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Thread: Sean Casey and the History of the Reds 1st baseman.

  1. #1
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Sean Casey and the History of the Reds 1st baseman.

    I posted this on redlegnation last month, as Casey rumors circulate I thought it might be good to bring it back up over here.



    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.
    Code:
    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
    Code:
    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.

    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.
    Code:
    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
    Code:
    .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.
    Code:
    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.
    Code:
     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)
    Code:
    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.

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  3. #2
    Knowledge Is Good Big Klu's Avatar
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    Re: Sean Casey and the History of the Reds 1st baseman.

    Excellent article! Have you written similar articles for each of the other positions?
    Eric Stratton, Rush Chairman. Damn glad to meet ya.

  4. #3
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Sean Casey and the History of the Reds 1st baseman.

    Thanks, so far just this one, and the above.

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


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