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View Full Version : Joe P. A joy to read



westofyou
09-25-2010, 07:47 PM
I love baseball writing, even try it time to time myself.

When I grow up as writer I want to be Joe

http://joeposnanski.si.com/2010/09/22/32-flukiest-home-run-seasons/




24. George Foster, 1977 (52 homers)

Nobody is entirely sure why home runs jumped so absurdly in the National League in 1977. The league as a whole hit 500 more homers in 77 than 76, and the total would drop by more than 300 in 1978. Strange. Foster was a very good power hitter who finished second in the MVP voting to Joe Morgan in 1976, but his 29 homers that year was a career high. Then, suddenly, he hit 52 the only player between 1966 and 1989 to hit 50.

When Foster hit the 52 homers, it did not feel like a fluke. It felt like we were seeing the emergence of a truly great home run hitter, a modern day Killebrew. In retrospect, we were not, at least not over a long stretch. The next year, Foster hit 40 homers to lead the league, and the next year he hit 30 in only 121 games. He was, for those four years 1976-79 the best power hitter in baseball, I think. After that, though he was still a very good hitter for Cincinnati, his home run power began diminishing. And that, of course, is when the Mets gave him a lot of money to spend the decline phase of his career with them.

blumj
09-25-2010, 11:47 PM
32 is fantastic, but are we sure it wasn't ITP?

BoydsOfSummer
09-26-2010, 01:56 AM
I swear Bill Hall hit 25 of those 35 against the Reds. Sure seemed like it.

blumj
09-26-2010, 02:18 AM
I swear Bill Hall hit 25 of those 35 against the Reds. Sure seemed like it.
Only 6 of them, really. But I know the feeling.

George Anderson
09-26-2010, 02:30 AM
If I am not mistaken, Cy Williams was the All Time HR leader before Mr. Ruth came along.

mdccclxix
09-26-2010, 04:12 AM
I really related to the feeling he describes about Larkin's 95-96 seasons.


23. Barry Larkin, 1996 (33 homers)

Comment: This isn't scientific, but I covered Barry at that time ... and I'll tell you that Larkin in the early to mid-1990s gave the distinct impression that he could do anything. Absolutely anything. I'm not saying he's the BEST player I've seen because he's not Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds or a few others. But I think there's a difference between being the best and being the most adaptable. With Barry, like I say, you got the feeling that if he wanted to just start flying, he would take off. The only other player I covered on a regular basis who gave that impression was the young Carlos Beltran.

Larkin, because he played shortstop, was probably even more amazing. Whatever he wanted. Make amazing defensive plays? Check. Make every routine play? Check. Steal bases? Check. Draw walks? Check. Be a clubhouse leader? Check. Be a great interview? Check (if he felt like it). Whatever he wanted, he could do, if he was healthy, if the mood struck him. So, though I appreciate the absurdity of the premise, it just felt to me that in 1996 Barry Larkin decided he wanted to hit home runs. And he hit 33 of them, stole 36 bases, won the Gold Glove, had an even better year than he did the year before when he won the MVP. And once that was proven, he moved on and never hit more than 17 homers in a season again.

westofyou
09-26-2010, 12:42 PM
If I am not mistaken, Cy Williams was the All Time HR leader before Mr. Ruth came along.

Here are the leaders the year Ruth started in NYC



CAREER
1876-1919

HOMERUNS HR
1 Roger Connor 138
2 Sam Thompson 127
3 Harry Stovey 122
T4 Gavvy Cravath 118
T4 Jimmy Ryan 118
T6 Dan Brouthers 106
T6 Hugh Duffy 106
T6 Mike Tiernan 106
T9 Ed Delahanty 101
T9 Honus Wagner 101

RedsBaron
09-26-2010, 04:07 PM
Several theories have been set forth as to why George Foster was a bust after he left the Reds for the Mets; IIRC Joe Morgan asserted that Foster couldn't handle being the "Man" with the Mets, whereas with the Reds Bench or Rose or Morgan himself had always been the leader. I wonder if Foster's decline was not the result of him going to a poor hitters park at Shea Stadium and the simple matter of age, as he was 33 years old when he departed for NY.

RedsManRick
09-26-2010, 05:21 PM
I didn't realize 1987 was that absurd. Was the ball juiced?

Joseph
09-26-2010, 07:22 PM
What I like best is his willingness to admit he doesn't know it all. Its a joy to read someone who isn't a pompous jerk.

MWM
09-26-2010, 10:35 PM
Good baseball writers have become an endangered species in the ESPN age. Joe P is as good as it gets. Must be something in the water in KC.

15fan
09-26-2010, 10:50 PM
For some perspective on Foster's 1977, here are Joey Votto's numbers with a week left in the 2010 season:

.326 BA / 1.033 OPS / 37 HRs / 111 RBI

Foster's 1977:

.320 BA / 1.013 OPS / 52 HRs / 149 RBI.

That's Votto's 2010 + 15 more HRs and 38 more RBI.

That's other-worldly.

westofyou
09-26-2010, 11:03 PM
For some perspective on Foster's 1977, here are Joey Votto's numbers with a week left in the 2010 season:

.326 BA / 1.033 OPS / 37 HRs / 111 RBI

Foster's 1977:

.320 BA / 1.013 OPS / 52 HRs / 149 RBI.

That's Votto's 2010 + 15 more HRs and 38 more RBI.

That's other-worldly.

Foster had 28% of the Reds HR's that year (Votto 20.5%) He had 19.8% of the teams RBI's's (Votto 14.8%)

Brutus
09-26-2010, 11:17 PM
Good baseball writers have become an endangered species in the ESPN age. Joe P is as good as it gets. Must be something in the water in KC.

Agreed. I think traditional baseball writing has given way to the statistical revolution, along with the advent of Twitter and the need-it-now news highway. Too many blogs and sites focus on either rumors or statistical analysis, each of which have their entertainment value, but not enough people in the profession sit down and write genuine baseball tales.

I love reading pure, creative baseball stories by guys who are all about telling the story and not about themselves. Guys like Gregg Doyel are too common--hacks looking to be the story instead of telling it.

As someone still young in a writing career myself, Posnanski is a breath of fresh air and someone I would like to model my own work after. I have never been a frequenter of SI, so I probably miss more of his stuff than I should, but admire his skills.

Ravenlord
09-27-2010, 02:22 AM
For some perspective on Foster's 1977, here are Joey Votto's numbers with a week left in the 2010 season:

.326 BA / 1.033 OPS / 37 HRs / 111 RBI

Foster's 1977:

.320 BA / 1.013 OPS / 52 HRs / 149 RBI.

That's Votto's 2010 + 15 more HRs and 38 more RBI.

That's other-worldly.

Foster also had Rose's, Griffey's, and occasionally (not sure where he was in the order) Driessen's 377, 382, and 375 respective OBP's in front of him.

Votto has had Phillips' 327, Cabrera's 301, Janish's 346 and Stubbs' 323 in front of him.

you put two guys with 370+ OBPs in front of Votto, while the HR total probably doesn't change, i think you see much closer to 135 RBIs...but then, that's also getting into the problem with using a counting stat for evaluation purposes.

and i think that's the best article i've read this year.

marcshoe
09-27-2010, 03:21 AM
I read Saturday this without noticing who wrote it. If I see Joe's name, I'll read it. I was getting ready to add what he wrote about Larkin to the thread, and I saw the Roman had already done so. That was an excellent bit as well, summing up the essence of Barry Larkin, whom I enjoyed watching more than any other player I've seen (and I date back to Machine days.)

'course when I saw the article title the first name that came to mind was Brady Anderson, the only player I still like because he took steroids, since what he did was so obvious, it's downright wacky.

Not to mention the 90210 sideburns.

marcshoe
09-27-2010, 03:24 AM
Another name that was fun to see again was Wilie Montanez. I always thought he should be better than he was. Then again, I loved watching those Phillies teams in the seventies.

RedFanAlways1966
09-27-2010, 08:42 AM
Another name that was fun to see again was Wilie Montanez. I always thought he should be better than he was. Then again, I loved watching those Phillies teams in the seventies.

I will never forget Willie Montanez. Saw him only occasionally on TV when I was a kid. He was the cockiest and most arrogant acting man I had ever seen play baseball. Left an impression on me as a kid. Because I was young and dumb (now old and dumb) I thought he was cool.

Roy Tucker
09-27-2010, 09:27 AM
We are blessed as baseball fans to have Joe P around. Reading him is like taking a drink of cold mountain water, so simple, so clear, but so good.

cumberlandreds
09-27-2010, 10:32 AM
I didn't realize 1987 was that absurd. Was the ball juiced?

It may have been. One year and this may have been the year,the balls were made in a different place than where they had been before. People speculated that the balls were wound tighter. I think someone cut a few open and found they were wound just a little differently. Either on purpose or not, we will never know.
The odd thing about that season was with all the offense was that the All Star Game went scoreless for 12 innings. The NL won it 2-0 in 13. Just shows you that really good pitching will make up for juiced balls anytime.