one player that walked away from a crazy amount of money, because he had talent.


Daniels (great talent, lousy work ethic)


Stillwell had obp and D. Larkin had "attitude" issues and a great bat. (Similar to Daniels.)


As a kid, I loved Kal Daniels, although I was always weary of his terrible temper/attitude problems. He was almost like a mean-spirited Jay Bruce, being a highly-touted corner OF that tore through the minors and into a starting role in Cincy at age 22. Hopefully Bruce won't go out the same way ol' Kalvoski did. FWIW, I don't think that he will.


I remember yelling at my radio when Daniels got traded. He was my favorite hitter on that team, just a beast with the bat.


As for the other guys, Kal Daniels could hit falling out of bed- but it looked like he fielded the same way. I always thought Reds LF's had a hard time fielding in that stadium because LF was the sun field. Fans, at the time, got on Foster, Daniels, Dunn (LF is sun field in new park too), Gomes...they are in LF for a reason. Daniels also had terrible knees and over time that caught up with him. He should been a DH, but never really got a chance to do that.


Daniels was an unbelievable hitter, but both he and Larkin couldn't get on the field every day.


Essentially, Daniels ran himself out of town with not near enough consistent effort and health. But geez, could he hit. Never seen anything quite like Kal Daniels on one of his tears.


What if Kal Daniels put in some effort? What if they left Paul O'Neil alone and let him be what he was?

They were all great athletes, they were all good hitters, they were all great defenders. (Except daniels who could have been). People get excited about the young talent on the Reds now, look at 1987 Reds top 2. Davis was only 25 Daniels was 23.

G AB R H 2B 3 HR RBI SB CS BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Daniels 108 368 73 123 24 1 26 64 26 8 60 62 .334 . 429 .617 1046
Davis 129 474 120 139 23 4 37 100 50 6 84 134 .293 .399 .593 992


BTW...what ever happened to Kal? Did he just decide to hang them up?


I kept thinking that Daniels was going to come around and hated that he went to LA.

He's like a Barry Sanders - Albert Belle hybrid. The sentiment I don't get is that people say, "if he could have focused more, if he could have worked harder", etc, he was already a beast! It seems he never has gotten his due, and perhaps its his fault - he sounds like a prickly guy, I guess.

I'd love to hear Barry Larkin, or god forbid Tracy Jones, talk about his impressions of Kal from those days. He still ended up with 5 mil for his career, but I guess knee surgery wasn't what it is or something. A followup interview needs to be done, I demand it! He has to be a top 50 TALENT in Reds history.

Anyway, I liked this from Cooper:

What was clear was how much the Reds loved to draft guys who could run. If you couldn't run -you didn't play. Every guy they brought up (save a catcher or 2) could flat out run. Daniels, Davis, Jones, Larkin, O'neil, Sabo, Harris, Milner, Redus, Roomes, Hatcher, Householder, Duncan. The exception was a guy who couldn't run -and if he couldn't he better hit a ton. This to was a product of the times. When most of the these guys were drafted -the stolen base was considered a viable weapon. They ran fast and played really hard. When they hit it was fun to watch cause they flew.

Pretty cool point of view now and it must have been exciting then to see all that athleticism in the org. Hopefully now is an equal or better parallel to those times with Yorman, Hamilton, Didi, an of course those in Cincy now.

As for O'Neill, I'm dubious on every player, even those like Griffey, although I still allow my heart to believe the best. My radar does go off for O'Neill when you see the jumps, so I'll stick up for edabbs, he's not out of line for supposing it may be true. We cannot be sure though. Every player has to answer to these questions, unfortunately, for the games sake.

Beyond all that, I thought Roberto Kelley was a damn fine player for the Reds, and Yanks - it wasn't a bad pickup. It just worked out for NY, who loves to rub people's noses in it anyway. F'm.

It doesn't surprise me to hear that Tracy Jones lacked the intelligence to play baseball.

backbencher
07-21-2010, 06:36 PM
For an example of O'Neill's gun in RF, look to, I think, Game 2 of the NLDS against the Pirates, he had a throw from deep RF to 3b to cut down a disbelieving Bobby Bonilla that will remain etched on my mind forever.

Sorry for the hijack, but the throw was Eric Davis, 8th inning, game 4 of the NLCS. My favorite baseball play of all time. Davis was playing LF, the ball was hit to right center, Hatcher crashed into the wall in center and took himself out of the play. One hop to Sabo, tag, out.

membengal
07-21-2010, 08:18 PM
No, I remember Davis' too. I was referring to O'Neill's two games before that.

Cooper
07-21-2010, 08:31 PM
2 quick thoughts:

1. I did not mean to imply Tracy Jones was not intelligent -clearly the guy is pretty smart. He just didn't play smart when it came to -he ran into walls on an almost daily basis. He never was gonna make it long term with that approach, but all the football fans loved it.

2. The ball the Eric Davis backed up Hatcher on and then threw a strike to Sabo was hit it to left center...not right center.

As for Paul O. Their are numerous stories about a negative relationship between player and manager. There is no evidence that he took steroids.

backbencher
07-21-2010, 10:02 PM
No, I remember Davis' too. I was referring to O'Neill's two games before that.

Throwing out Andy Van Slyke perhaps, instead of Bonilla?


The ball the Eric Davis backed up Hatcher on and then threw a strike to Sabo was hit it to left center...not right center.

Eh, fair enough. Davis picked the ball up in right center.

membengal
07-21-2010, 10:27 PM
Van Slyke then. You got me.

Scrap Irony
07-21-2010, 11:03 PM
IIRC, there was plenty of whispers during O'Neil's .350+ BA season of PEDs. (Same with most of the Yankees that season.)

I'd also say edabb's circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling:

1. O'Neil's competitive drive and personality
2. Known PED users on Yankee team
3. O'Neil's slugging surge for New York well past his 30th birthday after years of pedestrian numbers with the Reds (60+ points that include those supposed waning years that typically drag down career numbers)

I do think Pinella is partly to blame for O'Neil's struggles in Cincinnati, but not worth that much.

Cooper
07-22-2010, 07:57 AM
The O'Neill stuff can be explained by looking at the stats.

When he was with Cincy his BAbip was .279 (essentially he was hit unlucky as the typical BAbip is .300). He goes to NY and his BAbip goes to .320 and the year he really got hit lucky was 1994. His BAbip was .378. When that kind of thing occurs -you just flipped your luck.

Doug Dirt is correct -there was not a power surge. There was a luck surge.

All in all, his luck was really bad in Cincy and then became really good in NY and that evened out his career average to be about average when it comes to BAbip (.303). I really think you're pushing it when you infer that it was PED based. Sure as heck doesn't look like it to me.

Did his LD% change when he moved from Cincy to NY?

Mario-Rijo
07-22-2010, 04:44 PM
Van Slyke then. You got me.

It was Bonilla, the ball thrown perfectly and Sabo's glove sat right on top of Bonilla's helmet, from RF. Helluva throw.

membengal
07-22-2010, 05:26 PM
Thanks Mario. Glad I am not completely senile...

redsmetz
07-22-2010, 05:45 PM
Sorry for the hijack, but the throw was Eric Davis, 8th inning, game 4 of the NLCS. My favorite baseball play of all time. Davis was playing LF, the ball was hit to right center, Hatcher crashed into the wall in center and took himself out of the play. One hop to Sabo, tag, out.

I believe O'Neill's throw was gunning down Van Slyke. I was at whichever game it was and I still picture it; it was that pretty. I think Van Slyke was tagging up, but I could be wrong about that memory.

redsmetz
07-22-2010, 05:48 PM
The thing that always surprised me about O'Neill is that I thought, given his temperament, that New York would eat him alive. It didn't and he thrived; really owned that town along with others, of course.

edabbs44
07-22-2010, 06:30 PM
I'm not in front of a computer and have done zero research on the topic, but how do the "proven" juicers stack up in the "luck" category historically? Did Giambi, Bonds, Sheffield, McGwire, Sosa, etc ever post a Babip in the .230s in their respective heydays?